All of us have a guilty intellectual pleasure. Mine happens to be reading the absurd and hypocritical stories of Press TV, the official Iranian state media channel. I shouldn’t say ‘intellectual pleasure’, because (as any of its sane readers would know) it is pure comedy.
Anyone who missed the eccentric, holocaust-denying self-parody that was Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmedinejad need only visit the Press TV website to revisit that “mad dog of the Persian Gulf” feel. Casual antisemitism? Yep! Holocaust denial? You know it! (Hypo)criticism of ‘the West’s human rights record’? Naturally!
As the Geneva nuclear talks and ‘the chance of détente’ dominate the very optimistic Western media, one cannot help but notice the stark contrast that they have with the stories pushed by Iran’s official English-language outlet. Top stories on the website often are beautiful examples of keen propaganda, reminicent of the over-enthusiastic broadcasting by Iran’s buddy North Korea. This, naturally, made it a favourite of the far left and pro-Islamists in the English-speaking world back when it aired until 2012. The channel was, sadly, shut down in the UK for airing footage of torture to extract a ‘confession’.
In any case- from endless criticism on Israel and the US to pimping stories of the ‘al-Qaeda bazookas found last week near the Turkish-Syrian border’, it is a preserve of the Muslim fanatic and conspiracy theorist alike. The comments and polls show it, but above all the ‘official stories’ show which audience the Iranian government is catering to.
The “alternative outlet” obviously does not engage in internal criticism. On the contrary, it spends an inordinate amount of time portraying Western countries as dictatorships that kill their own people. Hypocrisy much? I think it’s safe to say that one of the countries that is in the lowest position to bash others about human rights is indeed the Islamic Republic. That is one reason that I was very much amused to read this story:
London-based Amnesty International together with the victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland has called on politicians to investigate past killings and abuses, media reports say.
…The victims of loyalist, state, and republican violence during the Troubles slammed politicians both in Belfast, Dublin, and London for treating them as a political embarrassment, while demanding new means to examine past atrocities…
Britain and Ireland have a case with Amnesty International? Shock! Horror! The shame of it all! Yet the website, for some reason, does not make any mention of the 200 people executed this year- many of which were killed for “mohrebeh” (standing against God). 15 executions took place from the 3rd to the 5th of November; four of which were executions of women who were actually stoned to death for various crimes.
That said, Iran is in no position to evaluate the human rights situations of any other country. And I’m sure Amnesty International is more concerned about the Islamic Republic than they are Jolly Old England. Perhaps Britain isn’t perfect with it’s human rights, but it’s significantly closer than the “Islamic Republic” is.
Whilst we’re on the topic of human rights, what about press freedom? Press TV had the audacity to publish an interview with “an activist (who) says that the West has ‘profoundly lost it’s way’ in terms of the freedom of speech”.
The West has lost it’s way? Iran lost it’s wallet, bags, tickets, passport, and is stuck in Mogadishu. This year, the West hasn’t imprisoned 20 journalists and 20 bloggers for expressing their opinions (hint: Iran has!) In 2009, Iran blocked over 2000 webpages and banned 12 newspapers following their elections. In the same year, there were 100 journalists arrested and imprisoned, too. Now as a Brit, I do have my odd rant about David Cameron but I have to hand it to him- he doesn’t arrest bloggers. I’m sure the same can be said by the rest of the West. With this, I say that the Iranian butcher is criticising the cow.
And for my grand finale of the roundup; what is Iranian official state media without… casual antisemitism! Regarding the US suspension of funds from UNESCO following the admission of the PA, Press TV had this to say:
“…what was the US hammering UNESCO with its “clout” except for forcing the organization to “aggressively” promote Zionist cause? Yeah! Telling the uninformed people about the horrible “mass killing of Jews during World War” by the German criminal government. What a loss for the poor, illiterate masses!”
Erm… What was that about no more Holocaust Denial by Iran and the big party that CNN had after Iranian President Rouhani allegedly renounced it? It does not matter in the slightest what Iran’s politicians say in public- the fact that this line is still peddled to both the Iranian people and to it’s Western audience should be a sobering fact. Maybe the Iranian President is no longer barking absurdities and hypocrisy like a rabid dog, but his media is and that fact should not be ignored.
The antagonism between Iran and the West is a powerful propaganda tool. The ruling classes, Interior Ministry, and Revolutionary Guard gain much legitimacy by rallying people against the US. Imagine reading these headlines every day for years with no positive stories on ‘the Great Satan’ and you can see why the Iranian people turn out to sing “Death to America” in massive crowds. The US is a scapegoat for Iranian suffering, economic woes, global warming and the Punic Wars. In leading the ‘struggle’ against the ‘Great Satan’, these groups acquire the backing of the sadly misled people of Iran.
The views espoused in English give us an insight of what is being said in Persian. With that, I think we can safely say that it’s too soon to scream “detente” when the lines of holocaust denial and enormous criticism are still being pushed by the Iranian regime’s official mouthpieces.