December 28th, 2009
12:21 PM ET

Can The U.S. Aid Protesters in Iran?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/28/iran.protest.jpg caption="Police motorcycles burn as an Iranian opposition protester aims a stone at security forces during clashes in Tehran"]

Max Fisher
The Atlantic

The "green movement" protesters at the center of unrest in Iran are seen as liberal, pro-democracy and friendly to America and the West. As protests and the Iranian government's backlash continue to escalate, many in the U.S. are searching for how America can best help the protesters in their cause. Iran's leadership, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, have been the target of much pressure from the West, which seeks to halt Iran's growing nuclear program. Sanctions have been under discussion since the discovery of an Iranian nuclear weapons program in September. But leaders of Iran's green movement still join with Khamenei in protesting sanctions. Is there anything the U.S. can do?

* U.S. Intervention Harms Protesters The Washington Note's Steve Clemons cautions, "The United States needs to be very cautious - and not do anything on the ground in Iran that would allow the incumbent government to to evade "the death to the dictator" chants directed at it by distracting the country with evidence of credible external interventions."

* Only Finely Targeted Sanctions Would Work Spencer Ackerman reports the White House's growing fear that sanctions could hurt the protesters. "Green leaders like Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Kerroubi have staked out an even more nationalistic stance than President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, urging him to reject a deal offered by the Obama administration that would tamp down international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program." Ackerman notes that sanctions limited to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps are considered more viable.


Filed under: Iran
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. James

    I agree with the first comment in that we need to keep out of Iran. The people there will determine their own fate, and the fate of their country and leaders. Just as we had to fight for our freedom so shall they, and even though our hearts will be with those who wish to have freedom, we still must let freedom blossom on its own.

    Freedom is watered with the blood of patriots, and those who shed their blood for freedom in Iran will become the heroes those people need. The people of Iran will win their freedom if they want it bad enough, and the fact that there are people willing to die for the right to protest says that this revolution could be well on its way.

    December 29, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  2. Marjan

    We have had negative past experience with Iranian regime,never with the people.Now we see deffensless people being killed in a cry for freedom. If we believe in freedom,it does not matter what part of the world,WE SHOULD HELP. We have learned that diplomacy has never worked with this regime. A government who opens fire on it's own peoplw has no qualms about using nuclear weapons on others.

    December 29, 2009 at 1:05 am |
  3. James Goble

    It's not so much a matter of sanctions as it is of keeping the Iran regime in the world's consciousness. This might involve citizen protests in the USA and other countries. We might take lessons from the struggle for South African majority rule.

    December 28, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  4. karen

    we had to gain our own independance from britian, hopefully the fight in iran wont be that long. east germany has fallen, russia and alot of other dictators. we need to keep posting all the pics from iran, and tell iran they ar ebeing watched very carefully

    December 28, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  5. Bryan Haslam

    Sure, let's concern ourselves with matters overseas while our elderly are booted out of their homes and into the cold streets, our borders are wide open and illegals are crossing it in droves, our country is flat broke.......should we not concentrate our efforts domestically?

    December 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  6. Mari

    Sure we may all want to help. BUT........ Democracy AND Freedom MUST BE fought for and born in the hearts and minds of a nation! We can not import Freedom & Democracy.

    We fought for our Freedom, now its Iran's turn! Eventually it will be China's turn.

    Again...... we can not import nor demand that a nation become Free or Democratic, the People of that nation must do that themselves.

    We will support you, Iran, with our prayers and the words of our President.

    December 28, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  7. Shiva

    YES! somebody has to do something about it!!! And there is no better and more powerful country than the United Stated, This is Iran's cry for help after 30 years! I hope that the world will come to rescue before this regime kills all of its people 🙁 its beyond sad!!

    December 28, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  8. Tim Gibson

    As a nation we should have learned our lesson with Iran from our past involvement in the politics of the people. It is not our place to become involved on the ground in any fashion.

    With that said, I personally do not feel sanctions will curb the intent of Iran to develop nuclear energy for the means of WOMD. Our best defense in a proactive defense of our own national borders and air space.

    December 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Melissa

    Look, keep out of it. Democracy given by another country has no meaning. If they want Democracy, they will need to seize it themselves so that they actually value it. The United States has no business getting involved in every war on the planet.

    December 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm |