The Los Angeles Times recently drew a bizarre parallel between a research and development undertaking created to defeat the Third Reich and a program developed to, among other things, wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
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Stopping Hitler Vs. Spreading Radical Islam
The piece, titled Gunned-down Iranian nuclear scientist was an Israeli target for years, opens with this paragraph:
He was one of Iran’s preeminent nuclear scientists, the country’s answer to Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist who led the US effort to build a nuclear bomb during World War II.
J. Robert Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in the American-led effort to develop a functional atomic weapon during World War II. He was a key figure in the Manhattan Project that was started in response to fears that German scientists had been working on a weapon using nuclear technology since the 1930s — and that Adolf Hitler was prepared to use it.
Following the end of the war, the United States formed the Atomic Energy Commission to oversee research efforts designed to apply the technologies developed under the Manhattan Project to other fields for civilian purposes.
In contrast, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh — though often referred to as a “scientist” — was a Brigadier General in Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps who spearheaded a nuclear weapons program for a regime engaged in widespread military hostilities.
Iran is widely considered the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, through its financial and operational support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and others. Potentially, The government in Tehran could even share its nuclear technology and know-how with extremist groups hostile to the United States, Israel and the West.
Targeted Assassinations: What To Do When Scientists Serve Terrorist Regimes
The Los Angeles Times piece, written by Nabih Bulos and Noga Tarnopolsky, then provides this lurid description of an innocent scientist being liquidated:
The semi official Fars News Agency reported Fakhrizadeh was killed near the resort town of Absard, some 35 miles east of Tehran. As his car was driving near an exit ramp on Mostafa Khomeini Boulevard, another car exploded. It was followed by a shootout between gunmen — who peppered Fakhrizadeh’s black Nissan Tiana with bullets — and the scientist’s security team.
Immediately following this paragraph, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s condemnation of the attack and blaming of Israel is worked in:
Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators
Iran calls on int’l community—and especially EU—to end their shameful double standards & condemn this act of state terror.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) November 27, 2020
The image of a person being gunned down near a resort town is emotive, evocative, and terribly misleading. To the uniformed reader of this piece, Zarif’s response may come off as reasonable. Yet the article glosses over the fact that Fakhrizadeh was no mere physician, he was Iran’s chief nuclear scientist and a brigadier general with the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Moreover, he was so central to the Islamic Republic’s secret nuclear weapons program that reports suggest it will be hard for Iran to replace him with somebody of equal stature.
Related Reading: Is Killing Iran’s Nuclear Scientists a War Crime?
And when it comes to fomenting chaos and inflicting damage on sovereign nations, Iran has a longer rap sheet than almost any other country. Indeed, the international community has mobilized to keep Tehran from going nuclear, believing that such weapons in the hands of the Mullahs would present a security risk to the United States, Europe and their allies in the Middle East.
In this regard, Israel is the canary in the coal mine. Iran’s leaders have repeatedly declared that the Jewish state should “be wiped from the map.” Concurrently, the Islamic Republic’s military posture has led to increases in arms purchases by its neighbors, with a nuclear-armed Iran likely sparking a regional arms race that would further destabilize this already volatile region.
Los Angeles Times: Providing Cover For a State Sponsor of Terrorism?
By juxtaposing Mohsen Fakhrizadeh with Robert Oppenheimer, this piece by Nabih Bulos and Noga Tarnopolsky misleads readers about the true nature of the Manhattan Project as well as the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions. Creating such a false impression of equivalence is an act of journalistic malfeasance not supported by context or circumstances.
Not only does engaging in false balance undermine The Los Angeles Times’ reputation, but it also legitimizes one of the most dangerous regimes on earth.
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Featured Image: Via Wikipedia.