January 5th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Supporting Iran's protesters better than negotiating with government?


Supporters of Iran's regime took to the streets in Tehran last week in a show of force against the opposition, which it accused of being "pawns of the enemies." (PHOTO CREDIT: ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The answer to the nuclear standoff in Iran may lie in the bloody seven-month-long pro-democracy protests in the streets of that country.

Last week - Tehran saw some of the most violent clashes between demonstrators and government security forces in months... leaving at least eight people dead. Since then - hundreds of thousands of protesters have held rallies across the country.

Iranians are climbing to their rooftops at night and screaming "death to the dictator" and "death to Khamenei."

President Obama has said that the Iranian regime is engaged in "the violent and unjust suppression" of its citizens, who want nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. He says the regime is using the "iron fist of brutality" and governing through fear and tyranny.

Meanwhile - Iran blew off President Obama's January first deadline of making progress on the nuclear issue. The U.S. insists Iran wants to build nuclear weapons - while Tehran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

The end of the year deadline passed and nothing happened. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is open to further negotiations with Tehran - and that new sanctions are also possible. That's worked so well in the past.

But some suggest the best way to deal with the nuclear issue in Iran is to empower these democratic protesters - instead of offering economic and political incentives to the country's rulers and continuing endless negotiations. They say the U.S. should get behind the opposition... which is determined to topple the government.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Iran's nuclear ambitions, is supporting pro-democracy protesters a better option than negotiating with the government?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Brian from Seattle writes:
The Iranian opposition would be put into an even more perilous position if the U.S. were to publicly and directly support them. Memories of the Shah would cause pro-government supporters to galvanize like never before. Moderate Iranians would turn sour to the opposition once it appears that an external power has any sort of direct influence on them. If America is going to deal with the nuclear question via the increasing domestic unrest within Iran, it must do so with a very subtle, low-key approach.

Jim from Naples, Florida writes:
Jack, Absolutely, it is a better option. Who has more to gain: the ruling radically religious Muslim regime or, the people who, not unlike our own founders, seek freedoms not unlike our own? Oh, by the way, while we empower the Iranian people in their effort to achieve freedom, let's allow the Israelis to forcefully dismantle a few nuclear research labs and reactors.

The world would be a far safer place.

Will from California writes:
We should support the pro-democracy movement, but we need to be careful with how we do that. If we become too actively involved, then the existing Iranian government can claim these protesters are just puppets of the U.S. The last thing that we want to do is get in a position where our involvement strips this movement of its legitimacy.

DeeDee from Nashville writes:
Some say we're already supporting the pro-democracy demonstrators. We can't run ads about it. Let's use a little savvy here. We're already helping them; we have to be discrete about it. So, we might as well talk to the Iranian government, knowing full-well that we need the Iranian people to overthrow their government.

Annie from Atlanta writes:
No. Your choices are getting involved in, or fueling, a bloodbath or reasoning with a theocracy whose figurehead is a little moron with a Napoleon complex. What's the 3rd choice?

Filed under: Iran
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Hey Jack, How did the protester fare in China? You remember the tank incident? The U.S. has less leverage in Iran. The U.S. will have to get use to the idea of Iran having nuclear ability. Supporting protesters would be counter productive, then again, any would.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    No. That would amount to supporting subversive activities, rather than rebellion, and we would not condone such conduct within our own country, so we should not conduct ourselves, in that manner, elsewhere.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm |
  3. Willow, Iowa

    Its not our business to police the world. If the Iranian citizens are going to fight for themselves, we should stay out of it. We should continue to negotiate with the government of Iran. Its straight out of :The Mouse that Roared". A small country wants to be bigger and stronger than they really are, for protection and reputation. If we begin to ignore Iran, they will get louder and louder until someone listens.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm |
  4. Conor in Chicago

    Neither Jack. The best and only option as I see it is to stay out of it as much as possible and let it play out on its own. First of all Iran' entire national identity is based on rebellion against US domination. If we are seen as supporting either side then we are meddling once again and that will play against us. The second reason is that the pro-democracy protesters are not by default our best friends. If Mousavi were to take power don't think for a second that he won't want nuclear weapons. Don't think for a second that they will see peace with Israel as in their national interest. People really need to understand that for Iran a regime change will be a classic case of "Meet the new boss; same as the old boss".

    January 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  5. J W

    Leave Iran alone. Don't even look their way. The leaders there are busily tossing the rope they weaved for themselves over the nuclear tree on which they will hang themselves out of existence. Iran leadership is obviousy exceedingly dumb. They don't need our expert help in looking even dumber.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
  6. KarenB, central Florida

    You cannot negotiate with Radicals. If you have to make a choice, support the protesters and let Israel do what it wants to do.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  7. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Some how in order for a win win situastion is to try to do both. For one reason is we will not send troops in to help them so both sides need to be worked wisely to attain a good solution for us.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
  8. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Yes, do support the protestors, for if they succeed with our help our image as a country will be much improved.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  9. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Iran has been play us for fools for decades and worse today.They know we'll do nothing but talk and cower.YES!!! we should help the
    protesters in every way we can....................OR!!! we'll get our clock cleaned when its too late.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm |
  10. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Just between you and me I'm more concerned about restoring Democracy to the US

    January 5, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
  11. Ed

    The U. S. cannot overtly support the protesters. Iran's greatest propaganda weapon against them is to portray them as American stooges. All Iranians remember that the U. S. supported the coup which deposed the democratically elected government in 1953 and made way for the Shah to become a dictator.

    Don't we ever learn anything from our mistakes?


    January 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  12. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Maybe we should just tell the Iranian government that we will give them $50 Billion dollars a year if they do things the way we want. This is about the same thing we do with other countries and then we can tell them to clean up their corruption, like we don't have any ourselves.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  13. Sandra in Temecula, CA

    You can't negotiate with a country like Iran and hopefully our apologetic Commander in chief has finally figured that out. Iran is just toying with us, knowing we have become so weak. There is nothing to be gained and it is best to just stay out of their business.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
  14. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    Why do we have to support any group? Why can’t we just wait to see what happens like the rest of the world does? We have enough of our own problems to deal with, so let them hash their problems and when they sort it out, then we can deal with the situation.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
  15. Tina Tx

    If we would mind our own business and take care of the mess we have on our own plates and let Iran and the demonstraters do their thing it would all calm down. But we have to keep meddling and keep things stirred up.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:36 pm |
  16. Pete

    While we might talk to the protestors, it should not be openly. How would we feel if Iran started official discussions with a Neo-Nazi group or the KKK?

    January 5, 2010 at 3:38 pm |
  17. Albert K., Los Angeles

    Jack, history answers your question. The lesson of the Romans verses the Christians and the Nazis verses the Jews is we have no option to negotiate with a psychopathic opinionist who has nuclear ambitions and kills his own people to force his opinions upon them. Our only option is to support a civil revolution and get ready for war.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  18. pat in lexington, Ky.

    Yes – and I'll bet we already are, to a degree.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  19. Steve in Chula Vista, CA

    There is NO negotiating with Iran. We need to quit policing the world trying to make them think like we do. Obama has quickly learned his playing nice with bad boys and apologizing for the evils of America just doesn't work with the thugs that run Iran. Iran knows we are just spouting off empty threats and they are trying to push us into backing up our words with action. We need to just stay out of it and understand we don't control the world.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  20. JENNA

    If we are going to support Iran's protestors then we can't do it like under Bush one who told the Iraq resistence group that the US would support them and then Bush turned his back on them resulting in their deaths..

    Roseville CA

    January 5, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  21. John from Alabama

    Jack: It is impossible to negotiate with Iran in good faith. They will delay, delay, and delay the process. I vote we destory one of their nuclear enrichment facilities now, because sanctions do not work. Maybe we contract it out to the Israelis to do for us and the rest of the world. Plus I do not care what Russia and China think about our methods when it comes to Iran.

    January 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  22. Maria

    Oh, who knows? We've propped up protestors in other countries and that frequently fails. We've propped up dictators like Sadam, and look where that got us. We propped up Afghanistan against Russia...there was a big winner. It takes skilled negotiations on all sides to make any progress and historically sanctions do not work. Maybe the best action is no action. Making a decision not to make a decision is an option.

    Why don't we focus on home and then deal internationally as a second act?



    January 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  23. Michael Alexandria, VA

    We should do both, Jack.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
  24. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    Gotta do both. the angles you can "attack" Iran, the better.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  25. Brian Delray Beach, FL

    By all means we must support the protesters. There is no rational government to negotiate with only a bunch of guys who are in a world of their own dreaming of Allah. We must impose the most rigid sanctions possible and let the Iranian people know that their government is leading them in the disasterous direction. If the current Iranian Government does develop a "bomb" or even gets real close to having one standby for a message from Israel. The Israelis cannot afford to let Iran have the nuclear option because they are nuts enough to use it.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  26. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    We are a democratic society and we support and favor nations that have a democracy. So why shouldn't we support the protesters in Iran who want the same thing. It's not like we are jeopardizing any serious talks that we are having with their leaders about having nuclear weapons. It's the complete opposite Iran's president turned his back to us and tried to make us look like a fool. It's time to support people who feel the same about their president as we do.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
  27. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, yes, because negotiating with the present government is a total waste of time and effort. This has proven to be true over and over. All they are doing is stalling until they achieve a working nuclear arsenal, after which they can tell the rest of the world to kiss off or die.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
  28. mack from michigan

    Everytime we stick our nose where it dont belong over there in the middle east another America hating, murderous thug is born. Lets see........The shah of Iran, Saddam Hussian vs Iran, Osama bin Laden vs Russia, The Saudi Regime, Yasser Arafat. We supported all these killers. Hands off this time, if they're shooting at each other they ain't shootin at us. We may just be supporting the next terrorist!

    January 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  29. Lil Me

    Is negotiating with the Iranian government seriously an option? They've never given a hoot about what America wanted, why would they start now?

    January 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  30. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Supporting the protestors accomplishes two things. We hopefully get rid of the current dictator and empower Iranian citizens and politicians who will be more open to a less oppressive society. I'm sure that we have the means to get in there and support these protestors with money, education, and whatever else they need to succeed.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
  31. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Gee, Iran actually ignored an Obama deadline? Say it ain't so Jack. Don't they know who they're messing with? Obama will just have to get tough and apologize again. Oh, and yes, we should be arming the protestors to the teeth. Iran is surely arming Al Queda. Time for some payback.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  32. Tom in Tampa Fl.

    Here's a radical idea: Why not stop meddling so much in the Middle East and other Muslim countries? Aren't we convinced yet that American foreign policy is Al Qaeda's best recruiting tool?

    January 5, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  33. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    There is pressure from inside from the opposition that does not seem to be weak even when faced with brutality and excessive force and we can have pressure from outside from really limiting economic benefits of the establishment in ways that it does not end up hurting the citizens!

    January 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  34. A. Smith, Oregon

    America propped up the corrupt government in Iran headed by the Shah of Iran. The CIA tortured the hell out of the Iranian people that protested against America forcing a corrupt leader upon them. That was 30 years ago Jack, look at the enormous blow-back upon America and the world!!!

    January 5, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  35. Randy Willen

    You mean like what the CIA did in 1953, by starting street protests through local contacts and money ?
    We do not know if the opposition protests we are hearing about represents the Majority of the Iranian people. Regardless, every poll shows that as far as the Nuclear issue is concerned, the Majority of Iranians want Iran to have the capability to produce Nuclear Power. That is true for both pro and opposition sides.
    Most Iranians understand the Articles of the NPT (Nuclear Non proliferation Treaty) that Iran has signed (Ask Ted Koppel). Anybody read the NPT ? What does it say in Article 4 ? Basically it says the signatory can Enrich Uranium for Civilan Nuclear Energy purposes. The US (with the UN) wants to take away that right for Iran. As an analogy, you can pump oil, but you have to rely on others to refine it for you. You can not set up your own refinery. So, a country which wants to be independent on fuel has to rely on others to enrich it for them ?
    That is one of the discussion points that is not discussed here in the States.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  36. Thom Richer

    It is eventually up to the citizens of any country to rid themselves of dictators, illegal or dangerous governments and gain control of their country on their own. It is not up to us to constantly interfere under phoney democratic pretenses. In Iran's case, we have no busines dealing with a government that is clearly anti-human rights, anti-American and bent on nuclear war. Nor do we have the right to incite a civil war in another country. We have no right to be involved in their politics anymore than they have such a right to involve themselves in our government. Also, we have no proof positive that these protesters, should they overthrow their present government, are truely pro-democracy and will establish a democratic government afterwards. So, neither is really our option. Live and let live.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    January 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm |
  37. David of Alexandria VA

    Negotiating with Iran - although appearing to be the most warm and fuzzy thing to do doesn't seem to accomplish anything. Iran seems to be taking plays from the North Korean playbook - keep saying "no" until you have a bomb, then say "I don't have to because now I can blow you up." Diplomacy depends on more than one willing party. Supporting the demonstrators would probably be more effective - as long as we have a Special Ops team ready to rush in when the government falls in order to to seize the nukes before the Yemeni do.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:42 pm |
  38. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    What do we have to lose? You can hit this little Hitler with a two by four and not get anywhere. I remember when I was younger the people of Budapest cried out for our help. We ignored them and look what happened. How can you ignore people that want to change their country for the better? They will be able to do what we never will – get rid of that little problem.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  39. Martyn Bignell

    The answer to this Jack is do both, the current regime is frankly a bunch of religous head cases, they will not bow to any pressure from either the USA or anyone else, however, by getting the rest of the world on side, including Russia and China and imposing heavier and heavier sanctions the pro-democracy movement will grow and grow; thus then imposing the removal of Irans current administration eventually, sometimes the political road is the best for the long term.

    Martyn Bignell Fort Lauderdale.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm |
  40. Chris - Ottawa, Canada

    In 1953 the US and British governments overthrew Iran's democratically elected government and installed the Shah as dictator. To this day America continues to support tyranny in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and dozens of other countries. America is in no position to lecture Iran about democracy.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
  41. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, it is best for the U.S. to stay out of the demonstrations and let the people carry out their own revolution. If the U.S. is in any way seen to be giving any support for the uprising, then it will no longer have credibility to negotiate especially if it tries the sanctions route. The U.S. already has problems in Iraq, Afghanistan and now, Yemen. How many more fronts does it want to defend? The problematic economy is still looming large and needs first priority.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm |
  42. Docb

    There are no 'elected' govrnment officials to deal with! Negotiating with those that hold no real power is like spitting at a very short wall!–everything goes over but nothing sticks. Our Government should ignore their pointless entreaties-the RGuard holds the power and the money. The reformers are no longer afraid of them and are moving to overthrow...give them time–it took two years in 1978-79!

    We must just support the people and ignore the runt and the cleric!

    January 5, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
  43. Jeff Crocket in New Britain, CT

    Without considering other issues our country and particularly our President should be supporting freedom and liberty everywhere.
    Obama has said little about the current Iran revolution.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  44. Leslie

    To quote our first president " The United States should stay out of the affairs of other countries". That being said; Although I feel for the good people of Iran. They have to work out how they want their country to be run for themselves. Until we have just cause meaning that the current government threatens us with a nuclear attack or something we should stay out of it. If that means that some will die and some will go to prison then so be it. What would have happened if Mandela, Gandhi or the founding fathers would have given into the pressures of oppression? Out of the perils of oppression the strong will rise to make a better day. They always have and they always will.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  45. jenny

    Jack, First of all can anyone even get a word in edgewise when takling with "alphabet man" ( My sons nickname for the Irania President). I have never noticed him listening to anyone in any interview he has ever done that I have seen. Two do you really think that anyone is safe when Iran has nuclear capacity. People have been jumping up and down about North Korea but personally I would feel much less safe with Iran having them.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  46. Terry in Hanover

    Do we have another choice? The Iranian government has not only turned its back on its own people but it has also turned its back on the world. Our only hope may be a government takeover by the pro-democracy protestors before Iran trips a switch and we find our world engulfed in an all out nuclear war, one in which no one will win.

    January 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm |
  47. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This country has almost blocked us out like North Korea has blocked us out there's nothing we can do this has to be solved by there people the only thing we can do is drop bombs .

    January 5, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  48. Lou from North Carolina

    I think it is best for us to leave Iran alone and let them do their thing. I don't see where we should have a dog in that hunt. They are doing their "tea bagging" thing. They didn't come over and help the tea-baggers. Why should be get involved in their personal feelings against their rulers.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  49. marlene

    If words of support from the US is "helping the protestors", then the US and its allies should be doing that every day. After the "fradulent election", protestors have continued their acts of disrupting the Iranian government. Our actions should be anything that will contribute to a successful result of leadership removal, short of military action.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  50. Dan, Chantilly VA

    We have a bad history when it comes to supporting the overthrow of governments. We supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua until they turned on us and we tried to oust them using the Contras – funded of course by weapons sales to Iran. We supported the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, which led to a well armed Taliban government. Similar scenarios have occurred in Cuba, Guatemala, Chile, Lebanon, and Iraq to name a few. Maybe this time we should just sit back and let the revolution happen on its own. Lend them vocal support, but maybe hold back on giving them money and weapons.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
  51. Dennis North Carolina

    supporting protesters for their freedom is good but atom power should be between the governments of all countries.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  52. Michael H. of Albuquerque, NM

    Supporting Irans protester is better than bombing their nuclear facilities. The protesters are the people, and are likely the next government.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  53. Terry, Chandler AZ

    I have been telling friends for years that the young people, who are increasing dramaticaly in numbers, will one day revolt and take control of Iran. Additionally, I have suggested that we should do all that we can to provide support ,whether that be emotional, financial, technological, anything. These kids will succeed. Remember they watch CNN.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
  54. David A Whitaker

    The only the government in Iran will change will be from within. No outside sources will bring the government of Iran down.


    January 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  55. Joanne from Medina

    Negotiating with the current government in Iran isn't working and probably won't so long as they are in power and determined t to go their own way. The best option, seems to me, is to support the anti-protesters and hope for a change in regime.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  56. Jeff In Minnesota

    I think you need to do both, but you must be very careful supporting dissidents. Supporting the dissidents does nothing but play into the current regime's complaint that the US is behind all of the dissension.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  57. Darren

    We already got our hands foo nation building in the Middle East and couldn't take Iran on even if they bombed Israel, who's kidding who.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  58. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    Sure, let's spend more money that we don't have to give them guns so more innocennt people can die. That's a great idea. Mahatma Ghandi and MLK Jr. would just love this idea. Peaceful demonstrations work with time. While we're at it let's go after N. Korea, Yemen, Pakistan and everybody else who might have some bad administrations that we don't like. WWIII here we come.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
  59. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Since the government will not negotiate, you bet-ya.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
  60. Kelby in Houston

    The current situation in Iran has no single silver bullet solution. We have no choice but to support the protestors supporting democracy while negotiating with the Iranian government to stop their nuclear ambitions.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
  61. Scott Stodden

    Jack when it comes to Iran I would'nt negotiate nothing with this country or there leaders. We issued strict and stern sanctions for them to follow by the end of 2009 and Im just flabbergasted that nothing happened when the Iranian goverment simply shunned off the United States. We need to just bomb this whole middle east and third world countries and then maybe just maybe they'll get the picture because sanctions and talking isn't working. Support the protesters in Iran who want democracy that's what I would do.

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    January 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  62. Steve, Clifton, VA

    To negate the role of Government elsewhere is to invite the same practice here in the the USA....
    slippery slop!!

    January 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm |
  63. Lynn from Marblehill, GA

    It dose seem that the logical approach would be to support the demonstratiors – but then logic left Washington years ago.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  64. Ron in Tupelo

    That would be the most ignorant thing we could do. Are you taking your foreign policy cues from Darth Cheney? If we came out in favor of the protestors all it would do is rally the Iranian people behind the illegitimate government. In case you did not know, we do not have a great reputation in that part of the World. Thank God we have an intelligent President who knows better than to stumble down that path.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:34 pm |
  65. Mari Fernandez, Utah

    We must do both, Jack, support the protesters and talk to the government.

    The old saying is still true, "keep your friends close & your enemies even closer."

    January 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  66. Ed from California

    Did Bush 2 listen to the opposition party? No! The Iranian govt is tough on their opposition, like killing them. I think World pressure has to be put on Iran. And in that way they may lighten up on their population and their doctrine. Iran is a sovereign nation. And it's very hard to tell them what they can and can't do. The entire world's governments has to put pressure on Iran to do the right thing.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm |
  67. Tim

    And HOW, Mr. Cafferty, would you suggest we "support" the protesters? Run guns through the CIA? Finance them? Don't we have enough enemies in the region already? There is no such thing as a lasting solution to ANYONE's domestic problems that can be enacted (or imposed) by a foreign power. The only thing we can do is the only thing we can still afford to do: lip service – and even that would rub too many people the wrong way. Time for us to mind our own business.


    January 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  68. Linda in Arizona

    Oh, sorry, wrong article. I see I'm too late for the profiling question.

    You mean we can't negotiate with the government of Iran at the same time we're supporting the protesters? God, we must be even more pathetic than I supposed.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
  69. Alex

    The answer is to help the Pro democratic movement, NOT to negotiate with the Iranian Government. US should know by now that there is no point in negotiating with the Iranian government, they are just buying time. The Iranian people have been suppressed for 30 years. They are not fanatics and they have always been very Westernized.
    I was so disappointed hearing that Senator Kerry would like to go to Iran. Please don't! Don't negotiate with that government, help the people instead! A free Iran is going to have a big impact on the rest of the middle east and the World.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
  70. Bob In Florida

    I am afraid not. Not that it is not a good strategy to support the protestor....but because, the USA DOES NOT carry out stategies like this very well. We end up screwing it up every time and then the very people we try to help turn against us. We did it in Iran before, we did it in Iraq and we did it in Afghanistan.

    Backdoor help might work out if done properly, a nuclear "full blown" embargo might help (since we do surround Iran right now) but it must be an airtight embargo that also allows humanitarian aide to go through.

    We have to do it right, without errors, if we are to help the people of Iran.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
  71. Paul from Phoenix


    Obama blew it this summer by not supporting the protesters because he thought the world would like us better because we voted for Obama. Now that he has found out that is not the case, hopefully he won't make the same mistake twice. I doubt it, but isn't it about hope?

    January 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
  72. Homeless D

    This is a hard question. It supposes that were Iran a democracy, its people would no longer want to have nuclear capabilities. What's the guarantee for that? WE are a democracy and we have nuclear capabilities. So do other democratic nations. Just because we and they do not want to blow up the world does not mean that a democratic Iran would feel the same.

    Just being a democracy would NOT change the RELIGIOUS radicalism. And that seems to be the thing that makes them radical to begin with, the religious nuts.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
  73. Mode (PDX)

    Supporting revolutionaries, freedom fighters and the like is a gamble and these Iranian protesters are no exception. Remember, Osama Bin Laden was given a lot of aid when he was fighting the USSR. Given the lack of intelligence among our elected officials, I think any support of protesters in Iran will more likely create an Iranian version of Osama Bin Laden, than it would better secure our interests in the region. Direct talks are superior and build trust. Espionage will only make international relations worse.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  74. GWTripp, Mch'sburg, PA

    It may not be a better option, however it is a neccessary thing. The Iranian people need and deserve all the support we can provide.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  75. Terry from Zion, IL

    Its time for the rest of the world to confront Iran, not just America. We have spent to much money for nothing in that area policing the world already and I think we should worry about America and spend taxpayers dollars at home to secure us first.

    January 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  76. john .... marlton, nj

    Are they pro-democracy ?? Are you sure ? Who told you ... a little bird

    January 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  77. Jared Schwartz

    AT this point yes, Iran has a leader that is crazy and hell bent on causing conflict. Help the revolution, like the French helped us defeat the British. Then , if successful, the Iranians will have earned democracy and will help spread it in the Middle East.

    Windham, NY

    January 5, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  78. ken, dover, DE

    The protesters are not running the government of iran so it makes no sense to talk with them about nuclear weapons. As long as the u.s has 10,000 nuclear weapons and israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons aimed at iran they will get paranoid and will also want nukes. What would we tell iran anyway, you can't have nukes but israel and the u.s. can.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  79. Andrew

    Yes. Isn't it the policy of the US not to negotiate with terrorists?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  80. Brian in Seattle

    The Iranian opposition would be put into an even more perilous position if the U.S. were to publically and directly support them. Memories of the Shah would cause pro government supporters to galvanize like never before. Moderate Iranians would turn sour to the opposition once it appears that an external power has any sort of direct influence on them. If America is going to deal with the nuclear question via the increasing domestic unrest within Iran it must do so with a very subtle, low-key approach.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
  81. Will from San Jose, CA

    We should support the pro-democracy movement, but we need to be careful with how we do that. If we become too actively involved, then the existing Iranian government can claim these protesters are just puppets of the US. The last thing that we want to do is get in a position where our involvement strips this movement of it's legitimacy.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  82. Jenna Lancaster, PA

    Think supporting the people of Iran who are trying to demand human rights & promote a democratic process to have a say in their government is the best way to move forward. Iran's current gov. has demonstrated that they really have no intention of "going along to get along". They have consistently made threats to Isreal & the US. TIme to get Russia, China, Europe and the rest of world to step up and support the people of Iran and a peaceful existance for everyone.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
  83. Jim, Naples

    Jack, absolutely it is a better option; who has more to gain, the ruling radically religious Muslim regime or, the people who, not unlike our own founders, seek freedoms not unlike our own?

    Oh, by the way, while we empower the Iranian people in their effort to achieve freedom, let's allow the Israelis to forcefully dismantle a few nuclear research labs and reactors.

    The world would be a far safer place.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  84. Jim


    Do you actually think we're NOT currently helping them? Wake up and smell the 60s, Jack. I'll bet the CIA has people over there right now advising the protest leaders and giving them money.

    Reno, Nevada

    January 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  85. Annie, Atlanta

    No. Your choices are getting involved in, or fueling, a bloodbath or reasoning with a theocracy whose figurehead is a little moron with a Napoleon complex. What's the 3rd choice?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  86. Jim in Alabama

    Yes Jack. Given the leadership's unwillingness to sit down in sincerity and negotiate in good faith, I believe that we should aid the protestors in every way possible. A change in leadership would work in our favor and maybe disfuse the nuclear threat of proliferation. It's certainly preferable to starting another war. We have enough alligators to fight in the swamp now.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  87. Andrew

    Yes. Isn't it the policy of the US not to negotiate with terrorists?

    Raleigh, NC

    January 5, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  88. A. Smith, Oregon

    America propped up the Shah of Iran, and the CIA tortured the hell out of any Iranian that protested the corrupt leader of Iran that America supported. That was 30 years ago Jack, look at all the blow-back from that single lapse in judgment!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  89. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    Would a pro democracy Iran warrant them the right to nuclear weapons as most democratic governments in the world today do have such weapons? The irony is, is that some day that may be a reality.

    If we are to become a global society one day, then the World will decide if Iran is to have nuclear weapons, not us.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  90. Luke H

    Yes, we should support the people of Iran, in words. It would be absolutely insane to provide military or monetary support. Every time we have supported another nation's effort to topple its government, it's resulted in a new government hostile to the U.S. Look at the Mujahadin in Afghanistan, for instance. This is a domestic issue, Jack, and it should be treated as such.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  91. Jim

    No. There is no guarantee that a new Iranian government would be any more anti-nuclear (or pro-American) than the current one.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  92. James Bowen

    Why don't you ask the leaders of the "pro democracy movement in Iran if they want our help or if it will discredit the movement and do harm to it? Don't ask ignorant Americans who don't have a clue and couldn't find Iran on a map of the world.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  93. francky from virginia

    neitheir one is good,you should destroy thoses nuclear sites and finish with them that is how you deal with those people.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
  94. DeeDee from Nashville

    Some say we're already supporting the pro-democracy demonstraters. We can't run ads about it. Let's use a little savvy here. We're already helping them. We have to be discrete about it. So, we might as well talk to the Iranian government, knowing full well that we need the Iranian people to overthrow their government.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  95. Robin Davies

    Yeah, sure... topple the Iranian government. Regime change is so popular throughout the world and is always appreciated by all, right? America, you couldn't possibly be contemplating opening Pandora's box yet again could you? Have you guys learned anything since 2001?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  96. nash fedricks

    We , the US has enough on our hand. Why are we so worried about Iran . They have not attacked US, they have not attacked any other country. Who is controlling the American Foreign policy. Yes, start another front and get our boys killed in another unnecessary war. Stop wasting our resources, energy & money .

    January 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  97. Lili

    Completely agree. People in Iran need US support, They fight for democracy and if they achieve it Iranians are peaceful nation who don't want bombs!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  98. Jay in Montana

    Jack, I seriously doubt it. From what I've read, neither the Iranian government nor the opposition is in favor of abandoning the country's nuclear program. I do wonder, however, if the opposition might be more rational and thus less likely to drop a nuke on Israel.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
  99. Troy Fairview, Texas,

    No it isn't. In fact it is a good way to get a lot of innocent people killed. America needs to let another country handle this one. We need to set this one out on all fronts. We have our fingers in too many pies right now.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  100. Charles

    Ummmm....you mean we aren't already doing that? May I ask what our infamous CIA is being paid for again?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  101. Lorenzo in Atlanta

    I don't think the ball was dropped by Obama with this issue. I am pretty sure that there are agents over there as we speak, looking for the vulnerable points to strike and to do it without the entire world knowing. You don't have to have a big BOOM to make your point. A sniper hitting a few key targets will let Iran know that we are not playing around.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  102. Charlie Fitz

    I would hope we are already supporting them-very quietly. We can't do too much publically because that Government blames "the Great Satan"for everything from the heat in the desert to when the sewers back up. But talking with that government is a waste of time

    January 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  103. Matthew

    Jack, it is best to remember that one Middle-Eastern faction that is more democratic than another Middle-Eastern faction can be far less democratic than the Western World can tolerate. The old adage, "Is the enemy of my enemy my friend or my enemy?' certainly comes to play.

    That being said, who says this 'progressive democratic' upheavel is going to lead to an anti-nuclear stance? Last I checked, the majority of 'democratic' nations are nuclear, and I'm not talking the industrial power kind, and with so many countries surrounding Iran that are aggressive or just downright wary of Democracy, the New Iran could not only pursue nuclear power as source of energy, they might just say outright it is for defensive warfare.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:18 pm |
  104. Laura

    We should most definitely attempt to empower those pro-democracy citizens because any change brought about from within the country and by Iran's own citizens will be stronger and longer lasting change. These people have real motivation and intensity caused by the injustices of their own government, and could be on the verge of forming a foundation of democracy and justice that is based on their own experiences, not on foreign pressures.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  105. tehranweekly

    Twitter &facebook is very helpful to show all the crimes of khamenei on videos of attacks &torture and rape i think internet is very effective and should continue it does help iranian protesters do not negotiate with ahmadinegad

    January 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  106. Mike

    Why can't we just leave these people alone? We have problems of our own HERE. Health care, deficit spending and unemployment among others. Yet the government is hell bent on interfering in everyone else's affairs rather than making things better here with single payer and FairTax legislation. Oh well, this is what we get when we let the uninformed many oppress the informed few. Perhaps if people got informed and participated in our government, we would be a lot better off.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  107. Frank Tamru

    We've made zero progress offering incentives to the government and threats of sanctions, so perhaps we should revert to that old adage of
    "the enemy of my enemy, is my friend" and support the protestors.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  108. Gary Walborn

    The Obama administration must walk a fine line. Ultimately, strong sanctions hurt the people of Iran more than the government of Iran. Such sanctions may actually help unify the country against outside forces seen as trying to control Iran. As long as the these protesters are willing to oppose the current regime, we should avoid anything that would bring these people closer to the official stance and should opt instead to pursue sanctions that impede the government while encouraging the protesters as much as possible. I certainly hope we have not already forgotten the lessons of our "strong arm" approach with Iraq...

    Youngstown, OH

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  109. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    I remember the end of the Gulf war when the first President Bush called on the Kurds to oppose Saddam, after which the dictator murdered whole villages of people. So I have to ask, how do we support the protesters in that repressive society without getting them killed?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  110. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    The C.I.A has a long history in Iran ,in the early 1950 Dr Mosaddeq came into office committed to democracy but the C. I. A with operation Ajax put the Shah in power , you see Jack Oil trump democracy. Ron Paul was wright.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  111. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Have we been "negotiating" with Iran?

    Seems to me, that if we want more Democracies, we need to deal with those who's first interest is some kind of Democratic reform. I'm not sure that helping will actually "help." They, therefore WE would probably let them go through what they must and wait to help them till the tide has turned in their/our favor.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  112. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    Yes it would be more helpful because Iran's rulers will not stop trying to build a nuclear bomb and if we could help arm the protesters they might just be able to take over the country from the Islamic radicals who support terror around the world.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  113. Ray Victory

    Vero Beach, FL
    Unfortunately too much and too public support for the protesters in Iran will hurt any diplomatic efforts. And, in any case, our support, or not, is irrelevant to the eventual outcome. It is up to the Iranians to develop their own political processes.
    Perhaps the most effective policy to stop Iranian nuclear development is to support the Israelis by turning a blind eye when they reduce the nuclear sites to smoking holes in the ground.
    After the fact we can condemn and deplore to our heart's content the dastardly (but effective) actions of the brutal Israelis.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  114. Soul Leister, undisclosed bunker USA

    Exactly when did exchanging one group of loose cannons for another become a good plan? Then again that's how Obama got elected.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
  115. John Ex-Peace Corps/Iran

    To change the government in Iran will take the villages to come on board. The Mullahs control the villages thru religion teachings.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  116. J.L from NJ

    Why not do both? I really wanted to give Iran the benefit of doubt that they were indeed just making nuclear fuel for electricity. I thought how stupid we would look if we destroyed it only to find out we were wrong. But, Iran missed the golden opportunity to prove their claim and has shunned the offer. It is almost as if they are baiting us to take action. Same as Hussain in Iraq did. I hope we learned how not to act from the embarrassment of Iraq and the WMD.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  117. Roy


    Problem is not with the nuclear program. As an Iranian American I beileve not only Iran but all countries have the right to own the power. The problem as I see it is the government of Iran. We need to stop the useless and empty threats and support the people. Help with a coup but this time side with the people of Iran.

    A free Iran means the stop of violence and terror all over the world. These Mullahs are responsible for the world's unrest.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  118. john r

    Why not help the protesters? A bloody civil war that we will be right in the thick of for the next 10 years. $5/gal gas. Republican resurgence ect
    But nothing else has worked.
    Cry Havoc and let loose the drones of war
    See ya

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  119. Kaveh

    supporting protest is much more better than negotiating with Iranian government.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  120. Joe

    A revolution by the pro-democracy protesters would be great, but we have to be careful. The one thing that unites all Iranians is a hatred of outsiders meddling in their affairs. And yet the only way the protests can turn into a real revolution is if the regular army abandons it's outposts and actively fights the elite forces loyal to the Ayatollah. That can only happen if the generals turn on the Ayatollah, but if we support the generals, we risk a dictatorship taking over that's just as bad as what we have now.

    This happens every time we try counterinsurgency, we end up supporting the Shah in Iran, Saddam Hussein, and we even armed Bin Laden to fight the Russians.

    I don't know what we should do, but supporting the protesters or instituting sanctions both can be dangerous. Maybe that's why they pay people a lot of money to figure this stuff out and don't take their foreign policy from the internet.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  121. Jasmin

    Dear Jack,

    The government of Iran is playing with the U.S in order to find a way to develop the nuclear power. The government that crashes down its own people brutally will use nuclear power to destroy its imaginary enemies. So, If U.S support protesters, this government can be destroyed automatically and it also will change the broken relationship between the U.S and Iran. We, the people of Iran, ask the American authorities to support Iranians and be beside them instead of nurture such a brutal government.

    Long live Iran,
    Jasmin from Toronto,

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  122. Matt


    When you say "supporting pro-democracy" protesters, what exactly do you mean? Official statements from the White House are intangible and utterly limited. I think we all know that the weary citizens of Iran deserve better than what words can provide. Isn't it time to put the military option on the table and leave it there?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  123. Jim

    Jack, absolutely empowering the Iranian pro-democracy movement is a better option; who has more to gain, the ruling radically religious conservative Muslim regime or, the people who, not unlike our own founders, seek freedoms not unlike our own?

    Oh, by the way, while we empower the Iranian pro-democracy movement in their effort to achieve freedom, let's allow the Israelis to forcefully dismantle a few nuclear research labs and reactors.

    The world would be a far safer and less insane place to live.

    Naples, Florida

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  124. Robert Orth

    Reluctantly yes. I wish we didn't have to get involved in everything, but I think we need to support the protesters anyway we can. Ya know this all seems familiar. Don't these protesters in Iran remind us of those folks that took over our embassy and held our people hostage for so long? Mr. President if the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ever asks for asylum, say NO!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  125. Emily, Canada

    Hi Jack,

    This sounds like supporting 'the devil you know than the devil you don't know', style of question.

    I think this is a 'no-win' here...democracy in Iran is an oxymoron.
    Best to talk with both sides...neither is on an equal footing.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  126. Jason in New York

    We do both, didn't we support pro-democracy movements in Eastern Europe while still communicating with Communist Governments?

    I know America's global reputation has taken a big hit, but we can still walk & chew gum at the same time, can't we?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  127. Eshrat Arjomandi

    Bad idea Jack. Regime removal has never worked. Only the people of Iran can act on regime removal. Remember, Iranians still have not forgotten when the US removed Mousadegh and re-installed the Shah.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  128. David

    Wow it sure takes you lefty democrats along time to realize republican forieghn policy ideas work.Back in june 2009 republicans and Charles Krauthammer said you should do this.You ignored them and today 7 months later here we are discussing the exact thing they said to do.Maybe when it comes to forieghn policy you should just listen to them to begin with.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  129. AL/Greenville, MS

    America manufactures all types of weapons. Why are we concerned with what other countries do? George Washington made it clear, "Stay out of foreign affairs." We have enough issues of our own that need to be fixed. Terror is nothing but fear. The only way to combat fear is with God. This country has turned its back on God.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  130. Will

    Yes, I do believe the president should support pro-democracy efforts but I believe we must continue to walk a fine line as president Obama has done. Throwing too much of a support behind pro-democratic forces in Iran will provide the rallying cry for the Iranian government to utilize even stronger measures to crack down on it's people. The premise will be the American government is seeking to conduct another regime change and up to its old imperialistic tactics again versus the reality of what is occurring within Iran; real cries out for change by Iran's own people. Keep doing what you do Obama. People of Iran, the democracy you want, desire and should have can only be brought about by your hands.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  131. MSH

    Iranian People are suffering for 30 years, its time for president Obama to support Iranian protesters. No negotiation with illigal Iranian government.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  132. Denis McKeown

    The human drama across the world is in need of a major rewrite. Support ethics, burgeoning Democracies, the riches and richness of Peace. Work forpeace and justice and the dramatic arc will evolve the plot of the world drama to come.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  133. Roman

    I don't want anyone feeling left out so, to all at the Situation Room, peace be with you and have a Blessed New Year.

    Now, Iran. You know Jack, I have the power over life and death. My anger at the dictatorship of Iran reached a boiling point when I saw a person being run over, deliberately. No respect for life.

    But, for some reason, My Father does not want Me to take that anger out on them, at least, not yet. So, with that said, YES give these people who so bravely fight for a New Iran, the help they need. I will be with them in their cause to take back their country. I hear their cries. I will send them Angels from on high to help them in their cause, but the world must also help them.

    God knows He wants people to change. To know that life is precious and to treat all life with respect.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  134. Jim

    I think with the new approach to dealing with the world, you know the kinder, gentler America that Obama can get the Iranian government to abandone their nuclear program without force. All he needs to do is go over there, bow at their feet, apologize for all that this country stands for and promise them a stimulus package. Heck his approach is already reaping benefits and new found friends, Cuba and China are now concerned about human rights and our enemies are no longer trying to blow up our building or planes.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  135. Richard Green

    Jack, how will "supporting protestors" help achieve diplomatic goals? How do you suggest "supporting protestors" in an effective way? The latest NIE on Iran says no nuclear weapons program. The latest inspection by the IAEA says Iran's nuclear inventory is intact. No diversion of material for weapons. What is the big hurry and how will interfering in Iran's internal affairs help us or the brutalized protestors? We'd just make it worse!

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  136. Sam

    In 2003 when we thought Saddam was hiding WMD our government was quick to invade a country in which we had few true supporters. Now Iran obviously is making itself a nuclear power and its government is weak with growing opposition. How can our government pass up the opportunity to side with an oppressed people and help topple a truly dangerous government? How could we be so timid is a post 9/11 world?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  137. Mike from New Paltz, NY

    It would seem that the U.S. and the rest of the world is staring at the best opportunity ever to steer Iran back towards proper international relations. If we do not take advantage of this opportunity, and fully support the protestors, we will certainly be facing a nuclear Iran in the future. At that point, our options will be extremely limited.

    It is ironic that the solution to this problem may lie with today's youth of Iran, considering that the US – Iran relations were destroyed by Iran's youth in the 70's. Nonetheless, the opportunity is clear, and should be taken advantage of.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  138. Jon N.

    You raise an interesting point here. However, after the United States' support of the Shah of Iran back in the 1950s instead of the ruler they had democratically elected, supporting the revolution could be either a chance to redeem ourselves in the eyes of the Iranians or an opportunity to make them see us as meddling in their affairs.

    The point I mean to stress here is that the revolution must be seen by Iranians as a grassroots effort, not as a means for the US to reach our own objectives. It was our intervention in the 1950s that lead to the Islamic revolution, and to react wrongly here would only set the stage for further unrest.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  139. Pardo

    I think the Ameican people should show their support for the students protesting in Iran, BUT the United States government should stay out of the fray. The United States government's history of supporting opposition groups in Iraq, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Chile, Haiti and even Afghanistan is not one we can proudly look back on. THAT type of help ends up getting a lot of poor people killed.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  140. Sara

    Having experienced life under the reign of the Islamin Republic of Iran's "Democracy" I can say first hand to GET REAL, the Mullahs can't accept the votes of their citizens peacefully, now we want them to use technology with weapon potential peacefuller??? I am enamored with the idea of the US supporting the protesters, I am tired of seeing Iran ravaged by these savage Mullahs.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  141. Ara G.

    Negotiating with an illegitimate brutal regime can not be productive for the US nor the rest of the world and is also an affront to the brave Iranian masses risking life and limb trying to gain their universal rights and bring down this corrupt and murderous theocracy.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  142. Bruce - Delaware

    Neither will work if we don't stop meddling in their politics. We need to aso pull our CIA out of there, and let Israel know that war is NOT an option and that if they attack Israel will be taken out. WWIII cannot be permitted!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  143. Steven Monash

    When will you people stop messing around with these guys? This faciest regime, the Islamic republic of Iran must go!
    Support the pro-democracy movement in Iran. They will remove the fascist from office.
    pro-west and democratic regime in Iran will save us hundreds of billions of dollars and so many priceless American lives in combating terrorism for the fascist regime of Islamic Republic is the very source of terrorism.
    New York

    January 5, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  144. Holly

    I left Iran in 1977 as a teenager. I had to visit last summer since I lost my dad in an accident. Everyone including all the nurses, doctors that I dealt with were hoping for Obama to come to their rescue. I was defending Obama and U.S. by saying "but if we do then it is used against us". They could understand our situation, but hopeful that they will see a CHANGE in Iran's government by a push from America.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  145. Andrew Kalule

    US support of the demostrations might be viewed as another US invasion should the protests succeed in toppling the regime consequently we see a situation like Iraq unfold before our very own eyes.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  146. Gene P

    Jack, of course we should support these people! For the simple reason that they are rising up and taking to the streets and initiating the fight against their oppresive government on their own. The're not sitting back and waiting for someone else to do it for them. If only their neighbors in Iraq had stepped up for themselves and taken the fight to Sadaam, I would feel much better about the U.S. lives and resources that have been lost. I've got no problem with helping those that are willing to get down and dirty.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  147. Randy Romney, WV

    There is an old saying that goes something like " doing the same thing over and over again in the same way and expecting a different result.... well that's INSANITY...Of course , support the People who are in the streets b ecause they love freedom not because they are afraid of losing their jobs if they don't show up at a Government sposnored rally.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  148. Shapur

    As an Iranian-American who had followed the politics of Islamic Republic for the last three decades, I'm positive that no form of negociation will ever produce any results. This regime has shown the world that the only language they understand is force. Now that the vast majority of Iranians are willing to risk their lives and confront the regime in streets, the best situation is provided for the White House to go beyond lip service and by supporting this democratic movement not only help democracy prevail in the troubled region, but do the whole democratic world and Americans a huge favor of preventing another miserable war with all its costs. This support will produce so many positive results with the least price. Iranians are picking the tab righ now!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
  149. Oscar

    What goes around comes around.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  150. Jeff in Houston, Texas

    Depends on how we support them. If we say we will support them, then leave them hanging like Bush the First did, then no. Or how we "helped" at the Bay of Pigs, then no.

    But lets not forget.....at one time, we backed the Taliban too.

    Question: If we help THEM get rid of THEIR religous whack jobs, well they help us get . . . rid . . . oh never mind.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  151. Stefan

    Jack, we all support the pro-democratic movement in Iran, but if the U.S. government intervenes and actively supports protestors, it will rob the movement of its legitimacy. Active U.S. intervention can be seen as a "kiss of death" to a potential emerging revolution. In that case, Iranian radicals would be able to not only argue but also prove that a foreign regime is the perpetrator of the unrest, and Iranians would resort to the "rally around the flag syndrom" supporting the current regime. Let's not forget that something similar happened before in a CIA covert operation in the 1950's when mass protests were staged, (i.e. bought by the CIA), democratic elected Prime Minister Mossadeq was kicked out, and the Shah was reinstated. The result: resentment and the Islamic Revolution 20 years later. We have to be real careful with this one!!!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  152. Persian Mind

    Yes and finally we (iranian) have something to say here on this file.
    well, at one glance, this would be the answer that united state take its side and position to support the protesters. There is no more room and time to negotiate with bunch of criminals(the regim of mollahs). However, dont you think that there is already a nation, country, politics and plan (England) is before USA!!!
    England wanted to bring the mollahs over 30 years ago, as Iran was one the strongest countries in East Asia and Pro West(America). Now if England wants to get rid of the mollah's its a matter of very short and real time.
    But i hope, since president Obama is a carrier of Nobel prize, i wish he could have a stronger point of view on Iran, poor Iranian people and the young generation (35% of 75 million), approx 22 million of Iran.
    This would be a really victory to save generations from mass murderers by going in 100% to Iran.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  153. anna

    i dont get why obama would want to negotiate with a bunch of murderers anyways...any human beings that are being opressed, killed, tortured, raped so on.. just for wanting freedom should have the total support/help of the world.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  154. Cosme Falcon , Toronto Canada

    For many years the Cruel Iranian Regimen has imprison his people will, for many years the Iranian Government always use the west as the evil enemy against his government , works for a period of time but now the iranian people wants freedom of speech and freedom of religion, unfortunate these freedom are costing a lot of blood for many families that arrest , torture , rape and hang to died. How the international community can be silence when so much oppression is in Iran. Why we are more focus in Nuclear arms than Human Rights. If we help Iranian people , the nuclear problem will be fix after the easy and cheep way. We must help iranian people to choose their will with freedom. Where is the all mighty america laws to protect human rights. America without protecting Human Rights will be like China. Please do not be silence to the scream of help from Iranian families suffer. America Way UP, it is time to make friends and extend our hand to them.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  155. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Dealing with Iran under any circumstances there is always a trade-off and it's never going to be to our advantage. Let the protesters do their own bidding.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  156. Hafa Boi

    Since we helped the Iraqies, we should ask them for help by crossing their border with Iran to help the demonstrators by providing money or arms.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  157. Lili

    BTW you did not pick the correct image, this image belongs to fans of Khameneie not to the people who fight for democracy in Iran's streets. Please change the image!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  158. Kaikhosrow

    Yes, definitely it works better. The US problem with Iranian radical regime is not just its nuclear issue. this regime a supporter of terrorism and hostility with US and anti- Israel motion have been the basic philosophy for Islamic regime existence in Iran. As far as this regime is in the power the entire Middle East will be a troublesome region for US . The last resort is overthrowing this regime and replacing it by a democratic system and this can be reached only by powerful hands of brave Iranian people NOT by sanctions or war. Of course pro-democracy people in Iran need not only US support- and its commitment to hearing voice of freedom in any part of the world- but also a global support.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  159. Frank Rinchich

    Iran is accusing the west of inciting unrest , lets admit it if true or not, to let the people of Iran know we are behind them and not hiding our heads in the sand.let the Government of Iran know we care less what they say or think.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  160. 82Airborne

    Our sanctions against the Iranian country have been most harmful to the population of Iran. It has not worked since the Islamic revolution took control of Iran's government. Of course it makes sense to start supporting the people we have been harming with our sanctions.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  161. Lynda Richardson

    As the mother of a US soldier currently serving in Iraq, I think that the US should end both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and stop picking fights with every country over there. Iran has not bothered us. We need to start focusing on our own country and people instead of trying to fix every one else. We can not afford to get into another war and that is what I am afraid this is all leading up too.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  162. Richard

    The US administration should involve itself in Iranian politics in the same manner and to the same extent that we wish to see their government involve itself in US politics. As for their potential nuclear threat, the greatest nuclear threat on this planet come from that country that last used it as a weapon.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  163. Cormac

    I can not understand why the U.S. is playing pattycakes with Iran. Just tell them that they are more then welcome to produce nuclear energy. But, the first time they test a nuclear weapojn we will turn their country into a parking lot. make sure the good people of Iran know this and they will take care of the problem themselves...On a side note, I have problems with President Obama dogging the intelligent agencies when it has been reported that he was briefed back in October about terorists hiding bombs in their underwear.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
  164. susan

    When you say Iran should choose a democracy what kind do you suggest? The people in the streets may be fighting for something completely different. There are some groups who are abusing those who want change. Which one would you help and how do you know who is the best for the country. Others should not interfere and let the process evolve.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  165. Carl

    Its about time we keep our nose out of others countrys problems. This is whats got most of the world upset with us now. Carl

    January 5, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  166. Lili

    The simple way that US can support the democratic movements is to PROVIDE INTERNET ACCESS. It can be achieved by means of satellites. Young Iranian generation are very intelligent and they can use the technologies more than what we think to help the movements.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  167. Jeannette, Toronto

    Time changes and if it demands supporting a Pro Democracy Group, then the obvious answer is "YES". Matters if that group decides to turn a new left or just reverse it once it comes in power. Knowing all to well, who pays the big bucks or trade the necessary resources will get the backing. Dollars walk and talk the language profits are made on, no matter who does the supporting and which sides.....EH!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  168. Bill from Greensboro

    Supporting protesters in Iran falls into the same category as profiling at airports.
    Why do you think Al Qaeda hates we 'western infidels'?
    You sit around day after day, spending hours after hour discussing strategies for dealing with strip searches at airports, or Homeland Security procedures, or imperialist nation building and supporting protesters. SYMPTOMS!!!! Trying to treat symptoms instead of eliminating the problem!!!!!!!!!
    This is not rocket science!!!
    Give a bunch of poor goat herders (that have called the same piece of desert home for thousands of years until 1948) a state, a piece of dirt to call their own, and all of this would go away!!!!!! The Arabs would go back to jockeying their camels and making sure their women were fully covered instead of dreaming up how to bring about the demise of the West. They would no longer be concerned with westerners (as long as we continue to buy their oil!).

    January 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  169. Kaikhosrow

    The picture that you have posted in your article is showing radical Islamic pro-government not opposition and pro-democracy people. Remember that oppositions' symbol is green color. I recommend to change this picture.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  170. mike saunders

    Remember that Mousavi was side by side with Adimajab during the Ayatollah's revolution when Americans were arrested at the U.S.embassy. My old boss used to say "pepole don't cahange"
    Just another group who want to be king.
    I don't like what happened or what is currently happening to the demonstrators but they are experiencing what it is to lose freemdom, now they are going to have to fight for it, like the rest of us has had to do. They need their own George Washingtonn and willingness to to bring forth a constitution that guarantees all religious rights that are not based on violence and act to tolerate the right to believe or not believe in Islam or any other religion without persecution. If they were willing to change, I would help them any way i could.{ But I'm not holding my breath.}

    January 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  171. Tina Khorram

    Yes! Simply put. Support the Protestors! They will take care of their own government and bury these murderous mullahs for good. I am an Iranian – American and have waited for this moment since childhood. The Iranian People are the answer and they are ready to do what's needed for history's sake, it's our time. Help us! The nuclear issue and talk of sanctions pushes the Democracy movement into the bloody hands of the Hardliners; splits the Masses. But, ALL even the paid Basiji boys, the poor and villagers want Freedom from religious rule. No more Mullah or Kings, we want Democracy for Iran, by the Iranian People with recognition and respect from the International community. Help us crush this serpent for ever.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  172. mark(please do not mention my last name)

    I live in Gaithersburg , Mayland I think the only sulution is to support the opposition group in Iran, Opposition group outside Iran have no way to comunicate or send their messages to Iranian inside. I think America should spend the cost of one messile and give these people the support and the tools they need. Iranian government is buying time to develop the bomb they are after, then it will be too late

    January 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  173. lynne j.

    Heck no. We never learn We're in this fuss with Iran because we meddled in their government over 50 years ago by getting rid of their democratically elected president and installing the Shah because he let our government have fun with their oil. They've been mad ever since.

    It is up to the Iranian people to fight for their freedom and not us. We need to stay out of it and keep up with the diplomacy and not meddle in their internal affairs.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  174. Conor in Chicago

    We need to stop kidding ourselves that a regime change in Iran will change their dymanic in world affairs. Think of the US: Nothing has really changed here even though our current President is night and day compared to the last. The same applies to Iran. Yes, a regime change might mean that the regime won't be as religious but they will still be enemies of Israel, seek nuclear weapons, and seek to dominate that part of the world if they can. We do the same thing. It's called humanity.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  175. Mina

    USA can not achieve safety inside its boundaries unless it can support democratic movements in countries like Iran. I don't know why Obama wrote two letter to Khamenei. This makes Khamenei brave enough not to read people's vote and to kill people in the streets after election.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
  176. Moe (California)

    Hi Jack,

    I would definitely support the protesters. If we support the protesters the nuclear problem will go away or better chance of resolving it. This evil regime doesn't really want to negotiation with anyone. They will find any tactics they can to delay negotiation. There ultimate goal is have nuclear power, so they could be considered a world power. They potentially can kill over a million protesters to make a point to the people. That they have no power. Also no one can stop them. I think its time for Western powers like USA, France, Britain, Germany...etc.


    January 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  177. EugeneWiese

    We've already been accused of supporting the protesters,so I do not believe in confirming the Gov. lies. We have to let diplomatic negotiations continue.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  178. Jay

    I agree,
    if we have democratic regimes in countries such as Iran, we should not worry about the nuclear bombs. As long as the leaders are crazy we should worry.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  179. ali abedi

    Do not talk with Iranian government.
    As Iranian I am very familiar with that argue which accuse America for every bad things which is happening there.
    Before revolution we thought Shah(last king) is a poppet of western country, and he was not looking Iranian interest.
    Now, after 3 decade we find out that foreign country has limited influence on our destiny.
    I do not know what people of Iraq and Afghanistan want, but I am sure that America will not be successful there with out pursuing the very own people of these two country.
    the issue for me is this: Right now China and Russia are rubbing our oil and money:I am sure you heard protestor in teharn when they shouted dead to...
    if there is any urgent to talk with Iranian government it should be very limited,and the molas should not get anything till they release the Activist and improve human rights...

    Las Vegas

    January 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  180. Ben

    Does anyone remember the definition of insanity? Are we simply going to continue and try to "negotiate" with THE state sponsor of Terror across the world including their own people? The people of this country are obviously sick of the governing clerics abuse, oppression, and outright disregard for human rights and the international community. Sanctions are not enough. It's time we( The U.S.) make an example of these ruthless thugs and support the Iranian people who are fighting for their basic freedoms.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
  181. John

    About three days ago I came across a Wall Street Journal article that condenmed the Obama Administration for keeping as they put it an important Iranian opposition group on the terror list. What they did not realize was that this opposition group was the MKO which is a monarchist terrorist group that wants to reinstall the shah. The problem is that many in America and frankly in the government do not understand the complexities in Iranian politics that are occuring there. Any more support than what has already been given may be used by the Iranian regime for a harsher crackdown and may turn people away from the movement. Remember that the last time an Iranian regime was killing protestors in the street, we were backing them.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  182. Joe Sephus, the Jersey Shore

    Yes, Jack. Because it is the protesters that will get the job done!

    Would you ask someone to stop punching you in the nose or would you
    fight back?

    Also profiling won't work because as soon as you start looking for the
    man with the turbin, the terrorist will disguise himself with a George
    Washington wig, a Brittish accent, and a bomb strapped to his

    January 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  183. Matt from Kansas


    Support the protesters. It has become painfully obvious that the Iranian government is simply trying run out the clock on the development of nuclear arms. "Israel should be wiped off the face of the map." Those ten words sapped whatever shred of legitimacy Ahmadinejad may have had in the past. He's a brutal theocratic dictator and we're masochists for pretending to engage in constructive dialogue with him.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  184. Simonsays/Orlando

    Negotiating with the government of Iran is absolutely futile. They are cronic liars. Supporting the protesters will only give them a common enemy. Let's just let things play out without any outside interference. If their nuclear facilities need to be taken out, I'm sure Israel will do a good job at the right time.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  185. mali

    Yes! Jack as 90% Iranian believe that CIA helped the bastard mullah regime came to the power why not this time help new young pro American people come to the power so we can talk to them.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
  186. Joe, CE

    Let's not eliminate any possibility. No indication that we can successfully negotiate with Iran but stupid to eliminate the possibility. Aiding dissents is a nice thought but not easy to accomplish a worthwhile intervention.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm |
  187. Arlene, Illinois


    We supported Pro Democracy in Iraq and where did that get us?

    January 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  188. jessie

    DEARamericans; now it's really time for you to rise up and raise your voices against abuse of human rights and more over human dignity in Iran. please help us to bring the rule of law to this great nation andit's peace loving people.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  189. MA

    I say no!! it did not help when USA helped Mujahideens in Afghanistan or Iran against Iraq or even Iraq against Saddam. USA should let the people of the country fight their own wars. When foreign countries provide them with weapon or money to buy weapons in the name of resistance against their own govt.. They create more terrorist, first these people kill their own then they will come after nations who provided them with weapons.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
  190. sienna in california

    this question is a question that shouldn't even be asked. i think the answer is obvious to most people with a normal sized brain.
    there is a war in Iran with unarmed innocent people who have been oppressed for 30 years and want nothing more than freedom and on the other side we have armed sick violent basijis who rape, kill, torture beat these people........hmmmm i wonder who i would help....

    January 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm |
  191. Don H

    Moral support through various media, yes. Direct physical support, no.
    However, let's get real – either NATO, the U.S. or Israel will have to strike Iran to try to take out the nuke threat.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  192. Brian Pivens

    If we don't support the people of Iran, our image in the Arab world will continue to be as one of the "hypocritical power of the West". We continue to get daily images of the Iranian government's clear massacre of their people and the "World Stage" continues to do nothing. This is why extremist groups hate us. We preach about democracy and being on the side of the oppressed...Well lets do something. Why isn't the world stage not using this situation to apply more sanctions against Iran to one, stop the violation of human rights, two qwell Iran's nuclear ambitions.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  193. shawn from Toronto

    Hey Jack,

    The best way to help the people of Iran is not to deal with their goverment behind the curtin and sell the people of Iran again!!!

    January 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
  194. Kevan Brown

    This is a symptom of a bigger problem, the Muslimization of Europe.
    The mass immigration of Europe is more than 50% complete. There are some neighbourhoods now in France & Holland where women don't walk without headdress and homosexuals are routinely beaten
    without police intervention because they are too afraid to enter the areas. If unchecked, this will soon lead to the scenario of North America as the last free continent standing. If you think North America has a war on its hands now, then just wait awhile. Picture WWII with the enemy having Nukes. Makes you want to migrate to a quiet Caribbian country, if there would be any left after the dust settles.
    Kevan Brown
    Monkland On.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  195. Yazdan

    US has lost its face by negotiation with one of the most brutal governments in the world. is it that difficult to understand this simple point that always we should take the appropriate way to solve our problems? short term solutions always backfire sooner or later. the right solution is supporting democracy and people in Iran. even if we negotiate with this crazy government and resolve atomic issues still they will come up with new tools to destabilize the region and the world. believe me. let alone that the world is watching us that we don't care about our values and morals and democracy.

    January 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm |