2002 November 04 Monday
Michael Ledeen On The Ignored Oppression In Iran

Michael Ledeen, author of The War Against the Terror Masters, says there is a inconsistency in the press and governments about how the same kinds of acts are covered or ignored depending on which country commits them:

Meanwhile, the killing continues relentlessly, with public hangings and stonings the order of the day. And the silence of the West continues apace. Fascinating, isn't it, that the human-rights establishment goes ballistic over the scheduled stoning of one Nigerian woman, but says hardly a word about the three recent stonings in Iran, with more in the works? And it's equally fascinating that neither the Department of State nor the staff of the National Security Council denounces the wave of repression under way in Iran. What can explain the apparent indifference of Colin Powell and Richard Armitage in Foggy Bottom, and Elliott Abrams at the NSC? Do they find Iranians less deserving of human rights than Nigerians? And what can explain the interminable silence of the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, as well as the major news networks, to the butchery of the Islamic Republic? At the time of the Khomeini Revolution, journalists such as Robin Wright and Elaine Sciolino decried the shah's sins. Why do they now blunt their pens?

Meanwhile, some of Iran's political leaders are not taking kindly to Donald Rumsfeld's prediction of a regime change in Iran:

"I suspect that during my lifetime we're going to see a change in that situation over there and that the young people and the women and the people who believe in freedom will overthrow that cleric government and it will fall in some way of its own weight," Rumsfeld, 70, said.

On Friday Iran's powerful former president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani said Rumsfeld "will take to hell his dream of seeing regime change" in Iran.

The Christian Science Monitor reports on the increased polarization between the secular and religious factions in response to a firmer US stance toward Iran:

But Iranians savor quietly tolerated American culture as much as any society in the Middle East. Coke and Pepsi are found in abundance, along with pirated versions of American films. Recent polls show that almost 75 percent of Iranians want to renew some contact with the US; just under half said that America's tough policy toward Iran is "to some extent correct."

Those results and others that show the breadth of support President Mohamed Khatami has for his reform program led hard-liners to shut down two polling centers in the past month, the second last Thursday. One poll director was jailed on charges of changing the results and of espionage, and the second former embassy hostage-taker and prominent reformer Abbas Abdi is also behind bars.

The news further etched the battle lines between unelected hard-liners, who control the judiciary and used security forces to shut down some 80 newspapers in recent years and jailed opponents; and elected reformers, who control the presidency and parliament.

On the bright side not only does Iran now have its first woman bus driver but, and I can only hope you are sitting down as you read this, the financial value of a non-Muslim's life in Iran may go up:

In Iran, a killer can pay "blood money" to his victim's family to avoid execution.

Under Islamic law, the compensation for a non-Muslim man is one-twelfth that paid for a Muslim. The rate for Muslim women is half that of men.

The new measure - which also must be approved by the conservative Guardian Council - is reportedly supported by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters.

Imagine the international outcry from all the usual suspects if the US had a system whereby someone could get off for murdering someone by paying off their relatives. The US would be denounced as an evil capitalistic place where human life is worth less than the almighty dollar. Such a policy would be considered proof of American spiritual bankruptcy and materialism. But when its the regime in Iran doing it, it being a theocratic dictatorship which is opposed to the US, this policy only merits worth being mentioned when it is proposed to raise the price on the life of third class citizens.

Ariel Sharon says that something should be done with Iran once Iraq is dealt with:

In an interview with The Times of London, Mr Sharon says he wants Iran to be top of the "to do" list once action against Baghdad is completed.

He said: "Iran makes every effort to posses weapons of mass destruction on the one hand, and ballistic missiles.

"That is a danger to the Middle East, to Israel and a danger to Europe. "Iran is behind terror all around the world."

Let us hope that Sharon's optimistic assumption that Iraq really will be dealt with turns out to be the correct so that we can move on to a debate about which country should be treated as the next problem to solve.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 04 09:07 PM  Axis Of Evil

nima said at December 6, 2002 11:05 AM:

on behalf of students in iran who are fightinf against mullahs' tyrany i would like to express my appreciation

saman Yazdi said at May 30, 2003 1:12 AM:

While Robin wright has travelled to Iran and has a sense of what society as a whole is, what it feels, what it wants and what goes on on a day by day basis, Michael ledeen only sits behind his computer in his home and surmises what the situation in Iran is. Maybe thats why her descriptions of Iran are more realistic rather than ledeen's sensationalist surmises.

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