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Mainscream: US media Iran hysteria

Published time: February 24, 2012 08:45
Edited time: February 25, 2012 10:56

A group of demonstrators demanded a '180' by the Iranian government in their pursuit of nuclear weapons, in honor of International Human Rights Day (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

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Americans perceive Iran as Evil #1 on the planet, the latest Gallup poll shows. Since neither the US military nor intelligence believes Iran could strike America, why do the US media whip up hysteria about Iran, some 10,000 kilometers away?

­According to a new Gallup World Affairs poll released Monday, 32 per cent of those surveyed rank Iran as America’s greatest enemy – compared to just 25 per cent a year ago.

Many more – 87 per cent – gave the Islamic Republic a negative rating, making the country the worst in the survey.

No wonder the impact of fierce anti-Iranian rhetoric is so huge. What should an average American think about an alien Muslim country on the other continent, being told on a daily basis that Persians dream to launch an attack on America?

“Iran could attack the United States in a much more fearsome way,” claims CNN. “We have to assume that Hezbollah would be the proxy for Iran and could well carry out the attack,” it specifies.

A hypothetical national security threat is growing more dangerous by the day, making American citizens believe that Iran’s next target could well be on American soil.

Michael Klare, Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, explains why Iranian assurances of the peaceful nature of their nuclear program are met with skepticism.

“What worries people is not so much the fact that they are making the enriched uranium right now but that they’ve built it in an underground facility, which is deeply underground, hidden from inspectors for a very long time,” he told RT. “So it gives the impression that they are trying to do something covert, hidden, that has a military purpose.”


In New York, America’s capital of media and messages, the particular story of the Iranian threat keeps doing the rounds.

“Some believe that New York could eventually be on Iran's hit list,” Fox News scares.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has written a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in mid-February, stating that the Big Apple is teeming with Iranian agents.

Also this month, the New York Police Department’s director for intelligence analysis Michael Silber published an article in the Wall Street Journal headlined “The Iranian Threat to New York City”.

Last week Tel Aviv put the blame for attempted attacks on Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, New Dehli and Tbilisi on Tehran, though Iran denied its involvement.

However, the New York City Police Department followed the advice of Israeli colleagues and increased security around Israeli government facilities and synagogues, adding more sense of tension and anxiety to NY citizens.

The American media might be exaggerating the Iranian threat as the US military officials say the contrary.

US intelligence, personified by Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, officially states that Iranian attack on America is unlikely, saying “The agency assesses that Iran is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict” – unless the US attacks first, the general adds.

Moreover, America's intelligence community hasruled out allegations that Iran is creating a nuclear bomb a long time ago. The Los Angeles Times reports that 16 special service agencies have all reached the same conclusion.

Sasan Fayazmanesh, from California State University, says similar reports a few years ago were ignored by Washington, because they did not sit well with its ultimate goal in Iran.

“It is an issue of regime change. The National Intelligence Estimate is many years old, it’s first came up in 2007, […] it judged with high confidence that as of fall 2003 Iran has halted its nuclear weapons program,”

he said.

“Nevertheless, when it first came out during the Bush administration, they’ve dismissed [it], obviously the Obama administration is not going by this report either.”

Actually, the US has had a political quarrel with Israel over Iran. Tel Aviv openly demands Washington support and participate in a military attack on Iranian nuclear objects, while the Obama administration has been reluctant on any military action against Iran, hoping sanctions and strong wording will do the same job.

US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey called the idea of an air strike on Iran “foolish”, “destabilizing” and “not prudent.”

For his intractability the general was ostracized by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Dempsey of “serving the Iranians.”

However fantastic it might sound, two US Senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, sided with Netanyahu against the top brass of their own army.

The layout appears to be intriguing. The US government at the moment does not support a military operation against Iran. The US Army intelligence dissuades from harsh actions against the Islamic Republic.

But the US mass media and some agenda-driven lawmakers apparently know better what is good for America, and are actively sculpting an enemy image of the Tehran regime.

While the American government and American military serve the American people, the question is whom the US mass media and committed politicians serve by dragging the country into a new war.

Looking back at how the military campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya began and the role of mass media hype in these conflicts, the picture gains a new perspective.

The question arises as to whether in the case of Iran the “Strike them before they strike us” hysteria may make the US government turn the scales for the Islamic Republic. 

Let us not forget that to make a donkey move one needs a carrot, but to send an elephant into a breakneck run a tiny mouse will do. Today, it seems, some mice speak Farsi from TV screens in America.

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