JUST IN 2 PM 19 September 2012 By Robert Naiman with Jamal Abdi "Meet the Press Gives Netanyahu Cheney's Bully Pulpit for War" here
Jamal Abdi is the Policy Director of the National Iranian American Council, the largest grassroots organization representing the Iranian-American community in the US. He previously worked in Congress as a Policy Advisor on foreign affairs issues. He is based in Washington, DC and blogs at www.niacINsight.com. Follow him on Twitter here or @jabdiand See bio for Robert Naiman end of this post.
Together, Abdi and Naiman have begun a new FACT CHECK project IranFact.org GO here and TAKE ACTION here
Tell Meet the Press to challenge their guests when they make false statements on Iran.
Here are some of the details:
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on US Sunday talk shows, scaremongering about Iran's nuclear program. Meet the Press allowed Netanyahu to give a completely false picture of the Iran nuclear issue, without challenging his scaremongering through reference to known facts.
In response to the pervasiveness of false information on Iran in the mainstream media, Just Foreign Policy and the National Iranian American Council have launched a new initiative, the Iran Media Fact Check, with a new website at IranFact.org. Our first joint campaign is to pressure Meet the Press to correct misinformation on Iran.
Here's what Netanyahu told Meet the Press on Sunday:
"So I think that as they get closer and closer and closer to the achievement of the weapons-grade material, and they’re very close, they’re six months away from being about 90 percent of having the enriched uranium for an atom bomb, I think that you have to place that red line before them now, before it’s—it’s too late." 
Netanyahu was clearly trying to create the impression that he believed Iran was 6 months away from being "on the brink" of acquiring a nuclear weapon, and therefore urgent action is needed within the next six months—in particular, setting a "red line," i.e. threatening the use of military force. Indeed, Reuters reported Netanyahu's remarks with the headline, "Iran on brink of nuclear bomb in 6-7 months: Netanyahu."  But that impression is demonstrably false; Iran is not six months from being "on the brink" of acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Here's what journalists on Meet the Press should have pointed out:
The most highly enriched uranium that Iran is currently known to be producing—and the sort which Netanyahu was referring to in his statement—is "medium-enriched" uranium, not weapons-grade uranium.  That enrichment is currently under UN inspection, so to convert it to weapons-grade uranium Iran would have to first expel UN inspectors; a recent bipartisan experts' report, signed by former senior military and political officials from both Republican and Democratic Administrations, noted that UN inspections "would almost certainly reveal any Iranian efforts to begin enriching uranium beyond 20% at declared sites."  Furthermore, the IAEA's most recent report stated that Iran's stockpile of 20% enriched uranium actually decreased in the three months period proceeding the report, since Iran converted a portion of the stockpile into fuel plates for use in their medical research reactor. 
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said the United States would have at least a year to take action if Iran decided to build nuclear weapons and that the US is well-prepared to act if Iran were to make such a decision.  The bipartisan experts' report said, "Conservatively, it would take Iran a year or more to build a military-grade weapon, with at least two years or more required to create a nuclear warhead that would be reliably deliverable by a missile." 
Israeli politicians have a long track record of scaremongering about Iran's nuclear program.  To give Israeli leaders a media platform without challenging their false assertions does a deep disservice to the American people, who in the last ten years already suffered from a major war on false pretenses caused in no small part by the failure of US news media to do its job. Meet the Press it has an obligation to challenge false statements of Israeli leaders about Iran's nuclear program when it invites these leaders to appear as guests.
2."Israeli Leader Makes Case Against Iran on U.S. TV," Steven Lee Myers, New York Times, September 16, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/world/middleeast/netanyahu-says-iran-is-20-yards-from-nuclear-bomb.html
3."Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran," The Iran Project, http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/IranReport_091112_FINAL.pdf
4.“IAEA Report Shows Iran Reduced Its Breakout Capacity,” Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, September 1, 2012, http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/09/iaea-report-shows-iran-reduced-its-breakout-capacity/
5."If Iran builds bomb, US has a year to act: Panetta," AFP, 1 September 2012, http://www.france24.com/en/20120911-iran-builds-bomb-us-has-year-act-panetta
6."Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran," The Iran Project, http://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/IranReport_091112_FINAL.pdf
7."Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979," Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor, November 8, 2011, http://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/print/content/view/print/422252
Robert Naiman, who co-wrote the recent Huff Post article linked above is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy where he edits a daily news summary. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East.
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