Mr. Burns

Sent to NPR this morning:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was surprised and disappointed as I listened to Morning Edition this morning that your interviewer repeatedly allowed Nicholas Burns (State Department Under-Secretary for Political Affairs) to repeat the administration’s line—that they need to be convinced that Iran is serious about negotiations and that they are running out of patience—without challenge.

The United States government has not been engaged in the negotiations with Iran that have occurred up until now due to its consistent refusal to take part in face-to-face talks with Iranian representatives. While the European governments attempted to conduct negotiations, the US administration’s consistent threats serve only to undermine those negotiations given the US’ recent track record of unilateral action.

While some overtures have recently been made, it is still difficult to see why the Iranian government should take those seriously when they were chastised for not responding immediately (something no government can seriously do in such negotiations) or when the US government’s first offer is also presented as its final one. The United States is far from establishing enough credibility for anyone outside this country to take the administration’s statements seriously.

Given that context it seems negligent that your interviewer simply allowed Mr. Burns’ statements to go by without comment, and I hope to hear more rigorous and better researched interviews in future.


James Stewart

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