Wallop Iran Where It Hurts: Oil Revenues

Two 'green' revolutions could bring down regime: Friedman
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2009 7:58 AM CDT
Iran's former Revolutionary Guards commander Yahya Rahim Safavi, left, accompanies President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as they attend a parade near Tehran, Iran, on Sunday Nov. 26, 2006.   (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, file)
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(Newser) – Pundits and politicians are wasting their time telling Barack Obama what he should be saying about the growing "green revolution" in Iran, writes Thomas L. Friedman. The country's reformers and protesters don't need American encouragement; they need a weakened theocracy—which will only happen when oil prices go into freefall. "Launching a real green revolution in America," writes the New York Times columnist, "would be the best way to support the Green Revolution in Iran."

Iran's "turbaned shahs" will not change because of international encouragement of well-reasoned argument, but when collapsing crude forces them to give up their nuclear program and listen to the West. Oil has transformed Khamenei and Ahmadinejad into "petro-dictators," and Obama should hit them where it hurts: with a buck-a-gallon "Freedom Tax" on gasoline. "With oil at $70 a barrel, our economic sanctions on Iran are an annoyance," Friedman writes. "At $25, they really hurt."