Iran without irony: Official says Palestinians ‘played key role’ in Gaza war

December 3, 2012

Iran News printed this odd headline today. (Thomas Erdbrink)

Iran loves to play up its self-designated status as leader of the Middle East's anti-Israeli militant groups. But a headline in today's Iran News, a Tehran-based and state-associated English-language newspapers, takes it a few steps beyond propaganda into something of self-parody.

"Palestinians Played Key Role in 8-Day War in Gaza," announces the headline, citing Iran's foreign minister. That might strike you as an odd statement given that Palestinians played just about every role on Gaza's side of the 2008 and 2012 fights with Israel. The implication is apparently that Iran's leadership of Gaza is so profound that the fight was really theirs, and the anti-Israel plaudits are for Tehran to disperse.

Iran's support for Gaza-based Hamas has included providing some of the longer-range rockets that led Israel to intervene there in November. The conflict left at least 140 Palestinians and five Israelis dead. The Iran News headline is not quite the same up-is-downism of Iran's insistence that the Arab Spring, which has weakened Iran's reach in the Middle East, is actually a pro-Iranian Islamic Awakening, but it's still pretty significant propaganda overreach.

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Max Fisher · December 3, 2012