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Visits to 'democratic' India have left no impact on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei

Tehran, Aug 30 (ANI): Yesterday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, told Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh about how he was impressed by India's first Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru beliefs, which came from Gandhiji's teachings, and helped to formulate and guide the initial years of the NAM movement.
 
He also spoke warmly about his visits to India and his meetings with former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Narasimha Rao, but apparently his visits to a democratic nation with a vibrant media had no impact on the Ayatollah.
 
Iran neither has a free press, nor does it respect the free press in the rest of the world.
 
In his inaugural speech at the XVIth NAM Summit being held here, the Ayatollah blasted western media for its biased reporting of events in the Middle East.
 
He said: " The media networks which belong to Zionism and many of the Western and mercenary media, repeat this great lie in violation of ethical values and journalistic commitment, and the political leaders who claim to defend human rights, have closed their eyes on all these crimes and support that criminal regime shamelessly and boldly, and assume the role of their advocates."
 
“Using their exclusive and organized media network, they disguise their lies as the truth, their falsehood as true, and their oppression as efforts to promote justice. In contrast, they brand as lies every true statement that exposes their deceit and label every legitimate demand as roguish," he added.
 

He also blasted the United States for its biased nuclear policy.
 
The Ayatollah said: "A bitter irony of our era is that the U.S. Government, which possesses the largest and deadliest stockpiles of nuclear arms and other weapons of mass destruction, and the only country guilty of its use, is today eager to carry the banner of opposition to nuclear proliferation.”
 
“The U.S. and its Western allies have armed the usurper Zionist regime with nuclear weapons and created a major threat for this sensitive region. Yet, the same deceitful group does not tolerate the peaceful use of nuclear energy by independent countries, and even opposes, with all its strength, the production of nuclear fuel for radio pharmaceuticals and other peaceful and humane purposes," he added.
 

An Iranian journalist, who refused to be identified, said he would not speak about politics or, about the speech, because there was "no freedom", and he could get into trouble.
 
Two other reporters from Iran working for foreign networks who refused to go on camera to speak about the Ayatollah’s speech echoed the same sentiment.
 
Such is the fear about a government crackdown that reporters and even translators just freeze when you speak to them as reporters.
 
They are more than willing to talk to you about India, about Shahrukh Khan, Bollywood and the like. But talk to them about Iranian politics, and they shake their heads vigourously and move away.
 
One woman translator, working for a foreign channel, ventured to say to me: " I might like a bit more choice in life, like maybe democracy, but then, I don't know what that would bring with it. At least here, I know what is there. How can I choose when I don’t have a choice?"

By Smita Prakash (ANI)

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I am the Editor News, at Asian News International (ANI), Indiaís leading Multimedia News Agency and the India Correspondent for Channel News Asia, a Singapore based broadcaster.
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