International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 10, 2004

August 10, 2004





** Bush critics wonder if Iran is a military target or merely an electoral "whipping boy."


** European dailies fear confrontation if "harsh sanctions" cannot deter Iran's nuclear ambitions.


** Turkish writers see possible U.S./Europe split over Turkey/Iran energy talks.




'Expansion to Iran'-- Vociferous Bush administration critics asserted that the U.S. is "looking for an excuse to attack Iran" and has made "little secret of its desire to target Iran next."  Indian outlets postulated that the president "already had a blueprint of his action in Iran" that would ultimately make it "subservient to U.S. interests."  Pakistan's Nawa-e-Waqt envisioned America taking action against Iran "to protect Israel."  Others focused on rhetorical, rather than military attacks against Tehran.  Both mainland and Taiwan Chinese outlets cited administration statements as evidence that the president will use Iran's nuclear ambitions to "extricate himself" from "awkward" questions about pre-9/11 and pre-Iraq intelligence.  Canada's tabloid Ottawa Sun foresaw a pre-election Iran crisis intended to "distract" public and media attention from the Iraq "fiasco."  Muslim dailies similarly claimed that Bush needs to find "a new replacement" to shield his reputation from "an embarrassing defeat." 


'Confrontation ahead'-- Western outlets stressed that the possibility that Tehran has "something to hide" is "highly disturbing."  Germany's leftist die tageszeitung worried about "devastating consequences" should Tehran continue to pursue its nuclear program, suggesting if Iran succeeded in producing nuclear weapons, "the Islamists, intoxicated with their untouchable power, [would] resume the idea of exporting the Islamic revolution."  Canada's conservative National Post encouraged "ostracizing Iran" in the international arena to force the mullahs through peaceful means to "reconsider their rash actions."  Some observers, such as leftist Berliner Zeitung argued Iran has the "right to use nuclear energy for civilian purposes."  Arabic Abu Dhabi TV uncritically quoted Iranian political analyst Amir al-Musawi: "Nuclear weapons are not one of the Iranian leadership's goals... past or present." 


'Iran's gate to the western world'-- With economic sanctions looming should Tehran balk at IAEA controls, commentary in the Turkish press on Turkish/Iranian gas talks focused on Western concerns that a deal could have global security implications.  Influential Yeni Safak worried that "Iran’s request to sell gas to Europe through Turkey" would cause "political worries" for Istanbul because of existing U.S. sanctions on Iran.  Turkish sources cited U.S. unease over "possible Iran/Turkey energy agreements."  Observers saw the sanctions issue as creating more divisions between the U.S. and Europe, as European businesses want to diversify oil suppliers.  One outlet predicted that "European countries will get the Iranian gas somehow."  Due to its "important business interests in Iran," Western Europe will not want "to see war in Iran, or even sanctions.  It is believed that this point will create some barriers for the U.S."


EDITOR: Saxon Housman


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.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  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 29 reports from 13 countries ranging from July 20 to August 10, 2004.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date. 





BRITAIN: "Iran At The Brink"


Left-of-center Guardian declared (7/30):  "The Bush administration has made little secret of its desire to target Iran next, by fermenting the reformist opposition, a prospect which democrats in Iran must dread.  The big question is how far Tehran will go.  Will it feel emboldened by the fact that Washington has rid it of its two worst regional enemies in Saddam and the Taliban, and pursue a bomb as the only effective insurance policy against regime change, or will it draw back from the brink?"


GERMANY: "Sobering"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger judged in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (8/2):  "Iran by no means thinks about abolishing its nuclear program, does not feel bound by any promise and rejects offers for cooperation in an arrogant-high-handed way.  This case also shows one thing:  In the dispute over the methods on how to urge a regime like the Iranian, the Iraqi (under Saddam) or the Sudanese to change its behavior and to pursue a policy that bans mass murder, despotism and the striving for WMD, there is no middle way.  America and Great Britain applied their method of military intervention in Iraq, but even if we do not have a pessimistic judgment on the long-term effects, the advocates of regime change will not argue that the affair is a full success....  Iran, Iraq, and Sudan, these examples are rather sobering.  Goodnaturedness is a dangerous illusion.  Intervention remains risky even if it comes along as realpolitik or idealism.  What remains?  A combination of toughness and stimulus?"


"Devastating Prospects"


Bahman Nirumand opined in an editorial in leftist die tageszeitung of Berlin (8/2):  "The cat-and-mouse game that Iran has been playing for years with the IAEA and France, Germany, and Britain allows the conclusion that Iran has something to hide....  Officially, Iran continues to emphasize that nuclear energy should exclusively serve peaceful purposes, but wide circles of conservatives think that the country needs nuclear weapons for its defense....  If Iran really had planned to build the bomb, this would have devastating consequences for the country itself and the rest of the world.  It is almost certain that Israel would not tolerate the bomb in the hands of Islamists.  The plans for the bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities are ready.  And such an attack would be reason enough for fundamentalists to mobilize millions for 'the defense of Islam' and to send suicide commandos to the United States, Europe, and the entire region....  If there were no intervention, and Iran succeeded in producing nuclear weapons, the Islamists, intoxicated with their untouchable power, resume the idea of exporting the Islamic revolution.  The only solution that a devastating scenario offers is a nuclear-free zone in the entire region.  But mainly Israel and the United States would object to such a move."


"Test The West"


Clemens Wergin noted in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (7/29):  "If Tehran now resumes the production of centrifuges, then there is a reason behind it.  The Mullahs did not expect to be under continued strict observation of the IAEA.  They thought it would be enough to show a bit of good will to get the issue off the agenda.  But instead, the IAEA tone is getting more critical.  The more intense the Vienna experts examine the details of Iran's nuclear program, the more questions they have, because too many indications point to a nuclear program and because the Iranian explanations are too often not credible.  With the latest provocation, Tehran is testing whether some weak spots are visible in the western alliance.  First London was put under pressure when Iran captured British soldiers in the Gulf... and now Iran is breaking the nuclear agreements.  Foreign Minister Fischer is right when he urgently warns Iran against any 'miscalculations.'  The Mullahs must know that they will not get anywhere with such moves."


HUNGARY: "Humanitarian Mass Murder"


Conservative Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet reported (8/10):  “The world is watching Iran’s nuclear program with concern and suspicion and is determined to prevent the production of a nuclear weapon, as was stated by Condoleezza Rice, the American Chief National Security Advisor. She did not make reference, however,  to the American fears but, which is typical, she quoted the world as reinforcement - without having asked [the world].  Iran is a big and a strong country that nourishes the ambition to become a middle-size power and Iran does not hide this ambition.  But the Iranians established earlier that they would not produce a nuclear bomb.  Despite the quite clear [Iranian] message, the United States and Israel are unable to rest.  The two faithful allies are convinced that the centrifuges for uranium enrichment will produce a nuclear bomb that might be dangerous to either to the little Middle Eastern country or even to Europe.  It should not be forgotten however, that while Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, Israel does.  Since it is not the first time that the fact that Israel’s nuclear [weapon] arsenal is not received positively in the world, the United States worked out an odd argument earlier to explain why certain states are more equal [reference made to the Orwellian phrase].  According to this [American] explanation the problem is not the existence of nuclear weapons but the possibility that they end up [being] in wrong hands.”



TURKEY: "U.S.' Stance And Turkey’s Calculations Over The Iranian Gas"


Mustafa Karaalioglu commented in Islamic, influential Yeni Safak (7/29):  “After the intense series of meetings in Iran, PM Erdogan responded that the meetings were good but nothing was as easy as it seemed.  On the commercial side of the relations Turkey has two requests from Iran. The first one is reducing of the prices of natural gas, and the second is changing the 'take it or pay for it’ principal. Turkey wants to stop paying for gas which exceeds its needs.  The natural gas purchase from Iran already exceeds the needs.  The most important issue to be resolved is Iran’s request to sell gas to Europe through Turkey.  Iran tied this offer, which causes political worries for Turkey, with Turkey’s requests.  That is what PM Erdogan meant with ‘nothing is easy as it seems’.  This is an area of real tough bargaining.... Of course, we have to remember that the meeting of the two ministers started in the shadow of  U.S.’ warnings to Turkey regarding transferring Iranian gas to Europe.  Turkey’s approach to all these warnings is that Europe, which wants to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, wants to have more options.  European countries will get the Iranian gas somehow." 


"U.S. Concerned About Natural Gas Agreement Between Turkey-Iran"


Independent commercial television Istanbul NTV commented (7/28):  "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to reduce the price of the natural gas purchased from Iran and Iran wants to have its natural gas reach Europe via Turkey.  During the visit to Iran of Prime Minister Erdogan, intense bargaining will be made on the subject of natural gas. A high-level official from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said that they would feel uneasy about an agreement, which would be signed for carrying natural gas from Iran to Europe via Turkey: 'If such an agreement is signed, then we would make new evaluations.'  According to the Iran-Libya Sanctions Law, which was accepted in the United States in 1996, sanctions are being applied to foreign companies, which contribute to the petroleum and natural gas sector of Iran, by signing an agreement, of which the project size is more than US$20 million. The U.S. official stated that the subject companies are prevented from doing business with the United States and its companies."


"Iran-France Or Middle East-Europe"


Murat Yetkin commented in liberal-intellectual Radikal (7/28):  "Because the U.S. is looking for an excuse to attack Iran, there is international pressure on Iran to open its nuclear program to inspections....  Turkey’s expectations from the visit to Iran concern warning Iran on their nuclear program, reducing Iran’s gas prices, and asking for support against PKK.  Because Turkey and Iran’s interests overlap, Iran’s cooperation on these issues is very likely.  In short, Turkey’s aim to integrate with the West is to obtain politically permeable borders with the West.  And Turkey's aim with the East is for more impermeable borders.  The Turkish-Iranian border is the world’s oldest land border. And, everyone can benefit if this border becomes the Europe’s border on the east.”


"Expansion To Iran"


Sami Kohen opined in the mass appeal Milliyet (7/27):  "PM Erdogan’s two-day visit to Iran... will improve Turkish-Iranian relations.  However, this visit will attract the world’s interest taking place at a time when the U.S. pressure on Iran is increasing and discussions are continuing regarding what the West’s stance should be towards the Tehran Administration....  At the same time as the 9/11 report trying to establish an al-Qaida-Iran connection, the U.S. Congress stresses that Iran is very close to produce nuclear weapons.  The U.S. is not happy with the close relationship that Germany and France have with Iran.  I am sure there are circles in Washington that are not very pleased about the Turkish-Iranian friendship either.  However, as an official in Ankara states, Turkish diplomacy can help Iran to straighten up its foreign relations."


"Erdogan’s Tehran Visit A 'Failure'"


Turkey's Cumhuriyet claimed (7/23):  "Erdogan returned empty-handed from Iran.  The paper reported that the Iranians refused to lower the price of natural gas sold to Turkey, and added that the gas issue will be discussed at the technical level during the visit of Iranian President Khatami to Turkey in September....  U.S. Charge d’Affaires Robert Deutsch noted that Turkey is aware of possible U.S. sanctions against those who make investment in the Iranian oil sector.“





ISRAEL: "Iranian Threats"


Nationalist Orthodox Hatzofe editorialized (7/29):  "Iran views the liquidation of Israel as a primary goal.  This is believed by all Western intelligence agencies.  Therefore, before any other Western country, Israel must do everything in its power to eliminate or inhibit Iran's nuclear capability....  If there is a change of administration in the White House, the chances are very slim that the U.S. will take significant steps to compel Iran to disarm of its nuclear weapons; and after Iraq, it does not appear that even a Republican administration would declare war on Iran.  Israel and it alone must employ creative solutions to crush Iran's array of nuclear weapons.  There is no choice but to settle accounts with this terrorist state, which invests vast resources in order to harm Israel through its emissary Hizbullah.  The first and immediate step must be to concentrate a military effort to undermine Hizbullah's strength in northern Israel....  Israel and it alone must employ creative solutions to crush Iran's array of nuclear weapons."


"Dialogue Of The Deaf"


Middle East affairs commentator Guy Bechor noted in Yediot Aharonot (7/28):  "It is interesting that just this week, the new Iraqi administration presented Tehran as its number one enemy.  In light of the latest declarations of destruction against Israel, it can be presumed that the world better understands the Iranian threat to the global order, and realizes that this threat requires tangible steps against Tehran, which has rejected international monitoring of its nuclear installations.  These Iranian statements attest to the weakness of the regime... that has lost the support of the street, and whose economy is experiencing a severe crisis, a regime surrounded by the U.S. army on both sides -- in Afghanistan and in Iraq -- which defines it as part of an 'axis of evil.'  The greater the pressure on the regime in Tehran becomes, the more declarations we may hear against Israel.  But ultimately these boastful declarations may boomerang against the Khomeinist regime in the world community -- rather than working to its benefit."


UAE:  "Iranian Analyst Says Nuclear Weapons Not One Of Iran Leadership's Goals"


Arabic Abu Dhabi TV quoted political writer and analyst Amir al-Musawi (7/27):  "I am of the opinion that this talk has no impact in Tehran.  It is not in Iran's interests to achieve this level of nuclear technology, nor is it one of its goals.  Nuclear weapons are not one of the Iranian leadership's goals, and it has not been mentioned as one either in the past or present. Neither is there any basis for this issue.  Consequently, the brothers in Iran do not pay attention to these comments and those in the West know this well, in the sense that Iran's social, culture and political capabilities, both inside and outside Iran, are sufficient for it to put or turn the pressure onto the United States and her sons in the region.  There is no worth in this talk and Tehran rejects this 100 percent....  Iran has signed all the international treaties in this respect....  The truth is that the Iraqi people know that Iran has always been with Iraq and has always supported it.  We hope that these statements are not correct.  If they are correct, all of us in Iran, even the political leadership, know that these statements are a result of U.S. and Western pressure and perhaps have been uttered by an Iraqi tongue."




CHINA: "Iran Calls Off The Deal To Stop Developing Nuclear Facilities "


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (7/30):  "According to a diplomatic source from Vienna, Iran officials have torn off the International Atomic Energy Agency's paper strip sealing the nuclear facilities.  They have started to resume manufacturing parts for centrifuges that refine crude uranium into the material.  This move has broken its agreement with countries in Europe.  They are accused by the outside world of violating the ban imposed by the UN's nuclear supervision group.  It is an open challenge to the international community supervising Iran's nuclear facilities....  According to the report, in the next few days, Britain, France and Germany will hold talks with Iran, trying to save the agreement reached last year.  If the discussion can solve the problem, the tense situation can be alleviated.  Otherwise, the U.S. will pass the issue to the Security Council to seek legally binding sanctions.  The U.S. has always wanted to overthrow the existing Iran authority.  The Bush administration has put Iran in the list of 'axis of evil' countries.  It has even tried to tie Iran to the September 11 attacks.  Thus, it will not let Iran go on the nuclear issue.  If Bush is reelected, the Iran issue will slowly be highlighted.  Since Western Europe has important business interests in Iran, unless it is necessary, it will not want to see war in Iran, or even sanctions.  It is believed that this point will create some barriers for the U.S."


"Why Bush Refuses To Let Iran Go"


The pro-PRC Macau Daily News commented (7/23):  "President Bush said in an interview that the Iranian government provide shelter for leaders of the 'al Qaida' group and financial support for terrorist groups.  He said that the U.S. was investigating the 'possible relations' between Iran and the September 11 attacks.  In the meantime, the 9/11 Commission Report indicated that the Iranian intelligence agency helped hijackers of the 'al Qaida' group get passports to enter and exit Afghanistan.  Hence, Iran was related to the September 11 attacks to a certain degree.  This is another tough signal by the Bush administration to Iran since it said in April that it would not tolerate Iran's development of nuclear weapons.  While people worry that U.S.-Iran relations will get tense, they are also speculating about the real motive to why Bush refuses to let Iran go....  The 9/11 Commission Report did not ask the Bush administration to take responsibility.  However, it said that the Bush and Clinton administrations had missed ten opportunities to prevent the hijacking.  This criticism has dealt a great blow to Bush's popularity.  Because of this unfavorable situation, Bush must make use of the Iran issue to stress the topic of counter terrorism.  He wants to distract people's attention away so that he can extricate himself from the awkward situation."


TAIWAN: "Will The U.S. Start To Deal With Iran After 'Attack Of Words'?"


Zhao Yi and Chen Wen commented on the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (7/26):  "On the contrary, along with the U.S. cementing its dominance in the Middle East, the crossing of verbal swords between the two is getting fierce.  Iran has become a ‘thorn in the eye’ of the U.S. in the Middle East....  The Iranian military’s response has been quite low-key....  Even if the U.S. merely engages in a ‘word attack,’ Iran’s government will still have to reaffirm its sincerity in conducting the war on terror repeatedly in words and behavior while it withstands the attack."


"Iran Next On U.S. Hit List?"


Chong Zi commented in the official English-language newspaper China Daily (7/26):  "Tensions between the United States and Iran are building....  However, President Bush has promised that if re-elected in November he will make regime change in Iran his new target.  It is a travesty of justice.  How can the U.S. trust the reliability of its intelligence on Iran after the information on Iraq turned out to be so incomplete?"


"Will The Bush Administration Take Action Against Iran In The Future?"


The "International Outlook" column of the centrist China Times noted (7/20):  "...[T]his does not mean that the Bush administration will give up its global order policy just because it has had a tough time facing the war in Iraq.  It is still waiting to see what the view of the American public is about it.  The U.S. presidential election in November will be a touchstone.  If Bush wins again, it will prove that neo-conservatism has won public support, and if people can say 'yes' to the war in Iraq, it is obvious they will say 'yes' to [war in] other countries.  That is why rumor has it in the international community that once Bush gets re-elected, he will invade Iran.  The White House has neither acknowledged nor denied such a rumor....  But Iran is different from Iraq; Iranians have a longer history [regarding] anti-U.S. sentiment....  The United States will face more difficulties than those it encountered in Iraq if it wants to occupy Iran....  Even fewer countries will support the United States in attacking Iran.  Washington will surely isolate itself from the international society [if it wants to take action against Iran]."     


INDONESIA:  "Bush Increasingly Anxious To Get Support"


Muslim intellectual Republika commented (7/21):  "President Bush immediately seized on speculations that some of the hijackers of the planes that hit the WTC towers on September 11, 2001, had passed through Iran on their way to the U.S.  After being overwhelmed by the collapse of his theory in invading Iraq, he is now insisting that 'facts' should be dug out for possible links between the Iranian government and the Al Qaeda network.  This is very important for him in finding support for the upcoming November election… With more and more lies about the reasons for invading Iraq being revealed, Bush indeed needs to find a new replacement to prevent his reputation at home from falling deeper.  Otherwise he would lose the election and it could be such an embarrassing defeat because it resulted from his own recklessness in making foreign policies, that were supposed to carry a noble cause, i.e. finding the mass killers of the twin towers. He had consciously let himself be used by certain parties with certain interests to attack Iraq.  When he was proven wrong, he has to bear it alone, possible defeat in the election…  Will the U.S. also attack Iran under the same reasons it has used to attack Iraq, which turned out to be hoaxes?  It will all depend on how overwhelmed President Bush is in facing the ever-closer election.  We can only worry that in the effort to gain new support, he will put aside all common sense and other nations, and even his fellow citizens will be sacrificed."




INDIA: "Is It Now Iran's Turn?"


An article in independent DAWAT Urdu stated (7/25):  "President Bush has said in a recent statement that he would teach Iran proper lesson after he returns to White House. British daily The Times quotes a senior official in the Bush administration saying that President Bush contemplated to bring about political changes in Iran that would suit the US. The report gives the impression that President Bush has already had a blueprint of his action in Iran that would consist less of the kind of military action in Iraq and more of such large scale non-military interference in its domestic affairs that would ultimately destabilize the present political establishment in Iran, leading to its replacement by elements loyal to Washington.  In other words, the US is working to engineer a revolt in Iran that ultimately turns it into a country subservient to US interests....  Although the report in The Times does not elaborate on why the U.S. is so desperate to teach a lesson to Iran, one may not stretch his imagination too much to find the answer. Since its revolution, Iran has followed the path of self-respect, self-confidence and self-reliance in keeping with the dignity of a sovereign and independent country. Secondly, it has refused to be part of the world order of arrogance and dominance that the U.S. wants to impose on the mankind....  The reinforced U.S. campaign of animosity against Iran revolves around one demand, that the country renounces its allegiance to Islam and surrenders to become a tool to serve U.S. hegemony as it used to be before."


PAKISTAN: "Demonizing Iran"


An editorial in the center-right national English daily The Nation opined (7/21):  "Iran now seems to have become the Bush administration's whipping boy.  With the Iraqi misadventure having proved counterproductive, the Bush team obviously needs a new vote-catching punching bag....  The Iran talk will be seen as falling in line with the neo-conservatives' one obsession - the continued demonization of Muslims....  Using America's might against the Muslim world for Israel's benefit is a major Zionist aim.  What rational people in the U.S. administration should do is to ask themselves: is this the way to win Muslim hearts and minds?"


"Iran Again"


An editorial in the center-right The Nation commented (7/20):  "It is possible to see the U.S. once again gearing up to take on Iran.  Ominous noises are emerging from Washington in the wake of the 9/11 Commission's finding that Iran has not done enough to prevent al-Qaeda elements from crossing into Iran from Afghanistan....  This is no isolated incident, but should be seen in the backdrop of last year's sudden campaign, after the American conquest of Iraq.  Long included on President Bush's hit list as a member of the 'Axis of Evil,'  Iran faced a strange little rebellion by so-called 'pro-democracy' students, which faded out as swiftly as it arose.  Then there was the arm twisting over last winter over its nuclear program, which dragged Pakistan and Dr. A.Q. Khan into its wake. Clearly, the U.S. was planning to do to Iran what it had already done to Afghanistan and Iraq....  Pakistan's policymakers should keep this in mind, and should work with Iran rather than abandon it to its fate.  For after all, we might be next, and who would left to help us then?"


"Nefarious U.S. Plan Against Iran"


The second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt editorialized (7/20):  "British paper The Sunday Peoples has quoted President Bush's close advisors and friends having said that if President Bush was reelected he would resort to military action against Iran to destroy its nuclear capability forever....  America wants to take action against Iran to protect Israel....  Another charge sheet against Iran is being prepared that six of the 9/11 perpetrators had crossed over Iran before the attacks....  Pakistan should be careful, because Pakistan's nuclear program is an eyesore for America for a long time now."




ARGENTINA: "The Iranian Nuclear Program"


An editorial in daily-of-record La Nacion announced (7/27):  "Iran has just announced it will again manufacture spare parts to assemble its P2 centrifuge parts for the production of enriched uranium. This sudden statement raised strong disappointment amid European diplomatic circles, which had managed that Iran suspended its work in this field for the last year in the hope that some verifiable deal could be reached regarding the controversial Iranian nuclear program....  Even though Iran continues stating that its purpose is to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the USG and some other governments believe that, given the features of the ongoing nuclear program, the intention to turn Iran into a new nuclear power cannot be dismissed. All this is highly disturbing due to Iran's low international credibility....  Iran's recent announcement that it will resume its pledge with the IAEA has not dispelled the international community's increasing suspicion."


CANADA: "Curbing Spread Of A-bombs"


Stephen Handelman commented in the liberal Toronto Star (8/10):  "When Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program last year, Washington celebrated it as proof that hard-line policies against 'rogue states' produce results.  Hawks argued that the Libyan surrender justified, in part, the U.S. military adventure in Iraq. So what are we to make of the newest threats last week from senior officials in President George W. Bush's administration to 'disrupt or delay' Iran's alleged nuclear bomb production?....  Preventing this situation from getting out of control tops the list of security challenges facing the U.S. and Canadian and European allies.  The NPT, along with other safeguards administered by the International Atomic Energy Agency, clearly haven't done the job. But what will? Washington's policy, which involved a blend of sanctions and hawkish diplomacy, has demonstrably gotten nowhere....  Covert action to sabotage or destroy the suspected weapons facilities of recalcitrant nuclear 'wannabes' appears the next logical step. Condoleezza Rice, Bush's national security adviser, said darkly this weekend that the president would 'look at all the tools available to him.'  That, however, begs the question asked before the Iraq adventure began: Is this administration letting ideology determine the tools it considers worthwhile?....  Addressing the political considerations behind states' nuclear programs - Iran's fear of a resurgent Iraq, for instance - could produce better results by leading, at least, to the containment of both official and unofficial nuclear powers within a broader diplomatic framework.  Military or covert actions may still have a place as the ultimate sanction.  But what the world needs now is a 21st-century version of the politics of nuclear containment."


"The Club's Newcomers"


The centrist Winnipeg Free Press observed (8/10):  "...Both Tehran and Pyongyang seem determined to go ahead with their nuclear programs.  Short of war, the only hope of stopping them -- a faint one -- is, in the case of Iran, intense diplomatic pressure from Europe, Russia and Canada and the threat of economic sanctions from all of these governments and the U.S.  Unfortunately, Europe and Russia, show no interest in taking this course....  The future that confronts the world, then, looks to be either a series of conventional wars to control nuclear proliferation or an increasingly nuclear international community - North Korea tomorrow, Iran next week and who knows what nation after that? If persuasion and economic coercion cannot be made to work - and they are not working with Iran and North Korea - then the only feasible alternative is to try to police the new and probably tiny atomic powers....  The American nuclear deterrent can still perform a similar function if Americans can unite behind a promise that any nuclear attack by any nation anywhere will result in a an American nuclear response against it.  That is not ideal, and it is not attractive, but it could be the last realistic deterrent against nuclear war. "


"Iran Crosses Another Line"


Toronto National Post editorialized (7/29):  "Last October, the major European powers reached a deal with Iran to head off an international confrontation over the country's illicit nuclear program... Since then, Iran has broken that deal several times over... To this day, leaders of [France, Germany and Britain] still seem convinced that a conciliatory line will eventually bear fruit, and plans are afoot to convene another multilateral meeting on the subject.  The stakes here are huge. It is difficult to imagine the country will willingly give up its nuclear program absent some sort of major shake-up among the country's unpopular theocrats.  And as David Frum noted... Iran's nuclear threat cannot be viewed in isolation from its other sinister activities -- most notably, its support of terrorist groups. The prospect of a radical faction within Iran's government providing Hezbollah with a nuke seems far-fetched. But the same was once true of al-Qaeda's plot to ram airplanes into buildings....  Canada and Europe must add their voice to that of the United States in urging the IAEA to develop a clear deadline for Tehran to permanently halt its nuclear program. Failing clear and timely compliance, the matter should be referred to the UN Security Council -- where harsh, multilateral sanctions should be imposed. Full-blown war is not an option. But ostracizing Iran in the international arena might yet force the mullahs to reconsider their rash actions through peaceful means."


"A Conspiracy Of Enemies"


Foreign affairs analysts commented in the conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (7/25):  "Did Iran help al-Qaida stage the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States?... Why would Iran, knowing it was in Bush's gunsights, join in a monstrous terrorist attack that, if linked to Tehran, could have conceivably brought U.S. nuclear retaliation? This column has long predicted the Bush administration would orchestrate a pre-election crisis over Iran designed to whip up patriotic fervour in the U.S. and distract public and media attention from the Iraq fiasco. The growing clamour over Iran's nuclear intentions, with rumblings about air strikes against Iran's reactors in the fall, may prove to be a part of just such a manufactured crisis.... the Bush administration and former Clinton officials are trading accusations that the other was responsible for failing to take action against al-Qaida and its Taliban allies prior to 9/11. But what no one admits is that both administrations sent millions in aid to the Taliban until four months before 9/11." 


"Action, Not Words Needed On Iran"


Editorial writer David Warren commented in the nationalist Ottawa Citizen (7/21):  "A significant barrier was crossed when President George W. Bush spoke aloud on Monday about the possibility of an Iranian role in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. By doing so, he was responding -- in a language that the ayatollahs would understand -- to escalating threats and provocative behaviour from Iran. No matter who is president after November, it appears the U.S. and Iran are now on course for another history-making collision.... I fear Mr. Bush is about to repeat a mistake he made in his approach to war in Iraq. This is to develop a case for war, based on narrow, legalistic arguments.... [W]e continue to hear absurd suggestions from European governments and the U.S. State Department that the West must 'engage in dialogue' with the Iranian regime. But there is no way to 'nuance' with an enemy who is openly committed to destroying us."





Commentary from ...
Middle East
East Asia
South Asia
Western Hemisphere

This site is produced and maintained by the U.S. Department of State. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home