Headline in today’s front page of the Washington Post: “U.S. Struggling for Right Response to Iran.”
Is it just me, or does our fear of being perceived as “meddling” stem from a fear that this scenario will unfold:
Obama: The Iranian people have a right to dissent and protest the election results, and it is wrong for paramilitary thugs to beat ordinary citizens in the streets and shoot protesters dead.
Regime: The Americans are meddling! All of these protests are just foreign intervention in Iranian matters!
Average Iranian: Hey, they’re right! Who are those Americans to tell us what to do? It’s perfectly fine for paramilitary thugs to beat ordinary citizens in the streets and shoot protesters dead.
The whole point of the protests is that the Iranian regime’s statements — in the form of the election results — no longer have credibility with a large swath of the Iranian people. Why do we think that accusations of meddling will suddenly restore the regime’s credibility?
I thought of this when I read Nader Mousavizadeh’s op-ed, which made the point, “Concerns that any U.S. statement of support will rekindle resentment toward foreign interference presume that Iranians are unable to distinguish between an enemy and an ally of their democratic aspirations.”