Ronn TorossianThe author is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR Agencies in the US.
Public Relations is a crucial element in any conflict - something which the Iranian Government and their leader President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad understand very well. Like so many others with ulterior motives, he understands how to manipulate the press to spread his message.
In the aftermath of the horror of Hurricane Sandy, Iran has managed to insert itself into the story in an attempt to manipulate media coverage.
Take the offer of Iranian aid workers offering to come from Tehran to New York City to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Sandy. The Head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society's Relief and Rescue Organization said "Iran's Red Crescent is prepared to help the victims in the US" and Crescent can provide relief assistance for those affected in New York.
This offer (which the State Department says they didn’t receive) allows Iran to posture to their allies and the entire Muslim world about their humanitarian efforts being rebuffed. Iran can claim they wanted to help, and America’s ego didn’t permit it.
It’s another smart PR stunt by a maniacal, evil man. (Could anyone imagine a bunch of Iranians cleaning the NYC subway system? Sounds more like a Saturday Night Live Skit…but it will play well with the home audience.)
Ahmadinejad is a well-dressed “voice of evil” - with seemingly charming gestures and smiles. He knows how to joke, and manipulate with the best of them – and utilizes Public Relations and propaganda like so many evil people before him.
Ahmadinejad speaks at the UN – and understands the power of the press – like other Middle East dictators, including Assad, who used foreign Public Relations firms to bolster their images.
For many years he has pulled PR stunts – From making a well-publicized speech at Columbia University to meeting publicly with Anti-Israel Jews and filming it,
Iran uses media to create images and brand themselves as reasonable people. Earlier this year, in an interview with The Washington Post, Ahmadinejad claimed he was “ready to make a deal with the West with limits on enriched uranium” – and while he states it publicly there are always unstated pre-conditions for a deal which make the West unable to accept them.
Nine years ago, The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) caught Iran breaking promises that had been made weeks before in its “Tehran declaration,” stating Iran would cooperate with the IAEA and suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities during the course of the negotiations.
In May 2006, Ahmadinejad sent a personal letter to U.S. President George W. Bush to propose "new ways" to end the impasse over Iran's unsupervised nuclear development. The letter did not mention Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, prompting Bush administration officials to dismiss it as a publicity stunt.
He even offered to debate Bush at the United General Assembly.
Ahmadinejad is working on a dangerous nuclear bomb which will endanger the entire Western World, claims that the the United States government was behind the 9/11 attacks, denies the Holocaust, and says gays don’t exist in Iran.
Owning a PR Agency, I’d urge all smart and reasonable people – and government leaders – to understand that not all images which are created are accurate. In the case of Ahmadinejad, he’s simply an evil man – with a keen eye for public relations.