The secret U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks yesterday reveal American concerns about China aiding North Korea in the shipment of ballistic missile components to Iran. In 2007, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the U.S. ambassador there to urge “Chinese authorities to take action…that will make the Beijing airport a less hospitable transfer point.”
Yet the Washington Times appears to have come to a different conclusion after reading the cables. In its report on the WikiLeaks release last night, the story includes a sub-headline claiming that China played a role in shipping “nukes” to Iran:
The term “nukes” is most often synonymous with “nuclear weapons,” but from information that is publicly available at this time, China has not played any role in shipping either nuclear weapons or nuclear material to Iran. And nowhere in the accompanying article does the Times say anything about China aiding nuclear shipments to Iran.
But this isn’t the first time the Washington Times has played fast and loose with the facts reporting on Iran’s nuclear program. Earlier this year, the Times’ Bill Gertz reported that the CIA had said that Iran is “capable of producing nukes.” Yet as Gertz himself acknowledged later in the article, the CIA report report “reflects the published conclusion of a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that stated Iran had halted work on nuclear weapons in 2003.”