Happens like clockwork: Iran’s media, parliament and proxies ratchet up their efforts to discredit the IAEA just before the quarterly Board of Governors meeting– this time set for early June. As far as we can tell, the heat’s usually turned up 10 days or so before the meeting– apparently to pre-empt publication of Amano’s report, disseminated to member states (and usually leaked) beforehand.
So while the DG continues to stress Agency suspicions that Tehran has engaged in nuclear weapons tests, the latter belittles his credibility. Iran’s attitude toward the IAEA has apparently become so venomous that even a totally reasonable comment about the importance of safety at Bushehr– there has been a recent earthquake in the vicinity, you know – invites a round of attacks.
This time, Iran’s saber-rattling against the IAEA comes on the heels of two more attempts to coax and cajole that country into cooperating: more talks between representatives of the IAEA and EU and Iranian officials in Vienna and Istanbul, respectively. No progress on both counts, of course.
Most of the journalists following these stories emphasized Iran’s obvious stonewalling. By the same token, however, all too many accentuated the Iranian spin on developments. We found this tendency in most of the wire services: Reuters, AFP, and AP (in the Washington Post).
Incidentally: as far as we could discern, Xinhuanet was one of the few news agencies to emphasize the Agency’s view of events in its headline.
Which brings us back to the IAEA: with another report and Board meeting around the corner, it would be refreshing if the mainstream media would maintain neutrality, distance itself from events, and just cover them – instead of becoming part of them.