International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

June 22, 2004

June 22, 2004





**  Conservative dailies say the UNSC "must not hesitate" to impose sanctions on Iran.


**  Liberal outlets urge the world to show Tehran that "nuclear abstinence is attractive."


**  Iranian dailies pledge their nation "will not be bullied" into giving up its nuclear program. 


**  Arab papers assail the U.S.' "confrontational stance."   




'Mistrust is justified'--  Rightist papers held that given Iran's "megalomaniac rhetoric" and "known ties to terrorist groups," the UNSC must impose economic sanctions if Iran does not end its "brazen nuclear bid."  Canada's National Post opined that the "threat of economic suffocation is likely to be the only language the mullahs understand," while Japan's Yomiuri supported sanctions because it is a "matter of urgency to prevent the proliferation of WMD."  Dailies urged a "firm, unified line against Iran's nuclear cheating"; Singapore's Straits Times termed it "crucial that Europe and the U.S. maintain a unified stand."    


'Diplomatic pressure is right and necessary'--  Euro outlets supported attempts to defuse the situation via diplomacy by offering Iran "lucrative trade opportunities" if it would "suspend nuclear activities and open up facilities to inspection."  Germany's business-oriented Handelsblatt noted Tehran should see that "stable economic development offers more chances than military confrontation."  A few observers cited the pact Iran signed with Paris, Berlin and London as proof of Tehran's "goodwill, intentions and transparency"; Russia's independent website judged it "highly likely that Iran is meeting its commitments."


'Iran has nothing to hide'--  Conservative Iranian papers blasted the IAEA's "excessive demands regarding" Iran's "peaceful nuclear activities."  Jomhuri-ye Eslami labeled the IAEA as "nothing more than a tool in the hands of evil powers."  Resalat alleged the "evil triangle of America, Israel and England" was exaggerating Iran's nuclear development as an "excuse to pursue expansionist goals."  Reformist dailies praised Europe's position as "softer than America's," but E'temad intimated that "the strategic alliance between Europe and America...has been re-established" due to Tehran's hard line. 


Let the IAEA act without the U.S. 'breathing down its neck'--  Reflecting widespread Arab distrust of the IAEA, the UAE's expatriate-oriented Khaleej Times concluded that the "U.S. has been leaning on the UN watchdog to act against Iran for quite a while."  Syria's government-owned Tishreen agreed that the IAEA's actions "cannot be understood...except as a result of huge American pressure."  These writers warned that if the IAEA does not deal with Iran impartially, apart from the U.S.' "own specific political agenda," its "effectiveness as an independent institution will be undermined."


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 27 reports from 13 countries over 13 - 22 June 2004.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




IRAN:   "Change The Playing Field And Shift The Position Of Your Eggs"


Parviz Esma'ili noted in conservative Javan (6/16):  "While the attitude of the three European countries as well as ElBaradei personally indicates a scheduled agenda and scenarios completely in harmony with the views of the special representatives of John Bolton to make excessive demands regarding the peaceful nuclear activities of our country and leave the case of our country unresolved for future misuses, it seems that the negotiators of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of our country in Vienna...have for the most part been negligent and, contrary to diplomatic customs, have not relied very much on their memory....  Those who were directly responsible for Iran's nuclear case in order to cover up their past optimism were cautiously and in a two-sided way giving signals that Iran's agreement with the three European countries in the Tehran meeting in practice has produced no positive gains for the country, and instead it has produced more gains for the main European players than they themselves expected....  Is what the three abovementioned countries gradually and under the heading of demands such as expanding the suspension or shutting down of certain projects are trying to impose on Iran different in nature from the strategic goals of the U.S. to disarm and prevent Iran from gaining effective nuclear knowledge?....  We should not overshadow the strategic interests of the country ahead of time for no reason and out of the fear of the UNSC with a crisis that has not occurred....  The Iranian people will not accept such an insult and shut their eyes to a domestic peaceful and valuable technology and wait for the kindness of foreigners....  Why instead of absolute defense do we not experiment with a new activity and not create a new field?   If we place in the hands of others what we have gained with a great deal of effort and hard work on the part of the children of this nation, will we not be accountable to the national conscience and the future generations tomorrow?   We need to be courageous and fearless while being wise and having foresight."


"U.S.-EU Strategic Union?"


The pro-Khatami English-language Iran News editorialized (6/15):  "The 35-member IAEA Board of Governors is once again meeting behind closed doors in Vienna to discuss Iran's nuclear program.  Among other things, the board will consider a strongly-worded resolution proposed by the EU big three. Heretofore, analysts had expected Britain, France and Germany to attempt to reduce tensions between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog. But as things stand today, the draft resolution includes a harsh condemnation of Iran's behavior on the atomic issue.  The U.S. is alleging that the Islamic Republic is covertly working on an atomic bomb. However, Iran has always maintained that its nuclear program is benign and constituted for peaceful energy-supply and electricity production purposes. It is notable that Tehran is a signatory to the NPT and its Additional Protocol allowing international inspectors to regularly and routinely visit Iran's nuclear facilities.  Another sign that testifies to Iran's goodwill, intentions and transparency on this issue is the nuclear pact signed with London, Berlin and Paris as well as agreeing to a temporary suspension of its uranium enrichment. But the reality is the more Iran has acquiesced and cooperated, the stronger has international pressures and demands become....  The EU and the U.S. are two sides of the same coin when it comes to this issue....  There is now a sense in the air that the West has mustered a new and unified political will regarding Tehran's purported nuclear program. Is this the start of a new strategic union between Washington and the ultimate European club for a common approach and policy on the Middle East?  How else are the pundits to interpret the signals coming out of Brussels and other European capitals....  It is plausible that Tehran may have been tardy in providing information to the agency in a transparent and proactive manner. Nevertheless, it is also undeniable that the U.S. has had an agenda all along when it comes to Iran. In conclusion, even though the country should brace itself for a rough and highly critical resolution by the IAEA, nonetheless, commentators anticipate that the agency would act independently and not send Iran's nuclear file to the UNSC."


"The Occupiers And Shifting The Focus Of Crisis"


Extremely conservative, pro-Khomeini Jomhuri-ye Eslami judged (6/15):  "By reading a report that was cooked up and compiled on his behalf and in his name by the Americans, Mohamad El Baradei lost what was left of the global reputation and prestige of the IAEA and proved that the agency is nothing more than a tool in the hands of evil powers for the purpose of advancing their malicious goals and evil objectives around the world....  Whatever America, Britain and the IAEA had spun about Iraq was utter lies and fabrications, and not a grain of truth was in it.   Currently, El Baradei and the IAEA, in order to play a similar scenario regarding Iran, have resorted to the same lies and trite stratagems and are helping international charlatans and global bandits....  The occupiers of Iraq are realizing with growing bitterness and dismay that despite all their crimes, brutalities, and illegal and inhuman actions in Iraq, they have not achieved any of their goals....  People everywhere are vehemently despising them for their inhuman and coercive behavior and bullying and arrogant treatment of other people, and at every possible opportunity they display their fury and indignation versus America's warmongering policies and inhumane actions.  In such circumstances, the architects of America's foreign policy...are trying to shift the focus of crisis from Iraq to Iran....  America and Britain have proved their blatant and unabashed hostility throughout this past quarter of century, the same way they were doing during the bleak years of colonialism and imperialism, constantly showing they have been and shall be the deadly enemy of our nation, revolution and Islam....  This is also a great lesson for the friends and foes of Islam, revolution, and Iran that the eternal truth and tradition of history that is unchangeable and unavoidable, which we shall certainly witness once more, is that right prevails over wrong, and good over evil."


"Differences Between Two Meetings"


Farshad Mahmudi stated in reformist Sharq (6/14):  "A meeting of the Governing Board of the IAEA will start in Vienna this morning....  Political developments have brought about a new climate over Iran's nuclear activities....  The agency's numerous questions put to Iran have now been reduced to just two. Although it may be a hopeful sign in quantitative terms, the form in which the issue has been framed is such that one would perceive that, if what Tehran has described as 'agency's scruple' were to continue, Iran's nuclear file would remain open in its present form for at least another four months. The first question concerns the sources of 36-percent contamination....  According to Iranian diplomats, the source of the contamination has certainly been imported parts....  The other point concerns numerous number of magnets purchased by Iran--something that has turned into a question on the part of the agency. The magnates...could, from the agency's point of view, indicate an extensive nuclear program being carried out.  Another difference between this round and the earlier session is a draft resolution being presented by three European countries. France, Britain and Germany, who, in the previous meeting of the governing board, openly took a position against America's wishes to take the case to the UNSC, have this time...issued a statement in which Iran has been urged to end its activities in the Arak installations. This is the first time that the Europeans use the terms halting and ending, something that has aroused Iran's reaction....  Under the agency's regulations there is no reason for their activities being halted....  The main challenge facing the representatives in the governing board this round is Europe's insistence on the statement being approved and Tehran's request for critical remarks being omitted....  The Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council had, after draft of the El Baradei's report had been released to the governing board, stated that in technical terms the report contains nothing new and that in Tehran's view the case is closed."


"Iran And World Community Facing A Dossier; What Will Be The IAEA Decision?"


Esma'il Abdollahi asked in reformist E'temad (6/13):  "The statement of the leaders of the G-8 group last Wednesday [09 June] generated the apprehension in Iran that the Europeans have abandoned this country and, as mentioned by senior Iranian officials,Europe and America have reached an agreement for stopping Iran's nuclear programme....  The statement...forced some Iranian officials to call for certain changes in the draft resolution in order to prevent a confrontation between Iran and the IAEA....  Some Western diplomats have taken the warnings seriously and believe that although the moderate Iranian officials still defend the European stance, there are those who are waiting for such an opportunity to accuse Europe of deceiving Iran and failing to adhere to their promises. From the point of view of some Iranian officials,although the statement of the three European countries is sufficiently strongly worded,it is softer than America's stance when it openly accuses Iran of trying to produce nuclear weapons.  At the same time,Tehran is counting on the Europeans for not referring Iran's nuclear case to the UNSC and any possible sanctions....  America's proposed resolution has been drafted in such a way that it both maintains America's interests and demands and avoids provoking Iran and strongly condemning the country....  Contrary to the past, Iran can no longer convince the Europeans and the member states of the non-aligned movement for their support....  The strategic alliance between Europe and America with respect to Middle Eastern issues has been re-established.  Meanwhile,some political experts believe that the principal threat to Iran and its nuclear programme is posed by Europe rather than America. From their point of view,although America always accuses Iran of trying to produce nuclear weapons,it has never called for Iran's nuclear programmes to be stopped....  Iran's nuclear programme is a test for the new European foreign policy and will demonstrate the success or otherwise of the Europeans' independent determination."


"Iran's Nuclear Activities And The Global Powers"


Conservative Resalat editorialized (6/13):  "The leaders of the G-8 countries expressed concern about Iran's nuclear activities in the statement they issued....  The Americans were insinuating in these meetings that Iran is secretly producing nuclear weapons!  The fact that the eight industrial nations of the world, which are sitting on stockpiles of nuclear weapons, have become concerned about the nuclear activities of a country that has the clearest and most transparent scientific report card in the nuclear field is truly amazing. The world knows that, based on ideological issues, Iran will not work toward producing and proliferating atomic weapons....  Iran has nothing to hide....  The spreading lies and the exaggeration of Iran's nuclear issues by the evil triangle of America, Israel, and England, in spite of Iran's true nuclear activities, represent a way to find an excuse to pursue expansionist goals and seek concessions.  The voluntary suspension of enrichment in order to stop the hostile American propaganda, on one hand, and pursuing the policy of freeing the Middle East of WMD as the most fundamental strategic policy of the Islamic Republic has made the people of the world understand that Iran is only thinking about peaceful objectives of nuclear research.  Dual and biased behavior by the evil triangle toward Iran's nuclear activities has created this image in world public opinion that the Americans and their evil allies seek adventurism....  Our global rivals do not want us to conquer the summits of science in the atomic fields, one after another. They want us to remain ignorant, rather than wise....  The Islamic Republic of Iran is intelligently advancing its nuclear research project and, while clarifying things, will not be bullied by anyone."




BRITAIN:  "Why The World's Eyes Should Be On Iran's Nuclear Program"


Anton la Guardia commented in the conservative Daily Telegraph (6/14):  "If Teheran gives up its nuclear weapons aspirations permanently and submits to rigid international controls, it should be assured of technical assistance for developing nuclear power to generate electricity.  Teheran could also be given a guarantee that it will not be attacked by the U.S. "


GERMANY:  "Nuclear Plans"


V. Sadrzadeh commented on regional radio station Hessischer Rundfunk of Frankfurt (6/18):  "It is remarkable that France, Britain and Germany now of all times express their concern even though they always try to establish good relations with Iran.  It were the foreign ministers of these three countries that only made possible the UN inspections with a spectacular joint trip to Tehran last year.  But now Europe obviously feels forced to continue to act diplomatically before it is too late, or, to put it more briefly: before the United States enters the stage to resolve the problem according to the U.S. 'style.'  In my opinion, this diplomatic pressure is right and necessary and in the interest of Europe, Iran and, if you 'd like, in the interest of the whole world."


"Iran, Enriched"


Gero von Randow concluded in center-left weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (6/17):  "U.S. representatives in Vienna leave it up to the EU-3 to take the initiative. They don't insist on a deadline for Tehran to clear up the nuclear program.  If there were such an ultimatum, IAEA Director El Baradei would have to decide on a fixed date and based on the reports by his inspectors whether to move the case in front of the UNSC.  But why should it be there? Russians will never agree to sanction Iran, because it would bust their nuclear deal with Tehran.  The UN is therefore sidelined from the start.  As a result, we stick to the current procedure of inspections, fibs, new inspections and new fibs.  At least, this got us somewhere."


"Renunciation Will Pay Off"


Thomas Wiede held in business-oriented Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (6/16):  "It looks like Washington is lacking pragmatism and foresight:  You cannot pacify this explosive region without Iran!  It should therefore be incorporated in a comprehensive strategy.  Teheran is not only an important factor because of its close relations to Iraqi Shiites, but the country opened a dialogue with other Arab countries.  The Islamic Republic has been changing its foreign policy for the last ten years towards more cooperation with its neighbors, e.g. it would like to become a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)...that seeks closer relations with NATO.  But the U.S. wants to block this idea.  Washington's condition for cooperation between the GCC countries and NATO are crystal-clear:  No Persians.  Americans who want to democratize the region--if necessary at gunpoint--obviously don't realize that a civil society has come into being in Iran over the recent years, not in Saudi Arabia or Egypt....  However, the clear defeat of reformers at the recent parliamentary elections in Iran showed that these democratic elements are fragile.  The international community must give Iran a piece of its mind, because of that and the controversial nuclear issue.  This is particularly true for Europeans, Iran's most important investors.  At the same time, Europeans and Americans should use the opportunity to make clear to Iran that nuclear abstinence is attractive:  A stable economic development offers more chances than military confrontation.  The more Iran is integrated into the economic and political order of the region, the less should the desire for the bomb be."


"Nuclear Conflict"


Manfred Pantfoerder maintained in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (6/15):  "There is trouble ahead in the nuclear conflict with the Mullah regime.  Even IAEA Director Al-Baradei seems to get impatient with Teheran....  This mistrust is justified, because Teheran has clearly released false reports.  Contrary to former statements, it now admitted that it had imported parts of a centrifuge.  Teheran is demanding in letter to keep working the nuclear program, but the peaceful character of the program is not quite clear.  The international community cannot accept that.  Teheran's insistence on building a heavy-water reactor is disturbing, because it would give the Islamic Republic the option to produce plutonium.  If Iran does not keep its promise of transparency, the UN Security Council must decide on imposing sanctions."


"Iran Conflict"


Rudolph Chimelli observed in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (6/14):  "On the one hand Iranians made inspections easier over the last months, on the other side they could not clear up the U.S. suspicion that at least two Iranian plants produced enriched uranium....  Since Israelis, Pakistanis, Russians and Indians possess nuclear arsenals, Iranians are also striving for the theoretical foundations of a modern nuclear industry.  Russians support them by cooperating on a technical and diplomatic level.  The European priority is to avert a collision with the U.S., because Washington will not stop threatening to impose sanctions.  We won't see a decision at the moment, because everybody is playing for time."


RUSSIA:  "Observers Expect Candor"


Vladimir Tuchkov wrote on independent website (6/16):  "Three months on, the IAEA Board of Governors has reconvened and is again discussing the Iranian nuclear problem.  But this time the scenario is somewhat different.  Whereas in spring the U.S. effrontery concerning the immediate handover of the Iranian dossier to the UNSC was ignored, this time one can sincerely feel sorry for IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, who is trying to distance himself from political methods of tackling the issue.  Here is evidence of a man hovering all the time between the duty of an impartial expert and the obligation to save mankind for the intrigues of the axis of evil....  This nervousness was induced at the G8 summit on Sea Island, where the event's host was able to give the European leaders the idea that Tehran is dragging its feet and it is time it stopped....  So on this occasion, in Vienna, the British, German, and French representatives proposed a resolution criticizing Tehran for insufficient openness in connection with its nuclear programs and for delaying ratification of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty....  But the situation is certainly no worse and perhaps actually better than it was in March....  IAEA experts are gradually unraveling the Iranian puzzle.  They are not being driven out of the country, indeed people are cooperating with them.  It is highly likely that Iran is meeting its commitments....  But the EU, which offered Tehran many inducements to sign the additional protocol and to cooperate with the IAEA is not meeting its commitments.  Indeed it has also started exerting psychological pressure.  That is what infuriated all Iranian forces.  But this wrangle will probably end in a neutral resolution too.  Everyone can see that no UNSC is going to solve the problem....  It is necessary to cooperate with Iran while keeping it on as lead, albeit not a very short one." 




ISRAEL:  "Iran Can't Be Ignored"


Orthodox, right-wing weekly Hamodia demanded (6/18):  "Now that Washington has egg on its face over not finding WMD in Iraq, it will be even more reluctant to lead a coalition to invade Iran.  But the evidence that Iran is moving quickly toward becoming a nuclear power is compelling. Even the UN's own IAEA, whose delegates met this week in Vienna, acknowledges that the threat is very, very real.  The IAEA didn't start out convinced that Iran was trying to build a bomb....  But in 2002, an Iranian resistance group revealed the existence of several secret nuclear facilities....  Reflecting just how serious the threat is, even France took action, dispatching its foreign minister together with those of England and Germany to Tehran last October to investigate. The representatives of the EU-3, as they became known, made Iran an offer it couldn't refuse: lucrative trade opportunities in exchange for agreement to suspend nuclear activities and open up facilities to inspection.  At that point, it looked as if the EU-3 had succeeded in defusing the situation via diplomacy. However, when Libya's Al-Qadhafi revealed his nuclear secrets, including designs for an advanced centrifuge known as the P2, the West realized that Iran must have gotten the same plans....  What's more, Iran wasn't living up to its pledge to fully cooperate with outside inspection efforts....  Furthermore, Iran makes a joke of the concept of spot visits, postponing inspections by up to a month and giving itself time to get rid of incriminating evidence....  To its credit, the IAEA was not bowing to pressure....  But for all its toughness, it falls short of threatening UN sanctions....  Careful consideration must be given to military options aimed at sparing the world the frightening prospect of a nuclear Iran. This doesn't necessarily mean a huge campaign on the scale of Operation Iraqi Freedom; after all, here the goal isn't to change the regime, but to end the nuclear threat. Perhaps what is needed is the kind of pinpoint operation Israel launched against Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981.  What's clear is that the West cannot afford to ignore the Iranian nuclear posturing. It must urgently pursue the diplomatic route and if that fails, it must do whatever is necessary to, with G-d's help, eliminate the threat."


"Sanction Iran"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/14):  "Whether it says so in so many words, the IAEA has succeeded in proving that Iran is bent on enriching nuclear fuel in a way that points in only one direction: nuclear weapons....  Iran is arguably more susceptible to...sanctions than was Libya.  The Iranian economy is considerably larger, more advanced, and more dependent on the West than is Libya's.  In Europe, Iranian diplomats are not used to being treated as pariahs.  The Iranian people, while it may support the quest for the bomb, is likely to blame a government that it hates for any further hardships imposed by the international community.  To some, standing up to Iran's brazen nuclear bid will be seen as starting another war.  It is the opposite.   It is not too late to attempt, by economic means alone, forcing Iran to go the way of Libya and getting out of the nuclear and terrorism business.  The longer Europe and the U.S. wait to act, the more the options will become limited to living with Iran as a terrorist base with a nuclear umbrella, or taking military action."


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Learn A Lesson"


Ahmed Rabhi wrote in London-based Arabic-language pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat (6/15):  "Tehran should learn a lesson from the demise of the fallen Iraqi regime and stop escalating its megalomaniacal rhetoric against the international community and its neighbors, because the Iranians need bread and dignity foremost....  Five issues are presently aggravating Iran's relations with the world.  Most importantly, Tehran is not cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which accuses Iran of hiding information on uranium enrichment.  While London has been helping in easing U.S. pressure on Iran, this favor was returned by aggressive demonstrations against the British Embassy in Tehran, something usually orchestrated by Iranian authorities....  Iran has also been interfering in Kuwaiti affairs, trying to support opposition groups and interfering in post-war Iraq, helping the infiltration of anti-American elements through the Iran-Iraq borders.  Lastly, Tehran has created a crisis with Dubai and Doha over a fishing boat even though these two Arab capitals are on good terms with Iran.  Tehran should not belittle the international community and act like a super power, throwing its weight around in the region, because it may pay the price dearly."


"Coming Clean" 


The English-language pro-government Saudi Gazette opined (6/14):  "The current U.S.-led campaign to get Iran to come clean about its nuclear weapons program exemplifies why American policy initiatives in the Mideast are frequently viewed with mistrust and irritation....  Enriched uranium is a necessary ingredient for making nuclear bombs. El Baradei says Iran's way of engaging us on this issue has been less than satisfactory. He also said he and his inspectors were unsure how far the Iranian nuclear program went....  The Iranians are predictably less than happy about this state of affairs. The Iranian Foreign Minister, Kamal Kharrazi, says Iran has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club and that his country's nuclear activities are purely peaceful and aimed solely at generating electricity. He indicated that if the IAEA continues to make unsubstantiated claims Iran will refuse to sign up to a UN protocol that allows unannounced inspections of nuclear facilities.  El Baradei is playing a dangerous game. The credibility of any international institution is its impartiality. He has admitted there is no clear proof to back up Washington's claims that Iran is trying to manufacture nuclear weapons.  Despite this he has called on Tehran to be more transparent and proactive.  To many observers this is beginning to look like double standard.  The IAEA, so vocal on the Iranian front, is strangely quiet about Israel's nuclear weapons program.....  India also has a nuclear weapons program as does Pakistan, both presently in the Bush administration's good books.  If Washington uses the IAEA as a means to promote its own specific political agenda then its effectiveness as an independent institution will be undermined. President Putin has already said that Russia will continue to sell nuclear technology to Iran. What does the IAEA have to say about that?"


JORDAN:  "Dealing With The Threat"


The elite English-language Jordan Times held (6/17):  "It appears that Tehran is heading for a showdown over its nuclear programme not only with the U.S. but also with other Western countries notably Britain, France and Germany. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna is also joining the fray for openly being critical of Iran's alleged failure to come clean on its current nuclear programmes. IAEA is already on record as unsatisfied with the degree of cooperation the Iranian authorities are extending to it. The suspicions over Iran's nuclear activities grew stronger when it was found that Iran is hiding sensitive nuclear activities....  IAEA inspectors also found traces of contamination by highly enriched uranium at three sites in Iran. The 35-member board of governors of the UN watchdog in Vienna is expected to take appropriate decisions on these matters.  This said, the international community must deal with the fact that there are not only immediate shortcomings in Iran but also that it is rather likely that it will become a nuclear power sooner or later. Instead of concentrating only on how to abort the current Iranian activities in the nuclear field, the UN must also prepare itself for the apparently inescapable fact that Iran will be member of the nuclear bomb club.  There are other countries that have developed or acquired nuclear arsenals, including North Korea, Israel, Pakistan and India....  It may not be the end of the world if Iran also became a nuclear power, provided it becomes bound by a set of rules and obligations to prevent the deployment of its nuclear weapons.  Admittedly, the nuclear genie has escaped from the bottle and there is no turning back. The international community must therefore adopt the necessary policies and practices to bring all nuclear powers under the umbrella of an international treaty that is binding and strict.  Iran must be required to become subject to a new international regime on nuclear weapons. Otherwise, it should face stiff and crippling sanctions. Countries that may become threatened by the new Iranian nuclear power must also be provided with ironclad security protection. This could be the only remaining sane and practical way to deal with an eventual Iranian nuclear threat."


LEBANON:  "When The World's Nuclear Watchdog Gets It Wrong On Iran, Watch The U.S."


The moderate English-language Daily Star editorialized (6/18):  "What happens when a UN organization gets it wrong? When the error is as significant as the IAEA's June report that Iran withheld information on its nuclear programs, the implications can be serious.  Iran has been under pressure for years over allegations--mostly from the U.S. and Israel--that it has been developing nuclear weapons under the cloak of a nuclear energy program. It has recently been criticized by the IAEA and the U.S. for its programs and for its alleged non-cooperation with IAEA fact-finding missions. Thus, when the IAEA admitted Thursday that Tehran had indeed informed it about the importation of magnets for advanced centrifuges capable of producing weapons-grade uranium, the case of those pointing an accusing finger is weakened.  Even as Iran's reformers struggled with policies that would have seen the gulf between Washington and Tehran dramatically reduced, U.S. hostility has continued unabated. More than this, however, is what such an event as the IAEA 'error' on Iran's cooperation implies for the region as a whole. It does not augur well. Iran's stand on its nuclear programs has not been taken seriously--just as the aspirations of other states and peoples in the Middle East have not been taken seriously....  As in all matters of its Middle East policy, Washington has choices to make: Will it continue its confrontational stance, bulldozing through the region as it sees fit? Or will it take a more conciliatory stance that takes into consideration regional realities and sensibilities?  While the U.S. continues to provide unabated support for the nuclear-armed imperial state that is Israel while constantly battering Iran over its nuclear energy programs, the signs are that belligerence will remain the order of the day."


SYRIA:  "Mounting American Pressure"


Government-owned Tishreen asserted (6/16):  "The Iranian government went far in its cooperation with the IAEA and clearly dealt in a transparent manner with both the agency's inspectors and the European countries that promised Tehran in February to close its nuclear file based on its good cooperation, as the international agency itself said in many statements. The strong criticism that the agency has recently leveled against Tehran, and the 'causes of concern' that it has expressed, cannot be understood, therefore, except as a result of huge American pressure."


UAE:  "Living Dangerously"


The expatriate-oriented English-language Khaleej Times declared (6/14):  "The nuclear row involving Iran is becoming complicated by the day. While Teheran has stuck to its guns insisting its nuclear activities are completely peaceful, the other camp led by the Big Three of Europe--Britain, Germany and France--and backed by the U.S. is far from satisfied with the explanation....  Talking tough, Teheran has defended its right to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes urging the IAEA to resist US pressure....  Britain, France and Germany last week moved the draft resolution to the IAEA apparently under U.S. pressure. Now, Iran not only wants suitable changes in the resolution, but it also wants the world to recognize it as a nuclear-capable nation. Teheran has also vowed it will not accept any more curbs on its nuclear program.  What inspires this sudden belligerence on Iran's part? It is particularly perplexing when viewed with the seriousness with which the IAEA, Europe and America are pursuing the case against Teheran. The US, which has already moved in Iran's neighborhood in Iraq, has never kept its impatience with Teheran a secret. In fact, the US has always been against the UN inspections but advocated 'action' against Iran for pursuing nuclear weapons program. Europe's Big Three, on the other hand, have favored 'engaging' Teheran and even promised technical help for Iran's nuclear power if it cooperated with the IAEA.  However, with the new resolution, key players of this drama seem to have reached where they began. There is little hope this crisis is going to be resolved in near future. Teheran must know that it is in dangerous territory. Unlike North Korea, it cannot hope to score nuclear brownie points over the West. For one, Iran does not have nuclear arms as yet. For another, the US, which has been long looking for an excuse to settle scores with Iran, may not hesitate when an opportunity presents itself. Iran must make every effort not to offer that opportunity to the US or its protégé Israel.  The IAEA and European leaders, for their part, must not abandon their efforts to resolve this issue before it turns into yet another dangerous confrontation a la Iraq. When Iran alleges Washington's pressure behind the IAEA moves against the country, it is not far off the mark. The US has been leaning on the UN watchdog to act against Iran for quite a while. It would be in everyone's interests if the IAEA is allowed to function and deal with Iran independently without having the U.S. breathing down its neck."




JAPAN:  "Moment Of Truth For Iran, IAEA"


The independent, liberal English-language Japan Times opined (6/22):  "Doubts surrounding Iran's nuclear-energy program continue to mount. Last week, the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted a resolution condemning Iran's failure to come clean about its nuclear plans and urging greater cooperation with the nuclear watchdog. The next steps are vitally important for the future of the nuclear nonproliferation regime: The failure to challenge Tehran's continuing defiance could prove to be a last, fatal blow to the credibility of the IAEA.  Iran has long been accused of harboring nuclear-weapons ambitions. It insists that it is only interested in developing nuclear energy....  In November, the IAEA board concluded that there was no evidence of a nuclear-weapons program, but condemned Iran for covering up parts of the nuclear program....  In recent days, reports of suspicious activity at a military site--the destruction of buildings and the removal of topsoil--have intensified concern.  Faced with all these questions, even Iran's friends are increasing pressure. France, Britain and Germany, the brokers of the deal last fall, introduced the resolution to the IAEA board last week....  Tehran responded by threatening to end its voluntary suspension of enrichment activities, although it said that it would continue to work with the IAEA and would not withdraw from the NPT. Moreover, it charged that the IAEA was at fault....  Clarity and certainty are desperately needed. The global nuclear nonproliferation regime is hanging by a thread. North Korea has plainly decided that its signature on the NPT is no bar to developing a nuclear-weapons program....  Another IAEA failure to check proliferation--and in a case that occurred right under its very nose--would be a death blow to the agency and the NPT. But the truth is that the IAEA--like every international organization--is only as effective as its members want it to be. If Iran continues to flout its obligation to provide complete and clear information, and the IAEA board (and subsequently the UNSC) refuses to act, then the fault lies as much in the governments that fail to punish noncompliance as it does the cheater. If they believe that nuclear proliferation is a threat, then they must make every effort to strengthen the nonproliferation regime and ensure that violations are punished."


"Iran Has Itself To Blame For IAEA Censure"


Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri declared (6/20):  "While asserting that its nuclear program is meant for peaceful uses, Iran has revealed its mendacity time and again, making the international community ever more skeptical about the true purpose of the country's nuclear program.  After days of diplomatic maneuvering over how to deal with Iran's secret nuclear development program, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors on Friday adopted a resolution sharply rebuking Iran for not fully cooperating with the IAEA. Issuing the censure motion was the obvious course of action for the UN nuclear watchdog to take....  As the resolution pointed out, Iran should volunteer more evidence as soon as possible to support its claim that it is not producing HEU. If it fails to do so, its claims will not be believed....  It is only natural for the international community to doubt Iran's word....  Referring to Iran's tardiness in disclosing information about its nuclear program and its unconvincing explanations about the HEU, the resolution said...Tehran's stance has undermined the trust of the international community.  Last year, Iran, at the urging of Britain, Germany and France, suspended its uranium enrichment research and signed an additional protocol allowing the IAEA to conduct snap nuclear inspections in the country. But some hard-liners in the country have said there is no need to ratify the protocol quickly.  Iran should not misjudge the mood of international community concerning nuclear issues. As was recognized at the recent G-8 summit meeting, it is a matter of urgency to prevent the proliferation of WMD, including nuclear missiles."


SINGAPORE:  "Iran Must Comply" 


The pro-government Straits Times concluded (6/16):  "In his 2002 State of the Union address, United States President George W. Bush lumped three countries into an 'axis of evil'--Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Saddam Hussein's Iraq, it turned out, was a toothless ogre, for it did not have weapons of mass destruction  (WMD). North Korea, however, admitted it had nuclear bombs and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and credible evidence emerged of Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Bush administration chose diplomacy to resolve both these challenges and, in the case of Iran at least, the approach seemed to succeed....  With Osama bin Laden declaring acquiring nuclear weapons as a 'religious duty', the world cannot afford states like Iran, with known ties to terrorist groups, to get their hands on illicit weapons. The UNSC failed to enforce its anti-proliferation resolutions in the 1990s, and it should not do so again. At US urging, the council passed a resolution recently to criminalize the transfer of illicit weapons technology, and it needs to follow this up by formally taking note of Iran's failure to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors. If it becomes necessary to impose sanctions on Teheran to ensure its compliance, the world body must not hesitate to do so. Two of the three European countries taking the lead in negotiations with Tehran--Germany and France--opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, arguing diplomatic means should be exhausted before force was used to prevent the spread of WMD. Where Iran is concerned, the US agrees. But if diplomacy is to work, it must be persistent and be backed with the full weight of the UN. On this issue, it is crucial that Europe and the US maintain a unified stand."




CANADA:  "Iran's Threat Grows"


The centrist Winnipeg Free Press declared (6/17):  "The IAEA this week issued a damning report about Iran's nuclear weapons program....  The problem of Iran has yet to come before the UNSC, but a report from the atomic agency is expected to be given to the council in September, a report that will condemn Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons in flagrant violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, to which it is a signatory. That would allow the UN to impose sanctions against Iran, although these previously failed in Iraq and in North Korea, the other two members of the axis of evil denounced by U.S. President George Bush. Although no WMD have been found in Iraq, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein had used chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing the acquisition of nuclear weapons.  There is little doubt that, had he not been deposed, his quest for WMDs would have continued....  Sanctions did not deter Iraq; it took an invasion to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and no one now has the stomach or the means to enforce the world's will on Iran.... too rich to be bribed, too strong to be invaded. Even in the absence of Iraq, the nuclear threat continues to grow."


"Iran's Nuclear Ambitions"


The leading Globe and Mail opined (6/16):  "A Middle Eastern country hostile to the West flirts with building WMD. The UN tells it to stop, but does little to enforce its edicts. The U.S. pushes for a harder line, warning of growing danger if the country's authoritarian regime obtains nuclear capability. Sound familiar? Like Iraq before it, Iran is testing the international will by dabbling in the black art of nuclear-weapons making and defying all attempts to make it stop.  Iran's ruling mullahs are gambling that the experience with Iraq--a controversial war, a bloody aftermath, no WMDs found--will make outside powers back away from another similar confrontation. But backing away is the last thing the international community should do....  Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran's militant anti-Western theocracy would be a dire threat to the stability of the Middle East and the whole world.  Preventing it will mean putting the divisions over Iraq in the past and taking a firm, unified line against Iran's nuclear cheating."


"Atoms For War"


The conservative National Post observed (6/15):  "It is time for the IAEA and the UN to start treating Iran's threat seriously. A nuclear bomb in the hands of Tehran's theocrats would alter the geopolitical map of the Middle East. It would endanger Western allies and imperil future prospects for peace in the region. At its meetings this week, the IAEA should pass a resolution establishing a deadline for Iran to come clean and co-operate fully with IAEA inspectors. If Iran refuses, the matter should be referred to the UNSC in order that sanctions can be adopted, a step Washington has long sought. The threat of economic suffocation is likely to be the only language the mullahs understand, and the only chance we have at averting a more serious conflict."



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