To Stop Iran's Nukes, Back the Protesters

US should back democracy in a changing Middle East: Ray Takeyh
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2011 1:22 PM CST
To Stop Iran's Nukes, Back the Protesters
An Iranian student holds a sign during a protest to call on the Iranian government to stop violence against demonstrators at the Speakers' Corner, Thursday Feb. 11, 2010, in Singapore.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

If the US wants to change Iran’s behavior, there’s only one way: back the Green Movement protesters. “The Middle East is undergoing one of its most momentous transformations since achieving independence from imperial rule,” writes Ray Takeyh in the Washington Post. Ideologues are on the way out, to be replaced by the “forces of moderation and democracy," and “the demise of the Islamic Republic is inevitable.”

But this “exhilarating” shift may make it harder to address Iran’s nuclear program. "During the democratic transition, there is still the challenge of tempering Iran's pernicious ambitions, and the mullahs' penchant for terrorism must still be addressed." The way forward is to empower the protesters, he writes. “Whether motivated by idealism or a desire to advance practical security concerns, the West must recognize that the only thing standing between the mullahs and the bomb is the Green Movement.” (More Iran stories.)

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