Monday, March 30, 2015

Falsely Accusing Iran of "Backing Away" from Nuclear Deal--New York Times

David Sanger and Michael Gordon of the New York Times have done it again. They have managed to accuse Iran of acting in bad faith on the nuclear negotiations--without even knowing what those negotiations consist of, or before an agreement is either signed or abandoned.

("Iran Backs Away from Key Detail in Nuclear Deal," New York Times March 29, 2015)

Messers Sanger and Gordon have been trying to sabotage these talks with their insidious journalism since they began. Sanger in particular was furious at the NIE assessments that asserted clearly that Iran had no nuclear weapons program. By using known Iran detractors such as Gary Samore, Olli Harnonen and David Albright almost exclusively in their reporting, and by editorializing on IAEA reports, they have done their work well. Many Americans firmly believe that Iran is on a path to making nuclear weapons, even though no evidence for this exists at all, anywhere.

In this case they claim that Iran has "backed away" from shipping enriched uranium to Russia based on a single remark to the Iranian press by Iranian deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi that “The export of stocks of enriched uranium is not in our program, and we do not intend sending them abroad,”

The possibility of sending the enriched uranium abroad may or may not have been on the table in the nuclear negotiations, but it was so widely rumored, that in the eyes of Messrs Sanger and Gordon it was some kind of bedrock principle of the talks.

Iran cannot be accused of backing awy from something it has never agreed to do.

Anyone watching Iran should realize that dealings between Iran and Russia are not a matter of trust and good will. Iran deeply distrusts deals that make its supply of uranium dependent on Russia. This has happened several times before. They are afraid that they will ship their uranium to Russia and it will disappear forever, either not given back by Russia, or subject to sequestration by the International Community. Given their experience with the sanctions, this is a fairly reasonable supposition.

There are alternatives to shipping the uranium out of the country, and we will see if those prevail. I hope they do. The Russian delegate clearly was upset. He left the talks. But he was never assured of the uranium transfer.

It is hoped that cooler heads prevail in Lausanne and that an agreement can still be reached.