It was only a matter of time before the US mainstream media struck back against Kim Jong Un’s diversion of Washington’s attention from Iran to North Korea. The war the US hawks want is in the Middle East, where the oil is. On Wednesday, CNN ran a piece that had the effect of linking Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program to North Korean nuclear warheads.
The kicker? In the middle of the report, CNN admits that there is no evidence of nuclear weapons collaboration between Iran and North Korea.
I think good journalism would have put that admission right at the beginning, or maybe been discouraged by the lack of substance from doing the piece at all.
As it is, Iran has deplored North Korea’s talk of nuclear war, and called for peace, and offered to help negotiate a peaceful settlement.
Long time readers know that I do not believe Iran wants a nuclear weapon. Shiite law forbids having or using weapons of mass destruction., and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has given fatwas against nuclear weapons. But Iran may want the deterrent effect that comes with acquiring the knowledge involved.
Here are some ways in which the report seems to me to have ended up being misleading:
At the beginning, the report shows Iran celebrating Nuclear Day, from Iranian tv. Among the scenes is an ordinary dynamite explosion, perhaps for mining purposes, but in this context an explosion looks sinister.
Later on Secretary of State John Kerry is also shown misleadingly attempting to link North Korea’s nuclear weapons with Iran’s civilian energy program.
Then an admiral is shown saying that Iran would benefit if North Korea helped it with its nuclear program. But he admits he has no evidence of such a thing.
A talking head is brought on to allege North Korean help with Iran’s missile technology. But that assertion is not related to the nuclear issue, and North Korean missiles aren’t very good.
In fact, Russian experts have expressed doubt that North Korea even had the missile technology it is alleged by US and Israeli sources to have shared with Iran, according to a Wikileaks cable. CNN reported:
“The Russians expressed doubts about the claim, citing lack of evidence, the cable states. But the Americans countered that some countries have offered direct evidence, and said they would try to bring further evidence to future meetings. The United States believes that Iran wanted the missiles for the propulsion technology. But in an exchange described in the cable, U.S. and Russian officials debated whether North Korea even had the BM-25 missile at all… The Russians countered that a review of the video of [a missile in a] parade showed a different video and “the missile appears to be a myth.”
Yesterday’s CNN clip also shows lame duck Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisting that all nations have the right to develop a nuclear industry. Given the framework of this report (North Korea’s nuclear saber rattling), Ahmadinejad’s assertion is made to seem sinister
But here is how he prefaced his comment in reality, according to the translation done by the USG Open Source Center:
President Ahmadinezhad Says ‘No Stopping’ Iran’s Nuclear Activities
Speech by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad at the opening ceremony of several nuclear projects on the occasion of Iran’s National Day of Nuclear Technology at the Atomic Energy Organization headquarters in Tehran — live; broadcast in progress
Islamic Republic of Iran News Network Television (IRINN)
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Document Type: OSC Translated Text …
“Today, projects have been launched. Nuclear knowledge and nuclear technology have great potentials for serving human kind. The first use of nuclear knowledge is producing energy, which Mr Abbasi (head of the National Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydun Abbasi) mentioned that Iran’s first nuclear power plant reached (production) capacity last year and today it is serving the nation of Iran. And with plans made for it, it must expand to produce up to 20,000 megawatts of electricity.
In other fields of science and the needs of humankind, again nuclear knowledge has great and decisive outcomes and uses. One of them is the medical and treatment field. Today a number of medications, in fact radio-medications have been unveiled here. Especially in diagnosing illnesses, nuclear knowledge and radio-medications have a decisive role. If many incurable illnesses are diagnosed in time, they can be cured. In fact this is a great human service to mankind. According to the statistics, every year about 800,000 people use diagnostic medication and a small part of them use treatment medication, which are produced by our scientists and experts…
In the health sector, (it is useful for) eliminating bacteria, microbes, and detoxification. Nuclear industry has a major role (in this field). The shelf life for foods (and) agricultural products can be increased by many times, (up to) 10 times, and can ensure the health of foodstuffs many times more; these are the usages of nuclear knowledge. In changing material behavior and usages of materials…”
So Ahmadinejad wasn’t talking about nuclear bombs. In fact he denounced weaponizing nuclear technology.
“You see the deception created in the world? As soon as you speak of nuclear energy they (people)A think of the atomic bomb and impose restrictions for nations under this excuse. Why? Because they want to keep it under their monopoly. They sell these medicines (radio-medicines) to the world drop by drop. You know that some of these radio-medicines have a short life. I mean that the period of their effectiveness is very short because those are active and some reactions are going on in them…
Do not think that you are talking to a group of nuclear scientists. Atomic energy is like sun, like water, like air, like a forest, like nature. It belongs to the entire nations. Everybody has a right to use it. Everybody should use it. It will increase the level of the living of humanity, and will improve the quality of the living of humanity. It should not be under the monopoly of a limited group.
… Those (countries) who made bombs and killed people; those who have committed the ugliest crimes against mankind and are still doing it today; and those who have the dark ages of slavery and colonialism in their history and are still repeating the same using new methods, have hoisted flags of freedom and human rights, flags of monopoly and monopoly-seeking. They want (to maintain a monopoly on) sciences, technologies, and essential ingredients in the world.
He points to the hypocrisy that the small club of nuclear weapons powers, among them the US, have appointed themselves the nuclear police, deciding who can or cannot have advanced nuclear technology. Most hypocritical of all is the US imposing sanctions on Iran for a civilian energy program when it is the only country to have dropped atomic bombs on cities full of innocent non-combatants.
Iran is not proved to have a nuclear weapons aspiration or program. It has almost nothing to do with North Korea. Only in the fevered imagination of Washington and New York media conglomerates and policy-making think tanks is there a connection.