June 20, 2003
REQUIRES 'TOUGH' MEASURES, U.S. INTERVENTION WOULD BACKFIRE
** Iran's nuclear threat is "a fact." Joint U.S. and EU
pressure is required to force Iran to "open its doors" to IAEA
** Protests reveal Iranians are "fed up" with Tehran,
but U.S. interference in regime change is "counterproductive."
** There is no need for a military confrontation to deal with
Iran; "Iran is not Iraq."
Time to take Iran's nuke threat seriously with strategy of
'incentives and disincentives'-- Observers acknowledging that Iran posed a threat
agreed Bush "is right" to press Tehran and urged the Europeans to
take Iran's nuclear program seriously.
They agreed the U.S. "together with Europe" must remain
engaged to encourage reformers and link Iran's cooperation with nuclear
inspections to trade agreements.
"If Tehran is unwilling to allow strict controls of its nuclear
program," Berlin's centrist Der Tagesspiegel insisted, "a
trade agreement with the EU should be out of the question." Writers also demanded Iranian transparency,
joining Tokyo's business-oriented Nihon Keizai in calling on "the
Tehran leadership to respond positively to and dispel international concerns
over its nuclear development."
The enemy of the enemy is not necessarily a friend-- Writers worldwide held
that Washington should not "misread" the demonstrations as support
for U.S. "aggression" to change the Iranian regime. Some papers suggested the state of unrest had
been exaggerated. They claimed the U.S.'
"cheering on" the protests was counterproductive and likely to
backfire, "undercutting Khatami" and giving the Ayatollahs the upper
hand. Although the U.S. presence in Iraq
has "put the fear of God" into the mullahs, "ham-fisted"
U.S. attempts to link the Shia mullahs in Iran to the Sunni al-Qaida were, as
London's independent Financial Times put it,
"likely to spark nervous defiance and drive Iranian
reformists and theocrats into each others' arms." Others, conservatives and liberals alike,
decided that the U.S. was doing a disservice by promoting dissent, which
Jamaica's moderate Daily Gleaner noted was the "kiss of death"
for an opposition "understandably suspicious of American
Euros doubt U.S. will use force, others see Iran on 'hit list'-- Noting Washington's
"credibility deficit" after "puffed up" WMD claims against
Iraq, Europeans doubted that Washington's "strong words" would
translate into military action. Third
World and Islamic editorialists, however, saw Pentagon hawks "on the
warpath" making "baseless claims" about Iran's al-Qaida
connections to pursue "imperialistic designs." In the alarmist camp, Pakistan's centrist
English-language News charged that Bush's "blood-thirsty military
planners are now "itching for another opportunity for a massive
manslaughter in yet another Islamic country." A Saudi editorial wryly noted, meanwhile,
that "relying on the support of disgruntled youth that are deprived of
Western consumer goods" was not a sound basis for invading a country.
EDITOR: Irene Marr
EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 75 reports from 31
countries, June 15-20. Editorial
excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "Iran Could
Yet Be A Model For The Mideast"
Cameron Kamran commented in the independent Financial Times
(6/20): "The key to a bright future
for the Middle East lies not with Iraq but with its larger and more vibrant
neighbor to the east.... Strip away
clerical authority in Iran and what you have left is secular democracy. What is more, you have democracy based on
institutions that, unlike in Iraq, are considered indigenous and established by
popular mandate, instead of by an occupying power. Iran could be the paradigm for religious
reformation and democratic renewal across the Muslim world. So how do we harness Iran for positive change
in the region? The U.S. administration
has recently resorted to tough talk to dissuade Iran from supporting terrorism,
developing nuclear weapons and meddling in Iraq. But threats alone will probably backfire,
forcing moderates to close ranks with hardliners.... A more sophisticated strategy of subtle but
continued pressure on the Islamic regime, combined with a vociferous effort to
encourage the overwhelming opposition to clerical rule, could work. The time to fear guilt by association has
passed and the U.S. will lose little by increasing its support for Iranian
civil society as a whole. But it should
do so openly, for the world to see."
"Do As I Say...Not As I Do"
The neutral-to-moderate Unionist Belfast Telegraph judged
(6/19): "What has become of
political logic that Bush is able to call upon the world (!) to take action
against Iran for allegedly planning to develop nuclear weapons--which the
Iranians vigorously deny--without attracting howls of derision and anger from
all corners of the earth?... Iran is
surrounded by countries which...indisputably already possess nuclear
weapons. Israel...routinely defies UN
resolutions and...has at least 80 nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver
them.... To the east lies Pakistan,
ruled by the dictator Musharraf, who...openly glories in his possession of
nuclear weapons and has publicly threatened to use them against a neighbour,
India. But there's no suggestion from
Bush, or for that matter from Tony Blair, that the world should be in any way
concerned.... The truth is that if you
are with Bush in building the New American Century--or at least taking care to
stand out of the way--you can invade your neighbours, defy the UN, slaughter
your own people, acquire weapons of mass destruction, and there'll be no
comeback from the Bush administration or its ally, the New Labour
government. It's because the Iranian
regime won't go along with Bush's master-plan that it's vilified as evil and
subjected to threat."
"Discontented Generation Could Provide Answer That
Hawks Are Seeking"
Amir Taheri, an Iranian commentator on Middle Eastern Affairs,
wrote in the conservative Times (6/18):
"The words 'regime change' are being uttered again. Washington hawks concerned about Iran’s
nuclear capacity are urging the overthrow of its Islamist Government. These hawks confuse Iran with Saddam
Hussein’s Iraq.... Unlike in Iraq, there
is no need for a military confrontation in Iran.... Iran is not on the verge of a second
revolution or civil war, as some commentators suggest. The volcano, hissing menacingly, is unlikely
soon to erupt.... The American presence
in countries neighboring Iran...has put the fear of God in the Khomeinist
Establishment. This does not mean,
however, that there is any support for an aggressive posture by the U.S. among
the demonstrators. The threat of
American military action could backfire by triggering an Iranian nationalistic
reflex, giving succor to the hardliners....
As Iran enters a delicate phase in its internal political evolution, it
is important that the U.S. and the EU be on the same side in dealing with
Tehran. Pressure on such issues as
nuclear non-proliferation and Tehran’s sponsorship of terrorism must be
accompanied by support for the prodemocracy movement, and promises of aid and
trade in exchange for reform."
"Stick To Nuclear Point On Iran"
The independent Financial Times editorialized (6/17): "International pressure on Iran to come
clean about its alleged clandestine nuclear program may be about to produce
some results. The International Atomic Energy Agency is examining Tehran's
nuclear activities this week...amid signs that the U.S....is curbing its
instinct to bring the issue to the boil and trying instead to build a broader
diplomatic front. That, for now, is
clearly the best way to approach the problem.... But it would be unwise for Washington to try
to force an early IAEA decision to declare Iran in breach of the NPT,
triggering a referral to the UN Security Council. The IAEA board would probably split; the
Council almost certainly would.
Ham-fisted U.S. attempts to encourage (still modest) student protests in
Tehran, to link the (Shia) Iranian mullahs to the (Sunni) al-Qaeda, and the
rather hysterical American attempts to pin the chaos in Iraq on Iran, are more
likely to provoke nervous defiance--and drive Iranian reformists and theocrats
into each others' arms."
"A Counter-Productive Policy Towards
The center-left Independent commented
(6/16): "The good sense of [the British
policy of engagement] is threatened by American insensitivity.... So damaged is
American credibility in the region that even engagement carries risks. President Bush's best course would be simply
to allow the internal dynamics of Iran to play themselves out. The main contribution that the U.S. could
make is to deliver a working, prosperous democracy in Iraq that could act as a
model for its neighbors. That is a tall
order, but, until it is delivered, the advice for Mr. Bush on Iran is simple:
Franco-American Crisis Will Last"
Joseph Limagne wrote in regional Ouest France (6/19): “It appears that the French did not aptly
measure the impact of Sept.11 on American society.... For William Kristol, the fact that Paris does
not agree with Washington is of little or no importance. What counts is America’s power.... James Steinberg says that ‘Iran could be the
test'...to know whether France has truly become ‘pro-active'."
Patrick Sabatier declared in left-of-center Liberation
(6/19): “We certainly need to feel compassion for those men and women whose
self-immolation proves their desperation. But added to their desperation there
must surely be fanaticism.… Their actions are not simply those of political
refugees.… The fatal alliance between the Mujahidin and Saddam Hussein’s
dictatorship explains why today this group finds itself at an impasse… Such an
alliance has given them the reputation of an unsavory political and religious
group. While we may feel little sympathy for the group, we must nevertheless
demand from our government an explanation for a crackdown against a group it
has tolerated and protected for so long.… What if anything has changed? It is
time for western nations to stop this hypocritical behavior of closing their
eyes, through political calculation, to groups and individuals who have been
pegged as ‘terrorists.’ While it is legitimate to keep them from engaging in
terrorist acts...what would be unacceptable is if such crackdowns were part of
an unhealthy ‘tit-for-tat’ leading to these political opponents being handed
over to their torturers just when Teheran’s regime is tottering.”
"Washington’s Ambivalent Game"
Pascal Riche opined in left-of-center Liberation
(6/19): “America has given up on Iran’s
reformers and opted for 'encouraging Iran’s aspiration to freedom.’ This means
doing everything possible to destabilize the Iranian regime.… Word has it that
the Pentagon’s plans to use the Mujahidin to topple Iran’s regime have been cut
short by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.… One cannot for a moment
imagine that France, which is trying hard to please the U.S., decided to arrest
the Mujahidin without having first informed Washington… The consensus is that
this was the result of a decision taken at the G8 in order to force Iran to
give up its nuclear program. Why not imagine that the Americans and the
Europeans distributed the roles according to the traditional good cop/bad cop
scenario: the Americans fuel the student demonstrations while the Europeans use
a softer approach.”
"France Against An Intervention In
Jean-Christophe Ploquin wrote in Catholic La
Croix (6/19): “The ambivalence of the occupation forces in Iraq vis-à-vis
the Mujahidin confirms the hypothesis that the Americans were considering using
the group, like the Northern Alliance, in an ‘Afghan style’ scenario in Iran.…
This would require crossing out the Mujahidin from the list of terrorist
organizations.… In this context, France’s crackdown goes along with
Washington’s realists and against the neo-conservatives. France’s helping hand extended to Secretary
Powell but against Paul Wolfowitz three months after the Iraqi crisis is a
reminder that France opposes unilateral and preemptive operations.”
"France’s Iranian Clean Up Act"
Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro
(6/18): “France’s crackdown on the
Mujahidin happened just when the U.S. was clamoring loud and clear for a change
of regime in Iran. This is not exactly
France’s strategy. This is why it was embarrassing to continue to harbor a
group whose aim is to topple Iran’s regime, with whom France is trying to
develop a constructive dialogue. Some
might say that France is putting under lock and key the enemies of a regime
which the U.S. has included in the ‘axis of evil.’ But in reality France and the U.S. are on the
same wavelength in their fight against international terrorism.... The question is what will happen now? The
chess game under way around Iran has only just started and goes far beyond the
fate of the Mujahidin.... Having made
this gesture, France now expects a gesture in return, on nuclear weapons
perhaps. Otherwise the crackdown will
have been a complete waste of effort.”
Michele Gayral commented on government-run Radio France
International (6/17): “The problem for
the international community which has decided to put pressure on Teheran is
that such interference could be counter-productive. With this in mind, Washington’s open support
for the Iranian student demonstrators is, at the least, awkward. Even the weapon of economic sanctions needs
to be used carefully. Populations do not
always know what they want. But one
thing they know is what they do not want.
The people of Iran, so ancient and also so new, may well not want the
isolation brought on by heinous religious fanaticism. They may also not care for America’s temptation
for interventionism, so forgetful of Persia’s ancient past.”
"A United Front"
Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/17): “Iraq divided Europe in two. Iran is bringing
together the U.S. and Europe, at least as far as principles are
concerned.... For the first time the EU
has adopted certain principles, which do not exclude, ‘as a last recourse,’ the
use of force.... In spite of Germany’s
reticence, this is a step forward. But
the risk, as the U.S. has been able to note, is of seeing secondary nuclear
proliferation by terrorist groups....
For the time being there is no question of using force against
Iran. As for President Bush, who is
going further than the Europeans, including Tony Blair, he has called for a
change of regime.... The nuclear threat
is a fact. Iran can at any time join
Israel, India and Pakistan. Unless the
international community finds a way to stop it.”
Matthieu Frachon in popular right-of-center France Soir
(6/17): “With this spectacular crackdown
on the Mujahidin, Paris has scored twice.
France’s diplomacy wins back a few good marks in Washington’s eyes and
earns Iran’s good graces.... France’s
operation targeted a group which has been on America’s hit list for years. As far as Iran is concerned, the gesture is
even more crystal clear: relations between France and Iran have been at their
worst. By answering Teheran’s reiterated
demands that Paris deal with these opponents, France is sending a strong signal
to a regime which is increasingly under fire from the White House hawks.”
“A Diplomatic Gesture Towards Iran”
Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/17): “With Iran, there are two ways to move
forward. President Bush’s way is to give
his support to the student demonstrations.
Europe’s way is to engage in a dialogue with Teheran. The crackdown serves as a token of goodwill
towards Iran with the expectation that it will stop financing the Palestinian
Intifada. A veritable diplomatic trump
Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (6/20): "President
Bush said that he will not tolerate the production of nuclear weapons in Iran,
but the president did not say how he wants to prevent this, for, and in this
respect Bush is right, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is by no means
harmless.... Iran should no longer turn
a deaf ear to demands to open its nuclear facilities to international
inspections at any time. It would be a
contribution to invalidate special and general doubts.... But it cannot be disputed either that the
warnings of the U.S. president against the dangers of the Iranian nuclear
project will be compared with the experience in Iraq. The Iraq war was mainly based on the argument
that Iraq's WMD pose a relevant danger.
In this respect, Bush and Blair are on the defensive. Their loss of credibility could turn out to
be an even greater calamity if Iran is really up to something, but only quite a
few really want to know about this."
"No Danger For The Islamic Regime"
Martina Doering judged in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner
Zeitung (6/20): "The Iranian
system is still stable and flexible enough to withstand external pressure and
to control internal protests. With
respect to the question of nuclear weapons, it is acting tactically smart. Iran is emphasizing the civilian character of
its nuclear programs, admits having violated certain rules, and declares that
it wants to accept stricter IAEA inspections.
The protests of students on the streets in Iranian cities are hardly
supported by the mass of the population.
The protests have by far not reached the degree and the effect of the
ones from 1999. And, according to
experts on Iran, despite the economic misery, the regime still has enough
potential to prevent the outbreak of socially motivated unrest. The fear of eruptions and bloody turmoil
deters not only conservative forces and reformers but also deters most of
Wolfgang Guenter Lerch contended in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (6/20): "For many
years, the 'People's Mujaheddin' and their National Resistance Council were
well-tolerated opposition forces in America and France…but 9/11 and the Iraq
war profoundly changed the situation.
The fight against terrorism also resulted in the Mujaheddin coming into
the crosshairs. For the left-wing
Islamic resistance organization it is now coming back to haunt it that it
settled for many years in Iraq, which even opposition Iranians considered their
arch enemy.... The calculation was that
it was easier to influence events in Iran from Iraq than from European
countries. But with the collapse of the
Iraqi regime these Iranian opposition forces have been deprived of their most
important base. They have become
homeless, since the government in Paris no longer wants to tolerate them."
Markus Ziener judged in an editorial in business Handelsblatt
of Duesseldorf (6/18): "The lack of perspectives among Iran's youth in
view of the high unemployment can no longer be ignored. They are the consequences of an uninhibited
population explosion in the 80s that was fully supported by the state. But every reduction of power, for instance,
the elimination of the Guardians Council would affect the monopoly of the
clergy. That is why hopes are still
based on the time factor. As it happened
over the past few years, when the religious state with its inhumanely brutal
commandments gradually eroded. In
Tehran, we no longer see anything of the post-revolutionary phase after
1979. For the young people, it is only
a thing of the past. It is so far away
that many of them are again ready for a second revolution. But the support of the masses is still not
there. Too many of them are probably still remembering the cruelties that were
committed after the end of the Shah regime."
"The Silence Of The Europeans"
Miriam Lau stated in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin
(6/18): "The question now is
whether and what the international community can do to help the Iranian freedom
movement get some support. George W.
Bush instinctively did what we expect every western state leader to do: he
backed the revolt with clear words. But
from Europe, on which we are supposed to pin so much global hopes, we do not
even hear a word indicating the concern over obvious human rights violations. Instead, Europe concentrates on the--indeed threatening--nuclear
potential of the country."
"Iran Needs Regime Change"
Silke Mertins argued in business daily Financial Times
Deutschland of Hamburg (6/17):
"The belief that Iran could reform itself from the inside has
turned out to be an error. The Mullah
system with spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei at the helm cannot be reformed,
since democracy is incompatible with the dictatorships of the Mullahs.... The
highly politicized Iranian civilian society does not necessarily need support
for this from the outside. On the
contrary, the loud support from Washington could even be counter-productive, because
it discredits the opposition forces....
Washington made the right diagnosis by saying that the system is
sick.... But nobody knows whether the
United States applies the right therapy.
Since the forces are at the front door, the temptation could be great to
take a quick look at Tehran, too. This
would certainly not be a pleasant affair for the opposition in Iran. They can win on their own."
"The Dialogue Is Getting Critical"
Clemens Wergin argued in an editorial in centrist Der
Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/17):
"It is time to take stock of the 'critical dialogue' with
Iran.... Mohammed Khatami's futile
attempts to open the country has made clear who has the say in the
country: the conservative religious
leaders, the armed forces, the intelligence, and justice authorities have
thwarted every attempt to withdraw from the control of the Guardians'
Council.... And now there is the nuclear program, which begs the question why a
country that has the second biggest oil deposits in the world needs nuclear
energy, and if so, why does it have to initiate the entire fuel cycle? The only logical answer is: because the civilian program only hushes up
the attempt to get the bomb.... What we
need now is not a critical dialogue but tough deals in return: if Tehran is unwilling to allow strict controls
of its nuclear program, a trade agreement with the EU should be out of the
"Iran, Revolution Via Computer"
Prominent commentator Sergio Romano wrote in centrist,
top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/20): “Perhaps America really believes that the
days are numbered for the Tehran regime.
Perhaps it is glad that Iranian events are diverting public opinion
attention from the embarrassing show of an Iraqi post-war situation that
resembles more and more, as days go by, a continuation of the war with other
means.... The crisis could have remained
confined to Iran had the Americans not inaugurated, over the last few weeks, a
political offensive similar to the one that preceded the Iraqi war.... The Europeans are asking Iran to cooperate,
but they are doing so mainly to deprive America of the opportunity, or the
excuse, for a new test of strength. They
will succeed only if Iranian President Kathami is able to regain control of the
situation and finally begin reforms.”
"Revolution Without Weapons"
Igor Man observed in centrist, influential La Stampa
(6/20): “While it is a fact that the
terrible protest of the Iranian Mujahidins has nothing to do with the obstinate
protest of the Iranian students, we must also add that the fate of the Iranians
is in the hands of George W. Bush. By
publicly expressing support for the students’ protest...President Bush risks
creating serious problems for President Kathami, the ‘Persian Gorbachev.’ Furthermore, Bush deprived the Iranian
Mujahidins in Iraq of their armored vehicles, leaving them only with light
weapons: against whom should they use them?
If the ‘small war’ that is confusing U.S. troops in Iraq were to
continue for a long time, who can assure us that the usual Dr. Strangelove will
not convince Bush to give Iran the always postponed ‘lesson’ for humiliating
Carter’s America? Let’s keep our fingers
"Bush To Iran: No To Nuclear Weapons"
A report by New York correspondent Mario Platero
in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (6/19): "George W. Bush did not
waste any time: last Saturday he issued a warning to the Iranian government
against the repression of the students’ protests, and yesterday he responded to
the censorship motion by the Iranian Parliament against ‘U.S. interference into
Iranian internal affairs’ with an even more direct attack.... Bush’s warning is
neither accidental nor, at least in this case, unilateral. In fact, it comes after a couple of days of
strong disputes started by the strong statements issued by the chief of the
IAEA about Iran’s failure to adequately cooperate with his agency.”
"Powell Warns Ayatollahs: ‘We Stand By
Those Who Are Protesting’"
Francesco Malgaroli leads in left-leaning, influential La
Repubblica (6/18): “Iran represents
the new ground where the U.S. and France might be facing each other. Yesterday’s first taste: on one side, Colin
Powell announced that Washington offers full support to student demonstrations;
on the other side, 165 followers of (Iranian opposition group) Mujahidin were
arrested in Paris.”
"Doomsday For The Ayatollahs"
Alberto Negri observed in leading business daily Il Sole 24 Ore
(6/17): ”Iran is a much more complex
game than the Iraqi one.... So, what is
Washington’s real aim in this new crisis?...
If Washington wants to bring down the Iranian regime, or the Saudi
Arabian one, it had first better ask itself what it wants to replace them
with. As for the Iranian people, they
still have to deal with the basic question of how to get out of the Islamic
revolution. If the conservative
ayatollahs do not find an adequate answer, history will judge them as
"Uncle Sam’s Soaring Scars"
Alberto Pasolini Zanelli commented in pro-government, leading
center-right Il Giornale (6/17):
“There are those who think of freedom, others of a ‘crusade,’ and
others of a revenge. The protest in Iran
serves Washington’s plan.... Indeed,
Bush can order the invasion of Iran from four or five directions at the same
time. He already made clear the reasons
why he thinks he has the right to do so.
The Tehran regime is on the ‘axis of evil’ list...it has been on the
list for decades as a country that supports international terrorism...and the
regime is accused of being more likely to build WMD than Iraq.”
Guido Rampoldi wrote in left-leaning,
influential La Repubblica (6/16): “Iranian students hastened to point
out that the (protest) movement is theirs, and is not inspired by the
Americans. But certainly the words
pronounced yesterday by President Bush hailing the student revolt as a very
positive 'beginning’ didn't help them.
That was a sympathetic, but inappropriate, assessment, since it adds a
new weapon to the Khomeini propaganda.
"Iran Likely To Sign Protocol"
Vladimir Dunayev and Yelena Shesternina suggested in reformist Izvestiya
(6/20): "The Iranians will most
probably allow international inspectors to visit their nuclear sites with no
strings attached. This is the only way
for the international community to determine whether Tehran is working on
nuclear weapons or the suspicion is just a fiction by the U.S.
administration. In all likelihood, Iran
will sign the additional protocol. If
only because it does not want the Americans to have an excuse for armed
action. At the summit in St. Petersburg,
Vladimir Putin said that Moscow and Washington were a great deal closer on Iran
than it might seem. So the Iranians
should not count on Russia to go out on a limb for them, risking its ties with
America. If it is to see the
Russia-aided Bushehr and other nuclear projects through, Tehran will have to
open up for IAEA inspections a tad more."
Aleksandr Shumilin commented in business-oriented Vedomosti
(6/20): "Old Europe, tired of
confrontation with the ally overseas, may well accept 'reforming Iran' mostly
through political and diplomatic means (with special operations kept secret, of
course). After all, even the latest of
the IAEA Director Al Baradei's reports suggests that not everything is fine
with Iran's nuclear programs. The
Europeans are quite serious about the Iranian Bomb scare, something they may
not feel about Iraq's semi-real and semi-mythical WMD. It is they, not the Americans, who will find
themselves within the effective range of Iranian missiles, should Tehran decide
to use them. Were Washington to declare
a crusade against the Mullahs, Europe...would most likely join in quietly,
leaving Russia with its Bushehr mega-project and a billion-dollar trade with
Iran in a tricky situation. Moscow must
urgently develop a consolidated position on Iran. Evidently, it is going to be balanced, as
Russia has somewhat distanced itself from Iran, consistent with the worldwide
concern over that country's nuclear program, while seeking to retain its
economic presence there."
"Mujaheddin Are No Allies"
Nina Mamedova of the Institute of Oriental
Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences commented in an article by Vladimir
Dunayev of reformist Izvestiya (6/19): "Rather than defending the
Iranian authorities, Paris is trying to make it clear to Washington that the
Mujaheddin are not the best of allies in a confrontation with Tehran. It is useless to rely on the Mujaheddin.
They are strong and well organized but they are not popular. Iranians don't like them. The Mujaheddin shed too much blood in the
past and sided with Baghdad in the Iran-Iraq war. France is doing what any democracy would
have done. How do you think a group that
is on the list of terrorist organizations should be treated? The Mujaheddin claim to be fighting a
terrorist regime. But Europe does not
like their methods. The Mujaheddin
can't hope for support from Old Europe.
So they are looking to get it from Washington."
"Paris Puts Up Fight Over Iran"
Mikhail Zygar remarked in reformist
business-oriented Kommersant (6/19): "Having lost all its
investments in Iraqi oil to the Americans, the French are going to put up a
fight over Iran. Their first move
against the Iranian opposition from the Mujaheddin Halq group shows that they
are in earnest about that."
"The Announced Revolution In Iran"
Foreign affairs writer Christian Ultsch wrote in centrist Die
Presse (6/20): “Those in Iran who go
out on the streets and chant slogans against the clerical rulers, are more than
just brave. They are literally risking their necks.... All of them...deserve our utmost
respect.... If there is a region in the
Middle East where a foreseeable democratic change of the system seems possible,
it is Iran.... Nevertheless, we
shouldn’t lose our sense of proportion over all this solidarity. Not more than 200 to 2,000 youths
participated in the demonstrations at a time--this is hardly a mass
movement.... The strategists in
Washington will have to wait a while for the next change of regime they so
ardently wish for. It could in fact turn
out to be counterproductive that the protests in Iran were so blown out of
proportion by the Americans.... First of
all, though, the U.S. will have to do something about its considerable deficit
in credibility. The American’s firm call
for Tehran to open up its nuclear program, and the threats that go with it, are
reminiscent of the puffed-up descriptions of the Iraqi arsenal. Nobody believes a liar when he tells the
"Zero Tolerance, Again"
Senior columnist Ernst Trost commented in
mass-circulation tabloid Neue Kronenzeitung (6/20): “Strong words from Washington: The U.S. is
not going to tolerate an Iranian program for nuclear weapons.... However, it is unclear what the Americans and
their allies are going to do about it, and whether they are actually willing to
risk another war.... While the North
Koreans clearly commit themselves to their nuclear weapons program and plan to
use it mainly for extortion purposes, the Iranians are claiming to use nuclear
energy only for peaceful purposes.
Yielding to the pressure from outside, the mullah regime seems to be
prepared to permit closer inspections.
However, Iran could also insist on its national sovereignty, claim its
right to defend itself, and thus create a scenario of threats in order to take
the wind out of the sails of the protest movement in the country. For President
Bush, the biggest effort is going to be to reclaim some of the credibility he
has lost in the web of lies surrounding the issue of WMD in Iraq.”
"Children Of The Revolution"
Foreign affairs writer Thomas Vieregge commented
in centrist Die Presse (6/16):
“Since George W. Bush launched his campaign against terrorism, the
Iranian mullahs have started to sweat.
North and east of the country, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the regimes have
dropped like ripe fruit, and things are beginning to ferment in Iran
itself. Not even the moderate President
Khatami, figurehead of an opening towards the West, is able to calm his people
anymore. The children of the revolution
have pinned their hopes on him too long, and they have been disappointed too
often.... Just like four years ago, the students are going on the
barricades. They risk open
confrontations with the henchmen of the regime.
The smallest spark would be enough to spread the protests--the anger
about the muzzling of personal liberty is deep-seated.… And what about George
W. Bush ? The U.S. President can calmly
go fishing and wait to see whether regime change in Iran won’t happen by
itself--without military help from Washington.”
"Iranian Peace Weapons"
Petr Pesek wrote in right-centre Lidove noviny (6/18): "The Iranian representatives say that
the Middle East should be a zone without nuclear weapons. The bottom line of
this statement is that if Israel can have nuclear weapons so can they.... The only thing that can be done under the
circumstances is to exert pressure on the Teheran regime to open up its nuclear
facilities to the world, or else we will have another nuclear power in Asia, as
if India and Pakistan were not enough."
"Americans Now Set Their Eyes On Teheran"
Emil Souleimanov analyzes in the centrist Hospodarske Noviny
(6/17): "In Iran..many believe that
the U.S. attacks on neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq had been propelled by this
main strategic goal: To encircle Iran and to contribute to its end by splitting
the country into 'ethnic states.'...
Washington has been pressing Iranian leaders to stop supporting
terrorist groups in Lebanon (like Hizballah)...and to allow the international
inspectors to enter military sites and nuclear plants in Iran; from this would
logically follow calls for disarmament....
Another factor that could further increase U.S.-Iran tension is the fact
that...the large community of formerly oppressed Iraqi Shiite has historically
aligned itself with...Iran.... The
Americans try to stop this by all means, even by arresting some Shiite
activists in Iraq. The growing number of
anti-American demonstrations shows that the Iraq Shiite community doesn't like
HUNGARY: "Iran And The
Respected Hungarian security policy expert Peter Talas judged in
influential business/political daily Vilaggazdasag (6/20): “One of the most serious weaknesses of the
Bush-Rice political domino concept is that it considers identical those regimes
to be ousted and those regimes to be re-configured in the Central and in the in
the Middle East region. Their concept
inclines to equate Iraq with Iran, whereas compared to Saddam’s dictatorship,
Khatami’s Iran could be described (with a little exaggeration) as the regional
role model of democracy, as has also been proved, paradoxically, by the most
recent wave of demonstrations.”
IRELAND: "Iran In The
The liberal Irish Times contended (6/16): "Iran is attracting much increased
attention after the war in Iraq, as United States leaders warn it is developing
a nuclear weapons programme and must cease interfering in Iraq's politics and
funding anti-Israeli groups.... A more
engaged approach to Iran is possible to encourage the reformers. It becomes all
the more necessary to prevent U.S. policy moving towards military
intervention. EU foreign ministers will
today debate a new security strategy towards the Middle East, including a
warning that Iran's cooperation on nuclear inspections will be linked to trade
agreements. The inter-penetration of
external pressure on Iran and internal dissent there could become quite
volatile and destabilising. It should be
balanced by a readiness to engage in diplomatic dialogue to reward compliance
with international law."
PORTUGAL: "Winds Of Freedom"
In a signed editorial, influential moderate-left Público editor-in-chief José Manuel
Fernandes wrote (6/18): "Why are
[young Iranians] doing this? Because the
Iranian regime is socially and politically blocked, because unemployment is
reaching record numbers among the young, because the youngest want to live in
freedom, because the universities are in ferment with ideas of renewal and
thinkers who want an Islam able to co-exist with modernity and a lay nation.
And also because the new international situation favors change -- the United
States is present in two countries neighboring Iran, Iraq and
Afghanistan.... Whoever checked BBC's
web page open to e-mails from Iran yesterday would have seen that there were
those -- few -- who believed the revolt was being fed by the United States and
the United Kingdom, mixing with those -- many -- who just wanted to have the
dictatorship ended. Among these were
those who wanted no foreign interference whatsoever and those who openly wrote:
'Help us, President Bush.' Whether it
comes from Washington or not, this revolt deserves help, deserves to be treated
like those that brought down the communist regimes at the end of the 80s:
without military action, without economic blockades, only by supporting the
dissidence and helping rebel ideas and the message of freedom circulate. Which is what the Iranians most want to hear these
Diplomatic Or The Marine Corps?"
Conservative Stockholm morning Svenska Dagbladet
editorialized (6/18): "Next stop: Teheran! Some statements by people near
President Bush have been interpreted as if the White House were considering a
new liberation war. But this is not likely, nor would it be appropriate.
Certainly there are parallels to Iraq with regards to oppression and suspicions
of a nuclear weapons program, but the resemblance ends there.... Last week's renewed demonstrations in Teheran
and in some provincial capitals indicate that there are forces pursuing
democratisation (in Iran). But the fact that they seem to take place in an
ocean of apathy emphasizes the few alternatives to President Khatami's
low-profile reform strategy. He is also the one on whom hope rests with regards
to convincing Iran to accept further inspections. Consequently: send the
diplomats to Teheran, not the Marines."
"Iran Is Not Iraq"
The Social Democratic Stockholm daily Aftonbladet
editorialized (6/17): "Iran has not
fulfilled its commitments in accordance to the NPT.... The situation is serious, and on that note
the critics of Iran are entirely right....
The suspicions against Iran must be investigated, but it is quite
necessary that one realize that Iran is not Iraq, and that it therefore must
not be dealt with, as was Iraq.... The
best strategy still is to cooperate with Iran in order to shed light on its
energy program.... But that does not
mean that the surrounding world should avoid putting pressure on Iran and
demand more transparency.... In the
present situation it would be counterproductive to adopt a downright hostile
policy towards Iran. An outside military
threat would only undercut...Khatami and give the Ayatollahs the upper
hand. The hard U.S. pressure already has
to some extent given such effects."
TURKEY: "On The Eve Of
A New Middle East"
Erdal Guven opined in the liberal-intellectual Radikal
(6/20): “Iran is part of the ‘Axis of
evil,’ a fact that should not be ignored.
Iran is now becoming also a part of a new Middle East design. It requires no prophecy to expect an eventual
regime change in Iran.... But the U.S.
is not going to use tactics that worked in Afghanistan and Iraq for Iran. In the Iranian case, the U.S. is more of an
observer than an interventionist. The
regime change process in Iran is already working in a very healthy way, through
Iran’s internal dynamics.... At this
stage, the U.S. will probably work toward strengthening the hand of the
regime’s opponents and weakening the regime by through secret operations. The new Middle East is about to be born--from
Kabul to Jerusalem, and from Iraq to Iran.”
"Pressing Iran And Turkey"
Sami Kohen observed in mass-appeal Milliyet (6/20): “The international community is exerting
intense pressure on Iran, even though Iran’s production of nuclear arms has yet
to be documented. The Bush
administration, just like during the campaign against Iraq, is using the
nuclear arms claim on every possible occasion.
The interesting part of this story comes with the EU decision to support
this claim. The EU has joined the U.S.
campaign and started warning Iran, including the implied threat of military
force if diplomacy fails.... Turkey shares
the Western world’s worries and suspicion about Iran’s nuclear program..... During U/S Ziyal’s visit to Washington,
Ankara made it clear that Turkey is on the U.S. side on the Iran issue. However, more specifics on this matter will
be worked through the efforts of the IAEA, in which Turkey is one of 35
"Iranians Are Just fed up"
Zafer Atay observed in the economic-political Dunya
(6/18): "The street protests in Iran, although minor in number, are very
much typical of totalitarian regimes, such as the former Ceauscescu regime in
Bucharest.... The United States is doing its best to use Iranian anti-regime
leaders. However, the real energy stems
from the people of Iran, who are fed up with the current system.... The United
States will not start a military operation at this stage against Iran as long
as Iran does its homework. The initial
signs, however, are not promising. Iran
has declined to accept a team of inspectors from the IAEA.... Washington has
already declared to the world that Iran has a 'secret' nuclear weapons
program. More importantly, the EU is on
the U.S. side this time. It remains to
be seen whether the Mullahs will take the proper lesson from this though,
judging from past experience, it seems unlikely."
"The Truth About Iran"
Cengiz Candar opined in conservative DB Tercuman
(6/18): "Arguing about whether or
not 'it's now Iran's turn' only serves the interests of
conspiracy-theorists. The fact of the
matter is that the U.S. wants to see a regime change in Iran as quickly as
possible, and will intensify its efforts toward this goal. However, this goal is not leading to a
military operation. There is no need for
that. It seems that the internal
dynamics of Iran are strong and vivid enough to make this change without the
need for external intervention.... The
truth about Iran stands as an historic proof of the collapse of political
"Iran And Who Is Doing What?"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass-appeal Milliyet (6/17): "Iran's future is uncertain.... At this stage, we don't see a move by the
masses against the regime. Yet recent
events indicate that the people of Iran, for the first time, are raising their
voices against the system and the regime's current policies. It is important to see what action the regime
will take and how much it will heed the voices of the people.... As for the U.S., its goal is not exactly
clear, but it goes without saying that the Bush administration wants the Tehran
regime to end.... If Washington is
determined to 'deal with' Iran now, it means that the region will go through a
very intense period."
ISRAEL: "Iran's People
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized
(6/17): "There are signs that the
revolutionary process [in Iran] has...reached 'a point of no return.'... Though the Iranian people are struggling for
their own freedom, the entire free world has a great stake in their success.... The regime seems to be confused and scared
and the people emboldened. Now is the
time for the U.S. to accelerate its support for the Iranian people, and its
diplomatic campaign to impose sanctions on the regime. The more that is done now, the greater the
chance that the Iranian people can liberate themselves, while taking a giant
step toward a world free of state-sponsored terrorism and nuclear
"What Iran Must Be Told"
Labor Party Knesset Member Shimon Peres wrote in
mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/19): "As long as
Iran believes it can play with a split world -- and deepen the rifts within it
-- it will supply plenty of denials and hasten a dangerous march towards the
creation of an intolerable situation.
This is what Saddam Hussein did, too.
He had counted on divergences between the United States and the European
Union. Eventually, he thrust aside every
political option and only left the U.S. a military option. A joint warning backed by a threat of
economic sanctions would be the best thing that could save Iran from its own
mistakes, and prevent the need for a new military option. A determined and united diplomatic strategy
is urgently needed to get rid of a terrible menace that is increasing with
every passing day."
EGYPT: “Whither Iran?”
Leading pro-government Al Ahram’s
columnist Reda Helal wrote (6/19): "The revolutionary state in Iran is
weak because it lacks the charisma for leading a democratic force like that of
Poland and the former Czechoslovakia. It
is also linked to American intervention...in crushing Iranian influence in Iraq
and securing Tehran’s cooperation in fighting terrorism and preventing the
development of weapons of mass destruction.
The Mullah regime in Iran may exploit this American involvement by
accusing the democratic powers of being agents of the ‘greatest satan’... However, this revolutionary state may develop
as seventy percent of the Iranian youth are fed up with religious rule and [are
willing to change it] if the U.S. sides with democracy. Only then will history take a fateful turn
and democratic rule be established in Tehran on the remnants of that religious
rule which dreamed of exporting its model to other Islamic movements and
SAUDI ARABIA: "Nuclear
Jeddah's English language Arab News stated (6/17): "Is it now Iran's turn? That seems to be a natural question in view
of the pressure that Tehran has come under in the last few days. The question is not just being asked in
Iran. The Bush White House declared long
ago that Iran was part of an 'axis of evil' that it was determined to dismantle
and destroy.... And right in the Middle East, which the EU and U.S. are anxious
to keep nuclear-free, there is Israel, with enough weapons to reduce the entire
region to radioactive rubble. Iran as
well as many others have a question that no one in the G-8, or the IAEA, for
that matter, has been able to
answer: Why not Israel?
"Specter Of Mossadeq"
Jeddah's English-language Saudi Gazette judged (6/17): "Iran is not Iraq and it is sincerely to
be hoped that Washington will not attempt to duplicate the Iraqi experience in
Iran. Washington's hawks, however, may
choose to try and shift the focus from the unsatisfactory state of affairs in
Iraq. Relying on the support of
disgruntled youth that are deprived of Western consumer goods is not
necessarily a sound basis from which to destabilize a government or invade a
Demonstrations Are Not A Foreign Conspiracy"
Daily columnist Bater Wardam wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour
(6/16): “The leadership in Iran may
claim an American conspiracy that is instigating Iranian college students to
protest against the symbols and philosophy of the Republic and to call for
liberal reforms. This is because all
countries of the third world have become accustomed to ascribing their internal
problems to the presence of a foreign conspiracy instead of acknowledging the
root causes of these problems and finding logical solutions for them. However, Arab politicians and analysts have
no right to mislead the Arab public by adopting this analysis and justification
just to spite the United States. The
truth that must be acknowledged is that the demonstrations of the liberal
students in Iran have political, social and cultural justifications that stem
from the Iranian status quo.”
SYRIA: "Credibility At Stake"
Riad Zein, a commentator in government-owned Syria
Times, commented (6/13): "The campaign of criticism against President
Bush and PM Blair concerning Iraq's [WMD] will not only have adverse impact on
future of both leaders in forthcoming elections but will, as well, cast drastic
light on the deceiving methods resorted to by both superpowers in addressing
the world. Such a cheating address will certainly have other adverse impacts on
the credibility of Washington and London governments. Seen using similar
methods, both governments are now trading accusations to new states, namely
Iran and Democratic Korea on their nuclear programs, which are viewed as
peaceful. And while the US continues to allegedly accuse some states of
possessing banned weapons, it unfortunately keeps silent about Israel`s nuclear
arsenal, the most developed and gravest in the world."
TUNISIA: "What Are The
Limits Of Nuclear Proliferation?"
An editorial by Noureddine Hlaoui in independent French-language Le
Temps stated (6/18): "To avoid the possible irresponsible use of
nuclear weapons, the whole world, in particular the great powers that possess
this powerful weapon, has never stopped calling and working in order to stop
the proliferation of this devastating wave. Why does the U.S. insist on forcing
some countries to accept the visits of the AIEA experts to check their
installations while the Hebrew State continues to challenge and to reject with
arrogance signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and allowing the AIEA
teams to visit Israel? It is the practice of the double standard policy that
only the Zionist State benefits from.... The U.S. has the means to ensure
respect of international law. It has in the recent past demonstrated that if it
wants to, it can. This is important for
the stability of the whole planet."
CHINA: “Iran: Next U.S. Target?”
Wu Yixue commented in the official
English-language newspaper China Daily reported (6/19):
“The deteriorating ties between the United
States and Iran have again provoked concerns over the possibility that Tehran
may become Washington's next prey in the Middle East.... There was no legal
basis for the war in Iraq. Bush has so far produced nothing beyond his dislike
of Saddam Hussein to justify his war against Iraq. Washington has stepped up its diplomatic
offensive against Iran, alleging that Tehran has links with terrorists and is developing
nuclear weapons. But Washington has yet
to provide convincing evidence for Tehran's connection with terrorists.”
CHINA (MACAU SAR):
"Reasons For Iranian Anti-Government Waves"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News noted
(6/17): "Senior-level officials in
Iran once again accused the U.S. of plotting upheavals and 'intervening in
Iranian internal policy.' Washington,
however, 'welcomed' the anti-government demonstrations by university students
in Teheran, while declining to respond to the accusation of 'provocation.' Objectively speaking, the 'welcoming' remarks
of U.S. officials, combined with messages from Iranian dissidents transmitted
over U.S. satellite television, provoking Iranian students to strive for
freedom, have doubtlessly added fuel to the fire. Nevertheless, without sufficient evidence
showing that the U.S. directly provoked the demonstrations, it is difficult to
lay the blame solely on the U.S.... Apart from U.S. propaganda and agitation,
external factors affecting the situation in Iran include pressure from
Washington. Seeing Iraq's people
enjoying freedom of speech and freedom of demonstration for the first time
after the toppling of Saddam, combined with pressure on the Iranian regime from
U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, will give Iranian dissidents
enormous encouragement. This is the
catalyst, however, not the underlying cause of dissent."
JAPAN: "World Must Press Iran To Accept
An editorial in the business-oriented Nihon
Keizai observed (6/19): "Iran's dismissal of its alleged development
of nuclear weapons are not convincing. To prove its innocence, Tehran must open
all its nuclear facilities unconditionally to IAEA inspections. It is not just the U.S., but also EU nations
and even Russia--which is said to have offered technological assistance to
Iran's nuclear development--that acknowledge the need for Iran to dispel rising
international misgivings about its nuclear arms development. It is now time for the Tehran leadership to
respond positively to and dispel international concerns over its nuclear
development and settle unfolding political unrest in the country."
"Immediate Inspections of Iran's Suspected
Nuclear Development Called for"
An editorial in the conservative Sankei
observed (6/16): "The suspicion is deepening in the U.S. and the rest of
the international community that Iran is engaged in nuclear arms development.
Iran's nuclear armament could not only add fuel to an endless war of
retribution between Israel and the Palestinians, but also create a major
destabilizing factor in the region. If Iran insists on its nuclear development
for peaceful purposes and within the framework of an international accord,
Tehran must open all of its nuclear facilities immediately and unconditionally
to IAEA inspectors."
INDONESIA: “Khatami And
Hope For Inter-Civilization Dialogue”
Ismatillah A. Nu’ad of the Center for
Inter-Faith Studies commented in leading independent Kompas (6/18): "Khatami is Iran’s best president for
the U.S.... If the U.S. plan to invade
Iran doesn't heed Khatami’s ideas for building an inter-civilization dialogue,
it would clash with the U.S. stance as a superpower that always promises
democracy. If the plan is materialized,
Khatami’s hopes for the dialogue will be useless.”
Should Heed Internal Rumblings"
The lead editorial in independent, English language The Nation
read (6/17): “America has made no secret
of its desire to see a change of government in Tehran, but after forcibly removing
governments in two of Iran’s neighbors it needs to be careful how it reacts if
it doesn’t want to play into the hands of hardliners. Iran remains the scene of America’s biggest
post-war foreign-policy disaster, when the shah was toppled. The rest of the world has an interest in
seeing Iran move towards peaceful change and democracy if only because of
Invisible Hand Behind Iran's Political Arena"
Linh Thu wrote in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, the daily run by the
People's Army of Vietnam, (6/20):
"Why is the U.S. so enthusiastic about the Iranian dissident elements? It is apparent that the quick victory in Iraq
has made the U.S. feel that eventually it is now time to decisively deal with Iran.... However, taking actions to punish Iran
immediately at this time is not easy as the U.S. military is being stretched
too much by operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and South Korea. So, instead of military measures, the U.S. is
employing the tactic of inciting internal instability, and the ultimate goal is
to change the regime in Iran."
"Attacking From Outside And Inside Simultaneously"
Duong Ha wrote in Quoc Te, the weekly run by the Vietnamese
Foreign Ministry, (6/20): "Calling
the demonstrations by Iranian students 'a cry for freedom,' Washington has
revealed itself. Things became crystal
clear when U.S. State Department spokesman Boucher announced that the Bush
administration supported the Iranian demonstrators.... At the same time, Washington is trying to put
pressure on the IAEA in order to make them determine that Iran has violated
regulations set in the Non-proliferation Treaty, paving the way for the U.S. to
impose sanctions on Iran.... What can
these simultaneous attacks from the outside and inside lead to? There are few reasons to believe that they
can lead to another war in the region.
It is because the U.S. is still busy with the controversial Iraq war and
thus does not want to jump into a new war with no convincing reasons."
INDIA: "Iran's Atomic Clock Ticks On"
An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan
Times judged (6/19): "It is
unfortunate that the IAEA, cheer-led by the United States, European Union and
other players, should have such a befuddled policy on Iran's atomic
ambitions.... Washington probably fears Iran might eventually go the way of
North Korea.... The disturbing fact is that these jitters aren't exaggerated.
For even if Iran signs a stricter verification protocol, as the IAEA insists,
it could still retain its weapons options. The IAEA doesn't have adequate
inspection tools to detect any undeclared parallel uranium enrichment plants in
Iran. Tehran knows this and it's unlikely to succumb to economic or military
pressure and give up its sensitive fuel cycle facilities. Perhaps a better idea
for the US and other countries would be to use a strategy of incentives and
disincentives to bring Iran into the world community, while reducing the risk
of Iran building atomic arms. Otherwise, the world had better be prepared to
hail the next nuclear weapons power."
"An Irate Iran"
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (6/17): "Regardless of whether the protestors in
Iran have smelt the boiling pot in Iraq and see American involvement in the
region--marked by Washington's 'warnings' to Tehran not to 'interfere' in
Iraq--the fact is that four years after their first attempt to bring about
their own 'regime change', Iranians want reforms. It doesn't help Mr. Khatami
if Washington openly sides with the protestors. In fact, it doesn't help the
protestors.... The winners will then
again be the very same hard-liners who continue to hold a muzzled nation to
PAKISTAN: "America On
Masud Akhtar Shaikh commented in the centrist national English-language
daily, The News (6/20):
"Having tasted the blood of thousands of innocent civilian Muslims,
first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq...the blood-thirsty military planners of
George Bush are now itching to create another opportunity for a massive
manslaughter in yet another Islamic country.
Their prospective victim happens to be Iran, a country whose rulers as
well as the masses have been bravely defying all attempts that Washington has
been making to subdue them ever since the fall of the Shah.... Mere suspicion by the American intelligence
agencies is good enough to justify the conquest of the country concerned by the
U.S.-led armed forces.... Presently, based on similarly misleading intelligence
data, Iran is being accused of close association with international terrorism
to prepare the ground for the projected U.S. attack against that
country.... The only deterrent that can
hold the American hand is the threat of nuclear retaliation. North Korea has already warned America in no
uncertain terms. If Iran can also reach
that stage before long, things will start moving in a different
"Americans Wish To See Change In Iran"
The sensationalist Karachi-based Urdu Ummat contended
(6/17): "Demonstrations in Iran are
continuing and America is projecting it and also trying to interfere in the
internal affairs of Iran by supporting these demonstrations. There are a number of people who are against
religious extremism in Iran. But we must
remember that President Khatami came into power after fighting the religious
extremists through the democratic process.
America is avoiding direct interference in Iran, but it is trying to
change the government by supporting the anti-government forces. The Bush
administration has started discussions on whether to make Iran the next target
or wait for change in Iran."
"Iran A Cause For Worry"
Karachi's independent English language Dawn
(Internet Version-6/16): "Signals emanating from Washington and Tehran in
recent days threaten to move Iran up in the list of the countries with which
the U.S. wants to settle scores....
Anti-clerical sentiment has never before been expressed this boldly, and
seems to echo the messages being broadcast by the U.S.-based pro-monarchy
channels beaming into Iran. With the
American forces deployed in Afghanistan in the east, Iraq in the west and the
Gulf in the south, Tehran is virtually surrounded by a very hostile America in
a belligerent mood.... The situation
has sparked fears about Iran's internal stability. Any destabilization of the Islamic republic
at this point, however, is likely to benefit the U.S. and Israel more than the
Iranians themselves, or the region as a whole.
It is therefore important that the EU and Russia play a more active role
in restraining the Americans from overtly or covertly trying to bring the
government in Tehran under pressure, either by inciting indigenous unrest or
through outright invasion."
ARGENTINA: "When Iran
Appears On Stage"
Claudio Uriarte opined in leftist Pagina 12 (6/15): "The U.S. invasion to Iraq is beginning
to bear fruit. For 5 consecutive nights,
students of the University of Tehran led mass protest rallies against Ali
Khamenei, Iran's religious leader and the real power behind President Khatami's
throne.... And here's where the U.S.
invasion to Iraq plays an important role....
This should act like a deterrent for the ayatollahs, domestically and
outside Iran. Or they may have the opposite effect instead, worsening,
radicalizing or leading the religious-political hierarchy--that is beginning to
feel cornered--to a rushed end. This is
a desired effect...but a very dangerous one, too. No one knows what the religious power will do
if it feels cornered. The Iranian army
is not as obsolete as the Iraqi army was.
Nor is Iran's economy as damaged by a decade of war and economic
sanctions. The different forces between
Iran's religious leaders have never been clear, but the underlying purpose of
reformers has always been questioned.
Under these circumstances, the possibility of a violent domestic
repression mustn't be overlooked.
Perhaps, it's the trump card that will precipitate the effects the
MEXICO: "On The Lookout For Iran "
Bruno Ferrari observed in independent El Norte (6/19):
"The new threat of a conflict with Iran seems to convert the Middle East
into a swamp where U.S. energy is sinking little by little in the midst of the
reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, coupled with the increasingly
Palestinian-Israeli situation, in
Syria's shadow and the possible volatility of Saudi Arabia and Egypt's
apparent stability. Unfortunately, we know that the end of terrorism is still
far, while corrupt and incompetent governments continue unpunished in that
CANADA: "Tough U.S. Stance Worries Europe"
Under the sub-heading, "Bush administration is making the
same noises it made before the coalition invaded Iraq," the middle
-of-the-road Victoria Times Colonist wrote (6/19): "For the moment,
the Americans seem content to encourage students in Iran, as Bush himself has
done, who have been holding nightly demonstrations against the mullahs in
Tehran for the past week.... The confrontational approach of the U.S. is making
Europeans uncomfortable.... British and other European governments have been
following a policy of engagement with reformists in the Iranian regime, and are
afraid the confrontational approach will jeopardize this approach.... It's
quite likely that for many in the world, the U.S. has cried 'wolf' once too
often....Unfortunately, the evidence in Iran is far more convincing than the
aerial maps and test tubes brandished by Powell at the Security Council before
the Iraq invasion. The IAEA reportedly has evidence that Iran has introduced
uranium hexaflouride gas into centrifuges to test its nuclear capability, in
clear violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We all must hope that
Iran listens to the good cop, before the bad cop takes out his gun -
"The Iranian Bomb"
Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le Devoir
(6/17): "The EU and Russia were quick to firmly support El Baradei's
demands.... They clearly indicated that if Iran did not come back to the fold, it could forget about
negotiating trade concessions....
Because Iran is a member of the IAEA's Council of Governors, the Bush
administration quickly dropped its planned resolution. That being said
everything leads to believe, Iran is intent on acquiring the nuclear threat.
There are many reasons for this...Two of its main enemies [Israel and Pakistan]
have nuclear weapons....Moreover, many high ranking officials in the regime of
the ayatollahs are convinced that if Iran joined the nuclear club, their number
one enemy, the Great American Satan, would act much more prudently towards
them. This latest episode shows why the non-proliferation treaty needs to be
updated and why the new version requires more firmness."
"Crackdown In Iran"
The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (6/17): "Bush regards Iran as an anti-American,
terror-friendly, nuclear-weapon-seeking 'axis of evil' state. He has knocked off regimes next door in
Afghanistan and Iraq, for similar attitudes.
And he is cheering on the protests as American-backed satellite TV
encourages more. This is a risky
strategy. It allows Khamenei to brand
all reformers as American saboteurs. If
Bush is bent on 'regime change,' Iranians may adopt a 1979-style revolutionary
stance and refuse to accept nuclear inspections and to shun terror. That said, Khamenei and his cronies are
yesterday's men.... Khamenei and the
Council of Guardians have the power to bar candidates from running for
parliament, and can strike down laws.
They can veto change. But they
cannot veto aspirations. While Iranians
enjoy more personal freedom today, the protests are a sign they want more. That yearning will not be bullied away."
JAMAICA: "Is Iran The
The moderate, influential Daily Gleaner held (6/19): "American conservatives could scarcely
contain their glee over the violent demonstrations in the Iranian capital this
week.... Washington's war party,
including Pentagon hawks, all along saw the Iraq invasion as a prelude to a
wider transformation of the Middle East.
By overthrowing the leading anti-American regime in the region, they
expected they could help tip the region's balance towards pro-Western reformist
groups.... American support is seen as
a kiss of death by many in Iran's opposition, who remain understandably
suspicious of American motives.... For
its part, the White House has its hands full with the Iraqi
occupation...proving more costly and complicated than the Pentagon hawks had
promised. A new Iranian revolution might
produce regime-change.... A more likely
outcome, at least for a time, would be civil war and a political vacuum. The latter would make it possible for
anti-American militants to find safe spaces in which to operate. An unstable Iran next to a volatile Iraq
filled with U.S. troops would have to qualify as an American nightmare
TANZANIA: "Iran Next On U.S. Hit
The English-language weekly Express
carried a news analysis by Evarist Kagaruki stating (6/19): "The United
States has, over the years, invested a lot of propaganda capital in fabricating
a lie that the Islamic Republic of Iran was ‘sponsoring terrorism’, and that it
was endangering the world peace and security by its ‘nuclear weapons
program’!... But even assuming the U.S. allegations were true, why pick Iran,
or Syria for that matter, after Iraq?...
And why, after all, should nuclear capability be ‘dangerous’ only when
it is acquired by Third World countries, particularly those which refused to be
remote-controlled by Washington, such as Iran, North Korea and Syria? The Bush administration is simply using the
‘nuclear weapons’ theory, and its most recent baseless claim that the regime in
Tehran was ‘providing sanctuary’ to some Al Qaeda associates, to pursue its
imperialistic designs on Iran.... It
should not be surprising if, in the days ahead, Washington assumes a more
hostile posture vis a vis Tehran, manifested by more provocative threats of
military intervention to bring about ‘regime change’ there. But, let Mr. Bush be reminded that Iran is not
Iraq or Afghanistan."
Casting First Stone
in the government owned New Vision asserted (6/18): "The International Atomic Energy Agency
has urged Iran to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NFT). This is a sound mandate that all nations are morally obliged to
respect. Iran, too, should heed the IAEA’s call as an NFT signatory by
permitting stricter UN inspections. Be that as it may, the otherwise legitimate
talks between the IAEA and Iran are being clouded by the United States’
antagonism in the background. In addition to adding its voice to the IAEA and
European Union foreign ministers, the United States is also supporting internal
unrest in Iran, making it appear that its interest lies well beyond the nuclear
programme. This is a problem. Coming hot on the heels of the campaign against
(yet-to-be-found) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the U.S.’s interest in
Iran looks suspicious. And then, of course, America has the world’s largest stockpile
of nuclear weapons and to-date remains the only country ever to have used
atomic weapons. This irony is not lost on the world. We should also not forget that in Iraq, the
U.S. and Britain all but pushed UN arms inspectors out to get the war underway.
This time, the IAEA should be left to do its job with no undue pressure from