It’s pretty obvious to all of you that I have an obsession with Iran. I like to refer to it as a ‘healthy interest’ or even a ‘mild schizophrenic paranoia’. But, if ‘obsession’ works for you, I won’t deny it.
Like all good Iran-centered obsessives, I pay attention when Iran is in the news, and I have begun to notice a trend. When one official says something nice, another official will be tough.
Here is the President of Iran on Saturday, referring to incentives from six top world powers urging it to stop making atomic fuel:
“We will not pass judgment on the proposals hastily,” he told a crowd at the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spiritual father of the 1979 Islamic revolution, saying the package would receive due consideration. (Reuters)
Then there is this. In commemorating the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, here is what the Supreme Leader of Iran said on Sunday:
“If you (the United States) make a wrong move regarding Iran, definitely the energy flow in this region will be seriously endangered.”
Do you hear a little good cop, bad cop game being played here?
There’s another dimension to all this. In the West we are used to lying to our own people, as well as to outsiders. We call this democracy.
In those Muslim countries that have even a tiny bit of democratic values, they lie to non-Muslims and speak (at least more) truthfully to their own people. We call this cynicism.
Who was the Supreme Leader of Iran speaking to?
The people of Iran. In Farsi, the language of Iran.
When President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad spoke his conciliatory message, he was speaking to the rest of the world – in English.
So, which cop are you going to believe?
Then, at the end of the Supreme Leader’s speech, the crowd engaged in that charming Iranian custom of chanting ‘Death to America’.