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Bush Alienates Iranian Public

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According to a report by McClatchy, Vice President Cheney is pushing for military strikes on Iran, initiating a debate within the Bush administration between hardliners and more moderate voices. The article states that the president has not yet decided on military strikes against Iran.

An examination of his press conference from August 8 (see clip below), suggests that the president is pushing for economic warfare in combination with stepped up rhetoric toward the Iranian leadership and—quite recklessly—toward the Iranian people. In the region, the Iranian public is undoubtedly among the most pro-American, and with continuing erosion of the US world image, among regional allies and world opinion in general, Iran is a potentially valuable friend to US efforts in the region.

In accordance with the suggestions of experts such as the Iraq Study Group and signs of Iran’s desire for improved relations with the US, the two countries recently held three rounds of unprecedented talks regarding the stability of Iraq—which can set the groundwork for gradually easing hostilities and discussing the legitimate concerns between the two sides.

With this in mind, the president’s comments toward the “Iranian people” raise questions regarding the wisdom and coherence of the administration’s policy toward Iran. By chastising and threatening to deny them their “rightful place in the world,” the president alienates not only the Iranian government—thereby undermining the efforts of Ambassador Crocker—but, more importantly, the public, unifying Iran’s public behind the government.

My message to the Iranian people is, you can do better than this current government; you don’t have to be isolated; you don’t have to be in a position where you can’t realize your full economic potential. And the United States of America will continue to work with our friends and allies in the Security Council and elsewhere to put you in a position to deny you your rightful place in the world, not because of our intention, because of your government’s intention.

Farideh Farhi points to the potential effects of the president’s blunder here.

Just imagine what the Iranian government and its Ministry of Intelligence which just a couple of days ago warned Iranian citizens about the multiple ways the American government is trying to cause political and economic instability and insecurity in Iran will do with these words.

Watch a short summary of the president’s press conference below.

Irancove @ August 11, 2007

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