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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”

1 posted on 11/05/2003 12:18:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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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”

2 posted on 11/05/2003 12:24:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
I received this from a student in Iran...

Good to know that in the rally against the US yesterday. no former hostage taker joined the rally or made a speech. And one funny thing is that no one in the class even hard-line students, didnt talk about the event.
The Iranian society is gonna forget this."
3 posted on 11/05/2003 12:30:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

TEHRAN, 4 Nov. (IPS)

Iranian refused to take part to the ceremonies the Islamic Republic marked Tuesday celebrating the 24th anniversary of the occupation of the American embassy in Tehran, bringing to stage some 10.000 people, mostly college and primary schools students and basijis students and volunteers, shouting slogans against the United States and its "illegitimate son", Israel.

The demonstrators, bussed by the authorities to Tehran University, marched to the site of former huge US embassy, now a training centre for the Revolutionary Guards, chanted "death to America, death to Israel" and "death to Britain", waved anti-US banners and burned Israeli flags and effigies of Uncle Sam.

On 4 of November 1979, a group of revolutionary students callingthemselves "in the line of the Emam" (Grand Ayatollah Roohollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution), stormed the American embassy in Tehran and held 55 diplomats and staff hostage for 444 days.

As a result, Washington cut off all relations with the newly established Islamic Republic and imposed unilateral sanctions, mostly in the Iranian vital oil sector, thus crippling Iranian economy and isolating it on the international scene.

Today, 13 Aban, corresponding to 4th of November marks three important events: anniversary of the takeover of the former US embassy in Tehran, better known in Iran as the "den of espionage" by the Muslim Students Following the Emam’s Line (1979), anniversary of the exile of the late Founder of the Islamic Republic Emam Khomeini by the ex-Shah (1964) and the Students Day (marking the day in 1978 in which several students taking part in a protest rally against the former Shah were martyred)", the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported about the rally.

Eyewitnesses told Iran Press Service that few ordinary people had come to the demonstrations that were also boycotted by the reformists, highlighted by the absence of any of the surviving students who had stormed the Embassy, most of them calling now for normalising relations with Washington.

Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Nateq Noori, the Speaker of the last Majles who is now an adviser to the leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i and Head of the Leader’s Intelligence Office, in an address to the inspirited rally, reminded that the American embassy in Tehran had been Washington’s largest spying base in the Middle East.

He also defended the government’s decision to sign the Protocols to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that would allow international nuclear inspectors full and unrestricted access to all Iranian nuclear sites, installations and projects.

Officials said the decision, signed by Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential Secretary of the Supreme Council on National Security on 21 November with the foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Tehran was blessed by Ayatollah Khameneh'i who, as the leader of the Iranian clerical regime, makes all major decisions on matters of foreign policy.

Commenting on the importance given to the anniversary by the ruling conservatives, Dr. Qasem Sho’leh Sa’di, a veteran and outspoken political dissident and university professor said it was "normal", as the humiliating bowing to International Atomic Energy Agency’s demands for signing the Protocols had "de-sloganised" the Islamic Republic.

"This year, the ruling authorities were even more angry with the Americans, as they had surrendered to IAEA under strong direct and indirect pressures from Washington, using the Europeans for that purpose. The event having deprived the regime from its routine slogans, the authorities were looking for any occasion to save face by repeating them, hence the importance they gave to this year’s anniversary of the occupation of American embassy", he pointed out during an interview from Tehran with the Persian service of Radio France International (RFI).

In answer to a question, Mr. Sho’leh Sa’di, who is also a prominent lawyer and spent 40 days in prison for having questioned the religious and political backgrounds of Mr. Khameneh’i, strongly rejected the officials claim that they had secured important advantages from the European troika, stressing that Tehran had signed the Protocols "unconditionally", as formulated by IAEA’s Board of Directors on 12 September, giving Tehran until the end of October to either sign the Protocols and stop uranium enriching programs or face international sanctions.

Following a marathon five hours meeting with Dominique de Villepin of France, Joschka Fischer of Germany and Jack Straw of Britain, Mr. Rohani announced on 21 October that Iran has accepted the entire demands from the United Nations watchdog on nuclear issues, escaping the transfer of the case to the UN’s Security Council.

"As a prove of what I say, one has to read the commentaries wrote by Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, the leader-appointed Editor of Keyhan newspaper", he said, referring to the position of the articles of the hard line daily, one of the mouthpieces of Mr. Khameneh'i, describing the Agreement as a "humiliating and insulting to the Muslim Iranian people".

There was no message to the rally by any high-ranking official, but the demonstrators, in an eight-point resolution, warned that Iran could back-track if the other signatories were not to respect their engagements and at the same time backed the authorities for having signed the Protocols.

As the organised rally was ending, a high-ranking delegation from the United Nations human rights Committee arrived in the Iranian Capital for a weeklong visit to Iran, focusing on press freedoms and freedom of expression.

During his visit, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression Ambeyi Ligabo is lined up for talks with senior Iranian government officials and magistrates as well as members of the media and academics.

In a statement, the UN said he would be "gathering relevant information on, among other issues, discrimination and threats or use of violence and harassment directed at persons, including professionals in the field of information, seeking to exercise or to promote the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression", the French news agency AFP said.

"Ligabo had initially been due to visit the country in July, but the authorities in Tehran postponed the trip in June at the height of anti-regime protests accompanied by arrests of journalists, student leaders and dissidents", Dr. Karim Lahiji, a vice-president to the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights Leagues and President of the Iranian League of Human Rights in Exile explained.

During his visit, UN sources said Ligabo was expected to also meet with Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer and human rights activist who won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for 2003.

The French-based press rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders urged Iranian authorities to use the visit to unconditionally free 11 jailed journalists and lift bans on a number of newspapers.

It also said the rapporteur should be permitted to meet the detained writers, especially those being held in solitary confinement.

More than 100 Iranian newspapers have been shut down and a dozen of prominent journalists were jailed, or forced into exile or silenced by the leader-controlled Judiciary since 2000.

Reporter Sans Frontieres has branded Iran "the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East" and Ayatollah Khameneh'i as one of the world’s "most dangerous predators of press freedom". ENDS US EMBASSY OCCUPATION 41103.
4 posted on 11/05/2003 12:31:28 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
"UN rights rapporteur" in Iran for key probe

Tuesday, November 04, 2003 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Nov 4, (AFP) -- A top United Nations human rights official began a week-long visit to Iran Tuesday to conduct a key probe focusing on press freedoms and freedom of expression, UN officials here said.

During his visit, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression Ambeyi Ligabo is lined up for talks with senior Iranian government officials and magistrates as well as members of the media and academics.

In a statement, the UN said he would be "gathering relevant information on, among other issues, discrimination and threats or use of violence and harassment directed at persons, including professionals in the field of information, seeking to exercise or to promote the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression."

Ligabo had initially been due to visit the country in July, but Tehran postponed the trip in June at the height of anti-regime protests accompanied by arrests of journalists, student leaders and dissidents.

The intervening period has seen the spotlight focus on more on Iran's human rights record, following the death in custody of Canadian-Iranian photographer Zahra Kazemi and the Nobel Peace Prize win of women's rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi.

During his visit, UN sources said Ligabo was expected to meet with Ebadi -- a woman loathed by Iranian hardliners for her defence of dissidents.

The French-based press rights watchdog Reporters Without Bordersurged Iranian authorities to use the visit to unconditionally free 11 jailed journalists and lift bans on a number of newspapers.

It also said the rapporteur should be permitted to meet the detained writers, especially those being held in solitary confinement

More than 100 Iranian newspapers have been shut down since 2000, amid a crackdown on the reformist press carried out by the hardline-controlled judiciary.

RSF has branded Iran "the biggest prison for journalists in the Middle East".
5 posted on 11/05/2003 12:32:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. Sees Russia Halting Iran Reactor if Need be

November 04, 2003
Arshad Mohammed

Russia is likely to stop helping Iran build a nuclear power plant if Tehran fails to disclose its nuclear activities and to allow snap international inspections, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Iran last month gave the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) what it said was a full declaration of its nuclear activities and agreed to freeze its uranium enrichment and to sign the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would allow snap inspections of nuclear sites.

If it keeps its promises, Iran would go a long way toward addressing U.S. accusations that it is using its civilian nuclear program as a front to develop atomic weapons. The IAEA has yet to determine whether Iran's declaration is complete and Tehran has not said when it may sign the additional protocol.

Despite the U.S. accusations, Russia is helping Tehran build an million nuclear reactor in the southern port of Bushehr. Iran, which President George W. Bush has described as part of an ''axis of evil'' along with Iraq and North Korea, says that its atomic program is entirely peaceful.

The senior U.S. State Department official, who insisted on anonymity, said Russia appeared to have ''gotten religion'' on the issue, meaning that Moscow now shares Washington's concerns about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran.

''They, to some degree, have gotten religion as far as the dangers posed by Iran's nuclear programs and are working with us to try to get them to comply with the IAEA's demands and to put all their facilities back under full international inspection,'' the U.S. official told reporters.

''Until those concerns are resolved, they're trying to avoid having to fish or cut bait on Bushehr. They are hoping Iran will reassure everybody, get back into compliance, and that they can then proceed with Bushehr subject to the safeguards that all spent fuel would be returned to Russia,'' he said.

''I think if Iran backslides on the commitments that it has now made, doesn't follow through, then the Russians would, at the end of the day, however reluctantly, be prepared to halt (the) Bushehr project,'' the U.S. official added.

Tehran and Moscow have been locked in months of talks over the return to Russia of spent nuclear fuel from Bushehr that theoretically could be used to make atomic warheads. Russia expects to sign a deal on this some time before next summer.

The United States has pressured Russia for years to stop supporting the Bushehr project. The issue was expected to come up during Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev's meetings on Tuesday with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and on Thursday with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

''They (the Russians) have, perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not coincidentally, announced that technical reasons means that it (Bushehr) can't be started up until 2005, so they have bought themselves a little more time,'' said the U.S. official.

The official said Tehran was trying to persuade Moscow to pay for the spent fuel rather than simply return it to Russia.
9 posted on 11/05/2003 6:33:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Caspian Sea Pact Agreed

November 05, 2003
BBC News

The five countries bordering the Caspian Sea have agreed a framework treaty in Iran aimed at halting further damage to the sea's fragile environment.

The United Nations-sponsored deal involving Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan seeks to reduce the amount of sewage and industrial waste pumped into the sea.

It also ends nearly 10 years of quarrelling over its oil and gas reserves.

In New York, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan hailed the signing as "a significant step forward for the region".

"By signing this important new treaty the Caspian states are demonstrating their firm commitment to saving the beautiful and resource-rich Caspian Sea," Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar said.

World Bank deal

Toxic waste dumping, oil leaks, agricultural run-off, and over-fishing of the caviar-producing sturgeon fish, have all contributed to the Caspian's serious ecological decline.

The sea is soon set to be one end of a pipeline which will transport Central Asian oil to Europe.

The World Bank has approved loans of just over $300m to help the ongoing construction of the pipeline which will run from an oil field off the coast of Azerbaijan, through Georgia, to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

It is said to be the longest of its kind in the world.

Engineers have carried out nearly 40% of the work, and the first crude oil is expected to flow in 2005.

The World Bank has said possible risks of the pipeline to the environment have been addressed.
10 posted on 11/05/2003 6:36:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Nuke Gambit

New York Post - By Amir Taheri
Nov 5, 2003

REMEMBER you read it here first. Iran is now on course to force its way into the nuclear club within the next two to three years. When it does, it will owe part of its success to a European Union diplomatic maneuver that has spared Iran the prospect of direct confrontation over its illicit nuclear program with the international community.

The maneuver, which led to the signature of a memorandum between the Islamic republic and three EU members in October, appears to have defused the latest crisis.

As things stand, it is almost certain that the International Atomic Energy Agency will soft-pedal the procedure that could have led to a confrontation between Tehran and the United Nations over Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The European Union has exacted no more than a vague promise from the leadership in Tehran to temporarily halt a secret project to enrich uranium and produce plutonium.

The temporary halt, if it does materialize, may be linked more to Iranian domestic politics than to a sudden desire on the part of the Khomeinist regime to honor the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Iran is already in campaign mode in anticipation of the general election next March. A foreign-policy crisis at this time could upset the the establishment, which appears determined to purge the so-called reformist faction and impose a "Chinese-style" system of political repression and economic opening.

The establishment feared that the nuclear issue might force the European Union to line up behind the tougher Iran policy preached by the Bush administration.

Playing the European card against Washington is a tried and true tactic of the Khomeinist regime. Tehran used it in the 1980s by seizing and then liberating European hostages in exchange for pledges by the European powers not to join U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran. In the 1990s, Tehran used the same tactic by tempting European oil companies with mouth-watering oil and gas contracts.

One other factor may have contributed to Tehran's decision to play the European card again. The selection of Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human-rights lawyer, as this year's Nobel Peace laureate is seen in Tehran as a signal that Europe's "soft powers" are ready to help provide a "soft" face for the opposition against the Khomeinist regime. Such an opposition could make it easier for the European powers to win the support of their own public for a policy of regime-change in Tehran.

Thus the piece of paper that Tehran has just signed with three European foreign ministers is unlikely to affect the Khomeinist regime's strategy of building an arsenal of nuclear weapons within the next two to three years.

There is little doubt that the Europeans know this. So, why did the three European wise men, traveling west to east, agree to get the Khomeinist regime off the hook?

Each of the three had his reason:

* France's Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is desperately looking for any opportunity to show that Paris still has a say in Middle East politics. He would love to be able to claim that his "soft power" diplomacy did in Iran what American "hard power" tried to do against Saddam Hussein in Iraq - and, according to de Villepin, failed.

* German Foreign Minister Joshcka Fischer had a slightly different motive. While continuing his country's close alliance with France, Fischer is also anxious to avoid a situation in which Berlin finds itself alone with Paris. The presence of the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in the trio helps Fischer avoid such a situation. At the same time Fischer would be able to tell the German public that the Schroeder government is still capable of playing a role in diffusing regional crises.

Fischer and de Villepin also hope to see a change of occupant at the White House in 2005.

* Straw's motives are equally complicated. In his heart of hearts, he knows that the only language that the Khomienists understand and respect is force. But he also knows that Tony Blair's government is passing through its worst crisis since it came to power in '97.

At a moment of crisis over Iran, Blair might find himself facing a choice he wishes to avoid: parting ways with the Americans or risking a political revolt within his Cabinet.

All this means is that the Khomeinist regime may well get yet another chance to have its cake and eat it, too. According to Hassan Ruhani, a mullah who speaks for the High Council of National Security in Tehran, Iran is determined to dot itself with "the entire range of nuclear science and technology at all levels."

Iran's nuclear program started in 1956. The strategic decision to develop nuclear weapons was taken in 1989. The regime has spent an estimated $12 billion on all aspects of this ambitious program so far. It is not something that Tehran will give up after a session of tea and sympathy with the EU trio.

11 posted on 11/05/2003 6:41:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Convenient Concession

Looking beyond the nuke pact.

NRO Online
By Jon Levin
November 04, 2003, 8:21 a.m.

According to a new agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA inspectors will be granted greater access to Iran's nuclear facilities in order to monitor its compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran claims that its nuclear research is only for civilian purposes permitted under NPT. However, Iran's system of nuclear facilities is tailored for nuclear-weapons research and has little civilian benefit. As demonstrated in North Korea, the IAEA is not equipped to overcome the deceptions of a hostile government. Instead, Iran will maintain a façade of cooperation with the inspection regime as cover for its ongoing weapons research.

Iran claims to be pursuing only civilian nuclear research and rightly argues that its ratification of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970 entitles it to build a wide variety of nuclear installations. Under that guise, Iran has steadily constructed a range of reactors, laboratories, and fuel-cycle plants. However, while building these facilities is technically legal under NPT, it does not serve Iran's civilian needs, and is functionally useful only for military purposes.

Iran's tenacious commitment to the Bushehr nuclear complex is typical of its nuclear development. According to a July 31, 2003 U.S. State Department release, "Iran's copious oil and natural gas reserves put into question Iran's stated rationale of pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; it currently throws away more energy annually by flaring off natural gas than Bushehr could produce [emphasis added]."

Nonetheless, Iran is still committed to the Bushehr project after nearly 30 years. The German company Siemens began work on two 1200-1300 Megawatt nuclear reactors outside Bushehr in 1974. By 1979 the first reactor was undergoing testing and only two years from completion.

During the 1980s though, Bushehr regressed. In the wake of the Iranian Revolution and the overthrow of the American-backed shah in 1979, the Reagan administration blocked international aid to Iran's nuclear projects and Siemens discontinued work on the reactors. A 1982 fire and a series of Iraqi bombings between 1984 and 1988 caused at least $3 billion in damage to the reactors and reactor housings. In the 1980s Iran tried several times to find new partners for Bushehr but failed to reach agreements with either Siemens or an Argentine-Spanish consortium.

Work on Bushehr only continued in 1995 after Russia agreed to complete the facilities for $800 million. Russia claimed to have included clauses in the 1995 contract allowing for the removal of all spent nuclear fuel to Russia for reprocessing. This was key to allaying U.S. fears that Iran itself would take possession of potentially fissionable material. However, later in 1995 the U.S. discovered a secret annex to the Bushehr agreement contracting Russia to provide Iran with research reactors, fuel fabrication facilities, and a centrifugal uranium-enrichment plant — the very facilities needed to produce weapons-grade nuclear fuel.

Bushehr is now one small part of a wide network of Iranian nuclear sites. In 2002, U.S. surveillance satellites photographed two more nuclear facilities nearing completion. The heavy-water reactor at Arak and the gas-centrifuge array at Natanz will give Iran a viable nuclear capacity independent of foreign help, undermining international institutions' efforts to maintain oversight of Iran's reactors. Likewise, independent fuel-cycle capability will enable Iran to divert enriched uranium or spent fuel to nuclear-weapons programs. In February 2003, Iran acknowledged its intent to construct all of the facilities necessary to produce, use, and reprocess nuclear fuel.

Shockingly, nothing in this litany of nuclear developments contravenes the NPT. It was only IAEA's August 2003 discovery of trace amounts of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz array that raised the possibility of a breach. Enriched uranium was found again in late September at the Kalay-e Electric Company outside Tehran. U.N. officials say the amounts of enriched material detected are insufficient for an atomic device, but that Iran might nonetheless be in violation of the NPT. The Iranian government responded to the discoveries by saying that enrichment is not taking place, and that the detected material came from equipment contaminated when it was delivered.

However, according to a translation by the Israeli defense ministry, Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Tehran Radio on September 17, 2003 that "young Iranian scientists conduct uranium-enrichment experiments...This is why the Iranian people are so proud." Tellingly, in the October 21 accord with the IAEA Iran offered not to refrain from enrichment, but to cease enrichment.

As long as Iran can keep up its charade of cooperation with the IAEA, it can continue its clandestine research and construction. In effect, the IAEA is Iran's insurance policy against a preemptive attack by Israel or the United States. As long as IAEA inspectors are in Iran, Israel and the United States will be hard-pressed to justify an attack. Once Iran activates a reactor in six months, a year, or two, the costs of an attack will far outweigh the benefits, as radioactive material would be blown into the atmosphere. It is not by coincidence that Israel's 1981 strike against Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor came just before it went "hot," and that North Korea was suddenly emboldened in its rejection of IAEA demands just after it activated its own nuclear facilities. According to Israeli estimates, the Iranian nuclear program will reach a "point of no return" in ten months.

Israel has maintained a studious silence on the possibility of an Osirak-style preemptive strike against Iran since the IAEA discoveries at Natanz and the Kalay-e Electric Company. However, by all indications Israel is proceeding under the assumption that Iran will obtain nuclear arms. Last month, American and Israeli officials leaked that Israeli engineers successfully adapted American-made, submarine-based Harpoon missiles to carry nuclear warheads. While some technicians have questioned the feasibility of modifying harpoons for nuclear payloads, even the possibility of some portion of Israel's nuclear arsenal surviving an Iranian first-strike magnifies Israel's deterrent capability. While Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani's December 2001 threat that "a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel" remains true, Iran now confronts the possibility of suffering a massive retaliatory attack.

The United States might decide to follow Israel's lead in this regard and threaten Iran with overwhelming retaliation for a nuclear attack. Given Iran's decades-long sponsorship of terrorism, the United States might elect instead to forcefully prevent a nuclear Iran in accordance with the Bush Doctrine. Whatever the choice, the U.S. can have no illusions that Iran's convenient concession to the IAEA means it has given up its nuclear-weapons development.

— Jon Levin is a researcher at the Investigative Project.
14 posted on 11/05/2003 6:53:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Relatives of Iranian Detainees Fear the Worst

November 05, 2003
Hendon and Finchley Times
Tom Spender

Friends and relatives of two Iranian refugees who have been interned in a United Nations camp in Jordan since June say they fear for their safety.

Mehdi Khayyeri, 51, from North Finchley, and Mostafa Jalali-Farahani, 48, from Hendon, have both been told they may be deported from Jordan to Iran, where their families fear they face internment and possible torture.

They were arrested while they were part of a party of four refugees who had been doing humanitarian work in Iraq when it was discovered that their travel documents were not in order.

Two other Barnet-based Iranian refugees — Abrahim Khodabandeh and Jamil Bassam — were arrested on a trip to Syria in April and flown to Iran, where they remain incarcerated and awaiting trial for an unknown offence.

Speaking from Sweden where she is a medical student, Mr Khayyeri's daughter Hanifeh, 21, said that although the two were in a United Nations camp, she had heard that they might be in danger.

"They will not let him come back to the UK and I hope they do not send him to Iran," she said.

Rudi Vis, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said he was confident Mr Khayyeri and Mr Jalali-Farahani would soon be on their way home.

"It is going to be resolved," he said. But he was less hopeful for Mr Khodabandeh and Mr Bassam, Barnet residents for 30 years.

"The UK is trying to become bosom friends with Iran over the nuclear issue.

“Whatever we may think of the way these two men have been treated, do you think they form competition with the nuclear issue?" he said.

Iran last week agreed to tougher United Nations inspections of its nuclear facilities over fears it is trying to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

Elaheh Azimfar, Mr Khodabandeh's wife, said she was trying to arrange a legal visit to her husband and Mr Bassam but had so far had little success.

The Foreign Office has said it is powerless to intervene because the two men are not British citizens.
21 posted on 11/05/2003 11:07:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
"Who's the Enemy Here?"

November 05, 2003
Michael Ledeen
National Review Online

Virtually all of the serious reporters in Iraq — and there are several — have noticed that both our political and military leaders there have no clear picture of the enemy.

Some think we're fighting a Baathist underground, with a handful of foreign terrorists tossed in for leavening. Some of our guys even give numbers, saying the foreigners are somewhere between five and ten percent. Others, above all those on the Syrian and Iranian borders, speak of a massive flow of killers into Iraq.

This confusion derives from several causes. First and foremost is the disarray of the intelligence community, produced over more than a quarter-century of politicization, mounting restrictions from Congress, a surfeit of lawyers, and America's own cultural shortcomings (we don't study history, geography, or foreign languages). These critical weaknesses cannot be cured in a couple of years. It will take at least a generation to fix, even with the best leadership.

As I have repeated to the point of monotony, we are particularly weak on Iran, and have been since the late 1970s. At the time of Khomeini's seizure of power, there was no full-time Farsi-speaking Iran expert on the crisis team at CIA. A few years later, when Oliver North and Robert McFarlane went to Tehran, they had to drag a man out of retirement to serve as interpreter. And even a year or two ago the agency was still claiming that Sunnis and Shiites don't work together, and denying that there was any link between Tehran and Osama bin Laden. By now we are reduced to begging for information on the numerous al Qaeda terrorists in Iran.

Second is the interplay between policy and intelligence. Over the years, the intelligence people have learned not to bring forward information that policymakers do not want to hear. At the moment, the top policy people do not want to take on another terror master, whether in Damascus, Tehran, Tripoli, or Jeddah. So the intel guys oblige by not looking very hard at the remaining state sponsors of the terror network. It's clear that the (domestic, electoral) political imperative is now paramount, and our leaders want to "manage" Iraq until the president is reelected. Then they'll see.

Third, and one of the consequences of these factors, is the failure to see what has happened to the terror network and its sponsors. The destruction of the Taliban and the shattering of al Qaeda sent a shockwave through the Middle East, and the impending liberation of Iraq was only a matter of time. The terror masters and their gangs of killers did the rational thing: They planned for the next battlefield, and we gave them every opportunity, 14 or 15 long months. During that time they devised the strategy we see in Iraq: a terror war, modeled on their successful campaign against us in Lebanon. This required coordination, both between the tyrannical regimes that sponsor terror, and the various terrorist organizations. That was accomplished in two phases, first in the run-up to the Iraq campaign, and then inside Iraq itself once we had liberated the country from Saddam.

The regime worked out a battle plan, including the "disappearance" of Saddam along the same lines as Osama. And then the terrorists designed joint operations. It makes no sense, nowadays, to try to distinguish one group from another, because they are all working together. Osama and Hezbollah's operational chieftain, Imad Mughniyah, have met several times, and Mughniyah is now working closely with Osama's deputy, al-Zawahiri. The two met very recently in Iran to coordinate activities in Iraq. They have the full panoply of terrorists at their disposal, from Baathist survivors to the foot soldiers of Ansar al-Islam, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and all the rest.

Instead of talking about separate organizations, we would do better to think of the terrorists as a galaxy, with the various comets, stars, and planets revolving around the tyrannical terror masters, themselves linked by a sort of common gravitational field.

Thus the problem that baffles our experts — Who's the enemy here? — is answered by President Bush's original insight into the nature of the war against terrorism. We are at war with a series of regimes and thousands of terrorists, and they are all after us in Iraq.

Even keen-eyed observers on the ground are scratching their heads to decipher the clear evidence. In Shiite Basra, for example, the successors of the Ayatollah Hakim (assassinated in Baghdad when he betrayed the Iranian mullahs by embracing the traditional Shiite doctrine of separation of mosque and state) and their Iranian-trained militia, the Badr Brigades (inconveniently invited to Iraq by our own State Department) are suddenly flourishing, almost to the point of opulence. They have purchased several choice properties, they are living opulently, and they are signing up followers at a great rate. Where does the money come from? Have they learned a lesson from the death of their leader and now follow orders from Tehran? Or have they found some other way to finance themselves? The most likely explanation is the obvious ones: They are working with the people who created them in the first place.

Whatever the explanation for this and other similar phenomena (Syrian "businessmen" suddenly moving into new neighborhoods in Baghdad, for example), we had better get the context right: We are involved in a regional struggle, not just a national conflict. This is not a civil war, it is part of the broad war against the terror masters, and it cannot be won if we limit our vision and our action to Iraq. The remaining terror masters cannot and will not permit us to create a stable, peaceful, and democratic Iraq, because that would threaten their own survival.

If we persist in narrowing our vision and our actions to Iraq, the attacks will get more lethal, killing larger numbers of Americans. And they will not be limited to Iraq. Significant numbers of terrorists have been rounded up of late, from the Middle East to Europe and inside this country. They are coming after us, just as we should have expected, and there is a limit to how long we can forestall catastrophes by playing defense.

Faster, please.
22 posted on 11/05/2003 11:08:11 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran: U.N. Rights Rapporteur Must Meet With Prisoners

November 05, 2003
Human Rights Watch

New York -- The visit to Iran of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression should fully investigate the cases of those jailed for peacefully expressing their views, Human Rights Watch said today.

The November 4-10 visit of Ambeyi Ligabo, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, is the first by a U.N. expert on freedom of expression to Iran since 1996. Under the mandate created by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, the special rapporteur gathers information on discrimination and threats or use of violence and harassment against persons seeking to exercise, or promote the exercise, of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The Kenyan diplomat will meet with Iranian government representatives, journalists, academics and civil society groups.

"The U.N. Special Rapporteur has gone to Iran at a time when speaking freely incurs grave risks," said Joe Stork, acting director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division. "Iranians need to know that the international community will hold the government to account."

In the week leading up to Ligabo's visit, many Iranians have been attempting to highlight systematic repression of freedom of expression by the judiciary branch.

Mohsen Armin, an outspoken member of the Iranian Parliament's Commission for the Oversight of the Judiciary, said on November 3 that the Commission had heard testimony from numerous individuals who had been detained for expressing views critical of the government. Testimony was also heard from defense attorneys representing those jailed for their opinions.

Armin's comments came days after the October 28 release of a report by the parliament's Article 90 Commission, which hears individual complaints of violations of the Constitution committed by branches of government.

The commission's report investigated the death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died of a brain hemorrhage from a blow to the head suffered in custody. The report identified Tehran Chief Prosecutor Said Mortazavi and other members of the judiciary branch as being directly involved in subjecting Kazemi to violent interrogations in the capital's Evin Prison and later attempting to cover up the cause of her death. The report noted that Kazemi had applied for and received official government permission to act as a journalist and photographer while in Iran in June and July, which highlights the risks faced by journalists working in Iran today.

"When Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize, the first thing she said was that freedom of expression is the most urgent human rights issue in Iran," said Stork. "Mr. Ligabo's trip provides an opportunity for the international community to press the Iranian government to investigate recent flagrant violations of that right."

Human Rights Watch urged the U.N. Special Rapporteur to investigate the cases of journalists and writers held in Evin Prison, such as Hoda Saber, Taqhi Rahmani and Reza Alijani, who have been held in solitary confinement since June.

Human Rights Watch also called on the special rapporteur to:

- Request visits to all persons jailed in Evin Prison for the peaceful - expression of their views, including detainees in restricted sections of the prison;
- Meet with relatives of imprisoned journalists Hoda Saber, Taqhi Rahmani and Reza Alijani, whose families have been publicly demanding information from the government about the cases;
- Meet with defense lawyers representing imprisoned writers and journalists;
- Meet with university-based student newspapers and student organizations.
29 posted on 11/05/2003 5:03:00 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Blames Tehran for Jewish Community Center Attack

November 05, 2003

Buenos Aires -- An Iranian witness on Wednesday said the government of Iran was exclusively responsible for the 1994 bombing of the Jewish AMIA community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds, court sources said.

Abolgasem Mesbahi, known as "Witness C", testified via a videoconference from the Argentine Embassy in Berlin, Germany, in the public trial being held in Buenos Aires on the alleged local connection in the attack.

Mesbahi, former chief of the Iranian intelligence service, said "nobody" in Argentina was involved or collaborated "in the logistics or in information in the attack". He said the van stashed with explosives used in the attack had been hired for the purpose.

Iran "did not use local workers" for these attacks, Mesbahi said.

Mesbahi a year ago told the Argentine judiciary about an alleged payment of 10 million dollars made to an emissary of then-president Carlos Menem for him to cover up Teheran's alleged role in the AMIA attack.

In Wednesday's testimony Mesbahi reiterated his charge, saying a "special envoy" sent to Iran by Menem, president of Argentina from 1989-1999, arranged the 10-million-dollar cover-up payment.

The money "was to go to the pockets of [ex] president Menem to halt the campaign" against Iran, Mesbahi said.

However, Mesbahi said he was not aware that the payment had actually been made. He tried to soften his statements saying everything about the payment had been told to him by a person who later died.

Mesbahi said he "had never in his life seen" Menem's alleged envoy. Mesbahi's testimony appeared to contradict what he said last year when he gave a detailed description of the alleged emissary.

Mesbahi said the AMIA center was targeted because the Iranian cultural envoy in Buenos Aires at the time, Moshen Rabbani, had information that it served as a base for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

Mesbahi said it was Rabbani who hired the van used in the attack.

"It's a rule that in terrorist operations local sources of the chosen country can never be trusted. It is not possible that anyone who lived in Argentina was involved in or informed about the attack," Mesbahi said.

His testimony could favor Argentine defendants accused of preparing and handing in the vehicle used in the attack and of other details.

He said that after the attack lobby groups were used in Argentina to block negative propaganda against Iran, which was of great concern for Teheran.
30 posted on 11/05/2003 5:04:01 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Senior Iranian Envoy Admits Mistakes Back

November 05, 2003
The Associated Press

A senior Iranian envoy acknowledged on Wednesday that his country made "mistakes" in reporting past nuclear activities but insisted suspicions that his country is trying to make atomic arms are unfounded.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's chief delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, also said that an agreement opening Iran's nuclear programs to full scrutiny by agency would be ready for signing in two weeks.

The board of the IAEA _ the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency _ meets in two weeks, on Nov. 20, to review a report by agency head Mohamed ElBaradei meant to clarify whether Iran has been trying to make such weapons. If the meeting finds Iran in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it could pass the issue to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

Salehi said his government was planning to send ElBaradei a letter stating Iran's intention to sign a protocol throwing open all of its nuclear activities to IAEA inspection "within the few coming days." It was then up to the Nov. 20 board meeting to authorize ElBaradei to sign the agreement with Iran, he said.

Iran has been under international pressure to sign and implement such a protocol. A senior State Department official in Washington said recently on condition of anonymity that Russia may be ready to halt a $800 million deal with Tehran to build a reactor for a power plant if Iran backtracks.

Under pressure from the IAEA board, Iran recently handed over what it said was a complete declaration of its nuclear activities just days ahead of an Oct. 31 deadline set by the last board meeting in September.

Salehi on Wednesday acknowledged some "mistakes," saying Iranian nuclear officials "did not follow the regularities of reporting" all aspects of the country's program to the agency.

"I wouldn't say there was anything secret in this regard," he said.

He repeated that Iran did not want to make nuclear weapons and said the reporting lapses only involved "the past peaceful nuclear activities of Iran."

Iran had also pledged a moratorium on enriching uranium, which Salehi acknowledged still had not taken effect by Wednesday. The agreement stopped short of permanently ending the enrichment program, as asked for by the board.

Iran says the program is part of its efforts to generate electricity. The United States and its allies assert Tehran has enriched uranium to levels above power needs to weapons-grade quality.

While acknowledging the existence of traces of highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium on some of its nuclear equipment, Iran insists it was inadvertently imported on centrifuges it uses for low-level enrichment. But it has not come up with the origin of the equipment as demanded by the board, saying it has no records of the source because all components were bought through middlemen.

Salehi said the declaration given the agency last month contained drawings of the centrifuges found carrying traces of weapons-grade uranium. That, plus environmental samples taken by IAEA, probably have given the agency "enough clues as to where they came from," he said.

Diplomats have said Pakistan is the likely source of the centrifuges. On Wednesday, one diplomat said that if detailed drawings were part of the package handed over by Iran, the IAEA can use it to help identify the source of the parts.

While that report has not been released, one diplomat familiar with the agency said it contains examples of "a number of breaches" of Iran's agreements with the IAEA. The United States is expected to seize on those in pushing to have Tehran declared in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty.
31 posted on 11/05/2003 5:05:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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38 posted on 11/06/2003 12:22:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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