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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. Dexter

    It is difficult to stay on the sides and wait for someone else to do things, but we should look at theresults we have gotten in the past, Noriega, Pinochet, Castro, (our guy) Magsaysay, Bin Laden but you get the picture. The idea is like having a neighbor who is only noddingly aquainted with you barging into your home and telling you how to live. You can also look at other domestic disturbance stories, the factions may unite against the intervening party. Our history in the middle east has shown that the U.S. government has never understood the people and cultures of that region. If the U.S. is to interfere, we need to support the United Nations if that body decides to act. In Iraq we have an example of hot emotion sending the U.S. as a lone actor. Another benefit of using the UN is that that may get the members to join the US in Afghanistan, where we're already muddling along.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  2. Tom

    To all those who disagree with Moorhead Kennedy who BTW has actually lived in that country and knows more about it than most Americans begin to, ask yourself how well you would have received the Iranians meddling in our 2000 election and telling us what to do. You may not be able to be honest about it, but I can tell you most of you would have not been happy with them at all. It is only ignorance or arrogance that allows you to think it's okay to meddle in someone else's business. It is also insane to be woorying about their country when ours is a mess. Worrying about Iraq and neglecting the US helped get us where we are now.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  3. Ghost NYC

    While many Americans and others in the global community may want to interfere. It would be a drastic mistake to do so #1 without the people of Iran requesting it and #2 without the consensus of the global community. If the U.S were to interfere in any shape or form the ruling Mullahs will identify the U.S as a common enemy to the Iranian people and the muslim world. This is not a matter of my personal opinion, this a pattern that historically has repeated itself over and over. The U.S must tread very carefully and allow the Iranians to work this out themselves. True democracy from within Iran, by the people of Iran will hold much more respect than forced democracy imposed on Iran by the U.S.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  4. Jose Riemez (Mid East vet)

    to Mark L.:
    Ahmadinejad could not care less about the Palestinians.
    He is after Israel first and other infidels (USA+Europe) next.
    Using western logic and cultural experience to analyze and explain fanatic moslem behavior is non meritorious and futile.
    When he has the 2 components ready for his nuke: a bomb and a missile, he won't hesitate to use it.
    The question are:
    Can't we see that destroying Israel is just a first step?
    Why are oil rich Arab states so concerned with Iran?
    What will the west do when he controls all of the mid east oil?
    Should we wait?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  5. Jay

    Mark L, Don't worry. Whatever negative events occur in Iran will be blamed on Israel and the United States regardless of whether there was involvement or not. Both countries have been able to serve as perfect bogeymen for years in order to deflect criticism from the islamofascist dictators.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  6. Jonathan

    Stockholm Syndrome at its worst. There is nothing wrong with us expressing our hope for the success of the Iranian PEOPLE and their electoral will. Where did we get this bizarre fixation on "Sovereignty?" Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia were both Sovereign Nations. What of it? It confers no more international legitimacy than noting they have lots of cats.

    The best thing we could do for world peace is to address every leader of a sham democracy (e.g. Iran, most of the Middle East, Russia, China) as "King (or Queen) [name]," and address the every leader of a legitimate democracy by whatever title he or she wants to be addressed. Ahmadinejad has never been legitimately elected. He's a king, and will always be a king unless/until he can be peacefully replaced.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  7. Dan

    Is it not a bit too harsh to say that Obama "sees America as the Gestapo"? And do you truly beleive that he does?

    I believe the president have a personal opinion of how to treat this situation that may not be dissimilar to yours and mone. However, please remember that he is now the president of the United States and, in terms of promoting official foreign policy, should act as one. Otherwise, what do we do, invade and bomb Iran?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  8. buckwheat

    We should have no problem with a sworn enemy to the US who decides to go brother againest brother and kill each other. We did it in the Civil WAR.We worked it out and they can too. Better yet pit the two top nuts againest each other and let them fight till there is a winner.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  9. jerry

    We need to get the hell out of Iran and the middle east in general. The US isn't the world's police. We aren't superman. Our country has been run by people who think we should enforce our will on others. Make things 'right'. Meanwhile, people here are out of work, starving, lossing their homes, and our students are falling behind the world. We need to stop sticking our noses in other peoples business and take care of our own problems. What happens over their isn't any of our business!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  10. Daniel "Proud to be an American"

    We need to stay out of other country's affairs. It is time to bring troops home and let the world decide what is best for the world. Keep our arrogance at home and be the best we can be. We didn't ask other countries to do the fighting for us when we wanted independence, and if they really want freedom they need to get it for themselves. The Vietnamese didn't want us and neither do the Iranians. I hope they do well, but they need to do it. When will our leaders learn to mind our own business?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  11. Michael

    We need to take a strong stance against this oppresive government that is currently in place. kennedy is so wrong in saying that we need too sit back, Irans leadership has proven that they cannot make good choices so we need to pressure them to give thier people a voice (diplomatically of coarse we dont want to see another Iraq situation).

    June 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  12. kermomon

    The old saying "Circumstances alters cases comes to mind...In other words,what with the major set backs our own nation is experiencing,we have plenty on our own plate to tend to.....It's time we mend our own fences before addressing the needs of others.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  13. Maryam

    As an Iranian-Amercian who voted for President Obama, I'm disappointed in the weak position the President is taking with regard to the current violence and fraud taking place in Iran.
    To step in and to question the fairness of the election, which was so blatantly rigged, is not meddling in the business of another country. He need not take sides with the opponent. We'd like him to ask to have an international org monitor new elections in Iran.
    More importantly for the President to go on to say that he would continue talks irrespective of these events (that means entertain Ahmadinezad) is a slap in the face. He is essentially saying I don't care if Ahmadinezad is a liar, cheat, dictator, killer of his own people.

    I wish I could take back the vote I casted for Obama. I want a man with balls in the White House. I also don't care for the way he is handled gay work place rights (give them family leave but not insurance coverage) and health care. He has a good heart but not the strength.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  14. solohoh

    Kennedy is giving very wise advice - never invade another countries revolution. When are we Americans going to learn to ask ourselves "why do we do the things we do?" That is what young Iranians are now asking themselves. They are reflecting on the ramifications of worshiping a man who kept black slaves and had 15 wives, one of whom (Ayesha) was 9 years old. It seems that we are all being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  15. mohammad

    why aren't you guys talking about human rights in Gaza if you truly speak out of principles?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  16. M. Kirtane

    I think Mr. Kennedy is right on the mark. Any additional remarks from the White House will play in to the hands of the government and will be exploited by them as "interference from the Great Satan". If the Iranians want democracy, they need to fight for it. I think we need to stay on the side lines and not do any thing that can be used by the government to fabricate stories about the pro-democracy rallies being instigated by US and the western countries.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  17. Walter

    Mark L.: You do realize that the Persians have been fighting the Arabs for centuries, right? You do realize that Arabic terrorist groups like Al Queda call for the death of Iran and the Ayatollah, right? The Saudi kings have condemned Iran again and again for "spreading Shi'ism". There are a surplus of ancient and modern resentments, and full-on hatred that exist between the two-entities. Iran's Palestinian sympathies are only a front to the West, and the Palestinians know it (they want nothing to do with Persians and their Shia beliefs). Iran would have absolutely no problem at all with dropping a nuke on two of their most hated enemies (i.e. the Semitic people; Arabs and Jews). Look up Arab-Persian relations sometime and you might be surprised what you find.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  18. To Iran

    I agree in principle, but grapple with the outcome - the impression that we (USA) are somehow indifferent - or somehow lack empathy at such a critical moment in your struggle for freedom and civil rights.

    Please know that there literally thousands are Americans coming to terms with our involvement and interference in your nation over the last half century. We are waking up as a result of events there in Iran this week. We are experiencing deep respect - and we wish with all our hearts we knew how best to help and support those of you in Iran seeking freedom now. Not because we wish to interfere (again) but because we hold certain fundamental beliefs universally sacred - including freedom of thought, speech, assembly and religion. We now look to you (reversing the historic trend) and wait with respect - to hear what (if anything) you need, want or request from us here in the United States of America.

    There may always be (even significant) differences between us, but let us both strive for a renewed respect and greater understanding of each other. In your struggle this week - we recognize something of ourselves...in you. Or is it the other way around? Perhaps we are brother and sisters in a greater human family. Remarkable.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  19. Justine

    We need to get our house in order before telling someone how to run theirs. No matter what stand we take it is not going to change what is happening there. We have tried this before and not succeeded. So we need to let the people there do what they can to change things. Yes, human rights are being violated, but unless we actually run that country what do you intend for us to do? Just step in and make them do what is right? Have you ever tried that with even your kids? You can't make someone do what is right. The people of that country have to over throw the goernment or put up with what they have. Sooner or later this is going to come to a point where they either fight for what they want or stay where they are now. Past history shows that interferring with other governments and how they run their country can be the downfall of your own. Look at the Roman Empire.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  20. Tristan

    Nice to see that someone knows their history!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  21. Andrea

    The Republican's are about less government and they want the government to get involved in another countries business. Is Iraq not a perfect example of such mistakes? Our country is riddled with its own problems. Let's focus on that before dictating what others should do or not do. Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  22. Believe in Untiy

    We should stop poking our nose in every situation that arise like this. If we do, then we need to do so in Saudi Arabia and all other Middle East countries none of whom have a democracy, equal rights for women, etc. Plus Africa, and some Latin American nations. Why don't we march to China and poke our nose there too as they don't have a democracy. Every nations's view of democracy is different. Our great democracy was a disaster in 2000 when the election was stolen. Let us fix our nation first. Let us become self sufficient first and then worry about others. We have a lot on our plate.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  23. Mario

    We first have the realize that the President of Iran has no real power. His power comes from the Ruling Council and the Supreme Ruler. The people of Iran are not against their government! They are not protesting the Supreme Ruler!
    This is no concern of the US. It is all inside the country of Iran. No matter who is President of Iran, the government policies of Iran will not change. You have to know that the protesting candidate believes Israel should not exist and that the Revolution was right in all it did. This is in no way close to a revolution. The people are hoping that if they have a person in office who is more moderate that he can sway the Supreme Ruler to be more open to rights of women, and focus on the economy.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  24. Karl

    Remember This:

    all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
    That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    If the people want it they will have it "by any means necessary"

    Stand back and watch if asked get involved!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  25. MRC

    If we had perhaps made some objection to a lack of transparency in advance then we might still have a leg to stand on in saying that the lack of transparency is an issue. But we didn't make a big issue of it before so making an issue of it now is hypocrisy.

    Regardless, other than raising that concern we desperately need to stay out of it as Mr. Kennedy has said. We have a reputation as a nation that does not respect national sovereignty and even just commenting on this at a presidential level does nothing but reinforce that perception.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  26. Alex Kaplansky

    The president is doing exactly the right thing. What has held Iran together, since the 1979 revolution, has been hatred of America (chants of death to America were standard at every rally). Basically, the powers that be there would always use hatred of America as a destraction, to take people's minds off the freedom they don't have. Let's not give them that excuse this time – this rebellion is all Iranian.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  27. Travis

    Take care of home! There are too many problems in our nation to start bullying around another one. Have we not learned from Vietnam and Iraq?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  28. donradams

    If the French did not "interfere" during our struggle for freedom and independence 230 years ago all of national heros would have been hanged as traitors, and take a moment to imagine the impact of France sending their Navy and putting the citizens in harms way. Without their "interference", there is no United States of America, and George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson would have gone down in history as Traitors and been hanged.

    This may be the fate of this brave new generation of Washington's, Adam's, and Jefferson's that are now fighting for their freedom in Iran.

    They will surely be hanged as traitors if we do not support them in their hour of need.

    It's time to pass it on – Time for free people of the world to stand up and rally together and support our freedom seeking brothers and sisters in Iran.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  29. Hello

    The point of a policy is to achieve something. I only see comments about Iran and whether we should get involved or not. People on this site act as if Iran is functioning in some type of vacuum. It isn't and doing something or nothing will have an impact to every country in the world.

    We need to decide if we get involved does that strengthen the hand of the establishment or the reformers (?). What outcome do we want and what is the most likely outcome if we do something even if it is only verbal support.

    I believe that Obama wants the most stable Iran to negotiate with on the Nuke issue. He probably has assumed that the hardliners will win so he doesn’t want to get on their bad side. He isn’t making a high minded decision that we have no right to interfere or comment; he is trying to create the best climate for negotiations around the Nukes. I would call this self-interest instead of doing what is morally right which I am fine with, could be the smart decision in the long run.

    I don’t believe the negotiations on the Nukes will work because Iran isn’t pursuing them in reaction to the U.S. They want the Nukes because they believe that makes them important and players in the world. This is about pride and doing exactly what they claim the US is doing, impacting regional and international outcomes beyond their own borders.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  30. Martin

    We as Americans have had our share of unrest- the civil war, the stealing of election by former president George Bush, decades of segregation etc... thank God we’ve passed tru that era; Iran and other country did not interfere in our affairs back then, why should we interfere in theirs?... let the Iranians work thru their unrest alone unless they request our assistance…Democracy is costly and takes time.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  31. Flip

    It is wild to read so many Americans who have become true isolationists in the military policy sense of the word. I thought we have learned our lesson. It is unwise to be an isolationist. Our government has the power to intervene and they should. Why? Because we're talking about human rights, not sovereignty. Do we want America to honor the sovereignty of a totalitarian state? Who cares what some Iranians think. I'd trust the U.S. government over the current Iranian one any day. The best defense is a vested interest, not a good offense. We don't have to help Iran organize a coup or anything.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  32. Stevenweiss

    I wonder how we Americans would have felt if other countries would have comented of our 2000 election results and claimed, as some americans did at the time, that the 2000 election was unfair and that Bush stole that election?

    Is this not a comparable situation? While one might believe that the Iran election is unfair, how do we know? Do we have the right to make that judgement? And if we do, others can do the same about us!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  33. Capitalist

    I think we need to stay out like Kennedy states. Where is our capitalistic side in all of this, lets hope for a civil discord where we can then help our US arms manufacturers by selling weapons to both sides. One sure way to help pull us out of our current recession, sell to both sides. It worked before will work again.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  34. Dennis

    Let's get our own house in order before fixing any others. There still remains questions regarding fraud in the Bush Jr. elections.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  35. Sreekanth

    It is better if US does not interfere with Iran's internal affairs. The further explain this in raw terms imagine two brothers fighting with each other and if one of the brothers brings along a guy who has nothing to do with their fight to help defeat his brother. Regardless of the outcome of their fight a patch up between the brothers becomes more difficult to achieve. And if the third is never involved in the fight there could be a patch up.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  36. Ryan F

    As it's been stated previously here, we are not the world police. For those that believe it's a "human rights issue", my philosophy is "too bad so sad". Call me selfish, but we have too many issues here that need to be taken care of. IMO, bring all of our troops home, don't bother with any other country, concentrate on US, the U.S., until we're back on track. How does that old saying go? You can't help others if you can't help yourself.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  37. Barb

    How many of you out there telling Americans to intervene are wearing a soldier's uniform?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  38. jimtranr in Oregon

    Moorehead Kennedy's right, and posturing politicians like John McCain (who ought to know better) have it dead wrong. Whatever sympathies we have with the protesters and what they seek needs to be tempered with the good sense not to strengthen the hand of Iranian government hardliners who use (and even now are conjuring up) the bogeyman of U.S. "interference" to discredit and emasculate the opposition.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  39. greg

    Jordon,

    As one of the largest exporters of weapons in the world I'm curious
    where you sense of morality was when we shipped and continue to
    ship weapons all over the world....the mid east leading the pack.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  40. alex

    We should stay out because if we do try to interfere and if Ahadiminijahd is still the winner then he will probably hate us more because it would seem we openly want him out by supporting the opponent. Also, we are NOT the world police, we have no right to say how their election should be handled or whether it is fair or not. Better to lay low and wait it out and avoid any form of conflicts that might draw more hatred toward us.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
  41. stuart

    Watch quietly. Watch carefully.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  42. Gary

    This is my last thought for any help for Iran. First , let's have our government clean up/help New Jersey.Then we can think of helping the next place,like New York. Then CA , catching on now ?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  43. YZ

    President Obama is doing the right thing by not interfering in the current state of Iran. This is the politically current approach to take and very much unlike what Bush would have done. Let the Iranian people chose their own path. They are not calling this a revolution, but a request for a re-election. Calling this a revolution and having the states or other western counties interfere in their business would discredit their efforts to have their voices heard. Ahmadinejad is waiting for this interference. Don't give them the excuse.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  44. elliotkim13

    speaking of elections being rigged and votes being compromised, how are Americans so forgetful about the 2000 elections? What have we really to offer to other countries that is not without corruption?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  45. Nick

    I agree we need to stay out of it. Let the Iranian people stand up far themselves.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  46. Greyp

    Does anyone think sites such as twitter should come down in order to prevent involvment in a process that concerns only Iranians?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  47. Jeff

    I agree with the comment by Jason. As soon as the US makes any gesture of support towards the opposition side, the Iranian government and religious leadership in Iran will villify the opposition as being a "puppet" to Western influence, with a true motive of government overthrow. Events should play out as they are. The Iranian government is its own worst enemy in this situation with the way it is attempting to control this situation. Is it enought to cause the people of Iran to take matters in their own hands? Time will tell.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  48. Robert

    The thing people have to remember is that in that area of the world people have been fighting over one thing or another for hundreds of years and it's not going to instantly stop overnight. Be it religon or political, conflifts are going to happen no matter who tries to step in to help.

    Helping is the wrong thing to do as they need to sort this out themselves and learn to take charge of their own matters.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  49. Kia

    Dear Mark, Ahmadi Nejad is nothing. He is just a puppet. The Supreme Leader, Khameneyi, is the evil. The problem is in this situation defeating Ahmadinejad is a big defeat for the Supreme Leader because if Moosavi become president, the Supreme Leader cannot dictate whatever he wants.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  50. Eddy Blake

    Wow they must have really done a job on this guy when they held him hostage eh?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  51. Emily

    In the end, I believe it is the Iranian people, and not us or our moral "voice", who must stand up for their rights. At some point, hopefully now is a start, they must demand the right to a fair election, fair government, fair rulership, or not. I have known many Iranian Americans who emigrated from Iran. They were all well-educated and very proud. They were not oppressed people. It was clear they only tolerated the more extreme and restrictive views touted by their leadership as an historical overflow from their religious and cultural past.

    They have to stand up and say it's not acceptable and they will not tolerate it.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  52. GG

    No other country took part in the civil war? really? hmmm...maybe someone should go back to high school

    June 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  53. Roy, Springfiled, IL

    I think that we need to learn not only from our own history but, also, that of the Middle East and world history too. Our country is beloved and hated around the world for our care and concern for others. However, our care and concern for others usually comes with strings attached. We try to force our believes and morals on another culture. This, results in culture clash. We have a different set of morals and standards. We think all people should live like us! Well, they don’t always want to live like us! We have become the world’s moral compass (as long as it’s a Christian compass). The manner in which we dictate to other countries on how they should live and operate their country has caused a great deal of hatred for not only our country but, it puts our citizens in danger. I advocate that we mind our own business and look into the mirror! Our country has a great deal of our own problems to deal with.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  54. james

    If we voice an "official" opinion it could be seen as another attempt by the United States to impose its will on foreign land. I think we'll be much better off letting the Iranians work out this mess for themselves and by themselves. It may well be that the current Iranian president stays in power....but our soft response to the situation may benefit our nation in years to come. Let's put it this way - we have 50 years of history that proves a more direct response does NOT work. Let's try another, more measured, approach.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  55. Mike

    Nancy, Are you serious? Obama sees the US as the Gestapo? What country did he invade? What phone did he tap? What illegal jail did he create? When did he OK torture. Wrong President Nancy...

    June 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  56. RickM

    America must always stand on the side of freedom and democracy. That doesn't mean sending troops or dropping bombs. Words count for a lot.

    Reagan brought the iron curtain down with words and a healthy defense budget. If we learned one thing from that time is that all those people living in those dictatorships were encouraged by Reagan's words.

    We screwed up badly by removing a popular elected leader and installing the Shah back in the fifties. Now we're compounding it by supporting this dictatorial thug.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  57. Stephanie

    Dan-

    Your history lesson was fabulous! My father is Iranian and I still have family living in Iran – and the points you made about the Shah are exactly right. I also think Mr. Kennedy is right on with his comments, and so far it looks like Obama is doing exactly what Mr. Kennedy suggests is apporpriate.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  58. Marissa

    The US government cannot and should not keep intervening in the affairs of other nations, especially in Iran given the history of US-Iranian relations. The CIA orchestrated a coup to topple a democratically elected Iranian leader and replace him with the Shah b/c this was benefical to US policy...we all saw how that turned out. While Moussavi is more likely to be able to improve US-Iranian relations, if the US intervenes it will be in self-interest. Its no secret that Iran is of strategic interests to the US. The people of Iran just like people of every other nations have a right to free,and fair elections but did the US get invovled in Zimbabwe? Why not?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  59. Tariq

    Look I support Democratic reform in Iran, but it is a struggle that the Iranian people must tackle themselves. There is has been a history of US interference in Iranian politics going back to the CIA in1953 Coup. For this reason the clerical establishment is extremely paranoid (to a great extent justified) about US influence or interference in their political affairs. Moreover, the Clerical gov't has continued to use real and imagined examples of US interference in Irani affairs as an excuse to suppress the Irani Reform movement. Whats the point of the US gov't speaking out against human rights violations when it has the unwanted effect of triggering a more aggressive response against the protesters. Such words of support will only push the Irani establishment to label the Protesters as "agents of the Great Satan". Obama is playing it smartly. As an American Muslim who has lived in the Middle East for a long time, most political parties or movements in the Muslim World don't want to to be seen as "allies of the West", doesn't really do anything for your street cred.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  60. geek

    I think as Americans we should definitely NOT take sides in another country's internal problems. However, we should definitely show our support for the people in Iran who are risking their lives just to be heard. These folks remind me of the man in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 who stood unarmed in front of a column of tanks to halt their progress.

    To Lynanne M. Reed who stated, "No other country took part in the US Civil War":

    You need a history refresher with regards to the Civil War before making such a misleading statement. While no other country was sending troops or actually participating in combat, there was a considerable amount of diplomatic involvement from many powerful nations around the world during this dark chapter of our country's history.

    One example of foreign involvement was in the fall of 1863 when Russia put two naval fleets in American waters – one in the New York harbor and one in the San Francisco harbor.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  61. Kill Devil Hills

    I've seen worst beatings on protesters in the U.S. and Israel. Pots and kettles, if you ask me. Like I take the CIA or the Mossad's talking points with a grain of salt either. They're all a bunch of power hungry, despots, policing the world, for the Corporate Royalty that has bought it and taken it over, but that's just if you ask me in my humble opinion. Maybe world war 3 will kill enough poor people to make the oligarchs happy again. They don't care about any of us. Black, white, right, wrong, they don't care about anything but holding onto power, by any means necessary.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  62. Shan

    @Brian

    Who should ask us for help? The government? The people? Your statement was unclear. We should help when asked? Tell me who has to ask before we should help.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  63. Bum Rush

    now would be a good time to bumrush them, and take their oil and any goodlooking women they might have. their guard is down.....time to make a move.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  64. Brett

    I am confused on many posts. For one Bush didn't steal the election in 2000. Our system is different because of the electoral college. In fact that wasn't even the first or second time that a president won the election w/o the popular vote, so I don't understand the comparison. Just look at the Oboma election and realize the EC made it look like he won by a landslide when his popular vote margin was nowhere near as dramatic.

    Secondly, I think the term interfere should not be used. McCain never said we should go over there and tell them who should be the winner. In fact he said that if Ahmenidajad was the true winner we would respect that. He just says we should be more vocal in our opinion that all of things don't add up in the election. I don't see a problem with us stating our opinion to the world.

    Lastly, both of the disputed candidates hate America so why would we physically interfere to put one in office over the other?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  65. Vase

    I agree that we have to stay out. we have to help them IF and only IF they ask for it. Remember what hapened in IRAQ! now world does not like us because we went there, listening nobody. What we gained from there? are they free now? i do not think so. I believe that it is these countries people's job to do it. We have our own problems here. we are not angels that can help everyone. Where we HAVE TO help, FASTING people of africa who dies just because they can not find anything to eat couple days in arrow.!!!
    IRAN is a big country, and their people will find out the way to change everything

    June 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  66. zo

    Daniel Nelson doesn't know what he's talking about on his post except regurgitating what the 700 club broadcasts. Be original!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  67. Rod

    If Carter had supported the Shah and apposed the Ayatollah would we still be in this crisis?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  68. William

    Greg C., Bubba, and your ilk, you are responding with the same moronic ignorance that has served to make our proud country the laughing stock of the world over the past eight years. During the revolution, our diplomats (Franklin, Adams, Jefferson) directly engaged France to assist us in our war for independence (BTW, their help was NOT provided solely out of the kindness of their hearts). During WWII an established dictator who had attacked and overtaken neighboring countries was stopped by a united coalition of allied forces. The U.S. did not jump into the politics of Germany to stop Hitler from coming to power. We actually had a policy of isolationism up until it became very apparent that our interests were at stake. So, as you see, to say we should get involved in the internal politics of another nation and site the U.S. revolution and WWII is, as I said, purely moronic. Try cracking a history book before you start flapping you lips about things which you have no understanding. While you're at it, try taking a grammar class or two.

    regards,

    – former USMC
    – former Army Intel.
    – patriot

    June 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  69. Iman Bayat

    The difference between the interference of United States in other regions have been that they never had such a support they would have from the Iranian people. The opposition of the Islamic regime is more than what we see on the streetsa of Tehran. It is merely the brave ones we see on the streets. If it was not for the fact that it is a great risk to be shoot at, persecuted, or having you family dealing with repercussions, not having to think about what would happen to the family after you are murdered by this "Hitler Regime" – then I guarantee that more than 90% of the people would be on the street right now! So what is the American Philosophy and in what order? Is it Influence, Oil and lastly bringing about human rights, well, either way, if U.S wants to gain the trust of the people, this is an opportunity to actually do some good for once , not for solely our own interests, but for what we have expressed to the world for what we stand for-Human rights, tolerance and freedom.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  70. Tuni

    Freedom is something that you fight for, let them fight for it.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  71. Dan

    Phil, thank you. That's exactly what I'm trying to convey. And good call on the looking-down-upon their society. The fact that people are on Twitter alone tells you that at least many of the people (probably the young, and more liberal ones) have caught up with us technologically and socially. This new generation probably isn't all that different from the young generation here in the States.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  72. Adam

    This isn't like an election here, or most other countries. People are protesting and GETTING SHOT. I'm pretty sure doing nothing isn't going to give the Iranian fundamentalist government food for thought. "Oh gee, look at what we're doing...we should probably start granting our citizens human rights! HeeHee!"

    Tyranny and oppression needs to be punished. Everyone whined about the Iraq war being about oil, but the real benefit is we removed Hussein from power, and he was a genocidal tyrant. Hitler, Tojo, the Red Army, Hussein...the list goes on.

    Anyone who thinks it's not our place to interfere in foreign issues such as this is naive. Since the end of WWII, we have been the police force of the world. It is our JOB to make sure certain things don't happen again...who wants another World War? Or Holocaust? Other countries / citizens may not like it, but that's the way the cookie crumbles – no one likes cops, either, but think of this country without them.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  73. Bob Ramos

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy 1000% for a host of good reasons. One, no matter whose side we take, all Iran will eventually see us as an invader much like Iraq does now. Two, we tend to stay, build bases and otherwise meddle in that ountry's economy. Again, using South Vietnam, Afrans and Iraq as guides – out of every $1.00 we spend in aid, about $.75 cents goes to line someone's pocket and we do nothing about that. Three, neighboring Arab countries will see us as invaders and occupiers. And four – it is really up to the citizens of a country what form of government they really want. If the Irainians do not want what they have now, no one can change it but them. Five – Democracy cannot be imported into Iran. It has to be planted there by its citizens and watered by their blood, sweat and tears (which they are doing now). Again, all we should be doing is to monitor the situation and keep our noses out of this mess.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  74. Monty

    I read other comments mentioning human rights violations but I ask...doesn't our government already support supposed "allies" of the US who violate human rights on a daily basis and I don't see the US gov't trying to influence a change in those govt's. I totally agree with Mr. Kennedy that the US needs to keep our noses out of the Iranian's business. The Iranian people must want and fight for their own freedom just as we did. I don't say the US shouldn't help in supplying and arming an organzed civil revolt but, for the US to have the arrogance to give their "2 cent" advice and condemnation because of human rights violations...please...that's pretty hypocritical.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  75. Benny Gold

    Does it really matter which Al Quaida sympathizer wins the election in Iran? Meddling in the desert brings large profits for the rich and powerful but yields nothing for the average American.

    Look at Iraq- we've basically destroyed the country and now we're paying to rebuild it. Our soldiers are in Baghdad playing traffic cop and getting picked off daily like fish in a barrel.

    I honestly feel a pre-emptive strike on Iran's Nuke facilities is over due. As far as warring factions in Iran go, I think we should be selling weapons to both sides. that's just my humble opinion....

    June 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  76. Joseph

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

    So, you're saying stay out? You support Obama and oppose McCain on this issue?

    I think you're a bit conflicted. But you know Obama is doing the right thing by refraining from interfering with an Iranian election. He denounced the violence (on both sides), but will not commit our country to any "side" in the disputed elections. They ARE working it out over there, and we should maintain our neutrality while they do so. We will come out better no matter how it turns out.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  77. Jay, Denver

    Doesn't anyone see the irony that Republicans didn't even want to talk to Iran and now they want to meddle in their election?

    Science needs to create a pill to cure republican retardation.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  78. Philip

    Every country has its problem and they can solve it in their own way. Respect others and mind our own business. We had too much trouble within. We should not police the world. Bring our attention to those countries who really need help.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  79. Jian

    It seems everybody is jumping to a conclusion that the election was rigged, that Ahmadinejad lost and Mousavi won. How can you be sure? On what basis? Just because the Iranian government says the opposite?
    So Mousavi won, but by how much? 55%? 98%? How about the Iranians who do agree with Ahmadinejad?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  80. Mike

    Well said Mr. Kennedy. You should run for office. And good analogy David with the Gore/Bush election when Gore won, oops, I meant Bush won...

    June 18, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  81. Jk

    if the United States ever becomes a bunch of cowards then I will pack my things and move to another country. You got to be kidding me, we are the face of Democracy all over the world now and forever.

    stand up for what you believe.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  82. Ed Harley

    We need to stay out of this. We have no business sticking our nose in this election. It is not our place. We have a very bad history with Iran, and what we did to them.

    Let's put the shoe on the other foot. How would we like it if Iran started to voice their support for an American candidate for President such as Bush v Gore. We wouldn't like it.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  83. humble opinion

    i agree that the u.s. should stay out of iran's affairs, unless we are asked. i agree with a previous comment made that, no matter the good intentions, our interference will be viewed as another instance where the u.s. has meddled in another country's business.

    i am Not saying that we should not care about the wellfare of other countries, but i believe the priority of the u.s. should be (for now) to take care of the u.s. take care of ourselves and then try to help other people. i'm all for improving the quality of life for others, but let's first secure the futures of OUR children. we have enough problems of our own.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  84. Chris

    I think we let them deal with this mess on their own. It's obvious a large element of the population is unhappy, but we don't want any interference on our part to allow the regime to turn that unhappiness towards us. Until mass murder is taking place it's not our business, let the oppresive powers of Iran hurt their influence with their people by demonstrating what they are.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  85. tcaudilllg

    What's going on in Iran is inspiring. The people are realizing for the first time what democracy is really about: not "rule by the people" absolute, but giving the ruled an opportunity to evaluate the performance and character of their stewards, and replace them if necessary. Ahmadinejad, as the 2nd coming of Hitler, definitely fails that test. A majority of Iran's leaders recognize the threat he poses, and are determined not to let their republic go the way of Nazi Germany.

    Now if only Russia could get a clue on that front...!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  86. Dejla

    How would we in the US have felt if Russian came into our country after the 2000 election and 'helped' to stabilize our election?

    We are not and never have been the world's peacemaker. Our track record, in fact, is pretty poor even within our own country on human rights–lynchings? equal pay? same-sex relationships?

    Yes, there are human rights abuses in Iran. Yes, it would help to have a stable Iran. NO, nothing we do will result in that–only in more ill-will, more anti-Americanism, more blame thrown that we're interfering in another country's government.

    We have done poorly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We need to remind ourselves that these are sovereign countries, not our colonies–and this is the United States. Our Founding Fathers–and Mothers!–never intended for us to annex colonies or rule the world.

    We believe in freedom. The greatest expression of that freedom and of our principles is to let the Iranian people work out their own government, their own future.

    I remember the hostage crisis–I was in college. We bollixed that one up too.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  87. Paul

    Agree 100%

    The democracy expressed in the streets of Iran is a pleasant surprise and the level of protest admirable. There seems to be hope for Iran after all, in its peoples ability to guide thier own direction. Things should calm down, return to normal, truncheon or not, and they will have to wait out the current president and his foolishness unitl the next. Sound familiar?
    This will give the opposition time to organize for change.
    I fully agree, that this is an Iranian problem, and no one elses.
    Best wishes to the Iranian people and godspeed the changes you seek.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  88. Kon

    You wouldn't like it if I came into your house and told you how to run things in your home would you? Same concept, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the show. If the Iranian people really wanted a democracy they will get it. Now it's just a matter of how bad they want it. Are they willing to sacrifice? Our ancestors sure did.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  89. Kia

    Dear Nancy, because Bush was an idiot not politician!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  90. Ersun

    Moorhead is right. If the international community, i.e., the United Nations, isn't concerned with what's going on in the Iranian elections, then we shouldn't be either. Elections for any sovereign country is an internal issue and all other countries should respect this aspect of international affairs. Any credibility the USA had in the past in regards to influencing such matters has been gone for some time now, way before the first Gulf War for that matter.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  91. Cheryl from Minnesota

    Our government needs to mind our own business. Any interference could lead to big trouble with the guy that just won the election "according to him". We have stuck our nose where it doesn't belong too many times and it has gotten us into trouble. Let them work this out for themselves like we did with our Civil War. They will appreciate their newly won Freedom more!

    June 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  92. Baldev Singh Gill

    US should stay out of the affairs of Iran least it backfires on us. They are a sovereign state and should be allowed to mend their own system. Let their people speak as ultimately they are responsible for their own political system. They were responsible to bring the corrupted Shah down and putting the religious dictatorial leadership in power.

    Now they can reverse what they had put into power, as difficult as it would be, they are the sole authority to do so.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  93. Bill

    We asked the French to interfere you moron.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  94. Robert Floyd

    We have a really big problem, We don't know how to mind our own. Yea lets send your sons and daughters over there because mine are staying here. Colonialism at its worse. I feel ashamed sometimes. We ned to wake up fix our own problems and lead as an example not as an big brother , We as americans just don't have a clue. Change starts from within and the people will rise, they do not want nor need our intereference.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  95. Amanda

    I know I am not the most up to date person on world affairs...but...

    To me, this sorta feels like America might be stuck in a harder spot. I agree that we should let Iran do what they do regarding their elections as it is still up to the main leader to dictate what Iran does. But, do we not help the Iranian people if they ask? If we do, do we create more conflict for ourselves but more specifically for the Iranian people? I dont see the answer as black and white but maybe there are a combination of answers or actions that not only America but the world should take? I think that Iran is a touchy subject for more then just the US...and I know they are not thrilled with us....and I am sure some of that is our doing.

    How do we take a postive and beneficial position without making things worse for anyone?

    June 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  96. Evan in Kansas City

    Let us not forget that the independence of the USA was aided by the French and somewhat the Spanish... Granted, the people of the Americas were separated from their British monarchy by an ocean which allowed them to feel more dissident towards it and the idea of a sovereign government more likely and attainable; whereas the people of Iran are subject to their own, homeland government. Interfering by means of aiding the Iranian people in a coup would not necessarily, by my viewpoint, actually be 'interference' if your intended goal is freedom and a government that is, "... for the people, by the people".

    June 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  97. as

    who made him the expert....he obviously does not understand what people are going through there...i know

    June 18, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  98. BrianG, Sugar Land, TX

    Hey Mike, (Mr. Grammar)

    Andrew Jaackson once said:

    "Itsa week mined thet kin ownly thinck uh won whey tu spel uh wert"

    Sew, Mike, phuu*** oouff

    June 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  99. samantha

    Actually, staying out of nation's business is not new to the United States. It was our policy to stay out of European affairs and conflicts and to maintain an isolationist policy for a long time. We remained isolationist through most of World War I, which devastated Western Europe and set the stage for World War II, during which we maintained an official isolationist policy, until bombed by Japan (who we were "negotiating" with at the time).

    After World War II, when the rest of the world was wrecked, we assumed the world leadership role. Out the window went the isolationism. Isolationism is not consistent with being a great power, nevermind the greatest power.

    Isolationism still runs strong in the American consciousness, harking back to a simpler time, when our challenge was the frontier and our destiny to reach the Pacific ocean. We can return to isolationism; that will mean giving up our place as a great power. Someone is sure to take the mantle. China is working hard to do that, Russia wants it back. That's the choice we have to make.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  100. Anonymous

    It is so fundamental. It is not our election, it is not our problem. They are a sovereign country no matter how they choose to handle THEIR BUSINESS. We are not the world police. If there are issues of violations of human rights let the UN handle it, we are not the UN. That's the problem with America in the past and McCain. So are we supposed to just drop bombs and occupy the country until everything is happy and wonderful? That is so stupid! If the US couldn't even do anything about Rwanda they better not even dare to step in with Iran. Has anyone ever even considered the fact it is not the culture of that country or its people to even flourish on a democracy. They are better off with their theocracy where their religion is supreme and not their government. The solution is to have a leader who can expedite the issues of its people and its religion collectively. That does not in any way spell out D-E-M-O-C-R-A-C-Y.

    June 18, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
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