September 24, 2004
IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM: A LOOMING CRISIS
** 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
** 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 failure...to 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'--
analysts focused on the West's non-proliferation "double
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
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
"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
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 officials...open 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
FRANCE: "A Crisis
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
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
"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
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
"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
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."
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
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
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)
"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
"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."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
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
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.”
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
"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."
"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
"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
"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 ploy...to 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
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]...total 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."
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."
"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
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