August 27, 2004
IRAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM: TEHRAN'S 'OBSTRUCTIVE
POLICY' MUST END
** Iran is embarking on a
"new level of escalation."
** Europe's mediation
attempt is "doomed to fail."
** Conservative Iranian
papers assail the U.S.' "excessive demands."
** Tehran sympathizers see
no "persuasive and irrefutable evidence" of a WMD program.
'Reckless belligerence'-- Centrist and
conservative dailies concluded that Iran poses "a genuine nuclear threat
to world peace" and that Tehran is playing a "brazen game" of
"brinkmanship" with Washington in the belief that the "looming
presidential election and the war in Iraq have tied the U.S.' hands." Because Iran "has long sought nuclear
status as a means of achieving regional hegemony," declared Britain's
conservative Daily Telegraph, "the sooner the issue of its nuclear
program is referred to the UNSC, the better." Citing Iran's threats against Israel and its
"provocations," Canada's leading Globe and Mail added that
Tehran's "sabre-rattling...has grown deafening."
Tehran sees European diplomacy as 'Western
weakness'-- Euro dailies agreed that
the French-British-German "policy of constructive engagement" with
Tehran "has collapsed"; France's left-of-center Liberation
noted that "Paris, London and Berlin are clearly embarrassed" by
Iran's "latest harsh policy."
Germany's right-of-center Die Welt also saw "little hope
that mediation and talks can be successful." Some Arab papers blamed Iran's
"secretive" approach for causing a "chain reaction of
London-based pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat stated that "Tehran
claims it is developing its missiles against the Zionists, but...past Iranian
conflicts show that most clashes were with Saudi Arabia."
Do not let the U.S. 'halt Iran's nuclear activity'-- Observers in Iran blasted the
"American-Israeli strategy" to Tehran Iran from having "peaceful
nuclear activities approved by the IAEA" and called on officials to
safeguard "Iran's national interests and national pride." The conservative Tehran Times assailed
the U.S.' "propaganda campaign about Iran's civilian nuclear
program." Reformist dailies instead
urged Tehran to "continue with discussions...with European officials"
and the IAEA to "eliminate concern over Iran's nuclear program." Rejecting "confrontation" and
secrecy, pro-Khatami Tehran Iran held that "growing technical
cooperation with the IAEA is certainly in favor of our national
Iran is the U.S.' 'top target'--
rejected Washington's "tough and arrogant stance," instead urging
"dialogue and diplomacy."
Pro-PRC Macau Daily News warned the U.S. "may attempt to
overthrow the current Iranian regime"; Lebanon's Arab nationalist As-Safir
predicted that "Iran will be Washington's next target in the war on
terror." Several papers stressed
the "great political and diplomatic risk" to the U.S. of being seen
as a "Zionist accessory" if Israel strikes Iran's nuclear
facilities. Pakistan's center-right Nation
advised the U.S. to "counsel Israel against any move that could aggravate
the regional situation."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
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 37 reports from 17 countries over 17 - 27 August 2004. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most
"Do Less Costly Solutions Exist?"
Reformist Etemaad declared (8/24): "From the first days when Iran's file
was placed on the agenda of the IAEA, the hardline groups believed that
supposed messages and international protocols and threats should be ignored.... The view of this group is that since the
final outcome of the issue is predictable, Tehran should not commit suicide out
of fear of death but should--by welcoming clashes and confrontations and even
economic sanctions by the UN--mobilize its forces and turn to a policy of
facing up to the West. Meanwhile, the
reformists, after their exit from the Majles, entrusted the arena to their
rivals and the government is opposed to the interference of a major section of
the conservatives and adventurist hardliners and believes that certain less
costly solutions still exist. Observers
point to the intensification of these differences in various arenas and believe
that in the future, the main challenge inside the system is to choose one of
these options--a choice that has to be made before the end of the year and the
"U.S. Changed Their Minds"
Reformist Aftab-e Yazd editorialized
(8/22): "The Americans, who, for
sometime now, had been stressing that Iran's [nuclear] file should be referred
to the UNSC, changed their position over this issue towards the end of this
week. Their insistence that Iran's file should be unconditionally referred to
the UNSC was replaced...by the emphasis of American officials that they will
cooperate with other countries to eliminate concern over Iran's nuclear
program. Some political analysts believe that the fact that the head of the
IAEA expressed the hope that Iran's nuclear file will be settled in the coming
months, is a sign that the file will not be passed on to the UNSC. This is something that has also been
emphasized by some diplomats close to the IAEA, who have declared that Iran's
file in the September meeting [due 13 September] will neither be closed nor
referred to the UNSC."
Conservative Khorasan noted (8/22): "We should accept that under
circumstances when America, with its daily excessive demands...threatens Iran
periodically with one linguistic expression or another and with one pretext or
another, and when the occupying Quds [Jerusalem] regime, also in line with
America, behaves with impudence, broaching the question of attacking Iran's
centres for the potential production of nuclear energy, our officials should
give an appropriate and timely reply to this in the same tone, so that, in addition
to preventing any country from entertaining the idea of attacking Iran, the
people, too, might be assured that the officials safeguarding Iran's national
interests and national pride, are performing their duties correctly and on
"Cooperation With Europe"
Reformist Etemaad advised (8/22): "American officials are giving news of
their cooperation with their European allies concerning Iran's nuclear
program.... At the moment the best
option for America is to cooperate with its European partners since, to act
unilaterally in the IAEA...is costly and burdensome for that country. It would also not be considered as a
diplomatic victory for America. In the
midst of all this, the manner of Iran's cooperation with European countries and
the IAEA could be effective in gaining victory in the IAEA's war. It seems that Iran's biggest diplomatic
struggle is to continue the discussions and not to lose hope about talks with
European officials. It should also encourage the IAEA to conduct technical and
legal rather than political investigation into its nuclear file."
"West Stepping Up Propaganda Campaign
Against Iran's Nuclear Program"
The conservative English-language Tehran
Times opined (8/21): "Western
and Zionist officials and their allies have intensified their disinformation
campaign targeting Iran’s civilian nuclear program in order to influence the
upcoming IAEA meeting in September....
The Canadian foreign minister expressed concern about Iran’s nuclear program...claiming
that Canada needs assurances that Iran will observe its international
commitments but presented no evidence that Iran had reneged on its
commitments. Through his ambiguous
remarks, the Canadian minister was trying to appease U.S. and Zionist
officials.... In reality, Iran only
intends to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in line with the terms
of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei
said on Sunday that the Westerners intend to take the issue of Iran’s nuclear
dossier so far that Iran will not even have the right to mention anything about
nuclear technology. But regardless of
the clamor, the Islamic Republic only intends to use nuclear technology for
peaceful purposes.... Zionist officials
have never denied the various reports that indicate that Israel possesses about
400 nuclear warheads. In light of the
open secret of the Zionist regime’s nuclear arsenal, the whole world is
wondering why the U.S. is not trying to convince Israel to sign the NPT but is
instead expending its energy on its propaganda campaign about Iran’s civilian
"Iran's File On The Desk Of The
Mas'ud Mirza'i stated in pro-Khatami Tehran
Iran (8/19): "Over the past
week...American officials...once again accused Iran of endeavoring to produce
WMD and stressed that they will continue to exert all-encompassing pressures
against Iran's nuclear activities....
Stressing an American-Israeli strategy, Washington is endeavoring to
halt Iran's nuclear activity at any price and to send the file to the UNSC in
order to impose political and economic sanctions and to even undertake possible
military action against Iran.... On the
other hand, while opposing the American-Israeli strategy, European countries and
even some member states of the Nonaligned Movement emphasize the so-called
European strategy and believe that the Islamic Republic's nuclear file must be
resolved diplomatically and in the IAEA.
While expressing concern about some aspects of Iran's nuclear
activities, these countries state that Iran must be encouraged to cooperate
further through political activity and likewise seriously avoid irrational
measures and pressures that might cause Iran to react strongly and to possibly
withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.... The IAEA Board of Governors will not declare
an end to Iran's atomic file in its upcoming meeting and that probably member
states of the board will once again call in stronger terms for more transparent
cooperation with the international community by Tehran. On the other hand, in the current situation
it seems unlikely for the U.S. to be able to convince European countries to
send Iran's atomic file to the UNSC....
As can be inferred from the remarks made by American officials,
Washington is not under any circumstances willing to officially recognize for
Iran to have peaceful nuclear activities approved by the IAEA, while European
officials believe that if Iran were to increase transparency in its nuclear
conduct...they are willing to cooperate with Iran.... Tehran must do its utmost to rid technical
and legal discussions related to Iran's nuclear cooperation...considering the
stress laid by Iran on the peaceful nature of its activities, growing technical
cooperation with the IAEA is certainly in favor of our national
"Breathing Down Tehran's Back"
The nationalist Hindustan Times declaimed
(8/27): "Iran's warning that it
would "retaliate vehemently" in the event of a preemptive Israeli
strike on its nuclear facilities is another storm warning in a region already
battered by typhoons.... Iran's foreign
ministry admonished Israel for not scotching such speculation. Israel's bombing of Iraq's nuclear reactor in
1981 must weigh on Teheran, although Tel Aviv had then acted alone without
Washington's nod, unlike now when the U.S. could well be a partner in the
enterprise. This probably drives the
IAEA's desperate efforts to get Iran to allow full inspections of its nuclear
facilities. Last week, U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice even
threatened unilateral military action....
Whether this hints at surgical strikes or covert action is anybody's
guess. But it would be a high-risk gamble for President George Bush, especially
in the pre-election season.... Iran's
perceived meddling in Iraq, its ambiguous attitude to al-Qaeda and support for
anti-Israeli groups like Hezbollah all seem to be under the State Department's
scanner. It's unfortunate that Washington should talk of coercive, unilateral
options instead of using dialogue and diplomacy. For its part, Teheran, which
unlike India is a signatory to the NPT, must live up to the letter and spirit
of its commitment that it will not make nuclear weapons."
"Iran's Nuclear Program Needs To Be
Mumbai-based centrist Gujariti-language Janmabhoomi
editorialized (8/24): "Although
U.S. President George Bush may claim that the war on Iraq has established
stability in the Middle-east, it has in fact delayed the much needed attention
and action on Iran's nuclear program.
Though Iran is posing a genuine nuclear threat to world peace, the U.S.
boasts that it will succeed in restraining that country's nuclear program. On the other hand, the government of Iran has
clearly stated that it will not bow down to the U.S. pressure in this
regard.... Though Iran has assured that
it will abide by all the international norms while pursuing its nuclear
program, there is no doubt that such a program will only endanger world peace
and security. It is therefore imperative
for the U.S. and other developed nations of to engage Iran in resolving the issue
diplomatically and, if required, to raise it in the UN to prevent Iran from
pursuing such a perilous course"
"Iran And The U.S."
Hamid Ansari concluded in the centrist Hindu
(8/23): "The Council for Foreign
Relations, New York, published a Report on Iran produced by an Independent Task
Force.... The principal recommendation
of the Task Force, for U.S. policy, is that a direct dialogue be initiated with
Iran on specific subjects.... The
section of the Report on regional conflicts--Iraq and Afghanistan--indicates
the urgency of a new approach. The U.S. has compelling interests in
both.... The Report recommends
incremental progress rather than a grand bargain, and accepts that the regime
of sanctions has not produced the desired results.... The publication of the Report has rekindled a
fierce new debate between the realists and the neo-conservatives.... Ideological imperatives notwithstanding,
practical considerations are beginning to be voiced.... The impulses motivating the Report require
careful analysis. The difficulties of the ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq
could be one reason. Another could be the nuclear profile of Iran. The sheer
impracticality of ignoring Iran in a wider scheme of things covering West and
Central Asia may finally have provoked this departure from orthodoxy. That the CFR, so representative of the
foreign policy establishment, has taken the initiative at this stage suggests
both a public acknowledgement of the failure of existing policy and a
suggestion that some new thinking may fructify in the post-election period. The
Report is a signaling exercise in an intricate game that the Americans and the
Iranians have played over a number of years. The response from Teheran is
typically Iranian--defiant and conciliatory, elliptical, contradictory, fully
reflective of the multiplicity of centers that characterize the decision-making
mechanism of the Islamic Republic....
The resumed romance of a quarrelsome pair should therefore be watched
with interest since it could have far-reaching geopolitical implications for
the region and beyond."
The center-right national English-language Nation declared
(8/20): "Iran's bold response to
periodic reports about Israeli intentions to destroy its peaceful nuclear
installations, while befitting for a sovereign state determined to safeguard
its legitimate interests, raises the pitch of the war of words between the two
countries.... It would thus be virtually
impossible for the U.S. to dissociate itself from any Israeli attack. Besides, as Iran is, in the Bush
administration's eyes, an 'axis of evil' member its complicity and, indeed,
encouragement in the mad venture of striking out its nuclear installations
would be automatically assumed, whatever the factual position. Common sense would no doubt suggest that the
U.S. would counsel Israel against any move that could aggravate the regional
"Iran's Jaw-Breaking Response To The U.S."
Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt contended
(8/20): "Iran's Defense Minister
has warned the U.S. that an American or Israeli strike on its nuclear
installations would be considered an attack on the entire country. He has added that the U.S. does not have the
monopoly over pre-emptive strikes, Iran too can launch an attack to protect
itself.... The Iranian Defense Minister
has said that the Israeli nuclear headquarters would be destroyed if Israel
tried to attack Iranian nuclear installation.... How we wish we (Pakistan) had the same
courage, and did not succumb to a mere phone call by the U.S. President (after
9/11) and had taken a few hours to consult our friends and ponder over the
situation. While we could not have
responded as boldly as the Iranians, we could at least have reached a decision
after due consideration for our dignity, and respect for Muslim brothers (in
BRITAIN: "Iran Is Our
Enemy’s Enemy But Not Our Friend"
Michael Gove wrote in the conservative Times (8/24): "In the past three months one of the
major planks of British diplomacy has collapsed underneath the Foreign
Secretary. For the past three years Mr.
Straw has been practising a policy of constructive engagement towards
Iran.... There were those, not last
within the Bush Administration, who doubted the wisdom of placing so many eggs
in the Persian basket.... The Americans
not only swallowed their doubts about the wisdom of Mr. Straw’s plan, they also
kept quiet when France and Germany joined in.... The Germans, British and French may well have
succeeded in influencing Iranian policy by their actions. But it is hard to see how Iran’s actions
recently can be considered friendly.
Even by French standards.... The
regime in Tehran has interpreted the EU’s desire to develop a constructive
relationship as Western weakness, and America’s acquiescence while she is
involved in Iraq as confirmation of that weakness."
"Iran Should Be Punished For Nuclear Cheating"
The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (8/19): "Iran yesterday stepped up its defiance
of the outside world by threatening to destroy Israel’s nuclear reactor at
Dimona.... The British Government says
it has no illusions about Iran’s determination to become a nuclear weapons
power, an admission which underlines the bankruptcy of its policy of
constructive engagement.... Iran has
long sought nuclear status as a means of achieving regional hegemony. But it also remains a power determined to
export Islamic revolution worldwide, with the goal of destroying the liberal
democracies.... The sooner the issue of
its nuclear program is referred to the UNSC, the better. If it persists in cheating, Teheran must be
further isolated and, if necessary, punished by sanctions. Beyond that, America and its allies should
leave the clerics in no doubt that they will not tolerate their possession of
nuclear weapons. In such hands, they
would pose a far greater threat than Iraq under Saddam Hussein."
FRANCE: "Iran, The New
Jacques Amalric noted in left-of-center Liberation
(8/26): “America’s neo-cons, who have
been forced to keep a low-profile because of the Iraqi fiasco...are back. They
had named Iraq as a priority of President Bush’s first term in office. For the
second term, the priority will be Iran...and for the same reasons: the fight
against terrorism and the eradication of WMD.... No matter that their reasoning about Iraq
proved to be wrong.... Meanwhile Iran,
which has never accepted the existence of Israel, has launched on a dangerous
escalation. It is as if, aware that the U.S. is locked into its Iraqi quagmire,
Iran were taking advantage of the situation to accelerate its nuclear military
program.... Iran’s latest harsh policy
has taken France and its partners by surprise.... Paris, London and Berlin are clearly
embarrassed by Iran’s new attitude....
Everyone expects the U.S. to ask the UNSC to impose sanctions on
Teheran...something the three European nations, plus Russia, hoped to
avoid.... The next three months will be
full of dangers, which may come from more Iranian provocations or from an
Israeli preventive operation.”
Manfred Pantfoerder commented in right-of-center Die Welt
of Berlin (8/20): "There are more
signs that the conflict over Iran's nuclear program is getting worse, because
the Iranian leadership is not willing to comply with the demands of the
international community and rejects to prove that it does not work on a nuclear
arms program. Tehran does not want to
give up building modern centrifuges and threatens to take up enriching uranium
again. That is a movement towards
producing a bomb, which it could get within three years, according to
Washington. The mediation attempt of
Germany, Britain and France is doomed to fail here. The Iranian leadership is even threatening
the U.S., which tries to stop the nuclear ambitions of the Mullah
regime.... This is evidence that Tehran
will not voluntarily choose the way of Libya's Qadhafi. Further pressure is necessary. Given Tehran's obstructive policy, the IAEA
must decide soon to forward the case to the UNSC. Tehran has overstretched the patience of the
world community. There is only little
hope that mediation and talks can be successful, because the Iranian foreign
policy is based on deep-seated hostility toward Israel."
"War Of Words"
Stefan Ulrich judged in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of
Munich (8/20): "They disregard
international treaties, keep their nuclear programs secret, and threaten
retaliatory strikes. No, we do not speak
of America. In a rhetorical reversal of
the balance of forces, the Iranians are now making threats.... With this, the Iranians have catapulted the
conflict over their nuclear program onto a new level of escalation. They are threatening war.... The religious leaders feel strengthened for
four reasons. The problems in Baghdad
are outgrowing the Bush administration; it will by no means dare a new
large-scale confrontation before the November elections. At the same time, the conservatives in Tehran
consolidated their domestic policy position even more; and finally, it is very
obvious that the Europeans hesitate putting thumbscrews based on UN resolutions
and sanctions on Iran. It is
understandable that Europe pins its hopes on a solution that satisfies everyone,
but it should not forget about two conditions for a success: cohesiveness of
the West and a credible scenario of threats.
Even conservatives in Tehran are no idiots who easily allow the
situation to get out of control. They also weigh risks and test pain
thresholds. The new threats are part of
this brazen game. Those who want to end
it, need strength and unity."
RUSSIA: "Arrogance Is
Bad For U.S. Image"
Aleksey Ventslovskiy argued in centrist army-run Krasnaya
Zvezda (8/27): "One may ignore those
inflammatory calls [for a possible pre-emptive stirke], of course. But there is something about them that makes
one wary. Those calls fell in time with
a statement by U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice that her country
will not stand Iran becoming a nuclear power.
Obviously, a tough and arrogant stance like that will not add to
Washington's authority in the world.
Instead, it will bring about a rise in anti-American sentiment,
resulting in the situation getting out of control."
NORWAY: “A Dangerous
War-doctrine Is Spreading"
Social-democratic Dagsavisen asserted (8/22): "The doctrine on pre-emptive strikes was
central for the U.S. to justify its war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.... The doctrine is now spreading. Last Wednesday
Iran’s Minister of Defense, Ali Shamkani, warned that Iran could use a
pre-emptive strike to stop an attack of its nuclear plants.... In Israel they are aware that an attack on
Iran would provoke ‘a terrible response.’ Pre-emptive strikes would put the snowball
in motion. The world will be more dangerous to live in when more and more are
tempted--by fear or presumption--to use this war doctrine.”
TURKEY: "Turkey And
Iran’s Nuclear Threat"
Sami Kohen wrote in mass-appeal Milliyet (8/25): “Developments in Iran’s nuclear program
coincide with improved bilateral relations between Turkey and Iran. However, international concern about the
Iranian nuclear program and the possibility that Iran could produce nuclear
weapons is also a part of Ankara’s agenda.
Turkish diplomats and strategists are closely watching developments in
this regard. As one MFA official
expressed, ‘Ankara has noted the Iranian explanation that its nuclear efforts
are intended for peaceful use, such as the production of electricity. We are trying to determine if this is the
whole truth.’ Turkey does not consider
Iran’s nuclear capability as a direct threat.
But if Iran really obtains nuclear weapons, it will turn the balances in
the Middle East completely upside-down and constitute a new ground for foreign
intervention, including by the United States.”
ISRAEL: "Race Against
The Shihab Missile"
Amir Rappaport opined in popular, pluralist Maariv
(8/27): "The Arrow test held on
Thursday, only a week after Iran staged a test as part of the project for
developing the Shihab 3 missile, which is meant to reach Israel--attests more
than anything else to the dramatic race that is emerging in the Middle East
with regard to the question whether the Iranians will complete the development
of their missiles before the Arrow can provide a response to them or vice
versa. Originally, the Arrow missiles
were developed as a response to Saddam Hussein's Scud missiles, but today the
Iranian threat is much more relevant, and particularly severe, since along with
the missiles Iran is also developing nuclear weapons. Israel cannot allow itself to reach a
situation where it will be found, for the first time in its history, under a
nuclear threat. The very existence of
the threat would completely change our strategic situation, since it would
enable numerous elements in the Middle East to 'raise their heads,' knowing
that the Iranian bomb is their backing against an unrestrained Israeli reaction
to their deeds. The question when the
Iranians will reach their first atom bomb is therefore more critical than the
question when the Shihab 3 missiles will be operational. As of now, the Iranians are determined to
continue to go all the way to the bomb."
"Iranian Threat Chatter"
Zeev Schiff wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz
(8/20): "Hardly a day goes by
recently without some Iranian security official threatening Israel.... What fired up the Iranians? Perhaps they reached the conclusion that
Israel had a 'green light' from the U.S. for some operation against Iran's
nuclear installations if other preventive measures failed. The warning by U.S. National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice that all means are being considered to prevent Iran and North
Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons did the trick. If that is what led to the threats against
Israel, it means Iran felt more exposed at this stage of the nuclear
development. Diverting the focus to
Israel is an attempt to draw attention away from the fact that for the first
time Iran, using the Shihab-3, has missiles that can reach NATO member Turkey
and most Saudi cities and oil fields....
Today Israel is not alone in this struggle, and is part of an
international front, which although not united also opposes the nuclear arming
of Iran. However, Israel still must
consider a complicated situation in which it may have to act alone. For this Israel must build up its forces and
full deterrent capability."
SAUDI ARABIA: "The
Iranian Threat And The Danger Of Israel"
Jeddah’s moderate Al-Bilad opined (8/21): "The Iranian threat of preemptive
defensive attacks to protect its nuclear facilities is a new stage of struggle
in the region. Those threats must be
seriously considered, rather than only being considered as media rhetoric. Where it concerns nuclear war we should
strongly think it through carefully....
The Arabs now are in a stronger position than the Israelis regarding
nuclear power. Therefore, allies of
Israel want to solve the situation in favor of the interest of Israel.... Regardless of how serious the Iranian threat
is, or the possible danger of an Israeli attack against Iran, the region cannot
tolerate more struggles."
"Is Iran Serious About Striking Israel?"
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed asked in London-based pan-Arab Asharq
Al-Awsat (8/19): "Iran says its
nuclear weapons are directed against Israel....
In fact, all the countries of the region use Israel as a pretext [for
obtaining weapons], with some truth, but in reality the history of wars and
conflicts [in the region] do not support such claims. What concerns us here is not what they say
but what they actually do. Regrettably,
past Iranian conflicts show that most clashes were with Saudi Arabia. There were air encounters, ground offensives,
and also with the UAE, and recently with Qatar.... Among those many Iranian clashes throughout a
quarter of a century, there was no single direct clash with Israel. The persistent buildup of Iranian advanced
weapons worries Iran’s neighboring countries more than it worries Israel. Tehran claims it is developing its missiles
against the Zionists, but nothing supports that.... Tehran’s quite race to acquire advanced
weapons, in reality, is not that it fears Israel, but that it fears those small
neighboring countries, which will be compelled to obtain more weapons."
LEBANON: "The Next
Editor-in-Chief Joseph Samaha held in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(8/17): "After Iraq, Iran will be
Washington's next target in the war on terror whether U.S. President George W.
Bush stays in the White House or not....
U.S. forces in Iraq are trying to tame Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's
insurgency in order to tighten Washington's grip on Iraq and use it as a spring
board for other regime changes in the region.
When the U.S.-led coalition forces crush Sadr's Mehdi Army, Washington
will have only pro-American Shiite Iraqis--something that may facilitate the
domino effect the Bush administration aimed to generate in the Middle
East.... Even if Washington does not
succeed in stabilizing Iraq...the U.S. will move against Iran because it blames
Tehran for the quagmire in post-war Iraq, adding that American hawks will claim
that removing the Islamic regime there is the best way to defuse the Iraq
standoff.... The war party in Washington
is comprised of 41 influential hawks from both the Republican and Democratic
parties who formed the Imminent Danger Committee following the Sept. 11, 2001
attacks. Hence...whether a Republican or
Democratic administration occupies the White House next fall, this committee,
which believes that political Islam equates the danger Communism used to pose
to the West, will push for war on Iran.
The Islamic Republic fits all the required criteria for implementing
Bush's pre-emptive strike policy; Iran is developing a nuclear program,
supports terrorism, threatens Israel, Washington's main ally in the region, has
an Islamic autocratic regime that could wreak havoc in the region and may
disrupt the global oil market."
UAE: "Iran Must Open
Up To Nuclear Checks"
The expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf News
maintained (8/24): "It is no secret
that US and European governments harbour deep suspicions about Iran's nuclear
program. Even the technology used by Tehran, Russian, raises concerns in the
west with the echoes of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Iran has been less than totally open about
its plans to develop nuclear energy, in part because Tehran in turn harbours
deep suspicions about US and European governments. But there is no reason, once
matters of safety have been fully dealt with, why Iran should not have the
capability to produce its own nuclear energy.
Critics may argue that Iran does not need such an energy source
considering the abundance of oil. But the oil is primarily for export, an
earner of hard currency, while nuclear energy, if properly managed, can be a
reliable and cheap means of domestic power.
Tehran is too secretive in its approach and this has fuelled, and the
phrase is appropriate in this case, a chain reaction of ever growing skepticism
in the west. But once Iran complies with international standards and allows
open and full inspection of its facilities, then a nuclear program will be
beneficial. But openness is the ingredient most vital to foster international
CHINA: "Would Iran
Launch A ‘Pre-Emptive Strike’ Or Not"
Zi Yun commented in China Radio
International-sponsored official World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao)
(8/26): “Iran’s Defense Minister said on
August 18 that Iran is capable of launching a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against the
U.S. military in the Gulf and defending Iranian nuclear facilities from
attacks.... However, on the 21st, an Iranian
Foreign Ministry spokesman denied this at a routine press conference. Iran wants to use the ‘Meter 3’ to increase
its capability to fight against the U.S.
However, Iran’s test launch of the ‘Meter 3’ missile and its hardline
attitude have brought the reverse result, making the U.S. more resolute about
striking Iranian nuclear facilities and other targets. Iran dared to talk wildly, even claiming that
it would launch a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against the U.S., and the U.S. will not
let it go at that.... If Bush is
ultimately reelected as President, then he will have time to hit Iran.... Under U.S. pressure, Iran is facing a more
and more disadvantageous international environment.... Iran has to be prepared in the face of the
great pressure from the U.S. and its allies.
If it continues to ‘kick against the thorns,’ it could become another
Iraq.... Therefore, after Iranian
officials’ talk of a ‘pre-emptive strike’, the Iranian Foreign Ministry
spokesman stood up and said that ‘it was a misinterpretation,’ looking for a
way to retreat.”
"U.S. Is Busy Deploying Its Military Around Iran"
Zuo Jianxiao observed in official international Global
Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (8/25):
“Analysts believe that after the ouster of the Saddam regime, Iran has
become ‘the only thorn in the eye’ in the Gulf region for the U.S. Although the U.S. has besieged Iraq and
Afghanistan, the U.S. still lacks the right conditions to initiate a war
against Iran. However, there is the
possibility that the U.S. would ‘murder with a borrowed knife:’ it could
secretly support and instigate Israel to use the same old trick it used against
Iraq’s nuclear facilities. In face of
this threat, Iran has tested a new type of medium-range ballistic missile, the
‘Meteor 3'.... It is said that all of
Israel is within the range of Iran’s advanced missiles.”
"Why The U.S. Crusade Against Iran"
Liu Wanyuan said in official magazine Chinese News Weekly (Zhonguo
Xinwen Zhoukan) (8/23): “The U.S.
9/11 independence investigation ultimately concluded that Iran has something to
do with Al Qaeda.... Cautious people
note that in its accusation of Iran’s relations with Al Qaeda, the U.S. uses
the word ‘might’ frequently, which means that the U.S. lacks persuasive and
irrefutable evidence in its accusations against Iran.... Li Guofu, expert from the China Institute of
International Studies told Chinese News Weekly that the U.S. aimed to exert
pressure on the Iranian government through its high profile statement about
Iran’s relations with Al Qaeda. The
U.S.’ primary concern is still the Iranian nuclear program.... Some hints indicate that the U.S. is losing
its patience with the IAEA’s and European countries’ efforts... The U.S.’
attitude towards Iran is currently restricted by two factors: one is the Iraq
situation, and the other is the election.
If the U.S. can stabilize Iraq as soon as possible and realize its
strategic goals in Iraq, it will then target Iran and conduct a tougher stance
against Iran. However, if the U.S. is
entrenched deep into the Iraqi swamp, Bush will learn a lesson from the Iraq
war and not act rashly or blindly against Iran.”
"Iran Will Also Use The Preemptive Strike To Warn Israel Not
to Act Rashly"
Chen Fan commented in official Communist Youth League-run China
Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (8/20): "Although the preemptive strike strategy
seems implausible for use in assaulting Iran’s nuclear facilities, such
strategic thoughts will continually become a theme of Israel’s national
security strategy.... However, some analysts
point out that the reality of the U.S. stationing a large number of forces in
Iraq is noteworthy, because Israel would lose the advantage of U.S.
intelligence and human resource support if it really wanted to launch an
independent sneak attack. To the U.S.,
cooperating with Israel to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities would be a great
political and diplomatic risk. If Israel
succeeded in an assault, Washington would be regarded as and Zionist accessory
by the Islamic world, and more Islamic extremists would launch more severe
terror attacks against Western targets.
The U.S. does not want to see this happen.”
"U.S. Besieges Iran’s Oil Industry"
Tang Zhichao asserted in official international Global
Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (8/18):
“The U.S. government is very dissatisfied with many of its allies
pouring into the Iranian oil market....
There are still doubts about how far the U.S.’ tough policies will
go. There are two clear-cut opposition
groups in the U.S.: the realists...and
the neo-conservatives.... But the two
groups have one thing in common regarding the Bush administration’s Iran
policy: they both criticize the Bush administration’s lack of a clear and
consistent policy toward Iran for the past four years. Actually the U.S. has been trapped in a
dilemma on its Iran policy: on the one hand it wants to contain Iran from
developing nuclear weapons, on the other hand, it needs Iran’s cooperation in
Afghanistan and Iraq, assisting in stabilizing the Iraq situation. The reason that Japan agreed to sign an
accord is, to a great degree, that it sees prospects for U.S.-Iran
relations. Different from the situation
in Iraq, most of Bush’s western allies have great economic interests and large
amount of investment in Iran. In the
future, for a certain period, the Iran nuclear issue will probably become an
important battlefield on which the U.S. and its allies will engage.”
"Why Have Iran-Iraq Relations Become
Cao Yiqun opined in official popular Beijing
Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnianbao) (8/18): "In regard to Iran-Iraq relations, the
U.S. attitude is a sensitive factor. All
facts have proven that the Bush administration’s criticism against Iran is
getting tougher and tougher, and that the U.S. is treating Iran as the top
target for its war on terror. What the
Bush administration worries about most is that Iran is secretly researching
nuclear weapons, which poses a threat to ‘the U.S. greater Middle East
democracy initiative.’ The U.S. has
deployed its military in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq
as well, and a strategic siege against Iran has formed. This has made Iran aware of the severity of
its border situation. To a certain
extent, the development of Iran-Iraq relations basically represents changes in
the U.S.’ Iran policy.”
CHINA (MACAU SAR): "U.S. And Iran Have A Trial Of Strength
Over Nuclear Issues"
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked
(8/24): "Debates between the U.S.
and Iran over nuclear issues are getting heated. The U.S. President's National Security
Advisor Rice issued a tough warning to Iran on August 8. She said that the U.S. would adopt all
measures to stop Iran from possessing nuclear weapons. Subsequently, U.S. Under Secretary of State
Bolton told the media in Washington that Iran had told Britain, Germany and
France that it could develop nuclear weapons within three years.... The media generally believes that Bush raises
the issue of Iran just three month before the presidential election because he
wants to use security issues to highlight his counter terrorism moves and to
consolidate his position. Besides, he
uses Iranian issues to shift people's concerns and criticisms of U.S. failure
in controlling the chaotic situation in Iraq to increase his chances of
winning. In dealing with Iranian issues,
the Bush administration is at a crossroads.
Since the U.S. presidential election is approaching, the Bush
administration can only press Iran to make public its nuclear plan and its
nuclear facilities in accordance to the UN resolution, but it will not be able
to come up with a formal Iran policy. If
Bush is reelected, he may attempt to overthrow the current Iranian regime in
his next step."
VIETNAM: "Pushing Too
Hard, Reaching Breaking Point"
Hoang Son wrote in official Foreign Ministry-run weekly Quoc Te
(8/27): "Iran has stunned the world
when it threw out a threat at both the U.S. and Israel at the same
time.... That Iran publicly shifted from
a defensive mode to take the initiative to make a threat is a big turning point
in its confrontation with the U.S. regarding its nuclear program.... Probably, Iran's strong reaction has stemmed
from the fear that there might be a pre-emptive attack by either the U.S. or
Israel aimed at Bushehr nuclear site....
With its threat, Iran wants to remind the U.S. 'Don't push too hard,
everything has a breaking point'....
This is difficult for Mr. Bush, he cannot adventurously order a
punishing measure immediately because the presidential elections are
coming. Besides, Iran is not easy to
beat to submission like Iraq."
CANADA: "Iran And The
The leading Globe and Mail maintained (8/26): "Unless Iran takes meaningful steps to
show its nuclear program is peaceful, the IAEA should refer the case to the
UNSC and put Iran on notice that the world will not stand by as it develops
"Iran's Dangerous Game"
The nationalist Ottawa Citizen commented (8/23): "By threatening to bomb both Israel and
U.S. troops, Iran's mullahs are playing a dangerous game. Such reckless belligerence may play well to
Iran's domestic audience, but as other Middle Eastern dictatorships have
learned, the blowback can be devastating....
Iran is looking for trouble. Maybe the mullahs, like so many Middle
Eastern autocrats before them, are more bark than bite. But can the U.S., or
Israel, take that chance? The mullahs should know that when you pretend to be
armed and dangerous, someone is likely to shoot you."
The leading Globe and Mail opined (8/20): "Is Iran headed for war with the U.S.
and Israel? Judging by recent news reports, one could be forgiven for thinking
so. In the past several days, sabre-rattling, primarily from the Iranian side,
has grown deafening.... The public war
of words must be taken with a grain of salt. Many analysts believe an
Osirak-style strike on Iran is a practical impossibility, both because the
country's nuclear facilities are widely dispersed and because the U.S., which
already has its hands full in Iraq, would oppose it. The last thing President
Bush wants in an election year is a broader Mideast war. The U.S. stance so far
has been one of pointedly diplomatic bellicosity.... That said, there is cause for concern. Last
June, Iran reneged on a commitment to suspend its uranium enrichment
program.... Clearly Iran is engaging in
brinkmanship, almost certainly predicated on the assumption that the looming
presidential election and the war in Iraq have tied the U.S.' hands. The fact that the mullahs are probably
bluffing--Iran would stand no chance in a military showdown with Israel, let
alone the U.S.--does not make their posturing any less dangerous. For the U.S.
election will be over in November, and Iraq is moving, albeit haltingly, toward
greater democracy and stability. Saddam Hussein bluffed, allowing the world to
believe he posed an imminent threat. He's now locked in a cell."
Threatens To Attack The U.S."
Daily-of-record La Nacion stated
(8/20): "Uneasy due to the presence
of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and Israel's atomic power, Iran
warned--for the first time in history--that it's ready to launch preemptive
attacks against its 'enemies' if it feels that its advanced nuclear program
will targeted in an offensive. The
verbal challenge does away with a period of relative 'detente' between Tehran
and Washington.... And this takes place
following a week of insistent rumors of Israel's alleged plan to bomb the
atomic plants of the Islamic Republic in an attempt to neutralize its advanced
nuclear program.... It's the first time
that Iran publicly mentions the possibility of taking the initiative before its
adversaries. And, in an attempt to make this threat more credible, Iran's
Defense Minister Chajmani explicitly described the risks run by both the U.S.
and Israel.... If Chajmani reiterated
yesterday the risks for the U.S. it's because, in the eyes of Iran's military,
it's hard for Israelis to act on their own....
Tehran's threat follows insistent rumors across the Middle East last
week on the possibility that Israel may be getting ready to bomb Iran's nuclear
plants.... For their part, Israelis fear
it may be too late and Iranians may already have a nuclear weapon."