DIPLOMACY

Obama Eyes Big Picture in Iran

As violence raged in the streets of Tehran on Saturday, President Obama released a short statement asking the government "to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people." Why is Obama remaining guarded in his comments about Iran even as its demonstrations turned bloody? U.S. officials say the President is trying to protect the possibility of negotiating directly with Iran about its nuclear program and links to terrorism, and is also trying to prevent demonstrators from being labeled as American stooges. Obama has also avoided saying whether he thinks the election was rigged, despite strongly-worded resolutions passed in both the House and Senate on Friday and Republican pressure to take a stand. Obama's been praised for his seeming neutrality by foreign policy experts, except for a slip-up last week when he told CNBC that the difference in Mousavi and Ahmadinejad's policies was not so great as "advertised."