Mousavi spokesman on Obama. Via reader Heather, Foreign Policy speaks with Mousavi's external spokesman in Paris Mohsen Makhmalbaf:
FP: There has been growing criticism here in Washington that U.S. President Barack Obama hasn't said or done enough to support those demonstrating in the streets of Iran. Do you think Obama is being too careful? Or even that he is helping Ahmadinejad by being cautious?
MM: Obama has said that there is no difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. Does he like it himself [when someone is] saying that there is no difference between Obama and [George W.] Bush? Ahmadinejad is the Bush of Iran. And Mousavi is the Obama of Iran.
FP: Would Mousavi pursue a different foreign policy than Ahmadinejad?
MM: As you may know, former President Mohammad Khatami, who is supporting Mousavi at the moment, was in favor of dialogue between the civilizations, but Ahmadinejad talks about the war of the civilizations. Is there not any difference between the two? We [Iranians] are a bit unfortunate. When we had our Obama [meaning President Khatami], that was the time of President Bush in the United States. Now that [the United States] has Obama, we have our Bush here [in Iran]. In order to resolve the problems between the two countries, we should have two Obamas on the two sides. It doesn't mean that everything depends on these two
people, but this is one of the main factors.
Like everyone else in the world, the Moussavi people know that the Bush administration opposed the Khatami government almost as much as the conservative mullahs.
They also know that the Bush administration was eager to start a war with Iran and that American neo-cons seemingly ended every meal with a chorus of "Bomb, Bomb Iran."
Maybe that's why they see the blustering Ahmadinejad as Iran's Bush and Moussavi as Iran's Obama.