04/14/2006, 00.00
IRAN
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Condi Rice talks tough on Iran as diplomacy looks at Beijing

Chinese envoy arrives in Iran as US raises the possibility of use of force. The Jerusalem Post Says Tehran is playing nuclear poker.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – All eyes are on Beijing as the Iranian nuclear standoff continues to unfold. A Chinese envoy has arrived today in Iran and will travel later to Russia, a country that shares with China the conviction, reiterated today by Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, that the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme can be solved through dialogue.

"We hope all parties will adopt a cool-headed approach," he told a news conference detailing the upcoming visit by President Hu Jintao to Washington where he will meet George W. Bush on April 19. "Dialogue is better than confrontation. We should work together toward this end."

Although Beijing and Moscow have become more critical of Iran's stance following the admitted failure of the mission of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed el-Baradei, they have certainly not reacted like US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has called for UN action against Iran under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter which allows for the use of force, a call judged in the Western media more for its propaganda value than as a real threat

For its part, Iran's official news agency IRNA reports today that IAEA chief el-Baradei said at the end of his visit that "Iran has proved its nuclear program is transparent".

The Jerusalem Post published today an analysis titled 'Playing Poker in Tehran', which, according to the Israeli daily, is trying to "to imitate the North Korean and Pakistani strategy" that allowed the countries to drag out negotiations until their nuclear weapons capability had become a fait accompli. "But they [the Iranians] are not there yet, and Ahmadinejad's boasts are not credible [because] Iran still has a long way to go before its claims of nuclear independence can be taken seriously. "

For AsiaTimes, we are instead plunged in a situation worthy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold. The US and Iran are moving ever closer towards conflict, a conflict wanted by Israel that no one is really trying to prevent.

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