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Iran and the World: A War of Words and Images - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In our region, Iran has television stations, newspapers, writers, analysts, editors, and websites, all of which are used to serve Iran and to promote its agenda. They seek to improve Iran’s image regardless of everything it has done to the region.

They hold conferences and symposiums and deliver lectures on the media, freedom, and citizenship, and they accuse their opponents of treason. Unfortunately, they are located in the Arab world, or in Western countries, not in Tehran or some other Iranian city.

This did not happen overnight; it has been happening for years. However, over the last few years the issue has become clear for everyone to see; even news agencies affiliated to Iran are trying to promote its followers in the Arab world and give them new titles.

However, matters changed completely when divisions began to appear in Iran following the elections, and fights broke out between protestors and the regime on the streets where we witnessed the violence of the state against defenseless citizens, and after it expelled the foreign media from Iran.

Before Iran, we saw a similar situation occur when Hezbollah carried out its coup in Beirut. Hezbollah targeted media institutions that opposed it and terrorized writers, reporters and journalists who criticized its actions.

Today we are seeing Iran, all of it, acting against the foreign media based on the pretext of non-interference in Iran’s internal affairs. How strange! What gave Iran the right to interfere with our affairs and our states?

Just look at Iran’s battle against BBC Persia, which follows the main English-language channel and not the Arabic channel. But this is another story for another time.

Iran – which never got used to respecting the sovereignty of others but rather mastered interfering in the Arabian Gulf, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq where Iranians do what they want without any supervision or accountability – is having a taste of its own medicine today but only with regards to the media.

What if foreign ambassadors, regardless of their nationalities, were moving around Tehran going from Karroubi’s house to Mousavi’s house, and visiting victims wounded by the Basij and issuing statements from there in the same was as the Iranian ambassadors to Lebanon and Iraq? What would Iran be like today?

The other issue that has emerged from this crisis is that the Iranian regime did not estimate the reality of the anger of its people and could not grasp that the new generation of Iranians are more up to date with technology and more in touch with the world. The regime appeared to be very confused as it battled an unarmed nation.

Despite Iran’s isolation from the world over the past few days and the expelling of media figures, images are still coming out of that country that confirm that the opposition is bigger and braver than we believed and that the issue is not about foreign interference inasmuch as it is an internal Iranian issue par excellence.

Who knows, after all the oppression and confrontation that we have seen against all forms of medium, there might come a day when the internet will be free of charge and will be provided from outside the borders just like satellite channels. There’ll be no complications or control, especially as the world would have realized that the internet has become the most successful tool facing dictatorships.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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