London, Aug. 04 – Newspapers
around the world expressed alarm in their Thursday editorials at the threat
posed by a nuclear-armed Iran and dangers of postponing the referral of
Iran’s nuclear file to the United Nations Security Council following the
rise to power of Iran’s new hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Right now, Iran sounds increasingly confident,
while the Western democracies appear tentative and uncertain”, wrote the
Washington Times, while the Times of London said, “The United Nations must
confront Iran over its weapons programme”.
In a leader article on Wednesday, the Guardian highlighted the growing
threat, “Now though, with Iran's hawks in the ascendant, a
crisis is looming. Appeals by the International Atomic Energy Agency - the
UN's nuclear watchdog - have fallen on deaf ears in Tehran, where the authorities insisted
again yesterday that they will unilaterally resume the uranium ore conversion
they suspended when talks began last year”.
“There is obvious danger in the fact that the nuclear issue is coming to a
head so soon after Mr Ahmadinejad's election dashed hopes of advances for
reformists and strengthened the baleful influence of the supreme leader,
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei”, wrote the Guardian.
The editorial of the Times of London posed the question, “does Iran have any intention whatsoever
of complying with its undertakings to the International Atomic Energy
Agency? Or is it simply spinning diplomatic camouflage, protected by Russia and China, while it pursues the
technology to produce nuclear weapons?”
“America is right to suspect that Tehran’s intentions are malign. It is
nevertheless prepared, for just a little while longer, to indulge its
European allies’ search for a deal. But it is hard to see the logic of
The Washington Times’ editorial warned of the dangers of relying solely on
the United State’s new National Intelligence Estimate in
dealing with Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. “On Tuesday, The
Washington Post published a front-page story quoting information apparently
leaked from a new National Intelligence Estimate as projecting that Iran is a decade away from getting
such weapons, roughly doubling earlier estimates. But there is plenty of
reason to be extremely cautious about relying on such estimates when
assessing the behavior of a police state. Just as American intelligence
agencies overestimated the progress of Iraq's WMD programs, it is entirely
possible that they have underestimated the progress made by Iran. If the latter is true, the
consequences of basing policy on such a faulty estimate would be
catastrophic if it turned out that Iran has clandestinely managed to
make greater strides toward developing nuclear weapons than Washington realized, and Tehran obtains the A-bomb”.
“In fact, since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the Iranian presidential runoff in
June, Iranians’ behavior has become increasingly truculent and menacing. Hardly
a day goes by without some new threat or non-negotiable demand from the
The New York Times focused on Iran’s human rights record. “Meanwhile,
in Tehran, Ahmadinejad has other disturbing issues
awaiting his attention. For one, there's the failing health of Akbar Ganji,
a jailed journalist who is now on a hunger strike”.
“Then there's the recent arrest of Abdolfattah Soltani, a lawyer who
defended Ganji and also worked with Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace
Prize winner. Ebadi has been successful enough as a champion of human
rights that she is now being accused in government-controlled news media
reports of a slew of absurd charges, including burglary”.
On the nuclear front the New York Times pointed out a crucial fact. “No
Iranian president to date has ever been able to defy the wishes of the
unelected ayatollahs who rule Iran, and it is highly unlikely that
Ahmadinejad will prove to be any different”.
The Wall Street Journal commented on the opinion page of its Wednesday
edition on the realities of the European-led nuclear negotiations with
Tehran. “The Bush administration has justified its softly-softly approach
to the Iranian nuclear program on grounds it has firm commitments from the
Europeans to get tough should diplomacy fail. Those promises are about to
be put to the test now that Iran has informed the International Atomic
Energy Agency of its intention to resume uranium enrichment”.
“But the desire of the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) to find a
negotiated solution seems only to have encouraged Iranian intransigence on
the central issue, which is its repeatedly claimed ‘right’ under the
Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for what it says is a
civilian power program.
“The existence of any such right is debatable, given that the NPT forbids
using a civilian nuclear program as cover for a military one. … Put simply,
Iran is not a democratic country. And it is patently wrong to treat the
ruling mullahs as if they were likely to observe international law.
“Most Iranians themselves (as suppressed poll results indicated) see the
nuclear program for exactly what is -- a means of keeping their oppressors