A day after the IAEA concluded that Iran had flouted UN demands over its nuclear programme, the media in Iran and the rest of the world speculate on what options remain open to both sides.
The conservative wing of the Iranian press adopts a defiant tone, arguing that Iran should suspend all co-operation with the IAEA.
An Iranian radio commentary insists that a diplomatic solution is still possible - a line also taken by papers elsewhere in the world, though many fear that the scope for diplomacy is steadily narrowing.
Iranian paper Jomhuri-ye Eslami (conservative)
In the case of Iran's nuclear dossier, the IAEA was exploited and harmed in a most ugly fashion. Today the person of ElBaradei and the Agency under his leadership have lost their credibility. This is a tragedy for the world community... The Islamic Republic of Iran should suspend its IAEA membership. As a part of this suspension, the Agency's inspections should come to an end. Every form of IAEA supervision over Iran's nuclear activity should be stopped.
Iranian paper Tehran Times (conservative, English-language)
Before the 2003 war, the US and its nuclear ally Israel launched a psychological war against Iraq in which they claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, but now the cat is out of the bag. The US is currently attempting to use the same technique to create phantom controversies and baseless lies in order to confront Iran. However, public opinion in many countries, especially the traditional allies of the US, is beginning to reject Washington's policies and actions.
Iranian paper E'temad (reformist)
Two outcomes are being predicted for Iran's dossier at the Security Council... Either, because of disagreement between China, Russia and America over the sanctions, the Security Council will give Iran a six-month opportunity... or, economic sanctions will be imposed on Iran despite the opposition of the Russians and the Chinese.
Iranian radio commentary
The report leaves the path of diplomacy open, a fact demonstrated by the initial reactions from America which has stressed the importance of diplomacy; China which has rejected any resolution based on chapter seven; Russia which would veto future resolutions by the Security Council; and Germany and France which have also emphasised the importance of finding a diplomatic solution to the situation.
Beijing's Renmin Ribao (People's Daily, Chinese Communist Party newspaper)
Efforts should be made to seek a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis and eliminate the many unstable factors in the Middle East as soon as possible.
China's Xinwen Chenbao (Shanghai Morning Post)
Considering that China and Russia will not approve of sanctions or force against Iran in the Security Council... the US may bypass the United Nations, unite with other countries or unilaterally apply sanctions against Iran... Besides Israel, Britain, France and Germany are also likely to join the US "sanctions alliance".
China's Xinwen Chenbao
At present, Iran is the biggest obstacle to the US carrying out its Greater Middle East democracy plan... For President Bush, he very much wishes to leave a praiseworthy political legacy before he finishes his second term in office; therefore, the possibility of Bush using the Iranian nuclear issue to make a "curtain call performance" cannot be ruled out.
Taipei's The China Post (English-language)
Time is short, but not so short that concerted international action cannot bring results. Russia, and even more so, China, must act to bring the Iranians to heel. The alternative is a North Korea-type situation, where the development of nuclear weapons goes on covertly. In the short term, the Tehran regime is bluffing; in the long term, unless they are stopped, the Iranians will get nuclear weapons.
Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung
Seeing that Tehran has allowed the UN ultimatum to expire and exacerbates the conflict with wild threats and prophecies, a simple yet radical question arises: can the world agree to Iran becoming a nuclear power? And if not: how can this be prevented? Anyone who thinks that it is possible to find a clear response is deceiving themselves. There is no perfect solution to the problem.
Germany's Der Tagesspiegel
An alternative to UN sanctions would be an economic boycott through the G7 states, expanded to include those countries that are also determined to prevent an Iranian bomb - either in co-operation with the UN or as a sanctions coalition of the willing... The Iranian president thinks that the West is soft and conflict-shy, and he therefore continues to pursue his hard line. Only sanctions, which would prove the contrary to him, will induce Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to back down.
Spain's El Mundo
The most important thing is for the UN to be capable of designing a strategy of deterrence with all the diplomatic means - and only the diplomatic ones - available to it.
Spain's El Pais
A propos of Iran, a scenario of confrontation is slowly but surely taking shape, stirred up obliquely by US leaders and explicitly by the fiery speeches of the reactionary Iranian president... His increasingly radical language makes it impossible for the democratic countries to reach out to the regime he represents.
Spain's El Razon
Unlike Saddam, who always denied possessing weapons of mass destruction, Ahmadinejad has not hidden his nuclear plans, which do not appear to arise from the energy needs of a country that heads world oil production. This explicit admission provides the Iranian case with a much greater potential for conflict than the Iraqi one... All the more reason for the UN Security Council and the concerned powers to emphasise the diplomatic route and exhaust all the possibilities of resolving the conflict peacefully.
France's Ouest France
The countdown to possible international sanctions has begun.
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