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Iranian Alert -- November 19, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 11/19/2003 12:15:39 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
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posted on 11/19/2003 12:15:39 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!
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posted on 11/19/2003 12:19:26 AM PST
Today's blog from an Iraqi woman (screen-named "River") who is living in Baghdad... Enjoy her wonderfully evocative accounts of daily life there at html//www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com
This blog is the first note of real anger I have noticed...
"... I'll meet you 'round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend..."
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
They've been bombing houses in Tikrit and other areas! Unbelievable... I'm so angry it makes me want to break something!!!! What the hell is going on?!
What do the Americans think Tikrit is?! Some sort of city of monsters or beasts? The people there are simple people. Most of them make a living off of their land and their livestock- the rest are teachers, professors and merchants- they have lives and families. Tikrit is nothing more than a bunch of low buildings and a palace that was as inaccessible to the Tikrit is as it was to everyone else!
People in Al Awja suffered as much as anyone, if not more- they weren't all related to Saddam and even those who were, suffered under his direct relatives. Granted, his bodyguards and others close to him were from Tikrit, but they aren't currently in Tikrit- the majority have struck up deals with the CPA and are bargaining for their safety and the safety of their families with information. The people currently in Tikrit are just ordinary people whose homes and children are as precious to them as American homes and children are precious to Americans! This is contemptible and everyone thinks so- Sunnis and Shi'a alike are shaking their heads incredulously.
And NO- I'm not Tikriti- I'm not even from the 'triangle'- but I know simple, decent people who ARE from there and just the thought that this is being done is so outrageous it makes me want to scream. How can that *** of a president say things are getting better in Iraq when his troops have stooped to destroying homes?! Is that a sign that things are getting better? When you destroy someone's home and detain their family, why would they want to go on with life? Why wouldn't they want to lob a bomb at some 19-year-old soldier from Missouri?!
The troops were pushing women and children shivering with fear out the door in the middle of the night. What do you think these children think to themselves- being dragged out of their homes, having their possessions and houses damaged and burned?! Who do you think is creating the 'terrorists'?!! Do you think these kids think to themselves, "Oh well- we learned our lesson. That's that. Yay troops!" It's like a vicious, moronic circle and people are outraged.
The troops are claiming that the attacks originate from these areas- the people in the areas claim the attacks are coming from somewhere else. I really am frightened of what this is going to turn into. People seem to think that Iraq is broken into zones and areas- ethnically and religiously divided. That's just not true- the majority of people have relatives all over Iraq. My relatives extend from Mosul, all the way down to Basrah- we all feel for each other and it makes decent people crazy to see this happening.
There have also been a string of raids all over Baghdad, but especially in Al-A'adhamiya. They've detained dozens of people with the excuse that they own more than one weapon. Who owns less than two weapons? Everyone has at least one Klashnikov and a couple of guns. Every male in the house is usually armed and sometimes the females are too. It's not because we love turning our homes into arsenals, but because the situation was so dangerous (and in some areas still is) that no one wants to take any risks. Imagine the scene: a blue mini-van pulls up 10 dirty, long-haired men clamber out with Klashnikovs, pistols and grenades and demand all the gold and the kids (for ransom). Now imagine trying to face them all with a single handgun... if Baghdad were SECURE people would give up their weapons. I hate having weapons in the house.
I'm so tired. These last few days have been a strain on every single nerve in my body. The electricity has been out for the last three days and while the weather is pleasant, it really is depressing.
No one knows why the electricity is out- there are murmurings of storms and damage to generators and sabotage and punishment... no one knows exactly what's going on.
There are explosions everywhere. Yesterday it was especially heavy. Today there was a huge explosion that felt like it was nearby but we can't really tell. How do you define a war? This sure as hell feels like war to me: no electricity, water at a trickle, planes, helicopters and explosions.
We didn't send the kids to school today. My cousin's wife spent last night talking about horrible premonitions and it didn't take much to convince my cousin that they would be better off at home.
It's hard for adults without electricity, but it's a torment for the kids. They refuse to leave the little pool of light provided by the kerosene lamps. We watch them nervously as they flit from candlelight to lamplight, trying to avoid the dark as much as possible. I have flashes of the children knocking down a candle, hot, burning wax, flames... I asked the 7-year-old the other night if she was afraid of 'monsters' when she shied away from a dark room. She looked at me like I was crazy- monsters are for losers who don't need to fear war, abductions and explosions.
We (5 houses in the neighborhood) all chipped in and bought a generator immediately after the war. What we do now is 2 houses get enough electricity for some neon lights, a television, a refrigerator and a freezer. We asked them to 'save our electricity up' and give us a couple of hours after futtoor and that's how I'm typing now. But my time is almost up and I'm afraid if the electricity goes off suddenly, it'll damage my computer.
E. and I hang out on the roof after futtoor and only duck inside when the helicopters begin hovering above. We watch the main street from the roof. One of the merchants has a little generator and he sets up chairs outside of his shop, in front of a small black and white tv. The guys in the neighborhood all stream towards the lights like ants towards a sticky spot. They sit around drinking tea, and chatting.
You really can't appreciate light until you look down upon a blackened city and your eyes are automatically drawn to the pinpoints of brightness provided by generators - - it looks like the heavens have fallen and the stars are wandering the streets of Baghdad, lost and alone.
I have to go now. Hope the electricity is back tomorrow, at least.
posted on 11/19/2003 12:27:08 AM PST
I have always thought the road would lead into Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia... you are right, it is just a matter of time.
posted on 11/19/2003 12:28:29 AM PST
(God help us send these Islamic Extremist savages back into Hell where they belong...)
Iran still fooling UN nuclear watchdog-exile group
By Louis Charbonneau
VIENNA, Nov. 18 Tehran is still concealing some nuclear activities and a ''secret atomic weapons programme'' from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, an exiled Iranian opposition group that has informed accurately in the past said on Tuesday.
Last month, Iran submitted a declaration of its entire nuclear programme to the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Tehran said was accurate and complete to comply with an October 31 IAEA deadline to come clean about its programme.
In this declaration, Iran admitted to reprocessing a small amount of plutonium and concealing a uranium enrichment programme for 18 years.
But Tehran has strenuously denied having a weapons programme and has consistently said its nuclear policy was aimed at generating power for peaceful purposes.
Shahin Gobadi, a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), told Reuters that his group had specific information about further ''recent violations'' of Iran's obligation to report all its nuclear activities to the IAEA.
Tehran is also hiding ''its secret atomic weapons programme,'' Gobadi said, echoing an accusation the United States has also made.
The NCRI is a coalition of exiled opposition groups and sees itself as a potential replacement for Islamic rule in Iran. But the U.S. State Department lists the NCRI and its armed wing, the People's Mujahideen, as a terrorist organisation.
Gobadi also said officials working within Iran's nuclear industry, parts of which had been kept hidden from the IAEA for nearly two decades, had informed some workers that Iran's current policy of openness with the IAEA was ''all temporary.''
These statements came two days before the IAEA's Board of Governors meets to discuss an IAEA report on Iran's long history of hiding some of its nuclear plans from the U.N. body.
The full details of the NCRI's latest findings will be revealed on Wednesday, Gobadi said.
In August 2002, the NCRI sparked the current crisis surrounding Iran's nuclear programme by revealing an underground uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water production facility at Arak.
One Western diplomat who follows IAEA issues closely said that the NCRI was accurate ''around 70 percent of the time.''
Another diplomat said that if Tehran was still hiding things from the U.N. agency, ''it would be all over for Iran,'' which would be reported to the U.N. Security Council for lying to the IAEA and would likely face economic and diplomatic sanctions.
Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters11-18-112731.asp?reg=MIDEAST
posted on 11/19/2003 12:31:39 AM PST
Europe to Oppose U.S. Effort to Air Iran Arms Issue in U.N.
By CHRISTOPHER MARQUIS
Published: November 19, 2003
LONDON, Nov. 18 Europe will resist an American effort to bring the suspected Iranian development of nuclear weapons before the United Nations Security Council, hoping to lure Iran into compliance with negotiations and incentives, European officials said Tuesday.
The stand was a rebuff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who met in Brussels with European foreign ministers and sought a forceful response to a United Nations report that Mr. Powell said had proved that Iran was defying its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Later, he flew here to London to join President Bush.
The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to take up a resolution this week by France, Germany and Britain that seeks to compel Iran to halt enrichment and reprocessing of uranium and holds out the lure of cooperation, including sharing nuclear technology for civilian use.
Javier Solana, the top European Union diplomat, said Europe would follow a policy of "constructive engagement" directed at inducing Iran to abandon materials that could be used to produce weapons. European officials agreed Tuesday to demand that Iran sign a nonproliferation clause in any future treaties.
Mr. Solana acknowledged that the report, drafted by Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, showed that Iran's past behavior was "not compatible" with its nonproliferation pledge. But he and European colleagues said Iran had shown a new willingness to cooperate.
At a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday, Mr. Powell voiced doubts about whether the European approach was strong enough. "We have some reservations about the draft resolution," he said. "The fact of the matter is Iran has been in noncompliance."
Later on Tuesday, on the flight to London, he said the last draft he had seen lacked "trigger mechanisms" to punish Iran for noncompliance. He said Dr. ElBaradei agreed that the resolution was "inadequate to the report he had prepared."
Bush administration officials have hewed to a tougher line toward Iran in the wake of Dr. ElBaradei's report, which concluded that, despite past transgressions, there was no evidence that Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons. John Bolton, an under secretary of state who is responsible for nonproliferation, declared that conclusion "simply impossible to believe."
An American official said Tuesday that the administration was still considering bringing the Iranian matter before the Security Council, which has the power to authorize sanctions or military action.
The administration has not settled on its strategy, the diplomat said, and it may yield in the short term to the European initiative. One European diplomat said some of the ministers were eager to avoid another Iraq-style showdown at the United Nations. "You will see Europeans united around, `Let's maintain this issue in Vienna,' " the diplomat said, adding that it would "probably create more problems than solve them by taking it to the U.N. Security Council."
Mr. Powell and his counterparts also discussed Iraq, and the European envoys expressed satisfaction that the administration had moved up its timetable for handing over control to an interim government.
Talks With U.N. on U.S. Plan for Iraq
WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 Administration officials said Tuesday that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had begun discussions with Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations about the possibility of a new Security Council resolution that would, in effect, bless the new American plan for a transfer of power to an interim Iraqi government by the middle of next year.
As part of the talks, reported in the Wednesday issue of The Washington Post, American officials said they had asked Mr. Annan to consider appointing a new special representative for Iraq to take part in plans for the transition. There has been no senior diplomat serving in that capacity since Sergio Vieira de Mello was killed in the bombing of United Nations headquarters in Baghdad in August. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/19/international/europe/19POWE.html?ex=1069822800&en=78edb639e68dbd0c&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE
posted on 11/19/2003 12:33:57 AM PST
The London Streets
Who are these anti-Bush people?
National Review Online
By Amir Taheri
November 18, 2003, 11:02 a.m.
LONDON George W. Bush's visit to London this week will be historic for at least two reasons. He will be the first U.S. president to come to Britain on a state visit. He will also observe a bizarre political marriage: one between the remnants of the Marxist-Leninist Left and militant Islamists. Negotiated over the past two years, the "wedding," will be celebrated in a mass demonstration against Bush's visit.
The demonstration is organized by a shadowy group called "Stop the War Coalition," part of the Hate-America-International, which has orchestrated a number of street "events" in support of the Taliban and the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein since 2001.
When I called the coalition to ask whether the idea was to stop all wars, a spokeswoman assured me that this was not the case.
She referred me to the first article of the coalition's charter that states: "The aim of the coalition is simple: to stop the war currently declared by the United States and its allies against 'terrorism.'"
"We really want to stop Bush and Blair from going around killing babies," she said. "Our objective is to force the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan."
But what if a U.S. withdrawal means the return of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein?
"Anything would be better than American Imperialist rule," she snapped back.
Who are these nostalgics of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein?
The coalition has a steering committee of 33 members. Of these, 18 come from various hard left groups: Communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, and Castrists. Three others belong to the radical wing of the Labour party. There are also eight radical Islamists. The remaining four are leftist ecologists known as "Watermelons" (Green outside, red inside).
The chairman of the coalition is one Andrew Murray, a former employee of the Soviet Novosty Agency and leader in the British Communist party. Cochair is Muhammad Asalm Ijaz of the London Council of Mosques. Members include John Rees of the Socialist Workers' party and Ghayassudin Siddiqui of the Muslim Parliament. Tanja Salem of the Al-awdah (The Return) group, an outfit close to Yasser Arafat, is also a member along with Shahedah Vawda of "Just Peace," another militant Arab group, and Wolf Wayne of the "Green Socialist Network."
A prominent member is George Galloway, a Labour-party parliamentarian under investigation for the illegal receipt of funds from Saddam Hussein. In his memoirs, Galloway says that the day the Soviet Union collapsed was "the saddest day" of his life.
Galloway says the only terrorism in the world today comes from the United States, not from organizations such as al Qaeda or the remnants of the Iraqi Baath party.
The coalition was created in London in September 2001, at first as an exclusively leftist concoction bringing together the remnants of the Stalinist "peace movement" of the 1950s, diehard "no nukes" activists, and some fellow travellers.
The coalition has succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its founders. For the first time ever it has brought together all radical leftist and anarchist groups. Under its umbrella march such traditional former archenemies as Stalinists and Trotskyites.
But the coalition's biggest success is the alliance that it has forged between the extreme Left and militant Islamist groups. This would have been unthinkable even a couple of years ago. The Left always regarded Islam as a "relic of feudalism" and an instrument of reactionary Arab regimes. For their part, the Islamists regarded leftists as atheist enemies who had to be put to the sword.
The first to advocate a leftist-Islamist alliance against Western democracies was Ayman Al Zawahiri al Qaeda's #2.
In a message to al Qaeda sympathizers in Britain in August 2002, he urged them to seek allies among "any movement that opposes America, even atheists."
The idea has received strong support from Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the Venezuelan terrorist known as "Carlos the Jackal."
In his book Revolutionary Islam, published in Paris last month, Carlos, who says he has converted to Islam, says he has advised Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader, to forge an alliance with "all guerrilla, terrorist and other revolutionary groups throughout the world, regardless of their religious or ideological beliefs."
Carlos says Islam is the only force capable of persuading large numbers of people to become "volunteers" for suicide attacks against the U.S.
"Only a coalition of Marxists and Islamists can destroy the US," he says.
This week's anti-Bush demonstration in London will mark the emergence of a coalition the hard core of which consists of the radical Left and militant Islamism. Around it we find other groups who hate the U.S. for different reasons. There are supporters of free abortion, opponents of capital punishment, anti-globalization fanatics, advocates of the Kyoto protocol on the environment, and anti-Semites who believe the Jews control the United States. But a good part of the planned demonstrations will, as always, consist of what Lenin called "the useful idiots", men and women of good faith whose political naiveté makes them natural targets for experts in agitprop.
But why are these people taking to the streets?
One reason is that the parties, groups, and individuals involved have consistently failed to find a place in the normal institutions of British democracy.
The 60 or so leftist and Islamist groups involved in this odd enterprise have never managed to win more than one half of one percent of the votes in any British general election. Nor have they succeeded in winning a single seat in parliament or a majority in a single municipal council.
Those who can never win elections, always take to the streets. Street politics enables them to escape debate on complex issues that cannot be reduced to a few simplistic slogans.
Britain's participation in the war against terrorism was the subject of four exhaustive debates in the House of Commons in 2001 and 2002, each followed by a vote that Prime Minister Tony Blair won.
Street politics is for those who wish to abolish individual political judgment, the cornerstone of democratic life. Street politics encourages the irrational tendencies of crowds that could turn into hunting packs or lynch mobs. Power won in the streets produces only ochlocracy (rule by the worst).
To make sure that no discordant voice is heard, the organizers of the demonstrations have announced that only "authorized" t-shirts, hats and other paraphernalia will be allowed. Only four slogans are permitted: "Stop Bush," "Stop Blair," " U.S. Out of Iraq and Afghanistan," and " Bush Go Home!"
The demonstration's security force, made up of muscular Marxists and Islamists, has instructions to prevent any sign of pro-American sentiments. A group that has said it wants to take part in the demonstrations with t-shirts saying "Bush-Cheney: Four More Years!" has been warned of "dire consequences."
The London demonstration is planned and will be supervised in the best Stalinist traditions still in force in North Korea.
In countries that suffer under despotism, the street is, at times, the only space available to the opposition. This is why we hear so much about the so-called "Arab street." But do we need a "British street" that disdains the institutions of democracy, including mainstream political parties, and the parliament?
Amir Taheri, and NRO contributor, is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. Taheri is reachable through www.benadorassociates.com. http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/taheri200311181102.asp
posted on 11/19/2003 12:38:18 AM PST
To: Terridan; slym; yoe; cardinal4; LoudRepublicangirl; DoctorZIn; Pan_Yans Wife; nuconvert; ...
Israel: Iran, Afghan links to synagogue bombers
ISTANBUL, Nov 18 (AFP) - Israeli parliamentary speaker Reuven Rivlin said Tuesday that suspected bombers involved in the Istanbul synagogue attacks were Turkish nationals with links to Afghanistan and Iran.
"We found out here in Turkey, along with our friends in Turkish intelligence forces, that the two terrorists, actually Turkish civilians were educated in Afghanistan and trained in Iran," Rivlin said at a news conference here.
He was speaking after attending the funeral of the six Jews who were among the 25 people killed when suicide bombers drove explosives-laden trucks past two synagogues in old Istanbul on Saturday.
Turkish press reports on Tuesday named four local Islamists as suspects in the bombings, although it is not yet clear how many of them may actually have been killed or been at the scene of the attacks.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said clues uncovered in the investigation suggested a link with Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, but added that a definite conclusion could be drawn only after the completion of DNA tests.
"We see that a link has emerged with that organization in Afghanistan at least on the level of mentality and ideology," he said.
An Arabic newpaper reported this week that a branch of al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the attacks. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=19812&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
posted on 11/19/2003 12:38:36 AM PST
by F14 Pilot
Resist US pressure, Iran urges IAEA
Iran appealed to the UN's nuclear watchdog yesterday to resist US pressure to declare Tehran in breach of international nuclear agreements.
Washington says Iran has violated the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and wants the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer the case to the UN Security Council.
The IAEA's board meets tomorrow. "The members of the board should not allow a country to impose its views on them and should act independently," Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.
"America should abandon such useless pressures and stop imposing its ideas on the agency," he said in a statement faxed to Reuters.
Meanwhile, state television Irib quoted Asefi saying recent remarks by US State Department indicated their "anger at the peaceful and professional negotiations between Iran and the global community."
He was referring to Washington's recent requests that the IAEA should declare Tehran non-compliant with the NPT and refer it to the Security Council for possible sanctions.
By contrast, European Union foreign ministers ruled Monday Tehern was making efforts to meet international demands for tougher nuclear controls, and refused to take the issue to the Security Council.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell criticised the EU's view and doubted that Iran had been honest about its nuclear programme which, the US believes, is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
"Realism ... should cause all of us to have serious concerns about judging too quickly whether or not we have now received the full and complete story," Powell said.
The IAEA last week released a 29-page report which found that Iran had illegally concealed a programme to enrich uranium during an 18-year-period and violated obligations under the non-proliferation agreement. However, the the nuclear watchdog concluded there was no evidence of an Iranian programme to produce nuclear weapons.
John Bolton, the US State Department undersecretary for non- proliferation, had rejected the findings as "simply impossible to believe" in a speech.
Diplomats in Vienna said on Monday that Britain, France and Germany had drafted an IAEA resolution that does not find Iran's nuclear programme in violation of international agreements. http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/news.asp?ArticleID=103284
posted on 11/19/2003 12:39:36 AM PST
Reform takes on a new face in Iran
By Safa Haeri
PARIS - Iran's reformists, already facing defeat that some political analysts predict as "crushing" in the legislative elections due in February, face a further daunting challenge from militia belonging to the ruling ayatollahs' guardians of the Islamic revolution.
At least 40 officers of the elite Revolutionary Guards are believed to have shed their olive-green uniforms to take seats in the next majlis, which will be the eighth since the country's Islamic revolution in 1979. "Though the military is barred by the constitution from political activities, their participation in elections has no constitutional limitation on condition that they have got out of the ranks in due time," Dr Qasem Sho'leh Sa'di, a prominent lawyer and scholar, told Asia Times Online.
The conservatives plan to retake control of parliament by bringing in the soldiers at a time that reforms promised more than six years ago by Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami during his electoral campaign have not only not materialized, but the regime faces a "legitimacy crisis".
"Iran is on the brink of a kind of social collapse," warned Mohammad Ali Namazi, a member of the reformist fraction that currently controls the majlis, calling on officials to pay more attention to domestic problems, particularly social factors, than political and international issues.
"Generalized corruption, the increase in cases of illegitimate relations of women for material reasons, the escape from home of young girls, the staggering number of financial and drug addict prisoners on the one hand and prostitutes on the other, the hopelessness of the youngsters and the gap between the rich and the poor etc have discredited the system," he told a recent open session of parliament.
Tensions between the Revolutionary Guards - or Pasdaran in Persian - with reformists heightened after Fatemeh Haqiqatjoo, an outspoken member of the majlis' Article 90 Committee, which deals with legal, judicial and human rights issues, denounced the guard's "illegal activities", including allegedly the incarceration of dissidents in prisons that are outside the control of both the government and the majlis.
"Arrest, imprisonment and torture of students, nationalist-religious activists, journalists and dissidents in the past years were carried out by the Revolutionary Guards," she told the open House on November 10, noting that lawmakers had been able to visit most of the prisons bar "frightening, terrible, dreaded ones that are controlled by the Guards".
"If threatening the Islamic Iran Participation Front [the country's largest political organization led by Mohammad Reza Khatami, the president's younger brother] by a high-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Guards, the arrest of students and journalists, torturing and forcing them to fabricate confessions shown latter on television are not brazen cases of involvement in political affairs, what are they?", asked the outspoken deputy from Tehran.
Her remarks met with a stern warning from General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, who, in a letter to Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroobi, the speaker of the majlis, urged him to "harness some of his cattle".
"I call on you to stop some of the deputies going too far in their declarations by informing them that confronting the enemy, wherever and whoever he might be, is the prime duty of the Guardians of the Islamic revolution," he said.
At the same time, a student commander of the Basiji - Iran's volunteer Islamist militia - warned reform-seeking students that their views and activities would no longer be tolerated by the forces of the revolution.
Sho'leh Sa'di says that the regime is "already overwhelmed by the military" and observes that every time dissidents or the population show any signs of major protest, the rulers call on the military to frighten them. "The militarization of the regime's organs, particularly the majlis, would only precipitate the confrontation between the regime with the population," he warned, explaining: "The more soldiers take part in the elections, the less people will turn out at ballot boxes. As the elimination of the classic reformists would place the conservatives directly in front of the people, mostly the young generation and its growing demands for radical changes, the outcome is crystal clear: more civil disobedience leading to more confrontation, leading to opening the doors to foreign intervention," hinting at possible United States involvement as Washington has Tehran firmly in its sights.
A university professor, Sho'leh Sa'di, spent 40 days in jail because of an open letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic, not only because he addressed him as hojjatoleslam, a lower rank in the Shi'ite hierarchy, but also because he criticized Khamenei's domestic and foreign policies.
Ali Keshtgar, editor of the Paris-based Mihan (Homeland) monthly review, agrees. "By bringing in the soldiers of their own to the majlis, the conservatives, already a tiny minority, would cut their remaining roots in Iranian society, paving the way for more opposition from the people against the present oppressive system," he told the Persian service of Radio France International.
According to a recent opinion survey carried out by students at Tehran Medical University, more than 83 percent of the people want radical changes in the constitution, and 77 percent of the interviewees believe that the reform process has reached a dead end. As a result, 38 percent demand that Khatami step down, while 30 percent would prefer that all reformist members of the majlis resign.
Asked to designate the main causes of the failure of the reformists to implement their promised reforms, the great majority of the people questioned in the survey point to the systematic opposition of the all-important organs controlled by Khamenei, namely the Council of Guardians and the judiciary.
A crucial, if not the vital issue, in the elections will be the normalization of relations with the "Great Satan", the name Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, bestowed to the United States.
Washington cut all relations with the newly-proclaimed Islamic Republic of Iran soon after the events of 1979 that drove the US-backed monarchy out of power, and imposed economic sanctions after revolutionary students stormed the huge American embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, taking 55 staff and diplomats hostage for 444 days.
Aware that the survival of their regime is directly linked to the state of relations with the US, the world's undisputed master after the fall of the Soviet empire, the conservatives have appointed Mohammed Javad Ardeshir Larijani, one of their best and most trusted brains, to lead the campaign for the conquest of the majlis as the first step towards restoration of ties with America.
"Larijani, an ardent defender of Islamic values, educated in sun-bathed California, and his team of strategists not only do not consider the 'Great Satan' as an enemy of the Islamic Republic, but as a political and trading partner in the future," wrote Der Spiegel, one of Germany's most influential news weeklies in a recent article.
The son of a senior ayatollah, Larijani was named some months ago as the international communications director for the judiciary. His younger brother, Ali, a former officer of the Revolutionary Guards, is the director general of the state-run, leader-controlled Voice and Visage (Radio Television) of the Islamic Republic.
The Havana cigar-smoking, smartly dressed Larijani is the director of a think tank that advises the leader on important, complicated and complex international issues. He is credited for having urged Khamenei to authorize the signing of the controversial additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and thereby escape possible international sanctions that could have been decided by the United Nations Security Council in the event that Tehran did not bow to the demands of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The US, Israel and some European countries are concerned that Iran's ongoing project for the construction of an atomic-powered electricity plant in the Persian Gulf port of Bushehr is a front for building a nuclear arsenal aimed primarily at destroying Israel. But Iran and Russia, which is providing the atomic reactor, insist that the project is for civilian use only, and IAEA inspectors have confirmed that they have found no evidence confirming American claims.
Under the agreement signed by Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security, with the foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany, on October 21, Iran accepted to open up all its nuclear-related projects and programs to international inspectors and suspend its uranium-enriching activities.
Although many people see no way out for Iran's hardliners, they still have some trump cards to play. "Contrary to the reformists, who claim that opening up the political atmosphere of the nation is key to solving other shortcomings, mostly the anger of the young generation at the lack of political freedom, what the majority of people are interested in is not politics, but more employment, especially for the hundreds of thousands of youngsters who under present conditions see no other solution but to seek jobs outside the country," notes one Iranian economist in Tehran.
Directly controlling all the regime's levers of power, including the armed forces, the security and intelligence services, the economy and the judiciary, the conservatives call all the shots. Thus, they could, should they seriously want to remain in power, yet improve relations with the US, take a number of steps. These could include: order the Revolutionary Guards back to their garrison; rein in the activities of pressure groups; enforce more privatization of the economy; bring the huge wealth of the bonyads - foundations - under government control, such as making them pay taxes; improve the country's human rights record, and stop supporting radical Islamist and Arab groups opposed to peace with Israel.
"If they do that, and the odds are that they will, a new map will emerge for the region comprising Iran, Turkey and ... believe it or not, Israel, the three linked to Washington at the expense of Europe in one hand and some Arab states, like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, on the other," an Iranian scholar following the situation in his home country told Asia Times Online on condition that his name not be mentioned.
(Copyright 2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for information on our sales and syndication policies.) http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/EK19Ak03.html
Iran Vigorously Pursued Program To Produce Wmd
By Gary Fitleberg on 11/18/03
America considers the axis of evil nations to include Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
America has long believed that Iran has pursued a dangerous and destructive path, policy and program to produce weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. suspicions were true as documentary evidence now shows very clearly. Irans nuclear development program is currently the focus of an investigation and the scrutiny of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The U.N. watchdog agency has noted that there are significant gaps in its initial report although Iran was to make complete disclosure before a October 31st deadline. The agency can make recommendations to the U.N. Security Council which can issue sanctions if there are any apparent violations
Iran "vigorously" pursued programs to produce nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and sought help from Russia, China, North Korea and Europe, according to a recent CIA report.
"The United States remains convinced that Tehran has been pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program," according to a semi-annual unclassified report to Congress on the acquisition of technology relating to weapons of mass destruction.
"Iran sought technology that can support fissile material production for a nuclear weapons program," said the report, covering the period Jan. 1 to June 30.
Satellite imagery showed Iran was burying a uranium centrifuge enrichment facility at Natanz, a town about 160 km south of Tehran, probably to hide it in case of military attack, the CIA report said.
Iran says its uranium enrichment program is only for the peaceful generation of electricity and not for atomic weapons. Earlier this week, it said it had handed over to the UN nuclear watchdog drawings of equipment to help prove that.
The CIA said it was concerned about uranium centrifuges discovered at Natanz capable of enriching uranium for use in nuclear weapons.
Iran was believed to be pursuing nuclear fuel from both uranium and plutonium, the report said. A heavy water research reactor pursued by Iran "could produce plutonium for nuclear weapons," it said.
The report had only one paragraph on Iraq, noting that the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein occurred during that period. "A large-scale effort is currently underway to find the answers to the many outstanding questions about Iraq's WMD and delivery systems," it said. Many analysts believe that the circumstances will be discovered eventually. The answer may lie in interviews with captured Iraqi officials and scientists. Some believe the weapons components were smuggled out of Iraq prior to attack most likely through Syrias porous border.
Critics have suggested the White House may have exaggerated the threat Iraq posed due to weapons of mass destruction, used to justify the war, because no such weapons had been found.
The report also briefly discussed North Korea's nuclear ambitions. In late February, Pyongyang restarted its five-megawatt nuclear reactor, which could produce spent fuel rods containing plutonium.
In April, North Korea told U.S. officials that it had nuclear weapons and signaled its intent to reprocess the spent fuel for more. "We continued to monitor and assess North Korea's nuclear weapons efforts," the CIA said.
Syria has a nuclear research center at Dayr Al Hajar and broader access to foreign expertise provides opportunities to expand capabilities, "and we are looking at Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern," the report said.
The threat of terrorists using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials "remained high" during the first half of 2003, the CIA report said. But terror groups would probably continue to favor conventional tactics like bombings and shootings, it said.
Documents and equipment recovered from Al Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan showed that Osama bin Laden had "a more sophisticated unconventional weapons research program than was previously known," the report said.
Al Qaeda also had ambitions to acquire or develop nuclear weapons, it said. Also it was possible that Al Qaeda or "other terrorist groups" might try to launch conventional attacks against the chemical or nuclear industrial infrastructure of the United States to cause panic and economic disruption.
China has over the past several years taken steps to improve on nonproliferation, "but the proliferation behavior of Chinese companies remains of great concern," the report said.
While China in 1997 agreed to end nuclear cooperation with Iran, the CIA said it remained concerned that some interactions continued.
The report also said the possibility of contacts between Chinese entities and entities associated with Pakistan's nuclear weapons program could not be ruled out.
One certainly can believe that Iran is only pursuing a peaceful program of nuclear development but the documentary evidence and facts point in the opposite direction. Irans purchase of enriched uranium on the black market is a telltale sign that its nuclear program was not for peaceful purposes to build weapons of mass destruction.
Iran is headed on the same dangerous, defiant, destructive and dishonest path as Iraq and might face the same fate eventually. In the international War On Terrorism Iran may be the very next target!!!
Click here to send feedback to the author
Gary is a Political Analyst specializing in International Relations with emphasis on Middle East affairs. His articles have been published in numerous publications including La Prensa (Managua, Nicaragua equivalent to the L.A. Times), Pakistan Today, The Kashmir Telegraph, The Iranian and many more.
Copyright © 2002-2003 Gary Fitleberg. http://www.americandaily.com/item/3520
I understand that Cuba is hosting a satellite that is jamming broadcasts to/from Iran - what would it take for US ham operators to unfix this?
Yeah, like Ashcroft is going to send FBI agents after ordinary Freepers who are undoing an unholy alliance of evil....
think about it,
we Freepers could do lots about this right now.
Is anyone actually hearing what Bush is saying?
Christian Science Monitor- online
By John Hughes
November 19, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY - It's a pity that 99 percent of the protesters against President Bush during his British visit this week will not have read his democracy speech of a couple of weeks ago to the National Endowment for Democracy. (I'm fairly confident about that percentage, because not even 99 percent of his own compatriots have read it).
It offered remarkable insight into Mr. Bush's thinking about freedom for the world's still unfree, and contained significant clues about the new direction he will take in advancing freedom for them during his presidential tenure.
You can protest against the manner in which Bush has gone about bringing freedom to Iraq. That is a legitimate issue for debate. You can rail, with European hauteur, against the style of an American president who wears cowboy boots with his tuxedo and bestows folksy nicknames on foreign leaders.
But nobody, after reading that democracy speech, can doubt the man's passion for bringing at least some form of democracy to those parts of the world where people are still denied it.
Some will dismiss this as simplistic and naive. That, of course, was what some Europeans thought of Ronald Reagan's Palace of Westminster speech in 1982, when he told a British audience that a turning point in history had arrived - that Soviet communism had failed because it did not respect its own people, their creativity, and their rights.
The British protesters against Bush already enjoy stable democracy. Nevertheless their prime minister, Tony Blair, has paid a high political price for voicing the same ambitions as Bush for the world's oppressed. But nobody who listened to his speech at London's Guildhall a few nights ago (a speech 99 percent of Americans never heard, unless they happened to be watching C-SPAN late at night) could question Blair's commitment to the pursuit of liberty for others that his countrymen already celebrate.
In his speech calling for a new "forward strategy" in US foreign policy, Bush pledged to put American power "at the service of principle." But this was no bellicose threat of military action against every nation that tramples human rights.
The postwar problems in Iraq must surely have been sobering to the White House and to the American public alike. The president targeted Cuba and Burma (Myanmar) and North Korea and Zimbabwe as "outposts of oppression," but his particular frustration was reserved for the lands of the Middle East, whose lack of freedom, he said, had been "excused and accommodated," for 60 years by Western nations.
Thus persuasion, and the encouragement of the "leaders of new democracies," who will one day emerge "from prison cells and from exile," seems to be at the heart of the new policy.
Particularly interesting were his remarks about Iran. Though US intelligence about Iraq's nuclear planning may have been flaky, there isn't much doubt that Iran has had nuclear ambitions and tried to cover them up. Despite recent Iranian promises of openness to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), designed to forestall sanctions, Iran's potential nuclear capability remains considerable.
Yet Bush made no threat of a US invasion of Iran in his speech, rather suggesting that reform and change should come from within: "The regime in Iran must heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, or lose its last claim to legitimacy."
A few days before, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had assured US senators that regime change in Iran is not US policy. But, said Mr. Armitage, the US would be "very forthright in our views about transparency and governance and human rights."
Experts I've talked to suggest that Iran is not currently in a prerevolutionary mode. Offending newspapers and dissidents feel the brunt of the regime's apparatus of repression. But recent student demonstrations have abated. And while there is substantial discontent (12 to 15 percent of the population "officially" unemployed, but actually perhaps nearer 20 percent), the public seems leery of violent upheaval, instead hoping for peaceful evolution through constitutional means.
Against this background at home, the Iranian regime seems willing to engage in dialogue with the US, while taking pragmatic steps to stave off confrontation with the IAEA, and the European Union, both of which took a tough stand on disclosure and inspection of Iran's nuclear facilities.
While the awesome might of the American military remains evident, the George Bush the British are seeing this week is embarked on a new "forward strategy" that involves far less militancy. http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1119/p09s01-coop.html
posted on 11/19/2003 6:04:58 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.)
To: Pan_Yans Wife
A very good Article, Thanks ~!
I understand that Cuba is hosting a satellite that is jamming broadcasts to/from Iran - what would it take for US ham operators to unfix this? ...
I would imagine all methods of communication are being tried, but perhaps some of this threads readers can provide a better answer.
Foreign Money Funds Iraq Attacks - Ex-US Official
November 18, 2003
WASHINGTON -- Large amounts of money, possibly from Iran and Syria, are flooding into Iraq to finance attacks against the U.S.-led occupation, a former senior U.S. Treasury official said on Tuesday.
"Not only are Jihadists pouring into the country (Iraq), but great gobs of money are pouring into the country to underwrite the insurgency," said David Aufhauser, former Treasury general counsel who left office on Oct. 31 to return to the private sector.
Asked who was behind the flow of funds, he said: "I'm going to give you my opinion, and not fact ... Iran is responsible for funding there. Syria is responsible for funding there, and the concealed wealth of (former President Saddam) Hussein and his allies and our failure to find it (are) responsible there."
Officials at the Syrian Embassy in Washington and the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York were not immediately available for comment.
Aufhauser, who played a central role in the U.S. government's fight against terrorist funding since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, would not give figures for the amount of money he said was flowing into Iraq.
He merely said it was enough "to give anybody pause and actually to give urgency to what we started in the search for the concealed assets of Hussein."
But he conceded the quest was "one of the more disappointing exercises I engaged in," adding he had failed to convince other U.S. officials to give a top priority to questions about funding during prisoner interrogations.
Turning to Saudi Arabia, which critics say is not doing enough to root out budding militants, Aufhauser said the kingdom had made "dramatic" changes in policing its financial system and was improving a "disappointing" track record.
"They are moving in the direction of acknowledging that unaccounted for money -- and there is no place on earth where there is more unaccountable money -- ... can be used and turned into acts of terror against them," he said.
Aufhauser said cooperation by Saudi Arabia, where most of the Sept. 11 hijackers came from, had increased "exponentially" after suicide bombings at Riyadh housing compounds in May killed 35 people, including nine Americans.
But he said the oil-rich kingdom still had to be more proactive in its pursuit of dirty money. http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=3847871
Iran Diplomat Accused in 1994 Bombing Returns Home
November 19, 2003
TEHRAN -- A former senior Iranian diplomat accused of involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Argentina returned to Iran on Wednesday following Britain's decision not to extradite him, state media reported.
The British Home Office said last week Argentina had failed to provide sufficient evidence to merit Hadi Soleimanpour's extradition to Buenos Aires to be tried in connection with the attack in which 85 people were killed.
Iran has long denied any involvement in the attack and said Britain's decision proved the case was baseless and ''politically motivated.''
''The plot has so far been foiled, but further work still needs to be done,'' Soleimanpour, who was Iran's ambassador to Argentina at the time of the bombing, told reporters on his return to Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Britain has said proceedings against Soleimanpour could be resumed if Argentina produces the necessary evidence. Israel and the United States have said they suspect guerrillas backed by Iran were behind the attack on the Jewish centre.
The Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), said in a statement after Soleimanpour's release that Britain's decision was ''arbitrary and political.''
Iran cut economic and cultural ties with Argentina in August after Britain arrested Soleimanpour at Buenos Aires' request.
Soleimanpour, who had been studying at the University of Durham in northeastern England, was released on bail in September. ''My studies have been completed,'' he said when asked if he intended to return to England. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters11-19-002043.asp?reg=MIDEAST
Canada Drafts UN Resolution Condemning Iran
November 18, 2003
UNITED NATIONS -- Canada said it had introduced a draft UN resolution accusing Iran of sweeping human rights violations, adding to the international pressure on Tehran's Islamic regime.
The draft resolution, obtained by AFP, says Iran has failed to comply with human rights norms in the use of torture, discrimination against women and religious minorities and a clampdown on freedom of expression.
The measure is being co-sponsored by nine other nations including the United States, which lumps Iran in the "axis of evil" and has accused the regime of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
Diplomats said they expected a vote this week in the General Assembly's human rights committee. Passage in committee usually means approval by the entire assembly.
The UN's Commission on Human Rights, based in Geneva, annually approved resolutions condemning the rights situation in Iran beginning in the 1980s but the measure was shot down last year.
Canada's move comes four months after an Iranian-Canadian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, died in police custody from a blow to the head. She was arrested for taking pictures outside Tehran's notorious Evin prison.
Kazemi is not mentioned specifically but the draft resolution accuses Iran of a range of rights abuses, including the "continued deterioration of the situation with regard to freedom of opinion and expression."
It expresses concern over the Islamic republic's use of torture and "other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in particular the practice of amputation and flogging."
It also calls on the Shiite Muslim regime to "eliminate all forms of discrimination" against minorities and other religious faiths including Christian, Jewish, Bahai and Sunni Muslim.
At the same time the measure welcomes Iran's cooperation with Ambeyi Ligabo, the UN's special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, who met with some of Iran's most high-profile prisoners earlier this month.
Ligabo, who carried out a weeklong fact-finding mission, is preparing a report on the human rights situation in Iran. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=19818&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
Iran Fooled UN Inspectors With Decoy Site
November 19, 2003
VIENNA -- Iran continues to deceive the U.N. nuclear watchdog and even took the agency's inspectors to a decoy site to prevent them from uncovering an undeclared nuclear workshop, an exiled Iranian opposition group said on Wednesday.
This allegation comes a day before the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors meets to discuss an IAEA report on Iran's 18-year concealment of the full extent of its nuclear programme from the U.N. body.
The United States accuses Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran vehemently denies. Iran says it has opened its nuclear programme completely and has no secrets.
Firouz Mahvi, a member of the foreign relations committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) told a news conference IAEA experts went to inspect an alleged nuclear site in Hashtgerd, near Karaj, but were taken to a similar site.
"Information from within the clerical regime made it clear that they had been taken to a site similar to the site in question and they were not shown the actual site. This is one example of the clerical regime's deceptive tactics," he said.
IAEA officials were not immediately available for comment.
In August 2002, the NCRI sparked the crisis surrounding Iran's nuclear programme by revealing an underground uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water production facility at Arak both of which Iran later declared to the IAEA.
The NCRI sees itself as a potential replacement for Islamic rule in Iran, but has little popular support inside the country. The U.S. State Department lists the NCRI and its armed wing, the People's Mujahideen, as a terrorist organisation.
Mahvi said Iran was still lying to the U.N. and that its cooperation was a ruse that would eventually be ended.
"They (the Iranian government) want to buy time and cooperate as much as possible to get to the 'point of no return'," Mahvi said, adding that the point of no return was the moment Iran could not be prevented from making an atom bomb.
He said that the NCRI believed this point would be reached in several months to two years. Washington believes it would take Iran until the latter part of this decade. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L19674028.htm
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