Obama Depicted on Huge Billboard in Tehran

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 20 2013 2:21 PM

Why is President Obama Depicted on a Huge Billboard in Tehran?

1358709494920
Asriran.com

The anti-Obama mural went up next to Tehran's busy Valiasr Square

Propaganda billboards are a common sight in Tehran but they’re usually devoted to ayatollahs as well as honoring “martyrs” of the Iran-Iraq war. There are a few anti-American billboards as well but they’re the exception and foreign politicians are almost never put on display. That’s why it caught the eye of Iran watchers when an Iranian website posted pictures of a huge mural in a busy section of Tehran that shows President Obama standing next to Shemr, a villain in Shia Islam. Below them is a quote: “Be with us, be safe.” The Guardian’s Roland Elliott Brown writes a fascinating explanation of this “high-context” propaganda and how it should be interpreted.

The bottom line? “Anyone who still likes Obama in the wake of tightening sanctions—or who advocates meeting American, EU, or International Atomic Energy Agency demands over Iran's nuclear program to avoid conflict—is a traitor to the faith. Obama, the state insists, is a ‘Hussein’ unworthy of loyalty.” 

1358709560722

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Why Not Just Turn Campus Rape Allegations Over to the Police? Because the Police Don't Investigate.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.