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Iranian Alert -- October 17, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 10.17.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 10/17/2003 12:44:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


PS I have a daily ping list and a breaking news ping list. If you would like to receive alerts to these stories please let me know which list you would like to join.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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Discover all the news since the protests began on June 10th, go to:

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

1 posted on 10/17/2003 12:44:23 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread

Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 10/17/2003 12:48:18 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Women in Iran

October 16, 2003
The Economist
The Economist print edition

Shorn of dignity and equality

SHIRIN EBADI, this year's winner of the Nobel peace prize, is the sort of woman—assertive, severe and frighteningly well-versed in Islamic and western law—that Iran's conservative establishment cannot stand. A judge under the monarchy, she did not follow colleagues to overseas refuge after the revolution, but stayed on as an advocate, fighting cases of political murder, repression and domestic violence. A defender of Islam, she wrote learnedly about women's and children's rights under Islamic law. She lost most of her high-profile cases, but survived. Overnight, she has become a celebrity.

Ms Ebadi, who has always argued that Iran must solve its own problems, returned home this week from a visit to Paris to find hardline newspapers charging her, yet again, with supposed links with foreign powers. One paper surmised that devious America had influenced the Nobel committee's decision. Her celebrity will probably protect her from a repeat of the short prison term she served in 2000, but not from the restrictions and dangers that dog all Iranian women who struggle for their rights.

It has been a bad summer for assertive women. A female journalist was slain in custody (true to form, Ms Ebadi has let it be known that she will represent the dead woman's Canadian-Iranian family). A young mother was sentenced to death for killing her would-be rapist; her mode of dress had, the judge believed, “prepared the ground for her rape”. Four women were given suspended prison sentences for disseminating contentious ideas about women in Islam. Iran's appointed upper house, the Council of Guardians, vetoed the country's adherence to the UN's 1981 convention against sex discrimination. Worse still, the mass of Iranian women reacted to all this with indifference.

Women were at the forefront of the 1979 revolution that toppled the monarchy, although they had not done so badly out of the shah. Under his rule, women got the vote, polygamy was, in effect, outlawed and the divorce laws were egalitarian. If anything, the state was too permissive for most tastes; the elite gyrated in bikinis to Shirley Bassey, and swam in pools full of milk. The revolution promised women dignity, as well as equality.

A quarter of a century on, they have neither. Rather than the flexible jurisprudence to which Shia Islam lends itself, and which Ms Ebadi champions, Iran's Islamic Republic has promoted what Farideh Gheirat, a leading women's lawyer, calls a “bone-dry version”. Lawmakers and judges reinstated polygamy, made it virtually impossible for women to divorce without their husband's consent, and condemned adulteresses to be stoned to death. The intrusion that offends foreigners the most, the compulsory head covering, is a minor irritant.

Iranians' patriarchal mind-set, says Ms Gheirat, is as constricting as the fustian legalism. Many official buildings do not admit women without a black chador, even though Islam has nothing against bright colours, and a coat and headscarf can be concealing. Only in the teeth of vociferous opposition did women win the right to ride a bicycle in public.

Healthy, well-educated and abandoned

But Iranian women have the Islamic Republic to thank for two things: health and education. After a baby boom in the 1980s, family planning reduced the national fertility rate to two. Women live to 72, two years longer than men. In 1975, women's illiteracy in rural areas was 90%, and more than 45% in towns. Now, the nationwide literacy rate for girls aged between 15 and 24 has risen to 97%. Last year, for the first time, female students in state universities outnumbered male ones.

There is disagreement over the responsibilities that society should assign to these healthy, well-qualified girls. The state-approved role model is Fatima Zahra, the Prophet Muhammad's daughter, but different people concentrate on different facets of her life. Progressives recall her active politics, in the vanguard of Islam's efforts to fight injustice. Traditionalists highlight other qualities: her piety, chastity, devotion to God, even her housework.

“We don't have one model for all women,” says Fakhrolsadat Mohtashamipour, the head of women's affairs at the Interior Ministry, but the law regards men as the rightful breadwinner. Friday prayer leaders counsel women to concentrate on raising children. Senior clerics assert that a woman needs her husband's permission even to go shopping.

With inflation running at more than 15%, few families can survive on one income. But the economy is not generating enough jobs to absorb educated women. The most recent available figures, from 1999, showed that 10% of women were part of the workforce, 3% less than the proportion in 1972. Although unemployment is high across the board, it is much higher among women than men. Senior positions in the civil service are overwhelmingly a man's preserve. And since it is not uncommon for male bureaucrats to use spurious sexual slurs as a means of keeping uppity female colleagues in their place, some women prefer not to work in government offices that are male dominated.

Indeed, a lot of young women are not offended by the idea that Iran is churning out overqualified housewives. “The majority”, says Mahdiyeh Ghafelbashi, who helps run the Association for Tomorrow's Women, an NGO in the city of Ghazvin, two hours from Tehran, “subscribe to their grandmothers' view that men should bring home the loot and protect them.” As elsewhere in provincial Iran—as distinct from Tehran—awareness of women's issues among Ghazvin's 350,000 residents is virtually nil. At a recent exhibition to publicise the city's new NGOs, Ms Ghafelbashi's activities were met by incomprehension by local women. “Unless there was money in it,” she recalls, “they couldn't understand the point.” Even so, she insists, “a historical process” is in train.

There are ten universities in Ghazvin province, which has about 1m inhabitants, and they provide an environment for boys and girls to mingle that exists nowhere else. Gone are the days when a curtain divided male and female students. Now, young Ghazvinis grade universities according to the tolerance they show in allowing the sexes to mix.

Conservative-minded university chancellors used to cite Fatima Zahra's pious aphorism: “The best thing for a woman is not to see, and not to be seen by, an unrelated man.” But they are now fighting a losing battle to prevent boys and girls socialising on campus. Progressives at the city's three private universities have reined in the snoops that used to monitor student morals. They concede that allowing a boy and a girl to share a lunchtime sandwich may not be so terrible after all.

Small freedoms have a knock-on effect. Ms Ghafelbashi says that quite a few girls in the province are now marrying boys of their own choice, rather than their parents'. A decade ago, she says, that was virtually unheard of. Some parents feel threatened. In a recent tragic case, a father in Shiraz, a southern province, forbade his daughter from taking up the MA place she had won. The girl immolated herself.

Political football

The journey to emancipation would be less daunting if there were a consensus among politicians on the need. But there is no such consensus. Along with much else, the issue of women's rights has become a football, punted between the relatively progressive reformists, led by President Muhammad Khatami (who himself belittled Ms Ebadi's achievement in winning the peace prize), and his traditionalist, conservative opponents.

Punted rather gently: the reformists are not great goal-scorers. Prayer leaders on good terms with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, fulminated from their pulpits against the UN's anti-discrimination convention, which was, in the words of a senior ayatollah, “a pretext by westerners to impose their culture on Muslims.” But even if the Council of Guardians had endorsed parliament's decision to sign the convention, the result would have still been a sham. The parliamentarians had ruled that Iran would opt out of all obligations that conflicted with Iranian law.

Iran's custom-made convention would have been shorn of commitments to equality of employment: women are not eligible for the supreme leadership, certain ministries, or to become judges (Ms Ebadi's appointment was swiftly withdrawn after the revolution). Articles on marriage and inheritance would have been binned: the law puts women at a severe disadvantage in both. Even the blandest commitment to equality would have been fatally undermined by the setting, according to Iranian law, of a man's blood money at twice the level of a woman's.

Shadi Sadr, a courageous and talented female newspaper columnist, distinguishes between two groups fighting for women's rights. First, there are those who believe that piecemeal legal reform, underpinned by an enlightened approach to Shia jurisprudence, can solve women's problems. She puts Ms Ebadi, who insists on the essential compatibility of Islam and human rights, into this category. Second, there is the more radical group that “takes issue less with laws than with the whole legal superstructure”.

It is hard for the second group to speak out: expressing their beliefs might get them thrown into jail. But the first group—which includes reformist parliamentarians and Mr Khatami himself—has achieved little. Parliament's progress, in its three-way slugging match with the Council of Guardians and the marginally more progressive arbitration body, the Expediency Council, has been modest. After wrangling, the marriageable age for girls was raised from nine to 13. The mehriyeh, a pre-fixed sum that women receive on demand from their husbands, has been linked to inflation. Girls can now get grants to help them study abroad; before, there were fears that the experience would corrupt them.

The Expediency Council tends to echo the Council of Guardians. It did so when it spiked parliament's plan to award a temporary stipend to widows, disadvantaged by inheritance laws, from their late husbands' estates. It agreed with the Council of Guardians that husbands should retain their all but unassailable right to custody over their children.

Ms Mohtashamipour's office in the Interior Ministry, staffed by women, and with a dress code that tolerates jolly colours, is one of the less overpowering government departments. She talks seductively of “empowerment”. In this year's budget, the government gave her department a big dollop of extra cash, and obliged provincial governors to devote 0.25% of their budgets to “women's affairs”.

The free marriage-guidance and vocational classes being offered by Ms Mohtashamipour and her colleagues in the provinces seem only modestly enlightened. But the advantage of their blandness is that they might survive if the conservatives took over the government again. Moreover, cautious as they are, they constitute an encroachment by the state into areas of feminine life that were off limits.

At the same time, the reformists are trying to help NGOs whose goals may be much more radical. According to Mahboobeh Abbasgholizadeh, who trains NGO activists, Iran has gained some 150 women's NGOs in the past few years. It will take time, she accepts, for the organisations to become effective advocates. With a few exceptions, they are little more than talking shops for young women: “a way for these girls to express their own identity, to announce: ‘I'm here'.''

They have a precarious toehold. The law is ambiguous on who should register NGOs, the legality of their accepting foreign money, and their tax status. They are deeply vulnerable to the conservatives' fear of civil society. The newly-elected Tehran municipality, which is dominated by conservatives, recently expelled Ms Abbasgholizadeh and several NGOs from the building that the previous, reform-minded, municipality had lent them.

Six years after Mr Khatami came to power with an overwhelming majority of women's votes, some women, even in parliament, suspect that the reformists are more interested in women's votes than in women's rights. The president, they point out, did not see fit to appoint a woman to his cabinet (before the revolution, there were two female ministers). His most forceful intervention on behalf of women, when he insisted that the judiciary introduce a moratorium on stoning adulteresses to death, was obviously motivated by a desire to improve Iran's image abroad.

A cracked society

The scene for women is gloomy, the pace of change sluggish. Even professed reformists are reluctant to challenge patriarchal attitudes. Beyond this, it is perfectly possible that the reformists will lose their dominance of parliament at next year's elections, when the expected disqualification of reformist candidates, and a low voter turnout, may favour conservatives. Against this dispiriting backdrop are the more immediate, and more shocking, incidents of female degradation.

It is a tribute to Mr Khatami, and to his genuine, if feebly advocated, commitment to transparency, that such subjects as prostitution, domestic violence and drug addiction are being discussed at all. Before 1997, they were taboo. Nonetheless, so long as the transparency is not accompanied by plans to tackle the ills, the impression will grow of a cracked society.

Shoukou Navabi-Nejad, a north Tehran family psychologist, sees the cracks in her middle-class patients. Familiar western complaints—domestic violence, infidelity and fear of AIDS—are multiplied. The erosion of family values has had a western consequence: a third of all marriages end in divorce, whereas 15 years ago, Ms Navabi-Nejad recalls, divorce was a rarity. Yet very few judges are sympathetic to female divorce petitioners. In order to secure their husbands' consent to divorce, women are often forced to barter away their mehriyeh: assets that should, in theory, help them start up on their own.

Many of the problems noted by Ms Navabi-Nejad are exacerbated by a sexual frustration that is writ large across society. No one knows how many prostitutes work in Tehran, though their visibility on street corners suggests that there are tens of thousands. There is agreement on three things: most prostitutes are runaways from poor and broken homes, they are getting more numerous and their age is falling.

A journalist from a magazine called Zanan (women) recently conducted a remarkable interview with a 17-year-old prostitute. Arrested in Tehran's southern bus terminal, the girl was condemned to 80 lashes and to a fine that was commuted, when she pleaded penury, to a three-month prison term. Upon her release, her brother tried to kill her for staining the family honour. In a year or two, she will be past her prime, and alone.

The few NGO activists who work with prostitutes attest to the government's inability to deal with the problem. Women's prisons are full to bursting. Tehran's previous mayor stopped providing money for the capital's sole rehabilitation centre for female runaways. The new mayor, a conservative, has no plans to restart it.

Even if the government was co-ordinating attempts to wean girls off prostitution, says Khosro Mansuriyan, who runs two NGOs in Tehran, they would fail. Why should young prostitutes quit a well-paid profession, he asks, when poverty awaits and they are already outcasts? The causes of decay are as much economic as they are social and legal. Ghar Park, in south Tehran, provides a snapshot of this decay. Designed to raise the spirits of poor Tehranis, it has been colonised by drug addicts. One female addict estimates she has spent 18 of the past 24 years in jail. Being inside is bad, she says; the heroin is more expensive.

Looking for a role model

It is a far cry from Fatima Zahra. In these confusing times, the prophet's daughter faces stiff competition for women's loyalty, especially among the 19% of the population that is female and aged between 10 and 25. Zanan recently ran a flattering profile of Hillary Clinton. Some girls like Madonna, in part because her music is banned. Iran's most talked-about young movie directors, two siblings by the name of Makhmalbof, are women. Comely actresses abound.

Iranian women, even many who are indifferent to her causes, are intensely proud of Ms Ebadi's achievement. But do not expect her to become a role model. Despite a dash of radicalism—she goes bare-headed outside Iran—she remains wedded to the cautious reformism that is espoused by Mr Khatami and his supporters. And that, many believe, has failed. A small but growing number of women are coming to reject the legal superstructure to which Ms Ebadi is committed.

Take the increasing interest being shown in the poetry of Forogh Farokhzad. In the 1960s, Ms Farokhzad was a beautiful hell-raiser who had an affair with Iran's hippest film director. Shortly before her legend-sealing death in a car crash in 1966, she observed that social change had endowed concepts like religion, morals and love with new meanings. Forty years on, expressing such revisionism can get you jailed, but the judges are powerless to stop lots of young women from agreeing.
3 posted on 10/17/2003 12:49:27 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn; AdmSmith; onyx; nuconvert; McGavin999; Persia; downer911; Eala; seamole; Valin; ...
British, French, German foreign ministers may visit Iran over nuclear issue

Space Daily

TEHRAN (AFP) Oct 17, 2003
The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany may make an unprecedented joint visit here to cap behind-the-scenes efforts to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear programme, a top Iranian official said Friday.
The source, who asked not to be named, said the visit by Jack Straw, Dominique de Villepin and Joschka Fisher could take place as early as next week if the basis of a deal had been thrashed out.

According to diplomatic sources, Germany, France and Britain have been secretly negotiating a deal with Iran's clerical leaders whereby they would offer technical help to the country in return for full Iranian compliance with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The European Union's "big three" would also insist Iran accept strict controls on its nuclear activities by signing and implementing an additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that would allow surprise IAEA inspections of suspect sites.

A Western diplomatic source said senior representatives of three countries had visited Tehran in recent days to "resolve this crisis peacefully".

The Islamic republic, just two weeks away from an IAEA deadline to prove it is not developing atomic weapons, on Thursday said it may bow to demands for tougher UN inspections.

During a lightning visit here by IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei Thursday, Iran also promised to accelerate cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.

According to the diplomatic source, the German, French and British envoys met with ElBaradei during his flying visit.

The IAEA has been pressing Iran to sign the additional protocol to the NPT, as well as answer a number of "outstanding issues" -- notably questions over its uranium enrichment activities.

According to the Western diplomatic source, if Tehran accepts all the IAEA demands, Germany, France and Britain "may favourably consider the possibility of supplying (Iran) with technology, even nuclear technology, as well as nuclear fuel."

The proposal for such a deal was contained in a letter sent from London, Paris and Berlin before the IAEA's board of governors issued its ultimatum on September 12.

In contrast to the European Union, the United States has maintained a tougher line with Iran, demanding its unconditional compliance and insisting its signature of the additional protocol is not open to negotiation.

Washington accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear arms and has branded it part of an "axis of evil", along with Saddam Hussein's Iraq which it said held weapons of mass destruction, and North Korea, which has said it is developing atomic bombs.
4 posted on 10/17/2003 5:49:52 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (Californication...!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Friday October 17, 7:03 PM
Iran will not build nuclear weapon says Khatami

Iran's President Mohammad Khatami said his country would not build a nuclear weapon and would continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a crucial deadline approaches.

"The issue of making a nuclear bomb is excluded," he told a press conference on the sidelines of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) here on Friday.

He said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demands were unfair but "we are continuing our cooperation with the IAEA".

"We have no major problem in principle but we insist on our right since we have no intention to build nuclear weapons. Because of our religious principles, our ideological principles and our dedication to dialogue among civilisations, we are totally against the proliferation of nuclear weapons."

"We never said we would not sign the protocol and cooperate with IAEA."

The IAEA has been pressing Iran to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which would give the watchdog the right to carry out unannounced inspections of suspect facilities.

Khatami said because his country had existing stocks of uranium, it had a legitimate right to continue enriching it for peaceful purposes.

The agency has given Iran until October 31 to answer questions on its nuclear programme, amid fears it is trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head, Mohamed ElBaradei, who paid a flying visit to the Islamic republic Thursday to press for quick answers over its nuclear program, said he received assurances of Iran's "readiness" to open up its suspect facilities.
5 posted on 10/17/2003 6:32:19 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the heads up!
6 posted on 10/17/2003 7:16:29 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; DoctorZIn; nuconvert; onyx; AdmSmith; Pro-Bush; blackie; BlackVeil; Alamo-Girl; ...
Iran's Parliament Vote May Swing Politics - The Guardian

Friday October 17, 2003 11:46 AM
Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The clerics running Iran consider these dozen men watchdogs of the Islamic Revolution. To many reformers, they are non-elected obstacles to authentic democracy.

But all agree the path to the Feb. 20 elections for parliament, or majlis, leads directly through the Guardian Council gantlet.

What a firebrand imam and his 11 colleagues decide in the coming months could help return control of parliament to conservatives and profoundly reshape how Iran's political feuds are waged, analysts say.

The six clerics and six legal scholars - led by hard-line hero Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati - must vet all candidates for the majlis and presidency. Anyone deemed a troublemaker for the system doesn't make it through.

The big question is how the appointed Guardian Council - all loyal and answerable to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - will apply their authority this time around.

``Their decisions could set the political tone for years to come,'' said Davoud Hermidas Bavand, a Tehran-based political analyst.

The council could ban most leading reformers from the ballot, leading to a threatened boycott by their supporters. The 290-member parliament would likely return to the hands of conservatives - who now command less than a third of the seats.

Ebrahim Yazdi, a prominent reform activist, said being outside the system could stir ``more radical demands.''

``The opposition groups could be out on the streets and directly challenge Khamenei's authority,'' he said.

The losers could be the cautious reformers led by lame duck President Mohammad Khatami, who has greatly lost credibility as a force for deep changes and cannot run for re-election in 2005.

``Iran's domestic politics are getting less predictable by the hour,'' said Ehsan Ahrari, an international affairs commentator based in Norfolk, Va.

``The sustained intransigence of the hard-liners ... is edging Iran closer to the potential of internal turmoil,'' he added.

But the Guardian Council may try a compromise path, some suggest.

It could allow the candidacy of selected ``reformists'' considered willing to work with the regime. The goal, experts say, could be to seek a majlis palatable to Iran's key middle ground - those wanting more freedoms but not at the price of trying to bring down the theocracy.

The Guardian Council reportedly has sent envoys around the country to study prospective middle-of-the-road candidates they can presumably trust. It does not want to be burned again.

In 1997, they allowed the presidential bid of Khatami, then a little-known bureaucrat who was expected to be steamrolled by the ruling clerics' choice. Khatami stunned the theocrats with his wildly popular vision of ``Islamic democracy.''

In the last parliament vote in February 2000, the Guardian Council also apparently failed to do its homework. It cleared the way for many successful candidates who later became some of the biggest thorns for the establishment.

Allowing more moderate candidates could dilute the conservatives' overall influence in parliament. But there appears to be a greater worry: voters staying away.

International critics of the Islamic rulers, including the United States, would likely consider a low turnout as a loud cry of discontent. Iran's regime is already under huge pressure from U.N. nuclear inspectors and the stunning Nobel Peace Prize award to rights activist Shirin Ebadi.

The majlis election in 2000 had a 75 percent turnout. If reformist leaders urge a boycott, the figure could plummet to well below 50 percent, most analysts predict.

``If the Guardian Council omits too many candidates, it's not going to be good for voter participation,'' said Amir Mohebian, political editor of the conservative Resalat newspaper and a prominent strategist for the Islamic establishment. ``That's bad for us.'',1280,-3275022,00.html
7 posted on 10/17/2003 7:17:49 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (Californication...!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Free Iran, Now!
8 posted on 10/17/2003 7:30:29 AM PDT by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
Countdown Iran

October 16, 2003
Christopher Dickey

The United States finally won a diplomatic victory in the United Nations. But Washington and Tehran are moving toward war. How far will they go?

Good news from the United Nations today: the Security Council unanimously approved a new resolution for the reconstruction of Iraq. Unfortunately, even the Security Council’s words are cheap, and reconstruction is not. Worse still, there’s a new war on the horizon.

A COUNTDOWN has started for war between the United States and Iran. It’s quiet but persistent right now, like the ticking of a Swatch. Soon enough though, alarms will start ringing.

When did this move toward war begin? You could say 25 years ago, with the fall of the Shah of Iran, or just this year, when Saddam was deposed. You could make the case that the clock started the moment some of Osama bin Laden’s key aides found sanctuary in Iran, or on the day that Iranian equipment used to make nuclear fuel showed traces of the stuff used in nuclear weapons. But whenever the countdown to war began, it’s already well under way.

Now, countdowns come in a lot of guises. They can be bluffs as trivial as a schoolyard threat, “I’m gonna count to three!” And sometimes they can be stopped, of course. But when it comes to making war, the closer you get to zero hour, the harder that is to do. Expectations rise, political capital is spent, troops are deployed. A crescendo approaches, a point of no return is passed—or is said to be—and the drama of the countdown itself starts to dictate events.

That’s part of the reason we rushed to war in Iraq last spring. The Bush administration didn’t want to lose the momentum it had drummed up for ousting Saddam Hussein, even if it had to fudge the facts about him. So: weapons of mass destruction? “Check.” Links to Al Qaeda? “Check.” United Nations support? A pause there. “Not needed.” U.S. troops in place? “Check.” Ready for action? “Hoo-ah!” Popular support in Iraq? “That’s what they say.” Popular support in the U.S.? “Just look at the polls!” Pliant press? “Yep.” Supine Congress? “Got it.”

In the case of Iran, the first part of that checklist is much the same, except the evidence against the ayatollahs is much more damning. Weapons of mass destruction? Iran has chemical weapons and probably has developed biological ones, but the danger of nasty germs and poison clouds is minor compared to The Bomb, which Iranians are better able to produce with each passing day. So much evidence has piled up suggesting they’re doing just that, a special team from the International Atomic Energy Agency went to Iran at the beginning of this month. The U.N.-backed organization has set an Oct. 31 deadline for Iran to come clean. Inspectors are still there. Still digging. Their report is expected to be tough. So, WMD? Check. Terrorism? Iran supports suicide attacks on Israelis, and its rap sheet for bombing and kidnapping Americans goes back to 1979. (Just 20 years ago next week, it helped blow up 241 Americans at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.) But the big question today is whether Iran has ties to Al Qaeda. In the last few weeks, damning leaks have come out of Washington, Europe and various Arab intelligence services suggesting that, yes indeed, those links exist.

Osama bin Laden’s son, Saad, along with Qaeda operations chief Seif al-Adel and other notables are supposed to be working with a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards known as the Jerusalem Force. With help from this group, they are reported to have plotted recent attacks in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The sourcing for these stories is not conclusive. But they’re much more detailed than the vague allegations about Saddam’s Al Qaeda connections. So, terrorism? Check.

If there’d been this much evidence about Saddam, his zero hour would have come a lot sooner.

But what about popular sentiment at home and in Iran? The Iranian people are desperate for a change. In every election since 1997, they’ve showed just how sick they are of this regime. When they thought they could trust the candidates, they turned out in droves and gave them huge majorities. When those candidates failed to deliver, voters stayed away from the polls altogether. In Tehran’s recent municipal elections, only 12 per cent of the electorate showed up. When the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded the to human-rights activist Shirin Ebadi last week, it strengthened calls for reform across the board. Isn’t this a cause worth fighting for? And what about domestic political imperatives in the United States? Not to be cynical, but President Bush’s approval ratings speak for themselves. When America’s at war he’s wildly popular, when it’s not, he’s not.

You’d think such calculations would make the mullahs repent, if not resign. But these guys clearly think they can call the American bluff, and they’re sure as hell testing American resolve.

The reason is Iraq. Iran’s hard-liners probably believe the United States is too overextended to take on a new enemy, and most probably they’re right. Iran has 500,000 soldiers and mountainous terrain. It probably has chemical and biological weapons, and it has learned from North Korea that if it does manage to produce nukes, it will not be invaded and could be invulnerable.

The troops Washington has on the ground in Iraq, meanwhile, are easy prey for guerrillas, terrorists or mobs any time the mullahs want to play that game. The Iranians don’t need to show their hand. They have lines in with the Kurds, they can buy off Sunnis and they know all the players among the Iraqi Shiite majority. A Western official who negotiated with several of the powerful clergy in Najaf and Karbala recently came back to Europe convinced that Tehran had those holy cities completely wired: “When I talked to the Iranians they knew verbatim—verbatim—my conversations with the Iraqi ayatollahs.” At best, there’s a stand-off, and a dangerous one for both sides. But the countdown continues.

If the IAEA gives a negative report at the end of this month, which it probably will, Washington will back United Nations sanctions against Iran. But to get the Iranians’ attention, those sanctions are going to have to bite. They’d have to hit Iran’s oil industry. And even tough sanctions, by themselves, are the bluntest of instruments. Best of all would be to back up U.N. pressure with the threat of direct force. The record shows that was very effective against Iraq—before the force was used. But at this point, not even Washington’s closest allies will support that kind of bellicosity. Before the Iraq invasion, apologists like British Prime Minister Tony Blair could claim the countdown was all a game of brinkmanship, that the credible threat of

war was intended, in fact, to prevent war. Who would believe him now?

Among Iranian exiles and retired intelligence agents there’s a lot of talk about surgical strikes on nuclear installations. But with its military overburdened and its diplomacy discredited, the Bush administration might be willing to cut a deal with Iran. It could actually wind up guaranteeing the mullahs’ security, in effect, in exchange for promises (verifiable, of course) that they’ll give up weapons of mass destruction, sign a protocol allowing snap inspections, keep their fingers out of Iraq and turn over their Qaeda cohorts.

That’s not really a happy solution. It would do nothing to encourage the demoralized Iranian majority. It would appease the most dangerous elements of the clerical regime. But it might buy time to explore other solutions, and at least it would stop the countdown. Right now, before the United States gets dragged into a third war in three years, that’s probably not a bad plan.
9 posted on 10/17/2003 7:59:21 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Countdown Iran

October 16, 2003
Christopher Dickey
10 posted on 10/17/2003 8:00:08 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Most in Baghdad Want U.S. to Stay

October 15, 2003
The Washington Times
From Combined Dispatches

BAGHDAD — More than two-thirds of Baghdad residents would like to see U.S. troops stay in Iraq for an extended period, according to a poll conducted by the Gallup Organization in the violence-racked Iraqi capital.

The city has been struck by suicide bombers three times in the past five days, including yesterday in an attack outside the Turkish Embassy. Witnesses said the driver and a bystander were killed, and hospitals said at least 13 were wounded.

Much of the blast was absorbed by concrete barriers outside the embassy, U.S. officials said.

Seventy-one percent of Baghdad residents believe U.S. troops should not leave within the next few months, according to the Gallup Poll released yesterday in Washington. Twenty-six percent feel the troops should leave that soon.

Almost six in 10 — 58 percent — say U.S. troops in Baghdad have behaved fairly well or very well, with one in 10 saying very well. Twenty percent say the troops have behaved fairly badly and 9 percent say very badly.

The biggest surprise may have been public reaction to the questioners, who visited Iraqis in their homes. Richard Burkholder, director of international polling for Gallup, said the response rate was close to 97 percent, with some people following questioners around the streets begging for a chance to give their opinions.

A sizable minority feel there are circumstances in which attacks against U.S. troops could be justified. Almost one in five — 19 percent — say attacks could be justified, and an additional 17 percent say they could be in some situations.

U.S. forces were lucky to have escaped injury in yesterday's suicide attack, having been deployed outside the Turkish Embassy as recently as last weekend, apparently because of a threat.

"About three days ago, we received indications that there might be increased danger on the Turkish Embassy," said Col. Peter Mansoor of the 1st Armored Division. "We revved up security measures based on those indications."

Turkish Ambassador Osman Paksut, whose government has offered peacekeeping troops to reinforce the U.S. military presence, denounced the attack. "This is the act of those who want to turn Iraq into a terror paradise," he said.

Just who is behind the bombings remains a mystery, although Iraqis converging on the scene yesterday began chanting pro-Saddam Hussein slogans.

It was the third car bombing since Thursday, when a driver detonated his vehicle in a police station courtyard, killing himself and nine others. On Sunday, a suicide bomber killed himself and six others near the Baghdad Hotel, home to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

The string of attacks began in August with bombings at the Jordanian Embassy and the U.N. headquarters, killing more than 140 people across Iraq. All the targets have been institutions perceived as cooperating with the United States.

In the southern city of Karbala, meanwhile, gunmen of rival Shi'ite Muslim factions clashed, and witnesses said several people were killed or injured. It appeared to be part of a power struggle between forces of the firebrand cleric Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr and followers of religious leaders who take a more moderate stand toward the U.S.-led coalition.

Farther south, at his headquarters in Najaf, Sheik al-Sadr demanded that the United States set a timetable for withdrawal. "Whoever cooperates with the occupation forces is not a Shi'ite. Indeed, they are not Muslims," he said.

Pentagon officials said the U.S. military is concerned about Sheik al-Sadr but is uncertain whether he poses a significant threat. The officials said they remain committed to disarming militias — including Sheik al-Sadr's — but declined to say whether they would confront his followers.

In other developments yesterday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, Maj. Josslyn Aberle, said the military had no reports that Saddam was hiding in his hometown of Tikrit. This countered a statement Monday by a 4th Infantry officer that the deposed leader was recently in the area.

In central Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland, about 100 people gathered at the main mosque in Fallujah to demand the release of a cleric arrested by U.S. troops on Monday. Sheik Jamal Shaker Nazzal is an outspoken opponent of the American troop presence.

In Baghdad, Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans delivered an upbeat message at a news conference yesterday, saying he had seen "endless successes" in Iraq, citing restoration of electrical power and the reopening of schools and hospitals.

The Gallup Organization said its house-to-house poll was conducted by more than 40 questioners, most of them Iraqi citizens directed by survey managers who have helped with other Gallup Polls in the Muslim world.

"This is the way we did polling in the United States before telephone ownership got to the point that we could do reliable phone surveys," said Mr. Burkholder.

Respondents were chosen at random from all geographic sectors of the city. They were told the poll was being done for the media both in Iraq and outside their country, but no mention was made that an American polling firm was conducting it.

The poll of 1,178 adults was taken between Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 and had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
11 posted on 10/17/2003 8:01:32 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Fri, Oct. 17, 2003

Iran: We've Deported al-Qaida Suspects
Associated Press

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Iran has deported many al-Qaida suspects but will not extradite any to the United States despite requests to do so, President Mohammad Khatami said Friday at a summit of Islamic nations.

The Bush administration has urged Iran to hand over several alleged senior members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network. American officials believe Tehran has the suspects in custody after they fled to Iran from neighboring Afghanistan when a U.S.-led coalition ousted the hard-line Taliban regime in late 2001.

President Khatami did not say how many al-Qaida suspects it expelled, where they sent them or whether they included any of the men sought by U.S. authorities.

"We are not going to provide safe havens for them (al-Qaida operatives) in our country, and we have deported many them," Khatami told reporters at a summit of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference in Malaysia.

The Iranian president said there were no legal provisions for extraditing the suspects to the United States.

"We have no contract or agreement with the United States for the extradition of criminals," Khatami said. "When their nationalities are established, they will be deported."

U.S. officials have said intelligence reports suggest that Iran is holding Saif al-Adl, a suspected top al-Qaida agent possibly connected to the deadly May 12 bombings in Riyadh; Abu Mohammed al-Masri, wanted in connection with the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998; Abu Musab Zarqawi, described by U.S. officials as a possible link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein; and Saad bin Laden, the son of bin Laden.

Khatami denied accusations by Washington that Iran is a sponsor of terrorism.

"They are committing all these violent acts in the name of Islam and they want to portray us as a violent religion," he said of terrorists. "We will never support them, they will have no place in our country."
12 posted on 10/17/2003 8:06:05 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Defeating Fascism, Again
A similar enemy.

Michael Ledeen
National Review Online
October 17, 2003, 8:40 a.m.

“Fascism," the subject of my first 15 years' professional study, is used so often as a term of general opprobrium that it has been gutted of all serious content in popular usage. More's the pity, since fascism is back, big-time, and it would be worthwhile to try to understand it in order to drive it back under the slimy rocks where it was hidden for much of the last half-century.

It's hard to see fascism plain, because many of its essential features are obscured by its most infamous variation: German National Socialism. Hardly anybody knows that fascism had already been in power in Italy for more than a decade when Hitler seized Germany, and fewer still are aware that, in the late Twenties and early Thirties, there were so many fascist movements — from Latin America to Western, Central and Eastern Europe, from Great Britain to the Middle East — that Mussolini could realistically dream of organizing a fascist "international." Most of the fascist leaders who looked to Rome for inspiration were not racists, and did not share the Nazis' vision of a great empire ruled by a single führer. They were intensely nationalistic, and believed that each national unit would develop its own unique form of fascism, which they saw as a "third way" between capitalism and bolshevism, both of which they despised.

They shared a wildly optimistic vision of human potential and a common political style. Above all, fascism foresaw a transformation of man from a supine servant of modern bourgeois society to a creative warrior who would transform the world in his new image. The fascists believed that the prototype of the "new fascist man" had been forged in the trenches of the first world war — above all, the willingness to risk all, and sacrifice all, for the cause — and that only such men were worthy of positions of power and prestige (there were no female fascist leaders, although Mussolini's mistress, Margherita Sarfatti, was apparently the creator of the myth of "Romanness" that inspired the second decade of Italian fascism). The values of fascism were the values of war, and fascist societies and movements were invariably led by military veterans with great charismatic appeal (we've all seen the crowd scenes, at least). And the interplay between leader and the faithful was ritualized to the point where many came to believe that fascism was a form of civic religion, and the interplay of ritual chants in response to standardized phrases by the leader was a sort of political mass.

Finally, fascism sought to engage its followers and enlist them in great spectacles of political and national enthusiasm. The best-known example is the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, which portrayed Hitler as a kind of superman, dominating the frenzied German crowds below him. These spectacles helped overcome one of fascism's most vexing paradoxes, namely that while the political doctrine emphasized individual creativity, the actual practice of fascist regimes imposed a monotonous conformity, enforced in the name of the collective, whether it be nation, race, or people. Communism, for example, never went in for political enthusiasm; it was (and is) didactic. No fascist leader would have dreamt of delivering endless speeches of the sort heard from Stalin, Castro, or Mao. Fascist speeches were much shorter, much more colorful, and far more emotionally intense.

Thankfully we never got to see what fascism's second generation would look like (although I have suggested that the People's Republic of China is the world's first mature fascist state). But we know enough about fascism's first wave to recognize it today among the terrorists we are currently fighting. Two of the most important terrorist leaders are classic examples of the genre: Osama bin Laden and the Ayatollah Khomeini. Osama's speeches and sermons are (were?) remarkably short, melodramatic, and invariably couched in the language of war (jihad). Just as fascist heroes were often men who had fallen in battle, for Osama and his ilk the greatest act for a Muslim warrior is sacrifice, and Khomeini too extolled martyrs over all others, even creating a fountain in central Tehran from which red waters bubbled. Khomeini's speeches were typically dramatic, and the exchanges between him — the Supreme Leader, a typically fascist construct — and the faithful were as carefully programmed as any between Mussolini and the Roman in Piazza Venezia.

In one important respect, the current jihad is more like the German variation: The notion that all believers are part of a greater whole, transcending national boundaries. Hitler had his Reich, Osama wants his Caliphate, and Khomeini foresaw a global Islamic state in which all believers would be brought together in an irresistible unity.

I think I was the first to call Khomeini a clerical fascist, back in the days when one could still use "fascism" with a certain degree of specificity rather than as a pure epithet. That analysis has stood up for a quarter century, and I think also helps define the magnitude of our task. Fascism was not driven from power by internal discontent, or by freedom fighters within the fascist domain. There was precious little in the way of internal resistance, whether in Germany or Italy. Resistance in both of fascism's core states only emerged once the regimes were seen to be losing in war. Ditto for the global appeal of fascism: So long as Mussolini's trains ran on time, and both the Third Reich and the Italian fascist empire were expanding, their popularity increased.

But once the regimes were revealed to be vulnerable, once the leaders were seen to be as corrupt and as fallible as any others, the tide began to turn. In Iran, resistance ironically grew out of war, the long and bloody conflict with Iraq. With so many dead young men, and the visible presence of enormous numbers of handicapped and mutilated veterans, the appeal of Khomeini's fascism began to wane.

A similar phenomenon is under way following the humiliating defeat of Saddam, and it cannot be accidental that within months of the liberation of Iraq, there are pro-freedom demonstrations in the heartland of the Wahhabi fanatics, Saudi Arabia. In like manner, the unforeseen divisions within the Palestinian ranks flow directly from the stunning American victory. Remember that, in good fascist style, the jihadists proclaimed that only they were capable of the real military virtues. The West could only bomb from a distance, not triumph in hand-to-hand combat. But in Iraq, tens of thousands of Iraqis and foreign terrorists were cut down man to man. American fighters were superior, and that reality undermined the entire jihadist vision.

The clerical fascists of the Middle East are now vulnerable, terribly vulnerable, and they know it. That is why they are seeking at all costs to distract us from the war against terror, which surely means above all the liberation of Iran. Whether you call it a roadmap or Saudi peace plan, it is a snare, a distraction from the main order of business, the defeat of the latest version of fascism and the spread of freedom to the region. Amazingly, our unschooled president has intuitively understood this, while many of his colleagues have not. He knows, as any good student of fascism learned half a century ago, that fascism has to be defeated on the battlefield from which it emerged. We have shown our ability to do it militarily. We need now press our advantage and drive the stake of freedom through the hearts of the fascist tyrants.

Faster, please.
13 posted on 10/17/2003 8:06:43 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Defeating Fascism, Again
A similar enemy.

Michael Ledeen
National Review Online
October 17, 2003, 8:40 a.m.
14 posted on 10/17/2003 8:07:57 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Celebrating Shirin Ebadi
An Iranian woman gets Nobel praise.

By Amir Taheri
National Review Online

A new T-shirt is on sale in Tehran, the Iranian capital. It bears the message "Shirin Shirin Est!" ("The Sweet One is Sweet"). This is a play on the name of Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer and human-rights fighter who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. (Shirin means "sweet" in Persian.)

The Nobel committee's decision to name Mrs. Ebadi as the 2003 laureate has turned her into a household name throughout Iran and the Muslim world. Within 48 hours of the announcement of the news, Mrs. Ebadi received over 10,000 cables, e-mails, and phone messages from one end of the Muslim world to another.

The announcement of her win in Oslo was followed by scenes of popular elation in Tehran, where students — male and female — distributed flowers and sweets, the symbol of "Shirin" to passers-by.

The Khomeinist ruling establishment, however, did not know what to do with the news. It ignored the Oslo announcement for a whole day, and then acknowledged it with a twelve-word news brief. The whole of Iran had already heard the news thanks to Persian radio and TV broadcasts from the United States and Europe.

Then began the campaign of vilification against Ebadi. One radical Khomeinist leader described her as an "agent of American Imperialism and Zionism." A Khomeinist daily in Tehran presented the choice of Ebadi as a move in "a plot by the enemies of Islam" to undermine the Islamic Republic.

Iran's president, Muhammad Khatami, often presented in the West as a reformist, had his own way of putting things: "This is not worth all the fuss. . . . The Nobel Peace Prize is nothing. Prizes for literature and science matter." Khatami's comment is a sign not only of sour grapes — he himself had hoped to get a Nobel when he won his first term in office in 1997 on a reformist platform — but also of the fear which Ebadi strikes in the hearts of the ruling mullahs. She is a symbol of everything they fear and loath.

To begin with, Ebadi is a woman and as such is regarded by Khatami and other mullahs as, at best, half of a human being. To present her as a hero for mankind as a whole is just too much for them to bear. Second, Ebadi makes a point of emphasizing her Iranian-ness, much to the chagrin of the mullahs, who insist that Islam recognizes no national boundaries and that the love of one's homeland is incompatible with the love of God.

Third, Ebadi says she is proud to be a Muslim — in her own way. She insists that no one, least of all the mullahs, has the right to tell others how to live and practice their faith. "There are no priests and no church in Islam," she repeats. "As Muslims we are alone responsible for our deeds and shall face Divine Judgment as individuals. Because we are not robots no one could programme us with his version of religion."

Fourth, Ebadi makes no secret of her dislike of the Hijab, a head covering invented in the 1970s in Lebanon and gradually imposed as a symbol of Islamic radicalism throughout the world. She is forced to wear it in Iran, where refusal to wear the Hijab is punishable by six months in jail and/or a caning in public. But, like all other Iranian women, she casts it aside as soon as she is outside the realm of the Islamic Republic. "Instead of telling Muslim women to cover their heads we should tell them to use their heads," Ebadi says. "We must not accept anything that is rejected by our reason." Ebadi's rejection of the Hijab is one of the themes now used in the propaganda campaign launched against her by the state-owned media in Tehran. This is because Islamism, having failed to develop a serious philosophy, is forced to cling to head-coverings and beards as its only achievements.

Fifth, Ebadi is the product of a society that the Islamist terrorists have been trying to destroy since 1979. She was part of a second generation of Iranian women who were able to attend university. She studied law, a field expressly closed to women by the Islamists, and became a judge in 1974. (She was one of 46 Iranian women to serve as a judge. In 1979 the Iranian supreme court also included one woman among its nine members.)

The significance of a woman serving as a judge may be hard to grasp for non-Muslims. But the advent of female judges in Iran under the Shah was a truly revolutionary event, unprecedented in the 1,500-year history of Islam. Women — whose testimony, according to Islamic sharia, is regarded as only half-valid — were never allowed even to act as ordinary lawyers, let alone to judge their superiors, which is to say men.

Under the fascist worldview of Islamism, a woman cannot leave home without a chaperone and cannot travel without the written permission of her husband, brother, father, or other male relative. A man can take up to four permanent wives and as many temporary ones as he likes, and can repudiate any wife at any time without informing her. In that context, the Ebadi's generation, which gave Iran its first women members of parliament, cabinet ministers, provincial governors, ambassadors, army and police commanders, aircraft pilots, surgeons, and bus and taxi drivers was a truly heroic one.

The mullahs tried to kill that generation and thrust women again to the margins of society. They failed for two reasons. First, the Iran-Iraq War, which began in 1980 and lasted eight long years, kept almost one million men at the front, making it impossible to run many sectors of the economy without letting women work. And second, because of the existence of heroic women like Shirin Ebadi who were ready to fight and, in many cases, die defending their newly won rights. Mrs. Ebadi, now 56 and the mother of two daughters, has been repeatedly beaten up by Islamist thugs. She has been imprisoned, kept under house arrest, prevented from working, and subjected to the most vicious of media campaigns. And yet she has not wavered. The mullahs hate her because she symbolizes the failure of their criminal enterprise.

"All human beings are of equal worth simply by existing," she says. That, of course, is in direct opposition to the basic principles of Islamism, which hold that humanity is divided according to a strict hierarchy of worth. At the top of this hierarchy are free Muslim males, the cream of humanity. Below them, in descending order of humanity, are: Muslim male slaves, free Muslim women, Muslim female slaves, the males of the "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians), and, finally, the female of the People of the Book. The rest of humanity — Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and others — are regarded as worthless, and, because they lack a soul, cannot claim to have any rights whatsoever.

Ebadi rejects that "Islamic" hierarchy as "absurd and dangerous." "There is no future for mankind without human rights," she said at her first international press conference in Paris on Monday. "Any discrimination on the basis of gender, race, or religion is a challenge to our basic humanity." Ebadi has gone out of her way to dismiss suggestions that she may be contemplating a political career. "What I do is not political in the accepted sense of the term," she said. "All I am doing is to fight for the creation of conditions in which Iranians, and other Muslim nations, can have a real political life."

Giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Ebadi is a strong signal from the democratic world to those Muslims who are fighting fascism disguised as religion, often at great personal risk. The world of Islam is passing through a civil war of ideas of a magnitude not seen since the 12th century. And, just as in the 12th century, the fight is between those who wish to turn religion into a weapon of rule by terror, and those who, like Ebadi, see faith as a personal matter, to be worked out between the individual and God.

In the 12th century, the fascists won. The result was the advent of Islam's Dark Ages, from which it began to recover only in the 19th century — and even then only slowly. Who will win this time? With people like Shirin Ebadi in the field, the fascists are right to fear for their future.

— Amir Taheri, an NRO contributor, is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through
15 posted on 10/17/2003 8:13:47 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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Celebrating Shirin Ebadi
An Iranian woman gets Nobel praise.

By Amir Taheri
National Review Online
16 posted on 10/17/2003 8:14:43 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Berkeley Lecturer Held in Secret in Iran Jail

From Iran Emrouz (Iran) - Translated by Behrouz Saba
Oct 17, 2003

Dariush Zahedi, an Iranian-born political scientist and lecturer at UC Berkeley, has been in secret, solitary confinement in Tehran's Evin prison on espionage charges after arriving in his native country around late June of this year. What makes Zahedi's fate particularly worrisome is the utter silence that has surrounded his case for more than three months. Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-born naturalized Canadian journalist was killed from a blow to the head during interrogation after she was arrested in Tehran for taking pictures at Evin prison in July. Zahedi may end up similarly without prompt attention to his case from the U.S. government and the international community.

Iran Emrouz (Iran Today), an authoritative news website published in Tehran, carried an exclusive article about Zahedi on Oct. 15. Zahedi's colleagues at Berkeley, according to the piece, grew concerned when he did not show up for work at the beginning of the academic year and found out that he had traveled to Iran in late spring at a time of widespread student demonstrations against the ruling clergy.

The article cites Mohsen Armin, the Deputy Chief of the Iranian Parliament's National Security Committee, as the first person in Iran to have mentioned a Berkeley academician in Iranian government custody without revealing his name. The website's reporter was able to identify Zahedi only after contacting officials at UC Berkeley.

Iran Emrouz believes that Zahedi's relatives in Iran and in this country have been silenced by the Iranian government's threats of subjecting him to even harsher treatment should his case become publicly known by them.

According to Armin, Iran's Information Ministry investigated the spying charges against Zahedi and found them to be groundless. This finding was not accepted by the Attorney General and the Revolutionary Court of Tehran which have referred the case to a judicial branch of the military intelligence.

Zahedi was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and taught at the University of Southern California and Santa Clara University before going to Berkeley. His book, "The Iranian Revolution Then and Now: Indicators of Regime Instability" (Westview Press, 2000), is a scholarly inquiry into the causes and eventual outcomes of the Islamic revolution. He also served as the director of the West Coast operations for the American Iranian Council (AIC) which is chaired by Cyrus Vance. Carter's Secretary of State, Vance resigned over the aborted secret mission to rescue American hostages in Iran. AIC describes itself a nonprofit educational organization devoted to improving relationships between the U.S. and Iran.

Zahedi's biography does not read any differently from those of many other academicians in this country. His associations with major American universities and a well-known former official of the U.S. government, however, serve as ample "evidence" for Iranian prosecutors loyal to the conservative clergy to detain and punish him as a spy. In truth, the mullahs find educated, articulate, moderate Iranians like Zahedi as the worst threat to their theocracy. They know that such voices are increasingly appealing to a broad cross section of young Iranians and will sooner or later end their hold on power.

Zahedi urged American engagement rather than confrontation in its dealings with Iran. An op-ed piece he co-wrote for Newsday in April reads in part, "Instead of threatening, bullying or chastising Iran for developing a nuclear weapons program, the United States should adopt a variation of the North Korean model and seek to engage the Islamic Republic in multilateral talks."

The mullahs clearly prefer American threats and bullying which help them shore up their power among the Iranian masses against the "Great Satan."
17 posted on 10/17/2003 8:22:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
What I found most interesting in this article was the factoid that the head scraf for females was "invented" in the 70's as a sign of's like's made up...I, like probably many..thought it went back thousands of years...Ali Baba and the dervishes...
18 posted on 10/17/2003 8:23:59 AM PDT by ken5050
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To: DoctorZIn
Islamic Iran Participation Front convenes party conference, set outs agenda

Payvand News

Secretary General of Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) on Thursday rejected changing the Constitution as means to advance reforms, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Speaking at the Fifth IIPF Congress session in Tehran, Mohammad Reza Khatami also called for democratic interpretation of the Constitution. "We think that the current Constitution is adequate in incorporating a democratic system.

"The problem in our country is the absence of the rule of law and not absence or shortcomings in the law." "We also think the Constitution should be carried out in most democratic manner and 'there are no guarantees in its implementation in the present trend'."

He added that the principal duty of the reforms stipulates for the rulers to abide by the law. "Another reason for us to reject changing the Constitution 'is the ambiguous manner of its implementation', he pointed out.

"Iranian people are not in favor of aggressive and non-peaceful means or radical changes," he added.

Khatami said the most important point is a clear and transparent interpretation of those unclear parts of the Constitution. "We think that a most important challenge in ruling the country is the lack of connection between responsibilities and accountability." Another point which is not clear is the explanation of people rights versus Islamic teachings, he added.

"What we are witnessing today is that Constitution is used for political purposes and personal and factional interest, and the Constitution is interpreted in the manner which reminds of past class-based systems," the IIPF secretary general underlined. "Every Iranian, irrespective of personal belief and thought should have equal rights with other compatriots."

He also alluded to freedom of thought as another tenet of the constitution pointing out that the late Imam Khomeini when in Paris alluded to the right of all to be free to express their opinions 'even the communists'.

IIPF believes that all opposition including those that oppose the Islamic system 'if they abide by the law and respect peaceful means can be active in the society'.

The front is in favor of strict separation of people's personal and social life except in cases when rights of others have been violated and this should be clearly spelled out in the law.

19 posted on 10/17/2003 8:45:42 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (Californication...!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Deports Al Qaeda But Will Not Extradite Any to U.S.
Wash Post ^ | Unknown (AP)

Posted on 10/17/2003 8:58 AM PDT by Coop

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia -- Iran has deported many al Qaeda suspects but will not extradite any to the United States despite requests to do so, President Mohammad Khatami said Friday at a summit of Islamic nations.

The Bush administration has urged Iran to hand over several alleged senior members of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network. American officials believe Tehran has the suspects in custody after they fled to Iran from neighboring Afghanistan when a U.S.-led coalition ousted the hard-line Taliban regime in late 2001.
20 posted on 10/17/2003 9:12:21 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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