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Foreign Media Reaction

September 23, 2005

IRAN:  TEHRAN 'TESTS' THE WEST'S WILL USING 'ACTIVE DIPLOMACY'

KEY FINDINGS

**  Many link Iran and North Korea as an "acid test of international will" against proliferation.

**  As Tehran "threatens" NPT withdrawal, the stalemate may turn into "something serious."

**  Iranian outlets support Tehran's diplomatic successes in making new friends.

**  Ahmadinejad's "debut on world stage" presents challenge to the International Community.

MAJOR THEMES

'Iran and the nuke factor' after Korea--  Many outlets drew parallels with North Korean deliberations.  Saudi Arabia's moderate Al-Jazira claimed that after N. Korea, "the U.S. will now concentrate pressure on Iran."  A French analyst asserted Iran was challenging the international community and asked, "Is Iran on the way to becoming a second North Korea?"  Britain's conservative Daily Telegraph held that Iran and N. Korea were testing international will given international inaction that has "seriously undermined the status of the 1968 NPT."  A German analyst judged that "Iran appears strengthened" because of North Korea.

'Iran and the West are on a collision course'--  France's left-of-center Liberation saw the "tone escalating" between Iran and Europe.  Poland's liberal Gazeta Wyborcza stated "Iran goes to war," and added, "the new Iranian authorities regard the confrontation with the West as inevitable."  Less strident, Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung determined, "Despite the aggressive tone in Iran and America, it is not too late for solving the conflict by negotiation."  Tehran's pro-Khamenei government-influenced Jam-e Jam declared "Iran has a more stable situation compared to the hostile countries headed by the United States," while Iran's reformist Sharq claimed, "Iran can force America, at the negotiating table...to bow to Iran's requests."

The 'first results' of Iran's 'active diplomacy'--  Pro-Khamenei Jam-e Jam lauded Ahmadinejad's "negotiations" with the world's high-ranking officials and media editors that "clarified" Iran's situation in the "clouded minds of the media."  Sharq urged Iran to emulate Syria and Jordan and use "efficient policies and diplomacy" to turn weak points into opportunities.  Conservative Tehran Afarinesh promoted use of diplomacy as a "weapon" to further the country's place in the international system and noted the strong support Iran received from Non-Aligned countries.  Indian writers opposed referring "old friend" Iran to the UNSC and a Russian outlet noted: "This is like seeing Yevgeniy Primakov’s dream...as you watch Moscow and Beijing, supported by New Delhi and other non-aligned countries, stall attempts to have the IAEA hand over the issue...to the UN Security Council."

Intending 'to provoke irritated reaction'--  Iranian outlets expressed resolve, placing confidence in new President Ahmadinejad's leadership of "Iran's team that was dispatched to New York."  They praised his UN speech that trumpeted the "decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran to preserve the nuclear cycle at all costs" even as they noted a domestic "crucial change in the administrative government" of Iran awaited his return from N.Y.  Italy's influential La Repubblica proclaimed that he chose "an American city...and the biggest audience" to deliver what Belgium's independent La Libre Belgique called his "martial speech at the UN."

Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (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 66 reports from 17 countries over September 16 - 23, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.

EUROPE

BRITAIN:  "Getting Beyond No"

An editorial in the independent weekly The Economist (9/24 issue date):  "Until Iran is back in compliance, others should be called on to suspend nuclear co-operation with it....  Since Iran has ignored repeated IAEA requests to co-operate fully with inspectors, the UN Security Council could oblige it to do so.  If Iran still digs its heels in, the council could suspend the work of other UN agencies in Iran, and its right to vote in the UN General Assembly. Harsher measures may eventually be called for, but if diplomacy is to change Iran's nuclear mind, it first needs to know that defiance offends not just Europe or America, but the rest of the world too.  For if Iran is left to run rings round inspectors, what chance that North Korea will pay them heed?"

"Action Over Iran" 

An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph stated (9/22):  "Referral to the Security Council is long overdue.  Only a deal with the EU-3 in 2003, under which Iran promised to freeze the most sensitive parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, spared it a summons from the Council.  Now that it has reneged on this agreement by starting up a factory to make uranium hexafluoride, a key step in uranium enrichment, it is time for the IAEA to act.  Russia is the obstacle, saying this is a minor matter that does not justify confrontation.  This is misguided as well as disingenuous.  It is certainly true that Tehran could make life difficult for the West, either by selectively withholding oil exports, destabilising Iraq and the Middle East.  But a nuclear-armed Iran, on the borders of Russia and within missile range of Europe, is even more frightening."

"Iran And North Korea Test The West's Will"

An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph expressed the view (9/20):  "Success, albeit tenuous, in Beijing will encourage those who favour further discussions with Iran, rather than referral to the Security Council.  Yet talks with the European Union troika of Britain, France and Germany and seven resolutions by the IAEA have not altered Tehran's determination to acquire at least a nuclear weapons capability, if not the hardware itself.  To shirk UN referral this week will further dent the agency's authority and embolden would-be proliferators.  The abortive NPT review conference and the General Assembly's failure to reach agreement on proliferation before the UN's 60th anniversary, have seriously undermined the status of the 1968 treaty.  North Korea and Iran are an acid test of international will to reverse that trend."

"The Risks Of Brinksmanship With Tehran"

The center-left Indpendent editorialized (9/19):  "If some fear we are stumbling down the same path of confrontation that led to war in Iraq, they are right to be worried, not least because the same elements in the U.S. that always opposed Europe's peaceful engagement with Iran are still hungry to use 'big stick' diplomacy.  For that reason, we need to be very aware of whatever ground our government chooses to take if it abandons the policy of constructive engagement with Iran....  In these dangerous days we should beware of any attempt to bamboozle the public into thinking we enjoy heavenly authorisation to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions by force.  For the main lesson to be learned from the Iraq disaster is that we need to proceed cautiously and pragmatically in these complex disputes, and at all costs avoid being shoehorned into a conflict that we cannot then see our way out of."

"Price Of Oil Empowers Iran's Tough Negotiating"

Foreign editor Bronwen Maddox commented in the conservative Times (9/16):  "Iran's announcement that it would make new proposals tomorrow for preserving part of its nuclear program is a positive step, suggesting that it does not want to bring the row to the brink.  But wherever one turns, a new friend of Iran pops up to say that it is not keen on voting for referral....  Iran has used its energy resources to buy a network of allies and, in effect, immunity from the Security Council.  It has shown its confidence this week by offering to sell its nuclear know-how to other Islamic countries....  That is the authentic voice of confidence, and it is hard to see it wavering while Iran's newly won allies need its oil and gas so badly."

FRANCE:  "The Europeans Take A Step Back"

Maurin Picard wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/23):  “In Vienna, the stalemate was on its third day. To resolve the crisis, the Europeans have temporarily given up on their plan to bring the Iranian crisis before the UNSC. The very firm EU-3 resolution has been replaced by a watered down version...which should be approved later today....  For the eighth time in two years, Iran is avoiding the prospect of international sanctions. Iran is claiming victory… and has invited El-Baradei to Tehran.  Among the Western diplomats, the atmosphere is heavy.  The European bluff appears not to have worked.  And Iran, in the meantime, is gaining precious time while its engineers pursue their uranium conversion prior to its enrichment.”

"Iranian Escalation"

Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (9/22): “The Iranian nuclear crisis is turning into something serious and it is tempting to establish a comparison with the crisis which preceded the war in Iraq.  At first glance, the same causes could produce the same effects....   Exasperated by what they consider to be fruitless negotiations, the Iranians have unilaterally reverted to uranium conversion....  The Americans and the Europeans feel they have no other choice but to put the issue in the hands of the UNSC.  But nothing indicates that a consensus could be reached: Teheran has the support of Russia and China who have a right of veto.  Herein lies the danger.  If the Iranian crisis causes a stalemate at the UN, the U.S. could decide to annihilate Iran’s nuclear program with military strikes.  At this stage such a scenario is improbable.  President Bush must still have in mind the Iraqi precedent.  First, because the ‘proof’ about the WMD turned out to be false.  Second because the U.S. President would probably lack the support of his people to launch a new military adventure....  But the President’s popularity is at its lowest, which could lead him to do something drastic.  The Europeans meanwhile should not be fooled by Tehran’s denials, nor ignore the Iranian arguments: uranium enrichment is not prohibited by the NPT.  And it is not false to say that in closing its eyes to Israel, India and Pakistan’s nuclear programs, America is indeed practicing a policy of double standards.  A firm warning from the UN is desirable in order to show Iran that the international community will not tolerate an atomic bomb built by the mullahs. But the Europeans must also remain wary of war mongers.”

"Tehran Threatens"

Left-of-center Liberation remarked (9/21):  “The tone is escalating between the Iranians and the Europeans....  In a very harsh draft resolution, the EU is asking the IAEA to bring the Iranian nuclear issue before the UNSC, without mentioning sanctions, and accused Iran of ‘violating’ its commitment.  As a response the Iranians are threatening to withdraw from the NPT and to limit their oil supply to any country that would oppose Iran in this dispute.”

"Iran Challenges The International Community"

Philippe Gelie held in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/19):  "Is Iran on the way to becoming a second North Korea?  On Saturday, in New York, Iran’s president challenged both the U.S. and Europe as he proclaimed Iran’s 'inalienable right' to develop its commercial nuclear capabilities....  The 'proposals' everyone awaited to defuse the crisis were disappointing:  he did not re-open the door to negotiations....  The EU-3 have begun to draft a resolution to bring the issue before the UNSC, even if a new deadline was set to give Iran time to come out of the stalemate.  And the U.S., which has been pushing for the issue to be brought before the UN, surprised everyone by accepting the new deadline....  Both the EU and the Americans are showing their determination...but behind the determination what transpires is a feeling of awkwardness....  Meanwhile, Iran is everyday more isolated in its race for the bomb.”

GERMANY:  "Consideration"

Peter Sturm commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/23):  "If Iran ever had any respect for the EU's negotiators, it has none now.  Didn't the European big mouths say they would send the case to the UN Security Council if Iran does not make any concessions?  We have not heard anything about concessions.   This would be the moment not just to consider things but also to take actions.  However, the Europeans are suddenly getting quiet and the game continues.  Talks will certainly be resumed, given that everybody desires a solution.  However, Iranians want one thing in particular, and that is time.  With the applause from China and Russia, Europeans have granted Iran more time.  It must be fun for the Iranians to continue the negotiations.  They will be careful not to annoy their opponents too much.  Apart from that, they have much time and Europe likes it."

"The Situation Is Getting Dangerous"

Eberhard Nembach argued on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (9/23):  "Iran's representatives are triumphing in Vienna.  They disgraced leading Europeans, including Germany.  The Europeans failed to push through their U.S.-backed proposal to take Iran to the UNSC.  There are too many opponents at the IAEA, where individual interests dominate policies as much as in its mother organization, the UN in New York....  The Europeans basically tried to buy Iran's renouncement.  The U.S. has always remained skeptical regarding this soft approach--and they were right....  The risk that the U.S. now decides to throw bombs on the Iranian plants is getting greater, although it would be difficult to hit them.  Iran continues to go down the nuclear path.  The situation is getting dangerous.  The Europeans must therefore continue to negotiate and tackle this difficult task."

"Cooling Down"

Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich editorialized (9/23):  "The EU will not take the row over Iran's nuclear program to the UNSC for the time being.  That's good news, although the Europeans and Americans would have had good reasons to go for it.  The Mullah's are permanently harassing the inspectors and the new President's language is aggressive.   This regime does not create confidence and nobody can accept that they simply promise not to produce nuclear weapons.  However, the heated debate makes it necessary to consider all options.  The Security Council is currently not an appropriate tool to exert more pressure on Tehran, because the veto powers China and Russia are too reserved.  A divided UN would even fuel Iran's ambitions."

"Pause In The Iran-Conflict"

Joachim Zepelin noted in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (9/23):  "If the Europeans and the Americans want to be successful in their negotiations with Iran, they must pay for Iran's right to enrich uranium.  That could come costly.  The EU's offer of a comprehensive trade and cooperation agreement with only a few security guaranties is not good enough.  Diplomats know that they have to beef up the offer.  The additional carrots will be important, because the sticks are pretty weak.  Most important would be American concessions, especially security guaranties for the country surrounded by U.S. bases."

"Reason For EU-3 Retreat"

Left-of-center Nürnberger Nachrichten opined (9/23):  "Are Europeans retreating because they are confronted with Tehran's threats?  The situation is more difficult than that.  The EU-3 gave in to the reality of China's and Russia's opposition.  Moscow strikes lucrative nuclear deals with Iran and Beijing's economy requires Persian oil.  There is no doubt that both would have killed any actions on the UN Security Council."

"Tehran Is Mistaken"

Manfred Pantförder commented in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (9/22):   "Europe's tougher approach on Iran in the dispute over the country's nuclear program shows effects.  Even before the IAEA council made a decision on the EU draft resolution, Teheran's strategy to divide Europeans and Americans has fallen apart.  That the EU now wants to take the case to the UN Security Council led to panic reactions in Teheran.  Those who want to cancel the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty reveals himself as pariah with whom one cannot negotiate anything....  The conflict over the Iranian nuclear program can hardly be solved because Teheran insists on its demand to enrich uranium and, with it, to establish a nuclear fuel cycle....  The EU draft is just another threat in this conflict; they did not burn all bridges, but it made clear to Teheran for the first time that there is a red line for the EU.  A Euro-Atlantic alliance also increases the pressure on Russia and China to play a constructive role."

"North Korea Makes Them Stronger"

Bahman Nirumand editorialized in leftist die tageszeitung of Berlin (9/22):  "The EU threat to take the case to the UN Security Council is halfhearted.  According to diplomats, it is intended to sustain the demands of the IAEA and the EU forcing Iran to permanently renounce uranium enrichment.  There are two reasons for Europe's hesitant policy:  The moment the EU-3 wanted to follow the tougher U.S. policy, Washington changed its course and left the Europeans standing in the rain.  Bush said last week that the U.S. had nothing against Iran using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as long as there are guaranties that it does not produce nuclear weapons.  Washington is apparently looking for a solution similar to the one with North Korea.  The second reason for Europe's vague performance is that important countries like Russia, China and India and most non-aligned countries oppose the idea to go the UN Security Council....  The result is that while the EU-3 wanted to provide an alternative to the U.S. war strategy and failed because of grave mistakes, Iran appears strengthened and can continue its game without having to fear anything."

"What Now"

Jasper von Altenbockum commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/19):  "President Ahmadinejad's so-called offer to negotiate Iran's nuclear program does not at all go as far as Americans and Europeans had hoped.  That is not an offer.  The new Tehran leader did not renounce Iran's ambition to independently enrich uranium to create a military nuclear option.  The international cooperation concerning Iran's enrichment would simply be a transparent variation of the national program, which has been so far secretly pursued with the support of Pakistan and others.   That is miles away from what the Europeans wanted....  This can only mean that the UN Security Council must be involved to impose sanctions."

"Test For Tehran"

Center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich editorialized (9/19):  "Despite the aggressive tone in Iran and America, it is not too late for solving the conflict by negotiation.  Without having thoroughly checked the Iran's offer to cooperate with other countries concerning its nuclear program, the Europeans should not reject it.  All sides would not lose their faces.  Iran would be permitted to enrich uranium partially; this would acknowledge the country's right to this technology.  The West would achieve that the nuclear program would remain under international oversight.  It would clearly reduce Iran's opportunity to produce nuclear weapons.  The Europeans must now find out whether this is a serious offer.  We hardly know anything about the details yet.  If it turns out that it is just a trick to gain time and to divide the international community, we should go to the Security Council."

"French Resoluteness"

Jacques Schuster noted in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (9/19):  "The crisis over Iran is getting worse.  This time around, the French are resolute, because President Chirac knows what is at risk.  If Tehran got nuclear weapons, the Middle East would become a nuclear powder keg.  Iran's neighbors would boost its armament, Israel would feel provoked and the Europeans would look toothless.  It is even worse:  Europe's 30-year-old concept of nuclear nonproliferation would be history and the world would face a new armaments race....  Europeans in particular have a number of painful sanctions they could impose, such as freezing Iran's foreign accounts, tougher regulations on debts, lifting the currency's convertibility, and not allowing Iranian leaders and aircrafts to enter Europe.  In short, Iran must be put under pressure if it does not comply.  The next German government must prepare the people for it."

"Debut On World Stage"

Rudolph Chimelli commented in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (9/16):  "Iranian President Ahmadinejad's UN debut was not sensational.  He criticized unilateralism, but he did not address it to the United States.  He did not mention his new initiative to settle the dispute over the country's nuclear program, although France's prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, sharply threatened to take the case to the UNSC if Iran does not put a stop to the resumed uranium enrichment.  The Iranian's complaint that 1.2 billion Muslims and Africa are not represented at the UNSC, and his calls for equal rights for all UN members does not harm anybody....  He is so colorless that he did not even confirm prejudices.  However, the last word has not yet been spoken....  The case itself will not change.  The Iranians are not ready to make concessions and want to continue their nuclear program without taking the consequences into account.  However, given the current oil prices and the increasing shortage, neither side of the Atlantic is interested in a new conflict in the Middle East."

"Political Option"

Pierre Heumann observed in business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf  (9/16):  "Tel Aviv believes that Tehran would like to avoid a confrontation with the West, and might delay the development of its military nuclear program in order not to be taken to the UNSC, where sanctions could be imposed.  The policy of the U.S., which would like to isolate Teheran diplomatically, could thus be successful.  However, the precondition for an effective diplomatic threat is that the U.S. and the EU pursue a common policy on this issue."

ITALY:  "Absent [America] On Iran"

Unsigned editorial in leading, business daily Il Sole-24 Ore stated (9/23):  "To appearance, the impossibility of submitting the Iranian nuclear determination to the UN Security Council seems a new ‘brutta figura’ of Europe....  However, as far as the Iranian nuclear issue is concerned, the problem isn’t the presence of a confused Europe, but rather the absence of America.  Even when Europe was negotiating with some positive perspectives, Americans have never tried to facilitate the negotiation: sometime they even hampered it.  Their attitude...is different from their successful policy with North Korea....  And this different approach has also modified the position of the other parties [involved]:  with America’s decision to lead the negotiations, China and Russia actively contributed to obtain the necessary North Korean openings; with America’s hostility, both ‘powers’ undermined all efforts to bring Iran before the UN Security Council."

"EU Troika Gives In To Blackmail"

Unsigned editorial in elite, liberal daily Il Foglio stated (9/23):  "Iranian Theocratic regime was convinced that Europe would end up giving in at the table of negotiations over [Iran’s] construction of nuclear plants.  And it [Iranian regime] was correct.  France, Germany and Great Britain gave up and decided not to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for violations of the non-proliferation treaty.  No one can believe that a country like Iran, teeming with oil, feels the need to produce its energy using nuclear technologies, which only cost less for those countries that are forced to import oil....  A country like Iran, if provided with nuclear weapons, would represent a real threat to the security of Israel, which wouldn’t certainly remain inactive.  For this reason, it is absolutely necessary...to stop Iran from acquiring thermonuclear devices....  But Europe has not been able to look at future prospects and dangers....  At this point, one can only hope...for Israel’s and U.S. different determination.  And when these countries will be forced by Europe cowardice to act by themselves, they will be accused of unilateralism.”

"Tehran Is Fooling Us"

The elite liberal daily Il Foglio analyzed (9/21):   “Iran is fooling us.  This belief has prompted all three European governments, dealing with Tehran on its nuclear program, to elaborate a plan that would refer this matter to UN Security Council.  All three countries charge that Iran has violated its commitments....  Europe’s firm stance was clearly appreciated by Foggy Bottom....  The United States has now obtained Europe’s green light.  However, it is clear that a unanimous resolution of IAEA is required to turn to the Security Council.  China and Russia, also involved in this matter, do not want to refer Tehran to the Security Council.  There is a risk that it will develop into a situation similar to the Iraqi situation.  But this time, United States, France and Germany would be allied.”

"Ayatollahs Want To Fold Europe"

U.S.-based correspondent Mario Platero commented in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (9/21): “Iran continues to up the ante.  Yesterday, it announced that if Europe and the United States decide to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council they would immediately resume their experiments to enrich uranium.  This is a new blow to the negotiating approach with which the three European countries have been working to reach a diplomatic agreement with the Iranian government.”

"Nuclear Technology To The Islamic World"

Alberto Flores D’Arcais wrote from New York in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (9/16):  "Iran is ready to transfer its nuclear technology to other Islamic countries.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad chose an American city...and the biggest audience...for a statement that seems intended to provoke irritated reaction from the United States....  Surprisingly, the United States doused the fire.  For the time being, the State Department has decided to limit itself to following developments in the 'dialogue' under way between the ayatollahs and Europe, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice...avoided harsh tones, admitting that Iran will most likely not be 'brought before' the UN Security Council with the accusation of violating the non-proliferation treaty, as the United States would have liked....  For now the ball remains in Europe’s court....  Despite Rice’s softened tones and Washington’s leaving Europe to do its part in hopes that mediation will produce an agreement, the White House is increasingly irritated....  The U.S. ...has diverse scenarios ready for a crisis with Tehran--scenarios that hypothesize--in extreme cases--the use of force and a military clash."

RUSSIA:  "Iran Gets Reprieve"

Vladimir Skosyrev said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (9/23):  “This is like seeing (Former Prime Minister) Yevgeniy Primakov’s dream of Russia, China and India acting at one on the international arena being fleshed out.  At least this is the impression you get, as you watch Moscow and Beijing, supported by New Delhi and other non-aligned countries, stall attempts to have the IAEA hand over the issue of Iran’s secret nuclear programs to the UN Security Council.  The EU-3, that is, the EU, virtually, has had to back down.   This, some may think, is a victory for Iran and its ‘allies.  But it is not.   It is more like a reprieve because the EU and the United States will keep the heat on.   Given that and the fact that Russia and China, just like America, don’t want Iran to become a nuclear power, it is anybody’s guess for how much longer Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi will stand by Tehran.    Besides, it is not in their interest to fall out with the principal economic partners over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.”

"Moscow Doesn’t Want ‘Iranian Dossier’ In UN Security Council"

Andrey Zlobin reported in reformist Vremya Novostey (9/23): "While the British, French and German foreign ministers dispute economic logic behind the existence of the kind of installations Iran has at its nuclear centers, a source in Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, says, ‘The Iranians need them if they want to build several nuclear reactors.   In a country with more than 10 nuclear reactors, there is an economic sense in producing nuclear fuel at home.’   Iran has more than once voiced its desire to have 20 nuclear reactors."

"Iran Won't Cave In"

I. Shtodina opined in nationalist opposition Sovetskaya Rossiya (9/22):  "Lately, the EU-3 have been trying hard to intimidate Iran, claiming their patience may give out unless it shuts down its peaceful nuclear program in return for economic cooperation.  It is not quite clear, though, what will happen after the EU-3's patience gives out.   Acting along with the United States, the Europeans threaten to pass the case on to the UN Security Council.  At the UN summit in New York, the Americans and the EU-3 called on all delegations, hoping to gain their support.  Evidently, they didn't succeed.  Washington and the EU-3 may, indeed, lose patience with Iran. But there is still little they can do about it."

AUSTRIA:  "Bungled Iran Strategy"

Foreign affairs editor Gudrun Harrer commented in liberal Der Standard (9/23):  "The attempt to refer the dispute over Iran's nuclear program to the UN was based on shaky premises from the start....  However, that does not mean the Security Council option is off the table entirely:  Anger over Iran is growing even among those who have defended Tehran's rights to technology. But once again, Iran has successfully played for time, which could permit it to accomplish what many people are concerned about: crossing the technology threshold that still separates the country from nuclear weapons. On the other hand, given Tehran's current political constellation, the UN Security Council would hardly have had a chance to prevent such a development anyway. Everything points to further confrontations....  The EU's offers are so out of sync with what Iran has in mind that an agreement seems virtually impossible."

BELGIUM:  "The European Diplomacy’s Improvisation"

Foreign editor Gerald Papy commented in independent La Libre Belgique  (9/23):  "At the end of 2004, we saluted the perseverance of European diplomacy--represented by Great Britain, France, and Germany--for having convinced the Iranian regime through negotiations to suspend its uranium enrichment activities in exchange for a promise of cooperation in the civilian nuclear field. This determination led to a period of dialogue with Tehran and put off the risk, after Iraq, of another military confrontation in the Middle East, which Washington had mentioned in very bellicose terms.  Yet, the crisis that began this summer after Iran announced the resumption of its enrichment activities after the election of an ultra-conservative leader did not bring back on a warpath a Bush Administration that was too busy with Iraq and Katrina.  Disappointed by President Ahmadinejad’s martial speech at the UN--although it was predictable for his first appearance on the international scene--the Europeans nevertheless found it appropriate earlier this week to threaten Tehran with seizing the UN Security Council before changing their mind on Thursday 'to preserve the international community’s unity.'  Yet, one did not need to be a genius to predict China and Russia’s opposition. The result is a European diplomacy that is almost a fiasco and an Iranian regime that comes out dangerously reinforced in its intransigence.'

POLAND:  "Iran Goes To War"

Bartosz Weglarczyk wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (9/20):  “After Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected the new president of Iran last spring, [political] analysts began to draft worst-case scenarios.  Now the scenarios are coming to fruition....  Even those countries, which, like France, oppose America’s policy of pressure on Iran, admit openly now that the chance to resolve the conflict in the privacy of conference rooms is increasingly thin.  Ahmadinejad’s address [in the UN] indicates that the new Iranian authorities regard the confrontation with the West as inevitable. And they are rapidly preparing for it.”

MIDDLE EAST

SAUDI ARABIA:  "Nuclear Controversy"

The English-language Jiddah Arab News wrote (Internet Version  9/23):   "The EU has climbed down on its plan to make a formal protest to have Iran immediately called before the UN Security Council, via the International Atomic Energy Agency, on the ground that it was in breach of its obligations as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  After two years of direct negotiations with Tehran, the EU trio, France, Germany and the UK, appear to have accepted that while Iran may have reneged on certain commitments given to the EU, it can still be argued it has not acted outside the NPT.  This is the line taken by the Russians and the Chinese.  Therefore any chance of a Security Council vote demanding that Iran cease its nuclear fuel enrichment program and any development of nuclear weapons that could come from such enrichment, is bound to fail. Rather than launch a doomed Security Council initiative, the Europeans have decided to back off. What has undermined U.S. and British insistence that Iran really is intent on obtaining a nuclear weapons capability, is the unforgettable fact that precisely the same allegations were used to underpin the Washington-led invasion of Iraq and those allegations turned out to be total falsehoods.  Britain's working in partnership with France and Germany, which had both bitterly opposed the attack on Iraq, has not added strength to the EU demands on Iran. Though even Moscow, which has supplied Iran's nuclear program, has in the past expressed some guarded reservations about Teheran's fuel enrichment, its influence at this juncture together with China has proven crucial in forcing an EU climb down.

"Iran After North Korea"

Riyadh’s moderate Al-Jazira editorialized (9/21): "The U.S. pressure was distributed on North Korea and Iran. North Korea surrendered after a series of pressures and some temptations.  The U.S. will now concentrate pressure on Iran....  The U.S. achievement was done with the assistance of other countries....  North Korea was negotiating as a strong party as it owns nuclear weapons....  It will be interesting to watch how phases of the new conflict between Iran and the west will proceed.... The exerted efforts should not exclude the nuclear power of Israel... The American efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons should gain credibility if they include Israel."

QATAR:  "Double-standards Show In Nuclear Power Row"

Independent pro-government English-language Gulf Times (Internet Version 9/22):  "The Iranian nuclear programme remains at the centre of international concerns after Tehran resumed its sensitive uranium conversion work in August and newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted on his country's inalienable right to peaceful nuclear technology at the UN last week.  The Iranian position enjoys the support of Russia and China, as well as many non-aligned states, even though the U.S. claims that there is a growing majority among the 35 members of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency ready to report Iran to the UN over its nuclear programme.  The U.S. and the European Union are trying to rally a consensus for referral but the opposition of UN permanent members Russia and France is crucial. The text put forward by the EU is very harsh, accusing Iran of "failures and breaches of its obligations to comply" with the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Iran did conceal part of its nuclear programme for many years but that was discovered some time ago."

ASIA PACIFIC

AUSTRALIA:  "Bluster Won’t Halt Proliferation"

Washington correspondent Tony Walker noteed in the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (9/23):  “The more Bush administration conservatives talk about regime change the less likely it is to happen. This is especially since it is now clear that, irrespective of the Howard formula for pre-emption in the absence of an international consensus, war is not an option for various reasons, not least in Iran's case, where the U.S. has 138,000 potential hostages to conflict in the form of its military deployment in neighboring Iraq.  All this is an argument for the U.S. to seek to engage Iran, promising reward for compliance and penalties for defiance.  As the International Crisis Group said in a paper written in November 2004, but which could have been issued yesterday:  'Only the U.S. can give it the political, economic or security compensation that it wants; and if Iran is not prepared to deal, then only a rejection of a good-faith U.S. offer will persuade the world.'”

CHINA:  "The U.S. Uses Iran Nuclear Issue To Warn India"

Tang Lu commented in the official Xinhua News Agency international news publication International Herald Leader (Guoji Xianqu Daobao) (9/22):  "On the one hand, India has just had a honeymoon with the U.S.  On the other hand, Iran concerns India's resource strategy.  India is in a dilemma, and it is difficult to make a choice.  India's 'excessive' stance toward Iran has made the U.S. unhappy.  India's approach toward Iran's nuclear issue has been: urging Iran to respect its promise under the non-proliferation treaty; opposing the submission of the Iranian issue to the UN; and hoping it can oppose Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons through diplomatic means not military force....  India is now adopting a high-key stance to gain space to maneuver.  There is a great divergence within the Indian government on this issue."

SINGAPORE:  "Iran And The Nuke Factor"

The pro-government English-language Straits Times commented (Internet version 9/22):  Iran and the West are on a collision course. Blame for this must be placed squarely at Tehran's door, for its leaders have refused to abandon their nuclear ambitions. The very fact that the European Union and the United States are now in substantial agreement on the matter is in itself an indication of how intransigent Tehran has been.  By repeatedly reneging on agreements to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, it has forced an outcome which six months ago would have been difficult to imagine: The U.S. and EU acting in concert, and agreeing to refer Iran's nuclear programme to the United Nations Security Council....  The current crisis owes something to the election of Mr Mohammad Ahmadinejad as Iran's president.  A hardliner, he has consistently refused to countenance any attempt to restrict his country's nuclear options.  His defiant speech to the UN's General Assembly last week, insisting on Iran's 'right to pursue peaceful nuclear energy' and accusing the U.S. of dividing the world into 'light and dark countries', merely confirmed what was obvious since he assumed office in June....  The U.S. and EU, however, do not have many options in dealing with Iran. Short of an invasion--an impossibility, as Tehran well knows--there is little the West can do to ensure the outcome it wants: A nuclear-free Middle East.  Even referral to the Security Council is uncertain, given that either or both Russia and China might veto strong action.  But persist they must, for it would be a grave error to simply throw up one's arms and be resigned to Iran going nuclear."

SOUTH KOREA:  "No To Iran UNSC Referral"

The semi-official Seoul Yonhap remarked (Internet version 9/22):   "South Korea on Thursday indirectly opposed plans by the European troika of Britain, France and Germany to refer the Iranian nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for possible sanctions. The important thing is expanding dialogue with Iran so Iran can become a responsible member of the international community, although it is a difficult task to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue....  China and Russia and other non-aligned countries, however, oppose the attempt by the European powers to involve the UNSC due to a possible backlash by Iran, one of the major oil producers in the Middle East.... [This is] in line with South Korea's coherent position against bringing the North Korean nuclear issue to the UNSC, which the communist North said would be tantamount to a declaration of war. The fourth round of six-party peace talks produced a breakthrough in the form of a joint statement Monday, some 25 months after the first round of talks were held in August 2003, calling for the North to abandon its existing nuclear weapons and related programs in return for economic and security guarantees."

SOUTH ASIA

INDIA:  "Iranian Knot" 

The centrist Tribune editorialized (9/23):  "India’s plea for a diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue has been getting encouraging response....  This is gratifying for India, which has been consistently arguing that diplomacy can ultimately lead to a happy end as in the case of North Korea....  The problem, however, is that the U.S. does not attach much significance to the consensual approach or giving diplomacy more chance than it has already got.  The U.S. has on its side, besides Japan, the European Union, which made some diplomatic efforts, at Washington's behest, but without much success.  The reason, perhaps, was that the EU...anyhow wanted to get the Iranian nuclear energy program capped irrespective of Tehran’s explanation that it was meant for peaceful purposes....  Now the U.S. and the EU are doing everything possible to take the matter to the UN Security Council....  Things are taking a turn for the worse with Russia and China, two of the veto-wielding members of the Security Council, expressing their opposition to the US-EU plan.  They will, however, work along with India for giving diplomacy a chance.  There is no reason why this approach cannot succeed in the case of Iran if it has brought satisfactory results in the Korean peninsula."

"In Uncharted Terrain" 

Prem Shankar Jha provided the following analysis in the nationalist Hindustan Times (9/23):  "The vote that India casts in the IAEA will be a defining moment in our history, for it will tell the world just who we are and what we stand for. At present, we are leaning more and more towards dragging Iran before the UN. In his last statement in New York, Manmohan Singh, in effect, dismissed Iran's protestation that it wanted to produce power and not bombs by remarking: 'We do not want another nuclear power in our neighborhood.' If this is indeed the conclusion that India has come to, then it is a blatant and self-serving piece of self deception designed to hide a capitulation to American pressure, because so far there is suspicion, but not a shred of actual proof, that Iran is engaged in a clandestine nuclear weapons program....  But, in November, it agreed to suspend enrichment, pending the creation of a long-term agreement that would define the conditions under which it would pursue its civilian program.  An important part of the agreement was a commitment by the EU-3 to address its security concerns....  On November 17, 2004, days after the Iran-EU-3 agreement, Colin Powell accused Iran of developing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It turned out, again as in Iraq, that this was based upon supposed intelligence from a single unverified source ... Singh's remarks in Paris and New York show that India is teetering on the edge of joining this witch-hunt. Before it does so, it would do well to understand what that will mean. First, the pressure on, and threats being made to, Iran violate article IV of the NPT and, therefore, fall outside international law.  By joining those who are issuing it, India will contribute significantly to the erosion of whatever remains of the pre-9/11 world order."

"Between Iran And The United States"

New Delhi Navbharat Times in Hindi editorialized (Internet version 9/22):  "India is in a fix. It has to make a crucial decision.  Most probably, the governing board of the IAEA will meet this week to decide whether Iran's nuclear program should be brought under the Security Council's scrutiny. Only then can a decision to improve sanctions on Iran can be made. The board consists of 35 members including India. The usual practice is to make a unanimous decision. However, this time the board seems to be divided. The United States wants India to support its activities against its other friend, Iran. In fact, the victory of the United States and the EU-3 [Britain, France, and Germany] is more or less assured. Nevertheless, India's cooperation is essential to give a wider base to its support.  The United States has been exerting considerable pressure on India for this purpose. A warning has been given to the effect that any hesitation on India's part would be taken has a solid proof of its leaning toward Iran by the U.S. Congress. It might even raise a controversy on the proposed to help India with nuclear energy and to recognize it as the sixth nuclear power. This is a veiled threat. However, such moves will fail to persuade India to turn against an old friend, especially when the entire case is based on suspicion rather than on facts.  There is no concrete evidence on Iran's intention of making nuclear weapons. The charge of going against the NPT is equally dubious, nor has Iran demonstrated a rebellious attitude like North Korea....  In this situation, India cannot obviously side with the United States automatically....  It would be better for India to become active diplomatically and persuade China, Russia, and other countries to prepare an alternative proposal.  India is in a position to work out a middle course to the satisfaction of both camps. It can mediate between Europe and Iran and build up mutual confidence. India is certainly not a superpower, nor does it have the technical ability to solve this tangle.  In short, it is just a minor player.  But human history has often proved that virtuous and righteous people succeed where capable and shrewd people fail."

"What The IAEA Really Found In Iran" 

Siddharth Varadarajan provided this analysis in the centrist Hindu (9/22):  “The report Mohammed El-Baradei presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors on September 2, 2005 represents the most recent assessment of Iran's nuclear program made by the watchdog body.... Those findings involved six instances of Iran's 'failure to report' certain nuclear activities, mostly concerning enrichment and laser experimentation and including the import of uranium from China in 1991; and a general charge of 'failure on many occasions to cooperate to facilitate the implementation of safeguards, as evidenced by extensive concealment activities.'... In the course of its visits to the not-yet-operational Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz and the Kalaye Electric Company in 2004, the IAEA had found trace amounts of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and low enriched uranium (LEU), giving rise to concerns that Iran had already begun enriching uranium - presumably at an undisclosed third location....  Yes, the IAEA has yet to conclude there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.... Iran, at the end of the day still has a responsibility to demonstrate to the world that it is in full compliance with its safeguards obligations....  As matters stand, the only major unexplained issue is the extent of Iran's research work on the P-2 centrifuge.  Even if the Agency's worst fears are true--that Iran actually worked on the P-2 design during that time--this matters only if that knowledge was used to set up another enrichment facility somewhere else in the country. Though this is unlikely, the Additional Protocol gives the IAEA a broad licence to inspect any facility it wishes. Using those powers--and relying on intelligence inputs from the U.S. - Agency inspectors recently visited military sites at Kolahdouz, Lavisan, and Parchin.  Nothing was found.  If a secret enrichment plant exists, the enforcement of Iran's safeguards and inspection obligations is a far better way to unearth it than the threat of sanctions.”

"Wrong Minister"

The centrist Indian Express editorialized (9/21):  "India's response to the deepening crisis on Iran’s nuclear plans ranges from the confused impulses of the government to the contrived indignation of the Left parties. On Monday, Foreign Minister K. Natwar Singh added a farcical dimension to it when, during an interview with NDTV in New York, he argued India couldn’t ignore Iran because of the 'sensitivities' of India’s 150 million Muslims, a significant number of whom, he helpfully pointed out, are Shia.  The foreign minister’s remarks are fraught with fairly dangerous implications. Is he suggesting foreign policy is no more than an extension of domestic politics?...  India’s engagement with the world - as, indeed, any nation’s foreign policy--must flow from a cold assessment of its strategic interests, its gains and losses. To reduce it to presumed anguish among individual communities, as Natwar Singh has done in the case of Iran, is to upturn diplomacy, disregard India and, most of all, insult Indian Muslims. It is nobody’s argument that the Iran issue is not a complex one, a tightrope India has to use all its diplomatic skills to negotiate. In popular perception in India, Iran is a non-hostile Muslim country with which it can do business.  As it happens, the American assessment of Iran--ever since the hostage crisis of 1979--is very different. Today Tehran’s new leader is resorting to verbal brinkmanship, threatening to, in effect, nuclearize the Middle East. At this precise moment, New Delhi is readying to sign a paradigm-changing nuclear deal with Washington and, equally, a gas pipeline project with Iran. India’s proximity to Iran is a clear and present hiccup. India is not required to abandon its friendship. All that it needs to do is make it clear that Iran must adhere to its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty--which that country is a signatory of--and must not pursue the Bomb."

"New Clear Dilemma"

Manoj Joshi provided the following analysis in the nationalist Hindustan Times (9/19):   "India is in a peculiar bind in dealing with Iran. Having itself defied the world and made nuclear weapons, it wants Iran not to do so.  But there are two important differences. First, despite huge pressure, India never did sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty; Iran did and gave a solemn pledge not to make nuclear weapons. Second, India has two nuclear armed neighbors with whom it has fought wars in the past and with whom it continues to have serious disputes. Ironically for Iran, the U.S. has been instrumental in removing two of its major threats....  To the question as to why a country awash with hydrocarbons needs nuclear energy, Iran's response is that it is merely preparing for the day it runs out of fossil fuel.  That does not explain its current behavior in reneging from an agreement with the EU-3 to freeze its activities and resume work on the uranium conversion plant at Isfahan, which will turn uranium ore into gas that can be later enriched through centrifuges. Neither does it explain the past pattern of Iran's deceiving the International Atomic Energy Agency that monitors compliance of NPT's non-nuclear parties.  For 18 years, Iran successfully hid a number of facilities and activities from IAEA monitors. It was only because of Iranian dissident groups that the world came to know of Iran's advanced capabilities and capacity....   As of now, the U.S. is backing the EU-3, but it insistently maintains that the IAEA must act soon....    Iran is a theocratic State ruled by mullahs. Although the leaders after Imam Khomeini have focused inwards, there is always the possibility that some future leader may once again take the country down a messianic path....  The clear policy is that Teheran must abide by its NPT commitments not to make nuclear weapons, even though there still remains some room for diplomacy.   But New Delhi must be prepared that if Tehran persists on its course and the EU-3 recommend a reference to the UN Security Council, India should bite the bullet and not hesitate to back the move. That way, we will subserve both the national interest and international law."

"Iran Caught In IAEA Pincer"

Pundit K. Subrahmanyam analyzed in the centrist Times of India (9/19):  "The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meets today to consider the report of its director general on Iran's observance of its regulations ... At present, the IAEA inspection team can neither accuse Iran of violating the NPT, nor give it a clean chit....   As a non-weapon NPT signatory. Iran has to convince IAEA inspectors that its uranium enrichment does not exceed the 5% required for civil use, and is nowhere near the 90% required for nuclear weapons....  The U.S. is asking India, Russia and China to support sending the report to the UNSC.  Manmohan Singh has informed Bush that while India does feel Iran should have abided by the NPT, the solution to the problem may still be found in diplomacy rather than sanctions....  Iran, perhaps has a good case for acquiring nuclear weapons.  It is located between hostile, Sunni nuclear Pakistan and Wahabi Saudi Arabia.  But Iran has never put forward such honest reasons to justify proliferation.  Nevertheless, in the current scenario, Iran might find it difficult to continue being intransigent to the EU-3 compromise formula. Therefore, giving it a few weeks to mull over its options might do the trick."    

"Iran On Balance"

The centrist Indian Express editorialized (9/16):  "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh deserves credit for salvaging India’s approach to the nuclear crisis in Iran from the rhetorical chaos and the pursuit of narrow sectional interests that had engulfed it....  Singh has put the fundamentals of India’s non-proliferation policy back in focus.  Reiterating India’s self-image as a responsible nuclear weapon state, Singh made it clear that no exceptions can be made in the case of Iranian proliferation.  India rightly treats Iran as a natural partner and the cooperation between the two nations covers a wide range of sectors....  Both the principle of non-proliferation and India’s own self-interest in preventing the emergence of new nuclear powers in its neighborhood would suggest that Delhi cannot condone Iranian proliferation.  An unambiguous commitment to non-proliferation without exceptions, however, does not mean India should back a rush to confrontation with Iran.  Singh has rightly emphasized that diplomacy towards Iran...must be given the full chance to succeed before sanctions and war are threatened."

"Negotiating The Persian Maze"

Saeed Naqvi had this to say in the centrist Indian Express (9/16):  "There has been a naive expectation among professional seminarists that New Delhi would somehow be stampeded into lining up with Washington on the Iranian nuclear issue when the IAEA Board in Vienna takes up the matter....  The Indian position, spelt out to Washington as well, has been that it would be premature to give up on diplomacy....  India’s engagement with Iran on the nuclear issue is being treated quite separately from a widening economic relationship including the gas pipeline project....  There is...too much at risk in pushing Iran into a corner.  The risks are all the more pronounced because the Iraq war is going horribly wrong for the Americans.  Moreover, U.S. intelligence is itself suggesting that Iran is at least five to 10 years away from the bomb, if that indeed be Tehran’s intention."

"Our Forked Tongues"

Pratap Bhanu Mehta commented in the centrist Indian Express (9/16):  "In international relations hypocrisy is often a very good measure of how great a power a nation has become....  We should not be surprised if India begins to sound more and more hypocritical.  We stand up and loudly trumpet democracy as a value, partner the United States in promoting it, but make our own compromises with Myanmar and Sudan.  We will emancipate ourselves from old fashioned third world solidarity only to trade in the oil, juntas and dictators, the sort of stuff the third world produces.  We spent decades valiantly and unsuccessfully trying to combat the hegemony of big powers over the world order.  It is a measure of our growing stature that we can materially align with that hegemony but struggle to find a way of gesturing against it.   This is the broad context in which our Iran policy should be seen.  At an official level, India has taken the only stand it can take without contorting its tongue too much.  Iran has a treaty obligation and it should abide by it.  The West has an obligation to give diplomacy a full chance and avoid confrontation.  But this formalistic response can barely disguise the fact that we have no moral ground to stand on when it comes to Iran....  Every single reason that we gave in order to develop a nuclear program is as valid for Iran as it is for us."

"Surprise Attack"

The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (9/16):  "The opposition, and some friendly parties, seem to have discovered a new issue to chastise the government:  Manmohan Singh's expression of 'surprise' over his predecessor A.B. Vajpayee's criticism of the India-U.S. nuclear agreement....  What Singh disclosed was not from any confidential discussion between him and Vajpayee, but something based on public record in the press and Parliament.  Beyond the avoidable controversy, there is the solid substance of Singh's interaction with Bush.  Singh's restatement of the Indian position--Tehran must uphold treaty obligations not to make nuclear weapons, and that diplomacy be given full opportunity to produce a consensus--is fair and in tune with the country's national interest.  Simultaneously, the reiteration of the decision to move ahead on the nuclear agreement should be seen as an achievement for New Delhi, considering the barrage of criticism in Washington, orchestrated by a combined lobby of anti-Bush democrats, Pakistani officials and non-proliferation ayatollahs."

"India Needs To Stand Firm"

The left-of-center Hindu judged (9/16):  "While United States President George W. Bush has reassured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about his commitment to the agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation, there is no guarantee that the deal-makers will pull it off....  Strong resistance can be expected from [U.S.] non-proliferation hawks as well as others.  At least one Congressman has asserted that the Bush-Manmohan deal is predicated on reciprocity, and that India must change its position on Iran's nuclear program.  That his is not a lone voice is evident from the Bush administration's exertions on a parallel track to make New Delhi yield to this demand....  There is absolutely no need to fall in line with the U.S.-led attempt to bully and box in Iran, which unlike India is a party to the NPT, has not conducted any nuclear weapon tests, and has its rights under the Treaty....  The imperatives of an independent foreign policy as well as national interests--among other things, India has major stakes in projects for constructive cooperation with Iran, including the proposed gas pipeline--demand that New Delhi take an independent and constructive stand in favor of moderation and an amicable negotiated resolution of a potentially explosive dispute."

"Test Of Real Geopolitics"

Kalyani Shankar took this view in the pro-BJP, right-of-center Pioneer (9/16):  "What happens when a country has to make new friends and, at the same time, hold on to the older ones? This is exactly the dilemma before India vis-a-vis its old friend Iran and the new-found ally, the United States....  The challenge before the Prime Minister now is to shift the U.S.'s perception of India's alliance with Iran from a 'with us or against us' to a 'with U.S. and with Iran.'   Manmohan Singh's success in balancing the concerns of the U.S. about Iran's nuclear ambitions with the advantages of the Indo-Iran relationship will depend on how President Bush views India, particularly its economic potential.  It is no secret that Bush would like to isolate Iran for its nuclear ambitions....  Singh...made...clear...that the rules of the game should be followed....  The point is that Iran has not done anything illegal as yet, and has signed a few extremely intrusive agreements outside the NPT.  It is just that the U.S. and EU do not trust Iran with anything nuclear.  Politically, turning on Iran can be prove expensive for India.  If Iran is isolated, it will be pushed closer to China....  Therefore, India needs to tread carefully.  It need not turn on Iran to show that it is coming closer to the U.S."

PAKISTAN:  "Importance Of Pak-Iran Relations"

The sensationalist Urdu language Ummat editorialized (9/23):  "The U.S. is bent upon taking action against Iran and wants to make the nuclear program of Iran a pretext for this action.  The issue of Iran is even more difficult for the U.S. as compared to Iraq because the U.S. has failed to collect any evidence to the effect that Iran would use its nuclear capability for making nuclear weapons.  Despite that if the U.S. did not desist from attacking Iran then it would have to face severer global reaction than before."

"Pakistan And Possible Sanctions Against Iran"

The independent moderate English-language Lahore Daily Times editorialized (Internet version 9/22):  "As the EU-3 (Britain, France, Germany) at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) push for sending the case of Iran's covert enrichment of nuclear fuel to the UN Security Council, Tehran--under the new radical Islamist president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad--has defiantly threatened to get out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), restart enrichment of uranium, and use its oil to line up other states behind it.  But the IAEA Board resolution might be delayed by Russia, which is building a $1 billion reactor at Bushehr in Iran.  However, if it goes through, the United States will probably try to get the permanent members of the Council to impose sanctions on Iran. The EU-3 had succeeded in getting the U.S. not to take any drastic action against Iran....  Few outside of the U.S. and EU-3 would care to stay out of trade with Iran, given the oil-squeeze being experienced by the world's economies. Russia is in Iran for much-needed foreign exchange earnings.  In the past, Tehran has leaned on Russia to veto a sanctions resolution.  In this it has been helped by China, which has finalised deals with Iran to supply at least 12 percent of China's energy. But many observers believe that Russia and China might actually go back to a pattern of behaviour that has helped the U.S. get resolutions passed by the Security Council--the two might abstain instead of vetoing the anti-Iran resolution....  Pakistanis usually complain about "enslavement" of Islamabad's foreign policy to the United States. This is not entirely true, as was evidenced when Pakistan refused to send troops to Iraq; secondly, Pakistan has no other energy option except the Iranian project.  It has tried and failed to find alternatives."

"Pakistan Opposes UNSC Referral: Iran Nuclear Issue"

Karachi based independent English-language Dawn noted (9/22): "Pakistan on Wednesday made it clear that it was against referral of Iran’s nuclear issue to the UN Security Council and called for resolving the matter within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  Reacting to the impending move by the EU and the U.S. to report Tehran’s nuclear program to the Security Council (for alleged breaches of international nuclear safeguards), the Foreign Office spokesman Naeem Khan categorically stated: “We are not in favor of referring this matter to the UN Security Council."

"U.S. Subjectivity And Paranoia"

The centrist national English-language News editorialized (9/19):  "It was surprising to hear American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledge the right of much demonized Iran to run a civilian nuclear program.  Although Rice was only making a matter-of-fact statement, it indicates softening of Washington's position that earlier did not have any room for Iran to possess nuclear technology, irrespective of its purpose....  What Rice has said now only reflects that Washington's position on the Iranian nuclear program was based on its subjective fears and not on the objective provisions of international law.  She did not mince any words in saying that Iran has the right to acquire the nuclear technology, but her country had been dissuading the exercise of that right because of Iran's certain behavior in the past."

"Iranian Nuclear Issue"

The center-right, national English-language Nation commented (9/19):  "The danger lies in the U.S. or its surrogates, especially Israel, striking at the nuclear installations in Iran.  Most countries, including Pakistan, would oppose such an action as fraught with dangerous consequences whose impact would be felt for a long time to come, with no one remaining unscathed, not even the superpower.  In the backdrop of this gloomy scenario, the proposal of joint ventures affords a welcome ray of hope.  The best option would, therefore, be to thrash out its details at the negotiating table to make the required safeguards foolproof."

"Moves And Countermoves On Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions"

The Lahore-based liberal  English-language Daily Times judged (9/18):  "The U.S. and Iran having been making moves and counter-moves since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) determined last year that Tehran was in violation of its NPT obligations and attempting to enrich uranium to weapons-grade percentage....  The U.S. claims it has broad world support on the issue of preventing Iran to develop a nuclear-weapon capability.  This claim is not entirely without merit.  India, which has refused U.S. pressure to cancel a gas pipeline deal with Iran, which also involves Pakistan, has nonetheless made clear that it does not want to see a nuclear-armed Iran.  Pakistan, which has opposed the use of force against Iran, is also opposed to a nuclear Iran.  Therefore there seems consensus on preventing Iran from taking the route that North Korea has already taken.  However, no one is in favor of using force to that end except some circles in the United States and the government of Israel....  One thing is certain.  Some compromise needs to be worked out and fast to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.  While use of force, technically, remains an option on the table, it is unlikely to resolve anything."

IRAN:  "Iran's Steps To Build Confidence"

Reformist Sharq had this to say (Internet version 9/22):  "In the last two years Iran has opened all of its doors to the UN inspectors, has implemented the additional protocol, has suspended uranium enrichment voluntarily, and has done more that what is in the NPT in order to build confidence without getting any concessions.  Iran's big problem is the lack of self-confidence.  Syria, Jordan without enjoying Iran's capabilities and only because of employing efficient policies and diplomacy have turned their weak points to opportunities and get concessions from their enemies and friends, while Iran because of its self-made restrictions is giving concessions to all.  Iran even can force America, on the negotiating table and in a win-win situation, to bow to Iran's requests."

"Iran's Case At The Eleventh Hour"

Conservative pro-Khamenei government-influenced Tehran Jam-e Jam in Persian editorialized (Internet version 9/22):  "The sensitive nature of Iran's nuclear case has reached its peak, a situation that without exaggeration will affect the future of the country to a great extent.  The curious and sometimes ill-intentioned eyes of the leaders of 170 countries of the world are focused on the new nuclear proposal of our country.  In the meantime, Iran has a more stable situation compared to the hostile countries headed by the United States....  Legally, there is no basis for sending Iran's case to the Security Council, and the people of the world have realized that should this happen, it will be completely political....  the situation is good, in addition to the fact that Mr. Ahmadinejad's visit to New York, his speech to the General Assembly, and his extensive and intensive negotiations with the high-ranking officials of the countries of the world have increased the strength of Iran's position, coupled with the fact that his friendly meeting with the managers and chief editors of the world media in New York and explaining the policies of our country regarding important regional and international issues, including Iran's nuclear activities, to great extent clarified the situation in the clouded minds of the media people of the West."

"Ahmadinejad 75 Days In"

Conservative Resalat commented (Internet version 9/22):  "Iran's president knows better that every one in the country that 75 days has passed since he took the office, while the government has not been stabilized yet.  The president should try his best to bring his forces to work soon. We hope see that the current stagnation in the country has come to an end and a drastic change has happened in Iran's economy."

"Iran's Reach For Peaceful Nuclear Technology"

Hard-line pro-Khamene'i Jomhuri-ye Eslami expressed the view (Internet version 9/22):  "Although the meeting of the IAEA's Board of governors has not come to an end, whatever the result is, it cannot affect Iran's desperate decision in reaching peaceful nuclear technology.  Iran defends its nuclear abilities at any cost and the language of threats adopted by the Europeans will lead to nowhere and it will create more problems for them.  If this trend is continued by the Europeans in sending Iran's dossier to the UN Security Council, Iran will withdraw from the NPT and will resume all of its nuclear activities."

"The EU Troika's Blackmail"

Conservative Tehran Times commented (Internet version 9/22):  "Although the policy of using a trigger mechanism is no longer effective against Iran, the EU's insistence on restating its previous stances toward the Islamic Republic of Iran and politically pressuring and threatening it will cause Iran to make a final national decision of the EU troika's blackmail.  If the West continues to insist on its blackmail policy, even if Iran's dossier is referred to the Security Council, Western countries will be defeated."

"The First Result Of Active Diplomacy"

Conservative elite Tehran Afarinesh published (Internet version 9/18):  "As signs and evidence indicate, the return of Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council in tomorrow's meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency is totally out of the question, because the Non-Aligned countries that are members of the Board of Governors known as 'NAM' have announced their explicit opposition to this action, and China and Russia also are supporting them....  Now the question is why the strong coalition of the United States and Europe to force Iran's case to the UN Security Council has failed....  In the course of the past month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has entered the phase of action and has expedited the diplomatic processes to advance Iran's goals regarding the nuclear case.  The visit of the high-ranking officials of our country to the important regional capitals such as New Delhi and Islamabad, lobbying with the foreign ministers residing in Iran, holding explanatory meetings with the ambassadors of Iran in the countries that are members of the Board of Governors, and giving special missions to them for special negotiations with the officials of the countries in which they serve, and so on, have resulted in the dynamism of the diplomatic organization of our country. Also the intensive negotiations that Iran's team that was dispatched to New York has carried out with the leaders and diplomats of various countries on top of everything else under the present conditions have given Iran the upper hand in the nuclear case.  This is a positive experience that can be deepened and utilized in all international affairs of the country.  We should believe that diplomacy is a weapon, and if we have the skill to use it, a place beyond what we have in the international system awaits us."

"The Start Of A New Round In Iran's Nuclear Case"

Behruz Farahmand remarked in the conservative religious-based Mashhad Qods in Persian (Internet version 9/18):   "Since last night, as soon as the president's speech ended, Iran's new nuclear proposal became the focus of the attention of reporters and analysts, and the print media of the world and of Iran in their publications immediately following the speech of the Iranian president will engage in discussing it extensively....  In fact, the decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to preserve the nuclear cycle at all cost, and this is precisely the main point of the West's confrontation with Iran....  Undoubtedly, Iran's nuclear proposal, which was presented to the people of the world by the president from the podium of the United Nations, is considered a turning point in the nuclear issue of our country, and we must wait to evaluate the interaction of the Agency and countries that have nuclear technology with Tehran's new initiative.  Regarding the reaction of the IAEA, it is perhaps too soon to judge....  The three European countries in their long-term negotiations with Tehran have been pursuing the strategy of the United States based on delay, avoidance, control, and ultimately eradicating Iran's nuclear technology and installations....  Now the question is, what will be the reactions regarding the nuclear initiative of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran?  Will it be a response based on the existing realities and the nuclear rights of the nations on the basis of the NPT or on the basis of the logic of force and beating the hollow drums of threats and sending the case to the Security Council?  The answer to this question should be sought in the passage of time."

"Changing Directors, Rotating Elites Or Strategy Of Unification?"

Sajjad Salek commented in reformist Tehran E'temad in Persian  (9/17):  "On the day Mahmud Ahmadinezhad, who favored a crucial change in the administrative management of the country, was elected president receiving 17 million votes many high-ranking officials found that the time had come when the management system of the country would undergo a metamorphosis. On the day a member of the editorial board of Keyhan chose the title 'Time of Mid-level Officials Has Come,' many officials gathered their stuff to leave the country's administration. The Keyhan editorial's prediction came true when the Majles gave a vote of confidence to 17 ministers nominated by Ahmadinezhad and he appointed caretakers for four ministries. Under these circumstances, the member of the editorial board of Keyhan advised ministers to choose deputies and officials who support the policies of the justice-minded administration....  On 3 Tir 1384 [ 24 June 2005] the day Ahmadinezhad won the election, the issue of changing mid-level officials hit the headlines....  In these conditions, it was heard that Mahmud Ahmadinezhad decided to get directly involved in choosing officials....  At any rate, it seems that dismissals and appointments will temporarily stop until Ahmadinejad's return from New York; afterward a wave of change will embrace departments and organizations. Under these conditions, some experts believe the policy of changing the bulk of officials will irreparably damage the administrative system.  Both political factions acknowledge that not a few efficient officials can be found in the executive, and if the mid-level management of the country is assigned to inexperienced persons much time will be spent for training them.  

Anyway, we must wait and see what happens to the administrative system after Ahmadinejad's homecoming and to what degree these changes will be in line with the four objectives of the administration."

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