Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ON IRAN: Tell the US Media to Challenge False Information

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 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 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 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." [1]

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." [2] 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. [2] 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." [3] 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. [4]

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. [5] 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." [6]

Israeli politicians have a long track record of scaremongering about Iran's nuclear program. [7] 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
3."Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran," The Iran Project,
4.“IAEA Report Shows Iran Reduced Its Breakout Capacity,” Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, September 1, 2012,
5."If Iran builds bomb, US has a year to act: Panetta," AFP, 1 September 2012,
6."Weighing Benefits and Costs of Military Action Against Iran," The Iran Project,
7."Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979," Scott Peterson, Christian Science Monitor, November 8, 2011,

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.

Contact Just Foreign Policy here:

Phone: (202) 448-2898
Mail: Just Foreign Policy
4410 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, #290
Washington, DC 20016

Thank you for all you do to help bring about a more just foreign policy,

Robert Naiman, Chelsea Mozen, Sarah Burns and Megan Iorio
Just Foreign Policy


CN said...

For a peaceful reprieve from such a heavy post, be sure to see the two posts just below this one which give credit to two of my dearest friends.

CN said...


You may also want to see this post from one of our most active American Jewish Rabbi peacemakers:

Both the post above here at oneheartforpeace and the post from Rabbi Waskow on yom kipper -- together give us two POWERFUL alternatives to the careless and/or fearmongering games of war such as:

Still, given that this news item listed just above was the #1 most popular news post at the today ...

...NEITHER can we treat lightly such aggressive and destructive talk and preparations for war so ruthlessly hitting our media and airways. Whether these are careless, ill informed and/or plans of provocation, we must each do all within our peaceful abilities to thwart such actions to bring hell and chaos to our beautiful world. We can do peace together.

Look for more comments and offer your own, here and ALSO under Rabbi Waskow's good words at:

Noor said...

They are always lying. finding reasons to dismantle governments. :(

CN said...

Thanx so much for coming by and posting a comment, dear Noor...yes, you understand so young what has taken so many of us so many years to see. Still, media does influence the public widely so we can challenge them as we are able.