Commentary Magazine


No Meddling?

There is a compelling interview by John Roberts and Kiran Chetry of CNN’s American Morning with an Iranian protester which you should be able to find here. The key portion for anyone still up in the air about whether America should or could make a difference:

Mohammad: Yes. Let me tell you something. For about three decades our nation has been humiliated and insulted by this regime. Now Iranians are united again one more time after 1979 Revolution. We are a peaceful nation. We don’t hate anybody. We want to be an active member of the international community. We don’t want to be isolated… We don’t deny the Holocaust. We do accept Israel’s rights. And actually, we want — we want severe reform on this structure. This structure is not going to be tolerated by the majority of Iranians. We need severe reform, as much as possible.

Roberts: Interesting perspective this morning from Mohammad, a student demonstrator there in Tehran.

Mohammad: Excuse me, sir. I have a message for the international community. Would you please let me tell it?

Roberts: Yes, go ahead.

Mohammad: Americans, European Union, international community, this government is not definitely — is definitely not elected by the majority of Iranians. So it’s illegal. Do not recognize it. Stop trading with them. Impose much more sanctions against them. My message…to the international community, especially I’m addressing President Obama directly – how can a government that doesn’t recognize its people’s rights and represses them brutally and mercilessly have nuclear activities? This government is a huge threat to global peace. Will a wise man give a sharp dagger to an insane person? We need your help international community. Don’t leave us alone.

Chetry: Mohammad, what do you think the international community should do besides sanctions?

Mohammad: Actually, this regime is really dependent on importing gasoline. More than 85% of Iran’s gasoline is imported from foreign countries. I think international communities must sanction exporting gasoline to Iran and that might shut down the government.

This young man obviously didn’t get the “no meddling” memo or the spin that America’s hands are tied because our help will only delegitimize the protesters. The administration is still talking engagement. One senses the president and his advisors really aren’t up for an Iranian revolution. As Jake Tapper explains:

President Obama continued to keep arm’s length from the protestors themselves, concerned that too tight an embrace of their cause would hurt their credibility and potentially lead to even more bloodshed. The president made clear that his concern focused on the violence, not the legitimacy of the elections. “The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected,” the president said, “and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights.”

One final note: the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act now has a filibuster-proof level of support. Perhaps someone will bring it to the floor.