International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

September 24, 2004

September 24, 2004





**  The West may be facing "its very last chance to prevent" Iran from gaining nuclear arms.


**  Iranian dailies lambaste "arrogant powers" who "trample on the rights" of other countries.


**  Muslim observers chide the West for its "hypocrisy" vis-à-vis Israeli nuclear weapons.




Iranian nuke program 'a ticking bomb'--  Editorialists in Europe and Japan agreed that despite some differences in approach, their countries shared with the U.S. a "common concern about Iran's nuclear weapons development."  Iran's "attitude does not bode well," said Slovakia's influential center-left Pravda, calling the mullahs' insistence that Tehran is interested only in the peaceful uses of nuclear power "unconvincing, to say the least."  Conservative papers in Britain said the West faced the prospect of a "nuclear Iran which supports terrorism, denies Israel's right to exist and...would like to destroy the liberal democracies."  Such a power "has to be contained, by negotiation, military intervention or the fomenting of an internal uprising."  The independent Financial Times, however, characterized the standoff with Tehran as part of Washington's "broader understand how U.S. power alone" cannot end proliferation, suggesting that Iran would likely give up its nuclear ambitions "only as part of a grand strategic bargain with the U.S. that provided" Iran alternative security guarantees.    


'An inalienable right'--  Iran's very conservative, pro-Khameini Jomhuri-ye Eslami proclaimed that the nuclear program enjoys the "total support of the people" and is a "right that cannot be forsaken."  The paper charged that the move to rein in Iran's nuclear program was "an Israeli ploy" to get "other countries to take the lead" for them; the Europeans used their negotiations "to stab us in the back."  Having "joined the global atomic club" in the energy sector, the paper boasted, "resistance" against "the bullying and coercion of...arrogant powers" will be easier.  Conservative Hemayat agreed that "no country should be allowed to threaten Iran's security."  In contrast, moderate, pro-Khatami Mardom Salari argued against any withdrawal from the NPT, urging that "the difficult and sensitive work of diplomacy should be pursued."


U.S. uses IAEA 'as a weapon'--  Muslim analysts focused on the West's non-proliferation "double standards."  Bahrain's English-language Daily Tribune asked a common question:  "If the idea is to have a nukes-free Middle East, then why [are] the Israelis allowed" to possess WMD?  "Pressure on Tehran," it added, "can yield results only when the same yardstick is applied" to Israel and its "diabolical atomic designs."  Pakistani journals, pointing to the "peaceful purposes" of Iran's program, noted that uranium enrichment is permitted under the NPT and labeled IAEA demands "unmerited."  U.S. actions against Iran reflect "nothing but enmity with Islam," said Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt.  Nationalist Israeli outlets, meanwhile, stressing that Iranian nuclear weapons would pose "an existential threat" to the country, declared that Israel "should not wait until negotiations are over" to eliminate the threat.


Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888,


EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness


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 44 reports from 19 countries September 16 - 23, 2004.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Ticking Bomb"


The conservative Times editorialized (9/22):  "By announcing that it has embarked on a process that will lead to uranium enrichment, and thus the material for an atomic arsenal, Iran has, in effect, said 'no' to further cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)....  It is now time for the UN Security Council finally to address this matter and to make it clear what the sanctions will be if the IAEA ultimatum is disregarded.  This may well, alas, be the very last chance left to prevent Iran from becoming a dangerous nuclear power."


"Of Mice And Nukes"


The conservative Daily Telegraph had this to say (9/20):  "Whoever prevails (in the U.S. election), America will be faced with a would-be nuclear Iran which supports terrorism, denies Israel's right to exist and, in the words of its extremists, would like to destroy the liberal democracies.  Such a power has to be contained, by negotiation, military intervention or the fomenting of an internal uprising....  Whatever the result on November 2, Iran will be high on the next administration's agenda.  Both there and in North Korea, determined and wily mice have placed the cat in an unenviable dilemma."


"The Iraq Intelligence Fiasco Exposes Us To Terrible Danger"


Max Hastings commented in the left-of-center Guardian editorialized (9/20):  "The West's options, its ability to pursue a credible strategy of deterrence towards North Korea and Iran, have been critically diminished by the Iraq fiasco."


"The Need For New Thinking On Iran"


Philip Stephens wrote in the independent Financial Times (Internet version, 9/17):  "For the Europeans, signing up to an IAEA ultimatum is not the same as agreeing with the American strategy....  The war in Iraq badly fractured the transatlantic relationship.   European about the possibility that, if Mr. Bush is re-elected, disagreements about Iran could shatter the alliance beyond repair.  European engagement with Tehran has not been a complete failure.  A great deal more has been learnt about Iran's nuclear program.  Russia, the principal supplier of its nuclear equipment, has been kept on side....  The West has also bought some time.  The fatal weakness, however, has been the fact that negotiations have been tolerated, rather than supported, by Washington.  Were Iran ever to contemplate surrendering the ambition for nuclear weapons, it would do so only as part of a grand strategic bargain with the U.S. that provided alternative guarantees of its security....  Iran illustrates the broader failure in Washington to understand how U.S. power alone cannot halt the march towards nuclear proliferation.  Iran has the sovereign right, if it so chooses, to withdraw from the non-proliferation treaty.  Tehran might even borrow some of Mr. Bush's rhetoric about the primacy of national sovereignty over treaties....  In such circumstances nothing in international law would justify pre-emptive US strikes.  The U.S. administration also seems to miss the irony that, even as it refuses to contemplate anything but coercion in its dealings with Iran, it has been obliged to admit the failure of efforts to isolate North Korea....  There is something odd about being ready to talk, albeit in a multilateral setting, to North Korea but remaining unwilling to contemplate negotiations with Iran."


FRANCE:  "A Crisis Looms"


Maurin Picard remarked in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/22):  “An open crisis is looming between Iran and the West....  In an unexpected gesture of hard diplomacy, President Khatami provoked the West’s consternation when he intimated his regime’s intention to pursue a nuclear program outside any control from the international community....  The situation does not incite optimism....  The West was used to Tehran’s ambiguous stance.  At least now it knows where it stands....  While this new attitude from Iran is a slap in the face of U.S. policy on containment, the disappointment is even greater for European diplomacy, which saw itself as having a moderating role, but which is now at the end of its rope and may decide to join forces with American diplomacy in dealing with Iran.”


GERMANY:  "The Limits Of The Law"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg editorialized (9/23):  "How do the EU Coordinator, his 25 foreign ministers or even the superpower America want to hinder Tehran from building the bomb?  International law does not offer a lot.   The UN can only impose sanctions as long as Iran belongs to the signatory countries of the Nonproliferation Treaty.  The IAEA is on difficult ground when it demands that Iran must put a stop to its uranium enrichment.  President Khatami insists on his country's right to use nuclear technology and enrichment for peaceful purposes.  If the regime in Tehran wanted to produce nuclear bombs it only had to abandon NPT.   Legally speaking, there would then be no obstacle to become a nuclear power.  The international community would then be suddenly confronted with the question of how to match up international law and realpolitik.  It would have to chose between the danger, an action outside law would pose, and the risk of the bomb getting into the hands of fundamentalists.  It would be dramatic if Iran became a nuclear power.  The region, which is not exactly a place of harmony, would be further destabilized.  In addition, there is the risk that the U.S. or Israel strikes unilaterally, violating international law....  The West must prevent such an escalation of the conflict by all means.  The Iranian leadership knows about it and is therefore quite confident.  However, it looks like even hard-liners want to prevent a complete international isolation of the country.  That is an opportunity, and the U.S. and EU should use it with their carrot-and-stick policy."


"The New Nuclear Crisis"


Gero von Randow argued in center-left, weekly Die Zeit of Hamburg (9/23):  "IAEA chief El Baradei is reviving the concept of allowing only multinational companies to work with nuclear fuels, while all countries who have nuclear plants get supply guaranties.  The German example shows that this method can work.  The multinational company Urenco enriches uranium for Germans.  Germans are so showing their neighbors that they do not want to become a nuclear power. We can assume that the experienced diplomat El Baradei has quietly mobilized support for his proposal; an international group of experts was set up and even Israel joined it.  Initial results, which will be announced soon, will probably comprise regional solutions, because neighbors are usually especially interested in controlling each other.  Skeptics fear that such a proposal cannot become reality, because it includes a partial renunciation of sovereignty.  The results will be revised in May 2005--no one is expecting a silver bullet, but the conference could encourage reformers and lead to individual agreements:  renunciation of nuclear techniques with supply guarantees in return.  That is the way the Iranian problem could be solved elegantly.  Mullahs would not lose face.  Even better, the agreement could become a model and, in the long run, build up trust in Israel."


"Nuclear Domino"


Matthias Arning opined in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (9/23):  "It seems to be an easy game for Tehran, as it can point its finger at more powerful governments that play with the authority of the UN and show little respect for it.  Emphasizing the U.S. action in Iraq, Tehran believes it is on the right path with its nuclear policy.  Above all, it claims that it is essential for Iran because the golden years of oil will come to an end.  But pointing the finger at the U.S.-led war in Iraq is an Iranian trick.  Khatami's government is interested in dominating the region.  The importance of the nuclear program must be seen in the light of Israel's power.  Maybe that some senior White House experts believed the domino theory of pacifying the Middle East after the Iraq war would work differently."


"Iranian Weapons Of Mass Destruction"


Olivia Schoeller commented in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (9/23):  "If U.S. President Bush was following his own policy he would have to send soldiers to Iran immediately, because the government announced that it will continue its nuclear program....  The Iranians are more polite than Saddam and the international community is saving a lot of money, because their government puts its program on the table and does not hide it like the Iraqi dictator....  The events in Iran are a disaster for the Bush administration, as they calling into question the sense of the Iraq war.  While the U.S. occupied Iraq because its administrations suspected WMD there, Iran is allowed to go on although we know that it is producing a nuclear bomb....  The recent events also show that America's domino theory did not work.  The liberation of Iraq did not result into a democratization of the Middle East.  Far from it!  Instead of strengthening reformers around President Khatami, Mullahs got more powerful...  The situation in Iraq is the reason why Iran can be so frank about its plans at the moment....  European diplomacy has also failed.  The Iranian government canceled the negotiations.  That makes clear that the carrot-and-stick strategy--European diplomacy and American threats--is no longer effective.  Iran should be a warning for transatlantic partners:  they will fail if they don't act together."     


"Leeway For Tehran"


Rudolph Chimelli commented in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (9/18):  "If Europeans speak with one voice, which is very rare, they can achieve something.  At the Viennese IAEA, they have managed to find a compromise in the dispute over Iran's nuclear potential; the U.S. abandoned its demand on an 'automatic trigger' of the case....  Given the debacle in Iraq, Washington will not desire a unilateral military action--leaving the UN aside.  An attack would risk the emergence of a widespread trouble spot from the Palestine to Afghanistan.  This would not be a step towards democratizing the Middle East.  The political damage would not be less if Israelis became the U.S. henchman and attacked Iranian targets by air strikes.  Not even the military gain would be clear.  The Iraqi nuclear plant near Baghdad was easy to identify in 1981, when the Israeli Air Force destroyed it.  But the Iranian nuclear sector is widespread and operates underground and in the center of towns.  The visible nuclear plant on the Gulf, which is being built by Russians, cannot produce nuclear weapons."


"Endless Quarrel Over Iran's Nuclear Program"


Frank Herold argued in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (9/18):  "Question:  what has the tragedy in Sudan in common with the Iranian nuclear program?  Answer:  both show the helplessness of the United Nations.  The mechanisms of decision-making are too complicated to result in effective solutions.  Darfur and the quarrel over the Iranian nuclear program make clear the urgency of a UN reform.  Diplomats discussed the Iranian issue for a week at the IAEA in Vienna and nothing came out of it.  The quarrel over the measures seems to be endless.  They could even agree on an nonspecific resolution that could be interpreted in many ways.  Unfortunately, the mechanism of the UN does not allow majority decisions in such cases.  That means that the country that is to be controlled--Iran--must agree on the checks, but Iran is blocking them.  But Iran is not the only one to blame.  The resolution drafted by the U.S. was a provocation, as it included much more than checks of the nuclear program.  Through the back door, the U.S. tried to get access to important Iranian military sites.  This has certainly not increased Tehran's willingness to negotiate."


ITALY:  "Tehran Defies UN On Nuclear Issue"


Roberto Fabbri noted in pro-government, leading center-right daily Il Giornale (9/22):  “Tehran is set to defy the UN, U.S., Europe and Israel on the nuclear issue....  Ignoring the unanimous passage of the IAEA resolution that called for the suspension of all uranium enrichment programs, Iranian authorities announced the resumption of the process....  Iran has often reiterated its lack of interest in producing a nuclear arsenal, saying its objective was to produce energy for civilian purposes.  But the fact that it is one of the world’s leading oil producers and given the degree of hostility toward Israel, support the charge that Iran is pursuing a secret military nuclear program to attack Israel.  Now we await the reactions of the Americans, Israelis and Europeans, as well as the IAEA.  The White House supports Israel, even though for the time being it is not being forthright.  It’s also known that Bush’s foreign policy agenda, in case of re-election, will include Iran.  Bush’s objective is regime change in Tehran.”


RUSSIA:  "A Painful Issue"


Sergey Leskov wrote in reformist Izvestiya (9/23):  "The chief trouble with terrorism is that it is unpredictable.  The Beslan hostage crisis shows that, with terrorists, morality is non-existent.  It is terrifying to think of what might happen if bin Laden and the likes of him got hold of nuclear weapons....  Iran is the most painful and involved issue.  Russia, having signed a profitable contract with Iran to construct an atomic power plant, has had to shield that country from U.S. charges.  Nevertheless, Russia supported the latest IAEA resolution on Iran.  To Americans, an inaccuracy in a testimony is tantamount to a confession of guilt.  There are lots of these in Iran's answers to the questions it has been asked.  That makes Russia's stand appear ambiguous."


"It's Like Iraq Before The War"


Vladimir Bogdanov observed in official government Rossiyskaya Gazeta (9/23):  "The current situation is reminiscent of Iraq before the war.  Then experts were sure that dictator Saddam Hussein was about to get hold of a nuclear bomb.  This is exactly how they feel about Tehran now.  The experts were wrong about Iraq, but they seem more certain about Iran."


"Bombing In A Clever Way"


Dmitriy Dubov, Mariya Grishina and Aleksandr Timofeyev wrote from Jerusalem in reformist Vremya Novostey (9/22):  "The United States is planning to sell $319 million worth of 'smart' bombs to Israel....  As Iran asserts the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, Western sources increasingly speak of the construction of large underground bunkers near Tehran which, reportedly, have to do with uranium enrichment.  Striking its nuclear sites may provoke Iran to retaliate against Israel, with the conflict escalating into a regional war.  But the 'smart' bombs supplied to Israel can damp Tehran's nuclear ardor and make it listen more carefully to the Americans' calls for restraint.  In Israeli hands, 'smart' bombs will become an instrument of psychological warfare between Iran and the West."


"New Irangate In The Making"


Vladimir Ivanov wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (9/21):  "Oblivious of their lack of success in making Iraq conform to standards of Western democracy, Pentagon neo-conservatives and their bellicose president, who fully shares their views, are preparing to overthrow the autocratic regime in Iran....  Whether this is part of the election campaign, a kind of the 'October surprise'...or a way to bring pressure to bear on Iran has yet to be found out.  One thing is clear--Bush is in a bind and is turning over backward not only to retain power, but also to keep Shiites in Iraq and Iran from joining hands.  That could make things even more difficult for the Americans in the Middle East.  Local regimes may put aside their differences and get together to build a common front against the United States, ending up with a new Irangate for the man at the White House."


"Iran Must Give In To IAEA Before November 25"


Mikhail Zygar said in business-oriented Kommersant (9/20):  "Over the weekend the IAEA adopted a resolution requesting Iran to suspend uranium enrichment-related operation and open up for international inspection.  The United States has had its way--the above-mentioned resolution is the IAEA's sternest regarding Iran.  Tehran has responded by threatening to break off with the IAEA, which, incidentally, fits in the U.S. plans, too.  Obviously, the dispute over Iran will drag, as Tehran will persist and countries behind it will turn up the heat.  Sooner or later the United States will declare that, with the peaceful means of resolving the crisis exhausted, a preemptive strike is the only way to stop Tehran from getting hold of nuclear weapons."


"Russia Is Target"


Yuriy Glukhov contended in neo-communist weekly Slovo (9/17):  "Russia is the ultimate target of the on-going attack on Iran.  Just as in the Iraq case, the United States is looking to have Russia fall out with Iran and to get it ousted from a strategic area, its economic ties with Iran broken off.  It all started over the Bushehr nuclear power plant....  Double standards are characteristic of U.S. diplomacy.  This is all too apparent in the Middle East....  It is the kind of policy that causes armed conflicts and bloody impasses.  After Iraq, using force in Iran would get the Americans in an even worse disaster."


SLOVAKIA:  "Tehran Put Its Foot Down, So Did The World"


Boris Latta commented in the influential center-left daily Pravda (9/20):  "Tehran's attitude does not bode well.  First, because this means an interruption to a dialogue of sorts.  Moreover, a dialogue with a country that makes no secret of its power ambitions wrapped in the garb of the cleanliness of faith.  Second, Iranian stubbornness could mean an increase in the number of countries that are able to obtain the radioactive material necessary for the production of so-called 'dirty bombs.'  Tehran's claims that its activities in the Middle East area are only connected with peaceful utilization of nuclear energy sound unconvincing, to say the least.  This is precisely because of the fact that the area has become home to terrorists from all over the world.  Moscow, which supports the Iranian nuclear program, should also realize this better."




ISRAEL:  "Iran's Ultimatum"


Nationalist Hatzofe editorialized (9/20):  "The IAEA is demanding that Iran freeze its plans to develop nuclear weapons....  Indeed all 35 countries that are represented in the IAEA unanimously accepted the resolution, but Iran knows that for a large part of the European countries it is only lip-service and that they do not care a bit about the Iranian nuclear program....  Iran couldn't have progressed in its nuclear plan if European countries did not supply it with the necessary equipment....  The existence of nuclear weapons in Iran constitutes an existential threat to the Israeli state....  Israel should not wait until negotiations are over.  The one who answered [the prayers of] the Israeli Air Force pilots on their way to Iraq will answer them on their way to Iran."


"The Moment of Truth For Iran"


Efrayim Ganor opined in independent, Russian-lanaguage Novosti Nedeli (9/19):  "If the IAEA Board of Governors halts its negotiations with Iran without achieving concrete positive results and without adopting the decision demanded by the United States and Israel, Bush and Sharon...will have to move from words to deeds.  In such a case, neither Europe nor Russia will be able to prevent a powerful strike on Iran....  It can be assumed that despite all threats on the part of the international community and despite all its efforts, Iran will continue its development work, especially as it is already quite close to its goal.  The Iranians believe that the production of their own nuclear weapons is a cause of national importance, and there is no one in the country's leadership capable of making a sober appraisal of the real disposition of forces.  It can be a secret to no one in the world that nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamic fanatics, whose official goal is the world Islamic revolution and the destruction of Israel, are something terrible and unpredictable.  This is why the United States and the Jewish state will not abandon their intentions should Europe, Russia, and the IAEA representatives fail to persuade Iran to...[reject] the development of nuclear weapons and their deployment on their soil. The only remaining question is which precise means will be used against Iran....  One way or another, Iran has already approached the red line, the line beyond which serious complications await....  If Bush remains the U.S. president after the elections, Iran will find itself in the crosshairs of bombsights:  the United States and Israel will start direct preparations for the operation to destroy Iran's nuclear potential very soon."


EGYPT:  "Provocative Resolutions...In Favor Of Israel"   


Pro-government Al-Jumhuriyah editorialized (Internet version, 9/20):  Two days ago the Security Council...passed a resolution threatening Sudan with sanctions over Darfur despite Sudan's concerted efforts to resolve the crisis....  The IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna passed a resolution asking Iran to stop uranium enrichment activities....  But at the same time no international institution is meeting to discuss Israeli forces' massacres of helpless Palestinians or the Israeli nuclear arsenal....  This is a problem which undermines the legality of international institutions."


BAHRAIN:  "N-Yardstick Must Be Same For Iran, Israel"


The English-language, pro-government Daily Tribune editorialized (Internet version, 9/20):  "How easily those who want to tame Iran for its nuclear ambitions forget Israel’s diabolical atomic designs.  One has lost the count of how many times Tel Aviv has pooh-poohed the United Nations and the world community over its secret Dimona nuclear plant.  If the idea is to have a nukes-free Middle East, then why the Israelis are allowed, nay encouraged, to go ahead with the production of the weapons of mass destruction?...  Pressure on Tehran can yield results only when the same yardstick is applied to Tel Aviv also....  If the Security Council went as far as punishing Tehran with sanctions, Iran might follow North Korea and pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether....  It is heartening to note that El Baradei is not convinced that Iran is an imminent threat, but his call for Tehran to suspend enrichment-related activities until it had been proven its program was for peaceful purposes, should be taken seriously....  The ball is in Iran’s court now.  The Islamic republic has to come up to the expectations of the IAEA and Europe.  At the same time the world leaders and the Security Council have to take a serious note of the Israeli bellicosity arrogant powers Dimona."


IRAQ:  "Iranian Nuclear File"


Yusuf Azizi commented in the Baghdad edition of independent, London-based Al-Zaman (9/15):  "The Iranian nuclear file has been a focal point of international political attention for more than a year now.  The stir it has caused is basically due to the fact that, in the past 25 years, the country in question has witnessed a major revolution characterized by a measure of violence plus a long bloody war.  Iran is located in an area of tension, living on the slope of a frequently erupting volcano--once in Palestine, then in Afghanistan, and now in Iraq.  Now the question is:  will the volcano, spurred by the repercussions of the nuclear file issue, erupt again, this time in Iran itself, or will it weather the crisis and remain as quiet as the summit of Mount Dimawand, which overlooks the Iranian capital?"  (UNAMI translation)


UAE:  "Be Cautious On Nuclear Reaction--Iran"


Leading English-language, Dubai-based, privately owned Gulf News editorialized (9/21):   "Iran is yet again in the international frame for its nuclear program.  This time the U.S. has threatened both sanctions and further possible action including intervention.  This escalation of American threats ahead of  the agreed multinational action cannot be solely due to the reality in Iran and has to have something to do with the elections going on in the U.S.  It is necessary to repeat a simple message:  Iran has every right to develop a non-military, peaceful nuclear program, but it continues to do so and is becoming a serious issue for Iran and the Middle East.  In addition, as Iran moves ahead with its program, it is very important that Iranian nuclear sites are open to international inspection, as all nuclear sites in the world would be.  The IAEA has a vital role in monitoring the world's nuclear resources.  Iran categorically denies U.S. claims that it is developing nuclear weapons.  But the news yesterday was that Washington did not seem to wait for the process to happen, and was ready to move to take unilateral action.  There are two issues here:  the U.S. has to follow the agreed international route to a solution, and Iran has to have a transparent peaceful nuclear program."


"Need For Regime Change"


The English-language, expatriate-oriented Gulf Today had this to say (Internet version, 9/21):  "The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) resolution against Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program has made confrontation unavoidable....  It is time for a rethink on the nuclear non-proliferation regime controlled by the IAEA....  Threats of sanctions and the intimidating posture by the U.S. administration--obviously under pressure from Israel--have only hardened Tehran's stand....   Baradei's statement on widespread nuclear weapons capability raises the question of how non-proliferation can be ensured meaningfully....  The present regime as marked by the Cold War-era nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is inadequate to control the spread of nuclear weapons....  The NPT...worked only in the early post-Cold War years.  As security definitions changed in many parts of the world, countries redefined their own priorities.  The absence of a credible international order to reassure mutually suspecting neighbors' security concerns paved the way for proliferation.  Double standards like letting some countries off without any questions asked worsened the situation.  How can the IAEA insist others to behave when Israel is allowed to go its own way in the name of its security?  How can security be one-sided?  The IAEA's job needs to be revamped.  The starting point could be to establish a system that accepts every country's need for security on an even level."


"In A New Mood Of Defiance"


The English-language, expatriate-oriented Khaleej Times held (Internet version, 9/20):  "Iran has reacted in defiance to calls from IAEA--the UN nuclear watchdog--to suspend all its uranium enrichment activities forthwith.  It has categorically said it would not halt them, and what is more, would also block snap site checks if the issue goes to the Security Council. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator...said Iran would consider pulling out of the NPT if the Security Council recommended punitive action against it.  In justifiable anger, he called the suspension demand illegal....  On the face of it, Iran seems to have a point, as which country with self-respect would like to be dictated?  It may be recalled that Iran had agreed to the suspension of nuclear enrichment in an accord last year with three European countries.  But it now says that Britain, France and Germany have violated the accord by pulling up Tehran, because the accord’s terms define the suspension as voluntary....  Going by its current mood, Iran is bent on pursuing enrichment as it feels nobody can stop it from doing so for peaceful purposes, mainly generation of power.  Theoretically, nobody has any objection to Iran doing that, but uranium enrichment is a tricky issue as the same process is used for developing nuclear weapons.  In the ordinary course of events, Iran should not be facing any problem, but the fact is that the perception about Iran in the West is that it is sure to use this technology for nuclearization.  America’s attitudes to Iran are shaped by its past dealings with a nation that had humiliated it in the late 70s during the hostage crisis....  But even the European powers do not [trust Iran], as they feel the dominance of conservatives in Iranian politics is too strong for comfort....  Clearly, the UN would rather err on the side of precaution than be caught unawares by a ‘nuclear-active’ nation that the U.S. still considers a ‘rogue state’.  It is for Iran to blot that perception by promoting more reforms on the home front and presenting a more balanced picture of itself."




CHINA:  "Nuclear Resolution Irritates Iran"


Xu Jie and Chen Yiming commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (9/22):  “Analysts think that the reasons for Iran’s tough stance on resuming the enrichment of nuclear fuel...are:  first, Iran thinks that the U.S. situation in Iraq makes it incapable of launching any ‘military action in a real sense’ against Iran.  Second, Iran sees that the EU has a different stance from the U.S. on Iran’s nuclear issue....  Third, due to its own strength, Iran believes that the U.S. will not take any military action freely.  Bush currently has no time to deal with the Iran issue.  His deterring Iran through the IAEA is obviously a ‘stalling tactic.’  Once Bush is re-elected, it is possible that U.S. policy on the Iran nuclear crisis will make a sudden turn.”


"Iran Exercises Its Military To Deter U.S. Attack"


Zi Yun commented in the China Radio International-sponsored World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (9/20):  “Iran’s media recently reported that Iranian elite troops are holding large-scale exercises at its border with Iraq....  International consensus holds that Iran is making preparations to repel an invasion, aimed at the overt military threats from the U.S. and its ally, Israel.  Israel is not capable of making a ‘surgical’ air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.  Because of U.S. and Israeli threats, Iran has dispersed its nuclear facilities....  Military action against Iran may also arouse anti-Jewish sentiment and ignite an even fiercer war in the Middle East than the Iraq war.  Analysts believe that the battles between Iran and the U.S. and Israel will become more tense.  Iran is in a disadvantageous position....  But facing the coming elections, the U.S. will not take action against Iran in the near future.  The new U.S. government’s Iran policy after the election will undoubtedly have an influence on U.S.-Iran relations and Iran-Israel relations.”


JAPAN:  "Iran Should Demonstrate Sincerity To Regain International Confidence"


Liberal Mainichi editorialized (9/22):  "The international community should not overlook Iran's suspected nuclear weapons development.  Tehran should publicize fully its past nuclear projects and accept international nuclear inspections.  The IAEA has issued an 'ultimatum' to Tehran ordering it to adopt the new resolution.  Despite some differences between the U.S., Japan and Europe in their specific demands on Tehran, there is common concern about Iran's nuclear weapons development.  Tehran must give a full account of its nuclear programs and demonstrate sincerity in order to regain the confidence of the international community."


INDONESIA:  "Not Only Iran’s Satellite and Nukes That Must Be Highlighted"


Leading independent daily Kompas commented (9/23):  “Any time we raise the issue of WMD, we are always faced with bitter realities.  That is to say, countries such as Iraq, North Korea and now Iran have been pressured to the extent that Iraq even had to be attacked.  But for other countries believed to possess around 200 nukes, the U.S., as well as Britain and France, turn a blind eye.  In fact, as Jonathan Power wrote in the IHT yesterday, Iran is forced to pursue such daring and dangerous steps because it feels it lives in the most dangerous environment in the world.  If the world is silent about Israel, why should there be much ado about Iran and the others?  Actually, we should pose the question as to why the U.S., and four other countries are allowed to possess nuclear arms but not the others....  Thus, merely urging Iran to stop its nuclear program without any other initiatives, particularly those relating to Israel’s nukes, it is clear that the U.S. is taking a hypocritical stance and applying a double standard.  If the U.S. and other Western countries really wish to stop WMD proliferation, all the arms plants, not just one, must be demolished.  In only one plant, Iran’s this time, be sure that this would will be morally illegitimate and would only trigger proliferation and conflicts.”


"Iran Finally Demonstrates Defiance On Nuclear Issue"


Leading independent daily Kompas editorialized (9/21):  “After continually being cornered on the nuclear issue, Iran finally showed a defiant position.  Iran rejected the UN Resolution for an end to its uranium enrichment activities....  There has been speculation that the U.S. was behind the resolution.  Even last week the U.S. insisted that the UN bring the issue to the UNSC to punish Iran [and] the U.S. will use its influence to [force the UN] to impose sanctions on Iran....  If the UNSC imposes sanctions, Iran would likely follow North Korea and quit the NPT.  But Iran’s position is not like that of North Korea.  The question is why North Korea is less cornered than Iran.  It would not be naïve to say that Iran’s nuclear issue is complicated by its hostilities towards the U.S.”


"Controversy Over Iran Nuclear Issue Heats Up Again"


Leading independent daily Kompas commented (9/16):  “The West, the U.S. in particular, apparently likes to use any possible means to pressure Iran on nuclear weapon program issues.  Although the investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency did not find any concrete evidence of such a program, the U.S. continues to accuse the country of possessing nuclear weapon....  The Non-Proliferation Educational Center (NPEC) said that Iran will possess nuclear bombs within one to four years.  More sensationally, the NPEC warned that Iran is ready to support terrorist groups as soon as it has nuclear capabilities....  Indeed, NPEC’s charges should be questioned because NPEC is partly funded by the Pentagon.  NPEC is allegedly working for the Pentagon, which from time to time likes to corner Iran on nuclear issue....  The dispute between the U.S. and Iran is sensitive because it deals with the nuclear issue coupled with the sentiment of hostilities.”




INDIA:  "Iran And Non-Proliferation"


The centrist Hindu editorialized (9/23):  "While Iran has the capacity to enrich uranium to weapon grade levels, it is apparently less interested in developing nuclear arms than in securing external assistance for its energy program.  The United States and other countries that seek to enforce the global non-proliferation regime rely on two arguments to support their contention that the Iranian nuclear program has a weapon orientation.  First, they maintain that a country rich in petroleum resources does not really need alternative sources of energy.  Secondly, they contend that if the intention and purpose of enrichment is peaceful, uranium needs to be enriched only to much lower levels than Iran is currently capable of.  The first line of reasoning is weak:  no country can impose energy policies on another; moreover, it was Washington that encouraged the Shah's regime to develop a nuclear program.  In response to the second argument, Tehran says it is willing to reach an agreement on enrichment levels through negotiations but will not bow to diktats.  The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has tried to strike a compromise but the attempt has not succeeded mainly because it is under American pressure to take a tough line.  Iran's current maneuvers are clearly aimed at making the votaries of the NPT deliver on their promises and live up to their obligations under the discriminatory global nuclear bargain.  Tehran must avoid falling into the temptation of believing that non-conventional weapons would confer a measure of security, given a strategic situation in which the U.S. has invaded and occupied countries to its east and west.  Iran follows a policy of strategic ambiguity in an effort to strengthen its demand that Israel too should be pressed to give up its nuclear weapons.  The Zionist state, which is not a signatory to the NPT, has not been under any pressure to give up the arsenal it is known to possess.  Iran has just cause to complain that the votaries of the non-proliferation regime persist with their blatant double standards."


PAKISTAN:  "And Now, Iran"


The second-largest Urdu-language daily Nawa-e-Waqt took this view (9/23):  "According to a newspaper report, the U.S. will provide Israel with 5,000 smart bombs to destroy Iranian nuclear installations....  Although our rulers are cooperating fully with the U.S. these days, America continues to eye our nuclear program threateningly.  Similarly, the Indo-Israeli collaboration adds to this threat in that the U.S., Israel and India might target Pakistan and Iran (nuclear installations) as this would be their common target and interest in the region."


"Iran’s Rightful Defiance"


The center-right national English-language Nation editorialized (9/21):  "Tehran has been consistently maintaining that the enrichment process it is undertaking is entirely for peaceful purposes and that it has no designs to make nuclear weapons.  Its quest for achieving the fuel cycle, making the uranium gas that feeds centrifuges, is permitted under the NPT and hence totally justified.  Under the circumstances, its defiance of the IAEA’s unmerited demand is quite understandable.  One would also be hard put to blame it for adopting a firm stand that it would stop applying the NPT’s additional protocol it signed some time ago to allow tougher inspections, should the matter be taken to the UN Security Council.  The Iranian Majlis might decide to withdraw from the NPT itself.  The hawks running the U.S. administration should learn their lesson from their recent misadventures and stop [their] arm twisting to save them further hatred of the international community and the rest of the world avoidable anxieties.  As the sole superpower, the U.S. should be working to create peace and harmony instead."


"Enemies Of Islam Open Front Against Iran"


Second-largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt held (9/21):  "The world organizations are increasing pressure on Iran at the behest of America.  America is discriminating against Iran; it has already devastated two Muslim countries and ruined and killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims.  America is not willing to shun its animosity with Islam....  The action the American administration is taking against Iran through the UN is nothing but enmity with Islam and the Muslim countries should make a united policy to counter this onslaught." 


"Now It Is Iran’s Turn?"


Karachi based, right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu Jasarat opined (9/21):  "After Afghanistan and Iraq, now as anticipated, the U.S. is planning actions against Iran and Sudan.  Intoxicated by its power the U.S. keeps hurling threats to Iran and Syria.  International observers have come to the conclusion that the U.S. is not going to stop after Iraq; it will gradually move towards other Muslim states, one by one.  The International Atomic Energy Agency is being used by America as a weapon, and the irony of fate is that the head of this organization is El Baradei, a Muslim....  Now it is time for all Muslim states to stand by the side of Iran and Sudan, or a time will come when it will be their turn too."


IRAN:  "Lessons From The Atomic Dossier Of Iran!"


The extremely conservative, pro-Khameini Jomhuri-ye Eslami maintained (9/21):  "To begin with we ought to accept a number of points as verities and postulates and avoid arguing about them:  this was an Israeli keep a low profile regarding Iran's atomic dossier and instead encourage other countries to take the lead in the matter...and that Israel should hide behind them and guide them from there....  Trusting Europe in nuclear negotiations was our biggest strategic mistake from the beginning....  The process of nuclear talks left its natural course, namely negotiation with IAEA, and that was a serious mistake and distortion.  It led to the three European countries...getting involved in this case; and we saw how they had the mission to stab us in the back....  So, the first step the Islamic Republic of Iran should take in this regard is to rectify that mistake....  The approval of the resolution was the outcome of this American stratagem.  Whatever the end of this story might turn out to be, for now it has once more been proved that arrogant powers trample on the rights of other countries.  In this global confrontation there is only one way to freedom and salvation, namely resistance of countries on the basis of principles, ideals, and national interests.  In other words, it is only by recruiting people, enlightening the public and encouraging them to fight back that it is possible to prepare the grounds for national resistance vis-à-vis the bullying and coercion of foreigners and arrogant powers, and paving the road for vindicating the certain and inalienable rights of a nation that considers access to nuclear science and technology and peaceful use of it its natural and sure right."


"The Politicized Dossier"


IRNA's Arabic-language Al-Vefagh commented (Internet version, 9/20):  "At last, the IAEA Board of Governors has issued its statement on the Iranian nuclear file by a Cesarean operation.  Many rushed to issue statements and interpretations in accordance with their whims.  By looking at the U.S. analysis it seems as if the White House has achieved everything it was looking for through stipulations of the statement....  As for the Europeans, who played a double role, they have chosen to keep quiet so as not to lose all their cards."




The extremely conservative, pro-Khameini Jomhuri-ye Eslami editorialized (9/19):  "Our powerful stance will undermine the weakness of the Western camp even further....  [The nuclear issue enjoys] support among the people and involves a right that cannot be forsaken....  Now that we have advanced in every field and reached self-sufficiency in some of them, and, in the nuclear-energy sector, have joined the global atomic club, resistance will definitely be easier."




Conservative Hemayat opined (9/19):  "No country should be allowed to threaten Iran's security."


"NPT Withdrawal"


Moderate, pro-Khatami Mardom Salari stated (9/19):  "[We oppose] those who want Iran to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty....  Ultimately, the difficult and sensitive work of diplomacy should be pursued."




KENYA:  "Stop Iran’s Nuclear Plan"


Ambrose Murunga contended  in the independent left-of-center Nation (9/18):  "If it comes down to military options, the U.S. is better placed to stop Iran’s flirtation with nuclear weapons.  The U.S. has the hardware and technology to take out all known Iranian nuclear sites in surgical strikes, even those housed underground.  Following any military strike, Iran would use the resultant international condemnation of Israel and U.S. as basis to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and aggressively seek nuclear arms without restraint.  Iran may also resort to openly sponsoring terrorist attacks against Israel and its interests.  And that concerns me because the last time Kenya was bombed, the target was an Israeli-owned establishment."




CANADA:  "Nuclear Threat From Iran Heats Up"


The centrist Winnipeg Free Press observed (9/21):  "The decision last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency to give defiant Iran another chance to end its uranium-enrichment activity has deferred the final decision over Iran's nuclear program until after the Nov. 2 U.S. presidential election.  In both Israel and the U.S., there is an intense behind-the-scenes debate over Iran's nuclear program.  The debate in the U.S. is between the State Department, certain elements in the CIA and the Democratic presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry.  On the other side are President George W. Bush and the Pentagon.  Kerry, like Secretary of State Colin Powell, believes that Iran can be contained through diplomacy.  Bush does not believe that Iran can be contained or appeased.  Hence, Bush's re-election or defeat may determine the American course of action against Iran."


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