One reality that many hawks on the right seem to ignore about Iran when claiming the President Obama should do more to intervene in their internal politics is that the United States is a mostly hated state by most people in Iran, and the 1979 Islamic revolution was a direct result of all of the pent-up anger in Iran for so much meddling in Iranian affairs starting with the WWII effort by the United States, Britain and the Soviet Union to install Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi because his father, Reza Shah wanted to remain neutral in WWII. Iran then became an important supply route for U.S. and allied arms to Stalin's government to fight off the invading German army.
But his meddling had a huge social cost to the people of Iran and angered the Shia clerics. The younger shah was mostly secular in his rule, and gradually over time, many of the most radical of clerics such as the Ayatollah Khomeini had to seek exile elsewhere such as in Paris for their own safety. But these radical Islamic clerics plotted for the day that they overthrow the secular government of the shah, which had not only weakened the Shia clergy role in this state, but had prisons overflowing with political prisoners as all opposition parties including the Tudeh Party in 1975.
But all of the years of America's meddling in Iran only created great anger and resentment among those in Iran. And also hardened attitudes against both the United States and Israel according to polling in Iran. According to some polling in Iran, just 29% of persons in Iran have a favorable view of the United States. Unfortunately this view is largely only held among some of the merchant class in Iran who favor more trade with the U.S. and some other more educated segments of that society. Most in Iran are highly critical of the United States. In fact, so critical that by a 52% to 40% margin, those in Iran favor developing nuclear weapons, and even higher figures support developing nuclear energy reactors, of which Iran's government or military could easily spin into a nuclear weapons program. Even more radical, 62% of those in Iran support the destruction of the state of Israel and favor making it an Arab only state. And unfortunately, 73% in Iran would only support giving up a potential nuclear weapons program meant to destroy Israel or to threaten American interests only if the U.S. offer Iran huge amounts of humanitarian funds. That's unfortunately exactly the same situation we face with North Korea. This radical state works on nuclear weapons, using this as blackmail to wring billions of dollars of aid out of rival states like the United States, and as a way to keep their government in power and resist calls for political moderation. Iran would use their nuclear program to do the same. By building a nuclear weapons program, Iran's radical clerics could do the same, blackmail Americans to hand them billions of dollars in "humanitarian funds" in exchange for not reducing Israel to nuclear ash. In short, most in Iran, including among the clergy leadership, as well as the public are no friends of the United States by any means.
Many Iranian moderates and liberals have used the Mir-Hossein Mousavi campaign as an umbrella for their own political views to liberalize Iranian society to some extent. But Americans cannot forget the history of Mir-Hossein Mousavi in Iran. Mr. Mousavi served as Prime Minister of the Islamic revolutionary government of Iran from 1981-1989. Mousavi may be embraced by many as some reformist now, but as prime minister he was just as hard-line as any of the other "Death To America" radicals that ruled Iran and took Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in 1979. But compared to the Islamic radicals who seized control of Iran from the shah in 1979, Mousavi is considered to be something of left-leaning compared to the hard right politicians such as President Ahmadinjad. After the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, Mousavi was no longer a welcome figure in the Iranian government and resigned from his office. Yet Mousavi is enough of a trusted figure among the ruling clerics that his election was approved by the ruling clerics for b. Yet, after so much political problems as a result of the aftermath of the recent elections, it is highly unlikely that Mousavi will ever get the approval of the ruling cleric again.
The fact of the matter is that Americans cannot get too carried away in wanting more American involvement in Iran, because American involvement in the Iranian elections process would be about as welcome by most in Iran about as much as Iranian involvement would be in American elections. And whether some other leader like Mir-Hossein Mousavi would be less likely to want to build nuclear weapons or to want to destroy Israel remains highly in question. Unfortunately, Mousavi might just only be a "kinder and gentler" "death to America and Israel" type personality. That's hardly a true moderate or a true Persian democrat by any means.
However, once again, President Obama did condemn the ongoing political violence in Iran in the strongest terms today. And that's about all that the U.S. can do for now it seems. Much more, only invites more repression on any true opposition forces in Iran and risks their lives as being branded as tools of the United States or Israel. And in Ahmadinejad's Iran, claimed spies or agents for Israel are publicly hung.