Date:  19970416



Foreign commentators pondered last week's ruling by a German court that the Iranian government had ordered the killing of Kurdish dissidents at a restaurant in Berlin in 1992.

A majority of commentators in Europe--along with some media voices in Asia and Latin America--applauded the court's decision as "courageous," saying it sends a warning to the Iranian mullahs that the stakes are "high" should they continue with their state-sponsored terrorism on foreign territory. Many analysts also welcomed as "overdue" the EU's subsequent suspension of its policy of "critical dialogue" with Tehran. Cologne's national radio Deutschlandfunk said: "For much too long, the law and the noble principles of human rights have been subordinated to national interests." But others--mostly hailing from Muslim and Arab countries and, notably, Russia--were critical of Germany and the EU's "anti-Iran" action. Many saw only the hand of the U.S. behind it. Doha's semi-official Al-Watan insisted that this recent development is just another example of the U.S. continuing "to threaten one Arab and Islamic country after another with the aim of forcing them to follow its rules." In Iran, media voices lashed out at what they perceived as "new efforts" by the U.S.--and its ally Israel--"to isolate Tehran." Russian dailies, meanwhile, joined in criticizing the European action against Iran. A number of writers discerned in the EU-Iran dispute an "opportunity" for Moscow to step in as Tehran's "partner." There were some cautious voices, however. Reformist Segodnya warned that Russia may have to pay a high price, as such relations "may reflect on her prestige."

Analysts spent considerable editorial time wondering what impact all this would have on European-Iranian relations, as well as on a broader geopolitical scale involving the U.S. and the Middle East region. Assessments were mixed. A few in Europe maintained that the verdict has effectively removed an "obstacle" in U.S.-EU ties, with some urging the organization to "join the American...embargo and...politically isolate" Iran. Most commentators, however, including those who supported the German court verdict, contended, that Europe has "no choice but to maintain cool relations with Tehran." Editorialists argued that it would be hard to bring about a change in attitude in Iran by isolating the country. They were also skeptical about the effectiveness of an embargo and doubted that the Europeans would unite on the issue--given the "commercial attractiveness of Iran." The possibility of increased instability for an already teetering Middle East region worried many observers, and the U.S. role was a major focus. A number of commentators said that the U.S. was "pleased" with the court decision, but some thought otherwise. They held that Washington was worried, that after the German decision, the evidence could harden against Iran regarding its role in the killing of U.S. servicemen in Saudi Arabia. An Australian paper concluded that if the U.S. is persuaded, "the consequences will be much graver than a few weeks of diplomatic musical chairs." Noting that the German verdict has catapulted Iran once again into the international spotlight, dailies in two Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, perceived an increased threat to the Gulf region. Papers expressed concern about Iran's influence in Hezbollah cells in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait,

charging that Tehran "uses" Arab young men to further its "own political ends."

This survey is based on 51 reports from 16 countries, April 10-16.

EDITOR: Diana McCaffrey


GERMANY: " A Relationship Without Sense"

Centrist General-Anzeiger of Bonn (4/16) published this editorial by Thomas Wittke: "Tehran wants to limit the foreign policy damage which resulted from the fanatic demonstrations against Germany. The economically worn out country cannot afford a confrontation with the entire European Union. The soothing words of the Iranian parliament speaker indicate that the country realizes all too well the risks of a complete international isolation. But the question remains how patient the key politician of the mullah regime will be.

It is in the logic of the Mykonos verdict that German authorities will soon start to issue international warrants of arrest for Iranian key politicians. What is only natural in a constitutional state must be seen as a provocation in Tehran. A German-Iranian meeting on the foreign minister level would be impossible since Bonn would always need to push for the warrant of arrest for Ali Akbar Velayati. Thus it would be more honest, if the European foreign ministers would seriously consider the question whether they ought to cease diplomatic relations with Tehran. Relations with a country, which orders the murder of its opposition leaders in Germany, make no sense. The Iranian state leaders did not distance themselves with a single word from this crime."

"Kinkel's 'Critical Dialogue' Policy Provides A Case For Investigation" Right-of-center Neue Presse of Hanover declared (4/16), "Klaus Kinkel's 'critical dialogue' with the regime in Tehran was a failure. Human rights were not supported. But covered up by nice words, secret business deals developed; the federal republic became the pivotal in the armament in Iran. In continuation of the unscrupulous poison gas aid to Libya and chemical weapons and missiles to Iraq, business without morality proceeded. One hundred and twenty firms are charged to have delivered the state terrorists in Tehran with military technology. It is hard to believe that the government in Bonn discovered this only now.

The other side of the 'critical dialogue' is a case for an investigation committee."

"German-Iranian Damage Control"

Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (4/14) said: "The verbal saber-rattling from Iran and the mass rallies in front of the Bonn Embassy in Tehran cannot obscure the fact that the Iranian reactions to the Berlin verdict...are well planned. Tehran as well as Bonn are making efforts not to escalate the situation to such an extent that mutual economic interests are really affected. Despite the latest diplomatic overtures from Moscow, Tehran continues to be dependent on Germany, and a lot of the rhetoric of the Iranian rulers is...not genuine, since an election campaign is going on in the country and what government would not show such demonstrative outrage in view of such harsh accusations?...

And it is certainly no coincidence that the most important politicians for the dialogue, Foreign Minister Kinkel and the likely new president, Natek-Nuri, have shown restraint."

"No Unified Voice For Europe"

P. Geers commented on national radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (4/11): "The statement of the European Union is now under the fatal impression that it was the verdict of a court in Berlin that prompted the EU to give up the 'critical dialogue,' which was wrong right from the outset, and showed no respect for human dignity. This makes the whole affair so embarrassing since, for much too long, the law and the noble principles of human rights have been subordinated to national interests. It would have been much more honest to describe the matter as economic opportunism.

"Those people must also accept this accusation who still do not want a total break with of contacts with Iran. They continue to harbor the illusion that regimes whose policy is based on a fundamentalist Islamic and thus closed philosophy, can be prompted with Western thinking patterns to change their policies.

This is more than naive. If the Europeans are now redefining their policy toward Iran, it must be tantamount to a factual isolation of this country, something that has been practiced for years with Libya. However, yesterday's statement also casts a clear picture on the inability of the EU to speak with one voice in foreign policy."

"EU Cannot Forge Common Foreign Policy"

Regional radio station Bayerischer Rundfunk of Munich (4/11) broadcast this commentary: "As always in previous years, different interests reveal that the EU is split when it comes to a common foreign policy.... The Europeans have shown double standards for a long time. It is to be hoped that the times are over when they formed a fist in their pockets because of the human rights violations but, at the same time, rolled out the red carpet for representatives of state terrorism....

A common European view will pay off, because it would strengthen liberal forces..... Only with this kind of support will it be possible to produce a better situation in Iran." "'Critical Dialogue' Policy Now In Ruins"

National ZDF-TV's early evening newscast "Heute" (4/10) commented: "This policy is now in ruins, and it will be a long time before it can be even partially repaired.... But perhaps the verdict will make the mullahs understand at long last that the risk their hired killers undertake when they hunt opposition politicians on German territory is extremely high."

"What Should Bonn Do?"

National radio station Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (4/10) concluded: "Never before has a court in Europe characterized the Iranian government so clearly as a rogue state.... Whoever wants to maintain the so-called 'critical dialogue' with Iran after this verdict must face the accusation of trying to boost the reputation of a criminal regime.... The verdict is an example of how good our legal system is. Bonn should follow the same example."

"Expose Indeed, But Don't Isolate"

Centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich maintained (4/11), "What now, Mr. Kinkel?... There's no doubt that the verdict puts an end to the 'critical dialogue' with the Islamic republic.... It is time for Minister Kinkel to act. The words he chooses to speak in the world of diplomacy should not just ring in the ears of the mullahs, they should hurt. However, Bonn doesn't have all that many options, apart from a complete break in relations.... Bonn, indeed Europe, can do no more than expose the regime for what it is.... The only thing that would put an end to the murderous regime would be total, worldwide isolation.

That, however, will never happen, and everybody knows it. It has been shown that strict rejection of the mullah regime does not work. After all, the United States has boycotted the revolution since its inception...but 'containment,' an embargo and indirect sanctions have all failed....

"In view of the U.S. experience, a total freeze in relations is exactly what should not happen as a result of the Mykonos verdict. The 'critical dialogue' may be over, but Germany and Europe have no choice but to maintain cool relations with Tehran.... In spite of everything, the regime seems to be firmly in the saddle....

The situation is similar to the situation in the final three years of the communist system--things are not going well, there's no improvement in sight, and time is ripe for change.... Change must come in systems that do nor function politically or economically.... If this is to happen, one should combine a tough stance vis-a-vis the leadership in Tehran with support for those forces that favor the separation of church and state in the revolutionary regime.... These forces are few, but they exist, and that's why the dialogue must go on."

"No Need For Complete Break In Relations"

Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (4/11) front-paged this commentary by senior foreign editor Werner Adam, "Of course there are national interests that can be maintained only by questionable means at times of duress, so there need not be a complete break in relations between Germany and Iran.... The Berlin court's decision to act according to the rule of law makes it impossible to return to the unfortunately all-too-common policy of trying to curry favor."

BRITAIN: "West Powerless To Back Suspicion With Firm Action"

Edinburgh's independent Scotsman had this commentary (4/11): "Iran's involvement in international terror is extensive and has long been the cause of persistent problems between Tehran and the West.... From the American perspective, the most worrying question at the moment is whether there was an Iranian role in the killing of U.S. servicemen at Al-Khobar in Saudi Arabia last June.... The United States is worried that if an Iranian connection is proved, the United States would have to respond militarily as well as economically. At present it does not feel it would necessarily be able to maintain its delicate position of military dominance based on friendship with the conservative Arab states of the Gulf if it were to become involved in a military clash with Iran.... The Americans have long been convinced that terrorist activities overseas are approved at the highest level by the Iranian authorities. However, the problem for both Europe and the United States is that while they are now both equally convinced of Iranian participation in acts of terrorism overseas, neither of them has come up with an effective policy for countering it."

FRANCE: "America's Game"

Charles Lambroschini said in right-of-center Le Figaro (4/15): "Europe and the United States have equally failed when it comes to Iran. Neither the 'critical dialogue' nor ostracism has managed to convince Tehran's regime to abandon terrorism.... The United States has added hypocrisy to its errors. The D'Amato Act, which forbids European companies dealing with Iran to do business in the United States, conveniently ignores those U.S. companies which, through foreign subsidiaries, bypass the Iranian embargo.... (But) Washington's contradictions are such that a change of policy could very well Richard Nixon's change toward China.... Instead of confronting each other, Europeans and the United States would be wise to agree. Only through a joint approach is there any hope of countering Iran."

"The Iranian Dilemma"

According to Guillaume Guibert in Catholic La Croix (4/15): "The main question is whether a European embargo against Iran would be effective.... That is doubtful...and yet, Europe can hardly go back to business as usual. To continue with the 'critical dialogue' after the German ruling would mean that Europe has given up any hope of playing an international role, other than in economic issues."

"Washington Trying To Profit From Iran-Europe Tension"

Right-of-center Les Echos' Daniel Bastion observed (4/14): "Washington has good reason to gloat. This weekend, the EU unanimously opposed Tehran and...the European Commission suspended its proceedings at the WTO against the Helms-Burton law.... Although Washington can be pleased by the turn of events, the situation on the whole has not changed. On the one hand, the EU's action at the WTO was essentially dictated by a desire not to embarrass this newly created organization; as for the EU's position vis-a-vis Iran, it was dictated by the EU's own conception of democracy."

"German Courts Show Tremendous Courage"

Jean-Claude Kieffer wrote in regional Les Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace (4/11): "The German courts have shown tremendous courage, a courage which has unleashed a major diplomatic crisis."


"Ayatollahs Safe From Europe's Arrows"

An editorial in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica said (4/15): "The decision of the European countries (with the exception of Greece) to withdraw their ambassadors as a gesture of solidarity with Germany and to suspend the 'critical dialogue' with Tehran does not seem to worry the ayatollahs at all. On the contrary, it has provided them with ammunition for their usual anti-Western rhetoric and has given them an excuse for making fun of the Western Satan, convinced as they are that the European 'beau geste' is more for appearances than it is substantial.... Europe's need to be keep its products present on the Iranian market and its dependence on Iranian oil puts the ayatollahs in a safe position. Europe, in fact, has already repented for its 'beau geste.' And Italy is no exception to that. The Italian Foreign Ministry has officially let it be known that 1) the withdrawal of the Italian ambassador is temporary; 2) the future of EU-Iran relations will be examined thoroughly by EU foreign ministers on April 29 in Luxembourg."

"Iran's Isolation Can Only Grow"

An analysis in provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio pointed out (4/15): "If the 'withdrawal for consultations' of all EU ambassadors from Tehran...and the re-examination at the end of the month of EU-Iranian relations in a special meeting do not lead to a break in diplomatic and commercial relations with Iran, they will certainly lead to a freezing of relations and the lines of export credits granted to Iran so far.... In the short term, Iran's isolation can only grow. Japan, its traditional trade and oil partner, will likely have to slow down on relations with Iran. The ayatollahs' regime will be left with only one option, i.e. intensifying trade, military and strategic relations with Asian countries, China and Russia.... But there is no doubt that an increase in trade exchanges between Tehran, Moscow and Beijing cannot even for a moment make up for the deterioration of relations with Europe.

We cannot exclude the possibility that, in the not too distant future, Washington may think of emphasizing its policy aimed at the destabilization of the Iranian regime, perhaps even by resorting to some reprisal actions of a military kind."

"Only A Temporary Chill In Relations With Iran"

Left-leaning, influential La Repubblica said (4/12): "To give a demonstration of firmness while at the same time limiting damage and avoiding an escalation of the crisis--this seems to be the attitude of European nations in the wake of the verdict issued by the Berlin court, which accused Tehran's political and religious leaders of state terrorism. A verdict which everybody has termed courageous. It is now the turn of politics, however, to take responsibility for this act of courage. The bridges with Tehran should be blocked for the time being, but not demolished: This is how the reaction by European nations can be interpreted. A German Foreign Ministry spokesman...underscored the fact that the recalling of the ambassadors is a temporary measure: 'Diplomatic relations were not interrupted.'... German economic circles expressed their criticism. As Europe is turning its back on Tehran, Russian President Yeltsin, receiving an Iranian politician in Moscow, did not miss the occasion to underscore that Russia will intensify relations with Iran. Russia is disappointed at having to swallow NATO enlargement and is seeking allies wherever it can find them."

"Germany: Exposed A La Beirut?"

Alessandro Di Lellis cautioned from Berlin in Rome's centrist Il Messaggero (4/11): "German judges were courageous. But, as of yesterday, Germany is exposed to scenarios which may well recall the worst moments in Beirut.

And a diplomatic war has begun between Iran and Europe."

"Crucial Policy Reversal For European Union"

Ennio Caretto filed from Washington in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (4/11): "This is a crucial policy reversal for the European Union--suggested by Germany which asked for the solidarity of its European allies--on which there should be no differences. A turn praised by Washington, which intends to 'carve it in stone,' asking for the suspension of all trade and financial relations between Europe and the ayatollahs' regime."


"Moscow Profits By Mykonos Story"

Reformist Segodnya (4/16) front-paged this article by Georgy Bovt and Stanislav Tarasov: "Objectively, Moscow profits by the Mykonos case..... There is a chance for Moscow in the Middle East where it has looked pretty helpless of late."

"There's No Isolating Iran"

Reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily held (4/12): "Iran is too big and influential. It has not been isolated before, and will hardly be isolated now. The way things may go now, in no small measure, depends on what Russia does. Russia can shape the near future of the Middle East and Central Asia."

"Attractive Partner"

Vasily Pakin said in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (4/12): "Obviously, Iran must welcome rapprochement with Russia, or it will wind up in a political vacuum because of weakened ties with Western Europe and the latest events in Germany.... Iran is no simple partner. Yet it is attractive. We can't afford to lose such an ally. After all, the more allies we find, the stronger (Eastern) axis we have."

"Russia's Prestige May Suffer"

Andrei Smirnov judged on page one of reformist Segodnya (4/12): "Russia would like to replace Germany as Iran's principal trading partner. Cooperation with (Iran) offers indisputable economic benefits, and political rapprochement with it is often seen as a way to bring pressure to bear on the West in the dialogue on NATO enlargement. But there, evidently, is a price Russia will have to pay, as those relations may reflect on her prestige."

"West's Anti-Iran Action Timed To Nouri Visit"

Neo-communist Pravda (4/12) ran this piece by Vyacheslav Zalomov on page one: "As the West has clearly set out to carry out its threat to isolate Iran, Germany, surprisingly, is the one which sets the tone in this campaign.... It looks as if the anti-Iran actions were timed expressly to Iranian parliamentary speaker Nouri's visit to Russia. According to the Russian military, Moscow may consider selling Iran C-300 rockets. That could be one of Russia's responses to NATO enlargement."

"Moscow Welcomes Chance To Snub U.S."

Sergei Ivanov, commenting on the Iranian parliament leader's visit to Moscow, said in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (4/11), "As she loses ground in the West, Russia seeks and finds areas to satisfy her ambition in the East. Russia is in a better position than Western countries which always have to look over their shoulders, unsure of the Iran-phobic Washington's reaction. Unlike them, Moscow welcomes any chance to snub the American partner."

BELGIUM: "Countering Iran, A Terrorist State"

Pierre Lefevre wrote in independent Le Soir (4/12): "Iran was suspected of sponsoring international terrorism. The sentence issued by the Berlin court demonstrates that the regime's highest officials are definitely implicated in the murder of opponents abroad. This is unacceptable. This first condemnation of a terrorist state by a European court--a fine demonstration of independence vis-a-vis state reason--cannot remain without consequence.... Firmness is definitely required. The ayatollahs' illegal and criminal actions cannot remain unpunished. Judging by the irony of the Iranian president about the previous very temporary withdrawal of European ambassadors on the occasion of the Rushdie case, any new weakness would represent an encouragement to commit other crimes. Europe must stop bringing its foreign policy into line with its trade interests only.

"Greater coherence is also indispensable, not only between Europeans and Americans whose respective positions neutralized each other so far to a large extent, but also with the Russians and the Chinese who scramble to occupy, sometimes indiscriminately, the commercial, technological and military positions abandoned by Westerners. It is nevertheless advisable to act intelligently and to leave the door open to a positive evolution of the Iranian regime.... For lack of a real alternative, the Western world has no other choice than to bet on the rise of moderates within the regime. Their last chances should not be killed."

"'Critical Dialogue' Jeopardized, Washington Smiles"

Pierre Lefevre wrote in independent Le Soir (4/11): "The Berlin trial could...provide an opportunity to harmonize to a certain extent the Western positions regarding Iran. The United States itself seems about to revise its policy toward Iran. During her Paris stopover, last February, Madeleine Albright, observing that the American and European approaches to Iran had similarly failed, suggested looking for a joint approach. The Berlin verdict will certainly not make a softening of the U.S. position easier. But this softening will mainly depend on the conclusions, official or real, of the investigation of the attack against U.S. troops last June in Dhahran, in Saudi Arabia. It seems that both Riyadh and Washington would prefer to be able to conclude that Tehran is innocent to avoid reprisals, in the name both of stability in the Gulf region and of their own economic interests."

THE NETHERLANDS: "Terror State Iran"

Centrist Het Parool observed (4/12): "The German court's verdict allows for removal of an obstacle in European-American relations.

If the EU really wants to do something about the regime in Tehran, it will have to join the American trade and weapons embargo and it will also have to politically isolate the country as long as it does not cease its international terrorists activities."

"U.S. Joy Is Premature"

Influential, liberal De Volkskrant opined (4/12): "The EU decision to postpone its critical dialogue with Iran very much pleases the United States. The State Department came out saying that it was pleased that the Europeans finally realize the terrorist character of the Iranian regime, which, according to the American analysis destabilizes the Middle East. The American joy at the bankruptcy of the dialogue is premature. A large number of EU member states did indeed withdraw their ambassadors from Tehran, but we have to wait and see if they can agree on sanctions to be taken against Iran.... The Iran issue has increasingly been a source of conflict between the United States and the EU.... The Berlin verdict forces the EU to adjust its Iran policy. The change in course will have to result in larger European influence on the attitude of the Iranian regime.

It has not been proven that the American boycott works better than the 'critical' dialogue."

"Tehran Has Own Ways: Murder, Torture"

Centrist Algemeen Dagblad commented (4/11): "The EU's critical dialogue should be re-evaluated. The court's ruling once again confirms that Tehran has its own ways. Murder, torture, and disappearing apparently are still accepted ways to get rid of opponents. This conclusion should have an impact on Dutch policy regarding Iranian refugees who have exhausted all possibilities to get asylum in the Netherlands."

"Europe Must Make Clear To Tehran: State Terrorism Not Acceptable"

Calvinist-left Trouw's front-page editorial said (4/11): "In retrospect, we can only conclude that Europe has been remarkably lenient towards Iran.... Now with the court's ruling, we can no longer afford that attitude. It will have to be made clear to Tehran that practicing state terrorism is absolutely impossible. As firm as the Union is now taking one stance, it will have to hold on to it. It would be shameful if after some months, as was the case in the Rushdie affair, it would return to business as usual. As chairman of the EU, the Netherlands called on all member states to withdraw their ambassadors from Iran to show solidarity with Germany. All but Greece did."

TURKEY: "Who Will Benefit From Pressing Iran?"

Ilnur Cevik, editor-in-chief of the English-language Turkish Daily News wrote the following in pro-Islamic Zaman (4/16): "If Iran is on the wrong path, we have to warn it in a friendly way. This cannot be done by isolating Iran. Even Iranian leaders say that they are not angry at Germany; they are only upset about the current developments. People in Turkey should understand that there is no room for sentiment in international relations."

"What Else Can Germany Do?"

Turgut Tarhanli held in intellectual Radikal (4/15): "While the German court reached a verdict...the highest figures of the Iranian regime did not reply in a lawful manner. They preferred political rhetoric and listed cliches, such as anti-Iran plots, anti-Islam plots and U.S. imperialism. The Iranians have no other options because they know well that the Mykonos case is a serious violation of both international and German laws. Now the question is what else can Germany do? The Europeans cannot easily put aside the commercial attractiveness of Iran. Since there is no need for a UN-sized action, it looks like each country will shape a stance according to its individual needs."

"Nobody Is Blind"

Sedat Sertoglu wrote this in top-circulation Sabah (4/14): "The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is trying to protect Turkey's national interests despite some countermoves by the pro-Islamic Refah coalition. We all know that, since 1980, Iran has been dreaming of trying to impose an Iran-like regime in Turkey, which is an absolutely impossible goal to achieve. The German court's decision on Iran is certainly a very interesting development. But I wonder why the European nations did not show the same degree of solidarity with Turkey when Ankara disclosed the fact that both Iran and Syria are supporting terrorism? Europeans now admit that Iran is bad. Should we expect to see a Syrian-agent murder case either in Bonn or in London, so that they will realize that Syria supports terrorism, too? The Western world should immediately support Turkey's call for solidarity against these two terrorism-supporting countries."

"We Have Worries"

This comment by Fehmi Koru appeared on page one of pro-Islamic Zaman (4/14): "Is Iran is involved in international terrorism as a state? The United States' answer is an absolute yes. Now 15 members of the EU have also joined Washington. We are not in a position to know what strong evidence caused the German court to reach this decision. However, terrorism is the most serious problem in this century, so we understand why countries are very sensitive on this issue. On the other hand, I have a worry which I think I have to state again: Sometimes countries are isolated just because of rumors, hostilities and/or unreliable witnesses. We do not have to forget the fact that the embargoes against Iraq and Libya affected Turkey very negatively also. When Iran is isolated Turkey again will suffer. We have to convince some countries not to get involved in any kind of terrorism, and we should also make sure that no country is blamed wrongfully."



"Severance Of European Ties Will Fail To Isolate Iran"

Official Tehran Radio broadcast this in English (4/13): "Europe is not Iran's only choice. Therefore, the suspension or even severance of ties with Iran by European states will fail to isolate Iran politically.... Even the European states joining the U.S. embargo against Iran will fail to affect Iran. And finally, Iran's geopolitical, economic and security status in the region necessitates cooperation of the European states with Iran."

"Iran Ready To Cooperate With Russia To Counterbalance U.S."

The official, English-language Iran Times held (4/13): "Iran is ready to fully cooperate with Russia to play an active role in the region to counterbalance the United States."

"Mykonos Aftermath: New Efforts By U.S., Israel To Isolate Tehran"

Tehran's Voice of the Islamic Republic declared (4/10), "The gathering of the terrorist groups in front of the Iranian Embassy in Bonn, the state of alert by the German police forces in Berlin and pretending Iran is unsafe for European citizens and diplomats, especially Germans, all indicate that the United States and the Zionist regime, in continuation of the Mykonos case, have initiated new efforts and political publicities in order to isolate Tehran. Washington, in addition to all-sided diplomatic and economic pressures, allocated a $20 million budget in December 1995. This budget will be placed at the disposal of the terrorist opposition groups, including MKO, to be used inside and outside the country of Iran against the interests of the country.

Washington's financial and political support for these groups and the support extended to them by the other Western countries, are directed at being utilized by world imperialism against the Islamic Republic of Iran when necessary."


"Targeting Iran"

In the editorial view of the center-right Nation (4/15), "A trade embargo against Iran that the United States wants Europe to impose, is not likely to find much support in Europe because many European countries, including Germany and France, may have occasion for second thoughts on the diplomatic stand-off that they precipitated when they meet to review the situation at the end of this month.... Condemning a country without giving it the opportunity to defend itself is bad for international harmony and peace."

"Europe Caves In To Washington, Tel Aviv"

The pro-Iran Muslim expressed this view (4/12): "The European Union, after holding out for a number of years, has finally caved in to U.S. pressures to isolate Iran, calling off critical dialogue.... The deep involvement of the CIA in the decade of violence in Europe in the mid 70's Red Guards-Bader Meinhoff gangs, did not provoke even a protest in Europe. Europe's criminal silence and complicity in mass murders in Bosnia and now Albania, Algeria, etc. perfectly portrays the extent of its shameless pandering to Washington and Tel Aviv.... Hopefully, better sense will prevail as the EU reviews its attitude towards Iran, lest it looks like a fool, when the United States itself makes a policy volte-face and builds bridges with Iran, just like it did with China."



"Will Kuwait Come Next?"

Leading, semi-independent Al-Ayam stressed in a comment (4/14) by Abdul Munem Ibrahim: "There are many indications that groups linked to Hezbollah have begun increasing their activities in Kuwait. Their history shows they begin with demonstrations of enmity towards the United States of America and Israel, and then focus their enmity...on the leadership of the country they reside in.... This is what has happened in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.... There is concern in the region that the third strike (of radical Shia with links to Iran), after the (alleged Hezbollah) strikes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, will be Kuwait."

JORDAN: "Iran Stands To Lose"

Daily columnist Mahmoud Rimawi opined on the op-ed page of pro-government, influential, Arabic-language Al-Ray (4/15): "The

current standoff between Iran and Germany is the worst development between the Islamic republic and a European country.... While Washington sees this standoff as an endorsement of its own firm policies on Iran, Russia, a neighboring country of Iran, quickly activated its contacts and cooperation with Iran.... It is clear that Iran stands to lose the most out of such a conflict with the European Community."


"U.S. Continues To Threaten One Arab And Islamic Countries"

Semi-offical Al-Watan held (4/14): "The United States believes that the German court decision is sufficient to provide support for a long awaited strike on Iran. Several European countries, like certain German circles, however, realize that it is in their interests not to highlight differences with Iran. France, Austria, Greece and some other countries quickly opposed severing political and economic ties with Iran. The German foreign minister has made similar statements. It is perhaps coincidence that these developments occur as Libya remembers the strikes it received in 1986. But it is a coincidence that raises many questions. The United States and Britain attacked Libya to teach it a lesson. The results, however, were only civilian deaths. The United States continues to threaten one Arab and Islamic country after another with the aim of forcing them to follow its rules."

SAUDI ARABIA: "Iran's Victim"

London-based, Saudi-owned weekly newsmagazine Al Majalla (4/15) carried a commentary by editor-in-chief Abdulrahman Ar-Rashid, "Hani Al-Sayegh is the victim because he went to Iran believing there was a new system that would solve all problems.... He went there to study and then found himself driven to a military training school established against his country to recruit others to serve Iran's goals. When Al-Sayegh traveled from his country, he hadn't heard the story of many Arab Shia who had lived in the southwest of Iran and had been badly treated by the Iranian government. Al-Sayegh mentioned this in his letter to Al Majalla--a truth he recognized after spending 10 years of his life in Iranian camps and moving between Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. The difficult and sad fact was that Iran was using him and other artless young men for its own political ends, not to serve them."


AUSTRALIA: "Iran's Denial On Terrorism"

The editorial in the liberal Sydney Morning Herald said (4/14): "The question of Iran's sponsorship of terrorism outside its borders looms large in the Middle East peace process. And it is always in danger of colliding directly with the interests of the United States. The German court's identification of Iranian government responsibility for murders in Berlin in 1992 coincides with a similar identification by Canadian authorities last week of Iranian government complicity in the truck-bombing of a U.S. military compound in Saudi Arabia last year. The official U.S. response to the Canadian accusations has so far been cautious. But the evidence in this could harden against the Iranian regime.

If it does, the United States is persuaded that Tehran did direct the bombing which killed 19 U.S. servicemen and wounded 500 others, the consequences will be much graver than a few weeks of diplomatic musical chairs."


ARGENTINA: "Hypo-Critical Dialogue"

An editorial in the independent, English-language Buenos Aires Herald (4/13) maintained, "The decision by a German court in Berlin...marks not only a long overdue U-turn in the relations between Germany and Iran, but a watershed in the relations between the democratic Western world and...Iran.... In the wake of the events taking place in Germany, it is hoped that the verdict has both an impact on the Iranian regime and on those parties in this country who continue going out of their way to prove that almost anybody --with the exception of the main suspects--must be responsible for the terrorist attack on the Israeli Embassy and Amia building. As was proved in Berlin earlier this week, all that is needed is a court of justice with the will and capacity to investigate with complete judicial objectivity, establishing truth and justice while offering no concessions to political necessity."

Keywords:  Terrorism; Iran; European-Iran Relations
Thematic Codes:  6A;
Languages:  English