If the matter were not so serious, one could have had a good laugh about the coverage in Western media of the post-election unrest in Iran.
Newspaper headlines about a coup d’etat, Amanpour’s appropriately frowning reports “from the street”, Sarkozy’s populist slogans – all show a deep misunderstanding of Iran and the forces that drive its theocratic regime. The image of Moussavi as a gentle reformer that represents an antithesis of the rabid Ahmadinejad, is beyond laughable. Not only is Moussavi a fanatic in his own right; the President, no matter the size or colour of his beard, is nothing but a glorified puppet. The Council of Guardians (whose members include the likes of Jannati and Larijani, who don’t believe in elected government), and of course the Supreme Leader himself, are the ones that call the shots.
This mistaken and gullible attitude towards Iran betrays an ignorance that permeates not only public opinion but, more worryingly, also official policy. It numbs the senses of Western leaders and deviates attention away from a serious debate about how the world should be tackling this dangerous and rogue regime.