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Hello Barack? Iran's Hope and Change

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The past few weeks, the world has been gripped while watching the dramatic events unfolding in Iran. What began as a protest to a stolen election quickly became something else: a call by Iranians to live in a country that respected freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the eternal hope for a better life.

Iran BeatingsIran’s government has long been criticized for its violent brand of theocracy; however, its residents have long been misunderstood as a large group of religious fanatics. This is not true at all, as many Iranians are highly educated, open-minded and have an expressed desire to embrace the values we take for granted. It’s just that those people don’t have much, if any, power, since the nation is ruled by hardline mullahs with no intent on loosening their grip over the nation.

This is why Barack Obama’s tactics towards the real Green Revolution are so alarming. While America has certainly done its share of wrong in Iran, this is a chance to make things right. Our values are their values; in fact, our values are the values held by people all over the world. It’s the job and duty of the American president, the most powerful and visible person in the world, to express that fully.

Obama said he did not want to give Iran’s hardliners any chance to use America as a foil for its protesters. It didn’t matter anyway; the first chance he could, Iran’s Supreme Leader blamed us, Britain and “the Zionists” for the revolt. The regime’s hired thugs still attacked people on the street, shot into crowds and destroyed college dorm rooms.

What would happen if Obama vocalized support for the protesters? The Basiji militia members would hit teenage girls in the face with clubs ten times instead of eight? The Revolutionary Guard would firebomb apartment buildings instead of merely trashing them?

What’s worse, a majority of the Iranian population is under the age of 30. They might not win this time, but they’re going to at some point in time. These are the people we need to connect with. It’s hard to imagine 20 years from now that the Iranian protesters who wound up running countries are going to say thank you to America for ignoring them when they were being tear gassed in 2009.