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In protesters' fight for justice in Iran, U.S. stands on the sidelines

So in 1826, Jefferson claimed to have great confidence in the future. Yet, at that time, slavery was becoming ever more entrenched in this nation. The institution was soon to be ever more strongly defended by his political heirs -- partly because Jefferson had, in his day, used hope for progress and confidence in the future as an excuse to avoid confronting this challenge.

And the last century, which certainly featured the further spread of the light of science, also featured great revolutions in 1917, 1933, 1949 and, yes, in 1979, which did not advance the cause of the rights of man.

Doesn't the history of the 20th century, with its wars and genocides and terrorism, teach that "the side of those who seek justice" doesn't easily prevail? That justice needs all the energetic support it can get? That the help of the United States is crucial?

The United States has not even begun to do what it could -- rhetorically and concretely, diplomatically and economically, publicly and covertly, multilaterally and unilaterally -- to try to help the Iranian people change the regime of fear and tyranny that denies them justice.

Regime change in Iran in 2010 -- now that would be change to believe in.

William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, writes a monthly column for The Post.

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