April 29, 2002
8:40 AM   Subscribe

In re: the middle-east conflicts, you can't believe everything you read, if only because so much that is rather obviously important and relevant seems to be never-the-less falling off the map, so-to-speak. Want proof? Perhaps someone can give me a rationale explanation as to why this story is not to be found in any major news outlet.
posted by BentPenguin (25 comments total)
You know shit's bad when you have to look at Iran as an example of equanimity.
posted by UncleFes at 8:46 AM on April 29, 2002

And there I was expecting Paris to be the first to reply.
posted by vbfg at 8:59 AM on April 29, 2002

I'm BACK! :)
posted by UncleFes at 9:13 AM on April 29, 2002

Did anybody get the event on tape? Does anyone even know the name of the "obscure deputy in the Iranian parliament" and is the guy still alive so he can make a statement on Nightline? No. Well. THAT's why the major news outlets aren't covering it. If Dan Rather can't show it while he talks about it, it didn't happen.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:14 AM on April 29, 2002

Interesting if true. I think most Iranians want a lot more from their government (or less depending on how you look at it) than they are getting.
posted by revbrian at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2002

Iran, like Iraq, has always been a fairly sophisticated, modulated society. It's the government that sucks. It's a shame that the two mideast countries with the greatest potential are our enemies while we continue to kowtow to the Saudis.
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:32 AM on April 29, 2002

What got my attention is the article's asssertion that the Iranians hate their gov't but love the US.

I can't think of circumstances more ironic to the "Islamic revolution." I also can' think of circumstances more threatening to the fundamentalist gov't.

It sort of reminds me of the fall of the Soviet Union. But the threat of so humiliating an end for the Islamic Revolution in Iran will likely lead to crushing human rights abuses on a much larger scale than even now, (and worse than any experienced under the Shah's regime).

If the Iranian "gov't" falls, it will make for a tidal wave of side effects throughout the region.
posted by BentPenguin at 9:38 AM on April 29, 2002

also they have great weightlifters :)
posted by kliuless at 9:40 AM on April 29, 2002

Iran being our enemy is at least partially out fault, no? Way back in 1953, Iran had a elected leader, Mohammad Mossadegh, who was deposed in a CIA backed coup to prop up the Shah. (this isn't conspiracy theory, this is a matter of record).

I suppose this made some strategic sense in the 1950s/cold war era, but in retrospect, its looking pretty stupid.
posted by malphigian at 9:46 AM on April 29, 2002

What got my attention is the article's asssertion that the Iranians hate their gov't but love the US.

To me that doesn't square with human nature. I can well believe Iranians hate their government and want an end to theocracy but I have a harder time believing they love the US. It must seem to even the mildest middle-eastern muslims that the West has nothing but its own interests at heart and couldn't give a fuck for their welfare. And lets face it, that's true.
posted by Summer at 10:04 AM on April 29, 2002

I spoke to my father-in-law, who is on the Editorial Board of a major newspaper. They are the guys who kinda decide if things make it to the front page.

He says there is a TON of information out there that simply doesn't make it to the US. Typically, the US media relies on other agencies to do English translations of news and force feed it to them.

If Reuters or AP didn't pick this up, prolly no news media in the US will even hear about it...

Doing a search for fatwa at Reuters only shows a story about Iraqis saying suicide is good
posted by Argyle at 10:08 AM on April 29, 2002

I've a feeling that Iran could be the Middle-East's Poland.

If their is a revolt in the name of secular rule, freedom, and pro-western ideas it could spread like wildfire to the rest of the region.
posted by Mick at 10:13 AM on April 29, 2002

Can anyone honestly believe that Dan Rather or Peter Jennings or The New York Times would run stories about how much America is loved overseas? Gimme a break.
posted by mikegre at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2002

"Our leaders need to say, over and over again, that it is time for the mullahs to submit to the just desires of their own people. As the Iranian people have been chanting for many months in the streets of the country, there should be a referendum on the Iranian government. Let the people decide if they want to continue the Islamic republic, or if they prefer a secular republic or a constitutional monarchy. We have no horse in that race, and our leaders must stress that we are not supporting any individual or any group; we support an Iranian government chosen in a free and fair election."

Ledeen is absolutely right. I am really afraid that we're going to throw away a historic opportunity with Iran. It strikes me as incredibly foolish that we are doing nothing about it.
posted by homunculus at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2002

The reason nobody's talking about it? Because it's not news. Montazeri is a known dissident cleric, who has often espoused this view, and was previously placed under house arrest for speaking out against Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, and was in jail as of September. I suspect this is why somebody else read his words before parliament. His views are not representative of the Iranian government, and while he may represent a certain part of the people, I have a hard time believing "all" Iranians love America: people are not prone to monolithic thought.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:55 AM on April 29, 2002

Some Israeli pundit stated on tv not long ago that in countries where the rulers liked the U.S.,the people hate us; and in countries where the people love us, the rulers disliked us.
But I think the point being made is not that our media censors stuff but rather seems unable to pick up on items that might be of great interest to us.
posted by Postroad at 11:06 AM on April 29, 2002

The media regularly reports on the slow so-called "reform" in Iran. Suicide is forbidden in Islam, and the discussion about "suicide attacks" among important Shi'ite and Sunni clerics, including the condemnation of those attacks by mor or less important clerics, is not new.

The news reported by Ledeen would be very important when Montazeri would really be a "leading Iranian cleric".

Problem is that he isn't. Anymore. Once named to succeed Khomeiny (who died in 1989), he was sidelined by "hardliners" because he was (even before 1988) calling for limits to "supreme clerical rule". Since 1989 he has more or less become one of Iran's most "revered" (by the public) dissidents, not "leaders".

Since 1979, when he was one of the architects of the Iranian Islamic Constitution Montazeri has been fighting for a separation of powers in Iran. First his "moderate" voice was tolerated (and influential, as is clear from Khomeiny's respect for him), but after 1989 he was stripped of his power, and since 1997 he is under house arrest. The good news is that since 1999, Iran's leaders are allowing his voice to be heard again, and I suspect that the moderates and "reformists" in the government are "using" Montazeri's "fame" to strengthen their message. This has probably been behind the deputy's speech.

My conclusion: Ledeen made a huge mistake in calling "Montazeri" a leader instead of a "dissident". Therefore, this story is just another news-item in the already known history of Iran's continuing process of reform. Nothing special.
posted by igor.boog at 11:43 AM on April 29, 2002

"We must assist the student and labor leaders...We want the fall of the regime...There is no diplomatic "solution." "

You know, if they're not pissing in the shallow end of the pool, they're taking a dump in the diving well. Yes, please, let's help them out so another cluster of pissant, third-world ratchet-jaws and snotty european slugabeds can drone on interminably about John Wayne imposing his odious will on an unsuspecting and blameless planet.

Not that I am disagreeing. I'm just pointing out that action will lead to the exact same stuffed-shirt self-righteousness as inaction.
posted by umberto at 12:00 PM on April 29, 2002

i visited iran in 92 and found iranians to be sophisticated,educated and very aware of the west. the axis of evil speech was a kick in the teeth for the moderates in iran and provided yet more ammo for the extremists. i little research into iranian history will reveal good reasons why the us govt has never been popular with the average citizen
posted by quarsan at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2002

"the axis of evil speech was a kick in the teeth'

i think this why someone went back to home to be with her family. Iran is a very sophisticated country. no doubt.

hey Fes.
posted by clavdivs at 1:12 PM on April 29, 2002

The National Review sucks as a reference for accurate journalism. They should ALWAYS be critically questioned before accepting what they say as fact. Can you say Jonah Goldberg and William Kristol?
posted by nofundy at 1:20 PM on April 29, 2002

The most beautiful woman I had ever seen, met, up close was a young Iranian girl. But she was a cokehead too.
posted by Postroad at 1:22 PM on April 29, 2002

(It's true -- Iranian girls are hot. The ones I've known have also been rich, and yeah, sometimes, a little coked out. Haha.)
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:43 PM on April 29, 2002

Of course the national Review has a slant. Duh! But if you can't tell facts from opinions and spin, well, you have no business talking about current events...

I was shocked to learn that the Iranian economy is being likened to that of Argentina's, that people are demonstrating for democratic reforms and months worth of back pay...

These facts are nowhere to be found in the media, and given everything else in the middle east, well it gave this newsjunkie a ray of hope for change in that part of the world so desperately in need of a new approach.
posted by BentPenguin at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2002

Time has run out on Secretary Powell and his bunch of clever diplomats, and on National Security Advisor Rice and her cautious managers. The Iranian people need to hear and see that America believes in them, supports their cause, and hates their oppressors.

If Iranian's like "the US" it probably has more to do with our culture and people with our government. The United States getting involved in coups or whatever in Iran again would fuck things up royaly.

Hell, given our track-record I doubt iranian's would want US assistance in reforming their government.

Anyway, we should just allow them to modernize on their own.
posted by delmoi at 3:12 PM on April 29, 2002

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