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Iranian Alert -- December 4, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.4.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/04/2003 12:01:24 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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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 12/04/2003 12:01:25 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 12/04/2003 12:03:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Washington tunes in to (KRSI) Iranian radio

BBC News Online in Washington
4 December, 2003, 01:30 GMT

A conservative American think tank has joined up with an opposition Iranian radio station (KRSI) to broadcast into and out of Iran.

Usually, the American Enterprise Institute hosts forums with politicians, officials and analysts from the "inside the beltway" Washington community.
But for a one-off event, it invited ordinary Iranians to air their views to listeners in Washington and across their country through KRSI Radio Sedaye Iran - which broadcasts from Los Angeles on short wave and on the internet.

The station said there could be reprisals against people phoning in, so KRSI would call those who had previously got in touch - though they said they had not selected activists with any particular viewpoint.

The full names and other details were also withheld for security reasons according to the AEI, which is close to the Republican Party and Bush administration.

KRSI is one of a number of broadcasters which circumvent jamming by the Iranian authorities and transmit radio and television programmes into the Islamic Republic calling for change.

'Reforms dead'

All of those interviewed from Iran said they opposed both the mullahs and those portrayed as reformers, such as President Mohammad Khatami.

One woman who described herself as a housewife who had joined the activists said she saw no hope for reform by the regime.

"We have given them a lot of chances, especially when Mr Khatami was being chosen.
We have given him six-and-a-half years but nothing has happened and we don't trust them any more," she said in comments translated from Farsi for the Washington audience.

A woman student said bluntly: "Reform in Iran is dead."

She said there were some "tricks" that could persuade some that there was some form of democracy in Iran but added she was not fooled: "Believing in reform is nonsense."

A poet called Mohammed said even those people who had pioneered promised reforms admitted that they had got nowhere.

"Because of the ideological framework, reforms are not possible in such a regime," he said.

Each caller said the situation seemed to be coming to a head. "The people of this country are ready to fight, to sacrifice their lives," said a university professor.

People or prince

But there was a range of answers when callers were asked who should lead a new Iran.

The housewife said "People can lead themselves", some called for the return of the son of the ousted shah and others said there should be a council of leaders or a referendum.

This election is nothing, all of the people have been through this - even our baker says no
Mohammed the poet said: "The one person who can lead the country is Prince Reza."
All agreed that it should be the people of Iraq who should decide.

"The people of Iran should choose if they want a king or a republic," said Saeed, who described himself as an activist in the south of Tehran.

But they also agreed that elections scheduled for early next year would do nothing to improve democracy and all the callers said they would stay away.

"This election is nothing. All of the people have been through this. Even our baker says no," said a man called Aresh who told listeners he had been jailed for activism.

Seeking support

Several asked for help from the United States, either directly in terms of funding of opposition movements such as KRSI or at the very least by not courting the government leaders.

A disabled veteran of the Iran-Iraq War said: "I want the government of the United States to support Iran emotionally, that is all we expect."
A student who called herself Ms Nargess said it would be in the long-term interest of the US and European countries to support the opposition.

"The potential ally of the US is the people not the mullahs."

Washington's hawks and doves differ widely on ways to handle Iran, and it is impossible to tell if a broadcast heard by an invited group in a conference room in the US capital will do anything to change minds.

But as the special broadcast came to its scheduled end after two hours, radio host Saeed Farahani had a message for listeners at home and abroad: "I'm asking you all to resist."
3 posted on 12/04/2003 12:06:14 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
British Government Publishes its Ten Year Plan for Foreign Affairs

December 02, 2003
Nazenin Ansari

London -- For the first time the British Government has published a comprehensive strategy paper describing UK's priorities for international policy over the next five to ten years and the role of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in achieving them.

According to the white paper entitled "UK International Priorities: A Strategy for the FCO", the war against international terror and security of the world's energy supplies will dictate UK foreign policy for much of the next decade. The White Paper states that one of the principle aims for the FCO within this context will be to work "with others to prevent the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea."

Echoing this objective Tony Blair today stated at his monthly press conference, " I think it is very important we keep up the pressure on Iran, because it is potentially a dangerous situation and I hope Iran realizes, and I am sure it does, that it has got to fulfil its obligations completely."

In addition the FCO will aim to: "maintain UK's commitment to rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq"; "strengthen the capacity of key states to deal with terrorism and proliferation"; "ensure that multilateral arms and export control regimes evolve to reflect technological change"; "agree more effective verification, and negotiate stronger compliance measures for biological arms control", and, "strengthen UK, EU and international approaches to dealing in advance with the problems of state failure."

In a chapter on energy, the white paper says Britain will seek to "resolve disputes and promote peaceful and economic reform in the Middle East, parts of Africa and . . . the former Soviet Union." It will "provide early warning of and help prevent terrorist and other threats to the energy infrastructure", the paper says.

According to the Financial Times, the document came as it emerged Downing Street's strategy unit is conducting a review of policy on "failed states" that could lead to more funding for intervening in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a written statement to Parliament, Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary said: 'The FCO Strategy analyses the ways in which we expect the world to change in the years ahead. It concludes, among other things, that our foreign policy should focus on a broad agenda of issues with global impact: they include countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, acting to prevent state failure and climate change, and dealing effectively with poverty, corruption and conflict.'

'We shall need to build a wider, shared international understanding of how best to deal with these problems. They affect us all. We cannot afford to stand back from them. The UK must remain diplomatically active and engaged, and be able to exert global influence through diplomacy, advice, persuasion, aid and other economic assistance – and if necessary military force.'

The eight priorities identified in the FCO Strategy White Paper are:

a world safer from global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction;

protection of the UK from illegal immigration, drug trafficking and other international crime;

an international system based on the rule of law, which is better able to resolve disputes and prevent conflicts;

an effective EU in a secure neighborhood;

promotion of UK economic interests in an open and expanding global economy;

sustainable development, underpinned by democracy, good governance and human rights;

security of UK and global energy supplies; and

security and good governance of the UK's Overseas Territories.
4 posted on 12/04/2003 12:07:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Torture Victim First Battle Ottawa for Right to Sue Iranian Government

December 03, 2003
CBC News

OTTAWA -- Lawyers for victims of torture are challenging the federal government in a court case both sides say is a crucial test of Canadian and international law.

The case concerns Houshang Bouzari, an Iranian-born Canadian who's trying to sue the government of Iran. Bouzari alleges that 10 years ago while he was an oil industry consultant living in Tehran, he was kidnapped by Iranian government agents, tortured and held for months until his family paid several million dollars ransom.

Iran has ignored the lawsuit Bouzari filed in Ontario. But lawyers for the federal attorney general have intervened in the case. They argue that allowing Bouzari to sue Iran would be illegal and could damage diplomatic relations.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice agrees with Ottawa and, on Wednesday, lawyers for both sides took their arguments to the Ontario Court of Appeal. David Matas, Bouzari's lawyer, says his client's case is nothing short of precedent setting. "This case is the benchmark," he said, "it will determine whether people in Canada can sue foreign governments for torture."

Right now Canadians can't sue foreign governments for torture, because the State Immunity Act adopted by Parliament in 1982 doesn't allow it. The attorney general's department wants to keep it that way.

Christopher Greenwood a professor of international law at the London School of Economics, appeared as an expert witness for the federal government. Greenwood says Canada's State Immunity Act simply puts in writing what every nation already accepts.

"The answer in all of those jurisdictions that have considered the matter is that a state remains immune from the jurisdiction of other states in respect of acts of torture committed within its own territory."

In Canada there are only two exceptions to the restrictions of the State Immunity Act. One is if the lawsuit is for commercial reasons, for example over a broken contract. The other exception is in the highly unlikely scenario of the torture occurring in Canada, at the hands of a foreign government. But torture in a foreign country is not a basis for a suit.

Osgoode Hall law professor Craig Scott, who has written extensively on the subject, says it's not surprising government lawyers would try to defend the validity of Canadian legislation. But he says that doesn't mean there shouldn't be any further exceptions for people like Bouzari.

"Canada has a responsibility. The fact is, as a refugee, or somebody who can't go back to Iran, he has to go somewhere. And if coming to Canada is a reasonable place to go then I think we have some kind of responsibility to him as one of us now to give him access to justice."

Peter Southey, counsel for the attorney general, says there are good reasons to prevent Canadian courts from hearing cases against foreign governments. Southey says if courts awarded financial judgments, it could lead to the seizure of embassy property and assets.

"Instead of having a world in which there are diplomatic relations and international affairs, that people would stop having, or countries would stop having, embassies and international relations because the courts would be interfering in their proper operations."

But Matas says no one's talking about ending the idea of state immunity, just extending an exception in cases of torture.

Former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy is also critical of Canada's position. Axworthy says Ottawa can and should allow Canadian courts to try to influence international human rights law.

Canada, says Axworthy, "is very much behind. The reticence is a recognition that we have been engaged in the last couple of years through our own anti-terrorism legislation and our cross-border agreements in the United States, in implicating ourselves in a lot of practices that demonstrate a willingness to have security trump rights, rather than have rights trump security."

The U.S. has a similar legal prohibition against its citizens suing foreign governments, but it does allow lawsuits against countries it considers state sponsors of terrorism. That loophole has resulted in a number of financial judgments that have been paid through the seizure of foreign assets.

But, ultimately, it may be U.S. taxpayers who foot the bill. Sandra Coliver, executive director of the Center for Justice and Accountability, says when and if diplomatic relations are restored with the offending nations, the U.S. treasury may have to repay them.

"There have been many victims of the Iranian government, the Iraqi government, and the system of litigation enables those claimants with certain kinds of lawyers to be at the head of the line. I don't know if it is the best public policy to mete out the money in that fashion," she said.

But Coliver agrees with people like Matas, Axworthy and others that even without any monetary judgment, a civil lawsuit that names and shames a government for torture has its own value in shining a light on the practice.

Both sides are now waiting for the Ontario Court of Appeal to decide.
5 posted on 12/04/2003 12:08:31 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
US Forces Accused of Iraq 'Massacre'
(Was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Behind the Samarra Insurgency?)

December 03, 2003
The Financial Times
Peter Spiegel and Nicolas Pelham

The US army came under renewed pressure on Wednesday over its conduct in a battle at the weekend in the central Iraqi town of Samarra, as Iran's senior religious leader accused the American forces of "a savage massacre" in which 54 locals were reportedly killed.

The battle, in which US forces attempting to deliver new Iraqi currency to two Samarran banks were ambushed by a small force of insurgents - said by US officials to have been dressed as fighters from Saddam Hussein's fedayeen militia - has led to wildly differing accounts from American military officials and local witnesses.

Hospital officials in Samarra said only eight people were killed, all of them civilians, including one Iranian pilgrim. Samarra is the burial place of two of Shia Islam's most revered imams.

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for coalition forces in Iraq, said he had spoken about the incident on Wednesday to the commander of the division responsible for security in central Iraq, Major General Ray Odierno, but that no investigation had been sought. "He, at this point, believes he has been given the full truth but wants to close out any questions out there," Brig Gen Kimmitt said.

Saadun Isawi, a police official at Samarra hospital, said the facility had received 54 wounded and that the dead included a 73-year-old Iranian pilgrim to the Imam Hadi shrine, a 10-year-old boy and a female employee at Samarra pharmaceutical plant.

Asked about the discrepancy in the numbers of dead, Brig Gen Kimmitt, who said the figure of 54 killed had been arrived at after debriefing troops involved in the action, added: "I can't imagine why the enemy would want to bring a dead body to a hospital."

US officials were at pains to point out that any Iraqi deaths came only after American troops had been ambushed and that the incident had not been instigated as part of the coalition's recently stepped-up offensive operations. They also said conflicting accounts often existed of firefights but that the first rendition from US soldiers engaged in an attack was usually borne out in final reporting. "I trust the reports of my soldiers," said Brig Gen Kimmitt. "The people that attacked those trucks were attacking not only coalition soldiers but were attacking Iraqis trying to provide money for a restored, restabilised, rebuilt Iraq."

According to the official Iranian news agency, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said "the brutal and arrogant occupiers" had "desecrated" a holy Islamic site. Both the outer perimeter walls of the al-Hadi shrine complex, and the mirrors of the shrine itself were scarred by bullets but it was not clear who had fired them. Locals claimed US soldiers had fired indiscriminately at attackers and civilians alike; an American military official acknowledged that munitions used in the engagement could easily have passed through walls behind combatants.
6 posted on 12/04/2003 12:11:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The IAEA's Report on Iran: An Analysis

Paul Kerr

On Nov. 10, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report charging Iran with violating its obligations under the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In particular, the IAEA said that Tehran had been conducting experiments with imported nuclear material without informing the agency. The report also revealed that Iran had carried out a variety of clandestine nuclear activities for more than two decades. In doing so, it had deceived the agency on numerous occasions by concealing facilities and providing the IAEA with incomplete and false information. A discussion of the IAEA’s revelations follows.

Uranium Enrichment

Gas-Centrifuge Enrichment

Iran’s gas-centrifuge uranium-enrichment program dates back to 1985 and currently consists of a small pilot facility at Natanz and a larger commercial facility under construction at the same location. Uranium-enrichment facilities can produce fissile material for nuclear weapons, as well as fuel for civilian nuclear power reactors.

Iran had previously claimed its gas-centrifuge program was completely indigenous and had not been used to test nuclear material, but both of these claims were proven false by the IAEA.

The IAEA first visited the Natanz facility in February. Its advanced state of operation led the agency to suspect that Iran had tested the centrifuges with nuclear material without first notifying the agency—a violation of its safeguards agreement. (See ACT, November 2003.) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei reported that IAEA environmental sampling showed that particles of both low-enriched and highly enriched uranium (LEU and HEU) had been present during that time at the Natanz facility, suggesting possible confirmation of the inspectors’ suspicions. Although LEU is used in civilian power plants, HEU can be used to build nuclear weapons. The presence of this material could be evidence that Iran produced weapons-grade uranium at Natanz and has nuclear material that it has not yet declared to the IAEA—each a violation of its safeguards agreement. At the time, however, Iran blamed the material’s presence on contaminated, imported components and continues to do so.

Meanwhile, Iran introduced nuclear material into the Natanz facility’s centrifuges under IAEA safeguards in June, although the IAEA Board of Governors had issued a statement earlier that month encouraging Iran not to do so. Tehran accelerated its tests in August but, in an October deal with European foreign ministers, agreed to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities. At the time, Iran did not say when the suspension would take effect, but the new IAEA report says Iran told the IAEA that it would suspend its enrichment activities effective Nov. 10. (See ACT, November 2003.)

Iran also admitted Oct. 21 to using small amounts of uranium hexafluoride to test centrifuges at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran between 1999 and 2002, according to the report. Centrifuges spin uranium hexafluoride gas in cylinders to increase the concentration of the relevant isotopes. Iran had previously acknowledged producing centrifuge components there but denied conducting any tests with nuclear material. Iran dismantled “the test facility at the end of 2002,” according to the report.

Activities at the Kalaye facility have been contentious because Iran had hindered IAEA investigations there and prevented agency inspectors from conducting environmental sampling until August. These samples also detected HEU and LEU particles, a finding Iran also attributes to contaminated components. Tehran maintains it only enriched uranium at Kalaye to a degree that is not suitable for weapons.

Iran continued to obstruct the IAEA’s investigation of the Kalaye facility until recently, according to the report. Tehran initially told agency inspectors that the centrifuges had been destroyed but later admitted to their existence and allowed the IAEA to inspect them Oct. 30-31. The components had been stored elsewhere in Iran, but it is unclear how the agency became aware of this fact.

In the Nov. 24 issue of Time magazine, ElBaradei said that five European and Asian countries supplied Iran with the components and that the agency will discuss the matter with those governments.

In a further misstep, Iran tested the centrifuges with uranium hexafluoride imported in 1991. A June agency report pointed out that Iran not only violated its safeguards agreement by failing to report the imported material but also could not account for some of the material, raising suspicions that Iran had conducted illicit enrichment experiments. At the time, Iran said the material had leaked from its containers.

Laser Enrichment

According to the report, Iran told the IAEA Oct. 21 that it had been pursuing a laser-based uranium-enrichment program since 1991. An August IAEA report stated that Iran had previously acknowledged a research and development program involving lasers, but not an enrichment program.

IAEA inspectors visited a site called Lashkar Ab’ad in August. Although they did not find any activities related to uranium enrichment being conducted there, the agency asked Iran to confirm that there had not been any past “activities related to uranium laser enrichment” at any location in the country and to allow environmental sampling at that location. Iran allowed inspectors to conduct sampling on Oct. 6 and told the IAEA Oct. 21 that it conducted laser-enrichment experiments with undeclared imported uranium metal at a site in Tehran until October 2002.

Iran later told the IAEA during an Oct. 27-Nov. 1 visit that it had established “a pilot plant for laser enrichment” at Lashkar Ab’ad in 2000 and conducted enrichment experiments there between October 2002 and January 2003. Iran dismantled the equipment in May and presented it to IAEA inspectors on Oct. 28, according to the report.

Other Concerns


The IAEA found that Iran separated a “small amount” of plutonium from spent fuel produced in a research reactor in Tehran—an action Iran was obligated to report to the IAEA. Reprocessing activities have caused concern because Iran has nearly completed a light-water reactor (LWR) at Bushehr and has announced plans to build a heavy-water reactor, each of which produce plutonium. LWRs are considered more proliferation resistant. Such reprocessing can also produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.

Uranium Conversion

Iran announced in March that it had completed a facility located near Isfahan for converting uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride. Iran first told the IAEA that it had completed the facility without having tested it with nuclear material but later admitted to conducting uranium-conversion experiments in the early 1990s. (See ACT, September 2003.) Iran was required to disclose these experiments to the IAEA.

According to the November report, Iran told the IAEA Oct. 9 that it conducted previously undisclosed uranium-conversion experiments with multiple phases of the conversion process between 1981 and 1993. Iran also admitted that it was planning to produce uranium metal for use in its laser-enrichment program. In June, a Department of State official noted that Iran would most likely use uranium metal in nuclear warheads.

The report also states that Iran failed to provide design information about the facilities where the concealed nuclear activities took place, as is required by its safeguards agreement.
7 posted on 12/04/2003 12:17:11 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Akbar Ganji hospitalised: report

Wednesday, December 03, 2003 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Dec 3 (AFP) - A prominent jailed Iranian dissident journalist, Akbar Ganji, has been hospitalised with serious respiratory problems, a member of the Iranian Journalists Association told the student news agency ISNA on Wednesday.

Badr-Alsaadat Mofidi told the agency she had been informed of the medical problems by a cellmate of the dissident, who was said to be suffering from severe asthma and lung problems.

Ganji was jailed in 2000 for six years on charges of propogating against the Islamic regime and underming state security after he wrote a series of articles alleging that senior officials were behind a string of murders of dissidents in 1998.

Authorities insisted the killings were the work of rogue intelligence agents.
8 posted on 12/04/2003 12:18:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami upholds public say in polls


Tehran, Dec 2 - President Mohammad Khatami said on Monday that members of parliament represent the public conscience and that all political groups should be allowed to take part in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

President Khatami was addressing the board of monitors of the seventh parliamentary elections.

Khatami rejected exclusive right for each and every party from among the recognised political hues to run for the elections, lambasting the result of such a process as having nothing to deal with the public conscience.

"Only free and fair elections guarantee representing the public conscience."

"The parliament will be efficient if it represents majority of the people, not a special group which may consider itself as the only group which deserves the right to be elected," he said.

He said that the upcoming parliamentary elections are of highly important for the future of the country.

"The late Imam Khomeini's assertion that the parliament is above all the affairs is not a compliment. No doubt that parliament has very decisive role in the democratic system of government," President Khatami asserted.

The parliament is a powerful body in terms of both legislation and supervision directly empowered by the people's votes.

There are other constitutional powers too which are being monitored by the parliament, President Khatami said.

"The parliament is a power which is recognized for its totality so every individual within the parliament has not the same right. It is empowered to monitor performance of the strongest power for instance the chief executive and the office of the Supreme Leader."

"This is democracy. A constitutional body is capable of overseeing the performance of the strongest office. Such a democratic mechanism prevents emergence of dictatorship," he said.

Dictatorship and complacency emerge when the power is being accumulated in the hands of an individual, he said.

"In the democratic system of government, the power are being controlled, but, in dictatorship systems, there is no control or supervision or possible reprimand,' he said.

He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is treading the path of democracy despite the hostile propaganda against the trend.
9 posted on 12/04/2003 12:23:39 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian activists reach US think tanks

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Dec 3, 2003

A panel composed by selected Iranian activists. from inside and outside Iran, reached, this morning, tens of American think tanks during an unprecedented meeting held at the famous "American Enterprise Institute" (AEI).

The panel was composed by Mandana Zand-Karimi; Ramin Parham; Roozbeeh Farahanipoor and Aryo Pirouznia, of SMCCDI, and was broadcasted live worldwide by the famous Los Angeles based KRSI which had placed Saeed Ghaem Maghami, its famous anchor, as the moderator and special reporter. Several female and male activists were joined in duplex from Iran and exposed as well their views and aspirations for an audiance shocked about the degree of the popular rejection of the Islamic republic regime and the Iranians exasperation ready to die in order to gain Freedom and Democracy.

Aryo Pirouznia, speaking on behalf of the Movement, qualified the Islamic regime as ideological and un-reformable system and qualified it as the main craddle of tension, tyranny and terrorism in the region. While he blasted the regime's lobbyists in the US, such as, the self called "American Iranian Council" (AIC) and the "National Iranian American Council" (NIAC), (which its head was present as observer in the meeting), Pirouznia requested, from all Freedom Lovers the moral and financial support of Iranian opponents living inside which have been depraved from basic living standard for their opposition to the mullahs.

The SMCCDI's coordinator stated that Iranians have found, at this time, their separate identity than their forcible rulers. "Now its a matter of "us" and "them" and such psycological gain was necessary to be reach" he stated while along with all other panelists, he predicted the general boycott of regime's future sham elections by the Iranian People who are intending to deprive the regime from any possibility to simulate legitimacy.

Pirouznia continued:"After nearly 25 years of Theocracy and 7 years of sham reforms, Iranians have become well aware that the 2 noptions of Democracy and Islam can't result in something good for their nation and their only goal is to establish a secularly democratic regime following the Freedom of Iran.

On the Atomic issue, Pirouznia defended the right of the Iranian "Nation" to use for civilian purposes the Atomic energy while he reminded that a future accountable regime will not need to obtain Nuclear weapons.

The complete recording of this 2- 1/2 hour meeting will soon be available on the website of the Movement.
10 posted on 12/04/2003 12:26:59 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Offer Neighborly Advice

By Karl Vick
Dec 4, 2003

Many Cite Theocracy's Shortcomings as Iraqis Ponder Shape of New System

Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 4, 2003; Page A20

ISFAHAN, Iran -- They snatched money right out of her hand in Iraq, Mahvash Mardanian said. Her oppressed fellow Shiite Muslims were greedy not for the cash -- it was Iranian currency after all -- but for the picture of the old man peering out from under his turban on the 5,000 rial note. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was revered in Iraq, the visitor discovered. Her hosts pressed the grubby bills to their lips before handing them back.

"I was very interested to see that Iraqis loved the Iranian system very much," said Mardanian, 30, a professional midwife huddled against a north wind on the bank of the Zayandeh Rud River. "Perhaps they didn't have a very good idea of what exactly it is, but . . . ''

But Iranians do.

For a quarter-century, citizens of the Islamic Republic of Iran have lived under the watchful eye of Shiite religious leaders whose counterparts in Iraq -- where the population is 60 percent Shiite -- were brutally suppressed under President Saddam Hussein's government. Now, as Iraqis mull what form of government their country will adopt when the U.S. occupation officially ends, some gaze longingly eastward, toward Iran.

But few on this side of the border appear inclined to recommend their system to their neighbors -- at least not without repeated, emphatic and sometimes downright angry warnings.

"Our government is not worthy. Why would I suggest it to Iraq?" asked Hassan Dahmardeh, 30, a car dealer watching the river from concrete steps a few yards downstream from Mardanian. He gestured toward the evening strollers. "Most of the people you see here are unemployed. How could I suggest a system that can't provide jobs to the people?"

"You can see that we have failed," said Nozanin, 22, a student of industrial management who offered only her first name. "It's better if Iraqis think of a new constitution for themselves."

In two dozen interviews on the streets of Isfahan -- Iran's second-largest and most splendid city -- only two ordinary Iranians answered with a firm yes when asked whether their theocratic system offered a model to Iraq. Another seven offered mixed assessments.

The remaining 15 were frankly down on their government.

"No, it's not good," said Abbas Ghazy, 20, his head freshly shaved for an obligatory stint of military service, belongings stuffed into a pair of pale blue plastic bags at his feet. "This government is not good at all. It's full of problems. There's all sorts of wrongdoing. It's full of theft. They don't think of the young people. They only think of their pockets."

The interviews, conducted mostly at random around the picturesque Bridge of the 33 Arches, broadly reinforced what Iranians have said repeatedly at the ballot box. Since 1996, elections at all levels have been won by candidates promising to make Iran's theocracy more responsive to its 68 million people, half of whom are under age 20.

But in the architecture of Iran's political system, the constitution places two panels of clerics above the elected parliament, and Khomeini's successor above the office of elected president. As a result, little has changed.

"In the beginning of the revolution, the objectives were very good," said Ali Torabi, 42, a cheerful man who makes a living selling office supplies. "But afterward people appeared to act only in line with their own interests. They're busy accumulating money. They don't think of the people. They don't think of international relations. Iran has lost a lot.

"The people of this regime are exploiting Islam in order to safeguard their interests."

Iran's Islamic constitution was fashioned around Khomeini, and the almost royal powers vested in him as supreme religious leader evoked an age when monarchs were considered agents of God. The supreme leader served as a placeholder for the missing 12th imam, the messianic figure who vanished in the 10th century and whose return, Shiites believe, will herald the age of perfect justice.

Since Khomeini's death in 1989, his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has relied heavily on a governing class of fellow clerics who gradually but steadily have come to be viewed as oligarchs. In Iran, the theocracy is underpinned not only by the country's massive oil revenues, but also by two huge "foundations" that dominate most other sectors of the economy. Numerous children of clerics are leading business figures in Tehran.

"Nothing is as it should be," said Mehdi Haj Sabagh, 25, who recently graduated with a degree in civil engineering but has been unable to find work. "There's a big economic gap. Perhaps only 5 percent of the people are well-to-do. Ten percent make up the middle class, and 85 percent are penniless."

"There are many bad things here," said Mina Hossieni, 39. "They talk of Islam but they don't act on it."

Yet a state built on Islamic principles still strikes many Iranians as an ideal, especially in Isfahan. The city of about 1.5 million has long had a reputation for piety, and its turquoise mosques communicate the beauty of faith to legions of tourists. The city, about 300 miles south of Tehran, was a hotbed of support for the 1979 revolution and in the debilitating eight-year war against Iraq was said to contribute more "martyrs'' than any other province.

Today, the city's reputation is firmly reformist. Explaining why, ordinary Iranians again and again refer to the message of social justice that runs through Islam, a faith whose story begins with the prophet Muhammad wandering into the Arabian hills to reflect on the avarice of local business leaders.

"The true Islamic core is good, because of the justice in the core," said a 53 year-old female visitor from Tehran, who would only give one name, Davari. "But only if it's observed according to what the prophet said. I don't believe the system in Iran has been entirely observing this."

Iranians said clerics inside government have parted with the tradition of religious figures accumulating great prestige -- and often great offerings -- while living lives almost ostentatious in their modesty. In Tehran, when imported cars had long been almost impossible to obtain, the first people seen in BMWs were governing clerics.

"Justice and fairness would allow everyone to have the same benefits they are having," said Hossieni, seated beside her sister, Minoo, in an alcove of the pedestrian bridge. Shopping bags sat at their feet. Pushed by the Iraq war from the tidy border town of Qasr Shirin, they live in Karaj but come to Isfahan to shop.

"There's a big gap between the classes economically," Minoo said. "There's a great difference between their lives and ours."

"But there's no social justice," Mina said.

Not everyone agrees. Polls show the ruling clerics can reliably turn out about 15 percent of the population at elections, a figure that has remained constant for years.

"We have very good rule," said a 41-year-old woman who declined to give her name. "We have security here. It's much better than in the shah's time."

At the far end of the bridge, a young woman, Aghileh Mokteri, listened intently as an old man read aloud from a book he held in the air. The appetite for fortune-telling in Iran is as persistent as the street urchins peddling predictions scrawled in Persian on tiny scrolls. When Mokteri finished hearing hers, she smiled to herself.

"Yes, I was happy with it," she said.

Less so with her government.

"Unfortunately the Islam we're talking about right now has been turned upside down. It's not the true Islam," she said. "The young people do not have the freedom they deserve. Security is diminishing."

A man in a gray sport coat interrupted.

"The freedom she seeks is immorality," Farid Hakimi declared. He is 49 and works in a textile factory.

"What is freedom in your mentality?" asked Mehdi Tabotabi, 19, dressed all in black. Referring to the headscarf that theocrats have decreed all women must wear in public, he said, "The kind of liberty we want is not just to remove the hijab."

A crowd was forming, but before the debate could get any hotter a policeman broke through. Summoned by reports of a foreign journalist asking political questions, the officer apologized for being obliged to take the reporter to his kiosk to wait for an intelligence officer.

It was the second such interruption in as many days. The previous evening, when Mardanian was saying how much Iraqis loved Iran's system, a slender young man brandishing a cigarette and a threatening air identified himself as a member of the Basij, an ardent pro-government militia. When no one heeded his demands for papers, the militiaman stalked away, declaring he would call the police.

Torabi, the office-supply salesman, watched him go.

"That," he said, "is why we had a revolution."
11 posted on 12/04/2003 12:28:31 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
This is a letter written to THE ECONOMIST by Sara Hessenflow who is the former legislative assistant on Foreign Policy to U.S. Senator Sam Brownback.

Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2003 11:39:21 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
From: Sara Hessenflow
Subject: Iran human rights

Dear Editor --

I write in protest of your recent article on the improvement of Iran's human rights record ("Small Mercies,"
Nov 27th 2003). Your article made the point that while things are still bleak in Iran, human rights have
improved under the reformist President Khatemi. This is simply not true.

As the senior foreign policy staffer for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), author of the Iran Democracy Act, I worked extensively with Iranians from around the world. I no longer work for the Senator, but remain close to many of the Iranian friends I made during this time. Our office received hundreds of letters, emails and calls on a daily basis, pleading for us to shine a light on the abuses these people have endured -- abuses that their friends and relatives are still enduring. It is this experience that made me cringe, and compelled me to write when I read your article.

I understand the point you were trying to make: things are bad - but they have gotten better and the world
should take that into account in making foreign policy so as to encourage continued improvement. The
problem with this argument, is that the premise is completely false. There has not been signficant improvement in Iran's treatment of its own people. And to say that their has, merely lets the hardline judiciary see that using Khatemi as a puppet to cover up their harsh policies, is a worthwhlile endeavor. Whether Khatemi is sincere in his attempt to reform or not, the fact is the judiciary has rolled back every reform Khatemi has made. How can this be called improvement?

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a government that imprisons young women for merely having in their possession material that encourages political reform. This is a country where political prisoners are STILL executed and where young women are raped by Islamic authorities so as to deny the girls entry to paradise since they are no
longer virgins. The behavior of the Islamic Republic violates even the strictest reading of the Qu'ran and is
repulsive to the Iranian people. For your magazine to excuse this ongoing behavior by saying there has been
improvement is repugnant and does not rise to the level of your usually thoughtful analysis. Saying there is
improvement in Iran's human rights record while these atrocites continue disrespects the pain and suffering of
thousands oppressed under this regime.

Sara Hessenflow
former legislative assistant on foreign policy for U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback
Arlington, VA
12 posted on 12/04/2003 12:32:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I have been corresponding with an Iranian student discussing their elections in Funerary of 2004. Here are a few of his thoughts.

"This is my own assessment of the next Parliamentary elections.

Most people expect that a large group of people (Around 75%) will boycott the whole election but The 75% is an unreal and unpredicted amount.

But to me, as many as 60-65% do not intend or have not decided to VOTE.

Voting against a Hard line candidate will send a moderate to the Parliament.

But we have to remember that the whole "VOTING" will confirm the popularity of the regime and will show that no one can intervene to help the Iranian Freedom Fighters.
We have to remember, Moderates & Hard liners are from the same family. Their only difference is that Moderates or Reformists are not in Power.

They believe in "change within" but Hard-liners or Conservatives do not believe in any CHANGE.

Confirming the Reformists to go to Parliament will also prove and last the life of other hard line mad men.
A big "NO" to all sections of the mullah's regime is the best message for "Free World" to go and help them.
Even a weak percentage of voter's will make the Mullahs to say that, "Yes, We have credit among our own people".

We also know that, we can not expect a full boycott because hard liners have their own traditional supporters but they are not more than 20% or 25% of the whole Iranian people.
Also remembering the facts that Mullahs will make us all busy with these new games and they will go ahead to build their Nuke Bomb, torturing imprisoned journalists, killing dissidents and terrorist the Free World. "
13 posted on 12/04/2003 12:40:27 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
President Khatami was addressing the board of monitors of the seventh parliamentary elections.

They've had only 7 elections since the Islamic Republic of Iran was FORMED? Huh?

14 posted on 12/04/2003 4:12:27 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
Boycotting the vote won't change anything, then?

It seems to me, that in not voting, they are sending a huge message... but, as you say, there isn't a huge difference between the groups.

Sadly, it seems that an uprising is needed. And I will not lecture anyone within Iran about the change that would result because of that.

Which article was it recently that reminded everyone... there is no Nelson Mandela in Iran. The LEADER hasn't been found yet, although, he may be there, waiting for his time.
15 posted on 12/04/2003 4:19:36 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran is treading the path of democracy despite the hostile propaganda against the trend.

Surely you jest.

16 posted on 12/04/2003 4:22:13 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
17 posted on 12/04/2003 4:23:53 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
"That," he said, "is why we had a revolution."


18 posted on 12/04/2003 4:30:14 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
22 Elections at all.
7 Parliamentary elections.
19 posted on 12/04/2003 4:52:56 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
Thank you.
20 posted on 12/04/2003 4:53:34 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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