Philip J. Crowley
Daily Press Briefing
MR. CROWLEY: We obviously are watching the situation in
very closely and the government’s response to peaceful protests. We are deeply concerned about reports that one person has been killed and two wounded in clashes with security forces. Those security forces are arresting, beating, and using tear gas against protestors, as well as blocking them from using public transportation, cell phones, and other means of communication. Iran reportedly continues to jam news coverage in the country. Both major opposition leaders remain under house arrest, and this is in conjunction with a wave of other arrests of opposition figures, including women’s rights advocates, leading up to the protests. Iran
We condemn in the strongest terms any use of violence against people peacefully assembling and expressing their views – expressing their desire for freedom and reform, and call on
to refrain from violence. And as the Secretary said in her remarks on the Hill – I believe she used the term hypocrisy – it’s well earned – in the contrast between the words that Iran used relative to the protests in Iran , but its ongoing crackdown of its own people and their universal right to demonstrate. Egypt
QUESTION: The State Department sent – started sending direct messages to Iranians in Farsi yesterday. Can you talk about that, and is this a new social media initiative from the State Department?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I would put it in a broader context. And actually, if you’re interested, we’ll bring Judith McHale down to explain it in greater detail. As you’ve seen, we are making more significant use of social media. It’s a key element of our plan to – and our strategy to engage people-to-people around the world. As the Secretary has made clear, we do engage governments, but we also want to engage people directly. And as we use social media, we’re also employing – using languages in key parts of the world. So last week we began Tweeting in Arabic, and this week we begin Tweeting in Farsi.
QUESTION: Are you trying to create a revolution then in
MR. CROWLEY: Well, that – what has guided us throughout the last three months and guides us in terms of how we focus on Iran is the core principles – the Secretary mentioned them again today – of restraint from violence, respect for universal rights, and political and social reform. There is a – it is hypocrisy that
says one thing in the context of Iran but refuses to put its own words into action in its own country. Egypt