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June 18th, 2009
10:14 AM ET

Ex-hostage: Do not interfere with Iran

Moorhead Kennedy, a former American hostage in Iran, tells CNN the U.S. is better off not intefering in Iranian affairs right now.

Moorhead Kennedy, a former American hostage in Iran, tells CNN the U.S. is better off not intefering in Iranian affairs right now.

A man with unique insight into the events that are playing out in Iran is Moorhead Kennedy. He was the acting head of the United States’ Embassy's economic section in Tehran when it was overrun by student protesters in 1979.

Kennedy was one of the 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days in that standoff. He wasn't released until January 20th, 1981 when President Reagan was inaugurated. Kennedy spoke to John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Thursday.

John Roberts: Do you see any parallels between what we’re seeing on the streets of Tehran now and what happened in 1979?

Moorhead Kennedy: Well, I think the biggest parallel is that at least some of the reaction against us in '79 was because...of past interference in Iranian affairs. And I think that there seems to, be from a lot of talk going around, that we should do something…about this election problem in Iran. It's the attitude that we have sometimes about Iran, a rather colonial attitude that has always been part of our problem with that country. And so I think if I had any conclusion to draw, we would have been much better off not interfering in Iran then and I think we're going to be much better off not interfering in Iranian affairs now.

Roberts: Now, you did say in an interview with the Daily Beast, “It's very counter-productive to interfere in someone else's election... I think the best thing the U.S. can do is shut up.” I ran your quote past Senator John McCain who is urging a more vocal response by the Obama administration. And he said yesterday, “We're not interfering in taking the side of the opposition, we're seeking, as we have throughout the world, a free and fair election.” Do you agree with what the senator said?

Kennedy: No, I don't agree because I don't see it's any business of ours to seek elections, fair elections, particularly in a sensitive area like Iran. John Quincy Adams said, “We don't go around seeking monsters to destroy.” And I think that that is their problem. It's something they've got to work out. And I think the United States, particularly in view of our past record of interference, it's much better for us to sit back, obviously express hope that there will be no violence, sort of general things of that nature, but don't be seen to interfere because we don't like the present president of Iran and we might like to have someone else in that job.

Roberts: Already the interior minister is trying to make this the fault of western countries. He’s out there on the streets giving many interviews saying this is all because the West is interfering in our electoral process. They’re putting pressure on us. They're trying to institute these policies of reform. They’re basically meddling in what we're doing. So, he's already trying to draw the United States in. Do you think it is prudent for this White House to take the standoffish approach that it has for fear of potentially getting drawn into this conflict?

Kennedy: It's not the fear of being drawn into a conflict. It's expressing our respect for a sovereign state that we do not interfere in the internal affairs of another country. And I think part of the Iranian deep, deep resentment of the United States is that we have never treated them with proper respect. And, of course, that's been furthered by some of the episodes in our relationship. Not only the famous CIA coup, but the fact that we…helped Saddam Hussein when he attacked Iran in 1980 and did not prevent him in any way from using chemical warfare against Iran. There are a great many resentments there. So if we have to hold back from interfering in any country, it should be Iran.

Roberts: So where do you see all of this heading – these street protests, this day of mourning? Apparently there are tens of thousands of people on the streets... Do you think this will play out over some and eventually die down? Or could this be the beginning of something even bigger?

Kennedy: Well…so far there doesn't seem to be an organized force to bring about a civil war or a rebellion, so far, against the established government. But don't forget, we're talking about two candidates for president. The real authority is in…the clerical and the religious headquarters with the Council of Guardians. And Iran has a far more stable structure than I think we give them credit for. And I think that's an important thing to remember.


Filed under: Iran
soundoff (671 Responses)
  1. Catapult

    I just love the way people have these powerfully paradoxic feelings about this subject. They absolutely don't want the USA to interfere in Iran -UNLESS-unless we can help bring democracy to that land. UNLESS...we can undo the religious dictatorship under which the Iranians (quite willingly) now live. UNLESS...interference would somehow magically turn that country into our friend and ally.

    Just leave it alone. Stay the hell out. We got enough wars going on already.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  2. jt

    Could our memories possibly be this short? We invaded another country to establish freedom and peace only to find anarchy and disorder. We should not pretend to know these people or understand their culture. What we hold dear in our western democracies may be meaningless to others. At times an oppressive religion or tyrannical dictator is the only thing that can keep order. They have every right to live as they choose, even if that choice is to wallow in their own filth.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  3. Carl Justus

    I hope Obama has more sense than even to begin to comment on who should be elected or if the vote should be thrown or anything about a recount.

    I sure am glad that Bush or any other republican is not in presidency now for sure they would be runnin off at the mouth, long before the brain begins to work or even wake up.

    We have enough trouble without asking for more like Pence or McCain who have come out and expressly called for Obama to become involved-both are stupid.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  4. Grant from Denver, CO

    I find it incredibly amusing to read how you all think it is our 'duty' to determine who runs a sovereign state. I wonder how you will react when China comes and tells us what we can and can't do? I bet you are signing a different tune then. Course, you only sing for the cause of the moment, don't you?

    June 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  5. James(Iowa)

    We'd still be British if the French had not shown up to help US out.

    We'd probably be German too if the american people hadn't been goaded into going to war by the government here. So I mean, you don't want to help your neighbors become democracies? REALLY

    because wasn't that the whole point of going into Iraq? lol

    June 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  6. Alexander

    EXACTLY! We do not need to interfere in every little international problem. We can't quell all violence, nor should we try. It is up to the people of Iran to make themselves independent, because obviously the Iraq model didn't turn out that well.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  7. Ted

    We don't need to bury any more US soldiers over middle eastern internal squabbles.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  8. TRA

    Please let's not make an argument about getting involved due to human rights abuses. There are many regimes large and small doing much worse with respect to human rights and we don't show any real concern. If we did, we as a nation would spend a great deal of time defending people in Africa to name one. So America if you want to make our mission to help oppressed people than make a list and figure out how to prioritize it because we can't help everyone. It has been our recent pattern to put countries whose stability has an impact on the oil industry at the top of the list.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  9. Helter

    American elections are not truly free elections because you need millions of dollars to run for president. What if China or another country interfered and demanded spending caps on US elections? Elections are as free as their societies can handle, so let them evolve themselves and stay out of their business.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  10. jg

    Just another ignorant, uneducated, savage Muslim country.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  11. John Black Hills/SD

    I believe that it's up to the Iranian people to decide how their lives will be governed. Iranians aren't like North Koreans who are limited in their educations and access to information technologies found in Iran. The clerics in Iran have a calendar that's counting the days that will bring about a new manner of political governing, it's going to diminish the power, and influence of the Guardians. They're afraid, if we can see it, that means the Guardians see it as well. Who wants to give up unquestioning power over a nation like they have today.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  12. Penny

    As I read the many comments regarding this article I'm reminded of Barbara Tuchman's book, "The Guns of August" which is a fabulous analysis of the the causes of WWI and also set the stage for WWII. We do need to remember that those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it. American ideals are all very nice but different people (and different cultures) have different idea about what is right, fair, and free. If we insists that we, as a country, decide that we have the right to decide what other people need and if we continue to believe that we have the power and resources to force our "ideals" and will upon others we will have a world war on our hands. And the next time that happens - we won't be around to do an analysis over how it happened. Stephen Hawkins says our only hope of survival is to find a way to get through the next 100 years without blowing ourselves up or destroying our environmental life supports on earth.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  13. Jimb

    It looks like there is a genuine seed of reform getting started in Iran, and it hasn't cost us anything, and it hasn't taken one American soldier's life.

    Leave it alone. We can't afford to interfere anyway.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  14. oldtimer

    When Bush stole the election i didn't see too many other nations interfere in that either. Why should we interfere in the election of Iran. It's their business and it's about time the U.S. minds theirs. If you want to interfere in something start at home, and all the rights that are being taken away from us by our own government.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  15. David Myers

    We're such an arrogant country thinking that we know what is best for all the other countries in the world when we can't even take care of our own educational system that is going to ruin...out health care is the best and the most expensive so that half of americans don't have it. If we spent the money here in the USA instead of on all the countries that just use us as a bank roll for their own particular uses and give us lip service that they are our allies just to stay on our good side and keep the money coming. We are fast becoming a nation of bankrupt people losing our homes our lives and our way of life...and all of you care about is an election that is really none of your business. It is the business of the Iranian people no one else. So wake up and think of ways to make our country better not someone else's..because the only people in the world that care about the USA are americans.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  16. Ali

    As an Iranian and as someone who voted for Mr. Mussavi I compeletely agree with Mr. Kennedy. It's our isssue and it's our responsibility to handle it on our own! you know before Mr. Obama's recent speeches Iranian official were optimistic to his attitude toward Iran and were hopeful to create a way to discuss about matters who were not discussed for 30 years! But now, with Mr. Obama's obvious support of illegal protests they changed their mind and said that finally he showed his true face and revealed his true intention he was hiding behind the CHANGE slogan.
    To be fair Iran is not only Tehran and only ten thousands people. 24 millions of people voted for President Ahmadi Nejad and surely they better know how to solve their problems. 13 millions of people voted for Mr. Mussavi but what are we just watching 10 or even 100 thousands of them protesting? It means that all of people seek peace and leave objections to the people in charge, their delegates in fact.
    So I hope Mr. Obama change his intonation and talk more impartial about this GREAT election!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  17. James

    President Obama does not wish to speak out on this issue for fear of offending the Muslim community. Granted, he has no problem offending his own countrymen, but he wouldn't dare condemn Iran or their brethren, such as Hamas. However, I suggest that if we really want to investigate electoral irregularity, let's start with ACORN.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  18. boun somphong

    We can't afford to meddle in other countries's business. Let's look back at the Iraq affairs. What good did we get out of destroying Saddam? Is there peace? We wasted tons of money. And now the government of now or later is friend of the US?

    June 18, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  19. ali

    it's interesting to hear this ex-hostage giving his advise on iran, saying we shouldn't interfere.....but the sad thing is that it was carter and brezinski who help usher in the mullahs- they abandoned the shah- the most important ally of the US in the middle east, and sent gen huyser to keep the army out of the conflict-
    it is also ironic that this guy would probably not been taken hostage if his president had helped prevent the era of the mullahs to begin in iran....
    so, I disagree completely with what he is saying. the united states, as the leader of the free world, has the obligation to promote freedom all over the world....and, in fact, the young people of iran are asking for help so they can overthrow these mullahs who have oppressed and pillaged iran for 3 decades!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  20. Ariel

    We should bomb Iran because Israel wants us to.

    Then we can put in a government that does what Israel I mean we want it to.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  21. Luke

    @ Geoff: It's sad to see you have already succumbed to the new world order. And wanting to stay away from meddling with the internal political mechanisms of a sovereign state is not a 19th century attitude. Wanting to interfere in another country is a 19th century colonial attitude that everybody in the world is very very sick of. Tell me: How does the goings on in Iran effect you?

    I'm not saying we shouldn't have a vested interest in the goings on of other nations, but they remain 'OTHER' nations. Not colonies, not states, but sovereign territories where our rules, laws and ideals are of no consequence.

    @ Monique: From one Canadian to another: You go girl!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  22. Tony

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy wholeheartedly. Reminds me of Star Trek's "Prime Directive".

    June 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  23. Dan

    Not our problem, not our fight. Let the people of Iran determine their own destiny.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  24. Rose and Mint

    If we indeed are the "beacon of freedom", lets get Li'l Kim out. No elections ever, nukes being built, people dying of hunger and yet we do not want to shower them with the gifts of freedom!

    For crissakes, Iran has had elections and once every 4 years. They are a proud nation, a civilization older than ours!! Ever heard of an adage – Respect begets respects. History is filled with failed examples of US imposing our will on the people – Vietnam, Cuba, Iraq! We take pride in being American and trust me – Iranians take a similar pride in being Iranians! Dont insult them by telling them what to do.

    Obama – We are with you on this

    June 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  25. ELAINE

    This is so pathetic to those sreaming we should get involved they will be the first one's to say Oh No we should of stayed out when things get tough and of course they won't be the ones to fight. An then our sons and daughter will be call murders and be outcast and blamed. Involved in a country that hates us. Not one has mentioned the infamous United Nations let them go in and take care of human rights also do us a favor and get out of NY they are useless.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  26. ali

    people need to cool their jets on iran. im a shia muslim, born and raised in america, and my loyalty to iran lies in that it is the center of my religious world. my equivalent of the christian pope lives there, and he is the leader of all shias in the world, not just iranians. i take offense that people in my own country of america prefer to devour the partial and biased media coverage without doing their own research. first of all they should separate the fact that it is its own sovereign nation as well as the seat of a particular religion. they should also recognize that the majority of the people in that country are shia, and that the problems people have are with the government, not with the religious leaders. secondly people need to realize that iran has good reason to be enemies with america, as there is a well documented history of american interference bordering on criminal. the 1953 coup d'etat of that country's democratically appointed government being just the beginning. america's real interest in iran is oil and power. nothing else. america cares not for iranian democracy and freedom or 1953 would have never happened, and they never would have been bed mates with the tyrranical shah and given him such a huge power base of american made weapons. finally this is all just an opportunity that the west has seized to strike at the "disobedient" iranians. they quietly dont mention the fact that moussavi dislikes america almost as much as ahmedinejad does. ya'll need to read a little and not eat tripe all day long from cnn and their ilk.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  27. Prof.Dr.John de Clark

    Any state that has a Patriot Act should not interfere to propagate Democracy, Human Rights under that act are a farce

    June 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  28. Joe

    ABSOLUTELY.....we need to stay out.
    What makes the US the ultimate world governing organization?
    We tout democracy yet our own people don't even elect the president, ask Al Gore how HE feels about that ! Then we go from country to country, in the name of freedom and tout democracy when we continue to show the world that democracy in this country is failing.
    No wonder the United States has lost its world credibility.
    We need to stay home and take care of OUR own problems. Once things are stabilized here, maybe we can start to reach out and truly help other countries rather than impose our philosiphies on those who do not want them.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  29. Larry from RI

    We need to stay out of this else we be blamed for meddling which will be fodder for the ones in power right now.

    The US had to figure things out for ourselves in our fight for independence – give these people the same level of respect to do what they need to do for themselves.

    Take a look at how well any of the past attempts to "spread democracy and freedom" have worked out!

    From Vietnam to Iraq every single instance of our meddling in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations has failed miserably. John McShame should realize this better than anyone!

    What a right wing tool he has become!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  30. Mark C

    Yay Mr. Kennedy! Finally a responsible voice here on CNN. The last thing Iran needs is another CIA debacle like the one orchestrated by Kermit Roosevelt back in the 1950's that created this whole mess.

    BTW, wouldn't it be convenient to have Iran as an ally so that we can finally tap the Caspian oil fields. Hmmmmmm.

    War for oil anyone?

    June 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  31. Vivek Viswanathan

    Well, This is the first time someone has made a valid point. America should look at restructure of its own economy and things related to that. I mean why spend the energy and time on another country when America is currently hurting. I saw a billions dollars going out in DONATION!!! and AID To other countries. DId anyone think that aid could be used to keep people in their homes? I mean why intefere in an established govt's process just because you dont like the President!.. Just let things flow. Iran has its flaws but they will learn to grow out of it...America has to try and find a middle path to restore trade and good friendship with other countries rather than tryign to turn everyone to their way of thinking...

    June 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  32. Jeff

    Praise Mr. Kennedy,

    Leave those people alone, let them fight their own fight because their victory will be much sweeter if they themsleves fight for it. They don't like us, they don't want us there and we need to get out......that goes for South Korea,Japan, Germany and wherever we might have a base. How dare we force a new democracy leadership upon them. Lets remember, wasn't Saddam some sort of freind to us at one point? Look how that turned out.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  33. Mark

    Why is it that no one came to our aid when our own election process was tainted when Bush declared victory over Gore? Was it because we did not protest enough or was it because it was no one else's business but our own? more than likely the latter. Change can only be achieved from within, not from external forces with vested interests.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  34. Jack

    Wait a minute – after what we went through in 2000 with the supreme court picking Bush for President – we would think we'd be competent in helping Iran?

    How quickly the silly forget! We ended up with the obvious worst candidate and it cost us and the world quite a bit.

    We should get our own house in order before we start preaching to anyone else.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  35. Dry...? in WA

    I think some of you are making some rather absurd jumps with Moorhead's logic.

    When France helped us win the Revolution, we officially asked them for help and were already at war. It was one nation helping a colony revolt. The people of England weren't revolting.

    We were supporting the Allies (before entering ourselves) during WWII because they were, well, our Allies. We did the same thing in WWI before entering (an anti-German president helped that, too). We didn't immediately enter the war because we had no direct reason to.
    During the beginning of WWII, we were dealing with the depression. During WWI, our country was still very isolationist.
    It wasn't an issue of "better stay out of their business."
    The Lusitania sinking was an excuse, and the Zimmerman Telegram was a direct reason to join the open fight against Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire (WWI).
    It was only a matter of time before we went to war with Germany & Japan in WWII, FDR new this. The bombing at Pearl Harbor was the push we needed to actually declare war.

    Some people want us to support the students or proclaim the elections a fraud.
    While we can come to the basic, logical conclusion that they were, you have to look at things from a real world perspective:
    There is no actual, hard proof that the elections were rigged. Getting involved in a foreign affair that has nothing to do with us (directly) based off of assumption and gut feeling isn't the most intelligent thing to do.

    We cannot be a 'beacon of freedom and democracy' by interfering with another country's politics. If the Iranian people want democracy and freedom, they must fight for it.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  36. Ramnik

    Let us place ourselves in the shoes of the Iranians. Wouldn't we resent them if they interfered in our controversial elections? I didn't see them bother us when it came to "The Hanging Chad." Let the UN do it's job, instead of relegating it to a secondary body.

    And let us not fall into the trap that Ahmadinejad has created, let him not lure us into actively interfering with Iran, because then the crazy dictator gets what he wants, and we yet again demonstrate our lack of restraint and understanding of the middle east. Thank you.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  37. KM

    Actually allot of educated Americans out there, thank you Poli Sci profs. Anyways most Americans no little or nothing about Iran. This all actually started back in the early 50's see " Operation Ajax". This will explained why the Iranians dislike the Americans so much. Two check out the history of Iran 1975 thru 1979, our support faded for the Shah under President Carter, whom by the way was not known for a fantastic foreign policy . As for The clerics and Ayatollah Khomeini, guess who's idea it was to bring him into power and out of exile? It was our own intelligence agencies view to stop the support of the Shah fearing he was to vulnerable. They believed the clerics would return and a civilian government they could handle would take over, well we see what happened. Now that is what I call mettleing!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  38. Doug in Little Rock

    We are a free demoratic country ! I hate what you went thru in 1979 but that is completely different than what we are seeing there now. We should do every peaceful thing in our power to make sure they have the same freedoms as we do. It sounds like you are a quiter sir .And we are not a nation of quiters.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  39. Neil

    What to do, what to do, what to do...

    There is no reason for the US to get involved. Why should we spend another dime on another country and their problems. We need to fix our own problems here at home first.

    Yes, the people of Iran need to solve this on their own. Why is it the US is always 'expected' to save the day, just to have the same people we rescue, try to kill us in a few years.

    Americas Foreign Policy needs to be revamped and rethought. Don't always jump into a fight, let the people of Iran solve this, and maybe the ties, no matter who the leader, will be stronger.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  40. Howard

    Don't forget that Iran does have a polical election system, though not perfect. Iranian's democracy and freedom might be way ahead of US's closer friends like Saudi Arabia. Nothing is abosulute!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  41. Spencer

    We should not interfere. However those morons are already saying that we are. So it is almost like "Why not"? We do nothing and they attempt to implicate us saying we're enciting unrest...so why NOT just interfere? Bottomline is the country is 3rd world. Look what happens when they have an election. I don't know any more than the next guy but if what I am reading is true (85% of the country voted, they use paper ballots, and apparently they were all counted, by hand, within hours? come on), it is obviously a joke. Then, people protest peacefully and these govt sponored groups go out in civilian clothes beating men AND women to pulps and fire into crowds? Iran deserves zero respect. Until they can act like a civilized society, they'll be treated like the 3rd world country they resemble.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  42. jamie

    I can't understand why McCain wants the US to condemn the Iranian election when he SHUT UP his mouth when Bush stole the presidency from Gore. Good thing Mccain is not the president.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  43. Rob

    Need help?No problem. We'll fix everything. Be right there. First lets fire up the printing press and print some more worthless cash so we can pay for this. HELLO Mc FLY!! We are broke people!!!!!! Wake up!!! If you can't afford to buy, STOP going shopping!!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  44. zack

    who gives a crap! hopefully Iran destroys itself and we can get more free oil

    June 18, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  45. Neilz

    Kudos to Mr. Kennedy.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  46. Fred

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy's opinion that the US should not interfere. I am concerned about the violence and the civil rights violations, but I think that more effective change would come from better diplomatic relations with Iran than what we have now.

    Don't mistake good diplomatic relations with agreeing with their policies. I don't see that as being weak. Civil negotiations seem to go much further than hostile ones do. The current results from Iraq should be a good example of how good intentions do not lead to a good outcome.

    June 18, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  47. Jim W

    How would the US have felt if Iran had decided to interfere in the fruadulent 2000 election ?
    We have no moral high ground here. The most productive thing to do is DO NOT INTERFERE.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  48. john henry

    In "People's War, People's Army," Vo Nguyen Giap stated the US would not win the Vietnam war because Americans do not understand the oriental mind.
    We currently do not understand the Arab/Persian/Muslim mind. Do we think we are truly qualified to answer this? No!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  49. DeDude

    The worst thing we can do is to express our support for the people we want to see win. They would be dead in the water the minute they were seen as being supported by the US. It would be like a democratic candidate having David Duke hold his arm around him and say: "I really think this guy is right and you should vote for him". If you really support them; shut up. If you are a senator from Arizona who don't care about them and just want to make some political hay here at home ......

    June 18, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  50. Nunya

    It is just mindboggling to hear people demand that we 'do something'. What would their response have been had any other country on the face of the earth, whether considered our great friends or not, had tried to weigh in on details of the events following election day 2000 in this country, when our institutions were working through the process of determining who won the election? They would have been screaming bloody murder about 'foreign interference'! Why such hypocrisy?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  51. steve

    it's up to a country's people to stand up for what they believe. whether the outcome is for the better or worse, we should not have a hand in it. we've been through our civil war. let them have theirs.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  52. Dean

    The election process has absolutely nothing at all to do with human rights. The treatment of protesters does. A recent article says that only 52% of US high school students in the cities studied actually graduated. This seems to explain the complete lack of critical thinking skills people on blogs like this display.

    The US should stay out of the issue of whether the election was fair or not because that is an internal issue that has to be resolved by the government and the populace, however the US *should* express concerns about the treatment of those protesting the elections and/or trying to bring about reforms. That is the human rights issue (at the risk of belaboring the point, but making sure the shallow thinkers have a chance of getting it).

    June 18, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  53. Patrick

    We should keep quiet and stay out of their mess! We should silently pray for the 'liberty and freedom' of the Iranian people and hope that the clerics fall fate to their own means. It will not benefit us to take action that will alienate this country more than they think about us now. For many years, I was a 'liberal' thinker and supported Amercian taking action in the global community. After 5 decades of seeing how they act, react and treat us............I say we should keep to ourselves and let some other country try to solve the worlds problems. We have enough on our 'plate', here in America, to be bothered by those outside our country. Let them solve their own problems and we should only react unless we are attacked. They chose their stupid government in the late 1970's, let them overthrow it now or reap what they have sown.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  54. Carsten M

    Looking back in history there has been alot of examples where the US had gotten involved when they should have stayed out. An excuse that is used as a arguement to get involved is World War 2. Germany invades Poland and no one helps. That has been the justification for many involvements in other countries affairs. The fact is even with good intentions the involments have rarely had a positive effect. Granted there have been moments in history where involvement was good, but the difference was it was sought. Show the respect we would like shown, let them choose thier own way.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  55. Jim in Washington

    Good on Mr. Kennedy. I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran in the 1970s. More than once I saw our CAI ambassador, Richard Helms, parading around Tehran, protected by six foot four goons. To Iranians these arrogant (and ignorant) displays by the Amerian foriegn policy establishment symbolized all that they did not like about our blatant interderence in their affairs. President Obama has taken a small but useful step in acknowledging in so many words that our interference in Iran was wrong. Now we should follow it up by keeping our mouths shut. The best was to doom the efforts of the reformers would be for our poorly informed loud mouth politicians to visibly support them.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  56. Monique

    I am proudly Canadian. Canada does a wonderful job at minding it's own business. I guess that's why we have the best financial system in the world and the best health care, and Canada is also considered one of the best places to live. America can learn a thing or two from us!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  57. tony

    This guy is dead on. First we helped the Shah terrorize Iran, then we helped Saddam kill them by the 10s of thousands. Aside from all that, the Iran's are finding out that they gave all their freedoms away to a bunch of rag heads who believe that death a wonderful frolic with 72 virgins!!!. I've always wondered what the women get when they die !!!

    The Iranians now get to fight to get their freedoms back. NO ONE can do it for them.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  58. todd

    Thousands of others around the globe championed the cause on social-networking Web sites and agreed to wear green on Monday in solidarity with Moussavi's supporters.

    But what is often lost in the outrage is whether Iran would look different under a Moussavi presidency. Watch more about the vote »

    Though the 67-year old is credited for successfully navigating the Iranian economy as prime minister during a bloody eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s, he also was a hard-liner whom the Economist described as a "firm radical."

    He, like most Iranians in power, does not believe in the existence of Israel. He defended the taking of hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979, which led to the break in ties between the countries.

    He was part of a regime that regularly executed dissidents and backed the fatwa against British author Salman Rushdie.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  59. Geoff

    Some ridiculous opinions here. I love this whole "we should mind our own business" philosophy. News flash people...this is 2009...gone are the days where countries can exist by themselves within a vacuum. Everyone effects every other country whether it be economically or socially. You're trying to apply a 19th century attitude to the 21st century. What goes on in Iran effects us all and vice versa. The same people complaining that we shouldn't do anything at all are the same people who probably bend over backwards for the opinion of other countries. So when it's our business the whole world has a say but if it's the other way around we better keep to ourselves. Oh please. This is a global community we live in...deal with it...wake up to reality.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  60. M. J.

    Mr. McCain, I now know why you did not win the election; You would surely have us in a war with Iran.

    Also, McCain, where were you when Bush was stealing two elections in this country?

    Just in case Americans were forgetting just how much of a war mongerer John McCain really is; folks, he is reminding us now.
    Why in the world would we jump into Iran's business?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  61. JeanetteB

    These people are not asking for our help. If anything, what we should be doing is suggesting a new election with an independent entity to certify the election and its results as fair and representative of the people of that country. And if Ahmadinejad is the winner, so be it. It's time the US maintained a non-judgmental, quiet and dignified neutrality while this country works out its own political woes.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  62. Luke

    The American Psyche just can't seem to take the fact that the world doesn't want it's 'help'. You have a pretty dire track record of 'helping'. In fact almost every country you have tried to 'help' has ended up torn in bitter disputes with more bloodshed and less stability than before.

    Why can't you just leave everybody else alone? Your country is falling apart around you so perhaps you might consider doing a little housekeeping before starting any election campaigns in someone else's country.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  63. huskee33

    We had to live with our unfair results 4 years ago, they will have to deal with theirs as well.

    There is no reason to interfere – and thankfully Bush is no longer in office because he would have used this as an excuse to invade and get the oil. Obama has a much more diplomatic approach by staying out of it so far. Thank god we finally have some brains in the white house! God Bless!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  64. Diane G

    Hey Daniel Nelson,
    You must be a very young idealist. Listen, here's a tip .. the best way to "keep the peace" is to keep our nose out of it. No country including ours wants another country trying to micro manage others. If they Iran wants our help they'll ask but until then it is none of our business.
    D

    June 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  65. EJ

    Iranian Freedom? How about American Freedom? At the rate we are going, Iran will one day soon surpass us in the freedom to exercise our individual rights.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  66. Concerned American

    Stay out of foreign affairs. When the US can learn to manager their own problems then we might think about educating others. Come on...what makes us think that we can just tell the rest of the world what they can and cannot do. One question....does anyone do that in our elections? Do you think every nation was happy with the results of our own election? Did they jump in and make waves? I'm not sure I have facts to back it up but I'm thinking no. America....mind our own business unless there is a direct and eminent concern that our welfare and safety is at stake!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
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