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April 22, 2021 5:23 pm

Netanyahu ‘Had a Point’ About Iran Nuclear Deal, a Star New York Times Reporter Concedes

avatar by Ira Stoll


A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office, Feb. 7, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Carlo Allegri / File.

A veteran New York Times reporter has conceded publicly that Prime Minister Netanyahu “had a point” when he warned against the Iran nuclear deal reached by President Barack Obama.

For years, editorials in the New York Times have cheered the deal and mocked Netanyahu’s opposition. “Mr. Netanyahu’s Unconvincing Speech to Congress,” was the headline over a 2015 Times editorial. “Netanyahu’s Flimflam on Iran,” was the headline of a 2018 editorial in the same genre. In recent months, the Times editorial column has been relentlessly campaigning for President Joe Biden to re-enter the deal, which the Trump administration had exited.

Yet in a recent episode of “The Daily,” a Times podcast, the paper’s White House and national security correspondent David Sanger let slip that the Israeli leader had a concern that was actually legitimate.

From the transcript:

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Virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

archived recording (Benjamin Netanyahu)

Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could produce many, many nuclear bombs.

David Sanger

— at the end of the day, you’ll never know if your agreement will be too short-lived to give you a permanent guarantee that the Iranians could not build a weapon.

David Sanger

And, you know, he had a point here, because the main parts of the agreement, as they were emerging in this negotiations, allowed the Iranians to do more and more work by 2025. And by 2030, there would be no limits at all on the amount of nuclear fuel that Iran could produce.

Well, now the Times tells us. Perhaps the newspaper’s editorial writers can tune into “The Daily” as part of their research before churning out the next get-back-in-the-Iran-nuclear-deal piece. It’d be nice if this kind of information were available to readers of the Times actual editorial column, rather than restricted to podcast listeners. And it may even make you wonder which other ones among Netanyahu’s current day positions that the Times may come eventually to concede, six years later, “had a point.”

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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