by Ilan Berman
2nd part of 2
's Blogosphere Iran
With Internet penetration estimated at over 25 percent of
An important first step in this regard is to facilitate the interaction between Iranian bloggers and Western media. Over the past year, a number of Western newspapers have provided forums for Iranian activists and dissidents to report and provide context on the events taking place within
Consistent input from these blogosphere sources is essential to informed policymaking. Simply put, without a good understanding of the evolving human terrain within
Helping the Opposition to Coordinate
During the summer of 2003, a resurgence of anti-regime protests rocked the Islamic Republic. Over the course of several weeks, thousands of protesters took to the streets of
Unable to put an end to such foreign broadcasting itself,
Little has changed since. Although some in Congress have attempted to deter
International Focus on Iranian Dissidents
Skeptics have highlighted the resulting leadership vacuum in arguing against the Iranian opposition's chances of success. These arguments, however, are ahistoric. It is useful to recall that, at its start,
Moreover, a cadre of activists capable of such leadership already exists within
Currently, the international community has little familiarity with these voices, but it would be better if it did. During the Cold War, Western politicians were intimately familiar with the identities of political prisoners, dissident activists, and others persecuted for opposing Soviet rule and agitated regularly on their behalf during diplomatic parlays with their Soviet counterparts. A similar focus today could provide much needed international attention to
The Future in the Balance
Today, Iranian politics are dominated by a deep divide. On one side is Iran's repressive theocratic regime—a clerical junta that ranks as the world's most active state sponsor of terrorism and which is hell-bent on acquiring a nuclear capability. On the other are the people of
Ilan Berman is vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
 The National Security Strategy of the
 The New York Times, Dec. 21, 2002; CNN News, Dec. 21, 2002.
 Weiss and Feith, "Denying the Green Revolution."
 Mehdi Khalaji, Patrick Clawson, Michael Singh, and Mohsen Sazegara, "Iran's 'Election': What Happened? What Does It Mean?" Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Washington, D.C., Policy Watch, no. 1537, June 18, 2009.
 Associated Press, Jan. 21, 2010.
 "Iran, Islamic Republic of: Background" United Nations Childrens' Fund (UNICEF), accessed Feb. 10, 2010.
 Press TV (
 See, for example, "Iran: Stop 'Framing' Government Critics," Human Rights Watch,
 The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 3, 2009.
 Reuters, Nov. 14, 2009; Associated Press, Nov. 26, 2009; The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 6, 2010.
 "A Glance at Iran: Population," Statistical Centre of Iran, Vice-Presidency for Strategic Planning and Supervision, Islamic Republic of Iran, accessed Feb. 10, 2010.
 The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 9, 2010.
 "Interview, Embassy-Hostage-Turned-U.S. Envoy Compares '79 to Iran Today," Radio Free Europe/Radio
 See, for example, Rep. Mark Kirk, remarks before the United States Institute of Peace,
 "Trade, Countries, Iran," European Commission,
 Final Act, Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe,
 Jeffrey Gedmin, "Our Iranian Colleagues Believe in Radio Farda's Mission,"
 "Broadcasting Board of Governors Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Request,"
 "Draft: A Study of USG Broadcasting into
 "Draft: A Study of USG Broadcasting into
 Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media (
 See, for example, Shawn Woodley, "Iran: On Blogs and Ballots," Diplomatic Courier, June 14, 2009.
 See, for example, Heshmat Tabarzadi, "What I See on the Frontline in Iran," The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 17, 2009.
 "Memorandum for the 303 Committee," Nixon Intelligence Files, Subject Files,
 See, for example, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, "Another Iranian Revolution? Not Likely," The New York Times, Jan. 6, 2010.
 "Rights Crisis Escalates: Faces and Cases from Ahmadinejad's Crackdown," International Campaign for Human Rights in
 The Christian Science Monitor (