The clip below examines the reception of Ahmadinejad’s recent quote about the “power vacuum” in Iraq.
AHMADINEJAD: Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbours and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation.
IN PERSIAN: Amadegi (Readiness) dareem (we have) khala’e (vacuum of) ghodrat ra (power) be komake (with the help of) mellathaye (nations of) mantaghe (the region) va (and) hamsayegan (neighbors) az jomle (among them) arabestan ([Saudi] Arabia) por koneem (to fill).
This quote was continually repeated by some lawmakers and analysts (see clip) as a reason not to withdraw from Iraq. As the IHT notes:
His mentioning a Saudi role may have sought to allay regional fears that Ahmadinejad would want to dominate in Iraq. Even though Riyadh and Tehran have not cooperated in the past, it “doesn’t mean it can’t happen,” Ahmadinejad said
However, the second half of the quote—where US ally Saudi Arabia is mentioned—was curiously missing from every instance where Ahmadinejad was quoted by lawmakers such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. This selective—and incomplete—quoting reveals a biased attitude which does not serve the interests of an informed public or US troops in the region; it also paves the way for continued enmity and unnecessary violence between the US and Iran.
Some newspapers like the New York Post Published this story with inaccurate and deceptive headlines such as Iran Threatens to Make Power Grab. The declaration of an unabashed Iranian “power grab” appears to be contradictory to other statements in the speech. Whatever one may think of the veracity of these statements, they claim respect for Iraqi independence, the impossibility of imposing foreign dominance, and the intent to help—all incongruous with announcing a “power grab.”
Other quotes from that speech which were left out of the dialog in Washington:
“The Iraqi nation is anti-occupier and has a 7000-year history of civilization. They [the occupying powers] cannot establish their domination.”
“The occupying powers today declare openly that they are after weakening the legal and people-based government of Iraq and that they don’t want Iraq to be independent.”
“We offered to help, but the presence of bad leaders at the head of the powers is preventing the correction of paths.”
Irancove @ September 18, 2007