June 26th, 2009
01:26 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama, Merkel pledge common front on Iran

In a joint press conference, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both condemned the post-election violence in Iran.

In a joint press conference, President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both condemned the post-election violence in Iran.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Iran's post-election crackdown on Friday and expressed a common determination to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

They also underscored, among other things, a mutual commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a desire for closer economic cooperation, and a strong intention to work together on the issue of global warming.

They made their remarks during a joint appearance at the White House.

The United States and Germany "speak with one voice" in defending the rights of Iranians to assemble and have "their voices heard" in pursuit of justice," Obama said.

The Iranian government's violent post-election crackdown is "outrageous," he added. "We condemn it."

Merkel promised that the world "shall not forget" the "horrifying scenes" playing out in Tehran in recent weeks.

"Iran cannot count on the world community turning a blind eye to this," she said.

Both leaders said it was critical to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, in part to prevent the escalation of a dangerous Middle East arms race. Merkel, however, emphasized the need to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis, and Obama indicated that international engagement with the Iranian government would continue despite the crackdown precisely because of the nuclear question.

The president was less clear about the future of direct relations between Washington and Tehran in the wake of the crackdown. He was also dismissive when asked about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's demand that the U.S. government apologize for interfering in Iran's internal affairs.

"I don't take Mr. Ahmadinejad's statements about apologies seriously," Obama said. The United States "has gone out of its way not to interfere with election process in Iran. ... I'd suggest Mr. Ahmadinejad think carefully about his obligations to his own people" and the families of those beaten, shot, and detained in recent weeks.

Obama also reiterated his recent argument that any government that treats its own citizens "with that kind of ruthlessness and violence" has moved outside of "international norms" that are important to uphold.

While Obama and Merkel displayed a warm rapport during their meeting, relations between the United States and Germany have been strained in recent months. Among other things, American officials have expressed frustration with the reluctance of NATO allies - including Germany - to contribute more troops and assistance to the war in Afghanistan.

The American and German governments have also differed sharply in their responses to the global economic crisis. American officials have hinted that Germany has not contributed enough in terms of stimulus spending, while German officials have expressed concern that excessive U.S. spending may lead to a jump in inflation.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Jeff Texas

    Do you really think that Iran's President really cares what Obama thinks.

    June 26, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    A common front of cowardice, now I am not only ashamed of my country for being such fools to elect this idiot as president, I have to be ashamed of my ancestry.

    June 26, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. New Era

    Obama, please stand strong against this Iranian regime. You dont need to be second in this equation with other nations. We are looking to you to stand outright against this regime. We don't have to go to war but the card game has changed and we need to change our faces and words as well!

    June 26, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Lynn

    No one, including McCain and his two sidekicks, knows what goes on behind the scenes among the different gov'ts on how to reply to the tragedy in Iran and how to coordinate these.

    How could the President be clear about the route to take when Iran is in turmoil? Again, who knows who in Iran the President may have contact with. If he was "more specific" CNN would be writing about how he couldn't be specific because he doesn't know what will happen.

    Different gov'ts always have disagreements; they are speaking for their constituents and the realities of their particular situations; that's why they have talks.

    June 26, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. RNC = DNC = politics as usual

    He has to partner up to another world figure to avoid making an actual statement.

    Does anyone know where he stands on Iran? I have heard a lot of words but.....
    It is an internal Iranian affair?
    We should call it wrong?
    We should commit to sanctions?
    We should bomb them?

    There are many choices – I wish my president would do more than just mumble and posture.

    June 26, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Chris D.

    Making Progress.

    June 26, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Amir

    Millions of people in Iran are looking to see how Western front would stand up to their words. Believe us, you can't limit Ahmadinejad and reach an agreement with his or Khamenei that they will respect. This government lacks the legitimacy, this band of thugs that do not respect their very own people, won't keep their promises. West might be able to get some promises on the short run, but it won't sustain. And after a while it will be the same all over again.

    June 26, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. RP Michigan

    Why are the Germans always smarter than us? I hope she counted her fingers after Obama's handshake....he's been stealing the future of our retirees and children with his mishandling of the economy.

    June 26, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Shibumi

    Bo Bo is a clown.

    June 26, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. aware

    Appeasement times two! Then add BO's move to European socialism plus, hide it, fascism. This is change that will destroy the USA!

    June 26, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. E.J. in Tacoma

    Great this is the diplomatic thing to do talk and discuss issues with our European counter parts. The only way to true peace with others is to find common ground with one another and to work toward solutions. The Iranian government has not yet extending any hand of friendship or olive branch to Obama. They have to know what they are doing to their own people is wrong and other countries will not tolerate or excuse their inhumane actions. Today I pray for lasting peace for my sister in Iran!

    June 26, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. yuri

    BHO and AM voicing together lends colossal credence to the common occurrences in Iran, that it is a scenario that will draw the world's attention. Other nations can not simply keep quiet, just as the way a stranger can not when he or she sees a mother meting out corporal punishment to her child, endangerin' him physically.

    June 26, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. Louise in NC

    I get my news from the AP website and there are a lot of times when I read your articles that you attribute to CNN-they sound just like the AP articles I read. Do you buy AP news and then change the wording and get the credit for the article?

    June 26, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. JackT

    Gee, so President Obama finally takes a stand with more meaningless hot air (we condemn it?) wow! Tough talk.

    June 26, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  15. Teleprompter of the U.S.A.

    It took him long enough to say something like this. There must have been a quote on how many dead they would accept.

    June 26, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. Mina

    Afareen (good job) Obama. I think the Iranian-American community appreciates your efforts and your stance against the actions of the Iranian regime these past few weeks.

    June 26, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. LKycuzz

    I must comment I am happy to see an Administration talk and coexist with a foreign country and stand on a podium together is comforting! I am ecstatic to see and hear diplomacy used before we invade a nation... And lose our men and women to another country's war... We actually may be moving back towards a Democracy after all!

    June 27, 2009 12:15 am at 12:15 am |