This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a new report and warned that the agency is "increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations". These included "activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile". According to the report, "many member states" had provided evidence for its latest assessment on Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Meanwhile, a cursory review of major Farsi websites and media outlets show that the IAEA report has been just treated as a banal news witch deserves little to no interest. One would conclude that the Iranians pundits are not concerned by the regime's nuclear program.
This program has been the single most important issue for the Iranian regime in the past 25 years. While the entire economy is collapsing, the regime continues to invest hugely on this program and disregard the crippling sanctions that destroy Iran's economic infrastructure, its natural wealth and whatever constitutes a country's strategic assets. This enormous price only shows the importance of nuclear weapon program for the regime's survival.
For the international community, this program is a threat to the nuclear non-proliferation, regional peace and and economic stability in the region and beyond.
So why do the Iranian pundits react passively to the nuclear issue? Many reasons could explain this odd situation but one seems more important to mention. For the past 15 years, the majority of Farsi news outlets and websites operating in US and Europe, especially those funded by Western governments have been run by journalists and analysts affiliated with the reformist faction of the regime.
The regime's public policy on the nuclear issue is clear and unequivocal; no discussion or criticism is permitted. This is a clear red line drawn by the regime. Inside the country, no one dares to discuss this issue or oppose the regime's position.
Outside the country, the "reformist" pundits who control the majority of Farsi media, are divide in two categories; those who respect the regime's red line and remain silent on nuclear issue and those who criticize US and allies for their unfair pressure against Iran.
A good example of this attitude can be found in an article posted by "Tehran Bureau", funded by US government money and run by a mixture of reformists and pro-Tehran advocates. In response to international concern about the nuclear issue, the website has posted an article by its Tehran correspondent who criticizes the US sanctions that deprive her from "Oral B" toothpaste:
"Let me tell you the truth. Sanctions mean no more Oral-B toothbrushes, dental floss, or mouthwash. Sanctions mean no more Crest toothpaste. Sanctions mean I have to buy a Chinese toothbrush that is more suitable for use on your nails -- the bristles on these brushes make your gums bleed.
Perhaps I'm supposed to blame Iranian authorities for these sanctions but, I find myself angry with the United States, because if they are using these sanctions to stop the Iranian government's nuclear ambitions, how is destroying our health bringing you closer to your objective?"
Here we are, a genuine reaction to the Iranian regime quest for nuclear weapon.