(Gareth Porter reports on IPS: "Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told Israeli leaders Jan. 20 that the United States would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington, according to accounts from well-placed senior military officers.")
I then told President Ahmadinejad that I have been covering Occupy Wall Street and asked what his advice would be to them. As a charter member of the Iranian student movement, he was quick to express admiration for those in the streets struggling for justice in America, but added, "The Wall Street movement has to deepen its work" by intensifying its organizing efforts.
At that point, his security intensified its presence, and after welcoming me to his country, I was pushed gently to the side as he went back to work. My "interview" was over.
The conference continued in the afternoon with more reports on the Occupy Movement and analysis of Hollywood's impact. On hand to receive an award for his father Oliver Stone was his son Sean who spoke about the growing power of social media. If nothing else, his dad has proven that Hollywood can produce topical dramas and social criticism.
The Zionism issue was spoken to by three anti-Zionist Rabbis and raised in an interview that I did live on Press TV on Thursday night, which I found not so much anti-Semitic as totally uninformed about many in the Jewish community worldwide who are not only not ardent Zionists but are critical of the Israeli occupation of Palestinians and the suppression of their rights.
The host was startled by the vehemence of my views that may not have much support at high levels in the government. I was glad to have an opportunity to publicly challenge Holocaust denial in Iran and combat stereotypes, even as Hollywood legitimately stood accused of creating them of Muslims.
This is my second trip to Iran, a country that is being embargoed, sanctioned and put down in our media with nary a chance to talk back. That's why I came -- to learn more about Iran's views that have been banished from the airways in Britain, and rarely, if ever, given airtime in what passes for our "free" media. Iran is escalating its media efforts with a new channel in Spanish.
There is more to come, and I am already on kabob overload.