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Terrorism & Security

After Iran's election, what happens to Obama's engagement policy?

Some are criticizing the president's determination to engage Iran on its nuclear program amid a brutal government crackdown in the aftermath of what many say is massive election fraud.

By / July 3, 2009

Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati delivers a sermon Friday in Tehran. The head of the powerful Guardian Council said Friday that some of the detained Iranian employees of the British embassy in Tehran will face trial.

Vahid Salemi/AP


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With protests against the results of the recent presidential election in Iran appearing to have ebbed, the world's governments are facing the prospect of dealing with an Iranian government still led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

And while US President Barack Obama stated in a recent Associated Press interview that he is "not reconciled" with a nuclear-armed Iran, the efficacy of his policy of diplomatic engagement with the Iranian government – which much of the world believes installed itself through electoral fraud – has come under debate.

Reuters reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her support for Mr. Obama's continued efforts to engage Iran in spite of the protests over its recent election. In a speech to the lower house of the German parliament, Ms. Merkel said that Germany "will accompany [Obama's approach] in a united way. We cannot drop the issue of a nuclear-armed Iran just because of the current situation. That would be completely wrong."

But in a commentary for The Wall Street Journal, columnist Bret Stephens criticized Obama's "realist" Iran policy for being "incoherent and obsolete," and argues that Obama's efforts to avoid "meddling" in Iran have shown no results.

Iran's nuclear programs are accelerating. It is testing ballistic missiles of increasing range and sophistication. Its support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah is unabated. Ahmadinejad stole an election in broad daylight. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei blessed the result. British Embassy staff are under siege. A campaign of mass arrests and intimidation is underway and a young woman named Neda Soltan was shot in the heart simply for choosing none of the above.
Oh, and Iran still accuses the U.S. of "meddling."
Now Mr. Obama is promising more of the same, plus the equivalent of a group hug for the demonstrators. Is this supposed to be "realism"?

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