The tune is familiar, but the words are all wrong. Three decades ago, Carter dealt with a vulnerable revolution in Iran by fumbling every move from allowing the deposed Shah into the US to watching American Embassy hostages in Tehran paraded on TV for 444 days with time out for a lethally inept rescue attempt.
Now, as Roger Cohen writes from Tehran, “Iran’s 1979 revolution took a full year to gestate. The uprising of 2009 has now ended its first phase. But the volatility ushered in by the June 12 ballot-box putsch of Iran’s New Right is certain to endure over the coming year. The Islamic Republic has been weakened.”
Unlike Carter, who tried to placate and then was overwhelmed by forces he could not control, Obama has been firm and statesmanlike in denouncing tyranny in Iran without be seen as pouring gasoline on the fire in the streets, reiterating that “the United States respects the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and is not interfering with Iran’s affairs.
“But we must also bear witness to the courage and the dignity of the Iranian people, and to a remarkable opening within Iranian society. And we deplore the violence against innocent civilians anywhere that it takes place.”
The images of Neda Agha Soltan, the young woman killed in the street protests, will endure as witness to a brutal regime but…