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US President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned Iran’s crackdown on opposition protesters, urging Tehran to allow peaceful demonstrations.

Obama told reporters in Washington that he supported the protesters’ push for democratic reforms and “their yearning for greater freedoms.”

“(The Iranian) people should be able to express their opinions and their grievances and seek a more responsive government,” he said.

“My hope and expectation is that we are going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government.”

But Obama, who has led international efforts to impose sanctions on Tehran because of its nuclear program, insisted the United States “cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside of Iran.”

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