Getting the media back on track

France’s foreign minister, Lauren Fabius, refuses to get side-tracked by the New York Times’ claims that direct negotiations between Iran and the US are just around the corner (a claim denied by both parties).

The Europe-1 radio interview was picked up by AP, but hardly anyone else…

“Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Europe-1 radio Sunday that unspecified experts “have established in an absolutely indisputable way” that Iran has compiled a full array of centrifuges that “apparently will allow the ability to go toward possession of the nuclear weapon by the first half of next year, the end of the first half.” He did not elaborate.”

Likewise, new satellite imagery released by the ISIS made little headway in the western media, with FOX News being a notable exception.

“New satellite imagery released by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) shows some changes at a military site of great interest to the UN nuclear watchdog.

The watchdog, or IAEA, suspects that Iran carried out explosives tests at the Parchin site back in the early part of the decade, tests consistent with the construction of a nuclear weapon. Iran denies that its nuclear program has a military dimension, but it will not let inspectors into Parchin.”

The FOX article also quoted Amano, chief of the UN body charged with inspecting Iran’s disputed nuclear program:

Yesterday, speaking at Chatham House in London, Yukiya Amano, the director general of the IAEA, noted that there has been intensive activity at the site, but Parchin is not the only problem.

“We have identified 12 areas that we need clarification. We cannot draw conclusions at this stage, but it is very obvious for us: We need to seek clarification from Iran, and as Iran continues to say that all the activities are of a peaceful purpose, it should be in the interest of Iran itself.”

All the while the media continues to focus on non-existent talks…

NPR and the Asia Times were excited about the prospects of further Iranian footdragging:

The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin hits the nail on the head when she notes that:

“Iran has been playing rope-a-dope with President Obama and his team for almost four years. It agrees to talks or to have talks about talks, all the while moving closer to a nuclear weapons capability.”

The daily beast/Newsweek quoted former Israeli ambassador to Iran, Uri Lubrani, on the hypothetical outcome of the hypothetical talks:

“Under no circumstances will this regime divest itself of the nuclear program. They’ve gone much too far on it and been too successful. They’re going to continue with it, no matter what,” Lubrani said in an interview. He said the Iranian leaders he’d met over the years were all highly skilled negotiators who would run circles around American officials.

“They are traders in their tradition. They’re bazaaris. They know how to how to haggle, when to catch an adversary when he’s weak. They’re pros,” Lubrani said.

This AP piece – which came later in the week – highlights Iran’s rather problematic stance towards any hypothetical negotiations: 

“Iran is weighing a more confrontational strategy at possible renewed nuclear talks with world powers, threatening to boost levels of uranium enrichment unless the West makes clear concessions to ease sanctions…

Mansour Haghighatpour, deputy head of Iran’s influential National Security Committee in parliament, told The Associated Press that the hardline negotiating formula under consideration would put Western negotiators on notice that failure to ease sanctions could open the way for uranium enrichment above 20 percent — currently the highest level acknowledged by the Islamic Republic.” 

Others at the WSJ blamed the whole saga on playing politics with national security.

As a rule, I don’t like to criticize an amorphous monolithic unit called ‘the media’.  I prefer to run a critical eye over specific articles and commentators.  However, when analyzing general trends; a basic overview of last week’s reportage shows a disproportionate amount of articles focusing on hypothetical talks which were denied by all parties.  While the evidence-based, factual report of the Institute for Science and International Security, showing what is happening in Iran now, was almost completely overlooked.

Blogging & updating on #Iran related news- focusing on Politics, Human Rights & the Iranian nuclear Program. Followed by top Middle East Analysts, Reportes & think tanks.

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Posted in AP, Military

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