This image from video released Sunday June 21 2009 shows Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of senior cleric Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaking to hundreds of supporters of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi on June 17th. AP Photo/ IRIB
By Frank James
After Saturday's violent clashes between pro-democracy protesters and security forces which reportedly resulted in some deaths though the exact number is uncertain, reports from Iran are that Sunday is significantly quieter.
Official Iranian TV said that 10 people died as a result of Saturday's street demonstrations, a continuation of week-long unrest stemming from an election the government said resulted in the overwhelming re-election of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad's opponents have complained that the election was rigged.
The Associated Press and other news agencies are reporting more arrests of notable Iranians, including the eldest daughter and other members of the family of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
And the Iranian government clampdown on journalists continues. The BBC is reporting that its permanent Tehran correspondent, Jon Leyne, was given 24 hours to leave the country.
Meanwhile, one of the U.S. Senate's top foreign policy experts, Sen. Richard Lugar, said during a taping of CNN's Late Edition program that despite the Iranian government's harsh response to the protesters, the Obama Administration should remain open to talks with the Ahmadinejad government.
According to the Associated Press:
Sen. Richard Lugar says the U.S. has a goal of containing Iran's nuclear ambition. He says the two countries should meet even though there are protests in Tehran over this month's presidential vote.
Lugar, R-Ind., says President Barack Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should be ready to meet with their Iranian counterparts.
Yet, other Republicans continued to bash Obama for not talking tougher on Iran, a response Obama has wanted to avoid for fear of becoming a foil in Iran's internal politics.
Another AP story reports:
"The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on a Sunday morning talk show. "He's been timid and passive more than I would like."
And in comments likely to be used by Iranian hardliners as further proof of the outside world's meddling in Iranian affairs, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while the world clearly sympathized with the Iranian demonstrators but said it was still too early to know what changes if any would result.
An excerpt from a Reuters report:
"I have no doubt everybody in the world is sympathetic to the Iranians' desire for freedom," Netanyahu said on NBC's "Meet the Press" when asked about the street demonstrations that have erupted in Iran since the disputed June 12 election. "I think it's too early to say what will transpire in Iran and on the international stage," said Netanyahu, who spoke from Israel. He reiterated Israel's position that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.