WaPo Fails to Report SecState Clinton's Latest Call for Iranian Talks
A search of Nexis shows that, from June 13-20, the Washington Post printed about 39 articles and columns pertaining to the fraudulent June 12 Iranian election, including nine page A1 stories. Some of the front page stories dealt with the Obama administration's response to the developments, such as Glenn Kessler's June 18 piece, "U.S. Struggling to Right Response to Iran."
Fast forward nearly a month later to July 15. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton essentially tells the Council on Foreign Relations that the right response is to nag Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about the Obama administration's determination to sit down with him.
Yes,the Iranian protests may have temporarily "shifted" the push for direct talks with Iran, but President Obama's offer still stands. After all, Clinton noted, the Obama foreign policy shop is committed to "a more flexible and pragmatic posture" with Iran.
Keeping in mind that the Iranian election is still hotly disputed inside that country -- opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi won't concede to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- reporting the story on the front page of the next day's paper could reasonably be expected. Failing that, a story in "The World" section (pp. A8-A13) would also be appropriate.
Yet the Washington Post today did neither, failing to carry the story. Here's how CNN.com reported Clinton's remarks in a story filed the afternoon of July 15 (emphasis mine):
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iran's crackdown on protests after its disputed presidential election has "shifted" its prospects for direct talks with the United States, but they remain on the table, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.
"Neither the president nor I have any illusions that dialogue with the Islamic Republic will guarantee success of any kind, and the prospects have certainly shifted in the weeks following the election," Clinton told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations.
"But we also understand the importance of offering to engage Iran and giving its leaders a clear choice -- whether to join the international community as a responsible member or to continue down a path to further isolation," she said. "Direct talks provide the best vehicle for presenting and explaining that choice."
Iran has refused international calls to suspend its production of enriched uranium, which it insists will be used to fuel civilian nuclear power plants. Clinton said Iran has the right to a peaceful nuclear program "if it re-establishes the confidence of the international community" that its nuclear technology will not be put to military use.
"The choice is clear -- we remain ready to engage with Iran, but the time for action is now," she said. "The opportunity will not remain indefinitely."
Clinton said the United States has been "appalled" by Iran's crackdown on protesters who accused the government of rigging the June 12 election, in which hardline incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected. But, she said, "we know that refusing to deal with the Islamic Republic has not succeeded."Clinton's remarks came during a wide-ranging speech on the administration's international policy priorities, which she said will involve "a more flexible and pragmatic posture" than the Bush administration.
Last week, I noted how the Post buried the lede in an Iran story by burying news of the release of Iranian detainees who had been captured in Iraq two years ago:
The last six paragraphs of [Post reporter Thomas] Erdbrink's 18-paragraph story -- which ran in the July 10 print edition on page A12 -- note how the theocratic regime in Tehran praised the Obama administration for its relative silence on the Iranian election aftermath just one day before the U.S. government released Iranian detainees captured two years ago in Iraq (emphasis mine):
Meanwhile, the U.S. military on Thursday released five Iranian officials who were detained in January 2007 in northern Iraq on suspicion of aiding Iraqi Shiite insurgents, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Iranian officials said.
"We have no information yet about their physical or psychological condition or where they were kept the past two years," said Amir Arshadi, a spokesman for the Iranian Embassy. "We are still waiting for them."
The U.S. military had no comment.
Iranian leaders have repeatedly demanded the release of the officials, calling their detention a kidnapping that violated diplomatic protocols. At the time of their arrest, U.S. authorities said the men included the operations chief and other members of Iran's elite Quds Force, which was accused of arming and training Iraqi insurgents. Officials in Washington and Baghdad maintained that the men had no diplomatic status.
The surprise release came a day after unusually positive comments about President Obama by a top adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said Obama had tried to remain silent on the country's election outcome.