Commentary Magazine


An Iranian Voice Worth Respecting

Today, one year after Iran’s fraudulent presidential election, an important statement comes from a uniquely moving source.  Caspian Makan was the fiance of Neda Agha-Soltan, the innocent woman shot and killed by Basij forces during the protests that followed the  election farce. He has since escaped Iran and moved to Canada. Where, of all places, is he spending the first anniversary of the June 12 elections? Israel.

Fox News’s Rina Ninan spoke with Makan in Jerusalem and asked why he was there. His answer provides a sensational rebuke to those who argue that Israel is an increasingly aggressive regional antagonist that must be curbed by the forces of moderation.

The Iranian government created a virtual enemy called Israel. Since the beginning of  the 1979 Revolution, every time the people of Iran think about a revolution, the current regime starts mentioning Israel as the enemy to divert their attention, and they tell the people, hey, we’re defending you against Israel.

With this, Makan exposes all the Western apologists who cite Iran’s”understandable concern” about Israel’s arsenal.  Ninan then asked what advice he had for Barack Obama in dealing with Tehran. His response:

President Obama has repeated his message that he is ready to negotiate directly with the Iranian leadership.  How can you negotiate with a dictatorship? That’s not possible. Maybe the Iran policy of George W. Bush was extreme, but Obama’s policy is very moderate and very blunt.

I’m going with the translator’s language here — a word like “blunt” seems a little off in the given context. And the rhetorical question of Bush’s Iran policy being “extreme” strikes one as needing some original-language nuance. But the substance of Makan’s analysis is unmistakable nonetheless: Negotiation with and moderation toward Iran are “not possible.” This message needs to be heard by everyone who’s taken to using Neda’s name as an appeal to those very things.  Let no nuanced statement from the White House or “thoughtful” State Department speech overshadow Makan’s definitive take on the theocratic dictatorship that the U.S. government continues to indulge.

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