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March 26, 2014 0

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media* as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

Israel strike on Iran would spell doom for US empire: Ana­lyst
(Press TV – March 25, 2014)

Kevin Bar­rett, an anti-Semitic con­spir­acy the­o­rists and fre­quent con­trib­u­tor to Iran’s English-language pro­pa­ganda news net­work, Press TV, wrote “The US is still doing the bid­ding of the Zion­ist bankster oli­garchs who are the real power behind the West­ern throne.”

A topic from the Supreme Leader’s Nowruz speech*
(Mashregh News Agency – March 24, 2014)khamenei-nowruz-holocaust-denial

In an edi­to­r­ial exam­in­ing the Supreme Leader’s com­ments on the Holo­caust, Mashregh News posits the ques­tion, “Was the killing of the Jews dur­ing World War II a sys­tem­atic killing, or were the Jews killed part of the mil­lions who were killed dur­ing World War II?” In a follow-up ques­tion posted by the news­pa­per, the fig­ure of 6 mil­lion Jews killed by the Nazis is doubted, “Could the fig­ure of 6 mil­lion Jews killed in World War II be true? Some researchers even believe that the sys­tem­atic killings of the Jews dur­ing WWII is true, although dur­ing that era there were not 6 mil­lion Jews liv­ing in Europe to kill.”

We are not pes­simistic about nuclear nego­ti­a­tions*
(Tab­nak – March 24, 2014)

In an exclu­sive inter­view with Tab­nak, Speaker of the Iran­ian Par­lia­ment Ali Lar­i­jani, said, “I am not pes­simistic in regards to the direc­tion of nego­ti­a­tions, but we must be sen­si­tive to the nego­ti­a­tions because there are many aspects.” Lar­i­jani added, “We must accept the fact that in the United States that there is an influ­en­tial and effec­tive Zion­ist current.”

What was the most impor­tant and mem­o­rable state­ment made by the Supreme Leader in the 1391 (2013)?*
(Khamenei.ir – March 24, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s office asked sup­port­ers to vote on their favorite state­ment from the last year. The win­ning state­ment was from Khamenei’s 2013 Per­sian New Year address where he threat­ened, “If the Zion­ist regime makes a wrong move, the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

Iran’s for­eign pol­icy pri­or­i­ties for the new year*
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Pro­fes­sor Reza Sim­bar, the head of Gilan University’s Polit­i­cal Sci­ence and Inter­na­tional Rela­tions Group, wrote that among the pri­mary goals for the Islamic Repub­lic the new year is “sup­port­ing the down­trod­den, fight­ing Israel, sup­port­ing the rights of the peo­ple of Pales­tine, reject­ing the unjust eco­nomic tricks of the world, and fight­ing Amer­ica who is the leader of the global arrogance.”

Iran­ian MP warns against for­eign inter­fer­ence in Ukraine
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Esmay­eel Kos­sari, a mem­ber of the Iran­ian parliament’s National Secu­rity and For­eign Pol­icy Com­mit­tee, said in an inter­view with Fars News that, “The bul­ly­ing and inter­fer­ence of the West­ern­ers has no bound­ary as they want to prac­tice hege­mony over every part (of the world).” Kos­sari added, “The Amer­i­cans and West­ern­ers will no way attain their goals in Ukraine because the Ukrain­ian peo­ple will not allow them to inter­fere in their country’s domes­tic affairs.”

Inte­rior Min­is­ter: Ene­mies unable to impose will on Iran
(Fars News Agency – March 23, 2014)

Abdol­reza Rah­mani Fazli, Iran’s Inte­rior Min­is­ter, boasted that “The enemy is not in such con­di­tions that it can impose any­thing on us and we, in line with the guide­lines of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion, will not step back from our prin­ci­ples and rights.” Fazli also claimed that it was “The Islamic Republic’s might and power and its insis­tence on people’s inalien­able rights” that have “made the enemy come and sit to the nego­ti­at­ing table with an equal footing.”

Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei’s Nowruz mes­sage to the nation*
(Leader.ir – March 21, 2014)

Dur­ing his annual speech to the Iran­ian nation to mark the start of the Per­sian New Year, Aya­tol­lah Khamenei said the his­tor­i­cal real­ity of the Holo­caust is “unknown” and ques­tioned if it “actu­ally did
happen.”

A new sce­nario to com­bat West’s pos­si­ble vio­la­tion of nuclear agree­ment*
(Fars News Agency – March 20, 2014)

Dur­ing an inter­view with Fars News, Ali Lar­i­jani, the speaker of the Iran­ian par­lia­ment, said that Amer­i­can claims that sanc­tions brought Iran to the nego­ti­at­ing table are for its own pub­lic con­sump­tion. Lar­i­jani added, “[Talk of sanc­tions by the U.S.] were also meant to shut the mouths of the many Zion­ists that heav­ily lob­bied [for sanc­tions].”             

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran Stan­dard Time: A day at the Ker­man baz­zar
(The Guardian – March 26, 2014)

A look into the once bustling mar­kets of the city of Kerman.

Iran alco­hol ban doesn’t keep moon­shine away
(Ha’aretz – March 26, 2014)

Alco­hol con­sump­tion may be offi­cially banned accord­ing to Iran­ian law, but locals con­tinue to skirt the ban by brew­ing at home.

Iran resumes mon­e­tary aid to Hamas
(Al-Monitor – March 24, 2014)

The Islamic Repub­lic resumes finan­cial sup­port of Hamas, but at lower lev­els than what was given before the two sides had a falling out over the Syr­ian civil war. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will also visit Iran and meet with Supreme Leader Khamenei in the near future.

Born in the U.S., play­ing for Iran
(The New York Times – March 22, 2014)

An Iranian-American, Steven Beitashour, has accepted an offer to poten­tially play for Iran’s national soc­cer team dur­ing the upcom­ing World Cup in Brazil.

Ira­ni­ans ignore gov­ern­ment lim­its on hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions
(Al-Monitor – March 21, 2014)

Ira­ni­ans con­tinue to ignore gov­ern­ment warn­ings against cel­e­brat­ing ancient Per­sian New Year customs.

Iran’s leader preaches self-reliance in face of sanc­tions in annual Nowruz speech
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – March 21, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s new year mes­sage to Iran­ian cit­i­zens calls for national strength. “If a nation is not strong, it will be bul­lied and tram­pled,” Khamenei said.

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January 28, 2014 4

Al Jazeera Poll Goes “The Opposite Direction” On The Holocaust

Al Jazeera Holocaust poll

A screen­shot of the poll on Al Jazeera’s website

Update – Jan­u­ary 31, 2014: Accord­ing to the results pro­vided on Al Jazeera’s web­site, 95.4% of those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the poll agreed that Bashar Al-Assad crimes in Syria are worse than Hitler’s crimes. 46,641 par­tic­i­pants voted.

The pan-Arab satel­lite tele­vi­sion net­work Al Jazeera is con­duct­ing a poll ask­ing its view­ers to vote on whether they believe Syr­ian pres­i­dent Bashar Al-Assad’s “crimes” are worse than Hitler’s “Nazi crimes.”

The poll, posted on Al Jazeera’s web­site on Jan­u­ary 24, runs through Jan­u­ary 30, when the results will be broad­cast on one of Al Jazeera’s most pop­u­lar live shows, El-Itidjah el-Mouakass [The Oppo­site Direc­tion]. The show often fea­tures debates between guests about top­ics raised in its polls.

While the ongo­ing con­flict in Syria has been one of the most heated issues dis­cussed on the show in recent months, Al Jazeera’s poll ques­tion reflects the degree to which the Holo­caust is mis­un­der­stood and mis­rep­re­sented in the Arab world.

The premise of the poll is inap­pro­pri­ate because it com­pares the death of more than six mil­lion Jews who were not part of any armed con­flict and were anni­hi­lated for no rea­son other than their faith and cul­ture to the human­i­tar­ian cri­sis and vio­lence in Syria.

The show’s host, Dr. Faisal Al-Qassem, posted a link to the poll on his per­sonal Face­book page to encour­age his more than three mil­lion fol­low­ers to par­tic­i­pate in the poll.

Iron­i­cally, most of the com­ments on Al-Qassem’s Face­book page express out­rage against the premise, but for all the wrong rea­sons. “Unlike Bashar, Hitler killed the Jews and not his own peo­ple,” one com­ment reads, sug­gest­ing that Hitler’s crimes are some­how more justified.

Sim­i­larly, other com­ments state that there is no way to com­pare the two at all because, unlike Bashar, “Hitler was defend­ing his people.”

These com­ments and oth­ers demon­strate how the lessons of the Holo­caust are woe­fully mis­un­der­stood, or worse, are grotesquely dis­torted in the Arab World. The poll ques­tion adds to this prob­lem and to the triv­i­al­iza­tion of the Holo­caust, which con­tin­ues to go unex­am­ined in main­stream Arab media.

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January 17, 2014 6

Gun Advocates Continue To Misappropriate The Holocaust

The heated polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol con­tin­ues to be tainted by the inap­pro­pri­ate use of Holo­caust imagery by some gun advocates.nugent-weinstein-gun-control-hitler-nazi

One such anal­ogy sug­gests that those who sup­port stronger gun con­trol are akin to Hitler or other Nazi fig­ures. Most recently, rock musi­cian and gun advo­cate Ted Nugent com­pared film pro­ducer Har­vey Wein­stein to a Nazi pro­pa­gan­dist, stat­ing that those who watch Weinstein’s planned film about the National Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion (NRA) “will see that Joseph Goebbels and Saul Alin­sky is [sic] alive in the form of a fat punk named Har­vey Wein­stein, and as he tries to destroy the NRA, it will back­fire on him.” He also said that “you have to be brain-dead to believe that the gun-free zones of Chicago and Nurem­berg in 1938 are a desir­able condition.”

Another his­tor­i­cally inac­cu­rate anal­ogy sug­gests that if those who per­ished under the Nazis had bet­ter access to guns, the regime would not have been able to sys­tem­at­i­cally mur­der so many Jews and oth­ers. For exam­ple, in response to Jer­sey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s efforts to improve gun safety in Decem­ber 2013, NRA board mem­ber Scott Bach said, “…if you’re going to be a Jer­sey City mayor you have to by default be anti-gun…His grand­par­ents were Holo­caust sur­vivors accord­ing to Wikipedia. So you’ve got to won­der why he is not get­ting it.”

It must be noted that the small num­ber of per­sonal firearms in the hands of the small num­ber of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remain­ing in Ger­many in 1938 could in no way have stopped the total­i­tar­ian power of the Nazi Ger­man state. When they had weapons, Jews could sym­bol­i­cally resist, as they did in the 1943 War­saw Upris­ing and else­where, but could not stop the Nazi geno­cide machine. Gun con­trol did not cause the Holo­caust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.

Invok­ing offen­sive Holo­caust analo­gies in dis­cus­sions of con­tro­ver­sial issues is noth­ing new. Such com­par­isons have been used by both Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans on a num­ber of issues, and by numer­ous pub­lic fig­ures when dis­cussing top­ics rang­ing from abor­tion to ani­mal rights to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict to LGBT rights. A spike in offen­sive Holo­caust analo­gies also fol­lowed the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shooting.

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