Saturday, May 20, 2006

A colour code for Iran's 'infidels'

I've finally had a look at Amir Taheri's article in the National Post - A colour code for Iran's 'infidels' - and it doesn't mention Iranian exiles as his source for the article. He also quotes from various Iranian officials, and seems to have very detailed information. I am wondering what the truth is - is the Iranian government denying this story because it casts such a negative light on the country, or is it doing so simply because the story isn't true? An Israeli expert on Iran also denies the truth of this report. I hope we'll learn in the next few days what the truth is.


  1. The truth is that The National Post has flushed the original story down the memory hole - links to it lead to empty pages now - or Wattie's rather pathetic non-denial denial.

    The truth is that Taheri is linked to a wide network of neo-cons, you know, the folks who promulgated those oh-so accurate Iraq WMD stories.

    The truth is that the Jewish, Christian and Zorastian members of Iran's parliament have denounced this story as an insult to Iran's religious minorities.

    The truth is that the National Post is Canada's equivalent to Fox News, and has all the journalistic integrity you could expect of a blatant propaganda journal.

  2. Actually, check the link - the story is still up on their web site.

  3. I've just been reading some of Taheri's articles - this one, French Approach to Islam published in the Arab News, strikes me as eminently sensible, and at least at first glance, not obviously left or right wing.

  4. Checked the link. Here's where the original story was. Blank page.

    The National Post have all but completely abandoned the story. Here's their offensively un-apologetic mea culpa - this has been a case of propaganda disguised as journalism.

    The current Iranian regime is hard-line, theocratic, irresponsible, hate-mongering and hated by the Iranian people. The Iranian people are paradoxically, among the most liberal and progressive in the Moslem world. Women can hold jobs, drive cars, vote and be elected to the Iranian parliament. The Iranian parliament has a Jewish member as well as Christians and Zorastians - can any of these things be said of, for example, Saudi Arabia?

    The damage this, now unambiguously false, story has done is evident. People are still willing to believe it because it fits a narrative they're already inclined to support.

    It also could increase cynicism and slow the world's response the next time something pre-genocidal and real happens.

  5. The fact is that there definitely was a motion in the Iranian Parliament. The only question is whether it actually became law. Even if it were "just" a motion, it still beggers belief.

  6. Yes there definitely was a motion.

    That definitely covered traditional garb for women in a probably futile attempt to counter an entrenched fondness for westren clothing and definitely didn't even mention religious minorities.

    As long as we're being definite.

  7. Cliff, I just checked on the link that I have on my blog - it still works. I did check the National Post for their retraction as well. I agree with you about the Iranian regime. Even though women do have more rights than in Saudi Arabia, they still have fewer rights than men (of course!). I find both regimes repellent, but in terms of some tolerance of religious minorities, Iran is way ahead of Saudi Arabia.

    Even if this story had been true, I think we should be wary of putting it so quickly nto the Western history of Nazism, for the reasons I outlined in an earlier post. (This is despite the many things that the current president of Iran has said denying the history of the Holocaust, his violent verbal attacks on Israel, etc.)

  8. As well as the Taheri column they had a front page story - illustrated in an appalling act of pandering hate-mongering - with a photo of a Jewish couple in Nazi occupied Europe wearing the yellow stars. That's the article which has been 'un-published'.

    This is ultimately a story of deeply irresponsible 'journalism' specifically hyped to promote a story-line that will lead us to war if we're not careful - just as the propaganda drumbeat prior to the Iraq invasion was designed to do the same. The most basic journalistic standards would have called for a lot more independant verification - and an opportunity for the Iranian government to respond to the story - before it was published.

    The Post has long acted as the propaganda arm in Canada for the neo-cons.

    I agree that Iran's current President is a reactionary crazy - I agree he's said some appalling things - although he's been mis-translated and mis-quoted more than once.

    Seperate from the example of this lunatic however, is the popular meme that criticizing Israel or Israeli policies is equivalent to anti-semitism. That was a big element of this story and the responses to it's de-bunking, along with the shamefull unwillingness of so many of the people who promoted the story to admit it was bogus, even after defending it became completely untenable.

    Kudos to you for accepting the story was false - although your blog still has as it's top post at the time I write this a posting implying you still believe the story.

    We have to call hate-mongering when we see it - where-ever it arises and against whomever. This story constituted hate-mongering against Iran and Iranians. The people trotting out the 'Well even if it isn't true its the kind of thing they would do are promoting hate, because no, it actually isn't.

    The most apropo take on this is here.

  9. I agree with you about the Post's irresponsible journalism. I didn't get a chance to read the front page article before it was pulled from the website, but Taheri's article, even if it had reported correct information, would not have supported the inflammatory cover - since the supposed legislation did not single out Jews as distinct from other non-Muslims.

    I don't quite know what you mean by the connection of the popular meme about criticism of Israel - since this story was about what Iran was doing, not about Israel.

  10. I was referring to the response from the rigt-wing blogosphere when challenged on the accuracy of the report - if you managed to miss it, count yourself lucky.