Obama Warns Against Direct Involvement by U.S. in Iran
President Obama said Tuesday that it would be counterproductive for the United States "to be seen as meddling" in the disputed Iranian presidential election, dismissing criticism from several leading Republicans that he has failed to speak out forcefully enough on behalf of the Iranian opposition, NYT reported.
Although the president said he had "deep concerns about the election," he also said that any direct involvement by the United States would not be "productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations." How Iran goes about electing its leaders and establishing freer debate and democratic principles, he told reporters at the White House, "is something ultimately for the Iranian people to decide."
In his first public statements on Monday, Mr. Obama had said he was deeply troubled by the postelection violence and called on Iranian leaders to respect the democratic process, but he also said he would continue pursuing a direct dialogue with Tehran.
Aides said the White House response had been calibrated to avoid a perception that the United States was trying to push for a regime change. With protesters filling the streets of Tehran to denounce the declared outcome of the election, administration officials said they were wary of doing anything that would allow the declared victor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to portray the protests as American-led.