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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 August 2006, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
European press critical of Iran
European Press

The European press have responded negatively to the offer by Iranian chief negotiator Ali Larijani to hold "serious talks" over the nuclear issue with six world powers. Tehran as yet has not given any more details of its response to the deal offered by the West.

While some papers accused Tehran of attempting to buy time, others said that the Iranian government had already expressed a clear rejection of the package of incentives in exchange for suspending uranium enrichment.

One newspaper suggested that Iran was able to flex its muscles because of the current crisis in the Middle East between Israel and Lebanon as well as the removal of two of its own rivals, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taleban in Afghanistan.


The Iranian offer of more talks... appears to have no other goal but to gain time, delay the application of sanctions... and continue to push forward its nuclear research.


The desire for further talks could be seen as a simple delaying tactic... recently, all statements out of Tehran have made it clear that the Iranian leadership won't give up the option of having its own atomic bomb in a few years' time.


(Iran's response is) neither a simple "Yes" nor a simple "No"... If this answer goes no further than that, it will be seen as a challenge in Washington.

France's L'EXPRESS

Iran's refusal to give up its uranium enrichment programme means the Islamic republic is effectively opting for confrontation with the West. This marks a turning of the page for the Khatami years, for reforms, for dialogue between civilisations.


The Iranian answer to the compromise offer is a clear "No"... An escalation of the nuclear dispute is no longer to be avoided... Tehran has decided against co-operation and consciously opted for confrontation.


Anyone who expected Iran to agree, without ifs or buts, to the package... was believing in a fairytale... Perhaps a symbolic, partial renunciation can still be negotiated but this would not satisfy the US... Iran seems to believe in crippling the US ... That could be a gross mistake.

Spain's EL PAIS

The solution to the Iranian nuclear question will only come, if it comes, after a long and complex negotiation process that will first require the re-establishment of a certain amount of mutual trust.

France's LE MONDE

Following the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iranians see themselves more than ever as being in a position of strength... Western powers can't ignore the regime in Tehran - whether in Iraq ... in Afghanistan... or in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where a cease-fire depends in part on co-operation from Hezbollah.

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