Iran today accused President Barack Obama of "meddling" in its internal affairs.
A statement by state-run Press TV blamed Washington for "intolerable" interference in the bloody showdown over allegations of vote-rigging and fraud. The report, on Press TV, cited no evidence.
It said the government summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, to complain about American interference. The two countries severed diplomatic relations after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
This came just one day after Obama continued to offer a lukewarm take on the democratic protesters in the streets of Iran's major cities for fear Iran would accuse him of "meddling."
HARWOOD: Couple things, quickly, before we run out of time. You took your time reacting to the protests in Iran after the election. What are you watching for in the handling of those protests and in the investigation of the results to--and how will that influence the dialogue that you seek to have with Iran?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think first of all, it's important to understand that although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons. And so we've got long-term interests in having them not weaponize nuclear power and stop funding organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. And that would be true whoever came out on top in this election. The second thing that I think's important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it's the US that is encouraging those reformers. So what I've said is, `Look, it's up to the Iranian people to make a decision. We are not meddling.' And, you know, ultimately the question that the leadership in Iran has to answer is their own credibility in the eyes of the Iranian people. And when you've got 100,000 people who are out on the streets peacefully protesting, and they're having to be scattered through violence and gunshots, what that tells me is the Iranian people are not convinced of the legitimacy of the election....
It tells you they're not convinced -- but are you? This is reminiscent of Obama's calls for restraint on both sides of the Russian/Georgian conflict in the waning days of the Bush administration. That was something akin to telling a rapist he should consider pulling up his pants and the woman that she should not dress so provocatively.
Standing up for democracy -- even the shallow, faux version allowed by the mullahs in Tehran -- is never meddling. It's statesmanship.