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Western Nations Deny Iranian Claims of Inciting Violence


Western nations are denying Iranian government allegations that they are encouraging Iran's post-election violence.

The Czech presidency of the European Union on Monday invited EU member states to summon Iranian envoys to protest the violent response of government forces to anti-government demonstrators.

In Syria, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem warned the West against intervention in Iran's internal affairs, saying it could harm talks between Iran and the United States.

The White House says President Barack Obama has responded correctly to the violence in Iran. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says many in Iran would love for the U.S. to dominate the story, but Mr. Obama realizes that is not helpful.

Republican U.S. lawmakers have criticized President Obama, a Democrat, for not taking a stronger public stand on the events in Iran.

Deputy U.S. Secretary of State James Steinberg says he does not agree with the charge that Mr. Obama has been too cautious on his reaction to the Iranian violence. He says some influential voices in Congress from both parties "have recognized, as the president has said, that this issue is about the Iranians and is for the Iranians to decide."

Gibbs also says Mr. Obama has been "moved" by the television images of people protesting in Iran, particularly those of women who have stood up for their rights to speak out and be heard.

Also Monday, Iranian media said Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called for a review of Iran's ties with Britain in a speech to parliament. Iran expelled the British Broadcasting Corporation's permanent correspondent in Tehran after accusing the BBC and the Voice of America of "engineering the ongoing post-election riots."

VOA Director Dan Austin has rejected Iran's accusations.

Britain, the target of some of the worst criticism from Iran, said it is evacuating family members of its diplomatic staff stationed in Iran, while leaving staff members themselves in place.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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