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US Rep. distorts facts about Iran

Congressman Mark Kirk misrepresents Iranian threat; vows to extend Ballistic Missile System to Israel

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Story Transcript

MATTHEW PALEVSKY, PRESENTER: The US-Israel defense agreements are at the top of the agenda here at AIPAC. This is because Israel, a small nation surrounded by adversaries, relies on the United States’ military aid in order to protect itself. Many critics of this alliance argue that the US-Israel relationship has made it more difficult for the US and Iran to have a diplomatic relationship. I’m about to speak to Congressman Kirk from Illinois, who believes that we should extend our aid to Israel, and that Iran, despite an NIE report that says otherwise, poses an imminent threat.

MARK KIRK, US CONGRESSMAN (R-IL): The National Intelligence Estimate basically made three conclusions. The first said that the Iranians may have stopped designing a nuclear weapon in 2003, and that was the best guess in the intelligence community at the time. But the second thing that it said was that the Iranians have continued progress on refining uranium. And the third thing it said is the Iranians are really developing their missiles quite rapidly. Remember, with regard to testing, the United States used its first nuclear weapon without any tests.

PALEVSKY: Contrary to Congressman Kirk’s assertion, the US did conduct a nuclear test before the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6.

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US Department of Defense Archival Footage

Atomic Weapons Through Tests

VOICEOVER: July 1945, Alamogordo, New Mexico. Watch the first atomic detonation in history—Operation Trinity. The long series of nuclear tests is underway.

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Before my interview with him, Congressman Kirk described to a large AIPAC crowd the doomsday scenario that he believes is possible in Israel.

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AIPAC Policy Conference

US-Israel Defense Relationship Plenary

June 3, 2008

KIRK: Sometimes I’ve talked about a nightmare morning, where brushing your teeth, your cell phone rings. It’s your best friend on the phone, and says, "Quick—turn on CNN. Turn it on right now. Israel doesn’t exist. It was just wiped out in a salvo of missiles." For us, our call to action is to make sure you never get that phone call, that instead, the great democracy from across the sea has extended her arms to defend this little democracy in the Middle East, that we’ve knocked down that threat, that no one gets hurt. And we send a message to Ahmadinejad: if you want to deal with Israel, the only way to deal with her is to talk to her; you have no military needs.

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KIRK: I think that statements by the president of Iran calling for the wiping Israel off the face of the earth are blatantly unnecessary and hostile. And, you know, in data we would call that an outlier, because no other country has this kind of rhetoric about one of its neighbors. It’s really unique.

PALEVSKY: What about Ayatollah Khamenei?

KIRK: We have various leaders, but from what we can see right now, the president appears to be in control of the military and foreign policy of Iran. So when he says something hostile, we should listen.

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PALEVSKY: As supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei controls both the military and the foreign policy in Iran’s theocracy. The disturbingly common misnomer that President Ahmadinejad runs the military and the foreign policy in Iran was discussed in a former Real News interview with Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff.

LAWRENCE WILKERSON, FMR CHIEF OF STAFF TO COLIN POWELL: I don’t think the president of the United States should be negotiating with Ahmadinejad. President Ahmadinejad occupies a position in the Iranian hierarchy of power which is largely ceremonial. He’s not a very powerful president. I do think that the United States of America should be negotiating with the power that exists in Tehran over whether or not we’re going to go to war.

PALEVSKY: Congressman Kirk, who also works one weekend each month as an intelligence officer at the Pentagon, distorts the facts to overstate the threat of Iran. Kirk drastically misrepresents President Ahmadinejad’s power, giving undue credence to his provocative statements. Congressman Kirk also fails to state the most crucial aspect of the NIE report, where it says the intelligence community judges with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015. These inflammatory and factually incorrect statements by Congressman Kirk help lay the groundwork for yet another war.

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Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.