West Should Change Iran Narrative

West Should Change Iran Narrative West Should Change Iran Narrative

A prominent American journalist says Washington and its allies should change their "commonly held narrative that Iran was secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program," adding that such a tendency to distort the truth about Iran's nuclear activities stem from "political and institutional interests."  

In an article posted on the online news portal Middle East Eye on Saturday, Gareth Porter wrote, "The political convenience of the accepted narrative of the Iran nuclear issue has continued to suppress any active interest in learning the truth."  

He pointed to major failures by US policymaking and intelligence agencies and said the "first failure" was Washington's attempts during the Reagan presidency by trying "to strangle the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic." He said, "It all started with a decision by the Reagan administration early in the Iran-Iraq war in 1983 to put diplomatic pressure on its allies to stop all nuclear cooperation with Iran…. France was pressed to forbid a French-based multilateral consortium from providing the nuclear fuel that Iran had counted on for its lone nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

"The US State Department acknowledged at the time that it had no evidence that Iran was working on or even wanted nuclear weapons. That US effort to choke off any nuclear assistance to Iran thus represented an extremely serious violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which guaranteed Iran's right to peaceful nuclear technology."

Porter also touched on repeated failures by US and other western intelligence agencies since early 1990s about the nature of Iran's nuclear program "that falsely concluded that Iran had an active nuclear weapons development program."

  Pivotal Historical Episode

Porter, who is an investigative journalist and historian writing on US national security policy, elsewhere pointed to the "ignorance of a pivotal historical episode" by western governments that Iran must have pursued nuclear weapons. He said, "During the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam's troops attacked Iran with chemical weapons many times," leading to an estimated 100,000 deaths from Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Iran.  

Nevertheless, he continued, "There is no credible explanation for the Iranian failure to retaliate with chemical weapons other than the fact that the (late) Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had forbidden the possession and use of all weapons of mass destruction as illicit in Islam."

"The implications of that historical episode for an understanding of the politics of WMD policy in Iran are obviously far-reaching. It lends strong credibility to the Iranian claim that the current leader's fatwa against nuclear weapons is an absolute bar to Iran possessing such weapons."

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on February 22, 2012, issued a religious decree (fatwa) in which he said Iran considers the pursuit and possession of nuclear weapons "a grave sin" from every logical, religious and theoretical standpoint.

The veteran journalist also referred to "dubious" documents and evidence about Iranian nuclear activities that were passed to western intelligence by Iranian opposition outside the country and said, "The US government and its western allies have all closed their eyes… to the evidence that these documents were designed to justify action by the United States against the Islamic Republic."