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Iranian Alert -- December 18, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.18.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/18/2003 12:00:37 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 12/18/2003 12:00:37 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 12/18/2003 12:03:28 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
In Iran, hopes for democracy dwindle

Reformers dispirited as candidates registered for parliamentary vote.

By Scott Peterson
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

TEHRAN AND QOM, IRAN – Once seen as the most vigorous democratic impulse in the Islamic world, Iran's reform movement is battling for political survival.
This week, candidates are registering for Iran's February parliamentary elections. But this first step in the process - conducted with perfect civility - belies a tumultuous political scene for reformists - including attacks on them by vigilantes - plus a growing apathy among voters.

The collapsing popularity of President Mohamad Khatami, and the stymied reform movement that he symbolizes, may result in the handover of Iran's parliament to conservatives - the same entrenched faction that has successfully blocked Mr. Khatami's efforts, say analysts here.

"Reform is dead, and its leaders are not going to be [in the new parliament]," says Shirzad Bozorgmehr, deputy editor of the English-language Iran News. "That's going to anger a lot of people, because the conservatives will be stronger. but it's going to be a fact of life."

One possible silver lining, some analysts say, is that a modest conservative victory might yield a less combative political atmosphere, and a parliament, or majlis, that can get something done. Hard-liners in both camps declare they can't work together. But the lessons of the reform experience - the clear desire for change that prompted three landslide elections victories for reformers since 1997, and the bursting bubble of their high expectations - is shaping moderates on both sides, and could lead to an alliance in parliament.

"The idea of reform has taken root, even though it has been diverted from its original path," says Bozorgmehr. "If the rightists don't fear anyone, and feel no threat from reformers, then they can afford to be magnanimous."

Frustration runs deep, however. The main reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), has warned that it may call a boycott if its candidates are rejected in large numbers by the Guardian Council, an unelected conservative body that has heavily vetted candidates in the past. It is one lever of power in Iran, along with the judiciary and security forces, that remains in the hands of hard-liners. Targeted by such unelected bodies, some 100 reform newspapers have been shut down since 2000, and several key reform leaders are behind bars.

Last week in Geneva, Khatami said that democracy is the "only alternative." But the depth of conservative suspicion was clear in the response to those words by Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati, the hard-line Friday prayer leader, who told Iranians: "They are lying. Do not be fooled by them. Leave democracy alone."

Overshadowing the process are the demands of the Iran's youthful population, two-thirds of them under 30 years old, who have little recollection of the 1979 Islamic revolution - and sometimes want to challenge ruling clerics head-on.

A recent poll by the Tehran Medical University is reported to have found that 72 percent of respondents thought the reform process was over; 38 percent wanted Mr. Khatami to quit, and nearly a third wanted majlis deputies to resign.

"Khatami is forgotten - he's not an issue anymore," says a Western diplomat. "But the Khatami era made the reality of social change more open. There is an increasing gap between society and politics."

Reversing the subsequent apathy is proving difficult for both camps, though conventional wisdom is that less voters means more chances for conservatives. City council elections last February yielded just 12 percent turnout in Tehran (and more than 50 percent nationwide) - and a conservative victory.

That result "is an example people are very happy about these days," suggests Hussein Shariatmadari, a representative of Iran's supreme spiritual leader, and editor of the conservative Kayhan newspaper.

"[Council members] live simply, are highly educated, have low salaries and work 16 to 17 hours a day," he says. "In a word, they are only working for God's satisfaction. The people are looking for these kinds of people, and we hope they find what they want."

But the Tehran council result is taken as a dangerous example by reformists, who decry the council efforts to turn some cultural centers into mosques.

"People must realize what will happen if they don't go to the ballot box, and what they will lose, even if they have been critical of reforms," says Morad Veisi, chief editor of Yas-e-No, the main newspaper of the IIPF, which has been operating for nine months, and regularly publishes details of prison conditions of its activists.

A coalition between moderates in the new majlis is "not possible, because we have fundamental differences," says Mr. Veisi. "Where in that concept is the people's vote? The conservatives don't care if people come to vote or not, and that is dangerous."

Indeed, some say Iran's current political dynamic is far from the ideals of justice and democracy that were to have been restored in Iran by the 1979 revolution.

"[Current leaders] are not fulfilling the promises of the first days of the revolution," says Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, once the chosen successor of the leader of the revolution, Imam Khomeini, who was released from house arrest in January, after five years, for questioning the divine right to rule.

"The Guardian Council is also radical, and following factionalism," says Mr. Montazeri, in an interview in Iran's religious center of Qom. The council was designed to ensure that laws are "not against Islam," but "now it manages the candidates, and is doing the opposite of what it was supposed to do."

While candidates are due to be vetted in coming weeks, several reform deputies have already been attacked by vigilantes. In one case this month, some 15 thugs in the central city of Yazd beat and kicked close presidential aide Mohsen Mirdamadi, the head of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

Voices from across Iran's political spectrum condemned the attack.

Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi told the Associated Press that it was a "new strategy on the part of hard-liners to intimidate reformers...ahead of elections. They have taken up arms now." He later said the perpetrators were "part of the system."

"They are criminals...and wild wolves," says Grand Ayatollah Saanei, a ranking reformist cleric, and former head of the judiciary under Khomeini, during an interview in Qom. Mr. Saanei says Islam and democracy are an "exact" fit, though "it needs a lot of time, because all those people in theological schools do not think the same way."

Mr. Shariatmadari, the conservative editor, says he is in no doubt that the reform camp itself engineered the vigilante attack on Mr. Mirdamadi - not the shadowy hardline pressure groups usually blamed for disrupting reform gatherings.

"It is clear: the result is the result that [reformists] badly needed," Shariatmadari says.

"Instead of giving an explanation of their performance, and why they have produced nothing, [for them] it is better to talk about this incident."

Even if reformers fade at the polls, Ayatollah Moussavi Tabrizi, a reformist cleric in Qom, says their influence is still palpable. The most hard-line institutions, such as the judiciary, have been forced by the wave of reformist popularity to improve, he says.

"Of course, we have a long way to go to fulfill these ideals," the ayatollah adds. "We must do something so that people don't tire of politics - they need to be on the scene."
3 posted on 12/18/2003 12:06:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Lapid wants Jews from Iraq and Iran to prepare claims

By Amiram Barkat

Justice Minister Yosef Lapid has urged that all material relating to Jewish property in Iraq and Iran be collected. The purpose would be a future Israeli claim over Jewish property left in those countries.

Lapid yesterday met with representatives of Jews who had lived in Arab countries to discuss the issue. He criticized previous Israeli governments that had treated the Jews who immigrated to Israel from the Arab countries as "brothers who returned to their homeland."

Lapid said: "At a time when the Palestinians turned into professional refugees, we gave up one of the best arguments that we have... This is one of the greatest blunders made in the state's history."

Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein said that the claims of Jews from Arab countries should be used in negotiations as a counter balance to recognition of the rights of Palestinian refugees.

Oved Ben-Ozer, head of WOJAC, the world organization of Jews from Arab countries, said that there were fears among members that the Israeli government would take over the properties. "If they do, we will sue them," he said.

In the past few months, the foreign ministry has instructed Israeli diplomatic missions to raise the issue in their information programs.
4 posted on 12/18/2003 12:08:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran kidnapped Westerners 'okay'


The government in Iran has said three Western tourists - one Irishman and two Germans - are "physically okay" 10 days after they were kidnapped.

A government spokesman said he expected the tourists, thought to be cyclists, to be released soon.

The three were kidnapped on 8 December in south-eastern Iran, close to the Pakistani border.

Their captors - thought to be drugs traffickers - have demanded five million euros for their release.

Iran has said it will not pay any ransom and has urged Irish and German authorities to do the same.

The Irish Red Cross has named the Irishman as Aidan James Leahy.

The organisation's chairman, David Andrews, has met the Iranian ambassador in Ireland to attempt to secure the man's release.


Iran's Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mussavi-Lari said the intelligence ministry and the police were both working on securing the tourists' release.

"Based on the information [our departments] have given us, they are physically okay," he said.

He added that officials working for the release of the three were confident they could "resolve the issue soon".

The three tourists were cycling near Nosrat Abad, on the road between the ancient city of Bam and Zahedan in the south-eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, when they were kidnapped.

The government says their captors are drug smugglers who are unhappy at a police seizure of their consignment.

Ten Europeans were kidnapped in three separate incidents in the Islamic Republic in 1999.

The hostages were freed unharmed and three of the kidnappers were publicly hanged in 2001.
5 posted on 12/18/2003 12:10:08 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Shi'ite Official and Baathist Assassinated in Iraq
38 minutes ago
Add World - Reuters to My Yahoo!

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An official of Iraq (news - web sites)'s largest Shi'ite Muslim political movement was killed in Baghdad by gunmen loyal to ousted Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), the group said Thursday.

A representative of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) said Muhannad al-Hakim was shot dead near his home in Baghdad's Amil district Wednesday, following death threats from Saddam backers.

"He had received threats that he would be liquidated, murdered, by the men of the regime," the official said. "They are behind this crime."
6 posted on 12/18/2003 12:10:09 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran 'owed billions for Saddam war'


The head of Iraq's Interim Governing Council says Iran should be paid reparations for the war that Saddam Hussein waged against it in the 1980s.

Abdul Aziz al-Hakim said further discussion was needed to decide what if anything Iraq would pay itself.

Iran claims $100bn in reparations for the brutal eight-year war that claimed about one million lives.

Mr Hakim's remarks may augur improving Iran-Iraq relations now Saddam Hussein is in custody.

The prominent Iraqi is also the head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri) the most important Shia Muslim party represented on the governing council.

Sciri has close ties with Tehran, where the party was based during Saddam Hussein's years in power.

Analysts say that with Iraq's Shia majority likely to dominate in any future democratic government, it is logical that Baghdad should now develop warmer relations with its Shia neighbours in Iran.

Mustard gas

In 1980, after a series of border skirmishes following Iran's Islamic revolution, Iraq invaded Iran.

The ensuing war claimed the lives of at least one million people and during the conflict, Iraq used nerve gas against the Iranians.

The Iranian Government is preparing a comprehensive complaint against Saddam Hussein for "crimes" against the Islamic republic, calling for the captured former Iraqi leader to be tried before an international court.

Some Iranian observers say the US should also be in the dock with Saddam Hussein, as Washington supported him at the time of the war.

An estimated 20,000 Iranians were killed by Iraqi mustard gas or by nerve agents during the conflict.

Death penalty

Iran points out that Kuwait has already received billions of dollars through the UN's Iraqi oil-for-food programme in compensation for the invasion of that country.

Mr Hakim said Saddam Hussein would be tried in Iraq

Mr Hakim said: "According to the UN, Iran deserves reparations. She must be satisfied. Whether we will pay or not is something which we need to discuss further."

The council leader was speaking after talks with UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in London.

Mr Hakim also told a news conference that Saddam Hussein would be tried in a special Iraqi court.

International monitors could observe the trial, which would take global legal standards into account, Mr Hakim added.

He did not say whether the former Iraqi president, captured at the weekend, would face the death penalty.

"[Saddam Hussein] will be tried and after that we will do what the judge and the court will decide", Mr Hakim told reporters.

Just days before Saddam Hussein's capture, the Iraqi council announced that a tribunal would be set up to try members of the former regime.

Saddam 'still in Iraq'

Speculation over the ousted leader's whereabouts has been intense since his capture on Saturday near his home town of Tikrit. The US military has only said that Saddam Hussein is being held at "an undisclosed location" in Iraq.

Council member Mowaffaq al-Rubaie told reporters: "Saddam Hussein is present in an area of greater Baghdad... God willing... he will be tried in Iraq in public by an Iraqi court."

He was responding to media reports that had suggested that Saddam Hussein had been flown to the Gulf state of Qatar.

On Wednesday Arab League officials said a fact-finding delegation, headed by Assistant Secretary General Ahmad Bin Heley, would leave for Iraq on Thursday.

The team will meet Council members, visit mass graves and discuss human rights violations by the former regime.
7 posted on 12/18/2003 12:13:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran raps foreign embassies over 'depravation'

IranMania News
December 17, 2003

TEHRAN, Dec 17 (AFP) - Tehran's hardline public prosecution office denounced Wednesday what it said was "depravation" in foreign embassies, revealing that it had infiltrated the residence of the Ivory Coast ambassador in an operation that led to the arrest of several young local women.

The allegations were contained in a report cataloguing six months of work by the office, which is headed by hardliner Saeed Mortazavi, best known for his closure of reformist newspapers when he was in his previous job of head of Tehran's press court.

The report stated that during the period, "tens of depraved places and mixed-sex parties were discovered and the accused, especially the elements behind running these places, were identified and arrested and were handed over to the courts."

"One of these places where depravation was discovered was in the embassy of the Ivory Coast," said the report, carried by Iranian media and whose contents were confirmed to AFP by a judicial spokesman.

Iran's judiciary usually uses "depravation" as a euphemism for mixed-sex parties were alcohol is consumed or, in some cases, prostitution.

"After we were informed that a noticeable number of young Iranian girls and women were present at the residence of the ambassador, planning and infiltration of the place by the police resulted in the identification and arrest of a noticeable number of delinquents," stated the report.

The prosecution office also boasted that after the operation against the embassy, after which it said 40 arrests were made, "we did not get any further reports of any such parties in any foreign embassies in Tehran, or at least we noted their numbers decreased substantially."

Diplomatic sources said the arrests were made following a party on August 7 marking Ivory Coast's national day, and outside the compound where the party was held.

The report complained that "unfortunately embassies and foreign missions tend to throw parties in the name of national days... and invite some deviant girls and therefore spread moral corruption."

"But after the above mentioned case, the embassies were almost clean and based on our latest information they have not invited these kind of people anymore."

Details of the "infiltration" of the Ivory Coast's ambassador's residence were not given, a sensitive issue given that embassies and ambassadorial residences are protected by strict diplomatic protocols.
8 posted on 12/18/2003 12:51:49 AM PST by F14 Pilot (A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Khatami tells students Iran must remain religious state

17th Dec 2003
Manorama Online, Malaysia

Teheran: President Mohammad Khatami rejected secularization of Iran in remarks to students in Teheran.

''Our revolution and our history has a religious identity and our people want democracy on the basis of religion,'' Khatami said. ''Our geopolitical situation is different and therefore even universities should bear in mind that we cannot implement political tendencies from other countries and,'' the president said, referring to the growing secular trend in Iran among students.

Students - and some liberal circles - repeatedly have called for a referendum on amendment of the constitution in favour of democratically elected bodies, and against appointed bodies which are controlled by the conservative clergy.

The clergy establishment has labelled the calls an effort to undermine the Islamic system and replace it with a secular one.

Khatami warned Iranians against concluding that an Islamic system was not compatible to democracy. Khatami and the Iranian establishment are worried that turnout in February 20 parliamentary elections will be low, which would undermine government legitimacy. Last year, voters boycotted municipal elections.

Iranian students used the be the main force behind the president, however they have manifested frustration over the failure of Khatami's reform efforts. He has been asked to resign and warned of an election boycott.

Khatami has termed the February elections as the most important in the 25-year history of the Islamic Republic.
9 posted on 12/18/2003 12:58:38 AM PST by F14 Pilot (A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Transformation of Iran can be done it two ways:
1. The Guardian Council stop reformers by not allowing them to be candidates in the election. Only a small number of people will vote, the majority does not accept the outcome (a conservative Majlis)The demographic forces will increase the frustration of the youths and there will be a lot of violence the coming years, eventually leading to a revolutionary change of the government. The clerics and Rafsanjani have to escape to...

2. The Guardian Council accept the candidates and there will be a reformist Majlis. The transformation of Iran will be peaceful.

3. ? any suggestion for a third alternative?
10 posted on 12/18/2003 3:11:48 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
11 posted on 12/18/2003 3:34:21 AM PST by windchime
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Fast Becoming One of Sweden's Largest Export Markets

December 18, 2003

STOCKHOLM -- Swedish companies, led by truckmaker Volvo, have nearly doubled their exports to Iran, which is fast moving up the list of the Scandinavian country's largest export markets, a report said.

Over the past nine months, Swedish sales to Iran have climbed by 88 percent, as exporters ignored United States embargo calls against Iran, which is on Washington's "axis of evil" list, the TT news agency reported.

Sweden's exports to the Islamic state were set to exceed five billion kronor (683 million dollars, 553 million euros) by the end of this year.

While the Islamic state still lags far behind Sweden's top export partners, like the US and Germany, which accounted for 70 billion and 62 billion kronor respectively in Swedish exports during the first nine months of 2003, it is rapidly moving up the list.

In the first nine months of 2003, Iran jumped from 39th place to 28th place on the list of the largest importers of Swedish goods.

"This is about traditional Swedish industry," Sven-Eric Soeder, state secretary of the Swedish Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications, told TT.

"Volvo, Scania, Ericsson, Alfa Laval and similar heavy industries have seen a large increase. Volvo, for instance, is alone responsible for half of the increase through its truck exports," he added.

While many Western countries have abided by the US embargo on Iran, neutral Sweden has never prohibited companies from doing business with the country.

The US government prohibits most trade with Iran, except for food, medical products and carpets.

"We believe that contact is better than isolation," a Swedish government official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Up until the 1979 Iranian revolution, Sweden was, in value terms, the 15th largest exporter to Iran.

Exports to Iran dwindled subsequently, but have been going up again recently.

"Over the past two to three years, exports have increased very quickly," Claes Claeson, a spokesman for Volvo, told AFP.

"Much of what Iranians export has to go over the highway, and they need high-quality vehicles to transport it."

Volvo, which has done business in Iran since 1932, sold between 4,000 and 5,000 trucks to the country this year, and hopes that number will increase going forward, Claeson said.
12 posted on 12/18/2003 8:07:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Mubarak Terms for Visit to Iran

December 18, 2003
Gulf Daily News
The Voice of Bahrain

CAIRO -- Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak would visit Tehran and normalise ties if Iran scraps public tributes to president Anwar Sadat's assassin, confidant Makram Mohamed Ahmed said yesterday.

"If Iran withdraws the name of Sadat's assassin, Khaled Al Islambuli, from a Tehran street, all the needles on the path to Egyptian-Iranian normalisation will have been removed," wrote Ahmed, editor in chief of Al Mussawar newspaper.
13 posted on 12/18/2003 8:08:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
76% Of Americans Believe Iran Threatens World Peace, Poll Shows

December 18, 2003
The Day
Jonathan M. Katz

Jerusalem -- Some 43 percent of Americans believe Israel is a threat to world peace, according to a poll presented Wednesday by a Jewish group, but many more are concerned about North Korea, Iraq and Iran.

The Anti-Defamation League said its survey showed much less concern about Israel among Americans than a recent poll in Europe, where Israel was at the top of the list of countries perceived as threatening world peace.

The ADL poll showed that 43 percent of Americans believe Israel is a threat to world peace, placing it behind seven other countries. In last month's Eurobarometer poll, 59 percent of Europeans chose Israel, ranking it number one.

North Korea ranked first in the U.S. poll at 77 percent, with Iraq and Iran tied for second at 76 percent. About 37 percent said the United States itself was the greatest threat.

A Boston-based research firm interviewed 1,200 American adults by phone earlier this month for the ADL. The survey's margin of error was 4 percentage points. The poll was presented during a national security conference in Herzliya attended by Israeli leaders and world figures.

The poll showed about 40 percent of Americans sympathize primarily with Israel in the Mideast conflict, compared to just 15 percent that sympathize with Palestinians, numbers Foxman said have remained consistent since 1991.

About 73 percent said the United States was more likely to be attacked by terrorists because of its support for Israel, but 62 percent who gave that answer said the support should continue anyway.
14 posted on 12/18/2003 8:10:08 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
76% Of Americans Believe Iran Threatens World Peace, Poll Shows

December 18, 2003
The Day
Jonathan M. Katz
15 posted on 12/18/2003 8:10:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Nuke is Highest Foreign Priority to Americans

December 18, 2003
Zogby International
Zogby Poll

Iran Nukes Should be America's Highest Foreign Priority, According to Nation's Likely Voters in Foreign Policy Association.

Americans view a potential nuclear crisis in Iran as the highest priority in foreign crises (64% rating as 4 or 5 on the scale). Fighting between Israel and the Palestinians rates a close second on the list of priorities (57%). Fewer than half of Americans assign a high priority to rebuilding Afghanistan (43%).

The Foreign Policy Association commissioned Zogby International to determine American opinion about US priorities. The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted September 5 - 9 from Zogby's Utica, NY Call Center, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.

Likely voters were asked to rate the priority of several situations around the world (some actual, some hypothetical) on a five-point scale, where one indicates lower priority and five indicates a higher level of priority.

Other world situations rank considerably lower as priorities. Less than one in five consider a financial collapse in Brazil (19%) or instability and war in Indonesia (18%) as high priority. Just one in ten (11%) view war in the Congo as high priority.

Those more likely to rate fighting between Israel and the Palestinians as high priority include Easterners (68%), Republicans (62%; compared to 52% among Democrats and 53% among Independents), older respondents (50-64: 60%), college graduates (63%), whites (59%, compared to 45% among African Americans), and Jews (82%).

Liberals (61%) and progressives (63%), as well as conservatives (59%) and those who say they are very conservative (62%), are fairly aligned in their views of assigning a high priority to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

There are generally few significant demographic distinctions when assigning priority to rebuilding Afghanistan. Only among Hispanics (54%) and Jews (51%) do majorities assign high priority to rebuilding Afghanistan. Easterners (50%), college graduates (49%), and higher income earners (,000 and over: 49%) are also more likely to prioritize the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

There are relatively few significant demographic distinctions when considering a nuclear crisis in Iran, possible financial collapse in Brazil, instability and war in Indonesia, or war in the Congo.

The Foreign Policy Association ( is a non-profit organization in New York City dedicated to inspiring the American public to learn more about the world.

"As Americans approach the first presidential election in decades in which foreign policy looms large, their appraisal of international developments has never counted for more," noted Noel V. Lateef, President of the Foreign Policy Association.
16 posted on 12/18/2003 8:11:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran's Nuke is Highest Foreign Priority to Americans

December 18, 2003
Zogby International
Zogby Poll
17 posted on 12/18/2003 8:12:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Man could face death for car sticker

Reuters - World News
Dec 18, 2003

TEHRAN - An Iranian man faces a possible lengthy prison term or even the death penalty for attaching a sticker to the rear window of his car proclaiming "The era of arrogant rulers is over".

"My client faces jail for acting against national security just because of that sticker," attorney Mohammad Ali Dadkhah told Reuters on Thursday.

The charge of acting against national security normally carries a hefty prison sentence and in some cases has led to the death penalty being imposed.

Dadkhah said Ali Akbar Najafi, 27, an unlicensed taxi driver, was arrested in June in southern Tehran. He said his client had thought up the slogan himself, but that it was not specifically aimed at Iran's clerical establishment.

"After being kept blindfolded in solitary confinement for 53 days he now suffers psychological problems," said Dadkhah, who was asked by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, to represent Najafi.

Najafi was released on bail of $25,000 (17,300 pounds) and ordered to appear before a branch of the Revolutionary Court on December 28.

His arrest in June coincided with a rash of pro-democracy protests during which around 4,000 people were arrested. The vast majority of them were released without charge.

When asked on Wednesday whether Saddam Hussein ought to receive the death penalty, Iran's President Mohammad Khatami said: "If anyone is to be executed, the most appropriate person would be Saddam. But it don't want any human being, even a criminal, to be killed if there is an alternative."
18 posted on 12/18/2003 8:23:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: AdmSmith
I think the first theory will happen.
Any other Ideas?
19 posted on 12/18/2003 8:44:44 AM PST by F14 Pilot (A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does.)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Bump!
20 posted on 12/18/2003 8:45:37 AM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn; All
Iran-Egypt Relations

•Despite official invitation from the Islamic government, it is unlikely that Egyptian President would visit Iran on the anniversary of the Islamic revolution, internationally syndicated columnist Amir Taheri tells Radio Farda. The invitation extended to Husni Mubarak does appear to have the approval of the conservative faction, which holds the main levers of power in Iran, he adds. (Jean Khakzad) Khakzad)

•The Egyptian President's trip to Iran would be possible if the street named after the killer of President Anwar Sadat is given another name by Iran, Cairo's al-Mossavar newspaper Mohammad Ahmad wrote. (Massoud Malek)

Change the name of the Street....that's a start. Somehow the regime hasn't figured out that these street names are offensive to others. More likely that they really don't care.

21 posted on 12/18/2003 9:51:30 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Protesting Student Takeover Tabriz's Sahand University

•Protesting students in Tabriz's Sahand University took control of the campus, member of the university's Islamic student council Behruz Safari tells Radio Farda. The takeover followed three days of sit-in protest against remarks by the university's president which students found offensive. Sahand's president Cheraqlou had created a fearful police atmosphere in the university, and summoned the students who dared to express their opinions to the disciplinary committee, he says, adding that students have asked the university president to resign. (Nima Tamadon)

•Out of town university students, half of Tehran's student population faces serious shortages, both economic and cultural. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)
22 posted on 12/18/2003 9:54:09 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn; All
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Iran to Sign NPT Protocol on Thursday, Atomic Energy Chief Says

•Iran will on Thursday sign the additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, head of the atomic energy organization Golamreza Aghazadeh said today. He did not say who would sign the protocol on behalf of Iran. After signing, the protocol will be referred to the cabinet for approval and to the Majles for ratification and to the Guardians Council for final approval, cabinet spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said last week.

•A part of the heavy water processing plant being built near Arak is already operational, Aghazadeh said. Heavy-water reactors can use natural, non-enriched uranium as fuel, which can then be reprocessed to extract weapons-grade plutonium. “The project has made 80 percent progress in general, and 90 percent in equipment and installation,” he added. Iran has told the International Atomic Energy Agency it plans to build a 40-megawatt heavy-water reactor at Arak for research and development and the production of radioisotopes for medical and industrial use. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
23 posted on 12/18/2003 9:58:03 AM PST by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
>>>Iran's Nuke is Highest Foreign Priority to Americans

Have you seen this video? I understand the US and Israel's symbols, but who does the Swastika represent? Japan? India? China? What countries are predominently Budhist?

24 posted on 12/18/2003 1:08:28 PM PST by Calpernia (Innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Signs Protocol on Snap UN Nuclear Inspections

December 18, 2003
Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA -- Iran signed an agreement on Thursday allowing the U.N. nuclear watchdog to conduct snap inspections across its territory, in a bid to persuade the world it is not secretly developing atomic weapons.

The signature to the Additional Protocol to the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) comes nearly 18 months after an exiled Iranian opposition group sparked a crisis by saying Tehran was hiding several large nuclear facilities. The allegations proved to be true.

Iran's outgoing ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Akbar Salehi, said Tehran wanted to ensure every aspect of its nuclear program was open to scrutiny.

"We will not leave any stone unturned," he told reporters.

Salehi and IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei signed the document at the agency's headquarters in Vienna.

"The protocol is a tool to build confidence and to provide assurances," ElBaradei said, adding that he hoped Iran's parliament would ratify it as soon as possible.

The United States has labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" and says it is using its atomic energy program as a smokescreen to develop nuclear arms. Tehran denies this.

The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA called the signature a "step in the right direction" but said it would take years before the world could be sure Iran was meeting its obligations. Another Western diplomat called the move "long overdue."

The protocol sparked heated debate in Iran earlier this year, with hard-liners saying the short-notice inspections it permits were tantamount to allowing spies into the country.

But, under mounting international pressure, Iran said in October it would sign up for the tougher inspection regime, suspend uranium enrichment and provide full details of nuclear activities dating back to the 1980s.

Unlike the IAEA's U.N. Security Council mandate to conduct weapons inspections in pre-war Iraq, the protocol does not allow unannounced "anywhere and any time" inspections in Iran.

But it does empower the agency to demand much more information about sensitive nuclear activities and to inspect all declared and undeclared nuclear sites with as little as two hours' notice.


The IAEA criticized Tehran last month for an 18-year cover-up of potentially arms-related nuclear research, warning the Iranians any further breaches could see them taken to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

"Iran's signature today of the Additional Protocol is a useful step in the right direction," U.S. ambassador Kenneth Brill said, adding that it was "only a first step" and now had to be ratified and enter into force.

"Given Iran's nearly two decades of deception, rigorous verification of the Protocol's implementation by IAEA inspectors over a period of several years will be critical if the international community is to begin to gain confidence in the consistency of Iran's actions with its international obligations," Brill said.

The protocol will give the IAEA much broader inspection powers than it has under Iran's NPT Safeguards Agreement. But one analyst said it would not stop Iran developing the capacity to manufacture nuclear arms if it wanted to.

"Even with the Additional Protocol, the IAEA is going to need member states to provide intelligence," Gary Samore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told Reuters. "If governments have information that Iran has not really come clean, then now is the time to give it to the IAEA."
25 posted on 12/18/2003 5:34:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian-American Group Accuses Tehran of Widespread Rights Abuse

December 18, 2003
VOA News
Leah Krakinowski

Listen to Leah Krakinowski's report (RealAudio)

New York -- An Iranian-American human rights group says the arrest and torture of pro-democracy dissidents in Iran is on the rise. The National Coalition of Pro-Democracy Advocates called upon Western governments and the United Nations to condemn the Islamic fundamentalist regime at a news conference in New York City on Wednesday.

The non-profit group accuses the Iranian government of widespread abuse of students, women and ethnic minorities. The group cites the recent death of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in Tehran as an example of abuses in Iran.

Haydar Akbari, the president of the National Coalition, says the group's aim is to expose the Iranian government's actions in the wake of a steady loss of national support.

"The human rights situation is getting worse and worse because the regime is losing its support by the people day by day," he said. "That's the reason we're seeing more uprisings from the students and all categories of the society."

Remy Alappo is a peace activist and friend of the late Zahra Kazemi. On June 23, 2003 the Canadian photojournalist was arrested while taking photographs of student-led protests outside of the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. She died in custody under circumstances that international journalism and human rights groups questioned. Ms. Alappo says Ms. Kazemi's tragic death should be a symbol of the Iranian government's efforts to suppress free speech.

"She was taken into custody and interrogated by police for 77 hours," she said. On July, she died in a Teheran hospital while under guard. Although the international community, particularly the Canadian government, pressed Iran for a thorough investigation, the Iranian government refused to cooperate. From July 11 to July 16, the world community witnessed a series of lies and deceptions by the highest-ranking members of the Iranian government."

In November, a key United Nations committee approved a Canadian-drafted resolution rebuking Iran for human rights abuses, including torture, suppression of free speech and discrimination against women and minorities.
26 posted on 12/18/2003 5:37:26 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran, Saudi Worst Religious Freedom Violators in Mideast

December 18, 2003
Middle East Online
Matthew Lee

The United States on Thursday assailed the Islamic states of Iran and Saudi Arabia as the worst offenders of religious freedom rights in the Middle East.

The two countries - along with pre-war Iraq - were listed in the State Department's annual report on international religious freedom as nations in which there is "state hostility toward minority or non-approved religions."

Egypt was named a lesser offending nation where there is either state neglect religious persecution or discrimination toward certain groups.

Israel and Turkey, which had been in Egypt's class last year, graduated up a level to the group of nations in which there is "discriminatory legislation or policies disadvantaging certain religions, according to the report.

The designations do not carry sanctions, but Iran is already subject to myriad US restrictions and continues to be listed as "country of particular concern" in the area of religious freedom.

Despite calls from religious freedom and human rights watchdogs, Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Middle East, is not designated a "country of particular concern" although Thursday's report equates conditions there with those in Iran.

"These governments implement policies designed to intimidate certain groups, cause their adherents to convert to another faith or cause their members to flee," the report said.

In Iran, "members of the country's religious minorities ... suffered varying degrees of officially sanctioned discrimination, including intimidation, harassment and imprisonment," the report said, referring to Baha'is, Jews, Christians, Sunni and Sufi Muslims.

That discrimination - most pointedly directed at Baha'is and Jews - comes mainly in the areas of employment, education, and housing, it said.

As it has in its previous four editions, the 2003 report bluntly identifies Saudi Arabia as a country totally void of religious freedom.

"Freedom of religion does not exist in Saudi Arabia," it said, noting Riyadh's refusal to recognize any religion other than the Sunni branch of Islam and its bar on any public demonstration of a non-Muslim religion.

"Muslims not adhering to the officially sanctioned version faced harassment at the hands of the religious police," the report said, adding that Shi'as continued to be detained and face economic and political discrimination.

The report did note that Saudi Arabia had taken steps to rein in rising levels of intolerance toward other religions including the replacement of more than 2,000 government-paid imams accused of fomenting violence and terrorism.

"Senior (Saudi) officials have made some efforts to improve the climate of tolerance toward other religions and within Islam," it said, adding that there had been moves to delete disparaging references to non-Muslims in schoolbooks.

"However, there continued to be religious discrimination and sectarian tension in society ... including ongoing denunciations of non-Muslim religions from government sanctioned pulpits," it said.

Egypt was accused in the report of not acting consistently against religious freedom violations and, in some cases, being responsible for transgressions, particularly against of Baha'is and Christians.

"The government continued to prosecute persons, including Muslims, for unorthodox religious beliefs and practices under the charge of 'insulting heavenly religions'," it said.

The report was less severe on Israel and Turkey which were listed as countries in which laws or policies had put certain religions at a disadvantage.

In Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the report said some non-Jewish citizens "continued to experience discrimination in the areas of education, housing, employment, and social services," it said.

Government funding to the religious and education sectors tends to favor Jewish citizens and control of marriage, divorce and burial regulations lies only with Orthodox Jewish authorities, it noted.

In Turkey, the report said Ankara continued to restrict some faiths, Muslim and non-Muslim, amid ongoing debate of the country's secular status.

"Restrictions continued on non-Muslim religious groups and on Muslim religious expression in government offices and state-run institutions, including universities, usually for the stated reason of preserving the secular state," it said.
27 posted on 12/18/2003 5:38:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Seize the Moment

December 18, 2003
National Review Online
John F. Cullinan

After pinpointing and plucking Saddam Hussein from a hole in the ground in a state the size of California, how does the U.S. translate this stunning demonstration of military power and professionalism into effective political leverage that safeguards vital U.S. national interests during Iraq's stalled political transition?

In just over six months, an Iraqi transitional legislative assembly — however chosen — will assume full sovereign authority. That date is set in stone, thanks to the American electoral calendar and to aroused Iraqi expectations. Yet between now and then, nearly every other issue remains to be settled between the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC).

With so much up in the air — and so much at stake — how does the U.S. secure an acceptable political outcome that begins to justify its ongoing outlay of blood, treasure, and prestige? What's a workable strategy for bringing about the possibility of a more democratic and decent Iraq that's at peace with itself and its neighbors?

The immediate challenge is to put back on track the November 15 "Agreement on Political Process" that was single-handedly derailed by Iraq's most senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Hussein al-Sistani. Under this agreement, a transitional assembly selected through regional caucuses would form a fully sovereign Iraqi government on July 1, 2004, based on a "Fundamental Law" — or interim constitution — now being worked out within agreed parameters by the CPA and IGC.

Ayatollah Sistani has insisted on direct elections for the transitional assembly, as well as assurances that the interim constitution will defer to Islam, most likely in the form of a blanket prohibition against any legislation deemed contrary to Islam by unelected clerical overseers. His first demand, which concerns electoral mechanics, is eminently negotiable; but his second, which wholly subordinates politics to religious ideology (Islamism), unduly risks creating a failed state.

The imperfect November 15 agreement is by now the only game in town. It's the only available framework for resolving how to choose Iraq's transitional government and settle its basic rules of the road in the form of an interim constitutional. These are nominally separate issues but underlying opposition to U.S. policy in both cases is the impetus to eliminate all U.S. influence over Iraq's future — both on the part of various Iraqi factions and of the so-called international community. That's worth bearing in mind is considering how best to deal with the IGC and with Ayatollah Sistani.

As for elections, there's almost universal agreement among Iraqis that conducting a nationwide vote before July is a practical impossibility, given the absence of an agreed-on census, an electoral law, or adequate electoral machinery — as well as the mounting Baathist/jihadist insurgency. Insistence on elections in these circumstances is akin to demanding repeal of the laws of gravity.

At the same time, there's nothing sacred about the particular mechanics spelled out in the November 15 agreement. There's ample room for compromise on these essentially procedural issues, despite legitimate U.S. concerns that snap elections in decidedly unpromising circumstances might empower extremists of various stripes. A senior administration official quoted in the November 27 New York Times put it this way: "The nub of this is, how do we get to enough elections in enough places to satisfy the ayatollah's insistence on elections. We should be able to do that."

In fact, there's now a belated scramble for a face-saving solution, as IGC members begin to acknowledge reality and Ayatollah Sistani begins issuing hints of flexibility. But the existing dynamic needs to be reversed. For it's the CPA that's doing all the heavy lifting, according to Tuesday's Washington Post, "scrambling to negotiate a compromise with Iraq's two main religious strains." "The Americans are very nervous," They know they have to make changes but they don't know what those changes should be."

That's getting things exactly backwards. Clients exist to serve their patron's interests, not vice versa. It's up to America's handpicked political leaders — plucked from obscurity in most cases last July — to devise a deal that will stick and sell it to their constituencies. President Bush made that point rather more politely during a brief encounter with four IGC members after Thanksgiving dinner at Baghdad International Airport. "I will support any decision you make," recounted Shiite IGC member Mowaffak al-Rubaie. "I won't make decisions for you. I will help you in implementing your decision." That's exactly right — Iraqi electoral mechanics are well below the pay grade of the president of the United States.

IGC members must be made to understand that their political futures are at stake. After all, the sole issue to which IGC members have devoted sustained attention is the preservation of their own political prerogatives and prospects. Nearly all are exiles or political neophytes without any following in Iraq; and all stand to lose when the IGC goes out of business next July. They need a forceful reminder — in the universal language of interest — that appropriate roles might be found in the new Iraq for individual IGC members, but only insofar as they prove themselves helpful in the present crisis. After months of fecklessness and intransigence, the IGC's free ride is over. It's showtime.

Ayatollah Sistani, however, is not an American client whose political influence is largely a product of American patronage. But his studied coyness and polite but firm refusal to deal directly with U.S. officials are largely responsible for serious misunderstandings of his true concerns. In the absence of direct contacts, the U.S. has been forced to rely on intermediaries with their own agenda putting their own spin on the reclusive cleric's pronouncements. These include various IGC members, notably representatives of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), an Iranian-based exile group with strong ties to Iran's theocratic regime.

It may well be in Sistani's interests to keep the U.S. guessing and to preserve his own options. But his aloofness seems responsible for his own misunderstandings of U.S. aims. Barely ten weeks after the fall of Saddam's regime, Sistani expressed deep suspicions about U.S. intentions: "We feel great unease over their [U.S.] goals, and we see that it is necessary that they should make room for Iraqis to rule themselves without foreign interference." Sistani characteristically declined to spell out the grounds for his unease apart from the perceived risk of the "the obliteration of [Iraqi] culture" — which he views as synonymous with Islam.

Sistani does not refuse in principle to meet with foreign officials. He met with the late Sergio de Mello, the U.N.'s top man in Iraq, in a transparent piece of political triangulation with America's determined institutional adversary. But until recent days, Sistani declined every request for direct communication with Ambassador Paul Bremer. Whether his first response to Bremer — described in Tuesday's Washington Post as "conciliatory" but firm on the subject of elections — will establish a badly needed direct channel remains to be seen.

Also remaining to be seen is whether a clearing of the air will result in a meeting of the minds — especially in regard to Iraq's interim constitution and political architecture. The U.S. needs to make clear to all hands that its commitment to Iraq's political development is not unconditional or unlimited. Congress in particular will almost certainly balk at subsidizing the indirect theocracy that SCIRI and Dawa (another Islamist party) seem determined to impose. That's a much tougher issue than Iraqi electoral mechanics, which is capable of resolution within days. The skeletal outline of Iraq's interim constitution wisely defers the whole religion-and-state issue. By February 28 — the deadline for finalizing that instrument — the U.S. will discover if its search for a Karzai has produced a Khomeini.

— John F. Cullinan, an expert in human-rights and international law, formerly served as a senior foreign-policy adviser to the U.S. Catholic bishops.
28 posted on 12/18/2003 5:39:46 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran and Human Rights: Talk Is Cheap

December 18, 2003
Los Angeles Times
Elahé Sharifpour-Hicks

Three years ago, when President Mohammad Khatami addressed the United Nations, many believed that this forward-looking reformist leader would restore Iran's fractured relationships with the rest of the world and usher in a new era of understanding between the Muslim world and the West. Instead, he spoke in platitudes, calling Islam a religion of peace, reminding listeners of Iran's great humanistic civilization and avoiding any acknowledgment that Iran had fallen far short of these high ideals in its recent history.

Since then, relations have only gotten worse. The expected "dialogue of civilizations" collapsed in the rubble of the World Trade Center, and not long afterward President Bush declared Iran part of the "axis of evil."

Alarmed by the polarization between the West and the Muslim world, the judges of the Nobel Peace Prize chose Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights lawyer, as this year's Nobel peace laureate because she represents what it called a "reformed Islam" that sees Islam and human rights in harmony.

The symbolic power of this choice cannot be denied. The struggles for human rights of courageous men and women in Muslim societies throughout the Middle East and Asia are worthy of recognition, and the fact that Ebadi is from Iran, where the radical force of modern political Islam first came to international attention during the 1979 revolution, only adds to its impact.

As a woman, Ebadi embodies a further important message: She is a symbol of liberation and hope to the oppressed, faceless half of so many Muslim societies in which the rights of women are systematically circumscribed.

Weighted with all this expectation, it is perhaps not surprising that Ebadi's Nobel lecture was an anticlimax, but it was also another missed opportunity for those who long for the shadow of repression to be lifted from Iran. The lecture read as if it could have been delivered by an Iranian government official. While paying lip service to the values of human rights, she cited as examples of violations the detainees held by the United States in Guantanamo Bay and the plight of the Palestinians.

Listeners had no way of knowing that Ebadi was speaking as a representative of a human rights movement in a nation where tens of thousands were executed after grossly unfair political trials two decades ago, where arbitrary detention is commonplace and religious persecution is institutionalized.

Where were the references to the student demonstrators who disappeared in July 1999 and this summer? Why was there no reference to the imprisoned 70-year-old husband of her lifelong colleague, Mehrangiz Kar? Why no reference to Iranian Jews jailed for their religious beliefs or to the case of two Bahais sentenced in 1989, initially to death, and imprisoned since for practicing their faith?

Instead of a critique or an explanation of Iran's human rights calamities, the lecture was a recitation of Iranian and Muslim human rights achievements, with some politically correct America- and Israel-bashing presumably thrown in for the benefit of the European audience. Without denying the value of Iran's cultural heritage, one would have hoped for some frank acknowledgment that something has gone very wrong in Iran, and in many other parts of the Muslim world, in recent decades.

It misses the point to proclaim, as Ebadi and the Nobel judges did, that Islam is compatible with human rights. Of course it is, if Muslims choose to make it so. The problem is that the government of Iran cynically exploits Islam to legitimize its authoritarian rule and to discredit those who dare to challenge it.

By emphasizing text-based arguments for Islam's compatibility with human rights, human rights advocates play into the hands of the conservative clerical leadership in Iran.

It is beyond question that certain legally sanctioned practices of the Iranian government, which it justifies by reference to Islamic law, are violations of international human rights law. Take, for example, the denial of the right to child custody for divorced Iranian women. Or the arbitrary detention of a prominent dissident, journalist Akbar Ganji, who is accused of "insulting Islam" for exposing the involvement of government leaders in political assassination plots.

If human rights and democracy are to flourish in Iran and the Muslim world, as Ebadi expressed the hope that they would, then Iranian reform leaders, be they presidents or human rights lawyers, must show greater candor when they are on the global stage and, indeed, wherever they go.

Merely repeating that Islam and human rights are not contradictory does not bring about progress. At worst, it provides another opportunity for Iran's leaders to evade accountability for their violations of human rights by agreeing in theory while continuing to violate rights in practice.

Elahé Sharifpour-Hicks worked as the Iran researcher for Human Rights Watch from January 1994 to June 2003. The views here are her own.,1,84229.story
29 posted on 12/18/2003 5:40:33 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: AdmSmith
I'll go along with the first scenario, but as far as coming yrs.....we can't wait that long to get rid of the mullahs, Khamenei, Rafsanjani, et al. We can't let them have nuclear weapons. The change in government must occur soon.
30 posted on 12/18/2003 6:23:24 PM PST by nuconvert
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To: F14 Pilot
Iranian students used the be the main force behind the president, however they have manifested frustration over the failure of Khatami's reform efforts. He has been asked to resign and warned of an election boycott.

Khatami tells students Iran must remain a religious state.

Uh, why? Because you say so?

The mighty Oz.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Iran must remain religious so that blockheaded morons can retain iron-fisted rule--right?

31 posted on 12/18/2003 7:02:29 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: All

Click Here for the RadioFR website!

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32 posted on 12/18/2003 7:02:45 PM PST by Bob J ( them out!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Israel is an ally.

Iran's official line is pure anti-American hatred translated through madrassahs, calls for jihad, financing and orchestrating of terror attacks.

33 posted on 12/18/2003 7:06:51 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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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”

34 posted on 12/19/2003 12:03:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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