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Iran: The Excuse is Uglier than the Offense - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It appears that the soap opera of the Iranian researcher – or scientist – Shahram Amiri has not and will not end; this has become like one long telenovela. Tehran has now claimed – through an unnamed Iranian official speaking to the Iranian Fars News agency – that Shahram Amiri was a double agent, and that Iran was able to penetrate US intelligence through him. According to the Iranian source, Amiri brought about an unprecedented victory after being able to identify the license plates of two cars belonging to US intelligence. How ridiculous! What if the license plates were false, for example? What does a “great penetration” [of US intelligence] even mean? Will Tehran for example tell the Virginia traffic units to seize these vehicles? Truly, the excuse [of the offense] is uglier than the offense itself!

However what’s important in the Iranian statement is the claim that Amiri was a double agent, for even if this is Iranian propaganda, it undermines Amiri’s fictional story regarding his kidnap from Medina. This is the story that both Amiri – and prior to this, the Iranians – wanted to promote and depict, namely Saudi – US cooperation to kidnap Amiri in Medina. What is clear is that the conflicting versions of this story – and most importantly, the most recent Iranian statement about Amiri being a double agent – have shattered this fictional story about Amiri being kidnapped from Medina, being drugged with a needle, and [forcibly] taken to the US, as if this were an American action movie.

Iranian propaganda can fool a large proportion of the Iranian public, but it cannot trick anybody who has traveled to the US, even just for tourism. Anybody who has travelled to the US capital knows that if you cross the District of Columbia, passing through Virginia by way of Route 123, you will pass by the CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia which was renamed in honor of George Bush Senior [the George Bush Center for Intelligence]. However what is funny in the timing of the Iranian announcement that Amiri was a double agent, and that he penetrated US intelligence, is that this took place at a time that the US Washington Post newspaper revealed, in a three-part investigative report entitled “Top Secret America” that was published over the past week and which took two-years of investigation to produce, the extent of the expansion and size of US security following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This report reveals images and statistics of this expansion; and this is information that no army of foreign spies could uncover, and certainly not Shahram Amiri!

Therefore what Tehran is saying about Shahram Amiri is nothing more than propaganda and blatant propaganda at that; this is an excuse that is uglier than the offense itself, and it only makes it even more difficult to believe Tehran’s story about Amiri being abducted from Saudi Arabia.

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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