Home/Daniel Larison/Why Hard-liners Recycle Myths About the Green Movement in Iran

Why Hard-liners Recycle Myths About the Green Movement in Iran

Jennifer Rubin must think that Obama has done a very good job as president:

Perhaps the greatest failing of the Obama administration was its inability and-or unwillingness to grasp the import of Iran’s Green Revolution and to support its aims [bold mine-DL].

American hard-liners’ failure to understand what the “aims” of the Green movement were would be funny enough by itself, but it is even more ridiculous when one realizes that their complaining about a “missed opportunity” in 2009 is part of an effort to denounce any and all negotiations with the new Iranian president, who has shown some interest in talking. Obama has been faulted for not doing enough to support the Green movement, which the U.S. couldn’t have constructively aided anyway, but this criticism is almost always linked to a completely false understanding of the Green movement’s goals. These goals were much more modest and specific to their own political grievances than the fantasy of overthrowing the government that Western Iran hawks projected onto them. This is a reminder that hard-liners’ interest in the Green movement hinges on the false view of the movement as a regime-toppling instrument and the desire to blame Obama for “abandoning” a protest movement to its oppressors.

It is no accident that every policy that American hard-liners have favored towards Iran inflicts harm on the civilian population, impoverishes the middle class, weakens the political opposition, and strengthens the grip of the current regime on Iranian society and the economy. Reducing or eliminating sanctions would start to undo some of that damage, or at least it would stop causing more of it, and it could provide an opening for reducing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Of course, hard-liners in the U.S. and in Iran flourish when these tensions are high, which is why they seek to ensure that they remain that way. Perpetuating the illusion that they have the Iranian opposition’s interests in mind is just one part of that.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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