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Farzan Sabet @IranWonk
, 10 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
New @nytimes piece captures recent wave of #Iran|ian nationalism, particularly among non-principlists (-conservatives), that seasoned analysts have been noting for some time. But there are some important caveats to consider.… 1/
Article starts w/ beheading of Mohsen Hojaji by #ISIL. Then, bizarrely, article attributes cause of nationalist wave to #Trump & #Saudi. ISIL carried out terrorist attack on #Tehran!!! It is arguably larger structural factor that triggered wave since 2014, but largely ignored! 2/
One piece of evidence given to prove #Trump & #Saudi have caused #Iran nationalist wave is popularity of #Soleimani & #Zarif. Only one problem: High favourability numbers for both predate Trump election & significantly heightened Iran-Saudi tensions… 3/
Another criticism is use of anecdotal, un-systematic, man-on-the-street/elite interviews to make broad claims. Thin evidence indeed. If I tried to do same in a journal article, it would be shot down in peer-review. NYT seems to give #Iran journalist much wider latitude. 4/
Conceit of article is idea that urban, middle-class and pro-#US & #Iran|ian is now nationalist/bought into state propaganda b/c of #Trump & #Saudi. Reality is that nationalist, US-skeptical & anti-#Arab sentiments always been there, but understated by Western media tropes. 5/
Article also cites as evidence of #Iran gov capitalising on new nationalist wave things that, w/ maybe one exception, go back decades. For me being a #90skid in Iran meant going to military gun shows and frolicking on playgrounds made of missile replicas. 6/
Finally, article also fails to address how high a priority foreign policy is for #Iran|ians & how much public opinion actually matters for foreign policymaking. 7/
So NYT article: 1. Misstates origins of #Iran nationalist wave 2. Uses very poor evidence 3. Falls back on lazy Western media tropes about Iran & 4. Doesn't address actual implications of nationalist wave. BUT... 8/
That's not to say there isn't an #Iran nationalist wave, that moving forward #Saudi policies won't exacerbate, & (incoherent) #Trump policies won't strengthen anti-#Americanism. Just not sure how prevalent or enduring this wave will be. 9/
Other major question is to what extent #Iran state, particularly principlists (conservatives), will be able to capitalise on it. In long-term, may turn out to be quite consequential, but something that for now should be confined to anecdotal tweets rather than NYT pieces. 10/10
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