Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
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posted on 11/23/2003 12:00:51 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 11/23/2003 12:03:35 AM PST
U.S. eases stance on Iran nukes
Diplomats: U.S. willing to forego non-compliance reference
VIENNA, Austria, Nov. 21 The United States has dropped its demand the U.N. atomic watchdog declare Iran in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, despite its belief Tehran wants to build an atom bomb, Western diplomats said on Saturday.
AFTER TWO days of talks, the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agencys (IAEA) 35-member Board of Governors on Friday adjourned until Wednesday to give diplomats a chance to revise a French, German and British draft resolution condemning Irans 18-year concealment of sensitive nuclear research.
However, Western diplomats said informal talks continued on Saturday between Washington and the capitals of the European Unions big three to toughen up the trios proposal, two drafts of which the Americans rejected as too weak.
Talks are definitely ongoing, though much of the discussion is taking place in the capitals, a Western diplomat said.
Diplomats close to the talks said U.S. officials had foregone their demand for the resolution to contain an explicit reference to Irans past non-compliance with its NPT obligations and that Tehran be reported to the U.N. Security Council, which could choose to impose economic sanctions.
I think the U.S. will accept a resolution without an explicit reference to non-compliance, another diplomat said.
Diplomats told Reuters U.S. negotiators had abandoned early last week their demand that Iran be reported to the Council when it became apparent only four other board members Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand would support this.
In exchange, diplomats close to the talks said the United States, which is convinced Iran wants nuclear weapons, were now helping Britain, France and Germany revise the resolution to include a timetable to keep pressure on Iran to cooperate.
The French, British and Germans want to encourage Iran to continue with its stated policy of fully cooperating with the IAEA rather than punish it for past failures. Diplomats said Germany especially feared too harsh a resolution would backfire and cause Iran to stop cooperating with the United Nations.
IRAN-IRAQ WAR LIKELY STARTED PROGRAM
In October, Iran gave the IAEA what is said was a full and accurate declaration of its nuclear program and said it had no more nuclear secrets to disclose. Tehran admits covering up the full extent of its atomic program but denies wanting bombs.
But a senior Western diplomat said there was no question Iran had an atomic weapons program that most likely began during the fierce Iran-Iraq war that lasted from 1980 to 1988.
He added that there were suspicions the program still exists.
The United States harshly criticized the IAEA for saying in a recent report on Iran that it had no evidence suggesting Tehran had a secret weapons program.
U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA, Kenneth Brill, told the board on Friday the phrase no evidence was highly unfortunate in the light of revelations about Irans cover-up and secret experiments with plutonium reprocessing and uranium enrichment.
He said the IAEA should have used the words no proof instead.
Brill said the IAEAs wording had provoked expressions of disbelief that the institution charged with... scrutinizing nuclear proliferation risks was dismissing important facts.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei reacted strongly, calling the U.S. statement disingenuous.
© 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. http://www.msnbc.com/news/996567.asp
posted on 11/23/2003 12:14:53 AM PST
Israel Threatens Strikes on Iranian Nuclear Targets
November 23, 2003
ISRAEL has warned that it is prepared to take unilateral military action against Iran if the international community fails to stop any development of nuclear weapons at the countrys atomic energy facilities.
As the International Atomic Energy Agency prepares to meet again this week to discuss the situation in Iran, Israel has told Washington it is prepared to act alone and launch a strike similar to its attack on Iraq in 1981 when its air force bombed a nuclear reactor near Baghdad.
In an apparent attempt to increase pressure on the IAEA and United Nations to limit the development of Irans nuclear facilities, Israels defence minister Shaul Mofaz has made what sources have described as a warning of "unprecedented severity".
At the time of the Iraq attack, Israel defended its actions, claiming it had dealt a devastating blow to Saddam Husseins goal of developing nuclear weapons. Israel views Iran in much the same way as it did Saddams Iraq.
Mofaz set out his governments position last week during a visit to the United States stating that "under no circumstances would Israel be able to tolerate nuclear weapons in Iranian possession".
He said that in the course of the next year Irans drive for nuclear weapons would "reach the point of no return".
Mofazs warning has been reinforced by Meir Dagan, the head of Israels secret services, Mossad, who claimed that the spectre of nuclear weaponry in Iran represented the greatest threat Israel had faced since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.
Addressing Israels foreign affairs and defence committee, he added that he thought Iranian nuclear capabilities would pose a threat not only to Israel but to Europe as well. He also said that the Iranians were developing ground-to-ground missiles with a range of thousands of kilometres.
Dagen dismissed Irans claims that it had no plans to equip its missiles with atomic warheads. He said the reactor at Bashir in Iran was far too large to be used solely for generating electricity. He added that Iran was close to completing the building of a uranium enrichment facility and it would have the potential to produce 10 nuclear bombs a year.
The European Union position has been lightweight until now
The Israeli warning follows recent statements by Iran to the IAEA claiming that it is temporarily suspending its uranium enrichment programme and insisting that its atomic energy programme is only for peaceful purposes.
But Israel rejected Irans claims and took its case directly to the Vienna-based international watchdog where foreign affairs minister Silvan Shalom met with the director of the IAEA, Mohammed El Baradei. Shalom said the latest IAEA report "clearly indicated continuous Iranian violation over the past 20 years of its commitments to the international community regarding the nuclear issue and its programme to develop nuclear weapons".
During the meeting, Shalom called on the agency and the international community to act to guarantee that Iran abandons all of its efforts to enrich uranium.He argued that inspection of Iranian facilities should be rigorous and continuous and added that the issue should also be addressed by the UN Security Council.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also weighed into the debate during talks last week with the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Rome. "I spoke at length with Berlusconi about the danger posed by Iran... Its the number one danger," he said. Sharon called on Italy to appeal to the rest of Europe to take a stronger stand against Iran.
"I hope that Italy keeps Iran in very close check, because it seems to me that the European Union position has been lightweight up until now," he said.
Sharons concerns are shared by the United States. President George Bush said last week that the UN nuclear agency must hold Iran accountable under international non-proliferation agreements.
His appeal came amid divisions between the US and some European leaders over Irans nuclear programme, in advance of the key meeting of the IAEA governing board in Vienna.
Bush administration officials maintain that Iran has not been completely forthcoming to European envoys about its nuclear programme.
But the US administration has given key European foreign ministers credit for going to Tehran last month and getting a commitment from the Iranians to, among other things, stop enriching uranium.
At the same time, Washington continues to insist that Iran has been hiding a nuclear weapons programme and is concerned that this weeks IAEA board meeting will end without the matter being referred to the Security Council.
The issue was on the agenda at a recent State Department meeting between Secretary of State Colin Powell and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who made the trip to Tehran last month along with his British and French counterparts.
Then Powell took issue with an assertion by European Union chief diplomat Javier Solana that Iran has been "honest" in its dealings with the international community on its nuclear programme.
"I wouldnt have gone quite as far," Powell said. "The Iranians have provided us with a great deal of information. It confirms what the United States has been saying for some time, and which we believe, that the Iranian nuclear development programme was for more than just the production of power; that it had intent to produce a nuclear weapon. And I think that the information that has come forward establishes that," he said.
Fischer sounded a similar theme in his remarks in Washington, saying recent Iranian actions had been "quite positive" but that close scrutiny was needed.
"We are moving forward based on realism, and realism based on transparency. I think we are moving in the right direction. But we must go into the details now. http://www.scotlandonsunday.com/index.cfm?id=1292472003
posted on 11/23/2003 8:39:08 AM PST
Al Qaeda Ordered Saudi Bombing From Iran
November 23, 2003
RIYADH -- A senior al Qaeda militant orchestrated the bombing of a residential compound in Saudi Arabia earlier this month by telephone from Iran, a Saudi newspaper says.
Okaz newspaper, quoting informed sources on Sunday, said the militant network's security chief Saif al-Adel gave orders for the attack in the capital Riyadh by satellite phone.
Neither Saudi nor Iranian officials were immediately available to comment on the Okaz report.
"The sources said Saif al-Adel led the bombing operation of the Muhaya residential compound, using a Thuraya phone to give instructions to the terrorists in the kingdom who carried out the criminal operation," the Arabic-language daily said.
"The sources said that the terrorist Saif al-Adel is in Iran," it added.
At least 18 people were killed in the Muhaya bombing two weeks ago, blamed on Saudi-born Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. The attack followed triple suicide bombings in Riyadh in May which killed 35 people.
The newspaper said Saif al-Adel fled to Iran with 500 al Qaeda members during the intensive U.S. bombing of Afghanistan in late 2001. It said they were detained by Iranian troops.
Some al Qaeda militants in northern Iran were in touch with figures outside including bin Laden, it added.
Asked on Sunday about U.S. media reports that bin Laden and top al Qaeda figures may be in Iran, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters in Tehran:
"These are rumours...We are serious about confronting al Qaeda. We have always been and will continue to be so."
Iran has said it arrested a number of al Qaeda members, including some senior figures, but has declined to name them and says it will not hand them over to U.S. officials for questioning.
Last month, Tehran said it had given the names of extradited al Qaeda suspects to the U.N. Security Council but declined to give any details of detainees remaining in the country.
Western intelligence sources and media reports suggest Iran may be holding Saif al-Adel.
Washington has in the past accused Iran of sheltering al Qaeda and said members of the militant network in Iran may have planned the May bombings in Riyadh. Iran denied the charges. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/031123/325/eepow.html
posted on 11/23/2003 8:40:38 AM PST
U.S. Wants U.N. Resolution to Clearly Warn Iran
November 23, 2003
VIENNA -- Washington wants France, Germany and Britain to agree to warn Iran it will be reported to the U.N. Security Council if any further violations of its nuclear obligations are uncovered, diplomats said Sunday.
The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-member Board of Governors Friday adjourned talks until Wednesday, to give diplomats a chance to revise a resolution drafted by the three European states condemning Iran's 18-year concealment of atomic research which could be arms-related.
Informal talks were to continue Sunday between Washington and the Europeans to toughen up the proposed IAEA resolution, two drafts of which the Americans have rejected as too weak.
Washington accuses Iran of having a secret nuclear weapons program. But it has dropped its demand that the resolution find Iran in "non-compliance" with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and be reported to the Council for sanctions.
One Western diplomat said Sunday the United States was pushing for a "trigger mechanism" stating clearly that Tehran would "be reported" for any more NPT breaches uncovered by the IAEA -- which could only mean reporting to the Council.
The second draft of the resolution, seen by Reuters, does contain such a "trigger mechanism," but Washington rejected it as too vague and is helping draft a third. But diplomats said the Germans were afraid a strong "trigger" would backfire and cause the Iranians to curtail cooperation with the IAEA.
Iran accused Washington of holding up the process of agreeing on an IAEA resolution. U.S. officials have said they would prefer no resolution to a weak one.
"The Americans, who failed to impose their views on the other members of the board, want to create tension and are now wasting time," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference in Tehran.
"Our European friends are convinced that Iran has not violated the international agreements," Asefi said.
The resolution will most likely also contain a timetable to keep up the pressure on Iran to cooperate with IAEA inspectors.
Iran denies wanting nuclear weapons but has acknowledged hiding experiments with uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing from the IAEA. Tehran says it has no more secrets.
U.S. CREDIBILITY UNDERMINED BY IRAQ
The struggle to arrive at an agreement on an IAEA resolution on Iran has ignited a war of words between the U.N. body and the United States.
Friday, the U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Kenneth Brill, harshly criticized the IAEA for saying in a report on Iran it had "no evidence" that Tehran had a secret weapons program. It should have said instead it had "no proof," he said.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei in response accused Brill of making "disingenuous" remarks.
Diplomats have said privately that the U.S. failure to get the IAEA board to report Iran to the Security Council reflects the damage done to the credibility of U.S. intelligence by the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage rejected this view in an interview on the U.S. broadcaster PBS.
"On the contrary," he said. "Now faced with the admissions of the Iranians themselves, I think that both our intelligence agencies and our political judgments are validated." http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3877208
posted on 11/23/2003 8:41:46 AM PST
Jordan's FM Meets President Khatami
November 23, 2003
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Jordan's Foreign Minister Marwan Muashar in a meeting with President Mohammad Khatami here on Sunday delivered the written message of Jordanian king Abdullah II.
In the meeting, President Khatami referred to King Abdullah's recent visit to Iran as a turning point in mutual relations and reiterated the need for exchange of views and close cooperation among the regional states under the current sensitive conditions to achieve development, stability and security.
The president underlined expansion of ties between Iran and Jordan on the basis of mutual respect and protection of bilateral interests, the requirement for serious follow-up of the mutually-signed agreements and specialized assessment of making the optimum use of all available potentials.
Explaining Jordan's stance and the impact of the events taking place in Palestine on it and referring to the significance of establishment of a justified peace, he said that the Middle Eastern countries are in dire need of security and tranquility.
President Khatami attributed the failure of peace projects in the occupied Palestine to the non-compliance with the international laws and agreements by the Zionist regime and its ignorance of the actual rights of the oppressed Palestinian nation and regional governments.
He hoped to witness sustainable peace in the region once the deserved rights of the Palestinians are restored and all refugees return to their occupied land.
Briefing Jordan's Foreign Minister on Iran's approach towards the developments in Iraq, he pointed to the peril of the current situation for the Iraqis, occupiers and regional states and said that the US atrocious policies contribute to promotion of rudeness on the international scene.
The chief executive referred to the continued occupation of Iraq as the main cause of tribal discrepancies in the country and hoped that the transfer of power to the Iraqis will be materialized.
For his part, Marwan Muasher referred to the recent visit of Jordan's monarch to Iran and the interest of his country in bolstering ties with Iran in various fields and underlined the need for identification of all the potentials contributing to this end.
Turning to the upcoming visit of Jordan's expert delegation to Iran in the coming months, he voiced the call of both countries for Iraq's territorial integrity and unity.
Briefing President Khatami on Jordan's policy towards the developments in Iraq, the official said, "We believe that Iraq should become a powerful country seeking peaceful coexistence with its neighboring states."
He reiterated that the Palestinians should be provided with the right to determine their own fate and form an independent country.
"The failure to materialize such an objective will be harmful to the regional states," concluded Muasher. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=193074
posted on 11/23/2003 8:42:46 AM PST
PM Charges Mossad with Thwarting Iran's Nuclear Plans
November 23, 2003
Aluf Benn and Gideon Alon
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon held a special meeting on the Iranian nuclear threat on Sunday, deciding that he would personally oversee Israel's efforts to scuttle Iran's plans to produce nuclear weapons.
Sharon also decided that the Foreign Ministry will concentrate diplomatic efforts to convince world leaders to take steps against the Iranian threat.
The Mossad will be responsible for all other issues connected to scuttling the plans.
The discussion on Iran had been postponed a number of times. Sunday's meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and senior officials from the Israel Defense Forces, the Mossad and the National Security Council.
Last week, Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Iranian nuclear potential is an existential threat to the State of Israel.
"We believe the Iranians will continue developing nuclear military projects and in their hands such weapons pose, for the first time, an existential threat to Israel," he said.
Dagan said the reactor in Bushehr is large, has a 100-megawatt capacity and is scheduled to be operative by the end of 2004 or the beginning of 2005.
The Iranians, he said, are also about to complete a uranium-enriching plant in Kashan. If no special technological problems arise, this plant may reach a production potential of 10 nuclear bombs, he said.
Dagan said that Iran's nuclear activity was exposed by exiled Iranian sources in the United States.
Dagan said the Iranians invested dozens of billions of dollars in the nuclear project, which "has no economic justification, unless they intend to arm themselves with nuclear arms."
During a trip to Vienna last week, Shalom met with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Chairman, Mohammed El-Baradei. The meeting was held in advance of an IAEA session relating to Iran's nuclear program.
Shalom told the IAEA chairman that nuclear weapons in Iran's possession would pose a threat not just to Israel, but to the world at large. Shalom asked El-Baradei whether he believes Tehran has relinquished ambitions of attaining nuclear weapons.
The IAEA chairman replied it has not been easy for the Iranians to do what they have already done (disclosing their nuclear efforts, and consenting to inspectors). The international community, El-Baradei added, expected Tehran to carry out some additional steps.
"I know you [Israelis] are skeptical, and I too am skeptical," said the IAEA chairman. He added that Iranians are unlikely to agree conclusively to "cessation" of their nuclear activity until they are sure they will receive favorable trade arrangements or technology transfers in return.
The IAEA chairman did not bring up Israel's nuclear program in the discussion. Instead, he spoke generally about the importance of regional arrangements. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=364185&contrassID=1&subContrassID=5&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y
posted on 11/23/2003 8:43:50 AM PST
Several thousands prepare to pay tribute to killed activists
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Nov 23, 2003
Several thousands of Tehrani residents and students are preparing to pay tribute to the killed activists and writers, such as the Foroohars, during a meeting which will be held, later today, at the Hosseinie Ershad located in NE of Tehran and near the Pasdaran (former Saltanat-Abad) avenue.
The meeting which had to be rescheduled from Friday is expected to lead to protest actions against the Islamic republic regime despite the heavy presence of the security forces in the area.
The majority of Iranians are requesting to see the real masterminds of the "chain Murders" brought to an open court of Justice for responding on over 200 crimes. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3745.shtml
Murdered Activists Commemoration Leads to Clashes in Tehran
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Nov 23, 2003
Sporadic and often violent clashes have followed the commemorative ceremony of the murdered activists and writers, such as the Foroohars, at the Zarabkhane and Pasdaran areas of Tehran.
Clubs, chains and Tear Gas sprays were used by the regime forces against tens of men and women who requested for justice and their freedom. Plainclothes men and Bassidj force attacked hundreds of demonstrators who shouted slogans against the regime and its leadership while calling for regime change in Iran.
Slogans, such as, "Nabood bad Estebdad" (Down with Dictatorship), "Marg bar Taleban" (Down with Taleban), "Ansar Jenayat Mikonad, Rahbar Hemayat Mikonad" (Ansar commits crimes, Supreme Leader covers them), "Rafsanjani, Boro Gom Sho" (Rafsanjani, Get lost), "Khatami, Estefa, Estefa" (Khatami, Resignation, Resignation) "Mellat mimirad, zelat nemipazirad" (People ready to die but won't accept submission), "Toop, Tank, Bassidji, digar Assar Nadarad" (Guns, Bassij, Have no more effect), "Mellat Ba gheyrat, Hemayat, Hemayat" (Vailant People, Support, Support), "Zendani e Siassi, Azad bayad guardad" (Political prisoner must be free), "Emrooz faghat Etehad" (Today Only Unity), "Sherkat dar Entekhabat, Khyanat, Khyanat" (Participation in Elections, Treason, Treason), "Refrundum, Refrundum, in ast shoar e Mardom" (Refrundum, Refrundum, this is our people's slogan) were shouted by the demonstrators despite the brutal attacks leading in the arrests and injuries of several of them.
More violent clashes happened at Shariati- Hemat Junctions and in Seyed Khandan resulting in traffic jams and cars using their horns to show support and condemn repression.
The regime forces have closed all perimeters. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_3749.shtml
Sistani: Clerics Must Remain Outside Politics
November 17, 2003
Zaid H. Fahm
NAJAF -- Some seven months since the fall of the regime, the elusive Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani remains adamantly against the involvement of Muslim religious leaders in Iraq's politics and political institutions, but still advocates the elections of a constitutional convention.
In a rare communication with the press, Sistani outlined his thoughts on the new Iraq to Iraq Today, conveying his concerns and hopes for Muslims in Iraq.
Sistani has long argued that the men of religion must advise people in their daily lives and concerns and open their mind to dangers matters of consciences they may face if they were to veer from Islam or religion in general. But, he said, religious men must give Muslims the chance to decide for themselves what is best for them. Men of religion should not order people or using them for their own sake and interests, because if they do they will lose the basic sense of being religious men.
Nonetheless, he remains adamant that the new Iraqi constitution be formed soon with an election of constitutional convention members. "Everything should start with a general election to put the first steps to form the constitution conference in place," Sistani said. "As for the law, because Islam is the religion of most people in Iraq the rules of our Islam must be represented in some of the rules of the constitution."
The steering committee responsible for choose the people who will likely write the constitution visited Sistani on several occasions several times, he said, and they agreed that elections should be organized to form the constitutional conference.
It has been a turbulent few months for Sistani, who has found himself in direct clashes with Muqtada Sader, Najaf's fiery and confrontational preacher. Last month, clashes between Sader's men and supporters of Sistani left 14 dead in a week of skirmishes centered on gaining control of the holy city from Sistani. "We hope that this kind of clash doesn't happen again in the future," Sistani said. "When the clashes began I sent a special envoy to calm down the situation there and tried to solve the problems there. He succeeded in that."
Sistani offered some reasoning for his abrupt pullout from Karbala's town council two weeks ago, a move that sapped away much of the council's legitimacy (See Iraq Today, November 10).
The council, which was heavily populated by Sistani's backers, was expanded to 40 members to allow other groups to have a voice, including Sader's. But in a sudden move, Sistani pulled his men out insisting that he did not want to answer for the council's mistakes. "Our marja prefers not to interfere in the administrative affairs of the city," he wrote Iraq Today. "We will make sure to supply the needs of poor people and the people who need any kind of help with all the capabilities a marja can have."
But Sistani refrained from any comments about the new government that formed by Muqtada Al Sader and about his policy and what he has doing lately in Iraqi street. Despite a decades long feud, Sistani insists he is still in charge.
The high ground
Sistani is widely considered the highest marja for Shia and has the widest following of any cleric in Iraq. He was born in 1929 in Mashad, Iran to a well-respected family known for its religious standing and its roots go back to the prophet Mohamed, earning him the title "Seyed". He began studying in Qom in 1948 then moved to Najaf where he began studying under the highest marja a the time, Abu al-Kasem al-Khoie (Al Khoie's son Abdul Majed was killed in Najaf shortly after the fall of the regime, in a grizzly hour long attack).
Sistani's has long advocated the interest and the rights of the Iraqi individual, arguing that every person is responsible for his or her own choices in life and be careful to live an Islamic life. Islam, he often preaches, gives guidance to find the right path in life.
Between 1992 and 1993 several high level clerics like al-Khoie died, leaving Sistani as the heir apparent to the Hawza. Most of the school's religious scholars backed Sistani, who was widely respected as a wise scholar. But several clerics, most notably Mohamed Sadeq al-Sader, refused to honor Sistani's position. Sader insisted he could lead al-Hawza better, setting off a long running rivalry that lives on in his son Muqtada, who has taken on the Shia orthodoxy head-on. Indeed, the latest clashes between Sader and Sistani date back decades along time before and its not a new thing for the both sides but it had a long history in the days of Muqtada's father Mohamed al-Sader.
Sader's men have long dismissed Sistani for being non-Arab, insisting that al-Hawza be an Arabic institution. But Sistani rarely answers their dismissals, delicately managing the aggressiveness in order to avoid even bigger battles. Sistani may be fighting the battle of his life as infighting amongst the Hawza and the Shia in general has tainted the post-Saddam life of many Muslims in Iraq. But, he says, he is still confident his creed will prevail. http://www.iraq-today.com/article.php?id=246
To: DoctorZIn; Pan_Yans Wife; F14 Pilot; nuconvert; Eala; McGavin999
My cousin found hope in DoctorZIn,
I had a phone conversation with my active cousin in Iran who seemed really aggravated about the political situation in the country.
Usually he's very upbeat about his activism, but like many Iranians he's lost hope.
He told me "europeans have sold us out and americans don't care anyway"... I reminded him of the activism in the US, reminded him that freedom comes with a price and it's never free, i named several American friends who're trying to get the truth out about Iran--i also told him about DoctorZIn's ping list on FreeRepublic. Out of all the things we spoke of he was most energized by the story of an American who spent his time for freedom in a country he has never visited...
He said tell him "thank you....maybe one day we can repay you..."
Congressional Report: Saudis Fear Iran Nuke Threat
November 23, 2003
Saudi Arabia has become increasingly concerned by the nuclear threat from Iran in the aftermath of the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.
A new congressional report asserted that the Saudi kingdom has not been assuaged by Iranian efforts to improve relations with Riyad and other Gulf Cooperation Council states. The Congressional Research Service said the Iranian threat has emerged as the Saudi kingdom has become increasingly vulnerable regarding its relations with the United States.
"Although relations with Iran have improved, the Saudi leadership remains wary of the Shi'ite Muslim clerical regime that has governed Iran since 1979 and concerned over Iran's pursuit of advanced conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction," the report, entitled "Saudi Arabia: Current Issues and U.S. Relations," said. "On the other hand, while welcoming a U.S. security umbrella, Saudi leaders have become increasingly vulnerable to domestic and regional criticism for appearing to side with the United States against fellow Arab and Muslim regimes."
Authored by analyst Alfred Prados, the report said Saudi Arabia and other GCC states have long been concerned over threats from Iran and Iraq. The report said the combined forces of the six GCC states have been outnumbered by Iran and Iraq.
Despite tension with Washington, the United States remains the leading weapons supplier to Saudi Arabia, with $4.6 billion in arms agreements from 1994 through 2001. The report said, however, that Riyad has decreased procurement since the mid-1990s amid increasingly difficult economic circumstances.
The report warns of difficulties of U.S. companies that do business in Saudi Arabia. Saudi clients were said to have failed to pay for U.S. services or "sought to expand terms of a contract without further reimbursement, and in some cases have taken reprisals against U.S. employees of the firms involved."
The report said despite a huge arms procurement program Saudi Arabia and the five other GCC states remain vulnerable to Iranian aggression. But the report said the United States has demonstrated a strong security commitment to Saudi Arabia.
"Although Saudi forces acquired experience during the Gulf war and are undergoing further upgrading through a large-scale program of arms procurement, both Saudi Arabia and its five smaller Gulf neighbors remain vulnerable to future external aggression," the report said. "On one hand, both the Iranian and Iraqi armed forces suffered major personnel and equipment losses during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and Operation Desert Storm, respectively, and neither is in a position to offer an immediate threat to the Gulf Cooperation Council. On the other hand, the combined forces of Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies are outnumbered in important categories by those of Iran and Iraq [before its recent defeat in Operation Iraqi Freedom]."
Mansoor Ijaz: Bin Laden in Iran
Mansoor Ijaz is reporting that Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and the financial individual was escorted into Iran in July and is in between Hamadan and Kermanshah. Mansoor Ijaz reported that there have been meetings with OBL and the Revolutionary Guards in Hamadan and that OBL is directing the terrorists actions in Iraq. Ijaz stated that OBL had big plans for Afganistan and Iraq during the winter months in order to destroy everything we have and plan to accomplish. Ijaz also stated that there are 5 people in Iran that are aware that they are there.
posted on 11/23/2003 5:28:52 PM PST
(Just because you did not see it or read it, that does not mean it did or did not happen.)
THE BUSH HATERS
by Amir Taheri
November 23, 2003
It may be too early to know how George W Bush's state visit to London, the first ever by a US President, will playback in Peoria. But it seems that part of the America media, focusing on sporadic anti-American demonstrations in London, has decided to present it as a symbol of "global anger against the United States."
What has happened in London in the past few days, however, is more complex.
To be sure, London has witnessed a series of demonstrations in the past week or so. None, however, attracted more than a few hundred people, although the "final bouquet", fired at Trafalgar Square yesterday, brought together some 100,000 people according to the organisers.
Nevertheless, these demonstrations have been used as the basis for a variety of strange claims and arguments.
One claim is that the United States is now "extremely unpopular" even in Britain, its oldest and most steadfast ally.
That, however, is not what the latest polls show. One poll, conducted for the liberal-left daily The Guardian on the eve of Bush's visit, reveals a different picture. It shows that 62 per cent of the Brits regard the US as "generally speaking a force for good, not evil, in the world." Only 15 per cent agree with the suggestion that the US is an "evil empire".
The same poll shows that opposition to the war against terrorism has fallen by12 per cent since September. Today a majority of British voters, 51 per cent, believe that the war is justified.
Even the claim that Bush is "hated by a majority of the Brits" is proved false. The American leader is welcomed by 43 per cent of those polled as opposed to 36 per cent who say they would rather he had stayed home.
The polls results are backed by direct observation and anecdotal evidence. Anyone who toured the streets of London around Buckingham Palace, where the Bush couple were staying, could easily see that the anti-Americans were not the only ones in evidence.
As for the British media, the Bush visit reflected the traditional left-right divides.
The centrist and right-leaning papers welcomed Bush and ran editorials and columns endorsing the aims of the war on terrorism.
The left-leaning papers used the visit as a fresh occasion to denounce intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq. But even then the left-leaning segments of the British media manifested some unease.
There are two reasons fort this.
The first is that the anti-American demonstrations of recent days in London represent a bizarre alliance between the remnants of Marxist-Leninist left and militant Islamist groups. Many soft-left Brits are still uncomfortable with the idea of an alliance with reactionary Islamists who oppress women, massacre religious and other minorities, and bring God into the people's bedrooms.
The second reason for unease on the part of the soft-left is that it is hard to build a case for the return of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein to power. The playwright Harold Pinter, still bitter about the demise of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, has described Bush and Blair as " two war criminals" who "drink blood" at their tea-party. But how many are likely to take him seriously?
The placards claiming that Bush and Blair are "burning babies in Baghdad" are unlikely to do any better.
The anti-US demonstrations of the past few days in London are unlikely to have a lasting impact on Anglo-American relations.
Once the dust has settled Bush's visit may well be remembered for two things only.
The first is the speech Bush made at Whitehall in which he repeated his earlier linkage between US national security and the spread of democracy in the Middle East with greater clarity. It is interesting that much of the British media decided to treat it as nothing more than a clever speech to impress an audience of foreign policy buffs.
And yet the idea that the democratic nations cannot be safe for as long as there are tyrannies that sponsor and shelter terrorism is beginning to attract the attention of the average British voter. The slogan "war against terrorism" told only half the story. Bush's idea of putting the spread of democracy top of the agenda, tells the other half. Now the average British voter knows that he is not asked to fight only "against" something but also " for " something. This is a position that the traditional anti-American forces of the totalitarian left, and their new Islamist allies, would find increasingly hard to challenge.
The second thing that the Bush visit is likely to be remembered for is that it helped draw a clear distinction between two visions of the world.
One vision belongs to those who blame the Western democracies for all the ills of mankind and hate the United States for a variety of reasons. These are people who never protested when Saddam Hussein was filling all those mass graves in Iraq or when the Taliban were massacring the Hazara in Bamiyan. You will never see them demanding the release of political prisoners in Cuba itself but find them crying their hearts out for the Al Qaeda operatives held in Guntanamo Bay.
Another vision is defended by those who believe that fighting against tyranny ad terror is the fundamental political duty of all human beings, and that the most noble principles are ultimately meaningless unless defended by force if and when necessary.
The Marxist-Islamist alliance may well have done all of us a service this week in London. It has put the fight between open societies and their enemies into focus.
Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of 10 books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through www.benadorassociates.com. http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/717
Terrorists Who Struck Turkey Linked to Iran
November 22, 2003
New York Sun
WASHINGTON -- The organization that claimed credit for yesterdays bombing of the British Consulate and HSBC bank in Istanbul has close links to the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to analysts in Washington who closely monitor terrorism in Turkey.
The double blast delivered by two pickup trucks yesterday was the worst terror attack in the history of modern Turkey.The explosions, set off minutes apart, killed 27 people, including the British consul general in Istanbul, Roger Short.
But if the link to Iran is substantiated, the bombings effects on policy could be even more far-reaching. The news could prompt a new effort in London and Washington to crack down on Iran, which has so far escaped the fate of its axis of evil partner, Iraq.
Only hours after the blast in Turkeys old capital, the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders Front, also known as the IBDA-C, called the Anatolia News Service to claim joint responsibility for the attack with Al Qaeda.
This is a group that has been presumed to have received funding and training from Iran. This is the assessment of Turkish intelligence, the director of international security and energy programs at the Nixon Center, Zeyno Baran, told The New York Sun yesterday. Iran has also been fingered in the Turkish press in last weekends car bombing of the Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues in Turkey.
At least we know the guys who were the suicide bombers in the synagogue bombing had spent a year in Iran, the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Affairs Turkey program, Soner Cagaptay, told the Sun yesterday. They also went to Pakistan and Afghanistan. They came to Turkey through northern Iraq.Those two men were identified this week from DNA samples left at the scene of the explosions as Mesut Cabuk, 29, and Gokhan Elaltuntas, 22.
The consensus in Ankara, London and Washington is that yesterdays double blast resembled the handiwork of Al Qaeda. Attorney General John Ashcroft said yesterday, They appear to be in the method of operation, or in the operational style, of Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda operatives or affiliates.
But the involvement of Al Qaeda does not exclude either the work of local terrorists or the involvement of Iran.American,Israeli,and Saudi counterterrorism officials believe at least several dozen Al Qaeda operatives are in Iran. Indeed, American diplomats met this spring with Iranian officials in Geneva to discuss the possible handover of Al Qaeda operatives who fled Iraq during Operation Iraqi freedom.
A Turkish official reached for this story said that there was some evidence that pointed to connections to the attack from a Middle Eastern country, but he would not specify which one.
Iran has a history of giving support to local Islamist organizations, even those that do not practice Irans Shia brand of Islam. For example, the Al Qaeda offshoot, Ansar al-Islam, is believed by American intelligence to have trained in Afghanistan but to have traveled through Iran to arrive in northern Iraq to establish the base of operations that has since been destroyed. Some of its leaders fled to Iran during the war in March.
In particular, Iran has a history of aiding Turkish Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Turkish Hezbollah, a Sunni organization.
While it is true that Iran has provided funding for the Turkish Hezbollah in the past, there is no conclusive evidence that Iran is the sponsor of these acts at this point, a fellow at the Western Policy Center and an expert Islamic movements in Turkey, Asla Aydintasbas, told the Sun. It may well be that this time Iran was only the transit point for these guys on their way to training camps in Afghanistan.
To be sure, the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders Front has in the past claimed credit for incidents they were not involved with. The group is organized nonhierarchically in small cells, often no larger than four or five people, according to Forsnet, a Turkish Web site with information about terrorist groups. In the past the organization has attacked churches, banks, and statues of Kemal Attaturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Attaturk ended the Ottoman caliphate, the last Islamic empire, while Osama bin Laden and his followers seek to restore the caliphate.
They are good at taking responsibility. This is one of the reasons why the Turkish government has not been coming forward about naming the group specifically and they have said it is Al Qaeda or linked to Al Qaeda, Ms. Baran said. But she also said that yesterdays bombing fits the fronts profile of attacking Muslims who are not quite as Muslim as they are.
Most experts said that on its own, the front lacked the capabilities to pull off an operation as sophisticated as yesterdays. It is certainly true that another extremist group may have been involved, one American intelligence official told the Sun. But it is doubtful that they could have launched such an attack without the support of Al Qaeda.
Turkeys deputy chief of its mission in Washington, Naci Saribas, said yesterday that he did not know who was responsible for the bombing. The investigation is still going on.There are some resemblances about what had happened to today and what happened last weekend, he said. http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=11&d=23&a=16
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