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Interests Or Ignorance? What Drives The West's Appeasement Of Iran

Whether out of cynicism, greed or basic lack of knowledge, the West has willingly embraced the fabricated vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a slightly unruly, but essentially legitimate government with which it can do business.

A photo of two women walking past a poster of Iran's president

Some Western countries are insisting on pursuing a dialogue with Tehran

Yusef Mosaddeqi


LONDON — Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, there has been strong support in the West for the idea of talking to and working with the Islamic Republic. For starters, this can be explained by Western governments' considerable economic interests in Iran, which endures to this day.

In turn, inside Iran, some politicians swiftly adopted the "good cop/bad cop" approach to dealing with the West. They would play the role of liberals, and keep open the door to a sham dialogue between the "infidel" West and the self-styled homeland of Shia Muslims.

The purported liberals of the Islamic Republic rely upon two groups of allies (or mercenaries) in the West to help them sell tickets to their circus. The first are journalists working in the mainstream Western media and the second are scholars, researchers and "experts" working in culture and academia. These groups, for their undoubted role in shaping opinion and imposing dominant narratives, typically attract the attention of power wielders in backward, dictatorial states.

Manipulating past and present

A glance at reports from the West's principal news outlets and at specialist journals show that the rulers of the Islamic Republic have spent big money on buying influence, directly or indirectly, over the past four decades. All despots and kleptocrats do this, and Iran has done it quite well.

The most striking recurrent theme among those in the media doing Iran's bidding is the attempt to present a traumatized, ransacked society as natural and ordinary. The aim of this perfect lie is to establish some dangerous ideas in Western minds, namely that events in Iran are like those of other, developing countries and indeed that Iran is a few steps ahead of other states in the region for its ability to weave modern cultural elements into its religious and traditional culture.

Iran's foreign foot soldiers in culture and universities play a related but different role. To establish the idea that their state is perfectly normal, criminal rulers must aggrandize the nation's past, present and future before Western eyes.

The two sets of actors have their respective roles: Those in the media are tasked with falsifying facts about present-day conditions in Iran, while the academics work on distorting the Islamic Republic's past and also its future prospects for the Western audience.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdoulahian holding a press conference

Iranian Foreign Ministry/ZUMA

No sign of ethics or decency

Remember, Western universities, and especially those in North America, are run like companies, so profits and resources always come first. In that environment, those who pay for research will inevitably shape and control its contents and themes.

It is easier of course to identify the shenanigans of regime promoters in the media than it is in academia. Yet what comes out of a good many Iranian and Oriental studies departments is as harmful as the fake and half-fake news peddled on contemporary Iran. Their common assumption is that the Islamic Republic is an ordinary, legal polity that simply followed the collapse of another system in a progressive process of development.

The reporters and academics who serve the Islamic Republic, wittingly or not, are employed for this one task: to "normalize" the regime's past, present and future. As the apologists of its crimes, they have long since discarded any professional ethics or decency.

Ideological gangsterism

Iran's regime may well be the world's only example of "ideological gangsterism." This means it has combined its vast criminal resources with a millenarian ideology, while redirecting the state apparatus and public purse toward particular goals. Iran's revolutionary gangsters have a hand, and a share, in so many criminal activities in the world. They are not after profits principally, but rather spreading their ideology and imposing their catastrophic vision across the world.

While some Western politicians have begun to catch onto the clerical regime's nature, many have yet to take stock of its crimes. This is what ultimately explains why they insist on pursuing a dialogue with Tehran. Indeed, they are swayed by the nonsense emitted by interested media and academic departments. It seems the Western resolve to keep talking to the regime rests on the enduring pillars of naivety and cynicism.

It is like making a deal with the devil; no sane individual would agree to such a meeting. Must you talk to the devil to accept the reality of evil? He'll only deceive you!

One recent image from Iran says it all: the morality police in Tehran shoving a girl into a van. Elsewhere in the world, this is only how wild animals are treated. In Iran, this is the reality of life, not the pictures the regime and its bidders prefer to circulate of cheerful young people in gardens abloom.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Vulnerable Are The Russians In Crimea?

Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, and Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become.

Photograph of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with smoke rising above it after a Ukrainian missile strike.

September 22, 2023, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia: Smoke rises over the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

This article was updated Sept. 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Russian authorities are making a concerted effort to downplay and even deny the recent missile strikes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.

The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.

Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram.

But Sokolov was seen on state television on Tuesday, just one day after Ukraine claimed he'd been killed. The Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the admiral partaking in a video conference with top admirals and chiefs, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, though there was no verification of the date of the event.

Moscow has been similarly obtuse following other reports of missiles strikes this month on Crimea. Russian authorities have declared that all missiles have been intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”

Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?

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