Friday, June 19, 2009

House Delivers Iran a Propaganda Coup

The House of Representatives stepped into Iran's electoral crisis today, passing a resolution condemning Iran's crackdown on demonstrators and the media following the disputed June 12 election. The non-binding resolution passed 405-1, with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) the only vote against, though two other congressmen voted "present." The resolution is a much toned down version of the one introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN). Politico reports that Obama administration officials worked with House Democrats to soften the language to try and avoid it becoming a propaganda coup for the Iranian regime. Still, it is almost certain that conservatives in Iran will use the measure to attempt to portray their opponents as American stooges and could be an effective tool for galvanizing nationalist sentiment to the unpopular regime. The Obama approach of not commenting had been supported by many foreign policy and Middle East experts, including Henry Kissinger and Bob Baer and David Ignatius.