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Iranian Alert -- January 11, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.11.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/11/2004 12:07:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn

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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 01/11/2004 12:07:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: All
Hey, I don't mean to be nosey...
... but I'd really like some bacon,
or some help for FR.

2 posted on 01/11/2004 12:09:34 AM PST by Support Free Republic (Freepers post from sun to sun, but a fundraiser bot's work is never done.)
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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 01/11/2004 12:11:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
NO FREEDOM FOR IRANIAN JOURNALISTS IN 2004

PARIS, 10 Jan. (IPS)

The International press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) expressed Saturday its indignation at the prison conditions of 11 Iranian journalists, most of them ill and in a very physically and psychologically weakened state.

In a statement released from Paris, the international press freedom organisation renews its objections to the often-arbitrary detention of the journalists and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

"It is completely unacceptable for journalists like Siamak Pourzand, who is sick and 74-years old, to still be held in solitary confinement", said RSF’s Secretary general Robert Ménard.

"The same goes for Alireza Jabari, 60, who is suffering from heart problems and has even received 253 lashes. The journalists' families are not even allowed to bring warm clothing to the sick prisoners", Ménard said, adding that Reporters Without Borders remained "very concerned" by the cases of Taghi Rahmani, Reza Alijani and Hoda Saber, whose legal position was unclear at the least and for whom the legal period of being held in custody had long ago passed.

Ordered by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, the Judiciary started a massive crackdown on Iranian independent and reform seeking journalists in 1998, resulting in the closure of more than one hundred publications and the imprisonment of a dozen of leading and influential journalists and editors, while others were either silenced or forced to leave the country, like Mr. Mas’ood Behnood, a veteran journalist and commentator who now lives in Britain.

Released on the eve of a visit to Iran by Mr. Xavier Solana, the 15-25 members European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Relations and Security Affaires, RSF intends to remind the international community, particularly the Europeans of the appalling situation of Iranian journalists, a spokeswoman for the RSF said.

"Though Solana’s visit, to start on Sunday, is primarily connected with political issues, chief among them Iran’s nuclear programmes, but we want him to put on the table the case of Iranian journalists who are in prison illegally, most of them detained for years without trial and access to lawyers and communication with their relatives", the spokeswoman told the Persian service of the BBC.

Information about the 11 jailed journalists:

- Siamak Pourzand, freelance journalist for several independent newspapers and in charge of an artistic and cultural centre, sentenced to eight years in prison, has been jailed since November 2000. This 74-year-old veteran journalist has been put under heavy psychological pressure and has been tortured during interrogation. In an open letter his wife Mehrangiz Kaar, a human rights activist and lawyer receiving medical treatment in the United States, he said he was held in solitary confinement in the basement of Evin Jail. According to a diagnosis given on 30 July 2003 at the Imam Khomeini Hospital in Teheran, he is suffering from an arthritic neck and worrying disc problems that will require an operation. He is unable to walk and to attend to his daily needs".

- Alireza Jabbari, journalist with the monthly "Adineh", jailed since 17 March 2003, was sentenced to three years in prison and 253 lashes. At over 60 years old, Mr. Jabari has heart problems. Held in a cell with common-law prisoners, he has been treated even worse since a letter detailing his prison conditions was published on an Internet site. Prison authorities refuse to allow his wife to bring him warm clothing.

- Hassan Youssefi Eshkevari, a cleric journalist writing for the "Iran Farda" bi-monthly, sentenced to seven years in prison, has been jailed since 5 August 2000. Diabetic and insulin-dependent and suffering from bleeding from his eyes, he was given a temporary release to seek medical treatment but his doctors say he urgently needs intensive care outside of prison.

- Akbar Ganji, journalist and writer working with the daily "Sobh Emouz", sentenced to six years in prison, has been jailed since 2 April 2000. Suffering from an acute throat disorder, he was allowed a 10-day pass for treatment but doctors believe he needs an urgent operation.

- Iraj Jamshidi, editor in chief of the financial daily "Asia", held in detention since 6 July 2003, has still not been tried. On the eve of a visit from the UN special rapporteur, Ambeyi Ligabo, he was transferred from his isolation cell to a dormitory. Since then he has been returned to the basement of Evin Jail. He has been allowed only one visit, coinciding with Ligabo's trip.

- Alireza Ahmadi, also of "Asia", jailed since 29 July 2003, and still remanded in custody.
- Hoseyn Ghazian, journalist and researcher with the daily "Norouz", sentenced to four and a half years in prison and jailed since 31 October 2002.

- Abbas Abdi, of the daily "Salam", sentenced to four and a half years in prison and held since 4 November 2002.

- Taghi Rahmani, of "Omid Zandjan", daily imprisoned since 14 June 2003, for no official reason, has been held in solitary confinement for nearly two months and has not been allowed to receive any visitors since 6 December. He was reportedly sentenced on appeal, in another case, to 13 years in jail.

- Reza Alijani, editor in chief of "Iran Farda" and laureate of the Reporters Without Borders-Fondation de France press freedom prize, imprisoned since 14 June 2003, for no official reason, held in solitary confinement for nearly two months and not allowed any visitors since 6 December. He was reportedly sentenced on appeal in another case to six years in prison.

Hoda Saber, managing editor of "Iran Farda", also held since 14 June 2003. He was reportedly sentence on appeal in another case to ten years in prison.

It must be stated that all the above-mentioned newspapers and publications are closed down.

The Association for the Defence of Prisoners' Rights, set up at the end of December by the journalist and writer Emadeddin Baqi (given a one-year suspended jail sentence on 4 December) and human rights activist, on 6 December 2003 released a statement in Teheran condemning the situation of Iran's jailed journalists.

A petition signed by more than 1,000 university students and professors was published and addressed to the "Iranian people" on 5 January 2004 denounced the "arbitrary and illegal detention" of Taghi Rahmani, Reza Alijani and Hoda Saber, all three associated with the Nationalist-religious groups, and called for their immediate release of all political prisoners from jail.

Mr. Masha’allah Shamsolva’ezin, a well-known commentator and editor of several popular newspapers shut by the Judiciary who is the spokesman of the Centre for the Defence of Journalists also condemned the arrests and imprisonment of fellow pressmen.

ENDS IRAN JOURNALISTS 10104

http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2004/Jan_04/emrooz_filtered_7104.htm
4 posted on 01/11/2004 12:15:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
RSF urges Iran to release 11 newsmen

Hi Pakistan
11 Jan 2004

TEHRAN, Jan 11: Global press rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged Iranian authorities to release 11 journalists, arguing that most of them are in appalling health.

"It is completely unacceptable for journalists like Siamak Pourzand, who is sick and 74-years-old, to be still held in solitary confinement," RSF's secretary general, Robert Menard, said in a statement.

"The same goes for Ali-Reza Jabari, 60, who suffers from heart problems and has even received 253 lashes. The journalists' families are not even allowed to bring warm clothing to the sick prisoners."

The statement said Siamak Pourzand, a freelance journalist who was jailed in 2000 for eight years, had even been tortured and was being held in a basement cell in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en50357&F_catID=&f_type=source
5 posted on 01/11/2004 12:22:48 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Smuggling shows Iran still thirsty
Cross-border trade defies alcohol ban

Jan. 10, 2004, 12:49AM
By JIM KRANE
Associated Press
SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq --

Just east of here, where the Zagros mountains mark the border with Iran, a single product dominates the Iraqi exports hauled across the frontier by pack mule and tractor-trailer: liquor.

Iraq's booming liquor trade with Iran is a consequence of the divergence between the two countries' laws. Alcohol is banned inside the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is perfectly legal in secular Iraq, even if most Iraqis avoid it for religious reasons.

Not only is liquor legal here, it is untaxed and cheap. Stores sell liter bottles of Johnny Walker Red Label for just $10. In Iran, the same bottle commands at least five times the price.

"A tractor-trailer load of Jack Daniels is worth a few million dollars on the other side," said Staff Sgt. David Spence-Sales, 34, of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. "It's illegal to bring alcohol into Iran but it's not illegal to ship it out of Iraq."

The penalty for sale or consumption of alcohol in Iran is a fine or flogging, or both.

Iranian citizens who are Armenian Christians are legally allowed to make their own wine for church services.

Despite being outlawed, foreign alcoholic beverages, from well-known U.S. labels to harsher contraband from nearby parts of the former Soviet Union, have been found in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The arbitrage keeps afloat a plethora of liquor stores in Sulaimaniyah, a center of trade with Iran.

Spence-Sales, whose surveillance unit has trained some Iraqi border police, says Iraqi customs officers simply wave the trucks through the main border post, despite knowing the trucks ferry prohibited goods.

A few of the 100 to 200 trucks that cross daily into Iran at Penjwin carry liquor, said Sgt. Louis Gitlin, a member of the same Army unit. Across the border, truckers pay bribes to see the loads through Iranian customs.

"They'll pick a small border site and pay the Iranians $20, and they'll leave it open all day," said Spence-Sales. "It's big money over there."

Spence-Sales said he had no moral qualms allowing Iranians access to banned liquor. "They call us infidels for our loose moral standards," he said. "But they live just like everyone else. You have to balance the rhetoric with what really happens."

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/business/2346600
6 posted on 01/11/2004 12:25:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran not ready to open dialogue with US

By Ali Akbar Dareini,
Associated Press, 1/11/2004

TEHRAN -- Iran rejected a US overture for talks between the estranged nations, saying yesterday that Washington must first end its hostile policy toward the Islamic state.

The Bush administration indicated Friday that it wants to talk with Iran about its nuclear program, human rights, and terrorism. But Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said the Iranians weren't swayed by what they view as a lopsided proposal.

"Right now there are no plans to commence a dialogue," Kharrazi said at a news conference yesterday.

President Bush branded Iran as part of an "axis of evil," along with North Korea and Iraq under the Saddam Hussein regime, but Washington sent aid to Iran after a deadly earthquake last month and has expressed hopes for a diplomatic opening.

Iran accepted the help following the quake that killed more than 30,000 people in the ancient city of Bam, but it turned down a US proposal for more aid to be brought in by a high-profile team led by Senator Elizabeth Dole, Republican of North Carolina and former president of the American Red Cross.

Iran has accused Washington of grandstanding on the aid with no change of heart over the differences between the two sides. The two countries broke ties after radical students seized the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and held Americans hostage.

"What is important is mutual respect and the principle of equality, in a healthy atmosphere without violence," Kharrazi said. "For this to happen, the United States must change its policy toward Iran."

On Friday, US Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Iran's acceptance of US aid after the Bam earthquake had opened up opportunities for dialogue between the foes, although there was no reason to expect a quick rapprochement.

But that same day, Iran's influential former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said Bush's repeated accusations against Iran had undermined a possible thaw.

"Our initial analysis [after the earthquake] was that they wanted to pave the way for negotiations and resolving the problems," Rafsanjani said 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."

Meanwhile, Turkey's foreign minister met with Kharrazi yesterday over mutual concerns that Iraqi Kurds could exploit the evolving situation in Iraq to establish an independent Kurdish state.

Earlier this week, Syria's president visited Turkey and also backed the Turkish position.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/01/11/iran_not_ready_to_open_dialogue_with_us/
7 posted on 01/11/2004 12:26:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Key reformists barred from Iran polls

Sunday 11 January 2004, 10:28 Makka Time, 7:28 GMT

A large number of top Iranian reformists, including the brother of President Mohammad Khatami, have been barred from standing in next month's parliamentary elections by a conservative-run vetting body.

According to the student news agency ISNA, the Guardians Council rejected 877 of the 1700 prospective candidates who had registered in the capital to stand for a seat in the Majlis, or parliament on 20 February.

The agency also listed a number of key pro-reform figures it said had also failed to get past the highly contested vetting procedure, including Muhammad Reza Khatami.

He is a brother of the reformist president, an incumbent MP and the head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), Iran's largest reform party.

Two other top IIPF members, Behzad Nabavi and Fatimah Haqiqatjou, were also barred from standing by the electoral vetting arm of the Guardians Council - an unelected senate-like body that has also blocked most Majlis legislation since reformers took control of parliament in 2000.

In addition, Muhammad Reza Khatami and Behzad Nabavi are both the current deputy speakers in the Majlis. However, the report said the candidacy of the present Majlis president, Mahdi Karubi, was approved.

Also reportedly rejected was Muhsin Mirdamadi, an outspoken reformer and current head of the Majlis foreign policy and national security commission.

Outspoken leftist Muhsen Armin and top women's rights activist Elaheh Koulaiee - both also incumbent deputies - were also barred from standing again.

ISNA said members of the liberal Iran Freedom Movement (IFM) and so-called religious-nationalists were also barred from being candidates.

Approval awaited

"I regret and I am saddened by this massive rejection of the forces inside the parliament and personalities from outside parliament," Karubi said during Sunday's Majlis session carried live on state radio.

"I am in contact with President Khatami, and for several days we have worked together and held discussions. We have spoken to the Guide (supreme leader Ayat Allah Ali Khamenei) and the Guardians Council, and we will continue," he added, calling on those rejected to "lodge a formal complaint".

"We will defend the rights of all those whose candidacies have been rejected," he asserted, adding that the Guardians Council's move had yet to receive the formal approval of the supreme leader.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/B8526A76-CB0E-46CC-99ED-D33328F07FEB.htm
8 posted on 01/11/2004 12:28:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Persian hospitality
Two New Zealanders, one motorcycle, seven days in Iran

Written and photographed by Rick Coleman
January 8, 2004
iranian.com

Nothing can prepare you for the nagging anxiety that pervades your body as you approach the Iranian border for the first time. Images of persecuted women, American hostages, and an old 'Ayatollah is a meanie' badge from my school days, swirled around in my mind in an endless stream of negativity towards the people of Persia. The reality was something else.

Two months earlier, as a leatherclad dispatch rider, I pushed open the heavy wooden door of the Iranian Consulate in London, under the watchful eye of the man in the bullet proof glass enclosure, with the video monitors.

I stood nervously in the subdued hush, clutching a handful of papers and passports, to lodge a visa application. I approached the counter, painfully aware of my appearance, and handed over the forms to the upright and bearded gentleman behind the counter. Flicking sternly through the papers, he came to my New Zealand passport.

"Kiwi!" he exclaimed. "Anchor Butter, good butter. And your lamb, very fine lamb sir. Where you from? Wellington? Auckland?"

I couldn't believe my ears, and was soon discussing beautiful mountains and lush green grass, rather than religious preferences or politics.

However, my English partner was not so joyfully received. Salman Rushdie (an unfortunate last name I felt) had had lunch with the then Prime Minister John Major. A 5 day transit/tourist visa for British citizens had immediately risen from £25, to £500. A grim development when attempting to co-ordinate an overland journey from England to India on a shoestring. Three weeks later, and a week before our scheduled departure, the fee was dropped back to £25 again, a little closer to the £4 charged to a 'kiwi'.

http://www.iranian.com/Travelers/2004/January/Hospitality/index.html
9 posted on 01/11/2004 12:29:39 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Nearly one-third Iran poll hopefuls barred: report

abc.net.au
1.11.2004

An Iranian conservative watchdog has barred almost 30 per cent of aspiring candidates for February elections despite a poll boycott threat by reformists if they are ruled out, local newspapers have reported on Saturday.

Official candidate lists for the February 20 parliamentary poll have not yet been posted but some parliamentarians said they had already heard top reformist firebrands had been banned.

Any bans on candidates are issued by the 12-member Guardian Council, a hardline supervisory body that can veto legislation from parliament, where reformists hold a majority.

Reformist President Mohammad Khatami, who has tried and failed in the past to curb the Council's power to bar candidates, had recently urged the body not to veto too many. The Sharq and Resalat newspapers quoted Mohammad Jahromi, a spokesman for the Guardian Council's electoral oversight body, as saying 2,380 out of 8,200 candidates had been disqualified so far from the race for seats in Iran's 290-seat parliament.

"Those disqualified will have 24 hours to raise objections either through the Guardian Council or supervisory bodies," he was quoted as saying.

Mr Jahromi said the reasons for the bans ranged from drug addiction and sympathies with fringe groups.

He explained that the Intelligence Ministry, Judiciary and Police had provided the information that caused the candidates to be blacklisted.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1023646.htm
10 posted on 01/11/2004 12:30:28 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Top 55 Islamic Republic Iran Most Wanted!

11 posted on 01/11/2004 12:42:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
As 'Fog' Lifts, an Iranian Actress to Watch Emerges

By Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel

AVENTURA, Fla. -- Shohreh Aghdashloo leans forward, wide-eyed and smiling, and envelops the listener with the sexiest voice this side of Garbo.

"Sho-RAY OCK-dosh-loo," she says, guiding the pronunciation of her Persian name.

"My husband just said, 'Stop dreaming.' But in the dream land, the United States, dreams do come true, if you are ready to devote yourself to them. If you love it enough to stick to it," she said.

Her adoptive country was very welcoming, she says, when she fled here after the shah was deposed in 1979.

"I knew I was going to have to live in the West for quite a long time," she says. "You could sense where Iran was going, the Islamic republic to come. The clerics were everywhere. When I left, I studied not the arts but international relations, politics. I wanted to be able to help my people, even from outside Iran."

As the years passed, she acted mostly for her fellow Iranians. She found that, eventually, most Americans forgot where her country was. Until Sept. 11, 2001.

Sadly, now Americans know much more about the Middle East," she says. "Still, they do not know the difference between Persian and Arab."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50891-2004Jan2.html

12 posted on 01/11/2004 1:04:33 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Is it not an irony that the word alcohol has its roots in Arabic?

http://www.loqmantranslations.com/ArabicFacts/Words_Trivia/Trivia_A.html

alcohol originally, was a powder, not a liquid. The word comes from Arabic al-kuhul, litterally 'the kohl' - that is, powdered antimony used as a cosmetic for darkening the eyelids. This was borrowed into English via French or medieval Latin, and retained this 'powder meaning' for some centuries. But a change was rapidly taking place: from specifically 'antimony', alcohol came to mean any substance obtained by sublimation, and hence 'quintessence'. 'Alcohol of wine' was thus the 'quintessence of wine', produced by distillation or rectification, and by the middle of the 18th century alcohol was being used on its own for the intoxicating ingredient in strong liquor.
13 posted on 01/11/2004 2:36:06 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Iran protest as reformists blocked

January 11, 2004
CNN

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian reformists walked out of parliament while others staged a sit-in to protest over the conservatives' rejection of election candidates.

Exactly how many of the 8,200 hopefuls for February's legislative elections have been barred was unclear on Sunday. However, initial results from several provinces carried by the official IRNA news agency indicated it was between 50 and 60 percent, Reuters said.

Among those disqualified by a conservative watchdog group was a brother of President Mohammad Khatami and head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front -- the Islamic republic's largest pro-reform party.

Parliament members say about 900 of the 1,700 hopefuls for seats in Tehran have also been disqualified from running.

"We are holding a sit-in inside the parliament building to protest the illegal decision of the Guardian Council to disqualify prominent reformers who have resisted hard-line dictatorship," reformist lawmaker Reza Yousefian, one of those disqualified, told The Associated Press.

Also disqualified were reformist lawmakers Fatemeh Haqiqatjou and Elaheh Koulaee, who fought for women's rights.

"It's meaningless that qualification of prominent figures who have worked for the nation for years is not approved," AP quoted President Khatami as saying. "I'm against such disqualifications. There are legal ways to fight."

He vowed a "harsh reaction" if legal channels failed to change the council's decision.

http://edition.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/01/11/iran.walkout/
14 posted on 01/11/2004 6:34:49 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: F14 Pilot; All
I think it's time for world media to get involved in defending their peers and colleagues. They haven't made this a public issue, and they should be embarrassed by their silence. It's time for them to speak out against the regime and demand the release of fellow journalists.

I'd like to encourage people to write to news media and encourage them to make the freeing of Iranian journalists a priority. Someone in American media needs to take up the cause, and make it known to the public. It's another means of revealing the truth about Iranian regime, and supporting the democratic movement.
Let the world know how ruthless and suffocating the regime is, and that it's time for them to leave and allow the people of Iran to live in the free society they desire.
15 posted on 01/11/2004 7:13:19 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: All
Regarding posts #4,5 and 15.... Please see DoctorZIn's homepage and click "Want to tell the media about Iran? Click Here!" for list of media contacts.
They need to tell the world about the cruel mistreatment of journalists in Iran and demand their freedom.


16 posted on 01/11/2004 7:22:45 AM PST by nuconvert ("This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it. ")
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To: DoctorZIn
One Earthquake Won't Seal a U.S.-Iran Bond

January 11, 2004
Newsday
Ilan Kelman

Since the United States responded in late December to the devastating earthquake in southeast Iran with aid workers and temporary suspension of some economic sanctions, relations between Iran's "Great Satan" and the member of George W. Bush's "axis of evil" appear to be friendlier than at any time during the past quarter century.

Secretary of State Colin Powell's remark on Dec. 30 - "We should keep open the possibility of dialogue at an appropriate point in the future" - has led some to believe that the U.S. government's hard line is softening because of the earthquake.

If that happened, it would be a classic case of "disaster diplomacy," where tragedy brings enemy countries together. But Iran's rejection of the Bush administration's offer to send a delegation including Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) to the region suggests that, while the earthquake could be directly linked to future rapprochement, it is dangerous to assume that it inevitably will.

Historically, disaster has been a catalyst, but not a creator, of diplomacy. Disasters have opened doors but failed to achieve long-term results. Earthquakes especially illustrate this point.

In 1999, a rapid thaw in Greek-Turkish relations followed deadly earthquakes in both countries. But diplomatic initiatives had been in place already. The tragedies thrust this slow process into the spotlight, and suddenly the media and the public were demanding faster results than the governments were ready to provide. In the long term, Greek-Turkish diplomacy might have been damaged by the disasters. Certainly the earthquakes did not resolve Greek-Turkish differences in the Aegean or Cyprus.

Positively, though, the rapprochement has held up. When an earthquake killed at least 100 people in southeast Turkey last May, Greece offered help. Little commentary resulted, implying that such aid is now an expected and standard practice with little influence on diplomacy.

India and Pakistan have had similar experience. In January 2001, an earthquake devastated Gujarat, killing approximately 25,000. Pakistan offered assistance, and this culminated in a summit between the countries' two leaders in July. But over the next year, the two men exchanged bitter insults and the countries nearly went to war.

Ever since, in the absence of earthquakes, relations have gone through various freeze-thaw cycles. It took no disaster, but political pressures, for the two nations to announce last week that they would begin formal peace talks in February.

Events, changes and attitudes can easily eclipse the political impact of an earthquake. The same has occurred in a number of other disasters, including famine in North Korea and drought in southern Africa.

In the case of America and Iran, precedents exist for disaster diplomacy that failed to produce lasting consequences. After an earthquake in Iran in 1990, a private American relief airplane landed there. In June 2002, an earthquake killed several hundred in northern Iran, and American aid was delivered through the United Nations. President Bush stated that "human suffering knows no political boundaries" and Tehran responded that the aid had "no political character."

With the recent earthquake, Powell has placed potential rapprochement in the context of other events. He has welcomed Iran's agreement to permit UN inspections of nuclear energy facilities along with moves toward reconciliation with Egypt and Jordan, both of whom contributed earthquake relief.

In October, two months before the earthquake, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "We are prepared to engage in limited discussions with the government of Iran . . . as appropriate." He emphasized Bush's and Powell's mid-October statements downplaying the possibility of using force against Iran. U.S. earthquake aid was likely made possible by the prior diplomacy rather than the shock of the tragedy.

Iran has a similar view. President Mohammad Khatami commented, "Humanitarian issues should not be intertwined with deep and chronic political problems."

With a U.S. presidential election coming in November, and parliamentary elections in Iran next month, considerations far beyond an earthquake are at work.




Ilan Kelman is deputy director of the Cambridge University Centre for Risk in the Built Environment.

http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-vpkel113620123jan11,0,2082121.story?coll=ny-viewpoints-headlines
17 posted on 01/11/2004 9:03:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Political Crisis Looms in Iran

January 11, 2004
Reuters
ABC News

Most reformist MPs have walked out of the Iranian Parliament in protest at the high number of candidates barred from standing in planned elections next month.

They say 80 of the current 290 members of Parliament have been disqualified by Iran's conservative 12 member Guardian Council.

The walk out was preceded by angry protests in Parliament, broadcast live on state radio.

The reformers say they will continue their protest with an all night sit in at the National Parliament.

The Parliamentary Speaker says President Mohammad Khatami has promised to take up the issue with the Guardian Council, but he holds little hope the talks will pay dividends.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s1023722.htm
18 posted on 01/11/2004 9:04:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Appeals for Calm after Reformists Barred from Elections

January 11, 2004
Radio Free Europe
RFE/RL

Tehran -- Iranian President Mohammed Khatami has urged his supporters to react calmly to a move by conservatives to bar large numbers of reformists from standing in next month's parliamentary elections.

Khatami made the appeal today after a cabinet meeting, saying he did not agree with the actions of the Guardians Council, which vets the suitability of candidates for public office.

Iranian reformist deputies say they plan to stage an all-night sit-in at the national parliament tonight to protest the action of the Guardians Council. One reformist deputy, Elaheh Koulaiee, said that of the 210 reformists in the 290-seat parliament, 80 had seen their candidacies rejected by the Guardians Council.

http://www.rferl.org/nca/features/2004/01/11012004103436.asp
19 posted on 01/11/2004 9:17:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Reformist Blasts "Coup d'etat" by Hardliners

January 11, 2004
AFP
TerraNet

Prominent Iranian reformist MP Mohsen Mirdamadi accused Tehran's powerful hardliners of staging a "coup d'etat" by disqualifying large numbers of reformers from standing in next month's parliamentary elections.

"I consider this rejection of candidates to be an illegal coup d'etat and an act of regime change by non-military means," said Mirdamadi, head of the parliament's foreign policy and national security commission.

"If this decision is upheld, there will not be elections but designations," he told reporters outside the parliament, or Majlis.

Mirdamadi was one of around 80 incumbent reformist MPs who have been barred from standing in the February 20 elections by the Guardians' Council, an unelected and conservative-controlled political watchdog.

A brother of President Mohammad Khatami and head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) -- the Islamic republic's largest pro-reform party -- said the move by the Guardians' Council was a mockery of democratic values.

"This is the biggest rejection of candidates in Iranian parliamentary history. If this decision is upheld, it will show that religious democracy is nothing but a mere slogan," said Mohammad Reza Khatami, another MP whose candidacy was also barred.

The Majlis building, where reformist MPs were gathering for a sit-in, would be transformed into "a centre of resistance against this illegal action," he said.

According to Mirdamadi, the bulk of disqualified MPs were found by the Guardians' Council to have been in violation of an article in the electoral law which stipulates candidates for public office must show their commitment to Islam and respect the revolutionary principle that gives Ayatollah Ali Khamenei his position of supreme leader of the Islamic republic.

Another rejected candidate and MP, the outspoken leftist Mohsen Armin, called on the Supreme National Security Council -- Iran's top decision-making body on national security issues -- to urgently address the crisis.

And Jafar Kambouzia, a reformist MP from the southeastern city of Zahedan who was also on the blacklist, branded the Guardians' Council move as "against democracy".

"They have rejected all those candidates who could win votes," he told reporters, adding that the "quasi-total of IIPF candidates across the country" had been barred from standing.

http://www.terra.net.lb/wp/Articles/DesktopArticle.aspx?ArticleID=131036&ChannelId=4
20 posted on 01/11/2004 9:23:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iranian Reformist Blasts "Coup d'etat" by Hardliners

January 11, 2004
AFP
TerraNet

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1055649/posts?page=20#20

Important Development... DoctorZin
21 posted on 01/11/2004 9:24:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I'm actually quite shocked that Khatami's brother has been banned. This should be real huge.

This is either a real big mistake by the Guardian Council that vets elections or another ploy to fool people.
22 posted on 01/11/2004 9:37:38 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Do you still think Iran's government is a legitimate democracy?

Please consider a hypothetical analogy of the IRI constitutional power setup in American terms*...

This analogy is based on the notes on Iranian Government Structure at http://www.netiran.com/.

Suppose that, according to the US Constitution, every potential candidate for President, the Senate or the House of Representatives had to receive the approval of a 12 man committee appointed by the ACLU before he could actually run for office.

Suppose that any legislation coming out of the Congress had to be ratified by an ACLU committee before it could become law and that this committee indeed had total veto authority.

Suppose that the ACLU had the constitutional authority to dismiss the President and/or the Congress if he saw fit.

Suppose that the heads of all armed services, police forces, broadcast media and the Supreme Court were appointed directly by the ACLU.

Suppose that ACLU, not the President, was the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.

Now suppose that the next ACLU-approved Republican Presidential candidate ran on a platform calling for greater religious freedom.

How much would you trust him to keep his campaign promises?

* This analogy was adapted from:
http://www.pcpages.com/ani/pages/gov/analogy.htm
23 posted on 01/11/2004 9:59:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: freedom44
Hopefully this will finally motivate the voting public to refuse to participate in the elections next month.

The Mullahs are playing a high stakes game. They hope to crush their opposition but in the process may finally prove to the international community that the Iranian government is illegitimate.

If this happens and foreign investments in the regime end, this will likely cause a collapse of their economy and destabilize the regime.

Therefore, this bold move by the mullahs may lead to their own destruction.

If not, it will certainly lead to a much more oppression.

Things are heating up.
24 posted on 01/11/2004 10:13:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Resumes Arms Shipment to Hizbullah

January 11, 2004
Middle East Newsline
MENL

Iran has resumed weapons shipments to Hizbullah under the guise of an international relief effort for the victims of the earthquake in Bam.

Israeli intelligence sources said the Iranian weapons shipments were resumed over the last two weeks after a suspension of more than a year. The sources said Syrian aircraft were deployed to transport the weapons from Iran to Damascus, where the cargo proceeded overland to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.

So far, the sources said, Iran has sent several shipments of rockets, short-range anti-aircraft missiles and logistical equipment to Hizbullah via Syria. They said that in at least one case a shipment of Iranian weapons was sent from Iran to Syria under the guise of relief efforts for the victims of the earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam.

"The Syrian aircraft was said to have brought equipment to Iran for the earthquake survivors," an intelligence source said. "When they arrived in Iran, these aircraft were loaded with weapons for Hizbullah and flown back to Damascus."

http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2004/january/01_11_1.html
25 posted on 01/11/2004 10:17:31 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Do you still think Iran's government is a legitimate democracy?

Please consider a hypothetical analogy of the IRI constitutional power setup in American terms*...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1055649/posts?page=23#23
26 posted on 01/11/2004 10:19:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping!
27 posted on 01/11/2004 10:19:48 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: DoctorZIn
Great analogy.

Thanks doc.
28 posted on 01/11/2004 10:30:30 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Excellent, DoctorZin. I like the change you made, too. :)
29 posted on 01/11/2004 10:39:32 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Iran risks widespread voter boycott": IIPF head

Sunday, January 11, 2004 - ©2003 IranMania.com

TEHRAN, Jan 11 (AFP) - The leader of Iran's main reformist party and a brother of President Mohammad Khatami warned Sunday of a massive voter boycott of next month's parliamentary elections unless conservatives reversed their decision to disqualify large numbers of reformist candidates.

"If the situation continues, the conditions for voting will not exist, people will not be prepared to vote and naturally we are heading in the direction of a national election boycott," Mohammad Reza Khatami told AFP.

"We demand the president and the government prevent the rejection of candidates and not be responsibe for organising undemocratic elections," added the head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF).

Nevertheless, the IIPF leader said he had the impression that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was against the move by the Guardians' Council -- a 12-member political oversight body which drew up the blacklist -- and said the body "will be obliged to go back on their decision."

But he also reminded his brother -- the embattled president -- that he was "responsible for the respect of the constitution and this will show how serious he is."

He cautioned that the crisis would have "consequences for Iran relations with foreign states".

It emerged Sunday that the Guardians' Council had disqualified large numbers of reformists, including top figures in the movement, from contesting the February 20 parliamentary elections.

Mohammad Reza Khatami was among those disqualified.

He said that in some areas, notably the northeastern city of Mashhad, all reformists had been struck off the voting lists and only conservatives were left.


http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=21532&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs

Khameini might reverse GC's decisions.
Khatami's brother is right, EU will have no option other than to cut some of the relations or look miserable being that their whole theory is working with reformists.
This disqualification may actually be a really good thing if it goes as planned it'll definitely heat things up and cause a quicker downfall for the regime.

30 posted on 01/11/2004 10:44:42 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Doc, you got something against the ACLU??????

LOL!!!
31 posted on 01/11/2004 10:57:59 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: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
32 posted on 01/11/2004 11:13:12 AM PST by blackie
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: nuconvert
Fact is, you could replace the ACLU with ANY group and we would still learn to hate it.
34 posted on 01/11/2004 11:25:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Got it the 1st time.....
35 posted on 01/11/2004 11:26:43 AM PST by nuconvert ("This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it. ")
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To: DoctorZIn
EU Foreign Policy Chief, UN Nuclear Head Meet On Iran

January 11, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

VIENNA -- The European Union foreign policy chief met Sunday with the U.N. atomic agency head for brief discussions before continuing to Iran, a spokeswoman said.

Javier Solana, who is traveling to Iran to try to prod Tehran into complying with U.N. rules on nonproliferation, met with Mohamed ElBaradei on Sunday morning in Vienna, said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"He met with Mr. ElBaradei to compare notes in advance of his trip to Tehran," Fleming said. "The Europeans have been all along closely informing Mr. ElBaradei about what they are doing and also making sure that their efforts are complementary to the IAEA's effort."

The two officials talk regularly, Fleming added.

The U.S. has accused Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and geared only toward producing electricity. The country last month signed an additional protocol to the Nonproliferation Treaty.

The IAEA's 35-nation board of governors censured Iran in November for 18 years of secrecy in a resolution that warned Tehran to stay in line with international efforts to make sure the country has no nuclear weapons ambitions.

Solana has defended the E.U. strategy to engage Tehran in a broad dialogue that covers trade and other issues, something that has caused concern in Washington.

Solana has also said he would use the Iran trip to discuss humanitarian issues faced by the country following last months' earthquake, which razed the southern city of Bam.

After visiting Iran, Solana will continue to Afghanistan and Georgia.

http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2004011112490000&Take=1
36 posted on 01/11/2004 12:07:36 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
What do you suppose the students are going to do with this? This may just be a perfect opportunity.
37 posted on 01/11/2004 1:37:25 PM PST by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader-Have you donated yet?)
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To: freedom44
Reza Khatami has been much more vocal with his reformist views, and more "reformist" than his brother.
I'm not surprised he was rejected.
38 posted on 01/11/2004 1:55:16 PM PST by nuconvert ("This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it. ")
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To: DoctorZIn
At least it will give the Iranian people a hard number of those who support the regime. If the students are wise, they will have "poll watchers" to see who actually votes.

They will know who their enemies are and their number.

39 posted on 01/11/2004 2:07:51 PM PST by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader-Have you donated yet?)
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To: DoctorZIn
Solana Travels to Iran to Revitalise Nuclear Talks

January 11, 2004
The Financial Times
Gareth Smyth

Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, was due in Iran on Sunday night for a two-day visit designed to keep up European momentum for dialogue with Tehran, which last month agreed to greater international access to its nuclear facilities.

The Iranian leadership over the weekend strongly criticised the US, curbing earlier speculation - after Washington suspended some sanctions to help earthquake victims in Bam - that the two sides would move to restore diplomatic relations.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, said there was "no sign of US animosity towards Iran decreasing". Akbar Rafsanjani, head of the Expediency Council, said President George W. Bush had "made the mistake of repeating past accusations".

The EU's "conditional engagement" with Iran scored a notable success in December when Tehran signed an additional protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and said it would suspend uranium enrichment.

Before leaving Brussels, Mr Solana told Irna, the Iranian news agency, that "relations with an important country like Iran are based on mutual respect." He added: "We try to solve problems through the mechanism of dialogue and not through any other way".

"The challenge [for the EU] is to make it clear that it takes Iran's security concerns seriously, while showing that nuclear weapons are not the answer," said Steven Everts, senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the London based think-tank.

Cristina Gallach, Mr Solana's spokeswoman, said the visit would cover not just the nuclear issue but also "trade and human rights". Mr Solana would also "assess preparations" for Iran's parliamentary elections due next month.

Conservatives are expecting the elections will end the parliament's reformist majority. As if to leave little to chance, the Guardian Council on Sunday barred 80 of the 290 members of parliament from running, prompting a walk-out in protest during a parliamentary session.

Those disqualified have a right to appeal, but their numbers are higher than expected. Some reformists have already threatened to boycott the elections.

Mr Solana is due to meet on Monday president Mohammed Khatemi, Kamal Kharrazi, the foreign minister, and Hassan Rowhani, the influential head of the Supreme National Security Council who had led discussions with the EU and the International Atomic Energy Agency. He will travel on Tuesday to Bam.

The EU and Iran have not as yet set a date for a fresh round of talks over a Trade and Co-operation Agreement, which have been in progress since December 2002.

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1073280934890&p=1012571727172
40 posted on 01/11/2004 3:32:18 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; Grampa Dave; Ragtime Cowgirl; SAMWolf
He vowed a "harsh reaction" if legal channels failed to change the council's decision.

Giving Khamenei the Complete Ceaucescu would not be too harsh.

Anything less would be a placebo.

And one last time: Ronald Reagan is a conservative; Khamenei is a fascist.

41 posted on 01/11/2004 4:26:48 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn; F14 Pilot; Grampa Dave
According to Mirdamadi, the bulk of disqualified MPs were found by the Guardians' Council to have been in violation of an article in the electoral law which stipulates candidates for public office must show their commitment to Islam and respect the revolutionary principle that gives Ayatollah Ali Khamenei his position of supreme leader of the Islamic republic.

In other words, only obedient stooges may "run for office".

In other words, "Islamic democracy" is an oxymoron, a crock, a lie and a fraud.

In other words, Boucher, you better mean it when you say you want more from Iran.

42 posted on 01/11/2004 4:50:51 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran is ruled by a fascist junta.
43 posted on 01/11/2004 4:52:34 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: PhilDragoo
This action by the Guardian Council shows a lack patience.

It also shows a complete disregard for the international community. It has been the reformists seeking international support that has propped up their economy. Without the reformists to provide political cover the regime is headed toward international isolation and financial collapse.

The tipping point is getting closer.
44 posted on 01/11/2004 5:53:05 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Aid Supplies Being Stolen, Quake Victims Say

January 12, 2004
The Associated Press
Matthew Pennington

BAM, Iran -- Huddled in canvas tents pitched by roadsides, tens of thousands of people who survived the earthquake in southeastern Iran find themselves competing with neighbors for aid and wondering when reconstruction will begin in their devastated city.

Amid complaints of inadequate or poorly distributed aid, aftershocks continue to frighten residents, including one Sunday that cracked masonry in the city of 80,000 people.

The Dec. 26 earthquake leveled much of Bam, killing about 35,000 people in the city and surrounding region. Aid has poured in from the Iranian government, the United Nations, and individual countries, including the United States, which dispatched a field hospital.

But Iran's government on Sunday once again rebuffed Washington's offer of a high-profile aid team led by Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a North Carolina Republican and former Red Cross official, saying the time "is not ripe" for such an exchange.

Meanwhile, people in Bam express frustration with aid distribution.

Many complain that people from neighboring towns and villages have barreled in and taken away tents, blankets and supplies meant for quake victims in what is one of the country's poorest regions.

"We don't get proper food here," said Gholamali Fahraji, who camps with some 30 families on the Imam Khameini traffic circle. "We heard there were sleeping bags, but we've seen none. There's no transportation, and I'm afraid people will steal my things from the ruins of my home."

Others say the temporary shelters do not provide adequate protection from the biting nighttime cold and not enough space.

Akbar Tarin shares a 6-by-13-foot tent with his wife and five children.

"I will go to a camp if they set one up," said Tarin, 54, a retired teacher. "It won't be easy to rebuild this house at my age, and with my income."

The United Nations said it plans to launch an appeal this week to fund the next three months of relief and also plans to erect semipermanent homes for some 50,000 people.

One such camp already in place - with about 150 spacious tents - lies empty as authorities register citizens, distribute ration cards and assess cases.

http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/news/4639.php
45 posted on 01/11/2004 6:16:59 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The tipping point is getting closer.

And with the Guardian Council's tin ear for public relations, it is hastening its demise.

46 posted on 01/11/2004 7:19:41 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
'Miracle' Iran quake survivor dies

AP[ SUNDAY, JANUARY 11, 2004 07:46:12 PM ]

TEHRAN : A 57-year-old man pulled out alive from the rubble of his home 13 days after a massive quake destroyed the southeastern Iranian city of Bam , has died, the official news agency IRNA said Sunday.

The agency said Jalil Shahinaki, who slipped into a deep coma after being pulled from the rubble on Wednesday, by an Iranian search and rescue team, died overnight in a field hospital in the razed city.

A member of the team at the Ukrainian field hospital, where the man was being treated, Dr Mehdi Shadnoush, cited heart failure. He also said that respiratory and pulmonary problems could have been the cause of death.

Shahinaki had survived a 13-day ordeal under the rubble, apparently thanks to the fact that he was under a piece of furniture, which formed an air pocket allowing him to breathe.

Few survivors were unearthed from the debris, given that houses in the city were mostly built with mud-brick, which disintegrated in the quake, leaving little room for air. The ancient city of Bam was razed by an earthquake that measured over six degrees on the Richter scale on December 26. More than 30,000 were killed, the same number injured and tens of thousands left homeless.

Meanwhile, seismologists said the city was struck by another serious aftershock, measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, early Sunday. The tremor was reported to have hit at 8:39 am (0509 GMT), Tehran University 's Geophysics Institute was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

With nearly all survivors living in tents, there were no immediate reports of any casualties.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/416825.cms
47 posted on 01/11/2004 7:39:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The tipping point is getting closer.

Good!

48 posted on 01/11/2004 7:49:52 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Davis is now out of Arnoold's Office , Bout Time!!!!)
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To: DoctorZIn
KHATAMI NOT SATISFIED AT CG REJECTING REFORMIST CANDIDATES

TEHRAN, 11 Jan. (IPS)

President Mohammad Khatami of Iran, angry at the great number of reformist candidates, including many present influential MMs (Members of the Majles) rejected by the Council of Guardians to stand in the coming legislative elections, pledged Sunday to tap "legal channels" to oppose the move.
"I do not agree with this way of disqualifications and I will use legal channels to deal with this issue, which I hope will bear fruit", the powerless Khatami told reporters after a cabinet session.

Chairman of the Majles’ National Security and Foreign Affairs Commission Mohsen Mirdamadi was even blunter, comparing the disqualifications as a "political coup".

"This is a civilian coup d’Etat", he said, quoted by the official Iranian news agency IRNA, adding, "They have barred certain individuals in every electoral constituency in order to clear the way for their favourite candidates.
"By doing so, they have practically specified the make-up of the seventh parliament from now and this is not an election, but a selection", he added, confirming indirectly many Iranian analyst’s forecast that the conservatives would leave no stone unturned in order to re-gain the control of the Majles, an important step prior of the start of talks with Washington aimed at resuming diplomatic relations.
Among the rejected are many incumbent MMs, including the President’s younger brother, Dr. Mohammad Reza Khatami, the first deputy Speaker and leader of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the country’s largest political organisation, Mr. Behzad Nabavi, the second deputy-Speaker, Mohsen Armin or Ali Akbar Kho’eini, close to the students.

Other well-known reformist MMs being disqualified by the leader-controlled Guardians are the briefly jailed Hoseyn Loqmanian, Naser Shirzad, Mrs. Elaheh Koola’i, Mrs. Fatemeh Haqiqatjoo, Mrs. Shahrbanoo Amanipoor, etc. most of them on charges of activities against the regime, insulting highest-ranking officials or not believing in the fundaments of the Islamic Revolution, the Constitution or Islam.

According to Mr. Mirdamadi, one of the leading rejected deputies, the supervisory board had barred the first and second deputy-Speakers on the grounds that they were disloyal to Islam and the Islamic Republic as well as the supreme leader.
Belief in and commitment to Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran, allegiance to the Constitution and Velayat-e Faqih (Islamic Jurisprudence, as represented by the present leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i), having good physical health, holding at least an
Associate of Arts/Science degree or its equivalent, lack of criminal records and being between ages of 30 and 75 are among pre-requisites for the nominees.

Actually, the majority of candidates running for the next Majles elections have been invalidated because of non allegiance to either the very fundaments of the present theocratic Constitution, Islam or the Islamic revolution, according to a statement released Friday by the Council of the Guardians.

"This issue must be examined and if (it) turns out to be illegitimate, it must be confronted", President Khatami added, as 70 deputies temporarily walked out of the parliament session earlier in the day and held a sit-in to protest against the disqualifications, with one key MM threatening to divulge the names of those who pull the strings in banning the aspirants.
"I think what has happened contradicts the view of the Supreme Leader. We must always be worried about the public dissatisfaction and God willing, the Guardian Council will make amends", he further said, without spelling what he could do if the Guardians insist on the rejections.
However, President Khatami’s "advise" to the disqualified hopefuls as well as to all political groups to stay calm and move in the framework of the law and avoid doing anything which may lead to tensions" prompted Iranian analysts to disagree with some commentators seeing a looming "confrontation at the top".

"As his usual, Khatami would find his way to satisfy the ruling conservatives, meaning that he would abstain from open confrontation with the leader, for the simple reason that the CG, which has the right to approve or reject the credential of all candidates to all elections in the Islamic Republic, is directly controlled by Mr. Khameneh’i", explained one observer.

"Majles shows sensitivity toward the country’s fate and this is natural, but I advise (the MMs) to remain calm and God willing, we will manage to resolve the problem through peaceful means", he said, adding "Any action which may create tensions must be avoided and instead ways which help the protests bear fruit must be explored".
Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroobi, the "chameleon" Speaker of the Majles said he and the President have made consultations with Ayatollah Khameneh’i, the Secretary of the CG, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati and some other officials over the case.

"We will continue our efforts", he said, without saying if the consultations have produced any result satisfying the reformists, but urging on the rejected candidates to lodge complaints within the legal period announced by the officials.

"The time of rejecting the eligibility of candidates without providing any plausible reason is past, no one can anymore accept such practices", he told the leader-controlled CG.

"Rejection of famous figures makes no sense. If the reason for their disqualification has been proved, they (the board) must present evidence and reasons", President Khatami said.

His official Spokesman, Mr. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh was even more open, not ruling an open clash between the CG and the government.

"Decision by the Council of the Guardians should not be political or inconsistent with the law. Rejection of eligibility of the incumbent MPs is unacceptable, without documentary evidence, politically motivated and impractical", he said on Sunday, speaking in a round-table debate on "The Government and Election", held at IRNA.
"The Council of the Guardians should substantiate the reasons for rejecting the candidates and prove that its action is in accordance with the law. Then the Interior Ministry and the government will respect their decision", he said, adding that the government will strictly enforce the law and will not bow to illegal decisions".

"The government sees itself not obliged to put into practice any illegal decision no matter which organ had taken it. No one should insist on illegal methods", he said.
"We are witnessing the most wide scale rejection in the history of the Iranian parliament. The reason for the rejections as well as any thing behind the scene is crystal clear to us", the younger Khatami told reporters, threatening to reveal the names of those behind the rejections "if parliament efforts to rescind the disqualifications prove futile", according to IRNA.

"The sit-in today is the beginning of a movement which will have more ramifications and if the legitimate demands of the MPs are not addressed, it will become more widespread and take up other dimensions", he observed, adding that they will start with protests to begin with and continue "according to our programs", which he did not reveal, but warned about an en bloc resignation.

Ramezanzadeh also criticized the Radio and Television that is controlled by the conservatives and depending directly to the leader, for "ignoring impartiality and pursuing political considerations in its broadcasts", acknowledging openly that the Organisation has never been under the control of the government. The Executive Boards announced last week that the competency of 92.88 percent of the nominees for the upcoming Majles elections throughout the country had been approved, pending the views of the Supervisory Boards.
Registration of nominees for the upcoming Majlis elections began throughout the country on 13 December and ran for one week.

ENDS IRAN ELECTIONS 11104

http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2004/Jan_04/iran_elecgtions_11104.htm
49 posted on 01/11/2004 8:42:47 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"I do not agree with this way of disqualifications and I will use legal channels to deal with this issue, which I hope will bear fruit", the powerless Khatami told reporters after a cabinet session. "

LOL...the writer for IPS got THAT right. He's a mealy-mouthed wimp.

His brother, on the other hand,"younger Khatami... threatening to reveal the names of those behind the rejections "if parliament efforts to rescind the disqualifications prove futile", according to IRNA."

Now, He's got guts!

50 posted on 01/11/2004 9:05:03 PM PST by nuconvert ("This wasn't just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it. ")
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