As Iran Celebrates, Europe Worries
As the Iranian online media celebrates a nuclear technology breakthrough, European observers see a deepening confrontation between the Islamic Republic and the rest of the world.
The disparate reaction to news that Iran has processed a small amount of uranium for the first time illuminates the challenge facing the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) and the United Nations as they seek to ensure Iranian compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty amid news reports in Washington that the United States is contemplating military strikes.
"Iran joins the nuclear technology club," proclaims the government-sponsored Iran Daily alongside a photo of President Mahmoud Ahmadnejad clasping his hands over his head. The Mehr News emphasizes the president's claim that "Iran's nuclear technology is solely for civilian purposes," while the Islamic Republic News Agency headlines Ahmadnejad's claim that "Iran will now talk to world in a different language."
Iran's breakthrough could help resolve the international impasse over Iran's nuclear program, say two leading Iranian dailies, according to a BBC media survey
"This achievement gives Iran a good bargaining chip in its possible talks with America on the one hand and the imminent nuclear negotiations on the other hand. The possibility of a nuclear compromise between Iran and other parties has been increased," said Sharq, a reformist daily.
Mardom-Salary, a moderate newspaper in Tehran, said, "It is now the diplomats' turn to open a new horizon in the nuclear negotiations and make the best use of the short time before the possible referral of Iran's nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council... [IAEA chief Mohamed] ElBaradei's imminent trip to Tehran is the one of the latest opportunities for Iranians to find a way out of the nuclear dispute."
Two London dailies say the opposite. The Times of London sees Iran "ratcheting up" the confrontation.
Julian Borger of The Guardian says Ahmadnejad's defiance "plays into hands of US hawks," who should now have a far easier time persuading U.N. members of Iran's true intentions. Borger quotes an unnamed U.S. official: "I can't imagine anyone would be pleased by such a blatant disregard of what the council has asked for."
Russia is calling on Iran to suspend all the uranium enrichment efforts, including research, a Foreign Ministry's spokesman told the Itar-Tass news agency. The Moscow News reports that Iran has already rejected the call.
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