Ten common misconceptions people of the West have about Iran and its inhabitants, as compiled by Juan Cole, president of the Global American Institute, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and author of Engaging the Muslim World:
- Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US.
- Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.
- Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to “wipe it off the map”.
- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”.
- Iranians are Holocaust deniers.
- Iran is like North Korea in having an active nuclear weapons program, and is the same sort of threat to the world.
- The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.
- The world should sanction Iran not only because of its nuclear enrichment research program but also because the current regime stole June’s presidential election and brutally repressed the subsequent demonstrations.
- The Iranian regime irrational and crazed, so a doctrine of mutally assured destruction just would not work with them.
- The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.
Each of these ten items are tackled methodically by Cole and the brief piece is worth reading if you’re interested in Iranian politics (or American-Iranian relations).