May 25, 2011

HEY, YOU'RE RAINING ON OUR HYSTERIA:

Cutting Iran Down to Size (Afshin Molavi, May 25, 2011, National Interest)

[D]ig further and there is a grudging respect inherent in the accusation: Ah, those clever British, the undercurrent of the narrative goes, they may be constantly exploiting us, but they understand Iran better than anyone. Enter British Prime Minister David Cameron, who seemed to utter an essential truth of today’s Iran, one that might leave ordinary Iranians shaking their heads in wonder at those “clever” British while angering Iranian government officials.

In Parliament last week, the Conservative leader ridiculed the oft-repeated Western fear narrative that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a country “run by genius politicians who are strategic masters.” Using terms like “basketcase” and pointing out that Iranians “can’t even refine enough of their own oil” and noting their widespread use of the death penalty, Cameron concluded that “we should be describing the regime as much more backward rather than bigging them up.”

Indeed, Cameron is right. When the Islamic Republic of Iran falls, many secrets will be spilled, of human-rights abuses, of torture, of election fraud, but one of the worst-kept secrets of all—one that all Iranians understand but few Westerners pay much heed to—is the general incompetence of the regime to deliver on the basics: a strong economy, adequate infrastructure, environmental security (i.e pollution-choked Tehran), moderate food prices. Ordinary Iranians spend far more time concerned about the price of tomatoes than the state of the country’s uranium enrichment.

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Posted by at May 25, 2011 9:36 PM
  

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