June 22, 2004
IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM: TEHRAN 'IS TESTING THE
** 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
** 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
Politkom.ru website judged it "highly likely that Iran is meeting its
'Iran has nothing to hide'--
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."
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.
"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
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
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. "
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."
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."
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."
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
Vladimir Tuchkov wrote on independent
Politkom.ru 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."
"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."
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
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."
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 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
"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."
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
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."
"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.... Iran...is too rich to be bribed, too strong
to be invaded. Even in the absence of Iraq, the nuclear threat continues to
"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
"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."