In 2003, President Khatami offered a broad peace proposal to the US. He was rebuffed. The next election, Ahmedinejad was elected president.
The previous president, while perhaps correct in assessing Iran’s ambitions, was successful in two things: making Iran the most powerful player in Iraq; and consolidating Iranian – and all Muslim – public opinion against the US. The president of Iran could use his own propaganda to cultivate a nationalist fervor that suppressed internal opposition in his own country.
Iran is a deeply divided country. As the riots indicate, change is on the way against the mullahs. A good way to empower the theocrats, however, is to take a threatening stance against them.
I believe that the consequence of Obama taking a softer, yet clear, stance toward Iran is the unleashing of the Iranian opposition. Without America acting like the great Satan, the hard-line element in Iran loses it’s greatest ally: an aggressive USA.
But if Israel or the USA bombed Iran, it would be the greatest gift for Ahmedinejad and the revolutionary guard. All they know is war, and are egging for a fight.
Obama knows that the real battle is not the USA vs. Muslims. Right now, it is really Muslims against Muslims.
We are a side show. Best to stay out of the way and watch the wheels of progress turn.
From an Iranian human rights advocacy group:
American policy makers will feel the need to react. But they need to remember this isn’t about us. This is about Iran and Iranians seeking the right to determine their own future. The United States can help little and harm much by interjecting itself into the process. The Obama administration’s approach to the election — keeping its comments low-key and not signaling support for any candidate — was exactly the right approach. While tempting, empty and self-serving rhetorical support for Iranians struggling for more freedoms serves only to aid their opponents. History has made Iran wary of foreign meddling, and American policy-makers in particular must be sensitive to giving hardliners any pretense to call reform-minded Iranians foreign agents. That’s why Iran’s most prominent reformers, including Nobel-laureate Shirin Ebadi, have said the best thing the U.S. can do is step back and let Iran’s indigenous human rights movement progress on its own, without overt involvement from the U.S–however well intentioned.
What were the real results? Here.