American Morning

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June 22nd, 2009
09:45 AM ET

Iranian protester pleads for U.S., world to intervene

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A picture obtained on June 21, 2009 shows Iranian riot police on a street of Tehran on June 20, 2009."]

An Iranian student protester in Tehran made a passionate plea for help from the world community this morning in a phone call to CNN’s “American Morning.”

For safety reasons, CNN can only identify the student by his first name, Mohammad. He's been a part of the protests and a target of the violence there. Below is an edited transcript of the interview.

John Roberts: What is the scene like on the streets? Are there more demonstrators out there on the streets? Or is it much quieter than it has been in recent days?

Mohammad: Hello. Actually I participated in Saturday's demonstrations in parts of Tehran. What I saw, I saw thousands of security officers that tried to break up the crowd. They used canisters and batons and water cannons against us. They attacked us. And we also in response attacked them. We attacked them by throwing stones. And we built trenches in the streets and actually defended too.

Roberts: So there was quite a large confrontation going on there over the weekend. But can you tell us what the scene is like on the streets today?

Mohammad: Today was a long day in Tehran. And yesterday there weren't any organized rallies in Tehran. Because we take orders from our leader Mr. Karroubi and Mr. Mir Hossein Moussavi. The connections, the communication is very difficult, more than even you can imagine in Tehran. But I myself haven't received any orders from our leaders yet. But as soon as I get any order, I will participate in any demonstration that they tell us.

Kiran Chetry: When you say receiving orders, tell us how the protests are organized. How are you guys called to go and where?

Mohammad: Actually, I'm a regular person. I'm not behind the scenes. I cannot tell you exactly how these demonstrations are organized. But as I know, as people said, there is a council, a group of Iranian reformists who organize these demonstrations and they tell us in any way that they could and we just follow.

Chetry: Do you get it on your cell phone, text messages, are you able to use the internet?

Mohammad: Actually, they reduce the internet speed. We have severe problems with the messenger software and every software like messengers. This is arranged by making calls, messages, calls to his friends or her friends and try to gather as much to tell as he or she can.

Roberts: Mohammad, we have been talking this morning about what the students are fighting for and whether the students are fighting for something different than the older more established political candidates like Moussavi. Are the students seeking regime change? Are they looking to bring down the Ayatollah and completely change the form of government there in Iran? Or are you looking for – as has been suggested – more civil rights, more freedoms within the context of the existing regime?

Mohammad: Yes. Let me tell you something. For about three decades our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime. Now Iranians are united again one more time after 1979 Revolution. We are a peaceful nation. We don't hate anybody. We want to be an active member of the international community. We don't want to be isolated. Is this much of a demand for a country with more than 2,500 years of civilization? We don't deny the Holocaust. We do accept Israel's rights. And actually, we want - we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.

Roberts: Interesting perspective this morning from Mohammad, a student demonstrator there in Tehran.

Mohammad: Excuse me, sir. I have a message for the international community. Would you please let me tell it?

Roberts: Yes, go ahead.

Mohammad: Americans, European Union, international community, this government is not definitely - is definitely not elected by the majority of Iranians. So it's illegal. Do not recognize it. Stop trading with them. Impose much more sanctions against them. My message…to the international community, especially I’m addressing President Obama directly – how can a government that doesn't recognize its people's rights and represses them brutally and mercilessly have nuclear activities? This government is a huge threat to global peace. Will a wise man give a sharp dagger to an insane person? We need your help international community. Don't leave us alone.

Chetry: Mohammad, what do you think the international community should do besides sanctions?

Mohammad: Actually, this regime is really dependent on importing gasoline. More than 85% of Iran’s gasoline is imported from foreign countries. I think international communities must sanction exporting gasoline to Iran and that might shut down the government.

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Filed under: Iran
soundoff (878 Responses)
  1. Glen/Canada

    Well I will leave well enough alone and agree to disagree. But I will say this. This blog is not about Iraq it is about Iran! Iraq was a big mistake by the USA government in which they made a complete fool of Mr Colin Powell who I have a lot of respect for. If you or anyone else in this world don't think some fanatic will use weapons of mass destruction and I am not talking about necessarily a nuke such as was dropped on Japan but a dirty bomb or a virus released can certainly do a HELL of a lot of damage in any large city in the world,we are living in a dream world. Remember what a couple of jets did on 9/11? Believe me it's only a matter of time. So what is the point of having NATO or NORAD? The United Nations is a big farce!Scrap it because we can sit down with Iran and North Korea over a coffee and sort it all out and then have a Barbecue after as you suggest.
    Take Care and just hope our children or grandchildren are not left with the mess to try and clear up after we are gone because we did not do it for them when we had the chance.

    August 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  2. Lynda

    Dear Glen/Canada

    Many well respected experts do not feel we should make innocent people suffer through sanctions. That isn't to say we shouldn't help when the time is right. Colin Powell has said many times the way to peace for both Iran and N. Korea is to begin talks, find out what they need and make compromises that work for everyone.

    Mike S. is very right in his posts. When you get away from talking to the talking heads in Iraq and talk to actual people (this was shown when Amanpour did her special on CNN there) the actual real live people do not feel they are better off now than before the U.S. illegally invaded. They still after all these years lack basic electricity, schools, hospitals etc.

    Revolution, to be successful, must ALWAYS be done from within.

    As for nuclear weapons and Weapons of Mass destruction (are we STILL looking under rocks for the one's Saddam had??) please, please, please remember the the mighty U.S. is the only nation in the WORLD who has dropped a nuclear bomb on someone, killing and maiming innocents. Nuclear bombs don't just kill, they poison the land. No one in the middle east would honestly do that with the countries being so close. We all know Israel has nukes. Why don't they use them when they so readily attack Gaza? Because it would poison their land too.

    Nukes are like watching a fight at the O.K. corral. We are telling the world they can't protect themselves, at the same time we say we can't give up ours because we need to protect ourselves. Any reasonable person would see that is a flawed agruement and no one is going to buy it.

    July 31, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  3. Mike S

    Glen, my perspective is not different than that of the "experts" in the field. You're talking about previous wars, general situations and the nuclear issue. I'm talking about the current situation in Iran, which is not the same as the generalizations you make. I read everything from the experts on Iran, and I talk regularly with the real experts - people in Iran. I could quote many, many, many experts as well as pass on the opinions of those in Iran but you can do this reading for yourself, and I strongly suggest that you do so. Iran has an extremely complex society, as you will find when you do even minimal research on the country.

    Re: history, I see no relevance of WW I or WW II to the situation the Iranian people are dealing with. The times we have intervened in Iran - e.g., the CIA-led overthrow of the democratically elected Mosaddegh government that led directly to the revolution against the US-installed Shah and the current situation, the harm done by Bush's Axis of Evil speech that I saw first-hand, and many more US actions - have not worked out well. That is the relevant history, not something that happened elsewhere.

    As for sanctions, again I see no relevance of past wars to this current situation. The situation in Iraq that you think is not relevant is one useful lesson. The deprivation in Germany after WW I, which played a major part in Hitler's nationalist call to arms and the path to WW II, is another good lesson. The Marshall Plan was meant to avoid this by doing the opposite of sanctions and it worked quite well. The effort to engage Iran - something the hardliners in the government are trying desperately to avoid (you may want to learn more about why; their opinions are also relevant) while the pragmatists are working towards it - is the far better option. This is the inner battle in the Iranian government and the one that has the best chance for us to avoid problems in the future. There is a huge amount of reading from the "experts" on this that you can educate yourself with. An example from history would be Reagan's choice to engage with the USSR rather than exacerbate things.

    The nuke issue is not the same as the question of helping the people that we've been talking about. I agree that Iran with nukes is a danger. If you think the two are intertwined then you need to learn more about the complexities of Iran's society and its government.

    As I said, there is nothing we can do to help the people of Iran in their fight against their government's repressive policies. Perhaps you can't accept that we can't do anything helpful and you want to go ahead and do something anyway. But as I said, this is about the people of Iran and not about you or me. History teaches us very well what we need to avoid doing. You may be unsatisfied by this - as I am (I remind you that the people fighting daily there are friends of mine) - but to make us feel better about ourselves by doing something that causes more death and suffering in Iran is not an alternative I would consider.

    Dealing with nukes is another issue. I will only say that strengthening the hardliners' grip on the government will not help that, and that is what sanctions would do (again, as in Iraq). Engagement, as Reagan did with the USSR, is the better option but we don't have control over the Iranian response. Again, avoiding actions that - once again - exacerbate the situation is most important. Doing so shuts off any reasonable alternatives that might otherwise present themselves. Shutting all the doors now just to feel like we're doing something, without consideration for the consequences, is not an alternative I'd take. For now I think our current policy and the efforts being made in various ways is the best available.

    July 31, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Glen/Canada

    I am scared for my children and grandchildren if Iran gets weapons of Mass Destruction. Much too late then! I know first hand what it feels like to lose a son at the age of 22 and when I see many young people die needlessly for what we take for granted it cuts me to the Heart.. Why is it that you have a different perspective on the way we should help Iran than most of the experts in this field? (do nothing)
    Want to talk history? Read about World War 1 & 2! We are certainly headed the same way. Iran is the biggest threat to world stability. It was once said by Einstein that I don't know how the 3rd World War will be fought but I do know how the 4th World War will be fought-With Sticks and stone!
    You still haven't suggested what the alternative is! WAIT AND LET ITSELF WORK OUT? I don't think so.MUCH TOO LATE!

    July 31, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  5. Mike S

    Glen, this is not an idle interest I'm watching about something I'm watching on TV from afar. As I said, I have gone to Iran often and have many friends. We're considered part of the family we stay with and they stay with us when they are in the US. I know very well what freedoms they have and what they don't, and have talked with hundreds while there about this. I didn't just watch but was in contact with friends almost every day. I spent the last two weeks with three friends from Iran during a mutual trip to east Asia.

    My concern is what is best for them, not what makes us feel better by doing something.

    There is little we can do from here, and as frustrating as that might be for you - and even more so for me, I assure you - it's better not to do more harm to them just to make ourselves feel better. This is not about making us feel better that we have done something. It's about them.

    It's admirable that we all want to help but sometimes it's just not possible for even the citizens of even the most powerful country on Earth to do something. The time will come but we have done great harm by acting in the past and sometimes, like now, we need to sit on the sidelines and let them deal with it.

    The facts about Iraq are a lesson in the effect stronger sanctions would likely have. Sorry you don't see what can be learned from prior mistakes.

    As for what would help the hardliners, the sanctions help isolate the country, which is what they do in every way they can. Iraq is the best example of what effect the sanctions can have, and the petty dictators in Iran would love to have the same control Saddam had. We should learn from recent history.

    Iran's people are very pro-American and the government takes every opportunity to distance them from us. I was there after Bush's Axis of Evil speech and saw the harm it did to the reform movement and the great anger the people everywhere had against Bush for the statement. It was a good sound byte but it caused the reform leaders to back off and stand with the hardliners against an outside attack. The leaders have fabricated lies about US actions during this latest crisis in the face of Obama's refusal to take the bait and do the same thing again. He gave them no ammunition so they created some anyway (it didn't work with most since the lies were transparent but they do fire up the Basiji).

    The US' uncharacteristic response has not helped the hardliners the way it has in the past. I can't educate you on all the things we've done that have hurt the peoples' aspirations before but there is plenty of reading available without my going on and on.

    As in medicine, "First, do no harm."

    July 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  6. Glen/Canada

    Mike you went on about all the reason's why sanctions would not work and asked what evidence that the regime's brutality would be much worst than sanctions. I don't have any but if you watched the people in the streets of Iran dieing for what you and me take for granted something got to be done to help them.You went on and on in your article but still you gave no suggestions or alternatives for the democracies of the world to help them. Some of the things you say are exactly why the Iranians want their freedom. Also are you willing to sit back and watch Iran develop Nukes and use it on on the countries around them in which they said they would or God forbid on us? Also I don't believe the so called leaders of Iran would welcome sanctions and what proof do you have of that. As for Iraq I did not comment on that country because the question was not asked about the people of Iraq because that regime has already been dealt with.


    July 30, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  7. Mike S

    Glen, you say that the people of Iran will be hurt much more by the regime's brutality. Where is your evidence for that? You suggest it is a choice of sanctions or brutality. What is your evidence that the regime is affected by our sanctions in any way?

    I have been to Iran many times and seen how our actions affect the people. The average person is hurt although not as much as some might think since, as Lynda says, they can get whatever they really want. The leaders are not hurt in any way at all. Rafsanjani and many other leaders are extremely rich, and the bonyads (foundations) that are supposed to do charitable work are fronts for the richest organizations and individuals. Just as the average person can get any alcohol he wants (but at prices he might not be able to afford), the rich can get anything they want (which they can easily afford).

    I was in Iraq during Saddam's time and I can tell you Saddam was doing just fine. He had huge palaces everywhere and anything else he wanted. He was building two of the biggest mosques in the world, easily seen from anywhere in Baghdad. But the people had been sanctioned back to the Stone Age. What was once one of the most advanced cities in the world had unsafe water, raw sewage in the streets, hospitals that I would avoid completely if I was ill. The professors I met with at Baghdad University had not seen a journal or new text book in their fields or traveled to a conference in 11 years. Society was living a slow, difficult death while Saddam did whatever he wanted to.

    And 2 of every 3 people in Iraq was dependent on the government (i.e., Saddam) for their food. The sanctions had destroyed their economy so most people couldn't support themselves. That greatly increased Saddam's control over the people.

    The hardliners in Iran aren't worried about sanctions. They welcome them. They do their best to be provocative and bring them on. This isolates the people from the outside and lets them decry the western nations as monsters. The brutal leaders welcome sanctions.

    Sanctions are not the answer for the 98% of Iranians who hate this regime and want to be free. Stronger international sanctions could turn Iran into Iraq under Saddam, which was far worse. I went from Baghdad to Tehran to visit friends there and being in Iran again was a huge relief compared to being in Iraq.

    July 30, 2009 at 5:09 am |
  8. Glen/Canada

    I do recognize what sanctions do! Cut off their supply of gas imports and oil exports. The answer is not do nothing. Without sanctions the Iranian people are hurting much worst under the brutal regime now than if sanctions were put in place. It's ok for people to comment that sanctions only hurt the people but please make a comment on what the alternative we should be looking at to pressure this brutal regime to capitulate and help the good people of Iran. What's worst sanctions or what's happening now?

    July 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  9. Lynda

    One thing people still don't recognize is that sanctions hurt people, not governments or politicians. When we cut people off from food, medicine and the things they need to live, the dictators don't care. They are brutal to they're own people, they don't care if you are too.

    Trust me, they aren't doing without these things. There is always a black market they can get what they need.

    July 28, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  10. Glen

    I'm a Canadian/America can't fix the worlds problems by itself. It must work in conjunction with all the civilized and democratic countries of the world! As for Mohammad suggestions about sanction,etc. yes we can do what he suggests and definitely not look at this brutal regime legitimately and isolate them as much as possible. Too late when they get nukes! We see what they can do to their own people so they will not hesitate to use nukes on their neighbors in which they have already stated. My heart and prayers go out to the good people of Iran who are trying to have a life that we enjoy in Canada,America and the rest of the Democratic Civilized World.

    July 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  11. jimi

    i just want to say iam agree with peyman

    iran is diffrent with middel east countrys..

    iranian r diffrent and plz dont compare us with them!!!!

    July 27, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  12. jimi

    free iran !!!

    ilove you iran !!

    July 27, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  13. Robert S

    Never, never, never allow religious "authorities" to dominate politics.
    You'd think we'd ALL have learned that by now.

    One more thing... why on earth would you think a religious "authority" knows more about God-Allah-The Head Honcho than you do? You can read just like the "authorities" can.

    July 6, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  14. doug

    We are not talking about going to war against Iran to liberate the population. I believe they are under a despotic regime, to give them our verbal support costs us little and will encourage iranians both there and here to seek a better form of government. It bothers me that our president starts out with "we can't meddle" in refrence to their plight and then by the end of this week "this can not be tolerated" was the conversion genuine, or was he watching the polls, and saw all the americans who wanted to speak out for the Iranians, believe what you will, words do matter, and can make a difference. If americans speaking out can change the mind of our president, why can't they help to change the condition of a repressed people?

    June 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  15. Emmanuel

    hi Jackie never think that all Americans are evils. we the people in America do sympathisewith you

    June 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  16. george

    Though I have not read all the comments many are centering around weather Mohamad is for real of made up. It Would make me so glad to know that there are a majority of Irains wanting better ties with the USand are for allo wing israel to live in peace. We should be hopeful that Iran is changing. It can not be be a US or international decision. I hope for the best with the people of Iran. Their freedom has to be their own fight. Our fight in 1776 was aided by france but they too were coming to grips with the emancipation of men. But the workings and revolt must be within. When we supplied arms to the rebels of afganisstand we thought we were doing the right thing. It back fir( in someways it kept a strong comunist hold on the place out). We backed Sadam Hussein and that turned out to be a black eye to us. Our policy should be ito clean up our own country and make our country the envy of free people. Democracy should be a beacon for all people wanting to be free. Is it possible to have a government in I ran that is not Islam controled. I think not. Muslims seem to want a nation of a moral standard defined by Islam. Any interference by the west will be interpeted as the western culture trying to tell Muslims how to live. That would be the ralleying point for any future regieme that wants to take steps backwards. Under the shaw many advancements were being made.(many abuses also) The government of the shaw is now interpeted as the west and especially the US trying to meddle in the middle east. And maybe it was but i believe at the time we were thinking we need to bring Iran out of the dark ages. That in hine sight is ridiculus. The over throw of this government and the bring about of a new democratic government of Iran(I repeat) must be of their own making. Please forgive the bad spelling and bad grammar. i wrote this as the thoughts came to my head and don't want to edit it. Those who want to take a more active policy need to look at the record. The history of the middle east is not been good for the west. The crusades should of taught us a good lesson. But we got wrongly involved in its affairs in recent years that availed no good results for us or them. Let us not make the same mistake now. Get in volve by being the best we can be as a democracy. When aide is needed to feed the refugees if it comes to that then lets be there. When we see flag burning let us not thinnk it is the will of all their people. And for sure we should not give any real reasons for them to burn our flag. We need to protect ourselves to make sure that we don't fall victim to terrorest with in our own borders. We must not make the mistake of giving the extremeist more fuel to hate us. Appologize I think not!!!. Re evaluate how we deal with the middle east will best be served if we concentrate on becominbg a better democracy our selves. I hope this doesn't sound like a critisim of Muhammad. It is not. And if you feel like lafayette then be ready to suffer for your beliefs. I would never critize anyone for that.It isn't for our nation to go there in any way and try to promote our will.

    June 25, 2009 at 10:03 pm |
  17. Peyman

    Iran is so different with other neighbor countries such as Iraq, Saudi Aabia, Afghanistan.... Iranians are not Arab, they have their own 3500 year history... Iran is a rich country in all aspects: people, natural sources, peaceful culture and many other things.
    So Americans, please, please, please do not compare Iranian with other Middle-Easterns.
    Iranians are very brave, they fight armed guard with emty hand.
    They pay their blood, to achieve their freedom!

    June 25, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  18. Anthony Rivera-Cruz , Willingboro NJ

    With all that's happening, where is the United Nations???

    June 25, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  19. Nikki




    June 24, 2009 at 8:31 pm |
  20. Laura

    Jumping in now is exactly what Ahmadenijad wants. It would cause a bigger rift between us and give the area more cause to speak against Americans. Obama is being cautious, but aware. Trust him.

    June 24, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  21. Margaret

    Has it not occurred to any of you that the US may be working furiously behnd the scenes? Give Obama some credit – he's a brilliant human being. The Republicans are just shameless – they're jumping on this issue not for the Iranians of 2009 but for the Republicans of 2013!

    June 24, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  22. Sam

    I just listened to the interview.. and I can swear he's not Iranian. Did anybody pay attention to his accent over there?

    June 24, 2009 at 1:24 am |
  23. deez nuts

    Ali you call Osama bin Laden a radical, but apparently you wish just as much harm against Americans. How does it feel to be just another 2 bit sand ninja terrorist? your apparent education does not change that. at least in america we don't throw sulfuric acid in the faces of women.

    June 23, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  24. alwaysright101

    the world hates us when we get involved in other countries affairs. and then they get mad when we dont.

    conservatives in america get mad when obama does talk with middle eastern countries. and when he doesnt, then they get mad at him again.

    too many hypocrites.

    you cant just pick and choose. make up your mind. if you want america to butt out then dont ask for help later on. and conservatives, if you want obama involved then dont criticize him later on for getting involved.

    this is one of the many problems with politics. people pick and choose so much and find whatever reason they can to hate on someone(s) because they dont know what they want themselves.

    June 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  25. Ali

    If it did not carry such serious ramifications for the rest of the us, observing the delusional way in which Americans view the world would almost be funny.

    Listening to Americans discussing whether or not they should intervene again to save the world, makes me wonder which world you live in. It must be a different one than the world I wake up to every day in the Middle East where American-propped dictatorships hunt down reformers (aided by US intelligence) and our biggest hope is that the US will leave us alone so that maybe one day we can live in a democracy.

    Hearing American politicians and the poor average Joe who's living this fantasy talk about the US spreading democracy in the world adds deep insult to serious injury. Not only does the US acquiesce to severe human rights abuses in the MIddle East and allies with their perpetrators, barbaric regimes like Egypt's depend on the US for their very existence. The US foreign policy has always been one devoid of any morality, stepping on every human principle and intentionally supporting whoever will guarantee Americans a cheaper gas bill or support Israel's confiscation of various legitimate Arab rights.

    To hear you talk about democracy is nauseating when the US taxpayer makes the Egyptian dictatorship the second largest recipient of USAid in the world (after poor Israel) and the US sends 'enemy combatants' to be interrogated in Egyptian prisons where prisoner rape by trained dogs (DOGS!) has been documented by various human rights groups. Where was the US public and politicians every time the Mubarak regime blatantly rigged the presidential elections? where is the US outrage every time we are beaten in the streets when we try to protest the police state we live in? there is none, because who wants to let some towelheads get a democracy when you can get a cooperative dictator instead?

    Where were the Americans when the pro-Western regime in Algeria cancelled the results of the democratic elections that brought an Islamic party to power in 1992? What was the American reaction to a democratically-elected Hamas in Gaza? the demonization of what is effectively a liberation movement (that incidentally has much higher ethics of combat than their occupying Israeli Defense Forces) and the mass punishment, through siege, of the entire electorate that brought it to power. Sick children are dying by the tens for lack of medicine in Gaza hospitals because of the US-supported embargo.

    Have the Americans EVER supported a popular choice in the Arab world? In the few cases that we have had a free election in this tyrannical part of the earth, the answer has always been no. The answer is likely to remain unchanged, as any popular choice would probably yield a government that wanted a fair deal for its national wealth (oil) and a fair deal for the Palestinians (who sadly don't have any lobbying power in the US and are hence not entitled to rights conflicting with Jewish whims).

    That is the American Way, with parallels all over the Arab world and South America. Yet to hear Americans talk about democracy in Iran specifically is particularly cheeky. For the historically ignorant, it was the US (and British) who robbed Iranians of their only chance at democracy in 2500 continuos years of monarchy, when they orchestrated and implemented on the ground the overthrow in 1953 of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. Mossadegh had popularly come to power as the country's first Prime Minister by ousting Iran's dictator and Western puppet Reza Pahlavi in 1950. Mossadegh was the ideal reformer: a champion of democracy and for the people's control of their national resources. That last one caused his demise, as the CIA intervened to bring back the despotic Pahlavi against the will and benefit of the Iranian people in the well-documented Operation Ajax. Google it, wikipedia it or just wash it down with a cup of wake-up coffee, but please don't place the US, democracy and Iran in one sentence!

    Then there are the kind American folks (no sarcasm intended here, the average Joe is indeed a decent if highly deluded fellow) who empathize with the Iranian people and others who would prefer to see them rot for having burnt the American flag and being the descendants/relatives/beer buddies of those who kidnapped American hostages. Such compassion and insolence are both indicators of a scary ignorance of what's happening in the world and the general US stance towards populations that stand in the way of American economic interests. Are you people UNAWARE that your country supported and armed Iraq's blatant and unjustified invasion of Iran in an eight year war that left more than 1 million people dead, solely because the new Islamic Revolutionary regime was uncooperative with western fuel demands? Are you ignorant of the fact that the US supplied Iraq with the chemical weapons throughout the war they used to burn Iranian women and children? After their brush with American benevolence, I think the Iranians came up with "Great Satan" for lack of a harsher word!

    That is the price of your cheap oil. Think about whether it's worth it or not, and abandon this petty naivete and your insolent compassion.

    I too oppose the clergy-controlled semi-theocracy of Iran, though it is important to understand that it was a system of governance chosen by the majority of an independent people in one of history's biggest popular uprisings, the Iranian Revolution of 1979. It is also important to realize that it is a system not too different from a modern constitutional democracy where the people directly elect a president who forms economic, political and social policy, but who acts within the confines of a constitution. In the case of Iran the Constitution is Islamic Law (or rather the Shi'ite interpretation of it), and the clergymen are the Western equivalent of Constitutional Judiciaries, the guardians of the Constitution.

    One must also note that Iranian presidential elections since 1979 have a record of being fair and translucent. For all objective purposes, while Ahmadinejad may have lost the vote in the major cities (which are now the scene of the protests), he probably won the majority of the Iranian vote buoyed by the poor provinces where he remains very popular. Democracy was probably never compromised. Supporting this view is the fact that the Guardian Council agreed to recount a random 10% of the vote in presence of candidate representatives.

    This does not make the death of people in the protest any less tragic or the Iranian regime any less misguided in its general heavy-handedness, but all this pales in comparison to the total darkness in which we live in the Arab states most closely allied with the good old US of A. So please wake up from this Lala Land in which you live, and start taking more control of the American destruction machine's actions, so wackos like Osama Bin Laden can stop twisting our religion's words in order to justify descent to your same level of morality in response to your ruthlessness.

    You are bringing the world apart!

    June 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  26. Jar Jar


    June 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  27. JD

    We either face Ahmadinejad now while we have the support of the people of Iran or wait to face him down the road with no support from the ground. Those who believe we can just stay away from a conflict with Iran are just having a Cumbaya overdose.

    June 23, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  28. Rob

    Gotta love our freedom to speak.. it allows us to identify what sets us apart that brings us together

    June 23, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  29. RAMESHM2

    I am an iranian and lived in us most of my life. I am proud of the americans who are open minded, and shocked about some ignorant americans. All you need to do is to read all these comment and you know that not all peopole have the same ideas.But let me tell you that from all the countries in the world America has been most influnced by iranians. Go and research your constitution and you"ll find out that one the two books that your ancestors used to establish the american costitusion was of cyrus the great( the great king of persia/iran). shame on you narrow minded people. NEDA died with her eyes open , her heart open and her mind open, and shame on those who live with closed eye and closed heart and narrow mind

    June 23, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  30. Eduardo

    I can't believe people actually believe what Samford is saying. LMAO. It's too ridiculous to even counter. But hey, it's his right to say whatever he wants.

    June 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  31. John Samford

    The Usurper is correct in his inaction toward Iran. We have no dog in this fight. Plus the USA will be in a state of civil war in the next few years.
    Barry is NOT a natural born American citizen. Eventually that fact will be acknowledged by a majority of Americans. At that point the feces hits the rotary air impeller.
    You see, as an illegal President, the Usurper didn't have the legal suthority to sign ANY of the legislation the Democratic Congress has passed. None of his appointment to the bench are valid. That wouldn't matter except the economy is going to really tank. Seriously down in flames. Those with money are going on extended vacation,ubless they live in Hollywood. So that means only the poor will be left. You can't rob (tax) the poor to pay for social programs, since they have nothing to be robbed of. Poor people don't employ anyone.
    All they can do is vote for Chicago hustlers with empty promises.
    Once those promises prove to be empty, Berry and the Chicago Cabal are toast. When his rating bottom out in the summer of 2010, with the misery index over 30 and the polls showing the Democrats retaining single digits in House and Senate seats, The Administration will declare an emergency under the Emergency powers (FEMA) act and suspend elections. Almost no choice, since losing Congress would mean Impeachment and ALL the socialist programs od the last couple of years going down the tubes. The Administration can do FEMA for 90 days before Congress has to extend those emergency powers. Congress will. It's either that or go home and face the music.
    That will be the day Civil War starts. No telling exactly where the next Ft. Sumter is, there are SO MANY possibilities.
    History will show CNN as a major contributor to the next civil war.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  32. kjjlee

    This is a proxy server blog set up to help information flow to and from the Iranian people. It includes information on how to treat tear gas/lye/chemical injuries, information on embassies willing to take injured demonstrators, information and Google Earth images on which areas of Tehran to avoid due to heavy Basiji activity, statements from Iranian and American officials and Mousavi, reports from sources within Iran, translations of Iranian and American Twitters from Farsi to English (and vice versa) as well as information on how to help Iranian demonstrators avoid misinformation and propaganda.

    Please help spread the word.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  33. Rob

    The US needs to stay out for several reasons. 1) We cant afford it... we have to stop spending beyond our means. 2) If the US gets involved, it risks yet another wave of middle eastern fundamentalists gaining a platform for violence against anybody who is a target. 3) Iranians can organize without international assistance, they needed a catalyst.. this fraudulent election is it.
    The student brings up an effective weapon in terms of import of gasoline. Although US companies are banned from doing business with Iran, without the support of the world community... any intervention is imminent failure. Unfortunately for the protestor... economic interests from both China and Russia are deeply rooted... and trust me.. they've got their own rogue govt's to deal with... would be a real sight to see Chinese troops fighting for Iranian freedom.. . when Chinese citizens at home dont even get access to protests within their own country... they most definitely are not interested in any domino effect... To wrap up.. just as we wouldnt touch China or Russia, we shouldnt touch Iran until their activities impact our global interests...

    June 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  34. Greg

    I lived in Iran in the early 1970's. The people of Iran need our support. This is not taking sides as Obama has tried to frame the argument. I totally agree with Mohammad- embargo gasoline and shut off all support to this Facist Theocracy.

    June 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  35. Eduardo

    If history has taught us anything it is that freedom and liberty will always beat oppression and coercion. History is on the side of the brave men and women of Iran. The United States of all countries knows what its like to fight and die for these god given rights. The U.S. must stand behind the people of Iran ( i.e. sanctions) who are fighting for their freedom, but we musn't mettle too much (i.e military intevention). The world left us alone to figure out our struggles with freedom during the revolutionary war, civil war, and civil rights struggle. The thing about the struggle for human and civil rights is that it cannot be given to you by an outsider. You must shed your blood for it and take it yourself. How many times has the West "liberated" a country only to have it fall back into chaos? The Iranian people will get their liberty, it is only a matter of time. And once again the light of liberty will burn stronger. Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who are fighting and have given their lives so that the people of Iran may one day live in their god given liberty.

    June 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  36. Blair


    June 23, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  37. Bob Eies

    Wow this guy is effective. He is saying everything we want to hear. If these thing are true and truly the wish of the people of Iran. Then we must help. I wonder though where Russia is on this, where is china, why must I always be the US, why can't anybody else have a backbone?

    Mohammad, I hope the best for you! and if my government believes it is time for us to try something then I am for it. You and your people are showing the world that you do have the strength and will do do this thing.

    Give em hell!

    Just imagine a world with a peaceful Mideast…

    June 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  38. Tom, AlBUQUERQUE, N

    In its bid to be first in reporting on Iran, CNN HAS ALLOWED ITSELF TO BE PLAYED like a STRADIVARIUS. The Mohammad interview was a total fraud, unauthenticated. The pictures of crying protesters, bleeding females on the street of Tehran, nor the insistence of the 24hour news media should not sway President Obama nor the majority of the American public to INTERVENE, not now, this is not our fight.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  39. Jerusalem

    I don't understand you folks. You talk about "majority" of Iranians and the "Iranian people" as if you have accurate statistics.

    There are people in Iran that do not dislike the government or its leaders.

    Besides, why are Americans assuming higher moral grounds when their government is and has been involved in some of the most despicable activities around the globe. Just take a look at American pre-Khomayni involvement in Iran

    Doesn't this teach you Americans anything?

    Stop meddling in other people's lives and mind your own business and the world will get better.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  40. shawn

    He must know we can't interfere no matter how much we may dislike Ahmadinejad. The last time we interfered in Iran stoked the worst kind of hatred. We can't do it.

    June 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  41. brnmar

    I see from the many comments here, that too many of us have inherited the mind of the former slave/colonial masters. We think that it is all right for us to dictate to other countries. If we don't like what's going on 'over there,' we should either do something secretly to undermine 'them' or invade with our military. The 'racist' colonialist of the past had a saying 'The white mans' burden.' It meant that they (the so-called 'white man') had been given the right by G-D to dominate the 'dark races' of the earth. They truly believed that G-D had chosen them to be the leaders of the world. They don't say it openly now but the mind is still the same. It is okay for certain nations to posses nuclear capabilities but it is not okay for others. It seems strange that the nations not allowed to have it are the same ones that were part of the so-called 'dark races' in the past. India, Pakistan and China achieved nuclear capability in secret. If the European nations knew they were trying during those times, they would have treated them the same as North Korea, and Iran is being treated now.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  42. JK

    "We are the ONLY country in the WORLD that has free speach. ”

    Bob Kole YOu are soooo wrong. Travel to Europe. Spain, Italy, France, UK etc
    Al those nations also do have free speech. In fact the have more freedoms than us in the USA."
    James Carter: These countries have a more "group freedom" outlook then individualized freedom to speech like the USA. Did you know you cannot deny the holocaust in these european countries? They have a more balanced are free to do what you want as long as it does not burden someone else firectly (for example, denying the holocaust disrespects those who have had family members suffer) Therefore you are not allowed to do it. As where our freedom of speech exceeds that threshold. Our speech is only restricted when it creates IMMINENT AND UNLAWFUL conduct (such as immediate violent outbursts,etc). With that said, James Carter is right in a regard, our freedom of speech is greater then most countries, especially European nations that favor human dignity v. freedom of expression.

    June 23, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  43. Max

    Can everyone, for a second, take a step back and think about American involvement. I couldn't agree more with the way Obama is handling this situation, as we need to be very careful on how to approach middle eastern countries. This is very similar to Bush & Gore election, which was handed to Bush by our supreme court. The system calls the shots. If a change is to occur in Iran, it has to be without any American support for it to be labeled AN IRANIAN movement, just like our independence from Britain and our civil war.

    If we bocome outspoke critics of the Iranian gov't, and this so called student movement fails, we will be worse off than we are now.

    A lot of Americans really don't understand how the Iranian system works and how the candidates are picked. I suggest everyone go to Wikipedia and get informed before forming opinions that are destined to fail.

    This is much more complicated than you can image.

    June 23, 2009 at 10:27 am |
  44. euge

    President Obama's approach is appropriate... assuming that Mr. Obama's support, even rhetorical, helps Mousavi come out on top of the election, Mousavi will appear to be an American stooge... that, at least, is what the hardliners will argue and harp on....and their supporters will come out in force... ie American flags will be burned... The President is not stupid... Of course, he cares and probably would love to dish it out on the hardliners in Iran... but he has to think of political consequences...

    June 23, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  45. euge

    Jackie q and those who think like her....
    please read more abuot the history of the middle east and american involvement there.... that kind of ignorance is what makes US look bad to the world and i know that (hopefully) the majority of us in America do NOT think like you.... the people of Iran and the rest of the world are just like us... they want peace and prosperity and a viable future... it is the oppressive governments of those people that we need to focus on and the narrow-minded and ignorant people that follow them, for example, the people who burn our flag....

    June 23, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  46. iceman

    There are a lot of good points being made here. However, I believe that at this juncture it is vital that the United States stay out of this conflict. We have heavily invested troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and pulling troops out of either would be costly at this point. Would sending troops into Iran to liberate the Iranians from their theocracy help? Short term answer: yes. However President Obama is trying to build better relations with the ENTIRE Muslim world, and sending American troops in right now will hurt our chances of achieving better relations. I have been keeping up with this conflict daily and I believe that the United States should be keeping a watchful eye on this conflict, but it comes down to the fact that the Iranian people need to fight for change.

    June 23, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  47. Anthony Ho

    I have read multiple comments from people who question why we should help the people in Iran if they keep burning the US flag and get on the streets in Iran every time the US does something wrong. It is important to understand that the regime in Iran controls all news papers and broadcasting stations; which means that any news broadcasted outside of Iran was approved and censored by the regime. The regime tries hard to create the impression that the entire country supports the Islamic movement and regime and all of Iran is anti-western ideologies. I think people in Iran have made the point that the current government does not represent its people who do not want to be associated with the current regime and its wrongdoings. A free Iran will resolve most of the issues in the Middle East and end the Talibans and Palestinian conflicts.

    June 23, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  48. David

    I don't know if CNN paid Mohammad to write this. I'm an American, but my heritage is Iranian. I'm saddened by the ignorance of my fellow Americans who have posted comments on this article. The Iranian people are freedom loving people. I know because I know them and this government has humiliated them for the past 30 years, I know because my father was one of the humiliated. The history of Iranian democracy began under Mohammad Mossadeq which the US and Britain helped to remove and place the entire country under the control of a despotic power which evolved into the 1979 revolution.

    I'm not saying that anyone should help Iran in these protests. But as American borders are not defined solely by our physical boundaries but also by a tireless dedication to democracy, these men and women in the streets should be seen as heros by the American people. Heros who are undaunted by an oppressive angry regime which does not represent the true Iranian disposition before the world.

    Also, if you notice Mohammad is not calling for world military intervention but for a cease in trade with the regime. He is right, we cannot intefere with Iran's internal affairs but we can choose not to deal in any way with its illegitimate regime. Also to those who say this man has been paid by CNN. The request made by him is very representative of what the Iranian people in America have been requesting for decades, not military intervention but allowing the Iranian people themselves to overthrow their own government and allowing Iranian people themselves to establish a new government and not meddling in the establishment of that government.

    Iran has a proud 2500 year history. The problem is that it has been hijacked by religious leaders who are not worthy to represent the Iranian system. I am a Christian, yet if religious leaders like Pat Robertson or the Papacy invoked religious as well as political control I would stand against that regime.

    My proud American brothers and sisters, stand up for what right in this situation, stand as friends and supporters of the Iranian people and their plight for democracy, after all, it was the French who supported our fledgling democracy so many years ago by recognizing our cause.


    June 23, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  49. khaled isham

    Electoral farce isn't an Iranian exclusivity. Look at Florida in 2000. There were cops at intersections of some neighborhoods to intimidate Blacks from going out to vote. At his first inaugural, Bush didn't walk on Pennsylvania Avenue; he was in his official armored car with outraged disenfranchised voters throwing stones at the motorcade (rent Michael Moore's Farenheit 11 to check it out)... The 1965 Voting Rights Act has just been upheld by the Supreme Court, which means that America isn't completely immunized from electoral farce. And the farce of all farces is at the UN where 5 countries hold the undemocratic veto right...

    June 23, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  50. Rachel

    I voted for Obama, but I will say I am disappointed in how quiet he is about this. His speech inspired many of these people. The world needs to step up and help them. Terrorism comes from the middle east and the Iranian regime is a huge supporter. Seeing these people standing up for democracy gives me hope and made me see a side to Iran that I didn't know existed. We now see a movement within Iran by it's people for democracy and change. This is huge and could make a tremendous impact on our future too. We need to support these people and stand up for what is right.

    My heart goes out to those that are fighting for change. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  51. Mark-Canadian

    Freedom to the iranians people !

    Unfortunately do not expect any help from USA, there is no interest "OIL" in you're country !

    June 23, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  52. wakeupandsmellthecoffee

    Two days ago, I watched a video of a father screaming in anguish as his daughter lay dying in front of him, felled by a coward's bullet. Two days ago, Obama took his daughters out for frozen custard.
    We're so busy apologizing to anyone and everyone we think we may have offended in the past that we can't wake up and see change – REAL, unabashed, passionate change – when it's crying out for our involvement.
    The future of US-Middle East relations is calling our name – it's asking for help, and we're staying quiet. My fellow Americans – if we WANT to stop them from burning our flags and chanting "Death to America" – we NEED to help them when they ASK for help, instead of rushing in when we're not wanted. Remember – it was Khomeni – the symbol of this curent regime that coined the term "the Great Satan" and turned populist Arab sentiment against us – NOT these brave young men and women asking for change – and help.
    Granted – the US cannot more troops to this conflict – we've made that mistake far too often. But staying silent is NOT the way to respond. We have GOT to speak out in support. We have GOT to impose embargos and sanctions. We have GOT to tell the world that we do NOT recognize this government. We have GOT to help!!!
    We consider ourselves to be a beacon of freedom and temperance – leaders of the world's quest for progress... and yet, we speak out ONLY when it serves our oil and infrastructure interests. SHAME!! May I remind our leaders that some amount of unpopularity IS the price of leadership.
    Quit being a sycophant, Mr. President, and take a stand. You've already won the election – now please get to work.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  53. Krzysztof

    Based off of the all-too pro-Western lilt of this conversation, I think it is very likely that this individual, Mohammed, was actually a plant working for the Iranian government. His answers to questions seem to place Messrs Koussabi and Mousavi squarely in charge of the demonstrations and have them, through 'supporters' like this Mohammed, asking for foreign aid against the government. The Iranian government will use this as part of a case against these two opposition leaders in which they accuse them of plotting to get foreign help to overthrow the government. CNN has been duped into broadcasting this and potentially condemning the movement – if the Iranian government can paint the protesters as foreign-backed provocateurs, they will be done.

    It is important to note that we in the West have no idea who actually is supporting this movement – all we see are university-age students in the capital city. This could be a minority student-led movement of the sort seen in France in 1968 or the US between 68-71, in which case they are doomed to failure. Overtly supporting it could antagonize a majority we are not aware of – the only realistic option now is to stay at arms length and gather as much intel as possible.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  54. Edvardo

    There was not ordinary Iranians who shot "Down with USA". Those guys related to hard liners are shotting the same right now.

    I think more sunctions, embargo on gas and not accepting Ahmadi Nejad as president are the ways to help Iranians.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  55. mgl

    Where is Jimmy Carter talking about Human Rights?

    June 23, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  56. joseph

    look they need to fight there own battle while we still have a country to protect WAKE UP americians we cannot give our lives to free other countries they must do it there selves freedom cannot be handed to anyone ... cowards fight dont ask americans to give there lives for IRAN !!!! Send iranians who want to join fight BACK !!!

    June 23, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  57. William Bennett

    How does CNN know this person is who he says he is? Obama is doing the right thing for now by staying out of this. If the EU wants to take the lead, let them. I see no good that can come out of the U.S. taking sides.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  58. Chris

    Obviously this situation isnt as clear cut. On one hand we have the freedom fighters who we share their same spirit. On the other, we are infused with all the "Death to America" crap that covers Youtube. Flag burning and such. And not just by the older Iranians, but also faces of the youth.

    So, Obama's lack of action thus far is warranted.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  59. Robert

    I'm amazed how our government subscribes to the view that the rest of the world hates America. The Iranian people have proven otherwise that the USA is an agent of good...merely by example. I'm disappointed that the Obama administration has swallowed anti-American propaganda. When we stand for freedom, the freedom-seeking people around the world take heart and find hope. George Bush was right on this one.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  60. Chris W

    What can the U.S. really do right now? I hope that if possible our government would COVERTLY take steps to help in the down fall of this Shah. Maybe they are? It seems to me the reformers must get control of their military from the clerics or they loose, plain and simple. This would be something so caught up in the internal politics of the country that it's hard to see how any American or British government could affect the outcome. However if time passes and the movement clarifies perhaps money, technical and MILITARY aid would be used in the next round.
    Right now all we can do is pray. God bless Neda. And OBAMA IS DOING HIS JOB PROPER.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  61. Jasmin

    No to Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader retaining a hold on Iran! No to the Pahlavi's exploiting the current unrest in Iran! Yes to Iranians living in a country where they can have the same opportunities that those of us fortunate enough to live in the US have.

    I'm so incredibly impressed with the bravery that the people of Iran are showing. It takes A LOT to stand up to a repressive government like the one currently in place in Iran. Please know that Americans (those of us who actually know a thing or two about Iran's history and have the ability to identify the difference between the flag-burners and the majority of Iranians) wholeheartedly support your movement and will do everything they can to get your message through to the Administration.

    For those of you who think the US would be doing the Iranians a favor by showing their support.: your ignorance and blind Patriotism disgusts me. Look up the 1953 overthrowing of Iran's DEMOCRATIC President Mossadegh. The US squashed Iran's hope of democracy back then by overthrowing Mossadegh and placing the last Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, another tyrant, in power.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  62. John

    He had me until he started talking about Israel and nukes. I'm sure there are people like that there, but it's too obvious that this person is a plant.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  63. Perplexed Guide

    Never Forget Neda Agha-Soltan!

    “The world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don't do anything about it.” ~ Albert Einstein

    June 23, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  64. NJ_Krissy

    While I do understand their frustration and pleas for fairness and equality, the US is in no position to help out the Iranians. This Iran's domestic issue not America's international issue. We are involved in two wars in the mid-east, dealing with North Korea and economic crisis. The last thing we need is another holy war on our hands. Our troops are stretched thin to begin with.

    I personally believe that it is time for Europe, China and Russia to grow a pair and step up! America is NOT the world's peace keeper!!! America has enough issues at home to worry about, we certainly do not need to be stirring the pot in Iran.

    I think the best thing Iranians can do is keep protesting peacefully. Stand up for what you believe in. They can't possibly arrest all of you so fight until you can't fight anymore! I mean it took the US 2 tries to oust the try again next election.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  65. james

    This is one students opinion, and thus is not really news worthy. Any thoughts of US intervention is absolutely ludicrous. If these people want freedom they will have to fight for it themselves.
    PS. If you want real news is where to go.

    June 23, 2009 at 8:23 am |
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