The Corner

Iran

The British journalist Peter Hitchens, Christopher’s brother, is a man of the right, but as a true Hitchens, somewhat eccentrically so. A good bit of what he writes is a form of Tory nationalism, unusual in its forcefulness and tinged with Americanophobia (can that be a word, I wonder: it’s certainly a phenomenon). It’s important to understand this background before reading this article by him on Iran, and it’s no less important to remember that there’s a long tradition of journalists going to visit countries ruled by repressive regimes and ‘discovering’ that the people living there “are just like us,” “only want peace” and so on. All that said, Hitchens’ interesting, somewhat oddball piece is well worth reading, and well worth pondering. Here’s an extract:

When I told my friends and family I was going to Tehran, they looked at me as if I were taking a short break in Mordor, and expected that the next time they saw me I would be being paraded by Revolutionary Guards after confessing to espionage, and then publicly hanged from a large crane at a busy traffic intersection. Well, not quite. The people of Iran are probably the most pro-Western in the world, though that will not stop them fighting like hell if we are foolish enough to attack them…Again and again, Iranians told me Western hostility was the main force that could push them into the arms of a regime they did not much like. The last thing the ayatollahs need is for the peoples of Europe and America to know much about their country and its people, or to realise the truth – that Iran is our natural ally in the Middle East, a European civilisation trapped by history and geography in the midst of Arabia. It does not belong there, culturally or religiously…

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