Monday, July 2, 2007

Iran's Message: Brighter than a thousand suns

TEHRAN I found the general at the end of a winding road in the Alborz Mountains 150 miles north of Tehran. He was sitting placidly at a table laden with cherries, nectarines and other fruits. A stream flowed nearby. It was a pleasant and pastoral place to discuss an uncomfortable matter: the tension between Iran and the United States, and the looming possibility of war.
The general, Mohsen Rezai, is secretary of Iran's powerful Expediency Council...
Given Iran's complex, nearly impenetrable politics, it is difficult to say whether Rezai wanted to deliver a semi-official message, or was freelancing. But it seemed like the former, especially because the government also arranged rare interviews with other senior officials...
Rezai's intention was clear: No matter what question I asked, he somehow managed to bring the discussion back to Tehran's need to find its way out of its dangerous stalemate with Washington. President Bush "has started a cold war with Iran, and if it's not controlled, it could turn into a warm war," he said.
Rezai's intention was clear, but not to Michael Hirsh. Iran held Americans hostage in their embassy. Iran sent Hezbollah to murder US marines in Lebanon. Iranian leaders declare over and over, "Death to America." Iran is funding and aiding terror in Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza. Iran is apparently building nuclear weapons. Then Rezai, with ironical macabre humor characteristic of Nazi and Soviet propaganda, declares that President Bush started a cold war with Iran. Of course the government arranged meetings for Mr. Hirsh. He was to be a "useful idiot" - a courier for a "Friedensrede" - a "Peace Talk" - a successful propaganda device invented by Herr Hitler.
The real message should be crystal clear to everyone by now, but Hirsh doesn't get it. Before long, it may be "brighter then a thousand suns." Then Hirsh might understand the message, but it will be too late.
Ami Isseroff

No comments: