Iran General NewsIranian fallout

Iranian fallout

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Washington Times: President Bush’s decision to impose sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other Iranian targets drew support from Capitol Hill to Brussels, as members of Congress and the European Parliament praised the action but urged the administration to go further. The Washington Times

Embasssy Row

James Morrison

President Bush‘s decision to impose sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other Iranian targets drew support from Capitol Hill to Brussels, as members of Congress and the European Parliament praised the action but urged the administration to go further.

They urged Mr. Bush to use this week’s meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has taken a tougher line on Iran than many of his European counterparts, to craft a trans-Atlantic strategy to support the domestic opposition to the theocracy that runs Iran and remove the ban on the exiled Iranian resistance.

The sanctions against the guard, its terrorist Quds Force, nine other affiliated entities and three major Iranian banks “will be most effective when coupled with diplomatic and political recognition of the Iranian people’s resistance and hence their quest for democracy,” members of Congress said in a letter to Mr. Bush, which was coordinated by Reps. Bob Filner, California Democrat and chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and Tom Tancredo, Colorado Republican.

Both congressmen have been leading advocates of removing the Mujahedin-e Khalq, which includes several opposition groups, from the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. The Clinton administration added the group to the list in the 1990s in an attempt to improve relations with the Iranian regime.

The congressmen embraced a so-called “third option,” beyond sanctions or military strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites. That option was proposed by Maryam Rajavi, leader of the banned National Council of Resistance.

In Brussels, members of the European Parliament called the U.S. sanctions against the guard “long overdue” and urged the European Union to adopt a “similar ban on this repressive terror machine.”

Struan Stevenson, a Scottish member of Parliament, and Paulo Casaca, a Portuguese member, organized a open letter that called on the EU to endorse the third option and remove its “harsh, self-destructive and unfair” ban on the “Iranian democratic opposition.” Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Casaca are co-chairmen of the parliament’s Friends of a Free Iran caucus.

In Paris, a former member of the U.S. National Security Council issued a similar plea in an article in the newspaper Le Figaro. Raymond Tanter, now a professor at Georgetown University, noted the power the EU has over Iran, where European firms account for 35 percent of the foreign investment market.

“President Sarkozy is in a position to develop a new European-American option — an Iranian [domestic”> solution to the threat from Tehran,” he said.

Mr. Tanter warned that “Iran’s nuclear clock has been ticking faster than the stalled Western response.”

“The prominence of the issue and gravity of geopolitical considerations make it imperative that America and Europe speak in one voice as partners for peace,” he said.

“Washington cannot solve this crisis on its own.”

Gunboat diplomacy

As he delivered a maritime radar system and gunboats to fight terrorists, the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka yesterday urged the beleaguered nation to negotiate with a rebel group the Bush administration accused of terrorism.

Ambassador Robert O. Blake dedicated a radar-based maritime surveillance system and several Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats to the Sri Lankan Navy to help interdict arms shipments to the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

“The ambassador also urged the government of Sri Lanka to pursue a negotiated settlement to Sri Lanka’s conflict and stressed the importance of respecting fully human rights,” the U.S. Embassy said.

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