By the Apadana Chronicle Editorial Board
In the wake of the social media battle between Iranian-American dissidents and those who advocate for the mullah regime, it was not surprising to see Jason Rezaian toss in his two-penny worth. On June 4, 2019, Rezaian published an opinion piece in the Washington Post titled, “The State Department has been funding trolls. I’m one of their targets.” Two things immediately stand out in the title of this article. One, in allegiance to NIAC, Rezaian calls Iranian dissidents and known opposition activists “trolls,” and two, as always, he plays the victim.
Rezaian who customarily reminds everyone in nearly all of his articles that he has suffered under the regime’s brutality, now claims that he was victimized by a pack of “trolls” unleashed by the State Department. The rest of the article is essentially a repertoire of NIAC’s talking points. Just like NIAC and its affiliates, Rezaian accuses the Iran Disinformation Project as the foundation for the “troll” activity without submitting any evidence to support his allegation. Taking the reader through a labyrinthine pathway, Rezaian ultimately connects the dots and concludes that the torment he has suffered under the brutish “troll” attacks is President Trump’s fault. This, of course, was not difficult to predict, knowing how much he despises the president.
One interesting part of this op ed is when Rezaian states, “..we all appear to share the view that Iran should be secular and democratic. The main difference between us and those spreading these falsehoods against us is how we envision that change in Iranian politics coming about.” Undeniably, there is a major philosophical difference between “us” and “them.” What Rezaian does not comprehend is the fundamental belief held by whom he calls “trolls” that secularism and democracy is an utter improbability under the current regime. For the “trolls,” there is no difference between Mohammad Khatami and Ali Khamenei, or Javad Zarif and Qassem Soleimani; they all form the appendages of the monstrosity that is the Islamofascist regime. Therefore, whoever believes that secular democracy is conceivable within the confines of Velayat-e-Faqih is at best delusional and at worst, an “apologist.”
Rezaian is correct when he says he has his views and the “trolls” have theirs. NIAC and its army of talking heads are fortunate to have on their side a former “political prisoner” who can be used as their wild card; their “victim of the regime.” Of course, Rezaian is neither the first nor the only former regime prisoner who shares NIAC’s views. He should know, however, that there are hundreds of “trolls” who have suffered immensely in the hands of the IRGC and the regime; perhaps much more severely than him. When listening to Rezaian, one cannot help getting the impression that his imprisonment was akin to Midnight Express or Papillon. In his book, however, he admits to having special privileges such as access to homemade meals, regular contacts with family, and even conjugal visits. In one instance, he was taken by his captors into town for a shopping spree at a designer clothing store.
The overall message of Rezaian’s article is that of a self-righteous, entitled individual who plays the victim card when he rushes to the rescue of his NIAC mates. His shallow and incongruous logic is evident when he deliberately labels those who disagree with his and NIAC’s views as “trolls.” No, Rezaian does not have the “Stockholm Syndrome.” Mechanically parroting NIAC’s rhetoric, he has always been the Manchurian Candidate for the mullahs.