Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. World
  2. Middle East
25 September 2009updated 27 Sep 2015 5:42am

Iran and lazy journalism

Muddled Metro gets it wrong on nukes

By Mehdi Hasan

Aidan Radnedge’s cover story in Metro this morning is an abysmal piece of journalism — if, indeed, it can be called journalism.

Headlined “We will rid world of nuclear arms” (sorry, there doesn’t seem to be a link available for the piece on the Metro website) and focusing on the UN’s “landmark pledge” to abolish nukes, his bizarre piece claims in its opening paragraph that the pledge was made “despite defiance from Iran and North Korea”.

Really? Iran? Defiant on nuclear weapons? The Iranian regime is proudly, publicly and defiantly committed only to nuclear energy, not nuclear weapons. You could argue — without a shred of evidence — that the Iranians are secretly building a nuclear bomb, and should not therefore be trusted with a uranium enrichment programme, but you can’t then pretend that they would be bragging about it at the United Nations. The reality is that as long ago as 2003 the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, proclaimed in a fatwa that “the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons are forbidden under Islam” and that “the Islamic Republic of Iran shall never acquire these weapons”.

In the penultimate paragraph of the article, Radnedge chooses flatly to contradict his own inflammatory claim from the opening paragraph by actually quoting from the official Iranian statement at the UN yesterday: “Our commitment to non-proliferation remains intact.”

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Which is it, Aidan? Is (non-nuclear) Iran committed to “non-proliferation”, or is it in “defiance”?

Content from our partners
Transport is the core of levelling up
The forgotten crisis: How businesses can boost biodiversity
Small businesses can be the backbone of our national recovery