The Greens in Iran are a Movement, not a Coup

The Greens in Iran are a Movement, not a Coup
By Juan Cole
June 13, 2010

What was the Green Movement? A debate rages among Iran-watchers. Partisans see it as a sign that Iran is on the verge of a massive democratization. Critics see it as an exaggerated hiccup, barely more important than the student protests of the late 1990s, which amounted to nothing. Which interpretation is right has implications for US foreign policy. If the regime is tottering, the Obama administration can afford to batter it with sanctions and ignore it, hoping to help it fall. If it is strong and enduring, then it will have to be dealt with and probably direct negotiations are called for.

The reality lies in the middle. Named in honor of the color associated with the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, among whom presidential candidate Mir Hosain Mousavi is counted, the Green Movement is a social movement that protested what its followers saw as the stealing of the June 12, 2009, election by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his patron, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

To read more of Juan Cole’s article, click here.


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