Roger L. Simon

Iran: NYT's Roger Cohen is the new Walter Duranty

I imagine readers of this blog know the name Walter Duranty – the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times Moscow correspondent who notoriously lied about Stalin’s forced starvation of millions of Ukrainians. Well, the NYT has a new Duranty and, no, it’s not the pathetic Jayson Blair.

It’s Roger Cohen – the op-ed columnist whose articles excusing the mullahs read like an embarrassment now.  I attended a discussion at a LA synagogue a couple of months back at which a number of Iranian Jews and Bahais confronted the Times man about the brutality of the Islamic Republic, which they had experienced personally, but Cohen did not back down.


Of course now is another matter.   Defending the mullahs and the “openness” of Iran in the wake of what we have been witnessing seems pathetic.  So Cohen rushed to the fore today with a column.  It begins with a lot of arty nonsense aimed at establishing his Iranian bona fides and masking the mea culpa he knew he had to make.  Finally (in paragraph 14!) he gets to it:

I’ve argued for engagement with Iran and I still believe in it, although, in the name of the millions defrauded, President Obama’s outreach must now await a decent interval.

I’ve also argued that, although repressive, the Islamic Republic offers significant margins of freedom by regional standards. I erred in underestimating the brutality and cynicism of a regime that understands the uses of ruthlessness.

Underestimating? I’ll say! But to tell the truth it wasn’t at all hard to know the brutality of this regime.  Ten minutes on YouTube shows you everything, if you’re interested.  Five minutes on Google images.  There are some pretty good ones of homosexuals being hanged and women in hijabs dangling from telephone poles. Or just look up Akbar Mohammadi, the student leader murdered in Evin Prison by the regime. I met his brother Manoucher whose face looked like a Picasso from the beatings he took in the same prison. But Cohen didn’t really want to know. He had his “vision” to give the readers of the New York Times.

One other thing, Cohen writes “President Obama’s outreach must now await a decent interval.”  Until when?  Another group of students are beaten to death or thrown from their dormitory windows as they were at Tehran University in 1999?  Do you really think “outreach” will solve that?  Good boy, Roger. You’ve figured it out.

APROPOS IRAN: Those following the ongoing situation on Twitter should search under: #iranelection, #stopAhmadi, #CNNfail  (love that last one!)