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* Missed messages on Iran  Robert Kagan

* Envoy Condemns US Officials' Irresponsible Comments on Iran  News Report

* 'Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran'  News Report

* Warning of long war if Israel attacks Iran  News Report

* Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show  News Report

* Iran denies Ahmadi-Nejad was attacked  News Report

* Sanctions set stage for a new push on Iran  News Report

* اطلاعیۀ آیت الله منتطری دربارۀ حرام بودن مقاومت در برابر رأی مردم  Ali Behrooz

* لیست اسامی با حروف فارسی، تا تاریخ 08/09/08  Ali Behrooz

* War of words, or words of war  Ali Behrooz

* Could Israel use submarines against Iran?  News Report

* Iran deplores UAE claim on 3 islands  News Report

* 'Iran will respond to any attack'  News Report

* Carter to meet Hamas leadership in Cairo  News Report

* No Peace Without Hamas  News Report

* Ahmadinejad again voices Sept. 11 doubts  News Report

* Clinton, Obama tackle Iran issue in debate  News Report

* Bomb kills at least 9 in Iran mosque  News Report

* Iran demands Israel stop force threats  News Report

* Ahmadinejad to dismiss 2 cabinet ministers in Iran  News Report

* Iran: Naval encounter routine check  News Report

* Tony Blair's Palestine  News Report

* Clinton attacks Obama and McCain over Iraq  News Report

* Reza Pahlavi: Leadership for Democracy in Iran  News Report

* Petraeus: Return to 'pre-surge' troop levels, then wait  News Report

* Blast rocks US complex in Sanaa  News Report

* Clashes in Nile Delta after strike aborted  News Report

* When a great power goes mad  News Report

* Iranians defy censor with bootleg DVDs  News Report

* Putin says Iran is no threat  News Report

* Creating a US-Iran Bridge  News Report

* Court removes PKK from terror funds list  News Report

* 12 militants wanted by Israel flee Palestinian jail in West Bank after fight  News Report

* Limiting Tehran’s Influence?  Ali Behrooz

* UAE detains ship as grip on Tehran tightens  News Report

* Iranian critic not guilty of espionage  News Report

* Israelis and Palestinians pledge to reach peace pact by end of 2008  News Report

* Conference in Qom focuses on Iran-US challenges  News Report

* FM spokesman: Iran's plan on Iraq not put for voting  News Report

* Iran's top dissident cleric calls for U.S. talks  News Report

* Islamic militants take fight against Musharraf to 'Pakistan's Switzerland'  News Report

* 'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law  News Report

* US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary  Sir Cyril Townsend

* After Thamilselvan  News Report

* Analysis: Is Abbas playing his cards right ahead of ME summit?  News Report

* Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie  News Report

* Senior Tamil Tiger leader killed  News Report

* US declares PKK 'a common enemy'  News Report

* Iran urged to join Gulf nuclear deal  News Report

* Iran's leaders need enemies like Bush, and at every turn he obliges them  News Report

* Giuliani hits Democrats on Iran  News Report

* Iran: We have no information on Arad  News Report

* Clinton hails US move on Iran  News Report

* Israel to prepare for potential missile attack  News Report

* US First Lady in Kuwait  News Report

* Rice: Mideast solution in jeopardy  News Report

* Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins  News Report

* Protesters confront Condoleezza Rice as she testifies on Middle East  News Report

* Showdown With Iran  News Report

* U.S. outlines Baghdad security handover plan  News Report

* Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.  News Report

* Iraq promises Turkey it will curb Kurdish rebels  News Report

* Big shoes to fill  News Report

* LUKOIL says halts Iran oil project on US sanctions  News Report

* Three soldiers killed in Darfur camp attack - UN  News Report

* There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon  News Report

* Lebanese patience for Nahr al-Bared displaced wears thin  News Report

* Iran, Syria urge diplomatic means instead of military incursion into Iraq  News Report

* Talabani refuses to deliver PKK leaders to Turkey amid protests against incursion  News Report

* Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels  News Report

* Iran N-case on Olmert's Paris agenda  News Report

* Motaki (FM): US in No Position to Attack Iran  News Report

* We will fight to the death, Kurdish rebel leader vows from his hideout  News Report

* Deaths And Hostages In Border Clash  News Report

* Flash News: Kurdish separatistand 12 Turkish soldiers killed  News Report

* IRGC Commander:Aggressions to Be Reciprocated with a Rain of Rockets  News Report

* 2 leaders back Blair as European Union president  News Report

* Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis  News Report

* Jordan hopes for positive outcome of Annapolis meeting  News Report

* Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns  News Report

* Larijani Resigns  Ali Behrooz

* NATO says shipment of roadside bombs was 'from Iran'  News Report

* Israel impeding effort to clear cluster bombs  News Report

* Bhutto defiant over bomb attack  News Report

* Democrats' stance on Iran criticized  News Report

* Top Palestinian negotiator may resign  News Report

* UN condemns killing of its truck drivers in Darfur  News Report

* Kurds sign oil deals beyond regional borders – former minister  News Report

* Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud  News Report

* Rice back in Israel after Egypt talks  News Report

* Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in southern Iran go on strike  News Report

* Ahmadinejad: Caspian states to form economic cooperation organization  News Report

* Putin lands in Iran for nuke talks  News Report

* Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace  News Report

* Coalition of the Reluctant  News Report

* World bank neglects African farming, study says  News Report

* Putin dismisses threat of assassination in Iran  News Report

* Israel signals readiness to cede parts of Jerusalem to Palestinians  News Report

* Christiane Amanpour: 'People think I relax with a Kalashnikov - I don't'  News Report

* After honeymoon, Sarkozy method poses three risks  News Report


US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary
[ Sir Cyril Townsend]
[Source: Arab News - Editorial - 04/11/07]


At the end of August we were told that President George Bush wanted to treat the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “designated global terrorist” force, which would mark an escalation in the US-Iran crisis and have a number of important implications.

I spoke to a press officer in the State Department but he was cautious and had nothing to add; I was given the impression this was under study within the Bush administration but no decision had been made by the president.

On Oct. 25 President Bush imposed what The Times contended were:

“the harshest sanctions on Iran for a generation ... fuelling claims that he is preparing possible air strikes against Tehran.”

It made me wonder if this was partly a reaction to President Vladimir Putin’s careful but successful visit to Iran a few days ago, when he appeared to get on well with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and spoke out against the use of “any kind of force” against Iran. The Russian approach would have infuriated President Bush.

I detected a measure of irritation in the European Union’s reaction to America’s new sanctions. I am sure the European Union was notified in advance but I wonder how much discussion took place. Europeans will ask why now, why unilaterally, and if this is to fit in with an American timetable involving military action before President Bush leaves office in just over a year.

As under previous presidents, the United States has got into the habit of announcing sanctions against other countries, as and when it likes and involving minimum coordination with other members of the international family.

In November 1997 I happened to be in Khartoum when Madeleine Albright, then US secretary of state, announced “sweeping new sanctions” against the government of the Sudan.

The timing was crass. Peace talks were in progress in Nairobi in an attempt to end Sudan’s civil war. In practice, the United States had very little trade with the Sudan, other countries showed little or no interest in following the superpower’s example and the real effect of these “sweeping” sanctions was minimal.

In the case of the new sanctions on Iran the effect could be considerable. Commercial organizations based outside America have been warned that carrying on dealing with designated groups in Iran might put them at risk of suffering American financial penalties. While the benefit of their trade with Iran might be small, the loss of their trade with America could be huge.

All the signs coming out of Washington suggest the Bush administration is badly divided over Iran. Vice President Dick Cheney declared on Oct. 21 that there would be serious consequences if Iran did not halt its enrichment program. The American media believes the vice president is pushing his colleagues to go ahead with air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The neoconservatives hate the idea of passing on the problem of Iran to the next administration — presumably a Democratic Party one.

Meanwhile Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, seems anxious to keep to the long and slow diplomatic route so long as it has a chance of working. The State Department must have as a principle goal the widest possible support for economic sanctions against Iran hopefully within a Security Council framework, but if not a coalition of the Willing on sanctions. Dr. Rice will be watching the possible building up of a military consensus in America that strikes against Iran might not be successful — targets would be deep underground, perhaps under mountains, hardened against air attacks. Iran would respond with massive terrorist attacks against vulnerable American targets in the Middle East.

President Bush is responding to the recent behavior of the IRGC military wing, Al-Quds, which is blamed in Washington for both arming and training militant groups not only in Iraq but also Lebanon and Afghanistan. His new proposals will hit more than 20 Iranian organizations, including three state-run banks, the Defense Ministry and entities owned or controlled by the IRGC. The Americans are claiming — and it is worth remembering they have no embassy in Tehran — that the IRGC today has responsibility for vast areas of Iran’s international business interests, including obtaining nuclear technology.

Europe would like to work with the Americans, but is anxious to give support to the numerous moderate voices in Iran. Europe does not wish to be rushed by an American president whom many Europeans distrust.

 





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