ANOTHER UPDATE: Photo below shows plainclothes regime agents (largely Basij, I assume) who are shooting and beating demonstrators in Iran. They are also invading hospitals to arrest wounded demonstrators. Embassies are being called on to be a safe haven for the wounded, so if you are reading this in a country with embassy representation in Tehran, please notify your authorities. So far the UK and Australia are housing the demonstrators, Canada apparently not.
I don’t believe the rhetoric that Obama is taking a measured position on Iran because he doesn’t want to exacerbate the situation by making America an excuse for Khamenei’s behavior. America already is an excuse, as this report out of Qatar on Khamenei’s speech of the other night makes obvious:
As the crowds started dispersing, they were urged to chant: “Crime is dictated by America.”
“We won’t leave you alone, Imam” Khamenei, the crowd chanted. “We are all brothers and followers of the leader’s order” and “Even though the plots of enemies are too many, the leader of the revolution foils them.” The worshippers dispersed to shouts of “Death to America! Death to England! Death to Israel!”
No, this is who Obama is. What we are seeing is his peculiar personality in action, oddly without affect in the face of tyranny. He still does not speak out firmly even though the House of Representatives unanimously (with the comic exception of Ron Paul) passed a resolution condemning the mullahs. It is a situation that clearly unites the left and right emotionally, but not Barack Obama really. Why?
Whatever the psychoanalysis of this, when it comes time to negotiate with the mullahs – assuming that’s what he still wants to do – how exactly will he conduct those negotiations? Will he labor under the assumption he is negotiating with normal people with “national interests” in the conventional sense? How will Khomeinist eschatology play into this? And is Obama really aware of this eschatology and does he take it seriously? If Supreme Leader Khamenei really believes in the 12th Imam, what is there to negotiate? Tricky, huh?
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post has an interesting letter from inside Iran.
UPDATE: Obama reacts under pressure.