Tehran, 23 April 2014 – The Iranian campaign and media group Naame Shaam today sent an open letter to key Syrian opposition leaders, asking them to make more effort to communicate with the Iranian public and not let this gap be filled by Iranian state propaganda.
Among others, the letter was sent to the head of the Syrian opposition’s National Coalition Ahmad al-Jarba, the Syrian prime minister in exile Ahmad Tohme, the former leader of the Coalition Burhan Ghalioun, and many other opposition figures and bodies.
Explaining the motivations behind it, the letter says: “We are writing to you to express our disappointment at the lack of communication and information aimed at the Iranian public coming from the Syrian opposition, and to invite you to re-think your political strategy and tactics in relation to mobilising the international community to support your epic struggle against the murderous Syrian regime.”
“Most Iranians know next to nothing about what is really happening in Syria. Those who do know a little mostly get their ‘news’ from biased Iranian state-controlled media – i.e. they only hear and read the Syrian and Iranian regimes’ propaganda. How can you then expect Iranians to sympathise with and support your cause?”
Naame Shaam points out in its open letter that it is the Iranian regime’s support that has practically kept the Bashar al-Assad’s regime going for more than three years, especially since Hezbollah Lebanon’s official entry into Syria in mid-2013. The major battles in Syria, it explains, are now being fought mainly by Hezbollah and Iraqi militias, which are funded and controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (Sepah Pasdaran). “The Assad regime would not survive 24 hours without this direct Iranian role,” the letter adds.
The Naame Shaam letter then provides some “practical suggestions” to rectify what it describes as a “bizarre omission”. These include suggestions that the Syrian opposition should allocate a special budget for media projects focusing on providing information and news about the Syrian revolution in Persian, so that Iranians “hear your side of the story, not just the Syrian and Iranian regimes’ side.”
Other suggestions concern internal Iranian issues and perceptions and the use of sectarian language in news coverage of the events in Syria. “The war in Syria is a political not a religious one,” the letter says.
“Iranians need to hear from you that the Syrian revolution is not about religious fanatics who hate the Shia and Iran as a country. They need to hear from you that you have a problem with the Iranian regime, not with the Iranian people or the Shia community. Iranians need hear from you that Syria is becoming ‘Iran’s Vietnam’, and that Sepah Pasdaran, Hezbollah Lebanon and the Iraqi militias need to pull out of Syria before it is too late for everyone.”
For further questions:
Please contact us via our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naame-Shaam/438772749584524, or email us at [email protected]. We can then provide you with a Skype address for interviews.
Naame Shaam is a group of Iranian activists and citizen-journalists supported by Syrian and Lebanese activists. They all prefer to remain anonymous for the time being due to security reasons. However, we do have a spokesperson in Europe who can speak on our behalf.
For more information about Naame Shaam, please check our website at www.naameshaam.org
The full text of the open letter can be found here