Some shots of Tehran shown on CNN whilst Zakaria narrates here.
Not exactly sure what he means when he says that Iranians are a cosmopolitan people who resent the sanctions but are also a nationalistic people who resent their governement for causing the sanctions. That makes no sense - nationalists by definition don't resent their own governments, they resent foreign government interference in their nation's affairs. The whole idea that the sanctions are the "fault" of the government, as implied by that tortured phrasing deployed by Zakaria, is blatant spin which implcitly validates US sanctions policy on Iran as something "caused" by the Iranian government.
I think that bit of nonsense is attributable to the fact that Zakaria couldn't bring himself to say that the same Iranian people support their nuclear program and resent foreign interference in that program. The domestic popularity of Iran's nuclea program is something which is essentially forbidden to be acknowledged openly in the US controlled media. The media here do their best the avoid mentioning that and avoid exploring its implications. On the rare occasion that they do mention it, they dismiss it as merely the result of mass brainwashing and propaganda by the Iranian government, and something which greateraccess to foreign media will "correct."
In general, whenever there is a North-South conflict, the nationalism of the Southerners is deemed irrelevant. Their nationalism is dismissed as something pathological or even dangerous. Indeed the term "nationalist" was deployed against Mossadegh as an epithet. Only Americans can love their country, after all, and they're labelled as "patriots" for doing so. The dangers of such a stupid view of The Other is obvious, but apparently the lesson is never learned.
And it is funny that he can't bring himself just to say that Tehran is cleaned simply because it is cleaned - and not attribute even that to something nefarious about the government (something about a government "obsession" with order... as if other governments in the workd don't clean their towns.)
But do pay attention to what Zakaria says at 3:00 about Ahmadinejad.
UPDATE: Zakaria grows a pair and writes in the Washington Post:
The regime still has some domestic support, and it uses a mix of religious authority, patronage and force quite effectively. Sanctions have made people somewhat resentful of the West for hurting them more than the regime.And we keep forgetting the inconvenient fact that, even if the regime changed, the nuclear program — which is popular as an expression of Iranian nationalism and power — will continue.
Well, I suppose this is progress though he sounds quite grudging in making these points. However he continues to promote yet another fallacy:
To be fair, the administration started out in 2009 by making overtures to Iran, which were rebuffed by its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Well, no, that's not what happened. Obama's "overture" to Iran was little more than a verbal ruse. After all, this is the same fellow who apppointed Hilllary "Obliterate Iran" Clinton as Sec of State, and Dennis "Israel's Lawyer" Ross to manage US policy in the Mideast. As Steven Walt noted:
We've made it clear that we think Iran's current government is illegitimate and ought to be replaced, and then we wonder why they don't immediately respond when Obama says he really does want to cooperate.
And rather than "rebuffing" Obama, Khamenei specifically said that Iran would judge the sincerity of the US based on actions not words:
In a televised address in the city of Mashhad, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama called for a new beginning in the troubled U.S.-Iran relationship, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said: “We have no experience with the new American government and the new American President. We will observe them and we will judge. If you change your attitude, we will change our attitude.”...
The Iranian leader reiterated that his country was looking practical changes on the ground as a precondition for an engagement with the Americans. “Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials? Have you given up your unconditional support for the Zionist regime?” he asked.
Earlier, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, a top adviser of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also stressed that Tehran was looking for concrete action from Washington so that ties could improve.