American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
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. Pat, CA

    This is truly sad - however, we must remember that neither the "winner" nor "loser" stands for democracy - both are basically cut from the same cloth and support the supreme (Islamic) leader of Iran and his authoritarianism.

    Until the people of Iran wake up and decide they want "true democracy" - not just re-counts - there's not much any other country can do - except to protect themselves vigorously against the security threats that this tyranny poses.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  2. No No No

    The people claiming we should interfere in Irans elections don't understand is this is EXACTLY like a Domestic Dispute.

    As every police officer knows when you come into a domestic dispute like this and try to resolve things 9 times out of 10 BOTH parts will turn on the officer.

    The same thing is true here. If we try to interfere or take sides then BOTH sides will blame us for meddling. The only way to not be blamed is to let them work out their own problems and hope for the best.

    The only reason for ANYONE in the US to wants us to meddle is so they can keep Iran ticked off at us so the country can be used as a boogieman to scare Americans during election time.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  3. Kevin

    What I think is being often overlooked here is what "President" actually means in Iran. It's not like our Presidency where our elected leader pretty much runs the show. Iran's President has little power compared with their Guardian council and the Ayatollah in particular. Anything their president does or undoes in Iran can be easily overruled by the theocracy above him. Further, what I think is being overlooked is the religous component, the dogma in Iran is that the government is an extention of divine power itself. It's not just meddling in the politics of another country, but meddling in their religous beliefs (that as westerners we have VERY limited practical understanding of) as well. Can you imagine all this commotion and uproar for someone who has the general power equivalent of the Speaker of the House?(no offence to speaker Pelosi intended).
    The facts are these: EVEN IF we were to interfere and the BEST POSSIBLE outcome were to occur, and we help oust Ahmedenajad, it would do NOTHING for the deFacto situation. The Ayatollah would still be in charge and his word would still be the final authority in Iran. No change in ultimate Iranian policy would be realized whatsoever.
    Those that cite Hitler and WWII are just rediculous in my opinion: at most there have been 9 tragic deaths in this uprising. 9. To compare this with the massive atrocities commited by Hitler and the third Reich is an insult to the memory of the millions, let me say it again MILLIONS that died in that conflict both before and after we got involved. Get some perpective, WWIII this is not.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm |


    June 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Clair

    Americans have an EGO beyond their huge bellies. Stay out of other peoples countries. How many in here screaming for human rights when they support torture of captive prisioners in our own land. Do you really care for human rights? Where are the balls to face China for instance? Not one sign of outrage because we owe our pants to them. Or Darfur? There are plenty of places on Earth that could use our charity without waging a war. But then they suddenly change the motto. Shame on you all, our arrogance is what brought us here.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  6. jayson1964

    Bubba, I used your very same argument when Saddam Hussein invaded his 2nd neighbor, at that time Kuwait. Ie, that if we sit and do nothing, where will the aggression lead...especially given the history of WWII.

    One major problem with your argument in this case though - Iran has not invaded anyone. How in the world is the current Iranian leadership just like Hitler, when they haven't launched an invasion of anyone?

    I agree they are very corrupt and their support of terrorism is indefensible. But, I just don't see this as another Hitler.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  7. Amy

    It's not up to us to decide what is best for other countries. They don't have to have fair elections if they don't want to or anything else. Who made us the police of the world? They have every right to do what they want over there and if the people of Iran don't like it they will change it themselves. We should be worried about bigger issues and not spread ourselves too thin over the world. For once I wish this country would put as much effort into it's own affairs inside it's own borders as it does overseas.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  8. FatSean

    I'm reminded of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    The USA would not accept other nations interfering in our election process, no matter how obviously flawed. We must treat Iran in the same way or further reinforce our image as hypocritical moralizers.

    If the Golden Rule isn't good enough, look at the track record. Every time the USA meddles with some other nation's elections/governments/rebellios/coups it always comes back and bites us. A previous poster mentioned Bin Laden and Saddam. Don't forget about happened when we sought to 'free' Korea and Vietnam. Failure...expensive failure.

    We must learn from history. Do not interfere.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  9. Chris Ward

    Our government officials need to refreain from commenting and interfering in this country's political situation. This is one fight we don't need to stick out noses into. And so far, Prez Obama and others haven't made many comments, despite Iran's rants that we are "meddling."

    We can't solve every world crisis and it's better if this one is resolved by Iran's own people. I'm sick of losing innocent young lives to Middle East oil interests.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  10. lime

    There is no point in getting involved with Iran. They are a muslim theocracy. Thier laws and rights(lack of), Are based on the koran. they will never know western style Democracy. It makes no difference who the president of Iran is. I would like to see the people riot, and protest about the religion which is holding them hostages. But they will not. They are brainwashed, Just like the Christians are in the USA.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  11. William

    Off topic, but I love that I can express my opinion here without concern that a group of jack-booted gorillas will kick my door in and beat the snot out of me or drag me off to be shot in some unknown place. Long Live Freedom.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  12. Cicuta Palkehoda

    When I counted the responses in this blog it went somewhat like this:

    Against intervention: 152 (82%)
    For Intervention: 33 (18%)

    What it tells me: We seem to be getting smarter (maybe it is those wheaties in the morning).

    GI Joe – Are you part of another CIA experiment on LSD?
    Don – Our DUTY to invade? … Were we declared the “enforcers” by the UN? (I need reference please)
    Mc Cain comments? – Why do you think that the cadaveric candidate lost the election?
    Human rights violations? Before you look at the soil in someone else’s rear, look at your own hole first … Guantanamo, human experimentation, use of forbidden substances during war, incarceration of innocent individuals (see innocence project), denial of habeas corpus, violation of international treaties regarding detention and imprisonment of aliens, spying on US citizens, denial of treatment to critically ill persons, assassination of foreign leaders, … just to name a few.

    Kudos to Soldier, Sazzad, John, Dan, Roger, Mike, Lindy, and so many others not listed because I got tired of counting.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  13. Vince

    Did Iran attempt to interfere with our contested election of 2000? No, and we would have been morally outraged if they had. We have a HUGE track record of meddling with the Middle East, and even though some of it has even had good intentions, it has left a legacy of high-handedness that the locals resent. I have served in Iraq, and have no intention of being sent to Tehran to shove "democracy" down someone's throat. Their system works in its own way. Let them solve it.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  14. janet

    We need to stay out of Iran's electoral process and get involved in the Minnesota debacle. Those people deserve to have two Senators; the US deserves to have 100 Senators. Hey GOP – let our people go! Let John McCain worry about Minnesota – he knows very little about foreign affairs.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  15. Jeanne M

    We have no right to stick our noses into anyone's election. Has everyone forgotten about Florida and Ohio? I live in Ohio and I can honestly say, I am not sure my vote counted. Until the US can clean up it's own act, we have no business pointing our finger at anyone. But, I am happy to see the protesters and people speaking out in Iran!
    Maybe we should take a lessone from them and take it to the streets as well.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  16. Reggie R

    When did the US become the new USSR (Russia)? Are we now going to start pushing democracy on other countries as Russia did once with Communism? This whole thing is Iran's problem and we should leave it to them to take care of it. The US has a problem if sticking it's nose into things that it shouldn't, and then when things go wrong when we do, we wonder why it went wrong. If they need our help they will ask.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  17. Adrienne

    You cannot interfere in a sovereign nations internal affairs. A country belongs to its people if the people want change they must bring change themselves. They must believe in it for themselves and if it is necessary to fight they must fight for it themselves. Just like American colonists fought the British empire and the French Revolution against the monarchy, freedom comes from within. It takes sacrifice and it is difficult, but when it is truly won it will last.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  18. sirus

    As an iranian i would like to thank many of you for your support.
    Americans are great people and are loved and admired by majority of iranian people.we are not crazy fanatics who hate USA,this is a picture that mullahas and Ahmadi Nejad want you to believe.reality is far diferent than you might even dream!!!watch the daily show with john stewart that aired last night online.See for yourself.
    Any American who visits iran knows that.
    I believe current policy is great(non interfence)unless regime resort to absolute repression to silence people then the whole world should react and NOT recognise Ahmadi Nejad as president and treat the regime as totally illigitimate.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  19. Hans B.

    We need a President who lives by his campaign promises: don't meddle in other nations' internal affairs. Our concept of human rights does not work everywhere! The West has messed about the Middle East long enough. Trying to sort out Iraq and Afghanistan is already costing far too many American lives, and the American tax payer a bundle.

    Don't we have enough problems of our own? Let's tackle those ... and listen to people who understand the world at large; to wit: Moorhead Kennedy.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  20. TMAN

    Listen to someone that's been there.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  21. Leslie

    It's an internal problem, let the Iranian people sort it out themselves. We can just watch and pray, but we musn't stick our noses where it doesn't belong.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  22. DJH

    For all of you who keep drawing analogies between this election and the Bush election, you have no idea what you're talking about. The Bush election was decided in exactly the way the constitution laid out through the electoral process. Grow up.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  23. Kia

    I agree with Moorhead Kennedy. It is difficult to see our friends and relatives die in Iran, but try not to react emotional. I have read an article in the hard-lines news paper yesterday. The hard-lines manipulated Obama's speech and published it in their newspaper, Keyhan. They already made connections between president Obama's speech and the protests. I was a student in the protests in tehran in 1999. One of the reasons that they could suppress that protest was making relationship between the students and the United States. Please be very careful about what you say and word usage. Iran is a barrel filled with nitroglycerin now. A small mistake can explode it and that will cost millions of lives and in the worst situation WWIII. Only human rights organizations and NGOs should speak out loud and condemn this violent behavior. If you care about Iran and your friends and relatives who live there, please shut up.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  24. William

    Okay, the last time we got involved with another nations issues it got us where we still are, Iraq. Its not up to us to dictate the inner workings of any other nation. I understand the human rights issues but still, its their country and their crisis. I mean come on people do we not have enough going on here as it is. We need to sit back and let Iran work out Iran, and then we can deal with who ever is left when the dust settles. It sounds harsh but thats the reality of it. Alot of us here may not like what we see but we must respect their coulture and the way things are done their. What works for us is not always whats best for others.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  25. asdf

    A couple of things:
    1. This discussion is NOT about if Americans should CARE – it is about whether or not we should take ACTION. Everyone supports democracy in Iran, the question is how can we act (or not act) to support the wellspring of democratic passion in the streets.

    2. How can we best support democratic passions in Iran? If we were to act, what would that action be? More importantly, how would those actions directly support or hurt democracy in Iran? First, military action is foolish. Democracy, by its very nature, must come from the people and not an external entity. Second, covert support would backfire – see 1979. Third "tough talk" about how wrong the situation is would backfire. The hardliners would dismiss the opposition as an "American Puppet" thus killing the whole thing. Go through our election history to see how socalled "communist sympathisers" or other candidates that could be tied to foreign undesireables have been crushed electorally. Fact is, our OFFICIAL support or action discredits them in the eyes of the rest of Iran. Based upon these facts Obama is playing it as he should – uninvolved.

    3. The point is how best to support the situation. That means how best to empower the people to make their country more democratic. In this case, that means to do nothing at all. Any link between the protesters and official US policy would taint and discredit their whole effort.

    4. One last comment. I am so sick of the partisian garbage in this country. If I hear any more comments that draw upon partisian stereotypes I am going to scream.... People need to deal with real life and not the fantasy land divisions dreamed up by Palin, Limbaugh, and Gingrich....


    A Registered Democrat and 8 year US Army Veteran....

    June 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  26. Jeff in Reno

    This is the approach that cause Mr. Kennedy to become a hostage in the first place. President Carter was a very hands off psudeo isolationist and thats what let the Irainians know they could over run our embassies and take our citizens hostage and not have any reprimand. Thank God Ronald Regan had a different approach, one that the Irainians obviously feared or Mr. Kennedy would most likely still be a hostage.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  27. doktorij

    At this point, the best thing we can do is observe and let the situation play out. The Iranians (Persians) have a long history of being able to govern themselves, well beyond the existence of the US of A.

    As a nation, we don't understand the region, it's politics, it's religions or it's culture. We tend to focus on the negatives. We supported the Shah, we supported Saddam, some of our most respected people even supported Hitler. We're not the last word on who is a good leader and who isn't...

    Remember too, the opposition leader is not exactly a proponent of our idea of "freedom". For that matter, I'm not sure we could get a consensus in the US of what "freedom" means, particularly after reading some of these posts.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  28. RGA

    The US should concentrate in solving their own problems at home. Stop interfering in someone else's business. Whoever appointed America as the savior of the world?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  29. Pete

    "America is supposed to be a beacon of freedom" – then where were we/are we in relation to all of the atrocities in Africa? Why aren't we going into Myanmar or North Korea? Why do we sit by when China beats some heads? Another point – why do we waterboard and rendition people that we deny due process? That's not very "Beacon of Freedom"esque, is it?

    It has been proven time and again that the best thing we can do in the Middle East is stay out of it, except in the case of Israel – then we need to pressure them to stay out of as much of it as possible. The Islamic world needs to approach modernizing on their own terms, or we just end up the scapegoats.

    To everybody who says Iraq worked – yes, it did – for Iran. If all violence stops tomorrow, Iran still wins. There is no turning that around now. The one check on their domination in the region – Saddam Hussein – is dead now. We have to pull out some time, and when we do they back the majority sect – their sect. They win.

    Not that this is all bad. We are a convenient scapegoat, but their people aren't stupid, or overly bloodthirsty. Their mullahs either. They know we can kick some serious butt when we feel like it. What we have to do is get out of their way.

    Help Palestine establish itself. We keep Israel inside their borders, condemn all acts against people who are minding their own business. Let Oman and the UAE shine as the beacons of Arab countries using their money to better their populace, instill a middle class. We have shown time and again that we don't understand the Arab world, and everything we do there pretty much backfires. Stay away from anything that angers them, let them modernize themselves. If they can't do it by the time the petroleum runs out that's their problem.

    If we're meddling with their affairs all of the time, we just give their upper class more ammo to point people's anger at the US instead of where it belongs – their own upper class who denies them roads, schools, hospitals – the infrastructure to make their countries and people rise up. The oil money pouring into these countries is huge, and it's just going to their rich while the rest of the people live in third world conditions. It is deplorable – but it's not something we should address.

    If we are the world's watchdog, there are other places that need more watching (Africa). I vote that we're not – and so does the Monroe Doctrine. I'm sick of pouring money down the drain -into no-bid contracts for Halliburton and Arab contractors who blow up their own work so they can build it again. I'm sick of American kids dying to secure a situation that means zero for us. We should be chasing down OBL, capping him and his cronies and going home – and he's not in Iraq. I don't know that he's ever been there, and we're pretty sure he's not there now.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  30. thoughtfiend

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy. No matter how you look at it, we are unable to "bring" democracy to a foreign country. By definition, this change must be led and implemented from within–by the people, the constituents that are represented by that particular polity. If the people's will is not being heeded in Iran, it's because things haven't gotten so bad that they choose to change it. As hard as it may be to sit idly by, it's up to them to decide when to embrace democratic values. That's not to say we can't serve a humanitarian need (providing refuge for the persecuted, offering aid, etc) but we must not interfere with their political affairs. To do so would serve our own nationalistic needs and preempt the establishment of any true democratic movement that may take place from within its borders.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  31. vegage

    We should not intervene here, we should keep quite and a low profile. People bogging here do not know or understand that if US starts meddling, the establishment in Iran will take that as excuse to crackdown forcefully the demonstrations and many could end in jail and or killed. I think Obama is proceeding in a very intelligent way.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  32. Mel

    I have to agree with Mr. Kennedy also. When did the United States become the ruler of the planet?

    Why do we continue to force our beliefs on other countries? We don't have to share their point of view but neither should we force ours on them.

    I do agree they need new leadersip, the guy is a nut, but it is up to them to make it happen, not us to force it on them.

    The US REALLY needs to mind it's own business and pay a little more attention to it's own country...we continue to dump millions into other countries while this one goes belly up.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  33. Kisuule

    American intervation in Iran hahahahaha did they interfere robbed Al Gore??????

    June 18, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  34. M-Some in US have a real superiority complex!

    I concur! Stay out of it.

    It is absolutely imperative that the people of Iran be the pivotal force towards moving their country towards a democracy; a domocracy, I might add that will be nothing like what we in the US experience because of THEIR cultural beliefs and customs, but that is THEIR choice.

    Colonialism will never work; it does nothing but create animosity in the citizens of these countries towards the US, Great Britain, etc. Let the Iranian people voice their movement. They are strong enough to fight for change, just like the founding fathers of this country were...stop this superiority approach.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  35. Sonja

    I understand the need to not interfere from a government standpoint but from the humanitarian stand I think that Americans and others around the world who are helping Iranian students get information out of the country through technological means is admirable.

    I do believe that if the government were to start bringing tanks out and military equipment then the US should lend support somehow through a third party anonymously.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  36. mwasiq

    Guys we support what I call "selective democracy", when it is in our interest we put up with dictators and tyrants even we financially support them for example Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, King Abdullah of Jordan and Musharraf of Pakistan.

    So I say let's keep our hands clean and stay out of it. Let's not get all righteous about this.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  37. buckwheat

    Yeh there were a few that stuck their nose in during the civil war. Profiteers mostly.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  38. M-Some in US have a real superiority complex!

    It is absolutely imperative that the people of Iran be the pivotal force towards moving their country towards a democracy; a domocracy, I might add that will be nothing like what we in the US experience because of THEIR cultural beliefs and customs, but that is THEIR choice.

    Colonialism will never work; it does nothing but create animosity in the citizens of these countries towards the US, Great Britain, etc. Let the Iranian people voice their movement. They are strong enough to fight for change, just like the founding fathers of this country were...stop this superiority approach.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  39. Steven Deadalus

    To bad this guy is not in government now. He is right, this is none of our business. What if other countries had tried to interfere in our election, when Bush stole,highjacked or whatever he did the election from Gore, what would we have said?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  40. Tom

    There is another lesson here too, it was not that long ago that many in this country were calling for the bombing of Iraq which would have killed many of the innocent people these same people are demanding that Obama do more to help now. If we had listened to the forces in our own country that wanted to bomb Iraq (see John McCain's singing career) there may never have been the uprising we now see. When you are directly threatened (WWII) you should react, but when you are not directly threatened (YET) it is frequently best to stay out of trouble and let people sort things out themselves. History proves my point again, and again, I am just wondering when my fellow Americans will begin to remember history. Not holding my breath waiting for it.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  41. Just Another American

    This is a very sensitive situation. I really feel for the Iranian people and I pray for their circumstances which is causing loss of life. This is their election and I as an American sure wouldn't want other countries to be involved in our elections and/or disagreement of outcome. I don't think we should interfere as most likely it will come back to bite us. Let the people of Iran work this out. Unless this evolves in to a very violent and chaotic situation and their Government pleas for assistance then we should cross that bridge and evaluate where we may need to be involved at that point.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  42. Ctaylor

    We will never be able to influence peace in the Middle East. Their core values are the polar opposite from ours. We live different ways of life and there's no problem with that. We need to quit playing the World Police role and quit spending billions overseas when we have enough problems here at home.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  43. buckwheat

    We should remember there is no such thing as a-nanny-mouse and never has been since the beginning. Your government is peering at you now as you speak and we aint in Iran.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  44. Concerned Texan & Ex Republican

    Moorhead Kennedy is absolutely correct. We need to change this attitude of trying to control other countries affairs. That is this country's business, and the right of its people should not be circumvented by other governments, any governments. Granted, Iran is a very aggressive country not seeking peace with anyone, especially our friends in Israel, or any other nation. It is very possible that the election was tainted, but that was also a rumor circulated here in the USA a few years ago. This is the very reason that our recent leadership has alienated us from the entire world. We need to stop bullying other countries and try to attain some semblance of peace through dialect so that we can gain some respect and take some of the pressure off of our citizens who travel and live abroad. This past attitude of controlling WORLD affairs is no different than street gangs and cartels trying to control the flow of drugs in the streets of America, which is where we should be applying our efforts.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  45. Dang

    When this same thing happened here in America back in 2000, nobody gave a crap. So, why now?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  46. Ed

    I agree that is it disrespectful to Iran to meddle in their election affairs. They are not asking for our help. Generally, helping or advising someone who does not ask for it or need it is a display of arrogance and pity. Interfering with Iran's internal affairs would imply that they don't know what they are doing and that the US is better than them, which is not an image that the US needs. That image is so 2000-2008. It's time to show respect, not pity.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  47. Me

    I agree. We need to keep out and keep our comments generalized. Give 'em (the current regime) enough rope, they'll hang themselves w/o our help. There was a wonderful article, on of all places, Al Jazerah on-line, yesterday that gave insight into why this has happened and how the cleric have boxed themselves in a tight one w/ limited options for the cleric and the ultimate decision maker himself.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  48. Howard

    It is nothing less than hubris and arrogance for Americans to argue that we should say or do anything to support any movement in Iran or any other country. Those Americans who think we should interfere, how do they feel about foreign governments when they try to interfere with America's internal affairs? Shouldn't that standard work both ways?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  49. Pam

    I think that our country should stay the hell out of this... it's not up to the US to deal with everyone else's issues! We have enough problems here at home that deserve attention. Maybe we'd be better off if our government was as concerned about domestic issues.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  50. tj

    Anyone who says that we should interfere is not thinking with their brains. If we take a side, then we doomed the side we are supporting by allowing the hardliners to say we are interfering and taking sides. How stupid are you people. We don't like people in our business and I would say that every congressman and woman, every senator would yell bloody murder if Iran put their two cents in our election so to all of you Hippocrates, sit back and please just shut up. We would be much better off.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  51. Paul

    Are you people nuts? We can't even run our own elections properly here! Just ask Gore, Franken, or just about anyone in Florida ...

    June 18, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  52. Scoots

    Dan, there may be a generational shift but the president of Iran was involved in 1979 as a student in taking the hostages. The new generation may want change but don't underestimate their solid foundation of anti-western beliefs. Fundamental change does not occur in 30 years...especially where religion is involved.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  53. casey

    What Mr Roberts follow up question SHOULD have been was "So, I guess everyone can shut up about Darfur, Zimbabwe and all other hotspots where the citizenry are being trampled upon both physically and politically - after all they are simply 'internal matters of sovereign nations'. Should we disband the UN too? No more sanctions for bad actors! North Korea has every right to point their missles at Hawaii if they want to? " Very shallow reporting - typical.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  54. don corpier

    the first time we got involved in irans politics was when we were instrumental in the over throw of a legitimate govt. we helped install the shah. it has been violence and blood shed every since then. i think that US citizens should continue to help iranians via the internet. world citizens helping other world citizens to tell the truth and disrupt the current dictatorship. the US is the last country that should be throwing stones. we have a long history of supporting brutal dictatorships and indirectly causing the torture and murder of millions of innocent people-all in the name of corporate greed.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  55. Lisa

    Dan and others who feel this is a human rights issue and we need to go in and make things right.... well then why aren't we in myanmar and china and sudan and kenya and .....

    Think about our civil rights and vietnam protests – both rife with human rights abuses and violence. How would we have felt if Iran or anyone dare stick their noses in our business?

    Mr. Kennedy is right. We need to stay out ... .

    June 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  56. Iranians

    Please sit back. It 's not the US but the UN that can be helpful. The UN was pretty helpful when we were defending IRAN against the iraqi invasion in 1980. We want a RE-election under UN supervision

    June 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  57. Think

    For those of you who think we need to go stick our noses in this, think for a second... If we were going through a simiilar ordeal & there was unrest among our population, how would you feel about China or Russia stepping in & telling us how to resolve our problems?

    I agree we should stay the hell out of this. By getting involved we are imposing on another sovereign state without invitation or just cause... Is the US in any direct danger because of this?

    We are not the election police. We are not the humanity police. And we are not the morality police of the world. For far too long we have acted as though we are, which in many ways is the reason that terrorist organizations & some nations in the Middle East hold negative views of the US. While we have a responsibility to stand by our allies & defend our interests, we have no right at all to meddle in another nation's internal affairs.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  58. scott b.

    don not interfere in the affaits of a sovereign state huh?? ok then.. for those who believe this way should then silence their hoorors of human rights violations arounnd the world... let genocide take place... let the worlds poor die of disease and malnutrition..let the drug lords grow and make their drugs in their soverignn nations... so on and so on... if we are to believe in soverignty..then we need to take the good with the bad and mind our own business

    June 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  59. Varun

    This is for all the dumb americans like Daniel Nelson who seem to think that US should go meddle in other countries affairs.

    You guys have been screwing around with these countries for the last 60 years for your own benefits. Stop doing it. Bush rigged elections too but you did not do anything about it. Did you see other countries complaining when bush rigged elections? Just because you want to rape the country off its oil and the president wont let you do it, you guys want another guy for the job who will let you drain their country.

    You guys got involved in numerous coups in the Islamic world for your own benefits like oil. You orchestrated many assasinations and coups of leaders elected through democracy. Remember Mosadeg? You guys need oil and money. Please put a lid on your greed. DONT MESS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  60. Lee Karanicolas

    Whenever a conflict like this arises in some foreign nation, be it Iran or Iraq or North Korea or wherever, why is it that this question always arises? I'm speaking of the question of "What does the United States think they should do?" When I have an argument with a family member, do I want the guy that lives 2 blocks away to come to my house and tell me how to handle it? No of course not. I wouldn't be a responsible, independent adult if I did.

    If Iran is to become a true democratic nation, if they want to change their government, they must do this on their own. They must take ownership of their own problems and solve them together as a nation. Democracy means that the people rule, and such a government can only be established by the people. Without a true revolution, the people will not value their government. The things that you value most are those that you earned with your own sweat and blood.

    And if we were to help, I'm sure we would want some sort of influence in the region or in the way the new government is established. History will always repeat itself.....think Platt Amendment people. If you dont know what it is, Google it, it would be a direct parallel.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  61. Matt

    If it's a human rights issue, then I suppose we'll be interfering with China and North Korea soon, huh?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  62. John

    so I sit and I see what is going on with theses protests in Iran and realize that the best thing for the US, to do is stay out of it. We don’t like any other country in our business, So we should stay out of theirs

    Ok would you feel if we were not free and others stood by and watched our liberties trampled on...Oh wait, thats happeneing to us, as well, by Obama and his socialist party.....We shouldnt do anything directly but at least Obama could give the people his support instead of being his usual spineless self. He has the spine of a jellyfish. Yet, he has no problem telling Israel, one of our few allies over there, to do what he says but he cant tell dicatators to let freedom prevail . You liberal bedwetters have a screwed up view of reality. You dont know what reality is...just living in your liberal world of stupidity and ignorance!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  63. ricky

    this is iraninan buisness only,noone else especially us.where were all you good people who when saddam used your chemical weapon on iraninan people and you said nothing.where was mr mccain who all of sudden loves iraninan people when rumsfild was shaking saddams hand for killing iraninan and was not too long ago when mccain sing a song ,bomb bomb bomb all you who fell bad for this nation,please stay out of it.they will take care of themselves,they always did and will.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  64. Reagan

    A free election does not guarantee peace. It does not guarantee better relations with the US. It does not guarantee respect for human rights. Hamas was elected fairly...just because the people have a choice does not mean it will be a pro-US choice. Many of the naysayers are operating on flawed assumptions. I agree with Kennedy 100%, we need to stay out.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  65. Adrienne Rogers

    I have warned people for years, if the USA goes into Iran or bothers them we will have a serious war on our hands!

    Most Americans do not understand the religion nor the culture of the Middle Eastern countries. They do not realize that Wars have gone on for centuries and will continue to go on.

    We are going to cause a global war soon. Most of the people see us as "the ugly American"
    Most Americans do not respect the cultures of other peoples. They think because we send money to foreign countries they should love us. It usually goes into the hands of the leaders not the every day people.
    So America get educated. They do not want us in their countries,nor do they want our Christian system!

    We must but out! We can not own the world. We sure can start a war, by running interference. I lived as a Christian in Iran. I lived in India, so I know from the natives.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  66. viren

    in fact i think i see more democracy at play in Iran than was in US streets when we should have been protesting the Bush/Gore results,

    June 18, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  67. arnon

    actually, apart from usa citizens, very few people in the world would view the usa as "the beacon of freedom" and bringer of democracy, least of all iranians, who have us to thank for the god-awful shah regime. supported by usa, it wasn't terribly democratic , was it? i don't recall people here belllyaching about it too much, and demanding freedom for the oppressed iranians. the main difference was that the shah was OUR dictator, and the current regime in teheran ISN"T. the same goes for saddam - no one wants to remember the many years of snuggling with him. so, let's ease off on the self-congratulatory sentiment and hypocrisy, ok?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  68. kernimal

    If all of my friends were everything that I wanted them to be, I wouldn't have any friends at all. It's a basic principle that mirrors live and let live. Our ability to lead by example is more powerful and effective. Our tendancy as Americans to feel we have the right to meddle in the business of other nations is what makes other nations and the Muslim world despise us to begin with. The youth of Iran want freedom from oppression and they are fighting for it just as we Americans did. Mr Kennedy is right not to mention a patriot. The difference between John McCain's republican attitudes and President Obama's common sense ring through once again. How far out of touch can republicans get? Can I vote for Obama again now, or do i have to wait 3.5 more years?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  69. totally neutral

    Minding your own business is NEVER a bad idea. I am glad to hear Mr. Kennedy express the fact that the Ayatollah controls the country, so who gets elected is his decision anyway. If you think any of this concerns the US, you are part of the worlds problems. The last thing we need is more ill-will and to get suckered into another unwinnable occupation of a sovereign nation. And no yeah-buts – You want that we should decide who runs China?
    Choose your battles wisely.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  70. george Peckham

    The only people on earth that want the United States to involve itself in this Iranian election problem is Israel and US supporters of Israel.
    For us to get involved would only fan Iranian hatred of US meddling, lead to more tension, and allow Israel to initiate it's genocide against Iranians like they do against Palestinians.

    If the Us wants to help in the mid-east, it should look at the Israelis and "force" them out of the West Bank. More than 500,000 Israelis (and this number is growing daily) are living in the West Bank outside the boundries of Israel–this is unacceptable and should be corrected the easy way or the hard way!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  71. Adam Grob

    Interesting comments/blogs. Wish it were possible to selectively respond.

    Overall, as Mr. Kennedy said, there is and has been great resentment against the U.S. There is not necessarily a generational shift because the real and true governing power are the ones most against us. Let's not forget that the President of Iran is just the symbol–or a puppet per se.

    Let's also keep in mind that the U.S. has already interfered (for better or worse) in two countries' affairs bordering both sides of Iran. Then on top of that, North Korea is drawing us closer, so the last thing we need is to hold the burden of conflict in 2, 3 or 4 countries.

    Last point to mention is the haughtiness of the US and many of its citizens in thinking that we are like the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Greeks, the British (in their peak colonization era) in that our way of living ought to be the stamp for all countries (in spite of proven sustainability in that respective country) to live by. If one argues about human rights, this is not about that at all. Many countries in Africa need that attention desperately.

    –Adam G.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  72. viren

    it is nice to hear a voice of sanity in this chaos Mr. Kennedy, yes the people of Iran have to stand up for themselves, if they feel they are wronged in the lections then i'm sure they will have to grow strong enough to deal with their government but us to take some imperialistic approach of trying to dictate and enforce fairness around the globe is just about as ludicrous as expecting Mr Bush to step aside and let Mr Gore take office

    June 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  73. Scott

    I quite agree with this man. We should "do nothing". First, the religious rulers of Iran do have any final say in who is elected, therefore, it does not matter who is elected. Nothing will change in Iran. It is foolish to think that these demonstrations will result in some gigantic change in the policies of Iran. The Iranian people inslaved themselves when they took the Islamic government over the Shaw. They traded one form of slavery for another. The "freedom" they think they have is nothing more than an illusion and will not suddenly change by a "reform" candidate, who by the way, is not really a reformer in the way that most American's think of reform.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  74. Michael

    As far as I know we have no real way of knowing whether the election was stolen or not. And I have little doubt that we have been trying to foment trouble in Iran for some time now; it was one of our "side benefits" of Iraq. So, I'm skeptical. It seems to me that whenever the opposition to foreign heads of state that we don't like loses an election, our news media is always all over the ensuing protests, but we see very little when our preference wins. Whys is that?

    A candidate apparently preferred by a majority of the country's elite being upset at losing isn't really a unique situation, and a minority, no matter how large, should not be able to demand new elections until it is happy with the results.

    If the election was in fact stolen, the movement will advance. It could advance in any case. Outside of truly independent multinational election monitoring we should shut up, and that includes the undue prominence of media coverage which has quite obviously chosen sides.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  75. mypitts2

    This guy instantly moves to the head of the queue in terms of credibility.

    Things are already possibly going our way there. No need to meddle.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  76. Believer

    When Bush stole the election in 2004, which country came in to help us??

    June 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  77. marilyn quick

    PLEASE – stay out of Iran. We have enough going on with the economy, loss of jobs, Iraq, Afghanistan and a president who makes promises but only puts us in debt.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  78. bonbon

    America must stop policing and running other countries and take care of it's own for now. We have spent contless dollars feeding and policing other countries and our own goverment has forgotten that we are struggling and hungry here too! Would you feed your neighbors kids while yours are hungry? would you get between a couple as they have a spat? We need to mind our own business and mind our own country men!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  79. Chris

    That is a problem we should not interfer with. We are NOT THE POLICE of the world despite what ever one thinks. Our Fore Fathers are rolling in the graves right now with the mess this country is in. We have the problems we do because we are to busy meldling in other countries affairs when we have more then enough of our own right here in the USA. My thought is stop policing the world, shut down our borders for a couple years and straighten out the mess we got going on. And for the public to stop whining about the CIA. The keep us safe at night, and however they do it is none of my business or anyone elses in the public. if you forgot what other countries do to our hostages, maybe you should search some of and watch the beheading of those poor contractors in Iraq who were only there to help rebuild...

    June 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  80. Michael

    In a country that doesn't even value a vote as we should, why do we care that a vote in another country doesn't matter. A political vote here has become a popularity contest (much like Americam Idol) or based on marketing and name recognition. We voted in as president an idealogue with no experience and who spouted the all important "Change is coming". And now the word "trillion" is being bandied about as though we really can picture how much that actually is.
    Why should we get involved in another country when we can't even get involved in our own?

    June 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  81. Brian

    The problem with situations like this is we Americans tend to waive our moral fingers and leap in to save what we think is happening. There in lies the problem. We are ignorant by nature. So let's say we jump in and aid the Green party and then later... Ooops... we find that there really was a majority in favor of the current leadership... then what? We have plenty of immoral acts happening right here in our own country every single day and we don't raise a finger to stop it, so why should we meddle further in a region of the world we have already fundamentally enraged and destroyed. Greed, that is why... There is a buck to be made in Iran, and by golly, we are going to go and get that buck! It's time for Americans to reflect and grow up. Please... for the world's sake!

    I voted for Obama, because he was the best of the worst, and in some small way I felt he was different... well shame on me! We are still dealing with the world in the same way, just with more intelligent rhetoric, and that is all. Our country is led by those with money, and those that have access to backing of people with money. Let's fix those problems here first before we worry about the other countries of the world struggling with manhood issues.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  82. katy Heys

    I think we should stay out of Iran's internal affairs. Just like we want Iran to stay out of our internal affairs.

    If we want any traction with Iran in future I think we must treat them as equals. You know, I'm okay, you're okay. Let the Iranian people speak and act for themselves.

    Further, we don't need to give Iran any ammunition against us.


    June 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  83. Susan

    So when the French helped us in the revolutionary war when England was eating our lunch, they shouldn't have? You folks have no memory do you.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  84. Jared

    I believe that we need to stay out of it. America is not police of the world. If the Iranian people want change then let them do it in their own way and in their own time. We need to take care of our own back yard before we go messing with others, for crying out loud the we still don't actually elect our own president, the electorial college still has that power.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  85. George

    It's a fine distinction we have to draw here. I don't think any American really likes Ahmadinejad, or even comes anywhere near tollerating him. But we can dislike him and get absolutely no say in who they elect. If we don't let them sort things out, aren't we becoming a dictatorship in someone else's country?

    Once America or other countries are threatened, like actually threatened, then we can take steps to remove Ahmadinejad. Until then, we should follow the Prime Directive and not interfere in the internal affairs of another culture.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  86. Bill

    I believe we should support the Iranian people but stay away from the politics. This is a crisis for the Iranian people to solve.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  87. Katy

    The question we should be asking ourselves is not "Should we encourage 'fair' elections, reject human rights violations, promote basic freedom for the citizens of Iran, etc." Of course we "should" do those things. The question we need to ask is, "Will US interference in this matter accomplish any of those goals, or will it only worsen the situation? Do we have the diplomatic currency to make a positive impact, or would are involvement only amount to self-righteous meddling?"

    June 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  88. Ken Breslow

    I'm in agreement with Mr. Moorehead. We often speak out of both sides of our mouths ... Here at home, we want less government interference. Abroad, we want more ... What gives?

    I don't believe, like, condone any form of extremism. Iran scares me. But it would scare me a great deal more if we attempt to stir up further the nest of resentment and hatred.


    June 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  89. Matt

    Anybody who has siblings knows that if you're in a vicious fist fight with your brother, and a person WHO YOU BOTH RESENT steps in to play "peace-maker", the brothers will quickly forget about their dispute and turn on the stranger. If the U.S. steps any would be the greatest disservice for those seeking reform in Iran. Stay out of it America!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  90. Patti

    When Katherine Harris didn't allow a recount of Florida votes George Bush became president even after it was determined Al Gore would have won. When will we stop being hypocrites!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  91. Elena

    i wish the USA gets its nose out of Latinamerica.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  92. Darlene

    When we tried to help Iraq look what happened? The democrats had a field day with President Bush over him taking a stand against what was going on in Iraq. If we don't want the "same" thing, we'd better stay out of Iran's problems. In Iran's election case, the only difference in the 2 candidates that were running were their names not their politics.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  93. Bob

    I wonder how we would have liked it if Iran decided our 2000 election was not fair and decided to help us count the Florida presidential ballots? It's their country and while we should espouse free and open elections, their political system needs to deal with it.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  94. Flip

    To: "To Iran"

    I am pretty sure we are already involved. It's simply a matter of how our leaders are going to handle our involvement. Who are we going to trust in Iran? Who among our men can we trust? The task at hand, given the US's global involvement is less "do we get involved" and more, "ok Mr. Obama, what should we do now?"...

    If we're talking about public involvement, well yea that's a fairly sensitive issue isn't it? I would advise against any public address on the matter especially aired to the muslim world. but that's just me.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  95. agaddis

    If we interfere in this, I'm leaving America. I'm deadly serious.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  96. Bob C

    Moorhead Kennedy is right. Don't interfere. If the Iranian people want change, they'll do it themselves.

    That's all the US needs is to stick their nose in something that doesn't concern them. As for looking at elections, look at the ones concernng bush for president in the US. Talk about a stealing an election.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  97. Jabril

    Great idea Daniel!! And while we're at it, let's invade them, dump billions of dollars in to that invasion, set good ol boy network KBR up with a few no-bid contracts–let them electricute a few of our finest men and women–because everything is hunky dory back here in the good ol' US of A!! people just don't get it do you? You're worse than the religious fanatics over there with your type of thinking. Yeah, that'll bring peace...another US intervention in a region where everybody is pissed at us as it is, while our president bends over backwards trying to repair decades of damage done in that region (the so called "apology tour" really?? I'm sure we'd be WAYYY better off if he went over there both guns blazing, chastising them for not copy-catting the baby nation of the world). Daniel Nelson, you have my vote for US Ambassador to Iran...NOT!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  98. Sal S.

    As far as if we should get involved with Iran what so ever , Especially a helping hand for there people , is a direct confrontation with the government officials. It is quiet premature won't you say ?? We need to have an existing relationship, something over having nothing, with the leaders of Iran in order to help with their policies and current humanitarian issues. Even though that would mean dealing with the current disfavored president whos term will end in 2013 . It gives us an oppurtunity not to cross the radicals but rather transfer our message from them to the people ( a sign of respect to all ) . A more peaceful approach and will help the people of Iran get their votes heard for a fair and righteous election in 2013. Maybe then the people can have a pro-western president that will tranfer the true message of the iranian people, a message that will bring a calm peaceful tone from Iran to the rest of the world.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  99. joe

    What all of you see on TV and online is always skewed to one point of view. Example: a video of girls at a bus stop being hit with battons by police. What the media focuses on is the girls getting hit. What they dont focus on is the beginning of the video. The girls are in a circle kicking someone on the ground. Toward the end of that video you see who was on the ground. A police officer. Always two sides to a story but the media skewes it toward a western agenda. We should leave them sort out their own problems.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  100. Amazing

    I would like to know why the US has to think they have any say in any other country but their own? Leave the other countries alone and concentrate on the United States. I have talked to many people online and they feel that the US doesn't have a right to manage other countries. Even speaking with Israelis whom I think are formidable people (and this was speaking to some about 10 years ago – 1998) they think they wouldn't have the problems they have if the US would just stay out of their and other countries' business. I totally AGREE!

    June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7