For me, any sensible discussion of Iran must accept a number of facts. I will set these out as Set A and Set B. Both sets are true. But ideologues of the right routinely discount Set A, while ideologues of the left routinely discount Set B. That is why most debate on Iran is inane.
Iranian Islamic fundamentalism allied to fierce anti-Americanism was born from CIA intervention to topple democracy and keep in power a ruthless murdering despot for decades, in the interests of US oil and gas companies
Iranian anti-Americanism was fuelled further by US support for US friend and ally Saddam Hussein who was armed to wage a murderous war against Iran, again in the hope of US access to Iran’s oil and gas
The US committed a terrible atrocity against civilians by shooting down an Iranian passenger jet
Iran is surrounded by US military forces and has been repeatedly threatened to the extent that the desire to develop a nuclear weapon is a reflex
There is monumental hypocrisy in condemning Iran’s nuclear programme while overlooking Israel’s nuclear weapons
Iran is governed by an appalling set of vicious theocratic nutters
Iran is not any kind of democracy. It fails the first hurdle of candidates being allowed to put forward meaningful alternatives
Hanging of gays, stoning of adulterers, floggings, censorship and pervasive control are not fine because of cultural relativism. Iran’s whole legislative basis is inimical to universal ideals of human rights.
Iran really is trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme, though with some years still to go.
There are two very good articles on the current situation in Iran. One from the ever excellent Juan Cole. I would accept his judgement on the elections being rigged.
The other from Yasamine Mather, which puts it in another perspective.
I am not optimistic about the outcome of the popular protest.