Yousaf Butt: Scientist, Propagandist – or Both?
Where does Yousaf Butt stand on the Iranian nuclear crisis?
This is no trivial question; in fact, the answer should be key for those – including a few thoughtful journalists like Julian Borger who relied on the article Butt co-wrote attacking AP’s recent nuclear diagram report (see our recent blog).
Our curiosity was aroused by the apparent disconnect between the host publication and the loose wording of the “article highlights”: “The diagram leaked to the Associated Press this week is nothing more than either shoddy sources or shoddy science. In either case, the world can keep calm and carry on”.
This is the language of scientists? More like the jargon of an agenda.
The AP story controversy aside, Butt is strongly on record in his opposition to current international policy in the nuclear crisis. For example, in a June piece for Foreign Policy he verbally assaults highly respected former IAEA senior official Olli Heinonen and then turns on the P5+1: “by refusing to ease sanctions on Iran in any meaningful way, the P5+1 offered no serious reciprocity in return for Iranian compliance.” Meaning, apparently, that Tehran is not obligated a priori to comply with IAEA and Security Council resolutions that it suspend enrichment activities and facilitate Agency inspections.
Butt feels so strongly about the need to give Tehran slack as it continues to churn out 20% enriched uranium that he even dispatched a letter to the editor of the Washington Post claiming that sanctions removal constitutes the best way to persuade Iran to cooperate – the official line from Tehran since sanctions began hurting, by the way. Other articles he has penned continue this line of thought.
These are the facts.
Indeed, just yesterday Butt let the cat out of the bag entirely, going solo in the Christian Science Monitor. There he employs the by-now familiar tricks adopted by those siding with Iran on the nuclear crisis: quoting Robert Kelley – their favorite former IAEA employee; exploiting a convenient quote from former senior Agency official Pierre Goldschmidt from 2009 (!); and promoting their uncanny view that somehow a media report proves the IAEA is losing credibility (again, Tehran’s song sheet – don’t remember hearing this when El Baradei was IAEA DG…).
Plus, a surprise: Butt presents himself as Henry Kissinger’s colleague and equal. No less.
You decide whether Butt is truly capable of writing a thoroughly objective scientific analysis related to the Iranian nuclear crisis. Our advice? Readers – and co-authors – beware.