Iran and the clarity of reality

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Iran and the clarity of reality

One of my favorite lines in The Screw­tape let­ters is let­ter 13 and it con­cerns real­ity:

The char­ac­ter­is­tic of Pains and Plea­sures is that they are unmis­tak­ably real, and there­fore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touch­stone of real­ity. Thus if you had been try­ing to damn your man by the Roman­tic method — by mak­ing him a kind of Childe Harold or Werther sub­merged in self-​pity for imag­i­nary dis­tresses — you would try to pro­tect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five min­utes’ gen­uine toothache would reveal the roman­tic sor­rows for the non­sense they were

When pres­i­dent Bush referred to Iran as part of an Axis of Evil he was widely derided one of the calmer state­ments was from the BBC:

Dis­senters from Washington’s “axis of evil” say that the con­cept can only rad­i­calise Tehran fur­ther, make the work of Iran­ian mod­er­ates and reformists far harder and in the long run desta­bi­lize the region.

as for Iran­ian Nukes

Less easy to estab­lish is Washington’s asser­tion that Iran is attempt­ing to acquire weapons of mass destruc­tion, includ­ing nuclear weapons, that might threaten the US and its allies.

Ah those care­free days of 2002; but we can see as recently as Feb­ru­ary of this year see a US “realist’s” rose col­ored view of Iran:

Despite grow­ing con­cern about the régime’s sus­pected nuclear weapons pro­gram, Iran’s assis­tance in the war on ter­ror­ism, and the grad­ual evo­lu­tion of lib­eral thought there puts it in a dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory from Iraq or North Korea, Deputy Sec­re­tary of State Richard L. Armitage said in an inter­view. “The axis of evil was a valid com­ment, [but] I would note there’s one dra­matic dif­fer­ence between Iran and the other two axes of evil, and that would be its democ­racy. [And] you approach a democ­racy dif­fer­ently,” Armitage said.

Well Mr. Armatage here is your “democ­racy” burn­ing in the streets. Lets check with Chris Hitchens first on the nukes:

Men­tion of the Lebanese elec­tions impels me to pass on what I saw with my own eyes at a recent Hezbol­lah rally in south Beirut, Lebanon. In a large hall that fea­tured the offi­cial atten­dance of a del­e­ga­tion from the Iran­ian Embassy, the most luridly dis­played poster of the pro-​Iranian party was a nuclear mush­room cloud! Under­neath this telling sym­bol was a cap­tion warn­ing the “Zion­ists” of what lay in store. We some­times for­get that Iran still offi­cially denies any inten­tion of acquir­ing nuclear weapons. Yet Ahmadine­jad recently hailed an Iran­ian mis­sile launch as a coun­ter­part to Iran’s suc­cess with nuclear cen­trifuges, and Hezbol­lah has cer­tainly been allowed to form the idea that the Iran­ian reac­tors may have non­peace­ful appli­ca­tions. This means, among other things, that the vicious manip­u­la­tion by which the mul­lahs con­trol Iran can no longer be con­sid­ered as their “inter­nal affair.” Fas­cism at home sooner or later means fas­cism abroad. Face it now or fight it later. Mean­while, give it its right name.

and then on Iran­ian “elections”

There is a the­o­ret­i­cal rea­son why the events of the last month in Iran (I am sorry, but I res­olutely decline to refer to them as elec­tions) were a crudely stage-​managed insult to those who took part in them and those who observed them. And then there is a prac­ti­cal rea­son. The the­o­ret­i­cal rea­son, though less imme­di­ately dra­matic and excit­ing, is the much more inter­est­ing and impor­tant one.

Iran and its cit­i­zens are con­sid­ered by the Shi­ite theoc­racy to be the pri­vate prop­erty of the anointed mul­lahs. This total­i­tar­ian idea was orig­i­nally based on a piece of reli­gious quack­ery pro­mul­gated by the late Aya­tol­lah Ruhol­lah Khome­ini and known as velayat-​e faqui. Under the terms of this edict — which orig­i­nally placed the cler­ics in charge of the lives and prop­erty of orphans, the indi­gent, and the insane — the entire pop­u­la­tion is now declared to be a child­like ward of the black-​robed state. Thus any vot­ing exer­cise is, by def­i­n­i­tion, over before it has begun, because the all-​powerful Islamic Guardian Coun­cil deter­mines well in advance who may or may not “run.” Any news­pa­per refer­ring to the sub­se­quent pro­ceed­ings as an elec­tion, some­times com­plete with ral­lies, polls, counts, and all the rest of it is the cause of help­less laugh­ter among the aya­tol­lahs. (“They fell for it? But it’s too easy!”) Shame on all those media out­lets that have been com­plicit in this dirty lie all last week. And shame also on our pathetic sec­re­tary of state, who said that she hoped that “the gen­uine will and desire” of the peo­ple of Iran would be reflected in the out­come. Surely she knows that any such con­tin­gency was delib­er­ately fore­stalled to begin with.

Michael Rubin agrees:

I had the plea­sure of vis­it­ing the Islamic Repub­lic twice as a stu­dent, and it was absolutely fan­tas­tic. But the Ira­ni­ans I would meet on the street had no say in their gov­er­nance, any more than the ordi­nary Afghans I met in Kabul and Qan­da­har in March 2000 had any influ­ence over the Tal­iban. This is where Fareed Zakaria is so ridicu­lous when he writes about Iran. In coun­tries like Iran, it’s the guys with the guns that mat­ter in pol­icy. The ordi­nary cit­i­zens are the victims.

We see that the Iran­ian “Democ­racy” is try­ing to con­trol com­mu­ni­ca­tion, again the BBC:

It is impor­tant that what is hap­pen­ing in Iran is reported to the world, but it is even more vital that cit­i­zens in Iran know what is hap­pen­ing. That is the role of the recently-​launched BBC Per­sian TV which is ful­fill­ing a cru­cial role in being a free and impar­tial source of infor­ma­tion for many Iranians.

Any attempt to block this chan­nel is wrong and against inter­na­tional treaties on satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Who­ever is attempt­ing the block­ing should stop it now.

And social net­works,

The block­ing of access to for­eign news media has been stepped up, accord­ing to Reporters With­out Bor­ders. ‘The Inter­net is now very slow, like the mobile phone net­work. YouTube and Face­book are hard to access and pro-​reform sites… are com­pletely inaccessible.’”

And reporters are tar­gets:

A British reporter in Tehran tells FOX News that régime thugs are beat­ing reporters on the streets of Tehran. The régime wants reporters out of the coun­try. Iran­ian thugs are keep­ing reporters hid­ing in their hotels:

Israel thinks it knows why:

With­out sup­port from the United States and other West­ern coun­tries, Iran­ian oppo­si­tion groups will likely stop demon­stra­tions against the Iran­ian régime and Mah­moud Ahmadinejad’s declared vic­tory in Friday’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, senior Israeli defense offi­cials said Sunday.

Why all of this? The Glo­ria cen­ter has a thought:

I cer­tainly expected Ahmad­in­jad to win but fig­ured the régime would play out the game. He’d either gen­uinely gain vic­tory in the sec­ond round or they’d change just enough votes to ensure his vic­tory. What no one expected is that the régime would tear up the whole process like this. Their brazen way of doing so – if you don’t like it you can go to hell, we’re going to do what­ever we want, and we don’t care what any­one thinks – sig­nals to me that this rul­ing group is even more risk-​taking and irre­spon­si­ble than it pre­vi­ously appeared.

This is the key point: the prob­lem with Iran’s régime isn’t just that it is a dic­ta­tor­ship, it’s that it is such an extrem­ist, aggres­sive dictatorship.

The only log­i­cal expla­na­tion for why the régime did this is that Ahmadinejad’s oppo­nents got so many votes that it fright­ened the régime. It also shows that the régime is wed­ded to Ahmadine­jad and his approach.

Amir Taheri thinks so:

Many in Tehran, includ­ing lead­ing cler­ics, see the exer­cise as a putsch by the military-​security organs that back Mr. Ahmadine­jad. Sev­eral events make these alle­ga­tions appear cred­i­ble. The state-​owned Fars News Agency declared Mr. Ahmadine­jad to have won with a two-​thirds major­ity even before the first offi­cial results had been tab­u­lated by the Inte­rior Min­istry. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s main rival, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Mir Hos­sein Mousavi, retal­i­ated by declar­ing him­self the win­ner. That trig­gered a num­ber of street demon­stra­tions, fol­lowed with state­ments by promi­nent polit­i­cal and reli­gious fig­ures endors­ing Mr. Mousavi’s claim.

Then some­thing unprece­dented hap­pened. Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all issues of national life, pub­lished a long state­ment hail­ing Mr. Ahmadinejad’s “his­toric vic­tory” as “a great cel­e­bra­tion.” This was the first time since 1989, when he became supreme leader, that Mr. Khamenei com­mented on the results of a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion with­out wait­ing for the pub­li­ca­tion of offi­cial results. Some ana­lysts in Tehran tell me that the military-​security elite, now con­trol­ling the machin­ery of the Iran­ian state, per­suaded Mr. Khamenei to make the unprece­dented move.

And events in Iran seem to sup­port that to wit:

Ahmadine­jad decides it’s pru­dent not to leave the coun­try on a sched­uled trip to Rus­sia. “Plain­clothes mili­tia” autho­rized to use live ammu­ni­tion. EU offi­cials express “seri­ous concern.”

And this:

Grand Aya­tol­lah Sanei in Iran has declared Ahmadinejad’s pres­i­dency ille­git­i­mate and coop­er­at­ing with his gov­ern­ment against Islam. There are strong rumors that his house and office are sur­rounded by the police and his web­site is fil­tered. He had pre­vi­ously issued a fatwa, against rig­ging of the elec­tions in any form or shape, call­ing it a mor­tal sin.

And this too:

Via Ray­mond Jahan on Twit­ter (h/​t Allah­pun­dit), tens of thou­sands of anti-​A-​jad pro­test­ers have taken to the streets in Iran (click here for full-​size).

And reac­tions like this:

Best-​case sce­nario is that they “merely” beat him into uncon­scious­ness. Rather than give you just the video of the beat­ing, though, I’m embed­ding a kalei­do­scope of 14 clips put together by Bre​it​bart​.com to show you how wide­spread and vio­lent the protests already are. If you can’t spare a few min­utes to watch them all, at least watch the first three plus the sev­enth, where you’ll find the Basij — essen­tially Iran’s answer to the Nazi SA — rid­ing by on motor­cy­cles with batons and tak­ing swings at any­one wear­ing green to indi­cate sup­port for Mousavi.

And more video and pho­tos here.

As you might have guessed the best cov­er­age is from Michael Tot­ten, but that’s not a sur­prise. He talks about the moment that the régime most fears:

We don’t know whether the police­man and the man on the edge of the crowd already real­ize what has hap­pened. The man has stopped being afraid – and this is pre­cisely the begin­ning of the rev­o­lu­tion. Here it starts. Until now, when­ever these two men approached each other, a third fig­ure instantly inter­vened between them. That third fig­ure was fear. Fear was the policeman’s ally and the man in the crowd’s foe. Fear inter­posed its rules and decided everything.

Now the two men find them­selves alone, fac­ing each other, and fear has dis­ap­peared into thin air. Until now their rela­tion­ship was charged with emo­tion, a mix­ture of aggres­sion, scorn, rage, ter­ror. But now that fear has retreated, this per­verse, hate­ful union has sud­denly bro­ken up; some­thing has been extin­guished. The two men have now grown mutu­ally indif­fer­ent, use­less to each other; they can now go their own ways.

Accord­ingly, the police­man turns around and begins to walk heav­ily back toward his post, while the man on the edge of the crowd stands there look­ing at his van­ish­ing enemy.

Zaneirani agrees:

Today it is even more evi­dent that some­thing really really funny is going on. Rafsanjani’s house is appar­ently sur­rounded by secu­rity forces. Let’s face it Raf­san­jani has the most to lose here. His and his sons head is on the line. If there is any chance that this trend is going to be reversed, Raf­san­jani will be the key player. Today is the day that the Islamic Repub­lic offi­cially trans­formed from a theoc­racy sup­ported by Pas­daran to a Junta sup­ported by a hand­ful of clerics.

Dan Riehl reminds us of his­tory:

I’m not pre­pared to say this is it for the régime. It depends on what cards they are will­ing to play. This could end with suc­cess­ful counter-​revolution, or mass slaugh­ter. And if Carter hadn’t been the weak, mis­guided Pres­i­dent he was, it wouldn’t have been nec­es­sary. This is also the régime Obama couldn’t wait to say he would talk to despite elec­tion irreg­u­lar­i­ties. Insur­rec­tion Day 2 and Carter 2, as well.

Good point what is the admin­is­tra­tion doing here? Lets see:

Hillary Clin­ton expresses the wait-​and-​see approach of the Obama Administration:

We, like the rest of the world, are wait­ing and watch­ing to see what the Iran­ian peo­ple decide,” Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton said dur­ing a visit to Nia­gara Falls, Ontario, on Sat­ur­day. “We obvi­ously hope the out­come reflects the gen­uine will and desire of the Iran­ian people.”

In one sense, this unsat­is­fac­tory response is entirely con­sis­tent with the nuanced approach that Pres­i­dent Obama laid out in his Cairo speech.

Seem fami­lar?

It reminds me of of George H. W. Bush’s reac­tion to the events pre­ced­ing the fall of the Berlin Wall. The best word to describe both admin­is­tra­tions is flat­footed. I guess this is the way that all “prag­ma­tists” react when their neat, lit­tle assump­tions about the world order run into real­ity. An ide­o­logue might actu­ally have a posi­tion on a rev­o­lu­tion against thug­gish tyrants.

Well it would seem a Carter vote in the Arthur Carter watch but not so fast, we all know who is really to blame don’t we? Yes you got it. It’s all Bush. Ahmadine­jad is Bush! Really! After all Laura Secor says so in a story called Meet Iran’s George W. Bush.:

This ought to be a no-​brainer: Ahmadine­jad has made a mess of the econ­omy, clamped down on polit­i­cal dis­sent and social free­doms, mil­i­ta­rized the state, and earned the enmity of much of the world

This is a fair descrip­tion of how the left views the ex-​president. But there is some con­fu­sion maybe he is Rove or Palin:

Ahmadinejad’s bag of tricks is eerily like that of Karl Rove — the con­stant use of fear, the exploita­tion of reli­gion, the demo­niza­tion of lib­er­als, the deploy­ment of Potemkin sym­bol­ism like Sarah Palin

This con­fuses some:

What’s going on here? Does the Amer­i­can Left – after eight years of whin­ing about make-​believe tyranny – not know how to react to actual tyranny when it sees it in action?

Angers oth­ers:

Really, Sully? I mean, really? WTF goes through someone’s mind when they dream up an idi­otic com­par­i­son between (a) Karl Rove, a Repub­li­can polit­i­cal strate­gist, and (b) Mah­moud Ahmadine­jed, a Jew-​hating geno­ci­dal maniac?

You might as well com­pare Rove to Charles Man­son or Pol Pot. Please note that Sullivan’s com­par­i­son involves no hypo­thet­i­cals. It does not appear to be any sort of par­o­dic humor, except unin­ten­tion­ally. He evi­dently means to sug­gest in all seri­ous­ness that Ahmadine­jad and Rove are sim­i­lar in some mean­ing­ful way.

What­ever you think of Karl Rove — and I am cer­tainly not his biggest fan — there is some­thing absurdly puerile in the sug­ges­tion that his polit­i­cal strate­gies involve “the deploy­ment of Potemkin sym­bol­ism like Sarah Palin” (???).

But for all the rhetoric where does this leave us? Bill Jacob­son thinks its all bad news:

A clas­sic no win sit­u­a­tion. If there were fraud, then the Iran­ian peo­ple unwill­ingly will be sub­jected to the con­se­quences of pur­su­ing Ahmadinejad’s poli­cies. If there were no fraud, then the result is the same. In either case, it is no win for the prospect of a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of the Iran­ian nuclear weapons pro­gram, unless the West, Israel and the U.S. capitulate.

Max Boot chan­nels Eric Idle see­ing the bright side:

Even the Obama admin­is­tra­tion will be hard put to enter into seri­ous nego­ti­a­tions with Ahmadine­jad, espe­cially when his scant cred­i­bil­ity has been under­mined by these utterly fraud­u­lent elec­tions and the result­ing street protests.

That doesn’t mean that Obama won’t try – but he will have a lot less patience with Ahmadine­jad than he would have had with Mousavi. And that in turn means there is a greater prob­a­bil­ity that even­tu­ally Obama may do some­thing seri­ous to stop the Iran­ian nuclear pro­gram – whether by embar­go­ing Iran­ian refined-​petroleum imports or by tac­itly giv­ing the go-​ahead to Israel to attack its nuclear installations.

So in an odd sort of way a win for Ahmadine­jad is also a win for those of us who are seri­ously alarmed about Iran­ian capa­bil­i­ties and inten­tions. With crazy Mah­moud in office – and his patron, Aya­tol­lah Khameini, loom­ing in the back­ground – it will be harder for Iran­ian apol­o­gists to deny the real­ity of this ter­ror­ist régime.

Allah­pun­dit says the some­thing has to hap­pen:

Now comes the moment of truth: Does he really believe that? Does he hon­estly believe, after years of stonewalling, with the coun­try maybe a year away from being able to build a bomb, that they’re going to throw in the towel now? If not, then walk away. There’s no down­side and poten­tially a tremen­dous upside if the régime falls or a grate­ful Mousavi ends up being installed as pres­i­dent. And need­less to say, from a moral stand­point, he’d be on the side of the angels.

Back to the Glo­ria Center:

Is a régime that just com­mit­ted itself irrev­o­ca­bly to the most extreme fac­tion, most rad­i­cal ide­ol­ogy, and most repres­sive con­trol over the coun­try going to com­pro­mise with the West on nuclear weapons or any­thing else?

I think Karl puts it best when he calls it the real­ity bomb:

Obama’s imme­di­ate prob­lem is that the naked power grab ongo­ing in Iran has exposed to even the casual observer that “the Iran we have” is the Iran we have always had. Obama’s larger prob­lem is that still seems to hold the notion that he can “deal” with Iran in the sense of “engage­ment,” even after the real­ity bomb has detonated.

That takes us back to the start of the post. What Iran is, what the Mul­lahs are and what Ahmadine­jad is and their col­lec­tive goals have always been what they are. No amount of pos­tur­ing, clever words, talk­ing heads or wish­ful think­ing changes this.

A sup­porter of Iran’s hard­line Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad holds up a poster bear­ing a pic­ture of Jerusalem’s holy Dome of the Rock mosque with the slo­gan “Our war will cul­mi­nate with the takeover of Pales­tine”, dur­ing a mas­sive rally to cel­e­brate his vic­tory in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Tehran’s Valiasr square on June 14. (AFP/​Olivier Laban-​Mattei)

With the riots and the repres­sion on screen it breaks down the atoms of the fake pic­ture some drew for their polit­i­cal gain or per­sonal com­fort. Who knew Rus­sel T. Davies could be so prophetic:

In a clas­sic TV show it is easy to spot the bad guy. Hope­fully this real­ity bomb allows us to see what is there. Peo­ple may want to deny or dis­guise the face, but this elec­tion and the reac­tion det­o­nates the real­ity bomb and shows us what’s behind the mask. We see the face of actual evil and pro­test­ers fight­ing it. Not feel good protests against phony tyranny but the real thing with their own lives on the line.

Now it right in front of us. The bot­tom line is what are we as a nation going to do about it?

Update: Rush has a mon­tage of peo­ple com­par­ing this to Florida and a “stolen” elec­tion I see what they mean other than the peo­ple shot and slashed in the streets this is just the kind of thing you would expect from the old Bush admin­is­tra­tion. Will the real­ity bomb be strong enough to affect the MSM or Obama?

One of my favorite lines in The Screwtape letters is letter 13 and it concerns reality:

The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. Thus if you had been trying to damn your man by the Romantic method—by making him a kind of Childe Harold or Werther submerged in self-pity for imaginary distresses—you would try to protect him at all costs from any real pain; because, of course, five minutes’ genuine toothache would reveal the romantic sorrows for the nonsense they were

When president Bush referred to Iran as part of an Axis of Evil he was widely derided one of the calmer statements was from the BBC:

Dissenters from Washington’s “axis of evil” say that the concept can only radicalise Tehran further, make the work of Iranian moderates and reformists far harder and in the long run destabilize the region.

as for Iranian Nukes

Less easy to establish is Washington’s assertion that Iran is attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, that might threaten the US and its allies.

Ah those carefree days of 2002; but we can see as recently as February of this year see a US “realist’s” rose colored view of Iran:

Despite growing concern about the regime’s suspected nuclear weapons program, Iran’s assistance in the war on terrorism, and the gradual evolution of liberal thought there puts it in a different category from Iraq or North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage said in an interview. “The axis of evil was a valid comment, [but] I would note there’s one dramatic difference between Iran and the other two axes of evil, and that would be its democracy. [And] you approach a democracy differently,” Armitage said.

Well Mr. Armatage here is your “democracy” burning in the streets. Lets check with Chris Hitchens first on the nukes:

Mention of the Lebanese elections impels me to pass on what I saw with my own eyes at a recent Hezbollah rally in south Beirut, Lebanon. In a large hall that featured the official attendance of a delegation from the Iranian Embassy, the most luridly displayed poster of the pro-Iranian party was a nuclear mushroom cloud! Underneath this telling symbol was a caption warning the “Zionists” of what lay in store. We sometimes forget that Iran still officially denies any intention of acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet Ahmadinejad recently hailed an Iranian missile launch as a counterpart to Iran’s success with nuclear centrifuges, and Hezbollah has certainly been allowed to form the idea that the Iranian reactors may have nonpeaceful applications. This means, among other things, that the vicious manipulation by which the mullahs control Iran can no longer be considered as their “internal affair.” Fascism at home sooner or later means fascism abroad. Face it now or fight it later. Meanwhile, give it its right name.

and then on Iranian “elections”

There is a theoretical reason why the events of the last month in Iran (I am sorry, but I resolutely decline to refer to them as elections) were a crudely stage-managed insult to those who took part in them and those who observed them. And then there is a practical reason. The theoretical reason, though less immediately dramatic and exciting, is the much more interesting and important one.

Iran and its citizens are considered by the Shiite theocracy to be the private property of the anointed mullahs. This totalitarian idea was originally based on a piece of religious quackery promulgated by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and known as velayat-e faqui. Under the terms of this edict—which originally placed the clerics in charge of the lives and property of orphans, the indigent, and the insane—the entire population is now declared to be a childlike ward of the black-robed state. Thus any voting exercise is, by definition, over before it has begun, because the all-powerful Islamic Guardian Council determines well in advance who may or may not “run.” Any newspaper referring to the subsequent proceedings as an election, sometimes complete with rallies, polls, counts, and all the rest of it is the cause of helpless laughter among the ayatollahs. (“They fell for it? But it’s too easy!”) Shame on all those media outlets that have been complicit in this dirty lie all last week. And shame also on our pathetic secretary of state, who said that she hoped that “the genuine will and desire” of the people of Iran would be reflected in the outcome. Surely she knows that any such contingency was deliberately forestalled to begin with.

Michael Rubin agrees:

I had the pleasure of visiting the Islamic Republic twice as a student, and it was absolutely fantastic. But the Iranians I would meet on the street had no say in their governance, any more than the ordinary Afghans I met in Kabul and Qandahar in March 2000 had any influence over the Taliban. This is where Fareed Zakaria is so ridiculous when he writes about Iran. In countries like Iran, it’s the guys with the guns that matter in policy. The ordinary citizens are the victims.

We see that the Iranian “Democracy” is trying to control communication, again the BBC:

It is important that what is happening in Iran is reported to the world, but it is even more vital that citizens in Iran know what is happening. That is the role of the recently-launched BBC Persian TV which is fulfilling a crucial role in being a free and impartial source of information for many Iranians.

Any attempt to block this channel is wrong and against international treaties on satellite communication. Whoever is attempting the blocking should stop it now.

And social networks,

‘The blocking of access to foreign news media has been stepped up, according to Reporters Without Borders. ‘The Internet is now very slow, like the mobile phone network. YouTube and Facebook are hard to access and pro-reform sites… are completely inaccessible.'”

And reporters are targets:

A British reporter in Tehran tells FOX News that regime thugs are beating reporters on the streets of Tehran. The regime wants reporters out of the country. Iranian thugs are keeping reporters hiding in their hotels:

Israel thinks it knows why:

Without support from the United States and other Western countries, Iranian opposition groups will likely stop demonstrations against the Iranian regime and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declared victory in Friday’s presidential elections, senior Israeli defense officials said Sunday.

Why all of this? The Gloria center has a thought:

I certainly expected Ahmadinjad to win but figured the regime would play out the game. He’d either genuinely gain victory in the second round or they’d change just enough votes to ensure his victory. What no one expected is that the regime would tear up the whole process like this. Their brazen way of doing so–if you don’t like it you can go to hell, we’re going to do whatever we want, and we don’t care what anyone thinks–signals to me that this ruling group is even more risk-taking and irresponsible than it previously appeared.

This is the key point: the problem with Iran’s regime isn’t just that it is a dictatorship, it’s that it is such an extremist, aggressive dictatorship.

The only logical explanation for why the regime did this is that Ahmadinejad’s opponents got so many votes that it frightened the regime. It also shows that the regime is wedded to Ahmadinejad and his approach.

Amir Taheri thinks so:

Many in Tehran, including leading clerics, see the exercise as a putsch by the military-security organs that back Mr. Ahmadinejad. Several events make these allegations appear credible. The state-owned Fars News Agency declared Mr. Ahmadinejad to have won with a two-thirds majority even before the first official results had been tabulated by the Interior Ministry. Mr. Ahmadinejad’s main rival, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, retaliated by declaring himself the winner. That triggered a number of street demonstrations, followed with statements by prominent political and religious figures endorsing Mr. Mousavi’s claim.

Then something unprecedented happened. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all issues of national life, published a long statement hailing Mr. Ahmadinejad’s “historic victory” as “a great celebration.” This was the first time since 1989, when he became supreme leader, that Mr. Khamenei commented on the results of a presidential election without waiting for the publication of official results. Some analysts in Tehran tell me that the military-security elite, now controlling the machinery of the Iranian state, persuaded Mr. Khamenei to make the unprecedented move.

And events in Iran seem to support that to wit:

Ahmadinejad decides it’s prudent not to leave the country on a scheduled trip to Russia. “Plainclothes militia” authorized to use live ammunition. EU officials express “serious concern.”

And this:

Grand Ayatollah Sanei in Iran has declared Ahmadinejad’s presidency illegitimate and cooperating with his government against Islam. There are strong rumors that his house and office are surrounded by the police and his website is filtered. He had previously issued a fatwa, against rigging of the elections in any form or shape, calling it a mortal sin.

And this too:

Via Raymond Jahan on Twitter (h/t Allahpundit), tens of thousands of anti-A-jad protesters have taken to the streets in Iran (click here for full-size).

And reactions like this:

Best-case scenario is that they “merely” beat him into unconsciousness. Rather than give you just the video of the beating, though, I’m embedding a kaleidoscope of 14 clips put together by Breitbart.com to show you how widespread and violent the protests already are. If you can’t spare a few minutes to watch them all, at least watch the first three plus the seventh, where you’ll find the Basij — essentially Iran’s answer to the Nazi SA — riding by on motorcycles with batons and taking swings at anyone wearing green to indicate support for Mousavi.

And more video and photos here.

As you might have guessed the best coverage is from Michael Totten, but that’s not a surprise. He talks about the moment that the regime most fears:

We don’t know whether the policeman and the man on the edge of the crowd already realize what has happened. The man has stopped being afraid – and this is precisely the beginning of the revolution. Here it starts. Until now, whenever these two men approached each other, a third figure instantly intervened between them. That third figure was fear. Fear was the policeman’s ally and the man in the crowd’s foe. Fear interposed its rules and decided everything.

Now the two men find themselves alone, facing each other, and fear has disappeared into thin air. Until now their relationship was charged with emotion, a mixture of aggression, scorn, rage, terror. But now that fear has retreated, this perverse, hateful union has suddenly broken up; something has been extinguished. The two men have now grown mutually indifferent, useless to each other; they can now go their own ways.

Accordingly, the policeman turns around and begins to walk heavily back toward his post, while the man on the edge of the crowd stands there looking at his vanishing enemy.

Zaneirani agrees:

Today it is even more evident that something really really funny is going on. Rafsanjani’s house is apparently surrounded by security forces. Let’s face it Rafsanjani has the most to lose here. His and his sons head is on the line. If there is any chance that this trend is going to be reversed, Rafsanjani will be the key player. Today is the day that the Islamic Republic officially transformed from a theocracy supported by Pasdaran to a Junta supported by a handful of clerics.

Dan Riehl reminds us of history:

I’m not prepared to say this is it for the regime. It depends on what cards they are willing to play. This could end with successful counter-revolution, or mass slaughter. And if Carter hadn’t been the weak, misguided President he was, it wouldn’t have been necessary. This is also the regime Obama couldn’t wait to say he would talk to despite election irregularities. Insurrection Day 2 and Carter 2, as well.

Good point what is the administration doing here? Lets see:

Hillary Clinton expresses the wait-and-see approach of the Obama Administration:

“We, like the rest of the world, are waiting and watching to see what the Iranian people decide,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during a visit to Niagara Falls, Ontario, on Saturday. “We obviously hope the outcome reflects the genuine will and desire of the Iranian people.”

In one sense, this unsatisfactory response is entirely consistent with the nuanced approach that President Obama laid out in his Cairo speech.

Seem familar?

It reminds me of of George H. W. Bush’s reaction to the events preceding the fall of the Berlin Wall. The best word to describe both administrations is flatfooted. I guess this is the way that all “pragmatists” react when their neat, little assumptions about the world order run into reality. An ideologue might actually have a position on a revolution against thuggish tyrants.

Well it would seem a Carter vote in the Arthur Carter watch but not so fast, we all know who is really to blame don’t we? Yes you got it. It’s all Bush. Ahmadinejad is Bush! Really! After all Laura Secor says so in a story called Meet Iran’s George W. Bush.:

This ought to be a no-brainer: Ahmadinejad has made a mess of the economy, clamped down on political dissent and social freedoms, militarized the state, and earned the enmity of much of the world

This is a fair description of how the left views the ex-president. But there is some confusion maybe he is Rove or Palin:

Ahmadinejad’s bag of tricks is eerily like that of Karl Rove – the constant use of fear, the exploitation of religion, the demonization of liberals, the deployment of Potemkin symbolism like Sarah Palin

This confuses some:

What’s going on here? Does the American Left – after eight years of whining about make-believe tyranny – not know how to react to actual tyranny when it sees it in action?

Angers others:

Really, Sully? I mean, really? WTF goes through someone’s mind when they dream up an idiotic comparison between (a) Karl Rove, a Republican political strategist, and (b) Mahmoud Ahmadinejed, a Jew-hating genocidal maniac?

You might as well compare Rove to Charles Manson or Pol Pot. Please note that Sullivan’s comparison involves no hypotheticals. It does not appear to be any sort of parodic humor, except unintentionally. He evidently means to suggest in all seriousness that Ahmadinejad and Rove are similar in some meaningful way.

Whatever you think of Karl Rove — and I am certainly not his biggest fan — there is something absurdly puerile in the suggestion that his political strategies involve “the deployment of Potemkin symbolism like Sarah Palin” (???).

But for all the rhetoric where does this leave us? Bill Jacobson thinks its all bad news:

A classic no win situation. If there were fraud, then the Iranian people unwillingly will be subjected to the consequences of pursuing Ahmadinejad’s policies. If there were no fraud, then the result is the same. In either case, it is no win for the prospect of a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear weapons program, unless the West, Israel and the U.S. capitulate.

Max Boot channels Eric Idle seeing the bright side:

Even the Obama administration will be hard put to enter into serious negotiations with Ahmadinejad, especially when his scant credibility has been undermined by these utterly fraudulent elections and the resulting street protests.

That doesn’t mean that Obama won’t try–but he will have a lot less patience with Ahmadinejad than he would have had with Mousavi. And that in turn means there is a greater probability that eventually Obama may do something serious to stop the Iranian nuclear program–whether by embargoing Iranian refined-petroleum imports or by tacitly giving the go-ahead to Israel to attack its nuclear installations.

So in an odd sort of way a win for Ahmadinejad is also a win for those of us who are seriously alarmed about Iranian capabilities and intentions. With crazy Mahmoud in office–and his patron, Ayatollah Khameini, looming in the background–it will be harder for Iranian apologists to deny the reality of this terrorist regime.

Allahpundit says the something has to happen:

Now comes the moment of truth: Does he really believe that? Does he honestly believe, after years of stonewalling, with the country maybe a year away from being able to build a bomb, that they’re going to throw in the towel now? If not, then walk away. There’s no downside and potentially a tremendous upside if the regime falls or a grateful Mousavi ends up being installed as president. And needless to say, from a moral standpoint, he’d be on the side of the angels.

Back to the Gloria Center:

Is a regime that just committed itself irrevocably to the most extreme faction, most radical ideology, and most repressive control over the country going to compromise with the West on nuclear weapons or anything else?

I think Karl puts it best when he calls it the reality bomb:

Obama’s immediate problem is that the naked power grab ongoing in Iran has exposed to even the casual observer that “the Iran we have” is the Iran we have always had. Obama’s larger problem is that still seems to hold the notion that he can “deal” with Iran in the sense of “engagement,” even after the reality bomb has detonated.

That takes us back to the start of the post. What Iran is, what the Mullahs are and what Ahmadinejad is and their collective goals have always been what they are. No amount of posturing, clever words, talking heads or wishful thinking changes this.

A supporter of Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad holds up a poster bearing a picture of Jerusalem’s holy Dome of the Rock mosque with the slogan “Our war will culminate with the takeover of Palestine”, during a massive rally to celebrate his victory in the presidential elections in Tehran’s Valiasr square on June 14. (AFP/Olivier Laban-Mattei)

With the riots and the repression on screen it breaks down the atoms of the fake picture some drew for their political gain or personal comfort. Who knew Russel T. Davies could be so prophetic:

In a classic TV show it is easy to spot the bad guy. Hopefully this reality bomb allows us to see what is there. People may want to deny or disguise the face, but this election and the reaction detonates the reality bomb and shows us what’s behind the mask. We see the face of actual evil and protesters fighting it. Not feel good protests against phony tyranny but the real thing with their own lives on the line.

Now it right in front of us. The bottom line is what are we as a nation going to do about it?

Update: Rush has a montage of people comparing this to Florida and a “stolen” election I see what they mean other than the people shot and slashed in the streets this is just the kind of thing you would expect from the old Bush administration. Will the reality bomb be strong enough to affect the MSM or Obama?