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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 12/25/2003 12:01:21 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 12/25/2003 12:04:33 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; ...
I just received this from a student from Iran who reads our thread regularly. -- DoctorZin

"Dear Freepers & Friends

I, as an Iranian student, and on behalf of my friends and classmates we would like to wish you a very special Christmas.

May God bring you safety, peace & wealth in the days ahead. At this time our world needs Peace and Kindness.

We, Iranians, look forward to the day that our nation becomes a friend of your nation once again and we are all waiting for this day.

Once again, Please have a very merry Christmas.

God Bless you all, God Bless our nations. "
3 posted on 12/25/2003 12:06:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Genral Assembly Rebukes Human Rights Abuse in Iran

December 22, 2003
Iran va Jahan
Iran va Jahan Network

The General Asssembley adopted a Canadian-drafted resolution rebuking Iran for alleged human rights abuses, including torture, amputation, public executions, suppression of free speech and discrimination against women and minorities, by a vote of 68 in favour, to 54 against, with 51 abstentions.(AANNEX XXV)

"Draft resolution III on human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran would have the Assembly welcome the open invitation extended by the Government of Iran to all human rights thematic monitoring mechanisms in April 2002, the opening of human rights dialogue with a number of countries, and the efforts by the elected Government to foster the growth of civil society. However, the Assembly would express its serious concern at the continuing violations of human rights in Iran, the continued deterioration of the situation with regard to freedom of opinion and expression and the continuing executions in the absence of respect for internationally recognized safeguards. Concern would also be expressed at the use of torture and other forms of cruel punishment, in particular the practice of amputation and public executions, as well as the systematic discrimination against women and girls in the law.

The Assembly would call upon the Government of Iran to abide by its obligations freely undertaken under the International Covenants on Human Rights, to expedite judicial reform, to guarantee the dignity of the individual and to ensure the full application of due process of law and fair and transparent procedures by an independent and impartial judiciary, and to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on religious grounds or against persons belonging to minorities."


Human rights in Iran

The draft resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran (document A/58/508/Add.3–III) was adopted by a recorded vote of 68 in favour to 54 against, with 51 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States.

Against: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Brunei Darussalam, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Abstain: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bhutan, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Dominica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Suriname, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Zambia.

Absent: Armenia, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Kiribati, Liberia, Republic of Moldova, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tonga, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.
4 posted on 12/25/2003 12:08:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
State's Armitage Attributes Positive Developments to Steadfast Policies

December 24, 2003
Washington File

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage dismissed the idea that recent actions on the part of Libya, Syria and Iran were a reaction to the capture of Saddam Hussein but asserted that they are the long-term fruit of persistent policies aimed at bringing these nations into the international mainstream.

Speaking in a December 23 interview on National Public Radio, Armitage said, "The Libyan question, the discussions there, started over nine months ago. The Syrians, we've been hectoring them to do the right thing for the last seven months. And Iran decided to accede to the additional protocol regarding nuclear inspections following the visit of the three foreign ministers of the European Union."

He continued by affirming, "I think that the fact the Bush Administration has engaged in muscular multilateralism is in the back of the minds of all those three countries."

Specifically, the deputy secretary was referring to Libya's recent decision to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, Syria's seizure of $23 million in suspected Al-Qaida assets and Iran's signature of the additional protocol regarding nuclear inspections.

In the same interview, Armitage welcomed the measures being taken by the Pakistani government to address the issue of Pakistani nuclear scientists who were allegedly involved in the proliferation of nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya.

He said, "I saw a statement from Pakistan today where the government said [the scientists] may have been motivated by personal ambition and greed. So if that's the case and they were evading the laws of Pakistan, I hope the Pakistanis will wrap them up, and I think they will."

Following is the text of the interview:

(begin transcript)

Office of the Spokesman
December 24, 2003


Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage
On National Public Radio with Juan Williams

December 23, 2003
Washington, D.C.

MR. WILLIAMS: We are joined now by Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Mr. Armitage, thanks for joining us.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Good morning. Happy holidays.

MR. WILLIAMS: Tell me a little bit about the latest that's coming out of the interviews with Saddam Hussein about his ties to other countries who may have supported his regime.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: He is, as I understand it, not being totally cooperative in discussions about those matters. Particularly who was supporting him trying to evade UN sanctions is something that we've very interested in, but I don't think we've got to the bottom of that yet.

MR. WILLIAMS: Deputy Secretary Armitage, do you believe that the capture of Saddam Hussein set off a chain reaction of Iran allowing surprise nuclear inspections, Libya agreeing to disarm its nuclear weapons, and finally Syria seizing $23 million believed to belong to al-Qaida? Is this part of the benefit of preemptive action by the Bush Administration?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, you've just asked two questions. The capture of Saddam Hussein didn't have anything to do with the above. The Libyan question, the discussions there, started over nine months ago. The Syrians, we've been hectoring them to do the right thing for the last seven months. And Iran decided to accede to the additional protocol regarding nuclear inspections following the visit of the three foreign ministers of the European Union.

But I think that the fact the Bush Administration has engaged in muscular multilateralism is in the back of the minds of all those three countries you named.

MR. WILLIAMS: So you think it really has changed the dynamic taking place on the world stage?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, that's certainly our hope. We think it has.

MR. WILLIAMS: In Pakistan, a scientist is now identified as the source for nuclear proliferation in Iran, Libya, North Korea. What should the Pakistanis do with him? What is the U.S. telling the Pakistanis to do?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, we've had good discussions with the Government of Pakistan about this. They are in the process of interviewing, and interrogating, if you will, at least three nuclear scientists. And I saw a statement from Pakistan today where the government said they may have been motivated by personal ambition and greed. So if that's the case and they were evading the laws of Pakistan, I hope the Pakistanis will wrap them up, and I think they will.

MR. WILLIAMS: But it's not the case that the U.S. feels that it's supporting Musharraf, who was recently the subject of an assassination attempt, at the cost of possibly turning a blind eye to nuclear proliferation?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, that would really be against our long-term interest. President Musharraf has pledged that there won't be these transfers. In the last two years that I've been working closely with him, we have not seen such transfers, and I believe him.

MR. WILLIAMS: How quickly will the United States ease sanctions against Libya?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Oh, I suspect it'll be a while. Saying something is not the same as doing something, and the "doing something" I'm referring to is getting rid of all these weapons and limiting the delivery systems, as well as making it clear to all of us, particularly the families of the Lockerbie victims, that terrorism is a thing of the past.

MR. WILLIAMS: Well, how can they prove that?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: First of all, they've got to open up clearly and completely to international inspectors, and they've got to agree with the advice given to them by the international community, and they've got to follow through on all their commitments made to the Lockerbie families. So we'll know it pretty quickly.

MR. WILLIAMS: Just a moment, let's talk about the missions undertaken by former Secretary of State Baker.


MR. WILLIAMS: What did Germany, France and Russia get in exchange for writing off so much of the Iraqi debt?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: The only thing I think they got in exchange is the fact that -- first of all, they haven't written off any particular amount of Iraqi debt. They've all agreed to substantial reductions within the Paris Club and --

MR. WILLIAMS: Wait, wait. Explain the Paris Club to me.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: The Paris Club is a list -- I think it's -- or a group of 18 creditor nations who generally make loans in concert, or reduce or restructure loans in concert. And that's what the Germans, the French and the Russians have basically agreed to do, but they haven't put a figure next to it. We've still got some negotiation.

And Mr. Baker offered them nothing other than the opportunity to participate in the rebuilding of a free Iraq.

MR. WILLIAMS: So there is or is not a quid pro quo that says those countries will now be able to get contracts for reconstruction efforts in Iraq?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: They have always been eligible for subcontracts. I know of no change in the policy regarding prime contractors. They are not eligible.

MR. WILLIAMS: Is Mr. Baker talking to you, to officials of the State Department, or is this an independent mission?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, he talked to Secretary Powell a couple of times before he first took the mission; second, before he went out on the mission; and he's already both written and telephonically communicated with the Secretary upon his return from this first of what will be three separate missions.

MR. WILLIAMS: Let's change the subject again. What about the U.S. relationship with the Russians and Mr. Putin in the wake of questions that have arisen about recent elections and the jailing of a major oil baron in Russia?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Yeah, the relationship with the Russian Federation is a bit troubled right now. I think anybody who wouldn't agree with that is not keeping their eye on it. We do think that this is still an evolving strategic relationship and we have an awful lot of places where we agree, and we have problem areas such as trade disputes and Chechnya and some that you referred to, democracy and human rights.

MR. WILLIAMS: And but there's no step, there's no step being contemplated to somehow express our concern to Mr. Putin?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, we've expressed it publicly. The Secretary of State has done it in some of his recent pronouncements. We do it privately through our Ambassador and, if necessary, higher level contacts. And we keep pressure on where we think it's necessary. We're watching closely the Yukos affair and the Khodorkovsky case.

Mr. Putin has emphasized that all people are equal before the law, and we want to make sure that there is no sort of selective application of law.

MR. WILLIAMS: In Iran there is concern about a democratic reform movement. Senator Brownback has proposed setting aside money to support the opposition seeking to make reforms in Iran. Does State support this idea?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, we support the development of democratic movements in Iran. But I was very moved by the Nobel Peace Prize winner's comments, the famous lawyer Shirin Ebadi, where she said to be really effective these movements have to be in and of Iranians themselves within the country, and not a function of outside assistance and outside string-pulling. And that's kind of where we are.

MR. WILLIAMS: So you do support Senator Brownback's idea, or don't?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, we've told Senator Brownback, with whom I've had many discussions on this, that this is a very good idea, parts of it we support, parts we don't. It's very difficult, I think, from outside to pick the winners and the losers inside a country such as Iran, and I think that we are of the position that Iranians are the people who have a right to determine their own destiny, and we do support their aspirations to live in freedom. And to that extent, we support Senator Brownback.

MR. WILLIAMS: Okay, now one last question on Israel.


MR. WILLIAMS: The wall seems to have stirred up even more controversy in recent days, but even so, Prime Minister Sharon says he's going to go ahead with sort of unilateral steps towards creating peace, withdrawing some settlements as well as dealing with the wall.

What is the U.S. policy at the moment?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, some unilateral steps might be helpful to the peace process and other unilateral steps would be harmful. And I think Prime Minister Sharon indicated he was going to give a bit of time before he made these decisions to see if the Palestinians could get their act together.

But in that same speech, Mr. Williams, I would note that Prime Minister Sharon embraced fully the roadmap as the real answer to the problems of -- or the search for peace in the Middle East.

MR. WILLIAMS: So the U.S. State Department sticks by the roadmap. But is there a next step? Is there something that we could signal in the future as a next logical meeting place or event to take place to advance the roadmap?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: Well, I met yesterday with the Minister of Finance of the Palestinian Authority to discuss some of these matters. We're not ready to have a next meeting place.

But I would note that there is a lot going on inside of Israel and inside the territories. Secretary Powell has met with the framers of the Geneva accord. We laterally met with Sari Nusseibeh, a professor, a Palestinian professor, both of whom are representing grassroots organization of Israelis and Palestinians who are crying out ever more loudly about the need for a solution. And I think this is a very positive development and can only be complementary to the roadmap.

MR. WILLIAMS: Well, I'm thinking that the Geneva accord was never fully embraced by the Administration, although Secretary Powell did meet with its authors. Has that attitude changed?

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: No, it wasn't a matter of embracing it. We do find it complementary to the roadmap. What we did embrace, however, was the fact that Israelis and Palestinians were coming together of their own accord seeking a way forward, and we think that can only be helpful towards peace.

MR. WILLIAMS: All right. Happy holidays, Deputy Secretary Armitage.

DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: And to you, Mr. Williams. Nice to chat with you again.

MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you. Bye-bye.
5 posted on 12/25/2003 12:09:39 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

by Amir Taheri
Gulf News
December 24, 2003

Within the next few days, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is expected to decide whether to visit Iran. According to Egyptian and Iranian sources, his decision depends on a symbolic move by the leadership in Tehran.

Mubarak wants the Iranians to change the name of a Tehran street. The reason? The street, where the Egyptian Embassy building is located bears the name Khalid Al Islambouli, one of the terrorists involved in the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Facing the embassy's main entrance is a giant-size mural of Al Islambouli that Mubarak also wants removed.

The current assumption is that unless those demands are met, the Egyptian President will not go to Tehran. I think Mubarak should go, even if the street's name is not changed and the assassin's mural is not removed. There are several reasons why.

To start with, Mubarak should not make any of his decisions conditional to what terrorists or their supporters might or might not do. The decision to change the name of a street does not rest with President Mohammed Khatami who has invited Mubarak.

Head of three powers

Strictly legally speaking, Khatami does not even have the right to invite a foreign head of state to Iran. Under the 1979 Constitution and its amendments, the president is not the head of state. He is the head of the executive, a kind of prime minister whose title is "president".

Legally speaking the head of state in the Islamic Republic of Iran is Ali Khamenehi, the mullah who bears the title of "Supreme Guide". In that position he is the head of the three powers and commander-in-chief. He has the power to dismiss the president, dissolve the parliament and even suspend the rules of Islam if he so pleases.

For more than two decades, however, most foreign heads of states and other foreign dignitaries have chosen to ignore these facts, acting as if the Iranian president is the head of state. Technically, this is a major diplomatic concession to Iran because it assumes that the Iranian "Supreme Guide", which the constitution presents as "the leader of all Muslims throughout the world", stands higher than other heads of state.

Having accepted this, Mubarak would be wrong to cancel his visit because of the Al Islambouli issue, which is part of the power game played out in Tehran.

By the latest count there are some 30 Tehran streets that bear the names of various Iranian and foreign terrorists and murderers. The street where the British Embassy is located is named after Bobby Sands, an IRA terrorist. The street where Hassan Ali Mansour, one of Iran's prime ministers, once lived is named after the man who murdered him.

Less radical Khomeinists like Khatami are embarrassed by all that and wish to do something about it. More radical Khomeinists, however, see any attempt at taking off the names of the terrorists as a direct attack on their ideology.

The truth is that Khatami is unable to bring about the street name change demanded by Mubarak. That decision belongs to the Tehran Municipal Council and Mayor. Tehran's new mayor is a hard-line Khomeinist who regards Khatami as a traitor. The new municipality is dominated by hard-liners who hate Mubarak as much as they hate Ariel Sharon.

The new mayor and the new municipality were elected earlier this year thanks to the massive boycott of the polls by the Tehrani electorate.

Less than 15 per cent of those eligible to vote went to the polls, enabling radicals to win control of a megapolis of some 12 million people with a few thousand votes. Thus, whatever that the mayor and the municipality might decide to do, or not to do, would not reflect the real views of the Tehranis.

Mubarak should go as guest of the Iranian people. Rightly or wrongly, Egypt remains the most popular Arab country in Iran. In fact, many Iranians believe Egypt, despite its recent decline in relative importance, remains the key Arab world nation with which Iran should forge close relations. Also, many Iranians regard Anwar Sadat as a hero.

The political gangsters who have put the name of terrorists on Tehran streets did so, in part, to prevent people like Mubarak from going to Iran. This is precisely why Mubarak should not allow that trick to work.

Many world leaders have understood this. For example, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has visited Tehran five times in two years, ignoring the daily insult of having his embassy's door opening in a street named after an IRA terrorist.

Various French foreign ministers have also visited Tehran, ignoring the streets named after terrorists who killed more than two dozen French men and women in Paris in the 1980s. Mubarak should know that, at this juncture in history, Iran has two personae, locked in a conflict.

One persona is that of Iran as the embodiment of a revolution whose aim is to conquer, first the Muslim world and then the entire globe. That persona honours, finances and sponsors terrorists.

That persona is the enemy of Egypt, just as it is the enemy of the Iranian people. Under that persona Iran would be isolated from the world, with North Korea as a model. That isolation would enable the ideology of terrorism to perpetuate the fiction that Iran is the vanguard of a global revolution in the name of Islam.

But Mubarak's advisors would know that the murderous persona in question no longer represents the mainstream of Iranian politics. The other persona represents Iran as a nation-state whose interest is in developing the best of relations with all countries, especially one such as Egypt that is heir to a great civilisation. Let the Khomeinist gangsters cling to their terrorist icons. What matters is to show that their Middle East policy has hit a wall.

Khomeini had vowed to never allow a restoration of ties with Egypt unless the Egyptians tore up the Camp David accords that led to peace with Israel.

Well, the Egyptians have not done so, and their leader could go to Tehran to show that Khomeini was wrong to sever ties in the first place. Mubarak appearing in Tehran would be a moment of humiliation for those who wish people like-Islambouli to rule the Muslim world.

Bombarded with telephone calls

Anyone familiar with my writings will know that I am no great fan of President Mubarak. In recent days, however, I have been bombarded with telephone calls and e-mails from all over Iran asking me to spread the message that the Egyptian leader should go to Iran, and that his visit would be a blow to the hardliners on the eve of the Iranian general election.

In Tehran, Mubarak would show that the outside world, starting with the Muslim countries, is prepared to accept Iran as a friend and partner provided it abandons its revolutionary pretensions and terrorist projects. And that is the message that the overwhelming majority of Iranians wish to hear.

So, Mr. President Ahlan wa sahlan! Please do go to Iran. You have many more friends there than you think.

Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of 10 books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through
6 posted on 12/25/2003 12:11:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran to Rename Khaled al-Islambouli Street

December 24, 2003
The Jerusalem Post
Joseph Nasr

Tehran's Municipality plans to change a street's name from Khaled al-Islambouli, assassin of late Egyptian President Saddat, to Mohammad Dura, the Palestinian boy killed at Netzarim Crossing in September 2000, the London-based daily al-Hayat reported.

It was reported that the decision is part of the efforts aimed at improving relations between Egypt and Iran following the meeting between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Khatami in Geneva on December 13 - the first such high-level meeting in 24 years.

Iran honored Sadat's assassin by naming one of its streets al-Islambouli Street following the 1981 assassination by Khaled al-Islambouli , shortly after Egypt signed the Camp David peace agreement with Israel.

Iranian President Muhammad Khatami announced the resumption of negotiations between Iran and Egypt at a news conference in Tehran on Tuesday.

At a news conference, President Khatami said he hoped that negotiations will restore relations between Iran and Egypt. "The will of both sides is to work to remove all obstacles, which will lead to bringing the abruption of relations to an end."
8 posted on 12/25/2003 12:12:04 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Shamkhani: We Will Strike Israel with all Weapons at our Disposal

December 24, 2003
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

TEHRAN -- Iran's defense minister said Wednesday that his country would strike back with its long-range Shahab-3 missile if Israel attacked its nuclear facilities.

Ali Shamkhani was responding to comments made last month by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, who said Israel wouldn't permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons - a hint it was prepared to take unilateral military action.

"We will strike Israel with all weapons at our disposal if the Zionist regime ventures to do so," Shamkhani said in comments carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency. He said the Shahab-3, able to reach Israel, would be used.

The Shahab-3, officially deployed to the military last July, has a range of about 1,300 kilometers. Israel is about 965 kilometers west of Iran.

Shamkhani's comments marked the second Iranian response in two days. On Tuesday, reporters outside parliament asked Shamkhani and President Mohamed Khatami about Mofaz's statement. The minister responded, "No place will be safe in Israel."

The president, meanwhile, scoffed at the Israeli words.

"Israel will make a damn mistake" if they attack Iran, Khatami said with a smile, in footage aired on state-run television.

Shamkhani said Wednesday that Mofaz's statement proved that Israel was "an evil entity."

"Israel is a fragile glass garrison," he said. "The Zionist leaders are cherishing the dream of a rule over the globe."

In 1981, Israel warplanes destroyed an Iraqi reactor under construction. Israel suspected that Iraq planned to use it to produce nuclear weapons.

Israel - and the U.S. - frequently charges that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and has often hinted at military action against Iran. Last month, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took charge of Israel's efforts to thwart Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.

Iran says its nuclear development program is to replace rapidly diminishing oil resources as a method for producing electricity.

Earlier this month, Iran signed a key accord with the International Atomic Energy Agency, opening its nuclear facilities to unfettered and unannounced inspections. The signing came after months of pressure from European nations and a U.S. push for Iran to be slapped with U.S. sanctions.

Earlier, an IAEA report charged that Iran covered up past nuclear programs, including enriching uranium and processing small amounts of plutonium, essential elements of nuclear weapons.

Addressing regional tension following the war on Iraq, Shamkhani said an arms race wouldn't help calm the region, and said the collapse of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would help establish "sustainable security" in the Middle East.
9 posted on 12/25/2003 12:12:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

by Amir Taheri
December 24, 2003

Has France shot itself in the foot by trying to prevent the toppling of Saddam Hussein?

The question is keeping French foreign policy circles buzzing as the year draws to the close.

Even a month ago, few would have dared pose the question.

In denial mode, the French elite did not wish to consider the possibility that President Jacques Chirac may have made a mistake by leading the bloc that opposed the liberation of Iraq last March.

Now, however, the search is on for someone to blame for what the daily newspaper Liberation describes as "the disarray of French foreign policy."

There are several reasons for this.

The French have seen Saddam Hussein's capture on television and found him not worthy of the efforts that their government deployed to prolong his rule. They have also seen the Iranian mullahs agreeing to curtail their nuclear programme under the threat of US military action. And just this week they saw Muammar al-Kaddhafi, possibly the most egocentric windbag among despots, crawl into a humiliating surrender to the " Anglo-Saxons".

The fact that France was not even informed of the Kaddhafi deal is seen in Paris as particularly painful.

The episode provoked some cacophony at the top of the French state.

On Monday, the Defence Minister , Mrs. Michelle Alliot-Marie, claimed that Paris had been informed of the deal with Libya. Moments later, Dominique de Villepin, the Foreign Minister, denied any knowledge. Chirac was forced to intervene through his Elysee spokeswoman who tried to pretend that the French knew what was afoot but not directly from the US and Britain.

Some French commentators believe that the Bush administration is determined to isolate France and "teach her a lesson" as punishment for the French campaign in favour of Saddam.

" Vengeance is a hamburger that is eaten cold," writes Georges Dupuy in Liberation. "The fingerprint of the United States could be detected in the setbacks suffered by France's diplomacy."

A similar analysis is made by some academics and politicians.

"France over did it," says Dominique Moisi, a foreign policy researcher close to the Chirac administration. "Our opposition to the war was principled. But the way we expressed it was excessive. The Americans might have accepted such behaviour from Russia, but not from France which was regarded as an ally and friend."

Moisi describes as "needlessly provocative" the campaign that Villepin conducted last spring to persuade Security Council members to vote against the US-backed draft resolution on Iraq, He says that the Chirac administration did not understand the impact of the 9/11 tragedy on America's view of the world.

Pierre Lellouche, a member of parliament, claims that the US has "a deliberate strategy to isolate France, echoing what happened during the Iraqi crisis."

There is no doubt that France has suffered a number of diplomatic setbacks in the past year or so. But not all were linked to the Iraq issue or, as many French believe, the result of score-settling by Washington.

Soon after winning his second term as president last year, Chirac quarrelled with British Prime Minister Tony Blair over a range of European issues. The two were not on speaking term for almost six months.

Chirac then had a row with Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi after a French minister described the Italian leader as a "dangerous populist".

In the course of the past year Chirac has also quarrelled with Spain's Prime Minister Jose-Maria Aznar, both about Iraq and on a range of European issues. Last spring Chirac invited the leaders of central and eastern European nations to "shut up" after they published an op-ed in support of US policy on Iraq.

In September France decided to ignore the European Stability Pact, the cornerstone of the euro, to accommodate the biggest budget deficit of any European Union member. And last month, Chirac together with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, provoked a diplomatic fight with Poland and Spain, thus preventing the adoption of the much-advertised European Union Constitution.

France's policy in the Middle East and Africa is also in a mess.

France's passionate campaign to keep Saddam in power won no plaudits from the Arabs.

Many Arab leaders regard France as a maverick power that could get them involved in an unnecessary, and ultimately self-defeating, conflict with the United States.

"I cannot imagine what Chirac was thinking," says a senior Saudi official on condition of anonymity. "How could he expect us to join him in preventing the Americans from solving our biggest problem which was the presence of Saddam Hussein in power in Baghdad?"

Another senior Arab diplomat, from Egypt, echoes the sentiment.

"The French did not understand that the Arabs desired the end of Saddam, although they had to pretend that this was not the case," he says.

In Africa, the recent Libyan accord with Britain and the US deals a severe blow to French prestige. Libya is the most active member of the African Union and its exclusion of France, also from talks on compensation for victims of Libyan terrorism, sets an example for other African nations.

To be fair, France is trying to repair some of the damage it has done to itself, and its allies, by trying to prolong Saddam's rule.

This month, Chirac unrolled the red carpet for a delegation from the Iraqi Governing Council which had been described by Villepin as "an American tool" a few weeks earlier.

France has also agreed to write-off part of the Iraqi debt and to side with the US and Britain in convening the Paris Club of creditor nations to give new Iraq a helping hand.

And, yet, it is unlikely that France can restore its credibility without a reform of the way its foreign policy is made.

Villepin may end up as the scapegoat .

Liberation complains about what it sees as Villepin's decision to "practice the art of eating humble pie" by praising the Anglo-American success in Libya.

"What happened to Villepin's flamboyance?" the paper demands. "How far have we come from the famous French Arab and African policies!"

But to blame all on Villepin, a rather excitable amateur poet, is unfair. In France, foreign policy is the exclusive domain of the president, with the foreign minister acting as his secretary.

The system was created by General De Gaulle, a larger than life figure, in 1958, and a time that France, involved in the Algerian war and under attack from the Soviet bloc and its French Communist allies in the context of the Cold War, needed a single foreign policy voice.

Since then the world has changed and France with it.

It is not normal that France should be the only major democracy in which the prime minister and his Cabinet and the parliament, not to mention he political parties and the media, have virtually no say in shaping foreign policy.

The cliché about foreign policy being " the domain of the president" is an insult to democracy.

Had France had the debates over Iraq that other democracies, notably the United States and Britain, organised at all levels, especially in their respective legislatures, it is more than possible that Chirac would not have been able to impose a pro-Saddam strategy that was clearly doomed to failure.

France might have ended up opposing the war, all the same, as did Germany. But it would not have become involved in an active campaign against its allies and in favour of an Arab despot.

France must certainly review its foreign policy. But what it needs even more urgently is a reform of its institutions to end the monarchic aspects of the Fifth Republic.

Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of 10 books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through .
10 posted on 12/25/2003 12:14:16 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Dissident Arrests in Iran

Voice of America - Editorial
Dec 25, 2003

An Iranian cabdriver faces a lengthy prison term, perhaps even the death penalty, for attaching a sticker to the rear window of his car that said only, “The era of arrogant rulers is over."

Ali Akbar Najafi is charged with acting against national security. His attorney says Mr. Najafi was arrested in Tehran in June and kept blindfolded in solitary confinement for fifty-three days. Mr. Najafi goes on trial December 28th. He has asked Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi to represent him.

As the National Coalition of Pro-Democracy Advocates reports, such arrests are on the rise. The Iranian-American human rights group’s president, Haydar Akbari, says the Iranian government is abusing students, women, minorities and anyone who strays from the party line:

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

Mr. Najafi’s arrest in June coincided with a flood of pro-democracy protests in Iran. Thousands of people took to the streets to oppose the Islamic fundamentalist regime and to call for more political, social, and economic freedom. Some four-thousand people were arrested. One of those was Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi.

On June 23rd, Ms. Kazemi was arrested while taking photographs of families trying to see relatives being held at Evin prison in Tehran. According to the National Coalition of Pro-Democracy Advocates, she was interrogated for seventy-seven hours, then was killed by a blow to the head while still in custody. While charges have been filed in the case and an open trial is to be held, there are still many unanswered concerns about how the case is being handled. Shirin Ebadi, who is representing the Kazemi family, has complained publicly that she has not been given access to the case files.

In the words of President George W. Bush, “In Iran, the demand for democracy is strong and broad. The regime in Iran,” he said, “must heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, or lose its last claim to legitimacy."
11 posted on 12/25/2003 12:15:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
December 2003

We take this opportunity to wish you a season of love, joy and peace as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We are happy to report that two refugee families in Seoul, Korea now have Canadian sponsors. This means that now the Korean government will probably not deport them to Iran. Recently the Korean government has begun deporting refugees who have been in Korea for over three years. An Iranian Christian refugee in Sweden also now has a Canadian sponsor. We will soon document his case. The same is true for an Iranian Christian refugee in Germany. Please remember

I testified about the persecution of Christians in Iran before an immigration judge in October and he withdrew the order of deportation of an Iranian Christian.

Two new Iranian Christian refugee families have arrived in Turkey in September and October. We are assisting with their case for the U.N.

ICI and Talim Ministries are planning a Christian conference for ministers among Iranians. It will be held June 26-30, 2004 in Colorado Springs. ICI is cosponsoring an Iranian Christian conference in late July 2004 near Frankfurt, Germany. Details will become available soon.

The book 10,000 Muslims Meet Christ, a book about Iranian Christians, is going through final editing and will soon go to the printer. The ICI bookstore processed 370 book orders during October 2002-September 2003. One order was $8,600, our largest ever order. This clearly shows that Iranians are being reached for Christ in increasing numbers.

Through the generous donations of an Iranian Christian family and a Christian grant agency, ICI now has a new computer network. In addition to offering greater efficiency, the new system gives us greater desk top publishing capability in the English and Persian languages.

Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support of God’s work among Iranians.

Have a Joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year

We thank God for your love, prayer and financial support.

Yours in Christ,

Abe Ghaffari
15 posted on 12/25/2003 12:31:54 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Mistranslation Leads to Heated Iranian Threats

December 25, 2003
Ellis Shuman

"We will strike Israel with all weapons at our disposal if the Zionist regime ventures to do so," Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said yesterday, in response to comments made by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz suggesting that Israel was planning to attack Iran's nuclear reactor. Shamkhani's threats were based on an incorrect Haaretz translation of Mofaz's remarks, made this month on the Voice of Israel's Farsi broadcasts.

Shamkhani said that Mofaz's statement proved that Israel was "an evil entity." Threatening to fire Iran's long-range Shahab-3 missile at Israel, he added, "Israel is a fragile glass garrison. The Zionist leaders are cherishing the dream of a rule over the globe."

On December 15, Mofaz was interviewed on the Voice of Israel's Farsi (Persian) broadcasts and responded to questions from listeners in Iran. "All of Minister Mofaz's answers to listeners' questions regarding the Iranian nuclear threat emphasized the importance of the friendship which prevailed in Iranian-Israeli relations prior to the rise of the fundamentalist regime in Teheran," said Voice of Israel Farsi (Persian) Section Director Menashe Amir.

One of the listeners to the broadcast phoned in a question in Farsi: 'Israel's nuclear strategy is based on the premise that if Israel is subject to an Iranian nuclear attack, Israel will respond with a nuclear attack. But the problem is that the leaders of the Islamic regime in Iran have repeatedly declared that they attribute no importance whatsoever to the lives of Iranian citizens. Isn't Israel's strategy on this issue mistaken? What does the Minister think about this issue?"

Mofaz, who was born in Iran in 1948 and immigrated to Israel in 1957, responded to the question in Hebrew: "Currently, the United States, together with the [UN] Security Council is leading the additional protocol process vis-a-vis intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities and I believe that, at the present time, this is the correct thing to do.

"If - Heaven forbid - in the future, Iran obtains nuclear weapons and threatens to use them against the State of Israel, the State of Israel will know how to defend its citizens without harming Iranian citizens," Mofaz said.

Haaretz, however, reported this week on Mofaz's broadcast and took his statements out of context: "An operation to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities if necessary is under consideration, according to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Speaking in Persian last week on Israel Radio, Mofaz said that if the need arises to destroy Iran's nuclear capability, 'the necessary steps will be taken so that Iranian citizens will not be harmed,'" Haaretz reported.

"I very much regret that an incorrect quotation from Minister Mofaz's remarks that appeared in reports in Israel about the interview, and the erroneous interpretations that were based on remarks that the Minister never made, have provided the Iranian regime with an excuse to begin a propaganda campaign against the State of Israel and to create an atmosphere of warlike tension," Amir said.

Israel worried about Iranian threat

According to the Haaretz report, Mofaz, while visiting Washington last month, called Iranian nuclearization "insufferable," and he said that Israel would take steps to prevent it.

In a report to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mossad head Meir Dagan recently described the Iranian threat as the greatest one Israel has ever faced, but did not say how Israel would counter it, Haaretz added.

Dagan told the committee that Iran was close to finishing construction of a uranium enrichment plant in the central Kashan area which could eventually give it the capacity to build around a dozen nuclear bombs.

At the Herzliya Conference this month, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon described Iran as a "serious threat to Israel.'' He cited "its development of surface-to-surface missiles and its attempts in recent years to acquire nuclear capabilities, even if it has run into difficulties, due to international pressure.''

In July, Mofaz said that Israel has the means to respond defensively and to deter a possible Iranian missile strike. The IDF's Arrow anti-missile system can adequately defend the country against Iran's newly upgraded Shihab-3 ballistic missiles, he said.

Israel was "taking all steps necessary to counter the [Iranian missile] threat as much as possible. Israel has the necessary means to respond defensively, as well as deterrent capability. The Shihab-3 and other projects reveal that Iran is eager to achieve nonconventional and even nuclear capability, but Israel is prepared," Mofaz said.

Concern over an Israeli strike at Iran

The Washington Post reported in August that the Bush administration was becoming increasingly concerned that Israel would launch a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

In 1981, Israeli Air Force jets successfully attacked and destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak. An attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would be much more complicated, Israeli media sources reported, because the country's nuclear program is dispersed at several sites and the distance from Israel is much greater. Iran also has the possibility to retaliate with its Shihab ballistic missiles, the reports said.

Earlier this month, Iran signed an accord with the International Atomic Energy Agency, opening its nuclear facilities to inspections. The signing came after months of pressure from European nations and a U.S. push for Iran to be slapped with sanctions.
25 posted on 12/25/2003 8:49:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Female Dancer Detained For Public Dancing

December 25, 2003
The Associated Press
Dow Jones Newswires

TEHRAN -- Iran's best-known female dancer and 24 of her students have been detained on charges of dancing in public - for an all-female audience, her husband said Thursday.

Farzaneh Kaboli and 24 of her students were detained Wednesday night as they were performing folk dances, Hadi Marzban said.

Marzban said the students were freed Thursday after signing statements pledging not to perform again but Kaboli was taken to Evin Prison, north of Tehran.

"It was a program of rhythmical movements displaying folk dance of various provinces of Iran to an all-female audience. The program had been authorized by the Culture Ministry," a distressed Marzban told The Associated Press.

Kaboli was performing on the second night of a two-week program at Tehran's prestigious Vahdat Hall when the police detained the group.

Marzban said efforts by reformist government authorities failed to prevent police from taking Kaboli to prison.

She hasn't yet been charged.

Judicial officials weren't available for comment as Thursday is the first day of the weekend in Iran.

Although there are no written laws against dancing, Iran's hard-line clerics have banned the activity, which they consider a promotion of moral corruption.

Marzban, an actor, insisted that his wife didn't teach dancing.

"She was not teaching dance. She was just displaying various rhythmical programs existing in different parts of Iran," he said.

Although Kaboli has acted in some films shown on hard-line-controlled state-run television, she was banned from working for several years in the 1990s after the circulation of a video that showed her dancing before a male audience in a private party.

Kaboli's dance programs, available on bootlegged video, are widely watched by Iranian women.

Last year, a hard-line court in Tehran barred Mohammad Khordadian, Iran's top male dancer, from giving dances classes for life and banned him from leaving Iran for 10 years.

Khordadian, based in Los Angeles, returned to the U.S. after an appeals court lifted the travel ban. The appeals court also reduced by half a 10-year suspended jail term against Khordadian.

Khordadian, whose dance programs are widely watched by Iranian expatriates and many inside Iran via satellite, has reportedly resumed dance classes in Los Angeles -meaning he would likely be jailed if he returns to Iran.

Sweeping social restrictions imposed after the 1979 Islamic revolution have gradually been eased since the 1997 election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami. However, the judiciary, controlled by unelected hard-liners, does punish women who break the longtime taboos.

Under Iranian law, women must wear head scarves in public and the mingling of unrelated men and women is frowned upon by hard-liners.
31 posted on 12/25/2003 5:29:22 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Handshake Heard 'Round the Region'

December 25, 2003
Al-Ahram Weekly
Rasha Saad

A widely publicised handshake between President Hosni Mubarak and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Khatami, earlier this month took many by surprise and highlighted relations between the two Middle Eastern countries.

Khatami and Mubarak met briefly -- for the first time since 1979 -- outside a UN technology summit in Geneva earlier this month. Although reportedly no specific issues were discussed, the meeting was described as a step forward in bringing the two countries together.

Relations between the two countries were severed in 1980, a year after Egypt signed the US- brokered Camp David peace accords with Israel. Relations worsened when Egypt supported Iraq in its 1980-1988 war with Iran. However, trade and other ties have been improving since the 1990s.

To prominent writer Fahmy Howeidy, an expert in Iranian affairs, the meeting came as little surprise. He explained that during the past few years arrangements were made for possible meetings between the two presidents during international and regional events, but in the end one of the two leaders would fail to attend. "I think it was a mere coincidence that both leaders were present at the conference that enabled them to meet at last," he said.

While Howeidy believes that the meeting is indeed an important event, he does not consider it a substantial turn in relations. Howeidy explains that it remains to be seen if the meeting will yield any significant steps towards rapprochement.

Commenting on the timing and importance of the meeting, Amin Sabooni, editor-in-chief of the Iran Daily newspaper published in Tehran, said that the "big meeting" in Geneva could not have come at a more sensitive time. He added that the ability and willingness of Iran to restore full and meaningful ties with Egypt is at an all time high. According to Sabooni, the Middle East is facing substantial challenges and common sense dictates that two regional heavyweights like Egypt and Iran cooperate. "Our two peoples deserve a much better quality of interaction consistent with their historic collaboration, cultural affinities, national interests, and the search for peace, progress and prosperity," he said.

Although officials on both sides were keen on bringing to fruition the expectations that resulted from the meeting, they pointed out that there are still differences between the two countries.

After the meeting, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said that "many steps forward have been achieved" and that he is "hopeful the two countries would reach agreement soon on pending issues". He also noted that "constant contacts are going on between the two countries on resuming normal relations."

Khatami pointed out differences between both countries over some issues. Speaking on his way back home from Switzerland, he said that both Iran and Egypt favour an extension of ties and that Mubarak's views on issues such as Iraq and Palestine are close to those of Iran, but there are "certain differences in other areas".

Though officials from both sides refrained from naming these differences, an acknowledged bone of contention between both countries is the fact that Cairo gave asylum to the deposed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi -- who is buried in Egypt -- and that Iran named a street in Tehran after Khaled El-Islamboly, one of the assassins of late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Both issues are usually brought up in the Egyptian press whenever Mubarak receives an invitation from Tehran, such as the recent invitation to the Islamic Republic for the economic summit of developing countries (D8) which will take place in the second half of February. According to Makram Mohamed Ahmed, editor-in-chief of El- Mussawar magazine, Mubarak's visit to Tehran is contingent on the street being renamed. "If Iran lifted the name of Sadat's assassin from the Tehran street... all elements that obstruct mutual relations will eventually be lifted," he said.

However, according to informed sources on both sides, the reluctance to establish normal relations between both countries is far from being a dispute over the name of a street and the burial of the Shah in Egypt.

Iranian Vice-President Mohamed Abtahi said in a recent interview that during top level talks and behind closed doors the issues of the name of the street and the Shah's final resting place were not of major importance. "I do not believe that on the official level these issues are even addressed. I believe that the weight of both countries and the role they can play together regionally and internationally is far more important than the name of a street or the burial of the Shah in Egypt that is protested by Iranian hard-liners. These are trivial matters," he said.

The security files on both countries is believed to be the real culprit. Perhaps the best evidence of this is President Mubarak's statement in January that ties between both countries could not be normalised as long as Tehran gave sanctuary to "Egyptian terrorists". Egypt alleges that Iran is harbouring members of violent Islamist organisations who have been convicted in Egyptian courts during the past decades and that these members are operating out of Iran. Iran -- which handed over two years ago Ahmed Hussein Egeiza, a leading member of the Islamic group Talae' Al-Fath -- denies the charge.

According to informed sources, Tehran is trying to persuade Cairo that priority should be given to establishing full ties followed by negotiations on the outstanding issues. On the other hand, Cairo insists that all pending points should be resolved before the restoration of full relations. Egyptian diplomats often hint that it was Iran who severed ties in 1980, not the Egyptians. They contend that despite receiving the Shah, Cairo welcomed the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

However, Iranians still feel that the ball is in Egypt's court and are privately accusing the Egyptians of being reluctant to re-establish full ties.

Gamila Kadivar, a member of the Iranian parliament, told the Weekly in an interview in early November that she does not feel there is any will to change on the Egyptian side. "At a certain time [before reformists came to power] the will did not exist in Iran. And when this stance was changed [after Khatami came to power], it seemed lost on the Egyptian side," she said.

Kadivar, who was a member of friendship groups that included Egyptian and Iranian intellectuals, parliamentarians and members of NGOs, explained that amidst turmoil and instability in the region, Israel has benefited the most from the freezing of relations between the two countries. However, Iran and Egypt have succeeded in recent years in warming relations, starting with expanded trade ties.

An Egyptian trade delegation to the General Federation of Chambers of Commerce met with the chairman of Iran's Chamber of Commerce in Iran on 19 November, shortly before the two presidents' meeting. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding for a joint chamber of commerce with offices in both Tehran and Cairo. It was also announced that the two countries have planned to set up a joint investment and commercial company, but did not reveal any details. Between 1999 and 2001, two trade fairs have been organised in both countries.

There are also individual efforts by Egyptian and Iranian businessmen to trade in the famous Iranian pistachios and carpets; the trade exchange, however, does not exceed $25 million.

Mosayab Na'emi, editor-in-chief of Iranian Al- Vefaq, pointed out the many mutual economic benefits are to be gained if the two countries come together. According to Na'emi, both countries are in the same development phase, but they have many prospects for integration as Egypt can be a transit point for Iran into Africa and Iran the same for Egypt into Central Asia.

Na'emi also referred to Shi'ite religious tourist trips to Egypt, which could provide Egypt with thousands of visitors annually. "Syria has only one Shi'ite site and it receives thousands every year. Egypt, which has about 7 Shi'ite sites, will definitely attract more than 50,000 Iranian tourists. Shi'ites in Iran constitute the overwhelming majority of the Iranian population, which is over 70 million," he said.

However, it is yet to be seen if such prospects will materialise in the near future. Summarising the popular feelings of many Iranians and Egyptians, Sabooni said: "What indeed is important is that our two governments be honest with each other and move forward with wisdom, clarity of purpose, understanding and flexibility."
32 posted on 12/25/2003 5:32:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Earthquake Strikes Iran, U.S. Says

AP ^ | Dec 25, 2003
Posted on 12/25/2003 8:04:56 PM PST by optimistically_conservative
3 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - An earthquake has struck southeastern Iran near the city of Bam, the U.S. Geological Survey (news - web sites) said Thursday.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The earthquake hit at 5:27 a.m. local time Friday — or 8:57 p.m. Thursday, Eastern Standard Time.

The USGS (news - web sites) reported a preliminary magnitude of 6.7, high enough to cause severe damage.

There have been similar earthquakes in this area that have caused damage, the USGS said.
34 posted on 12/25/2003 9:09:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

40 posted on 12/26/2003 12:03:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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