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January 23, 2018 4:14 pm

New York Times Blames Iran Protests on ‘Climate Change’

avatar by Ira Stoll


Anti-regime protesters gather at the University of Tehran. Photo: Reuters.

The New York Times has finally discovered the cause of the protests in Iran: global climate change.

Seriously. A Times news article from the United Nations under the byline of Somini Sengupta reports, “Iran is the latest example of a country where a water crisis, long in the making, has fed popular discontent.” It warned, “Climate change is projected to make Iran hotter and drier.”

Lower down, the article grudgingly concedes, “Water alone doesn’t explain the outbreak of protests that began in early January and spread swiftly across the country.” If it doesn’t, then why bother with a long article emphasizing its supposed importance as a factor?

The Times article appears under the print headline, “Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: Iran Fits a Pattern.”

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Here’s the thing that the Times doesn’t seem to get. Climate is one of those things that doesn’t particularly respect political boundaries. Israel and Arizona also have hot and dry climates. Yet somehow the Israeli Jews of Eilat and Beersheba, or the retired Jewish condominium residents in Scottsdale, aren’t out in the streets trying to overthrow their governments. Maybe what’s causing the protests, then, isn’t climate change but the fact that Iranians are fed up with a corrupt and tyrannical government that’s spending billions of dollars on exporting terrorism aimed at Jews abroad while its own people suffer.

In fact, as Seth Siegel showed in his book Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution For a Water-Starved World, a combination of technology, conservation, and prudent planning and investment make water challenges surmountable for arid Middle Eastern nations such as Israel.

It doesn’t seem to have occurred to the Times that some of its readers might consider anti-regime protests in Iran to be a positive development. If the protests were indeed linked to climate change in a reality separate from the world of the Times imagination, even some liberal Times readers might be tempted to buy gas guzzling vehicles, invest in coal-fired factories, or otherwise do what they can to help fuel the movement, so to speak. Rather, the framework of the Times seems to be, “Alas, here’s yet another harmful consequence of climate change. Not only are our cities going to be underwater, but there could be ‘trouble’ in Iran.”

The Times online headline calls it an “alarming” pattern. The protests may be “alarming” from the perspective of the tyrannical terror-sponsoring blood-soaked Iranian regime. The regime’s opponents, both inside and outside the country, however, view the protests as encouraging. The Times, at least in this article, just can’t seem to conceive of that possibility.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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