It's not easy supporting Iran - nobody likes us and we're not much good. At least, we weren't against Mexico, deservedly losing 1-3. But neither Angola nor Portugal impressed much either, so all is not lost. We're notoriously slow starters, anyway.
I'm not saying the media made us lose, but our cause was not helped by the incessant, polemical propaganda spewed out by western media against our players and, especially, our president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. A case in point was in yesterday's Observer, written by Luke Harding and Denis Campbell. This was the lede:
Iran's Football [sic] team will be met with a series of protests across Germany during their World Cup campaign as anger mounts against the country's viciously anti-semitic President [sic], Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Senior politicians, Jewish groups and a prominent German TV host will join a demonstration today in Nuremberg hours before Iran play their opening match of the tournament against Mexico in the city. They are furious that Ahmadinejad's deputy, Mohammad Aliabadi, has been allowed into the country after the Iranian President called the Holocaust 'a fairytale' and called for the destruction of Israel.
Let's unpack this. Is Ahmadinejad "anti-semitic"? No, of course not. He's ardently pro-Palestinian; the Palestinians are semitic; ergo, he is evidently pro-semitic, at least sometimes. What he is, though, is outspokenly anti-Zionist. (Some perceptive, orthodox Jews, a delegation from the anti-Zionist Naturei Karta sect , visited Iran in March this year, to show their support for Ahmadinejad. They said it was "a dangerous deviation to pretend that the Iranian president is an anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic personality.")
Did Ahmadinejad say the Holocaust was a 'fairytale'? [How would I know? I may support Team Melli - Irani Army! Irani Army! - but I don't speak or read a word of Farsi.- ed.] I think Harding and Campbell may be deviating from the truth. The word the president used, and keeps using, is translated as 'myth'. Ironically, the person who did use the word 'fairytale', in English, in reference to Auschwitz specifically, was David Irving, who's now in an Austrian prison, serving time for a 15-year-old thought crime. So, the Observer hacks are confusing Ahmadinejad's words with Irving's. I wonder why. And I could also be picky about the allegation that he called for the destruction of Isra-l. He wants the Zionist colonists to leave Palestine - he is not threatening to physically destroy Isra-l, its people or infrastructure.
Harding and Campbell are not reporting facts - they are inciting hatred towards our president. The Zionist propagandists are demonizing Ahmadinejad because they don't want people to think about the questions he's raising about Isra-l's history and existence. Meanwhile, our footballers, none of whom, that I know of, are anti-semitic or vicious, are getting distracted from their task by all the programmed anti-Iranian demonstrations. That's our excuse, anyway, and we're sticking to it.