Saturday, October 3, 2009

Iran speaks; Reuters parrots

Peruse almost any Reuters story on the Iranian nuclear program and you will spot something along the lines of what Parisa Hafezi writes here:

"The West suspects the Islamic state is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists it needs the nuclear technology to generate power to meet booming domestic demand."

Now, we know that Reuters correspondents are not investigative reporters -- aye, we know that too well. But given its position as the world's largest international news agency and a staff of over 100 Middle East correspondents, writers, and editors, one would think that Reuters could take a more informed and critical view of Iran's repeated and hollow defense that it is only pursuing a nuclear program to generate electricity.

For example, it required only about five minutes for us to do an internet search and locate the following informative graphic comparing Iran's electricity generation with consumption between 1984 and 2006.

One can see that while electricity consumption has been rising over this period, electricity generation has been increasing at an even faster pace such that the gap between production and demand has actually been widening in favor of production. This, absent any nuclear power generating stations in the country.

So while on the surface it may be true that Iranian demand for electrical power is growing, it is an incomplete truth and patently misleading to suggest (or uncritically parrot) that this is the reason Iran is intent on pursuing a nuclear program.

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