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House Passes Resolution To Support Iran Protesters

5095028The House of Representatives on Friday passed a resolution that expresses "support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and rule of law."

The resolution also "condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones." It also "affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections."

Co-sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the resolution passed by a vote of 405 to 1. Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas libertarian, cast the sole opposing vote. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has introduced a similar resolution in the Senate.

The resolutions come on the same day Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei effectively ruled out the possibility of holding a new presidential election, even though countless Iranian citizens have taken to the streets in protest of the June 12 election. Protesters have held massive street rallies for days, contending the election was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the detriment of opposition candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi. Khamenei warned of a crackdown if protests continue.

President Obama has cautiously addressed the situation, saying on Tuesday, "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."

The president has taken heat from some for not speaking out more forcefully in support of the protesters.

"It is unfortunate in a way that this resolution is required since the administration does not want to — quote — meddle and has refused, the president has refused to speak out in support of these brave Iranian citizens, most of them young, who are risking their very lives to protest what was clearly an unfair and corrupt election," McCain said when he introduced the resolution, CNN reports.

One Mousavi supporter, in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, said Mr. Obama -- with the help of Mousavi -- would be able to open up more constructive dialogue between the two countries. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Mousavi's external spokesman, called Mousavi the "Obama of Iran."

"Now that [the United States] has Obama, we have our Bush here [in Iran]. In order to resolve the problems between the two countries, we should have two Obamas on the two sides. It doesn't mean that everything depends on these two people, but this is one of the main factors," he said.

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