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.