THE STALINESQUE trials of political opponents in Iran this summer are complicating President Obama’s policy of diplomatic engagement with the Islamic Republic - his signature departure from the “axis of evil’’ approach of his predecessor. But at the same time, the Iranian regime’s loss of credibility with much of its own population because of a stolen election may open up new opportunities for dialogue, and that could further Obama’s goal of getting the recalcitrant power to “unclench’’ its fist.
The show trials are a desperate ploy by a regime that has lost face at home and around the world. More than 100 opponents - many of them high officials and leaders of the late-1970s uprising against the Shah - are accused of conspiring with foreign intelligence. They are not being tried; they are being purged. Human-rights lawyers in Iran say the accused were abused in prison, prevented from seeing lawyers, and forced to make transparently bogus confessions. The regime would have Iranians believe that all complaints about a fraudulent election were plotted in advance of the June 12 balloting by those seeking to undermine the regime.
But the mayor of Tehran, himself a former commander of the regime’s elite Revolutionary Guards, has said 3 million people in his city were protesting election fraud a few days after the event. Those protesters won’t be fooled by bogus trials.
By all accounts, much of the Iranian public wants the reg... >>>
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