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Iranian Alert -- November 26, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 11.26.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 11/26/2003 12:02:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

3 posted on 11/26/2003 12:08:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Violence Against Women -- In Iran, Abuse Is Part Of The Culture

November 25, 2003
Radio Free Europe
Golnaz Esfandiari

Prague -- Sedigheh is an Iranian woman, one of many who was for years subjected to her husband's physical and psychological abuse.

"I remember once he beat me up so hard that for a week I couldn't leave the house. There were bruises all over my face and I had pain all over my body. I couldn't go out. And also violence is not just physical, some forms of behavior and comments bring us more pain than physical beating," Sedigheh said.

Sedigheh finally left home. A step many Iranian women are still not willing to take.

According to an old Iranian saying: "Women should sacrifice themselves and tolerate." That's how many if not most women deal with domestic violence.

Shala Lahiji is the director of Roshangaran, a prominent publisher of women's books in Tehran. She is an active defender of women's rights and says in many cases, abuse of women is seen as normal.

"It happens in private life and a legal complaint can destroy the life of a woman. In Iran, I think this is one of the main points, and then [there is] the culture that makes some forms of violence legal, meaning part of the population thinks [abuse is in keeping with the] traditions of society and of love. Women, who are victim of domestic violence, think that that their husband's jealous reactions that turn violent are a sign of love and attention," Lahiji said.

Mehrangiz Kar, a prominent lawyer, writer, and human rights campaigner who lives in the United States, says some interpretations of religion contribute to this way of thinking.

"In the very traditional and religious setting in which [many in Iran] live, their understanding of religion and the interpretation given to them throughout the centuries is that a man can beat his wife. They say it's a religious command and so the commentators who have portrayed Islam in this light as a violent religion, also contribute to the growth of this culture," Kar said.

The police and judicial system are of little help. If a battered woman calls the police, it's unlikely they would intervene. The traditional attitude toward marital conflict in Iran inclines people to mediate between the couple. In many cases the woman is sent back to her violent home.

"In our judicial system there are no laws that prevent domestic violence. On the contrary, in the Islamic penal code there are many points that encourage violence against women in families. One is the issue of blood money. As you know, a woman gets only half the blood money a man gets. This directs the nature of society toward violence because it means that the life of a woman is not equal to the life of a man," Kar said.

Kar was referring to a law that says the family of a female murder victim is entitled to about half the compensation paid to the family of a male victim.

A researcher -- who declined to give her name -- from Human Rights Watch in New York says in Iran, marital rape is not a crime.

"Under the civil code a woman has the duty to submit to her husband and this is called 'tamkin' and that includes submitting to his sexual demands so effectively you have a marital rape exemption under the Iranian law," the researcher said.

Few women try to escape a violent home because they are economically dependant on their husbands. And while according to Iranian law men can divorce at will, for women it often requires a long legal battle. Men also have the right of the custody of the children after divorce.

Kar says men can use this right as a way of threatening their wives.

"The most effective violence against women is the threat to take the children away and because for women, with their motherly nature, having to endure being away from their children is the worst problem and violence, in many cases they give in. They refrain from discussing their problems with their families -- let alone the courts," Kar said.

Sedigheh, who experienced domestic violence herself for many years, says after her divorce, her husband took custody of their child and prevented her from seeing her child.

"[My husband] didn't even let [my daughter] go to school for some time so that I was not able to go there and meet her, and when he was forced to send the child to school he dropped her off and picked her up himself. He also told the principal not to let me see the child. During our life together, I allowed him to beat me if I knew it would stop him from torturing the child. And being away from my child was the worst torture for me. I still have nightmares about those days and nights," Sedigheh said.

Kar says in Iran women are also subjected to "state violence." As an example, she cites the Islamic dress code, according to which a woman should cover her hair and body.

"Any woman who appears unveiled in public -- before they would arrest her, insult her, and put her in prison and also they flogged her -- now the judge can choose between a jail term and a fine," Kar said.

The Human Rights Watch researcher says the compulsory Islamic dress code is a violation of women' rights: "You know you could speak of the 'hejab' as 'state violence' in the sense that it violates women's rights to moral integrity, to her freedom of conscience and to her liberty."

Kar says the laws need to be amended to give more protection to women. And she adds that shelters for battered women to go to if necessary should be built across the country. However, she adds the government is opposed to it.

"Iran's judicial and political system has not accepted this proposal so far. They think the dangers of these types of shelters outweigh the possible benefits. And maybe they think that that there will be an influx of women who are victims of violence and it will lead to a new crisis in the society. The regime is afraid of accepting safes shelters," Kar said.

Women's rights activists say the relatively high number of runaway girls and the rising number of women who commit suicide suggests domestic violence may be widespread in many families. Shirin Ebadi, Iran's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and other activists say self-immolation by women is on the rise because of violence and discrimination.

Public awareness of the issue is growing. Workshops are being organized on domestic violence and newspapers are giving coverage to the issue.

Lahiji says some men are also becoming more aware of women's issues.

"We also have men who are sensitive to women's issues, men with higher education who are doing research on women's issues. I welcome it and I think it's a turning point. In the society, men and women should find out together where their shortcomings are. Until these shortcomings are recognized there will not be any progress. And the social and economic equality of women and men in the society is progress," Lahiji said.

The United Nations says prevailing gender inequality is the main source and breeding ground for the continuing scale of violence against women around the world.
4 posted on 11/26/2003 12:09:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian MP Speaks of Wrongful and Deceptive Policies

November 24, 2003
Iran Daily

TEHRAN -- A prominent lawmaker said the international community is of the view that Iran has lied to the world during the past 19 years about its peaceful nuclear program.

Ahmad Shirzad, a parliamentarian from Isfahan, added that the news of Iran's nuclear cover-up has made headlines across Europe in recent days.

"We can easily blame the propaganda on "Zionist circles" or attribute them to international hegemonic forces and say to the world once again that Iran has been subject to oppression," he said, adding that it is still possible to slam the animosity of the country's enemies for these accusations.

The MP, however, stressed that western countries claim they have strong evidence to back up their claims. "Such documents are normally not published inside Iran and the people do not basically know on what grounds the world press has accused the Islamic establishment," he said.

Pointing to much-publicized slogans given by the country's leaders over the past two decades, the lawmaker said, "We have always claimed that we are the world's spiritual leader and all deprived peoples of the world have counted on Iran as their savior."

"But now the world views Iran as a violent, suppressive, unpopular and militarized regime, which does not put up with any criticisms and its red lines are expanding day by day."

Shirzad further said some countries are trying to trace Iran's role in terrorist attacks in every corner of the globe and others, led by the "Zionist media", have managed to convince world public opinion of the authenticity of their anti-Iran allegations in an unprecedented manner.
5 posted on 11/26/2003 12:10:14 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Entente with Iran by The Free Iraqis Stirring Concern

November 25, 2003
New York Sun
Eli Lake

WASHINGTON -- American supporters of Iran's democracy movement are condemning a new rapprochement between liberated Iraq and the government in Tehran.

The person who this month is occupying the rotating presidency of the Iraqi Governing Council, Jalal Talabani, led an 18-person delegation to Iran last week, where he signed a raft of agreements with the government there on issues ranging from trade to counterterrorism. Iran regularly tops the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.

President Bush had hoped Saddam Hussein’s ouster would inspire those living under the regimes that bordered the former Baathist state to seek democracy for themselves. But the beneficiaries of Operation Iraqi Freedom on the country’s Governing Council, which was installed after Saddam’s fall, have moved quickly to normalize ties with their neighbors. Earlier this fall, the coalition provisional authority and the council inked a deal to exchange oil for electricity with Syria, a country that has been ruled by dictators from the Assad family for 40 years. Last week’s pacts with Tehran are the boldest steps yet taken by the representatives of liberated Iraq to strengthen relations with a neighboring autocracy.

What’s more, American officials tell The New York Sun that the high-profile visit to Iran was approved in advance by the American chief of the Coalition Provisional Authority, L. Paul Bremer. Following the visit last weekend, Mr. Bremer released nine Iranians who had been detained for crossing into Iraq illegally. He did so at the behest of Mr. Talabani, who had initially asked that Mr. Bremer release 65 Iranians.

“It’s detrimental to the war on terrorism for the Iraqi Governing Council to engage with a terrorist state diplomatically or otherwise,” Senator Brownback, a Republican of Kansas, told The New York Sun yesterday. Mr. Brownback was a backer of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which set ousting Saddam Hussein as American policy.Since then, Mr. Brownback has taken up the cause of Iran’s democrats and introduced similar legislation this spring aimed at bolstering their cause with money and a clear sense of the Congress.

An Iranian American activist who has worked with Mr. Brownback on his Iran Liberation Act, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, said yesterday, “The visit of the Iraqi governing council to Iran sends a message that is treasonous to the people of Iran and the greater cause of liberty in the region.”

A spokesman for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, Aryo Pirouznia, said, “The Iraqi governing council and especially Mr. Talabani, by meeting with the leaders of the Islamic Republic, are sending a very bad message to the people of Iran who are striving for freedom,” he said. “For them Iraq has been liberated. We would expect they would identify with our plight.” Mr. Pirouznia’s words are particularly poignant in light of last week’s strikes and demonstrations in Iran, roughly coinciding with the anniversary of a series of murders of high profile opposition leaders.

The director of the Boroumand Foundation, a Washington based nonprofit that promotes human rights in Iran, Roya Boroumand, asked, “What do the Iraqis expect from any agreement with a regime that desires nothing but the failure of democracy in Iraq?”

The set of agreements signed last week by Mr. Talabani, who also leads the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two largest Kurdish parties in Iraq, would not only allow Iranian companies to compete on an equal basis with other foreign companies for lucrative reconstruction contracts in Iraq, but would commit a future elected Iraqi government to grant Iranian businessmen five-year visas to conduct trade inside the country.

“We wanted to reduce the threat from neighboring countries,” the PUK’s chief representative in America, Mohammad Sabir, told the Sun yesterday. “We don’t want them to intervene in our internal affairs. The best way to do that is to engage them in trade.” Mr. Sabir also said that the counterterrorism agreement between the council and the Iranian government dealt mainly with border controls. “We don’t need terrorists coming to Iraq from Iran,” he said. “For us it is important that Ansar al Islam and Al Qaeda stay out of Iraq.”

While the government of Iran aided the Iraqi opposition and particularly Mr. Talabani’s PUK when Saddam ruled Iraq, the division of the revolutionary guard charged with supporting the former Iraqi opposition, known as the Nasr Command has infiltrated the country. Mr. Bremer has warned Iran publicly against fomenting paramilitaries inside the country he oversees. The coalition provisional authority has even captured a handful of Iranian agents, they have claimed, were plotting attacks on American soldiers.

At the same time, the coalition has done little to secure the porous border between Iran and Iraq.The president of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an advocacy group that dissolved this spring, Randy Scheunemann, said, “It is not surprising that the Iraqi authorities have to take some steps to address the Iran problem. I mean, the U.S. forces and CPA are not sealing the border.“ He warned, though, that “friends of a liberated Iraq would have a huge problem if the governing council is moving down the road to normalizing relations with the regime that continues to oppress the Iranian people.”

The man who holds the freedom chair at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Ledeen, treated the news of the warming ties between Iraq and Iran wryly. “Free trade? They have got that anyway, except they call it smuggling,” he said. “If you want someone to work with you on terrorism, who better than Iran because they run it all anyway?”

One State Department official who requested anonymity told the Sun yesterday that he would expect more visits to Iran by free Iraqi leaders. “I would imagine that additional meetings like this in the future will take place more frequently as we approach the handover date,” he said, referring to the June 24 date Mr. Bremer is expected to give sovereignty to an elected Iraqi government. “We don’t think this will be very helpful, but it is not negative in and of itself.”
6 posted on 11/26/2003 12:11:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran May Have More Nuclear Skeletons, Experts Say

November 25, 2003
Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA -- Iran will escape being reported to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday for violating its non-proliferation obligations, but arms experts suspect Iran has more nuclear skeletons in its closet that will come to light.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of Governors meets to adopt an IAEA resolution that "strongly deplores" Iran's 18-year cover-up of a secret nuclear program that included uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing.

But the resolution, which was put to the board after a week of haggling between France, Germany and Britain and Washington, also "welcomes Iran's offer of active cooperation and openness."

The United States had originally hoped to send Iran to the Security Council for possible sanctions for violating its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But the European trio opposed this from the start and Washington eventually acquiesced.

Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a U.S.-based think-tank, said the disagreement between the European Union's three biggest states and America might resurface in the future.

"It's very likely that Iran has more skeletons in its closet, and if they come to light, there will probably be another split between the United States and Europe on what's the best approach to take," Wolfsthal told Reuters.

"My concern is that there is no agreement either within Europe or between the key players on what to do when the shoe drops," he said, adding that he was unsure if the Europeans were prepared to take Iran all the way to the Security Council.

The resolution contains a so-called trigger clause -- if further breaches by Iran are uncovered, the IAEA board will meet immediately to consider "all options," one of which is the Security Council.


The IAEA resolution is a response to an IAEA report that details Iran's cover-up of sensitive atomic research for nearly two decades. It said there was "no evidence" of a covert arms program but the jury was still out as to whether one existed.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the United States was very pleased with the resolution, especially the part which immediately refers any future Iranian violation of international agreements to the IAEA board.

"That' element that we wanted to see in the resolution, which points out that action will be forthcoming -- appropriately so -- if there is any indication in the future that Iran is not meeting its obligations," he told reporters.

Gary Milhollin, head of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a U.S.-based think-tank, told Reuters the resolution had "locked Iran into the declaration" it gave to the IAEA in October that Tehran insists was complete and accurate.

But if Iran has any more secrets, the trust that the Europeans have given them will be betrayed and the IAEA board will be under intense pressure to report Iran to the Council.

"If the present declaration turns out to be false, then all bets are off and this deal unravels," Milhollin said. He added he would not be surprised if some of Iran's "skeletons" were further undeclared imports of nuclear material.

Wolfsthal said the administration of President Bush clearly supported the IAEA inspection process, though some in Washington saw the resolution as a kind of a trap -- a chance to let the Iranians hang themselves.
7 posted on 11/26/2003 12:13:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran May Have More Nuclear Skeletons, Experts Say

November 25, 2003
Louis Charbonneau
8 posted on 11/26/2003 12:14:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Playing Footsie With Iran

Christian Science Monitor - Editorial
Nov 26, 2003

George W. Bush both loathes and needs Iran, a ranking member of the "axis of evil."

His diplomatic codependency played out this week when he backed off demands for international economic sanctions against Iran - even though UN inspectors caught it red-handed a few months ago hiding a uranium- enrichment program.

Even with the possible threat of a nuclear Iran upsetting the Middle East power balance, Mr. Bush has to make trade-offs.

First, the US needs Iran's help in the war on Al Qaeda. Many top members of that terrorist group are under guard in Iran, and could provide vital information in catching Osama bin Laden.

Second, Bush needs the Shiite-run Islamic Republic of Iran to use its influence with the Shiite majority in Iraq next door to help the US hatch a stable democracy.

Bush has other tricky problems with Iran, which itself is over struggling how to mix Islam and democracy.

For outsiders, it's sometimes difficult to tell whether the hard-line ruling clerics prevail on every decision, or whether reformers under President Mohammad Khatami sometimes win.

Then the US faces the embarrassing postwar question of whether its secret intelligence is accurate in claiming Iran is making an atomic bomb, despite Iran's claim of a strictly civilian program.

One skeptic of the US claim is the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Its staff, and most of the IAEA's 35 member countries - including Britain - opposed a US move to have the IAEA board ask the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Instead, the IAEA accepts for now Iran's promise to open its facilities for inspections.

Of course, the threat of sanctions - and indeed a renewed Israeli threat to bomb any Iranian nuclear-weapons facility - helped force the economically weak Iran to concede to the IAEA's demands - at least for now.

If Iran is caught once again hiding weapons-grade nuclear material, the US will have been proven right, forcing a fresh confrontation between the international community and yet another defiant Middle East regime. And the IAEA's decision to give Iran a second chance will have set a bad precedent in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation. Much depends on the effectiveness of IAEA inspections.

The best hope is that Iran's more-reformist faction has won the argument and shelved any of the nation's nuclear ambitions.

And that's the best choice for the ruling clerics if they want to survive the rising mass of unhappy and unemployed Iranian youth.
9 posted on 11/26/2003 12:22:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Holding the line in Afghanistan

Christian Science Monitor
November 25, 2003 edition

By Mansoor Ijaz and Malalai Wassil

NEW YORK – With Iraq's reconstruction mired in Al Qaeda's well-planned guerrilla warfare, and Taliban remnants resurgent throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan, there seems scant room in US policyplanning these days to focus on long-term strategies aimed at stabilizing countries ravaged by radicalism. But by not doing so, US policymakers are showing signs of forgetting the reasons Osama bin Laden's legions were willing to strike out and die for their cause.

While the terrorist challenge will not easily fade, as multiple, indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Turkey and Saudi Arabia have now shown, it is vital to limit the scope and impact of its threat by focusing on educating future generations in countries that are today's havens for terrorists. US policymakers must focus on cutting the terrorists' recruitment cords by rehabilitating the education systems of countries like Afghanistan so the pursuit of jihad becomes one of seeking knowledge and becoming productive members of society, not joining terrorists in their quest to destroy humanity.

After 23 years of conflict, Afghanistan's education system had become the worst in the world. An estimated 80 percent of the country's 7,000 schools were damaged, if not completely destroyed. At the height of the Soviet invasion, primary-school enrollment was roughly 54 percent for boys and 15 percent for girls. But war with the Soviets, followed by a devastating civil war and the antieducation rule of the Taliban, reduced those numbers to 35 percent for boys and just 3 percent for girls at the primary school level, and 10 percent and 2 percent, respectively, at secondary levels.

Little wonder that bin Laden and Al Qaeda's educated leadership structure thrived in such a vacuum, picking off young men prone to years of systematic fighting to join its jihadist plots because they had no system in place to teach them any better. Targeting the uneducated was, from the inception of Al Qaeda, a cornerstone of the terror group's strategy for expansion.

Initial efforts to revive Afghanistan's education system, and that of Pakistan where radicalism still thrives, may yet be successful if US policy planners can be persuaded that results are forthcoming from the trickle of money being sent in. Preliminary data from Afghanistan is promising, but much more needs to be done to stay the course.

An estimated 2 million children of the more than 4.5 million eligible (compared with only 1.5 million in school prior to 2002) are expected to enroll at the primary-school level by the start of the 2004 school year.

Female enrollment will represent 30 percent of the total, but needs to rise above 50 percent to sustain the trend toward educating more of the female population. The number of female teachers is also increasing, one signal that US policy is having a positive effect on Afghanistan's harsh antiwomen measures.

But encouraging signs do not a policy success make, and initial results can't be converted into long-term, irreversible trends without money, intellectual commitment, and insistence on government reform of education. Pressure must continue to uphold the right of females to get an education. Women - mothers, to be more specific - are still the heart of traditional Muslim families, particularly in rural areas. Educated mothers - capable of sustaining their own livelihoods - are less likely to let their sons go off to join Al Qaeda's jihadist legions than uneducated mothers dependent on men who routinely succumb to the monetary bribes of mullahs and their terrorist backers.

Some rural areas in Afghanistan still challenge the idea that a girl has a right to get an education. Surely, this cannot be acceptable to US taxpayers footing the bill for Afghanistan's reconstruction. US policymakers should make this clear to the Afghan government - particularly to the warlords operating under official government cover.

The Asian Development Bank estimates $125 million is needed per year for the next decade to reconstruct Afghanistan's collapsed education system. And $40 million more per annum is needed for operating expenses like teacher's salaries, school supplies, classroom facilities, and administrative expenses. In March 2003, USAID pledged $60 million to rebuild the education system - a promise so far unfulfilled.

But even at these projected levels, teachers, the most important cog in the wheel of educating children, earn only $35 to $40 per month. Sadly, only a few teachers have received this paltry sum in over a year. In places like Kabul, where apartment rents have soared to more than $1,800 per month, such salaries don't even permit purchase of basic food supplies. Tripling or even quadrupling teacher pay should be a high priority. More teachers mean more students learning and fewer minds co-opted by terrorism.

Further attention also needs to be given to the "lost generation" - an entire population of might-have-been working-class Afghanis aged 12 to 30 whose education was terminated by Afghanistan's perpetual state of conflict. Although well beyond the usual school age for Afghanistan, these people must be incorporated into the educational scheme through vocational schools that teach basic skills necessary for any productive member of society. What better way to construct democracy than to teach and practice economic self-reliance?

As newly educated entrants come into Afghanistan's job market, an infrastructure for business, trade, and development will also be needed.

Peace Corps lore has it that an African woman once told volunteers, "If you're here to develop us, then you can go home. But if you believe your future is tied to our future, then you can stay." Afghanistan's children are tied to America's future. The US must give them tools to rebuild themselves and their society. To do otherwise puts the future of America's children at risk from uneducated zealots, the products of policy failures that the US helped design with taxpayer dollars. The US made that mistake once; lets hope it doesn't again.

• Mansoor Ijaz, an American of Pakistani descent, is chairman of Crescent Investment Management. Malalai Wassil is an Afghani-born American. Currently a New York Law School student, she fled Afghanistan with her family in 1983.
10 posted on 11/26/2003 12:26:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Nuclear watchdog set for Iran resolution

By Roula Khalaf in London and Guy Dinmore in Washington
Published: November 26 2003 4:00 |
Last Updated: November 26 2003 4:00

The governingboard of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog is expected today to pass a European-sponsored resolution that deplores Iran's history of concealment of nuclear programmes but recognises its newfound co-operation with inspectors.

The resolution comes after a week of intensive negotiations during which the US was forced to soften its hardline approach and give up attempts to report Iran to the UN Security Council.

However, the UK, France and Germany, the leading European negotiators on the Iran nuclear issue, agreed to toughen the language of their original draft resolution, which now includes a clause that "strongly deplores" Iran's past breaches of its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The resolution tabled yesterday also warns that, should any further "serious Iranian failures come to light", the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency would meet immediately to consider "all options at its disposal".

European governments resisted US attempts to specify that the most likely option would be a referral to the UN Security Council. But diplomats said there was an understanding that fresh evidence of Iranian concealment or undeclared activities would lead the UK and other European governments to back Security Council involvement.

The talks at the IAEA governing board followed a damning report from the agency that detailed a long history of Iranian concealment and highlighted concerns over the regime's uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing activities. The report, however, concluded there was no evidence so far that Iran had a nuclear weapons programme, though more investigation was required.

The UK, France and Germany had struck an agreement with Tehran. Under the deal Iran had promised full co-operation and transparency, and agreed to sign an additional protocol to the NPT allowing intrusive inspections of its nuclear sites. The three European governments pledged that if Iran fulfilled its obligations they would not back US efforts to report it to the Security Council.
11 posted on 11/26/2003 12:35:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
How Cleric Trumped U.S. Plan for Iraq

November 25, 2003
The Washington Post
Rajiv Chandrasekaran

BAGHDAD -- The unraveling of the Bush administration's script for political transition in Iraq began with a fatwa.

The religious edict, handed down in June by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shiite Muslim cleric, called for general elections to select the drafters of a new constitution. He dismissed U.S. plans to appoint the authors as "fundamentally unacceptable."

His pronouncement, underestimated at first by the Bush administration, doomed an elaborate transition plan crafted by U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer that would have kept Iraq under occupation until a constitution was written, according to American and Iraqi officials involved in the process. While Bremer feared that electing a constitutional assembly would take too long and be too disruptive, there was a strong desire on his own handpicked Governing Council to obey Sistani's order.

With no way to get around the fatwa, and with escalating American casualties creating pressure on President Bush for an earlier end to the occupation, Bremer recently dumped his original plan in favor of an arrangement that would bestow sovereignty on a provisional government before a constitution is drafted.

Bremer's unwillingness to heed the fatwa until just a few weeks ago may have delayed the country's political transition and exacerbated popular anger at the occupation, Iraqi political leaders said.

"We waited four months, thanks to Bremer," said one council member, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We could have organized this [transition] by now had we started when Sistani issued his fatwa. But the Americans were in denial."

People familiar with the discussions among U.S. officials about the fatwa said American political officers were too isolated to grasp the power of the edict right away, assuming that secular former exiles backed by the U.S. government would push Bremer's plan. Even when Sistani's clout became clear, they said Bremer remained reluctant to rework his transition plan right away. "He didn't want a Shiite cleric dictating the terms of Iraq's political future," one U.S. official with knowledge of the process said.

U.S. officials said it took months even for Iraqis to grasp the influence of Sistani's fatwa. Bremer's deputies also hoped the edict could be countered by statements from other Shiite clerics supporting approaches other than general elections, but few of those materialized.

"What we thought was necessary was for there to be a broad consultation to find out what the Iraqi public wanted," said one official involved in the political transition. "In hindsight," another official added, "we should have done it differently."

Who Would Draft Constitution?

Sistani is a frail man with a black turban, a snowy beard and unquestioned clout among Iraq's Shiite majority. Born in Iran but schooled in Iraq, he lives in the holy city of Najaf, about 90 miles south of Baghdad. Although he works out of a modest office on a decrepit alley, he has enormous authority to interpret Islamic law in everyday life.

During the years former president Saddam Hussein was in power -- when the government deemed activist Shiite clerics subversive and ordered many of them killed -- Sistani remained largely secluded from politics. Even after Hussein's government was toppled in April, Sistani shied away from political pronouncements and public appearances.

At the end of June, when Arab satellite television networks erroneously reported that Iraq's constitution would be written by American and British experts, Sistani broke his silence. In a two-page fatwa issued on June 28, he declared that he would only support a constitution written by Iraqis chosen through a general election, not by a council selected by the Americans.

The fatwa declared: "There is no guarantee that the council would create a constitution conforming with the greater interests of the Iraqi people and expressing the national identity, whose basis is Islam, and its noble social values."

In Baghdad, Sistani's pronouncement did not raise immediate alarm among U.S. officials. Bremer's aides assumed the fatwa would be revised or rescinded once they told Sistani how difficult it would be to hold elections right away. There were no voter rolls, constituent boundaries or electoral laws. "There is simply no way to conduct national elections today," Bremer said at the time.

Bremer also feared that elections would create too much uncertainty. The Bush administration wanted an orderly process it could control, including a constitution that would be a model for its efforts to democratize the Arab world, enshrine individual rights, and establish a secular government, religious freedom and equality of the sexes. Bremer believed that holding a vote before political parties had time to establish themselves would result in Baathists and Islamic extremists, the two best-organized forces in the country, dominating the outcome.

Speaking to reporters a few days after the fatwa was issued, Bremer expressed confidence that he would be able to implement "a process that produces a constitution that meets the general concerns that I understand Ayatollah Sistani mentioned."

Bremer was vague about how the authors would be selected. At the time, his aides privately said Iraqi political leaders and Americans would select the writers. But he pledged that the document was "not going to be written by the United States. It's not going to be written by the British. It's not going to be written by the U.N. It's going to be written by Iraqi people."

Overtures to the Ayatollah

Hoping to change Sistani's mind, political officers with the occupation authority sought a meeting. But every overture was met with a polite rebuff. "He didn't want it to look like he was cooperating with the Americans," said Mowaffak Rubaie, a member of the Governing Council who is close to Sistani.

By early July, Bremer had shifted focus to formation of the council, a 25-member body composed of American allies and political neophytes. In last-minute negotiations before the council was named, the prospective members demanded more authority for a variety of issues, including the drafting of a constitution. As a compromise, Bremer offered to let them form a commission that would identify the best way to select the drafters.

Soon after the council was formed, Bremer asked leaders of the country's largest Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, to meet with Sistani to see if a compromise could be reached on the constitution, said Adel Abdel-Mehdi, director of the party's political bureau. He said the party's leader at the time, Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Hakim, who was killed in an August car bombing in Najaf, talked to Sistani about backing away from the fatwa.

"We told Bremer there was no hope for compromise," Abdel-Mehdi said. "Ayatollah Sistani was firm in his position."

Bremer's Power Challenged

Upon hearing back from Abdel-Mehdi and other intermediaries, Bremer and his aides figured there was still a way to reach a compromise. They talked about recruiting other ayatollahs, such as Hakim, to issue statements warning about the dangers of immediate elections, U.S. officials familiar with the process said. And they sought to hammer out a middle-ground solution with Governing Council members, the officials said.

"There was still a lot of confidence we would find a way around the fatwa," one U.S. official said.

By August, after lengthy discussions, American political officers and several council members settled on the idea of a "partial election." Instead of allowing anyone to stand as a candidate and having to compile voter rolls for general elections, the occupation authority would organize caucuses in each governorate, or province, that would be limited to political, religious, tribal, academic and trade union leaders as well as other influential local figures approved by the Americans. The caucus would select the drafters of the constitution.

Although holding caucuses would take longer than directly appointing the authors, Bremer accepted the idea, as did several influential members of the Governing Council. "It was the ideal compromise," said council member Samir Shakir Mahmoud Sumaidy. "The process would be more democratic, but it would avoid the problems of a general election."

Despite their confidence, they had no idea what Sistani thought of the plan. The ayatollah remained silent.

In mid-August, the Governing Council selected a 25-member constitutional commission that began discussing ways to choose the drafters. Composed of lawyers, judges and academics, the commission held meetings with influential figures around the country, including Sistani.

What they heard in their meetings was strong support for general elections, several commission members recalled. In their conversation with Sistani, the commission did not even broach the idea of partial elections, said law professor Hikmat Hakim, one of the commission members.

"We told him his fatwa would be respected," Hakim said. "We didn't ask him about the partial elections."

On Sept. 8, the commission voted 24 to 0 to endorse general elections. "It was very difficult, if not impossible, to disregard the fatwa of Ayatollah Sistani," said Yass Khudier, another commission member.

Concerned that a unanimous endorsement of general elections would interfere with Bremer's timetable to wind up the occupation by the end of 2004, U.S. officials grew impatient and urged the council to press the commission for a compromise. "We told them to come up with other ideas," one council member said. "We told them to consider partial elections."

When the commission submitted its final report to the council on Sept. 30, it failed to resolve the impasse. The panel suggested the same three approaches that everyone had been talking about -- direct appointment, partial elections and general elections -- without choosing one of them.

As the report was being completed, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell sought to push the council to endorse partial elections, saying Iraqis should be given a six-month deadline to complete their constitution. Members bristled. "It was an unreasonable demand," said Dara Noureddine, the council's liaison with the commission. "We needed time to achieve consensus."

But consensus was elusive. The council had split into two factions. Sunni Arabs, Sunni Kurds and some moderate Shiites, such as Ahmed Chalabi, favored the partial elections. Other traditionalist Shiite groups, among them the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution and the Dawa party, cited Sistani's fatwa as a mandate and insisted on general elections.

"We felt elections were the only legitimate way to proceed," the Supreme Council's Abdel-Mehdi said. His party and several other Shiite council members told Bremer that they would not be able reach a consensus on partial elections.

Bremer refused to give up. He chafed at the idea that a cleric would be able to dictate Iraq's democratic transition. "Is the political structure of Iraq going to be in the hands of one man?" Bremer said to a group of visitors in October.

He urged the council's five traditionalist Shiites to try to persuade Sistani to support partial elections, said Rubaie, one of the five. Rubaie said he met with Sistani in October and explained the problems with general elections and the benefits of partial elections. Sistani was unmoved, Rubaie said. "He would not have it."

Shortly thereafter, Sistani delivered his first public pronouncements on partial elections. In written comments provided to The Washington Post, he said there could be "no substitute" for a general election.

Fatwas from other clerics in support of partial elections never materialized. Nobody wanted to take on Sistani.

Occupation Chief Yields

Shiite political leaders insisted an election could be organized in less than six months using food-ration rolls as a voter registry. But Bremer and his aides dismissed that, insisting an election could not be pulled off in less than two years.

But as U.S. military casualties escalated, Bremer and other Bush administration officials realized their plan would have to be rewritten. "Once it became clear we couldn't get around the election, we knew we had to do something else," one American involved in the process said.

On Nov. 9, Bremer called national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, who was at FedEx Field for a Washington Redskins game. With no viable way to draft a quick constitution, both agreed a major change was needed, according to officials familiar with the talks.

The next day, Bremer hurried back to Washington. After two days of White House discussions, he returned to Baghdad with a new plan in hand.

On Nov. 14, he met with the council's nine rotating presidents to outline the administration's new approach: Iraq would be given sovereignty before it drafted a constitution. It was a dramatic concession.

The next day, he detailed the plan to the full Governing Council at the home of Jalal Talabani, the Kurdish leader serving as this month's council president.

In place of a permanent constitution, Bremer said, the council would be able to draft a basic law that would serve as an interim constitution to enshrine basic rights such as freedom of speech and worship, the separation of powers and civilian control over the military. Once the law was completed, he said, each province would hold caucuses to choose representatives for a 250-member transitional assembly whose members would serve as a provisional legislature. The assembly would also elect members for an executive branch from within its ranks, he said.

Bremer said he wanted the process to be completed by June 30, after which he would bestow sovereignty on the interim government. That government then would be responsible for drafting a constitution.

Although there was general support for Bremer's plan, members pressed him on details. Some protested his requirement that 15-person organizing committees would screen participants in the caucuses. Others questioned whether a 250-member assembly would be able to agree on a government. Others objected to the dissolution of the council after the new government is formed, saying the council should remain as an advisory body.

"The Governing Council has been recognized by the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference," Abdel-Mehdi said. "Why disband it? And what happens if the new government runs into trouble? We need the GC as a safety valve."

Several Shiite leaders expressed concern that the organizing committees might exclude candidates because they were Islamic activists. "The veto power should only apply to people who are Baathists or criminals," one Shiite member said.

Bremer did not want to delve into details, according to several members who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Instead, they said, Bremer wanted the council members to accept the plan and announce it to the news media as if they had created it themselves.

"He brushed aside the details. He just wanted an agreement," one member said. "It was 'my way or the highway.' "

In response, occupation authority officials insist the council had plenty of time to discuss the plan, which the officials said reflected the council's desire that the handover of sovereignty be accelerated.

Before his Nov. 10 flight to Washington, Bremer called Abdel-Mehdi in for a meeting.

"If we go for this option, do you think Sistani will accept?" Abdel-Mehdi recalled Bremer asking him.

"I'm sure," Abdel-Mehdi responded.

While Bremer was flying back from Washington, Abdel-Mehdi said he met with Sistani, who endorsed the broad contours of Bremer's new plan to hand over sovereignty to a provisional government, which would convene elections for a constitutional council.

But Abdel-Mehdi said Sistani never passed judgment on the details, particularly those that have concerned other Shiite leaders involving how members would be selected. In response to written questions about Bremer's new approach, Sistani's office said the ayatollah would not comment.

"He certainly has not blessed the plan," Abdel-Mehdi said.
12 posted on 11/26/2003 1:17:27 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
This post deserves its own thread. Seriously.
13 posted on 11/26/2003 1:21:03 AM PST by Mortimer Snavely (Ban tag lines!)
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To: Mortimer Snavely; DoctorZIn; nuconvert; freedom44; blackie; downer911; Persia; AdmSmith; seamole; ..
Iran leader: Bush administration declarations regarding Iraq based on ''lies'

Albawaba Middle East News, Jordan
26th Nov, 2003

The Bush administration is telling a "shameless lie" when it says it is in Iraq to bring about democracy, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday.

Addressing the nation on the Fitr feast, Khamenei condemned the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq as "degrading for the Iraqi people." "They (American officials) said: 'We want to give freedom to the Iraqi nation.' But today they have put the Iraqi nation under such a tight grip that the Iraqi nation has no choice but to claw their faces, and it is doing so," Khamenei said in a sermon in a mosque in central Tehran that was broadcast on state television.

"Let the American nation know that their government has dragged them into a swamp in Iraq, and the longer they stay, they more they will sink," Khamenei added.

"This region does not tolerate occupation. They say 'We want to turn the Middle East into a region of democracy.' This is a shameless lie. They are opposed to democracy.

"They know that that if they turn to the people's vote in Iraq at this very moment, the decisive majority of the people ... will elect those people who would not allow the Americans to stay in Iraq for a single day," Khamenei said.

14 posted on 11/26/2003 4:36:36 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
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.

Bump to freedom for the Persian people.

15 posted on 11/26/2003 6:43:03 AM PST by FITZ
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Censures Iran for Nuclear Cover-ups

November 26, 2003
The Associated Press
George Jahn

The UN atomic agency today adopted a resolution censuring Iran for past nuclear cover-ups and warning that its activities would be thoroughly policed to put to rest suspicions that the country had a weapons agenda.

The resolution, adopted by the 35-nation board of governors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, did not confront Iran with a direct threat of sanctions - resolving a sticking point between the United States and key European powers over how to deal with Tehran.

Adopted by consensus, the resolution warns against "further serious Iranian failures," saying that could lead the board to consider actions allowed by its statute - shorthand for UN Security Council action.

While welcoming Iran's "offer of active co-operation and openness" - including suspending uranium enrichment and agreeing to thorough inspections on IAEA demand - the measure calls for a "particularly robust verification system" to test Tehran's honesty.

The United States, which alleges that Iran plans to develop nuclear arms, had wanted a specific mention of Security Council action - with an implicit threat of sanctions - should Tehran fail to come clean on past nuclear secrets and renege on pledges to open present activities to full IAEA inspection.

Washington had insisted last week it would hold out for at least a threat of Security Council action over 18 years of clandestine activities by Iran including uranium enrichment and plutonium processing. Under intense international pressure, Tehran suspended enrichment recently and agreed to allow the implementation of stringent IAEA spot checks of its nuclear activities as part of an effort to demonstrate openness and co-operation with the agency.

But France, Germany and Britain opposed a Security Council a threat, fearing Iran could backtrack on its co-operation and its commitment to clear up questions about its past if it was too strongly pressured.

Even as the meeting was convening, Iran's envoy to the IAEA said his country would restart enriching uranium in the future, emphasizing that its decision to stop the process - which the United States links to weapons production - was temporary.

Ali Akbar Salehi also disputed that the resolution contained a "trigger mechanism," as asserted by Washington, that would refer any further nuclear transgressions by his country to the Security Council.

The United States, the European Union and most other members of the 35-nation board would like Iran to dismantle its enrichment program entirely, but Salehi said that would not happen.

"The decision lies in the hand of the Iranians to restart the project in the future, once they feel the time is appropriate," Salehi said, describing the enrichment stop as "temporary — not a cessation but a suspension."

Delegates to the board of governors' meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency have said the compromise draft allows all sides to claim victory. Salehi on Wednesday described the text as "OK."

The resolution refers to the IAEA statute and Iran's safeguard agreement with the agency. Contravention of either the statute and of the safeguard agreement — which is part of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty — can trigger Security Council involvement.

Salehi, however, disputed that the draft contains such a threat.

"I have not seen any trigger mechanism in this resolution," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday he was "very happy" with the resolution, which "notes that Iran has been in breach of obligations."

"And there is one particular paragraph in the resolution which makes it very, very clear that if Iran does not now comply with obligations and the other agreements it's entered into, then this will be a matter that will be immediately referred to the IAEA board of governors for action, as appropriate under the various statutes," Powell said in Washington.
16 posted on 11/26/2003 8:01:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
"They say 'We want to turn the Middle East into a region of democracy.' This is a shameless lie. They are opposed to democracy."

Oh. News Flash : U.S. opposed to democracy.
Thanks for letting us know.
17 posted on 11/26/2003 8:20:05 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
18 posted on 11/26/2003 9:21:04 AM PST by blackie
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To: FITZ; DoctorZIn; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; freedom44; Persia; onyx; Tamsey; yonif; RaceBannon; ...
Iraq, Iran & North Korea: Who’s Next In The “War On Terrorism”?

By Gary Fitleberg
American Daily

Iraq, Iran and North Korea. All believed to pose serious nuclear weapons threats to peace and stability worldwide.

Now that Iraq is no longer an imminent threat who will be the next immediate target in the global “War on Terrorism”?

Iran is dangerously close to having a nuclear weapon that could be used by extremist fundamentalists in power presently. Imagine nuclear capability combined with long-range ballistic missiles. The precarious nature of this deadly combination is especially of grave concern for Israel.

Iran is in the late stages of its nuclear weapons program and could have an atomic bomb within the next two to three years, according to the Los Angeles Times. In a three-month investigative report, the paper discovered that Iran has been using front companies to mask its nuclear weapons ambitions as commercial activity. Iran also has received aid from Russia, Pakistan and North Korea, helping it achieve a capability that is "way ahead of where Iraq was in 1991," according to a U.N. official familiar with both programs. The United States and Israel have long been concerned with Iran's nuclear ambitions.

President Bush recently said that the United States would not "tolerate" a nuclear weapon in Iran.

Iran will have the materials needed to make a nuclear bomb by 2004 and will have an operative nuclear weapons program by 2005, a high-ranking military officer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the committee, "It is clearer than ever that the Iranians are making every effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction."

Israel disclosed its fears about Iran's nuclear capability on the same day that The Los Angeles Times published the report on its three-month investigation into the matter, stating that, "Iran appears to be in the late stages of developing the capacity to build a nuclear bomb."

The L.A. Times said its investigation uncovered "strong evidence that Iran's commercial program masks a plan to become the world's next nuclear power." According to the L.A. Times, Iran "has been engaged in a pattern of clandestine activity that has concealed weapons work from international inspectors. Technology and scientists from Russia, China, North Korea, and Pakistan have propelled Iran's nuclear program much closer to producing a bomb than Iraq ever was."

The report was less certain of a creation date for a nuclear bomb than Israeli military officials. The paper stated, "No one is certain when Iran might produce its first atomic weapon. Some experts said two or three years; others believe the government has probably not given a final go-ahead. But it is clear that Iran is moving purposefully and rapidly toward acquiring the capability."

According to the L.A. Times, "A nuclear-armed Iran would present the United States with a difficult political and military equation. Iran would be the first avowed enemy of Israel to possess a nuclear bomb and the first nuclear-armed country labeled by the administration as a state sponsor of international terrorism."

The L.A. Times also stated that, "Iranian nuclear weapons could shift the balance of power in the region, where Washington is trying to establish pro-American governments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both of those nations border Iran, and are places where Teheran wants to exert influence that could conflict with US intentions, particularly Iraq.

According to the Times, "Foreign intelligence officers said that the Central Intelligence Agency, which has long contended that Iran is building a bomb, has briefed them on a contingency plan for US air and missile attacks against Iranian nuclear installations. 'It would be foolish not to present the commander in chief with all of the options, including that one,' said one of the officials."

According to the L.A. Times, "A CIA spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny that such a plan has been drafted. 'We wouldn't talk about anything like that,' she said."

Opinions vary as to Iran's intentions and capabilities regarding nuclear weapons. Former Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer estimated that Iran will have nuclear a capability by 2005. A recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate states that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade, although one participating agency, the Department of State, judges it will take longer. Analysts outside the intelligence community, though hardly unanimous, tend to agree with the State Department's estimate.

Only recently Iran denied Israel’s charges that leaders in Tehran were attempting to build a nuclear weapon.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi yesterday had rejected Israel’s prior charges that Tehran was seeking to build a nuclear weapon, saying Israel represented a nuclear threat to the region.

"It is clear for us that we do not have any program for nuclear weapons production," Kharrazi told a news conference in South Africa, where he held diplomatic meetings.

“Israel wants to justify its nuclear arsenal. They want to justify that they are under

threat when the source of the threat is Israeli capabilities. We don't find the development of nuclear weapons increases security. Contrary to that, we find it to be a threat to national security," Kharrazi said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters in Brussels that Tehran was "doing everything" to build a nuclear weapon and would pose a threat to the whole world unless it was stopped.

Speaking to reporters following a meeting in Brussels with his European Union counterparts, Shalom said that Tehran was enriching uranium and refusing to accept tougher inspections of its nuclear program.

Kharrazi said Tehran had embarked on a nuclear program as it was currently exporting most of its 3.8 million barrel-per-day oil output and realized the need to develop alternative sources of energy in the face of declining oil reserves and a rapidly growing population.

"Iran now is trying to do everything to have a nuclear weapon and that is threatening not only the Middle East, it is threatening Europe, the southern part of Russia," he said.

"And I think the EU should take a key role in the last efforts to prevent them from having this ability."

Iran has inaugarated a missile capable of reaching and striking targets within Israel.

Iran equipped its elite revolutionary guards with a locally made ballistic missile - the Shihab-3 - capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The missile was officially inaugurated during a military parade before Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is in charge of the country's armed forces. State-run Tehran television reported. "Today, the Iranian nation and armed forces ... is prepared to stand up to the enemy with a firm resolve anywhere," Khamenei was quoted as saying.

The missile's official deployment comes after its final testing several weeks ago, Iranian officials said. The Shihab-3 has a range of about 810 miles (1,296 kilometers), making it able to reach Israel and U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

Earlier, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the missile's recent testing was its most successful of seven or eight launches during the past five years. The last time Iran declared a test of the missile was in May, 2002 when Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said the country conducted a test to "enhance the power and accuracy of (the) Shihab-3 missile."

The missile technology is allegedly based on North Korea's No Dong surface-to-surface missile, but Iran says it is entirely locally made. "Shihab" means shooting star in Farsi. U.S. intelligence officials have said Iran can probably fire several Shihab-3's in an emergency, but that it has not yet developed a completely reliable missile.

The missile's inauguration also comes as the United States accuses Iran of working to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the claims, saying its nuclear program is for electricity production, not weapons making. Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz reassured Knesset members that Israel's Arrow missile defense system was adequate to counter any threat by Iranian missiles, and promised that missile defense would not be affected by budget cuts, Army Radio reported.

Since the 1991 Gulf War, Israel - with U.S. financial backing - has developed the Arrow anti-missile missile, the only operational missile killer system in the world.

The Arrow-2 interceptor, which works in conjunction with Green Pine all-weather radar targeting system, was successfully tested in August 2001, when it shot down a live missile dropped from an IAF F-15 fighter jet at high altitude on the flight path of an incoming Scud missile.

The missile's official deployment comes after its final testing several weeks ago, Iranian officials said. Earlier this month, the daily newspaper Ha’aretz reported that the missile's recent testing was its most successful of seven or eight launches during the past five years.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy nuclear agency and its experts have began talks aimed at getting Tehran to permit unrestricted inspections of its nuclear facilities even as a published report said Iran was moving toward developing a nuclear weapons capability. Three members of the legal team met with Iranian government lawyers, according to Saber Zaeimian, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

The United States has accused Iran of running a clandestine nuclear weapons program and wants the IAEA to declare Tehran in violation of thenon-proliferation treaty. Iran insists itsnuclear program is for peaceful, electrical power purposes.

But in a report Monday, the Los Angeles Timessaid Iran "appears to be in the late stages of developing the capacity to build a nuclear bomb." The Times said its three-month investigation found that Iran has been involved in a pattern of activity that has concealed weapons efforts from international inspectors.

The newspaper - citing sources ranging frompreviously secret reports, international officials, independent experts and Iranian exiles - reported that Iran made use of technology and scientists from Russia, North Korea, China and Pakistan to bring it closer to building a bomb than Iraq ever was. Among its findings, the paper said a confidential French report concluded that "Iran is surprisingly close to having enriched uranium or plutonium for a bomb."

The paper also reported that samples of uranium taken by arms inspectors in June tested positive for enrichment levels to be consistentwith attempt to build a bomb. Commenting onreports of Iranian nuclear efforts, White Housespokesman Scott McClellan said the U.S.government is "working with the IAEA to make sure that they do not continue on this course, which is unacceptable."

Iran has said it would agree to unfetteredinspections if it is granted access to advanced nuclear technology as provided for under thetreaty. Tehran says Washington is keeping Iranfrom getting that technology. In recent weeks, conservatives in Iran's Islamic establishmenthave said Iran would withdraw from the treatyaltogether if the IAEA forces Iran to sign the protocol.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid RezaAsefi has said Iran's withdrawal was out ofquestion. Monday's talks focused on anadditional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty allowing openinspections that the IAEA is pressing Tehran to sign, the official Islamic Republic News Agency cited Zaeimian as saying

Iranian officials have said reports that enriched uranium found in samples taken by UN inspectors in Iran were questionable.

Iran insists its nuclear facilities are geared to producing electricity, and diplomats say the presence of enriched uranium in the samples may in fact be the result of contamination.

EU foreign ministers last month demanded that Iran accept tougher inspections of its suspect nuclear program, and linked compliance to progress on a pending trade deal.It was the most serious warning the EU had sent Tehran since they began negotiating a trade and cooperation agreement late last year.

Iran said it had no intention of pulling out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, despite calls from some hardliners in the country to do so.

Now that the imminent threat of Iraq and a nuclear weapon is stabilized, the U.S. needs to closely look at Iran and monitor the developments of nuclear weapons with and “eagle eye”!!!

Iran may very well be the next “axis of evil” target in the international “War on Terrorism”!!!
19 posted on 11/26/2003 10:26:46 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran reformist MPs complain of mistreatment

Tuesday, November 25, 2003 - ©2003

Related Pictures

TEHRAN, Nov 24, Iran daily (Edited) - A lawmaker said in Tehran on Monday that the mistreatment of parliamentarians has deteriorated in the past two years.

"I and my (pro-reform) colleagues have been repeatedly attacked and insulted by certain clerics and military personnel," Mohammad Reza Ali- Hosseini Abbasi said in his pre-agenda speech at the parliament.

The parliamentarian further said that a senior military commander has said 40 members of parliament do not pray and another has hurled the worst insults at the people's representatives in the parliament.

"When I was young, I used to go mad when clerics were insulted. But I have now lodged a complaint with the Special Court for the Clergy against two clerics who attacked me last year," he said, adding that after several months, the court has not yet brought the culprits to justice.

He accused some Friday prayer leaders of abusing this important forum [parliament] by insulting the parliamentarians for criticizing the status quo.

"These clerics must know that we are not like opportunist officials who would mislead the ruling body by not reflecting the bitter realities of society," he maintained, stressing that those who attack the MPs are either advocates of absolute dictatorship or lack the vision of governance.
20 posted on 11/26/2003 11:10:08 AM PST by freedom44
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