How the European media view the Iran nuclear deal

Major news organizations in France and Germany largely express approval of their political leaders for the six-month agreement reached in Geneva.

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
November 26, 2013 01:45
3 minute read.
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Newspapers. (photo credit: Wikicommons)

BERLIN – French and German diplomacy played a role in securing an interim agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions, and the major news organizations in both countries on Monday largely reflected the approval of their political leaders for the six-month agreement.

France’s conservative daily Le Figaro wrote of “the French constancy in the treatment of the case. The deal is a success and precludes any ambiguity, thanks to French diplomacy’s hard work.”

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The paper noted, “the French got the Americans to suspend the sanctions in the automotive industry.”

Serge Michel, the deputy editor of the left-leaning Le Monde, said, “The agreement meets all the Western expectations and the lifted sanctions are fairly minimal.”

The paper stressed that the US is on the right path to test the intentions of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

The left-liberal Libération titled its front page “The Mullahs become weaker” and chalked up the deal as a victory for diplomacy.

The Roman Catholic paper La Croix wrote that the agreement’s detractors are Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The German news magazine Der Spiegel published an overview of the media’s reaction in the Federal Republic to the Iran agreement. According to Spiegel, the media praised “the agreement but caution that the bulk of the sanctions must remain in place until Iran has proven its commitment not to build a nuclear bomb.”

Spiegel provided excerpts from four large German papers. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), a conservative daily in Frankfurt, wrote: “Iran’s concessions are significant but don’t mean the end of the nuclear program.
The Western protagonists likely decided that they couldn’t get any further than that through negotiation, which is probably a realistic assumption. It’s worth noting that the sanctions imposed on Iran worked by causing the leadership in Tehran to embark on a charm offensive.”

The FAZ added that “some sanctions are being loosened, but the core of the sanction regime will remain intact. That’s a good thing. Any further loosening must be linked to whether and how Iran actually cooperates. If an instrument is working, one shouldn’t abandon it prematurely.”

The left-wing Berliner Zeitung – a paper that was printed in the former communist East Germany – wrote: “Just a year ago, the world feared that an Israeli air strike could tip the whole region into a war; now there is hope of a peaceful settlement. This is the second time in a short period that there has been an unexpected change for the better in the Middle East.”

“Four years after the US president was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize so prematurely, he’s well on the way to earning it,” the Berliner Zeitung added.

The conservative Die Welt – a paper sympathetic to Israel’s core security interests, wrote: “So far, the Geneva agreement is just a test of Tehran’s seriousness. Everything, truly everything, now depends on Obama not getting carried away by grand historic, global political visions. There must be complete certainty that Iran is opening up all its centrifuges and letting the inspectors do their work without obstruction. There are too many historical examples of deceitful dictatorships and betrayed democracies not to remain very suspicious regarding Tehran.”

Die Welt continued, “ Even if President Rouhani does turn out to be a Shi’ite Gorbachev, it must be established beyond any doubt that he really is in charge in Tehran, and not groups who embrace the terrorist strategies of the Al-Quds Brigades. It’s an exceedingly bold assumption that six months will suffice to achieve this certainty.”

The left-liberal Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote: “The rapprochement that has been achieved is still only incremental. But since President Hassan Rouhani’s election, power in Tehran is in the hands of a group of politicians who see the end of the three-decades-old confrontation with the West as the solution to all problems.”

“A first step is better than no step,” is how the Swedish paper Dagens Nyheter, which terms its editorial line “independently liberal,” described the Iran agreement.

The Finnish paper Aamulehti headlined its Iran article “A big step but only a first step.”

Finland’s Helsingin Sanomat wrote: “The negotiation creates a foundation for trust” and the talks are “ultimately a question of Iran ‘s nuclear program and its foreign policy. International status change is possible if Iran is genuinely prepared to convince foreign powers and the IAEA that its nuclear program is no longer a secret part of its military.”


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