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Iranian Alert -- December 30, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 12.30.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/30/2003 12:10:01 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; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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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 12/30/2003 12:10:01 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 12/30/2003 12:13:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
British rescue workers’ shock at learning former colleague was among those killed

Scotsman - By John Innes
Dec 30, 2003

A BRITISH former firefighter who died in the Iranian earthquake was pulled from the rubble by UK rescue workers on Sunday and quickly buried, it was revealed yesterday.

Gavin Sexton, from Southampton, quit his job to travel round the world. The 36-year-old left Britain last August for his year-long trip and had bought a motorbike in Asia to bring home.

Due to the huge number of dead being recovered from the ruins of the city, Mr Sexton was buried immediately by the Iranian authorities.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said the local authorities decided "to bury all the bodies for public health reasons".

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said Mr Sexton’s body was discovered among the debris by British rescue workers on Sunday. His next of kin have been informed.

David Askew said: "Mr Sexton joined the fire service in 1991 and was a leading firefighter serving Southsea then Redbridge, Southampton.

"He left Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in August 2003 to fulfil a long-standing ambition to travel the world and is believed to have been en route from India to Turkey when the earthquake struck.

"Mr Sexton has been buried in Bam and the Hampshire firefighters will hold a simple ceremony at the graveside today."

Peter Cook, a Hampshire firefighter who is part of the 68-strong UK rescue team, told of the moment when they realised the missing Briton was in fact an ex-colleague.

"It was a miraculous coincidence, a bit of a shock, I suppose," he said. "We knew there was a British citizen involved in the earthquake and we heard a rumour he was a firefighter but it never, ever occurred to us that he was a Hampshire firefighter - let alone someone we worked directly with. It was a big surprise."

Mr Cook said all Mr Sexton’s personal belongings would be brought back to the UK including the motorbike.

In Fareham, Hampshire, a male relative who did not wish to be named, spoke of Mr Sexton’s love of motorbikes.

"He was into motorbikes along with a group of them at the fire station.

"He was a young man who wanted to travel, who left the fire brigade because he wanted to travel.

"I think he was going to try to rejoin when he got back. At one stage, I heard he was going to try to get back home for Christmas but he was held up in southern Iran.

"It takes that kind of guy to get up and go - he was free and he was single."

With no hope of finding any more survivors, UK rescue team leaders decided yesterday it was time to leave to allow aid workers access to the tens of thousands who have been made homeless by the disaster.
3 posted on 12/30/2003 12:17:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The death toll is horrible and climbing.I do think it's most important to help the living,now.
4 posted on 12/30/2003 12:21:26 AM PST by MEG33 (We Got Him!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Powell: U.S. Open to Idea of Talks with Iran -- Post

Tue December 30, 2003 01:30 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is open to restoring a dialogue with Iran after "encouraging" moves by the Islamic republic in recent months, Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview published on Tuesday.
"There are things happening and therefore we should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future," Powell said in a interview with The Washington Post.

This month, in a European-brokered deal, Iran agreed to snap U.N. inspections of its nuclear facilities, which the United States says are a front for building an atom bomb. Tehran also welcomed international humanitarian aid for victims of Friday's devastating earthquake.

The first U.S. military aircraft to land in Iran in more than 20 years arrived over the weekend carrying disaster response experts and tons of emergency supplies for survivors of the Bam earthquake, U.S. officials said on Monday.

"All of those things taken together show, it seems to me, a new attitude in Iran in dealing with these issues -- not one of total, open generosity. But they realize that the world is watching and the world is prepared to take action," Powell told The Washington Post.

"We still have concerns about terrorist activities, of course, and there are other issues with respect to al Qaeda and other matters that we'll have to keep in mind," Powell said.

Other U.S. officials said Powell's public assessment comes as the administration is reviewing its policy on Iran for the third time since President Bush took office, the newspaper reported.

The Washington Post cited a senior Iranian official as saying that if Washington is willing to look at the situation "more realistically," then Iran is willing to reciprocate. "What is needed for any cooperation is confidence," the official was quoted as saying.

The United States, which has been torn between engaging or isolating Tehran, generally takes a harder line against oil-rich Iran than its Western allies. But the Bush administration's compromise in accepting U.N. inspections was seen by some conservatives as a softening of its anti-Iran stance.

The United States has had tense relations with Iran for more than two decades. Washington broke diplomatic relations with Iran in 1979 after militant students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.

In January 2002, Bush said Iran, pre-war Iraq and North Korea made up an "axis of evil." Washington has accused Iran's government of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.
5 posted on 12/30/2003 12:23:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
U.S. warms to prospects of new dialogue with Iran

By Robin Wright
The WashingtonPost
Dec. 30, 2003

The United States is open to restoring a dialogue with Iran after "encouraging" moves by the Islamic republic in recent months, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said yesterday.

Iranian leaders have agreed to allow surprise inspections of the country's nuclear energy program, have made overtures to moderate Arab governments and, in the past week, have accepted direct U.S. help as the country struggles with the effects of a devastating earthquake.

"There are things happening, and therefore we should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future," Powell, who is recovering from surgery for prostate cancer, said in an interview. "All of those things taken together show, it seems to me, a new attitude in Iran in dealing with these issues -- not one of total, open generosity. But they realize that the world is watching and the world is prepared to take action."

Powell's public assessment comes as the administration is reviewing its policy on Iran for the third time since President Bush took office, other U.S. officials said.

A thorny issue

Iran has been one of the thorniest issues for the administration. U.S. officials have been deeply divided over whether to engage Iran, as they have attempted with North Korea, or to support regime change, as with Iraq. An original policy review on Iran drifted into an impasse and was revived twice -- before the military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which border Iran.

But Iran's agreement to international inspections and the U.S. success in getting Libya to surrender its deadliest weapons programs have fostered new interest in seeing whether diplomacy will work.

The United States still has significant differences with Iran, a country Bush called part of an "axis of evil," along with North Korea and Iraq, in his 2002 State of the Union address. They include Tehran's support of groups such as the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, and its opposition to the Middle East peace process.

"We still have concerns about terrorist activities, of course, and there are other issues with respect to al Qaeda and other matters that we'll have to keep in mind," Powell said.

Encouraging signs
U.S. officials have been encouraged by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's meetings with Jordan's King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. They were the first talks since Iran's 1979 revolution with leaders of the two key Arab states that made peace with Israel.

Diplomatic ties between Iran and Egypt were severed in 1980, when Cairo offered asylum to the deposed shah. Egypt also supported Iraq during the 1980-88 war with Iran. Khatami and Mubarak held talks in Geneva earlier this month on the sidelines of a U.N. technology summit. Iran invited Mubarak to visit in February for a summit of developing nations.

Jordan's monarch visited Tehran in September, when he tried to broker an arrangement whereby Iran would deport the more than 70 al Qaeda operatives it has detained, Jordanian officials said. The move is pivotal in renewing the U.S.-Iran dialogue that was scrapped in May, when Washington charged that al Qaeda operatives held in Iran were linked to three suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia.

Jordan's diplomatic initiative continues, with the foreign minister traveling to Iran earlier this month. In two meetings since with Bush, King Abdullah has pressed Washington to consider resuming talks to Iran under U.N. auspices, officials said.

Other Arab governments have urged the administration to renew talks -- and the top foreign policy team is discussing options, U.S. officials say.

"There is genuine interest in taking a look again at how we work this dialogue and how we might take a step forward and on what issues," a senior U.S. official said. "But I've seen it before. I've also seen the Iranians screw it up."

A call for action
The administration wants additional reassurances. "We've heard promises and predictions, and we want to see action. If we start seeing action -- on al Qaeda, the nuclear issue, Hamas and Hezbollah -- we'll see what we can do," said a senior State Department official. "There's been a lot of talk, but we need to see them walk the walk."

A day after Iran signed the accord allowing inspections of its nuclear sites, Khatami told a World Council of Churches meeting in Geneva that nuclear weapons were incompatible with Islamic tenets. "As Muslims, our religious faith should not allow us to seek nuclear weapons," Khatami said. "The Islam I know does not have a use for them."

Indications of a possible thaw in the U.S. policy toward Iran came as the United States dispatched emergency humanitarian aid to the earthquake-ravaged city of Bam, where more than a quarter of the 80,000 population is estimated to have died.

Condolences from an adversary
Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage called Iran's U.N. envoy, Javad Zarif, in Tehran to offer help and express condolences shortly after the Friday disaster. He received a call in less than an hour from Zarif accepting the aid -- to be delivered directly, not channeled through the United Nations, as in the past, U.S. officials noted yesterday.

U.S. military planes arrived in Iran yesterday for the first time since the 1980 attempt to rescue 52 American hostages held in the seized U.S. Embassy, the State Department said.

The Agency for International Development dispatched a seven-member disaster assistance response team, as well as 77 technical and medical specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue Team. Iran, too, is still tentative about the dialogue, although Tehran recently told European and Arab envoys that it is interested in renewing discussions.

"We appreciate the importance of the humanitarian gesture and the call from Mr. Armitage," Zarif said in a telephone interview from Tehran yesterday. "But the United States said this is for humanitarian purposes, and that is how we have taken it."

A senior Iranian official added, however, that if Washington is willing to look at the situation "more realistically," then Iran is willing to reciprocate. "What is needed for any cooperation is confidence," the official said.
6 posted on 12/30/2003 12:40:28 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran clarifies the Middle East

Dennis Prager
December 30, 2003

If you want to understand the Middle East conflict, Iran has just provided all you need to know.

A massive earthquake kills between 20,000 and 40,000 Iranians, and the government of Iran announces that help is welcome from every country in the world . . . except Israel.

This little-reported news item is of great significance. It begs commentary.

Israel not only has the world's most experienced crews in quickly finding survivors in bombed out buildings, it is also a mere two-hour flight from Iran. In other words, no country in the world would come close to Israel in its ability to save Iranian lives quickly.

But none of this means anything to the rulers of Iran. The Islamic government of Iran has announced to the world that it is better for fellow countrymen and fellow Muslims -- men, women and children -- to die buried under rubble than to be saved by a Jew from Israel.

That is how deep the hatred of Israel and Jews is in much of the Muslim world.

Hundreds of millions of Muslims -- Arab and non-Arab, Sunni and Shi'a -- hate Israel more than they love life. Leaders of the Palestinian terror organization Hamas repeatedly state, "We love death more than the Jews love life." And now, Iran announces that it is better for a Muslim to asphyxiate under the earth than be rescued by a Jew from Israel.

Naive Westerners -- which includes most academics, intellectuals, members of the international news media, and nearly all others on the Left -- refuse to acknowledge the uniqueness of the Arab/Muslim hatred of Israel and Jews. Yet, there is no hatred in the world analogous to it. Not since the Nazi hatred of Jews has humanity witnessed such hate.

That is why finding survivors from earthquakes, creating a Palestinian state and life itself are all far less important in much of the Islamic and Arab worlds than killing Jews and destroying the little Jewish state.

That is why Arab newspapers run articles by Arab professors describing how Jews butcher non-Jewish children to use their blood for holiday meals.

That is why Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad could get a standing ovation from the heads of every Muslim country when he told them "the Jews rule the world by proxy."

That is why Palestinian parents celebrate the suicide terror of their sons -- the joy of killing Israeli families far outweighs the pain of the death of their child.

Western naifs like to believe platitudes such as "Deep down, all people are really the same," "All people want peace," and the great untruth of multiculturalism that no culture is morally superior to another. That is why they choose not to face the truth about the Nazi-like hatred that permeates the Arab/Muslim world and the consequent moral gulf that exists between it and Israel. It shatters too many of their illusions.

Surely the Iranian refusal of rescuers from the Jewish state ought to help all these people acknowledge the unique hatred that is at the root of the Arab-Israeli dispute and recognize that it is therefore a conflict unlike any other on earth.

So, too, the immediate and sincere Israeli offer of rescuers to Iran should make the moral gulf between Israel and its enemies as clear as day. Despite the fact that Iran is the greatest backer of anti-Israel (and anti-American) terror and despite the fact that Iran repeatedly declares that Israel must be annihilated (in other words, seeks a second Jewish Holocaust), Israel offered to send its people to save Iranian lives.

The two reactions -- Iran's preference for Iranian deaths to Israeli help and the Jewish state's instinctive offer to help save Iranian lives -- ought to be enough anyone needs to understand the source of the Middle East conflict. But they won't. Because those who are anti-Israel or "evenhanded" are not so because of the facts, but despite them.
7 posted on 12/30/2003 1:17:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Iran's capital should be moved, says quake expert

Iran's capital is in such a perilous location it should be moved, according to a leading Iranian earthquake expert. The sprawling concrete jungle of Tehran is perched on lethal geological faults and experts estimate six percent of the population, or some 720,000 people, could die if "the big one" shakes its ramshackle buildings to the ground.

Bahram Akasheh, professor of geophysics at Tehran University, has formally suggested to President Mohammad Khatami that the centre of government be moved deeper into the interior. "It would be better to have the capital in somewhere near Isfahan: that would be safer. Other countries have changed their capital without any adverse effect," he said.

Iranian monarch Shah Abbas the Great made Isfahan in central Iran his capital in the late 16th century. Government was moved to Tehran in 1788 and around 12 million people now live there. Akasheh painted a grim portrait of the effect an earthquake measuring around six on the Richter scale, razing or rendering uninhabitable more than 80 percent of buildings in Tehran.

"Iran would be decapitated," he said, adding that such a disaster was only a question of time. "The Alborz mountain area is very active seismologically," he said, referring to the towering range that looms over Tehran, itself created by shuffling geological plate activity.

"We can expect an earthquake somewhere beneath eight on the Richter scale, maybe about 7.8," he continued. Some 35,000 people were killed in 1990 when earthquakes of up to 7.7 on the Richter scale hit the northwest of Iran. Tehran was hit by a quake of about seven on the Richter scale in 1830.

Iran has no plans to move its seat of government though Khatami said ministers would examine Akasheh's proposals.


Iranian newspapers were quick to praise superior building standards in Japan where a quake measuring eight on the Richter scale killed only one person last month. One foreign civil engineer working in Iran said the gimcrack building methods he saw each day filled him with terror.

Tehran's hasty building boom was fuelled by refugees pouring in from border cities during the bloody 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. The high-rises continue to be flung up as the city's population swells up to and beyond 12 million. Akasheh said little heed was paid to regulations aimed at ensuring building design and materials could withstand quakes.

"Building regulations were introduced but nobody actually does everything that the regulations stipulate," said Akasheh. He said one of the most stubborn challenges was to breach the air of fatalism with which Iranians view earthquakes.

"Earthquake education is very poor in Iran. Most people think what God wills, will happen. This is absolutely wrong. This thinking is poisonous," he said. Farhad, 32, a grocer in north Tehran, thought the risks were exaggerated. "Don't worry about an earthquake in Tehran. They are a problem up north, on the Caspian. You don't get serious ones here," he said.

Christian Oliver Reuters



Businesses in Tehran warned of earthquake risk

The IRNA newsagency has reported that the head of the Tehran Crisis Management and Prevention Center, Ali Danesh, has issued a warning over the severe damage that will be caused if Iran's Rey and Mosha faults become active under present infrastructure conditions.

He told a meeting of experts that studies indicate that in the case of such an earthquake 4,000 gas and 540 water pipeline disruptions would occur in the region of Tehran, along with widespread electricity failures. Construction vulnerabilities would result in the collapse of 5,500 buildings and six overpasses along the city's main highways.

Mr. Danesh called on the local authorities in the area to further examine the twenty crisis mitigation proposals that his Center has drawn up.

9th July 2003


Comment: This was published before the quake in Bam.
8 posted on 12/30/2003 1:21:24 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
9 posted on 12/30/2003 2:27:01 AM PST by Khashayar
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To: All
Read many interesting Questions and Answers on Iran, Quake and political status of the country right here:
10 posted on 12/30/2003 3:32:18 AM PST by Khashayar
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To: DoctorZIn
11 posted on 12/30/2003 3:41:39 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: F14 Pilot
12 posted on 12/30/2003 3:45:33 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
13 posted on 12/30/2003 6:26:22 AM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Plays Down Political Impact of U.S. Quake Help

Dec 30, 9:41 AM (ET)
By Parisa Hafezi
KERMAN, Iran (Reuters)

President Mohammad Khatami said Tuesday U.S. aid to earthquake victims in Iran, while welcome, would not alter the state of relations between the two arch foes who broke off ties nearly a quarter century ago.

"I don't think this incident will change our relations with the United States," Khatami told a news conference in the capital of southeastern Kerman province where officials say up to 50,000 people were killed in a quake that struck Friday.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview with the Washington Post published Tuesday that Washington was open to restoring a dialogue with Iran after "encouraging" moves by the Islamic Republic in recent months.

Powell referred to Iran's willingness to accept U.S. aid for the earthquake relief effort, paving the way for the first U.S. military planes to land in Iran in over 20 years.

"There are things happening and therefore we should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future," Powell said.

But Khatami, who is viewed as a foreign policy moderate in Iran, played down the importance of the U.S. assistance.

"In incidents like this governments normally do not consider their differences," he said. "But this has got nothing to do with political issues. The problems in Iran-U.S. relations are rooted in history."

"Nevertheless, I thank all...those who helped us and showed sympathy despite our different viewpoints," Khatami said.

Washington broke ties with Iran shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution when radical students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran and held 52 hostages for 444 days.

President Bush last year included Iran along with North Korea and Iraq under Saddam Hussein in an "axis of evil" developing nuclear and chemical weapons and supporting terrorist groups.

U.S. and Iranian officials held talks over Afghanistan and Iraq in Geneva earlier this year. But Washington halted those meetings after accusing Iran of harboring al-Qaeda members linked to suicide bomb attacks in Saudi Arabia in May.

Khatami said that for Iran to restore ties with Washington it would "have to see a change in its methods ... to create a kind of hole in the wall of mistrust between the two countries."

However, he pointed out that humanitarian aid from nongovernmental organizations in the United States "shows there is no enmity between the people of Iran and the American nation."|top|12-30-2003::09:45|reuters.html
14 posted on 12/30/2003 8:27:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Expert: Tehran Doomed if 'Big One' Hits

December 29, 2003

TEHRAN, Iran -- An earthquake that may one day strike Tehran could kill hundreds of thousands and destroy most of the buildings in the capital city of 12 million, a top Iranian scientist warned Monday .

Bahram Akasheh, professor of geophysics at Tehran University and a government adviser, said a quake as strong as the one that flattened the southeastern city of Bam could kill many times more than the 30,000 people who are feared dead there.

"The building codes are almost universally ignored in Iran and Tehran is especially vulnerable to quakes because there is a major fault line running across it," Akasheh told Reuters. "The ground conditions in parts of Tehran are unfavorable: too soft, too brittle and too dangerous to build on. Rules are ignored."

Northern Tehran is sitting on a major fault about 47 miles long and about 100 smaller fractures, Akasheh said.

He and other researchers estimate that a repeat of the last big quake to hit Tehran, which killed 45,000 in 1830, would today kill six percent of the capital's population.

"The destruction to Tehran would be immense. About 80 percent of the buildings would be damaged or destroyed. Tehran is not ready for a big one."

In 1830, most of the damage was to buildings up to 60 miles to the east of Tehran, which then had a population of just 10,000.

"All the villages were destroyed," Akasheh said. "And you must keep in mind there were only one-story buildings then. There was no big city. But everything was still destroyed."

The 1830 shock is thought to have measured seven on the Richter scale. The quake in Bam was 6.3.

The moderate Sharq newspaper said Sunday a million or more could die in a Tehran quake. It reported only five of the 32 fire stations are built to withstand a powerful earthquake.

Capital move recommended

In studies prepared for President Mohammad Khatami and his predecessor Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Akasheh recommended moving the sprawling capital to a safer region further south.

Akasheh concluded that even if government building codes were enforced and ramshackle buildings reinforced or torn down, Tehran would still not be safe from a big tremor.

"Mr Khatami asked me to work on the issue and I recommended moving the capital. But apparently it is not possible. Pakistan and Brazil were able to do it. Why not here?"

Friday's quake shook a region with a population of 200,000. Officials warn the death toll, now at 25,000, could hit 30,000. Another 30,000 have been injured and 100,000 made homeless.

In 1990, some 35,000 were killed when earthquakes of up to 7.7 on the Richter scale hit the northwest of Iran.

Akasheh said there had not been a major quake in Bam in 2,000 years. "All of a sudden the first major earthquake in the city's history destroys Bam," he said.

He said there is daily seismic activity in Tehran and on average three to four identifiable tremors of up to three on the Richter scale -- every day. But there have only been two quakes as high as 4.5 in the last 100 years.

"I've forecast that there is the potential for an earthquake of between 7 and 8," he said, adding that a long term Japanese study of Tehran came to similar conclusions.
15 posted on 12/30/2003 8:29:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Relief Workers Call for More Aid for Iran Quake

December 30, 2003
Edmund Blair and Parisa Hafezi

BAM, Iran -- Aid workers in Iran pleaded on Tuesday for more clothing, blankets and medicines for tens of thousands left bereaved and homeless by Friday's earthquake that killed up to 30,000 people.

As search and rescue teams began to abandon the hunt for any more survivors trapped beneath the rubble in the ancient Silk Road city of Bam, 600 miles southeast of Tehran, relief workers said operations had moved into a new phase.

"We're in a transition period from search and rescue to humanitarian assistance," Jesper Lund, team leader of United Nations Disaster And Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) which was coordinating relief efforts from a military base outside of Bam.

Armies of street cleaners using brooms, shovels and wheelbarrows began to sweep up debris in the near deserted streets.

Assad Najafi, 24, loaded with merchandise salvaged from a car accessories shop he ran in Bam, said: "This town has been destroyed. I'm taking my belongings to Tehran."

Friday's pre-dawn quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and killed entire families while they slept, was the deadliest in the world for more than a decade.

The scale of the disaster, which toppled virtually every building in Bam and outlying villages, prompted swift pledges of aid, even from several countries which have shaky ties with the Islamic Republic.

Washington, which labeled Tehran as part of an "axis of evil" and is in turn referred to as the "Great Satan" by hard-liners in Iran, has sent several planeloads of medical and humanitarian supplies as well as relief experts.

U.S. military planes, which began arriving at the weekend, were the first to land in Iran since the end of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1981 in which 52 Americans were held for 444 days at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Six of Iran's Arab Gulf neighbors late Monday pledged $400 million to help Tehran with relief and rebuilding. Non-Arab Iran has had uneasy relations with many Gulf neighbors since the 1979 revolution although ties have improved in recent years.

Despite the massive international response, aid workers said more was needed to assist an estimated 100,000 people left homeless and thousands more injured in the quake.


"There has been quite a bit of aid coming in but there is not enough. There are still gaps to be filled," said Rob MacGillivray, emergency adviser for Save The Children at the Bam relief center.

"There are still a significant number of people without shelter, particularly in outlying areas. There are too many people staying in one tent. We want to try to thin the numbers down so living conditions are reasonable for the circumstances."

MacGillivray said restoring primary healthcare services was a priority after Bam's two main hospitals were destroyed by the quake. Blankets, children's clothes, soap, cooking sets and large cans to store drinking water were also badly needed.

President Mohammad Khatami, whose government has come under fire for failing to enforce building controls and foresee such a disaster, was to hold a cabinet meeting in the provincial capital of Kerman Tuesday to discuss the relief effort.

Some 28,000 bodies have been recovered and buried so far. Many were placed in mass graves with little ceremony and no time for full identification.

At the cemetery Tuesday there were few mourners and Revolutionary Guards Colonel Heshmatallah Moshtarshid, who has taken part in around 2,000 burials since the quake struck, said only three bodies had been buried that morning.

"It's been a very difficult time," he said as mechanical diggers rolled dusty earth over the large burial pits.

Amid the death and destruction, there was a sliver of joy on Monday when rescuers announced that a six-month-old baby girl had been pulled alive from the embrace of her dead mother beneath the wreckage of her home.

But most rescue teams, who dashed to Iran from 28 countries, had packed up by Tuesday morning, despairing of finding any more survivors beneath homes whose mud-brick walls had crumbled to fine dust, leaving no pockets of air to breathe.
16 posted on 12/30/2003 8:32:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
FrontPage Interview: Michael Ledeen

December 30, 2003
Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Magazine: Today, our guest is Dr. Michael Ledeen, a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of the new book The War Against the Terror Masters. Welcome, Dr. Ledeen. It is a pleasure to have you join us.

First, let's talk about the big news: Saddam's capture. Tell us a bit of how and where you heard about it and your initial reaction. What do you think is the significance of this development?

Ledeen: I was on a plane from New York to Tel Aviv when it happened. When I landed I called home and heard the good news. It's very important--I always disagreed with those who said that our failure to get Saddam didn't really matter--above all because it stands as a concrete warning to the other tyrants in the region, and, at the same time, encourages those who wish to be free. It has seriously frightened the likes of Rafsanjani, Khamenei, Assad and Qadaffi, and it has given an infusion of hope to the freedom fighters.

FP: So can we safely say that Qadaffi's new spirit of "co-operation" with the U.S. on WMDs is, in large part, a direct result of the "Saddam effect"? In other words, he has probably been up at night visualizing himself sleeping in a hole in the ground with rats and mice and decided it's all not worth it?

Ledeen: No, I don't think so, since the talks had been going on for many months before Saddam was captured, and indeed I think that Qadaffi has been looking for a way out for many years. Berlusconi reported several months ago that Qadaffi was frightened, very frightened, and the event that intensified his fear was the invasion of Iraq. The first event that focused his mind was obviously when President Reagan bombed Tripoli in 1986.

FP: You have really distinguished yourself in your forceful arguments for "regime change" in Iran and other Mideast rogue states. Tell us a bit about your philosophy in this area. What, for instance, would you advise the U.S. to do right now vis-à-vis Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia?

Ledeen: In almost all my books I have argued that the global mission of the United States is to support freedom and fight tyrants. I think this mission is inescapable, because even when--alas, all too frequently--we shrink from it, the tyrants come after us and force us to do the right thing.

We didn't want to engage in any of the world wars of the last century, but we were dragged in by our tyrannical enemies. Ergo, we should support democratic revolution throughout the Middle East, above all in the countries that support the terror network.

FP: Yes, we must support democratic revolution throughout the Middle East. But in the cases of places like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran, where the terror network is clearly being fertilized, is there some legitimacy in going in there militarily if "regime change" is taking too long?

Ledeen: There is no general answer to this question, or if there is, I don't know it. You would have to look at each case. On Iran, I suppose the question is whether the West should wait if we believe the mullahs are about to get an atomic bomb.

FP: I would like to ask you a few personal questions about your life if you don't mind. Looking back at your youth, what molded you to become a Conservative?

Ledeen: I lived in Italy for many years, at a time when the Communist Party seemed on the verge of taking power. Watching the Communists up close put an end to any illusions about the Left.

FP: Illusions about the Left? Do you mean that, at one time, as a young man, you had some socialist impulses or interests? Could you talk a bit about these? And how they ultimately came crashing down?

Ledeen: Well, I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin in the early sixties, when Wisconsin was the epicenter of the Left. "Studies on the Left" was published in Madison, the great guru of a large part of the New Left, William Appleman Williams, taught there (and we played tennis together a good deal), and the Port Huron Statement that founded SDS was done by Wisconsin students. Many of them were my friends, and I was at the time working on a Master's thesis on Bakunin.

So I was intellectually working through many of those issues. I was opposed to the Vietnam War, indeed I signed a petition against it in 1962, but my opposition wasn't ideological. I agreed with Walter Lippmann that it was a mistake to engage in a land war in Asia. I never cared for the Viet Cong, and was never tempted by communism. My parents were left-wing Republicans. They lived in New Jersey and voted for people like Clifford Case. I think they voted for Eisenhower at a time when I was enamored of Adlai Stevenson, but they didn't like Nixon ever (I was born in Los Angeles and we knew a lot about Nixon that we didn't like) and voted for Kennedy in 1960.

So my own political convictions were, and are, fairly boring. My basic views have remained pretty constant for a long time: I dread mass movements, I hate tyranny, I think small government is preferable to big government even though I believe there are some things government must do, and I believe America must fight for freedom, constantly.

Does that make me a conservative? I dunno. Was Jefferson a conservative? Can one be a conservative and advocate democratic revolution at the same time?

FP: You have been a major player in the shaping of certain American foreign policies, and you were involved in some of the most well-known missions of U.S. diplomacy in the late 20th century. Could you tell us about a few "missions" in which you were involved and that, in retrospect, you are proud of having been a part of?

Ledeen: I was Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for a bit more than a year, when Alexander Haig was Secretary, and my job was really "ambassador at small" (General Walters was ambassador at large, in all respects).

We were having trouble with some of the key players in the Socialist International, especially Willi Brandt, and Haig, in his usual concise way, ordered me to "do something." So I started meeting with Socialist leaders, mostly in Western Europe, to try to find areas of agreement with at least a handful of them, on those questions that were annoying us in Washington.

I was able to develop really good working relations with the likes of Mario Soares, Felipe Gonzales and Bettino Craxi, along with some Israelis and French, and that led to a real change in policy by the West European Bureau of the Socialist International (SI).

The happiest moment came when Brandt denounced me by name, and accused me of having sabotaged SI policy on Central America.

Most of the other happy moments had to do with counter-terrorism, when we were able to work well with many of the same people. The Achille Lauro operation, for example, that led to the capture of some of the murderers of Leon Klinghoffer, would not have been possible without Craxi, with whom I spent most of the night on the telephone working out the arrangements.

At a certain point I had to translate Reagan into Italian during a conversation he had with Craxi, and on two occasions I felt that Reagan would have preferred a slightly different answer, so I did some "creative translation."

The next morning he wrote me a little note to thank me...proving once again that character is the most important quality in a great leader. We would never have been able to issue the arrest warrants without the help of the Israelis, who declassified enormous quantities of sensitive intelligence so that we could take it to a judge in Washington.

All of this convinced me that personal friendship is much more important in international affairs than the intellectuals would have us believe--certainly much more than I believed before getting involved in government--and ever since I have argued strenuously for rewarding real experts in the bureaucracy.

We badly need people who devote decades to a single region, and who grow up with a new generation of leaders, so that we will have these friendships when we need them. I despair at the current practice, which is to move people around from subject to subject and region to region. On Iran, for example, we lack real expertise, and have lacked it for at least twenty-five years. I think we absolutely must have real China experts, young ones, who will get to know young Chinese leaders. And so forth.

FP: Tell us an individual (or some individuals) who played an instrumental role in shaping your intellectual journey/political career. Did you have a mentor of some sort that, in retrospect, you are very grateful to?

Ledeen: I've had several mentors, of whom three were very important for me. The first is Richard D. Heffner, a professor at the New School (where I spent the first semester of my junior year), the editor of the best abridged edition of Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," and the general manager of the first public television station in New York City. I worked for him there the summer after my junior year, and learned a lot about media (he had been one of Edward R. Murrow's fair-haired boys). I wanted to go into public tv, but he insisted I go to graduate school, at least through the Master's. That was a blessing, because he was fired, and I would have been fired along with him.

The second was George L. Mosse, the great historian. He was my major professor at Wisconsin and took me as his research assistant. I worked with him on two fundamental books about National Socialism, and he encouraged me to go to Italy to work on fascism. George was one of the most brilliant, and most tolerant people I have ever known.

The third was Renzo De Felice, the great biographer of Mussolini. Renzo really took me under his wing when I started working in the Fascist archives in Rome, and in those years it was very hard to get the archivists to turn over the most important material unless you had a track record with them. Renzo walked me through the process. A few years later he chose me to be the interviewer for a book called "Interview on Fascism," which was the first serious critique of the Marxist theory of fascism published in post-war Italy. It kicked off a firestorm of condemnation, but in retrospect turned out to have been fundamental in making it possible to treat fascism as an historical phenomenon rather than an ongoing evil.

FP: In looking back at your years in foreign diplomacy, who are some figures that earned your trust and admiration? What American officials do you think did a priceless job in defending and promoting American interests?

Ledeen: The best was Scoop Jackson, and some of his proteges too: Richard Perle and Jim Roche for example. And of course Reagan. Jeane Kirkpatrick did a lot of terrific things.

That said, I don't have many heroes. It's hard to conduct foreign policy in a democracy, and we all come up short most of the time. After living in Italy for a long time, I learned that God placed man on earth so that man would screw up. And so we do.

FP: Could you name an author, or a few authors, who left an indelible mark on your intellectual development?

Ledeen: Lots and lots of them: Walter Lippmann, my childhood hero and still my model for expository writing. Freud and Jung. Elias Canetti and Friedrich Durenmatt. Ray Bradbury, Alfred Bester, J.R. Tolkein and Jonas Huizinga.

FP: What are your own personal future plans? What do you still hope to accomplish?

Ledeen: I'm trying to finish a book on Naples. I would like to play more tournament bridge, and Barbara is very keen to go to Burma.

FP: Let's return to politics now. When we examine the Left's behavior during the Iraq War and in the post 9/11 era in general, we certainly see a frightening pathology at work. What, in your view, is at the root of this horror movie? What do you think explains, for instance, a radical feminist screaming anti-Bush slogans at a rally and siding with enemies who extinguish every feminist right that could possibly exist in their own societies?

Ledeen: It's an Hegelian process. Hegel pointed out that the world changes all the time, and that ideas therefore "age." The Left's ideas no longer explain the world (as they once did) and so they are constantly frustrated and often enraged at their inability to deal with the real problems. They have therefore resorted to character defamation and "the politics of personal destruction" to maintain a grip on the bits and pieces of power they still control.

Finally, the Left has not recovered from the defeat of the Soviet Empire (in which so many of their passions were invested), and they will never forgive those of us who had a role in it.

FP: Tell us how you view, in general, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and what you would advise the Israelis and the U.S. to do.

Ledeen: I don't follow it, as you know. I doubt I have anything much to add to this overpopulated field of pundits.

In general, I don't think it is possible for anyone to do anything meaningful about it until we have defeated the terror masters in Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh, because the terrorism against Israel gets a lot of support from those
evil people.

In other words, you can't solve it in situ, it's part of a regional war.

Maybe, once we have liberated the Middle East and the peoples have a chance to make their own decisions, it will be easier.

But maybe not. Fascism was enormously popular in Western Europe, after all.

FP: If you were asked to describe Yasser Arafat in one sentence, what would you say?

Ledeen: Really, really ugly.

FP: In terms of our post-9/11 war, let me ask you this: (1) what if Gore had become president instead of Bush (2) What if a Democrat, someone like Howard Dean, beats Bush in 2004 and becomes President?

Ledeen: I'm an historian, and I don't do "what ifs."

Look at Dubya: nobody in his right mind could have predicted the amazing transformation of this man, seemingly overnight, from an ambitious and interesting person to a determined and effective leader. I voted for him
without any great enthusiasm, primarily because I feared that Gore would give the Left a stranglehold on the judiciary, from the Supreme Court down. But Dubya's turned out to be a very impressive man in foreign policy, and he was arguably very poorly prepared for that task.

Try explaining that!

It's hard enough to figure out what has actually happened, without consuming our little grey cells on what might have happened.

The same applies to Dean, although it does seem pretty certain that Dean would be even slower than our current administration to prosecute the war against terrorism. And the courts would be in the hands of the Left for a generation--unless somehow the Republicans retained enough of the Senate and developed sufficient will to filibuster, a tough parlay--which truly terrifies me.

FP: Let us suppose that tomorrow you are brought into Bush's inner circle regarding Iraq and the War on Terror. The President asks you what concrete steps he should take next. What do you say?

Ledeen: Support the democratic revolutionaries in Iran and the Iranian-American broadcasters in California. Now, not tomorrow. That is the key to the entire war, in my opinion. There will never be peace in Iraq so long as the mullahs are in power in Tehran, and their favorite Assad reigns in Damascus.

Then tell the Saudis that they have to shut down the global network of radical schools and mosques, or we will make great trouble for them in the Shi'ite regions of the Kingdom (which happen to be the major oil producing regions as

FP: Thank you Dr. Ledeen for joining Frontpage Interview. We are most grateful for you sharing your wisdom and fascinating life experience with us.

You stated earlier that the Left has never forgiven individuals such as yourself for having played a role in the destruction of the Soviet Empire. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for the role you played in that wonderful and joyous historic development. As a son of Soviet dissidents, I don't need to expand on why I have so much admiration and respect for you. Thank you.

I hope you will come back and visit us again soon. Take care for now.

Ledeen: One of the many great things about being an American is the singular pleasure of watching people--especially young people--from tyrannical countries become invaluable contributors to the United States. So it's my pleasure, Jamie.
17 posted on 12/30/2003 8:37:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The Year America Stood Up

December 30, 2003
The Wall Street Journal
George Melloan

As we look back on the year 2003 in America, it is clear that many things remained the same. Broadway fell back on revivals, "Gypsy," "Wonderful Town," etc. (again) and Hollywood on blood and guts "Master and Commander," "Cold Mountain," etc. (again). The same names, Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, etc. were on the fiction bestseller lists.

But if American culture seemed stuck in a time warp, the same could hardly be said for the American view of its role in the world. It was a time of self-assertion, effectively expressed in the pre-emptive conquest of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Whereas the Clinton administration had tried to win friends through accommodation, the Bush administration put a higher value on winning world respect for American power.

Nothing is ever certain in politics, but that effort appears to have had positive results. By the end of the year, Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, who had specialized in trouble making for a quarter century, was promising the U.S. that he would, hereafter, be a good boy. Russia was promising to forgive Iraqi debts if the U.S. let it continue to pursue business interests in post-Saddam Iraq. China, heavily dependent on U.S. trade thanks to a forward-looking U.S. grant of normal trade relations, was quietly supplying some help in keeping North Korea's Kim Jong Il in line.

In Europe, the two guys who made things tough for President Bush in the weeks leading up to the Iraq war are in eclipse. Gerhard Schroeder, the German chancellor who won re-election by exploiting the antiwar sentiments of Germans, is now trying to win his way back into the good graces of Washington. In his recent visit to New York, he told Wall Street Journal editors that he too favored the forgiveness of Iraqi debts as a German contribution to reconstruction.

The dreams of France's Jacques Chirac to be the putative leader of all Europe came crashing down, in part because of his efforts to sabotage the U.S. Iraq campaign in the United Nations Security Council. Eight national leaders in Europe responded with a letter to this newspaper supporting the U.S., effectively repudiating Messrs. Chirac and Schroeder.

If this sounds like American triumphalism, it is unintended. Events, mainly the 9/11 terrorist attacks, conspired to awaken the U.S. out of its slumber. It fell to George W. Bush to respond to international terrorism in a way demanded by outraged Americans. The degree of success he has enjoyed is owed to the quality of his foreign-policy team, the effectiveness of the U.S. military and to those national leaders who chose, at some political cost, to remain allies of the U.S. Opponents like President Chirac, Chancellor Schroeder, and Vladimir Putin -- all three motivated in part by commercial relationships with the butcher of Baghdad -- didn't realize that they were not just facing an American president, but the anger of an entire nation.

As the U.S. moves into a presidential election year, the Bush administration will be under pressure to consolidate its foreign-policy gains. American politics no longer ends at the water's edge, if in fact it ever did. The Democratic Party, particularly if Howard Dean becomes its standard-bearer, will be trying to prove throughout the year that American ventures into such inhospitable precincts as Iraq and Afghanistan were fools errands.

And indeed, Mr. Bush and his team will now find themselves dealing with not only the politics of the U.S. but also of Iraq and Afghanistan. In Kabul, a "loya jirga" constitutional assembly is trying to shape the narrow ambitions of a collection of warlords into a political system that will be capable of peaceful economic and cultural development. In Iraq, a provisional government is attempting something similar.

The best thing the U.S. has going for it in both cases is the terrible memories of the peoples of both nations of how much suffering previous regimes have brought them. The secret of success in both places will be in empowering those people to protect themselves against future demagogues and tyrants by giving them the right to select their leaders in regular elections.

That effort will be aided by frequent demonstrations that democratic societies offer a better life. One such demonstration is under way right now in Iran, yet another country suffering under a benighted leadership, in the midst of the massive earthquake devastation in the city of Bam. Rescue workers from all over the world have flocked to Bam to help dig out survivors and supply them with food, water and medical treatment. The U.S. has been in the forefront of that effort, despite its differences with the traditionalist theocrats who are trying to maintain their iron grip on the country.

Sometimes people need food, shelter and medicine. Sometimes they need military intervention to save them from a tyrannical leadership. The U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan started out as defensive counterstrikes against terrorists and a Saddam bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction. But in the doing, there proved to be a mission just as compelling, making it possible for millions of humans to lead decent lives. American soldiers have found that to be a mission worth risks, just as the relief workers in Bam know that saving lives is an ennobling pursuit.

With its soldiers spread throughout the world, America is often said to have become the greatest imperial power in history. Perhaps so. But the test of an empire is always whether it preserves its welcome. The challenge for America in successfully managing the new responsibilities it has shouldered in 2003 will lie in whether it can, despite formidable obstacles put up by defenders of the status quo, make life better for all those who have come under the protection of the stars and stripes.
18 posted on 12/30/2003 8:38:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Israeli Group Looks To Send Aid To Iran Via 3rd Party

December 29, 2003
The Associated Press
Dow Jones Newswires

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli humanitarian group said Monday that it wanted to ship earthquake relief to Iran anyway, through a third party, despite Iran's refusal to accept aid from Israel.

Following the devastating tremor Friday in the Iranian city of Bam, Iran said it was willing to accept aid from any nation, except Israel.

Israeli officials have recently branded Iran the number one danger to Israel because of its nuclear weapons program. Iran doesn't recognize Israel as a legitimate state.

Brushing aside the Iranian refusal, the Israeli humanitarian group Latet said it would try to ship aid to Iran some other way.

"We are checking to see how we can send (the aid) through a third party," said Jenny Perelis, a spokeswoman for Latet, which means "to give" in Hebrew.

Latet's international project director, Raanan Amir, said a deal was already lined up.

"There is no real wait. We are just checking the best and most effective way to send the help," Amir said.

However, neither Perelis or Amir would name the third party, for fear any publicity would torpedo the deal.

Perelis said that her group, which has supplied disaster relief to 17 countries in the last decade, has been inundated with offers of donations from Israelis for the Bam victims.

"We have been offered equipment, blankets, money and food but we have told the people to wait until we can be sure we can deliver," she said.

The Jerusalem Post daily quoted Latet Director Eran Weintrob as saying that the aid could be sent through an international organization like the International Red Cross or Oxfam.

But both groups said they have no knowledge of any such deal.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, which is coordinating relief efforts in Iran said it hadn't been approached.

"Nobody contacted us to provide a bridge between this group and Iran ," said Rudolf Muller, who is heading the Iran operation at OCHA. "But they may be working through another independent organization - you can't rule that out," he said.

Iranian officials said that more than 25,000 bodies have been recovered since Friday's 6.6-magnitude earthquake shook the city, and some have expressed fears that the death toll could rise as high as 40,000. At least 10,000 were injured.

Latet organizers said they were unconcerned by Iran's pre-emptive refusal of Israeli aid.

"Our obligation is to help when there are humanitarian disasters, to help people in need around the world," Amir said.

"Officially there is an unwillingness to accept Israeli aid," said Amir. "But in a quiet way we are hearing that they would be happy to receive this help," he said.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said that while the government had no connection to any aid project, there were no objections to Israeli groups aiding the Iranians on "a people-to-people basis."

"We have no problems with the Iranian citizens," Peled said, adding that while Israel hadn't officially offered aid, it had sent its condolences to the Iranian people.
19 posted on 12/30/2003 8:39:44 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Messages To The Iranian People

December 30, 2003
The Post and Courier

There's nothing like a massive natural disaster for testing the leadership of a nation's government and its ability to render aid to its people. On that score, the massive earthquake in Iran has tested that nation's theocratic leaders and found them sadly wanting. Three entire days passed before supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami visited the devastated city of Bam, where at least 25,000 people have died in the worst earthquake recorded in the past decade.

While the ayatollahs were deciding whether to make the 600-mile flight to the once fabled but now flattened city on the ancient Silk Road to the East, aid was arriving from all over the world, but most of all from the West and most of that from the United States -- in Iran aka "The Great Satan." In 1990, when 40,000 Iranians lost their lives in an earthquake, all international aid was refused. This time the relatively moderate President Khatami did make a heart-rending appeal for international help, acknowledging that his government simply could not handle a disaster of such huge proportions.

The United States responded immediately. A Charleston-based C-17 cargo jet left Saturday to pick up medicines and rescue equipment, joining seven U.S. Air Force C-130s that landed in Bam and Kerman, the provincial capital, with disaster teams and relief supplies.

A Reuters news agency reporter said that the residents of Bam welcomed help from any quarter, even the United States, quoting one man who lost his family in the quake as saying, "When our own government cannot help, let the Great Satan help us. We pay taxes and yet in cases like this, there is no one to help us."

Survivors complained that the government failed them and contended that bulldozers were used to clear the rubble when search teams could have saved lives. Criticism was so harsh that late on Monday President Khatami called a full Cabinet meeting for today in Kerman to try to demonstrate that the government is doing its utmost to help. Obviously President Khatami has not forgotten that the inadequate response of the shah to the 1978 quake that killed 15,000 people contributed to his downfall a year later.

Even the state-controlled Iran Daily reported that the high death toll was caused by the government's failure to enforce building codes or learn from previous disasters and noted that the Bam earthquake was about the same intensity of the quake that struck California last week, causing only two deaths.

By immediately offering aid and speeding help to the stricken victims, Washington has sent an important message to the Iranian people that the United States puts humanitarian concern above politics. President Bush was describing the rulers of Iran, not the Iranian people, when he included their nation in the "axis of evil," along with Iraq and North Korea. On a more practical level, the rapid response to the earthquake by the United States sent another important message: democracies handle natural disasters far better than repressive authoritarian regimes.
20 posted on 12/30/2003 8:40:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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