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Khamenei Speaks. Obama Cowers.

During the early morning hours here in the US, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivered an address to the Iranian people.

From Haarezt.com:

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday demanded an end to the street protests that have shaken the Islamic Republic since a disputed presidential election a week ago and said any bloodshed would be their leaders' fault.

He defended Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the rightful winner of the presidential vote and denied any possibility that it had been rigged, as Ahmadinejad's opponents have asserted.

The crowd gathered at the speech, held inside Tehran University, included Ahmadinejad, who sat in the front row.

In addition to declaring a "definitive victory" for Ahmadinejad, Khameni also blasted the United States for "meddling", even though the Obama administration has said little to nothing about the situation.

During his sermon on Friday, Khamenei condemned what he said was interference by "some foreign powers" in this month's election and rebuked them for giving Iran "advice on human rights."

"After street protests, some foreign powers ... started to interfere in Iran's state matters by questioning the result of the vote. They do not know the Iranian nation. I strongly condemn such interference," Khamenei said.

"American officials' remarks about human rights and limitations on people are not acceptable because they have no idea about human rights after what they have done in Afghanistan and Iraq and other parts of the world. We do not need advice over human rights from them," he added.

The spiritual leader accused Iran's enemies of trying to "discredit" the Islamic establishment by questioning the results of the elections.

The reluctance of Obama to address the situation is now in proper perspective. The hard-liners of Iran predictably blamed America for fomenting this dissent. It would have served Obama well to have spoken up and shown which side he chose to back.

His obvious indecision regarding what to do and how to interject his views on the situation is now shown to be a tactical error of profound proportions. The chance to show solidarity with the Iranian protesters, to offer encouragement for their cause, is now lost. The leader of the United States, the world leader of freedom and democracy, has done nothing.

This was a rare opportunity to foster the spirit of revolution which has gripped the Iranian people. Words could have gone a long way toward accomplishing what the West has desired for so long: A revolutionary upheaval in Iranian politics and society.

Instead, Obama's lack of judgement and fear of alienating the winning party has now rendered him impotent. Anything he says now will be meaningless.

An opportunity lost.


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Comments (21)

To his credit (or, perhaps ... (Below threshold)

To his credit (or, perhaps more accurately, his foreign service advisers), Obama correctly assessed that the regime was not going to go away, that it was foolish to to think (or act) as if the protests were going to amount to much (yes, foolish, thugs don't give up power without a fight, especially when they're on a mission from God).

However, he erred in thinking that his silence was going to do him any good. Could Obama have been so naive to think his silence was going to buy him any goodwill with the Mad Mullahs? That Ahmadinejad was going to be so grateful that Iran was going to stop its nuke program, stop supporting terrorists and stop meddling in Iraq? Conversely, what was Ahmadinejad going to do if Obama came out in support of the protesters? Refuse to cut his nuke program? Vow to continue Iran's fight against the US?

Obama had nothing to lose by supporting the protesters, yet he chose not to. It's about what I expected.

Americans should wear two b... (Below threshold)

Americans should wear two black arm-bands.

One for solidarity with the Iranian people.
One for the shame our disgraceful "President" has brought upon us.

When an Iranian-born blogger was asked by Hugh Hewitt yesterday whether the protesters in Iran wanted the West (and Obama) to speak up, tHe blogger replied:
"why do you think the are holding up signs in English and French?"


Our president is a craven c... (Below threshold)

Our president is a craven creature, unworthy to lead what was formerly the most vibrant Republic in the world.

Khomenei speaks Obama bows.... (Below threshold)
914:

Khomenei speaks Obama bows.

You evidently believe that ... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

You evidently believe that Obama actually favors democracy and freedom. Based on what?

Russia invades Georgia - pr... (Below threshold)
Pretzel Logic:

Russia invades Georgia - present
Pirates attack a US Ship - present
North Korea launches a missile - present
Oppressed want change in Iran - present

I miss leadership and decisiveness. I guess that's change we can believe in.

Chicago style politics won'... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Chicago style politics won't work on the international stage. Nor will community organizing. As such, Obama doesn't have a clue what to do.

But, I thought that if we s... (Below threshold)
Brett:

But, I thought that if we stopped meddling in their affairs, and opened a dialog with them, and maybe started putting the screws to the Israelis, they would start liking us. No?

I think taking advice from ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

I think taking advice from the far right would be a very bad idea. You fellas don't have the best track record - playing it cool is the way to go.

I think taking adv... (Below threshold)
I think taking advice from the far right would be a very bad idea. You fellas don't have the best track record - playing it cool is the way to go.

jp2,
What's with this you fellas stuff.

jp2: "playing it cool is... (Below threshold)

jp2: "playing it cool is the way to go"

JFK, Reagan both of whom stood at the Berlin Wall and made passionate speeches about FREEDOM, are spinning in their graves.

The new American credo for those seeking to throw off the yoke of slavery:
"Hey...be cool, Dude!"

The far right doesnt have t... (Below threshold)
914:

The far right doesnt have the best track record of what jp2? Capitulating to dictators? And or Mullahs? Your correct, the far left has a much better track record of bowing to the Kahmenies of the world. Just ask Jimmah.

playing it cool is... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
playing it cool is the way to go.

And what a way to go. jp2, you have no idea in hell what you are talking about.

With all the ranting that i... (Below threshold)
Rance:

With all the ranting that is coming from the right, you would think that Mousavi would be some great liberator of the Iranian people.

This election was a free election, is the same way that the Soviet elections were free -- you can vote for anyone as long as they are picked by the party, or in Iran's case Ayatollah Khamenei.

Suppose Kim Jong-il held an election to choose his successor, and the only people on the ballot were his sons. Should we care if the supporters of the loser protested in the street?

The United States needs to ... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

The United States needs to be careful so as not to worsen the situation for the opposition elements in Iran. The United States cannot be viewed being actively involved in this power struggle between two factions of conservatives in Iran. Police goons loyal to Ahmadinejad have been routinely attacking sleeping students in their college dorm rooms with beatings just to send a signal of fear to the students not to support the opposition in the country.

Congress passed a sense of Congress resolution condemning the violence in Iran. But so far that's about as far as our government can go and not worsen the situation for the more democratic elements in Iran. The last chapter hasn't been written yet in this ongoing saga. Just wait.

rancid: "With all the ra... (Below threshold)

rancid: "With all the ranting that is coming from the right..."

I'm so old I can remember when the Left at least PROFESSED to give a damn about people!

Mousavi represents the tiniest sliver of "Freedom", but they're willing to fight for it! Yes, it was just "freedom" to choose between the lesser of two evils...but when they were denied even THAT tiny bit of freedom it was, apparently, the last straw!

Mousavi is to the Iranians what Imre Nagy was to the Hungarians in 1956...a reluctant (and unlikely) face on a spontaneous uprising. The parallels are stark.

Now, with the scrapping of even the sham re-checking of ballots of the sham election the message for the Iranians is clear: if the Iranians want ANY Freedom they must pry it from Khamenei's cold, dead fingers!

the "ranting" is not just from "the Right"...it's from people on the Left as well. In fact the only one TOTALLY INDIFFERENT to the plight of the Iranians is our Dear Leader. I think he fears this happening to HIM one day.

Gee rance they would sure b... (Below threshold)
914:

Gee rance they would sure be more liberated having their votes counted for Mousavi than fraudulated by Ahcmad and that living dead Ayatoldya sister soldja for cryin out loud.

I know you would be all up in arms if acorns votes were not counted for Obama so whats your problem with the Iranians wanting the same thing?

the Left has hold of the "<... (Below threshold)

the Left has hold of the "Neville Chamberlain Guide to Appeasement" and they refuse to let go!

Bad enough that Obama won't stop the car long enough to see if the people in the roadside wreck are hurt...he won't even holler "I hope you're OK" as he speeds on by!

The hero of the Left has shown himself to be HopeLESS...and a disgrace.

Rance - "With a... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Rance -

"With all the ranting that is coming from the right, you would think that Mousavi would be some great liberator of the Iranian people.

This election was a free election, is the same way that the Soviet elections were free -- you can vote for anyone as long as they are picked by the party, or in Iran's case Ayatollah Khamenei."

First part partially wrong, second part pretty much on the money.

I'm not seeing Mousavi as a 'great liberator' - but he's marginally better than Amadamnnutcase, and the people seem to be figuring it that way. Personally, I'm hoping they're going to realize their country will have a better future with hemp-necked mullahs danging from streetlights, but that's not terribly likely. They're EVENTUALLY going to realize it's the mullahs messing things up, and take it out on the real cause of their woes.

I'm glad the people are doing what they can here - they're going up against some nasty bastards, and I wish them all the luck in the world.

Does anybody think we shoul... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Does anybody think we should use our military if there is a revolution?

It would have serv... (Below threshold)
Tina S:
It would have served Obama well to have spoken up and shown which side he chose to back.

Shawn, can you expand on what you mean by choosing a side to back. Are talking about moral support or military support?




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