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Iranian Alert -- November 12, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 11.12.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 11/12/2003 3:40:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


PS I have a daily ping list and a breaking news ping list. If you would like to receive alerts to these stories please let me know which list you would like to join.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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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 11/12/2003 3:40:10 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 11/12/2003 3:43:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
'18 years of lies' from Iran over its nuclear plans
By Anton La Guardia in Vienna
(Filed: 12/11/2003)

Iran has systematically lied about its nuclear programme for 18 years, seeking to hide the development of key techniques needed to make fissile material for nuclear weapons, according to a report by the United Nations watchdog.

The document, made available to The Telegraph, discloses that Iran successfully enriched uranium and extracted plutonium on a laboratory scale - providing two possible routes to a nuclear weapon.

These admissions by Teheran were part of a series of violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty catalogued in the document.

The report by Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said: "Iran's policy of concealment continued until last month with co-operation being limited and reactive, and information being slow in coming, changing and contradictory."

But after nine months of investigations by international inspectors, in which Iran has been forced repeatedly to change its story, Mr ElBaradei said there was no evidence yet that Iran was pursuing a military programme.

He added: "Given Iran's past pattern of concealment, it will take some time before the agency is able to conclude that Iran's nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes."

The report listed nine separate counts of Iran's "failure" to comply with its safeguards agreement under the terms of the NPT. It disclosed that Iran had secretly developed a uranium centrifuge enrichment programme for the past 18 years, and a laser enrichment programme for the past 12.

The experiments in extracting of plutonium, explained by Iran as an attempt "to gain experience in reprocessing chemistry", were particularly worrying.

"The main use for plutonium is in nuclear weapons," said one diplomat. "Plutonium can be used in mixed fuel for power reactors, as is done in France, but there is no sign that Iran has been seeking to do this."

Iran tried to contain the political damage, with Ali Akbar Salehi, its ambassador to the IAEA, saying the breaches were trivial.

"The failures attributed to Iran are insignificant and are at the level of gram and microgram of nuclear materials," Iranian television quoted him as saying.

But a diplomat in Vienna said: "The report is damning. What are the Iranians doing producing plutonium when all they supposedly want is a light water reactor [using low enriched uranium]?"

The IAEA report will give ammunition to all sides in the debate on the Iran nuclear crisis.

America will view it as evidence that Teheran is aggressively seeking an atomic bomb while the Europeans will see it as proof that their diplomatic pressure has forced Iran to come clean. The IAEA will take it as vindication of the ability of inspections to extract the truth.

The United States wants Iran to be formally declared in "non-compliance" of the NPT and referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

This could embarrass Britain, France and Germany which persuaded Iran last month to co-operate more fully with the IAEA on the tacit understanding that the question would be kept out of the security council.

One compromise may be that the security council is merely "informed" of the findings and will take no further action.

The IAEA appears keen to avoid a confrontation in the hope of encouraging Teheran to keep up its newly declared policy of "active co-operation and openness".

One diplomat said: "The threat of referral to the security council has been very effective. But once you use it, you lose it."

Mr ElBaradei heaped praise on Iran's announcement that it was temporarily suspending its uranium enrichment programme, and had accepted the terms for intrusive inspections.

He said the IAEA still had to carry out extensive checks on Iran's latest claims that could take months to complete.

In particular, he has yet to track down the source of particles of weapons-grade high-enriched uranium found at two sites.Iran says this is the result of contamination of imported equipment, and insists that it has produced only low-enriched uranium.
3 posted on 11/12/2003 3:49:55 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's nuclear openness undermines U.S. goal of having Tehran brought before U.N. Security Council

VIENNA, Austria, Nov. 11

The question of whether Iran was trying to make nuclear arms has not been resolved. But Tehran's sudden openness about its nuclear activities appears nonetheless to have hurt a U.S. drive to bring the country before the U.N. Security Council.

A report this week from the U.N. nuclear agency left no question that Iran covered up past programs, including enriching uranium, processing small amounts of plutonium and carrying out other activities that the United States says is proof of intent to manufacture such weapons.

Still, the report lauded Iran for its recent ''active cooperation and openness'' — praise that one senior U.N. diplomat called a coup for Tehran.

U.S. officials fear that within a decade Iran could spike its Shahab-3 missiles with nuclear warheads that could reach Israel. An intelligence report heard earlier this year by U.S. Congress expressed concern that Iran's nuclear agenda includes the production of ''fissile material for nuclear weapons.''

Part of the International Atomic Energy Agency report released Monday appeared to bolster U.S. calls for a firmer response.

The document, prepared for a Nov. 20 meeting of the agency's powerful board of governors, lists numerous nuclear cover ups by Tehran and says they effectively represent Iran's violations of parts of the Nonproliferation Treaty.

U.S. officials will likely seize on that passage in the report. It says Tehran's recent disclosures ''clearly show that in the past, Iran had concealed many aspects of its nuclear activities, which resulted in breaches of its obligations of the safeguard agreement.''

In comments Tuesday to The Associated Press, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's chief delegate to the IAEA, suggested that Iran did not consider it had violated any safeguards.

The report's wording on breaching safeguards indicates ''that there are strings being pulled by influential countries,'' Salehi said, alluding to the United States.

''We feel that the report has recognized the fact that Iran has revealed all its activities,'' he said.

While finding ''no evidence'' that Tehran tried to make atomic arms, the report by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said such efforts cannot be ruled out until there is a further probe of Iran's previously covert activities.

But ahead of the Nov. 20 meeting, Iran's skillful diplomatic maneuvering appears to be shifting sentiment among the 35-nation board away from a harsh response.

Within the past few weeks, Iran has swung from belligerent denial of wrongdoing to acknowledging past ''mistakes'' in not reporting honestly to the agency. While still maintaining it only wants to generate nuclear power, it has delivered what it says are full answers to open questions about past suspect activities.

Last month, it announced it would suspend uranium enrichment and throw open its nuclear programs to snap agency inspections, in moves that Salehi said left the United States ''isolated.''

Then on Monday it delivered on those promises. Hasan Rowhani, the powerful head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said suspension had begun and that a letter committing his country to pervasive inspections had been deposited with the IAEA.

The timing was perfect — just hours before the release of the ElBaradei report. So was the venue: Moscow, a key IAEA board member and Tehran's potential partner in an US$800 million deal to help build Iran's first nuclear power plant.

The ElBaradei report credited Iran with ''active cooperation and openness'' after a September board meeting demanded it unveil previous secrets and cooperate with agency inspectors.

A senior diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, called it a coup for Tehran, saying most board members want to encourage Iran to continue cooperating with the agency instead of driving it into a corner.

U.S. President George W. Bush's administration argues that's where Iran belongs, even if it is now cooperating, because any violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty mandates Security Council involvement — and the threat of possible sanctions.

But experts and diplomats said most board members want to encourage Iran to continue cooperating with the agency.

While the IAEA board might ask the Security Council to closely track Iran's commitment to cooperating with the agency, diplomats said Security Council involvement is unlikely to go beyond that.

David Albright, a former Iraq weapons inspector who runs the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, warned against driving Iran into a corner.

''There is now the danger that if it is slapped in the face, it may say it's not worth cooperating and actually build those nuclear weapons everyone fears they may be working on,'' he said.

On the Net:
Institute for Science and International Security,

4 posted on 11/12/2003 3:53:48 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. urges 'appropriate action' on Iran's nukes

By Tom Carter

The Bush administration, citing the latest U.N. report on Iran's nuclear program, said yesterday it would prod other nations to take "appropriate action" against Iran's ability to make nuclear weapons.

"Iran's nuclear-weapons program and its now well-documented pattern of nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty safeguard violations are deeply troubling," said a senior State Department official. "The report reinforces our concerns."

"The United States will work with other IAEA board members to ensure that the Nov. 20 board meeting in Vienna takes the appropriate action," the official said on condition of anonymity.

The comments came a week before a crucial session of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is to decide whether to refer Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council.

"Iran has no peaceful need for uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing," the official said.

The IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear monitoring agency, circulated a new report on Monday that concluded Iran had made small amounts of enriched uranium and processed plutonium, in violation of international conventions.

Uranium or plutonium can be used to build atomic bombs.

The report also detailed decades of Iranian subterfuge and secrecy regarding its program. However, the report found no evidence that Iran was trying to build nuclear weapons.

Michael Levi, a physicist and nuclear-weapons expert at the Brookings Institution, said the IAEA finding that there is no evidence of an Iranian weapons program is a "red herring."

"The difference between civilian nuclear material and material for a nuclear-weapons program is largely one of intent. The IAEA is not in the business of assessing intent," he said. "We've pretty much reached the end of the road scientifically, technically. It is now up to the policy-makers to determine intent."

Mr. Levi said that the report reached two conclusions: first, that Iran has enriched uranium and processed plutonium in violation of international accords, and second, Iran has engaged in two decades of "systematic deception and illegal activity."

The United States has been pushing for months to refer the Iran nuclear matter to the U.N. Security Council, where Iran could face sanctions.

Iran is loath to come under the kinds of international sanctions that crippled Iraq, especially since the hard-line Islamic government is facing enormous pressure for democratic reform from its population.

On Oct. 21, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain cut a deal in which Iran agreed to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and to sign a protocol allowing intrusive international inspections on short notice.

On Monday, coinciding with the IAEA report, Tehran said it had fulfilled its promises.

If Iran is found in noncompliance by the IAEA board of governors at the Nov. 20 meeting, the problem would be automatically referred to the United Nations.

"We will be consulting intensively in the coming weeks with other members of the board to ensure that the board takes decisive action aimed at ensuring full Iranian compliance with its safeguards obligations," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said last week, in anticipation of the IAEA report.

But some analysts say that the Oct. 21 deal made with the three European nations makes a finding of noncompliance unlikely.

There was no official reaction from Germany, Britain or France to the report yesterday. However, the foreign ministers of the three nations plan to speak in a conference call in the next few days regarding the Iran report, according to a German government official.

•Marc Hujer contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.
5 posted on 11/12/2003 4:00:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
US officials know nothing about Islam: Iran

TEHRAN: The United States administration knows nothing about Islam or democracy, Iran’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday in a furious response to an attack by US Secretary of State Colin Powell on the Islamic republic’s ruling clerics.

"The various comments made by the US officials on Islam and Muslims clearly prove they do not know Islam and Muslims, just as they do not know Iraq, the Middle East and democracy," spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told the state news agency IRNA.

On Monday, Powell delivered a surprisingly sharp attack on Iran’s religious leadership.

Asefi said Iran strongly condemns this open intervention in Iran’s internal affairs. "It is astonishing that the current US administration, which came into power through a tampered election, keeps on talking about democracy," the spokesman said at the disputed presidential election that brought US President George W. Bush into office.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Iran’s Islamic government faces increasing pressure from within to adopt democratic reforms as other countries in the region hold elections, expand the right to vote and write new constitutions.

Powell said the intense desire for change in Iran was obvious by the large crowds that greeted this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi, when she returned to her homeland last month.
6 posted on 11/12/2003 4:02:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
US consults over Iran's nuclear programme

Financial Time
By Roula Khalaf in London and Judy Dempsey in Brussels
Published: November 12 2003 4:00

The US is stepping up consultations with allies after a confidential report by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog showed Iran had long had a secret nuclear programme.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to be considered by its board on November 20, shows Iran has engaged in clandestine research for nearly two decades but says there is no evidence that the extensive experimentation is linked to a weapons programme.

Washington was disturbed that the report did not conclude that Iran's efforts to enrich uranium and process plutonium were part of a weapons programme. "We have a lot of leg work to do with our allies," a US official said.

Whether Iran will be reported to the UN Security Council for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty remains an open question, but the US position remains that it should be.

The report says Iran acknowledged that it has been developing a uranium centrifuge programme for 18 years and a laser enrichment programme for 12 years, technologies that Iran says can be used for nuclear energy. These can also be used for a weapons programme, however. The report reveals that four countries had provided Iran with sensitive technology but it does not identify them.

Among other alarming findings the report said Iran had produced limited quantity of plutonium in what it said was an experimental effort - that it has tested centrifuges with nuclear material - and that it had an undeclared laser enrichment programme. Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, yesterday dismissed the Iranians' failures as "insignificant".

A western diplomat in Vienna said the failures cited by the report bolstered the US position that Iran was in violation of its nuclear obligations and should be referred to the UN Security Council.

But given the admissions by Iran and the agreement on co-operation it reached last month with the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany, he said the 35-member board of the IAEA would resist any US attempt to raise the diplomatic pressure. "In some ways the report is so damning that it strengthens the US position but in other ways it weakens it because Iran is now doing things and other board members might say let's not spook them," said the diplomat.

The three European governments said that if Iran satisfies the demands of the IAEA, the issue should not be referred to the Security Council, a view shared by European Union diplomats. "We would lose all leverage over Iran if it was referred to the Security Council. Vienna must remain the place for negotiations," said one.

Tehran this week said it would sign an additional protocol that would allow for intrusive inspections and would suspend uranium enrichment activities.

Additional reporting by Guy Dinmore in Washington
7 posted on 11/12/2003 4:05:16 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

NY Post
November 12, 2003

IN their focus on short-term problems such as power cuts and sporadic terrorist attacks in Baghdad, the media have paid little attention to the long-term issues that concern Iraqis in this period of transition - such as the writing of a new constitution that is to be the cornerstone of a democratic Iraqi state.

The Governing Council in Baghdad has less than a month to unveil its program for drafting a constitution and to fix a timetable for it to come into effect. The Coalition Provisional Authority set a deadline of Dec. 7, and the latest U.N. resolution on Iraq mentions it as well.

Last summer, the council appointed a 25-man committee on constitutional matters, but provided it with no clear mission statement. The group has toured Iraq, talking to people from many walks of life, but produced no concrete proposals.

Three views have emerged on how to form a constituent assembly:

* Have the coalition pick assembly members on the basis of the same ethnic principles used to form the Governing Council. The Kurds, the Turcomans, the Christians and the Yazidis support such a method because it would ensure them proportional representation in a constituent assembly.

* Have the Governing Council (with coalition approval) nominate some members - while tribes, corporations, parties, associations, guilds and cultural organizations chose others. This view is mainly promoted by Arab Sunni Muslims and some non-governmental organizations in Baghdad and other major cities.

* Elect all members directly, on the basis of universal adult suffrage. This is the view of most Shi'ite religious leaders. The most prominent of them, Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani, has issued a fatwa (opinion) to that effect.

Opponents of direct elections fear that Shii'tes, 60 percent of Iraq's population, would have an automatic majority in the resulting assembly. That could end Kurdish dreams for a federal state, while Arab Sunnis, some 15 percent of the population, would lose their traditional hold on power for ever.

Leaders of several parties, including some Shi'ite ones, also oppose direct elections because they fear the emergence of new political patterns beyond their control. Some returning exiles oppose direct elections because they fear it might produce a new leadership from among those who stayed in Iraq and suffered under Saddam.

WHAT should the coalition do?

First, make sure that the Dec. 7 deadline is met. That is unlikely as things stand: Most Governing Council members are outside Iraq on official or private visits; the few left in Baghdad have not met for weeks. Paul Bremer, the interim administrator, should summon them back to Baghdad to make sure that the deadline is met.

Second, publish a set of principles to guide the writing of the new constitution. This need not be longer than half a page but should include basic points such as legal equality for all Iraqi citizens regardless of gender, religious faith, language and ethnic background, the holding of free and regular elections, a multiparty system and governance based on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Such controversial issues as whether Iraq should be a bi-national state, Arab and Kurdish, or whether Islam is recognized as the state religion should be left for the assembly to decide.

Nor should the coalition insist on imposing a federal system. Iraq came into being as a unitary state in 1921 and cannot be transformed into a federation overnight.

Third, decide the method of forming the assembly. Direct elections are the wisest course, for numerous reasons.

Holding elections would amount to a dramatic reassertion of Iraq's national sovereignty, and establish a direct bond between the people and those who will write the new constitution.

Members of an appointed assembly would have no such link; they would be beholden to the authority that appointed them. Appointed members would bring with them ethnic loyalties and partisan prejudices that might come into conflict with the broader interests of a nation in transition.

What about fears of Shi'ite domination? Groundless.

The Shi'ites are as divided politically as any other community of more than 15 million people. They offer a complete socio-economic spectrum, from peasants and tribal people to urban workers, middle classes and wealthy businessmen and landowners. They also have at least 10 different political parties, ranging from Communist to moderate conservative to Islamist. There is no possibility of a single, monolithic Shi'ite bloc emerging in an elected assembly.

One real problem with elections is that there is no usable electoral roll. The last credible census was held in 1957 - and Iraq has seen no free elections since then.

But this argument is more effective against the idea of an appointed assembly. If we don't know how many people live in, say, the Kurdish areas, how could we know how many seats to allocate to them?

There would, of course, be no problem if Iraq were considered as a single constituency with all people voting for all assembly members. Anyone above age 16 and holding an Iraqi identity card would be able to vote. But such a method could produce an almost exclusively Shi'ite assembly, even those elected come from different, or even opposing, political backgrounds.

One solution is to accept the existing provinces as individual constituencies. Various methods of population counting could also be used. This might be rather messy, and some votes would "weigh" more than others. But the practice of democracy is nowhere perfect.

Could the terrorist threat make holding elections impossible in some parts? The threat is wildly exaggerated, affecting just over 1 per cent of Iraq's territory. But even then one must not allow a small number of terrorists to dictate the course of events. In areas where it may not be considered safe for people to go to the polls, it is possible to co-opt members in consultation with local leadership groups.

ONCE the coalition has opted for direct elections, it should invite the United Nations to supervise the process on the basis of a clearly defied and strictly limited mission statement. The assembly must be seen as a reflection of the will of the Iraqi people and not as a creature either of the coalition or of parties and groups that, each in its own way, belong to old Iraq.

But for the United Nations to foster this, it must undergo a change of heart - accept the liberation of Iraq as a positive event, and abandon dreams of imposing on the country another, albeit milder, form of Arab despotism. If the United Nations cannot summon the needed vision and/or courage, an international supervisory body could be formed with the help of nations that support democratization in Iraq.

Iraq needs a political process that leads to the emergence of an elected government within a realistic time frame. The constituent assembly could be in place by next summer. It could complete its work by next autumn, submitting its proposed draft to a popular referendum a year from now. That could be followed by the formation of a government of transition to hold general elections early in 2005.

THE Koran says that Satan fears one word above all: Allah.

The various demons of Arab despotism and fascist Islamism also fear one word above all: democracy. It is important that Iraqis hear that word again and again and every day - until all those demons are defeated.

8 posted on 11/12/2003 4:07:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
How does this make sense?

''There is now the danger that if it is slapped in the face, it may say it's not worth cooperating and actually build those nuclear weapons everyone fears they may be working on,'' he said.

They weren't cooperating to begin with. For that, they should be ignored? Either way, they are allowed to advance their nuclear weapons program, correct?

9 posted on 11/12/2003 4:08:21 AM 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: DoctorZIn
UN rights envoy demands Iran release dissidents

November 12, 2003

TEHRAN - The UN's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, said he has asked Iran to release all dissidents, including prominent academic Hashem Aghajari.

When asked in an interview to describe the outcome of his meeting here with Aghajari -- condemned to death last year for questioning the right to rule of the clergy but now awaiting a review of his sentence -- Ligabo said the disabled war veteran should be immediately released on health grounds.

"You cannot take care of yourself when you are in prison. It is important that he be released to take care of himself. I have asked that he be immediately released," he told foreign news agency reporters.

Ligabo said he made a similar demand for other prisoners he had met with.

"Not only Aghajari but all of them. I believe that they should be released so that they can be able to take care of themselves," he said, referring to prisoners being held in the Islamic republic for press related offences or having merely spoken out against the clerical regime.

Iranian authorities responded, he said, by telling him that a number of cases were under review.

The envoy, who was wrapping up a week-long fact-finding mission to Iran in preparation of a key report of the human rights situation here, said access to the people he wanted to see had largely been satisfied.

"I met the prisoners of my own choosing," he said, explaining that the talks with them were held in the courtyard of north Tehran's Evin prison and without any officials present "so that the prisoners were free to talk to me."

He also said a number of those he met had complained of serious mistreatment.

"Solitary confinement is bad treatment," he explained, adding that some of the prisoners had reported being held in solitary for more than 100 days.

As for Aghajari, Ligabo would only say the two had held "exhaustive discussions".

Aghajari is currently Iran's most high-profile dissident.

In a speech last year, he called for a "religious renewal" of Shiite Islam, espousing a major structural shake-up in Iran's religion of state and asserting that Muslims were not "monkeys" and "should not blindly follow" religious leaders.

For powerful hardliners, those comments were seen as a frontal assault on the Shiite doctrine of emulation and the status of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader.

In November 2002, a judge in the western city of Hamedan ruled that Aghajari had committed blasphemy and, in line with Islamic and Iranian law, deserved to die.

But following a week of protests by students and complaints by reformist government officials, Khamenei stepped in and demanded the sentence be reviewed by the same hardline court in Hamedan that issued the initial verdict.

Aghajari remains in jail pending the revision of the sentence.

Aides to Ligabo said the Kenyan diplomat had met with some of Iran's most prominent prisoners, among them also jailed journalist Akbar Ganji -- jailed in 2000 after he alleged in a newspaper that top regime officials were behind a spate of grisly murders of dissidents.

A UN source said Ligabo also met with Siamak Pourzand and Iraj Jamshidi. Pourzand was jailed over a year ago on accusations of spying for the United States, while Jamshidi was jailed this year after his paper caaried a front page photograph of Maryam Rajavi, a leader of the banned People's Mujahedeen opposition group.

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 which were accompanied by arrests of journalists, student leaders and dissidents.
10 posted on 11/12/2003 4:09:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Straw Breaks Ranks with U.S. Over Iran

November 12, 2003

Britain, Washington's staunchest ally in the war in Iraq (news - web sites), admitted Wednesday to differences with its partner over how to tackle the nuclear ambitions of Iran.

While the United States reacted quickly and harshly to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report which said Tehran had dabbled in activities possibly linked to atom bomb-making, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw unusually broke ranks Wednesday to strike a milder note.

"We should be reacting calmly to the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency," he told BBC Radio. "This report, which certainly is very worrying in terms of what it discloses, also shows a pretty high level of cooperation."

The nuclear safety agency's report this week said although no evidence had so far been found of a bomb program in Iran, Tehran had experimented with possibly linked activities like plutonium production and uranium enrichment.

The report prompted Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) to accuse "hidebound clerics" in Tehran of dragging Islam into "the political gutter."

Straw will meet Powell for talks in Washington later in the day. The United States wants the IAEA board to pass a resolution to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council, a move which could lead to sanctions against Tehran.

But Britain may resist, along with France and Germany.

The three have tried to engage with Iran, to the dismay of Washington which has long taken a tougher line. Last month the European trio secured Iranian agreement to snap inspections of its nuclear sites and a freeze of uranium enrichment.

Speaking on BBC Radio, Straw, who has made building ties with Tehran a cornerstone of his diplomatic agenda, was careful to respect Iran's heritage.

"We want to see a process by which Iran comes fully into the democratic modern fold while being able to show full respect to its Islamic roots and the fact that it is an Islamic republic," he said, going on to admit differences with Washington.

"Because of the history between Iran and the United States, the felt more sensitively than it is in Europe," he said. "We have different analyzes but we share a common objective."
11 posted on 11/12/2003 4:10:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran Objects to Remarks of Colin Powell

November 12, 2003
Iran Weekly Press Digest

“Remarks and interpretations made by the American officials indicate that they know nothing about Islam, Moslems, Middle East and democracy,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi was quoted as saying by the agency.

The spokesman was referring to the Powell’s remarks at the City College of New York on Monday that Iranian people do not want to banish Islam from their lives and want to be free of those who have dragged the sacred garments of Islam into the political gutter.

Assefi also termed Powell’s remarks as a clear interference in Iran’s internal affair and said: “it is surprising that U.S. officials - whom were elected in a distorted election – talk about democracy and people’s rights.”

The U.S. secretary had said that Iranian people want reform and they want their freedom back. Iran had been termed by the U.S. President George W. Bush as a part of an "axis of evil" together with Iraq and North Korea. Tehran has always rejected U.S. allegations that it was supporting terrorism and suppressing people’s freedom.
12 posted on 11/12/2003 4:14:26 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
13 posted on 11/12/2003 4:41:23 AM PST by windchime
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami 'Complains' over IAEA Report

November 12, 2003
Middle East Online
Siavosh Ghazi

Iran's President Mohammad Khatami said Wednesday he had a number of complaints against the head of UN's nuclear watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei over his report listing violations by Iran's nuclear programme.

Khatami said Tehran's future cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency depended on the outcome of the IAEA's November 20 board meeting which could declare Iran in breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"In the report the important point was that there is no proof Iran is seeking to build the atomic bomb. Overall, there are positive points and there are points that did not need to have been mentioned," Khatami told reporters.

"We have some complaints against Mr. ElBaradei," he added, asserting that Iran's failures had been in the past and that "there was no need to repeat them."

"He should have taken into account other considerations. It is natural that during the past 20 years of nuclear activities that there have been failures, but this does not signify a violation of the NPT," he added.

"We will continue our cooperation with the agency and we are waiting for the board of directors meeting. If their attitude is political, we reserve the right to change our attitude," Khatami said, although he did add that "I am optimistic."

The confidential report by ElBaradei, released on Monday, has sparked a diplomatic tug-of-war between IAEA member states in favor of passing a non-compliance resolution and those advocating a lighter reprimand that would encourage Tehran to keep cooperating.

The US alleges oil- and gas-rich Iran - which it had lumped into an "axis of evil" with North Korea and pre-war Iraq - is using a programme to generate atomic energy as a convenient cover for a nuclear weapons drive.

And a US State Department spokesman said Tuesday that the IAEA report had only reinforced US fears.

The IAEA report said Iran had "concealed many aspects of its nuclear activities with resulting breaches of its obligation to comply with" NPT safeguards.

It said Iran had secretly produced plutonium, material generally used only for making nuclear weapons, as well as enriched uranium, a nuclear fuel that can also be used to make the bomb, and had also imported uranium without reporting it to the IAEA as required.

The report said there was "no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities ... were related to a nuclear weapons program."

But it still gave the caveat that "given Iran's past pattern of concealment" time is needed before Iran's nuclear program can be certified as "exclusively for peaceful purposes."

But while Khatami acknowledged that Iran's nuclear activities have been "very varied", he asserted that the production of plutonium had been for medical purposes and "totally peaceful".

And Iran's concealment, he argued, was because of US efforts "to stop our activities and impose sanctions".

Diplomats say Iran is likely to escape censure at the November 20 IAEA board meeting, but largely in a concession to Britain, France and Germany, which sent their foreign ministers here last month to secure Iranian compliance with IAEA demands.

Iran agreed as a result to allow tougher inspections, suspend uranium enrichment and come clean on past activities by delivering a comprehensive report on its nuclear activities and trading.
14 posted on 11/12/2003 4:53:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran student activist missing

11/11/2003 21:18 - (SA)

Tehran - A prominent Iranian student activist who met with a visiting United Nations rights envoy over the weekend has gone missing, the student news agency ISNA reported on Tuesday.

The agency also quoted Iran's prosecutor general, Abdolnabi Namazi, as dismissing the integrity of the UN's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Ambeyi Ligabo, who spent a week here on a key fact-finding mission.

ISNA said the student activist, Ahmad Batebi, was reported by his father to have gone missing on Saturday after meeting with Ligabo.

The student was one of hundreds detained during student-led protests here in 1999, and a photograph of him holding aloft a bloodstained T-shirt - a picture that was widely carried across the world - earned him a death sentence for propagating against the Islamic regime.

His sentence was eventually reduced on appeal to 13 years imprisonment, and he had been on prison leave for medical reasons when he met with Ligabo. His father told ISNA that his prison leave had been due to expire on Monday, but that he had gone missing on Saturday.

"If I have no news of my son and if the security of my family is not assured, I will contact human rights defence organisations," his father told the agency.

Meanwhile, Namazi complained that Ligabo had raised "secondary and marginal questions" while in Iran, and said he was not expecting a balanced report from the Kenyan diplomat.

"International organisations are generally under the influence of the Zionists who always try to put into question the Islamic republic," Namazi told ISNA.

While in Iran, Ligabo met with a string of officials and dissidents and called on Iran to release all those jailed for press related offences or having merely spoken out against the clerical regime.

He said access to the people he wanted to see had largely been satisfied, and added that a number of prisoners he met had complained of serious mistreatment, notably periods of more than 100 days of solitary confinement.

His report, due for release next March, will be taken into consideration when member states of the United Nations Human Rights Commission decide on whether to forward a resolution condemning Iran.,,2-10-1462_1443813,00.html
15 posted on 11/12/2003 4:58:26 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
British FM urges calm reaction to 'Report' on Iran

Wednesday, November 12, 2003 - ©2003

LONDON, Nov 12, (AFP) -- The British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Wednesday called for the international community to react calmly to a report by the UN's nuclear watchdog which accused Iran of covert nuclear activities over 20 years.

Speaking a day after a sharp reaction from the United States, Straw told BBC radio: "We should be reacting calmly to this latest report. We have to pursue this matter patiently and by diplomatics means."

Since mid-September, Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was "reporting a considerable degree of cooperation by the Iranians," said Straw.

"I can't say whether this cooperation is complete but it has certainly been substantial," Straw said.

"It's a matter for the (IAEA) board to decide whether or not the matter should be referred to the (UN) Security Council, and I'm not going to preempt the decision of the board," he added.

The IAEA Monday accused Iran of covert nuclear activities over the past 20 years, including making plutonium, but said there was no evidence as yet it was trying to build an atomic bomb.

A November 20 meeting of the IAEA's board of governors is set to rule on Iran's nuclear program.

The United States accuses Iran, its arch-foe, of secretly trying to develop atomic weapons.

It wants the IAEA's 35-nation board to judge Iran in non-compliance with its treaty obligations and send the matter to the UN Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

Straw refused to class Iran in the same league as Iraq under Saddam Hussein, saying: "There is no evidence of large scale active chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs (in Iran) on the scale" developed by Iraq.
16 posted on 11/12/2003 5:00:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said: "Iran's policy of concealment continued until last month with co-operation being limited and reactive, and information being slow in coming, changing and contradictory."

Gee, I wonder why they'd do that?

"The experiments in extracting of plutonium, were particularly worrying.
"The main use for plutonium is in nuclear weapons," said one diplomat"

Let's assume they're up to no good, and err on the side of CAUTION?
17 posted on 11/12/2003 5:49:41 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
May he be found safe.
18 posted on 11/12/2003 5:55:42 AM 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: DoctorZIn
We know Ahmad Batebi's face very well here on the Thread.

(see Banner in post #2)

Good luck to him.
Khoda Hafez

19 posted on 11/12/2003 6:00:16 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Reading, watching and learning...........
20 posted on 11/12/2003 7:03:24 AM PST by yoe (Term Limits - and 2 terms are the limit for all elected to a Federal office!!)
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