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Iranian Alert -- December 6, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.6.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/06/2003 12:14:38 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
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 12/06/2003 12:14:39 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 12/06/2003 12:18:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: 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.”

So very true, however our own freedom, in reference to the media anyway, is to come also thanks to the likes of Tony Snow.

Until FOX, it didn't even rate as "under reported" for it wasn't reported at all.

The winds of freedom are blowing in the right direction for everyone at this time.

Yes, it does take time.

3 posted on 12/06/2003 12:38:49 AM PST by EGPWS (Ann Coulter a VERY appealing woman, even to the blind!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I just received a report from Iran regarding yesterdays earlier report of over 20 deaths in Iran at the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard...

hi Doc,

I have heard a different account of the events of south eastern city of Saravan. The reason that people were massing in the streets was a result of a police killing of a driver, not a 10 year old boy (as reported yesterday).

It was good to hear that police didn't open fire on the people but some plain clothes shot at people.

In a BBC Persian interview with Mr, Kambouzia, the MP of the Baluchistan province, He said, the reason for the protests was the result of a killing of a driver who didn't pay attention to Police orders.

Afterward, people went into the streets to protest against the Police behavior in the city and in those clashes some 4 people died.

No police were injured or killed and he added that the interesting thing was that plain clothes militants opened fire, not POLICE.

He also added that police behavior was not good with the people in the province of Baluchistan.

The province of Baluchistan is now in state of emergency.
4 posted on 12/06/2003 1:15:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Top Reformist Lawmaker Beaten in Iran

Friday December 5, 2003 9:31 PM

Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Hard-line vigilantes attacked a close aide to Iran's president as he was about to give a speech Friday, repeatedly punching and kicking him, his wife and a witness said.

Mohsen Mirdamadi, a prominent reformist lawmaker who heads the parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, was treated at a hospital for a head wound after the attack in the central city of Yazd, his wife, Elaheh Mojarradi, said.

A witness, Mohammad Reza Raji, told The Associated Press by phone from Yazd, that ``as he took the podium, around 15 vigilantes rushed into the hall where Mirdamadi was to speak. They began punching him and kicking him from every side.''

Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi condemned the attack, saying it was part of the hard-liners' campaign before Feb. 20 parliamentary elections.

``The attack appears to be a new strategy on the part of hard-liners to intimidate reformers and disrupt their activities ahead of the elections. They have taken up arms now,'' Abtahi told The AP.

Iran is locked in a power struggle between conservatives, who regard themselves as defenders of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and liberals, who wish to relax the religious constraints and create a freer society.

Mirdamadi was in Yazd to meet local officials of his party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front. He is a senior member of the party, the country's largest reformist group.

Hard-line thugs have frequently disrupted gatherings of reformists but are rarely brought to court. Iran's judiciary is run by conservatives, who have imprisoned dozens of writers and political activists and banned scores of liberal publications.

In June, student-led protests against the ruling establishment were effectively halted by attacks from hard-line vigilantes.

Mirdamadi's wife said the assault showed the political situation in Iran ``where hard-liners have a free hand to commit crimes without punishment, while reformist intellectuals and writers are punished for expressing their opinion.'',1280,-3468973,00.html
5 posted on 12/06/2003 1:28:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"The Egyptian Constitution Should be Amended to Remove Islam as the Official Religion"

December 05, 2003
Middle East Media Research Institute

The Egyptian author Dr. Nawal Al-Sa'dawi, known for her fervent Arab-nationalism and feminism, gave a comprehensive interview to the liberal Arabic website on September 20, 2003. The following are excerpts from the interview:

'The Egyptian Constitution Should be Amended to Remove Islam as the Official Religion'

Al-Sa'dawi called for amending the Egyptian constitution and eliminating the article that declares Islam to be the official state religion, "because we have among us Copts, and because religion is a matter between man and God and no one has the right to impose his faith, his God and his rituals on others. Therefore, I am one of the die-hard opponents of a religious state, because our God should not be involved in politics in any fashion.

"However, the Copts lived happily and in paramount fairness under the wings of Islam," commented the interviewer. Al-Sa'dawi responded: "We are the sons of one homeland, and we are partners in it, so that no one has to live 'under the wings' of anyone else."

As for the "Islamic culture," Al-Sa'dawi said that it was "part of a general culture based on Christianity, Judaism, and the Pharaoh's heritage. There is no pure culture, but an intertwined relationship among the cultures. I am against differentiating between a Western culture and an Eastern culture. We live in one culture, which is a culture of capitalism, patriarchy, classes, and inferiority that, regretfully, also uses religion as a tool for domination."

Al-Sa'dawi stated that she "knows more about the Koran than Sheikh Al-Sha'rawi: I learned the religions, and compared the Koran with the Torah and the New Testament. Sheikh Al-Sha'rawi never did that; he entrenched himself in the Koran, which is impossible to understand without comparison with other books."

Al-Sa'dawi added: "We are defeated intellectually because we do not have creative people. There was always a connection between creativity and rebellion, between creativity and opposition. But we are born, live our lives and die in fear. Therefore, we do not have rebellion and we do not have opposition… Our crisis is at the same time political and cultural. I do not differentiate between politics, economy, culture, feminism, and sex. They are all interrelated and when one central pillar collapses, the whole building collapses."

Al-Sa'dawi on Arab Leaders

Al-Sa'dawi talked about various Arab leaders, beginning with Anwar Sadat, who put her in jail, and ending with Saddam Hussein. "There is no comparison between Abd Al-Nasser and Saddam Hussein," she explained. "Saddam accomplished fantastic things for Iraq, but he was a murderer. Abd Al-Nasser was not a murderer… My husband, Dr. Sherif Hatata, was jailed for ten years in Abd Al-Nasser's era, and he left [the jail] without a scratch. Abd Al-Nasser was not blood-thirsty like Saddam… Sadat did not liberate Sinai, and even if he did liberate it, at what price?! He sold out the Arab interest and eliminated the Arab League!! We started using the term the 'Middle East,' while in the past we called it 'the Arab world.'

"The fact that the Palestinians are sorry today that they did not join Sadat signifies political ignorance. There is hypocrisy as far as Sadat is concerned, because the present regime is an extension of him… I have no personal quarrel with Sadat, Mubarak, or Abd Al-Nasser, [although] I was persecuted during his time also. I was persecuted by all the leaders, because I belong to the people and not to the leaders."

'Egypt's Democracy is Not Real'

When the interviewer stated that Sadat was "the first one to plant the seeds of democracy in Egypt, and even in the entire Arab world," Al-Sa'dawi responded: "This is the biggest lie I have ever heard in my life. There is no significance to the fact that he issued a presidential decree allowing multiple parties, because what was the result? Our parties are not real parties, but 'paper parties.' Real parties emerge from the womb of society, not from a presidential palace. Was it a democratic procedure to close my association in 1991 because we opposed the Gulf War? Two events demolished the Arab world: Sadat's Camp David and the Gulf War. As a result of these two events we are now in the gutter. If you had followed the Palestinian case, you would have seen how the regimes have been begging America to intervene. By the name of Allah, what could be more humiliating…?

"There should be demarcation between the regimes and the peoples in the Arab world. The Arab despot has always been an agent of the British, and later of American and Israeli colonialism. The only one who deviated somewhat from that was Gamal Abd Al-Nasser… In no way was he like Sadat. Sadat opened the doors to Islamic movements, while Abd Al-Nasser was diligent in fighting and eliminating them."

Concerning the American initiative to democratize the Arab world, Al-Sa'dawi said: "This is a joke. Are we going to continue to beg for everything Western? America will not solve our problems. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice will not bring us democracy… Do you think that the American occupation in Iraq will bring it democracy..? No nation and no state can attain democracy under occupation."

'Polygamy is a Mark of Shame to all the Arabs'

Al-Sa'dawi disagreed with the interviewer's opinion that, within the democratic process, Islamic groups have the right to try to establish their rule. She said: "They don't have such rights. They are blood-spilling criminals. They included my name and the names of other respected intellectuals and dedicated people in death-lists. If we were to review all their crimes, we would have realized that they were too many to count. If your ideas are different than mine, this is not a reason to kill me… We should distance our God from politics… You can worship the God who satisfies you and fulfills your interests, but you should not impose Him on me or the state, because all the citizens in the state are equal… Why should I, as a woman, be less of a citizen than a man just because the official state religion is Islam? Why does a man marry four wives, and I cannot [marry four husbands]? This is humiliating…

"…How is it possible that a man marries four women? This is moral corruption and an offense to the Koran and Islam. How can he move from one woman's bed to another's? Yikes. By the name of Allah, if my husband went to another woman I would have divorced him. Would a man agree if his wife hopped between men's beds? He would have divorced her… Tunisia outlawed polygamy, and some other Arab countries did the same. Have these countries turned into infidels? Polygamy is a mark of shame to all the Arabs and to all the countries that allow such an ugly behavior."

"But, the Prophet was married to nine wives," commented the interviewer.

"Why do you compare yourself to the Prophet?" answered Al-Sa'dawi. "He did not tell you that you have to do what he did. There is an important Hadith [oral tradition] that says that one of his wives found him, during her night, in another woman's bed and said to him: 'My night, in my bed Messenger of Allah!!!' and he answered her after this scolding: 'Shut up and don't mention it, I will not do it again,' because a prophet and a messenger should be an example of fairness. If the Prophet – who was a human being, erred sometimes and was fair at other times – did make a mistake, why do you want me to follow his errors? I will say it again that man, because of his moral corruption, selects what suits him from Islam…

"A woman who agrees to marry a man who is already married to three other women is a slave and is not fit to be a woman… The female brain is the same as the male's, and may be even better, depending on the environment and circumstances. Which Egyptian male achieved what I have achieved? Even [Nobel Prize laureate] Najib Mahfouz's books have not been translated to more than thirty languages like mine. I am a woman and I have a brain. The human being is the brain and not the sex organs which were made for procreation…

"[The] male takes advantage of religion in order to marry [several times] and satisfy his sexual lusts… I have no personal quarrel with men. I am married and I have a son… I have more male than femalefriends. I am not against men, but against the system that corrupts them… religion is such a system - religion the way it is implemented by the Arab states and regimes… We live a lie, our world today is based on a lie…"

Egyptian Clerics Respond: 'She Should be Executed, Crucified, or Her Limbs Should be Removed'

The Egyptian Islamic weekly Al-Haqiqa asked several senior Egyptian clerics to respond to Al-Sa'dawi. The responses can be categorized into two groups. One group maintained – as stated by Dr. Muhammad Al-Sayid Al-Glind, head of the Islamic Philosophy Department at Dar Al-'Uloum (Cairo), that "the best way to silence this woman is not to respond to her, so that she does not get published." Dr. Rif'at Fawzi, a professor of jurisprudence at the University of Um Al-Qura, said: "If we allow killing Al-Sa'dawi [as a punishment for 'heresy'] we would be committing the same mistake that we did with Salman Rushdi, who would not have been marketable and whose book 'The Satanic Verses' had no value, but when the Fatwa to kill him was issued, he became famous and his book was widely marketed in the world and was translated to many languages. It is better to ignore Al-Sa'dawi."

However, others maintained that Al-Sa'dawi should be punished. Dr. Abd Al-Mun'im Al-Berri, former head of "The Front of Al-Azhar Clerics," explained that "we should ask her to repent within three days, but if she persists with these ideas, she should be punished according to what the Islamic Shari'a [religious law] determined for those who abandon Islam. The ruler, meaning the head of state or government, should carry out the punishment." Sheikh Mustafa Al-Azhari explained that the punishment for anyone who fights Allah and His Prophet is execution, crucifixion, the amputation of opposite limbs or banishment from earth." [1]

[1] Al-Haqiqa (Egypt), October 4, 2003.

6 posted on 12/06/2003 1:29:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran court sentences journalist Baqi to 1 year in jail


Iran's Revolutionary Court Thursday sentenced journalist Emadoddin Baqi to one year imprisonment on charges of propagating against the Islamic establishment, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Judge Babaei has stressed in the court ruling, a copy of which was faxed to IRNA, that Baqi had been found guilty of propagating against the Islamic establishment and working to the benefit of the opposition groups after the court considered a report by the Information Ministry, Baqi's lectures, notes and interviews, as well as his confessions.

Still, the court has decided to suspend implementing the journalist's term for five years.

"Considering the conditions in which the convict has committed the offenses as well as the related social situation, and in accordance with Article 25 of the Islamic Penal Code, Baqi's sentence will be suspended for five years in lieu with Article 33 of the same law," the ruling stressed.

The court further stressed that the journalist had been acquitted of charges of insulting the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei "for insufficiency of reasons".

Several state institutions had filed complaints against Baqi. They included the public prosecutor, Ministry of Information, the police, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) as well as certain Majlis deputies.
7 posted on 12/06/2003 1:34:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Don’t overestimate the impact of Iran’s parliamentary elections

The Daily Star

Iran’s forthcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 2004, will undoubtedly fuel factional rivalries. While the results are difficult to predict, whatever the outcome of the elections, they may not be as important as many have made them out to be. Indeed, parliamentary elections in the Islamic Republic rarely produce substantive political and economic change.

One of the achievements of the 1979 revolution was the creation of a reasonably independent and vibrant legislature. Both in theory, as stipulated in the post-revolutionary constitution, and in practice, the Majlis was a marked improvement over the pre-revolutionary Parliament. Nevertheless, an analysis of the performance of the past six Parliaments shows that despite their relative independence and vibrancy, Parliament, as an institution, does not wield decisive influence over Iran’s destiny.

The first post-revolutionary Parliament was convened in spring 1980 and had to contend with a uniquely volatile political situation, as Iran sought to define the identity and characteristics of the new revolutionary state.

Parliament impeached the Islamic Republic’s first president, Abul Hassan Bani-Sadr, in June 1981, carrying out the process to the letter, thereby undermining the myth that institutional performance in post-1979 Iran is characterized by illegality.

The second Parliament, which was convened in 1984, functioned in a highly ideological political and cultural environment. Iran had gone on the offensive in the war against Iraq and the leaders of the revolution were confident that their brand of Islam was attracting a substantial number of adherents in the region and beyond. In short, the high point of the war and the post-revolution phase consigned the second Parliament to the margins of the Islamic Republic.

Elections for the third Parliament occurred in spring 1988, as Tehran was being showered with Iraqi Scud missiles. This legislature was dominated by the Islamic left, which was, nevertheless, unable to decisively reverse the economic liberalization program of Speaker Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Despite its inability to stifle Rafsanjani’s ill-conceived reforms, Parliament was perceived as a serious enough threat that both Rafsanjani’s so-called “technocratic” faction and right-wing parliamentarians joined forces against the left. Through its control of the Council of Guardians and other vetting bodies, the Islamic right prevented many left-wing candidates from participating in the elections to the fourth Parliament in April 1992.

Ironically, the fourth and fifth Parliaments inflicted more damage on Rafsanjani’s program than left-wingers could have ever hoped for. Both were dominated by right-wingers representing well-entrenched commercial and ideological interests, who ensured that then-President Rafsanjani’s title of “Commander of Construction” became nothing but a cruel joke outside his circle of followers. The fourth and fifth Parliaments illustrated how Iran’s legislature, despite its comparative qualities, could be subject to manipulation by powerful factional forces.

The sixth parliament, elected in February 2000, raised the expectations of millions among Iran’s reform-oriented electorate. It was supposed to work alongside President Mohammad Khatami and the entire reformist-controlled executive to bring about real and substantive changes. Unfortunately, this was not to be. For the umpteenth time, Iranians had forgotten that those who wield decisive power in the Islamic Republic are not subject to elections.

As we approach elections for the seventh Parliament, there is ever-growing speculation about whether this will play a decisive role in the seemingly perennial battle between reformists and conservatives. Analysts could be making the same mistakes as they did in the past. For example, Siamak Namazi, the director of a well-known consulting firm in Tehran, recently warned about the unpredictability of the Iranian electorate. He argued that the outcome of the forthcoming elections, contrary to conservative propaganda, was anything but a foregone conclusion. Namazi may be right, but he did not address the real point: Will a reformist election victory, if it occurs, break the deadlock in Iranian politics? The experience of the past is hardly reassuring in this regard.

Nevertheless the reformists remain upbeat. Arguably, the most important commentary on the elections came from Behzad Nabavi, a leading reformist strategist and chief troubleshooter in the Islamic Republic during the past 24 years. In a recent interview with Iran’s official news agency, Nabavi preconditioned a reformist defeat on low voter turnout. This was classic Nabavi, trying to ensure the smooth running of parliamentary elections through mass participation.

Yet this notion of promoting greater involvement was visible elsewhere. For example, one of the striking features of the election campaign has been the dismissal of the idea of abandoning the Islamic nature of the republic.

The plan had initially found resonance among some reformists. But Mostafa Tajzadeh, a leading proponent of reform, set the record straight at a Nov. 18 meeting of the student wing of the main reformist organization, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF). Tajzadeh told student activists: “Reforms outside the establishment will fail … In our society being outside the establishment means radicalism and passivity.”

Reformists are fooling themselves if they believe that victory in these elections can have a marked impact.

Instead, they should set their sights on the 2005 presidential election. The success of the reform project in the Islamic Republic rests, to a large extent, on the emergence of a strong leader. Khatami has failed to provide this leadership. Indeed in the words of Saeed Hajarian, the chief reformist strategist, Khatami’s greatest talent is for failing to exploit his opportunities. Hajarian, who heads the IIPF, has already mooted the idea of fielding a non-clerical candidate for the 2005 elections. It is this kind of maneuvering alone that can re-energize the reform movement.

Mahan Abedin, a London-based financial consultant and analyst of Iranian politics, wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR
8 posted on 12/06/2003 1:40:48 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
We keep seeing these encouraging announcements from an outfit called the "Iranian Students Movement" - which I suspect could hold its conventions in a broom closet and still have room for the fax machine. I doubt the people behind it are really students in Iran, but I am pretty sure that their repeated stories of how the US Army could come marching in to a big welcome is pure bs.
9 posted on 12/06/2003 2:52:42 AM PST by DonQ
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44; ZAKJAN; Malek; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; Cindy; All
This is a News Story confirming what you said above about the latest clashes in south eastern City of Saravan-- Pilot
Four Die in Riot after Police Kill Motorcyclist

The Scotsman
Fri 5 Dec 2003

Four people were killed in southeastern Iran when police put down a riot sparked by their shooting dead a motorcyclist who defied orders to stop, a local MP said today.

The motorcyclist ignored police instructions in the city of Saravan, Sistan-Baluchistan province, on Thursday, said MP Jafar Kambouzia.

Police shot the motorcyclist dead “provoking outrage among witnesses,” Kambouzia said in a phone call from his home.

A number of people marched to the provincial governor’s office and smashed the windows of a police car on the way.

“There were scuffles with police, as a result of which four people were killed,” said Kambouzia, who declined to be more specific about how they died.

Kambouzia, a reformist politician, said everything seemed normal in Saravan today, the Islamic holy day in Iran.

“Provincial government officials met to investigate the incident,” he said.

The deaths were not reported on Iranian state television, nor on radio, nor by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
10 posted on 12/06/2003 4:16:17 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot; All
From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
This is another credible story of what has happened there...
'Five dead in Iran riot'

BBC World Service
Friday, 5 December, 2003, 18:05 GMT

Reports from south-east Iran say several people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and police.
11 posted on 12/06/2003 4:26:31 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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I enjoy both Tony Snow and Brit Hume.
12 posted on 12/06/2003 12:22:50 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DonQ
I've never heard of any student group calling for the US army to come in.
'moral, political' support are far different than military
13 posted on 12/06/2003 12:25:25 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
The biggest ever immunisation campaign for measles, mumps and rubella has been launched in Iran.
Over the next three weeks the government is hoping to vaccinate 33 million people - around one-half of the Iranian population.

Iran has a good history of immunisation, but health experts are worried the number of measles cases could be on the rise.

President Mohammad Khatami hailed the drive at a launch ceremony on Saturday.


Measles is the biggest killer of children under five in the world. The campaign is part of a global challenge to eliminate the disease by 2005.

From today until the end of December, Iran's ministry of health is hoping to vaccinate 11 million people a week.

They have been preparing the campaign for six years and have mobilised a whole network of volunteers in order to reach the most remote areas.

Most of the vaccinations will take place in schools, health centres and clinics.

They will also be operating in military barracks where attitudes towards immunisation are more relaxed.

Many Iranians, especially between the ages of 15 and 25, have never had more than one dose of the measles injection.
14 posted on 12/06/2003 12:26:46 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran MP: Election boycott "unproductive & vain"

Saturday, December 06, 2003 - ©2003

ARDEBIL, Dec 5, Iran Daily -- A senior lawmaker said boycotting Iran's upcoming parliamentary elections under any circumstances will prove to be quite "unproductive and vain" at the end of the day.

Tehran MP Mohammad Reza Khatami, who is also the secretary-general of the pro-reform political party Islamic Iran's Participation Front (IIPF), added that democracy will come in the wake of massive public participation in elections.

"Undoubtedly, democracy materializes through ballot boxes and not by unrest and even popular and sacred revolutions," he stressed. Speaking at the IIPF office in the northwestern city of Ardebil, Khatami also said that those who believe in democracy and reforms cannot remain indifferent towards general elections.

"Although we cannot reach all our demands by casting votes, we must bear in mind that the existing potentials must be best utilized in order to be able to remain active on the scene and move our objectives forward," he said.

Khatami, who is the younger brother of President Mohammad Khatami, went on to say that reformers must be able to stage a strong showing in the parliamentary elections, slated for February 2004, and voice their electoral demands loudly.

He further said that the "public opinion can press groups, which are not willing to have free elections held in the country, to retreat from their (radical) stances and respect the people's rights".

Khatami, however, declined to confirm that IIPF would certainly run for the parliamentary elections, saying this will be contingent upon the materialization of certain conditions a free election must necessarily have.

"If the party's main candidates are disqualified [by the fundamentalist dominated constitutional watchdog Guardians Council], IIPF will have no one to stand for the polls and advance its plans," he said.

Note: All opposition groups, including student groups in Iran are calling for a boycott of this election as a symbol of rejection of the entire regime, whether they be reformist or hard-line factions.

Both Reformists and Hard-liners have called for 'large turnouts' as a symbol of the strength of the Islamic Regime.

15 posted on 12/06/2003 12:45:41 PM PST by freedom44
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To: freedom44
Excellent post.

16 posted on 12/06/2003 12:51:26 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: freedom44
I enjoy both Tony Snow and Brit Hume.

As I. It was way back when that I gained a great appreciation for Tony when reading his columns in "The Conservative Chronicles".

17 posted on 12/06/2003 1:05:50 PM PST by EGPWS
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To: DoctorZIn

18 posted on 12/06/2003 3:09:12 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

Kicking Ayatollah Khameini during protest rally.
19 posted on 12/06/2003 3:11:38 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DonQ
I believe this might be the "outfit" you're talking about.

Here's are 2 excerpts from their "About us" page.

"It's to note that the members of our Movement consist of students inside and outside of Iran, as well as Iranian professionals who share the students’ vision of a free, independent, democratic, secular and industrialized Iran."

"Although we have differing views for a post theocracy Iran, we are united based on our shared beliefs in nonviolent resistance, secularism, peace, democracy and free markets."

And your conventions are held, where?
20 posted on 12/06/2003 3:46:41 PM PST by nuconvert ("There's no point playing Christmas jingles in a section selling sausages.")
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To: DonQ
If you're referring to this Thread, it is Not an "outfit"
21 posted on 12/06/2003 3:52:21 PM PST by nuconvert ("There's no point playing Christmas jingles in a section selling sausages.")
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To: DonQ; All
...We keep seeing these encouraging announcements from an outfit called the "Iranian Students Movement" - which I suspect could hold its conventions in a broom closet and still have room for the fax machine. I doubt the people behind it are really students in Iran, but I am pretty sure that their repeated stories of how the US Army could come marching in to a big welcome is pure bs...

A few thoughts...

First, it was in the French newspaper Le Monde (not US media) where I first read that "most Iranian's are speaking opening about wanting the US military to come" and liberate their country. The Le Monde reporter who made the comment attributed the statement to Iranians (in general) not the Iranian Student Movement specifically.

Second, if you do not believe there is a real Iranian Student Movement, you have to ignore the reports of the entire world media including the statements of the Islamic Republic itself. The Iranian regime has made countless statements about the student movement.

Third, seeing the photo's of the student movement's protests last June/July may help.

Fourth, read for your self the many excellent news articles about the Student Movement in our Must Read Thread.

Finally, I am in contact with numerous people and students inside of Iran and know first hand their frustration with their government and desire for freedom.

Check these out and let me know your thoughts. It really is not wishful thinking on our parts.
22 posted on 12/06/2003 8:58:55 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Congress Eyes Funds for Iran Dissidents

December 06, 2003
The Boston Globe
Bryan Bender

WASHINGTON -- For the first time, Congress is set to approve government funds openly earmarked to help undermine the Islamic government of Iran by providing money for dissidents inside the country, according to US officials and specialists.

The program calls for an initial $1.5 million to be spent next year to support the efforts of Iranians and Iranian organizations seeking to replace the government in Tehran with a democracy.

Though a relatively small amount of money, the funding carries great symbolic weight. Past efforts to use US government money to support Iranian dissidents have been sidetracked before reaching a final vote because of concerns that they would violate sanctions prohibiting any money from going to Iran, as well as an agreement in 1981, shortly after the release of US hostages in Tehran, to refrain from actively opposing the Iranian government.

But this time, Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican with close ties to the Bush administration who has long called for more active US efforts to weaken the Iranian government, has appended the funding provision to the so-called omnibus spending bill. The provision has already gone through negotiations of a House-Senate conference committee and is due to be formally approved early next week.

A spokesman for Brownback said the Bush administration knew the senator was inserting the provision and did not oppose it.

On Nov. 6, Bush announced that US policy would be geared toward supporting democracy for Middle East countries, but his administration's policy on Iran has stopped short of providing direct support for opposition leaders. White House and State Department leaders were unavailable for comment yesterday.

"It is clear from the regime's treatment of its own people that Iran is no democracy," Brownback told a group of Iranian Americans in July, in a speech his office provided to explain his position. "I understand that the State Department's job is diplomacy and the search for common ground. But now is a time for moral clarity, not excuses."

If it is approved by Congress, and then gets President Bush's signature, the provision could spark fierce debate over whether the United States is moving to an official position of supporting the overthrow of the clerics who govern Iran. Recently, the United States has dealt with Iran through a mixture of carrots and sticks, applying diplomatic pressure through European governments to negotiate inspections of Iran's nuclear program.

Under the bill before Congress, the State Department would be granted the approval to use funds for "making grants to educational, humanitarian, and nongovernmental organizations and individuals inside Iran to support the advancement of democracy and human rights in Iran," according to the House-Senate conference committee report.

The US government has approved similar funds, much of it spent by the nonprofit National Endowment for Democracy, to be used in other countries, particularly communist nations during the Cold War and more recently to support democracy movements in China.

Dissident groups have typically used the funds to oppose the regimes in those countries, including beaming unauthorized radio broadcasts calling attention to abuses and seeking a change of government.

But efforts to promote such opposition in Iran -- most recently a Brownback proposal this year to spend $50 million to fund expatriate Iranian radio and television stations broadcasting anti-regime programming -- have failed because of the legal concerns of opening up US coffers to back Iranian opposition groups.

The United States maintains sanctions against Iran that prohibit funds from being spent on Iranian goods and outlaws financial transactions with individuals inside the country. Meanwhile, in an agreement signed in Algiers in 1981, the United States, in naming Switzerland to represent its interests in Iran, pledged not to meddle in the internal affairs of the Iranian regime.

"It would be a significant change," Gary Sick, an Iran specialist at Columbia University and former staff member on the National Security Council in the Carter administration, said of the new program. Past attempts to provide money for Iranian dissidents "never succeeded and for the reason that they were viewed as either illegal or counterproductive," he said.

Other officials and analysts said that while the amount of money in the new bill is relatively small, it would nonetheless signal a more aggressive US stance in relation to Iran, which Bush has called a member of the "axis of evil" for its suspected pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and support of Islamic terrorist groups.

It could also prompt a forceful response from the Iranian government. In 1996, when The New York Times reported that $18 million was slated to be spent on covert activities designed to weaken the regime's grip on power, the Iranian government viewed it as a serious threat and took steps to counter it, according to Sick.

"The Iranians took it very seriously, and they began coming up with countertactics," including fanning anti-American sentiment in the government-controlled media.

It was never revealed whether the covert funds were used.

Brownback and others, however, believe the new money would be well spent. Iranian students launched a series of public protests in recent years, at least in part due to prodemocracy radio broadcasts by Iranians living outside the country.

Still, there remain fissures within the Bush administration on how to proceed with Iran. The State Department, which would receive the money, is believed to be less supportive of taking a more active role to destabilize the regime than the Pentagon, which has held a series of meetings with Iranian dissidents in recent years.

Pentagon officials have met with Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late shah of Iran, and Manucher Ghorbanifar, who came to prominence during the Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages affair in the 1980s. Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter W. Rodman met with Hossein Khomeini, Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson who has broken with the ruling clerics, as recently as September.

Due to the State Department's opposition and questions about whether the contacts amount to covert activity that should be the responsibility of the CIA -- if any government agency at all -- the contacts have been curtailed, according to Defense Department officials.

Still, the Bush administration has stepped up its rhetoric against the Iranian regime in recent months, accusing it of seeking to destabilize Iraq and providing safe harbor from high-level members of the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

In his Nov. 6 speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, the president called for greater urgency in spreading democracy in the Middle East, saying "We've reached another great turning point -- and the resolve we show will shape the next stage of the world democratic movement."
23 posted on 12/06/2003 9:09:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Fighting the Worst Fascists Since Hitler

December 05, 2003
National Review Online
Victor Davis Hanson

Saddam's Baathists recently blew apart Japanese diplomats on their way to a meeting in Tikrit to discuss sending millions of dollars in aid to Iraq's poor. Their ghosts join those of U.N. officials who likewise were slain for their humanitarian efforts.

On the West Bank, three Americans were killed: Their felony was trying to interview young Palestinians for Fulbright fellowships for study in the United States. In turn, their would-be rescuers were stoned by furious crowds — not unlike the throngs that chant for Saddam on al Jazeera as they seek to desecrate or loot the bodies of murdered Spanish and Italian peacekeepers in Iraq while the tape rolls. All this, I suppose, is what bin Laden calls a clash of civilizations.

Jews at places of worship are systematically being blown up from Turkey to Morocco — along with British consular officials murdered in Istanbul, American diplomats murdered in Jordan, and Western tourists, Christians, and local residents murdered by Muslims in Bali, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. The new rule is that the more likely you are to help, give to, or worship in the Middle East, the more likely you are to be shot or blown up.

Most of the recent dead were noncombatants. All were either attempting to feed or aid Muslims, or simply wished to be left alone in peace. Their killers operate through the money and sanctuary of Middle East rogue regimes, the implicit support of thousands in the Muslim street, and the tacit neglect of even "moderate" states in the region — as long as the tally of killing is in the half-dozens or so, and not noticeable enough to threaten foreign investment or American aid, or to earn European disapproval.

But when the carnage is simply too much (too many Muslims killed as collateral damage or too many minutes on CNN), then suspects are miraculously arrested in Turkey or Saudi Arabia, or in transit to Iran or Syria — but more often post facto and never with any exegesis about why killers who once could not be found now suddenly are. No wonder Pakistani intelligence officers, Palestinian security operatives, Syrian diplomats, and Iraqis working for the Coalition are all at times exposed as having abetted the terrorists.

Yet it hasn't been a good six months for the Islamists' public relations. Billions the world over are slowly coming to a consensus that the Islamists' killing has cast as a shadow over the Middle East — a deeply disturbed place, better left to stew in its own juices. Only its exports of oil, religious extremism, and terror — not its manufacturing, science, medicine, banking, tourism, humanitarianism, literature, research, or philanthropy — seem to earn global attention. This is all a great tragedy, but one that, after September 11, gives us no time for tears.

Remember, even apart from all the killing in Israel and Iraq, all of the deadly terrorism since 9/11 — the synagogue in Tunisia, French naval personnel in Pakistan, Americans in Karachi, Yemeni attacks on a French ship, the Bali bombing, the Kenyan attack on Israelis, the several deadly attacks on Russians in both Moscow and Chechnya, the assault on housing compounds in Saudi Arabia, the suicide car bombings in Morocco, the Marriott bombing in Indonesia, the mass murdering in Bombay, and the Turkish killing — has been perpetrated exclusively by Muslim fascists and directed at Westerners, Christians, Hindus, and Jews.

We can diagnose the cause of this new fascism's growth — which has very little to do with the old canard that racism, colonialism, and the CIA are to blame. Instead, corrupt thugs in the Middle East have for years looted state treasuries. They have imposed Soviet-style state autocracy on tribal societies. And they have stripped basic human rights from a skyrocketing population — one that has received just enough Western medicine and technology to ensure an explosive birth rate, but not enough to encourage the commensurate social, economic, and cultural reform that would prevent such growth from making life in a Baghdad or Cairo desolate.

The demise of the Soviet Union left a terrible legacy — one rarely acknowledged by our own Middle East specialists. Its Stalinist machinery was left in place to kill and torture in awful places like Libya, Iraq, and Syria — but without the coercive force of the Soviets to ensure that such deadly antics did not expand across borders to draw the Russians into unwanted confrontations with the United States. In turn, without Communists to worry about, so-called moderates in places like Egypt and Jordan — excepting, of course, the petrol states of the Gulf — had very little in common, or much leverage, with the United States.

So with the demise of the Cold War, these pathologies came to full maturity. Globalization enticed the appetites of the impoverished — as cell phones, the Internet, and videos, along with fast food and cheap imported goods, gave the patina of prosperity. In fact, internationalization only reminded 400 million that they could have the junk of the West, but without its freedom, material security, education, health care, and recreation. It is one thing to call a friend on a cell phone, and quite another to realize that one's society cannot make the phone, cannot fix it, cannot improve upon it, and cannot even use it as desired — and is reminded of these failures by the very fact of the imported device's daily use.

If the onset of democracy in India, Malaysia, and Indonesia suggested that Islam was not incompatible with consensual government, that hopeful message apparently did not catch on in much of the Middle East. Far from attempting to end the endemic problems of sexual apartheid, illiteracy, religious intolerance, polygamy, and everything from "honor" killings to state-sanctioned legal barbarism, most autocracies in the region allowed Islamic extremists and apologists to champion just such "differences" — as if the existence of such Dark Age protocols and endemic anti-Semitism were proof that the Arab world suffered none of the weakness and decadence of a soft West. Enough fools in the West were always around to nod rather than to challenge such Hitleresque romance — and even to invite such fascists from the Middle East to speak in Europe and the United States to the "oohs" and "ahs" of a few stupid and spoiled self-hating elites.

Into this vacuum stepped the Islamists — fed by Saudi money, blackmailing dictators as they saw fit, championing the poor and dispossessed who found their messages of hatred against the United States and Israel a salve for their own wounded pride and misery. It did not hurt that their enmity of the West was about the only topic of free expression allowed in censored state media.

In their defense, the mullahs in the madrassas at least realized that if it were left to corrupt tyrants like Saddam Hussein, Khadafi, and Assad to offer alternatives to the West, the Arab world would soon be caught up in the same liberalization that had swept Asia and parts of South America and Africa — to the chagrin of the patriarch, imam, and warlord, whose currency is deference received rather than freedom granted.

This strange new fascism explains why millions in the Middle East who in theory do not like a Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, or Osama bin laden still find consolation in the unrelenting opposition of these killers to the West. Kids whose parents were butchered by Saddam Hussein and are now fed and protected by American money and manpower nevertheless dance upon a burned out Humvee while shouting for Saddam to return. The same is true of those on the West Bank who have their capital looted by the Palestinian Authority, their relatives jailed or murdered, and their votes and speech curtailed: They will still praise Arafat to the skies — if he at least mutters some banality about hating the West. Because these are irrational responses — people acting from their appetites and impulses rather than their heads — we here in the United States, in our arrogant worship of our god Reason, with no confidence in or appreciation of our singular civilization, have gone about things pretty much all wrong.

Remember the worry about "getting the message out"? We all know the tiresome refrain: If the Arab world just knew about all the billions of dollars we give; all the Muslims we saved from the Balkans to Kuwait; all the censure we incurred to ease Orthodox Russians' treatment of Muslims in Chechnya, to stop Orthodox Serbian massacres of Albanians, or to discourage Chinese attacks on their own Muslim tribes; then surely millions of the ill-informed would reverse their opinion of us.

Sorry, the truth is just the opposite. The Arab street knows full well that we give billions to Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinians — and are probably baffled that we don't cut it out. They also know we have just as frequently fought Christians on their behalf as Muslims; they know — if their voting feet tell them anything — that no place is more tolerant of their religion or more open to immigration than the United States. Yes, Islamists all know that opening a mosque in Detroit is one thing, and opening a church in Saudi Arabia is quite another. Hitler wasn't interested in Wilson's 14 Points or how nicely Germans lived in the U.S. — he cared only that we "cowboys" would not or could not stop what he was up to.

No, the message, much less getting it out, is not the problem. It is rather the nature of America — our freewheeling, outspoken, prosperous, liberty-loving citizens extend equality to women, homosexuals, minorities, and almost anyone who comes to our shores, and thereby create desire and with it shame for that desire. Indeed, it is worse still than that: Precisely because we worry publicly that we are insensitive, our enemies scoff privately that we in fact are too sensitive — what we think is liberality and magnanimity they see as license and decadence. If we don't have confidence in who we are, why should they?

To arrest this dangerous trend requires a radical reappraisal of our entire relationship with the Middle East. A Radio Free Europe, though valuable, nevertheless did not free Eastern Europe; nor did Voice of America. Containment and deterrence did. As long as governments in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and many Gulf states encourage hatred of the United States, we must quietly consider them de facto little different from a Libya, Syria, or Iran. For all the glitter and imported Western graphics, al Jazeera and its epigones are not that much different from Radio Berlin of the 1930s.

We had also better reexamine entirely the way we use force in the Middle East. We did not drive on to Baghdad in 1991 out of concern for the "coalition" — and got 350,000 sorties in the no-fly zones in return. We chose to worry about rebuilding before the current war ended, and let thousands of Baathist killers fade away, and in the aftermath allowed mass looting and continual killing before our most recent get-tough policy.

In fact, anytime we have showed restraint — using battleship salvos and cruise missiles when our Marines were killed, our embassies blown up, and our diplomats murdered; allowing the killers on the Highway of Death to reach Basra in 1991; letting Saddam use his helicopters to gun down innocents — we have earned disdain, not admiration. In contrast, the hijackers chose not to take the top off the World Trade Center, but to incinerate the entire building — proof that they wished not to send us a message but to kill us all, and to kill us to the applause of millions, if the recent popularity of Osama bin Laden and his henchmen in the Arab street is any indication.

We had better rethink the entire notion of dealing with the mythical moderates within regimes like Iran and Syria. I am sure that they exist, as they existed in Saddam's Iraq. But we see the moderates now in Iraq and — with all due respect — they are not exactly the stuff of Ethan Allan, Paul Revere, or the Swamp Fox. In fact, in the Middle East, tens of thousands of democrats are more passive in their desire for freedom than are a few hundred fascists in their zeal for tyranny. We should accept that dissidents would never have toppled Saddam on their own — and are not quite sure what to do even in his absence. Victory alone, not stalemate or a bellum interruptum, will free the Arab people and extend to them the same opportunities now found in Eastern Europe.

In short, there is no reason for any American diplomat to have much to do in Teheran or Damascus — the haven of choice for many of the killers who bomb in Turkey, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. "Getting the message out" to a Syria is like traveling to Warsaw in 1950 to convince the government there how nicely Poles are treated in Chicago; sending peace feelers to Teheran is analogous to doing the same to Cuba in about 1962; discussing policy with Saudi Arabia is like talking to Gen. Franco about the perils of Mussolini or Hitler; incorporating Jordan in our resistance is like counting on a France circa 1940.

Peace and harmony will come, but only when the Middle East, not us, changes-which, tragically, will be brought along more quickly by deterrence and defiance than appeasement and dialogue. President Bush was terribly criticized for his exasperated "bring them on," but that was one of his most honest, heartfelt — and needed — ex tempore remarks of this entire conflict.

We are not in a war with a crook in Haiti. This is no Grenada or Panama — or even a Kosovo or Bosnia. No, we are in a worldwide struggle the likes of which we have not seen since World War II. The quicker we understand that awful truth, and take measures to defeat rather than ignore or appease our enemies, the quicker we will win. In a war such as this, the alternative to victory is not a brokered peace, but abject Western suicide and all that it entails — a revelation of which we saw on September 11.

Despite some disappointments about the postbellum reconstruction and the hysteria of our critics, our military is doing a wonderful job. We should understand that they have the capability to win this struggle in Iraq and elsewhere — but only if we at home accept that we have been all along in a terrible war against terrible enemies.
24 posted on 12/06/2003 9:11:33 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
How a Shady Iranian Kept the Pentagon's Ear

December 07, 2003
The New York Times
James Risen

WASHINGTON -- When clandestine meetings between Pentagon officials and Iranian dissidents were first revealed last summer, the Bush administration played down the importance of the contacts, particularly with one participant — a discredited Iranian deal maker who had played a role in the Iran-contra affair in the late 1980's.

But now officials say the initial meeting with the Iranians was organized with the knowledge of a top national security adviser to President Bush, who also informed George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is examining the December 2001 and June 2002 meetings, which were initiated by Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian who acted as a middleman in the Iran-contra affair during the Reagan administration and was long ago labeled a fabricator by American intelligence officials. One important question is whether any senior administration officials were aware of his involvement before the meetings.

Stephen J. Hadley, Mr. Bush's deputy national security adviser, raised no objection when Pentagon officials told him of plans to meet with the Iranians in late 2001, several officials said. A senior administration official familiar with Mr. Hadley's version of events said Mr. Hadley did not remember being told that Mr. Ghorbanifar would be at the meeting.

When the contacts with Mr. Ghorbanifar and other Iranians were first reported in the press last summer, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said that nothing came of the meetings and that beforehand, "Everyone in the interagency process, I'm told, was apprised of it." But the high-level attention the meetings received at the White House and other agencies was not disclosed then.

The fresh details about the contacts also illuminate a schism between American intelligence agencies and more hawkish officials at the Pentagon and in the White House who pursued the contacts.

As part of its review of intelligence agencies' work before the war in Iraq, the Senate Intelligence Committee is also examining the influence of a small group of analysts working for Douglas J. Feith, under secretary of defense for policy and planning. The Pentagon officials who met with Mr. Ghorbanifar worked in Mr. Feith's policy office.

Mr. Ghorbanifar's involvement caused concern within the Bush administration because it evoked memories of Iran-contra and questions about whether the Pentagon was engaging in rogue covert operations. The Pentagon has conducted its own internal review of the Ghorbanifar matter, officials said.

In the 1980's, Mr. Ghorbanifar repeatedly sought contacts with the C.I.A. and other agencies in order to act as a go-between with Iranian officials in what became known as Iran-contra affair. The arms-for-hostage scandal was a series of secret maneuvers to sell arms to Iran in exchange for the release of American hostages in Lebanon and financing for contra fighters opposing the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. It led to lengthy Congressional and criminal investigations.

One result of the Iran-contra scandal was a decision by the C.I.A. that it could not trust Mr. Ghorbanifar. A 1987 Congressional report on Iran-contra said that after Mr. Ghorbanifar failed C.I.A.-administered polygraph examinations, the agency issued a rare "Fabricator Notice," warning that he "should be regarded as an intelligence fabricator and a nuisance." He has been considered a con artist by the C.I.A. ever since.

But he has been persistent. Two years ago he found a way to act as an intermediary again — this time with the Pentagon. The secret meetings were first held in Rome in December 2001, and were brokered by Michael Ledeen, a conservative analyst at the American Enterprise Institute who has an interest in Iranian affairs and close ties to many hard-line conservatives in the administration.

At first, Mr. Ledeen was skeptical of Mr. Ghorbanifar's offer. "Ghorbanifar called me, and at first I said, `Are you insane?' " he said. "But he said he could arrange meetings with Iranians with current information about what Iran was doing. It wasn't information coming from him. He was just arranging the meetings."

Mr. Ledeen's role in the meetings also raised concerns in the administration, since he too had played a role in Iran-contra. At that time, he was a consultant to the National Security Council and sought to act as a go-between with Israeli officials to explore potential Israeli-American cooperation on Iran. Since then, Mr. Ledeen has gained a reputation in Washington as a prominent advocate for changing the leadership in Iran.

Mr. Ledeen said in an interview that Mr. Ghorbanifar contacted him in late 2001 and said that several Iranians with knowledge of Iran's activities in Afghanistan were willing to talk with American officials. Mr. Ledeen told Pentagon officials that the Iranians had information about Iran's involvement with terrorists in Afghanistan, where American forces were battling Al Qaeda. Several administration officials said Mr. Ledeen then approached the Pentagon to set up the meetings.

Administration officials said a senior Pentagon official then contacted Mr. Hadley at the National Security Council. After hearing about the overture, he expressed no reservations about the meeting and informed Mr. Tenet and Mr. Armitage of the plans, officials said.

But the Pentagon officials did not notify the United States Embassy in Rome of their plans to meet with the Iranians in Italy, thus violating interagency procedures, officials said.

When they found out about the meetings — apparently from Italian officials — the embassy officials, including the C.I.A.'s station chief in Rome, sent cables to Washington alerting their superiors about the meetings with Mr. Ledeen, Mr. Ghorbanifar and the Pentagon officials.

The C.I.A. and the State Department raised objections, both to the way the meetings had been conducted and to the involvement of both Mr. Ledeen and Mr. Ghorbanifar, administration officials said. Mr. Hadley, who received a trip report after the Rome meeting from Mr. Ledeen, agreed to make sure that the meetings were ended, the officials added.

Yet after that decision, Pentagon officials met again with Mr. Ghorbanifar and the Iranians in Paris in 2002, without White House clearance, administration officials said. Senior administration officials said the White House was still uncertain how that meeting came about.

Mr. Ledeen blamed the C.I.A. and the State Department for the administration decision to abandon the contacts. He said he was later told by officials that the information provided by the Iranians had "saved American lives" in Afghanistan. He said he believed that it was a mistake to abandon the contacts.
25 posted on 12/06/2003 9:13:51 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
As Iranian Elections Approach, Voters Lose Faith in the Reformers

Published: December 7, 2003

TEHRAN, Dec. 6 — In 1997 Lida Salehi enthusiastically worked on the presidential campaign of Mohammad Khatami, the reformist candidate. She even talked her parents, who had not cast a ballot since the referendum in 1979 that turned Iran into an Islamic Republic, into voting for him.

"I believed that he was the man who would bring change, especially because of what he said about freedom and democracy," said Ms. Salehi, a 25-year-old painter. She has voted for reformist politicians in three more elections since then.

Now, with parliamentary elections scheduled for February, she and many others who supported the reformists are changing their minds, saying their support has merely resulted in a continuation of the current system.

The most evident sign of disillusionment with President Khatami's reform movement appeared in the local town council elections a year ago. Unlike those in national elections, the candidates in the local elections had not been vetted by the hard-line Guardian Council, which has been a powerful deterrent in keeping voters at bay.

The turnout in large cities, however, was as low as 10 to 15 percent — sharply lower than the 52 percent turnout that was recorded in 1980.

A low voter turnout on Feb. 20 is likely to help hard-line politicians galvanize their support and win control of Parliament, which is now in the hands of reformists. Tehran's municipal council was easily conquered last year by hard-liners, who have reversed liberal plans for modernizing the city.

The new mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, turned several art galleries into prayer centers during the Islamic religious month of Ramadan, canceled concerts and suspended many events at the city's cultural centers. He plans to build women-only parks.

"People's behavior last year showed that people do not want just to vote for candidates," Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoini, a reformist member of Parliament, said in a recent speech at Amir Kabir University, referring to the low voter turnout.

"They want their vote to have an impact on the layers of power structure and affect their rights in society," he said.

People discouraged about the power of the vote here point to the power exerted by appointed bodies, like the hard-line judiciary, which has jailed advocates for political change and shut down liberal newspapers, or the watchdog Guardian Council, which has blocked reform bills. Parliament, they say, has been paralyzed in trying to pass a reform agenda.

Two-thirds of the population is under 30, and young voters are seeking more social and political freedoms. Even though President Khatami supported increasing social freedoms, many young people accuse his movement of lacking a clear strategy.

The reform movement has been widely accused of not using its popular support and of not taking risks to achieve change.

"We simply see no logical reason for voting in the elections," said Mehdi Habibi, a leader of the student movement called the Office for Fostering Unity, which has urged a boycott of the elections.

"People vote so that their demands are met in the forms of laws, but we know that this is not possible in the current system anymore," he said.

"If hard-liners want to win the Parliament with a 15 percent turnout, let them do it, but then they cannot claim that they represent the majority of people," he added.

Reformists, worried about the turnout, have stepped up a campaign to draw people to the polls.

One member of the movement, Alireza Alavitabar, a professor at Tehran University, said in an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency that he favored a government free of the power of the supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who currently has unlimited power to determine policy.

Mostafa Tajzadeh, a former interior minister, said reformers should encourage the next Parliament to put issues before the people in the form of referendums.

"Then no one can oppose holding referendums if people support the idea overwhelmingly," he said.

"We know that the mood is not promising, and people do not see the prospect for change to participate in the elections," he said. "But we will do our best to encourage free and fair elections."
26 posted on 12/06/2003 9:39:59 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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”

27 posted on 12/07/2003 12:05:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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