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Forget the neoconservative hype. The facts show Iran is not and has not been a nuclear threat to either the United States or Israel.

Los Angeles — Politicians, lobbyists, and propagandists have spent nearly two decades pushing the lie that Iran poses a nuclear weapons threat to the United States and Israel. After a brief respite in the intensity of the wolf cries over the past two years, the neoconservative movement has decided to relaunch the “Must Bomb Iran” brand.

The fact that Iran is not and has not been a nuclear threat to either nation is rendered irrelevant by a narrative of universal “concern” about its nuclear program.


US media distortions

In mid-August, for example, after The New York Times quite uncharacteristically ran a piece diminishing the supposed danger of Iranian nukes, the story was misrepresented in newspapers and on TV stations across the country in the most frightening terms. As MSNBC’s news reader put it that afternoon: “Intelligence sources say Iran is only one year away from a nuclear bomb!”

On August 13, on Fox News, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton implicitly urged Israel to attack Iran’s new light-water reactor at Bushehr before it began “functioning,” the implication being that the reactor represented some sort of dire threat. But the facts are not on Mr. Bolton’s side. The Bushehr reactor is not useful for producing weapons-grade plutonium, and the Russians have a deal to keep all the waste themselves.

On September 6, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a new paper on the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement which reported that the agency has “continued to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran to any military or other special purpose.”

Yet despite the IAEA report and clear assertions to the contrary, news articles that followed were dishonest to the extreme, interpreting this clean bill of health as just another wisp of smoke indicating nuclear fire in a horrifying near-future.

A Washington Post article published the very same day led the way with the aggressive and misleading headline “UN Report: Iran stockpiling nuclear materials,” “shorthanding” the facts right out of the narrative. The facts are that Iran’s terrifying nuclear “stockpile” is a small amount of uranium enriched to industrial grade levels for use in its domestic energy and medical isotope programs, all of it “safeguarded” by the IAEA.


More sensational claims

If the smokescreen wasn’t thick enough, late last week a group of Marxist holy warrior exiles called the Mujahadeen-e-Khalq, working with the very same neoconservatives who sponsored Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress – which manufactured so much of the propaganda that convinced the American people to support the invasion of that country – accused the Iranian government of building a secret nuclear enrichment facility buried deep in tunnels near Qazvin.

Headlines once again blared in total negligence and without verification that here indeed was, an official told Fox News, proof that Iran has a “hidden, secret nuclear weapons program.’” TV news anchors on every channel furiously mopped sweat from their brows, hearts-a-tremor. When will the forces of good rise to stop this evil?!

Yet even US officials quickly admitted that they’ve known about these tunnels for years. “[T]here’s no reason at this point to think it’s nuclear,” one US official said – a quote that appeared in Fox’s article, but only after five paragraphs of breathless allegations. All day long, top-of-the-hour news updates on TV and radio let the false impression stand.

IAEA inspectors have had open access to the gas conversion facility at Isfahan, the enrichment facility at Natanz, and the new lightwater reactor at Bushehr, as well as the secondary enrichment facility under construction at Qom.


An ignored clean bill of health

The September 6 IAEA report confirming for the zillionth time the non-diversion of nuclear material should be the last word on the subject until the next time they say the same thing: Iran, a long-time signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is not in violation of its Safeguards Agreement.

So what’s all the hubbub about Iran’s “nuclear defiance” and “danger”?

The IAEA’s latest report does note that Iran has “not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” Indeed, the agency’s frequent mentions of Iran’s “lack of full cooperation” is a big reason why US media reports portray Iran in ominous terms.

But here, too, US media frequently miss the point. Never mind that 118 nations around the world have signed a statement criticizing the IAEA’s “peaceful activities” conclusion as a departure from standard verification language. More broadly, Iran’s “lack of full cooperation” by itself is an outcome of Western bullying and propaganda.


Real reason for lack of cooperation

The US and the UN, acting upon no legitimate authority whatsoever, have demanded that Iran submit to an Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement, which would ban any further enrichment on Iranian soil, as well as demanded they submit to an endless regime of IAEA inspections and questioning, based mostly on the “alleged studies” documents, which several sources have said are forgeries posing as a pilfered laptop of a dead Iranian nuclear scientist.

These separate, UN Security Council-mandated investigations have even demanded blueprints for Shahab 3 missiles – a subject far removed from hexafluoride gas or any legitimate IAEA function. In 2003, Iran voluntarily agreed to the extra burden of the unratified Additional Protocol during “good faith negotiations” with the so-called “E-3,” Britain, France, and Germany, acting on behalf of the US. When those negotiations broke down, Iran withdrew in 2006.

With these details left out of the discussion, the impression is left that Iran is refusing to abide by international law, when in fact, it is completely within its NPT obligations.


An outrageous standard

Meanwhile, Washington continues to apply to Iran the outrageous standard it used in the run-up to the Iraq war: an unfriendly nation must “prove” it doesn’t have dangerous weapons or a secret program to make them – or potentially face military action.

“Proving a negative” is, to say the least, a difficult obligation to meet: You say you haven’t read Webster’s Dictionary cover to cover? Prove it!

The bottom line is that Iran is still within its unalienable rights to peaceful nuclear technology under the NPT and the Safeguards Agreement – a point even Tehran’s fiercest critics (grudgingly) acknowledge. The only issues it is defying are the illegitimate sanctions and demands of the US and UN, which themselves defy logic and sense.


Journalists’ ethical obligation

It is far past time for the members of the American media to get their act together and begin asking serious follow-up questions of the politicians, “experts,” and lobbyists they interview on the subject of Iran’s nuclear program.

Many of these same journalists still have the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis on their hands from the months they spent continuously and uncritically parroting the lies, half-truths, and distortions of agenda-driven Iraqi dissidents and their neocon champions who pushed us into the Iraq war.

Perhaps this is their shot at redemption.

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

Scott Horton is host of Antiwar Radio on the Liberty Radio Network and assistant editor at Antiwar.com.

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6 Comments

  1. Debbie on the 23. Sep, 2010 remarked #

    The excuses, arguments,issues, et al, are all a charade and have nothing to do with the why and what, of what America and Israel are doing to all these states in the Middle East, and what they are going to do to Iran. Iran has been around a helluva lot longer than America, Israel and most of Europe. They have had better days. Why should they dance to some petty carnival fiddler’s tunes when they have a history of having had some of the finest orchestras that the world has ever known?

    US and Israel have been effectively and efficiently destroying Palestine now for sixty years, and the debate and discussions in the mainstream media still go on today, just as serious and hopeful as ever, as if it were real; and now they talk about the same threat from Iran that they spoke of Iraq, as if it were real! C’mon!
    The mainstream media will ignore a lot of facts and history which say that the Iran objective is not a question of policy change, nuclear armament or disarmament, or even simple regime change in Iran, but is, instead the same as it has always been, to wit: Israel wants Iran destroyed as a state and Balkanized in the manner in which they have done Palestine, and the US has done in Iraq and will settle for nothing less! All else is wind. A charade!

    The name of the game is “Destroy Iran”. Not because it is a threat to Israel, because it isn’t, not because they are a nuclear threat, for they aren’t; but simply because it stands in the way of Israeli domination of the entire Middle East, and all that oil under their soil belongs to America, anyway, so let’s go get it like they did Iraq!

    To rationalise, discuss, describe and debate the non-issues of policy, regime change, nuclear weaponry, peaceful nuclear power development and all this US-Israeli cover story which US mainstream media peddles is to play into the hands of the US-Israel propaganda campaign, as if it were real, and ignore their actual motives and objectives: Destroy Iran! Utterly!

    Most mainstream journalists have always been fence straddlers, go along-get along types, and has, and have simply failed to come to grips with the bottom line in this US-Israel plot either because they are too ignorant, too timid, or like their jobs too much. So while everyone else bickers and dickers over the non-issues which these journalists and their brothers write about, the US-Israeli, Zionist-American panzer is on the road and rolling and their target is Teheran.

  2. Rexw on the 23. Sep, 2010 remarked #

    Well stated, Scott and Debbie. However, far too rational for the population of Sleepytown, USA to grasp.

    It is sickening to think that the majority of people in the world are uninformed and happy to stay that way.

    The whole Iran exercise, as stated, is a cold and calculated plot by the mutually parasitic states of Israel and America. Because they live and feed off each other they mouth the same words, have the same evil and selfish values and will both eventually go the way of all self-serving states.

    However, in the meantime they could end up responsible for millions of deaths over which they will not shed a tear, Israel because it allows them to continue their march to Eretz Israel and the US because it wants to hang on to the illusion of being an expanding world power, which of course it is not.

    So the world will suffer and one of the casualties may be Iran, just because it is there, infiltrated by Mossad agents and literally surrounded by US bases.

    Those of a learned nature may say, ‘they did this before in Iraq but they won’t get away with such fiction again, surely?’
    Go and ask the average voting American the location of Iran and if you get an answer that doesn’t mimic the general line of Jewish owned media ravings, then it will have come from someone without a radio, TV or someone who doesn’t visit a rightwing church on a Sunday.

    There must be some value in being a group like the Amish who, because of their beliefs, still think that the world is a wonderful place. Sadly, they are very few in number.

    The real well informed world knows Iranians have a nuclear bomb and are threatening the world, that Iran is full of terrorists, that Israel is a friend to all and America is a world power for good. Even Hans Christian Andersen would find that a hard story to sell.

    Such is the hallucinatory world in which we live.

  3. Dawoodi Morkas on the 23. Sep, 2010 remarked #

    Ms. Jane Corbin C/o BBC,( Baised Barbarian Communication), I had written in the BBC blog on Gaza flotilla that there was bias in the BBC conduct on the whole program and they were trying to influence reports around the world based on their program. My remarks were expunged and I was debarred from commenting.

    The UN report on the Turkish effort has vindicated my opinion and the BBC has been exposed. So is the the crul power of the tyrant Israel

    Israel is a monstrous State. It has to be made to pay for the loss of life and limbs of the unarmed Palestinians. Unless the Palestinians ar made a free nation there is no justification of an Independent Israel on Arab Lands.

  4. Dawoodi Morkas on the 23. Sep, 2010 remarked #

    IRAN RIGHT TO NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY

    Brazilian President Mr. Inacio Lula De Silva has given a deep hearted plea to the West for the right of Iran to Nuclear Technology.

    Iran is being wrongfully denied the right of nuclear technology on the perceived perception that Iran is developing or has intention of developing nuclear war heads. It is just like when a son is born in an Afghan refugee camp he is branded as a terrorist because he was born to an Afghan mother.

    The West is not issuing visa to any Muslim students for further studies in the West as they perceive the student to be a danger to the West. There are so many other such notions that the West has forethought of the Muslims and the States which are not bowing to their (West) pressure that the general Muslim population is now getting fed up with the ideas of West, and those rulers and heads of states who are toeing the line of the West are finding it difficult to persuade their electoral if there are any electoral, as most of the friends of West in the East are dictators, rulers and dishonest politicians.

    It would be wise for West to let Iran do what is Iran’s right other wise there would be another Bin Laden like mind erupting in the East to teach the West a lesson, which it has been learning in the shape of the state of affairs it is facing in shape of the recession at hand.

  5. Rehmat on the 24. Sep, 2010 remarked #

    The actions of Zionist mafia are so pathetic that the moral majority have refused to take their words seriously. It is so ridiculous that when these Zionists are not killing youth and children in Gazzah or Lebanon – they cry for world’s sympathy for them against so-called “Iranian threat to Jewish people”. Now, anyone with even a low IQ can think that if that is true – Why don’t Iranian start killing the 25,000 Jews living inside Iran? I mean Zionists have been killing Jews, Muslims and Christians inside occupied Palestine for the last 60 years.

    One doesn’t need a PhD to learn that Iran has neither attacked its neighbours, nor occupied a foreign land in the last 100 years. Contrary to that Zionist Jews, not only, have occupied a foreign land but also have attacked all its neighbours – Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon during the last sixty years.

    A survey conducted by European Commission among 7500 EU citizens – 500 from each of 15 members of European Union, who were asked the question: “Tell me if in your opinion it present or not a threat to world peace,” – 59% of the people who participated in survey picked Israel as the greatest threat to world peace – Peter Beaumont, Guardian, November 2, 2003.

    Zionists, without any shame, have been projecting the same lies as they did prior to American invasion of Iraq for Israel and oil. Then they lied about Saddam Husein having WMDs, which posed great threat to world peace (the Zionists ‘world’ happens to be inside Israel) – now they are warning that Iranian enrichment activities are threat to world peace. Any American who is not brainwashed by Jewish media – would know that Iran, even if it has nuclear weapons, poses no threat to the US, which has more than 10,500 nuclear bombs including world’s best delivery system.

    The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) issued in December 2007 – put a death nail in Zionist coffin by declaring that “Islamic Iran has not had a military nuclear program at least since 2003.” At the same time two important books were published – “Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and US”, by Trita Parsi and the other “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the US and Twisted Path to Confrontation” by Barbara Slavin. Both authors told their audience at Center of American Progress last December: “The image that most Americans including the lawmakers of Islamic Iran is utterly distorted. The country and its people are neither anti-American, nor irrational, nor belligerant. The problem lies in Washington”.

    Zionists tried their best to blackmail the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to put some ‘scary words’ in its reports on Iran’s nuclear activities – but when its director general, Dr. Mohamed AlBaradei refused to obey them – the Jewish Lobby’s selected US ambassador at UN, John Bolton, tried to block Dr. AlBaradei’s third term as director general of IAEA – but failed miserably.

    During the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos – Dr. AlBaradei was interviewed by Lally Weymouth (b. 1943), senior editor and heir to Jewish-owned Newsweek-Washington Post empire. Read the interview and see how tried to put some anti-Iran words into Dr. AlBaradei’s mouth. Below are some excerpts:

    “Iran was co-operating more before. The cut the co-operation when they were taken to Security Council (by USrael) in 2005. It was a political decision. I have said for past six years that the policy of building trust between the West and Iran has failed completely. We have not moved an iota.”

    “You are not going to have trust unless you have direct dialogue with Iran without preconditions.”

    “It’s a competition between Iran and the West. Iran wants to have its role as a regional security power recognized. They feel they are the most powerful state in the region right now, and that’s true, to a large extent.”

    “There have been a lot of offensive statements, frankly on the part of Iran, although from what I understand, Iran wants a ‘one state solution (for Palestine)’ – not as reported in the media, that Israel should be wiped off the map.”

    http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/is-iran-a-threat-to-world-peace-nyeth-its-israel-stupid/

  6. Rexw on the 24. Sep, 2010 remarked #

    Dawoodi Morkas

    I feel in good company as my comment to the BBC on the very same subject was refused a run on their site as well.

    Ms Corbin has a lot to answer for and the very effort she made to make it appear contrary to the real facts was not lost on the thousands who also criticised the BBC for this biased effort.

    They won no support for this reporting and will be watched for such bias with a much more determined effort in the future.

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