As the daily images of the Iranian revolt were witnessed around the world and at the same time the brutal and barbaric reactions of the Islamic regime´s security forces against the protesters were beamed around the globe, the illusion that the Iranian presidential elections would have brought a powerful Iranian president who would have been capable of responding to Obama´s overture has been definitively vanished by now.
Over the past four years, an army of self-appointed Iran experts have been continually preaching friendship with Tehran´s theocratic rulers. They have been constantly arguing that a friendlier American attitude towards the ayatollahs would be reciprocated by a favorable reaction from Tehran. They have been arguing that Ahmadinejad´s style of presidency in 2004 was as a result of the American harsh policies toward Iran and notably George Bush´s famous "axis of evil" speech. These "experts" intentionally ignore the massive electoral fraud in 2004 that prompted the rival candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani to take his "grievances" to God! They also choose to ignore the fact that Ahmadinejad´s ascendance started when he was the mayor of Tehran. In fact, Ahmadinejad´s "victory" in the city elections in early 2003 took place during the 18 months of secret and cordial dealings between Bush administration and Iranian envoys.
Now, in 2009, after a large dose of the American good-will gestures and friendly overtures, the Iranian regime has once again imposed Ahmadinejad upon its own nation and the world for the second time. It is predictable that the same "Iran experts" would probably blame Obama for not being generous enough towards the Mullahs.
The first victim of the Iranian current uprising is the much expected negotiations between Obama administration and the Clerical rulers. Gary Sick, a long time advocate of friendship with Tehran has expressed his pessimism in this regard:1
"With regard to the United States and the West, nothing would prevent them in principle from dealing with an illegitimate authoritarian government. But this election is an extraordinary gift to those who have been most skeptical about President Obama´s plan to conduct negotiations with Iran… In their own paranoia and hunger for power, the leaders of Iran have provided an invaluable gift to their worst enemies abroad."
Interviewed by the Council on Foreign Relations, Sick illustrated his dejection:2
"It´s clear that the task of starting some kind of discussion or negotiations with Iran is going to be infinitely more complicated than it was before. It wasn't easy from the beginning-and anybody who thought it would be an easy task didn't understand the problem. But now after this internal coup and all the coverage it has received, those people in the United States and particularly in Israel who really opposed the idea of having negotiations with Iran-who favored a pressure strategy to build up more sanctions and so on-are now going to use their clout in Congress and elsewhere to slow down or stop the process."
Suzanne Maloney, an influential Iran expert at Brookings institution illustrated similar pessimism over the prospect of future negotiations with Iran: 3
"For the Obama administration, the developments of the past week in Iran represent perhaps the worst possible outcome… A win for the reformists would have added real energy to the effort, both within Iran and here at home, in the excitement over shifting ideological tides in Tehran and the inclusion of Iranian leaders who were both capable of and prepared to countenance serious negotiations. A plausible Ahmadinejad victory, while unwelcome, would at least have offered Washington the prospect of dealing with a consolidated conservative government that might have felt confident enough to pursue a historic shift in its relationship with an old adversary.
Instead, Washington now faces a newly fractured Iranian polity... That does not bode well for Iran´s capacity to undertake serious talks and eventually engage in historic concessions on its nuclear program and support for terrorism."
The pro-appeasement advocates are currently hard at work to limit the impact of the Iranian revolt and save their much publicized path of coexistence with the Iranian regime. They use every imaginable argument to prevent Obama from discarding the regime´s latest mockery of its elections. Obama´s refusal to approve the Iranian electoral show would deligitimize Ahmadinejad and Khamenei and renders future negotiations meaningless.
The advocates of friendship with Tehran are also actively present to dissuade Obama from expressing his public support to the Iranian people as this would encourage them in their present quest, deepen the regime´s illegitimacy and would irremediably destroy any potential rapprochement. These Iran experts have ample arguments in their bag to persuade Obama to look away and let the Iranian people face their predators without any international support. For example, Gary Sick refers to the usual argument of "do not support the Iranian people because you give the regime a pretext to suppress them":2
"If I were on the NSC, my first piece of advice would be to do as little as possible. There is a battle going on inside Iran. This is an issue that is going to be fought out by Iranians-there's nothing to be gained by external forces coming into this or trying to influence the outcome. That would be a terrible mistake, and no matter what was said or done by the administration, it would be interpreted as intervention and would actually undercut severely the position of the reformists as they would be tagged as "tools of the West." So basically "do nothing for now" is not a bad piece of advice."
Finally, pro-Tehran advocates try to convince the so-called reform leaders in Iran that for the sake of their own interests, it is better to calm the present situation and prevent the radicalization of the current crisis. Gary Sick declares:2
"The Iranian opposition, which includes some very powerful individuals and institutions, has an agonizing decision to make. If they are intimidated and silenced by the show of force (as they have been in the past), they will lose all credibility in the future with even their most devoted followers. But if they choose to confront their ruthless colleagues forcefully, not only is it likely to be messy but it could risk running out of control and potentially bring down the entire existing power structure, of which they are participants and beneficiaries."
Could the pro-Mullah lobbyists in the US survive through the present crisis themselves?
1. Gary Sick http://garysick.tumblr.com/post/123070238/irans-political-coup
2. CFR interview http://www.cfr.org/publication/19622/troubling_message_from_tehran.html?breadcrumb=%2F
3. Suzanne Maloney http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-06-13/an-absurd-outcome/3/