Opinion: More Information on Iran, please! | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.01.2006
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Opinion: More Information on Iran, please!

Iran has resumed its nuclear power program. But the commotion about it by politicians in the European Union and the United States is unjustified, according to Deutsche Welle's Peter Philipp.


Much ado about nothing? Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz

European politicians who are currently worked up about Iran resuming its nuclear research should add something substantiated -- which goes beyond the hitherto general knowledge -- to their Cassandra calls of impending disaster.

Only when the interested public is better informed can it follow the arguments of those who are threatening with the UN Security Council and sanctions -- even though, just a few months ago, they thought they could incorporate Iran by diplomatic means into a system that is, in itself, unique.

It is unique because the E-3 -- Britain, France and Germany -- believed they could demand of Iran something that wouldn't be asked of anyone else.

Although Tehran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and accepted the auxiliary protocol, it should abstain from every form of uranium enrichment and now, even nuclear research. These are things which every other country in a similar situation would be allowed to do; and countries who haven't even signed the NPT, such as India, Pakistan or Israel, are not even concerned about.

Distrust of the Iranian leadership

The sole possible reason for such behavior towards Iran might be the deep distrust that the Europeans ultimately bear against the leaders of the "Islamic Republic." It is a distrust that indeed appears justified against the background of the outrageous statements by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but is much older than the Iranian president's term in office.

After all, the nuclear crisis with Iran began during the term of President Mohammed Khatami, who was well-liked in the West. Iranian nuclear policies are even much older.

But in all these years, Europe has craved the grace of Iran as an economic partner. It has, in favor of its own economic interests, turned a blind eye to human rights violations, the lack of civic freedom, as well as the oppression and persecution of political opponents in Iran.

All of a sudden now, Iran is supposed to apparently develop into the greatest threat in the region. Because no one wants to believe that it wants to use nuclear energy for power generation despite its immense oil and gas deposits? Or maybe because no one "trusts those mullahs an inch"?

Openness instead of sanctions

The Europeans actually wanted to negotiate with Iran, in order to demonstrate to Washington that something can be achieved by diplomatic means. It appears there's nothing left of these ambitions.

The White House can be proud of the European support. But the transatlantic anti-Iran coalition is nothing more than a paper tiger. Everyone knows that in the Security Council, sanctions would be met with China's opposition and probably also its veto.

Sanctions have never brought about anything anywhere anyway. But openness and sincerity have. It is an invitation not only to Tehran, but also even more so to the Europeans.

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