International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

June 20, 2003

June 20, 2003





** Iran's nuclear threat is "a fact." Joint U.S. and EU pressure is required to force Iran to "open its doors" to IAEA inspections.


** Protests reveal Iranians are "fed up" with Tehran, but U.S. interference in regime change is "counterproductive."


** There is no need for a military confrontation to deal with Iran; "Iran is not Iraq."




Time to take Iran's nuke threat seriously with strategy of 'incentives and disincentives'-- Observers acknowledging that Iran posed a threat agreed Bush "is right" to press Tehran and urged the Europeans to take Iran's nuclear program seriously.  They agreed the U.S. "together with Europe" must remain engaged to encourage reformers and link Iran's cooperation with nuclear inspections to trade agreements.  "If Tehran is unwilling to allow strict controls of its nuclear program," Berlin's centrist Der Tagesspiegel insisted, "a trade agreement with the EU should be out of the question."  Writers also demanded Iranian transparency, joining Tokyo's business-oriented Nihon Keizai in calling on "the Tehran leadership to respond positively to and dispel international concerns over its nuclear development."


The enemy of the enemy is not necessarily a friend-- Writers worldwide held that Washington should not "misread" the demonstrations as support for U.S. "aggression" to change the Iranian regime.  Some papers suggested the state of unrest had been exaggerated.  They claimed the U.S.' "cheering on" the protests was counterproductive and likely to backfire, "undercutting Khatami" and giving the Ayatollahs the upper hand.  Although the U.S. presence in Iraq has "put the fear of God" into the mullahs, "ham-fisted" U.S. attempts to link the Shia mullahs in Iran to the Sunni al-Qaida were, as London's independent Financial Times put it,

"likely to spark nervous defiance and drive Iranian reformists and theocrats into each others' arms."  Others, conservatives and liberals alike, decided that the U.S. was doing a disservice by promoting dissent, which Jamaica's moderate Daily Gleaner noted was the "kiss of death" for an opposition "understandably suspicious of American motives." 


Euros doubt U.S. will use force, others see Iran on 'hit list'-- Noting Washington's "credibility deficit" after "puffed up" WMD claims against Iraq, Europeans doubted that Washington's "strong words" would translate into military action.  Third World and Islamic editorialists, however, saw Pentagon hawks "on the warpath" making "baseless claims" about Iran's al-Qaida connections to pursue "imperialistic designs."  In the alarmist camp, Pakistan's centrist English-language News charged that Bush's "blood-thirsty military planners are now "itching for another opportunity for a massive manslaughter in yet another Islamic country."  A Saudi editorial wryly noted, meanwhile, that "relying on the support of disgruntled youth that are deprived of Western consumer goods" was not a sound basis for invading a country.

EDITOR:  Irene Marr

EDITOR'S NOTE: This report is based on 75 reports from 31 countries, June 15-20.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Iran Could Yet Be A Model For The Mideast"


Cameron Kamran commented in the independent Financial Times (6/20):  "The key to a bright future for the Middle East lies not with Iraq but with its larger and more vibrant neighbor to the east....  Strip away clerical authority in Iran and what you have left is secular democracy.  What is more, you have democracy based on institutions that, unlike in Iraq, are considered indigenous and established by popular mandate, instead of by an occupying power.  Iran could be the paradigm for religious reformation and democratic renewal across the Muslim world.  So how do we harness Iran for positive change in the region?  The U.S. administration has recently resorted to tough talk to dissuade Iran from supporting terrorism, developing nuclear weapons and meddling in Iraq.  But threats alone will probably backfire, forcing moderates to close ranks with hardliners....  A more sophisticated strategy of subtle but continued pressure on the Islamic regime, combined with a vociferous effort to encourage the overwhelming opposition to clerical rule, could work.  The time to fear guilt by association has passed and the U.S. will lose little by increasing its support for Iranian civil society as a whole.  But it should do so openly, for the world to see."


"Do As I Say...Not As I Do"


The neutral-to-moderate Unionist Belfast Telegraph judged (6/19):  "What has become of political logic that Bush is able to call upon the world (!) to take action against Iran for allegedly planning to develop nuclear weapons--which the Iranians vigorously deny--without attracting howls of derision and anger from all corners of the earth?...  Iran is surrounded by countries which...indisputably already possess nuclear weapons.  Israel...routinely defies UN resolutions and...has at least 80 nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them....  To the east lies Pakistan, ruled by the dictator Musharraf, who...openly glories in his possession of nuclear weapons and has publicly threatened to use them against a neighbour, India.  But there's no suggestion from Bush, or for that matter from Tony Blair, that the world should be in any way concerned....   The truth is that if you are with Bush in building the New American Century--or at least taking care to stand out of the way--you can invade your neighbours, defy the UN, slaughter your own people, acquire weapons of mass destruction, and there'll be no comeback from the Bush administration or its ally, the New Labour government.  It's because the Iranian regime won't go along with Bush's master-plan that it's vilified as evil and subjected to threat." 


"Discontented Generation Could Provide Answer That Hawks Are Seeking"


Amir Taheri, an Iranian commentator on Middle Eastern Affairs, wrote in the conservative Times (6/18):  "The words 'regime change' are being uttered again.  Washington hawks concerned about Iran’s nuclear capacity are urging the overthrow of its Islamist Government.  These hawks confuse Iran with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq....  Unlike in Iraq, there is no need for a military confrontation in Iran....  Iran is not on the verge of a second revolution or civil war, as some commentators suggest.  The volcano, hissing menacingly, is unlikely soon to erupt....  The American presence in countries neighboring Iran...has put the fear of God in the Khomeinist Establishment.  This does not mean, however, that there is any support for an aggressive posture by the U.S. among the demonstrators.  The threat of American military action could backfire by triggering an Iranian nationalistic reflex, giving succor to the hardliners....  As Iran enters a delicate phase in its internal political evolution, it is important that the U.S. and the EU be on the same side in dealing with Tehran.  Pressure on such issues as nuclear non-proliferation and Tehran’s sponsorship of terrorism must be accompanied by support for the prodemocracy movement, and promises of aid and trade in exchange for reform."


"Stick To Nuclear Point On Iran"


The independent Financial Times editorialized (6/17):  "International pressure on Iran to come clean about its alleged clandestine nuclear program may be about to produce some results. The International Atomic Energy Agency is examining Tehran's nuclear activities this week...amid signs that the curbing its instinct to bring the issue to the boil and trying instead to build a broader diplomatic front.  That, for now, is clearly the best way to approach the problem....  But it would be unwise for Washington to try to force an early IAEA decision to declare Iran in breach of the NPT, triggering a referral to the UN Security Council.  The IAEA board would probably split; the Council almost certainly would.  Ham-fisted U.S. attempts to encourage (still modest) student protests in Tehran, to link the (Shia) Iranian mullahs to the (Sunni) al-Qaeda, and the rather hysterical American attempts to pin the chaos in Iraq on Iran, are more likely to provoke nervous defiance--and drive Iranian reformists and theocrats into each others' arms."


"A Counter-Productive Policy Towards Iran"


The center-left Independent commented (6/16):  "The good sense of [the British policy of engagement] is threatened by American insensitivity.... So damaged is American credibility in the region that even engagement carries risks.  President Bush's best course would be simply to allow the internal dynamics of Iran to play themselves out.  The main contribution that the U.S. could make is to deliver a working, prosperous democracy in Iraq that could act as a model for its neighbors.  That is a tall order, but, until it is delivered, the advice for Mr. Bush on Iran is simple: cool it."


FRANCE:  "The Franco-American Crisis Will Last"


Joseph Limagne wrote in regional Ouest France (6/19):  “It appears that the French did not aptly measure the impact of Sept.11 on American society....  For William Kristol, the fact that Paris does not agree with Washington is of little or no importance.  What counts is America’s power....  James Steinberg says that ‘Iran could be the test' know whether France has truly become ‘pro-active'."




Patrick Sabatier declared in left-of-center Liberation (6/19): “We certainly need to feel compassion for those men and women whose self-immolation proves their desperation. But added to their desperation there must surely be fanaticism.… Their actions are not simply those of political refugees.… The fatal alliance between the Mujahidin and Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship explains why today this group finds itself at an impasse… Such an alliance has given them the reputation of an unsavory political and religious group. While we may feel little sympathy for the group, we must nevertheless demand from our government an explanation for a crackdown against a group it has tolerated and protected for so long.… What if anything has changed? It is time for western nations to stop this hypocritical behavior of closing their eyes, through political calculation, to groups and individuals who have been pegged as ‘terrorists.’ While it is legitimate to keep them from engaging in terrorist acts...what would be unacceptable is if such crackdowns were part of an unhealthy ‘tit-for-tat’ leading to these political opponents being handed over to their torturers just when Teheran’s regime is tottering.” 


"Washington’s Ambivalent Game"


Pascal Riche opined in left-of-center Liberation (6/19):  “America has given up on Iran’s reformers and opted for 'encouraging Iran’s aspiration to freedom.’ This means doing everything possible to destabilize the Iranian regime.… Word has it that the Pentagon’s plans to use the Mujahidin to topple Iran’s regime have been cut short by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.… One cannot for a moment imagine that France, which is trying hard to please the U.S., decided to arrest the Mujahidin without having first informed Washington… The consensus is that this was the result of a decision taken at the G8 in order to force Iran to give up its nuclear program. Why not imagine that the Americans and the Europeans distributed the roles according to the traditional good cop/bad cop scenario: the Americans fuel the student demonstrations while the Europeans use a softer approach.”


"France Against An Intervention In Iran"


Jean-Christophe Ploquin wrote in Catholic La Croix (6/19): “The ambivalence of the occupation forces in Iraq vis-à-vis the Mujahidin confirms the hypothesis that the Americans were considering using the group, like the Northern Alliance, in an ‘Afghan style’ scenario in Iran.… This would require crossing out the Mujahidin from the list of terrorist organizations.… In this context, France’s crackdown goes along with Washington’s realists and against the neo-conservatives.  France’s helping hand extended to Secretary Powell but against Paul Wolfowitz three months after the Iraqi crisis is a reminder that France opposes unilateral and preemptive operations.”


"France’s Iranian Clean Up Act"


Pierre Rousselin wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/18):  “France’s crackdown on the Mujahidin happened just when the U.S. was clamoring loud and clear for a change of regime in Iran.  This is not exactly France’s strategy. This is why it was embarrassing to continue to harbor a group whose aim is to topple Iran’s regime, with whom France is trying to develop a constructive dialogue.  Some might say that France is putting under lock and key the enemies of a regime which the U.S. has included in the ‘axis of evil.’  But in reality France and the U.S. are on the same wavelength in their fight against international terrorism....  The question is what will happen now? The chess game under way around Iran has only just started and goes far beyond the fate of the Mujahidin....  Having made this gesture, France now expects a gesture in return, on nuclear weapons perhaps.  Otherwise the crackdown will have been a complete waste of effort.”


"Nuclear Concerns"


Michele Gayral commented on government-run Radio France International (6/17):  “The problem for the international community which has decided to put pressure on Teheran is that such interference could be counter-productive.  With this in mind, Washington’s open support for the Iranian student demonstrators is, at the least, awkward.  Even the weapon of economic sanctions needs to be used carefully.  Populations do not always know what they want.  But one thing they know is what they do not want.  The people of Iran, so ancient and also so new, may well not want the isolation brought on by heinous religious fanaticism.  They may also not care for America’s temptation for interventionism, so forgetful of Persia’s ancient past.”


"A United Front"


Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/17):  “Iraq divided Europe in two. Iran is bringing together the U.S. and Europe, at least as far as principles are concerned....  For the first time the EU has adopted certain principles, which do not exclude, ‘as a last recourse,’ the use of force....  In spite of Germany’s reticence, this is a step forward.  But the risk, as the U.S. has been able to note, is of seeing secondary nuclear proliferation by terrorist groups....  For the time being there is no question of using force against Iran.  As for President Bush, who is going further than the Europeans, including Tony Blair, he has called for a change of regime....  The nuclear threat is a fact.  Iran can at any time join Israel, India and Pakistan.  Unless the international community finds a way to stop it.”




Matthieu Frachon in popular right-of-center France Soir (6/17):  “With this spectacular crackdown on the Mujahidin, Paris has scored twice.  France’s diplomacy wins back a few good marks in Washington’s eyes and earns Iran’s good graces....  France’s operation targeted a group which has been on America’s hit list for years.  As far as Iran is concerned, the gesture is even more crystal clear: relations between France and Iran have been at their worst.  By answering Teheran’s reiterated demands that Paris deal with these opponents, France is sending a strong signal to a regime which is increasingly under fire from the White House hawks.”


“A Diplomatic Gesture Towards Iran”


Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (6/17):  “With Iran, there are two ways to move forward.  President Bush’s way is to give his support to the student demonstrations.  Europe’s way is to engage in a dialogue with Teheran.  The crackdown serves as a token of goodwill towards Iran with the expectation that it will stop financing the Palestinian Intifada.  A veritable diplomatic trump card.”


GERMANY:  "Warnings"


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger argued in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (6/20):  "President Bush said that he will not tolerate the production of nuclear weapons in Iran, but the president did not say how he wants to prevent this, for, and in this respect Bush is right, the proliferation of nuclear weapons is by no means harmless....  Iran should no longer turn a deaf ear to demands to open its nuclear facilities to international inspections at any time.  It would be a contribution to invalidate special and general doubts....  But it cannot be disputed either that the warnings of the U.S. president against the dangers of the Iranian nuclear project will be compared with the experience in Iraq.  The Iraq war was mainly based on the argument that Iraq's WMD pose a relevant danger.  In this respect, Bush and Blair are on the defensive.  Their loss of credibility could turn out to be an even greater calamity if Iran is really up to something, but only quite a few really want to know about this."


"No Danger For The Islamic Regime"


Martina Doering judged in an editorial in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (6/20):  "The Iranian system is still stable and flexible enough to withstand external pressure and to control internal protests.  With respect to the question of nuclear weapons, it is acting tactically smart.  Iran is emphasizing the civilian character of its nuclear programs, admits having violated certain rules, and declares that it wants to accept stricter IAEA inspections.  The protests of students on the streets in Iranian cities are hardly supported by the mass of the population.  The protests have by far not reached the degree and the effect of the ones from 1999.  And, according to experts on Iran, despite the economic misery, the regime still has enough potential to prevent the outbreak of socially motivated unrest.  The fear of eruptions and bloody turmoil deters not only conservative forces and reformers but also deters most of Iranians."




Wolfgang Guenter Lerch contended in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (6/20):  "For many years, the 'People's Mujaheddin' and their National Resistance Council were well-tolerated opposition forces in America and France…but 9/11 and the Iraq war profoundly changed the situation.  The fight against terrorism also resulted in the Mujaheddin coming into the crosshairs.  For the left-wing Islamic resistance organization it is now coming back to haunt it that it settled for many years in Iraq, which even opposition Iranians considered their arch enemy....  The calculation was that it was easier to influence events in Iran from Iraq than from European countries.  But with the collapse of the Iraqi regime these Iranian opposition forces have been deprived of their most important base.  They have become homeless, since the government in Paris no longer wants to tolerate them."




Markus Ziener judged in an editorial in business Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (6/18): "The lack of perspectives among Iran's youth in view of the high unemployment can no longer be ignored.  They are the consequences of an uninhibited population explosion in the 80s that was fully supported by the state.  But every reduction of power, for instance, the elimination of the Guardians Council would affect the monopoly of the clergy.  That is why hopes are still based on the time factor.  As it happened over the past few years, when the religious state with its inhumanely brutal commandments gradually eroded.  In Tehran, we no longer see anything of the post-revolutionary phase after 1979.   For the young people, it is only a thing of the past.  It is so far away that many of them are again ready for a second revolution.  But the support of the masses is still not there. Too many of them are probably still remembering the cruelties that were committed after the end of the Shah regime."


"The Silence Of The Europeans"


Miriam Lau stated in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (6/18):  "The question now is whether and what the international community can do to help the Iranian freedom movement get some support.  George W. Bush instinctively did what we expect every western state leader to do: he backed the revolt with clear words.  But from Europe, on which we are supposed to pin so much global hopes, we do not even hear a word indicating the concern over obvious human rights violations.  Instead, Europe concentrates on the--indeed threatening--nuclear potential of the country."


"Iran Needs Regime Change"


Silke Mertins argued in business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (6/17):  "The belief that Iran could reform itself from the inside has turned out to be an error.  The Mullah system with spiritual leader Ayatollah Khamenei at the helm cannot be reformed, since democracy is incompatible with the dictatorships of the Mullahs.... The highly politicized Iranian civilian society does not necessarily need support for this from the outside.  On the contrary, the loud support from Washington could even be counter-productive, because it discredits the opposition forces....  Washington made the right diagnosis by saying that the system is sick....  But nobody knows whether the United States applies the right therapy.  Since the forces are at the front door, the temptation could be great to take a quick look at Tehran, too.  This would certainly not be a pleasant affair for the opposition in Iran.  They can win on their own."


"The Dialogue Is Getting Critical"


Clemens Wergin argued in an editorial in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (6/17):  "It is time to take stock of the 'critical dialogue' with Iran....  Mohammed Khatami's futile attempts to open the country has made clear who has the say in the country:  the conservative religious leaders, the armed forces, the intelligence, and justice authorities have thwarted every attempt to withdraw from the control of the Guardians' Council.... And now there is the nuclear program, which begs the question why a country that has the second biggest oil deposits in the world needs nuclear energy, and if so, why does it have to initiate the entire fuel cycle?  The only logical answer is:  because the civilian program only hushes up the attempt to get the bomb....  What we need now is not a critical dialogue but tough deals in return:  if Tehran is unwilling to allow strict controls of its nuclear program, a trade agreement with the EU should be out of the question."


ITALY:  "Iran, Revolution Via Computer"


Prominent commentator Sergio Romano wrote in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (6/20):  “Perhaps America really believes that the days are numbered for the Tehran regime.  Perhaps it is glad that Iranian events are diverting public opinion attention from the embarrassing show of an Iraqi post-war situation that resembles more and more, as days go by, a continuation of the war with other means....  The crisis could have remained confined to Iran had the Americans not inaugurated, over the last few weeks, a political offensive similar to the one that preceded the Iraqi war....  The Europeans are asking Iran to cooperate, but they are doing so mainly to deprive America of the opportunity, or the excuse, for a new test of strength.  They will succeed only if Iranian President Kathami is able to regain control of the situation and finally begin reforms.”


"Revolution Without Weapons"


Igor Man observed in centrist, influential La Stampa (6/20):  “While it is a fact that the terrible protest of the Iranian Mujahidins has nothing to do with the obstinate protest of the Iranian students, we must also add that the fate of the Iranians is in the hands of George W. Bush.  By publicly expressing support for the students’ protest...President Bush risks creating serious problems for President Kathami, the ‘Persian Gorbachev.’  Furthermore, Bush deprived the Iranian Mujahidins in Iraq of their armored vehicles, leaving them only with light weapons: against whom should they use them?  If the ‘small war’ that is confusing U.S. troops in Iraq were to continue for a long time, who can assure us that the usual Dr. Strangelove will not convince Bush to give Iran the always postponed ‘lesson’ for humiliating Carter’s America?  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”


"Bush To Iran: No To Nuclear Weapons"


A report by New York correspondent Mario Platero in leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (6/19): "George W. Bush did not waste any time: last Saturday he issued a warning to the Iranian government against the repression of the students’ protests, and yesterday he responded to the censorship motion by the Iranian Parliament against ‘U.S. interference into Iranian internal affairs’ with an even more direct attack.... Bush’s warning is neither accidental nor, at least in this case, unilateral.  In fact, it comes after a couple of days of strong disputes started by the strong statements issued by the chief of the IAEA about Iran’s failure to adequately cooperate with his agency.”


"Powell Warns Ayatollahs: ‘We Stand By Those Who Are Protesting’"


Francesco Malgaroli leads in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/18):  “Iran represents the new ground where the U.S. and France might be facing each other.  Yesterday’s first taste: on one side, Colin Powell announced that Washington offers full support to student demonstrations; on the other side, 165 followers of (Iranian opposition group) Mujahidin were arrested in Paris.”


"Doomsday For The Ayatollahs"


Alberto Negri observed in leading business daily Il Sole 24 Ore (6/17):  ”Iran is a much more complex game than the Iraqi one....  So, what is Washington’s real aim in this new crisis?...  If Washington wants to bring down the Iranian regime, or the Saudi Arabian one, it had first better ask itself what it wants to replace them with.  As for the Iranian people, they still have to deal with the basic question of how to get out of the Islamic revolution.  If the conservative ayatollahs do not find an adequate answer, history will judge them as well."


"Uncle Sam’s Soaring Scars"


Alberto Pasolini Zanelli commented in pro-government, leading center-right Il Giornale (6/17): 

“There are those who think of freedom, others of a ‘crusade,’ and others of a revenge.  The protest in Iran serves Washington’s plan....  Indeed, Bush can order the invasion of Iran from four or five directions at the same time.  He already made clear the reasons why he thinks he has the right to do so.  The Tehran regime is on the ‘axis of evil’ has been on the list for decades as a country that supports international terrorism...and the regime is accused of being more likely to build WMD than Iraq.”


"Kathami’s Defeat"


Guido Rampoldi wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/16): “Iranian students hastened to point out that the (protest) movement is theirs, and is not inspired by the Americans.  But certainly the words pronounced yesterday by President Bush hailing the student revolt as a very positive 'beginning’ didn't help them.  That was a sympathetic, but inappropriate, assessment, since it adds a new weapon to the Khomeini propaganda.


RUSSIA:  "Iran Likely To Sign Protocol"


Vladimir Dunayev and Yelena Shesternina suggested in reformist Izvestiya (6/20):  "The Iranians will most probably allow international inspectors to visit their nuclear sites with no strings attached.  This is the only way for the international community to determine whether Tehran is working on nuclear weapons or the suspicion is just a fiction by the U.S. administration.  In all likelihood, Iran will sign the additional protocol.  If only because it does not want the Americans to have an excuse for armed action.  At the summit in St. Petersburg, Vladimir Putin said that Moscow and Washington were a great deal closer on Iran than it might seem.  So the Iranians should not count on Russia to go out on a limb for them, risking its ties with America.  If it is to see the Russia-aided Bushehr and other nuclear projects through, Tehran will have to open up for IAEA inspections a tad more."


"Iranian Conundrum"


Aleksandr Shumilin commented in business-oriented Vedomosti (6/20):  "Old Europe, tired of confrontation with the ally overseas, may well accept 'reforming Iran' mostly through political and diplomatic means (with special operations kept secret, of course).  After all, even the latest of the IAEA Director Al Baradei's reports suggests that not everything is fine with Iran's nuclear programs.  The Europeans are quite serious about the Iranian Bomb scare, something they may not feel about Iraq's semi-real and semi-mythical WMD.  It is they, not the Americans, who will find themselves within the effective range of Iranian missiles, should Tehran decide to use them.  Were Washington to declare a crusade against the Mullahs, Europe...would most likely join in quietly, leaving Russia with its Bushehr mega-project and a billion-dollar trade with Iran in a tricky situation.  Moscow must urgently develop a consolidated position on Iran.  Evidently, it is going to be balanced, as Russia has somewhat distanced itself from Iran, consistent with the worldwide concern over that country's nuclear program, while seeking to retain its economic presence there."


"Mujaheddin Are No Allies"


Nina Mamedova of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences commented in an article by Vladimir Dunayev of reformist Izvestiya (6/19): "Rather than defending the Iranian authorities, Paris is trying to make it clear to Washington that the Mujaheddin are not the best of allies in a confrontation with Tehran.   It is useless to rely on the Mujaheddin. They are strong and well organized but they are not popular.  Iranians don't like them.   The Mujaheddin shed too much blood in the past and sided with Baghdad in the Iran-Iraq war.   France is doing what any democracy would have done.  How do you think a group that is on the list of terrorist organizations should be treated?   The Mujaheddin claim to be fighting a terrorist regime.  But Europe does not like their methods.   The Mujaheddin can't hope for support from Old Europe.   So they are looking to get it from Washington."


"Paris Puts Up Fight Over Iran"


Mikhail Zygar remarked in reformist business-oriented Kommersant (6/19): "Having lost all its investments in Iraqi oil to the Americans, the French are going to put up a fight over Iran.   Their first move against the Iranian opposition from the Mujaheddin Halq group shows that they are in earnest about that."


AUSTRIA:  "The Announced Revolution In Iran"


Foreign affairs writer Christian Ultsch wrote in centrist Die Presse (6/20):  “Those in Iran who go out on the streets and chant slogans against the clerical rulers, are more than just brave. They are literally risking their necks....  All of them...deserve our utmost respect....  If there is a region in the Middle East where a foreseeable democratic change of the system seems possible, it is Iran....  Nevertheless, we shouldn’t lose our sense of proportion over all this solidarity.  Not more than 200 to 2,000 youths participated in the demonstrations at a time--this is hardly a mass movement....  The strategists in Washington will have to wait a while for the next change of regime they so ardently wish for.  It could in fact turn out to be counterproductive that the protests in Iran were so blown out of proportion by the Americans....  First of all, though, the U.S. will have to do something about its considerable deficit in credibility.  The American’s firm call for Tehran to open up its nuclear program, and the threats that go with it, are reminiscent of the puffed-up descriptions of the Iraqi arsenal.  Nobody believes a liar when he tells the truth." 


"Zero Tolerance, Again"


Senior columnist Ernst Trost commented in mass-circulation tabloid Neue Kronenzeitung (6/20):  “Strong words from Washington: The U.S. is not going to tolerate an Iranian program for nuclear weapons....  However, it is unclear what the Americans and their allies are going to do about it, and whether they are actually willing to risk another war....  While the North Koreans clearly commit themselves to their nuclear weapons program and plan to use it mainly for extortion purposes, the Iranians are claiming to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes.  Yielding to the pressure from outside, the mullah regime seems to be prepared to permit closer inspections.  However, Iran could also insist on its national sovereignty, claim its right to defend itself, and thus create a scenario of threats in order to take the wind out of the sails of the protest movement in the country. For President Bush, the biggest effort is going to be to reclaim some of the credibility he has lost in the web of lies surrounding the issue of WMD in Iraq.” 


"Children Of The Revolution"


Foreign affairs writer Thomas Vieregge commented in centrist Die Presse (6/16):  “Since George W. Bush launched his campaign against terrorism, the Iranian mullahs have started to sweat.  North and east of the country, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the regimes have dropped like ripe fruit, and things are beginning to ferment in Iran itself.  Not even the moderate President Khatami, figurehead of an opening towards the West, is able to calm his people anymore.  The children of the revolution have pinned their hopes on him too long, and they have been disappointed too often.... Just like four years ago, the students are going on the barricades.  They risk open confrontations with the henchmen of the regime.  The smallest spark would be enough to spread the protests--the anger about the muzzling of personal liberty is deep-seated.… And what about George W. Bush ?  The U.S. President can calmly go fishing and wait to see whether regime change in Iran won’t happen by itself--without military help from Washington.”


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Iranian Peace Weapons"


Petr Pesek wrote in right-centre Lidove noviny (6/18):  "The Iranian representatives say that the Middle East should be a zone without nuclear weapons. The bottom line of this statement is that if Israel can have nuclear weapons so can they....  The only thing that can be done under the circumstances is to exert pressure on the Teheran regime to open up its nuclear facilities to the world, or else we will have another nuclear power in Asia, as if India and Pakistan were not enough."


"Americans Now Set Their Eyes On Teheran"


Emil Souleimanov analyzes in the centrist Hospodarske Noviny (6/17):  "In Iran..many believe that the U.S. attacks on neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq had been propelled by this main strategic goal: To encircle Iran and to contribute to its end by splitting the country into 'ethnic states.'...  Washington has been pressing Iranian leaders to stop supporting terrorist groups in Lebanon (like Hizballah)...and to allow the international inspectors to enter military sites and nuclear plants in Iran; from this would logically follow calls for disarmament....  Another factor that could further increase U.S.-Iran tension is the fact that...the large community of formerly oppressed Iraqi Shiite has historically aligned itself with...Iran....  The Americans try to stop this by all means, even by arresting some Shiite activists in Iraq.  The growing number of anti-American demonstrations shows that the Iraq Shiite community doesn't like it."


HUNGARY:  "Iran And The Domino Principle"


Respected Hungarian security policy expert Peter Talas judged in influential business/political daily Vilaggazdasag (6/20):  “One of the most serious weaknesses of the Bush-Rice political domino concept is that it considers identical those regimes to be ousted and those regimes to be re-configured in the Central and in the in the Middle East region.  Their concept inclines to equate Iraq with Iran, whereas compared to Saddam’s dictatorship, Khatami’s Iran could be described (with a little exaggeration) as the regional role model of democracy, as has also been proved, paradoxically, by the most recent wave of demonstrations.”


IRELAND:  "Iran In The Limelight"


The liberal Irish Times contended (6/16):  "Iran is attracting much increased attention after the war in Iraq, as United States leaders warn it is developing a nuclear weapons programme and must cease interfering in Iraq's politics and funding anti-Israeli groups....  A more engaged approach to Iran is possible to encourage the reformers. It becomes all the more necessary to prevent U.S. policy moving towards military intervention.  EU foreign ministers will today debate a new security strategy towards the Middle East, including a warning that Iran's cooperation on nuclear inspections will be linked to trade agreements.  The inter-penetration of external pressure on Iran and internal dissent there could become quite volatile and destabilising.  It should be balanced by a readiness to engage in diplomatic dialogue to reward compliance with international law."


PORTUGAL: "Winds Of Freedom"


In a signed editorial, influential moderate-left  Público editor-in-chief José Manuel Fernandes wrote (6/18):  "Why are [young Iranians] doing this?  Because the Iranian regime is socially and politically blocked, because unemployment is reaching record numbers among the young, because the youngest want to live in freedom, because the universities are in ferment with ideas of renewal and thinkers who want an Islam able to co-exist with modernity and a lay nation. And also because the new international situation favors change -- the United States is present in two countries neighboring Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan....  Whoever checked BBC's web page open to e-mails from Iran yesterday would have seen that there were those -- few -- who believed the revolt was being fed by the United States and the United Kingdom, mixing with those -- many -- who just wanted to have the dictatorship ended.  Among these were those who wanted no foreign interference whatsoever and those who openly wrote: 'Help us, President Bush.'  Whether it comes from Washington or not, this revolt deserves help, deserves to be treated like those that brought down the communist regimes at the end of the 80s: without military action, without economic blockades, only by supporting the dissidence and helping rebel ideas and the message of freedom circulate.  Which is what the Iranians most want to hear these days."


SWEDEN:  "The Diplomatic Or The Marine Corps?"


Conservative Stockholm morning Svenska Dagbladet editorialized (6/18): "Next stop: Teheran! Some statements by people near President Bush have been interpreted as if the White House were considering a new liberation war. But this is not likely, nor would it be appropriate. Certainly there are parallels to Iraq with regards to oppression and suspicions of a nuclear weapons program, but the resemblance ends there....  Last week's renewed demonstrations in Teheran and in some provincial capitals indicate that there are forces pursuing democratisation (in Iran). But the fact that they seem to take place in an ocean of apathy emphasizes the few alternatives to President Khatami's low-profile reform strategy. He is also the one on whom hope rests with regards to convincing Iran to accept further inspections. Consequently: send the diplomats to Teheran, not the Marines."


"Iran Is Not Iraq"


The Social Democratic Stockholm daily Aftonbladet editorialized (6/17):  "Iran has not fulfilled its commitments in accordance to the NPT....  The situation is serious, and on that note the critics of Iran are entirely right....  The suspicions against Iran must be investigated, but it is quite necessary that one realize that Iran is not Iraq, and that it therefore must not be dealt with, as was Iraq....  The best strategy still is to cooperate with Iran in order to shed light on its energy program....  But that does not mean that the surrounding world should avoid putting pressure on Iran and demand more transparency....  In the present situation it would be counterproductive to adopt a downright hostile policy towards Iran.  An outside military threat would only undercut...Khatami and give the Ayatollahs the upper hand.  The hard U.S. pressure already has to some extent given such effects."


TURKEY:  "On The Eve Of A New Middle East"


Erdal Guven opined in the liberal-intellectual Radikal (6/20):  “Iran is part of the ‘Axis of evil,’ a fact that should not be ignored.  Iran is now becoming also a part of a new Middle East design.  It requires no prophecy to expect an eventual regime change in Iran....  But the U.S. is not going to use tactics that worked in Afghanistan and Iraq for Iran.  In the Iranian case, the U.S. is more of an observer than an interventionist.  The regime change process in Iran is already working in a very healthy way, through Iran’s internal dynamics....  At this stage, the U.S. will probably work toward strengthening the hand of the regime’s opponents and weakening the regime by through secret operations.  The new Middle East is about to be born--from Kabul to Jerusalem, and from Iraq to Iran.”


"Pressing Iran And Turkey"


Sami Kohen observed in mass-appeal Milliyet (6/20):  “The international community is exerting intense pressure on Iran, even though Iran’s production of nuclear arms has yet to be documented.  The Bush administration, just like during the campaign against Iraq, is using the nuclear arms claim on every possible occasion.  The interesting part of this story comes with the EU decision to support this claim.  The EU has joined the U.S. campaign and started warning Iran, including the implied threat of military force if diplomacy fails....  Turkey shares the Western world’s worries and suspicion about Iran’s nuclear program.....  During U/S Ziyal’s visit to Washington, Ankara made it clear that Turkey is on the U.S. side on the Iran issue.  However, more specifics on this matter will be worked through the efforts of the IAEA, in which Turkey is one of 35 members.”


"Iranians Are Just fed up"


Zafer Atay observed in the economic-political Dunya (6/18): "The street protests in Iran, although minor in number, are very much typical of totalitarian regimes, such as the former Ceauscescu regime in Bucharest.... The United States is doing its best to use Iranian anti-regime leaders.  However, the real energy stems from the people of Iran, who are fed up with the current system.... The United States will not start a military operation at this stage against Iran as long as Iran does its homework.  The initial signs, however, are not promising.  Iran has declined to accept a team of inspectors from the IAEA.... Washington has already declared to the world that Iran has a 'secret' nuclear weapons program.  More importantly, the EU is on the U.S. side this time.  It remains to be seen whether the Mullahs will take the proper lesson from this though, judging from past experience, it seems unlikely."


"The Truth About Iran"


Cengiz Candar opined in conservative DB Tercuman (6/18):  "Arguing about whether or not 'it's now Iran's turn' only serves the interests of conspiracy-theorists.  The fact of the matter is that the U.S. wants to see a regime change in Iran as quickly as possible, and will intensify its efforts toward this goal.  However, this goal is not leading to a military operation.  There is no need for that.  It seems that the internal dynamics of Iran are strong and vivid enough to make this change without the need for external intervention....  The truth about Iran stands as an historic proof of the collapse of political Islam."


"Iran And Who Is Doing What?"


Sami Kohen wrote in mass-appeal Milliyet (6/17):  "Iran's future is uncertain....  At this stage, we don't see a move by the masses against the regime.  Yet recent events indicate that the people of Iran, for the first time, are raising their voices against the system and the regime's current policies.  It is important to see what action the regime will take and how much it will heed the voices of the people....  As for the U.S., its goal is not exactly clear, but it goes without saying that the Bush administration wants the Tehran regime to end....  If Washington is determined to 'deal with' Iran now, it means that the region will go through a very intense period."




ISRAEL:  "Iran's People Power"


The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (6/17):  "There are signs that the revolutionary process [in Iran] has...reached 'a point of no return.'...  Though the Iranian people are struggling for their own freedom, the entire free world has a great stake in their success....  The regime seems to be confused and scared and the people emboldened.  Now is the time for the U.S. to accelerate its support for the Iranian people, and its diplomatic campaign to impose sanctions on the regime.  The more that is done now, the greater the chance that the Iranian people can liberate themselves, while taking a giant step toward a world free of state-sponsored terrorism and nuclear blackmail."


"What Iran Must Be Told"


Labor Party Knesset Member Shimon Peres wrote in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot (6/19): "As long as Iran believes it can play with a split world -- and deepen the rifts within it -- it will supply plenty of denials and hasten a dangerous march towards the creation of an intolerable situation.  This is what Saddam Hussein did, too.  He had counted on divergences between the United States and the European Union.  Eventually, he thrust aside every political option and only left the U.S. a military option.  A joint warning backed by a threat of economic sanctions would be the best thing that could save Iran from its own mistakes, and prevent the need for a new military option.  A determined and united diplomatic strategy is urgently needed to get rid of a terrible menace that is increasing with every passing day."


EGYPT: “Whither Iran?”


Leading pro-government Al Ahram’s columnist Reda Helal wrote (6/19): "The revolutionary state in Iran is weak because it lacks the charisma for leading a democratic force like that of Poland and the former Czechoslovakia.  It is also linked to American crushing Iranian influence in Iraq and securing Tehran’s cooperation in fighting terrorism and preventing the development of weapons of mass destruction.  The Mullah regime in Iran may exploit this American involvement by accusing the democratic powers of being agents of the ‘greatest satan’...  However, this revolutionary state may develop as seventy percent of the Iranian youth are fed up with religious rule and [are willing to change it] if the U.S. sides with democracy.  Only then will history take a fateful turn and democratic rule be established in Tehran on the remnants of that religious rule which dreamed of exporting its model to other Islamic movements and sympathizers.”


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Nuclear Row"


Jeddah's English language Arab News stated (6/17):  "Is it now Iran's turn?  That seems to be a natural question in view of the pressure that Tehran has come under in the last few days.  The question is not just being asked in Iran.  The Bush White House declared long ago that Iran was part of an 'axis of evil' that it was determined to dismantle and destroy.... And right in the Middle East, which the EU and U.S. are anxious to keep nuclear-free, there is Israel, with enough weapons to reduce the entire region to radioactive rubble.  Iran as well as many others have a question that no one in the G-8, or the IAEA, for that matter, has been able to

answer: Why not Israel?


"Specter Of Mossadeq"


Jeddah's English-language Saudi Gazette judged (6/17):  "Iran is not Iraq and it is sincerely to be hoped that Washington will not attempt to duplicate the Iraqi experience in Iran.  Washington's hawks, however, may choose to try and shift the focus from the unsatisfactory state of affairs in Iraq.  Relying on the support of disgruntled youth that are deprived of Western consumer goods is not necessarily a sound basis from which to destabilize a government or invade a country."


JORDAN:  "Iran’s Demonstrations Are Not A Foreign Conspiracy"


Daily columnist Bater Wardam wrote in center-left, influential Al-Dustour (6/16):  “The leadership in Iran may claim an American conspiracy that is instigating Iranian college students to protest against the symbols and philosophy of the Republic and to call for liberal reforms.  This is because all countries of the third world have become accustomed to ascribing their internal problems to the presence of a foreign conspiracy instead of acknowledging the root causes of these problems and finding logical solutions for them.  However, Arab politicians and analysts have no right to mislead the Arab public by adopting this analysis and justification just to spite the United States.  The truth that must be acknowledged is that the demonstrations of the liberal students in Iran have political, social and cultural justifications that stem from the Iranian status quo.”


SYRIA: "Credibility At Stake"


Riad Zein, a commentator in government-owned Syria Times, commented (6/13): "The campaign of criticism against President Bush and PM Blair concerning Iraq's [WMD] will not only have adverse impact on future of both leaders in forthcoming elections but will, as well, cast drastic light on the deceiving methods resorted to by both superpowers in addressing the world. Such a cheating address will certainly have other adverse impacts on the credibility of Washington and London governments. Seen using similar methods, both governments are now trading accusations to new states, namely Iran and Democratic Korea on their nuclear programs, which are viewed as peaceful. And while the US continues to allegedly accuse some states of possessing banned weapons, it unfortunately keeps silent about Israel`s nuclear arsenal, the most developed and gravest in the world."


TUNISIA:  "What Are The Limits Of Nuclear Proliferation?"


An editorial by Noureddine Hlaoui in independent French-language Le Temps stated (6/18): "To avoid the possible irresponsible use of nuclear weapons, the whole world, in particular the great powers that possess this powerful weapon, has never stopped calling and working in order to stop the proliferation of this devastating wave. Why does the U.S. insist on forcing some countries to accept the visits of the AIEA experts to check their installations while the Hebrew State continues to challenge and to reject with arrogance signing the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and allowing the AIEA teams to visit Israel? It is the practice of the double standard policy that only the Zionist State benefits from.... The U.S. has the means to ensure respect of international law. It has in the recent past demonstrated that if it wants to, it can.  This is important for the stability of the whole planet."




CHINA: “Iran: Next U.S. Target?”


Wu Yixue commented in the official English-language newspaper China Daily reported (6/19):

“The deteriorating ties between the United States and Iran have again provoked concerns over the possibility that Tehran may become Washington's next prey in the Middle East.... There was no legal basis for the war in Iraq. Bush has so far produced nothing beyond his dislike of Saddam Hussein to justify his war against Iraq.  Washington has stepped up its diplomatic offensive against Iran, alleging that Tehran has links with terrorists and is developing nuclear weapons.  But Washington has yet to provide convincing evidence for Tehran's connection with terrorists.”


CHINA (MACAU SAR):  "Reasons For Iranian Anti-Government Waves"


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News noted (6/17):  "Senior-level officials in Iran once again accused the U.S. of plotting upheavals and 'intervening in Iranian internal policy.'  Washington, however, 'welcomed' the anti-government demonstrations by university students in Teheran, while declining to respond to the accusation of 'provocation.'  Objectively speaking, the 'welcoming' remarks of U.S. officials, combined with messages from Iranian dissidents transmitted over U.S. satellite television, provoking Iranian students to strive for freedom, have doubtlessly added fuel to the fire.  Nevertheless, without sufficient evidence showing that the U.S. directly provoked the demonstrations, it is difficult to lay the blame solely on the U.S.... Apart from U.S. propaganda and agitation, external factors affecting the situation in Iran include pressure from Washington.  Seeing Iraq's people enjoying freedom of speech and freedom of demonstration for the first time after the toppling of Saddam, combined with pressure on the Iranian regime from U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, will give Iranian dissidents enormous encouragement.  This is the catalyst, however, not the underlying cause of dissent."


JAPAN: "World Must Press Iran To Accept IAEA Inspections"


An editorial in the business-oriented Nihon Keizai observed (6/19): "Iran's dismissal of its alleged development of nuclear weapons are not convincing. To prove its innocence, Tehran must open all its nuclear facilities unconditionally to IAEA inspections.  It is not just the U.S., but also EU nations and even Russia--which is said to have offered technological assistance to Iran's nuclear development--that acknowledge the need for Iran to dispel rising international misgivings about its nuclear arms development.  It is now time for the Tehran leadership to respond positively to and dispel international concerns over its nuclear development and settle unfolding political unrest in the country."


"Immediate Inspections of Iran's Suspected Nuclear Development Called for" 


An editorial in the conservative Sankei observed (6/16): "The suspicion is deepening in the U.S. and the rest of the international community that Iran is engaged in nuclear arms development. Iran's nuclear armament could not only add fuel to an endless war of retribution between Israel and the Palestinians, but also create a major destabilizing factor in the region. If Iran insists on its nuclear development for peaceful purposes and within the framework of an international accord, Tehran must open all of its nuclear facilities immediately and unconditionally to IAEA inspectors."


INDONESIA:  “Khatami And Hope For Inter-Civilization Dialogue”


Ismatillah A. Nu’ad of the Center for Inter-Faith Studies commented in leading independent Kompas (6/18):  "Khatami is Iran’s best president for the U.S....  If the U.S. plan to invade Iran doesn't heed Khatami’s ideas for building an inter-civilization dialogue, it would clash with the U.S. stance as a superpower that always promises democracy.  If the plan is materialized, Khatami’s hopes for the dialogue will be useless.”


THAILAND:  "Tehran Should Heed Internal Rumblings"


The lead editorial in independent, English language The Nation read (6/17):  “America has made no secret of its desire to see a change of government in Tehran, but after forcibly removing governments in two of Iran’s neighbors it needs to be careful how it reacts if it doesn’t want to play into the hands of hardliners.  Iran remains the scene of America’s biggest post-war foreign-policy disaster, when the shah was toppled.  The rest of the world has an interest in seeing Iran move towards peaceful change and democracy if only because of self-interest.”


VIETNAM:  "The Invisible Hand Behind Iran's Political Arena"


Linh Thu wrote in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, the daily run by the People's Army of Vietnam, (6/20):  "Why is the U.S. so enthusiastic about  the Iranian dissident elements?  It is apparent that the quick victory in Iraq has made the U.S. feel that eventually it is now time to decisively deal with Iran....  However, taking actions to punish Iran immediately at this time is not easy as the U.S. military is being stretched too much by operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and South Korea.  So, instead of military measures, the U.S. is employing the tactic of inciting internal instability, and the ultimate goal is to change the regime in Iran."


"Attacking From Outside And Inside Simultaneously"


Duong Ha wrote in Quoc Te, the weekly run by the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry, (6/20):  "Calling the demonstrations by Iranian students 'a cry for freedom,' Washington has revealed itself.  Things became crystal clear when U.S. State Department spokesman Boucher announced that the Bush administration supported the Iranian demonstrators....  At the same time, Washington is trying to put pressure on the IAEA in order to make them determine that Iran has violated regulations set in the Non-proliferation Treaty, paving the way for the U.S. to impose sanctions on Iran....  What can these simultaneous attacks from the outside and inside lead to?  There are few reasons to believe that they can lead to another war in the region.  It is because the U.S. is still busy with the controversial Iraq war and thus does not want to jump into a new war with no convincing reasons."




INDIA: "Iran's Atomic Clock Ticks On"


An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times judged (6/19):  "It is unfortunate that the IAEA, cheer-led by the United States, European Union and other players, should have such a befuddled policy on Iran's atomic ambitions.... Washington probably fears Iran might eventually go the way of North Korea.... The disturbing fact is that these jitters aren't exaggerated. For even if Iran signs a stricter verification protocol, as the IAEA insists, it could still retain its weapons options. The IAEA doesn't have adequate inspection tools to detect any undeclared parallel uranium enrichment plants in Iran. Tehran knows this and it's unlikely to succumb to economic or military pressure and give up its sensitive fuel cycle facilities. Perhaps a better idea for the US and other countries would be to use a strategy of incentives and disincentives to bring Iran into the world community, while reducing the risk of Iran building atomic arms. Otherwise, the world had better be prepared to hail the next nuclear weapons power."


"An Irate Iran"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (6/17):  "Regardless of whether the protestors in Iran have smelt the boiling pot in Iraq and see American involvement in the region--marked by Washington's 'warnings' to Tehran not to 'interfere' in Iraq--the fact is that four years after their first attempt to bring about their own 'regime change', Iranians want reforms. It doesn't help Mr. Khatami if Washington openly sides with the protestors. In fact, it doesn't help the protestors....  The winners will then again be the very same hard-liners who continue to hold a muzzled nation to ransom."


PAKISTAN:  "America On Warpath Again?"


Masud Akhtar Shaikh commented in the centrist national English-language daily, The News (6/20):  "Having tasted the blood of thousands of innocent civilian Muslims, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq...the blood-thirsty military planners of George Bush are now itching to create another opportunity for a massive manslaughter in yet another Islamic country.  Their prospective victim happens to be Iran, a country whose rulers as well as the masses have been bravely defying all attempts that Washington has been making to subdue them ever since the fall of the Shah....  Mere suspicion by the American intelligence agencies is good enough to justify the conquest of the country concerned by the U.S.-led armed forces.... Presently, based on similarly misleading intelligence data, Iran is being accused of close association with international terrorism to prepare the ground for the projected U.S. attack against that country....  The only deterrent that can hold the American hand is the threat of nuclear retaliation.  North Korea has already warned America in no uncertain terms.  If Iran can also reach that stage before long, things will start moving in a different direction." 


"Americans Wish To See Change In Iran"


The sensationalist Karachi-based Urdu Ummat contended (6/17):  "Demonstrations in Iran are continuing and America is projecting it and also trying to interfere in the internal affairs of Iran by supporting these demonstrations.  There are a number of people who are against religious extremism in Iran.  But we must remember that President Khatami came into power after fighting the religious extremists through the democratic process.  America is avoiding direct interference in Iran, but it is trying to change the government by supporting the anti-government forces. The Bush administration has started discussions on whether to make Iran the next target or wait for change in Iran." 


"Iran A Cause For Worry"


Karachi's independent English language Dawn (Internet Version-6/16): "Signals emanating from Washington and Tehran in recent days threaten to move Iran up in the list of the countries with which the U.S. wants to settle scores....  Anti-clerical sentiment has never before been expressed this boldly, and seems to echo the messages being broadcast by the U.S.-based pro-monarchy channels beaming into Iran.  With the American forces deployed in Afghanistan in the east, Iraq in the west and the Gulf in the south, Tehran is virtually surrounded by a very hostile America in a belligerent mood....   The situation has sparked fears about Iran's internal stability.   Any destabilization of the Islamic republic at this point, however, is likely to benefit the U.S. and Israel more than the Iranians themselves, or the region as a whole.   It is therefore important that the EU and Russia play a more active role in restraining the Americans from overtly or covertly trying to bring the government in Tehran under pressure, either by inciting indigenous unrest or through outright invasion."




ARGENTINA:  "When Iran Appears On Stage"


Claudio Uriarte opined in leftist Pagina 12 (6/15):  "The U.S. invasion to Iraq is beginning to bear fruit.  For 5 consecutive nights, students of the University of Tehran led mass protest rallies against Ali Khamenei, Iran's religious leader and the real power behind President Khatami's throne....  And here's where the U.S. invasion to Iraq plays an important role....  This should act like a deterrent for the ayatollahs, domestically and outside Iran. Or they may have the opposite effect instead, worsening, radicalizing or leading the religious-political hierarchy--that is beginning to feel cornered--to a rushed end.  This is a desired effect...but a very dangerous one, too.  No one knows what the religious power will do if it feels cornered.  The Iranian army is not as obsolete as the Iraqi army was.  Nor is Iran's economy as damaged by a decade of war and economic sanctions.  The different forces between Iran's religious leaders have never been clear, but the underlying purpose of reformers has always been questioned.  Under these circumstances, the possibility of a violent domestic repression mustn't be overlooked.  Perhaps, it's the trump card that will precipitate the effects the Empire wants."


MEXICO: "On The Lookout For Iran "


Bruno Ferrari observed in independent El Norte (6/19): "The new threat of a conflict with Iran seems to convert the Middle East into a swamp where U.S. energy is sinking little by little in the midst of the reconstruction of Afghanistan and Iraq, coupled with the increasingly complicated

Palestinian-Israeli situation, in  Syria's shadow and the possible volatility of Saudi Arabia and Egypt's apparent stability. Unfortunately, we know that the end of terrorism is still far, while corrupt and incompetent governments continue unpunished in that region."


CANADA: "Tough U.S. Stance Worries Europe"


Under the sub-heading, "Bush administration is making the same noises it made before the coalition invaded Iraq," the middle -of-the-road Victoria Times Colonist wrote (6/19): "For the moment, the Americans seem content to encourage students in Iran, as Bush himself has done, who have been holding nightly demonstrations against the mullahs in Tehran for the past week.... The confrontational approach of the U.S. is making Europeans uncomfortable.... British and other European governments have been following a policy of engagement with reformists in the Iranian regime, and are afraid the confrontational approach will jeopardize this approach.... It's quite likely that for many in the world, the U.S. has cried 'wolf' once too often....Unfortunately, the evidence in Iran is far more convincing than the aerial maps and test tubes brandished by Powell at the Security Council before the Iraq invasion. The IAEA reportedly has evidence that Iran has introduced uranium hexaflouride gas into centrifuges to test its nuclear capability, in clear violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We all must hope that Iran listens to the good cop, before the bad cop takes out his gun - again."


"The Iranian Bomb"


Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le Devoir (6/17): "The EU and Russia were quick to firmly support El Baradei's demands.... They clearly indicated that if Iran did not  come back to the fold, it could forget about negotiating trade concessions....  Because Iran is a member of the IAEA's Council of Governors, the Bush administration quickly dropped its planned resolution. That being said everything leads to believe, Iran is intent on acquiring the nuclear threat. There are many reasons for this...Two of its main enemies [Israel and Pakistan] have nuclear weapons....Moreover, many high ranking officials in the regime of the ayatollahs are convinced that if Iran joined the nuclear club, their number one enemy, the Great American Satan, would act much more prudently towards them. This latest episode shows why the non-proliferation treaty needs to be updated and why the new version requires more firmness."


"Crackdown In Iran"


The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (6/17):  "Bush regards Iran as an anti-American, terror-friendly, nuclear-weapon-seeking 'axis of evil' state.  He has knocked off regimes next door in Afghanistan and Iraq, for similar attitudes.  And he is cheering on the protests as American-backed satellite TV encourages more.  This is a risky strategy.  It allows Khamenei to brand all reformers as American saboteurs.  If Bush is bent on 'regime change,' Iranians may adopt a 1979-style revolutionary stance and refuse to accept nuclear inspections and to shun terror.  That said, Khamenei and his cronies are yesterday's men....  Khamenei and the Council of Guardians have the power to bar candidates from running for parliament, and can strike down laws.  They can veto change.  But they cannot veto aspirations.  While Iranians enjoy more personal freedom today, the protests are a sign they want more.  That yearning will not be bullied away."


JAMAICA:  "Is Iran The Next Domino?"


The moderate, influential Daily Gleaner held (6/19):  "American conservatives could scarcely contain their glee over the violent demonstrations in the Iranian capital this week....  Washington's war party, including Pentagon hawks, all along saw the Iraq invasion as a prelude to a wider transformation of the Middle East.  By overthrowing the leading anti-American regime in the region, they expected they could help tip the region's balance towards pro-Western reformist groups....   American support is seen as a kiss of death by many in Iran's opposition, who remain understandably suspicious of American motives....  For its part, the White House has its hands full with the Iraqi occupation...proving more costly and complicated than the Pentagon hawks had promised.  A new Iranian revolution might produce regime-change....  A more likely outcome, at least for a time, would be civil war and a political vacuum.  The latter would make it possible for anti-American militants to find safe spaces in which to operate.  An unstable Iran next to a volatile Iraq filled with U.S. troops would have to qualify as an American nightmare scenario.”




TANZANIA: "Iran Next On U.S. Hit List?"


The English-language weekly Express carried a news analysis by Evarist Kagaruki stating (6/19): "The United States has, over the years, invested a lot of propaganda capital in fabricating a lie that the Islamic Republic of Iran was ‘sponsoring terrorism’, and that it was endangering the world peace and security by its ‘nuclear weapons program’!... But even assuming the U.S. allegations were true, why pick Iran, or Syria for that matter, after Iraq?...  And why, after all, should nuclear capability be ‘dangerous’ only when it is acquired by Third World countries, particularly those which refused to be remote-controlled by Washington, such as Iran, North Korea and Syria?  The Bush administration is simply using the ‘nuclear weapons’ theory, and its most recent baseless claim that the regime in Tehran was ‘providing sanctuary’ to some Al Qaeda associates, to pursue its imperialistic designs on Iran....  It should not be surprising if, in the days ahead, Washington assumes a more hostile posture vis a vis Tehran, manifested by more provocative threats of military intervention to bring about ‘regime change’ there.  But, let Mr. Bush be reminded that Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan."  


UGANDA:  U.S. Casting First Stone

An editorial in the government owned New Vision asserted (6/18):  "The International Atomic Energy Agency has urged Iran to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NFT). This is a sound mandate that all nations are morally obliged to respect. Iran, too, should heed the IAEA’s call as an NFT signatory by permitting stricter UN inspections. Be that as it may, the otherwise legitimate talks between the IAEA and Iran are being clouded by the United States’ antagonism in the background. In addition to adding its voice to the IAEA and European Union foreign ministers, the United States is also supporting internal unrest in Iran, making it appear that its interest lies well beyond the nuclear programme. This is a problem. Coming hot on the heels of the campaign against (yet-to-be-found) weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the U.S.’s interest in Iran looks suspicious. And then, of course, America has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and to-date remains the only country ever to have used atomic weapons. This irony is not lost on the world.  We should also not forget that in Iraq, the U.S. and Britain all but pushed UN arms inspectors out to get the war underway. This time, the IAEA should be left to do its job with no undue pressure from without."



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