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posted on 10/22/2003 12:05:12 AM PDT
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posted on 10/22/2003 12:09:12 AM PDT
Is anyone going to the October 25th -- Support Our Troops? -- Washington DC -- Let us know!
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posted on 10/22/2003 12:10:49 AM PDT
Encouraging Words From Iran [Iran is stalling for time -- DoctorZin]
New York Times - Editorial
Oct 22, 2003
Iran made a series of important promises yesterday about its nuclear activities. If it carries them out fully and promptly, they could go a long way toward easing international concerns. Yet Iran has been less than candid about its nuclear activities in the past and appears to have used the cover of a civilian nuclear power program to develop weapons-building capacity. Therefore, it bears the burden of convincing the world that it has no intention of producing nuclear weapons, now or in the future.
In yesterday's joint statement with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, Iran declared it would voluntarily refrain from uranium enrichment a process that, depending on how it is done, can produce fuel for civilian power reactors or nuclear weapons. Iran also pledged to sign and ratify an international agreement allowing surprise inspections of its nuclear plants. And it declared itself willing to resolve all unanswered questions about its past nuclear activities to the satisfaction of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
With this statement, Tehran has responded to the main requirements of an Oct. 31 deadline imposed by the international community. That is welcome. Yet Iran needs to go further. Uranium imports should be suspended along with uranium enrichment. Centrifuges that can be used for enriching uranium should be dismantled, and no new ones imported or built. It should also be kept in mind that Iran's elected government does not always speak for all of the country's power centers. Its religious leadership must also see to it that the latest pledges are fully honored in letter and spirit. It is troubling that a cleric involved in the negotiations yesterday emphasized that the suspension of uranium enrichment might not be permanent and that none of Iran's latest promises were final until ratified by Parliament.
Russia also needs to put constructive pressure on Tehran by delaying the completion of the nuclear power reactor that Moscow is building for Iran at Bushehr. The reactor should not become operational until Tehran agrees that all enrichment of its uranium fuel will be done outside Iranian territory in plants under full international safeguards. Iran must also agree that the plutonium produced by the reactor's operation will be sent abroad. Such agreements protecting the enriched uranium and plutonium associated with nuclear power generation from diversion to weapons should be an essential condition of all future reactor sales to non-nuclear weapons states, not just to Iran.
The problem posed by Iran is particularly urgent because it is now widely assumed that Iranian scientists have already learned how to convert natural uranium into bomb fuel. That leaves only one sure way for Iran to persuade others to trust its repeated promises not to build nuclear weapons. It must not only suspend uranium enrichment, but also dismantle, with international verification, all of its enrichment plants. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3089.shtml
posted on 10/22/2003 12:13:29 AM PDT
White House Welcomes Deal on Iran's Nuclear Program
22 Oct 2003, 04:31 UTC
The United States is welcoming Iran's decision to allow unannounced inspections by international nuclear regulators and suspend its uranium enrichment program.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan called the decision a "positive step," adding that it is important now for the Islamic Republic's leaders to follow through on its commitments. He said the Bush administration has been in close contact with European officials who brokered the agreement with Iran. The agreement was announced in Tehran Tuesday, after meetings between Iranian officials and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany. It came 10 days before an October 31st deadline set by the International Atomic Energy Agency for Iran to prove it is not trying to build nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear energy program.
The IAEA says Iran must still provide a complete declaration of all its past nuclear activities, as well as official notice it will sign an "additional protocol" to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty allowing for the unannounced inspections.
An Iranian official said the suspension of its uranium enrichment program is a temporary measure to build trust. Enriched uranium can be used to build nuclear weapons.
In other developments, an Iranian official says he expects his government soon to sign an agreement that will allow Russia to begin delivering nuclear fuel for a power plant in Iran. Under the agreement, Russia will provide fuel for the Bushehr plant that it is helping build. The deal calls for Iran to return the spent fuel to Russia for reprocessing. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=073D66CC-2F9A-46EE-A985CDE4FBEE32F9
posted on 10/22/2003 12:15:27 AM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia in secret nuke pact
THE WASHINGTON TIMES ^ | 10.22.2003 | Arnaud de Borchgrave
Posted on 10/21/2003 11:32 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have concluded a secret agreement on "nuclear cooperation" that will provide the Saudis with nuclear-weapons technology in exchange for cheap oil, according to a ranking Pakistani insider.
The disclosure came at the end of a 26-hour state visit to Islamabad last weekend by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, who flew across the Arabian Sea with an entourage of 200, including Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and several Cabinet ministers.... http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1005635/posts
posted on 10/22/2003 12:19:39 AM PDT
Iran in Nuclear Climbdown
October 22, 2003
Dan De Luce
Iran yesterday bowed to international pressure over its nuclear programme and agreed to suspend uranium enrichment activities, in a painful compromise deal negotiated with Britain, France and Germany.
In an abrupt climbdown, the Islamic Republic dropped its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment efforts and pledged to allow short-notice UN inspections, in a joint communiqué agreed with the three European foreign ministers.
With a UN deadline of October 31 looming, Iran appeared anxious to defuse western concern over its nuclear ambitions and avert the possibility of UN security council action.
The deal came only 10 days before the expiry of a deadline imposed by the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, requiring Iran to prove it has no weapons programme. If it fails to comply, the UN security council would consider economic sanctions.
European diplomats said the communiqué was encouraging, but that Iran would have to make good on its elaborate promises. "We've learned to be cautious. That's why we're taking it step by step," one diplomat said.
The final verdict on Iran's nuclear programme will rest with the head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, who will issue a crucial report to the agency's governing board next month. Fresh inspections by the agency are expected in the coming weeks, including visits to sensitive military sites previously blocked.
In a visit to Tehran last week, Mr ElBaradei expressed cautious optimism about the proposed deal with Europe.
Yesterday's press conference presented an extraordinary scene in a country so often at odds with western governments. European foreign ministers sat smiling alongside a senior figure in clerical robes, Hossan Rouhani, who for years has played a powerful behind-the-scenes role in Iran's intelligence apparatus. "We will temporarily suspend the uranium enrichment process from the date we will announce only to show good will and build confidence," he said.
Mr Rouhani, who officially serves as the secretary of the supreme national security council but is not part of the elected government, has emerged as Iran's authoritative negotiator. The reformist government led by president Mohammad Khatami was not even present for the crucial negotiating sessions, underlying its marginal status in Iran's theocratic system.
The communiqué offered Iran a face-saving way of meeting the terms of the IAEA's resolution without having to offer much concrete in return. The three European governments offered a promise to provide eventual access to "modern technology and supplies", a euphemism for civilian nuclear technology and fuel. Iran has often complained that it has a right to nuclear technology under the non-proliferation treaty.
The deal was first proposed during the summer in a letter from the three European governments, but only recently did the theocratic leadership choose to take up the offer.
"The October 31 deadline may have helped concentrate minds," said a diplomat. Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and his French and German counterparts went to great lengths to emphasise that snap UN inspections would not threaten Iran's national security or "dignity". The pivotal issue in the negotiations focused on Iran's commitment to suspend the enrichment of uranium, which it had ruled out until now.
Iran initially proposed a limited definition of what "suspension" entailed, diplomats said. But the European envoys succeeded in adding wording that the IAEA would define what was meant by suspending enrichment and reprocessing activities. However, the communiqué did not say for how long Iran would suspend its activities, and diplomats said the issue would be the subject of further discussions.
Iran also agreed to provide a full account of its uranium enrichment activities dating from the 1980s. UN inspectors recently found highly-enriched, weapons-grade uranium in samples. Iran blamed contaminated equipment it had bought from abroad.
Iran has been accused by the US of sponsoring terrorism and threatening stability in Iraq, and the nuclear issue could help to open a new stage in Tehran's uneasy relations with the west. But first, the theocratic leadership will have to rein in hardline elements that oppose any reconciliation.
Analysts say the hardliners may need to be placated on other issues on the domestic front to win their support for the bitter pill they swallowed yesterday.
How did we get here?
What were the nuclear inspectors seeking?
Whether Iran is right to claim its nuclear programme is peaceful. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concentrated on Iran's uranium enrichment activities. The inspectors have been prevented from visiting some sites and have not received answers about Iran's uranium enrichment efforts.
What's the evidence that Iran has been evasive?
Iran has given contradictory accounts about its nuclear programme, first saying that its uranium enrichment activities dated back to 1997 and that it had not bought equipment from abroad. Tehran later said the programme dated to 1985 and it had bought equipment on the black market. Iran's vow to produce its own nuclear fuel has also raised international suspicions.
Why did the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany travel to Tehran to speak to Iran's leadership?
Britain, France and Germany proposed in a letter that Iran would be granted access to civilian technology in return for Tehran agreeing to intrusive inspections and coming clean over its nuclear programme. Iran took up the deal after the IAEA governing board last month imposed an October 31 deadline for Iran to prove it has no weapons project or face possible UN sanctions.
What did Iran agree to yesterday?
Iran agreed to sign the additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which allows short-notice, extensive inspections of all its nuclear sites.
What could still go wrong?
Plenty. If the IAEA inspectors encounter more evasiveness, the whole deal collapses and Iran will face sanctions from the UN security council. A deepening crisis could trigger a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, with Turkey and Saudi Arabia possibly seeking their own nuclear deterrents. The US or Israel could also decide to bomb Iran's nuclear sites. http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,1068217,00.html
Bush Says Iran Moves on Nuclear Programs Positive
October 22, 2003
BALI, Indonesia -- President Bush said on Wednesday that moves by Iran on nuclear policy were "a very positive development."
Iran agreed on Tuesday to accept snap inspections of its nuclear sites and to freeze uranium enrichment in what three visiting European ministers hailed as a promising start to removing doubts about Tehran's atomic aims.
Asked at a news conference in Indonesia if he was confident Iran was foreswearing nuclear weapons, Bush thanked the British, French and German foreign ministers "for taking a very strong universal message to the Iranians that they should disarm."
"It looks like they're accepting the demands of the free world and now it's up to them to prove that they've accepted the demands. It's a very positive development," Bush said. http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=politicsNews&storyID=3662702
Challenge to Saudi Leaders With Call For More Protests
October 22, 2003
The Financial Times
A week after a rare protest backed by Saudi dissidents was put down by police in Riyadh, the London-based Islamist opposition group is promising a new challenge by calling on supporters to take to the streets on Thursday in large numbers and in several cities.
The demonstrations, designed to call for reforms and the release of prisoners, will be seen as a test of the influence of Islah, the group that surprised many Saudis last week with its ability to mobilise support.
Many had not expected the demonstration to take place at all so the attempt to gather became the talk of Riyadh. Though numbers of protesters were difficult to gauge, that some responded to the call reflected a willingness to take bold action in a country where protests are banned - and virtually non-existent - but anger and resentment have been mounting.
The Saudi regime sought to play down the scale of the protest and said it had arrested at least 150 people. The country's highest religious authority declared the protesters a "deviant" and marginal group.
Yet several political analysts said the crackdown on demonstrators had boosted interest in Islah, which spreads a non-violent message through a radio show captured on satellite television. Callers to the station sometimes give their names their addresses, challenging the authorities to find them.
The repression of the protest last week was meant to send a signal that the regime will not tolerate popular expressions of dissent, not least when it is fighting an anti-terror campaign against al-Qaeda cells. Since suspected members of the network in May bombed three residential compounds for expatriates the regime has pursued a harsh crackdown.
"They don't think we have people who will demonstrate peacefully and they think that if they open this avenue you never know where it leads," said a member of the country's advisory consultative council.
Saudi Arabia has won praise in the west for moving forcefully against al-Qaeda. But a key demand in the demonstration was the release of detainees that are held without trial. Lawyers in Riyadh say the widening crackdown and the lack of fair treatment are deepening anger among Islamist opponents of the regime and threaten to backfire.
Analysts said allowing peaceful expression of dissent should be part of the strategy against terrorism. "The government has to get used to this - this is the best way to express yourself rather than resort to violence," said Ali al-Doumaini, a Saudi writer and poet who is active among liberals in the kingdom and disagrees with Islah's Islamist approach.
The protest followed another unusual move in the kingdom - last week's announcement of a vote next year to elect half the members of municipal councils. But it also raised questions about how a vote will take place without the ability to organise and mobilise support.
"An election has to go hand in hand with giving people the right to speak. Political participation has tools and protests are part of it," said Daoud al-Shiryan, another liberal writer. "The election is going to raise lots of questions, you'll have to have political campaigns." http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1066565257637&p=1012571727172
EU Made No Concessions to Tehran
October 21, 2003
BERLIN -- Britain, France and Germany made no concessions to Tehran while striving to keep the door open to its return into the international community, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said after talks with Tehran on its nuclear programme.
He was speaking on his return here from Iran where he and his British and French counterparts won an agreement by Iran to open its nuclear programme to snap inspections.
They were "very difficult negotiations", Fischer told reporters but he added that they had been "impregnated here and there with realism".
"Everything depends now on the implementation" of the accord which he said "offers a great opportunity for Iran and that should not be missed".
While making no concessions, the three EU Foreign Ministers had tried "to open to Iran the path of return into the international community", he added.
Iran announced earlier it would sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which will allow the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to carry out surprise visits to suspect facilities -- a key tool if Iran can ever be given the nuclear all-clear by the watchdog.
Tehran also pledged to show "full transparency" to the IAEA, reiterated its commitment to the NPT and vowed atomic weapons had "no place" in its defence doctrine.
It also said it would suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.
The decision came just 10 days before the expiry of an IAEA ultimatum for Iran to come clean about is nuclear programme. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=18896&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
Regime Change in Iran
October 22, 2003
The Washington Times
There is often good reason to grumble about the selection of the Norwegian Nobel committee for its famous Peace Prize. Last year, for instance, the honor was bestowed upon former President Jimmy Carter, at least partly in recognition of his criticism of the foreign policy of the Bush administration. The whole thing was most unseemly.
This year, however, the committee managed to get it right when it chose Iranian lawyer-activist Shirin Ebadi. It must take extraordinary courage to be a human-rights activist in a place like Iran, and a female one at that. Yet, Mrs. Ebadi, a former judge, has been at it for more than 20 years, defending the rights of women and children, and working for the political freedoms that Iranians have been denied for decades now. If the Nobel Peace Prize has any meaning, this is exactly it.
Iran is a country that has been ruled by religious mullahs with an iron fist since 1979, when the shah was dethroned, a place where dissidence is usually rewarded with jail and torture is still part of traditional punishment. I will never forget the time Iranian dissidents brought a movie of a stoning to my office. It was unspeakable. International concerns over the spread of Islamic law have precisely at their roots Iran, which was lost to the world after the arrival of Ayatollah Khomeini and his fellow religious fanatics.
But equally to the point, the timing of the prize is right. Iran has reached a critical point, not just in its internal politics, but also its relations with the international community. It is a country sometimes described as being in a pre-revolutionary state, with a population that is 60 percent under the age of 18, and whose young people are deeply disillusioned with the religious establishment.
The Nobel Prize will help strengthen and spotlight Iran's growing internal political opposition, which last summer gave rise to widespread student demonstrations. A crackdown resulted, but Iran's reformers have now received new hope.
One quite stunning testimonial came from no less than the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini himself, Iranian cleric Hossein Khomeini, who was in Washington a few weeks ago. "Now we have had 25 years of failed Islamic revolution in Iran," he told Slate magazine, "and the people do not want an Islamic regime anymore." With Americans troops already having "liberated" Iraq, he called for an immediate American invasion of Iran.
Would that it were so easy. With a sizable portion of the U.S. military tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, and reconstruction consuming great amounts of American resources, such a smart move toward Tehran is not likely to be in the cards. (Nothing should be ruled out, of course.) That Iran represents a very serious problem, however, has clearly sunk in internationally.
Especially of concern is Iran's nuclear program, which has been aided and abetted by Russia. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have given Iran until Oct. 31 to open up all its nuclear sites to inspection to prove that it has no nuclear weapons program. This deadline is fast approaching.
Iran is, in fact, one case where Europeans and Americans currently agree. A nuclear Iran would destroy the whole strategic stability of the region, said a high-ranking German diplomat speaking in Washington this week: "It cannot happen. It would be a catastrophe."
A letter expressing deep concern was recently sent to Tehran from the governments of Britain, France and Germany, and foreign ministers from the three countries traveled this week to Iran to reinforce the message, which seems to have produced some results, or at least a declaration of intentions by Iran to comply with IAEA demands.
Iran is twice the size of Iraq. It is politically unstable, possibly nuclear capable and known to sponsor terrorist groups infiltrating Iraq. Accordingly, the Bush administration needs to think fast and send an unequivocal message. International sanctions must be applied if the IAEA inspectors come up with incriminating evidence of a clandestine nuclear program. Iran is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and must be held to its treaty obligations.
In addition, we need vigorous support for the burgeoning democratic forces in Iran, for instance, through an Iran Liberation Act, such as proposed by Sen. Jon Kyl. Iranian reformers now have an international figure in Shirin Ebadi to rally around, a Nobel Prize winner with a platform. She could be the galvanizing figure Iranians have been waiting for. http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20031021-090346-8103r.htm
Tehran Split on Nuclear 'Capitulation'
October 22, 2003
Iran's decision, announced on Tuesday, to accept a protocol allowing tougher nuclear inspections and also to suspend its attempts to enrich uranium, has had a mixed reception among Iranian hardliners.
Some ultra-conservatives have denounced the move, seeing it as an ignominious capitulation to Western pressure.
As the three European foreign ministers were negotiating the agreement with Iranian leaders on Tuesday, a group of hardliners staged a noisy demonstration denouncing the additional protocol as "a source of shame for Iran".
That viewpoint is reflected in the most hardline of the Tehran newspapers, Jumhouri Islami, which described signing the protocol as "an everlasting disgrace" which would "bring the curse of future generations on the country".
It portrayed the Europeans as agents of the United States, and said that if Iranian leaders did not stand up to the West, it would keep going until the Islamic Republic was destroyed.
But the right-wing was clearly divided.
One of the other conservative papers drew a clear distinction between Europe and the United States, and said that by playing on their contradictions, Iran had been able to foil American strategies in the region.
A moderate conservative daily, Entekhab, saw the announcement as a great victory for Iran over the Americans and others "who wanted to plunge the region into further crisis".
Predictably, the development was welcomed by papers reflecting reformist views - not without a good deal of crowing over the discomfiture of hard-liners, who had bitterly denounced the protocol for months before.
The hardline denunciation raises the question of whether those who reached the agreement with the European ministers were speaking for the regime as a whole, and whether it will stick.
The main negotiator on the Iranian side, Hassan Rowhani, is secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, a body which represents all the main Iranian power centres.
He is a pragmatic conservative who was appointed by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
So the decision had the support of all the regime's key strands, leaving its opponents on the margins.
For many conservatives, the fact that the decision could not have happened without the say-so of the Leader puts it beyond criticism.
Iran was under pressure to accept the Additional Protocol [to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] for months before it was formally urged to do so in the International Atomic Energy Agency's tough resolution of 12 September.
It was bitterly denounced by many prominent hardliners from the outset, while many reformists argued all along that it should be accepted before the stepping-up of pressure made it hard to do so without losing face.
The decision was seen by many as something imperative but unpalatable, on the same level as the late Ayatollah Khomeini's agreement to end the war with Iraq in 1988, which he compared to "drinking a poisoned chalice".
In the end, because the regime as a whole was perceived to be under threat over the nuclear issue, the leadership was obliged to rise above its own contradictions and take a strategic national decision.
Iran was at a clear crossroads: if it had taken the other course, defying the IAEA, that would have led to a period of international isolation and possible sanctions, with special negative impact on Tehran's relations with Europe. That was a course which all but the most extreme hardliners ultimately shied away from.
To that extent, the decision represented a victory for the reformists, who had generally advocated compliance all along.
But the key decisions were taken by conservatives, and the main reform symbol, President Mohammad Khatami, played little more than a ceremonial role in the talks.
Some Iranian analysts did not rule out the possibility that disgruntled hardliners might try to stage some spectacular action to discredit the course the regime has decided to take.
"I'm sure they'll do something to sabotage or undermine the achievement," said one. "There are some people out there who are saying, we can't even trust the Leader now." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3204125.stm
Bush : Even if Iran Comes Clean on its Nuclear Ambitions, it Won't be Enough
October 22, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
CANBERRA -- President George W. Bush said Wednesday he welcomed the news that Iran has said it will stop producing fissile material and will allow international inspections, but he stopped short of saying this alone will improve relations with the U.S.
Iranian officials made the concession during a meeting with the foreign ministers of the U.K., France and Germany.
Instead, Bush said Iran needs to follow up its words with actions and it must turn over members of al-Qaida in Iran.
"Well, it depends on - first things first, and that is, let us have, in a verifiable way, their agreement that was made with the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). The IAEA must be allowed in, and we'll discuss it then," Bush said.
Bush made the comments to journalists on Air Force One while he was flying from Bali to Canberra.
However, Bush also indicated that, even if Iran comes clean on its nuclear ambitions, it won't be enough.
"That will help relations with Iran, obviously, if they do abandon a nuclear weapons program. It will also help if...we end up...reaching an agreement on the al-Qaida that they hold," Bush said.
Iranian officials have admitted they have a number of members of the al-Qaida terrorist network in their country and claim the terrorists are under house arrest. U.S. officials don't believe the terrorists are being detained and accuse them of helping to plan the Riyadh bombings in May.
Iran has made some vague offers to turn over the terrorists to their countries of origin but hasn't followed through on this.
Bush praised the foreign ministers from France, the U.K. and Germany for the efforts they made to get Iran to halt development of nuclear weapons.
"I believe, in this case, they generally are concerned about Iran developing a nuclear weapon. They understand the consequences. I appreciate it very much," Bush said.
"This is an effective approach. I've been saying all along that not every policy issue needs to be dealt with by force. There are ways to achieve common objectives, and this is a common objective," Bush said.
"They made a decision collectively in Europe that it's not in their interest or the world interest that Iran have a nuclear weapon. And we came to that conclusion, they've come to that conclusion, and working together is an effective way," Bush added.
Bush compared the U.S.-E.U. approach to Iran to the six-party talks that involve North Korea. In that case, the U.S. along with Japan, South Korea, China and Russia are putting pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.
Iran claims it is developing a nuclear power industry because it needs the energy from the reactors. The U.S. says this is just a cover for a weapons program and says that Iran wastes more energy from its oilfields in the form of flared gas than its planned reactors would produce.
-By Alex Keto, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9256; Alex.Keto@dowjones.com http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=10&d=22&a=9
Iran Says Nuclear Deal Isolates the U.S.!
October 22, 2003
The Associated Press
Ali Akbar Dareini
TEHRAN -- Iran's pledge to three European states to open its nuclear program to unfettered inspections and to suspend uranium enrichment is a "victory" that isolates the United States, Iran's representative to the U.N. nuclear agency said Wednesday.
"A big conspiracy has been foiled ... (and) the United States has been isolated," Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told state-run television.
He said the United States, which accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, had sought to bring Iran's nuclear program before the U.N. Security Council, which could have imposed sanctions.
The United States said it would wait to see whether Iran would act on its words.
The European Union "showed the U.S. that global issues can't be resolved by war and destruction, but by dialogue. It's a victory for us, the EU and the international community," Salehi said.
Iran contends its nuclear program is only for peaceful energy purposes, but it had for weeks resisted IAEA demands to prove it by submitting to unfettered inspections and insisted it would continue enriching uranium enriched uranium can be used in bombs.
Iran's reversal on Tuesday was linked to a European offer of greater cooperation on nuclear energy, which Iran has sought. Iran also was seen as keen to keep the dispute from reaching the Security Council.
President Mohammad Khatami told reporters Wednesday the agreement didn't mean Iran has given up obtaining nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
"We haven't lost anything," Khatami said.
The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany visited Tuesday and secured Iran's commitment to suspend uranium enrichment and to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that gives IAEA inspectors the right of unfettered access. The three European ministers promised that if Iran does meet its commitments, their countries would help it acquire peaceful nuclear technology.
Iran faces an Oct. 31 deadline to prove to the IAEA that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful. If Iran fails to satisfy the IAEA, the U.N. agency is expected to refer the matter to the Security Council.
Iran, though, has said it does not recognize the deadline and it remained unclear when it would sign the protocol or stop enriching uranium. It also was unclear how long the uranium enrichment suspension would last once it does begin.
Late Tuesday, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Hasan Rowhani, said Iran would sign the protocol before the next IAEA board meeting on Nov. 20.
Khatami said Wednesday that the additional protocol must first be approved by parliament, indicating Iran would not move quickly.
"It has to go through its legal course," Khatami told reporters.
Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told The Associated Press the process would begin next week with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi formally asking permission from his government to sign the additional protocol.
While trying to placate the international community, Khatami also is under pressure from hard-liners not to give ground.
The front-page headline of hard-line newspaper Jomhuri-e-Eslami on Wednesday read: "Don't sign the additional protocol."
President Bush told reporters in Indonesia Wednesday he was grateful to the European ministers "for taking a very strong universal message to the Iranians that they should disarm."
"The Iranians, it looks like they're accepting the demands of the free world, and now it's up to them to prove that they've accepted the demands. It's a very positive development," Bush said.
Also Tuesday, Iran agreed to tell the IAEA the origin of traces of weapons-grade uranium that the agency's inspectors had discovered at two facilities, said diplomats in Vienna, where the agency is based. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has called those traces the most troubling aspect of Iran's nuclear activities. Iran says the contamination stemmed from equipment it imported, but it had been reluctant to name the country of origin.
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov of Russia, which is helping Iran build its first nuclear reactor, said Wednesday his government was looking forward to receiving information from the IAEA on its expanded cooperation with Tehran.
"Russia is prepared to continue cooperating with Iran, including in the nuclear sphere, in strict compliance with international obligations," Ivanov said Wednesday, according to the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies.
Israel's military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, warned Tuesday that if Iran completed its uranium enrichment program, it would be able to produce its own nuclear weapons without outside help within one year. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20031022-0404-iran-nuclear.html
Coming Clean or Playing for Time?
October 22, 2003
The Economist Print Edition
European foreign ministers have persuaded Iran to suspend its programme to enrich uranium that may be used to make nuclear weapons, and to allow tougher inspections of its nuclear facilities. But sceptics fear this may be a delaying tactic.
IRANS ambitions to build nuclear weaponsdenied by the Islamic statehave long been a source of concern on both sides of the Atlantic. However, America and Europe have not always been in complete agreement over what to do about it. President George Bush made his feelings clear when he linked Iran with Iraq and North Korea in his axis of evil. Britain, France and Germany, meanwhile, seemed to place more emphasis on dialogue. Nevertheless, officials on both sides of the Atlantic were cheered by Irans agreement, on Tuesday October 21st, to European requests that it stop enriching uranium and sign up to a protocol allowing a tougher inspection regime at its nuclear sites. As part of the agreement, a set of documents outlining Irans nuclear programmes is due to be sent to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on October 22nd, though it will take days for the agency to respond.
This is, however, clearly not the end of the saga, and sceptics in the Bush administration remain unconvinced. For one thing, the agreement is maddeningly vague. When does it start? And how will the suspension of the enrichment be confirmed? If this has been decided, the Iranians arent telling anyone.
Indeed, they have become more co-operative more out of necessity than choice. On September 12th, the board of the IAEA gave the country until October 31st to dispel doubts about its nuclear ambitions. This was after Iran was forced to confess, after years of denials, to having bought uranium-enrichment technology from abroad and to having experimented with some nuclear material (though it still vehemently denies ever enriching uranium for illegal purposes).
If Iran had not agreed to come clean, the agency would have reported it to the United Nations Security Council. The Bush administration made it clear that it would press for full economic sanctions in that event. These would have a crippling effect on Irans crumbling economy. Even Russia, which has been supplying Iran with nuclear technology (and whose president, Vladimir Putin, pointedly declined American requests to halt the programme) would have had difficulty in opposing such a move. Russia now wants new inspection rules in place before delivering nuclear fuel to the power plant it is building at Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf.
Apart from the many questions about Tuesday's agreement that remain unanswered, it will have no standing until ratified by Irans Supreme National Security Council. Some hardliners protested noisily outside the hall where the agreement was struck, claiming that the new protocol was a source of shame for Iran. Despite the past divisions between the Americans and Europeans on how to handle Iran, the countrys hardliners like to portray the Europeans as little more than American lackeys. However, the key Iranian negotiator was Hassan Rowhani, who is the secretary to the supreme council and who was appointed by Irans supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. This should ensure that the protocol is ratified, however unpalatable that may be.
However hopeful this agreement may be, it can only be a temporary respite. Writing in the current issue of The Economist, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the IAEA, warned that: Should a state with a fully developed fuel-cycle capability decide...to break away from its non-proliferation commitments, most experts believe it could produce a nuclear weapon within a matter of months. Under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty itself, countries have to give only 90 days notice to withdraw. With so much technology at its fingertips, and with its hardliners so influential, Irans nuclear ambitions will continue to be a headache for America and its allies. http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2154821
The Mullahs' Promise
October 22, 2003
The Wall Street Journal
Review & Outlook
Anything that gets an Iranian promise to suspend its program to enrich uranium can't be dismissed out of hand. So on that score at least, yesterday's agreement between Iran and the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany deserves a cheer. But only one.
Reading the brief text of the agreement that Iran struck with the "Big Three" foreign ministers in Tehran yesterday, it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that what resulted was largely a fudge, with the hard questions left unanswered.
The three embarked on the diplomatic mission with only 10 days remaining before an October 31 International Atomic Energy Agency deadline. If Iran fails to comply with the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency's demands by that date (including signing an additional protocol, which was also agreed yesterday), it could be declared in breach of its IAEA obligations and have its violation referred to the U.N. Security Council.
Iran had every reason to avoid that declaration. A Security Council referral would prompt Washington to lobby hard for punitive measures, possibly sanctions. Britain, France and Germany have all expressed concern over the IAEA's findings in Iran -- including the discovery of a large enrichment plant under construction in Natanz and two samples showing the presence of weapons-grade uranium. In the absence of yesterday's concessions, those countries would have been obligated to support some kind of punitive action, however interested they are for their own reasons in avoiding a confrontation.
And yet yesterday's deal may not so much have avoided confrontation as postponed it. The brief agreement does not specify how long the "suspension" of uranium enrichment will last or when it will start or even how it will be verified. It's also not clear how the agreement will affect Iran's new best friend and nuclear supplier, Moscow.
Russia has a great deal invested in Iran staying on the right side of the IAEA. There are lucrative contracts selling nuclear technology to defend. And Russia's close relationship with Tehran gives it added leverage that is useful in other negotiations with Washington. Of course, longer term, Russia has no more interest in a nuclear-armed Iran than does the U.S. It would create regional instability (encouraging other states in the neighborhood to acquire their own weapons) and might make Iran bolder in spreading its version of theocracy to other Muslim-dominated areas, including parts of Russia.
At the moment, Russia seems to think it can have it both ways, mainly by denying that Iran has any intention to develop nuclear weapons and claiming that nothing Russia is selling it would serve that purpose. But Iran's long resistance to giving up uranium enrichment is highly suggestive of its weapons intentions, whatever Moscow says. The light-water reactors that Russia is helping the mullahs build also produce large amounts of plutonium that could be used to make weapons on very short notice. The obvious concern is that Iran will insist that it is complying with its non-proliferation promises right up to the moment that it is ready to explode a bomb.
The main proliferation problem is less nuclear technology than the nature of the regimes that have it. In Iran the danger flows from the mullahs who control the country and want to oust the U.S. from the Middle East. Yesterday's European diplomacy may have bought all sides some time, but no one should be under the illusion that it removes the threat. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=10&d=22&a=7
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iranian Man Suspected of Terror Ties
October 23, 2003
Bangkok Post News
An Iranian man arrested here on Tuesday for illegal entry could be a terrorist who plotted attacks in Bangkok during the Apec meeting, sources said yesterday.
Police found in his luggage about 100 CDs, computer diskettes, maps of Bangkok and memos listing key buildings in the capital including the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre.
Mehdi Kaffash Ghouchani, 40, was going to Laos when he was arrested at Nong Khai's immigration checkpoint because his passport did not carry Thailand's entry seal.
Initial checks showed the man was not on Bangkok's list of suspected terrorists. Officials at the checkpoint were checking with the Iranian embassy, which has yet to reply.
The Iranian was being held for questioning. His CDs and diskettes could not be read by the checkpoint's computer and had to be sent to experts for examination. http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/23Oct2003_news11.html
Israeli FM: "We know Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons"
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Oct. 22, 2003
Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom said Wednesday that Israel remains skeptical about Iran's intent to suspend its program for enriching uranium - which can be used in nuclear bombs - following a briefing on the European ministers' discussions in Tehran.
Shalom met late Wednesday with Joschka Fischer, a day after the German foreign minister, along with his British and French counterparts, secured a pledge from Tehran to open its nuclear program to unfettered inspections by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog and suspend uranium enrichment.
"I reiterated the importance of preventing Iran - a country committed to the destruction of Israel and one of the world's sponsors of terrorism - from acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities," Shalom said.
"We are very skeptical about the intentions of Iran. We know they are trying to develop nuclear weapons. We know their true intentions," Shalom said. "If they are going to use at any time nuclear weapons, it is against Israel."
Israel accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism and of supporting extremists in the Palestinian territories.
"The Iranian nuclear program is a danger to the Middle East and indeed, the entire world and it must be stopped."
As part of the agreement, Iran said it will sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty that gives inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, the right of unfettered access to the country before the agency's next board meeting in Vienna on Nov. 20.
"I hope it will be real supervision," Shalom said of the inspectors. "If it will help us stop nuclear weapons in Iran, it will be helpful."
Shalom also stressed that Israel remains committed to the peace process along the lines of the so-called road map, but criticized the Palestinians for their lack of commitment.
"But the only way we can make progress on this issue is for the Palestinian Authority to take the strategic and moral decision to once and for all dismantle the terrorist infrastructure," he said.
"Sadly Yasser Arafat remains a key obstacle to this process. As long as he remains there will be no progress toward peace," Shalom added.
Although neither minister would discuss the details of German-brokered prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah, Shalom expressed hope there would soon be a breakthrough. The swap would involve trading Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers for several hundred Arab prisoners, including Palestinians.
Shalom thanked Fischer and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whom he met with earlier in the day for their efforts in the exchange and urged them to continue.
Israel also continues to seek information about its pilot Ron Arad, who has been missing since 1986, Shalom said.
Earlier in the day, Shalom visited the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin and denounced growing anti-Semitism in the Muslim world.
"Today we are dealing with a new phenomenon that is spreading ever more widely in the Arab and Muslim world," Shalom said.
His remarks come just a week after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's told a summit of Islamic countries, to applause, that "Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."
The comments were condemned by Israel, Germany, the United States, Canada, Britain and Australia. However, France blocked the European Union from ending a two-day summit Friday with a harshly worded statement condemning Mahathir, arguing that it had no place in an EU declaration.
Shalom urged Germany to work with its partners in Europe to get the union to condemn the
"Israel and the EU do not always agree on the issue, but our shared history and interests make us natural partners," Shalom said. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1066799674707&p=1008596981749
U.S. worries that al-Qaida in Iran may be running operations
JOHN J. LUMPKIN, Associated Press Writer Wednesday, October 22, 2003
(10-22) 12:08 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
A handful of senior al-Qaida operatives who fled to Iran after the Afghan war may have developed a working relationship with a secretive military unit linked to Iran's religious hard-liners, American counterterrorism officials say.
The U.S. government isn't certain of the extent of the contacts with the Iranian unit, called the Qods Force, say the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The operatives include some of the most senior members of al-Qaida who haven't been captured or killed by the United States and its allies. Their presence in Iran, probably starting in late 2001 or early 2002, has confounded efforts to knock out the group's remaining top operations chiefs.
But it is unclear whether Iran has them in custody or is letting them operate freely, according to U.S. and allied intelligence services.
The Bush administration has called for Iran to detain and hand them over.
On Wednesday, President Bush said it would improve Iranian-U.S. relations "if we end up reaching an agreement on the al-Qaida that they hold."
The men include Saif al-Adil, who is considered the No. 3 man in al-Qaida who is still at large. Another is one of Osama bin Laden's eldest sons, Saad.
Iranian officials have said they have some al-Qaida operatives in custody and plan to turn them over to their home countries. Details are always slim.
U.S. and Saudi officials suspect that the al-Qaida operatives based in Iran coordinated the May bombings of housing complexes in Riyadh that killed 35, including nine bombers.
Complicating matters is the divide between Iran's religious and secular authorities. Officials from the secular government, represented by President Mohammad Khatami, say the government does not support al-Qaida.
But the Qods Force -- al-Qaida's possible contact -- reports to religious authorities, not Khatami, U.S. intelligence officials say. A Saudi official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also raised the possibility of rogue operations within the Iranian government, unknown to higher authorities.
All this adds up to U.S. uncertainty. "Iran keeps sending out mixed signals" regarding al-Qaida, said Stan Bedlington, a former terrorism analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency. "It hasn't really got its act together."
The 1,000-man Qods unit, whose name also means "Jerusalem Force," has a twofold purpose: to defeat insurgency inside Iran and to promote Iran's Islamic revolution in other countries through proxy forces, officials said. It has contacts with Lebanese Hezbollah, various Palestinian groups and groups in Egypt, Bahrain and Algeria.
A recent U.S. intelligence report said the unit's primary military missions are "to direct or assist in the training, organization, arming, and activities of fundamentalist foreign nationals from Muslim countries, with the aim of overthrowing their governments and establishing regimes similar in ideology to the Islamic Republic of Iran."
One of the Egyptian groups -- Egyptian Islamic Jihad -- is now considered merged with al-Qaida. Some of its former high-ranking operatives are among those thought to be in Iran.
U.S. officials declined to say why the Qods Force has their attention as a possible al-Qaida contact, beyond noting its history of working with terrorist groups.
The al-Qaida operatives are believed to have fled to Iran from neighboring Afghanistan during the Taliban's fall in late 2001 or early 2002. American and Saudi officials say intelligence reports suggest several of bin Laden's top echelon have been there. The Saudi official characterized them as "al-Qaida's board of directors."
But it is unclear who remains and it's possible some come and go. Several seem centered in far-eastern Iran in a smuggler's haven where Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran meet, officials said.
Different factions inside Iran might view them differently:
* As terrorist allies, they would bring a wealth of experience and contacts.
* As prisoners, they could become a bargaining chip in negotiations with the United States.
Already, the U.S. and French governments have cracked down on Iranian exiles who make up the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK) and National Council of Resistance of Iran, two groups trying to overthrow Iran's theocracy.
In August, Secretary of State Colin Powell ordered closed two Washington offices of the groups, eliciting rare praise from Iran. The groups had previously been allowed to operate despite their listing as terrorist groups by the United States and European Union.
The groups accuse the United States and France of acting to appease Iran. But it is unclear what recent actions the U.S. government is taking toward MEK fighters in Iraq, who had been supported by Saddam Hussein.
American warplanes bombed MEK sites during the Iraq war, and the group capitulated and agreed to disarm. But Iran may want the U.S. government to do more to group members in Iraq -- such as turning them over to Iranian authorities -- before it will negotiate over the al-Qaida operatives. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2003/10/22/national1508EDT0678.DTL
Another execution carried in Iran
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Oct 22, 2003
A young man suspected to be a Freedom Fighter was executed, this morning, in the Mashad penitenciary's facilities.
The official report is stating the name of this new victim of the Islamic regime as "Majid J." (the last name hasn't been fully anounced) who was accused of non Islamic behaviors of "Member of illegal gang", "Kidnapping", "illicite sexual relations" and "Constant Drinking".
It has been reported that the victim denied these charges till his last moment of life.
The Islamic regime is know for qualifying its opponents as "Apostate", "Drug Trafficker", "Spy", "Hooligan" and various charges based on the barbarian Sharia law. Such policy helps its European and Japanese backers as well as less knowledged individuals within the US State Department to claim Iran's going under big democratic changes. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3111.shtml
To: DoctorZIn; All
Plan To Arrest Maverick Iraqi Cleric For Murder (Sadr)
The guardian (UK) ^ | 10-22-2003 | Michael Howard
Posted on 10/21/2003 7:22 PM PDT by blam
Michael Howard in Baghdad
Wednesday October 22, 2003
The Guardian (UK)
Coalition and Iraqi officials are preparing an arrest warrant for the firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr over his alleged involvement with the brutal murder of a rival cleric last spring, sources close to the Iraqi governing council told the Guardian yesterday. The warrant, which has yet to be finalised, cites Mr Sadr for instigating a deadly attack on Abdel Majid al-Khoei, who was stabbed to death by a mob in the Shia holy city of Najaf on April 10.
It is said to be signed by Tahir Jalil Habboush - a senior mukhabarat officer under the former regime who now works with the coalition authorities - and is based on the confessions of 23 men who were involved in the killing.
"The belief of the coalition is that al-Sadr is not containable," the council source said. "They believe there is enough evidence that Muqtada was involved in the Khoei assassination and want to act to clip his wings before he can cause any more damage."
Since his swift rise to prominence in the days following regime change in Iraq, Mr Sadr, 30, has been a constant thorn in the side of the US-led administration in Iraq. He has been the most vocal opponent of occupation, while his well-organised followers have been involved in armed confrontations with US soldiers. Last week he declared a rival government to the US-appointed authority and urged his supporters on to the streets.
But with tension running high between US forces and Mr Sadr's supporters, Iraqi police fear an explosion of anger in the disaffected areas of Baghdad and Najaf and Karbala if Mr Sadr is seized.
"If they go down to Najaf to arrest him, his house will be surrounded by a human shield, and there would be a massacre before they get him," said Murtadha Nouri, a journalist with the newspaper Al-Adala. He warned that the planned showdown could backfire: "Given the antipathy towards the US, that could well play into his hands."
Mr Sadr's popularity is based in part on the ability of his supporters to provide basic services and security to parts of Sadr city immediately after the US-led bombing.
With unemployment at between 60% and 70% in Iraq, his radical rhetoric also resonates with those struggling beneath the poverty line. But observers say Mr Sadr has lost some of his early momentum. He has been criticised for strongly challenging the Shia religious establishment, represented by Grand Ayatollah Ali Hussein al-Sistani, who has condoned cooperation with Iraq's new government.
"Muqtada's fight is essentially over controlling the donation of the money to the shrines, and people begin to suspect those motives," said a member of the rival Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which has a seat on the governing council.
Abbas al Robai, a spokesman for Mr Sadr, said yesterday: "Any talk of involvement in violence is just by politically motivated rivals. Al-Khoei happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and was the victim of local score settling. Muqtada al-Sadr had nothing to do with it."
The killing of the moderate Mr Khoei, who had recently returned from exile in Europe, heralded a series of attacks on prominent Shia figures in Iraq, culminating in the car bomb in Najaf on August 29 that killed more than 90 Iraqis, including Ayatollah Bakir al-Hakim The violence has -intensified feelings of confusion and insecurity among Iraq's majority Shia population.
The bulk of the evidence against Mr Sadr is understood to be based on confessions from 23 men arrested after the attack. Three are reported to have confessed to the stabbing while another 20 said they prevented Mr Khoei from seeking help while bleeding to death. Under questioning, they admitted receiving direct instructions from the young cleric, the source said. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1005528/posts
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