Joel Rosenburg: What to Watch for During Iran's Friday Elections

By Joel C. Rosenberg ...And new poll finds Obama not helping U.S. image in Iran

President Obama has launched five major initiatives to reach out to Muslims in general and Iranians in particular since taking office. But disturbing new evidence suggests the President's strategy is not working. Indeed, a new poll finds America's favorable ratings among Iranians has actually gone down significantly since Obama took office. "Just 29 percent of Iranians said they have favorable views of the United States in the latest poll, which was conducted last month," reports the Associated Press. "In a similar survey in February 2008 - nearly a year before Barack Obama became president - 34 percent had positive opinions about the U.S." What's more, Iran's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, responded to the President's speech in Cairo last week by noting that Muslims hate the U.S. from the bottoms of their hearts.

What's happening? Why were we more popular in Iran when George W. Bush was in office? Because President Bush told the truth. He didn't kowtow to the Radicals in Tehran. He accurately described them as members of the "axis of evil." President Obama, by contrast, keeps apologizing about American shortcomings - real and perceived - and keeps beseeching Iran's Radicals to please, please come to the table and talk to us. Iranians by and large hate their government for lying to them and enslaving them and destroying their economy and their children's future. They don't respect Western leaders who legitimize the tyrants who oppress them, plain and simple.

That said, keep your eye on Khamenei this week. When Iranians go to the polls on Friday, the big question will be whether the Supreme Leader believes President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has outlived his usefulness to the regime. Both men share a Radical, apocalyptic, genocidal, Shia Muslim world view. Both believe the end of the world is at hand, the Islamic Messiah's arrival on earth is "imminent," and that annihilating the U.S. and Israel are central objectives to hastening the Mahdi's arrival. Up until now, Khamenei has supported Ahmadinejad as the face and voice of such views. Does he still? We're about to find out. The elections on June 12th are rigged. If Ahmadinejad is reelected, that will be seen as an affirmation that the Persian Hitler known as Ahmadinejad is still the valued "front man" for the Supreme Leader. If someone else wins, we'll have to watch closely to see if that presages a mere p.r. face lift - Apocalypse Lite - or suggests an actual, fundamental shift away from Radical Shia eschatology. Right now, I'm expecting Ahmadinejad to win. But I really don't know how this will play out. Anything is possible. Should be an interesting few days for everyone in the epicenter. Keep praying.

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