Iran News ...


US decision to renew sanctions on Iran "stupid, childish": daily

Iranian daily "Tehran Times" on Saturday brushed aside Washington's renewal of sanctions against Iran as "childish" and "stupid," addding that experience shows that US companies themselves are the victims, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Iran, based on its extensive trade dealings with Europe, Russia, Southeast Asia and other countries knows what it is talking about when it says Washington's anti-Iran propaganda will serve only to backfire on US companies in the long-term.

US President George W. Bush on Thursday decided to extend sanctions against Iran that will continue to bar US firms and citizens from oil and other dealings with Tehran.

Bush's decision, which extends by another year the sanctions which were first put in place by former US President Bill Clinton on March 15, 1995, comes amid fresh tensions between Washington and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.

It really is a surprise that the US, which is an economic giant, should feel threatened by economic dealings with Iran which, compared to this superpower, is just an economic pygmy.

Iran does not even pose a threat to a country that is just a hundred kilometers away, "How (then) can it pose a threat to the US?" it asked.

If the US speaks of its interests in the region, then Washington should be reminded that Iran is one of the region's powerhouses and has friendly ties with all of the regional countries except the Zionist regime," it underlined.

Bush has time and again labelled Iran as a "rogue" country and one of the "axis of evil" for its alleged support of international terrorism and undermining of the Middle East peace process.

Lately, the US has added to its list of concerns against Iran by accusing it of acquiring technology to produce weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, it noted.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell, testifying before a Congressional panel on Thursday, repeated US concerns that "Iran is masking a covert nuclear weapons program under the guise of civilian atomic energy projects," added the daily.

Interestingly, Powell did not mention the recent report of the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammad El-Baradei, which gave a "clean bill of health" to Iran's nuclear program, the daily highlighted.

In a flip-flop move, Bush Friday announced a breakthrough in efforts to achieve peace in occupied Palestine. It said the roadmap crafted by the so-called Middle East Quartet has opened a real chance for peace with the creation of the office of prime minister by the Palestinian Authority.

However the fact is that the announcement was only intended to sway Arab leaders to support his planned invasion of Iraq.

It cannot divert world public attention from the fact that Palestinian lands have been confiscated and occupied by the Zionists and that Palestinians continue to experience the most brutal of atrocities in the hands of the Zionist occupiers, it pointed out.

For this reason, with the victory of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran set the example by cutting ties with the Zionist regime.

"If we are so strong and powerful that we can prevent the implementation of US policies in the Middle East, the US must take this might and power into consideration and accept the fact that they are not dealing with an ordinary country," warned the paper.

As far as the accusation that Iran is acquiring weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them, the daily made it known that the esteemed international organizations whose mandate is to verify that coutnries are abiding by international conventions have always praised Iran's nuclear program as being "transparent and meant for peaceful purposes."

As a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and a number of other conventions that bar the production of weapons of mass destruction, Iran is fully aware of its commitments under these conventions and has passed continued scrutiny.

Besides, relevant international organizations continually monitor Iran's nuclear plants and have acknowledged that Iran genuinely cooperates during inspections as happened during the IAEA chief's recent visit to one of its sites.

Washington, which is facing an imminent war, must realize that Iran has many friends in the region and sanctions will not hurt the way it is intended to hurt the country.

US officials must now ask themselves whether the sanctions are really working or whether they are in the best interests of the two countries, the daily suggested.

Since the focus of sanctions is oil, France, Briatain, Russia, Italy and other countries that have joined Iran in the exploration and extraction of its offshore oil are, perhaps, the ones who should provide the answer, it concluded.

... Payvand News - 3/15/03 ... --

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