Since Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's return home from his annual appearance at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, his anti-U.S. rhetoric has scaled new heights. Iran's ideological stance towards the U.S., which it calls "the Great Satan," is well known; since Ahmadinejad became president, Iranian spokesmen's anti-U.S. statements have become even more extreme.
This paper will examine three aspects of Tehran's current attitude towards the U.S., primarily among circles close to President Ahmadinejad: a) the Iranian regime's depiction of the U.S.; b) the Iranian depiction of U.S. President Barack Obama; and c) the issue of who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks.
I. The Image of the U.S. in the Eyes of the Iranian Regime
For some time, the Iranian regime, under President Ahmadinejad, has been giving positive consideration to the question of dialogue with the U.S. – while senior Iranian officials attempt to label Iran as a power that equals, or even surpasses, the U.S. in the region. Iran's official stance is that the U.S. must withdraw from the region and leave the region under Iranian hegemony.
On the global level, President Ahmadinejad declares that Iran's ideology is marvelously suited for managing the entire world and humanity itself, and that it possesses both the tools and the power to do so.
In the following statements, Ahmadinejad even claims that Iran goes beyond rivaling the U.S. – i.e. that it threatens the U.S.'s ideological and physical existence, and that the U.S. has been placed in a defensive posture vis-à-vis Iran:
Ahmadinejad: We're The Only Ones Casting Doubts On U.S. Existence
In a meeting with prayer leaders in Iran, Ahmadinejad said that no country dares to cast doubts on the existence of the U.S. as Iran has done – let alone on U.S. soil. He added that the interviews that he gave during his New York visit had served as a grave warning to U.S. officials, who are obeyed by the U.S. media.
Ahmadinejad also called on the preachers to prepare to establish the government of the Hidden Imam.
Source: Khabaronline (Iran), September 29, 2010
Ahmadinejad: U.S. Defending Itself Against Iran
In a speech yesterday in Khuzestan province, in southern Iran, Ahmadinejad said that the world expects Western capitalist thought to collapse soon.
He added that the U.S., "whose existence is shameful," is now defending itself against Iran.
Sources: Kayhan (Iran), September 28, 2010; Borna (Iran), September 27, 2010
Kayhan: Iran Has Triumphed, and Has Overtaken the U.S. – Iran Is Now the Regional Power in the Middle East
In a September 19, 2010 editorial, the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, stated that the signs of Iran's triumph in its strategic power struggle with the U.S. in the Middle East are clear. The paper enumerated Iran's diplomatic achievements in the Iraq arena, noting the U.S. troop withdrawal; it also pointed out Iran's accomplishments in Afghanistan and in its nuclear issue vis-à-vis the West.
The editorial stressed that Afghanistan has become an emergency for the Americans, and concluded that for this reason the U.S. will soon have to turn to Iran to ask for its help to resolve the crisis there. It added that the U.S. has been completely unsuccessful in stopping Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state, and that Tehran's nuclear achievements mean that it will come to the negotiating table under circumstances that are more favorable to it. Iran, the paper noted, has already paid the price of sanctions; it added that now the West, not Tehran, must be the one to compromise.
The paper went on to say that because the U.S.'s needs in these arenas have become critical, the Middle East geopolitical system will soon undergo a shift, and Iran will be recognized globally as the unassailable regional power in the Middle East. This, the paper said, will have clear ramifications for Iran's relations with the West.[i]
II. U.S. President Barack Obama's Image in Iran
U.S. President Barack Obama is depicted by Iranian officials and media as a pagan, Satan, or an "international villain," and is portrayed in cartoons as a black servant or the servant of Zionism. He is also depicted as an incompetent and helpless leader, and as having exhausted all political means of dealing with Iran. Following are some examples:
Iranian Daily: Obama 'The Black Man' Ignores African-American Suffering
The Iranian daily Jomhouri-e Eslami stated that President Obama's demand, during a September 24 interview with BBC Farsi, that Iran prove that its nuclear program is not for military purposes, is puzzling, because both the U.S. and Israel themselves have nuclear arsenals. It added that Obama's call to Iran to help the Palestinians establish a state alongside Israel, the Jewish state, means that he is calling to recognize the occupation.
According to the paper, Obama might have been expected, due to his ethnic origin, to recognize the suffering of the Palestinians – but that "the black man" had forgotten the suffering caused his African grandmothers by the Americans and the Europeans, and was ignoring the ongoing discrimination against African-Americans in the West.
Source: Jomhouri-e Eslami (Iran), September 27, 2010
Cartoon: 'Obama Serves Zionism'
Ahmadinejad: Satan Has Taken Over The U.S. President and Is Ruling Through Him
In a speech to regime officials, Ahmadinejad said that Satan had taken over U.S. President Barack Obama and was ruling the entire world through him.
Sources: ISNA, ILNA (Iran), July 11, 2010
Iranian Official: The White House Is A Pagan Temple
At a Basij conference in the former U.S. Embassy building in Tehran, Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi, a member of the Iranian Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution, called the White House a pagan temple, and said that the founder of the Islamic regime in Iran, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khamenei, would never have ordered a reduction in Iran-U.S tension.
Source: Javan (Iran), November 26, 2009
'Kayhan': Obama Is Helpless Against Iran
The Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote that President Obama had exhausted all his moves towards Iran, and that now he is bewildered and helpless. The paper added that Obama is prevented from negotiating with Iran because this contradicts the U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution, and he cannot recruit Russia, China, and the E.U. to his side; all that is left for him is to hope that the sanctions will have some effect on Iran.
Source: Kayhan (Iran), September 13, 2010
Majlis Speaker Calls Obama 'International Villain'
Iranian Majlis speaker Ali Larijani has called President Obama an "international villain."
Referring to Obama's recent remarks on Iran, he said, "How dare Obama announce that he wants to help the Iranian nation? He should know that he is an international villain, he has never sided with the Iranian nation."
Larijani made the remarks in an address in the southern Iranian province of Fars on September 26.
Source: ISNA(Iran), September 26, 2010
III. Accusing the U.S. of Carrying Out 9/11 Attacks
In his September 25, 2010 speech at the U.N. General Assembly, Ahmadinejad gave the first signs of openly accusing the U.S. of carrying out the 9/11 attacks. Immediately afterwards, various Iranian regime spokesmen reiterated his accusations. Since then, Ahmadinejad has developed the accusations further, saying that the American 9/11 conspiracy had two goals: first, to take over the Middle East and thus solve its own economic problems, and two, to rein in the spread of the Islamic Revolution in the Middle East and in southeast Asia, as it threatens the U.S. and the West.
In his accusations, Ahmadinejad has claimed that the U.S. administration had planned the deed so perfectly that no one dared to raise doubts about who had perpetrated it, and that everyone believed the dubious evidence presented by the Americans as "proving" that Afghans and Arabs were the ones who carried it out – even though their bodies were not found at the scene. Iran, he said, has documents attesting that the U.S. administration warned "the residents of the Twin Towers" to evacuate prior to the attacks.
Following are the main points of Ahmadinejad's statements in an October 5, 2010 speech in Golestan, northern Iran:
"Prior to the attack on Afghanistan and on Iraq, the Americans were in economic crisis, [so they] planned an attack on these two countries to solve it. They carried out their goals using the pretext of a terrorist threat against America and the world.
"The Americans implemented well-thought-out propaganda, and planned the 9/11 events so precisely that none dared to raise questions regarding the reasons for these events, or their main perpetrators; everyone merely identified with [the Americans'] pain and condemned the incident.
"With advance planning, the American administration pointed an accusing finger at the Muslins and the peoples of the region, and American officials said that the perpetrators were some Afghans and Arabs.
"In order to prove their claim, they said that they had found several passports belonging to these men in the ruins of the Twin Towers... How is it that the bodies of the perpetrators were never found at the attack scene, but scraps of some passports were? How is it that some of these men, who had allegedly managed to enter America from Afghanistan and passed through several of the country's labyrinthine security barriers, left no trace?
"After [9/11], they launched a military attack on Afghanistan and Iraq, and then-president [George W. Bush] threatened Iran several times. We have in our possession reliable documents showing that prior to [9/11], the U.S. authorities warned residents of the Twin Towers against being there. Without this warning, the number of people killed would have been greater than what they announced – 3,000."
In his speech, Ahmadinejad went on to explain that the American attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq were because of "the spread of the Islamic Revolution and of the [ideological] movement of the Iranian people in the region and in the world." He added: "The Americans realized that the mighty waves of this movement were like a gigantic cultural deluge spreading throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia, that would quickly conquer all the continents, and the nations would join, one after another, the enthusiasm and the effervescence of the Iranian nation.
"The Americans realized that the way to fight this mighty revolutionary wave was not with military schemes and political propaganda, and that the Zionist regime was no longer capable of implementing its aims. For this reason, they thought that a military attack was the only way, and [thus] put into action their extensive attack on Afghanistan and Iraq, by planning the scenario of the attack on the Twin Towers in New York. They attacked the Middle East with several hundred thousand troops in order to take over the oil resources and to rein in the spread of the Islamic Revolution.
"In perpetrating the events of 9/11, the Americans were so calculating, and the American media published the news about the incident so extensively and exclusively, that none dared to raise questions about the truth of the incident or [to suspect] the role of the Americans in creating it."[ii]
Ahmadinejad: Israel's a Wild Dog Unleashed By The Americans
Ahmadinejad said, during the inauguration of a housing project in the city of Karaj, that the Americans have dragged the whole world into the mud, that for 60 years they have been threatening the countries of the region using the pretext of the Holocaust, and that they have unleashed a wild dog (meaning Israel) to plunder the region's resources. He expressed a wish that they would quickly die[iii].
He added that the Americans used the excuse of 9/11 to attack the region and threaten it, and demanded that they thoroughly investigate the events of 9/11 in order to determine the truth and "answer our questions regarding the perpetrators of the attacks..." He called on the Western countries to leave the region of their own volition, otherwise "the countries of the region will expel" them.
Source: ISNA (Iran), News Online (Iran), October 3, 2010
Ahmadinejad Calls For Reexamination of 9/11 Black Box
The official Iranian news agency IRNA reported on September 25, 2010 that Ahmadinejad has called for a reexamination of the "black box" from 9/11, "so that all facts will be revealed." According to the report, "he reiterated that on the pretext of the September 11 incident, all nations, including those of the Middle East, were exposed to threats and oppression. 'I had previously written a letter to the UN secretary-general and explained in length about the event,' he said."
The report continued, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is against unilateral and unfair management of the world, and believes that developments should be made in the global management structure."
Iranian FM: Americans Distracting Public Opinion From Their Responsibility For 9/11
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has said that the U.S.'s sanctions on eight senior Iranian officials, including Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Mohammad Jafari and Iranian government ministers, for their alleged responsibility for the killing and torturing of Iranian citizens are aimed at distracting public opinion in the U.S. and in the world from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements about senior U.S. officials' responsibility for the events of 9/11.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry rebuked the Swiss ambassador to Iran, who represents U.S. interests in Iran, in response to the U.S. sanctions.
Sources: IRNA, Mehr (Iran), October 1, 2010; Irinn.ir (Iran), September 30, 2010
Obama, Zionists Make Up Their Own Version of 9/11
Cartoonist: Hossein Koshtkar; source: Javan, (Iran), September 26, 2010
[i] MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 3247, "Kayhan: Iran Has Triumphed, and Has Overtaken the U.S. – Iran Is Now the Regional Power in the Middle East," September 20, 2010, Kayhan: Iran Has Triumphed, and Has Overtaken the U.S. – Iran Is Now the Regional Power in the Middle East
[ii] IRNA (Iran), October 5, 2010.
[iii] Fararu (Iran), Oct 3, 2010.