The Plank

Does Mousavi Really Oppose Sanctions?

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A Washington Post story today reports that Iranian 'green' leaders are warning that sanctions will just strengthen Ahmadinejad's hand domestically. But a (pro-sanctions) source notes that Mousavi and company pretty much have to say, at least in public, that they don't want to see the Iranian people suffer any more economic pain. Meanwhile others who don't speak for the movement the way Mousavi does make the opposite case:

Now, however, some analysts said, additional, tougher sanctions might feed unrest in big cities over the government's policies, including a post-election crackdown in which dozens of opposition protesters were killed.

The country's middle and lower classes have already been hurt by a recession that many blame on economic mismanagement. Housing prices have collapsed, banks are low on cash and inflation remains in double digits. U.N. trade sanctions are damaging Iran's small import sector, which has severe problems insuring international transactions. And Iran's tech-savvy youths increasingly resent Internet restrictions.

"The government knows if sanctions do happen, it will be the biggest sign for the opposition to prove Ahmadinejad's bad management and their own righteousness," said Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, a government critic. He said he expects Iranian negotiators to soften their approach to world powers in Thursday's meeting in Geneva.

I'm not sure we can be confident about what the movement truly wants. Hopefully Mousavi's people are offering a more reliable view via some back channel to the West.

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