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To: DoctorZIn
November 01, 2003

Lawmaker Fears for U.S. Lecturer in Iran

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Hard-liners have refused to release a jailed University of California lecturer despite demands from government officials, a top lawmaker said Saturday, expressing fears he could meet the same fate as a Canadian photojournalist who was killed while in custody.

Dariush Zahedi, an Iranian-born American citizen who lectures at UC-Berkeley, has been held since July, when he was detained on suspicion of espionage activities while visiting relatives in Iran.

Mohsen Mirdamadi, who heads the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the Intelligence Ministry, which is dominated by reformists, have requested his release. But officials in the judiciary, which is controlled by hard-liners, have refused.

"The outcome is that they keep such people in solitary confinement for a long time and put him under various pressures to confess to espionage," Mirdamadi said, according to Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency.

Mirdamadi said if Zahedi "resists pressures" during questioning to confess to the espionage allegations, "the story of Zahra Kazemi may repeat and they (judiciary officials) won't accept responsibility."

Kazemi, 54, died July 10 after suffering fatal head injuries during 77 hours of interrogation. She was detained June 23 while taking photos outside north Tehran's Evin prison during student-led protests.

Tehran's hard-line prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi accused Kazemi of spying, but Parliament has issued a report saying there was no basis for that charge and accusing Mortazavi of covering up the killing.

Zahedi is being held in the same prison Kazemi was detained in.

Mirdamadi said Zahedi was among a group of people detained several months ago on Intelligence Ministry orders on suspicion of espionage.

"After interrogating them, the Intelligence Ministry concluded that espionage didn't apply to them and demanded their release. Others were released but the (Tehran) prosecutor general office didn't release Zahedi," the legislator said.

Mohammad Shadabi, a prosecutor's office spokesman, rejected Mirdamadi's comments, telling The Associated Press that "Zahedi is in excellent health and safe. There is nothing threatening him."

Shadabi said the Intelligence Ministry can't decide whether a detained person should be released or not, but said Zahedi's case could be resolved in the next two or three days.

Zahedi, a part-time lecturer at the Berkeley, Calif. campus since 2001, has written a book titled "The Iranian Revolution Then and Now: Indicators of Regime Instability" and was supposed to teach a class on war and peace in the Middle East. He also teaches at Santa Clara University, in the San Francisco Bay area.
20 posted on 11/01/2003 1:10:45 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
NOVEMBER 1, 2003

The domestic angle of Iran’s nuclear deal

The announcement last week that Iran had reached an agreement over its nuclear programs with the British, French and German foreign ministers surprised the world. The three EU ministers brokered a deal with Iran under which the Islamic regime agreed to suspend its controversial uranium enrichment program and accepted a tougher regime of unannounced inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). For months there had been bitter disagreements amongst the Iranians over how to respond to the Oct. 31 deadline set by the IAEA by which time they must hand over details of their nuclear program. Hard-liners, including many senior clergy, urged the government that Iran ought not to give in to the ultimatum, and even that it should leave the Nuclear Non- proliferation Treaty (NPT).

One after another Iranian leaders, including reformist president Mohammad Khatami, insisted that Iran would not give in to what they saw as US blackmail under the cover of the IAEA demands. The general argument which was propagated by the hard-liners accused the Zionist lobbies (which they believe control US foreign policy) of being the main driving force behind the mobilization of the IAEA and the international community against Iran’s nuclear program. They insisted on Tehran’s right to pursue and to acquire nuclear technology and know-how. Under no circumstances, they felt, should Iran abandon its research into atomic power.

The reformists on the other hand avoided accusing the IAEA of being an agent of the US, and criticized the establishment for creating the crisis in the first place through the pursuit of naïve policies. However, attempting to find a middle course between the hard-liners and the IAEA, the reformists nevertheless insisted on Iran’s right to pursue a peaceful non-military nuclear program. In short, the indications seemed to be that Iran would not yield to the IAEA ultimatum according to which Tehran had until the end of October to sign an additional NPT protocol allowing more stringent inspection of its nuclear sites.

It was against this background that the Four-Parties agreement (between Iran, the UK, France and Germany) was announced. Not only had Iran declared that it would sign the protocol, it also pledged to suspend its uranium enrichment program. The EU ministers had undoubtedly pulled a considerable diplomatic achievement out of the bag. They had proved that dialogue, negotiation and patience were far more effective in the search for a deal with Tehran than stone-walling and threats of sanctions.
The latter approach has been followed by the US in its dealings with Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, with few positive results. Even Washington did not try to hide its excitement of what the big three had achieved.
In Iran itself the news of the agreement was a bombshell. The reformists welcomed the decision whilst at the same time criticizing the conservatives for making it so late. They argued that if Iran had decided earlier it would have paid a lower price and perhaps even have been able to continue with uranium enrichment. Moreover, they criticized the Iranian government for by-passing the Majlis (Parliament) completely over the nuclear issue.
The conservatives and the more hard-line groups however were in a difficult situation. For weeks they had attacked the IAEA and accused those who supported the signing of the protocol of treason and giving in to the wishes of the enemies of Islam, the Zionists and the US. Now they were faced with an unexpected fait accompli by the regime. Iran’s rulers, anticipating the problem, moved quickly to prevent any backlash over the deal. The Cabinet spokesman, along with two senior clergy close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the agreement with the three European foreign ministers was taken under the close and direct supervision of the supreme leader. Any criticism of the agreement would therefore be tantamount to disagreeing with his judgement.

Other conservatives decided to defend the deal as a victory for Iran against its enemies, who they claimed had been foiled in an attempt to prepare UN sanctions against the Islamic regime on the grounds of non-compliance with the NPT.

These explanations, however, failed to convince the more radical Islamists.

On Friday, two days after signing the agreement, hundreds of students demonstrated against the agreement after Friday prayers in Tehran.

Mr. Hassan Rowhani, a senior clergyman close to the supreme leader and head of the powerful High National Security Council, the body that negotiated with the three European ministers, fought back, stating during a huge student rally on Sunday Oct. 26 that Iran had achieved 100 percent of all that it had wanted to achieve through the agreement. The speech was obviously an attempt by the conservatives to appease the hard-line critics of the agreement. Rowhani added that Iran’s co-operation with the IAEA and the policy of transparency and trust would only continue if the three European states in turn kept their promises.

Clearly, signing the agreement was a very difficult step for the conservatives. Nevertheless, after choosing this path they now seem committed to working with the IAEA. European assistance with the development of non-offensive atomic technology in Iran is now necessary to ensure that the regime can stay the course.

21 posted on 11/01/2003 1:23:28 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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