Obama dismisses Ahmadinejad's apology demand


"I would suggest that Ahmadinejad think carefully about the obligations to his own people. And he might want to consider looking at the families of those who have been beaten or shot or detained. And that is where I think Ahmadinejad and others need to answer their questions."

Obama told Ahmadinejad, "If the Iranian government desires the respect of the international community, then it must respect the rights, and heed the will of its own people."

Obama had brushed aside Ahmadinejad's demand for apology yesterday and said he does not take "seriously" his statements.

"I don't think -- I don't take Ahmadinejad's statements seriously about apologies, particularly given the fact that the United States has gone out of its way not to interfere with the election process in Iran," Obama said.

"And I am really not concerned about Mr Ahmadinejad apologising to me," he added.
The Iranian president had sought the apology over the US president's previous comments on Tehran's suppression of political dissent.

While maintaining his tough stand on Iranian regime, Obama praised the Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi for having captured the imagination of people of the country.

"I think what's absolutely clear is over the course of subsequent days, that Mousavi has shown to have captured the imagination or the spirit of forces within Iran that were interested in opening up."

"He has become a representative of many of those people who are on the streets and who have displayed extraordinary bravery and extraordinary courage," he said.

Obama said he continues to believe that ultimately it is up to the Iranian people to decide about who their leaders are going to be.

"A government that treats its own citizens with that kind of ruthlessness and cannot deal with peaceful protestors trying to have their voices heard in a equally peaceful way, has I think, moved outside universal norms, that are important to uphold," he said.

Obama said the bravery shown by Iranians in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice.

"The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous," Obama added.

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