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Iranian Alert -- December 3, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.3.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/03/2003 12:07:19 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 12/03/2003 12:07:20 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 12/03/2003 12:09:34 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
US Seeks Ultimatum on Iran Nuclear Program

December 03, 2003
The Jerusalem Post
Janine Zacharia

The United States on Tuesday turned up the pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors to refer Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons to the UN Security Council, where sanctions could be imposed, should there be "one more transgression by Iran."

"The IAEA's November 26 resolution should leave no doubt that one more transgression by Iran will mean that the IAEA is obligated to report Iran's noncompliance to the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, in accordance with Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute," Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said.

The 35-member board censured Iran for the covert nature of its nuclear program but stopped short of threatening sanctions as Washington had hoped.

Speaking at a conference on foreign policy and international security, Bolton questioned Iran's commitment to coming clean about its nuclear program. He said Iran had "mixed feelings about its obligations to adhere to the IAEA's resolutions."

Bolton cited comments this weekend by the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Hasan Rowhani, who said Iran's "decision to suspend uranium enrichment is voluntary and temporary."

Iran had come under intense pressure, particularly from Europeans, to declare a suspension of its nuclear enrichment program. But the US doubted Iran's sincerity from the moment the pledge was made last month.

On Saturday, Rowhani said, "Uranium enrichment is Iran's natural right and [Iran] will reserve this right."

The US hopes the rhetorical rollback will encourage the IAEA board to find Iran in violation of its international commitments regarding its nuclear program.

"The real issue now is whether the board of governors will remain together in its insistence that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is illegitimate, or whether Iranian efforts to split the board through economic incentives and aggressive propaganda will succeed," Bolton said, according to a text of his remarks.

"For our part, the United States will continue its efforts to prevent the transfer of sensitive nuclear and ballistic material to Iran, from whatever source, and will monitor the situation with great care," he added.

During a visit to Washington last month, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told US officials that Israel believes Iran is only a year away from reaching the point of no return in its nuclear program.

Bolton, speaking on Iraq, answered administration critics who say the inability of coalition forces to locate Iraqi weapons of mass destruction proves that Saddam Hussein was not an imminent threat to the US and that, therefore, the use of force was not justified.

"These criticisms miss the mark that our concern was not the imminence of Saddam's threat, but the very existence of his regime, given its heinous and undeniable record, capabilities, intentions, and long-standing defiance of the international community," he said.
3 posted on 12/03/2003 12:10:16 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Iran 11" Go Public

December 03, 2003

The families of 11 missing Iranian Jews are publicizing their plight and asking the United Nations for help.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Iranian American Jewish Federation submitted a letter Tuesday to the U.N. secretary-general, asking him to help discover the missing Jews’ condition and whereabouts.

The Jews went missing up to nine years ago after trying illegally to leave Iran, which has strict emigration laws for Jews.

Until now, their families preferred backroom dealings. Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, said they decided to go public because “there’s been no movement all these years, so they really have nothing to lose.”
4 posted on 12/03/2003 12:11:11 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
500 Iranian refugees find themselves stranded in Vienna

Ha'aretz - By Nathaniel Popper
Dec 3, 2003

A year ago, Jahangir Navidpour, a 58-year-old Jew from the Iranian town of Shiraz, arrived in Vienna, home to the processing center for Iranian refugees heading to America.

During the eight months it took for his family of five to be cleared for arrival in the United States, they were stuck living in a tiny Viennese apartment, with no hope for work and no money to explore the city. The winter was frigid, and no one in Navidpour's family spoke German.

The worst part, though, was the endless and uncertain cycle of dealing with the bureaucratic process. His family was interviewed and granted refugee status by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after three months, but they spent the next five months waiting on edge for Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to run a name check on his 19-year-old son. As it was explained to Navidpour, this was necessary for all men "who could carry a gun." Only in July did his family make it to their new home in Los Angeles.

Speaking now, Navidpour is just happy he got through when he did.

During the last few months Homeland Security and the FBI have begun to work out the kinks in the name-check system, bringing the waiting time for some refugees down to five or six months, according to Eric Newman, director of international operations at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which runs the processing center in Vienna. But, Newman said, a new roadblock has cropped up for refugees coming through the Austrian city.

Since March, Homeland Security, which adjudicates the claims of refugees, has begun to reject the applications of many Iranian religious minorities seeking American refugee status in Vienna. From March to August, the most recent months for which statistics are available from HIAS, the department rejected 28 percent of the Jewish refugee cases in Vienna - the figure was zero percent the year before.
Jews make up 22 percent of the refugee caseload coming from Iran. Among Iranian Christians in Vienna, the rejection rate jumped to 58 percent from 37 percent before March.

According to HIAS estimates, 500 refugees whose applications have been rejected are now stranded in Vienna. "It's bad," said Navidpour, who helped as a translator at HIAS, and was there when the first refugees were denied. "I cry for all those people who were rejected."

No one seems to have a clear explanation for the spike.

Refugee advocates in Washington have been working on several potential solutions to help end the string of rejections. Republican Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania has introduced legislation that would extend to Iranian religious minorities the favored status now granted to religious minorities from the former Soviet Union. For these refugee candidates the American interviewer is instructed to consider the history of persecution in the refugee's home country rather than just the refugee's immediate situation, effectively "lowering the bar" for admittance, as Newman put it.

Refugees are defined as immigrants who have left their home countries out of a fear of persecution. The classification is further defined by what some describe as an arcane set of rules from the early 1980s. Specter's proposed legislation to alter these definitions for Iranian refugees, which has made it through the Senate and is now before the House of Representatives, is far from assured, observers said.

HIAS is also talking with Homeland Security officials about allowing in rejected refugees under "parolee" status, an immigration category that can be granted to an entire population by the secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge.

For now, the nearly 500 rejected refugees are drifting in a no man's land.

A spokesman at Homeland Security's Citizenship and Immigration Service, Daniel Kane, denied that any pattern exists. "All refugee cases are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, based on a well-grounded fear of persecution in the specific areas of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group," Kane said.
"Looking at the denial rate does not necessarily mean anything."

Those who have been rejected, though, have meant a great deal to Austrian authorities. The Austrian government has not yet begun to deport the rejected refugees, but they have taken an equally severe step: In September the Austrians announced that they will no longer grant transit visas requested by HIAS for Iranian Christians, effectively shutting down the program for this population. The Austrians may
take a similar step with Jews if the current situation persists.

"It's supposed to be a short term transit point," Newman said. "The Austrians never wanted to be a destination country for this population. When the population of denied applicants began to grow and tried to access the Austrian asylum system, they were very unhappy."

For some critics of American asylum rules, a scaling-back of the refugee program for Iranian religious minorities makes sense. Critics of the Jewish refugee program say that many other refugees would benefit more from a move to the U.S. than the religious minorities in Iran, especially Jews, who have the option of going to Israel.

"We're not taking them all," said Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies. "In picking the drop in the bucket whom we do help, rather than picking who has the most savvy representative in Congress, we should take people who will never find a home in any other country, and who need to get out right away."

This explanation strikes Newman as facile, given that in Iran it is illegal for a Jew to emigrate to Israel. "If the Iranian government knew they were emigrating to Israel," Newman said, "they would probably not be allowed to leave Iran."

Estimates of the number of Jews still in Iran range from 12,500 to 40,000, and each refugee has his or her own reason for wanting to leave. Navidpour said he decided to take his family out of Iran when the police brought him in for questioning in relation to a robbery at his brother's jewelry store and ended up torturing him for three days.

HIAS advises refugees who have been rejected in Vienna not to return to Iran for fear that the discrimination and harassment will be even worse than the conditions that provoked the refugees to leave Iran in the first place.

The rejected Jewish applicants have the option of going to Israel, but Newman said it is an understandably less attractive choice given that many of the refugees in the program are coming to join family members in the United States. Going to Israel is not even an option for the other Iranian religious minorities who come through Vienna.

Navidpour said he has a hard time imagining what life must be like for stranded refugees.
5 posted on 12/03/2003 12:12:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
6 posted on 12/03/2003 12:39:01 AM PST by windchime
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Iran hardliner MP: "Reformists 'Zionist' agents"

December 03, 2003
IranMania News

TEHRAN, Dec 3, (AFP) -- Iran's parliament was marred by heated scenes on Wednesday, after a conservative MP accused the government and some reformist deputies of being "Zionists" and supporting counter-revolutionaries.

Ali Emani-Rad, an outspoken hardliner who sits in the Majlis, denounced what he insisted was the "coordination" between reformists and foreign-based subversives, contacts between leading reformers and "CIA elements".

And in his speech carried live on state radio, he lashed out at efforts by "US and Zionist agents in parliament ... to weaken revolutionary organs, in particular the Revolutionary Guards" -- the regime's elite ideological parallel army.

"The world oppressors (the United States) have united the enemies of the revolution and have sent them to us under the guise of reformists to make war against our religion and people," Emani-Rad charged.

And he predicted that in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 20, 2004, the reformists would lose their majority in the house.

"I am certain that the Iranian people will send these traitorous elements to the rubbish bin of history," he said, demanding that the Guardians Council -- a conservative-run legislative oversight body -- weed out such people from the electoral lists.

His speech sparked an angry response, with reformists demanding the president of the Majlis, reformist Mehdi Karoubi, to punish the hardliner.

"If any of these accusations were true, I would resign immediately and take off my turban," commented cleric and MP Hossein Ansari-Rad.
7 posted on 12/03/2003 7:52:44 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping!
8 posted on 12/03/2003 8:00:29 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
9 posted on 12/03/2003 8:15:55 AM PST by blackie
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To: All
U.N. IAEA Finds Fault With Iran Nuclear Program

By Gary Fitleberg on 12/03/03
American Daily

Iran is pursuing a program of nuclear development. Whether it is for peaceful purposes or for weapons of mass destruction remains to be seen. But the documentary evidence thus far leans to the latter possibility.

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency has condemned and reported that Iran has violated nuclear protocols and not made a complete disclosure of its activities.

In its toughest language of the 30 page report it stated “Based on all information currently available to the agency, it is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligation under its safeguard agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material and its processing and use.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the IAEA, said in the report that inspectors had turned up no evidence that the concealed activities were linked to a nuclear weapons program.

ElBaradei stated, “however, given Iran’s past pattern of concealment, it will take some time before the agency is able to conclude that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purpose.”

The report detailed nine separate instances in which it said Iran had failed to report nuclear activities as required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or failed to provide required information to the agency.

A Western diplomat in Vienna, headquarters of the IAEA, noted for the record that it is significant that it was the first time the agency used the word “failed” in its report on Iran as concerns of a complete disclosure will cause a continuing investigation.

The U.S. has accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear power program as a front for attempts to develop nuclear weapons. America’s Bush administration has been pressuring the member nations of the IAEA to refer the issue to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions against Iran. The IAEA Board will take up the issue scheduled to start on Nov. 20th.

The IAEA Board got tough with Iran in September after inspectors discovered traces of uranium enriched to weapons grade levels at two locations in Iran. Officials claim the traces were brought into Iran on contaminated machinery bought on the black market. In other words, enriched uranium and/or machinery purchased illegally.

The IAEA Board set a Oct. 31st deadline for full disclosure. Substantial gaps in information were missing. Iran was also to agree to more intrusive inspections. Iran was reluctant to do so. Why? If Iran has absolutely nothing to hide it will come clean completely.

Iran agreed to accept the additional inspections and temporarily suspend its enrichment program under intense international pressure. It also beat the deadline by turning over aq dossier of its atomic nuclear program to the IAEA.

The most glaring criticisms and suspicions in the report dealt with the discovery of plutonium experiments, the existence of the secret laser enrichment program and the uranium enrichment tests using unexplained missing Chinese materials.

The plutonium reprocessing experiments were performed secretly at two facilities in Tehran between 1988 and 1992. Iran told the IAEA that the research was carried out to learn about the nuclear fuel cycle, but the steps also could be interpreted as part of a weapons program.

The IAEA report states the experiments had not been disclosed to the agency, as required, and that waste was dumped in a salt marsh.

In another incident, the report says Iran admiited in an Oct. 21 letter that it had used uranium hexaflouride imported from China to test equipment for its uranium enrichment program at the Kalaye Electric Co., a small complex northwest of Tehran that had been identified as a watch factory.

The tests were conducted from 1998 until 2002 on centrifuges, which are used in large numbers to purify uranium for use as reactor fuel or in weapons. After the tests, the centrifuges were moved to a huge underground complex under construction near Natanz in central Iran.

When IAEA inspectors first visited Kayale last March, they were refused access. Later, Iran, admitted that it had constructed enrichment experiments at Kalaye but claimed the tests were simulations and did not involve nuclear material.

By the time the inspectors were permitted to return to Kayale in August, they found that walls had been removed and significant portions of the complex had been repainted. Some officials suspected it was an effort to conceal unreported activities there, but Iran counters by saying the changes were normal renovations.

Something is obviously not right with the total nuclear development picture in Iran.
Will Iran come clean completely? Will Iran cease its activities long-term or temporarily? Based on actions thus far we absolutely cannot take Iran’s word as being honest regarding its intentions of its nuclear program.
10 posted on 12/03/2003 8:32:55 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
"The world oppressors (the United States) have united the enemies of the revolution and have sent them to us under the guise of reformists to make war against our religion and people," Emani-Rad charged."

One can only hope......
11 posted on 12/03/2003 8:36:03 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Two Girls Seek Refuge in Belgium's Embassy in Iran

December 03, 2003

BRUSSELS -- Two girls have taken refuge at Belgium's embassy in Tehran, abandoning their Iranian father and asking to be reunited with their mother in Belgium in a family dispute that threatens to become a diplomatic row as well.

Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel said on Wednesday he had ordered the embassy to keep the girls until their case was resolved.

''We absolutely owe these kids total protection,'' he told the local RTBF radio.

Yasmine Pourashemi, 15, and her sister Sara, aged six, went to the embassy on Tuesday after eluding their Iranian father, who has kept them in the country since October, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

They have both Belgian and Iranian citizenship.

The father, Shahab, faces an international warrant for his arrest for failing to return the girls to their divorced mother in Belgium.

Shahab took the girls on a holiday in Greece in August and then brought them to Tehran rather return the girls to Belgium.

The mother, Zarah, lives in the eastern Belgian city of Liege and has custody over the girls.
12 posted on 12/03/2003 9:08:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Where Angels Fear To Tread

December 03, 2003
Iran va Jahan
Nicole Sadighi

"Murder grief leaves scars on those left to survive
It warps the strongest spirits and twists so many lives

Murder grief is harder than any other grief to bear
Because it's done by evil and the devil doesn't care

Murder grief continues to tear apart your heart
It stomps upon your feelings and breaks your life apart

Murder grief . . ."
(Susan's mother, Gertrude Bestor, was murdered 19/2/1995)

Indeed these must be terribly dark days for Stephen Hachemi, where the word sympathy seems too insufficient to impart the feelings of condolences I wish to convey. The gutless, unlawful killing of his poor dear mother, 54-year-old photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, on July 10th, 2003, after 77 hours of interrogation, who made an ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of her work, has touched the hearts of the international community.

This is certainly not the first tragedy that has been bestowed upon a journalist at the hands of the ruling devils of the Islamic Republic. In a long series of brutalities enforced by this government, this has been one of the most high profile cases (so far).

There are those few members of society, who take severe risks in search of truth and honesty. Like Zahra Kazemi, many journalists make up that part of society, where the gamble of danger just comes with the occupation. This does not mean however that the tragedy becomes meaningless or any more warranted, in particular where the Islamic Republic is concerned. During the last 6 years, under the so-called reformist mullah "President Khatami" many journalists silenced through threats, imprisonment, torture and death.

Kazemi's murder is a direct assault on the grass roots of justice and democracy. Anyone who values the fundamentals of human rights owes a debt to the memory and work of Zahra Kazemi. These cowardly islamo-fanatics have committed an evil, vicious and dirty act; in their attempt to conceal the truth, they have stooped to the lowest of the low, where they have clearly shown their candid disrespect for human life and freedom.

Of course they give their excuses as usual and every time they are confronted to give evidence, quite frankly they begin to sound like a broken record. Still there are questions that have not yet been answered satisfactorily. They persevere in delaying the case and manufacturing repeated distractions; which seems to be impeding the truth from ever surfacing. Originally two Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents were charged with "semi-premeditated murder", but soon the second agent was acquitted, needless to say they had a good old bash at finding their scapegoat. Subsequently, a week after that Iran's Intelligence ministry issued a statement, blaming a lack of evidence for a court decision to rule out premeditated murder. They have essentially concealed all of the prosecutor's responsibility behind a façade of smoke and mirrors.

Enough is enough - Desperate times call for desperate measures.

This unmanageable regime has specified laws under the country's penal codes that seem to justify the realms of their so-called decrees no matter who you are? Subsequently, after journalists, who will be next? Are we willing to just wait and find out?

The free world must not tolerate these atrocities any longer. The time has come where we must consider extraordinary measures to ensure the prevention of this kind of injustice again. On behalf of all peace loving people, let those responsible for this savage act, be in no doubt of the solidarity of all those who march hand in hand along the road of justice and freedom and their determination to go where angels fear to tread, as did the valiant soul Zahra Kazemi.
13 posted on 12/03/2003 9:09:44 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's hardliners disrupts Shirin Ebadi's speech

TEHRAN, Dec 3, (AFP) -- A group of hardline Iranian Islamists on Wednesday prevented Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi from giving a speech at a women's university in Tehran by chanting slogans including "Death to Ebadi", university sources and the Nobel laureate's office said.

"Around 50 students stopped Shirin Ebadi from giving a speech. The event had to be cancelled," a university official told AFP.

The protestors were also quoted as chanting "Shirin the American, ask for pardon".

Ebadi shocked conservative Iranians by appearing without a headscarf in front of television cameras in Paris after the announcement of her award on October 10.

On December 10, she is due to head to Oslo to formally accept her prize, awarded for her campaigning for women's and children's rights as well as her defence of dissidents.
14 posted on 12/03/2003 9:11:06 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
by Amir Taheri
December 3, 2003
Ali Mandalwai has a dream: A Disney-style theme park in his hometown of Mandali.

The problem is that Mandali is now a ghost town in eastern Iraq, close to the Iranian border. It was set to the torch by Saddam Hussein during the Shiite revolt of 1991. Thousands of its inhabitants were massacred, and many more became refugees. Mr. Mandalawi was among those who fled into exile, ending up in Holland, where he started "putting together the bit and pieces of a shattered life."

Saddam's henchmen even cut down most of the one million palm trees that had borne Mesopotamia's sweetest dates for millennia. Mandali was especially targeted because its inhabitants were both Shiites and Kurds.

One of Iraq' best known artists, Mr. Mandalawi, now 45, is also famous for his cartoons, which appear in several major Arab newspapers. His paintings have been shown in more than a dozen cities, including Paris and London. He returned to Iraq last month "to have a look," determined to steer clear of Mandali. "I did not have the courage to go there," he says. "I was not sure I could bear the pain of so much devastation."

Nevertheless, having spent several weeks in the Kurdish areas and Baghdad, he decided to go to Mandali.

"As soon as I arrived, I knew I was hooked," he says.

He saw men and women, often "broken by years of suffering," returning to clear the debris and rebuild their homes. He says the "cloud of fear" that had dimmed eyes in Iraq under Saddam had vanished. In its place he saw "the sparkle found only in the eyes of free people."

"Outside Iraq, people have no idea what Saddam did," he says. "Even the Mongol invaders had not caused so much death and devastation in our land. It may take Mandali a generation to rebuild."

So, why a theme park in such an unlikely place?

"Now that Iraq is liberated we need to think of the future," Mr. Mandalawi says. "And that means doing something for the children: something that is both fun and educational."

By returning to Mandali, Mr. Mandalawi is also going back to his first passion: designing books and comic strips for children. It was one of his books for children that first brought him to the attention of the Tikriti ruling clan. One day in 1989 a gang of "awesome individuals, wearing dark glasses," called to take him for a meeting with Uday, Saddam's eldest son, a notorious psychopath. Everyone knew someone who had not returned from a similar interview.

What Uday wanted to discuss, however, surprised Mr. Mandalwai.

"He wanted me to turn Superman into an Arab hero, with a moustache, looking like Saddam Hussein," Mr. Mandalawi recalls.

In the English version the famous "S" would stand for Saddam. In the Arabic version it would be replaced with the Arabic letter "Kh" for the word "khariq" (the piercer).

"I didn't know whether to laugh or cry," Mr. Mandalawi recalls. "The man wanted to involve me in artistic theft. Even the legendary Thieves of Baghdad had respected intellectual property." Mr. Mandalawi managed to drag his feet long enough until Saddam invaded Kuwait, making sure that Uday had other things on his mind than pirating "Superman."

Today, Mr. Mandalawi says he has mobilized enough support for a mini-Disney park in his hometown. To be called "The Palace of Children," the park will include a number of workshops where teenagers could learn local crafts, such as basket weaving and shoemaking to help their families earn a little additional income. "Our park will have an Iraqi accent," Mr. Mandalawi says, "just like the democracy that we are determined to build."

Mr. Mandalawi says he decided to end his exile because he saw that Iraq, for the first time in his memory, has a chance of building a new society "fit for humans."

"We had forgotten what hope meant," he says. "Our people had not had any good news in almost three decades. Nothing crushes a society more than a deficit of hope and good news. Now, every day brings fresh good news that helps the sapling of hope grow stronger."

When we suggest that "good news and hope" were not concepts that the media associated with Iraq these days, Mr. Mandalawi looks puzzled. "There must be two Iraqs," he says. "One is the Iraq that my people are living, the other the one portrayed in the Western and Arab media. In our Iraq, every sunrise without Saddam is good news. The assurance that every mass grave discovered is something of the past is good news. Every burnt house in Mandali that is rebuilt is good news. Even a broken window that is repaired is a sign of hope."

But don't Iraqis resent the American presence? "Resent? You must be kidding," Mr. Mandalawi retorts. "These people came from the other side of the world to rescue us from the worst tyrant one could imagine. Would we have done the same for them? I wonder. The only way that we can thank them is to rebuild our country as a democracy."

Then who are the terrorists grabbing the headlines? "These are the same criminals who massacred Iraqis for decades," Mr. Mandalawi says. "They are joined by suicide-bombers from other Arab countries. Their fight is not against the coalition. It is primarily against the Iraqi people. They hit and run and hide like rats. They dare not show their faces to the people."

How long will this violence last? Mr. Mandalawi says he has no answer. "All I know is that terrorism will not bring Saddam back," he says. "I also know that nothing will stop our people from building a new life."

But shouldn't the Americans leave? "They should," he says, "when a freely elected government in Baghdad asks them to do so."

Mr. Taheri is author of 10 books on the Middle East and the Islamic world.
15 posted on 12/03/2003 9:11:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran's 2 fast food restaurants shut down

Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Dec 3, (AFP) -- Two of the Iranian capital's western-styled fast food restaurants, popular among young people more for mixed-sex interaction than the food, have been shut down by the city's new conservative authorities.
According to Keyvan Aghah, who owns the Apache burger store, he was given no reason when he received an order to shut up shop.

"I don't know how to answer to more than 70 personnel I employ since they are not telling us when they are going to let us reopen," he told AFP.

A similar closure order was given to the Jaam-e Jam food court, situated in a swanky shopping mall in the wealthy and more Westernised north of the city and seen as place where flirtatious young people can pick up more than just a chicken burger.

"Tehran's municipality closed us down, on the pretext that we do not have a license to operate," a manager at the food court explained. "But we never had any problem with this for three years".

One likely reason is that the restaurant's clientele -- mainly young people who show little respect to the Islamic regime idea of sound dress code and social conduct -- have not escaped the beady eye of local authorities.

16 posted on 12/03/2003 9:17:15 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said yesterday women in Iran should be allowed to run for president despite the fact that they have been barred from standing for the post since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran's constitution says the president should be an Iranian, a Muslim and a "rejal", meaning "an eminent person". Although the gender of rejal is ambiguous, Iran's clerical rulers have said it refers only to men.

"Women are allowed to run for the presidency and 'rejal' refers to both sexes," Ebadi told a news conference. Iran's next presidential vote is in 2005.

The Guardian Council, a powerful 12-member body dominated by hardline clerics, disqualified women who registered to run in previous presidential elections.

Women in Iran enjoy better rights than in some other Middle Eastern countries. There is a female vice-president and 13 deputies in the 290-member parliament are women.
17 posted on 12/03/2003 9:34:20 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran boosts privatisation drive
Reuters - World News
Dec 1, 2003

TEHRAN - Iran will sell a 96 per cent stake in the state-owned Khuzestan Cement Company on Wednesday as the government attempts to get its privatisation drive back on track, a privatisation official told Reuters on Monday.

The 96 per cent sell-off, for which a minimum bid of $153 million has been set, is the largest proportion of shares in a company sold by the state so far, the Privatisation Organisation spokesman said. "This is a symbolic move to show off the country’s privatisation capacities," he said.

Having realised only 10 per cent of its privatisation plans for the current fiscal year, the government has an ambitious schedule to cede $1.2 billion worth of shares by March 2004.

Foreign investors are welcome to bid in such tenders but due to lack of regulation in the field they have to acquire permissions from the Ministry of Economy and Finance on a case-by-case basis.

State companies are also free to participate in the sell-off and have often snapped up shares in previous "privatisations".

Khuzestan Cement Company is one of Iran’s major cement plants with production capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day.

Its location in southwest Iran close to the border with Iraq is considered an advantage for the company because of future reconstruction plans in the neighbouring country.
18 posted on 12/03/2003 9:39:30 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

Bloodsucking Europeans.
19 posted on 12/03/2003 10:17:52 AM PST by freedom44
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To: F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; dennisw
Islamofascists obsessed with "evil jooz"--Iran must throw off this yoke if it desires freedom.

1941 – Grand Mufti Visits Adolf Hitler in Germany

Photo – Government Press Office Photo Archives

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, visits Berlin, meets with Hitler and makes Arabic radio broadcasts to Islamic troops fighting for the Nazi Third Reich.

The mufti and some of his aides participate in plans for the destruction of European Jewry and help the German propaganda machine. The mufti works to build his personal stature in the world as a major Arab leader.

In May 1941, German planes land in Syria with the consent of the French Vichy authorities and then continue to Iraq to help the rebels against the British. Jewish leaders in Jerusalem become convinced of an Axis invasion from the north.

20 posted on 12/03/2003 4:16:30 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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