European scholar: US will not wage war against Iran
Brussels, Feb 26, IRNA -- The US will not engage in military action against Iran after the war on Iraq, a scholar at a leading European think-tank said.
"I don't think the Americans will have an annex to war. They did a war in Afghanistan, and a war now in Iraq. I don't think they will go on and have another war."
"My judgment is that they will grumble and complain about Iran, but they won't engage in military action," Michael Emerson told IRNA in an interview.
Emerson is a senior research fellow at the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and a former EU ambassador to Russia.
Founded in 1983, the CEPS is an independent policy research institute dedicated to producing policy research that may be helpful in providing solutions to the challenges facing Europe today.
Emerson said that some in the US administration believed that the regime change in Iraq would have a domino effect in the region without a war.
"You have the ideologues, the missionaries, the messianic people in America who are obsessed with their own power who think they can trigger a set of regime changes," he said.
Emerson pointed out the difference in approaches between the US and Europe towards Iran. "Europe is engaging Iran with dialogue and negotiations while the US maintains sanctions and boycott."
He said the Europeans are sincere in improving relations with Iran in a step-by-step approach and a common learning process.
The CEPS last week published a 218-page study titled "The Rubik Cube of the Wider Middle East," written by Emerson and Nathalie Tocci, another research fellow at CEPS.
The study quotes several American scholars such as K. Schake, J. Yaphe and R. Takey as calling for changes in US policy towards Iran.
"To this end the recommended strategy would be to normalize relations with Iran, ending the campaign of vilification as a rogue state, ending broad economic sanctions."
On the US-led war against Iraq, the study says that winning the war is highly likely, but winning the peace is much more uncertain.
The study says that there are four crises in the wider Middle East: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the continuing Al-Qaeda threat, the crisis over Iraq, and the development crisis of the wider Middle East.
In his preface to the book, EU Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten underlines that "there will be no peace in the wider Middle East without a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
The study can be ordered online at www.ceps.be
US will not dare attack Iran so long as Khatami is in power: MP
Ilam, Feb 26, IRNA -- The United States will not dare attack Iran as long as President Mohammad Khatami is in power, an MP from Tehran Rajabali Mazroui said late Tuesday in this western city.
He said the Iranian people and the idea of reforms -- a centerpiece of President Khatami's presidential agenda -- were the biggest source of backing for the Islamic Republic vis-a-vis the prevailing threats.
Mazroui also praised President Khatami as "a man of thought with prominent performance who has won unprecedented honors for the country in the international scene".
The MP urged a massive turnout in the Friday city and village council elections as he denounced those who were trying to discourage people from participating.
"... those who are seeking to disenchant the people have a strange fear from the right of the citizens to vote and hope that the people will not participate (in the elections)," Mazroui said.
About 225,000 hopefuls have registered for the municipality elections which are held for the second time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The first municipal elections, envisaged in the 1979 Islamic Constitution, were held in 1999 on the back of President Khatami's bid to promote democracy and build a civil society in Iran.
City councils in capital Tehran, however, which acts as the throbbing heart of Iran's politics, were entailed in acrimonious bickering of its members, which forced the interior minister to disband it last month.
Mazroui said that the failure of Tehran City Council was due to the fact that its members were self-centered.
"Because of living under many years of despotism, we are still after individual achievements and do not believe in collective work and the reason for the failure of the Tehran City Council was that its members relied only on their own views," he said.
"For the development of a society, there is no other way than the people's participation. Development is realized with the people's participation and the future of a country and its reforms is set by every single member of its people," the MP added.
He cited city councils as among reform fruits of the Khatami administration, which indicated the deepest layers of reforms in the society.
"Councils, as the biggest civil and supervisory institute, are also the biggest achievement of the Khatami administration, which will prevent corruption and misuse of power if they operate properly," Mazroui said.
"There must be institutions to control and supervise the misuse of (power by) the elected people in the society," he said, summing up the agenda of councils.
The MP also cited reforms key to the development of the society, saying "what is important in the reform process is the correctness of its direction and not its speed".
The statements were aimed at those who have endorsed Khatami's reform bid, but have expressed disenchantment over the sluggish pace of the reforms.
UK rejects Israeli call for US to target Iran after Iraq
London, Feb 26, IRNA - The British government has rejected a call by the Zionist regime for the US to follow up military action against Iraq by targeting Iran.
During a debate on the Middle East, Liberal Democrat leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Williams on Tuesday raised the issue of the Israeli appeal for the US to "generate political, economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran, after the Iraq war has been determined." She asked Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons whether she was aware of the call made in a speech by the Israeli Defence Minister to American Jewish organisations on Monday.
"Can the minister say on behalf of Her Majesty's government that we have no quarrel of that kind with Iran and would not see any issue as justifying a further military attack on any country, following the Iraq crisis, whatever its outcome?" Williams asked.
In response, Symons said that the UK has a "number of outstanding issues with Iran" but that "I do not recognise Her Majesty's government's policy in the quotation" made by the Israeli defence minister.
Earlier, the Foreign Office Minister criticised illegal Israeli settlements and condemned the "history of destruction of humanitarian aid on the part of the Israeli defence forces," saying the government "deplore such acts."
In a separate debate in the House of Commons Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw accused Israel of breaching international law in its policy of extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinians.
He also said he accepted the arguments about the "double standards" being used in relation to implementing UN resolutions against Iraq but not against Israel.
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