The millions of people around the world who rely on the BBC to keep them up to date with international news and developments will be unaware of the fact that on April 15th the Iranian parliament publicised its own ‘factsheet’ on the topic of the framework agreement negotiated by the P5+1 and Iran two weeks earlier.
The lack of BBC reporting on this new document means that – as was the case with the equally under-reported previous ‘factsheet‘ put out by Iran – audiences lack the information which would enable them to compare the Iranian view of the framework agreement with the version of its terms publicised by the US State Department – and enthusiastically (and exclusively) promoted in numerous BBC reports.
In this latest document, discrepancies between the Iranian and US accounts of the terms of the framework agreement are seen once again on issues such as sanctions repeal, centrifuges, existing stockpiled nuclear material, inspections and verification of adherence to the deal. Differing interpretations of the duration of the agreement are also apparent, with this latest Iranian document citing a five-year long agreement, whereas US officials have spoken of a ten to fifteen year time frame.
In addition, there has been no BBC reporting on the subject of the short statement put out by the IAEA on April 16th concerning inspection of Iran’s past atomic work and PMDs (possible military dimensions). Reuters reported:
“The U.N. nuclear watchdog said it had a “constructive exchange” with Iran this week but there was no sign of a breakthrough on aspects of its nuclear program that the agency says Tehran has failed to fully address.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating Iran’s nuclear program in parallel to talks between Tehran and six world powers that aim to broker a deal by the end of June to scale down the program in exchange for sanctions relief.
In any final deal, the IAEA would play a major role in monitoring Iran’s compliance.
The IAEA said in March it expected progress with Iran this month on outstanding issues related to the nature of neutron calculations and alleged experiments on explosives that could be used to develop an atomic device.
It said then it expected Iran to propose new measures to address other outstanding issues with the IAEA by mid-April.
The IAEA on Thursday issued a short statement saying it had technical talks with Iranian officials in Tehran on Wednesday, making no mention of major developments.”
As readers may recall, the BBC also failed to report on the part of the speech made by Iran’s Supreme Leader earlier in the month in which he ruled out inspections at military sites as well as ‘anytime, anywhere’ inspections – in contrast to the claim made in the US factsheet which claims that “Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake production facility anywhere in the country”.
With regard to the disputed topic of sanctions relief (which the BBC has reported – in line with the hitherto promoted US account – as being phased and in accordance with verification of adherence to the terms of the deal), the Wall Street Journal reported on April 17th that:
“President Barack Obama suggested on Friday that Iran could receive significant economic relief immediately after concluding a deal to curb its nuclear program, a gesture towards one of Tehran’s key demands. […]
The Obama administration estimates Iran has between $100 billion and $140 billion of its oil revenue frozen in offshore accounts as a result of sanctions. U.S. officials said they expect Tehran to gain access to these funds in phases as part of a final deal. Iran could receive somewhere between $30 billion and $50 billion upon signing the agreement, said congressional officials briefed by the administration.
Complicating negotiations, U.S.-ally Saudi Arabia has repeatedly charged in recent weeks that Iran has provided significant funding, arms and training to Shiite insurgents in Yemen who gained control of the country’s capital, San’a, and forced the country’s president to flee. Iran has denied these allegations. Iran also is a major supporter of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, the Assad regime in Syria and a group of Shiite militias fighting in Iraq.”
Clearly, the BBC’s purpose remit of enhancement of “awareness and understanding of international issues” (in this case, both the framework agreement between the P5+1 and Iran and broader Middle East issues) is not served by its continued omission of significant parts of this story.