I’ve been as frustrated as anyone that President Obama hasn’t spoken out more forcefully about what’s taking place in Iran. But I’ve also heard a contrary view — that if he is seen as giving support to the reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, he risks whipping up anti-American sentiment in favor of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Here’s a fascinating excerpt from an Arab-American blog being highlighted by Global Voices Online. I have no idea who the writer is, but what he or she says makes a lot of sense:
Whether or not Mousavi had the election stolen from him, it seems clear the ruling class has made a calculating move. Anti-American sentiment is one of the strongest cards those wretched clerics hold. By merely softening the tone Tehran hears from Washington, Obama has weakened their hand considerably. But re-instating Ahmadinejad ensures that US-Iranian relations will continue down a rocky road. What happens next is crucial. If Obama takes a firm position as a result of what’s happening, the mullahs may emerge victorious.
Writing for the Independent, Robert Fisk says there are hopeful signs that the Iranian security forces’ support for Ahmadinejad may be fading. That would be an enormously important development.