Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Today the New York Times has its latest of a series of articles fawning over Iran's supposed new direction. This one concentrates on its new foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Until this summer, Mohammad Javad Zarif, one of Iran’s most accomplished diplomats, was an outcast, exiled from the government by ultraconservatives for working too closely with the West. Rather than presenting the Iranian case to the world, as he had done so effectively throughout a 35-year diplomatic career, he was spending his days teaching at the Foreign Ministry’s training center on a quiet, leafy campus in North Tehran.

That changed with the election of the moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, in June. Now, Mr. Zarif is the country’s new foreign minister and seems virtually certain to lead Iran’s delegation in nuclear negotiations with the West — further indications, analysts say, that Mr. Rouhani is serious about reducing tensions with the United States and other Western countries.

Mr. Zarif is the new face of a new policy,” said Davoud Hermidas-Bavand, a professor of international relations at Allameh Tabatabaei University in Tehran, who knows Mr. Zarif personally. “Our former foreign policy obviously did not yield any results and was clearly doomed. We need to revise our former methods and soften our stances in order to find a solution to the nuclear problem and reduce the sanctions.”

..His English is fluent, and both Western diplomats and journalists laud him as one of the rare Iranian officials who actually talk clearly to them.
Maybe Zarif is a wonderful person. Maybe he secretly eats turkey on Thanksgiving and watches Real Housewives of Atlanta.

But Zarif, like the new "moderate" Iranian president Rouhani, cannot make any real decisions on policy.

Because Iran is a dictatorship under Ayatollah Khamanei. Khamanei is not just a mere dictator, but also the religious leader of the nation. His word is divine law. 

His freaking title is "Supreme Leader."



Literally nothing can be done in Iran's government or official media without Khamanei's tacit approval. The person that allows Rouhani and Zarif to put a moderate face on Iran in the New York Times is the same person that allows the most crazed antisemitic and anti-Western conspiracy theories to be published in Iran's official media.

Yet the New York Times, and other newspapers, barely mention Khamanei any more as they fall over themselves praising Iran's new, supposedly moderate leadership.

Rouhani and Zarif are nothing more than smiling faces on an autocratic regime that supports terrorism, seeks to become a world power using nuclear weapons and is dedicated to destroying Israel. They are doing their jobs under Khamanei's hardline control, not in spite of it.

Remember, Rouhani was hand-picked as one of the candidates of the Iranian election - by Khamanei. This seemingly new "policy" is nothing more than Iran's implementation of "good cop, bad cop."

How can any serious article by a mainstream newspaper ignore these facts? How can the Times report that a puppet of a dictator, one who cannot do anything without his approval, will change anything in reality?

Now, I'm not saying anything that the NYT doesn't already know. Which means that, effectively, to the Times, style is more important than substance.

Iran's nuclear program isn't the problem - the problem is that the West is alarmed by it. If only an Iranian diplomat can ease those tensions, and let Iran cross the nuclear threshold without interference, then the NYT will be happy.

This is not journalism. This is advocacy. And it is not just wrong, but dangerous.

(h/t EBoZ)



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