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December 6, 2004
Iranian Students Mock Khatami

In another sign that so-called Iranian "reformers" have lost their credibility among the masses, Iranian students today heckled President Mohammed Khatami in a speech to mark Student Day at Tehran University. Khatami, who had been a favorite of the reform-minded students, appeared shocked at the hostile reception:

A visibly-shaken Khatami defended his record and criticised the powerful hardliners who have closed newspapers and jailed dissidents.

He asked students to stop heckling and accused his critics of intolerance. ...

"There is no Third World country where the students can talk to their president and criticise the government as you do now. I really believe in this system and the revolution and that this system can be developed from within," he is quoted as saying.

But student leader Abdollah Momeni complained that there was is no difference between the president and the authoritarians who thwarted his reform programme.

The students understand that Khatami essentially sold the reform movement out in order to remain in power. As the mullahs act to consolidate their power this year by closing newspapers and arresting bloggers who dare to speak out against the government, students have lost all patience with those who promise reforms but deliver nothing but oppression. A political explosion is building in Iran, and as the safety valves of debate and protest continue to get closed off, the closer we are to detonation. Khatami and his so-called reformist allies will suffer the effects of the blast just as surely as the Governing Council mullahs to whom they sold out.

Meanwhile, the US should do everything it can to reach out to the people and groups supporting democracy and reform in Iran. In the face of European incompetence and impotence on Iran's nuclear-weapons ambitions, the only way to stop the Iranian bomb is probably a home-grown overthrow of the mullahcracy that is bent on acquiring WMD.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers!

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 6, 2004 12:00 PM

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