Flynt and Hillary Leverett of the New America Foundation are two of the main proponents of the “Grand Bargain” approach to Iran which has been adopted by the Obama administration. The Grand Bargain approach seeks to have the current Iranian regime promise to cease nuclear weapons development and exporting terror, in exchange for U.S. security guarantees. In other words, ensuring the permanence of Iranian mullah rule.
On June 13, 2009, the day after the Iranian election, there were widespread complaints in Iran and internationally of election fraud, but Flynt Leverett reacted by immediately defending the integrity of the vote:
Flynt Leverett, a senior fellow at the New American Foundation and a professor at Pennsylvania State University, says he believes this is a real victory for Ahmadinejad. “I think he’s won big,” Leverett says. “It’s going to be interesting to see if Mousavi really persists in his line about election irregularities. You can’t explain a margin this big with the kind of irregularities he’s citing.”
Leverett says Iran watchers in the West were indulging in “an extraordinary amount of wishful thinking” about the chances for a pro-reform vote.
Two days later, on June 15, as protests in the streets of Iran mounted in reaction to claims of election fraud, the Leveretts again backed the regime, in an article titled “Get over it. Ahmadinijad Won.” The Leveretts claimed the Iranian election was no worse than Florida 2000 (italics mine):
With regard to electoral irregularities, the specific criticisms made by Mousavi — such as running out of ballot paper in some precincts and not keeping polls open long enough (even though polls stayed open for at least three hours after the announced closing time) — could not, in themselves, have tipped the outcome so clearly in Ahmadinejad’s favor.
Moreover, these irregularities do not, in themselves, amount to electoral fraud even by American legal standards. And, compared with the U.S. presidential election in Florida in 2000, the flaws in Iran’s electoral process seem less significant.
Flynt Leverett took the regime-apologist tour on the road, in an interview with the German Spiegel magazine:
Fact is: Ahmadinejad won. He is even prepared for a dialogue with Washington under the right circumstances, as he stated earlier. But he is empowered now. The other leaders would support him to strike a deal with the US on the nuclear issue as long as it is in Iran’s interest.
The Leveretts’ position on the Iranian election is losing steam with each passing day. Even the Iranian regime admits that there were 3 million fraudulent votes, and the analyses by independent academics and non-governmental organizations reflects widespread vote fraud.
In “Get over it. Ahmadinijad Won.” the Leveretts cautioned repeatedly about how “American ‘Iran Experts'” didn’t understand Iran. How ironic, because the Leveretts are American Iran Experts. And it is these experts’ Grand Bargain theory which is driving the Obama administration.
So no, we won’t “get over it.”
Related Post: Iran Election Fraud Truthers Emerge