February 9, 2006


U.S., Britain discuss promoting democracy in Iran (Reuters, Feb 8, 2006)

American and British diplomats held talks this week on ways to promote democracy in Iran amid concern that Tehran is skillfully exploiting a row over it's nuclear ambitions to fan anti-Western hostility, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

The discussions in Washington involved Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is coordinating U.S. policy on Iran, and British diplomats who are serving or have served in Tehran, the officials and diplomats told Reuters. [...]

American and British officials are leaning to the view that the West must create links with Iranians who oppose the Islamic cleric-led government of President Mohammad Ahmadinejad and are receptive to democracy.

"Obviously there is increasing interest both on Capitol Hill and in the administration in seeing what actually could be done to strengthen civil society in Iran," said a British diplomat. [...]

Bush's administration has been divided over just how strongly it should encourage political change in Iran. But in recent weeks it has increased the number of appearances by senior U.S. officials on media, like the BBC Persian service, which broadcast to Iranians.

"There's been a conscious effort to try to speak directly to the Iranian people and explain what is happening" within the international community on Iran, a senior U.S. official told Reuters. Iran's government often blocks foreign broadcasts.

U.S. and European officials said they believe most Iranians are unaware of a proposal put forward by Britain, France and Germany that would provide Iran with economic and political benefits if it abandons weapons-related nuclear activities.

Also on Wednesday, Burns discussed Iran in a closed-door session with the Congressional Working Group on Iran.

Iranians are likely much better informed than these guys assume and probably unmoved by the regime's machinations. You'd think we'd have learned from the end of the Cold War and the testimony of captive peoples that demonstrations in such countres are never real. But why not have the President and or the P.M. go to Iran personally, as Reagan did to Moscow, and meet with and talk to the Iranian people? If the regime resists the idea then call them out and show they're afraid of their own citizenry.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 4:22 PM

If there's one place President Bush isn't pushing on WWIV properly, it is precisely in the kind of bold rhetoric that President Reagan used. Your suggestion here is an excellent one.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 9, 2006 4:48 PM

the iranian people are never going to rise up against the mullahs, and they aren't going to be allowed to vote them out of office. the best *we* can hope for is that W will demolish the iranian infrastructure.

Posted by: toe at February 9, 2006 9:53 PM


Maybe not, but the mullahocracy is our enemy and there's no good reason to not go on a full scale rhetorical assault.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 9, 2006 10:20 PM

The mullahs will surrender power voluntarily. The mullahcracy is heretical and unsustainable.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 10:24 PM

A (underscore) wise mullah might surrender power - but not the current crop. Khameini is NOT Gorbachev or Franco or Pinochet or Jaruzelski or De Klerk. Aside from any 'religious' fanaticism, he and his cabal know too much about the terror networks to leave their positions alive. Now, if some enlightened underling struck quickly, and killed them all (and Ahmadinejad), then your second sentence could validate the first. Absent such a mullah, your faith is misplaced.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 10, 2006 12:19 AM


Yes, it could well be Khamenei's successor, not him, as Franco chose to have full democracy follow his own departure.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 7:18 AM

stirring up the iranian masses is worthwhile if only to distract the mullahs from a military solution.

Posted by: toe at February 10, 2006 12:13 PM