Thursday, October 1, 2009

Reuters quotes one Mohamed ElBaradei, ignores the other

In a "TIMELINE" appearing today on its website, Reuters provides a history tracing important political developments in Iran's nuclear program over the last two years. In its only reference to the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei, Reuters writes:

"September 2 - Mohamed ElBaradei, outgoing director-general of the IAEA says Iran is not going to produce a nuclear weapon any time soon and the threat posed has been exaggerated."

Now, we admit that ElBaradei holds compelling views on the matter. In May of 2006 for example, he argued that Iran was not an immediate nuclear threat. Yet by June of 2008, he had indicated that by expelling IAEA inspectors, Iran could build a nuclear bomb in six months to one year. Then, in September 2008, ElBaradei stated that he could not "read minds" as to whether Iran would build a nuclear weapon. Yet in June 2009, ElBaradei admitted to feeling that Iran would like to have nuclear weapons, " send a message to their neighbors, to the rest of the world: don’t mess with us". This was followed by his quote in September of 2009 -- paraphrased by Reuters above -- that the Iranian nuclear threat was "hyped".

Indeed, compelling views -- depending on which Mohamed ElBaradei we are to believe: the expert who sees Iran as a regional threat capable of and intent on producing nuclear weapons in a matter of months, or the expert who thinks otherwise.

As chief of the UN watchdog responsible for assessing Iran's nuclear program, we recognize that Mohamed ElBaradei's views on the matter are vitally important and highly newsworthy. We simply wonder why, in a piece devoted to providing its readership with a history of salient events associated with Iran's nuclear program, Reuters chose to quote only one of the two Mohamed ElBaradeis.

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