Iran’s press has been euphoric and ecstatic over this week’s nuclear agreement between Iran and Western negotiators. Many newspapers are devoting entire editors to the agreement. A typical headline is, “Our nation is on the cusp of a great victory.”
The American mainstream media, who are overwhelmingly Democratic and always support President Obama no matter what he does, have stayed in line by endorsing the deal, calling it “historic” or “a great victory for Obama’s legacy.”
However, the more conservative New York Post hired a Farsi expert to compare the Farsi version of the agreement, published by Iran, versus the English version of the agreement, published by the White House, and found some significant differences. Indeed, it is clear from the two text versions that the claims of complete agreement between Iran and the West are simply not true.
- The Iranian text uses different verb forms when describing Western and Iranian commitments. For example, the Iranian commitment, “The nuclear facilities at Fordow shall be developed into a center for nuclear research and advanced Physics” is written in the passive voice without specifying any time frame. But the Persian text uses a very aggressive active verb mood for Western commitments: “The United Nations shall abrogate its previous resolutions while the United States and the European Union will immediately lift sanctions [imposed on] financial, banking, insurance, investment and all services related to oil, gas, petrochemicals and car industry.”
- In some cases, the two texts directly contradict each other. The American statement claims that Iran has agreed not to use advanced centrifuges, each of which could do the work of 10 old ones. The Iranian text, however, says that “on the basis of solutions found, work on advanced centrifuges shall continue on the basis of a 10-year plan.”
To use the old joke, this is actually déjà vu all over again. There was an interim nuclear agreement that Iran signed with the West in November 2013 that had similar problems. The full text of that agreement has never been published. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that, under the agreement, Iran had no right to enrich uranium, while Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gloated that Iran had preserved its right to enrich uranium. The White House published a “summary,” but Iran completely rejected the White House summary as “not true.” Then, in January 2014, Iran disclosed that there was a secret side agreement to the nuclear agreement. The White House first confirmed this, saying that the side agreement would be made public, and then denied that there was a secret side agreement.
So it appears that we are starting off with the same kinds of lies and deceptions that were part of the 2013 interim agreement.
There is another thing bothering me. During his “mission accomplished” televised victory press conference earlier this week after the deal was announced, President Obama referred to a fatwa supposedly issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful, and that forbids the development of nuclear weapons. The fatwa supposedly says, “the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam and that the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons.”
The problem is that nobody has ever seen this fatwa, because it does not exist, according to a number of Iranian and Arab writers have researched the issue. “18-Mar-14 World View — Does Iran’s anti-nuclear fatwa really exist, as claimed?”
So the question is: Why did Obama refer to this nonexistent fatwa? Is he simply lying because he can always get away with lying? Does he think the reporters in the mainstream media are so stupid that they won’t even check it out? Well, if that’s what Obama thinks, then Obama is probably right.
At any rate, it is pretty clear that President Obama is willing to say and do anything to get the final deal with Iran ratified by the July 1 deadline. We’ll see what he’s willing to do as the weeks go by. BBC and New York Post and Memri (17-Mar-2014) and Memri (4-Oct-2013)