Ahmadinejad: Iran Won’t Attack Israel

Pledge Not to Attack Spun as Threat

Spinning and respinning stories into something more alarmist is nothing new as it relates to Iran, but media outlets were doing heavy duty spin today after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in an interview with Egypt’s al-Ahram paper, said Iran had no interest in attacking Israel but was ready to retaliate if attacked.

The statements were reported as made in the Israeli press, but by the time they got to the US media they were completely unrecognizable, with some taking his comments bragging about industrial progress, including in their civilian nuclear program, as a claim that Iran “already has the ability to create nuclear weapons.”

But that’s not all. Other outlets took his statement explicitly saying Iran wasn’t going to attack Israel, and the comments on retaliation, and ended up declaring that Ahmadinejad had threatened to destroy Israel in the interview.

Lost in all of this is that Ahmadinejad has essentially zero to do with Iranian military policy and that Iran has spent the past several decades facing US and Israeli threats to attack and has obviously designed their military around retaliating against such attacks, not against launching attacks of their own.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.