This reached macabre proportions when Mr. Obama indicated his invitation to Iranian diplomats to attend Fourth of July parties was still open. There are arguments for negotiating with brutal regimes. But to socialize with the butchers while they are killing their own people is obscene. (After a day of criticism, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Wednesday, “Those invitations no longer will be extended.”)

At least some protesters in Iran think Mr. Obama’s equivocation is a tacit endorsement of the regime. “The people of Iran will not forgive Barack Obama for siding with the evil regime,” Kianoosh Sanjari, an exiled student protest leader, said in an interview last week.

So White House aides compounded the obscenity when they told the Washington Post the protesters were inspired by the president’s speech to Muslims from Cairo June 4.