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To: DoctorZIn
Ebadi and Khazi wouldn't ever team up, would they?

The reason why I ask is it seems to me that Ebadi wants to work with the reform movement. And that causes me concern.

The baby needs to be thrown out with the bathwater, in Iran, to put it mildly.
34 posted on 12/08/2003 7:35:19 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife ("Your joy is your sorrow unmasked." --- GIBRAN)
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To: DoctorZIn
Tourists held for ransom in Iran

Dan De Luce in Tehran and Luke Harding in Berlin
December 9, 2003
The Guardian

Three European tourists have been kidnapped in a southeastern province of Iran plagued by rampant drug smuggling, western and Iranian officials said yesterday.
Two Germans and an Irish citizen were on a cycling trip in the Sistan-Baluchistan province when they were abducted, a western official who asked not to be named told the Guardian.

"They were cycling between Bam and Zahedan [near the Pakistani border]," the official said. It appeared the kidnappers had no political motive and were seeking a large ransom for the release of the tourists, the official added. Iranian policeconfirmed the abduction to news agencies.

The hostages were apparently taken by the same bandit groups that kidnapped three Spanish and an Italian tourist in 1999. The hostages were later released unharmed. Last night an Iranian official said that the group Schiruk was demanding a €5m (£3.5m) ransom. Germany's foreign ministry yesterday confirmed that several foreigners had been kidnapped. Antje Leendertse, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, said there were no further details but the ministry had set up a special task force in the case.

Kidnapping is rare in Iran but the impoverished Baluchistan region is notorious for heavily armed drug gangs that ferry vast quantities of heroin from Pakistan and Afghan istan into Iran and on to Europe.

Tehran has struggled to contain the drug-smuggling trade, deploying thousands of military and police forces to the area. In the past eight months, 28 smugglers and 17 border guards have died in gun battles in the eastern region. In an attempt to keep the smugglers out, authorities have dug a network of trenches, concrete walls and sand barriers along the border.

During and after the US-led war in Afghanistan, members of the al-Qaida network fled to Iran and were suspected of exploiting the drug smuggling networks to move without being detected.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,12858,1102905,00.html
35 posted on 12/08/2003 10:53:24 PM PST by F14 Pilot
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