Sunday, October 26, 2014


Persian Letters

The NBC Report That Could Have Been Produced By Iranian State TV

NBC reporter Ann Curry interviews President Mahmud Ahmadinejad
NBC reporter Ann Curry interviews President Mahmud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad prays every morning at 5 a.m., then goes jogging with his bodyguards "at times seemingly 'Rocky'-style."

He then heads to the gym. The early bird Iranian president works out for 30 minutes every day before reaching his “spacious but simple office” before 7 a.m.

What follows in his daily schedule includes reading the newspapers, meetings, talking with and caring for poor people, and more prayers.

Ahmadinejad is a pious superman who doesn’t rest; his aides claim he sleeps only three hours per night.

His days "often stretch to 2 a.m." and "even during his flights [to one of Iran’s provinces] he's meeting with ministers."

These are not excerpts from a report issued by the president's own office, nor from a show that could have been aired on state television a while ago when Ahmadinejad was still the golden boy of the Islamic republic. (The president has become isolated in recent months as the result of a power struggle with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.)

The flattering report, described as the "first-ever behind-the-scenes access" into the Iranian president’s daily schedule, was aired on the U.S. television network NBC. The "exclusive" report, which reveals unimportant details about Ahmadinejad's life (including the fact that he works with his shoes off but his reading glasses on) is a great piece of propaganda for Ahmadinejad, who heads to New York next week to attend the UN General Assembly.   

The positive report has been also noticed in Tehran, including by Ayandehnews, which referred to it as NBC’s "propaganda piece" about Ahmadinejad.

The report portrays Ahmadinejad as a hard-working, compassionate, and religious president who leads a very simple life and cares deeply about his people. Ahmadinejad's PR team couldn’t have done it better.

(Watch the NBC report and then read this blog by one of Ahmadinejad's supporters, posted on Persian Letters earlier this year as an example of online propaganda for the Iranian president.)

It's precisely the image Ahmadinejad is trying to convey while covering up the facts that, under his presidency, Iran has become a much more closed society, human rights abuses have increased, and many have been jailed for protesting against his reelection.

The NBC report mentions Iran's rising inflation and the poor people who swarmed the president during a visit to a remote province while pleading for food and other necessities. But what it doesn't say is that many economists believe Ahmadinejad’s policies and his mismanagement of the economy are largely to blame. 

Instead of challenging the Iranian president, the NBC reporter, Ann Curry, asks him easy questions that are quite usual even on Iran’s state media.

Curry: "Mr. President, why have you made this point to come to one of the poorest parts of Iran to highlight the art and the crafts?"

Ahmadinejad (through a translator): "I want to show that we all have some common humanity, human values."

NBC fails to ask why a president who is so committed to human values didn’t speak up against the documented torture and rape of young people who were jailed for peacefully protesting his reelection.

The NBC reporter also doesn't ask the Iranian president whether, in his daily  reading, he looks at the countless letters from political prisoners and their families detailing the horrors they have to endure in prison.

Another question NBC could have asked Ahmadinejad is what his plans are, if any, to help the poor people who were begging him for help.

During NBC's time with Ahmadinejad, he announced that the two U.S. citizens who have been jailed in Iran on espionage charges will be released "in a couple of days."

With the NBC report and his promise to grant the hikers a "unilateral pardon," Ahmadinejad is off to a good start in what appears to be a charm offensive ahead of his New York trip.

-- Golnaz Esfandiari
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: IRAJ from: TORONTO,.CANADA
September 14, 2011 14:32
shame,shame,..this is an insulate to Iranian people which they believe,this,fake president,which stole their vote,and killed dozen,and jailed,thousands,is responsible for all miseries they are having these days according to members of parliament his corrupted friends with his help stole thousands trillions dollar,yes,one of biggest in the world,this man asked for elimination of the only democracy in middle east(Israel),I WONDER HOW MUCH WAS PAID TO PORTRAY HIM AS A PERSON WHO CARES ABOUT POOR?,..SHAME
In Response

by: dariush from: farhad
September 14, 2011 20:22
yes ur right, but so what if he spoke out against Israel ? it is not a crime to do it. or is it ?
In Response

by: iraj from: Canad
September 15, 2011 06:32
Hi,thank you for your comment,no one who believes in democracy would takes away people rights such as free speech,I meant this unlawful president asked for Israel elimination,...I DON,T HAVE TO REMIND YOU IN Iran THOUSANDS HAVE RAPED ,TORTURED,..EXECUTED,ONLY THEY EXPRESS THEM,SELF,...BEST ..WISHES,..

by: Ally Bolour from: Los Angeles
September 14, 2011 16:01
Not once did Ms. Curry asked any real or challenging questions. Perhaps, she would not have gotten the interview otherwise. Shame on her and shame on NBC for selling out so cheaply. Murders, tortures, rapes - still to this day - in mieval-style dungeons in Tehran apparently are less important than a one on one with the thug in chief - Ahmadinejad!

by: Behnaz from: Shahriari
September 14, 2011 16:50
Aren't you ashamed of yourself to send the reporter to Tehran, Iran? and instead of your reporter asking him why are they making life miserable for Iranian inside iran? why are they torturing people constantly and killing people in prison and put them in the massive grave? why are they stealing the oil money and the poverty is rising up every minute in Iran?

Do you think Iranian would care "unless you in west care for these things" what time the president of Iran wakes up? what time he sleeps? what does he eats and how he does runs or do bicycle?

Stop supporting the horrible betrayer and criminal regime in Iran. Have some humanity and mercy for Iranian inside Iran. They forced 5 million Iranian live far from their own country.

by: JC Vaughan from: Odenton, Maryland
September 14, 2011 17:14
The abuses of the Iranian regime began before Ahmadinejad with the revolution itself in 1979. This is well documented in the book "A Time to Betray". Any regime that murders youths on (very probably) fabricated charges (Mahmoud Asgari, Ayaz Marhoni) and which institutes a policy of raping young virgin girls - before killing ("executing") them to that they will go to hell - has no legitimacy in any sense other than the "Hitler and the Nazis" sense. The worst of it is that International Organizations and other governments seem to bend over backwards to justify this illegitimate regime (just as the Left did with Communist Russia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and many African dictators).

by: NIA from: USA
September 14, 2011 22:10
I'm glad that the green movement of Karoubi and Mir Husaini died because they are no different from the current regime. We need a leader who will separate state and religion with more freedom for the population and not use Arabic words or culture.

by: Masoud from: Tehran
September 15, 2011 05:15
Thank you for your letter.
Something you may want to ad to your comments is that:

On this report by mistake they mention that Ahamdinejad prays 5 times a day and that is only Sunnis custom to pray 5 times a day. Ahamdinejad as Shia could only pray 5 prays in 3 times a day.


by: Christopher Hobe Morrison from: Pine Bush, NY, USA
September 15, 2011 05:23
Maybe NBC expects some sort of exclusive content or commercial deals if they kiss enough a$$.

by: sara
September 15, 2011 11:32
cheap NBC, liar Ahmadinejad, poor iranian people! And politics should not be separated from religion! And Mr. Hardowking religious Ahmadinejad, pls for god sake, listen to your peple, even if they dont love you, instead of putting thm in jail nd ingoring nd abusing them! God is watching you and one day you will also die! Be scared of god, release political prisoners for god sake! Have some shame, and fear from your god!

by: F.Kazemzadeh from: Alta Loma, CA
September 15, 2011 19:27
American reporters have often been naive in the past. Old times remember stories in American newspapers about Stalin's love of children and Hitler's love of dogs, Mussolin's making trains run on time, and many more. Looking for the best in people is commendable but not when it leads to distortion of reality.

by: Mohamed Ghuloom from: Bahrain
September 20, 2011 20:38
"NBC fails to ask why a president who is so committed to human values didn’t speak up against the documented torture and rape of young people"

Maybe that's because he is sane enough to not repeat the same old unproven accusations, and learned to not make a big deal for example of western media x-largeness a woman's persecute while the US has 51 queues of them and the highest rate of wars and killings.

Maybe it's time you play little nice like others, interview is to bring nations closer to each others not to challenge with war-talk questions.

About This Blog

Persian Letters is a blog that offers a window into Iranian politics and society. Written primarily by Golnaz Esfandiari, Persian Letters brings you under-reported stories, insight and analysis, as well as guest Iranian bloggers -- from clerics, anarchists, feminists, Basij members, to bus drivers.

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Seen anything in the Iranian blogosphere that you think Persian Letters should cover? If so, contact Golnaz Esfandiari at esfandiarig@rferl.org