Takeyh: Time to Challenge the Legitimacy of the "Islamic Republic"
10:04 AM, Dec 31, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
Obama doesn't like to challenge the legitimacy of despots, thus the repeated calls for a relationship with Iran based on "mutual respect" and the use of the regime's preferred name, the Islamic Republic. But Ray Takeyh, who served in the Obama State Department as an aide to Dennis Ross on Iran policy and was earlier this year a vocal proponent of Obama's engagement policy, is now singing a different tune in the face of that country's continued unrest. In a Washington Post op-ed today, Takeyh writes:
It's a big deal that a person who was earlier this year charged with crafting Obama's engagement policy is now rebuking that policy because of new facts on the ground -- the regime is weak and illegitimate even in the eyes of its own people. The Senate is expected to pass new sanctions on Iran shortly after it begins its new session on January 17. Perhaps that will serve as the impetus for a "hard pivot" in the administration's approach to Iran. Or perhaps we will continue to see the Obama administration working to bolster a dying regime, sending John Kerry to Tehran to lend the regime credibility, and "bearing witness" to the regime's crimes even as it props it up by referring to it as an Islamic Republic when it is anything but.