As Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses world leaders at the General Assembly today, a number of commentators and politicians are pointing out that no amount of bravado or anti-Semitic vitriol can change a simple fact: the Iranian regime has never been more unpopular at home or abroad, and that makes it increasingly vulnerable. They argue that the time to impose "crippling sanctions" on Iran is now.
- There are Cracks in Iran's Leadership. The Time to Impose Sanctions is Now, Thomas Friedman writes at The New York Times.
After stealing June's elections, this ruling cartel is now more unpopular and illegitimate than ever. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cannot hold a rally in Tehran without hearing "death to the dictator" chants more than "death to America." As a result, his government can ill afford real biting sanctions that would make life in Iran not only politically miserable but even more economically miserable -- and his dictatorial clique even more unpopular.
- Khamenei Thinks Offense is the Best Defense, says Meir Javedanfar at RealClearWorld. "Not since the Iran-Iraq War has there been a time when the Iranian government has had to so defend itself internally. Khamenei's hope is that by having a president who acts and believes that Iran is a super power, Barack Obama may back off."
- Ahmadinejad's Holocaust-Denying is Just Him Trying to Distract Us, says Reza Aslan at The Daily Beast.
Better to have a 20-minute conversation about the vagaries of 20th-century history than about, say, Iran's crumbling economy and his disastrous stewardship of it, or the continuing demonstrations of an emboldened protest movement, or the nearly wholesale rejection of his regime by the clerical class and the denunciation of almost all the grand ayatollahs in Iran, or the dissolution of his conservative coalition, which has fractured in the wake of widespread accusations about the rape and torture of political prisoners, etc.
- The Time to Apply Pressure Against This Criminal Regime is Now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Matt Lauer on The Today Show this morning.
The Iranian regime is vulnerable. It’s economically vulnerable, it’s politically extremely vulnerable, because-for a simple reason-the Iranian people hate it. They detest this medieval, backward regime that is gunning them down. They’re choking in blood on the sidewalks protesting for freedom.
If the U.N. won't pass sanctions, Netanyahu said the "leading powers of the day" should.