Internal Iranian Report Reveals
Tehran's 'Fear' of Western Media
"Western news agencies can open a gap between the people and the
leadership, incite the intellectual class against the Islamic system,
intensify the secessionist potential of ethnic groups and strengthen
their ethnic identification. ... The policies of the Western media can
only be combated by improving the quality of local broadcasts. The
experts admit it will ultimately be impossible to suppress Internet
and TV multimedia broadcasts. Therefore, only local competition can
dissuade Iranian youth from looking at foreign programming. ...
discontent has emerged in the wake of Western media propaganda ... a
solution must be found."
Despite repeated raids and
drastic penalties, millions of people in Iran watch satellite TV and listen to
the radio programs of exiles. The research arm of the Iranian
Parliament [the Majlis] has completed a 38-page study that deals with
foreign broadcasters like the BBC and Voice of America, which accusses them of subversion.
Experts from the research
division of Iran's Parliament [the Majlis] put no stock in the democratic ideas of the Western media - charging them with "soft subversion." The West wants Iran to be Georgianized,
say the Iranian experts. A reminder: in April 1991, Georgia declared its
independence [from Russia] and since 2004, has been tied to NATO. Georgia thereby
moved closer to Europe and the West. For the Iranian regime, this is a cautionary
In Iran, journalists, scholars
and members of religious minorities are arrested under the standard pretext of espionage.
This is reminiscent of the practices of a true socialist dictatorship. Detained
Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi is also charged with espionage [She
was released today, May 11. Video below]. This is because she has reported
for the U.S. National Public Radio, Fox News and the BBC.
journalist Roxana Saberi has been released
from prison in Tehran after her
sentence was reduced. Saberi
was convicted of spying for the US, a
charge which she denies.
like the BBC and VOA are identified by the report as "foreign intelligence
organizations." The totalitarian regime's experts warn that these agencies could, "open a
gap between the people and the leadership and incite the intellectual
class against the Islamic system, intensify the secessionist potential of
ethnic groups and strengthen their ethnic identification."
The report says the work of the VOA
and BBC consist of "cross-border anti-security activities."
It is the language of "anti-culture" that the revolution in
information technology has made necessary. The study emphasizes that
terms like "velvet revolution," "color revolution," "flower
revolution," and "soft subversion," all describe the same
phenomenon of "peaceful movements in the management of media." Such
media pursue the goal of "mobilizing public awareness." According to the report, this new coup
attempt would legitimize itself with so-called "democratic programs."
"Soft subversion" refers
to something other than a "revolution from within or a military attack
from without - and includes any kind of psychological technique and media
propaganda." The goal, the study warns, may include the defeat of rivals and that among the known instruments
of "soft subversion" are "waging psychological warfare using radio
and television stations and formations of people on networks." The study
recalls the "soft-subversion" that under the framework of Gorbachev's
to the downfall of the Soviet Union. Even in the post-communist societies of
Czechoslovakia, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, the strategy of the
West was successful says the Majlis study.
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The central objective of these
revolutions was the "elimination of every obstacle to the great American
hegemony in the world." China, Russia, and the Islamic world have been named as obstacles to this hegemony, which is being pursued in a "non-ideological
Cold War." The final outcome of this war remains to be seen. Admittedly,
the emergence of the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization and the war between Russia and Georgia have slowed
this process, but the primary goal of the United States would be in the use of "soft
and smart power."
'BLACK DIPLOMACY' AND THE
The study outlines how the West is pursuing two
parallel strategies. "Black diplomacy" would foster "official
relationships" with Iran. With this strategy, the West is banking on "democratic
processes in the country with the goal overthrowing the leadership." With the
help of radio, television and the Internet, as well as through the "solidarity
of workers’ unions, human rights groups and religious organizations that violate
the system of the Islamic Republic," an upheaval from within could be
organized. A strategy of economic sanctions and secret financial support for the
Iranian opposition is being pursued.
The second strategy is a "soft-revolution"
model. In pursuing this, "black diplomacy" would be set aside, and
only, "conversations with the people, students and those who lead
movements of civil-society movements would be conducted. These discussions would
take place through the Internet and modern technologies."
The study then takes a
strongly paranoid turn when it alleges that it is the strategy of the U.S. administration
and the CIA to use Western media, like the Persian
satellite TV services of the VOA and BBC." That is to say,
according to them, the entire Iranian and Iran-exile based media landscape is
controlled by intelligence agencies, which shows a complete lack of
understanding of how the free press and scholarly investigation operate in democratic
The Western media would do "everything
in its power to accomplish a soft-revolution by building an organic alliance
with ethnic and other minorities, non-governmental entities, socio-political
elites, social movements such as women, students and workers in the country,
and finally with the exiled opposition." The players in all of these
movements would have a "crucial role in the soft-revolution."
'THE SEDUCTION' OF IRANIAN
With such methods, Iranian
youth would be encouraged to follow "foreign media" and stop
listening to media in Iran. The experts in the Majlis evidently have no
contact with urban youth, who are thirsty for freedom.
The Iranian Majlis study
specifically cites the Soros Foundation, which it says controls most news
agencies and newspapers around the world. The strategy of this foundation, the Iran
division of which is led by Ms. Haleh Esfandiari,
has been successful in Georgia and, according to her own statements, will be implemented
elsewhere. The aim will be to bring about "civil disobedience."
[Editor's Note: Esfandiari is
Director of the Woodrow Wilson Institute's
Middle East program. After she was arrested in Iran in 2007, Tehran claims that
she admitted while under interrogation that the Soros Foundation controls the
Woodrow Wilson program.]
OBAMA'S NEW YEAR MESSAGE TO IRANIANS
In fact, the European
Parliament decided in January 2008 to authorize expenditures of around €5
million for Persian-language television. The decision by the E.U. Parliament is
"subversion" in the eyes of the Iranian Majlis - and is certainly not
perceived as showing the political will to promote of democracy.
BBC MORE DANGEROUS THAN VOICE OF AMERICA
In the Majlis study,
one gleans that BBC Persian is thought to be more dangerous than the VOA.
The reason is that the BBC has a more gentle approach and gives the impression of
being more objective. Rather than trying to promote a single position, the BBC does
so indirectly by using analysis to make certain points. Furthermore, the BBC
concerns itself with social themes that are of less interest to the VOA.
The authors of the study act
on the assumption that the BBC, among others, follows the rules of "media
diplomacy," which represents a non-official instrument of diplomacy
described as "psychological operations."
In contrast, the VOA pursues
a more direct strategy and tries to address a discontented audience.
IRAN EXPERTS SPEAK OF A
'GREAT MEDIA WAR'
Finally, what the Islamic
Republic of Iran fears most is Georgianization. Iranian experts think attempts
at soft revolution via the media are a reality - not a conspiracy theory. The policies
of the Western media can only be combated by improving the quality of local broadcasts.
The experts admit it will
ultimately be impossible to suppress Internet and TV multimedia broadcasts.
Therefore, only local competition can dissuade Iranian youth from looking at
foreign programming. In regard to addressing the discontent of the people which
has, "emerged in the wake of Western media propaganda" - a solution
must be found.
The fact is, that Internet
and satellite television - even in the remotest regions of the country - allow Iranian
the benefit of Western reporting. So far the totalitarian dictatorship has
tried and not really succeeded, to control access to the new and more open media
available to the public.
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In the "war of values,"
as the experience of totalitarianism in the 20th century shows, the demands of
freedom must be tended to - even by the children of the most reactionary
followers of absolute rule by the clergy.
ATTACK ON THE FRIEDRICH
On April 28th, the Iranian
News Agency made charges similar to those described above in regard to a
conference held by the Friedrich
Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Society for Endangered Peoples.
The IRNA wrote of the conference: "The new phase of the
West’s policy of intrigue against the Iranian people has begun."
The West wants to disturb the
"peace and freedom" of the Iranian people. The human rights theme of
the conference was: "The Issue of Nationalities and Democracy in Iran."
*Wahied Wahdat-Hagh is a
columnist for Die Welt's 'World Debate'
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