Death to Dictatorship: U.S. Must Support Revolution in Iran

Natan Sharansky believes every dictatorship shares certain inherent similarities. In his book The Case for Democracy, the former Soviet dissident explains how there are three groups of people in all totalitarian societies: the true believers, those who support the ideology of the regime; the dissidents, those who actively resist and oppose the regime; and the double-thinkers, those who reject the legitimacy of the regime but are unwilling to openly protest for fear of retribution. "The bulk of the population are double-thinkers," Sharansky states. "That means people who already have problems, or doubts, or are in deep disagreement with the regime, but are afraid to express it," the onetime political prisoner clarifies.

That is what now appears to be happening across Iran in response to this blatantly rigged election: the once-intimidated double-thinkers are becoming proactive dissidents. The shadowy clerics who rule Iran brazenly undermined the facade of fair elections and reappointed their puppet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency. Calling the "reelection" of Ahmadinejad a "divine assessment," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei shamelessly ignored his own phony electoral rules and reinstalled his presidential stooge in one of the most palpable and indisputable hijackings of democracy since 1933. In response, the entire nation is rioting and on the precipice of insurrection -- even revolution, one could only hope.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets chanting "Death to the dictatorship!" and "We want freedom!" Some accounts have said the number of protesters could be as high as three million. In retaliation, the regime has blocked cell phone service and text messaging, shut down gas stations, and blocked Facebook, YouTube, and other networking websites. Certain television stations and opposition newspapers have been shut down -- to which Ahmadinejad coldly replied, "Newspapers come and go. Don't worry about it." Foreign journalists have been kicked out of the country. Revolutionary Guard thugs have taken to the streets as well, as have regime-loyalist Basij paramilitaries who are out in full force beating, clubbing, machete-slicing, tear-gassing, shooting, arresting, and killing the protesters. One report said upwards of 100 people were killed in Tehran alone. That number is unconfirmed, however.

Should these protests be nurtured and encouraged to proceed to their logical conclusion, this could turn into the best development to come out of the Middle East in sixty years. Should the protesters and rioters be aided, our greatest adversary could become one of our greatest allies overnight. This is a perfect opportunity to advantageously exploit. But how is the United States responding?

Vice President Biden said, "We're going to withhold comment." Secretary of State Clinton said, "The United States has refrained from commenting on the election in Iran." The State Department has refused to condemn the regime's brutal crackdown. Press Secretary Gibbs said, "Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities." One unnamed White House official said, "There's no reason to think the [Iranian] regime is not in control." Another said, "[The election result] might also cause engagement to proceed more swiftly."