People Power!A picture released by the Fars News Agency shows supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi taking part in a rally in Tehran on June 17, 2009. Iran's opposition stepped up its challenge to the Islamic regime holding another rally even as the authorities intensified a crackdown on the media to try to contain the biggest crisis since the 1979 revolution.
Thursday's rally was bigger still. Tehran's Mayor estimated crowds up to three million people!
TEHRAN, IRAN - JUNE 18: Iranian supporters of defeated reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi demonstrate on June 18, 2009 in Tehran, Iran. Thousands of people have continued to protest in the streets of Tehran today with expectations of an even larger protest tomorrow as a day of mourning is planned for the eight people killed in Monday's protests. Iran has banned foreign media from covering rallies in the country and Iran's Guardian Council reportedly said that they would recount some of the votes in the presidential election that critics say was unfairly won by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinehjad.
Obama Pressured to Strike a Firmer ToneIs it more important to Obama to seek a worthless deal on Iranian nukes than to see the hated regime responsible for so much death and violence, including the deaths of Americans, removed from power?
By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER
New York Times
June 17, 2009
...Even while supporting the president’s approach, senior members of the administration, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, would like to strike a stronger tone in support of the protesters, administration officials said.
Other White House officials have counseled a more cautious approach, saying harsh criticism of the government or endorsement of the protests could have the paradoxical effect of discrediting the protesters and making them seem as if they were led by Americans. So far, Mr. Obama has largely followed that script, criticizing violence against the protesters, but saying that he does not want to be seen as meddling in Iranian domestic politics.
Even so, the Iranian government on Wednesday accused American officials of “interventionist” statements.
But several administration officials acknowledged that Mr. Obama might run the risk of coming across on the wrong side of history at a potentially transformative moment in Iran.
GREEN LIGHT FOR A CRACKDOWN
OBAMA'S SILENCE FAVORS THE MULLAHS
By Ralph Peters
New York Post
June 18, 2009
SILENCE is complicity. Our president's refusal to take a forthright moral stand on the side of the Iranian freedom marchers is read in Tehran as a blank check for the current regime.
The fundamentalist junta has begun arresting opposition figures, with regime mouthpieces raising the prospect of the death penalty. Inevitably, there are claims that dissidents have been "hoarding weapons and explosives."
Foreign media reps are under house arrest. Cellphone frequencies are jammed. Students are killed and the killings disavowed.
And our president is "troubled," but doesn't believe we should "meddle" in Iran's internal affairs. (Meddling in Israel's domestic affairs is just fine, though.)
We just turned our backs on freedom.
For decades, Washington policymakers from both parties have prodded Iranians to throw off their shackles. Last Friday, millions of Iranians stood up. And we're standing down.
That isn't diplomacy. It's treachery.
Too bad for the Iranians, but their outburst of popular anger toward Iran's oppressive government doesn't fit the administration's script -- which is written around negotiations with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
To Obama, his dogmatic commitment to negotiations is infinitely more important than a few million protesters chanting the Farsi equivalent of "We Shall Overcome."
This is madness. There is no chance -- zero, null, nada -- that negotiations with the junta of mullahs will lead to the termination (or even a serious interruption) of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our president's faith in his powers of persuasion is beginning to look pathological. Is his program of negotiations with apocalypse-minded, woman-hating, Jew-killing fanatics so sacrosanct that he can't acknowledge human cries for freedom?