The security forces may have temporarily crushed the resistance in Iran, but the revolution is far from over. Iranians by the hundreds of thousands -- young and old, men and women, students and workers -- have taken to the streets for the last two weeks in protest of a rigged election. And no matter how many protestors the government kills or imprisons, the people know that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the legitimately elected leader of their country.
But in the face of the Iranians' courage, President Barack Obama has offered precious little support for the democratic yearnings of Iran's people. Just this week, after some two dozen people have been killed and hundreds jailed, Obama referred to the situation as a "debate" taking place in Iran. His comments echoed earlier White House statements that said the administration was "impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians."
Obama's actions shouldn't surprise anyone. He has made a deliberate shift on the Middle East from his predecessor's clearly stated objective to promote democracy in the region as the pillar of U.S. foreign policy. Instead, Obama has consistently reached out to the thugs who rule Iran to seek rapprochement.
The Washington Times has reported that Obama sent a secret letter to the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prior to the election proposing "cooperation in regional and bilateral relations," an allegation the White House has not denied. Again, no surprise. This is the president, after all, who promised during last year's campaign he would sit down with anyone from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Kim Jong Il. Obama seems to believe his personal charm and charisma are enough to turn those bent on America's destruction into neutral, peace-seeking nations. For his efforts, the president has received threats from North Korea that they will launch missiles towards Hawaii on July 4th; and from Iran, election fraud and the greatest repression since the early days of the Islamic Revolution.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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