Saturday, September 25, 2010

Obama avoids great opportunity to contrast Ahmadinejad with his predecessor

Yesterday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a speech at the UN saying, among other things, that "The majority of the American people as well as other nations and politicians agree" that "some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime."

Then today, Barack Obama was interviewed by Bakman Kalbassi of the BBC's Persian service, and the first question was about his reaction to the Ahmadinejad's speech. Obama:

For him to make a statement like that was inexcusable. And it stands in contrast with the response of the Iranian people when 9/11 happened.

When there were candlelit vigils and I think a natural sense of shared humanity and sympathy was expressed within Iran.

And it just shows once again sort of the the difference between how the Iranian leadership and this regime operates and how I think the vast majority of the Iranian people who are respectful and thoughtful think about these issues.

Nice of him to show his appreciation for "the response of the Iranian people when 9/11 happened", and to point out the contrast with "the Iranian leadership and this regime".

Remember how the Iranian leadership responded when 9/11 happened?
On that day, the New York Times reported:

In Tehran, the Iranian capital, President Mohammad Khatami condemned the attack, expressing "deep sorrow and sympathy" with the victims and all Americans.

"Terrorism is denounced," he said, "and the international community must identify it and take fundamental steps for rooting it out."

Then on September 20, 2001, the Times reported:

Last week, for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution, there were no chants of "death to America" at weekly Friday prayers around the country, which are controlled by the conservatives.

Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted:

"Islam condemns the massacre of defenseless people, whether Muslim or Christian or others, anywhere and by any means"

And in the same article:

[The United States has sent Iran a message responding to what officials viewed as Tehran's "positive statements" since last week's attacks, American officials quoted by Reuters news agency said.]