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Iranian Alert -- January 13, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.13.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/13/2004 12:04:22 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 01/13/2004 12:04:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 01/13/2004 12:06:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Govt May Quit Over Election Row, Official Says

Tue January 13, 2004 03:16 AM ET
By Paul Hughes
TEHRAN (Reuters) -

A senior Iranian official has warned President Mohammad Khatami's government may resign if it cannot persuade hard-liners to overturn a decision to bar hundreds of liberal candidates from a national election, the official IRNA news agency reported Tuesday.

One liberal newspaper reported that Khatami himself may step down if the decision, which barred around 80 of parliament's sitting 290 MPs from running in the election, forces the February 20 parliamentary vote to be called off.

However, a government source denied the newspaper report that Khatami could resign.

"If the government becomes impotent in securing the legitimate freedoms of the nation, it loses its legitimacy, and then, whether it dissolves itself or not, it is automatically dissolved," IRNA quoted Vice President Mohammad Satarifar as saying.

Satarifar, who heads the state Management and Planning Office, said Khatami's government had been in a state of shock since the unelected hardline Guardian Council announced on Sunday it had vetoed about half of aspiring candidates for election.

But he said the government "still hopes it can eliminate the difficulties and safeguard national interests properly."

The liberal Etemad newspaper reported Tuesday that President Khatami was ready to quit over the political standoff.

The paper reported that Khatami sent a message to reformist MPs staging a sit-in protest in parliament, which was read out by liberal MP Jalil Sazgarnejad.

"I will wait for one week so that things go back to normal. Otherwise, if elections cannot be held, I will step down from my position," Etemad reported the message from Khatami said.

Officials at Khatami's office had no immediate comment on the report.

State governors have also threatened to quit if the Guardian Council does not back down.

The political crisis is seen as a key test of Khatami's resolve. The Guardian Council's decision highlighted his government's relative impotence compared with the power enjoyed by unelected conservatives who also control the judiciary, armed forces and state media.
Khatami, who since winning power in a 1997 election has run into objections to his reforms at almost every turn from hard-liners, has called the Guardian Council's decision "senseless."

But he has stressed that the issue should be resolved peacefully, through negotiations and legal processes.

Reformist MP Abolfazl Shakouri called on the president to take a tougher stand.

"President Khatami, I'm calling on you to defend the constitution and people's freedom," he said at the start of a parliamentary session Tuesday, broadcast live on state radio.

"You cannot defend people's rights with ambiguous statements," he added.

Reformist MPs attending the regular legislative session on Tuesday morning -- two days after they walked out of parliament's chamber in disgust at the Guardian Council's move -- said they would resume their sit-in protest later in the day. (Additional reporting by Parinoosh Arami, Amir Paivar)
3 posted on 01/13/2004 12:30:04 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

4 posted on 01/13/2004 12:47:37 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran's pre-1979 flag is used by virtually anyone against the current Islamic Republic. The current flag is the first thing to be changed with 'regime change'.
5 posted on 01/13/2004 12:54:59 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian conservatives reject 3,605 candidates

Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Jan 12 (AFP) - A conservative-controlled Iranian political watchdog has rejected 44.2 percent of candidates hoping to contest next month's parliamentary election, the interior ministry said Monday.

According to the reformist-run ministry, charged with organising the February 20 poll, the electoral vetting arm of the Guardians Council disqualified 3,605 out of the 8,157 people who registered to stand as MPs.

In a statement, the ministry said 434 of them had already been rejected by its own screening system.

But among those rejected by the Council were 84 MPs who are currently in the parliament, or Majlis. It said most were blacklisted for non-respect of Islam and the position of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader.

Reformists have accused the Guardians Council of systematically barring reformists from standing, in what one senior MP has branded a "coup d'etat".

Late on Sunday, the interior ministry said the massive disqualifications were "illegal" and warned that they would not be enforced, therefore throwing the whole electoral process into chaos.
6 posted on 01/13/2004 12:56:33 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran govt should quit unless crisis solved: V.P.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Jan 12 (AFP) - One of Iran's vice-presidents, Mohammad Satarifar, said Monday the entire government should stand down if it proves unable to reverse a move by powerful conservatives to disqualify large numbers of reformists from contesting next month's parliamentary elections.

"If the government considers it cannot meet its obligation to protect the rights of citizens and organise free elections, staying in office is not an option," Satarifar was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

"The government is not obliged to organise elections in which the results are known in advance," he added, admitting that the reformist government of President Mohammad Khatami was in "shock" over the massive barring of reformists from contesting the February 20 elections.

On Sunday, the conservative-held Guardians Council, a 12-member political oversight body that vets all legislation and also screens candidates for public office, sparked a major political crisis when it moved to bar thousands of prospective Majlis candidates.

Those barred included 84 sitting reformist MPs and other moderate candidates.

According to a source close to President Khatami, more than ten cabinet members have already prepared their letters of resignation, while all of Iran's 27 provincial governors also threatened to quit unless the crisis is resolved within a week.

Note: it all looks like a setup game to me
7 posted on 01/13/2004 12:58:28 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
EU urges fair Iran vote

MPs continue sit-in at legislature for second straight day

Ayatollah to step in if reformists, conservatives at impasse


The European Union yesterday called for fair elections in Iran and criticized the disqualification of hundreds of liberal candidates.

Planned Feb. 20 parliamentary elections were thrown into crisis after Iran's hard-line Guardian Council disqualified hundreds, including more than 80 sitting legislators allied with the reformist president.

"The electoral process is very important for democracy and will be very important to us," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on a visit to the capital Tehran. "We want very much (for) the electoral process to be clear and transparent.''

Washington also opposed any interference in the vote.

"We call upon the Iranian government to disavow attempts by the Guardian Council to shape the outcome," U.S. State Department spokesperson Adam Ereli said.

Conservatives "are paving the way for enemies who want to show the Islamic Republic is a despotic state," Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's pro-reform League of Combatant Clerics said in a state news agency report.

Khatami has pledged to fight the disqualifications and reformist MPs staged a sit-in on carpets at the legislature for a second day yesterday.

Reformist leaders could boycott the election or cancel it.

The Guardian Council of 12 conservatives, picked by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, disqualified about 900 of 1,700 people wanting to contest seats in Tehran alone.

Those disqualified can appeal.

Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, said he would intervene if the conservatives and reformists reach an impasse.

The ayatollah also told Iran's provincial governors, all of whom have threatened to resign if the disqualifications are not reversed: "Everyone should abide by the law. If ... it becomes sensitive and requires a decision, I will intervene."

Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said: "The top leaders are thinking of a solution so that, God willing, the rights of nobody will be ignored and a crisis does not develop."

Disqualified MPs include the president's younger brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, who leads Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest reformist party.

The disqualifications were reported Sunday by the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) and by Khatami allies, but it was unclear when the council made the decision.

Some 8,200 prospective candidates registered last month to run for 290 legislative seats. Their qualifications must be approved by local trustees, then the Guardian Council. On Sunday, IRNA said the council vetoed 2,033 but Reuters said yesterday only half the 8,200 were approved to stand for office.

It's possible for the interior ministry, controlled by reformists, to ignore the vetoes and put disqualified names on the ballots.

The Guardian Council disqualified any deemed to oppose the absolute rule of Khamenei.

8 posted on 01/13/2004 1:06:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; F14 Pilot; nuconvert; freedom44
It's possible for the interior ministry, controlled by reformists, to ignore the vetoes and put disqualified names on the ballots.

This is the best strategy for the showdown that will come. Then the interior ministry should publish the actual result. The Gaurdian Council will then say that the election of NN, NN ... NN as MP's are invalid. The president and the government will stick to the result of the election and urge the people to defend their rights. The police and army will arrest the Arab thugs
9 posted on 01/13/2004 1:22:41 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn; AdmSmith; freedom44; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; McGavin999; MEG33; blackie; Alamo-Girl; ..
Iran: Lawmakers Spend Night In Parliament In Protest

Radio Free Europe
Jan 13th, 2004

Tehran, 13 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Iranian reformist lawmakers spent a second night in parliament in a protest over the disqualification of some 3,000 liberal candidates for next month's elections to the Majlis, or parliament. Yesterday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured) said he would intervene in the dispute if reformists and conservatives cannot resolve the crisis.

Pro-reform lawmakers have threatened to boycott the 20 February elections unless the disqualifications handed down by the conservative, unelected Guardian Council, the Islamic Republic's leading political oversight body, are reversed.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said on a visit to Tehran that the elections would not be credible unless the candidate bans were set aside. Solana said the EU wants Iran's electoral process to be clear and transparent.

U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said the Bush administration opposes any interference in the electoral process and called on the Iranian government to reject attempts by the Guardian Council to shape the outcome of the polls.
10 posted on 01/13/2004 2:33:28 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: F14 Pilot

Moderate Parliament Members of Islamic Republic are protesting against the ban of more than 80% of the upcoming election candidates.((ISNA News Agency))

11 posted on 01/13/2004 2:47:10 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: DoctorZIn
"newspaper reported that Khatami himself may step down..."

12 posted on 01/13/2004 5:27:47 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: freedom44
"Guardians Council disqualified 3,605 out of the 8,157 people who registered to stand as MPs."

Only 4,262 to go?

13 posted on 01/13/2004 5:37:08 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; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
A very informative post -- Please let others know! -Pilot

Q&A: Iran election crisis

BBC News
Monday, 12 January

What lies behind this decision?

This move is generally seen as part of the power struggle in Iran between the conservatives who want to maintain a strict Islamic approach and reformers who want greater liberalisation.

Reformers control the parliament, the Majlis, but under Iran's constitution, a series of appointed supervisory bodies have the ultimate say and these are in the hands of the conservatives.

Iran is about to mark the 25th anniversary of the Islamic revolution which threw out the Shah. It may be that the conservatives felt that this was a good moment to try to prevent further domination of the parliament by reformers after the elections.
BBC regional analyst Sadeq Saba suggests that the conservatives were emboldened to disqualify so many because they reckoned that the man in the street would not risk his life by supporting the reformists.

Who has been disqualified?

The exact number is not known but one estimate from members of parliament is that of the 8,000 candidates overall, only half have been approved. The banned list includes more than 80 sitting members of the Majlis, all of them reformers.

One of them is Mohammed Reza Khatami, head of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the main reform party. He is also brother of the Iranian President.

Members who recently wrote to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urging him to allow greater freedom are on the list.

Two women activists, Fatima Haqiqatjou and Elaheh Koulaee were also disqualified.

What is the Guardian Council?

The Guardian Council is a supervisory body which has the power to vet candidates for parliament, the presidency and the Assembly of Experts (which chooses the Supreme Leader) and to reject legislation not considered to conform to Islamic principles.

It has 12 members. Six are clerics chosen by the Supreme Leader and six are Islamic lawyers appointed by Parliament.

The Council is led by the conservative Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati. He recently called for Iran to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He also accused the United States of trying to make political capital out of the Bam earthquake but said that Iran had given the Americans "a slap in the face."

What has the been the reaction of the reformers?

One of them, Mohsen Mirdamadi, himself one of those disqualified, called the Guardian Council's decision a "bloodless coup." Mr Mirdamadi is the head of parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

Vice-President Mohammed Ali Abtahi said: "The situation is
like a football match in which the referee sends off one team and invites the other side to score."

The reformers see the move as an attempt by hardliners to block the path of liberalisation. The parliament is currently controlled by the reform minded parties but their attempts to pass laws have been frustrated by the Guardian Council.

One battle has been over the age of marriage which the parliament wants to raise from 9 to 13 for girls and from 14 to 15 for boys. The Council says that the lower ages should stay, as marriage is a good way of countering "immorality" among teenagers.

What about the position of President Khatami?

He is a reformer, too, and he has criticised the Council's decision. However he has called for calm and wants the issue resolved through negotiations.

He has said that the disqualified candidates should appeal against the decision.

It is also possible that he will consult the Council of Expediency, a body set up in 1988 to mediate in disputes between Parliament and the Council of Guardians. It, too, is seen as a mainly conservative body.

How might this affect Iran's external relations?

The battle for control of Iran has important international implications. Recently, Iran accepted the demands of the UN nuclear agency the International Atomic Energy Agency for stricter inspection of its nuclear energy programme. The United States is also hinting at dialogue with Iran, something the EU has already begun.

If hardliners regain control of the whole of Iran's complex government structure, such openings to the outside world may cease or slow down.

And Iran's attitude towards developments in Iraq could be affected.
14 posted on 01/13/2004 5:48:06 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: F14 Pilot; SJackson
"Pro-reform lawmakers have threatened to boycott the 20 February elections unless the disqualifications handed down by the conservative, unelected Guardian Council, the Islamic Republic's leading political oversight body, are reversed."

This gives "conservatives" a bad name.

15 posted on 01/13/2004 5:48:28 AM PST by Happy2BMe (Liberty does not tolerate lawlessness and a borderless nation will not prevail.)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Iran's students warned not to protest

By Anton La Guardia in London
January 14, 2004
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia

As reformists called on students to mobilise for protests over Iran's electoral crisis, the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned them to "be careful not to foment tension".

By refusing to intervene on Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei has in effect backed the hardline clerics who banned hundreds of reformists from standing in next month's parliamentary elections.

As the European Union warned Iran that relations would be undermined by a rigged election, the ayatollah left open the possibility of intervening later.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who was visiting the Iranian capital in an apparent attempt to improve relations, said the row was an "internal matter" for Iran, but warned that relations could deteriorate.

A British official said: "It's a matter for the Iranians, but given our interest in Iran, we will be watching developments closely."

At the weekend the Guardian Council, the clerical body that oversees the political system, banned more than 80 sitting MPs from seeking re-election, and hundreds of reform candidates from standing. Eliminated candidates have a right to appeal, but little change is expected.

As MPs continued a protest sit-in at the parliament building, several cabinet ministers and all 27 provincial governors threatened to resign.

President Mohammad Khatami denounced the ban as "senseless", but urged reformists to stay calm as senior figures tried to resolve the crisis. A statement issued by his party, the League of Combatant Clerics, accused hardliners of "paving the way for enemies who want to show the Islamic republic is a despotic state".

Those excluded from the election include his younger brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, who leads the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest reform party.

In an appeal against the ban, he wrote: "I do not believe in a vision of the Islamic republic that does not take into account the wishes of the people. I am accused of not respecting Islam. This is a very serious accusation, and if whoever accused me of this cannot prove it he should pay in this life and the next. I am a war invalid, and I am accused of not being loyal to the Islamic republic."

At an emergency conference held in his party's office in Tehran, MPs took turns to express their anger. Mohammad Rezaei, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war, denounced the hardline clerics, recalling their readiness to send young boys to walk across minefields during the conflict.

"I was a general and was given 15 young boys who I was told wanted to die for their country," he said. The clerics "didn't care then and they don't care now about the public".
16 posted on 01/13/2004 5:50:44 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: Happy2BMe
Yes, They are not real conservatives. They are some hard-liner elements of the Mullahs' regime. They are just a few bad mullahs.
17 posted on 01/13/2004 5:52:19 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Political System
18 posted on 01/13/2004 5:53:57 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: Happy2BMe
This gives "conservatives" a bad name.

what is in a name: In Europe a liberal is a rightwing person subscribing to classical liberalism. The classical definition of a conservative is someone who wants to conserve the present status. That is why the word neocon is used.

I regard myself as a "democratic imperialist" i.e. someone that want to spread and defend Western democracy.
19 posted on 01/13/2004 6:35:54 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
"I regard myself as a "democratic imperialist" i.e. someone that want to spread and defend Western democracy."

Do you want sugar and cream with that?

20 posted on 01/13/2004 6:51:01 AM PST by Happy2BMe (Liberty does not tolerate lawlessness and a borderless nation will not prevail.)
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To: F14 Pilot
Please remove me. Thanks
21 posted on 01/13/2004 7:01:34 AM PST by philosofy123
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To: philosofy123
You have already been removed.
22 posted on 01/13/2004 7:11:20 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: Happy2BMe
Sure, why not ;-)
23 posted on 01/13/2004 8:04:07 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: nuconvert
Khatami resigns every night.
24 posted on 01/13/2004 8:45:18 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

January 13, 2004

ONE man put up a ladder and another climbed it to take off the nameplate of a Tehran street. Passersby report that the operation lasted a few minutes.
The street in question is a villa-lined boulevard in a once-fashionable part of the Iranian capital. One of the villas housed the Egyptian Embassy before the 1979 Khomeinist Revolution.

In October 1981, the street was renamed after Khaled Ahmad Showqi al-Islambouli, the army lieutenant who murdered Egypt's President Anwar Sadat. In 1992, President Muhammad Khatami, then minister of Islamic Guidance and Culture, inaugurated a giant mural portrait of al-Islambouli on a building facing the Egyptian Embassy.

One of Khomeini's first moves in 1979 was to break relations with Egypt as "punishment" for Sadat's decision to make peace with Israel. When Sadat was murdered in 1981, Khomeini was jubilant: "A true son of Islam has acted to rid us of the Apostate Pharaoh," he declared. He vowed that his regime would never restore ties with Egypt until the Egyptians renounced peace with Israel and joined a Muslim front to wipe it off the map.

So why have the mullahs decided to take the name of the Egyptian terrorist off the street? Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak insists that without the name change he will not go to Tehran for the annual summit of developing nations next month. That would be a major diplomatic snub to the mullahs, at a time when they are feeling the heat of U.S. pressure in the region.

Does the change signal a genuine shift in Iranian policy? The answer must be no.

Even as the workmen were taking down the controversial sign, a team of Khomeinist dignitaries was inaugurating a symbolic tomb for al-Islambouli in Tehran's Behesht Zahra cemetery, in the area reserved for the "hero-martyrs of Islam." The tomb is adorned by a large portrait of the assassin.

And the daily newspaper Jumhuri Islami (Islamic Republic), owned by the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei, has published an editorial implicitly calling for Mubarak's assassination. It says: "The great Egyptian people are fully capable of seizing the Islamic leadership over the Arab world. Naturally, Mubarak's revolting presence is an obstacle to that goal. But the followers of the martyr Khaled al-Islambouli know well how to remove this ugly cancer."

Meanwhile, Tehran's propaganda is trying to present the street name change as a climb-down by Egypt. The official media have invented a story according to which Egypt made the first move by taking the name of the last Shah of Iran off a street in Cairo. "When they took the cursed name of the Shah down, we decided to make a small gesture," says Ali Taskhiri, a cultural advisor to Khameini. In fact, no street in Cairo ever bore the name of any Iranian shah, and Egypt has made no concessions to the mullahs.

Also to hide the fact that they were eating humble pie, the mullahs have found a new name for the street: "Intifada Street." "The new name shows our commitment to the destruction of the Zionist state and the rejection of all peace deals with [Israel]," said a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The tactic here is one the mullahs have practiced to perfection. It is based on the theological principle of Takiyah, which means hiding one's true beliefs to confuse adversaries. Its political version is known as Kitman (dissimulation).

The idea is to back out of an unequal contest with an adversary by giving him concessions that can easily be revoked later. Political discourse based on Kitman is capable of multiple, almost endless readings, re-readings and misreadings. This is why as Khatami is telling the Egyptians that Iran has made a major concession, Khamenei is telling the Iranians that it is, in fact, Egypt that is begging pardon from Iran.

Khomeini used the tactic in 1988 when he surprised everyone by accepting a ceasefire to end the eight-year war with Iraq. He presented his humiliating retreat as "the greatest victory of Islam in centuries."

The mullahs used the same tactic in 1998 over the Rushdie affair. While Khatami was promising the Europeans that the murder fatwa against the British novelist would not be executed, other mullahs were raising the bounty offered to anyone who would kill Rushdie. "The fatwa is not annulled," Khatami explained, "Its implementation, however, is not government policy."

The Iranian propaganda declared "victory" by claiming that the Europeans had agreed to force Rushdie to leave Britain and settle in the United States.

Late last year, we saw Kitman in action once again, this time over their nuclear-weapons program: The Europeans were sent home dancing with jubilation over a promise made by Hassan Ruhani, a junior mullah who acts as secretary of the High Council of National Security, that Iran would suspend production of weapons-grade enriched uranium.

The promise is backed by nothing concrete as it has never been approved by the Cabinet, let alone the Majlis (Parliament). It could be canceled at any time. In exchange, the mullahs avoided a clash with the United Nations while demanding that the European Union provide them with extra financial and technological aid.

Will the Egyptians fall for the Kitman trick as have the Europeans and others on so many occasions? Perhaps not. The Egyptians are local boys and know many of the tricks in our neck of the wood.

Mubarak may end up going to Tehran, and this writer believes that he should, but Egypt should insist on three points before full ties are restored:

* Acknowledgment of Egypt's right to make peace with Israel, thus ending the Khomeinists' attempts to seize control of a major part of Egyptian foreign policy.

* Closing down the offices and training bases, in Iran, of terrorist groups dedicated to the destruction of the Egyptian state.

* Handing over for trial in Egypt a number of Egyptian terrorists, including dozens who fled from Afghanistan to Iran after the fall of the Taliban in Kabul.

Iran is at the crossroads with what could be a decisive general election only weeks away. (Of course, Iran's "democracy" is itself a form of dissimulation; the recent mass disqualification of candidates is only one sign of that.) Many in Iran believe that it is time to abandon a strategy based on lying and cheating in the name of Takiyah and Kitman, and that a serious review of Iranian foreign policy is long overdue.

By taking a firm and principled stance now, Egypt could help those in Tehran who want a genuine end to two decades of subversive diplomacy by the Khomeinist regime.


25 posted on 01/13/2004 8:47:44 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I just received this from a student in Iran regarding a poll about next months elections....

A poll done by BBC Persian service shows the following stats:
Yes, I will vote: 20.6%
No, I will not vote: 68.3%
Undecided: 11.2%

The total of 6055 votes were given to the Persian Service of the BBC World Service Radio till 18:50 pm GMT Monday 12th of Jan 2004. "
26 posted on 01/13/2004 8:53:11 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rowhani Sets Out for France

January 13, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- The European Union will take important steps for consolidation of ties with Iran over the next months, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Hassan Rowhani said here Tuesday.

Making the remarks before leaving here for France on a three-day visit, Rowhani said EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana carried a message indicating EU's determination to expand ties with Iran.

He added his visit to Paris is taking place at the invitation of the French government, saying "Iran has had good relations with this country over the past two decades, although the ties experienced ups and downs."

France was among active countries in settling nuclear issues during Iran's talks with the three European states, Rowhani said.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has fulfilled all its commitments to speedy settle nuclear issues and we are expecting to carry out their commitments," he noted.

The SNSC Secretary stressed that European states have fulfilled a number of their commitments towards Iran and their other commitments would be implemented through negotiations.

He also said the Supreme National Security Council had discussed the upcoming parliamentary elections, adding no decision has yet been made in this regard.

During his stay in Paris, Rowhani is expected to hold meetings with President Jacques Chirac, Foreign Minister Dominique Devillepin and the speaker of senate.
27 posted on 01/13/2004 9:06:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khomeini's Grandson Returns to Iran

January 12, 2004
RFE/RL Iran Report
Bill Samii

Hojatoleslam Seyyed Hussein Khomeini, the 46-year-old grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of Iran's Islamic Revolution, has returned to Iran, Al-Jazeera satellite television reported on 2 January.

In late July and early August 2003, Khomeini gave several interviews from Iraq in which he criticized the Iranian regime, prompting allegations that assassins from the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps were after him (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 11 August 2003).

In late September, Khomeini reiterated his comments at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. However, according to the Al-Jazeera report, Khomeini "crossed the border without any problems and has not been exposed to any interrogation or harassment by the Iranian authorities."

Writing in "The New York Sun" on 6 January, however, AEI's Michael Ledeen writes, "sources close to the Khomeini family suggest that he was lured back by a combination of threats and promises." Security agents reportedly threatened Khomeini's wife and children, who had not been allowed to leave Iran. Khomeini's wife was told, "if your children suddenly die in the streets, you must know that it was not our doing." Moreover, Khomeini reportedly received a message from his grandmother "a few days ago" containing a promise that the regime would not harm him. "Thus, according to the family sources, Mr. Khomeini was blackmailed into returning," Ledeen writes.
28 posted on 01/13/2004 9:07:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Officials Ready to Quit in Election Row

January 13, 2004
Parisa Hafezi and Paul Hughes

TEHRAN -- About 12 top Iranian government officials are ready to quit if powerful hardliners do not overturn a decision barring hundreds of reformists from running in parliamentary elections, reformist MPs say.

The MPs, who declined to be identified, told Reuters on Tuesday the list of those prepared to resign included four of Iran's six vice-presidents and six ministers.

The threat raised the stakes in the struggle between hardliners and reformists and may also increase pressure on reformist President Mohammad Khatami to step down in solidarity with his colleagues, analysts said.

"They have their resignation letters ready and will submit them," if the bans are not retracted, one MP told Reuters. "They want to resign and are ready to resign," said another.

Asked about the possible resignations, government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh told Reuters: "I don't know about it. It's a decision for each individual minister."

The hardline Guardian Council announced on Sunday that about half of the 8,200 aspiring candidates for the February 20 parliamentary vote had been disqualified.

Until now Khatami has tended to avoid confrontation with hardliners who have blocked his reform attempts.

"Pressure is growing on Khatami to take a stand. But I doubt he will resign," said political analyst Mahmoud Alinejad.

The decision by the Guardian Council, a conservative constitutional watchdog comprising clerics and Islamic lawyers, has highlighted the relative impotence of Khatami's government.

Unelected hardliners also control Iran's judiciary, armed forces and state media.

About 80 members of the 290-seat parliament, including its two deputy speakers, have been ruled out of the election race.

Vice-President Mohammad Satarifar told the official IRNA news agency the government may as well resign if it could not guarantee a fair election. State governors have also threatened to quit.


Conservative MPs issued a statement describing the process of vetting candidates as a "legal, normal, and wise issue".

"Disqualifying those who do not qualify to serve as the nation's representatives is not a violation of people's rights, it safeguards their rights," they said.

Barred candidates have two chances to appeal their disqualification before campaigning starts on February 12.

Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi said on Tuesday he hoped for results from ongoing talks with the Guardian Council to try to persuade the body to reconsider.

Disqualified MPs, dozens of whom have been holding a protest sit-in at parliament since Sunday, called on the council to make public documents that explained why they were barred.

Many of those excluded were accused of showing insufficient commitment to Islam and Iran's system of clerical rule.

Blocked at almost every turn by hardliners, liberal MPs and Khatami have made repeated threats to resign in recent years.

But the threats have so far not been carried out, devaluing their impact. "They've threatened to quit or boycott the elections so many times now that few believe them and even fewer care," said one European diplomat.

He said the mass vetting of candidates was the hardliners' response to losing control of parliament in 2000. Then, only eight percent of candidates were weeded out before the vote, and reformists won nearly 70 percent of seats.

"They wanted to make sure this time and they calculated that there wouldn't be a massive public outcry, which there hasn't been," the diplomat said.
29 posted on 01/13/2004 9:09:34 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Diplomats: Iran Amassing Atomic Enrichment Machines

January 13, 2004
Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA -- Iran has continued to acquire large amounts of machinery used to enrich uranium despite a promise to suspend all activities related to a technology critical to nuclear bomb-making, diplomats said.

Enrichment is a process of purifying uranium for use in weapons or to make nuclear fuel for power plants. Experts say acquiring weapons-grade material is the biggest hurdle countries seeking to make an atomic bomb must overcome.

Tehran, under fire over U.S. allegations it is secretly developing atomic weapons, agreed last November to suspend all "enrichment-related activities" and to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify the suspension.

But Western diplomats told Reuters Iran has made it clear that it was only suspending activities that fell under its limited definition of the term "enrichment-related" and has therefore continued acquiring enrichment centrifuge machinery.

They say Iran maintains it would only breach the accord if it actually enriched uranium, not just acquired materials.

"They're getting a lot of stuff," said one Western diplomat who follows IAEA issues closely, referring to centrifuge technology. "They're not assembling it, but they're getting it."

Another Western diplomat said the problem was that there were competing definitions of "enrichment-related activities."

Yet another diplomat said it was "ridiculous" to exclude procurement activities from the suspension. He said the IAEA Board of Governors understood at its meeting on Iran in November that the definition of "enrichment-related" would be set out by the IAEA and not Tehran.

He added that Iran's limited suspension had attracted increasing attention from Washington, London and other capitals.

Although the IAEA would not comment, the diplomats said the agency would clearly have included procurement of enrichment centrifuges as an "enrichment-related" activity.

"The ultimate goal has always been the cessation of enrichment activities and we're clearly not moving in that direction," one diplomat said.

But Iran has made clear from the start that the suspension would be temporary and would end when Tehran saw fit.

The Western diplomats said Tehran has been interpreting the term "enrichment-related" as narrowly as possible to enable it to forge ahead with its ambitious enrichment program, which Tehran says will provide low-enriched uranium for electricity-generating plants.

Uranium enrichment has been a sensitive issue in Iran ever since IAEA inspectors found traces of bomb-grade highly-enriched uranium at two sites in the country. This sparked concerns that Iran either made or imported weapons-grade material for a bomb.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful and says the traces were from contaminated machinery Iran purchased on the black market during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.
30 posted on 01/13/2004 9:10:30 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; ...
VERY IMPORTANT NEWS [ALERT] (Re: Removal Of Islamic Regime In Iran) ^ | Jan 13, 2004 |
Posted on 01/13/2004 11:01:00 AM PST by faludeh_shirazi

Plan for the peaceful removal of the Islamic Regime: This Sunday, January 18, 2004

Follow Story At:!
A Plan for the peaceful removal of the Islamic Regime of Iran will be announced during a live program broadcast on many Iranian satellite TV and Radio stations. The program starts at 10 AM PST from NITV studios in Los Angeles and will last for 6 hours, including a fundraising segment to support the plan. Other media who have confirmed the live broadcast of this program include Pars TV, Radio Sedaye Iran, Radio Yaran, Radio Sedaye Emrooz, Rangarang TV, Apadana TV, and Lahzeh TV.

This program can also be seen live via the Internet at who will provide a FREE link on that day.

31 posted on 01/13/2004 11:56:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Bump!
32 posted on 01/13/2004 1:00:43 PM PST by blackie
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
33 posted on 01/13/2004 1:06:23 PM PST by blackie
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom now ~ Bump!
34 posted on 01/13/2004 1:08:53 PM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
freedom btttt
35 posted on 01/13/2004 1:26:33 PM PST by ellery
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To: DoctorZIn
Syria's Overtures to Israel are Straining Ties with Iran

January 13, 2004

Syria’s peace overtures to Israel are straining its ties with Iran, the chief of Israeli military intelligence said.

“Syrian President Bashar Assad’s statements on peace with Israel are creating rifts between Syria and Iran and between Syria and Hezbollah,” Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze’evi-Farkash told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday, referring to the Lebanese terrorist group that enjoys the backing of both Damascus and Teheran.

He noted that Assad had expressed a willingness to reconsider Syria’s demand for the return of the entire Golan Heights in any peace accord “in order not to deter Israel from negotiations.”

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has voiced a willingness to restart talks without preconditions, but has demanded that Damascus halts its support for terrorist groups.
36 posted on 01/13/2004 2:23:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Reformers Caught on Hop by Election Bans

January 13, 2004
The Financial Times
Gareth Smyth

Three hundred Iranian reformers gathered yesterday evening in basement offices of Jebheye Mosharek ate Irane Eslami (the Iranian Islamic Participation Front) to denounce the disqualification of 80 parliamentary deputies from next month's elections.

"Those rejected are children of the revolution, they are people who fought in the war [of 1980-88 against Iraq]," said Sheikh Hadi Ghabel, one of the party's disqualified deputies and a cleric from Qom.

But outside in the streets of Tehran there was little sign of interest, a contrast to the demonstrations of four years ago after the authorities closed several reformist newspapers.

The conservatives have applauded the move by the Guardian Council, whose 12 members are appointed by the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei and vet parliament's actions for consistency with Islamic principles.

Conservative strategists believe Iranians have grown apathetic because the reformist parliament elected in 2000 has not delivered. They do not hide their desire for a low turnout in the parliamentary elections.

They believe any international reaction will be muted, and both the US and the European Union will in future deal with a conservative leadership with a parliamentary majority.

Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief who is on a two-day visit to Iran, said yesterday: "The fairness of an election. .. [includes] the process that leads to the day." But he said the disqualification of candidates was "an internal matter".

President Mohammad Khatami, the reformist president, has appealed for calm and promised to take the matter up through appeals to the Guardian Council.

But the scale of the rejections has caught the reformers on the back foot. A survey by IRNA, the official news agency, has suggested that 4,000 of 8,000 would-be candidates - as well as sitting deputies - have been ruled out.

Some deputies have begun a sit-in, while 27 provincial governors, appointed by the reformist-run Interior Ministry, have said they may resign in protest. Ali Tajer Nia, a deputy, said some cabinet members might also quit.

Many see such gestures, and denunciations of conservative conspiracies, as signs of weakness. "The reformists have used the tactic of resignation too often for people to listen," said Siamak Namazi, managing director of Atieh Bahar Consulting.

The situation may also strain the reformists' coalition.

Radicals outside the reformist camp insist the disqualifications mark the failure of the reformists' project begun when President Khatami was elected in 1997. "The rejection of so many candidates shows the current structure cannot be put right," said Abdullah Momeni, a student leader.
37 posted on 01/13/2004 2:24:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
US Official Warns EU Over Dealings with Iran

January 13, 2004
EU Business

The European Union must tread carefully in its dealings with Iran, a US official warned Tuesday, highlighting the wholesale barring of reformist candidates from forthcoming elections.

The EU's approach of "constructive engagement" with the Islamic republic contrasts sharply with US mistrust of the country, which Washington has labelled part of an "axis of evil".

The US official said the decision by a conservative vetting council in Iran to bar thousands of candidates from parliamentary elections next month "shows the character of the regime and the continuing influence of hardliners".

"We remain very suspicious of their nuclear programme," the Brussels-based official added on condition of anonymity, also citing Iranian support of Hamas militants and opposition to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

"We've made our concerns clear to the EU," he told reporters.

"On the other hand, Iran is a hugely important country and it's incredibly important that the EU and US cooperate internationally."

In contrast to the United States, the EU is pressing ahead with a carrot-and-stick approach with Iran by pursuing human rights issues while at the same time seeking to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement.

During a visit to Tehran on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told Iran's clerical leaders that the holding of free and fair elections next month would have a bearing on their ties with the bloc.

The US official noted that a new round of talks on the trade pact has yet to be scheduled because of EU concerns including Iran's human-rights record and nuclear development drive.

But he added that the US decision to send aid and relief workers to victims of an earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam last month, which left over 30,000 people dead, showed the two countries' mutual mistrust could be put aside.

"When the disaster happened in Bam, we were there. We hope that this was not lost on the Iranian people," the official said.

"We want to have a relationship, but our concerns must be addressed."
38 posted on 01/13/2004 2:25:01 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Solana Visit Highlights EU Policy Dilemma

January 13, 2004
Radio Free Europe
Ahto Lobjakas

Brussels -- Originally, Javier Solana's two-day visit to Iran, announced last month, was intended to probe Iranian progress on dissipating doubts over its alleged nuclear weapons program.

The EU had suspended talks on trade and human rights improvements last summer, saying Iran must sign an International Atomic Agency protocol allowing for stringent UN inspections of its nuclear facilities. But late last year, a joint visit by British, German, and French foreign ministers secured a promise from Iran to that effect.

However, much of Solana's talks in Tehran over the past two days have centered on a more topical issue, namely the decision by IraN's conservative Guardians Council to block a number of sitting members of parliament, as well as many first-time candidates, from running in next month's elections.

The European Parliament's "rapporteur" for Iran, Michael Gahler, a deputy tasked with compiling country reports, told RFE/RL yesterday he believes the EU should not rush to restore discussions with the country before the issue is resolved. "If it were that this situation were not solved -- if it were that the 80 members of parliament and the hundreds of other candidates were, on the day of the election, still being banned -- I think we should not go on to business as usual. At this stage, I think we should also leave some options open -- it depends on the current affairs. I would not definitively say what our reaction should be," Gahler said.

Gahler said a group of MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) will be traveling to Tehran in two weeks to assess the situation.

In Tehran yesterday, Solana said it would be "difficult" for the EU to countenance any interference in the electoral process.

EU officials say there is no consensus within the bloc at this time on whether to resume talks with Iran quickly or wait for further concessions. The European Commission appears to be pushing for a flexible approach, arguing that action against weapons of mass destruction -- although at the top of the EU priority list -- is one of four main goals. The others are the fight against terrorism, Iran's cooperation in the Middle East peace process, and progress on human rights.

Nevertheless, one official told RFE/RL that the European Commission recognizes no moves will be made to restore talks before the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Administration, Mohammad ElBaradei, reports to the body in February on Iran's actual willingness to cooperate on nuclear issues.

The official also suggested that supporters of a tougher line within the EU, led by Britain, point to the conclusions of the last EU foreign ministers' meeting in December 2003, which decided cooperation can only be resumed "if there is full international confidence in Iran's adherence to non-proliferation." The official said there is a "spectrum of views" among the member states, with many asking whether Iran "has done enough."

Eberhard Rhein, a senior analyst with the Brussels-based European Policy Centre, told RFE/RL today he expects EU foreign ministers to play for time at their next meeting in Brussels on 26-27 January, but predicts the eventual decision will be positive.

"They will once again deliberate, they will take stock of the domestic situation, of the international situation, on all these three [the progress Iran has made regarding weapons of mass destruction, the Middle East peace process, and human rights] and maybe additional accounts. There will not be, in my view, a decision before [Iran's parliamentary election in February]. If the elections will take place with full democratic representation, and if the Ministry of Interior and [President Mohammad] Khatami impose their will on the judiciary [and other reactionary bodies] to restore the initial candidates, then I think the [European] Union will have no choice but to tell the [European] Commission 'Go ahead, talk to the Iranians and see whether you can pursue and resolve negotiations,'" Rhein said

Rhein says a resumption of talks with Iran is likely well before the end of June.

EU officials acknowledge that Iran is in a "delicate situation" internally. One official said it was "no coincidence" that the Iranian climb-down over its nuclear program followed a high-level EU visit to Tehran. The official went on to suggest that forces in Iran in favor of greater cooperation with the West now expect counter-moves from the EU.

One important theme at issue here is the assistance promised by the British, French, and German ministers for Iran's civilian nuclear projects. The United States, on the other hand, continues to question the need for any nuclear programs in Iran.

Rhein is convinced the EU will eventually choose to capitalize on the long-term success of its "constructive engagement" with Iran, believing its influence has played an important part in the ascendancy of reform-minded forces in the country who continue to need outside support.

Rhein says the EU-Iranian talks, once resumed, will inevitably contain important elements for the EU, putting human rights observance and the rejection of WMD by Iran on a "contractual basis."

"So, an agreement will be much more in our [EU] interest than the Iranian interest. The agreement does not carry any political, economic, or financial substance -- it is a framework, nothing else. Everything can be done, so it's a gesture. It helps the Iranians out of their isolation [and allows them] to say that, 'We have now formal diplomatic and contractual relations with one of the big players of the world -- the European Union,'" Rhein said.

Rhein agrees Iran may play a key role in attempts by the EU to emancipate its "common foreign and security policy" from United States foreign policy. Rhein says a continued EU engagement with Iran, if crowned with success, would both bolster the bloc's image and provide an important service to the United States in the region.

"Probably the Americans [are] increasingly ambivalent to the European Union. Whenever the European Union scores a success they will see it as rivalry in an area they normally cover for themselves. But on the other hand, they should be happy because if the [EU] goes ahead and scores a success that will allow them to follow suit," Rhein said.
39 posted on 01/13/2004 2:26:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Countdown to Counter-revolution

January 13, 2004
The Economist Global Agenda
The Economist

An attempt by Iran's hardline Council of Guardians to ban many pro-democracy candidates from next month's parliamentary elections has caused a storm of protest. Will it all end in victory for the reformists, or repression?

IF A house divided cannot stand, Iran has long been due for collapse. Its two parallel governments, one theocratic, one democratic, have been on the worst of terms for several years. Now the democrats, in the form of the 100 or so members of parliament who are staging a sit-in, which began on Sunday January 11th, seem in a mood for a showdown. In a country ripe for revolution, their action could prove momentous.

Iran has already had one recent revolution—the 1979 rising led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that threw out the shah and ushered in the modern world’s first theocracy. Since then, all the formal levers of power have been held by a supreme religious leader and a coterie of fellow clerics, who take their orders only from God. Iran is, however, a theocracy with a difference: it has democratic features, including an elected president and an elected parliament, or majlis. Hence the two, parallel governments. The cause of their current dispute is a decision by the Council of Guardians, a supervisory body controlled by the clerics, to disqualify several thousand pro-democracy candidates from standing in the general election due on February 20th. Among those disqualified are more than 80 members of the current parliament.

The Iranian presidency issues Mr Khatami's statement on the bans. IRNA, Iran's official news agency, reports on news events. Freedom House, an American pro-democracy think-tank, gives information on civil liberties and political rights in Iran in its report, Freedom in the World 2003. The US Department of State provides information on its relations with Iran. The European Union outlines its relations with the country. “Governments on the WWW” is a comprehensive resource on Iran's government and politics.

Muhammad Khatami, the country’s president, is counselling patience and caution. First elected in 1997 on a reform platform, he embodied the hopes of millions of Iranians who had become fed up with the clerics’ rule, notably the political isolation it had brought Iran, the concomitant economic failures and the social restrictions imposed by rigid adherence to Islamic dogma. Though President Khatami was stymied by conservative mullahs in almost all he tried to do, he was re-elected in 2001 and fellow reformers continued to sweep the polls until last year. But by then the voters were showing signs of disillusion with the failure of the reformers to bring about change. In municipal elections last February, only 10-15% of the electorate in most large cities turned out to vote, handing victory to the conservatives. And since the reformers have proved no more effective since then, a similar result seemed likely next month.

Evidently, though, the Council of Guardians was not prepared to take the risk. From the clerics’ point of view, another vote like last February’s would be an embarrassment, even if it gave them victory: they value the legitimacy that elections bring to the Islamic republic. But a defeat would be worse. Presumably, they calculate that the MPs’ protests will be short-lived, and that Iranians at large have no stomach for a wider upheaval. And they could be right. The disqualified candidates are allowed two further appeals before a final decision is made on February 12th, and the supreme leader himself, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, may yet intervene, though he has said he will do so only when all legal procedures have been exhausted.

Moreover, protests are not uncommon in Iran. Sometimes they come from dissident clerics, sometimes from ordinary people when tempers rise in football crowds or when the police close shops selling illegal videos. More often, though, they come from students. Thus Iran’s universities were convulsed by riots for weeks in November and December 2002, and more protests took place last July. Yet such protests have always passed without significant concessions. Indeed, nearly 18 months have passed since President Khatami threw down the gauntlet by insisting on the passage of two bills, one to rein in the conservative judges who had done so much to nullify his reforms, the other to curb the Council of Guardians, the constitutional watchdog that now threatens even greater emasculation of the majlis. Neither bill has been put into effect, yet Mr Khatami has done nothing to precipitate the crisis he seemed to be calling for. Instead of resigning, he is now calling for calm. It is his brother, a member of the majlis, who appears to be leading the protests.

So the conservatives may get away with it once more. But they face one short-term danger and one longer-term one. Their immediate worry is that the students will be galvanised by the MPs’ sit-in. Many student leaders have been picked off over the years and are now in jail, but new leaders may well arise in their place. The young particularly resent the bans or restrictions on dancing, movies, videos, alcohol, women’s dress and indeed all social mixing of the sexes. And like most Iranians, they hate being citizens of a country considered by George Bush to be part of the “axis of evil”. They know that in their aspirations for democratic change they have the moral support not just of Americans but of Europeans too—Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign-policy chief, criticised the ban on pro-democracy candidates during a visit to Tehran on Monday. And, thanks to watching illicit satellite broadcasts and to keeping in touch with a huge diaspora of Iranians abroad (about 1m in America alone), they are well informed about events outside their country, including the international opprobrium brought about by their country’s nuclear programme.

The longer-term danger for the clerics also lies in the dissatisfaction of the young, but this discontent is not confined to students. Two-thirds of Iran’s 70m people are under the age of 30, and half are under 20. Religious rule has given them an education and, in the right to vote (at 16), a taste of and for democracy. It has not given them jobs, nor can it do so in sufficient numbers to satisfy all those now leaving school unless it allows economic change—including foreign investment—and, inevitably, political reform too. Whether this week’s row ends in climbdown, compromise or crackdown, it will not have banished the prospect of Iran’s next revolution. On the contrary, it will probably have brought it closer.
40 posted on 01/13/2004 2:27:04 PM 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; ...
Countdown to Counter-revolution

January 13, 2004
The Economist Global Agenda
The Economist
41 posted on 01/13/2004 2:27:47 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
How can the Economist come so close to reality, and then revert their gaze at the last moment?

I need another aspirin.
42 posted on 01/13/2004 2:35:02 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
avert, not revert.

Good evening.
43 posted on 01/13/2004 2:43:44 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
It would appear that the world media is prepared to make this "crisis" into a battle between theocracy (hardliners) and democracy (reformists). This is exactly what the hardlines want them to do.

The media forgets that neither group represents democracy.

They do not have free elections in Iran. If they did, neither group would be elected to office. The people of Iran despise both the hardliners and "reformists."
44 posted on 01/13/2004 3:36:37 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
But the Economist was the first to run the famous photo of Batebi, right?

I am disappointed in their track record.

However, I shouldn't be surprised. The people of Iran seek solace and support from Iranian-American cable television in California, not the BBC or CNN.

If I can find this exasperating, I cannot imagine the depth of disillusionment that the students must feel in Tehran. We know that they seek support from the West, we know that they embrace America, that they want the EU to stop playing games with the regime... but then the media twists the basic FACTS, trying to pull the rug out from under them before they are even on their feet.
45 posted on 01/13/2004 3:55:47 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
A Failure of Imagination
There's obviously a good deal of news coming out of Iran-- much of it potentially positive from the American perspective (and also from the perspective of general humanity).

Why is this news chiefly disseminated on the Internet? Why does Aaron Brown so seldom see fit to report on the possible powderkeg of Iran?

It is a function of political bias creating a failure of imagination.

The liberal news media does not believe that Bush's ambitious foreign policy could possibly work. We here at Ace of Spades do not believe with great certainty that it will work, but we are certainly open to (and hopeful for) the possibility that it could.

Not so the establishment print and broadcast news media. They are openly hostile to Bush's policy. Furthermore, in their heart of hearts, they don't want his policy to work. Were the Iraq War to cause a reverse-domino toppling of enemy regimes, it could only be called a victory for Bush (try as the media might to do the opposite). Good news for Bush is bad news for liberals and the media, as freely, and with an unseemly absence of shame, admitted by the ever-diminishing Michael Kinsely. (Poor Mr. Kinsley has "mixed emotions" about good news for the country, like an improving economy and the capture of Saddam Hussein.)

This political bias leads, in turn, to an utter failure of imagination as to the range of possibilites of what could happen. The recent news from Iran does not mean that a violent overthrow of the theocrats is imminent. We would be guilty of the precise opposite bias of the news media were we to suggest such a thing.

But events in Iran do suggest, possibly, that a crisis point is nearing.

The media is ever-alert for the possibility that Bush will be proven to be guilty of impeachment-level offenses; they actively follow all leads in that arena and breathlessly report of possible indications of presidential or vice-presidential felonies. The imagination of the media definitely does embrace the possibility of a public and legal repudiation of Bush. They are therefore quite thorough when it comes to such stories.

But their outright hostility to Bush, and especially to the Iraq war, prevents them from imagining that tangible positives might emerge from it. To the press, it is simply inconceivable that Iran could ever implode.

Thus, the constant barrage of Halliburton stories, and the peculiar dearth of stories about Iran. It's not that the mainstream media actively promotes Halliburton stories as potentially leading to impeachment or political repudiation; they don't. But they do seem open to such an eventuality, and therefore deem it important to keep the public appraised on the developing storyline.

But they plainly do not see the reports from Iran as possibly leading anywhere important. And thus, they don't deem these stories as particularly newsworthy.

Compare this situation to the media's utter lack of preparedness for the capture of Saddam Hussein. To the media, it was all but inconceivable that Saddam Hussein would ever be captured. In reality, Saddam's capture was near-inevitable; it was more a question of "when" not "if." And a fairly short-term "when" to boot. The shock and anguish on the faces of the liberal newsmen charged with the distasteful duty of reporting Saddam's capture to the American public spoke volumes. It was grim news, and furthermore it was utterly surprising news-- a "political UFO," as Tom Brokaw called it, a fantastically strange visitation from a bizarre alternate universe where black is white and Bush is occassionally competent.

Right now the American public has little comprehension that the political situation in Iran is deterioriating. They have not been so informed because the media simply cannot imagine that unfolding events in Iran could lead anywhere.

It could be that in three or six months, the media will once again stunned and dismayed by events that were both perfectly foreseeable and yet perfectly unforeseen. Once again, they could be ashen-complexion and grim-mouthed as they report on "breaking news" that in fact had been breaking for months and years without their notice.

The next "UFO" might be buzzing the minarets in Teheran.

posted at 13.1.04 by Black
46 posted on 01/13/2004 4:18:14 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Freedom is a package deal - with it comes responsibilities and consequences.)
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To: freedom44
"Note: it all looks like a setup game to me"

I don't know if this is a good idea or not, but can you go in, collect your ballet and drop it in without marking anything on it?

I think it stinks whether it is a setup or not.
47 posted on 01/13/2004 4:31:31 PM PST by mjaneangels@aolcom
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To: freedom44
Too bad there isn't an obvious leader out there. I'd love to see a write in vote.
48 posted on 01/13/2004 5:40:22 PM PST by McGavin999 (Evil thrives when good men do nothing!)
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To: F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; freedom44; nuconvert; Grampa Dave; MeekOneGOP

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
(pictured) said he would intervene in the dispute
if reformists and conservatives cannot resolve the crisis.

49 posted on 01/13/2004 7:29:49 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: F14 Pilot
"What is the Guardian Council?"

50 posted on 01/13/2004 7:33:35 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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