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GOP Hits Obama For Silence On Iran Protests

(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
UPDATE, 6:20 pm ET: President Obama discussed the situation in Iran late this afternoon, following a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. According to the Associated Press, he said he is troubled by situation in Iran and that any investigation into Iranian election results must not result in bloodshed. Read more here>.

Amid allegations of fraud in the recent Iranian elections, Republicans are criticizing President Obama for not personally addressing violence against the protesters demonstrating on behalf of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor released a statement Monday that calls on Mr. Obama to "take a strong public position in the face of violence and human rights abuses." Cantor suggests the lack of a statement from the president cuts against America's responsibility "to lead the world."

"We stand with the people of Iran in their struggle to participate in a democratic election and who deserve the right to freely assemble and voice their opposition to its questionable outcome," Cantor said. "The Administration's silence in the face of Iran's brutal suppression of democratic rights represents a step backwards for homegrown democracy in the Middle East. We have a moral responsibility to lead the world in opposition to Iran's extreme response to peaceful protests."

Indiana Representative Mike Pence told Reuters that it is Mr. Obama's duty to make a statement regarding Iran.

"It is appropriate for the leader of the free world at this time to speak a word of encouragement to those dissidents in the street," Pence said.

Pence also told CNN that he believes the president's foreign policy is not working.

"First and foremost, we need to take a half step back from this administration's olive branch-and-apology approach to enemies and countries that have been hostile to the United States of America and our allies," Pence said Sunday. "I'm hoping, before the end of the day today, the President of the United States will speak a word of support for Mr. Moussavi and for the dissidents and the reformers within Iran."

The elections drew a record turnout amid speculation over a possible defeat of incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Iranian government claims that Ahmedinejad easily defeated Moussavi but others say Moussavi rightfully won.

The results sparked protests around Tehran, which soon turned deadly.

On Sunday, Vice President Biden stated that he there was "some real doubt" about the election results. The State Department, meanwhile, has called the ensuing violence "deeply troubling."

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