Highlights from Khamenei’s Friday Sermon

June 21, 2009 at 11:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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  1. I also found Khamenei’s reference to the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco to be interesting. This came with his promise to crack down on dissidents, so he was obviously laying the groundwork for a public defense of the riot police and the Basij. Any criticism from the US would be met with, basically, the “I know you are but what am I?” response.

    On another note, I am noticing more and more that the calls from the vocal right-wing here (in the US) for Obama to make a clear statement of support for the protesters match almost exactly the claims/lies from the regime that the US is encouraging the uprising. Just yesterday, on Iran state TV, they showed a clip of Obama speaking and the translator said Obama expressed support for the protesters and hopes they keep protesting. That’s not what he said. So Sens. McCain, Graham, et al., are calling for exactly the one action that would bolster the regime’s rhetoric. Brilliant…

    • Yes, exactly! “I know you are but what I am?” –love it. The other part I found really interesting was the way Khamenei led his audience to believe that all the violence in the streets was the fault of the “Zionist” West–that the violence was being incited by Western agents hiding among the crowds to cause trouble and brainwash the Iranian people against the Establishment. His audience responded with death to America, death to the UK after such statements.

      And I’m completely befuddled by the Republicans right now. If most foreign policy experts, even Kissinger, are praising Obama for his response on Iran, then why publicly rebuke him? Plus, you could argue that this “revolution” inside Iran wouldn’t have happened without Obama’s election in the first place, if you buy into the “Obama Effect” argument. Between Culberson’s and Hoekstra’s tweets and Graham’s calls for Obama to be more aggressive with Iran, Republicans would be better off revealing more Ensign-like affairs than airing short-sighted and as George Will said today, “foolish” recommendations on Iran.

      • It’s pure partisan b.s. on the part of those Republicans at this point. And yes, I’m an Obama voter so I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt until there’s evidence to do otherwise. The reform protesters have not asked for anything, and have in fact praised us for staying out of it. I think the Obama administration has been handling this well, for the most part. I do think, however, that if at some point the revolutionaries ask for something (strong public expression of support, supplies, etc. — anything but American boots on the ground), we need to answer that call. If that call comes and we don’t answer, I will have a hard time supporting President Obama from that point forward.

      • I don’t agree that the US should engage if the opposition calls for our support. One must take into account what happened in ’79, when Carter openly and definitively declared support for Khomenei over the Shah. But, the regime change did not secure a pro-western government in Iran and some, especially on the right, have blasted Carter, and by extension Democrats, for their foreign policy decisions at the time.

        Therefore, I think Obama’s comments where he declared seeing little difference between Ahmadinejad and Moussavi were smart and tactful. They appeared harsh and out of sync with American sentiment on Iran right now but it probably avoids future criticism from political opponents if such a shake up inside Iran takes place and Moussavi ends up being less a friend to the US than we had anticipated.

      • Respectfully disagree. This movement is comprised of a wholly different base than the uprising of ’79, so I would be reluctant to draw a comparison. As for Obama’s comment about there being little difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, you’ll notice that he has not repeated it, and in fact the WH has tried to walk that back a little. It became obvious that he was trying to straddle the political fence (as you suggested) but it was absurd on the face of it. For one thing, if there’s little difference between an Ahmadinejad victory and a Mousavi victory, why are people willing to die in the streets over the outcome? The freedom demonstrators know there’s a difference. But even so, the election itself seems to be last week’s issue. The freedom demonstrators have taken it a step further and want Khamenei gone, too. When we started to hear chants of “Mar barg dictator” and “Marg Bar Khameini,” this changed dramatically. I just think it would be unconscionable to stand by and do nothing if they ask for vocal moral support and supplies. I appreciate the opportunity to have a civil discussion on this. There’s so much trash-talk elsewhere. Thank you.

      • Yes, of course. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I think there are ways to engage indirectly–through media, the international community, etc but I think direct engagement undermines the opposition and encourages those aligned with Khamenei to believe that the US has been behind the revolt all along. I think what the opposition has accomplished so far is of great magnitude — that not only is Ahmadinejad’s future in the balance, but Khamenei’s could be too. I think it’s best to wait and see how this unfolds before jumping the gun.

      • thought you might find this interview interesting:

        AL JAZEERA: Obama aides told reporters there is little to nothing the U.S. can do. Is it demonstrating a weakness?

        SCOWCROFT: No I don’t think so. I don’t think so. How can we be more influential? We don’t control Iran. We don’t control the government obviously. There is little we can do to change the situation domestically in Iran right now and I think an attempt to change it is more likely to be turned against us and against the people who are demonstrating for more freedom and therefore I think we need to look at what we can do best, which is to try to influence Iranian behavior in the region, and with nuclear weapons.

  2. Why can’t I watch the video? Private?

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