McManus, noting the origin of poker from a Persian game, as-Nas (which he translates as "my beloved ace"), asserts that Iranians are naturally partial to bluffing (deception) when it comes to diplomacy. He also makes some provocative assertions about Iran's President Ahmadinejad and US policy toward Iran:
- "you have a President of Iran who...as a Basij recruiter...signed up people and trained them and encouraged them to walk across minefields, most of these people were children by the way."
- "because there’s a very real possibility that he may have the weapons soon and would be willing to use them."
- "when one of the first speeches he gives after being inaugurated as president says that martyrdom is the highest art form that human beings can participate in...."
- "Ultimately we may have to eliminate the possiblity of bluffing given the apparently suicidal nature of Ahmadinejad and his policy."
What is most striking about McManus is that despite his unique angle as an expert poker player, his main ideas about Iran are nothing but recast neoconservative talking points. If you try to find the sources for the quotes and ideas presented in McManus' NPR interview and in his LA Times article you will find that again and again they are neoconservative or pro-Zionist. Each of the following article-links are likely sources of McManus' quotations and share his arguments:
- The New Republic (center right and ardent defender of Israel)
- Front Page Magazine (see this on Front Page)
- Iran Press Service
- Threats Watch
- National Review
I frankly know very little about poker. But I know a scam when I see one. And whether McManus intends it or not, he is getting played by a bunch of neoconservative policymakers who will happily use people like him to build a climate of prejudice and fear that will prepare the public for military strikes on Iran.