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Iranian Alert -- January 7, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.7.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/07/2004 12:01:19 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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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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 01/07/2004 12:01:19 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 01/07/2004 12:04:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
In response to the recent concern from students inside of Iran that the US funded Internet resource was no longer working I received the following from the management of the

"We have received reports that the Anonymizer's privacy services have been unavailable in Iran recently.

Anonymizer provides privacy services into Iran by sending a daily newsletter with the URL of the latest privacy proxy. This changes on a regular basis to avoid Iranian government censorship of the service. Over the Holiday's there was a pause in our sending of these newsletters. They have now resumed and everything should continue to function normally.

We saw little change in the traffic from Iran through our privacy proxies during that period, and are not aware that the currently active URLs have been blocked.

Any user of the service that see that our proxy has been blocked should contact me at"
3 posted on 01/07/2004 12:10:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Have you seen "House of Sand and Fog" (with Shohreh Aghdashlou)? What do you think of the film?
-- Very good 31.30 % (36)
-- Good 17.39 % (20)
-- OK 26.09 % (30)
-- Bad 8.70 % (10)
-- Very bad 8.70 % (10)
-- Not sure 7.83 % (9)

4 posted on 01/07/2004 12:14:22 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Anouncement: "Forbidden Iran" -- Must Viewing -- DoctorZin

Public Broadcasting Service - Frontline Edition
Jan 8, 2004

1) Anouncement:

FRONTLINE/World Program
Will air on Thursday, January 8, 2004; 9 P.M. (check local listings)

This edition of "FRONTLINE/World," PBS's international newsmagazine, includes a harrowing report from Iran, where reporter Jane Kokan risks her life to secretly film shocking evidence of a government-sponsored reign of terror.

In "Forbidden Iran," Kokan escapes the constant surveillance of the Iranian authorities to record exclusive interviews detailing the systematic torture and execution of students opposed to the current regime.


In July 2003, Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi was tortured and murdered by Iranian security agents after she attempted to report on the growing opposition movement in Iran. FRONTLINE/World correspondent Jane Kokan risks her personal safety to follow in Kazemi's footsteps, traveling undercover to Iran to investigate the clerical regime's latest crackdown on students, journalists and dissidents. "I want to find out what happened to [Kazemi]," says Kokan, "and the story she died trying to tell."

Iran is a theocratic republic ruled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and a council of mullahs, who control the prisons, courts and security forces. Students and dissidents pushing for change want the mullahs out of power and replaced with a more democratic government. But the Islamic regime has come down hard on political opponents, deploying security forces and packs of Bassijis, Islamic vigilantes, against dissidents. Ten Iranian journalists are currently jailed for writing critically about the regime, and foreign journalists are seriously restricted in Iran.

Kokan's journey starts in London, where she meets members of the Iranian diaspora. They share with her their personal stories, as well as amateur videos and other evidence they've smuggled out of Iran documenting attacks against students and dissidents.

At a peaceful demonstration at the Iranian Embassy in London, Kokan meets a young leader of the Independent Student Movement, Iman Samizadez. "I'm looking for [a] free Iran, without religion," Samizadez tells Kokan. "People, they can have religion as a private thing. But in a political way, we are looking for a free country."

In London, Kokan uncovers photographs documenting the bloody aftermath of a raid on a student dormitory in Tehran in the summer of 2003. The raid was carried out by vigilantes armed with machetes, metal pipes, chains and butcher knives.

Kokan also learns that some 4,000 Iranian student activists were arrested after protests in Tehran and other cities in June 2003 and at least 500 remain in prison for their democratic beliefs. Amir Fakhravar, a student movement leader and hero, is among the men and women Kokan will attempt to make contact with while in Iran. Punished for writing a book promoting democracy and free speech, Fakhravar is serving an eight-year prison sentence at Qasr Prison in Tehran. In a video recorded before he went to prison last year, Fakhravar prepares his mother for his execution, which he believes is imminent. "I don't [want] you to have that sad face. I want [you] at that moment they're hanging me, to stand proudly and say, 'I'm proud of my son,'" he says. In prison, Fakhravar has suffered regular beatings and torture.

Iran's aging mullahs have reason to be concerned about the young pro-democracy movement: 70 percent of Iranians are under age 30 and many have access to Western ideas and culture via the Internet and satellite television.

After months of negotiating access, Kokan is finally able to enter Iran in September 2003. Pretending to be an archaeologist, she crosses the Turkish border with a group touring the country's ancient ruins. Once inside, Kokan is assigned an official minder and her hotel room and phone are monitored. She must be extremely careful as she tries to make contact with Iran's underground student movement. She slips out at night to communicate by email, using a secret code she's developed to communicate with colleagues and sources. But she is careful to return by curfew or risk the hotel receptionist's reporting her to the police.

One night, Kokan shakes her minder to meet a friend of imprisoned student leader Fakhravar. Kokan pledges to protect the friend's identity, and he describes the ever-present security forces in Iran and the impact of a police state on daily life. "Our dream country is one where human rights are respected," he tells Kokan, "where people aren't sent to prison and tortured for their ideas, for their writing, for their work. That's our dream country."

Dodging her minders again, Kokan finds and films the anonymous site in Shiraz where journalist Zahra Kazemi's body is buried.

After two weeks, Kokan's tour group finally arrives in Tehran. Here in the capital city, Kokan encounters the tightest security yet, but she still manages to sneak away from the tour to meet a young activist who has been arrested four times and a political dissident, active since the 1970s, who has been supporting the student movement. To make a political statement, both men insist on showing their faces on camera, despite the risk of serious reprisal. The student activist tells Kokan that his movement wants support from the West, but does not want a U.S. military invasion like the one in Iraq.

The dissident, whom Kokan calls Arzhang, proves to be her most important contact in Iran. Arzhang gains access to a telephone line inside one of Iran's toughest prisons and sets up a telephone interview for Kokan with Fakhravar. The student leader tells Kokan of personally witnessing the murders of 19 student activists. But before he can answer whether he fears his own death in prison, the telephone is disconnected.

In the outskirts of Tehran, Kokan further interviews Arzhang, who shares information about Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi's last days. "She fought [the interrogators] back, she criticized them, she shouted," Arzhang says. "They cannot endure critics and she fought them back strongly."

As the final days of the group tour approach, Kokan must prepare for her departure, destroying all notes and other evidence of her unofficial business in Iran. Students smuggle her interview tapes over the mountains into Turkey, where she will pick them up later.

After her safe return, Kokan travels to Amsterdam to interview a former Iranian intelligence officer, Hamid Zakeri, who defected more than a year ago. Zakeri, who once worked for the Ayatollah Khamenei, now claims to be under the protection of the FBI and European security agencies. Zakeri tells Kokan that according to his intelligence sources, a security agent named Jafar Nemati was responsible for the beatings of Kazemi. After she was beaten unconscious, Nemati's boss, Saeed Mortesavi, a top judge in the mullahs' justice ministry, ordered Kazemi to be transferred into the custody of the intelligence ministry. Kokan learns that the details Zakeri provided were later confirmed in an investigation by the Iranian parliament.

In Iran, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi tells FRONTLINE/World that she is determined to pursue an investigation of Zahra Kazemi's death. After months of reporting, Kokan makes a last trip to Montreal, Canada, where Zahra Kazemi's son, Stefan, lives. Stefan is still struggling with the Iranian government for the return of his mother's body, which will provide indisputable evidence of her brutal death.

"The guilty is not one man," Stefan says. "Responsible is the Iranian government, responsible is Khamenei. My mother's dead, but there [are] journalists, other people that get such treatment. I don't want the death of my mother to be in vain."

3) Links & Resources:

• General Background
• The Student and Reform Movements
• Press Freedoms
• U.S.-Iran Relations and the Nuclear Issue
• Media Resources
• Weblogs

General Background

BBC Country Profile
This BBC News profile of Iran includes a brief history of the country since the 1979 revolution, a short biography of current president Mohammad Khatami and a summary of media in Iran. It also provides a succinct time line of the country's history since 1907.

UT Library Online
The University of Texas at Austin has archived a number of Central Intelligence Agency-created maps detailing Iran's regions and cities.

Presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The homepage of President Mohammad Khatami, president of Iran since 1997, includes his biography, an audio archive of his speeches (in Persian) and links to other government Web sites.

Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran
This is the official Web site of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's chief of state.

UNICEF Statistics
The United Nations Children's Fund provides basic demographic and health statistics on Iran, such as infant mortality rate, literacy rate by gender and statistics on women's development.

The Story of the Revolution
This is a four-part radio story about the Islamic Revolution of 1979 produced by the BBC Persian Service, with text in English.

The Student and Reform Movements

The Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI), also known as Daneshjoo, is a leading Iranian student group. Formed in 1997, its members are organizing to promote nonviolence, democracy and secularism in Iran. Its Web site includes articles from the group's newsletter and other media reports on student efforts; action alerts and discussion boards; and amateur video recordings of student demonstrations.

"Backers of Iranian Reform Fight Tide of Frustration"
This article by Afshin Molavi, published in the SMCCDI's newsletter, examines Iranian students' growing discontent and impatience with Iran's reformist president, Mohammad Khatami. The article details a pro-democracy student group's break with the reformists and the group's open letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. The group charges that its former allies were incapable of achieving democracy, human rights and freedom in Iran. (July 13, 2003)

Amnesty International Public Statement
This July 2003 statement by Amnesty International expresses concern over the Iranian government's treatment of student activists and demonstrators. Thousands of students were arrested during 2003 summer demonstrations against efforts to privatize universities in Iran. The statement includes background on the student activists and their clashes with Iranian police and vigilantes. The site also has links to other Amnesty International reports on Iran.

The Campaign to Free Iran's Students
This London-based human rights organization is campaigning for the release of dozens of imprisoned student activists in Iran.

"A Revolution Short of a Leader"
International relations expert Dr. Hooman Peimani argues that Iran's growing intellectual opposition to the theocratic rule needs firm leadership and more popular support in order to become a powerful force of reform. (Asia Times, June 2003)

"Iran's Hard-Liners Reject Reform Bills Approved by Parliament"
Nazila Fathi reports on bills to expand civil rights in Iran and the blow to the reform movement when the bills were rejected by the country's hard-line Guardian Council. (The New York Times, Aug. 14, 2003) (Registration required)

"Iran: Revolting Against the Revolution?"
Heritage Foundation Research Fellow James A. Phillips argues for the use of economic sanctions against Iran to support the country's grassroots movement for reform. (Heritage Foundation, WebMemo #298, June 18, 2003)

"Iran's Municipal Elections: A Turning Point for the Reform Movement?"
This article, published by the Washington Institute, discusses the implications of the February 2003 municipal elections in Iran on reform efforts in the country. Author Ray Takeyh, a professor at the National Defense University, examines Iran's lowest voter turnout in 24 years and the resurgence of the right. (Policy Watch, March 6, 2003)

"Tehran Mostly Quiet After Fourth Anniversary of Pro-Democracy Protests"
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Charles Recknagel covers Iranian student demonstrators' clashes with police on the fourth anniversary of nationwide pro-democracy protests in 1999. Recknagel reports that student activity was relatively subdued, confirming the success of police and hard-line vigilante groups in keeping Iran's reformist students off the streets. (RFE/RL, July 10, 2003)

Profile: Shirin Ebadi
BBC News profiles human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, who recently becamethe first Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The 56-year-old woman has been a key figure in the reform movement and is credited with being a driving force behind the reform of family laws in Iran, including laws regulating divorce and inheritances. Ebadi was the first female judge in her country, but was forced to resign when women were banned from holding such posts. She went on to establish a law practice, taking on politically sensitive cases that other Iranian lawyers wouldn't touch. (BBC News, Oct. 10, 2003)

Women and Social Change in Iran
The Asia Society convened a panel of experts on Iranian women's human rights to discuss social reform in Iran. Discussion highlights of the November 2003 panel and short biographies of the panelists are posted on the organization's Web site.

"Iran's Best-Known Female Dancer ... Detained on Charges..."
Associated Press reporter Ali Akbar Dareini reports on the recent arrests of Iran's best-known female dancer, Farzaneh Kaboli, and 24 of her students on charges of dancing in public. The women were performing at Tehran's prestigious Vahdat Hall for an all-female audience when police detained them. Although there are no written laws against dancing, Iran's hard-line clerics have banned the activity, saying it promotes moral corruption. Kaboli's students were released, but she is still in custody at Evin Prison. (The San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 25, 2003.)

4) Production:

Reported and Filmed by
Jane Kokan

Additional Camera
Mohammed Moujahir

Produced and Directed by
Carla Garapedian

Camilla Tress

Associate Producer
Alison Aylen

Behzad Yaghmaian

Additional Footage
Lasso Films and TV (Netherlands)

Michael Ormiston

Executive Producer
David Henshaw

A Hardcash Productions Film for FRONTLINE/World and Channel 4
5 posted on 01/07/2004 12:14:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Veiled Threats Lure Ayatollah's Grandson Home

By Michael A. Ledeen
Posted: Tuesday, January 6, 2004

New York Sun
Publication Date: January 6, 2004

Hossein Khomeini, the grandson of Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has suddenly returned to his native Iran after several months in Iraq and a quick visit to America.

Iranian news agencies laconically reported the event on Saturday, but it will shortly become a major cause celebre, since Hossein Khomeini had been un stinting in his criticism of the Iranian regime ever since his arrival in Baghdad shortly after the fall the city, when he announced his delight in being able to live in a free country.

Hossein Khomeini is not a major religious figure in Iran, but his bloodline gives him considerable standing in the country, and his clear separation from his grandfather's creation of a Shiite theocracy in Iran was widely seen as very helpful to the large opposition to the regime. He has studied Western philosophy at the theological schools in Qom, the Iranian holy city where most of the leading ayatollahs live and teach, and in public remarks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington last fall, he vigorously supported the principles of separation of mosque and state, total freedom of religion, and even "of nonreligion, since religion must be freely embraced to be meaningful." His return to Iran is therefore a surprise, and sources close to the Khomeini family suggest that he was lured back by a combination of threats and promises. He had been unable to obtain permission for his wife and children to join him in Iraq, and his wife had recently been visited by Iranian security agents who told her, "if your children suddenly die in the streets, you must know that it was not our doing."

His grandmother sent him a message a few days ago, which stressed the importance "for the family" for him to return, warned of the danger to his children, and contained a promise from the regime that no harm would be done to him. Thus, according to the family sources, Mr. Khomeini was blackmailed into returning.

The Khomeini family has long been the object of violence. Mr. Khomeini's father, Mustafah, died suddenly in his fifties in Karbala, Iraq, two years before the Iranian Revolution, after opposing Ruhollah's theocratic movement. The grand ayatollah's son, Ahmad, died young, reportedly from opium addiction, and Mr. Khomeini himself was the target of an assassination attempt in Baghdad. He was saved by coalition forces.

Hossein Khomeini has apparently now joined the long and growing list of regime critics suffering at the hands of the professional killers and torturers whose prime mission is to break the democratic opposition.

In the past few days, American leaders, including the president and the secretary of state, have assured the Iranian people of our support for freedom in that oppressed and unhappy country. They, and all Western leaders and human rights supporters, would do well to reiterate these fine sentiments, and include the name of Hossein Khomeini on the list of the regime's victims.
6 posted on 01/07/2004 12:16:36 AM PST by freedom44
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Announcement: "Forbidden Iran" -- Must Viewing -- DoctorZin

Public Broadcasting Service - Frontline Edition
Jan 8, 2004

FRONTLINE/World Program
Will air on Thursday, January 8, 2004; 9 P.M. (check local listings)
7 posted on 01/07/2004 12:17:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I'll be setting the vcr for that tomorrow. Sounds very interesting.
8 posted on 01/07/2004 12:23:21 AM PST by mseltzer (Go Eagles!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Charleston C-17 crew gets warm welcome in Iran

Of The Post and Courier Staff

The Charleston-based crew of an Air Force C-17 cargo jet that hauled medics and supplies into earthquake-ravaged Iran last week received a warm welcome despite years of animosity between the United States and Iran. "The Iranians were very professional and very receptive," Lt. Col. Mike Speer, an Air Force Reserve pilot, said Monday after returning home from a mission to Iran, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan.

Speer and five others in the crew were among the first American military to land in Iran in nearly 24 years. The United States ended relations with Iran in 1979 when a mob attacked the U.S. embassy and took the staff hostage. The last U.S. military aircraft to land in Iran were part of the failed hostage rescue attempt in 1980.

Crew members of a Charleston based C-17 shown in Iran while delivering medical supplies for earthquake victims are Sgt. Andy Greiner (from left), flying crew chief; Maj. Jeff Hazelwood, pilot; Master Sgt. Eve Irwin, loadmaster; Senior Airman Laura Tumlinson, loadmaster; Lt. Col. Mark Bauknight, aircraft commander; and Lt. Col. Mike Speer, pilot.

The warm reception, Speer said, came from a ground crew of between 10 and 15 Iranians who offloaded the cargo from the plane.

"Most of them didn't speak English," he said, "so it was mostly sign language."

People who see a C-17 for the first time often are impressed with the plane, but that didn't happen this time.

"The base commander came out to welcome us," Speer said, "but the people who offloaded the cargo were so busy they didn't have time to gawk."

The Iranians paid no special attention to the Air Force flight crew that included two female loadmasters. The women wore head scarves out of respect for an Islamic custom that urges women to cover their heads.

The plane landed shortly after dawn Dec. 29 at Kerman, a major international airport about 80 miles northwest of the ancient city of Bam, site of the 6.6-magnitude quake three days earlier that reportedly killed more than 30,000 people. Speer said the cargo consisted of between 65,000 and 70,000 pounds of medical supplies and equipment for use in a transportable hospital. Also, 62 people, mostly physicians, medics and emergency room nurses from the Boston area were on board.

Speer said the flight was mostly at night and the plane didn't fly over Bam. Kerman, however, was "a beehive of activity" and the Iranian crews were so busy they needed several hours before they could get to the C-17 and remove the cargo.

Once the plane was empty, the crew flew to a base in Qatar in the Persian Gulf. From there, it carried cargo to Afghanistan, and then flew west to the U.S. base in Frankfurt, Germany. The crew and the plane returned to Charleston late Sunday.

Speer said his father, a former C-141 cargo jet pilot, had flown into Iran before the 1979 revolution that brought the present government to power. But until last month, contact had ceased because of the hostage crisis.

"We couldn't speak the language, but there were a lot of smiles all around," he said. "Maybe this will help open relations between our countries."
9 posted on 01/07/2004 12:24:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

NY Post
January 6, 2004 --

WHEN Afghans hear good news, they fire their guns in the air. And this is precisely what many Afghans have been doing over the past week to celebrate the approval of a new draft constitution by the Loya Jirga, a high assembly of tribal chiefs, religious leaders and other notables that has always been called to lead the nation out of a tight spot.
The latest session of the Loya Jirga lasted 22 days, not the 10 initially planned, and produced more drama than expected. But the assembly, which ended its latest session last weekend, has done its job: It has provided the war-ravaged nation with a new constitution that seems to enjoy widespread support.

Much of the credit for the Jirga's success goes to behind-the-scenes efforts of the Bush administration and its point man in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad. The United Nations and its special envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, also deserve credit for efforts to neutralize attempts by some regional powers, notably Iran and Russia, to split the Loya Jirga. This shows that, provided it is not used as a forum for demagoguery, the U.N. can play a useful role in specific crisis situations.

Credit is also due to Hamid Karzai, the interim president, who (backed by the ex-king, Muhammad Zahir Shah) managed to smooth many ruffled feathers among Pushtun tribal chiefs.

The Loya Jirga resisted, and ultimately defeated, efforts by Jihadist politicians and ideologues to turn Afghanistan into an Islamic Republic based on the Shariah, the controversial canon law of Sunni Islam. The new constitution clearly shows that political power belongs to the people and will be exercised through elected representatives, on the basis of the man-made Basic Law and not any metaphysical principle. This sends a powerful signal to neighboring Iran, where a mullah (the "Supreme Guide") holds absolute power in the name of Allah.

Also defeated were efforts to keep women out of political life altogether and relegate them to a position of second-class citizenship. The future Afghan parliament is now sure to have at least some female members, to the chagrin of the mullahs who argued that women "lacked wisdom and judgment" and were thus unable to choose right from wrong without the guidance of their men folk. Again, this will send a powerful message to other Muslim countries, including semi-democracies like Kuwait, which still refuse equal political rights for women.

The Loya Jirga also resisted attempts by Pushtun tribal chiefs and muftis (religious dignitaries) to impose their language, spoken by some 38 percent of the population, as the sole official language. Under the new constitution, Afghanistan will have two national official languages, Dari (Persian) and Puhstu, and at least two regional official languages, Uzbek and Turkmen. In that sense, too, Afghanistan is sending a message to several Muslim states where linguistic diversity is regarded as a threat to national unity.

The 502-member Loya Jirga did something even more important, at least in immediate political terms: It rejected a draft under which Afghanistan would have had a highly centralized government, based on a powerful executive headed by a directly elected president.

The draft, inspired by a superficial understanding of the U.S. system of government, ignored the federal structure of the United States and provided for a president answerable only to the electorate.

The final text, however, provides for a president who, though elected by universal adult suffrage, is equally answerable to the parliament. There will be two vice presidents, with the understanding that they be chosen from ethnic communities other than that of the president.

Karzai, who hopes to win the presidency in next June's election, fought hard to impose the original draft. His opponents, meanwhile, pressed for a parliamentary system that, while allowing for greater power-sharing in a multi-ethnic nation, would have weakened the central authority. In the end, both sides had to give in. The future president will not have all the powers Karzai wanted - nor be the mere figurehead that his opponents had urged.

Yet a week of good news does not mean that Afghanistan, a nation torn by a quarter-century of war, is out of the woods. Several forces are still at work to destroy the fragile peace imposed by the United States and its allies after the fall of the Taliban two years ago:

* The Pushtuns, like the Sunnis in Iraq, find it hard to abandon their almost exclusive hold on political power. And, like Iraq's Sunnis, who draw support from sister communities in nearby Arab countries, the Afghan Pushtuns look for support to their kith and kin in Pakistan.

* An estimated half a million armed men are divided into dozens of private armies, some of which are linked to local and international drug barons. Despite repeated promises by Washington, recently relayed by NATO, the disarming of these dangerous groups has not even begun.

* A third threat comes from neighboring states, especially Iran, Pakistan and Russia (which, though not a neighbor, exerts influence through its military presence in Tajikistan). Afghanistan was created in the 18th century as a buffer state to separate Tsarist, Persian and British Empires. Attempts at undermining Afghanistan's neutrality always led to war, and could do so again in the future.

Afghanistan's most aggrieved neighbor at present is Pakistan - which, having backed the Taliban to the bitter end, finds itself with no friends or clients in Kabul. The new Afghan government must find some means of reassuring Islamabad and thus ensure genuine Pakistani support for the destruction of what is left of the Taliban, al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in south-eastern Afghanistan's wild frontier lands. Pakistan's government is now less than enthusiastic in helping end the terrorists' low-intensity war against the Karzai regime and its U.S. sponsors.

Since there are more Pushtuns in Pakistan (where they are known as Pathans), any attempt at solving Afghanistan's Pushtun problem would have to enlist Islamabad's support. In fact, many experts believe that a majority of the Pushtuns engaged in current attacks in southeast Afghanistan are Pakistani Pathans, including many "volunteers for martyrdom" trained in Islamist centers in such Pakistani cities as Peshawar and Quetta.

* Perhaps the most important threat to future peace and stability in Afghanistan comes from the slow pace of reconstruction. Much has been promised in the past two years, but little has been done. The standard excuse is lack of security. But in the case of Afghanistan, the egg and the chicken come together: Reconstruction breeds security, and vice versa.

* A final threat comes from the uncertainty of the American commitment to long-term support for Afghanistan. Almost all the politicians seeking the Democratic Party's presidential nomination have hinted, or openly promised, a quick end to Washington's involvement in Afghanistan. And that sends jitters down many spines in Kabul.E-mail:
10 posted on 01/07/2004 12:27:08 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Alabama grandpas cook up new relations in Iran

Wednesday, January 07, 2004 - ©2003

BAM, Iran, Jan 7, (AFP) -- Around 20 of them are gathered around large cooking pots -- men in their 60s and 70s from America's Deep South who dashed to Iran to cook up some food for survivors of the devastating quake in Iran's own deep south.

"Most of us are retired, roughly 95%," explained Larry Murphy, leader of the group of the Alabama Disaster Relief team.

Since late Monday, the team has been slaving over a hot stove in a bid to provide hundreds of freezing quake victims with a decent, hearty meal. And at the same time they are managing to cook up new relations in a country their government has branded as part of an "axis of evil".

"We adapt ourselves to the ethnic food. But cooking rice is really hard in the way that people want it," Murphy explained as his team put the finishing touches to a consignment of rice and bean stew.

Opposite their open-air kitchen are hundreds of tents -- part of a new network of temporary settlements for quake victims moved away from the city as bulldozers continue to sift though the rubble for more bodies.

Back home, the Alabama group is nicknamed "the good old boys" -- altruists who pack up and head to zones hit by cyclones, floods or earthquakes.

A week ago as he learned of the scale of the quake, Murphy sounded the alarm to his team, scattered in the cities of Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham.

One of the team, Marc Clayton, said he was in the middle of a fishing trip off the Gulf Shores in the Mexican Gulf. He quickly put away his tackle and headed for Bam, where he is now in charge of the team's drinking water distribution.

Spencer Wayne Speer, 67, worked for 20 years as a contract specialist for the US space agency NASA. After having undergone a knee operation three months ago, he was hesitant about heading for rubble-strewn Bam where up to 35,000 people were killed.

But he has no regrets, even though he gave up his Christmas holiday.

"We are overwhelmed how friendly they are," he told AFP, explaining how local officials were concerned over the team's sleeping conditions. "They brought us a big mattress; it was like sleeping at home."

Many in the team say they had a very vague idea about the Islamic republic -- a country best remembered in the United States for the 1979 storming of the US embassy in Tehran by radical students, who took the staff hostage.

Rodell Thacker, 73, is also happy he came.

"It's the best mission I have ever been on," he says in a southern drawl after adjusting his hearing aid.
11 posted on 01/07/2004 12:32:34 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran funds Jihad via Damascus

Jerusalem Post
Jan. 7, 2004

In an attempt to hide its traces, Islamic Jihad in Damascus Syria transfers thousands of dollars to the territories to fund terrorism. It deposits money in bank accounts opened by the wives of senior Islamic Jihad members.

The details were revealed Sunday in Salem Military Court, where Sheikh Bassam Sa'adi, the senior Islamic Jihad commander in Jenin, was indicted for transferring funds to operate terrorist activities and belonging to an illegal organization. Sa'adi was arrested in October 2003. He was found in his pajamas, hiding underneath a parked car.

Security officials said Sa'adi is responsible for setting up the terrorist infrastructure in Jenin responsible for several suicide bombings in Israel, including those at a mall in Afula last May that killed three, the car bombing at the Karkur junction in October 2002, and another at the Megiddo junction in June 2002 in which 31 people were killed.

Presenting himself as a political leader, Sa'adi advocated a cease-fire this past summer, but openly rejected it after the IDF killed a top Islamic Jihad commander in Hebron.

Terrorists arrested during Operation Defensive Shield revealed the existence of an institutionalized transfer system, with large sums transferred by Iran via the organizations operating under its patronage, which use the Syrian and the Palestinian banking systems (the Arab Bank stands out as the main money channel).

Transfers were made to Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and indirectly to the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

The questioning of Ali al-Sa'adi and Thabet Mardawi, senior Islamic Jihad commanders in the Jenin arrested during Operation Defensive Shield, revealed that they were constantly in touch with Islamic Jihad headquarters in Damascus. They admitted discussing plans regarding suicide attacks with the office, and would request money to fund them and receive instructions regarding arms production.

They also admitted they had received large sums from headquarters in Damascus and opened several accounts in the Arab Bank, some in their name and some in the name of an older woman.

Examples of large sums transferred by Dr. Ramadan Shalah, the movement's Damascus-based secretary-general, to the Jenin cell were found in documents confiscated during Operation Defensive Shield. One related to $127,000 transferred to support the families of dead suicide bombers and another to $31,000 transferred in November 2001, to be given to Ali al-Sa'adi. But he did not receive it because he reportedly quarreled with Sheikh Bassam Sa'adi, who had control of the money.
12 posted on 01/07/2004 12:34:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

Iranian are one of the most active Expatriate groups working against tyranny in their homeland. Recently when anti-government demonstrations broke out in Iran –Iranian expatriates in 72 world cities held demonstrations in support- the largest expatriate demonstration day against a regime pulled over 1 million on the streets across the entire world., an absolutely amazing figure considering there are only 65 million Iranian inside Iran. 40 world cities and 32 cities in the US came out in support of Freedom for Iran that day including Washington DC where several US Senators spoke in support.

Contacts were initiated via Iranian-American satellite television. 13 stations beam into millions of homes in Iran as well as across US and Europe regularly calling for demonstrations and initiatives. Estimates put the average Iranian population receiving satellite dish at 10-15%.

There was one group absent—or present and not there in heart--it’s a rarity to find a pro-Islamic Republic group—extremely rare---but that group is the NIAC.

• The NIAC was founded after it was revealed that the AIC members were in regular contacts with the Islamic Republic and had ranking members who were once members of the government.
• The ranking members of the NIAC including Trita Parisa have called for extensive negotiations with the Islamic Republic, and are closely aligned with the ‘reformist’ faction in Iran.
• Their website has consistently denounced activity against the Islamic Republic as ‘out of touch’ and attacked any type of funding for opposition groups, while endorsing the Islamic Republic’s factions.
• Attempting to ‘appear’ apolitical they will typically state opinion as ‘others’ opinions, but one wonders in a country where 85% of Iranians endorse regime change in Iran, how their own polls are so one-sided.
• Apparently their polls indicate 80% of Iranians endorsing the Islamic Republic’s reformist faction, one wonders how that’s possible when only 12% of Iranians inside Iran itself voted in recent elections
• After the elections when e-mails were sent about the results, the replies blamed the United States policy for the election boycott in Iran instead of voter apathy against the regime.
• Ranking officers have showed up on Iranian discussion boards Payvand aggressively attacking America, Israel, while using profanity and threatening insults to opposition figures, which far out numbered his ideology.
• Officer has acknowledged that he represents 10-15% of foreign based opposition who are actively working to undermine the opposition against the Islamic Republic.
• After 14 days of anti-Government demonstrations in Iran the NIAC were the only organization with nothing to say on the demonstrations except for a ‘poll’ asking whether the US should be involved in Iran’s ‘personal affairs’. Other words dubbing the demonstrations ‘US initiated demonstrations’
• One day after the demonstrations they ran a column calling for ties with the ‘hard-liners’ in Iran. You heard it right---not even the reformist, they called for ties with the hard-liners through one of their columns.
• Virtually all opposition groups know the NIAC as a front organization for the Islamic Republic of Iran receiving funds from Oil Companies, high-ranking members of the Islamic Republic, and those affiliated with the con-reformist agenda such as Guy Dinmore of Financial Times, Gary Sick, Elaine Scalanio of NY Times, Robin Wright of LA Times, and a slim group of others.
• The NIAC use their initiatives such as ‘sympathy for Iranian rights in the US’ and civic duties as front for their background activities.
• NIAC attacked the registration for Iranians after 9/11 as a sympathic initiative to pull activist and to under handedly endorse their policies
• They are a Tax-exempt organization receiving your Tax-dollars to undermine opposition movements inside and outside of Iran.

In several different contacts with the NIAC they have repeatedly stating that they’re non-aligned, apolitical, even claiming they have ‘members of AEI’, when asked who those members are they refuse to report.

When a close representative contacted the NIAC asking them various questions about their affiliation she consistently demanded that the NIAC ‘is apolitical’, ‘non-aligned’, but then proceeded to insult the caller when he demanded to know why there were insults about opposition figures on their website.

Contact the NIAC at 202-518-6187 let them know, you are aware of their activities and you will not allow them to undermine the demands of the Iranian people, nor will you allow them to steal your tax dollars for supporting the Islamic Republic.

13 posted on 01/07/2004 12:34:56 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Letter from Shiraz, Iran:


Something big was about to happen in July, 2002, but everyone started talking about deals and handshakes. Jack Straws visit to Tehran sealed everything, many in Iran know that the British are strongly supporting the Mullahs, as was quoted the Mullahs are the strongest weapon the Brits ever had in Iran.

I remember the last couple years of the Shah, every country had turned their backs on the Shah -Iran's economy was booming and military one of the strongest in the world, Iran was set to become one of the strongest nations in the world in 7 years time. What's intersting is that the Shah even promised democratic reforms calling for elections whereby he'd release powers in upcoming elections..

somehow or another people were all the sudden convinced the Shah was the devil, this after massive disagreements with the Brits, and Russians over oil deals..

MI6 released information on their overthrow of a Nationalist Secular government under Mossadeqh in 1953 for cheap oil, will they also release information about overthrow of the Shah when he started to become a nationalist?

There's no conspiracy about it. The British are strongly behind the Mullahs, they created them and installed them and until they ask them to go it will never happen.

Note: A strong majority of Iranians believe the Islamic Revolution was instigated and funded by the Brits.

Letter From Tehran -- Iranians See British Behind Every Mullah
Commentary, Shahla Azizi,
Pacific News Service
Editor's note: As a war of words heats up between Iran and the United States, a strange mixture of conspiracy theories and apathy abounds in Tehran.

TEHRAN, Iran--These are uncertain times in Tehran. The recent accusations and tough talk against the clerical regime coming from Washington, together with the war in Iraq has made many Iranians hopeful that the Americans will come here next to help liberate them from the ruling mullahs. That is, if the British don't stop them.

The Iranian public, from the grocery man to the university student to the doctor to the reformist member of Parliament, all believe in conspiracy theories so far-fetched they make JFK assassination buffs seem like real empiricists.

The majority of Iranians believe that the mullahs, the hard-line clerics, have the full backing of the British. In order to understand this line of thinking you have to look at the enormous influence of foreign powers here in the past. The British and the Soviets divided the country into southern and northern zones of power under their direct influence during WWII. Reza Shah, the founder of the previous dynasty, was put on a ship and sent to exile by the British because of his sympathies for Hitler. His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was briefly ousted in 1953 but quickly put back in power by a coup d'etat that the CIA now admits having engineered. He was toppled by the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power with enormous popular backing.

Strange as it may sound to Western readers, a main line of popular thinking has flourished against this historical backdrop. It goes something like this:

The English are the wits and brains behind American actions in the region since WWII. The British know that in order to keep Iranian oil and resources for themselves, they have to keep the clerics, who are their agents, in power. They are now pushing them on the naive Americans. Iranians truly believe that if it were not for the marriage of the clerics and the British, this Islamic regime would not stay in power. Southern Iraq, which according to this theory is under British control, provides proof of this. Ayatollah Hakim, the Iraqi Shiite cleric exiled to Iran who returned to Iraq in May, must have British backing, or he would never have been allowed to return with such bravado.

The conspiratorial nature of this line of thinking is not lost on Iranians themselves, who at times satirize it. A notable example is Iraj Pezeshkzad's "My Uncle Napoleon," one of the all-time best-selling Iranian novels and a television series. Written a few decades ago, it is nevertheless still popular. In it, a man who greatly admires the French ruler is obsessed with the idea that the British are behind everything.

"You see," I was told by more than one person, including my elderly landlady and a member of the Majlis (parliament), "these guys (meaning the hard-line clerics) are smart -- they have made a deal with the British. Not only are they here to stay, but they are taking over Iraq as well." They go on to explain, "the Americans are bullies, but they are too stupid in the face of British wit."

This belief in the cleverness of the British and their agents, the clerics, is so widespread that no one believes that the overwhelming religiosity of the majority of Iraq's Shiites might have something to do with Hakim's popularity.

Many even claim the 1979 Revolution was also the work of the British and the Americans. The majority here believes that the British fooled the hick peanut farmer, Carter, into getting rid of the Shah and allowing Khomeini to return from exile to impose his Islamic Republic. Few believe that Carter had a genuine human rights agenda, or that there had been a genuine desire for an indigenous ideology in the form of the Islam that Khomeini offered.

Even among hard-line Hezbollahi types, conspiracy theories abound. One man who helped bring Khomeini back from exile in France and played an important role in the early days of the Revolution told me that all the reformists in the Majlis are agents of the Americans. "If we give in to them," he reasoned, "we will have given the Americans our country."

The upshot of all this is that few Iranians believe that Iranians themselves can do anything about their political future. A political apathy more suffocating than the strong arm of the clerics prevails here. Tired of struggling, inherently fatalistic and used to foreign meddling in their affairs, the masses are waiting to see if the British and their mullahs will fool the Americans once again.

A word of caution to Washington is in order. Iranians blamed the Americans for bringing the Shah to power, and now blame the British for supporting the mullahs. Anyone going in to change regimes should perhaps sign a sort of prenuptial agreement with the Iranians, so if things turn sour in the future Iranians will have only themselves to blame.
14 posted on 01/07/2004 12:55:12 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

The systematic use of torture and terror, as instruments of domestic and foreign policy employed by the Islamic Clerical regime in Tehran, is no doubt a crime against humanity. It is time for a collective and decisive action by the Canadian, G8 governments, and the international community to support the freedom-loving Iranian People, to put an end to such horrific crimes against humanity and to pave the way for freedom.

Today the Iranian people are demanding civil and political freedoms, separation of religion and government, equality and justice (especially
for the Iranian women), the immediate liberation of all political prisoners and Free Referendum.

With regard to the above, we the undersigned request your urgent help so that another human tragedy can be prevented before the Islamic regime causes another massacre in Iran. It is a regime that has executed over 120,000 political prisoners and freedom-loving Iranians in less than 2 decades. An Iran that is free from the current regime's rule will have countless benefits such as undercutting much of the funding for terrorist groups, paving the way for a more peaceful Middle East, and creating a region in which all inhabitants can participate in a system that is for the people and by the people. In this we ask that you respond to the following appeal:

- The continued legitimization of the Islamic regime in Iran must stop at once.
- Please give an ultimatum to the regime, urging it to step down peacefully because they have lost all legitimacy.
- Please ask the UN to immediately send a team to observe the situation in Iran.
- Please support the general demand of the Iranian people for a free referendum and elections observed by international organizations.

If the Islamic Clerical regime in Tehran does not step down peacefully please consider the following steps:
- Freeze All Assets Of The Regime.
- Discontinue Oil Imports From Iran.
- Expel The Islamic Clerical Regime From the UN.
- Expel The Islamic Regime's Ambassador From Canada and EU countries. Relations with the regime should be reduced to Consular level only, as to serve the consular needs of the Iranian people.

Since the tragedy on September 11th, one of the most tragic human rights violations of recent times, the world community must deliver a strong condemnation to such violators. To avoid another such tragedy we should not tolerate any human rights violations in any part of this planet by any group. Please consider the above requests from peace-loving and freedom-loving people of Planet Earth.
"Human beings are all members of one body.
They are created from the same essence.
When one member is in pain,
The others cannot rest.
If you do not care about the pain of others,
You do not deserve to be called a human being."
A Quote from Famous Persian Poet Saadi Shirazi
( 13th century Persian poet, from Shiraz the birthplace of Ms. Zahra Kazemi)
15 posted on 01/07/2004 1:06:09 AM PST by freedom44
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To: freedom44

16 posted on 01/07/2004 1:09:21 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Regime change? No thanks. I'm still busy with the last two. Iran can sink or swim on its own.
17 posted on 01/07/2004 1:14:11 AM PST by Skwidd (Fire Controlman First Class Extraordinaire)
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To: DoctorZIn
Irishman tells of kidnap ordeal

UTV - Ireland
Press Association

Aidan Leahy was in Dublin to thank officials for their help in securing his release.

The mechanical engineer was held hostage for four weeks when he was kidnapped, along with two Germans, by armed drugs smugglers last month.

The trio were cycling in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, close to Iran`s border with Pakistan.

Since his release just over a week ago Mr Leahy has been resting at his family home in London.

But today he met officials from the Iranian embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin to express his gratitude for their work with the Iranian authorities in securing his freedom.

``It was very surreal and I haven`t had time to think and reflect on everything that happened,`` he said.

``Hopefully now I will have some time to collect my thoughts.``

Asked about his lowest point, he said the release had been terrifying.

``When I was taken, it was obviously very bad and there were some bad points in the house, but the release was very nerve-racking.

``We were never sure and even though the captors said we were being released your mind can go through many different emotions.

``It was a two-and-a-half-hour journey and obviously we could think of every kind of scenario but we just happened to be released,`` he said.

Mr Leahy thanked the Irish government for its work with the Iranian authorities and said it was great to be back in the Republic with his family.

``When I was being held captive I really did appreciate the work that everybody was doing behind the scenes. I am truly, truly grateful,`` he added.

Joking that he would certainly think twice about making a similar trip again, he said: ``I think my family want to cut my bicycle up at the moment.``

But he described the Iranian people as ``beautiful`` and said he would have no problem in going back to the country again.

Foreign Affairs minister Brian Cowen welcomed Mr Leahy back to Ireland and thanked the Iranian and German authorities for their work.

``I am glad to see him here in such happy circumstances,`` he said.

``He`s obviously come through a very difficult experience and we`re just delighted that he`s been released unharmed, well and back with his family and friends.

``Obviously he now needs time to reaclimatise himself and we hope he can put this experience behind him as quickly as possible.``

A spokesman for the Iranian embassy in Dublin said they had been delighted to receive Mr Leahy, who met the ambassador Seyed Hossein Mirfakhar and described his experiences.

Mr Leahy intends to visit relatives including his uncle, aunt and cousins in Co Westmeath during his stay in Ireland.

Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested an unspecified number of men suspected of involvement in the kidnapping.

The drug smugglers had demanded a £3.5m ransom, which the authorities say was not paid.
18 posted on 01/07/2004 2:08:46 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: Skwidd
Yes, Regime Change with support and helps from the United States of America. What's wrong with this?
19 posted on 01/07/2004 2:13:08 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: F14 Pilot
The Shah...
An Iranian Discussion Board here :
20 posted on 01/07/2004 2:17:21 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: All

Crew members of a Charleston based C-17 shown in Iran while delivering medical supplies for earthquake victims are Sgt. Andy Greiner (from left), flying crew chief; Maj. Jeff Hazelwood, pilot; Master Sgt. Eve Irwin, loadmaster; Senior Airman Laura Tumlinson, loadmaster; Lt. Col. Mark Bauknight, aircraft commander; and Lt. Col. Mike Speer, pilot.

21 posted on 01/07/2004 2:36:20 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: freedom44; DoctorZIn; nuconvert; F14 Pilot
Is this verified? Do we have more recent info on Hossein Khomeini?
22 posted on 01/07/2004 2:38:38 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith; nuconvert; freedom44; downer911; DoctorZIn; faludeh_shirazi; McGavin999; Cindy; ...
No More Mullahs in Iran, Please!!!
Mullahs, clerics and other religious elements of the Islamic Republic government are much hated among their own people.
23 posted on 01/07/2004 2:47:02 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: DoctorZIn
God bless you for all your dedication to this vital work.

The Truth flooded the USSR via the printing machine. God only knows how much more powerful constant satellite access is, let alone combined with the internet. Just as I said several months ago, if we coordinate special forces and air support with the Iranians at the peak of a critical uprising, it's all over for the mullahs. The only question is, which peak?

24 posted on 01/07/2004 2:58:08 AM PST by Arthur Wildfire! March (Carter stumbled into the Truth:
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To: DoctorZIn
Thank you for the follow-up.
25 posted on 01/07/2004 4:17:37 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Bump for the Grampas.
26 posted on 01/07/2004 4:25:22 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: All
Iran mulls renaming Tehran street

IRIB English News

Tehran,Iran- Tehran City Council will examine Tuesday whether to rename a street in the Iranian capital, which is a bone of contention in ties with Egypt.

The north Tehran street Khalid Slamboli was a stumblingblock in Tehran-Cairo ties after the two Muslim nations' relations was sent into a tailspin since the Israeli-Egypt agreement in Camp David.

The street name was changed after the Egyptian government executed Khalid Slamboli, an army officer who gunned down the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during a parade ceremony.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher said Sunday that Cairo considers the issue of Camp David as belonging to the past, stressing that Egypt is now eager to promote ties with the Islamic Republic. Maher, in an interview with IRNA and the Central News Bureau, said Egypt considers the case of the Camp David accords as closed, stressing that the interest of Tehran and Cairo today is in the promotion of mutual cooperation. "I don't think using the issue of Camp David will be useful, because it does not exist anymore and is merely a thing of the past," he said. "There have been many changes and I believe that this case between Iran and Egypt has already been closed... what exists now is the interest of Iran and Egypt to work with each other." The Islamic Republic severed its ties with Egypt after former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David peace treaty with the Zionist regime and harbored Iran's defunct Shah. The two countries now run interest sections through foreign embassies in Cairo and Tehran, operated by Iranian and Egyptian diplomats. Maher highlighted the need for Iran and Egypt to struggle together for the establishment of justice in the occupied territories of Palestine, and for promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. "Therefore, there is no reason to stop because of what does not exist anymore and has become part of the past," he said. "What is important is that we will continue our assistance to Palestine and we know that Iran will also help the Palestinian people." Elsewhere in his remarks, Maher termed the talks between Iran's President Mohammad Khatami with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak in Geneva as very important. He stressed that the meeting of the Iranian and Egyptian presidents had been an opportunity for them to discuss issues relating to bilateral relations and international developments. Khatami and Mubarak met in Geneva last December on the sidelines of a UN technology summit. Iran said later it had invited the Egyptian President to attend a summit of Eight Developing Islamic Countries (D-8) in Tehran in February. Khatami later told reporters that he had held comprehensive talks with Mubarak in Geneva, and expressed hope that the talks would put an end to years of estrangement. He, however, admitted that there exist differences between the two strong Muslim countries over olitical and ideological issues'. "Both Iranian and Egyptian official are determined and willing to remove obstacles on the way (of rapprochement). I hope the negotiations will bear favorable fruits," Khatami told reporters after submitting a draft budget bill to the Majlis. He also hoped that Egyptians' worries will be removed and "we would not have to relegate any of our values and principles". Maher highlighted the historical and cultural affinities between Iran and Egypt, stressing that he considered the promotion of relations between Iran and Egypt as "a natural development". He said it is natural that both countries reach a point to use their cultural and historical affinities to forge a sustainable political relation. "Therefore, I believe what has been carried out over the past years has been making groups in cultural, economic and regional areas that all have had a natural growth," the Egyptian minister said. "This growth has been based on the determination of the Iranian and Egyptian nations and has also been in line with the interests of both countries, as well as those of the whole region and the Muslim world". Maher said Tehran and Cairo both advocate peace, security and justice, and that each time there has been a meeting between the officials of the two countries, there has been an understanding of the many mutual common points. He added that the Iranian and Egyptian officials in their meetings have always stressed that these common points must be reinforced for the sake of the interests of their respective nations, as well as the aspiration for peace, justice and security. Maher said Iran and Egypt have for many years taken the initiative at the United Nations to call for making the Middle East a region free from weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). "What is important is that such cooperation was carried out when we had no official contact with each other," he said. "Therefore, what has happened has been a natural process and the meeting of the Iranian and Egyptian presidents was the significant point of that process." Maher further recalled the efforts by Iran and Egypt at the United Nations to urge the international community to pressure Israel to sign the nuclear safeguards agreements and stop its nuclear weapons program. "Iran and Egypt from the beginning took the leadership of this issue, and had a strong cooperation to that effect, as well as other areas," he said. "Iran and Egypt are now preparing the ground to cement their relations, and these efforts must continue." Maher further hailed Iran's decision to sign the additional protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as an "important step", stressing that other countries should also take Iran's lead in that connection. He said Israel should not be allowed to challenge the world in the area of its nuclear activities while the world is struggling for the elimination of WMDs and the implementation of an international supervision on them. "I believe the struggle to universalize a treaty that would condemn the WMDs will continue thanks to the cooperation of Iran as well as other countries that share a common viewpoint in that area," Maher said. "There should be no exception to that effect."
Comment: "Ouch... Do these jerks think?"
27 posted on 01/07/2004 5:11:11 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: F14 Pilot
Rename a street, and all is forgiven? Blech.
28 posted on 01/07/2004 5:19:03 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: freedom44
Thus, according to the family sources, Mr. Khomeini was blackmailed into returning.

God protect him.

29 posted on 01/07/2004 6:08:27 AM PST by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader-Have you donated yet?)
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To: DoctorZIn
with large sums transferred by Iran via the organizations operating under its patronage, which use the Syrian and the Palestinian banking systems (the Arab Bank stands out as the main money channel).

And yet those da#mned mullahs can't afford to build decent housing for their own people. Perhaps if they minded their own business and took proper care of their people, thousands wouldn't have died in Bam.

30 posted on 01/07/2004 6:30:30 AM PST by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader-Have you donated yet?)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Seeks More US Signals to End Mistrust

January 07, 2004

TEHRAN -- President Mohammad Khatami reiterated Tuesday that Iran could not trust the United States without more signs of a real change in policy towards the Islamic republic, particularly on the nuclear issue.

"Iran's mistrust towards the United States will decrease only when Tehran witnesses that it is continuing positive measures that would depict a real change in US policy towards Iran," the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

In a major gesture, the United States sent a team of aid workers to help in relief efforts after the devastating quake in the Iranian city of Bam that killed up to 35,000 people.

The United States also temporarily and partially suspended unilateral sanctions against Iran, which it has lumped into an "axis of evil," and offered to send a high-level delegation to follow up on the aid.

Iran, however, turned down the offer and said the time was not yet right for contacts at such a level.

Iran and the United States cut diplomatic ties after the 1979 Islamic revolution saw the US-backed shah overthrown and 52 Americans held hostage at the American embassy here for 444 days.

"The United States is now facing a test to give up its inappropriate policies, and refrain from taking any action against Iran in international forums such as the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)," Khatami said after talks with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi of Japan, a close US ally.

"The United States should rather approve Iran's proper behaviour and recognise Iran's right to possess peaceful nuclear technology under the supervision of the IAEA," he said.

Washington has accused Tehran of secretly building the atomic bomb under the cover of a nuclear power programme, allegations denied by Iran which has agreed to tougher inspections by the IAEA.
31 posted on 01/07/2004 7:25:16 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Physics, History and the Changing Middle East

January 07, 2004
The Daily Star
Rami G. Khouri

Recent developments suggest that the Middle East region may be on the verge of an era of profound political change. Or, we may be living a mirage of transformation, rather than the real thing.

Among the possible signs of change are the Syrian president’s historic visit to Turkey this week, Iranian signs of desiring a rapprochement with Egypt, Libya’s decision to unilaterally end its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program, Syria’s offer to negotiate a permanent peace with Israel, and both the continuing violence and the movement for reform inside Saudi Arabia. When the giants of the region ­ Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey ­ all seem to be exploring options for new policies, we should pay attention.

These may be only passing events of little permanent impact. My hunch is that they probably reflect something deeper ­ the instinctive feeling that relationships and policies in the Mideast region must change for the better.

This mirrors the fundamental unsustainability of current trends and ideologies. Some of these developments have been initiated, or just hastened, by the two new interlinked policies that define Mideast-US-Western relations: The first is the terror campaign by various jihadi Islamist groups against targets in the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and elsewhere, and the second is the consequent American-defined-and-led “war against terror” that itself reflects the activist, militant worldview of neoconservatives who have captured much of US foreign policymaking.

The wars that changed regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the parallel but smaller scale American-Israeli attempt to change the Palestinian leadership and Washington’s moves to pressure Syria and Iran with punitive legislation and embargos all fall within the very explicit American neoconservative agenda that advocates securing American (and Israeli) interests by using US force to change Middle Eastern leaderships, economic systems, state ideologies and alliances.

There is no doubt ­ the compelling laws of physics rule here ­ that the threat and use of American force will induce short-term political change. Libya’s abrupt acceptance of responsibility for the Lockerbie plane bombing and ending its WMD program dramatically confirm this age-old political adage: When an angry giant holds a loaded gun to your face and you are standing naked and alone, you treat the angry giant nicely and obsequiously give him what he demands. Self-preservation has always been a great generator of humility and compliance.

Yet the laws of physics are counterbalanced by the equally compelling laws of history. These suggest that American threats and Anglo-American armadas will indeed achieve some immediate desired changes, in both native regimes and behavior in the Middle East. In the long run, however, local conditions in the Middle East, or in any other part of the world, will be determined not by the dictates of imperial foreign armies, but by the strength of the sense of collective dignity and well-being among the local folks. After the angry giant shoots thousands of natives, and thousands more stand up to resist, the angry giant eventually tends to pack up and go home. Self-preservation makes people and nations do that sort of thing, which is why imperial adventures tend eventually to collapse in a heap of colonial contradictions.

The important point about events in the region today is that local leaders are feeling and responding to two simultaneous pressures for change: external pressures from the Anglo-American armada, and internal pressures from Middle Eastern political and economic systems that are widely seen as having failed to provide their people with much beyond subsistence living standards. Few people are dying of hunger or lack of medical care in the Middle East, but few also are whooping for joy.

Indigenous Middle Eastern pressures for change reflect a fierce combination of political discontent, economic stress, environmental vulnerability and the indignities of ordinary people who feel abused by their own security-minded national power structures, Israel, the US, global economic forces, multinational institutions and other forces and powers. This combination of complaints is usually deadly to the status quo, as we saw most recently in Georgia ­ where regime change was the will of the people, who then elected a new leadership. Why domestic and foreign pressures do not lead to political changes within Middle Eastern countries is one of the great riddles of the modern age.

Some leaders in the region who feel the pressures of change respond by making some of the political moves we witness today. Yet the causes and consequences of all this remain unclear. The best scenario would be for indigenous forces to engage in public policymaking and steer change towards genuine democracy anchored in native identities and values.

The worst case, which seems to prevail today, is for change to be managed by unelected and unaccountable leaders who abruptly revise national policies primarily to preserve their incumbency.

Change and “reform” will be neither credible nor lasting if they are driven by foreign military threats, and are defined by lone Middle Eastern leaders or cliques who are motivated mainly by preserving their autocracies and oligarchies. Until Arab, Iranian and other citizens in the Middle East democratically contribute to national policymaking and transformation, most changes taking place now will remain superficial, reactionary and illusory ­ as both physics and history would suggest.

Rami G. Khouri is the executive editor of The Daily Star
32 posted on 01/07/2004 7:27:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Jordanian Queen Rania to Visit Bam

January 07, 2004
Jordan Times

AMMAN -- Her Majesty Queen Rania will visit the Iranian city of Bam today to deliver humanitarian aid and relief to victims of last month's devastating earthquake, which claimed the lives of more than 30,000 people and left over 50,000 injured.

The one-day visit, during which the Queen will distribute medical supplies, blankets and heaters to thousands of homeless families, is part of international efforts to alleviate the suffering of those hit by the natural disaster.

The earthquake — which struck on Dec. 26 — destroyed 75 per cent of the ancient city including the 2,000-year-old citadel of Bam, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, the quake flattened the ancient mud city, leaving thousands dead under the rubble and thousands more homeless, suffering in freezing weather conditions.

A barrage of emergency responses came from global communities and humanitarian organisations following the disaster.

Four Jordanian planes equipped with relief and medical supplies were sent to Iran two days after the quake.

A military field hospital was also deployed in the devastated city and began providing round-the-clock medical services to the survivors. A seven-member rescue team from the Civil Defence Department was also dispatched to join thousands of international search and rescue teams looking for survivors.

Until Jan. 1 around 17 tonnes of relief supplies had been dispatched by the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation.

A fifth plane — a C-130 military plane — carrying further relief including medical supplies, tents, blankets, heaters and food parcels, will accompany Queen Rania.
33 posted on 01/07/2004 7:28:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
America Has a Choice: Accommodate Evil, or Defeat it

January 07, 2004
TallaHassee Democrat
Cal Thomas

It seemed like a good idea. The Bush administration would use the earthquake tragedy in Iran that killed at least 30,000 people not only as an opportunity to show the United States was eager to alleviate international tragedy but also as a diplomatic wedge. Some officials believed that, as humanitarian aid was provided, discussions might open that could lead to a new relationship between the two countries.

President Bush stated the potential political benefits when he said, "What we're doing in Iran is we're showing the Iranian people that American people care, that we've got great compassion for human suffering."

The United States would follow up its international version of compassionate conservatism with a high-level diplomatic team, headed by Sen. (and former Red Cross President) Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.). There was talk of sending a member of the Bush family along in case further evidence was needed to persuade the Iranian dictatorship of our sincerity. It would have been the first public U.S. diplomatic effort in Iran since the 444-day hostage ordeal when Iranian "students" held 52 Americans, releasing them the day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated because they rightly concluded that if they didn't, Tehran might be turned into a parking lot.

Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed optimism about the overture to Iran. He cited "encouraging" moves by the Islamic republic in recent months, which have included an agreement by Iranian leaders to allow "surprise" inspections of the country's nuclear energy program and diplomatic overtures to moderate Arab governments.

Iran's President, Mohammad Khatami, threw cold water on the U.S. wishful thinking when he said that while American aid to earthquake victims was welcome, it would not alter our relations. Iran understands the impossibility of making bargains with "the Great Satan." The U.S. government should take a similar view. Evil cannot be accommodated. It must be defeated.

In the 1980s, there were pleadings by the American left to decrease tensions with the Soviet Union. The proposal was for the Reagan administration to cease deploying missiles in Europe to counter a Soviet buildup and, instead, to unilaterally disarm in order to show Moscow we meant Russia no harm. At the time I said the strategy appeared to have been designed to make the Soviet army laugh themselves to death, but there would be enough of them left over to invade and subdue us.

Reagan understood that the "evil empire" of the 20th century could not be accommodated but had to be defeated. He was right, and his detractors were famously wrong.

While the Bush administration's provision of humanitarian aid to Iran is the right and moral thing to do - and might, in fact, further encourage young reformers in the country - the old and hard-line religious leadership still dominates. Iranian radio, controlled by the mullahs, continues to spew anti-American venom.

The United States has two options. It can fail to follow through on its initial blow in Iraq, thus empowering and encouraging America's enemies everywhere, or it can deal a knockout blow to terrorism by finishing the job.

As we saw with the Soviet Union, resolve is often enough to achieve American objectives. As long as American diplomats think humanitarian aid and political niceties will lessen the threat against us, we will continue to be

It is to be hoped the administration knows these things. "Peace Through Strength" worked as more than a slogan against the Soviet Union. It will work again with members of the "axis of evil."

Contact Cal Thomas via

34 posted on 01/07/2004 7:30:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Evil cannot be accommodated. It must be defeated."

I think the President is aware of this. I also think he figured the regime wouldn't allow the Dole team into the country. But there was nothing to lose either way by offerring, and certainly something to gain either way.
Powell may be ready to "talk nice" to the regime, but he doesn't seem to be on the same page as Mr. Bush.
Thank Goodness.

35 posted on 01/07/2004 9:05:39 AM PST by nuconvert ("This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.")
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To: nuconvert
Wednesday January 7, 22:41 PM

"Maximum alert" in southwest Iran as 26 tremors hit in quick succession

Iranian authorities put a major oil- and gas-producing area in southwest Iran on a state of "maximum alert" after 26 earth tremors jolted the region in less than 36 hours, state TV reported.

The measure, ordered by President Mohammad Khatami, was taken in and around the towns of Masjed Soleiman, Izeh and Baghmalek -- situated around 450 kilometres (280 miles) southwest of Tehran in Khuzestan province.

The report said a succession of tremors, measuring between 2.7 and 4.9 on the Richter scale, had jolted the area since early Tuesday.

Iran has been on a quake footing after a massive earthquake hit the southeastern city of Bam on December 26, killing up to 35,000 people.

"The president has given the order to the concerned services to be on maximum alert and we are very worried," Masjed Soleiman's prefect, Sattar Akbarzadeh, told state television.

The official also warned that in Masjed Soleiman there was a major risk of potentially explosive leaks from the vast oil and gas field underneath the city.

He nevertheless called on residents to "remain calm", while revealing that overnight "people had been sleeping on the streets or in prepared areas even though there was heavy rain" and appealed for 20,000 tents.

"All administrative services in the province have been placed on maximum alert," Shapour Rostami, an official from the provincial natural disasters unit, also told state television.

"We have prepared three camps around the towns of Masjed Soleiman, Izeh and Baghmalek, and all schools have been closed," he said.

"All facilities in the three towns have been mobilised, and all facilities in the province are ready to be sent there if needed."

Masjed Soleiman was last hit by a major quake in September 2002, when an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale caused five injuries.

The Bam quake has also prompted the Islamic republic's clerical leaders to consider proposals to shift the political capital out of quake-prone Tehran, which sits on several major seismic faultlines.

Hassan Rowhani, a top cleric, said the Supreme National Security Council which he heads would "seriously study the problem of moving the capital" in a meeting on Saturday.

During the 20th century, around 20 big quakes hit Iran, leaving more than 140,000 people dead. Since 1991 alone, and before the Bam disaster, nearly 1,000 earthquakes have claimed some 17,600 lives and injured 53,000 people, according to official figures.

in the province are ready to be sent there if needed."
36 posted on 01/07/2004 9:17:13 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: nuconvert
My local news, (Atlanta) covered a story about a housing complex that is being built in Bam, to house 5,000 people. I'll try to find more information.
37 posted on 01/07/2004 9:18:26 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Wow. That's great !
38 posted on 01/07/2004 10:13:30 AM PST by nuconvert ("This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.")
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To: DoctorZIn
"The Iranian Government Did Nothing"

January 07, 2004
This is Local London
Staff Reporter

Around 200 people gathered in Christ Church in Heriot Road, Hendon, for a candlelit vigil on Sunday to remember the 30,000 people killed by the earthquake in Bam, Iran, on Boxing Day.

The eerie silence in the church hall spoke volumes as the gathered mourners many of whom had lost relatives in the earthquake saw harrowing images of grief and destruction flit across a TV screen.

Among them was Khalil Nejad, who lost six members of his family in the early hours of December 26 when they were buried alive at their home, near the city of Bam.

"I lost my cousin, his wife and their four children," said Mr Nejad. "I was really shocked when my father told me the news. My cousin Shahabi was a good man, and I miss him.

"We hadn't seen each other in ten years but we often spoke to each other on the phone."

Mr Nejad, a carpenter who has lived in Stoke Newington for a decade, also has family in the nearby city of Kerman, all of whom escaped uninjured.

"My family went to help, to try and get my cousin from beneath the rubble, but all the roads were blocked off.

"The government feared there would be a protest or an uprising immediately afterwards so they closed the roads.

"There was an earthquake in San Francisco not long before which measured less on the richter scale."

He added: "Only two or three people died, where here many thousands did.

"How could the government let this happen?"

Farzaneh Hosseini, a 16-year-old from Mill Hill, said: "The Iranian government is more interested in terrorism and fulfilling their nuclear ambitions than spending money on preventative measures.

"Bam is an area known for being prone to earthquakes and they did nothing."
39 posted on 01/07/2004 11:39:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Diplomatic Iran renames street at Egypt's request

The Scotsman

THE simple renaming of a street in Tehran yesterday paved the way for Iran and Egypt, the Middle East’s two most populous nations, to re-establish diplomatic relations for the first time in 25 years.

Tehran city council yesterday agreed to rename the street commemorating Khaled Islambouli, the man who killed the former Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat.

The street’s name was changed to Intifada Street, after the Palestinian uprising, at the request of Iran’s foreign ministry. Cairo had demanded Iran rename the street before it would contemplate restoring ties.

A senior Iranian official said the two Muslim countries had agreed to patch up a relationship severed by Tehran shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution, due to Cairo’s 1978 Camp David peace deal with Israel and decision to play host to Iran’s exiled shah.

But Egypt said a final decision had yet to be taken. "The two countries have decided to restore ties and right now they are making the preparations," the Iranian vice-president, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, said.

In Cairo, the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, said: "When a decision is taken, it will be announced. There is no official announcement from anywhere."

An agreement between Tehran and Cairo would heal the last rift between Egypt and fellow Islamic states caused by the Camp David peace deal.

Iran, which still has no diplomatic ties with the United States and Israel, has recently made great efforts to improve relations with its Arab neighbours.
40 posted on 01/07/2004 11:44:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I just received this from a student in Iran about the story above...

"Regarding the renaming of a street in city of Tehran to restore ties with Egypt, I would like to mention that here in Tehran most streets have names of famous terrorists.

Like Boby Sands ( IRA member died due to hunger strike ), Ahmad Qasir ( Palestinian, who was responsible for bombings), Navab Safavi ( Iranian mullah, trained by Gamal Abdul-Naser thugs in Egypt, killed Iran's Premier in early 60's ).

Before 1979, All streets of Tehran had well-known and nice names, like Eisenhower Ave, Churchil St, Elizabeth Blvd, Persepolis St ( US embassy is located there ), Cyrus the great Ave, Roosevelt St, Shah Ave, Edward Brown St, Los Angeles St and so on....

So should they change all these terrorists names in favor of Iranian people? Or will these mad men let us change them forever? "
41 posted on 01/07/2004 11:46:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I also just received this from inside of Iran...

"The Iranian govt announced that, Islamic Republic government will grant money to workers and governmental staff and increase salaries of retired staff, labors, teachers, armed forces personnel and so on.

This is to buy the people's vote in the upcoming election."
42 posted on 01/07/2004 11:47:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Beware the Soft-line Ideologues

January 07, 2004
Wall Street Journal
Richard Perle

Under the leadership of President George W. Bush, two approaches to American foreign and security policy have emerged. One approach is founded on vigorous, decisive action, including a readiness to use military power, against the terrorist enemy. Its exponents are the hard-liners. You know the names: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Abrams, and so on.

The other approach holds that diplomacy and international organizations like the U.N. are the key to defeating terrorism. Supporting this camp of soft-liners are: the professionals at the State Department championed by Secretary Colin Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage; some veterans of the first Bush administration, like former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft; and some current and former intelligence and military officials.

There is nothing unusual about divisions of this sort among the president's advisers. And President Bush has made shrewd and discriminating use of the advice he has received. What is unusual is that while the hard-liners have won most policy battles since 9/11, the soft-liners have won nearly complete control of the way those battles are reported. Pick up almost any newspaper account of the war on terror -- such as the worshipful profile of State Department adviser retired Gen. Anthony Zinni in the Dec. 22 Washington Post -- and you'll learn that the hard-liners are "ideologues," bent on democratizing the Middle East through war, heedless of the dangers in their way. The soft-liners are "moderates," "pragmatists," "realists," whose hesitations, fears, and resentments are represented as subtle, nuanced foreign-policy wisdom.

* * *

Yet the truth is the opposite. It is the soft-liners who are driven by ideology, who ignore or deny inconvenient facts and advocate unworkable solutions. It is the hard-liners who are the realists, the pragmatists.

The soft-liners place their trust in institutions and tactics that have consistently failed in the past; it is the hard-liners who have learned from experience. In their devotion to the U.N., their belief in the efficacy of international law, and their nostalgia for the alliances of the Cold War (and Gulf War I), the soft-liners cling to exploded illusions about the way the world should work. They protect themselves from facts with pretenses, insisting for example that negotiated successes -- such as the apparent willingness of Libya to come to terms with the U.S. -- are achieved by coaxing and cajoling, not toughness and credibility.

Three recent examples prove the point.

- Mr. Powell's New Year's call for "dialogue" with Iran. Suppose you were a landlord with a tenant who repeatedly broke his promises to pay his overdue rent. After being stiffed again and again, you show up at his door with an eviction notice. He swears he will pay in full next Tuesday. Would it be "realistic" to believe him?

Soft-liners tend to think that so long as we are talking with other countries, we are accomplishing something -- even if everything they say to us is an obvious lie. In 2003, dissidents smuggled out proof that Iran had systematically deceived the International Atomic Energy Agency about its nuclear program. The Iranians replied with more lies -- until those too were exposed by later inspection missions.

Over the last year, the rulers of Iran have confirmed that they are indeed sheltering members of Osama bin Laden's family and the senior leadership of al Qaeda. They continue to sponsor Hezbollah terror. In the summer of 2003, the mullahs unleashed brutal repression against activists calling for democracy.

Since the election of Mohammad Khatami in 1997, Western diplomats have again and again hailed the imminence of "reform" in Iran -- and called for negotiations and Western concessions to hasten those reforms along. Again and again, the Iranian regime has revealed its true character. Mr. Powell's Dec. 30 announcement of a "new attitude" in Iran that opens the way to a dialogue is only the latest episode of this embarrassing story.

Aren't the real "ideologues" the people who refuse to let hard facts and adverse experience alter their thinking or change their behavior?

- Tyranny and democracy. Hard-liners are constantly accused of seeking to impose democracy by force out of blind ideological zeal. Against this, the soft-liners congratulate themselves on their prudent emphasis on continuity and stability. But by now it should be clear that there is no form of government less stable than autocracy. On Christmas Day, two suicide car-bombers crashed into the motorcade of Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The blast killed 16 people. Suppose Pakistan's president had been one of those killed? Where would we be then? The U.S.-Pakistani alliance depends on the actuarial chances of one brave man -- how is it prudent to rely on those?

Hard-liners are not bent on imposing democracy on anybody. But it is realistic to notice the connection between Middle Eastern tyranny and Middle Eastern terrorism; and it is realistic too to understand that it is sometimes true that societies that yearn for freedom are denied it by force -- as Iraq was by Saddam's force. The U.S. may not be able to lead countries through the door to democracy; but where that door is locked shut by a totalitarian deadbolt, American power may be the only way to open it up.

- The demise of the "road map." In March 2003, the Bush administration presented Israel and the Palestinian Authority with a "road map" to peace. The idea was that Israel and the Palestinian leadership would each take immediate steps to reduce tensions, with an eye to an agreement in principle on a Palestinian state by December 2003 and a final settlement in 2005.

Not one milestone on the road map has yet been traversed. The very first item listed on the text is this: "Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel." Well, that has not happened. Nor have the Arab states cut off funds to anti-Israel terror groups. Nor have there been free elections in areas of Palestinian jurisdiction. Nor have . . . well, you get the idea.

Three successive U.S. administrations have sought to broker a peace. All three have made the same assumption: that the Palestinian leadership had abandoned its hope of destroying Israel and was ready to make peace. The job now was simply to negotiate the terms. It is now clear that this assumption was false. The Palestinian leadership's minimum demands, as articulated most recently in last month's Geneva Accord, include control of the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and an undefined but ominous "right of return" for the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the refugees of 1948. No Israeli government could accept these terms.

When William James and Charles Pierce coined the term "pragmatism" 150 years ago, they meant something more than mere "practicality." James and Pierce were making a point about the nature of "truth." Truth, they argued, isn't some transcendent thing that exists beyond human experience. Truth is found right here on earth. If belief in an idea leads to positive results, then the idea is true; if belief in an idea leads to negative results, then it is false.

The belief that Yasser Arafat's Palestinian leadership will ever sign an agreement that permits Israel to live in peace and security has been tested over the years. The test has ended in the catastrophe of Arafat's terror war. Yet America's professional diplomats, especially those we hire to be knowledgeable about the Middle East, continue to cling to this belief despite its proven and total and repeated failure. If this is "pragmatism," what do the ideologues believe?

U.S. foreign policy will always be debated from different points of view. That is as it should be. But is it too much to ask for a little truth-in-labeling? We'd recommend that the next time a journalist sits down to report a foreign policy story from Washington, he try it this way: "Washington remains divided between two major factions: the pragmatic, neoconservatives and their opposite numbers, the soft-line ideologues." Of course, this story line too is an over-simplification. But at least it is not an outright rejection of reality.

Messrs. Frum and Perle are resident fellows at the American Enterprise Institute and co-authors of "An End To Evil: How to Win the War on Terror," just published by Random House.
43 posted on 01/07/2004 11:48:19 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; ...
Beware the Soft-line Ideologues

January 07, 2004
Wall Street Journal
Richard Perle
44 posted on 01/07/2004 11:48:59 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The Neocon Cabal and Other Fantasies

January 07, 2004
International Herald Tribune
David Brooks

Do you ever get the sense the whole world is becoming unhinged from reality? I started feeling that way awhile ago, when I was still working for The Weekly Standard and all these articles began appearing about how Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Bill Kristol and a bunch of "neoconservatives" at the magazine had taken over U.S. foreign policy.

Theories about the tightly knit neocon cabal came in waves. One day you read that neocons were pushing plans to finish off Iraq and move into Syria. Web sites appeared detailing neocon conspiracies; my favorite described a neocon outing organized by Dick Cheney to hunt for humans. The Asian press had the most lurid stories; the European press the most thorough. Every day, it seemed, Le Monde or some deep-thinking German paper would have an exposé on the neocon cabal, complete with charts connecting all the conspirators.

The full-mooners fixated on a think tank called the Project for the New American Century, which has a staff of five and issues memos on foreign policy. To hear these people describe it, PNAC is sort of a Yiddish Trilateral Commission, the nexus of the sprawling neocon tentacles.

We'd sit around the magazine guffawing at the ludicrous stories that kept sprouting, but belief in shadowy neocon influence has now hardened into common knowledge. Wesley Clark, among others, cannot go a week without bringing it up.

In truth, the people labeled neocons (con is short for "conservative" and neo is short for "Jewish") travel in widely different circles and don't actually have much contact with one another. The ones outside government have almost no contact with President Bush. There have been hundreds of references, for example, to Richard Perle's insidious power over administration policy, but I've been told by senior administration officials that he has had no significant meetings with Bush or Cheney since they assumed office. If he's shaping their decisions, he must be microwaving his ideas into their fillings.

It's true that both Bush and the people labeled neocons agree that Saddam Hussein represented a unique threat to world peace. But correlation does not mean causation. All evidence suggests that Bush formed his conclusions independently. Besides, if he wanted to follow the neocon line, Bush wouldn't know where to turn because while the neocons agree on Saddam, they disagree vituperatively on just about everything else. (If you ever read a sentence that starts with "Neocons believe," there is a 99.44 percent chance everything else in that sentence will be untrue.)

Still, there are apparently millions of people who cling to the notion that the world is controlled by well-organized and malevolent forces. And for a subset of these people, Jews are a handy explanation for everything.

There's something else going on, too. The proliferation of media outlets and the segmentation of society have meant that it's much easier for people to hive themselves off into like-minded cliques. Some people live in towns where nobody likes President Bush. Others listen to radio networks where nobody likes Bill Clinton.

In these communities, half-truths get circulated and exaggerated. Dark accusations are believed because it is delicious to believe them. Vince Foster was murdered. The Saudis warned the Bush administration before Sept. 11.

You get to choose your own reality. You get to believe what makes you feel good. You can ignore inconvenient facts so rigorously that your picture of the world is one big distortion.

And if you can give your foes a collective name — liberals, fundamentalists or neocons — you can rob them of their individual humanity. All inhibitions are removed. You can say anything about them. You get to feed off their villainy and luxuriate in your own contrasting virtue. You will find books, blowhards and candidates playing to your delusions, and you can emigrate to your own version of Planet Chomsky. You can live there unburdened by ambiguity.

Improvements in information technology have not made public debate more realistic. On the contrary, anti-Semitism is resurgent. Conspiracy theories are prevalent. Partisanship has left many people unhinged.

Welcome to election year, 2004.
45 posted on 01/07/2004 11:49:47 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; ...
The Neocon Cabal and Other Fantasies

January 07, 2004
International Herald Tribune
David Brooks
46 posted on 01/07/2004 11:50:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rafsanjani Says No Hurry for Establishing Ties with U.S.

January 07, 2004
Saudi Press Agency

Tehran -- Akbar Hashemi Rafsani, the Head of the Expediency Council in Iran, said the proposal of Washington that a high-ranking American delegation would visit Iran had provided a clear evidence for the keenness of Washington on maintaining relations with Iran.

Speaking on the occasion of the end of a Holy Quran contest here on Wednesday, Rafsanjani said 'we should not be in hurry for establishing relations with Washington' and added 'it is high time for Washington to declare that it was mistaken in the way it had reacted towards the Islamic revolution in Iran'.
47 posted on 01/07/2004 11:51:50 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Flawed Charter for a Land Ruled by Fear

January 07, 2004
International Herald Tribune
John Sifton

KABUL -- Anew Afghan Constitution was finally approved in Kabul on Sunday by delegates at a special constitutional loya jirga, or grand council. United Nations, U.S. and Afghan government officials quickly hailed the agreement as an historic milestone - an inspiring story of Afghans overcoming years of political chaos and war to charter a new government.

There is cause for celebration. That Afghanistan's political dynamics are being settled with words, instead of guns, is a welcome contrast with the country's recent past. The charter's prohibition against sexual discrimination is a victory for Afghan women, so recently oppressed by the Taliban.

Behind these achievements, however, lies a sordid tale about the process itself, involving vote-buying, death threats and naked power politics. A deeper view of the Constitution itself reveals a litany of missed opportunities and poorly crafted compromises. In short, the process was ugly - easily worthy of Bismarck's adage about politics being similar to sausage-making.

The first problem was the matter of representation at the convention. Many Afghans are asking who the delegates were who approved this new Constitution.

Well, let's put it this way: They weren't Afghanistan's finest. In fact, some are alleged war criminals. During the elections for the loya jirga convention, Human Rights Watch documented numerous cases of local military or intelligence commanders intimidating candidates and purchasing votes. In Kabul, guarded by international security forces, intelligence and military officials were openly mingling with candidates at an election site. Many candidates complained of an atmosphere of fear and corruption.

In areas outside of Kabul, many independent candidates were too afraid to even run. In a few cases, factional leaders themselves were elected - despite rules barring government officials from serving as delegates. The majority of the 502 delegates to the loya jirga were members of voting blocs controlled by military faction leaders, or warlords. Some good people were elected, but they were outnumbered - and scared.

The second problem was the convention itself. Despite a strong showing by regional warlords, some of them bent on disrupting the process, the loya jirga that began more than three weeks ago was very much a scripted affair. President Hamid Karzai issued a draft Constitution a few months ago, and as the loya jirga got under way in December many delegates discovered that the meeting seemed to be no more than a ceremony to push though approval for that draft. Many delegates complained that both the warlords and Karzai's allies were sweet-talking, intimidating and even bribing delegates. The situation angered not only the few legitimate representatives, who had come to discuss issues in earnest, but several military factions as well.

In the end, most of the convention was wasted on debates between Karzai's people and the warlord factions, who were demanding various concessions, most of them to benefit their narrow interests. Many important provisions were not effectively debated.

The third and final problem was the Constitution itself. The charter accepted on Sunday contains the fundamentals for a future governmental system, but is a disappointingly tepid document. Despite Afghanistan's recent history of mass atrocities, the charter does not directly address issues of Afghanistan's past. There are several provisions enunciating basic political, civil, economic and social rights, but little strong language creating institutions to uphold them.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, created by the December 2001 agreement, is given a mandate, but lacks many of the powers necessary for it to credibly protect basic rights. The role of Islamic law, and its relationship to human rights protections, is not adequately addressed - a worrying situation given that certain factions in Kabul will try to use their power in coming years to implement conservative interpretations of Islam that may violate human rights standards.

It didn't have to be this way. For much of the last two years, the United States and its coalition allies have allowed Afghanistan's countryside to be dominated by the warlords, originally armed and financed by the United States to fight the Taliban. U.S. officials have attempted to blunt this situation's worst effects by throwing their support behind President Karzai and a small team of competent and Western-educated officials in Kabul, known in Afghanistan as "the technocrats."

A better solution would be for the United States and its international partners in Afghanistan to try harder to create real political pluralism and strengthen legitimate representation throughout the country. Such efforts are especially important given that elections are taking place this year. As things currently stand, most independent political organizers are too afraid to organize; the general atmosphere of fear prevents even journalists in most areas from writing openly about Afghanistan's problems.

If the United States really cares about creating democracy in Afghanistan, it should work harder to expand international security forces - not just a few small military teams as has been implemented - and ask the United Nations to expand its human rights monitoring and protection officers, who are usually the best situated to provide protection for vulnerable persons and groups.

It's too early to be sanguine: Afghanistan is not out of the woods yet.

The writer is Afghanistan researcher for Human Rights Watch.
48 posted on 01/07/2004 11:54:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
and ask the United Nations to expand its human rights monitoring and protection officers, who are usually the best situated to provide protection for vulnerable persons and groups.

The UN musn't think the situation is too dire, otherwise wouldn't they willingly have increased their monitoring and protection presence in Afghanistan? Why does the US have to ask the UN to do it's job?

49 posted on 01/07/2004 12:18:40 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Quake Victims Blame Islamic Regime for Devastation

January 07, 2004
CBN News
Dale Hurd

The international response to the recent devastating earthquake in Iran is winding down. But the political fallout inside Iran continues. The quake is having a small seismic impact on Iran's already volatile political scene.

When Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatholla Khamenei, visited Bam, he was reportedly there for no more than an hour, and surrounded by rings of bodyguards. According to a report in National Review magazine, that did not protect the nation's spiritual leader from being heckled by angry victims, who accused the islamic regime of knowing about the seismic danger and not warning the people.

By contrast, American aid workers were reportedly mobbed by adoring crowds at the airport, who begged them to stay in Iran. It is another piece of evidence to support claims that Iran's people are more supportive of America than their own leaders.

National Review says the Iranian National Seismological Center had provided the regime with data showing that Bam was due for a quake and should have been evacuated. But the Mullahs reportedly believed the 12th Imam, who is "invisible," would protect the city.

Residents are also angry that the nation's hardline leaders will not accept earthquake aid from Israel. Israel offered, even though some Iranian leaders have threatened to nuke the Jewish state.

The Supreme National Security Council is now considering moving the capital from Tehran to the ancient capital of Isfahan. Tehran is on a major seismological fault, and has a population of more than 12 million people. About 100,000 Iranians have been killed in 11 earthquakes during the past 50 years. One seismologist said the only seismologically safe places in Iran are in the uninhabitable central desert.
50 posted on 01/07/2004 1:23:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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