I don’t know if overt support for Iran’s dissidents from President Obama, should he change his mind and decide to offer it, would backfire against them or not. President Bush’s vocal backing of the “March 14” revolution in Lebanon in 2005 did no harm whatsoever, despite Hezbollah’s portrayal of its foes as American stooges.
Iran, though, isn’t Lebanon. And I’ve been privately advised by sources I trust very much – and who aren’t generally supportive of Obama’s approach to Iran – that caution from the White House is the right move at this point. I don’t know and won’t pretend that I do.
Either way, the boogeyman of American “intervention” is bound to come up no matter what the president says. Here is Michael Moynihan at Reason:
[Iranian state] media is, as expected, already playing the “outside interference” card. While I understand (though disagree) with those who advocate a restrained verbal response from the administration, the argument that finger-wagging rhetoric will only serve to antagonize the regime misses the point. The “great Satan is fomenting revolt” nonsense is, quite simply, unavoidable (as it is to be expected from Chavistas, who pin inclement weather, food shortages, and poor baseball results on the golpistas up north). To crib from Jerry Rubin, if there isn’t Western involvement, if there isn’t American meddling, they’ll simply invent it.