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February 2, 2004
Ledeen: Iranian Appeasers and Dante's Inferno

Michael Ledeen at the National Review writes about the proposed trip to Iran by three US lawmakers, and wants to put a "Reserved" sign for them on the seventh level of Dante's Inferno:

Sorry to say, I haven't reread Dante's "Inferno" for some years, but I still remember his description of a very low and extremely unpleasant level of hell that houses traitors. Surely abject appeasers of evil qualify for the same treatment, and we must note grimly that three prime candidates have recently come forward to swell the ranks of that overheated realm: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware (D.), Senator Arlen Specter (R.), of Pennsylvania, and Congressman Bob Ney of Nebraska (R.).

All have undertaken to "improve relations" between the United States and the theocratic fascist regime of Iran. Specter announced over the weekend that congressional staffers would soon go to Tehran in the first stage of the appeasement program. After supping in Washington with the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. at a dinner helpfully facilitated by the State Department, Specter proclaimed that Iran had "helped us in the
fight against al Qaeda and in the Afghanistan situation. I don't think we have given them sufficient credit. They deserve credit." And since "They are showing some signs of wanting to improve relations. Now is a
good time."

Ledeen goes on to detail several areas in which the Iranian government still oppresses its own people, most disgustingly in its traffic of young Iranian girls as sexual slaves. Ledeen also notes that the Iranian government has hardly been conciliatory in its speech and attitude towards the US, and it seems difficult to understand why Specter, Biden, and Ney think that this is the propitious moment for gestures of goodwill. Even looking past all of the terrorist support that Ledeen reports in detail, the mullahs just disqualified almost all of the reformers running in the next election. Does that sound like a "good time" to open a dialogue with the Governing Council?

Ledeen, in this case, is absolutely correct. Not only are such gestures futile with current Iranian leadership, they are counterproductive to the organic agents of democratic change in Iran. The reform movement has gathered great steam recently, assisted by the hardliners' lockout of reformers from the election. Just when this populist movement seems to be reaching critical mass, the three Senators propose to throw cold water on it by tacitly endorsing the regime. And for what? Does Iran propose to turn over al-Qaeda and Hezb' Allah terrorists to us, or even to stop sheltering and supporting them? No. Instead, the mullahs continue to lecture the US about having the proper attitude towards Iran before any normalization of relations can occur. In other words, when we learn our place as dhimmis, then they'll deign to talk to us.

Specter, Biden, and Ney should halt all plans for traveling to Iran until the Iranians can send true representatives of the people to meet with an American delegation. Until then, we should stop trying to act friendly to the people who fund terrorist actions against us. (via Blog Iran)

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 2, 2004 12:38 PM

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