Thursday, June 18, 2009
President Obama and the Secretary of State Clinton, who is recovering from a broken elbow, have been cool to the Iranian uprising in the wake of the Iran’s most recent Presidential election. While some conservatives are commenting that the President and Secretary of State are being weak on Iran, their cool stance is correct.
First, the alleged corrupt President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is looking for some sort of way to tie his troubles to the United States. The less the United States has to say officially the better. Ahmadinejad has already attempted to tie the civil unrest to the United States. Ahmadinejad’s worries are a chink in the armor that has dominated Iranian government and culture since 1979.
While on paper the President of Iran is the leader of the nation, the real leader is the religious leader, the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i. Since the religious revolution of 1979, the religious leader of Iran has been a final voice on all state matters, someone whose decisions are seen as infallible. In the past thirty years, no religious leader in Iran has reversed himself as Khamene’i has on the Iranian Presidential election. First, the Grand Ayatollah certified the victory of Ahmadinejad then the Grand Ayatollah called for a limited review of the election ballots. Such is significant. When the supposed voice of God on Earth reverses or shows doubt, it opens the nation he leads to consider alternatives. The infallible voice of God on Earth has apparently admitted he is unsure.
The Iranians are facing a potential big change. The religious leaders who live in the 6th Century are having a problem with 21st Century communications. Further, people who live everyday lives in Iran are apparently tired of not have relatively good lives in exchange for pleasing the notions of guys who run around in nice sheets and encourage the people to pick a fight with the rest of the world.
The United States has a real interest in the opposition finding a way to overthrow the status quo in Iran. But, the United States cannot hit the people over the head, so to speak with the issue. The United States has to be patient and subtly support the 21st Century communications the Iranian opposition is using move their nation to being a real and viable member of the world community.
However, make no mistake, the riots and the power of the Iranian opposition should not be dismissed. It is a significant sign that progress can be made with relations with Iran. However, if the current regime prevails in the current conflict, the United States cannot recognize the legitimacy of the current regime. Wise silence in the Iranian election controversy cannot be followed by treating the current regime as a legitimate voice of the Iranian people. That would reward corruption and religious extremism. While it is wise for the United States to be silent now, if the current Iranian regime prevails somehow, it is best for the United States to wait on a more legitimate government of Iran to deal with. For now, all those that love freedom are pulling for the Iranian opposition to be heard and to prevail.