Another Iran Roundup

No backing down from Khatemi, who has called for calm but, says the BBC, "also referred to Mr Ahmadinejad as the country's elected president—apparently prejudging the recount, said correspondents." And state media is, as expected, already playing the "outside interference" card. While I understand (though disagree) with those who advocate a restrained verbal response from the administration, the argument that finger-wagging rhetoric will only serve to antagonize the regime misses the point.  The "great Satan is fomenting revolt" nonsense is, quite simply, unavoidable (as it is to be expected from Chavistas, who pin inclement weather, food shortages, and poor baseball results on the golpistas up north). To crib from Jerry Rubin, if there isn't Western involvement, if there isn't American meddling, they'll simply invent it.

After the euphoria that something—not on the scale of 1979, but something—is happening on the streets of Tehran, I think this advice from The New Republic's Richard Just is wise:

There are plenty of reasons to be cautious about what is unfolding in Iran. It all could end horribly, for one thing. And Mousavi is not exactly Havel. Still, it is impossible not to be profoundly moved by what many Iranians are doing to try to save their country. And it is refreshing to see, for the first time in a long time, that so many Americans of so many different political inclinations are watching a struggle over freedom in a faraway place, and are ready to take sides.

A necessary reminder, incidentally, of Mousavi's illiberal background. A journalist I spoke to today, who has very good contacts in Iran who are keeping him well-informed of what's happening on the ground, told me that there is a large, liberal faction supporting Mousavi while being entirely clear-eyed about his past; understanding that this isn't a Michnik or Solzhenitsyn. He just isn't Ahmadinejad.

Also, an interesting interview with the secretary general of Iranian Students Confederation, who, according to this article, was imprisoned 19 times for anti-regime political activism:


Here is some footage from today's march in front of (I am told by another reliable Iran-watcher) state telvision headquarters. And a grisly video of a protester apparently killed by the police.

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  • BakedPenguin||

    ...understanding that this isn't a Michnik or Solzhenitsyn



    Solzhenitsyn, while a brave man and a great writer, was not exactly devoted to freedom.

  • Elemenope||

    Solzhenitsyn, while a brave man and a great writer, was not exactly devoted to freedom.

    Beat me to it.

  • ||

    I've known a number of Iranian expats. It's a damned shame the West didn't do a better job of wooing the Iranians, because Iran, of all the Middle East, is the country with the most potential of becoming a liberal, industrialized nation. Without the Cold War, that might be more evident today. Ain't going to happen with the mullahs calling the shots, of course.

  • Elemenope||

    It's a damned shame the West didn't do a better job of wooing the Iranians, because Iran, of all the Middle East, is the country with the most potential of becoming a liberal, industrialized nation. Without the Cold War, that might be more evident today. Ain't going to happen with the mullahs calling the shots, of course.

    Blame Eisenhower.

  • ||

    It's Khamenei, Mr. Iran watcher. Khatami was the 'Reformist' former President.

  • SKR||

    They may have something with regards to western interference. There were calls for outside dDOS attacks on the regime's websites, which I believe were brought down for a time. Also, outsiders gave aid by providing proxy servers so that the dissidents could still access Twitter. So it's not like it is fabricated from whole cloth.

    That said, the aid was asked for by those in Iran in order to subvert a repressive regime. I don't really see a problem with that other than providing the regime with the outside interference argument which they would have fabricated anyway.

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    SKR,

    Outside help always comes with strings attached, people always ask for help in situations like this until they recieve it. Also, let's not forget all the millions of people who did vote for Ahmadinejad. They would not soon forget outside interference & would want revenge on any government that intervened.

  • ||

    Mousavi isn't an angel, no. I mean, dude's still a theocrat no matter how you slice it. But he's spoken about private television networks, disbanding the frickin' sin police, and, well, yeah --- he's not Ahmadinejad.

    I also like what he has to say about the Holocaust (i.e. it happened).

  • ||

    Also, if the past few days haven't convinced the naysayers among us that Twitter is a truly beneficial development in technology, nothing will.

    I've been learning about the streets of Tehran --- from what, really, the Iranians are fighting for to police brutality and the sheer magnitude of the protests --- from the streets of Tehran. Unbelievable.

  • ||

    in answer to questions about the Iranian events, Obama told reporters:




    "It's important to understand that although there is some ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.



    http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/06/18/irans-green-revolution/





    So if the difference between the two candidates is minimal who then benefits from the post election caos? Can you say the US, the UK and Israel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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