How Iran Assertions Turn Into ‘Facts’

The New York Times today (12/8/11), reporting on the CIA drone that went down in Iran, refers in passing to the

recent public debate in Israel about whether time is running out for a military strike to slow Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.

Of course, the assumption here is that Iran is making “progress towards a nuclear weapon.” That is what some political elites and many in the media say, but that doesn’t make it true. And there is no evidence to support that assertion. And basing a debate around an assumption that might be entirely false is, of course, a problem. (Consider the run-up to the Iraq invasion, 2002-03.)

Today’s piece also includes what some might read as justification for the secretive surveillance program over Iran:

In Iran, among other missions, it is looking for tunnels, underground facilities or other places where Iran could be building centrifuge parts or enrichment facilities. One such site, outside Qum, was revealed by President Obama and the leaders of France and Britain in 2009, though it appears that Israel played a major role in detecting that site.

This is a strange assertion, since many accounts have suggested that the facility was revealed by Iran. In fact, that’s how the Times reported it last month (11/9/11):

Iran told the nuclear agency about that facility days before President Obama and European leaders reported its existence two years ago, and Iran has recently said it is moving some of its nuclear activity to that underground facility, at a well-defended military base.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.