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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. Joe Korinek

    One of the mistakes I see so many people commit, and indeed, countries, is to use "morality" to dictate our attempts to "control" others.

    Please take a lesson from your early childhood. When someone, who is NOT your parent, tries to discipline you, using negative consequences, how do you react? Indeed how do you think anyone will react when confronted with another that tries to control your behavior through negative means. We see it in the leadership of Iran, and it is NOT working for them, so why do you think it will for us?

    The result is simply rebellion. So is it any surprise that we are not regarded that highly in the world? I understand the need to push for democracy and freedom, but these things are up to the people of each respective country. Real change is NOT initiated by governments, but by individuals that stand up and make a stand. This is what I see in Iran. Let them be.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  2. Arlene Smith

    Each country is responsible for their elections. No country interfered when Bush became the President the second time instead of Al Gore! Remember that countrymen????

    June 18, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  3. Irfan Haqqee

    All this discussion is going on with the assumption that the Election was a fraud. No wonder you all feel this way when your media kept feeding you that it was a close race prior to the election. Western media 's assessment was on the basis of what they saw in big cities.The truth was Ahmeddinnejad was leadin by a 2:1 margin in the countrywide poll. Here we actually had a contest between two popular candidates. If you have to interefere in that region go after Hosni Mubarak who has been in power since the assasination of Sadaat in 1981 and doesn't let any opposition to challenge him in an election effectively. Currently his son is being groomed to take over from him just as it happened in North Korea.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  4. Iranian American

    The surest way to cause the Green Revolution to fail is for the US to say or do anything. If we want to see change in Iran, we HAVE to stay out of it.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  5. Sean

    The number #1 issue the ruling clerics have on their side is that they keep Iran free of American imperialism. The Iranian's elected a liberal-pacifist in the 1950's – Mossdegh – who was overthrown by the CIA in Operation Ajax because he kicked the British oil comanies out of the nation, thus leaving the nation and its vast oil reserves vulnerable to Soviet influence. The dictatorship of the Shah was installed and armed by the USA. The people eventually revolted, with the new establishment vowing never to be a pawn to foreign powers again. We allowed Sadam to invade Iran, gas them, and we shot down an Iranian commercial airliner. Our government has no credibility inside Iran. The more open support it shows the opposition the weaker they're cause will become. It's an internal affair, just like the 1960's anti-war protests and 2000 Florida recount. It doesn't mean the fighting in the streets to be our friends.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  6. Brian N

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy, let the Iranians hash this out among themselves. If we say anything AT ALL, then the whole mess will of course be the fault of the US (no matter which way the thing goes), and we will have more would be Jihadists rattling their sabres and screaming "Death to America"!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  7. Wow

    Drawing parallels from this activity to any progression of events or power in the last 100 years (a la Hitler) is downright ridiculous. Shame on you Greg C. for even attempting something that ridiculously inaccurate and off-base.

    The colonization of EVERY non-white country stopped a long time ago and it is unfortunate that the same ignorant rhetoric remains very much in-tact. Can we please evolve as a species...please?

    There is no group of human beings to date that have synthesized, implemented, or maintained a mechanism to just "bring" peace into complex and politically motivated demonstrations. The only option is suppress or allow....appease or arrest.

    If you really want to draw your information from increasingly distant historical figures and events I would recommend at least understanding basic human dynamic in the context of pack mentality and politically motivated demonstrations so you get off the first step without sounding like a 5th grader on a pride trip. Anyone that is deluded enough to think we are honestly in a position to just walk in and inject our moral code and social values on yet another Muslim country must have the memory of an Alzheimer patient and must fail in map reading.

    Furthermore, the simplicity to which some of you boil your entire thought processes down to is utterly amazing. Do you honestly think that by not participating in the upheaval currently going on that we are in some way condoning, let alone assisting in, the advancement of a radical extremist country!?

    Iran has been just that in our eyes since '79 and will continue to be regardless of this outcome. Start working with your children on their History homework folks....most of you could use the refreshers!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Nokia

    I agree partially with Kennedy, we do need to leave the Iranian people to themselves. The US has already played a major role in helping the world by providing the system and framework and example of what freedom is. Like him or not, Obama has become an American symbol of "change" and the power of democracy.

    The only thing the US should do from here is give our moral support to those in Iran who feel cheated by their own establishment in their peaceful protests. I would love to see the Iranian people press forward for a full democratic system where no one man has so much unchecked power, but we need to keep in mind, whatever happens in Iran in the near future is not happening for us. It's happening for the Iranian citizens themselves, and they themselves will pay the price and decide how much freedom they want to sieze.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  9. Mark

    We shouldn't interfere in Iran. We should let them continue to protest and continue to blame the west. The world is seeing for themselves how ignorant the Iranian government is with the reduculous statements they're making. The Iranian government will be their own undoing.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  10. Rajiv

    Where are George Bush, Dick Cheney & Rummie when you really need them ???

    June 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  11. Mark

    It is easy to sit in a chair and rebuff the acting "quarterback" in any field.
    President Oboma has taken the correct approch in my humble opinion.
    How many of our own election's have been labeled "stolen" or, that votes were not counted.
    Amercia has had its civil war and side we chosen. If the Iranian people wish change to occur, they will have to bring about change the same way we brought it about..
    President Oboma made it "clear" he wishes to have no influnce on the outcome of this election yet others demand he speak out.
    I have great respect for Mr. Mcain and his knowledge of "war" however, this is NOT our war and he should respect the President's decision.
    Mark

    June 18, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  12. Andy

    Americans wanting to interfere are too arrogant or ignorant to realize what a bad mistake that would be. What gives us the right to push our customs and beliefs on other countries? Let's worry about our own problems for once.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  13. Manny

    I agree with Kennedy. We should pray for God's will to be done in Iran. Iran will not change for the better... In the Holy Bible, Ezekiel ch. 38-39, Iran's destiny, in alliance with Russia, is to attack Israel and finally be destroyed by God. God will not allow them to wipe out Israel.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  14. Stephan

    Kennedy was freed on January 20, 1980, the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. One interpretation as to why is that Reagan was willing to use blunt force to end the standoff. That's not the only possible reason, but it does provide some evidence, "interference" can be effective.

    This is a different situation and obvioulsy doesn't call for blunt force. By sitting on the sidelines we portray indifference to whether people live in dictatorship or democracy. The reported results of this election were clearly a sham as it's not possible to count the votes in the amount of time between the time the polls closed and the results announced.

    We're not going to win the mullahs over by covering our bases, but we may win some worthwhile friends if we at least support the people's right for their vote to be counted. Even if they lose this time around, they'll remember.

    This talk of "debates" is embarrassing. This isn't a debate. It's a power grab.

    Our strategy now appears to be we'll deal with whoever is in power however they got there, irrespective of how they feel about us, and the development of nuclear weapons. It's a straightforward and consistent policy, but that doesn't make it the right one.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  15. jayson1964

    Another problem with our reaction in the US is that we assume the opposition won and had the election stolen from them. Irregularities would certainly suggest there were problems in the process. But, in the 2 main opinion polls that were conducted by outside organizations leading up to the election (ie, not the Iranian government themselves), the opposition was trailing. In fact, in 1, Moussavi was 20 points behind Ahmadinejad. Remember, the size of the protest does not necessarily equate to full public opinion.

    With that, I do hope they can get to the bottom of issues, but right now, there's just not enough evidence to support the position of McCain and the Republicans who are always looking to rattle their sabres.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  16. mattm

    Did we want other countries telling us what to do when our own election was rigged?! The US needs to mind to it's own business and quit acting like we're some kind of superior nation! We have our own issues to worry about!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  17. Art

    Our politicians have always keep their foot into their mouths and has more often gotten us into trouble with the rest of the world. Here is a wise man with a very wise advice. It is better to keep our mouth shut as of now and if we want to help, we might as well do it subversively.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  18. Matt

    Stay the F out of the IRAN...I'm sick of these imperialists on both sides of the aisle claiming some greater good like "human rights" or "free elections"...unless you would have been ok with China or any other country asserting itself in the 2000 election and influencing things you shouldnt be in favor of influencing their nation internally...Human rights are a good thing to aspire to BUT not at the cost of national sovereignty! Placing Human rights(or some other greater good for that matter) above sovereignty is the most dangerous of precedents to set...And it would legitimate the radical Iranian religuous claims that the West is interfering...

    The notion that we should (not DO because it is painfully obvious that we already do) interfere in other countries internal politics is, in my opinion, the reason America, much of Europe and the USSR were disliked in the third world for so long and in some cases still are...its the elitist notion that we know what's best

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  19. Tim

    For those who think France didn't play a role in the American revolution, you forget that the French financed the war (to the detriment of the French people), supplied a navy (something the colonies did not have at all) and that there were many more French soldiers present when the British surrendered at Yorktown than there were Americans. Without the French aid in the revolution, we wouldn't even have a country. It's ridiculous that people want to pick on the French.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  20. jim

    STEVE My sentiments exactly

    June 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  21. KL

    Dear Lynanne M. Reed,

    Actually, other countries were heavily involved in the US Civil War.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  22. Manuel

    This is such a sticky subject, but I have to agree with Moorhead Kennedy right now. I think we should let Iran attempt to resolve its own problems, getting involved at this stage can only lead to bigger problems in the Middle East for the US. Let’s not forget that the United States had suffered through its own civil war, and as a result we, regrouped and eventually became a better and stronger country.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  23. Lee

    I think Mr. Kennedy is right.

    This is one situation that the U.S. should not try to get directly involved in. We do not have the coziest of relationships with the Iranian government to begin with. It could be like trying to break up an argument between a husband and wife.

    We need to be cleaning up our own back yard here at home...Lord knows there's enough to keep us busy for quite a while.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  24. John

    Our government and some media institutions have always been critical and arrogant toward foreign nations, robbing them of the credit they deserve. It is time for U.S. to grow up and stop interfering with foreign nations' internal affairs.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  25. Fran

    Think of it this way. Would you want for other countries to interfere with our voting process regardless of the outcome?

    We have no right minding other countries businesses just as they have no right in ours. So, the best thing to do is shut up, sit back and watch.

    What gives us the right to impose on other countries whatever their problems may be and yet, our government wouldn't give these countries the time of day if they had interfered with our problems.

    President Obama is right. I stand with and behind him. He uses common sense tactics.

    Unlike the Republicans who create war, Obama & Company create peace. Which would you rather have?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  26. Tom

    We need to stay out of it because that is what is best for the U.S....for the time being. I concur, we don't want to build further resentment by interfering in their politics. Unfortunately, though, there is a sitting President in Iran that questions the verity of one of the most well documented atrocities in history and a religious controlling body that seeks regional hegemony and the destruction of one of our allies. Under those circumstances, a nuclear armed Iran would be a constant nightmare for the west. While I wouldn't advocate meddling in their politics, I would strongly encourage a robust intelligence effort throughout the Iranian government to better guide a deterrent strategy – and we will need one. Iran getting the bomb one day is just about certain.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  27. inthlp

    To everyone who say the US should intervene. How far should we go, towards regime change etc? MARK MY WORDS, starting with doing little, will end up with doing too much. Are we willing again to sacrifice thousand of American lives, did any country try to intervene in our mockery in Bush Florida ?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  28. Mark

    Make a comment, yes. Strongly support the democratic process, yes. Denounce leaders that deny this process to their people, YES. That's getting involved. When others say we "need to be more involved", I get nervous. Please define "more involved", further than I have above. Are you saying we should send in troops to oversee the election? Now you're talking invasion, and THAT will start a war. Or maybe we just want a US-friendly government. Kinda like what we have now in Iraq. Where we "got involved"...

    June 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  29. Bill

    I am so glad that Bush and Cheney are not in office because the potential profit for Haliburton if the U.S. were to get involved would be to much of a temptation.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  30. LA

    I agree. This is a sovereignty issue. Far be it for other countries to interfere with our elections (e.g., encourage the international community not to recognize the Bush presidency because Gore would better champion their causes or if they believed that popular votes, rather than the electoral college, should decide the presidency). Also, far be it for other governments to dictate our foreign policies and national security measures just because they disagree with Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib. It's one thing for their citizens to voice an opinion, it's quite another for their government to take official action.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  31. Joe from Cleveland

    We have all kinds of problems at home that require attention. I hope these events put Iran on a path that leads them away from Theocracy, but the Iranian people need to get through this. I will never understand how theocracies take hold. The Supreme leader is a human being, capable of making mistakes & being wrong. In a theocracy, any critic of the government is a blasphemer. That just doesn't work.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  32. Susan L.

    He's 100% correct. If we step in and attempt to interfere it will backfire on those we purport to help. President Obama is handling things absolutely perfectly. He's expressing sympathy for the protesters, expressing dismay at the human rights violations, and otherwise saying that it's up to the Iranian people. He's treating them with respect and leaving all options open. He is pitch perfect on this.

    McCain, on the other hand, is another grand-standing NeoCon who doesn't care if he throws the Moussavi supporters under the bus of his massive ego.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  33. Mike, Shinglehouse, PA

    Greg C. is a moron. Hitler was bent on taking over the world and eradicating anyone that did not look like him. We did not go to war voluntarily to defend our freedom. We we're dragged to war via Churchill and then Pearl Harbor. That said, it was the last real war this country participated in that meant something. The rest we've done nothing but meddle and waste young American lives. The French played a minor part at the end of the Revolutionary War. A little, almost too late. Thank the French...for what!??! Our continued pursuit of freedom should happen right here in the good ol'US. When Iran begins taking over all over Europe...I'll show up to the "Jenny" and be your First Mate.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  34. Proud2BanAmerican

    This is exactly why the United States is not as strong as we once were. We have too many people wanting to look the other way and NOT stand up for the values of humanity. We are one world and one people – just because we were not birthed on the same soil accross the ocean doesn't mean we should turn our back on people that are treated unfairly. Thank God our forefathers had the courage to seek a free and fair space for us to live. I cannot believe that they were just seeking soil, I believe they were trying to change an attitude and a way of life. You that don't want to "get involved", also are probably ones that don't help a battered victim either! This unethical attitude has been the cause of our country's downfall today.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  35. Zinat Safayan

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy. I may add that some of Iran's problem as he wisely put it is our own selfish fault. We helped Shah to kick out a very educated, nationalist Mosadegh and Iranians will never forget that unless we show that now we are different..
    With all due respect, you also CAN NOT write history on the basis of what Bible says.
    Iranians, are intelligent, kind, people who love thier country, they also do not take insult sitting down so they never forget that they were called axsis of evil, while ALL the terrorists are from the lands that we call friends and we support their dictator leaders and govenment..

    June 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  36. Soldier

    As an individual who has fought in defense of democracy for this country, I aggressively disagree with interference. Regardless of ones views in regards to human rights or democracy, interference will lead to nothing but war. And to make a suggestion without putting yourself in the position of that soldier, sailor, marine who will be the ones out there in the line of fire is appalling and highly irresponsible. It is easy to talk about change and all the things that should be done, but to put yourself in the line of fire for those beliefs that are easily spoken about seems to elude the majority of the population. Not to say that I don't agree with freedom and peace, but to force our way of life upon a country will ultimately lead to more american lives lost. As a combat veteran three fold on my way once again to combat in the very near future, I feel I have earned the right to say "dont just talk the talk, instead walk the walk".

    June 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  37. Geoff Maguire

    Although there is a growing movement for change in Iran it is by no means uniformly friendly to the US. In addition, Just as Iraqi Emigres did in the lead up to the Iraq war, many of the Iranian Expats living in the US who think they know what is going on in Iran are trying to get us to intrude into this series of unfolding events for thier own political purposes. Many are still loyal to the Shah as ridiculous as that may seem at this point in history. As a nation we should not get sucked in to their agenda.

    Amadhinajad et al would like noting more than than to provoke some kind of a confrontation with the US as a pretext for declaring an emergency, cracking down even harder. Even "moderate" Iranians have shown themselves very susceptible to this kind of nationalistic manipulation in the past.

    Interference by the US is lousy idea. The Iranians will just have to seize their own fate.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  38. robert bailey

    Should we be concerned over election corruption in iran? Not as much as we should have been over our own last election !

    June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  39. Joe Bosanac

    Just think! This country beats their woman down to second class status and funds any terrorist willing to kill Americans and jews. I almost forgot they are trying to develop an offensive nuclear capacity in which that nut case president can wipe the jewish state off the earth . Now people make excuses and say the real power is in the ruling cleric. What a crock! The path that these fanatics have choosen is a one way street to a war with them sooner or later. I feel we should confront these wackos head on and bring this situation to a end! We really need to stand up in this case in a big way because the whole world is watching.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  40. josh

    Whoa! Folks here forget that Moussavi isn't exactly someone who loves the United States either. Try to keep things in perspective here.

    Besides, if the US govt were to do anything to interfere with the Iranian election, that leader would be viewed as a puppet of our government. The best that we can do is offer the hope that there is an end to violence.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  41. Ann

    I'm a Vietnamese American, and because of my experience, I totally agree with Mr. Kennedy. There's a certain arrogance in meddling in other country's affairs. To compare Iran with Germany under Hitler is nonsense. Hitler didn't limit himself to Germany, whereas these elections have to do only with Iran.
    I have helped Saddam Hussein against Iran, and look at what happened to Irak.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  42. nezz

    I think we should stay out of their issues... what if during the Bush-Gore election, they would have gotten in our business... the story would have been different... We've got to stop trying to control the world and expect everyone to think like we do... these are different cultures, lets respect that!!! the same way we want the world to respect our culture!!! Lets not forget, they don't have a economic problem like we do!!! goes to show, we aren't PERFECT!!! we can learn from each other!!!! lets put aside the arrogance!!!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  43. Connie

    The U. S. cannot police the world and make everyone adhere to what we consider right. It's time to take care of our country and our people. I hate it for the Iranians, and anyone else that has to live under those types of regimes, but if we try to help we will only be hated more.

    Leave them alone to work out their own affairs.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  44. G-P

    How would we have reacted had international community had felt obligated to step in and chose a side during the 2000 or 2004 elections? By what right, privilege or obligation does the US concern itself with the sovereignty of another democratic nation?

    All to often we think only of how an event or policy in another country affects us. It is obvious to any one with even the slightest sense of history that we need to be extremely measured in what we say about the Iranian elections. Mr. Kennedy has a perspective that few possess and we should respect his opinion.

    As we can see, the current leadership in Iran is taking what little has been said to date and try to inflate that into an appearance that the US is trying to meddle in Iranian affairs. Stronger words or actions on our part would only prove to be further counter productive.

    Have we forgotten already about the challenges of exporting democracy?

    We must allow this election to run its course and let the citizens of Iran choose for themselves which leaders they want. They are not a suppressed, freedomless culture.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  45. Shelleyt

    I totally agree with Mr. Kennedy. For a couple of days I was hearing the GOP and Sen. McCain IMMEDIATELY condemning Pres Obama for not forcefully speaking out about their election. What I saw was a reasoned leader waiting to determine the facts, monitoring the situation musch like the rest of us and stating that he felt hope that the Iranian people would be able to have the leader that they duly elected. Our thoughts are certainly with the Iranian people, and Sen. McCain should STFU. This is one good reason why he was NOT elected. We do not condone or accept the violence or tyranny of the people, but we need to stay out of it. We'll be blamed for anything negative that happens, according to their govt anyway.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  46. Guy

    Kennedy is spot-on here. Much of the resentment in the world floating around stems from our condescending attitude towards other nations and our self-serving rationale. We're interested in spreading democracy when the existing regime is hostile to us, but perfectly willing to prop up a dictator when he's going after our enemies. We toppled a freely-elected government in Iran because they discussed the possibility of limiting oil supplies to the U.S. and replaced it with the Shah.

    If we want to regain respect outside of Europe we need to treat countries like, well, like we would like to be treated. We wouldn't stand someone interfering in our elections, we should do them the same favor.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  47. MIchael

    Totally agree. No matter right or wrong with what's going on we need to stop sticking our noses in everyoneelses business. Firstly they (the world) hate us for it and we make no friends when we do it. Secondly like Iran and all the other countries that we have gotten involved with ended up not our friends but enemies. Iran is the perfect example of that and Iraq will turn out the same maybe not tomorrow or next year or in 5 years but like Iran they will end up hating us. When will we learn.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  48. Kevin Mesa

    We supported the Dictator The Sha Of Iran Before their revolution and he stole money from them and we did nothoing about that we left him come into this country with ill gotten money knowingly it was stolen from the people of Iran. Ever since then we had concidered that Iran is an axes of evil. We are the evil people supporting a few people so that they can steal from its country just for the Oil and its natural resources. It was all about power who controled what in Iran and did it to them made us the bad person and we paided for it with Hostages for well over a year and did we send that money back to Iran, nope..

    So ever since then We think that Iran is bad even during the war between Iraq and Iran we supported Iraq go figure. Who did we got to wor with just 10 years later yep you guessed it Iraq. What was it for well it wasn't about WMD it was about Oil.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  49. matt

    greg,

    those same iranians you say go over and fight for will cut your throat tomorrow or saw your head off. the french helped us because they hated the english. nazi germany and world war 2 was a totally different situation on a much bigger scale and i believe much bigger evil and we literally had no choice. if the majority of the people in iran truly want their leadership out they can handle it themselves. the u.s. has enough on its plate right now. let the other middle eastern countries and europe handle this one....

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  50. Dave

    By all means. Let's stick our head in the sand. Everything will turn our all right. Infantile nonsnse. A nuclear Iran is a matter of life and eath for us and the rest of the world. Doing nothing is suicide. There may not be a great deal that can be done in the short term, but some effort has to be made. The turmoil in Iran presents an opening to alter the status quo by exerting some degree of influence. It would be utter stupidity to squander such an opportunity.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  51. Fernando F.

    agree with Mr Kennedy.... Senator McCain is thinking his words can influence the leaders in Iran, when the effect is the opposite.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  52. mike

    All i can say to all you supporters out there who believe we should interfere in Iran is our election in 2000. It was stolen by bush and people protested and fought to seek the truth. How would we feel if Iran said.......well we dont like bush, and we think gore won and American people are protesting the election results so we are gonna come in and interfere with your election. All you people who believe we should interfere are ingnorant. Why is it our responsiblility to police the world its this type of mantality that has brought hatred towards america. WE NEED TO STAY OUT OF SOVERIEGN NATIONS ELECTIONS.......we need to understand that people do not share the same beliefs we do, we must have respect for other countries and their ways of governing. I dont agree with what is going on over there but we as individuals need to let them sort it out. We are not the world police. If they start killling all of the protesters then yes we need to do something but they need solve their own problems. We have too many problems here right now that need to be addressed before we start interfering with another islamic country. so all you people who say interfere understand the history between IRAN and US before you make statements such as the ones i have read below.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  53. Mark L.

    Greg C. – Don't compare WW II to this. December 7th, 1941, a date that has always lived in infamy, was also the date that one of our greatest leaders declared war. That's correct – Franklin Delano Roosevelt was NOT just going to sit back and allow Japanese forces to completely take over Pearl Harbor. Also, if you read your history books correctly, Japan was aligned with two facist dictatorships – Germany and Italy, more commonly known as the Axis Powers at that time. The USA was part of the Allied Forces, along with Great Britain, France and even Russia (yes Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and Russia didn't sit still for a moment...) Anyhow, the invasion of Pearl Harbor was a declaration of war, just as 9/11 was. Unfortunately, our crooked GOP decided to declare war on a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 – Iraq. Guess what folks – Afghanistan / Pakistan – that's where Al Qaeda and the Taliban are running wild – That's where the REAL CONFLICT IS !! Osama Bin Laden was NEVER a part of Saddam Hussein's regime. The crooked GOP just pounced Iraq as revenge for what Hussein tried doing to the elder, George H. W. Bush after the original Gulf War... WAKE UP GOP !!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  54. John Stryker

    Stolen elections? Unitary Executive? Theocratic dictatorship? Sounds like the US in 2000.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  55. Joby

    I agree with Kennedy! Why is it always the responsibility of the United States to come to everyones rescue. It only breeds resentment and anger which we have seen in many countries that we have tried to 'help'. Let the United Nations be the ones to step forward and ask for a new election that is monitored internationally. That is the reason we have the UN isn't it?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  56. Justin

    At times I think that we should stay out of other countries business, we have enough problems to deal with. But, the US has always been like this. Maybe its because a few of us remember our history. The history of some off shore colonies that were controlled by a tyrant and the assistance of another country played a crucial role in turning the tide in a revolution.

    France played a crucial role in the American Revolution by helping the colonist take back control of Charleston, SC. This was the turning point in our own revolution, and with out it we may still be controlled by England. Give this some thought the next time you say that we should stay out of others peoples business. And thank France for not "staying out of other peoples business".

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  57. Greg

    For all the democracy-spreaders: If we ended up involved with Iran, where would these troops come from? We are already fully tasked with Iraq, Aghganistan, and must keep a very close eye on N Korea. And why do you think we would be received by the opposition party supporters any better than we were received in Iraq? Do you really think they hope we jump in and shape their country for them? Grow up and travel around the world a little! There are many different cultures that are quite happy with their lives. They are not all looking to become the next mini-America.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  58. Kokuryu Tenchi

    It is time for the US to sit aside and let a country handle it's own affairs. The people in Iran are rising up against the government themselves. Let them handle it themselves. In the end, if the people of Iran want change, they will have a revolution and do it themselves – without outside interference. After the revolution, if they then come to the US and say "we need some help" – then THAT is the time we should help. The only people that know what's right for a nation is the people of that nation themselves – not anyone else.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  59. behrouz saadat

    All Iranians including the key power players should avoid violence and ask themselves ; who will be the ultimate winner of the violence. Clearly the answer will be the foreign dominant powers who will not shed a drop of tear even if all Iranians die. Did you see any tears when they toppled Dr. Mosadegh, or when the shah was executing the voice of the free? Did you see any tears when they started Iran/Iraq war and supply of chemical weapons, or when they shut down Iranian passenger jet, or just last week 8 people who lost their lives? It was only the Iranian tears that was shed.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  60. Gina (USAF vet)

    Mike,
    Is Allah responsible for our Twin Towers going down with countless American lives lost?? When Iranian president gets re-elected again and becomes Hitler #2, what will you say then??? Oh, wait what are Nationality, race, and religion?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  61. HRinPHXAZ

    I am all for the concern people are expressing about human rights violations. However, are all those posters aware of the numerous human rights violations that take place in many "other" countries than Iran on a daily basis? I fear that it is too easy to point to the current most visable human rights violation and say lets do something about it. But if we do, then should we not get involved in every other country who has treated their citizens in similar, if not worse, ways? I

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  62. Dan

    Look, nobody wants to send our troops over there. That would be a terrible idea. But diplomatic channels are almost always a good idea. Neither candidate is going to be a guy we like. They are both pretty conservative, and distrust America. However, if the youth, which constitue a majority over there, have a more positive attitude towards us, for helping them be heard, 20 years from now, when they're in power, we could see some real peace.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  63. Steve

    To all the people wanting to do something about the election results in Iran I have one question: "Why weren't you complaining about the US elections in 2000 and 2004?" That was the time to complain. Maybe if you would have complained and tried to do something about it we would not be in the situation we are in now. The world already hates us so keep our nose out of their business.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  64. Johnny

    We definitely need to stay out of this one. Yes, we should protest actual human rights abuses but think about this for a moment. If it's to our benefit for the opposition to win then we need to understand that for us to openly support them would be the kiss of death. We are SO hated in Iran that we'd hurt the opposition by seeming too supportive of it, the government would paint them as puppets of the US and it will all be over.

    Besides the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend. We don't really know that the opposition will be any friendlier to the US. Do we want to help start the next Taliban?

    Best to step back, quietly support the opposition, and be prepared for stronger overtures of support if they win... IF they want it. But I think they want and need to do this on their own, and it's foolish of us to think they can't without our help.

    If Iran becomes a stronger democracy as a result of all this, and if we do nothing to screw it up, then in the end this may be to our benefit. But the last thing we need to do is rattle our saber on this one.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  65. Cache

    Remember, it was only several years ago when the US defended the innocent and helpless people of Kuwait from a terrible human being, and because of our actions we saw the murder of thousands of US citizens as well as other foreign nationals. And this is when we were legitimately trying to help a defenseless people from the most despised leader in the Middle East! Can you imagine how Muslims would react if we muddled with a contentious electoral process?

    No thank you–this is clearly an internal Islamic problem, and they should deal with it themselves. Let their own blood be on their hands, because no matter who really wins there, we still lose. No Iranian leader wants to actually make peace with the US at this time.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  66. Larry

    Do we interfere in Saudi Arabia, or Egypt or Khazakstan – all of which promote all sorts of human rights abuses? No. Then, we should not interfere in Iran either.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  67. Maryam

    As an Iranian, I do agree with him. The government and a rather large group of people consider Americans as enemy. The story goes back to the time that America toppled the democratic government of Iran, headed by Dr. Mosadegh; thus thinking that it is not democracy Americans is following in Iran (they used to suppress it themselves), but their benefits. The support USA offered to Iraq during Iran-Iraq war is another instance. Now when a freedom-seeking movements start, as soon as US supports it, the government can easily rejects it by indicting those involved as being agents of foreigners and reminding people of all the unkindness US has had toward Iran. Your interference and comments make things worse. The example is reformists at the time of Khatami, when US supported reformists and still after years reformists are denied of rights by the claim that US supported u, so you should be their servants.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  68. joe smith

    it seems theres a paid hack here somewhere; the interior ministry might be proding on behalf of some other country in the region, but of course that is just crazy, no other impartial country in the region would want war..or would they..

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  69. CVF

    The only thing the US should consider regarding Iran is when bomb their nuclear facilities, and the sooner the better. NK and Iran are part of the axis of evil. Iraq is no longer a threat, and so it should be for NK and Iran. These two countries like little annoying yapping dogs that need to be shut up.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  70. Siegfried X

    There's nothing we could do besides war, and that would cause much more violence than the protestors are facing. A US politician shooting his mouth off accomplishes nothing.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  71. Wayne

    Greg C. ,

    If we were talking about an asian country, or even an eastern european country, I would absolutly agree with you. But these Islamics are friggin crazy. We either need to gain total control over them or leave them alone. I see no good coming from interfering at this point.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  72. Skeptical

    I'm sure this will all get worked out before "Death to America Day" in November – no matter who wins the election.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  73. jim

    The SHAH was an American puppet. We installed him back in the fifties after we helped overthrow their legitimately elected government. He was also a brutal, murderous dictator that we helped keep in power. Tens of thousands disappeared under his rule. This is an internal Iranian affair.
    The US government needs to stay out of it. Obama is handling this exactly right and we would be better off if the Republican right wing reactionaries would keep their mouths shut.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  74. Logically Thinking

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy. We should not interfere. For one, we've lost credibility in the eyes of the World as it pertains to human rights thanks to the Bush Administration's authorized use of torture. What would we look like now riding in like cowboys trying to save the day? Like hypocrites. Secondly, I believe we all would agree that Iraq was a country that needed help. But they didn't ask for our help. We made a choice to invade Iraq, topple their government , and dismantle their military. How well has that fared for us? How many lives (in Iraq and our military) have been lost as a result? How much money has it cost us? How much more money and lives will it cost us? The smart thing to do is to let Iran handle their own business. Whenever I see the large crowds of green and black in solidarity, I know in my heart they are capable of doing this on their own. They have everything the need which is each other.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  75. yaya

    who made the US the world police? We should mind our own business and deal with our own numerous crises.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  76. Adam

    I don't think US should get invovled in any way, shape or form. yes like Kennedy says we should comment that there should be no violence and express grief to the people of Iran for those who died during this. However the countries of the world has created an organization called UNO.....Hello people have you heard of them?? I think its their job to intervene not one country but all the countries of the world United under one flag should condemn it.
    We came a long way and our country has seen a lot of violence itself. What is going on in Iran happened in our country 200 years back. We came out of it as people of the land and we should let the Iranians do that same and respect their strenght and sovereignty.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  77. Paul

    If it is a fair and honest election by the people then yes we stay out. But in a global world like we have today we can't leave well enough alone. we have to do what we can to promote democracy and civil liberties. Our isolationism in the '20s under Wilson caused not only economic problems but also politcal ones as well. Is this seamingly fraudulent election cause for the US to bomb Tehran? No. But is there anything we should and can do? The answer is yes. I'm not smart enough to say exactly what but the answer is still yes.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  78. Mike, Shinglehouse, PA

    Greg C. is a moron. Hitler was bent on taking over the world and eradicating anyone that did not like him. We did not go to war voluntarily to defend our freedom. We we're dragged to war via Churchill and then Pearl Harbor. That said, it was the last real war this country participated in that meant something. The rest we've done nothing but meddle and waste young American lives. The French played a minor part at the end of the Revolutionary War. A little, almost too late. Thank the French...for what!??! Our continued pursuit of freedom should happen right here in the good ol'US. When Iran begins taking over all over Europe...I'll show up to the "Jenny" and be your First Mate.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  79. J.

    The US government should stay out of it. However, we the people of the US have a duty to support the protesters and what they are fighting for which is fair elections and having every vote counted. The best way to make our voices heard is via the internet or send an email to the Iranian Ambassador to the UN. His email address can be found on the UN's website.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  80. david

    Iran with nukes scars the bejeezes out of me. Almedenijad or whatever his name is Scares me. The best defense is a good offense. As much as I dont want to see us interfere I want to not have that nut in power more. A real conundrum (or how ever that is spelled)

    June 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  81. Deenu

    Iran has become a talking point because of the media coverage, otherwise similar elections are held in many countries across the globe, the elections are rigged, the votes are not counted or transfered or just plain destroyed. With the economic mess at home and the Iraq & Afghanistan involvement does the US have the financial strength and mental tenacity to enter into another long drawn out battle with Iran? And if we can do it with Iran then why did we stand mute when elections were rigged in Pakistan? or in any number of countries in Africa? Democracy will come to Iran when people will willingly get rid of the religious fanatics running the country not when we bomb them out !

    June 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  82. Don P

    I'm on the fence about this. On the one hand I'd rather just have us take care of ourselves because our country is in a world of hurt right now. We don't need another war to deal with. On the other hand it is our duty to promote democracy and help those that want it, achieve it.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  83. Gina (USAF vet)

    I second with Greg C.
    Just because might have made amistake (noone will ever know), we don't know what is Iran capable of. If Hitler wasn't stopped, only God knows what this world would have been like. Diversity would not exist.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  84. David

    Do you think we should invade every country that asks for help and has poor human rights? If that was the case, we would be in China over 1/2 of the South American and African countries. The US has to sit back, keep quiet, and let the affairs play out. If and when the Iranian people decide they want the freedom and they fight for it, and win, is when we would assist. Exactly what happend in many countries during the fall of the Soviet Union. Only upon the people request and a free government asking should we help. Then I question why is that our burden and not the entire free world? This help is clearly a UN issue and not simply an American issue. As for history, ignoring it is not an option. It is how we learn from our mistakes, which we have failed to do on so many occassions.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  85. lisa

    I AGREE WITH MR. KENNEDY. WHAT HAS MEDDLING IN OTHER COUNTRIES' AFFAIRS GOTTEN US????? HUGE DEBT, WE ARE HATED AROUND THE WORLD, ETC.............. just stop all this SELF RIGHTEOUS MEDDLING IN OTHER PEOPLES BUSINESS!! we have ENOUGH problems of our own!!!! BESIDE, THE USA only meddles where it effects us - if a county doesn't have any oil or is not strategically located (read: israel), then we don't really care what happens to them. LET'S BE HONEST ABOUT IT ALREADY!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  86. JG

    We wouldn't like it if Russia interfered with our election process, would we? How about if Iran stuck their nose in the famous chad BS of Florida?

    The USA needs to stay home and fix it's own problems, not everybody else's. ..........especially when our own government spies on it's citizens. And don't tell me you have nothing to hide; if so, then show me what's in your wallet, your credit report, and whatever else I can think of. Oh, and don't bother closing your shades at night, because........you have nothing to hide.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  87. Scott

    The fastest way for any country to come together is when there is a threat from outsiders. Let them argue and deteremine their own future. If the US gets involved there will be a rallying cry to focus on the US interference and they will set their differences aside, for the time being. It is not the US place to get involved. Why Iran? Why have we not done anything with N. Korea? What about the elections in Africa? Why did we not get involved with China when they had their issues?

    The US needs to stop being the world police dept and let the other family members take care of themselves...The US needs to focus on their citizens and their citizens futures...

    June 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  88. Sunny K

    Like what this guy Kennedy says or not, one thing is for certain...almost every single time we've gotten ourselves in the business of other nations we've got our citizens killed (4000+ in Iraq) and then gone on to blame the sitting president (Bush or who ever is in the Whitehouse at the time). It's hard to stay put but now we've got to focus on our own darn problems first.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  89. Carlos

    I fully support our president and his position of "No Intervention" in this situation.
    I believe that most of us American understand what the reformers and progressive Iranians are going through, but it is up to them to reclaim their nation's control and conversion to a democratic system.
    Democracy and the freedom and resposabilities attached to it can not be imported and adopted.
    I see the figures of a Democratic Prime Minister and a symbolic monarchy taking the direction of a new Iran.
    To all my Iranian friends, I will be praying for you tomorrow, keep your calm and be persistent.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  90. Bobby

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy! Let them sort out their problems. We have plenty of issues here on our own soil we need to deal with. Why must we always have to get involved. Next thing you know we will wake up tomorrow and hear we are sending out another "peace keeping mission" to Iran.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  91. Some dude

    Where has interfering led the American economy? The war in Iraq has not helped our country at all. Instead, we are wasting precious money to aid other countries while our country is declining before our very eyes. Does that seem morally right? Who in their right mind would want to help other countries while our own is experience a decline. There are job losses and companies going out of business. Shouldn't we fix our own country before we meddle in others?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  92. Bob

    I would bet that most Americans don't know that in 1952 the CIA helped to overthrow a duly elected leader of Iran so that we could replace him with our puppet,the Shah of Iran.Also,in the 1980's,we supported Saddam Hussein against Iran even condoning the use of chemical weapons against the Iranian people.Is there any question why they don't trust us?Why don't we mind our own business and let the Iranian people handle this one.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  93. Chris

    Help Iranian Liberty Fighters Now
    http://www.i-policy.org/2009/06/iranelection-cyberwar-guide-for-beginners.html

    June 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  94. Election watcher

    We are such hypocrites in this country. Obama is doing the right thing by not interfering. Are we forgetting how our own last Presidential election was stolen from Gore? Should Iran and other countries have interfered with our elections then? Get a grip people.! Iranians deserve their election system and sovereignity as much as we do, whether it is righteous or corrupt! Nobody appointed America as the Godfather of the world or an overseer of other countries elections. Stay out of it. Obama you rock! You're smart and I agree with this former hostage we should not interfere.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  95. Mike

    Didn't George W. Bush announce he won an election when he actually did not? Maybe Ahmadinejad and company took a page out of his book?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  96. rob

    Let the Iranian people handle their own business. Thats the reason why we have so many conflicts and terrorism going, the US is always sticking their nose where they are not suppose to. Why the US has to respond? we are not the only nation in the world. Let some one else worry about it. All we can do is wish the Iranian people good luck....

    June 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  97. NoelM

    Dan/Daniel, you miss the point. If we interfere, we cause a backlash against the good guys. The regime can point their fingers at us and call us imperialistic and anti-Islam. We hand them a very powerful weapon to galvanize people who don't trust us. Only if the Islamic world can see that this is an Iranian movement, not a puppet of the US, can their liberalism succeed.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  98. susan

    The reason no one likes the US is because we meddle. Stay out of the fray. Let them settle their differences themselves, and there is no question the votes were rigged. But we need to abstain from their affairs. We ARENT all going to be ruled by the Koran, anymore than anyone will be ruled by the Bible. Aint' gonna happen!!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  99. John

    Westerners are already "interfering" with Iran's internal politics. The Iranian government is trying to cut off the communications channels used by the reform-minded protesters, and Westerners are doing everything they can to allow them to continue communicating by setting up proxy servers for things like twitter and facebook. In the eyes of Iran's ruling members, we have already interfered with their internal affairs. I don't think a statement by the U.S. government one way or the other is going to change that perception.

    We've come a long way from 1979 when pretty much only the government could influence events in a country halfway around the world. Today, via the Internet, any individual can do just that by setting up an anonymous proxy server.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  100. matt

    I think the situation in Iran is generational turmoil coupled with the advent of the internet and access to information that is causing this uproar. the young people of iran want freedom like other nations have. the repressive mullah/big brother state is just that...too oppressive. people want to have fun and enjoy life, not just survive and plan for their death. the students of 1979 are now old fuds power trapped in their own "down with the usa dogma". the internet is linking the world together, young people iranian, usa and chinese do not want to fight and die for a bunch of old fuddy duds. the internet is having an impact on this world like nobody could forsee, at least i didnt. It amazes me everyday to watch the impact on the world the internet is having. i think the regimes that rule countries like north korea have their days numbered. i think that is why north korea regime is kicking up so much noise. once the majority of their people know the truth they will take this freak or his son out and hang them from the tallest tree or building in north korea....hopefully tall enough so that their feed dont touch the ground.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
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