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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 14:41 GMT
World press weighs Iran nuclear standoff
World press

The international controversy over Iran's resumption of its nuclear programme is generating comment and reaction in newspapers across the world.

With the UN Security Council's permanent members reportedly divided and seeking consensus on the way forward, commentators voice growing concern at the standoff and weigh the options ahead.

Although there are differences of opinion about whether Tehran is right or wrong in its current stance, all agree on the seriousness of the situation, and there are many calls for all sides to seek a diplomatic way out of the crisis.

Vladimir Alekseyev in Russia's TRUD

Everything is now in the hands of the Iranian authorities, who still have a chance to agree to Russia's suggestion that they moderate their nuclear appetites and enrich uranium on our territory. If Tehran refuses, it risks losing its last defender - with unpredictable consequences for itself and the rest of the world.

Aleksandr Reutov in Russia's KOMMERSANT

The imposition of sanctions on Iran would hit Russia and China hardest of all... If the West is determined to play the game to the end, Russia and China still have the option of getting up from the table at any moment. And without them the USA and the EU troika will be unable to win the game.

Hua Liming (former Chinese ambassador to Iran) in China's RENMIN RIBAO

It can be foreseen that once sanctions are applied, Iran will announce immediately that it is withdrawing from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ... Since the bottom lines of both disputing sides cannot be adjusted, the Iranian nuclear crisis really is a diplomatic issue that is hard to solve. However, what problem-solving needs is political wisdom, not exerting pressure and resorting to force.

Editorial in 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.

Commentary in North Korea's NODONG SINMUN

Iran has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes... No one can argue against or infringe on Iran's peaceful nuclear activities that serve its people's interests and help develop its economy and science.

Editorial in South Korea's THE KOREA HERALD

We are seeing the two states [Iran and North Korea], though with different stated goals in their nuclear programmes, being mutually emboldened by the results of their respective dealings with the international community... However, if Beijing and Moscow decline to exercise their Security Council veto power and allow UN sanctions to be put in place, the long-term result would be a further estrangement between the United States and Europe and the Muslim world.

Sonia Stolper in France's LE FIGARO

If Tehran were to agree to the Russian proposal [to enrich Iranian uranium in Russia], which was turned down the first time, Moscow could argue that a form of monitoring of Iran's nuclear activities would henceforth be possible. And the spectre of sanctions being imposed on Iran should recede for a while.

Editorial in Germany's FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG

Economic sanctions, which can be stepped up in several stages, are the least dangerous method to make the mullahs see reason after all.

Stefan Cornelius in Germany's SUEDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG

It would be a serious mistake to underestimate the regime and its nuclear ambitions or to assume it is American hysteria. This time there is a real threat from Tehran... A war against Iran would be foolish, and targeted air strikes would have little success. In view of the realistic threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran, we have no choice but to take difficult political decisions. Whoever shrinks from them now will have to deal with worse alternatives later.

Editorial in Israel's JERUSALEM POST

The world cannot build its security on the baseless hope that the mullahs are bluffing. The unspoken European notion is that the Iranian regime would not use nuclear weapons, but like other nuclear powers, simply possess them as a form of deterrence. This prospect, even if it could be relied upon, should not reassure anyone.

Editorial in Qatar's AL-RAYAH

The strange thing is that the attack on Iran over its nuclear programme is not met with any Western position towards Israel which possesses more than 200 nuclear heads, a position which, in addition to being characterized by double standards, contains unacceptable favouritism.

Sami Kohen in Turkey's MILLIYET

The possibility of a military operation against Iran is slight, but even so, the possible effects of such an operation are worrying Ankara as well... Ankara thinks returning to diplomacy is essential to end this crisis and thinks that real responsibility in this issue lies with the Iranian administration.

Muhammad al-Sa'id Idriss in pan-Arab AL-HAYAT

If Iranian officials are saying that their nuclear programme is for peaceful means, why don't they reach an agreement with all the countries concerned with the non-proliferation of nuclear arms? ... An agreement may encourage the international community to exert pressure on Israel to open its nuclear plants for inspection.

Mihai Ionescu in Romania's ROMANIA LIBERA

A world energy crisis, a new conflict in the Middle East or both: here are the dark perspectives which were presented to the international community yesterday as a trade-off for stopping the Iranian nuclear programme.

Salah al-Qallab in Jordan's AL-RA'Y

Will the Arabs win or lose from Iran's completion of its nuclear project, which will not be peaceful in the end? The answer is that the problem does not lie with the Arabs┐ it lies in the Iranian expansionist policy.

Sa'id Musallam in Syria's AL-THAWRAH

The whole issue goes beyond Tehran's possession of nuclear weapons, because even if that happens, it will not have any effect on Israel's capabilities and will not constitute a danger to international peace. The issue is not isolated from the US 'Greater Middle East' project and Bush's speeches from Kabul to Baghdad, Tehran, Damascus and Beirut.

Ibrahim Sa'dah in Egypt's AL-AKHBAR

What worries the American president about the Iranian nuclear file is the security of Israel and the safety of its people if Tehran possesses the nuclear weapon. As for the danger which the Israeli nuclear weapons arsenal poses to the peoples of the Arab countries, this is the last thing to cause concern to the USA and its allies in Europe.

Editorial in India's HINDUSTAN TIMES

We must not lose sight of the key issues here. First, the confrontationist style of the new Iranian government is the root cause of the crisis. Second, that an IAEA vote for a UN referral will hardly amount to a declaration of war on Teheran. It will, however, be a clear signal that the world is not in the mood to tolerate further brinkmanship. India must unambiguously join this consensus.

Ali Jaradat in Palestinian AL-AYYAM

The Iranian escalation that challenges the US administration is a limited, calculated and experimental step designed to check the horizon. It has come at an ideal time and as part of an ideal scenario to enter a struggle with the White House that will reveal the connection between the US and Israeli interests.

Editorial in Saudi Arabia's AL-RIYAD

The pros and cons in the decision-making to attack the Iranian nuclear facilities do not fall solely to America and Israel. Otherwise, we would be on the threshold of imminent madness which might make the whole world a battlefield with different tools, organizations and formations which are more dangerous than the worlds of Al-Qa'idah and its partisans.

Editorial in Indonesia's JAWA POS

For the United States and Israel, Iran is indeed a nuisance for the two countries' international politics in the Middle East region. To pressure and corner Iran in the international arena, the US and Western countries have manipulated the issue of the Iranian nuclear programme into an extremely horrifying propaganda.

Bassam Daww in Qatar's AL-WATAN

The nuclear crisis between Iran and the USA has reached its hottest limits and it is now difficult to imagine settlement solutions because any attempt in this respect, particularly at present, will appear to be a defeat for either of the two sides, which is not acceptable to the American or Iranian sides.

Editorial in Australia's SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

Iran's provocative decision to breach negotiated agreements by resuming research into nuclear fuel, and the scramble by the major powers to find an effective response, again show the inadequacy and inconsistency of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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