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The Nation magazine and the Iranian election
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 : The Nation magazine, the voice of left-liberal supporters of Obama, has quickly weighed in to support charges of vote-rigging and a “coup d’état” in Iran. The magazine has also given its full support to the candidacy of Mirhossein Mousavi, the principal rival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In doing so, the Nation is joining hands with the rest of the American media, which has abandoned any pretense of journalistic objectivity in reporting the election. The allegations of fraud have been repeated without any independent investigation. Robert Dreyfuss, the Nation’s chief commentator on foreign policy and national security, posted a blog entry under the headline, “Iran’s Ex-Foreign Minister Yazdi: It’s A Coup.” The article is dated June 13 and is time stamped at 7:24 AM—that is, about half a day after Iranian authorities released preliminary results from the election. Mousavi had already declared the official results, showing a lopsided victory for Ahmadinejad, to be a fraud. Dreyfuss obviously accepted this claim uncritically. He could not possibly have conducted any independent investigation before he posted his blog. Nevertheless, the prominent link to Dreyfuss’ entry on the front page of the Nation’s web site is categorical, declaring, “A Rigged Election.” In his opening paragraph, Dreyfuss writes, “It’s Saturday afternoon in Tehran, and the streets are generally quiet. But the aftermath of Iran’s rigged election, in which radical-right President Ahmadinejad and his paramilitary backers were kept in office, has left Iran’s capital steeped in anger, despair, and bitterness.” The reference to the “radical-right” president is intended to give the impression to Nation readers that somehow Mousavi is a “left” figure. In fact, Mousavi’s main position on economic policy was to denounce Ahmadinejad’s limited handouts to poor and rural Iranians. Like Ahmadinejad, Mousavi is part of the Iranian establishment, representing a faction of the ruling elite that favors closer relations with the United States, free market policies and an opening of Iran to foreign investment, and reductions in state subsidies to the poor. Dreyfuss’ uncritical backing for the Mousavi camp is summed up when he writes that he went to see Ibrahim Yazdi “to get some perspective on the crisis.” He then provides the text of an interview with Yazdi, a major figure in the so-called “reformist” movement in Iran and the country’s foreign minister in the first few months after the 1979 revolution. Yazdi resigned to protest the taking of US hostages after the revolution, and he favored a general amnesty for members of the Shah’s regime. He is presently the head of the Freedom Movement of Iran, which the Iranian regime has banned for alleged links to the CIA. Yazdi states that “the election was rigged,” citing the existence of many mobile polling places and the control of the Interior Ministry over the counting process. From this, the former foreign minister declares, “A coup d’etat? They’ve already made one!” Exposing his class and political loyalties, Yazdi goes on to regret the fact that former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani—the richest man in Iran, who is widely seen as extremely corrupt—has been losing influence. Rafsanjani is one of the major backers of Mousavi. “In years past, [Rafsanjani] was influential, perhaps even more influential than the leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei],” Yazdi sates. “Now, with the slogans being used at Ahmadinejad’s rallies, things like ‘Death to Hashemi!’, they have created a deep rift.” Read More