German Press Review: Legitimate Worries | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 16.09.2004
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German Press Review: Legitimate Worries

German editorials on Thursday commented on negotiations between the US and Europe over a resolution for pushing Iran to come clear about its nuclear program and German troops in Afghanistan.

The Financial Times Deutschland said that when Germany’s Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer begins talking about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the wrinkles on his face grow deeper. The paper recalled that Joschka Fischer has said “the Teheran government should not miscalculate things even if it believes that the United States or other Western countries have their weaknesses in Iraq. The international community would not accept a nuclear weapons program in Iran.” Fischer’s worries are legitimate, the paper claimed. Since the conservative

hardliners’ victory in February’s parliamentary elections in Iran, the government of the world’s fourth largest oil exporting nation has been pushing ahead with its nuclear program–supposedly for peaceful, civilian purposes. But two facts show that Iran’s goal is the development of nuclear weapons: heavy water reactor technology and the development mid-range missiles that can carry nuclear heads. Iran as a nuclear power would be a nightmare, the paper concluded.

Berlin’s Die Welt agreed, suggesting that Iran has more in mind than just using nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The government in Teheran may be open to compromise, but it’s not really willing to make any concessions, according to the paper: It’s evident what must be done. First, put an end to this ritual in Vienna, where the negotiations are taking place, then get tough and take the case before the UN Security Council. Everyone must stress to Iran that it is in a weaker position politically and economically with nuclear weapons than without them, the daily wrote.

German commentaries also turned to the question whether German troops should remain in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force, following claims that German soldiers had not come to the rescue of relief workers attacked by demonstrators. Cologne’s Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger said that rather than withdrawing peace-keeping troops, Germany should really be sending more in. Disengagement is apolitical, the paper argued, but it conceded that German troops don’t seem to be prepared when things get tough. The Neue Westfälische newspaper in Bielefeld was clear about one thing: If the Bundeswehr were to pull out of Afghanistan, it would be the beginning of the end of the international mission. And that would be equivalent to restoring the former regime and letting fundamentalists, who are the driving force of international terrorism, win, the paper wrote.