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October 18, 2005

IRAN:  'SIDES DIFFER WIDELY' OVER ITS NUCLEAR PROGRAM

KEY FINDINGS

**  Media see relations between Tehran and the West "breaking down."

**  Energy demand and price hikes in 2005 "helped increase Iran's confidence."

**  India's IAEA vote and Iran's track record raise issues of trust.

**  After IAEA vote, Iranian writers chide Iran's approach to diplomacy.

MAJOR THEMES

Iran 'determined to build nuclear weapons'--  A variety of editorialists contend that some things are now clear concerning  the "Iranian nuclear imbroglio."  China's official Global Times opined that Iran's "decision makers" decided to challenge the U.S. and Europe after a "cautious assessment" of its detractors' domestic and international situation.  An Iranian analyst proclaimed Tehran's aim in the EU-3 talks was "very clear from the start"; it was to "safeguard and develop its nuclear technology."  Other Iranian writers decried the "activities of the ominous triangle of America, Britain and Israel against Iran."  Indonesia's independent Kompas noted that "Russia insists Iran has the right to develop its nuclear program," which a Russian writer feared may prompt a "serious crisis" in Russia's relations with the West.

To export 'five million tons of liquid gas from Iran to India'--  While Iran's reformist Sharq documented Iran's 2005 fall-off in economic growth, it added that the "unprecedented rise of oil prices" and domestic factors staved off economic depression; a Chinese outlet agreed the "rapid increase of international oil prices" in 2005 contributed to the increase in "Iran's confidence" allowing it "proactively" to "defend the rights of the nation in the field of nuclear activities."  Aside from nukes, Tehran loomed large as a global energy producer.  A writer in the centrist Times of India declared Iran viewed the projected lucrative "Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline" as an "axis for regional economic cooperation in Southwest Asia." 

Tehran should 'cooperate with the IAEA'--  So stated an Indonesian writer.  The center-left Irish Times criticized Iran's "secrecy and lies" during talks.  As Indian writers reviewed India's IAEA vote against Iran, leftist outlets uniformly assailed the vote while others recalled Tehran was party to the "Pakistan backed anti-Indian resolutions of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) relating to Jammu and Kashmir"; they added that "socialist India" and the Islamic Republic of Iran have "areas of divergences."  India's pro-economic Business Standard opined, "It is not in the country’s interest to have a nuclear Iran."

'Strangling Iran diplomatically and economically'--  A French writer referred to Secretary Rice's recent stop in Paris saying, "America and France have...warned Iran," calling for Iran to resume EU-3 talks.  A UK outlet suggested diplomacy's limits may have been reached with Iran.  Iran's Sharq held that diplomacy amounted to "useful and effective war and confrontation."  Moderate E'temaad cited Tehran's change of IAEA negotiatiors as just its "first" error diplomatically.  Iran's pro-Khomeni Jomhuri-ye Eslami declared that U.S.-led "ring-leaders of neo-colonialism" are using the internet and press for "fabricated antagonism"; they want an Iranian "encirclement [that] becomes more dangerous and the noose ever more tight," it added. 

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

EDITOR:  Rupert D. Vaughan

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 49 reports from 17 countries over September 29 - October 17, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.

EUROPE

BRITAIN:  "Britain Must Not Rush To Misjudge Iran"

Liberal Democrat MP Andrew Phillips commented in the left-of-center Independent (10/17):  ."The British government has hitherto pursued a strong policy of engagement, admirably at odds with the White House, a stance one hopes Tony Blair maintained in talks with Condoleezza Rice yesterday.  Despite the nuclear difficulties, we must not rush to judgment on the new regime.  Much hangs on it."

"Too Soon To Celebrate"

An editorial in the left-of-center Guardian remarked (10/17):  "Whitehall-watchers have noticed that Jack Straw...has said on the record that war with Iran is 'inconceivable'.  Mr. Blair has been less categoric.  Ms. Rice backed him yesterday in warning Iran to desist from aiding recent guerilla attacks on British forces in southern Iraq....  Britain must maintain its own course.  Key decisions on Iraq were made by Mr. Blair in private talks with President Bush and other high-level contacts.  It is thus alarming to hear that the government has now effectively censored the memoirs of Sir Jeremy Greenstock, our man at the UN in the run-up to the war.  Things may be starting to look up in Iraq, but vigilance is needed to avoid stumbling into a new crisis."

"Britain Reaches Limits Of Diplomacy With Iran"

An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph (10/07):  "Relations between Tehran and the West are breaking down....  Yesterday, George W. Bush accused Iran and Syria of sponsoring terrorism and claimed they were as guilty of murder as the actual perpetrators.  Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said last week that military action against Iran was inconceivable.  Maybe, but he has yet to show that diplomacy is an effective alternative."

"Watch Out For More Warning Shots"

An editorial in the left-of-center Independent (10/07):  "For the time being, the accusations against Iran are more likely to be a warning shot, more a signal of the changing mood, than a prelude to war.  Any new charges, though, are worth watching.  Unnamed senior officials dropping convoluted hints about another country's bad behaviour smacks of media manipulation.  Remember the 45 minutes and those weapons of mass destruction?  We must not forget them."

FRANCE:   "The U.S. And France Share Determination Against Iran"

Natalie Nougayrede wrote in left-of-center Le Monde (10/17):  “On her previous visit to France Secretary Rice remained very discreet on the subject of Iran. But last Friday Iran occupied a position of choice in her meetings with President Chirac and FM Douste Blazy....  Intense consultations are on about Iran but also about Syria.  America and France’s diplomacy have together warned Iran and asked for a resumption of negotiations with the EU-3....  Rice’s impromptu visit to Moscow proves that the U.S. wants to find a common ground with Russia in how to deal with Iran....Separately, the French and the Americans advertised their shared views on Syria and Lebanon....  According to a Times of London report, the Americans have offered a deal to Syria in exchange for cooperation in the Hariri assassination.”

"Washington Increases Its Pressure On Iran"

Arnaud de La Grange opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (10/17):  “One thing is certain: American diplomacy is on the offensive.  Secretary Rice has just made the rounds in order to drum up support in favor of the threat of sanctions to counter Iran’s obstinacy....  London and Washington, not surprisingly, exhibited their shared views on the issue.  But Secretary Rice was also pleased with the warm support given by Paris: ‘The British, the French--yes you heard me, the French--the EU-3, they have all been very clear...’  Secretary Rice also warned Iran against aiding Iraq’s insurgents....  A link between WMD and terrorism which brings another similar link to mind.”

GERMANY:  "Not So"

Jasper von Altenbockum noted in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/17):   "U.S. Secretary of State Rice's visit to Moscow shows Europeans and Americans the limits of their power to keep Iran at bay.  Russia is interested in avoiding a confrontation with Tehran not only because of its commercial interests and, therefore, is trying to prevent the UN Security Council from dealing with the matter.  Good relations with Iran also safeguard a greater scope of action for the Kremlin ranging from the Caucasus to Central Asia.  That is why we cannot take Moscow's promise to do everything to prevent the development of a new nuclear power too seriously, at least not as seriously as the concrete plan to cooperate with Iran when it comes to reprocessing used fuel rods.  This could even offer Moscow the possibility to present itself as an 'honest broker' in the nuclear conflict.  But those who have witnessed how Moscow deals with nuclear waste do not want to believe that this could happen in the sense of a non-proliferation.  The EU and the United States are at a stalemate with respect to Iran if they are dependent on Russian assistance, and this means again on the UN."

ITALY:  "Putin’s 'Nyet' To Condi, Hands Off Iran"

Maurizio Molinari reports from New York in centrist, influential La Stampa (10/16):  “Condoleezza Rice unexpectedly arrived in Moscow for a diplomatic blitz that ended without success because she was unable to obtain Russia’s support to defer Iran to the United Nations for its race to an atomic military....  At the end of their talks, the two leaders hardly managed to hide their differences....  While agreeing on the need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Washington and Moscow remain divided over how to achieve that....  The Kremlin believes that it can obtain Tehran’s commitment not to build the nuclear weapon without going through the U.N. Security Council.”

"Iran: Sanctions Against Nuclear Race"

Aldo Forbice’s analysis for conservative top-circulation syndicate Quotidiano Nazionale (10/3):  "It’s now clear to everybody that the Iranian regime has never interrupted its nuclear race, always staging, instead, fictitious showdowns, and promising a pause or a compromise with IAEA and the European Union Troika, including Great Britain, Germany and France....  What should one be doing at this point?  Clearly, Americans--and Israelis--have so far been impatiently on hold.  The United States has, however, clearly said that should the UN and  diplomacy fail, the only possible next move would be to resort to weapons, which means bombing nuclear plants."

RUSSIA:  "Rice Finds No Support In Moscow"

Artur Blinov commented on the front page of centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (10/17):  "U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit, a surprise at least to the broad public, ended with an important statement: the sides differ widely on a principal issue, the Iran nuclear program. With Washington and the EU-3 seeing eye to eye on that problem, Russia-West relations may face a serious crisis when the question of turning over the Iran dossier to the UN Security Council comes under discussion at the end of November."

"Moscow Stands By Iran"

Lyudmila Romanova stated on the front page of reformist Gazeta (10/17):  "Russia wants no aggravation of the Iran problem.  It is not only the Bushehr project and plans to supply it with nuclear fuel. The Kremlin believes the use of force against Iran will destabilize the situation in the region the way it did in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq."

CZECH REPUBLIC:  "False Nuclear Game"

Petra Prochazkova opined in the center-right Lidove Noviny (10/17):  "The news that Iran with the help of Russia managed to obtain the technology for the production of a ballistic missile capable of transporting a nuclear bomb as far as Europe from North Korea is definitely alarming....  While Iran openly defends its nuclear program....  Russia plays its double-dealing, hypocritical game.  It [Russia] poses as a defender of peace and a supporter of nuclear disarmament and at the same time doesn't hesitate to collaborate with regimes openly hostile to others.  It is hard to believe that some Russian private citizens dealing in nuclear technologies would escape the attention of the Russian intelligence services.  If there is anything going on between Russia and Iran, then the Kremlin definitely knows about it....  If only the high-principled positions applied by the western world towards Iran would also be directed at its 'strategic ally'--Moscow--several militant regimes would lose much of their support.  And without this support and supplies of super secret technologies it is really difficult to make nuclear bombs." 

IRELAND:  "Secrecy And Lies Fuel Nuclear Talks" 

Lara Marlowe wrote in the leading, centrist Irish Times (10/3):  "Iran seems determined to build nuclear weapons.  The IAEA - the world's nuclear policeman - seems unable to stop it.  Three huge ambiguities and 18 years of secrecy lie at the heart of the long-running crisis over Iran's nuclear programme.  The first ambiguity is the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) itself.  The Iranian government believe that article IV of the 1970 agreement gives them the right to master the nuclear fuel cycle--in other words to enrich uranium....  Georges Le Guelte spent 30 years at the French atomic energy commission and four years at the IAEA [and says] 'When you buy a car, you don't buy a refinery to get your fuel.  If their programme was for purely peaceful purposes, why didn't they report it to the IAEA?  We cannot have confidence in what they say because they hid everything.'...  That is where the second ambiguity comes in.  'There is absolutely no difference between a civilian programme and a military programme, because most of the installations can be used for either,' says Bruno Tertrais....  Iran conducted secret laboratory experiments on uranium enrichment and plutonium separation, but the most significant development was the purchase of centrifuge plans and parts from Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan....   Khan walked away with a suitcase full of design documents and plenty of first-hand knowledge.  He gave Pakistan the ability to enrich uranium, and the bomb.  He sold enrichment technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran.  'We don't know if Khan sold the Iranians a bomb plan,' Tertrais says.  'Al-Qaddafi gave the IAEA a complete blueprint of Chinese origin for a nuclear warhead.  It was delivered to the Libyans in an Islamabad laundry bag.'...  Iran's intentions, and the IAEA's inability to deliver a definitive judgment, is the third ambiguity surrounding the nuclear programme."

ROMANIA:  "Compromising Iran--A Risky Game" 

Simona Haiduc commented in the financial-oriented Curentul (10/3):  “Apart from their strictly political effect, such words [that Tehran will stop supplying oil] might have a devastating impact on the oil markets.  And such a thing is not desirable right now, when the price of ‘black gold’ seems to be easily influenced....  What was the purpose of the interview in question [of the Iranian president to a Saudi newspaper, allegedly stating the above]? As a means of compromising Iran? Intensifying the pressures of Western countries over Tehran? Speeding up a possible attack on Iran? The purpose is to get this state--the second largest player in the oil reserves market and in the natural gas market, after Russia--out of the game....  Iran has enough ‘friends’ in the Middle East.”

MIDDLE EAST

ISRAEL:  "Updating The Threat"

Defense and foreign affairs columnist Amir Oren wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/12): "After the conversation between U.S. President John Kennedy and deputy defense minister Shimon Peres in 1963, the standing Israeli formula has promised that Israel 'will not be first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.'  That statement is not enough in the era of Iranian threshold nuclearization: Israel has to reach a situation that will enable it to also declare that it 'will not be the last to absorb an attack of weapons of mass destruction.'  That is the deterrent side, but the deterrence depends on IDF Intelligence, and since there is no certainty that IDF Intelligence will not fail again in its evaluations, as it did in 1973, it is worth remembering that the supreme responsibility for deploying to minimize the damage caused by the mistake falls on those who are in charge of the intelligence chiefs the government and the chief of staff."

SAUDI ARABIA:  "Escalation Leading To Tragedy" 

Jeddah’s conservative Okaz editorialized (10/1):  "Iran’s relations with Europe and the U.S. are deteriorating and becoming more tense....  If a confrontation occurs, Iran won’t be the only country affected....  Is it wise to allow matters to escalate?  All countries should exert exceptional efforts to stop escalation....  Iran should consider its policies and stands in order to avoid disturbing stability in the area....  Europe and the U.S. should stop escalating and tend to the dialogue....  The area has enough pains and wounds and does not need any new crises, otherwise, the whole world will burn.

ASIA PACIFIC

CHINA:  "The U.S. And Europe Have No Resolution An Iran"

Hua Liming commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (Huanqiu Shibao) (10/11):  "Bush's lack of support on Iraq has restricted the Bush administration's unilateralism.  It makes the U.S. unable to easily swing the war stick on the Iran nuclear issue.  Meanwhile, the Iraqi election has selected a government mainly led by Shiites and Kurds.  Iran's influence on the future government of Iraq has increased greatly.  This has increased Iran's chips to negotiate with the U.S.   The rapid increase of international oil prices in 2005 has also helped to increase Iran's confidence.  The U.S. and Europe can't afford chaotic international economics.  Under pressure from the U.S., the EU pressed Iran too far.  This has stimulated Iranians' nationalist sentiment.  It has helped increase the influence of conservatives' in Iran.  Iranian decision makers decided to challenge the U.S. and Europe after a cautious assessment of the domestic and international situations.  But the two sides also maintain space for negotiation in the next step."

INDONESIA:   "The Right To A Nuclear Program"  

Leading independent daily Kompas (10/17) commented:  "The U.S., Germany, Britain and France are being unfair to Iran. Do these western countries not have nuclear programs? Then how is it they can ban other countries, including Iran, from developing their nuclear programs? Controversy over the nuclear issue is getting more intense as Russia insists Iran has the right to develop its nuclear program. Other countries are entitled to the right as well. Like it or not, nuclear programs are highly dangerous and risky… Some say that dangerous nuclear weapons will become even more hazardous in the hands of ‘dangerous governments’. However, this position displays an arrogance on the part of developed countries in their effort to discredit leaders of developing countries."

"Tehran Should Comply"

Smith Alhadar, vice-chairman of The Indonesian Society for Middle East Studies expressed the view in independent Kompas (10/14): "To avoid disadvantageous sanctions against Iran, Tehran had better comply with the suggestions from Russia, China and India to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] and be open about suspicious aspects. Washington must also be fair in accepting any investigation results of the IAEA."

MALAYSIA:  "Making Iran The Target Again"

Government-influenced English-language The Star ran the following commentary by Mr. Bunn Nagara, Associate Editor (10/9):  "Critics must be wondering from which 'dossier' or student essay British officials lifted this latest insight on Iran referring to allegations that Iran's Revolutionary Guard may have been behind recent bombings in Basra).  It comes close to the farce about the '45-minute launch of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction'.  Nonetheless, this indiscriminate 'blunderbuss shot' of an allegation comes at a crucial time.  It adds pressure on Teheran over its decision to proceed with nuclear power generation, which the U.S. and UK argue covers secret nuclear weapons production.   The latest allegations against Iran also serve to cover up the real Iran-Iraq connection: the growing multiple layers of influence Iran is said to spread over a fledgling post-Saddam Iraq. These range from the political and religious spheres to the common Shiite communal identity, which require a stable Iraq to grow and succeed.  This connection is the direct result of the U.S.-UK 'war on terror' targeting Iraq.  Since the condemnation of Iran's nuclear plans seemed to be going nowhere, it must have seemed like a good idea at the time to pile on another accusation against Tehran.   And on Thursday, Blair did just that by linking this latest terrorist allegation with the nuclear accusation.  But if there had been any conceivable evidence of Iran's guilt, Blair would have been the first to parade it in front of the world's television cameras.   But past experience, like Colin Powell's show-and-tell about Saddam's 'WMDs' at the United Nations had shown and told, such open displays can quickly prove wrong and embarrassing.   As it is, targeting Iran without due justification is already proving counter-productive.  It has provoked Iranians even more against Western interventionists, and helped unify Muslim and developing nations against such imperialist presumptions."

SOUTH ASIA

INDIA:  "Active Consent"

Achin Vanaik, professor of international relations and global politics, Delhi University opined in the centrist Telegraph (10/11):  “Whether one is for or against the Indian decision to vote against Iran at the recent International Atomic Energy Agency meet, let us not pretend that this is anything else but a response to a situation created by the United States of America. Left to itself, India would never have sought to precipitate such a showdown and would have preferred to maintain wider options by not having to choose between upsetting the U.S.....  For west Asia, there are four important ideological banners behind which the U.S. hides--the war on global terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, humanitarian intervention, regime change to promote democracy. These banners either singly or in combination need to be repeatedly unfurled and endorsed by an 'expanding audience’. In short, the building of Empire needs consent and this can be active, passive or bought....  The U.S. is delighted that in India, consent to its imperial project is not merely being easily purchased, but a pro-U.S. elite in India is also in myriad ways declaring that its acceptance is an active one. No matter whether we have a Congress-led or BJP-led coalition government at the Centre, the U.S. is now assured (despite some dissidence) that the alliance of the two country’s elites will be stable and enduring.”

"Atoms For Peace"

Iranian ambassador to India S.Z. Yaghoubi expressed the view in the centrist Times of India (10/13):  "The nuclear question of Iran and the Indian vote at the IAEA have led to a healthy debate among scholars, writers, experts, high officials, former envoys and retired military men of India.  The opponents and the supporters of the issue have, to the same extent, contributed to the discussion.  This is the manifestation of the real and ancient democracy of India ... The Friendship Pact between Iran and India was signed in 1951, during the height of the Cold War.  In spite of the critical global situation and though Iran and India were placed in different blocs, the two countries were still able to strengthen their cordial relations and sign three important documents, known as the Tehran and New Delhi Declarations and The Roadmap for Strategic Cooperation...  The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline can be viewed as an axis for regional economic cooperation in South West Asia.  In this project, most of the investment on the pipeline will take place in Iran....  In the nuclear activities of Iran no deviation from the NPT has taken place and no secret nuclear centre exists in Iran; all atomic centers of the country have been transparently declared." 

"Peace Or Politics?"

An editorial in Calcutta Bengali Anandabazar Patrika (10/11):  “That Iran’s bitter relations with Israel have made the U.S. more suspicious about Iran is beyond doubt. So, does the IAEA show allegiance to the U.S. by taking a strong posture against Iran?  The question does not have a simple answer, but all the related evidence points toward that.  It is in this context that the question arises on the political character of bestowing the Nobel Prize on the IAEA....  The question, though uncomfortable, is inevitable. Preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons is certainly worthy of recognition, but if the ideology of that work turns into ‘a situation in which the powerful nation will ask all to believe there is no other truth,’ then both the awarder and the awarded fall from the seat of honor. Did that happen in the present situation too?”

"After The Vienna Vote" 

Pundit K. Subrahmanyam analyzed in the centrist Tribune (10/4):  "One of the unspoken but vital considerations that might have persuaded India to vote for the EU-3 resolution in Vienna was the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s report on Iran dealt with the nuclear proliferation by Pakistan to Iran. The IAEA report refers to Iran dealing with an intermediary which implies that behind the intermediary, Dr A.Q. Khan, there was a principal--presumably the Pakistan Army--as the transaction took place in 1987....  IAEA access to Dr. Khan is in conformity with the proposition that he was acting with the full knowledge and approval of the Pakistani administration and, therefore, they dare not risk exposing him to direct IAEA questioning....  Till now, so long as the possible referral of Iran’s breaches did not feature in the IAEA’s agenda and the previous resolutions were adopted by consensus, this was not a major issue.  Now in the light of the IAEA resolution of September 24 this is a major issue

"India's Interest First" 

The centrist Indian Express editorialized (10/4):  "While the CPM can afford to reduce foreign policy to a set of slogans, no responsible government in Delhi can waver in the defense of national interest in challenging circumstances like the one presented by Iran’s nuclear proliferation. As The Sunday Express reported, India’s relationship with Iran is a mix of positive and negative. It is not non-aligned solidarity but hard-nosed calculus on energy security and transit to Afghanistan, as well as the shared threat of the Taliban , which brought both countries together. However, Iran’s attitude to the Kashmir question at the OIC and India’s permanent membership of the UNSC have always been disconcerting to New Delhi. On the all important nuclear issue, which is what is at stake in the current debate at the IAEA--Indo-Iranian differences are unbridgeable. Iran has pressed in various international forums for the universal membership of the NPT--in other words, asking India to give up its nuclear weapons and join the NPT as a non-nuclear state.

"For Us, Not U.S." 

Senior editor Manoj Joshi analyzed in the nationalist Hindustan Times (10/3):  "In our intellectually lazy world, slogans and headlines substitute for analysis and, sometimes, even plain facts. Take the ones that have been prominent in the past week -India's `ancient ties with Iran' and the `commitment to non-alignment' that ought to have been the decisive factor in India's vote to refer Teheran's nuclear cheating to the UN Security Council.   As for the ancient ties, they are a matter of record, but they have not been uniformly benign....  Secular democratic and socialist India and the Islamic Republic of Iran do have areas of divergence. Tehran is party to the Pakistan backed anti-Indian resolutions of the Organisation of Islamic Conferences (OIC) relating to Jammu and Kashmir. In summit after summit, India has been condemned for 'flagrant violations of human rights in Kashmir' and Tehran has gone along with it....  Iranian diplomats will insist that these are pro forma resolutions, but that does not lessen their anti-Indian import. And by the same measure India, too, can argue that the IAEA vote is also a token slap on the wrist since it merely calls for a re ferral of the case to the UN Security Council where China or Russia will wield their veto to prevent any further action.  Pursuit of national interests, and the Iranians know this well, is not meant to be governed by high-flying rhetoric, but cold calculation. This is the logic with which we continue to seek engagement and even entente with China, knowing fully well that Beijing provided Islamabad with not just a design for a nuclear weapon but also missiles which, by the latter's own declarations, are aimed only at India. And that the commitment to aid Islamabad to match India militarily remains a bedrock of the Sino-Pak relationship."

"Go Nuclear For Clean And Plentiful Power" 

An analysis in the centrist Times of India (10/3):  "Studies show that higher electricity use per capita correlates with better scores on the UN's human development scales. It is indisputable that if India is to achieve the ambitious economic growth targets it has set for itself, it will have to find ways to meet soaring energy demand. Currently India generates most of its electricity by burning coal, some from hydro-electricity and very little from nuclear power. There are pressing reasons to switch to atoms from coal as our primary means of meeting higher demand for energy.  Nuclear energy used to get a bad rap for the damage it causes to the environment. However, no means of generating energy is risk-free, and global warming through emission of greenhouse gases is causing the pendulum to swing back in nuclear energy's favor....  Coal-burning plants release 100 times more radioactive material than a nuclear plant producing an equivalent amount of energy....  Coal mining is an inherently dangerous business--each year many miners go to their deaths underground. Factor in as well that fossil fuels are running out, with costly wars being fought to control them. Nuclear power, by contrast, is an unlimited resource, and the risks from it are much less....  Contrary to the projections of doomsday prophets, it hasn't had a single Chernobyl yet. Nuclear power must take pride of place in India's future energy strategy."

"Undiplomatic Fuss"

An editorial in the pro-economic-reforms Business Standard noted (10/3): "The hubbub over India’s vote on the Iran nuclear issue should have been expected, given that India has moved from its usual posture. That does not mean that India has done the wrong thing. The simple fact, which the critics of the government’s action ignore, is that it is not in the country’s interest to have a nuclear Iran....  Tehran has to understand that, just as it frequently adopts postures that do not please India in the UN, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and elsewhere, India too will not always act to Tehran’s liking. Those who argue for an independent foreign policy forget that it should also be independent of Tehran. India has not gone off at the deep end every time Iran has ignored New Delhi’s wishes, and there is no call therefore for Tehran to start threatening India with denial of energy supplies or other reprisals....  The U.S. made it clear to Indian diplomats a couple of years ago that, on the Iranian nuclear question, we simply would not be allowed the luxury of sitting on the fence, and would have to choose. This could have been ignored if India did not seek anything from the U.S., but that is not the case because India needs uranium for its nuclear power program."

"Myth Of Independent Foreign Policy"

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar penned this analysis in the centrist Times Of India (10/2): "India’s decision to vote against Iran in the UN has brought protests from left parties and media.  They say India is abandoning its independent foreign policy.  I am amazed by the mendacity and hypocrisy of such talk.  It implies that Indian policy has been and should be dictated by high morality and detached impartiality. Rubbish! Foreign policy should be dictated by national interest.  We should have neither permanent friends nor permanent enemies, only permanent interests.  If this means wooing a country one day and ditching it the next, so be it....  If India has to choose between gas from Iran and nuclear power from the West, nuclear power must get priority.  We can get gas from countries other than Iran.  But we can get nuclear technology and supplies only from the Nuclear Suppliers Group.  Self-interest, please."

"Iran-Left Pipeline"

An editorial in the centrist Indian Express proclaimed (10/1):  "In threatening the government that he will not 'countenance' its vote against Iran’s nuclear proliferation at the International Atomic Energy Agency last week, CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat commits three egregious errors. The least offensive one is his selective choice of facts in describing the Iranian nuclear imbroglio. While thundering in defence of Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy under the NPT, the CPM conveniently ignores the most important fact. That Iran was caught cheating in its secret pursuit of an undeclared nuclear enrichment program, which would have given it the capacity to produce atomic weapons....  Karat refuses to address the primary question of Iran’s nuclear weapon ambition....  Karat has nothing but contempt for India’s own effort to gain access to atomic energy through the Indo-U.S. nuclear pact, which he calls 'a mess of pottage'.... the real question is whether the Congress leadership has the courage to state that it does not need lessons from the Left in either patriotism or diplomacy. If the Congress does not quickly call Karat’s bluff in economic and foreign policy issues, the credibility of the UPA government will be in tatters."

"The Iran Trade-off"

An analysis in the centrist Asian Age stated (10/1): "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has personally steered India’s foreign policy towards alignment and capitulation, with the Washington beacon determining the swing and sway of New Delhi as it pirouettes around it. Denials and intimidation from the PMO (these days through the ministry of external affairs that no longer determines foreign policy) do not take away from the hard truth: India is well on its way to becoming a client state of the United States of America.  Iran, as CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat says, was the final surrender by the Manmohan Singh government....  Lies and subterfuge. Journalists are being accused by the government of what it itself is guilty of.  Iran was the trade-off. The deal struck between a pro-U.S. Indian government and Washington dangling the nuclear civilian energy pact before New Delhi’s drooling power centre, more than willing to discard all values and principles of foreign policy to join the U.S.-led power elite.

"Prospects of Yet Another World War"

Kashmir's respected Urdu-language Srinagar Aftab editorialized (Internet version, 10/3): "Although Tehran has given a hint it will retain the agreement with India for providing the country with gas, the relations between India and Iran are no more as warm as they were before India voted against Iran in the IAEA.  There is likelihood that Iran will revise its ties with India in the near future.  There is mounting pressure on the government within the country to further lessen, if not sever altogether, its relations with the countries that have recently voted against Tehran in the IAEA.  On condition of anonymity, an official of the Iranian Embassy in New Delhi said no agreement between India and Iran has been terminated.  However, this official confirmed that Iran did not expect India to take such a step and Iran was optimistic that New Delhi would prefer to remain absent rather than voting against Iran in the IAEA session....  Several Muslim organizations in India have said in a joint statement that we should adopt a neutral and just attitude if global policies become enslaved to the will of a particular country.  In that case, no country would be able to retain its status or dignity.  The Government of India should not compromise the dignity of the nation for a passing interest because we are not slave to anyone.  Such statements are pouring in from all corners. The union government should reconsider its decision." 

PAKISTAN:   "Nuclear Technology Is Iran's Right" 

An editorial note in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt (10/5):  "America has stressed indirectly on Russia and other countries to stop immediately their nuclear projects in Iran....  The entire U.S. activity against Iran stems from animosity with Islam....  America cannot destroy all the Islamic countries of the world to serve the interests of Israel.  Islamic countries would not be spectators to witness destruction of third Islamic country.  America will have to respect the international opinion in this respect.  Instead of hurling war threats on Iran, there should be sanctions against Israel's nuclear program."

"Gas From Iran"

An editorial in the center-right national English-language The Nation stated (10/2):  "A highly placed U.S. State Department official has said the civil nuclear energy cooperation deal signed with India recently was a part of Washington’s efforts to wean New Delhi away from its plan to have a gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan....  Pakistan needs to tell Washington frankly that it cannot cancel a deal made on sound economic grounds.  At the political level, it must not in any case become a part of the attempts by the U.S. to isolate Iran."

"Gas Pipeline Agreement: America's Carrot And Stick Policy?"

An editorial in the second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt remarked (10/2):  "According to a wire service report, a senior State Department official, while talking to South Asian journalists in Washington, has said that that the U.S. would oppose investment by any country in the Iranian gas and oil industry.  Pakistan was asked to look at alternative sources of energy and informed that the U.S. would fulfill its energy requirements if it gave up the gas pipeline project....  Pakistan is slowly being pushed into a situation where it has to choose between Iran and the U.S....  It is now time to come out of the mirage of America's friendship and better relations with India and face the ground reality.  If Pakistan does not play its role in stopping U.S. ambitions against Iran, it could be Pakistan's turn next."

"Pak-Iran Gas Project And America's Unjust Demand"

An editorial in the populist Urdu daily Khabrain expressed the view (10/2):  "Iran is our brotherly Islamic neighbor; its economic strength is and should be of importance to us.  Iran has full authority over its natural resources and has the right to make deals with anyone regarding their sale or purchase.  The need is for the [Pakistani] nation to express full confidence on the stance our government adopts on Iran.  If anyone has reservations, these should be expressed in a civil manner."

IRAN:  "Has India Left Iran's Circle Of Friendly Friends?"

The pro-reform Shargh asserted (10/14):  "[India's vote] put an end to the possibility of formation of a new eastern axis, namely Iran, China, India and Russia.... Just as India needs Iran's natural gas, Iran needs to sell it in a promising market as India...[and] losing a friend from an already-slim list helps U.S. policies to isolate Tehran.... Positive interaction with those nations that act against Iran is better than taking punitive actions against them."    

"Neo-colonialism's Instruments"

Tehran's pro-Khomeni Jomhuri-ye Eslami (Internet version, 10/12):   "By deploying instruments like the Internet and the press media, in addition to the use of past and traditional manners, the ringleaders of neo-colonialism are pursuing an evil plan to foment discord and controversy between Shi'is and Sunnis and materialize their vicious colonial and imperialist objectives [in Iran].  These instruments, instead of serving the goal of enlightenment against common enemies, and bolstering the unity of the Islamic umma, are unfortunately being used by our common enemies and for the purpose of exacerbating discord and division.  No doubt the said conspiracy is being planned by colonialists and supplied logistically and financially by their chief players.  Only recently America earmarked some 40 million dollars for undermining the Shi'i clergy and their sources of emulation through encouragement of panegyrists and preachers to go to excess in their sermons and to deviate from the right path and attack other Muslim sects.  America is investing in this fabricated antagonism and farcical episode from the other end, and paying the other front, as well.  This way the encirclement becomes more dangerous and the noose ever more tight.   This instrumental abuse of radical elements and their persuasion to go to excesses and to foment the sectarian differences among Muslims is not a one-sided story.  Evidence and compelling documents prove that this is a two-sided initiative that intensifies the danger and aggravates the threats.  At the same time, the sage and wise leaders and scholars on both sides of the confine are seriously dismayed and apprehensive for the future of Iran, and the future of Islamic umma worldwide."  

"But They Have Lost Prayer Hole"

Mehdi Mohammadi commented in the conservative pro-Khamenei Tehran Keyhan (Internet version, 10/3): "Without a doubt, 18 Mordad 1384 (9 August 2005) was a turning point in Iran's nuclear case. That day, the first practical manifestation of a shift in Iran's nuclear strategy from 'confidence building' to 'exercising authority' was shown, and after removing the seals and breaking the suspension, the uranium conversion activities in the Esfahan UCF [uranium conversion facility] factory were resumed. It was after that when the three European states negotiating with Tehran, as a sign of disappointment and protest, cut off the nuclear talks and threatened that they were going to refer Iran's nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council. The 11 August emergency session of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors was held exactly for this reason. However, it seemed as if the American and the European authorities themselves knew where the end line was, and they anxiously denied any piece of news about referring  Iran's case to the Security Council at that session.  They said at that session only a warning was going to be issued to Iran, and that nothing else was on the agenda. The resolution passed in the 11 August session had no force and effectiveness, and merely demanded Iran to restore the suspension of its UCF program and return to the negotiations. The Europeans continually kept reiterating the need for Iran to come back to the negotiating table, whereas the Iranian side had never left the negotiation table in the first place. At no time did Iran say that it did not want to carry on with the talks anymore, though it was not going to continue the talks on the basis of the annulled Paris deal either; because it deemed the passage of time to its disadvantage (because its activities were suspended) and there was no clear hope for the negotiations to yield any result in the  short run....  Our eminent Imam was the one who said if Westerners, specifically the Americans, did not take any action against us, be sure that they were not able to do it. Otherwise, they would spare no effort to do whatever they can against Islamic Iran.  Iran's case was not referred to the Security Council, not because others had mercy on us, but because we have been powerful in the past two years, and in spite of certain shortcomings, we did not avoid emphasizing our power. Now, if there is anything to be afraid of, it is not the power of the opponents. The opponents have no power; otherwise, they would not hold it back at this time of infamy. It is our own weaknesses that we should be afraid of, and our weakness is having such individuals who behave like Taqizadeh in the country. We should watch out for them, so that they do not make an attack on our own side.

"Against Withdrawal From The NPT"

Moderate Mardom-Salary editorialized (Internet version, 10/3):  "The Europeans did their best at this phase to accompany America, holding that Russia and China, as certain figures believed, would veto the UNSC referral against Iran.  [China and Russia] didn't vote against the IAEA's resolution and this proves that every country is seeking its own national interest.  Although the political color of the IAEA's resolution is quite clear, withdrawing from international treaties is not expedient at all."

"Maintaining Relations With India"

Hardline Siyasat-e-Ruz commented (Internet version, 10/3):  "Despite the expectations it would not, India that enjoys long old relations with Iran voted against Iran in the last session of the IAEA board of governors and took sides with America and the European countries.  Suspension of the $22 billion contract between Iran and India regarding the exportation of five million tones of liquid gas from Iran to India could have warned New Delhi.  However, Iranian officials surprisingly enough have signed another agreement and other economic contracts with India in the southern city of Chabahar immediately after the IAEA session."

"Iran's First Mistake"

Moderate reformist Tehran E'temaad remarked (Internet version, 10/3):  "Unfortunately the first mistake of the new government was changing the nuclear negotiating team.  While the cabinet members were not fully introduced to what expedients had forced the government to change certain figures that had gained lots of experience in negotiating with the West.  The danger of hasty decision and getting tired from the continuation of the negotiations will put Iran's national interests at risk."

"Play With Red Card"

Nabi'ollah Ebrahimi expressed the view in reformist Tehran Sharq (Internet version, 10/2):  "If the international system and the rules of its [nuclear] game are compared with a football field, and if the International Atomic Energy Agency is regarded as the referee, Iran's game (nuclear activities) is considered to be a foul to which the referee has shown a red card. This general rule is regarded by Iran as a breach of its right, while the spectators and the rival players regard it as part of their right. Therefore, what should Iran do with this red card? Should it accept this rule or abandon the football field (the international system)?...  The Islamic Republic of Iran is now facing an atmosphere of distrust on the international field. The only thing that the complex structure of this system knows is the national interests of the players and following the rules and the norms that have been compiled by the powers.  Countries like Iran, which regard their analytical discourse and behavior to be largely based on their native principles and rules should undoubtedly bear the shocks incurred by this method....  Iran could expect punishment by the international community, and in turn, the country's withdrawal from the NPT would be regarded as a confrontation or the sparking of Iran's cold war with Europe and America. What should be done?  Basically speaking, the world's experienced diplomats regard diplomacy--even in the shortest possible term--as a useful and effective war and confrontation.  Diplomacy is the software for furthering foreign policy solutions and for promoting the national interests of each country. Iran too should prepare the ground for some kind of long-range coordination for formulating the nucleus of 'crisis diplomacy' on the highest level of skilled experts and academics, and propound Iran's affirmative discourse vis-a-vis the West's negative discourse by leaning on diplomacy skill."

"The Trodden Path"

Jalal Khoshchehreh commented in moderate reformist Tehran E'temad (Internet Version, 10/2):  "When about two years ago Iran entered into talks with the Europeans each side did so on the basis of recognizing the requirements of the time and appreciating the strength of each side on the international stage.  In fact, Tehran agreed to take part in the talks on the basis of appreciating the rivalries and the common ground among various power blocs on the international stage, as well their ability to bring about a lasting agreement. Tehran's aim for joining the talks was very clear from the start, and she also understood the aims of the Europeans. Tehran's aim was to safeguard and develop her access to nuclear technology as a proud national achievement.  The Europeans who also represented the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] (and according to them represented the entire international community) had two goals in their talks with Tehran, the second one being dependent on the success of the first.  Their first aim was to moderate Iran's nuclear programs and to find ways of reaching an agreement with Tehran. The second aim was to satisfy Washington's demands in depriving Iran of her right for gaining access to and making use of nuclear technology....  Even a more important achievement was that during the two years of talks Tehran succeeded to reduce the heavy volume of propaganda by her opponents, especially by America and Israel, against the aims of Iran's nuclear program, and to isolate them in the eyes of the world due to their extremist stances. Therefore, it is wrong to imagine that Iran's participation in the talks was without any achievements.  The talks should be regarded as a success for Tehran for making the international community recognize her nuclear capabilities.

"The Thinking Room And Modern Diplomacy"

Ali Ghasemi commented in conservative Tehran Resalat (Internet version, 9/29):  "The plan for establishing a guidance council in the diplomatic machinery that was presented by Mottaki, the foreign minister of our country, in the Islamic Consultative Majles and while speaking to national and foreign journalists shows the prevalence of the will for change and transformation in this organization with the objective of creating balance and equilibrium between the operations and research areas, filling the gap between theory and action, dynamism and making the diplomatic machinery of the Islamic Republic of Iran effective....  The role of research in the fulfillment of a modern and dynamic foreign policy is undeniable.  Foreign policy has an elite and academic nature to some extent and on top of that it is not possible to separate implementation and research. Therefore it is not without reason that most of the foreign ministries of other countries have either established research institutes or have strengthened their relations with research and university institutes.   Also, the role of the individuals who are referred to as diplomat researchers in the diplomatic machinery is indisputable....  Undoubtedly the fulfillment of these positive consequences and goals are contingent on the thinking room freeing itself from the restrictions and the negative political and factional competitions and factional and organizational interests, and being established and continuing to exist with only the goal of aiding the fulfillment of a modern, dynamic and effective foreign policy and the elevation and giving grandeur to the place and credibility of Islamic Iran abroad."

"Technocracy and Principle-ism"

Sa'id Leylaz expressed the view in Tehran Sharq (Internet version, 9/29):  "If the trend of the past nine months continues, Tehran Stock Exchange [SE] will see the stock price index drop below 10,000 by the end of working hours on Saturday, representing a 26 percent drop from the record (approximately 13,700) in Aban 1383 [November 2004].  While during these nine months, the country's economic growth rate has slowed down to some extent and 7.5 percent and 6.7 percent in 1381 [ 2002] in 1382 [ 2003] respectively have dropped to 4.8 percent and 4 percent in 1383 and the first half of 1384 [ 2005], we are still not in 'economic recession,' due to a number of factors and especially the unprecedented rise of oil prices and the majority of domestic industries are continuing work--even though not at previous two-digit growth rates.....  we do not put all the blame of the fall of the Tehran Stock Exchange index on the new government or even on entry of the nuclear case to a half-dangerous point; however, the same fairness also demands that we do indicate that the greater part of the drop in Tehran Stock Exchange stock prices occurred during the past two months following announcement of the outcome of the presidential elections and the new developments in the nuclear case....  And with his 10-year executive background, it took Hashemi-Rafsanjani four years to learn that one cannot take on the issues of a complicated society like Iran with pure and Adam Smith-oriented capitalism....  Also, even though not as hardheaded as his two predecessors, Seyyed Mohammad Khatami spent at least two years to get from his leftist 'Economic Reform Plan' to the Third Economic Development Plan....  our statesmen do not have a great deal of time for setting aside formalities and displaying their true direction.  Among us, there is no one that is superior to previous governments and statesmen where principle-ism and adherence to the principles of the Revolution are concerned."

"Devotees Conference Calls For UK Review"

Pro-Khatami morning daily Tehran Iran expressed the view (Internet version, 10/2):  "The Association of the Devotees [of the Islamic Revolution], the most influential political grouping in principle-ist camp, has held its third periodic conference, attended by the heads of the organization's provincial offices and the members of its central committee....  The Association of Devotees of Islamic Iran was founded in 1374 [year ending 21 March 1996] by Hoseyn Fada'i, Davud Danesh Ja'fari, Ali Yusefpur, Abdol Hoseyn Ruh ol-Amin, Hadi Imani, Mojtaba Shakeri, Mahmud Ahmadinezhad and Ahmad Moqimi.....  The new members, for their part, promptly chose Mahmud Ahmadinejhad, a member of the central council of the Association of Devotees, as the new mayor of Tehran.....   At the conclusion of their third period conference, the heads of the provincial branches and the members of the central council of the Association of Devotees issued a statement and emphasized that the central axis of their strategy vis-a-vis their relationship with the Government of Ahmadinejhad would be based on 'constructive interaction'....  [Its final resolution] refers to the activities of the ominous triangle of America, Britain and Israel against Iran, and adds: We urge the country's statesmen to revisit Iran's diplomatic and trade relations with the British Government.  We call on them to formulate a new strategy and plan in order to prevent further mischievous plots by that old hyena of conspiracy and divisiveness."

"Two Essential Conditions"

Tehran's conservative pro-Khomeni Jomhuri-ye Eslami in Persian editorialized (Internet version, 10/1):  "The general and spontaneous uprisings by various strata of people in opposition to the illegal and bullying resolution of the Governors Board of the IAEA have proved to be high-profile and decisive support for the country's officials and responsible managers.  So the officialdom can now rely on this backing and by making use of the popular support proactively defend the rights of the nation in the field of nuclear activities....  Preserving solidarity is more important and difficult than its original founding, the same way that sustaining and keeping the revolution alive and thriving is far more difficult than originating it and bringing it about.  The use of the diverse benefits of nuclear energy is considered by people among their natural rights, and the foreigners' rejection of this right and their prevention of proper use is deemed an open and flagrant hostility that cannot be justified or forgiven....  divine assistance shall also be always a great help to the Iranian people and officials of the regime.  This is indeed customary of our culture and tradition, and every other God-fearing and religious nation on the way to maintaining their independence and using efforts to secure their national interests shall surely be blessed by the grace of God as well." 

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

CANADA:  "Ganging Up On Iran; Canada Squandering Its Moral Authority On Nuclear Arms"

Haroon Siddiqui commented in the left-of-center Toronto Star (Internet Version, 10/2):  "The Paul Martin government's sudden decision--with no prior notice and no parliamentary debate - to open our nuclear gusher to India is being seen, rightly, as sacrificing our principles for increased trade, in that it reverses a 30-year moratorium and makes a mockery of Canada's longstanding advocacy of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which nuclear armed India refuses to sign.  This is the least of our problems....  Last week India stunned Iran, and many Indians, by ignoring their historic friendship and voting against Tehran at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That, too, is not the worst of it, given the laudable goal of checking Iran's nuclear ambitions.  George W. Bush got nuclear proliferator Pakistan to also vote against Iran.  And he convinced China and Russia, Iran's other friends, to abstain.  Bush also convinced China (keen to keep its $200 billion a year exports to the U.S.) to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.  The announcement turned out to be smoke and mirrors, since Pyongyang said the next day it won't give up its nuclear weapons until it gets civilian nuclear reactors.  Yet all this seeming multilateralism is really the unilateralism of a nuclear club under American tutelage, with selective regard for international rules....  Why are we with this lot?  Even worse, we may have just become a party to a Bush plan to encircle Iran, the way America had Iraq, killing it with economic sanctions before invading it.  'There's no question of going to war on Iran,' British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw assures us.  But we can see what Bush is trying: strangling Iran diplomatically and economically and not just for its nuclear program.  He may want regime change.  One suspects that nothing Iran does will be satisfactory, just as nothing that Iraq did with the U.N. inspectors was found to be.  This scenario, barely touched on in North America, has been pounced on by the ever-alert press in India, which is pounding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for caving in to Bush."

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