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US Calls Natanz Tour Staged Media Event

Friday, April 01, 2005

(SNN)The State Department has said that Iran should answer questions relating to its Natanz nuclear site. They have dismissed a recent tour given to journalists by the Iranian President as a “staged media event”.

Iran claims they wish to make their nuclear program transparent

While Iran claims they wish to make their nuclear program transparent, State department officials are not so sure. US Deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said: "If Iran were really serious about demonstrating transparency in its nuclear program, it should answer all of the International Atomic Energy Agency's outstanding questions.”

State Department officials claim that the site is suspicious because it contains nuclear materials, it is in Iran, and the facility is underground. Iranian officials say that the site was built 18m (54ft) underground because of security problems. US Defense experts say it could be a precaution against possible aerial attacks from the US and Israel. However, Iranian officials contended that bombing of the nuclear facility would be a security problem.

Journalists are not really nuclear physicists.

Tehran allowed more than 30 local and foreign journalists to accompany Iranian President Mohammed Khatami on his official visit to Natanz. But in fairness to the state department, journalists are not really nuclear physicists. Your average journalist probably wouldn’t know the difference between a nuclear facility and a sewage treatment plant if you told them uranium refinement was “stinky”. It is also unknown how knowledgeable Mohammed Khatami is on the subject of nuclear fission.

While the US still contends that the tour was a “staged media event”, many journalists on the tour are not so sure. AP reporter George Perl claimed that the buffet was rather weak for a staged media event. “I was expecting those little wieners,” Perl said. Jeremy Bondman, a BBC reporter was quick to point out the lack of a Natanz gift bags.

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