International Information Programs
January 25, 2005

January 25, 2005





**  Washington's "drive towards military adventures" may lead to Iran.

**  Liberal dailies support "attempts to continue a dialogue" with Tehran.

**  The "sharp division of opinion" on Iran has strained transatlantic relations.

**  Muslim writers see the U.S. threats against Iran as an element of its "imperialistic project."




Not just 'empty threats'--  Antiwar dailies saw "little chance for a peaceful solution," citing reports of U.S. troops in Iran and Bush's "bellicose statements."  Iran is "in the sights of the White House," said the UAE's expatriate-oriented Khaleej Times, while Argentina's leftist Pagina 12 agreed that "seemingly, Iran will be the next U.S. target."  Several papers, however, viewed the prospect of attacks with "skepticism" while the U.S. remains "bogged down in Iraq."  Italy's business-oriented Il Sole-24 Ore opined that the U.S. has "neither the military nor the economic resources" for combat in Iran.


Diplomacy 'is the only realistic project'--  Liberal papers backed devoting "more muscle to diplomatic endeavors" and stressed that "policies rooted in peace rather than hostility" can best resolve the crisis.  Because negotiating "makes sense," Germany's center-left Frankfurter Rundschau urged the EU to "get the U.S. onboard with diplomacy."  Other papers stated using the "U.S. stick and the European carrot" would be the "best formula"; Israel's conservative Jerusalem Post agreed that "European diplomacy alone cannot be relied upon."  Prague's center-right Lidove noviny judged the "U.S. threat" a "suitable supplement to the so far ineffective European effort."


Weakening 'an already troubled' alliance--  Attacking Iran would "provoke a new transatlantic political conflict," cautioned Euro observers.  Europe could "turn away from Bush and the U.S." if an attack occurred, resulting in what the center-left Irish Times termed a "serious escalation of tension."  U.S. military action would make the EU "appear...more powerless than ever," added Germany's center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine.  Outside Europe, outlets derided the U.S.' "gung-ho notions of going to war."  South Africa's liberal Star warned "the world will not sympathize with unfounded incursions into sovereign countries." 


'To fulfill the neoconservative agenda'--  Media in the developing world said the "bullying" of Iran is part of the U.S.' "goal to impose America's hegemony over the entire world."  Center-right Pakistan alleged that the U.S. "has planned to target one Muslim country after another," while a Vietnamese paper added the U.S.' "primary to control the region's rich oil resources."  Malaysia's government-influenced Berita Harian urged Muslims to "unite and voice their opposition" to the "U.S. invasion plans."  Iranian outlets blasted the "recent threats by American officials"; conservative Resalat denounced the U.S.' "dangerous game" of "full-scale militarization." 


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


EDITORS:  Patricio Asfura-Heim and Ben Goldberg


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprites foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 86 reports from 32 countries over January 18 - 26, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed in the most recent date.




IRAN:  "No One Will Welcome You"


Moderate Mardom-Salari observed (1/26):  "The recent threats by American officials against Iran prove the depth of their hostility to Iran and their anger at the progress of Iranians who were able to achieve nuclear technology under the auspices of the Islamic Republic.  The enemies of the Islamic Republic should know that no one in Iran will welcome them with a red carpet."


"A Dangerous Game" 


Conservative Resalat concluded (1/26):  "America has begun a dangerous game and like Russian roulette there is no third option--just total failure or victory. American politicians will pay a huge price to reach the new world order. The most important capital that America will lose in the fourth world war is the credibility of liberalism and the theoretical background of the west.  The full-scale militarization of a civilization is the beginning of the end for it."




Conservative Siyasat-e-Ruz declared (1/19):  "The New Yorker claimed that American commandos entered Iran to reconnoiter Iranian's nuclear sites. Although America is the biggest enemy of Iran, considering the fact that Iran has reached the modern technology and knowledge of its own security affairs this report is bombast and a big lie.  Certain groups in Iran and America have launched psychological warfare to show the economic [Halliburton oil company] and military presence of America in the country in order to deprive Iranians from their power of electoral maneuver in the next election."


"Defending Our Achievements"


Conservaitve Resalat thundered (1/19):  "The secret of Islamic Republic success against different enemies' plots and threats is the fact that the people are present in any scene to defend achievements of the Islamic Revolution. Today, despite the massive negative propaganda of imperialist medias against the Islamic Republic of Iran particularly in the nuclear case, America cannot invade Iran like Iraq and Afghanistan, since American strategists know that there is an uncleavable relationship between the people and the political system."


"U.S. Commandos In Iran"


Reformist Sharq held (1/18):  "The New Yorker has published that in the past six months, American commandos have entered Iran in order to reconnoiter Iran's military base....  Analysts believe that this report proves the confrontation of the CIA and Pentagon and the information in the report has been leaked by the CIA....  If the European countries cannot guarantee that their pledges are supported or at least respected by the U.S., they won't have more to say in their [nuclear] negotiations with Iran and they cannot expect any guarantee from Iran in mutual confidence-building."


INDIA:  "Bush Again"


An editorial in Mumbai-based centrist Marathi-language Maharashtra Times announced (1/21)  :  "If America plans to execute any military action against Iran and North Korea in the second term of George W. Bush's presidency, it should indeed rethink its agenda.  It would be suicidal for the US, and equally undesirable for the rest of the world, to effect further military confrontations, especially since the US policy regarding Iraq and Afghanistan has failed miserably.  Contrary to the claims of President Bush, America's security hasn't strengthened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Instead, Bush has made America more vulnerable to retaliatory attacks.   And if President Bush now plans any invasive action against Iran and North Korea, world peace will be further jeopardized...".


"George II"


The centrist Times of India editorialized (1/21):  "The tenor of Bush's second term has already been expressed in his recent bellicose statements on Iran.  Notwithstanding the chaos in Iraq, Bush has said that military action against Iran is a possibility.  India must respond swiftly to such unilateral gestures by stating clearly its strategic and economic ties with Iran.  In fact, India should use its proximity to both Iran and the US to mediate on the nuclear imbroglio in Iran.  Another irritant for India is the parity between New Delhi and Islamabad in US foreign policy."


PAKISTAN:  "Threat To Iran"


An editorial in Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn read (1/26):  "Israel now seems to be preparing the ground for an attack on Iran on the nuclear issue....  For such a county to say that Iran is a threat to the world is ridiculous.  The most unfortunate aspect of this bullying is that America has placed its diplomatic and military services at Israel's disposal.  If nuclear non-proliferation is really America's concern, then the country it must first apply sanctions against is Israel.  Warning Iran against acquiring nuclear weapons while pampering Israel has deprived America's non-proliferation concerns of a moral basis."


"Pakistan And The Possibility Of U.S. Military Action Against Iran"


Independent Urdu-language Din held (1/25):  "The threat of a U.S. attack on Iran has increased following President Bush’s statement that military action against Iran cannot be ruled out....  European countries are wary of the U.S. stance to remain aloof from a diplomatic resolution of the conflict with Iran as well as its desire that the Security Council impose sanctions on the country.  The EU's efforts would come to naught if Iran were to freeze uranium enrichment but the U.S. and Israel use force anyway."


"OIC’s Warning To America"


Right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat maintained (1/25):  "Despite the latest warning issued by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the U.S. has not desisted from taking action against Iran. Iran should not feel that it has been left isolated like Iraq was.  The U.S. is paving ground for attacking Iran. If not immediately, it would target Iran after some time.  The OIC would be well advised to take some practical measures other than issuing statements."


"Another Effort to Incense Pakistan About Iran”


An editorial in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt announced (1/25):  "American and British media are acting on a policy to spoil Pak-Iran relationship; and in order to create a Shia-Sunni rift, are trying to hint at Iran’s involvement in the present situation in Balochistan.... However, what is being blamed on Iran (i.e. the trouble in Balochistan) could also be the handiwork of the U.S. and India as these are the two countries that want to see a destabilized Pakistan.  The Pakistani nation hopes that the government (of Pakistan) would not offer its shoulder to the U.S. to fire on Iran."


"Mischievous Report"


 An editorial in the center-right national english daily The Nation asserted (1/25) :  "With Washington’s focus on Iran as the next target of armed action intensifying, the U.S. and British media is trying to introduce certain mischievous elements into the Pakistan-U.S.-Iran equation, designed to create misunderstanding between Islamabad and Tehran and spoil their friendly relations.  The motive is that by creating bad blood between them the U.S. could bring Pakistan on board in its sinister campaign against Iran....  Only last week, Seymour Hersh reported that Pakistani scientists, who had access to Iran’s nuclear secrets and the location of its installations, were guiding U.S. sleuths about them, with the ultimate aim of destroying the Iranian military infrastructure, obviously to weaken resistance should the U.S. choose to attack Iran....  As latest media stories suggest, U.S. policymakers appear intent on spreading disinformation to harm Pak-Iran ties.  Both "The Washington Times" and "Sunday Telegraph" have quoted Pakistani officials of accusing Tehran of fuelling the growing incidents of sabotage in Balochistan, currently the country’s most volatile province....  Pakistan’s relations with Iran have strategic significance, the more so with an unfriendly India on the other side.  That U.S. intelligence is not only credible, but also pliable to suit official policymakers’ needs, has been thoroughly exposed in Iraq.  Islamabad, which has confined itself to saying that it is still investigating and has not yet determined that the Iranians are involved, should see through Washington’s game and establish direct contact with Tehran to remove any misunderstanding, lest the country end up paying dearly for falling prey to US disinformation."


"Confusing Denial"


The center-right national English-language Nation contended (1/19):  "In Washington’s eyes, Iran forms part of the so-called “axis of evil” and possibly the next target of military operation.  With the ubiquitous spies it has, there is little doubt that it would be desperately trying to get hold of some evidence of its culpability.  Seymour Hersh, the author of the New Yorker report, quotes circles close to the Pentagon saying that Secretary Rumsfeld and his deputy Wolfowitz 'want (the U.S.) to go into Iran and destroy as much of the military infrastructure as possible.'  Islamabad must not only desist from any way participating in the sinister game of search and destroy but also counsel the U.S. to refrain from creating another trouble spot in the region, which could turn out to be a veritable quagmire."


"Pakistan And The Alleged U.S. Plans Against Iran"


Center-right Urdu-language Pakistan said (1/19):  "It is a source of satisfaction for Pakistanis that both the U.S. and Pakistan have denied this report (in the New Yorker)....  A vast majority in the Islamic world thinks that the U.S. has planned to target one Muslim country after another.  First it was Afghanistan, then Iraq was bathed in blood, and now these alleged plans against Iran.  Some elements even go to the extent of saying that it would be Pakistan’s turn next.  Whatever the American plans against Iran, Pakistan cannot be a party to them, nor should it cooperate in any such plan.  We are already facing the Taliban’s wrath, then there is our archrival India, if we turn even Iran against us we would be endangering ourselves from all sides.  The government spokesman has clarified that Pakistan is not involved in American operation (inside Iran); we must maintain this policy permanently."


"Signs Of Another War In The Region"


Populist Urdu-language Khabrain concluded (1/19):  "The U.S. Defense Department has clarified that America does not intend to attack Iran.  Moreover, the U.S. has also denied reports about the presence of commandos in Iran....  Pakistan has denied the report published in the New Yorker....  However, this is a worrisome situation which points towards impending trouble in the region.  The government must remain vigilant about these issues. We have not yet recovered from the two Afghan wars; a possible American attack on Iran and an attempt to involve Pakistan in it would prove dangerous for our country....  The New Yorker report could have two objectives: one, to create misunderstanding between Iran and Pakistan; and two, to bring Pakistan under pressure and then use it against Iran....  The international community must work to resolve Iran-U.S. differences through talks and save the world from the ravages of another war fought on the doctrine of preemptive strike."




GERMANY:  "Washington, The Mullahs And Us"


Wolfgang Münchau had this to say in business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (1/26):  "Money does not play a role in the Bush administration.  It only plays a secondary role.  He made this unmistakably clear in his inaugural address that he is mainly interested in consolidating U.S. influence in the world....  One can understand Bush's foreign policy only if we understand his finance policy.  'The slogan of his economists is: 'deficits do not matter.'  That is why Bush can lower not only taxes but also wage one or two wars....  Despite initial successes, the European E-3 diplomatic attempts to urge Iran to give up its nuclear program failed.  And the U.S. is partly responsible for this.  As long as the U.S. plays its own game, it is not worth for the Iranians agreeing to European proposals....  But the fact that the U.S. urged British petroleum company BP to give up its business in Iran shows how serious the U.S. is….  But unlike BP, many German and French companies want to continue or even intensify their businesses in Iran.  This means that the looming military conflict in the Middle East will again provoke a new transatlantic political conflict....  If there is an attack on Iran, the transatlantic conflict will escalate. And this will be a more intense escalation than before the Iraq conflict.  This time, there would be no UN resolution either....  Following the failure in the UNSC before the Iraq war, the U.S. will bypass this body this time.  Time will tell whether the Europeans will be united or split up."




Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/26):  "At the moment when the situation [with respect to Iran's nuclear program] is not very clear, two questions must be raised.  What kind of 'options' is the new U.S. administration thinking about?....  And second, are Europeans and Americans so serious about the case...that they want to coordinate their efforts?  First of all we must state...that the Bush administration has not made up its mind yet, and that a bureaucratic struggle is going on.  The U.S. distrust the Europeans efforts, but it is not looking for a failure of the efforts either.  U.S. threats about military options offer European diplomacy a potential for threats which itself does not have....  If at all, Iran's nuclear modernization can be prevented only in unison....  Chancellor Schroeder considers the U.S. approach dangerous." 


"Good Cop, Bad Cop Spells Political Solution"


Centrist Mannheimer Morgen concluded (1/25):  "The United States does not want war.  The regime in Tehran is not be ousted, but is to be forced to give up its nuclear program.  This time the United States really wants a political solution.  The gestures of threat are supposed to support the EU negotiating process.  And they should signal to Israel, which continues to threaten to attack Iran, that Washington is determined to prevent Iran's rise to a nuclear power.  The Bush administration firmly hopes for a peaceful solution.  Does this mean that President Bush is a peacemaker?  Are the Europeans wrong to show so much distrust?  No, by no means, we must doubt whether an international crisis like this one is in good hands with George W. Bush.  He lacks the ability for effective international cooperation."


"Rush To Tehran"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland said (1/25) :  "The U.S. threat to punish all companies that do business with the mullah regime, seems to take effect.  But the chances to urge Iran to give up its striving for its own nuclear bomb are small.  It is true that the country urgently needs access to foreign capital and know-how to modernize its oil industry and to develop new reserves, but with the exception of the Americans, no one seems to be seriously willing to use these lucrative deals also as a political lever....  India and China urgently need to develop new energy sources to stabilize their economic growth and they show little interest in placing their deals with Iran under any proviso.  In the UN Security Council China already turned out to be a silent supporter of Iran towards the United States.  As unpleasant as U.S. threats of sanctions are in an individual case, but they will not result in Iran's isolation.  Too many investors have already lined up."


"It Depends On Blair"


Christoph Schwennicke opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/24):  "It is not about whether the U.S. government considers this [military] option, but the question is how it can be prevented.  In Europe, Britain will play an important role.  London is very actively engaged in the attempts of the EU Three to resolve the conflict diplomatically....  The U.S. would not need Britain militarily but politically.  U.S. President Bush intends to boost transatlantic relations in his second term.  Therefore he will travel Europe in a few weeks…. It will depend on Blair.  His calendar raises hope that he will distance himself to a military attack against Iran:  Britain will probably vote in less than 100 days.  The war in Iraq is certainly not a reason why Britons will reelect him, and he cannot afford to start a second war in the region."




Eckart Lohse asserted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (1/23):  "It is not an accident that Germany, France and Britain made efforts long before the U.S. election to prevent Iran's nuclear program with diplomatic means...war here, would hit Europe much harder than the Iraq war did....  The Iraq war and the political reactions to it can be seen as an isolated phenomenon.  Under the shock of September 11 and the pressure from neo-conservatives, a president inexperienced in international matters waged a war that did not require much explanation in America.  Germany's leader, desperate at home, rejected this siding with the traditional America critic France.  But if America were to wage war against Iran, the isolated case of Iraq would turn into a system.  The message would be that Washington does not think much of multilateralism and international cooperation, but gets its way unilaterally.  The giant EU would appear to be more powerless than ever before, as the military would have won over diplomacy.  In this moment of pause the world is at a crossroad."    


"Beating Bush"


Claus Jacobi argued in mass-circulation, right-of-center tabloid Bild-Zeitung of Hamburg (1/21):  "U.S. President Bush stands accused of letting American spies search for nuclear weapons in Iran and refusing to rule out a military strike against the country.  One does not have to be a Bush fan to realize that this allegation sounds like hypocrisy.  All powers have always spied out the military capacity of potential enemies and looked for sensible targets.  In a dispute, an enemy will not take a statesman seriously who rules out violence under all circumstances.  And there is a dispute.  Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers: Pakistan, India, Russia and Israel.  It would be a sensation if the Mullahs did not long for an atom bomb.  The U.S. wants to prevent their getting hold of one.  Without resolve this will not happen.  You might regret that, but no one can change this fact."


"U.S., Europe Share Same Goals In Palestine, Iran"


Center-right Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (1/21) editorialized:  "In Iran and in Palestine, Americans and Europeans pursue the same goals of establishing the rule of law, individual freedom and sovereignty as a bulwark against terrorism.  Washington and Berlin are therefore emphasizing that they trust each other's efforts to diplomatically resolve the nuclear conflict with Tehran.  The Chancellor therefore stresses that the Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved without the U.S. government.  This new pragmatism offers an opportunity for the old partnership.  It might even lead to cooperation in the efforts to spread democracy in Iraq, as unrealistic as this might sound at the moment.   Even if you do not personally agree with Bush, success in the Middle East in his second term would also benefit Europe."  


"The Persians"


Wolfgang Guenter Lerch commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/20):  "Most Iranians hate the Mullah regime, and many Iranians are regarded as pro-American.  However, this tells us more about their hatred for the Mullah's way to preach Islam than about their love for American policy.  Since the CIA helped to topple the elected nationalist Mossadegh in 1953 in order to reinstall the Shah, America's reputation has been ruined, even among people who do not think much of the Mullahs and religion.  When Saddam invaded Iran in 1980, many exiles returned to defend their country against the aggressor.  That is the way Persians have been like since the time of the Great King Dareios.  They would do it again regardless of the attacker and the political aim."


"Trouble Spot Iran"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (1/20) editorialized:  "Americans also know that there is no practical military option to eliminate the Iranian nuclear program.  That they do not rule out any option is meant to increase the political pressure on the Mullahs.  We do not face war at the moment.  However, the martial threats from America are counterproductive.  European governments and the U.S. stand united and both believe that a nuclear bomb in the hands of Tehran's technocrats would pose an enormous threat to the world's peace....  It would now be important to include the U.S. into the talks with Iran.  Washington's bleak indication of a military attack is destructive because it added to Tehran's impression that it cannot gain anything from the talks....  There will only be successful negotiations with Iran if the U.S. joins in and Europe and America pursue one goal.  Bush must dispel any doubts that he has already decided to launch a military attack.  Europeans must make clear that they are serious about preventing an Iranian nuclear bomb."


"Europe's Clever Iran Strategy"


Martin Winter observed in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (1/20):  "After Iraq, Europe cannot afford to be disunited and watch how the West slides into another senseless war.  Iran set on fire would cause an inferno that reaches as far as Europe.  Even if a quick solution is not in sight, negotiations make sense.  This is the only way to build confidence, which can one day serve as the cornerstone of a comprehensive peace and security policy for the broader Middle East....  The offer to take the military option off the table is missing.  Europeans must convince Bush to make this part of the negotiations.  This won't be easy, but it is not impossible either, because that U.S. stands isolated in the case of Iran....  This is not a comfortable position for America, but it offers Europeans the opportunity to increase the pressure on the U.S.  Condoleezza Rice appears to be aware of it.  Between her ideological lines during her confirmation before the U.S. Senate, she slipped in a transatlantic offer, saying that it is time for diplomacy.  This will not come out of nothing.  Europeans must not waver and must get the U.S. onboard with diplomacy.  That is where America belongs if it is interested in resolving the Iranian crisis peacefully."


"U.S., EU Partnership Needed For Carrot-and-Stick Diplomacy"


Right-of-center tabloid tz of Munich (1/20) asserted:  "The hopes that George Bush's second term would become more peacefully were dashed before the new U.S. government was even officially inaugurated.  Bush threatened to attack Iran.  It is absolutely correct that nuclear bombs must not get into the hands of the Mullahs. Friendly visits by Europeans alone will not convince the fundamentalist empire.  A carrot-and-stick approach would be politically clever to force Tehran to give in.  The problem is that the EU and the International Atomic Energy Agency can only do so much without the U.S. - they need the U.S. to act as the stick.  But the U.S. just believes in the stick approach and rejects to support Europe's diplomatic efforts.  If Bush attacks Iran's nuclear plants Mullahs would react with universal terrorism - and the situation in Iraq would escalate.  Bush's advisers know that.  Therefore, there is a last chance for diplomacy."


"European Appeasment Is Not The Answer"


Right-of-center Nuernberger Zeitung of Nuremberg (1/20) noted:  "Regardless of the justified criticism of U.S. foreign policy, the idea that fanatic regimes like the theocratic country of Iran or inhuman rulers of North Korea possess weapons of mass destruction, with which they can threaten their neighbors and enemies, is unbearable.  In many years, the European appeasement policy has not succeeded and will never succeed in the future to prevent this.  Because of this, they should not point their finger at the 'warmongering' Bush administration, but increase pressure on Iran and North Korea together with the American partner.  That is the only way to prevent worst outcome."


"EU--United States; Bush's Acid Test"


Eric Bonse of leading financial and economic Handelsblatt, wrote (1/20):  "U.S. policy is not just made in the White House and in the State Department, but also in the Pentagon.  No one can say whether the U.S. stick and the European carrot will complement each other, as Brussels' confirmed optimists hope.   It is also conceivable that Bush thwarts the EU strategy in Iran.   With this, not only would he offend Germany and France, but also the United Kingdom, which, on the issue of Iran, has adopted the European approach.  Hence, the solution to the Iran crisis will probably be the first acid test for transatlantic relations."


"Next Exit Tehran"


Stefan Kornelius commented in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (1/19):  "Iran poses a potential danger, because the country wants to produce a nuclear bomb.  Iran's nuclearization would drastically alter the situation in the Middle East and pose an existential threat to Israel.  Also Europeans stand united in their attempt to avert this, not least because Iranian missiles could also reach Europe one day.  Bush's motive is credible, but there are also the ghosts of the now weakened neoconservative gang, which categorizes the world according to an unbelievably simplistic ideology.  Let's not exaggerate the President's words for the time being.  Not ruling out any options does not mean that the President has already decided to wage war.  On the contrary, if he ruled out war he would deprive himself of all political options.  These options must immediately be discussed before a new unfortunate dynamic develops, similar to the run up to the Iraq war.  This time around, Europeans are on board because they are deeply involved in the issue--fortunately.  It is high time for a common plan."


"Aggressive Words"


Clemens Wergin observed in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (1/19):  "Bush is not pursuing a new aggressive policy on Iran--also German government experts believe this.  On the contrary, the Bush administration apparently welcomes the European diplomatic initiative more than before the U.S. elections.  Not because Bush believes it is very promising, but because of a lack of alternatives.  This does not mean that things cannot change.  We can expect Israel and the U.S. to develop contingency plans for actions against Iran's nuclear plants....  However, from the American point of view, there are not many reasons sustaining military actions.  Even if the European initiative fails, there are different ways to bring the Mullahs to their senses, for instance through imposing sanctions or economic boycotts.  U.S. strategists know that Iran's reaction to an attack is difficult to predict.  Iran's intermediate-range missiles can reach U.S. bases in the broader Middle East and the Israeli nuclear plant.  Mullahs could provoke an escalation of the conflict in Iraq and encourage Hezbollah to attack Israeli and American sites.  Given the challenges in Iraq, it is difficult to imagine that the Pentagon is keen on extending the conflict.  The European initiative is the only realistic project at the moment to put a stop to Iran's nuclear program.  It is not yet clear whether the regime is willing to renounce it, but the U.S. must do more to convince Mullahs that the deal is worthwhile.  Currently, the greatest problem is that the U.S. has no political strategy on Iran.  The Bush administration is very creative in military matters, as we know by now.   But now is the time for political visions."


"No Lesson Learned"


Centrist Westdeutsche Zeitung of Duesseldorf editorialized (1/19):  "Terror in Iraq, terror in Saudi Arabia, terror in Palestine, but the Bush administrations under George W. Bush has not learned the lesson from his first term.  On the contrary, the U.S. government still believes it can create peace in the Middle East through war.  Following the ousting of Saddam, Bush now targets the Mullahs from Tehran in his crusade against the 'axis of evil.'  No one should be under the illusion that the revealed plans against Iran are empty threats.  The leadership in Washington has proved before what it is capable to do in its missionary eagerness, missing sense of political realities and its drive towards military adventures."  


ITALY:  "Bush: I Will Not Be A 'Lame Duck'"


Mario Platero remarked in Milan Il Sole-24 Ore (1/18):  "We think that there will be no war, not because yesterday both the White House and the Pentagon denied the credibility of the document in question; but because the U.S., given the present state of affairs, has neither the military nor the economic resources to throw itself into a war which, in proportion, would be seven times more problematic than the war in which it is currently bogged down in Iraq....  But unless Tehran agrees to shelve its nuclear plans, the U.S. could well authorize targeted air strikes against already identified plants -- with or without the approval of the allies or of the United Nations."


RUSSIA:  "War Unlikely Now" 


Oleg Komotskiy contended in reformist Novyye Izvestiya (1/24):  "Colin Powell, a moderate, who at times went as far as criticizing Bush, could not stop the operation against Iraq.   So, with Rice, who is absolutely loyal to the Administration, a war against Iran seems quite plausible.   Not even Britain rules it out, worried that it may get embroiled, too....   America may not enlist even half of the old coalition and it even risks being left alone if it should decide to go ahead with a new operation to export democracy.  That and a host of outstanding problems in Iraq make a war in Iran unlikely now."


"Bush Doesn't Rule Out Military Operation Against Iran"


Aleksey Bausin said in reformist Izvestiya (1/19):  "U.S. President George Bush has stated that he does not rule out a military operation against Iran if the Ayatollah regime does not give up its nuclear program.  The statement bears out, if indirectly, a recent New Yorker publication on the 'war party' in U.S. establishment thinking that there is no way of talking to Tehran other than from a position of strength.  But European politicians don't think the United States will venture into a war while the EU holds talks with Tehran."


"Press To Help Prepare Public For War"


Artur Blinov remarked in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (1/19): "Pentagon officials have not been confused very much by press reports about preparations for an Iran campaign.   With some corrections and adjustment, the hubbub in the press, far from spiking the Pentagan plans, will, in some measure, help prepare the public for war."


"Iran Prepares For War"


Leonid Gankin held in business-oriented Kommersant (1/18):  "Most analysts agree that Iran, most probably, is working on a nuclear bomb.   But no one can be absolutely sure....  Whether the Americans are preparing to fight a war against Iran is a question to all but to the Iranians.   The Iranians are certain there is no way they can come to terms with the enemies, whose demands are likely to be so humiliating that accepting them would be tantamount to capitulation.    Hence their conclusion that they need to be ready for war so that the Americans give up the idea of an attack on Iran, thinking of what it may cost them in terms of casualties.   So, the only option open to Iran now is to act evasively, trying to avoid an open confrontation with the West, while secretly working on deadly weapons that will eventually place it among nuclear club members.   Washington is aware of that, of course.   So far, it has been talking about diplomatic means to solve the problem.   But it is hard to believe that the current Administration will make real concessions to Tehran.   That leaves little chance for a peaceful solution.   As to whether or not American agents are in Iran is of no consequence."


AUSTRIA:  "A (Real) Reason For Fear"


Editor for centrist Die Presse Christian Ortner opined(1/24):  “That George W. Bush does not rule out military force against Iran in order to prevent the mullahs from building nuclear weapons is a ‘reason for fear’ for almost all foreign policy commentators. This is understandable, at least in view of the not particularly favorable developments in Iraq.  However, there is still more reason for fear in the idea that the mullah state could, within a few years, be in the possession of a dozen or so nuclear weapons as well as the means by which to launch them capable of reaching as far as Israel and deeply into Europe....  It is all the more strange that the EU does not seem inclined to back up the hard U.S line towards Teheran, and instead relies exclusively on negotiations with the mullahs. Already in the past, negotiations yielded but ambivalent results:  Iran merely accepted a temporary moratorium with regard to the relevant nuclear fuel cycles, and therefore the outcome is more than uncertain. That a regime such as the one in Iran could be persuaded to relent through the use of diplomatic means alone would be a novelty in recent history.”


"Bush Makes A Peaceful Solution With Iran Impossible"


Foreign editor Kurt Seinitz wrote in mass circulation tabloid Neue Kronenzeitung (1/24):  “When Bush’s new Secretary of State calls Iran an outpost of tyranny whose population is waiting to be freed, this counteracts Europe’s attempts to talk the mullahs out of producing the nuclear bomb. Even more troubling, Washington is constantly dismissing the Atomic Energy Agency, just as it had formerly discredited the UN weapons inspectors in Iraq in order to have a pretext for the war. Today, it is clear that the inspectors had successfully rid Iraq of weapons - after all, the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam supposedly owned did not exist. Is fate now repeating itself? The blinded political fundamentalists in Washington simply do not want to acknowledge the Iraq debacle and are actually entertaining fantasies of the mullah regime in Teheran being toppled by a popular uprising as soon as the first U.S bombs fall.”


"George W. Bush, Reason And The Risk That Remains”


Foreign editor Christian Ultsch opined in centrist Die Presse (1/20):  “A war against Iran, which, according to U.S journalist Seymour Hersh, is in preparation, would probably not be possible to fight at present. An invasion, at least, would hardly be conceivable. A withdrawal of the U.S army from Iraq, however, could change the situation. But does Bush really want to lead his country into another war? If he applies sensible criteria, he is going to do all he can to avoid a new war. After all, his declared goal is to start a conservative revolution on the domestic front. Part of this rationale, however, is the building up of a military scenario against Iran. The mullah regime is not going to be deterred from manufacturing the nuclear bomb merely through cajoling by the Europeans and offering them the prospect of doing business....  Does Bush draw a lesson from the Iraq debacle?  He will never say so openly, for to do so would weaken the U.S potential for military threat.  It is not necessarily bad if a regime like the one in Teheran has to assume that Bush is prepared for everything.  It is just that this thought is a disturbing one for the rest of the world as well. There is something like a remaining incalculable risk with Bush:  a gnawing uncertainty about his true motives.”


"Grounds For Fear"


Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer opined in independent Der Standard (1/19):  “For the past two years there have been speculations about a possible American or Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear installations.  At the time, these speculations alarmed the EU-3 (Great Britain, France, Germany), who since then have endeavored, with varying success, to stop the Iranian enrichment program.  Whether the Iranians actually have a nuclear arms program or are at least planning to obtain one remains unknown--otherwise the U.S would not need the extensive intelligence campaign that Seymour Hersh outlined in the New Yorker....  If Hersh is right, this means that what did not work in Iraq is now on the agenda for Iran:  a military solution, if possible followed by a political solution that is known as regime change, but the consequences of which are unclear.  We can only assert that there is no critical evaluation within the Bush administration of the direction of its policy.  This evaluation took place at the polls in November and that is enough for George W. Bush. With him, it is all about belief, not about reason.  These are grounds for fear.”


"Recipe For A New Disaster In The Middle East"


Senior editor Helmut Muller commented in independent Salzburger Nachrichten (1/19):  “Actually it has to be in the interest of the whole international community to prevent Tehran from laying its hands on the bomb.  An Iran gone nuclear would provoke a fatal chain reaction of nuclear armament in the entire region.  A military conflict between Israel and Iran could turn into a wildfire. Likewise, it has to be in the interest of the whole international community to settle the nuclear dispute with Tehran peacefully.  The plans, which are currently being batted around by the ‘hawks’ in Washington, to take military action against Iran’s nuclear installations, however, are nothing but a recipe for disaster....  A clear-cut confrontation course could provide an incentive for the mullahs to try and gain possession of the nuclear bomb as quickly as they can.  A possibly more promising strategy is carrot-and-stick. It is therefore regrettable that the U.S confined itself to the role of onlooker with regard to the Europeans’ Iran initiative instead of backing them up with the superpower’s weight. The military threat scenario that is currently being discussed only makes sense if it lends more muscle to diplomatic endeavors. Iran should be prevented from deceiving the world about its nuclear intentions. Negotiations should no longer serve as a means for Tehran to play for time simply to manufacture nuclear weapons in the end after all.”  


BELGIUM:  "Skepticism"


Foreign Editor Gerald Papy maintained in independent La Libre Belgique (1/19):  "George Bush was questioned about a country that has the ‘honor’ of being both on ‘the axis of evil’ and ‘an outpost of tyranny,’ i.e. Iran, although its political system is much more democratic than, for instance, Saudi Arabia, a controversial ally of the U.S....  In any case, a scenario of a U.S. military intervention in Iran is met with skepticism. Washington is relying on European mediation to solve the Iranian nuclear question. The Americans’ army and policies are still bogged down in Iraq and it is very likely that Western countries that followed them in Iraq would not let themselves be led again in an adventure in Iran on the basis of a manipulation like the one that led to the intervention in Iraq.”


CROATIA:  "U.S. Will Attack Iran To Encourage Opposition"


Fran Visnar of Zagreb-based Government-owned Vjesnik commented (1/20):  “Americans have always claimed that the system in Iran is a divided one:  rivalry between reformists and clerics exists everywhere - from prisons, through intelligence services, to judicial bodies.  Iranian nuclear program without efficient international control is an ideal excuse for the Bush administration to prepare well, and, in the next three years, implement a strategic attack against Iran....  Its goal would be not only to destroy military-nuclear technology, but something much bigger:  to use a precise attack against military installations to shake up the conviction that Iranian religious leaders are invulnerable, and thus encourage the entire Iranian opposition.”




Petr Pesek remarked in center-right Lidove noviny (1/19):  "President Bush did not flatly deny possible future military intervention in Iran.  Is such an intervention realistic?  Would it, under the current situation, be of any value?  The answer to both these questions is 'no.'  The American army has more than enough to deal with in Iraq.  Creating instability in this country would throw the region into chaos.  Moreover, an American attack would hardly support pro-reform factions in Iran, it would more probably unite all Iranians under the banner of religious radicals.  On the other hand, it is not possible to idly overlook the risk posed by Iran developing its nuclear arsenal....  The U.S. threat is in fact a suitable supplement to the so far ineffective European effort to persuade Iran to start behaving responsibly."


"Three Times Is Enough"


Petr Uhl commented in Pravo (Internet Version) (1/19):  "The government should say: three times is enough....  Should we, that is the EU and the Czech Republic, turn away from Bush and the U.S.?  We need to find the reply quickly;  Bush is now coming to Europe for support.... We correctly describe the values that we acknowledge--universal even when expressed in the particular European version--as euro-Atlantic.   We should insist that they must also apply in the United States, and at the opportunity of Bush's visit to Europe loudly express our dissatisfaction over the fact the U.S. Government is neglecting them.   In this case help to the United States is also help for Europe and the world."


DENMARK:  "U.S. Must Choose Diplomacy"


Center-left Politiken editorialized on (1/20):  "Hopefully, the Iraq war has shown the U.S. that it is a poor idea to go it alone in the international arena and that it is not possible to bomb one's way to a better world.  That said, as Bush has surrounded himself with right-wingers, we could fear that his next target might be Iran.  At the moment, the signals coming from the Administration appear to be ambiguous in the extreme.  On the one hand, Condoleezza Rice is stressing the importance of democracy while her boss, George W. Bush is refusing to rule out military action in Iran.  It would be wise for the U.S. to back European attempts to continue a dialogue with Iran.  If it doesn't, it could give the Iranian regime a reason to break off negotiations and that would be a terrible mistake." 


IRELAND:  "Divisions Over Iran"


The center-left Irish Times declared (1/26):  "These developments represent a serious escalation of tension between the U.S. and European states as well as with Iran. The threats cut across the efforts led by Germany, France and Britain to reach agreement with Iran not to develop a nuclear weapons program in return for security and economic guarantees. While these have made substantial progress, they are not guaranteed success without US support. There is clearly a sharp division of opinion on the use of force against Iran between US and European leaders, while in Washington the debate on the best tactics required has tilted decisively towards those who believe Iranian leaders will only respond to credible military threats....  Given the deepening mess in Iraq a threatened US war against Iran seems the height of folly to most European leaders and citizens. It would further destabilize the Middle East region without any guarantee that democratic change would be the beneficiary. In Iran such threats or actions are much more likely to bolster clerical right-wing rulers around a program of Islamic nationalism against the US rather than precipitate regime change in favor of secular reformists. If this is indeed the top foreign policy priority for the second Bush administration it will hasten the development of the EU's independent foreign policy, unite citizens in support of it and


"US Sabre-rattling Over Tehran's Nuclear Program Fuels EU Anxiety"


Denis Staunton asserted in the center-left Irish Times (1/25):  "European fears that the US could launch a military strike against Iran reached a new pitch last week....  Some European diplomats are equally relaxed, viewing US posturing as part of a transatlantic ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine aimed at persuading Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions....  Germany, France and Britain also acknowledge that the unspoken threat of US military action can assist their diplomatic endeavors by increasing pressure on Iran.  All three governments agree, however, that any actual attacks on suspected nuclear facilities in Iran would be a recipe for disaster throughout the region….The tension over Iran comes as Washington is seeking to repair relationships with Europe which were severely damaged by the invasion of Iraq....  Indeed, the main effect of the US sabre-rattling could be to unite Europeans in opposition to a new war, to strengthen the EU's common foreign policy and to weaken an already troubled transatlantic alliance.”


"Bush Inauguration--Conciliatory Moves Hard To Swallow"


The center-left Irish Examiner published an editorial stating (1/21):  "Ironically, even as the 43rd president moves to reconcile deep policy differences between America and Europe, speculation is rife that U.S. special forces are already operating secretly inside Iran, a mission aimed at stopping production of an atomic bomb. For this ‘outpost of tyranny’ to get its hands on nuclear weapons would be the ultimate American nightmare. It would give the fundamentalist Islamic regime enormous influence in the most volatile and, strategically, most significant region of the world.  Doubtless, the leaders of other nations share U.S. concerns in this regard.  But they are acutely aware these problems must be resolved by policies rooted in peace rather than hostility.  War is not the answer...There is little doubt Bush’s foreign policy is visibly shifting towards Iran, which could have nuclear weapons within three years....many people, include those who count themselves pro-American, view the coming four years with trepidation because they regard Mr. Bush as potentially the most dangerous man on the planet.”


LATVIA:  "Words To Deeds In Iran?"


Juris Paiders asserted in pro-business nationalist Riga Neatkariga (1/21):  "In beginning his second term in office, the U.S. president is promising to export his country's model of democracy to other countries, and particularly to Arab countries in the Middle East....  If Iran is the first country to which this thought applies, then the idea of exporting democracy to it sounds quite peculiar....  Each nation has the right to seek out the best form of governance and political life for itself.  The U.S. example of democracy is not ideal.  To stop the search for a better and more just national system would be a return to totalitarianism....  If the United States launch aggression against Iran, that will be a war not on behalf of democracy, not against weapons of mass destruction, but rather a war against anti-American ideology.   Should Latvia intervene in wars over ideology?   Perhaps the time has come for Latvia to reconsider its foreign policy priorities?  After all, we are a European Union member state, not one of the states of the U.S."


LUXEMBOURG: "Bush Has Iran In His Sights"


Journalist Guy Kemp commented in socialist Tageblatt (1/19):  "Europeans, i.e. the E.U., are called upon twice.  Not only do they have to prevent Iran from turning stubborn and making further advances on the nuclear question.  They also have to turn Bush, driven by his neo-conservative agitators, away from his fantasies of omnipotence and back to reason.“


PORTUGAL:  "The Iranian Priority"


Vasco Rato wrote in center-right weekly Independente (1/21): “[…Hersh claims that] Washington already has deployed special forces to Iranian soil in preparation for military ‘strikes’ against the nuclear facilities of the ‘ayatollahs’....  That Iran follows Saddam Hussein’s Iraq as an American priority is unsurprising....  [Although] it isn’t true that George Bush has finalized plans to attack [Iran] isn’t difficult to foresee circumstances which would make military action inevitable....  The problem is that the U.S. and Israel are not disposed to give the Europeans more time [to negotiate]. They fear that prolonged negotiations will give Iran the cover needed to make their nuclear weapons operational.  The European Union too fears such dragged out negotiations, because it lacks military measures to put pressure on Iran. The European Union’s inability to offer a military threat ensures that its negotiating position never will be fully credible....  Determined to avoid Iran’s nuclearization, Washington and Tel Aviv are prepared to pursue military attacks in case the European negotiators fail....  It remains to be seen whether the European nations which contested the War in Iraq, above all France and Germany, will once again reject a military solution. If this happens, we will find ourselves facing yet another rupture in transatlantic relations, even more serious and lasting in its consequences than the previous one....I suspect that we will return to the Iranian question again in the coming weeks.”


ROMANIA:  "Oltenians In Iran?"


Bogdan Chirieac opined in influential Adevarul (Internet Version) (1/20):  "Romania is a NATO member, an alliance that includes both the United States and Europe.  The new Romanian foreign policy wishes to align our country to the Washington-London axis, even without the agreement of [Washington or London].  So we can suppose that the U.S. foreign policy will reverberate directly in Bucharest, without going through the European filter.... In other words, if the United States goes to Iran, Romania will have to send its Oltenians [soldiers from the region of Oltenia] there....  Of course, Romania's alliance with the U.S. within NATO is a valuable asset, which must be kept and defended....  At least now, the new administration in Bucharest could courageously present its point of view on the war on terror."


SLOVAKIA:  "Bush Starts With Secret Plans For New Attacks"


Klaudia Laszloova proposed in center-left Pravda (Internet Version) (1/19):  "According to information that has leaked from the ranks of the secret services, plans are already being written for targeted attacks on nuclear installations in Iran and also for a total offensive....   In recent months the United States has left Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency to try to resolve the problems with Iranian nuclear technology....  Meanwhile, there is another path: to create a framework for negotiations with Iran, for instance via a third party....  Iran is one of the few Islamic countries that is undergoing healthy internal development.  Merely a small change in the constitution would be enough to stop the aging generation of the Islamic revolution from terrorizing the state.  That will certainly not happen, if Bush makes an example of Iran as an enemy and punishes it"


TURKEY:  "Is It Now Iran’s Turn?"


Sami Kohen observed in mass-appeal Milliyet (1/19):  “In his article in The New Yorker magazine, Hersh says that every official he talked to indicated that the U.S.’ next target is going to be Iran.  Furthermore, during his interview on CNN, Hersh said the intervention most likely will happen next summer.  It is quite possible that after the ‘intelligence fiasco’ in Iraq, the Bush Administration, not wanting to rely only on the CIA for its intelligence, would send a special team to Iran.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that the U.S. is going to intervene in Iran this summer, as Hersh claims.  While the U.S. is in deep trouble in Iraq and the diplomatic process continues with Iran, the possibility that Washington will get involved in such an adventure seems rather weak.  In his statement yesterday, President Bush said he hopes to resolve the concerns about Iran’s nuclear program through the diplomatic channels.  However, Bush implied that he’ll consider other choices if diplomacy fails.  As Iran and the U.S. continue to threaten each other, the only thing we can say for certain is that Iran is on its way to becoming a new source of tension in the Middle East.”


"The Possibilities In Iran"


Asli Aydintasbas commented in mass-appeal Sabah (1/19):  “The U.S. is not planning to start a war against Iran or carry out an occupation there.  Even though the Americans dislike the Iranian regime, the U.S. has no active plans to oust the mullahs.  The situation the U.S. is in at the moment does not allow such actions.  But still, let’s not be too sure.  The Bush Administration is very much disturbed by the nuclear program of Iran, and has never trusted Tehran on this issue.  The U.S. is also not too happy about the ‘road map’ the EU has developed with the Iranians.  Washington believes that, to be effective, diplomatic initiatives should be airtight and always should be supported with the threat of military force.  Even though there are no plans for an operation, they are at least pretending that there is such a possibility.  Israel is also very concerned about Iran’s nuclear program, and is looking to the U.S. to find a solution.  US officials I’ve spoken with say that, given the situation in Iraq, the U.S. will not risk military action.  The U.S. needs Iranian help in keeping control in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Besides, everyone is aware of the success Iran had in the past in using of terrorist organizations.  Even the hawks in the U.S. are aware of the limited military options against Iran.  Unfortunately, all of this talk means that Turkey’s already bumpy relations with the U.S. could get worsen.  When Turkish and US miltiary officers discuss Iran, they generally agree that a nuclear Iran would be dangerous for the region.  But Ankara would not be happy with a military operation.  Turkey wants the problem solved through the IAEA and the UN.  Moreover, the Turks are determined that Turkey will not become a base of operations for any U.S. action against Tehran.  This is the main reason that the Turkish military and the government have ben cool to U.S. requests for greater use of Incirlik air base.  The Turks figure that if Iran manages to go nuclear, then Turkey could always reevaluate its own nuclear options.”




ISRAEL:  "Sanctions First"


The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (1/25):  "Indeed, American and Israeli talk of military options should be understood as giving the diplomatic track its last and best chance.  Unfortunately, much like before the war in Iraq, the chief opponents of military action are, by their own hand, removing all other options.  The G-3--Britain, France and Germany--seems set on a course of continuing to give Iran second chances and waving ineffective trade carrots until it is too late.  One might be excused for concluding, given how accepting the G-3 is of Iran's obvious lies and obfuscation, that these countries are more concerned about staving off American action than they are about ending Iran's nuclear program....  Iran, despite being treated as a pariah by the U.S., enjoys normal trade and diplomatic relations with most of the world. It has much more to lose from sanctions than did Libya, which was not nearly as integrated into the world economy....  Talk of military action should be taken at face value, because there may soon be no choice.  But before that happens, such threats should spur Western non-military sanctions that, if they are comprehensive, swift and drastic, could still address the problem as effectively at a lower risk and cost."


"Israeli Joker In The Iranian Poker Game"


Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (1/23):  "A nuclear Iran is in fact a common danger to Jerusalem and Washington, though each side in the partnership finds it convenient to cast the responsibility on the other.  Israel wants to stop being an Iranian target and foist the burden of dealing with the issue on the international community, headed by President Bush.  It is important for the Americans not to give the impression that they are eager to precede diplomatic discussions with a military strike, but also to remind the Iranians that their bluff in the nuclear poker game is liable to fall apart in the face of a card not part of the European deck -- the Israeli joker."


"A Mission To Accomplish"


The independent, conservative Jerusalem Post observed (1/20):  "The decision to invade Iraq was the most decisive act of the president's first term....  It is hard to imagine Iraqi democracy succeeding, however, if the Iranian mullocracy achieves a nuclear umbrella....  It is clear that European diplomacy alone cannot be relied upon, as it seems directed as much at hamstringing America as confronting Iran.  A nuclear Iran would be a tremendous setback for American security and a truly unacceptable one for Israel."


LEBANON:  "The Last Stop"


Sateh Noureddine asserted in Arab nationalist As-Safir (1/19):  "There is a deep intersection between the intensified resistance operations in South Lebanon and the Iranian resistance to American and Israeli pressures, campaigns, and threats.  These campaign have not stopped in spite of the Iranian’s cooperation with the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq....  The Bush Administration does not want to launch a war against Iran now, and says that it seeks to stop Israel from embarking upon a military operation against Iranian targets.  However, the U.S. also realizes that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have boosted Iran’s strategic location and its regional role--a fact which might change Iran into a super power if it has nuclear capabilities....  Diplomacy is America’s choice...however, it does not think that a war against Iran is an unlikely possibility.  The U.S. is getting ready for war by intensifying its siege around Iran.  It has already imposed sanctions on 8 Chinese companies, which have signed military deals with Iran.  It is also getting ready for a diplomatic campaign against Iran....  This policy however, can be confronted by Iran because it can reach the brink of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps in the Sheba’a Farms as well!”


MOROCCO:  "The War Era"


Editor-in-chief Driss Aissaoui asserted in leading Arabic-language Assahara (1/25):  "There exists an argument that the U.S. Administration, supported by the godfathers of the neocons who wish to spread the values of brutal liberalism (sic), according to George Bush’s recipe, will not hesitate to use military aspects of that liberalism to strike Iran.  However, the question is: what will be the cost of this campaign that America is preparing against Iran, Syria and others?....  How will President Bush explain to the American public a war some experts say would be destructive and bring about more violations of both individual and collective rights, as is happening in Iraq, especially since the mirage of nuclear weapons hides the intentions of the White House hawks, whose goal is to impose America's hegemony over the entire world."


"U.S. Threats Against Iran.  A Psychological War, Or The Leading Edge Of A Preemptive Strike?"


Nouryaqine Benslimane observed in left-of-center Arabic-language Bayane Al Youm (1/25):  "Judging by the U.S. Administration hawks’ recent rhetoric, it has become obvious that America's leaders are determined to increasingly impose U.S. hegemony under the pretext of defending freedom, fighting terrorism and expanding democracy....  Iran has the right to defend itself.  Countries and peoples have also the right to express solidarity with Iran; but will America pay attention to that?....  In case the Iraqi elections bring unfavorable results for America, the Bush Administration will very probably drag Iran into a confrontation with what is called, in American strategic terms, a preemptive strike.  Iran and countries of the region should take the hawks' threats seriously and should adopt appropriate political positions in order to torpedo the imperialistic project from which no one is safe."


"Bush Takes It Out On Iran"


Abdelmohsin El Hassouni contended in French-language independent Aujourd'hui Le Maroc (1/19):  "By multiplying threats against the ayatollahs' regime, Washington only pushes Iran closer to the other Arab States, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt....  By stirring up the spectre of a muscular (military) intervention in Iran, President Bush proves, once again, that the American strategy in the Middle East will not stop with Iraq. Contrary to appearances, and considering the special media treatment they received, Bush’s statements are not surprising....  In fact, these statements can be read two ways....  On the one hand, Bush wants to differentiate between his support for the Iraqi Shiites and his opposition to the Iranian regime. Bush will accept no combining of the two. Even better, the American strategy hopes to establish in Iran (by force) an Iraqi-style Shiite sect. A flexible Shiite sect that is docile and malleable, blindly obeying orders from the Oval Office....  Strangely, the U.S. has adopted a more ‘diplomatic’ attitude toward Pyongyang than toward Tehran even though N. Korean officials have never stopped saying loud and clear how ‘well’ they think of Washington’s ‘arrogant and hegemonic’ policy."


QATAR:  "Espionage Claim Fits With Israeli Wishes"


The semi-official English-language Gulf Times declared (1/19):  "This week respected U.S. journalist Seymour Hersh claimed in the New Yorker that teams of U.S. commandos have been operating inside Iran, selecting suspected weapons sites for possible strikes....  According to Hersh, President Bush has signed a series of orders authorising U.S. special forces to carry out covert operations in several Middle Eastern and South Asian nations. The Iran operation is intended to identify possible nuclear, chemical and missile sites that could be targeted for attack.  The allegation is extremely sensitive as such espionage would be a provocative act against an independent, sovereign nation, which has already agreed to negotiate over its nuclear activities with the EU and the IAEA. Spying on Iran threatens to derail the efforts to reach an acceptable solution....  The Bush administration has a record of undermining the international community if its policies are at odds with the White House’s intentions....  The war on Iraq, the isolation of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, the pressure being exerted on Syria and the reported espionage against Iran all fit into a pattern. They serve Israel’s interests, though perhaps not America’s.  American Zionists and Israeli consultants are closely involved in Washington’s strategic planning, so the shape of U.S. foreign policy is not surprising.  Israel...has been pressing Washington to agree to it attacking Iranian facilities. That would be disastrous, but Hersh’s report raises the possibility that Washington has already decided to co-operate with such a strategy."


UAE:  "Unfriendly Acts Of Intimidation"


The expatriate-oriented English-language Gulf News editorialized (1/19):  "Bush’s comments on Iran can cause consternation in the Gulf region.... Coming so fast after the disclosure that the United States has been sending covert operatives into Iran, Bush's comments should send a chill shudder down the backs of all those who reside in the Gulf region.  The 'disclosure' of American covert operatives identifying nuclear sites in Iran, and sensitive locations in 10 other nations in the region, was dismissed by a White House spokesman as "riddled with inaccuracies".  But then they would say such a thing. Yet what they did not do is to deny the story completely, drawing speculation that there might be truth in the report after all.  What is most astonishing is the public received the news of the covert operations with so little surprise. Perhaps because it is thought a likely thing for America to do."


"In The Line Of Fire"


The expatriate-oriented English-language Khaleej Times noted (1/18):  "Is Iran finally in the firing line of Washington? If you were to believe American writer-journalist Seymour Hersh, the answer is yes....  Hersh claims that the U.S. has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran since last summer....  The idea is to identify key targets that could be destroyed by precision strikes and commando raids....  The Hersh report takes the wind out of the optimistic assumptions and theories floating out there in the media that Iraq setbacks have made the U.S. wiser and that Washington wouldn't undertake similar exercises to deal with countries like Iran and Syria etc....  There's little doubt now that Iran is in the sights of the White House.  This explains why Washington has kept itself out of the picture all this while even as Europe's Big Three--Britain, France and Germany--engaged Iran in an elaborate diplomatic exercise to dissuade itself from going ahead with its nuclear programme....  In the interest of peace and stability in the Middle East, therefore, all parties involved must exercise caution and restraint.  Washington and Tehran would do well to resolve the issue by way of dialogue and diplomatic engagement.  Peace is in everyone's interest."




CHINA:  "Will The U.S. Strike Iran This Year?"


Li Heping and Zhang Shuang commented in official international Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (1/26):  "Recently there have been many reports in the U.S. media about possible military strikes against Iran....  Senior White House officials have done little to downplay the rhetoric....  U.S. military strikes look more and more likely for several reasons.  First, the U.S. media’s enthusiasm on ‘whether to strike Iran or not’ is similar to the rhetoric preceding the Iraq War.  Second, the U.S. military again has a decided advantage against an inferior foe.  Third, the U.S. government believes that it must completely settle the Iran issue to fully implement its Middle East strategy.  Fourth, clearly the powerful Pentagon favors a military strike against Iran.”


“Why Hasn’t The U.S. Launched A Military Strike Against Iran?  Not Enough Energy.”


Zhao Yi commented in the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (Xinhua Meiri Dianxun) on (1/21):  “Bush recently gave a speech mentioning his hope that Iran gives up its nuclear weapons plans, and that he doesn’t exclude other options.  The connotation is that he doesn’t exclude the possibility of launching a military strike....  Bush’s warning intends to further add pressure on Iran....  Along with the ‘Iran threat theory,’ the U.S. seldom has taken tough measures or actions....  The reasons that the U.S. has not, although it wants to are: first, the U.S. lacks sufficient international support for launching a strike against Iran....  Its advocacy of IAEA sanctions on Iran has encountered opposition from the UK, France, and Germany.  Second, the current primary task for the U.S. is to digest the results of the Iraq war.  The Bush Administration doesn’t have the spare energy to take care of the Iran issue.  Third, Iran has gained Russia’s support in nuclear technology and resources....  Russia’s support undoubtedly is a hindrance to U.S. efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear progress....  Americans are still confident that they still have time to take diplomatic measures, not military actions, in regard to Iran’s nuclear plans and facilities....  The U.S. is still at a crossroads about what it will do in regard to Iran.”


"Are The EU’s And U.S.’ Iran Policies Tactical Differences Or Strategic Divergences?”


Liao Xiaohua commented in the official intellectual publication Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao) on (1/21):  “Are the different Iran policies of the EU and U.S. just different tactics toward the same goal or totally different strategies based on considerations of different global strategies and geo-political interests?  The UK Foreign Minister pointed out recently that the EU’s method, different then U.S. clamoring for military action against Iran, is ‘a better strategy, not a different methodology’....  Out of consideration for their own interests and their relations with Arab countries, France, Germany and other EU countries have insisted on a different stance from the U.S. since the Iraq war....  In regard to the Iran issue, the EU surely has different strategic considerations than the U.S.....  The EU’s dialogue with Iran has gained support from China, Russia and other countries....  The U.S. has so far refused to change its policy, causing difficulties for the EU....  The great divergences between the EU and U.S. on Iran and the Middle East, lifting the arms embargo against China, etc., seem difficult to get beyond and seem more and more to have become strategic divergences.”


"Will The U.S. Take Military Action Against Iran?"


Wang Jiabo commented in the official intellectual publication Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao) on (1/20):  “Currently, George W. Bush is hard-pressed to make a case for military action against Iran.  This is the real reason why U.S. officials are so critical of the recently released Hersch report....  Iran is a major obstacle standing in the way of the U.S.’s desire to promote its global strategy....  To reach its goal, the U.S. can always make accusations Iranian wrongdoing.”  “Iran is a country of mostly Shiite Muslims, and in many ways different from Afghanistan or Iraq.  In Iran, the right to use military force cannot be based on the need to fight terrorism.  Military action against Iran would further alienate relations between Washington and Muslim countries, and also damage already-strained relations between the U.S. and Europe....  The military, moral, and political cost of military action against Iran would be disastrous.  Moreover, as the White House knows from Iraq, it would not be easy to build a pro-U.S. regime in Iran.”


"Is The U.S. Wartime President Going To Strike Iran"


Qing Yu commented in official popular Beijing Youth Daily (Beijing Qingnianbao) (1/19):  "When a Pentagon spokesman condemned reports about U.S. Special Forces entering Iran as ‘nonsense,’ Bush’s words embarrassed the spokesman....  Bush said he ‘doesn’t exclude the possibility of taking military action against Iran'....  To a certain extent, Bush’s open expression proves that the report is true....  Out of security considerations and the great strategic interests brought by the War on Terror, the U.S. has no reason to stop its anti-terror war steps.  For the U.S., an enlargement of the War on Terror is on the verge of exploding.  The U.S. Special Forces commandos led by Rumsfeld will take the leading role in the enlargement of the U.S. War on Terror.  Rumsfeld is leading the Special Forces because: first, he holds a special position in the U.S.  He is responsible for implementing Bush’s and Cheney’s hardline policy....  Second, the Special Forces commandos have made great achievements and are in favor....  Third, the CIA’s position has been affected by its lack of capability in collecting information.”


CHINA (HONG KONG AND MACAU SARS):  "Not Optimistic About U.S.-Iran Relations In The Next Four Years"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (1/25):  "Bush said that the U.S. would not rule out the possibility of taking military action against Iran.  This remark is simply a routine declaration of the bottom line of the U.S.  Also, the new Secretary of State Rice's remarks should not be surprising.  She said that the international community should take measures to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons and the Iran nuclear issue should be submitted to the UN Security Council for discussion.  She has only repeated the consistent stance of the U.S.  However, Iran attached unusually high importance to the same old tune played by the U.S.  The foreign affairs spokesperson of Iran warned the U.S. and Israel not to think about attacking Iran because this move would be a big strategic mistake.  Former Iran President Rafsanjani, who is holding the real power, said that Iran was not afraid of threats from any countries....  Bush's new cabinet shows a strong influence of hawks.  They may possibility adopt a very strong stance.  Bush's and Rice's remarks can be treated as the keynote of U.S.-Iran policy in the next four years.  That's why they give Iran a much stronger stimulus than before.  In the next four years, confrontations between the U.S. and Iran will certainly increase."


"Bush Starts His Second Term and An Iranian Crisis"


The independent Hong Kong Economic Journal noted in an editorial (1/24):  "U.S. President Bush stressed in his second-term inaugural speech on January 20 that freedom and democracy in the U.S. increasingly depended on the freedom and democracy in other areas.  Washington's policy is to end tyranny and to expand freedom and democracy in the world, but not impose its own style of government on the unwilling.  What Bush did not clearly say is whether the U.S. will insist on expanding 'freedom and democracy' in the world if the people in 'tyrannical' countries do not concur with the U.S. style of government.  If the answer is yes, then how should we comprehend the remarks that the U.S. will not impose its own style of government on the unwilling?....  Since Rice's nomination as the Secretary of State was approved by the Senate, the Bush administration has finished the power consolidation.  Supporters of new conservatism will dominate foreign policy.  The U.S. has not yet extricated itself from Iraq, and yet it has already turned toward another 'axis of evil' power - Iran.  The possibility of 'liberating' Iranians from the 'dark' has largely increased."


TAIWAN:  "Bush’s New Unilateralism And The Iran Crisis"


Commentator Nan Fang-shuo wrote in centrist, pro-status quo China Times (1/24):  "Although the problem has not been triggered, it does not matter whether [the United States will] ‘instigate Iran’s opposition parties to carry out a revolution’ like Deputy Secretary of State John Bolton said, or if the United States will take over after ‘Israel conducts an initial attack’ as said by the Pentagon or Vice President Richard Cheney. …“Before Bush was sworn in, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Cheney explicitly said [the United States] will attack Iran. Bush in the inauguration speech asserted that he will confront tyranny, implied that Iran will be attacked upon.  These are not meaningless messages.  Iran, in a matter of time, will be sacrificed under the neo unilateralism named ‘freedom.’  Currently, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) personnel are inspecting the facilities in Iran, and the United States has condemned the IAEA for not carrying out their duty.  Once force is used toward Iran, no matter by an attack led by Israel, or a coup or a rebellion instigated by the United States, the commotion to the world would be expanded.  In an era of neo unilateralism distinctive of the will of the United States, the world has become harder and harder to predict!”


INDONESIA:  "Attacks On Iran Likely In A Matter Of Days"


Leading independent Kompas commented (1/25):  “Worries and concerns over the possibility that the U.S. will attack Iran are mounting these days.  It seems as if the attacks will be launched in a matter of days....  During his inaugural speech President Bush promised to topple tyrannies and to spread democracy and freedom all over the world....  People could easily associate Bush’s statement with Iran.  The U.S. can no longer hide its antipathy toward Iran.  Moreover, last week President Bush did not dismiss the possibility of attacking Iran under the pretext of possessing nuclear weapons....  After the Iraq case, many people are beginning to worry that Iran might have the same fate as Iraq.  Under the pretext of the nuclear issue, the U.S. could attack Iran as well...The global community would certainly oppose attacks on Iran as they did in the Iraq case.  For attacks on Iran would not only take lives and property, but would also worsen the security situation in the Middle East.”   


"U.S. Threat On Iran"


Muslim-intellectual Republika said (1/25):  “Bush’s reason to target Iran is not very clear yet.  The charge that Iran is a tyranny, let alone an axis of evil, certainly does not make sense.  Iran is an Islamic country and its president is directly and democratically elected every four years.  So are the legislators.  That Iran might possess nuclear weapons may be true.  But, as Britain acknowledges, Iran has the right to use its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.  Once again, it seems that reasons are not very important for Bush.   After all, Israel, which has developed nuclear technology, has always had Bush’s protection, and not a handful of countries that do not apply democracy are left intact.”


MALAYSIA:  "U.S. Needs To Find A Peaceful Solution"


Government-influenced, Malay-language Utusan Malaysia contended (1/25):  "We (Utusan Malaysia) believe that the attitude of U.S. President Bush in wanting to launch a war on Iran only brings fear in the hearts of many throughout the world.  Bush believes that what has happened to Afghanistan and Iraq is a victory and that he has the full support of the American people because of his re-election victory.  We believe he is greatly mistaken about this mandate because he had a narrow victory. This mandate from the American people is to fight terrorism, and not launch another war on another country.  There are many channels to take to resolve this matter if the U.S. truly has honorable intentions.  But we fear this is not the case because Bush has proven that the Iraq war was only to fulfill the neoconservative agenda.  If the U.S. feels that its political system and way of life is the only system for the world, we are facing the start of a long and devastating era."


"U.S. Arrogance Leads To Greater Hatred For America"


Government-influenced, Malay-language Berita Harian stated (1/25):  "While it is still bearing the burdens of invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has declared its intentions of attacking Iran. It appears that newly re-elected President Bush does not care how badly the U.S. appears to the rest of the world, especially among the Islamic countries.  We (Berita Harian) wholly support Umno Youth leader Hishammuddin Hussein’s call to the OIC nations to unite and voice their opposition to the U.S. invasion plans, as we do not want to see more innocents, including U.S. military, losing their lives. We cannot allow Bush to continue his lies, now that we have seen what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The U.S. must realize that an attack on Iran is a strategic mistake, it is not Kabul or Baghdad. We hope the U.S. will not rush into this without taking notice of what the world is saying."


"U.S. Arrogance Towards Iran"


Government-influenced, Malay-language Utusan Malaysia commented (1/20):  "U.S. President Bush does not even think twice in his eagerness to attack Iran, if Teheran does not comply to his demands and halt its nuclear program.  We believe that the U.S. is indulging in this arrogance because of Bush’s re-election to a second term.  The U.S. President seems to believe the re-election is a mandate for the invasion of Iraq.  This arrogance is disturbing because the situation in Iraq is totally unstable....  The election win is by a small margin, moreover his supporters are allowing him to battle terrorism, not continue a war on Iraq and even less, to start one with Iran.  After all, why is Iran not allowed to develop its nuclear program for its own defense when Israel and the U.S. have nuclear weapons for the same reason?  Washington has never respected the freedom of Iran and has consistently tried to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.  With this attitude, the U.S. has not accepted that Iran can determine its fate and will try to bring it to its knees."


VIETNAM:  "Nuclear Issue In U.S.-Iran Relations"


Dinh Hiep wrote in government-run Ha Noi Moi (1/21):  "The reality shows that allegations by the U.S. to put pressure on Iran are not very different from the reasons the U.S. used to invade Iraq.  In short, the primary goal of the U.S. is to control the region's rich oil resources, and to acquire remaining oil wells the U.S. will look for any pretext possible....  But after two years of investigation and inspection, IAEA staff have not found any suspicious signs that Iran is still hiding or producing nuclear weapons.  This shows that the U.S. suspicion about the Iran nuclear issue is groundless, and also proves that the issue is just being used by the U.S. to incite a war."




SOUTH AFRICA:  "Iran Conundrum"


The liberal Star argued (1/26):  "The impending threat of military action against Iran by the U.S. will surely mean the end of the Anglo-American coalition....  Any forays in Iran could...cost Blair dearly on the home front.  The signals from Downing Street have clearly favored a diplomatic solution....  The Bush administration can ill afford to create a third war zone....  The world will not sympathize with unfounded incursions into sovereign countries.  All around, the will of their people should override any gung-ho notions of going to war.”


UGANDA:  "World Must Support Iran"


The state-owned New Vision commented (1/21):  "The U.S. is insisting that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, a charge strenuously denied by Iran.  The White House has continued to issue bellicose threats against Iran and new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has talked about Iran's nuclear weapons as if they are a matter of fact....  The world had hoped that the Bush administration would sober up after the Iraq debacle. Iraq is worse off than before the invasion and no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were ever discovered.   Despite this fiasco, the neo-cons in the Pentagon seem desperate to attack Iran....  As the United States mobilizes against Iran, it is vital that all right-thinking nations stand up to be counted.  America cannot go around attacking and invading countries just to settle old grudges.  It is time to create a new global coalition to resist a new imperial hegemony and restore credibility to the Untied Nations.  Uganda should be part of that coalition."




ARGENTINA:  "What Should Iran Expect?"


Claudio Uriarte wrote in center-left Pagina 12 (1/21):  "Seemingly, Iran will be the next U.S. target under W2... However, the attack would not be an invasion but... a large-scale repetition of the Israeli bombing against (the Iraqi) nuclear reactor Osirak in 1981... No one can predict what can happen afterwards, but neo-conservatives and right-wing revolutionaries who took hold of the largest military power in the world are likely to expect that the attack on Iran will trigger a period of domestic instability that will put an end to the ayatollahs' rigid theocracy"


BRAZIL:  "Challenge In Iran"


Center-right O Globo ran an op-ed stating (1/23):  "For 25 years the ayatollas of the Islamic Republic have oppressed one of the great civiliazations in the Middle East with an inflexibility that would make ...Shah Reza Palevi envious...Having said attack it... would be to repeat the mistake of the invasion of Iraq.  To whom does one run when the leaders of an authoritarian regime get it into their heads that they need nuclear arms?  President George Bush alleged that the US has the right to interrupt the Iranian program, or that of any other country, that represents a regional or global threat....This mission is not only that of the US, it is of all democracies....Perhaps the best formula against the tyrants and their  bellocosity is the combination of European and American methods.  To seek first a dialogue, is only to use force in the end--collectively, it is not in the interest of everyone."


"What To Expect From Bush’s Second Term"


An editorial in business-oriented Valor Econômico stated (1/20):  “It’s possible that the dead-end that is the Iraq stabilization policy…may produce a slight shift in the American focus.  Although the will to coerce Iran is clear…the U.S. will probably not get itself into another military adventure before finishing up with Iraq."



Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

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

Back To Top

blue rule
IIP Home  |  Issue Focus Home