In first, Iran media appears to praise John Bolton for comments

The former US National Security Advisor, who Iran media generally considers an extreme hawk, received rare praised on Fars News on Sunday when he headlined a story about his opposition to Trump.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and John Bolton (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and John Bolton (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
John Bolton, the former US national security adviser who Iran media generally considers an extreme hawk, received rare praise on Fars News on Sunday when he headlined a story about his opposition to US President Donald Trump.
Bolton left the Trump administration after a year at his position and the two were seen as being on bad terms, with Trump characterizing Bolton as trying to drag him into war and Bolton characterizing Trump as betraying partners like the Kurds. The recent story comes about because Bolton has expressed opposition to a story about Trump discussing “martial law.” This report has circulated on CNN and appears to be an unprecedented conversation between the US president and his former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Iran is interested. Iran has opposed Trump and the US sanctions the White House put on Tehran. Iran also likely wants to showcase how the US, once a solid democracy with institutions, has now called into question its own elections. Iran has compared this to its own election controversy of 2009, pretending that Trump’s outbursts are similar to that of the opposition in Iran. This unusual Iranification of America, a narrative Iran’s own regime media has pushed, appears to show just how much Iran’s regime is focused on the US. In a sense they are saying “we are two sides of the same coin.” Even Bolton, an American “hardliner” in this scenario, could be welcomed to discussions with the regime, apparently.
Fars News quoted Bolton as calling Trump’s comments “disgusting.” The. Iranian media quotes Bolton as saying Trump is not fit for office. “I do not think he has ever read the Constitution,” Fars News notes Bolton said.
Iran’s Fars News appears to be feasting on this latest story of Trump, Flynn and others talking about martial law. It appears the regime is watching this uncertainty unfold in the US with all the glee of people eating popcorn at a good movie. For them, it is a true reversal of fortune. US elections are called into question, the president is talking about martial law, rogue former officials and generals quoted in the media, stories about voting fraud and civil conflict. Iran suddenly looks at itself in the mirror, after years in which the US administration claimed the regime could be changed or altered, and thinks it is stable and the US is falling apart. It comes as other rumors imply that pro-Iran commentators could get decent positions in a Biden administration. Iran couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago it might be so central to US policymaking. This is, of course, the view it has always had of itself, claiming it runs a worldwide “resistance” against the “great Satan” of America. But it never really believed this. Now it thinks its wildest dreams have come true. Iran is being courted by Europe, Russia, China, Turkey and basically everyone. America is flailing around and can barely figure out a normal transition of power.
In the end of the day, this doesn’t mean Iran and the US are equals, but it has given Iran’s media something to focus on. Even John Bolton, the hawk, the hardliner, is now palatable to Iran’s regime. He’s a voice of normalcy, they seem to say. At least with him the regime knows what it is going to get.