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Iranian Alert -- January 19, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement -- Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.19.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/19/2004 12:07:13 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 01/19/2004 12:07:15 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 01/19/2004 12:09:15 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Leader Casts Off Robes for First-hand Look at Bam

January 18, 2004

TEHRAN -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has disguised himself in civilian clothes to get a better look at how relief and recovery operations are progressing in the quake-hit city of Bam, press reports said Sunday.

According to the conservative Ressalat newspaper, the Islamic republic's all-powerful leader donned a coat and hat and strolled around the southeastern city with a top local official during a surprise visit there on Friday.

"Only a few officials were aware of the visit, and when residents saw the local official they approached him and told them of their problems, without realising the Guide was there," the Javan newspaper said, saying there were several complaints over aid distribution.

The incognito walkabout prompted Khamenei to urge local officials to speed up reconstruction efforts. During his visit, his office also upped the death toll from 30,000-35,000 to 41,000-45,000.

Khamenei is no stranger to donning less religious attire. He is a keen and accomplished mountaineer, and is sometimes spotted in hiking boots and an anorak walking in Iran's lofty mountains.
3 posted on 01/19/2004 12:12:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Pakistan Detains More Nuke Scientists

January 19, 2004
Arab News
Matthew Pennington, AP

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan has expanded its investigation of the country’s premier nuclear weapons laboratory, detaining as many as seven scientists and administrators for questioning, amid allegations that sensitive technology may have spread to countries such as Iran, North Korea and Libya, officials said yesterday.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that over the past two or three days between five and seven personnel at the Khan Research Laboratories had been taken in for “debriefing.”

Among them was Islamul Haq, a director at the laboratory. Two uniformed men believed to be intelligence agents picked him up as he was dining on Saturday at the residence of the father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

The laboratory is named after Khan, a national hero for leading Pakistan to its underground test of the Islamic world’s first nuclear bomb in 1998, designed as a deterrent to its larger rival India. Haq is Khan’s principal staff officer.

“We have had no contact with him,” Haq’s wife, Nilofar Islam, told The Associated Press. “We don’t know where he is and what he is being asked.” She was informed of Haq’s detention by Khan.

Though all the men remained in custody, Ahmed played down the detentions, saying the personnel being debriefed were not “necessarily involved in something or have allegations against them,” he said.

In the past two months, Pakistan has interrogated a handful of scientists at the laboratory, after receiving unspecified documents from the watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran’s nuclear program, officials say.

Among those who have been questioned is Khan, although he has not been detained and is still treated as an official dignitary in Pakistan.

Pakistan has strongly denied any official involvement in possible proliferation to Iran, Libya and North Korea, but has acknowledged that individual scientists acting on their own account may have transgressed that rule.

In his first-ever speech to Parliament on Saturday, Pakistan’s military ruler, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, noted that the world suspects Pakistan of being a nuclear proliferator and that the country must show that it is a responsible power.

The Jan. 2 arrest of a businessman at Denver airport in the United States, accused of smuggling nuclear bomb triggers to Pakistan, has deepened suspicions of Pakistani involvement in the nuclear black market. Asher Karni, who heads a South African company, is accused of being the middleman for a Pakistani company’s purchase of dozens of triggered spark gaps — electronic devices that can be used to trigger nuclear weapons — allegedly using an elaborate scheme to try to get around US export restrictions to Pakistan.

The proliferation allegations are an embarrassment to Washington, which calls Pakistan a key ally in the war on terrorism.
4 posted on 01/19/2004 12:13:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
Key Iran group threatens to boycott elections

19 January 2004
Channel News Asia

TEHRAN : The political party of President Mohammad Khatami has threatened to boycott upcoming elections if urgent measures are not taken over the rejection of reformist candidates, press reports said.

The Association of Combattant Clerics issued a statement saying that "if urgent measures are not taken to settle the current problem, which prevents free competition between legal political views, there is no further reason for the Association to take part in the parliamentary election," the reports said.

The statement was issued after a meeting of the party on Sunday, attended by both the president and the speaker of the Majlis, or parliament, Mehdi Karoubi, who is also a member.

Iran has been thrown into crisis since the powerful Guardians Council, a conservative-dominated body, announced that it was barring a large number of reformist candidates from standing in the election, which is due to take place on February 20.

The Association of Combattant Clerics groups reformists among Iran's Islamic rulers and emerged from a split in 1988 in the Association of Combattant Clergy, which is now pro-conservative.

At its meeting Sunday the association thanked Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose "directives can fully resolve the problem" sparked by the Guardians Council action.

On Wednesday Khamenei called on the Guardians to review the cases of the invalidated candidates, which it has pledged to do, but the dispute is far from settled.
5 posted on 01/19/2004 1:18:10 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: F14 Pilot
6 posted on 01/19/2004 2:39:48 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; BlackVeil; ...
Devaluing Arab WMDs

By George Perkovich/Avner Cohen
January 19, 2004
The Washington Times

The Bush and Blair administrations have made enormous strides in either forcing or persuading these major Middle Eastern states to step toward abandoning nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs. Whether or not Iraq actually possessed these weapons, Washington and London's determination to remove doubts made other regional leaders question the cost-benefit trade-off in their own weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs.

To thwart the WMD programs of all three countries is already an impressive achievement. Other Arab power centers in the region — Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — are all carefully watching this dramatic reversal. It has the potential to trigger new regional dynamics that would devalue WMD. These dynamics are not the result of a fruitful process of multilateral arms control, like the one that started and stalled in the 1990s, but are largely a reaction to American hegemony.

But implementing Libya's disarmament decision and persuading Iran's factious government to permanently abandon nuclear weapon production capabilities requires more than coercion. Both countries will want a phased process of reciprocal inducements, leading to a removal of U.S. and international economic sanctions. No less important, Iran, along with Libya and other Arab states, also wants fairness. These states and their populations have repeatedly invoked with disdain the double standard by which Israel's possession of nuclear, chemical and perhaps biological weapons is tolerated.

Israel's leadership and media have recognized this, to their credit, even if Washington officials and think tanks still shy from acknowledging it. Since Libya and the United States and Britain announced the agreement to roll back Libya's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons capabilities, Israelis have begun to debate how their government can contribute to the process. The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, in what some noted as veiled rebuke of governmental silence, referred publicly to the Libyan move as "serious, very serious." He noted that this could be part of a "domino effect" following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and that combined with Iran's agreement last month to accept additional nuclear inspections, it had created the beginnings of a changed regional landscape and lowered the strategic threats facing Israel.

Indeed, over the New Year, the Israeli inner cabinet was convened by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to review these developments and to consider whether and how Israel should contribute to the dynamics. While there is a national consensus in Israel that the nuclear issue is non-negotiable at the present time — prior to comprehensive regional peace — there are voices in Israel, in and out of government, saying that the nation should join the process of banning WMD in a meaningful way.

Israel possesses nuclear weapons, not for prestige or offensive purposes, but solely to deter against threats to its existence. Yet, over the long-term, Israel's arsenal of taboo weapons will prompt its adversaries to seek countervailing capabilities that could test the durability of deterrence. Strategically, Israel would be better off in a region where no one possessed any weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, Israeli leaders have acknowledged this by endorsing annually at the United Nations, for the last two decades, the idea of making the Middle East a zone free of all WMD. Israel insists, however, that peace should precede disarmament.

The surprise Libyan disarmament announcement, following the removal of Saddam Hussein and the cornering of Iran's nuclear program, creates a unique opportunity to augment momentum toward the distant goal of a WMD-free zone in the Middle East. Elimination of Syria's large arsenal of chemical and biological weapons should be the next target of the Bush administration. Syria is actively seeking better relations with the United States, but unlike Libya, Syria would not do it unilaterally. Israel would have to be part of the deal.

Israel signed, but has not ratified, the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Israel has never signed the largely symbolic 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, nor did it ever explain the reasons behind its abstinence. It is time for Israel to show its good will by explicitly joining the ban over these two categories of WMD. On the nuclear issue, not to be forgotten, Israel should also find a way to engage more actively with the nonproliferation regime, even though it is clear that it cannot sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty itself.

Much more remains to be done in a campaign that ultimately will be measured in decades rather than years. But each of the steps along the process will be eased if Arab and Iranian societies see that Israel too acknowledges that its own arsenal is part of the problem.
The United States, as chief cop on the block and Israel's main protector, also must demonstrate fairness. The Iranian and Arab polities crave fairness as they perceive it has been denied to them. Their perceptions may be debatable, and Israel's existential security cannot be traded away, but some Israeli contribution to regional disarmament is imperative.
7 posted on 01/19/2004 5:20:27 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: All
Iran’s fading traditions

Monday January 19, 2004
The Star, Malaysia

IT’S A TIME honoured tradition on wedding days in Iran’s countryside. Radiant in her white wedding dress, the bride arrives at her new home on a richly decorated horse. The groom welcomes her by taking a pomegranate – long a symbol to Iranians of a healthy and happy life – and smashing it against the wall before she steps through the doorway.

Then, at a joyous party, comes the day’s fateful moment in male-dominated Iran. The couple retires to the bedroom, with women relatives waiting outside until a bloodied handkerchief – proof of the bride’s virginity – is passed through the door.

Shouts and whistles erupt at the party, and everyone joins folk dances that continue late into the night. Some men and women dance opposite each other – a challenge to Islamic strictures against public mixing of the sexes – but the couples never touch and the women are veiled. Young men gawk at the dancing girls, hoping to spot future brides.

Yet times are changing in this country where conservative Islamic clerics have held sway since Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was ousted in 1979. In the cities, and even some rural areas, couples are drifting away from the traditions seen at this recent wedding in Baghejar, a village near the fast-growing city of Sabzevar, about 700km east of Tehran.

Urban brides are more likely to take limousines to the wedding party, followed by a parade of cars full of friends and relatives. Any dancing is private, away from prying eyes.

And rarely do families ask for public proof of virginity. It’s considered a private matter, though almost all grooms insist their brides have no sexual experience before the wedding night.

Even talk of sex is taboo in Iran, where strict Islamic rules allow little socialising between the sexes. Young Iranians have been jailed and flogged just for dancing together at birthday parties.

Not only wedding traditions are changing. With more people acquiring illegal satellite TV dishes – bringing them glimpses of life elsewhere – social changes have sped up.

Birth control is available under Iran’s programme to cut a burgeoning birth rate, and more women are breaking the rules against premarital sex. Some have simple surgery to rebuild their hymens before marriage.

“A cultural genocide is taking place in Iran. Wedding ceremonies have changed because it has lost its previous significance,” says Mahdis Kamkar, a psychiatrist in Tehran who criticises the liberalisation.

Kamkar says Iran’s younger generation no longer views marriage as a sacred contract. “Lack of trust and commitment to married life are among the reasons for traditional values disappearing,” she says.

A Tehran physician who specialises in the hymen operation says she performs the surgery three or four times a week. She agreed to discuss the procedure only if granted anonymity because it is illegal in Iran.

Some women who have had the operation say they lost their virginity because of incest or rape, but many concede they simply had sex with boyfriends.

“I couldn’t wait for years having no sex until I get a husband. You never know when you die. I didn’t want to die before experiencing sex,” says Nazanin, 17, who declined to reveal her family name.

Kamkar, the psychiatrist, calls such attitudes a “behavioral disease” that Iranians are catching from Western culture. “Unfortunately, it’s spreading like flu. The young generation breaks cultural taboos partly as a sign of modernism,” she says.

Sociologist Shahla Ezazi, however, says only a small number of Iranian women have sex before marriage and adds that almost all men insist on their brides being virgins. “In Iran’s religious society, men like to have sex before marriage but never want their wife to have experienced the same,” Ezazi says.

More than half of Iran’s estimated 67 million people are younger than 30. By government estimate, more than 1 million women of marriageable age will remain without husbands in the next five years.

“Some girls ignore the taboo and have sex because they have no hope to get a husband,” Ezazi says.
8 posted on 01/19/2004 5:22:59 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: DoctorZIn
The incognito walkabout prompted Khamenei to urge local officials to speed up reconstruction efforts.

The Guide (is that like the 'Great Helmsman'?) is master of the obvious.

9 posted on 01/19/2004 6:27:37 AM PST by Jabba the Nutt
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping!
10 posted on 01/19/2004 7:38:55 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Fails to Live Up to Great Expectations

January 19, 2004
The Guardian
Dan De Luce

He once attracted the kind of adoration celebrities enjoy in the west, but those days are long gone. The electoral crisis gripping Iran shows why President Mohammad Khatami no longer enjoys such reverence, and why so many former supporters are disillusioned with his cautious approach.

The smiling cleric who set out to reform Iran's rigid theocracy has proved unable to fulfil the high expectations that met his victory six years ago.

Last week, while condemning the Guardian Council's ruling to ban more than 3,000 moderates from standing in next month's elections, Mr Khatami pleaded with MPs to call off their sit-in at parliament. The whole issue, he said, could be solved through talks with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It was a typical Khatami moment, full of restraint, humility and eloquence. But it was infuriating for those who believe democracy will never be won without rallying popular anger on the street.

The reformists rejected his offer, saying it was no time to cave in to blatant manipulation of the electoral process. "If this decision is allowed to stand, it will mean a defeat for reformists and a renewal of dictatorship," said MP Ali Tajernia.

Yesterday's developments suggest Mr Khatami's lobbying could still lift the ban on some of the reformists, although almost certainly not all.

When Mr Khatami was pressured to stand in the 1997 presidential election, moderates thought he would inject fresh ideas into the political arena but never expected him to win.

Critics say he has squandered his support and he should have fought the conservative establishment long ago, over attacks on press freedom and the obstruction of his agenda.

Instead he has preached patience and settled for small steps forward. His defenders say Mr Khatami has opened up a closed society, nurtured the growth of non-governmental groups and softened Iran's foreign policy.

"This is very significant given the conditions in Iran. After all, we are not talking about Switzerland here," said Hamid-Reza Jalaeipour, a reformist commentator. "His popularity has decreased from what it was, but he is still important."

Mr Khatami has accepted that the pace of reform has been slow, but with students, journalists and dissidents languishing in jail and parliamentary initiatives vetoed, Mr Khatami seemed ready to throw down the gauntlet in 2002.

He proposed two bills to stop arbitrary vetting of electoral candidates and end political trials. Without the bills, Mr Khatami said he could not carry out his role as president.

The bills were adopted by parliament but vetoed by the council. Mr Khatami chose not to follow through on his implied threat to step down and the bills remain dead.

With a year left in his second and final term, Mr Khatami's political star seems to be fading. More radical ideas and tactics, including civil disobedience, may eventually overtake his go-slow policy.

Even if the reformists manage to win another majority in parliament on February 20, which remains uncertain, some dissidents say the elections have lost meaning, because parliament has been rendered impotent.

By staying in office, Mr Khatami's critics say he runs the risk of becoming an apologist for the regime.

"He is standing between two roads going in different directions and refusing to choose sides," said one dissident newly released from jail. "If he is unable to choose the movement for democratic change, then it is better he withdraw and not get in the way.",12858,1126185,00.html
11 posted on 01/19/2004 9:17:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami's Party Threatens to Boycott Iran Election

January 19, 2004
Paul Hughes

TEHRAN -- President Mohammad Khatami's political party has threatened to boycott Iran's parliamentary elections unless bans on hundreds of aspiring liberal candidates are promptly overturned, newspapers reported on Monday.

The February 20 parliamentary vote has been thrown into doubt by the decision of the hardline Guardian Council -- an unelected body with sweeping powers -- to bar nearly half of 8,200 hopefuls from running.

The vast majority of those disqualified were allies of Khatami, whose attempts to deliver reforms since his 1997 election have been hindered by hard-liners opposed to any watering down of Iran's Islamic values and political system.

The Guardian Council's move has prompted threats to resign by government ministers and state governors and led dozens of liberal MPs to stage an eight-day sit-in at parliament.

Reformists accuse the Guardian Council of trying to influence the outcome of the election so conservatives can win back control of parliament which they lost to reformists in 2000 elections.

Khatami's pro-reform League of Combatant Clerics, following a meeting of it's central committee on Sunday, decided that "if the current situation, under which not all legal (political) factions can compete freely, continues, there is no reason for the League to take part in the parliamentary elections," liberal newspapers reported.

Unfulfilled threats to resign or boycott elections have become so commonplace from reformists in recent years that most Iranians no longer take them seriously.

In an interview with London's Guardian newspaper, published on Monday, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said Khatami should now make good on his previous threats to quit.

"President Khatami said himself that if he couldn't pass measures because of the Guardian Council he would resign," the Iranian human rights lawyer said.

"But still he has not. I think he should fulfil his promise," she said.

Few analysts expect leading reformists, including Khatami, to resign over the political standoff.

In an apparent bid to defuse the election row, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state affairs, last week urged the Guardian Council to review the list of disqualified candidates.

The Guardian Council said on Sunday it was following Khamenei's advice but would not be pressured into backing down. The council has until the end of the month to review appeals lodged by disqualified candidates.

Reformist MPs expect the council to lift the bans on most reformist candidates while excluding a small number of outspoken and high-profile liberals.

(Additional reporting by Amir Paivar)
12 posted on 01/19/2004 9:18:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Guilty as Charged

January 19, 2004
National Review Online
Andrew Apostolou

President Bush was as right as our intelligence was wrong.

Two years after President Bush's much bemoaned 2002 State of the Union address, the charges that he leveled against the "Axis of Evil" have been proven. As President Bush had alleged, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea were seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in violation of their international obligations. That Bush was justified in his public indictment of these states is rarely acknowledged. That in each case Bush was vindicated by an intelligence failure is insufficiently discussed.

In each "Axis of Evil" state, the successful concealment of WMD efforts went hand-in-hand with eluding detection by U.S. intelligence. The extent of deception in Iraq was so great that even after ten months of controlling the country, the U.S. has been unable to fully unravel and explain Saddam's WMD programs. Back in January 2002, President Bush said that:

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens — leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections — then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

What we do know is that Saddam was adopting a WMD system that would have allowed him to play along with the U.N. inspectors so that he could have the sanctions lifted. Had he succeeded, Saddam would today be in a palace, not a prison. His sadistic sons would still be tormenting Iraqis with their complementary talents of torture and rape. The mass graves, which the U.N. never cared to search for, would have lain undisturbed. The hidden Iraqi WMD programs, instead of being a vast research project for the CIA's Iraq Survey Group, would now be emerging into the open to again threaten the lives of thousands.

There was a similar dual failure of intelligence and inspections in Iran. President Bush said in January 2002 that: "Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror." Bush, like previous U.S. presidents, had worried that Iran would use its planned nuclear reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, which is being built by Russian firms to make nuclear weapons. Unknown to President Bush, Iran had a covert program designed to evade U.S. attempts to slow the construction of Bushehr. Whereas Saddam's Iraq and North Korea were able to turn their international isolation to advantage, Iran used its greater openness as a means of focusing attention on Bushehr, thereby turning the plant into a decoy.

While U.S. diplomats buttonholed their Russian counterparts about Bushehr, the more dangerous Iranian nuclear program was hidden from the outside world thanks to a well thought out policy of dispersing facilities. It was only in December 2002, nearly a year after President Bush's speech that vague geographical information from an Iranian exile group allowed the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based think tank, to locate the Natanz uranium-enrichment plant. The revelation of Natanz, along with the Arak heavy-water plant, showed that Iran was wise to how U.S. intelligence monitoring and sanctions could thwart its overt nuclear programs and had instead found a clever way to defeat both while bringing the clerical regime to within three years of acquiring a nuclear weapon. As Secretary of State Colin Powell declared on March 9, 2003, following a visit to Iran by the IAEA: "Here we suddenly discover that Iran is much further along, with a far more robust nuclear weapons development program than anyone said it had."

Iranian behavior since then illustrates the aggressiveness with which the Islamic republic is moving towards a nuclear-weapons option. Iran has been exposed as violating its nuclear commitments and has been demonstrated to have conned the IAEA for close to two decades. Under considerable diplomatic pressure, Iran has suspended actual enrichment of uranium, a vital process in bomb manufacturing. Yet Iran continues to buy the technology that it will need to enrich uranium and make nuclear weapons.

On the topic of North Korea, President Bush was more accurate than he or his advisers knew when he claimed that: "North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction." Ill intent is easy to allege, especially when the suspect is the world's last Stalinist state, it is the consequences of dishonesty that are more difficult to identify. In October 2002, the North Koreans, taking advantage of the growing focus on Iraq and gambling that the international response would be limited, admitted to visiting U.S. officials that they had a secondary, covert nuclear program in breach of their 1994 commitment to forsake a nuclear-weapons option.

The intelligence failure in the Axis of Evil was to a degree understandable. These states are extremely hard intelligence targets. The workings of their governments are shrouded in secrecy, protected by multiple, and sometimes competing, secret police forces and intelligence agencies. They are well aware of the remarkable U.S. capabilities in signals and electronic intelligence and they have done all that they can to neutralize this. As David Kay, the head of the ISG pointed, out on October 2, 2003, Iraq had "deception and denial built into each program." As a result, Saddam's Iraq, like Kim Jong-Il's North Korea, was to a degree intelligence proof.

Faced with the limits of what intelligence can tell us, the U.S. and its allies have only two options available for dealing with WMD proliferators. The U.S. can wait and hope that polite conversation, tea, and sympathy with the French foreign minister will change the minds of regimes that have poured great resources and effort into acquiring prohibited weapons. Or the U.S. can enforce international law and reverse the strategic gamble that these states have made, that WMDs will enable them to survive. Instead, the U.S. can hold up the example of Saddam Hussein to show that those who seek WMDs are signing their own death warrants. What we cannot do is to wait for our intelligence system to turn on the warning lights at the right time.

— Andrew Apostolou is director of research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
13 posted on 01/19/2004 9:21:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The Anti-Reform Headquarters, Hard-Line Websites, and Parallel Organizations

January 19, 2004
Radio Free Europe
Bill Samii, Golnaz Esfandiari

Conspiracy theories can thrive in a society where public affairs are not transparent and where there is no independent press to serve as a watchdog over the government.

In the case of Iran, furthermore, there is the knowledge that, despite the existence of all the accoutrements of democracy -- such as elections -- ultimate decision-making is in the hands of a small elite that answers to itself. Under these circumstances, rumors about "anti-reform headquarters" and "parallel intelligence organizations" thrive, and such rumors are bolstered by anti-reform websites that are the modern equivalent of the "shabnameh" (literally "night letter," a kind of samizdat; on the connection between these publications and the hard-liners, see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 15 January 2001).

One hundred and forty legislators wrote to President Mohammad Khatami recently and urged him to publish a Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) report about "anti-reform" websites, "Sharq" reported on 1 January. This report, which has yet to be published, allegedly identified the people running the websites and their aims.

"Khabar-nameh-yi Gooya" ( is one such site, and it provides links to similar sites. It also has links to hard-line political organizations (for example, the Islamic Coalition Party, http://, newspapers (for example, "Kayhan"), publications (for example, "Loh"), and weblogs (for example, Other connections are with sites glorifying individuals such as Navab Safavi (a.k.a. Mujtaba Mirlohi), who founded the Fadaiyan-i Islam in 1945 ( This group assassinated anti-Shi'a author Ahmad Kasravi in 1946, Court Minister Abdol Hussein Hazhir in 1949, and Prime Minister Ali Razmara in 1951. Safavi and his deputy, Khalil Tahmasebi, were executed in 1956.

Member of Parliament Davud Suleimani complained that these sites engage in character assassination against reformist political figures, "Aftab-i Yazd" reported on 4 January, they do so in an "immoral and impolite" way, and they discuss people's "personal affairs." Suleimani pointed out that these websites have replaced newspapers as the vehicles for such attacks. Tehran's Elahe Kulyai added that the sites have attacked Speaker of Parliament Hojatoleslam Mehdi Karrubi.

Hojatoleslam Ali-Akbar Mohtashami-Pur, who represents Tehran, also called on the president and the MOIS to look into this matter and then publicize its findings, "Nasim-i Saba" reported on 8 January. He said the judiciary should follow up on these findings through an "independent and impartial judiciary branch."

Yet these websites could be just the tip of the iceberg.

Reformist parliamentarian Behzad Nabavi had said during the 9 December session of parliament that there is an anti-reformist "headquarters" that was created "months ago on the eve of the election" to attack the parliament, "Sharq" reported on 10 December. According to Nabavi, who is a member of the Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization (MIRO), this headquarters circulates "rumors and calumnies through the websites affiliated with the parallel intelligence organizations." Nabavi said that accusations in a previous legislative session that linked him with the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi appeared previously on one of these websites. Nabavi urged President Khatami to reveal the connection between the websites and governmental institutions, their financing through the public purse, and their hidden links, "Sharq" reported.

Qazvin representative Nasser Qavami continued in this vein when he spoke after Nabavi, according to "Sharq." He noted the numerous attacks against reformist figures by hard-line pressure groups and the disruptions of public meetings, and he asked why the president and MOIS do not reveal the identities of these groups and expose the powers supporting them. If the MOIS and the Interior Ministry have not discovered these identities yet, Qavami asked, then should Iranians not be worried about their security?

Government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh repeated the claim about the existence of an anti-reform headquarters on 7 January, state television reported the next day. He accused it of psychological warfare against the government. "It has been active for a long time," he continued. "It is known where their sources are, where they are formed, which instruments they use."

Parallel intelligence organizations, which Nabavi linked with the websites and the anti-reform headquarters, are also an issue of concern to the reformists. Their existence was noted in summer 2001, when reformists complained that hard-line parallel intelligence organizations were eavesdropping and tapping telephones, and hard-liners complained about an X Committee that would create crises (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 16 July 2001). Reformist concern about these institutions resurfaced in summer 2003 (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 15 September 2003).

Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Khatami said on 12 October that the meetings of his Islamic Iran Participation Party were being bugged, "Toseh" reported the next day.

Parliamentarian Mohsen Armin said on 7 November that telephone bugging was going on without the knowledge of the Ministry of Post, Telegraph, and Telephone, ISNA reported. He said certain power centers are not answerable to anybody else. In his words, "Certain cliques believe they have iron-clad alibis and that they cannot be held accountable by the parliament." This specific problem will not be solved as long as the country's predominant political problem is not solved, Armin said. (Bill Samii)


Iran's hard-line judiciary last week ordered one of the main pro-reform websites to be filtered, meaning that its contents cannot be viewed inside the country. The Emrooz website ( was originally launched by people close to the reformist camp of the Iranian political establishment. It has become a focal point for views opposed to the country's conservative rulers.

The Iranian press reported last year that a list of 150 other sites facing a ban, including those of U.S. international broadcasters Radio Farda and Voice of America's Persian Service, has been prepared by the government and sent to Internet service providers (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 29 December 2003). Iran's telecommunications minister denies the existence of such a list.

Emrooz defenders say the move against their site is illegal, arguing Iran has no legislation that would limit the use of the Internet. Sina Motallebi, an Iranian journalist and the first author of a weblog (a.k.a. blog) to be jailed for articles published on the web, says Emrooz plays an important role in Iran's political scene. "The Emrooz website has a particular importance among political websites that were created in Iran during the last two years. On one hand, because of the closeness of Emrooz owners with the most progressive branch of reformists within the government, Emrooz covers first-hand and exclusive news. On the other hand, because the owners of the site were not active under a political party and were part of a news organization, they were free from restrictions and redlines imposed on other groups."

Since its launch, Emrooz has been under fire from hard-liners who are dissatisfied with its contents. Motallebi says by banning Emrooz ahead of parliamentary elections in February, the conservatives are attacking one of the last media outlets controlled by the reformists. "Now, because of the importance of the parliamentary election and its political challenges, the action against the Emrooz website can be considered as an attack on one of the last media outlets of this faction."

Motallebi says, however, he does not believe the conservatives can stop the free flow of information through the Internet. "Technical problems will not let them massively ban websites. Right now there are many possibilities for getting around filtering inside Iran. Apart from that, the rapid growth of weblogs will prevent them from stopping the flow of information with banning one or two websites."

In recent years, online diaries have become a popular method of expression in Iran. The more than 20,000 Iranian weblogs cover a wide range of topics, from taboo issues like sex and dating to political developments.

Hussein Derakhshan, a leading Iranian weblog writer, believes the online diaries are the only free media left in Iran. "Weblogs are actually functioning as the only free media right now in Iran. Weblogs are absolutely free. You just need Internet access to simply build your weblog in one or two or three minutes and then you can publish your thoughts to the world."

Motallebi last year spent three weeks in jail for articles he published in his weblog and for interviews with foreign radio stations. He credits a petition circulated over the Internet as playing an important role in his release. He adds that during the time he spent in jail he realized that conservatives are determined to restrict websites with political content critical of the establishment. In his words: "From that time I realized that the conservatives are very concerned about the rise of political content on websites and that they are strongly determined to restrict and stop this movement. They have different ways for doing that such as restricting websites or summoning and even jailing writers."

Some say that given the political nature of many weblogs, any new restrictions on the Internet could eventually affect many different sites. But weblog author Derakhshan argues that since most of the weblogs are not backed by any political group or party, it is unlikely that they will be banned too. "You have to be always worried in Iran, for everything -- even for illogical and irrational things. But I think the government, especially the judiciary, is more concerned about websites that are close to their opponents. Reformists, on the other hand, are very concerned about the websites that are backed by hard-line politicians and groups." (Golnaz Esfandiari)
14 posted on 01/19/2004 9:23:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Iran exports to US on the rise": US reports

Sunday, January 18, 2004 - ©2003

Tehran, January 18 (IranMania) - “In the first 11 months of 2003, Iran exported goods worth $145 million to the US,” the US Statistics Center reported.

According to the report, during the same period in 2002, the rate of Iran’s exports to the US stood at $140 million which has increased 4% in 2003.

This is while Iran’s imports from the US in the same period was $93 million which shows more than a $70 million rise compared to 2002.

Iran’s yearly trade surplus with the US seems however to be declining and for the latest month of the report, November 2003, the report indicates Iran exported goods worth $11 million to the US while it imported $17.5 million.
15 posted on 01/19/2004 10:09:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Rohani: EU cooperation to increase

Sunday, January 18, 2004 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Jan 17 (Iran Daily) -- The Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hasan Rohani said Iran will expand ties with the European Union (EU) member-states, including France, IRNA reported.

Talking to reporters upon his arrival from a three-day visit to France, Rohani assessed the Iranian government's evaluation of bilateral issues and promotion of Iran-EU ties as 'positive'.

"Iran and France discussed avenues to settle problems in political, social, cultural and economic fields," Rohani said, adding relations between the sides would receive a boost in the future.

Asked about Iran-US ties, the SNSC secretary said the American government has adopted no positive measure and the situation is just like before.

He noted that the two sides discussed future developments in Iraq, the Middle East and Palestine as well as security in the Persian Gulf. Rohani further said that Iran and the European Union have reached agreements on Iran's nuclear case.

"Iran has fulfilled its commitments and it is necessary for the EU to implement its promises. Iran has had appropriate cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and presented all required documents to the agency. We should wait for the IAEA's report on Iran's nuclear case (in February)," he said.

Referring to the arrest of some Al-Qaeda members in Iran, the official said, "Iran has returned these figures, whose names are available at the United Nations, to their own countries."

He pointed to his meeting with French President Jacques Chirac and the latter's demand for a free and democratic election in Iran and said one of Iran's glories after the victory of the Islamic Revolution is that people have participated in all state affairs and the Iranian nation are free to elect their representatives with full satisfaction.

Rohani further stated that the French side called for emulating the model of signing the NPT Additional Protocol for other issues pending between Iran and the European Union.
16 posted on 01/19/2004 10:10:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Bump!
17 posted on 01/19/2004 10:28:30 AM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn

Ali Talai, an official from the Tehran Governorate-General's Political-Security Affairs Directorate, told ILNA on 15 January that it is illegal for any group to gather in front of the legislature, and added that the Interior Ministry has not issued a permit for such an action. If the student Basij or any seminary students gather there they will be dealt with, Talai said.

Police cordoned off the legislature on 16 January, ILNA reported, and special units took up positions on the approach roads.

This action was triggered by the possibility that the Tehran Friday Prayers congregation would try to confront the protestors at the parliament. According to a 16 January ISNA report, slogans relating to the current controversy were heard. These slogans included, "Feel ashamed hypocrites, let go of the parliament," "Death to looters of the public purse," and "We support the Guardians Council." Some old standards were chanted too, including "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."

Theological students from Qom reportedly invited members of the Friday Prayers congregation in that city to march on the sit-in at the national legislature, ISNA reported on 16 January. Among the slogans chanted at the Qom rally were "Incompetent representatives should be dismissed" and "Guardians Council, say another 'Ya Hussein.'" The more enthusiastic ones flagellated themselves.
(Bill Samii)

source:RFE/RL Iran Report Vol. 7, No. 3, 19 January 2004
18 posted on 01/19/2004 10:30:05 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
Former Hizballah Secretary-General Subih Tufaili continues to criticize Iran and the current leadership of the Lebanese organization (for his earlier comments, see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 13 October 2003).

In a 19 November interview with Al-Arabiyah satellite television Tufaili said that Hizballah was established to serve the people and the oppressed, but now it has become a tool serving the Iranian regime. His problem is not with Hizballah, it is with "those who stand behind Hizballah, which is the Iranian leadership." Tufaili went on to say that he does not agree with the basis of the Iranian theocratic system, Vilayat-i Faqih (Rule of the Supreme Jurisconsult). "First of all, this vilayat-i faqih is illegitimate because there is no evidence for it in the Koran or in the Prophet's sayings and practices." Regardless of disagreement over this issue, Tufaili said that he got along with the Iranians when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led the country. "But after the death of Imam Khomeini, I noticed unreligious orientations in Iran," he said.

"Hizballah has become a guard for Israel's border and [for] Iran Satan's servant in helping America execute its agenda in the region," he said in an interview with "The Daily Star" that was published on 22 December 2003. Tufaili went on to say that Hizballah is not independent and it takes orders from Tehran. "I cannot criticize Hizballah without meaning Iran as well; the Iranian leadership has been and still is responsible for all of Hizballah's decisions on everything since the time we agreed with the late Imam Khomeini to build up the resistance movement." He went on to criticize Iran for allegedly letting itself be used by the United States to invade Afghanistan and for encouraging contacts between the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the United States. (Bill Samii)

source: RFE/RL Iran Report Vol. 7, No. 3, 19 January 2004
19 posted on 01/19/2004 10:57:25 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
Interesting post.
20 posted on 01/19/2004 1:13:39 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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