Pressure mounting on Obama to get tough with Iran

Mr. Khamenei’s speech marked a critical turn, said Nicholas Burns, who oversaw Iran issues at the State Department during the Bush administration and had been “very sympathetic” to the Obama administration’s approach earlier this week.

“I think it is important that the Iranian government should hear that they are rapidly losing credibility,” Mr. Burns said. “This speech may give President Obama more of a pretext to speak out on this.”…

The administration’s ability to maintain this approach, however, could be heavily tested in a matter of days, said Abbas Milani, an Iran scholar at Stanford University, particularly if Mr. Khamenei carries through on his threat to confront the protesters.

“The minute government forces open fire on the people, that is the moment that Obama should end his hitherto appropriate caution and make it clear that he condemns what is happening,” Mr. Milani said.