International Information Programs
August 10, 2005

August 10, 2005

IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAM:'A SERIOUS CRISIS'

 

KEY FINDINGS

 

**Plan to press on with uranium conversion is the "beginning of an international crisis."

**The EU-3 "do not know what to do" in the face of Tehran's "confrontational" stance.

**Iranian outlets defend country's "inalienable right" to nuclear technology for peaceful ends.

**Arab, Pakistani papers: West guilty of hyprocisy for not putting Israel "in the same dock.''

 

MAJOR THEMES

 

Tehran 'throws down the gauntlet'--Euro dailies asserted that Iran's decision to renew uranium conversion means Iran "has chosen confrontation with the West," leading the dispute to reach "crisis" stage.The Iranians' "rude" and "openly unfriendly" reaction to the EU-3's offer "speaks volumes" about the mullahs' intentions.According to France's Catholic La Croix, "it is difficult to demand anything from a nuclear power" and the Iranians "know it and are playing their hand accordingly."Italy's elite Il Foglio concluded Iran opted for a "clear challenge" because it believes the Europeans lack "an effective alternative to counter the Iranian refusal."

 

Euros 'grim' after 'cold shower'--The negotiations' failure, analysts opined, puts the Europeans in "an extremely complicated situation," as the U.S. is likely to demand a "tough" response, including taking Iran to the UNSC."The EU does not know what to do," said Germany's financial Handelsblatt, adding "the most important precondition is to increase the stakes" in the "nuclear poker game."Spain's rightist ABC argued "the international community should make use of all the legal resouces possible" to prevent "a clique of ayatollahs" from getting nuclear weapons.Britain's Daily Telegraph agreed Iran "must be forced" to give up on nuclear weapons but noted, "The difficulties in deterring Tehran are immense."

 

'Iran's brave act'--Iranian outlets boasted that the resumption of nuclear activities "indicates Iranians' strong will to defend their inalienable right to access nuclear technology for peaceful purposes."Hard-line, pro-Khameini Keyhan declared that "Iran has slapped America in the face" and contended Iran "shouldn't be afraid" of the "Damocles' sword hanging over its head."Moderate E'temaad judged that "the door to negotiations" is still open if the Europeans recognize Iran's "legitimate right" to uranium enrichment.The conservative Tehran Times added that Iran's actions were a "symbolic measure" on behalf of all developing countries challenging the "monopolization" of nuclear technology.

 

Muslims assail West's 'double standards'--Arab and Pakistani writers split between those concerned that Iran "should not fall into the trap prepared for it" by the U.S. and those who said Iran was being "punished" because it is a Muslim country.Qatar's semi-independent Al-Raya concluded "there is still a chance to defuse the crisis peacefully"; a Pakistani daily called on "all sides to display circumspection" before "the crisis goes out of hand."But other Pakistani papers, along with Syria's government-owned Tishreen, faulted the U.S. and Europe for "sheer hypocrisy" by increasing pressure on Iran while "they should be focusing their attention on Tel Aviv" and its "huge stockpile" of nuclear weapons.

 

Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, rmrmail@state.gov

 

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 43 reports from 19 countries August 8 - 10, 2005.Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.

 

EUROPE

 

BRITAIN:"Iran Must Be Forced To Give Up Nuclear Weapons"

 

The conservative Daily Telegraph editorialized (8/10):"The difficulties in deterring Tehran are immense....The next few months are likely to see a steady ratcheting up of the crisis, from yesterday's emergency meeting of the IAEA to an attempt to get the matter referred to the UN Security Council and then persuade China and Russia not to veto economic sanctions.Iran's past mendacity renders wholly unconvincing its claim to be innocently pursuing nuclear production of electricity.But bringing it to book is proving extraordinarily frustrating."

 

FRANCE:"Europe Looking For Solution With Iran"

 

Maurin Picard judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (8/10):"European diplomats are harboring grim looks in Vienna after the cold shower they received from the Iranians.But diplomatic reality calls for more subtlety:no one wants to bring the Iranian nuclear issue before the UNSC.Not the Americans, who are mired in Iraq, nor the Europeans for whom such a step would be the prelude to international sanctions and the confirmation of their failed diplomatic efforts....If the Iranians were to cross the yellow line which the Americans and the Israelis interpret as a 'point of no return,' the Europeans would be facing a dilemma:to let the Iranians go ahead with their nuclear enrichment program or start the international sanctions procedure."

 

"Nuclear Impunity"

 

Yves Pitette in observed in Catholic La Croix (8/10):"Iranís initiative is not good news....While major powers have learned to politically harness their weapons through deterrence, we must today be more concerned with regional face-offs such as confrontations between India and Pakistan or Iran and Israel.Nothing indicates that Iran is ready to give up its hostility towards Israel....But because the worst is never certain, the Europeans have not given up their efforts for negotiations.It is entirely possible that Iran is playing a game of blackmail in order to get more from the Europeans.After all, North Korea is doing just that with the Americans.The lesson should be clear:it is difficult to demand anything from a nuclear power, albeit a limited one.The Iranians know it and are playing their hand accordingly."

 

"Iranís Challenge"

 

Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (8/9):"Iran has chosen confrontation with the West....Even if we are accustomed to Tehranís dramatization, even if the Europeans continue to search for an out in order to hide their failure, the resumption of uranium enrichment by Iran marks a point of no return and signals the beginning of an international crisis....Iran fools no one when it pretends that its aim is only to produce electricity....Considering Iranís intransigence there is no point in dilly-dallying:the only solution is to go before the UNSC in order to adopt sanctions against Iran, as the U.S. has been proposing for some time....The countdown has started.The tone used by Tehran in answer to the Europeans' proposals proves to what extent Iran feels in a position of strength.The U.S. is much too busy with Iraq to consider military strikes against Iran.In Israel, the attention is focused on the pullout from Gaza.Great Britain has its hands full with its hunt for terrorists.As for economic sanctions, the price of oil protects Iran from an embargo that would penalize the West, whose only option is to remain united and determined."

 

"Washington Betting On The UNSC"

 

Guillemette Faure took this view in right-of-center Le Figaro (8/9):"The U.S. is handling the Iranian issue with discretion....It is convinced that the only solution lies with the UNSC.Iran's 'no' to the Europeans has not had the same dramatic impact in the U.S. as it has in Europe.Washington was not openly committed to the latest crisis....If the Iranian position has elicited such little reaction from the U.S. it is because Washington did not except much from the negotiations....The new U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, has been working on the Iranian issue for years and cannot wait to get his hands on it.The UN could well be the key to resolving the crisis...even if many questions remain about the future of the cooperation between the Americans and the Europeans once the question of sanctions is broached."

 

GERMANY:"Iran And The Nuclear Bomb"

 

Malte Lehming opined in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (8/10):"Europe is talking about a 'serious crisis', and people talk about a final deadline.The IAEA meets in Vienna and the U.S. government is thinking about refusing the future Iranian president entry into the United States.This should create the impression of vigorous action, but in reality it looks helpless.The Iranian government is unimpressed.Why should it be impressed?The population is already suffering from sanctions today.A military strike is highly unlikely, since the Americans sit deeply in the Iraqi quagmire.That is why Iran can feel rather safe, irrespective of all threats and ultimata.That is why the involvement of the UN Security Council seems to be inevitable.It should already begin with the drafting of a resolution that carries four words only:hands off the bomb."

 

"Only Few Trump Cards"

 

Eric Bonse penned the following editorial in business daily Handelsblatt of DŁsseldorf (8/10):"In the nuclear conflict with Iran, the EU does not cut a good figure....The EU does not know what to do.While the mullahs put their nuclear plant back into operation...the EU foreign ministers want to hush up their defeat.There is no crisis meeting in Brussels, the British EU presidency is silent, even the German foreign minister does not know what to say....It is certainly right that the Europeans continue to exert pressure on Iran...and the Europeans should meet again and rethink their strategy.It was obviously based on two misassumptions:that the Iranians are rational negotiating partners and that they are incapable of rejecting the EU incentives....The nuclear poker game continues and Europe still has a chance to make the new move.But the most important precondition is to increase the stakes and to formulate the thus-far-vague rules of the game more clearly.This refers mainly to the 'objective guarantees' that allow the civilian use of nuclear energy and are supposed to prevent its military misuse....But Iran is likely to return to the negotiating table only if more trump cards are presented.The hopes for an acceptance in the WTO and the shipment of Airbus spare parts are obviously not enough.The offer of European security guarantees is not clear enough.President Ahmadinejad advocated a nuclear-free zone in the Gulf region.The Europeans should take him at his word and demand Tehran's definite renunciation of the bomb.In return, the EU together with the United States, and probably Israel, too, should offer a non-aggression strategy.The Iranian government could hardly reject such an offer.That is why it would be worth an attempt.But the new leadership seems to have already destroyed too much trust, and the troika in Brussels does not seem to have the necessary power to have another go."

 

"Iran's Brazen Attitude"

 

Right-of-center Reutlinger General-Anzeiger opined (8/10):"From a Western viewpoint, the attitude of the Iranian government must be called brazen.The fact that Tehran is putting the nuclear plan in Isfahan into operation , even though the EU made far-reaching concessions if it gives up its plan, allows the conclusion that the country is not interested in guaranteeing its people warm houses in winter.Iran is interested in the bomb and in finding its place in one of the politically most unstable regions in the world.But the wrangling in the IAEA's Governing Council about an Iran resolution shows that not all counties are [capable of] a crystal-clear condemnation of the unilateral Iranian move.If the representatives of the bloc of free nations hesitate, then they will do this because they are afraid of unpleasant consequences."

 

"Could Not Have Expected Success"

 

Gerhard Irmler commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (8/8):"The EU-3 could have suggested whatever they wanted. The regime in Tehran would have rejected everything.We could not have expected a successful conclusion of the nuclear talks anyway in a situation where deeply rooted distrust, even hostility paired with an excessive national status mentality towards the West, prevails.What is disconcerting and worrying is at the best the immediate and harsh rejection of proposals without Tehran even taking a real look at them.The doors to further talks, however, have not yet been shut, even though the Iranian leadership is pursing a highly dangerous escalation [policy]....Momentarily, the Europeans have no other choice but to try to keep the negotiating process alive until Tehran thinks better of it.But not much time is left."

 

"On A Confrontational Course"

 

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger had this to say in a front-page editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (8/9):"The rude, even cool manner with which Iran reacted to the European negotiating offer in the nuclear dispute speaks volumes.Tehran's willingness to go on a confrontational course is great, whatever its calculations.The Iranian leadership is putting the uranium conversion plant in Isfahan back into operation and does not give a damn that the matter could soon land with the UN Security Council.It is obviously absolutely sure about what it is doing and hopes that the most influential powers in the Security Council will pursue their own interests...and, therefore, will hardly find a common, sustainable position.And if the Council really thought about sanctions, Tehran could threaten a sabotage policy in Iraq and the Middle East.The conflict over Iran's nuclear program is now reaching the stage of a crisis."

 

"Bracing Climate"

 

Rudolph Chimelli argued in an editorial in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (8/9):"The third world war will not break out because Iran resumed operations at the nuclear power plant in Isfahan...but the climate is rapidly deteriorating....But even if the dispute over Iran's nuclear policy is transferred to the UN Security Council, the Iranians are relying on the UN to impose at worst a few toothless sanctions.The only thing that would really hurt Iran would be an oil boycott.But the Western industrialized nations will hardly impose such a boycott because of their shortage of energy and rising oil prices."

 

"Europe's Miscalculation"

 

Joachim Zepelin observed in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (8/9):"The failure of the negotiations...with Iran has created an extremely complicated situation in foreign policy for the Europeans:on the one side, we have Iran with a provocative and dangerous nuclear program, while, on the other side, we have Washington that will demand tough reactions, reaching to sanctions on Tehran, in the coming weeks....There have been a number of European miscalculations in their negotiations with Tehran:the Europeans pinned their hopes on a moderate Iranian government....They hoped that the Americans would embellish their negotiating packages with a few carrots...but no word of it in the European offers....Washington starved the EU-3 to death:it approved the European negotiations but did not get involved itself.But the decisive miscalculation was the negotiating goal:the Europeans intended to urge Iran to give up the enrichment of uranium but they must have ignored Iran's first reaction:it rejected the EU-3 offer right from the start....But the greatest miscalculation was that the Europeans entered into negotiations with Iran to prevent a worse development: the United States threatened sanctions and to bring the case to the UN Security Council....But now the talks have failed and the Europeans have sided with the United States, which has thus far demonstrated a skeptical attitude towards the negotiating spectacle....It may be possible that Iran also miscalculated, as Foreign Minster Fischer thinks.Sanctions may be looming and a cold diplomatic ice-age for the rogue state...but this is exactly what the Europeans tried to avoid when entering global politics."

 

ITALY:"How To Make Oneself Understood By Tehran"

 

Pro-government, elitist Il Foglio judged (8/10):"The Europe troika...faces a sensational setback....With its [Tehran's] gesture, accompanied by the nomination of an extremist to head the negotiation delegation, Tehran has basically put an end to the dialogue with the West....The Tehran regime has chosen a road of clear challenge...because it believes that European diplomacy is only based on words, lacking an effective alternative to counter the Iranian refusal.The illusion that problems with dictatorships can be resolved using only diplomacy and humanitarian gestures, without intervention, behind the carrot of good intentions, the stick of possible retaliation, has again proven to be disastrous."

 

"Why Tehran Does Not Fear UN Sanctions"

 

Pro-government, elite daily Il Foglio noted (8/9):"Paris, Berlin and London do not know what to do, but that is not true for the ayatollahs, because the lengthy and useless negotiations served their purposes.Their 'back and forth' game allowed the regime of the ayatollahs to buy time.Now Tehran has brusquely ended the game with a turnaround that has an evident internal dynamic:the Iranians know how to do politics, the Europeans do not.By slamming the door in Europe's face, the ayatollahs are giving the world a demonstration of pride and power, but risk nothing.The only threat the Europeans can make is to...refer Iran to the Security Council for sanctions.But Tehran knows well that that it has nothing to fear from the United Nations."

 

"Iran Removes Its Mask"

 

Roberto Fabbri concluded in pro-government, leading center-right daily Il Giornale (8/9):"Tehranís move is extremely serious.The concerns that it raises in the West and Israel are enough to force discussion, at this point and for quite some time, of the possibility of a military option to stop the 'Islamic bomb.'Iran is aware of it, and that is why the Isfahan plant is protected by dozens of antiaircraft batteries.Considering the elevated risk to which it is exposing itself...we ask ourselves why Iran continues down this road.Western observers regard this as nothing more than the umpteenth leg of a route covered by the method of taking two steps forward and one step back....The objective?To act like North Korea, which was able to avoid, contrary to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, being attacked by the Americans because it succeeded in equipping itself with a nuclear deterrent....It is evident that the latest developments of this old, disturbing issue represent the umpteenth blow to European diplomacy."

 

RUSSIA:"Free Fall"

 

Yevgeniy Shestakov wrote in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (8/8):"There are at least several explanations of the Ayatollahs' reluctance to seek a compromise with the EU.The best one for the EU-3 Troika would be that, deciding to bargain, Iran rejected the first offer outright in the hopes of a better deal.In that event, the EU would have time for maneuver so it might save face in this complicated situation.Assuming that the Iranian authorities see no sense in talking any further and have no intention of even suspending the uranium enrichment operation leaves no chance of the EU-3 getting out of the diplomatic impasse with dignity.If that were so, Europe would have to agree with Washington, which has long insisted on using sanctions against Tehran.But recent blasts outside the offices of two British companies in Tehran made it clear to the EU what that might lead to.The termination of the EU-Iran talks would make Russia feel quite uncomfortable.While up to now it has had only Washington with which to discuss the 'Iranian dossier,' today the situation has changed radically."

 

AUSTRIA:"The Nightmare Bomb"

 

Stefan Galoppi wrote in mass-circulation Kurier (8/10):"There are many reasons to distrust Tehran.The regime concealed some of its sites from the International Atomic Energy Agency.In one case, a few grams of uranium were being enriched to a degree that would have allowed the production of weapons.And why the hurry to produce fuel rods when not even a single reactor is in operation as yet?Since the inauguration of President Ahmadinejad, Tehran has issued statements that signal anything but goodwill.The hardliners dismissed the far-reaching European offer too quickly and brusquely.They hyped up the enrichment issue to one of national honor and even accepted international isolation.Even if the IAEA gave Iran more time to return to the negotiation table, the case would presumably land before the UN Security Council.There, endless debates about economic and possibly military sanctions are to be expected.Russia and China, on whom Tehran is secretly pinning its hopes, are hardly in a position to argue that not enough play was given to negotiations.After all, the Europeans did all they could to verifiably prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb."

 

"No Option For Iran"

 

Gudrun Harrer commented in independent Der Standard (8/10):"The enrichment of uranium itself is not forbidden, however, all respective activities have to be reported to the IAEA and monitored by them.Iran failed to do so and is now paying the political price.True, there would have been attempts to stop its activities but no international consensus for any measures to this effect.The EU-3 offer, however, is apparently so little geared towards meeting Iranian needs that a breach is to be expected--no matter what the Iranians are currently doing in Isfahan....Iran is likely to reject the offer outright.In this case the matter will be brought before the Security Council.On which basis the Council is supposed to condemn Iran and even impose sanctions is not clear--for past violations of the NPT, perhaps?However, the political actors are already hard at work, especially with regard to China, which depends on Iranian oil.A little threat, perhaps with a Gulf blockade--which would ensure that the Chinese did not get any oil--as an alternative to a military strike against the nuclear sites might work wonders."

 

"Iran Catastrophe"

 

Ernst Heinrich commented in mass-circulation provincial daily Kleine Zeitung (8/9):"Despite the many indications that the Mullahs are constructing a nuclear bomb, Brussels is still relying on the diplomatic card while Washington is already flexing its military muscle....All this is a fatal reminder of what the situation in Iraq was like a few years ago:like Saddam Hussein, the Mullahs will continue to assert they are not building the bomb.Inspectors from the (International) Atomic Energy Agency will go into Iran--just as they went into Iraq before the war--and find little proof that anything untoward is going on.And just as they did back then, Europe and the U.S. will probably soon start quarreling about whether and to what degree sanctions against Tehran are justified.All that seems to indicate the world has not learned much from the Iraq disaster.Iran is not a catastrophe yet--but it is developing into one."

 

BELGIUM:"The Two Victims Of Iranís Decision"

 

Sabine Verhest observed in independent La Libre Belgique (8/9):"By resuming its uranium conversion activities at the Isfahan plant, Iran has made two victims:the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which was supposed to protect the world from nuclear madness, and the EU, which believed in dialogue.At this stage at least, Iranís decision is a failure for the EUís foreign policy.Divided on the intervention in Iraq, France, Germany, and Great Britain had managed to work together on the Iranian dossier, and with the United Statesí blessing.Standing back, Washington had let them take the lead of the negotiations, in which Iran was offered nuclear, commercial, and political cooperation in exchange for stopping its sensitive activities that could have enabled it to acquire nuclear weapons.By rejecting the Europeansí offer, Tehran is proving the American hawks right, hawks that consider that political dialogue with some countries is a waste of time."

 

CZECH REPUBLIC:"And Now Onto Iran!"

 

Jan Zizka wrote in the political-economic weekly Euro (8/8):"The U.S. neocons would have attacked Iran a long time ago.'Timid' Europeans conducted with Iran long-lasting negotiations and it seems that these talks are collapsing...Nevertheless, the neocons were wrong.It was the Bush administration which supported the European approach, although it did not get 'dirty' itself by any direct negotiations with Iran....It is not only about nuclear weapons.In particular Americans are very concerned over Tehran not ruining their efforts in Iraq.It was the U.S. military action in Iraq that paradoxically increased Iran's influence....The tacit U.S. support of the European negotiations concerning Iran suggests that circumstances in Washington have changed....One way or the other, the West should avoid repeating mistakes.Iran is not the same as al-Qaida, and it is not Saddam Hussein's Iraq.Under certain circumstances, one can imagine Iran being an important ally in fighting the terrorist network [since Shias are mostly its target among Muslims].It certainly would not be wise to rule out this option in advance."

 

HUNGARY:"Draw The Badger"

 

Mihaly Dobrovits noted in liberal-leaning Magyar Hirlap (8/10):"Behind present maneuvers actually stand the wish to demonstrate the 'national greatness'[of Iran].What the dangers of Tehran's measures [are] cannot evidently be underestimated. Still, we have to [remember that] Iran, even if it wanted to, will not be able to produce an explosive device in the near future.On the other hand, even if it sounds cynical, the possession of a nuclear device is more of a prestige issue today than a real offensive and frightening power....The most remarkable thing is that Iran actually does not need to have an atomic bomb to significantly improve its international negotiation positions.For this the geopolitical and strategic 'sharp sight' of Washington decision-makers was enough.The majority, almost two-thirds, of Americaís troops are actually stationed in Iraq, [where] the unstable Shiite-Kurd coalition has signed many strategic cooperation agreements with Iran in the recent past."

 

SPAIN:"Iran, One More Step"

 

Centrist La Vanguardia editorialized (8/10):"Iran has challenged the international community and the United Nations by resuming nuclear activities....With this step, Tehran has tactically tightened the noose on the rest of the world, but no one seems to be willing to break it.Iran's position of force for claiming its right to research the civil use of nuclear energy has made tensions increase.The United States and the European Union distrust Tehran, since it misled the international community for 18 years by researching (nuclear activities) with military purposes....Iran has taken a step and demanded better conditions, but Europe has not renounced guaranteeing international control of Iranian centers (of nuclear research)."

 

"Iran Tightens The Noose On Europe And The U.S."

 

Business daily Expansiůn concluded (8/10):"Iran may try last-minute tricks to win time in its objective of avoiding falling under the UN, UN sanctions, or at worst, being the subject of more serious actions.Europe should be prepared for this eventuality and not make the mistake of falling again for illusions over realities.Until now the steps made by Tehran, before and after the arrival of the recently elected president, are not those of a country that is honestly not encouraging nuclear programs.To the contrary.Europe did what it had to do and mediated in a search for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and although it is human to stumble more than once on the same stone, now (Europe) should do everything possible and impossible to prevent it from happening."

 

"Once Again, The Iranian Threat"

 

Conservative ABC held (8/9):"The plans of the Iranian regime to get nuclear weapons deserve a categorical condemnation from the international community.Reaffirming these plans exactly one day after the anniversary of the explosion in Hiroshima could be considered a challenge to the common sense and sensibility of the whole of humanity.With this gesture, openly unfriendly, the Iranian authorities are sending the worst signal, not only to the U.S., but also to the EU, which had bet its prestige and ability to persuade in a praiseworthy effort to avoid this grave problem to the world of which we will have to speak in the future....The international community should make use of all the legal resources possible to stop this nonsense that would put a terrifying destructive capacity in the hands of a clique of ayatollahs with medieval inclinations, at the Turkish border, an area of direct interest of NATO and the EU."

 

MIDDLE EAST

 

ISRAEL:"Sanctions On Iran"

 

Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized (8/10):"Israel cannot remain apathetic to the worrisome developments to its east.The Iranian nuclear program, conducted by a hostile and fanatic regime, is rightly seen here as a grave security threat.The U.S. intelligence assessment leaked last week to The Washington Post which said Iran is about a decade away from having nuclear weapons should not lull decision-makers in Jerusalem....Israeli experts believe that Iran needs another two to four years--if it abandons all agreements and restrictions--in order to obtain the amount of fissionable material needed for a nuclear weapon.At that point, the balance of power in the region will change sharply, to Israel's detriment.The European diplomatic effort to stop Iran's nuclearization, which Israel welcomed, has thus far succeeded in slowing the project....However, that is no reason to relax.The severity of the threat, the time pressure and Iran's blatant challenge to the international community obligate Europe's leaders to rethink the soft line they have taken thus far toward Tehran....Sanctions are not a miracle cure, especially given the state of the world's oil markets, which would have trouble giving up a major producer such as Iran.But the international community must flash a 'stop' sign at Khamenei and Ahmadinejad.The leaders of the West must remember that the perpetrators of the London terror attacks derived their extremist ideology from similar sources, and they must not allow the leaders of radical Islam to have nuclear weapons."

 

"Europe's Moment of Truth"

 

Sefi Hendler wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (8/9):"The Bush administration had placed the management of the Iranian nuclear crisis in the hands of European diplomats who were convinced of their ability to attain better results in peaceful ways....The Europeans will now face a dilemma filled with irony:is there room for the use of force, even without UN approval, when diplomacy has failed?On Monday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder tried to calm the spirits:'No one is currently dreaming of a military confrontation.'But Berlin and Paris will soon have to decide whether they will adopt a tough line or a conciliatory policy whose price might be a Shiite bomb.Europe's moment of truth is approaching."

 

SAUDI ARABIA:"Iran Should Avoid Ambush"

 

Ahmad al-Hawni concluded in London-based, pan-Arab, pro-Libya Al-Arab al-Alamiyah (8/10):"Iran is a great Islamic state and it is our concern that it should not fall into the trap prepared for it by the superpower and that it should avoid being pounced on by those seeking to ambush it....Islamic states and the Organization of Islamic Conference should have moved to persuade the Iranian leadership to be patient in dealing with the international demands to hold off uranium enrichment."

 

JORDAN:"Iran's Wise Decision"

 

Batir Muhammad Ali Wardam opined in center-left, influential Al-Dustour (8/10):"Iran's decision to resume the uranium enrichment program for military purposes was well considered and wise and the timing was most appropriate.If there is one lesson we have all learnt from the U.S. invasion of Iraq it is that the invasion was not a result of Iraq's possession of nuclear weapons--a lie to the world by American leaders--but simply because Iraq did not possess these weapons."

 

QATAR:"Still A Chance For Peaceful Solution"

 

Semi-independent Al-Raya observed (8/10):"Despite the escalation of the Iranian nuclear issue, there is still a chance for a peaceful solution....The statements by the Iranian president yesterday that he was ready to return to the negotiating table are a positive sign, which indicates there is still chance to defuse the crisis peacefully."

 

SYRIA:"Sheer Hypocrisy"

 

Hanan Hamid noted in government-owned Tishreen (8/10):"The EU and the U.S. are increasing their pressure on Iran, and are trying to persuade it to scrap its uranium enrichment program....Meanwhile, they completely disregard Israel's enrichment of uranium and the manufacturing of nuclear weapons....This is nothing but sheer hypocrisy."

 

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

 

CHINA:"How Does U.S. Play Nuclear Card With North Korea And Iran?"

 

Liu Suyun commented in the China Radio International-sponsored newspaper World News Journal (Shijie Xinwenbao) (8/9):"The nuclear issue is a magic weapon that the U.S. uses to deal with North Korea and Iran.But in the process of these three parties' fights, people seem to see a subtle connection:though North Korea and Iran did not ally themselves in face of the common enemy of the U.S., they did have a tacit echoing of each otherís position toward the U.S.:when one got more conciliatory, the other became tough, and vice versa.They have a seesaw battle with the U.S.People have no way to know if it is a coincidence or a tacit agreement.But the U.S. in fact has two unpersuasive points on the nuclear issue:first, it doesnít allow North Korea and Iran to have the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.Second, it adopts double standards on nuclear issue.The U.S. crossed swords when face to face with North Korea during the Six-Party Talks, but regarding Iran, the U.S. temporarily hid in the background.Peace-loving people are very worried when watching the nuclear battle in its climax between these three parties."

 

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

 

IRAN:"Iran Has Slapped America In The Face"

 

Hard-line pro-Khamene'i Keyhan stated (8/10):"In its two-year nuclear challenge with the West, Iran has slapped America in the face.After resuming the activities of Uranium Conversion Facilities center the tone of the Americans and the Europeans has become mild, the result of Iran's brave act.Iran's nuclear dossier cannot be sent to the UN Security Council and Iran shouldn't be afraid of this Damocles' sword hanging over its head.Iran's first reaction would be withdrawing from the NPT, though basically it has not been a member of the NPT since 1997."

"Germany's Hostile And Aggressive Position"

 

Hard-line Siyasat-e-Ruz declared (8/10):"Germany's high-ranking officials opined that the resumption of Iran's nuclear activities endangers international peace and it is a violation of international rules.The hostile and aggressive position of Germans, unlike what they claim, is not for international peace, since they are fully aware of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities."

 

"Non-Aligned Countries Tried Their Best"

 

Conservative Hamshahri opined (8/10):"Following the board of governor's session, once more the confrontation of the south and the north was clear.The non-alignment countries tried their best to stop Iran's dossier from being sent to the UN Security Council.The Islamic Republic of Iran should pay close attention to improving its relations with these countries."

 

"Door To Negotiations Still Open, If..."

 

Moderate E'temaad took this view (8/10):"It was clear from the very beginning of the negotiations that the Europeans, overshadowed by America's policies, are trying to dissuade Iran to give up uranium enrichment activities.Resuming the UCF activities in Isfahan, Iran means to tell the Europeans the door to negotiations is still open if they recognize Iran's legitimate right of uranium enrichment."

"A Symbolic Challenge"

 

The conservative, English-language Tehran Times commented (8/10):"The resumption of nuclear activities at the Isfahan UCF indicates Iranians' strong will to defend their inalienable right to access nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes, but can also be regarded as a symbolic measure on behalf of all Third World countries attempting to challenge the phenomenon of the monopolization of the technology."

PAKISTAN:"Iran Throws Down The Gauntlet"

 

Karachi-based, center-left, independent English-language Dawn argued (8/10):"Iran's move to restart its uranium enrichment facility in Isfahan after a delay of eight months has not exactly come like a bolt from the blue.After his election to the presidency in July, Mr. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad had made it clear that he would continue with the nuclear program and would not be dictated to over the nuclear issue.Hence, it is hardly surprising that soon after taking over office, President Ahmadinejad has proceeded to throw down the gauntlet to the Western powers....Now that Iran has taken the road to confrontation, there is need for all sides to display circumspection in the matter before the crisis goes out of hand....In an effort to seek a strategic balance, other states have turned nuclear.They announced their status only after they had carried out successful nuclear tests.Iran could be moving in the same direction.No one can support nuclear proliferation but the big powers' approach gives one a better perspective of the nuclear arms race.It would be sensible if the goal of total nuclear disarmament is not lost sight of."

 

"Iran's Decisive Step"

 

The center-right national English-languageNation editorialized (8/10):"As expected, the negotiating Europeans and the U.S. have cried foul, terming the Iranian move as a breach of the Paris accord, holding out the threat of taking the matter to the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran.But Tehran would be justified in claiming that as the EU-3, during the nine-month long negotiations, had failed to devise a formula of guarantees against its enriched material's use for military purposes to permit it to recommence the work it lost hope of a positive outcome of the talks.It could not possibly be expected to hold an endless dialogue and thus put off the program of setting up nuclear power plants to meet the growing needs of the countryís development.Chances are that Russia, which is assisting it in building the Bushher nuclear power plant and most likely China would be averse to endorsing the view of imposing sanctions.Therefore, it does not seem likely that the UNSC would accept the Western plea.Nevertheless, the Iranian decision and Western opposition have created a situation charged with tension and uncertainty.But Tehran could not have chosen a more apt moment for its move.With the U.S. bogged down in aggressive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the majority of its people asking for the recall of troops, it would be difficult for it to undertake another military venture.But the point is that Tehran has every right to do enrichment for peaceful purposes under the NPT.It has repeatedly disclaimed any ambition to manufacture nuclear weapons and is ready to give guarantees to that effect, but would not be satisfied with an arrangement, which obliges it to depend on fuel supply from outside sources that, with changed political situation, could become uncertain.The U.S. and its allies should be wary of taking an extreme step against a determined nation and avoid putting the region into another turmoil.They should be focusing their attention on Tel Aviv holding a huge stockpile and a record of aggressive policies."

 

"Iran-U.S. Nuclear Dispute...Justice Is Imperative"

 

Second-largest Urdu-language daily Nawa-e-Waqt took this view (8/10):"Iran has repeatedly assured that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes....It is a right of Muslim countries like America and four other big powers.Recently, America declared those [nuclear] perks for India that are given to the countries that signed NPT.Following this [U.S.-India] treaty for the nuclear cooperation for civilian purposes the U.S. experts and scholars have right raised the question that now there is no scope for screaming at Iran....Israel has become a nuclear power, but none took serious note if it, whereas Iran is being threatened of war and economic sanctions.This double standard of America and Europe has destroyed the world peace and Muslim youth is attracted to extremism.The IAEA should not act as stooge of America and should listen to Iran before taking action against it.Iran is being punished for being a Muslim country....Iran is not the last target of America and its allies as other Muslims countries can be targeted.Pakistan is already a target in this respect....Nuclear technology is not the right of just non-Muslims."

 

"Iranian Nuclear Program And The U.S. Reaction"

 

The populist Urdu-language Khabrain concluded (8/10):"Imposing sanctions on Iran just because it is a Muslim country would not be right.If this is necessary, Israel should be put in the same dock, because while Iran is still two years from producing a nuclear weapon Israel has hundreds. However, Iran should also realize the sensitivity of the issue and [should] not take things to such a pass that the UN imposes further sanctions on it."

 

"Iranís Atomic Program"

 

Nazeer Naji declared in the leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang (8/10):"After Iran restarted its uranium enrichment program, it started receiving threats from the United States and Europe regarding the imposition of sanctions.Iran has been facing such type of threats since long and is fully aware of the fact that in what circumstances these sanctions are actually effective.The U.S. and its European allies are now not on a strong moral pedestal after the recently concluded India-U.S. defense pact.France, Germany and the Britain are fully aware of it and Russia and China are likely to veto any such resolution at the UN Security Council.The U.S.-India defense pact has given a similar justification to Russia to enter into a nuclear cooperation with Iran.Moreover, any sanctions on Iran would badly affect the international system of trade and the U.S. could not even consider of a fresh adventure after its military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.This time the U.S. would not be able to do anything other than some verbal threats and ultimately it would have to accept that Iranís nuclear program is for peaceful purposes."

 

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

 

CANADA:"Iran's Distrubing Return To Uranium Enrichment"

 

The leading, centrist Globe and Mail judged (8/10):"Iran's defiance is even beginning to frustrate its nuclear ally, Russia.That may be a good thing.Moscow's intervention may help resolve the latest standoff between Tehran and the European Union over Iran's nuclear activities....The negotiations have been hampered by Tehran's dogged insistence that it has the legal right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium to a level needed to make fuel to generate electricity, which it desperately needs.That's true.But Iran is citing the same treaty that it has previously defied by deceiving inspectors....Tehran had agreed to freeze its nuclear activities as part of its talks with the EU, but this week it threw a spanner into the works by resuming uranium conversion at a nuclear plant near Isfahan.To make matters worse, Iran's new President, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, engaged in unnecessarily provocative rhetoric.Pandering to nationalist sentiment in his country, he said the EU's offer...is an 'insult.'To its credit, Russia has urged Iran to reverse course and stick with the negotiations....Russia is eager to continue working with Iran on civilian nuclear-power generation and has made the argument in Tehran that, financially, it makes much more sense for Iran to buy fuel from a supplier country such as itself and use it under strict, verifiable IAEA regulations.Russia's obvious self-interest should not matter.It is paramount that Moscow persuade its nuclear partner that it must live up to its international commitments and that the world is much better off without another nuclear-weapons state."

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