After the recent horrific massacre of children at Newport Connecticut, the Iranian regime mouthpiece PressTV published an interview with Michael Harris, a “former Republican candidate for governor of Arizona” who stated that Israel was responsible for the massacre.
The report is so totally absurd and devoid of value. So why publish it?
There are numerous explanations which can be offered. To my mind, more than anything, its a sign of utter desperation by a regime which is fast losing legitimacy at home, and abroad. Its losing Assad in Syria, while Hamas is clearly distancing itself from Iran, despite the fact that the Iranian government provided them with free weapons during the recent Gaza war.
There is also the fact that there are elections coming up in Iran which are going to be anything but democratic or fair. Add to that the fact that western sanctions have not rallied the people of Iran around the flag.
Naturally the regime will want to divert attention from developments at home, and what better way than to blame Israel for anything it can get its hands on.
But you could ask: don’t regime officials realize that these reports are damaging to the regime? don’t they realize that isolate it in the international community?
In my opinion, the short answer is: no.
Since the 2009 uprising, the people who seem to be advising Khamenei seem to be the least experienced in foreign policy issues. Bottom of the barrel stuff. Those who had a better understanding of foreign affairs and how the international system works have been sidelined because many were reformists.
This article is one of many counterproductive acts which the regime is undertaking. As I mentioned at the recent Front Line conference at the LSE, nobody does a better job of delegitimizing the Iranian regime abroad than the Iranian regime itself. If only Netanyahu would keep quiet and let Khamenei do the job for Israel. There is something to be said for subcontracting, even to your enemies.