On Christmas Day, British television Channel 4 provided Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a platform to broadcast “an alternative Christmas message on British television to rival Queen Elizabeth II’s annual address.” In the message, Ahmadinejad said that “if Christ were on Earth today, undoubtedly he would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over.” The speech received widespread media attention.

The night before the speech, on Christmas Eve, Iran hanged 10 people. This event received almost no mainstream media attention.

Public hangings, often from cranes, is a tool used by the Iranian regime to suppress political opposition, with political dissidents often charged with “crimes” to provide a pretext for execution. Homosexuals (regardless of whether loyal to the regime) also are a target of hangings.

These hangings pass silently in the night because they do not fit the mainstream media construct that the problem in Iranian-U.S. relations is the Bush administration’s refusal to “talk” to Iran. The problem, however, is not a lack of talk, it is the nature of the Iranian regime.

Perhaps next year British television will ask Ahmadinejad to stop the executions of dissidents, homosexuals, and others deemed undesirable, at least on Christmas Eve.