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July 02, 2009

Iran: Still On

The anti-government forces got a shot in the arm today when former President Mohammad Khatami issued a statement attacking the government and its response to post-election protests.

Iran's former president has joined ranks with the country's embattled reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, and accused the Iranian government of failing its people in the recent election and condemning the subsequent crackdown on protesters.

In a bold, lengthy statement Wednesday on his Web site, Mousavi said he considered Iran's cleric-led government illegitimate and demanded political prisoners be released, while saying Iran's government needs to institute electoral reforms and ensure press freedoms.

Former President Mohammad Khatami, meanwhile, lashed out at what he termed "a poisonous security situation" in the wake of violent street protests.

Khatami accused Iran's leadership of a "velvet coup against the people and democracy," and Mousavi said the government's crackdown on demonstrators was "tantamount to a coup."

Mousavi contends the June 12 election was marred by widespread fraud and insists he was robbed of victory. Khatami scorned the government for declaring incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner in a landslide.

Khatami has long been considered one of the leading reform movement and a "moderate" (though let's not pretend that's not grading on a huge curve from a US perspective).

The thugs on the streets seem to have done a good job preventing the mass protests we saw two weeks ago but the regime is obviously still fighting for its survival in the backrooms. In fact, right after the election Ahmadinejad felt comfortable jetting off to Russia but he has now canceled a planned trip to Libya. Could be unrelated (who really wants to visit with Khadafi?) or things are still touch and go at home.

I wonder what the President of the United States would like to see happen in Iran.

(Just to be clear, that last bit was rhetorical. I've been saying Obama's take on this from the start has been, "kill however many you have to to wrap this up so we can start talking")


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posted by DrewM. at 08:36 AM

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