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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Roger Cohen, "Iran’s Unserious Critics": So You Swallowed Poison and Need to Vomit?

You swallowed poison and need to vomit? Read Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Iran’s Unserious Critics," which should work just as well as sticking a finger down your throat. Cohen declares in this gem of an opinion piece:

"[H]ard-nosed agreements with Iran can stick and that Tehran must be taken seriously in its declared readiness to reach a fair deal with the United States and its partners."

Take Tehran seriously? Yeah, right. As observed by Michael Makovsky in a Weekly Standard article entitled "Iran’s Cheating":

"Iran has a long and proud history of cheating on its international nuclear agreements. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who once monitored Iran’s nuclear program, observed in 2013: 'If there is no undeclared installation today .  .  . it will be the first time in 20 years that Iran doesn’t have one.' Indeed, Iran’s main enrichment facility at Natanz was a covert facility that was only discovered in 2002, by the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, an Iranian opposition group. A year later, the European Union struck a deal with Iran to prevent it from spinning its centrifuges and beginning to enrich uranium. Yet for much of the deal, Iran was busy mastering its uranium supply chain. 'While we were talking with the Europeans in Tehran,” wrote Iran’s nuclear negotiator and now president Hassan Rouhani, 'we were installing equipment in parts of the [uranium conversion] facility at Isfahan. .  .  . In fact, by creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.' In 2009, the world learned of yet another clandestine enrichment plant, under a mountain at Fordow, that Iran was trying to construct.

. . . .

In the past year alone Iran has violated its international agreements at least three times. First, even though the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) prohibited Iran from enriching uranium in any centrifuges that were not in use at the time the deal went into effect in January 2014, last November the IAEA caught Iran operating a new centrifuge—worse still, it was an advanced IR-5 model. Second, the JPOA required Iran to process any low-enriched uranium it produced during the deal’s term from the gaseous form used for enrichment into a solid that can be used as reactor fuel, so that it would not be readily available for further enrichment and potential breakout. As of February 2015, Iran had an excess of some 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, in violation of the deal’s terms. Third, in parallel to the JPOA, the IAEA and Iran signed a Framework for Cooperation under which Iran agreed to answer outstanding IAEA concerns about the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program. Iran answered only one question to the IAEA’s satisfaction and, for the past six months, has been stonewalling on the rest."

Cohen concludes his op-ed by stating (my emphasis in red):

"Both sides probably have a few weeks to play with. But to imagine the interim deal will hold, absent a final accord, is folly. America’s coalition will fray; Russia and China will start the blame game; Iran will eventually start installing new centrifuges again; the politics of Iran and the United States will shift; Israel will take its brinkmanship an inch or two further; and the hooded, throat-slitting barbarians of Islamic State — enemies of Shiite Iran and the United States — will advance, kill and plunder, relieved of the one conceivable effective coalition to confront them."

Cohen would have us believe that "the hooded, throat-slitting barbarians of Islamic State" are somehow worse than the Islamic Republic of Iran, which hangs gay men, stones to death women accused of adultery, savagely persecute Baha'is, Christians, Kurds and Sunnis, jails and brutalizes journalists and political opponents, backs Shiite militias in Iraq that are engaged in ethnic cleansing, bombed a Jewish community center in distant Argentina, routinely calls for the annihilation of Israel, and executes poets for "waging war on God."

In fact, there was never anyone less "serious" than Cohen regarding Iran. If you have the time, have a look at my 2009 blog entry "Was Roger Cohen's 'What Iran's Jews Say' in Keeping with The Times' Ethical Guidelines? Open Letter No. 3 to Clark Hoyt." It tells you everything you need to know about Cohen's "unique" style and standards of journalism.

1 comment:

  1. features two Opinion pieces on Iran right now. Cohen as cited above, and another, on how Iran and Russia play each other:

    Seems Russia's FM Lavrov has flown back to Vienna today, with the deal...

    and China seems preoccupied with their stock exchanges this week.

    Roger Cohen must be stuck in 1942 mentality, when Stalin was a key ally...the enemy of my enemy is suddenly my friend: when it comes to ISIS today.

    Of course, if it was 1942, Iran would be the Soviet Union's puppet.

    What if Lavrov gets Kerry's Nobel Peace Prize?