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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 January 2006, 22:21 GMT
Russia and China press weigh Iran options
Isfahan uranium conversion facility in Iran

If the Iranian nuclear issue goes before the UN Security Council at the request of Western nations like the UK, France and the US, leading permanent members Russia and China will also have a major say in how the situation develops.

Newspapers in those two nations reflect growing unease over the decision by Tehran to resume nuclear activities, and call on Iranian leaders to seek a diplomatic solution to the current impasse.

Commentators also highlight the numerous fears surrounding the issue, with one pointing to former threats by the US or Israel to carry out military attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Russian government paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta

Iran's persistence in seeking to achieve at any cost the right to develop, as it maintains, peaceful nuclear technologies causes increasing concern not only among long-standing opponents of this but also among those who have been and are calling for the development of relations of partnership with Tehran in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Iranian scientists and specialists, of course, know about the advantages of the Russian method of separating isotopes on gas centrifuges, but neither have we given them the method nor the centrifuges themselves, nor do we intend to.

However, as we know, there is a black market - it is sufficient to recall the scandal of the illegal transfer of atomic technologies by Pakistani physicist Abdul Khan. No-one can say precisely what ended up in Libya and North Korea and what in Iran.

Commentator in Rossiyskaya Gazeta

The theatre of nuclear absurdity - After Tehran's latest harsh statements and moves, Moscow, not wishing to become hostage to Iranian politics towards the West, took quite a balanced position.

And now, Russia no longer remains a 'reliable' political partner in the eyes of the Iranian leaders. This is the real reason the Iranian authorities do not want to move the uranium-enrichment process to Russian territory.

Commentator in Russia's Vremya Novostey

The fact that the second round of expert consultations with the Iranians on the nuclear problem, scheduled to be held in Moscow on 16 February, has not been cancelled is the indirect indication of Russia's preference for a political and diplomatic solution of the Iranian issue.

Beijing's Communist Party daily Renmin Ribao

Europe and Russia have emerged as peacemakers in the Iranian nuclear issue, and the prospect of multilateral cooperation may emerge.

This new situation conforms to the wishes of the majority of countries in the international community. Iran can no longer withstand natural and man-made disasters, it should study and weigh up the situation and negotiate to resolve the problem.

The door to negotiations has not closed, and a platform for a multilateral solution can still be built. This platform should create an environment where the concerns of the opposite side are understood, and build an atmosphere that promotes mutual trust.

This is the prerequisite to preventing the nuclear conflict from moving towards extremes.

Beijing's Guangming Ribao

There is a possibility the US will submit the issue to the UN Security Council, but this will only trigger an intense dispute within the UN, as a result of opposition from Russia and other countries.

Economic sanctions may not necessarily make Iran abandon its current nuclear policy, and they could have side-effects.

The US and Israel have stated many times that they have not ruled out the possibility of using military action.

However this possibility seems small at present, because with the situation in Iraq being far from normal, resorting to force or carrying out a targeted attack on Iran could only bring a new disaster to the region.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post

Iran is risking making the world a less safe place by precipitating a fresh crisis over its nuclear programme.

Its defiance of world opinion endangers the fragile security balance in the Middle East. It appears to have badly miscalculated the international mood.

It is not too late to return to the negotiating table with Europe, and Russia's offer of uranium enrichment - endorsed by Washington - is still on the table. If Tehran does not reconsider, it risks becoming diplomatically isolated.

Shanghai's Dongfang Zaobao

Iran's engagement in nuclear fuel research under the existing international legal framework is legitimate unless it makes a breakthrough in weapons-grade enriched uranium.

If the US wishes to investigate Iran's past, clandestine, activities, it can only do so by resorting to force.

Washington has indeed been discussing recently whether it still has patience for another two months, but if it doesn't, what can it do?

The crux of the issue lies in the US misjudgement over the attack on Iraq - it no longer has the political capital to attack Iran in the short term.

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