Garrett then followed up his question with another, asking Obama if Iranian leaders would still be welcomed to the 4th of July celebration. Obama said, "Well, uh... I think as you're aware, Major, we don't have formal diplomatic relations with Iran. Uh... I think that we have said that if Iran chooses a path that abides by international norms and principles that we are interested in healing some of the wounds of 30 years in terms of U.S./Iranian relations, but that is a choice the Iranians are going to have to make." Can we assume from this answer, Mr. President, that they are still invited but they have to choose whether or not to show up to party?
Obama's strong words (please detect a note of sarcasm here) have produced such a change in the Iranian regime's attitude towards its people... oh, wait. No, that's backwards. According to the NYT this morning, "Iranian officials stepped up efforts to crush the remaining resistance to a disputed presidential election on Wednesday, as security forces overwhelmed a small group of protesters with brutal beatings, tear gas, and gunshots in the air. Intelligence agents shut down an office of a defeated presidential candidate, saying it was a 'headquarters for a psychological war.' The nation's leadership cast anyone refusing to accept the results of the race as an an enemy of the state." So the opposition to President Imanutjob is officially accused of "illegal gatherings, the promotion of unrest, and efforts to undermine the country's security." Don't worry, though... they've all been arrested.
Creating further speculation is the fact that the Iranian government is stepping up its efforts to block all independent news coverage throughout Iran. Also from the NYT, "The government banned foreign news media members from leaving their offices, suspended all press credentials for the foreign press, arrested a freelance writer for The Washington Times, continued to hold a reporter for Newsweek and forced other foreign journalists to leave the country.
According to official reports, about 240 people (102 of them political figures) are in jail. The Iranian government reports that it has arrested 627 more since the protests began.
Given all this, I have one question. What would make any reasonable man think these leaders are people with whom one can negotiate? And if there is no reason to think this, why would our president be continuing his quest to make nice with the Iranian government?