Since yesterday’s mass demonstrations in Iran over the disputed presidential elections, conservatives like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) have urged President Obama to “act” and make forceful statements against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s purported reelection. During a press conference today, Obama reemphasized his “deep concerns” about the election — but pointed out that, “given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations,” he wanted to make sure he did not appear to be “meddling” in Iranian affairs:
OBAMA: It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling, the U.S. president meddling in Iranian elections. … I do believe that something has happened in Iran where there is, there is a questioning of the kinds of antagonistic postures towards the international community that have taken place in the past, and that there are people that want to see greater openness and greater debate and want to see greater democracy.
Echoing similar points made by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) this morning, President Bush’s former ambassador to Iran Nicholas Burns endorsed Obama’s approach, saying, “President Ahmadinejad would like nothing better than to see a very aggressive series of statements by the United States that would try to put the U.S. in the center of this.”