Magazine January 27, 2020, Issue

Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting & Friends

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani (left) in 2015 (Stringer/Reuters)

Transcript Excerpt: IRIB & Friends

Begin Excerpt 09:03 

MAHLOOD: And welcome back to Irib & Friends, I’m Mahlood, and of course today is a sad day — 

BIJAN: Very sad, very sad . . .

MAHLOOD: And here we’re seeing pictures of the funeral procession for fallen revolutionary hero General Qasem Soleimani — your thoughts on this, Harush?

HARUSH: Well, of course it’s tragic. What a great man. A kind man, a generous man . . .

MAHLOOD: And we are getting tweets this morning from people remembering the general and all of the wonderful things he did. IsfahanMIGA tweets, “When the general ordered the execution of my brother for being a homosexual, he made sure the sack was tied tightly before tossing him from the top of the minaret. Will never forget his compassion.

HARUSH: It’s little things like that.

BIJAN: He could be tough, too! Let’s not forget that!

HARUSH: Lotta wonderful stories about the way he could use his squiggly knife to get a confession out of almost anyone!

MAHLOOD: You know, I wonder, Bijan, if maybe the general was the last of his kind? Do you see any so-called Millennials in the Quds Force who have his kind of moxie? Any of the young men out there even half as psychotic?

BIJAN: That’s a great question, Mahlood. Can’t say as there are. You know, the way society is these days — every boy gets a trophy, we don’t use chemical weapons, public hangings are now a weekly event — 

HARUSH: If that!

BIJAN: If that, right. I think it’s fair to say that we are not just saying farewell to a great and wise general, we are saying goodbye to the last Revolutionary Guard psychopath.

HARUSH: Sad.

BIJAN: Very sad. 

MAHLOOD: @whosurjihaddy tweets, “Understand we need to mourn the compassionate hero but also think we need to spend some time planning vengeance,” which is a good point. What’s your reaction to this, Don Lemon?

DON LEMON: Well, first, guys, I just want to thank you for having me on. You know I love your show and love being on it, and it goes without saying that we at CNN are very sorry for your loss.

BIJAN: Appreciate your saying that, Don.

DON LEMON: Well, I mean it. Look, we all know who the culprit is here, and it’s not the former leader of the Quds Force, who was, you know, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, he was, you know, a thorn to say the least in the side of the American government, what with the terrorism and whatnot. But even if he was responsible for, let’s say, ten thousand deaths — 

BIJAN: Probably more.

DON LEMON: Right, well, whatever the number is, and I was just pulling one out of the air, whatever that number might or might not be, say this for the general: He never once declared war on the media. He was respectful of the press.

HARUSH: This is true.

MAHLOOD: He was a big supporter of the media and newsgathering in general.

DON LEMON: And you contrast that with what the current U.S. president says about newspapers and news media — my employer in particular — and it’s night and day.

BIJAN: I recall the general saying once that he was especially fond of the American cable-news channels, that he supported them wholeheartedly, even though we all know they’re controlled by the Jews.

DON LEMON: That’s a bump for a lot of people. I get that.

MAHLOOD: But tell me please, Don Lemon, how you think the American people will respond to what must inevitably be an Islamic Republic of Iran response to this outrage?

DON LEMON: Guys, I’ve been on the number-one cable-news channel — 

HARUSH: It’s number one?

DON LEMON: It’s up there, okay? I don’t know the ratings offhand, but it’s top four? Top five? Anyway, if there’s one thing I know, it’s the mood of the American people. And I can tell you that whatever happens now — and I deplore violence of any kind — but whatever happens now, the American people are firmly on the side of the Islamic Republic.

BIJAN: Don Lemon, I agree with you. I sense the same thing.

HARUSH: I agree with you, too, except for the part about deploring violence.

MAHLOOD: We have to go to a break now. Right after Irib & Friends, coming up on Qoutnumbered this morning, Revolutionary Guard commander Daroosh Lashet explains the options for a response that the Islamic Republic is considering, as four women whose identities are irrelevant listen in terrified silence. Stay tuned.

End Excerpt 09:14

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