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President Obama Weighs In On Iran…Cautiously

Howard Gumnitzky

Despite continued demonstrations and scores of dead protestors, the Iranian government has set Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s inauguration date. Guardian Council spokesman, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodai, said today that the election results were without “major” irregularities, and that the controversial incumbent will take the oath of office by August.

Ahmadinejad’s challenger, Mir Mousavi, remains steadfast in his demand for new elections. However, the Revolutionary Guard’s violent crackdown on protests has clearly reduced the number of Iranians willing to take to the streets.

In light of such repression, President Obama this afternoon expressed his “outrage” at Iran’s efforts to crush political dissent, but he re-affirmed American recognition of the Islamic regime’s sovereignty. Mideast expert Michael Rubin writes that Obama, by not challenging the clerics’ hegemony, implicitly strengthens the status quo, including the primacy of the supreme leader and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.