Iran’s authoritarian rulers have released a new statement attacking what it calls a “Zionist lobby” in the US, targeting voices in America who condemn antisemitism on college campuses. Iran’s regime has put out statements via its Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani.

This appears to be in response to Congress focusing on antisemitism at major US universities, with University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigning on Saturday after a controversial congressional hearing on antisemitism last week.

Why is Iran interested in this controversy?

It appears Iran’s regime is seeking to use anti-Israel protests in the US to bolster Iran’s lobbying attempts. Tehran has sought to influence US campuses and policy for decades, eventually culminating to some extent in the push for the Iran deal in 2015. The Islamic Republic and its supporters in the West sought to influence conversations at the highest levels and in media, portraying Iran as “moderate.

As part of this agenda, Tehran also pushed anti-Israel messages. The goal here was to portray US policy in the Middle East as tied to support for Israel. In the Iran regime’s view, if the US public and college campuses educating the next generation of policymakers could be influenced against Israel, then they might drive a pro-Iran policy.

This appears to be the context of why Iran is focused now on college campus protests and also the hearings in Congress. The Iranian pro-regime media Fars News and Tasnim News both focused on this issue yesterday.

Fars News reported that “the Zionist lobby in the US Congress cannot bear this issue.” The issue is antisemitism, but Iran alleges that anti-Israel protests are being labeled antisemitic. “In this regard, in recent weeks, the Zionist lobby called for the removal of the presidents of universities where anti-Israel protests have been held,” Iran’s regime media claimed. Iran’s regime appears very concerned about the pressure put on US universities to prevent antisemitism.

Iran’s government has long dabbled in antisemitic tropes to further its cause, once putting out messaging blaming Israel for conflicts in the Middle East or alleging that US policy in the region is driven by the Jewish state, and therefore US-Iran tensions are driven by Israel.

The evidence points to the opposite: It is Iran that seeks to attack the US and Israel and exploit tensions to do so. It is Iran that backs proxies in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza, and other places to spread instability and also spread anti-America messaging.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman on Sunday claimed that pro-Israel groups in the US were setting up “medieval inquisition courts in 21st century America to censor the crimes of the Israeli apartheid regime in Gaza.” It appears the use of the term “medieval inquisition” is purposeful here, part of how the regime tries to re-package historical antisemitism into modern conflicts and accuse Israel or Jews of doing to others what was done to Jews.

For example, Iran’s media know that Jews were victims of the Inquisition, and it is twisting around this term. Regime media has done the same with the Holocaust.

The new Iranian focus on US campuses may reveal Iran’s interest or even active attempt to inflame protests in the West. It is unusual for Tehran to comment on the internal issues at US universities. Therefore, the focus of Iran’s Foreign Ministry in this regard is unique.

Source » jpost