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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Obama lashes out at Iranian protest crackdown

RIA Novosti

21:01 15/02/2011 WASHINGTON, February 15 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday criticized Iranian leaders for a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters and praised Egypt's uprising.

One person was shot dead in clashes between protesters and security forces in Tehran on Monday.

"I find it ironic that you've got the Iranian regime pretending to celebrate what happened in Egypt, when in fact they have acted in direct contrast to what happened in Egypt by gunning down and beating people who were trying to express themselves peacefully," Obama said at a White House news conference.

Obama said he saw "the right signals" in Egypt, where the military took power last week after Hosni Mubarak quit as president following 18 days of mass protests.

"We were clear then and we are clear now that what has been true in Egypt should be true in Iran," he said.

He said he hoped Iranians will be able to "express their yearning for greater freedom and a more representative government."

"We don't believe in violence and coercion as a way of maintaining control," he said. "We have sent a strong message to our allies in the region: look at Egypt's example, not Iran's example."

Iranian lawmakers called earlier today for the execution of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

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