However, if Mousavi had won--or even worse, if the current 'revolution' puts him in power--there could be a downside.
With all the talk that Mousavi is the reformer--how could Israel possibly go ahead with plans to disable Iran's nuclear facilities? Imageine the world outcry: here is Iran turning a new leaf with the election of a moderate leader and Israel goes ahead and introduces increased tension just when a moderate leader has taken control!
And now, with the rioting going on against the election of Ahmadinejad--if Mousavi should end up somehow taking power, it would make Israel look even worse to attack.
But Israel is still justified to attack in such a case--regardless of how the media describes Mousavi, he is no reformer.
Con Coughlin writes that just as candidates for the Iranian parliament are vetted to insure that they are ideologically pure--
Now the regime, in the form of the Guardian Council, which is charged with upholding the tenets of Khomeini's revolution, has employed the same tactic ahead of the presidential election: Of the original 475 applicants only four candidates have survived the cull. All of them have revolutionary credentials beyond reproach.Mousavi has kept those credentials nicely polished. Max Boot writes that Rep. Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois has been sending a “Dear Colleague” letter around the House, pointing out among other things that Mir-Hossein Mousavi, is unlikely to change anything about Iran's nuclear program. In his letter, Kirk notes:
On April 27, 2009, Mr. Mousavi told Der Spiegel, “We will not abandon the great achievements of Iranian scientists. I too will not suspend uranium enrichment.” Der Spiegel asked if he would at least consider the outsourcing of uranium enrichment, as proposed by Russia. Mr. Mousavi responded simply, “No.”But you can count on the media insisting that Mousavi is a moderate. Elliot Abrams writes in a New York Times op-ed that should Mousavi win, Western leaders would face a problem similar to Israel's--except that the West would actually be taken in:
On April 13, 2009, Mr. Mousavi told the Financial Times, “No one in Iran would accept suspension. Progress in nuclear technology and its peaceful use is the right of all countries and nations. This is what we have painfully achieved with our own efforts. No one will retreat.”
On April 6, 2009, according to the Associated Press, Mr. Mousavi said, “We have to have the technology,” adding that “the consequences of giving up the country’s nuclear program would be ‘irreparable’ and that the Iranian people support the nuclear program.”
On March 11, 2009, the Washington Post quoted Mr. Mousavi as saying, “The nuclear technology is one of the examples of the achievements of our youth.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s defeat would probably be welcomed abroad as a sign that Iran is moving away from his policies, but Iran’s policies aren’t his — they are dictated by Ayatollah Khamenei and his supporters in the Revolutionary Guard and Basij paramilitary. In fact, a victory by Mr. Ahmadinejad’s main challenger, Mir Hussein Moussavi, is more likely to change Western policy toward Iran than to change Iran’s own conduct. If the delusion that a new president would surely mean new opportunities to negotiate away Iran’s nuclear program strikes Western leaders, solidarity might give way to pre-emptive concessions. [emphasis added]You cannot but hope that the unrest in Iran against the fixed elections lead to real changes. However, if they actually do lead to Mousavi taking his place as Iranian president, Abrams writes:
it may result in more sensible economic policies and fewer loud calls for the destruction of Israel. But Iran doesn’t hold elections for supreme leader — Ayatollah Ali Khameini will hold that post for the indefinite future...And Mousavi himself must be recognized for what he is--and Mousavi is no moderate.
UPDATE: Daniel Pipes finds the problematic Mousavi to be reason enough to keep Ahmadinejad:
while my heart goes out to the many Iranians who desperately want the vile Ahmadinejad out of power, my head tells me it's best that he remain in office. When Mohammed Khatami was president, his sweet words lulled many people into complacency, even as the nuclear weapons program developed on his watch. If the patterns remain unchanged, better to have a bellicose, apocalyptic, in-your-face Ahmadinejad who scares the world than a sweet-talking Mousavi who again lulls it to sleep, even as thousands of centrifuges whir away.
in this case, paradoxically, it seems that from Israel's point of view the victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is actually preferable. Not only because "better the devil you know," but because the victory of the pro-reform candidate will paste an attractive mask on the face of Iranian nuclear ambitions.STG notes "Hmm... a rare unity between left and right wings of (pro-Israeli) political thought."
UPDATE III: And here is Roger L. Simon weighing in with Netanyahu, Obama and the Iranian Coup d’Etat:
On the brink of his speech today, Benjamin Netanyahu is in a complicated position. The ongoing events in Iran have altered the landscape. The ruthless insanity of the mullahs is once again exposed for all the world to see. It would seem obvious - and it is - that Israel has to defend itself from a nuclear armed Iran in the hands of these religious psychopaths.So even without Mousavi in office--and Ahmadinejad firmly entrenched--Israel would still have to deal with the image of Iran's brave youth fighting the government.
And yet the same few days have demonstrated once again the idealism and courage of a good percentage of Iran’s youth. Perhaps their candidate Mousavi is not worth their loyalty, but his followers themselves are clearly laudable. Who would want to hurt them?