Tabnak – As the US is trying to once again impose pressures on Iran over the nuclear issue, a kind of competition has apparently been shaped in Washington on who has the toughest positions against Iran. The new episode of the show: Rex Tillerson vs. Donald Trump!
American magazine The New Yorker published a report on Saturday, praising the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s record in his job, while accusing the US President Donald Trump of trying to undermine Tillerson’s achievements by unnecessary meddling in his work.
Part of The New Yorker’s long story, titled "Rex Tillerson at the breaking point: Will Donald Trump let the Secretary of State do his job,” is dedicated to a report of Tillerson’s latest encounter with the foreign ministers of Iran P5+1 group in New York.
"One afternoon in late September, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called a meeting of the six countries that came together in 2015 to limit Iran’s nuclear-weapons program;” the story starts with these words and goes further towards what is described as the details of that meeting.
"Sitting at a U-shaped table, Tillerson let the other diplomats—representatives of Germany, France, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Iran—speak first. When Zarif’s turn came, he read a list of complaints about the Trump Administration and its European partners,” the story says.
Then according to The New Yorker, Tillerson comes in and starts a wave of tough criticisms against Iran: "No one can credibly claim that Iran has positively contributed to regional peace and security,” the report quotes the US Secretary of State as saying.
However, apparently it wasn’t the end of the story: "Turning to Zarif, he went on to say that Iran had funded groups like Hezbollah, the Lebanese Islamist militia; it had backed Bashar al-Assad, the murderous Syrian dictator; and it had sent its Navy into the Persian Gulf to harass American ships. The fault for all this, Tillerson said, lay in the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”
As the story goes, we see a debate between Tillerson and Zarif, of which the US official comes out as the winner. The report is also full of patriotic descriptions of Tillerson, from adoring him as an "imposing man” to describing his dialogue with Zarif as being "in a deep Texas drawl that evoked a frontier sheriff about to lose his patience.”
The story was so attractive that Tabnak decided to learn more about the mentioned session, maybe to even learn more of Tillerson’s "special” diplomatic manner!
To do so, Tabnak’s correspondent contacted an informed source with direct knowledge of the session. The sourse, who asked not to be named, revealed something very interesting about the issue: the whole story is not more than a fiction!
According to the source, first of all, Tillerson was not the person who initiated the session, nor that it was held upon his request. In fact, the session was previously agreed to be held by the foreign ministers of all the P5+1 countries, as well as Iran’s.
Furthermore, Tillerson was not the moderator of the session, so he basically could not let someone to speak before or after the others. More interestingly, Zarif spoke "before” his counterparts and contrary to New Yorker’s report he did not read his speech from a text – indeed, it was Tillerson who had a pre-written text, so the whole "tough talk story” described by The New Yorker is again a fiction.
All in all, as it’s completely understandable from other parts of the paper’s story, it’s just an attempt to promote Tillerson’s cause and enhance his position vis-à-vis Trump. It seems as nowadays, whoever has the toughest stance against Iran, is considered to be a hero by the American media.
Anyway, The New Yorker is described to be an "American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry.” Its latest story has indeed all the elements of fiction and satire, but stops short of being a real diplomatic report.