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Iranian Alert -- January 9, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.9.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/09/2004 12:01:23 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 01/09/2004 12:01:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: All
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Move your locale up the leaderboard!

2 posted on 01/09/2004 12:03:01 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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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”

3 posted on 01/09/2004 12:04:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Southwest Iran hit by two more tremors

Jan 9, 2004, 03:33

Iran news - Two more tremors hit a major oil and gas producing area in southwest Iran, a day after the region was put on maximum alert over the possibility of a deadly major quake like the one that struck the southeast of the country last week.

The latest tremors, the Masjed Soleiman area, b two days, said scientists at Tehran university's geophysical institute quring to 30 the number recorded inoted Thursday by state news agency IRNA.

The first, measuring 3.4 on the open-ended Richter scale, was registered at 12:30 am (2039 GMT Wednesday) and 6:09 am (0239 GMT).
4 posted on 01/09/2004 12:06:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
5 posted on 01/09/2004 12:13:20 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: DoctorZIn
Upcoming Elections Fail To Rouse Students

Ramin Mostaghim

TEHRAN, Jan 9 (IPS) - Iran's students, a reliable touchstone for assessing public opinion in the country, are displaying apathy towards the Feb. 20 elections to the 'majlis', Iran's 290-seat parliament. A low turn-out, fuelled by disenchantment with the political process, seems on the cards.

''The latest independent polling surveys suggest that in the parliamentary election the participation rate of people in Tehran will be 38 percent and the national average will be 45 to 50 percent,'' conceded Dr. Mohammad Reza Khatami, the secretary-general of the Islamic Participation Party, the biggest and the most powerful reformist party, and President Mohammad Khatami's brother.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, spoke of the need for an election that would be ''healthy, free, lawful and with high turn-out of zealous people'' when during a tour he stopped at the town of Qazvin, west of Tehran, and addressed a local gathering.

In the university campuses however students criticise the Ayatollah's speeches. ''Why doesn't he register himself as a candidate for the next election and guarantee the healthy and high turn-out,'' asked 21-year-old Ahmad Husseini with a smile. Husseini, who studies mining engineering in the Amirkabir university, represents a sizeable fraction of campus reaction.

A recent survey carried out in the Amirkabir university campus indicates that around 40 percent of the students are unlikely to vote. Of the rest, around 15 percent said they would, but only with a view to helping their chances of employment after graduation.

Youth like Rouzbeh Riyazi, who at 21 is among the elected student leaders in the university, are dismayed by the barring of reformist candidates by the Council of Guardians - a conservative supervisory body composed of six experts in Islamic law, called 'mujtahids', and six civil lawyers.

Although Iran's sixth 'majlis', elected in early 2000, has seen the reformists well represented, the hardline Council of Guardians has blocked the efforts of the reform-minded - those allied with President Mohammad Khatami.

The Council plays a controversial role in the election process via its power of ''approbatory supervision''. Under Article 99 of the constitution, this is the means by which the council vets candidates for elected office, and annuls or even changes election results. Legislation introduced by the Khatami government in August 2002 was intended to reduce the Council's role in elections. In a catch-22 however, the Council must approve all legislation and had rejected the new election legislation.

It is a situation that worries many, within and outside the student community. ''Nobody can be sure there will be no implosion in Iran,'' Kamran Ahmadzadeh, a self-¡employed building contractor, told IPS. ''Reformists have occupied the majority of the parliament in the past four years but we have witnessed big and small riots in the same period.''

Yet Lila Zirvandi, a medical student, sees a vote as possibly preventing such an implosion. The reform movement's failure since 1997 to deliver on its promises has led to a widespread sense of despair in the country.

At the Tehran University, an indication of the seriousness of the issue came via a speech by Dr. Abdulkarim Soroush, a philosopher and lecturer and an expert on Rumi, the mystical 13th century poet of Persia. Rumi's verse is much loved by pro-reform students, and Soroush's presentations on the subject are popular.

''We came here to get some clue on what should be done in the next weeks during the run-up to the election,'' said Hassan Alami, a law student. ''Instead, Dr. Soroush delivered a speech on the virtue of silence.'' Ali Mohebbi, a student of political science, noted: ''What he really means to say is that those who were talkative in Iranian politics have been good for nothing.''

The mood in the campuses of boycotting the elections has led to an exploration of a number of views. Among these is the methods of a regime that cracks down on students who take action against the government. Farid Moddaresi, a 22-year-old student of journalism who was jailed for 10 days following the 2003 student riots, explained, ''I am sure the hardliners are clever enough to relax some religious regulation and adopt reformist policies once they win a low-profile election.''

The alarmingly low turn-out for the town council elections of February 2003 - 10 to 15 percent - were an early indication that Iran's voters were experiencing a form of political fatigue and were suffering from despair at the status quo.

''The people are needed for voting day and are misused for the politicians' purposes,'' commented Taymor Qaragozlou, a law graduate. ''We do not want be manipulated any more - enough is enough.'' His girlfriend, Thamiyeh Hadavi, said that the majority of her classmates in the Allameh Tabatabaee university are unenthused by the February election. ''I think even a change of regime in Iran will not bring about any good and people like me have to work hard for their living,'' she said.

Still, the government is attempting to boost public confidence in the election, and is making an effort to introduce electronic vote counting in time for the polls. In the February 2000 parliamentary election, the results in some large constituencies were not announced for several months. The delay in announcing election results undermined public confidence in the process, and when the initial results were overturned in favour of conservative candidates, there were protests in Tehran. (END/2004)
6 posted on 01/09/2004 4:57:32 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
Iran's key role in capturing Saddam

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Iran played a key role in capturing deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein near his hometown of Tikrit last month, a Lebanese newspaper reported.

Daily al-Mustaqbal, owned by Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, quoted a well-informed Paris-based Arab source as saying the Kurds only had a secondary role in capturing Saddam while the essential credit should go to the Iranians who succeeded in trapping him.

The source said Saddam was moving among four hideouts located in the so-called Sunni triangle northwest of Baghdad and relied on a small number of assistants who relayed his messages and letters.

"Saddam was convinced that the resistance he was leading would not be effective unless the Shiite community joined in and consequently he dispatched a messenger to Tehran to seek Iranian help in encouraging Iraqi Shiites to turn against the U.S. forces," the source said.

He said the Iranians fooled Saddam giving him the impression they were ready to collaborate with him and asked him to dispatch a senior aide.

"The senior messenger was Saddam's son-in-law whose movements were monitored with the help of the Kurds and eventually Saddam's hideouts were located," the source added.

U.S. forces then raided the four hideouts at the same time with gas, capturing Saddam in one of them.
7 posted on 01/09/2004 5:25:42 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: All
General Information on Iran:


More than half of Iran's 68 million people are Persian. Other ethnic groups include Azeri, Gilaki, and Mazandarani, Kurd, and Arab.

About 70 percent of Iran's population is under the age of 30.

Shi'iah Islam is Iran's national religion, with 89 percent of the population practicing it. Sunni Muslims make up another 10 percent.

The major languages spoken in Iran include Persian (also known as Farsi) and Persian dialects, Kurdish, and Turkic and its dialects.

Iran's female literacy rate is 73 percent; male literacy rate, 86 percent. In 2002, for the first time, female students in universities outnumbered male students.


A shah, or king, ruled Iran from 1501 until 1979, before a yearlong popular revolution led by the Shi'ite clergy, which resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of an Islamic republic. In late 1979, Islamic militant students occupied the American embassy in Tehran and held dozens of Americans captive for 444 days. The regime change has been known as the Islamic Revolution.

After 14 years of exile, the Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (whose name means "inspired of God) returned to Iran in 1979. Until his death a decade later, he held the position of supreme leader.

In1980, Iran became embroiled in a bloody war with Iraq over an Iraqi land grab in the Khuzestan province. A ceasefire was negotiated 10 years later, after hundreds of thousands of people were killed. The former Soviet Union and Western powers supported Iraq.

After Ayatollah Khomeini's death in 1989, the position of supreme leader was taken over by another hard-line cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The United States started a trade embargo against Iran on the grounds that Iran sponsored terrorist groups. The embargo is still in effect.

Iran is a currently a theocratic republic. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the chief of state. He is at the top of Iran's power structure and dictates all matters of foreign and domestic security. He is commander-in-chief of Iran's armed forces and controls the republic's intelligence and security apparatuses.

The president is Iran's second-highest-ranking official, elected every four years by popular vote. His power is limited by the constitution, which subordinates the entire executive branch to the supreme leader. All presidential candidates must be approved by the Council of Guardians, Iran's most influential political body. In the last presidential election, in 1997, only four out of 230 declared candidates made it to the ballot.

Iran's constitution codifies Islamic principles of government, and the constitution is interpreted by the 12-person Council of Guardians -- half of whom are appointed by the supreme leader and half of whom are nominated by Iran's judiciary and approved by parliament.

Iran's parliament drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties and approves the country's budget. Reformist candidates won nearly three-quarters of parliamentary seats in the 2000 election. However, parliament continues to be held in check by the Council of Guardians, which has the power to refuse passage of any law proposed by parliament.

Moderate reformist Mohammad Khatami was elected president in 1997 and has since initiated a series of efforts aimed at normalizing relations with the Western world. But the increasing conflict between Khatami's liberal circles and the extremely conservative theocracy of Khamenei has led many to doubt the president's ability to implement reforms in Iran.

In December 2003, Iran signed a historic accord that gave the United Nations full access to its nuclear facilities. A month prior to Iran's signing, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear cooperation arm, passed a resolution deploring the country's 18-year-long cover up of its nuclear energy program.


Iran's currency is the rial.

Today Iran is the second-largest oil producer among the member nations of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and oil is its leading export.

Agricultural products make up about 30 percent of Iran's non-oil exports. The sector's share of Iran's gross domestic product, however, has been declining since the 1930s. Today, services make up more than half of Iran's GDP.

Japan and China are Iran's leading export partners; Germany and Italy, its leading import partners.

Estimates of Iran's unemployment numbers vary. The U.S. government estimates the jobless rate is about 16 percent. Only 10 percent of Iran's women are part of the workforce, according to The Economist.

The average monthly income in Iran today is about US$100. Iranians' incomes decreased by 30 percent during the 20-year period of 1980 to 2000.
8 posted on 01/09/2004 5:27:36 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: Pan_Yans Wife
(Below is an excerpt from a blog. It is interesting to read about an insider's perspective.-PYW)

Iran for Dummies//A Quick View of Iran

January 02, 2004

Inside out or Outside in?

This earthquake in Iran had a big influence in my daily activities; even writing few lines with lots of grammar and vocabulary errors is far from my ability. Life goes on, I know but how? How life for a family who are now in a mass grave will go on?

On behalf of 85% of Iranian people, I would like to thank the whole world, wish you a happy productive Year. 2003 was a year of terror, blood and war; hopefully 2004 would be peaceful year.

Turkey, Italy, England, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Syria, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, China, Armenia, Greece, India, Denmark, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Korea, Norway, Austria, Belgium and United Stated of America, along with 18 other countries did really a good job helping Bam to recover after the earthquake. We know the fact that Iran would not be able to do that by its own. We- Iranian people- would never forget your supports and contributions. Presence of US force-aid is really an indication from American people that they care about humanity. Mr. Bush said "In the mean time, we appreciate the fact the Iranian government is willing to allow our humanitarian aid flights into their country," he said. "And it's a good thing to do. It's right to take care of people when they hurt, and we're doing that." Despite the fact that radical students stormed the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, 15% of Iranian people burn US flag and Iran’s hardliners support terrorists and still an axis of Evil, States did not hesitate to help. I am not sure what President Khatami – a man with 1000 faces- meant when he said: “don't think this incident will change our relations...

9 posted on 01/09/2004 6:55:10 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Powell: "Human Breakthrough" in Relations with Iran

January 08, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
Dow Jones

NEW YORK -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Thursday that Iran's acceptance of U.S. assistance after last month's earthquake was "not a political breakthrough, but it was, nevertheless, a human breakthrough."

At a news conference in Washington, Powell said, "I was taken by the quick response we got from the Iranians on the relief that we offered for the terrible, devastating earthquake."

The quake on Dec. 26 left more than 30,000 people dead.

Powell said Iran's acceptance of the U.S. aid offer was a "human breakthrough in the sense that help was offered when it was needed and it was accepted."

"We will see what happens in the future with response to our relationship with Iran, " the secretary said in remarks broadcast by cable news outlets.

Iran is one of the three countries characterized as the axis of evil by President George W. Bush. The others are North Korea and Iraq, when it was controlled by Saddam Hussein.
10 posted on 01/09/2004 7:37:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
EU's Solana to Press Iran on Nuclear Arms

January 09, 2004
The International Herald Tribune
Reuters, AP

DUBLIN -- Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said Thursday that he hoped to revive efforts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear program in a visit next week to Tehran.

Talks over Iran's nuclear intentions "have been going through a dip," Solana said after a speech to Ireland's National Forum on Europe. "I would like to try to see if we can recuperate that."

"This means that Iran has to continue working efficiently and cooperating with Vienna over WMD," or weapons of mass destruction, he said.

Solana defended the EU strategy of engaging Tehran in a broad dialogue covering trade and other issues. This has caused concern in Washington, which accuses Tehran of trying to develop nuclear arms.

Solana will be in Tehran on Monday and Tuesday after a Sunday stopover in Vienna for talk with Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, EU officials said Thursday. After Iran, he is to visit Afghanistan on Wednesday and Georgia on Thursday.

Solana also said he would discuss the "very serious humanitarian problems" faced by Iran following the earthquake last month that razed the southern city of Bam.

The EU and Iran began negotiating a free-trade deal in 2002. Negotiations were halted in June amid allegations Iran was developing nuclear weapons.

On Dec. 18, Iran signed an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty enabling inspectors of the international atomic agency to search Iranian nuclear facilities without notice and without restriction. At a December meeting, the EU leaders said relations with Tehran could be taken forward only "through full international confidence on the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program and improvements in the area of human rights, fight against terrorism and Iran's position on the Middle East peace process."

Europe's search for closer ties has caused concern in Washington. American officials bristled at ElBaradei's assessment in November that agency inspectors had found "no evidence" of an arms program in Iran, yet had reported suspicious findings and criticized Tehran for hiding part of its nuclear program for years.

Iran insists its nuclear program is geared only toward producing electricity. In October, foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany persuaded Iran to accept intensified nuclear inspections and suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

The EU is eager to maintain a dialogue with Iran, a country torn between conservative Muslim forces and reformers who want to push the country economically and politically forward. "Prompt action by Europe has helped to encourage the Iranian authorities to accept additional safeguards and to voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment and processing activities," Solana said in a speech to the Irish forum, an all-party organization devoted to generating a public debate about European integration issues.
11 posted on 01/09/2004 7:38:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. Talks Possible, Iranian Aide Says

January 08, 2004
The Washington Post
Karl Vick

Remarks Extend Mostly Positive Signals

ISTANBUL -- Iran's foreign minister held out the possibility Thursday of a new dialogue with the United States in guarded remarks that analysts said kept alive the prospect of a warmer relationship between the longtime enemies.

"Iran is ready to negotiate with all countries, and America is no exception," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on state television. "If it adopts a new approach to Iran and is ready to interact with us based on mutual respect and the principle of equality, the atmosphere will change remarkably."

The remarks were the latest in a flurry of mixed but generally positive statements to emerge from Iran in the wake of U.S. offers of assistance after the devastating Dec. 26 earthquake in the ancient city of Bam.

In the days following the disaster, which killed at least 30,000 people, Iranian officials welcomed a team of 83 U.S. aid workers, the first such high-profile delegation allowed into Iran since Washington severed relations in 1979. Tehran also said it was encouraged by President Bush's decision to temporarily suspend long-standing economic sanctions against Iran to allow private donations to reach the stricken area.

But Iran demurred when Washington offered to follow up the aid with a high-level delegation led by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and including a member of the Bush family. Explaining that the government was preoccupied with the disaster, Iranian officials nonetheless held out the possibility of receiving a U.S. delegation later.

In Washington, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the offer was still on the table.

At a news conference, Powell said he was "taken" by Iran's quick response when the United States offered assistance after the quake. He cautioned that the contact did not mean the diplomatic standoff was about to ease, but he hinted that the United States could be interested in seeing how these tentative contacts play out.

"Now this is not a political breakthrough, but it was nevertheless a human breakthrough in the sense that help was offered when it was needed, and it was accepted," Powell said. "And so we will see what happens in the future."

In addition, the State Department is considering allowing Iran's U.N. ambassador to travel to Washington next week to attend a meeting of congressional leaders. Members of Iran's U.N. delegation must have permission to travel more than 25 miles from New York, and U.S. officials indicated Thursday that it was likely to be granted.

In Tehran, the conservative faction that controls Iran's key security functions includes hard-liners who still regard the United States as a crucial foil against which the Islamic republic defines itself. In a speech on state television, Iran's supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused U.S. leaders of using the quake "to pursue their political goals."

The U.S. offer of aid "does not mean that the long-standing, continuous, deep and rooted enmity of the arrogant American regime toward the Iranian nation will be forgotten," Khamenei said. "They hide their iron fist in a silk glove."

Analysts, however, called Khamenei's language relatively mild, certainly far short of an outright rebuff.

"This is very important: They did not reject it totally," said Mohammad Haj Yousefi, a professor of international relations at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran. "They left some space, saying, 'We're not now in a good situation.' "

Yousefi said Iranian officials appeared to be caught off-guard by the U.S. overture. He added that leaders likely also wanted to see how the approach would play among the elected and unelected officials who rule Iran, especially before parliamentary elections set for Feb. 20.

More broadly, analysts said, the humanitarian emergency provided an opportunity for both sides to acknowledge their search for common ground.

Iran appears to have played a benign, even stabilizing role in postwar Iraq, where 60 percent of the population follows the Shiite branch of Islam that is predominant in Iran.

"The reality is, if Iran had wanted to make our lives utterly miserable in Iraq, they could have done it easily," said Gary G. Sick, an Iran expert at Columbia University. "They haven't done it. And they haven't done it for a reason: The Shia have a chance to emerge as the major player in Iraqi politics."

In recent months, Iran has made several moves that suggested a desire to end more than 20 years of international isolation.

A senior official this week announced that Iran was close to restoring diplomatic ties with Egypt, which Tehran severed to protest the 1978 Camp David accords with Israel.

Iran last fall backed down from a crisis over its nuclear ambitions by agreeing to snap inspections as part of an agreement with European governments.

"Clearly both sides have an interest in some better form of relations where they can communicate about key issues," Sick said. "I think it's reasonably possible right now, since both sides have an incentive, that it'll work out."

Staff writer Robin Wright in Washington contributed to this report.
12 posted on 01/09/2004 7:39:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rafsanjani: Bush Accusations Spoiled Iran-U.S. Thaw

January 09, 2004

TEHRAN -- Iran's influential former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said on Friday President Bush's repeated accusations against Iran had undermined a possible thaw in the decades-old enmity between the two nations.

Speaking at Friday prayers in Tehran, Rafsanjani said Tehran was encouraged by U.S. humanitarian relief to victims of the devastating earthquake in Bam on December 26 and a U.S. proposal for a first public official visit to Iran in over two decades.

"Our initial analysis was that they wanted to pave the way for negotiations and resolving the problems," Rafsanjani said in a sermon broadcast live on state radio.

"Their main mistake was that Mr. Bush started to repeat the old allegations about Iran and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, human rights and the Middle East conflict...

"If you want to extend a hand of friendship and a new approach, you shouldn't repeat the old words," said Rafsanjani, who analysts say remains a key player in Iran's foreign policy.

He was referring to comments on January 1 by Bush, who, while praising Tehran for allowing U.S. humanitarian aid to be sent to the people of Bam, reiterated long-standing accusations that led him to label Iran an "axis of evil" member in 2002.

"The Iranian government must listen to the voices of those who long for freedom, must turn over al Qaeda (members) that are in their custody and must abandon their nuclear weapons program," Bush said.

Iran routinely denies Washington's accusations that it is pursuing weapons of mass destruction and sponsoring terrorism and repeatedly calls on U.S. officials to stop meddling in its internal affairs.

Washington broke ties with Iran shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution. U.S. sanctions in place since 1995 prohibit U.S. companies from investing in OPEC's second largest oil producer or trading in Iranian oil.

But U.S. and Iranian officials have spoken recently about a willingness to resume a limited dialogue with Tehran, which was broken off by Washington last May.

Following Iran's acceptance of aid for Bam, Washington proposed sending a humanitarian mission led by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole to Iran. Tehran declined the offer.

Rafsanjani, who heads Iran's powerful Expediency Council arbitration body, said the proposed Dole visit was "suspicious."
13 posted on 01/09/2004 7:45:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Israel: Syria Used Iran Aid Planes for Arms

January 09, 2004
Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM -- Israeli security sources said Friday Syrian planes that flew earthquake relief aid to Iran had returned with weapons for Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas but Iran dismissed the charge as a "lie."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi called the accusation a "baseless and a sheer lie."

"After the Israelis observed the ... world's solidarity with the Iranian nation they became angry and they're continuing their policy based on lies and cheating by fabricating such news," he told Reuters.

Syrian officials had no immediate comment.

The allegation, first reported by state-owned Israeli television, could help Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cold-shoulder any U.S. or domestic calls to resume peace talks with Syria over the future of the occupied Golan Heights.

The Israeli sources said Syrian aircraft delivering aid for victims of the December 26 earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam carried missiles and other weapons for Hizbollah on the return leg to Damascus, where the arms were put on trucks to Lebanon.

"Shipments to Hizbollah had been suspended because Washington has been keeping a close eye on Syria since the war in Iraq began (in March)," one of the sources said.

The security sources said U.S. intelligence was also aware of the alleged Syrian operation.

Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, spearheaded a guerrilla campaign that led to Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 after a 22-year occupation.

Since the pullout, the group has carried out sporadic attacks against Israeli forces at Shebaa Farms, an area which Hizbollah says is Lebanese territory and the United Nations calls Israeli-occupied Syrian land.

U.S.-sponsored peace talks between Israel and Syria collapsed in 2000 over the issue of how much of the Golan, seized in the 1967 Middle East war, would be returned.

Syria wants all of the heights, but Israel sees the territory as strategically important for controlling the Sea of Galilee, its biggest reservoir.

Israel's Maariv newspaper, reporting that senior Israeli cabinet ministers and military officials were urging Sharon to negotiate with Syria, quoted him as saying privately the Israeli public "would not tolerate" giving up the strategic plateau.

An opinion poll published Friday in Maariv found that 56 percent of Israelis opposed withdrawing from the Golan.

But some Israeli politicians have said that Israel should negotiate now with a Syrian leader who has been weakened by the U.S. invasion of Iraq and could be open to concessions.
14 posted on 01/09/2004 8:35:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

Dr. Firouz Naderi, manager of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover program (see photo), uses three dimensional glasses to view a 3-D image provided by the rover Spirit during a news conference at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California January 7, 2004. Born March 25, 1946, in Shiraz, Iran, Naderi holds three degrees in electrical engineering: a bachelor's from Iowa State University, Ames, IA, and a master's and doctorate from the University of Southern California. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
15 posted on 01/09/2004 10:52:05 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn; Pan_Yans Wife
Saturday, January 10

2:00am Frontline/World
Forbidden Iran

For those in the SE they will be reshowing Forbidden Iran again at 2am, i believe it's 1am for central.

Check local listings.
16 posted on 01/09/2004 10:56:49 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Special visa created just for well-off from Iran
By Mike Seccombe
January 10, 2004

Australia will host foreign guest workers for the first time, after changes to immigration law permitting indentured workers to stay for up to three years.

But the new visa provisions, which came into force on January 1, will allow only a fortunate few Iranians to have "working holidays" here, under conditions far more lenient than those applying to other temporary visitors.

So far, only five have been granted and only three people have arrived in Australia.

The unique provisions arise from a secret memorandum of understanding between Iran and Australia, aimed at reducing the number of asylum seekers.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to accept the return of asylum seekers, and Australia agreed to grant extra visa privileges to well-off, well-educated Iranians.

Under visa subclass 462 such people can apply for up to three consecutive work and holiday visas, and can do so without leaving the country as others do.

They can also, for the first time, apply even if they have dependent children. Usually, working holiday visas are for young, dependent-free tourists to fund extended visits with casual work.

However, the special category appears closer to the concept of guest-worker visas, as used by many other countries.

Details on the Immigration Department website stipulate that to apply for an extension the visa holder must have the "support of their foreign government and of their current employer".

When the Herald sought details from the department, a written response said it was part of "ongoing implementation of the memorandum of understanding with Iran, signed in March 2003".

It said the aim was to help combat illegal immigration, and said it would allow "young Iranians and Australians to work and holiday in each others' countries".

The Foreign Affairs website warns that visiting Iran carries risks, including from terrorist attacks, battles between security forces and drug lords, corrupt officialdom, and dying in an air crash aboard the country's aged aircraft.

A spokesman for the Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, said yesterday it was "completely wrong" to categorise the holders of such visas as guest workers, because the category was restricted to the tertiary qualified.
17 posted on 01/09/2004 10:59:59 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran/U.S.: Hopes of Bilateral 'Earthquake Diplomacy' Appear to be Crumbling

January 09, 2004
Radio Free Europe
Golnaz Esfandiari

Prague -- Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said yesterday that Washington continues to show "basic hostility" toward Tehran.

In his first reaction to U.S. contributions of humanitarian aid for the victims of last month's devastating earthquake in Bam, Khamenei said Iran "had to accept [U.S. aid] because it was destined for the people." In a speech broadcast on state television, Khamenei said there has been no change in U.S. attitudes toward Iran.

"U.S. officials have not shown any sign of reduction of enmity against Iran's Islamic establishment and the Iranian people. Meanwhile, they shamelessly accuse the nation, the government, the establishment and make threats," Khamenei said. Khamenei has the final say in all matters related to the Islamic republic.

Khamenei insisted that U.S. humanitarian aid has nothing to do with improved relations between the two countries. In his speech, Khamenei said U.S. officials have simply used the Bam earthquake as "an pursue their political goals." However, he said that if the United States "were to change its attitude, we are not people who are obstinate toward anyone."

Other Iranian conservatives also have downplayed U.S. relief efforts and reacted angrily to the positive reactions by Iranian reformists to what some have called the start of a new trend in Iranian-U.S. ties.

Prior to Khamenei's speech, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi had said Tehran was willing to resume talks with the United States based on mutual respect. "Iran is ready to negotiate with all countries -- and America is no exception," Kharrazi told state television. "If [Washington] adopts a new approach to Iran and is ready to interact with us based on mutual respect and the principle of equality, the atmosphere will change remarkably."

The contradictory remarks highlight the split between the two factions of the Iranian establishment.

Shortly after the massive earthquake in Bam, Washington sent teams of aid workers, medicine, and food to Iran. Iran allowed U.S. flights to land in the country for the first time in decades. The United States also temporarily lifted some economic sanctions against Iran in order to speed up the flow of humanitarian relief.

Washington's offer to send a high-level delegation to Iran to further assess the humanitarian situation in Bam was declined by the Iranian government.

Yesterday in Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said U.S. President George W. Bush was quick to send aid to Iran, but he added that it does not represent a political breakthrough. "The president was quick to respond [to the earthquake], and he gave us directions to get in touch with the Iranians very quickly and offer our assistance, and we did that, and they responded very quickly," Powell said. "This is not a political breakthrough, but it was nevertheless a human breakthrough in the sense that help was offered when it was needed -- and it was accepted."

On 1 January, Bush -- who has labeled Iran part of an "axis of evil" -- praised Tehran's willingness to accept U.S. aid flights but said the Iranian government must first address U.S. concerns before there can be any substantive improvements in relations.

"What we're doing in Iran is we're showing the Iranian people the American people care. We've got great compassion for human suffering, and [we will] ease restrictions in order to be able to get humanitarian aid into the country. The Iranian government must listen to the voices of those who long for freedom, must turn over Al-Qaeda [members] that are in their custody, and must abandon their nuclear weapons program. In the meantime, we appreciate the fact that the Iranian government is willing to allow our humanitarian aid flights into their country -- it's a good thing to do, it's right to take care of people when they hurt, and we're doing that," Bush said.

Iran's influential former president, Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, said today that Bush's remarks had undermined a possible thaw in relations. Speaking at Friday prayers in Tehran, Rafsanjani said Tehran had been encouraged by U.S. humanitarian relief but that Bush had spoiled any chance of an improvement in ties by repeating the "old allegations" about Iran and weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and human rights. He said, "If you want to extend a hand of friendship and a new approach, you shouldn't repeat the old words."

Some analysts say some kind of rapprochement between Tehran and Washington is inevitable in the long term, however. Dr. Sadegh Zibakalam is a professor of political science in Tehran. He told Radio Farda correspondent Baktash Khamsehpour that Iranian conservatives who are opposed to the resumption of ties with the United States are under increasing pressure.

"There are voices of protest from each corner, protest over why there should be animosity between Iran and the U.S., since this animosity has brought tremendous harm to Iran's national interests in the Caspian Sea, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan [and] in the future of Iraq," he said.

Iran's reformist faction has asked the pro-reform government of President Mohammad Khatami to take steps aimed at an eventual detente between Tehran and Washington.

The United States cut its ties with Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Diplomats from the two nations have reportedly held secret talks in Geneva over the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

An Iranian news website close to the reformist camp reported this week that Iran has sent a letter to U.S. officials through Jordanian channels setting out conditions for the resumption of ties. The content of the letter has not been disclosed.
18 posted on 01/09/2004 11:05:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Protests as Iran Drops Tribute to Assassin

January 09, 2004
Yahoo News

TEHRAN -- Around 200 religious hardliners have protested in Tehran over a government bid to improve ties with Egypt by renaming a street that honoured the assassin of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Sadat's memory is despised by Iranian hardliners because he made peace with Israel and gave refuge to Iran's ousted shah. They see Khaled Islambouli, the Egyptian Islamic militant who killed Sadat in 1981 and was later executed, as a martyr.

Seeking to end a 25-year freeze in full diplomatic relations between the Middle East's two most populous nations, Tehran city council agreed on Tuesday to a Foreign Ministry request to rename Khaled Islambouli street as Intifada, after the Palestinian uprising against Israel.

Officials from the two countries have since said they are very close to restoring full relations, which were broken off by Tehran shortly after its 1979 Islamic revolution largely due to Cairo's 1978 Camp David peace accord with Israel.

But hardliners in Iran are furious at what they see as a climbdown aimed at making friends with a U.S. ally in the Middle East that maintains ties with the Jewish state.

They rallied following the Friday prayers sermon in Tehran, chanting slogans against the Foreign Ministry and the city council.

The ultra hardline Ansar-e Hezbollah group, which organised the protest, said in a statement: "Foreign policy players and deceived city council members are mistaken to think they can strip Islambouli, one of the heroes of Islam's international movement, of the 'medal' Ayatollah (Ruhollah) Khomeini gave him." Khomeini led Iran's Islamic revolution.

The same group plans to unveil a monument in Tehran's main cemetery in commemoration of Islambouli.

Iranian media this week reported that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was due to arrive in Tehran next month to take part in a summit of eight developing countries.

But Ansar-e Hezbollah, which has been accused of attacking reformist politicians and students in Iran in recent years, warned that the Egyptian leader "will not be welcome in Iran".
19 posted on 01/09/2004 11:05:59 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: freedom44
Freedom, where does one go to buy 3-D glasses? I need some.
20 posted on 01/09/2004 11:09:08 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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