Thursday, June 30, 2005
Illustrating the point: It appears as though the world's preeminent state sponsor of terrorism has lived up to its title -- and "elected" a terrorist president. That's right, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was one of the terrorist leaders who stormed the American embassy and took American citizens captive in 1979.
I'm hopeful that Ahmadinejad, a hardliner, will crack down on the miniscule freedoms Iranians are offered so that they might rise up and give him a taste of his own medicine.
On a related note: The New York Times editorial page is nuts.
Presidential elections in Iran defy easy categorization. The winner assumes Iran's highest elective office, but no president to date has been able to defy the wishes of the unelected ayatollahs who rule the country. And while the nomination process is very tightly controlled, the eventual winner often comes as a surprise to many Iranians and most outsiders.
The nomination process is "tightly controlled"? Talk about a soft-sell. If the U.S. worked similarly, the Times editorialists would be apoplectic.
Mr. Rafsanjani lost because he was too closely associated with the recent economic failures and political inertia. Mr. Ahmadinejad, in contrast, offered a populist economic platform that implicitly challenged the cronyism and corruption of more than a quarter-century of clerical rule. We wish him luck. But it is hard to see how he can deliver on those promises over the objections of the ruling establishment, whose powers greatly exceed his own.
Fortunately most Iranians are more realistic about what's going on in that country than the Times -- they refused to take part in the farce known as "voting." The Times gives the entire scripted play a veneer of legitimacy -- a legitimacy that it can't hope to have.
After pretending that the whole kabuki dance of an election is valid, the Times does make some news by pointing out that the U.N. is completely useless.
Unless the long-stalled talks with Britain, France and Germany make some real progress in the very near future, these European powers should acknowledge that diplomacy has failed and refer the Iranian nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council. That will not necessarily produce a solution either, particularly if Beijing uses its veto to shelter Iran, an important oil supplier. But there is no point prolonging negotiations if Iran intends only to use them to buy time to further advance its nuclear weapons ambitions.
If talks fall apart, they'll just refer it to the U.N. -- where nothing will happen. We pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to keep that bureaucracy running for what exactly?