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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Iran Hurricanes Katrina And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

231011Z Sep 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 006514

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY; BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU; AF/PA;
EUR/WE /P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA; INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA
FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR
AND PASS USTR/PA; USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA;
ROME/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - Iran Hurricanes Katrina and
Rita: U.S. Policies - Kyoto
PARIS - Friday, September 23, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. Iran
2. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: U.S. Policies - Kyoto

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

"America in the Eye of the Cyclones" headlines left-of-center
Liberation while right-of-center Le Figaro headlines "Threats
to U.S. Oil." Catholic La Croix summarizes today's reporting
with the headline: "From Katrina to Rita: America's Angst."
The evacuation measures prior to Rita and the administration's
apparent preparedness after the missteps that followed Katrina
are widely reported. (See Part C) Two different approaches on
the impact of global warming in climate change are developed
in Le Figaro and La Croix. Le Figaro interviews a French
weather expert who contends that "global warming cannot fully
explain recent cataclysms." But in La Croix, two U.S. experts,
Kevin Trenberth of the NCAR and Peter J. Webster of the
Atlanta Institute of Technology, adopt an opposing view.

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The stalemate with Iran is reported in Le Figaro, which notes:
"The Europeans Are Backing Off." Catholic La Croix emphasizes
that the "U.S. and the EU-3 have adopted the same stance from
the outset." (See Part C) Left-of-center Le Monde carries a
front-page op-ed by FM Douste-Blazy and his British and German
counterparts, and the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana:
"The case of Iran should have been brought before the UNSC two
years ago. Instead, we chose to give Iran an opportunity to
prove that its nuclear program had peaceful objectives. We do
not question Iran's prerogatives in the framework of the NTP.
But while the NTP conveys certain rights, it also carries
clear obligations for its signatories. Our negotiations were
carried out in good faith. At the UN, we made clear our desire
to work with Iran. and deliberately avoided any public
declaration that might have accentuated the tension. But the
Iranian President showed no signs of flexibility and spoke of
`nuclear apartheid.' If Iran perseveres on this road, the
risks of proliferation will be too great. We hope that all the
members of the international community will remain united. It
is our collective responsibility to respond to the challenge."

Right-of-center Le Figaro carries an op-ed penned by Marco
Vicenzino of the Global Strategy Project titled: "The Unknown
in the Washington-Berlin Equation." Vicenzino contends the
Bush Administration is openly hoping for a Merkel victory but
it will have to make do with whatever government emerges.
Whether Schroeder returns to power or not, he has started a
new diplomatic rhetoric marked by the search for national
interest in keeping with the country's identity.

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

Iran

"The Europeans Take a Step Back"
Maurin Picard in right-of-center Le Figaro (09/23): "In
Vienna, the stalemate was on its third day. To resolve the
crisis, the Europeans have temporarily given up on their plan
to bring the Iranian crisis before the UNSC. The very firm EU-
3 resolution has been replaced by a watered down version.,
which should be approved later today. For the eighth time in
two years, Iran is avoiding the prospect of international
sanctions. Iran is claiming victory. and has invited El-
Baradei to Tehran. Among the Western diplomats, the atmosphere
is heavy. The European bluff appears not to have worked. And
Iran, in the meantime, is gaining precious time while its
engineers pursue their uranium conversion prior to its
enrichment."

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita: U.S. Policies - Kyoto

"Repetition"
Patrick Sabatier in left-of-center Liberation (09/23): "In
their misfortune, the Texans are somewhat lucky: the monster
rising from the seas will not take them by surprise. The U.S.
administration, strained after having exposed its lack of
preparation and a guilty indifference, is ready to face Rita.
Once burned, President Bush now fears the waters of the Gulf
of Mexico. This time the evacuation orders are coming from
Washington. And this high level of caution cannot be explained
simply by the fact that Texas is Bush's rear base. Rita, after
Katrina, could shake the White House even more as the rivers
of discontent continue to flow. While some will say that these
tragedies have natural causes. the fact remains that this
repetition of extreme phenomena could be linked to a global
warming which the President refuses to acknowledge. He denies
that it could be tied to the greenhouse effect and refuses to
join the rest of the world to counter it. The very religious
George W. Bush should ponder the fact that America is being
punished where it has sinned."

"Large Scale Anti-Bush Tempest"
Pascal Riche in left-of-center Liberation (09/23): "As Rita
comes closer, the Bush team is getting increasingly nervous.
Caught between his party's middle-of-the road proponents and
its ideologues, shaken by low opinion poll scores, hounded by
the anti-war protesters and criticized by the media, President
Bush is going through one of the worst periods of his
presidency. His democratic opponents are possibly those giving
him the least headaches."

"For Bush, America Is Ready"
Gilles Biassette in Catholic La Croix (09/23): "For the past
24 hours the Bush administration has been campaigning to
reassure the American people and convince them that the White
House has learned the lesson after Katrina. President Bush
remains on the defensive while his popularity ratings remain
low." STAPLETON

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