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    Iran's nukes: it's not just the centrifuges that are spinning

    One of Drudge Report's headlines today is "Sarkozy first to admit: Iran working on nukes." (The original was, of course, all-caps; I'll spare you.) It links to a Jerusalem Post article that reads in part:

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy maintained that the Islamic republic was still working on a nuclear weapons program.

     "It is a certainty to all of our secret services. Iran is working today on a nuclear [weapons] program," Sarkozy told lawmakers from his UMP party on Tuesday, according to Press TV.

    "We cannot let Iran acquire nuclear" weapons because it would also be a threat to Israel, he added.

    Now maybe that is precisely what French intelligence believes. Maybe it's what Sarkozy believes. But does it bother anyone else that, based on the way parentheses and quotation marks are used here, the actual word "weapons" appears not to have crossed Sarkozy's lips? Some faceless editor has deliberately inserted it -- twice.

    That does bother me, even if a raft of pundits from Jeffrey Goldberg to Michael Ledeen don't seem to mind, happy to use Sarkozy's supposed statement as a jumping-off point.

    The quotations, by the way, don't come from an official transcript; they are sourced only to "some participants." The original report is said to be from Agence France-Presse, but I have yet to find the French version of the story. I'm curious to know at what point the helpful editing occurred.



    Interesting catch. For what it's worth, the Iranians also seem to have interpreted Sarkozy's comment as a reference to nuclear weapons, though unlike the Jerusalem Post, the Tehran Times did not insert the word "weapons."

    Two things:

    1. Exactly how is it news that Sarkozy supposedly said his spies think Iran is working toward a bomb? We've been told for years now that that's the consensus of western intelligence agencies. Isn't that the whole basis of the "crisis" over Iran's nuclear activities?

    Answer: it's not news; it's just a manufactured "hook" on which to hang commentary designed to distract from the fact that Iran and the U.S. have agreed to talk face to face in a little over a week. It's time for a full-court press to ensure those talks fail.

    2. How fucking incompetent is the PR department of Iranian Foreign Affairs? They routinely get played by every half-assed disinformation campaign; it's like nobody there can read English. Juan Cole, who understands Farsi, did an excellent job debunking the canard that Ahmadinejad threatened to "wipe Israel off the map." (He never said that, even though it's a mantra repeated to this day.) What did we hear from the Iranian government? Crickets.

    And a third thing: It wasn't JPost that inserted the word "weapons." That appears to have occurred in the English version of the AFP story. If anyone with better search skills than I have can find the original French version (and link to it), I'd much appreciate it.

    The reason you hear crickets from the Iranian regime is that their ears are still ringing from the last 30 years of chanting in the government halls "DEATH TO ISRAEL!  DEATH TO AMERICA!".  If the translation of "wipe that blot off the map" is unsure, just open your ears to the daily chants (even in government venues) of "DEATH TO ______".  No need to micro-parse just ONE particular statement of Ahmadinejad.  Why of all the people who need defending in the world would you choose to decide to go to bat for these people who (IMO) history will show to be intentionally deceiving the international community re: weaponization.  If they chanted "DEATH TO..." even slightly less frequently, maybe the world would be less alarmed.  Till then, you might want to think about over emphasizing that one translation of A.D. when clearly the weight of their intentions should override any doubts...  Just my opinion of course.

    I think acanuk is more interested in us making informed decisions than he is in defending Iran.

    Speaking of nearly 30 years ago, do you remember how our "great" President Reagan chose to deal with Iran? That's an excellent lesson in how to make a bad situation worse. (Unless, of course, you think Saddam was one of the good guys…)

    To make informed decisions, people first have to cut through the cynical noise machine set up to demonize Iran as a prelude to war. So yes, Nebton, given the amount of deliberately concocted misinformation out there, I often end up "defending" Iran. Dirty job, but ...

    A key point to realize is that Iran has been trying to mend fences with the U.S. for at least eight years. In the wake of 9/11, the chant "Death to America" was banned and the government offered the U.S. its full co-operation (short of armed forces) in ousting the Taliban and crushing Al-Qa'ida. For example, escape routes were set up for any downed American pilots. At an international conference, Iran helped get the U.S. candidate, Hamid Karzai, accepted as Afghan president.

    Imagine the Iranians' surprise when, just a few months later, Bush branded them members of the Axis of Evil. Did that deter Iran from seeking a rapprochement? No.

    Reuters: "Flynt Leverett, who worked on the National Security Council when it was headed by (Condoleezza) Rice, said a proposal vetted by Tehran's most senior leaders was sent to the United States in May 2003 and was akin to the 1972 U.S. opening to China. Speaking at a conference on Capitol Hill, Leverett said he was confident it was seen by Rice and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell but 'the administration rejected the overture.' " (Rice lied to Congress that she never saw the diplomatic note.)

    The Iranian letter offered to put all outstanding issues on the table -- including Mideast peace, terrorism and recognition of Israel. Rather than respond, the U.S. berated the Swiss for even passing on Iran's proposal. Ironically, any deal the U.S. gets now will be less than what Iran put on the table six years ago.

    So my point is that -- for an implacable foe -- Iran sure has shown willingness to negotiate. It's just a little bit wary of U.S. intentions after being burned a couple of times.

    As a Canadian, surely you're aware that the French regularly drop the last half of their words. (Of all of those words they have ending in -eaux, have you ever heard an x sound?) Well, it turns out that sometimes they drop words out of their sentences, as well. You'll just have to trust me on that.

    I read somewhere that all those extra letters are there because they once represented how the word was really pronounced. So the word "eaux" (waters), which today is basically pronounced "oh," once sounded something like "eh-ah-ux." Boy, I'm glad the French language has evolved!

    As for dropping wo

    WMDs! WMDs! Acanuck, shut up and wave your flag.

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