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Tiananmen in Tehran

Posted by Richard on June 16, 2009

They shot pro-democracy demonstrators in Tehran yesterday. The Mousavi campaign called off a protest rally today because they were warned that riot squads would be using live ammunition. And vote counts allegedly leaked by someone in the interior ministry put Ahm-a-doin-a-jihad in third place:

The statistics, circulated on Iranian blogs and websites, claimed Mr Mousavi had won 19.1 million votes while Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won only 5.7 million.

The two other candidates, reformist Mehdi Karoubi and hardliner Mohsen Rezai, won 13.4 million and 3.7 million respectively. The authenticity of the leaked figures could not be confirmed.

No one actually knows how many have been killed, beaten, and arrested, or in how many other cities the demonstrations have been taking place. Foreign journalists (and Iranians working for them) are essentially under "house arrest," ordered to cover these events by watching the state-run TV reports from their hotel rooms.

So much for the wishful thinking of President Obama, who seemed so sure last Friday that his Cairo speech had changed the world, but who this week has decided to "withhold comment" (as Biden put it):

The clenched fist of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his suspect return to power, has not only delivered a blow to freedom-seeking Iranians; it is also knocking the Obama administration for a loop — primarily because the president has chosen not to stand with Iranians who seek "a future of peace and dignity."

The administration was obviously rooting for Ahmadinejad to be beaten by his chief rival, former Iranian prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi. The president on Friday, the day of the election, spoke of "a robust debate taking place in Iran" bringing with it "new possibilities" and "the possibility of change."

How naive those words sound in retrospect. Presidential wishful thinking has crashed head-on into Islamofascist reality.

Europeans have condemned Iran's repressive regime, but apparently the Obama administration — true to its post-modernist, morally relativist, politically correct intellectual roots — doesn't want to be seen as taking sides between a brutal theocracy and people yearning for their basic human rights. It doesn't want anyone to think we might meddle in Iran's affairs — in this new era of hopenchange, the U.S. only meddles in the affairs of pro-Western democracies like Israel.

This brutal repression of Iranians' desire for freedom and democracy is unfolding less than two weeks after the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, with its iconic image of a lone brave man standing in front of a line of tanks. Yesterday's big demonstration (and the shootings) took place in Azadi (Freedom) Square — a fitting location with a more meaningful name than Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace).

Tehran 24 has striking pictures and video from the last few days. Among many from Saturday, this compelling image reminiscent of Tiananmen stood out:

defiant woman in Tehran

 My thoughts are with this courageous woman and all the brave freedom-loving people of Iran. I'd like to think that behind the scenes, stealthily, the U.S. is providing at least some support to the pro-democracy forces — but with this administration, it's highly unlikely.

For more news and commentary on Iran, check out The Spirit of Man and the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. The latter has called on Obama for support (emphasis in original): 

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran has written to President Barack Hussein Obama, urging him to stand up for America's principles and avoid the error made by President Clinton in 1999, when he washed his hands of the student uprising in Iran, claiming that America could do nothing."Mr. President, America can do much, as you and your supporters said repeatedly during your election campaign. For starters, America should continue to hold up the beacon of liberty that Iranians look to with such longing – not put it under a shroud," the letter states.

The FDI does not call on the United States to support any particular group or party inside Iran, but instead calls on the president to "assert America’s moral authority in defense of freedom."

Above all, the letter calls on President Obama "to refuse to recognize the imposter regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and to muster world opinion to neutralize him behind an international cordon sanitaire until he crumbles from isolation and neglect. Download a PDF of the letter.

I hope they're not holding their breaths. By Obama's reckoning, America has no moral authority, and championing liberty and human rights for Iranians would be "imposing our way of life" on the government thugs descending on that brave woman above.

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