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IN THE PRESS

An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2010-02-10

Press anticipates mass protests in Teheran for Revolution Day

Iran is in the papers for two reasons this morning – firstly a renewed threat of sanctions from the international community and secondly the prospect of widespread protests by the Iranian opposition tomorrow on the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

“Netanyahu calls for crippling sanctions on Iran ‘right now’,” reads the front page of the Jerusalem Post. Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to EU ambassadors yesterday in Jerusalem and called for crippling sanctions on Teheran. Yesterday, Iran said that scientists at its Natanz nuclear enrichment plant had begun, in the presence of inspectors from the IAEA, upgrading stocks of uranium from the current level of 3.5% to 20%.
 
Netanyahu’s declaration came as President Obama yesterday said that the international community was “moving along fairly quickly” towards imposing new sanctions “that will show them how isolated [Iran is] from the international community as a whole.”
 
Le Monde also looks at the issue of sanctions saying there are three certainties: Firstly Europe, the US and Israel are sure that Iran is on its way to becoming a nuclear power. Secondly, to prevent this from happening, new sanctions need to be imposed. Thirdly, don’t expect them to work.
 
In part this is because Russia is quite ambiguous – it has voted for sanctions but is Iran’s biggest weapons provider.
 
China is a bigger stumbling block – Beijing could decide to avenge the US for its decision to sell weapons to Taiwan by refusing to support sanctions on Iran. What’s more Iran provides 13% of China’s oil.
 
With China and Russia reticent about sanctions, the US and Europe may act unilaterally. Such unilateral sanctions should target the powers that be, not the population, says Le Monde.
 
Online, Le Monde provides a “guide for the perfect Iranian demonstrator” taken from an Iranian blog. It gives 19 tips on how to be a model demonstrator, such as:
 
“Wear sunglasses, a mask, a hat, sports clothes and also a handkerchief dipped in vinegar to counteract tear gas.”
 
The Independent focuses on tomorrow’s probable protests in Teheran on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.
 
“The opposition is planning to hijack the annual celebrations for its biggest show of strength in months.”
 
The paper says that this internal political drama “helps to explain Iran’s latest nuclear challenge to the world, analysts believe.”
 
“Faced with this internal threat Tehran sees value in raising the stakes on the nuclear front.”
 
“Experts doubt that Iran is seven equipped to enrich to 20% on its own. But the prospect of a political crisis with the West is something Ahmandinejad may gamble on so that he can profit domestically.”
 
Other stories in today’s international papers:
 
International Herald Tribune: “France enjoys good snicker at philosopher’s expense”
 
The Guardian: “Queen is urged to play greater economic role”
 
The Daily Mail: “February fisticuffs? It’s madness”
 

By James CREEDON

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