With this barrage against the new president, his team faced serious consequences no matter which direction it chose in responding to the accusations while the message coming out of Tehran was that the president-elect’s team supports terrorism. While some now-moderates have openly acknowledged their participation in the 44-day hostage taking event of the early 1980s, pinning the name of the Iranian president to the event is a very astute connection. This opens up a wound that has not yet completely healed, indicating the issue is not yet over. The news agencies such as the BBC send the ball to the court of the opponents when their message from Tehran is: Hardliners in Iran welcome hostage taking. The broadcasting of a photo of the new president shown along with a cleric, who has been accused by the US of being responsible for some suicide attacks, sends a similar message to the international community. Iranian officials responded to these accusations by denying Ahmadinejad’s role, but because of the weight and spread of Western international news media, the image that is implanted in Western readers and viewers is that these men support terrorism. In addition to this, the Western media have also broadcast news that Ahmadinejad has supported reviving ayatollah Khomeini’s death Fatwa against British writer Salman Rushdie, or that he has had a hand in the murders in the Mikonos restaurant in Germany.
So in contrast to the days when Mohammad Khatami took over the presidential seat 8 years ago and invited the world to a dialogue of civilizations, thus creating a favorable atmosphere for Iran, the newly elected president is already looked upon negatively before even taking the same executive seat, whose results and consequences we await to see. His image is already so negative that perhaps soon he will be even portrayed as an anti-environmentalist by showing a photograph in which he is cutting down a tree!
So even while Iranian officials continue to deny such accusations and Ahmadinejad’s role in the hostage taking event, the current atmosphere provides American politicians to portray the image of Iran that they had been wanting to portray for years. Yes, Ahmadinejad himself is providing some of the food for this type of propaganda and negativism towards himself, especially when he talks of his ideas on nuclear policy or human rights. The continued detention of Akbar Ganji that is supported by the supporters of the new president and the other positions, provide the Europeans with good justification or excuse to break of its negotiations with Iran over the latter’s nuclear policy. It should be noted that these talks had shown that there was an alternative in dealing with Iran and it was gaining ground even amongst the most hawkish elements closely monitoring the events.
Under the circumstances, the Europeans may not even seem themselves bound by the Paris agreement, which keeps the door open to negotiations and which obliges them to come up with a package to convince Iran. Furthermore, they have even said that their trade with Iran is insignificant to play any role in their long-term relations and those with the US. The humiliating behavior with a visiting Iranian delegation in Europe is indicative of how they look at this country. With all these events, it is expected that Europeans will exert even more pressure on Iran in their talks or communications with Iran in the forthcoming weeks and months. Just as US double-edged propaganda against Iran is exerting heavy pressure on Iran’s president to give in, Iranian diplomacy too is facing two choices: resist or give in badly. The West has never been as impatient with Iran as it is these days.
The question remains whether the new president will be able to continue this cat and mouse game with the international community and end up actually achieving something at the nuclear talks or he will be facing far tougher days ahead of him with unknown outcomes.