Hyperbole and false representations, smearing and painting an unfair image of Iran, routinely surface every so often in the mainstream media.
It’s nothing new, but nonetheless such slurs are very damaging, and such false perceptions often remain with people. They linger especially, when the same lies are repeated again and again in the media. “Repeat a lie often enough and it eventually becomes the truth.”
It’s important we recognize and challenge the lies about the sovereign nation of Iran, as and when they arise, because as is evident from the not so distant past, lies are presented as fact through the media.This entrenched thinking absolutely feeds in to the kind of national psychology and state of mind which is always cultivated by war mongers and politicians, when the war drums start to beat.
The so-called “weapons of mass destruction,” which later proved simply to be a mass deception, were a key part of the Neo-Con agenda of building a public mood for the war in the build up to the illegal attack waged against Iraq in 2003.No weapons of mass destruction were ever found in Iraq by the weapons inspectors, and yet at the time, before any UN weapons team had even set foot in Iraq, Western media had already decided that they existed, and in the UK, Tony Blair and his government were prepared to attack Iraq on the basis of what later turned out to be completely false “intelligence.”
So when we start seeing worrying hints for example, that Iran has plans to “eliminate” Israel, with sound bite headlines, or “wipe Israel of the map,” it reflects the fact that war hawks in Washington and London are testing the water, forever trying to influence and shape public mood, which is again no secret, and certainly nothing controversial.
The headline referred to in the above link refers to the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei and his recent tweet regarding his plan for confronting the hegemony of the State of Israel – not the destruction of the Jewish people which it hints at. And at a quick glance, like so many other newsstories on Iran it is misleading. Outlining his plan to “eliminate” Israel, and completely taking his comments out of context is irresponsible. Khamenei was outlining a plan to bring about the end of the Israeli political regime, distinct from Judaism.
But of course, people not so familiar with the political situation in Iran, would look at such a headline and think Iran was planning genocide. That’s why this is dangerous.
Like projections made about former President Ahmadinejad’s comments, on closer inspection Khamenei’s comments hint at nothing of the sort.
I’ll come on to the most famous myth about Ahmadinejad in a moment, but another assertion constantly leveled at him, and Iran in general, is that they are anti-Semitic, despite Iran’s unwavering support for the Palestinians, themselves Semites.
Here’s a clip by the Neturei Karta Jewish ultra-Orthodox religious group, presenting former Iranian President Ahmadinejad with an award for his services and work for the Jewish people.This doesn’t square with the anti- Semite charge which is always laid on the table
Seeds of disinformation are sewn, and create a fertile breeding ground for reactionary nationalism, the kind of thinking, which allows nation states to commit unbelievable crimes against innocent civilian populations and get away with it.It works, because vast swathes of the masses end up believing the lies and media demonization, and as a consequence end up supporting the aggressor and war criminals. How many times have we seen this happening? History is repeating itself.
There was a huge global anti-war movement opposing the Iraq war in 2003. The war still happened.The mythology spread about the so-called threat of Iraq was evidently sufficient enough, to stifle the likelihood of any effective all out resistance to the government to point of stopping it.
We start to see then, just how important it is to distinguish fact from fantasy.
One of the most popular myths that people seem to believe about Iran, which is heard all the time as mentioned before, is that former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated while president, that he wanted to “wipe Israel off map.”
Despite the fact that Iran, unlike say the United States, has not invaded another country for hundreds of years, has not dropped nuclear bombs on any nation, whereas again, the United States doesn’t do too well in this category, the chatter of the so-called threat of Iran remains.The rumors persist, and routinely emerge suggestingthat Iran might at any second launch a nuclear attack on Israel, which is bizarre when you consider the fact that it was Israel that spent the summer bombing Gaza and killing Palestinians (While Iran has always supported the Palestinians)
Furthermore, the International Atomic Energy Agency has never claimed that Iran is in possession of any nuclear weapon-unlike Israel which does possess them and routinely attacks other countries.
News reports focus all the time on the questions about Iran’s nuclear program, like this one but not so much on the view of the IAEA, nor for that matter on the fact weapons inspectors might want to relocate and inspect other countries for Nuclear weapons too, countries which have far worse records of aggression than Iran, like Israel for example
Despite many probes and investigations, with cooperation from Iran, the IAEA has to date, found no evidence that Iran possesses a nuclear warhead.
It is also worth noting that Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty, while Israel is not, along with Pakistan and India.
The picture painted of Iran is dangerously misleading.Whatever criticisms people may have of any aspect of Iran’s leadership, the list of crimes committed by other nations, and the likelihood of more wars of aggression from the West, should surely be far more of a concern than Iran.
The facts, plainly and simply speak for themselves, but the predominant picture which emerges in the media on Iran is usually a negative one.
It’s this narrative that largely determines the position of Iran in many people’s minds too, the whole thing becoming, a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it’s this narrative which needs to be discarded. As long as spreading untruths about Iran remain the norm in mainstream discourse, we risk sleepwalking into another catastrophe.
Richard Sudan for RT
Richard Sudan is a writer, political campaigner, and poet. He tweets@richardsudan