Daniel W. Drezner

Why yes, there is some ill-informed commentary on Iran

The first two paragraphs of "Will Iran be President Obama’s Iraq?" by Flynt Leverett, Hillary Mann Leverett, and Seyed Mohammad Morandi:  Although bloody images continue to be replayed on American television, the protests that broke out in Tehran following Iran’s presidential election on June 12 are, predictably, dwindling. They are fading because further demonstrations would ...

The first two paragraphs of "Will Iran be President Obama’s Iraq?" by Flynt Leverett, Hillary Mann Leverett, and Seyed Mohammad Morandi: 

Although bloody images continue to be replayed on American television, the protests that broke out in Tehran following Iran’s presidential election on June 12 are, predictably, dwindling. They are fading because further demonstrations would no longer be about alleged election irregularities but, rather, would be a challenge to the Islamic Republic itself — something only a small minority of the initial protesters support.

While the protests are subsiding, days of round-the-clock, ill-informed commentary in the United States have helped to “sell” several dangerously misleading myths about Iranian politics. Left unchallenged, these myths will inexorably drive America’s Iran policy toward “regime change” — just as unchallenged myths about Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ties to Al Qaeda paved the way for America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Leverett’s certainly provide one possible reason for the dwindling number of protestors. 

But… um… how to put this… could another reason be the fact that, last week, the police and Basij did little to interfere with the daylight protests, whereas this week the organs of the Iranian state have made it clear that they are prepared to kick the ever-living s**t out of demonstrators? 

As Andrew Sullivan points out, the degree to which the Leveretts seem genuinely giddy about Ahmadinejad staying in power is bordering on the bizarre. 

The first two paragraphs of "Will Iran be President Obama’s Iraq?" by Flynt Leverett, Hillary Mann Leverett, and Seyed Mohammad Morandi: 

Although bloody images continue to be replayed on American television, the protests that broke out in Tehran following Iran’s presidential election on June 12 are, predictably, dwindling. They are fading because further demonstrations would no longer be about alleged election irregularities but, rather, would be a challenge to the Islamic Republic itself — something only a small minority of the initial protesters support.

While the protests are subsiding, days of round-the-clock, ill-informed commentary in the United States have helped to “sell” several dangerously misleading myths about Iranian politics. Left unchallenged, these myths will inexorably drive America’s Iran policy toward “regime change” — just as unchallenged myths about Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and ties to Al Qaeda paved the way for America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Leverett’s certainly provide one possible reason for the dwindling number of protestors. 

But… um… how to put this… could another reason be the fact that, last week, the police and Basij did little to interfere with the daylight protests, whereas this week the organs of the Iranian state have made it clear that they are prepared to kick the ever-living s**t out of demonstrators? 

As Andrew Sullivan points out, the degree to which the Leveretts seem genuinely giddy about Ahmadinejad staying in power is bordering on the bizarre. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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