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Read Roger Cohen’s Report From Tehran

Saturday, June 20, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

From his new column:

Khamenei has taken a radical risk. He has factionalized himself, so losing the arbiter’s lofty garb, by aligning himself with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against both Mir Hussein Moussavi, the opposition leader, and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a founding father of the revolution.

He has taunted millions of Iranians by praising their unprecedented participation in an election many now view as a ballot-box putsch. He has ridiculed the notion that an official inquiry into the vote might yield a different result. He has tried pathos and he has tried pounding his lectern. In short, he has lost his aura.

Cohen candidly admits what is the truth about the situation for everyone participating in it and certainly for media “covering” it in the haphazard ways that happen when totalitarians control the media: “I don’t know where this uprising is leading. I do know some police units are wavering.”

Would that Cohen’s last statement be true and not just a wish.

The first YouTube video that shows the first police/IRG/Army unit on the side of the protestors will be the moment at which we will know that the June 12 Revolution is closing in on triumph. If the power holding up Khamenei and Ahmadinejad fractures even a bit, the crumbling could be as rapid as happened in Eastern Europe in 1989.

The possibilities for the region if Iran became democratic are almost too great to imagine, with the greatest of them being the avoidance of any sort of conflict between Israel and the mullahs. CNN and FoxNews have gone wall-to-wall today on the turmoil, and it deserves every minute of it. President Obama’s statement today was a big step in the right direction, and tomorrow’s Sunday shows will hopefully provide more evidence of the Administration’s decision to throw in with the forces for freedom.

The tweets at #iranelection are painful to read, and the videos of the beatings and the murders are a testament to the amazing courage of the protestors who are laying down their lives for freedom. It is an incredible and moving drama, and one that will profoundly impact the lives of every American.

For background, see the two articles by Mark Steyn and Reuel Marc Gerecht below, and visit the Transcripts page for conversations from this week’s show with Steyn and Gerecht as well as Rich Lowry, Stephen Hayes, Christopher Hitchens, Victor Davis Hanson, Claudia Rosett, John Podhoretz, Michael Totten, Michael Rubin, Bill Kristol, and Michael Ledeen.

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