As conservatives continue to criticize Barack Obama’s rhetoric on the Iranian political crisis, Iranian dissidents and human rights leaders continue to support Obama. Shirin Ebadi, for example, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts as a human rights lawyer and advocate in Iran. For her trouble she’s been persecuted in the press, threatened with physical violence, etc. And as Spencer Ackerman points out she thinks Obama’s doing the right thing:
Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said she has no complaints about Obama’s rhetoric. “What happens in Iran regards the people themselves, and it is up to them to make their voices heard,” she said in a telephone interview from Geneva. “I respect his comments on all the events in Iran, but I think it is sufficient.”
There’s been an effort made to fit this into some grand tableau about “idealism” in foreign policy, but the simple fact of the matter is that the time for the United States to do something on behalf of the Iranian opposition would be when Iranian opposition leaders ask us to. Simply inserting ourselves more directly into the situation in order to feel more self-righteous about it would be horrible. The people protesting on the streets in Iran are running very real risks to their lives and their families. We owe them more than thoughtless rhetoric.