The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 69/No. 8           February 28, 2005  
U.S. gov’t rejects talks with Tehran brokered by EU
(feature article)
In response to increasing U.S. threats, including sanctions and the possibility of military strikes, the government of Iran declared it would not give up its nuclear program.

In his State of the Union address, President George Bush singled out Iran as “the world’s primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve.”

Washington chose the resumption of Iran’s negotiations with the European Union over nuclear issues to schedule a European tour of newly appointed secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, during which she pointedly criticized the European governments for not pressing Tehran hard enough to end its nuclear program.

“We have believed all along that Iran ought to be referred to the [U.N.] Security Council and then a variety of steps are available to the international community,” Rice said in an interview with Fox News. “They need to hear that the discussions that they are in with the Europeans are not going to be a kind of way-station where they are allowed to continue their activities; that there’s going to be an end to this and that they are going to end up in the Security Council.”

According to Reuters, “U.N. sanctions could include a halt to peaceful nuclear cooperation, a ban on foreign investment, reduced diplomatic ties or travel curbs on Iranian leaders. Sanctions on Iran’s oil exports seem unlikely in view of the potential impact on world oil prices and the global economy.”

U.S. sanctions already bar U.S. companies from doing business with Iran. Reuters said, “U.S. giants such as Halliburton and General Electric Co., which have used subsidiaries to get round the embargo, have said they will do no new business in Iran. Britain’s oil major BP has also said U.S. pressure is keeping it out.”

The Iranian government agreed in November, after negotiations with the EU governments of Britain, Germany, and France, to temporarily suspend production of enriched uranium. Talks between the three imperialist powers and Iran on that country’s nuclear program resumed in February. According to Reuters, the European governments are offering Tehran a package of economic incentives in exchange for an end to Iran’s nuclear program.

“The international community has got to be certain to speak with one very tough voice to the Iranians that it is not going to be acceptable for Iran to build a nuclear weapon under cover of civilian nuclear power,” Rice said in the Fox interview.

Questioned about the possibility of a U.S. military strike to wipe out Iranian nuclear facilities, Rice said in London, ”The question is simply not on the agenda at this point—we have diplomatic means to do this.”  
U.S. drones over Iran
The Washington Post reported February 13 that Washington has been sending drone spy planes over Iranian territory for at least a year, in an effort to locate nuclear sites. “The small, pilotless planes, penetrating Iranian airspace from U.S. military facilities in Iraq, use radar, video, still photography and air filters designed to pick up traces of nuclear activity to gather information that is not accessible by satellites,” the Post reported. “The aerial espionage is standard in military preparations for an eventual air attack and is also employed as a tool for intimidation.”

French foreign minister Michel Barnier, speaking at a news conference with Rice in Paris, said the French government and the other European participants want to let diplomacy run its course. He said they “need the confidence and the support of the United States in this very delicate phase.” According to Agence France-Press, Barnier told Rice that U.S. help would be needed if the Europeans are to make good on the promised economic incentives, especially helping Iran join the World Trade Organization and to modernize Iran’s commercial airline fleet. Prior to her arrival in Europe, Rice said Washington would not aid Europe in offering incentives to Iran, the New York Times reported.

The German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, indicated Berlin might support placing Iran’s nuclear program before the Security Council. “If Iran were to behave unreasonably, against its own interests, if it for example restarted (uranium) enrichment…then that would lead to the Security Council,” Fischer said according to Reuters.

Iran’s defense minister, Ali Shamkhani, accused the EU and Washington of cooperating to force Iran to compromise. “One side is playing a good cop role, while the other side is playing the bad cop in order to put Iran in the throes of the good cop from fear of the bad cop,” Shamkhani said.

Speaking at Friday prayers, February 11, in Tehran, Iran’s capital, former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said, “It is not acceptable that developed countries generate 70 or 80 percent of their electricity from nuclear energy and tell Iran, a great and powerful nation, that it cannot have nuclear electricity. Iran does not accept this.”

“We will guard this technology. You will see in the future that Iran will have all the achievements of nuclear science at its disposal,” said Rafsanjani. “Iran has not hesitated for a moment about its decision to continue [uranium] enrichment.”

Iranian president Mohammad Khatami said a “burning hell” awaits any invader of Iran as he addressed thousands of demonstrators at a rally celebrating the 26th anniversary of the Iranian revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed shah in 1979.

Khatami said, “The Iranian nation does not seek war, does not seek violence and dispute. But the world must know that this nation will not tolerate any invasion…. The whole Iranian nation is united against any threat or attack.”

A 68-year-old Iranian at the rally, Habibollah Hosseini, told Al-Jazeera, “The U.S. is after an excuse. If we stop atomic technology, they will find another excuse. They invaded Iraq although there were no weapons [of mass destruction]. The best response to intimidation is unity and power. We are here to show this,” he said.

Iran’s senior national security official, Hassan Rowhani, warned the United States that aerial or missile attacks couldn’t destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities. “Our nuclear centers cannot be destroyed. Our nuclear technology comes from our scientists (and) we can transfer our nuclear workshops under mountains and carry out enrichment where no bomb or missile can be effective,” Rowhani said, according to Al-Jazeera.

Iranian ambassador to Cuba Ahmad Edrisian held a news conference in Havana on the occasion of the Iranian revolution’s anniversary. According to the Cuban daily Granma, Edrisian said, “the United States government will make a big mistake in attacking his country. It will be caught between gunfire and the fury of the Iranian people.”

Granma reported that the ambassador said “even before the Islamic Revolution, a nuclear plant was being developed in the south of the country with the participation of U.S. and German specialists, based on a study of the country’s electrical energy needs. It’s the logical right of the Iranian people to take advantage of nuclear energy and its peaceful uses, as has occurred in other countries.”

The Cuban government was one of the first to establish diplomatic relations with Iran after the 1979 revolution.

The government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which recently declared it has nuclear weapons and defended its sovereign right to possess them, saluted the Iranian revolution’s anniversary, stating on the government’s Central Broadcasting Station, “Iran has walked a way of anti-imperialism and independence since it brought down the U.S.-friendly despotic regime on Feb. 11, 1979.”
Related articles:
No to U.S. threats on Syria, Iran, Korea!  
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