I commented a few days ago about a New York Times article basically saying that even though Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and Ayatollah Khamenei has issued a fatwa forbidding the development of nuclear weapons, you can’t trust the Iranians because Muslims are all liars and so on. Basically, Bernard Lewis type propaganda.
The ever-vigilant Gareth Porter does a thorough and proper down of taking down the Times article and exposing it for the propaganda it is. On the fatwa and the argument that the Supreme Leader is a liar:
The Times report repeated a familiar allegation, attributed to unnamed “analysts”, that the fatwa is merely a conscious deception justified by the traditional Shi’a legal principle called “Taqiyyah”. But a quick fact check would have shown that “Taqiyyah” is specifically limited to hiding one’s Shi’a faith to avoid being killed or otherwise seriously harmed if it were acknowledged.
On the argument that Khamenei saying Libya’s surrendering of its nuclear program was a mistake indicates Khamenei thinks it would be good to have nuclear weapons:
Khamenei’s references to “all his nuclear facilities” – not to his nuclear weapons programme, as claimed by Risen – and to the contrast between the ultimate fate of the Gaddafi regime and the Islamic Republic’s survival appear to have been suggesting that merely having a nuclear programme without nuclear weapons can be a deterrent to attack.
That same point has been made by other Iranian officials who cite the Japanese model as one for Iran to emulate.
On the Times‘ claim, stated as fact, that Iran restarted its nuclear program in 1984:
Risen cited no source for that statement, but it is apparently based on an article by David Albright in the Tehran Bureau’s “Iran Primer”. Albright wrote, “A 2009 internal IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) working document reports that in April 1984, then President Ali Khamenei announced to top Iranian officials that Khomeini had decided to reactivate the nuclear program as the only way to secure the Islamic Revolution from the schemes of its enemies, especially the United States and Israel.”
Even if that report, coming from an unidentified IAEA member country, was accurate, Risen misreported it, again substituting “nuclear weapons program” for “nuclear program”.
But the claim cited in the IAEA working document is also demonstrably false, because it is well documented that the Islamic Republic had decided to continue Iran’s nuclear programme in 1981 and even made a formal request in 1983 for the IAEA to help it convert yellowcake into reactor fuel.
Read Gareth’s article at IPS. Also, The Lede (a blog at the New York Times) has a post acknowledging the fact that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, never said that Israel must be “wiped off the map”. Gosh, do you think they’ll put that on the front page? Or issue corrections for every time they lied about it by stating the contrary? The impetus for the post was an admission by Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, Dan Meridor, that this claim was false. The post links to an earlier article by Ethan Bronner:
As my colleague Ethan Bronner reported the next year, one problem was translating a metaphorical turn of phrase in Persian that has no exact English equivalent — there was, for instance, no mention of a map — and there was a heated debate about whether the original statement was a threat or a prediction.
If you go read that article by Bronner, you’ll see he basically said, “Yeah, it’s true that Ahmadinejad never actually said that, but we are going to keep repeating that he did anyway.” I discussed that in my article “Turning Back from the Point of No Return“, a response to more propaganda from Jeffrey Goldberg’s infamous Atlantic piece a while back. You can read more about this false Western propaganda claim and much more in that article.