From Barack Obama, asked why he won’t spell out the consequences of further violence in Iran right now:
“I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle. I’m not. OK?”
Good for him. Obama was noticeably tougher toward the Iranian regime in his press conference today (“The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings and imprisonments of the last few days”), but he remained firm in his refusal to say anything that would allow the regime to pretend that the protesters are in any way tools of Western powers:
The Iranian people are trying to have a debate about their future. Some in Iran — some in the Iranian government, in particular, are trying to avoid that debate by accusing the United States and others in the West of instigating protests over the elections.
These accusations are patently false. They’re an obvious attempt to distract people from what is truly taking place within Iran’s borders.
This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won’t work anymore in Iran. This is not about the United States or the West; this is about the people of Iran and the future that they — and only they — will choose.
This is obviously becoming a harder line to walk as events progress in Iran, and I expect it to become harder still over the next few days. So far, though, Obama has done pretty well.