June 23, 2009

Watching a Sea of Green, June 23, 2009

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If you’ve kept abreast of what has been going on in Iran, then you’ll have noticed perhaps that things seem somewhat calmer in Iran. That’s all relative of course; compared to Saturday, anything even slightly tamer is bound to appear calm. Beyond that, however, the government has increased its efforts to curtail communication between the protesters and the rest of the world.

To a point, they’ve succeeded. But, information is still seeping out via twitter and other routes of internet communication.

For instance, on Andrew Sullivan’s excellent blog, The Daily Dish , there has been a constant update of important Tweets from within Iran. Reading them gives a sense of the momentum in Iran. It is worth noting that the reliability of information via twitter is inconsistent at best, and there is almost certainly an active effort on the government’s part to spread misinformation.

Beyond that, President Barack Obama took a more assertive stance on the protests in Iran. For some, (looking at you McCain and Liberman!) its a belated and rather insufficient response. But, in my view, it is the most appropriate position to have.

To understand why the U.S. should take such a careful, and (compared to the Bush era) tame response, one has to consider the history between Iran and the United States. We, as a country, have a rather torrid history of intervention and are directly responsible for overthrowing the only thing even coming close to a democracy that Iran has ever had via the 1953 coup against Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh

Iranians are very sensitve to what America does. For Obama, it’s like walking a tightrope.

Tomorrow there in Iran there will be more protests, most likley. But, the main point of interest is watching what Hashemi Rafsanjani, head of the Assembly of Experts will do next. A major supporter of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Rafsanjani has remained publicly silent. However, he will inevitably make a move and, as he is arguably the most powerful man in Iran, his actions will be significant. His actions can have a dramatic effect on the protest.

Stay tuned for more info.