Berlin, March 11, IRNA-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on America to back away from making military threats against Iran over its nuclear program, the press reported Saturday.
"We must not allow ourselves to be dragged into saber-rattling.
This is the hour of diplomacy," Steinmeier wrote in a guest editorial for the daily Bild am Sonntag due to hit the newsstands on Sunday.
Germany's top diplomat was referring to recent remarks by US Vice President Dick Cheney who issued military threats against Tehran during a speech in front of the pro-Israeli lobbying group American-Israeli Public Affair Committee (AIPAC).
Steinmeier has repeatedly said his country "remains committed to a diplomatic solution" of Iran's nuclear dispute.
This means that the Europeans failed to adopt an independent stand and have reached an impasse, she said.
US desire to fully isolate Iran could be interpreted as a move towards aggravating military crisis over the country, she said.
Given the failure of EU Troika to resolve Iran's nuclear standoff, she said the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) Javier Solana should play a leading role in EU negotiations.
"The Europeans should put an end to their unconditional loyalty to Americans," she said.
As head of Iran Desk at the European Parliament, she said the UN Security Council should prevent aggravation of the current crisis while on the other hands, the Iranian officials should promptly reply to all questions posed by the IAEA and open the way for resumption of negotiations by putting an end to the ongoing war of words.
The Americans should actively take part in talks on Iran as they did in negotiations with North Korea, she said.
"The five permanent members of the UNSC will not even succeed in setting a deadline for Tehran. One does not have to be a prophet to predict that in the end, especially the US and EU, will be the big losers in the tug-of-war," said Markus Ziener of the business daily Handelsblatt in an editorial titled 'Lousy Iran strategy'.
"They (US and EU) will be like toothless tigers ...," he added.
Ziener cited three reasons for his argument --lack of consensus in the UNSC over the alleged real dangers of Iran's nuclear program, strong international distrust towards America following the Iraq war and no sustainable options to stop the developments.
He pointed out that America was pursuing the same strategy vis-a-vis Iran as it did in Iraq where all of Washington's accusations proved to be wrong and lies.
Ziener added the US is following a "policy of empty hands" as neither military strikes against Iranian nuclear sites nor the threat of harsh sanctions will be effective.
"Some analysts believe that the main reason was that the United States failed to convince all members of the Board to decide on serious measures against Iran," it said.
In February, the US had already expressed dismay that the IAEA, following a session, did not officially refer Iran's nuclear dossier to the Security Council after IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei asked for more time to deliberate on the issue and prepare his report.
The haste with which the US and its allies are moving to close in on Iran is indicative of their desire to impose "harm and pain" on the nation although professing to favor diplomacy to resolve the issue.
Indeed, "fateful days lie ahead of the Islamic Republic of Iran because Iran's nuclear dossier is the most serious challenge between Tehran and Washington after the eight-year war with Iraq," the editorial continued.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking before provincial residents of Lorestan, said "Iran will not be bullied into abandoning its nuclear activities."
The Supreme Leader likewise defended the country's nuclear program by saying "nuclear energy is a real need and officials are obliged not to give in to pressures and must continue Iran's march toward achieving advanced technologies including nuclear knowhow." According to the editorial, Ali Larijani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, "has prepared a B-plan to confront foreign threats, which cannot be put in words, but should simply be carried out."
In this highly charged atmosphere, "Iran should find a solution to the current standoff without relying on promises made by its apprent allies," advises the daily.
It suggests self-restraint notwithstanding the aggressive remarks of Bush administration officials such as US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who before a gathering of 5,000 American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) members, said that the US would not depend on the UN for solving the Iran nuclear issue and would "use all means at its disposal against Iran."
Bolton, known to be one of the most anti-Iran officials in the US administration, could not have issued harsher statements that those, according to the daily.
Nonetheless, "Iranian officials should avoid fanning the flames of hostility," it advises.
"...The lack of political stability in the Middle East and strong words used by Iranian and American officials may draw both countries and even the whole region into an unwanted military conflict," it warns.
More important, it says, Iran cannot count on its allies these days.
"India, China and Russia, for example, assured Iran until the last few days before the Board of Governors' session that Iran's case should be handled by the IAEA, but they finally voted against Iran."
Citing reasons, the daily said India had achieved an agreement with the US for supply of more nuclear reactors while a similar agreement had been worked out between Washington and Beijing on the Taiwan independence issue. And, Moscow has billion-dollar contracts with Iran to build nuclear power plants in the country.
While many analysts point out that military confrontation is out of the question, the daily rightly advises self-restraint, saying a peaceful approach can better "realize the interests of all involved parties" especially because each is equally capable of causing on the other "pain and harm."
A statement issued after the meeting of the Party's Polit Bureau here on Friday critisized the Indian government for voting with the US, EU-3 and others in the February meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors.
All the sophistry indulged in that India wants the matter settled by dialogue is meaningless, CPI(M) said, adding that the Prime Minister's statement in Parliament was notable for the omission that the issue should be settled within the framework of the IAEA.
There was not a word that the matter should not be referred to the Security Council.
In contrast, on behalf of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), the representative of Malaysia in a statement to the Board meeting stated NAM strongly believes that diplomacy and dialogue must continue in order to find a long-term peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.
To this end NAM is of the view that engagement of other UN bodies at this juncture should be avoided," the statement said.
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