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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
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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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