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Europe

German Press Review: Europe Now More Skeptical of Iran

Germany's editorialists took issue on Thursday with Iran, which accused the United States of bullying UN members into criticizing its nuclear program. Teheran said Europe should have done more to stand up to Washington.

The Frankfurter Rundschau wrote that Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency said he had expected more from his European colleagues. His disappointment showed that Teheran has not yet understood the new general transatlantic situation, the paper commented. At first sight, it seems as though the USA was threatening Iran with a stick while the Europeans were holding out a carrot to the mullahs’ regime. But now the roles are better coordinated than at the time of Europe’s so-called “critical dialogue.” In the face of Teheran’s attempts to deceive, the Europeans have become more skeptical, the FR said.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a time of foreign policy concessions may now have started in Iran. The conservatives who were strengthened in the recent elections could -- unlike the reformers -- afford to make concessions to the West without having to fear the criticism that they were betraying Islam. In addition, the Munich daily wrote, Teheran needed investment from abroad if it was to provide the countless frustrated young Iranians with jobs, housing and consumer goods. For that, it needed better relations with the West. The Europeans would have to make it clear that better economic ties can only be forged if Iran’s nuclear policy changes.

The corruption scandal involving the president of the soccer club 1860 Munich also filled the op-ed pages. Karl-Heinz Wildmoser was arrested, along with his son and two other people, on charges of taking bribes during the construction of the club's new stadium, which is to host World Cup matches in 2006.

The Rheinische Post in Düsseldorf was scathing in its criticism. Those involved in the football business, it wrote, pretended to be shocked, which was just proof of their hypocrisy. For only very few in the trade were concerned purely with recognition, while most of them aimed to satisfy their vanity. And some were just out to fill their pockets as quickly as possible.

The Berliner Kurier commented that the affair affected Munich but it was really all about Germany. The bribery scandal must have startled even the last remaining simpletons who thought that corruption in sport only ever occurs elsewhere, far away in North Korea or Africa. But apparently Mombasa and Munich were close to each other. Experts must re-examine the billion euro investments, the Berlin daily continued, so that people wouldn't in two years’ time be saying: "Welcome to the 2006 Soccer World Cup in the banana republic Germany."

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