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By Micah Halpern

Wednesday July 23, 2008


The Muslim world often sends out mixed messages, one message for the outside world, another for inner consumption. It's not ineptitude or poor translating capabilities, it is pure, simple, intentional manipulation.

The Iranians have mastered the art of international diplomacy. The Iranians have also bested their Muslim brethren in the art of mixed political messaging and media manipulation.

The Iranian missile tests, intended to showcase military prowess as well as nuclear capability, was quickly and artfully re-shaped into a showcase of creative, media manipulation. Not only did the Iranians photo-shop the pictures - for external consumption, they photo-shopped the facts - for internal consumption.

IRNA, one of the official Iranian government media outlets, ran a news scoop after the missiles were released. According to the report, Israelis were fleeing for their lives in fear. Why? Because now the world had proof of Iran's great missile system and now it was clear to every country that Iran is the most powerful of all.

"Following the successful maneuver executed by Iran last week, which included the firing of new missiles, Zionist residents living in occupied Palestine have begun to flee from there."

"The residents told their illegitimate government that this was the reason they refused to go on living there."

The report actually says that there has been a "massive emigration from Tel Aviv following the military maneuver."

Iran wants their internal world to believe that they are a great and undefeatable society. Iranian leadership wants to assume the mantle of Cyrus the Great and lead the people of Persia to world dominance. But this is far from the truth.

And what Iran refuses to acknowledge is that an accurate assessment of military abilities is as essential in foreign diplomacy as it is in war. That is why Iranian leaders not only photo-shopped the missile launch transforming a mid-range dud into a long range threat, but they also created a fiction in which their every movement evinces fear and quaking from the citizens of Israel.

Iranian political and military leadership has made it almost impossible to ferret out the truth from the bluster when it comes to Iranian nuclear development and capability. Propaganda and nuclear preparation go hand-in-hand. Diplomacy and deceit are interwoven and at times, both are very convincing.

In the midst of their race for nuclear technology, Iran is taking the time to attempt to open diplomatic channels with the United States. Several times in the past week Ahmadinejad has said that he would not be averse to the opening of a US diplomatic office in Teheran. In one instance he said it was a good idea and that it would improve relations between the countries especially after the November presidential elections.

Iran is courting the United States at this historical juncture because Iran understands that most of the Western world is soft when it comes to military strikes and that the only two powers that really count in that arena are Israel and the United States.

They know that the vast majority of the world will condemn a strike against Iran. They know that most countries will deceive themselves to avoid a military strike. And they know that letting in inspectors, negotiating with the inspectors, stopping the inspectors from doing their job and then starting all over again is a diplomatic game that allows European nations to cling to a glimmer of hope that Iran might be on the verge of acquiescing to world demands and actually cooperating. And where there is hope there will be no strike. It costs the Iranians absolutely nothing and it buys the Iranians good will and more time.

By making overtures to the United States in an effort to open a diplomatic office, especially a trade office, Iran is achieving a double goal. They are deflecting attention away from their nuclear mission and adopting the role of peace maker. It is Iran playing the role of peace loving nation by holding out the olive branch to the largest country in the Western world. It is the United States and by extension Israel that are now forced into playing the role of nay sayer and war monger. Iran is all good, Israel and the West are all evil.

The West cannot allow Iran to re-write history or photo-shop reality. It is our job to understand all the messages emanating from Iran, those for internal consumption and those for diplomatic convention. It is our job to weed out truth from rhetoric, to predict and to be prepared.

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4 June 2017 12:14 PM in Columns

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