Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which has set the stage for another Iran crisis, has opened a new round of domestic political struggle, as Democrats in Congress, the anti-Trump television networks, and the tattered remains of the old anti-war movement try to push back.
But that effort has a fatal weakness at its core. It concedes to Trump and opponents of the Iran deal an effective argument: that the Iranians have been lying when they say they’ve never had a covert nuclear weapons program. The theme of Iran’s duplicity has been the emotional core of the assault on the JCPOA. It is no accident that the title and consistent theme of Benjamin Netanyahu’s melodramatic YouTube slideshow was “Iran lied.”
As I detail in my investigative history of the Iran nuclear issue, the Obama administration itself fell for a false narrative about a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program allegedly in operation from 2001 to 2003. After Netanyahu’s April 30 show, former secretary of state John Kerry tweeted: “Every detail PM Netanyahu presented yesterday was every reason the world came together to apply years of sanctions and negotiate the Iran nuclear agreement—because the threat was real and had to be stopped.”
But a far more effective counter would have been the truth—that the long-accepted accusation about Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program is the product of an elaborate disinformation operation based on documents forged by Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency.
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