Monday, January 29, 2007

If a story in the UK press falls in the woods, does anyone in the US media hear it?

This is one of those stories you just know you will never seen in the US media. Checking .... Nope.
Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology.

Iran's uranium enrichment programme has been plagued by constant technical problems, lack of access to outside technology and knowhow, and a failure to master the complex production-engineering processes involved.

Despite Iran being presented as an urgent threat to nuclear non-proliferation and regional and world peace - in particular by an increasingly bellicose Israel and its closest ally, the US - a number of Western diplomats and technical experts close to the Iranian programme have told The Observer it is archaic, prone to breakdown and lacks the materials for industrial-scale production.
Now, one might view this as possible disinformation propaganda put out by Iran -- we know countries do this all the time now, don't we? -- but the difference that is striking between White House/Israeli nonsense and this, is that the cited officials are actually believable experts. And they are named.

Whereas the already large and increasing body of propaganda being dumped out by the White House, their "sources" are usually anonymous even though we know who they are: Likudnik Israelis and agents of the terrorist Mujahedin-E-Khalq (MEK), an band of Islamist loons who were booted out of Iran after the 1979 revolution because they were too crazy for the Khomeini's new Islamic regime. The MEK took refuge in Iraq and were coddled by Hussein, who encouraged continued aggression by them against Iranian targets throughout the 80's and 90's. So far as I know, IAEA chief Mohamed El Baradei has never engaged in terrorist activity against any government.

If this story is to be believed, which seems reasonable considering that it has been oft stated by officials who actually know what they're talking about that, then we find ourselves in the curious situation of watching dueling propaganda lines: one which tells us Iran is becoming a grave and growing danger because it is surely seeking nuclear weapons and another -- the Iranian one -- which tells us that the Iranians are enriching uranium and moving into the nuclear age but pose no threat whatsoever. The common strain between the two, being used to ramp up American aggression against Tehran, is that Iran can actually produce, or will soon produce, large quantities of nuclear material. It is a boast by both sides, apparantly utterly fatuous, but which is leading to confrontation. Ahmedinejad won't back down (from what appears to be practically nothing) and the White House will press forth because of Ahmedinejad insistence. And reason has left the building.

The only bright spot in this, is that it is the Iranians who are growing just as tired of Ahmedinejad as Americans have of Bush. Yes, this is the world we're in folks. The American public cannot seem curb the messianic vision of Bush while it is now left to Iran to become the reasonable party and maybe the one to turn back the tide of confrontation. Because it seems that no one is willing to really make the effort to stop Bush.

What is also interesting in the latest tack of White House rhetoric against Iran is Bush's insistence that Iran is meddling in our meddling in Iraq, appearing to try to create a two pronged justification for imagined aggression. And it certainly is not unnoticed that the latest "hunt and kill Iranians" order from Bush seems specifically designed to provoke a response. I can hardly wait to hear that Exxon is moving into the border regions to start slant drilling into Iranian oil fields.

Meanwhile, the US press ignores such tales of a weak and ineffectual Iranian nuclear program and continues to spout the White House and Israeli trope about being "wiped off the map," angling for war, just as they had served up White House gruel about Iraqi WMD.

5 Comments:

Blogger Richard said...

Yes, some folks in the U.S. do actually read media reports from outside their borders.

The stereotype you seem to portray of Mr. American sitting on his couch flicking channels between Nascar and Pres. Bush whilst munching chickenwings and kicking the family dog ... went out of vogue when America realized life exists outside its borders and seems to want to kill them.

Now there are many many varied opinions - specifically on the 'war on terror' - and range from 'lets get the UN involved whilst we sit powwow with the state-sponsors of terrorism and listen to their pain' to 'lets bomb them back to the stone age and steal their oil'

I like to think the major of folks over here actually believe in a moderate middle ground - which 'seems' to be - 1) no more military action (specifically against Iran) unless all other options are exhausted 2) what ARE the other options? 3) is this intelligence really true this time? 4) anyone other than Bush to execute said plan (be it 1,2 or 3)

In other words; I personally believe if an 'evildoer' threatens to blow your wife's brains in - but cannot because their gun jammed - do you say - 'no listen here old chap, terribly sorry but i'm going to have to ask you to stop!' or do you snatch the said jammed gun from his hand and give him a slap? - oh, and have the police remove his said arse?

hmm. tough call.

Iran is a threat. They threaten us and our interests. They just don't have the means to execute.

Ahmadinejad is a crazed Shia 12th Imam believer and wants to prove the Mahdi's return by removing the last obstacles - the kaffir - U.S., Israel and - perhaps the UK!?

Richard
opinionist.com

6:46 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

oh, and nice blog mate.

7:01 AM  
Blogger theBhc said...

Richard,

I'm not at all sure how you came to believe that these remarks were about the American public. The only mention I made was that Bush was determined to do what he wants regardless of public opinion. The remarks about ignorance were directed at the US press.

Your belief that Americans wish to exercise "all other options" w.r.t. Iran is no doubt correct. War is always supposed to be the last straw. But it is not. And certainly is not with this administration. This administration and, more specifically, Cheney and his foul brood, have been itching to attack Iran since at least the early 1990's. We know this.

Objectively, the US is far more of a threat to Iran than vice versa, especially since the Bush administration came to power. I have yet to see evidence of how, exactly, Iran is a threat to the US. If you consider low-level meddling in Iraq to be that, fair enough. But that hardly represents the kind of threat that the White House is talking about. I fear that far too many people have bought into the narrative that Iran is a "threat" simply by virtue of the fact that it has been oft repeated. I.e., there is no hard evidence of this other than the bellicose posturing of Ahmedinejad, who himself is now facing rebuke within Iran for his stupid posturing. And of this posturing, what, exactly, is being used as evidence by the West? Deliberately misinterpreted statements about Israel being "wiped off the map," when Arabic scholars have more than indicated this is not what he said. At all. It doesn't matter, though, because the narrative of the White House and Blair constitutes the only evidence of Iranian aggression. Surely you have read that powers of the Iranian president are quite weak --unlike those of the US president. In other words, it doesn't much matter what Ahmedinejad says, and that is one of the reasons why he has face remonstration in Iran. His words are not Iranian policy. He knows it. They know it. But we don't seem to, and the White House and the the US press are more than happy to make sure that most Americans are kept in the dark about the realities of Iranian government.

Iran right is probably only slightly greater a threat than Iraq was before we invaded it. But the pressure to make it appear to be more so is on. I and many fear that the crazy fucks in the White House will start their war, despite what is known, just like they did in Iraq.

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Naturally, I agree with you, the bhc; if meddling is the support of another other country, then Russia should have attacked us for supporting the Taliban. Iran should have attacked us for supporting Iraq when they attacked Iran. If a country does not work within our system, the U.S. is as bad as our enemies say.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between Iran’s quest for nuclear power - and some would say, a concurrent quest for Nuclear weapons - growing US anger at Iranian machinations and operations in Iraq, support for Hezbollah that runs from softly-softly to blatant, and Holocaust denial conferences guaranteed to stir up the right people, Iran is walking a tight rope.

Some (, such as Dr Shahram Akbarzadeh – http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=2120) would have it that the recent victory of Hashemi Rafsanjani in the elections for the Assembly of Experts signals a shift in the mood of the electorate. Rafsanjani is of the ‘moderate right’ in Iran, and besides this pre-eminent position (the A of E chooses the Supreme Leader), he is also head of the Expediency Council, and was President for eight years.

Others (, such as Michael Danby MP – PDF attached to email) would claim that President Ahmadinejad has already been given too much leeway, and say that it is time to forego ongoing UN debate, and start talking tough.

If the recent history of the Middle East has taught us anything, it is that ultimatums do not work. A re-constituted ‘Coalition of the Willing’ will not suffice for Iran. Saber-rattling will not bring it to heel. Sanctions will only hurt the average citizen (as Iraq proved.) An intervention is unthinkable. Russian missiles recently purchased to protect nuclear installations will make so-called ‘surgical strikes’ anything but.

Poll results aside, recent reports indicate Ahmadinejad is slipping in popularity with his public, and with his Cabinet. He has always been a populist.

His propensity to spend, spend, spend on local projects, which unsurprisingly endeared him to the average Iranian during his weekly trips to the provinces, are precisely what have gotten him into trouble with the economists.

Ordinary Iranians, too, are starting to tire of being permanently in the sights of the world’s only true superpower. The recent arrival of more US Naval vessels will not have cheered them up.

What is crucial now is timing. Push too hard on the Iraq, or on Nukes, and Iran’s hardliners will re-assert themselves, and Rafsanjani will be hung out to dry. Push just a little on Hezbollah, engage over the Iraq mess – because make no mistake, Iran can stop a civil war – and maintain a firm line over the Nukes (while keeping Israel in line), and things may not be as bad as they seem.

Of course, there is one more thing that would help all of these problems, and more besides in the wider neighbourhood. A Palestinian State.

James M (www.eurekastreet.com.au)

12:58 AM  

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