UN inspections may not stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons: CIA
WASHINGTON : The US Central Intelligence Agency has warned that international inspections may not prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear weapons program because Tehran could be using legitimate fuel production to cover up its weapons programme.
The assessment, contained in a report to Congress made public over the weekend, coincided with Iran's formal assurances to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it will accept surprise UN inspections of its nuclear facilities and suspend its uranium enrichment programme.
The two promises had been requested by the IAEA ahead of its November 20 meeting to assess Iran's compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
But the CIA said that a secret nuclear facility at Natanz whose existence had been disclosed by members of the Iranian opposition in August 2002 could be cause for concern.
About 160 new centrifuges for enriching uranium have subsequently been discovered at that complex, located between the cities of Isfahan and Kashan in central Iran, according to US and UN officials.
"Even with intrusive IAEA safeguards inspections at Natanz, there is a serious risk that Iran could use its enrichment technology in covert activities," warned the leading US intelligence agency.
It added that the uranium centrifuges discovered at Natanz were "of specific proliferation concern" because they are capable of enriching uranium for use in nuclear weapons.
"Although Iran claims that its nascent enrichment plant is to produce fuel for the Russian-assisted construction projects at Bushehr and other possible future power reactors, we remain concerned that Iran is developing enrichment technology to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons under the cover of legitimate fuel cycle activities," the CIA said.
The report insisted that Iran appears to be trying to produce both known materials for making nuclear warheads - highly enriched uranium and low burn-up plutonium.
According to the CIA, commercial satellite imagery showed that Iran was trying to bury the Natanz enrichment facility in the ground, presumably to hide it or harden it against military attack.
"We also suspect that Tehran is interested in acquiring fissile material and technology from foreign suppliers to support its overall nuclear weapons programme," the report said. - AFP http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/americas/view/56335/1/.html
Bearing witness to the struggles of modern-day Iran
By Leslie Brokaw, Globe Correspondent
The Boston Globe
Rarely does the timing for the annual Festival of Films from Iran, which starts Friday at the Museum of Fine Arts and runs through Dec. 14, get any better.
On Dec. 10, the ceremony for this year's Nobel Peace Prize will be held in Oslo, and Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian who has spent her life peeling back the curtain on domestic abuse, will be the first Muslin woman given the prize. The Nobel committee pulled few punches in its statement about the judge-turned-human rights activist: Ebadi has "displayed great personal courage as a lawyer defending individuals and groups who have fallen victim to a powerful political and legal system that is legitimized through an inhumane interpretation of Islam."
The monthlong MFA festival provides a vivid lead-up to the Nobel ceremony, bearing witness to the daily struggles in today's Iran through films made by equally courageous artists based in that country.
Central to the festival are riveting portraits of feminism. "Our Times," by 49-year-old filmmaker Rakhshan Bani Etemad, is a 2002 documentary about the 2001 presidential election in Iran. It follows a group of college girls -- including Bani Etemad's daughter -- who campaigned for a reformist candidate, and it focuses on one of the 48 female candidates in the 711-person field.
Bani Etemad is a leading filmmaker in Iran, and she'll be the recipient of the festival's annual ILEX Foundation Award for Excellence in Iranian Cinema. (She was scheduled to accept the award in person, but will be prevented by illness from attending. Her daughter, actress Baran Kosari, will be present.)
In addition to "Our Times," the festival is showing four of Etemad's other films: "Under the Skin of the City," a drama about a female factory worker; "The May Lady," about a divorced mother incorporating a new lover into her life; "Nargess," about a man caught between two women and trying to leave his criminal past; and her festival favorite from two years ago, "The Blue-Veiled," a sweet story about how affection between a farm worker and the owner of a plantation takes root despite family members' objections.
Like many of today's Iranian filmmakers, Bani Etemad came of age during the 1970s and began making feature films and documentaries in the late 1980s. She records the convolutions of living under post-Islamic revolution fundamentalism with pre-1979 sensibilities.
She is one of the featured artists in the documentary "Iranian Women Filmmakers," which plays here, too. This 2003 film by Hamid Khairolkin and Majid Khabazan addresses the question that nearly everyone asks after seeing even a handful of these films: How did all these filmmakers manage to make such damning work under the watchful eye of the government?
The answer, of course, is that not all do. The MFA reports that earlier this year, the Iranian government confiscated the negatives of "Silence Between Two Thoughts," which tells the story of a prison guard ordered to execute a young woman. Filmmaker Babak Payami, now living outside Iran, reportedly reconstructed the film from his computer files to create the video that will be screened here.
"Black Tape: A Tehran Diary," another underground film, is one of the roughest of the series but also one of the most haunting. Dizzying and often tortuous, it plays at times like a home movie and at others like a store security video catching a horrible crime in its periphery. Its subtitle is "The Videotape Fariborz Kambari Found in the Garbage," and director Kambari's construct is that a young Kurdish bride has begun recording her imprisoned life with her husband, a former military official.
At times the camcorder is tucked under her arm as she runs; at others it sits on a table overlooking rococo furniture and taking in just sound. Played by actress Shilan Rahmani, the young woman looks like Catherine Zeta-Jones and alternates between a synthetic serenity and a poignant feistiness. "All of you make me sick," she says from behind the camera to party guests who are complicit in her near-slavery. Things only get worse.
Lighter, quirky, and eminently likable is "Letters in the Wind," which follows new recruits in the Iranian military as they go through boot camp. These could be American boys: They strut to the whistles of the Colonel Bogey March, carry Adidas bags, and kvetch about smelly feet.
The central character, a young man with a Sean Penn squint, smuggles a Walkman into his barracks and listens to the murmurings of a woman whose call he has recorded. "Hello? You won't die. Talk please," says the soft voice, and the young soldier wiggles deeper into his bunk with a smile. First-time feature director Ali Reza Amini uses lovely imagery and shows how simple fantasies can soften harsh realities.
One of the most epic films this year is Tamineh Milani's "The Fifth Reaction." It opens with a group of friends at a restaurant talking about the ways they say "I love you" to their men. One of their husbands shows up with his secretary; an ugly argument ensues, and the wife breaks with him on the spot. Suddenly the women begin confessing the humiliations they bear at home. The focus shifts to one of them, a young widow whose father-in-law is intent on throwing her out of the house and keeping her away from her children. We end up in a bona fide road movie, as both women take off with the kids. There are flashes of humor as victories come in small, conditional ways.
Jafar Panahi, 43, has turned out movie after movie that has taken festival awards: His 1995 debut, "The White Balloon," which followed a 7-year-old girl intent on buying a goldfish to celebrate the first day of spring, won the Camera d'Or award at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival; his 2000 "The Circle" captured the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
His new film is the engaging drama "Crimson Gold," and already it has snagged a jury prize at Cannes. It follows a grim man whose job delivering pizza to wealthy Iranians grinds him down until he snaps. Humiliation is at the story's core, and it is an emotion shared by the director himself. In a letter to the New York Film Festival last August, Panahi explained that he would not be attending the screening of his film because he didn't want to go through the "humiliating treatment" of being fingerprinted upon arrival because of his nationality.
"It's not just George Bush who subscribes to the idea that you are either with us or against us," Panahi wrote. "In my country, too, anyone slightly crossing any red lines is subject to the suspicion of the censors. . . . Here, they interrogate me because I am a socially conscious filmmaker. In America, they fingerprint me, and literally shackle me to kill my national pride, because I am an Iranian filmmaker. This is the kind of purgatory I, and many others like me, find ourselves in."
Iranian films speak where the filmmakers cannot, and portions of this MFA festival will travel for the first time in the event's 10 years. Selected films will move on to Washington, D.C.'s American Film Institute, New York City's Asia Society, and Houston's Museum of Fine Arts in the coming months.
Leslie Brokaw can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2003/11/09/bearing_witness_to_the_struggles_of_modern_day_iran/
This classic stall and shuck and jive pattern is all part of a continueing deliberate program of deception. This is exactly what Saddam was playing out in iraq. Now the decadent persian mullas see what lack of resolve on our part and the weak and impotent iaea can and is producing desired results for them. Our reluctance to force definitive action on them spells disaster for peace and stability in the middle east.
The Jewish Nation is the only ones with their heads in this game and is willing to put their diplomacy on the tip of a missile. Because they have a dog in this hunt and are not afraid to risk everything to maintain their freedom we should take a similiar view and quit dancing around doing the rope a dope with the devil. Israel cannot safely depend on America to do the right thing; we are more concerned with how it might look or how it night be perceived. As a result we lose all advantage to the enemy for not being committed to changing things that are necessary.
The Student Revolt has not been supported like it should have been and now we are reduced to dicey military options that we would have been able to avoid if we had acted when we knew we needed to. Indecision is a classic symptom of Politically Correct thinking. This continues to be this country's downfall and it does not change , no matter who resides in the Whitehouse!
We should lead by example and the Jewish Nation certainly has read all about Theodore Roosevelt; he understood the iron fist in a velvet glove and we should too. Now we find ourselves trying to whistle up courage in a darkening corner of this world. The U.S. State Department, heavy with socialist/marxist thinking and influence is the most dangerous policy making body in existence in the world today. It will destroy any and all who it comes up against just like it has done to our Country and is trying to do to The Jewish Nation. Their idiotic policies are so controlling and destined to produce EVIL in the world that nobody will be able to escape its socialist plan.
The country of iran is the lynch pin that divides peace from war in the battle of Terrorism in the middle east. Once we dry up the outsource locations for the real ENEMYS, russia & china we won't solve all the problems but at least we will finally know where to focus our attentions. You will still have to contend with PISS ANT non entities like North Korea,Cuba and and a few others. By doing so we may buy a little time to be able to regroup our forces instead of having them spread out all over the globe!