In his first speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, President Trump put the rogue regimes of Iran and North Korea on notice by calling on the world to stand up to their threatening ways. But NBC Nightly News took exception to Trump’s targeting of Iran and defended them in an interview Anchor Lester Holt had with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
“And minutes before President Trump ripped Iran in that nuclear deal in his speech today, I sat down with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani who pointed out U.N. watchdog in charge of policing Iran’s nuclear activities has thus far found Iran in compliance,” Holt touted as he led into the interview.
He then added that Rouhani “warned that the U.S. stands to lose trust and credibility on the world stage if it plays out its threat to abandon the deal.”
The most concerning question from Holt came near the end of his report. He asked the Iranian leader about how unfair it was for Trump to lump Iran in with North Korea:
The Trump administration representatives, President in New York, and they are putting Iran essentially in the same basket as North Korea, portraying both countries as a threat to stability and peace and calling on the world to act. How do you feel when you hear Iran and North Korea spoken about in the same breath?
Rouhani claimed that his country was nothing like North Korea in terms nuclear proliferation. “There is nothing hidden in North Korea,” he said. “Iran is completely the opposite point.”
Holt then quickly ended his report by chiding that the Trump administration had certified Iran was in compliance with the nuclear agreement. But there was a complete blackout of Iran’s continued collaboration with North Korea on ballistic missile technology, a fact long understood by the Pentagon.
And much like the North Korea’s “Rocketman,” as President Trump calls Kim Jong-un who is known for bombastic statements, Iranian lawmakers recently chanted “death to America” on the floor of their parliament. Rouhani himself has been quoted touting his country’s “nuclear victory,” something Holt’s meager reporting failed to bring up but NBC managed to cover once before.
It’s not surprising that Holt would blatantly omit damaging information about the Iranian government. For many months, NBC Nightly News had refused to report on any hostile actions by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that put U.S. sailors at risk in the Strait of Hormuz.
But it’s no wonder Holt failed to call Rouhani out on his nonsense. The Iranian leader hit all the right talking points: He claimed the United States would lose credibility if Trump backed out of the nuclear deal and he praised Barack Obama for creating a positive atmosphere. Clearly, Holt’s allegiances lie with those who slam the President.
NBC’s backing of Iran was sponsored by: The American Petroleum Institute, Aleve, Oral-B, Claritin, and Safelite Auto Glass.
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NBC Nightly News
September 19, 2017
6:40:22 PM Eastern
LESTER HOLT: And minutes before President Trump ripped Iran in that nuclear deal in his speech today, I sat down with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani who pointed out U.N. watchdog in charge of policing Iran’s nuclear activities has thus far found Iran in compliance. And he warned that the U.S. stands to lose trust and credibility on the world stage if it plays out its threat to abandon the deal. Here’s some of our conversation.
[Cuts to video]
HASSAN ROUHANI [via translator]: The exiting of the United States from such an agreement would carry a high cost. Meaning that subsequent to such a probable action by the United States of America, no one will trust America again. And there is no higher price to be paid than this. Because after such a possible scenario, which country would be willing to sit across the table from the United States of America and talk about international issues? This will mean that it will carry with it the lack of subsequent trust from countries towards the United States because the greatest capital that any country has is trust and credibility.
HOLT: Would you sit down and have a conversation with President Trump? Do you think that would be helpful?
ROUHANI: In the previous administration, perhaps the atmosphere, the proper atmosphere was being prepared for such a potential dialogue. However, the tone and the various positions taken by Mr. Trump thus far has defeated the possibility. Unless we see in the future and we witness a change in the positions of the United States of America. When the United States government in very transparently speaks of aim of regime change in Iran, talking in bilateral fashion becomes very meaningless. And under the current atmosphere-- In the current atmosphere I do not see the current requirements for such a meeting.
HOLT: The Trump administration representatives, President in New York, and they are putting Iran essentially in the same basket as North Korea, portraying both countries as a threat to stability and peace and calling on the world to act. How do you feel when you hear Iran and North Korea spoken about in the same breath?
ROUHANI: It is very incorrect to say such a thing. North Korea has said in a very straightforward manner that I seek nuclear weapons. It tests nuclear weapons. There is nothing hidden in North Korea, North Korea a country who today is in the nuclear club and it does have nuclear weapons. Iran is completely the opposite point.
[Cuts back to live]
HOLT: Despite President Trump’s harsh words, the Trump administration has certified Iran's compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal twice before and is scheduled to issue its next report in October.