A New Way on Iran – by Jacob Laksin


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As the clock counts down on the Obama administration’s end-of-year deadline for negotiations with Iran, it’s timely to review what the administration has to show for its policy of engaging the regime.

Obama’s investment in this policy has been substantial. The president has personally reached out to the Iranian leadership, even going so far as to send letters appealing for better relations to the country’s unofficial leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. When demonstrations erupted this June in the wake of a blatantly fraudulent presidential election, the administration spurned a chance to take a stand with the thousands of opposition demonstrators who poured out onto Iran’s streets – and, when the streets became too dangerous, onto Iran’s rooftops – to protest the political injustice committed in their name. Not even grisly reprisals against democrats, dissidents, journalists and political activists elicited more than a tame warning from Washington. Obama pronounced himself “appalled and outraged” at the regime’s brutality, but revulsion did not translate into robust response. For all intents and purposes, the mullahs and their loyalist thugs were given a free pass to suppress all stirrings of dissent as they pleased.

That remains official U.S. policy. Recent weeks have seen Iran transformed once again into a battlefield between the theocratic regime and its militia enforcers on the one side and the democratic opposition on the other. Credible reports suggest that the latest crackdown has left dozens dead, even as a police-state dragnet has swept thousands under arrest. Prominent critics and democratic activists have been targeted, as have their relatives. The nephew of opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi, believed by many to be the true winner of the summer election, has reportedly been killed after being run over. The apolitical sister of Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has been arrested. Opposition leaders who fall into the regime’s clutches face execution. Watching the bloodshed from his paradise retreat in Hawaii, President Obama has offered only symbolic support for the swelling ranks of victims. Despite condemning the regime’s “iron fist of brutality,” he has not lifted a hand to break its repressive grip. And so the crackdown continues.

From the administration’s standpoint, this calculated coldness to the human-rights atrocity unfolding in plain sight is the height of pragmatism. Granting official and active support to the opposition demonstrators’ cause, the argument goes, would only encourage the regime to discredit them as seditionist stooges of the Great Satan. At the same time, it would compromise the administration’s leverage on nuclear issues, making it more difficult to bring Iran to the diplomatic bargaining table.

Such convenient rationalizations fly in the face of recent history. If the past decade has taught any lesson, it is that Iran will not be peacefully persuaded to abandon its march toward a nuclear weapon. Supporting the suspicion is the ever-expanding evidence of the regime’s covert nuclear activities, including revelations, earlier this month, that Iran has spent four years constructing a “neutron initiator,” otherwise known as a trigger for a nuclear bomb. For those who continue to believe that the regime can be reasoned with – a dwindling number that nonetheless includes many in the Obama administration – Iranian officials have long been the bearers of bad news. When warned recently that Iran could face a new round of sanctions if it failed to comply with the administration’s timelines, Mahmoud Ahmadinehad offered a revealing retort: “We don’t care. We are not afraid of sanctions against us and we are not intimidated.”

The same cannot be said of opposition protestors, many of whom have been forced at risk of death into hiding or exile. But if the Obama administration believed that keeping its distance from the men and women being bludgeoned on the streets would spare them from the regime’s lurid slurs of treason and the United States from charges of foreign subversion it has tragically misunderstood the cynicism of totalitarian regimes. The fact that the opposition has received no official support has not deterred Iran’s Orwellian foreign ministry from decrying fictional “interference” in the country’s internal affairs. Nor has the mere fact of its absurdity kept Ahmadinejad from alleging that the mass uprisings in Iran are part of a play “commissioned” by “Americans” and – who else? – “Zionists.” So much for the Obama administration’s assurance that engagement has made it “difficult to demonize the United States and say it has been the root of all evil.” Modern Iran may have few exports, but it boasts an oversupply of anti-American conspiracy theories.

Small indeed are the wages of inaction. There is little indication, meanwhile, that the action that the administration is prepared to take, such as targeted sanctions against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, offers a realistic solution to regime’s threat, foreign or domestic. However defensible in themselves, sanctions will neither make the regime more pliant on nuclear matters nor relieve pressure on the embattled opposition. By contrast, meaningful support for the opposition – including but not limited to financial aid – could provide the kind of existential threat that Iran’s ruling powers have learned to discount from the international community. It would be a grim coda to 2009 if the administration that has presided over the largest government spending spree since the Great Depression was prepared to use taxpayer dollars to bail out all but the desperately needy.

  • hamidfarzaneh

    Mr Laksin is either very naive or he's playing domestic political football with the Iranian cause. The last thing we need is for the US to align itself with the Green opposition. That would be for the latter the kiss of death. Without president Bush's infamous Axis of Evil statement and subsequent political blunders, Ahmadinejad would never have been elected and Iran would have continued its slow but steady liberalization.

    We Iranians would be greatly thankful if apprentice magicians stopped pursuing their personal agendas on our back.

  • Robert Bernier

    Every American should know the truth

    No one should miss this video:

    http://xrl.us/bf29mb

    Look to the end ( 10 min.)

  • SHmuel HaLevi

    Actually I find myself agreeing with Ahmidfarzaneh. Why should anyone intervene on behalf of either side of that savage equation?.
    Islam has never been any different and only Lawrence and his controllers at Whitehall fabricated yarns without basis to make it appear otherwise.
    The only reaction applicable for the Western, civilized world, is to internalize that reality and prepare to smash the inevitable onslaught from Islam.
    Once the most violent elements solidify control there, we all will be targeted even more fiercely that we have seen so far.
    Observe Islam in action and learn…

  • http://www.facebook.com/steven.laib Steven Laib

    Obama craves the power that the mullahs hold. That's why he tacitly supports them and will do nothing to undermine them. If he believed that he could get away with suspending elections here, he would do it. Instead, look for Iranian style, rigged elections and a leftist sweep in 2010 if the people running them think that they can get away with it.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    THANK GOD FOR BUSH AND CHENEY

    Iran's “slow march to liberalization” has now been considerably speeded up due to the democratization of Iraq and Ahmadenijad's disastrous presidency. Thank God for George Bush and Dich Cheney.

  • DemocracyFirst

    Perhaps. But word from the demonstrators themselves suggest American support is desired.

  • DemocracyFirst

    Islam is inherently a violent, imperialist faith – true. But over 1 billion Muslims are beither going to convert norn disappear. There is only one answer: Muslims must go into denial as to the nasty side of the faith and remake of it something consistent with democracy. Put differently, moderates must make their nations democratic, and in so doing the faith will be reinterpreted. Accurately? No. But who cares? So, yes, it matters dramatically who wins out in Iran now. If the good guys win, and if Iran democratizes, the countdown to a democratic Muslim world will have begun. And the faster countdown to the end of Hamas and Hizbullah as important players in Lebanon and Gaza will precede.

  • sam000

    Hamid;

    Are you born yesterday?!
    the mass executions of more than 30,000 of political prisoners during the july of 1988 with the signature of Mullah Khatami where the same Moussavi of Green movement was the PRIME minister of the same Hachemi Rafsanjani has been forgotten by the new born moderate ( or the new MOIS thogs)?!

    MOIS = Ministry Of Information ans Security of the Mullahs = of the Geschtapo of the NAZIIs

  • sam000

    DF;
    We have always this kind of DIRTS from the regime's services who pretend to be the Iranian democrats, we can recognize them very easily.

    During the last sunday we had at least 37 killed in the streets and several hundreds of badly injured, we had at least 4,000 of arrestations.

    Yesterday, the people heard several hours of shouting arround the infamous prison of EVIN, mayebe they were executing the prisoners, and this Dirt of Hamid says that the Iranians do not need help!!

    Very easy to understand his position.

    We need all kind of help, your Administration will never help our people in their strugle for the democracy, your morale support is the best come, these kind of articles are very helpful, write and call the white house, even one word is helpful.
    If the Mullahs sees no international and popular opposition to their mass executions, they will continue to massacre more and more.

  • DemocracyFirst

    Sam, you know me under a different name – which I'd rather not mention, but
    you can guess by my respect for you and the Iranian people, and great sorrow
    and sympathy for your losses.

    Demonstrators have held up signs more or less imploring Obama to show them
    support, or signs mocking his reluctance to do so. Perhaps, even probably,
    they don't speak for everyone. But those putting their lives on the line for
    freedom and democracy typically don't want to do so feeling alone and
    unsupported by the outside world, especially the United states. I believe it
    was Natan Sharansky who said, after the Soviet Union fell, that political
    prisoners were galvanized and greatly heartened when they learned of
    Reagan's speech calling the regime an “evil empire.”

    It can't do any harm for Obama to come out in solid denunciation of the
    mullahs and in support of the demonstrators – because the regime has already
    lost all moral credibility. But it may do good.

  • USMCSniper

    The rational alternative to Obama's self-destructive appeasement approach is a policy totally committed to American self-defense, on principle. It is a policy that morally judges Iran — and that ruthlessly renders Iran non-threatening by massive military force. That does not mean a selfless, Iraq-like crusade to bring Iranians the vote. It means upholding the moral right of Americans to live in freedom by destroying Teheran’s Islamic totalitarian regime. Nothing less will do.

  • CowboyUp

    Talk about naive, the president and policies of Iran have been decided by the mad mullahs for over 30 years now. Unqualified use of the word “Elected,” with regards to Iranian presidents is a flag marking 5th columnists or useful idiots (or IRG stoolies).

    When the left/academia/dp/msm/ first heard, “axis of evil,” they couldn't even see the connection between the lil' kim and the mad mullahs. President Bush's biggest blunder was in not directly retaliating on the mad mullahs and IRG for their interference in Iraq. Had we done so it would have saved American and Iraqi lives, and the mad mullahs wouldn't have as many thugs to put on the streets killing protesters right now. They who are risking their lives on their streets for their freedom, against those who proclaim and prove themselves our mortal enemies, want our support. I'm an American, I give it to them, along with my prayers they win it, and the bounty it creates. My best word of advise is, if we can forget what protects it and what destroys it , anybody can.

    We Americans would be greatly thankful if the mad mullahs would quit murdering Americans, and supporting terrorists, illegal combatants who use human shields and deliberately target civilians, as they have for the past 30 years. I know them, and the IRGs original soviet instructors better than most. The USA's obviously doing nothing for the next 3 years, I suggest you take the time to change that, along with whatever help you can get in doing so..

    I'll support support any dissident group in Iran that doesn't deliberately target civilians. If it were up to me America would have been doing so all along, and in fact would never have abandoned the Shah. Iran would most likely be as free and developed as South Korea (which wasn't democratic either) now is due to our peaceful influence. I'll apologize for carter, but never for opposition to the mad mullahs. It's not like the mad mullahs haven't been pursuing their personal agendas over here and abroad ever since they came to power.

  • CowboyUp

    When one side is killing us.

  • russ1946

    With the Iranians continually thumbing their noses at us, it is long past time to get tough with them without actually going to war with them.
    The Iranians continue to kill our soldiers by supplying the enemy with IED’s, other weaponry, and supporting terrorists and insurgents with complete impunity. Instead of sitting idly by, we should warn them that enough is enough, and put them on notice that the next time any of our soldiers die as a result of their actions, we will retaliate.
    Retaliation should take the form of surgical strikes from outside the country by artillery, drone or cruise missile, but confined to military targets, starting off with minor strikes and building them up if they have no effect on the Iranian’s belligerent behavior.

  • sam000

    Thank you COWBOY;

    at the begining of the new year;
    Salut to ISSA MASSIH.
    and
    SALUT TO MARYAM AZRA ( SAINTE MARY).

    I'm with all my heart with you, everything you wrote about the Iranians strugle for the democracy and the terrorist activities of the IRG and his external arm (Ghods forces) in Iraq are the facts.

    I have to clarify just something;
    All the Mullahs who have occupied our country were the SAVAk's collaborators,
    SAVAK was the Shah's police politic.
    Yesterday we were disclosed Khameneii's relationship with SAVAK and his collaboration with them to recognize the democrats during the Shah's period.
    Shah executed all the intellectuals and Democrats, that's why the Mullahs stold the power.

    The Revolution against the Shah was for the democracy, we never did any movement for Islam.
    Carter helped Khomeiny and the Islamists to get the power because he was thinking that the Iranian Revolution could be highjacked by the soviets.
    Carter and CIA of his time made this huge miscalcullations by thinking that any democratic movement in Iran could be deviated and absorbed by the Soviets, He was ignoring that we consider the Communist part of Iran (Party Toudeh) the traitors to the Iranian Nation.

    Cowboy;
    during the WWII that the allied nations were in Iran to fight the NAZI ARMY, the American and UK Army withdrawn their troops six months after the victory on 1945.
    But USSR RED ARMY stayed on the North (AZARBAIJAN) under the pretext that the Azarbaijanian Democratic People Government(that they had installed themselves with the Iranian Communist Party) wants the Reds Army to stay and not to leave.

    Cowboy;
    Our Fathers and Mothers have fought the Soviets RED ARMY and the Traitors Communist Party to force them to leave.

    The Shah's Army didn't existed because when the allied nations occupied IRAN during the WWII, they disolved the Iranian ARMY,
    So, Our Fathers resisted themselves against the Soviets and forced them to leave, We offered more than 300,000 of Martyrs to free our country from the Communism occupation, But we executed all the Communists that we found, the leaders escapped to the Soviet Union.

    Iran could never become a Communist country, we hate them, we prefer to die rather than become communist, but, the Mullahs and their LOBBIES and the Royalists say to the American administrations that if the Americans help us, they will help the Communists, they know very well how to play and manipulate the American's opinions.

    Cowboy, one of the people's slogan in these last months was, ” DEATH TO RUSSIA, DEATH TO CHINA”.

    Anothe Slogan was “OBAMA, OBAMA, are you with them(the Mullahs) or with us”

    Cowboy, what we have now, is the residuals of the SHAH, his father was for hitler, and he was a pure dictator.

    the Democracy will bring the education and economy which will provide the uncolored information for the people, and the risk of all kinds of TOTALITARISM ( Islamism, Communism, Royalism) will decrease.

    Look at your nation, you have your religion, but, you are free of all kind of ISM.

  • sam000

    The Regime started firing the disarmed people will the shielded armored cars this afternoon in Tehran.

    Several people killed, the fight between the Armed Passdarans and the people continues till now.

  • tlwinslow

    The only sensible U.S. policy vis a vis Iran is to use the Sunni-Shite split to our advantage wherever possible, while doing everything to prevent Iran from getting nukes. Not that I know what we can do to stop them, maybe Israel can do it with us helping silently. The so-called Green Rev. is just into horrible Sharia as the old regime, so count on them to want nukes just as bad, and use them just as quick.

    http://go.to/islamhistory

  • PAthena

    I agree with Steven Laib. President Barack Obama is anti-American, anti-liberty, anti-democracy. His use of over 40 “Czars,” unelected, not approved of by the Senate, shows this. His rejection of Winston Churchill, which he showed by returning the bust of him lent by the Prime Minister of Great Britain to President Bush, shows that he would have appeased Hitler Germany. He attacks allies and democracies, like Poland, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Honduras, and Israel, but tries to hobnob with tyrannies like North Korea and the Mullah-run Iran.

  • Barry Cooper

    This is a simple situation. The regime in Iran is autocratic, and relies upon terrorizing through murder, torture, and habeas corpus free internment to stay in power.

    This is antithetical to the ideals of universal human rights upon which ANY construction of liberal ideals is based. To point this out is nothing other than telling the truth, and the truth right now would be useful. Certainly, it would be more than we are offering.

    That is, of course, asking much too much of someone who has spent a career practicing talking out of both sides of his mouth.

    Reality? Obama could care less about Iran, Israel, or any issue but the one most pressing to him: bringing as much of our economy and nation under the direct control of the Federal Government as possible. That's all he cares about.

    Sure, he would like to see Israel engulfed in flames, and reoccupied by the refugees of the 1948 War, but that is easily enough accomplished, once he has his ducks in a row here.

  • eerie Steve

    Here is my Final Solution to the Moslem Problem:

    1. Barak gathers leaders
    2. Barak tells all leaders that he just needs two years and he will solve all their problems.
    3. Barak makes a deal with the House of Saud to exchange oil royalties for the Nation of Israel to become the California/Israel Land.
    4. Barak makes a deal with India to move the entire sub continent to South America so Pakistan can get not just the Kashmir value, but the entire friggin region.
    5. Osama gets his Caliphate, handed to him by Obama
    6. Osama dies. Obama packs on some weight ala Tom Brady 2002 and gets up to about 240. A real man of steel.
    7. Before his last day in office, he unleashes my design of this magic green tube which sucks down men with genetic dispositions to black hair and mechanical aptitude (Mario, Luigi, and any cleric the United States hates). Have it make that “dwah-dwah-DWAH” sound, give Miyamoto some royalties on that so the dinks are happy, and have the local mosque spit out pennies set to Mario music whenever it happens. Yes Russia you own the dollar but we got the penny now. Shit, all I need is some soil concentration testing and I can get it done. I got designs for a friggin tank that not only kills you, it harvests your body to burn for heat in its main reactor. Yes, I know the lipid to water ratio makes it impossible, but there's canning processes aren't there?

  • Rall

    Where do I start?
    How about this. BO is not just deconstructing the free market, capitalist, constitutional republic which America is. He is willfully destroying it.

    How does this relate to Iran?

    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=tCAffMSWSz

    BO is a Muslim. He will do the same thing here if he has to, as the mullahs have been and are doing in Iran, once our nation's citizens see that he is actually taking over. The only thing that will stand in the way of that will be our military. As the Iranian military is all that stands in the way of the mullahs keeping power in Iran.

    Refer to this link: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/military-mutiny-in

    This will be obvious to us when the 2010 elections are corrupted by ACORN with their impregnation into the election machinery with the $5 billion given to them in the first stimulus bill.

    Will we react like the Iranians if our elections are stolen? We'll be in the streets for sure. But BO doesn't have a republican guard, yet does he. But what about that domestic security army BO campaigned on that is to be as well funded and as large as our military. What will they be doing when we're raising a ruckus in the streets? Oh. He doesn't have that domestic army yet. That's right.

    I'll tell you folks, all BO needs is to keep control of the house by 1 vote and he will continue to consolidate power. The dems are with him so far 100%. Why not later? He has to be stopped, period. The 2010 elections are our last chance, and taking the house may not even be enough. BO isn't only going try to steal the 2010 elections. He has a lot of aces up his sleeve to play yet to destroy our country and he'll get as many of them played as possible before the 2010 elections. He can ruin our currency so that we are an economic basket case by spending and creating greater deficits than are already on line today, and he can steal what personal wealth that we have left through cap and trade, and a VAT. And how about legalizing illegal aliens before the election so they can vote. And why not silence all opposing media? And taking our guns to boot. And unilaterally destroying our nuclear weapons. Sounds good to me.

    What do you bloggers intend to do from now until November? I hope and pray that you all will get out and work for a candidate that won't put up with this BS. If you don't, kiss this website goodbye. And all the others. Our candidates will have to win by 20% or more, because that's what it will take to override the basic fraud that will be rampant this time, that is if ACORN doesn't just erase 25% of our votes.

    Check this out: http://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/125e1

    Sounds off the wall I'm sure but I had to get it off my chest.

    I mourn for the Iranians today. They are fighting with courage what's happened in hundreds of nations before. Being killed in the streets or being taken away, tortured, and executed. Barbarity. That's what tyrants pay to take it and keep it. Could it happen on our streets? Why not.

    But we're different, aren't we. We haven't lost our lives and freedom yet. And we've gotten used to living and being free. At least I have. Maybe that makes us a tougher pushover. Or maybe that makes us soft and lazy, or worse.

    But if we get up off our buts and work this year, maybe we won't have to go through what all those other nations have experienced throughout history and Iran is experiencing today. Got it in you?