[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"]
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
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