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Similar to accusing the Iraqi government of stockpiling weapons of mass destruction as a pretext for a military invasion, Israeli and US intelligence assert that Iran is bent on becoming a nuclear weapons state by enriching uranium. This narrative, as many listeners know, has been going for many years. In the New York Times article titled Confronting Iran in a Year of Elections, New York Times chief Washington correspondent David Sanger assumes there is evidence Iran is making nuclear weapons. We talk today with Professor Bill Beeman, author of The “Great Satan” vs. the “Mad Mullahs”: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other. Beeman has criticized the New York Times and other media for falsely claiming there is evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons. He also points out that Iran has a right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes and that their facilities are monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
First of all, it’s very important to understand there is no evidence anywhere that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Every report from the IAEA has reaffirmed that Iran has not diverted any nuclear material for military purposes, including the last report in November 2011.
The news media, especially the New York Times, has distorted the IAEA report in order to make it seem as if Iran is building nuclear weapons.
We have no evidence to the contrary.
The New York Times article written by an Israeli journalist has attracted hundreds and hundreds of objections, because of its warmongering tone and because it contains a lot of inaccuracies.
Clapper claims Iran is most likely to attack the United States based on the incident that took place a few months ago.
There are some countries like Japan that have said outright that they intend to develop the capacity to construct nuclear weapons. Iran has said it doesn’t intend to do this.
The United States is not coming after Japan, or Brazil which has issued a similar statement, or any of the 20 countries that don’t have weapons but are now enriching uranium.
When Colin Powell went before the United Nations saying Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, I wrote a column saying it’s simply not true.
That got me on the Bill O’Reilly show where I had a big argument with him about this.
I said simply show us the actual proof.
My feeling at the time was that Colin Powell had been badly misused by the Bush administration in order to sell a false picture of what was actually going on in Iraq.
Iran was given uranium many years ago during the time of the Shah to use in a medical reactor to develop isotopes for the treatment of cancer.
Every scrap of uranium that they’ve been working with is under inspection.
The IAEA is watching the process as it goes on every day.
They say if Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map they’re probably going to use nuclear weapons.
The joke is of course we knew Iran was enriching uranium, because we started the enriching program 40 years ago.
The idea that it was carried out in secret, quite frankly, revealed the extraordinary ignorance of the Bush Administration.
They have a continual drumbeat to attack Iran. The aim is not to stop Iran’s nuclear program because Iran’s nuclear program is anemic. The aim is regime change.
Guest – William O. Beeman, professor and Chair of Anthropology and specialist in Middle East Studies at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis-St. Paul, formerly of Brown University.