‘Comment is Free’ or PressTV? CiF contributor portrays Iran as a force for peace & reform in Syria

Even by Guardian standards the propaganda value of a recent ‘Comment is Free’ essay, June 26, titled “Iran is trying to broker a political solution to Syria“, by Mohammad Ataie, is off the charts.

The first clue was the breathtaking claim in the strap line:

Consistent with the title, Ataie, an Iranian journalist with Diplomacy-i-Irani, argues that Iran is working tirelessly to end the violence in Syria, a brutal crackdown on opposition by Bashar al-Assad which has resulted in a death toll of up to 15,000.

Here are some of the passages in his essay worth noting:

Iran’s leaders are frustrated with the slow pace of reform in Syria:

“But, particularly since the recent parliamentary election in Syria, there has been an increasing sense of frustration in Tehran with the sluggish Assad-led political reforms.”

Iran, the peacemaker:

“During the past few months, Iranian diplomats have contacted the Syrian opposition to assist the Assad-led reform and facilitate negotiations between the president and the opposition.”

Iran, the champion of political dissent:

“The recent “multi-party parliamentary election” – which was devoid of meaningful participation by opposition groups – and the formation of the new Syrian government by a member of the ruling Ba’ath party, have in particular disenchanted Iranian officials with Assad’s strategy for a political solution.”

Iran opposes the violent crackdown by Syria, and urgently wants nothing more than to end the bloodshed:

“Iran, though certainly intent on safeguarding its key regional ally, does not see its fundamental interest in a security crackdown, but rather in reform and serious dialogue between Assad and the opposition.”

“Iran is not on the same side of the Syrian conflict as the US and its allies, but it does have a big stake in ending the bloodshed and finding a political solution to the crisis.”

Of course, anyone familiar with Iran’s military assistance to Assad would immediately understand that Ataie’s claims are nothing but fiction, a polemic designed to deceive the gullible or provide comfort to those who view Iran sympathetically as an anti-imperialist counterweight to U.S. hegemony.

It’s simply not in dispute that  Iran continues to provide major assistance to Assad specifically, per a recent Reuters report, “to help him suppress anti-government protests, [and is providing] high-tech surveillance technology, guns and ammunition”, according to U.S. and European security officials.


A well documented report just published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, titled “The role of Iranian Security Forces in the Syrian Bloodshed“, details the Islamic Republic’s assistance to the Assad regime.

Among their findings: 

  • “Amid the…massacres of the civilian population in various parts of the country, Iranian military, propaganda, and economic assistance keeps flowing in, and its aim is to help President Bashar al-Assad survive. Iran views the confrontation in Syria as a critical battleground with the West regarding the reshaping of the Middle East and its own role in the region as a key, vital and influential player.” [emphasis added]
  • “Hizbullah weapons are serving – under Iran’s command – as part of Assad’s apparatus of violent repression. Esmail Ghani, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corp – Qods Force (IRGC-QF), is the most senior Iranian military official so far to have revealed its activity in Syria. In an interview…he acknowledged that elements of the IRGC-QF have been involved in Syrian events.” [emphasis added]
  • “This marked the first time a senior IRGC-QF commander had confirmed reports by Syrian opposition elements and Western sources about active involvement of elite units of the IRGC-QF, together with the Syrian army, in violent repression of the protests. The opposition, especially the Free Syrian Army, sometimes presents testimonies of direct Iranian involvement in the fighting.  Iranians and  Hizbullah operatives have been captured in the main centers of fighting including Homs. In their confessions they admit that they belong to the IRGC-QF and were sent to put down the disturbances in Syria.” [emphasis added]
  • “Iranian assistance to the repression of the Syrian uprising, which has included consultation as well as guidance in the “field,” began shortly after the protests first erupted. This aid was already reported by Iranian opposition elements, who claimed that the repression in Syria was being carried out by a Syrian contingent of the IRGC-QF that had been operating in the country, and had been responsible over time for military, intelligence, and logistical assistance to Hizbullah in Lebanon.”
  • “In a May 29, 2012, press briefing, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland pointed to Iran’s involvement in the Houla massacre, linking the Qods Force to the incident and implicitly to other incidents in Syria as well. She noted the great similarity in structure and operational methods between the Shabiha forces that stood behind the massacre, according to various testimonies,  and the Basij, the volunteer arm of the IRGC-QF.” [emphasis added]

Finally, Ataie’s CiF essay included this claim:

“In the eyes of Iran…civil war and sectarian violence in Syria only benefit Israel.” [emphasis added]

So, based on this criteria, is it now safe to characterize the Islamic Republic of Iran itself as a tool of the Zionists?

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