September 23rd, 2010
08:57 AM ET

Fighting Ahmadinejad: Where movement in Iran stands

Iranian protesters take to the streets to dispute the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in December 2009.

Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly later today.

When he spoke at last year’s meeting, he launched into an attack against the United States, Israel and the West while, back in Iran, the pro-government Revolutionary Guard cracked down on pro-reform demonstrators. During elections, the Green Movement gained momentum, and for a time it seemed like supporters with the use of Twitter could topple Ahmadinejad.

But this year, Ahmadinejad may dial down the rhetoric a notch as Iran comes under increasing pressure from world powers to end their nuclear program. The United Nations Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions in June and the Council members – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – have renewed efforts to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.

In what may have been a preview to his General Assembly speech, Ahmadinejad blamed capitalism and transnational corporations for the world’s woes when he addressed the meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, the U.N.’s initiative to reduce poverty, hunger and disease around the world. But absent from the speech were attacks aimed at the U.S. and Israel.

Anti-Ahmadinejad protestors in New York were not surprised. While the Iranian president portrays an image of a self-confident leader firmly in control of his country, several prominent pro-reform Iranians in the United States claim that Ahmadinejad’s support in Iran is waning.

They tell CNN that there are a growing number of conservatives in Iran who feel that Ahmadinejad’s provocative, controversial statements have directly resulted in world opinion turning against the country. CNN Radio’s Steve Kastenbaum spoke with Iranian dissidents in the U.S. about the state of the Green Movement in Iran today.

Listen to Steve Kastenbaum’s conversation with an Iranian journalist and CNN’s Reza Sayah here:

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Filed under: Iran
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Vic of Sunny Ocala

    The only positive thing about Ahmadinejad is that the world knows what to expect from him. He's pretty much an open book with his thoughts. I'm sure Iranian leadership wants him replaced with someone who is not so loud and draws so much attention. That way they can work on their little secrets a little easier.

    Watch, Ahmadinejad will somehow be replaced politically or simply "disappear". A quiet new leader will arise wanting to make "peace" with their Western "allies". He'll seemingly do what ever it takes to work with the UN to ensure the stability of the Middle East.

    The quiet crazies are the ones that scare me.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Francis

    Ahmadinejad turned the tables on Der Spiegel a few years back when he asked their reporter about Europeans in prison for holocaust "denial."

    Remember that there are far more people in jail in Europe for disrespecting Jews than for slandering Muslims.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      You're an anti-semite apologist for terror regimes.

      If there is any double standard to decry, consider that you could burn a Torah or a Bible or an American flag in this and many other nations, but never a Koran, as recent events show.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sgt Hulka

      Lighten up Francis....

      September 23, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    No one should be surprised about the desire for change in Iran. After the revolution there were a lot of kids born and now they are reaching the age where they want to control things and have more freedoms just like the West. Its not much different than the protests in the 60's except that the Gov't is willing to crack down a lot harder. In time the youth will win and sweep the older regime to the curb.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      If the youth in Iran are anything like their trash-culture worshiping American counterparts, the Iranians would be well advised to keep things the way they are.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      don, you are a complete tool. Generalizing that all young Americans is a moronic thing to say. Get a life.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      you are true.

      September 23, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan the Man

    Iran today is much like the Soviet Union was in the 1980's. The progressive youth of Iran are on the verge of a revolution toward the acceptance of western capitalist ideals. Ahmedinejad and his Ayatollahs are holding on to the last days of nationalistic conservatism in Iran. If we can contain them and keep them boxed in for a few more years, Iran could become a powerful trading partner just as China and Russia have in the last two decades. The revolution is coming. If we play out cards right, it can and will be won without firing a single shot.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      I agree with you except that we need to make sure we contain Iran's nuclear weapons if they ever come on line.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey

      These cave men will end up like China's last emperor. Sealed up in the forbidden city to live their archaic lives out while the rest of the country moves on without them.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ACE

    Maybe we can send Emmit to Iran lets see if he talk crap over there

    September 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. m.24.m

    Although Ahmadinejad might not be the greatest leader, however he does raise lots of good points. He does put the west in an uncomfortable spot that they seem to have no answer.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      They have no answer you moron is because he is a complte nut case. Nothing he's ever said has made any sense. It's people like you that really scare me because you don't have a clue..

      September 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • CsThrouLies

      Only the uneducated deal in absolutes.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Doc

    Don't let him leave the country until the remaining 2 hostages are freed. Then wehn they are, lock him up and put an end to him. What could they do about it.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Restart the civil war in Iraq, for starters.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey

      Excellent idea. And while we're at it charge a nice big ransom.
      The evil clerics would probably just tell us to keep him.
      I know the people of Iran would.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    Build more mosques in America so Ahmadinejad can just move here!

    September 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Xchange

    Russia and China used to say that Capitalism was evil now they embrace it. Looks like Cuba is coming around too.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Doozle

    The real question is he loosing power to the extent he can be replaced? But seeings how out of touch Iran's ruling clergy is with their country's populace, whose to say they won't elect someone else who'll make Ahmadinejad seem like a boy scout? Careful what you wish for!

    September 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey

      This is comparable to if the Vatican was running Italy.

      September 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wowlfie

    One thing that Atheists and Muslims have in common: Hell welcomes both Ahmadinejad and Hitler.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eimerd

    Not that long ago the USA supported the installation of a dictator in what was then called 'Persia'. The current Iranian regime can still use this sorry past as an excuse to convict anyone of supporting the overthrow of the regime if they express any desire for freedom. Even in politics there is such a thing as Karma.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff

    Good luck to the pro-reform crowd, I truly hope you're successful one day. Obama will offer no support whatsoever and just let their students get shot in cold blood in the streets of Tehran again like he did last time without so much as a peep. Sorry pro-reformers this president is NOT in your corner.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cynical Randy

    @Don: Wow!! Such an exciting, refreshing, wide sweeping and completely moronic statement. I doubt if you can read the sarcasm into my use of such words as "refreshing, exciting" when describing your post. It's extremely doubtful that you have kids, given the content of your post....if you do, I pray for them and I'm an agnostic!

    September 23, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Flag Man

    Have any of you forgotten that Iran held our entire embasy staff hostage during the revolution? It is past time for the people of Iran to throw out the theoracy that really run the coutry. I might suggest sending them gift boxes of some of our special contaminated eggs, to offer support to the people.

    September 23, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kawser

      Have you forgotten the reasons, why your staff were held hostages?

      September 23, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
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