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Obama toughens his talk on Iran

# NEW: President Obama: U.S. "appalled" by beatings, imprisonments in Iran
# Obama says Iranian allegations that U.S. behind protests "false and absurd"
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Obama sharpened his language on Iran at a news conference Tuesday.
President Obama says his tone on the Iranian election crisis has been consistent.

"The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the last few days," the president said, adding that he strongly condemns "these unjust actions."

Obama's Iran policy has received intense scrutiny amid growing concerns over Tehran's violent crackdown on street protests. The Iranian demonstrators believe the country's June 12 presidential election was a sham.

Obama earlier called on Iran to stop violent and unjust steps that stifle free speech, but some Republicans have criticized him for not siding more strongly with the demonstrators.

Asked why he held off on such strong language before, Obama insisted that his tone has been consistent. "Right after the election I said that we had profound concerns about the nature of the election, but that it was not up to us to determine what the outcome was," he said. Video Watch Obama's strong words for Iran »

Obama also blasted allegations of some in the Iranian government that the United States is "instigating protests" as "patently false and absurd."

"This tired strategy of using old tensions to scapegoat other countries won't work anymore in Iran. This is not about the United States and the West; this is about the people of Iran and the future that they -- and only they -- will choose."

In what was believed to be a first, Obama's comments were available in Farsi, the main language of Iran, through a simultaneous translation on the White House Twitter link.

Obama said the Iranian regime still has a clear, open path to international acceptance despite the violence of the recent crackdown.

"There is a peaceful path ... to legitimacy," Obama said, and "we hope they take it."

The president said Iran's "faith, sovereignty and traditions" can be accepted while the country's government nevertheless adheres to a set of "international norms and principles" regarding violence and the right of peaceful dissent.

Asked why he wouldn't spell out any consequences, the president replied, "Because I think that we don't know yet how this thing is going to play out. I know everybody here is on a 24-hour news cycle. I'm not."

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Added: Jun-24-2009 
By: bellava
Iran, News, Middle East
Tags: Obama, toughens, his, talk, on, Iran
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