Listening to Iran

[CBC News-Canada] Terry Milewski - Since the time of Darius the Great, there have been ties of blood and history between Persia and Israel that are now, 2,500 years later, on a collision course. Some 60,000 Jews from Iran live in Israel. Menashe Amir is the voice of Israel in Iran. On Israel's state-run radio, he's been broadcasting daily to Iran, in Farsi, for 48 years. For the past 15 years, he's also been hosting a fascinating Sunday call-in show. Iranians can call a number in Germany, so that they're not seen to be calling the "Zionist entity," and they're rerouted to Amir's studio. In an interview with CBC News, Amir said the West has failed to understand the Iranian threat. He believes the regime is opposed by most Iranians but is consumed by an apocalyptic vision: the triumph of Shia Islam over the world. Western governments, he says, don't see that, for the Iranian mullahs, the destruction of the Jewish state is just a step along the way. "On the same day, in the same speech that Ahmadinejad called for wiping off Israel from the map, he added that the destruction of Israel is the first step of our final confrontation with Western civilization." Amir says the regime dreams of a new caliphate - an Islamic empire spanning the globe. "They have the money, the missiles, they are seeking to have the nuclear bomb and the life of humankind is not important for them. I want to mention what Rahim Safavy, who was the chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, said a few days ago: 'We shall win and you, the Westerners, shall lose because we gave 200,000 victims, martyrs, in eight years of war with Iraq and we have 300,000 disabled and injured in this war - and we don't care about it. But you, the Westerners, are afraid to give 4,000 or 5,000 victims and casualties, so the final victory will be ours.'" Amir says the Iranian people don't share the regime's messianic vision. "Iranians are totally a different nation - a peaceful, polite, moderate people who want a good life, who adore the United States, who respect Canada, who like Western music....But the regime in Iran doesn't feel like they're Iranians. Mostly, firstly, they think they are Shi'ite Muslims and they have to work for the sake of Islam."

2008-08-29 01:00:00

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