Saturday 11 January 2020

Reality Check

There was an exchange on this morning's Today between Mishal Husain and Lewis Lukens, former Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in London.
Mishal Husain: One Iranian analyst earlier in the programme said to us that it was in contrast to how the US handled the shooting down 1988 of an Iranian passenger jet with 300 people on board, that it took the US four years to admit that mistake. 
Lewis Lukens: No. My recollection is that President Reagan, back at the time, actually acknowledged and apologised for that much sooner than four years but I'd have to go back and check my history on that.
It's intriguing that the Today team didn't 'reality check' that claim after the Iranian 'political analyst' made it, an hour before this interview. The Washington Post article headlined Reagan Apologised to Iran for Downing of Jetliner from July 6, 1988, three days after the US downing of Iran Air Flight 655, begins:
President Reagan said yesterday that he apologized to Iran on Sunday for the USS Vincennes' shooting down of an Iranian passenger jet over the Persian Gulf that killed all 290 persons aboard and declared that reparations or compensation to the families of victims are "a matter that has to be discussed." 
Reagan, a White House spokesman disclosed yesterday, sent a five-paragraph diplomatic note expressing "deep regret" to the Iranian government on Sunday, shortly after U.S. military leaders learned that the guided-missile cruiser had destroyed the Iran Air A300 Airbus after mistaking it for an Iranian F14 fighter plane. 
The president's message sought to assure the Iranian government that the attack was an accident, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said. 
Reagan, speaking to reporters as he boarded a helicopter for a visit to ailing Salvadoran President Jose Napoleon Duarte at Walter Reed Army Medical Center yesterday afternoon, replied "Yes" when asked if he considered his message to Tehran an apology.
Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down on July 3, 1988. That report says that President Reagan apologised "on Sunday". July 3, 1988 was a Sunday. So President Reagan apologised to Iran on the very day of the shootdown. Therefore, the Iranian 'political analyst' was lying. Will Today clarify that?

P.S. Some of the ranting of this same Iranian 'political analyst', Seyed Mohammad Marandi, was then re-broadcast on the 9 o'clock Radio 4 news bulletin.


  1. The BBC’s Mishal Husain was given the chore of interviewing the Iranian spokesperson Seyed Mohammad Marandi.

    “Are you blaming the U.S.?” was the gist of Husain’s approach.

    “Trump wants “to obliterate Iran” stated the Iranian spokesman.”our country’s being threatened by the US. It’s being threatened to be obliterated!….and your country stands shoulder to shoulder with Trump,” he continued, “so we don’t have a lot of support from Western countries to prevent the US from carrying out acts of violence”

    “Nevertheless,” began Husain “This was a passenger aircraft….”


    Does that throwaway ‘nevertheless’ mean that she concurs? She agrees that the US wants to “wipe Iran off the map?” Hearing such a classic case of projection from Mr Marandi go unchallenged, you have to ask, exactly who is it that continually declares its wish to ‘wipe “another country” off the map? And why does Mishal Husain let him get away with such a preposterous lie.

    1. Mark Urban was better with him last night, and even seemed to lose patience with him a bit towards the end. Mark Urban is a much better informed journalist.

    2. Yes, I suspect he's come across him before and knows him to be an Iranian government operative. He was quite tetchy by the end!

  2. Maybe Mishal 'Not enough dead Israelis' Husain should be juggled with Mishal 'Nevertheless, taking out civilians is a bit off' Husain?

    Bet she is having a rare old time figuring out where various non-coms go on her chart.

  3. Reference my comment on the "Be Afraid" thread, Mishal has form to my ears for "nodding along" with Iranian government spokesman (they're never spokeswomen, so I won'r say spokespeople!).


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