Friday, January 20, 2006

Iran ‘crisis’ - mind games are still underway?

Iran's foreign minister is warning the UK, France and Germany not to act hastily over his country's nuclear programme. Tehran insists it only wants to make reactor fuel to generate electricity. In the light of the growing nuclear crisis the Iranian government has been talking about using diplomacy to argue its case.

A translator’s mistake had been made - confusing "nuclear technology" with "nuclear weapon," with the result that he completely changed the president's message - having him say it was Iran's right to have nuclear weapons, which is, of course, not Iran's stated aim.

President Ahmadinejad has defended Iran's nuclear programme. The Iranian media started a ferocious campaign against CNN, alleging they had deliberately distorted the president's words as part of a campaign of psychological warfare.

The president's news conference was delayed for a week to allow foreign media organisations not represented in Tehran to come - most of them American, it seemed. In the light of the growing nuclear crisis the Iranian government has been talking about using diplomacy to argue its case. The only problem is they have purged key diplomats like the ambassador to London and have yet to replace them. And in the new government there is now no nuclear official who can give interviews in English.

Iranians do have a case.

The UN nuclear inspectors have yet to find any proof Iran has a clandestine weapons programme, no matter how many times the Americans repeat this allegation as if it were fact. And they do have the right to peaceful nuclear technology under international law. It all comes down to Iran's intentions. Just saying Iran has not been transparent in the past about its nuclear programme is not enough to prove it is going to conceal it in the future.

The outside world simply does not trust the mullahs with nuclear technology that can be adapted for bombs and more so now Iran has a hardline (?) president like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.

Xenophobia

And that has somehow got mixed up with the Iranian sense of nationalism which should be worrying for the outside world. It means those who do not particularly support the Islamic government still feel aggrieved that Iran, a nation with a powerful sense of its great past, is being held back scientifically by the West.

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