On March 21, 2000, the American Iranian Council (AIC) honored the CNN chief correspondent Christiane Amanpour. AIC, was founded in 1997 to promote the rapprochement policies towards the Iranian regime. Amanpour was honored for her reports on the Iranian society and especially the "Revolutionary Journey" broadcast in February 2000. The report depicted young Iranians as party lovers, drinking, dancing and practicing all the aspects of personal freedom of a contemporary western life. NY Times on February 26, 2000 summarized her work as: "She visits a college student she calls Leyla who is putting on her makeup, listening to American rock music, getting ready to go to a party… These are the sons and daughters of the Islamic revolution,'' she says, young people who are enamored of Western culture." Amanpour then said: "This is a crucial moment in Iranian history. This is the turning point from a hard-line theocratic state, to a vibrant new Moslem democracy… the hard line conservatives have had to face the fact that the people are rejecting their vision of Islam."
When Amanpour was asked if she faced any restrictions while filming "Revolutionary Journey" in Iran, she answered: "None at all. It's a remarkably free environment for journalists today…. Our reporting has never been reviewed or censored, which in itself is an extraordinary fact. In many other parts of the world, there is censorship. Journalists are coming to Iran in record numbers. They are granted working visas, and for the most part, they are able to talk to whomever they want and go wherever they want." Interesting to note that at that time, a record number of Iranian journalists were jailed, tortured or exiled. "Reporters without Borders" declared Iran as the largest prison for journalists.
Seven Years later, Amanpour, still the CNN chief correspondent, reports on Iran. This time, instead of Western style party going youngsters, Iranians are depicted as fanatic Moslems beating chests, chanting militant slogans and ready for martyrdom. While both types can be found in Iran, the truth about the very large majority of the Iranians is far from these two extreme depictions. So why would Amanpour want to depict these as the overwhelming majority? The answer is in its timing.
In 2000, at the peak of Khatami's era and hope for engaging the Iranian regime, the lobbying arm of the mullahs in the US, campaigned hard for generating the type of image that Amanpour depicted in her report. In doing so CNN was not alone. The European media frequently showed the Iranian women in ski resorts and wealthy families practicing Western culture.
In 2007, with the prospect of West's harsh policies toward the Iranian regime, Iranian lobby is hard at work to promote a different image of the Iranians. The new paradigm must depict the Iranian society ideologically cemented to its rulers. Iranians will bravely and unequivocally face the eventual aggressors. In case of such aggression, 50 million Iranians will fight the US and defend their country. Why would Amanpour's reports align so much with the activities of Iran's lobbyists in the US, escapes me. Nevertheless, public deserves an explanation.