Appearing on Fox's Fox New Sunday, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, told host Chris Wallace that according to intelligence sources we are seeing both a general uprising and isolated protests against the government in Iran.
"I think that you're seeing both of those Chris," Hoekstra said. "You are beginning to see this protesting to begin spreading and spreading across Iran and growing in Tehran. At the same time, the real question here is what is going to be the response from the regime. It appears that since the Friday sermon, the intent of the regime is to be more violent and more repressive in cracking down these protests and stopping them. We'll now have to see which side is going to be more successful and how they'll respond to each other."
Fellow guest Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., noted that the protestors want a free and fair election but also a better life. He cited high unemployment and double digit inflation inside Iran.
“If you are a young Iranian, and they have a very young population, and if you look to the future, there's not much hope for you. In particular for women in society who have been denied opportunity for a long time, if you're an educated woman there is not a very bright future for you… What they really want is more opportunity within a very oppressive autocratic society.
"I think the president is handling a rapidly evolving, very complex situation about as well as you can expect," said Bayh, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "He has put us clearly on the side of the reformers, clearly on the side of fair and free elections, clearly condemned the violence. But he's done it in a smart way. "This regime is rapidly losing legitimacy with its own people. ... We should not let them change the narrative to one of being meddling Americans," Bayh told "Fox News Sunday.
Asked what role the U.S. should play, Rep. Hoekstra told Wallace "if we look back to the campaign last fall. There were those who said that our president was going to be challenged in the first six months of his presidency. I think that's exactly what you're seeing. The president is being challenged in a very different way than what many of us expected that he would be.
“I think that the president has also prepared himself for this opportunity. He's gone to Europe he's gone to the Middle East, he made the speech at Cairo and what he did was that he polished America's image. Now what he has to do is to use that new credibility to speak out on behalf of of the Iranian people.
"This is now about America, “It is about Pres. Obama, as is about leadership. This is a real opportunity this is potentially a game changer in Iran, it is an opportunity that the President and America have to leverage off of.”
Hoekstra said "Yesterday the president came out with a written statement, but this president is a great orator, this president needs to come out, he needs to speak to the American people. But more importantly, he needs to speak to the people of Iran, the people of the Middle East, and he has to make a forceful statement on behalf of the people on the streets for freedom and democracy.
“This is a country that very soon is going to have nuclear weapons. This is a repressive regime. This is an opportunity to get some new leadership in here because the question with Iran going into the future is not about whether they will have a nuclear weapon or not. It is about what regime will have control of those weapons and whether they will be integrated into the international community or whether there will be a pariah in the international community.
"This is the opportunity for the president to help shape this debate and get new leadership into Iran."
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