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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 October, 2003, 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK
Press anxious about nuclear talks
Iranian press review graphic

As Iran announced on Saturday evening that it was prepared to sign, under certain conditions, an additional protocol allowing tougher inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Iranian papers were split over what action Tehran should take.

While Iranian representatives said they were optimistic about resolving the IAEA's concerns, some papers feared none of the options left for Tehran would solve the nuclear issue.


A commentary in the centre-right Entekhab said that although it expected Iran to sign the additional protocol, "accepting this protocol will create some problems for us, but not doing so is not without its consequences either".

It called on Iran's leaders to clarify what guarantees Tehran would obtain if it signed up to the additional protocol, or, if Tehran decided not to do so, what precisely its reasons were.

Access to nuclear technology is Iran's inalienable right
The divisions within Iran were highlighted by the English-language Iran News: "Some believe Iran must not join the protocol because it would pave the way for further pressures... it is argued [that] we had better clarify the situation from the start and resist further demands."

The paper noted the fear among some Iranians of the country losing access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

However, it went on to say: "Another group says that Iran must accept the additional protocol so as not to give any excuses to Western countries, especially Europe.

"They believe the move will also prove the transparency of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. After doing this, Iran can expect to receive facilities related to nuclear energy."

Arguing that access to nuclear technology was Iran's "inalienable right", a commentary in Etemaad noted that Iran's contemporary history was "full of agreements signed by men in power with foreign governments, most to the detriment of the Iranian nation".

The national interest

Several papers called on Tehran to consider carefully what was in Iran's national interest and not allow internal political divisions to harm the country.

Etemaad declared that national interests should be the "hallmark" of the behaviour of Iran's foreign ministry.

"Had the forgotten national interests been heeded earlier, we could have solved many problems. But better late than never," the paper said.

It seems as if the great powers, and the US especially, have decided to prevent Iran's access to nuclear power
Aftab-e Yazd
It advised Tehran not to repeat the memory of "despicable agreements" signed in the past.

"If political parties and government officials take the national interest into consideration, and make their decisions independent of their political differences... they will have achieved a formidable task," said a commentary in Entekhab.

The reformist Shargh complained that divisions within Iran were leading to a "democracy of chaos". It called on Tehran to find a single voice with which to address the world.

The American hand

A few papers focused on what they saw as US pressure driving the IAEA to act against Iran.

"It seems as if the great powers, and the US especially, have decided to prevent by any means Iran's access to nuclear power, even for necessary and peaceful purposes," the reformist Aftab-e Yazd said.

"Nobody should doubt that we cannot think of resorting to military confrontation to dissuade America and ensure the failure of its efforts and those of its allies," the paper warned.

Describing Iran's decision to discuss the additional protocol with the IAEA as a "positive move", Mardom Salari called on IAEA officials and the European Union to "appreciate the new development".

The paper argued that if Iran had taken this decision earlier, it would have "prevented the EU moving closer to the US position against Iran".

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.

Iran 'optimistic' after nuclear talks
04 Oct 03  |  Middle East
Country profile: Iran
15 Sep 03  |  Country profiles

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