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June 17th, 2009
09:37 AM ET

Expert: Iran's supreme leader could oust Ahmadinejad

Karim Sadjadpour tells CNN's John Roberts that Iran's supreme leader may be faced with a dilemma to sacrifice himself or President Ahmadinejad.

Karim Sadjadpour tells CNN's John Roberts that Iran's supreme leader may be faced with a dilemma to sacrifice himself or President Ahmadinejad.

Pressured by a fourth day of street protests, Iran is clamping down. Reporters have been confined to their rooms and they're jamming phones and radio transmissions in Iran.

Karim Sadjadpour is an Iranian expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He joined John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

John Roberts: Where do you see this ending?

Karim Sadjadpour: It’s difficult to say, John. A lot of it depends on what the opposition leaders decide they want to do. Certainly there's a tremendous sense of outrage in Tehran. Not only in Tehran, throughout the country there’s a tremendous sense of injustice that these young people have. At the same time, it’s a country which endured an eight-year war with Iraq. People are allergic to the prospect of further carnage and bloodshed and violence. But at the moment, I think there's truly a sense of outrage and I see these protests continuing.

Roberts: The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the government have told people to stay inside. The IRGC is saying if you put up certain materials on blog sites you could face legal charges. How big of a role is the Revolutionary Guard Corps and this paramilitary organization, the Basij, playing in trying to tamp down these protests?

Sadjadpour: They're playing a definitive role. But what’s been amazing is they haven't dissuaded people from going in to the streets. Historically, when the regime has announced that the Basij and the Revolutionary Guard are authorized to use force to shoot people, that will quell the protests. But so far, we haven’t seen the protests really quelled. The other day there were several hundred thousand people in Tehran. And it just gives you an idea of how outraged people feel that they're willing to go out in to the streets and risk their lives.

Roberts: And this ruling Guardian Council, which has said it will recount certain parts of the election. Of course, Moussavi and his supporters are calling for a new election. How far do you think they will go in that? Are they playing for time here, hoping all of the protests will die down and eventually people will get tired of going out in the streets and accept the results of the election? Or might this actually lead to a new election? Can they resist the will of the people?

Sadjadpour: The Guardian Council is not like our Supreme Court. It's not an objective entity. It's essentially under the hegemony of Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader. And I think Khamenei deferred to the Guardian Council simply as a tactical move to buy time. But Khamenei may be faced with a dilemma and it may be one day soon, whether to sacrifice President Ahmadinejad or sacrifice himself. Because it’s really gotten to the point where people are calling for the head of Khamenei. And this is unprecedented in the last 20 years.

Roberts: Khamenei has been supreme leader since 1989. This is, as you suggest, all about his survival as well. Right now he’s hitched his wagon to Ahmadinejad who's got the loyalty of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Basij. Can you foresee any circumstances under which he might, for his own survival, throw Ahmadinejad overboard?

Sadjadpour: I think it's certainly within the realm of possibilities. And I would argue, John, Ahmadinejad doesn't necessarily have the loyalty of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij. I was based in Iran for a couple of years and I spoke to many of these young people within the IRGC and Basij who recognize that this “death to America” culture of 1979 is obsolete today and Iran will never achieve its full potential unless there’s reform made in the political, economic, social realm. So I think we shouldn’t take for granted the fact that all of the regime’s shock troops are necessarily going to side with President Ahmadinejad.

Roberts: What will it take to initiate that huge fracture? As we see now, the Guard Corps and the Basij are on the side of the government.

Sadjadpour: We have to get inside the head of Ayatollah Khamenei…his world view is very clear. When you’re under siege, never compromise. Because if you compromise it’s going to project weakness. If he orders a mayor clampdown, I think we may start to see fissures within the regime’s shock troops.


Filed under: Iran
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Mr.Tibbs

    So Im working out in my local Gym...I have a choice between ESPN or CNN in watching events unfold in IRAN. I chose the latter, after all what Iran is expereincing is to a degree what the US faced in 2000. All be it not so bloody, but still controversial.

    I applaud the Iranian people who are willing to stand up for their rights to be heard. It's about time that IRAN become less a member of the "Axis of Evil" and more a citizen of the world. Good luck and welcome to the 21st century!

    June 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  2. rich

    This never would have happened with Bush Jr in the White House. His threats and bumbling policies required Iran and others to elect/maintain hard line leaders to protect themselves against perceived US aggression. With Bush and Cheney gone, the Iranian people realize they don't need a brutal regime any longer.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  3. shaun

    I hope that Ahmadinejad & the entire ruling elite in Iran are kicked to the curb by the people. But I also hoped the Magic would beat the Lakers..

    June 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  4. Julian Sanchez

    Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader both must be ousted!
    Give a new birth to the Iranian people.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  5. witg

    I had a dubious pleasure to live in communist Poland and I find some striking similarities between former communist regime in my country and the islamic rule in Iran today. To those who think that police and army will be firmly behind the regime imagine the following scenario: let's assume that some kids whose parents are high ranking officers in the Army or police got injured or killed in the demonstrations. What might the officers do? In such a volatile situation it takes one commander switching the sides and the others are likely to follow. This is why there has not been crackdown so far. I still believe that the regime tactics are to wait out the unrest and once people get tired begin arrests on a massive scale. Obviously, the risks involved are huge, because things may get out of hand in the process. Cracks may appear in the government apparatus before population get tired. Regime hardliners may come up with some provocations that will lead to widespread violence at any moment. This in turn will justify the crackdownd with all risks involved. In "normal" times, the Iranian regime has all means to control the population with the use of ideology, censorship, populistic slogans, covert threats and sparring arrests. These are not "normal" times though and the regime has no expertise in dealing with it. The probability of a fatal blunder is high. Whatever happens, the events that are taking place right now mark a turning point in Iranian history. Sooner or later, they will lead to the regime downfall.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  6. Bonesaw

    the start of a New World Order

    June 17, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  7. Todd Rules

    Avi Ben Shaul, you poor hopeless fool.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  8. Oosic

    I think our President nailed it when he said we aren't going to stick our noses in there; that's the Iranians business.

    nuf ced

    June 17, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  9. David

    @Todd,

    Of course he will still want to speak to the leadership of Iran regardless of who it is! Your argument and thought process completely misses the point. It's as if you're channeling the logic of Bush & Co.

    You can't make war against a government. You make war against a nation of people. The people of Iran are proving themselves to be open to the West (inviting it in, really), open to dialogue, and ready to punt the ruling religious right wing element (like we just did in America), and progressively minded.

    If we had followed McCain's call to "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran" we would have repeated the horrific mistakes of the past and alienated a large group of potential allies in the Middle East by killing a large number of civilians (as usual).

    Your kind of thought process is damaging to America and to our future just as racism and intolerance is. By opening channels of dialogue with Iran's leadership, we demonstrated an openness and tolerance of cultural differences which shows that America is what it says is it. Obama didn't say he was anxious to cave into Iran's demands and be politically man handled by them. All he said was that he wanted to talk. What harm comes in that? None. What good could come from it? Endless.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  10. elliott

    Who in their right mind believes that the Iranian people are protesting the election so valiantly that they are doing so because they are inspired by Barack Obama? please... gimme a break.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  11. Dave

    The Guardian Council is not like our Supreme Court. It’s not an objective entity. It’s essentially under the hegemony of Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader. And I think Khamenei deferred to the Guardian Council simply as a tactical move to buy time. But Khamenei may be faced with a dilemma and it may be one day soon, whether to sacrifice President Ahmadinejad or sacrifice himself. Because it’s really gotten to the point where people are calling for the head of Khamenei. And this is unprecedented in the last 20 years.

    UNBELIEVABLE. The Supreme Court is a VERY POLITICAL organization, objectivity hardly comes to mind. I mean the parallels here with the 2000 U.S. election are gut wrenching. The only INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE is that these ARROGANT well-to-do techno-dancing hip-wagging Andy Dick types yapping about a revolution and their upper middle-class can't go without my texting and twittering, because I'm so chique elitists are a SIGNIFICANT MINORITY in Iran who are trying to HI-JACK both this election and democracy from the majority.

    Why in the hell would Ahmadinejad or the Ayatollah Khamenei feel inclined to sacrifice themselves to betray a majority of Iranians?

    What kind of Iranian expert is this jackass?

    These people don't want a fair election, they want their votes to count triple of the blue collar working class Iranian vote. Either that or it's null and void, forget any re-counts or investigations of voter fraud unless it leads to the minority hijacking the election.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  12. John Bahran

    This is a response to Al Haidar, a non-Iranian Shiite. Khamenii, your so-called leader of all the Shiites, should be prosecuted for ordering to kill Iranians, in 1999 and now and in all the 20 years he has been the un-elected leader, imposing himself to the Iranian people by force.
    Iranian people at the precious cost of the lives of their youths want him, and the whole islamic Republic out of Iran.

    If you like him, you can have him. We don't want him.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  13. Milton Wolk

    I hope the hand-writing is on the wall and Pres. Obama sees it and speaks up in support of the brave, suppressed, Iranian people. They need our support, not utterings of permitting the Iranian people to make their own decisions, which is fine but I recall when the Kurds revolted against Sadam Hussein, they got a big zippo for Bush I. I hope Obama does not take that tack and play it safe. But, safe from what? Dealing with a big-mouthed, blow-hard, who surely won't back down on his nuclear development toward weaponry, nor his threat to destroy Israel. Obama can't have it both ways, there is no hedging of one's bets when it comes down to support an attempt to democratize a country which is a leader in terrorist activities, particularly in the middle east.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  14. JB

    Glad the president stood up for democracy and denounced the "extent of the fraud" and the "shocking" and "brutal" response of the Iranian regime.

    "These elections are an atrocity," he said. "If [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad had made such progress since the last elections, if he won two-thirds of the vote, why such violence?".

    Unfortunately this was Sarkozy while Obama expressed "concern".

    June 17, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  15. Dawn martin

    I say kudos to the people of Iran, and kudos to President Obama.
    This is how a smart leader leads. President Obama gave the Iranian people hope when he delivered his speech, and they are no longer afraid. This man is soooooooooooooo BRILLIANT.
    Good for them.
    Dawn.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  16. Rick from PA

    To "Neoperson"

    If you really think that GW's Axis of Evil comments have led to this unrest in Iran – you have got to be kidding! President Obama's ability to discuss through diplomacy rather than intimidate has planted the seeds of hope in the minds of the Iranian people.

    June 17, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  17. fmdog44

    Mullah screwed up by offereing free elections. Irregardless of the outcome of the protests the opposing forces had a tast of free elections and will NEVER FORGET. Mullahs, you done fuggede up.
    Freedom if only for a moment lasts forever. Long live the revolt!!

    June 17, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  18. Babak

    I think what we see in Iran is not just about candidates and I must add musavi who is now appears to being introduce as symbol of freedom or justice is not having such brilliant background, it was at his time that most young anti regime people where executed and imprisoned and people know it, Its just partly the choice between bad and worst but mostly this who thing is an excuse to demonstrate the peoples hatred of the regime in general. With in this frame people are hoping to challenge the authority of the regime and get the situation to the point where United Nations peacekeeping forces will be sent to Iran with support of international community to overthrow the regime and make a fundamental change.
    That’s exactly why they hope for president Obama to support them or guide them.
    This might be the last chance for Iranians at least for a long time.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  19. bjnj

    Let's send our rock star over to Iran to smile and wave (about all he can do.) Maybe he can charm the people into going home. Ya got a nut case in Iran and a rock star who thinks he can make a difference. Sad. BJNJ

    June 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  20. Hadley V. Baxendale

    I don't know what tomorrow, or next week, or next month will bring. I admire the Iranian young people for their courage. The Revolutionary Guard has all the guns. On the other hand, the Shah had all the guns in 1979, and the Shah is now on the ash heap of history. My hopes and prayers are with the young people of Iran The USA should not meddle. We did during the Eisenhower years and installed the Shah. That may have been a short-term solution, but was a long-term disaster as well as being morally wrong.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  21. Terry

    I love the protest signs written in English: "Where is my vote?" I hope the language and the message rattle the Ayatollah's cage.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  22. che

    And what does the Texan propose Obama do. It is not America's role to tell Iran how to run its affairs. I'm sure there was some fraud, but no one believes that Mousavi beat Ahmad, it's just a question of run-offs and margins.....so why not have the run-off if evidence emerges of vote rigging. That seems like a fair compromise.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  23. Gerard Lavallee

    The people of Iran want change, the right to choose, no more of this "Death to America", etc., etc.,

    June 17, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  24. independent Jim

    Based on what we hear in the press, even if the government changes it will have very little effect on Iran's foreign policy. This is more of a change internally related to individual freedom, women's rights, etc., and not to how Iran will handle its relations with the US, Europe, and Israel.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  25. Rick S

    I sat to all of you on any side of any argument being "discussed" here. The beat goes on.
    And on and on and on.
    get a life people, and worry about it. Not everyone elses. And heres another news flash for you no one really cares at all what your opinion is and and your opinoion is really just the same as your anus.....it dosent change anything and the rest of us wish that you would keep it to yourself.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  26. azadeh

    People of Iran have suffered a great deal ever since the Islamic Republic took over. Khomeini, Khamenai, Ahmadinejad or Mossavi they all are representing an Islamic government which has proven to be unjust, unfair and dictator. I am deeply saddened to witness all these blood being shed over another leader which is tie into Islamic government. It puzzles me that these brave people are not demanding the Islamic government to leave Iran once and for all.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  27. Ben

    Obama DID speak to Ahmadinejad when he spoke to the Muslum world in Cairo. He said (indirectly) The people should decide if they want to remain under Ahmadinejad's totalitarian rule or try a better (more humane) way.

    Quote:
    "I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles –
    principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings. I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. No single speech can eradicate years of mistrust,
    nor can I answer in the time that I have all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth." That is what I will try to do – to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart."

    June 17, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  28. Philip Squire

    One of the things I have not seen much reporting on is whether in fact there is evidence of fraud in the election. I have yet to see any definitive proof from any source that the election was fraudulent. I read a very good article on another site which reached the conclusion that as of yet there is no definitive evidence. What happens if it turns out the election wasnt fraudulent or have some people already reached that conclusion. Some pollsters say the results of the election are in line with polling.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  29. james

    everyone knows the only meddler in the region is israel. an Ahmadinejad victory is what israel wants and is what israel gets. israel cannot survive without an enemy and Ahmadinejad coninues this basterdized version of doing everything for "israel's security." don't believe me, go to the israeli papers of The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz. the cabinet ministers of israel publically announce how happy they are with an Ahmadinejad victory.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  30. John

    A real irony here is that Khamenehi is leader of all Shia in the world, not just Iran.....and we uprooted the Sunni's in Iraq(Hussein) and replaced them with the majority Shia, who are subservient to Khamenehi...............in other words we spent about a trillion to align Iraq with Iran's current leadership, when they were previously secular and more logically aligned with Sunni countries such as our "friends" in Saudi Arabia.......so just what was the long term political gain that we were so anxious to achieve in Iraq at a substantial cost? i.e. 1 billion $,s, 4000 US dead, 35,000 severely injured, 100,000 Iraqi's killed,,,,,,,,anyone still think that it was worth it??

    June 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  31. Eric

    Has anyone else noticed...? The North Koreans, provide a worldwide "smokescreen" with beligerant comments, nuclear weapon testing, and long range missle testing while a civil rebellion starts in Iran. Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  32. Tim Harris

    People need to remember that a statement in a speech by Frederick Douglass when he said "power concedes nothing without a struggle, it never did and never will".
    In order for the Iranians to control their destiny they need to recognize that there struggle will be long and hard. They need to understand that external support will be slow and deliberate but it will come. At the end of the day they will reap the rewards not us or anyone else outside Iran.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  33. Bill

    Todd, don't you think that Obama's speech in Egypt earlier this month, and his policy of using dialogue instead of rattling sabers for diplomacy has something to do with the protest by the opposition going on in Iran currently? Obama is inspiring change around the world. This never would have happened if president Cheyney was threatening to invade Iran every other week.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  34. werkerbee

    @Todd.....is that you Lou Dobbs?

    June 17, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  35. sonja

    alekinnyc- you are right that the US was involved in Iran's Revolution of 1973 but WE were responsible for ousting the Shah and bringing in Ayatollah Khomeini.Thank-you USA. The State Dept. of our fair land NEVER seems to know what it is doing. Secondly- how can you insist the election was fair and square? Wasn't monitoring it forbidden? Plus a host of discrepancies. But if you meant that Ahmahdinejad COULD have won the election, I think that would be fair to say. Maybe we all need to wait and get all the facts.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  36. Laura

    I have been just as outraged by the election results for the past 3 U.S. presidential elections, but since Americans are so apathetic and the government is so much like a police state, there is no outrage enough to make people take to the streets. Americans lack "balls"

    June 17, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  37. Avi Ben Shaul

    to todd rules: It is the members of the right wing republican party like you that have all but destroyed this country. Your holier than thou attitude, not to mention your my way or no way policies, have reeked havoc on our society and government. You, Cheney, Limbaugh and the rest like you, need to be deported back to nazi germany.
    avi

    June 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  38. The Texan

    So now we see how Obama works. Instead of sending troops, he plants the seeds of hope in the minds of the people of our enemies...and THEY fix things themselves. I'm impressed. We should have tried this before!

    June 17, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  39. Jer in Washington

    Assuming (1) that, as claimed, the election was rigged, and (2) that there is basically no enormous difference in the outlook of Moussavi and Ahmadinejad tho the former seems somewhat less belligerent about things, it would not seem strange if the Supreme Leader, after a quiet talk withthe latter, were to order a full, as distinct from limited, inquiry and discover, to his and the Guardian Council's great surprise, that there had been sufficiently large, but innocent, mistakes made in the original count to warrant declaring Mousavi the winner without a further election. Result: Faces are saved; no need for more contention about another election, no further demonstrations, and some, but not too many changes are made at the margins in the future. But if there is truly a large significant difference between the contenders, then more trouble ahead in Iran.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  40. Jon Robinson

    All current leaders of Iran need to be outsted. This will probably come to be naturally within the next 10 years anyway. The people of Iran are intelligent and well aware that they live in poverty while western countries thrive. They want the same way of life the western cultures have.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  41. Doug Malott

    So, Karim Sadjadpour calls himself an expert on Iran. Sounds more like a politician. It's totally ridiculous to think the supreme leader, who solidly
    backs the incombant president would ever throw him under the bus.
    Weakness and giving into mob rule is not in the cards here. What I expect
    is him to unleash his fanatical thugs to gun down women and children
    if demonstrations get out of hand. All the so called geniuses and know it
    alls haven't figured out the basics. This is a fanatical, religiously run Islamic regime with one thing in mind – controlling the Middle East. And just like the Japanese in WW11, there's only one way to stop them. It's not through the guise of a democratic { ha, ha, ha ] election Mr. expert.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  42. che

    If the opposition is so concerned about fraud, instead of calling for new elections wouldn't it make sense for them to call for a run-off. The protestors are behaving as if Mousavvi won the election and is destined to be Iran's next president. I'm sure there was vote-rigging in some place (not like it doesn't ahppen in the US), but Ahmad was clearly the favorite overall.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  43. n.Jamiel

    State of Tennessee. Why don't you secede then?

    June 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  44. Fred Jackson

    It is very interesting how the internet has helped the protesters in Iran this week. It shows how social networking has changed our world by making it smaller. It gives everyone a voice of their own, making thousands of everyday people frontline reporters, magnifying the messege.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  45. S Callahan

    Amazing......watching the will of the people rise....it's inspiring.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  46. Fred Jackson

    It's great to see the Iranian people challenging their government. Obviously these protests wont result in a massive shift toward western-style democracy. After the protests, I ran will still be a dictatorship. But these rallies show us that Iran's upcoming generation is one of peace and reason, contrary to what we have been led to believe in recent years. Maybe 15 or 20 years from now, when these college students are the ones in power, Iran will be a real democracy.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  47. FL

    This whole mess started about 5 years ago when Ahmadenejad was elected as President. Rafsanjani ran and lost the election which was rigged back then. When Ahmadenejad went on Iranian TV about two weeks ago in a televised debate between him amd Mosuavie, he let loose on Rafsanjani and his entire fmaily accusing him of corruption and so on and so forth. Rafsanjani has thrown all his power and money behin Mosuavie and it was shock to him and most Iranians to find themselevs stock with Ahmadenejad for another four years.

    I am trying to say is that this is "war" is between Khaminie and Rafsanjani which started more than 5 years ago before Ahmadenajd was elected. This war is now on full display for the whole world to see and it will be interesting to see which faction within the clerical regim will prevail.

    June 17, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  48. katherine

    To "who cares about Iran"
    Are you human???? didn't think so! Who do you think put them in this mess? The American and the british. The whole middleeast crisis is because that's the way West want it to be. it's business, and its called politics and Politic is dirty.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  49. Mezra

    Here is one hypothetical but plausible scenario by which the theological regime in Iran can bring the whole episode to an amicable conclusion.:
    The Guardian Council will take a few days to come up with a report that indicates there has been widespread fraud in the election process and the Supreme leader will angrily blame the administration of cheating the nation and orders the ousting of the "elected president". which is constitutionally within the realm of his authority, and delegate the presidency to the challenger, Mr. Mousavi.
    In this case the opposition will be silenced and he would save both face and authority. Just a thought!

    June 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  50. watchful Observer

    Being an Iranian-American, I applaud the courage of my fellow Iranian citizens. Enough is enough is enough. In reality, Iran is stuck with the totalitarian regime fnot matter who takes over the power. It would be naive to assume things will change dranstically and go back to the "good old days." That will never happen in our life time. However, the true messsage that the Iranians are sending is a whole lot more powerful than their choice of candidate. They are expressing their outrage and hatred of the current regime and this is a chance for them to express that. This effort alone requires the support of the outside world if we see increased signs of violance and bloodshed. We all know that if Ahmadinejad ends up surviving this, it will be revenge time for him and he will spare no one. God help all of us if that happens.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  51. Tim Dolan

    I am still partly undecided as to the actual vote, but given the following data points:
    – Mousavi announces based on poll workers call in that it appears he definately won the election
    – Then Ahmadinejad's croney's say Ahmadeninejad officially won, followed by announcements by Supreme Leader faster then handwritten votes could resonably be expected to come in.
    – Many votes appear to have not been counted.
    – returns do not match a lot of internal polling done by opposition candidates.
    – and then viscous crack down following election protests, instead of peaceful demonstration of proof Ahmadinejad actually won.

    I have to go with the election was probably fraudulantly stolen and thus the opposition is justified in their protests.

    Now how it all works out, not my call – just the Iranian's as it should be.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  52. Cyrus T.G.

    Totally agree with Mr. Sadjadpour. He has been very clear thinking in ananlyzing the situation in Iran. He also bases his analysis on facts and personal experience with the regime. Unlike that so-called analyst , Reza Aslan, who said on the day of the election that we shouldn't assume that the voting was stolen and the next day, said that it was "stolen". Reza Aslan has been, through out the years, advocating for the religious regime in Iran and calling it a democratic process and only now changes his tune when the winds blow the other way and the people expose the dictatorship. Reza Aslan said today, that the situation in Iran reminds him of the 1979 when he was in Iran, leaving out the fact that he was 7 years old back then!

    June 17, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  53. Goober Pea

    Oil is the real underlying issue here. The sooner somebody in the world develops reliable renewable energy, the sooner all these middle eastern countries and Chavez won't matter anyway. They won't have any money for nuclear proliferation nor any money to fund terrorism. We'll see how long all these mullahs and ayatollahs last then.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  54. Jaime

    I don't know what people get so worked up about. The right wingers will find a way to get Obama in this article. The leftist/centerish will want to see a revolution that will bring about democracy. The fact of the matter is that the young people in Iran want a healthy economy so that they can progress, get married, own a home, etc. If they get that, it doesn't matter who gives it to them, the clerics will remain and the people of Iran, young or old, will not object.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  55. James P. in Reno, NV

    I believe the current situation in Iran is much more similar to the events leading to the ouster of the Shah in 1979 than anything that happened in Germany in the 1930s. The Shah got tossed out because the people would not tolerate his presence any longer and the army and security forces refused to turn on the people. Once the Shah lost the backing of the military, he was through. I believe Mr. Sadjapour is correct – there could well be a fracture in the unity of the security forces. Once that happens, the people of Iran could well get the leadership that they deserve.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  56. Jorge

    It's hard to believe people like Todd exist. He doesn't GET IT, and he never will. He's still regurgitating the nonsense of the Republican presidential campaign from last year. I'm going to make this REALLY simple for you Todd, so that you might understand. Think of your workplace as a microcosm for the world; there is probably someone there that you don't like and doesn't like you. But you can't punch them in the face. You Can't kill them. You can't spit on them and badmouth them...NO, you have to TOLERATE this person, because they have a RIGHT to exist and have their own opinions as much as you do. So GROW up and get a CLUE as to what it means to be a decent human being and stop thinking the world revolves around you.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  57. jonf

    In 2000 Bush stole the election in the US, and we let the Supreme Court give it to him.

    in 2004 Bush stole the election again and we took it sitting down, and let him.

    it took till 2009 after we experienced the horrors of 2 Bush/Chaney regimes for us to regain democracy in America

    in 2005 Ahmadinejad stole the election in Iran
    in 2009 he and his allies are trying to do it again.

    Let us support the Iranian people in their struggle to have all their voices heard, and have a fair election.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  58. Nick

    I may be just another uninformed American, but as far as I can tell, the events going on in Iran have little or nothing to do with America. It is an Iranian internal matter, and will be decided by the Iranians, and I'm quite pleased to see President Obama staying out of it. Not every political development that occurs in the world revolves around the USA.

    Unless the situation turns to widespread violence and killings, the international community should allow the Iranian people to resolve this matter.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  59. Hamid

    I hear last night on CNN that Rafsanjani is in Qum and they may get rid of the Leader ( Khamenehi). I can not want to see that happening.

    Also there was a rally in Isfahan which you can see the pics at :
    http://www.twitpic.com/7mh7x

    June 17, 2009 at 1:30 pm |
  60. State of Tennessee

    I find it ironic that the Iranians appear ready to shed the chains of tyranny at the same time that the United States is rushing headlong in the direction of tyranny, all in the name of "change".

    June 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  61. Bman

    Stupid americans. Yes we support Democracy in Iran, as long as it serves our purposes. Yes we care about the people of Iran let's enslave them so we can enrich ourselves from their oil resources.
    Let's see there must be some other things we can do to "help" Iran.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  62. Bob

    I glad to see the people of Iran united for to take back their country. We American need to learn from them and take back ours.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  63. joe

    Todd, the reason the Iranian regime is in this situation is because Obama want's to "talk to them". The propaganda machine will no longer be able to use the "Great Satin" to quell the legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people. Think of Cuba. We've had 60 years of stalemate and divisions and the Cuban people have suffered. I argue the best way to change the regime in Cuba (and Iran) is to fully expose these populations to American goods, services, and ideas. This influence in their society would bring down those regimes in months as the people realize they should not feel threatened by us. All the best.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  64. John

    I have to believe that the younger people have a chance to make history. It is their turn to be heard and I praise them for speaking up. In their minds are am sure they are thinking of the next generation in Iran, their children, and they wish to create a society of opportunity and openness they can one day hand over. Regardless of race, color, creed of religious beliefs they are simply asking for basic rights of our human race ... I pray from them.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  65. Ali

    In 1979 the revolution was hijacked by the ayyatollahs, now is the chance to reclaim the revolution. Supreme Leader (Rahbare Enqelab) is just another word for Shah...

    June 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  66. Matt

    I thought this was a very interesting comment coming from an Iranian writing his lengthy comment on this post: "...Lets just give a hint to every body: Russia is one of the most unpopular countries in Iran because historically it has always betrayed us. Interestingly they are a good friend to Ahamdi nejad and Khamenei. Just to let you guys know more Putin was the only western president who went before Khamenei..." Explains the significance of Ahamdinejad going to Russia at this time.. and.. yeah.. well the dislike/anger of the Iranian people

    June 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  67. suzy

    To Mr. or Mrs. "who cares about Iran". Of course we use their oil. We have been using it for years. and of course any change in their actual government will effect us and the rest of the world, and of course we can have better political relations with Iran or any other country that is fighting for freedom and for democracy. And also you should realize, if you are a little informed about the politics, a big part of the mess in the Mid east is the West ( particularly the US) responsibility, since we want to have some control in the region for our own energy issues.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  68. D. A. Reuter

    There should be a day that everyone in the world wears green as show of solidarity.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  69. Goat

    Just to qualify, I don't agree with Todd. However, what I find most telling is that those of you that are most vocal about talking things out before resorting to "bashing" and passionate about personal freedom and liberty are also quite adamant about bashing ideas and quelling the freedom to express opinions. The central purpose of dialog is to share differing views. Seems hypocritical to promote civilized talk with a nation that has for decades expressed distain for Americans when you can't even respect the opinions your own countrymen. "GET OVER IT!" is just the soft form of "SHUT UP!". Progress will only come when both sides of this argument get over themselves. Open dialog can only happen with open minds.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  70. Rick

    Narrow-minded ideologues like Todd miss the point... Jessica gets it...

    Some simply want to blame Obama for every ill he inherited. I believe we need look no further than Iran to see that the hope experienced by many of us (including some of us Republicans) when Obama was elected has spread beyond our borders.

    It seems to me the same ideologues who call themselves "right" and "patriotic" are all hoping the opposition to Khameini and Ahmadinejad fizzles out... so they can somehow blame that on Obama as well.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  71. Dan R,

    Actually, this whole situation reminds me of Romania in 1989 under Nicolai Chaucescu (forgive my spelling, please). If these protests continue, then at some point Khameni is going to have to order his military to crack down, just like Chaucescu did. And just as was the case in Romania, substantial segments of the security forces may refuse to turn their guns on the people and instead turn them on Khameni and Ahmedinijad. At that point, you may well have an open civil war in Iran between the majority who wants change and a violent minority who has a vested interest in the status quo.

    What I'm hoping may happen is that someone like Rafsanjani may make a move against Khameni and then call for a new election that will truly be on the up & up.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  72. J

    KUDOS to the people or IRAN......The world supports you and you should have your voice heard! Don't give up on what you believe in CHANGE is apon all of you for the better.

    Its time to shed the 'old thought process' and bring leaders in who are aware and understand relevant topics that are in this world today.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  73. n.Jamiel

    KirksNoseHair: The rumor is Obama has ordered Zicam into the nation's water supply, our national sense of smell and taste is in jeopardy!!

    June 17, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  74. buckwheat

    One thing about the Iranian election it did not take two years to count the votes.We should have computers that fast.. The only hanging chads that might be will be voters who voted againest their present ruler.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  75. MrDore2u

    I wonder if Obama is at all bothered that he wanted so badly to talk to these guys?.. It is a democracy ya know..

    Once again folks.. remember.. 20cents of every dollar you put in your gas tank goes to fund Al Quada and buy one more Katusha for Hammas..

    Le'ts see.. Iraq we thought was gonna build a bomb.. so we went to war.. Iran we KNOW is building a bomb.. so.. we do nothing.. and North Korea is weaponizing Plutonium.. again.. we do.. nothing.. Did I miss something here?

    June 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  76. J Blake

    This election confrontation is basically who should have more say in the direction of Iran, the metrourban (more techno savy, highly educated citizen) or the rural, small town (keep things as they are, leave me alone, don't tax me citizen). Moussavi has the support of 60% of Tehran and at least 50% in the other large cities, even Ahmadinejad achknowledges that. But Ahmadinejad has the support of 75% or more in the rural areas and towns. Since the rural areas and towns still make up roughly two-thirds of Iran's population, this has lead to the age old democratic election war of rural vs. urban population and the different values and ideology between the two. We have had that oursleves throughout our history. The problem here is the international media who are urbanites and the western pro-zionist nations are fueling the fire and the ego of Moussavi and his supporters, hoping for a sort of peaceful coup de tat. Hoping that if it happens the new regime will be more submissive to International will.
    (Did you notice that Moussavi's facial appearance suggests a strong Jewish ethnic background).
    By the way I support Israel as a state, I just think they and the Palestinians should come to terms and become one big happy family, (they are all cousins anyway). I think if they all would joined back to one nation with maybe 4 territories (Israel, Palestine, Gaza and a new Jewish one lets call it Judah, the hardliners can settle there) the population would be 50/50 give or take. Imagine how powerful that nation would be. That is of course why many nations in the region do not want the Israelis and Palestinians to ever get together, as it would create a economic/financial juggernaut that would control the middle east.

    June 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  77. Beuleh

    What's the big deal about an election in Iran? Didn't the US Supreme Court steal an election for Bush? And yet it's so quick to criticize other nations as corrupt. Hypocrisy.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  78. Carlos

    Marc, even if the protesters are a minority, we should support them. Any time a SECULAR group wants to take control from religious fundamentalists, I am all for it.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  79. Murthy

    Why every country is only focusing on Iran when everyone is facing problems.It is ridiculous.Wheather one is moderator or another is a dictator,some how they or the country will move on.Just forget about Iran and start focusing on the devolopment of there own country.First of all Iran is not a threat to any country.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  80. buckwheat

    The Iranian people are getting smarter and we are getting dumber. I base that on 72 years of observation and not from Liberal written news.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  81. BK

    We should all support he people of Iran for having the courage to stand up to a modern day Hitler and religious totalitarians. If only people in the US had the same motivation to rebel against Bush's sham "election" the first time, we would not be in the mess we are in today. But considering Iran's precarious state we should completely crush them economically right now and help the people topple these terrorist supporters. If we blockade them by air and sea they will not last long at all. If these oil pirates fall so will Hezbollah and other Iran proxies. This is a better alternative to Israel torching this country right before they achieve nuclear rocket launch capability....

    June 17, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  82. buckwheat

    The only smart statement I have heard Obama say is let the Iranians settle it. If we get mixed up in it we will be obligated to make Iran another welfare friend. We have made too many friends now all over the world. We Americans have enough trouble now without sticking our noses in other people's business and we have enough might to make it mighty costly if someone attacks. It is a hell of a lot easier to fight a nuclear armed country than it is to fight a prolonged ground war if you fight it like those bastards would and not worry about collateral damage. Remember the anointed one campaigned on the Iraq war and said we would be out in 90 days if he was elected. We are still there.His thinking is to talk them to death. Aint working in the good Democrat approved war in Afghanistan either. Remember they kicked the Ruskies ass out of there and they are not paying war debt now as we are.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  83. Richard

    Iran has been a pot that has been ready to boil over for years. Ahmenjiad STOLE THE ELECTION . there has been dissatisfaction with the ayatollahas for years and now it's coming home to roost. i have heard Iranians who live here in the US say on talk shows that this has been simmering for some time.So i hope it continues and that the reformers can get into power. Bringing in iran to the real world makes the world a safer place.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  84. Bill from Va Beach

    There's a lot of comments from people with American sounding names that sound amazingly in-line with the ruling government of Iran... Like 'Mike in NYC' saying:

    "There’s also the implicit assumption that Ahmadinejad did not receive the votes of a majority of Iranians, which is doubtful."

    I'd bet a paycheck all of them were really in Iran working for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad getting paid to make it sound like they actually have people in the world on their side.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  85. Sammy

    I really think Sadjadpour has no clue on what goes on in Iran. Stop the BS and read between the lines. There is no way that Khamenei will over turn the result for one simple reason: Moussavi is considered as a pro-west leader and that is a huge huge problem for the revloution. Therefore, he will go and Ahmadi & Khamenei will remain and don't be surprised if Moussavi goes to jail because he is rioting his supporters against the regime.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  86. G Man

    The people of Iran (99.9% of them) are ordinary people and want freedom and to have their voice heard as the law allows. Iran is the simple case of good people with a terrible government that runs the country into the ground. It looks like they have had enough.....Ayatollah Khamenei had to know what Ahmadinejad was doing or is Khamenei so out of touch with his country that he had no idea what was going on? End result....one of them looses their power....it will be interesting to see which one (Ahmadinejad or Khamenei) retains their power. If Khamenei is as strong as everyone says, Amadinejad is on borrowed time. If there was fraud, by this point Khamenei definitly knows about it so what will he do..........What country will Amadinejad run to and claim political asylum.....maybe Russia?

    June 17, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  87. Michael from NE

    It seems to me that the situation can develop along two different scenarios. One is the scenario that unfolded in Tiananmen Square with the slaughter of the protestors bringing back a semblance of stability. The other is that which unfolded in Moscow in August 1991 when the protestors protesting the attempted coup brought down the Soviet government and ultimately the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The situation, as I read it now, has more similarities to the Moscow situation if one takes into account that the Beijing protests lacked a leader to act as a focal point for the protests. Moscow, however, had a Yeltsin to seize the moment, which he did. One should watch to see if Moussavi can exploit an analogous situation.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  88. Jim Gaines

    Todd:
    You idiiot! It is Obama's willingness to talk that has set off this demonstration. This is how democracy is spread – not by invading a soverign nation like Iraq based on lies. Are you really so blind as to not see this?
    Support our President and our government.
    Jim

    June 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  89. lovet i umesi

    If only America can learn to take care of themselves and stop thinking they have this monopoly right to police every other nation of the world.
    The P of America has enough on his plate already, let Iran sort themselves out, the POTUS is capable of talking to whoever that is at the helm. Doing anything will be seen as interference. I wonder what Pres. Obama has to do with all these.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  90. che

    Obama is smart. What right does the US have to interfere in another country's election. Iran is not a baby. It sort of reminds me of all those Iraqi and Afghanistan dissidents asking for the US to help solve their problems, when the US invasions have been utter failures and solve not much. Sure Saddam is gone but at what price to innocent life? And for what since Saddam was willing to leave anyway!

    June 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  91. KirksNoseHair

    Geez, can't you Republicans stop knee-jerk blaming Obama for every single negative world event for one single moment?

    I didn't enjoy my lunch today, it was undercooked, is that Obama's fault too?

    June 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  92. Jason

    As Todd stated earlier in this post. Blame Obama. Why in fact I think we should adopt the Bush/Cheney approach and kick their door in. Lets invade. Why stop there? Why, I am pissed off with my neighbor and should stop talking to him. In fact I should hire my own private army and kick his door in. Also, since the Democrats and Republicans cant seem to get along, maybe each group should hire some private armies and they should invade each others offices. We should in fact hire more people like Todd to run our country. In fact we should have marriage, financial, drug, and school counselors all with Todds philosophy of lets not talk to each other and see much more we can screw things up.

    As for Who cares about Iran, WE DO USE IRANIAN OIL. Iran has the second most oil reserves behind Russia. They sale their oil on the global market where we buy our oil. We also receive a majority of our oil from our insane friend Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Maybe whoever wrote that post should go back to school.

    Now, I am neither a Republican or Democrat but a Rebulocrat. Sorry, I think both parties are insane and are turning this great country into a third world country. Both parties have promised that when they fart their gas will smell like roses, well I am still waiting, because the whiff I am catching still smells like S–T. Both of these parties need to sit down and talk and not play football. Politics is not a game, people die because these punks dont wanna talk. These politicians would rather see who wins this round and dont care for the ramifications. As for Todd, Dont blame Obama. Hes been in office for what four months. Thats like blaming Bush for 9/11. Blame Congress for not doing the things they were supposed to do.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  93. che

    It is not clear that Ahmad. would have lost to Mousavvi. The telephone polls indicate that Ahmad. had a 2 to 1 advantage over Mousavvi, and that Ahmad carried the suburbs.

    It almost seems as if the opposition protestors in Iran are trying to stage a coup. why NOT just count the votes in the disputed areas. Ahmad was going to win anyway, the issue was whether there would need to be a run-off election.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  94. Todd Rules

    Todd, seems that the kind, fun loving, always considerate left doesn't like you. Well, I like you, as a matter of fact; I am taking your side in this. Obama was very quick to put down Israel, but has nothing bad to say about Iran. Why not? Because he is hoping by doing exactly what he (Obama) is doing to our country, that he can turn us into a totalitarian state. Obama is becoming friends with all of the South American Dictators. Smiling with them, telling jokes, sending representation to their inaugurations. Not to mention bowing down to the Middle East Kings. He loves that way of life. He has spent his whole career working to this point. Starting with his job with Acorn, forcing banks to give subprime and high risk loans (yes, he was involved), and going out into the community and getting the low income areas fed up with "those rich people" (which he is one of). Centralizing banks, taking over private industry, stomping all over the constitution… I guess I could go on all day, but you Obama clones wouldn't listen anyway. Let me quote Obama's response to this "Well, that's just not true” and you will say "Yeah, he said it isn't true"....suckers....

    June 17, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  95. marcus

    In my opinion, if this keeps up in Iran, the regime is going to fall like a house of cards.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  96. chuck

    Iranians are not very bright. They should not be arguing over whether the pot or the kettle wins the election. They need to burn down the stove that holds the pot and kettle and get a new stove,pot, and kettle. And no it should not be a religiously indoctrinated militant stove.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  97. kyle from ohio

    Todd, you know the movie Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, Which role is the USA to take in the world, the Darth Vader role did not work over the last 8 years. give me Luke Skywalker.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  98. Simon

    Khamenei's way out is to find a scapegoat. In order to be deflected, the popular anger also needs to be directed.

    What's needed instead is an individual who can be pinned with the "fraud" blame – and who then can be the lightening rod for the protests.

    The first attempt at this was to blame the foreigners – the media, the United States, Europe and/or Israel. What's clear is that the Iranian public isn't buying it – they know that the problem is an internal one, not an external one.

    The next step is to present an internal head to the crowd. Painting Ahmadinejad in this light would be difficult, but not impossible (and it would invite unrest from the conservatives). So instead expect a senior election official to be found "guilty" of manipulating the results, although probably "not enough to change the outcome".

    Given that it was the Interior Ministry that announced the too-quick and too-lopsided-to-be-believed numbers, I would think Sadegh Mahsouli to be on the short list of scapegoat candidates.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  99. Alfred

    I certainly hope the people's will in Iran is recognized. Only then will Islam stop being the maligned was of life that it is.

    It is also quite hypocritical of the current administration to say anything about the Iranian elections considering that our current glorious leader bought the presidency lock, stock and barrel. Perhaps we wil see this type of reaction in the US during the 2012 election.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  100. Matt

    When will people wake up and see the truth – religion is a sham! If Allah was truly omnipotent and mindful of his so-called faithful, they wouldn't need to rig elections and attempt to block free speech. Iran's so-called theocracy is nothing but an oligarchy by a deluded few. I hope the young people their recognize the truth and throw off the yoke of these old men who want to use them to perpetuate the myth of their religion.

    June 17, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
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