Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central Teheran on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
As crowds gathered at the rally in Azadi (Freedom) Square, Iran’s President Ahmadinejad announced that his country had produced the first batch of uranium enriched to 20%.
Although western commentators claim 20% is a key step toward creating nuclear weapons, weapons grade uranium has to be at least 90% enriched.
Meanwhile, citing an “opposition website” Reuters reported that as many as 30 protestors had been arrested in one unnamed Tehran square.
While AFP quoted another Iranian opposition website with unnamed “witnesses” saying protestors clashed with police Thursday afternoon.
As with all recent western news reports on events in Iran, AFP and Reuters note that these “reports could not independently be confirmed”. Nor, this website adds, can it be ruled out that these “opposition websites” were not set up by Western intelligence for the purposes of feeding disinformation to gullible journalists. Or even complicit ones eager for a ‘good story’.
Either way, AFP reports that the heaviest clashes took place in and around Vanak Square, a wealthy district in northern Tehran.
Although this website believes reports of popular opposition to Ahmadinejad and election fraud are largely exaggerated, there may be some substance to this latter report. Given that we believe Ahmadinejad enjoys widespread support among ordinary Iranians while elements of active opposition to his regime are confined to urban, affluent and more Western orientated Iranians.
Such as may be found in and around Vanak Square for instance.
Indeed, the overall tone of the day’s events was in marked contrast to the corporate coverage in the run-up to the anniversary of the Islamic revolution.
Only days before the Los Angeles Times had confidently predicted as many as 3 million would rally in protest against Ahmadinejad.
While the BBC predicted a key anniversary clash as it speculated over whether Iran was in the grips of a “new revolution in full”.
As it turned out both reports massively overstated the extent of opposition support. Lending some credence to claims by Iranian authorities that the corporate media in the West is working in collusion with western intelligence and disaffected elements within Iran to destabilize the country.
Even when it became apparent that support for the Iranian opposition was not as extensive as previously proclaimed, the western media persisted. Portraying “courageous pro-democracy” protestors as facing “shah-like brutality”, to quote the Christian Science Monitor.
Like they say history repeats itself and just as it once did with Saddam’s Iraq, the western media is now engaged in a propaganda drive to demonise Ahmadinejad’s Iran.
Nor should we be surprised. After all these are the very same media that reported endlessly on Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Or at least they did until it became apparent that there were none. By which time the lie had served its purpose in justifying the invasion and the corporate media moved on.
Nonetheless, this sort of misrepresentation is becoming all too common. As we’ve reported elsewhere, it often seems as if ‘news’ reports are being crafted by intelligence personnel with a hidden agenda.
The BBC’s Security correspondent is a case in point. Educated at Marlborough College in Wiltshire, an establishment bastion, Frank Gardner served as an officer in the Territorial Army before becoming an investment banker and working for a Saudi Investment Bank in Bahrain.
From there he went on to become the BBC’s Security correspondent before being awarded the Order of the British Empire. The only glitch in his ascent was when he was shot and partially paralysed by alleged al-Qaeda sympathizers in Saudi Arabia in June 2004.
With ticks in all the right boxes: former army officer from an expensive public school with a background in banking and the oil industry, Frank Gardener would seem the ideal candidate to report on the “War on Terror”, at least from the security services point of view.
All of which means he can report events and omit any references that might compromise the establishment’s agenda. Or he can exaggerate other items for propaganda purposes, as some journalists might overstress the importance of relatively minor protests in Tehran for instance. Or omit to bring up the involvement of foreign intelligence operatives in those demonstrations. Or forget to mention that only a few dozen pitched up to protest.
Finally closing those “reports could not independently be confirmed”: just to ensure there can be no accusations of fabrication.
Now I’m not saying that Frank Gardener would do anything like that but it helps illustrate what is behind Western news coverage of events in Tehran recently.