A British reporter has offered claims that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may have actually come in third place in last week's election, however his government as well the religious leadership, especially by Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei, manipulated the results to retain the power of the religious theocracy government of Iran.
Today, there are many reports of government violence meant to put down protesters in Iran. However, it is very difficult for the United States to act much because the long history of American involvement in Iran, starting with the WWII efforts to put the Shah in power to resist the Nazis was the start of a long history of U.S. meddling in Iran that actually alienated many Iranians against the U.S., leading to the anti-American 1979 Islamic revolution. The Obama Administration has accordingly moved carefully so as not to worsen the plight of those pro-democracy demonstrators in Iran, despite ill placed calls from many Republican political leaders in the U.S. for the Obama to act more decisively. The fact of the matter is that the U.S. is in a very poor position to act with much involvement in Iran. Likely, the U.S. is still perceived as many in Iran as a primary enemy of Iran. Britain is also viewed by many in Iran as another primary enemy of Iran as well, especially after so much more of an active role in being critical of the Iranian election results. France might be in the best position to offer condemnation of the Iranian election aftermath because it allowed the Ayatollah Khomeini many years of political asylum. But the best that most Western nations can hope for is that this is an internal political matter in Iran, to be sorted out by those in Iran. and to allow the chips to fall where they may.
Further, many Americans really fail to understand what is really going on in Iran. Mir-Hossein Mousavi is hardly any true Western-styled democrat, but a more moderate member of the group of conservative religious radicals that helped to overthrow the Shah back in 1979. In Israel, there remains a more educated perspective of what's going on. In Israel, there are no illusions that Mir-Hossein Mousavi and his followers probably still support the destruction of Israel and the nuclear program if not nuclear weapons for Iran. Mousavi might believe in some social liberalization from the strict religious rule in Iran, but that is really as far as he might go. Mousavi also would probably improve contact and trade with the Western world, but that mostly serves the interests of the wealthy class of Iran for financial reasons, and not entirely as an aspect of a real social liberalization agenda. However, many who believe in far more social liberalization or democracy are likely using Mousavi as an umbrella for their pro-democracy views.
There are also reports that the Iranian government may be shipping in foreign mercenaries to act as police to put down the protesters as well, as many do not even speak the common language used in Iran. This could seen as a sign that some police are not entirely loyal to the government battle with the protesters, where detached elements from abroad are being shipped in to attack and beat the protesters. It could also be a sign that the police and military elements loyal to the government are severely strained by the massiveness of the protests as well.
It may be very easy for some defeated Republican presidential candidate like John McCain to argue for more American involvement in Iran. However, this really fails to understand that this is really an internal political dispute by two conservative factions of this Islamic revolutionary government. Much like the internal struggle in the old Soviet Union which resulted in the downfall of the Communist system during the administration of George Bush #41 in 1989, this power struggle in Iran is between rival factions of the government. In Russia, Communist Mayor Boris Yeltsin represented the change elements back then, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi represents the change elements for that system. Yeltsin fortunately turned out to be a pseudo-democrat. However, Mir-Hossein Mousavi may not be. He might just be an agent of the better educated and more affluent in Iran, and stands for some social liberalization. But he could still support the destruction of Israel and continued political problems for that area. So Americans really need to sit back and allow Iranians to decide just what this internal power struggle really represents and how far things can go towards liberalization for that nation or political reforms.
Ultimately, it will be to the rival elements in Iran which side wins out, and how much liberalization actually takes place in Iran. The United States really can do little to move this Iranian process along, and in fact could be very detrimental to those liberalization elements if it should act too involved. It might be politically easy for some Republicans such as John McCain to call for more American involvement in Iran. But this is a very poor call, and only demonstrates a fundamental ignorance of all of the issues involved in this internal power struggle taking place in Iran.