An Event and a Regional Trend

The report issued by the International atomic energy agency is considered a good testimony on Iran’s positive response to the agency’s demands which Tehran received concerning its nuclear program, especially because the report confirmed that there is no military activity in the Iranian nuclear project and that the information about the history of the Iranian nuclear activity is precise and transparent.
Despite this positive development, the US stand as, expressed by the US ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad, has escalated tension and threatened to impose new sanctions on Iran. It also revealed a tendency to exert pressures on the Chinese and Russian stand to let the sanctions pass, which will raise controversy at the Security Council. These threats seemed as a preemptive pressure on the Iranian-European meetings, scheduled to be held at the end of this month concerning the nuclear file.
Observers in the area look forward to the Russian and Chinese stand towards imposing additional sanctions on Iran due to the nature of the report which some analysts said it is a result of a bargain between director of the agency Mohamed al-Baradi and Iran to avoid the US frank threats to oust him if he expressed his true convictions about the nuclear file. This will also test the scope of the serious readiness of the Asian partenerships of Beijing and Moscow and the nature of dealing with the new international contradictions and equations, whose consequences revealed a new firm Russian and Chinese stand against the US.
The sounds of the US war drum retreated a little bit, but the Israeli threats and provocations against Iran continue and Israel has started to threaten Iran of launching a military attack on.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

It became almost certain that a list of seven names flew with the ambassador Jean-Claude Cousseran to be discussed by international and regional sides through the French diplomacy which preserves its presence in Lebanon through the presidential envoy Claude Guéant, who will continue his shuttle diplomacy in the country while nobody knows if the House speaker Nabih Berri and representative Saad Hariri have received the list or not.
The UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the international delegations will visit Beirut during the coming few days in order to pressurize the Lebanese political reality.
Press circles said the list of the Patriarch Sfeir is not final but it is considered as a preliminary step for a real discussion of the names of presidential candidates. What is remarkable in the current discussions is the following:
- There is a tendency to form a caretaker government if the sides fail to agree or to return to the idea of a transitional president.
- The emergence of a new political viewpoint about the necessity of agreeing on the president and the prime minister at the same time or to elect General Aoun if the Future Trend clings to the post of the prime minister. This means that al-Hariri will be named through consultations between the Sunni personalities and the Christian sides, while the house speaker and representative al-Hariri will agree on the approved president. This viewpoint resulted from taking into consideration the dangers of ignoring the representational weight of General Michel Aoun.
- France coordinates with Washington which may delegate the assistant secretary of state David Welch to Lebanon tomorrow.
- The Lebanese opposition sources say there is a condensed political and financial and security activity for Sharm el-Sheikh group in Lebanon through the loyal militias, but the loyalists deny this. It seems also that the Arab league and the Arab states are not involved publicly in the Lebanese presidential file, while Amr Moussa announced that Syria supports conciliation in Lebanon. - General Michel Aoun announced a firm stand against the US intervention, which pushes the Lebanese to confrontation and puts the enmity to Hezbollah as a condition for the presidential candidate.

Arab and International Press

Nicholas Cralif said in an article published in the Washington Times that the US has resumed its contacts with the Muslim Brothers in Egypt despite the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s pledge in 2005 not to make such contacts.
Kirsten Downey said in an article published in the Washington Post that 800 Americans held a meeting in Washington and condemned the US policy concerning Iran. The meeting was chaired by the Democratic representative James Moran.
Some Arab and international newspapers published the new report issued by the international group for directing the crises which said that President Bush’s warm relation with the Iraqi higher Islamic council may lead to a dangerous dispute between the Shia groups and give Iran a bigger political role in Iraq.
The Iranian paper Goya said the exchanged accusations between the conservatives and the reformists inside Iran have extended to accuse former president Mohamed Khatami of responsibility for any US attack.
The paper added that all the messages received by Iranian officials talk about an imminent US attack which will target strategic positions in Iran with long range missiles in order to destroy 2500 strategic positions in 3 days, in addition to bombing some Iranian cities with atomic bombs if Iran attacks Israel or US military bases with its long range missiles.
The Iranian Weekly Echo said that active political forces in Iran announced lists of candidates to participate in the Shura council’s elections.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said there is a heated race between the indicators of obstruction of the presidential merit and the French initiative which aims at reaching an approved candidate that ends the suffocating crisis.
As-Safir said a presidential hysteria afflicted Lebanon and abridged all the Lebanese crises in the presidential crisis, while all the signs prove that the issue is deeper than this.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said General Michel Aoun referred to the real malady in Lebanese politics which is Washington and its policies that work to plant schisms among the Lebanese.
The NTV said leaderships of the world were brought to Lebanon but they did not produce a president.
The NBN said nothing is clear yet concerning the candidates’ list.
The OTV said the US diplomatic channels discussed a new proposal which is appointing a transitional president for a period that ends in 2009, the date of the Parliamentary elections in order to form a unity government and set a new law for the elections.
The LBC said the stands of General Aoun and the opposition reveal that conciliation is stumbling.
The Future said that Arab and international visitors come to Lebanon but no solution appears in the horizon.

Attached documents

« Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran » (IAEA)

(PDF - 75.6 kb)

Tendencies is a daily political watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on in Arabic, English and French languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic and English.