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Iranian Alert -- November 13, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 11/13/2003 1:09:56 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 Americans 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
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
posted on 11/13/2003 1:09:57 AM PST
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
posted on 11/13/2003 1:12:55 AM PST
Blix casts doubt on Iran nuclear bomb claims
12 Nov 2003 15:53:29 GMT
By Patrick McLoughlin
STOCKHOLM, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Former chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix cast doubt on Wednesday on charges that Iran engaged in a civilian energy programme to make a nuclear bomb, saying there was no direct evidence.
The United States has long accused Iran of using a nuclear energy programme as a front to build a bomb and is set to clash next week with three European countries over a U.N. report on the subject.
Blix, who is heading a new Swedish government-backed international commission on weapons of mass destruction, said Iran's civilian reactors were not themselves a worry and it was uncertain whether Tehran wanted to build a nuclear bomb.
"I haven't seen any evidence of that," he told Reuters in an interview at his Stockholm home. "I don't think these two reactors or a civilian nuclear programme are a danger per se."
Blix said many countries had similar programmes, but Iran still needed to reassure the world it was not moving towards a weapon.
His remarks came as President Mohammad Khatami voiced optimism that Iran would avoid being reported to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions, despite a tough U.N. report on its nuclear programme.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report obtained by Reuters on Monday it found no evidence of a secret arms bid, but that Tehran had dabbled in activity often associated with bomb-making, such as plutonium production.
Western diplomats say the United States will have a tough fight getting France, Germany and Britain to back its position at a November 20 meeting of the IAEA board.
Washington wants the board to pass a resolution to report Iran to the Security Council, a move which could lead to sanctions.
Arms experts told Reuters the report supports U.S. claims Tehran has a secret atomic weapons programme by detailing a two-decade cover-up of research possibly linked to bomb making.
Looking at Iraq, Blix repeated his conviction that no evidence of weapons of mass destruction would ever be found.
While Washington was unlikely to pull out of Iraq soon -- despite potential political fallout ahead of 2004 presidential elections -- it would dearly love to leave, he said.
"I am sure they would like to get out, not only before an election, but any time American lives are lost. They thought Iraq would be an easy affair and people would greet them with flowers and hug them and it didn't turn out that way."
The credibility of politicians had been damaged, added the 75-year-old Swede, who left the U.N. inspectorate in June.
"So much of the evidence was so wrong. There were no direct lies but...they put a spin on it to try to convince the citizens that armed force was the only way to do it," he said. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L12671164.htm
posted on 11/13/2003 1:17:00 AM PST
Notice Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Iran
On November 14, 1979, by Executive Order 12170, the President declared a national emergency with respect to Iran pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the situation in Iran. Because our relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal, and the process of implementing the January 19, 1981, agreements with Iran is still underway, the national emergency declared on November 14, 1979, must continue in effect beyond November 14, 2003. Therefore, consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year this national emergency with respect to Iran.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
November 12, 2003. http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/11/20031112-2.html
posted on 11/13/2003 1:18:01 AM PST
Israeli concern over Iran nukes
From correspondents in Washington
November 13, 2003
VISITING Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz overnight told US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld of Israel's concern over Iran's nuclear program, an Israeli official said.
"We came to tell Mr Rumsfeld of our concern about this matter," the official said on condition of anonymity, shortly after the ministers met for an hour at the Pentagon.
On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report accusing Iran of conducting two decades of covert nuclear activities, including plutonium manufacture, though said there was no evidence as yet it was trying to build a nuclear bomb.
The United States - which has dubbed Iran part of an "axis of evil" along with North Korea and Iraq - accuses Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and wants the IAEA to forward the issue to the UN Security Council when the agency's board meets next week.
Yesterday, Washington said the IAEA report "reinforced" its own concerns about Iran. http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,7853857%255E1702,00.html
posted on 11/13/2003 1:20:59 AM PST
Court to rule on Iran ex-envoy's extradition
Gulf Daily News
13 November 2003
LONDON: The British government was to decide today whether it will pursue the extradition of a former Iranian ambassador to Argentina over a deadly bombing of a Jewish centre, an affair which has damaged relations between London and Tehran.
Hade Soleimanpour is wanted by Buenos Aires for his alleged role in the 1994 car bombing in the Argentinian capital, which left 85 people dead. He was arrested here in August on an Argentine warrant, and has been free on bail pending a decision by the government whether to pursue the case.
Tehran strongly protested the 47-year-old's arrest, who has denied any connection with the blast.
A British court has given Home Secretary David Blunkett until today to make his decision public - only then can a judge begin to examine the case. http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Articles.asp?Article=66640&Sn=WORL
posted on 11/13/2003 1:23:11 AM PST
Sporadic unrest and clashes at Tehran Stadium
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Nov 12, 2003
The Soccer match opposing the Iranian and N. Korean National teams lead to sporadic unrest and clashes at the Azadi Stadium of Tehran.
Several demonstrators were beaten and arrested for shouting slogans against the regime by plainclothes men.
The incidents started during the 2nd half of the game and as a hand made sound grenade was thrown in front of a N. Korean player resulting in his injury and the stop of the game in sign of protest by his colleagues.
The visiting N. Korean team had already conceded a defeat to the Iranian team, in N. Korea, and was already lead by 1-0 in the today's return game played for the eliminatory games of the Asian Cup. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3524.shtml
posted on 11/13/2003 1:23:55 AM PST
US President renews the "National Emergency Act" with Respect to Iran
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Nov 12, 2003
The US President renewed, this afternoon, the "National Emergency Act" with Respect to Iran.
This decision extends the existing sanctions against the Islamic republic regime which were instated during the 1979 Hostages crisis. Most Iranian opposition groups and many Iranians of inside were hoping such extension by rejecting the validity of any establishement of relations between the US Administration and the Clerical regime.
Several controversial lobby groups, such as, the self called "American Iranian Council" (AIC), the self proclaimed "National Iranian American Council" (NIAC) and businessmen, such as, "Hassan Namazee", former AIC Board member and current board member of the self named "Iranian American Political Action Committee" (IAPAC) had tried, in the last years, to avoid the continuation of these sanctions and requested their liftings during public speeches in presence of US legislators such as John Kerry.
Several meetings were even set or organized, in the US, by these groups and individuals where the Islamic President and the current Speaker of the islamic Majles met with US legaislators. The today's decision of the US President underlines, as well, the lack of any credibility for these groups.
George W. Bush's Executive Order's as follow:
"On November 14, 1979, by Executive Order 12170, the President declared a national emergency with respect to Iran pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the situation in Iran. Because our relations with Iran have not yet returned to normal, and the process of implementing the January 19, 1981, agreements with Iran is still underway, the national emergency declared on November 14, 1979, must continue in effect beyond November 14, 2003. Therefore, consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year this national emergency with respect to Iran.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
November 12, 2003.
posted on 11/13/2003 1:25:19 AM PST
US attacks nuclear report on Iran
Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 06:49 GMT
The IAEA sees no sign of a nuclear weapons programme so far
Washington has dismissed a United Nations report that finds no evidence Iran has been seeking atomic weapons.
John Bolton, the top US arms control official, said the International Atomic Energy Agency assessment was "impossible to believe".
He said Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear capabilities only made sense as part of a weapons programme.
The IAEA report leaked this week said Iran had admitted to producing high-grade plutonium, but not weapons.
It said there was no sign that Tehran had secretly been developing weapons but had nonetheless admonished the Iranian authorities for being secretive.
"To date there is no evidence that [Iran's] previously undeclared nuclear material and activities... were related to a nuclear weapons programme," the agency said.
"However," it 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."
Iran has always claimed its nuclear programme is designed to meet the country's energy needs.
However, Mr Bolton, speaking at a dinner for the US publication The American Spectator, threw scorn on Tehran and the IAEA.
"After extensive documentation of Iran's denials and deceptions over an 18-year period and a long litany of serious violations of Iran's commitments to the IAEA, the report nonetheless concluded that "no evidence" had been found of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme," he said.
But he stopped short of directly criticising the head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, according to BBC correspondent in Washington David Bamford.
The tone of Mr Bolton's statement, our correspondent adds, indicates the US is prepared to take on the UN's nuclear body and state contrary conclusions.
Mr Bolton had wanted to confront Iran in the UN Security Council, while others, including the Europeans, have sought quiet diplomacy to resolve the issue.
The Iranian ambassador at the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the facts in the report made it "very difficult to refer the issue to the Security Council".
"Every logical person knows that Iran has never intended to pursue the path of weapons of mass destruction," he told the BBC's World Today programme.
He added: "We cannot convince somebody who doesn't want to be convinced."
Earlier the Iranian President, Mohammad Khatami, had given a positive reaction to the report, saying it would prevent certain powers, as he put it, from moving against Iran.
Iran also pledged to suspend its uranium enrichment from Tuesday and said it will allow tougher UN inspections of its nuclear facilities.
The former UN chief weapons inspector in Iraq, Hans Blix, has said there was no direct evidence Iran to support the claim that Tehran was using a civilian energy programme to make a nuclear bomb.
But Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz speaking in Washington said Iran's nuclear programme could reach "the point of no return" within a year.
In September, the IAEA Board of Governors gave Iran a 31 October deadline to give details of its nuclear programme.
To meet the deadline, Iran made a number of admissions to hidden activities, according to the report.
The Vienna-based IAEA is to meet later this month to decide whether to declare Iran in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3266015.stm
posted on 11/13/2003 1:27:29 AM PST
U.S. Questions U.N. Findings on Iran's Bid for Nuclear Arms
A Bush official says Tehran's covert efforts to acquire sensitive technology make sense only as part of a weapons program.
November 13, 2003
By Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON A U.N. inspectors' report that said no evidence had turned up that Iran has tried to develop nuclear weapons is "simply impossible to believe," the Bush administration's top arms control official said Wednesday.
In the administration's first official response to the harshly worded report, which was circulated this week among members of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton noted that the inspectors had found evidence that Iran had conducted a secret nuclear program for 18 years, and that it had committed numerous breaches of its nuclear treaty obligations.
In a speech prepared for a dinner of the American Spectator, a conservative magazine, he disputed the IAEA's conclusion that "no evidence" has yet been found that the concealed activities were linked to a nuclear weapons program.
The administration believes that "the massive and covert Iranian effort to acquire sensitive nuclear capabilities makes sense only as part of a nuclear weapons program," Bolton said.
"In what can only be an attempt to build a capacity to develop nuclear materials for nuclear weapons, Iran has enriched uranium with both centrifuges and lasers, and produced and reprocessed plutonium," he said. "It attempted to cover its tracks by repeatedly and over many years neglecting to report its activities, and in many instances providing false declarations to the International Atomic Energy Agency."
The IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, is issuing its report as the international community considers whether to take action to prevent any Iranian effort to build arms. Next week, the IAEA board of governors is meeting to consider whether Tehran, which has continued to deny any intent to build nuclear weapons, should be held in violation of its nuclear treaty obligations.
The 30-page IAEA report harshly criticized Iran, saying that, over 18 years, the regime concealed from the United Nations both a centrifuge uranium-enrichment program and a laser enrichment program. It said Iran manufactured small amounts of enriched uranium and plutonium, a substance with virtually no civilian uses.
The report noted that the IAEA had so far found no evidence that Iran had sought to build nuclear weapons, as the Bush administration has asserted. But the IAEA intends to keep looking for such evidence, the report said, adding that it would be some time before the agency could conclude whether Iran's nuclear program was exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Bolton, however, said "the report's assertion [on nuclear arms] is simply impossible to believe." Despite Tehran's denial that it has any nuclear arms program, "the IAEA has amassed an enormous amount of evidence to the contrary that makes this assertion increasingly implausible," he said.
He accused Tehran of trying to falsely legitimize its pursuit of nuclear fuel cycle capabilities that would give it the ability to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.
According to Bolton, Iran wants to develop the capability for uranium mining and extraction, uranium conversion and enrichment, reactor fuel fabrication and heavy-water production, as well as acquire a heavy-water reactor well suited for reprocessing spent fuel to recover plutonium. It is also pursuing " 'management of spent fuel' a euphemism for reprocessing spent fuel to recover plutonium," Bolton said.
He said that if Iran took all the steps sought by the IAEA, including full disclosure of nuclear activities and an agreement to allow unannounced inspections, such actions would "mark a major advance toward its integration into civilized society."
But if Iran continues to conceal its program and "lie to the IAEA, the international community must be prepared to declare Iran in noncompliance with its IAEA safeguards obligations," he said.
Such a declaration would put the issue before the U.N. Security Council and could lead to sanctions against Iran. Bolton did not disclose what course the United States would recommend when the 35 members of the IAEA board meet in Vienna on Nov. 20.
He noted that Iran, which President Bush last year grouped with North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq as part of an "axis of evil," also has "robust" biological and chemical weapons programs, as well as a missile development effort.
Iranian officials acknowledged this week that the country had failed to comply with all their treaty obligations, but they described the violations as minor and insisted that the IAEA report was proof that it was not developing nuclear weapons. Tehran is hoping that its new candor will persuade the international community not to take tough steps.
Jack Straw, Britain's foreign secretary, took a milder tone this week in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., saying that the world "should be reacting calmly to the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency."
Although Iran had concealed its nuclear activities in the past, it was now cooperating with the agency, he noted.
Straw is scheduled to meet today in Washington with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. The two are expected to discuss Iran's nuclear interests. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-iran13nov13,1,4110699.story?coll=la-home-todays-times
US wants to attack Iran from Balochistan coast: MMA leader
QUETTA, Nov 12
The Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal's deputy parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, on Wednesday expressed the apprehension that the United States would use the Chagai and Makran coasts for an attack on Iran in 2004.
Talking to newsmen at the press club, he held the federal government responsible for failing to nab the alleged foreign agents involved in blasts in the province.
He termed President Gen Pervez Musharraf and former attorney-general Sharifuddin Pirzada the main hurdles in the tabling in parliament of the constitutional package agreed between the MMA and the government to ensure the continuity of the democratic process.
The MMA leader criticized American interferences in the region and said it would jeopardize the peaceful atmosphere in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. He alleged that the US Central Intelligence Agency planned to attack Iran in 2004 using Balochistan's territory. He asserted that although Pakistan had cooperated with the Bush government to topple the Taliban government, Washington did not trust Islamabad.
He said that if the US Federal Bureau of Investigation could catch Al Qaeda or Taliban members in Pakistan, why the security forces could not apprehend the Indian agents allegedly involved in rocket and bomb attacks.
He accused the Frontier Corps of patronizing smuggling in the province and asked why it had failed to stop the entry of RAW agents into the country from Afghanistan. He said the Foreign Office and intelligence agencies had failed to expose the saboteurs.
He said the MMA's supreme council would meet in Karachi on Nov 16 to devise a strategy to launch a movement against the Legal Framework Order, American interferences and the "illegal" army operation in the Waziristan Agency.
He said the MMA had asked the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy to join the movement against the government on the three-point agenda to struggle for the restoration of constitutional rule and the ARD would respond on Nov 15.
He said MMA leader Qazi Hussain Ahmed had informed Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali during an Iftar party given by former president Farooq Ahmed Leghari on Tuesday that the alliance would not hold talks with him till the agreed constitutional package was tabled in parliament.
He blamed President Musharraf and Mr Pirzada for obstructing the resolution of the LFO issue. He said that the military ruler claimed that the LFO was a part of the Constitution but he himself took oath fro the second time when the Constitution was revived.
He said Senator S.M. Zafar and National Security Council Secretary Tariq Aziz had formulated the constitutional package in a meeting with MMA leaders on Sept 6 in Lahore. He said the prime minister, who was powerless, had deviated from the constitutional package so the opposition had no option except to launch a movement against the government to make parliament sovereign.
Responding a question, he claimed that former government Abdul Qadir Baloch had resigned due to the apprehensions of Balochistan's people about the construction of the Gwadar port. He said the MMA and the nationalist groups had a similarity of views on the anti-people role of the Frontier Corps and the federal government's policy on the Gwadar port project. http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en44945&F_catID=&f_type=source
Mofaz: Iran will have nukes in a year
Nov. 13, 2003
By JANINE ZACHARIA
Iran will have nuclear capability in one year, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Wednesday.
His prediction came as both the International Atomic Energy Agency and former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said they found no evidence Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as cover to produce a bomb.
"We believe Iran can reach the point of no return in one year from now," said Mofaz, who met later with Secretary of State Colin Powell and is to meet Thursday with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.
"From my perspective, the way that the US [is] leading the effort to prevent this nuclear power in the hands of an extreme regime with long-range missiles has started to bear fruit. It's necessary to continue with this effort," he said.
The US would like to see the issue referred to the UN Security Council, where sanctions could be placed on Iran.
Blix told Reuters in a Wednesday interview that he does not believe the civilian nuclear reactors being constructed by Iran are a danger. A report by the IAEA, which has yet to be released, reportedly says the group found no evidence of a secret arms bid.
Mofaz warned Syria that Israel could again strike inside its territory, as it did last month when it attacked a Palestinian terrorist training camp near Damascus in retaliation for a suicide bombing, if President Bashar Assad does not halt the activities of groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad there.
"Syria is continuing to support and to back terror activities against the State of Israel. Syria should know that they will pay a price for backing terrorism and for continuing to harbor and finance terror against the free world," he said.
Mofaz also described Assad's leadership as "strange," but did not elaborate.
Mofaz held out the prospect of dialogue with the new Palestinian Authority government headed by Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala). But he said he was deeply skeptical that Qurei would be able to combat terrorist groups with Chairman Yasser Arafat retaining control of the security forces.
"Our goal is to bring back the Palestinians to the negotiating table. But first they should fight against terrorism and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure," he said.
"We will speak with Abu Ala. To be honest with you, I'm worried about the way he's going to control the security groups. Knowing the structure, Arafat is going to control the security groups. It will make it very difficult to move forward if he will be the man to give the order and the direction to the security groups. However we will judge the Abu Ala government first and foremost by the results."
Of a possible cease-fire with Hamas or Islamic Jihad, he said: "We will not be a part of any cease-fire with Palestinian terrorist groups. We will speak to Abu Ala. But achieving an agreement or cease-fire between the Abu Ala government and the Palestinian terror groups, it is their problem. I mean the Palestinian problem."
He said prospects for a political settlement with the Palestinians in the near future are bleak and that instead the sides should work toward achieving another interim agreement.
"It will be very difficult from the situation that we are facing today to reach in a month or a few years a permanent agreement, and I believe that we have to go through some interim agreement that will rebuild the trust between the two sides, will give us a proper sense of security for the people of Israel, and give hope to the Palestinian people," he said. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1068610478892&p=1008596981749
Split between US and Europe over Iran
Thursday, November 13, 2003 - ©2003 IranMania.com
VIENNA, Nov 12 (AFP)
A transatlantic split over how to deal with Iran could be looming after the US reacted harshly to the Islamic republic's reported violations of nuclear accords while US ally Britain urged calm.
"Iran's nuclear weapons programme and the now well-documented pattern of its (Non-Proliferation Treaty) safeguards violations are deeply troubling," a US State Department official said Tuesday, after the UN atomic watchdog agency issued a new report on Iran.
But British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Wednesday urged calm.
"We should be reacting calmly to this latest report. We have to pursue this matter patiently and by diplomatic means," Straw told the BBC.
The report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday accused Iran of conducting two decades of covert nuclear activities, including making plutonium, though said there was no evidence as yet it was trying to build an atomic bomb.
The United States -- which has dubbed Iran part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and Iraq -- accuses Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and wants the IAEA to take the issue to the UN Security Council when the agency's board meets next week.
But Britain, France and Germany have repeatedly urged opening up a dialogue with oil and gas-rich Iran. A visit by their foreign ministers to Tehran in October won key concessions over Iran's nuclear program, in what EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana hailed Wednesday as a model of how Brussels could make a difference in global security.
"Iran is a clear case of the use of preventive action. We are doing it, we are engaged," he said in Berlin.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei delivered his report Monday to members of his 35-nation board of governors, which is now to meet November 20 to decide if Iran is in breach of NPT safeguards. A judgement of non-compliance would send the issue to the Security Council.
"Dr ElBaradei's report reinforces our concerns. Iran's defiance of its NPT safeguards obligations present a serious challenge to the IAEA and to the NPT-based nuclear non-proliferation regime," the US official said.
Straw, however, stressed that ElBaradei was "reporting a considerable degree of cooperation by the Iranians."
"I can't say whether this cooperation is complete but it has certainly been substantial," he 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.
Iran's President Mohammad Khatami meanwhile said Wednesday he had complaints about the report but would wait for the board meeting.
"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 added, "I am optimistic."
The diplomatic tug-of-war pits IAEA member states in favor of passing a non-compliance resolution with those advocating a lighter reprimand that would encourage Tehran to keep cooperating.
This puts the European countries on a collision course with the United States which is unwilling to accept anything less than taking non-compliance to the Security Council, a Western diplomat in Vienna said.
The trip by the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany won a written promise of cooperation from Iran on October 21 --10 days before an October 31 deadline imposed by the IAEA for full disclosure.
Iran then followed up with a report that answered the IAEA's questions about its nuclear program, a letter agreeing to tougher inspections and the suspension of its enrichment of uranium that could be weapons-grade.
In Vienna, a Western diplomat pushing for a non-compliance resolution insisted Iran only "moved forward ... because it was put under a deadline," and such pressure must be maintained.
Other diplomats said a compromise resolution that would judge Iran in non-compliance but make clear it should get credit for cooperating would be unacceptable to the European big three.
Britain, France and Germany "believe since they reached this cooperation with Iran, that there is an understanding with Tehran that these three countries will not be involved in taking the process out of the IAEA," the Western diplomat said. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=19666&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
AHMAD BATEBIS ABDUCTION CONFIRMED
Iran Press Service
Ahmad Batebi, the Iranian student jailed four years ago for displaying the bloody shirt of a friend wounded in clashes with the regimes security forces has disappeared after meeting with Ambeyi Ligabo, the United Nationss Special Rapporteur, his lawyer, Mr. Nemat Ahmadi confirmed Wednesday.
Batebi was arrested after his Jesus Christ-looking picture displaying the blood stained T-shirt over his head was printed on the cover page of the influential British weekly "The Economist", convicted of endangering national security.
He had been photographed during the first major anti-regime demonstrations by Iranian students in July 1999 and condemned to death, but the sentence was reduced to ten years of imprisonment, thanks mostly to national and international pressures.
The pro-democracy protest movement, started as a peaceful demonstration by some 300 students against the closure of a newspaper calling for more tolerance and understanding by the ruling clerics for popular, but mostly the young generations demands was harshly dealt with on orders from Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the orthodox ruler of the Islamic Republic, backed by Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, the President who was elected mostly on the youngsters votes.
His father first reported the news of Mr. Batebis disappearance on Tuesday, telling the media that his son "disappeared" shortly after meeting Mr. Ligabo at the UN office in Tehran.
At the time of his abduction, Mr. Batebi was on a five-days conditional leave from his prison in Evin, a lap he used to take part in students forums defending freedom of speech and the press.
"After meeting with the UN rapporteur on Saturday, he just vanished", his father said, confirmed by his lawyer, who said Batebis mobile was also shut.
"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", the father told the independent Students news agency ISNA.
"We called everywhere, his friends, the judiciary and the prison but nobody has any clue about his whereabouts", the British news agency Reuters quoted Batebis relative as having said.
In the absence of any reaction from the authorities, including the government, Iranian sources familiar with this kind of abductions speculated that the dissident student might have been arrested on orders from Judge Said Mortazavi, the Prosecutor for Tehran and Islamic revolution courts.
"He (mortazavi) might have ordered the abduction of Batebi deliberately, just to show Ligabo and the international community that the Islamic Republic has its own laws independent from the outside world in the one hand and that the Judiciary is independent from the government", one senior analyst told Iran Press Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.
In his view, the case of Batebi might as well be in connection with the recent bowing of Iran to demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear issues, "something that the conservatives considers as a humiliation difficult to swallow".
Abducting dissidents, keeping them in special jails manned by the revolutionary guards outside any supervision and shut to all inspections, where they are subject to various physical and psychological tortures is a current practice of the Iranian ruling clerics.
A protégé of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, Mr. Mortazavi is better know as "The Butcher" of the press for having shut down more than a hundred of Iranian publications and jailing a dozen of leading journalists on the orders of his master.
During his five-day stay in Iran, Ligabo met both Mortazavi, Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer and human rights activist who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and several political dissidents, but none of the jailed political prisoners.
According to informed sources contacted by Iran Press Service, when asked the Judiciary to meet veteran political prisoners, including the Nationalist-religious ones, he was told none of them were in Evin.
Invited by the Iranian government, Ligabo, in a press conference before leaving Tehran, urged the Iranian authorities to release all political prisoners and make way for greater respect for human rights.
ISNA also quoted Iran's prosecutor general Hojjatoleslam Abdolnabi Namazi, as dismissing the integrity of the UN's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, who spent a week here on a key fact-finding mission.
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.
Menwhile, Batebis friends have created an ad hoc committee to keep Iranians and the world public opinion informed of his situation, creating the internet site http://freeirancom.persianblog.com
and the email@example.com
In its first press release, the committee had expressed concern about Batebis physical conditions and called on the authorities to free him "without any conditions" they would go to international organisations.
It is interesting to note that Mr. Reza Alijani, a journalist close to the Nationalst-religious movement is in jail, contrary to what Mr. Ligabo had announced in his press conference, based on information the Iranian Judiciary supplied him.
"Mr. Ligabo told us that he would meet with some political prisoners including Taqi Rahmani, Reza Alijani, Hoada Saber, Abbas Abdi and Qazian, but apparently, he met none of them", said mrs. Nages Mohammadi, the wife of Mr. Rahmani.
However, informed sources said the UN Rapporteur met with some other journalists and scholars detainees in Akbar Ganji, Hashem Aqajari, Siamak Poorzand and Iraj Jamshidi.
But Ligabo 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.
According to the French news agency AFP, Ligabos 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. ENDS BATEBI MISSING 121103 http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2003/Nov-2003/batebi_missing_121103.htm
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Rice Clarifies Stand On Iranian Group
Washington Post - By Glenn Kessler
Nov 13, 2003
Iraq-Based Dissidents Under Scrutiny
National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, rebutting suggestions that the Bush administration is being lenient with an Iranian opposition group based in Iraq, said yesterday that the Mujaheddin-e Khalq is "part of the global war on terrorism" and its members "are being screened for possible involvement in war crimes, terrorism and other criminal activities."
Rice, in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, said she was responding to an article in The Post on Sunday that described an apparently easygoing relationship between U.S. forces and the 3,800 Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK) troops. One military official, Sgt. William Sutherland, told a reporter that MEK members are patriots. "The problem is they're still labeled as terrorists, even though we both know they're not," Sutherland said.
Rice said, "The story and such stories have been causing some confusion about American policy. We just wanted to make sure the reference is clear, that everyone understands where we stand on the MEK."
The MEK is a highly sensitive issue for Iran, which has privately suggested to the administration that it will turn over al Qaeda members in exchange for captured members of the MEK. Last month, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage ruled out such a deal "because we can't be sure of the way they'd be treated," referring to the MEK members.
But the administration has also indicated that it is willing to restart Iraq-related discussions with Iran, which were suspended six months ago. Rice's remarks appear to be part of an effort to signal to the Iranians that the administration is firm on dealing with the group.
"I just want to be very clear that the U.S. remains committed to preventing the MEK, which is now contained in Iraq, from engaging in terrorist activities, including activities against Iran, and its reconstitution inside Iraq as a terrorist organization," Rice said.
The State Department officially designated the MEK as a terrorist group in 1997. The MEK has been campaigning for several decades to overthrow the Iranian government, and since 1987 has been based in Iraq with the backing of Saddam Hussein.
But since the start of war in Iraq, the MEK has been the subject of a fierce tug-of-war within the administration. While the State Department pressed for MEK members to be treated as terrorists, some Pentagon officials appeared to view them as a possible vanguard against the Iranian government.
Six months ago, President Bush ordered U.S. military forces to surround the MEK's camps along the Iraq-Iran border and to force the group to give up its arms. But administration officials said the Pentagon for months allowed the group to retain its weapons, to come and go at the camps at will and to use camp facilities to broadcast propaganda into Iran.
In September, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell wrote Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld about the issue. Powell's note cited reports that the MEK enjoyed broad freedom to continue its operations. The note also mentioned that intercepts of Iranian government communications indicated the MEK continued to pose problems for the government in Tehran.
The White House at the time acknowledged that, while the MEK was to be treated as a terrorist organization, "recently, the Department of Defense has come to believe that guidance has not been fully implemented." Officials said a plan was carried out to fulfill the original guidance "in accordance with resources available."
In January, before the war against Iraq was launched, U.S. officials held a secret meeting with Iranian officials. They suggested that the United States would target the MEK as a way of gaining Iran's cooperation in sealing its border and providing assistance to search-and-rescue missions for downed U.S. pilots during the war.
In early April, U.S. forces bombed the MEK camps, killing about 50 people, according to the group, before a cease-fire was arranged on April 15. The cease-fire convinced the Iranian government that it had been double-crossed -- until Bush ordered in May that the group be disarmed. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3533.shtml
Keeping Iran Honest and Open
Christian Science Monitor - Editorial
Nov 13, 2003
Here's what Iran would now like the world to believe: For 18 years, it has been able to make bomb-grade plutonium and enriched uranium, but the small quantities produced were only for medical use.
And it all had to be kept secret.
Oh, really? No wonder a report this week from the International Atomic Energy Agency cites "serious concerns" that Iran has a secret nuclear-bomb program and should now be subject to "particularly robust" inspections for apparent violations of nuclear-nonproliferation rules.
Since the secret project was discovered a few months ago, Iran has tried to appear cooperative with inspectors in hopes that European officials in the IAEA governing council won't follow Washington's suggestion and vote next week to recommend to the Security Council that economic sanctions be imposed.
Iran can't afford to become a pariah state as Saddam Hussein's Iraq was and to see its economy get even worse. Its unpopular ruling clerics must create millions of jobs for a bulging mass of unemployed youths.
A few weeks of feigned contrition by Iran shouldn't fool European leaders that it's come completely clean. Europe also needs to send a message to Russia - one of four countries that have provided nuclear technology to Iran - that it should take nonproliferation more seriously.
A nuclear Iran would destabilize the Middle East. The IAEA must use the threat of sanctions to ensure it has access in Iran for the foreseeable future. If it doesn't act, Israel just might.
Iran doesn't need nuclear weapons for international stature, and many of its leaders know that. http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1113/p08s01-comv.html
Bolton Discredits Iran Weapons Report
AP - World News
Nov 12, 2003
WASHINGTON - A report by U.N. investigators that they have found no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program "is simply impossible to believe," Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton said Wednesday.
Bolton said Iran has enriched uranium with both centrifuges and lasers and has produced and reprocessed plutonium.
"It attempts to cover its tracks by repeatedly and over many years neglecting to report its activities and in many instances providing false declarations to the IAEA," Bolton said in a speech at a dinner of The American Spectator magazine.
The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report this week that Iran had been involved in numerous cases of covert nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment and the production of small amounts of plutonium that effectively put the nation in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
But it also praised Iran for cooperation and openness and said it had found no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Separately, a senior U.S. official said Iran has been able to confuse the IAEA with partial disclosures that will keep the agency from referring Iran's program to the U.N. Security Council this month for possible sanctions.
Iran's revelations to the IAEA show a nuclear capability far beyond civilian purposes, and Iran almost certainly could produce nuclear weapons by the end of the decade, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
While maintaining it only wants to generate nuclear power, Iran has delivered what it says is complete information about past suspect activities to the IAEA.
Last month, Iran notified British, French and German officials it would suspend uranium enrichment and throw open its nuclear programs to unfettered agency inspections.
In Tehran, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami asserted Wednesday that the IAEA report dispelled suspicions Tehran was seeking atomic arms.
The British foreign secretary, Jack Straw, is expected to take up the issue in talks Thursday in Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"We should be reacting calmly to the latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency," Straw told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
Straw said that while Iran had concealed nuclear activities in the past, it had cooperated substantially recently with the IAEA.
Russia, meanwhile, has agreed to delay shipping fuel to Iran for the Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr from next spring to next summer, the U.S. official said. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3527.shtml
US seeking consensus approach with allies on Iran
( 2003-11-13 09:07) (Agencies)
A U.N. watchdog agency's finding that there is no evidence Iran has a nuclear weapons program is "impossible to believe," U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said on Wednesday.
In the first official U.S. reaction to the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Bolton said the report actually reaffirms the U.S. belief that "the massive and covert Iranian effort to acquire sensitive nuclear capabilities make sense only as part of a nuclear weapons program."
Although the IAEA extensively documented Iran's denials and deceptions over an 18-year period and listed numerous Iranian violations of international nuclear commitments, "the report nonetheless concluded that no evidence had been found of an Iranian nuclear weapons program," he said.
"The report's assertion is simply impossible to believe," said Bolton, the Bush administration's chief official in charge of arms control and non-proliferation policy.
The IAEA in a report circulated on Monday said Iran had a centrifuge uranium enrichment program for 18 years and a high-tech laser enrichment program for 12 years, both hidden from the United Nations.
It also said Iran produced small amounts of plutonium, usable in a bomb and with virtually no civilian uses, and conducted secret tests of enrichment centrifuges using nuclear material.
Despite Iran's secretiveness and the activities possibly associated with weapons, the IAEA said there was no proof to date of an arms program. Iran has always denied the charge.
Bolton, at a dinner for the American Spectator magazine, said the IAEA's research established that "Iran is in violation, in multiple instances, of its safeguards obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)."
He did not outline what actions Washington would seek to take next week when the IAEA board of governors meets in Vienna to discuss what to do about the Iranian program.
But other officials said the administration is seeking a compromise that would hold Iran to account for its nuclear activities yet avoid a fresh clash with European allies.
Key U.S. officials still believe the IAEA should formally find Iran in non-compliance with the NPT and refer the matter to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
But they realize that because of a British-French-German agreement with Tehran this is unlikely and are looking for some kind of middle ground, one senior U.S. official told Reuters.
"Let's face it. A resolution of non-compliance is not going to happen. The question is, is there some fallback that the three European countries can live with," he said.
Experts say how the United States and its allies deal with Iran's nuclear programs is being watched closely by North Korea and other nations with nuclear ambitions and will have a major impact on the ability to restrain proliferation.
Aiming to avoid a crisis, Britain, France and Germany last month launched an initiative that resulted in Iran agreeing to temporarily suspend its uranium enrichment program and sign a protocol committing to snap nuclear inspections.
GOOD COP, BAD COP
The three countries, playing "good cop" to Washington's "bad cop," recognized Iran's right to develop a nuclear energy program and held out the prospect of future technical help.
They want to focus on encouraging Iran's future compliance with its nuclear obligations and worry "if we come down hard, Iran will renege on the whole thing," a U.S. official said.
The administration is considering whether there is some action the IAEA board could take "that is less than a formal resolution of non-compliance but would still draw the attention of the security council -- maybe an information memo or a letter" of some kind, the U.S. official said.
Bolton said if Iran takes all the steps demanded, like allowing snap inspections, this would be a "major advance toward its integration into civilized society."
But if Iran continues to conceal its program, it must be declared in noncompliance with IAEA safeguards obligations, he said, a move that would make Iran subject to U.N. sanctions. http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/en/doc/2003-11/13/content_281095.htm
Extradition of Ex-Iranian Diplomat Refused
By Tom Kelly, PA News
A former Iranian diplomat accused of masterminding a terrorist attack in Argentina will not face extradition, the Government said.
The Home Office said it had not received enough evidence to proceed with the case against Hade Soleimanpour, who was arrested in Durham on August 21 on an Argentine warrant.
Argentina claims he helped plan the 1994 bombing of the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and injured over 100.
But a Home Office spokeswoman said: The warrant for provisional arrest has been cancelled because we did not receive enough evidence to proceed.
Mr Soleimanpour was Irans ambassador to Argentina at the time of the car bombing.
The 47-year-old, who is currently studying for a PhD in nature-based tourism at Durham University, had denied any involvement.
He was granted bail on a £730,000 surety at the High Court in September.
The case had threatened to sour relations between London and Tehran. http://www.news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2170989
Iran-UK ties booming in 2004: Dalton
IRIB English News
Tehran, Nov 13 - British ambassador to Tehran Richard Dalton said here Wednesday the year 2004 would be the year of expansion of the ties between Tehran and London in all areas.
Speaking in a meeting with governor of Tehran ali Akbar Rahmani, Dalton voiced his country's readiness to boost ties with Iran in all spheres.
The ambassador thanked the Tehran governorate staff for their cooperation with the Iranian intelligence service in tracing and hunting down those behind the attacks on the Britain embassy in Tehran.
The envoy further referred to the visit to tehran by the foreign minsiters of three European countries and said the meeting between the EU foreign ministers and Iranian officials was a turning point in the Tehran-EU ties.
Dalton said in 2004, relations between Iran and the EU will witness an exceptionally upward trend.
The Tehran governor expressed regret over the shooting incident against the British embassy and said Tehran's governorate has done its utmost to guarantee the security around the British embassy.
He commented on the trade ties between Tehran and London and said unfortunatly the recent political tensions have had negative impacts on Iran-UK trade relations.
He underlined the need for measures to make up for the decrease in trade transactions between the two countries. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=192332&n=15
I received this from a student in Iran re: the missing Iranian student leader Ahmad Batebi...
"I have heard yesterday in university campus that he escaped and left Iran for another country.
I don't know whether it is true but the fact was that many students were happy about the news of his escape.
We all wish him success. "
To: DoctorZIn; F14 Pilot; Cincinatus' Wife; Luis Gonzalez
posted on 11/13/2003 1:54:49 PM PST
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
Iran: Diplomatic Battle Brewing Over New Report On Tehran's Nuclear Activities
By Jeffrey Donovan
Next week in Vienna, the governing board of the United Nations nuclear watchdog will meet to discuss Iran's nuclear activities. The United States, which accuses Tehran of pursuing nuclear weapons, wants the matter taken before the UN Security Council for possible punitive action. But Britain, Germany, and France say their policy of constructive engagement with Iran is beginning to bear fruit.
Washington, 13 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Does Iran have a nuclear arms program in violation of its international agreements? If so, what should be done about it?
Those are the questions the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is set to discuss when it meets in Vienna on 20 November.
A new IAEA report, due to be released at the Vienna meeting but leaked to the media this week, stops short of concluding that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. But it outlines nearly two decades of concealment of several activities, such as enriching uranium and processing plutonium.
U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton last night said the report's findings that there is no evidence Iran has a nuclear weapons program are "impossible to believe." Bolton said the report only reaffirms the U.S. belief that "the massive and covert Iranian effort to acquire sensitive nuclear capabilities make sense only as part of a nuclear weapons program."
Analysts say the report does appear to support U.S. claims that Tehran has been secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, despite having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970.
Gary Milhollin, who directs the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Weapons Proliferation, a Washington research group says, "This IAEA report is a stunning revelation that Iran has for a long time been cheating, cheating the inspectors, and been secretly making material that could be used in making nuclear weapons without telling anybody. And that's a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and it should cause everybody to be very alarmed."
Analysts say that, despite the report's findings, recent cooperation by Tehran with the IAEA suggests its board will likely rule in favor of further engaging rather than punishing Iran.
In recent weeks, Iran has gone from denying 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 is complete information about past suspect activities.
Last month -- after meeting in Tehran with the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany, and France -- Iran announced it would suspend uranium enrichment and open its nuclear programs to unfettered IAEA inspections.
On 10 November, Tehran delivered on those promises. Hasan Rowhani, the powerful head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, announced in Moscow that Tehran's uranium enrichment had been suspended and that a letter committing Iran to extensive inspections has been given to the IAEA.
Returning to Tehran on 11 November, Rowhani said Iran believes it has a right to pursue enrichment but was temporarily desisting from such activity in order to ease concerns.
"Iran has decided to ease international concerns about Iran's nuclear activity. Also, we decided to create a new atmosphere in international affairs by suspending our uranium enrichment program for a certain period of time. However, we consider it our right to pursue that [enrichment program]," Rowhani said.
Behind the new Iranian cooperation lies intense pressure from both Europe and the United States, which now occupies Iran's neighbor Iraq after waging a war based on the alleged threat of weapons of mass destruction.
But unlike Iraq, where Washington dictated the pace of events, analysts say Europe is in the driver's seat with respect to Iran, with which it has adopted a policy of constructive engagement at odds with Washington's efforts at further isolation.
Miriam Rajkumar is with the Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. She says Europe -- just as much as the U.S. -- does not want to see a nuclear Iran emerge. She adds, however, that Europe is also keen not to see a major confrontation over the issue between Washington and Tehran.
Still, Rajkumar tells RFE/RL that Europe has usually had a more engaged policy with Iran than has Washington. Europe, she says, has been more willing to offer Tehran future rewards in exchange for changing its behavior. Washington, given its limited contacts with Iran, may not have that kind of leverage.
For example, before the 21 October agreement, Rajkumar noted that Europe had threatened to forgo planned trade negotiations with Iran in a bid to force Tehran to see the potential economic costs of pursuing a nuclear bomb.
"They've also been always more willing than the United States to do business on civilian nuclear technology with Iran. And I suspect that's been part of the understanding, at least. We don't know for sure what was promised when the deal was made. They [seem] to be much more willing than the U.S. to offer something down the road in order to bring them into line now," Rajkumar said.
Europe's position on Iran is also somewhat new for Washington in that Britain, a key ally in the Iraq war, is also engaging Iran along with Germany and France, who bitterly opposed the Iraq conflict.
Nile Gardiner was an aide to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Now with the Heritage Foundation in the U.S. capital, Gardiner tells RFE/RL that Britain's position on Iran disturbs Washington but could be a sign of things to come.
"The British government is under immense pressure to toe the line in Europe on most foreign policy issues. [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair took an immense amount of flak over Iraq. And I think in an attempt to offset some of that criticism, he has tried to make amends by siding with the [European Union] on a number of other foreign policy issues, including dealing with rogue states such as Iran and Syria," Gardiner said.
Still, some say that the new IAEA report gives Washington plenty of fodder to argue that Iran has been lying, that it repeatedly violated the NPT, and that it is unlikely to be trusted to comply in the future.
The report said Iran admitted to producing small amounts of plutonium, usable in a bomb and with virtually no civilian uses, and had conducted secret tests of its enrichment centrifuges using nuclear material.
Although the IAEA said it would wait to say whether the program was peaceful, it added that 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 [NPT] agreement." On 12 November, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami insisted Iran's plans were purely peaceful. "It's not important what machinery we have," he said. "It's important that we are not pursuing nuclear weapons."
Iran's announcement on 10 November that it would sign the NPT's Additional Protocol will give the UN the right to conduct more intrusive, short-notice inspections to flush out any secret weapons-related activities.
The Carnegie Endowment's Rajkumar notes that the protocol may make it hard for Iran to secretly pursue nuclear arms, but that it does not prevent Iran from pursuing legal fuel-cycle capabilities that would give it what she called a "break-out" nuclear weapon option.
Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project believes for that reason and others, Washington is likely to press hard at next week's IAEA meeting to involve the UN Security Council in the Iranian nuclear issue: "It seems to me that we ought to go to the Security Council -- we, the United States -- and ask for a resolution. If we don't get one, then we can decide what to do next."
But not everybody believes the matter is that urgent.
As UN inspectors begin to comb Iran, Raymond Tanter, who served on former President Ronald Reagan's National Security Council, believes they will come up with even more compromising evidence of its nuclear ambitions. For that reason, Tanter believes that Washington is in a strong position on Iran vis-a-vis Europe and can afford to wait to take action.
"I believe Iran has lied and therefore more and more things are bound to come out. And the United States is in a happy position of not having to drive the process, as it had to do with respect to Iraq. The United States was the driving force behind Iraq. The three European foreign ministers who went to Tehran will have the burden of reconciling their supposed concession from Iran with the facts as they are coming out," Tanter said.
Washington fears that within a decade, Tehran could put nuclear warheads on long-range missiles that could reach Israel.
Yesterday, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told a think tank in Washington that Iran's nuclear program could score a "breakthrough" within a year unless there is strong international pressure to stop it. http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2003/11/13112003175320.asp
Iran will reach point of no return, warns Mofaz
WASHINGTON: Visiting Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday he raised the Jewish states concerns over Irans nuclear programme with US officials and pledged his governments support for the so-called roadmap to peace with the Palestinians.
Mofaz, speaking after meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell, reiterated comments he made in an address earlier in the day in which he warned that Iran would reach a point of no return in its nuclear programme within a year unless there were concerted efforts to stop it.
Concentrated efforts are needed to delay, to stop or to prevent the Iranian nuclear programme, he said in the speech, according to a transcript of the event.
We are committed to President Bushs vision and to the roadmap, Mofaz said. AFP http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_14-11-2003_pg4_14
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