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Iran: A Storm of Reactions to Hillary Clinton

A remark by Hillary Clinton in an interview with the BBC in October 26, 2011 that the Iranian Green Movement would be smart to seek foreign assistance, spurred a lot of reactions – among others from the Green Movement's well known figures and bloggers, who also criticized Green “public figures” in the West.

In her interview, Clinton raised several issues, but it seems that this remark was the most commented on:

I will tell you it was a very tough time for us, because we wanted to be full-hearted in favor of what was going on inside Iran, and we kept being cautioned that we would put people’s lives in danger, we would discredit the movement, we would undermine their aspirations. I think if something were to happen again, it would be smart for the Green Movement or some other movement inside Iran to say, “We want the voices of the world. We want the support of the world behind us.

That’s what the Libyan opposition figures did, as you remember…

Hillary Clinton interview with BBC

Hillary Clinton interview with BBC

Abulhassan Banisadr, a former president in exile, criticized [fa] Clinton, and said the USA does not want democracy for Iran, but an obedient regime as an alternative to the Islamic Republic.

Banouyesabz has published an English translation of Mir Hussein Mousavi's, senior advisor, Ardeshir Amir Arjomand's reaction to Clinton's interview:

Motivation of foreign powers go beyond human rights

Our position is the position of the leaders of Iran’s Green Movement Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Iran’s Green movement is a grassroots movement with its roots deeply embedded in our country, in the heart of our citizens and their will and power to mobilize. We will continue to unequivocally emphasize the independence of the Green movement, for it is this independence that is key to the strength of our movement…It goes without saying, that historically speaking, all across the globe, when we witness a nation interfering in another nation’s internal affairs, it is never merely because they are seeking to uphold human rights and adhere to democratic principles. Generally speaking when foreign interference takes place, there is a motivation behind the interference. Our nation is not one that depends on other governments.

Arjomand requests US government help?

While Arjomand appears to be against all US support for the Green Movement, Zirepoust Shahr has published a translation of a Wikileaks cable describing Arjomand's request for help from a US embassy in Turkey to protect him when he left the country:

Ardeshir entered Turkey illegally but he holds a valid French residency permit. He asked for [US government] help in ensuring his safe onward travel either to France or the U.S. We explained that the USG cannot give any help inconsistent with Turkish or U.S. laws and urged him to consider registering with UNHCR as an asylum-seeker, a suggestion he rejected for fear that Turkey would send him back to Iran.

Khorshid Neshan writes [fa] with irony that:

Once again Arjomand appeared as the “owner” of the Green Movement, and as the authorities of the Islamic Republic's criticized Hillary Clinton… It's amazing that all these reformists living in the USA or big cities in Europe, never pass up meeting the Iranian lobby groups.. Of course, the USA is protecting its own interests, but now these interests are in the same direction as that of the Iranian people… It was good that Arjomand did not burn this opportunity.

On October 27, Mojtaba Vahedi, Mehid Karoubi's advisor, said in a YouTube message [fa] from Washington DC, where he is based that the US “owes” the Iranian opposition movement suport:

Persian Letters on RFL translated his statement to English:

Right when the Green Movement was in full swing, [U.S. President Obama] said his country is ready to talk with the [Islamic Republic]. By doing so Washington morally supported the Iranian government, [which] was very fearful of domestic and international conditions,” Vahedi said.

Vahedi added that in his view the U.S. also owes the Iranian opposition movement for not pressuring allies that supported Iran in its crackdown, This support included providing Tehran with surveillance technology.

Vahedi added that in his view the U.S. owes the Iranian opposition movement also for not pressuring allies that supported Iran in its crackdown, including by providing Tehran with surveillance technology. He also called on the United States to ask former President Jimmy Carter to travel to Iran to monitor the March 2012 parliamentary elections. He suggested the move would put the Iranian government in a difficult position. He noted that Tehran has expressed support and approval for Carter's supervision of the Palestinian and Tunisian votes.

Gole Ayneh critcized Vahedi and says that she, an Iranian woman, rejects any foreign intervention and is surprised that Vahedi thinks the US owes anything to Iran:

Obama swears to defend and protect American interests and not Iranian ones… you suggest sending Carter to supervise parliamentary elections! It seems you ignore protesters’ slogans in the streets, chanting against theocracy…

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