One more day of brutal crackdowns and he’ll be at the dreaded “grave doubts” stage. Actually, I’m not going to hassle him about this in light of the welcome news that the State Department asked Twitter to postpone maintenance last night in order to keep the lines open for Iran’s protesters. Good to know, although it does make Obama’s fretting about being seen as “meddling” seem absurd. If you’re going to lean on Twitter and then announce it, why not go the whole nine meddling yards and set up some sort of satellite-based open channel for Iranians to communicate on?
I do like what he has to say near the end about how “something has happened in Iran” to change the dynamic between the people and the regime, which should give the media a handy soundbite to start pushing the revolution meme. That’s not as far-fetched as it was two days ago: As I’m writing this, Iranians are tweeting that Khamenei has once again endorsed the election result and warned the people to accept it even as thousands of Mousavi supporters are marching on the offices of state TV. Meanwhile, the reformist cleric Grand Ayatollah Montazeri — whose stature is such that he was once slated to succeed Khomeini as supreme leader — has reportedly come out in favor of the protesters, declaring the result something “that no one in their right mind can believe.” Quote, according to a blogger’s translation: “I ask the police and army personals not to ‘sell their religion’, and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before god. Recognize the protesting youth as your children.” What this means to Iran’s lesser clerics, the military, and the protesters, especially in light of Khamenei’s declaration the result was a “divine assessment,” I guess we’ll see, but it’s all to the good.
Exit question: How would Saddam be reacting to all this if he was still in charge in Iraq?