Stand for Ira­nian free­dom

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

We would think Pres­i­dent Obama would want to lend his con­sid­er­able or­a­tor­i­cal tal­ents to his­tory-mak­ing events in Iran. In­stead, he makes fum­bling state­ments like “there is a ques­tion­ing of the kinds of an­tag­o­nis­tic pos­tures to­ward the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity that have taken place in the past.” Wit­ness also Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton’s wooden and non­com­mit­tal state­ment in Canada on Satur­day that the United States is “mon­i­tor­ing” events, “wait­ing and watch­ing.”

Other world leaders have seized the ini­tia­tive. Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel con­demned the ar­rests of op­po­si­tion­ists. Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Gor­don Brown warned that the regime’s re­sponse would “have im­pli­ca­tions for Iran’s re­la­tion­ships with the rest of the world.” French Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Sarkozy de­nounced the elec­tion as a “fraud” and said the vote-rig­ging was un­ac­cept­able.

Ad­min­is­tra­tion de­fend­ers claim this is a no-win sit­u­a­tion, that com­ments from the United States would be seized by the re­li­gious leaders to jus­tify a crack­down. The coun­ter­ar­gu­ment is that by not say­ing any­thing, the United States sig­nals tacit ap­proval of what­ever ac­tions the regime de­cides to take. This could be a re­play of Hun­gary 1956, Cze­choslo­vakia 1968 and Tianan­men Square 1989, when the most pow­er­ful democ­racy in the world stood by while in Poland. Pres­i­dent Rea­gan an­nounced strong sup­port for dis­si­dents who he said were “an im­per­ish­able ex­am­ple of courage and de­vo­tion to the ian regime that the United States is so ea­ger to make a deal that it will not even de­fend its prin­ci­ples. The cri­sis seems to be an in­con­ve­nience that risks de­lay­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the vaunted “en­gage­ment” plan. The ad­min­is­tra­tion would like to see this messy sit­u­a­tion go away so the stately process of diplo­macy can con­tinue its march, un­bur­dened by an­noy­ing free­dom seek­ers with their ban­ners, their chant­ing and their ideals.

The pres­i­dent should make a strong state­ment of sup­port for the Ira­nian peo­ple to make clear that the world’s great­est democ­racy ap­proves of their ac­tions. The United States must stand for the ideals that have been the hall­mark of Amer­i­can ide­al­ism since the coun­try’s found­ing. We must take a strong stand against ar­rest­ing op­po­si­tion politi­cians, killing peace­ful demon­stra­tors, ha­rass­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing the press and perpetrating elec­tion fraud. It is our vo­ca­tion as a na­tion to take a stand for free­dom of speech; free­dom of as­sem­bly; the right to re­dress griev­ances; free, fair and trans­par­ent demo­cratic pro­cesses; and the as­pi­ra­tions of hu­man lib­erty.

The Ira­nian peo­ple are fight­ing to cre­ate change they can be­lieve in while the Obama team is send­ing a sig­nal that says “No, you can’t.”

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