Iran Nuanced, Not 'Crazy'

US needs to nurture progress, not stereotypes
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2012 9:01 AM CDT
Young Iranians wear western style fashions with loose headscarves for the girls as they watch graffiti artists competing during an annual contest of street skills in Tehran on July 30, 2008.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Nicholas Kristof may be mad at President Obama for protecting "odious" regimes such as Syria and Sudan, but Iran—despite its nuclear weapons program and terrible human rights record (and having accused Kristof of being a spy back in 2004)—deserves "a dollop of humility and nuance," he writes in the New York Times. Iran is not the tyrannical police state many imagine it to be, but in fact "is a complex and contradictory country." Women are 60% of university students. Its supreme leader is an ethnic Turk. And Iran's parliament is full of different parties and clashing views, and even has a Jewish member.

After all, a major reason that Iran is in ascendance these days is because the United States took out Iran's biggest two threats, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And, as Kristof argued last week, an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would only cause a nationalist backlash that would cement its regime in power. "We can’t do much to nurture progress in Iran, but promoting Internet freedom, shortwave news broadcasts, and satellite television all would help," he recommends. "A war would hurt." Click for Kristof's full column.

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