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  • Iranian Protesters Are Dying for Freedom – Where is Barack Obama?

    I wrote back in June about the shameful silence of the Obama administration during the mass street protests that greeted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s fraudulent re-election victory as President of Iran. As White House spokesman Robert Gibbs ludicrously put it, the administration was “impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm this election generated.” Or in Vice President Joe Biden’s words on NBC’s Meet the Press, describing Ahmadinejad’s victory – “we’re going to withhold comment… I mean we’re just waiting to see.”

    Embarrassingly for Washington, even many European leaders showed more backbone in condemning the Iranian regime’s brutal suppression of protesters, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton humiliatingly outflanked by her French and German counterparts, who had no qualms about speaking out swiftly and firmly against the election result and the actions of the Iranian government.

    In the six months that have followed, Barack Obama’s high-risk engagement strategy has simply encouraged more repression from the Mullahs, as well as ever greater levels of defiance over Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. As Con Coughlin noted in an excellent piece for The Wall Street Journal last month, Obama’s Iran diplomacy isn’t working:

    Iranian human-rights groups say that since the government crackdown began in late June, at least 400 demonstrators have been killed while another 56 are unaccounted, which is several times higher than the official figures. The regime has established a chain of unofficial, makeshift prisons to deal with the protesters, where torture and rape are said to be commonplace. In Tehran alone, 37 young Iranian men and women are reported to have been raped by their captors.

    Now once again huge street protests have flared up on the streets of Tehran and a number of other major cities, with several protesters shot dead this weekend by the security forces and Revolutionary Guards, reportedly including the nephew of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, and dozens seriously injured. And again there is deafening silence from the Commander-in-Chief as well as his Secretary of State. And where is the president? On vacation in Hawaii, no doubt recuperating from his exertions driving forward the monstrous health care reform bill against the overwhelming will of the American public and without a shred of bipartisan support.

    This is not however a time for fence-sitting by the leader of the free world. The president should be leading international condemnation of the suppression of pro-democracy protesters, and calling on the Iranian dictatorship to free the thousands of political dissidents held in its torture chambers. Just as Ronald Reagan confronted the evils of Soviet Communism, Barack Obama should support the aspirations of the Iranian people to be free. The United States has a major role to play in inspiring and advancing freedom in Iran, and the president should make it clear that the American people are on the side of those brave Iranians who are laying down their lives for liberty in the face of tyranny.

    Cross-posted at Telegraph.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    19 Responses to Iranian Protesters Are Dying for Freedom – Where is Barack Obama?

    1. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      The countries of the entire world and the UN which represents them is at fault.

      We are only a de facto leader that is held in contempt no matter what we do. If we act unilaterally on this our enemies and cowards will jump to condemn us. If we do nothing, the same will happen for not exercising leadership.

      I'm sure the UN will issue more sanctions.

      Meanwhile imagine what is must be like for Iranian protestors who are being raped and tortured (the methods would make you sick).

      And, this is the country we have been goofing around with since 1979 – a brutal Islamic Theocracy whose goal is world domination under Allah. They are showing their tolerance daily, aren't they?

      Now, imagine this regime, controlled by unstable thugs, with nuclear weapons.

      No political will and no moral courage by the entire world – only those cowards who snipe at Israel and anyone else who protests the lying aggressive behavior of the Iranian Monster Elite.

    2. ACE SEZ says:

      I don't think too many Americans actually think a few thousand protesters is relevant-as for killing and imprisoning protesters–that's right down the "community organizer's" alley–guess when folks will find out how far we've gone–losin' our Constitutional USA—perhaps the 2010 elections–will be eye openers–when armed intimidators are in plain sight at voting precincts

    3. Robert, Tennesse says:

      I watched a video of the violence and this time was struck by the fact that there were a number of burning motorcyles. One could only hope they were being ridden by their thugs on wheels who were driving through the crowds busting heads. I have a feeling this is going to get very ugly before it turns. You are right, our President for all his propensity to revel in his own words and image on TV, sould come out a make a comment. The Iranian thug-ocricy will not be moved by out-reached hands. Happier New Year to all!

    4. K. Everhart, St. Lou says:

      The President should speak out in favor of those who want a voice in their government, freedom of speech and other basic rights of human beings. He should speak out against those who jail, maim and kill those who peacefully protest denial of these rights. He is young and inexperienced. We should show him how it is done. When we have gatherings we should set aside time to voice our support of those who are peacefully protesting against governments that deny civil rights to their citizens. Yes, we are busy trying to prevent further erosion of our own rights, but if we don't help others there will be on one left to help us.

    5. Spiritof76 says:

      On the golf course. Obama doesn't want to intrude in the internal affairs of a "great" nation and culture of Iran. If Iranian regime acts billigerent, it is because of American oppression and we deserve what we get. Isn't that what his mentor, Rev. Wright taught hime for tenty years?

    6. Bobbie Jay says:

      Iranian Protesters Are Dying for Freedom – Where is Barack Obama?

      Killing America's freedom.

    7. Annette, Ohio says:

      Obama is doing nothing as usual. The USA should be showing total support of these people w/strong words and even stronger sanctions with guidance to the rest of the west to do the same. These people could over throw a bad regime IF they knew we were behind them. But Obama as usual, gives his no-nothing response. From day one, he has done his 'lawyerie' retoric and he looks and sounds like the dunce he is.

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    11. Cyrus Achaemenid says:

      The Case For Doing Nothing In Iran

      by Stephen M. Walt

      I don't know where the latest unrest in Iran will lead — and neither does anyone else — but it seems like the regime is losing whatever legitimacy it had left and may also be losing its capacity to squelch dissent with displays of force. The outcome of this sort of challenge is inherently difficult to forecast, as it is nearly impossible to know ex ante when a critical “tipping point” might be reached. At a minimum, the regime has clearly gotten significantly weaker since the contested election last summer.

      Here are some cautionary lessons to bear in mind. First, we do not know enough about internal dynamics in Iran to intervene intelligently, and trying to reinforce or support the Green Movement is as likely to hurt them as to help them. So our official position needs to measured and temperate, and to scrupulously avoid any suggestion that we are egging the Greens on or actively backing them with material aid.

      Second, this is an especially foolish time to be rattling sabers and threatening military action. Threatening or using force is precisely the sort of external interference that might give the current regime a new lease on life. If you’d like to see a new government in Tehran, in short, we should say relatively little and do almost nothing. I don’t object to making it clear how much the U.S. government deplores the regime’s repressive measures, but this is one of those moment where we ought to say less than we feel.

      If you’re looking for a useful historical analogy, think back to the "velvet revolutions" in Eastern Europe. Neoconservatives used to argue that the rapid and mostly peaceful collapse of communism proved that rapid democratic transformations were possible in unlikely settings, and they used that argument to justify trying the same thing in Iraq. (We all know how well that turned out.) In fact, the velvet revolutions were a triumph of slow and patient engagement from a position of strength. The upheavals in Eastern Europe were an indigenous phenomenon and the product of containment, diplomatic engagement, and the slow-but-steady spread of democratic ideals through the Helsinki process and other mechanisms. And the first Bush administration was smart enough to keep its hands off until the demise of communism was irreversible, which is precisely the approach we ought to take toward Iran today.

      Finally, as I mentioned a few days ago, we should not assume that a Green triumph in Iran would eliminate all sources of friction between Iran and the West. A new government would probably seek to continue Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and will certainly want a secure (read: superior) position in its own neighborhood. In practice, that means trying to achieve an imbalance of power in its favor, which will make the U.S. uncomfortable. If the clerical regime falls and we continue to insist that Iran stop enriching uranium and conform to our policy preferences, that will convince many Iranians that the United States is irrevocably hostile to their country and not just to the current regime. So I hope somebody in the Obama administration is starting to think about a) what we do if the Green Movement succeeds, b) what we do if it fails, and c) how to keep hawks in the United States and Israel from making things worse.

    12. selwyn marock South says:

      You ask where Obama is,he is in the USA murdering all the wild horses,I am sure he will make time to Murder all the family pets in the US as well.Bloody Disgrace.


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    19. Susan Tenofsky, Ando says:

      Thank you for not letting Obama's horrible decision of cowardly inaction during protests in Iran be forgotten. Does Obama really care about human rights …even…protesters being raped…is that OK with him. Worst of all is preserving American freedom really his concern…or our national security. Supporting Iranian protesters could very well have increased the likelihood for peaceful relations with Iran. I'd like to forgive Obama for being short-sighted or naive. Unfortunately I believe he knows the exact consequences of his actions in Iran…very sad…

      and as usual thinks he is "right."

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