I've written before that this reminds me of the American rather than the French revolution - because it is being waged not as a means to destroy the system, but to force it to live up to its democratic promises. And that's why it's so potent. That's also why Obama's emphasis on justice, rather than freedom, is so shrewd. What we have to focus on is simply the election, its fraudulence and the necessity of a new vote. That's all. If those promises are met, the coup-regime will fall. Of course no liberal democracy will instantly follow. Mousavi is not a radical; he's a moderate establishment type. This is Gorbachev not Yeltsin. But this is not something to fear; it is something to embrace, as Reagan did. Ackerman's great take:
The west has nothing to fear from Moussavi's restorative attempt to reconcile Islam and republicanism in and of itself. Obviously the Iranian government has its interests and desires and we have ours, and they can conflict. But Moussavi's rhetoric, in this important speech at least, is not filled with the anti-western demagoguery that marked Khomeini's and marks Ahmadinejad's. The opposition movement is not a movement of "liberals" in the way that some inwardly-focused American writers lazily imagine. But that doesn't mean that the reformist syncretism that Moussavi offers adds up to an effort that western liberals, intellectually, can't support. What it means is that Iranians are working to redefine their Islamic Revolution, not abandon it, and do so in a way that favors openness and justice and freedom.
(Photo: via Flickr of a poster at a protest in support of fair elections in Iran in San Francisco.)