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Tehran, May 29, IRNA -- Member of the guardians' council of ayatollah khazali said here thursday that the history is repeating itself taking a deviasive course once again in iran but that the people are now well-informed. he said "i hope this mistake will immediatly be corrected. i request our president to declare this mistake unequivocally." the president must frankly admit his mistakes at a public assembly, or else i fear the slap on the face by god and by the people. the president must say that he committed a mistake, and that those words were proper to the church... in reality the allaho-akbar was gone, with the people clapping hands and whistling in the month of moharram. that was good gesture. that incident helped enlight the people. the people in qom realized immediately and they took to the streets... what kind of freedom is it? they whistle instead of saying a salavat and they clap their hands instead of salavat. can the constitution be changed by demonstrations? or the experts assembly? you said 30 million votes for mr khatami. do you want to rewirte the constitution? they inveigh against the judiciary, today they attack the experts assembly... what are these problems that are propounded today as islamic issues? he cited a number of verses from the holy qoran saying government is only the authority of allah. today, islam does not know borders. or republics. or arabs or non-arabs. arabs, non-arabs and afghans are the same nation. this is not confined within water or land territories. islam says all are the same nation... i must say frankly that what happened here on the second day of khordad was a slap on the face of islam... what has happened in iran in the name of freedoms during the recent days have been against the holy qoran.
TEHRAN, May 29 (Reuters) - Iran expressed alarm at nuclear tests by India and Pakistan and called on both to end their arms race and commit themselves to curbing atomic weapons, state television said on Friday.
``Iran follows with deep concern the crisis created after the recent nuclear tests,'' it quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mahmoud Mohammadi as saying.
``The Islamic Republic of Iran calls on Pakistan and India to promptly cease all tests and stop the nuclear race and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty,'' Mohammadi was quoted as saying.
``The recent developments once again point to the necessity of giving serious attention to setting up nuclear-free zones, especially in the sensitive Middle East region, which is under the threat of Israel's nuclear arsenal,'' Mohammadi said.
He also warned that the tests and the lack of commitment of nuclear states to eliminate the weapons could jeopardise non-proliferation efforts, the television said.
Iran often criticises the United States and other nuclear powers for what it sees as their failure to deal with Israel's undeclared nuclear programme.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of Iran's powerful Guardian Council, said in a Friday prayers sermon that the tests had rung an ``alarm bell'' about regional security.
President Mohammad Khatami told Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week that Iran understood Pakistan's security concerns after India's nuclear test explosions on May 11 and 13 but urged Islamabad to show restraint.
Iran, which borders on Pakistan, had earlier expressed concern over the Indian tests.
Iran denies U.S. and Israeli charges that it seeks weapons of mass destruction, saying its nuclear programme is peaceful and open to inspection.
Israel has never admitted to having a nuclear arsenal but foreign experts believe it has up to 200 nuclear weapons. The Jewish state has refused to sign the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying it fears enemies such as Iran, Iraq and Libya. REUTERS
02:01 a.m. May 29, 1998 Eastern
By Afshin Molavi
KISH ISLAND, Iran, May 29 (Reuters)- Long-time residents of this tiny Gulf coral island off Iran's southern coast still recall the Concordes, the casino, and Christian Dior.
All three were regular features of this picturesque island in the 1970s when the late shah of Iran transformed it into an elite playground for Iran's rich and mighty.
But Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution changed all that.
The casino -- a symbol of Western decadence and banned under Islamic law -- is now a video arcade for children. A Concorde would be unthinkable these days at the decrepit airport, more familiar with ageing Russian-built aircraft flown by Kish Air.
Christian Dior, however, is making a spirited comeback.
Hundreds of designer label perfumes, watches, and garments battle for shop space with televisions, blenders, and T-shirts in the island's sleek, neon-lit shopping malls.
Offering low customs duties and visa-free access as one of Iran's three free trade zones, officials are hoping to capture a slice of the lucrative Middle East ``shopping tourism'' pie, currently dominated by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Officials estimate that Iranian visitors purchased $900 million in goods from Dubai in the year to March.
``There are so many Iranians who travel to Dubai for shopping. Why can't they do it here?'' said Shahrzad Mirzaei, an official with the Kish Free Zone Organisation.
The hotels are less expensive, the goods are about the same cost, and much-needed hard currency stays at home, he said.
Kish is coming on strong, selling $125 million in goods to Iranians last year and attracting 800,000 mainland visitors to its shopping malls, hotels and beaches.
The mainland's strict Islamic legal codes are present but most Iranians find the island to be less restrictive socially.
Consumer goods can be imported into the island at lower customs duties than mainland Iran.
With a population of more than 60 million just 19 km (12 miles) away in mainland Iran, the island is well-placed to cash in on the growing ``shopping tourist'' market among Iranians.
The debilitating inflation of the mainland has also sent many an Iranian to Kish for cheap goods.
PROFESSIONAL SHOPPERS COME TO KISH
Maryam Shafiei, a university student from Tehran, is one of the hordes of shoppers sent to the island by mainland merchants on paid shopping trips.
``Every Iranian citizen is allowed to bring up to $165 worth of goods from Kish each year, so many Tehran merchants send hundreds of people to the island for a shopping trip to buy goods on their behalf,'' an official explained.
They get a free trip, a chance to go to the beach, and the merchant gets low-cost goods, sold at higher prices back home, Shafiei said.
More expensive goods like designer watches or jewellery are worn on the body or not declared upon return, shoppers said.
These shoppers are critical to the island's economy, netting it about $10 million a year in the form of a $20 ``Kish card'' giving the shopper a right to purchase.
The island's annual income of about $60 million, mainly in customs and port service revenues, is reinjected back into the island to restore heritage sites, build roads, finance the 500-student Kish University, improve infrastructure and create tourist attractions.
WAITING FOR INVESTORS
With no help from the central government, this little island of 12,000 people is full of ideas, but limited in resources.
International investment has been slow in coming, prompting criticism from the Iranian media which say the goal of the free trade zones should be export creation, not shopping malls.
``We cannot build an industrial export base overnight,'' explained Mohammad Yazdanpanah, the head of the Kish Free Zone Organisation. ``These things take time and we are now using the shopping revenues to finance service projects that would attract foreign investors.''
New laws allowing foreign banks to set up branches in Iran's three free trade zones are expected to boost export-related investment, Yazdanpanah told Reuters.
The French oil company Total is setting up a logistics centre on the island to support its $2 billion Iran offshore gas development project undertaken with Russia's Gazprom and Malaysia's Petronas.
A factory to produce cars with Renault engines is expected to go onstream next year, and Sony has a production line for television re-exports into the mainland.
An Iranian hotel tycoon with extensive properties in Spain's Canary Islands offers hope in the form of a reported $70 million hotel and amusement park project under way.
``If the hotel works out well, others will come pouring in to follow,'' predicted one official.
In the meantime, the cash registers will ring to the tune of shoppers, looking for a bargain.
((Gulf newsroom, +971 4 607 1222, fax +971 4 626982, dubai.newsroom+reuters.com))
TEHRAN, May 29 (Reuters) - A senior Iranian cleric expressed regret on Friday over nuclear tests by India and Pakistan which he said rang an ``alarm bell'' about regional security.
``The recent events in India and Pakistan...are really regrettable. Nuclear tests are truly a threat, an alarm bell, wherever they may be,'' Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said in a Friday prayers sermon carried on Tehran radio.
Jannati said the tests were among factors contributing to regional instability, together with political tensions and unrest in neighbouring Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan.
``May God's curse be on those who started (conducting tests) and now continue on their path but tell others not to do so,'' Jannati said.
``All of this is happening in proximity to Islamic states. This is truly cause for regret,'' said Jannati, secretary of the powerful Guardian Council.
``Of course India was the one that started (the tests) and Pakistan took this action to say 'We are ready to respond,''' Jannati told worshippers gathered at Tehran University.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week that Iran understood Pakistan's security concerns following India's nuclear test explosions, but urged Islamabad to show restraint.
Iran had earlier expressed concern over the Indian tests, which triggered new tensions between India and its old foe Pakistan.
Iran has also criticised the United States and other nuclear powers for what it sees as their failure to deal with an Israeli nuclear threat in the Middle East.
A senior Iranian official said last week the proliferation of nuclear arms would continue unless the world's atomic powers stopped Israel's nuclear programme.
Iran denied U.S. and Israeli charges that it seeks weapons of mass destruction, saying its nuclear programme is peaceful and open to inspection.
Israel has never admitted to having a nuclear arsenal but some experts believe it has up to 200 nuclear weapons. The Jewish state has refused to sign the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying it fears enemies such as Iran, Iraq and Libya. REUTERS
In SYDNEY story headlined ``World awaits Asian nuclear arms race'' please read in fifth and sixth paragraphs that Pakistan has denied fitting nuclear warheads to its missiles (correcting earlier reference that it was arming the missiles with nuclear weapons).
A corrected version follows.
By Michael Perry
SYDNEY, May 29 (Reuters) - Pakistan and India's tit-for-tat nuclear tests have created a very dangerous and confusing security environment for Asia, analysts said on Friday.
Will there be a nuclear arms race in South Asia? Will China's nuclear arsenal now target India? Will other Islamic states go nuclear? Will nuclear diplomacy damage Southeast Asian security? Will Israel reveal its nuclear power?
These are the questions being asked by strategic and defence analysts and world leaders on Friday as they nervously await the next move by two states which have waged three wars since 1947.
``A nuclear arms race is a real prospect,'' said Chin Kin Wah, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.
Pakistan on Friday denied reports that it was fitting nuclear warheads to its Ghauri missile, which Islamabad says has the range hit deep inside arch-rival India.
A Foreign Ministry statement called ``patently wrong'' newspaper reports that quoted an ``official statement'' as saying Pakistan was preparing to arm the 1,500-km (937-mile) range Ghauri, which was test-fired last month.
Chin told Reuters that an arms race was less of a danger than a pre-emptive strike by either India or Pakistan before the other side gained a second strike capability.
``The danger area is between now and the attainment of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD),'' he said.
``If there is a conventional conflict over Kashmir, would India think it has an advantage in terms of their possession of nuclear weapons or Pakistan?''
In contrast, Pakistani analysts said the nuclear tests would bring strategic stability to South Asia.
``Nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence, they are weapons of terror, they are meant to stop wars and not to fight wars,'' said Zafar Iqbal Cheema, the head of Department of Defence and Strategic Studies at the Quaid-e-Azam University.
Not all analysts believe an arms race is inevitable.
Chris Smith, senior research fellow with the Centre for Defence Studies at London's Kings College, said Pakistan was ill-equipped to enter a nuclear arms race.
``They're not talking about weaponisation and inducting or assimilating nuclear weapons into force structures, which will mean effectively that nuclear weapons are pointing at each other,'' Smith told Australian radio.
Richard Pearle, former assistant U.S. secretary of defence under President Ronald Reagan, said that if Pakistan and India produced nuclear weapons it would create a ``hair trigger'' security environment in South Asia.
Pearle said the international community should encourage India and Pakistan not to translate their tests into weapons, but opt for a conventional weapons balance of power.
``If the warheads are separated from the missiles there are still dangers, but they are of a different order than if you have the intense hair trigger situation of nuclear warheads on missiles which can be fired very quickly and cannot be recalled,'' Pearle said from Maryland in the United States.
``It is important that the Pakistanis have some confidence in their conventional defences -- in their ability to defend themselves without resorting to nuclear weapons,'' he said.
``An imbalance in conventional weapons is exactly the sort of thing that might lead to a reckless act of aggression.''
Analysts said China's reaction was central to overall Asian security. Despite rapprochement in recent years, China could easily turn its weapons towards India.
``It is going to be vulnerable to an Indian nuclear strike,'' said Chin. ``Re-targeting is not a difficult thing to do. I think China already has that nuclear reach.''
``I think China will become a point of reference in this rather complicated three-cornered nuclear relationship.''
Analysts said India's inclusion in the ASEAN regional security forum reflected the fact that it already had a ``strategic footprint'' in the Asia-Pacific region.
``The possession of nuclear weapons has reinforced that strategic footprint, but it is going to complicate ASEAN confidence building,'' Chin said.
Smith said that if India, an ASEAN dialogue partner, became a full member, it would worry China.
``It is a nasty twist in the security relations in the subcontinent, which could extend into Asia via China. If India were to join ASEAN...then China would be concerned,'' he said.
To Pakistan's west, the question is whether another Moslem state will go nuclear. Iran would certainly see the Pakistan explosion as a threat to itself, said Amin Saikal, Middle East analyst at the Australian National University in Canberra.
``That would provide a reason for the Iranians to speed up their process of acquiring nuclear capability,'' Saikal said.
Analysts also asked whether Israel would now admit to being a nuclear state, further fuelling Moslem state concerns.
Chin said a nuclear South Asia can now be added to the traditional regional security concerns of North and South Korea, the Taiwan Straits and the islands of the South China Sea, along with the recent economic and political crisis in Indonesia.
But while it has dramatically changed the strategic balance of the Asia-Pacific region, it is not yet at flashpoint.
"I think this augurs ill for many of us," said Chin.
"I think we have to see what the next step is going to be."
May 29, 1998 Web posted at: 5:06 a.m. EDT (0906 GMT)
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A day after Pakistan matched its neighbor India with five nuclear detonations, Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan declared his nation a nuclear weapons state and vowed Friday to retaliate to any attack from its neighbor with a "vengeance".
"We have an active program ... we have nuclear weapons, we are a nuclear power, " Khan said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We have an advanced missiles program."
He also said that Pakistan will arm its long-range Ghauri missile with nuclear warheads.
"These missiles are capable of carrying both a conventional and nuclear warhead ... but with a range of 1,500 kilometers (900 miles) no military man would launch it with a conventional warhead ... so that restricts the option to nuclear," he said.
A L S O :
No clout for Clinton in attempts to reason with Pakistan World condemns Pakistan nuclear tests
Within hours of testing its nuclear devices, Pakistan's president declared a state of emergency, citing threats of "external aggression."
The testing received worldwide condemnation. President Bill Clinton on Thursday took the lead and swiftly punished Pakistan by imposing broad economic sanctions and urged India and Pakistan to halt further testing to avert a dangerous arms race.
Khan said Pakistan was on high alert the night prior to its nuclear testing, fearing an imminent attack by India on its nuclear installations.
As a result, Pakistan scrambled its air force, contacted the ambassadors representing the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and India's ambassador to Pakistan.
He said Pakistan had "concrete evidence" that India had armed several jet fighters with bombs that it believed were meant for its nuclear facilities.
The official said that Pakistan believes the threat is reduced, not necessarily because of the testing, but because India has lost the element of surprise.
He also said that Pakistan would be willing to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty tomorrow -- if India also signed.
Although signing the CTBT is the most direct route to an arms control regime on the south Asian subcontinent, Ayub said Pakistan would be ready to accept either U.N. or U.S. mediation.
Threatened sanctions for the nuclear tests are not a concern for Pakistan, Khan said.
Pakistan waited to see what protection against a threatening neighbor it would receive from the Western world and the strength of the outrage against Indian testing before deciding to go ahead with a test of its own.
He called the offers of assistance paltry and said Pakistan really had only two choices:
"Face sanctions for three months, six months, one year, two years or face the hegemonic and military domination of India."
India anticipated test
Indian Defense Minister George Fernandes said on Friday that Indian seismic centers had recorded only one underground nuclear blast by Pakistan, and if there were others then they were carried out simultaneously.
"Observations recorded at multiple centers indicate a likely yield of about 10 kilotons TNT equivalent," he said in a statement to the lower house of parliament.
"If there were more tests than one, then the tests were simultaneous and successive tests were of smaller yield than the first one."
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that five successful nuclear explosions had been carried out in response to the same number of tests by arch-rival India earlier this month.
The U.S. Defence Department said the United States had closely monitored Pakistan's tests but there was no immediate evidence they included a powerful thermonuclear explosion, the reaction produced in a hydrogen bomb.
India said when it conducted its tests that they included such a blast, which yielded about 43 kilotons.
Fernandes said the Indian government had anticipated the Pakistani nuclear testing and had already factored it into its defense strategy planning.
"It is, however, unfortunate that Pakistan has chosen to declare the test 'India-specific'," he said in the statement.
Fernandes, in an interview with Reuters late on Thursday, dismissed Pakistan's nuclear tests as "ping-pong balls" and said he did not think nuclear deterrence would help resolve the two countries' bitter dispute over Kashmir.
He said that although Pakistan's nuclear tests were "India-specific explosions," India also perceived a threat from China, its northern neighbour.
"The problem is not only Pakistan -- we have another neighbor sitting on top of us who has declared weapons," he said.
Security Council to resume meeting Friday
The U.N. Security Council reportedly was unable to come up with a statement Thursday deploring the tests because of a lone holdout on the council, China.
After nearly five hours of consultations, the council adjourned its closed-door discussions late Thursday and agreed to meet again on Friday.
Diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Chinese envoys told the council that they had no instructions from Beijing on whether to accept the draft text.
Council declarations must be agreed on unanimously by all 15 members. China, which is believed to have sold nuclear technology to Pakistan, pushed for strong language when the council deplored India's tests in a statement May 14.
Also Thursday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Pakistan and India to sign weapons treaties and promise not to use nuclear arms against each other. Pakistan conducted the tests after India exploded five nuclear tests earlier this month.
Annan also offered to help the two South Asian rivals resume a high-level dialogue, which broke down last year over Kashmir. India and Pakistan have fought three wars in the last 50 years, two of them over Kashmir, which is divided between them.
Following Pakistan's underground explosions, Bill Richardson, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington would seek "appropriate" action in the council to prevent a nuclear arms race in the volatile region.
"We think that the international community ... should join together to stop this arms race," he said.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
By Steve Coll Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, May 29, 1998; Page A01
Since the moment at the 1986 summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, when Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev shocked the public by musing out loud about abolishing nuclear weapons, the world's security has been shaped by a seemingly inexorable trend -- the decline of nuclear arms as legitimate instruments of military and strategic power.
Now, under the deserts of a subcontinent far from Western capitals and even farther from Western understanding, the prospect of nuclear war has returned to the global stage, as Indian and Pakistani leaders test nuclear bombs amid aggressive, sometimes apocalyptic rhetoric that echoes hauntingly the most irrational phases of the West's "Dr. Strangelove" period.
The subcontinent's sudden nuclear breakout stems mainly from the recent rise to power in India of a sometimes virulent Hindu nationalist movement whose hard-line elements seek nothing less than to reinvent modern India, breaking sharply from its 50-year experiment with constitutional secularism. For the extremists in this movement, defying the world by acquiring nuclear weapons and starting an arms race with Pakistan is but a means to these long-sought domestic ends.
But what unfolds in the weeks and months ahead has implications that extend far beyond the subcontinent, as global leaders struggle to hold on to the progress that has been made since the Cold War in halting the spread of nuclear weaponry worldwide.
"If these actions by India and Pakistan are not reversed -- and I know that's difficult -- we can expect other states to follow suit over time, because what [the tests] indicate, especially the Indian tests, is that the acquisition of nuclear weapons can be viewed as a legitimate way to increase national prestige," said Thomas Graham Jr., the longtime U.S. arms-control negotiator who led the successful U.S. effort in 1995 to win indefinite extension of the global Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
And if the existing nonproliferation regime begins to unravel because of a nuclear arms race on the subcontinent, Graham predicted, "it will mean that the world will begin to proceed down the path toward widespread nuclear proliferation that we narrowly avoided back in the 1960s."
The gravest immediate threat, of course, is not to the rest of the world, but to Indians and Pakistanis themselves. Uncertainties on each side about the other's exact nuclear and missile capabilities, deep mutual suspicion at both the governmental and popular levels, poor communications across the border and an active dispute in the Kashmir region that involves exchanges of artillery fire are all combining to make the emerging crisis extraordinarily dangerous.
Nor is there any indication that either side plans to pull back anytime soon. Pakistan announced yesterday that it plans to deploy nuclear warheads on its medium-range Ghauri missiles, which have been flight-tested and can strike many major Indian cities. If this is not mere bluster -- and the Indians have no way to know for certain one way or the other -- Pakistan may have leap-frogged India in their strategic rivalry by moving to deploy proven nuclear missiles. The Ghauris fly much farther than any missiles India could bring into the field in the near future, according to Western analysts.
"The Pakistani official announcement that they are mating warheads with missiles -- that's such an important threshold that's been crossed," said Michael Krepon, president of the Henry L. Stimson Center and a specialist on South Asian military and nuclear affairs. "The Indians don't have a match."
India's options, should it decide to try to deploy nuclear weapons rapidly, would be to try to fit them on its short-range Prithvi missile -- which can barely clear the Indian border and would pose risks to India's own population in any nuclear exchange -- or else to strap nuclear bombs onto jet aircraft and hope that at least one or two could penetrate Pakistan's patchy air defenses if a strike were ordered. The Indians have announced publicly that their own medium-range missile, the Agni, is ready for deployment, but many Western analysts believe that assertion to be a bluff, estimating that the Agni is at least a year or two away from deployment.
"I'm afraid the Indians are going to say, 'We're going to match you in kind, and then some,' " said Sumit Ganguly, a specialist in South Asian defense issues and the author of a recent book on the Kashmir dispute. "I'm afraid that with the Pakistanis [testing and announcing deployments], it becomes a point of no return, particularly with this government [in New Delhi]; they are not going to let up."
The most dangerous flash point, as it so often has been during previous conflicts between India and Pakistan -- including two of the three wars they have fought since 1947 -- is Jammu and Kashmir, an idyllic mountain province of India that was once a magnet for tourists but is now a cauldron of rebellion by Kashmiri Muslim militants seeking to break away from Indian rule. The eight-year Kashmir rebellion has helped draw both the Indian and Pakistani armies to the disputed region in force, where they routinely trade fire across an international demarcation line and accuse each other of egregious provocations.
Over the last few days, this dangerous situation has been exacerbated by the saber-rattling declarations of L.K. Advani, the home minister in India's Hindu nationalist government. A week ago, Advani warned Pakistan that India's nuclear tests had "brought about a qualitatively new stage in Indo-Pakistan relations" and said that Pakistan should "roll back its anti-India policy, especially with regard to Kashmir."
Then, on Saturday, Advani was given charge of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir -- a development that has alarmed Pakistani officials, not least because Advani and others in his party have been talking loosely about authorizing military "hot pursuit" of Kashmiri rebels into Pakistani-controlled territory.
Pakistan's own published military doctrine has long held that to prevail in a conventional conflict with India -- which has a great advantage in numbers of soldiers, tanks and aircraft -- Pakistan would have to move quickly and boldly to strike deeply into Indian territory and try to force an early end to the conflict.
It wasn't supposed to turn out like this. Indeed, until India's Rajasthan desert shook on May 11 with the force of Shakti -- the Hindi word meaning power that India's government chose as the code name for its nuclear devices -- the last several years had been marked by extraordinary achievements in global nuclear arms control, progress so extensive, at least on treaty paper, that few would have forecast it even five years earlier.
Just 20 months ago, calling it "the longest sought, hardest fought prize in arms control history," President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which bars all nuclear test explosions by its more than 150 signatory nations. After persuading such reluctant countries as China and France to sign -- and overcoming resistance from some of his own military advisers -- Clinton declared that the treaty had pushed the world "toward a century in which the roles and risks of nuclear weapons can be further reduced, and ultimately eliminated."
The 1996 test ban pact followed by a year the permanent extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which provides the basic architecture of international efforts to contain the spread of nuclear arms. In the aftermath of the Soviet Union's demise, the NPT regime had been greatly bolstered by the decisions of threshold nuclear powers, such as South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, to forswear nuclear arms and submit to international inspections.
Despite resentments among many Third World governments that the nonproliferation treaty allows the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France to retain nuclear weapons while making only vague promises to get rid of them eventually, the consensus for strengthening the treaty and its nuclear inspection regime proved so strong in the early months of 1995 that even such radically anti-Western countries as Libya, Iraq and Iran went along with it in the end.
It is uncertain whether that anti-nuclear momentum will prove strong enough to withstand India's and Pakistan's declarations that they wish to become the world's sixth and seventh declared nuclear weapons powers. While persuading the two countries to cap their programs or reverse course any time soon looks like an enormously difficult task, it may be possible to prevent their example from spreading to other threshold countries, argue some U.S. officials and outside arms control and foreign policy specialists.
But that goal may depend in part on the signals the world sends to threshold countries in the months ahead about the costs of going nuclear. So far, the major powers have shown little will to punish India and Pakistan severely, in part because of the powers' various economic and strategic ties to the region, and in part out of fear that any effort to isolate the two subcontinental rivals as they undertake a nuclear arms race will only make a bad situation worse.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
Ericsson Makes Breakthrough in Iran With $45 Million Contract for Axe Switching System
STOCKHOLM, Sweden--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 28, 1998--Ericsson has been awarded its first AXE contract in Iran valued at approximately $45 million. The equipment, bought by TCI (Telecommunications Company of Iran), will be installed in Teheran during 1998-1999.
In addition to AXE, the contract includes training, transfer of technology, repair center as well as a support center.
``A large demand for telephony services, large natural resources like oil, natural gas and minerals, and an opening economic climate are factors that all contribute to making Iran a very important market to establish Ericsson in,'' says Mr. Ulf Avrin, Director Market Unit Middle East, Public Networks, Ericsson Infocom Systems.
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson has been established in Iran since 1992. Today, Ericsson has 45 employees in Teheran. Ericsson's AXE provides an open architecture that supports all fixed and wireless telecoms, datacoms and interactive services. AXE is the most widely-deployed switching system in the world, supporting well above 120 million users of fixed network services in more than 120 countries. The system is also supporting well above 60 million users of wireless network services in more than 90 countries worldwide.
Ericsson's 100,000 employees are active in more than 130 countries. Their combined expertise in fixed and mobile networks, mobile phones and infocom systems makes Ericsson a world-leading supplier in telecommunications.
KATHY EGAN PER BENGTSSON 212 685-4030