National Post Retracts Minorities Badge Story on Iran
Antonia Zerbisias follows up on the the bogus National Post story about Iran having passed a law requiring Christians and Jews to wear badges identifying them as such. She notes that The National Post has retracted the story, saying:
‘ Our mistake: Note to readers
Last Friday, the National Post ran a story prominently on the front page alleging that the Iranian parliament had passed a law that, if enacted, would require Jews and other religious minorities in Iran to wear badges that would identify them as such in public. It is now clear the story is not true. Given the seriousness of the error, I felt it necessary to explain to our readers how this happened. ‘
Ironically, the rest is behind a firewall and does not at the moment seem to show up at google.news!
As for rightwing expatriate Iranian journalist Amir Taheri, the source “> of the story he has declined to retract. He continues to maintain that the law he referred to was “passed,”, and says that his sources are “three members of the Iranian Majlis” (parliament). But as many experts, including Israeli-Iranian experts, have pointed out, no such law has been passed. Some have doubted that Taheri is likely to be in close contact with three members of the new hardline parliament.
If Taheri were merely alleging that some hardline members of parliament had discussed among themselves the possibility of marking non-Muslims by badges, that would be one thing. In the 1980s under Khomeini, there actually was a measure requiring non-Muslim shopkeepers to so identify themselves in their shop windows. I understand that this measure backfired and was dropped, when the Muslim Iranians flocked to the minority establishments. (Minorities in Iran are custodians of many of the finer things in life, from liquor cabinets to pepperoni on pizza, and their merchants have often adopted a strategy of being scrupulously honest with customers so as to give a value-added beyond that offered by Muslim establishments.) While the law was something out of 1930s Germany, the reaction of the Iranian public was for the most part definitely not.
And if the allegation was merely that the matter had been discussed by MPs, you could understand him standing by what he says he was told by insiders. But he is alleging that a law has been passed. A law is a public thing. We would know about that. And, Maurice Motamed, the Jewish representative in the Iranian parliament, would certainly know about it. He denies that any such thing was even discussed in parliament.
So here is a case where an embarrassing mistake has been made. The National Post has retracted. So too should Taheri. Or else we have to assume that he is putting something else above journalistic integrity.
Larry Cohler-Esses of The Jewish Week reviews the fiasco.
See also Jan Frel at Alternet.
Unqualified Offerings made some intersting points on the affair a couple of days ago.