Conspiracy theories and the Middle East

Why is it that conspiracy theories are so prevalent in the Middle East? 

Well, in the case of Iran, all that I can say is that I am not surprised.

When a country for so many decades (before and after the 79 revolution) has had so very few (if any) reliable or credible domestic source of news, then its unfortunate yet logical that conspiracy theories are so prevalent.

Add to that successive regimes who for centuries did shady secretive deals with foreign and domestic elements without the knowledge or the participation of their people, and you have a very wide audience for conspiracy theories.

And the fact that some Iranians have left Iran and have been living in the West has not changed the mindset of some of them.

A memorable moment (which I sometimes try to forget) is when in NYC a Jewish Iranian gentleman came and told me that the 79 revolution happened because of Israel. According to him, Israel was jealous of Iran’s wealth and power, so in order to ruin it, it teamed up with Carter to overthrow the Shah and to bring Khomeini.

I really was lost for words.

But I shouldn’t be. As a child I myself heard many such theories. A popular one which I heard many times in Iran was regarding the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986.

The conspiracy theory there was that the Americans had attacked the reactor with laser weapons to revenge the downing of US helicopters by the Soviets in Iran’s deserts which caused the failure of Operation Eagle Claw!

And you have to remember that comparatively speaking, Iran’s press was more open than some Arab countries in the region.

A tip of the tip of the iceberg.

What the most interesting conspiracy theory that you have heard of?

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