On Thursday, December 28, 2017, protests erupted across Iran as people chanted the common anti-regime slogan Marg bar Diktator! (“Death to the Dictator!”), referring to the blood-soaked Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i, the brutal successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who has been in power since 1989.
A people oppressed by such a cruel regime and protesting its hegemony would normally be significant to many — especially if one is a major news corporation. But those very international news organizations seemed to have other interpretations.
“Iranians Protest Rising Food Prices,” gurgled a New York Times article; “New economic protests in Tehran challenge Iran’s government,” The Washington Post droned (using, of all things, a picture of the government-sponsored pro-regime counter protests as the featured image).
Economic dissatisfaction cannot possibly be the chief reason for the protests if brave women are standing in the streets waving aloft the hated hijāb in defiance of Islamic body-concealment laws — especially if they are chanting “Death to the Dictator!”
Still, the major mainstream cable networks were silent. Until now.
On the Saturday, December 30 edition of New Day, CNN’s Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul brought on a panel of guests to discuss the already three-day-old protests, but began the segment with commentary from their “Senior International Correspondent” Arwa Damon, who was stationed in Turkey.
Damon began by reading the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ response to President’s Trump tweet of the previous evening:
The people of Iran give no value or credibility to such opportunistic expressions by the Government or the person of Mr. Trump. American officials, through their conduct, have not earned a place from which they can express masked sentiments as sympathies for the aware and engaged people of Iran.
The presidential tweet to which the Ministry responded, which was not displayed in the segment, read:
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests[.]
It was when she finished doing her job that Damon — sporting the traditional Arab kūfiyah scarf, a universal symbol of support for anti-Semitic Palestinian Jihād — seemed to show what she and CNN may actually think of Iran’s brutal dictatorship.
“Now this is not just necessarily a rebuke of what the U.S. president tweeted, but also perhaps a reflection of just how frustrated, not just Iran but other countries frankly are, with the United States,” she said.
This comment would appear, if an impartial viewer strained hard enough, to be in line with how the Muslim world views the hated, Kāfir superpower that is the United States — but her second statement was much less objective. “A lot of nations and their populations, no matter how they feel about their governments in particular, do perceive the United States as not really having a moral leg to stand on.”
Once again, as far as the opinion of the Islamic world towards America goes, this is true — but outside Muslim opinion, it is objectively libelous. For a “moral leg to stand on” she could have cited the president’s tweet openly supporting the non-existent human rights of the people of Iran; but since the glorious former president Obama did not write the tweet, she decided not to.
Then, without justifying or qualifying a single assertion she had just made, Damon repeated the official media storyline of the protests being centered around economic issues.
…[R]emember, these demonstrations in Iran… began with calls for economic reforms: frustrations with the fact that things like food and gasoline prices have been increasing, but then also taking on a marked tone of direct expression of dissatisfaction with [the regime]… It’s also worth pointing out that people are also increasingly frustrated with what they say is Tehrān’s continued support and focus on foreign policy as opposed to domestic policy; focusing a lot on military, political, and economic support for their proxies in countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, as opposed to trying to focus on the well-being of their own population.
Firstly, while economic anemia may very well be one reason for the protests, the very nature of Iran’s economic stagnation proves that the official version of events is, if not wrong, sanitized to downplay the Iranian people’s disgust with the dictatorship with whom the media’s beloved Obama administration made its catastrophic 2015 deal.
The Iranian economy’s terrible condition is directly the result of the nature of its government.
Iran could be one of the wealthiest nations on earth, possessing the fourth-largest reserves of crude oil, and the second-largest supply of natural gas. But does the government of Iran allow privately-owned companies to extract and export this massively valuable resource in a free-market economy? Up until recently, the oil business has largely been in the hands of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — which, along with the Basij Resistance Force, is the regime’s main means of terrorizing the population and crushing dissent — but whose control has now been shifted to the state itself. (As in Venezuela, any state control of an oil industry fails spectacularly.)
Still, even more strangely, with its massive crude reserves, in the past, Iran has imported enormous amounts of gasoline each year because the country has been short of proportional refinery capacity. Though refinery capacity has recently risen nearly to self-sufficient levels, the reason that the refining of oil has been a problem is that the regime’s main priority has been allocating its resources into subsidizing nuclear reactors and long-range ballistic missile production.
Alternately, in President Trump’s words, the citizens of Iranian are “fed up with [their] regime’s corruption [and] its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad.” The president had the honesty to express what Ms. Damon and CNN would not, namely that any Iranian frustration with the regime’s “focus on foreign policy as opposed to domestic policy” is actually resentment of a government which is the world’s leading sponsor of Jihād.
The disgraceful hesitation of CNN and of other media outlets in reporting on the events in Iran may very well also be narrative-based. As Stephen L. Miller of Fox News writes,
The question that needs to be asked right now is why traditional mainstream media outlets — grandstanding over their importance in this new, bold era of fact-checking and truth-telling — have largely ignored a blossoming revolution.
…A woman was caught on videotape screaming “death to Khamenei” at Iranian law enforcement officials — an action that could not only endanger her life, but the lives of her family. But nevertheless, she persisted.
Social media came to a halt when another video was shared on Twitter of a female activist, shedding her hijab and waving a makeshift flag at security forces while standing atop a container.
I’m not exactly sure why an Iranian woman would shed such a garment that we’ve been told by the political left of this country is a symbol of empowerment and feminism. But her body, her choice.
Protesters are shouting “Death to Khamenei,” “Mullahs get lost,” “No more Islamic Republic,” “Clerics return us our country.” They are not shouting “We have economic anxiety.” This is not about economic anxiety. This about revolting against a regime who has exhausted its moral good will, and no longer can lean on a sympathetic United States for more pallets of cash.
Iran’s situation deteriorating, not improving, after the implementation of Obama’s nuclear deal — combined with the spectacle of proud Persian women so furiously throwing Islam’s supposed symbol of “feminism” to the wind — is a humiliation for the media and their narrative. It is simply is too shameful to cover honestly.
But possibly the most insulting aspect of the media’s response is not what they have deliberately misinterpreted, but what they have outright ignored. The success or failure of the protests not only should be, but is, a major priority for the West, and Iranians are far more qualified to give opinions on this subject than CNN’s alleged journalists.
To date, not one Iranian exile or dissident living in the West has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, or any other liberal cable network to offer a genuinely informed opinion.
For that reason, Aynaz “Anni” Cyrus — an Iranian American video producer and human rights activist who was imprisoned, lashed, sold as a child bride, and raped countless times as a teenager in Iran in the 1990s — offered Respvblica her supposedly worthless analysis:
Looking back at the 2009 Green Movement, with all the coverage, Internet access, and pressure from international society, innocent people died at the hands of blood-thirsty mullahs and no one answered for it.
Today with all the power provided to the Islamic regime by [Barack] Hussein Obama and his administration, there is no possibility for the people of Iran to stand a chance. Regardless of the support from the Trump administration, soon Khamene’i will place a “kill” order and history will repeat itself.
As fed up as the people of Iran might be, they are all prisoners and slaves under this Islamic regime and unless the U.N. steps in and deals with the issue, there is not a chance for overthrowing this evil.
These protests, like those of 2009, likely are doomed, for the people of Iran are bereft of the formidable international assistance needed to dislodge the regime internally.
But since CNN has an entire program entitled Reliable Sources, perhaps Cyrus or other Iranian Americans should be the ones analyzing the situation in Iran, rather than feather-weight hosts and biased correspondents who understand the nature of the Islamic regime as well as they know the surface of Venus.
While CNN will never gain the humility to admit that they are “Iranian Pravda,” as Senator Ted Cruz tweeted, they at least should have the courage of President Trump who fired off another tweet in the early hours of December 31:
Big protests in Iran. The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!
Only the new year will reveal the fate of this phase in Persia’s 1,400-year crusade for its freedom from the loveless blade of Islam, but the mainstream media stranglehold on the truth is both breaking and unconscionable.