The health care debate has overshadowed a pretty interesting change in President Obama’s message to Iran. Yesterday, President Obama released a videotaped message to Iran, just as he did last year. Notice the change in tone. Click here for the message and here for last year’s remarks.
He still opened by saying “The Islamic Republic of Iran” as a way of assuring the leadership that he does not seek their overthrow, but immediately placed the failure in diplomacy at their feet.
President Obama stated that “The United States does not meddle in Iran’s internal affairs,” but then did just that. He was trying to rebut the regime’s argument that the opposition is supplied and directed by the U.S., but political support to them is just as critical as material support, and the regime will see it as meddling regardless of this difference.
For the next four paragraphs, he praised the Iranian people’s struggle against the regime, including referencing the brutal death of Neda Soltan whose death at the hands of the security forces on the street was videotaped and seen around the world. In the previous message, not one word was said in support of the Iranian people’s struggle, perhaps because his inexperience in foreign affairs and pro-engagement advisors failed to see the growing potential of the opposition even before the disputed June 12 elections. This time, the majority of the speech went to supporting the Iranian people and explaining how the Obama Administration was trying to help their struggle, such as by modifying our sanctions so Iranians have more access to websites and Internet communication.
He reiterated that diplomatic relations and a new beginning to American-Iranian ties was on the table. Ayatollah Khamenei has already rejected his offer, claiming yet again that Obama is trying “to hurt the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
President Obama has already crossed the line into “meddling” in Iran’s internal affairs. The opposition has always been accused of that by the regime. It appears that Obama now sees the importance of publicly siding with the people as a way of pressuring the regime. He now needs to see the importance of materially supporting the people as a way of changing the regime.
Ryan Mauro is the founder of WorldThreats.com and a regular contributor to FrontPage Magazine.