Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hardline Iran Papers Scorn 'Worthless' EU Proposal
Right-wing Iranian newspapers have snubbed European Union efforts to coax the Islamic republic into halting sensitive nuclear work, with one influential daily dismissing the proposed incentives as "worthless". "Worthless incentives, repetitious threats," headlined the Kayhan newspaper, whose editor is appointed by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. READ MORE

"America and Europe should know that Iran will not exchange gold for chocolate," the conservative Resalat paper wrote in an editorial, repeating a metaphor used last week by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"EU draft proposal: freshly tarnishing the atmosphere against Iran's nuclear programme," the hardline Jomhuri Eslami daily wrote.

Britain, France and Germany are preparing a package of trade, technology and security benefits if Tehran stops enriching uranium to defuse an escalating international showdown.

The proposal says world powers should support Iran's building several light water reactors, set up a nuclear fuel bank and even have the United States drop restrictions on Iran's buying US commercial airplanes, if Iran takes steps to guarantee it will not make nuclear weapons.

But if Tehran does not do this, sanctions should follow including an arms embargo, political and economic measures, a visa and travel ban on selected high-ranking officials and a freeze of assets of individuals and organisations connected to or close to the regime.