Posted by Curt on 2 January, 2018 at 6:51 pm. 1 comment.


The Iranian people are in the midst of their largest protests since the 2009 Green movement, and many on the Left don’t seem especially thrilled about the prospects of a free Iran. The muted reaction is partly due to a troubling trend of justifying and excusing Islamic fascism in a broader and confused attempt at signaling tolerance. But almost surely an even more powerful factor is the need to protect Barack Obama’s legacy and criticize Donald Trump.

While we don’t know what will happen in Iran, or what we can do about it, it’s clearer than ever that our funding, legitimatizing, and propping up the Iranian regime — one that is now killing peaceful protesters who are demanding economic opportunity, freedom, and secular governance — was morally and politically tragic. (This includes imaginary “moderates” and mullahs alike.) Rather than further isolating and economically stunting the regime, Obama gave it cover.

It’s important to debate, not because we need to re-litigate the past (although why not?), but Democrats still believe the Iran deal was worth it. Rather than unequivocally supporting a movement that demands freedom, the Obama administration’s Echo Chamber, initially silent, has some talking points for you.

Nothing to See Here

The initial coverage of these historic protests—or in some cases, the lack of it—was scandalous. The New York Times’s Thomas Erdbrink, in particular, veered into revolting Walter Duranty territory. Looking back at the paper’s coverage of Iran, it’s unsurprising.

“For many years,” the reporter wrote only last month, “many Iranians were cynical about their leaders, but that is changing thanks to Trump and the Saudi crown prince.” Every unfiltered report from Iran told a different story.

Actually, thanks to Trump, the Times’ coverage swerved unconvincingly from “The protests are only small and and not worth your attention’” to “These protests are about economic woes and have nothing to do with political disputes and are not worth your attention” to the “Violence is the protesters’ fault because they won’t listen to the regime’s calls for calm.” All of this is particularly offputting when you consider how hard some in the media worked to make the Iran deal a reality.

Be Quiet!

The first inclination of many liberals was to demand Americans shut up about a movement that demands self-determination and liberalism. Why? Whenever Trump fails to weigh in on a world event, the Left accuses him of implicitly endorsing fascism. Yet when the administration offers a statement condemning the Iranian regime, a long-time committed terror-supporting adversary of the United States, the same folks who daily call out Russian authoritarianism advise the president to ignore those protesting for freedom.

On the first days of the demonstrations, The New York Times ran an op-ed by former Obama administration official Philip Gordon, a long-term proponent of strengthening the regime’s “moderates,” arguing that the best thing Trump could do for the Iranians was to be quiet like Obama had been in 2009. This was repeated by a number of liberals, some claiming we had no moral authority to lecture anyone on freedom, which is, of course, absurd.

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