NYT on Iran & the Election

The U.S. election, to no one’s surprise, was of great interest to Iran. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s letter of congratulations to Obama is being widely covered, though this passage in today’s New York Times jumped out:

Mr. Obama has said that he would engage in aggressive diplomacy with Iran, and that he might offer economic incentives if Iran were more cooperative on issues like terrorism and nuclear development.

His position has stirred concerns among some world leaders. The Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, expressed her concerns on Thursday after Mr. Obamaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s victory became clear, saying that he should not talk to Iran because it might send the wrong signal.

‘We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue–in a situation where you have brought sanctions and then switch to dialogue–is liable to be interpreted as weakness,â┚¬Ã‚ Ms. Livni said in an interview on Israel Radio.

If a reporter wanted to gauge the reaction of “some world leaders” to Obama’s apparent interest in a diplomatic solution to current tensions with Iran, Israel would seem an odd choice; whether or not you consider that justified, that country has perhaps the most belligerent view of Iran of any nation, and there is regularly talk of Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.

As Noam Chomsky put it in an interview with Alternet:

When you read the media on this, say the New York Times, the coverage is uniform. “Iran is defying the world.” “Iran is defying the international community.”

The fact of the matter is that the majority of the world supports Iran. The non-aligned movement supports Iran. The majority of the world is part of the non-aligned movement. But they are not part of the world, from the U.S. point of view. It is a striking illustration of the strength and depth of the imperial mentality. If the majority of the world opposes Washington, they are not part of the world. Strikingly, the American population is not part of the world. A large majority of Americans–something like 75 percent–agree that Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy, if it is not for nuclear weapons. But they are not part of the world either. The world consists of Washington and whoever goes along with it. Everything else is not the world. Not the majority of Americans. Not the majority of countries of the world.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.