Saturday, June 04, 2005

Why Europe is Wrong in Iran by Amir Taheri

During his visit to Washington last week, Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told his American interlocutors that the European Union's initiative on Iran, of which his government is a part, was heading for an impasse. But when asked what the next move should be, all that Straw had to say was: Keep talking until after the Iranian presidential election.

The Europeans said a similar thing last year when talks on Iran's alleged nuclear ambitions had hit another brick-wall. At that time the advice was to keep talking until after the Iranian parliamentary election. Well, that election took place without producing any evolution in the Iranian position except that the Islamic Republic may now be a year closer to the "surge capacity" it needs to become a nuclear power.

The latest round of talks, slated to continue until after the Iranian presidential election, is equally likely to produce no change in Tehran's position. Tehran will continue to use the talks as a diplomatic smokescreen while driving a wedge between Europe and the United States.

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