Wonder why the reaction of European and US leaders to events in Iran has been so muted? No, it isn't because (as some of the self-hating Leftists who hang out on CIF imagine) the Iranian people joyfully voted for Ahmadinejad in their tens of millions and only a handful of elitist western stooges and spoiled rich girls supported the "moderate". Time has the answer:
When it came time to confront a stalling Iran by dropping the carrots and applying the sticks, said a senior European diplomat, "Try to imagine how difficult it would be to say 'I stop, I don't negotiate anymore,' " if a moderate were in charge in Tehran.
In the days since Iran's troubled election, hard-liners in Israel and neoconservatives in America have made no secret of their glee at still having Ahmadinejad as an antagonistic foil to help build support for taking a tougher line on Tehran's nuclear ambitions. But there is also widespread relief in the Administration, as well as among some moderates on Capitol Hill and in Europe, at the result. Despite all the attention paid to the office of the Iranian presidency, nuclear policy is set by the religious leaders of the country, and they have shown a determination to amass enriched uranium regardless of whether hard-liners or moderates have been President.
The same "European diplomat" - I'm guessing a Brit - described a Mousavi win as "a nightmare scenario". There's no doubt that as a pantomime villain Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fills a Saddam-shaped hole perfectly. But the cynicism of the policy recalls earlier Western interventions in Iranian politics. Mir Hossein Mousavi, latterly a liberal hero, would have done little fundamentally to change Iran, or its nuclear ambitions. Yet he offered some hope to growing numbers of Iranians out of tune with the restrictions and propaganda of Ahmadinejad's Islamist utopia. He and his puppet-masters now seem bent on a cultural revolution that will either break Iran - with all the unpredictable and destabilising results that implies - or, more likely, turn it inwards. It will regress to the condition of a theocratic North Korea, dominated by paranoia and antagonism, its people condemned to years more repression just as they were daring to imagine new freedoms, its regime maintaining itself by talking up external threats. I can't see that as being in anybody's interest.