Iran’s Suspicious Smile

Friedman_New-articleInlineTom Friedman of the New York Times opened up his November 13 column with this: 

It goes without saying that the only near-term deal with Iran worth partially lifting sanctions for would be a deal that freezes all the key components of Iran’s nuclear weapons development program

It goes without saying that this is deeply misleading. Iran, as most people following this story are surely aware, is not known to have any such weapons program. There are suspicions, mostly coming from some US and Israeli officials, that the country’s enrichment activities are intended to produce a nuclear weapon. But international inspectors have never found evidence of this, and official US intelligence estimates are that Iran is not currently working on a weapons program. 

But many reporters and pundits start from the assumption that Iran is building a bomb. On November 8, ABC World News reported on the Iran negotiations, and the emphasis was, unsurprisingly, on the supposedly nightmarish scenario of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Anchor Diane Sawyer started off: 

We turn next to the tantalizing hope tonight that one of America’s adversaries may be about to be less dangerous. The world asking, is a nuclear weapons deal with Iran finally within reach?

It’s doubtful “the world” is asking that question.

Correspondent Martha Raddatz continued,  saying that the White House is “clearly seeing this as a once-in-a-generation chance to avoid the nightmare of Iran getting a nuclear weapon.” Raddatz poured it on, claiming that “a nuclear Iran long being what’s kept presidents awake at night.”  Does she really think that’s true? 

But the most curious part was this: “The big question: Can the world trust this smile?”

abc-trust-smileAs you might expect, the questionable smile was not John Kerry’s, or Barack Obama’s or even Benjamin Netanyahu’s. No, the smile belongs to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. 



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.