Thursday, October 15, 2020

Seventeen Minutes Not Wasted

I'm not a "swoon" kind of guy. However, she makes a good point

Not only was this excellent interviewing but it was even better than suggested. Hasan introduced this general topic at 11:47 of the interview, a full 91 seconds before Bolton began to state "this is really about as low...."

The viewer benefits when an interviewer challenges a guest's pat answer to a pre-determined question. When the guest responds by criticizing the host, it's obvious that something important is being elicited.

A moment earlier, Bolton had referred to Iran and, unlike bad interviewers, Hasan did not revert to a pre-determined issue. Hasan then noted that- according to the International Atomic Energy Administration- when the nuclear deal was in place and Trump became President, Iran had 100 kilograms of enriched uranium and now has 2,000 enriched kilograms. As the conversation proceeded, Bolton eventually claimed that the "IAEA is not an espionage agency. It knows what people declare to it. It does not know much else."

If true, that would imply that conclusions of the IAEA could not be trusted. Except that it's not, for a month ago we had learned from Reuters

Iran has let the U.N. nuclear watchdog inspect one of the two sites it agreed last week to grant access to after a protracted standoff, while Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has risen further, quarterly reports by the agency said on Friday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency inspected one of the sites and took environmental samples there, one of the two reports obtained by Reuters said, referring to samples aimed at detecting traces of nuclear material that may have been present.

The agency’s inspectors will visit the other site “later in September 2020 on a date already agreed with Iran, to take environmental samples”, the report said.

The other report said that Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU) rose by 534 kg in the most recent quarter, roughly the same amount as in the previous three months, to 2,105.4 kg.

That is more than 10 times the 202.8 kg limit set by Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord with big powers, which Iran has been breaching in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and reimposition of sanctions against Tehran.


Admittedly, it is not a "spy agency," instead having inspectors, which make it at least a little more credible. And if in fact the IAEA knows only "what people declare to it," the truth is even more damning to the Trump Administration. Presumably, it would be what the Iranian government is declaring to it, and Tehran would be likely to underestimate, rather than overestimate, its current stock. It is better to calm fears than to inflame them.

Unfortunately, Hasan didn't make the connection at the time. However, he made some progress in emphasizing the failure of the Trump policy on Iran and engaged the former National Security Advisor in a spirited discussion of both Iran and Iraq.  Also, as Cross observed, he exposed Bolton's hypocrisy. 

Not bad for a day's work. And for extra points:  once again we saw an example of the 30-year GOP project to demonize Hillary Clinton, an ultimately highly successful scheme with devastating consequences to the families of 213,000 Americans

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