Can propaganda save the threadbare Iran appeasement policy?

With President Obama‘s administration expiring in a few weeks, the Iranian regime, its lobbies in the United States and Iran apologists with vested interest in the continuation of rapprochement with Tehran have initiated a widespread propaganda campaign to avoid losing their earnings in Obama’s eight years of appeasement policy vis-a-vis Iran.

Their efforts involve the publication of lopsided reports and hastily scribbled op-eds with enticing titles on highly viewed media outlets to reframe past failures as historical achievements, and to discourage President-elect Trump from choosing vocal critics of Iran’s mischievous deeds as his cabinet members.

An op-ed published in the Washington Post shortly after Trump’s victory tried to demonize Rudy Giuliani, calling him a “paid advocate of a shady Iranian dissident group,” referring to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main opposition of the Iranian regime. The author of the article, Josh Rogin, has a long history of attacking the PMOI/MEK and quoting Tehran lobbies in his reporting.

A much more detailed version of the anti-Giuliani and anti-PMOI/MEK tirade was published in Politico on Nov. 23 under the click-bait title, “Giuliani Took Money From a Group That Killed Americans.” The author, Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department staffer, uses offensive rhetoric to describe Giuliani’s relations with the PMOI/MEK and to warn Trump against appointing him as his top diplomat.

Both articles back their case against the PMOI/MEK and their supporters with debunked claims and facts based on unproven rumors or obtained from sources with economic and political ties to the Iranian regime.

Don’t forget the regime has killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers in the Middle East and has been involved in at least one terrorist attempt on U.S. soil in the past.

Both op-eds fail to even feign impartiality by balancing their vitriolic attacks with a single comment from the many people with firsthand experience living among PMOI/MEK members, as opposed to having written reports from thousands of miles away.

And both authors completely gloss over the fact that the PMOI/MEK has played a pivotal role in sparing the world a more dangerous version of North Korea by exposing Iran’s illicit nuclear program in 2002, and has helped save the lives of U.S. servicemen and women by providing precise intelligence about Iran’s terrorist plots in Iraq.

The same type of poor reporting can be seen in a New York Times article about a document signed by 76 so-called national security experts urging Trump to reverse his hostility toward the Iran nuclear deal, which they believe has reduced the threat of war in the Middle East.

The article fails to clarify that the source of the report, which it describes as a group “that has advocated improved relations with Iran, even while sharply criticizing Iranian leaders over human rights issues,” is in fact a well-known Tehran lobby with deep economic ties to the Iranian regime.

Neither is there any word of how the billions of dollars worth of concessions given to Iran has been used to fuel mayhem and chaos in the region and excited the mullahs about even more concessions.

Of course, what really matters to the authors of these articles and the publications that publish them isn’t so much the authenticity of the facts as it is their contribution to promoting the appeasement policy toward Iran.

With Obama having virtually exhausted every possible option to contain Iran through cajoling and concessions, the advocates of rapprochement are finding it harder than ever to cling to real evidence and facts for their arguments. That’s why they’re increasingly resorting to propaganda and dishonest reporting.

Amir Basiri is an Iranian human rights activist.

Originally posted in The Washington Examiner

 

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