During the Iranian uprising of 2009, the Dish continuously clashed with Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, the most well-known skeptics of the Green Movement. The husband and wife team continue to blog at The Race for Iran, in addition to Flynt’s role as Penn State Professor of International Affairs and Hillary’s role as Professorial Lecturer at American University and CEO of the political risk consultancy, Stratega. In a 2010 post, the Leveretts addressed the status of women in Iran:
The political views of Iranian women seem to cut across the Islamic Republic’s political spectrum. Certainly that was our impression of the political views of the educated, professionally-oriented young women we met at the University of Tehran. In this regard, Western polling data suggest that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad carried the women’s vote in the June 12, 2009 presidential election. While Western media exhibited a strong proclivity for posting pictures of Green Movement rallies in which women were prominently featured, a review of any reasonable sample of photos of “pro-government” demonstrations would suggest that at least as high a percentage of women were involved in those gatherings. (Perhaps the women captured in photos of pro-government rallies are somewhat more conservatively dressed than those in the Green Movement gatherings, but they were present in large numbers.)
A reader pushes back on yesterday’s video:
In watching the Leveretts account of Ahmadinejad’s Iran, I learned a great deal about the Islamic Republic’s fiscal policy and constitutional arrangements but, hoping to find at least one mention of the mass immiseration constantly forced on its citizenry, I was out of luck. Iran is a country where torture is commonplace to the point of banality, where dissidents are routinely imprisoned, where protesters are shot and beaten, where the Internet is heavily monitored, where corruption runs rampant, and where the regime espouses the kind of antisemitic rhetoric we normally associate with the 15th century.
Despite what the Leveretts may think, Iran is also developing a nuclear bomb. You wouldn’t learn any of those things from the their answer to the question of “what is your view of the Ahmadinejad regime”. Somehow, the only think the Leveretts thought of Ahmadinejad was “economic reformer”. They’re masquerading as maverick truth-tellers but, in reality, they’re just playing the role of knee-jerk contrarians . There’s nothing novel about it. They’re not the first American intellectuals to sell apologia as insight and they won’t be the last. You want to push back against the simplistic garbage peddled by some news media, fine. But I’d rather they fought agitprop with truth rather than more agitprop.