Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Worst News Article Ever?

Today Drudge linked to an article by Florida Sun-Sentinel writer Sam Roe about Iran and its nuclear ambitions. I don't mean to be mean about news articles like this, but it is apparent that truth, objectivity, and facts are no longer a concern of newspapers such as this.

The point of the article is to blame *gasp* the US for Iran's nuclear ambitions!

As the U.S. and other countries wrestle with Iran's refusal this week to curb its nuclear capabilities, an examination of the Tehran facility sheds light on the degree to which the United States has been complicit in Iran developing those capabilities.

That's right: the US was "complicit" in Iran's nuclear program because we gave them a reactor 40 years ago and weapons-grade uranium to power it that was also spent decades ago. Don't you see his point? Wait, is this a news article, or an opinion piece?

Next, Sam reminds us that the Iranians are poor managers and that reports of work at the reactor facility was plagued by mismanagement. Yup, and the Iranians never lie about their weapons program, do they?

Now it gets good:

This uranium [the 10 pounds the US provided in the 60's] has already been burned in the reactor, but the "spent fuel" is still highly enriched and could be used in a bomb. Normally, spent fuel is so radioactive that terrorists cannot handle it without causing themselves great harm. But the spent fuel in Iran has sat in storage for so long that it is probably no longer highly radioactive and could be handled easily, the U.S. scientists say.

Since when did suicidal terrorists care about whether they died in the course of their attacks? Oh, and I wonder why Sam doesn't claim his sources by name? Maybe because spent uranium nuclear fuel does not become safe to handle for 10,000 years - not 40. But Sam doesn't let the facts get in the way!

The U.S. refused to give Iran any more highly enriched uranium for its reactor, and Iran eventually obtained new fuel from Argentina. This fuel is too low in enrichment to be used in weapons but powerful enough to run the facility. To this day, the reactor runs on this kind of fuel from Argentina.

In papers filed with the IAEA, Iran states that before the 1979 revolution it gave the U.S. $2 million for additional highly enriched uranium fuel for its American-supplied reactor but the U.S. neither provided the fuel nor returned the $2 million.

Ah! What's jerks we've been! Jimmy Carter should've given the Iranians some enriched uranium or their $2 million back, what with the Iranians holding American hostages for over a year!

Inspectors also were curious why some uranium was missing from two small cylinders. Iran said the uranium probably leaked when the cylinders were stored under the roof of the research reactor, where heat in the summer reached 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

When inspectors took samples from under the roof, they indeed found uranium particles. But inspectors did not think Iran's explanation about leaking cylinders was plausible.

Eventually, Iran acknowledged the missing uranium had been used in key enrichment tests in another facility.

This last part of the article is the only useful part. Is it not ironic that Sam, who intends to blame the US for Iran's nuclear ambitions, fails to note the irony that Iranian scientists, when questioned about where missing uranium had gone, claimed that the solid uranium leaked out of some canisters. Are these the kind of people we should trust when they say that their nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes - especially when their president says that the "elimination" of Israel will bring peace to the middle east?

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