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June 24, 2009
Posted: 1800 GMT

Hello everyone,

Today, we've had eyewitness telephone interviews, grainy, shaky amateur video posted online of demonstrators chanting "Death to the dictator," and reports from news agancies. We are using imperfect tools to draw as clear a picture as we can of what is happening today in Iran.

What is clear is that some demonstrators (numbers uncertain and unconfirmed) have taken to the streets today, defying government orders to stay home. We know there has been violence, but cannot confirm how intense the crackdown was or how badly anyone was hurt.

We are working hard on getting the latest out of Iran and will bring it to you on the show today.

Also today, more shocking violence in Iraq a few days before U.S. troops are due to pull out from cities under a security agreement made with the Iraqi government.

Staying in the Middle East, we'll explore the significance of the U.S's decision to send an ambassador to Syria, re-establishing full diplomatic relations with Damascus for the first time in four years.

This is in keeping with Barack Obama's policy of engagement with the region, but could it also be a way of appeasing Syria and discouraging it from getting closer to Iran? We'll ask that question.

We'll also discuss reports that lawyers for 9-11 victims have gathered documents that show evidence of considerable financial support for terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda. An expert on the question will join us live at the half hour.

Plus the rest of the day's top stories from the world of business, weather and sport.

See you on TV!

Hala

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Filed under: Today At The I-Desk


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Sterling   June 24th, 2009 7:02 pm ET

I find the criticism of President Obama statements concerning Iran completely absurd. There is in fact very little he can do. The U.S. has maintained a hostile attitude and caused immense suffering to the Iranian people through its self-righteous sanctions (which, as in Cuba, Myanmar, North Korea etc. affect almost exclusively the ordinary people, not the elite rulers) for decades, not to mention deliberately putting itself outside the loop and thus being unable not only to quietly help improve the situation but also insuring that it has almost zero reliable intelligence about what is actually going on in the country.
Moreover, Americans also seem to be completely unaware that the current religious dictatorship is a direct result of America’s earlier interference in Iran, assassinating their elected leader and installing the Shah, a vain and cruel dictator in his place (why CNN caters to Farah Diba, the Shah’s widow, who lives on stolen funds in splendid exile is beyond my ken) which led eventually to a popular revolution – as American support for the dictators Somoza in Nicaragua and Batista in Cuba led also to popular revolutions which resulted in regimes unfriendly to the United States.
What do the Reptilicans think they are talking about and what do they propose? Isn’t the complete failure of the Neocon policies over the past years enough? Do they want another unending war? What do they mean by standing up for American values? Are they referring to our relationships with Saudi Arabia and China, those paragons of democracy on whom the Freedom Folks depend for oil and virtually all their consumer goods? Certainly it is a tragic situation in Iran, but more ignorant insincere BS from lunatic right-wing Americans about “values” and being “tough” is not going to help.

lokagariwar d.p.   June 24th, 2009 8:35 pm ET

sub,current events in Iran
It is high time to go for reelection. To avoib delay the government should request the Indian govt. to lease the ballot machines which are proved to be 100% reliable.tamperproof and easy to operate.Today the candidate who loses by ,say 20 votes;do not challenge the system.
The party which wone the election by fair means the party which lost shoujd both welcome the electronic voting. It is a win win situation.The expertise can also requested to Indian
i appeal to all,who can not see our sisters,motherstortured on the stree,to impress upon the leaders to accept execute fair elections.
Good for everybody.

rostam   June 25th, 2009 6:31 am ET

President Obama is not doing well in relation to Islamic regime in Iran.
He repeats what anyone could have said that freedom is good and government should not beat its own people.
But just in these few words he makes wrong assumptions.
The Islamic fascism in Iran from the start never recognised Iranian peoples as its own but tell us about the nation of Islam. Just like Hitler and the white Arian nation.
Then one important aspects of this are the chairs at the negotiation table with Obama. This is the reason why there is a rift in the top level.
Clergy does not trust Ahmadinejad with that.
Ahmadinejad and his fraction have bitter memory from liberal Muslims negotiating the release of American hostage’s back in 81 and Algiers accord.
Obama has now been even praised by John Maccain but both are wrong because they do not knew Iran as Jimmy Carter did not and made fatal mistakes.
Obama keep the hot chair available for anyone who would be stronger in this battle. So the message he is actually sending to Iran leadership is this: I would shake hand with the one who is stronger and stands after this battle and not with the fallen one.
This is a primal scream message like in nature. Stronger is fit to mate.
Obama should send a message that discourages the leader from showing force. Then the literature he would use could not be the same as when you address Boy Scout organisations like words about universal values.
Then why negotiate when proxies to this regime would be behind bombs in Iraq up to now?

Robert   June 25th, 2009 10:31 am ET

Cracking Down Media definitely increases the doubt on Iranian Government. If the Government thinks protesters are minority and they are fair in election, it should have allowed free media. I also understand media is not always free and everyone knows intelligence usually select media as a tool to enter. Also every body knows some media operates with political agenda. But these should not be an excuse for banning media. People are now becoming matured engough to differentiate media and their background. Recent example I can remember is "Sri Lanka" where all international media were banned and massacres happened removing all witnesses. Some media reported though banned but others omitted with political agenda. But what they can not hide is the Truth. The Truth will always come out and those media will be shamed then.
Remember young people all over are more intelligent and they will soon differentiate the media and correspondents whatever the media and their reporters say.
So Iran should allow media and let the people know the facts.

Azar Bagheri   June 25th, 2009 1:28 pm ET

People of Iran need support from the whole world specialy in this critical moment. They are paying with their blood right now the cost of freedom. It is not only cruel but even criminal to do nothing and just look. How does it help iranian to tell the mullas regim that we are watching you? Take action !!!
I do,nt mean military interference, just cut off all relationship with the regim and dont recognize it. Put pressure on regime.
This protest has nothing to do with candidates but iranians desire to change the regime totaly. They dont want Islamic republic , Their time is over. Iranian want freedom.

Micheal   June 25th, 2009 1:52 pm ET

I agree with Robert's point. Many media including CNN are spoiling their image taking too much positions than facts. This inturn reduces the trust and reliability of them. In this commercially driven world, "values" should drive the media and its coverage. In the same point of Sri lanka, I read, the Sri Lankan Government has spent millions of dollars to lobby its agenda even blackouting the media. In otherwords, Rogue Governments always try to buy Media, Journalists etc and it is not the big money now a days. Human Rights largely depends on Media and Coverage. Media and its coverage depends on "fairness, integrity and values" of the media irrespective of politics. Then whatever that media says will be heard by wider audience. In summary, Iran's case, Sri lanka's case, media also should take some blame on their side for their previous blunders that lead to untrust in their coverage. There is an urgent need to build this in order to protect human rights all over

Global Thinker   June 25th, 2009 4:24 pm ET

Can a well-planned interview with Mousavi be conducted? Can some dialogue be created with journalists' help between Mousavi and Ahmadinijad?

TIRDAD GHARIB   June 25th, 2009 5:00 pm ET

Dear Hala Good evenning To you President Barack Obama is Not Handlling Any Foreign Policy Well At All from Iran. to Iraq, to Afghaniistan He is A very Weak President And He Is not Experienced In foreign policy Plus As a Swiss American cItizen ,He Has no Right to Interfere In Europeans Affairs example I am against Turkey Becoming a part Of the european community and He Dictates That The Turks Should Join He must concentrate on His Own Agenda In America ,, Very Sincerlly yours Tirdad

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