Congratulations to Al-Monitor’s Barbara Slavin for her expose on Iran’s new justice minister. As far as we can tell, her article was the first serious media examination of the people President Rouhani has surrounded himself with.
In comparison, seems the time still isn’t ripe for the media to handle Foreign Minister Javad Zarif with any objectivity; it’s as though he’s off limits as per some clandestine decision. Indeed, even the Brookings Institute’s top-notch analyst Suzanne Maloney sounds hopelessly enamored of him in this recent tweet:
“Seriously, does anyone NOT like Javad Zarif? Nope: he’s honest & smart.”
Honest? We respectfully remind Maloney and readers of US author Ambrose Bierce’s timeless definition of diplomacy: “The patriotic art of lying for one’s country.” In short, they all do it…
It’s not just the media that’s falling all over him. According to this FT report, “Facebook Frenzy” has taken the general public by storm – with the number of Zarif followers poised to overtake Rouhani’s numbers. How exciting!
We won’t fault Zarif for doing his job, of course, but the media is another matter. And since the media is not yet ready to probe him in detail, guess we’ll have to do the heavy lifting for now. In this context, we examined some of his comments while serving as Iran’s UN ambassador, and found these from a 2007 interview:
* Unaware of the presence of hundreds of technicians and laborers at Natanz.
* Security Council and IAEA resolutions will not deter Iran from advancing nuclear program.
* Hezbollah and Hamas are not terrorist organizations
* Ahmadinejad never denied the Holocaust and never threatened to wipe Israel off the map.
First assignment for the media: find out what Zarif thinks now about what he said then.