After a week’s travel in Iran, I am able to provide a fresh, different, and unbiased perspective on the country. This is an account entirely at odds with Donald J. Trump’s worldview. It is a story diametrically opposed to the Zionist narrative that has so captivated the American government and media.
Following a surprise invitation to attend an all-expenses paid trip to the 6th International New Horizon Conference (about al-Quds, i.e. Jerusalem), I arrived in Mashhad, Iran on May 11, 2018. Knowing little of Iran, I expected another version of Saudi Arabia, an arch-conservative society, with no mixing of the sexes, rigidly-controlled politics, and little interest in the outside world.
Enlightening Ignorant Me
I found just the opposite. Iran and Iranians, despite the unforgivable and deadly U.S. sanctions, are genuinely warm and welcoming. They possess an economy that, despite American efforts to wreck it, still functions. There are airports, motorways (with toll booths!), and double-decker commuter trains. And the most god-awful traffic outside of Washington, D.C. and Moscow, even if gasoline is the equivalent of US$0.25/liter (quart) and the average salary is only US$309/week.
During the conference, at nearly every moment I wasn’t in my chair, I was being interviewed by Iranian journalists and others. There were no softball questions, they were hard and to the point. Some meetings were pre-arranged, others were “ambush” interviews , catching me as I went to change money or finished an earlier conversation with another journalist. I wasn’t alone in this. Other participants, such as Rabbi David Wise from New York City, Philip Giraldi, ex-CIA, Peter Van Buren, former American diplomat like myself, and Greta Berlin, a member of several supply voyages to Palestine NOT attacked by Israel, all noted the same thing.
Contrary to the reportage in the United States, Iranian women, while covered to a greater or lesser extent in public, mix freely with men, walk the streets without escort, and work openly as photographers and reporters. I saw women and men playing pool and bowling together.
But there is a dark side to things in Iran, a land with more than 80 million people and a history and culture stretching back 5,000 years. Like the now-destroyed Iraq and Syria, it is a target country. America and Israel want the nation eliminated. It does not toe the Zionist-American line, it espouses a disfavored religion (although Christians and Jews have lived there for millenia). It is a unified state with strong armed forces….