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Opinion

Opinion

U.S. shouldn’t stand silent on Iran

June 19, 2009

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— Millions of Iranians take to the streets to defy a theocratic dictatorship that, among its other finer qualities, is a self-declared enemy of America and the tolerance and liberties it represents. The demonstrators are fighting on their own, but they await just a word that America is on their side.

And what do they hear from the president of the United States? Silence. Then, worse. Three days in, the president makes clear his policy: continued “dialogue” with their clerical masters.

Dialogue with a regime that is breaking heads, shooting demonstrators, expelling journalists, arresting activists. Engagement with — which inevitably confers legitimacy upon — leaders elected in a process that begins as a sham (only four handpicked candidates permitted out of 476) and ends in overt rigging.

Then, after treating this popular revolution as an inconvenience to the real business of Obama-Khamanei negotiations, the president speaks favorably of “some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election.”

Where to begin? “Supreme Leader”? Note the abject solicitousness with which the American president confers this honorific on a clerical dictator who, even as his minions attack demonstrators, offers to examine some returns in some electoral districts — a farcical fix that will do nothing to alter the fraudulence of the election.

Moreover, this incipient revolution is no longer about the election. Obama totally misses the point. The election allowed the political space and provided the spark for the eruption of anti-regime fervor that has been simmering for years and awaiting its moment. But people aren’t dying in the street because they want a recount of hanging chads in suburban Isfahan. They want to bring down the tyrannical, misogynist, corrupt theocracy that has imposed itself with the very baton-wielding goons that today attack the demonstrators.

This started out about election fraud. But like all revolutions, it has far outgrown its origins. What’s at stake now is the legitimacy of this regime — and the future of the entire Middle East.

This revolution will end either as a Tiananmen (a hot Tiananmen with massive and bloody repression or a cold Tiananmen with a finer mix of brutality and co-optation) or as a true revolution that brings down the Islamic Republic.

The latter is improbable but, for the first time in 30 years, not impossible. Imagine the repercussions. It would mark a decisive blow to Islamist radicalism, of which Iran today is not just standard-bearer and model, but financier and arms supplier. It would do to Islamism what the collapse of the Soviet Union did to communism — leave it forever spent and discredited.

In the region, it would launch a second Arab spring. The first in 2005 — the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon, first elections in Iraq and early liberalization in the Gulf states and Egypt — was aborted by a fierce counterattack from the forces of repression and reaction, led and funded by Iran.

Now, with Hezbollah having lost elections in Lebanon and with Iraq establishing the institutions of a young democracy, the fall of the Islamist dictatorship in Iran would have an electric and contagious effect. The exception — Iraq and Lebanon — becomes the rule. Democracy becomes the wave. Syria becomes isolated; Hezbollah and Hamas, patronless. The entire trajectory of the region is reversed.

All hangs in the balance. The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None. Except for the desire that this “vigorous debate” (press secretary Robert Gibbs’ disgraceful euphemism) over election “irregularities” not stand in the way of U.S.-Iranian engagement on nuclear weapons.

Even from the narrow perspective of the nuclear issue, the administration’s geopolitical calculus is absurd. There is zero chance that any such talks will denuclearize Iran. On Monday, Ahmadinejad declared yet again that the nuclear “file is shut, forever.” The only hope for a resolution of the nuclear question is regime change, which (if the successor regime were as moderate as pre-Khomeini Iran) might either stop the program, or make it manageable and nonthreatening.

That’s our fundamental interest. And our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.

And where is our president? Afraid of “meddling.” Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror — and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America’s moral standing in the world.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

cato_the_elder 5 years, 8 months ago

Again, Krauthammer deftly nails it. He is by far the most incisive and articulate columnist in America today. Thanks again to the J-W for publishing him.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Krauthammer is nothing but a partisan hack. Everyone can agree that Obama shouldn't just "stand silent," and he's not, but the fact is there is very little that anyone outside Iran can do.

Krauthammer's whining is intended to whip up the domestic wingnuts-- and neither he nor the wingnuts could care less about Iran.

pieces_of_eight 5 years, 8 months ago

Does Krauthammer not remember recent history? Does he not understand the bitter enmity many Iranians still hold against the U.S. for the coup that later backfired on us?

I'm afraid this is just another neo-con fantasy. At this point, we need to stay out of it, and let the Iranians work it out themselves.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

Barry's waitng to see who will pay to play. That's how they do it in Chicago.

dandelion 5 years, 8 months ago

So what does he want us to do? Invade Iran? More nation building? Why is it up to us? I think it it's up to the Iranians. And they seem to be doing what the Iraqis were too cowardly to do, standing up for what they want.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

The U.S. and the President shouldn't stand silent right now, but I'm not sure how much iron there'd be in anything he could say. IMO, better to fold a weak hand and live to play another. Not sure we could do more than bluff and they've already called us on it once with the nuclear program.

gogoplata 5 years, 8 months ago

We should mind our own business. We are not the worlds police force.

bad_dog 5 years, 8 months ago

Thank goodness the Iranian government came to the assistance of the American public following the 2000 Presidential debacle. Without their timely assistance-oh wait, that was the Supreme Court.

Never mind.

Jaminrawk 5 years, 8 months ago

Yes! Bomb everyone because Iraq is sure stable ...

gogoplata 5 years, 8 months ago

bad dog hammered it. They don't need us sticking our nose in to their business.

feeble 5 years, 8 months ago

To western eyes, Moussevi and and Ahmadi differ only slightly. Moussevi would like more trade, but strongly agrees with Ahmadi on a nuclear Iran. US foreign policy will change very little, even if Moussevi manages to capture the presidency.

The US has no diplomatic in roads to Iran, thanks to Bush-era policy. We have no normal trade relations, we have no diplomatic staff on the ground. All of our communication with Iran is either through proxies like the UN or through other trade partners in the EU. We have zero diplomatic leverage with Iran.

Many Iranians still blame the US for our failed, CIA-backed coup attempt and for overthrowing a democratically elected, socialist Iranian government and installing an autocratic dictator (the Shah).

Obama weighing in more than he has already would be like Kim Jong-il strongly endorsing a US political candidate.

Henry Kissinger and Richard Lugar both have endorsed Obama's approach on Iran.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

"The US has no diplomatic in roads to Iran, thanks to Bush-era policy. " Bush was President in '79 when the Iranians invaded our embassy? I didn't know that.

MyName 5 years, 8 months ago

Krauthammer is a partisan hack who has spent more ink trying to defend the Bush torture strategy than any columnist I can think of. And now he wants us to believe he gives a damn about human rights? Maybe Chuck should just list his party affiliation and list of prominent "donors" after his byline like they do on C-SPAN.

But yeah, I'm sure the best thing America (aka "The Great Satan" in Iran political speak) can do is start cheerleading for a bunch of unarmed protesters. That's all Ahmadinejad would need to roll out the tanks just like Beijing did in 1989.

@farfle:

Mr. Ahmadinejad certainly hasn't acted like someone who won a "landslide victory". When he hasn't been ducking the public and cutting the phone service of his rival candidates, he's been hiding out in Russia. And you want us to believe that the protesters in Tehran are taking their cues from Western Media? What is this the Persian Non-Violent Election Protests, brought to you by the New York Times (R)?

jonas_opines 5 years, 8 months ago

"IMO, better to fold a weak hand and live to play another."

C'mon Jaywalker, have more Faith. We're the US of A, all we have to do is shine our bright beacon of Freedom and Liberty, and the evil guys will all just fall over, we'll be greeted like liberators, and everything will be wonderful forever.

At least, that's the way it should be, but it might not work because there are too many liberals.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 8 months ago

Charter of the United Nations Article 33 1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice. 2. The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means. Article 34 The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. This from Iran: "As a founding member of the United Nations, Iran believes deeply in the ideals of the organization and the purposes and principles of its Charter. The United Nations is the sole universal organization with the capacity to address issues of fundamental importance to the entire human family and move us all closer to a new global paradigm of understanding, sympathy, dialogue, cooperation and partnership." I believe that President was being sarcastic in his remarks about the "Supreme Leader."

sfjayhawk 5 years, 8 months ago

The US may be standing silent on the political front however it is american services that are giving the Iranian opposition a voice - thank goodness for Twitter and FB - their impact is anything but silent.

feeble 5 years, 8 months ago

snap_pop_no_crackle (Anonymous) says… ! “The US has no diplomatic in roads to Iran, thanks to Bush-era policy. “ Bush was President in '79 when the Iranians invaded our embassy? I didn't know that. ======================= Your man Reagan cut a backroom deal with 'em to use the hostages as pawns in a wedge issue to drive Carter out of office. Nothing like sacrificing American lives for political points, it's the conservative way!

I mean Nixon's whole ping-pong diplomacy utterly failed to generate diplomatic inroads into China, right?

oklahoma 5 years, 8 months ago

Obama, Pelosi and Reed foreign policy should not surprise. The plan is simply to talk to ruthless dictators and persuade them to embrace freedom. So far, we have 2 ladies kidnapped and sent to prison in North Korea; Columbia University's favorite keynote speaker continuing his plans to make Iran a world nuclear power and reduce Israel to dust; and continued unrest in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

thusspokezarathustra 5 years, 8 months ago

"The plan is simply to talk to ruthless dictators and persuade them to embrace freedom."

The Bush plan of course was to simply NOT talk to ruthless dictators & persuade them to embrace freedom. So far, we have 2 unfinished wars on either side of the country of Iran; Neo-Con David Pipes' candidate was still able to further Iran's nuclear ambitions; Bush's unfinished war in Afghanistan is now threatening to destabilize Pakistan (which already had nuclear capability & Bin Laden).

Yep you sure showed up Obama, Pelosi & Reid's foreign policy. Keep up your brilliant analysis.

Satirical 5 years, 8 months ago

If advocating for, on on behalf of people who want liberty is "meddling" then perhaps our Nation needs to meddle more often.

However, it seems Obama is more than willing to meddle with Israel. It is sad that Obama wont stand up for people who want liberty and stand with our allies. But I guess alienating allies, and allowing dictators free reign is what Obama calls foreign policy.

kmat 5 years, 8 months ago

Lots of advice from people that know nothing of Iran and its people. I've listened to many Iranians this week on TV and radio. Not a single one wants the US to meddle in their affairs.

What if we do encourage these people and the govt decides to squash them and starts attacking the crowds? Then the US would have blood on their hands from encouraging them to stand up and rebel. If we are going to do that, we have to be willing to back them up which will require force. So, who's ready to go to war in Iran? Yes, I know McCain supporters are, but we didn't elect Mr. Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.

Anyone remember or know about what happened to the Shiites in Iraq after the first gulf war? We told them to stand up and fight against Sadamn, then left them in the dust and they were massacred.

What would we do if another country decided to meddle with our elections? We may not like the govt in Iran, but it isn't our responsibility or right to change their govt. The people in Iran must do that on their own.

Satirical 5 years, 8 months ago

Kmat…

That’s a fallacy of false alternatives if I have ever seen one. The U.S.’s only options aren’t (1) Do and say nothing and (2) Meddle with their elections/encouraging people to start a coup.

If you tell someone a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) and then they decide start shooting people, does that mean you are responsible for their actions? I think the freedom loving people of Iran should know that we are on their side, and that they need to use every lawful method to fight for their rights. And that if it is liberty they seek, they have a friend and ally with the United States of America which should once again return to being a shining city on a hill.

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

bad_dog 5 years, 8 months ago

The U.S. isn't standing silent. I believe Obama already addressed those Iranians and any other interested Middle Easterners during his recent speech in Egypt. As you may recall, during the speech he addressed the issues of human/political/gender rights issues, free will and mutual respect between a government and those they govern.

As noted above, those Iranians that are interested in external news sources already access this through the Internet, FB and Twitter. These sources currently contain threads detailing rifts between the religous, political and military authorities in Iran.

I believe our long-term interests are better served by avoiding fomentation of political vitriol and civil unrest as well the attendant perception of meddling in the affairs of a sovereign country. Let the Iranians resolve this themselves-they know where the U.S. stands on the issues of human rights and freedom without additional public declarations from Obama.

jonas_opines 5 years, 8 months ago

"That’s a fallacy of false alternatives if I have ever seen one. The U.S.’s only options aren’t (1) Do and say nothing and (2) Meddle with their elections/encouraging people to start a coup."

Well, the only other viable option seems to be to discuss this in international venues, and since that's what seems to be happening and Krauthhammar doesn't like it, apparently that one's precluded, leaving the other two alternatives.

Satirical 5 years, 8 months ago

Bad_dog… “I believe Obama already addressed those Iranians and any other interested Middle Easterners during his recent speech in Egypt.”

I believe that speech was before this election. Obama is great when it comes to reading a teleprompter and using rhetoric but very slow when it comes to actually taking action. It is easy to claim you are for liberty, but when push comes to shove Obama is now suddenly silent about it. Remember when Georgia was invaded by Russia last year and all Obama did was urge restraint on both sides? Both sides!?!? I think this was truly a tell-tale sign of how Obama would treat our allies and those who stand for liberty.

“Let the Iranians resolve this themselves-they know where the U.S. stands on the issues of human rights and freedom without additional public declarations from Obama.” – Bad_dog

Of course they need to resolve this themselves, no one is suggesting we send in troops. You are falling into the same fallacy of false alternatives as Kmat. They doesn't mean we do nothing.

Also, how do the Iranians know where the U.S. “stands” on the issue of liberty? They know what Obama read off a teleprompter, but again (1) those words were before this conflict, (2) are not specific to the crisis that is going on in Iran so don’t actually show where the U.S. “stands,” just where they purport to stand. It would be like you saying you hate racism but turn a blind eye when you see it occurring. What would you really be standing for?

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

“A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Satirical 5 years, 8 months ago

Jonas_opines… “Well, the only other viable option seems to be to discuss this in international venues,”

No, that is ONE other option, and it is not mutually exclusive with other options you didn’t list.

staff04 5 years, 8 months ago

When did Republicans start caring about fair elections?

Satirical 5 years, 8 months ago

Staff04... "When did Republicans start caring about fair elections?"

During the 2000 Presidential election when Democrats were attempting to exclude (not count) the overseas votes of miliatary personnel who resided in Florida.

bad_dog 5 years, 8 months ago

"I believe that speech was before this election"-Satirical.

You are correct about the timing-I believe that is precisely why Obama gave the speech shortly before the Iranian elections. Addressing issues such as human and political rights and free will and self-determination in that speech is exactly what this dispute is about. Saying it again at this point will be perceived/spun as meddling by the Iranian leadership and segments of their population as well as the balance of the Middle East. Nothing has changed in the last two weeks.

As for your latest catch phrase; "the fallacy of false alternatives", I've merely suggested we mind our own diplomatic business and wait to see what happens. Nowhere did I suggest an "or else" alternative. Your suggestion, IMHO is the "false alternative".

Again, Obama may not have addressed this issue today at 3:45 p.m CDT, but he informed any interested parties of our positions during his Egypt speech. Go read the transcript. The interested Iranian people heard it and by responding in the extraordinary manner they have undertaken are clearly demonstrating the fact they understood the message and took it to heart.

Time to go-long day. Have a good weekend all.

Satirical 5 years, 8 months ago

While Obama wags his finger at Iran, at least the Republicans in Congress are doing something. And at least Afraid-To-Take-Any-International-Action-Obama didn't oppose it.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/06/19/house-condemns-tehrans-crackdown-protestors/

MyName 5 years, 8 months ago

Which is the most ironic thing you've said today Tom, when you consider the fact that the people who rigged the recent elections in Iran are the ones complaining about interference by "Western Media".

Aguilar 5 years, 8 months ago

The U.S. tried to intervene in Iranian politics before; look what that got us. If we try again, it will only justify Ahmadinejad's rhetoric

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

"When did Republicans start caring about fair elections?"

Haayuk! Hic.

bad_dog 5 years, 8 months ago

Marion, I don't disagree with your 4:11 post at all...

Mark the calendar ;-)

50YearResident 5 years, 8 months ago

Why should we interfere with Iran Politics? We didn't do anything when Bush stole two elections. Heck, they learned it from us.

jonas_opines 5 years, 8 months ago

So are you gonna bring up any of these other options, Satirical, or just go on some more about not having all of them?

Christine Anderson 5 years, 8 months ago

I would like to share a "human element" of this story that affects my family directly. Yes, I know the U.S. has meddled in Iran's affairs before. The Shah was no saint, but I personally believe the Islamic theocracy that has been in place since 1979 is worse. Now for why and how Iran's turmoil impacts my family. My ex-husband is a native Iranian who has been a hard-working, legitimate U.S. citizen for many years now. He acquired citizenship after we divorced. Our 20 yr. old daughter called me this evening to tell me her father is boarding a plane on Sunday for- Tehren. His father is dying, and he is the eldest son. He has not been back since 1985. My daughter is tonight composing a letter to her family members over there whom she may never see. Her family members who live in the heart of the area where the violence is being perpetrated on protesters who should have the right to speak their mind. Some of them are paying for it with their lives. Yes, this is an ex I'm talking about. Still, he is after all my daughter's father. I am terrified for the man. Partially for reasons I cannot disclose. It is probably the worst possible time he could be making this trip. And yet, I understand why. He couldn't be there years ago when his mother died, or when his brother was killed in the Iran-Iraq war. I am heartbroken for my daughter. I cannot fully understand what she is going through; not precisely. I can't guarantee her that her father will return. I can't promise her that her father will be allowed to return. I am sitting here tonight shocked at the extent of my own reaction to this. We had our share of verbally nasty custody problems when she was very young. I now feel very guilty for my part in it.

Please, just remember that when we debate whether or not the U.S. should speak up or not, people- real people, are being hurt because of the corrupt Ahmadinejad-led government. Oh farfle-what the hell is wrong with you??? The U.S. and Israel are not behind this. Ahmadinejad IS a political thug. How can you claim dear 'old Ahmadinehad is a legitimate political victor, when he is sending his equivalent of the Revolutionary Guard out to squelch any cry for freedom? You moron!

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday that says it supports "all Iranians who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. The resolution was approved by 405 lawmakers, while one -- Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas -- voted against it. Two others, Reps. Brad Ellsworth, D-Indiana, and Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, voted "present." http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/19/iran.us.congress/

Those darn meddling neo-con republicans! Oh wait a minute ...

bobwob 5 years, 8 months ago

obama should actually forget the protesting, he's right, why step in now? What he needs to do is arrange an imediate "diplomatic" meeting with mahmoud to discuss healthcare reform. I'm sure mahmoud has some wonderful ideas to share with obama!! And I'm sure obama would love to listen!!

Eileen Jones 5 years, 8 months ago

Iran must find its own way.

The U.S. should butt out.

We are not their keepers. We do not always know best. Obviously.

Thanks to Bush we did far too much damage in the Middle East.

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

"The leaders of the EU today unanimously condemned the use of force against protesters in Iran and called for questions about the “conduct” of the country's disputed presidential election to be “investigated”." http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/2009/06/eu-condemns-violence-in-iran/65264.aspx

Those darn meddling neo-con republicans! Oh wait a minute …

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

The 27 EU leaders were unanimous in condemning violence against Iran's opposition protesters, as hundreds of thousands there have rallied in recent days for a recount of presidential ballots. Iran now must "show the world that the repression and the brutality that we've seen in these last few days is not something that is going to be repeated," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told reporters after an EU summit in Brussels." http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/090619/world/eu_eu_summit_iran

Those darn meddling neo-con republicans! Oh wait a minute …

tunahelper 5 years, 8 months ago

omaba has no balls and will do nothing. what a freakin leftist.

tunahelper 5 years, 8 months ago

hey stain, you have a stain on your brain. Bush had nothing to do with iran. omaba has a chance to do something, but he won't because he is a wimp like you. stupid leftists.

jaywalker 5 years, 8 months ago

farfle: "Polls before the election showed Ahmadinejad had 60% of the vote. There was no vote fraud. This is being created by the US and Israel who want war."

Don't know how I missed this yesterday, but it should definitely win the award for dumbest post of the day.

Polls before the 'election' had them running neck and neck. And how does Mahmoud declare victory a few hours after the polls close when there were 40+million HAND written ballots to count?

compmd 5 years, 8 months ago

This columnist is an idiot. Partisan hack or just plain incompetent, here are his most moronic statements.

1) "The demonstrators are fighting on their own, but they await just a word that America is on their side."

Says who? What demonstrators have been calling out for Team America to support them? Krauthammer just made this up.

2) "the president speaks favorably of “some initial reaction from the Supreme Leader...Where to begin? “Supreme Leader”? Note the abject solicitousness with which the American president confers this honorific on a clerical dictator"

Yes, Chuck, Supreme Leader. Obama called him that because that is his title. That would be like some other world leader referring to Obama as "President," something I'm sure equally disgusts you. World leaders are not junior high bullies; what would you have Obama call Khamenei, "Supreme Poophead?"

3) "In the region, it would launch a second Arab spring. The first in 2005 — the expulsion of Syria from Lebanon, first elections in Iraq and early liberalization in the Gulf states and Egypt — was aborted by a fierce counterattack from the forces of repression and reaction, led and funded by Iran."

Maybe, if Iranians were Arabs, which they are not. Iranians are Persians, not Arabs.

4) "The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None."

That's right, that's the position the US should be taking. Iran is NOT the US, and we don't have any right to interfere. If you think there is going to be blood from an Iranian government attack on protesters, you can't imagine the bloodbath that would ensue if the US interfered in a first-world country that is organized, technologically advanced, and exceptionally well armed.

5) "And our fundamental values demand that America stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe."

What "fundamental values" is Chuck talking about? Fundamental Christian values. Iran isn't a Christian nation, can't have that! If Chuck here was serious though, he'd be advocating for a US presence all throughout Africa, where democratic and Christian values are a joke, and the overwhelming majority of governments (if not all) are the antithesis of what he (and in the case of Africa, probably most Americans) believe in. But Africa doesn't have anything we want, so its not important.

6) "This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America’s moral standing in the world."

Yes, by not screwing around in the affairs of other countries on a whim. That sure sounds like improving moral standing to me.

camper 5 years, 8 months ago

For once can we take an issue and let the citizens of that country solve the problem themselves? And why can't we allow events to unfold a little bit more before showing our hand? Making a strong statement this early in the crisis is certainly a knee-jerk reaction. Obama is right on this one.

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

A letter from Mohsen Makhmalba on Friday 19 June 2009 published in The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jun/19/iran-election-mousavi-ahmadinejad

"I have been given the ­responsibility of telling the world what is happening in Iran. The office of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who the Iranian people truly want as their leader, has asked me to do so."

"The people in the streets don't want a recount of last week's vote. They want it annulled. This is a crucial moment in our history. Since the 1979 revolution Iran has had 80% dictatorship and 20% democracy. We have dictatorship because one person is in charge, the supreme leader – first Khomeini, now Khamenei. He controls the army and the clergy, the justice system and the media, as well as our oil money."

"There are some examples of democracy – reformers elected to parliament, and the very fact that a person like Mousavi could stand for election. But, since the day of the election, this ­element of democracy has vanished."

"So why do the Iranian people not want Ahmadinejad as their leader? Because he is nothing but a loudspeaker for Khamenei. Under Ahmadinejad, economic problems have grown worse, despite $280bn of oil revenue. Social and literary freedom is much more restricted than under his predecessor, Mohammad Khatami."

"The world views us as a terrorist nation on the lookout for war. When Khatami was president of Iran, Bush was president of the US. Now the Americans have Obama and we have our version of Bush. We need an Obama who can find solutions for Iran's problems. Although power would remain in the hands of Khamenei, a president like Mousavi could weaken the supreme leader."

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

A popular uprising and move towards democracy within Iran is in the US and EU strategic interest, not to mention the Iranian people themselves. A word of support from President Obama in support of the Iranian people could help bring Iran out from under the de facto Islamic theocracy towards a more secular state. Senator Barack Hussein Obama ran for President claiming he would have more cred on the "Arab Street" and that is in fact the case.

Shouldn't he now use some of that popularity and charisma and support the people of Iran? While this once was a election between the Islamic hard liners who prefer to stone their women to death using rocks and the moderates who prefer aluminum baseball bats, this uprising may overthrow the Islamic theocracy completely. The White House can not remain silent and retain credibility any longer.

camper 5 years, 8 months ago

No time for knee-jerk reaction. The Iranian people are rebelling about what they perceive is a fixed election. The mere fact that they are protesting should be a good news story. But this difference should be settled by Iranians. If the US were to meddle, the bad guys will pick up on this quite quickly and make it into an Iran vs US thing. We need to hold our cards and keep this an Iran vs Iran event. Intrusion by the US could do more harm than good. For once we should let events take care of themselves.

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

As unbelievable as it sounds, I have it on very good authority that President Obama has asked Jimmy Carter for his advice on how the US should handle the Iranian student protesters! If this is true it and if he follows it will be disastrous for freedom and democracy in Iran and the Middle East.

camper 5 years, 8 months ago

Right now, what the Iranian people are doing to remedy this crisis is a thousand times more productive than a strong US opinion.

The US should take note of these events, take a philosophical side, but remain and make it clear we are militarily neutral.

Sigmund 5 years, 8 months ago

camper (Anonymous) says… "No time for knee-jerk reaction. The Iranian people are rebelling about what they perceive is a fixed election. The mere fact that they are protesting should be a good news story."

Anytime the crowds in Tehran are chanting "Death To The Dictator!" instead of "Death To America!" it is a good thing. While the downside of supporting the losing side would be somewhat costly (really what do we lose, they hate us more and build 10 more nukes?), the benefits to the entire region and the world from a collapse from within of the Iranian Islamic theocracy is almost incalculable.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

"Don't expect any action on Iran unless Ahmadinejad tries to start a private business or makes fun of Obama's ears" http://jimtreacher.com/

soldier1 5 years, 8 months ago

Just a little piece of information to help out the topic: We capture Iranian agents and find Iranian weapons (EFPs, small arms, etc.) over here all the time. It's no secret that they are hostile to the US. I am no political expert, so why we havent done more to Iran is beyond me. Maybe because we cant handle another Iraq at this time, who knows. North Korea is a much more prevalent threat anyways. I would say let the situation over there hash itself out.

soldier1 5 years, 8 months ago

Stain says....

"Thanks to Bush we did far too much damage in the Middle East."

What damage are you talking about?

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