The New York Times continue its PR spin on Iran

First there was the Ethan Bronner column that used biased experts to support a contention that Iran does not intend to abolish Israel (despite that country's clearly stated desire to do so and its nuclear development). Now, the Times published an op—ed column by an Iranian journalist that contends Iran has no control over Hezbollah that would have led to its attacks against Israel— this despite the Iranian training of many of Hezbollah leaders, the supply of arms and money to Hezbollah to build its power, and the fact that the US State Department has listed (for many years) Iran as the number one state supporter of terror in the world.

Regardless of these facts,  Maziar Bahari states in the op—ed ,

From all evidence, Hezbollah, to a great extent, makes decisions independently of Iran. Hezbollah is an indigenous Lebanese armed resistance group that owes its popularity to Israeli atrocities, biased American policies and corrupt Lebanese politicians. When the United States and Israel try to portray Hezbollah as an Iranian proxy, they are pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

But Iran definitely uses the threat of its influence over Hezbollah to further its objectives. And its prime objective is the survival of the Islamic regime at any price. The clerics and non—clerics (they are now mostly non—clerics) in power in Iran are not the old revolutionary zealots the Americans tend to imagine.

"From all evidence" Hezb'allah makes decisions independently of Iran? What evidence does Bahari proffer? None whatsoever. It is an unsupported, and unsupportable, assertion that he blithely makes before blaming the rise of Hezb'allah on who else? Israel and America.

For a regime that, according to the NYT op—ed, has no operational influence with Hezbollah, it seems to be unusually willing tohave its decisions announced from Tehran. The Iranin regime's announcments regarding Hezb'allah's future course of action certainly point to Iran's role in Hezb'allah's decision—making process.

The absurdity continues with the claims that the clerics and non—clerics in power are not the revolutionary zealots Americans tend to imagine. "Imagine"?

There is no doubt that the current leader of Iran, Ahmadinejad, was a senior officer in the Special brigade of the Revolutionary Guards and that he owes his rise and hold on power to the extremist Basiji — a large group of extremists formed during the war with Iraq that has continued to grow in power and influence.

The Basiji were educated ("brainwashed") to willingly sacrifice themselves for the greater glory of Shiite Islam in the minefields the Iraqis planted. These volunteers (some as young as 12) would clear Iraqi minefields by marching through them, sacrificing themselves. The more professional soldiers would then have an open field to attack Iraqis. The Basiji were given keys that would purportedly open the gates of paradise for them upon their deaths . Each Basiji received a headband to be worn that designated him a "Volunteer for Martyrdom". It was this culture, declares Mathias Kuntzel in The New Republic, that

"nurtured Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's worldview."

The future leader of Iran was a proud member of the Basiji and much of his current support derives from veterans of this martyrs' army. Many also believe he played a role in the hostage taking at the America Embassy in 1979. He has also made clear that he believes the Holocaust never occurred, has made clear his intention to "wipe Israel off the map," and fervently looks forward to an apocalypse that will bring forth the Hidden Imam of Shiite Islam theology .

Does the Times provide any fact—checking or quality control in its editorial pages or does PR spin from an Iranian journalist that spurns facts and supports fabrications and slurs against Israel and America suffice?

Ed Lasky    8 24 06

First there was the Ethan Bronner column that used biased experts to support a contention that Iran does not intend to abolish Israel (despite that country's clearly stated desire to do so and its nuclear development). Now, the Times published an op—ed column by an Iranian journalist that contends Iran has no control over Hezbollah that would have led to its attacks against Israel— this despite the Iranian training of many of Hezbollah leaders, the supply of arms and money to Hezbollah to build its power, and the fact that the US State Department has listed (for many years) Iran as the number one state supporter of terror in the world.

Regardless of these facts,  Maziar Bahari states in the op—ed ,

From all evidence, Hezbollah, to a great extent, makes decisions independently of Iran. Hezbollah is an indigenous Lebanese armed resistance group that owes its popularity to Israeli atrocities, biased American policies and corrupt Lebanese politicians. When the United States and Israel try to portray Hezbollah as an Iranian proxy, they are pointing the finger in the wrong direction.

But Iran definitely uses the threat of its influence over Hezbollah to further its objectives. And its prime objective is the survival of the Islamic regime at any price. The clerics and non—clerics (they are now mostly non—clerics) in power in Iran are not the old revolutionary zealots the Americans tend to imagine.

"From all evidence" Hezb'allah makes decisions independently of Iran? What evidence does Bahari proffer? None whatsoever. It is an unsupported, and unsupportable, assertion that he blithely makes before blaming the rise of Hezb'allah on who else? Israel and America.

For a regime that, according to the NYT op—ed, has no operational influence with Hezbollah, it seems to be unusually willing tohave its decisions announced from Tehran. The Iranin regime's announcments regarding Hezb'allah's future course of action certainly point to Iran's role in Hezb'allah's decision—making process.

The absurdity continues with the claims that the clerics and non—clerics in power are not the revolutionary zealots Americans tend to imagine. "Imagine"?

There is no doubt that the current leader of Iran, Ahmadinejad, was a senior officer in the Special brigade of the Revolutionary Guards and that he owes his rise and hold on power to the extremist Basiji — a large group of extremists formed during the war with Iraq that has continued to grow in power and influence.

The Basiji were educated ("brainwashed") to willingly sacrifice themselves for the greater glory of Shiite Islam in the minefields the Iraqis planted. These volunteers (some as young as 12) would clear Iraqi minefields by marching through them, sacrificing themselves. The more professional soldiers would then have an open field to attack Iraqis. The Basiji were given keys that would purportedly open the gates of paradise for them upon their deaths . Each Basiji received a headband to be worn that designated him a "Volunteer for Martyrdom". It was this culture, declares Mathias Kuntzel in The New Republic, that

"nurtured Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's worldview."

The future leader of Iran was a proud member of the Basiji and much of his current support derives from veterans of this martyrs' army. Many also believe he played a role in the hostage taking at the America Embassy in 1979. He has also made clear that he believes the Holocaust never occurred, has made clear his intention to "wipe Israel off the map," and fervently looks forward to an apocalypse that will bring forth the Hidden Imam of Shiite Islam theology .

Does the Times provide any fact—checking or quality control in its editorial pages or does PR spin from an Iranian journalist that spurns facts and supports fabrications and slurs against Israel and America suffice?

Ed Lasky    8 24 06