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U.S. suffocating reform in Iran?
February 6, 2003 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Is the U.S. suffocating reform in Iran? "'Despite sporadic verbal concern with the condition of human rights in Iran, the U.S. is protecting and providing clandestine support to the right-wing conservatives in Iran,' says Sayed Ali Asghar Gharavi, a member of the banned but tolerated Iran Freedom Movement (IFM), the country’s leading opposition party. 'The U.S. government in no way favors the coming to power of the reformist groups in Iran and is secretly supporting the religious conservatives.' Government insiders in Iran allege that the deal, first proffered by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, is simple: If the hard-liners quietly support the United States in Iraq, Washington will quietly support them. U.S. State Department officials declined to comment." It seems unlikely that the Bush administration would side with the mullahs, but considering the U.S.'s troubled history with Iranian democracy, it's not inconceivable. Perhaps this is why Michael Ledeen's cries of alarm aren't being heeded.
posted by homunculus (25 comments total)

 
On a side note, Iran has signed a security agreement with India.
posted by homunculus at 9:52 AM on February 6, 2003


"It seems unlikely that the Bush administration would side with the mullahs"

Why is that unlikely?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:53 AM on February 6, 2003


The theory sounds like it could be plausible. It's very important for the US to not have the entire region go into chaos at once. If they can hold off the pending revolution in Iran for a little longer, clean up Iraq, then deal with Iran then things will be a bit smoother. Sort of a 'put out one fire at a time' thing.

Of course, there's the question of source, but frankly I don't care. It's not really in the US's best interest for the Mullahs to be in power in Iran, but it's even worse if they dump into revolution before the region is ready.
posted by askheaves at 9:55 AM on February 6, 2003


And lets not forget that a 'liberal mullah' is still far right enough to make John Ashcroft look like Abbie Hoffman.
posted by PenDevil at 10:08 AM on February 6, 2003


If they can hold off the pending revolution in Iran for a little longer, clean up Iraq, then deal with Iran then things will be a bit smoother. Sort of a 'put out one fire at a time' thing.

I think if the Iranians want to handle this on their own, then they should. This isn't our revolution to hold up. What does "deal with" Iran mean? Have normalized relations with whomever their people put in power? I also thought we were encouraging the people of Iraq to depose Hussein on their own? So why the double standard?

Of course if this rumor proves to be false then disregard everything I've said.
posted by vito90 at 10:09 AM on February 6, 2003


Possibly related, or at least interesting reading: the new sound of Radio Azadi that went live a couple months ago.
posted by tingley at 10:12 AM on February 6, 2003


"As every Kurd remembers, the elder Bush called for the Iraqi people to overthrow Hussein and then ignored their pleas for help as Iraqi forces swept north at the end of March 1991 to crush the rebellion."

- i think i mentioned something about GW (both of them) having zero credibility beyond our shores except with the despots that are helping them achieve their aims.
posted by specialk420 at 10:12 AM on February 6, 2003


Why is that unlikely?

I found it unlikely for no other reason than that I remain, at heart, naive and hopeful that my country will do the right thing.

You may laugh at me now, if you are so inclined. I deserve it.
posted by homunculus at 10:40 AM on February 6, 2003


I think if the Iranians want to handle this on their own, then they should. This isn't our revolution to hold up. What does "deal with" Iran mean? Have normalized relations with whomever their people put in power?

Couldn't have put it better. The US should and is (as far as we can tell) keeping its hands off Iran. Iran does not need our help, we can only make things worse by condemning the current regime. Iranians are still pretty pissed at the US for a lot of good reasons (giving Saddam the gas to kill them with, propping up the Shah) and any time we say they are an "axis of evil" member or some such claim (Dems and Reps both guilty of this so no finger pointing here) the Imams get more fodder for their rhetoric.

We may have already or may have to in the next few weeks cut some deals with Iran to get them to stay the heck out of the mess Iraq will be in the next month or so. They still want their land back, but we and they both know it won't be the best time to take it by force when Saddam has his back turned. Its in their best interest (both the Imams and the opposition) not to destabilize an old enemy and potential future friendly neighbor. I don't think those deals will effect the outcome of an Iranian counterrevolution though, regardless of who ends up in Tehran.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:08 AM on February 6, 2003


"...my country will do the right thing. "

I, too, believe we eventually will. Not necessarily under this administration, but eventually.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:12 AM on February 6, 2003


You may laugh at me now, if you are so inclined. I deserve it.

No way. It's nice to see you can be hopeful and look for the best in others even when the preponderance of evidence points against it.

A good soul is a good thing.
posted by nofundy at 11:13 AM on February 6, 2003


A general rule of thumb for me has been todistrust just aboput anything the State Dept wants, likes, approves of.
posted by Postroad at 11:22 AM on February 6, 2003


A general rule of thumb for me has been todistrust just aboput anything the State Dept wants, likes, approves of.

do you also have a general rule against using spell check--or of using critical thinking skills, for that matter? blanket statements fuel fascism.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 11:44 AM on February 6, 2003


blanket statements fuel fascism

isn't that a blanket statement?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:10 PM on February 6, 2003


the U.S. is protecting and providing clandestine support to the right-wing conservatives in Iran

I've suspected that the U.S., or mainly the Republican Administrations in the the U.S. have had this cynnical pat you on the back with one hand, while I publicly club you with the other relationship with the hard-liners in Iran since that oh-so convenient hostage crisis that ended as soooon as Reagen had the White House. It shouldn't surprise anyone if the current administration is continuing the tradition of skullduggery. The Bush administration would oppose reformists for no other reason than they know they can deal with the conservatives.

One of my pet peeves (among many) from the Clinton administration was that he didn't pursue the opportunity to normalize relations with Iran when there was something of a moderate movement in that government. Maybe someone could have been pursuaded to talk, and the truth of that "hostage crisis" could have finally come out.
posted by MetalDog at 12:59 PM on February 6, 2003


specialk...that quote entirely overlooks the reason *why* the US stopped supporting the rebellion. Iranian shi'a, supported by their then-even more fanatical government, allied themselves militarily with a force uprising in the South. The result of the US continuing to support that rebellion would have been that Saudi Arabia would have been very upset, and that another fanatical regime would have taken over in Iraq.

The Kurds would never have seen Baghdad - it would have been revolution from the South that succeeded.

The US should have done more to prevent Saddam's retaliation, but then again, so should the 182 or so other countries who supported the Gulf War.

The "US left the Kurds to die or else there'd be peace in Iraq" is total bullshit revisionism.
posted by Kevs at 2:06 PM on February 6, 2003


Clinton? Normalize relations with Iranian conservative religious fundamentalists? Clinton? The guy who was getting a hummer in the oval office? Isn't Clinton a fantastic example of what the Imams rail against as the excesses of the Western infidels? That would be like Henry Ford trying to normalize relations with Lenin! The best favor we can do for Iran is to resist all the urges to meddle in their shit! Leave them alone, they will fix the problem themselves as long as we stop getting on TV and calling them evil!
posted by Pollomacho at 2:14 PM on February 6, 2003


Pollomacho ... only Nixon could go to China.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:21 PM on February 6, 2003


Very true wulf, but Nixon was just a blow hard, he never really stood out as a symbol of a western imperialist dog, he could just be laughed at. Clinton was well, on the receiving end of the blow hard (in many ways, I can assure you) and exactly what the zealot Imams hate about America, just like the fundy preachers within America.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:48 PM on February 6, 2003


A good soul is a good thing.

*Blush*
posted by homunculus at 2:57 PM on February 6, 2003


YO KEVS.

thats not the point - the point is W senior told the iraqis to rise up and overthrow saddam... when they did - shias and kurds (who make up the overwhelming majority of the iraqi population) - he put on the brakes and let them be slaughtered. more in deference to turkey than saudi arabia (FYI). sounds like junior is doing the same damn thing with the iranians - and thus further undermining any credibility the US ever had in that region. consider quitting being an apologist for very poor foreign policy from both bush administrations and hitting the books.
posted by specialk420 at 4:24 PM on February 6, 2003


Speaking of the Kurds and Shiites, I'm reminded of this statement from last summer.

"A major goal of U.S. policy in a post-Hussein Iraq would be to prevent the creation of an independent state in the heavily Shiite south, or an independent Kurdish state in the north. To fulfill U.S. promises to Turkey and Arab states that Iraq would remain whole, a defense official said, 'I think it is almost a certainty that we'd wind up doing a campaign against the Kurds and Shiites.' That would represent a striking reversal of administration policy of supporting the Kurds against Baghdad."

As the conflict approaches, I really hope this doesn't come to pass.
posted by homunculus at 4:28 PM on February 6, 2003


PenDevil: And lets not forget that a 'liberal mullah' is still far right enough to make John Ashcroft look like Abbie Hoffman.

This is a load of crap, right? I'm no expert, but everything I've read leads me to believe that a comment like this one is correct: I'm also not sure if growing a civil society "under the noses of the mullahs" is the right way to understand what's happening in Iran. I mean, in many cases, the mullahs themselves (Montazeri, Sanei, Taheri, Soroosh isn't a mullah but is an ulema and worked for the Revolution) are contributing to the regeneration of civil society. The impressive thing to me about the Iranian case is how the responsibilities of power have transformed Islamicist thought.
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:52 PM on February 6, 2003


There's a parallel thread on Plastic.

"An Islamic reformation".
posted by homunculus at 1:59 PM on February 7, 2003


"U.S. Met With Iranians On War, Tehran Was Asked For Pledges on Aid, Non-Interference"
posted by homunculus at 11:13 PM on February 7, 2003


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