2nd day of protests in Iran

TEHRAN — Hard-line militiamen firing tear gas and throwing stones stormed a crowd of thousands of university students protesting for a second day Tuesday, as Iran threatened a tougher crackdown on the opposition after the biggest anti-government demonstrations in months.

More than 200 people were arrested in Tehran on Monday during protests by tens of thousands at universities nationwide, and Iran’s top prosecutor warned further unrest would not be tolerated. He hinted authorities could even pursue the top opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi, an escalation the government has so far balked at in Iran’s postelection turmoil.

Masked motorcyclists — likely hard-line militiamen — harassed Mr. Mousavi at his Tehran office on Tuesday. An angry Mr. Mousavi confronted them, daring them, “Kill me!” before being hustled away by aides, according to pro-opposition Web sites.

There has been no comment from the White House, as President Obama is busy preparing for his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. This is now the second opportunity for President Obama to offer support for democratic protesters in Iran, and again he seems to be voting “present”.

In the first round of protests after the stolen elections in June, Obama made a self-serving and self-promoting statement claiming credit for his speech in Cairo as the motivator of the student protests, never once condemning the brutality of the ahmadinejad regime. In fact, within a month of the uprising, Obama was still trying to curry favor with the mullahs by the release of the Irbil Five.

It isn’t comfortable for many Americans to see their president appearing feckless on the world stage. And, since the eloquent Mr. Obama seems unable to find just the right words for the Iranian people, I offer these words for consideration …

To the people of Iran:

You are rich in culture and talent.

You have a right to live under a government that listens to your wishes, respects your talents, and allows you to build better lives for your families. Unfortunately, your government denies you these opportunities, and threatens the peace and stability of your neighbors. So we call on the regime in Tehran to heed your will, and to make itself accountable to you.

The day will come when the people of Iran have a government that embraces liberty and justice, and Iran joins the community of free nations. And when that good day comes, you will have no better friend than the United States of America. source


Sercan Ondem

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