Leaving Islam



The Royal Gift to the Crumbling Mullahs


Potkin Azarmehr

Whatever was the agenda behind the Prince of Wales’s trip to the Islamic Republic by the British government or by the Clarence House, one thing that was not taken into their calculation seems to have been the reaction of the ordinary people of Iran and the expatriate community towards this trip. Plus the long-term image of the British government, which will be further, scarred amongst Iranians. 

One of the LA satellite Persian TV channels (Channel One) dedicated the whole evening to this trip. Callers one after the other telephoned and faxed this station all night and expressed their disapproval at this trip. The TV presenter, Shahram Homayoon called for the boycott of British goods by all Iranians. 

Here is a sample of the calls made by people, which may indicate the level of disgust felt by the Iranian people towards this trip: 

“How can this visit not be a political one, when the Prince has a private meeting with the Islamic president?” 

"The British government has so many Royals at their disposal, if they were really concerned for the quake victims did they have to send the No.2 Royal?” 

"Will they be sending the Queen next? Who will she meet, because we don't know who our figurehead is? Will she wear a scarf? Who will shake hands with her? Supreme leader’s wife?” 

“The British will always have an unhealthy interest in Iran. They have been eyeing up our wealth for the last 300 years. They brought on the Mullahs with their BBC World Service news.” 

“The Prince committed adultery with his lover Camilla Parker-Bowles, so they should be treated according to the Islamic laws of the country. He should be stoned to death. If he is not happy with the barbaric laws of this regime, then he should not legitimise it.” 

“The Prince murdered his wife because she was pregnant from an Arab and did not want his sons to have half Arab siblings, so why is he imposing these Arabs on us Iranians.” 

Even young teenage kids as young as 11 and 15 were calling in the station and pledging the boycott of British goods. 

“If my mom or dad come home having bought British goods, I will kick them out of the house” Said one 15 year old who had called the station. 

On Newsnight program, a female presenter attempted to give a background of the recent events in Iran, saying that until now the president and the parliament in the Islamic Republic have been democratically elected!  If only the reaction of Iranians watching this statement could have been filmed. There must have been a few objects thrown at the TV screen at this point. Does Newsnight not know that the Guardian Council has been ruling for the last 25 years in Iran? Does Newsnight not know that the candidates have always been vetted before the Islamic elections, after the elections and all the parliamentary bills have to be approved by the un-elected Guardian Council? Why is it that only this time round, the Islamic elections have become un-democratic?? Even if the trip was purely humanitarian, the British MP who appeared on the Newsnight program made sure that it was also political and confirmed that the whole thing was part of the “constructive engagement” policy with the Islamic Republic. David Frum in another studio, however aptly pointed out that there was a difference between dialogue and monologue and the Islamic regime is being rewarded by this trip at the most inappropriate time. 

Paul Reynolds, BBC reporter also writes about this royal trip on the BBC website. He starts off by mentioning the Prince’s interest in Islamic history and architecture (Bam citadel was pre-Islamic!) and then wrongly assumes that the general image is that Britain wants change in Iran. Actually the general image by the ordinary Iranians is that the British want the mullahs in Iran. 

As always in these situations, Haleh Afshar from York university, is appointed by the BBC to represent Iranians and claims that Iranians will welcome this trip! Who the hell made this Islamic apologist a representative of Iranian opinion?? Why is she always on British TV to support the “constructive engagement” with the Islamic Republic? Do the British people not have the right to hear the views of other Iranians who are against this trip? 

Perhaps the one British news publication, which got it right however was the Daily Telegraph. In the opinions section with the suitable headline of, “The Government's royal gift to the ayatollahs”, it was the Telegraph and not Haleh Afshar, who expressed the true feelings of the Iranians by saying “Ministers must surely be aware that the visit might turn out to be used as propaganda by a theocratic regime that has been waging psychological warfare on the people since the Islamist Revolution of 1979.” And even more to the point, the Daily Telegraph realises what Haleh Afshar pretends not to know: “But the greatest delusion concerns the efficacy of Mr. Khatami as a reformer. Since coming to power in 1997, he has proved to be a great disappointment to his one-time supporters, many of whom now languish in jail. He stood by when clerical vigilantes murdered students during the riots of 1999; he was inert when "hardliners" closed the newspapers in 2000; and he buckled under this year when Mr Khamenei refused to delay the irreparably flawed election.”






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