President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai held a joint press conference on August 6 in which Iran emerged as a point of contention. In addition to expressing his discord with Karzai regarding the nature of Iran’s role in Afghanistan, President Bush also took the opportunity to repeat an irrefutably false allegation regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program.
Q: President Karzai said yesterday that he believed Iran was playing a helpful role in Afghanistan. Was he able to convince you in your meetings that that was the case, or do you still have concerns about Iran’s role?
BUSH: …it’s up to Iran to prove to the world that they’re a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon. [Emphasis Added]
This statement is patently false. The Iranian government has never “proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon.” In fact, the opposite is true; despite repeated allegations, the Iranian government has persistently declared that its nuclear energy program is intended strictly for civilian power generation—similar to programs utilized by many nations in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has repeatedly insisted that Iran has no intention to build a nuclear weapon. Consistent with Khamenei’s claims, the IAEA has found no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
KHAMENEI: The other suggestion is that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb. This is an irrelevant and wrong statement, it is a sheer lie. We do not need a nuclear bomb. We do not have any objectives or aspirations for which we will need to use a nuclear bomb. We consider using nuclear weapons against Islamic rules…
Nevertheless, President Bush has explicitly uttered this false charge more than once, perhaps suggesting an agenda of deliberate misinformation to prepare the public for possible military action against Iran—similar to the Bush administration’s erroneous build-up to the Iraq war. Speaking to Scott Pelley in a January 2007 interview on 60 Minutes, Bush declared:
BUSH: You’ve [Ahmadinejad] taken a nation of proud and honorable people, and you’ve made your country the pariah of the world. You’ve threatened countries with nuclear weapons. [Emphasis Added]
Again, this is a blatant fabrication. In fact, one could argue that US leaders are guilty of this very belligerence toward Iran by insisting to keep the nuclear option “on the table.” Considering the administration’s invasion of Iraq based on dubious charges of WMDs—combined with the president’s ability to declare war on Iran without congressional approval—one might expect the press to raise questions regarding the president’s demonstrably false claims. However, this story did not make any major headlines; nor was it discussed in any of the programs monitored by Iran Coverage.
Watch the short clip below for more.
Irancove @ August 8, 2007