Hear that? It’s the sound of air quickly seeping out of the media balloon inflated for weeks around Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s candidacy for Iranian president. Will he run? Will Khamenei allow him? We know how that ended…
Quite an exaggeration, we’d say. First, because Iran’s candidate filtering process is so utterly undemocratic it’s not worth the internet space. Second, because there are more important developments in the Iranian context worth reporting about – like the latest IAEA report (duh). Third, because serious people gushing over an Iranian politician is embarrassing.
Who is Rafsanjani, anyway? This report puts the issue in perspective: he brutalized Iran’s ethnic, religious and political outsiders; he was implicated in the 1992 murder of dissidents in Germany and the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires; he was also the first Iranian official to publicly threaten a nuclear attack against Israel.
Not only is he a rich man – he’s also original! Still, why would any western journalist get worked up about his not making Khamenei’s cut?
Like the New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink, for instance – who claimed the development shocked Iranians (probably not those outsiders Rafsanjani persecuted).
Or the BBC’s Saeed Barzin, who called Rafsanjani Iran’s senior pragmatist politician (guess everything’s relative).
This won’t be our last post on media coverage of the election campaign, of course. We’ll be closely following how Jalili, Rezai, Velayati and the rest of Khamenei’s apostles are presented to the general public in the west.
For the moment, suffice it to say that any media coverage that tries to project democracy or at least normalcy in relation to the Iranian election process and/or the candidates is a distortion of the truth. And truth is supposed to be what the media is all about.