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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. Nancy

    LOL!! Some folks just can't comprehend what they read. Mike, I said Obama "sees" America as the Gestapo thus his do nothing mentality. He's only brave enough to attack flies. LOL!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  2. Scott

    Look people this is a very simple answer. How would we as Americans reacted if during our election there was an uprising and China or Russia would have come in and started handing out suggestions? HELLO. We as Americans would have jumped all over them. Bottom line, sometimes civil wars are good. We had one, if you don't remember, and look at the outcome. LET IRAN HANDLE IRAN!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  3. Bruce M.

    Generally I agree with Mr. Kennedy.
    The more the US asserts itself in this matter only provides the "old guard" with more ammunition to try to use the US as a scapegoat for all of Irans problems, and also problems in other parts of the Mid-East.
    The US should mind its own business for the most part in this matter. The US President should only limit himself to say that the US supports completely fair and democratic elections that represent the true intent and will of all voting citizents in Iran. The way I see it, part of the beauty of what is happening is that the true "nature" and intent of the current Iranian leadership (Ahmadinejad, "Supreme" leader, etc) is finally being revealed for the entire world to see. Either way this election turns out, the legitimacy of those currently in power in Iran will be rightfully called into question, not only by the people of Iran, but by the rest of the world. The US and other countries in the world can then decide afterwards how we choose to deal with the next government that represents Iran afterwards...and if it DOES turns out to be all the "old bosses" then I think their credibility will be *severely* damaged with just about all respectable countries.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  4. bob

    Why doesn't the US interfer in Saudi Arabia then? If so many on this thread wish the US to interfer in someway with this Iranian election, then where is the call for Justice and freedom for the citizens of Saudi Arabia? What about Zimbabwe?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  5. sawheat

    Maybe we should try something different and stay the heck out of it for once... We've made enough of the world angry with our "helping." Let them figure it out for themselves. It's almost an insult to the Iranian people to suggest an interference. They're just as capable as we are. Unless the people are asking the world for help, let them handle it. I have faith in the Iranian people to do what they need to do.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  6. Christopher

    Dunno wot to say really but all i know is that they need support and they need it quickly,and to those who are sayin like its nona our business and woteva ya bettera know that its called a support for human rights not interfere as Kennedy the wanker said !Shame on those who are afraid of helpin others,doesn make a difference to me,Iranian,Iraqi,African...etc.Lets call it all Human and not saying my country saying my earth.Lets say we as all the nations not just as english or an Mr.Kennedy please do me a favour and go back to your sad corner !

    June 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  7. Alex

    I swear some of you have no political sense. The absolute worst thing the US could do right now is get involved in ANY way. Why do you think the interior minister has already tried to bring us into the mix by accusing the US of interfering in the elections? The only way these oppressive regimes can stay afloat is by waving the idea of an external enemy who poses a threat and uniting the people against that threat...People in North Korea are convinced that the US is the reason they have no food or electricity..its never the governments fault, its the evil westerners. I would go so far as to say that there are many dictatorships, oppressive regimes, etc that have had their reign extended or still exist because US meddling has kept them from collapsing upon themselves. Leave Iran ALONE! If we are lucky and the people have reached the extent that they are willing to fight to cast of the chains of the council of guardians, if not then this uprising will be viciously put down, leaving anger and remorse and setting the stage for the true upheaval. Any involvement by the US will justify accusations that these uprisings have more to do with external interference and not the Iranian people demanding change.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  8. Albert

    We haven't heard a word from Spain, France, England, Russia, China, Japan, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Norway, etc.

    For heavens sake, we can't even decide an election in Minnesota! Why should Iran listen to us?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  9. Mike

    Right On Moorhead Kennedy!
    If the US had stayed out of Gaza elections, then the people would have held Hamas accountable. Instead, Israel and the US are the common enemy. US and Israel cut off government funds, fomented a civil war between Fatah and Hamas, then Israel invaded Gaza and used illegal white phosphor.
    When will the US learn to stay out of it?
    Darfur and Sudan is a completely different situation. It is not a stable country with democratic processes. It needs military control until a local government can be established.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  10. Jose

    I agree with Kennedy. We should not interfere because it will only make us look bad in the eyes of the Iranian people. Even though there are protesters asking for help from the US, I'm sure that as soon as we get in there that opinion will change and we'll be the great Satan again. Plus I'm tired of getting blamed for all of the Arab worlds problems. Most Arab countries are worried about Iran but don't get involved because they are waiting for the US to do something. Once we actually do, they'll praise us in private and badmouth us in public which increases the Arab worlds hostility to us. Lets just stay away and let this play out.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  11. Veer

    How would have US liked other countries interfere when Prez Bush stole the election from Al Gore. Is it not our arrogance that we want to preach what we do not practice?. As far human rights are concerned, Why do not we go and interfere in China and do something about human rights. What did we do after Tinaman Square? It is absolutely being a hipocrate when we talk about human rights. I agree with Mr. Kennedy.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  12. AboutEnough

    No more interference with other countries and no more foreign aid, either.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  13. RichP

    Stay out, don't put your noses in other peoples business. Now if DC would just follow that rule here we'd be in much better shape.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  14. Olechka

    Let Iran figure out what Iran wants. USA has done enough damaged to this country. When Iranians were asking USA for help to bring about democracy in their country, USA sold itself out for oil, and because of that Religious Revolution was sucessful. Iran has a second chance to have a free country, but however they define freedom is up to them, not up to USA. Enough with shoving American version of freedom down the rest of the world's throat.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  15. Chris

    I am amazed when I read these comments. My personal opinion is that people are making comments and judgments on based on events of the past. I do not at all see the events taking place now similar to the events of the past. These people are pissed because they were robbed of their vote. They are trying to stand up against an oppressive government. The United States has long supported the pursuit of freedom abroad and Iran should be no different. This is a Huge opportunity. I fail to see how anyone cannot see that. This situation has brought us insight into the people of Iran in a way I do not recall seeing before. It also seems that people are quick to think that "involvement" means sending troops which is pretty simplistic thinking. Technology has already shown us that there are ways of working with this situation without direct "boots on the ground" involvement. It would be hypocritical of the United States to Not support Freedom and Democracy here when we have long rattled sabers for it elsewhere.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  16. Leah

    I agree that US should not stick their nose into other people business (Iran) but that doesn't mean US cannot help from within
    As long as Obama Administration can help and make sure that Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and all other social networking is up and running at all time, We can help them a great deals by using online tools.
    Even Iran cracks down on social networking site, people will is much stronger and people will find a way to communicate.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  17. Shane

    As much as we think Iran needs to be disciplined and all, my opinion is that it's their country, their government and their everything. Americans or anyone interefering is simply foolish!
    We are not the world police. World policing has cost us our money, lives and values. Why not let Europe take on an issue or two. Let them spend their livelihoods and taxes on other countries. Why US or Canada?

    Obama gave a great speech in Cairo that strengthened the world and I believe that's what shook these people to action. But that was through no interference or meddling. So, I am sure we can do lots without actually interefering.

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy 100%. This is the man who actually was in the midst of one of the worse hostage taking incidents ever. 444 days is a long time. If he don't understand Iran, I don't know who would.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  18. Mark Johnson

    ~What makes this whole issue really scary is the NUKES...the little crazy man and the NUKES.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  19. estamil

    Human rights were being violated in another part of the world. Almost 20000 died and NOBODY even bothered to raise a voice. Do we say that US should only interfere in countries where it needs a regime change and not in others where ordinary people get killed?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  20. Jojo mama

    Was the Iranian govt trying to interfere the Gore-Bush election?

    because we got robbed why should we feel like we have to interfere when our vote didnt count in our own country. not to mention it will unite enemies for a common cause against the US.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  21. bill

    bye bye Agaddis

    June 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  22. woodie

    I don't believe isolation policies ever helped us in the past. We practice this policy while Germany committed genicide. I think it's important to let the people of Iran know, we are on their side against oppression of any kind. But certainly we are a voice and not a hammer.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  23. Agadar

    To you realize the hypocracy of your own post. You want taxpayer money and US involvment, but you also mention you want to deny equal rights to gay americans. You stated you are an Iranian American. I seem to remember a time when most Americans didn't want to give you any access to our great nation. Now you want to deny that to others yet have us do what the Iranians themselves will not.

    Freedom and democracy only succeed when the seeds are planted by those from within. If you want to intervene in Iranian politics, then you should move back to Iran and commit yourself to that end. I am tired of sending our money and spilling our blood for people who would just as easily burn our flag and drag our children through the streets.

    If the Iranians want freedom (again) then they themselves need to demand it from their government.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  24. Anthony

    We really should keep out and keep quiet.

    This is not like Poland or Ukraine or even Lebanon, where words from a president and assistance was welcomed. There is too much history here between our two countries. To get involved strengthen the regime.

    And in any event, we should not pin too much hope on Mr. Mousavi, who was PM during the 1980s. He was approved as a candidate by the Mullahs and was one of the founders of Hezbollah.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  25. Kevin

    For those in favor of us getting involved in their election, how would you have felt as Americans if some other country would have forcibly interfered during the U.S.'s "disputed" election between Bush and Gore?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  26. Jay Sath

    I say let Iran implode itself. There is no reason to get involved. The world knows that Iran is led by a Dictator – it's up to their people to free themselves – same with North Korea unless they launch a bomb at one of our allies.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  27. Douglas Collins, Calgary, Alberta

    Of course we should stay out of this. The United States loves to put itself in the position of nation building and playing world policeman. And now you're in another war that was based upon lies, and that you cannot win.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  28. Eric

    I would agree with Mr. Kennedy. Lets worry and take of our own for once. Let the Iranians figure it our for themselves.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  29. Paul

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy. This is Iran's democracy at work. The people spoke. They feel cheated. They are rising to the occasion to challenge the election. They are standing up for themselves. We do not need to get involved everytime there is some unrest in other countries. Let the Iranian people fix their own problem. The USA cannot keep getting involved in things that is not its business.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  30. chuck

    As much as we would like to interfere, even the opposition supporters would not want us to. They have all been indoctrinated to believe that all of their problems stem from meddling from the U.S. Yes, the U.S. has meddled in their business and they ALL resent it. Iranians in particular need to take care of their own business. They are not fighting over democracy. They are arguing over two candidates that don't really have an iota of difference about them. So, it's all very ridiculous really to see them standing up for absolutely nothing. If they wanted real change they would amend their protests to include the one gray haired fool who has all of the power because the idiot citizens believe he is their eternal salvation. They have been taught since childhood that to oppose the supreme leader is to oppose God. Until this ignorance is erased they will get exactly what is coming to them, which is what they have been getting for 30 years. It all seems silly to us for a priest to be in charge of 42 million people, but U.S. has it's own powerful religious leaders who are able to affect electoral outcomes because the people blindly follow whatever they are told in order to make it to the big house after death. Can you say Mormons and Proposition 8?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  31. Sergio

    Amen, Mr. Kennedy...we have our own issues to resolve here, within our borders, and being protrayed as "the watchdog" of the world will eventualy bite us in the @ss.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  32. OS2toMAC

    I've seen some compare this to Hitler in WWII, or to the French intervening in our Revolution. Well, I believe in WWII the other countries requested our assistance. We sent that assistance as materials for the war. Once we were attacked, we then jumped in with both feet.

    I also believe that we requested France's assistance during or Revolution, but I could be wrong.

    I would not have an issue with assisting another country stop an invader, or another country's citizens (a viable opposition government) overthrow their leadership.....If we are asked to do so. Stepping in when not asked is not the thing to do. In the first Gulf War, we stepped in when asked by Kuwait. We went as far as to get Iraqi forces out of there, and less able to attempt to do it again, then stepped away.

    Same thing we should do in this case, *if* we are asked for assistance. Give that assistance, and then step away.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  33. Jeff

    For all intents and purposes the election in Iran is to elect a puppet or figurehead for the ruling clerics. The president of Iran has little or no power to institute change. If anyone thinks Iran has a democracy they are uninformed. IIran is a theocracy run by a group of clerics. There is nothing done that does not have their direction and approval. At least the women of Iran have the right to vote, unlike some of our so-called friends in the region.
    We need to stay out of Iran's internal business.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  34. charmaine allen

    We should absolutely stay out of Iran's election. President Obama is doing the right thing by not interfering, and John McCain and the Republicans are all wrong. We cannot and should not police the entire world. Every country does not have to be like America. We have enough problems of our own to solve.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  35. Joel

    Has anyone thought to ask whether either of these factions even want our support? Neither side wants to viewed as sympathetic to the US or any western philosophy. We need to sit back and wait until the dust settles and deal with whoever remains in power. The west can only hinder this process.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  36. David

    The bottom line is that the more the US interferes the more it will strengthen the very forces it seeks to diminish. Let this issue be about Iranian hardliners vs. Iranian reformers, not Pro Iranians vs. Pro Americans (the kiss of death for any protester momentum).

    Why can't educated people see this clearly??

    June 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  37. asdf

    One last thing on partisan stereotypes:

    1. The Lincoln Administration (Republican) is responsible for the creation of the IRS

    2. The Nixon Administration (Republican) gave us the EPA

    3. FDR (Democrat) gave us the GI Bill and the successful prosecution of WWII

    4. Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) got us through WWI

    5. And Andrew Jackson (Democrat) is the only president in history to ELIMINATE the national debt – that is eliminate ALL federal debt not just balance the budget (both parties have frequently balanced the budget; Jackson ELIMINATED ALL national debt).

    June 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  38. Ratman Kansas

    When the Iranian people sort this out to our liking, we can ask for their help in reversing the ACORN tainted election last fall.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  39. Behzad

    What's going on in Iran is complex. There is a power struggle at the top levels of government. It's really between Rafsanjani and Khamenei. Ahmadinejad and Mousavi are players to some extent and proxies to another. So far this has not been a call to topple the government. It is a call to shift its priorities, policies and programs.

    This is not revolution; it is evolution – which is always a slow process. The US may want to accelerate it but there is no way we can. We have two choices: act or observe. If we observe, Iranians will proceed at their own pace. If we act we will give hardliners an enemy against which they can unite the country to their side. We will actually stop Iranian progress! It doesn't even matter what the nature of our "involvement" is. Whatever we do will be seen as interference in domestic affairs and generate backlash.

    You show respect to a sleeping bear by letting it sleep, not by poking it.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  40. Mike

    If they want help in this matter, let them be the ones to ask for it. You don't just go over to someone you think is choking and give them the heimlich without asking them if they're choking first...

    With 10's of thousands out in protest, I think they're getting their message across just fine. People need to fight for their own rights once in a while, its healthy.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  41. Cal

    "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." Thanks to Obama and men like Moorhead Kennedy, few good men only belong in the the Corps. If we did like Obama and Kennedy wanted we'd all be speaking German, Russian, or maybe Chinese in the future. No doubt Obama and Kennedy would've turned blind eye to the Holocaust and Hitler.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  42. Arbibi Ashoy

    The US is already interfering. It's called the Voice of America which is being beamed by satellite into the homes of the Iranian people. The Voice of America network is funded by the US government and is telling the Iranian people that their elections have been rigged and all sorts of unfounded allegations. 40 million people voted in the Iranian elections and demonstrations by protesters (even though they may number hundreds of thousands) doesn't prove the elections are rigged. If another country were to beam propaganda into US territory, the US would have shot down their satellite but the Iranian government has to tolerate US meddling in its affairs because of the US's military might.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  43. Adam

    Isolationism rocks. If we leave them alone, they'll leave us alone. It's so crazy it just might work!

    Only not...

    To William, who references WWII history as if he was an expert, you are correct – we did have a policy of isolationism "until our interests were at stake". By that, of course, you mean when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in an attempt to cripple our Navy in anticipation of an eventual invasion, right? Thank god we didn't...I don't know...try to step in and stop Japan from attacking China, or maybe let Hitler know "Hey! If you roll tanks into Warsaw we're probably gonna knock you around a bit!" Think what might have happened – maybe a few minor military operations (Operation Polish Shield) could have prevented the worst armed conflict in the history of the world.

    But no...turn the cheek, let them resolve their own issues as we did. Excellent idea, because that has worked so well for so many other countries. Like...umm...

    And to those who have the audacity to say "I bet no one in uniform is saying we should take action", keep that card in your hand. Mr. Obama never wore a uniform at all, and he's the head of our entire military – I'm just as qualified as he is to weigh in on this subject, if not more so.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  44. Linda

    Well said, Mr. Kennedy. We need to keep our sticky little fingers from poking others in the eye.

    Sit back, grab some popcorn and just watch. Things will shake out the way they should without any help from us.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  45. Colin

    I agree 100%

    June 18, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  46. Caesar

    As a hardcore Republican, I have to disagree with Mr. Kennedy. I think that in order to bring peace to any other country in the world, we must wage war against its people first. Because without war, peace would be meaningless.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  47. lovet i umesi

    I sincerely hope US will listen to the voice of professoinal wisdom and stay away from Iran. The sooner the US will stop getting agitated over fair or unfair election in Iran, the better before we begin to hear of WMD. The US can no longer afford more of her youths to waste for other countries. Iraq is still taking the children of America. U S of A, STAY AWAY FROM IRAN!!!!!!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  48. Fauzul Khan

    Mr. Kennedy is absolutely right. Leave Iran alone. That is their problem. We've thousand problem in our hands. News media is focusing too much.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  49. Ben

    I completely agree. Let the Iranians figure it out. Even if there were a good reason for interfering, we wouldn't be gaining anything. The opposition candidate doesn't seem all that different from Ahmadinejad. My guess is we'll still be dealing with the same Iran at the end of the day. Remember Ayatollah Khomeini is the real man in charge, so these elections are a farce anyway.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  50. Little Hawk

    To all those who are suggesting that we get involved in a hostile country's national elections to ensure they are free and fair, I'd suggest that we first petition our government to set an example with a friendly government, namely Saudi Arabia. There are no national elections in Saudi Arabia!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  51. Agadar

    I love the people arguing about human rights. In this country we have people being exploited everyday in the workforce. We have illegals being murdered for the color of their skin and being exloited for their labor. We have gay tax paying citizens that are denied the right to co-exist with equal rights and we have hunger, poverty and denial of access to education for blacks.

    Their argument is we need to go into another country to save them from human rights violations.

    Listen up, clean your own house America! Pass immigration legislation. Allow gays and lesbians equal access to rights. Allow for healthcare reform LIKE EVERY OTHER ADVANCED NATION, then tell me how we need to save the Iranians for freedom.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  52. Nick T

    If we were willing to go after Saddam merely because we didn't like him why no Iran's "President" as well??? The guy is severely evil and misguided. The fact that nobody has bumped him off yet is an absolute miracle.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  53. Dan Canadian

    As a canadian I will tell you. KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF IT. Haven't the United States put their nose in enough problems and caused more? Let President Obama take care of this. He is going about this the right way so far.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  54. John

    Funny, we are sooooooo concerned about interfering in the internal affairs of Iran, yet we give them a pass when they meddle in the internal affairs of Iraq, Palestine, Israel etc... with their state sponsored support of terrorism. Oh, wait, supportiing terrorism in another country is hmmmm, wait, yes, it's providing aid and comfort to freedom fighters, right? So we should just sit back and ignore the state sponsored terrorism world tour the Mullahs are on and bury our heads in the sand? I do hope we get involved so some of the people on this board do leave for good. Maybe Iran might be a good first place to try to settle down with the family. Have a nice trip.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  55. Steve

    If we state obvious facts in our news (i.e. "They announced the election winner in hours, but haven't done a recount in days" etc.) then we're okay. But this is their business. They (Iran) want respect. The best way to show that (and earn their respect back) is to let them evolve themselves. Whether for the positive or negative (in our perspective), then we can re-engage politically based on their outcomes.

    To interfere in any other way would go a long way into America's less than perfect reputation of trying to run the world.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  56. Aaron

    Hey – here's a guy (Mr. Kennedy) who embodies a true "conservative". Keep to your business America and certainly don't presume to be the "fix it" specialists for the rest of the world. That kind of arrogance has only hurt our standing and our ability to lead.

    We are far better off to stand by and allow this to play out. The hard line Clerics and Politicians will still accuse the U.S. of inteference but let's not give them any grounds to make the case.

    As Reagan policies helped bring down the Soviet Union, the young people in the Islamic world see President Obama as an indication the U.S. is truly capable of change and a force for good in the region. Let's keep it that way!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  57. Dude

    In case you haven't noticed, the supreme leader of Iran isn't your generations, and isn't familiar wit the term 'human rights' I can only assume that you are someone who thought that we should sacrifice blood and empty our treasury to 'save' a little wealthy, oil rich nation from its self appointed ruler..... I MIGHT have supported the war after the fact if oil dropped to $10 a barrel,... not $140 like last summer,... the oil rich nations are punishing us for not paying attention.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  58. justaguy

    Kennedy is right on this one. It is time to let them do some self determination. No one is kiiding themselves into thinking they'll end up with any more freedom than they had before the election. But we need to stay out of their process. There is enough resentment against the US in that country already. Anything we do will just be perceived as more selfserving meddlling, which is what it would be at this point. If this begins boiling over into armed conflict that spills outside the country then reconsider. But at this point it should be hands off.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  59. jim

    I totally agree with Mr. Kennedy , for us to stay out of their elections . It should be their citizens to resolve there unresloved issues either with their elections or leadership.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  60. Lon johnson

    Why do we continue to push our will where it is not wanted? Those people do not need nor want our arrogance,and I cannot blame them

    June 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  61. Julie

    I believe we as a nation should allow other nations to determine their own fates...we had to fight for our freedom from England, with much blood shed being a result. We have enough problems of our own in this country (crushing debt, medical care for all, economic downfall, hunger, etc.) and we should focus on our problems. If foreign countries want our help, they'll ask for it.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  62. MikeMaz

    Stay out of it, let it play out, and respond in kind. I think most of us are tired of being the worlds policemen. There are many countries that have oppressive leaders.. we cannot get involved in all of them.. and when we do we are accused of doing it for alterior motives. Our record in that region is miserable with Iran and Iraq.. Leave well enough alone and see how it plays out.
    I dont see anyoen helping us when things are bad.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  63. Jewey Jew

    I say we meddle behind the scenes and push the people of Iran to continue harrasing thier government. Maybe even push them to attack Ahmadinejad. Remember here, that it is suppose to be a government of and by the people....we seem to forget that. I hope Iranians can make it happen. Fight for the cause my brothers!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  64. MV

    I wish every American would read a book called "All The Shah's Men" or at least look up "Operation Ajax" to better understand why Iranians distrust the US. They know their own history, but we don't know ours.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  65. Steve Peach

    I agree with Mr. Kennedy whole heartedly! We need to mind our own business and stop telling the world that the United States is going to push our values onto any and all countries. In the old testement of the Holy Bible, the various groups who are today known as muslim supporters hated Christians and would kill anyone who didn't believe as they did. This attitude has NEVER changed, and this hate is taught in Islamic schools throughout the world today. So how would we EVER think that we could go into a country with these basic beliefs and change their attitude and make them a country with freedoms like ours? We need to spend our time and efforts helping those in this country who are out of work, who need to be trained for a different job, and can live in a free society without going crazy and killing their neighbors because they don't worship the same way.

    We don't need to be messing with Iran. We need to be focused on fixing OUR country right now.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  66. Simonite

    Mr. Kennedy has experienced it first hand. If it is not the people, the current government can act unkindly with the US citizens currently in Iran – North Korea's imprisonment of the reporters is an example. Iran's view of the US may have changed but irrational and uncontrolled mob reaction is still not predictable. The US should keep away from any direct support until help is requested by a credible agency – the UN may be the best medium to make such request based on humanitarian grounds. The US in its present economic crisis is wise not to get into monetary involvement now and even in future without economic benefit for the US. Gone are the days, we had money to throw around to save other countries only to face change of political cliimates and suffer criticism for involvement.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  67. Little Hawk

    Lynanne M. Reed wrote: No other country took part in the US Civil War… it was ours to figure out, and we did.

    Ms. Reed, you should brush up on your elementary history books. The Confederacy used Bermuda as a stopping point when running domestic goods to England and returning arms to the South. Though there was no actual participation by England, the Monarchy did provide support to the Confederacy which most likely prolonged the war and led to more deaths and casualties than necessary.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  68. Believe in Untiy

    Our Republican folks here are keen that we poke our nose in Iran and other nations and spread their kind of democracy: Stealing elections, divide the nation based on race, wealth, and hypocrisy, spread guns (even in national parks through a credit card bill!!!), total disregard for our finest men and women by sending them to missions which are based on lies, etc. etc.
    Please you Republicans: if you believe so hypocritically about freedom and liberty, give up the senate race in Minnesota. Don't steal that one too knowing your records.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  69. Hmmm....

    I remember Iraq- we intefered and that changed our country forever. Some said we should, others said we should not. I remember the protests in our burning streets during a war and which saw death on a college campus at our own hand. We would not have appreciated foreign interests jerking us about for their best interests. This is the struggle of Iran for self determination and the kind of government they wish for themselves. We should remain respectful of that struggle and the sovereignty of that nation- even if we disagree with it. And if that time comes when many of us do not agree with the direction our government is taking us and we take to the streets against each other I hope others will do the same for us.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  70. WinnetteD

    I completely agree with Mr. Kennedy. In our present global structure, sovereignty is arguably the most important element of a state. Iran has its soveregnty and that needs to be respected. In any of our debated elections, did Iran or other nation's try to interfere?? How would we, as American people, have felt if the UK had demanded a recount when Bush won instead of Gore?? Simply put, unless it directly threatens our vital interests, their politics are none of our business. Let us stop trying to pretend to be all-knowing and give the Iranian people the respect and dignity they deserve: let us trust that they can deal with their own problems in their own way.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  71. Lance

    Maybe we could lend Iran a team from ACORN under the leadership of Jimmy Carter. They have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to running backwards elections.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  72. George

    Would someone please refresh my memory on how Iran interfered with our election in 2000 after Bush fraudulently stole the election from Gore?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  73. Jordan

    I'm glad to see so much support for what Moore is saying. We sit up here on the 49th parallel and watch CNN perpetuate the myth of America being the bearers of peace to the world (a gift that is given to it with M-16s and Hellfire missiles). The rest of the world sees through this. The American government is not the white knight of the world. It's the nosy neighbor you wish would stop knocking on the door everytime a strange vehicle travels down the street. You know, the one that drives you to leave your curtains shut on that side of the house.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  74. Flip

    To Justine:

    Involvement does not mean "taking over." Help does not mean "invade."

    What I am sure the US WILL do is converse, have meetings, and learn about the Iranian situation first hand. As a result, we will give our opinion internally and hopefully help them.

    To all: So many comments read "we don't need to stick our noses...etc"

    Yes, we do. If I see a burglar break into my neighbour's house via the bathroom, and a woman is in that bathroom, I'm still going straight to that bathroom to help that woman. It is very simple. We are not nations, we are all people. The US must and HAS to be involved.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  75. Toni from TX

    Although I believe things are somewhat different in Iran today than they were in 1979, I totally agree with Mr. Kennedy. Besides, even if Mir Hossein Mousavi is successful in getting another election and wins, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the one in charge and he approved the election results initially. This is no win situation for Iran and the United States. Moreover, there is no way that we, as Americans, would have allowed another country to interfere in Bush v Gore.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  76. tb

    you are sooo very right!!!!!!!!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  77. John

    And then there is the fact both candidates are EVIL. How many thousands were executed when the guy who came in 2nd place was PM of Iran? oh yes, just as many as the current president. both hate the US, GreatBrit and France and will stop at nothing to use the Iranian Military Machine to mingle in our affairs. Let the Iranian people figure it for themselves.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  78. Cyrus

    So seat back and watch the fanatic government killing students one after the other.

    Why should we care?!

    June 18, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  79. Stan

    I love how the Republicans are all in favor of "free and fair elections" in Iran and are trying to act as if they've cornered the market on supporting democracy. These are the same people who went all the way to the Supreme Court to stop the recount in Florida in 2000 and who have done all they can to suppress votes in state after state where they control the legislatures. Please.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  80. Nathan

    I wholeheartedly agree–it's important to say, or not say, the right things at this point. Regardless of our reaction, I think most Iranians clearly understand our general position: we would like reform in the country, improved civil liberties, scaled back militarism, etc. But when we express that thought in the middle of their turmoil it is certain to be seen as meddling, and will ultimately produce a backlash in one form or the other.

    To think: we can learn from past experiences, respect the history of a country and people, and understand their political institutions–even when we disagree and before we cultivate our foreign policy. Hasn't been done enough in recent times.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  81. Alabama

    A note to "To Sarah": Your own post lacks antecedants to the pronoun "they" and modifier "their." This recalls a saying about people who live in glass houses.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  82. Woeful

    Stay out of the internal affairs of Iran. Let them acuse us of interfering if they so desire. For once this country needs to keep its big mouth shut.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  83. Johnny

    I am amused at what some of you folks wrote. The U.S. is the democratic almighty of all the Worlds, and therefore we should shove it down others throat. If an election outcome is not to our liking, then it was not a fair election. Bush vs Gore ring a bell? I never heard anyone in Iran, Iraq, or wherever for that matter, protesting and demanding a recount. It is so easy for some of you to sit back pass judgement on others, while under this false sense of freedom and democracies. Wire tapping ring a bell? For those of you that skip history class for the gym; Iran had a democratic government that we overthrow because he did not do what we want him to. Now we are saying to these very same people that we want to bring democracy to your country.

    A special on the French freeing us; there would not have been any G. Washington, Jefferson, and the likes. The freedom the past men and women fought and die for, does not equate to what these folks in Iran claim they are fighting for. The freedom you site that the Iranians want that many sought centuries ago is ludicrous. These new generation don't want nothing more than the right wear tight clothing, expose themselves in public, gay & lesbian bars, strip club, mtv, and likes. In other words...GARBAGE.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  84. jphilly08

    The US has no business or even credibility talking about free and fair elections after what happened in the 2000 and 2004 elections. Americans sat back and let their own elections get stolen right from under them. how could they chastise other countries for rigging elections? hell, at least Iran has paper ballots!!!! cant say that about america. so aleast you COULD go back and recount them. I wish we could do that here. who really has better election processes? iran or america?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  85. cecilia

    How refreshing to hear an intelligent opinon voiced by a reliable source. these statments could not have been more accurate, understandable or reasonable.
    Are there more people out there with similar minds. Oh, of course, we have President Obama and his Administration.
    How amazing that President Obama is doing exactly the right thing.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  86. Dariush Mohabbat

    The key issue here is not "cautious diplomacy" but rather a violation of human rights, which is so apparent that even Obama's daughters could see.

    The Obama Administration is standing back to see what is going to be the outcome of this crisis and then take sides with the victor of this battle. At the end of day, the outcome of the elections will not necessarily have a huge impact on the Iranian government's stand on nuclear energy. However, they will, as leaders of the free world, carry the stain of being totally oblivious to human right violations for until the end of time.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  87. Robert Dulany

    It's an absurd ignorance to suggest Mousavi is a quest for freedom and Ahmenejad is the anti-freedom candidate.

    These conclusions are being drawn by people who apparently have no information at all about Iran, save commentary thats based on other commentary, finally causing them to draw their own 'independent' about hook in mouth.

    I'm always a bit dismayed about how people draw conclusions in this manner. It's foolish to say the least.

    If you knew more about the situation, you might conclude that neither candidate represents freedom. Or the contrary, that both candidates represent visions of a free Iran, within the context of their own culture.

    Why would being held hostage to the U.S. world view be freedom? Why would being independent of the U.S. be considered lack of freedom? Subservience is freedom? Independence is totalitarianism?

    Frankly Iran is like most democracies,a burgeoning middle class and jobs and wealth = reelection. Bad economy means the opposition is looking better....maybe enough to win, sometimes falling short, but usually a bad economy helps the 'out of power' faction.

    Translating that into quests for freedom is so much gobbledy gook.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  88. Steve

    The kids can thank their parents for bringing these nuts to power nearly 30 years ago. We should stay the heck out, and if they kill each other – sad as it is – so be it.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  89. Michelle

    I agree. Stay out of it. We need to stop worrying about everyone else's business and worry about our own. There is something definitely happening in Iran, but we need to let that develop on its own, without interference.

    Want to fix something? Fix 9% unemployment.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  90. John

    He is absolutely right on many points.
    A. It matters very little who is President in Iran. The President is a total puppet of the Religious mullahs, in any event.
    B. Protesting the election only plays into Ahmawhat'shisname hands. His only platform seem so be that the U.S. is always trying to interfere and he is against U.S. interference. Why help out his case by interfering?
    C. This is the fight of the Iranian people. They are a sovereign nation. You can bet if they call us for help and we help them, they will hate us and condemn us for helping them.
    D. Their doesn't seem to be any military elements that supports the disenfranchised group. So, it is only a matter of time till Ahmawhatshisname wins.
    E. They are not our friends like Great Britain, France or Germany. Why should we provide help to people that our not our friends?
    F. It would go down in history, as yet another chapter of U.S. meddling in Iran.
    G. In short, express a general sense of misgivings, but no more. The Iranian people need to earn their own freedom. It will be valuable to them if they do. If we give it to them, they will somehow twist it into a humiliation that's been imposed on them..

    June 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  91. Joel

    Ahmadinejad or Mousavi there is no difference, they are 2 sides of the same coin. Is mousavi pro-western? I find that laughable if you have followed his carrer during the Iran-Iraq war. He has already said he is for going ahead with the nuclear weapons program. If anything, Iran will become stronger under him, a stronger enemy for the US and Israel without a doubt. This is not a true revolution in Iran, not until the Guardian Council and the corrupt clerics who have been feeding of the carcass that is Iran get thrown down from their lofty heights and get stripped of their secret Swiss bank accounts filled with hundreds of millions stolen from their people. No the Iranian people are not ready to do this, so there will be no revolution.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  92. Cheeze-n-Rice!

    Anyone who wants to help Iran should take a flight to Tehran and take up the cause. Of course that would make you insurgents and the US state sponsors of terrorism. A US propped up government will have less legitimacy than the current one does. Comparing OUR revolution to theirs is apples and oranges. We were a colony, they are a sovereign nation.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  93. John

    Perhaps those that think we should intervene should ask: Should we have expected the United Nations or Iran to intervene when Bush stole the election due to Florida's mistakes. Give me a break. Idiots who think we should be the parent to all the other countries in the world are fundamentalist more evil than the Taliban.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  94. Mark

    Yes. Let's not get involved in the domestic affairs of Iran. Let us express hope and support for freedom without meddling in their business.

    Freedom and truth will find its way through human expression and experience and not by the will of men and women choosing their own destiny is the best path.

    My hopes and prayers are with the people of Iran.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  95. Gerald

    If one wants a clear reason why John McCain is not president today, apart from his lack of understanding of economics, what was going to happen in Iraq, his support for Bush in his failure to capture Ben Laden in Afganistan, and his now extreme and retarded right wing views, is his lack of experience in foreign policy despite being in the Senat for over a quarter of a century (especially with respect to Iran) and the history of the Middle East. One has to ask the following question.....what will John McCain do if the Mullahs crack down a la Tiananmen, invade Iran?

    June 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  96. R. Keyes

    The US reputation in the middle east is so bad, it's like a poison touch. If we were to endorse Ahmadinejad, that might be about the worst thing that could happen to him. Seriously, we have enough trouble as it is, with an economic disaster due to the looting by bank/investors, the seeming conclusion of US auto production, trade and budget deficits and high levals and getting higher, all while fighting two wars against intractable insurgents half way around the world. Let someone else step up to the plate to defend their idea of democracy and fair government. The only ones who could would be the EU, and you can bet they won't.

    June 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  97. Mark L.

    History speaks for itself folks – Israel took out the nuclear reactor in Iraq under Saddam Hussein's regime in 1981 and then again bombed another nuclear facility in Syria in 2007. I will NEVER put it past Israel to take out the nuclear facilities in Iran. The IDF forces are probably the best in the world. For such a small country as Israel to defend herself against all of her neighbors during both the six-day war in 1967 and then again in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, let's face it, Israel knows how to protect herself. Also, let's not forget – Israel is a Nuclear Power state herself. And for all you non-believers out there that need more proof – May I recommend you watch the movies – 'Munich and 'Raid on Entebbe'? Israel is the Holy Promised Land, and believe me when I say the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has his eyes on Israel and will ALWAYS PROTECT HER... The Iranians don't quite know with whom they're fooling with. Even if the Palestinians do not see eye-to-eye with Iran, you still have the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization supported by Iran. A nuclear warhead dropped in that region would wipe 'em ALL OUT... And oh, by the way... let's not even talk about Israel's crushing offensive against Beirut, Lebanon and the Gaza strip...

    June 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  98. jim

    To Jay in Denver
    If you look at the continuing lineage of the face of the Republican party, Rusty LIMPbrain ooops Rush Limbaugh, Palin, McCain, Joe the Flounder, I think it becomes pretty evident there is little hope for a cure for Republican mental midgetitus.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  99. Jack

    Before the civil rights movement blacks where being discriminated in this country. How would you feel if the USSR had influenced policies or invaded the US to make sure that people's rights and equality are respected.

    Iran is a sovereign country. They will have a revolution if they want it, this is no business of ours.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  100. Leslie

    In addition, we as a nation have enough in our plate, our economy is staring in an abyss. Everytime USA interfer the world condemn us and blame us for everything. I hope we won't be blame by the world community because we choose to be bystander instead of active participant.

    Let the people of Iran determines their own change without any help from us, they would be better as a nation because of it.

    June 18, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
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