The real message here is: don’t criticize Iran. No one minds comparisons to the past as long as they are glorious, or at least positive. It is the negative connotation that is unappreciated. If foreigners writing about America make positive comparisons between those of us today and the guiding principles of our Revolutionary leaders or the “frontier spirit” of the pioneers that tamed the West or the “American ingenuity” of our inventors while pointing out that Americans came up with the light bulb, the alternating current that runs it, the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, the computer, the transistor, the internet (etc) we would love the historical comparisons. Start pointing to America as an example of the Ku Klux Klan, gang violence, slavery, overcrowded prisons, genocide against Native Americans, (etc) and suddenly we will say that history is irrelevant to “modern” America. The same is being said in this article about Iran. References to selling carpets and Middle Eastern bazaars would be appreciated by Iranians if they merely emphasized that the Iranian people have a long tradition of developing NEGOTIATING skills. If we write about Iran’s ancient civilization to emphasize that they have been CIVILIZED and ADVANCED for 3,000 years, no one would suggest history is irrelevant. But even if we focus on Iran’s very recent history, it is a history of taking American hostages, bombing Jewish cultural centers in Argentina, supporting terrorists like Hezbollah and Hamas, chanting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” – and working on nuclear weapons, both at home and in partnership with North Korea – all during negotiations on their nuclear program. Can Iran be trusted? Absolutely! Trust that they will do everything they can to secure the one thing that keeps the American military out: nuclear weapons.
How not to write about Iran, The New York Times, Ishaan Tharoor, July 2, 2015
(The NY Times article is a good example of how not to write about Iran. History is important, but Iran’s more recent activities are even more important. That ancient Persia and its Islamic successors engaged in and supported terrorism is important, but that the Islamic Republic of Iran still does is more important. Please see also, Rouhani Threatens Nuclear Breakout. — DM)
In the Western imagination, Iran has long been a kind of bogeyman. It’s the land of hostage crises and headscarves. It was part of the Axis of Evil (whatever that was). Its leaders grouse about defeating Israel, an American ally. Its mullahs, say Iran’s critics, plot terror and continental hegemony.
Supporters of the ongoing talks in Vienna, where Iranian diplomats and their international counterparts are wrangling over a final agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, are in part…
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