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June 20, 2009

Iran Showdown UPDATE: "They're Killing People Here. The City Is Boiling Over"*

Above the post update:

Video from Tehran

Unconfirmed reports that Mousavi will be issuing a letter within the hour.

CNN is reporting that Iranian media is reporting the blast at the Khomeini shrine was a suicide bomber from a terrorist group that has attacked the regime before.

Or it still could be an agent provocateur sent to cast street protesters in a negative light.

*Headline via TehranBureau. God help them.

If the reports of violence that are now starting to come out are true and the regime holds onto power, how can Obama negotiate with them? It was horrible what George H.W. Bush did after the Tienanmen Square killings but we had an existing relationship with China (and an important one). We don't have any official relations with Iran now, how can Obama start them in the aftermath of this? He can say talks are not a reward for changing behavior but that's exactly how it will look in the aftermath of a bloodbath.

That's why his 'cool' rhetoric was so tone deaf...if the regime hangs on through force you can't talk to them and if it doesn't, you did nothing to help the winners. By bitterly clinging to his fantasy of talking the theocracy out of nukes, Obama boxed us into a corner where we can't win.

Well played, sir. Well played.

Original Post:
Iran has shutdown any coverage by foreign media so right now reports are coming through people on the ground or state run media so information is scattered, unconfirmed and incomplete but here's what seems to be going as of about 9:30 eastern...

According to CNN, Iranian state TV (Press TV, an English language station) says there's been a 'blast' at the shrine to the Ayatollah Khomeini and that two have been wounded. Press TV is also reporting that police are using tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.

(This blast and state media coverage of it is pretty convenient, isn't it? It's outside the area where protests have been happening and unlike any tactics they've used to date. It would however give the government the public cover to crack heads. No one ever said authoritarian thugs were subtle.)

So far the reports are that troops and police are all over the streets of Tehran in an attempt to prevent people from gathering.

"Tehran Bureau" has been monitoring Iranian Twitter, Facebook and other Web 2.0 sites and has several reports of clashes, including shootings in Tehran.

Remember when that cowboy Bush called Iran evil? Yeah, what did he know.

Obama is taking the realist position that you deal with the government in power, not the one you'd like to see and that talks are not rewards for good behavior but in the interest of the US.

Here's what I've always found to be the weakness of that argument...if a government is willing to cheat on its own people and to use force to maintain power, what reason is there to believe they will live up to an deal they cut? The Soviets signed a lot of deals and they simply cheated on them, same with the N. Koreans and a host of others.

Mousavi wasn't going to be a game changer but if the protesters keep up after yesterday's warning and command from Khamenei , they aren't protesting an election result any more, they are rejecting the theocratic regime. Seeing that happen is in the interest of the US.

Does Obama really want to see that or would he rather have a government to negotiate with, authoritarian, deceitful as it may be?

Given his statements (or lack thereof) and reports that he is cutting support to Iranian opposition programs, I doubt this is making him very happy.

For those, like Obama, who think the key to everything from peace in the Mideast to the cure for cancer depends on finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an overthrow of the mullahs is the fastest way to do it. Based on nothing but personal speculation, a truly democratic Iran which responds to the will of its people, would abandon Hamas and Hezbollah pretty quickly.

A lot of the discontent in Iran has to do with the piss poor economic conditions in the country. Aside from the money spend propping up these terrorists, this support has caused Iran to be economically isolated. Throwing those fuckers under the bus would open up a lot of commercial opportunities for Iran. Given their oil wealth, Iran would and should be a major player in the world economy. I doubt these well educated but poor kids are interested in selling their futures for a bunch of Arab Palestinians.

Hamas isn't as dependent on Iran as Hezbollah is but if Iran's support dried up, that would be a blow and change the dynamic in the region.

Funny how Obama doesn't seem interested in that kind of solution to the problem.

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