Lots of Attention on the Iranian Navy

Graham Bell, 22 February 2011

Categories: Iran | BBC News | War | Middle East |

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Today, the 22nd February, the BBC has given quite a lot of attention to the movement of Iranian warships through the Suez Canal. As scores of protesters are being killed by brutal regimes in Libya, Morocco and Bahrain, big news has been made about the seemingly insignificant passage of two Iranian navy vessels through the Suez Canal.

The warships are on route to Syria for training purposes. Iran and Syria have a strong alliance and have for some time shared concerns about Israeli foreign policy. To many, the deployment of warships from one country to another for training purposes does not warrant surprise or fear, so why is the world now supposed to be concerned? Naturally it is because this time the country moving equipment around is Iran, and not a ‘responsible’ nation like the US or the UK. Although the country's regime is corrupt and the people live in repression, such strong coverage of all military action is surely disproportionate. It is natural for such movements to be reported amongst foreign secret services and diplomats, but for this news to be made public to UK citizens suggests that it is part of a long running media campaign to ensure that we are all scared of Iran.

The BBC's Jonathan Marcus boasts that the Iranian ships are ‘no match for the comparable Western warships nor the sophisticated missile boats of the Israeli navy’, while the BBC in general continuously quote the Israeli Foreign Minister as referring to “Iranian Provocations”. Western reporting can often be seen to follow the same routine: whenever Iran does something with its military, it is seen as an important world event. When the first Iranian drone was unveiled it was big news. Why did the BBC not report similar stories about development and deployment of similar and far more sophisticated equipment by western powers, or other military nations? Why did mainstream news not tell us that the US now has enough firepower on the island of Diego Garcia to destroy 10,000 Iranian targets in a few hours? Did Iran have an opportunity to voice their concerns about provocations then?

The answer to this is more than likely that we need to be of the illiusion that Iran is a threat to the western way of life. Tony Blair said at the Chilcot enquiry in January that the Iranians “disagree fundamentally with our way of life”. From what we can gather from reports from Iran themselves, they do not dislike our ‘way of life’ but rather have concerns about US allegiance with Israel and US foreign policy in the Middle East.

The reporting seems to only focus on making assumptions about Iran. Israel, on the other hand, is provided with a voice through the BBC. Impartial journalism concerning international affairs should apply equal standards to all countries involved. The coverage of Iranian warships is simply another piece in a long trail of propaganda aimed at instilling fear of Iran in westerners. News about the Middle East is often reported more accurately by organisations in the area such as Al Jazeera. British news sources, as we know, will always report such events with a predetermined viewpoint.

Categories in which this article appears: Iran | BBC News | War | Middle East |

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