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Sanjeev Bery

Sanjeev Bery

Posted: June 23, 2009 12:23 PM

CNN Praises a Dictator


It has barely been a day since my last blog post criticizing a CNN commentator's Iran analysis. But somehow, CNN has already managed to outdo itself.

In a new article linked to its home page as of Monday, CNN.com heavily quotes the son of a former Iranian dictator without once telling the reader about his father's role in ending Iranian democracy.

The piece is entitled "Fighting tears, shah's son calls crisis a 'moment of truth.'" It heavily quotes Reza Shah Pahlavi, the son of the Shah of Iran. And it has nothing but good things to say about the intentions of the father who ruled Iran for a quarter century:

Under the shah's regime, Iran saw nationalization of its oil and a strong movement toward modernization. Still, his secular programs and recognition of Israel cost him the support of the country's Shiite clergy, sparking clashes with the religious right and others who resented his pro-West views.

Never mind that the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, came to power in a 1953 CIA coup that overthrew Iran's young democracy. Never mind that his Savak secret police crushed democratic opponents. Somehow, CNN.com is bestowing positive coverage upon the Shah and his son without once acknowledging the repressive practices of the Shah's regime. Indeed, if there hadn't been a Shah to rebel against, there might never have been a Supreme Leader named Ayatollah Khomeini.

That isn't to say that the Shah of Iran created Khomeini's ideology or power base. The Iranian Shia clerical class existed long before 1979. But one wonders what Iran could have been like today if the CIA hadn't overthrown its democratic government in 1953.

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