Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bush Administration Lies to Besmirch Iran--Beeman--Pacific News Service May 6, 2005

Pacific News Service > News > Bush Administration Lies to Besmirch Iran

Bush Administration Lies to Besmirch Iran
Commentary, William O. Beeman,
Pacific News Service, May 06, 2005

Editor's Note: U.S. officials are telling falsehoods about Iran and its nuclear program, most recently on PBS's NewsHour program, the writer says.

SAN FRANCISCO--The frustration of the Bush administration with Iran regarding its nuclear program is obviously boiling over when an administration official issues an outright lie about Iran in a public venue, as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns did on television on May 5.

Burns made the following statement on PBS's NewsHour program to interviewer Margaret Warner.

WARNER: But as you know, I mean, Iran says that under the (Nuclear Non-
Proliferation) treaty, it has an inalienable right to continue pursuing this technology for civilian purposes.

BURNS: But the agreement that Iran entered into November of last year in Paris with Britain, France and Germany, is that it will not just suspend its nuclear fuel cycle activities. It will actually lead to cessation and dismantling. That means that Iran would not be able to have the possibility to enrich or produce fissile material which, as you know, is the essential ingredient in the capacity to build a nuclear device.

Burns' statement is untrue. The Nov. 15 treaty, a public document, does not stipulate any agreement on Iran's part to dismantle any part of its peaceful nuclear development program. Moreover, Iran's cessation of enrichment activity was specified as voluntary in the treaty.

Burns' remark is designed to show that Iran is in violation of a treaty subsequent to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), thus perpetuating the Bush administration portrait of Iran as an outlaw nation and "treaty violator." What Burns failed to point out is that Iran also subscribed to the following unambiguous statement in the November treaty:

"Iran reaffirms that, in accordance with Article II of the NPT, it does not and will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons. It commits itself to full cooperation and transparency with the IAEA. Iran will continue implanting voluntarily the Additional Protocol [for enhanced inspections] pending ratification."

Iranian officials have dug in their heels on this issue because they correctly feel that they have been unfairly singled out for attack. They know full well that Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea are not signatories to the NPT; that they have nuclear weapons; and that the United States is doing nothing to target them. They also know that Brazil has a developing nuclear program, and that Taiwan supplies nuclear technology support to all and sundry, and these nations are likewise not the targets of American rhetoric.

Iran is deeply proud of its technological advances. It is now manufacturing commercial passenger aircraft for export, and has the largest automobile manufacturing plant in the Middle East. It is diversifying its oil economy and has growing non-oil export trade. Nuclear energy technology is both a demonstration of its advancing skills in high-level engineering and a practical economic measure to free petroleum and natural gas for export to China, India and other nearby Asian markets. Iran's clerical leaders are not loved by its youthful population, but their support for nuclear energy development is almost universally supported by the populace.

Since there has been no diplomatic relations between Washington and Tehran for nearly 30 years, the only way for either nation to get the attention of the other is through invective and excessive rhetoric. The Bush administration has decided that the nuclear issue is the one that will play best with the American public, and on the world scene, and so it seems ready to tolerate, and perhaps even orchestrate, stunts like the Burns prevarication. However, in the long run the United States is losing the battle. European powers are not willing to go along with U.S. strong-arm tactics, and even if the United States is able to haul Iran in to the United Nations to face sanctions, it is likely that China, Russia and France will veto the measure, causing embarrassment in Washington.

Far better for Washington would be to do what Britain, France and Germany have been urging the Bush administration to do, and actually press to open direct talks with Tehran. This is the honest, the correct and the effective way to deal with the very proud nation of Iran.

PNS contributor William O. Beeman is professor of anthropology and director of Middle East Studies at Brown University. He is currently visiting professor of cultural and social anthropology at Stanford University. His forthcoming book is "The 'Great Satan' vs. the 'Mad Mullahs': How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other."


Ehsan on May 06, 2005 22:12:33, said:
This article is one of the rare, fair reports about the atomic crisis and Iran.

nima on May 06, 2005 18:39:00, said:
Brilliant article. I wish I could see such honest and independent reporting in other sectors of the press.

Bahram on May 06, 2005 18:13:15, said:
Good work. After many years as an Iranian living in U.S. finally I found an honest, wise article. I and almost all of my many young educated friends in U.S. and Iran are no fan of current government in Iran. However, we believe Iran is treated unfairly not only in this issue but also in any other commercial and economical issues such as oil investment.

The Bush administration does not understand that they are unifying Iranians and the government by these sanctions and pressures. Remember the golden years of hope for democracy in Iran was when Clinton administration showed its interest to open a relationship with Iran. Unfortunately people like you have no voice in mainstream media and administration. God bless you.

Henning on May 06, 2005 17:19:25, said:
The Bush admnistration is based on crime, lies, mass murder and terror. Then how do you think he can deal in a correct and effective way?