Iran has recently been trying to play itself up as a potential ally of the West – a leader, even – in the fight against Islamic State, with leading news outlets and journalists such as The Washington Post and the likes of Fareed Zakaria suggesting the fight just won’t succeed without Iran.
Behind the scenes, of course, Iran’s tone is quite different, with its ‘moderate’ Rouhani telling the UN General Assembly loud and clear that the West’s “strategic blunders” were responsible for the extremism and terrorism now proliferating in the Middle East, as embodied by the rise of Islamic State. No mention was made, of course, of Iran’s own wide-reaching involvement with terrorist organizations worldwide. In similar comments, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech earlier this month that the West was growing increasingly decadent, as proven by its promotion of homosexuality as a “value” and in its “formation” of Islamic State, creating an opportunity for Iran to grow more powerful.
The Western press has not been blind to this dichotomy, with some outlets going a step further and pointing out the irony in it. For example, earlier this week, Investor’s Business Daily published an op-ed leading with the question, “Who would ever have imagined the United States needing the terrorist state of Iran to help fight terrorism?”, and suggesting that the ISIS crisis was allowing Tehran to “blackmail” Washington. The Algemeiner, meanwhile, opined that Iran had “no business” issuing a “cynical” call against extremism when so many states have been victimized by it.
And yet, Khamenei’s speech was barely reported, while US diplomat Henry Kissinger’s warning in his new book, World Order, that Iran was growing more dangerous was widely reported – with Al Monitor even giving prominent Iranian conservative Amir Mohebian the opportunity to respond to it by saying Kissinger was little more than a mouthpiece for the Israeli government, which, incidentally, also founded Islamic State. And to think Mohabian accused Kissinger of a “simplistic” view…