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The New "Useful Idiots" of the Iranian Mullahs: Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett

As for Ms. Secor’s realism, I ask only one question: Why is it wrong for the U.S. to do what Michael Ledeen and others have argued for a long time -- give aid and support to the regime’s democratic opponents? Just as our nation did during the Reagan years, when it came to the aid of Poland’s Solidarity movement, which eventually was able to topple the Communist government without violence and without war?

Ms. Secor accurately exposes the Leveretts' apologia; what she does not do is advance any ideas of her own on how the U.S. should address the issue of dealing with Iran. She chastises the Leveretts for their naiveté about what would come out of diplomacy and negotiation; yet she does not say what is wrong about hoping or working for “regime change.” She just implies that because unnamed neo-conservatives support such an option, it must be wrong.

At least, for the time being, the Leveretts are being torn apart by the reviewers of their new book. Let us be happy for small things.


No sooner than I posted this column, I received an e-mail sent out by the Leveretts. It follows:

From, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, www.GoingToTehran.com

Predictably, a number of mainstream media outlets have assigned their reviews of Going to Tehran to pro-Green (if not outright anti-Islamic Republic) polemicists. These writers can hardly pay attention to any of our arguments and analyses save for those that deal with Iran’s 2009 presidential election and our case that the Islamic Republic is, for the majority of Iranians living in their country, a legitimate order. In the end, reviewers of this sort don’t even really deal with our arguments and analyses on Iranian politics, preferring simply to dismiss us as “apologists” -- or, put marginally more politely, “partisans” -- for the Iranian government.

We are writing our own piece on the charge of “apologetics” and what it signifies about the warped U.S. debate over American policies toward Iran and the Middle East more broadly. In the meantime, we want to highlight Gareth Porter’s review of Going to Tehran, which was published this week by IPS, see here, and is getting picked up by other online sites (including Antiwar.com, see here, Consortium News, see here, CounterPunch, see here, and Truthout, see here). It deals with our book in its totality -- with our evaluation of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy as well as its domestic order, and with our arguments about America’s grossly counterproductive quest to dominate the Middle East as well as our analyses of Iranian strategy and politics.

Their words are evidence for my argument about the connection between the Old Left, New Left, and the current pro-Iranian writers: all their support, as they cite in their message, comes from current major left-wing papers and websites. The review by Gareth Porter, an old anti-Vietnam War veteran, appears on the site of the Institute for Policy Studies, the far left, pro-Soviet, and old pro-Cuban think tank.