Peace through victory - the American way.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Iranian Revolution Needs Name, Help

Czechoslovakia had its Velvet Revolution, Ukraine its Orange Revolution, Lebanon is having its Cedar Revolution, and Kyrgyzstan its Pink Revolution. When Iran has its revolution what will it be called? The Pistachio Revolution? The Tulip Revolution?

Iranian dissidents have been protesting against the theocratic dictatorship there without attracting much news coverage. A leading dissident, Sholeh Sadi, is visiting the United States trying to enlist support in this country for a referendum in Iran. The Iranian dissidents are trying to decide on a strategy of opposition for Iran's upcoming presidential election in June. Their options include a passive boycott and orchestrated street protests.

Sadi wants the United States to send a unified message of support for the dissidents and opposition to the Iranian government. The White House has generally been more supportive of the dissidents than the State Department under Colin Powell and Richard Armitage. Armitage infamously described Iran's theocratic government as a democracy. With Condoleeza Rice in charge at State, the message out of Foggy Bottom is bound to align more closely with the White House. Sadi also wants the US to continue to oppose Iranian attempts to develop a nuclear weapon. He does not want money from the United States. What he and his comrades deserve is for the West to publicize what they are doing and focus the world's attention on the justice of their cause.

Events in Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, and Ukraine demonstrate that the United States and the West can assist democratic opposition without putting boots on the ground. Having 135,000 troops next door in Iraq can't hurt though.

The revolutions we've seen in the last year also show that the West needs to be unified in its support for the dissidents. In Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, and Ukraine, the United States and Europe were united in their support for revolution.

Iran's is a tougher case. The United States appears unalterably opposed to the Iranian theocracy whereas Europe seeks accommodation. If revolution does come in Iran, its possibility for success will be greatly enhanced if Europe and the United States unite to support it.




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