From all accounts the ongoing election protests in Iran are relatively peaceful. I’ve read some accounts that make the situation out to be a game of reverse chicken where the first side to go openly violent will end up the loser. At this point I think it’s pretty clear the previous status quo has lost. Regardless the outcome, the legitimacy of the post-1979 government is either significantly reduced or possibly gone altogether.
From the link:
The protesters marched silently down a major thoroughfare, some holding photographs of the main opposition candidate in Friday’s vote, Mir Hussein Moussavi. Others lifted their bare hands high in the air, signifying their support for Mr. Moussavi with green ribbons tied around their wrists or holding their fingers in a victory sign.
The scope and description of the demonstration was provided by participants who were reached by telephone, as well as photographs taken participants and journalists despite warnings by the authorities against reporting on the event. All accredited in Iran have been ordered to remain in their offices.
It was the fifth day of unrest since election officials declared a landslide victory for the incumbent, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
This bit from the same link strikes me as patently ridiculous:
The Iranian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, summoned the Swiss ambassador, who represents American interests in Tehran, to complain of “interventionist” statements by American officials, state-run media reported.
If anything the White House is playing this very smoothly and not providing any fuel for “Great Satan influence” rhetoric from the Iranian government.
Of course some on the neocon right don’t see things quite like anyone else.
To wit (from a Robert Kagan op-ed):
It’s not that Obama preferred a victory by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He probably would have been happy to do business with Mir Hossein Mousavi, even if there was little reason to believe Mousavi would have pursued a different approach to the nuclear issue. But once Mousavi lost, however fairly or unfairly, Obama objectively had no use for him or his followers. If Obama appears to lend support to the Iranian opposition in any way, he will appear hostile to the regime, which is precisely what he hoped to avoid.
Obama’s policy now requires getting past the election controversies quickly so that he can soon begin negotiations with the reelected Ahmadinejad government.
And with this line of fantasy the neocons fade a little deeper back into history ready to be mothballed in think tanks for another 35 or so years.
Kagan’s outrageous op-ed was immediately countered by the blogosphere.
Here’s Matt Duss:
But I have to say, Mr. Kagan, your op-ed this morning is really beneath you. You can’t actually believe that President Obama is “siding with the Iranian regime” against the Iranian people, or that Obama’s outreach to Iran depends upon keeping hardliners in power, can you? You’re far too intelligent to buy the brutishly simplistic “realism” that you attempt to hang upon President Obama’s approach. These sorts of claims are better left to your friend and occasional co-author Bill Kristol, who uses his series of valuable journalistic perches (with which he inexplicably continues to be gifted) to launch an endless stream of comically transparent bad faith arguments. You’re better than that. You’re the smart neocon.
I wish the best of luck to the people of Iran. People who deserve the modern society denied them for many years. I’m disappointed, but no surprised, the neocon, pro-Israel right would attempt to inject U.S. politics into a situation that belongs to one Middle East nation, and one nation alone, at this time.