You know things are off kilter when the Wall Street Journal supports industrial strikes, including a general strike by workers and merchants, but in yesterday’s edition the paper did so, albeit in the context of Iran:
Oil workers, bus drivers and the bazaar guilds are mulling a general strike. … Ahmadinejad can’t seem to get traction for a second term. The so-called Green Revolution hardly looks to be over. Which raises a quandary: Why is Washington rushing to confer U.S. and international prestige on a regime that doesn’t enjoy legitimacy among its own people?
It’s true that the Green Wave in support of former Prime Minister Mousavi and his allies isn’t over. Today, in Tehran, tens of thousands of Mousavi supporters gathered to hear Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafansjani deliver the Friday prayer sermon at Tehran University, where they were once again met with violence by the security forces.
But, like its right-wing confreres and, sadly, many human rights activists, the Journal opposes President Obama’s insistent effort to deal with Iran diplomatically, including over its nuclear program. Yet Obama’s policy, reiterated this week by Secretary of State Clinton, isn’t about “rushing” to give legitimacy to Ahmadinejad. Rather than diplomatic isolation, more sanctions, military pressure, and war, Obama is offering to bring Iran into the community of nations. It’s precisely that strategy that invigorated the opposition in Iran, who saw Mousavi as a vehicle for ending Iran’s isolation and for dealing respectfully with the United States on the basis of mutual interests. During my visit to Iran in June, countless Iranians told me exactly that, from ordinary voters to Mousavi campaign officials. And by offering to talk to Iran — and by making important gestures, such as the release this week of five imprisoned Revolutionary Guard “diplomats” captured in northern Iraq two years ago — the United States is confusing the hardliners in Iran, who much prefer the bellicose bluster of George W. “Great Satan” Bush to Obama’s more unsettling approach.
The radical right in the West, and the neoconservatives, are still spreading alarmism about Iran’s nuclear program. The latest effort to do so was in Stern magazine in Germany, a notoriously unreliable publication which reported that Iran was on the brink of building a nuclear bomb, citing German intelligence: