Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 09, 2013

The Washington Post's Warped Reality

On August 31 2012 a new IAEA report on Iran provided that Iran had converted parts of its 20% enriched Uranium into fuel plates it needs for the Tehran Research Reactor.

On September 28 2012 Israels prime minister Netanyahoo came to the United Nations with a cartoon bomb that depicted a spurious "red line" that, he said, Iran should not be allowed to cross.

Today a Washington Post editorial warps that timeline:

[T]he Israeli leader’s explicit setting of a “red line” for the Iranian nuclear program in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in September appears to have accomplished what neither negotiations nor sanctions have yielded: concrete Iranian action to limit its enrichment.

A host of commentators both in the United States and Israel scoffed at what they called Mr. Netanyahu’s “cartoonish” picture of a bomb and the line he drew across it. The prime minister said Iran could not be allowed to accumulate enough 20 percent enriched uranium to produce a bomb with further processing, adding that at the rate its centrifuges were spinning, Tehran would cross that line by the middle of 2013.

Iran, too, dismissed what its U.N. ambassador called “an unfounded and imaginary graph.” But then a funny thing happened: The regime began diverting some of its stockpile to the manufacture of fuel plates for a research reactor.

Funny indeed. We had pointed to an early Wall Street Journal piece that had made the same false claim.

This warping of the factual reality leads to false arguments, conclusions and, in the end, war. In this case it is also used to imply a Netanyahoo "success" where none has been made. It is just another sorry example of why the Washington Post is about to die.

Posted by b on April 9, 2013 at 11:54 UTC | Permalink


I would rather classify those as first trial balloons for face saving. Does it matter if WaPo and WSJ pretend that Iran is backpedaling while it's obvious that the US has changed the red lines numerous time since 10 years ago. From "no centrifuge should spin in Iran" and "zero enrichment" to "Fordow can remain open" and "20% enriched U should remain under 150kg". The only step left for the US is to recognize, de jure, what she has given up de facto. And then we will be in the business of long term containment.

Posted by: ATH | Apr 9 2013 14:25 utc | 1

6.3 magnitude quake strikes near Iran's Bushehr nuke facility, deaths reported.
HAARP, not so far fetched.

Posted by: hans | Apr 9 2013 14:51 utc | 2

The only reason that Iran is enriching to 20% is because the US killed the Brazil-Turkey plan two years ago; Obama said he was for it before he was against it. The only reason is to provide fuel plates for the Tehran Research Reactor so any "stockpile" is uranium awaiting manufacture. It was said that Iran lacked the technical expertise to manufacture plates, but they did it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 14:57 utc | 3

reality check :

'The Iranian plateau is subject to most types of tectonic activity, including active folding, faulting and volcanic eruptions. It is well known for its long history of disastrous earthquake activity. Not only have these earthquakes killed thousands, but they have also led to waste of valuable natural resources.Since 1900, at least 126,000 fatalities have resulted from earthquakes in Iran'

but ok, let's pretend it's nasty secret HAARP experiments ^^

Posted by: rototo | Apr 9 2013 15:00 utc | 4

ATH @ 1 -- It may not matter for a propaganda organ or for political spinning, but, to me, as a reader of newspapers, it matters a great deal. The WaPo can be ignored, or used mostly to get the preferred administration line on issues.

In that I cannot trust what the WaPo writes. Nor the NYTimes. And they set the tone for what most newspapers actually report. In the run up to the illegal Iraq War, NPR had moments of truth and clarity and Knight-Ridder, sold to McClatchty tended to have more accurate reports. PBS was pretty much in the bag for the Bush/Cheney war. Now, NPR seems to have adopted an approach of not offending the Obama administration and the Powers That Be.

So, when the WaPo continues its craven tendency to ignore its own factual reporting (which may or may not be there much any more; I have to admit to the WaPo being mostly my source of administration trial balloons, not real reporting), I tend to give it less and less attention.

But I am not in their subscription area, so they don't care.

Posted by: jawbone | Apr 9 2013 15:05 utc | 5

The revision of facts and history continue with Iran. The biggest lie is of course "Iran's nuclear ambitions" and "Iran's nuclear weapons program." Others include:
* Iran threatens the United States and Europe with ballistic missiles
* Iran has threatened arbitrarily to block the Strait of Hormuz.
* Not notifying the IAEA that it was working on the new underground facility at Fordow; it took a U.S. intelligence report
* Iran threatened to wipe Israel off the map; threatened a new holocaust
* Iran's agent Hezbollah bombed a bus in - where was it, Bulgaria? No proof of that.
* Scary Iran assassination plot of the Saudi ambassador
* Iran's election was fixed and it has huge human rights problems. Here's a gem from SecState Clinton in 2011: "That is not where anybody wants to end up, where you are basically in a military dictatorship with a kind of theocratic overlay which doesn't respond to the universal human rights of the Iranian people." Talk about excess, with US ally Saudi Arabia just across the Gulf for comparison.
* Iran is isolated in the world -- not.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 15:09 utc | 6

@my #3
Actually Brazil-Turkey was three years ago -- time flies.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 15:11 utc | 7

The last I heard (March) the Bushehr nuclear plant, still in Russian hands, supposedly at 100% output last August, was not operating due to "generator problems" and was not expected to be operating for several months. I suspect there is something between Russia and Iran.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 15:21 utc | 8


Obviousely you are correct and it should matter if you look at it from readership point of vue. But you are saying it yourself, the MSM is hopeless if you are seeking well informed, non-biased and factual political news. You can still find, let's say, a well written article on mountaineering in NYT or cooking in WaPo or weather in LATimes but anything touching politics has become, well... propaganda.

In this particular brought up by b, I believe their PR is working to keep alive a sens of satisfaction among their audience. Let them do.

Posted by: ATH | Apr 9 2013 15:29 utc | 9

@Don Bacon

I never heard Bushehr runing at 100%. The max output last year was closer to 80%. According to the head of Iranian Nuclear Agency, the reactor had, as you mentioned, some generator issues which were fixed and is planned to be back online in around 2 weeks.

Posted by: ATH | Apr 9 2013 15:35 utc | 10

Uskowi On Iran has reported on new uranium facilities that, if true (it's not in the Iran English press today), should get some attention.

Iran announced two key nuclear-related projects on Tuesday that expand the country's ability to extract and process uranium. The new uranium mine and processing facilities in the central city of Ardakan will give Iran more self-sufficiency over the raw materials in its nuclear fuel production cycle.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered the start of symbolic start of operations through a videoconference. Today was also the anniversary of Iran's National Day of Nuclear Technology, which marks the anniversary of the first time Iran enriched uranium in 2006.

Iran already has smaller uranium mines and processing facilities. Saghand uranium mine consists of an open pit with a deep mine reached by two shafts. The Ardakan Yellowcake Production Plant is Iran's industrial-scale facility that turns ore into concentrate, also known as yellowcake, the feedstock for enrichment.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 15:57 utc | 11

@ATH, #10
AP, Sep 1, 2012

Iran: Bushehr Reactor Reaches Full Capacity
Iran's sole operational nuclear power reactor has reached full capacity, a senior official said Saturday.

Iran's deputy nuclear chief, Mohammad Ahmadian, said the reactor at the Bushehr power plant was brought to its "full capacity of 1,000 megawatts" Friday evening. The reactor went into operation for the first time last year at minimum capacity.

The Islamic Republic built the nuclear power plant in the southern Iranian port city with Russian help. The facility is a cornerstone of Iran's drive to become a technological leader among Muslim nations, with efforts such as an ambitious space program and long-range missile development. Iran also runs smaller research reactors and is building another power reactor.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 16:05 utc | 12

@ATH, #10
OutlookAfghanistan, Mar 20, 2013

Iran’s Nuclear Program, A Pawn in A US-Russian Deal

In addition to the Arak plant there is also the Bushehr reactor, control of which is due to be handed over from Russia to the Iranian authorities this month. However, the facility is likely to be out of action for two or three months due to emergency problems with the main power generator.

According to international experts, handing this reactor over to the Iranian authorities does not mean it will really be in the hands of the Iranians. Inevitably, Iran will exploit this event to serve its propaganda in the media as well as in the political sphere. However, the operation of the plant will remain under the supervision of the Russian administration, given that Iran has signed three agreements regarding the Bushehr plant for the next two years: One agreement entitles the Russians to continue operating the plant, a second one allows them to maintain it, and the third entails providing Iran with expertise and technical support.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 16:09 utc | 13

@Don Bacon

Thank you for the links. Here's the link to the farsnews I was refering to. It is directly quoting Abbassi, head of Iranian Atomic Energy Agency. So let's say that this is the officcial Iranian side of the story - which I always found more reliable, at least on this issue.

AEOI Chief: Iranian Experts to Launch Bushehr N. Power Plant This Month

Posted by: ATH | Apr 9 2013 16:46 utc | 14

Some interesting other related news:

This looks to be just manouvering, but hopefully brings the essential question to the surface - if the west is not willing to stand by it's own rules in administrating the NPT, why shouldn't Iran just withdraw from it:
Lawmaker warns Iran might pull out of nuclear treaty over Western demands, sanctions

And on other Iran relating issues, it looks like the West/GCC alliance is looking to annoint a new government in exile for Iran, as in a new Syria/Libya scenario.
American declares himself favourite to replace Ahmadinejad as Iran president

This guy seems to have some heavy backing & it looks like they are manouvering to have him declare as head a government in exile once the Iranians refuse to register him for elections, then look to get him official recognition at international bodies.

Rinse & repeat the Syrian/Libyan strategy until it no longer works anymore - should prove to be interesting how much external support he gets.

Posted by: KenM | Apr 9 2013 16:50 utc | 15

From Glenn Greenwalds post today , w/ 30 minute podcast of interview:

No matter your views, it's impossible to meaningfully participate in debates over these issues without understanding the facts they have assembled and perspectives they advocate. Exactly as happened with Iraq, there is a whole slew of highly dubious assumptions and narratives about Iran and the US's relationship to it that are rarely challenged in any meaningful way in standard media circles. The Leveretts and Going to Tehran are vital to thinking critically about these claims.

Posted by: erichwwk | Apr 9 2013 16:59 utc | 16

Great links and info, Don Bacon, Thanks!

Have added Oskowi on Iran to my Iran info links.

Posted by: erichwwk | Apr 9 2013 17:06 utc | 17

Isnt it considered impolite to comment when someone farts?

Because that's what (most) american "newspapers" "articles" are: farts.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Apr 9 2013 17:11 utc | 18

@ 16: The Greenwald piece is wonderfully informative, thanks. Leverette and Mann have the
credentials to change opinions here in the US, if, they're heard in MSM. But, of course, they won't be. Too bad.

Posted by: ben | Apr 9 2013 18:57 utc | 19

@ATH, #14
I'm sorry, I've read so much stuff out of SW Asia -- Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan particularly -- about what they're going to do, and what they're planning to do, etc. that I don't count on it at all. It's what they've actually done, that counts. Case in point -- the IP pipeline. Pakistan and Iran still haven't actually signed a contract, and the work hasn't started yet, despite a highly-publicised inaugural.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 9 2013 19:04 utc | 20

Don Bacon

On the nuclear issue whatever iranian SAID they will DO they DID.

Posted by: ATH | Apr 10 2013 0:38 utc | 21

Along this topic, check out the essay by that lying "journalist" bitch Judith Miller in today's L.A. Times, Opinion Section. Unbelievable that that wretched mouthpiece for the criminals that waged the Iraq deception would pen such words. The woman should be hung, instead of being given a podium.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Apr 10 2013 2:44 utc | 22

@ATH #21
On the nuclear issue whatever Iranians SAID they will DO they DID.

Then we can expect Bushehr-2 to be on line come February? (Bushehr-1 has had many delays in thirty years.)

Telegraph, May 27, 2012

Iran to build new nuclear power plant
Iran is to build a new nuclear power plant, alongside its sole existing one in the southern city of Bushehr, by early 2014, according to the head of the country's Atomic Energy Organisation.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 10 2013 3:42 utc | 23

On Consortium News, Jeff Cohen writes about the dangers of deviating from the government line.

I know something about mainstream journalists being silenced for questioning bipartisan military adventures because I worked with Phil Donahue at MSNBC in 2002/03 when Bush was revving up the Iraq invasion with the support of Democratic leaders like Joe Biden, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid. That’s when MSNBC terminated us for the crime of JWI. Not DWI, but JWI – Journalism during Wartime while Independent.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 10 2013 4:36 utc | 24

After we (and Think Progress and others) pointed out that the Washington Post editorial was totally wrong a "correction" was applied to it:


The editorial reported that Iran began diverting part of its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium to produce fuel rods following a speech to the United Nations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last September. Some uranium was also diverted before the speech. The editorial has been updated.

But the whole argument of the editorial was based on the false claim and the rewritten version does not make any sense at all.

Posted by: b | Apr 10 2013 7:18 utc | 25

Don Bacon,

You know pretty welll that any delay or cancellation was/is due to event outside Iran's control (Russian political game in this case). I still find Iranian media outlets more reliable than the MSM.

Posted by: ATH | Apr 10 2013 11:24 utc | 26

I wonder if the editor of the WP comes into work with an Elephant Gun cradled in one arm.

Queue the joke....
Reporter: Why the elephant gun?
Editor: To Scare Away Elephants, Stooopid.
Reporter: But there aren't any Elephants in Washington!
Editor: See! It Works!

Posted by: Johnboy | Apr 10 2013 21:43 utc | 27

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