Exactly who “threatens” whom? One of Friday’s headlines on the BBC’s Web site proposes “Israeli minister threatens Iran,” relating how Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz says an attack will be inevitable unless Iran ends its nuclear experiments: “If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective."
Earlier this week, however, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Iranians that "the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene." That sounds pretty menacing, too, but plugging “Ahmadinejad” into the BBC’s search engine finds no reports on this threatening speech.
A BBC “analysis” accompanying today’s “Israeli minister threatens Iran” suggests only those with a prejudiced view will take Ahmadinejad’s threats seriously. Readers will find this down in the 25 and 26 paragraphs:
This week Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei repeated that Iran did not want nuclear weapons. But he said it would continue to develop nuclear energy for daily life.
Those who have made their minds up about Iran are more likely to listen to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has once again predicted Israel's doom.
Unlike the BBC, Reuters on Tuesday offered a detailed round-up of the Iranian’s threat against Israel, which appeared under the headline: “Ahmadinejad says Israel will ‘disappear’”
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's president said on Monday Israel would soon disappear off the map and that the "satanic power" of the United States faced destruction, in his latest verbal attack on the Islamic Republic's arch-enemies.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was speaking at a gathering of foreign guests marking this week's 19th anniversary of the death of Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the official IRNA news agency said.
"You should know that the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene," he said.
Turning to the United States, Ahmadinejad said the era of decline and destruction of its "satanic power" had begun.
In case you wondered if he really meant it, Ahmadinejad repeated his threat the next day in Rome. Again, Reuters has the story:
Israel will cease to exist with or without the involvement of Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, and Israel branded Iran a "neighbourhood bully" that must be met with firmness....
"This will happen whether we are involved in it or not," he told a news conference at a U.N. food summit in Rome, adding that Israel was "doomed to go".
Here are excerpts from today’s BBC story, which has the threats going the other way:
A top Israeli official has said that if Iran continues with its alleged nuclear arms programme, Israel will attack it.
Speaking to Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said sanctions on Iran were ineffective.
Mr Mofaz is one of three deputy prime ministers and the transport minister.
Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Iran's nuclear programme must be stopped by what he termed all possible means....
"If Iran continues with its programme for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective," Mr Mofaz told Yediot Ahronot.
"Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable," he said.
The BBC’s “analysis” suggests an attack on Iran would be disastrous, and even paints Barack Obama as a dangerous saber-rattler:
Last December American intelligence agencies said they had "high confidence" that in late 2003 Iran had stopped trying to build nuclear weapons.
That seemed to end much of the talk about an American - or Israeli - attempt to destroy the facilities that Iran has developed for what it insists is a purely peaceful nuclear programme.
Plenty of influential people in the Middle East, Europe and the United States think an attack on Iran would have consequences potentially as disastrous as the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It would also send oil prices, already through the roof, into orbit.
But the talk has started again. Negotiations with Iran - and sanctions against it - have not stopped it enriching uranium, which its critics say is being done to make a bomb.
In one of his first acts after he secured the Democratic nomination for president of the US, Senator Barack Obama told AIPAC, America's most powerful pro-Israel lobby, that he would do everything in his power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
He repeated the word "everything" several times. Even allowing for the fact that he was also trying to dispel the impression that he was soft on Iran, it was strong language.