19:05 GMT +308 December 2019
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    White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing in the briefing room of the White House in Washington

    Iran a 'Failed State'? 'US is Just Mad That Tehran Isn't Their Puppet'

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    In the same press conference Tuesday where he dug a hole for himself by comparing Syrian President Bashar Assad to Adolf Hitler, White House press secretary Sean Spicer also stated several times that Iran was a 'failed state'. Speaking to Sputnik, Iranian political observer Seyed Jalazadeh explained what it was that's really bugging Washington.

    Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer blew up the internet after he compared Assad to Hitler, and suggested that even Hitler never used chemical weapons against his own people. The embarrassing flub provoked a backlash on Capitol Hill and among Jewish groups. For their part, Russian lawmakers suggested that such remarks are leading them to question the sanity of the current administration. Spicer later apologized for the comments in an interview with CNN.

    One thing that he didn't apologize for, however, was his claim, made repeatedly throughout the press conference, that Iran was a 'failed state'. Saying that Russia was 'internationally isolated' in its support for Damascus, Spicer suggested that Iran, Syria and North Korea were 'failed states', and "not exactly a group of countries that you're looking to hang out with."

    "The only countries that aren't supporting the US's position [on Syria] are Syria, North Korea, Iran, and Russia. This is not exactly a happy-time cocktail party of people that you want to be associated with. They are failed states with the exception of Russia," Spicer repeated at the end of the press conference.

    The claim was so absurd that even The New York Times felt the need to correct the official, saying that "Iran, though an adversary of the United states with a history of repression, is a robust, functioning state."

    Speaking to Sputnik, Seyed Jalazadeh, an expert in relations between Iran and the United States at Islamic Azad University in Tehran, told Sputnik that it was difficult to believe how many contradictions Spicer managed to fit into one comment.

    "Sean Spicer's statements…should be considered more as lavish PR statements for the press than any kind of strategic line," Jalazadeh noted. "After all, the accusations toward Iran that it is a 'failed' state are completely groundless. They are not supported by any estimates regarding standards of living, politics, economics or even culture. There are simply no indicators which would support his claim!"

    Indeed, by many social and economic indicators, including GDP per capita by purchasing power and the Human Development Index, Iran is well-placed among the world's developing economies, ranking 59th and 70th, respectively, notwithstanding many years of crippling sanctions by the West. By other measures, including infrastructure, use of clean natural gas-burning vehicles, telecommunications, education, science and technology investment, and more, the country matches and sometimes even out-rates even developed countries. 

    With this in mind, Jalazadeh suggested that "the rhetoric from the team of Donald Trump, who considers himself to have inherited a 'failed system', is clear proof of US failure." The political scientist suggested that less than a hundred days into his presidency, Trump is coming up against a mounting number of problems both domestically and internationally, "and is thus trying to distort reality and escape from the failures he inherited from the old system."

    "Therefore, all the statements by the White House Spokesman…are contrived, and do not correspond to reality. After all, if we accept Sean Spicer's words at face value and say that yes, Iran is a 'failed state', then all the earlier accusations against Iran by the US will look even more doubtful and ridiculous. In other words, how can a 'failed state' 'interfere in the internal affairs of the countries of the Middle East, providing them with financial and military support'? And yet these are exactly the kinds of accusations that the White House is pushing against Iran."

    "The reality," Jalazadeh stressed, "is that Iran, as during the Cold War, has long held an independent position, and did not take the side of either the West or the East. The same is true today. Iran is an independent state, which conducts its own independent policy, and is not dependent on anyone. Iran, as Spicer himself stressed, does not support US policy – that is, the policy of colonialism and imperialism, but stands on the side of the subjugated peoples and renders support for them."

    Spicer's real problem, the academic noted, is that the US "cannot tolerate a strong state that goes against their policies. And Iran for the US is precisely such a state, which since its Islamic Revolution has become not only more modern, but also stronger. Today, Iran is one of the most powerful, independent and influential states in the Middle East."

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    comments, statements, accusations, failed state, Sean Spicer, Donald Trump, United States, Iran
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