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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 January, 2004, 15:17 GMT
Papers probe US 'earthquake diplomacy'
Iranian newspaper mastheads

More than a week after the ancient Iranian city of Bam was levelled by a devastating earthquake, the country's newspapers are at odds over the possibilities for better political relations with Washington, following Tehran's speedy acceptance of US humanitarian aid.

Hardline papers are dismissive about President Bush's motives. By contrast, the reformist press looks forward to a warming of ties between the US and Iran.

Some people have been excited about establishing relations with America... Witnessing such unrealistic reactions breaks the heart of a proud person who knows something about the tricks of the great Satan. Even if officials are in favour of establishing relations with America, they should not speak with such enthusiasm.

Jomhuri-ye Eslami (hardline)

These incitements to normalise political relations between Tehran and Washington are being made while a substantial amount of our country's assets are blocked by America.

Kayhan (hardline)

US efforts to hinder Iran's access to nuclear technology meant for peaceful purposes... and many other hostile measures show that Washington's proposal on negotiations with Iran is in fact impracticable.

Tehran Times

Who knows, perhaps the lives of our beloved Bam inhabitants were a huge sacrifice offered to God Almighty to save the homeland from sedition and a greater disaster. By respecting the lives of those who have been sacrificed, we should not give ground to extremist elements and political game-players, who, on different pretexts, seek to disturb the situation.

Kayhan (hardline)

The walls of mistrust between the two governments are as formidable as ever. The current steps do not appear to be sufficient to pave the way for political dialogue. Time will tell whether the White House is serious in wanting a new beginning with Tehran.

Iran News

Through his "earthquake diplomacy", George W Bush is trying to reaffirm his belief that America is a lighthouse that helps lost ships... The aim is to show that problems do not stem from American objectives, but rather from the values of the other side.

Shargh (reformist)

Iran and America are moving step by step - albeit slowly - towards improving relations; each asking the other to show good will and sincerity. Can anyone deny that the partial lifting of sanctions against Iran is a step towards this?

Mardom Salari (reformist)

Political observers and analysts looking at the new tendency in relations between America and Iran believe the two countries are standing on the threshold of new circumstances. But some of them believe that the Bam earthquake is only a pretext for resuming relations since, right now, the two countries are cooperating with each other in Iraq and Afghanistan. Khatami speaks otherwise.

Shargh (reformist)

We view America as the great Satan. And White House officials have labelled Iran a member of the axis of evil. Iran and America's relations with other countries clearly show that these myths are used to explain the unresolvable issues between the countries rather than act as the source of problems between them.

Yas-e Now (reformist)

The Americans, contrary to the viewpoints of many, mostly conservative, Iranian circles, do not need Iran for the administration of Iraq. But they clearly realise that peaceful relations with Iran would facilitate dialogue and contact with Iraq's Shias; that Iran's participation would help guarantee the end of tension in Afghanistan, and that Iran could help supervise hardline groups... Sooner or later an appropriate solution should be found.

Shargh (reformist)

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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