Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Neoconservatives Wildly Misrepresent Iran (What Else Is New?)

On today's Washington Post editorial page, Marc Reuel Gerecht, formerly of the CIA, and Mark Dubowitz, current Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and its Iran Energy Project (where Gerecht now works also), have a column titled, "In Iran Talks, one side ready to bend," neatly timed to coincide with the beginning of negotiations between Iran and the Group of Six, and just after Iran announced a willingness to open to outside inspections some previously blocked sites and programs.  The authors argue that the West, European countries particularly, will be looking for the least excuse to relax the economic sanctions against Iran for only stopping their uranium enrichment to 20% activities.  They argue that the sanctions should be maintained to "crater" the Iranian economy so that even enrichment to 5% (far below the 90+% needed for nuclear weapons, but needed for their domestic electricty producing reactors) is shut down as well.

Quite aside from the authors not noticing the existence of the Iranian domestic civilian reactors needing the 5% enriched uranium (with them presumably wanting those reactors shut down as well), or that the Iranian nuclear program dates back to the pro-US regime of the Shah, they make several simply outrageously incorrect claims.  The clearest is a claim that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been actively supporting a nuclear weapons program since "when it was still covert" in the mid-1980s, before he became the Vilayat-el-faqih (Supreme Jurisprudent), although Rafsanjani is identified as the "true father" of the nuclear weapons program.  Quite aside from the fact that what program they had was shut down about a decade ago, this ignores that after that shutdown and also very recently and publicly, Khamenei has issued religious edicts, fatwas, against nuclear weapons.  That he had done so earlier was widely ignored in the US media, with only people like Juan Cole reporting on it.  This most recent utterance did get public attention, however, presumably because it coincided with the decision to move to this round of negotiations.  Most of the reports failed to mention that this was nothing new on Khamenei's part.

The other is a claim, based on quoting Anthony Cordesman, to the effect that pursuing nuclear weapons has been the "main focus of Iran's military strategy for the past quarter of a century."  This claim also runs into the same problem already mentioned above, that Iran gave up its half-baked pursuit of nuclear weapons a decade ago, with its Commander-in-Chief Khamenei issuing his fatwa against nuclear weapons not too long thereafter.  Of course, for much of this more recent period, it was fashionable to ignore Khamenei completely and focus on President Ahmadinejad, who conveniently issued periodic semi-insane remarks that could be focused on.  However, as it has become increasingly clear more recently that he is not in charge at all (and never was of military programs) and Khamenei is, we now have this weird drumbeat of focusing on Khamenei and actually presenting the beaten down Ahmadinejad as a "reformer."  I cannot begin to describe how ridiculous and misleading all this is, but this particular column is really far out there in terms of its egregious and hysterical misrepresentations of basic facts.

1 comment:

Brenda Rosser said...

And after all is said and done on Iran, it's Fukushima nukes out-of-control that should be attracting bold, alarming headlines.

"everything else pales in comparison to the importance of dealing with this."