The fourth round of EU-Iran negotiations on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) will begin Sunday June 1, 2003 against the background of a looming transatlantic rift over Iran.
The EU's commitment to continue its policy of engagement and dialog with the Islamic Republic despite Washington's rising threats against Tehran is noteworthy indeed, the English-language daily praised in its Perspective column.
"Unlike Iraq over which the EU was hopelessly divided, the 15-member European bloc is united in backing engagement with Tehran," the daily further praised.
The Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, whose country holds the current EU Presidency recently said that Iran is going to be "an important test", the daily noted.
Quoting Papandreou, the paper said, "it will bring out the dilemmas we've had recently in Iraq."
"It is an open secret that Washington attacked Iraq on the pretext of destroying weapons of mass destruction. Interestingly, none of the weapons have been found to date nor will be found," it noted.
Moreover, the Americans thought that they would be welcomed by the Iraqi people with rose petals and open arms for delivering them the brutal rule of the Baathist regime, it wrote.
Alas! all they got was "resistance, abuse and stones on a daily basis," the paper wrote.
No wonder Washington is targeting and bullying Iran to shift world public attention from its abject failures in the war-battered Iraqi nation, it pointed out.
Firstly, it argued, US accusations that Iran is interfering in Iraq's internal affairs are visibly "absurd".
"The thief is calling foul", the paper highlighted. Washington is occupying the Arab country of Iraq and is trying to impose alien norms on a Muslim nation while it is accusing others of interference, the paper pointed out.
On the other hand, the daily noted, the Europeans are urging Tehran to sign additional protocols to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to facilitate progress in negotiations.
However, it would be wrong, the daily advised, "if the EU intends, as reported by the Western press, to use the TCA negotiations as a form of pressure on Iran."
It is to be noted that Iran is a signatory to the NPT and treaties on chemical and biological weapons and it willingly cooperates with the IAEA officials on any inspections of its nuclear power stations, it pointed out.
"Iran has repeatedly stressed that its nuclear program is geared to peaceful purposes," the daily reiterated.
But the annoying fact is that the Zionist regime which possesses large arsenal of nukes, is not only not a signatory to the NPT, but also does not allow inspections of its nuclear reactors, it noted. Yet, the EU has signed an association agreement with the Zionist entity and is doing business as usual with the illegal state that is occupying Palestine.
"All Arab states unitedly oppose the Zionist regime's nuclear weapons as posing a real danger to their security... It would be more just and appropriate if the EU directs its pressure on the Zionist entity instead of Iran," the daily suggested.
To add insult to injury, EU countries too have large stockpiles of nuclear arms in scores, for which nothing much is done about, it noted.
"Do these WMDs not pose a threat to world peace and security? What about the US which possesses the largest and most deadliest of the banned weapons?" the daily questioned.
"If the EU wants to be taken seriously on its concerns about atomic weapons and disarmament, it must firstly intensify its efforts to rid the WMDs on a global level and not single out a country like Iran which is free of them," it pointed out.
Furthermore, the daily noted, the progress on human rights is another issue that the EU has put as a condition to improved ties with Iran. "But what about the human rights issues in Europe itself?" the daily asked.
A recent conference on Islam phobia held in Brussels warned that hatred of Muslim communities in Europe is on the rise, it noted.
Even EU Commissioner for Research Phillipe Busquin himself said that "there is growing intolerance toward Muslim countries in Europe."
"Hence, it is time Iran switches gears from a defensive to an offensive diplomacy, if it wants to get the message through and convince the world public over the stated issues... To this end, Iran should intensify contacts in Europe with NGOs, think tanks, deputies, parliamentarians and the media," it suggested.
In addition, it should also polish up and upgrade its public relations, the daily concluded.
Iranian Daily lauds Russia's willingness to continue nuclear cooperation with Iran
Iranian daily "Tehran Times" on Saturday praised Russia's willingness to continue cooperation with the Islamic Republic on its nuclear energy programs despite Washington's baseless claims against the country, IRNA reported from Tehran.
Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said on May 26 that his country intends to continue cooperation with Iran on nuclear energy and that tensions between America and Iran will not affect or come in way of Moscow's cooperation with Tehran in the project to complete the construction of the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.
The Russian minister's remarks are a clear response to US imperialists claims about Iran's nuclear energy programs, noted the English-language daily in its Opinion column.
Washington has since the beginning of the occupation of Iraq embarked on a new round of propaganda against Iran. But its utter failure to provide any proof or documentation to back up the allegations over Tehran's nuclear energy programs has cast doubts in the minds of the world public over US baseless claims, it wrote.
The only institution that has the sole authority to comment on the nuclear program of Iran or any other country is the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the daily highlighted.
In his visit to Iran last February, IAEA Director General Mohammad El Baradei stressed that Iran's nuclear projects are "transparent" and of a "peaceful" nature and also mentioned Iran's unflinching cooperation with the agency, the daily pointed out.
It can thus be summed up that Washington's baseless claims against Iran are based on false reports provided by the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) which is providing Washington false information over the country's nuclear programs to win its favor to have its name deleted from the list of terrorist organizations included in the US State Department, the daily pointed out.
... Payvand News - 5/31/03 ... --