MSNBC Eagerly Promotes Iranian Lies About U.S. Troops, Hails ‘Revered General Soleimani’

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On Tuesday’s Hardball and reacting to Iran having launched missiles at an Iraqi military base housing U.S. soldiers, NBC News Tehran bureau chief Ali Arouzi likely bolstered his perch in the eyes of the Iranian regime, promoting one propaganda point after another to MSNBC host Chris Matthews. This included the utterly false claim that “30 U.S. soldiers have been killed in this attack.”

Arouzi boasted: “The IRGC was saying that, Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of this country, was in the control center coordinating these attacks. This is — this bit of — I’m not sure about, but Iran state media is claiming that 30 U.S. soldiers have been killed in this attack. Now, this is not confirmed. This is just coming from Iranian media.”

 

 

If it’s unconfirmed and uttered by a murderous regime, perhaps not sharing it was the best option! Yes, the liberal media hate President Trump and have flip-flopped to not trusting our intelligence professionals, but deciding to pass along what Iran said was quite the turn.

Put it another way: CNN didn’t even think it was worth sharing. And if the Jeffrey Zucker-led network decided not to report it, call your offices, Ali.

Arouzi didn’t stop there, doing everything in his power to further escalate the situation and take a dig at Trump through the lens of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (click “expand”):

But we have just stepped over the precipice here, Chris. We have entered a very unpredictable time. We have to see what the response is from the United States. But this is undoubtedly the most serious moment between Iran and America in the last 40 years. It's very, very tense here. On the way to the bureau, I had the radio on. Songs of marches to war were being played. We're just getting reports now that Iran has deployed its entire air force. They are saying that if they are retaliated for these attacks, they will launch attacks in the Emirates, in Dubai, and anywhere else that it is complicit with the United States. Also, Ayatollah Khamenei just released a statement saying that he sees no difference between the United States and Israel in this conflict. So this is drawing people from all sides into this what is potentially the beginning of a war, Chris. 

I just — I don't know how this is going to go in the coming hours, but it's not looking good from the rhetoric that came out from President Trump earlier today saying that he will retaliate against any retaliation from Iran. I think we can expect an attack on Iran imminently.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Matthews wasn’t any better. Picking up on his constant use of using the Iranian regime’s preferred rhetoric on the strike, Matthews drew an equivalence between Iran and the U.S. because the U.S. “kill[ed] or assassinat[ed]...the general — the revered General Soleimani, the references by the President in the last week to going after cultural sites.”

Matthews added that he’s “sensing a religious fervor on the part of Khamenei” because “[o]nce again, the conversation is getting to the point of almost mortality of each country.”

Arouzi responded by again peddling Iranian talking points, boasting that Iran doesn’t “want this mistaken for a sign of weakness, that they need to rely on or prop up their proxies, so yeah, I mean, all bets seem to be off.”

He then went onto describe how, at around 4:21 a.m. in Tehran, “everybody is wake now,” “calling each other,” and “trying to get their families out of major cities like Tehran out into the countryside” as part of a fear that the country could plunge into a war like the Iran-Iraq war that left half a million Iranians dead.

Surmising that another such war “may be unfolding again,” Arouzi bragged that, considering all of the Iranian-backed militias in the Middle East, “all U.S. personnel in this region are — are in grave danger.”

Eventually, Arouzi concluded his embarrassing live shot with more boasting and speculating (click “expand”):

If all of those militias suddenly rise up, you know, all U.S. personnel in this region are — are in grave danger. Earlier in the day, Katib Hezbollah, which is the militia group under Iran’s patronage, that attacked the U.S. embassy that sparked off this initial crisis released a statement this morning saying that we are waiting for Iran — Iran's army to launch a military strike against U.S. forces and then we'll go immediately into action. So we're expecting the proxies also to strike at any moment now back as well. I mean, this — this is, I guess, what you call the fog of war. We're not sure what's going to happen from moment to moment as we're going forward. But Iran — I think Iran also caught — caught America off guard. They've been saying they're going to attack. They were trying to keep it as sort of elusive as possible, if you will, and all of a sudden, in the dead of night, they have hit that base in Iraq, which we have to see how the U.S. retaliates. If the U.S. retaliates, this is going to blow up beyond any imagination.

Like an empty suit, Matthews concluded without any pushback against this second set of comments, instead thanking Arouzi for having “given us a lot of clarity tonight, sir, in these remarkable circumstances.”

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on January 7, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
January 7, 2020
7:46 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: We have a big, hot thing I have to go right now. I want to bring in Elliott Rusi. NBC News Tehran bureau chief live from Tehran. Ali? 

ALI AROUZI: Hi, Chris. Yes, Iran has launched attacks on the al-Anbar — hello, can you hear me, Chris? 

MATTHEWS: Yes. 

AROUZI: Can you hear me?

MATTHEWS: I can hear you.

AROUZI: Yeah. Iran has launched — Iran has launched attacks on the al-Anbar base in Iraq, which houses U.S. forces. They say if there's anymore retaliation there will be a whole more wave of attacks on all U.S. bases in the region. We’re just getting reports that a second wave of rocket attacks have been launched from Iran. The IRGC was saying that, Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader of this country, was in the control center coordinating these attacks. This is — this bit of — I’m not sure about, but Iran state media is claiming that 30 U.S. Soldiers have been killed in this attack. Now, this is not confirmed. This is just coming from Iranian media. But we have just stepped over the precipice here, Chris. We have entered a very unpredictable time. We have to see what the response is from the United States. But this is undoubtedly the most serious moment between Iran and America in the last 40 years. It's very, very tense here. On the way to the bureau, I had the radio on. Songs of marches to war were being played. We're just getting reports now that Iran has deployed its entire air force. They are saying that if they are retaliated for these attacks, they will launch attacks in the Emirates, in Dubai, and anywhere else that it is complicit with the United States. Also, Ayatollah Khamenei just released a statement saying that he sees no difference between the United States and Israel in this conflict. So this is drawing people from all sides into this what is potentially the beginning of a war, Chris. I just — I don't know how this is going to go in the coming hours, but it's not looking good from the rhetoric that came out from President Trump earlier today saying that he will retaliate against any retaliation from Iran. I think we can expect an attack on Iran imminently.

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about putting those together and what you know over there and that is the combination of the military actions by both sides. Our killing or assassinating of the general — the revered General Soleimani, the references by the President in the last week to going after cultural sites. He sort of pulled back on that, but the fact that he threw that out there, we'd go after their treasured Persian sites, which have got thousands of years of history and religion behind them and now I'm sensing a religious fervor on the part of Khamenei. Once again, the conversation is getting to the point of almost mortality of each country. Both countries saying we're throwing everything on the table here. 

AROUZI: Absolutely, Chris. It seems like Iran is all in right now. Look, I mean, there have been very hard lined elements in this country that have been staunchly anti-American since the revolution in 1979 and they've been itching for a conflict with the United States and this seems to be the opening for that. Now initially we were expecting Iran possibly to retaliate using its proxy forces in this region but they've decided to use their conventional army, the IRGC, to send a very clear message to say this is coming directly from Iran. They don't want this mistaken for a sign of weakness, that they need to rely on or prop up their proxies, so yeah, I mean, all bets seem to be off. Is President Trump going to attack cultural sites here? I mean, that would make ordinary Iranians even more upset than they are now. I can tell you there is a great sense of anxiety in this country even though it's just gone past four in the morning. Everybody is awake now. They’re calling each other. They're trying to get their families out of major cities like Tehran out into the countryside. You have to remember, Chris. This is a country that experienced an eight-year bloody war with Iraq where 500,000 Iranians were killed. I know many, many people here that still remember the air raid sirens going off and having to go and hide in bunkers in Tehran. It looks like those scenarios may be unfolding again. They're not facing Iraq, they're facing the United States. You know, the United States has a formidable military force. Iran's air force and navy are no match for America's military might but they can wreak absolute havoc in this area. If all of those militias suddenly rise up, you know, all U.S. personnel in this region are — are in grave danger. Earlier in the day, Katib Hezbollah, which is the militia group under Iran’s patronage, that attacked the U.S. embassy that sparked off this initial crisis released a statement this morning saying that we are waiting for Iran — Iran's army to launch a military strike against U.S. forces and then we'll go immediately into action. So we're expecting the proxies also to strike at any moment now back as well. I mean, this — this is, I guess, what you call the fog of war. We're not sure what's going to happen from moment to moment as we're going forward. But Iran — I think Iran also caught — caught America off guard. They've been saying they're going to attack. They were trying to keep it as sort of elusive as possible, if you will, and all of a sudden, in the dead of night, they have hit that base in Iraq, which we have to see how the U.S. retaliates. If the U.S. retaliates, this is going to blow up beyond any imagination. 

MATTHEWS: Ali Arouzi over in Tehran. You've given us a lot of clarity tonight, sir, in these remarkable circumstances.

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