Mr Ahmedinejad must not be allowed to swap empty pledges on uranium for western silence over his repressive habits
Guardian.co.uk - LAST WEEK saw the 30th anniversary of the seizure by revolutionary students of the US embassy in Tehran. The commemoration is traditionally an excuse for official demonstrations under "Death to America" banners. This year the mood has been different.
There have been crowds on the streets, but their relationship with the authorities has been antagonistic. One chant goes: "Obama: either you are with the murderers or with us."
These protests are a continuation of mass unrest after disputed elections in June, formally won by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but widely denounced as fraudulent.
The opposition movement poses a dilemma for western diplomacy. It is heartening to see agitation against a repressive regime. But it comes at a crucial point in delicate negotiations over Iran's nuclear weapons programme. For Washington to be seen to foment unrest against Mr Ahmadinejad might drive him from the talks and into an even more brutal stance. But Mr Ahmadinejad stalls, knowing that, by engaging with Washington, he might deter the US from backing the Iranian opposition.
Stopping Iran from having nuclear weapons is a worthy strategic project. But it is not advanced by ignoring the protesters beaten by Iranian security forces. Mr Ahmedinejad must not be allowed to swap empty pledges on uranium for western silence over his repressive habits.
The question of whether the US is with "the murderers" or with the demonstrators deserves a clearer answer.