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Iranian Alert -- October 26, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 10/26/2003 12:39:24 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 Americans 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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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
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posted on 10/26/2003 12:39:24 AM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin
posted on 10/26/2003 12:44:57 AM PDT
Iran admits to minor nuclear safety failures
AFP , VIENNA
Sunday, Oct 26, 2003,Page 7
Iran admits to failures in honoring commitments to nuclear safeguards in a new report filed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but still denies trying to develop nuclear weapons, the Iranian representative to the UN's atomic watchdog said Friday.
The statement to AFP by Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, was a first indication of the contents of the report, which was submitted by Iran on Thursday, just one week before the IAEA's Oct. 31 deadline for the Islamic Republic to prove it is not secretly trying to make the bomb.
Salehi said there were disclosures in the report of "what could be considered failures" to adhere to the safeguards regime of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory.
He said these were "in the same line" as failures by Iran the IAEA had listed in a report in June.
Salehi said the new failures involved "some lab tests" but he did not provide details.
The US accuses Iran of secretly working to manufacture highly enriched uranium, which can be used to make atomic bombs, and says Tehran should be judged in non-compliance with the NPT regime, something which would oblige the IAEA to report Iran to the UN Security Council.
The IAEA board of governors is to meet on Nov. 20 to judge Iranian compliance.
Salehi said the failures were "not significant, not of importance but we felt we had to reveal it anyway" in order to answer the IAEA's questions about its nuclear activities.
"We are certain of what we are doing," Salehi said.
"It is 100-percent clear that Iran has never been involved in anything that would indicate it was involved in a nuclear weapons program," Salehi said.
In June, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in a report: "Iran has failed to meet its obligations under its (NPT) safeguards agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material, the subsequent processing and use of that material and the declaration of facilities where the material was stored and processed."
Salehi said in June: "The crux of the [ElBaradei] report in front of us deals only with a small amount of 0.13 effective kilogram of natural uranium that we imported in 1991" and that was not reported at the time.
A Western diplomat close to the IAEA said Salehi's disclosure on Friday of safeguards failures "may be a result of being confronted by IAEA inspectors with evidence that was hard otherwise to justify."
He said Iran seemed to be "clearly setting up their defense."
Another Western diplomat said that if the Iranian report "is anywhere near accurate, there should be a catalogue of a number of acts of non-compliance of safeguards agreements."
"That would suggest there will be grounds for a non-compliance resolution," the diplomat said. http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/world/archives/2003/10/26/2003073447
posted on 10/26/2003 12:48:01 AM PDT
Iranian Nobelist reminded again of her Historic Mission
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Oct 25, 2003
The Iranian Nobelist, Ms. Shirin Ebadi, was reminded of her Historic Mission during a radio program broadcasted, this evening, for Iran by the LA based famous "Radio Voice of Iran" (KRSI). The subject of the program which follows Ms. Ebadi's controversial interview with Associated Press (AP), was intended to warn the nobelist on how she can join Mr. Khatami in his rejectable and un-popular position if she commits the mistake to become the advocate of the sham "reforms from within".
Ms. Ebadi has been reported, by the AP interviewer, as stating that "She would have voted, again, for Khatami if he could have run again for the regime's presidency's position" and that "the only solution is the reforms 'from within'".
The program started by Mr. Siavash Azari, of KRSI, reading the SMCCDI's statement dated October 13th and entitled "The Noble Prize and an Historic Mission". The Movement's analytic statement, of which a copy was remitted to Ms. Ebadi before her departure to Iran, was already read by several abroad based Satellite TV and radio networks, such as ,the famous NITV, Pars TV and Azadi TV.
Mr. Azari reminded the auditors of the remittance of the SMCCDI statement to Ms. Ebadi and per consequence of her knowledge of its content.
SMCCDI was warning Ms. Ebadi on the consequences of deceiving the Iranians by failing to respond to her new duties or to help the regime's sham reformists in their demagogue activities as she did it few years ago.
Several callers from Iran declared, as well, their disappointment with Ms. Ebadi's controversial comments and backing Khatami's gang while undermining the legacy of Iranians demonstrations and calls for freedom.
Last week also, "Azadi TV" re-broadcasted at three occasions, the interview made with Aryo Pirouznia, speaking on behalf of SMCCDI, on this subject. The initial live program was the day before the historic departure of Ms. Ebadi for Tehran and was seen in Iran, Europe and the N. American continent.
Aryo B. Pirouznia, interviewed by Mr. Cyrus Sharafshahi of Azadi TV and the head editor of the Los Angeles based "Sobh e Emrooz", had stated:" While cheering this nomination, as mentioned in the Movement's Public Statement entitled "The Nobel Prize and an Historic Mission" and of which a copy was remitted to Ms. Ebadi herself, we request from our Nobelist to be very careful of avoiding to fall in the trap of any factions of the regime and especially its so-called reformists....
...We believe that Ms. Ebadi, who was a purged Judge and later a victim of the regime's sham reforms, must be now aware that mixing religion and state will never result in Democracy and Justice... She shall avoid giving up to the calls by some individuals to make of her a candidate for the future presidency of the republic and shall focus as like as Gandhi to fight for the promotion of Freedom and Secularity...
... Iranians have placed a big hope in her and as she'll notice, tomorrow evening they'll show their support by gathering at the Airport and in several areas of the Capital... If she remains true to them, then, they'll support her till the Day of Freedom...."
"...It's only by choosing such way that her name will appear in the Golden Book of Rights activists beside other illustre Nobelist names, such as the late Andrei Sakharov in the former USSR and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar" Pirouznia added in other parts of the interview. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3181.shtml
posted on 10/26/2003 12:49:48 AM PDT
OF MULLAHS AND THEIR NUKES
A deadly problem out of Iran
by Amir Taheri
November 10, 2003
Until last spring, it seemed as if Iran and the United States were moving toward a discreet dialogue designed to defuse more than two decades of antagonism. Now, however, with the release of fresh evidence that Iran may be pursuing nuclear weapons, tensions between the old adversaries have reached a new high.
Ask any official in Tehran and you will hear the same thing: Iran does not plan to manufacture nuclear weapons but wants to reserve the right to do so. This is almost word for word what the late shah told a group of scientists and officials in Tehran in 1970, shortly after Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. A few weeks later, the Iranian Atomic Agency was reorganized into a major government department headed by a deputy prime minister.
At the time, the shah's goal was to build 20 nuclear power stations over a ten-year period, producing a total of 30,000 megawatts of atomic energy. The reason was that Iran's energy consumption was expected to triple by the year 2000. At that rate, Iran would have been forced to use practically all of its oil output to generate electricity for domestic consumption, thus losing its single-largest source of foreign currency. The shah also invested in a new company, Eurodif, to find and market uranium in partnership with France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, and Gabon. (It was not until the late 1970s that uranium deposits were found in Iran itself, and thus Tehran initially looked to West Africa as a source of supply.)
By 1976, work on the first of the projected nuclear power stations had started at Bushehr, a peninsula on the Persian Gulf. The station was slated for completion in 1980. In 1977, research began at another nuclear power station at Dar-Khuywayyen, near Ahvaz, in the oil-rich province of Khuzistan. But in 1979, the shah's regime collapsed as Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini seized power in Tehran.
One of Khomeini's first acts was to scrap the entirety of the shah's grandiose modernization program including the nuclear project. In 1983, a squadron of French heavy bombers attacked the Bushehr nuclear power station, damaging its abandoned infrastructure. The planes, painted in Iraqi colors, had been "lent" to Saddam Hussein by the French government and were flown by retired French and Belgian pilots. The raid was presented by then-president Saddam Hussein as retaliation for the destruction of the Iraqi nuclear power station at Osirak in 1981, though everyone knew that Osirak had been knocked out by Israeli Phantom jets painted in Iranian colors.
After Khomeini's death in 1989, his successors decided to revive the late shah's modernization programs. An inspection team dispatched in 1990 by the German company Siemens, which had started building the Bushehr plant before the revolution, reported that it could be revived and completed: Apparently the French pilots had not done as good a job at Bushehr as the Israelis had at Osirak.
Under pressure from Washington, however, the Germans quickly withdrew their offer to complete Bushehr. For almost three years, Iran shopped around, looking for partners to help finish the project. Russia agreed to help, in exchange for an $800 million contract. And so, by the year 2000, Bushehr was a bustling construction site. Nuclear power from Bushehr is scheduled to enter the nation's electrical network by March 2004.
The U.S. has alleged for some time that Iran has already begun manufacturing atomic bombs and may have up to ten such bombs by 2005. Until recently, international opinion was prepared to give Iran the benefit of the doubt, seeing Washington's position as "typical American bullying." A series of incidents has changed that view. Last March, satellite photos were released showing secret facilities linked to Iran's nuclear program. At one location near Natanz, close to the central Iranian desert, stands a sophisticated facility that produces high-speed centrifuges needed for enriching uranium. To produce a Hiroshima-sized bomb, it takes a maximum of 25 kilos of enriched uranium for which 1,000 centrifuges are needed. It is estimated that the Natanz facility, when completed, will have the capacity to produce up to 5,000 centrifuges every year.
Even more interestingly, it appears that Iran wants to expand its nuclear options, limited currently to enriched uranium, to include the capacity to produce plutonium a revival of the two-track strategy devised in the 1970s. To do this, Iran would need to produce heavy water. And the latest satellite photos and other intelligence material show that Iran has built a heavy-water facility at Arak, west of Tehran.
Both the Natanz and Arak facilities represent upper links in a chain of nuclear technology. The first link of that chain is raw uranium, which Iran discovered in the late 1970s in large quantities at Sarcheshmeh, near Kerman, and Magas, in Baluchestan. According to some estimates, Iran has one of the world's largest uranium deposits large enough to satisfy the country's energy needs and to sustain any weapons programs it might wish to undertake for up to 200 years.
The middle link of the chain consists of nuclear stations like Bushehr, which using uranium to produce electricity also manufacture spent nuclear fuel, the raw material for enriched uranium. The highest link, of course, is a bomb-making factory, which Iran may or may not already have. One theory is that Iran will not build such a facility until it has accumulated enough enriched uranium and plutonium for a substantial number of nuclear warheads. Some experts believe that the go-ahead could be given as early as 2005. Others suggest slightly later dates, such as 2010.
As a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran is obliged to undergo inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Last summer, Iran's credibility was badly shaken when IAEA inspectors found traces of enriched uranium at one of the sites they visited. The Iranians could not explain the presence of special-grade enriched uranium in a country that does not wish to manufacture nuclear warheads. Things worsened when the IAEA was confronted with evidence of the existence of the Natanz and Arak facilities. The question had to be asked: If Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons, why all the secrecy? Consider Arak. Heavy water has well-known civilian uses: If the production at Arak was entirely innocent, why did Iran choose to conceal its existence? IAEA director Mohamed El-Baradei asked Iran to explain the latest findings.
El-Baradei's plea was followed by a letter signed by the British, French, and German foreign ministers calling on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA and to sign an additional protocol to the NPT allowing impromptu inspections of all suspected sites. The European Union also intervened, promising Iran financial and technological aid for its energy project in exchange for an immediate end to all military-related nuclear programs. Failing that, the EU could employ economic and diplomatic sanctions. Ironically, Washington adopted a softer position: The Bush administration said it would be satisfied if Iran signed the additional protocol to the NPT.
Faced with the EU's surprisingly tough stance, the Iranian leadership met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany in Tehran on October 21. The result was an announcement by Hasan Rowhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, that Iran would sign the additional protocol allowing unlimited access to inspectors. Furthermore, Rowhani announced that Iran would, for an "interim period," suspend uranium enrichment "to express its goodwill and create a new atmosphere of trust."
Whether the regime is prepared to alter its long-term nuclear strategy is still an open question. In nuclear policy, the Iranian leadership is facing its toughest dilemma in more than 20 years. On one hand, there is a strong desire to develop an arsenal of nuclear weapons as a national deterrent: Iran is located in a rough neighborhood that includes at least five states with nuclear weapons. On the other hand, pursuing a nuclear program will isolate Iran, lead to new sanctions, and give the United States a pretext not only to destroy Iran's nuclear centers, but even to use a mixture of military and political pressure to topple the regime itself.
That fear is well grounded: Reports suggest that covert action could be used against Iran's nuclear installations. The U.S. has already recruited a number of Mujahedin Khalq elements in Iraq and won a pledge from their leader, Massoud Rajavi, to help with sabotage attacks inside Iran if necessary. If the U.S. and/or Israel were to strike areas in Iran, Tehran would be unable to retaliate except through Lebanese and Palestinian radical groups. The regime would appear weak and vulnerable, thus encouraging domestic opponents who dream of its overthrow.
Imagined as the ultimate weapon to ensure the safety of the mullahs' regime, Tehran's nuclear program is fast developing into a serious threat to the Islamic Republic itself.
Mr. Taheri is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He was executive editor of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper, from 1972 to 1979 http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/644
posted on 10/26/2003 12:52:34 AM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
posted on 10/26/2003 12:53:32 AM PDT
To: DoctorZIn; onyx; nuconvert; dixiechick2000; McGavin999; Eala; downer911; Persia; seamole; Valin; ...
Family hopes Iran soon frees jailed UC Berkeley scholar
Visit to relatives during protests resulted in arrest
Friday, October 24, 2003
San Francisco Chronicle
The family and colleagues of a UC Berkeley lecturer whose imprisonment in Iran has drawn the attention of international human rights organizations and the U.S. State Department said Thursday that he may be released within days.
Dariush Zahedi, 37, an Iranian American who teaches Middle Eastern politics at UC and Santa Clara University, was visiting relatives in Iran during a period of political protests in early summer and was arrested in late June or early July, according to family members and human rights groups.
His plight wasn't known publicly until it was reported on an Iranian Web site last week. He is being held in Evin prison, the facility in which Iranian- Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi died from injuries in July after being arrested.
Relatives of Zahedi and his colleagues have been trying to work behind the scenes to secure his release. Zahedi, a naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in Lafayette, was allowed to phone a relative in Iran Thursday and said that "he'd been told by officials in Evin prison that he'd be released in a few days," said Edwin Epstein, head of Cal's Peace and Conflict Studies, which sponsored Zahedi's class.
"I guess you could say it is a time of guarded optimism," said Epstein, who said he received the news from a member of Zahedi's family in the United States.
"It's definitely encouraging," said a family member in the Bay Area, who asked not to be identified. "We're being cautious. It's not the first time (that a pending release has been reported). I think this was the most optimistic."
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch representatives said Thursday they are investigating the case, and U.S. State Department officials "are concerned for the welfare and safety of Mr. Zahedi and are willing to provide all possible assistance to him and his family," said spokeswoman Joanne Moore.
U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, co-chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, is "concerned about this case" and his caucus staff members are "in touch with State Department officials and the family to determine the best course to follow," Lantos' spokeswoman Lynne Weil said Thursday.
A serious scholar
Professors and students who know Zahedi said he is a serious scholar, not a spy or even a political activist, and that he bends over backward to be objective. A 1988 graduate of UC Davis, he received a doctorate in political science from the University of Southern California in 1998 and has written articles in academic journals as well as a book, "The Iranian Revolution Then and Now," published in 2000 by Westview Press.
A holder of dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship, he was visiting relatives in Iran, as he has done annually for the past several years, and was arrested in late June, said Hooshang Amirahmadi, a Rutgers University professor in urban planning and policy development. (A Human Rights Watch spokesman, citing sources in Iran, said the arrest came in early July.)
Amirahmadi, a friend of Zahedi's who has been in contact with Iranian officials about his case, is also founder and president of the American Iranian Council, a nonpartisan nonprofit devoted to improving U.S.-Iran relations. Zahedi is West Coast director of operations for the organization, whose honorary chairman is former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.
"We are expecting within two weeks he'll be released," Amirahmadi said Thursday.
Iranian diplomatic officials in the United States wrote a letter to authorities in Tehran saying that Zahedi is a serious academic and, to their knowledge, is not involved in any espionage, Amirahmadi said. That letter has now reached Tehran, he said.
A representative of the Iranian Interests Section in Washington, D.C., which serves in place of an embassy, referred calls Thursday to Iran's U.N. mission in New York, where spokesman Morteza Ramandi said he had no information about Zahedi's case.
Zahedi was arrested for spying when he "very innocently accepted an invitation from a group of political-freedom-movement people to talk about what's going on here (in the United States)," Amirahmadi said. "I'm told he was actually arrested during that time."
"The timing (for his trip) was not good," said Amirahmadi, noting that the Iranian government was confronted by student protesters demanding reform and by increased U.S. and international pressure over suspicions of a secret nuclear weapons program.
"Those were the days the regime would take no chances," he said, particularly when an American showed up from California, the state with some of the harshest exile Iranian critics of the Islamic regime in Tehran.
"It's absolute madness to go there," said Iranian American Behrouz Saba, a Los Angeles freelance writer who broke the news in English of Zahedi's imprisonment. In an article posted to Pacific News Service's NCM ethnic news Web site Oct. 16, Saba reported that the Tehran-based news service, Iran Emrouz, disclosed on the previous day that Zahedi was being held as a spy, a fact that became known after a reformist parliamentarian raised the issue in public.
Seen as desperate gesture
Saba said he believes the clerical hard-liners are holding Zahedi because "the Iranian government is losing its legitimacy" and because Zahedi "represents the progressive, educated class" of reform-minded Iranians, both inside and outside Iran, who pose the biggest threat of displacing the fundamentalists from power.
Saba said the latest promise of early release for Zahedi is merely a device that "makes the prisoner more cooperative and stalls friends and family. "
Zahedi's colleagues acknowledge that he has been critical of the Iran regime, as he has also been of the hawkish U.S. approach to Iran. A column he co-authored in Newsday in April called for friendly U.S. engagement with Iran instead of "instead of threatening, bullying or chastising Iran for developing a nuclear weapons program."
University of Southern California political science Professor Richard Dekmejian, who knows Zahedi from his graduate student days, said the arrest could represent a "sort of vengeance" by the Iranian regime for Zahedi's criticisms as well as Iranian government "paranoia" brought on by economic woes and U.S. threats.
"The regime is extremely nervous about its own existence," said Amirahmadi, adding that Zahedi's colleagues feared he could be tortured by hard-liners in the Department of Justice, said to be controlled by the fundamentalist clerics.
Zahedi was first arrested by the reformist-dominated Ministry of Information and cleared of spying by that ministry after 40 days in solitary confinement, Amirahmadi said, but the Department of Justice took charge of him and put him back into solitary after he had two weeks among the general prison population.
A former post-doctoral fellow at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Zahedi came to UC Berkeley as a visiting scholar in 1999 and became a lecturer in 2001. He came to the United States two decades ago in the large exodus caused by the 1979 Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-supported shah, a Bay Area relative said.
Zahedi's "distraught" mother, who lives in the Bay Area, is now in Iran "trying to work within the system, which is what we were trying to do quietly, " the family member said.
"He's not a threat to anyone," said UC Berkeley senior Babak Siavoshy, a former Zahedi student and member of the nonpolitical Iranian Student Alliance in America. "He was very soft-spoken and always showed both sides of any issue to the point where it showed he was unbiased." http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2003/10/24/MNGNE2INAG1.DTL
posted on 10/26/2003 1:08:04 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
(A whole lot...!)
Paul-Marie de La Gorce: US illusion about Iraqi Shiite community is being dispelled
Special to Gulf News, 26-10-2003
Since Thursday October 9 not a shadow of doubt remains: the Iraqi Shiite community is mobilising and participating in large numbers in the organised resistance to American occupation. To recapitulate: in the predominantly Shiite residential area of Al Sadr City, a car bomb exploded just outside a police station, killing nine people and injuring 30 to 30 others, according to sources.
Shortly afterwards, thousands of demonstrators chanting "Death to America! America out!" were only just held back and contained by the barbed wire defences hastily erected by American soldiers. Then at the end of the day, Iman Moqtada Al Sadr's militia started another demonstration.
This time the militants were armed and the American Military Police opened fire, killing one and injuring two. An hour later an American patrol was ambushed and lost six men of which two were died and four injured.
The illusions that have long been sustained in the US about the Iraqi Shiite community are finally dispelled. In reality they were based on two misconceptions.
The first being that American experts did not understand the strength of Shiite Iraqi nationalism, lending too much weight to the hostility, undeniably real, from this community towards Saddam Hussain's regime.
Second, and even more importantly, far from being homogeneous, the Shiites are divided between those with pro-Iran tendencies, favouring a modern democratic state and those of the former nationalist party and those who support an Islamic republic.
It was therefore difficult for the Americans to envisage a scenario in which they could count on the Shiite community as a whole as it is subject to so many contradictory influences. But they cannot avoid facing today the fact that the vast majority of the Shiites are against occupation of their country.
Nevertheless there remains one question concerning the current level of Iraqi Shiite commitment: is it, for the most part, the result of a change of politics in Iran?
As has already been said, and as I have seen for myself on a recent trip to Tehran, Iranian leaders across the spectrum, deliberately put aside all idea of encouraging the installation of an Islamic Republic in Iraq. In their opinion this would have the inevitable consequence of dividing the Shiite community, of creating strong opposition within other communities, and therefore giving the US the pretext to prolong its occupation.
An early end to this occupation being in Iran's interests, they were pushing the pro-Iranian movements within Iraq to reach an agreement amongst all the communities so as to form a single national movement that would have enough authority and be sufficiently representative to oblige the occupying forces to quit the country as soon as possible. This was exactly the policy that the Imam Bakr Al Hakim in Iraq was pursuing before his assassination.
He was at the head of the main Shiite movement, supported by Iran for the past 20 years, even living for a long time in Tehran where he had become (as with his brother and now successor) the personal friend of the revolution's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei.
There are many signs that could lead one to think that this policy has changed, or rather, that the Iranian leaders think that it is no longer applicable. First, they are now convinced that the US has decided to maintain its forces in Iraq for a very long time in order to maintain the political, economical and strategic advantages that its presence there has afforded them.
Further, regardless of Iranian policies, Iraqi resistance has emerged nationwide and now affects the whole of the country.
It first arose amongst the former Ba'ath nationalist movement within the Sunni community, and in the Shiite neighbourhoods of Baghdad and the southern Shiite cities where the Imam Maqtada Al Sadr's movement is fully engaged in armed resistance.
There are also external Islamic groups that have joined forces, but above all, it seems that there are men from the former Iraqi army who have been able to maintain much of the old hierarchy in hiding. It is therefore impossible nowadays for the Iranian leaders and their partisans in Iraq, to remain uninvolved.
Finally, in Tehran there is a feeling that the moment of truth with the US has finally come, and that matters have evolved beyond the point of planning alone. The American government must understand fully the risks it runs if Iran, in retaliation to an attack on its nuclear installations, were to put into action its influence and logistical capabilities within the region.
Today, we can understand the American reaction to Iran's new direction. Washington thinks that one of the sources of the Iraqi resistance is Iran, and therefore this is one more reason for them to consider Iran as an enemy.
Of course publicly the objectives are the prevention, if need be by force, of all Iranian military developments, whilst in reality this is a far more reaching trial of strength with a greater potential than one might think.
In order to measure the risks incurred by the whole region, the very close links that currently and in the nature of things unite the US interests with those of Israel must be taken into consideration.
The last bombardment in Syria was a warning to Syria and even Iran of the reprisals to which both countries would be exposed should they further support the Iraqi Resistance as well as the Palestinian one. The most revealing episode came about on Saturday October 11, when the US press, obviously benefiting from deliberate leaks, announced that Israel now possessed of nuclear warhead cruise missiles that could be launched from submarines.
Amplified the news
Immediately the Israeli press, by means of an army spokesman, reiterated and amplified the news: it concerned American Harpoon cruiser missiles, modified by Israeli technicians which could be fired from five conventional submarines, with nuclear warheads taken from the stock of between one and two hundred warheads built by Israel.
The renowned strategic institute, the Jafee Center in Tel-Aviv, has already published the list of the twelve targets in Iran that should be destroyed in order to block all nuclear development with a military purpose.
To clarify matters even further, its expert on Iranian affairs, Ephraim Kam wrote in the periodical Middle East Strategic Balance "Iran appears to recognise the possibility of an American and/or Israeli attack on its nuclear installations"
The most important point in this matter is the thesis immediately put forward by the official Israeli spokesperson: "it is in retaliation to an eventual Iranian nuclear attack against Israel that the Israeli nuclear warhead missiles would be launched against Iran."
As everyone understands, this hypothesis of an Iranian attack is judged to be completely unacceptable by the US as well as by Israel from the start. Therefore, a "pre-emptive action" would be justified, that is, a preventive war, such as the new strategic American doctrine openly indicates.
No one doubts that the Iranian government will want to deflect the risks it is running, by negotiating as long as possible with the International Agency of Atomic Energy. But, the fact is, that it no longer has much room to manoeuvre.
Paul-Marie de La Gorce is a French writer and journalist on Middle East problems and strategic international affairs. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/Opinion.asp?ArticleID=101234
posted on 10/26/2003 1:09:57 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
(A whole lot...!)
By AMIR TAHERI
October 26, 2003 -- IN the past two years, a growing industry has emerged producing reports, articles, books and documentaries on Saudi Arabia. Holding conferences on the kingdom is the fashion in the world of research institutes. The number of authors described as "specialist in Saudi affairs" at the bottom of opinion-page articles has multiplied.
This sudden interest in Saudi Arabia, one of the least-studied societies in the contemporary world, would have been welcome if it had been motivated by scholarly concern. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The mass of material on the kingdom could be divided into three categories.
The first consists of James Bond-style thrillers disguised as political studies. They portray the kingdom as a giant Dr. No, with a hidden agenda either to buy or to destroy the Western civilization and seize control of the world. Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 terrorists make cameo appearances in all such studies.
The second category comprises articles and books that portray the kingdom as a cross between a hedonist paradise and a desert concentration camp.
In the third category, we find works signed by self-styled experts that bear a scholarly veneer but offer little or no serious analysis of the situation in the kingdom today.
The first two categories could be regarded as propaganda and must be discussed elsewhere. Our focus here is on the third category.
These works suffer from a number of flaws. Almost all follow a standard pattern for studying the kingdom.
This starts with a long introduction on Islam.
To be sure, understanding Islam is important for any analysis of the present situation in Saudi Arabia. But this does not mean that the two issues are identical. The traditional approach to studying Saudi Arabia tends to give the enterprise a theological dimension that is neither necessary nor helpful.
Having discoursed about Islam at length, the standard work on Saudi Arabia proceeds with an equally lengthy account of the life of Muhammad Abdul Wahhab. Since Abdul Wahhab did not leave behind much written theological work, let alone political treatises, the standard writer on Saudi Arabia is forced to concoct a Wahhabist ideology out of his imagination.
Next we come to a lengthy chapter on the late King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, founder of the current Saudi state. Here we get an account of battles fought in the last century along with a portrayal of the poverty that afflicted the desert kingdom in its early days.
The standard writer then moves to a fourth "imperative" of Saudi studies: oil. This is presented as a source of fabulous wealth, which flows on its own, requiring almost no management, no investment, no technology and no policies.
Next comes a chapter on the members of the royal family, variously said to have 5,000 to 30,000 members. The assumption is that this is a monolith in which everyone thinks and acts alike.
The typical book on Saudi Arabia will contain other cliches and images: Philby, camels, palm groves, the Empty Quarter, the Bedouin. The author would not forget Mecca and Medina, even though he may never have visited them or understand their significance in religious terms.
By the time those imperatives have been covered, little space is left to deal with Saudi Arabia as it exists now. The impression is of a society in which the last page of the calendar was torn off sometime in the 1950s.
It is as if the latest studies on the United States were limited to a history of Protestant Christianity, the Puritans, George Washington, Lafayette (The U.S. Philby), the Civil War, Caryl Chessman and the California gold rush.
What is needed is an understanding of Saudi Arabia today.
Here is a nation of 20 million people with one of the highest rates of urbanization in the world. Relative to its population, it has a larger middle class than most other Arab countries. It is also one of the few countries that tried to develop their specific models of society in the pre-globalization era.
For the average Western reader, it is hard to imagine Saudi Arabia as a society with workers, farmers, managers, businessmen, poets, writers, lawyers, doctors, artists, architects, civil servants, soldiers - in short, all the categories that exist in any other modern nation.
The really useful book on Saudi Arabia would limit the historic part to no more than a fifth.
Because Saudi Arabia has changed faster than the records of its change, the useful book would be based on personal observation and countless interviews with people from all walks of life. It would reflect the tensions - some creative, some not - that affect a society in transition from the traditional to the modern.
Instead of focusing on abstractions, it would deal with concrete issues such as the kingdom's need for an overhaul of its defense doctrine, a review of its foreign policy strategies, a thorough reform of its social and economic structures and the definition of its place in a world in which it is becoming more and more difficult to be different.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/9062.htm
posted on 10/26/2003 1:52:07 AM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Path to Mideast Peace Via Iran?
October 25, 2003
The Washington Times
Constantine C. Menges
There is a political solution to three grave Mideast dangers facing the United States and its allies. These risks include expanded terrorism, the new Iraq coming under the control of pro-Iranian Shi'ite extremists and an Iran already armed with ballistic missiles obtaining nuclear weapons...Rather than using military force or relying only on diplomacy, providing political assistance to help the people of Iran establish constitutional democracy would be consistent with their wishes and would move the entire Middle East in a positive direction.
There is a political solution to three grave Mideast dangers facing the United States and its allies. These risks include expanded terrorism, the new Iraq coming under the control of pro-Iranian Shi'ite extremists and an Iran already armed with ballistic missiles obtaining nuclear weapons. Rather than using military force or relying only on diplomacy, providing political assistance to help the people of Iran establish constitutional democracy would be consistent with their wishes and would move the entire Middle East in a positive direction.
Since 1979, oil-rich Iran under a clerical dictatorship has been the progenitor of Islamic terrorism directed against the United States, Israel and the governments of many Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually for propaganda and in support of terrorists such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Iran has been co-responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, including more than 1,500 Americans. These attacks include the 1983 truck bombs in Lebanon that destroyed the U.S. Embassy and later killed 241 Marines in their barracks as well as the 1996 attack against U.S. personnel in Saudi Arabia.
After September 11, 2001, Iran held a series of terrorist summits in which it openly increased its budget for Hamas and other terrorist organizations while also providing additional millions for the families of homicide bombers who would kill civilians. Iran also publicly announced training for terrorists volunteering to strike in America and for the destruction of civilian passenger aircraft with shoulder-fired missiles. Iran is complicit in the recent upsurge in violence against Israel, and Iran's leaders have said that, when they have nuclear weapons, they will be ready to "annihilate" the Jewish state.
Published CIA reports sent to the U.S. Congress make clear that Iran, which the State Department calls "the most active state sponsor of terrorism," is developing nuclear and biological weapons and already has large stocks of chemical weapons. It also has hundreds of ballistic missiles built with the assistance of China, Russia and North Korea. As a result of new information about Iran's nuclear activities indicating a weapons program, the International Atomic Energy Agency recently issued a unanimous ultimatum requiring Iran to cooperate fully by the end of October. Iran's response was to criticize the U.S. for "extremism and expansionism" and deny any intention to produce weapons of mass destruction. This is false and, as with North Korea, will in time be revealed as a delaying tactic.
While pro-Saddam armed groups and outside Islamic terrorists are using violence to prevent emergence of a moderate constitutional government in Iraq, the most serious danger to Iraq derives from Iranian open and covert action aimed at bringing about an allied Shi'ite extremist regime.
Iran is acting to bring about a "second Iran" in Iraq in three ways:
(1) Iran is using those Iraqi Shi'ite clerics who agree that the clergy should rule to build a power base from the mosques and their associated social services.
(2) Iran established the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq to build a political movement that could win elections or take power town by town with the help of covert Iranian funds and propaganda. This organization also has an Iranian-trained armed paramilitary of about 30,000, which has been moving into Iraq.
(3) Iran is working covertly with a pro-Iranian, Iraqi extremist Muqtada al-Sadr to use political and coercive means including murder to intimidate and take over the Shi'ite leadership in Iraq. The murders of several prominent Shi'ite clerical leaders who favored democracy and cooperation with the Coalition repeats some of Iran's covert actions in post-Taliban Afghanistan, where a number of moderate Muslim clerics also were killed.
As the Saddam Hussein regime was falling in April, Ayatollah al-Haeri, an Iraqi-born cleric who has lived for the last 30 years in Iran and is a strong advocate of strict clerical rule, sent a handwritten note to Shi'ite clerics in Iraq appointing al-Sadr as his official representative. Days later, al-Sadr's followers murdered Ayatollah al-Khoei, a proponent of friendly relations with the West and son of Iraq's previous grand ayatollah. Next, a mob of al-Sadr supporters surrounded the home of Iraq's current Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and demanded he leave the country immediately. A moderate and leader of the majority Shi'ites in Iraq, Ayatollah al-Sistani favors democracy and had issued an edict commanding his followers not to impede the Coalition forces. Ayatollah al-Sistani is a longtime ally of the al-Khoei family.
A few weeks after the murder of Ayatollah Kohei, al-Sadr visited his allies in Iran. There he met with Ayatollah al-Haeri, who seems to be Iran's candidate as the successor to the current, moderate Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani. Indicative of his covert cooperation with Iran , Muqtada al-Sadr also met with a key person responsible for Iranian terrorism and covert operations, Qasim Suleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp's Quds forces in Tehran to arrange financial and covert assistance for his followers in Iraq.
Following his return to Iraq, al-Sadr announced formation of his "Mahdi Corps" a militia opposed to the Coalition forces and transitional government. A number of terrorist bombings then followed since August including the Oct. 11 attack on a Baghdad hotel used by Coalition personnel. These are all similar to the Iranian-initiated attacks on U.S. Embassies and the U.S. Marines in Beirut in the 1980s.
The clerical dictatorship in Iran is contrary to the precepts of Shi'ite Islam, which prohibits direct clerical rule until the return of the 12th Imam. It is opposed by the majority of the people and clerics of Iran as can be seen in the 70 percent who voted in 1997 and 2001 against the most hard-line ruling faction and for the announced more moderate clerical group. Both the 50 percent of the population younger than 25 and a large proportion of women are severely disaffected from the regime, as are important elements of the military. The Iranian people have staged dramatic protests against this regime several times since 1999.
Just as the people of Eastern Europe peacefully liberated themselves from communist rule and as the people of Serbia were helped to rise up and remove the dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000, so too the Iranian people will be successful. Political and moral support from the U.S. and other democracies would encourage them and contribute to their effort to reclaim their lives and country from the clerical dictatorship, establish moderate government with respect for Islam and its traditions and become a peaceful neighbor internationally.
This is the political solution that can work and without which the dangers will only grow in Iraq, Afghanistan and the entire Middle East.
Constantine C. Menges, a senior fellow with the Hudson Institute, formerly served as special assistant for national security affairs to the president. His latest book is "2008: The Preventable War the Strategic Challenge of China and Russia" (forthcoming). http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20031025-111013-7137r.htm
"The U.S. has already recruited a number of Mujahedin Khalq elements in Iraq and won a pledge from their leader, Massoud Rajavi, to help with sabotage attacks inside Iran if necessary"
I don't like the sound of this.
No negotiations with terrorists, right Mr. Bush?
Let's hope it's one of those "unfounded reports."
"Iran is working covertly with a pro-Iranian, Iraqi extremist Muqtada al-Sadr to use political and coercive means including murder to intimidate and take over the Shi'ite leadership in Iraq."
Arrest warrant is out for al-Sadr. Let's hope they're able
to resolve the situation quickly, one way or another.
Intelligence: Divisions Inside Iran
October 26, 2003
Mark Hosenball with Babak Dehghanpisheh
The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany last week congratulated themselves for persuading Irans ruling ayatollahs to suspend a suspected uranium-enrichment program and allow international inspection of dubious nuclear sites. But in Washington, even moderate Bush advisers question whether Iranian ministers and clerics who agreed to the deal have the power to deliver Tehrans end of the bargain.
U.S. officials say some of the latest intelligence coming out of Iran is so alarming even State Department diplomats who have favored talking with the ayatollahs now wonder who in Tehran can be trusted. Some U.S. officials fear the Iranian government has now splintered into three major factions: a reformist, or moderate faction, personified by the elected president, Mohammed Khatami; a hard-line faction, led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme religious leader, and an ultra-hard-line faction of no-name spooks and extremist clerics who secretly pursue radical policies, such as the clandestine support of terrorists, in a way that gives public hard-liners deniability. British and U.S. officials also say that some recent intelligence from secret agents indicates that Iran may have released from custodyor even expelledseveral top Qaeda leaders arrested over the past year, including Qaeda military chief Saif Al-Adel and Osama bin Ladens son Saad. But doubts hang over the status of the Qaeda big shots: their release has not been confirmed by electronic intercepts, and CIA analysts believe some are still in Iranian custody. The lack of reliable intel has deepened paralysis over Iran policy inside the Bush administration. Although the Pentagon and State Department, normally enemies, now appear to embrace the same skeptical attitude toward Iran, antagonisms remain so intense that the rival bureaucracies still accuse each other of trying to open secret channels to Tehran behind the others back.
Even the parties to the nuclear agreement last week admit the Iranians have a long way to go to prove they deserve Western trust. The irony is that the case against Iran is far more compelling than prewar evidence suggesting Saddam had an active nuclear-weapons program, said one Western diplomat. The diplomat says the rest of the world believes that Washington cried wolf over Saddams WMDs and is now reluctant to credit similar U.S. warnings about Iran.
Mark Hosenball with Babak Dehghanpisheh in Tehran
Nov. 3 issue http://www.msnbc.com/news/985255.asp
Nobel Winner Wants Iranians to Demand Rights
October 26, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, surprise winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, says it could take 10 years to make major progress on freedom of expression, equality for women and other human rights causes in the Islamic Republic.
Stressing education and hard work rather than protest and confrontation, Ebadi said the task for herself and others like her was to teach Iranians to demand their rights.
"If just a few people want something it has little effect. But if many people ask for one thing I'm sure they can have it. The important thing is to inform people," she told Reuters in an interview late on Saturday.
"I know it takes time, but I'm sure we'll be successful. We just need 10 years... Ten years is a very short time in the history of a country."
The first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to win the prestigious award, Ebadi, 56, has become the focus of fierce debate in Iran as the Nobel prize laid bare deep divisions in the country of 66 million people.
The diminutive but robust lawyer was mobbed by thousands of well-wishers on her return to Iran earlier this month after winning the award.
But congratulations from the government were muted, and the hardline media dubbed her a political tool of Western countries bent on undermining the Islamic state.
The Nobel Committee emphasised Ebadi's work championing children's and women's rights. In Iran she is best known as a tough lawyer who took on clients others dared not defend.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION KEY
"Human rights (in Iran) have improved compared with 20 years ago but that doesn't mean we don't face problems," said Ebadi, wearing a green headscarf and clutching a walking stick after injuring a toe at home.
"The most important issue is freedom of expression... When there's no freedom of expression how can we object about human rights?"
Scores of liberal newspapers have been closed down and dozens of journalists, students and pro-reform activists jailed by Iran's hardline judiciary in the past four years.
Ebadi also expressed grave concern about women's rights in Iran, pointing to the fact that a woman's life is officially considered only half as valuable as a man's and that a woman's divorce rights are far weaker than her husband's.
Asked how such inequalities could be changed when deeply religious clerics controlled the main levers of power in Iran, Ebadi insisted that Islam was not to blame.
"After 20 years of legal studies I can say definitively that with a correct interpretation of Islam human rights can be respected. The problem is the interpretation," she said.
"Children are the future, the hope. When they learn to question things, things can change," she said in her small office surrounded by law books and bouquets sent by well-wishers.
Many Iranians, impatient for change, have urged Ebadi to throw herself into politics, an idea she firmly rejects.
Instead, she said she would continue her legal work and set up new non-governmental organisations working on human rights.
"There are hundreds of well-informed people in Iran working to push society forward. I'm not alone. I'm the symbol of a trend in Iran," she said. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=834&ncid=731&e=10&u=/nm/20031026/wl_india_nm/india_133434
Iran Retracts Statement on Halting Uranium Enrichment
October 26, 2003
Voice of America
An Iranian official has retracted an earlier statement that Tehran has suspended its uranium enrichment program. A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, now says Iran is studying how to go about stopping uranium enrichment.
Earlier Sunday, Mr. Asefi told the reporters during a news conference in Tehran that he believed the enrichment program had been halted after an agreement was reached Tuesday with European officials.
Enriched uranium can be used as fuel in nuclear power stations and also in building nuclear weapons.
On Tuesday, Iran announced it would suspend uranium enrichment, and sign a protocal allowing unannounced inspections of its nuclear facilities by international regulators. The announcement came after a meeting in Tehran with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, who had expressed concern that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
In the agreement, the three European countries promised to help Iran acquire peaceful nuclear technology.
On Thursday, Iran gave the International Atomic Energy Agency a report about its nuclear activities, including some that had not previously been reported.
The IAEA had set an October 31 deadline for Iran to prove it is not developing nuclear weapons, or face possible international sanctions.
The United States has accused Iran of having a secret nuclear arms program. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is only to make electric power.
On Friday, about 1,500 demonstrators took to the streets of Tehran to protest the government's decision to comply with international demands. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=FFE3D819-4B7D-4812-8518F5A858E287EB&title=Iran%20Retracts%20Statement%20on%20Halting%20Uranium%20Enrichment&catOID=45C9C78D-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C
To: F14 Pilot
Free Iran, Now!
posted on 10/26/2003 9:55:38 AM PST
To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the heads up!
The U.S. has already recruited a number of Mujahedin Khalq elements in Iraq and won a pledge from their leader, Massoud Rajavi, to help with sabotage attacks inside Iran if necessary. If the U.S. and/or Israel were to strike areas in Iran, Tehran would be unable to retaliate except through Lebanese and Palestinian radical groups. The regime would appear weak and vulnerable, thus encouraging domestic opponents who dream of its overthrow.
We've been through the Groundhog Day of Iraq's delay and dissemble dog and pony show.
We will not waste time with an Iran version.
posted on 10/26/2003 5:57:13 PM PST
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
the useful book would be based on personal observation
Or just ask this guy:
Or this guy:
posted on 10/26/2003 6:07:26 PM PST
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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