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>I commented on the blog, Think Progress, about the quiet tact Obama is taking over the Iranian street protests following the “rigged elections.” Read my comments at the bottom, and other comments and similar articles. Then make your own comment. DonWhite___________________________

Lugar: The U.S. Should Still Be Willing To ‘Sit Down’ With Iran For Nuclear Talks

Last week, President Obama reiterated that despite the turmoil in Iran, he still plans on pursuing a “tough” diplomatic approach with the country in order to prevent a “nuclear arms race”:

Now, with respect to the United States and our interactions with Iran, I’ve always believed that as odious as I consider some of President Ahmadinejad’s statements, as deep as the differences that exist between the United States and Iran on a range of core issues, that the use of tough, hard-headed diplomacy — diplomacy with no illusions about Iran and the nature of the differences between our two countries — is critical when it comes to pursuing a core set of our national security interests, specifically, making sure that we are not seeing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East triggered by Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon; making sure that Iran is not exporting terrorist activity. Those are core interests not just to the United States but I think to a peaceful world in general.

We will continue to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries, and we’ll see where it takes us. But even as we do so, I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we’ve seen on the television over the last few days.

Today on CNN, Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) agreed with Obama, saying that it is necessary to “sit down” in order to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program:

LUGAR: We would sit down because our objective is to eliminate the nuclear program that is in Iran. […]

But in direct answer to your question, of course, we really have to get into the nuclear weapons. We have to get in the terrorism of Iran in other areas in the Middle East. Now we have a new opportunity in which we might very well say we want communication with Iran. […]

This is not imposing our will, but it’s fundamental to our democracy and to the development of democracy and or better governments in Iran at this point.

Watch it:

Lugar has been one of many Republicans who have been coming out and rebutting right-wing criticism on Obama’s approach to the Iranian protests. Last week, he said that becoming “heavily involved” in the Iranian election would be detrimental to U.S. interests.

Lugar also said today that “openness of the press” is important in Iran because “we need to be able to talk to people, hear from people, argue with people.” “We don’t want to have to use Tweeter [sic],” he added.

Transcript:

KING: President Obama has said he would like high-level diplomacy, even leaving the door open to a meeting with President Ahmadinejad early on in the administration.

It is the supreme leader, of course, who calls the shots, the armed forces report to him, the state media reports to him. Senator Lugar, I want to come back to you on Senator Casey’s point. The president said diplomacy should be on the table. He has been waiting for the Iranians to come back to him.

If President Ahmadinejad or the supreme leader, Mr. Khamenei, came back now and said, we want to sit down with the United States at a high level, Secretary Clinton perhaps to the foreign minister, or president to president, should the United States say yes or would you be rewarding the unjust, to use the president’s word, behavior he sees on the streets of Iran right now?

LUGAR: We would sit down because our objective is to eliminate the nuclear program that is in Iran. This is –

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Even though — even though they are shooting people in the streets and beating people in the streets and arresting political opponents, if they called tomorrow, you would sit down with them?

LUGAR: Yes, it’s totally improbable. And the reason is that this regime now is under fire. This is not a stable regime in which two people suddenly sit down with the United States. They may not be able to impose their will. This is what — this is all about in the streets.

But in direct answer to your question, of course, we really have to get into the nuclear weapons. We have to get in the terrorism of Iran in other areas in the Middle East. Now we have a new opportunity in which we might very well say we want communication with Iran.

We want openness of the press. We don’t want to have use Tweeter [sic]. We want to have to press on the ground. But in order to have any kind of relationship, we need to be able to talk to people, hear from people, argue with people.

This is not imposing our will, but it’s fundamental to our democracy and to the development of democracy and or better governments in Iran at this point.


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40 Responses to “Lugar: The U.S. Should Still Be Willing To ‘Sit Down’ With Iran For Nuclear Talks”

  1. Wayne A. Schneider Says:


    It’s much better to sit down with them and talk about what we don’t like that they’re doing, as opposed to demanding that they stop doing what we don’t like before we’ll sit down and talk with them. That Bush preferred the latter to the former was just one of his many failings as president.

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  2. spencers mom Says:


    It’s curious to see certain members of the GNOP willing to buck the accepted talking points.

    Of course we should sit down and talk with Iran! And President Obama’s pitch-perfect comments on the current situation in Iran indicates that his administration realizes that we would be talking with Iran’s leader, regardless of who won.

    And because it can’t be said too often…

    PEACE

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  3. Wayne A. Schneider Says:


    Yes, spencers mom, “PEACE”. I really don’t think anyone can deny that President Obama prefers Peace while President Bush preferred War (no matter what he said to the contrary.)

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  4. Bilbo Hussein Baggins Says:


    We have to get in the terrorism of Iran in other areas in the Middle East.

    Perhaps he can tell us what “terrorism” Iran is involved in? As far as I can tell, Iran pretty much minds their own business. Our government under Bush tried to claim that Iran was meddling in Iraq but they were never able to prove it.

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  5. Bilbo Hussein Baggins Says:


    Wayne A. Schneider Says:
    Yes, spencers mom, “PEACE”. I really don’t think anyone can deny that President Obama prefers Peace while President Bush preferred War (no matter what he said to the contrary.)

    Not just Bush, but also a majority of the Republics in Congress. War hasn’t solved any of the problems in the ME, it has just made things worse.

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  6. Uncle Fester Lurks Says:


    How dare senator Lugar suggest that President Obama actually sit down and talk with Iran about nuclear weapons. What an appeaser! *snark*

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  7. Reggie Says:


    When you hold the moral high-ground, negotiating with adversaries isn’t necessarily a sign of weakness.
    Negotiations, if done properly, could lead to a treasure-trove of information that conventional intelligence cannot acquire.

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  8. Uncle Fester Lurks Says:


    Wayne A. Schneider Says:

    Yes, spencers mom, “PEACE”. I really don’t think anyone can deny that President Obama prefers Peace while President Bush preferred War (no matter what he said to the contrary.)
    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`
    No more proof is needed when you consider the former idiot in chiefs infamous quote “Money trumps peace” Enough said…

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  9. Uncle Fester Lurks Says:


    Channeling Larry Kudlow:

    But, but, but….if we don’t have perpetual war, the defense industry will lose customers, they won’t make maximum profits, which will lead to lay offs, which will hurt the economy.

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  10. spencers mom Says:


    Wayne, Bush’s idea of “setting our sight on peace” he meant gun sights.

    Ready, aim, fire. Ta da! Peace!

    PEACE

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  11. Uncle Fester Lurks Says:


    spencers mom Says:

    Wayne, Bush’s idea of “setting our sight on peace” he meant gun sights.

    Ready, aim, fire. Ta da! Peace!
    ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`
    Or in Bush’s case…

    Fire, ready, aim….

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  12. WAYNEBRO Says:


    This is why the democrats vote in the house and Senate last week was so inappropriate and counterproductive.

    Voting to support the Green party in Iran sends mixed signals to Iran about who’s in charge over here and what our intentions are. And it undermines the President’s non interference approach which is the only approach for us to take (unless we’re planning on starting and backing a civil war in Iran).

    It’s fairly clear Ahmadinejad will retain power, so if we’re seen as supporting the Green party and Mousavi then it’s going to be very difficult for the President to reestablish relations which are already strained, with Ahmadinejad.

    In a previous thread by Ali Frick on Harry Reid, Ali accidentally(?) listed Reid as “Harry Reid(R-Nevada).

    That “mistake” is unfortunately closer to the truth than we’d like.

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  13. ranus69 Says:


    Lugar should concentrate on helping the people of Elkhart, Indiana you should go and sit down with them and have a talk with them? That would not be imposing your will but it’s fundamental to our democracy?

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  14. Badger Says:


    Perhaps he can tell us what “terrorism” Iran is involved in?

    The Claim has often been made, that Iran is aiding Hezbolah and Hamas. I have no reason to doubt this.

    These groups have been involved in “terrorist” acts against ISRAEL…but except for the Marine Barracks Bombing in Lebanon…I know of no terrorist acts by these groups against America or any other country not occupying their country.

    And with regard to Aid, America gives million$ to Israel.

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  15. ranus69 Says:


    WAYNEBRO Says:

    This is why the democrats vote in the house and Senate last week was so inappropriate and counterproductive.

    My sentiments exactly but can you imagine if China or Russia “meddle” in America’s elections?

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  16. Hoodathunktick Says:


    The Republicans still have this weird view of negotiating. To them it means taking a stance and then demanding what the other side is going to do to make it happen.

    Serious negotiating is when they throw in hissy fits and name calling.

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  17. tokin librul Says:


    The Republicans still have this weird view of negotiating. To them it means taking a stance and then demanding what the other side is going to do to make it happen.

    You may have noticed that the stratagem works far more often than not…

    what pissses me off about Obama’s propensity for compromise is that he goes in willing to trade the ranch for some stupid, spurious “agreement.”

    And he gives away the whole phuquing store in the process…

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  18. ADAY Says:


    Politico is not the place where you want to go to for an engaging conversation; what you will find is ignorance and stupidity closely associated with some in the Republican Party which can no doubt be linked to the mentality of the corrupt governing of Iran. And it’s so funny watching these Republican Politicians pretend they care about the Iranian citizens in the street fighting for the right to let their votes be heard, when we all know what this is really about and that’s damage control of who they have finally been exposed to be, the world identify them as not with the people in the street fighting for freedom, the republicans are identified with the fraudulently elected President Ahmadinejad and the Conservative Regime that controls Iran.

    We know this, Americans have had to deal with an Ahmadineja and a Conservative Regime for 8 years and in fact, we still have a few in congress who I previously stated are now trying to camouflage themselves as people who are for free elections and who are for fair elections; but people don’t be fooled by this, the Republican Party is more in-line with the current regime in Iran than anything happening in their streets; and it is in the Republicans Party and the Conservative Iranians best interest to keep each other in power, because without the other, they can in no way survive as we are baring witness to this right now.

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  19. Oval12345678 aka James K. Sayre Says:


    The Iranian people are still be forced to harvest the bitter fruits of US imperial intervention and meddling in their country some fifty-six years ago.

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  20. blue state bob Says:


    Lugar has always struck me as a Republican who seemed pretty sane, though he is still a republican so there may be some insanity there that is hidden better than everyone else in that party.

    BTW, “Tweeter,” the GOP the party of old men afraid of anything more technologically advanced than an abacus

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  21. Jigsawnovich Says:


    The government of Iran is flying Hezbollah into their own country to beat up and shoot Iranian citizens, according to a reliable source. It could be said that they are importing terror. Also, I’ve foundtwo videos of men filling out multiple Iranian presidential ballots, and posted them to my blog at http://jigsawnovich.blogspot.com. This may be documentation of election fraud.

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  22. WAYNEBRO Says:


    Hoodathunktick Says:

    The Republicans still have this weird view of negotiating. To them it means taking a stance and then demanding what the other side is going to do to make it happen.

    No doubt there but if we’re going to change anything then it’s time to shift focus off the republicans (who are supposed to be out of power) and onto those in power, the democrats.

    The biggest opposition the President has right now to moving his agendas forward is not the republicans. It’s the democrats. The democrats in Congress hold all the cards. They hold the majority. And yet we see vote after vote go to the republicans agenda and away from the Presidents.

    The President tries to pass a bill to protect Americans from predatory credit card companies and the republicans (Tom Coburn) tags on a rider to permit handguns in national parks.

    Pelosi decides to not work to remove it and 105 democrats pile on board to help the republicans pass it in the House. Then the spineless Harry Reid joins the republicans in permitting it to pass in the Senate, and now you can’t take your kids to a national park anymore without worrying if the drunken irate father in the tent on the adjacent campsite is packing a 357 Magnum.

    Last week the President comes out and declares we need to follow a hands off approach in the Iranian elections and avoid the very appearance of “meddling” and every democrat in the House failed to support him, as a 405-1 vote passes a non binding resolution to support Mousavi and the green party, completely undermining the President’s agenda. With the “1” vote being from a republican.

    The time for the “yay democrats, boo republicans” partisanship has come to an end. It’s time for Americans who believe in President Obama to start acting like it, and put the blame for the hindrances to the Presidents agenda square on the shoulders of those responsible for it. The democrats in the House and Senate.

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  23. Hoodathunktick Says:


    The Republicans are going for cheap brownie points with their support of the populist movement in Iran. If the regime wins, they still have their Evil Axis thing to use to strike fear in the hearts of the gullible. If it loses, they figure Iran will be weakened and easier to deal with.

    If they had any foreign policy smarts there would be a massive upsurge in Depends sales over what might happen if the regime falls.

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  24. Hoodathunktick Says:


    Waynebro, it isn’t the Republicans or the Democrats, it is the Corprocrats. The number of members of Congress who sell out far outweighs those who actually pay attention to their constituents.

    Business interests run this country.

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  25. Uncle Fester Lurks Says:


    I wonder when one of the leading war mongering neocon republicans will come out with a new book titled “The Audacity Of Diplomacy”?

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  26. Uncle Fester Lurks Says:


    Hoodathunktick Says:

    Waynebro, it isn’t the Republicans or the Democrats, it is the Corprocrats. The number of members of Congress who sell out far outweighs those who actually pay attention to their constituents.

    Business interests run this country.
    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““
    Agree!

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  27. WAYNEBRO Says:


    Hoodathunktick Says:

    Waynebro, it isn’t the Republicans or the Democrats, it is the Corprocrats. The number of members of Congress who sell out far outweighs those who actually pay attention to their constituents.

    Business interests run this country.

    Well we can call them anything we want but there’s still a (D) in front of the name of the majority members of Congress who are actively working to undermine the President.

    The country gets mad a republicans, and rightfully so, and so we vote the democrats into power. Then as Bill Maher so accurately stated in his closing Friday night, they then became the new republicans. As he said, we have no “liberal party” anymore. We have a center right and a far right. That’s it. Sure there are some good democrats out there, but they’re unfortunately not powerful enough to override the combined democrat\republican voting block in both houses.

    I’m not criticizing anyone here. I’m just saying we need to shift our focus off the republicans for a while, because all it accomplishes is getting people to vote democrat. And if the democrats are going to vote republican, then where does that leave us?

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  28. Fred Says:


    tokin librul Says:
    The Republicans still have this weird view of negotiating. To them it means taking a stance and then demanding what the other side is going to do to make it happen.

    You may have noticed that the stratagem works far more often than not…

    Yeah, it worked with North Korea….

    Yeah, it worked with Iran…..

    Yeah, it worked with who exactly?

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  29. Hoodathunktick Says:


    I’m just saying we need to shift our focus

    Yup. The focus needs to shift away from the pay-to-play parties, both of them. It is time to focus on getting a government that listens to the public, not the cash register.

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  30. Marie Says:


    It’s only the warmongers who want to rattle their sabres – and worse – with Iran. They are not happy with diplomacy – they prefer to “show them who’s boss” — because, after all, America is superior to everyone else – isn’t that their belief?
    Listen to the fools who are given an audience by the media as they portray Obama as not “foreceful enough” etc., etc., ad nauseum — most people learn from mistakes — the warmongers have a mental block.

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  31. Willy Says:


    Thank God that we don’t have a simple-minded cowboy in the White House.

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  32. DaTruth Says:


    Between the US and Iran stands Israel. Like a hawk, watching every move.

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  33. Curlew Says:


    Any bets on when the right wing noise machine will start calling Lugar a “liberal” or something similar?

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  34. Bobwurst Says:


    Fred Says:
    tokin librul Says:
    The Republicans still have this weird view of negotiating. To them it means taking a stance and then demanding what the other side is going to do to make it happen. You may have noticed that the stratagem works far more often than not…
    Yeah, it worked with North Korea….
    Yeah, it worked with Iran…..
    Yeah, it worked with who exactly?

    The dems in congress?

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  35. Marie Says:


    Willy – Thank God that we don’t have a simple-minded cowboy in the White House.

    I couldn’t agree more. Bush was willfully ignorant, and that left him unable to comprehend nuance, diplomacy, tact, patience and all the other traits that go into a good leader. He was vulnerable to the Rasputins and Macchiavellis in his White House, from Cheney on down – his White House was full of unethical, unlawful, power-hungry warmongers.
    Bush had no plan of his own, and their plans appealed to his base instincts — we will all pay the price for decades.

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  36. katy Says:


    (repost to newer thread)

    *
    MUST READ. You will NOT regret it…

    via C&L
    Words of Power: A message for the progressive media and citizen journalists.

    Brock, Walsh & Boehlert Deliver A Powerful Message for the Progressive Media & Citizen Journalists: Savor the Victories, But Strengthen the Capability

    http://words-of-power.blogspot.com/2009/06/brock-walsh-boehlert-deliver-powerful.html

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  37. krystalview Says:


    I watched CNN last night for a while ( I could not stomach it for too long). What stood out – like a sore thumb – was how many times the interviewer interrupted the “experts” to insert the “fact” that “most people” were “appalled” at President Obama for not “taking a stronger stance against the Iranian regime”.
    Time, after time, after time he made the same comment!!

    Who are these “most people”? This was infuriating! I hate CNN!

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  38. Oval12345678 aka James K. Sayre Says:


    The Iranian people have endured fifty-six years of misery so far in their attempt to get back to their quiet secular democracy, which they had in 1952, until we gave them the dictator Shah, who was followed by a theocratic dictatorship. A tip of the ole fedora to Republican President Eisenhower, his CIA and the Brits for creating all this human misery in 1953 with the destruction of Iran’s democracy and its replacement by the vile Shah…

    Another tip of the hat to the American corporate media, who, after the Iranians seized the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979, covered up the fact of the US involvement in the 1953 coup against their democracy. Heck of a job, NT Times, SF Chronicle, LA Times, et al ad nauseum…

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  39. Game of Life Says:


    If an interloper like Israel is allowed to have nukes, so can Iran and Iraq.

    If not israel can do what they did to the Palestines just before chimpy left office and the other nth times.

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  40. DonWhite Says:


    If pursuing “a nonsuccessful diplomatic approach on Iran” means saying almost nothing as Iran’s people take to the streets over freedom and the rigged elections, then Obama has thus far succeeded. But it’s my guess this OJT president will grow in his job and eventually he will come to the same conclusion it took Ronald Reagan two days, that to be an effective president and leader of the free world one must be able to effectively communicate. So far all President Obama has proven to us is that he is a cautious man, perhaps to our detriment.

    Former President Jimmy Carter, like all of us, knew Reagan was the “Great Communicator” and admired Reagan’s communication skills. Jimmy had this to say about Reagan:

    “President Reagan was a formidable political campaigner, who provided an inspirational voice to America when our people were searching for a clear message of hope and confidence. He had unshakeable beliefs and was able to express them effectively, both in America and abroad.” Right now, there is nothing more needed by the people of Iran than a “clear voice” from the West, from a leader of the free world.

    But it appears the UK has taken over as the leader of the West, at least in intelligent statements made to Iran in the vacuum left by a reticent Obama whose entire foreign policy seems to be now to say little in an effort gain the favor of the dictator with the hope this strategy will get him in good with Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs. It won’t work. He’s a ruthless dictator and with that tact they will steamroll Obama in personal discussions, if a dialog ever gets that far. The “Bully of the Middle East” won’t be shoved around, but also he won’t be impressed by merely telling him what America stands for and politely stepping aside as O has done. Obama would get far more traction by being Ronald Reagan (remember his advice to Gorbechev, “Tear Down That Wall?”) by telling Iran to reverse their own citizens’ almost unanimous negative beliefs about this rigged election by holding a new one supervised by the UN. They won’t do it, but it would send a loud and clear message to all tyrants that America stands for freedom everywhere and that we won’t be muzzled. DonWhite

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>Is Obama a Coward? Why Won’t He Help Iran?

>When 1.5 million Iranians are rioting in the streets of Tehran, what’s the matter with Barak Obama?

“Now’s the time to use your bully pulpit, man!”

Obama is gifted an excellent chance to change a regime without any military action and yet he won’t. He’s frozen to his seat in front of the television, wondering what to do.

Obama was like this when Russia invaded Georgia. John McCain immediately condemned Russia, while Obama said little. Oh, yes, he said “Both sides need to show restraint.” Restraint, when Medvedev’s and Putin’s massive armies wiped out 200,000 innocent civilians in a neighboring foreign country?

The Ruski’s had staged the whole event. They had their armies poised at the border to go in if the Georgian president tried to put down a staged uprising of Russians living in north Georgia. It was a farce, and for the first time in a modern era we saw the ruthfulness of the new scaled back revanchist Russia against a helpless neighbor.

Now we’re seeing the ruthfulness of the Mullahs who have given the incumbent power (despite calling for a recount of the vote. It will be phonied up, you can count on that.), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who knows he did not win the election.
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