Tuesday, October 22, 2013

History Repeats Itself: Iran's Charm

The new charmer
The old charmer

Iran's First "Charm Offensive" - Dore Gold

Just before Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini arrived in Tehran in 1979 from his place of exile in France, he succeeded in waging a successful deception campaign that completely hid his true intentions from the West. Professor Richard Falk wrote an op-ed in the New York Times entitled "Trusting Khomeini," where he noted that the people around Khomeini were "moderate" and even "progressive," with "a notable concern for human rights."

Professor Bernard Lewis revealed Khomeini's extremist positions in the Washington Post when he reviewed Khomeini's book Islamic Government, based on lectures he had delivered in 1970 in Najaf. These included calls for "armed jihad" and the need to "take the lead over other Muslims," while suggesting that the Jews were seeking "to rule over the entire planet." Henry Precht, who was head of the Iran desk at the U.S. State Department, called the book that Lewis found a forgery and criticized the Washington Post for publishing excerpts from it.

Thus, some Western experts were charmed into believing that Iran, after the fall of the Shah, would adopt a moderate course. The consequences of their miscalculation were disastrous for the Iranian people and the world.
The writer, a former Israeli ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
(Israel Hayom)


LHwrites said...

There was no miscalculation. Plenty feared what the Ayatollah stood for. But it's hubris to say "The consequences of their miscalculation were disastrous for the Iranian people and the world'. We should have assassinated him? Gone to war with Iran when they too our people hostage. We didn't orchestrate the fall of the Shah. They saw it coming. There are countries that don't seem to approve of everything in the US. Other civilized nations think we are barbaric that 47 million didn't have health coverage, we have homeless and starving Americans on our streets, but we wouldn't encourage them to come overthrow our government. But what we do,do, is not allow other nation's mistakes to spill over the borders or create untold civilian casualties, so we make that clear to Syria and Iran.

Bruce said...

Based on the reception to Professor Bernard Lewis, there were those in policy circles who were indeed lulled and fooled. The implications for today are significant.