Tuesday, July 23, 2002
U.S. Changes Iran Policy

This story in the Washington Post tells how the Bush administration has moved from a policy of engaging Iranian Prime Minister Khatami (so-called reformer) toward one of direct engagement with the Iranian people.
Bush signaled the change publicly in a strongly worded presidential statement in which he praised large pro-democracy street demonstrations in Iran. The shift cheered foreign policy experts who had urged a tougher approach toward Tehran and was a setback for the State Department, which had spearheaded efforts to engage the Khatami leadership.

In the statement, Bush said that "uncompromising, destructive policies have persisted" in Iran despite recent presidential and parliamentary elections that have brought reform advocates to power. He accused Iranian leaders and their families of continuing "to obstruct reform while reaping unfair benefits" and demanded that the government listen to the Iranian people, who he said have "no better friend than the United States."