CNN praises a dictator

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 23, 2009
By Sanjeev Bery

It has barely been a day since my last blog post criticizing a CNN commentator’s Iran analysis. But somehow, CNN has already managed to outdo itself.

In a new article linked to its home page as of Monday, CNN.com heavily quotes the son of a former Iranian dictator without once telling the reader about his father’s role in ending Iranian democracy.

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CNN’s Navarrette gets Iran wrong

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 22, 2009
By Sanjeev Bery

Ruben Navarrette

CNN.com columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. is the latest to join the chorus of voices calling on President Obama to get tougher with the Iranian government. While tempting, the CNN commentator’s words fail to consider the legacy of 25 years of U.S. intervention against Iranian democracy.

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A campaign ad worth watching

Want to shed a tear of optimism?  From the presidential campaign of Iranian reformer Mehdi Karroubi:

While Karroubi was a rival to lead opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, his campaign appears to share in the general exuberance and hope of a reform movement that appeals to Iran’s youth.

John Kerry on Iran

“The last thing we should do is give Mr. Ahmadinejad an opportunity to evoke the 1953 American-sponsored coup, which ousted Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and returned Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to power. Doing so would only allow him to cast himself as a modern-day Mossadegh, standing up for principle against a Western puppet.”

U.S. Senator John Kerry

Opinion:  “With Iran, Think Before You Speak”
June 17, 2009;  The New York Times

The rival Ayatollah’s statement (translation)

Montazeri_4Over at 0×6675636B, an Iranian expat has posted a translated version of Ayatollah Montazeri’s letter criticizing the Iranian elections and government crackdown.  The full translation is below.

First, a few quick quotes from the Ayatollah’s statement:

“A legitimate state must respect all points of view. It may not oppress critical views. I fear that this will lead to the loss of people’s faith in Islam.”

“…a government not respecting the people’s vote has no religious or political legitimacy.”

“I ask the police and army personnel not to “sell their religion”, and be aware that receiving orders will not excuse them before God.”

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Ayatollah vs. Ayatollah

FILES-IRAN-POLITICS-MONTAZERIMcClatchy News is reporting that one of Iran’s most senior clerics, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, has called the election rigged.  He has also criticized the government crackdown on Mousavi supporters.   Montazeri himself was a leader of the 1979 revolution and a one-time rival to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for the nation’s top position.

And yes, he has his own website.  Got Farsi?

Iran’s senior ayatollah slams election, confirming split

McClatchy Newspapers
Tue, Jun. 16, 2009

By Warren P. Strobel and Jonathan S. Landay

TEHRAN, Iran — Supporters of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his main rival in the disputed presidential election, Mir Hossein Mousavi, massed in competing rallies Tuesday as the country’s most senior Islamic cleric threw his weight behind opposition charges that Ahmadinejad’s re-election was rigged.

“No one in their right mind can believe” the official results from Friday’s contest, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said of the landslide victory claimed by Ahmadinejad. Continue reading

“That wasn’t a date…”

Did they shake hands?  Did they chat?  Was there a peck on the cheek?  As with all first dates, it depends on who you talk to.

The New York Times reported that a pair of top diplomats from the U.S. and Iran had a polite chat at an international conference on Afghanistan this Tuesday.  According to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

“It was cordial, unplanned and they agreed to stay in touch,” Mrs. Clinton said to reporters at the end of the conference. “I myself did not have any direct contact with the Iranian delegation.”

But not so fast.  As the BBC later reported, an Iranian government spokesperson denied the whole thing:

“No meeting or talk, be it formal or informal, official or unofficial between Iran and US officials took place on the sideline of this conference…We categorically deny the reports published in this regard.”

One thing is for sure.  The delicate dance has begun.

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Obama’s holiday message to Iranians

U.S. President Barack Obama released the video greetings below to the Iranian government and people.

The Nowruz holiday greetings are a rare opportunity to hear an American leader praising the culture and accomplishments of Iranian society.  More than 50 years after the U.S. overthrew Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, this is a  hopeful sign that perhaps our two nations can find a path to better relations.

Whitehouse.gov links:  video, video with farsi subtitles, text of speech, or Farsi translation

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