Iran Focus: London, Aug. 04 Newspapers around the world expressed alarm in their Thursday editorials at the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and dangers of postponing the referral of Irans nuclear file to the United Nations Security Council following the rise to power of Irans new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran Focus
London, Aug. 04 Newspapers around the world expressed alarm in their Thursday editorials at the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and dangers of postponing the referral of Irans nuclear file to the United Nations Security Council following the rise to power of Irans new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Right now, Iran sounds increasingly confident, while the Western democracies appear tentative and uncertain, wrote the Washington Times, while the Times of London said, The United Nations must confront Iran over its weapons programme.
In a leader article on Wednesday, the Guardian highlighted the growing threat, Now though, with Iran’s hawks in the ascendant, a crisis is looming. Appeals by the International Atomic Energy Agency – the UN’s nuclear watchdog – have fallen on deaf ears in Tehran, where the authorities insisted again yesterday that they will unilaterally resume the uranium ore conversion they suspended when talks began last year.
There is obvious danger in the fact that the nuclear issue is coming to a head so soon after Mr Ahmadinejad’s election dashed hopes of advances for reformists and strengthened the baleful influence of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote the Guardian.
The editorial of the Times of London posed the question, does Iran have any intention whatsoever of complying with its undertakings to the International Atomic Energy Agency? Or is it simply spinning diplomatic camouflage, protected by Russia and China, while it pursues the technology to produce nuclear weapons?
America is right to suspect that Tehrans intentions are malign. It is nevertheless prepared, for just a little while longer, to indulge its European allies search for a deal. But it is hard to see the logic of compromise.
The Washington Times editorial warned of the dangers of relying solely on the United States new National Intelligence Estimate in dealing with Tehrans nuclear ambitions. On Tuesday, The Washington Post published a front-page story quoting information apparently leaked from a new National Intelligence Estimate as projecting that Iran is a decade away from getting such weapons, roughly doubling earlier estimates. But there is plenty of reason to be extremely cautious about relying on such estimates when assessing the behavior of a police state. Just as American intelligence agencies overestimated the progress of Iraq’s WMD programs, it is entirely possible that they have underestimated the progress made by Iran. If the latter is true, the consequences of basing policy on such a faulty estimate would be catastrophic if it turned out that Iran has clandestinely managed to make greater strides toward developing nuclear weapons than Washington realized, and Tehran obtains the A-bomb.
In fact, since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the Iranian presidential runoff in June, Iranians behavior has become increasingly truculent and menacing. Hardly a day goes by without some new threat or non-negotiable demand from the Iranians.
The New York Times focused on Irans human rights record. Meanwhile, in Tehran, Ahmadinejad has other disturbing issues awaiting his attention. For one, there’s the failing health of Akbar Ganji, a jailed journalist who is now on a hunger strike.
Then there’s the recent arrest of Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer who defended Ganji and also worked with Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner. Ebadi has been successful enough as a champion of human rights that she is now being accused in government-controlled news media reports of a slew of absurd charges, including burglary.
On the nuclear front the New York Times pointed out a crucial fact. No Iranian president to date has ever been able to defy the wishes of the unelected ayatollahs who rule Iran, and it is highly unlikely that Ahmadinejad will prove to be any different.
The Wall Street Journal commented on the opinion page of its Wednesday edition on the realities of the European-led nuclear negotiations with Tehran. The Bush administration has justified its softly-softly approach to the Iranian nuclear program on grounds it has firm commitments from the Europeans to get tough should diplomacy fail. Those promises are about to be put to the test now that Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency of its intention to resume uranium enrichment.
But the desire of the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) to find a negotiated solution seems only to have encouraged Iranian intransigence on the central issue, which is its repeatedly claimed right under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for what it says is a civilian power program.
The existence of any such right is debatable, given that the NPT forbids using a civilian nuclear program as cover for a military one. Put simply, Iran is not a democratic country. And it is patently wrong to treat the ruling mullahs as if they were likely to observe international law.
Most Iranians themselves (as suppressed poll results indicated) see the nuclear program for exactly what is — a means of keeping their oppressors in power.