As the Bay of Pigs proved, US intelligence can make some serious miscalculations. That the press can do too is proved by the Time (6/22/98) article about the upcoming U.S.-Iran soccer match in the World Cup games. It cheered the American "melting-pot team," and belittled the Iranians as "one of the weaker teams," "the weakest team in the group." The Iranian team prayed at the tomb of the Aytullah Khomeini before flying off the France. They stressed that the were Muslims, but not Islamites, meaning that they did not support the Islamic revolutionary movement. The American team did not pray and was humiliated. The Iranian team was a model of good sportsmanship. The captain presented a silver dish to the Americans, and the two teams were photographed together. In Iran, victory was celebrated with dignified joy, unlike the crude demonstrations in the civilized West.
Soccer is politics continued by another means. The Khomeini heirs lost from the victory. The Iranian fans in France were mostly expatriates hoping for reform at home, and even the Teheran crowds seemed to share that hope. Meanwhile, the Saudi team had gone home, pathetically defeated. The Brazilian coach was fired, but not beheaded. Turkey enjoys little sympathy in the Muslim world. Iran has emerged with greatly enhanced prestige. Take note.
Ronald Hilton - 06/18/98