Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
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posted on 10/27/2003 12:11:33 AM PST
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 10/27/2003 12:16:47 AM PST
Iran's Uranium Enrichment Program Continues
October 26, 2003
Iran said it has not yet stopped its program for enriching uranium, days after it promised three European nations it would do so. An Iranian Foreign Ministry official said Tehran is still looking into how it should proceed with dismantling the work that the United States said is aimed at making atomic weapons.
Iran conceded that it had not stopped its work on enriching uranium, although it was looking into the ways of doing it.
Suspending the controversial program is a key requirement set out by the International Atomic Energy Agency and something Tehran last week promised to do in meetings with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hameed Reza Asefi reiterated Iran's pledge, but he added that his country is still in the process of examining and discussing methods for fulfilling it.
At the same time, the spokesman retracted an earlier statement that Iran had suspended its disputed uranium enrichment process.
Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, and that it needs low-level enriched uranium to power what it says are its civilian, nuclear energy programs.
The United States claims Iran is intent on making an atomic bomb.
In the deal worked out last Tuesday in Tehran between Iranian officials and the French, British and German foreign ministers, Tehran pledged to halt the enrichment program and to allow tougher inspections of its nuclear sites by the IAEA.
As their part of the deal, the three European countries promised to help Iran acquire peaceful nuclear technology.
The IAEA has given Iran an October 31 deadline to prove Tehran's claims that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and geared to producing electricity.
If Iran fails to do so, the IAEA is expected to refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=CC4B0688-1F95-4582-983A0E2E22E4F226&title=Iran%27s%20Uranium%20Enrichment%20Program%20Continues%2C%20Admits%20Tehran&catOID=45C9C78D-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE
posted on 10/27/2003 12:20:04 AM PST
Row Over Detention of Berkeley Lecturer
October 26, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iran's foreign ministry said Sunday it was following up reports that an Iranian-born lecturer from a top US university had been detained here on suspicion of espionage.
"The ministry is following this affair," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters. "As his mother had asked the foreign ministry to do something, we intend to make contact with the judiciary to get more information and see what this is about," he added.
According to colleagues, political scientist Dariush Zahedi, who lectures at the University of California, Berkeley, has been held in Tehran's Evin prison for three months. The Iran Emrouz news website reported that the author and academic was being held in solitary confinement on suspicion of espionage after returning home for a visit in June.
Zahedi was born in Iran and emigrated to the United States as a teenager. He is an expert on Iranian politics and is director of the West Coast operations of the American Iranian Council. http://www.al-seyassah.com/arabtimes/world/view.asp?msgID=1350
posted on 10/27/2003 12:21:17 AM PST
IAEA Inspectors to Check on Iran Nuclear Report
October 27, 2003
Voice of America
The U.N. nuclear watchdog says it is sending inspectors to Iran to check on a report Tehran submitted to the agency last week on its nuclear activities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says five senior inspectors will join a team already in Iran visiting nuclear facilities and taking environmental samples.
The IAEA says it will review the accuracy and completeness of Iran's report, noting it will submit findings to its board of governors by the end of November.
Iran gave IAEA officials its report on Thursday, detailing some nuclear activities it had not previously reported. The U.N. agency had set an October 31 deadline for Iran to prove it is not developing nuclear weapons, or face possible international sanctions.
In a related development Sunday, Tehran retracted its statement it has suspended its uranium enrichment program. A spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, now says Iran is studying how to stop uranium enrichment.
Earlier, Mr. Asefi said he believed the enrichment program had been halted after an agreement was reached Tuesday with European officials.
Iranian officials met in Tehran Tuesday with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, who had expressed concern Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Tehran later announced it would suspend uranium enrichment and sign a protocol allowing unannounced inspections of its nuclear facilities by international regulators.
Enriched uranium can be used as fuel in nuclear power stations and also in building nuclear weapons. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=FDA0F1C1-C396-4F29-AF632B037DAC78A1
posted on 10/27/2003 12:22:12 AM PST
Movement's, France Chapter, protests against French diplomacy in reference to Iran
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Oct 26, 2003
SMCCDI (France Chapter) protested, today and in a Public letter, adressed to Mr. Dominique de Villepin, against the French diplomacy in reference to Iran. This letter, signed by Kaveh Mohseni of SMCCDI, follows French FM's latest trip to Tehran and his controversial comments about the Islamic republic regime.
The Movement while reacting to Mr. Villepin's comments, published in the Figaro Daily on the "Need of Iran to become an island of stability and to exerce major role in the region", reminded him of the terrorist and dictatorial nature of the Islamic republic regime and on the consequences of his irresponsible and mercantilist comments at times that most Iranians are accusing the French Government of complaisance with the clerics.
Kaveh Mohseni remembered to the French FM of the rejection of the Islamic republic, by the majority of Iranians who have made massive demos and boycotted the last sham elections. He pointed also to the responsability of the clerics in the assassinations of several Iranian opponents residing in France as well as the 1986 Paris bombings and the murder of a French policeman and a French journalist who was taken as hostage in Lebanon by the Islamic republics' affiliated groups.
The Movement's representative called for a radical change in France's diplomacy and requested the support of the Iranian Secular forces who are seeking for Regime Change in Iran.
The original French letter is available on the Document section of the SMCCDI's French website and can be seen at:http://www.daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_3089.shtml http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3202.shtml
posted on 10/27/2003 12:39:58 AM PST
"'Can Iran's Pursuit of Nuke be Thwarted by Air Strikes?'"
October 27, 2003
Power and Interest News Report
As Iran continues its development of nuclear technology, powerful rival states such as the United States and Israel have publicly considered the viability of launching an air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities should Tehran come closer to developing the ability to create nuclear weapons.
Israel, for example, has a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East and has shown its willingness to prevent other Middle Eastern states from acquiring nuclear arms. In 1981, when France was assisting Iraq in its quest for nuclear technology, Tel Aviv launched an air strike on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. The attack accomplished its primary objective of putting a dent in Baghdad's nuclear research program. Would a similar attack on Iran's nuclear facilities yield similar results?
A military air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would have a much lower success ratio than the Osirak attack had in 1981. In 1981, Iraq's nuclear research program was concentrated at the Tuwaitha Nuclear Center just outside of Baghdad. Baghdad's failure to disperse the different aspects of their nuclear program to multiple facilities made it an easy target for an air strike. Dr. Imad Khadduri, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist who was the head of the scientific experimentation group before the Israeli air strike, told the Power and Interest News Report, "Indeed, in 1981 all of our work was centered at the Tuwaitha site." In order to prevent such attacks from occurring in the future, Baghdad took prompt action after Israel's successful air strike. After the air strike, Khadduri explained, "we began to disperse our nuclear facilities to end up with eight or nine sites for production, processing, enrichment design and research."
Aware of Baghdad's failure to spread their nuclear program to multiple facilities, Tehran has adopted a safer approach. Realizing that other countries which have military power in the region -- such as the United States and Israel -- may attempt to take military action against their nuclear research program, Tehran has likely spread their nuclear program into multiple facilities throughout the country. This dispersal strategy will make it very difficult for an outside country to launch a successful air strike against Iran's nuclear research program.
Dr. David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security, recently explained to the Power and Interest News Report the methods that Tehran has taken to protect its nuclear research program. Albright warned that "while military strikes can hurt Iran's nuclear capabilities, they cannot stop them. ... There are likely other facilities that are unknown and would escape damage." Khadduri, too, pointed to the difficulties involved in an attempt to destroy Iran's nuclear research program: "Unless the attacking country would have human spies infiltrating the Iranian nuclear team, it would be very difficult to pinpoint what to hit in the event of an air attack."
In addition to the operational difficulties in destroying Iran's nuclear research program, there are also serious political risks involved. In 1981, when Israel attacked Iraq's Osirak reactor, Tel Aviv's move caused Baghdad to accelerate its quest for nuclear arms. By demonstrating Iraq's military weakness in its failure to prevent an Israeli air strike, Tel Aviv's decision merely caused the leadership in Baghdad to believe even more strongly that they needed nuclear weapons to shield against future aggression from hostile states. By acquiring nuclear arms, states are able to increase their defense capabilities since other states are hesitant to take military action against a nuclear-armed rival. As Khadduri writes in his recent book describing Iraq's nuclear research program, after Israel attacked the Osirak reactor, "Saddam took the political decision to initiate a full-fledged weapons program immediately afterwards."
President Saddam Hussein's decision in 1981 to accelerate Iraq's nuclear weapons program displays the danger that would be involved in attacking Iran's nuclear research program. Any attack would prove to Tehran that its military was too weak to defend the Iranian state from outside threats; just like Baghdad in 1981, this realization would lead Tehran to accelerate its nuclear weapons program, thus creating an even bigger problem for rival states. Albright asserts that after a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran could "quickly restart a gas centrifuge program in secret that would be extremely difficult to detect or stop."
The diplomatic anger that would be created by attacking Iran's nuclear research program would also be fierce. Tehran has extensive diplomatic and economic ties with a variety of states, such as members of the European Union, Russia and India. Russia has been earning much-needed capital by assisting Iran's nuclear research program. Russian engineers have been building Iran's main nuclear reactor at the southern city of Bushehr. While Moscow has expressed public concern regarding accusations that Tehran may be attempting to develop nuclear arms, it has been unwilling to cease its assistance to Tehran. Along with nuclear assistance, Moscow has been providing Iran with conventional arms. According to "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations," an annual report provided to the U.S. Congress by Richard Grimmett, in the last decade Moscow has provided Tehran with MiG-29 fighter aircraft, Su-24 fighter bombers, T-72 tanks, and Kilo class attack submarines.
India also has important ties with Iran. India's strategic concerns over its rival state, Pakistan, are shared in part by Iran; therefore, instability in Iran could weaken India's foreign policy leverage when dealing with the leadership in Islamabad. New Delhi and Tehran have also been collaborating with Russia's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, to build a pipeline that would export gas from Iran to India.
Taking these factors into account, the prospect of launching a successful air strike that would thwart Tehran's pursuit of nuclear technology is not a viable strategy. In addition to the logistical difficulties involved in destroying Tehran's nuclear facilities, there is also the fear that such an attack would only accelerate Tehran's pursuit of nuclear arms. Finally, the political reverberations that would be felt by such an attack would be severe, and the attacking state would likely be held accountable for its actions. http://pinr.com/report.php?ac=view_report&report_id=103&language_id=1
Will Iran's Nuclear Promise Resolve Crisis?
October 26, 2003
We discussed Iran and nuclear weapons in our global phone-in programme Talking Point. Our guests were Dr Rajaee Khorasani, former Iranian ambassador to the UN, and Judith Kipper, of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
Watch the programme http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsa/n5ctrl/progs/talkingpoint/03/26oct.ram
Listen to the programme http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsa/n5ctrl/progs/talkingpoint/03/26oct_audio.ram
Iran says that it will accept tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities in order to allay international concern over its nuclear programme.
Iran delivered a report to the UN atomic energy watchdog which, it says, discloses all its nuclear activities.
There had been accusations that Iran was secretly developing atomic weapons.
Now Iran has promised to voluntarily suspend all its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, in line with a resolution by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The comments published reflect the balance of views received:
What crisis? The development of advanced technology such as nuclear weapons can only be accomplished by a nation with zeal. But anyone who has lived in any of the oil-rich counties of the Middle East knows that no such zeal exists. You may see young Muslim zealots yelling slogans and burning flags in front of the cameras, but all that withers way very fast. The same goes for Iran. I can assure the Americans that even if they leave the Iranians to themselves, Iran won't even have a small nuclear reactor 30 years from now, let alone the technology to build A-bombs.
Hashem, Tehran, Iran
No matter how much Iran changes when it doesn't satisfy US requirement. It always a crisis.
If there is ever a counter revolution and a new democratic government takes hold then we wouldn't have a crisis. If Iran becomes a democracy we will treat it the same as we treat Israel; as a democratic country in the Middle East. In that case we wouldn't mind them having nuclear weapons.
Colin Keesee, USA
Like always, Europe jumps onto America's bandwagon at the very last minute. Takes the credit for getting Iran to sign up for tougher IAEA inspections. And leaves America looking like a bully.
Justin Hughes, Tacoma, US
In the words of our great President Reagan: "Trust but verify," and "There you go again." This latter quote speaks to a continuing saga as demonstrated by North Korea, Saddam, and countless other regimes who held veiled ambitions. Add Iran to that list.
Mike Wiley, USA
The problem that Iran is dealing with is the fact that it is in the Middle East and no matter what it does it will not satisfy the US. They are determined to change the entire Middle East to suit theirs and Israel's desires. I only hope that there won't be too many innocent people killed.
Susan, Busan, South Korea
Israel lives in what Binyamin Netanyahu once famously described as a "tough neighbourhood" and consequently has a large illegal nuclear arsenal to protect its interests. In my opinion Iran also lives in a "tough neighbourhood". How is it that the one can get away without even signing the NPT and the other is considered a risk to regional and even world stability?
Darius B., London
It appears that there is a belief that Nuclear weapons guarantee security. Since when?
Michael, Brandenburg, USA
The strained relations between the US and Iran is nothing new, and the recent US condemnations of Iran is just another sign of the fact that America feels deeply threatened by one of the stronger powers of the Middle East. Every major power is carrying out some kind of nuclear program and I'm sure no power has greater weapons of mass destruction than the US itself.
The US has had a regime change agenda for Iran for the last 23 years because Iran is the only country in the world that the US cannot influence and has the potential to be a huge world power. Sanctions, accusations, and embargos have done little to weaken the Islamic regime even though the country is in ruin. Mr Bush now has moved the Iran agenda off the back burner and put it on high heat on the front burner. Iran can sign all the IAEA protocols its wants but that will not stop the Bush administration from making increasing accusations until the bombs start falling on Tehran.
Iran has signed the NPT treaty, because it wants the technology for civilian use and not to make war! I think you must be very careful, when speaking about Iran. Iran is a country which could keep a culture more than 7000 years. Which other culture was so strong to survive for such a long time? American culture?
S. M., Iran
I believe Iran has cleverly shifted the debate about having nuclear reactors to weapons. Now that they have agreed to sign the second protocol with the IAEA, they can quietly get on with completing their nuclear power reactors. Good PR work.
Iran, just like Iraq is nothing but a laughing stock in the Middle East. Iran is allowing its hands to be tied just like Iraq under Saddam, then would be attacked or cornered. Iran is not a man in this geo-political world. The west rule!
Tele G, Cayman
The Islamic Republic can not be trusted. They lied to Iranian people and that's how they came to power and they are lying to the world now. What the foreign ministers regard as a diplomatic victory is just worthless sound bites from a tyrannical regime that is cornered by the US.
Sasan Basiri, London - UK
I think asking Iran not to build Nuclear weapons is clear double standards when applied to Israel large nuclear, chemical and biological US built weapons. I think everyone should be disarmed not just the 'foreign' looking people.
It is more of a decision than a promise. An agreement with the IAEA - through the facilitation of Germany, France and the UK - means an agreement with the UN. In light of Iran's positive posture as a UN member in recent years, a full cooperation seems to be in sight. Washington needs to lower the tone of its rhetoric, especially when it comes to UN affairs and the dynamics of collective action. By fully cooperating with the UN, Iran sets its credibility a notch higher with Asians and Europeans. Americans will be expected to continue to be weary of Iran and its intentions. The IAEA inspection ball is set to continue, and the likely candidates for the next round are Syria and Israel, a very difficult juncture indeed. I think Iran will come forth as a good example for cooperation.
Samr Eboon, Henfield, UK
America is searching Iraq, Iran, for nuclear this and nuclear that, why don't they search Israel?? And when America rids everyone of their nuclear stash, I wonder who will search, and rid America of its nuclear weapons?
Edith Caroli, USA
USA has big nuclear arsenal, strangely it says Nuclear bomb is dangerous, I wonder dangerous for whom? USA unilateral military action on a small nation?
It is somewhat ironic that the countries desperately trying to stop other countries getting nuclear weapons are themselves the ones with enough fire power to annihilate us all. Same goes with chemical and biological weapons. I don't think any country should have nuclear weapons, but while the UK has, why shouldn't Iran, Iraq and Outer Mongolia? Because we're democratic? Democratic does not necessarily mean unaggressive, as the history of the twentieth and now the twenty-first century have shown.
Katherine, London, UK
All depends on what are the projects of the US administration for Iran. As for today, US officials did not frequently use words and expressions like "human rights", "evil", "terrorism", "mass destruction", "preventing threat to the international peace", in their statements about Iran. So, wait and see!
Chadi Bou Habib, Lebanon
Iran has now created an example for countries like North Korea of what a nation's approach must be in terms of nuclear issue. Well done Iran by opening your gates and welcoming the tougher UN inspections. This will surely help in clarifying many doubts that world community has. It is indeed a positive step. North Korea, are you listening? Learn something from Iran.
Shubham Agnihotri, India/Taipei
Unless international inspectors are allowed the freedom to inspect when and where they choose to, within Iran, there are no certainties that the diplomacy is anything approaching an honest statement of fact. What better way to conceal a program for the production of weapons of mass destruction than to say that no such program exists, while somewhere, in secret, the program is accelerated? The IAEA has neither the technological capabilities, nor the teeth, to assure that secret weapons programs do not exist. A more powerful, more technically sophisticated, intelligence gathering organization is necessary to confirm Iran's or any nation's claims regarding WMD.
Robert Morpheal, Canada
Apart from coveting Iranian petroleum, the Bush administration wants to create a strategic arc of control from the Mediterranean to the Chinese border. The Iranians understand this, and know that notwithstanding any protocols signed, or assurances agreed, wider US objectives for the region make aggression almost certain. Iranian politicians, conservative and reformist alike, know that without a nuclear deterrent they will go the same way as Iraq.
Paris Massenheim, Hannover, Germany
The good will gesture of Iran, by letting UN inspections to see its nuclear program is a positive step in demonstrating its peaceful nuclear intention of using atomic energy for producing electricity and other applications. Once you have the basic knowledge of this technology, is easy to switch to other more offensive purposes.
Jose Nigrin, Guatemala
Iranians must know that conservative interests in Washington debated attacking Iran even before we invaded Iraq. Non-nuclear Iraq was invaded. Nuclear North Korea hasn't been. The EU ministers couldn't stop the US from attacking Iraq and can't guaranty Iran's immunity from US attack. Therefore it's likely that Iran will continue surreptitious nuclear weapons development.
Jim Hopewell, USA
I'm an Iranian/Arab who lived in Iran for most of his life. The question that everyone is asking and it's being ignored is why they didn't sign the protocol themselves? Also Israel is producing weapons of mass destruction and the world is turning a blind eye on this issue, which is the most important threat in the Middle East currently. Iran has accepted the protocol unlike US and Israel to their amazement.
Ehsan Hassani, London
The promise by the Iranians can silence and divert the focus for the time being, but in the long run countries like Iran, North Korea and the like would attain the capability, as they feel, they are being threatened by the United States!
Srinivasan Toft, Humlebæk, Denmark
An excellent development! Not only should it deter Israel from expanding it's explosive so-called war on terror to neighbouring countries (e.g. Syria recently) but it also proves that dialogue is the best way forward, be it between US-Iran or Israel-Palestine.
S Rizvi, London, UK
I am eagerly looking forward for a prosperous Iran. But what I think is that the threat is not over. Israel is the most prominent nuclear country in the Middle East. If we want to suspend our plans the Israelis are the only winners of the game. We did not want them anything in return. We missed the last ace. I hope that Israel understands what it means to her. If our entity is going to be endangered we certainly will reactivate our arsenals.
Mahdi, Tehran, Iran
The US is forcing governments around the world to get nuclear if they don't they might be next on their hit list. Everyone knows they won't attack another nuclear power see North Korea. just when people were starting to feel a bit safe again after the cold war arms race a new one has begun and I must say the only ones to blame are the US as you can't tell other nations they are not allowed to defend themselves when they are facing a real threat coming from a so called "democratic" country.
In my view this is all a pretence to a run-up to war. Everyone knows Iran will not accept its sovereignty to be exposed to any foreign nation, and quite rightly too. Would the Soviet Union accept lightening checks by Iranian inspectors in Chechnya to see if the alleged massacres are true? The West is just building the case for war with Iran as they did Iraq. Slowly, slowly feeding us the rhetoric that they fed us about the 'bad people' of Iraq. The 'Evil' Iranian government has been in power for 20 years which in that time it has always been seeking nuclear weapons, oppressed its people in and out of Iran and 'now' the West takes heed?
Amir, United Kingdom
It would be preferable to see the entire region free from nuclear weapons, but if Israel has them, I'd prefer to see Iran have them as well. The threat of mutually assured destruction was the only thing that kept the Cold War cold, and as the USA won't even acknowledge Israel's WMD, let alone urge them to disarm, their whingeing about Iran should be dismissed as contemptible hypocrisy.
Jon E, France
Deeds and not words. Evidence or inspections before 31 October 2003. Do I believe the religious leaders of Iran? No. In my view, they talk peace but prepare for war. They talk moderation but underwrite terrorism. They talk freedom of religion while suppressing all others. Their record on human rights speaks for itself. In short it serves no point to listen to their promises, just look at what they do.
Peter, JHB, South Africa
Why should Iran not develop nuclear weapons? Should it just roll over and die when the tanks, helicopter gun ships and missiles of the Americans come rolling in? Just like Iraq did. It's about time countries stood up to the Americans. Notice how the Americans are treating North Korea with kid gloves because it had nuclear weapons. If the US wants other countries to disarm then they should set an example and get rid of all of their own weapons of mass destruction.
The only way to deal with a fundamentalist regime is with strength. Bowing to Iran, offering them "technical assistance" in exchange for access will be seen by future generations in the West as a complete dereliction of duty by our present day ruling elite, in particular by the EU. Appeasement never works out - something leaders in the West seem to have forgotten.
A country has the right to self defence. Two of Iran's neighbours have been attacked by the forces of USA and itself being eyed upon. The country is being threatened with sanctions which I believe are quite unjustified. Such a situation is only going to lead to covert defence programs by the Iranian government. Why is the US bent upon acting the nemesis?
Ali Asghar Shabbir, Lahore, Pakistan
What crisis are we talking about? Iran has signed to the NPT treaty which allows it to have nuclear technology for civilian use, and that is exactly what they are doing.
What confounds me is the tendency of those in Iran to pick fights they are ill prepared for, and resist resolving them advantageously until their backs are against the wall when they sell out. The hostage crisis, the war with Iraq, and now the protocol are just a few examples. Until Iran sorts out its differences with the US and Israel, it will go from one crisis to another. They face politics of power, not an international legal case.
Reza, Almaty, Kazakhstan
No, the crisis can not be resolved forever. It can be resolved only for the time being. Iran feels that its entity and security threatened by the US and Israel. So, how can it stop its nuclear program which would be a stronghold to deter any would-be aggression? However, I believe Iran will be hit and weakened by the US and Israel sooner or later. So, the crisis will not be resolved.
Nabil Abdel Ahad Abdel Baky, Cairo, Egypt
Iran will take a page out of North Korea's book. Tell the international community that they are not producing nuclear weapons, then all of sudden 8-10 years down the road produce these same weapons. I think it's foolish to put any faith in the comments of the Iranian Government.
Mike Daly, Hackettstown, NJ
Unfortunately, the different approach the US has taken towards North Korea and Iraq has taught the world an important lesson. If you have nukes, you are far less likely to be invaded by the US. Why wouldn't Iran learn this lesson? Iraq was the other country on Bush's "Axis of Evil" without nukes and look what it earned them.
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA
Iran should not make any promise that may compromise it security. What we have seen recently that proves that having nuclear weapon can deter some rogue superpower from attacking as in the case of North Korea. The Non Nuclear Proliferation is a bad deal. Because there will be no peace and stability in the world if others have weapon and others don't. Either no weapons at all or nations must be allowed to develop as a deterrence.
Mike Aziz, Vancouver, Canada
Although I know the amount of pressure that Iran has been under, I think that Iran and other Middle East countries should pull out of the treaty until Israel sign in. Moreover, I think that this step will be seen by the USA administration as a success to their polices and will continue to ask more from Iran and other countries.
I greatly appreciate and welcome the decision of the Iranian government as regard their promise to sign up for tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. Their decision is highly positive and limits the tension and the possibility of more instability in the Middle East. I do strongly support President Bush and the United States government for Iran to be nuclear weapon free. The possession of Nuclear weapons by Iran will mean a direct threat to Israel and other neighbouring countries.
Saah Kpakar, Liberian in Ghana
Not to downplay Iran's move toward cooperation - a promising step - but Iran's promise will only allay the fears and reservations of the rose-tinted spectacle crowd. I'm sure there are factions within Iran that genuinely want to suspend nuclear weapons production, but the more conservative and hard-line mullahs will seek to continue building an arsenal capable challenging the West. I'm not for nuclear proliferation, but recent examples show that a nuclear-capable nation stands a better chance of standing up for itself. Witness North Korea and Pakistan. The day will not come soon enough when all nations finally destroy their nuclear arsenals and the means to replenish them.
I would love to think that it would foster confidence with the US which would be reciprocated and could form the basis of improved relationships. However it appears that the US has an anti-Iranian agenda, and this seems evident when you look at the fact that the US aims to discredit the notion that Iran needs nuclear energy by stating that it has plentiful fossil fuel reserves when it was actually originally a US government in the 70s that planned to develop eight nuclear power stations in the same country. This stinks of spin similar to the Iraq War lead up, although I am not insinuating that they want a war as such. But where there is this kind of spin, it is difficult to trust that the American viewpoint will be balanced and fair. Either way, let us hope and pray for the best, and an improvement in the Geopolitical scene. NT
NT, London http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/3212038.stm
What Will Make Them Stop?
October 27, 2003
Carrots? Sticks? Inside Bush's diplomatic struggle to persuade Iran and North Korea to give up their nuke programs.
Foreign policy never seems to come easily to the Bush Administration. Consider the controversial light-water nuclear plant that Iran is building, with Russian help, at the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr. The prospect of Iran's mullahs controlling a 1,000-MW reactor capable of generating plutonium has worried Washington for years. With Tehran facing an Oct. 31 deadline for coming clean on its nuclear ventures, you'd think the Administration would have a clear take on Bushehr. Think again. There's the conciliatory view: "We could conceive of them keeping the reactor," says a senior State Department aide. If the Russians took back all the spent fuel, as they have proposed, "that would be acceptable." And the hard-line slant: "No way. That's not the policy," says a senior Administration official. The U.S. will never accept Bushehr "as long as we think they have a weapons program."
So what is it? Conciliation? Hard line? Such divisions have plagued President George W. Bush's approach to nuclear-security issues with both Iran and North Korea, the remaining points on the "axis of evil." The neocons argue that the only way to curb the suspected atomic ambitions of these regimes is to depose the rulers. The moderates believe that engaging adversaries in dialogue can diminish the threat more easily and cheaply. So the Bush team has alternately ignored, threatened, cajoled and coerced the two countries, driven not by a coherent strategy but by a disorderly struggle at the highest levels to find common tactical ground between two irreconcilable approaches, engagement and confrontation.
For the moment, a President viewed abroad as a go-it-alone cowboy is looking more like a born-again multilateralist. The potentially important deal that Iran signed with European leaders last week to slow its nuclear program could push Bush to accept a level of engagement with Tehran that his hard-line advisers have resisted. And his offer of a written, multinational security guarantee for North Korea if it gives up its nuclear ambitions could commit the U.S. to protracted negotiations there as well. A President famed for his harsh, admonitory tone struck a conciliatory note aboard Air Force One last week, telling reporters, "I've been saying all along that not every policy issue needs to be dealt with by force."
Bush has uttered similar words on occasion, but they have tended to get lost in the confrontational politics that the hard-line part of his Administration espouses. In the heady days after Saddam Hussein's statue fell in Baghdad's Firdos Square, when regime change seemed so easy, some hawks even suggested that North Korea or Iran should be next. But with the U.S. military still busy in Iraq and Afghanistan, intervention if it ever was an option seems out of the question. And as Bush heads into an uncertain election year, he may wish to avoid creating any new international crises.
The stakes could hardly be higher. Iran has long been considered one of the world's most active sponsors of terrorism. With nuclear weapons, it could pose precisely the kind of threat Bush argued was so dangerous in prewar Iraq. North Korea is the world's most active proliferator of advanced weapons and the self-proclaimed possessor of a bomb or two. Backed into a corner, it might react with reckless irrationality. What comes next will depend on whether Bush's turn to diplomacy is a temporary expedient or a sincere strategic shift. Wise observers note that the twin efforts last week to cool these nuclear threats represent a beginning, not a resolution. Washington's hard-liners aren't about to give up easily, any more than the tough factions in Tehran and Pyongyang will. If things go badly, the U.S. could easily find itself back in confrontation mode.
Here are the twin threats and the Bush Administration's efforts to contain them.
The Bush Administration already had grievances with Iran, like its export of revolutionary ideology and support for terrorism. Although two-way contacts kept Iran from meddling in the Afghan and Iraq wars, Administration hard-liners successfully rebuffed periodic State Department proposals to reach out to the modestly reformist government of President Mohammed Khatami, under the fundamental axiom that the Bush Administration does not do business with outlaws.
Then earlier this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) learned that Iran was cheating on nukes. Since it signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970, Iran is allowed to pursue peaceful nuclear development under the watchful eyes of the IAEA. But in August 2002 exiled dissidents revealed that Iran had secretly built an underground uranium-enrichment facility at Natanz equipped with centrifuges that could spin out weapons-grade uranium. If not stopped, the plant could give Iran enough enriched uranium for two bombs a year, with the first available by the end of the decade (says the U.S.) or maybe in just two years (says Israel). Inspectors also wanted to know why Iran had conducted experiments converting unreported uranium tetrafluoride into uranium metal a process necessary for bomb production. And then IAEA inspectors found the Natanz centrifuges were tainted with traces of highly enriched uranium, a telltale sign that Iran could be brewing fissile material. Iran denied that it was covertly making bombs and claimed that the centrifuges had been contaminated before they reached Iran.
The evidence seemed sufficient to the Administration. Washington charged Iran with violating its NPT commitments and insisted that the agency take Iran's noncompliance to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose punitive sanctions. To Tehran's dismay, the international community sided with the U.S. "The Iranians are behaving in a way that leads people to think they have something to hide," said a British official. The IAEA agreed unanimously in September to give Iran until Oct. 31 to explain itself or face possible U.N. sanctions.
The approaching deadline has added fuel to Iran's internal political struggle. President Khatami's reformers, according to an adviser, feared that defiance would cost the country its hard-won trade with Europe and Japan and any hope of emerging from U.S.-imposed isolation. Iran's hard-liners wanted to keep the centrifuges spinning, quit the NPT and let Iran bully its way to regional supremacy as an A-bomb owner, according to diplomats and Iranian analysts. Both sides suspected that the U.S. was using the nuclear agency to force a showdown. "Americans have been looking for pretexts for 25 years now," Abdullah Ramezanzadeh, Khatami's official spokesman, told TIME. "The neocons in the U.S. don't believe in the needs and demands of other nations, and they don't believe in dialogue. They want to use force."
Iran's embattled President spent three months maneuvering against the hard-liners. According to close associates, he built a broad coalition for a moderate response to IAEA demands among pragmatists in the military and clergy, reformers in parliament and Iranian public opinion. Because the conservatives never publicly claimed that Iran wanted a nuclear bomb and Iran's top cleric once called such weapons un-Islamic, it was not humiliating to climb down. "In the end," Khatami's adviser says, the President convinced the country's real boss, Supreme Leader Ayatullah Ali Khamenei, that defying the IAEA would entail formidable risks to Iran's national interests.
What made it all work was the intervention of Britain, France and Germany, which devised a face-saving deal. The three countries wrote to Khatami in late August, offering to recognize Iran's right to peaceful nuclear development and to provide technological "cooperation," meaning trade, if Iran would meet the IAEA demands. That let Khatami show hard-liners that Iran would profit by giving in and prove the country is prepared to play by the world's rules. By the time the three European nations' Foreign Ministers arrived in Tehran at Khatami's invitation last week, Iran was ready to make the announcement. The country would sign the Additional Protocol, which calls for unfettered inspections and a suspension of uranium-enrichment and -reprocessing activities and requires Iran to answer all questions about the "possible failures and deficiencies" of its nuclear program.
While Iran hailed the agreement as a major breakthrough and Europe basked in the success of its politics of engagement, the U.S. reserved judgment. U.S. officials say they knew and approved of the initiative, and Bush grudgingly described the deal as "an effective approach." But privately, U.S. officials, especially the neocons, are charging that the deal was a ploy designed to buy Iran time to procure the Bomb. Washington is skeptical that Iran will follow through on its paper promises and fears that the Europeans may grow soft on Iran and prove more eager to accommodate a dangerous miscreant than to hold it to its word. But without the European intervention, there probably wouldn't have been a deal. Iranians, says Tehran University political-science professor Hadi Semati, would never have given in to American bullying. "If it had been the stick alone," he says, "there would have been no choice but to go the North Korean route."
Many analysts say any agreement to curb Iran's nukes deserves a cheer. But will Tehran live up to its promises? Administration skeptics are worried that the deal merely delays, not derails, an eventual confrontation. At the end of last week, Tehran delivered to the IAEA in Vienna a thick, indexed binder containing its "full" declaration detailing the hows and whys of its suspect behavior. The Iranian ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, told TIME the report admitted "mistakes" that resulted not from attempts to build weapons but from ignorance of IAEA requirements and a desire to be "discreet" because of the threat of U.S. sanctions. More troubling, he said, the document does not resolve a key issue: how the centrifuges were contaminated. The ambassador insisted, as Iran has done for weeks, that the parts came from middlemen who got them in several countries, "but we do not know where." The IAEA must now attempt to determine whether this is a dodge.
Nor did the agreement with the Europeans specify when Iran would sign the new inspections protocol or how long it would take the country's elected government and clerical overseers to ratify it. The same day Iran promised to suspend reprocessing efforts, Iran's national security council chief Hassan Rowhani said, "We voluntarily chose to do it, which means it could last for one day or one year." In any case, the goal is to make the voluntary suspension permanent and get Iran to stop making nuclear fuel. The Europeans hope to persuade Tehran by guaranteeing that they will provide supplies. But no matter how diligently Iran respects NPT rules or how well monitored its program is, if it retains the capacity to enrich uranium, it can revert to the bomb business on short notice unless the facilities are completely dismantled.
The nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula has hung over the U.S. ever since Bush declared his "skepticism" about the regime. "I loathe Kim Jong Il," he told author Bob Woodward. "I've got a visceral reaction to this guy because he is starving his people." Bush said that, unlike the Clinton Administration, his would not submit to Kim's nuclear blackmail by rewarding the obdurate nation for abandoning its illicit ambitions. For the next 18 months, North Korea was pretty much ignored.
But Kim's regime forced the U.S. to take notice in October 2002 by admitting that it had cheated on its 1994 accord with Clinton to stop pursuing nukes and was well down the road toward making some. Now the threat was grave: North Korea had tested a missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to the U.S., and the cash-strapped regime could conceivably sell some of its stock to terrorists. North Korea's worried neighbors felt Washington's harsh line had driven Kim to reckless behavior. In January Pyongyang quit the NPT, threw out inspectors and accelerated its plutonium production. The North is thought to have one or two bombs plus fuel to make up to six. But as Pyongyang watched Bush charge into Iraq, it fretted that it could be next. It demanded that the U.S. sign a nonaggression pact renouncing hostile intent as a prerequisite for a nuclear stand-down. The U.S. said it would strike no bargain unless the North scrapped its nukes first.
Since taking office, Secretary of State Colin Powell has tried to nudge Bush toward a diplomatic overture. As the crisis built this year, Powell finally persuaded Bush and China to form a united front with Russia, Japan and South Korea to negotiate with the North. The show of unity at a six-way session in Beijing in August highlighted the North's isolation, but the principal antagonists did not budge. Pyongyang said it was not interested in continuing talks. The allies grumbled there was no point in pressing ahead if the U.S. was just going to restate its absolutist position.
As Bush prepared for the trip he made to Asia two weeks ago, he felt pressure to offer a concession that might break the stalemate. If the talks collapsed, his Asian allies would blame him. On the weekend of Oct. 11, he called advisers to Camp David to thrash out an acceptable compromise. The group proposed that Bush offer a written multilateral "agreement with a small a"--not a treaty assuring that the U.S. would not attack the North. In return, Kim would have to start dismantling his nukes.
Bush's offer, made in a private meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Bangkok, was out there for exactly two days before the North dismissed it as "laughable." But it played well elsewhere, especially among the anxious Asian allies. It now falls to China, which has grudgingly taken on the role of chief mediator, to entice Pyongyang back to the negotiating table. Prospects brightened Saturday as the North abruptly reversed itself and said it would "consider" Bush's proposal.
For the moment, multilateralism rules. Bush sounded like a convert when he told reporters he welcomed Europe's involvement in Iran as well as the Asian effort in Korea. "It's the same approach," he said, "a collective voice trying to convince a leader to change behavior." But few believe Iran and North Korea are ready to give up their nuclear dreams. And fewer still think Bush has permanently metamorphosed from Lone Ranger to great statesman. On his way back from Asia, Bush couldn't help bashing Kim: "I just can't respect anyone that would really let his people starve and shrink in size as a result of malnutrition." Back home, the neocons and hard-liners who surround the President are just waiting for the poofy multilateral deals to fall apart. Then they will have the case they want to go full bore after regime change in the rest of the "axis of evil."
with Scott Macleod/Tehran and Massimo Calabresi/Washington With reporting by Matthew Cooper/with Bush, J.F.O. McAllister/London and Andrew Purvis/Vienna http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,526509,00.html
Kuwait Unfazed About Iran Opposition To Dorra Devt-Source
October 27, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
MANAMA, Bahrain -- Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will jointly go ahead with plans to develop shared oil and gas fields, including the Dorra gasfield, which straddles Iranian territory at its northern tip, an oil source close to the program said Monday.
Kuwait and Saudi oil ministers met in Riyadh Saturday and agreed to form a joint committee to draw up a development strategy for both onshore and offshore oil fields in the neutral zone between the two countries.
The source said a program to conduct seismic survey at the offshore Dorra gasfield will be carried out soon to update data that was last collected in 1982 on the field. International tender for this work is expected shortly, he said but wouldn't give a timeframe.
Iran said Sunday that it was against the Saudi-Kuwait plans to develop the Dorra field - which it calls Arash - until negotiations on demarcating the Iranian/Kuwaiti maritime border are completed.
"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.
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.
In May 2000, Iran stopped drilling operations at Dorra after protests from both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
However, the source told Dow Jones Newswires that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will work in the southern part of the field, in their own territorial waters, and not in the Iranian side.
"They (Iranians) are talking about the north and we are talking about the south (part of the field", the source said.
He added that Kuwait and Iran are continuing with efforts to delineate their maritime borders.
Kuwait is hastening the development of Dorra because it lacks other gas reserves which it badly needs to fuel power stations, and as a cleaner substitute to heavy fuel oil.
Dorra was first discovered in November 1967 and drilling of six exploratory wells then proved the commercial reserves of gas and condensates at the field.
Recoverable gas reserves at the field are estimated at around seven trillion cubic feet, with a potential production capacity of between 600 million cubic feet and 1.5 billion cubic feet a day.
-By Abdulla Fardan, Dow Jones Newswires; (973) 530758; abdullah.fardan@ dowjones.com http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=10&d=27&a=6
EU Officials to Pressure Iran on Nukes
October 27, 2003
The Associated Press
BRUSSELS, Belgium -- European Ministers urged Iran on Monday to follow through on its recently announced commitment to suspend uranium enrichment efforts and allow increased international inspections of its nuclear program.
The 15 foreign ministers of the European Union seek to maintain pressure on Iran ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline for Tehran to prove its nuclear program is peaceful.
The European Union, Iran's largest trading partner, has tied future trade and aid to cooperation on the nuclear issue.
Iran's Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the government "is currently studying" carrying out the suspension of uranium enrichment. But the ministry did not say when the step would be taken.
Iran on Oct. 21 told visiting foreign ministers from Britain, Germany and France that it would suspend uranium enrichment and sign a protocol allowing spot checks of its nuclear programs.
Though it gave no timetable for its actions, the agreement was a breakthrough because Iran had previously insisted it would continue enriching uranium to non-weapons levels for a nuclear program that it says is intended to only produce power as its oil stocks decline.
Iran's agreement came ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline set by the board of governors of the U.N's International Atomic Energy Agency.
The agency's board of governors meets Nov. 20 and could ask the U.N. Security Council to review Iran's nuclear programs if it finds that suspicions remain about a possible weapons program in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The council could impose sanctions. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/world/7115282.htm
Nobel Prize Winner Tells Iranians to Go Out and Vote
October 27, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has added her voice to appeals for voters in Iran to turn out during next February's parliamentary elections.
Her appeal comes amid widespread concern among reformists that the elections on February 20 will see a repeat of this year's municipal elections, which were marred by widespread voter apathy and conservative victories.
"To shun the ballot box does not cure any ailment," Ebadi said in an interview published Monday by the Iran News newspaper. "In the city council elections a great number of people did this, and did they gain anything from it?"
"When you shun the ballot box, you do nothing else except leave the field open to your competitor."
Iran's embattled reformist movement is facing its next major test in February, amid massive frustration over the camp's failure to push through its much-hyped plan to shake-up the way Iran is run.
Reformists have controlled parliament since 2000, but much of their legislation has been blocked by more powerful conservatives, particularly those in the Guardians Council -- an unelected senate-like body.
The vote will also be a test for pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami, whose position could become untenable if he no longer has the backing of parliament.
Although Ebadi says she -- like many other Iranian women -- voted for Khatami in 1997 and 2001, she asserted that she does "not think like he does" and reiterated her desire to keep out of politics.
"May God not bring the day when I entertain the idea of attaining power," she told the paper. "I know that I would never enter any political group. I will not enter the halls of government ."
Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on women's and children's rights in Iran, as well as her defence of political dissidents -- a campaign that has angered many prominent hardliners in Iran. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=19084&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
Tehran Backtracks On Pledge To End Uranium Enrichment
October 27, 2003
Radio Free Europe
Iran appears to be having second thoughts about its promise to the European Union to suspend its uranium-enrichment effort -- a central part of the international crisis over Iran's suspected nuclear-weapons program. The Foreign Ministry now says Tehran will have to consider the "modalities of a suspension" before taking action, while the arms-control community remains determined that Iran renounce its enrichment activities.
Prague -- Iran is showing signs of backtracking on its pledge to European Union leaders last week to fully cooperate with demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it stop activities that could lead to the development of a nuclear weapons capability.
One of the key steps Tehran promised to take was to cease clandestinely enriching uranium. In an accord reached with the visiting foreign ministers of Great Britain, France, and Germany on 21 October, the Iranian government said it would suspend that activity for an unspecified "interim period," as well as accept more intrusive IAEA monitoring of its nuclear-related facilities.
But over the weekend, Tehran modified that pledge by saying it had yet to suspend uranium enrichment and would need further domestic deliberation before deciding whether to do so. A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hamid Reza Asefi, told Western correspondents in Tehran that Iranian officials are now considering what he called the "modalities of a suspension." He gave no further details.
The hesitation to fully commit to suspending uranium enrichment comes less than a week before the 31 October deadline the IAEA had set for Iran to fully answer all remaining questions about its nuclear activities and to demonstrate it is pursuing only civilian-use nuclear programs. The IAEA has previously threatened to refer its concerns over Iran's suspected weapons development to the UN Security Council -- a measure that could ultimately lead to the council levying sanctions against Iran -- if Tehran fails to meet the agency's demands.
Iran's uranium-enrichment effort worries international arms-control experts because it could provide the direct means for developing a nuclear bomb. Iran's enrichment activities first came to light in the summer of last year when an exiled Iranian opposition group reported the existence of a secret pilot enrichment plant at Natanz, south of Tehran. A visit to the site by IAEA inspectors earlier this year revealed Iran had constructed some 160 operational gas centrifuges for enriching uranium in fortified facilities largely being built underground.
Fred Wheling, an arms control expert at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, said the secret nature of the site casts doubt on Tehran's subsequent explanations that it is purely intended to develop fuel for commercial reactors. "If Iran was to develop an indigenous enrichment capacity, it could eventually make its own fuel, which could then be used in [Iran's planned commercial reactor at] Bushehr," Wheling said. "But if that were really the case, then you wouldn't need to go to all the trouble of having a clandestine facility and acquiring uranium under the table to test it and so on."
Iran plans to build up to seven electricity-generating commercial reactors by 2020 and is currently constructing the first one with Russian technical assistance near the Gulf port of Bushehr.
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory, Tehran has the right to build the reactors and produce its own reactor fuel through uranium enrichment. However, if Iran already has begun enriching uranium at Natanz, as many arms experts suspect, that secret progress would be in violation of the treaty's requirement that signatories declare such activities to the IAEA so inspectors can monitor them. The monitoring is intended to ensure that no enriched uranium is diverted to weapons making.
In one sign that Iran might have already begun enriching uranium, samples taken by inspectors this summer reportedly found traces of uranium at Natanz enriched to a level of 20 percent. That is well above the 2 to 3 percent level needed for commercial reactor fuel. Tehran has said the readings are due to preexisting contamination on equipment it received from unidentified foreign sources and do not indicate any Iranian weapons program.
Charles Ferguson, a nuclear expert at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, called uranium enriched to a 20 percent level "right at the dividing line" between civilian and military-use nuclear programs. He says that uranium enriched to 7 percent or less is only usable in commercial applications, while 20 percent is already adequate to produce a primitive nuclear device -- primitive because the result would weigh close to one metric ton and be difficult to deploy. "If you had 800 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium 235, you could -- in principle -- produce a nuclear bomb," Ferguson said. "But it is hard to work with that much material.... As enrichment [level] goes higher, you need less uranium to form a bomb."
To build the kind of lightweight bomb that could be deployed by missiles or strike aircraft, an enrichment level of 90 percent would be needed. Critics of Iran's nuclear activities say Tehran appears to be interested in developing such lightweight bombs to give it a modern nuclear force. If so, the work at Natanz could be another step on the long road toward that goal.
Some nonproliferation experts have predicted that Iran could develop the capability to produce an operational nuclear bomb in seven to nine years if left unobstructed.
As Iran now hesitates to suspend its uranium enrichment activities, it is unclear whether the hesitation is motivated by its stated desire to develop a fully indigenous nuclear energy capability or by a secret desire to keep a dual-use program that could directly contribute to building nuclear weapons.
Making a final decision to give up uranium enrichment would be difficult for Tehran, in either case. http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2003/10/27102003170152.asp
Renault Signs Production Joint Venture with Iran's Idro
October 27, 2003
PARIS -- French automaker Renault said it had signed an agreement with Iran's state auto holding company Idro for the joint production and marketing of Renault's new X90 low-end model, aimed at emerging markets.
The joint venture will be launched in early 2004, with X90 production slated to begin in 2006. It will be held 51 percent by Renault and 49 percent by AID, an entity composed of Idro and Iran's two main automakers, Iran Khodro and SAIPA.
The joint venture plans to invest 300 millions euros (352.7 million dollars) in the first phase of the project, a Renault spokesman said.
Production will begin at existing Khodro and SAIPA plants, with initial capacity of 100,000 vehicles for each company. Depending on demand, a new production site could be built by the Renault/AID venture.
"This programme is in keeping with Renault's international development strategy, which foresees an annual production of over 500,000 units of this (X90) model throughout the world by 2010," Renault said.
The code-named X90 car will also be produced from 2004 in Romania, where it will be carry a sticker price beginning at 5,000 euros.
It also will be assembled in Russia, Morocco and Colombia.
In Iran, Iran Khodro and SAIPA will be responsible for marketing the X90.
These two groups already are partners with Peugeot and Citroen, the two brands of the French group PSA. Peugeot sold almost 119,000 cars in Iran in the first nine months of 2003, and Citroen sold 3,200 units.
Until now, however, their rival Renault had not been present in the Iranian market, where foreign car imports have been banned since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
In recent years PSA; Japanese automakers Nissan, 44.4 percent owned by Renault, and Mazda; and South Korean company Kia have been producing cars in Iran with local partners.
Iran, with its population of 67 million, has had a booming car market for the past three years, Renault noted. The French company estimated the Iranian market would reach 700,000 vehicles this year. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1519&ncid=1189&e=1&u=/afp/20031027/bs_afp/france_iran_auto_venture
Europeans Hail Tehran´s Promise on Nukes, But Israel Says: Beware
October 27, 2003
JERUSALEM -- Israel is warning that Iran´s acquiescence to a European ultimatum to freeze development of nuclear power should not be trusted.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Cabinet this week that Iran does not really intend to suspend its nuclear project, and is "only trying to buy time."
"Iran´s agreement to put its nuclear project under supervision should be regarded as temporary and limited," Mofaz said.
Key members of the opposition Labor Party, such as the former defense minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, and the former deputy defense minister, Ephraim Sneh, share Mofaz´s view.
"I have no doubt that the Iranians cheated the Europeans," Ben-Eliezer told JTA on Monday. "The Europeans see mostly their economic interest, and they are shortsighted."
"The Iranians are pulling the legs of everyone," Sneh said. "Their problem is to buy time. They have pushed back the immediate pressure and will now negotiate over implementing the agreement."
"The problem is that the Europeans want to be cheated," he said, suggesting that the positive reaction in Europe to Tehran´s announcement of compliance is indication of how fervently Europe wants to avoid a serious rift with Iran over the issue.
A special team from the International Atomic Energy Agency went to Iran at the beginning of this month and is still there. The U.N.-backed group has set an Oct. 31 deadline for Iran to come clean.
The foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany last week claimed they had persuaded Iran´s ruling ayatollahs to suspend the country´s suspected uranium enrichment program and allow international inspection of nuclear sites.
The E.U. foreign ministers said that once Iran signed the protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the International Atomic Energy Agency approves the country´s revised nuclear program, Europe would provide Iran with technical know-how.
No one in Israel denies that, whatever its ultimate goals, Iran is trying hard to be nice toward the West. This week, it claimed to have deported 225 Al-Qaida members to their home countries.
The United States has said that none of the men appeared to be top members of the terrorist group, but the fact that Iran boasted about the deportations shows that Iran wants to move from confrontation to dialogue, observers said.
"The Iranians have been facing a difficult situation," Ephraim Kam, deputy head of Tel Aviv University´s Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, said. "They could have resisted the European ultimatum and proceeded with the uranium enrichment program. However, this would have meant facing a difficult battle in the Security Council and worse yet possible military action by the U.S."
By doing so, Kam said, Iran runs the risk that it will be forced to expose more to the West than it would like.
Iran´s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid-Reza Asefi, announced Sunday that Iran had stopped the uranium enrichment process. Someone in the regime apparently thought the spokesman was going too far, however, and his statement later was corrected to say that the country was "negotiating" to stop the uranium enrichment process.
"This is an indication of the internal debate in Iran," said Menashe Amir, head of the Persian program on Voice of Israel radio. Amir, considered a top expert on internal Iranian politics, said in an interview that the clerics who run the country are following a two-faced policy.
On the one hand, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei has guided Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran´s national security council, to reach an agreement with the European foreign ministers, Amir said. On the other, the ayatollahs that run the country instigated massive demonstrations protesting Iran´s intention to cooperate with the Europeans.
The newspaper Jumhuri Islami, owned by Khamenei, Iran´s "Supreme Guide," lashed out against "those who pull Iran by the nose and want to bow before the U.S."
"If Khamenei wants to avoid confrontation, why those acts of protest?" Amir asked. His explanation: "Iran feels forced to please Europe. It feels that such an understanding would serve as a safeguard against American intervention against Iran."
Iran has regarded itself as a regional power since the days of the shah. As such, it has aspired to arm itself with both conventional and non-conventional weapons, including ballistic missiles and, more recently, nuclear arms.
One of Iran´s major suppliers has been Russia, which has supplied Iran with more than 100 T-72 tanks since the early 1990s. Three years ago, Iran adopted a 25-year armament plan that relies heavily on Russian arms and technology.
Things got trickier when the cooperation extended to the nuclear sphere. In the mid-1990s, the two countries agreed that Russia would build an $800 million nuclear reactor at Bushehr, Iran. Both Iran and Russia have claimed that the reactor is for civilian purposes only though some question why a country with such large oil reserves needs nuclear energy.
Iran has stressed time and again that its nuclear installations are subject to supervision of the IAEA, and it is committed to the Non- Proliferation Treaty.
Both Israel and the United States doubt Iran´s declarations. Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze´evi-Farkash, head of Israel´s military intelligence, recently told the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee that both Iran and Saudi Arabia are trying to obtain tactical nuclear arms "in the immediate future."
If Iran is not stopped, it could complete its uranium enrichment project by the summer of 2004, which would allow it to produce its own nuclear bombs by 2006.
Considering that Iran´s Shihab-3 missile has a range of nearly 8,000 miles and can reach any point in Israel and that one of the country´s hard-line clerics has threatened Israel with nuclear obliteration Iran´s nuclear progress poses a real threat to the Jewish state.
The Europeans intervened due to their concern that further missile development also could threaten European targets.
Kam, who is finishing a book on Iran´s nuclear option, doubts that Iran will give up on its nuclear program, even after the recent agreement.
In addition, some worry that Iran could follow the example of North Korea and resume its nuclear program at a later date with all its equipment and technology intact.
"No doubt, the penetrating control will make it more difficult for them, but it makes more sense that they will seek clandestine ways to develop their nuclear option, and they may even at one time withdraw from the" non- proliferation treaty, Kam said.
Still, he said, "every month of suspension is a month gained."
Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, agreed.
"I welcome the developments," he said. "I hope the Iranians are changing course, but I do not underplay the possibility that they are simply buying time."
Ben-Eliezer was less hopeful.
"I have said more than once that Iran makes me more concerned than Iraq did," he said. "Iran poses an existential threat to Israel."
According to media reports, Israel has been considering a pre-emptive blow against Iranian nuclear installations, similar to the 1981 air raid on Iraq´s nuclear reactor. Israel has dismissed the reports.
Reserve Maj. Gen. David Ivri, who was commander of the Israel Air Force at the time of the Iraq attack, said in a recent interview that a military raid should be the last resort.
Israel "has the capability to attack," he said. Still, he said, the main goal "should be to try to prevent the neighboring countries from attaining weapons of mass destruction, but through diplomatic means." http://www.jta.org/page_view_story.asp?intarticleid=13368&intcategoryid=1
Powell Renews U.S. Push for Iran Terror Suspects
October 27, 2003
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday insisted that Iran hand over senior terror suspects even as U.S. intelligence evaluates a list of 225 suspected operatives provided to the United Nations by the Tehran government.
How Iran responds -- and how serious is its offer to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency -- could determine whether the Bush administration tries to reverse more than two decades of diplomatic disconnect.
On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iran last month gave the U.N. Security Council the names of 225 suspected Al Qaeda operatives it had detained after they had crossed the country's border.
But Powell told reporters Monday that the administration was seeking "clarification" of the information Iran had provided to the United Nations.
Meanwhile, he insisted that any Al Qaeda operatives held by Iran should be turned over to their country of origin or to the United States for interrogation and trial.
Iran in the past has turned over some suspects, but Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said: "We are not aware of any particular progress with regards to the Al Qaeda who are currently in detention."
And, Boucher said, the Iranians themselves have said they were holding senior officials of the terror network headed by Usama bin Laden.
American counter-terrorism officials said last week that a handful of senior Al Qaeda operatives who fled to Iran after the war in Afghanistan two years ago may have developed a working relationship with a secretive military unit linked to Iran's religious hard-liners.
The U.S. government isn't certain of the extent of the contacts with the Iranian unit, called the Qods Force, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
U.S. officials have said intelligence suggests that Al Qaeda figures in Iran include Saif al-Adl, a top Al Qaeda agent possibly connected to bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last May; Abu Mohammed al-Masri, wanted in connection with the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998; Abu Musab Zarqawi, whom some U.S. officials describe as the key link between Al Qaeda and toppled Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein; and Usama bin Laden's eldest son, Saad.
The Al Qaeda operatives are believed to have fled to Iran from neighboring Afghanistan during the Taliban's fall in late 2001 or early 2002.
Iranian spokesman Asefi, when asked Sunday how many Al Qaeda operatives were in Iranian custody, said only they had "a number of them." He said Iran would not reveal the number and names of Al Qaeda suspects in custody for security reasons.
Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi confirmed for the first time in July that Iran was holding "a large number of small and big-time elements of Al Qaeda."
On the nuclear front, Iran last week promised European governments it would expand IAEA inspections and suspend enrichment of uranium in response to suspicions it is developing a nuclear weapons program.
"We're looking for action," Boucher said, sounding a skeptical note. Until that happens, the spokesman said he could not speculate on any improvement in relations. http://www.foxnews.com.edgesuite.net/story/0,2933,101370,00.html
I was just speaking with friends in Iran and they are telling me that Iranians inside Iran are celebrating American holidays. They are getting together in secret to celebrate Halloween and buying turkey's to celebrate our Thanksgiving. Interesting.
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