The Corner

Roger Cohen’s Potemkin Columns — the Aftermath

I suspect if Cohen ever went back to Iran, Iranians whose words he selectively quoted would give him an earful. The Iranian government has used Cohen’s trip and writing as a propaganda windfall. On Monday, I had pointed out the Tehran Times, the English-language voice of the regime, had reprinted Cohen’s column. Today, Ham-Mihan (in Persian) uses Cohen’s article to praise religious tolerance inside Iran.

Meanwhile, several Bahai’s are fighting for their life (English link), as the government moves to execute them. But, I guess, such inconvenient truths don’t fit the New York Times’s agenda.

And, while Cohen took the state’s official Jewish representative’s word that he was no quisling, Cohen never bothered to ask about this official statement which the Iranian press published:

In obedience to the instructions of Jesus, in the new Iranian year, which has been declared year of national unity and Islamic solidarity, Iranian Jews voice their readiness to defend all national interests of Iranians and to observe the guidelines set by Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei) for the sake of strengthening national unity and solidarity in the fight against present-day pharaohs,

One of Cohen’s interlocutors, at least according to his February 5, 2009 column, was former IRGC Chief Mohsen Rezai. Here is Rezai in today’s Iranian press: “Our enmity with the U.S. has no end.” Cohen painted him as a bit more reasonable.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.


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