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Last Updated: Monday, 8 September, 2003, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Iran press weigh nuclear stance
Iranian press review graphic

Iran's press greets the prospect of a scrutiny of the country's nuclear programme by the International Atomic Energy Agency with varying degrees of defiance.

Reformist and conservative papers appear united in calling on the government to present a dignified stand to the outside world.

"Iranian diplomats must display stances in the international arena that reflect the mainstream of Iranian public opinion," says the conservative Hamshahri.

Public opinion, it adds, "demands honour and opposes the West's humiliating measures aimed at preventing Iran's acquisition of nuclear technology".

The lesson that North Korea and Iran have learned is that the only way of forcing the United States to adopt a more cautious approach is to possess a nuclear arsenal,

The reformist Yas-e Now agrees.

"Europe must bear this important point in mind: no faction in Iran believes in demands and requests that go beyond international agreements and accords," the paper says.

Another conservative paper, Javan, goes further in suggesting that possession of nuclear arms could even be an asset when dealing with Washington.

The paper notes that Washington has close ties - and respect - for such nuclear powers as Russia, India and Pakistan.

"Now, compare this conduct with Washington's behaviour towards non-nuclear powers such as Iraq and Yugoslavia," the paper says.

"The lesson that North Korea and Iran have learned from these moves and ties is that the only way of forcing the United States to adopt a more cautious approach accompanied with respect is to possess a nuclear arsenal," Javan adds.

Election issue

Two reformist papers take a different tack and look at the domestic implications of the nuclear dispute.

Etemaad warns that failure on Iran's part to sign an additional protocol that would allow intrusive snap inspections would lead to a deterioration of ties with the EU, Russia and Japan.

This, it argues, would be "tantamount to another defeat for [President Mohammad] Khatami's reformist government".

The paper even suspects the conservative camp of "beating on the drum of withdrawal from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, so that it can inflict defeat on the president's policy of detente".

The reformist Aftab-e Yazd attempts to use the current international spotlight on Iran as an argument in favour of ensuring that next year's parliamentary elections are democratic.

"The conduct of state bodies and their behaviour towards the people in the forthcoming elections is an important test facing our officials, the result of which is also very important to the world," the paper says.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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