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I Got My Nuclear Reactor Through the New York Times:


We knew Iran was brash about its nuclear program, but would it really go as far as to run an advertisement in a paper wholly owned by the New York Times seeking bids from companies to execute its plan to build two new nuclear reactors? Apparently. iranadsmallest.jpg (Click here for a bigger image) by Allison Kaplan Sommer, PJM Tel Aviv editor

by
Allison Kaplan Sommer

Bio

April 30, 2007 - 6:25 am

Jerusalem resident and science writer Karin Kloosterman stared with stunned disbelief as she opened the advertising section of Wednesday’s International Herald Tribune, which is fully owned by the New York Times Company and distributed in Israel together with the English-language version of Ha’aretz.

“I was home sitting on the couch, reading the paper and I said ‘what is this?” it was so absurd I was sure it was some kind of joke,” she told PJ Media.

The advertisement reads as follows:

INVITATION FOR BIDS – Construction of Two Large Scale Nuclear Power Plants In Iran

The Nuclear Power Production and Development Company of Iran (NPPD) (an affiliate company of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran – AEOI) as the owner, invites sealed Bids from contractors/companies for the Design, Supply of Equipment, Construction and Commissioning of two large scale units (1000-1600 MWe each) with third generation Nuclear Power, Pressurized Light Water Reactor in the Bushehr Province of Iran.

Qualified bidders who have sufficient experiences in the Construction and Commissioning of such plants are requested to obstain the respective Bid Inquiry Specification (BIS) documents upon payment of a non-refundable fee of €15000 (fifteen thousands Euros) transferred to the following account:
Account no.: 01754283800
Name of Bank: Austria Bank-Creditanstalt

[...]

All bids must be accompanied by a Bid Bont of twenty million Euros, and must be delivered to AEOI’s representatives office in Vienna by 02.08.2007 or to the company’s headquarter office in Tehran on 08.08.2007. The bids will be opened at the company’s headquarter office in Tehran on 08.08.2007 at 10:00 am in the presence of the Bidder’s Representatives who wish to attend.

For further information, please contact: Mr. Esmaeili, +431-2140971, Email: esmaeili@teleweb.at

Kloosterman maintains a mailing list for Israeli freelance journalists, copywriters and technical writers and immediately posted her discovery, asking her colleagues, “Is it just me, or does an ad advertising a tender for building nuclear reactors….in Iran seem like a wholly inappropriate thing for the International Herald Tribune to post in their paper?”

Certainly, it’s not just her, but as far as she knows, she’s the only one who noticed.

“I think most people aren’t reading tenders, but I’m always in the back section of the paper, looking for want ads to help writers that I may want to post to the list, and there it was.”

After spotting Kloosterman’s post, reporter Ezra HaLevi pursued the story for the Israel National News website, and asked Haaretz’s advertising department whether it had considered rejecting the story.

“Manager Aviva Bronstein says Haaretz receives the International Herald Tribune as a finished product. “We sometimes don’t even see it until it is in print,” she said. “We do not review their ads, only those that appear in the Haaretz section of the paper.”

A subordinate said that guidelines for ads would reject an ad calling for violence against a certain group of people. Asked by Arutz-7 whether the construction of the means to a nuclear bomb for a nation that has stated its intend to use it for genocide does not fall into that category, the woman, who declined to give her name, said: “I don’t believe that falls into the same category.”

Bronstein said that there is no ad that would conceivably lead Haaretz to refrain from distributing an edition of the International Herald Tribune.”

A copywriter named Miriam Schwab, also a member of Kloosterman’s list, was outraged at the IHT and its parent company, writing in her blog:

“It is understandable that Iran wants to recruit the best nuclear-reactor-builders for this endeavor (only the finest for Uncle Ahmadinejad’s genocidal projects), but it is harder to swallow IHT’s compliance with the advertisement of such a project, especially since this paper is sold in local newsstands across Israel – Iran’s prime target!”

Schwab has a few ideas as to how take advantage of the information provided in the tender.

“Some suggestions: giving Mr. Esmaeili a piece of your mind; pointing out to Austria Bank Creditanstalt that their involvement in plans for another Holocaust seems to indicate that they haven’t really learned anything.”

Has the New York Times Company?

Allison Kaplan Sommer is a writer living outside Tel Aviv. She is a former PJM editor.
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