While the media does its job, participants in the Geneva nuclear meetings are calling for discretion. The sharpest message in this context thus far: Iranian FM Zarif’s insistence that “anonymous sources have no info” and that members of his country’s negotiating team had not spoken off the record.
That doesn’t make it true, of course. After all, diplomats and journalists must have done something other than make small talk during their hours of interaction in the hotel. Besides, why wouldn’t the delegations use journalists to spin their narrative? And who says the narratives aren’t coordinated?
Tough nut to crack; let’s review some of the findings.
Al-Monitor’s Barbara Slavin, known for her Iranian sources, cites one “who has proven reliable in the past” as telling her that Tehran pledged to freeze 20 percent enriched uranium production, convert its stockpile to fuel rods and relinquish spent fuel in a two-stage proposal.
Coincidentally or not, Barak Ravid at the Israeli Ha’aretz described the Iranian proposal along similar lines – this time citing a top Israeli official, who had been briefed on the talks by western officials.
These two were actually preceded by Michael Adler’s at Breaking Defense, which received much less attention but was more significant because it contained similar information leaked while the Geneva meetings were still in progress. A fact, by the way, that eluded the New York Times – which claimed in its fairly balanced editorial on the talks that participants in the encounter refrained from “trying to sabotage it with strategically placed leaks.” Not quite true, apparently.
It seems to us that despite the feigned discretion, there’s quite a bit of spin-doctoring going on here. Perhaps the media is a willing partner, or perhaps it’s just been ensnared by a legitimate zeal for information. Either way, we recommend increased media caution as the process moves forward.