COMMENTARY: Western state propaganda is overwhelming empirical evidence in Iran-P5+1 standoff [On Monday Jason Ditz of noted that little skepticism is being expressed these days about whether Iran really is building nuclear weapons, even in the critical-minded blogosphere.  -- Thanks to insistent propaganda and a compliant media, the average person has been persuaded that the Iranians are in fact (or should be assumed to be) building nuclear weapons, despite well-documented expert judgments to the contrary, viz.  "the U.S. intelligence community saying they aren?t" and "the IAEA saying they have seen no proof that they are."[1] -- "[I]f everybody believes Iran is making nuclear weapons this argument is pretty much over, and then the pro-war side has won," Ditz sighed.  -- "Now it seems like it?s just a matter of if President Obama really wants to attack Iran or not." -- On Tuesday, Press TV, an Iranian government-funded media outlet, published what it called a "rush transcript" of an interview with Ali Akbar Salehi that touched on the latest uproar.  -- (As usual, the quality of the English text is abysmal; this text has been edited below for syntactical correctness, making the meaning clear but not, I believe, changing it.) --
Salehi spoke at some length about the bad faith Western powers have demonstrated throughout the many years of international diplomacy around this issue.[2] -- But the main point Salehi made was an obvious one: that Iran has been building a place where the technology essential to its civilian nuclear program (to which it has every right as a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT]) as a prudent defensive measure, so that it could be protected from the possibility of being destroyed in an attack on Iran's principal installation.  -- Salehi also noted, of course, that Iran declared this site to the IAEA well in advance of NPT requirements and several days before the Obama-Brown-Sarkozy theatrical announcement ( of Fri., Sept.  25, in Pittsburgh.

** Is Iran's Lack of Nuclear Weapons Really Beside the Point?  ** September 28, 2009 The Obama Administration was seemingly foiled last week when it was discovered that the ?secret?  Iranian nuclear facility they were about to reveal to the rest of the U.N.  Security Council had already been reported to the IAEA, by Iran, as legally required.

But no one seemed to notice.  The Western media still crowed about the ?uncovering?  of a secret facility by the Obama Administration and ran several stories questioning the ramifications in the lead-up to this week?s talks.

Today Slashdot, a popular news and current affairs discussion site, has run a discussion entitled ?Iran?s nuclear ambitions?  which underscores the tenor of the topic.  Slashdot?s readership tends to be pretty politically independent and have above average education, so one would think they?d be more skeptical about the case for war than the average voter.

And there is a pretty even split between pro-war and anti-war positions on the discussion.  Lots of grousing about empire.  Lots of mentioning Israel.
But there is one thing you won?t see, and that?s any serious questioning of whether or not Iran is creating nuclear weapons.

Despite the U.S.  intelligence community saying they aren?t, despite the IAEA saying they have seen no proof that they are, pretty much everyone takes Iran?s ?nuclear ambitions?  for granted, and are just split over whether or not its worth going to war over.

It?s not hard to imagine why this is.  Both the Bush Administration and Obama Administration have cheerfully ignored their own intelligence communities and trumpeted this myth of the threat posed by Iran.  If you?re the average person who doesn?t spend all day paying attention to this stuff you?d probably figure if one was lying about it so overtly the other party would call them on it.  Not so.

But while we can take some solace in the fact that so many on Slashdot don?t see this as a good reason to go to war, if everybody believes Iran is making nuclear weapons this argument is pretty much over, and then the pro-war side has won.  If facts don?t matter the state can ALWAYS scare the public into war.

It worked in Iraq .  .  .  and 6+ years after the occupation a non-trivial minority of Americans still think Iraq had WMDs.  Now it seems like it?s just a matter of if President Obama really wants to attack Iran or not.

And that?s not so straightforward.  The U.S.  has 130,000+ troops in Iraq and will likely have over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan very soon.  Conquering Iran will be no cakewalk, and even with the international good will the Obama Administration seems to have it is unlikely NATO is going to jump at the chance for another war.

But unless Americans are really willing to revisit the underlying claim of Iran?s mythical nuclear weapons program, the debate is over.  Thursday?s talks will be about lining up international forces on Obama?s side for sanctions or worse against Iran, and the media will gleefully report the official line, no matter how little sense it makes.


September 29, 2009

--The following is a rush transcript of Press TV's interview with Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi on the West's reaction to Tehran's recent announcement that it is constructing another nuclear enrichment facility near the central city of Qom.

[Note: The text below has been extensively edited for quality of prose where the meaning is obvious but the syntax is garbles; the meaning has not been altered.  (In general, the quality of English translations put out by Iranian state media organizations is surprisingly abysmal.) --R.T.] Press TV: Dr.  Salehi, you were Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) between 1999 and 2004.  Since your recent appointment, have you seen any changes in the Western perception of Iran's nuclear program?

Salehi: It is very delicate issue to discuss, really, concerning the question that you asked.  The answer is: No.  In another words, we have been witnessing that the West has been continuously increasing their accusations.  It seems that their accusations are never ending.  There is a saying in Persian which says: "Whoever goes up the ladder of accusations higher and higher, if he ever falls he will have his bones broken harder."

So I don't know if they are really aware of this, because one day the truth will emerge and this will create a lot of problems for them -- which already it has.  We were accused previously, as six years ago, of enriching uranium up to 70 percent, and then we insisted that this was something imported from outside [Iran], that is, it was not done inside [Iran], [and that] we have never enriched up to 70 percent.  But they insisted, until finally after three years they found out that it was not true and what we had insisted was true.

There are a lot of similar issues that they have accused us of, and we have proved the opposite, but it seems that they don't want to learn their lesson.  And finally there was a work plan that was worked out between Iran and the [International] Atomic Energy Agency.  And in this work plan, the questions were exhausted so Iran answered all the questions that were raised, in six categories, and the IAEA itself admitted that the questions that have been raised were perfectly answered.  But nevertheless they kept on bringing in other accusations and the so-called 'alleged studies,' which has to do with missiles [and] warheads and has nothing to do with the nuclear issues.  So what I can say is that the West is not learning from its past, and it has decided to keep pressure on Iran for no reason.

But the environment in the IAEA has changed.  In another words, the majority of the IAEA -- because the IAEA destructive IAEA so that you have the Board of Governors, which consists of thirty-five members, probably one or two more or less, but about thirty-five members, and you have the General Assembly or the General Conference, which embodies all the members, which [consists of] about 150.  When you go to the Board of Governors, it's like the Security Council in the U.N., where the majority belongs to the Western countries.  It is there they do all the cooking and make all the decisions, because they have the majority.  But when you come to the General Conference and the General Assembly, the picture changes completely, and the voices are not heard there, and the majority has recognized the right of Iran, and has recognized that Iran has been consistently saying the truth, and that they have been consistently accusing Iran with, I would say, loose reasoning, unfounded reasoning.  So, I would say [that] the West is keeping the pressure [on] but the overall consciousness of the world, public opinion, is with Iran.

Press TV: Western governments have accused Iran of building a nuclear site southwest of Tehran, whose size does not correspond to that of a facility to enrich uranium for a nuclear power plant.  What's your response to these accusations?

Salehi: Well, this site is a small site.  We have indicated already, over and over -- I had said it in my speech when I was in the General Conference two weeks ago -- that Iran has taken all the precautionary steps to safeguard its nuclear facilities.  There are a number of ways to safeguard your facilities and your manpower, your human resources.  One is the active safeguarding, for which the military is responsible. 

And the other one is the passive defense and not active defense -- the active defense has a military side, but then we have the passive defense which has a civilian side.  And this is a broad issue when you speak about passive defense, it embodies many things; it takes into conversation shelters for your personnel and underground shelters for your instruments, so this is an example as I would say it is a place that would guarantee the continuation of our enrichment activity.  In other words, we are telling the world -- I mean when I said telling the world l mean telling to those adversaries -- that under no condition will Iran relent.  Iran is taking all the necessary steps to safeguard its human resources, its personnel, and its sensitive instruments.  So, this is, I would say, a place that would guarantee this, it can withstand any kind of unforeseen attack, because -- I would say unforeseen because we are not expecting any kind of attack -- we are taking every threat seriously.  So, in another words, we are a "awakened nation," we are not "asleep," so we are ready for the worst-case scenario.

But this does not mean that we believe that the worst case will ever come.
I believe that there is minimum of prudence in wisdom, in the mind of our adversaries, because if any wrong steps are taken, then the consequences are
-- I would say -- not very clear.  I mean, when they start the fire they cannot extinguish it.

So the consequences are unforeseen.  I mean, you cannot foresee the consequences.  You cannot guess the consequences.  Nevertheless, we take every threat seriously and we do our best to safeguard our interests and under no condition shall we relent.

Press TV: Tell us why the West has attacked so ferociously?  And whether that was maybe a media analysis that they had prepared before on how they were going to present this, as we saw the in the G20 conference in Pittsburgh, when they came and attacked that way.

Salehi: Well, I was astonished, really, because when we declared this facility to the IAEA about more than ten [sic] days ago -- Monday last week -- we expected that this will be welcomed by the West.  Contrary to our expectation, we saw a frenzied reaction, agitation, and something abnormal.

And I began to think: Why?  What has happened?  Because they consistently insisted that Iran never declares its facility at the right time, or whatever.  This was also one of the other accusations.  This time we have declared this facility much ahead of the time that [we were required to] based on our commitments and our rights.