Different relationship with the world, indeed! If the State Department had paid attention to Ross’s speech, they wouldn’t embarrass themselves by chanting false mantras. That sort of nonsense only encourages the regime to redouble its attacks on Americans, and reminds the embattled opposition that they’re not going to get any help from Washington.
And yet, the regime is getting weaker by the day. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei just finished a very public trip to Qom, the locus of the Shi’ite establishment. He went there because he and his dwindling band of followers know that his authority is very weak, and they hoped to organize big crowds to welcome him to the holy city, and then arrange for the most important ayatollahs to pay homage to him. It didn’t happen; despite a considerable cash flow for participants in the “spontaneous” rallies, he didn’t get big crowds, and while some senior ayatollahs were hauled into his presence, many stayed away. I would not be surprised to see a crackdown on some of the recalcitrant ayatollahs, but for the moment, the regime is actually backing away from confrontation with the political opposition. The two leaders of the Green Movement have just met, despite warnings and scores of armed thugs around their homes — Mir Hossein Mousavi got in his car, defied the security officers, and drove to Mehdi Karroubi’s house to collect his colleague and Karroubi’s sons — and Karroubi’s offices are apparently reopening, which is a real sign of regime weakness.
There are other such signs: in the past, the regime executed its (real and imagined) opponents in public, on the assumption that others would be intimidated, but that policy has failed. Recent executions — lots of them — have been in secret, but the Greens have publicized them. Mousavi knows that such accounts bring more people to the Green banner.
And while Khamenei was trolling for love in the streets of Qom, the commander of the Basij forces, Mohammed Reza Naghdi, was calling for Iranian students to be indoctrinated in the ways of martyrdom. This is part of the regime’s campaign to compel the young to read and hear the most radical Islamic doctrines, a humiliating admission that thirty-one years after the Islamic Revolution, Iranians are not true believers. Mosque attendance is low, and men in turbans are objects of public scorn (a well known anecdote tells of a mullah having to change into normal clothes in order to get a taxi).
Most Iranian people want an end to this failed state, and so should we. Ross spoke at length about the efficacy of the new sanctions, and they are undoubtedly having an effect. But Ross only praises the sanctions within the very narrow context of the Iranian nuclear program, as if we would be happy with a non-nuclear Iran, no matter how many Americans were killed by the terrorists armed, funded, and trained by the regime.
If that is not complicity with evil, what is?
Instead of contorted reasoning and myths about the wonders of talking to the mass murderers in Tehran, intelligent and honorable men like Dennis Ross should be calling for support for the Green Movement and working for the liberation of Iran.
How many Americans have to die at the hands of the Islamic Republic before we finally figure this out?
We’re about to get a new Congress. Is there anyone in its ranks who will say this and fight for it?