When Is Terrorism not Terrorism? Western Media Coverage of Iran Parade Attack
After a terror attack over the weekend killed 25 — more than half of whom were civilians — during a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, Western media has had a difficult time treating the tragic incident as an act of terrorism, despite the fact that Daesh (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
With Iran and the U.S. set to spar at the upcoming UN General Assembly session this week, the media’s spin on Iran’s recent tragedy shows that the corporate media is taking a supportive role in furthering the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign targeting Iran by reducing sympathy for Iranians after the terror attack. Indeed, the fact that Iran is the recent victim of terror attacks derails the prevailing, yet false, U.S./Israeli-promoted narrative that Iran is the number one state sponsor of terror.
Though responsibility for the attack remains unclear, many reports have stated that it was the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement in Ahwaz, after someone purporting to be its spokesman claimed responsibility. However, the group later claimed on its website that it had “nothing to do with the attack,” while the terror group Daesh — which attacked the Iranian capital of Tehran last year — provided a video seeming to show the attackers on their way to the parade.
The video, released by Daesh’s Amaq agency, showed three men in a vehicle who it said were on their way to carry out the attack. One of the men in the video stated that “We are Muslims, they are kafirs [non-believers],” before adding “We will destroy them with a strong and guerrilla-style attack, inshallah [God willing].”
Despite Daesh’s claim of responsibility for the attacks, the Western corporate press — usually the firstto pounce on Daesh’s alleged involvement in violence occurring in Western countries — has largely glossed over the group’s alleged links to the incident and has also sought to suggest that the military parade was targeted as a result of anti-government sentiment in the area, sentiment that the U.S. itself is by its own admission covertly engineering in Iran.
Thus, notable U.S. news outlets sought to paint the attack as the work of political dissidents seeking to overthrow Iran’s current government.
For instance, the Wall Street Journalsought to downplay Daesh involvement, calling the attack the work of “separatists” and further suggesting that the labeling of the attackers as “terrorists” was merely political. Similarly, The New York Timessought to emphasize the city where the attack occurred as a “center of anti-government protests,” failing to mention U.S. covert involvement in fomenting such protests.
The Qatar-funded outlet Al Jazeera struck a similar tone in its report “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards targeted in Ahvaz military parade.” The headline notably does not even mention that a shooting took place or the fact that most of those killed were civilians, instead painting the attack as a clash between armed factions.
Far-right Iran-hawk think tanks, like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), took things even further, arguing that the Iranian military had “staged” the massacre to provoke sympathy from the international community ahead of the upcoming UN General Assembly session, set to take place this week. The FDD, much like the Trump administration to which it has significant ties, falsely asserts that Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism, even though that title undeniably belongs to Saudi Arabia.
Such responses are often par for the course when countries targeted by the U.S. and its allies for regime change are the victims of terror attacks — such as when Daesh launched a devastating terror attack in the Iranian capital of Tehran last June, killing a dozen people.
More recently, a terror attack launched by Daesh in the Sweida province of Syria this July was subjected to similar treatment in the Western press, even though more than 220 civilians were brutally murdered by the terror group, many of them as they slept. Many Western media outlets treated the terrorist attack as though it were simply a battle between warring factions in the Syrian conflict. The reporting of those outlets on this particular incident was particularly stunning, given that those same outlets often strongly condemn Syrian military operations for their effect on civilians but failed to do so when a reviled terrorist group was to blame for the deaths of hundreds.
A double-standard with an obvious purpose
The media’s failure to treat a terror attack on Iran with the same compassion shown for similar or even lesser attacks in other nations is yet another indication of the media’s supportive role in current U.S. efforts to undermine the current government of Iran. Indeed, recent statements from Iranian officials after the attack, which claim to hold those responsible to account, have been given more coverage than the attacks themselves and have been used to cast Iran’s call for vengeance as a call for unwarranted aggression against the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia.
For instance, Reuters’ report on Iran’s response was titled “Iran warns the U.S., Israel to expect ‘devastating’ revenge.” While the quoted Iranian military official did promise a “devastating response” — and asserted U.S., Israeli and Saudi involvement — the report was dismissive of these allegations despite the fact that the covert involvement of these countries in Iran is well known, thus casting the statement as one of unwarranted aggression. This was also seen in Israeli media, where Iran’s call to avenge those murdered and hold those responsible to account was treated as “Iran threatening Israel.”
Absent from this discussion of threats is the fact that the United States has adopted a regime-change policy against Iran, a policy it adopted even before the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Indeed, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated last June that the Trump administration was working “toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government.” Just a few weeks prior to that statement, the CIA — led by then-CIA director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — established a new covert operations center designed to “turn up the heat” on Iran’s government.
A year later in early July, it was revealed that a high-level, joint U.S.-Israeli “working group” had been meeting for months and that the group involved top White House and State Department officials, including National Security Advisor John Bolton. Those meetings reportedly discussed scenarios of pursuing regime change in Iran, specifically “internal efforts to encourage protests within Iran and pressure the country’s government.” This news was followed by Pompeo’s recent formation of an “Iran Action Group” last month, which sought to formalize this working group aimed at the same end goal: regime change in Iran.
Though Trump’s administration has not “officially” claimed that regime change is the ultimate goal of this policy, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday that U.S. sanctions were inflicting economic pain on Iran that could lead to a “successful revolution.” Giuliani, along with other notablemembers of the Trump administration, is closely linked to the Iranian exile terror group Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK), which has been funded by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States. Notably, Iranian officials have stated that those responsible for the weekend’s terror attack share ties to those very same countries.
Yet, thanks to biased media coverage, as the General Assembly approaches, most will remember Iran’s “threats” to avenge the attacks, not the fact that the nation itself is under unprecedented foreign pressure and is reeling from its worst terror attack in over a decade.
Top Photo | Father of Mohammad Taha Eghadami, a 4-year-old boy who was killed in Saturday’s terror attack on a military parade, mourns over his coffin during a mass funeral ceremony for the victims, in southwestern city of Ahvaz, Iran, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. Thousands of mourners gathered at the Sarallah Mosque on Ahvaz’s Taleghani junction, carrying caskets in the sweltering heat. Ebrahim Noroozi | AP