Finally, the imagery is beginning to crack around the phony president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The man who has appealed directly to American citizens while bashing President Bush at every calling, in an attempt to portray himself as a protector of freedom, of his Iranian regime as simple life-loving people, of developers of nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes and the calm pursuers of Middle East peace has been exposed by his own countrymen.
As usual, it is the students who lead the charge. On Monday, at the major academic learning center, Amirkabir University in Tehran, more than 1,500 students disrupted a speech by Ahmadinejad, throwing firecrackers and setting fire to photographs of him. They chanted “death to the dictator” and demanded the resignation of the current chancellor, Alireza Rahadi, a political appointee of “President” Ahmadinejad.
It is one of the first major public protests that have been lodged by the citizens of Iran since Ahmadinejad was “elected” a little more than a year ago. Will it be the last? That remains to be seen, and hopefully the world will be watching. The “President” had to cut short his speech and leave in a hurry as his security guards tried to stop the students from kicking in his car. Perhaps because it was such a public forum, the guards did not do anything really outrageous that might have been reported by the news media.
At least for now. But ever since the new regime took office, government pressure has increased severely on Iranians who have tried to actively promote a more open society. This year, hundreds of students, who have been identified as protestors, have been denied the right to take classes, and dozens of protesting professors have been dismissed. No doubt, the internal security bureaus were taking photographs and names on Monday with an eye to a major crackdown after this “bad” publicity dies away.
Just a week before this latest clash, more than 2,000 students protested, at Tehran University, what they see as increased repression at the hands of the Iranian government since Ahmadinejad’s take-over. Although this protest was just of the speaking variety, to speak out at all in Iran is dangerous and the force of these latest objections signaled out a fact which is already known by those who pay attention: things are not all right inside of Iran.
Nor should the West forget that the Iranian major reformist newspaper, Shargh, was shut down by the government in September and many of its journalists black-listed from working again in the Iranian media. It is true as well that this summer the conservative chancellor, Rahadi, who was the focus of the Monday demonstration by the students, had the office of the reformist student group, known as the Islamic Association, leveled by a bulldozer.
Of course, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had to respond to the protests that he knew were circulating around the University all week and in his Monday speech he predictably blamed the United States for all the wrongs in the world:
“Today,” he said “the worst type of dictatorship in the world is the American dictatorship, which has been clothed in human rights.”
Well, the human rights clothing in Iran is of the Lady Godiva style, and last I checked, no American University chancellor had a student organization building leveled.
Ahmadinejad went further, saying “Everyone should know that I am prepared to be burned in the path of defending freedom and truth.” Not a bad idea, I would think, but, of course, it is unlikely to happen. He says that “Our students are free and they fight and die but do not accept the foreigner’s mission or bend to them.”
Most likely the students will fight and die at the hands of their own brutal government and it is not the foreigners who try to bend the students, it is the Iranian government led by Ahmadinejad himself.
On the very day that this dictator lashed out at America once again, he was preparing to chair the anti-Holocaust Conference which he organized to bring together those dissenters who believe the killing of six million Jews by Hitler was pure fiction.
Yes, this Iranian nation is the one that our own Iraq Study Group (ISG) wants the United States to engage in “talks” about the future of Iraq and the whole mid-East theater. Their recent report lists Recommendation #9 as: “Under the aegis of the New Diplomatic Offensive and the Support Group, the United States should engage directly with Iran and Syria in order to try to obtain their commitment to constructive policies toward Iraq and other regional issues. In engaging Syria and Iran, the United States should consider incentives, as well as disincentives, in seeking constructive results.”
How pray tell can we get a “commitment” from Iran? And what good would it do with a government that does nothing but lie, accuse the United States of being a fraud, and now denies the Holocaust while leaving no doubt that they wish Israel to be leveled and completely annihilated?
Once again, it is time to remind America that we cannot negotiate with terrorists or terrorist states and of the latter group, Iran, at the moment, is definitely one. The brave Iranian students who risk everything by defying their own government certainly help to take the slick media imagery away from this brutal “leader” of the next nuclear-nation-to-be, Iran. The only negotiating we should be doing here is definitely of the “disincentive” variety, and we should consider setting the clock ticking on a very short hour by which time they either dismantle their nuclear facilities or we do it for them. Even better, however, would be for enough people inside the county to rise up and get rid of this emboldened dictator themselves.