Since June 12, U.S. realists and idealists have had an Iranian field day. The realists have dismissed the Green Movement, proclaimed a stolen election fair, and urged President Obama to toss aside human rights concerns and repair relations with Tehran in the American interest.
The idealists have rained renewed fury on Ahmadinejad, called for his overthrow and urged Obama to bury outreach and back Moussavi.
Both are wrong. I told an old Iran hand, a former U.S. diplomat, about “Death to the Dictator” and Mohsen’s rape. “Oh, yes,” he said, “That was an old Savak technique.” The Savak was the shah’s brutal secret police.
If you believe that Iran is not eternally condemned to veer from a monarch’s to a theocrat’s repression, and that its centennial quest for pluralism is unquenchable, speak out about abuse but pursue engagement because isolation only serves the horror merchants. Shun the realist and idealist bravura for the gray area where things get done.
Iran is weaker now than before the election. Its renewed interest in Brazilian-Turkish mediated talks is worth skeptical consideration. If you believe Mohsen — in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate — deserves a future.