The Blog

Call Them Out, Mr. President

Obama should stand up for the Iranian people, and against the Iranian regime, at the UN.

12:00 AM, Sep 21, 2009 • By JOHN P. HANNAH
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This month's gathering of world leaders at the United Nations offers President Obama a critical opportunity to reset America's posture toward Iran's post-June 12 turmoil, and to demonstrate that negotiations over Iran's nuclear program will not come at the Iranian people's expense. With his extraordinary political skills and international popularity, President Obama is uniquely positioned to challenge the global body to make clear, at long last, the civilized world's profound concern with Iran's elections and their bloody aftermath. He should call not only for the release of all those detained in the recent protests, but for an international inquiry of this summer's large-scale human rights abuses, including the use of officially-sanctioned rape, torture and lethal violence.

President Obama entered office promising to pursue a policy of engagement with Iran that would be tough and principled. We are about to find out if he really meant it. The Iranian people--and U.S. national interests--deserve no less.

John P. Hannah, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, served as national security advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney from 2005-2009.