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Smear Campaign

5 July 2005

Its amazing how quickly the US and Israel have begun their smear campaign in order to pressure Iran more. While I don't disagree completely with their objectives, I think there's a few things to bear in mind:

1) it is unclear what the new president's agenda is. Many have noted that it doesn't matter, given that the president is allocated little to no matter under the Iranian constitution. This is true to a large extent. The president's role has always been symbolic, but with that he has the potential to lobby for small social changes by presence alone. In this case, Ahmadinejad's close relationship with Khamanai will probably give us a closer insight on the regime's true intentions, particularly since Khamanai has never really taken a public role.

2) the elections proved that the central issue amongst Iranians are social and economic rights and development. It would wise for the Bush administration to focus on those issues to pressure the Iranian government, rather than Iran's nuclear development. Iranians support the development of peaceful nuclear technology and believe they such right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Until there is undeniable proof that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, Bush exclusive rhetoric on the issue weakens his promise to "help the Iranian people." If the administration really believes that the only way to control Iran is if it becomes more democratic, then it ought to change its rhetoric to human rights, corruption, and economic development. Those are the things Iranians are concerned with.

3) the major Iranian institutions which want military action against Iran are hardline monarchists and members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), a terrorist organization with close connections amongst hardliners in the US, who believe that regime change in Iran would present them with the opportunity to rule the country. News coming from these sources, including the first accusation that Ahmadinejad was involved in the hostage crisis (it was first posted on Iran Focus, a website ran by the MKO, and then picked up by different news agencies), should not be trusted in that they are intentionally manipulating the agenda.

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