US Begins to Believe in Iran Opposition

White House shifting strategy, but activists aren't thrilled
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2010 4:00 AM CST
An Iranian student in Singapore gestures last month during a protest calling on the Iranian government to stop violence against demonstrators.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
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(Newser) – With President Obama's attempts to negotiate with Tehran going nowhere, the White House is looking to a new approach to pressuring Iran on nuclear weapons: backing the Iranian opposition movement. The US administration is now convinced the Iranian opposition is here to stay, and hopes to boost it while further destabilizing the regime with sanctions targeting the Revolutionary Guard. But the Iranian opposition says the last thing it needs is love from Washington.

The US should "just leave us alone, please," one Iranian opposition leader pleaded to the Los Angeles Times. Another Iranian reformer warned that Tehran is "waiting for any document showing covert or overt help from the US to claim, 'Hey, look, the reformists are the paid lackeys of the US.'" Signs of US backing would not only cost the opposition credibility but would also provide pretexts for arrests, one reason some European officials worry the White House strategy could backfire.

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