Iran Bubbles Over

Mosque fire, Iran, Iranian Flag
This column was written by Michael Leeden.
While most media attention has been devoted to the "diplomatic" United Nations visit of Iran's brand new terrorist president, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nezhad, the fascinating turmoil within Iran, both inside the mullahcracy and between the mullahs and the Iranian people, has gone largely unreported. There are three basic reasons for this silence:

First, because no Western government — sadly including the Bush administration — has any intention of taking serious action against Iran, even though everyone knows that Iran is directly responsible for killing thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans, Brits, and other Coalition soldiers and civilians.

Second, as a corollary to the first cause, because the whole question of Iran, which should be the central issue in the war against terrorism, has been reduced to a fatuous debate over the country's nuclear program, and the attendant phony negotiations between the EU 3 (Britain, Germany, and France) and the mullahs. It was obvious from the outset that no good could come from these talks, because Iran will not abandon its nuclear program and neither the Europeans nor the Bush administration are prepared to do anything serious about it. The sham nuclear negotiations were in large part a way of avoiding what should be the central issue: Iran's central role in the terror war against the West.

Finally, Western reporters in Iran are rightly afraid to report things that are damaging to the regime. They know that they can be expelled, or, as in the case of a Canadian female journalist who dared to look into the dark labrynths of contemporary Iran, brutally killed.

Nuked Up
To take the nuclear "question" first: Anyone who believes that Iran is not on a crash program to build atomic bombs need only listen to the Iranian leaders speaking to their own people. On September 15, for example, there was a meeting at the defense ministry in Tehran, involving the defense minister, Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, and the heads of the Basij and Revolutionary Guards — the bloodiest arms of the regime. Right after the meeting, a young journalist reported on the official Jam-eh-Jam TV that Mohammad-Najjar had said that it is Iran's "absolute right to have access to nuclear arms and that we must stand up to any pressure from the international community."

Immediately following the televised report about "nuclear arms," the broadcast network was disconnected. Shortly afterwards, Minister Mohammad-Najjar appeared on a radio broadcast for an interview about the meeting and attempted to whitewash his original remarks by stating the official disinformation that Iran "has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program for economic and energy purposes."

Journalists are less inclined than ever to report such things (you can be sure that the young man who told the truth about the nuclear program will not become the country's new Edward R. Murrow), now that the regime has intensified its already infamous campaign against dissidents and the misnamed "minorities" (in reality, Persians constitute less than half the population). Reporters Without Borders recently expressed alarm over the recent arrests of four Kurdish journalists: Madh Amadi, Ejlal Ghavami, Roya Tolou, and Said Saedi. Only Ghavami has had a trial, and both Ghavami and Amadi are on hunger strikes. And the country's most famous dissident journalist, Akbar Ganji, is back in prison after the mullahs reneged on a promise to release him if he ended his hunger strike. At the time of his hunger strike, Ganji had received public support — and the regime had been publicly excoriated — by numerous world leaders, including President Bush and U.N. chief Kofi Annan. But there has been no such rage at the mullahs' latest lying trickery.

These arrests are only a small piece of the intensified repression that characterizes the post-election Islamic republic. For example, in late August and early September there were mass arrests in the (mostly Arab) province of Khuzestan in the southwest. At least 260 prominent citizens, including lawyers, doctors, teachers, students, journalists, and human-rights activists have been rounded up. This follows the infamous crushing of a peaceful demonstration this past April, when security forces killed more than 60 men, women, and children, and arrested thousands of others.

The regime has been similarly aggressive internationally, threatening to withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the EU appeasers dared to send the nuclear question to the U.N. Security Council, and, with a frequency and intensity that warrants our attention, threatening to attack the United States. Indeed — obviously believing everything they read in the New York Times or watched on our madstream television — the mullahs celebrated both the damage done by Katrina and the alleged ineptitude of the Bush administration's response. With an America so weak and divided, the mullahs intoned, Iran could wreak devastation on every state.