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Iran Gains, Then Loses, Nuclear Weapons Program Thanks to White House ‘Clerical Error’

A peek at the White House’s rigorous copyediting process.

We’ve become so accustomed to typos in publications from the Trump White House that misspelling a foreign leader’s name or putting the wrong date on a condolence statement for a former first lady barely warrant a snide tweet. But the White House Press Office did manage to get people’s attention on Monday night when it responded to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation arguing against the Iran nuclear deal with a statement declaring that Iran currently has a secret nuclear-weapons program.

“These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people,” said the statement from Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Netanyahu certainly wanted to leave people with a sense that Iran wasn’t adhering to the terms of the agreement (see the slide that said in huge letters “Iran lied,” and the accompanying tweet), but the prime minister presented no evidence that Tehran is, at this moment, working on a nuclear weapon or violating the deal in any way.

Without offering any apology to those who thought the U.S. was going to war with Iran, the White House corrected the line to the past tense when the statement was posted online: “Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people.”

When asked for clarification, the White House said it was a “clerical error,” but some pundits still weren’t satisfied.

But whatever, it’s not like* Trump just brought on a national security adviser who promoted false information to justify the war in Iraq, and has made it very clear that he’s interested in bombing Iran.

* Correction: Trump totally did.

Iran Gains, Loses, Nuclear Program in WH ‘Clerical Error’