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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 12/08/2003 12:10:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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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”

2 posted on 12/08/2003 12:12:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's president orders Cabinet ministers to confront vigilantes

Students rally for freedom

Iranian students clasp hands and chant while holding a picture of jailed student, Ahmad Batebi, during a gathering marking the annual Student Day, at Tehran University campus in Iran.

MSNBC
ASSOCIATED PRESS

TEHRAN, Iran, Dec. 7 — Iran's president Sunday ordered two Cabinet ministers to crack down on hard-line vigilantes who disrupt political meetings following an attack on one of his close aides, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

President Mohammad Khatami ordered Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi and Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari to provide security and protection for participants and speakers at authorized rallies, saying he won't tolerate further attacks as the country prepares for parliamentary elections slated for Feb. 20.

''I seriously want you to, firstly, make use of all the facilities available to provide security for legal gatherings. Secondly, no effort should be spared to identify and confront those attacking authorized meetings as criminals,'' IRNA quoted Khatami as saying.

Meanwhile, about 1,500 pro-reform students at Tehran University rallied Sunday inside the campus, chanting slogans against Iran's leadership and saying the 1979 Islamic revolution failed to fulfill its promise of freedom.

The demonstrators also denounced Khatami for failing to stand up to hard-liners.

''Khatami doesn't have the courage to fulfill his promises ... unfortunately, after six years failing to enforce promised democratic reforms, Khatami has lost the confidence of the young generation,'' female student leader Leila Zanjani Zanjani told the rally.

Hard-line thugs have frequently disrupted gatherings of reformists and have rarely been brought to court.

On Friday, prominent reformist lawmaker Mohsen Mirdamadi, who heads the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, was beaten by hard-line vigilantes Friday as he began a speech in Yazd, in central Iran. Mirdamadi was treated at a hospital for a cut on his head.

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

''On the verge of elections, (in which) all of us want a massive turnout, legal gatherings are disrupted and violence is employed to insult dignitaries. This is not tolerable,'' Khatami was quoted as saying.

Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi told The Associated Press Friday that the attack on Mirdamadi was part of the hard-liners' campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Parliamentary Speaker Mahdi Karroubi told an open session of the Parliament on Sunday that five vigilantes have been detained for beating Mirdamadi. Karroubi, whose speech was broadcast live on Tehran radio, gave no further details.

Students, meanwhile, gathered for the annual Student Day, which marks the 1953 deaths of three students protesting a visit to Iran of then-U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon.

''Twenty-five years after the revolution, freedom is our biggest demand,'' Zanjani told the rally, prompting chants of ''death to dictatorship'' from the audience.

Dozens of hard-line vigilantes gathered outside Tehran University, but police and security forces kept them from entering the campus.

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

In June, student-led protests against the ruling establishment were effectively halted by attacks from hard-line vigilantes. The attackers were never charged, but instead about 4,000 protesters, some of them students, were jailed and gradually released later.

http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/ap12-07-130832.asp?reg=MIDEAST
3 posted on 12/08/2003 12:15:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Mullahs 25 years of infamy resume getting larger

Iran News
Dec 8, 2003, 03:19

The Arab League welcomed Iran

Remember you heard it right here, this is the day Iranians have become Arabs with years of hard working of Mullahs in Iran. You may have to add today's event to Mullahs 25 years of infamy resume.

The Arab League welcomed the prospect of non-Arab nations Iran joining the organization as observers.

"We welcome Iran's requests" to join the Arab League as observers, Secretary General Amr Mussa told reporters at Cairo airport before leaving for the United States.

Mussa said the league received similar requests "from neighboring countries and countries from Latin America," adding that these requests "are currently studied as part of changes concerning the restructuring of the league."

Iran's deputy foreign minister for Middle East and North African affairs, Mohammad Sobhani, "presented the request that Iran become an observer at the Arab League during his meeting with Amr Mussa on November 13," an Iranian paper reported Monday.

Established in 1945, the 22-member Arab League is based in Cairo.

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_908.shtml
4 posted on 12/08/2003 12:17:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
GENEVA: A BLOW TO PEACE

NYPost
By AMIR TAHERI

December 7, 2003 -- IT was bound to happen: a virtual Middle East peace accord in a world of virtual reality.
The so-called Geneva Accord, signed last week by Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli justice minister, and Yasser Abd-Rabbo, a former aide to Yasser Arafat, has met with a mixture of childlike enthusiasm by some and wizened cynicism by others.

Jimmy Carter has rushed to endorse the accord with one of his trademark Colgate smiles. The accord has also won some me-tooist support from a Kofi Annan looking for a side-stool for his United Nations. Colin Powell has been tempted into entertaining the architects of the accord at a tea-and-sympathy session.

Norway, which regards itself as a "soft superpower," has called for a summit in Italy this week to support the accord.

At the other end of the spectrum, the accord (part of a corpus of texts thicker than Tolstoy's "War and Peace") has attracted derision and/or anger from the Sharonistas inside and outside Israel.

Little attention, however, has been paid to the reactions that the accord has provoked among Israel's Arab neighbors, especially the Palestinians.

A day after the champagne and caviar ceremony in Geneva, thousands of Palestinians marched in Gaza to denounce what they saw as a "sell-out" by Abd-Rabbo. A more official condemnation came from the Palestinian Dar al-Fatwa (House of Edicts) which declared the accord to be "haraam" (forbidden) and a violation of "the sacred principles of Islamic justice."

Arafat, who still pulls most of the strings on the Palestinian side, has responded with one of his classic "yes-but-no-maybe-perhaps-not-we-shall-see" equivocations. Other Arab political reaction has been dismissive or hostile.

The pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat branded the accord "a fruit of illusions." Arab News welcomed it as a means of weakening Ariel Sharon's hold on power. Egypt's state-owned media lashed out at the "betrayal" of the "right of return" to Israel for an estimated 5.5 million Palestinians.

Syria's state-owned media adopted a similar position. But they also saw the accord as a sign of Israel's weakening resolve. The newspaper Tishrin, the ruling Ba'ath Party's mouthpiece, claims that the accord shows that the Intifada is forcing the "Zionist enemy" to look for a way out of its "quagmire."

The Lebanese media, always looking over their shoulder to Damascus, have come out with much the same analysis. They see a "growing mood of desperation" in Israel and insist that the continuation of the Intifada will eventually break the Jewish state. Readers are reminded of what is presented as Hezbollah's "historic victory" to drive Israel out of southern Lebanon during Ehud Barak's premiership.

In Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, mosque preachers have denounced the accord as "a conspiracy to end the Intifada." One typical theme in these sermons is that just as Britain was obliged to hand Hong Kong over to China after 100 years, the Jews will end up returning the whole of Palestine to the Arabs.

The Geneva episode may conjure a couple of Nobel prizes for those involved. But anyone with a closer understanding of the conflict would know that such moves, far from contributing to peace, may render peacemaking more difficult.

There are several reasons for this:

* The architects of the Geneva Accord assume that making peace is a diplomatic and technical, rather than a political, issue: They assume it is enough to have "a good plan" and some technical ingenuity to end a conflict, even though it may lack the political support base without which no peace is possible. This technocratic method excludes the people from decision-making on the grounds that lesser mortals lack the know-how to handle "complex problems."

* The accord tries to circumvent states and other political institutions that are ultimately responsible for its implementation. The Geneva method assumes that Israel and the Palestinians are two tribes at war with no parliament and no government structures through which peace can be negotiated. The task is thus devolved to self-appointed whitebeards. This diminishes the status of both sides and assumes equivalence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

* The accord presents complex issues as simple irritants that could be sorted out over a cup of tea. It is no accident that the document devotes more space to sharing "the electromagnetic space" between Israel and a hypothetical Palestinian state than to the issue of how many Palestinians can settle in Israel.

Much of the Geneva Accord is based on the Oslo deal, which brought 10 years of bloodshed in which more Palestinians and Israelis have died than in the preceding five decades. It also includes the offers that Arafat rejected at Wye River, Camp David and, finally, Taba.

The "wise men" of Geneva may not have realized it, but by ignoring normal political institutions - especially elected organs of decision-making - they may have bestowed some legitimacy on those who want the future of Palestine to be decided by unelected militants and suicide-bombers. After all, if Beilin and Abd-Rabbo can sign an accord, there is no reason why militant Jewish settlers and Hamas suicide-bombers should not have the right to tear up any accord.

By launching a sideshow, the Geneva crowd provide a ready excuse to keep the so-called "roadmap for peace" on the backburner for as long as possible.

The Geneva Accord is a solution in search of a problem that is never defined. There could be no serious peacemaking unless at least three conditions are met.

* There should be a genuine will on both sides to end the conflict. This may have been the case a decade ago, but is not so at present. A great deal of confidence building and a reasonable period of calm are needed before a will to peace can manifest itself once again.

* Palestine should cease to be a cause celebre for Arab despots, return-ticket Western revolutionaries and Nobel Prize hunters. The less those guys meddle in this conflict, the greater will be the chance of bringing it to an end.

For decades, Arab despots and Western leftists have presented Palestine as a cause to die for - meaning, of course, that Palestinians and Israelis should do the dying. Peace will become possible only when Palestine becomes a cause to live for, with the Palestinians and Israelis doing the living.

* There can be no genuine peace between any two neighbors unless both are democracies.

Some may object to this by pointing out that Egypt and Jordan - which no one could accuse of being democracies - have signed peace treaties with Israel. But have Egypt and Jordan really made peace with Israel? You can find the answer by simply delving into the Egyptian and Jordanian media for a day or two. Others may claim that Israel is not a democracy either. Well, assuming that is the case, all the more reason why no real peace is possible at present.

Unable to think seriously, the architects of the Geneva Accord and their cheering fans have ended up creating a framework of fantasy that disposes of the need for thinking.

http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/12728.htm
5 posted on 12/08/2003 12:21:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran ready to form Afghanistan's national army

Monday, December 08, 2003 - ©2003
IranMania.com

IRANMANIA, Dec 7 -- According to Iran's State News Agency (IRNA) the Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific affairs Mohsen Aminzadeh conferred with Afghanistan's First Vice President and Defense Minister Marshal Mohammad Fahim Khan on matters of mutual interest.

In the meeting, Aminzadeh reiterated Iran's support for the stability and sovereignty of the Afghan government and said that Iran has had an active part in the construction of Herat-Dougharoun road, the grand Milak bridge, study on railway project, development of scientific and educational cooperation and joint customs projects.

Stressing Iran's active participation in the reconstruction process of its neighboring country, he noted that once the required budget is provided, some of the projects will soon get underway. The official also declared Iran's readiness to assist in the formation of a national army and training the police.

Aminzadeh hoped that the Loya Jirga and the new constitution will soon be finalized in the country, similar to the other positive developments, to promote its political sovereignty and economic progress.

For his part, Fahim Khan thanked Iran for its close cooperation with the Afghan government and nation in line with new developments in the country. Turning to the developments in Afghanistan within the past two years as positive and expressing optimism about the future of the country, he felt assured that Afghanistan's allies will continue their support for the country's progress, promotion of its sovereignty and maintenance of its security.

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=20388&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
7 posted on 12/08/2003 12:24:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's nuke threat: Taking a page from N. Korea's playbook

By Christopher W. Holton
Special to World Tribune.com
Sunday, December 7, 2003

Some in the West, particularly in the European Union, view the United Nation’s IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) censure of Iran for concealing details of its nuclear program as a great victory for diplomacy.

Unfortunately, nothing in the IAEA statement truly holds Iran accountable for its actions and the prevailing attitude surrounding Iran’s nuclear ambitions could lead the world down the same slippery slope that led to North Korea building nuclear weapons while the free world hoped for the best.

At issue in Iran is whether or not the radical Islamist theocracy desires to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran, along with some members of the United Nations, claims that its nuclear program is strictly for the purpose of providing an alternative energy source. Today, the Ayatollahs claim that nuclear weapons are even against their religious beliefs.

Unfortunately, there are years of historical evidence that Iran’s nuclear program is in fact a weapons program.

Almost ten years ago, citing sources within Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, respected New York Times columnist William Safire reported that hundreds of Russian scientists were in Iran building nuclear reactors and that since Iran sits on a sea of cheap oil, its only reason for building a nuclear reactor was to produce plutonium for bombs.

The Iranians, of course, denied this charge.

In January 1994, the Clinton administration’s Undersecretary of State for International Security, Lynn Davis, told USA Today that “Iran’s actions leave little doubt that Tehran is intent upon developing nuclear weapons capabilities.” Davis went on to say that “Iran’s nuclear acquisitions are inconsistent with any rational civil nuclear program.”

In the wake of such statements and under increasing pressure from America and its allies, Iran claimed that its nuclear program was entirely peaceful and they insisted that they had no desire to have nuclear weapons.


True intentions revealed?
However, if one digs deep enough, one finds more sinister motives — out in the open for all to see. Probably no one has done a better job of digging than Kenneth R. Timmerman who, in 1995, wrote Iran’s Nuclear Program: Myth and Reality, which was published by the Middle East Data Project. He found four alarming statements by two Iranian leaders and two other world leaders with regard to nuclear weaponry — statements that leave little doubt as to the Iranians’ true intentions.

In February 1987, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini uttered these words in a speech before his country’s Atomic Energy Organization:

“Regarding atomic energy, we need it now. Our nation has always been threatened from the outside. The least we can do to face this danger is to let our enemies know that we can defend ourselves. Therefore, every step you take here is in defense of your country and your revolution. With this in mind, you should work hard and at great speed.”

That certainly doesn’t sound as if the Ayatollah wants nuclear power to air condition his mosque!

An even more overt statement came a year later. In a broadcast over Tehran radio in October 1988, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, made this chilling declaration that called for the development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons:

“We should fully equip ourselves both in the offensive and defensive use of chemical, bacteriological and radiological weapons.”

It was only after Iran’s nuclear program began to grow and the Iranians began to secure the assistance of Russia and China that denials about belligerent intentions started popping up. But there is no getting around the fact that the scope and size of Iran’s nuclear program is way beyond what one would reasonably expect from an oil-rich nation. Between 1988 and 1995, Iran started construction on no fewer than 15 nuclear facilities. That is the kind of active program that one would expect from a country in a severe energy crisis — or one that is hell-bent on having nuclear weapons.

A lot more evidence of Iranian nuclear intentions surfaced during the 1990s. German and French security officials reported that, from 1992 to 1995, they foiled several attempts by Iranian intelligence agents to purchase equipment needed to create an atomic bomb. But perhaps the clearest evidence spilled out in January 1995 in a nuclear deal signed between Iran and Russia. After the U.S. strongly protested the agreement, Russian President Boris Yeltsin acknowledged that the agreement did in fact contain a military “component” and he announced that he was voiding that portion:

“But it is true that the contract does contain components of civilian and military nuclear energy. Now we have agreed to separate those two. In as much as they relate to the military component and the potential for creating weapons grade fuel and other matters — the centrifuge, the construction of shafts — we have decided to exclude those aspects from the contract.”

Such statements make Iranian claims that they do not desire to have nuclear weapons appear to be bald-faced lies. One cannot help but wonder what would have happened had the U.S. not pressured Russia on the agreement. Would Iran already have a bomb?

There is even more evidence. Ukrainian President Leonid Kucha was quoted as saying that Iran was seeking help from his nation to build nuclear weapons:

“We need oil from Iran because Russia is strangling us. We have no intention of responding to the repeated request by the Iranians to share with them know-how on nuclear weapons, or to sell them any equipment in this field.”

President Kucha made it sound as if Iran was almost desperate in its efforts to build nuclear weaponry.

Lest you believe that this is Bush administration “neo-con” scare mongering, the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program was recognized long ago by members of the Clinton executive branch. Way back in 1994, the head of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, John Hollum, predicted that Iran would have an atomic bomb in ten years — in other words, 2004. And an authoritative report by the Monterey Institute of International Studies written in 1995 quoted unnamed U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials as saying that they believed Iran would be nuclear-armed in a ten year time frame — in other words, 2005.

Either way, we are getting perilously close.

Perhaps that is why the Iranians are now going to great lengths to conceal the true nature of their nuclear program, perhaps so that they can avoid a confrontation with the West before they have a nuclear bomb.

The Iranians seem to be using the playbook that North Korea successfully used to become a nuclear power. First the Iranians feign cooperation, then they prevaricate. They insist that their nuclear program is entirely peaceful, then claim to reserve the sovereign right to do as they wish with nuclear power. One day we may wake up and the Ayatollahs in Iran will suddenly announce that they have The Bomb.

An Iran armed with nuclear weaponry would pose a unique combination of problems for the U.S. and even our erstwhile allies in Europe. Unlike North Korea, Iran is not an isolated remnant of a dead political ideology. On the contrary, Iran is at the forefront of the dangerous, expansionist Islamist political movement that has brought terrorism to peaceful and freedom-loving nations around the globe. Moreover, unlike North Korea, Iran is heavily involved in world commerce due to its large oil reserves, meaning that Iran has a separate weapon to wield to intimidate the West. Furthermore, Iran has a robust ballistic missile program, thanks in large part to North Korean assistance. Already Iran can threaten the entire Middle East with its arsenal and some experts believe that their missiles may soon be able to target all of western Europe.

All of this seems disturbingly similar to the ingredients that went into the recipe that allowed North Korea to join the nuclear club — except that Iran is much more formidable in other ways.

But nothing should worry us as much as Iran’s longstanding ties to militant Islamist terrorist groups. Not only has Iran sponsored murderous organizations such as Hezbollah, but there is a growing body of evidence that points to growing ties and cooperation with Al Qaida.

Skeptical observers liked to point out that Saddam Hussein was supposedly a natural enemy of the Islamists who would be foolish to share any weapons of mass destruction capability with them. What will those same skeptics say about the radical Ayatollahs who rule Iran? If their regime becomes threatened from outside or within, will they hesitate to bestow their arsenal on the terrorists that they have been sponsoring for decades? What will prevent them from doing so? Their love of their fellow man?!

If they do arm their terrorist armies with their terrible weapons, our options will be non-existent. Then it will likely be too late.

Christopher Holton is the Editor of www.WorldTechTribune.com and serves on the World Tribune Board of Advisers. He has been writing about national security, defense issues and economics for more than a dozen years. He is a full-time direct response marketing consultant and lives in New Orleans with his wife and five children. He can be reached at cholton@worldtechtribune.com.

http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_3.html
9 posted on 12/08/2003 12:36:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
This news is good for the President and for that reason alone is not going to be reported by the america hating media.
10 posted on 12/08/2003 1:59:09 AM PST by OldFriend (DEMS INHABIT A PARALLEL UNIVERSE)
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To: DoctorZIn
Oil-rich Iran Faces Shortages at Petrol Pumps

December 08, 2003
AFP
Bahrain Tribune

TEHRAN -- With fuel consumption up and the government unwilling to run the risk of cutting its hefty subsidies at the forecourt, Iran is facing the prospect of serious petrol shortages in the coming months.

In recent weeks, several provincial cities — notably Karaj and Qazvin to the west of Tehran — have seen petrol pumps run dry and motorists experiencing waits of several hours in order to fill up.

Iran may be Opec’s number two exporter, but its skyrocketing local consumption as well as the smuggling of subsidised fuel across to Afghanistan and Pakistan is rapidly eating away at local supplies.

Recent official figures put petrol consumption at 57 million litres per day, a 13 percent increase on last year. Iran’s refineries, however, can only put out 38.5 million litres a day, meaning the remainder is imported at an annual cost to the government of $1.5 billion.

Overall subsidies costs the government an estimated $3.5 billion a year, a hefty chunk out of the national budget. The problem is the low cost of a litre of petrol here: at just 650 rials ($0.08), it is among the cheapest in the region.

For the government, each litre sold leaves it $0.16 out of pocket.

It also makes an attractive commodity to smuggle to neighbouring countries where fuel costs between 10 and 13 times more. Iranian fuel can be found in markets in Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The volume of the trafficking is unclear, but the government Iran newspaper reported last week that after one smuggling ring was busted in the northeastern province of Khorassan, consumption there halved to one million litres a day.

In addition, more cars are hitting Iran’s already gridlocked streets, worsening urban congestion and therefore consumption. This year, three quarters of a million new cars are expected to hit the streets.

Experts say some 1.5 million of the 4.4 million cars on Iran’s roads are at least two decades old, and the average consumption for 100 kilometers travelled is around 13 litres, against 6-7 litres in the West.

Building a viable public transport system is seen as one, albeit costly, way out of the fix.

“If we don’t quickly develop a public transport system, next year we will be obliged to import 24 to 25 million litres a day. But we don’t have the budget or the technical capacity to bring in such a quantity,” explained Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Aghaie.

Another option reportedly under consideration by a newly-formed government commission tasked with getting its head around the problem is supplying a certain amount of fuel at subsidised prices — for exampled 120 litres per month — and the rest at cost price.

But a significant price rise, analysts say, would bring with it a very real risk of urban unrest.

“Low petrol prices are seen by most Iranians as their natural right, and inflation hitting other basic commodities is already eating away at their spending power,” one local economist explained.

“If prices go up significantly, the regime will have a real crisis on its hands.”

http://www.bahraintribune.com/ArticleDetail.asp?ArticleId=15401&CategoryId=5
16 posted on 12/08/2003 8:18:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Japan Must Balance Nuke Worries, Oil Needs on Iran

December 08, 2003
Reuters
Elaine Lies

TOKYO -- Trade Minister Shoichi Nakagawa said on Monday that Japan must balance its oil needs against concerns over Iran's nuclear programme in talks to develop Iran's Azadegan oilfield, but he sidestepped the issue of whether a deadline had been set for a decision.

''We need to ensure our oil supply, but as the only country that has suffered from an atomic bombing, we cannot be unconcerned about nuclear weapons,'' Nakagawa told Reuters in an interview. ''We must balance these in handling this issue.''

An Iranian official said on November 29 that Tehran was weeks away from setting a deadline in bids for the $2 billion investment race for the southern part of Azadegan, one of the world's largest untapped oilfields.

A government-backed private Japanese consortium had exclusive rights to negotiate an agreement but backed off under U.S. pressure linked to concerns over the nuclear programme and lost its rights in June.

A source close to the negotiations was quoted by the Financial Times on Monday as saying that Iran was putting pressure on the consortium to decide by December 15.

''If there has been some kind of timing set, I believe a decision will have to be made in line with that,'' Nakagawa said, when asked about the report.

''But we are not aware if that (December 15) is final or not.'' Resource-poor Japan has been caught between its desire to develop the oilfield and pressure from the United States, its main security ally, to back off.

Both Japanese and Iranian officials said last month that the Japanese consortium was still in the running for the project.

The board of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), strongly condemned Iran last month for an 18-year cover-up of sensitive nuclear research, including activities which could point to a weapons programme. Iran flatly denies any intention to build nuclear arms.

Iran stressed on Sunday that it was committed to signing an international agreement binding it to snap inspections of its nuclear facilities.

''We need to guarantee an oil supply, but must also see whether Iran will respond positively, in line with IAEA rules, over this issue,'' Nakagawa said. ''Both of these are prerequisites for making a decision.''

http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters12-07-193209.asp?reg=MIDEAST
17 posted on 12/08/2003 8:19:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
One-year Suspended Sentence Passed on Journalist Emadoldin Baghi

December 08, 2003
Reporters Without Borders
RSF

Reporters Without Borders today voiced outrage at the suspended sentence of one year in prison which the sixth revolutionary court of Tehran has passed on journalist Emadoldin Baghi without making public its reasons.

At the same time, the organisation also called on the Iranian courts to give assurances as to the state of health of Iradj Jamshidi, the editor of the economic daily Asia, of whom there has been no word since his arrest on 6 July and incarceration in Evin prison.

Baghi, who worked for Neshat, a daily closed down by the authorities, was tried on 9 November, but the sentence was announced only yesterday. It could be changed to an actual prison sentence at any time during the next five years.

This threat is clearly an attempt to silence Baghi, who often writes about violations of freedom of expression in Iran for the reformist dailies Shargh and Yas-e-no.

"I was unable to defend myself in this travesty of a trial which last only a few minutes, and I was barely able to speak," Baghi told Reporters Without Borders. "What kind of trial is it where there is neither lawyer nor judge, or where the judge is prosecutor at the same time and where the defendant is not even told of the charges against him ?"

In his book, "The Tragedy of Democracy in Iran," Baghi accused the Iranian authorities of being involved in a series of murders of intellectuals and journalists in 1998. He has already been imprisoned because of his articles in the reformist press. In his most recent previous trial, on 23 October 2000, he was given a three-year prison sentence for "threatening national security" and "disseminating false news."

After his release on 6 February of this year, Baghi was repeatedly harassed by the judicial authorities, summoned frequently to appear in court and banned from leaving the country. The harassment stepped up after last month's visit to Tehran by Ambeyi Ligabo, special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression for the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the fate of the 11 journalists currently in prison in Iran. In addition to Jamshidi, they include they include three journalists who were arrested at the same time on 14 June : Taghi Rahmani of Omid-é-Zangan, Reza Alijani, the editor of Iran-é-Farda (who is a Reporters Without Borders-Fondation de France laureate), and Hoda Saber, managing editor of Iran-é-Farda.

Rahmani's wife, Narges Mohammadi, told Reporters Without Borders : "The last family visit for the three journalists was on 30 October. Since then, for the past 32 days, neither their lawyers nor their families have received any news of them. We still don't know what they are charged with. They have not yet been brought to trial. That means that they have been in preventive detention.

http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=8743
18 posted on 12/08/2003 8:21:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Fresh Blood in the Theocracy! Is He Next?

December 08, 2003
Der Spiegel
Dieter Bednarz

In the nuclear poker game with the West, a third faction is exerting its influence in the power struggle between the right and the reformers: the pragmatic conservatives. In advance of the parliamentary elections, there is growing disappointment in the reformers surrounding President Mohammed Khatami.

Two souls reside in the heart of Mohammed Jawad Laridjani. As a scientist, the mathematician is considered one of the leading intellects of the Islamic Republic.
At the research institute for theoretical physics and mathematics founded by Laridjani, in the upper-class north of Teheran, directly adjacent to the sumptuous Niawaran Palace of the deposed Shah, the young Einsteins of the Islamic Republic brood over nanostructures, supersymmetry and quantum gravitation. "We are a sort of Iranian Max-Planck Institute," says its director, referring to the high standards of his research facility.

But striving to achieve greater scientific knowledge is not the only objective of the 53-year-old Laridjani. He is one of the most important spokesman and leaders of the powerful conservatives, who reject a Western party model. Anyone who intends to make something of himself in Iran's center of power finds it difficult to circumvent this clever doctor with the revolutionary resume.

Acceptance by the religious establishment is an indispensable condition of professional success in the mullah state, and something for which Laridjani has his family to thank. As the son of a grand ayatollah, there has never been any doubt as to his religious conviction. Laridjani demonstrated his revolutionary fervor during the protests against the Shah in Teheran in the late 1970s. He still talks about his "youthful sins" on the barricades, behavior that led to his arrest by the secret service on two occasions.

Unlike many of his compatriots, who never ventured far from Iran's religious schools and lecture halls, Laridjani never shied away from contact with the "Great Satan," the United States. In fact, he even wrote some of his research papers in sunny California. The doctor has nothing but praise for the open atmosphere and standards of the University of California at Berkeley.

It is precisely this cocktail of religious fervor, revolutionary experience and practical worldliness that has transformed this man with the carefully trimmed sideburns into the leader of a faction that sees itself as a third force in the power struggle between defiant revolutionary fanatics and dynamic reformers. He is a true "conservative pragmatist." This political strategist believes that his new movement "is pumping new blood into the right wing."

As a sort of "spin doctor" for the mullahs, Laridjani eagerly pursues one goal above all others: the overwhelming defeat of the reformers surrounding President Mohammed Khatami in the spring of 2004. Laridjani, confident of his coming victory, enthusiastically predicts a "completely new era" for the theocracy.

Although the mathematician's predictions of a victorious outcome for his party may be somewhat rash, the importance of the election for the country's future is undisputed. The liberal newspaper Nasim-e Sabah (Morning Breeze) has even referred to the parliamentary elections as "the most important event since the 1979 Islamic Revolution."

In fact, Iran's roughly 40 million eligible voters will face a momentous decision: Will they give the liberal forces that currently prevail in parliament a second chance? Or will they help the conservatives surrounding religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni stage a comeback? Finally, will they even turn out to vote in an election already overshadowed by allegations of manipulation?

For Laridjani, however, there is more at stake than an election to the seventh Iranian parliament, or Majlis: This doctor dressed in expensive clothing is attempting to achieve a fundamental reorientation of politics, and is doing so successfully.

Laridjani's coolly calculating clique already appears to have made one of its most spectacular political chess plays: the announced signing of the supplementary protocol to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. The agreement, the outcome of months of negotiations with the West, would guarantee that the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency would be allowed to conduct inspections everywhere and at all times to determine whether the mullahs, in spite of their many denials to the contrary, are indeed developing nuclear weapons.

Unlike the religious hard-liners, who would be all too pleased to see Iran become a nuclear power, if only to use its Shahab rockets to thumb its nose at hated rival and nuclear power Israel, the Iranian neocons have dispensed with ideological ballast. According to their leader Laridjani, Teheran's actions must instead "be shaped exclusively by the question of what is good for Iran." In Laridjani's view, reaching a compromise with Europe and, more importantly, with the world's only remaining superpower, the United States, is a far better solution than confrontation.

Laridjani and his supporters no longer wish to demonize America, but instead view it as a potential partner. The doctor proposes joint efforts to fight terrorism as an initial attempt at cooperation. For someone like Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization, the pragmatists no longer wish to be a part of Washington's "Axis of Evil." And with regard to the nuclear conflict, Laridjani has even expressed the unthinkable: "If the United States does build the reactors for us after all, then they can inspect them themselves."

The pragmatist is also calling for decisive action in terms of economic policy. He believes in a consistent campaign to privatize the country's state-owned businesses, which still control a large share of its crumbling industry, and in downsizing Iran's rampantly growing bureaucratic government infrastructure and making it more efficient.

In a bid to win voters, Laridjani rails against the "Mafia-like structures" within the religious foundations, which control large portions of the economy. "We will create greater competency," says Laridjani in his wide-ranging election slogan. This is why the pragmatists are more interested in qualifications than ideology when selecting their candidates, a strategy designed to win over the younger generation, which sees itself cheated out of opportunities by stubborn mullahs. After all, every third Iranian is unemployed, and each year the job market is flooded with well over 100,000 new university graduates.

Even the promising spark of economic opportunity offered by tourism has threatened to be extinguished ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11th threw their shadow over Teheran. The great Royal Square of Isfahan, once a must-see for every tourist visiting Iran and, with its arcades, one of the most outstanding examples of Safawidic architecture, is virtually unvisited today. "In the past I sold merchandise for more than 150 dollars a day," complains rug merchant Parvis, lamenting the absence of Westerners. Today he can be happy to make that much money in two weeks.

This is why an economic recovery is more important to many people than the dreams of the liberals. They think like Ali, who spends his days lifting weights and smoking a water pipe in Teheran's Lale district. "I don't care about politics," he says, "I just want employment opportunities." If he could make something of himself professionally, Ali would no longer have to spend his evenings hanging around with his four friends - all between 20 and 30 -, and could finally afford to start looking for a wife.

The pragmatists are unlikely to push for domestic policy reforms. Like the ultra-radicals, the moderate conservatives reject any form of Westernization. The concept of "liberalism" is taboo in their party, and Laridjani has no interest in talking about "reform," a word he believes is too aggressive and demanding. His goal is to achieve an "evolution" of Iranian society, one in which "all changes will be implemented with the necessary caution."

The pragmatists are also performing a balancing act between fundamentalism and future in terms of human rights. Of course, they have no interest in a rewriting of the Sharia, or Islamic law. For this reason, they will not abolish the punishment of stoning, for example. However, Laridjani believes that suspending such sentences is the right step, partly to alleviate pressure from the West.

The prophet waves away the impatience among large parts of the population like the smoke of his cigars. He advises "not to take so seriously" the student protests for freedom of expression and democracy. In his opinion, these "children" want everything to happen far too quickly and have no understanding of the "national interests of Iran." He believes that this is already evident in their demands, demands shaped by foreign influences. "Modernity," says Laridjani, "may not be imported."

In spite of their reservations about reform, the pragmatists speculate that they will win at least 50 additional seats in the Iranian parliament, and have not ruled out the possibility of gaining a majority. The strategist is confident that Iranians will not allow themselves to be taken in by the empty promises of the reformers a second time around. Nonetheless, the reformers have held a strong majority in the Majlis since the 2000 parliamentary elections, with about two-thirds of its 290 seats.

According to Laridjani, the ultra-conservatives, who are firmly in control of the judicial system and state security forces, have done their utmost to prevent any liberalization. Liberal publications have been shut down, critics of the regime have been arrested, and leading intellectuals who presented too vigorous a challenge to the mullah state have been murdered. The virtually omnipotent religious leader Khameni and his arch-conservative Guardian Council, a sort of religious constitutional court, have blocked any form of political opposition.

One can only surmise the level of resignation among the former pioneers of reform when a professional optimist such as Shirin Ebadi, a Teheran attorney and winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, is clearly averse to discussing politics. However, Khatami's former front-woman claims to have retained her "hope" that reforms will come soon.

The president's brother is showing the heavy strain of going into elections under the banner of progress. Reza Khatami, a member of parliament, drops wearily into his chair, and the chairman of the Iran Islamic Participation Front sounds unconvincing when he talks about the future of his movement. The bastion of the free thinkers consists of 130 members of parliament, for now.

Reza Khatami makes no effort to dispute the allegation that the reformers have disappointed their supporters: "We know that young people, in particular, are not happy with us," and he knows that many are so frustrated that they simply refuse to vote. However, low voter turnout would spell a bitter defeat for his party, as was the case in February's communal elections.

Khatami almost defiantly points out that his Participation Front has 5,000 members and 250 offices throughout the country, and that they will mobilize votes during the final months. However, the party chief declines to say exactly what it is he will use to attract voters. After all, the ultra-conservatives have successfully crushed all of their initiatives, such as their efforts to liberalize the country's press law.

However, the reformist wing refuses to admit defeat, even though the conservatives have not shied away from manipulating the election. Member of parliament Khatami complains that many of his party's most promising candidates were simply not approved by the Guardian Council: "They are trying to cut off our heads."

It already begins to sound like an obituary for his movement when the chairman of the Participation Front talks about the "historical achievements of the reformers. "The engine of progress," the party chief assures, can no longer be stopped, and he firmly believes that his brother, the president, deserves at least part of the credit. He also believes in his people's desire for freedom: "People will force the conservatives to permit reforms," and will do so peacefully, he hopes.

In any event, Reza Khatami has called upon his fellow reformers to remain calm: "Reformers, like a clever cat, must balance themselves on a narrow ledge between anarchy and dictatorship." And would his opponent Laridjani be the wolf in sheep's clothing? Khatami feels that the comparison goes a bit too far. But then the reformer smiles and says that while the pragmatic doctor in his office up in the foothills of the Albors Mountains may not be a wolf, he is certainly a clever fox.

The leader of the right has long since begun looking beyond the parliamentary elections. Laridjani also intends to win the presidential elections in 2005, when President Khatami, written off by the voters and apparently deeply depressed himself, will be constitutionally barred from running for a third term.

The aspiring officeholders are still maintaining a low profile, at least officially. Ever since his success in helping bring about the nuclear compromise, Teheran's chief negotiator, Hassan Rohani, is said to have begun forming his own political ambitions. According to Mohammed Roghaniha, editor-in-chief of the liberal newspaper Iran Daily, "perhaps someone from Rafsanjani's camp will throw his hat in the ring." Former President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, as head of the negotiating committee, still exerts considerable influence.

And chief pragmatist Laridjani? After already having represented Teheran in the Majlis twice as more of a revolutionary fanatic, he too appears to be driven to a higher office. The doctor is said to be quietly preparing his campaign for the presidency, and with Faustian zeal.

DIETER BEDNARZ

Translated by Christopher Sultan

http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/english/0,1518,273448,00.html
19 posted on 12/08/2003 8:23:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
UNREST CONTINUE IN SARAVAN, DESPITE CURFEW

TEHRAN 7 Dec. (IPS)

Unrest in the city of Saravan, situated near the Pakistan border in the Sistan and Baloochistan province continue, five days after police shot dead a young motorist And despite curfew, according to Balooch sources both inside and outside Iran.

Though officials admitted to the killing of four people in clashes between the angry population and Law Enforcement and Revolutionary Guards forces, but other Baloochi sources say the number of dead is "much, much more".

"The police shot and killed a motorist who refused to obey an order to stop. After this incident, people started to protest and there were clashes between residents and the police", Mr. Ja’far Kambouzia, a representative of Zahedan, the Province’s Capital city at the Majles said earlier, cited by the independent Iranian student news agency ISNA.

"Unfortunately, despite the appeals to the police by local authorities for moderation in restoring calm, some of (the police) intervened and there were four deaths from gunfire", he said, adding that the protestors had destroyed "public property" and that following the clashes security forces had descended on the area in force.

According to other sources in the region, disturbances continued in the following days with residents challenging the security forces, making more dead and wounded among the civilians, who clashed with the police and the basij militia, shouting slogans against the regime and its leaders, but most particularly Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.

A Balooch journalist in Canada put the number of dead at 40, adding that hospital in the small city and others, as far as Zahdan, were "filled with injured people, most of them by bullets". "The city is under curfew, but protests continue", he said, quoting local sources.

Like most Iranian border regions with the exception of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the northwest, the population IN Sistan and Baloochistan are predominantly Sunni Muslims staunchly opposed to the Shi’a that is the Iranian official religion.

Unlike other religious minorities that are officially recognised, with the exception of the Baha’is who are banned, not recognized and severely repressed, the Sunnis have no status and contrary to the authorities who claims that as Muslims, they have equal rights with the Shi’a, they are also repressed, their mosques and schools shut and their preachers suffering limitations.

ENDS SARAVAN UNRESTS 71203

http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2003/Dec-2003/saravan_unrests_71203.htm
20 posted on 12/08/2003 8:41:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
DESPITE BAN, IRANIAN STUDENTS MARK THEIR DAY

TEHRAN 7 Dec. (IPS)

Hundreds of Iranian students celebrated the national Student Day on Sunday, calling for freedom of speech and the release of political prisoners.

Because the authorities had refused authorisation to organise demonstrations outside the universities and even in the open campuses, the students held their meetings inside auditoriums, preventing basiji students, the islamist vigilante who are on the payroll of the ruling conservatives from disturbing them, as they had done previously with Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, the Nobel Peace laureate for 2003.

The annual Student Day marks the death of three students during a protest at Tehran University against former U.S. President Richard Nixon's visit to in 1970.

This year’s commemoration was named "Half a century of struggle against despotism".

Students have been at the forefront of protests against the Islamic Republic's clerical establishment in recent years, and a pillar of the surprise and landslide victory of Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami in both the May 1997 and his re-election in 2001.

But as Mr Khatami got closer to the ruling conservatives and the reformers who, thanks to the youngster’s votes, won the majority of the seats at the present Majles, or the Iranian Parliament, the students became more and more disillusioned.

For the second strait year, Mr. Khatami failed to show up at the ceremonies, bringing the divorce between him and the official reformists who support him to the point of no return, political analysts pointed out, as he offered a deft ear to the plight of hundreds of students arrested on orders from the Judiciary.

Under tight police security, protesters inside the Tehran University campus on Sunday carried pictures of their jailed classmates.

Eyewitnesses told Iran Press Service that police stopped thugs of the conservatives-controlled Ansar Hezbollah in plainclothes to attack students, but also prevented journalists and photographers to enter the universities.

"Also a lot of people tried hard to come to the University to check if anything would happen, something like the nightly demonstrations that took place last months when students, joined by local residents, would demonstrate against the regime, but were stopped by security forces", one Iranian journalist at the scene reported.

In protest to both Khatami and the reformists failing to stand firm to the conservatives stopping the application of the promised political, social and economic reforms, the Office for Consolidating Unity (OCU), the nation’s biggest student movement, withdrew its influential political support for Khatami and his allies.

According to political analysts, the bulk of the students would either refrain from voting in the forthcoming Majles elections, due next February, or if they do, they would not vote for the reformists, who faces a defeat similar of the one they suffered in the last February cities and villages elections.

''Reformists used our votes as a political tool and in return we got broken promises. They forgot us", Matin Meshkini, a student leader, told the British news agency "Reuters".

''Khatami and his allies will not receive our support due to Khatami's failure to use the opportunities to push the reforms ahead'', Meshkini said.

As the inside doors meetings and speeches ended, hundreds of students rallied outside universities doors, some chanting overt anti-regime slogans such as chanting slogans such as "Hashemi, Hashemi, Iran will not become Chili", referring to both Ayatollahs Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmood Hashemi Shahroodi, respectively hard line Heads of the Expediency Council and the Judiciary, or "Canons, Tanks, Basiji" would have no effects".

The students also denounced the attitude of the leader-controlled Radio and Television, shouting "The Voice and Visage of Larijani must be shut", referring to the openly biased policy adopted by Mr. Ali Larijani, the Head of the State-controlled public media, a former revolutionary guard who is also an adviser to the leader of the regime, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i.

In speeches at various universities, students denounced the violence of the pressure groups, including the so-called basiji students inside the universities, the regime’s injustices by dividing the society in the "khodi and na khodi" (those who are with the minority but ruling conservatives and the rest of the population), generalised corruption at the highest level of the theocratic system, free elections outside the control of the leader-controlled Council of the Guardians.

They also denounced the brutal behaviour of the authorities during the July 1999 students upraising that left several students killed and wounded and the arrest of hundred others on direct order of Mr. Khameneh’i and the approbation of Mr. Khatami.

ENDS STUDENTS DAY 71203

http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2003/Dec-2003/studetns_day_71203.htm
21 posted on 12/08/2003 8:42:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran judge backs father in Belgian custody case

Reuters
Mon 8 December, 2003 09:43

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An Iranian judge has cleared of any wrongdoing the father of two girls who have taken refuge in the Belgian embassy in Iran and want to return to their mother in Belgium, a newspaper reports.

Belgium has issued an international warrant for the arrest of Shahab Salami on charges of kidnapping for failing to return the girls to their mother after taking them on holiday to Greece in August.

Yasmine Pourhashemi, 15, and her six-year-old sister Sara went to the Belgium embassy in Tehran by taxi last Tuesday after eluding their father, who took them to Iran and stayed in the country after the holiday.

But the parents' divorce and the mother's custody rights granted by a Belgian court are not recognised in Iran. Nor does Iran recognise dual nationality.

"Iran's law does not consider either of the parents a kidnapper for taking the children even without informing the other one," criminal court judge Mohammad Erfan was quoted by the Etemad daily on Monday as saying.

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

But the judge said the only solution would be to hand the girls back to their father.

He said that if the mother of the two girls had any complaints about custody of the girls she should pursue the case through the Iranian courts.

But the mother Zarah, who lives in the eastern Belgian city of Liege, has expressed concerns about travelling to Iran since, under Iranian law, she would then need her husband's permission to leave Iran.

The father told the Etemad newspaper he wanted the girls to remain in Iran.

"My daughters are Iranian and I have their custody and I want them here," he said.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a news conference on Sunday that Iranian and Belgium officials were discussing ways to find a solution to the problem.

"This is a legal, emotional and family matter and should not be politicised," he said.

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=417466&section=news
22 posted on 12/08/2003 8:44:53 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I wrote a letter to the editors of this publication about the following article. A copy of my letter follows this post. -- DoctorZIn

Next Stop, Iran?

Don't these people ever learn?
by Alistair Millar

Is Iran next? Hasn't George Bush got enough to worry about in Iraq? Costs are escalating, troops are dying. Iraqi civilians are still deprived of their most basic needs, and the U.N. is relegated to the sidelines. Senior military officials and experts from both parties are increasingly vocal in their criticism of the administration. According to Ronald Reagan's secretary of the Navy, the invasion and occupation of Iraq "is one of the most ill-advised and reckless actions that the U.S. government has ever taken."

Nonetheless, hawks in the Bush administration are undaunted. They have waited for years to execute their strategy to "secure the realm" and reshape the Middle East. For them Iraq is just the first act.

Echoing charges that were used to justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has openly said he supports a policy of regime change in Tehran, saying that Iran is harboring al Qaeda members and developing nuclear weapons. At the same time the administration is limiting its diplomatic options by shutting down its back-channel communication with senior Iranian officials. U.S. officials are reported to have met on May 27 to discuss possible efforts to overthrow the government in Tehran.

America has had enough trouble building international political, financial, and military support for the war on—and occupation of—Iraq. A campaign against Iran will further isolate America. Even the U.K. government—which supports engagement with Iranian reformers and whose public is still extremely skeptical of claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction sufficient to justify war—has said they will not support a U.S.-led campaign against Iran.

The conservative magazine The Weekly Standard has opined that we must now "take the fight to Iran." The Project for the New American Century, which boasts its affiliation with many key administration officials, wrote an open letter to Bush just after 9-11. The letter strongly urged the president to pursue a "war on terror," invade Afghanistan, alienate Yasir Arafat, attack Iraq, and target Iran. While it does not seem politically, militarily, or economically feasible now, Tehran is still on the to-do list and may well be next if Bush is re-elected.

This sends the worst possible message to Iranians and will ruin the prospects for internal reform. Pro-reformists in Iran have been clear that if the Americans are belligerent, it will help the conservatives to rally the Iranian people behind them. It may encourage Iran to learn from the Iraqi regime's fate and take a cue from North Korea: Your only option for survival is to build a bomb as soon as you can. As David Albright, a former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspector and president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said in September: "You can end up driving Iran into a corner and causing it to embark on a crash nuclear program out of fear."

THERE IS NO doubt that uncertainties about Iran's nuclear program are a cause for concern. Iran is not being fully transparent about all of its nuclear activities and has not complied with previous IAEA requests to freeze its uranium enrichment program. The IAEA has just passed a unanimous resolution calling on Iran to provide a "full declaration" of its nuclear program, to open all nuclear sites for inspection, and to agree to environmental testing in advance of an IAEA meeting scheduled for November. There is a real danger that Iran could decide to drop out of a dialogue with the multilateral atomic agency and respond negatively to pressure generated by neocons from the United States.

To prevent that from happening, U.S. policy should take a more nuanced approach with Iran. America must reduce risks and ensure that several key objectives are met. U.S. policy must prevent weapons proliferation, increase cooperation in the campaign against terrorism, and encourage Iran's evolution toward a more democratic society. Iran is presently caught in an internal tug-of-war between a pro-reform, democratically elected government and a conservative, anti-American clergy that wields significant political power. The United States should design its policies in ways that strengthen the hand of reform constituencies and take a regional approach toward the disarmament of weapons of mass destruction across the Middle East.

Steps toward engagement should be taken and linked to reciprocal gestures of cooperation from Iran, such as acceptance of the IAEA resolution and concrete steps toward implementation of U.N. counterterrorism mandates. Over the past 20 years, incentives have been used to successfully encourage other emergent and existing nuclear weapons powers to forswear the bomb, making the world a much safer place. Increased dialogue and cooperation with Iran will increase understanding on both sides and create a basis for a gradual improvement in political relations and enhanced security on both sides. We don't have to look far to see how the option of regime change by force is working.

Alistair Millar is vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office of the Fourth Freedom Forum, an independent research organization that works on global security issues.

http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0311&article=031141a
24 posted on 12/08/2003 1:11:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iraq Signs Deal To Buy Iranian Kerosene, LPG

December 08, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
Hassan Hafidh

BAGHDAD -- Iraq has signed an agreement for Iran to supply Baghdad with thousands of metric tons of kerosene and liquefied petroleum gas to alleviate the country's severe shortages caused by sabotage and power cuts, Iraq's local newspapers reported over the weekend.

The official al-Sabah newspaper said Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum reached the agreement with Iranian officials to supply Baghdad with oil products during his visit to the country in the third week of November.

"The agreement states that Iran will supply Iraq with 10,000 tons of kerosene a month from December this year," the newspaper said, quoting an Iraqi oil official.

Tehran would also start supplying up to 12,000 tons of LPG a month to address the shortage of cooking gas, the paper added.

The LPG and kerosene that Baghdad has already paid for in cash according to international oil prices would be shipped from Iran to Iraq by sea.

Sabotage, power cuts and wear and tear of power stations and refineries have all contributed to the acute shortages of kerosene, LPG and gasoline that Iraq is now experiencing.

Long lines at Baghdad's petrol stations have again reappeared three months after Iraq's oil ministry managed to solve the problem following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq eight months ago.

The oil ministry said production of gasoline, diesel and kerosene dropped to 20 million liters a day after the war, from 30 million liters a day before the war.

The oil ministry is also looking at importing these oil products from neighboring Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The paper also said officials from Iraq and Iran had discussed the possibility of Iraqi crude oil swaps with Iran of up to 700,000 barrels a day. Iraq's Basra Light crude would be sent to Iranian refineries in exchange for the Iranians supplying the same amount of its oil to buyers through its Kharq Island terminal in the Persian Gulf.

The paper didn't say when the swaps deal was likely to be agreed or implemented.

-By Hassan Hafidh, Dow Jones Newswires; +88216 218 03061; hafidh8@hotmail.com

http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=12&d=08&a=7
27 posted on 12/08/2003 4:28:36 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Solana to be Asked to Visit Iran

December 08, 2003
EUrobserver
Andrew Beatty

BRUSSELS -- The head of EU diplomacy, Javier Solana is expected to be asked today (8 December) to travel to Iran early next year, in a bid to further the EU’s engagement with the Islamic republic.

Although discussions are ongoing, diplomatic sources have told the EUobserver that members are agreed on the need to send a "positive signal to Tehran" and are set to ask Mr Solana to make an official visit.

The move comes after last month’s announcement from the Iranian authorities to sign up to tougher inspections of its nuclear facilities, after months of negotiation.

Despite that breakthrough, EU Member states are expected to stop short of calling for the resumption of formal, political economic and trade talks, which were earlier suspended because of fears over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

"We need to make sure we keep room for manoeuvre", said one EU source.

Europe’s capitals are keen to keep up the pressure on Iran to implement the International Atomic Energy Agency’s rules they have signed up to.

http://www.euobserver.com/index.phtml?sid=9&aid=13819
28 posted on 12/08/2003 4:29:21 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
US Renews Call for Iran to Turn Over al-Qaeda Members

December 08, 2003
AFP
Yahoo News

WASHINGTON -- The United States renewed calls for Iran to turn over al-Qaeda operatives on its territory but denied suggestions it might exchange Iraqi-based Iranian opposition figures to Tehran in return for members of Osama bin Laden's terror network.

"We believe Iran should turn over all suspected al-Qaeda operatives to the United States or to countries of origin or third countries for further interrogation and trial," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

"It's essential that other countries have direct access to information these people may have about past and future al-Qaeda plans," he told reporters.

"We acknowledge that Iran has in the years past turned over some al-Qaeda to third countries, however, we're not aware of any progress with regard to al-Qaeda currently in detention, whom we suspect includes top al-Qaeda leadership," Boucher said.

His comments came in a response to questions about a weekend report that Jordan's King Abdullah II was quietly trying to broker a deal between the United States and Iran in which in Iran would surrender the al-Qaeda in exchange for US action on members of the Iranian group People's Mujahadin.

US troops in Iraq are currently interrogating members of the group, which is also known as the Mujahadin-e-Khalq and has been designated a "foreign terrorist organization" by the State Department, to determine whether to take legal action against them, Boucher said.

But he stressed that "the United States is not engaged in discussions regarding a swap of Mujahadin-e-Khalq members held by US forces in Iraq in return for al-Qaeda members held in Iran.

The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the Jordanian monarch, who was in Washington last week on a private visit, is trying to revive a dialogue between the United States and Iran in a bid to prevent further destablization in the Middle East.

Iran has acknowledged holding a number of suspected al-Qaeda militants, including top leaders, but has refused to identify them and has ruled out handing them over to the United States.

Diplomats and Arab press reports have said they include bin Laden's son, Saad, al-Qaeda's spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Gaith, and its numbers two and three, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Saif al-Adel.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/us_iran_qaeda
29 posted on 12/08/2003 4:30:05 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Much to do Before Extent of Iran Nuclear Program is known

December 08, 2003
AFP
Yahoo News

STOCKHOLM -- Iran has been cooperative in disclosing information about its nuclear programme but more needs to be done before there is certainty about the full scale of its activities, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog said.

"I'm satisfied by the degree of cooperation we have seen from Iran for six weeks or so," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Mohamed El Baradei told reporters in Stockholm on the sidelines of a conference on nuclear waste management Monday.

"But I very much hope that this will be sustained because we still have a lot of work to do," he stressed.

The IAEA two weeks ago condemned Iran for 18 years of covert nuclear activities but stopped short of bowing to US demands of hauling Tehran in front of the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

Tehran recently agreed to sign, in the "next couple of weeks", an additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NTP) that would authorise snap inspections of Iran's nuclear activities.

El Baradei is due to file a report in February on the full scale of Iran's nuclear activities, for which Iran has pledged to supply all information required by the IAEA.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20031208/wl_mideast_afp/iran_iaea_nuclear_031208155945
30 posted on 12/08/2003 4:30:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Ebadi in Oslo to Receive Nobel Peace Prize

December 08, 2003
AFP
IranMania

OSLO -- Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi arrived Monday in Oslo where she will officially receive the Nobel Peace Prize later this week, making her the first Muslim woman to win the prestigious award.

Ebadi, 56, who was chosen for her democracy-building efforts and her work to improve human rights in Iran, will receive the prize from chairman of the Nobel Committee Ole Mjoes at a formal ceremony on Wednesday at 1:30 pm (12:30 in Oslo's City Hall.

King Harald V of Norway, who is usually present at the ceremony, sent his excuses this time, as he was scheduled to undergo surgery for a bladder cancer on Monday.

But Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Regent Haakon Magnus, and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will attend the ceremony.

The peace prize committee's decisions are often controversial and while Ebadi enjoys wide support worldwide, the award has drawn fire from hardliners in Iran who have criticized Ebadi and even sent her death threats for what they perceive to be her Western and secular attitudes and behavior.

At the risk of enraging her critics further, Ebadi said on Sunday that she will attend Wednesday's ceremony without a headscarf, which is mandatory according to her country's laws for Iranian women even when they travel abroad.

"I will not be wearing the hejab," Ebadi told AFP in an interview. "My actions have always irritated some people, but that is not important."

"I want Iranian women to be free to wear or not to wear the hejab," she said, but added that she is just as opposed to moves in secularist France to ban the veil from schools.

Hours before her arrival in Oslo, Ebadi received support from the controversial National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in her struggle for the rights of women, children and dissidents.

"We hope that this Nobel Peace Prize will help the human rights situation in Iran (...) in the whole Middle East and, to a certain extent, in the Islamic world," Perviz Khazai, a NCRI representative in northern Europe said at a press conference in Oslo.

The NCRI, which is the political arm of the People's Mujaheddin Organization, the largest armed movement opposed to the Iranian regime, figures on a United States list of terrorist organizations, but not on the European Union's list.

Asked whether the organization's support may actually work against Ebadi, who is already facing harsh criticism from Iran, Khazai said: "We have to do our best in order to support this move by the Norwegian Nobel Committee because it is a historical chance for the Iranian people."

Khazai, who was the Iranian Ambassador to Sweden and Norway before defecting in 1982, insisted that the democratic reforms initiated by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami are only "cosmetic changes."

The Iranian regime has a "very, very peculiar interpretation of Islam," he said. "It's apartheid between men and women. It's apartheid between civilization and a medieval interpretation of Islam."

In Norway, the discussion over whether or not it is right to maintain economic ties to a country with so little respect for human rights has raged for a long time.

Christian Democrat Lars Rise, a member of the Norwegian parliamentary committee on foreign affairs, has led the attack on public oil company Statoil, which has long been active in Iran, and which has recently been accused of trying to bribe its way to landing more business in the country.

"We cannot accept that a Norwegian state oil company does business with this regime, unless Iran starts to respect human rights, minority rights, women's rights, and the rule of law," he said.

Ebadi will probably be asked to comment on these issues at a press conference at the Nobel Institute in Oslo on Tuesday.

The human rights advocate is the third Muslim and the 11th woman to get the Nobel Peace Prize.

The prize consists of a diploma, a gold medal, and a check for 10 million Swedish kronor (about 1.4 million dollars, 1.1 million euros).

At a separate ceremony in Stockholm on Wednesday, the winners of the Literature, Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Economics prizes will receive their awards from King Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm's Concert Hall.

That ceremony will be followed by a gala banquet for 1,300 guests at Stockholm's City Hall.

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=20421&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
31 posted on 12/08/2003 4:31:30 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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