One year ago, as Iranians headed to the polls for their Presidential election, few could have anticipated the dramatic events that would unfold in the days and weeks to follow. Allegations of massive electoral fraud and interference by the regime erupted into street demonstrations of a proportion not seen since the 1979 Iranian revolution. Western observers, stunned by the appearance of popular Iranian discontent with the regime, placed huge hopes in the newly emerged opposition Green Movement, anticipating the imminent collapse of the regime.
Opposition supporters clashed with Iranian security forces on the streets of Tehran today in smaller-than-anticipated protests marking the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. What is clear from today is that the opposition movement continues to put pressure on the Iranian government from the inside against the backdrop of increasing international pressure from the outside. Instead of the clumsy intervention favored by certain neoconservative pundits, the U.S. should embrace the recommendations favored by well-recognized experts on Iran.
President Obama met today with Russian President Dimitry Medvedev in what was a highly anticipated summit, as the United States sought to steer U.S.-Russian relations back to a more productive focus on areas of mutual concern and interest.
Iran erupted this weekend following claims from the regime that President Ahmadinejad had been overwhelming reelected. Supporters of the main opposition candidate, former Prime Minister Mir Hussein Moussavi, quickly took to the streets in protest. The regime has cracked down brutally, detained many opposition leaders, placed Moussavi under watch, evicted and detained foreign journalists, and attempted to block protestors ability to communicate and organize by blocking text messaging and internet access.
After seven years of the “War on Terror,” the administration’s military commissions system has managed only to convict three low-level al Qaeda functionaries, two of whom have already been sent home. Now the military tribunals have become even more of a farce. This week it was revealed that the five defendants – including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks – intended to plead guilty.
The Beijing Olympics have put an intense spotlight on China’s remarkable economic and social progress as well as its continuing problems: social and ethnic unrest, pollution, human rights. China is not yet our friend, but it is not our enemy, either. We will have to deal with China as a major economic, political and military power and work together on issues of common concern.