Press Release

June 16, 2009

U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged the Iranian government to exercise restraint in its response to those protesting the results of their recent presidential election. Speaking from the floor of the U.S. Senate, Cardin cited the systemic problems of elections in Iran’s totalitarian regime.
Complete remarks are available at


Yet another unfortunate chapter is unfolding before our eyes that reinforces Iran’s record as a police state more concerned with keeping its tight grip on power than yielding to the will of the people. I stand with
President Obama calling for the government to exercise restraint and the violence to end. We may never know the true results of this election, given the lack of international monitoring.
  But what we do know is that in the last few days we have witnessed tens of thousands of Iranians raise their voice in protest to ensure that their vote meant something. The deliberate lack of transparency in the vote tabulation and the blatant attempts to block mass communications among citizens, particularly the youth, are too glaring to ignore.


“Americans know something about wanting to have their votes counted accurately.
  The difference between our two nations is when the results of a U.S. election were in dispute, the world spotlight shined bright on the process and the people involved resolved the conflict peacefully. Transparency and openness is not a hallmark of Iranian elections.


“Allegations of a fraudulent vote count are a symptom of a regime that has survived by mixing select elements of democracy into an authoritarian power structure that oppresses its people.
  On June 12, the people of Iran did not vote for the Supreme Leader of their country.
  Under the current system, Khamenei and his supporters will continue to dictate policy to the President of Iran, regardless of who that president is and whatever policy decisions the president is authorized to make.


“The people of Iran want their voices to be heard.
  I look forward to a future when they have an opportunity for a free and fair election of leaders of their choosing.”