‘It Was Offensive,’ Obama Says On Platform to Reach Iranian Audience, of Ahmadinejad’s Rant

By Maya

Sep 24, 2010 12:32pm

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Coming one day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s United Nations speech which led the US and delegations from all 27 EU countries to walk out on in protest, President Obama went on the BBC Persian TV today to “speak directly” to the people of Iran, the White House says. “It was offensive,” the president said of Ahmadinejad’s rant yesterday about 9/11 theories. “It was hateful.  And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of Ground Zero, where families lost their loved ones, people of all faiths, all ethnicities who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation, for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable.” Senior administration officials, on a conference call with reporters this morning, said that President Obama went on BBC Persian TV because he is always interested in ways he can “speak directly” to the people of Iran about this. “This interview was an opportunity for him to do that as well and to continue to underscore to the Iranian people that it is their government has made a series of choices that has led to significant sanctions and accountability measures,” the administration official said. BBC Persian TV has a “substantial viewership” in Iran, administration officials touted adding that it also has substantial radio reach into Iran and a website that is “one of the most trafficked websites in the region.” “So we saw it as a good and effective platform to reach the Iranian audience.” In addition to the interview airing on BBC, the administration also plans to disseminate the president’s words by their own new media strategies – with blogging, tweeting, and plans to post on You Tube in an attempt the amplify the message. Echoing comments made to the BBC today administration officials today said that Ahmadinejad’s statements have been a “pattern of outrageous comments.” “Frankly they don’t serve the Iranian people well either,” the administration official said, “It’s part of a series of choices that the Iranian government as made that only serve to isolate it and setback it’s interests.” The administration says that because of policies pursued by the Obama administration Iran is facing a different situation today. “They’ve never faced the kind of pressure and the kind of international isolation that they are currently facing. And that is a consequence of our policies that we pursued since coming into office.”

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