Washington, Jun 27: US President Barack Obama has said that prospects for a dialogue with Iran have been dampened by the brutal government crackdown on the opposition following the nation's disputed presidential election.
Addressing a joint news conference at the White House Friday, Jun 26 after a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama called for an end to the deadly attacks against Iranians.
Referring specifically to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the New York Times quoted Obama as saying, "I would suggest that Mr. Ahmadinejad think carefully about the obligations he owes to his own people. And he might want to consider looking at the families of those who've been beaten or shot or detained."
"There is no doubt that any direct dialogue or diplomacy with Iran is going to be affected by the events of the last several weeks. We don't yet know how any potential dialogue will have been affected until we see what has happened inside of Iran. The clock is ticking," with Iran pursuing its nuclear program at a fairly rapid clip," he added.
Merkel noted Germany and other nations shared Obama's view, saying, "Iran cannot count on the world turning a blind eye."
Since the two leaders last met, in Dresden on June 5, demonstrations over Iran's disputed elections have escalated into violent clashes, heightening concerns about instability in Iran and how to deal with its nuclear program.
Obama also stressed Friday, Jun 26 that the Iranian people should choose their leaders, but said Mr. Moussavi had 'captured the imagination or the spirit' of people pushing for freedom in Iran.
In Tehran on Thursday, Jun 25 government television quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Obama to "show your repentance" for criticizing Iran's response to the protests.
He also said Mr. Obama was following 'the same path that Bush did'.