Former US White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, in his final press meeting Friday, said that in response to anti-Mubarak protests in Egypt, "Iran was arresting people, blocking international media outlets, and turning off the internet," adding that "the government of Iran, quite frankly, [is] scared of the will of its people." Gibbs stressed that Iran should allow its people to freely assemble, demonstrate, and express their demands.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard issued a statement saying "Seditionists are no more than a corpse. We will severely crush any of their movements."
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Gibbs compared the situation in Iran with that in Egypt, stressing that Iranian threats on their own citizens expresses fear and a lack of self-confidence in the regime's control.
"I think if the government of Iran was as confident as the would have you believe in the statements that they put out, they would have nothing to fear with the peaceful demonstration like those that you've seen in Cairo and throughout Egypt," he said.
According to the former press secretary, Iranian citizens want to
demonstrate in support of the Egyptian cause, which "the government of
Iran, again, has met [protesters] with threatening to kill them. It
speaks volumes to the grip that they have, or lack thereof, on the
popular beliefs of their own people," explaining that the Iranian
government seems to fear that marching in support of the Egyptian
pro-democracy protesters could quickly change focus from Egypt to a
criticism of the Iranian government.
Gibbs commented, however, that the Obama administration is "not
interfering" with internal Iranian issues, relating back to the US's
position when protests broke out in Iran in 2009 following Ahmadinejad's
reelection. Gibbs emphasized that "we supported the universal rights,
and we support the ability for those to exercise them. And I think it's
up to the government of Iran to allow that to happen."
The former press secretary had worked as a speaker for Obama for seven
years while Obama was Senate candidate, senator, presidential candidate,
and president. The press meeting was his 250th.