HARWOOD: Couple things, quickly, before we run out of time. You took your time reacting to the protests in Iran after the election. What are you watching for in the handling of those protests and in the investigation of the results to–and how will that influence the dialogue that you seek to have with Iran?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I think first of all, it’s important to understand that although there is amazing ferment taking place in Iran, that the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons. And so we’ve got long-term interests in having them not weaponize nuclear power and stop funding organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas. And that would be true whoever came out on top in this election. The second thing that I think’s important to recognize is that the easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it’s the US that is encouraging those reformers. So what I’ve said is, `Look, it’s up to the Iranian people to make a decision. We are not meddling.’ And, you know, ultimately the question that the leadership in Iran has to answer is their own credibility in the eyes of the Iranian people. And when you’ve got 100,000 people who are out on the streets peacefully protesting, and they’re having to be scattered through violence and gunshots, what that tells me is the Iranian people are not convinced of the legitimacy of the election. And my hope is that the regime responds not with violence, but with a recognition that the universal principles of peaceful expression and democracy are ones that should be affirmed. Am I optimistic that that will happen? You know, I take a wait-and-see approach. Either way, it’s important for the United States to engage in the tough diplomacy around those permanent security concerns that we have–nuclear weapons, funding of terrorism. That’s not going to go away, and I think it’s important for us to make sure that we’ve reached out.
You can see the wheels turning: remind them these are two peas-in-a-pod. (Hmm. I thought we were told this was a robust election and sign of progress.) Promote the assumption that regime change is not a possibility. Obama hopes the regime doesn’t respond with violence, but what will be will be.
Get the sense he doesn’t give a fig about which way it turns out? Get the sense all he cares about is preserving the hope of dealing with the regime (a fascistic regime prepared to kill its own people to maintain a fraudulent election)?
No hope. No change. It never dawns that this might be a game changer — either a regime change and/or a complete discrediting of the notion that these are people with whom one can do business. No sense that the American people and the world at large might, because of this, mount a credible series of sanctions and/or reject the notion of extended negotiations.
It is clear what’s up. All he wants to do is talk, so he can’t give offense. Fine — he’ll deal with Ahmadinejad if the regime can crush the protesters. He is an enabler now, a cheerleader against regime change. Shameful.