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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran Plays The Meddle Card

You knew this was inevitable. Regardless of what Barack Obama said or did, the Iranian regime would accuse the U.S. of meddling in Iran's internal affairs:
Iran accused the United States on Wednesday of "intolerable" meddling in its internal affairs, alleging for the first time that Washington has fueled a bitter post election dispute. Opposition supporters marched in Tehran's streets for a third straight day to protest the outcome of the balloting.

The Iranian government summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, to complain about American interference, state-run Press TV reported.

The English-language channel quoted the government as calling Western interference "intolerable."
Obama's near silence achieved nothing, as regards the Iranian regime. Which proves the foolishness of those who argue that comments in support of the right of Iranians to free and fair elections somehow would provoke the Iranian regime.

Obama's statement yesterday that he did not want “to be seen as meddling" all but invited an accusation of meddling.

These accusations appear to be a precurser to, and excuse for, a violent crackdown by the regime, which could start as early as Thursday:
Wednesday afternoon, June 17, armored convoys of Revolutionary Guard forces began rolling into Tehran from three directions to prevent supporters of the opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi assembling on the fifth day after the disputed presidential election, DEBKAfile's Iranian sources report.

Special IRGC forces and police units are being flown in. Hundreds of opposition activities have been arrested, including some economic experts who criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's policies in recent months, after three reformist politicians, including a former Vice President and adviser to former president Mohammed Khatami, were detained Tuesday.
Rather than placating the regime, weakness by the West and Obama may actually embolden the regime to resort to more violence. In the same breath that Obama voice tepid support for the Iranian people, he also voiced an intent to commence negotiations with the current regime. This mixed message was unnecessary, and counter-productive.

As Robert Kagan aptly points out in The Washington Post, Obama has embraced the regime with his mixed messages:
One of the great innovations in the Obama administration's approach to Iran, after all, was supposed to be its deliberate embrace of the Tehran rulers' legitimacy. In his opening diplomatic gambit, his statement to Iran on the Persian new year in March, Obama went out of his way to speak directly to Iran's rulers, a notable departure from George W. Bush's habit of speaking to the Iranian people over their leaders' heads. As former Clinton official Martin Indyk put it at the time, the wording was carefully designed "to demonstrate acceptance of the government of Iran."

This approach had always been a key element of a "grand bargain" with Iran. The United States had to provide some guarantee to the regime that it would no longer support opposition forces or in any way seek its removal....

Whatever his personal sympathies may be, if he is intent on sticking to his original strategy, then he can have no interest in helping the opposition. His strategy toward Iran places him objectively on the side of the government's efforts to return to normalcy as quickly as possible, not in league with the opposition's efforts to prolong the crisis.
Obama's approach to Iran seems to be in sync with the Arabist/balanced approach to Israel, on which I have posted earlier. It will not bring peace, but encourage rejectionist regimes, such as the current Iranian regime.

If as appears likely, tomorrow brings a new level of regime violence, will Obama remain silent, or straddle the fence once again? Obama's 3 a.m. test is here.

Related Posts:
Why Are Iranians Using English On Protest Signs?
He Who Cannot Stop Talking, Is Silent On Iran

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  1. yeah i defended obama and i still won't get mad at him for his decision, but clearly now he needs to lay it in to them with both barrels.

  2. Sounds like when Iran got bent out of shape over the U.S. allowing the then exiled Shah to come to the Mayo Clinic for cancer treatment and Iran starts screaming that we're helping to plot a coup then takes hostages. Iran sucks.

  3. At this point, it really doesn't seem to matter if you're liberal or conservative, the majority of our country overwhelmingly empathizes with the fact that the Iranian people are being denied basic rights that we take to be fundamental. The rest of the world has vehemently denounced the Iranian election. The only support Obama seems to be looking for is that of the Ahmadinejad regime itself. He must stand stronger than this.

  4. Well, there was nothing that the great flip-flop could have done in the time since the election. The loan of his ACORN supporters seems to have done more than enough anyways, but without a serious UN presence to monitor the elections and try to guarantee a fair outcome this was predetermined.

    With the ruling clerics on his side, the whole election was a joke by Ahmadinejad on the people. He has control of the military and police forces, and unless the IRGC decides to stand with the protesters they are facing a nightmare. The luckiest of them will be those who are killed outright, because those who are leaders are not in for a pleasant time at all at the hands of the IRGC and the police.

  5. Um, Obama's "near silence achieved nothing" because Obama doesn't WANT to achieve anything as regards Iran because he doesn't CARE. If I have to watch those kids getting killed, I am going to freak the fuck out.

  6. mmm, that headline sounds very scooby doo.

    Imagine the scene in iran:

    Fred: Now let's take a look at Mr. Ahmadinejad.

    Shaggy: Like dude, I am going to be in the mystery machine, um, treating my glaucoma.

    Velma: Hey, I think he is wearing a mask!

    Fred rips off the mask to reveal Ahmadinejad's real face.

    Fred, Daphne and Velma, together: Old man Winters!

    Winters: And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for you meddling Americans!


    Seriously, I totally think we should answer this with mockery. Its that idea that Mel Brooks had of mocking hitler, making him a laughingstock.

  7. I wonder what those advocating interference in the Iranian elections would have said if Germany, France or even Iran had "meddled or interfered" with the 2004 US presidential election because they didn't like the outcome? I'd rather have them accusing us of meddling, then actually meddling.

    And these same bastions of liberty (yes, like John McCain) that are disappointed about not getting involved in another sovereign country's election were the same ones that were advocating the bombing of Iran not too long ago.

  8. Aaron said: why are you laboring under the delusion that international law is "blind." It is not, and hasn't ever been.

    You're right. International law is not blind. If it were, the Bush adminstration's invasion of Iraq wuold have started a firestorm. But does that makes it right?

    Mousavi was chosen to run against Ahmadinejad by the theorcratic heirachy that actually runs the government. That's a "free and fair" election, huh? Still we should not get involved in their process specifically for the reason that the perception of US interference would be a distracton to the large protests that seem to be working. They're trying to accuse us of interference now for that very purpose.

  9. Broadway

    > International law is not blind. If it were, the Bush adminstration's invasion of Iraq wuold have started a firestorm. But does that makes it right?

    No. There was nothing at all illegal about Bush's invasion of iraq. Do you know how the first war ended? With a cease fire agreement. Now i know this is really complicated legal speak, but under a cease fire agreement, you have to CEASE FIRING. Saddam never did, therefore anytime we chose we had a right to start up the war again. It was only our forebearance that kept us from doing so sooner.

    And i might add, it is always morally right to kick down a dictator and give power to the people. Its in our declaration of independance.

    > That's a "free and fair" election, huh?

    Nope, of course not. But apparently Amadanutjob (or however you spell his name) couldn't deal with even that much sham democracy. before the election i thought maybe there wasn't enough of a difference between the two to favor one over the other. now that they have made it clear that they are terrified of him taking power, however, it is a pretty strong recommendation in my book. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that.

    > the perception of US interference would be a distracton

    Except even as we don't meddle, they accuse us of it, and people believe it anyway. if you are going to be accused of it either way, then you might as well do it.

    Besides it seems that the people protesting do want our help. That is why they write the signs in english, which was the point of another post on this site. i will trust in the views of the people on the street getting their heads smashed in over some guy half a world away, any day.