The State Department seems to have taken to heart a recent criticism that was delivered sharply by a questioner in the daily press briefing. Addressing State’s proactive stance on Iran, which was compared to being publicly behind the curve on Egypt, an unnamed reporter asked, “what about other countries – Bahrain, Yemen, or Algeria, or Jordan?”

Spokesperson P.J. Crowley replied, “Well, actually, in the other countries there is greater respect for the rights of the citizens.”

Phil Weiss, parodying a favorite neoconservative meme about Israel, called it “singling out Iran.”

But State is being responsive to the tough questions, and has come out with a statement on U.S. ally Bahrain. Here’s Crowley, in full:

The United States is very concerned by recent violence surrounding protests in Bahrain. We have received confirmation that two protesters in Bahrain were recently killed, and offer our condolences to the families and friends of the two individuals who lost their lives.

The United States welcomes the Government of Bahrain’s statements that it will investigate these deaths, and that it will take legal action against any unjustified use of force by Bahraini security forces. We urge that it follow through on these statements as quickly as possible. We also call on all parties to exercise restraint and refrain from violence.

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