On air: Is it time for some honesty about Iran from the West?

Iran protestsIran’s foreign ministry accuses the West of seeking to undermine Iran by spreading “anarchy and vandalism” and of wanting the disintegration of the country. (As I’m writing this, it’s being reported on the news wires that ‘ITALY SAYS IT IS WILLING TO OPEN EMBASSY IN TEHRAN TO WOUNDED’ – make of that what you will.)

Is the Iranian government onto something here? If you’re in the West, are you interested in democracy or in seeing the back of Pres Ahmadinejad?

If it came about, would you welcome not only a new President but also a change of system which took power away from iran’s religious leaders?

Do you believe, as we discussed a couple of weeks ago in Portland, that democracy should always be secular?

For all the diplomatic gloss, is the West failing to be honest about its aspirations? Or is this paranoid nonsense from a government under pressure from its own people?

126 Responses to “On air: Is it time for some honesty about Iran from the West?”

  1. 1 M
    June 22, 2009 at 14:06

    As an Iranian who has left Iran to study abroad since last year, I do believe that Iran government has chosen to terrify people and kill the protesters so that they dare not to continue protesting for their right.
    I really believe the international bodies should interfere to stop Iran’s government from putting more pressure on the innocent people.
    However, I think this should not be only from USA, Britain and Germany’s side because Iran politicians are used to accuse these countries. But if the international society and different countries all together blame Iran’s criminal acts, it will have a better impact. I hope the international society sue Iran’s government and NOT Iranian people.
    As Iranians, we love our country, and as a Muslim IO respect my religion, but I truly believe that the governments is now showing a wrong face from Islam and this is only because they are thirsty of Power. They claim that they are defending Islam, but in reality they are using religion as a means to punish people and control the power.
    I do hope the world stands against the cruelty in Iran.

    • June 22, 2009 at 16:29


      Would you be willing to come on air?
      If so please call London on 02075570635.

    • 3 Daniel Zilberman
      June 22, 2009 at 18:39

      As a Jewish American closely following the unfolding of events in Iran I fully agree with “M” in his statements that:

      “…As Iranians, we love our country, and as a Muslim I respect my religion, but I truly believe that the governments is now showing a wrong face from Islam and this is only because they are thirsty of Power. They claim that they are defending Islam, but in reality they are using religion as a means to punish people and control the power.”.

      I would add that the theocratic government of Iran has been showing a “wrong” – cruel, tyrannic, aggressive and oppressive “political face” to many nations since the “Islamic revolution” in 1979. The “reelected” President Ahmadinejad is a a puppet in cleric’s hands and his unacceptable public Holocaust denying and “wipe Israel off the world’s map” statements combined with gravely dangerous intent to get hands on nuclear weapons and leads Iranian population to worldwide isolation and despair. Yes – I have a very open and solid conviction that West should help the massive and LEGITIMATE protest for election fraud (which is typical for any tyranny , Iran included ) to turn into “velvet revolution” that can severely undermine an aggressive theocratic regime in Iran for betterment of their own people and many nations in the World!

  2. June 22, 2009 at 14:10

    Looking at all perspectives. If this riot was over a bad verdict in L.A. the west would be criticizing the revelers for not acting civilly. If the revolutionist were a group opposed to the invasion of their country by another, they would be dubbed terrorists. Who knows who is right and who is wrong over there? Not those of us sitting on the other side of the earth that is for certain. By the looks of things, no matter who gets the presidency, the power is only little more then that of the king of England.

    To the Iranian revolutionist I say,” go for it man. Freedom can never be given, only taken by those who desire it. If you can’t take your own freedom, then you shall remain a slave to changing masters.”

    To the rest of the world I say, “Sit down, shut up, and observe until you know all of the facts. How many people have we supported in the past that went on to become enemy number 1?”

    • 5 mongolongo
      June 24, 2009 at 09:10

      Funny you say that, when the Iranian government has removed all international press from the country.

      We can just assume that if you hide something, then it’s because you have something to hide.

      In Spain, for example, there have been recent riots with unexpected violent acts from both sides, the police and the rioters. Different versions arose regarding what happened. However, the press was able to show the actual facts and give an accurate view of what really happened.

      So we can’t sit down and observe being manipulated by any government.

  3. 6 anu_D
    June 22, 2009 at 14:19

    Much as the west may not like Iran’s style of governance…..Iran may not like West’s definition to impose it’s preferred styles.

    Imposing one’s prefernces( like some of the Western media in this case) on the other is what creates problems and unrest.

    Iran did an election….and the world has to respevt the will of Iranian electorate…the dissetn by 5% twittering population notwithstanding.

    Iran’s an open and shut case—there

  4. 7 steve
    June 22, 2009 at 14:21

    As typical of thug regimes, they blame others for their problems. I’ve seen tons of posts and claims from hard liners, blaming the US or Israel for the actions of the protestors, their main “evidence” being some photographs of protesters holding up signs in English. If that’s the case, then can we blame the actions of the police on the US/Israel as well given the Police have “Police” written in English on their uniforms and shields?

    Maybe it’s time for the Iranian Regime to understand that the people aren’t too happy and it’s time to look at yourselves and stop blaming everyone else.

  5. June 22, 2009 at 14:25

    While I sympathize with the young people and the movement in Iran, and it even conjures some of the shock, disbelief, despair, anger, etc. that was triggered for me in our 2004 election results…it appears the democratic process is working as it should. I think that Americans who would like to create a version of global moral reality in which we hail democracy, but get indignant when it produces leaders we don’t personally like, are a little naive and myopic. For those that would like to see a vast global secular humanist peace loving community created one democratic upheaval at a time….you need to realize that Western liberal ideals are not what everyone wants or where everyone is headed. That’s just a reality, so we ought to learn how to talk to people of other generations and other persuasions respectfully, and do away with the presumption that we are all just waiting for that generation to die off so that young idealists (I am one of these, admittedly) who must always be right…can take over and bring about the era of bliss and peace.

    However, if in fact the election was not fair…that does change the dialog and I hope that the results will be in some way qualified and verified for everyone’s peace of mind.

  6. 9 VictorK
    June 22, 2009 at 14:39

    Of course it’s paranoid nonsense. It’s de rigueur for developing countries to respond to external scrutiny with hysterial and paranoid assertions. If they were a bit more sane they might have hit on the right criticisms to be made of ‘the West’.

    The first is that Western media reports, in this case, have so far been superficial and politicised. Who are the key players in Iran (beyond Mousavi & Ahmadinejad)? What are the main political & socio-economic issues in the country? What role are Iranian institutions (like the Guardian Council) playing and likely to play? Are there substantive policy difference between the establishment approved Presidential candidates (I’ve not heard of a single one)? A media that fails to report the full context to a crisis like this has failed at the most elementary level. To make or invite judgements over Iran, having failed to first properly inform, is the height of media irresponsibility.

  7. June 22, 2009 at 14:42

    The World should inform themselves before getting involved. Anyway, the US Governing Elite have no right to comment about Iran and Human Rights when they have excluded the Libertarians and Greens from the government.

    • 11 Alby
      June 22, 2009 at 16:13

      cool cool cool

      You’re right ‘US governing elite’ has not right to comment on Iran!

      they’ve left out lot’s more parties

      like anyone representing the whole middle- and working- classes

      the corporatist ruling parties love Libertarian…they talk about ‘free’- ‘unregulated’ markets and greed greed greed self-interest all the time

      they give out Ayn Rand books like candy to little school kids to brainwash them, and broadcast corporate propaganda on all the TV/Radio networks

      trouble is

      they don’t mean open dynamic ‘competitive’ markets…

      they mean de-regulated with no anti-trust so oligopolies can rule them with an iron fist

      That is why we have the collapse we have now!

      Totalitarian systems always collapse eventually… and that is what we’ve got here with a failed economy, full of failed banks and auto companies!

  8. 12 VictorK
    June 22, 2009 at 14:45

    I – like most Westerners – have no interest in democracy in Iran, and am not sufficiently impudent to start advocating changes to another country’s institutions (changes whose consequences I & other external advocates wouldn’t have to live with – such as removing Saddam from power, even though he was the only force for order in Iraq). The Western political and media establishment (and this is what is usually meant by ‘the West’) are another matter

    They are increasingly one-worldist in outlook (Obama declaring himself the defender of Islam across the planet) and are uncompromising and bigoted political fundamentalists in their commitment to liberalism, human rights, democracy, equality & diversity. That combination of univeral concern (‘citizens of the world’) and a dogmatism that is every bit a match for that of the Taliban and Al Quaeda, commits the West’s political & media elite to lecturing other countries on their internal affairs and seeking opportunities to exert influence over or dictate to them (Rhodesia, South Africa, Sudan-Darfur, Africa generally, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, Burma, Pakistan, Iran, etc). The ‘aspiration’ of the Western elite is to remake the world in their image, whether the world wants that or not.

    • 13 Mitra
      June 22, 2009 at 19:17

      Ah, if only most Westerners shared your outlook. The trend, as you have noted, ha been initial excitement over internal distress, overly simplistic rhetoric supporting the dissidents ( not doing them any favors by the way), concluding with an intervention that leave the country in question worse off that it’s been.

  9. June 22, 2009 at 14:47

    The disintegration of Iran would be the least, the West needs or wants right now. The disintegration would bring more destabilizing factors to the already unstable middle east. Afghanistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Iran? It would just increase the danger of terrorism.
    The protests in Teheran just shows that Iran’s popultation isn’t accepting everything anymore. And a revolution or a newly found awareness from the inside is much more productive, than an intervention from the outside, which would just generate even more hate. And with what we’ve seen from Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and so on, i reckon there’s not really much hate towards the West. So let’s accept Iran’s souveranty and hope this emancipation of the Iranians towards an oppressing goverment will happen as peacefully as it can be.

  10. June 22, 2009 at 14:52

    34 Dead, 500 Arrested!
    TEHRAN – It began with a family romp on Friday June 12th, the day of presidential elections. It turned into a bloodbath, butchering youngsters and innocent protesters who want freedom. Remember Neda!

  11. 16 Jennifer
    June 22, 2009 at 14:56

    Re: For all the diplomatic gloss, is the West failing to be honest about its aspirations? Or is this paranoid nonsense from a government under pressure from its own people?

    We are failing to act. Obama stated that he wanted new interaction between us and the Middle East. Why is he not stepping up and doing something to help these people. They are risking their lives, lives have been lost, and we are saying the obvious: the world is watching.


  12. 17 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    June 22, 2009 at 15:03

    Hi WHYSers!
    First off, I wish to say that I feel very privileged to be able to comment on this obviously very important story and would like to thank the BBC in this regard. The story concerning Iran is one which has evoked global sympathies across the world, especially with the untimely and violent death of the Iranian protester Neda, allegedly, at the hands of militia forces. In that regard, the question about those in the West wanting the disintegration of Iran is too easy. There is obviously a more complex story going on here in terms of the intersection between the indigenous call for democraccy and by extension freedom and the political goals of some Western countries. The very fact that there is no official reporting allowed by foreign media and the broadband width is now being deliberately contracted by the government, according to CNN sources, clearly highlight some of the likely gaps in the communication channel. It seems to me, therefore, that the answers are not as ready-made as may be suggested in some of the questions in your post.

  13. 18 Rachel in California, USA
    June 22, 2009 at 15:10

    One of the poignant remarks from Mr Mousavi is that the government should not try to drag people into Heaven by force. This does not mean that the society should be secular; it means that religion is of the heart, and cannot be compelled.

  14. 19 Vishaka
    June 22, 2009 at 15:16

    I think the West (along with other countries) should be honest about Iran.

    Whether the Iranian government agree or not, the Iranian people definitely want a change otherwise we wouldnt see such a mass protest not only on the streets but facebook, blogs, twitter etc. Obviously they are asking the world for help..and I think the Iranian people deserve some help from other countries if not from the government. Since the revolution, they have lived as an enemy of not only the west but the world in general. Thats the projected face of Iran, the face dominated by extreme ideology that propagates hatred for the western world.

    As Iran has claimed that the West is interfering with their issues, the West should say out loud how wrong Iran is to their own people. Its easy to point fingers at the spectators..its time Iran looked at its own people and listen to its own people. And for this I think the Iranians need alot of help ,not only from the Western superpowers but from every country which believes in democracy and secularism.

    Obama on the other hand should be less diplomatic..Tough countries like Iran dont response to soft oratory words written by someone in White House.

  15. 20 Andrew in Australia
    June 22, 2009 at 15:18

    You would have to think that perhaps the statement is correct. After all if the western world was so keen on upholding democratic principles as they are so keen on focussing upon the recent Iranian elections, then they would have been doing more for the Burmese people.

    It may be that they are Burma fatigued and it just isn’t as glamourous as it used to be, but think about it. Suu Kyi won a democratic election and was not allowed to form government by the military and yet apart from some throat clearing little has been actually been acheived in the past 20 years for the Burmese people, yet there is an intense scrutiny of the Iranian elections and the alleged discrepencies there. No solid proof has been shown other than allegations with not much to back them up.

  16. 21 Roy, Washington DC
    June 22, 2009 at 15:20

    The West is being accused of wanting anarchy in Iran? Wow. Despite what the Iranian government seems to want to think, it’s in our best interest to support peace in Iran. Whether this means a secular government or not really isn’t our call to make; it’s up to the Iranian people. As far as supporting the election results, the streets of Iran should give us a pretty good picture of why we shouldn’t do that. We should watch what is going on, we should be supportive of the Iranian people, but we shouldn’t become meddlesome.

  17. June 22, 2009 at 15:20

    Salaam… The Iranian people must realise that the “civilised” world couldn’t care less about what happens to them, all what “civilised” countries truely care about is their own interests and how to guarantee that those interests won’t be affected or compromised under any circumstances, even if that means pushing all the principles and moralities (which the leaders of those countries often rant about infront of the cameras) against the wall… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  18. 23 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    June 22, 2009 at 15:21

    The current Iranian leadership has made the likelihood of questions being legitimately raised about the agendas of certain Western leaders, very doubtful. Ahmeninedjad was declared the winner of 67% of the votes, within two hours of the closing the polls. This coupled with the violent death of the woman Neda and the forceful crackdown on the right to protest over the weekend, raise very real questions about the integrity of the democratic processes there. That Iran was also, previously, considered a threat to certain (Western) interests, further underscore this position. So, while it would be misleading to suggest that the criticisms of some world leaders are not without their specific agendas, it does not cahnge the fact that Iran does not have much in the way of an international reputation as a freedom loving democracy. It is up to its leadership to decide whether this is important going forward or not.

  19. 24 duckpocket
    June 22, 2009 at 15:36

    For would be despots, here are two pieces of advice:. Either coerce the population into believing you are a God, and behave accordingly (Roman style); or claim God’s words come out of your mouth and get away with murder.

    Dictatorships stink,
    Theocracies smell,
    Pack the aforementioned
    Straight off to Hell.

  20. 25 nora
    June 22, 2009 at 15:36

    Given the US history, destructive intervention is easy to spin for the Iranian powers that be. Given the British history, this show is easily put into the context of oil and empire. Propaganda works well when nations which pride themselves on democracy kill your elected president and then manufacture royalty with Gucci and guns. Most people in their fifties were born just as murder and the Shah came in. Collective memory is strong and context is all.

    How best to help the best hearts and minds of Iran to shape their future?

  21. 26 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    June 22, 2009 at 15:41

    The Iranian regime did not follow its own rules in the election: waiting three days, then having the results “blessed” by the Ayatollah. This was not done. Strange behaviour was noted at the Ministry of the Interior when the votes were being counted (lower level staff was kicked out of the building according to an eyewitness.) Today Chatham House issued a report that pointed out how the so-called results are at variance with past voting patterns. And any fool knows that NO free and fair election ever has a 100% turnout, as was reported in some areas.

    Restrictions were placed on reporting, and telecommunications networks were, and are being, interfered with.

    All this has nothing whatsoever to do with any external influences, as the regime claims. If the election had been free and fair, the regime would have nothing to fear from either a recount nor unimpeded reporting and communications.

    The only thing we in the West who wish the Iranian people well can do is express our support for those who have had their votes stolen from them, and urge them to continue to protest in whatever manner they can against those who have robbed them of their franchise.

  22. 27 Steve in Boston
    June 22, 2009 at 15:52

    From the linked article–

    “…Mr Qashqavi reserved special scorn for the BBC and for the Voice of America network, which he called ‘government channels’. ”

    I find it humorous that the Iranian government should aim its scorn at the BBC, which as far as I can see, spends all it’s time bending over backwards to mollify the Muslims, as is amply illustrated by this very discussion topic.

    Appeasement + $1.20 will get you a small cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts, and not much else, old chap.

  23. 28 rob z.
    June 22, 2009 at 15:53

    I think it is unfortunate that the Iranian leadership deamed it necessary to forcefully confront the demonstrations.
    I expressed hope for a peaceful solution to the situation,and expected the leadership of Iran to handle the demonstrations with restraint.
    All peoples of this world should be allowed to voice their dissatisfaction and demonstrate to show solidarity as long as there is no violent intent.


  24. 29 John in Salem
    June 22, 2009 at 16:00

    This is just predictable rhetoric. Fundamentalist theocracies can’t understand that tolerance of dissent is a sign of strength and the last thing they want to admit is that they are threatened more by changes within their society than by outside influences.

  25. 30 patti in cape coral
    June 22, 2009 at 16:04

    I can’t speak for my government, but personally, I have no interest in establishing democracy in Iran, or in establishing a particular president. I am interested that the will of the people prevails, but it is very difficult at this point to determine what that will is. I hope this can be resolved without too much conflict and bloodshed, but I think it is really up to the Iranians themselves.

    The Iranian government blaming the west for their problems strikes me as cowardly and a convenient excuse so they don’t have to change their ways.

  26. 31 Peter_scliu
    June 22, 2009 at 16:25

    What I think Obama should say to the Iranian leaders.
    ‘ the people of Iran deserved to be heard,’ listen to our advise . Iranians will be more patriotic if you show your people you care 4 them and act in moderation . If your people are patriots , no foreign power can subvert your country. If your media are not controlled BBC persian service will be out of business. Americans will have to look for other bad guys to hate. Maybe China. Don’t fall for our strategy to get at you in order to stop you going nuke

  27. 32 Anthony
    June 22, 2009 at 16:36

    @ M June 22, 2009 at 14:06

    But doesn’t the Surah 9 supersede all the other Surahs (since it was seen as the last one written), and doesn’t it say you must destroy all those who rise against Islam (unless they submit as second class citizens)? So isn’t “using religion as a means to punish people and control the power.” what they should be doing? Ahmadinejad and his people are keeping to the plan which is for Islam to be the only religion/political power in the world, aren’t they? I mean, if you are Muslim, from what I have read in the Koran and Hadiths, you should be backing up Ahmadinejad.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  28. 33 Roy, Washington DC
    June 22, 2009 at 16:41

    @ godwyns

    “There is a streak of truth to the idea the West wants Iran’s destruction. Same foolish attempt made in Iraq”

    The Iraq war wasn’t so much a product of the West wanting to bring down the Middle East, as it was a product of a reckless president who ignored widespread opinion abroad (and here in the USA, even) to advance his own personal agenda. Bush made a lot of mistakes, and that was one of them.

  29. 34 James Ian
    June 22, 2009 at 16:41

    The west needs to stop reporting on it so the Iranian government will not have anyone else to blame for their problems. As it is they are able to try and make it look like we are just being trouble makers. We just need to drop it and let them sort it out themselves.

  30. 35 Julia in Portland Oregon
    June 22, 2009 at 16:46

    I firmly believe that throughout history we have seen clear evidence that allowing a government solely controlled by one religion leads to disaster, maybe not right away but sooner or later someone will be put down, oppressed, abused, disenfranchised or in the worst cases, genocide and murder.

    I pulled this quote from an editorial written by Elissar Saleeba. (9 Apr 2004)
    “The problem with church and government mixing usually means the issues begin to be defined not as fair or just, but as good and evil.”

    People run into trouble when they start trying to tell someone else that their beliefs and practices are evil….add the power of a government on that and there is no way to go but into a fight.

    We and our government are not perfect in the US. We still have battles everyday in our courts regarding the separation of church and state. We try to be secular, but we still have people who believe that their god is the best god and damn everyone else and they think the government should dictate the good/evil rules.

    A secular democracy, fair and just, is the only one that truly stands the chance of longevity.

  31. 36 Crispo
    June 22, 2009 at 16:54

    Whatever happens in Iran, is not much of anybody’s concern. Iranians might be aching, pressing for change, but yet again, that’s none of businesses. I look at Iran as being relatively more stable.

  32. 37 CJ McAuley
    June 22, 2009 at 17:02

    It is time for all the mullahs to understand that this is the 21st century; not the century that “the prophet” lived! For while some truths are eternal, societies are definitely not!

  33. 38 deryck/trinidad
    June 22, 2009 at 17:09


    To believe that ‘THE PEOLPLE’ of Iran want democracy and freedom is to be ignorant as most politicians are. Remember a significant portion of the population didn’t vote for Mr Mousavi therefore only a portion of the people want a ‘CHANGE’.

    The problem with the unrests and the attempts of the Iranian government to polarise the issue only creates or exacerbates huge gulfs among the peolple.

    The result of this fragmentation could possibly result in civil war if Mr Mousavi is declared the winner as the pro Ahmadinejad supporters will inevitably rebel against Mr Mousavi’s leadership.

  34. 39 Tom K in Mpls
    June 22, 2009 at 17:10

    ‘Meddling’ justifies paranoia. All nations have the right to self determination according most philosophies. Iran has no credibility with the world due to divided ‘legitimate’ power groups within their current system. Until all Iran decides, by whatever means, to solidify their political system the best the rest of the world can justifiably do is to see that Iran does no damage to the rest of the world and then wait.

  35. 40 deryck/trinidad
    June 22, 2009 at 17:18

    Democaracy should be secular with all the checks and balances.

    A leader who believes that God/Allah has appointed him, believes all his words and actions are anointed and appointed by God. He thus becomes an Absolute Leader who can do no wrong.

    Absolute God appointed Leaders see critism as the devil’s attack on them and therefore they defend and attack in like manner to emphasise to the world the power that God has placed in them.

  36. 41 Dave in Florida
    June 22, 2009 at 17:20

    This seems more and more like the losing party is just angry and causing problems. No, the election’s outcome was not in the “West’s” interest, but it was democratic. If the intensions of the West are to see democracy spread then it needs to support the results of the election — even if the results were not as desired.

    It is asked what President Obama is going to do? My God, maybe if non-Americans started looking at him as the President of the United States of America, and not the King of the World, you all could solve some of your own problems. Listen to your own leaders once-in-a-while.

  37. 42 John
    June 22, 2009 at 17:27

    As much as I dislke Ahdemenijad (sp), I have very mixed feelings on the election topic.
    1. Ahdem……. led in all preliminary polls by wide margins over his rivals. Somehow he has managed to tap into Iranian national fervor, using the extreme anti-Iranian Israeli and US rhetoric to his advantage. Moussavi, who by the way is no angel (Obama is right) lost voters by seeming to cave in to western concerns. That said, the election was a travesty. It looks like the president and his henchmen put enough ballots to win in the boxes, then received the majority of the votes anyway. What a travesty.
    2. The people are probably right to protest. That said, I strongly feel that the Iranian Guv is probably right when it claims western interference and support of demos and riots, etc. The similarity to chaos the CIA and British Intel created in 1963 to bring down Mossadegh’s democratically elected Gov’t, is quite scary. I can see the hand of Bush/Obama in all the money spent in trying to destabilize Iran. The arms shipments to known terror groups did not stop when Obama took office.
    3. All statements by Obama and the western press calling for freedom to demonstrate is sheer and utter hypocrisy. Just look at how demonstrations against the regime are suppressed and harassed by police, FBI, CIA and military intel organizations. Look at the pens away from public view used to confine demonstrators exercising the ‘rights’ Obama and the western press call for in Iran.


  38. 43 Shannon in Ohio
    June 22, 2009 at 17:29

    It is obvious that what began as an uproar about a highly questionable election has become a referendum on the Iranian political machine itself. I, like many around the world, admire the courage and determination of the protesters and condemn the tragic loss of lives…but many here in the U.S. seem to be jumping to the conclusion that ALL of Mr. Mousavi’s supporters want to replace the existing theocracy with a COMPLETELY secularized political system. That may not be the case at all. I think the West needs to continue to condemn the violence and the press black-outs, and support the rights of free speech and assembly, but this fight (and whatever comes of it) belongs to Iranian men and women–and no one else.

  39. 44 Archibald
    June 22, 2009 at 17:33

    Can anyone say 1979?

  40. 45 John
    June 22, 2009 at 17:33

    I mean 1953 not 1963 in previous post

  41. 46 James Watson
    June 22, 2009 at 17:43

    I do not feel that the West is meddling in Iran’s internal affairs at all, in fact I feel that they have taken a back seat in condemning the brutal violence that authorities in Iran are unleashing upon its own urban populace. This is the right strategy, If we are to try and help the protesters demands be met then we will have to sit on the sidelines. The more the Western governments and media try to influence the situation, the more nationalist ammunition the Iranian authorities can fire back at the newly invigorated opposition. In this act, only the Iranian people and the Iranian government have parts to play.

    • June 22, 2009 at 18:14

      I concur with James’ views which would indeed tally with the Monroe Doctrine previously practised by the US.
      However, first to judge from the side-lines and then to become involved because we feel that we ‘know better’ , seems to be the prevailing ill of what calls itself the ‘Western World’. We in Europe will have to show great self-restraint in order not to meddle.

    • 48 Brian from Ca.
      June 23, 2009 at 00:58

      I agree with James that, considering their history with Iran, Western governments should have a hands off policy. To this effect, Obama’s statements have been balanced and fair.
      However, my overwhelming sympathy is with the marchers. This election was a joke, an insult to the efforts of the Iranian people to build a just society, which they clearly want desperately. We should all understand that Islam is a religion that emphasizes social justice, a very good thing.

  42. 49 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    June 22, 2009 at 18:00

    It was easier to ask what the US was doing to undermine sovereign governments when the US president was ignorant to enough to say things like “I am a Contra.” Hopefully, the Reagan era is now truly and finally over. I believe it every time I hear Obama speak about foreign policy, but this only proves the direction one president wants to take us. It does not prove that We, as a people, will follow.

    I believe Iran is lying about the threat the US poses to its sovereignty, but I don’t see why anyone in Iran should believe that, given the standing threat the US has represented since restoring the Shah to power in the fifties, if not long before. I believe that Iran in the fifties had been on the path to self determination. I also believe that if they are left to rediscover their own path to living according to the true teachings of Islam, they will know peace and prosperity once again.

  43. 50 Nate, Portland OR
    June 22, 2009 at 18:01

    are you interested in democracy or in seeing the back of Pres Ahmadinejad?

    Both. But I’d rather have the democracy, and I’d much prefer seeing the last of Ahmadinejad via democracy. Things will only get truly better if our people are able to build respect and trust, then affect our government’s policies. The US has many times supported repressive regimes, not least in Iran, that were useful to our interests as perceived by government elites. The effect has been to exacerbate the suffering of common folks. Now we are broadly distrusted and disliked in a broad swath of the world and our once considerable “soft power” is pretty much tapped.

    If the people of Iran truly want Ahmadinejad they should have him. If the majority truly want to fund the likes of Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, while simultaneously repressing the educated, creative and religiously moderate among their own population they’ll have earned nasty relations with us. Enjoy the sanctions. I hope you get as much benefit from those nuclear bombs as you would have got from the economic boom from taking the shackles off Iran’s impressive educated class.

    Fortunately I don’t think thats at all what the Iranian people want. If they had a true democracy the true desires of the people would eventually come out. They might not be entirely to our liking, which is fine, but I think we could quickly develop a relationship characterized by mutually beneficial agreements when possible, and respectful distance when not.

  44. 51 N
    June 22, 2009 at 18:04

    As an Persian Jew in Germany I hope for change and international support from abroad. I am convinced most educated Iranians want to see the fall of this regime too but they need to see a prospect for the time after the fall of the mollahs.

  45. 52 Richard in San Francisco
    June 22, 2009 at 18:17

    Just as the people in the streets of tehran and the government of Iran are not one and the same, I think it’s possible for westerners to have their hearts go out to the people of Iran without being tarred by the brush of current or former foreign policy by Western governments.

  46. 53 Tom D Ford
    June 22, 2009 at 18:17

    “If it came about, would you welcome not only a new President but also a change of system which took power away from iran’s religious leaders?

    Do you believe, as we discussed a couple of weeks ago in Portland, that democracy should always be secular?”

    Religion is inherently incompatible with democracy. Religion is the opposite of democracy.

    Democracy is a government of the People, by the People, and for the People, in stark contrast to Religion which is government of the people by a Priest class (whether priest, preacher, pope, ayatollah, mullah, guru, Lama, etc.) that claims to speak for some supernatural alleged “God or Goddess”.

    In a democracy the power comes from the people with their consent, whereas in a religion the power comes from outside of the people and is imposed on them without their consent.

    Religion is anti-democratic!

    • 54 Tom K in Mpls
      June 23, 2009 at 16:47

      Tom, you seem to be using a strict and literal definition of democracy and religious. The US is not a democracy. It is a Socialistic Republic with democratically selected representatives. But we choose to call it a democracy. Any system can be tweaked to do what is needed. Then it can be called whatever you like.

  47. 55 Mikel in Seattle
    June 22, 2009 at 18:19

    Ros –

    I too am a member of the Vast Western Conspiracy interested in nothing more than anarchy and vandalism and to thumb my nose at the current regime. We missed you a great deal at our last meeting though!

    In all seriousness, we’re tired of women being treated like second class citizens, and we want to see the protestors get what they are asking for. Outside of a few politicians who are making odd comments for political gain, there’s no conspiracy here.

    Frankly, there’s no way we could become that organized.

    June 22, 2009 at 18:20

    The outsiders; call them the west or not do not understand the Iranians on either side of the conflict. The opposition with all its ranting is not about democracy but rather than settling domestic political scores and the perceived gains promised to the middle class. Are they reformers? Are they pro peace? Do they transcend the the important issues of the Middle East?

    These questions will remain difficult to answer given that both Iran and its western protagonists are all hypocrites and mearly shifted the battleground from one area to another. The sticking issue and the determinant of understanding between these two opinions are nothing but the now hidden daggers for the war between the Isaelis and Palestinians.

    Iran arms Hamas Palestinians and the west equally arms the Israelis. When it comes to be honest both of them shuck away squeemishly. Don’t be fulled about democracy because this is just an escape hatch.

    Right now it is easy for the west to blame Iran without describing the real issues because it has no easy answers to react to Netanyahu with regards to settlements and therefore waste time on this issue.

  49. 57 Francis, Malta
    June 22, 2009 at 18:25

    Yes I would most definitely like to see the system of government in Iran change. Iranians deserve to have a say on who leads them and they should not be subject to a theocracy. The place is religious leaders is in a house of worship not a house of government. Separation between state and church is a necessity for a state to be able to modernise itslef.

  50. 58 Behrouz
    June 22, 2009 at 18:25

    Of course they are totally dishonest. They want democracy or respect for human rights? Why than hasn’t the US dismantled the PMOI camps at the Iraqi/Irani borders (yes the PMOI that invaded Iran together with Saddam Hussayn). And what about this?

    “The group called Jundullah a Taliban linked militant group with links to al-Qaeda responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News. Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February 2007”
    West is totally hypocritical!

  51. 59 steve
    June 22, 2009 at 18:25

    Your guest is trying to deflect the conversation. She wants to shift it to the US and Israel. Stop changing the subject.

    This is about horrible Israel:


    Notice something, when they stop trying to kill Israelis, their lives improve. Coincidence?

    Blaming the US and Israel for the problems of the muslim world won’t make your lives any better.

  52. 60 Afya (USA)
    June 22, 2009 at 18:25

    I am a US citizen who has degrees in Political Science and International Relations. I have studied abroad in the Middle East and studied both Farsi and Arabic. My interest in Iranian matters has absolutely nothing to do with wanting regime change. I am intrigued by the idea of Iran’s claim to a theocratic democracy (if it really worked). But if Iran is not living up to its ideals/laws(religiously or politically) then it is subject to criticism just like any other country. Calling for justice and pressing for regime change are two different things. Stop blaming the West and lets have an open diologue about WHY hundreds of thousands of Iranians demonstrated in the street. Did the West force them to do so? Did we mass brainwash them? No. The notion is utterly ridiculous

  53. 61 Isabelle, Antwerp
    June 22, 2009 at 18:26

    I am convinced that secularism is absolutely essential to democracy. I am only interested to see Iran becoming democratic, who ever runs the country, but I am afraid that a more democratic Iran will only occur if the regime is put down.This regime is really proving how cruel, violent, unreliable and tyrannic it is.
    I really think the Iranian people deserve better.

  54. 62 Saunya
    June 22, 2009 at 18:26

    Let me start by saying, NEVER TRUST THE WESTERN COUNTRIES. Mainly the U.S…
    The U.S needs to stop sticking their nose in other countries business. Especially, when the US is facing record number violence, homelessness and unemployment. The US could care less about democracy in Iran. Hell, African American’s don’t have democracy in the US. African Americans are being terrorized by the system everyday.

    • 63 Afya (USA)
      June 22, 2009 at 19:47

      With all due respect Saunya, please do not purport to speak for me as an African-American. Who is “the West” you’re talkiing about? Stop generalizing. The US is as diverse perhaps than any other nation on the The West”…You can’t possibly lump everyone into one category, nevermind try to throw us in with the EU. The term “The West” is sorely outdated. Our current President has been categorically against blanket interventionism…Furthermore, Pres. & Michelle Obama are a testimony to the fact that African-Americans have every opportunity to better themselves in this great country of ours despite all the problems you mentioned. I have voted in every election since I was 18 and we DO care about what is happening to the people of Iran. The great thing about democracy is that you have the right NOT to exercise your right. Unfortunately too many AAs in this country are not exercising that right…..and to your other point, how about the US doesn’t stick our nose, our support, our aid, our purchasing power, our weapons/protection, our technology, or anything in any other country’s “business” and see how well that goes over.

    • 64 Patrick M
      June 23, 2009 at 08:20

      Qualify that. Please. I’d love to hear how African Americans are terrorized by the system everyday.

      I’d also love to hear why people should never trust western countries, especially the US.

      But if that is the case, tell you what – we’ll stop sending aid to every country that asks for it. We’ll stop sending billions of dollars, medicine, technology, food. We’ll stop sending our troops to die defending other countries (did you know that the US has gone to war 5 times in the last 20 years to DEFEND muslims around the wolrd?)

  55. 65 Bill in Cleveland
    June 22, 2009 at 18:32

    I think all most Americans know about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is his image as an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier, and believe that he wants nuclear weapons to use against Israel. We do not want to believe that the majority of Iranians share this hatred and anti-Jewish bigotry. We conclude that if there were a truly fair election then Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could not win.

    This is probably over simplification on our part. Whether our perception is correct or not, I believe that we expect real democracy to remove Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from power. So I think we are being honest when we want both democracy and the replacement of the current government, because we think they come together.

  56. 66 Sean,
    June 22, 2009 at 18:33

    The west does have a responsibility to make sure that Iran has a true democracy. Iran is part of the international community of nations. It is part of the United Nations. As such it needs to maintain human rights. From what we can see people’s rights are being trampled on through torture and murder of demonstrators.
    If a country has an earthquake or tsunami we rush in to help. Now the Iranians are suffering from at the least dangerous secret police and dangerous governments so we are equally obliged to help those suffering under this deadly regime.

  57. 67 Tom D Ford
    June 22, 2009 at 18:33

    Iran is doing what the Repressive Criminal Bush/Cheney regime did for eight years, it is demonizing their opposition in order to keep their population is an easily manipulable state of fear so that they are easy to manage.

    The Bush/Cheney role model is returning as what is called “blowback”.

    It will take a while for people like Obama to change the US role model from the failed Bush/Cheney fear-monger model to a sensible rational and respectful model. Obama should not give Iran any “political capital” to use against the Iranian people, and US Conservatives should shut the heck up!

    Obama should let the Iranian government self destruct through it’s own repression and lies!.

  58. 68 Evan
    June 22, 2009 at 18:33

    We do want to see the end of iran’s theocracy, as I personally would like to see the end of all theocracies, including Israel. But in this case, supporters of musavi have not said that there is no way he could have lost, but that there is no way he could have lost by such a large margin, which their electoral history and pre-elections polls support.
    I think we would be satisfied by free and fair elections, even if the current president wins.

  59. 69 Frederick, Boston
    June 22, 2009 at 18:33

    I think the West’s issue with Iran is more systemic than individual. Ahmadinejad, in this case, is only a physical representation of a systemic ideology. His departure, therefore, will not necessarily mean Iran will become less resolute in its positions. The truth is, Iran presents a serious challenge to the West’s drive to democratize the world, and just like communism was subdued, all measures will be taken to weaken the Iranian regime. This is the West’s true desire. Democracy and human rights, despite their innate virtues, are simply instruments in the pursuit of this objective.

  60. 70 Matt in Portland, Oregon
    June 22, 2009 at 18:34

    I don’t think that the desire for fair elections and for regime change in Iran are mutually exclusive. Of course the west is tired of dealing with the Ahmadinejad’s belligerence but there are no guarantees that whoever wins the election will have a different attitude toward the west.

    If the Iranian people re-elect him then so be it but it does appear that the regime is oppressing a large segment of their electorate and that the current regime is destroying the Iranian form of democracy. A democracy can not exist without fair elections.

  61. 71 steve
    June 22, 2009 at 18:34

    Yes Saunya, given that our president is an African American, African Americans are surely being terrorized on a daily basis.

  62. 72 Andrew, Texas
    June 22, 2009 at 18:34

    For the past week I have been completely moved by the pro-reform protests in Iran. As a westerner, I’m pleased to see so many people standing up to have their voices heard. While I personally do not care for Mr. Ahmadinejad, I have no interest in seeing the Iranian regime collapse. Rule by an unelected supreme leader and a demagogue of a President isn’t exactly my ideal form of government, but the chaos and anarchy that would follow any possible collapse does not help the west’s interests at all. The west needs cooperation from Iran in order to achieve progress on the nuclear issue and with terrorism, and can’t afford to be looked at with disdain. Stability in Iran is something that is absolutely essential to the west.

  63. 73 Afya
    June 22, 2009 at 18:35

    I am a US citizen who has degrees in Political Science and International Relations. I have studied abroad in the middle east and studied Arabic and Farsi. My interest in Iran has absolutely nothing to do with wanting regime change. I am intrigued by the idea that Iran’s claim to a theocratic democracy (if it really worked). But if Iran is not living up to its ideals (religiously or politically) then it is subject to criticism just like any other country. Calling for justice and pressing for regime change are two different things. Stop blaming the West and lets have an open diologue about WHY hundreds of thousands of Iranians demonstrated in the street. Did the West force them to do so? Did we mass brainwash them? No. The notion is utterly ridiculous.

  64. 74 WN
    June 22, 2009 at 18:35

    The BBC together with expat Iranians are having a field day calling for “freedom” and “democracy” which sounds to me like a lot of bosh.

    Really, as an American, I don’t see why America has to shed the blood of its citizens just so that people like these expats can ride back into Tehran on a golden carriage and get choice positions in the new administration. Perhaps, these expats should get some testicular fortitude and take up arms and do the job by themselves. Really, I don’t want to fight for these expats and their issues.

    As if it is not clear today, the USA has created a wasteland of Iraq. Do you think the majority of Iranians who can see what has gone on in Iraq. Do you really think the majority of Iranians would want such a cataclysm? Get a grip!

    The woman, Mehaer(?), is making some good points.

  65. 75 Dr. Z
    June 22, 2009 at 18:36

    The current political structure in place in Iran arrived to power (i.e. ousted Shah) using civil protest, demonstration, disobedience and large numbers taking to the streets … the same tactics that they now are using violence to suppress and blaming on the West.

  66. 76 WN
    June 22, 2009 at 18:37

    The Iranian people are asking for their votes to be counted and Iran’s Supreme Leader blames other countries in interfering in Iran’s affairs. If interfering in other countries affairs is bad so why the Ayatollah Khameni, the Supreme Leader in Iran is meddling in Lebanon’s internal affairs, providing Hamas with arms and money and exporting terrorists around the globe?

  67. 77 Eric, NM (USA)
    June 22, 2009 at 18:38

    How can we expect Iran to fulfill any commitments to the international community when the government doesn’t even fulfill its obligations to its own citizens, as enshrined in the its own constitution?

  68. 78 Mohammad Reza, Prague
    June 22, 2009 at 18:38

    I am sorry for the muslims or other people who consider ahmadinejad as a good politican for his policy against US and other superopwers. They dont understand which cost the Iranians (we) pay for his policy!! Do you know how many poeple have been executed under his presidency? How many newspapers have been banned? activists arrested? people supressed? Shame on you people who are far from Iranian reality and support Ahmadinejad!!

  69. 79 Myles, Cleveland
    June 22, 2009 at 18:40

    It’s easy to think that there is some sort of motive behind the westen involvement in Iran’s post election turmoil, however I think that like in science, by the simple act of looking at the protests we give power to the protesters. I think that the intention of the protests is to call attention to the situation and so the western media has become interested in the story, but I think that this is the work of the Iranians protesting. Why else would you see signs in English? I would love to see regime change in Iran because I hope that a new leader would be more open to diplomacy with Obama and possibly do better with human rights, but I do not think that I have any power to affect the situation in Iran aside from listening to news updates and keeping informed. I believe that if the leaders of the west had wanted to really affect the iranian elections we wouldn’t be doing it after the elections were over. The US has a record of overthrowing foriegn powers and I can’t imagine that western leaders are actually trying to influence the situation in Iran through this venue regardless of how we would like things to change in Iran

  70. 80 Janet
    June 22, 2009 at 18:40

    I am an African American living in the US and I believe the Western ran media has exploited this situation. We all know the outcome will not change.
    The government, however, have handled the situation correctly by taking the wait and see approach. Therefore I do not agree with the callers that try to fix the blame of the Western, expecially US government for making the situation worse.
    The Supreme Leader this weekend put in their head what he wanted them to believe and who he wanted them to hate and that is the West. This could turn out very dangerously for both sides as far as diplomatic actions.

  71. June 22, 2009 at 18:44

    Freedom comes with unfortunate costs. Is it time to remove the church from the state in Iran? It’s up to the people if they really want freedom!

  72. 82 C.Washington
    June 22, 2009 at 18:44

    America as a nation is getting fed up of being caught in a catch 22. Of course the west would prefer a more democratic and open Iran or any other country under Religious rule. How this crackdown and the killing of civilians by Iranian leaders, has been slanted as America’s fault is beyond me. We in America are sick of being the bad guy- If we do take down a dictator then we would be blamed, if we do nothing then we are blamed. The mood in America is changing and becoming more isolationist fueled by the financial crisis. We voted for change in our foreign policy and our President’s stance is to intervene if leaders are willing to “unclench their fist” or to support the will of the people. Obviously we are seeing the fist in Iran tighten and who is really in control. While we care about the elections we care about the end game- a major shake up with the clerics in Iran could go a long way towards peace in the region.

  73. 83 Bruno
    June 22, 2009 at 18:44

    Well what if the west want a regime change ?
    After all It is free to wish what it wants, only the actions matter in the end.

    And here I don’t see any western ingerence at all. not in the slightiest.
    Amhadinejad and Khamenei put themselves in this situation themselves alone by robbing Iranians of their vote.

  74. 84 Jack in Kansas
    June 22, 2009 at 18:46

    If the election was fair, then it’s correct to re-seat the current regime… however, was their any sort of independent election monitoring? Based on appearances, the election was rigged.

    Considering the fact that the Iranian government has banned certain candidates from running in the past, my impression is that this was not a legitimate election.

    Oppressive governments can not tolerate independent thought and freedom of speech. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson and the “founding fathers” for codifying my rights — specifically this one:

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

  75. 85 Angela in Washington
    June 22, 2009 at 18:48


    Despite the fact that the President is African American, African Americans are not treated well here. His background has no effect on the way most African Americans are treated.

    I am concerned about the plight of the Iranians but we don’t know if most Iranians agree with most of the people that are protesting. My main concern is that westerns don’t know if a majority of Iranians support the protestors.

    That Jeff person needs to look at both sides and he cannot give any facts to support his opinion, just a bunch of emotions.

  76. June 22, 2009 at 18:50

    It is time for everyone, including this show’s host, to stop giving the Iranian regime the benefit of the doubt. There is, in fact, definitive proof that the election return numbers were fabricated by humans. A mathematical analysis of the randomness (or lack thereof) in the supposed election returns shows pretty clearly that they are fabricated:


  77. 87 Joe Cantrell
    June 22, 2009 at 18:50

    I do not understand why you give this propagandist from the Washington Times the microphone? Surely you know that his employer is owned by Sun Myung Moon, one of the most reactionary monsters in the world today.

    This gentleman’s dogmatic refusal to furnish facts (for truly, he has none) and insistence on yelling over the commentator say all he has to say; the content of his brayings is irrelevant.

  78. 88 Majid
    June 22, 2009 at 18:51

    The idea of democracy is just an excuse to promote the economic agenda of western powers. Amazingly, the west is not much eager of non-existing democracy in Saudi Arabia or Egypt!

    June 22, 2009 at 18:53

    I refuse to swallow the carrot that says that Iran is not a democratic sate.

    That we had free media before interference occassioned by this election attests to this fact. Which dictatorship would free a jailed journalist when prevailed upon by the free world? Unlike other dictorships in the region, the Jews and Christians are living like the rest of the citizens of Iran.

    This is a good democracy and the world should not reverse its gains. That it has come to have demonstrators in the streets and the opposition leadership talks freely without detention or assissination is an added plus. It promised to look into the irreguralities and it has. This is a good point and the rest will follow if we are patient.

    Instead of sucrificing a good broadcast station like the BBC out of fallacies and dishonesty the policy shapers should address the gains too. It is ironical not to tell the Iranians that their economy woes are not due to bad leadership but rather due to sanctions which have been increased by the current global economic downturn.

  80. 90 stephen/ portland, Oregon
    June 22, 2009 at 18:54

    Our reaction. Dammed if you do, Dammed if you don’t

  81. 91 M H Rudolph
    June 22, 2009 at 18:55

    [From Colorado in the US] The people I listen to would like to see a stable, prosperous Iran whose people are allowed to evolve as the generations and needs change. If Amidinijad blocks that, then we hope the people will be able to have a say. But we are also cautious (as your caller Jeff is not — cut him off) about second-guessing the needs and desires of another culture.

  82. 92 Tom D Ford
    June 22, 2009 at 18:55

    Ros, you need to take the mike away from that lying right-wing firebrand Jeff!

  83. 93 Bob
    June 22, 2009 at 18:55

    Who is the noisy neocon guest Jeff?

  84. June 22, 2009 at 18:56

    I’m not sure how important what the West wants IS unless they are actually acting on it. If Obama secretly would prefer to deal with the other guy is irrelevant unless the US is actually taking action to make it happen.

  85. 95 steve
    June 22, 2009 at 18:57

    According to Allegra, Japan can’t be democratic because it’s not multicultural?

  86. 96 Bob
    June 22, 2009 at 18:58

    Where was Jeff when Bush stole Ohio in 2004?

  87. 97 tikkooo
    June 22, 2009 at 18:58

    This crisis was well overdue and was bound to happen sooner or later, not only in Iran but in many countries were democracy is not exercised. The west did not triggered it, but would love to fuel it, this time righteously so. Iran has been a thorn in the West throat for so many reasons; the nuclear issue, Hezbollah, Hamas etc. This does not mean the West is not to blame, if we talk about their hypocritical foreign policy especially when it comes to the Middle East.
    No doubt, President Obama’s late response to the situation in Iran proved to be an intelligent, shrewd policy.
    Warning, Iran Supreme leader that the whole world is watching, meant the whole world – not only USA.
    Obama’s warning “the whole world is watching” meant that if the militia hurt or killed future demonstrators then he – Khamenei – will be solely responsible for such acts.
    If, such bloody actions should take place, this might, even prompt the ICC to issue an arrest warrant for Khamenei if things really got ugly and out of hand. This will definitely cast the whole regime in dark light in the eyes of the whole world.
    If Khomeini truly believes that Ahmed Najat won the presidential election by a margin of eleven million votes, he should confidently, encourage a recount of the whole votes or call for another fresh election. Refusing the opposition request will cast much doubt on the result of the election and the credibility of the regime and definitely will but inrepairable cracks in walls of this regime and helps to bring down sooner than later.

  88. 98 Tom K in Mpls
    June 22, 2009 at 18:58

    Jeff on the air is a narrow minded intolerant idiot! His self righteous babel is embarrassing! Even if his delusions were correct, he wants to impose his beliefs on others. It is people like him that give Americans such a bad image in politics.

  89. 99 Tom
    June 22, 2009 at 18:59

    This person “Jeff” is entirely out of order. “Proven conclusively that Ahmadinejad came in third.” ?? That is entirely false (I wish it were not false, but all indications are that Ahmadinejad won, and there is certainly no “conclusive proof” that he came in third — neither was Jeff able to offer any). When asked for proof, he results to ad hominem attacks. Also, he treats anti-Ahmadinejad sentiment as if it were identical to anti-Mullah sentiment, which is equally false, the office of president in Iran is far below the “offices” of the supreme leaders.

    There is no point in attempting to have a rational discussion with someone who is clearly beyond reason. I wish freedom for Iran, and Ahmadinejad to be removed, but hysterical, factless opining such as Jeff’s cheapens those who rationally seek democracy. His entire argument could be replaced with a picket sign. He has no business being on the air.

  90. 100 CJ McAuley
    June 22, 2009 at 19:00

    Who the frak is Jeff? Is he not old enough to know that trying to talk over&bully others does NOTHING to make one’s point! Do not invite his biased opinion again, please!

  91. 101 Jesse, Portland, OR
    June 22, 2009 at 19:00

    The west has a delicate balancing act to tread. Though most in the West I believe would be happy to see Ahmadinejad gone (and even the theocracy as a whole), as soon as we support the opposition with actions we actually weaken them. Iranians are hyper-sensitive to outside meddling and by giving any aid to the opposition will give Ahmadinejad an opening to label them as puppets of the West and Mousavi as Shah 2.0.

  92. 102 Shannon, Oregon
    June 22, 2009 at 19:02

    Just a note to communicate that the anger I am hearing on the air from the Washington journalist regarding his interest in a change of Iranian leadership as a representation of an American/Western perspective does not represent MY persptective.

    Quite frankly, the outspoken American represitnative is embarrasing and I am not clear about his obsessive perspecive.

    I highly respect President Obama’s calm measured response. This is ultimately an issue for IRAN, yes?

    President Obama’s comments this morning that it is important to respond with care and respect since it would be all too easy for America to become a target for Iranian blame (not that we aren’t already)

    Change comes over time, I support demonstration and revolution but even our local fight for racial and gender justice has taken time – it still continues. There seems to be some expectation for an American call to battle for immediate and revolutionary change. I find that urge to be a relic of past and a relic that should remain good and buried. Let’s call an end to western imperialistic, paternalistic aggressive leaderthip.

    Iran can handle it’s own battles.

  93. 103 Irene Heitsch
    June 22, 2009 at 19:03

    Jeff is nothing but a loud mouthed idiot who does not contribute to the conversation. If he can’t be civil on the air, if he can’t back up his arguments, he should be cut off. The situation in Iran is terrible, it’s complicated and it’s hard to know what to think. I will not be swayed, however by someone who thinks he can shout his way into winning an argument. What’s your background, Jeff? What’s your agenda?

  94. 104 Brice
    June 22, 2009 at 19:06

    Jeff of the Washington Tiimes is precisely why the right wing should not be in control. Jeff doesn’t know what’s correct and what isn’t, yet he’s all prepared to refuse to talk to the people in charge and send in our military. Same old “shoot first, ask questions later” approach of Cheney/Bush, and look where that got us.

    June 22, 2009 at 19:09

    It is the high time we kept campaign pledges aside and try to see sense of engaging without being ashamed of fighting for justice and modernizing democracy. If Ahmadinajad is the president, so what? The opposition and their sympathisers are doing the right thing to engage him. On that I agree, But they should not push this country into a corner. It is part of democratic world and it has its own opinion and should be listened to. It is in bad taste to conclude hurriedly that it is beyond fixing. Its not yet a basket case.

    Right now we have been shown who holds the power but we still continue to blame Ahmadinajad. Till when? We think he is not important but he is. There is no way out but to engage him concerning the sticking issues of peace and moderation of hostilities in the Middle East. He promised to dialogue with President Obama. Why don’t we give him a chance and choose to pursue him futher if he backtracks on this?

  96. 106 Chrissy in Portland
    June 22, 2009 at 19:12

    While I think that some of Jeff’s opinions are valid, I think he would have gotten a lot further in his arguments by treating the other people on today’s show with respect. Tsk, tsk Jeff!

    In my opinion, it’s this type of behavior that leaves a bad taste in peoples mouth’s the world over. The last thing thing we need is yet another blowhard convicing the world we are arrogant bullies by bulldozing all those who may have a different opinion!

    Thank you, Ros! You’ve done a great job presenting these complicated and at times very heated discussions.

  97. 107 Maximus
    June 22, 2009 at 19:14

    Excellent show Ros. However as some have already commented before me I hope you will think twice before bringing in “extremists” like Jeff on the show. Please ignore his baseless nonsensical attacks on you and this show.
    Keep up the good work.

  98. 108 stephen/ portland, Oregon
    June 22, 2009 at 19:23

    Evidence and facts to back up your point, Jeff!

    To much HOT air here in the summer without this guy adding too it.

    Otherwise go on TBN with Pat Robertson.

  99. 109 Mitra
    June 22, 2009 at 19:25

    As response to Shannon in Oregon–

    Again, the clearheadedness you demonstrate is a trait that would advance East-West relationships significantly. The journalist on the show irritated me to no end, because it seemed fairly obvious that the agende he was pushing was his own. At the moment, shining a light on the happenings in Iran would seem to be the most positive act that the West can perform. All talks of intervention at this point would only serve to polarize the the two dissenting factions in Iran. Because one has to acknowledge the fact that there are millions in Iran who do support the current regime in general and Mr. Ahmadinejad in particular. The unrest has to do with the ultimate question– who did the majority support?

  100. June 22, 2009 at 19:27

    I have more points to follow up on, but let’s open my first post with this one (in response to all the comments on-air today about the low protester count).

    How do we know it is only 1 million people protesting? The rest of the country is not protesting? How do we know that? Right, no one knows much of anything because the regime is blocking all news out of Iran. So, is it 1 million or 10 million protesters? Are ALL of the people in Iran willing to die to exercise their constitution (Iranian) rights to protest? Fact: after Saturday, anyone who protests in public runs the risk of being killed. The regime has proven that. No wonder the protester count on the streets is down.

    Iran wants help from the rest of the world, but not so much at the government level. If governments get involved, then the regime can rally people against that country (see Iran revolution on ’79 – all focus was on their (deserved) hatred of the US.. If instead, the people do it, the regime has no idea who is helping, and all of the government representatives can just shrug their shoulders, and say “hey, it’s not us, it is the people helping… Governments: stay out of it. People of the world: Stand up and speak out and help our human brothers and sisters. Forget borders and ideologies. People need help.

    The best thing is that people are helping. We are working hard to allow people to get around the censoring and filtering the the regime has in place. People are tweeting info from Iran at a crazy rate. Citizen journalists in Iran are uploading pictures, videos and comments to people willing to help distribute them. Get online and get involved, it only takes a little help to contribute to big results.

    This is a new revolution. It is the first time that all of the people of the world can make their feelings know worldwide almost in real-time. this is the first time that an individual, with no governments involved, can help repressed people in need. Kind of like micro-lending. If enough give a little, a lot of help ends up being delivered.

    ’nuff said for this post.


  101. 111 patti in cape coral
    June 22, 2009 at 20:24

    The speaker Jeff claims to know the actual results of the election. How does he know this, how did he get that information? I made the mistake of assuming what I first heard from the media was the absolute truth and based my opinions on that, but later came the conflicting information, then none at all as the media was not allowed to cover this. So I just want to know why he is so confident he knows the absolute truth of the matter, when really, there is no real proof either way. I am probably leaning more toward thinking that Moussave won, but really, there is no way to know, so the only response that can be given is a cautious one. And in the end, what we think matters little to the Iranians.

  102. 112 T
    June 22, 2009 at 23:20

    The talk to interfere in Iran continues. But it won’t happen.

    If Obama tried to interfere, the balance in the Middle East would disappear. And does he really need that extra stress right now? No. I’d be shocked if some other country actually threatened to send troops in or to arm the Iranian protestors. It won’t happen.

  103. 113 Hani
    June 22, 2009 at 23:39

    I would like to say that the only media I now listen to is Radio Farda (Radio Free Europe) and sometimes also the BBC radio world services, but I find the BBC radio to be less informed at the moment about what is going on in Iran than Radio Farda.

  104. 114 MarcusAureliusII
    June 23, 2009 at 02:45

    Honesty about Iran? This is an internal power struggle at the very top in which the ordinary citizens are just pawns. Even the presidential candidates are symbols of those higher up vying for power. From the point of view of America, Israel, and the Arab world, it hardly matters which side wins because Iran’s external policies will not change. Rather than repeat the mistakes we made in Iraq, this time we should foster a civil war and when the last of them is gone, we should just walk in and take the oil for ourselves. How can we help? By providing arms to which ever side is losing at any given moment.

  105. 115 M. Carter
    June 23, 2009 at 04:21

    Dear Ros,
    I think it is time to ask the question, “What are the psychological motivations behind those who seek power?” This is the core of conflicts. Macho vs. Macho, and macho is macho regardless of what nation or culture you come from. The insecurities that lie behind greed and that drive the need for power/control over must be clearly understood.

    Through a recent incident in my life it has been revealed that those who are extremely insecure and have never developed empathy for others are driven by the need to control others. I realized that my sympathy for an individual, and their multiple problems, was not being used to heal themselves, instead, my sympathy was simply being used to dominate and use me.

    Is a developed sense of empathy necessary to understand ethics? It seems to me that the people who have a very low self image are the the ones that seek excessive money and power. They do not value themselves and consequently are unable to identify with or value others.

  106. 116 Maxine
    June 23, 2009 at 05:23

    It is time the Supreme Leader, and Ayatollah’s of Iran became honest, good, kind, compassionate, intellegent men, who hate killing and violence. The world is waiting for it.

  107. 117 Patrick M
    June 23, 2009 at 08:15

    “Imposing one’s prefernces( like some of the Western media in this case) on the other is what creates problems and unrest.”

    Amazing. I find it…I don’t know – disturbing(?) that if a western country attempts to promote freedom of religion, thought, speech, etc – we are somehow imposing – and yet when a muslim country or group of muslims do it to us, we have to be tolerant.

    That’s a double standard you can see coming a mile away.

    Also, why are we talking about the west being honest about Iran for crying out loud? Why is anything said by any western leader immediately looked upon as being a lie? Why does there have to be some kind of hidden agenda? But then again, if a western leader accuses a muslim of the same – then that is racist or intolerant.

    I really do sympathize for the youth of Iran, fighting and dying in the streets at this very minute – fighting for their lives and the lives of their children. I applaud them for standing up to an oppressive regime (there I go being intolerant) and I wish more of the worlds leaders would publicly voice support for them.

    I can tell you as an American, we don’t have any problem with the Iranian citizen. We don’t want to invade, we don’t take pleasure in seeing the violence being inflicted by the thugs in power. We have only ever opposed those dictatorships, regimes, whatever you want to call them, that treat their people like cattle and don’t stand for any kind of decency.

    Drop the ‘west is wrong’ mentality for once.

  108. June 23, 2009 at 13:39

    What i can says is that world is fearful of a united & Nuclear Iran, and that is why Ahmadinejad & Al Khamenei are given abreeding grounds to do whatever they could to keeps themselves in power in expenses of their citizens demands & rights.NEDA is heroine(“Neda” means “NO” in Luganda language of Buganda Kingdom`s here in Kampala).

  109. 119 David
    June 23, 2009 at 15:19

    VictorK you have my full support. very well said. I wonder, of those who have given their opinions in this blog, howmany know the truth? probably less than 0.1%. What many people are basing their opinions is the media story telling.

    There are many other ways of persuading Iran to change course than regime change or demonising the government. Obama has what it takes to be a worldclass leader who is leading by example. He knows what it means to incite. By the way “you can turn an enemy into a friend using your brain than using force” and change the world towards civility.

  110. 120 MarcusAureliusII
    June 23, 2009 at 16:57

    The advantage the current regime with Ahmadinejad as President has for America is that it clearly defines the path Iran will take and will make the painful choices the American response unambiguous by not saddling them with non relevant notions of a reformer who might give false hope that his policies that affect the region, the world, and America can somehow be rationally resolved through negotiations. To that end, if America taking a strong stand opposing Ahmadinejad works to his advantage to keep him in power then it is in America’s interest to do just that and do it as vocally and persistently as possible. That it would coincide with the natural American rhetorical position makes it all the more attractive. Mr. President, speak out against the brutal tyrant Ahmadinejad and the tyrannical dictatorship of the Iranian Mullahs. Their current path will surely lead to murder and repression at home and devastating war abroad.

  111. 121 Hani
    June 23, 2009 at 17:04

    I just want to say that it is very unfortunate that all the young people of Iran (the majority) have to go through such ordeals simply to be able to enter into dialogue with the ruling parties. There is no dialogue and obviously no desire from the government’s side to accept that the days when you could simple scream: “Death to America” and get away with murder by doing so are over. The majority of the people were not around during the revolution and there references to the U.S and the Western way of life is different than their parent’s generation.

    However, I have to say that there has even been evidence put forward that election fraud HAS taken place, but yet the government or rather Khamenei refuses to act. If this was any other country than Iran, other countries would have reacted for sure! They would have had way more to say about the election and the idea of re-election with third party presence!!!

  112. 122 Tom D Ford
    June 23, 2009 at 17:06

    The thing that bothers me about the ranting right-wingers shouting for revolution in Iran is that they just skip over the idea that people die in revolutions, they just have no respect for human lives. And make no mistake about it, the ayatollahs and their regime are strong enough to murder an awful lot of people to stay in power.

    I remember during the first gulf war that Conservative US President G H W Bush encouraged the Iraqi Kurds to revolt against Saddam Hussein but then when they did revolt Bush just stood aside and let Hussein viciously murder them with helicopters and gas. Bush could have stopped it with the US Forces in the area but he did not. It was just one more example of the treachery of Conservatives, they incite rebellions but then they don’t back up the people with support.

    I sure support reform in Iran but the Iranian people are the ones who have to do it and do it in their own way.

  113. 123 Prem Nizar Hameed
    June 23, 2009 at 17:39

    President Obama’s intentions are good. And if the past offers some inspirations to move forward or some lessons to learn, we should take them with us for the present and for the future. Otherwise leave them behind forever. Obama might have gone through this. And he seems to be in the White House to remove some black spots from the minds of people at home and abroad. Optimism is the essence of his speech. Lincoln once told he had destroyed his enemies by making them friends. And his bold step helped eradicate slavery. Of course any outcome is not expected overnight. In politics, political opportunism is dangerous. Even if he and his like minded are sincerely on the move towards peace and tranquility, the hardliners from every part of the world await chances of their wrong steps .Religious interferences some times deviate the process of a good proposal or come as stumbling blocks. People who are committed to the peace initiatives must be brave to take up all such challenges, if they really want to translate their vision. All the peace loving citizens of the world hope that the long standing conflicts may come one by one in the funeral queue with an epitaph. So,despite the situations in Iran, the democratic view is that we have to respect the people’s verdict: Nejad won by 11m votes. Such a scale of rigging is impossible. And the verdict testifies to his commitment to the villagers and the middle class, not to mention the resistance of imperialism. However, we expect more freedom to Iranian people, good relations with Iran’s neighbours and reconciliation with its critics for the sake of development, peace and tranquility. He is known to be simple and humble in his personal life. If he applies the same qualities in his official and foreign policies, he could win the world. If he tends to listen to the world with equanimity, the world will listen to his words sincerely. On the other hand, heavy protests on Iranian streets cannot be condoned. Who is wrong, and who is right is to be proved by a system which stands for justice. In that context, Khamenei is the man who can stop the crisis. But the protesters are not satisfied by the way he has approved Nejad’s victory. In democracy, people may question the authority until they get satisfactory reply. Foreign meddling, fabricated reports, fake photos add fuel to the fire. In 21st century, there is no place for war mongers. We have to love each other and try to remove the word WAR from all the lexicons. We hope Ahamedinejad and his people will become part of that campaign. Let peace doves spread their wings from every hand.

  114. 124 Alby
    June 23, 2009 at 17:39

    It is a good thing Jeff Kuhner Wash Post guy brought up all the ways the Iranian vote may be corrupted. I think US style of debating and decorum is clearly falling apart however, but that has been the case since Buckley and Neo-cons showed it was OK to speak that way to other people in debates or discussions.

    It may be so that “millions of people believe” the Iranian election was fair, but it should be the goal of the BBC to dissect, deconstruct and provide facts that may lead to show that belief is misinformed. It is clear with the 2 hours thing, or the regional results which clearly seem impossible, that the election may lack integrity.

    There is also plenty of evidence that the US had stolen elections, particularly in Ohio in 2004 where the Elections Board chief was a Republican, and where voting machines all over the state were found to be vulnerable to hacking and piracy. There has never been a prosecution brought by the Ohio state prosecutor for anyone involved in that election.

    Mr. Kuhner should know that an increasing number of us in the US do not believe a democracy is working here either, with an iron clad two-party solution paid for by corporate lobbyists! He just may lose everything he has here to despots too, while he is casting his ire at enemies on the other side of the world, and wasting ink and airtime!

  115. 125 John LaGrua/New York
    June 23, 2009 at 21:11

    The Mid East has been a poliitical playgound for the West for centuriesThe US now must ,in order to re-establish credibility ,convince the people in the region that we are not a threat to them and have no other interest other than to promote fairness and justice for all people..We cannot condemn the Iranian clerics for their clumsy ,hard repression of dissenters while supporting the continued crushing of the Palestinians by Isreal .Sadly a young girl dies and the media coverage conveys it’s horror ,yet 1400 innocent Gazans are slaughted and the US Congress passes a resolution supporting Isreal’s action as self defense..It Is time for hardball with Isreal or the US will contnue to be seen not only as hypocritical but deceitful.Isreal and the Isreal Lobby in the US are the greatest threat to peace in the region and to the honor and security of Amercans Obama could one of our greatests presidents if he continues to show the steely will to condemn oppression and champion freedom for all.He is arful , intelligent and couageous .A great hope !

  116. 126 Nigel
    June 24, 2009 at 03:07

    Is Obama going to recoil in horror and mourn the death of innocent Pakistani and Afghan people killed by US drone rocket attacks.

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