Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett and Seyed Mohammad Marandi defend the Iranian election results once again. This paragraph stands out:

[T]he Iranian government responded to the post-June 12 protests in a manner consistent with its own constitutional procedures and with far less bloodshed than when the Chinese government suppressed the Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989.

Clive Crook, who defends the Leveretts – wrongly in my opinion – on other accounts, writes:

Good Lord. Does that make the shooting of unarmed protesters all right? No doubt one could say that the Soviet Union's response to dissent was lawful in the same way.

The reason the Leveretts excuse the regime's behavior and accept the vote count is shown in their conclusion:

As the Islamic Republic becomes “delegitimized” in American public opinion, it will be impossible for Obama to engage Tehran, and, in the eyes of many Americans, he will have no basis to continue telling Israel that it should not launch military strikes against Iranian nuclear targets. As realism about Iran evaporates in Washington, American officials are losing sight of the fact that policies of isolation or punishment would be disastrous for strategic stability in the broader Middle East.

Why does realism require denying reality? It's disgusting to diminish the violence on the ground, which we have only seen pieces of, by calling it constitutional and less awful than Tiananmen. Eric Martin and John Schwenkler are able to advocate for engagement without prettying up the regime.

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