German Press Review: Nuclear Negotiations | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 22.10.2004
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German Press Review: Nuclear Negotiations

German newspapers on Friday focused on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Teheran said it will continue a dialogue with three European countries after holding talks with them in Vienna on concerns about its nuclear program.

The business daily Handelsblatt said at least the Europeans are offering to give the Iranians a helping hand -- if they conduct themselves well -- in the construction of a non-military nuclear industry. Washington -- by contrast is indulging in warlike rhetoric. But the Düsseldorf daily warned Iran’s regime not to put too much faith in transatlantic disharmony, because an agreement will have to be forthcoming after a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors at the end of November. If Teheran cannot or will not prove military nuclear abstention, the IAEA will submit the matter to the UN Security Council. As far as sanctions against Iran are concerned, the paper said, the Europeans and the Americans are likely to act in unison once again.

Munich’s Süddeutsche Zeitung thought sanctions could easily backfire, and the vicious circle of mutual suspicion could be transformed into a vicious circle of escalation. The Munich paper posed the question: what might Teheran do in the event of sanctions? And answers it by saying it would promote chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan and follow the example set by North Korea.

The Badisches Tagblatt believed that the present scenario is reminsicent of the run-up to the Iraq war. Then, as now, United States took a hard line. The US is denying Iran the right to use nuclear energy, peaceful purposes included. The topic has been put on the US political agenda, the paper said, just in time for the presidential elections. Fear of Iran and threats against it will dominate public debate leading the Americans to support their war-proven president on election day.

Financial Times Deutschland noted that Kerry and Bush are fighting it out over how best to cope with the nuclear threat in today's world. Against this backdrop, sabre rattling is to be expected. The US did try to do a deal with North Korea on nuclear technology. It got nowhere.