How Washington Can Influence the Outcome of Protests in Iran
The United States, on the other hand, has a vested interest in keeping those lines of communication open. It therefore needs to work with adjoining nations (such as Azerbaijan and Iraq) to expand the coverage and range of their local Internet service providers so that Iranians can gain access to the World Wide Web despite regime restrictions. Washington should also use its extensive media and messaging capabilities to disseminate credible, verified video footage from within Iran to Western news outlets as a way of amplifying popular understanding of, and support for, events taking place there.
Will Iran’s new uprising succeed? It’s still far too early to tell. The challenges facing Iran’s protestors are daunting, and the country’s entrenched clerical elite cannot be expected to cede power quietly. Nevertheless, as the foregoing suggests, there are concrete things the United States can and should do in order to ensure that these forces have a fighting shot. But there is no time to waste.
Ilan Berman is senior vice president at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC.