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Karim Sadjadpour Reminds Chris Wallace That U.S. Meddling In Middle East Politics Is Not Productive

From Fox News Sunday, Karim Sadjadpour reminds Chris Wallace of what happened when George H.W. Bush decided meddling in Iraq's politics was a good ide
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From Fox News Sunday, Karim Sadjadpour reminds Chris Wallace of what happened when George H.W. Bush decided meddling in Iraq's politics was a good idea, and as a result countless numbers of Iraqis lost their lives, and the United States got blamed for their deaths rather than Saddam Hussein. As Sadjadpour noted, the Iranian regime may be hoping for the same thing to happen again now if the United States is silly enough to repeat the same mistake.

The Obama administration has apparently gotten the memo and is heeding his advice. The same cannot be said for all of the neocons and Republicans who apparently haven't read their history lessons.

Transcript below the fold.

WALLACE: Mr. Sadjadpour, first of all, is that true? The president went on to say either way, we’re going to be dealing with a regime that’s hostile to the U.S.

Do you believe that there is no great difference between what we would face with Mousavi as compared to what we have and would continue to face with Ahmadinejad? And how dispiriting was that statement to the protesters in the street?

SADJADPOUR: Well, Chris, I do believe that was a misstep by the president, and I think the White House acknowledges now in retrospect that was a misstep. And if you’ve noticed, the rhetoric has changed.

But I didn’t get the impression that this had made a tremendous impact on the demonstrations in Tehran and elsewhere.

WALLACE: But going back to the original question, would there be a difference, Mousavi versus Ahmadinejad?

SADJADPOUR: Absolutely. And what we have to recognize is this movement is much bigger than Mir Hossein Mousavi. This is not about Mir Hossein Mousavi anymore. This is about the political and social and economic discontents which have been brewing in Iran for three decades now.

WALLACE: Let’s look at how the statements of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have evolved this week. Here’s a series of clips.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It’s not productive, given the history of U.S.-Iranian relations, to be seen as meddling.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: Our intent is to pursue whatever opportunities might exist in the future with Iran to discuss these matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The government of Iran recognizes that the world is watching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Mr. Sadjadpour, several questions. First of all -- and this speaks to something that Senator Bayh and Congressman Hoekstra were discussing -- what about this argument that if the president speaks out, it somehow empowers and gives more ammunition to the Iranian regime to say that these protesters are just puppets of the United States?

SADJADPOUR: Chris, that is a big concern I have as well, and that’s why I think the president’s rhetoric so far has been well calibrated.

And the historical analogy which concerns me, Chris, is Iraq in 1991 when George Bush senior encouraged Iraqis to rise up. Saddam slaughtered them, and then the rest of the world didn’t criticize Saddam for the slaughter but they criticized George Bush for encouraging Iraqis to speak out.

So I think this regime is looking for the United States to step into this trap so they have the license to slaughter the Iranian people and accuse them, you know, of being American (inaudible).

WALLACE: But they’re already saying this. In fact, you had President Ahmadinejad today say to the U.S. and Britain, “Stop interfering.” So whether we do it or not, they’re going to accuse us of doing it.

SADJADPOUR: Chris, I really defer to the leaders of these opposition movements themselves in Iran, the opposition leaders in Iran, and I have not heard from any of them who say that the United States should become directly involved.

They’ve all said that the United States should continue to denounce human rights abuses, and our plight should continue to be broadcast throughout the world, but none of them have asked the United States to play a more active, defiant role in domestic internal Iranian policy.

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