Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Iran: blowhard's blowback 

Of all the post-Iranian election analysis, Linda Heard's effort in the Saudi "Arab News" takes the cake: it's all a result of "America's failed policies in the region under the faux banner of spreading 'freedom and democracy'." Watch this meme because it will become very common.

You see, at the 2000 election, the Iranian electorate voted overwhelmingly for reformist candidates. Five years later, they voted overwhelmingly for the reaction. Heard explains:
What happened in the interim? Why has the public mood been so radically altered? Forget election fraud. The guy won by a whopping eight million votes.

Let's go back to Sept. 14, 2001 when hundreds of young Iranians, clad in black as a sign of mourning, held a silent candle-lit gathering in Tehran to pay homage to the thousands of victims of the terror attacks in the United States. At the time, AFP quoted one of those demonstrators as saying: "We wanted to show our solidarity with the American people, which is in pain."
But then Bush stuffed it up:
Just five months later, in his first "State of the Union" address, George W. Bush singled out Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, claiming these states "and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world".

An analysis on the BBC's website "Iran and the Axis of Evil" dated Feb. 11, 2002 reads: "Iran's inclusion in Washington's 'Axis of Evil' has caused anger in Iran and consternation among several European governments."

The BBC article predicts that the "Axis of Evil" concept "can only radicalize Tehran further, make the work of Iranian moderates and reformists far harder and, in the long-run destabilize the region." All that has been achieved by reform and international engagement... "could be stopped and reversed by Tehran's inclusion in the 'Axis of Evil'", it concludes. And that's exactly what has happened folks!

Now that this prediction has come true, should we conclude that the BBC is staffed with psychics? I don't think so, this was merely common sense based on the "every action has a reaction" principle.
Not psychics, just people who will in every situation blame America for everything. In this case, you see, Bush's political stupidity, translated into hard-line rhetoric and policy, has managed to turn back the clock in Iran, and pushed the once pro-American population into the arms of the mullahs.

It has never occurred to Heard that those hundreds of young Iranians who lit candles in Tehran after 9/11 might not be the same people who four years later decided to vote for Ahmadinejad in order to bitch-slap the Great Satan, but were actually the people who boycotted the election altogether, out of disgust at being given a choice between the mullah-approved "reformers" and the mullah-approved "conservatives."

This sort of reasoning also presupposes the Iranian people are morons who can't distinguish when foreigners talk about them and when they talk about their government. When Ronald Reagan spoke of the Evil Empire, all of us who were its unwilling residents did not assume that he meant we were evil too - we knew he spoke of our rulers. But Iranians supposedly thought the whole "Axis of Evil" means they're all terrorists and took offence.

If you want some more sober analysis of Iran, have a look at Amir Taheri's latest, as well as this backgrounder by MEMRI.


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