The New York Times is nothing if not consistent. They’re still having trouble with “enemy identification:”
Presidential elections in Iran defy easy categorization. The winner assumes Iran’s highest elective office, but no president to date has been able to defy the wishes of the unelected ayatollahs who rule the country. And while the nomination process is very tightly controlled, the eventual winner often comes as a surprise to many Iranians and most outsiders.
That pattern repeated itself with the landslide victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week. A radically conservative mayor of Tehran and former member of the thuggish Basij militia, Mr. Ahmadinejad little resembles the departing president, Mohammad Khatami, a reformist intellectual. But like Mr. Khatami in his initial upset victory eight years ago, Mr. Ahmadinejad dethroned a better-known establishment candidate, in this case a former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s “landslide victory” is by most neutral accounts (The Times excluded) a sham. Voter turnout, announced at 60% was probably closer to 40%. And even those reduced numbers are the result of the Guardian Council ordering anyone connected with the government to the polls. According to some, the struggle was between the hardliners and the really hard liners:
Please keep two basic facts in mind as this melodrama unfolds: Neither Rafsanjani nor Ahmadinejad has any intention of altering the basic structure of the Islamic Republic, nor of â€œliberalizingâ€ Iranian society (the Reich was not notably more â€œmoderateâ€ after Hitler crushed the SA, was it?). Both are known murderers; one way of evaluating the outcome of todayâ€™s events is that the next Iranian president will be wanted for murder either in two countries (Ahmadinejad â€” Austria and Germany) or in just one (Rafsanjani â€” Germany). This is not a fight over the future of the country; itâ€™s a power struggle within the tyrannical elite.
And as leftists the world over hailed the Iranian elections as a triumph of democracy and villified Washintong’s dismissal of them, it appears that Mr. Ahmadinejad has some explaining to do to the United States. Apparently, Iranians new President was a hostage taker:
In 1979, he became the representative of Elm-o Sanaat students in the Office for Strengthening of Unity Between Universities and Theological Seminaries, which later became known as the OSU. The OSU was set up by Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, who was at the time Khomeiniâ€™s top confidant and a key figure in the clerical leadership. Beheshti wanted the OSU to organise Islamist students to counter the rapidly rising influence of the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) among university students.
The OSU played a central role in the seizure of the United States embassy in Tehran in November 1979. Members of the OSU central council, who included Ahmadinejad as well as Ibrahim Asgharzadeh, Mohsen (Mahmoud) Mirdamadi, Mohsen Kadivar, Mohsen Aghajari, and Abbas Abdi, were regularly received by Khomeini himself.
According to other OSU officials, when the idea of storming the U.S. embassy in Tehran was raised in the OSU central committee by Mirdamadi and Abdi, Ahmadinejad suggested storming the Soviet embassy at the same time. A decade later, most OSU leaders re-grouped around Khatami but Ahmadinejad remained loyal to the ultra-conservatives.
And what does the Times say about an architects of one of the most humiliating moments in American history?
Mr. Rafsanjani lost because he was too closely associated with the recent economic failures and political inertia. Mr. Ahmadinejad, in contrast, offered a populist economic platform that implicitly challenged the cronyism and corruption of more than a quarter-century of clerical rule. We wish him luck. But it is hard to see how he can deliver on those promises over the objections of the ruling establishment, whose powers greatly exceed his own.
Wish him luck? For what? In his efforts to convert the entire planet to his version of Islam?
â€œThanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen and the Islamic revolution of 1384 [the current Iranian year] will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world,â€ he said. â€œThe wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world.â€
Do ya think he might want to use a shiny new nuclear toy to help him achieve that goal? Here the Times gets serious – sort of:
On the issue of greatest current concern to the United States, Iran’s steady progress toward the ability to produce nuclear bomb fuel, Mr. Ahmadinejad’s victory is expected to lead to greater intransigence and less interest in compromise. Any acceptable deal would have to include an Iranian commitment to halt efforts to enrich uranium or separate plutonium, which can produce nuclear bomb fuel.
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s initial statements on this issue have been ambiguous, favoring continued pursuit of nuclear technology and continued diplomacy. Perhaps, a fiery nationalist like Mr. Ahmadinejad may be just the right man to cut a nuclear deal, just as it took Richard Nixon to reach out to Communist China. But we doubt it; the greater trade and investment that a deal would bring may not mean much to a politician whose greatest political appeal has come from promising a return to the austere, self-reliant ideology of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
First of all, what the Times doesn’t mention is that a “return to the austere, self-reliant ideology” of 1979 would be a catastrophe for the Iranian people. The Mullah’s definition of “austere” is probably quite different from the definition used by New York Times editorial writers. To the religious nutcases who rule Iran, “austere” means lining up against a wall and shooting anyone who looks sideways at the government. They’ve had a lot of practice. Some human rights groups estimated that following the revolution in 1979, upwards of 100,000 Iranians were executed for political reasons.
Furthermore, as the Times recommends later in the editorial, taking the radioactive Mullah’s before the United Nations would be a waste of time. China’s oil deals with Iran will guarantee a veto of any punitive actions contemplated by the Security Council. Which means that once again, the community of nations will be able to sit back and criticize any actions the US takes to make sure that these fanatics don’t get their hands on nuclear weaponry.
What the election of this terrorist has assured is that Israel will have to be restrained from taking unilateral action in order to protect itself. By late summer or early fall, we’ll probably reach a point of no return with Iran. They’ll have enough nuclear fuel to threaten the existence of Israel. At that point, all bets will be off on some kind of military action taken by either Israel or the United States.