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Jewish World Review March 18, 2002 / 5 Nisan, 5762

Michael Ledeen

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Iran simmers still:
Where's the press? | The last we heard from our intrepid investigative journalists, "millions" of rabidly anti-American Persians had filled the streets of Iran's major cities to denounce the Great American Satan and rally round their beloved mullahs. It was a massive hoax, and one might have hoped that at least one major editor in this country would insist that, henceforth, the real Iranian story be covered. NOT.

March 21st is the traditional Persian New Year, a Zoroastrian festival that long antedates the arrival of Shiism, and against which the mullahs have been protesting ever since the Khomeini counterrevolution of 1979. It's a traditional Mediterranean sort of celebration, revolving around fire, which is supposed to destroy the bad things of the past year. People dance around fire, jump over fire, and use the fire to light firecrackers and other fireworks. This year, as luck would have it, New Year's coincides with the Shia period of mourning, and therefore the country's Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, pronounced his learned opinion that there should be no New Year's celebration. This did not go down well with the public, and the regime relented, permitting celebration of the New Year a week earlier, on the evening of the 12th of March.

The people took advantage of this permission to stage celebrations and demonstrations, which quickly turned into political protest. As in the past, thousands of people chanted "Death to the Taliban in Kabul and Tehran," referring to the fundamentalists in power in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The police and secret police responded with their now customary brutality. In Tehran alone more than 1,600 were arrested, and 86 were injured and carried off to hospitals, 13 of whom are in critical condition.

But something far more ominous occurred on Tuesday night: for the first time, anti-regime suicide bombers made their appearance in Iran. Two young men in different parts of Tehran walked into a group of security forces and blew themselves up.

Odd, isn't it, that you won't find this in our major media, when it was a headline story in the hardliner's press in Iran? And odd, too, that no major publication deigned to cover the very tough speech delivered by the National Security Council's Zalmay Khalilzhad to a banquet organized by pro-regime Iranian-Americans? Khalilzhad carefully and forcefully itemized the evils of the Iranian regime to an audience that had hoped to hear calls for resumption of dialogue, as they had in the past from the likes of the shameful appeaser Madeleine Albright. The only news coverage of the banquet referred to the Democratic party's very own Sen. Joseph Biden, who apparently still thinks that Albright is in charge of American foreign policy, and who had drooled out some friendly words and a vague invitation to "Iranian parliamentarians," in exchange for $30,000 in campaign contributions.

If there's a real news editor left in this country, why don't you send a clear-eyed reporter to Iran to cover next Tuesday night's events? And tell him not to accept any government handouts or crowd estimates, please.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


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