Obama: "Not Productive" To Be Seen As Meddling

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
At the end of a press conference with South Korean president Lee Myung-Bak today, President Obama said it is important that he not be seen as "meddling" in the Iranian election process.

"It's not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling – the U.S. president meddling in Iranian elections," Mr. Obama said.

Echoing his comments yesterday, the president said that both he and the world have "deep concerns" about the election results in Iran. He suggested he believes Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is responding to unrest among the Iranian people.

"You've seen in Iran some initial reaction from the supreme leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election," said Mr. Obama.

The president went on to say that "something has happened in Iran where there is a questioning of the kinds of antagonistic postures towards the international community that have taken place in the past, and that there are people who want to see greater openness, and greater debate, and want to see greater democracy."

"How that plays out over the next several days and several weeks is something ultimately for the Iranian people to decide, but I stand strongly with the universal principle that peoples' voices should be heard and not suppressed," he said.

The president added that "when I see violence directed at peaceful protesters, when I see peaceful dissent being suppressed, wherever that takes place, it is of concern to me and it's of concern to the American people."

"That is not how governments should interact with their people. And my hope is is that the Iranian people will make the right steps in order for them to be able to express their voices, to express their aspirations," he said.

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