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Boris Johnson And Other Stories

November 7, 2017
Weekly Roundup
2 min read
Boris Johnson And Other Stories

Dear friends,

Jailed Iranian-British Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has mostly been ignored by UK media, which has been busy with the trials and tribulations of the Tory government since Brexit. But thank God for Boris Johnson’s habit of having his foot for breakfast, lunch and supper! Nazanin is now on the top of news agenda because of Boris’ gaffe. He said she was teaching journalism, rather than saying that she used to be a PA for a journalism program and was in Iran on vacation at the time of her arrest. 

All of a sudden, Labour politicians and other Boris enemies in politics and media (they’re a sizable part of the UK population) jumped on the Boris-bashing bandwagon and started to chastise him instead of the Iranian government, the very government that arrested Nazanin, denied her access to a lawyer and held her in prison since April 16. And it’s shameful that most of those who’ve been criticizing Boris have been silent about Nazanin’s plight for such a long time. 

It is the Iranian authorities who are acting entirely illegally — from the new charges brought against her using the same so-called evidence that led to her previous conviction to her treatment while in prison. There’s nothing that justifies her being tortured, and even if she was training journalists, this is not a crime in Iran. Iran’s officials must take responsibility for what they’ve done, and no amount of diplomacy, whether perfectly pitched or clumsily handled, will make this happen. 

I’m not sure what to call the arrest of dozens of people overnight in Saudi Arabia. Was it coup or reform? Those arrested aren’t my favorite people, but on what basis were they arrested? And would we call the arrest of dozens of people “reform” if it happened in Iran or China? This week’s coup/reform in Saudi Arabia has given more power to Mohammad bin Salman and will definitely affect Iran-Saudi relations. 

When the Houthi rebels launched a missile attack on Saudi Arabia last week, Saudi officials pointed the finger at Iran, which backs the Houthis. The Revolutionary Guards denied involvement, but at the same time, with support from Iran’s ultra-conservative media, made it pretty clear that the Saudi attack was a welcome development and helped Iran gain the upper hand. The resignation of Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, who made his announcement from the safety of Saudi Arabia, also increased tensions. His stated fears about an assassination plot against him, plus his harsh criticism for Iran, led many people to regard his speech as “Saudi’s declaration of war against Iran.” IranWire will continue to report on the the Iran-Saudi conflict and how it feeds into anxiety about the Middle East around the world, as well as how it seeps into so many aspects of Iranian life. 

As always, please let me know if you have any comments. 

Warm regards 

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Boris Johnson's Blunder Over Nazanin Is Not The Problem

November 7, 2017
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Boris Johnson's Blunder Over Nazanin Is Not The Problem