A Tough Week Ahead

Ramadan is coming to an end soon. In Iran and some Arab countries, on the last Friday of the Holy Month, the so-called International Quds Day sees anti-Zionist demonstrations opposing Israel’s control of Jerusalem (Quds). Especially in Iran, where the annual occasion had been suggested by Ayatollah Khomeini after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, ‘Death to Israel’ shouts are usually inevitable and unfortunately even highly desired by authorities.

Last week has seen rather discomposed reactions in Tehran to a most probably downright negative report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear activities. The report will be presented to the IAEA Board of Governors on Monday, 22 September. So far, the exact content and wording is not known to the public, but almost desperate attempts of Iran’s close to the government news media to downplay possible effects and new military exercises in the country bode ill.

It is still about the ‘laptop issue’, that Iran has linked projects for processing uranium, test high explosives and modify a missile cone in a way suitable to contain a nuclear war head. Fabricated, Iran insists. That Tehran insists that the IAEA has no mandate to consider Western intelligence might be understandable. But full transparency here is possible. The Additional Protocol which allows IAEA inspectors to visit any suspect site at very short notice and which which has been signed by Iran in 2003, but which was suspended two years later, should be re-ratified by Iran as soon as possible.

Into the bargain comes the General Debate of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, 23 September when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad is not expected to give a speech this time. No University invitation, no planned visit of Ground Zero.

It is all about reliable, responsible cooperation within the global community which sometimes demands a much lower profile. The Iranian government might consider a more peaceful end of the holy month of Ramazan this year. Hopefully, there will be no hysterical death wishes on Friday, 26 September. They would not really fit in the context in which the President had put, before departing to New York, his own words into perspective which he made three years ago. By the way, they were not diplomatic either.

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