USIS Foreign Media Reaction 

03 October 1997


The announcement on Sunday by the French energy company, Total, that a
consortium it leads
had signed a $2-billion contract with Iran to develop a major gas
field in the Persian Gulf moved
editors in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America to conclude
that a "major
confrontation" was in the making between the U.S. and the EU over
trade sanctions against Iran.
At issue are sanctions outlined in the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions
Act--also referred to as the
D'Amato act-- which would require President Clinton to impose
sanctions on any foreign country
investing more than $40 million a year in Iran or Libya's energy
industries. Paris's right-of-center
Le Figaropredicted a particularly dire situation: "Between the U.S.
and Europe, we are in for a
war with commercial and political repercussions." A majority of
commentators focused on what
they said was the "center of the debate": international objection to
what they perceived as the
U.S.' imposition of "extra-territorial" legislation in contravention
of international laws of
commerce. Without exception, analysts railed against what they saw as
U.S. attempts to
"legislate to the world." "The arrogance with which the U.S. tramples
on international law and
the WTO...cannot be accepted," intoned left-of-center Frankfurter
Rundschau. A number of
observers saw in the French-led consortium's deal-making with Iran a
challenge to the world's
remaining superpower and its "Pax Americana." Moscow's reformist,
Kommersant Daily judged that "suddenly..both Europe and Russia [are]
flaunting their
independence from the Americans. America's striving for domination
does not endear it to
Europe and prompts the Europeans to form a united opposition front."
In Cairo, pro-government
Al-Ahram contended that the French company's move "took courage" and
that this "French
defiance should be an example to all countries" that must deal with
America. One daily in
Islamabad implored Muslims the world over to "take a unified reject U.S.
extra-territorial legislation on Muslim and non-Muslim countries
alike." A few media voices
targeted their criticism at more than just the U.S., seeing
"opportunism" as the deciding factor for
all nations--including the Europeans--as they pursue their foreign
policy and economic agendas.

Other commentators examined the possible courses President Clinton
might take to head off a
full-fledged "trade war" between the U.S. and the EU over Iran. Many
agreed with Paris's
right-of-center Le Figarothat this was the dilemma facing the U.S.
president: "To punish Total
means to enter into a major crisis with Europe.... To do nothing would
mean recognizing
America's weakness." A number of analysts joined London's liberal
Guardian in its call for
"calm diplomacy" and compromise between the trading partners. Several
pundits held out hope
that a solution would be forthcoming. Others, however, were far less
sanguine. Ankara's
pro-Islamic Zaman, for example, insisted that America will not bend on
its policy toward Iran.
Only a minority of observers addressed what one referred to as "the
main question: What to do
with Iran, which is suspected of being involved in terrorism?" A few,
concluding that the U.S.
policy of isolating Iran has been a "failure," endorsed the EU's
"critical dialogue" policy of
limited engagement with Tehran. But more acknowledged that really
"nobody knows how to
deal with a provocative state like Iran that challenges the
international community."

This survey was based on 42 reports from 18 countries, Sept 29-Oct 3.

EDITOR:  Diana McCaffrey and Kathleen Brahney

To Go Directly To Quotes By Region, Click Below

Europe Middle East East Asia and the Pacific South Asia Latin America and the Caribbean

EUROPE FRANCE: "What To Do With Totalitarian States" Pierre Beyleau observed in right-of-center weekly Le Point (10/4): "For his first diplomatic test, Ambassador Rohatyn is stepping on tricky ground.... He will need all his business experience to avoid a major conflict between Europe and the United States over Total's contract with Iran.... But Felix Rohatyn may be reasonably optimistic: Washington has been sufficiently vague to leave the door open for a compromise.... The main question remains: What to do with Iran, which is suspected of being involved in terrorism? The West is again confronted with the dilemma it faced with the USSR. Does trade with totalitarian nations help these nations to change or does it re-enforce the regimes in power? In the case of Iran, no one has an answer. But everyone, including the United States, has a clear idea of their own interests." "Iran: Europe Scores A Few Points" Right-of-center Les Echos editorialized (10/2): "Madeleine Albright has acknowledged the limitations of U.S. influence in the contract between Total and Iran, thus underscoring the partial failure of Washington's unilateral containment policy toward Iran.... Europe's pragmatism when its comes to its policy toward Iran is comparable to Washington's pragmatism toward communist China. This should lead to some soul searching across the Atlantic." "A Step Against The Pax Americana" Jean Daniel wrote in left-of-center weekly Le Nouvel Observateur(10/2): "The United States has given Algeria reason to hope and continues to isolate Iran.... In approving the Total contract, the French prime minister has taken a step against the Pax Americana." "Dilemma For The U.S." Mouna Naim speculated in left-of-center Le Monde (10/1): "If the United States decides against imposing sanctions, it will have set a precedent which other companies will put to good use. On the other hand, if Washington decides to take action against Total and its partners it will be a 'causus belli' with the European Union. Neither of these two possibilities is satisfactory for Washington.... The United States is convinced that imposing a quarantine on Iran will push Iran's regime toward democracy.... To date, this strategy has not been successful." "U.S. Is Isolated" Pierre Haski pointed out in left-of-center Liberation (10/1): "The United States is finding itself isolated.... At the center of the debate is the notion of extra-territoriality, rather than the contract itself.... This first test of the D'Amato law is, in fact, having a boomerang effect, and the United States has decidedly lost the first round. It is now in the uncomfortable position of having to decide for or against imposing sanctions.... The debate over the 'morality' of Total's contract has...taken a back seat to the controversy over the U.S. legislation." "America's Bluff" Pierre Rousselin argued in right-of-center Le Figaro (10/1): "Washington is beginning to realize that the use of economic sanctions is not a strategy but a bluff.... To punish Total means to enter into a major crisis with Europe.... To do nothing would mean recognizing America's weakness.... Caught in this embarrassing position, Washington has opened an inquiry to buy some time.... Meanwhile everybody is watching, especially Mohammed Khatami, who can't help rejoice." "The Challenges Of The Persian Deal" Left-of-center Le Monde editorialized (9/30): "With this deal Total is challenging the United States...and exposing itself to U.S. sanctions. But beyond Total, what is in the making is a confrontation between Europe and the United States, because the D'Amato legislation goes against international laws of commerce.... Europe believes that by maintaining a certain level of cooperation with Iran it can force Iran to be more transparent.... Hence Europe's 'critical dialogue' with Teheran, which Washington disapproves of.... Whatever the U.S. reaction, Washington will have to deal with the questions raised by the Total contract: how to deal with Iran and how to justify the right it has taken of unilaterally imposing international sanctions." "A Transatlantic Wrestling Match" Jean-Jacques Mevel wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro (9/30): "Between the United States and Europe we are in for a war with commercial and political repercussions. In terms of foreign policy, the United States cannot disregard the Total contract because Tehran is proclaiming it as a triumph against the United States. But the diplomatic costs could be very high." "Total Challenges Washington" Alexandra Schwartzbrod wrote in left-of-center Liberation (9/30): "Total, supported by the French government in its endeavor, has taken the risk of provoking a new diplomatic conflict between Europe and the United States.... But if France has given its support, it is obviously because it has more to gain than to lose.... The D'Amato sanctions, according to Total, will have very little impact on the company, while future oil deals with Iran are in the making. This in turn has the American oil industry up in arms because it does not fully agree with Washington's intransigence." "Total Ignores The D'Amato-Kennedy Law" Elisabeth Rochard wrote in centrist La Tribune (9/29): "Total has done it again. It just signed a $2 billion contract with Iran.... The threat of the D'Amato-Kennedy law does not seem to bother Total President Thierry Demarest: 'The D'Amato law has not been acknowledged by either Paris or the European Union.... Our position is very simple: by working in Iran we are not doing anything that goes against any international law.'" GERMANY: "Declaration Of War" Martin Winter had this to say in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (10/1): "Whatever happens in this row about the U.S. sanction policy on Iran, one thing is clear: Nobody will be happy about it. The contract between Total...and enormously burdening the climate between Europe and the United States. The demonstrative support by French Premier Jospin and the brusque rejection of Washington's demarches have had the effect of a declaration of war in the U.S. capital.... "There is no doubt that Washington must be blamed for the confusing situation. The arrogance with which the United States tramples on international law and the World Trade Organization to enforce its policy on other countries...cannot be accepted.... Congress will make this case a litmus test on whether President Clinton is serious about his policy towards Iran. This test will create a fix for the president, because Russia and Malaysia are partners in the deal. He will certainly not want to create problems with Russia nor stir up emotions in Malaysia, which is increasingly distinguishing itself as anti-American mouthpiece in Southeast Asia.... There is still time to agree on an informal settlement that would allow all sides to save face. The question is whether Clinton has the necessary courage and the necessary strength to do so." BRITAIN: "War Dance In The Gulf" The liberal Guardian had this op-ed page commentary by diplomatic editor Ian Black (10/1): "Bill Clinton is firing the opening salvos in what could be a new transatlantic trade war, though it is only the latest installment in the old and long-running story of America's obsession with truculent men in turbans.... There is room for flexibility. Calm diplomacy can avert a full-scale trade war.... One likely solution would be for President Clinton to waive his right to punish Total, extract a cosmetically tougher EU line and deny Tehran a significant tactical victory. If cool heads reign on both sides of the Atlantic, it should be possible to avoid the commercial equivalent of a shooting war--and keep the real baddies firmly in their boxes." ITALY: "From Moscow To Tehran, The Smell Of Good Business Is Back" Provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio contended (10/2): "The wind of `European counterattack' against U.S. 'diktats' raised by the Total-Iran oil deal--a sign of political opening in grand style from Paris to Tehran--has brought euphoria also in Italian circles, which are traditionally on the front line when it comes to 'critical dialogue' with the Ayatollahs' regime. Notwithstanding U.S. threats and the sanctions called for by the D'Amato bill, experts of Middle East affairs foresee a revival of European initiatives after the 'big chill' which culminated in the withdrawal of EU ambassadors from Tehran. The same observers note that it is a question of which other European nations will follow Paris in its resumption of economic relations with Iran.... As for Italy, everybody is aware of the positive feeling towards Tehran both on the part of Prime Minister Prodi and Foreign Minister Dini, a feeling which sometimes has exposed Rome to Washington's rebukes but which has also favored national economic interests. Pushing towards a 'dialogue' is not only Total...but several other companies, from the French Elf Aquitaine to British-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, to Spanish Respoil. And, obviously, the Italian Eni. But not only oil businessmen are pushing for a `dialogue.' `At the present time,' Italian Foreign Ministry sources point out, 'the obstacle remains the German position, which is bound, for the sake of consistency, to the verdict on the Mykonos case.' But according to the same sources, negotiations are under way for the return of EU ambassadors, in such a way as to resume normal relations while at the same time sparing humiliation to the Bonn representative." "Diplomatic War" Ennio Caretto filed from Washington for centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (10/1): "The Total case...has kicked off a diplomatic war, almost a second Gulf War, but among allies this time.... France's determination...may still prompt the United States to reflect. Last night, White House spokesman McCurry made a partial retreat, saying that the issue 'is being examined and it will take some time to decide.' But the Republican majority in Congress insists that the Europeans 'should be taught a lesson.'... President Clinton, therefore...may be forced to intervene and impose the lightest sanctions among those at his disposal. In this case, the European Union would resort to the WTO, and we would shift from diplomatic to trade war. A compromise seems unlikely." "Dangerous Confrontation In The Making" Leading business daily Il Sole 24-Ore had this from New York (9/30): "The United States is ready to take action against the French oil company, Total...but this will happen only after an investigation is carried out. In brief, this is the position taken by the American State Department after the 'challenge' launched by Total against the so-called D'Amato Act.... The makings for a dangerous confrontation between France--and in the last analysis the European Union--and the United States are all there. It is now up to the United States to make the next move." "Serious Quarrel Over Total" According to PDS (leading government party) L'Unita (9/30): "It is a quarrel again between the United States and France.... The quarrel is a serious one and risks projecting its negative effects into relations between Washington and the old continent for a long time. The Americans have made the fight against terrorism their battle cry in the Middle East and accuse Europe of being willing to do business with suspect regimes at any cost...hence the 'critical dialogue' with Iran.... Europe has never accepted (the D'Amato Act's principles) and state that the Americans are free to impose sanctions, but that they cannot...punish those which do not conform. Hence its appeal to the WTO.... This is an all out fight. Clinton, on the basis of the D'Amato Act, can choose between two sanctions in a list of six.... At stake are relations between Europe and Iran. Tehran is inviting the Europeans to send their ambassadors back." RUSSIA: "Europe, Russia Flaunting Their Independence" Gennady Sysoyev said in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily(10/2): "President Boris Yeltsin yesterday condemned the United States' attempts to block the (Iranian gas) deal. He said, 'We have signed this document and we will not back down.' Suddenly, Iran has become a kind of catwalk, with both Europe and Russia flaunting their independence from the Americans. America's striving for domination does not endear it to Europe and prompts the Europeans to form a united opposition front." "New Fight Brews" Boris Vinogradov observed in reformist Izvestia (10/2): "It seems like a new fight is brewing between Europe and the United States, similar to the one that broke out last year over the Helms-Burton act. Washington has its ambition, and Europe its prestige and dignity, on the line. But there is no absolute unity among the Europeans, as only Belgium and Spain have officially voiced their unqualified support for the French. Others prefer to wait-and-see." "Gazprom, Total Not Scared" Aleksei Portansky wrote in a reformist Izvestia's weekly supplement, Finansoviye Izvestia (10/2): "If Total has already expressed its attitude toward the threat of (U.S.) sanctions, saying that it is not afraid, Gazprom has so far refrained from comments. From what its representatives say unofficially, it appears that the Russians basically identify with the Europeans in rejecting outside pressure. But, since the Americans have not announced an investigation into the Gazprom case, Moscow apparently does not want to provoke them. The opinion in Gazprom is that U.S. sanctions are unlikely to hurt it in any serious way." "U.S. May Have To Face EU" Reformist Izvestia ran this comment (10/1) by Boris Vinogradov: "During a Gore-Chernormyrdin session in Moscow recently, the U.S. vice president said that the gas contract, along with Russia's other contracts with Iran, was an undesirable element of international politics. Viktor Chernomyrdin and Boris Yeltsin were just as tough, replying that Russia will remain true to its commitments and felt free to choose its economic partners by itself. Foreseeing Washington's negative reaction (to the gas deal), Moscow made its position known and later, during President Chirac's visit to Russia, demonstrated 'full coincidence' of views with France. Should the United States use sanctions against Total and its partners from Russia and Malaysia, it would have to face the EU and political implications in relations with its Atlantic partners and allies." BELGIUM: "Clinton's Choices" In independent Le Soir (10/1), Pierre Lefevre remarked: "So far, the threat of has sanctions remained theoretical. Bill Clinton, for instance, turned a blind eye to the Canadian and Turkish contracts with Iran and to Italian contracts with Cuba. "But Total's investment, a $2-billion contract, can hardly remain unnoticed. It even looks like a provocation.... This issue comes at a very bad moment for Bill Clinton. The U.S. administration is torn between two approaches toward Iran. On the one hand, it is tempted to take advantage of the accession to power of a moderate religious man, Mohammed Khatami, to improve its relations with Teheran. Big U.S. companies, excluded from Iranian and Iraqi markets, long for normalization. On the other hand, showered with reports of Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, the White House must pretend to turn the screws. The Total contract will force it to take a stand." CANADA: "Commercial War?" Montreal's liberal, French-language Le Devoir argued (10/1): "The controversy surrounding the contract signed between Total and Iran brings back almost point by point, the confrontation that the construction of the Euro-Siberian pipeline between Europe and ex-USSR had created, in 1982, and that the Americans had lost.... Since last Sunday, Europeans, Russians and Malaysians stand together and firm against the measures foreseen by Washington.... In Washington the industrials have not stayed outdone. The American Chamber of Commerce has let known that it was against any punitive measures that never work.... Faced with of this roadblock, it seems clear that the Total affair will find a rapid and without doubt happy conclusion.... An American spokesperson has opened a door.... Putting aside the coercive elements of the D'Amato law, James Rubin has put the emphasis on a necessary 'concerted action' to deal efficiently with the Iranian regime. Nice formula, that will allow to avoid a commercial war and, and to save the face of everyone." NORWAY: "U.S. Is Not The UN" Conservative Aftenposten held (10/1): "The United States and its allies are once again on a collision course. The core of the dispute is quite uncomplicated: The United States claims to have the right to impose its own laws on other countries to protect American national and other important interests.... The critics of this U.S. practice have good arguments. America has set the limit for acceptable investments in Iran at $40 million. Anything above $40 million is therefore immoral and unethical support for a terrorist regime. This dollar-and-cents morality does not hold water. We suspect that this is not a question of ethics but of American economic interests.... The United States may be the only remaining superpower, but that does not give it the right to act as a world legislator, police and moral guardian. The UN can pass sanctions on behalf of its member countries. The United States can do the same on behalf of its states. But the United States must realize that it is not the United Nations." "Total Opportunism" Independent tabloid Dagbladet commented (10/1): "On Sunday, the French oil company, Total, signed a $2-billion contract to develop a gas field in Iran. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State says that the United States will impose sanctions on Total because the company is in violation of an American law prohibiting major investments in Iran and Libya.... The U.S. habit of passing laws and applying them beyond their own territory is far from unproblematic. No matter how one feels about the regimes in Iran, Libya and Cuba, the U.S. role as a self-appointed world police on its own terms reminds us of Ayatollah Khomeini's self-appointed police authority on Islamic terms.... Total, and thereby France and the EU, is bluntly and without shame demonstrating the principles the West now operates by: neither freedom of speech nor human rights, which benefit us all, count when economic interests are at stake." SPAIN: "Total Challenge" Liberal daily El Pais editorialized (10/1): "It would be absurd and dangerous for the United States and the European Union to get involved in a new trade war over the announced investment of the French oil company Total in Iran. "Heretofore, the United States has never applied the D'Amato law.... These confrontations are always damaging for all of the parties and even more so at this moment because the United States and EU are in the middle of general trade negotiations.... The Total case can't be seen as isolated. It can aggravate the bad relations between the United States and France...and in any case, the Europeans will see American sanctions as an insult not just to a French company but to the whole EU.... It would be better if the United States--the President and the Congress--use the margin of maneuver within the law to do nothing.... Beyond this case, it's evident that the U.S. pretension to impose unilaterally its own laws on international trade is totally intolerable." SWEDEN: "Threat Against Trade" Conservative Svenska Dagbladet held (10/2): "The reason for the (Iran-Libya) sanctions act is said to render more difficult the financing of terrorism. This may be true, but since the law only includes Iran and Libya, it primarily is an attempt to impress a domestic audience. From the point of principle--whether the United States has the right to use a sanction and confiscatory policy to force other countries to dance to the tune of Congress--the motives for the act lack interest. The United States has no such right. The law is just an unpleasant combination of protectionism and misguided foreign policy.... And a (U.S.-EU trade) conflict only will strengthen the forces within the EU that speak about trade blocks with protectionist overtones.... The United States must bear in mind its responsibility. There are no winners of a trade war but the protectionists on both sides of the Atlantic." "Business Deals With Iran" Independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter maintained (10/1): "U.S. companies are compelled to refrain from making business deals with Iran...but the U.S. efforts not to let others invest in the state of the mullahs are not very respected internationally.... French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin does, however, express the views of many Europeans when contesting the U.S. right to enforce its law upon the rest of the world. But what to do? Nobody knows how to deal with a provocative state like Iran that challenges the international community." TURKEY: "No Chance That There Will Be Pliancy In U.S. Policy" Fikret Ertan wrote in pro-Islamic Zaman pro-Islamic (10/1): "The assignment of Martin Indyk, the founder of 'double isolation' policy, as an undersecretary for Middle East affairs is another sign of America's determination to isolate Iran. Indyk is officially still the ambassador to Israel, but he already bid his farewell and departed Israel. In the near future he will be confirmed by Senate and will become one of the most powerful officials responsible for Middle East affairs. Indyk is very influential in the Clinton administration's foreign policy. Dual containment, which was his decision and was confirmed by the administration, been in application since May 1993. The whole idea of this policy is to keep Iran and Iraq under a very strict control and pressure. Since he has been assigned to a more powerful position and has never mentioned a change of policy, there is no reason for him to change the policy of 'dual containment.' During the application of this policy, America was left alone from time to time or had arguments with the European countries, but never thought of changing its policy. Now, it will argue about Total with France and will try to make France to accept Total and will try some sanctions, but will never change its mind. "America is determined to isolate Iran and Iraq. It is doing its best on this subject. Due to the composition of the...Clinton administration the pliancy with Iran and Iraq will be possible only if these countries accept America's wishes. Since this is not possible, there is no chance of pliancy with these countries. And no one should expect any until the end of the Clinton administration." EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC AUSTRALIA: "Europe Mobilizes For Total War" A senior columnist for the national, business-oriented Australian Financial Review (10/2) commented, "The 'Total trade war' arrived fully loaded, almost as if Total and its political supporters and opponents quickly acknowledged that this was one worthy of a real punch-up.... Canberra feels just as strongly about American extraterritorial laws. Total's move and its instant backing from Paris and Brussels deserve vocal support from Canberra if Australian companies are not to continue to be told by Washington where they can and can't do business." INDONESIA: "EU Blasts U.S. Sanctions" The government-oriented, English-language Indonesian Observer opined (10/3): "It looks as if sanctions will remain a key instrument of U.S. policy for the foreseeable future.... There is no overriding logic to the U.S. sanctions policy.... Much of the impetus behind the Middle East sanctions policies is purely domestic, the momentum sustained largely by the Israeli lobby. The considerable economic costs to the United States of this policy have not deterred President Clinton and Congress from pursuing it. The costs of targeting Iran, Libya and Syria in terms of U.S. trade reached an estimated $7 billion, including a loss of jobs in the neighborhood of 300,000 to 350,000." "U.S. Should Not Over-React" Independent Suara Pembaruan commented (10/1): "In terms of international economics and energy, France and Iran have achieved something dramatic.... Therefore, the United States had better detach these matters from political enmities and see this cooperation among Iran, France and Malaysia in the proper perspective. The United States need not be skeptical and over-react, but should be realistic and tolerate these regional developments, particularly Iran's offer to restore the ties, frozen since 1970s." MIDDLE EAST EGYPT: "French Example For Whole World" Ibrahim Nafie wrote in pro-government Al-Ahram (10/1): "The United States threatened to take action when a French company took enough courage, defied the White House...and made a deal with Iran.... The French company does not recognize U.S. authority over the world...and is certain that it has not violated any international law.... On the other hand, the pretexts of the American administration do not seem logical...because the whole world knows that the core of weapons of mass destruction in the region is Israel.... This French defiance should be an example to all countries. Will France succeed?" MOROCCO: "U.S. Imposing Legislation On Entire World" El Arbi Mefdal wrote in opposition, leftist Assiyassa Al Jadida(10/2): "The signing of the big gas deal between Total and Iran has ignited intense anger in Washington. This deal is a major challenge to the D'Amato law, which violates international law and imposes U.S. legislation on the entire world. The deal has sent Washington into a crisis and has reunited the European Union, with Eastern and Western nations both firmly against the U.S. position.... Washington will be compelled to swallow the D'Amato law, or it will be subject to ridicule, with all its interests at stake." SOUTH ASIA PAKISTAN: "U.S. Threats Of Sanctions Against France" Rightist English-language Pakistan Observer said (10/3): "One was expecting that the Clinton administration might change its attitude in dealing with Iran following the election of a moderate president in Tehran. Unfortunately, however, the latest decision points to the fact that Washington is pushing Iran towards radicalization. A decision to impose sanction on Total would play into the hands of hard-liners in Tehran and seriously sour transatlantic relations. It is also counter-productive in political terms, since it creates tension between Europe and the United States.... Muslims should take a unified action, in line with the UN Charter, to reject U.S. extra- territorial legislation on Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike." "Paradoxes Of Perversity" In the editorial view of the radical, pro-Iran Muslim (10/3): "The latest arm twisting by the United States against France's determination to go ahead with an oil/gas pipeline with Iran could lead to a France-U.S. rupture with concentric effects throughout Europe, especially Germany which is trying to come out of the 'guilt complex' imposed upon it by 'Zionism.'... The Muslim-Third World, Asia and especially Japan-China could take a cue and stand up to arrogant arm twisting by the U.S.-Zionists." LATIN AMERICA ARGENTINA: "A Clash Between Two Policies" Ruben Guillemi wrote in leading Clarin (10/1): "From Paris to Washington, the first sparks between two opposing policies regarding the Iranian Islamic regime started yesterday: the inflexible American D'Amato law, that punishes businessmen who make important investments in the Persian nation, and the 'critical dialogue' of the European countries, which favor political and commercial relations. The third protagonist is the Iranian government that took over last August, which, pressured by the urgent need for capital, is facing a slow opening that is well regarded by Western eyes. The United States and Europe fight over this slow reform to prove it is the best example of the success of their own policies. But since yesterday, Paris and Washington have taken the dispute to the verge of arm wrestling.... Although the United States, France and Iran speak fundamentally in political terms, the core of the crisis is millions of dollars: those lost by an Iran that has one of the most generous oil fields while its economy is collapsing, and those lost by world industry, unable to invest in that country, the second-largest world reserve of oil and gas. The dilemma faced by Washington vis-a-vis its European allies is: how much longer can the pressure of growing oil demand be resisted? President Clinton is walking a dangerous tightrope, with a diplomatic crisis hovering on one side, industrial pressure on the other, and to his right, the roaring domestic front, not willing to allow the president make concessions to the Islamic regime." BRAZIL: "The U.S. Intention To Legislate To The World" Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo editorialized (10/1): "There are two very important issues in this impasse, but of different natures. The first involves the relationship between morality and politics. It was not difficult, in Washington, to find justification for maintaining normal commercial relations with China, despite the accusations of human rights violations by the Chinese government. It was said that if economic relations were closer, it will be easier to promote the defense of these rights. It was considered a convincing argument, especially due to the size of the Chinese market. The second issue involves international relations. Two centuries ago the French government supported 13 North American colonies in their rebellion against England. 'No taxation without representation', said the settlers, refusing to obey the laws approved without their participation. French, Russians and Malaysians have already discovered that this not valid outside the United States." ## For more information, please contact: U.S. Information Agency Office of Public Liaison Telephone: (202) 619-4355 10/3/97 # # #

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