More Pro-Iranian “Hasbara” at ‘Comment is Free’

The Guardian’s continuing campaign to persuade the world of the benign nature of the Iranian regime and its nuclear programme (also, here and here) was augmented on January 11th with another article by ex-pat Iranian Saeed Kamali Dehghan which, in finger-wagging fashion, informs us that “[t]his covert war on Iran is illegal and dangerous“.

With all the integrity and accuracy of a tabloid gossip columnist, Dehghan lays the responsibility for a whole string of events – which he takes care to detail meticulously – firmly at the door of Israel, the United States or the United Kingdom.

Or, perhaps all three: he doesn’t seem quite able to decide and of course he has no real proof for any of his speculations beyond the usual knee-jerk official Iranian reactions.

But for the Guardian and Dehghan, it is enough that Israel “has refused to deny involvement” to make it the natural prime suspect of choice.

Apparently having fully embraced the traditional Guardian anti-Western stance, Dehghan appears not to have considered the possibility that the Gulf nations in proximity to Iran have just as much – if not more – of an interest in preventing its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Conveniently, he also neglects to mention that the various incidents were apparently carried out by Iranian nationals – a fact which opens up even more possibilities.

Dehghan choses to lump attacks on various nuclear scientists together with the two explosions at military bases last year, despite the fact that there is no proof of connection and the explosions took place at sites later shown to have nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear program. In fact, what little information there is may even suggest that at least some of the past year’s incidents may have more to do with internal factors than cunning covert warfare.

But the cherry on the cream comes in the form of Dehghan’s appeal to international law in defence of a totalitarian regime which (as he well knows) violates human rights laws in its domestic arena on a daily basis, and arms its Syrian dictator ally (currently engaged in the murder of innocent civilians), as well as terrorist groups in Gaza and Lebanon.

“But no matter who is responsible for the extrajudicial killings and apparent sabotage, one thing should be considered above all: these are illegal actions under international law.

Whether it’s an individual simply murdering people or a foreign state inflicting injuries upon the nationals of another state and violating the territorial sovereignty of the Islamic republic, international laws and human rights conventions prohibit such activities.

Supporters of covert war against Iran see it as an alternative to aerial bombing raids or full-scale war. They believe it’s a better approach (even though it is illegal) since there are fewer civilian casualties and public confrontation with supporters of Iran, such as Russia and China, can be avoided.”

Until reaching the final paragraph, it is difficult to ascertain from this article what Dehghan would prefer: the upholding of his (unsourced) version of international law or the mass-killing of civilians on both sides.  But then we read this:

“But illegal action will only ruin any chance of dialogue with Tehran. It will encourage Iran to be less prudent and become more radical about its nuclear activities and – most importantly – will encourage Iran to react in a similar fashion with its own covert operations. The covert war against Iran, if not stopped, could escalate out of control.”

So in fact, Dehghan is conveying a not so veiled threat – but the question is, on behalf of whom?

Has he merely spent too much time in the company of Seumas Milne – a supporter of the Stop the War Coalition, which frequently collaborates with the Khomenist Islamic Human Rights Commission and has embraced the approach of the ‘Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran‘ (CASMII)?

Of note, CASMII was founded by Abbas Edalat, a professor connected to the inner circle of the Iranian regime whose primary mission appears to be the defense of the Iranian regime’s nuclear ambitions. As such, it was interesting to see Dehghan’s ‘Comment is Free’ piece featured prominently on CASMII’s website.


Or is Dehghan – an Iranian national who openly champions LGBT rights, and has family still at the mercy of a regime which executes gays – subject to other pressures?

One sincerely hopes that the former is the case, but nevertheless, his analysis indicates that there is no room for the proverbial cigarette paper between the approach of the Guardian and that of the repressive theocratic dictatorship in Tehran.

That fact should be of profound concern to any Left-wing liberal still reading Comment is Free.

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