Since Iran’s June 12th election, many concerned Westerners have watched the ensuing protests and unrest, been inspired by the bravery they saw, and then asked themselves what, if anything, they could do to help.
This is a hard question. History has demonstrated that involvement by the U.S. government—either official or indirect—will only hurt grassroots democracy movements. As Stephen Zunes wrote just after the election, “the best hope for Iran comes from Iranian civil society. It is the Iranian people alone who have the right and the capability to reform or bring down the country’s increasingly illegitimate regime and establish a more just and democratic society.”
I agree. However, as individual members of our own civil society, there is much we can do to support Iran’s quest for better treatment by its leaders and for a stronger democracy.