CIA INVOLVED IN NEDA’S SHOOTING?
Press TV (Iran)
June 26, 2009 (2154 GMT -- 1454 PDT -- Jun. 27, 0224 Tehran time)
The U.S. may have been behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old Iranian woman who was shot to death in Tehran's post election protest.
"This death of Neda is very suspicious," Iran's Ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri said. "My question is how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, gets shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was being held?" CNN reported on Friday.
He suggested that the CIA or another intelligence service may have been responsible.
"Well, if the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the government elements, then choosing women is an appropriate choice, because the death of a woman draws more sympathy," Ghadiri told CNN.
Ghadiri said that the bullet that was found in her head was not a type that was used in Iran.
"These are the methods that terrorists, the CIA and spy agencies employ," he said. "Naturally, they would like to see blood spilled in these demonstrations, so that they can use it against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is one of the common methods that the CIA employs in various countries."
But, he added, "I am not saying that now the CIA has done this. There are different groups. It could be the [work of another] intelligence service; it could be the CIA; it could be the terrorists. Anyway, there are people who employ these types of methods."
Asked about his government's imposition of restrictions on reporting by international journalists, Ghadiri blamed the reporters themselves.
"Some of the reporters and mass media do not reflect the truth," he said.
For example, he said that international news organizations have lavished coverage on demonstrations by supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi, who lost to the incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
He continued that those same news organizations have not shown "many, many demonstrations in favor of the winner," he said.
Ghadiri went on to say that members of the international news media have failed to report on people setting banks and buses on fire or attacking other people. "The only things they show are the reactions of the police," he said.
In response, CIA spokesman George Little denied the allegations.
RUMORS AND THEORIES SWIRL AROUND PROTESTS
By Tara Bahrampour
June 27, 2009
Almost as soon as the crackdown on protesters began in Tehran, rumors started to spread: Those doing the shooting were not Iranians.
"Confirmed: Basijis heard speaking Arabic at protests in Iran," a Facebook user wrote, referring to pro-government militiamen.
"Don't know where Arabic-speaking foreign forces are coming from, but no doubt they are now in Iran," someone tweeted.
Rumor had it that 5,000 fighters from Lebanon had been brought in to suppress the demonstrations. A Web site contributor recounted a conversation with a Basiji acknowledging their presence.
No evidence of non-Iranian participation in this month's clashes has surfaced. But to many Iranians, the idea makes perfect sense.
"You don't think, after they've been funding Hezbollah for more than 20 years and Hamas for 10, that they're not going to ask them to help?" Shahriar Etminani, a District resident, said at a candlelight vigil at Dupont Circle on Thursday night.
Others agreed, adding that Iran's government had to import outsiders because, after all, Iranians would not kill other Iranians.
Such declarations, repeated by Iranians at cocktail parties and in cyberspace, do not spring solely from a saintly view of their countrymen or a particular beef with Arabs. Nor are they new; the Iranian proclivity to believe that foreigners are behind major political events goes back more than a century and has extended to the Russians, the Americans and, especially, the British.
"There is a rich tradition of conspiracy theory in Iran," said Afshin Molavi, an Iran expert at the New America Foundation, adding that the word "Churchillian" to this day connotes treachery and cunning.
During the 1979 Islamic revolution, rumors flew that Israelis had been brought in to shoot demonstrators. After the shah was deposed, those who executed his generals were said to be Palestinians. The student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 sprang in part from a fear that the Americans were plotting to reinstate the shah.
Conspiracy theories thrive in societies with limited sources of information, said Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak, director of the Roshan Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. "When people don't feel in command of their own destinies, people ask the question, 'Who is running us, who is managing us?' "
Azar Nafisi, the author of *Reading Lolita in Tehran* and a professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, agreed. "Part of this mentality comes out of being so oppressed and so defenseless that you always think that some force stronger than you is responsible."
In Iran, foreign powers have in fact interfered in politics, most notably in 1953, when a British and U.S.-backed coup ousted a democratically elected prime minister and restored the shah to power.
The event colored the country's political and cultural development. In the 1960s and '70s, a popular book and television character, "Dear Uncle Napoleon," saw British intrigue everywhere. And during the revolution, each side accused the other of foreign ties. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini pointed at the shah's support from the West, and the shah quipped that the ayatollah had a "Made in England" stamp under his beard.
This week, the Iranian government said protesters were acting under orders of foreign media.
Molavi said Basiji might be more willing to confront people they believe are being directed by foreigners.
The belief that foreigners are among the shooters might be fed by the fact that some Basiji and Revolutionary Guard Corps members come from distant provinces and have unfamiliar accents. But it also speaks to a romantic view Iranians have of themselves.
"It's a combination of conspiracy theory and an excessive jingoistic feeling about Iran, that Iran has got no thieves, no murderers," Karimi-Hakkak said. "Anyone who appears to be doing anything bad has to be connected with non-Iranians."
He dismissed the idea that non-Iranians were among the militia, but Molavi and Nafisi said the possibility could not be ruled out.
In the same way that Iran sent help to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, "it could also get help from its allies," Nafisi said, but added that even if it were true, they would be a small minority acting under Iranian government directives, and the bulk of those shooting into the people are Iranians.
Even the Basiji may not be sure.
"There are Arabs among you too. No?" a contributor to a Web site reported asking an Iranian Basij member in a sandwich shop.
"Yes," the Basiji replied. But his information seemed secondhand. "I heard that they brought them to a hotel. It's said that they are from Lebanon. Last night when they gave us tuna fish for dinner, the guys were saying that they give good food to the Arabs."