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Iranian Alert -- December 1, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.1.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/01/2003 12:07:30 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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

1 posted on 12/01/2003 12:07:31 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

2 posted on 12/01/2003 12:14:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
1.12.2003. 15:10:48

An Iranian man whose home was raided earlier this year by the Australian Federal Police says his family now feels constantly paranoid and has been ostracised by the neighbourhood.

In June, Jahangir Hosseini's home was one of the ten Iranian-Australian homes across Australia raided for suspected links to the Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Kalq.

Mr Hosseini says he is a supporter of the group but does not advocate violence or terrorism.

He says the Federal Police returned more than 20 boxes of his family's confiscated personal possessions a few days ago and no charges were laid.

Bu Mr Hosseini says he and his family are scared the police put listening devices in their house and people in their community look at them differently now.

"The local people - like shop people, like banks, like the post office - they see us and their reaction is a little bit changed. They are afraid of us. With a joke, they say, 'Excuse me, are you carrying a bomb?' With laughter, but this kind of thing is very bad in front of my children."

He says his 12 year old daughter often does not sleep until after 5.00 am, the time when the raid started.

Mr Hosseini's other daughter, 17 year-old Nosrat, says when she hears a sound around the house she thinks it could be another raid.

She says her parents are refugees from persecution in Iran and have never hidden their opposition to the Iranian government from the Australian authorities.

Nosrat Hosseini claims the raids were politically motivated.

"It's just as a result of Mr John Howard's tactics to scare the people, to spark fear into the people's eyes, just so during the election campaign he can exploit these fears, he can exploit these circumstances to be re-elected."
3 posted on 12/01/2003 12:16:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Synagogue bombings suspect confesses to al-Qaida ties

Jerusalem Post
Nov. 30, 2003

A Turkish man who allegedly ordered the start of a suicide truck bombing attack against an Istanbul synagogue has confessed to having ties with the al-Qaida terrorist network, Turkish newspapers reported Sunday.

The man, whom police said was captured last week while trying to slip into Iran, has been charged with trying to overthrow Turkey's "constitutional order" - a crime equivalent to treason.

He is accused of having given the order to carry out the Nov. 15 truck bombing of the Beth Israel synagogue - one of four suicide attacks in Istanbul that killed 61 people, police said.

Police have not identified the man, but nearly all major Turkish newspapers said the man was Yusuf Polat. The daily Radikal said Polat was born in 1974 in Turkey's southeastern province of Malatya.

The leading daily Milliyet and other newspapers said Polat had confessed to belonging to a 10-man cell that he said was an extension of the al-Qaida terror network. Police also had evidence that the attacks had received support domestically and from abroad, Milliyet reported.

The daily Sabah also reported that several members of the cell, including several of the suicide bombers, had met while training in Afghanistan.

Citing Polat's confession, Sabah reported that the man suspected of being the suicide bomber at the HSBC bank in Istanbul, began plotting the attack in June because of "the occupation of Iraq" and because "Muslims were suffering." Newspapers have identified that man as Habip Aktas.

Police arrested the man Tuesday at the Gurbulak crossing in eastern Agri province, which borders Iran. Police said he went to the Beth Israel synagogue before the attack ordered the start of the attack.

The daily Hurriyet said the man had been tracked down through his mobile telephone records after allegedly calling the suicide bomber only minutes before the attack.

On Saturday, a court charged the man with attempting to overthrow Turkey's constitutional order by force, an offense that amounts to treason and is punishable by life in prison.

He was the first major figure charged in connection with the bombings at the two synagogues, the British Consulate and the bank.

Authorities have charged another 20 people in connection to the bombings, but for lesser roles. Turkish authorities have said all the suicide bombers were Turks.

Western and Turkish officials say the suicide attacks bore the hallmarks of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida.

Turkey has long accused Tehran of fueling radical Islam in Turkey and has alleged that members of an Islamic radical group suspected in a series of killings trained in Iran and received support from its government.

American counterterrorism officials said last month that several senior al-Qaida operatives who fled to Iran after the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban may have developed a working relationship with a secretive military unit linked to Iran's religious hard-liners.

Iran has said it has some al-Qaida operatives in custody but has refused to identify them or provide other details.

Authorities have identified the synagogue suicide bombers as Mesut Cabuk, 29, and Gokhan Elaltuntas, 22, both from the town of Bingol in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey. The consulate and bank bombers have yet to be officially identified.
4 posted on 12/01/2003 12:19:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Blame the British for the problems of Iran

Gulf News
Behzad Farsian | 01-12-2003

The Tehran taxi driver's knowing remark is unsurprising: "The British are behind everything in Iran."

After all, we have been riding in Iran's national car, an adaptation of the old Hillman Hunter, past British-built buildings and finally dropped at the vast British embassy compound in Teheran.

His remark reflects a national consensus. Everyone, from shoeshine man to entrepreneur, has conspiracy theories to offer about Britain and its influence in Iran over the past 100 years.

Ingilis'eh kalak, or Tricky English, is a common phrase. There is a widespread notion among anti-clerical elements, for example, that Whitehall conspires with the Islamic leadership, or that London organises attacks against itself.

When the British embassy came under fire in recent attacks, newspapers suggested it was the work of the British themselves. Few seemed to believe that elements close to the theocratic government might be seeking to convey a message about the arrest of a former Iranian diplomat in Britain.

"Whoever shot at the embassy was a madman," said Hojatoleslam Fazel-Maybodi, a middle-ranking cleric. "The shooting definitely does not represent the government's line towards the British and from what I have seen from the public, they also condemn the shootings."

At the Café Naderi, a well-known gathering place for intellectuals and philosophers before the 1979 revolution, many of the older crowd who meet to discuss politics echo the sceptical tone.

"It is plausible for the British to have attacked their own embassy," said one customer. "The shooting gave the British a reason to halt trade. Less trade with Iran shows no British commitment to the stability of our political system, similar to what happened in Iraq before the current occupation."

A businessman who did not wish to be named partly agreed with this theory. "Our (British) goods were not released from Iranian customs during the whole affair (over the ambassador, who has since been freed). We were not given a reason why. We were just told we have to wait," he said.

Dr. Fardanesh, professor of political science at Teheran's Beheshti University, said: "It is in the blood of Iranians today to blame everything on the British.

"But it is not their fault. The press are mostly to blame. They constantly bring up the memories of British political involvement in Iran. As long as the public are reminded of past events, they will always blame the British for anything."

The cleric, Fazel-Maybodi, explained: "There are some things the British have done in Iran that we can't forget.

"They elevated Reza Khan to power (in 1921). Then they abdicated him in favour of his son Mohammad Reza Shah (in 1943), and of course, the unforgettable coup d'état against Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh (in 1953).

"Because of these past covert events the Iranian people believe Britain and America are still up to their old tricks."

The presence of British troops on Iran's borders, in Afghanistan to the East and Iraq to the West, is never mentioned. Nor is the permanent presence of Royal Navy vessels in the Gulf. Instead, Iranians see a far more subtle influence, a hidden British hand deep within their own country. They point to the past for inspiration.

Fazel-Maybodi is part of Iran's reforming circle. Based in Qom, he believes Iran should not dwell on the past. "The Islamic Republic has come to a juncture where we should have relations with every country in the world, regardless of what they have done," he said.

Yet the old Iranian beliefs persist. The five visits of Jack Straw, Britain's Foreign Secretary, over the past two years are the latest target. "Newspapers and people wonder whether Jack Straw is a puppet for the US, and is yet another joint conspiracy against Iran," said the professor.
5 posted on 12/01/2003 12:22:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
More than 10,000 Iran militia wish for US defeat

Sunday, November 30, 2003

TEHRAN, Nov 30 (AFP) - More than 10,000 Iranian revolutionary militia chanted "Death to America" outside the former US embassy in Tehran on Sunday, wishing defeat in Iraq on the "Great Satan."

"The region will only see peace and calm when the occupiers get out," Yahya Rahim Safavi, head of both the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Bassij militia, told the crowd of men and women who had been bussed to the city center compound.

"We hope that the US is dealt a humiliating defeat in Iraq, so the US warmonger administration won't get re-elected to send US children to the Iraqi quagmire," he added.

"The attack on Islam has begun, but the future of Islam is to spread peace and security throughout the world," Safavi said, while standing behind a symbolic trench made of sandbags in front of the main entrance to the former embassy.

The Bassiji, the men wearing camouflage fatigues and the women in the all-embracing black chador, who according to their own estimate numbered around 15,000, chanted the usual slogans of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

On November 4, 1979, in the wake of Iran's Islamic revolution, a group of Islamist students stormed the US embassy in Tehran and held around 50 diplomats hostage there for 444 days.

The hostage crisis led to the suspension of diplomatic ties between Washington and Tehran.

The United States remains the principal "enemy" to the Islamic Republic, along with Israel, while the former embassy is now a Revolutionary Guards base.
6 posted on 12/01/2003 12:48:06 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Quote of the Day by Sapper26
7 posted on 12/01/2003 1:12:16 AM PST by RJayneJ
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To: F14 Pilot
Iran To Retaliate On Countries Voting Against It At IAEA


Iran has announced that it plans to retaliate against those countries which voted against Iran at International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governers meeting. These nations include Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and United States of America.

IAEA's new resolution passed on Wednesday criticizes Iran for what it calls are 'violations' but at the same time praises its new willingness to cooperate. However, IAEA attached harshly worded warnings for any 'further violations.' Similar warnings were given to Iraq just before American led attack on Iraq.

"This resolution is a success for Iran and proving the sincerity of the countrys claims on peaceful use of nuclear energy and not pursuing production of weapons of mass destruction," Hamid Reza Assefi, spokesperson for Foreign Ministry said.

Iran praised Malaysia, Russia and South Africa for their pro-Iran stance at the IAEA.

Iran has already committed itself for full cooperation with IAEA over nuclear inspections and temporarily suspending uranium enrichment until clarification of issue.

After open committments by Iran, it is not clear why IAEA felt the need to pass a resolution with harsh warnings.
8 posted on 12/01/2003 3:27:32 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
Interesting. Saw a terrorism expert on FOX yesterday who said that with bin Laden, in Tehran, as well as al Qaeda in Iran, the regime would use them as a tool of extortion against these same nations.
9 posted on 12/01/2003 3:56:04 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
Managing Iraq

December 01, 2003
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

We can't continue this way.

It's not just our diplomats who do not believe we are in a real war. The Japanese victims of terrorists in Iraq on Saturday were headed for a meeting in Tikrit, to evaluate whether or not the power station there was a worthy recipient of aid. But since the Japanese refuse to acknowledge that they are participating in a war effort, they weren't particularly careful about security, so their car was not armored, they had no weapons with them, and so they were easy prey.

Add them to the growing list of scores of people who have died in Iraq because they assumed that the terrorists wouldn't confuse them with the evil Americans. This little conceit led to such folly as U.N. officers in Baghdad insisting that the Americans remove cement blocks from the approach to their offices, the Red Cross declining protection, and so on. It reminds me of a terrible story some years ago, about a very nice girl from southern California who went to South Africa to help the victims of apartheid. She, too, assumed that she would be protected by her innate goodness, and went to the wrong township one night. Her body was flown back to America a few days later.

This sort of foolishness would not have been possible in the days right after 9/11, but our instant understanding of the world after the terror attacks has long since been diluted by the usual triumph of old reflexes and bureaucratic emphasis on procedure at the expense of content. Thus, we seem not to know who is "behind" the killings (even though the Iranians, Saudis, and Syrians brag about it almost daily), and the Pentagon puts Paul Wolfowitz in one of the most dangerous buildings in Baghdad. Thus, we have Iraqi leaders who are clearly in great doubt about our seriousness and resolve. That, I take it, is the explanation of Ayatollah Sistani's recent catering to Iranian calls for the "Islamization" of Iraq, after devoting his life to the principle of separation of mosque and state.

Our diplomats are so intent on pretending that we can "work with" Iran, that they failed to take any serious steps to prevent the recent appeasement of the mullahs' covert nuclear program. If we had been serious, then Secretary Powell could have told his friend British Foreign Minister Jack Straw that it was a very bad idea to fly to Tehran with his French and German colleagues. Everybody knew that the trip was designed to cut a deal with the Islamic Republic, and once we failed to denounce it, we were trapped into proclamations of great joy at the toothless warning that came out of the United Nations nuclear crowd.

Meanwhile, the Turks caught the leader of the terrorist group that savaged Istanbul — sneaking into Iran. Imagine that.

It seems that the administration has decided to "manage" Iraq until Election Day, and then take stock of the situation. That, too, is a suicidal conceit, for no matter how marvelous our armed forces are, it gives the entire initiative to our enemies. And, as General Patton once remarked with his usual bitterness, fixed defenses are a tribute to the stupidity of the human mind. Yes, we are defending ourselves better, and yes, we are rounding up lots of bad guys, and yes, we are killing them in mounting numbers. All to the good. But the terrorists are looking at a target-rich environment, and we cannot defend all the targets.

Managing Iraq, which means taking it easy on Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, also means condemning lots of people to death who could be saved if we waged war against our enemies.

Take Syria, for example. When the Israelis bombed a terrorist training camp in Syria a couple of months ago, we suddenly and unexpectedly heard things from the State Department that we had never heard before. They said that the Syrians had been unhelpful in the war against terrorism, whereas previously they had always said that the Syrians were helping, and that it was only a matter of time before good old Bashar Assad did what Powell, Assistant Secretary William J. Burns, and various intermediaries from good old Jim Baker down in Houston had asked: Cooperate with us.

If we were serious about waging war against our enemies, we would have put enormous pressure on the Syrians to shut down the network of terrorist facilities in Lebanon, and expel Hezbollah, which Deputy Secretary Armitage has called the most dangerous terrorist organization. But it was only words. Foggy Bottom's compulsive confession of failure after Israel's gesture quickly faded away, and we're back to "managing" the thing.

Take the Arab-Israeli matter, for another example. It is simply humiliating to see the State Department acting as if a deal conjured up by bunch of unelected and unrepresentative people from the PLO and a splinter group from Israel were somehow worthy of support. But instead of the back of our hand, it gets a drooling French kiss.

And all this in total defiance of the president's call for a democratic revolution in the Middle East! If we were serious about that, we would condemn the wildcat diplomacy of the unelected poseurs who are wasting time, and Swiss-government money (which probably means some secret subsidy from us) on the latest wasted effort to "solve" a problem that can only be properly addressed once the terror masters have been defeated.

No amount of presidential bravery, no number of magnificent speeches, can save the lives of our people and of our allies, and give the Middle East a hope for real peace, if we insist on "managing" the terrorist war and play pretend diplomacy, which is what we're doing these days. The terror masters know they must drive us out of Iraq. They know they must split off our allies. They believe the best way to do this is to kill more and more Americans, Italians, Spaniards, Japanese, South Koreans, Turks, Poles, and Iraqis.

They are not running for reelection, and they are not trying to be loved. They want to be feared.

Faster, please.

— Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen is Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.
10 posted on 12/01/2003 7:21:22 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; ...
Managing Iraq

December 01, 2003
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen
11 posted on 12/01/2003 7:22:08 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Shiite Clerics Emerge as Key Power Brokers

December 01, 2003
The Washington Post
Anthony Shadid

NAJAF, Iraq -- The office of Grand Ayatollah Bashir Najafi is conscientiously bare, reflecting the asceticism of Iraq's most senior Shiite Muslim clergy in this holy city. His lone indulgence is a Persian prayer rug, on top of which sits a mud prayer stone, a Muslim rosary and a comb for his flowing gray beard.

But the conversation in his office and those of Iraq's influential clerics these days is anything but modest. The debate revolves around religion and state, secular and sacred, and the part the clerics will play as leaders of the country's Shiite majority.

"The grand ayatollahs will always be the highest spiritual guide in everything -- economics, politics and social issues," said the ayatollah's son and spokesman, Ali Najafi, sitting on a straw mat. "They will be the fathers, the leaders and the advisers."

Before any election for a government, before any debate over a constitution, Najafi and the other senior Shiite clerics have emerged in the vacuum left by former president Saddam Hussein's destruction of civil society. They have become the most influential figures in the country today. In a process both abetted and opposed by the U.S. administration, the elderly clerics in Najaf have begun sketching out for the first time in decades the sharply contested role of Islam in the country's political life.

By far, the most influential among them is Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, a once-reticent cleric who has taken on a far more activist role. This weekend, he made public his opposition to key elements of a U.S. plan for a political transition in Iraq. That followed his edict in June that any convention charged with writing a constitution must be elected. Together, they have secured a role for him and other clergy in helping determine the issues central to Iraq's future -- the selection of a government, the shape of a constitution and the nature of law.

"They are gaining momentum now," said Wamid Nadhme, a political science professor at Baghdad University.

"It seems that Mr. Sistani is showing his teeth to the Americans, that he is showing his willpower to the Iraqis" in the U.S.-appointed Governing Council, he added. "It's as if he's saying to all those concerned that I'm the man who is the last word."

Sistani and the others have insisted their political role will be limited, and their influence will almost certainly fall far short of the clergy's domination of neighboring Iran. But the very challenge of drawing the line between Islam and government could have a broad impact in a country where officials of the U.S.-led administration still hope a largely secular state will evolve. It has sent a shudder, too, through the minority Sunni and Kurdish communities, which face the prospect of a Shiite-led country for the first time in Iraq's history.

"If we see something that violates Islam and our country's traditions, we will give advice," said Ali Waadh, Sistani's deputy in Baghdad. "People look to [Sistani] as the highest authority. People listen to him before they listen to a government."

In a country long ruled by minority Sunni Muslims, Shiites were relentlessly repressed by Hussein's government, and the revival of Shiite ritual since Hussein's fall on April 9 has emerged as one of the most startling displays of newfound freedom. Streets, bridges and squares have been renamed after revered Shiite figures, as was Baghdad's largest neighborhood. Shiite iconography -- from green flags to portraits of Shiite martyrs -- has multiplied across the capital and southern Iraq, which is overwhelmingly Shiite. The holy cities of Najaf and Karbala, whose influence faded in the 1960s, have undergone a boom as they host tens of thousands of pilgrims.

The clergy's activism, followers say, marks the progression of that revival from ritual into politics.

"We are guides and advisers," said Waadh, 52, who had been under house arrest for 19 years until Hussein's fall.

The Shiites, seen by occupation officials as the key to stability in postwar Iraq, are torn between politics and personalities. Some of the best-organized parties -- among them the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq -- have engaged U.S. authorities and taken part in the Governing Council. Others, such as the followers of Muqtada Sadr, a 30-year-old cleric whose father was a revered ayatollah, have come out defiantly against the occupation, devoting their attention to street politics.

But none of the parties claims the religious authority enjoyed by the grand ayatollahs, four of whom in Najaf are widely recognized as deserving the title marja al-taqlid, or source of emulation. Their authority among their followers is unquestioned.

Each day, crowds gather at the end of the winding alley that leads to Sistani's modest office. Nothing marks it, except for a folded slip of paper on a nearby wall that informs religious students when their salaries will be paid. The pleas of the crowd range from requests for aid to questions on everyday life. They are typically answered in hand-written notes, some of which are posted on his Web site.

Can Muslims play chess and backgammon? "It is not permissible." Are birth control pills allowed? "Yes." Can a Muslim go to a swimming pool where both men and women mingle? "Absolutely not permissible, as a precaution."

Under Hussein's rule, Sistani and the other senior clerics largely confined themselves to such day-to-day questions. Those who did not -- Sadr's father among them -- were executed, assassinated or imprisoned. But survival was not the clerics' only motive. Of Najaf's four grand ayatollahs, all are students of the most quiet tradition in Shiite Islam, which traditionally confines the role of clergy to spiritual matters.

Given Sistani's traditional reluctance to enter politics, the forcefulness of his recent opinions caught some by surprise. For months, the senior ayatollah, who has remained secluded in his home since the war's end because of fears for his safety, faced criticism from some Shiites for his lack of assertiveness. His reticence allowed more militant factions, such as that led by Sadr, to seize ground as public frustration mounted.

Some have argued that Sistani is being manipulated by Shiite political parties such as the Supreme Council, whose leaders had hoped his intervention would provide them more leverage in negotiations with U.S. authorities. Another argument, more common, is that he believes he has a responsibility to make clear his opinion on the country's most pressing issues and, at the same time, revive the prominent leadership role played by Shiite clergy in the debate over Iran's constitution in the early 20th century and the revolt against British forces in Iraq in 1920.

Those who have met Sistani say he, and the other grand ayatollahs, are setting up an oversight role for themselves -- well short of Iran's example, but influential nonetheless in debates only now getting underway.

"If there's something that will affect the entire population and if there is any strategic point like the constitution, he will pass judgment on it," said Mowaffaq Rubaie, a member of the Governing Council who returned from exile in Britain and has met Sistani. "He won't go for policy. He will go for strategic issues." Sistani's role, Rubaie said, "is in a state of evolution."

He said he expected Sistani to play "a very strong advisory role."

Sistani's supporters insist that he has deep concerns about the intentions of the United States, which is appreciated by many Shiites for overthrowing Hussein but, at the same time, resented for failing to support a U.S.-encouraged uprising after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

There is also suspicion that U.S. officials are delaying elections -- increasingly a central concern for Shiites -- in hopes of securing a more secular government down the road at the expense of the clergy's influence. Sistani's followers say he is particularly worried by the example of neighboring Turkey, where unremitting secularism has long served as state ideology.

"This is what we fear," said Mustafa Jaabari, a student of Sistani's for nine years. "That we will repeat this mistake here."

So far, Sistani's demands have centered on the broadest political issues in Iraq. His edict in June -- at first largely ignored by U.S. officials -- later forced the Bush administration to overhaul its plan for a political transition when Sistani made clear he would not compromise. His latest statement insisting that a provisional government be elected could force another revision in the plan. If his demand is not heeded, the U.S. administration and its Iraqi allies risk a conflict with the clergy, who are widely recognized to have far more credibility than an appointed Governing Council still struggling for legitimacy.

Sistani has also insisted that no legislation contradict Islamic law, according to Shiite politicians. That could potentially set up the clergy as arbiters of what constitutes a violation.

"Who's going to judge?" Nadhme said. "Who will be an authority on Islam who we are going to trust with our future?"

Three of the four grand ayatollahs were born outside Iraq -- Sistani in Iran, Najafi in Pakistan and Ishaq Fayed in Afghanistan. Sistani, 73, speaks Arabic with a heavy Persian accent.

Some more junior clergy, particularly those eager to put a more Arab and Iraqi stamp on a strain of Islam dominated by Iran, have pointed to Sistani's nationality to question his right to intervene. Those resentments are particularly strong among followers of Sadr, whose father was a rival of Sistani before he was assassinated in 1999.

"Whatever the respect for them, no Muslim will accept someone of another nationality interfering in determining Iraq's future," said Abbas Rubaie, a Sadr spokesman. "It is not a religious issue, it is national issue, and it's strange that they're interfering."
12 posted on 12/01/2003 7:23:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Turks Question Bomb Suspects Extradited By Syria

December 01, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

ISTANBUL -- Turkish authorities are questioning 22 suspects in the deadly Istanbul suicide bombings who were handed over to Turkey by Syria, a Turkish governor said Monday.

Several key suspects in the bombings that killed 61 people were believed to have gone abroad after the suicide attacks on two Istanbul synagogues on Nov. 15 and the British consulate and a U.K. bank in Istanbul five days later.

Syria on Sunday repatriated the suspects in the bombings to Turkey, authorities said, adding they were being held in the southern city of Antakya, near the Syrian border. No one has been charged.

Hatay provincial Gov. Abdulkadir Sari confirmed that the suspects were being interrogated Monday. He also said that 20 had enrolled in Islamic education courses in Syria, but provided no details. Six of those being questioned were under 18 years of age, he said.

Among those handed over by Syria was Hilmi Tugluoglu, who is linked to Azat Ekinci, a key suspect in the blasts, according to a statement from paramilitary police.

Separately Monday, Istanbul police were questioning the wife of Mesut Cabuk, one of the synagogue suicide bombers, and another woman, private NTV television reported.

Turkish media has reported that authorities have been investigating if the militants belonged to a Turkish cell of al-Qaida.

Western and Turkish officials say the suicide attacks bore the hallmarks of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network and there have been at least three claims of responsibility claiming to be from al-Qaida.

News reports have said Ekinci used fake identities and cash to buy the pickup trucks containing the bombs. Tugluoglu's wife was also brought to Turkey and was being questioned.

On Saturday, a Turkish court charged another key suspect, whom police said was captured last week while trying to slip into Iran , with trying to overthrow Turkey's "constitutional order" -a crime equivalent to treason. That man is accused of having given the order to carry out the Nov. 15 truck bombing of the Beth Israel synagogue.

Police have only identified the man as Y.P. Nearly all major Turkish newspapers identified the man as Yusuf Polat.

Turkish newspapers reported Sunday that Polat and others had confessed to belonging to a 10-man cell that he said was an extension of the al-Qaida terror network.

All the suicide bombers were believed to be Turks.
13 posted on 12/01/2003 7:24:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Washington And Tehran: An Equation Of Defeat And Victory

December 01, 2003
Sami Shoursh

During the times of armed resistance in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan in the 1980s, one of the Peshmerga fighters, a peasant from a mountain village, became famous for constantly complaining about the students, professors and intellectuals working for the Kurdish resistance, describing them as being good only at distorting the truth and twisting words.

When someone would ask him to give examples corroborating his claims, he would immediately respond: these people are calling the military withdrawal at the fronts as an organized retreat, the crime of killing a person by revolutionary execution and the crime of killing another person as martyrdom, the political withdrawal as a tactic, a defeat as a victory, and stealing people as donations.

This Kurdish fighter came to my mind when I heard Iran's reaction to the decision of the IAEA regarding its nuclear program. The Iranians welcomed the decision and agreed to sign the additional protocol for the non-proliferation treaty. They also vowed to permanently cease the uranium-enriching operations, seriously cooperate with the international agency and allow its inspectors to enter every site they wished to inspect. But the problem is that they borrowed the language of the educated, which the Kurdish peasant talked about, and started calling the decision as a victory for Tehran over an American-Zionist conspiracy, and a defeat for Washington before the resistance of a country that refuses to yield! But the question that Tehran did not wish to ask is: which victory and which defeat?

Which victory? The Iranian regime was forced, after long years of a worsening situation, postponing and raising tension with neighboring countries and the international community, to admit that is owned a program for enriching uranium. Which victory? The Iranian officials had to confirm, under pressure and threats, that they had violated to some extent their commitments towards the international agency.

What defeat then? The Americans achieved what they wanted and even more after they succeeded in rallying the international community, and especially Europe, and imposed over Iran an accurate and strict inspections system over all of its institutions and programs, in addition to obtaining a direct pledge from Tehran to seriously and fully cooperate. What defeat? Washington also succeeded in rallying the various Iranian movements, conservatives, reformists and centrists, behind a single pragmatic position, at least in the context of the nuclear file, thus managing to pave the way for a more pragmatic Iranian position that could prevent what is described as an Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs.

And yet, it is not right to say that Iran was defeated, or that Washington won. Tehran was not defeated; it took a wise step in respecting the interests of its people. As for Washington, it did not win; after the September 11 attacks, it placed its decision-making power in the hands of the Department of Defense, but did well when it took it back to the Department of State during the time the IAEA decision was made.

But the question is: can this decision put an end to the American-Iranian crisis over the nuclear file? It can't. Both countries face another major test and other essential questions related to implementing the decision: will Tehran proceed with its current policy based on cooperation, compliance and positivity at a time when the agency's inspectors will be supervising its institutions and nuclear laboratories? Or will it adopt Saddam Hussein's way in cooperating with the international resolutions on paper and create crises in the execution? Also, will Washington proceed with its positive dealing with Iran? Did the U.S. want to invest the agreement of the international community over the last resolution to convince Tehran of the need to cooperate with the IAEA? Or does it want to use this agreement as the foundation stone for building a new international political alliance against Iran within the near future?

Answers to these and other questions are not yet clear. But what is more important than the answers is that Tehran will stop its heraldry description, which is full of the 'revolutionary' spirit to the decision of the international agency, and to avoid turning the facts into pompous and untruthful terms such as 'victory,' 'resistance' and 'foiling conspiracies.' What happened is not a victory for Iran or Washington, nor a defeat for either of them, but is in the best situation a positive sign from both capitals, and from the regional and international community, that it is possible to overcome the suffocating crisis and the oppression in the world, if we refer to a brain that Saddam Hussein have always lacked.
14 posted on 12/01/2003 7:25:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Noble Aspirations

December 01, 2003
National Review Online
Koorosh Afshar

We Iranians seek fundamental change.

TEHRAN, IRAN -- Most Westerners know very little, if anything, about the true psyche of the Iranian masses. Allow me to enlighten: For centuries, it has been dominated by fruitless anticipation and superstition. The people of my nation have been told to await a messiah who will finally deliver them; they faithfully cling to the idea that one great leader will relieve their suffering. Twenty-five years ago, the enemies of my nation took advantage of this embarrassing fantasy, setting the stage for the Islamic revolution. Since then, Iran has languished for more than two decades, and was doomed to fall for another mendacious and sinister mullah, Khatami, six years ago.

As time passed, the Iranian citizenry realized that this mullah, like the others, was nothing more than a mediocre Islamist politician, and certainly not the long-awaited messiah.

In fact, our national messiah never came. He never will.

But at least we've wizened up. Instead of superstition, the majority of the new generation of Iranians diligently embraces the concept of self-determination.

It was, then, good news for us when one of our compatriots (a woman, no less), Shirin Ebadi, won the Nobel peace prize earlier this year. We sincerely hope that this will help secularize our thinking and bring about meaningful change. It will have to: There is no other path for the future of our nation. So long as the militant Islamists are in power, talk of reform is futile.

The first and foremost task for a person like Ebadi is to help represent the Iranian nationalist mindset and identity to the world. The mullahs, however, are not making her job any easier: They criticize on religious grounds, condemning Ebadi's unorthodox views. But in her capacity as an Iranian ambassador to the world, her religion (whether compatible or at odds with the mullahs') is quite irrelevant. Religion is merely a private matter, and it must not and will not have any place in the future political system of Iran.

This is essential. Historians know full well that whenever a state is controlled by particular religious institution, human-rights violations follow in short order. There can be no talk of individualism while, at the same time, the state imposes on everyone a specific spiritual ideology. The inevitable result of such a system is strict categorization: Citizens are branded either as insiders or outsiders, believers or infidels. Those peers of mine who poured into the streets of Tehran, left with nothing but clenched fists and slogans, had completely given up on "reforming" this flawed system. They do not aspire to bring about a milder version of the current regime, and neither do I: We seek more fundamental change.

Now Mrs. Ebadi is at a very critical juncture. She can, with her wise secular words, shatter the suffocating bonds of theocracy, and represent to the world the desires of the Iranian nation. As she faces obstacles in doing so, she should be bolstered by the fact that nothing is nobler than the just, secular aspirations of my nation — or the act of supporting them. She should remember the words of Thomas Paine: "Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity."

As we pursue reform, accomplishing religious freedom would be nice. But our priority should be casting aside old superstitions, and replacing them with a much more powerful, fundamental faith: the religion of freedom.

— Koorosh Afshar is a pseudonym for a student in Tehran. His name has been changed for his protection. He has previously written for NRO here and here.
15 posted on 12/01/2003 7:26:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Rejects International Arbitration with Kuwait on Offshore Natural Gas

December 01, 2003
Bahrain Tribune

TEHRAN: Iran rejects international arbitration over the disputed offshore natural gas field it shares with Kuwait, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said yesterday.

“The Kuwaiti minister suggested referring the case to the International Court in the Hague, but both countries would have to agree, and such a referral is not on the agenda for the Islamic Republic,” Asefi told his weekly Press conference.

“We are not looking for an escalation with Iran. There are diplomatic efforts being pursued by the foreign ministry to resolve the border issue,” Kuwaiti Energy Minister Shaikh Ahmad Fahd Al Sabah said on November 23.

“If no understanding is reached, there are international mechanisms which govern such disputes,” including the international court of justice which has ruled on similar disputes, the minister said.

Kuwait however will not exploit the prevailing political situation and the presence of US troops in the region to force a settlement in the Dorra gas field, also shared by Saudi Arabia, Shaikh Ahmad said.

The dispute goes back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait each awarded an offshore concession, the first to the former Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Co., which became part of BP, and the latter to Royal Dutch/Shell. The two concessions overlapped in the northern part of the Dorra gas field.

Iranian drilling at Dorra in 2001 spurred Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to agree on a maritime border deal which stipulated that the two countries jointly develop the natural resources of the offshore zone.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said on October 28 that Tehran would not surrender its claim to the Dorra gas field.
16 posted on 12/01/2003 7:27:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

Everyone you talk to in Iran says the British are behind the Mullahs. The question often asked is you think a bunch of uneducated Mullahs can control the country like they have politically ? Sometimes their political moves are the most brilliant in the world: only the British would know how to play politics like that.
17 posted on 12/01/2003 10:23:43 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Please ping this important message. Today is the last day for this historical offer.

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12/1/03 | Diotima

Posted on 12/01/2003 9:11 AM PST by diotima


Last day to sign up to be a monthly donor and get a free limited edition monthly donor mug!
18 posted on 12/01/2003 10:34:08 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Sore@US, the Evil Daddy War bucks, has owned the Demonic Rats for decades!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Close Cooperation Stressed with Saudi Arabia

November 30, 2003
Iran Daily

TEHRAN -- The head of State Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stressed the continuation of consultations and close cooperation with Saudi Arabia, IRNA reported.

In a meeting with the newly-appointed Saudi Ambassador to Tehran Nasir Ibn Al-Barik, Rafsanjani discussed bilateral relations, regional issues and the situation in the Muslim world.

"Iran and Saudi Arabia, as important founder-members of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), should hold consultations as well as strategic and closer cooperation to settle regional issues and those of the Islamic world," he said.

Pointing to the two countries' potentials and the need to use bilateral capacities, the SEC chief said Iran and Saudi Arabia face no obstacles to political, economic, cultural and security cooperation.

Rafsanjani called for developing linking routes between the Saudi province of Sharqia and Imam Khomeini Port as the ground for strengthening trade and economic ties and facilitating visits by Iranian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Barik, for his part, outlined economic, political and security situation in Saudi Arabia and called for expansion of relations in all fields.

He pointed to cultural, religious and historical commonalities between the Iranian and Saudi nations, and stressed exchange of intellectuals and students to promote scientific and cultural cooperation.
19 posted on 12/01/2003 11:07:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Deutsche Bank-led Consortium Provides $1.7 bln Funding for Iran Gas

December 01, 2003
AFX News

TEHRAN -- A consortium of European and Asian banks lead by Deutsche Bank AG will provide 1.7 bln usd in financing for phases 9 and 10 of Iran's giant South Pars Gas project, the state news agency IRNA reported.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said the package, covering the purchase of equipment, will be the first time in Iran a sum this large has been secured to finance a project.

The pay back period is ten years.

The consortium also includes the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Natexis Banques Populaire, BNP Paribas and SG Corporate and Investment Banking of France, Commerzbank AG and German development bank Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau, and ING Group NV.

South Pars Gas field is shared between Iran and Qatar. It has been divided up into 20 to 25 phases.
20 posted on 12/01/2003 11:08:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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