The agency runs three stories, two by self-censoring Iranian correspondent, Parisa Hafezi, the third by hardcore propagandist, Alistair Lyon, employing a combination of euphemisms, egregious factual omissions, and sanitized reporting to portray a fantasy world where Iran is merely pursuing electrical power and where the regime's military threats are solely a defensive response to Western aggression. Here's Hafezi running interference:
And again here after Iran refused yesterday to allow U.N. inspector access to its nuclear sites:Still, a top U.S. intelligence official said last week that while U.S. spy services believed Iran would respond if attacked, they thought it was unlikely to start a conflict.
Israel and the United States do not rule out military action against Iran if sanctions and diplomacy fail to rein in its nuclear energy campaign.
Senior U.N. inspectors have begun their second round of talks in Tehran in three weeks, seeking Iranian explanations with respect to intelligence about "possible military dimensions" to the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran denies Western accusations that it is covertly seeking the means to build nuclear weapons and in recent weeks has again vowed no nuclear retreat, but also voiced willingness to resume negotiations with world powers without preconditions.
Iran says it is enriching uranium solely as fuel for a future network of nuclear power stations, not for bombs.
And here's Reuters correspondent Lyon, writing of Iran's Supreme Leader (we love the Orwellian ring of that sobriquet):As sanctions mount, ordinary Iranians are suffering from the effects of soaring prices and a collapsing currency. Several Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed over the past two years in bomb attacks that Tehran has blamed on its arch-adversary Israel.In response, Iran has issued a series of statements asserting its right to self-defense and threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, a vital oil tanker route.The collapse of the nuclear talks came as Iran seems increasingly isolated, with some experts seeing the Islamic republic's mounting defiance in response to sanctions against its oil industry and financial institutions as evidence that it is in no mood to compromise with the West.Elections on March 2 are expected to be won by supporters of Khamenei, an implacable enemy of the West.The failure of the two-day visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency could now hamper any resumption of wider nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers as the sense grows that Tehran feels it is being backed into a corner.
Ah yes, poor Iran is being unfairly persecuted for a perfectly innocent "nuclear energy campaign" (to which it refuses to allow independent inspection under its NPT obligations) and only "in response", has the country "issued a series of statements asserting its right to self-defense". You know, like threatening to commit genocide against the Jews.This month Khamenei said sanctions would not alter Iran's nuclear course, military threats would "harm America" and any nation or group fighting Israel, thought to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, would have Tehran's backing.
"In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time," he declared.
Khamenei has in the past denied that Iran seeks atomic bombs, saying: "It is against our Islamic thoughts."
But he has shown little interest in genuinely assuaging Western worries about Iran's activities, authorizing what the U.N. nuclear watchdog regards as only incomplete cooperation, as well as intermittent talks with six world powers that Western officials suspect Tehran pursues primarily to gain more time to attain nuclear "breakout" capability.
The bespectacled cleric, who ultimately decides all matters of state, including nuclear and foreign policy, simply does not trust the United States, once described by his late mentor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a wolf to Iran's lamb.
The Iranian lamb. And its Reuters udder.