IrishTimesWatch

Hounding the journalists who believe they're above it all

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lara's Iranian Love-In

As unfathomable as it is, Lara Marlowe's adoration of all things totalitarian just keeps growing. Her latest offering is an interview with Massoumeh Ebtekar, former vice- president of Iran for eight years until 2005.

Ms Marlowe introduces Ebtekar as being "the spokeswoman for the Iranian students who seized the US embassy in Tehran in 1979." Leaving aside Ms Ebtekar's interest in the matter, Ms Marlowe's language is astounding. From the offset, she derscribes this most heinous of international crimes - the storming of the embassy of a soveraign nation and kidnapping of its staff - as a seizure. "The students," Ms Marlowe continues, as she quotes Ebtekar, "decided they 'had to take strong action.' They 'were not terrorists, not fanatics - on the contrary, they were enlightened Muslims who believed in the principles of Imam Khomeini,' she insists."

Oh, my mistake. Because I thought students "seizing" things and "taking strong action" was more akin to boycotting businesses they believed to be irresponsible, and protesting embassies of despotic nations. Clearly, the few years since I left university, definitions have changed. And do I need to get started on the statement about being "enlightened Muslims who believed in the principles of Imam Khomeini"? Ask Salman Rushdie about "enlightenment," his fatwa from 1989 being recently revived.

Ms Marlowe then mentions that "200 Iranian students went to the former chancery and signed a paper expressing their willingness to carry out 'martyrdom missions' if the US attacks Iran." Actually, as the Sunday Times reported April 16, it's more like 40,000:

Iran has formed battalions of suicide bombers to strike at British and American targets if the nation’s nuclear sites are attacked. According to Iranian officials, 40,000 trained suicide bombers are ready for action.

Ebtekar hits the nail on the head with a comment hidden inside a long statement: that Iran "is facing double standards" concerning the Iranian people's feeling towards America's stance on a nuclear Iran.

She believes,

There are a lot of things we can still do to prevent a war...Like going back to the negotiating table, like recognising the natural rights of Iran [ to civil nuclear power].

Ms Marlowe adds,

Confusion between civil and military nuclear programmes is at the heart of Iran's dispute with the US and Europe, and Ebtekar does nothing to dispel the ambiguity.

The article continues, where Ebtekar complains about these so-called double standards of the West:

We see the double standards towards Israel, India and Pakistan [ all of whom possess nuclear weapons]. As soon as North Korea announced it had a nuclear weapon, they were left alone.

Ms Marlowe explains that Iran does not want the bomb (they have a funny way of showing it), but quotes Ebtekar:

We've been through all sorts of economic blockades and political pressure. But in 28 years, the Islamic Republic has never engaged in aggression.

Ebtekar follows this by asking, on the topic of Iran's security,

How would we be able to receive real guarantees from a country with a history of pre-emptive attacks?...In attacking Iraq, the Americans undermined the principle of multilateralism and the image of the United Nations.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Is this the same Iran that funds Hizbollah and HAMAS in their tireless efforts to destroy Israel and Judaism, and that financially, logistically and spiritually bolsters Shi'ites' efforts in Southern Iraq to destroy the nascent democracy Iran will not tolerate?

Does this Iran dare to criticise American actions - it being one of a small group of nations who recognises the expansionist, uncomprimising Iran? And to hide behind the morally corrupt UN - an amoral launchpad for dictators everywhere?

And Ebtekar has the gall to state:

They were the first to sever diplomatic relations...They cut the strings, they should mend them.

Clearly this nation is boxing well above its weight, and sees nuclear threat - just like North Korea - as the only way to compete.

At no point does Ms Marlowe contradict this concept of reality of Ebtekar's. At no point does she ask - either Ebtekar or the reader - the following:

"But do we believe Teheran when it says Iran's nuclear ambitions are really only for energy*?";

"Is a nuclear Iran good for the world?";

"Is there no moral difference between a nuclear Iran, and a nuclear Israel, US, Pakistan, India and so on?"

Ms Marlowe fails to ask what the difference between all the present nuclear powers, and Iran, is. Nowhere would she dare suggest such morally objective things as "because Iran, in its present form, is incapable of being trusted with such firepower."

In short, Ms Marlowe would never conceive of such a thought as a nuclear Islamist Iran being of any more danger to the world as, say, a nuclear Switzerland. Why? Because this would demand the antithesis of her multiculturalism: that one culture** may have better qualities than another. Simple.

Last thing (nearly forgot!): does Ms Marlowe once ask Ebtekar about President Ahmadinejad's disgusting statements about Israel and the Jews? Does Ms Marlowe once cite his multiple threats - nay! promises - to exterminate Israel? Go on - guess! Because I would have thought the imminence of nuclear capability would be important to the world when it concerns an ideology that lives and breathes these aspirations. Not to Ms Marlowe, it appears.

*Ask yourself this: why would a country need nuclear capability to produce energy when it has the 3rd-largest oil reserves in the world? More than Iraq. More, almost, than Russia and Vanezuela, combined.

**Not race, I stress.

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