News Release

Iran: * Scuttling Talks * “Un-Declaring War”

MUHAMMAD SAHIMI, moe at usc.edu
Sahimi is a professor at the University of Southern California and lead political columnist for the website PBS/Frontline/Tehran Bureau. He just wrote the piece “Intervention Proponents Try to Scuttle Nuclear Talks with Iran,” which states: The prospect of a diplomatic solution has generated deep anxiety among the proponents of military intervention, from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to his ideological allies among American neoconservatives. Through periodicals such as the Weekly Standard and Commentary, the editorial pages of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, and various other media outlets, U.S. advocates of intervention have pursued a campaign aimed at scuttling the upcoming negotiations. I focus here on what I believe to be three central contributors to this campaign — two individual journalists and one Washington-based research institute [the Institute for Science and International Security, headed by David Albright]. …

In the media: First is Associated Press reporter George Jahn. Almost without exception, every time there is positive news about the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iran’s nuclear program, Jahn comes up with an ‘exclusive’ revelation of a dire nature, always provided to him by ‘an official of a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program,’ or ‘an official of a country that has been severely critical of Iran’s nuclear program.'” Sahimi criticizes this use of anonymous sources and questions if the country is Israel. Sahimi writes: “Sometimes the country is referred to as a ‘member of the International Atomic Energy Agency,’ sometimes as a ‘member state.’ Presumably, the hope is that since it is widely known that Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, readers will assume that it is not the source; what is not widely known, however, is that Israel is a member of the IAEA, an odd exception. I will limit my discussion to just two examples from the long list of claims put forward by Jahn. …”

KATE GOULD, kate at fcnl.org
Gould is the legislative associate for Middle East policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation and just wrote the piece “Congress ‘Un-Declares’ War with Iran,” which states: “The House was the first chamber to ‘un-declare war,’ with its inclusion of a proviso in the National Defense Authorization Act that this legislation does not authorize war with Iran. This stipulation that ‘nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing the use of force against Iran’ is a remarkably sober note of caution and common sense in an otherwise dangerous and reckless piece of legislation. The NDAA allocates billions of dollars of weapons that could be used for an attack on Iran and requires the administration to prepare for war and dramatically escalate the U.S. militarization of the Middle East. Notably, the NDAA exceeds the limitations on Pentagon spending that Congress agreed to in the Budget Control Act by about $8 billion — much of which is allotted for the anti-Iran weaponry. Rep. John Conyers (MI) championed this amendment to ‘un-declare’ war with Iran with a bipartisan group of representatives: Rep. Ron Paul (TX), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), and Rep. Walter Jones (NC).”