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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

“the world has heard so much about duck houses and lame duck prime ministers that they must think we are all completely quackers

If the BBC’s chiefs have an ounce of common sense they will seize the moment, cut Jonathan Ross’s salary in half and use the money to hire another 20 Farsi-speaking analysts. […]

There is a good reason why the ayatollah bashed Britain with such singular ferocity, and it is to do with the Iranians’ changing view of America. We have been co-opted to play the role of Great Satan, because America is now led by Barack Obama, or Barack Hussein Obama, as Fox News always calls him, and it is obvious that the mullahs don’t know quite how to handle him.

Obama’s intelligent speech in Cairo has had a big impact in the Muslim world, and it is obvious that it is his presence in the White House – far more than any BBC broadcast – that is giving hope to the demonstrators in Tehran.

I don’t know whether this election was rigged. Even if there were as many irregularities as the protesters claim, it seems sadly possible that Mr Ahmedinejad retained a majority of the votes, if not 63 per cent. Indeed, I saw one BBC television report that scrupulously portrayed the messianic reception he received in parts of the country, with weeping women queuing to touch the hem of his raiment.

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