It seems odd that the neoconservatives seem to be backing an Iranian that, for all intents and purposes, has been their mortal enemy for around three decades, but it is the case that throughout history that international politics has turned out some strange bedfellows. It reminds me a bit of what happened in the last century: In order to kick off World War Two, Hitler found it necessary to get into bed with Stalin. The situation today isn’t quite as dramatic as that but, nonetheless, there are distinct parallels – or at least so it seems.
Even before all the votes had been tallied in Iran toward the end of a long election day on Friday, 12 June, Ahmadinejad’s main rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi, claimed victory, as, indeed, had Ahmadinejad. But then, unlike Mousavi, Ahmadinejad had good reason to claim early victory; with votes being counted throughout the day, it soon became apparent that Ahmadinejad was a clear leader and way in front of Mousavi. Ahmadinejad had every reason to claim an early victory while Mousavi had none at all. Then, on Saturday when it was officially announced that Ahmadinejad had in fact won the election, and by around the same margin that the pre-election polls had predicted, Mousavi immediately cried ‘foul’ and, almost on cue, seemingly spontaneously, the massive demonstrations began on the streets of Tehran and by nightfall Saturday rioters supposedly supporting Mousavi were setting fire to dumpsters and vehicles.
Instantly the Western right-wing media were on to the turmoil and backing Mousavi’s claim that the elections had been rigged. The media began to talk up a ‘popular revolution’ in Iran concentrating their efforts on highlighting the pro-Mousavi demonstrations and ignoring entirely the equally massive demonstrations being held in support of Ahmadinejad. So keen were the Western media to support the Mousavi camp they even used a picture of a massive Ahmadinejad rally and claimed it was of a pro-Mousavi rally.
But all was not as it seemed. Rather than seeming to be spontaneous, the demonstrations and rallies had all the hallmarks of being highly organised. Placards had been professionally produced in large numbers and written in English as well as Farsi. They were distributed through the crowds and clearly made for Western consumption. Some serious money was behind the effort and it was obvious that many of these had been produced before the elections and readied for post-election protests that were clearly organised prior to the election.
While the vast majority of the protestors and demonstrators from both camps were peaceful, there were among the Mousavi protestors provocateurs determined to provoke violence by running riot and setting fire to vehicles and buildings while wearing the green colours representing the Mousavi camp. The Western media have been portraying these violent and destructive elements as somehow being the vanguard of a revolution or brave freedom fighters confronting the police and security forces.
However, lurking beneath the superficial Western presentation of populist Iranian discontent are far more complex issues that govern what is really going on in Iran today.
Essentially Iran remains an Islamic state which the vast majority of Iranians, regardless of whether they’re for Ahmadinejad or Mousavi, still support. Rather than being a battle between Islamist-style government supporters and secular western-style government supporters as the Western media is trying to portray the unrest, it is actually about a class struggle between the ‘have-not masses’ that generally support Ahmadinejad and the young modern well-to-do, but still Islamic, ‘haves’ that support Mousavi.
The Western media would like to present to the Western peoples a picture of the beginnings of a popular uprising and revolution in Iran and have relentlessly used all of its propaganda resources to achieve this belief even down to the filming of the attractive young Iranian girl who lay dying in the streets; killed, at least so we are told, by brutal Iranian security forces for no other reason than she was protesting. No matter how or why she died, there can be excuse for her death; but to assert that her death represents the spirit of revolt against the government is to cynically abuse her death for purely propaganda purposes. And the West has not thought twice about so doing. Even President Obama has used her death for propaganda purposes
However, it is not just Obama that has used the young girl’s death for propaganda purposes. While the Western media would like to portray the unrest in Iran as the beginnings of a populist revolution against the Mullah’s, what may turn out to be the real reason for the unrest has emerged.
This last week has seen the claimant to the Iranian throne appear from the wings. All but forgotten, the son of the late Shah, Reza Pahlavi, has finally shown himself. At a Press Club gathering in Washington last Monday, Pahlavi produced a photo of the dead girl and, with tears in his eyes, told the world, “I have added her to the list of my daughters. She is now forever in my pocket”. One can take ones choice as to which metaphor is appropriate with the remark: ‘She is now forever in my pocket’. The point is; Reza’s late father, deposed in the Iranian Revolution of 1979, was one of the world’s most ruthless and brutal dictators who, like his father before him, detested the very idea of ‘democracy’. Reza Pahlavi is unlikely to be any different despite all his talk of ‘democracy’. To top it off, demonstrations in the US by Iranian expatriates, have been flying the old Iranian flag of the Shah. These flags have clearly been recently made and stored and have been distributed for use in carefully orchestrated pro-Shah rallies outside of Iran. The question one now needs to ask is: Since it is clear that the idea of a ‘popular revolution’ is merely a figment of the propagandists imagination, is there a possibility that Israel, the US and the UK could bring on a coup d’état that would see Reza Pahlavi restored to power leading a quasi-democratic pro-Western puppet government?
It’s doubtful this would happen, but one can almost hear the right-wing Western political mind ticking as it mulls the idea over and read between the lines of what neocon Reuel Marc Gerecht is trying to say in his ‘Weekly Standard’ article.