Finally, some pressure on Iran?

In the past week or so, with the D—Day ceremonies in France, the unanimous UN resolution on Iraq, and the seemingly harmonious G8 Summit in Sea Island, relations between the US and its allies seem improving. An issue that would clarify our doubts is coming to the table next week: Iran.

Some signs are pointing towards a positive consensus between the Europeans and the US. But is this for real? And why is Iran so important for the West?

First, let's look at Iran's involvement in Iraq against the Coalition.

Iran is the supporting force behind Sadr's Shia militia, which attempted to raise an insurgency against the Coalition in Fallujah. Sadr's personal link to Iran is twofold: first, his inspiration comes from Ayatollah Henri, one of the most extreme Iranian clerics; second his aunt is none other than the first lady of Iran, Mrs. Khatami.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  As reported by the Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat, Iran is very actively supporting Sadr's actions in Iraq. The article reveals that Iran opened three training camps near the Iraqi border to prepare between 800 and 1200 Iraqis for urban warfare against the Coalition. Furthermore, the Iranian Embassy in Iraq has provided the insurgents with 400 satellite phones, to better coordinate their actions. The daily also affirms that Iran has contributed around 80 million US dollars to Sadr's cause, and that hundreds of elite Iranian troops along with covert agents are swarming in Iraq right now.

Ralph Peters of the New York Post recently reported that Iranian agents ambushed an American convoy in Iraq. Two of the attackers were killed by US troops and the others were captured. They were carrying Iranian documents.

Second, Iran is the worldwide leader in terror. It is the biggest supporter of Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia terrorist organization. If that were not enough, Iran is openly recruiting suicide bombers, as detailed by Insight Magazine. An Iranian group called the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign told Reuters on June 5 that they had already 10,000 martyrs to kill coalition troops, US citizens, Israelis, and Salman Rushdie.

Third, Iran is in the last stages of developing nuclear weapons.

This is the most worrisome point for the international community. Iran has definitely been on the radar of the IAEA— International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN but so far only the US seemed to realize the gathering danger.
Hassan Rohani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator declared recently to the magazine Politique Internationale, 'according to the latest IAEA's resolution, it appears very clearly that Iran's nuclear program is solely destined to civilian applications' i.e. energy purposes. Of course, this does not make any sense since Iran is one of the richest countries in energy and they do not need additional sources.

So far, the EU3, as they are called —— Britain, France and Germany —— have been quite lenient with the Iranians. But that was until June 8. In fact, without waiting for the conclusion of the IAEA's latest report on Iran's nuclear program on June 14, the EU3 decided to start drafting a UN resolution that would sharply rebuke Iran for not cooperating fully with the IAEA.

This European initiative is mind—boggling, because Europe has the bad habit of appeasing rogue states. Not only that, but France and Germany have huge commercial interests in Iran. For instance, the French oil company Total is benefiting from a contract with Iran amounting to billions of USD. Why would France then push for destabilizing her new best partner, now that Saddam Hussein is gone from power?

This new proactive attitude of the EU3 does not seem in character, but maybe there is the beginning of a change of heart. France and the US may have watered down their demands on each other to get closer on some issues.

Another odd and very interesting fact reflecting this change can be found in the French leftist newspaper Liberation, which exclusively reported on June 9, 2004 that Iran's space program is in fact hiding the production of missiles. It is definitely very unusual for the left wing French media to present major trade partners in a bad light. So, this might be for France the start of a campaign to gradually drop the mullah's regime.
 
One has the right to be skeptical about this new toughness from Europe, but let's acknowledge nonetheless that it is encouraging.

Time will tell if Europe is going to join the fight against rogue states. But counterexamples exist in contradiction to this theory: the EU is on the verge of signing a major trade agreement with Syria. Even our great ally, Great Britain, is totally opposed to the sanctions imposed by the US for Syria's support of terrorism and occupation of Lebanon. On a symbolic level, French President Chirac's decision not to attend President Reagan's funeral in Washington DC is an insult, especially since Chirac was already in the US. On the other hand, in 2000, Chirac had no problems flying all the way from Paris to Damascus to attend Syria's brutal dictator Hafez Assad's funeral.

So, in the light of all this, adopting the famous British pragmatism might be the best way: Let's wait and see.

In the past week or so, with the D—Day ceremonies in France, the unanimous UN resolution on Iraq, and the seemingly harmonious G8 Summit in Sea Island, relations between the US and its allies seem improving. An issue that would clarify our doubts is coming to the table next week: Iran.

Some signs are pointing towards a positive consensus between the Europeans and the US. But is this for real? And why is Iran so important for the West?

First, let's look at Iran's involvement in Iraq against the Coalition.

Iran is the supporting force behind Sadr's Shia militia, which attempted to raise an insurgency against the Coalition in Fallujah. Sadr's personal link to Iran is twofold: first, his inspiration comes from Ayatollah Henri, one of the most extreme Iranian clerics; second his aunt is none other than the first lady of Iran, Mrs. Khatami.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  As reported by the Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat, Iran is very actively supporting Sadr's actions in Iraq. The article reveals that Iran opened three training camps near the Iraqi border to prepare between 800 and 1200 Iraqis for urban warfare against the Coalition. Furthermore, the Iranian Embassy in Iraq has provided the insurgents with 400 satellite phones, to better coordinate their actions. The daily also affirms that Iran has contributed around 80 million US dollars to Sadr's cause, and that hundreds of elite Iranian troops along with covert agents are swarming in Iraq right now.

Ralph Peters of the New York Post recently reported that Iranian agents ambushed an American convoy in Iraq. Two of the attackers were killed by US troops and the others were captured. They were carrying Iranian documents.

Second, Iran is the worldwide leader in terror. It is the biggest supporter of Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia terrorist organization. If that were not enough, Iran is openly recruiting suicide bombers, as detailed by Insight Magazine. An Iranian group called the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign told Reuters on June 5 that they had already 10,000 martyrs to kill coalition troops, US citizens, Israelis, and Salman Rushdie.

Third, Iran is in the last stages of developing nuclear weapons.

This is the most worrisome point for the international community. Iran has definitely been on the radar of the IAEA— International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN but so far only the US seemed to realize the gathering danger.
Hassan Rohani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator declared recently to the magazine Politique Internationale, 'according to the latest IAEA's resolution, it appears very clearly that Iran's nuclear program is solely destined to civilian applications' i.e. energy purposes. Of course, this does not make any sense since Iran is one of the richest countries in energy and they do not need additional sources.

So far, the EU3, as they are called —— Britain, France and Germany —— have been quite lenient with the Iranians. But that was until June 8. In fact, without waiting for the conclusion of the IAEA's latest report on Iran's nuclear program on June 14, the EU3 decided to start drafting a UN resolution that would sharply rebuke Iran for not cooperating fully with the IAEA.

This European initiative is mind—boggling, because Europe has the bad habit of appeasing rogue states. Not only that, but France and Germany have huge commercial interests in Iran. For instance, the French oil company Total is benefiting from a contract with Iran amounting to billions of USD. Why would France then push for destabilizing her new best partner, now that Saddam Hussein is gone from power?

This new proactive attitude of the EU3 does not seem in character, but maybe there is the beginning of a change of heart. France and the US may have watered down their demands on each other to get closer on some issues.

Another odd and very interesting fact reflecting this change can be found in the French leftist newspaper Liberation, which exclusively reported on June 9, 2004 that Iran's space program is in fact hiding the production of missiles. It is definitely very unusual for the left wing French media to present major trade partners in a bad light. So, this might be for France the start of a campaign to gradually drop the mullah's regime.
 
One has the right to be skeptical about this new toughness from Europe, but let's acknowledge nonetheless that it is encouraging.

Time will tell if Europe is going to join the fight against rogue states. But counterexamples exist in contradiction to this theory: the EU is on the verge of signing a major trade agreement with Syria. Even our great ally, Great Britain, is totally opposed to the sanctions imposed by the US for Syria's support of terrorism and occupation of Lebanon. On a symbolic level, French President Chirac's decision not to attend President Reagan's funeral in Washington DC is an insult, especially since Chirac was already in the US. On the other hand, in 2000, Chirac had no problems flying all the way from Paris to Damascus to attend Syria's brutal dictator Hafez Assad's funeral.

So, in the light of all this, adopting the famous British pragmatism might be the best way: Let's wait and see.