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Jewish World Review Oct. 24, 2002 / 18 Mar-Cheshvan, 5763

Michael Ledeen

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The Iranian Comedy Hour: In the U.S., the silence continues | Sometimes you really have to wonder where the Iranian tyrants get their ideas, if that's the right word. Only an utterly deranged and humorless regime could possibly dream up the most recent proposals, actions, and decrees from the wacky crowd in Tehran:

— On the October 13, one of "Supreme Leader" Ali Khamenei's followers demanded that all dogs and their owners be arrested. This follows a June decree banning the sale of dogs, along with public dog walking, which was branded an immoral act and an offense to the sensitivities of all good Muslims. Makes one suspect that the mullahs' close relationship with the People's Republic of China has had a dramatic effect on Iranian cuisine, and the leaders are rounding up the dogs for the next banquet?

— The official polling and research institution of the regime made the colossal blunder of reporting the results of their latest survey, showing that three quarters of the Iranian people want good relations with the United ("Great Satan") States, and that Khamenei is the most unpopular public figure in the country. So the head of the polling institution was accused of disseminating false information and thrown into the nearest torture chamber, and the editor of the newspaper that published the story was hauled before some beturbaned and bearded fanatics practicing "Islamic justice," and similarly locked away; no wonder that "Reporters Without Borders" calls the Ayatollah Khamenei one of the world's leading predators of freedom of the press.

The (obvious) question for the Supreme Leader is: Did you really expect different results? The Iranian people are not so gullible as the chieftains of the European Union and high officials of the U.S. Department of State, who continue to delude themselves into believing that some kind of deal can be worked out with Iranian "moderates," above all President Khatami. But then?

— President Khatami lobbed a monkey wrench into preparations for a state dinner in Madrid with King Juan Carlos by announcing he would not attend the banquet if there were wine on the table. This sort of idiotic behavior leaves us with the usual two options: Either he is one of "them," and therefore unfrequentable, or he is at their bid and call, and therefore useless. Either way, full marks to President Bush for declaring that we are not interested in working with the "reformers;" we will support the Iranian people in their desperate struggle to be free.

At the moment, that desperate struggle is going badly, for the regime has launched a massive repression. Public hangings and stonings are now routine (funny, isn't it, that half the world gets upset at the prospect of a stoning of a single Nigerian woman, but nobody says "boo" about repeated stonings in Iran); journalists and professors, along with student leaders and playwrights are summarily dragged in front of "Islamic Tribunals" for summary judgment and then sent into the murderous darkness of the prison and torture system. The distinguished 71-year-old journalist, Siamak Pourzand, was sentenced to eleven years in prison after being jailed for several months without access to a lawyer or doctor. His exact whereabouts are still unknown, and the regime released a recent photograph showing Pourzand emaciated and black and blue. Guilt by association is now the order of the day: Mrs. Leyla Majedi was savagely beaten by security forces in Tehran, all the while screeching "death to the Zionists." She now has trouble walking. Her crime? Her husband, a medical student, active in the student movement, who fled the country while on parole earlier this month, had the nerve to give a radio interview offering to return to Iran if he were guaranteed an open trial with a proper jury and defense lawyers of his choice.

Meanwhile, street fighting continues all over the country, and seven members of the regime's militia were killed in a gunfight near the Iraqi border.

All this will no doubt surprise most Americans, because events inside Iran are not reported in our leading media. It has now been over a year since the monster demonstrations in the streets of Tehran (dismissed as "soccer riots" by the few reporters who have brought themselves to report them at all), and for the past several months there have been many stories noting the intimate relations between leading terrorist groups and the Islamic Republic. Just last week, the Chicago Tribune noted that German officials had reported that al Qaeda operatives in northern Italy had been in regular contact with Iran, and most people who follow the news are aware that leading terrorists from Afghanistan have taken refuge in Iran. And just in case you were wondering about Bali, my information is that the bombs were delivered by Hezbollah operatives, having been trained by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The people who gave me this information, the day after the event, also predicted, spot on, that the next assault would be in the Philippines.

So, dear friends, we are left with the same two questions I have been asking for the past many months: Why is Iran so systematically ignored by our free press? And why is it that Secretary of State Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, violently oppose any real program of assistance to the Iranians fighting for our common ideals?

Faster, please. What the he-l are you waiting for? Another September 11?

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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, The War Against the Terror Masters. Comment by clicking here.


10/16/02: Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper? Channeling James Jesus Angleton
10/01/02: The real foe
09/27/02: The Iranian String Quartet: The mullahs get increasingly nervous
09/25/02: The Dubya Doctrine
09/23/02: Intelligence? What intelligence?
09/12/02: America's revenge: To turn tyrannies into democracies
09/10/02: Iran & Afghanistan & Us: We'll have to deal with the mullahcracy, sooner or later
09/04/02: Iran, according to the Times: All the nonsense that's fit to print
08/21/02: Life and death of Abu Nidal tells us a great deal about our enemies
08/08/02: Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran
08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen