Douglas Roche


March 23, 2015

In all my years of watching distortions and propaganda in the general news media, I have never seen anything to equal the duplicity of the Iran coverage.

Israel and right-wing politicians in the U.S., opposing any deal between the Security Council's permanent members (plus Germany) and Iran to ensure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon, are undermining the prospects for peace in the Middle East, but they don't seem to care.

Let me say at the outset: Of course, Iran should not develop a nuclear weapon, and the international community should apply stringent verification systems to make sure this does not happen. If Iran acquires the bomb, nuclear proliferation will spread through the Middle East.

An International Atomic Energy Agency inspector checks the uranium enrichment process inside Iran's Natanz plant in January 2014.


An International Atomic Energy Agency inspector checks the uranium enrichment process inside Iran's Natanz plant in January 2014.

But demonizing Iran with one-sided stories, as if it singularly threatens the peace, is hypocrisy of the highest order.

Here are a few facts:

  • Nine countries (the U.S., Russia, China, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel) possess 16,300 nuclear weapons, with the U.S. and Russia accounting for about 95 per cent of these arsenals. Yes, Israel is on that list: it possesses 200 nuclear weapons, though it refuses to confirm this.
  • The prestigious Canberra Centre for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament recently reported that all these states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals: “All nine . . . foresee indefinite retention of nuclear weapons and a continuing role for them in their security policies.”
  • Israel even refuses to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which 190 states belong, and turned down the NPT’s attempt to promote a Middle East Conference on the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
  • In 2013, Iran’s leader, Hassan Rouhani, speaking at the United Nations on behalf of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement, proposed early commencement on a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons, prohibiting their possession, development and use or threat of use.

He said: "Nuclear weapons have no place in Iran's security and defence doctrine and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions." The general media ignored this.

What we have in all of the above is more evidence of the two-class world in which the nuclear states arrogate unto themselves the right to possesses nuclear weapons while proscribing their acquisition by other states. It is like a parent, puffing away, telling children not to smoke.

The consequences of this duplicity are enormous. Many states are now warning of the "catastrophic humanitarian consequences" of the use of any nuclear weapon. The smallest in the current arsenals is many times more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

More than this, the major states are scorning the resolution, already adopted by the General Assembly, of a high-level international conference on nuclear disarmament slated for 2018. They don't want any part of it because it will once again expose their recalcitrance. Iran actually proposed the conference, but you won't read about that either.

Just as President Obama has to deal with the hardliners in the U.S. who are out to destroy him and certainly don't want him to be able to claim an Iran deal as part of his legacy, so too President Rouhani has to contend with the fundamentalists in Iran who don't want Iran's sovereignty challenged.


The hardliners in both countries would rather have military action than a diplomatic deal. They ignore the fact that Iran kept its side of the interim agreement leading to the present negotiations. They care not that a diplomatic breakdown over Iran would further inflame the Middle East tinder-box.

They brush aside the supervisory and investigatory role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which would, with regular inspections, confirm that Iran is not using its peaceful nuclear energy program to make nuclear bombs.


These are the same people who scoffed at the IAEA's inspectors who reported that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction and who goaded President George W. Bush to invade Iraq – only to find out later that Iraq did not possess such weapons. The consequences of the Iraq war led straight to the rise of terrorist groups now committing mayhem in Syria and Iraq.

Ronald Reagan used to say, "Trust but verify." Today, Obama's opponents have turned that into, "Distrust and block." They use the 24-hour news cycle to spread fear and hatred.

If Rouhani is sincere in wanting a comprehensive treaty prohibiting any state from possessing nuclear weapons, why not test this by starting a process for a legal agreement? Israel's intransigence is blocking both a comprehensive peace deal in the Middle East and a treaty to abolish all nuclear weapons.