When the news broke on Friday that Iran had concealed the construction of an additional nuclear enrichment facility, CiF was quick to cover the story with an article by Simon Tisdall, who wrote:
Now it seems the Iranian regime has been caught red-handed, and clean out of trumps, by the forced disclosure that it is building, if not already operating, a second, secret uranium processing plant. The revelation will bring a triumphal roar of “told you so!” from Bush era neoconservatives in the US to hawkish rightwingers in Israel. The likes of former vice-president Dick Cheney and UN envoy John Bolton, and the current Israeli leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, have long insisted that Tehran’s word could not be trusted.
Yet the argument about who was right and who was wrong about Iran is hardly important at this juncture. Today’s disclosures have significant, real-time policy-shifting implications for those who must deal with the ever more believable claims that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons capability.
It’s only human that Tisdall wouldn’t like to dwell on the issue of “who was right and who was wrong about Iran”, since he works for a media outlet that has consistently given out the message that there is no reason to worry about Iran’s nuclear program, and that especially Israel’s fears were completely exaggerated, hysterical, paranoid, and, above all, bellicose.
In the parallel universe of the GWV, the threats against the Jewish state that Iran’s rulers have repeated over and over again are mere rhetoric, or mistranslations, and in any case hardly newsworthy – particularly when compared to the always justified concern about the terrible threat posed by Israel…
So it was hardly a surprise that a certain colleague of Tisdall was rather unhappy to read on CiF that Iran had been “caught red-handed” and that the revelations about the concealed nuclear facility could “bring a triumphal roar of ‘told you so!’ from Bush era neoconservatives in the US to hawkish rightwingers in Israel.” Heaven forbid – none of this could be truly true!!!
25 Sep 09, 4:44pm
This smells of a propaganda stunt by western intelligence agencies. It’s not clear that Iran has actually broken any ruies on disclosure, since the plant is said to be non-operational.
Yeah, there must be a conspiracy…
Damage control was swift, if not outright frantic, and it came in the form of another post on the subject: “Keeping Iran honest”. Any reader who wondered if this title really implied that Iran had been honest while it was concealing the construction of a nuclear facility had all doubts removed by the subheading, which reads: “Iran’s secret nuclear plant will spark a new round of IAEA inspections and lead to a period of even greater transparency.”
Even greater transparency!!! OMG, how transparent can it get???
Once this piece was posted, Tisdall’s unfortunate column was quickly closed for debate. But it didn’t take long before yet another, even more tempting take on the story was posted: “My dinner with Ahmadinejad” gives the “human interest” angle of the story:
Iran is not thinking about specifics.
Instead it seeks something more diffuse: respect, dignity, treatment as an equal member of the world community. This is a country that has been abused, humiliated and looted by foreign powers for 200 years. As Ahmadinejad repeatedly made clear, this has left deep scars.
“We see the world differently from the way prominent politicians in the US see it,” he said at one point. Later he complained about big powers that “really believe they have a right to approach the world from a position of leadership, and insist that others follow them.” Then he said countries “have to recognise each other’s basic rights.”
CiF-readers are unlikely to know that this is the same man speaking who said last year:
“World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region.”
That came shortly after the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Muhammad Ali Jafari, wrote to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah:
“The cancerous growth Israel will soon disappear… I am convinced that with every passing day Hizbullah’s might is increasing and in the near future, we will witness the disappearance of this cancerous growth Israel by means of the Hizbullah fighters’ radiation [therapy].”
And the chief of the Iranian Armed Forces, Maj.-Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, wholeheartedly agreed, writing that:
“Lebanese and Palestinian combatants… [will] continue the struggle until the complete destruction of the Zionist regime and the liberation of the entire land of Palestine.”
But according to the GWV, all Ahmadinejad really wants is a bit of respect, and according to the GWV, he deserves it, never mind what he and his lieutenants say…
In the end, however, the Guardian editors acknowledged in a piece posted early Saturday morning:
“The likelihood that Iran’s nuclear programme is wholly civilian, as its leaders continue to claim, diminishes with each unpleasant surprise.”
“Unpleasant”, indeed; “surprise” – only if you insisted to ignore the obvious about Iran’s regime.
Well, and let’s not forget, one reason why all this is so “unpleasant” is this:
Iran’s cat-and-mouse game with nuclear inspectors hands a propaganda victory on a plate to Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli premier who has made little secret of his air force’s preparations for a long-range air strike.
Right, that’s important to keep in mind: a regime that has repeatedly threatened to annihilate Israel is clearly pursuing nuclear weapons, and what is to be deplored is that this “hands a propaganda victory on a plate to Binyamin Netanyahu”. What a Guardianesque thought…