Our neighbor to the north, Iran
: I’m going to give the guy the benefit of the doubt and hope that he was misquoted by the Iranian official news agency but here’s what they say Canada’s deputy prime minister said in Tehran:
Zanjan, June 29, IRNA — Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Patric Carson said here on Sunday that Tehran and Ottawa shared identical problems with Washington.
Carson, who is heading an economic delegation to this northwestern province, said that his country has economic problem with the US while Iran’s problem with Washington is political.
The Canadian official made the remark in a meeting with deputy governor general of the province for planning, Ahmad Sorkhpar.
If true, this is appalling.
: UPDATE: Comments, below, make it clear that the deputy PM is not Patric Carson and no one can find any Patric Carson in the government of Canada. So Iran lies. Surprise, surprise.
Beeb not kosher
: Israel may be going a bit far but it got so fed up with the BBC and its “repeated ‘demonisation’ of the country” that it has cut off the network:
The move will involve a refusal to put up official spokesmen for BBC interviews. There will be visa restrictions, not imposed on other news organisations in Israel, to ensure that the bureau chief is rotated every few months and to make it hard for BBC staff to report.
: Iraqi blogger No. 1 G has a fotolog. And today, he writes about an 18-year-old Syrian boy being treated by Americans after he was shot on the wrong side of the Iraqi border.
He sounded so hopeful when he said he
: Iranian blogger Steppenwolf, from Tehran, has been silent and today he explains why:
You see, writing in English offers me a dramatically broader audience, while finely endangering me of being accused. Accused of providing the enemy(!) with information. With internal information. Yes, my weblog is anonymous. But then, I don’t even want to jeopardize my peace. I am sure everyone can understand this. There is nothing in it for me being political.
Honestly, the fact is I tend to get excited as soon as my fingers touch the keyboard. I can’t help it. I can’t help my harsh feelings either. So, I prefer to stay silent, stay away from it.
It is hard for those of us who live with the privilege and right of freedom to know what life is like for those who have to worry with every word.
In the cause of democracy
: Pejman Yousefzadeh points to a superb open letter by expat Mohsen Moshfegh
to Iranian reformists, arguing that they must be ready to create a new government in Iran — once the mullahs surely fall — and that America is the best ally of democratic reform:
. . . In my opinion, the United States has a much more serious preoccupation these days than just money and financial rewards of a free and unhampered trade with Iran. This is not to say that the American capitalists care little about substantially lucrative opportunities that a democratic Iran under a free market system can offer them. But after the events of September 11 and the realization of its vulnerability to terrorism, the United States was painfully faced with two essential and very basic facts: first that money has no value when you’re dead; and second that as long as the two issues of international terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons are not effectively dealt with being dead is a very real possibility. Also, as the sole remaining superpower in the world, the United States does not only have the responsibility to deal with this problem, but is the only power with sufficient means and international reach to solve a problem of this magnitude. And solve it, it must. So, in my opinion, America’s desire to eliminate the theocracy in Iran is based on much more fundamental motivations than money and financial rewards, and therefore, makes a much more dependable ally for our democratic forces than the European Union. Where Europeans are our tactical allies, the Americans can be considered our strategic allies in establishing a secular democracy in our country and propagating it throughout the region.
Am I claiming that the United States will never, under any circumstance abandon our secular democratic forces and make a deal with the Islamic Republic? No, not at all. We should not be na