John Kerry, who lost the 2004 presidential election and despite having been and early and outspoken supporter of Barack Obama was passed over for any of the plum jobs in the new Democratic administration, has taken to the op-ed pages of the New York Times to write about Iran. Not surprisingly, he approves of President Obama's decision to position the United States a passive observer of the ongoing tumult in Iran. Kerry laments the "clamor from neoconservatives urging President Obama to denounce the voting as a sham and insert ourselves directly in Iran's unrest." Kerry chides John McCain, whom he sought as a runningmate in 2004, for urging the president to place himself squarely on the side of the protesters. Those who offer such advice, Kerry suggests with something of a verbal pat on the head, are merely responding "emotionally." As if to underscore the condescension, Kerry's piece runs under the headline: "With Iran, Think Before You Speak." Was Kerry thinking on Monday? At a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Kerry, perhaps responding emotionally, did precisely what the dreaded neoconservatives have been clamoring for from President Obama: He directly questioned the results of the sham election. "I share the concern of many in Iran and around the world that the results of Iran's presidential election appear not to reflect the will of the Iranian people," he said in his prepared remarks. And later, in a question-and-answer session with former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, Kerry went further, calling the results "hard to defend," pointing out with skepticism that the regime claims to have carried "Mousavi's hometown," and flatly saying of Ahmadinejad's winning margin, "I don't buy it."
MR. BROKAW: Let me pick up, if I can, on your opening remarks about Iran and see if we can work our way through that, if you will, at the outset. Do we have any evidence within what passes for our intelligence community of massive fraud in the election or is it still a case of we just don't know what's going on there? SEN. KERRY: The evidence that we have, obviously, are the homeland data that people had, the firsthand anecdotal accounts of people who were there observing, the intensity of the last weeks of the campaign, and I think the reaction of the people themselves. I think it's not insignificant that the Supreme Ayatollah has now backed off of his initial quote, you know, "clean slate ratification" and has now said there will be some kind of investigation, and I find that very, very significant. I think we're just going to have to let this play out. MR. BROKAW: Cautionary tale from me, having been there and having watched the last election, is that when we get reporters into Iran, they're mostly confined to Tehran, to the urban areas, and you talk about a blue state/red state differentiation. The rural areas of Iran which elected Ahmadinejad last time, we can't get to. We don't know what goes on out there and there is a massive population out there as well. Is it possible that most of what we're seeing, which is coming from the streets of Tehran and the more cosmopolitan population, the university students, the more progressive, Western-looking Persians, are getting most of the attention and in the rural areas they're going and voting for the regime that- SEN. KERRY: Well, it's my understanding, Tom, that about 30 percent of Iran's population is quote "rural" that would be more affected. Seventy percent is effectively urban in one form or another, so I don't buy that notion. I also don't buy it in the sense that allegedly -- MR. BROKAW: Sixty-five percent -- (inaudible) -- SEN. KERRY: Well, not only the margin, but allegedly they carried Mousavi's key areas including his home town. A little hard to defend, so I think there's real cause for concern here that, you know, what we're able to do about it is limited.
If Kerry would have offered some words of support -- not just admiration -- for the protesters he would have sounded a lot like the "neoconservatives" calling for the president to "denounced the voting as a sham." It's almost as if he was for denouncing the Iranian election before he was against it.
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