The Obama administration has finally issued a public statement addressing the ongoing violence purveyed by the Iranian government against its people. The president’s words are available at this URL: http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0609/statement_on_iran_10a1f69f-8297-4975-8b30-3f06d131c71e.html.
Although I am satisfied with the administration’s willingness to take a stance on the harsh repression of the Iranian people, I am slightly unnerved by the amount of time that has passed since the election. Originally, the Obama group was hesitant to weigh its own hand regarding this issue. I see this as an attempt to refrain from falling into the same interventionist pattern that has too often characterized the American presidency. For that, I commend the president.
Obama rationalized his hands-off approach to this crisis, however, by keeping the doors open to dialogue and diplomacy with the Iranian government. Iran, while a potential nuclear threat in the future, has lost some of its edge in the world community. Low oil prices have limited Iran’s income. This situation has also indicated a relative loss of legitimacy among Iran’s leaders, especially among its own people.
While I advocate Obama’s stance on diplomacy with Iran, I feel that this goal should be secondary to the administration’s approval of the Iranian government’s actions. There is a reason why the United States does not deal directly with Omar al-Bashir, the war-criminal president of Sudan. Just because an administration retains power within its own borders does not require the world community to recognize its legitimacy.
An abusive government such as that of Ayatollah Khomeini and Mahmoud Ahmedinajad should not have the opportunity to hold diplomatic relations with the free world. Until these “leaders” shape up and respect the right of the people to express discontent, Obama should disregard his stance of diplomacy toward Iran.
p.s. Tom Friedman has a great piece on the Moussavi supporters. Check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/opinion/21friedman.html?_r=1