Kaveh Afrasiabi is a favorite of Iran’s official news channels. More worryingly, however, the New York Times and CNN have chosen to give their prestigious, legitimizing platforms to his pro-Ahmadinejad, pro-Iranian regime views. He has served as an Iranian negotiator in the past and in 2010 he accompanied Ahmadinejad to the UN. Afrasiabi, to his credit doesn’t (always) hide his bias. In fact in this CNN interview, he openly and proudly states his support for the brutal Iranian president:
More recently, his pre NAM conference opinion piece in the New York Times was completely ‘on message’. A mass influx of diplomats and world leaders was to add much needed legitimacy to the Iranian regime and its attempts to bypass international isolation over Iran’s nuclear program. He boasted about the monumental importance of Egyptian President Morsi’s attendance.
Even after Morsi’s speech which highlighted the atrocities of Ahmadinejad’s friend and ally, Bashar al-Assad, (and the embarrassing Pravda-esque mistranslation episode), Afrasiabi managed to spin the outcome in the Asia Times:
“At the landmark summit’s opening day, the speeches by Morsi and his Iranian hosts such as by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, reflected a symbiosis that explains why the NAM torch was passed from Morsi’s hands to Ahmadinejad, in light of the common themes of decrying unjust global structures, support for Palestinians, a Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone, etc.”
In another piece of Asia Times commentary, he continues to advance the Iranian line; a line the rest of the world no longer buys:
“Iran’s position is that it has not breached its obligations by increasing its enrichment activities that are “fully monitored by the IAEA inspections as well as cameras,” to paraphrase Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh in a recent conversation with the author. In fact, the US media often give the misleading impression that Fordo is outside the IAEA inspection regime and that the atomic agency would fail to detect any weapons grade enrichment and or military diversion.”
So next time you read one of his “enlightened” op-ed pieces, or “rational” interviews, remember why he is there. He is a spokesperson for the regime. A spokesperson for Ahmadinejad. A proponent of theocracy. An opponent of human rights. An opponent of freedom and democracy. I suggest another glance at the aforementioned CNN interview with an attached reminder that the same opposition leader – who he continues to criticize – Mir-Hossein Mousavi is still under house arrest 18 months later.