Iran’s nuclear program:

Sanctions or force? A false dilemma!

How and why a New York Times editorial deliberately ignored
peaceful solutions to the nuclear standoff with

Cyrus Safdari

Iran Affairs
June 28, 2008

So today's New York Time's editorial page is back pushing the usual false dilemma in dealing with Iran's nuclear program, according to which the ONLY options are to either war or sanctions, or else the Iranians will supposedly get nukes:

“The European Union’s decision [to enforce unilateral sanctions on Iranian banks] reinforces the only strategy that might — might — have a chance of peacefully persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.”

In characterizing unilateral sanctions as the "only strategy" in resolving the dispute, the NY Times conveniently left out a range of other options in dealing with Iran, such as accepting Iran's suggestion -- widely endorsed by American and international experts -- to operate Iran's nuclear program as a multinational venture, thus addressing any real concern about weapons proliferation.

Also, by characterizing sanctions as the only peaceful solution, the New York Times also implicitly legitimizes the illegal use of force against Iran as a valid option, when in fact it would be a war crime and a violation of international law to attack Iran's perfectly legal and IAEA-monitored nuclear program.

Now, why do you suppose all the other options which would amount to a peaceful resolution of the standoff whilst respecting Iran's absolute and inalienable sovereign right to nuclear enrichment, are being so deliberately ignored?

Answer: precisely because it would amount to a peaceful resolution. You see, the NY Times is serving its function as a government propaganda mouthpiece by agenda-setting and framing: it is asserting that Iran's nuclear program is a "threat" and providing a deliberately limited range of options to deal with Iran. Other perfectly reasonable and gracious Iranian compromise offers (even a comprehensive peace offer) are deliberately ignored or lied about.

This insistence on limiting the range of choices in dealing with Iran to either sanctioning them or bombing them, is a deliberate ploy and characteristic of the whole range of US media coverage of the conflict with Iran. You'll see it elsewhere too - it is deliberate and planned.

The fact is that every time the Iranians made a peace offer or showed any flexibility (by suspending enrichment for 2 years, for example)  the Bush administration only moved the goalposts, raised their demands, and placed ridiculous pre-conditions on any negotiations with Iran.

Why? Because the Bush administration simply does not want a peaceful resolution. Rather, the whole nuclear issue is merely a distraction and pretext for another policy; one of keeping Iran down, monopolizing nuclear power, and promoting Israel's ambitions for regional dominance.