Tracking Number:  452077

Title:  "Iran and Libya Sanctions Act: 'A Storm Is Brewing'." Commentators say the US sanctions and European resistance to them are increasingly viewed as a "trial of strength" between the EU and the US and one of the greatest sources of trade tension this year. (960812)

Date:  19960812


Monday, August 12, 1996


Complaints about American "hegemony" continued to resonate in foreign commentary over the weekend on the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996. Commentators said that the sanctions, and European resistance to them, is increasingly viewed as a "trial of strength" between the EU and the United States and one of greatest sources of trade tension this year. Several pundits agreed with Tokyo's business-oriented Nihon Keizai which said that the U.S. should implement the sanctions in a "more prudent manner" and keep in mind "the importance of maintaining cooperative ties with its allies and avoiding unnecessary trade friction."

Media outlets in Iran, Turkey and Israel focused on the latest wrinkle in the story--Turkey's challenge to the sanctions by signing a multimillion dollar gas pipeline deal with Iran. Iranian and several Turkish papers praised the agreement and Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan's visit to Iran for the signing ceremony as a boost to regional stability and cooperation. Among those who disapproved of the accord was Turkey's top- circulation, sensationalist Sabah which warned that Erbakan has entered "dangerous" waters in engaging the mullahs.

In Israel, a paper favorable to the new Likud government said that Israel was "worried" by the visit, despite Ankara's good relations with Israel. The paper, religious, pro-government Hatzofe, said it hoped that Tehran and Ankara had not entertained visions of a common Islamic front that would threaten the free world and that there would be no change in Turkey's attitude toward democracy.

The European media continued to firmly state EU objections to the U.S. legislation but they also highlighted their governments' concerns about prolonged transatlantic trade friction. In London, the conservative weekly Spectator asked its readers if it is really "safe" to oppose the United States in such matters as trade with Libya and Iran. It added, "If we go on getting on the wrong side of America in a series of smaller things, the Americans may not be on our side when next we need them for a big thing."

In Asia, writers asked why the United States was "fighting developing countries" that "do not want to follow the White House policy" and accused the U.S. of being "rash and excessively self-righteous" in passing the legislation. The press in nations with sizable Muslim populations from Indonesia to Pakistan and with commercial or cultural ties to Iran complained that they will now have to look over their shoulder in their dealings with the regime.

This survey is based on 43 reports from 27 countries, August 7- 12.

EDITORS: Gail Hamer Burke and Pat McArdle


IRAN: "Historic Bonds Between Turkey, Iran Consolidated"

The official, English-language Kayhan International noted (8/11) that the Turkish premier's visit to Tehran would boost stability and peace in the region and help pave the way for greater regional cooperation.

The paper said, in editorial comment: "Erbakan's trip to the Islamic Republic (of Iran) comes amid new initiatives on Ankara's part and sets a new mark in the course of relations between Turkey and its Muslim neighbors."

The paper quoted Erbakan as saying: "'Turkey is Iran's neighbor and wants to develop its relations with that country in the framework of mutual interests.'"

The editorial concluded: "Obviously, Erbakan's visit will consolidate the historical bonds between Iran and Turkey and open a new era in bilateral relations."

"Clinton's Sanctions Bill Unites Allies, Opponents"

Iran's official news agency IRNA (8/8) continued follow worldwide criticism of U.S. sanctions policy, "In signing the 'Iran and Libya Sanctions Act,' President Clinton called for a united stand against the two countries, but the only response achieved is in uniting U.S. allies and opponents against the measures.

Instead of gaining favor, the act has succeeded in antagonizing even governments normally supportive of U.S. policy as well as producing unusually outspoken criticism from such countries as China and Russia.

With the European Union being the most vociferous in threatening retaliation, some oil analysts have gone as far as suggesting that the attempt to punish foreign firms trading with Iran and Libya could be a watershed in transatlantic relations."


BRITAIN: "Stay Out Of Sir Leon's War"

The conservative weekly Spectator commented in a piece signed by the magazine's editor Frank Johnson (8/8): "Sir Leon Brittan, European Commissioner responsible for relations with North America, has just unwittingly hinted at which power the foreign policy of an ever closer European Union would be directed. It would be the United States. If Britons are happy with that, all well and good. There have always been Britons who dislike America--hate it, even. But in time of trouble, how many Britons would look to Europe for help rather than America? To this it may be replied that these are not times of trouble--compared with earlier times in this century. It is therefore safe to get on the wrong side of America in such matters as trade with Libya and Iran. That is probably right. But if we go on getting on the wrong side of America in a series of smaller things, the Americans may not be on our side when next we need them for a big thing.... The British, as a people, probably know that Europe's safety is too important to be left to Europeans. lt can only be guaranteed by that extension of European, and more specifically British, civilization which is to be found in North America."

"Handling Iran"

The independent Financial Times (8/8) held, "The legislation, coming after the Helms-Burton law...has exacerbated longstanding fears about 'extra-territoriality' -- the use of U.S. law to regulate other countries' behavior. European governments are right to object, and to prepare robust retaliation to protect their companies' legal interests. Whether they are also right to play the issue down, in the hope that President Bill Clinton will use his discretion to implement the new laws leniently, is more questionable.... At the core of the European case is the fact that U.S. assertions about Iran's role in terrorism remain unproven. While there is little doubt that

Iran, Libya and other countries have settled domestic scores through violence in Western capitals, Washington has yet to demonstrate that either Tehran or Tripoli is at present engaged in a campaign of state terror against other countries. The Europeans also maintain their 'critical dialogue' with Iran benefits all sides, including the United States and Israel, by keeping communications open.... The United States has more to gain from working with its allies against the terrorist threat than from punishing them with unacceptable legislation."

GERMANY: "National Interests Are Involved"

According to a commentator on national radio Deutschlandfunk of Cologne (8/7): "Of course, national interests are involved in the controversy about sanctions on foreign companies which have invested in Iran and Libya. However, the points are not the business interests of the affected companies but the national interest of the affected countries, which are determined in this case, by money. Look at the FRG: Its trade relations with Iran...have sharply declined over the past years. This development could not explain the German criticism of the announced punitive measures of the Clinton administration. The reason for the Bonn government's complaints are fears that German companies could write off Iran's outstanding payments if the Bonn government backed U.S. sanctions. And since a great deal of German private investments in Iran is based on collateral credits, it would be the German taxpayer who, in the end, would foot the bill.... If Chancellor Kohl said that this is one reason why he does not support (U.S.) sanctions on Iran, he would act economically defined, national interest."

"The Justified Interests Of The Europeans"

Right-of-center Allgemeine Zeitung of Mainz (8/8) argued: "While contemplating its own navel, (the United States) is forgetting that Atlantic partnership involves more than praising the spirit of freedom and demonstrating brotherhood in arms in Bosnia. When will the Americans learn to respect the justified interests of the Europeans, too, even though they do...not correspond with U.S. interests? Partnership a la Washington is increasingly presented in imperious tones: Everybody heeds my command, and those who do not like it will be punished. The United States, which has now been hit by terrorism, has become uncertain, and its formerly imperturbable self-confidence has been shaken. But this uncertainty should not lead to overreaction, to tutelage and attacks on the sovereignty of other states."

FRANCE: "Iran-Libya: Chirac Threatens U.S."

Left-of-center Liberation (8/8) said, "It's tit for tat. Chirac replies to Clinton.... Unlike Washington, Paris does not favor the policy aimed at isolating Iran mainly now that its dispute with Tehran over Iranian debts has just been resolved. This agreement, discreetly signed last month, could lead to a partial resumption of Iranian oil exports. (The oil company) Total should be the main beneficiary. On the other hand, the ambitions of Elf-Aquitaine could be put in jeopardy by the new bill."

ITALY: "Neither Side Wants Things To Go Too Far"

In a front-page article headlined "Prodi Writes To Clinton: 'Suspend Sanctions,'" leading financial Il Sole-24 Ore (8/10), after reporting on the contents of the Italian prime minister's letter, noted: "As things are now, this conflict between Europe and the United political in nature and its true basis is to be found in the equilibrium of American domestic politics. Neither of the two parties wants things to go too far, both being aware of the risks involved in a case at the WTO which until now has been playing a strong dissuasive role in other cases such as the U.S.-Japan dispute."

"Better U.S. Sanctions Than European Void"

A front-page commentary by foreign affairs pundit Barbara Spinelli ran in centrist La Stampa (8/11): "Suddenly, the Europeans have realized that they are only nations serving the leading power. They've realized they have no weight, they represent nothing.... Lately Washington has realized that there is a worldwide terrorist threat against the West that requires a world-wide response.... It has difficulties in expressing the reasoning...of its hard line against Iran and Libya, while it cautiously does not touch on Syria and Sudan.... But Europe which expresses indignation does not have any real reason to be surprised or has no ideas of its own.... Given such a situation, it is better to have the American sanctions rather than the void on which modern European beliefs are built."

"Washington Wants A World That Best Fits It"

Foreign Affairs pundit and former Ambassador Sergio Romano commented in centrist Il Messaggero (8/9), "The United States has exerted its leadership for 50 years, and has no intention of giving it up; all the more so since it won the Cold War.... The European Union has prepared a list of countermeasures. It is necessary to do something to avoid a frontal clash. Very likely negotiations will start. It might be possible to resort to WTO mediation or arbitration. But that also is a place where the United States does not seem willing to accept rules which are different from its own.... Italy is even more vulnerable, because it imports most of its oil from Iran and Libya and because gave up on nuclear energy. Luckily enough, other countries which negotiate with oil producing states...have nuclear power. Once more, this shows that Italy, without Europe, is lost."

"Dialogue Without Passivity"

Ennio Caretto, in a front-page commentary in centrist, top- circulation Corriere della Sera (8/8), observed: "Circumstances have been such that over the last few weeks Italy has been the most penalized among America's allies; after losing the pasta now risks losing the oil war.... Since the crisis in Bosnia, Washington seems to ignore Italy's legitimate requests more and more frequently.... Certainly there is no preconceived hostility toward our country...(yet) even more certainly, the (U.S.) electoral campaign has played a role in the decision to adopt extraterritorial laws. But it is unquestionable that, since the end of the Cold War...the superpower has surrendered to the temptation of unilateralism; at a time when it is reducing its commitments in the world, it is simultaneously trying to impose its doctrines upon it.... This is an important strategic change which calls for reflection. Tensions with the United States are becoming one of the central themes of Italian foreign policy. The problem is how to overcome them and define a new dialogue."

CANADA: "Rounding Up The Usual Suspects"

In the conservative Ottawa Sun, foreign affairs writer Eric Margolis wrote (8/12) that "all the rumpus over Iran and Libya is in curious contrast to the administration's studied indifference to North Korea, which has at least two operational nuclear weapons (sic) and a broad array of chemical and biological weapons, all of which are targeted at U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan. Clearly, the Clinton administration has wholeheartedly adopted a strategy of replacing the threat of communism with that of terrorism--and mainly Islamic terrorism at that.... Some of this is the product of election fever. But some is real, and Europeans, who consider the Mideast their backyard, not Washington, are getting angry."

"Pouncing On Iran, Libya And Dole"

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald stated (8/7): "There's no question the United States has good cause to put economic pressure on Libya and Iran...and Mr. Clinton is right to say developed

nations must face the fact that combatting terrorism has a price. It may sometimes mean sacrificing the economic benefits of trade and investment.... All that said...the American sanctions...are misguided missiles. For they are founded on an assumption fundamentally unacceptable to other nations: Washington knows best and can dictate their foreign policy.... The bizarre result is that American sanctions have turned into a battle between allies and have made a mockery of any united front against terrorism."

RUSSIA: "U.S. Bill Finds No Understanding Abroad"

Maxim Yusin stated in reformist Izvestia (8/8): "The United States' desire to punish Iran and Libya for sponsoring international terrorism is finding no due understanding in Russia, Turkey, Japan or even among allies in Western Europe.... Theoretically, Russian firms may some time be affected by the U.S. law. But this won't happen, if they do not operate in the American market, while having business with Libya or Iran. So, those interested in the U.S. market would do well not to get involved with the Americans' worst enemies. Others shouldn't worry. Not until the UN decides to use sanctions against Tehran or Tripoli. But that is unlikely, with Moscow having veto power."

LATVIA: "Anti-Terrorism--Hollywood Style"

Centrist Neatkariga Rita Avize, in an editorial, jibed (8/12): "It seems that Europe, Asia and Brazil have had it up to their necks with the American tendency to play the role of world moralist or policeman.... Many places in the world smirk at their Hollywood phrase, 'the good guys always win'...especially since the 'bad guys' are usually the ones that in one way or another manage to get in the way of the great superpower's interests."

TURKEY: "Right Step"

In the view of mass-appeal Hurriyet's Sedat Ergin (8/12), the natural gas deal is the "right step," since it will calm the domestic audience although it may create problems in relations with the United States.

"Dangerous Waters"

Top-circulation, sensationalist Sabah columnist Birand claimed (8/12) that Erbakan has entered "dangerous" waters.

"We Have To Try To Understand Iran"

The English-language Turkish Daily News (8/12) said in a piece by Ilnur Cevik, "We have to try to understand Iran and its leadership instead of victimizing them."


BAHRAIN: "U.S. Sanctions A Mockery"

Leading, semi-official Akhbar Al-Khalij ran this comment by Hafedh Al-Shaikh (8/8): "It is true that the ruling establishment in the United States acted from a strong and very high position when it escalated and intensified the economic boycott of Iran and Libya, while at the same time increasing its arrogant language toward Iraq and Sudan.... What a mockery!...

The United States...following the collapse of the Soviet Union, is living in unprecedented rapture in all its current conduct. But what is also happening is that it is operating in a broad international environment that produces more and more hatred of the United a huge creature swimming in a dark sea filled with the fears of what is coming, from the north, south, east or west.

American power, armed with all the tools of violence, has reached the summit and there's nothing beyond the top but descent."

EGYPT: "U.S. Presence Increases Tension, Terrorism"

Thana El Said, columnist for liberal, opposition Al Wafd, asserted (8/11): "America talks about terrorism and terrorists.... But she has forgotten that she is the one who has made it and gave it legitimacy. There are many proofs; e.g., she let down her best friend, the shah of Iran, and rode the wave with Khomeini, who later exported terrorists and terrorism. There are also Arab Afghans who were trained, financed, and given license to kill as a means of fighting the former Soviet Union.... The United States has embraced and built bridges to Omar Abdul Rahman, the spiritual father of terrorism in Egypt.... Let the United States know that her presence in the region is a factor that increases tension and terrorism."

JORDAN: "A Storm Is Brewing"

According to influential, pro-government Al-Ray (8/8), "A storm is brewing between Washington and its allies. President Clinton's decision does not take the interests of other countries into consideration and it dares to impinge on the sovereignty of other countries. It mixes up and confuses political with commercial interests and violates international free trade.... The president's decision was made in the midst of a presidential election campaign and tries to placate the Zionist lobby which is opposed to Iran and Libya. These two countries have actually gained from America's unilateral action which has led to upsetting Washington's relations with its allies."


"Forswear Unilateral Steps"

The semi-independent, English-language Times of Oman (8/10) commented, "The world fury against the U.S. sanctions bill authored by Republican Senator Alfonse D'Amato indicates that Washington is not on the right track.... Not only the people of the United States but the bien pensants of all nations deplore and condemn terrorism in its protean forms like bomb blasts, hijackings or kidnappings. But punishing these firms which trade with the countries which are culprits in the eyes of the United States is arrant audacity and stupefying nonsense....

"The Clinton administration should review and forswear such unilateral steps and turn to the United Nations, instead, for consensual ways to tackle terrorism, or for that matter any problem with global implications."

ISRAEL: "The Worry And The Hope"

Religious, pro-government Hatzofe editorialized (8/12): "Turkey's Prime Minister Erbakan's visit to Iran is a challenge to the embargo imposed by the United States on the ayatollahs' regime. This is the first time the Turkish government has joined hands with an extremist Islamic country which is the enemy of the free, democratic world.... The Tehran rulers have great hopes in him. They expect him to join a common Islamic front, as the English-language Tehran Times wrote. Moreover, the Iranian press presents the visit as the failure of the U.S. effort to isolate the Islamic government of Iran.... Israel, too, is worried by the visit, despite the Ankara government's good relations with Israel.... Turkey's support of the Iranian regime could seriously hurt the free world and even encourage extremist Islamic organizations in terrorist conflict on the international scene....

We can only hope that, despite the fact that the Turkish prime minister has signed substantial contracts with Iran, there will be no major change in Turkey's attitude toward democracy and the good, developing relations between Ankara and Jerusalem."


"Another War?"

London-based, internationally-circulated Ash Sharq Al Awsat, in editorial, worried (8/10): "There is no doubt that terrorism is an international responsibility, but fighting and violence are not the only means by which to end it, because there are diplomatic and other means.... A tense situation that leads to war and destruction should not be used to serve politics for propaganda or to get votes.... To kill people or to obliterate the achievements of their civilization is a bad act, especially on the part of a leadership that is supposed to have wisdom and responsibility. We hope this sudden crisis may lead to the fruits of peace between the U.S., Iran and the states of the region."

BAHRAIN: "U.S. Sanctions A Mockery"

Leading, semi-offical Akhbar Al-Khalij ran this comment by Hafedh Al-Shaikh (8/8): "It is true that the ruling establishment in the United States acted from a strong and very high position when it escalated and intensified the economic boycott of Iran and Libya, while at the same time increasing its arrogant language toward Iraq and Sudan.... What a mockery!...

The United States,...following the collapse of the Soviet Union, is living in unprecedented rapture in all its current conduct. But what is also happening is that it is operating in a broad international environment that produces more and more hatred of the United States, a huge creature swimming in a dark sea filled with the fears of what is coming, from the north, south, east or west.

American power, armed with all the tools of violence, has reached the summit and there's nothing beyond the top but descent."


BANGLADESH: "Iran's Optimism Despite Sanctions"

An editorial in centrist Morning Sun said (8/11): "European governments rightly argue that the Helms-Burton law violates international trade agreements and have vowed to retaliate.... In the post-Islamic era, Iran has weathered many storms and courageously faced all eventualities. The new sanctions act cannot be enforced according to international law since the sanctions are flagrant violations of sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Iran and Libya.... It is gratifying to note that, the words of an Iranian minister, "the sanctions are not going to have any disruptive impact on the Iranian oil industry."

INDIA: "To No Effect"

The centrist Statesman opined (8/12), "U.S. sanctions against Libya and Iran do seem a little sudden, given the fact that there was no political build-up nor any confirmed terrorist action by either country, recently on American soil. The Atlanta pipe bomb...and the TWA 800 crash may have provided the provocation.... One gets the impression that the United States is concerned with terrorism as a concept and the need to be seen to be doing something about it in an election year. Libya and Iran happen to be at hand and are convenient because their involvement in terrorist attacks against American citizens and interests in the past is well-established....

"What is obnoxious about it is not the target, but the content.... The European Union in general and France in part.... Their commercial policy is pragmatic and relatively uninfluenced by political considerations.... Finally, if the concern is with global terrorism against the world community, as President Clinton's speech seems to suggest, the administration can find other countries worthy of sanctions-- one of them, immediately to our west."

PAKISTAN: "The U.S. Vs. The Rest"

An op-ed piece by Farooq Mazhar in the centrist News told its readers (8/9): "The latest U.S. move to impose sanctions against foreign firms which invest more than $40 million in Libyan or Iranian oil and gas industries is a move that has dangerous implications.... At stake is something much greater than mere economic gain. It is the question whether the United States has the right to exercise economic authority over the world....

With the agreement already reached with that country to supply gas through a pipeline, Pakistan stands in danger of falling under the mischief of the U.S. law."

"Our Response Has Been Too Cautious"

Under the headline, "Childish Diplomacy," the radical Muslim (8/9) held, "Pakistan has reacted cautiously emphasizing that its relations with Iran will remain unaffected by the consequent American sanctions and that a dialogue should be facilitated between the two countries. Notwithstanding the expediency of such a soft-spoken statement, we would like to urge that a protest be lodged in stronger words through a balanced vision."

"American Measures"

An op-ed piece (8/11) by M. Tufail in the Rawalpindi-based largest-circulation Urdu-language Jang declared, "After the revolution (in Iran) the United States wants to punish Iran, because of its resistance against U.S. interests in the region, expansion of military power, and support for the Islamic movement. The United States wants to destabilize (Iran's) economy, organize elements who are against the government inside the country--whom America will name as moderates, and if needed, won't to hesitate to take direct action against the government."

"FBI Coming Here To Do What?"

An editorial in the radical Muslim (8/10) stated, "Most Pakistanis must have felt embarrassed when they learned through a foreign agency that Pakistan has permitted the opening of a formal office of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in the nation's capital, Islamabad. On Wednesday (8/7), the U.S. Information Agency circulated worldwide a 'Fact Sheet' disclosing the news.... The formal FBI office in Islamabad would coordinate, supervise and undertake activities and operations, some if not all of which, would be directed against Iran. Such activities from Pakistani soil would be considered by our neighbor as hostile. That is not what would serve Pakistan's national interests in any way.... If the Pakistan government thinks that in its efforts to combat terrorism at home, it needs assistance from the FBI, the best way would be to have some of its officers trained by FBI and other similar agencies in different countries.... There is no denying that Pakistan too faces a very real and serious threat from terrorism sponsored from across its borders but the Americans would never help us in combatting that threat. Why then did our government agree to allow a permanent FBI presence here?... The FBI will work to promote and protect U.S. national interest. All things considered, the FBI's counter-terrorist office here doesn't make sense."


JAPAN: "U.S. Strengthening Of Sanctions Against Iran And Libya Unilateral"

Business-oriented Nihon Keizai opined (8/8): "European businesses are very concerned about the signing by President Clinton of the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act of 1996. This has prompted the European Union (EU) to consider taking countermeasures, including sanctions, against the United States. The United States has taken the measure without obtaining an international consensus. It was, as it were, a self-righteous act that might impair cooperative relations between the United States and its allies....

It will not be easy to close the (policy) gap

between the United States and Japan and Europe. We hope that the United States will implement the sanctions in a prudent manner, keeping in mind the importance of maintaining cooperative ties with its allies and avoiding unnecessary trade friction."

CHINA: "U.S.-EU Conflicts In Economics And Trade"

Gao Faming, writing for the Central Political and Legal Commission's Fazhi Ribao, commented (8/10): "The strong EU counter-attack on U.S. Iran-Libya sanctions demonstrates again that today, conflicts of interest on economic and trade issues between the United States and the EU are sharp and sometimes uncompromising.

"We all know that the Helms-Burton Act and the Iran-Libya sanctions flaunt anti-terrorism. In reality, they reflect U.S. global strategic intentions, particularly in protecting its economic interests and forcing Western Europe and Japan, its competitors, to make concessions.

We will have to wait and see how transatlantic relations develop."

"U.S. Waves Big Stick"

The official, Communist Party People's Daily (8/9) held, "With the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, the United States is again waving the big stick, as it did with Helms-Burton. There are two reasons for these imposition of sanctions: the American elections, and the U.S. desire to control the world economy. The sanctions aren't aimed as much at Iran as they are at the EU. Because of this, the international community, especially the EU countries, joins Iran and Libya in condemning the act."

"Differences Between EU And U.S. Have Deepened"

The official, municipal Beijing Daily (8/8) commented, "Disregarding repeated opposition by the European Union, President Clinton has signed the Iran-Libya sanctions bill. The governments of France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Italy reacted strongly. They not only criticized the bill, but have decided to work out retaliatory measures. This is another test of wills...(and) reflects the profound differences and conflicts of interest between the United States and its European allies on the issues of trade and anti-terrorism. In fact, the Iran-Libya sanctions bill is intended to confer extraterritoriality on the United States, giving it the right to interfere in other countries' affairs. It is inevitable that the others will resist."

INDONESIA: "U.S. Sanctions On Libya And Iran"

Independent Surabaya Post editorialized (8/8): "The law does not make sense, because it also prohibits non-American companies from investing in Libya and Iran.

How is it possible that a (U.S.) law can be applied... outside of its jurisdictional sovereignty?...

What basis does the U.S. have to ban non-American companies? How will the U.S. put into effect sanctions against non-American companies?... Perhaps the law is being put into effect in order to revive the spirit of the American people, which can thrive only if there is a challenge or a sinister enemy to deal with.... That is why we are happy if the law does not get any sympathy from other countries.... Whatever the basis of the legislation--whether economic or political--what is clear is that other countries do not seem to want the United States to practice unilateral policies and to dictate its will."

"Law On Trade Sanctions"

In the opinion of nationalistic Merdeka (8/8), "President Clinton was forced to sign the sanctions act.... We pose a question that is disturbing to international political observers: Has the United States ceased playing its role of the superpower? The United States, which has ambitiously encouraged the whole world to follow its culture and values, is now fighting developing

countries only because they do not want to follow White House policy."

"On U.S. Anti-Libya And Iran Bill"

The pro-government, English-language Indonesia Times (8/8) said, "Indonesia has a certain amount of economic and trade cooperation with Iran, including cooperation in energy projects. We support the United States and the world concern to fight terrorism, but we do not believe that Iranian or Libyan governments were sponsoring terrorism as Washington accused. We also expect the continued American role in the global fight for security and stability in the post-Cold War era. But we cannot accept hegemonism by other countries imposed on us."

SOUTH KOREA: "The Iran-Libya Sanctions Law"

Government-owned Seoul Shinmun (8/8) commented, "In spite of what's being said about the sanction law --that it is a domestically motivated, highly political move, we still believe to our consternation that the United States was rash and excessively self-righteous in passing the legislation. The legislation really is about forcing a U.S. domestic law upon sovereign foreign countries, a precedent for which is not likely to be found in international law. Moreover, the law is in clear violation of the principles of the WTO, which the United States has so vigorously fought for. Washington should have presented tangible evidence that implicates Iran and Libya in recent terrorist acts, if it cared at all to be persuasive to others. The world has responded with a protest, which was expected. We only hope that this irrational measure by the United States will not cast a pall over the campaign against international terrorism."

VIETNAM: "Unjust And Antiquated Instrument"

Columnist Thai Hoang wrote for trade union's biweekly Lao Dong (8/13), "Terrorism has been considered a problem of the entire international community, but the recent U.S. action was absolutely not an appropriate measure to prevent and remove terrorism. On the other hand, economic sanctions--an all powerful weapon in the Cold War period--is no longer effective. Competition and economic and strategic interests in the process of globalization among many countries (both allies and non- allies) have made it difficult to accept this unjust and antiquated instrument."

"Counter-Terrorism Or Create Terrorist Threat"

A commentary signed by Manh Tuong in army newspaper Quan Doi Nhan Dan (8/8) said, "People share the United States' concern over the terrorist attacks targeted at it such as those in Saudi New York...and...during the Olympic Games, but public opinion is not sympathetic with the unilateral punitive measures without legal basis by the United States. The hasty taking of punitive measures based only on the assumptions of the CIA or on ambiguous statements by U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry on the possibility of Iran being behind the bombing in Saudi Arabia casts doubt on U.S. policy, raising questions of whether the United States is creating a pretext for bringing pressure to bear on such countries as Iran and Libya that are out of the U.S.'s favor for disobedience.... Given the present trend of internationalization and globalization, while the objective of the member countries of the WTO is to gradually remove trade barriers, this sanctions act is putting up new barriers between countries.... By applying this sanctions act, the United States has violated the conventional principles of public and international laws."


BENIN: "What Is U.S. Playing Around With?"

Independent Le Matin (8/7) published a full back-page story dealing with the recently signed law imposing sanctions on nations who trade with Iran and Iraq. The article criticized the law, noting that "sanctions can't be taken on simple presumptions, especially when they harm the interests of other Western powers." Making reference to the upcoming U.S. elections, the author concluded that President Clinton signed the law to neutralize Republican opposition, but questioned whether he had evaluated the consequences and the potential result of U.S. isolation."


BRAZIL: "Clinton, Rambo Version"

According to an editorial in liberal Folha De Sao Paulo (8/8): "The opting of President Clinton for an offensive of rare truculence in the field of international relations, turns diplomacy in the meantime, into a less effective instrument. In brief, it is a frank and open violation of international law and as such raises at least one fundamental doubt: what guarantees are there that this self-appointed policeman of the world is endowed with the best faculties to judge and punish? It is important to notice that there is much to be explained regarding the relationship between the European nations and some countries that sponsor fundamentalism. What can be said of the presence of American companies in China, where the respect for human rights and international law is also very far from being exemplary? In sum, there is no consistency nor legitimacy in the American offensive. And without these two conditions what we have is a situation of violence."

CHILE: "Europeans Cannot Permit External Restraints On Trade"

Conservative, influential El Mercurio (8/11) ran this editorial, "European countries, already alarmed by the Helms- Burton act, will adopt reprisals to protect their businesses from American threats. They cannot and ought not permit external restrictions on their commercial activities." NNNN

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