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Ear to the Ground

Obama Won’t ‘Meddle’ in Iran

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Posted on Jun 16, 2009
White House / Lawrence Jackson

President Obama says he is concerned about violence directed at protesters, but does not want “to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections.” He also warns that the “difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised.”

Indeed, The Wall Street Journal spoke to some diplomats and analyst-types who pointed that, in the newspaper’s words, “Mr. Mousavi governed as a social conservative while he was prime minister during the 1980s, and remains a committed supporter of the values and clerical system born of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution.” He was reportedly an early supporter of Iran’s nuclear program, as well.

BBC:

“It is not productive, given the history of US and Iranian relations to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections,” he said.

“But when I see violence directed at peaceful protesters, when i see peaceful dissent being suppressed… it is of concern to me and it is of concern to the American people.”

Speaking later in the television interview, he downplayed the importance to the world of the struggle for power in Iran.

“The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised,” he said.

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By Sepharad, June 23, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, husband and I are mostly spending time visiting with our young granddaughters, so I’m not posting much, just keeping up with reading threads, but wanted to ask a couple questions re your post of June 19, 11:57: I haven’t read anything about Congress appropriating $400,000,000 for regime change in Iran. In what terms have they couched such a request, and where? Re Dennis Roth advocating a coalition of countries to legitimize attacking Iran—the only book of his I’ve read is “The Missing Peace”. In which book does he mention attacking Iran? In any case, I would think that these tens of thousands of people demonstrating in the Iranian streets would illustrate conclusively the lack of wisdom (not to mention morality)of attacking that country. Cannot think of a faster way to set in stone the enmity of moderate, responsible, intelligent people than bombing their country. (I do realize there are people in and out of Israel and the U.S. who support bombing Iran’s nuclear installlations, but I think it would be a horrible mistake to do so as well as morally indefensible especially if any of the facilities are below populated areas.

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By Folktruther, June 19, 2009 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, it is not a question of what the US has done in the past, but what it is currently doing in the present.  Congress has allocated four hundred million dollars for regime change in Iran, which the US is pursuing, disguised by Obama’s vacious rhetoric. The US is funding terrorists in Baluchistan- Jundullah- that has blown up Shiite mosques recently killing and maiming hundreds of people.

And the campaign to bomb Iran is led by Zionists.  The primary US negotator against Iran, a Zionist militarist Dennis Ross, stated in his book released last month that it is useful to develop a multi-national apporach because it legitimates military action against Iran.  He was recently removed from this position, to the anquish of the Zionists, but transferred to the White House.

a feeble hope that Obama changes past policy may influence perception management, but what the US really needs to do is to stop its current war against Iran.

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By Sepharad, June 18, 2009 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

Whatever meddling in Iran the U.S. has done in the past, I hope Obama breaks tradition and lets the Iranians sort themselves out without any coaching from the sidelines. Remember, many Iranians are Persians with a long history of cultural and intellectual prowess. Many still teach their children Zoroastrianism, Persian history and literature. Sooner or later they will right themselves and take back their country. Every Iranian male and some of the females I have met in this country spends the solstice around the bonfire reciting antique Persian poetry in Farsi. They don’t like the mullahs any more than they liked Bush, and many of them are not crazy about Israel but are not inclined to attack it. When they kvetch too much about the U.S. I tell them they should have not let the mullahs take over their revolution while also admitting that we should never have let W. take over our country either. Now it’s an uphill battle for both our countries, but must be done.

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By Folktruther, June 18, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

Way to go, Virgina.  I haven’t seen this before.

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By Virginia777, June 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

It looks like the State Department has had no problem with “meddling with Iran”, for years!

See this article:

State Department’s Iran Democracy Fund Shrouded in Secrecy
http://www.pubrecord.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=191

“Since 2006, Congress has poured tens of millions of dollars into a State Department program aimed at promoting regime change in Iran.

The “Democracy Program” initiative has been shrouded in secrecy since its inception and many critics of the initiative (who are also outspoken critics of the Iranian government) believe that it is directly linked to a spate of arrests of dozens of Iranian dissidents suspected of working secretly with the Bush administration to topple the Iranian government.

Up until last November, the program was operated by the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and overseen by David Denehy, the bureau’s senior adviser. The program was reportedly moved last November to the State Department’s Bureau of Iranian Affairs. Denehy did not return calls for comment.

One of the influential figures who helped launch the democracy program was Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, who as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, headed the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group and, with the financial help of a prominent Republican foundation, the International Republican Institute (IRI), financed efforts of dozens of Iranian and Syrian exiles to promote a campaign to overthrow their government leaders. Elizabeth Cheney left the State Department last year to work on Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign.”

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By RootJensen, June 18, 2009 at 1:39 am Link to this comment

Stupidity leads us to our dumb ignorance and we let these idiots in power ruin it for us all and we see it.
We have people in every race/nation etc that are too soft or too extreme and the middling do nothing.
Obama is middling, America put Iran where it is and now wish to shield it’s eyes, why? let it escalate and all that Western money spent on the Israeli military can finally get used.
When has mankind put untried destruction away for good?
I hate Israel, what it stands for and it birth is vile and disgusting, they suicide bombed first in my eyes against the West at the creation of the state.
With such vehemence for the future of mankind with eugenics, ethnic cleansing etc are you suprised Iran hates Israel and as a western man you have made your bed and now the bugs will bite you.
EVOLUTION NEEDS TO SURPASS RELIGION, MANKIND NEEDS TO SURPASS RELIGION

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By Shingo, June 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

nefesh,
>> You say that like it’s a bad thing.

So you support terrorism then?  Good.  Glad we cleared that up.

Let me correct your next sentence.

Israel puts the lives of it’s citizens on the line defending and preserving it’s hegemony, occupation, dominance and expansionist policies. 

>> That title is reserved for your boys in Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and the Basiji / Revolutionary Guard.

And here’s yours.  How Fascism became the cornerstone of Zionism.

Or another is “Israel: A land of terrorist, by terrorist for the terrorists.”

You know what makes it so easy to debate you Zionists nefesh?  The quotes of your own leaders.  Take this perle for example.

“Israel must see the sword as the main, if not the only, instrument with which to keep its morale high and to retain its moral tension. Towards this end it may, no – it must – invent dangers, and to do this it must adopt the method of provocation-and-revenge … and above all – let us hope for a new war with the Arab countries, so that we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire our space.” Quoted in Livia Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism.”

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By Virginia777, June 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment

Bravo Obama! this is exactly the direction we need to keep going in (away from ANY militarily involvement in Iran).

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By nefesh, June 17, 2009 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment

Shingo, June 17 at 11:05 pm wrote:

The US is reportedly spending 50 million dollars a year to fund groups that will help overthrow the current mullahs. That is classified as “Meddling.””

You say that like it’s a bad thing.
===================================

It’s so ironic how Iran is accused or being state sponsors of terror, when the US and Israel have been supporting efforts to destabilize Israel for years.

Well, you know what Churchill said about democracy: “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” But Israeli citizens put their lives on the line defending and preserving their homeland, and are not interested in destabilizing it.
======================================

In Lebanon, the US supports a jihadist group, Fatah Al Islam. On and of course, one should also include Israel.

So now Israel is jihadist? LOL
That title is reserved for your boys in Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and the Basiji / Revolutionary Guard.

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By Shingo, June 17, 2009 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

dsmith,

“I’m calling Bulls**t on this one. The US is reportedly spending 50 million dollars a year to fund groups that will help overthrow the current mullahs. That is classified as “Meddling.””

Bullseye. 

It’s so ironic how Iran is accused or being state sponsors of terror, when the US and Israel have been supporting efforts to destabilize Israel for years.

In fact, the US currently supports at least 2 terrorists groups against Iran (the MWK and the Jundullah).  Israel at least one (the Kurdish groups to the North).

In Lebanon, the US supports a jihadist group, Fatah Al Islam. On and of course, one should also include Israel.

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By nefesh, June 17, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, June 17 at 9:45 pm wrote:

I am in favor of people owning guns but the idea of a zionist maniac like you having two automatic weapons gives me pause.  Luckily you live in Washington so presumably its only our political leaders at risk.

You need to read more carefully. I said I own two AK47s. What types do you think the others are? Only elitist blowhards like you need worry about people being pushed past their breaking points.

Special prize for you if you can define ‘zionist’ in one sentence, without using any other words ending in ‘ism’. Not your spin, but the actual definition.

Then do the same for ‘progressive’ - in one sentence.

Then ‘elitism’ in one sentence.

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By Folktruther, June 17, 2009 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

good lord, nefesh, I am in favor of people owning guns but the idea of a zionist maniac like you having two automatic weapons gives me pause.  Luckily you live in Washington so presumably its only our political leaders at risk.

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By nefesh, June 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

boggs, June 17 at 2:03 pm wrote:

Fear leads us to an AK47 in every home and military bases in every country around the globe.

Every home in every country? You aren’t doing your part to stop the hysteria much, are you?

Now, I do happen to own two AK47’s and find them to be rugged, simple to operate and maintain, and more accurate than one would expect. Since I bought them two years ago they have roughly doubled in value, making them a better investment than just about any other type out there right now. If anyone out there wants to go to the range with me (I’m in the DC area) let me know.  smile

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By ardee, June 17, 2009 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

Reaganite Republican Resistance, June 17 at 4:01 pm

Damn, is there an award for most out of touch with reality poster? Does he even know that Amadinajhad doesnt make the final decisions in Iran? The mullahs do and Khomeini is the top.

Hey , go and topple somewhere else….

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By richard east, June 17, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment

Good luck with an organization that has both “Reaganite” and “Republican” in the title.

(subtle)

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By Reaganite Republican Resistance, June 17, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The chance to topple the maniacal regime in Tehran is right-there for the taking… and Obama is standing frozen like a deer in the headlights.

Our False Prophet appears to have no idea what a golden opportunity he is passing up… overthrow this evil regime without firing a single shot… get their Armageddon-inspired nuke program off the world stage… and free 30 million people all at one time. But the boy wonder is too stupid to see it… or somehow just doesn’t care?

http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/

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By richard east, June 17, 2009 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Hey, at least this guy isn’t in office:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-zoPgv_nYg

Folktruther, you hit the nail on the head my friend.

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By boggs, June 17, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

BobbieBoo your name is most fitting.
Fear leads us to an AK47 in every home and military bases in every country around the globe.

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By Ed Harges, June 17, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

Re:By Folktruther, June 17 at 11:21 am:

Yeah, FT, Obama seems to think it too politically dangerous to say simply that we shouldn’t meddle.

It’s too hurtful to the prickly American ego to say such things (“What? You mean we don’t have the right to push everybody around?”).

So Obama can safely say only that we shouldn’t be seen as meddling.

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By boggs, June 17, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Maybe not right now, and not because of this election but tell me why are all the heavy tanks being delivered to the Iran border in Afghanistan.
Wonder how much healthcare that manuever is costing us?

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By Ed Harges, June 17, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

re: By BobbieBoo, June 17 at 11:38 am:

Bobby - taking a break from polishing your armor-plated bulldozer? Aren’t there any Palestinian orchards you could be leveling, or are they all finally gone?

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By BobbieBoo, June 17, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

The day we stop meddling will be the day N. Korea launches it’s missle down our throats.  We had better be meddling in other people’s buisness.  That’s how we know what the hell is going on….  Obama can opologize for our bullishness all he wants, but we better continue to bully around.

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By Folktruther, June 17, 2009 at 8:21 am Link to this comment

Clark is quite right.  Obama is not arguing that the US shouldn’t meddle in Iran; he is arguing that the US should’t be SEEN to meddle.  The great perception manager is talking about perception management of reality,  not reality itself.

A Pakastani military chief announced publically that Pakistan had documents and irrefutable evidence that the US CIA spent four hundred million dollars on the election; another huge failure.  And the State department has stated publically that it ordered Twitter to continue conveying the opposition views in Iran, Western journalists routinely supporting Western power. The US currently has Special Forces in Iran trying to foment violent opposition on the part of its many minorities.

But this should be kept secret because the Iranians remember the US overthrowing a past democratic leader and putting in the Shah, as well as funding the 8 year Iraq-Iran war.  Remember Machiavelli’s distinction between what a Prince should do and what he should be seen to do.  Obama does.

And the Progressive media that deludes the progressive rank and file is happy to play along.  Note the Truthdig headline eliminating the distinction between ‘meddling’ and ‘being seen to meddle’.  It is this kind of powerbull that deludes the population, and the half-left like Ardee. This is why the population must develop its own media instaed of being misled by the pseudo-progressive media.

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By dsmith, June 17, 2009 at 3:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m calling Bulls**t on this one. The US is reportedly spending 50 million dollars a year to fund groups that will help overthrow the current mullahs. That is classified as “Meddling.”

Did you happen to notice the signs written in english that popped up in the groups of demonstrators. Hum…wonder what english signs saying “Did my vote count” just materialize in a persian country or did they know the western press would key in on these protestors?

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By ardee, June 17, 2009 at 3:24 am Link to this comment

There is much with which President Obama refuses to “meddle”. At least in this instance I agree with his decision.

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By Clark, June 16, 2009 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So, Mr. Obama does not want “to be seen as meddling in Iranian elections”.

What he “appears to say” and what he does are more and more often 180 degrees apart.

If you still trust him, you have my sympathy.

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By Paolo, June 16, 2009 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

As a libertarian, I disagree with just about everything Obama proposes on the domestic front. But in international relations, he at least seems to understand that there is nothing to be gained by meddling in Iran’s internal affairs. Now, whether he will be able to withstand the constant pressure of neocons and neolibs to intervene, is another story.

If you want to change the attitude of a foreign country, the best way to do that is to encourage friendly, open exchanges of ideas, and trade. You would be amazed at how quickly the Iranians would demand the ouster of the clerics running the country, if they could experience a real exchange of ideas and cultures. But the US government still stands firmly against such exchanges.

If you want to see how “successful” boycotts and blockades are in changing a foreign regime, you need look no further than Cuba. Despite (or rather, because of) trade restrictions, the Cuban commies remain entrenched and firmly in power. The quickest way to bring an end to communism in Cuba would be to open it up to foreign trade and tourism.

What brought the Soviet Union down was not missiles and embargoes; it was blue jeans and rock ‘n’ roll.

Obama is screwing up everything can that be screwed up on the domestic front. Maybe he can redeem himself by taking a bold stand in favor of non-interventionism in foreign policy.

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By Ed Harges, June 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm Link to this comment

Besides the danger of backfiring, there is an even better reason for the US not to take the side of the Iranian opposition and join those screaming that the election was “stolen”:

Scientific polling indicates that Ahmadinejad in fact won the election legitimately.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/14/AR2009061401757_pf.html

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