Iran analysts or pro-Tehran advocates?
Hassan Dai

Does the Iranian regime need a press bureau in Washington? Not necessarily.

There are already a large number of "Iran analysts" and pundits that do the job efficiently. A good example is the reaction to Obama administration's decision to denounce Tehran ties with al-Qaeda.

On July 28, Treasury Department designated six al-Qa’ida operatives for terrorism-related financial sanctions, see here. They were involved in transiting money and operatives for al-Qa’ida to Pakistan and Afghanistan. This was a “secret deal” between the Iranian government and al-Qa’ida, whereby Tehran allowed the terrorist group to use Iranian territory in the course of moving money and personnel.

The pundits were faster than Tehran to react in denouncing the administration and defendeding the Iranian regime. I chose three typical examples:

Brabara Slavin wrote in Foreign Policy, Jim Lobe responded in IPS News and Flint and Hillary leverett wrote in Race for Iran. Their arguments are similar, outdated and simply pro-Tehran.

They argue that the administration has hyped the facts, misrepresented the reality, paved the road for neocons who seek war with Iran and finally they argue that Tehran has good reason to befriend the terrorist organization because the US is pressuring and threatening the regime.

I bring a few short quotes from these three "analysts" to show that Tehran does not really need a PR service in Washington:

Leveretts: "Not even the George W. Bush Administration was prepared to make concrete accusations that the Islamic Republic was deliberately facilitating al-Qa’ida’s terrorist activities. Now, however, the Obama Administration is advancing specific, on-the-record charges that Iran is helping al-Qa’ida. There is no reason for anyone to have any confidence that official Washington “knows”, in any empirically."

Barbara Slavin: "When the undersecretary talked about a 'secret deal,' that was probably an inappropriate phrase," said Paul Pillar, a retired veteran CIA analyst who served as national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia under the Bush administration. He called this a "tendentious way" of describing al Qaeda-Iran ties.

There is, however, a danger that such rhetoric will only give new ammunition to the hawks and increase pressure on the administration to take military action -- or risk looking weak if it does not. After all, the Bush administration made the case for war in Iraq using the same three issues Obama has raised against Iran -- weapons of mass destruction, support for terrorism, and abuse of human rights."

Jime Lobe: Nonetheless, the statement is almost certain to increase pressure from neo-conservatives and other hawks, especially Republicans in Congress, to take stronger action against Tehran, according to some observers here who noted that allegations that tied Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda was a critical element in rallying the U.S. public behind war with Iraq eight years ago."

Source: www.iranianlobby.com

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