By Bill Van Auken:
22 March 2008
Within the past week, both US President George W. Bush and the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee for the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain, have made widely broadcast statements about Iran that are as demonstratively false as they are provocative.
In an interview taped as part of a US propaganda broadcast to Iran on the occasion of the Persian new year, President Bush said Thursday that Iran’s government has “declared that they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people—some in the Middle East.” He added, “That’s unacceptable to the United States, and it’s unacceptable to the world.” The remarks were broadcast over Radio Farda, a State Department-funded, Farsi-language station.
The broadcast prompted an article in Friday’s Washington Post that carried the subhead: “Experts Say President Is Wrong and Is Escalating Tensions.”
“The Iranian government is on the record across the board as saying it does not want a nuclear weapon,” Suzanne Maloney, a State Department specialist on Iran until last year, told the Post. “There’s plenty of room for skepticism about these assertions. But it’s troubling for the administration to indicate that Iran is explicitly embracing the program as a means of destroying another country.”
Bush’s remarks came just two days after McCain’s gave a press conference in Jordan in which he delivered his own charges against Iraq.
McCain’s statement, which has been widely published and rebroadcast, was given in the context of a Middle East tour together with fellow Senate Armed Service Committee members that was designed to showcase the Arizona senator as a credible “commander-in-chief.”
His assertion that the Iranian government, dominated by Shia clerics, was supporting the Sunni Islamist group Al Qaeda, was widely described in the media as an “embarrassing gaffe,” and pounced on by the Democrats as indicative of his lack of foreign policy expertise.
Cheney and Iran: here.