Over the last several days, Ive received numerous updates from our Special Operations Unit in Jerusalem, Israel concerning the protests taking place in Iran. These protests are a result of the recent election of President Ahmadinejad. Many have called these elections fraudulent, and student unrest in Iran is significant. This is a good thing. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in its Preamble: Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief in freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people. Further, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. These freedoms do not currently exist in Iran.
The student unrest and protests that have taken place in the last 48 hours have been significant. It presents President Obama with an important opportunity. By standing firmly with those in dissent, the President can send an important message about the role of freedom and liberty in the Middle East. A tepid response from the United States is dangerous. While elections are internal matters, fundamental freedoms are universal.
A review of Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights finds that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Article 20 specifically states that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. These fundamental and universal rights are being violated by Iran on a daily basis. The threats to Israel and to the United States by the current regime are dangerous and serious. A chance for a fresh start would have dramatic implications for the Middle East and for the rest of the world. This is a time for the United States to show the leadership that weve been entrusted with.