Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Taint of Nothing

The Iranian government is edging up the open violence against the recent surge of protests:

Iranian security forces intensified their crackdown on anti-government supporters Tuesday, arresting relatives of the country's Nobel laureate and the main opposition leader, and limiting the movement of another top opposition leader.

As it has been for the last six months, the administration's response is muted in the hope that we can yet negotiate a grand bargain with the mullahs over their nuclear programs. Many defenders of our policy deny we are throwing the protesters under the bus, but that we are being nuanced by avoiding "tainting" the protesters by associating our government with the protest movement. Which is funny, in a way, since apparently President Obama taints American help for the oppressed as much as President Bush did. Who knew?

But I digress.

Despite our refusal to seriously condemn the Iranian regime or support the protests with any visible sign from the White House, the Iranian regime manages to throw the "taint" right on the protesters:

Iran also accused the U.S. and Britain of fomenting the recent violence, threatening to "slap" Britain in the face as it summoned the British ambassador to an urgent meeting. Clashes on Sunday left at least eight people dead in a confrontation that has become an increasingly bitter and violent.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shrugged off Sunday's protests as "a play ordered by Zionists and Americans" and criticized Barack Obama and Britain for allegedly supporting the protesters.

Huh. Who knew the president was linked to the Zionists? The NeoCons are everywhere, apparently.

On the bright side, after our president extended his open hand in friendship to the mullahs, the Iranians have finally unclenched that fist!

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki threatened unspecified retaliation against Britain.

"If this country does not stop its prattling, it will receive a slap in its face," he said during a news conference with his Somali counterpart. The quote was posted on the Web site of state TV.

A slap to the face! That requires an open hand, no? It was for the British, but still, I'm sure our State Department will call this a success!