Saturday, November 24, 2007

Good Press Article on Iran: Just Two Missing Points

Ok. Maybe a little more than two, but this from AP reporter Sally Buzbee is overall as good as an article covering Iran by an Western news agency is going to get. "Iran: No Smoking Gun but Strong Evidence":

Many other countries agree that Iran's steps so far — especially its enrichment of uranium and its continued secrecy — suggest it seeks the capability to build a weapon. Those more friendly toward compromise, including Russia and China, urge Iran to be more open.

"There's no consensus that Iran's leadership has decided to build a nuclear arsenal," said David Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector now at Washington's Institute for Science and International Security. "There's more of a consensus that they've built a set of capabilities" that could be used for a weapon.

The two points that are missing is that a lot of countries have a set of capabilities that could be used for a weapon and that it is legal for NPT signatories, as well as non-signatories and all nations, to have technologies that may give capabilities that could be used for a weapon.

These are two important points because the entire dispute over Iran's weapons program is not a dispute over claims that Iran is building a weapon, it is a dispute over whether the US will successfully deny Iran capabilities that maybe dozens of other countries have.

Capability is the crux of the dispute, and I'm not sure how well Western reporters understand that. I've seen fewer than a half dozen articles that have made that point, but as the main point of contention, more important than enrichment in itself, this should be mentioned if not explained in every article.

Other than that though, this article is moderately well balanced. There are other nitpicks, and the article's headline is more provocative than the article itself, but definitely not bad. Eventually maybe the majority of articles about Iran will present facts and expert opinions as this does.

No comments: