Did Obama ignore plea for help from Iranian opposition in 2009?

posted at 10:25 am on February 28, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Lost in the debate over whether the US should use military force to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is the opportunity that arguably arose nearly three years ago to make the entire debate moot. When the mullahcracy that seeks the nukes in order to attack Israel rigged their presidential election even more clumsily than usual in order to return Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to office, Iranians poured out into the streets in protest for months. Curiously, Barack Obama made no public overtures for weeks to the opposition, and the White House at one point even confirmed the results of the rigged election.  Later, when the opportunity passed, Obama and the White House insisted that the Iranian opposition never asked for help from the US.

Today, the Washington Examiner reports that the leaders of the Green Revolution did indeed ask Obama and the West to help them push out the mullahcracy:

Documents obtained by The Washington Examiner suggest the Obama administration missed at least one major opportunity to help opposition groups in Iran that has not previously been reported. In November 2009, leaders of the Green party, which had staged a revolt on the streets of Tehran in June of that year, sent a long memo through channels to the Obama administration that some analysts said was a clear call for help.

“So now, at this pivotal point in time, it is up to the countries of the free world to make up their mind,” states the opposition memo dated Nov. 30, 2009. “Will they continue on the track of wishful thinking and push every decision to the future until it is too late, or will they reward the brave people of Iran and simultaneously advance the Western interests and world peace.”

The eight-page memo describes the current regime under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a “brutal, apocalyptic theocratic dictatorship.”

The memo warns that Iran “with its apocalyptic constitution will never give up the atomic bomb, nor will it give up its terror network, because it needs these instruments to maintain its power and enhance its own economic and financial wealth.”

The administration claimed in 2009 that the Green party in Iran did not want American help. And the State Department repeated that this week. “Most leaders in the Green movement made clear they did not desire financial or other support from the United States,” a State Department senior official said. “As an organic movement, it was concerned that taking outside support would discredit it in the eyes of the Iranian people. We respect that and do not provide financial assistance to any political movement, party or faction in Iran.”

Michael Ledeen provides the context of the communication, which was prompted by back-channel contacts in Europe through Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer to the Greens in Iran:

They decided to try to secretly contact the Greens, and I have learned from persons with first-hand knowledge of the events that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received help from an old friend and Senate colleague, Senator Chuck Schumer.  The New York senator knew a person — a distinguished Iranian-American with no history of political involvement, and with a reputation for impeccable honesty and morality — who had a way to contact the Green leaders.

According to a person familiar with the details of the process, Schumer’s acquaintance was asked to pass two questions to the Green leaders on behalf of the administration:  The Greens were given to understand that the questions came from the secretary of state.  The questions were: “What should we do?  What should we NOT do?”

They were good questions, and they were passed through at least two persons, both known to me, one in the United States, the other in Europe. The person in Europe is well known and admired by the Greens, who now faced a very delicate problem.  It was one of Obama’s problems in reverse:  if any exchange between the Greens and the administration leaked out, the consequences might be very grave.  On the other hand, it would not do to ignore such questions from such a source.

The reply is in the form of a lengthy memorandum, dated November 30, 2009.

The date of the reply suggests that the White House was too late in even asking the question.  By November 2009, the Iranian mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard had forcefully put down the Green Revolution, changing the character of the regime from a veneer of theocracy into a full-fledged military tyranny.  Even at the late date, though, the US could have demonstrated some leadership in backing the popular uprising and organizing pressure against the mullahs, especially in Europe, where that approach might have found more support than increasing sanctions.  In any case, Ledeen makes clear that the Obama administration didn’t respond at all to the desperate plea from the Greens, who must have been nonplussed to find the Obama administration preferring to deal with the mullahs:

Of course, there is a scandal here.  A terrible policy scandal.  The Obama administration didn’t do — and still hasn’t done — anything to help the opposition in Iran.  The Green Movement’s top leaders have been held in solitary confinement for more than a year.  Thousands of dissidents, journalists, bloggers, and normal citizens have been imprisoned, tortured, and executed, and the dreadful repression continues apace, as does the terror war against us and our soldiers on the battlefield.  The president has still not called for an end to the monstrous theocratic tyranny.  Instead, he has catered to the needs of the evil regime, at the cost of American lives, our national security, and his personal legacy.

He should have listened to the Greens in 2009 when they asked rhetorically: “Will (the countries of the West) continue on the track of wishful thinking and push every decision to the future until it is too late?”

So far, he has done just that, and thereby become an accomplice to evil.

Obama had no hesitation in demanding the ouster of nominal ally Hosni Mubarak just eight days after protests erupted in Egypt.  He still hasn’t demanded the ouster of the mullahs of Iran.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Whole thread read.

Biggest shocka….

Not a single comment mentioning the brutal sourcing.

No mention where the docs came from

No mention who/what kinda source they have

Nothing but…

He cons someone sent us something.

LOL

way to be consistent guys.

freshface on February 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM

And, it goes without saying, that our support for Israel and our habit of invading Muslim countries doesn’t make us Amy more popular. The best thing we can do, at this time, is stay away.

urban elitist on February 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM

And there it is! From the left- It is all the fault of the Jews!

What a nasty vile bigot you are.

The fact of the matter is that the United States could have done something by simply expressing support of the opposition. It is as easy to do that as to grovel at the feet of our enemies and beg forgiveness for burning a few Korans already defaced by terrorists. Instead the jug-eared bastard played a round of golf and took his brats out for ice cream. Hardly Presidential but as long as he isn’t supporting the Jews you lefties have no problem in supporting oppressive regimes.

Thank God this nation will have a regime change come next January and your filthy messiah will be thrown out of office.

Happy Nomad on February 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Let me finish my falafel, Neda.

profitsbeard on February 28, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I’m not sure which to use here. : ) or : (

Bmore on February 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM

way to be consistent guys.

freshface on February 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Now I’ve seen it all: a liberal suddenly concerned with integrity?

Doesn’t matter. This news only validates what we knew with absolute clarity two years ago: biggest rookie blunder in history.

John the Libertarian on February 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

He should have listened to the Greens in 2009 when they asked rhetorically: “Will (the countries of the West) continue on the track of wishful thinking and push every decision to the future until it is too late?”

So far, he has done just that, and thereby become an accomplice to evil.

“Present!!!!” – BHO

Harbingeing on February 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Whole thread read.

Biggest shocka….

Not a single comment mentioning the brutal sourcing.

No mention where the docs came from

No mention who/what kinda source they have

Nothing but…

He cons someone sent us something.

LOL

way to be consistent guys.

freshface on February 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Your comment is as hard to follow as your her0′s

Bmore on February 28, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Happy Nomad on February 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM

I despise Obama and the…Star…Wars…character-but their daughters didn’t choose their parents. No need to call them brats. When they turn 18-THEN they’ll be fair game-but not before.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM

ElenaKagan on February 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

What an idiotic comment!

KOOLAID2 on February 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM

What an idiotic comment!

KOOLAID2 on February 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Yes, but she has kneepads.

Bmore on February 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM

liberal4life on February 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Why should we help a bunch of people who hate Israel America? Like in Egypt and Libya and stuff…

affenhauer on February 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Whole thread read.

Biggest shocka….

Not a single comment mentioning the brutal sourcing.

No mention where the docs came from

No mention who/what kinda source they have

Nothing but…

He cons someone sent us something.

LOL

way to be consistent guys.

freshface on February 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM

And yet, we saw what happened and obama never lifted a finger.

I like this comment-

The prize for victory in Iraq was to be the fall of Iran. Obama threw it all away.

tinkerthinker on February 28, 2012 at 11:47 AM

What, they the wrong kind of Muslims? He seems to go out of his way to help certain Muslims, but not Iranian Muslims. He makes me sick!

angrymike on February 28, 2012 at 11:50 AM

liberal4life on February 28, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Why should we help a bunch of people who hate Israel America? Like in Egypt and Libya and stuff…

affenhauer on February 28, 2012 at 11:45 AM

It’s how liberals think, if we send roses to our enemies, they’ll suddenly be smitten with us and play nice. In reality these enemies just get more bold with their evil plans, and they laugh behind our back. Or in our face when its the current super weak admin.

It’s a liberals need to be accepted by the “global” community. After all, there is no good or evil, right or wrong, just shades of gray.

kirkill on February 28, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Remember that freedom of information CHANGE that obama wanted? hummm

tinkerthinker on February 28, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Not Iran nor Syria. What Obammba wants is for the enemies of the US to stay in power so as to diminish our own standing in the world. This is his goal – to make the US just another of the worlds members without any more say in what goes on than any other country. This guy is dangerous to America and the world and must be removed in November.

rjulio on February 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Obama was wrong on Honduras, Nicaragua, and Iran when they had their democracy movements. He came down on the side of Mullahs, Communists, and dictators of all stripes when the issues were so easy! When there was blood in the streets he did nothing. Then when instability came to pro-American states in the Middle East, he threw in with the rebels, who turned out to be allied with Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Of course he ignored pleas for help. When looking to write a new constitution, one should not look to the US. To support a US friendly state is to enforce American imperialism. To encourage democracy movements in hostile governments is manifest destiny. This is what he believes.

antisense on February 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Evil is as evil does. Nothing comes of evil but evil.

maryo on February 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Expose one hoax and promote another.

lexhamfox on February 28, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I’m shocked,shocked I tell you to see lying from this admin.

retiredeagle on February 28, 2012 at 12:33 PM

You cons can rectify this. Get behind your President and Hillary when it comes to Syria.

It’s hard to get behind a President or SoS when they’re both standing behind YOU. They’re both supposed to lead…well at least lead in the right direction.

What direction are they going in Syria?

Stop b*tching about Lybia – another success.

Sure, if i was a member of the local al-Q or Brotherhood branch office, I would be thrilled to pieces. A country with no central government, closer to a NATO ally (Italy), oh and btw, a country where we KNOW that they already have a decent stockpile of weapons including MANPADS & SCUD class rockets & IRBM’s….

Oh yeah, did I mention, that A- We don’t know who’s in charge, and B - How CLOSE they are to a NATO ally?

Stop crying about Obama wisely apologizing for insensitive behavior in Afghanistan.

Right. Because after all we WANT to stir up the pot as we are drawing down forces. Military scholar, are we?

You make it sound as if it was stated policy to do such acts. But considering the books were desecrated *already* with scribblings in the side (a no-no in Islam, isn’t it), who’s really at fault?

Even then, why apologize? They’re not going to like us *more* because we’re showing *sensitivity*.

And, most importantly, thank Obama for killing OBL!

Yes. Thank you President 41 for issuing the “Kill Order” on OBL after 9/11…and thank President Obama for actually carrying out the raid after a careful review that took long enough to risk losing the target, because well…he thought about it during his naptime.

Here’s some kneepads – no thanks needed.

ElenaKagan on February 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Here’s a clue. He did nothing, nothing you can point at that could possibly be pointed at as a win for anyone. If anything, the next person in office is going to have to work 4x as hard to just pull us back from America being a second class citizen of the world (at least for a short time, I hope).

If you voted for him because of his looks or because of Party affiliation, or because you like the sharpness in the crease of his pants, fine, just admit it…but don’t try to sell it to people that actually know about how the real world works.

Ain’t buying it, sorry.

BlaxPac on February 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Obama could say he would ban abortion tomorrow, and rightards would say he hated babies.ElenaKagan on February 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

No, Obowma’s actions displayed his hatred for children through his support of infanticide while in the Illionis senate.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/feb/24/picket-obamas-bad-moves-infanticide-come-back-haun/

dthorny on February 28, 2012 at 12:51 PM

The very term “Arab Spring,” which the “media” later repeated until the Americans repeated it after them, acted as a coverup of what had happened. The Americans were persuaded to disbelieve their own experience or memory and to say thereafter that the uprising that began in Tehran began instead later in Tunisia.

kunegetikos on February 28, 2012 at 10:39 AM

To lump the Iranian uprising into the “Arab Spring” is an insult to Iranians. They are Persians, not Arabs.

Steve Z on February 28, 2012 at 12:51 PM

And, it goes without saying, that our support for Israel and our habit of invading Muslim countries doesn’t make us Amy more popular.

It’s not a popularity contest, it’s a Holy War.

MichaelGabriel on February 28, 2012 at 12:56 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on February 28, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Sorry, I disagree. They are fair game now because the Obamas choose to trot them out for photo ops, bring them up in speeches, and otherwise put them out in public. Conversely, the way the Clintons kept Chelsea’s world out of the press would have made any such comments inappropriate.

Happy Nomad on February 28, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Here’s some kneepads – no thanks needed.

How can you drink the Koolaid when you’re holding your ankles?

MichaelGabriel on February 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Psst………….all Iranians that count, are Muslims. They love their Allah and would delight in enslaving you. Thinking there is a host of Yankee wannabes yearning to be set free is the same thinking that gave you Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and any other ‘Slum sh!thole you have failed miserably in.

And Iran would be different how? Just get in, break all their stuff and get out. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

BL@KBIRD on February 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Lost in the debate over whether the US should use military force to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is the opportunity that arguably arose nearly three years ago to make the entire debate moot.

Please tell me where in the Constitution the president has this authority, or that it is the duty of the United States to engage in overt or covert regime change?

Dante on February 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

O/T
3rd victim dies in Chardon Ohio school shooting,
Please pray for the victim’s and their families!

angrymike on February 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Please tell me where in the Constitution the president has this authority, or that it is the duty of the United States to engage in overt or covert regime change?

Who said anything about duty?

We do it for 2 reasons:

1. It is in our own self-interest.
2. It is a moral and just thing to do.

President 10-289 gets a solid D- on both accounts.

MichaelGabriel on February 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM

You LIE…..

the BEST DESCRIPTION of this administration….EVAH

roflmmfao

donabernathy on February 28, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Here’s what I’m familiar with: Cons hating on Muslims (or is it “muzzie”?) Replace Afghanistan with Iran, and people here would be cheering for an Iranian “glass” “parking lot.” Class, people we have here.

The only reason you guys are jumping on this is because you just hate Obama.

Obama could say he would ban abortion tomorrow, and rightards would say he hated babies.

ElenaKagan on February 28, 2012 at 10:45 AM

All Hail the State!
All Hail Obama!
Am I doing it right?

Bevan on February 28, 2012 at 1:31 PM

I’d understand stiffing the waiter and leaving a note as to why.

I start tipping at 20% and then go up or down, based on the service.

If someone doesn’t get a tip from me, they need no note explain why.

MichaelGabriel on February 28, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Please tell me where in the Constitution the president has this authority, or that it is the duty of the United States to engage in overt or covert regime change?

Who said anything about duty?

We do it for 2 reasons:

1. It is in our own self-interest.
2. It is a moral and just thing to do.

President 10-289 gets a solid D- on both accounts.

MichaelGabriel on February 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Neither of these are good arguments. Tell me how moral and just it is to seize my money and give it to the citizens of another country, or to use it for their defense?

Dante on February 28, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Neither of these are good arguments.

1.It is in our own self-interest.

Works for me, in a John Galt kind of way.

2. It is a moral and just thing to do.

I’d rather that money go to keep innocents from being tortured and slaughtered, than spent on rat-hole social programs in this country for the cause of “social justice“.

MichaelGabriel on February 28, 2012 at 2:36 PM

2. It is a moral and just thing to do.

I’d rather that money go to keep innocents from being tortured and slaughtered, than spent on rat-hole social programs in this country for the cause of “social justice“.

MichaelGabriel on February 28, 2012 at 2:36 PM

More to the point: I’d rather my money was going to deposing tyrants like the Iranian mullahs who hate us and have declared themselves to be at war with us for decades both with their words and by their actions.

Being an outright enemy of the United States should be very, very dangerous. Instead, it is dangerous to be our friends.

That could not be more wrong, but is the way the Democrats like it.

fadetogray on February 28, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Obama had no hesitation in demanding the ouster of nominal ally Hosni Mubarak just eight days after protests erupted in Egypt. He still hasn’t demanded the ouster of the mullahs of Iran.

Of course not. Our Kenyan Communist Muslim-In-Chief couldn’t be seen supporting a secular ruler like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. But he sure doesn’t mind being seen sucking up to theocratic Muslim dictators like the Satan-worshipping mullahs of Iran.

CatchAll on February 28, 2012 at 7:09 PM

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