15 thoughts on “Western Media Places Burden on Iran to Prove Seriousness in Nuclear Negotiations – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. You wrote that: “Erlanger even raises a claim offered by that most notorious of references, “some analysts,” who raise the offensive religious claim that Iran would use deliberate lies as an approved part of its Shiite theological tradition during negotiations.”

    This claim, however, does not appear anywhere in the NY Times article by Steven Erlanger that you’ve linked to in your post, but rather in the article by James Risen that you cited in the first paragraph (Incidentally, several bloggers have taken Risen to task for those remarks).

    I also noticed that you’ve wrongly attributed this claim to Erlanger rather than Risen in your twitter feed as well. I think it might be a good idea to issue a retraction/correction.

  2. I would give the US media a metascore of 50, equally balanced between pessimism and hope. Erlanger’s article is cautiously balanced in reporting the results of the Istanbul meeting, and where he diverges from reporting to opinion is spot on regarding the trouble Obama is going to endure should diplomacy fail.

    One needs look no further than from the den’s of barking dogs to find screeds of condemnation and vitriol. DEBKA launches right out of the gates with headline denunciations of “cat and mouse games in Istanbul.” The day wasn’t even done before the usual suspects were driveling the usual fare of disinformation, lies and exaggeration.


  3. Let us not forget the US rejection of the agreement that was negotiated by Turkey and Brazil two years ago – where was the intensive MSM questioning as to why a comprehensive deal that dealt with all the outstanding issues was rejected when the US itself asked Brazil and Turkey to attempt to negotiate that agreement?

    “he United States missed an opportunity to ease concerns about Iran’s nuclear program nearly two years ago when it rejected a carefully negotiated deal that would have allowed Western powers to provide Iran uranium for its nuclear reactors, interviews and new research suggest.

    The deal, known as the Tehran declaration, had been put together by the presidents of Brazil and Turkey, whose diplomats devoted enormous energies persuading power brokers in the Iranian government to accept it.”


    “In a new book, Trita Parsi, a leading expert on Iran and former public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, writes that Washington “miscalculated the diplomatic skills of two up-and-coming states – Brazil and Turkey.”

    In “A Single Roll of the Dice,” Parsi quotes an unnamed senior Obama administration official as saying, “We could not take yes for an answer.”


    1. >>>In “A Single Roll of the Dice,” Parsi quotes an unnamed senior Obama administration official as saying, “We could not take yes for an answer.”<<<

      As the games evolved the Americans and the Iranians can and probably will.

      When the stupidest man in the universe gave the battle order on 19 March 2003 to attack Iraq, whether it would take 5, 10 or more years, the results of serial blundering and strategic disasters plural would eventually result in outcomes warhawks and Islamophobes are going to rue to their graves.

  4. The animosity of Israel and USA predates nuclear program and has very tangential relation to that program, except as a diplomatic cudgel. Anything that helps increasing international or multilateral sanctions of Iran is good.

    Given that, it is given that USA will not accept “yes”.

    Suppose that Iran would ask a simple question: what would make the West to drop all sanctions? The response would be prepared in this fashion

  5. Generically, I should have added that “denunciations…screeds of condemnation and vitriol” would also find its mark here, a powerful magnet for senseless and stupid remarks.

  6. The current leader in the race for the crown of ‘stupidest man in the universe’ (Bush has vacated the title when he ceased being POTUS) has finally opened his mouth.

    Netanyahu: Iran received gift from world powers with further nuclear talks

    The two personalities of vital importance regarding a diplomatic and peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear program are of course Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Barak Obama. Netanyahu is grieving from the sidelines over the possibility of a deal between Iran and the P5+1 states that he fears Obama may endorse. Bibi is wasting no time in working to thwart that possibility.

  7. I find this whole discussion weird. Thanks to sanctions, both sides are negotiating and so far seem serious about it. The NYT coverage has been weird as noted, but does include an illuminating op-Ed by iran’s former negotiator that lays out logically what each side should do. USA media has also noted baggage that the West brings to the table — old history of sloppy security and CIA penetration of IAEA inspection teams.

    Seems like talking might actually work…

  8. RE: “Israeli Minister Meridor Concedes Iran’s Leaders Have Never Called for Israel’s Destruction” ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: Will wonders never cease?

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [ Foreign policy of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ]:

    (excerpt). . . During a 2005 speech, controversy circulated in the media that Ahmadinejad stated Israel should be “wiped off the map”.[89][90] This phrase is an English idiomatic expression which implies physical destruction.[91] Juan Cole, a University of Michigan Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, believes Ahmadinejad’s statement was inaccurately translated;[89] Cole says that a more accurate translation would be:

    The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).[89]

    New York Times deputy foreign editor and Israeli resident Ethan Bronner wrote that Ahmadinejad had called for Israel to be wiped off the map. After noting the objections of critics such as Cole, Bronner stated:

    All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statement, including a description of it on his website, refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran’s most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say “wipe off” or “wipe away” is more accurate than “vanish” because the Persian verb is active and transitive.[92]

    Despite these differences, Ethan Bronner does agree with Professor Cole that Ahmadinejad did not use the word “Israel” (but rather “regime over Jerusalem”) and also did not use the word “map” (but rather “page(s) of time”).[89][92] Emphasizing these points of agreement, Jonathon Steele from the Guardian concludes that “experts confirm that Iran’s president did not call for Israel to be ‘wiped off the map'”.[93] Furthermore, Steele cites a source at the BBC, as well as the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), supporting the following translation:

    This regime that is occupying Jerusalem must be eliminated from the pages of history.[93]

    While this translation is quite similar to Professor Cole’s version, it does use the word “eliminated” rather than “vanish”, which is consistent with Bronner’s suggestion that an “active” verb would more accurately reflect the original Persian.[92] . . .

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_policy_of_Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad#.22Wiped_Off_the_Map.22

    1. P.S. Back in 20078 when there was a big push to “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” (Norman Podhoretz was just a prayin’, and a prayin’, and a prayin’*), our genius of a president (who saw his job as being responsible for “catapulting the propaganda”) repeatedly said one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Namely, that “you have to take a man at his word”. The “man” at that time being the all-purpose boogeyman Ahmadinejad, and “the word” being that “Israel should be wiped off the map”. Consequently, taking “the man” at “his [mistranslated] word” meant that Iran was an “existential threat” to Israel that needed to be eliminated.


      Testimonial [one of the seven propaganda devices]
      Testimonial means enlisting the support of somebody admired or famous to endorse an ideal or campaign. [As I see it, testimonials by people who are disliked or infamous (i.e. a “boogeyman” like Ahmadenijad) can also be used to besmirch an opposing ideal or campaign (like resistance to bombing Iran). – J.L.D.] Testimonial can be used reasonably – it makes sense for a footballer to endorse football boots – or manipulated, such as when a footballer is used to support a political campaign they have only a limited understanding of. Whilst everybody is entitled to an opinion, testimonial can lend weight to an argument that it doesn’t deserve: if U2’s Bono condemned Israel for something that it didn’t do, thousands would believe him, even though he was wrong.
      Enlisting celebrity support for Israel can help to persuade people that Israel is a great country. Obviously some celebrities are more useful than others. Students are probably a little too sophisticated to be affected by Britney’s opinion on Israel, but those associated with intelligence like professors, actors, radio hosts, sports managers and so on can be asked to offer testimonial. A celebrity doesn’t have to fully support Israel to be useful. Quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be old or out of context. [Similarly, a disliked/ infamous person (i.e. a “boogeyman”) doesn’t have to actually threaten Israel to be useful (in besmirching Israel’s adversaries). According to the Hasbara Handbook, the quotes can work as testimonial, even when they might be “old or out of context” (or perhaps even mistranslated) – J.L.D.] . . .

      SOURCE, “HASBARA HANDBOOK: Promoting Israel on Campus”, published by the World Union of Jewish Students, March 2002 – http://www.scribd.com/doc/53789685/Hasbara-Handbook-Promoting-Israel-on-Campus

      * IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER FOR THE RENOWNED PHONOLOGIST ADAM HOLLAND: The dropping of the ‘g’ at the end of the word ‘praying’ is not meant to allude to, denigrate, or offend, any racial, ethnic or socioeconomic group. Cross my heart and hope to die!
      SEE “ADAM HOLLAND: NEGRO’S GREATEST FRIEND”https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2011/08/20/adam-holland-negros-greatest-friend/

  9. RE: “Israeli leaders and war hawk analysts repetitively warn of Iran’s lying and reneging on such commitments. To hear them tell it, Iran never met a negotiation it didn’t sabotage…” ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: It seems to be Israel that has worked to sabotage the negotiations. Perhaps this is yet another example of psychological projection on the part of Israelis.

    GIVE THIS A LISTEN: Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter (AUDIO, 19:58), Antiwar .com, 01/19/12
    Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the Israeli Mossad’s false flag operation that made the CIA appear responsible for terrorist attacks inside Iran; using Jundullah to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists to provoke a military response – not set back their nuclear program; how terrorist attacks [creating mayhem] marginalize Iranian political moderates and make diplomatic negotiations with the US impossible; and the predictable nationalistic “blowback” response of Iranian students, who are defiantly switching majors to nuclear science.
    TO LISTEN (AUDIO, 19:58) – http://antiwar.com/radio/2012/01/19/gareth-porter-141/

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