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The Fallout From Iran
In this photograph posted on the internet, a protester recoils after throwing a projectile at Iranian riot police in Tehran, Iran Saturday June 20. 2009. (AP)

In this photograph posted on the Internet, a protester is seen after throwing a projectile at Iranian riot police in Tehran on Saturday, June 20, 2009. (AP)

In Iran, a tense and violent dance over the country’s destiny continues — while in Washington and the capitals of the Middle East, no one knows who will rule Iran when the dust has settled.

For the Obama administration the stakes could not be higher, with two American wars on Iran’s borders — in Iraq to the west and Afghanistan to the east — negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, and the fate of Middle East peace in the balance.

This hour, On Point: The Iranian uprising and its shockwaves, from the Middle East to Washington.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

-Jack Beatty, guest host


Joining us from Beirut is Rami Khouri, director of the Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at American University of Beirut and editor-at-large for the Lebanese English-language paper The Daily Star.

Joining us from Arlington, Virginia, is Anthony Cordesman. He holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Over the course of his career he has worked for the U.S. Defense Department, State Department, Energy Department, and NATO International Staff, with assignments in Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf. He is the author of numerous books and reports on U.S. security and Middle East policy.

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  • frederic c

    I am interested in hearing how the protests in Iran may change the way Iranians think about Islam.

    It may be putting the cart before the horse but I think there must be a major reformation of Islam as a religion and reconciliation with its history in order for the region integrate with the world and realize its potential.

  • http://www.mytopchi.com chi hair straightener

    All these people want is the same thing that a chance for life, Liberty. Long live freedom!

  • aj

    Mr. Khouri is a very knowlegable journalist.

    Some more good journalism is here:

  • Dave

    I can’t help but think that when dissatisfied Iranians saw Hussein (and Baghdad ) fall that they saw some hope that their own, seemingly untouchable, Supreme Leader was vulnerable as well. Also, given that Iraq is no longer a threat to Iran, could it be that the energy formerly focused against Iraq is now turning inward?

    Certainly the collapse of the regime in Iran would be spun by Neo-Cons in the US as vindication of their choice to go into Iraq. Not to say they predicted any of this, however…

  • aj

    Jack Beatty for Treasury Secretary!

  • Andrew

    Remember Tienanmen Square? Mass Protests, Outpourings of support for the protesters, their goals. Then the crackdown. Much handwringing and oh so strong words and then finally…. business as usual. We’re at that 2nd stage… when do we see the crackdown, the handwringing and then BAU?

    Iran is not China. No… but it might be just close enough.

  • Temar

    I fear that this entire episode seems to be this month’s problem saturation by the main stream media. Last month’s was the swine flu. Revolutions take months or years. I don’t know that the western world will find this entertaining enough to stick with it and the opposition needs the rest of the world’s moral support.

  • Todd

    On point? Jack, you seem to do everything possible to avoid being on point! Are you people really that naive or are you all NWO shills!

    Look at the facts for a change if you want the truth, instead of swallowing this mainstream media BS. There is no election fraud in Iran. The only fraud being perpetrated is the US manipulation of yet another sovereign foreign government through the use of CIA propaganda and psy-ops.

    FACT: In Iran’s system, election fraud has no purpose, because a small select group of ruling mullahs select the candidates who are put on the ballot. If they don’t like an aspiring candidate, they simply don’t put him on the ballot.

    FACT: When the liberal reformer Khatami ran for president, he won with 70% of the vote and served from 1997-2005. If the mullahs didn’t defraud Khatami of his win, it seems unlikely they would defraud an establishment figure like Mousavi, who was foreign minister in the most conservative government, and is backed by another establishment figure, Rafsanjani.

    As Mousavi was seen as Rafsanjani’s man, why is it “unbelievable” that Ahmadinejad defeated Mousavi by the same margin that he defeated Rafsanjani in the previous election?

    Get a clue Jack Beady, or get a “pair,” and confront the facts concerning this issue, instead of dancing around the periphery with mere rumor. But, of course, you won’t do that; because that would mean having to deal with the truth about the breadth and depth of US corruption in world affairs, wouldn’t it?

  • BHA

    Haven’t we done enough damage trying to control other countries with our foreign policy? We wouldn’t be in Iraq today if we hadn’t backed Saddam Hussein during the Iran Iraq war because he was against our enemy Iran.

    The enemy of our enemy is our friend …. no matter how bad they may be. We need to stop trying to buy friends.

  • Joanna Drzewieniecki

    Very good discussion. It is deeply frustrating that it is impossible to know what the internal power struggle is like. A few key names are mentioned but nothing more. One concrete question: how do those who currently hold the most power within the regime view the young people demonstrating? Are they seen as “the future of the country” or “our sons and daughters” or are they seen as an elite sector of the country which is suspect religious, economically or socially? Thanks, Joanna

  • mike

    great show jack.

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    I think Obama is handling this very well (cautiously) and I think Jack is doing an excellent job moderating today. And, the guests are both illuminating this situation extremely well. Great show.

  • http://www.katherinejackson.com Katherine Jackson

    As usual, commentators minimize the repression of women as a factor in the hold on power of the repressive regimes in the Middle East. In some cases, women can’t vote, in most of them, the majority of women are less educated than men, and/or inhibited by the power of men in their domestic lives, and/or the victims of centuries of religious propaganda. Women are not just a potential “bloc”, they are over half of these populations. Their repression is a doomed phenomenon, however, as images of more liberated societies penetrate these cultures via the Internet, etc. Iran has of course, a very sophisticated population of women, who have been chafing under the policies of the regime for a long time. One has only to watch the YouTube videos of the protests to appreciate what an incredible outpouring of women took part in them, and with what a release of pent-up frustration. In sum: don’t keep ignoring the significance of the repression of women in these cultures a major contributing factor in their current power, and in their coming DOOM!

  • Greg

    I’m not aware of the evidence of irregularities that the media keeps mentioning, but I did look at the polling history for this election and I didn’t find an Ahmadinejad victory to be outlandish in the least.

    I wish we cared as much about irregularities in our own democracy as much as we cared about Iran’s. I find overwhelming the evidence of election fraud in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004.


  • NK

    Does anyone know the name of the band or artist that did the interludes early in the show, between 10:00 and 10:10?

  • Mike

    it seems on the bright side this has shown the human side of the iranian people.

    something the bush admin never wished for uses to see. or the supporters for invading, attacking iran.

    and obama speech was great today aswell will this be on the website tommorrow?

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Don’t understand. Why are we (all of us) are on the wrong side.

    Why didn’t we send Observers to Iran “before” the election? When it comes to doing the right thing, we don’t want to deal with Iran. When we don’t like the outcome, we cry foul. What if the Current Regime won fair and square?

    Why are we provoking outright anarchy? We have pot holes to fill and unemployment of 12% here.

    Did you see flames in the pictures coming from Iran? How many? Many many many. These are not peaceful protests. They are literally dostroying anything in site, when things get out of control.

    Can anybody ever imagine … conducting a protest march in Washington without a permit, and everybody carrying sticks and huge rocks and fire bombs. How about touching a police officer; so that the reaction of the Police can be captured by foreign consumption.

    Isn’t true for years and years, current regime in Iran want to talk to US, they love US; be we were telling them to go to hell.

    Why are we (all of we, 99.99% of we) are so hypocritical??????

  • http://fora.tv/2009/04/07/Ted_Turner_Looks_at_the_World Uwe Spinabit

    There are irregularities alright Mr.Beatty. It smells to me like another colour revolution -green this time- and the color guard, neo cons and neoconnes, is behind a thick, blue, white, and red curtain with their fat bums peeking through the slit. It is all so transparent although I admit that you are more adroit at deflecting those uncomfortable questions than Tom Tom. We are use to seeing CNN make a spectacle of itself but NPR! Ya, right, we are use to that too!

    However I don’t think that the founder of CNN is quite use to it yet. He lost bags and bags of money by following his conscience but at least he still has a pa … aah O,’ave to run, Loud Obbs and the ex-Pentagon correspondant with the screechy voice and beady bespectacled eyes, and hoary beard are on.



  • Lisa B.

    I loved hearing Jack Beatty in the moderator’s role. Please, when Tom Ashbrook is out, more Beatty and less Claysen.

  • http://n/a Phillip Jordan

    Neither Ahmajinadad nor Mousavi are worth the handle of a bucket,let alone the Mullahs. Look at the record. Obviously the votes were not even counted. The Mullahs were alarmed that people were actually excited by democracy. The “result’ was announced before there was any chance that the thirty million paper ballots could have been counted. What preys on my mind is that our kleptocracy still goes more or less uncontested. Why are we spectating Iran instead of marching ourselves?

  • Mike Murray

    Whenever I hear either Rhamy Khouri or Anthony Cordesman commenting on NPR, my ears perk up. I know I’ll hear something knowledgeable and insightful about the situation in the Middle East. To hear both of them for an hour was a real treat. Thank you, Jack.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    When Ahmedinejad was campaigning for the first term, his main slogan was that he was going to have the “oil wealth” distributed equally.

    Does that mean that the Oil Wealth was mostly being spent in Tehran amongst the rich elite?

    I guess, the answer is a logical “yes”.

    That means it is very natural for the elite in Tehran and their relatives from the Shah’s days, to have a problem with sharing economic pie with the more rural and disadvantaged base.

    Is this more of an economic fight rather than what the media storms us with?

  • aj

    At least not entirely, I don’t know much about the internal politics, but I am pretty sure that the revolutionary generation (which Mousavi is one of) are relatively left of center on economics, however power corrupts and therefore, you have sort of an entrenched elitism forged over a few decades perhaps.

    Ahmadi-nejad( younger generation-made his bones in the Iran-Iraq war) won first prez. election partly on -yes- a more populist economic policy ( so the rural poor I gather tended to vote for him, also Ahmadi was mayor of Tehran prior so he must have some support there in the south of the capitol I gather) but also he won as an incorruptable compared with his nemesis Rafsanjani who now in tandem with Mousavi is working the mullahs angling for a runoff vote of some sort. So we’ll see what happens in the end, but one thing is for sure, I bet if you lived there, Lilya you would be out on those streets with those brave proud persian protesters speaking truth to power in the name of womens rights, dignity, pride, and justice, regardless of your ecomomic interests. On that I have no doubt dear.

    Did you catch the video on Friday’s (week in the news board) that I posted. Pretty sad stuff, huh?

  • James

    Todd @ 930

    You are not acknowledging the deep and growing rivalry between Rafsanjani and Kahmeni. There is a very real possiblity of election fraud given the climate of reform and the natural and evolving tension between Raf – who has many big business interests and Kahmeni who is extremely orthodox and is grooming his son to be leader. They represent different ideals in Iran.

    Also there is the report that there were more votes than people registered.

    You shouldnt be so harsh in ascribing motives and bad intent to news organisations- your own” facts” dont seem particularly compelling in light of the backstory available from a variety of news sources.

    Go Obama- handling it well.

  • Joe B.

    As ususal, Obama is lost as his total lack of experience in foreign affairs and his naievete shines through.

  • Jamaica Plain

    We love you Jack!!

  • Mike

    Dave @ 8:35 am:

    If it your intent to advance the agenda of those who wish to see the war of choice in Iraq vindicated retrospectively, then by all means I understand why you raise this possibility. In my view that will all but guarantee more such adventures in the future, but the future is not written.

    If on the other hand your intent is merely being intellectually honest about the fact that we cannot dismiss out of hand the possibility you describe, while I do acknowledge that it is true the possibility cannot be entirely dismissed and I respect your desire to probe without regard to political effect, I’d suggest to you that when a notion such as you raise is sure to be advanced in predictable quarters by people precommitted to a particular set of ideas, and when the result of that notion taking hold among influential people could have major ramifications for policy, and when those ramifications have been on display in another setting for years, it may be the prudent thing to apply a strict standard of evidence to the claim before advancing it ourselves, so that when those who can be counted on to advance it — with the aid of a highly disciplined message apparatus — do so, they are met by the intended audience, as well as the public, with an appropriate level of skepticism and demand for evidence.

    That’s my suggestion — the advancement of the idea may very well be you express intent, in which case I would ask, what’s your evidence?

  • R.M

    please joe hasn’t bush made enough of a mess? you want more or do you want to destroy this country ? Obama makes me proud to be an american ….he is doing the best he can considering the mess he got …..

  • Lilya Lopekha

    There is an agenda by the neo-cons and neo-zions.

    Whoever is an extreme pro-Regime-Change in Iran is also so happy that we occupied Iraq which did NOT do anything to America.

    Remember?: All roads to Tehran Goes Through Baghdad.

    If anybody who has been to vast rural areas of Iran where people 100% wear Shalvars and hate movie theaters and love Ahmedinejad to death… What about them? What about their votes.

    So, everytime when we have an election, if the Crowd in Washington and Europe doesn’t like the results, let’s have another election. Daaaa!

    Why are we so involved in Iran this much? They love America and Americans, no matter what. Conservative Rural People or the Starbacks crowd in Tehran with body piercings. Let’s leave them alone!!!!

    How about the 2.8 million (not thousand) displaced people just because of our stinking foreign policy and bribes in Pakistan. These people were living in their homes 4 months ago. We have hunger, pain and suffering in our hands. Let’s talk about this.

  • aj

    Is there really a Starbucks in Tehran?

  • aj

    How would you know, were you there, were you one of those western agitators the supreme leader claimed was behind all this?!

    ” Ali hurry up, and I’ll take my Grande Caffe’ Latte espresso to go, I’ve got a revolution to get to! ”

    Huh?! ;->

  • Lilya Lopekha


    We are going to Cairo. Are you coming with us?

    We are going to peacefully protest why the Rafah Crossing to Gaza is closed shut; despite the fact that 96.4% of the Egyptian public wants the internationally recognized Border be open.

    We are going to throw rocks and fire-bombs to the police and burn cars, all peacefully. And we will use Twitter and FaceBook, too.

    Are you coming?

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Yes there is Starbox Coffee in Tehran.

    Here are the pictures:

    Are you LOL yet?

    That is not the point. There is a good chance
    a) US Government does not allow
    b) If you are a poor country under sanctions for decades, you don’t have foreign currency to throw around.
    c) These countries cannot spend the money that they don’t have, unlike Americans.

  • Putney Swope

    aj and Lilya do you two realize that your twisting information and based on you not understanding the political zeitgeist of this moment.

    aj are you aware that your Starbucks quip smacks of Orientalism. Why is not OK for people in Tehran not to go to Starbucks? Because they should all be “real Persians” sitting around in coffee houses smoking hookahs drinking Persian coffee?

    Then we have Lilya who all of the sudden is an expert on Iranians and their culture. What the vote for and how they vote, and whom they voted for based on their demographics and class.

    The thing is we don’t what the hell is going on in Iran do we. So conjecturing and grandstanding to forward ones own political agenda is not only in bad form, it insults the Iranians on both sides of this issue.

    Ahmedinejad is the man the neo-cons want, don’t you neophytes realize that? Mousavi is not exactly an reformist. He also seems to be over taken by the events of the election.

  • aj

    @Rafah! Open the crossing! Terrorists got a eat too!!

  • aj

    Starbox… Nice!

  • aj

    Putney @ 8:51am

    You’re right, poor form.

  • John Sullivan

    “The “result’ was announced before there was any chance that the thirty million paper ballots could have been counted. What preys on my mind is that our kleptocracy still goes more or less uncontested. Why are we spectating Iran instead of marching ourselves?”

    Phillip, Phillip, counting paper ballots is easy, easy. Couple thousand (probably less) per polling station, count them twice with witnesses, communicate the result to the central tally man, and he tally us all in a few hours max… like it’s done in Canada: with an HB lead pencil and little chit of paper. In Canada, however, with its 3.5 time zones, it is forbidden to anounce the results in western Canada until the polls are closed in the east. No chads, no line-ups, no fuss. This is moot of course since, their Neighbour to the south (U.S.) have no respect for democracy in other countries, and so the U.S. TV networks, often report the results (if they are not too busy with O.J.).

    Since the “supreme leader” (how conveniently simplistic) won’t let anyone they do not care for on the ballot (there were FOUR) one wonders if Mousavi would have just parroted the line of those in power.

    Now just imagine if Bobama had sent the private health care robbers packing when TOLD to do as they say! You can bet he would not be in the Big House, today. No sir! They would have paddled his bum.

    Leader of the free world? Who elected you leader of this outfit?

    Don’t “spectate” and don’t speculate. Speculation only deminishes your capacity for rational thought. Shift your trousers and be happy someone invented sildenafil citrate.

    O, and read ICH:

  • aj

    However as to the substance underlying my sarcasm and joking, I suggest that buying one’s daily caffein fix at Persian coffee Mom n’ Pop or at ” Starbox ” is much more beneficial to the Iranian economy then buying it at a multinational corporate giant monster like Starbucks where the profit goes to shareholders in western countries.

    But there is little hope of that, because once we either invade them or install a puppet like the Shah in Tehran- in the notion of the ‘Shock Doctrine’ our corporations will be right behind the our tanks. And then that Persian culture will dilute until the whole world is one big shopping mall.

    Just look at the front page of the Wall Street Journal today’s headline, ” A Welcom Back Party for Big Oil ” in Iraq. The green zone and especially our non-military base so called embassy which is like the biggest embassy in the history of the world has a KFC too. Is that freedom for the tens of thousands of Iraqi refuggees in Damascus who cannot come home yet because it is still to dangerous. But the surge worked, mission accomplished!

  • Putney Swope

    Lylia unlike you I have to work for a living. I have bills to pay, and I am more interested in what is happening in my country then in poking my nose in other peoples issues.

    So you go ahead, go to Egypt and do some protesting.
    You know if you really wanted to do something you could stay here in the states an maybe volunteer at a homeless shelter or something. But no, you need to post some grand standing BS about going to Gaza through rocks at the IDF.
    Good luck with that. While your in Egypt why not do some protesting about the Egyptian government and see where that gets you.

  • aj
  • R.M

    Putney don’t waste your time …Maybe that hard core radical wants to empty her bank account and give it all to the Arabs …..All of you so called radicals until you have given all your money away , you are not really revolutionaries ….hahahahahah

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