Bush on Iran: "The Time Has Arrived"

"The results of this approach now depend largely on Iran," Bush said. "The time has arrived for the Iranian regime to listen to the Iranian people and respect their rights and join in the movement toward liberty that is taking place all around them." - President Bush, in an AP story quoted at Free Iran

Iranian freedom activists have been anxiously watching the political scene for signs that the President will support their struggle. Now, it seems increasingly clear that Washington's policy will turn toward the promotion of a free and democratic Iran. Most observers and activists agree that an Iraq-style invasion is neither necessary nor desirable in the case of Iran; rather, regime change in Tehran can be achieved through other means. There is strong, and growing, resistance to the regime. Diplomacy, of course, is always the first recourse: diplomatic pressure should be brought to bear against the islamist entity to allow a referendum on the current rulers. However, it is unlikely that any amount of persuasion will convince the mullahs to accede to a referendum, or to quietly step down in the event of a "no confidence" vote from the Iranian people. In that eventuality, other methods - such as economic sanctions and support for internal resistance movements - may be enough to bring down the regime's house of cards. In that event, what will be needed for the post-IRI era will be humanitarian aid, security support, and guidance in the establishment of liberal, democratic institutions.

Like so many things these days, this should be high on the agenda of America's so-called "liberals" - but it is not.