Obama asks Iran to respect rights of its citizens
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Last Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 11:33
  
Washington: US President Barack Obama has condemned Iran's crackdown on protesters and asked the country to abide by international obligations in respecting the rights of its citizens.

"We call upon the Iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people," Obama said, as fresh protests erupted against the Iranian Government in which at least eight people have been reportedly killed.

"We call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within Iran. We will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there. And I'm confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice," Obama said.

The US joins with the international community in strongly condemning the "violent and unjust" suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries, and even deaths, said the US President.

"For months, the Iranian people have sought nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. Each time they have done so, they have been met with the iron fist of brutality, even on solemn occasions and holy days," he said.

"And each time that has happened, the world has watched with deep admiration for the courage and the conviction of the Iranian people who are part of Iran's great and enduring civilisation," Obama said.

"What's taking place within Iran is not about the US or any other country. It's about the Iranian people and their aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. And the decision of Iran's leaders to govern through fear and tyranny will not succeed in making those aspirations go away," he said.

Referring to his Noble Peace Prize speech in Oslo early this month, Obama said: As I said in Oslo, it's telling when governments fear the aspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation.

Along with all free nations, the US stands with those who seek their universal rights, he said.

Over a dozen dissidents have been arrested by Iranian security forces after at least eight people were killed in fierce clashes.

The raids are certain to further antagonise the opposition, which has defied the authorities to stage noisy protests at every opportunity since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was returned to power in a disputed June election.

The latest protests came on Sunday when police clashed with thousands of opposition supporters who used the Shiite sacred day of Ashura to stage fresh anti-government rallies.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, December 29, 2009, 11:33


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