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Jewish World Review March 26, 2002 / 13 Nisan, 5762

Michael Ledeen

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The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran | Norouz, the Persian New Year, is a Zoroastrian festival, and does not meet with the favor of the ruling Iranian tyrants. Against the background of the many anti-regime street demonstrations during recent months, the country's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei warned the people not to celebrate Norouz. The result? According to Radio France Internationale and several first-hand accounts, this year's celebrations were unprecedented. Hours before the start of the holiday last Wednesday, flower, food, and candy stores in all the major cities were sold out, and the streets were virtually empty as Iranians went to their homes to gather with their families and friends. This despite constant warnings from the regime, including orders to the media to maintain strict silence about the holiday.

So we have witnessed yet another referendum on the Iranian regime, and the people have again voted against it. As if further confirmation were required, attendance at leading mosques was sparse, even though the Shia month of mourning — the holiest period of the year for the faithful — started at the same time. No wonder several leading ayatollahs have recently supported a national referendum on the continuation of the Islamic Republic. They now fear that the fall of the regime will bring down Islam along with it.

At the same time, the regime has become increasingly brazen in its support of terrorism. There are almost daily calls for further violence against Israel and America, and even the scandalously unobservant American press has noted that Iran is actively supporting anti-governmental groups in Afghanistan. The mullahs want to turn Afghanistan into a second Lebanon, for they believe that if they can drive America out of Afghanistan, the Iranian people will lose hope for a democratic change within Iran. In their desperate actions, the mullahs have exposed their hand. As George Tenet accurately testified recently, Iran is in cahoots with all manner of terrorist groups, to the point where the CIA now acknowledges that Shia and Sunni radicals are quite capable of cooperating in killing Jews and Americans.

It shouldn't have taken so long to figure this out, of course. Iran and the PLO have been cooperating intimately since 1972, but the truth is always welcome, and one probably shouldn't quibble over a mere thirty years.

The Iranian people are looking to Washington for inspiration and guidance, but aside from President Bush's clear and concise condemnation of the regime, repeated condemnations of Iranian activities by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, a few remarks from Secretary of State Powell, and a brave and thorough expose of the regime's many sins by National Security Council official Zalmay Khalilzad, this administration has failed to address the Iranian question with the gravity it deserves. No Cabinet secretary has delivered a major speech on the question, and National Security Adviser Rice has been uncharacteristically reticent. Yet they must know that no event in the Axis of Evil would be so important as the fall of the Iranian mullahcracy, for it would show the entire world that the first country to fall into the hands of radical Islamic Fundamentalists — and the country that is truly the Mother of All Terrorism — has failed miserably, and has been rejected by its own people.

So what are our leaders waiting for? And where are the voices of the deep thinkers calling for democratic change in the Iranian tyranny?

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen