U.S. hospitality to Ahmadinejad demoralizes Iranian opposition
All of the arguments about whether to allow Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia University last month boil down to one factor - internal opposition within Iran. Ahmadinejad faces at least some opposition within his own country, as today's Breitbart article indicates:
An estimated 100 students staged a rare demonstration Monday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling him a "dictator" and scuffling with hardline students at Tehran University.
Ahmadinejad, who was giving a speech to a select group at the university to mark the beginning of the academic year, ignored the chants of "death to the dictator" and continued with his speech on the merits of science and the pitfalls of Western-style democracy, witnesses said.
The protesters scuffled with hardline students who were chanting "thank you president" while police looked on from outside the university gates. The protesters dispersed after the car carrying Ahmadinejad left the campus.
That opposition has now been shown film of Ahmadinejad being welcomed in the United States and at Columbia University. Iran's internal opposition knows only what the government wants them to know. The internal opposition now has the impression that they will receive no help from the U.S., that Ahmadinejad has bought respectability around the world and that they (the opposition) are isolated and without allies. No matter how much the crowd laughed at Ahmadinejad, his very presence in the U.S. among elite professionals and officials sent the worst possible message to his opponents.
Today's news provides all of the justification we need to keep Ahmadinejad out of this country and away from our crowds and institutions. We learned no new information from Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia. Ahmadinejad moderated none of his views upon listening to our students and academic officials.
There have been other protestors, such as rioters protesting gas prices or shortages. All such opposition will be demoralized by the American hospitality shown to Ahmadinejad.
Iranian gas riots - June 2007 - AP
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