On Iran and Health Care, Obama Careful to Keep His Options Open

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Copyright 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009; 4:11 PM

By Dan Balz President Obama used his press conference Tuesday to sharpen his rhetoric on Iran and vigorously defend the most controversial provision of his health care proposal. But in addressing two of the biggest challenges before his administration, he also carefully left himself room to maneuver as events unfold. Obama's opening statement on Iran represented a notable escalation in his rhetoric, after a week of criticism from Republicans that he was not standing strongly enough with the demonstrators in the streets. He said the United States and the international community were "appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings and imprisonments of the last few days," adding for emphasis, "I strong condemn these unjust actions." At the close of the press conference, he described as "heartbreaking" the video that showed the death of Neda Agha-Soltan on the streets of Tehran Saturday. Though he laughed off a question as to


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