"KOUROSS ESMAELI: What is interesting about the criticisms that are coming from the right is that it’s been coming primarily from Senator John McCain. The Iranians know Senator John McCain as the man who sang “Bomb, bomb Iran” during the elections of last year. The man holds no credibility as far as supporting Iranians or seeming like he’s got the best interests of the Iranians at heart. And that, for Iranians and for this issue, that discredits him altogether and discredits this whole attack on President Obama.
President Obama’s stand, I think, has been the most sensible, and it’s amazing that the President of the United States is taking such a sensible stand. And that—everyone I’ve talked to in Iran has said the same thing, that we do not need any symbol of Western, especially American, interference in Iran’s internal politics."
And this from Joe Klein:
McCain, who spent the entire 2008 election making misleading statements about the nature of the Iranian government (I wonder if he still thinks Ahmadinejad is more powerful than the Supreme Leader), has been at the forefront of this. It is very unseemly. I have yet to hear what possible good it would do for the President of the United States to encourage the protesters, except to give the Iranian regime a better excuse for killing more of them. McCain's bleatings are either for domestic political consumption or self-satisfaction, a form of hip-shooting onanism that demonstrates why he would have been a foreign policy disaster had he been elected.What a disaster McCain would have been on foreign policy, and what in the hell has happened to Republicans over the last 12-18 years? Where are the muted and calm voices? What is it with this blustering "grab a big stick and whack them hard or you don't love America" approach to dealing with others?
To put it as simply as possible, McCain--and his cohorts--are trying to score political points against the President in the midst of an international crisis. It is the sort of behavior that Republicans routinely call "unpatriotic" when Democrats are doing it. I would never question John McCain's patriotism, no matter how misguided his sense of the country's best interests sometimes seems. His behavior has nothing to do with love of country; it has everything to do with love of self.
Again, the crucial fact about the protesters is this: they may hate the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime--who wouldn't?--but that doesn't make them particular fans of the United States. I have yet to meet an Iranian who does not believe that the United States gave poison gas to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war, gas which injured thousands upon thousands of Iranian men, who still live, incapacitated, in the shadows of that society. (Indeed, the attention Ahmadinejad has paid to the Iran-Iraq war veterans and their families is a major source of his extensive support among the Iranian working class.)