The Dark Side of Salehi

While all eyes were focused on Almaty, Iran’s slick Foreign Minister Salehi let his guard down – in German, in Vienna. The English-language media totally missed it, which is what we’re here for (and not for the first time).

Salehi was in Vienna ostensibly to attend a UN event, but his real goal was to spin Tehran’s messaging about nuclear talks, hold high-level meetings http://www.un.org/sg/offthecuff/index.asp?nid=2725 and otherwise project an illusion of legitimacy (reminder: he’s still on the EU sanctions list and has been implicated by reliable sources for his role in Iran’s military nuclear program going back to the ’90s).

Turns out that Salehi really made a day of it in Vienna, to many the cultural heartbeat of classical Europe – and which according to a Library of Congress report is crawling with Iranian intelligence agents. There he also found time to meet with the Austrian elite – including two former Austrian foreign ministers, cultural minister and members of parliament.

The western-savvy foreign minister was mostly upbeat in his public comments. According to Reuters quoting the Austrian newspaper Wiener Zeitung, Salehi was optimistic about talks with the US, insisted his country was reducing nuclear stockpiles, and termed the Almaty talks a “milestone.” Reuters sounded quite pleased with developments.

Maybe that’s why the media agency omitted this little section of the Wiener Zeitung interview, translated here into English for the benefit of our readers:

Wiener Zeitung: Some groups criticize the Austrian government for welcoming representatives of the Iranian government. They demand a boycott of   Teheran. What do you think about such groups?

Salehi: You see, every group has a right to have its own beliefs and positions. However, I want to emphasize that in one’s decisions, caution and wisdom should prevail. Otherwise one gets into trouble. Those who are looking for conflcts won’t achieve a positive result.  My advice for these groups is this: You might have your differences with us, you might have your own beliefs, but at the same time we advise you to be more rational and more careful.”

More careful? Is he saying what we think?

Salehi’s veiled threat reminds us of a by-now forgotten threat he made back in February 2010, while still head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (before he was wined and dined by senior diplomats and leading intelligensia):
“I caution President Obama, please don’t take any wrong step, because any wrong step will emanate consequences that are beyond the imagination of anybody.”
The more things change…. We thought he was Iran’s number one diplomat – turns out he’s (also) its number one gangster.

Which is why we were so disappointed by this major blunder by the Washington Post‘s Joby Warrick, whom we respect and who should know better. Together with a colleague, his reasonable Almaty post-mortem included this faux pas:

Iranian  Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, an MIT-trained engineer widely regarded  as a moderate, said the nuclear negotiations were “on the right track and  moving in the right direction.”

The fact that Salehi’s trained at MIT, speaks idiomatic English, and smiles alot does not make him a moderate. Same holds for the rest of the smiling La Familia   from Tehran, from Ali Larijani to Jalili. Media beware – and please, please report all the facts.

Blogging & updating on #Iran related news- focusing on Politics, Human Rights & the Iranian nuclear Program. Followed by top Middle East Analysts, Reportes & think tanks.

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Posted in Ali Akbar Salehi, Other News
3 comments on “The Dark Side of Salehi
  1. […] And Najjar is not the only leading Iranian figure who has found Vienna a welcoming destination in recent weeks. […]

  2. […] have written about the sanctioned foreign minister of Iran, Ali Akber Salehi, and his adventures in Europe.  Despite his sophisticated propaganda campaign, some elements in the international media continue […]

  3. Atiq says:

    I am sorry, but you are giving it a different spin altogether. But then I am sorry that he is not among the allies of the US, the wahhabbi terror sponsor, a truth which bothers you greatly and makes you view him as a villain. More rational and careful, I guess he meant you need to be nuanced and balanced in your conclusions, and careful that you do not create another violent mess that your intervention created in Iraq and Libya, unless your policies were a carrying a deliberate intent of establishing Salafi militant presence in those countries. Iran has every right to defend itself and its sovereignty against any intervention.

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