Middle East studies in the News
Iran's Fabricated Polls in America, and Gullible Obama [incl. Ebrahim Mohseni]
One thing that many Americans find hard to understand is what it is like to live under a dictatorship. Why would they know? After all, America has always been a democracy, since its inception. They have no experience of living in a dictatorship.
If you conduct a poll in America for example, most people will give straight answers reflecting what they really think about an issue. They have no reason to fear the consequences of their opinion and don't have to look over their shoulder for expressing their views.
Call someone on the telephone out of the blue, in a country like Iran however, and say to them you are conducting an opinion poll, and ask them a question like, 'Are you in favour of your government's nuclear program?', the respondent will either have a heart attack from fear there and then or, if they care for their own well being, as most people do, answer 'Yes, of course I do!".
How would you react if you found out a public opinion poll of how Iranians feel towards an issue was conducted by an office led by the Supreme Leader's personal physician's, US educated son, and another shady former Iranian student who has studied under his supervision?
Well if you had even only a double digit IQ, you will probably say the fabricated poll was not worth the paper it was written on. And if you saw the poll's results were something along the lines of the following you'd think the same:
"76% of Iranians said they had an unfavourable opinion of the United States"
"91% of Iranians were in favour of nuclear enrichment"
"a large majority of Iranians approved Ahmedinejad's government's handling of the country"
"81% of Iranians considered Ahmadinejad as their legitimate president"
"81% of people were satisfied with the electoral process"
It seems however, the President of the United States, Barack Obama and his administration have fallen hook, line and sinker for exactly such fabricated polls.
Consider the case of Mohammad Marandi, a Tehran University professor, who is often seen on English speaking media, advocating the Iranian regime's position on various issues. What viewers are never told is that he is also the son of the Supreme Leader's personal physician and, having been educated in the US, he knows exactly how the American media, university academics and government officials tick.
To put it bluntly, Professor Marandi knows exactly how to fool them. His expertise in this regard is quite admirable.
Professor Marandi, amongst many other bodies, heads the University of Tehran Centre for Public Opinion Research (UTCPOR), which is monitored by the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Ebrahim Mohseni is one of Professor Marandi's proteges, who has become a 'Research Scholar' at the Centre for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM).
Together, they launched two public opinion polls in 2007 and 2008, which received wide Western media coverage. Ahmadinejad was so pleased with them, that his office helped them set up the, "University of Tehran Centre for Public Opinion Research (UTCPOR)" in 2009. Marandi became the head and Mohseni, became UTCPOR's director of projects.
Mohseni's connection with the University of Maryland also helps him disguise the real paymaster of his fabricated polls. i.e. the Islamic Republic of Iran. US organisations and think tanks that lobby for friendship and appeasement with the Iranian regime, many of whom are close to the Obama administration, publicise and promote these polls as if they were scientific surveys conducted by the University of Maryland itself.
And this is how we have Obama and his associates paraphrasing the results of these fabricated polls, engineered by the Iranian regime, as if they were undisputed facts.
For example, in an interview with with New York Time's reporter Thomas Friedman, president Obama declared:
"What we know is that this [Iran's nuclear program] has become a matter of pride and nationalism for Iran. Even those who we consider moderates and reformers are supportive of some nuclear program inside of Iran..."
Similarly, Robert Einhorn, prominent advocate of the Obama administration for appeasing Iran, wrote in an article:
"Iran's leaders have convinced the Iranian people that a ban on enrichment would deprive them of an inalienable right to pursue civil nuclear power...Iranians across the political spectrum would prefer to forgo an agreement and muddle through under existing sanctions rather than accept what they would regard as a national humiliation."
One body which tirelessly promotes these fabricated polls, is NIAC (the National Iranian American Council). NIAC is widely regarded by most Iranian ex-pats as an Iranian regime lobby group in the United States.
The organisation is headed by Trita Parsi, who has never set foot in post-revolution Iran, and has been behind previous misinformation campaigns like "sanctions are causing medicine crisis in Iran" or "Someone in Iran has died because of IV fluid shortage, caused by US sanctions!" etc.
NIAC has managed to get very close to the Obama administration and has become very influential in Obama's policy making on Iran. Sahar Nowrouzzadeh and Shervin Hajilou, two of Obama's advisors on Iran, for example, are both NIAC affiliated.
Earlier this month, Voice of America (Persian) funded by the US tax payer, became a platform for the latest promotion of these Islamic Republic sponsored polls. VOA Persian claimed an opinion poll conducted by "experts" at the University of Maryland showed the majority of Iranians supported the regime.
One thousand people had taken part in the telephone poll and the vast majority of them had expressed they had complete confidence in the Iranian electoral process, the Voice of America program claimed.
The program then showed video footage of the conference where the poll results were announced; the "experts" on the panel were Obama's golden boy, Trita Parsi and Professor Marandi's protege, Ebrahim Mohseni.
Viewers were outraged by the program, not because they knew who was behind the poll, but because the last election results alone showed clearly how absurd this concocted poll was. They started calling VOA Persian to complain. Embarrassed by their blatant bias towards NIAC, VOA Persian removed the video footage and the news reports of the conference from their website in less than 24 hours.
Discussing all this with the former reformist Majlis deputy in Iran, was Ali Akbar Moussavi Khoeini, now living in exile in the US. He said:
"The most absurd part of the poll was that it claimed only 17% of Iranians disapproved of the Guardian Council (the unelected body which vets candidates before and even after the so-called elections) and that most Iranians support the regime's actions in Syria!".
Moussavi Khoeini added, "Its important to find out where this Mr. Ebrahim Mohseni is connected to?"
At best, one can only attribute the Obama administration's disastrous handling of foreign policy to simple naivety and callowness. But whether it's just the school boy foreign policy advisers he has appointed around him or something more sinister, the departure of this "Jimmy Carter II" administration can't come soon enough.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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