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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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1 posted on 11/02/2003 12:10:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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2 posted on 11/02/2003 12:15:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Saudis fear that Britain sees them as the next Iran

(Filed: 02/11/2003)

Saudi officials believe that Britain and the US have begun a smear campaign against their country, writes John Simpson.

There was silence among the orderly lines of men sitting cross-legged down the length of a hall in the King Abd-al Aziz Mosque. Someone looked at his watch. Another man fiddled with the box of food in front of him, caught the disapproving looks of his neighbours, and stopped.

Then came the stuttering of a microphone, and expectant movement in the lines. The instant the muezzin's voice proclaimed the end of the day's fasting, the hungry men pulled their boxes open and started eating. The warm evening air was filled with the smell of chicken and saffron rice. Iftar, the evening feast, had begun.

The holy month of Ramadan is a bad time to visit Saudi Arabia if you want to do business. This year it is worse then usual: to the irritation of the Saudi government, the British Foreign Office and the American State Department have warned people not to come here unless they have to.

Half a column-inch in the newspapers here hints at the reason: a senior al-Qaeda figure, Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj, has sent out an e-mail promising "devastating attacks" during Ramadan. This is presumably part of the information the British and Americans have based their warnings on. It looks to me as though al-Ablaj is talking about Iraq, but now that people have taken to suing their governments for not telling them the obvious, the State Department and the Foreign Office tend to warn first and ask questions afterwards.

This has, of course, got up the nose of the Saudis in no small way. The government here maintains that it has a very firm grip on the security situation. Six hundred suspects have been arrested since April, and 3,500 Muslim clerics have been sent for "re-education". At Friday prayers two days ago, the sermon I heard could have been written by the Ministry of Information, it was so politically correct.

The irritation with Britain and America is widespread throughout officialdom, from Saudi Arabia's urbane ambassador to London, Prince Turki al-Faisal, to his relative Prince Sultan, the minister of defence. Last Thursday, choosing his words carefully, Prince Sultan told a group of generals who came to offer their Ramadan greetings that there was a smear campaign against the kingdom. "We are neither terrorists nor parasites," he said.

In other words, he was responding angrily to accusations in Washington that Saudi Arabia, the recipient in the past of so much American military support, is somehow behind the new wave of anti-American violence.

Here, most people seem to take it for granted that the United States has shifted decisively away from Saudi Arabia as a result of the September 11 attacks. They see the invasion of Iraq as being America's way of securing a safe supply of oil for the future, and assume that the shifting of US military bases from here to Qatar and Iraq symbolises the parting of the ways.

As for the British attitude, it is a source of annoyance rather than anger. The Saudis expect a greater sensitivity and understanding from the British, and feel that they haven't had it. Senior government figures scan British statements anxiously for any sign that London believes that Saudi Arabia is going the way of Iran, a generation ago; and they feel they can spot them.

Having watched the course of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, I think the similarities are exaggerated - and yet the danger is clearly there. The Shah, too, tried to re-educate his clergy, but he did it the hard way and simply reinforced their anger and willingness to be martyred. In the teeming slums of Teheran his soldiers shot down the demonstrators, while he himself vacillated between toughness and conciliation.

The Saudis are aware of the precedent, though they feel that the experiences of a Shi'ite state have little relevance to them. Perhaps they are right, but history never repeats itself precisely. Two weeks ago, hundreds of Saudis demonstrated for economic and political reform in the streets of Riyadh; since demonstrations are illegal here, the police dispersed them with tear gas and arrested a hundred or more.

As in Iran in 1978, the opposition comes as much from liberals as from fundamentalists, and they have a tendency to make a brief, tactical alliance, though it doesn't last long. Like the Shah, the Saudi government is experimenting with a little ultra-cautious liberalisation: press restraints are marginally fewer, and there will be limited elections next year.

These are nerve-racking times for the Saudi government. It feels abandoned by its friends and increasingly threatened by its enemies, and the princes who control most of the ministries cannot agree on the right way forward. Maybe Ramadan will pass off without the attacks the Americans and British have warned about; even so, the political choices here won't be any easier.

John Simpson is the BBC's World Affairs Editor
3 posted on 11/02/2003 12:20:26 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

NY Post
November 2, 2003 --

IN Iran's fractious politics there is one word on which almost everyone agrees. And it isn't even a Persian word, but the Latin word "referendum" (pronounced by Persians as "refrandoom"). These days almost everyone is talking about the need for holding a referendum - not always for the same reasons.
The argument is that the Constitution, hastily put together in 1979 in the heated aftermath of the revolution, is not working. The various mechanisms it envisaged for the exercise of power have produced a gridlock that prevents effective decision-making by a divided government. The only way out: Hold a constitutional referendum to approve amendments that would break the gridlock.

The current Constitution is a rough translation of the constitution of the French Fifth Republic introduced by Gen. Charles de Gaulle. It envisages a strong executive and a weak legislature, with the status of the judiciary left murky.

The problem is that the Iranians added a number of articles that break the inner logic of the French original. The most important of these express the doctrine of the "Walayat Faqih" (Custodianship of the Jurisconsult). They give a single mullah, referred to as "The Supreme Guide," virtually unlimited powers, thus rendering the Constitution superfluous.

The Supreme Guide is elected for life by the so-called Assembly of Experts, a body of 90 mullahs that also has the authority to remove him under highly unlikely circumstances. Once elected, the Supreme Guide becomes the center of power in the system. He is the head of state and must approve the heads of all three branches - the legislative, the judicial and the executive.

Some confusion is created because the head of the executive, known as president, is elected by direct universal suffrage. Yet the elected president cannot take office until an edict from the Supreme Guide approves his election.

At the same time, the Supreme Guide can always trigger constitutional mechanisms to dismiss the elected president. The Supreme Guide can also dissolve the elected Majlis or parliament. He can even suspend the basic rules of Islam, if and when he deems fit. No ruler in history has been given so much power as the Iranian "Supreme Guide" today.

The Constitution contains other anomalies. Its Council of The Guardians of Constitution is the equivalent of France's Constitutional Council - but Iran's council has a right of veto on all laws passed by the parliament. The French version has no such right, intervening only if asked to determine whether a piece of legislation violates the Constitution.

Iran's constitutional problems do not end there. Yet another body, the Council for the Discernment of the Interests of the System, can also intervene to cancel laws passed by the Majlis. In the past two years, the council has even claimed to have the right to pass laws on its own, without even referring to the Majlis.

The founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, initially opposed any constitution. Under the system of "Walayat Faqih" that he offered, there would be no elections, no parliament no president; the Supreme Guide would rule in the name of Divine Power. He would appoint a prime minister and a council of ministers to act as advisers and executors of his orders.

But Khomeini still needed the support of democrats, liberals and leftists to consolidate his hold on power. As a concession, he accepted the idea of a constitution. But at no point did he have the slightest intention of creating a constitutional system. And, for as long as he was alive, he acted as an absolute ruler, with no regard for any constitutional constraints.

His successor, Ali Khamenei, lacks the stature to continue that tradition. And the revolution is now but a faint memory for most Iranians. Some two-thirds of the populace were either not born or were too young to vote in the constitutional referendum that Khomeini organized almost a quarter of a century ago.

"A referendum would allow our people to decide what form of government they desire," says Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner. The idea has also support from Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late shah who now leads the monarchist opposition, and the National Front, a dissident group built on the memory of Dr. Muhammad Mussadeq, the nationalist prime minister of the 1950s.

Some senior clerics, including Grand Ayatollah Ali Montazeri, call for a referendum as a way out of a political impasse that could lead to violence. "A referendum is better than a civil war," says Mohsen Kadivar, a pro-democracy mullah.

The referendum idea is also finding echoes within the ruling establishment. The Participation Front, a group that supported President Muhammad Khatami, has already called for constitutional amendment. And efforts are under way to form a new bloc of candidates for March's general election under the banner of a referendum. The idea has also received support from the remnants of half a dozen leftist parties.

Despite wide agreement that a referendum is necessary, when it comes to what questions should be put to the people's vote, views diverge. The monarchists and the leftists want a referendum that would abolish the Islamic Republic altogether, replacing it with a "constitutional monarchy" or a "People's Republic" in which religion has no place.

Others, however, want a revision of the existing Constitution. They want the position of the Supreme Guide abolished so that the Iranian system comes closer to that of its original model: the French Fifth Republic. The directly-elected president would be head of state, with large powers, including that of naming the prime minister. But he would not have the power to suspend the Constitution, let alone interfere with the rules of Islam.

The most minimalist position on referendum is that of those who simply want the "Council of the Guardians of the Constitution" and the "Council for the Discernment of the Interest of the System" to be abolished. Such an amendment would leave the powers of the Supreme Guide intact while enhancing the powers of the elected president and parliament.

The referendum issue is likely to emerge as the key theme of next March's general election. Right now, however, prospects for a referendum appear rather dim. On the contrary, some hard-line theorists around Khamenei are publicly calling for a suspension of the Constitution and a period of direct rule by "The Supreme Guide."

It may take some time before Iran makes a final choice between a peaceful referendum and violent regime change.

11 posted on 11/02/2003 7:33:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Implosions are sometimes good!;^)
13 posted on 11/02/2003 7:35:53 AM PST by SwinneySwitch (Freedom isn't Free - Support the Troops & Vets!!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Israel Outraged as EU Poll Names it a Threat to Peace

November 02, 2003
The Observer
Peter Beaumont

Israel has been described as the top threat to world peace, ahead of North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran, by an unpublished European Commission poll of 7,500 Europeans, sparking an international row.

The survey, conducted in October, of 500 people from each of the EU's member nations included a list of 15 countries with the question, 'tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world'. Israel was reportedly picked by 59 per cent of those interviewed.

The leaking of the results of the poll to El Pais and the International Herald Tribune has sparked a bitter row, with a major Jewish human rights and lobbying group, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, demanding that the EU be excluded from the Israel-Palestinian peace process and accusing Europe of suffering the worst outbreak of 'anti-semitism' since World War Two.

The results appear to be a mark of the widespread disapproval in Europe of the tactics employed by the government of Ariel Sharon during the present intifada.

Israeli Ministers and spokesman have also been at pains recently to insist that a definition of modern 'anti-semitism' should include criticism of the way the state of Israel chooses to protect itself, defining that criticism as an overt attack on Israel's survival.

Members of the Sharon government have bridled at the efforts of Tony Blair and UK officials to try to mediate between the two sides. At one stage journalists were briefed that Israel regarded the Foreign Office as having an 'Arabist' bias.

Reacting to the poll, the Simon Wies enthal Centre, which claims 400,000 members in the US alone, has begun ordering a petition to condemn the European Commission and demand the EU no longer be represented in the so-called Quartet group trying to mediate an end to violence between Israel and Palestine.

The poll also comes against a background of an increase in anti-semitic attacks in Europe in the past year, although the evidence in countries such as France suggests that many are being committed by young Islamists.

'This poll is an indication that Europeans have bought in, "hook, line and sinker", to the vilification and demonisation campaign directed against the state of Israel and her supporters by European leaders and media,' said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Wiesenthal Centre's founder.

'This shocking result that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace, bigger than North Korea and Iran, defies logic and is a racist flight of fantasy that only shows that anti-semitism is deeply embedded within European society, more then at any other period since the end of the war,' he added.,6903,1076073,00.html
14 posted on 11/02/2003 7:36:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Sharon to Russia for Talks on Road Map, Iran

November 02, 2003
Aluf Benn

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon set off for Russia on Sunday morning, to try to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to drop plans to turn the road map for a performance-based peace process into a United Nations Security Council Resolution for Middle East peace.

Iran's nuclear program will also top the agenda, a government official said.

Israel is vehemently opposed to the road map being moved to the Security Council because, it says, that would harm the chances for implementing it, and obstruct negotiations in the future.

Russia has proposed the Security Council pass a resolution adopting the road map as the council's proposal for a Middle East peace process.

Israel objected to the road map and only accepted it in principle after the government pegged 14 "reservations" on it that essentially placed the entire onus for getting it started on the Palestinian Authority warring against armed Palestinian factions. Putin's idea is for the Security Council to grant the Quartet an official status.

Sharon trip is his third to Russia since becoming prime minister. He will also meet with the Russian prime minister and defense and foreign ministers.

He was to be accompanied by Immigration and Absorption Minister Tzipi Livni and Russian-born Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who heads the Israel-Russia Economic Council.
15 posted on 11/02/2003 7:37:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Speaker Frowns at Blair's Remarks

November 02, 2003
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said on Sunday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair has made miscalculated statement against Iran.

He told reporters at the end of the open session of the parliament that Blair escalated tension between Tehran and London rather than do something in line with detente owing to the background of bilateral relations and the mentality of the Iranian people toward Britain's past records.

"Britain has taken steps over the past several years to remove the Iranian people's mentality of the past about that country. With his latest statement, Blair indicated that he even lacks the knowledge about the British people too and is going ahead with his ambiguous policy," Karroubi said."

In our meetings with the British officials, especially, the parliamentary delegation which visited Tehran last week, we discussed matters concerning the need to respect the independence and national sovereignty of every country, proceed with dialogue and non-interference in the other countries' internal or external affairs," Karroubi said.

Asked about the four-party agreement made in Tehran with the European Union, on October 21, Karroubi said, "we are satisfied with the outcome of our talks with the Europeans.

The next steps will be taken in line with national interest. They are also expected to abide by the commitments they made."
16 posted on 11/02/2003 7:41:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Syria,Iran Could Do`Much Better Job' In War

November 02, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
Leah McGrath Goodman

NEW YORK -- Syria and Iran could do a "much better job of keeping insurgents from pouring across their borders and into Iraq, said L. Paul Bremer, top U.S. administrator in Iraq, speaking Sunday on the Cable News Network's "Late Edition" program.

However, he insisted security was improving in most areas of the oil-rich nation, adding that attacks on U.S. forces were mostly taking place in central Iraq within the Sunni Triangle - thought to be the last stronghold of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

When asked if the violence in the Sunni Triangle was getting better or worse, Bremer characterized it as "a mixed bag."

"It's getting worse in the sense that as of today we've seen that the enemies of freedom there are using more sophisticated techniques to attack our forces," he said.

Bremer blamed the violence on Saddam's loyalists and foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq's borders.

Addressing the deadly strike on a U.S. helicopter earlier Sunday, which killed 15 soldiers and left 21 wounded, Bremer said, "All indications suggest it was a hostile action," but had few details.

"Saddam was lavish in buying weapons and he had thousands of Russian surface-to-air missiles," Bremer said. But he added that a probe into the crash has only begun and it isn't yet clear if a surface-to-air missile brought the helicopter down.
30 posted on 11/02/2003 7:40:35 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Khamenei Warns That it Will Stop Nuclear Cooperation

November 02, 2003
The Associated Press

Iran's top leader warned Sunday that Tehran will end cooperation with the UN nuclear agency if it makes excessive demands that undermine the country's nuclear program.

Although Iran agreed last month to allow unfettered inspections of its nuclear facilities, hard-liners have pressured the government not to make further concessions.

"If parties to the talks with us or centers of global power come up with excessive demands and we feel that our interests and values are harmed, we won't hesitate to end this trend (of cooperation)," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

"Peaceful nuclear technology is our legitimate right and no country and no organization can deprive us of this right, including the right for production of our own nuclear fuel," Khamenei told a large group of Iran's military brass and government officials after hosting a fast-breaking party. His comments were broadcast by state-run television.

Iran pledged last month to suspend uranium enrichment and sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allowing unfettered inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran also handed over to the IAEA a dossier on its nuclear programs, effectively meeting an Oct. 31 deadline to prove its nuclear program is peaceful.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told CNN on Sunday that the agency was in the process of verifying the declaration and said they were making "good and steady progress" with Iran.

If the IAEA decides Iran has not proven its peaceful nuclear intentions, it could refer Iran to the UN Security Council, which could impose sanctions. For now, international pressure on Iran has eased, with focus shifting from Friday's deadline to a Nov. 20 IAEA board of governors meeting.

But the Iranian government has faced growing hard-line pressure not to make further compromises. On Friday thousands of hard-liners rallied in several cities against the government's decision to cooperate with the IAEA, warning that a signature for the additional protocol will prompt nationwide street protests.

The United States accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and has pressed for the IAEA to declare Iran in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Washington, though, does not believe Iran has yet made nuclear weapons, citing a lack of fissile material - either enriched uranium or plutonium. Iranian officials say nuclear weapons have no place in their defense strategy.

"What happened (Iran's decision to cooperate) was correct and a policy to foil the conspiracy hatched by the U.S. and the Zionists," Khamenei said.

Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, said he will, however, intervene to stop the Iranian government from making decisions he may consider as inappropriate.

"So far, nothing has been done against our principles. Wherever I feel that a step has been taken against the directions and goals of the establishment, I will stop it," he said.

Khamenei said Iran won't back down on seeking nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and vowed the country will finally produce fuel for its future nuclear reactors.

Iran has said its decision to suspend uranium enrichment will be temporary and Iran won't give up its goal to develop a complete nuclear fuel cycle, from mining its own uranium to enriching the ore, without having to rely on any other country.
31 posted on 11/02/2003 7:42:46 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Not to Halt Uranium Enrichment

November 03, 2003
Arab News
Agence France Presse

Iran reiterated yesterday it remained unwilling to totally halt uranium enrichment, but pledged that it remained committed to answering any new questions from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Our uranium enrichment activities are still in their early stages, and it has only been several months since we began. We have said we agree to voluntarily suspend this, but not stop,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.

“The use of nuclear technology for peaceful ends is our right, and we do not have the right nor the wish to reject this,” he added, asserting that “no country has the right to deprive Iran of this technology.”

“We have given a complete report (to the IAEA) and we are ready, as we have already said, to cooperate fully and give other details demanded,” Asefi said.

Asefi said no date had yet been set for the parliamentary ratification of the additional protocol of the IAEA. “Reports on any date in this regard are just based on speculations as the relevant process must first be finished by the IAEA before the Iranian government can forward the draft bill on the IAEA protocol to the Parliament,” Asefi said.

IAEA chief Mohammad El-Baradei had said that he will send the relevant report on Iran’s nuclear activities in the second week of November to the IAEA governor board. They are scheduled to meet on Nov. 20.

“Iran’s nuclear program was and is a technical issue and should therefore be dealt only within the IAEA framework and fortunately efforts by the United States and Israel to turn it into a political challenge have eventually failed,” Asefi said. The spokesman reiterated that Iran has tried to remove all ambiguities concerning its nuclear activities. In reference to renewed international concern on uranium enrichment, he said that Iran has just been in the initial phase but planned to progress.

In another development Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned Britain’s ambassador to Tehran over reported comments by Prime Minister Tony Blair linking Tehran’s climbdown over nuclear cooperation to the war in Iraq.

“We summoned the British Ambassador (Richard Dalton) yesterday and told him of our displeasure,” Asefi told reporters.

“We do not accept this kind of thinking and we think it is very ugly for a politician who is encountering problems in his own country as well as in Iraq to start accusing others.”

Meanwhile, the Arabic daily Al-Hayat published yesterday the names of 147 suspected members of the Al-Qaeda terror network and the Taleban who were extradited by Iran in October. The newspaper did not say how it obtained the list about which Iran informed the United Nations, but the article was datelined New York.

The names included 29 Saudis, 12 Jordanians, 13 Yemenis, six Moroccans, six Tunisians, one Syrian, seven Somalis, 35 Pakistanis and 24 others whose nationalities could not be established.

The Pakistanis and the unknown group were handed over to Islamabad, the paper said. Three Afghans and three Lebanese were also identified.

“Iran says it handed them over to their own countries through diplomatic channels,” Al-Hayat said.
32 posted on 11/02/2003 7:44:08 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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34 posted on 11/02/2003 9:15:37 PM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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”

36 posted on 11/03/2003 12:16:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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