The Ignorance of Thomas L. Friedman! Will the N.Y.T. Apologize?
by Shirin Neshat of Sarbazan
FAX: (212) 556-3622.
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Dear Sir (s):
I duly noted Mr. Thomas L. Friedman's op-ed piece to the New York Times dated December 23, 2005 and entitled, "A Shah With a Turban." Mr. Friedman is quite correct in his various criticisms of the Presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Unfortunately, he displays an insulting and shocking ignorance of Persian history in equating the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the Pahlavi Dynasty with the thuggery of Mr. Ahmadinejad and the theocratic Mullahs behind the latter's dubious election this past June. This is the obvious implication and intent behind his article's ill-chosen title.
Mr. Friedman notes the repressive character of the IRI regime in Iran, and its systematic eradication of human rights and political _expression there in the shutdown of reformist news publications and the disqualification of legitimate political candidates by the Council of Guardians and other totalitarian elements of the theocratic regime in Tehran. What he does not tell his readers is that he himself was a supporter of the anti-Shah student protestors in Washington, D.C. in the 1978-79 time frame, promoting and legitimizing the activities of the Islamic Student Association and Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi. Are you now happy with what you and Jimmy Carter have brought to the nation of Iran, the Middle East, and the entire world, Mr. Friedman? Or is it time to begin singing from a different page while disguising the ugly truths of the past with revisionist history?
Mr. Friedman is a Jewish-American with very cordial relations with the government of Israel and the American neo-conservatives allied with it. Surely he knows that Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi's government enjoyed diplomatic relations with Israel that involved mutual trade relationships and reciprocal travel arrangements between Tehran and Tel Aviv. More importantly, the Shah was an avowed enemy of terrorist factions in the region that were targeting Israel, and kept Iran out of the political crossfire of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How does this equate in any sense of the word with the provocative anti-Semitic statements and stated desire of Mr. Ahmadinejad to "wipe Israel off the map?" Or the documentation recently provided by Toby Harnden, the Chief Foreign Correspondent of the British Telegraph, that the IRI's newest excuse for a President is recruiting legions of Iranian children to be employed as suicide bombers against American and Israeli interests wherever possible? And is Mr. Friedman aware of the historic and ideological linkage between the Peacock Throne and the reign of Cyrus the Great of Achaemenid Persia 2,500 years ago? Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi was well aware of the role of Cyrus in issuing a royal declaration allowing the Jews of the Babylonian Diaspora to return to their homeland, a fact recorded in the Jewish Old Testament. He was also proud of the Declaration of Universal Human Rights issued by Cyrus on a cylinder now housed by the British Museum. This lineage has nothing, I repeat nothing, to do with the simian government of the IRI regime, or its Chief Baboon, Mr. Ahmadinejad, who was not legitimately elected--but hand-picked by the Supreme Leader of the IRI, Mr. Khamenei--and ratified by a transparently fraudulent electoral process.
And now, people like Mr. Friedman are wringing their hands over the Russian-aided Iranian nuclear program headed in the direction of a full-blown acquisition of the nuclear fuel cycle and the enrichment of uranium. Does anyone believe that the staunch anti-Communism and pro-American stance of the Pahlavi Dynasty would have ever permitted this brand of Russian subversion in Iran and the Middle East to happen?
The IRI regime and its President have wrought much for the world to see: economic stagnation; an 8 year Iran-Iraq War which cost over 2 million lives; the repression of human rights generally and the rights of women specifically; the implementation of a theocratically oriented, State-controlled educational system; the systematic execution of minors in Iran; the routine denial of legal due process of law for the accused; and the possible introduction of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East before the end of 2006.
<>And all courtesy of the Thomas Friedmans and Jimmy Carters of the planet, whose role in pulling the rug out from under a true friend of the United States and the West, has introduced this great tragedy into the history of the world, a tragedy not yet fully unfolded in time.