The New York Times appears to be deliberately distorting its reporting of the international crisis developing around Iran's nuclear program in order to gin up support for imminent aggression against Iran by the U.S. or Israel. -- Although the news that Iran had rejected the European proposal was available by mid-day Friday, the Times chose not to report this in its Saturday edition. -- Instead, it ran an article entitled "U.S. Supports European Offer to Iran on Its Nuclear Program," reproduced below. -- Iran's response was in fact an almost immediate rejection of the EU3 proposal, but Steven Weisman reported: "Although Iran had no immediate response to the proposal, Western diplomats have said they expect Tehran initially to reject the proposal, which would take years to negotiate and carry out." -- The thrust of the article in Saturday's Times is that the EU3 proposal was a good proposal, and that it was one that Iran must accept. -- A French official -- unnamed, like every source in the article -- is quoted, saying the EU3 offer is "very important," "generous," and "very innovative." -- The unnamed "senior State Department official" calls it a "good proposal." -- Iran's objections to the proposal go unreported, though they have been widely reported. -- The article implies that Iran would be unreasonable not to accept, suggesting implicitly that Iran deserves the consequences of a refusal. -- In essence, the Times embraces the right of the West to dictate to Iran on this subject. -- It goes without saying that constant U.S. silence and complicity during the 40-plus years that Israel has spent developing its own nuclear program (Israel is now believed to possess about 200 nuclear warheads) are unmentioned. -- The Times reported that "a senior State Department official" said that there "was broad agreement among board members of the atomic energy agency that resuming the conversion activities would constitute a breach of Iran's obligations," though the truth is that it is Iran that is in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty, while the U.S. is presently engaged in subverting it in a number of ways. -- The Times accompanied this distorted, partial reporting on Saturday with a lead editorial entitled "A Glimmer of Hope." -- In the editorial, Iran is sternly warned that it "need[s] to respond with appropriate seriousness," and it is clear that the only acceptable response is to "give up nuclear weapons in exchange for broad economic incentives and firm security guarantees." -- Invoking today's 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima (but again ignoring Israel's status as nuclear power and number-one U.S. ally in the Middle East as well as the history of Anglo-American imperialism that led to the 1979 Iranian revolution and Iran's current intransigence), the Times marshals faux-humanitarian arguments that are, in our view, intended in the present context to help prepare public opinion for acts of war against Iran -- and according to Scott Ritter, this war has already begun....
U.S. SUPPORTS EUROPEAN OFFER TO IRAN ON ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM
By Steven R. Weisman
New York Times
August 6, 2005
WASHINGTON -- The United States gave its explicit support on Friday to a European proposal to defuse the West's confrontation with Iran over what is suspected of being its nuclear weapons program, while in Tehran the Iranian government received the proposal and said it would study its contents before commenting.
"I can say that we very much support the E.U. 3's negotiating effort," said R. Nicholas Burns, under secretary of state for political affairs, referring to the proposal put together by Britain, France and Germany under the auspices of the European Union. "We hope that this diplomatic process will continue. We hope that Iran will look at this proposal seriously."
The proposal offers Iran the possibility of acquiring nuclear reactors and fuel, and of establishing broad political and economic ties with the West, in return for ending uranium conversion and enrichment activities that the West suspects are part of a nuclear weapons program. Iran insists that its nuclear activities are intended for energy production, which it says is its right to pursue.
Although Iran had no immediate response to the proposal, Western diplomats have said they expect Tehran initially to reject the proposal, which would take years to negotiate and carry out.
American and European officials said they were focused Friday on a more immediate problem -- Iran's announced intention to resume the conversion of raw uranium into a gas that could be enriched for eventual use as a nuclear fuel. Iran voluntarily suspended the process last year pending negotiations with the Europeans about its nuclear programs.
The American and European officials, speaking on the condition that they not be identified, said they expected the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to meet Tuesday to discuss the issue.
If Iran does resume its uranium activities, a move to refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council for possible economic or political penalties could be discussed, the officials said.
A senior State Department official said there was broad agreement among board members of the atomic energy agency that resuming the conversion activities would constitute a breach of Iran's obligations. Other Western diplomats said, however, they were not sure the United States could get the agency's board to act against Iran.
In Paris, French officials confirmed details of the European proposal, the contents of which were reported in the New York Times on Friday.
"This offer is very important, this offer is generous and this offer is very innovative," said one official, speaking under ground rules in France by which he not be identified.
"Ideally what we are waiting for is for them to study very carefully this document," he said. "Every word has been carefully chosen by us three in consultation with our industries. This proposal offers a very large spectrum of cooperation."
The senior State Department official said the United States did not agree with all aspects of the proposal, but he declined to be more specific. He said the United States had not addressed what steps it might need to take to improve its relationship with Iran to let the Europeans pursue their proposed improvements in trade preferences, technology cooperation and security guarantees.
"The U.S. is not a party to these negotiations, but we're supportive of the process," he said. He said he was not trying to disassociate the Bush administration from the proposals and added: "We agree with the major thrust of this proposal. We think it's a good proposal."
A GLIMMER OF HOPE
New York Times
August 6, 2005
It may be only a few more days before the world finds out whether Iran and North Korea are willing to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for broad economic incentives and firm security guarantees. The Bush administration, in a welcome change from the days when John Bolton ran its nonproliferation policies, is now making a serious diplomatic effort to achieve fair and realistic deals with both countries. It is time for Tehran and Pyongyang to show diplomatic seriousness as well, by recognizing that any agreement must apply not just to the making of nuclear bombs, but also to the capacity to produce weapons-grade uranium or plutonium.
Both countries protest that they want to engage in such activities only for purposes of civilian power generation or scientific research, and they point out that international law permits this. Such arguments are quite beside the point. A country that can produce bomb-grade uranium or plutonium is a country that can produce nuclear bombs. The point of these talks is to remove that danger, not to perpetuate it.
Yesterday, with full American backing, Britain, France and Germany offered Iran an impressive set of inducements to renounce its threatening nuclear programs. Though the details are secret, the offer includes trade preferences, security guarantees, technology transfers and access to imported nuclear fuel for power reactors.
In return, Iran would have to take the one step it has so far resisted: giving up its programs for enriching uranium. That includes a process Iran has said it is about to resume, the conversion of its raw uranium into a gas for feeding into enrichment centrifuges. If it goes ahead with that plan and spurns the new offer, the European countries are prepared to take the issue to international nuclear regulators, eventually including the United Nations Security Council, which has the power to impose punitive sanctions.
North Korea faces similar decisions. Over the past week and a half, the funereal nuclear discussions involving the United States, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia and China have begun to show a pulse. The Bush administration has shown a new willingness to address the central issues in one-on-one talks with the North Koreans. China, the host of the negotiations, has taken a more active role in trying to draft compromise language and seems newly determined to press for a successful outcome. And North Korea has put aside its belligerent blustering and agreed to the vaguely defined goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
Still, North Korea has not moved enough. Like Iran, it pretends that an agreement to give up nuclear weapons does not have to include a ban on uranium enrichment and plutonium separation. And it wants to retain reactors for power and research, even though it has diverted such reactors in the past to weapons-related work.
Those conditions are untenable, as all the other participants in the talks can clearly see. The case for banning ostensibly peaceful nuclear activities in North Korea is even stronger than it is for Iran, because Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programs are far more advanced and it has formally withdrawn from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. If North Korea refuses to recognize this reality, it will be walking away from a proposed package that offers it almost everything else it has ever asked for, including explicit security assurances from the United States, generous financial aid from South Korea and improved relations with all of its neighbors.
The administration's new nuclear diplomacy has produced a remarkable show of international unity. Europe's major powers have joined Washington in insisting on an end to Iran's uranium enrichment programs. Asia's major powers agree with Washington that a deal with North Korea should ban the capacity to make bomb fuel as well as bombs.
This extraordinary moment in the long effort to restrain nuclear weapons comes just as the world is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. The terrible devastation inflicted on those two Japanese cities and their inhabitants demonstrates why controlling nuclear arms is such a deadly serious business for all of humanity. Iran and North Korea need to respond with appropriate seriousness.