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!
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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
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: email@example.com http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/9062.htm
posted on 10/26/2003 1:52:07 AM PDT
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
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
Iran Will Not Reveal Names of Detained al-Qaeda Leaders
October 26, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iran said it would not reveal the names of top al-Qaeda suspects in custody here, adding that a list of names it had given to the UN Security Council covered only members of the group already extradited.
"Regarding the people who are in Iran, the Islamic republic prefers not to disclose their names because of the security issues," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters on Sunday.
When asked if some of the detainees could be classed as high-ranking -- confirmed several months ago by other officials -- Asefi replied: "What I know is that there are a number."
On Saturday, state media reported that Iran had finally revealed to the UN Security Council the names of scores of suspected al-Qaeda members in its custody.
A report to the council identified 78 suspected members of the Islamic militant network already extradited to their countries of origin, the official IRNA news agency said.
The Iranian mission in New York also provided the names of 147 suspected members of al-Qaeda -- or of its former Afghan hosts, the Taliban militia -- who remain in custody here pending trial, extradition or deportation, the news agency said.
But Asefi contradicted the report.
"What we have given is the names of 78 people who were arrested and given back to their country of origin. In the recent session, another 147 names were given," Asefi said, adding that this list also referred to those "also extradited".
Previously, Iran said it arrested and deported some 500 people belonging to or linked to al-Qaeda since late 2001. Those who have been extradited are not believed to include any senior members of the group.
But the identity of those still being held here has been the subject of intense speculation.
Diplomatic sources and Arab press reports have pointed to the possible presence here of four al-Qaeda leaders who have all been stripped of their nationalities in their home countries.
They include the movement's spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Gaith, a former Kuwaiti, and its number two and number three -- Ayman al-Zawahiri and Saif al-Adel -- both of them formerly Egyptian.
Also said to be in Iran is Osama bin Laden's Saudi-born son, Saad, seen as now taking a leading role in the network.
The Washington Post reported October 14 that Saad had risen to the top ranks of al-Qaeda and was helping run the terror network from inside Iran under the protection of an elite unit linked to the Revolutionary Guards, the Islamic republic's ideological army.
Iran has dismissed the allegation as an "absolute lie" and challenged foreign intelligence services to prove it.
Asefi alluded to this speculation, saying: "The news that some people are saying is absolutely not true. These are rumours, guessing.
"It is very clear that we are not giving sanctuary to al-Qaeda in Iran. Al-Qaeda has no place in Iran," he insisted.
As for suggestions that Iran may itself try al-Qaeda leaders it is unable to extradite, Asefi said: "The time of their trial has not been determined yet."
The United States has repeatedly accused Iran of harbouring al-Qaeda members, and diplomats say Washington has handed Tehran a list of names of suspects it wants handed over before any dialogue between the two arch-enemies can resume.
AFP text, photos, graphics and logos shall not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. AFP shall not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions in any AFP content, or for any actions taken in consequence. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world/view/54159/1/.html
Iran: Kuwait Mustn't Develop Disputed Offshore Gas Field
October 26, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
TEHRAN -- Iran is opposed to Kuwait's proposed development of a disputed gas field until negotiations on demarcating the Iranian/Kuwaiti maritime border are completed, an Iranian foreign ministry official said Sunday.
Kuwait announced earlier this month that it plans to invite international tenders to develop the disputed offshore gas field in cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Kuwait, which remains in talks with Iran over demarcating its maritime border, calls the disputed gas field Dorra while Iran calls it Arash.
"Not until the issue over Arash is terminally clarified does any country have the right to exploit it," said Hamid-Reza Asefi, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman.
Assefi said any measures to develop the field will face official diplomatic protest from Iran
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said last week that, based on an agreement between the two countries' foreign ministries, neither has the right to start development without the consent of the other party.
Dorra was first discovered in November 1967 and drilling of six exploratory wells then proved commercial reserves of gas and condensates at the field.
Recoverable gas reserves at the field are estimated at around 7 trillion cubic feet with a potential production capacity of 600 million cf to 1.5 billion cf a day.
Saturday, the oil ministers of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, who delineated their borders in 2001, met in Riyadh to discuss the best ways of carrying out development programs at the offshore Dorra gas field.
State-run National Iranian Oil Co. (NIO.YY) has shrugged off the announcement on the development of Dorra, arguing that no international company will get itself involved in a disputed field.
-By Hashem Kalantari, Dow Jones Newswires, +9821 896 6230 http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2003102611210000&Take=1
Iran Restoring to Procastination Tactics
October 26, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi urged Europe to reciprocate in development of peaceful nuclear technologies.
"If Europeans remain unwilling to cooperate with us in provision of advanced technologies, no one can expect Iran's cooperation in this area," Asefi told journalists.
Commenting on the statement announcing Iran's suspension of its work in the area of enriched uranium, Asefi said that "during a visit to Tehran of Foreign Ministers of three Western countries (Germany, Great Britain and France) Iran agreed only to consider a possibility of suspending work in this area".
The Iranian diplomat also said that the parties had reached an agreement on the need to consider the issue of signing the Additional Protocol to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Arms by Tehran at the next session of the IAEA Board. The negotiating parties also agreed to transfer the issue of the Islamic Republic's nuclear technologies from the political to technical context.
"The process of signing the Additional Protocol by Tehran will start after the session of the IAEA Board this November," Asefi said. http://en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?prd_id=160&msg_id=3552193&startrow=1&date=2003-10-26&do_alert=0
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