As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Iran: Everybody's Favorite Whipping Boy

Um, this is a misleading story. Iran has enough uranium to make a bomb, but it takes until the seventh paragraph to report that "the material would have to undergo further enrichment if it was to be used as fuel for a bomb and that atomic inspectors had found no signs that Iran was making such preparations." In fact, it's even more remote than the article makes out.

Iran cannot construct nuclear bombs with uranium enriched only to less than 4%. It needs to be enriched to something like 90% to make a bomb. Iran is not known even to have that capability, and no it cannot be done in 2 months (try a decade), assuming they were trying to do it, which our $40 bn. a year intelligence agencies say they are not. So all the silly articles on Friday about how iran now has enough enriched uranium to make a bomb are just illiterate. Moreover, the report in question actually says that Iran is slowing its enrichment activities.

This is propaganda with a right-wing frame, and I fear the Administration is promoting it. And this has consequences inside Iran. That hardliners are blocking websites promoting reformer Mohammed Khatami is to be expected, but they are clearly using the Manichean "us against the world" nature of current international relations to provide cover for this suppressing of dissent. It's stupid policy to keep hyping these reports and distorting their findings. The Obama team can go a long way to ending this crap by refusing to accept the premises. So far they haven't.

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