The BBC spreads untruths
The BBC has an outstanding record of misrepresenting the
The most egregious example of this was the File on 4 programme Iran’s Nuclear Standoff broadcast
on Radio 4 on 28 May 2013 (see my article with Peter Oborne Does the BBC not trust US intelligence on
Iran? ). This programme performed the remarkable trick
of purporting to examine the latest intelligence on
The misrepresentation continues.
Frank Gardiner on This Week
On BBC1’s This Week on 26 September 2013 , Frank Gardiner, the BBC Security Correspondent, said the following:
That statement is simply untrue. It is in flat contradiction with, for example, remarks by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on NBC’s Meet The Press on 3 February 2013:
“What I’ve said [in the past], and I will say today, is that the intelligence we have is they have not made the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon. They’re developing and enriching uranium. They continue to do that.” 
Leon Panetta’s remarks are in conformity with the publicly
available assessments of
As for Frank Gardiner’s assertion that “many other countries” share America’s suspicions that “Iran is secretly building a nuclear bomb”, here’s what Sergey Lavrov had to say about the issue in an interview with RT on 8 October 2013:
“As for the statements regarding the
Iranians playing another game and trying to dupe people, I haven't seen any
confirmation by any intelligence – be it Russian, be it European, be it the
This misrepresentation is all over the BBC website as
well. A Q&A on what is termed the “
“In short, because world powers
Other examples of this misrepresentation on the BBC website are:
“The West suspects
The Q&A mentions the November 2007 NIE finding that
More Frank Gardiner on This Week
On This Week Frank Gardiner also said:
“Let us take them at their word and say they’re not producing a bomb. Why do they need to enrich uranium so far beyond at which it’s useful for civil purposes?”
This is also untrue:
“TRR is a 5 MW reactor which operates with 20% U-235 enriched fuel and is used for the irradiation of different types of targets and for research and training purposes.” (Footnote 34)
Frank Gardiner continued:
“The proof is going to be whether they are prepared to do a deal and absolutely open up their facilities to the IAEA.”
This is misleading implying as it does that
The facts are that Iran has declared to the IAEA 17 nuclear facilities (and 9 other locations where nuclear material is customarily used), that all of them are open to IAEA inspection in accordance with Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA, that all of them are operating according to the relevant design specifications provided to the IAEA, and, most important of all, that the IAEA has never detected any diversion of nuclear material from these nuclear facilities for possible military use elsewhere.
A tiny pat on the back for the Today programme
And finally a tiny pat on the back for the BBC Today programme. At least twice in recent months Israeli spokesmen being interviewed about Iran’s nuclear activities have been asked to explain why Israel insists that Iran can’t have nuclear weapons when Israel itself has lots of them. Their answers were not impressive: even the great Mark Regev floundered.
Credit is due to Jack Straw for this development. He brought up the issue when he was interviewed by John Humphrys with Dore Gold (a former Israeli ambassador to the UN) on 14 June 2013, the day of the Iranian presidential election. Here’s an extract from the conversation (the whole interview is at ):
JS: Well, hang on a second, Israel has a most extensive nuclear weapons capability, it has no territorial ambitions apart from stealing the land of the Palestinians and it’s not going to use nuclear weapons for that but it has a very extensive nuclear weapons programme, and along with India and Pakistan are the three countries in the world, plus North Korea more recently, which have refused any kind of International supervision of their nuclear programme.
JH: Well let me put that to Dr Gold; you can’t argue with that Dr Gold?
DG: Well we can have a whole debate on
JH: Well it’s entirely relevant isn’t it? The fact is you’re saying they want nuclear weapons; the fact is you have nuclear weapons.
JS: You’ve got nuclear weapons.
JH: You’ve got them.
JS: You’ve got them. Everyone knows that.
DG: We have a very clear stand, but we’re not the issue.
JS: No, no, come on, you have nuclear weapons, let’s be clear about this.
In the second instance, John Humphrys brought the matter up with normally unflappable Mark Regev:
JH: In other
words, they’re doing those things that
issue we’re talking about is
JH: Is it irrelevant that
MR: I think the issue here is clear. The issue before the international community
is the nuclear programme of
JH: What’s the difference between an aggressive nuclear bomb and, I don’t know, a passive nuclear bomb?
MR: I think the trouble with
“He talked a lot about WMDs in the
Middle East, without mentioning that
Dare I suggest that the BBC should bring these facts to its
listeners’ attention, instead of spreading untruths about
13 October 2013