NBC's Andrea Mitchell reporting live from Tehran on Tuesday's Today show, on the American hikers held hostage in Iran, relayed Iranian government spin, that the Ground Zero mosque protest and controversial Koran "desecrations" have "added to the tension here, the anti-American spirit." Spurred by a question from substitute anchor Carl Quintanilla about the protests in New York city, Mitchell actually held up one of the state-owned newspapers and relayed that "if the government needed any excuse to drum up more anti-American fever," they have it, as she noted "all the headlines" in Iran are about the "desecration" and "burning" threats of the Koran.
The following segment was aired on the September 14 Today show:
CARL QUINTANILLA: But we begin this morning, in Iran, where tense negotiations are underway to free one of the three American hikers detained there for more than a year. NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is in Tehran. Andrea, good morning.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning, Carl. As you say it's been tense, feverish negotiations led by Swiss diplomats here representing the United States and an Iranian lawyer retained by the Shourd family, trying to win her release, trying to get prosecutors to relent on their demand for that bail, $500,000. And it's been a roller coaster, as you point out. There were plans to release her, then those were retracted. So they're waiting to see, but there are some signals today that she could be released at any time. And they are, of course, hoping for that to happen. Carl?
QUINTANILLA: Andrea the discussions about this, this potential release, the discussions in this country about the would be mosque near Ground Zero, what has all of that done to the political climate there, where you are?
MITCHELL: Well it has really added to the tension here, the anti-American spirit. And, in fact, if the government needed any excuse to try drum to up more anti-American fever, you can see the state owned newspapers today, all the headlines are about the desecration threat, the burning threat and also what happened in Washington last weekend, on 9/11, when some pages were torn out of Koran, out of the holy book. That has inflamed the anger here and they are planning big protests today. Carl?
QUINTANILLA: NBC's Andrea Mitchell in Tehran. Andrea, thank you for that.