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Iranian Alert -- January 20, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.20.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/20/2004 12:03:26 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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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To: DoctorZIn
Protesting Workers Say Ready to Sell Body Parts to Supplement Income

January 20, 2004
ILNA News Agency
BBC Monitoring Middle East

Text of report by Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA) web site

Tehran, 20 January: Workers in Hamedan's Samico Industrial Company have staged a protest gathering inside Amir al-Mo'memin Mosque of the city to demand repayment of thousands of millions of rials owed to them.

According to a report by an ILNA correspondent, the protesters' gathering was attended by the representatives from the State Mines and Industries Organization, Labour Ministry, the State Welfare Organization, the Law Enforcement-Force and the head of the Islamic Labour Council as well as the management of the company.

Addressing the protesters, Head of Islamic Labour Council Changiz Aslani said: The workers are facing immense economic pressure because they have not received wages for several months; in fact some of them are peddling their household articles and some are ready to sell their body parts to supplement their income.

Aslani added: We respect the industrial investors because we need them to create jobs, but on condition that they pay their workers.

In response the managing director of the company, Ebrahimi, blamed the Labour Commission and the governor-general of Hamedan for making plans despite knowing the financial circumstances of the company.

He said: The governor-general has not visited the company even once; and the Mines and Industries Organization has not taken any steps to supply the raw material needed by the company; but despite knowing the facts, has voted to increase the workers' wages.

Ebrahimi added: I have paid the wages of my workers and will not allocate even a single company share to anyone; we have proposed restructuring and if it were to go ahead, there will be redundancies and only 59 workers will be kept to run the assembly line; should the workers agree with restructuring, our problems will be resolved by next spring.

The workers rejected Ebrahimi's remarks as some sort of deception and called on the state authorities to deal with the problems through legal means. However, Ebrahimi left the mosque in protest.

There are 300 people working for Samico Industrial Company. The company faced a crisis last year and the managing director of the company was detained for several months. As a result, in view of a huge debt accumulated by the company, the Labour Commission of the province offered insurance cover to the workers [presumably, to repay the workers by liquidating the company and selling its shares or assets].

Source: Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Tehran, in Persian 0831 gmt 20 Jan 04
21 posted on 01/20/2004 10:25:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Dear President George W. Bush: From the IRANIAN PEOPLE! ^ | January 20, 2004 |
Posted on 01/20/2004 5:39:29 AM PST by faludeh_shirazi
22 posted on 01/20/2004 10:32:14 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Watchdog Keeps Most Poll Bans Despite Protest

January 20, 2004

TEHRAN - Iran's Guardian Council revealed on Tuesday it had so far reversed only a tiny fraction of its bans on candidates for parliamentary elections despite a poll boycott threat by reformist President Mohammad Khatami's party.

The 12-man unelected conservative watchdog has barred nearly half the 8,200 candidates from running for the February 20 elections. Allies of Khatami, including 80 of the standing 290 MPs, have been most affected.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, has urged the Council to review its decisions, but it has been in no apparent rush to lift bans and has until the end of the month to review 3,100 appeals.

"So far...200 [disqualified] candidates have been approved," said a statement on the hardline Council's Web site. The figure represents about five percent of the bans.

The disqualifications sparked a bitter political dispute. Apart from the poll boycott threat by Khatami's party, government ministers considered resignation and liberal MPs have reached the 10th day of a parliamentary sit-in.

Firebrand MP Fatemeh Haqiqatjou said the attritional row between reformists and conservatives had reached breaking point and the outcome would determine whether the country's Islamic constitution could survive.

"This is the climax of a confrontation between the elected and the appointed...on how to run the country," she was quoted as saying on the official IRNA news agency.

"The elected bodies are the representatives of the people and their will is the will of the people. They must be the true defenders of the people's rights," she added.

Who should rule?

At stake is the idea of how Iran should be governed.

The Guardian Council, composed of six clerics and six Islamic jurists, wields a power of veto over the elected parliament and has blocked dozens of its reformist bills.

Hardliners believe concessions to a Western-style democracy could destroy Islamic rule. Reformists believe the system needs to be overhauled to keep up with the demands of a youthful population.

Haqiqatjou observed the key question would be whether the people threw their weight behind the protesting MPs.

The parliamentary sit-in has so far elicited little sympathy from students, the vanguard of Iran's reform protests, or the public, frustrated by the reformists' fudged compromises with hardliners and sluggish social and economic reform.

"The people will either back us, or the epidemic mistrust that has spread in the minds of various classes will prevail and the nation will not back the strikers," said Haqiqatjou, herself one of MPs blocked from standing again.

Political analyst Mahmoud Alinejad said the students could get involved if the dispute dragged on.

"If it goes on, more groups may get involved," he said.

But the secretary of the country's largest student activist group said the students would express their anger by not voting.

"Parliament lacks the real power for decision-making...our participation in elections would increase the power of undemocratic structures," said Abdollah Momeni of the Office to Consolidate Unity.
23 posted on 01/20/2004 10:45:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Suspect States Got Dutch Nuke Data

January 20, 2004
Los Angeles Times
Douglas Frantz

Istanbul, Turkey -- Two government ministers in the Netherlands acknowledged yesterday that highly sensitive nuclear technology developed by a Dutch company may have been transferred to Libya and North Korea along with Iran and Pakistan.

The disclosure in Parliament in Amsterdam marked the first public confirmation of assertions that centrifuge technology for enriching uranium apparently found its way to Libya and North Korea. It was already known that Pakistan and Iran had the technology.

The Dutch officials, Foreign Minister Bernard Bot and Economic Affairs Minister Laurens-Jan Brinkhorst, said it was not clear how the potentially arms-related technology had been transferred. But diplomats elsewhere said the public comments were likely to increase pressure on Pakistan, which has already been linked to Iran's capability and is suspected of providing the technology to North Korea and Libya.

U.S. officials have long suspected that Abdul Qadeer Khan, who led the development of Pakistan's atomic bomb, stole the centrifuge secrets in the 1970s while working for the Dutch company Urenco. He was convicted of the theft, but the verdict was overturned.

Urenco is a British-Dutch-German consortium, and officials said it has not been implicated in the spread of the centrifuge technology.

A Urenco spokesman told the Reuters news agency that the company did not do business with Iran, Libya or North Korea and that the technology may have been passed to those countries by means outside its control.

Centrifuges are used to process uranium into fuel for reactors or fissile material for bombs.

Most experts regard obtaining fissile material as the most difficult step in building an atomic bomb.

Evidence of Pakistan's possible role in transferring centrifuge technology emerged last summer when inspectors from the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency uncovered an extensive enrichment program in Iran based on Urenco's designs.

After several inspections and protracted negotiations with the agency, Iran conceded in November that it had received centrifuge drawings and components from several middlemen, including Pakistanis, according to diplomats. Pakistan drew suspicion again last month after Libya announced that it was abandoning its development of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and opened its doors to inspectors from the United States, Britain and the IAEA.

Diplomats said in recent interviews that IAEA inspectors had been shown two types of centrifuge equipment in Libya. They said the equipment was clearly based on the designs of the Dutch unit of Urenco and its German affiliate.

The designs appeared to have come from Pakistan, although other sources may have helped. The Libyan centrifuge program, the diplomats said, was in its early stages.

Centrifuge cylinders similar to those developed and manufactured by Urenco were visible in photographs taken inside one of the Libyan warehouses and shown to the Los Angeles Times.

U.S. officials have said that Pakistan traded centrifuge enrichment technology to North Korea for missiles and missile technology in the late 1990s. Little is known about the extent of Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program, which is an alternative to its production of weapons material from plutonium.

Pakistani authorities have denied transferring nuclear technology to Libya. They also have said that any transfers to North Korea stopped before Gen. Pervez Musharraf came to power in a military coup in October 1999.

But Pakistani officials have conceded that people who were trying to make money might have sold nuclear technology to Iran in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Pakistani intelligence officials have questioned several senior scientists about the Iran transfers, including Khan. Several people remain in custody, including Khan's personal secretary, Islam ul Haq.
24 posted on 01/20/2004 1:17:39 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
RSF Voices Concern to Canada and EU About Stalled Justice in Iran

January 20, 2004
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders expressed its concern to Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham and his 15 EU counterparts on 20 January over the stalled Zahra Kazemi case in which, it said, Iranian authorities appeared to be in no hurry to see justice done.

"Since the trial of the alleged killer was adjourned, there do not appear to have been any further developments in the case. The lawyers for the victim's family have not been allowed to look at the legal file so that they can properly prepare their case," said Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders. "The authorities have not fixed any date for the adjourned hearing and we do not even know if the lawyers will have an opportunity to examine the complete file," he added.

The international press freedom organisation called on the foreign ministers to do all within their power to see that this case was thoroughly investigated and justice was done and to obtain the repatriation of Kazemi's body to Canada.

The journalist's body was buried in Shiraz in the south of the country on 22 July 2003, contrary to the wishes of her son, Stéphan Hashemi, a French-Canadian living permanently in Canada. As you know Zahra Kazemi's mother who lives in Iran, had asked for the body to be repatriated to Canada and had signed a request to that effect at the Canadian embassy in Teheran. The Canadian authorities moreover supported the request.

Despite this there was a hurried burial in Iran and since then, calls for the body to be exhumed and repatriated to Canada have fallen on deaf ears. The journalist's mother has said publicly that she had been put under pressure to allow the burial in Iran.

Reporters Without Borders appreciates Canada's initiative that led to a resolution in the UN General Assembly on 12 December 2003 condemning human rights violations that continue in Iran. In accordance with the European Parliament's invitation to the Council on 15 January 2004, our organisation strongly supports and encourages the European Union to present a similar draft resolution at the next session of the Human Rights Commission in particular to vigorously condemn unfair detention, which is still current practice in this country

The Iranian-Canadian journalist, who was living in Canada, was arrested on 23 June 2003 while photographing families of prisoners in front of Evin jail in the north of Teheran. She was beaten during her detention and died of her injuries on 10 July. After first trying to hide the cause of the journalist's death, the Iranian authorities recognised on 16 July 2003 that she had been "beaten".

Following a struggle between reformists and conservatives who mutually accused each other over the death of the journalist, an Iranian intelligence services agent, Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, was named as the suspected killer and arrested. His trial was adjourned on 4 November 2003. Lawyer Shirin Ebadi, who won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize has said that she will defend the interests of Kazemi's family.
25 posted on 01/20/2004 1:18:58 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Fear for Relatives

January 20, 2004
Hendon and Finchley Times
Tom Spender

Barnet-based Iranians have won the support of 220 MPs in their fight to prevent their relatives in Iraq being expelled from a resistance base back to Iran, where they face persecution.

Five thousand Iranian members of the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI) - which is listed as a terrorist organisation by the US - were due to be sent back to Iran from Iraq by the end of last year, according to the Iraqi Governing Council.

The move worried Iranians in Barnet such as Azadeh Hosseini, 19, of Mill Hill, who said their relatives in the PMOI would almost certainly face imprisonment, and even torture and execution, if sent back to Iran.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that such a move would break the Geneva Convention, which considers the PMOI members to be civilians, because they did not take part in the US-led war in Iraq.

It states that they cannot be deported against their will, particularly to a country where they may be persecuted.

Now the MPs, alongside 85 members of the House of Lords, have called for the PMOI members' safety to be guaranteed and for the PMOI to be removed from the terrorist list.

Dr Rudi Vis, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, added his support, saying he would be extremely concerned for the welfare of the PMOI members if they were sent back to Iran.

Ms Hosseini said she and other UK-based Iranians were trying to send news to their relatives via the Red Cross organisation.

"Over 300 MPs and lords are supporting us," she said.
26 posted on 01/20/2004 1:20:01 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The Troublesome, Vote-loving Ayatollah

January 20, 2004
The Economist
The Economist Global Agenda

America is getting more international help in its quest to build a peaceful, democratic Iraq but, ironically, its plans are under threat because the spiritual leader of the country’s Shia majority, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, is demanding fully democratic elections

AMERICA’S proconsul in Iraq, Paul Bremer, met the United Nations' secretary-general, Kofi Annan, on Monday January 19th, to plead for the UN's help in salvaging America's plan to give Iraqis their sovereignty back by the end of June. The plan is in danger of collapse because Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq’s most senior Shia Muslim cleric, insists there should be proper elections to choose the members of an interim national assembly that will select a new, provisional government. America insists it would be impossible to organise such a nationwide vote without delaying the handover of power. Instead it proposes that assembly members be chosen by local “caucuses”, in each Iraqi province. The caucuses’ members would in turn largely be selected by the Governing Council, a group of Iraqis appointed by America, who have already been given some restricted powers.

The Coalition Provisional Authority gives Mr Bremer's statements and outlines plans for governing Iraq. See also the US State Department's information on Iraq and the UN's Iraq section. The US Defence Department and US Central Command report on the security situation.

Mr Bremer, accompanied by members of the Governing Council, pressed Mr Annan to send a mission to Baghdad to assess whether or not direct elections would be feasible in the next few months. A Governing Council member allied to Mr Sistani said that if such a team of UN advisers were sent and decided that elections were not feasible, then the ayatollah would accept this. Mr Annan said further talks were needed before he could decide whether to send the mission, but diplomats said they expected a positive response.

Considering President George Bush’s avowed desire to build a strong democracy in Iraq that would set a positive example for the rest of the Middle East, he ought to have been heart-warmed at the sight of tens of thousands of Shias chanting “Yes, yes to elections!” as they protested in the southern Iraqi city of Basra on Thursday and again in the capital, Baghdad, on Monday. But the demonstrations were manifestations of Mr Sistani’s power to whip up strong opposition among Shias—who are an estimated 60% of Iraq’s 25m population. Though he is Iranian-born and speaks Arabic with a heavy Persian accent, Mr Sistani commands strong support from Iraqi Shias and could cause serious trouble if his demands are not met.

Mr Sistani and his people fear that the caucuses will be rigged to try to exclude the Shias from power, as they were under Saddam Hussein’s Sunni Muslim regime. Last week, the ayatollah issued a fatwa (religious decree) that “every Iraqi must have the right to vote”. His aides say that unless direct elections are held, he may issue another, tougher decree which would turn the Shias—hitherto largely supporters of the American-led invasion—into opponents, resisting America's presence alongside the remnants of Saddam’s forces. If so, hopes for an orderly handover of power would be shattered. The ayatollah has refused to meet Mr Bremer so he has been relying on the Governing Council to try to talk the cleric into a compromise.

America believes there is not enough time to produce the new electoral register that would be needed for direct elections. Mr Sistani argues, however, that the ration cards used for the UN's oil-for-food programme (which have just been reissued, without many hitches) could be used as voters’ registration cards. In a last-ditch bid to persuade the ayatollah to accept the caucuses, Mr Bremer is looking at ways to make them more open. But time is short: he has only until the end of February to pass a law on how the transitional assembly should be chosen.

Until Sunday's huge suicide-bombing outside America's main base in Baghdad—which killed more than 20 people, mostly Iraqis—things had begun to look more promising for America’s Iraqi adventure. The level of deadly attacks against coalition forces seemed to have fallen slightly since Saddam was captured in December. Polls have shown that a majority of Americans continue to support the war but, over the weekend, the number of American deaths in Iraq rose to above 500—a fact that may provide a focus for opponents of the war. While America is still providing the overwhelming majority of the 152,000 foreign troops in Iraq, the number of other countries sending their forces to help in peacekeeping and reconstruction has grown to more than 30. On Monday, the first contingent of Japanese troops arrived in Iraq. Eventually, about 600 Japanese soldiers will be stationed in the country, in Japan’s largest military deployment since the second world war.

The reinforcements being sent by allies mean that America can start to bring home some of its battle-weary troops. On Thursday, a planeload of troops from the 101st Airborne Division arrived home in Kentucky. In the next few months, all 20,000 members of the division will return home. The prospect of waves of GIs marching home after a successful mission to build a democratic Iraq would do no harm to Mr Bush’s campaign to get re-elected in November’s presidential vote. But achieving this outcome, rather than a renewed upsurge of violence, depends on persuading Mr Sistani to compromise.

The Americans have already given in to the cleric’s demands that Iraq’s new constitution be written by directly elected representatives—these will be chosen in a national poll by March 2005; and later that year, once the constitution is written, elections for a new parliament will be held. But if the Americans give in to him again they are likely to enrage Iraq’s other religious and ethnic groups, such as the Sunni Arabs—around 15-20% of Iraqis—who are used to running the country and thus reluctant to see the Shia majority dominating. To complicate things further, Iraq’s Kurds are demanding a “federal” Iraq in which their homeland in the north of the country has strong autonomy. This has put them into conflict with the small Turkomen minority in the north, which fears being dominated by the Kurds.

Persuading the rival religious and ethnic groups to compromise, and keeping the handover plan on course, would be easier if the UN returned to Iraq to oversee the political transition (they were withdrawn last October after two bomb attacks on the UN headquarters in Baghdad caused heavy casualties). Mr Annan has said they will only return if they are given a significant role that makes it worth risking their personal safety. After meeting Mr Annan, Mr Bremer said he hoped the UN would return to play a role in Iraq soon. There was, however, no indication from the UN chief of when his staff might be sent back.

In the meantime, it remains unclear if Iraq can hold together and become a peaceful, liberal democracy in which no group subjugates any other. Long the outpost of one empire or another, the country had little chance to develop a sense of nationhood before Saddam came along. During his long and brutal dictatorship the Shias were suppressed and the Kurds brutalised, and the country’s nascent political institutions were destroyed.

This is the wreckage upon which America now proposes to erect a beacon of hope for the Arab world. It will be a very tough, though not impossible, task.
27 posted on 01/20/2004 1:21:17 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; ...
Freedom in Iran
Looking toward the spring.

By Bahman Batmanghelidj & Kamal Azari
28 posted on 01/20/2004 1:26:23 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
There was, however, no indication from the UN chief of when his staff might be sent back.

My initial response is that the UN should return and help calm the situation quickly, get Sistani pacified, and let things keep moving. But, after thinking further I am reminded that the UN does not want America to succeed in Iraq. The question is will they use Iraq to harm the US?

29 posted on 01/20/2004 2:21:17 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Said to Renege on Nuclear Promises

The Washington Times ^ | Jan 20, 2004 | GEORGE JAHN
Posted on 01/20/2004 3:29:13 PM PST by neverdem
30 posted on 01/20/2004 3:35:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

By Koorosh Afshar*


I’m a young Iranian. Like many of my friends, I am also a student. Shortly after the 11 September terrorist attacks, I read an article that has stuck in my mind ever since. Its message was simple: "Nowhere in today's world can we live happy lives while at the same time, in another part of it, reactionary, militant despots plot and plan against humanity and civility from their dens".

When my peers and I gather for our regular underground meetings, we often discuss that article. It helps to remember it as we plan our next moves against the 24-year-long plague that has hit our homeland, the land of the Persians.

The article did not strike me because I suddenly lost my own security after 9/11. We had no security to lose. My generation in Iran has never known security or, for that matter, real happiness. Many of my peers have been lost to the Islamic Republic's dens of torture or solitary confinement. But, as cruel as 9/11 had been for the world, it gave me hope that the tragedy in New York and Washington would mark the beginning of many changes.

I sensed that the world would finally seek to cure the illness, rather than merely treating the symptoms of a disease we, in Iran, know all too well: clerical fundamentalism and militancy.

But even as we Iranians push against our regime, we wish to share with you our story, in the hope of arousing in you an urge to lend moral support to our desire to end the mullahs' regime.

Clerical militancy has not only brought upon us the wrath of the Western world, but has also led to desperation for the many Iranians suffering under the Islamic Republic. My generation of Iranians, and there are some 32 million of us born just before or shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

I have heard that in America, our peers are known as "Generation X". But in Iran, we are called the "burnt generation". We started our political lives early. As children in kindergarten, we learned to march and beat our fists, shouting: "Down with America!" "Down with Israel!" (or from time to time, depending on the politics of the day, Britain or Russia). No one ever bothered telling us anything about why we were supposed to harbour such ill will towards the "Satan-of-the-day".

Years before the world cared about Saddam, we got to know him all too well. As children we sought refuge in our mothers' arms as his artillery and missiles rained down on our homes, day and night, for months on end. My peers all have stories about that eight-year nightmare. We lost fathers, brothers, arms and legs, cities, villages. And above all, my generation lost its innocence, to what, at the end, became the mullahs' war of political convenience.

After the New York tragedy, I remember helplessly crying when I read one day, on the Internet, about how careful Americans were to protect their children from emotional scars. Your government experts and teachers recommended that parents reinforce their love for children and keep their little ones from watching television.

When we had our tragedies, our leaders, whether "reformer" or "hardliner", sought to fill our streets with hysterical mobs carrying coffins on their shoulders and chanting war slogans. This we saw live every day, in our streets and on television, for eight long years. Can you imagine the "emotional scars" on a 6-year-old seeing the burnt skeleton of his father, his weeping mother by its side? I can. I am that child.

My family's "sacrifice" on behalf of the mullahs' "holy war" is supposed to bring me and many thousands like me certain entitlements such as food coupons, guaranteed university admittance, and employment. At first, we did receive special pensions. But today, there is little left for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their homeland.

The "Foundation of the Oppressed" charged with protecting our interests has become a multibillion-dollar fiefdom for Tehran's Islamist thieves. Only the well-fed children and siblings of the clerical elite benefit now. They retain absolute control over every imaginable moneymaking venture in Iran. From pistachios and satellite dishes to opium and oil, anything that makes money is divvied up among the mullahs. Mr. Rafsanjani and his children can tell you. They lead the list of our Islamist thieves.

Today, however, despite our despair, we have found hope. Hope among ourselves. Hope in our numbers. Hope in the fact that the world seems to finally be caring. Hope in the fact that we may at last have a chance against the mullahs' rule.

Yet, we are nervous. Nervous of the endless debate among your opinion-makers: Shall we, or shall we not listen to the Iranian people? Is their discontent real or is it not? Should we engage moderate Islamists or should we not? Axis or no Axis?

Listen to our story. It is the story of life. It is the story of liberty. It is the story of the unalienable right to pursue happiness. It is the dream that made America, America. We have been deprived of the very basic rights that you take for granted every day in your free world. We, too, want and deserve the freedom to dress, to speak and to assemble. The freedom to love and the freedom to dream.

We do not need military intervention in Iran. We do not need clandestine operations either. We need nothing but your resolve. Lend us a hand and we will take care of the rest. How, you ask? Simple: Do not deal with our mullahs. It isn't only America's children that deserve to dream.


Editor’s note: Koorosh Afshar is a pseudonym for a student in Tehran. His name has been changed for his protection.
31 posted on 01/20/2004 4:31:14 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
The Qaddafi Precedent

January 21, 2004
Weekly Standard
Henry Sokolski

Now that Libya's disarming, who's next?

Without Actually meaning to do so, the Bush administration has pulled off one of the most remarkable nonproliferation victories since the advent of the nuclear age: Libya, a hostile, isolated dictatorship, pledged to give up its support of terrorism and its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. This nonproliferation "walk-in"--a direct result of Bush's invasion of Iraq and U.S.-allied efforts to interdict illicit strategic weapons-related goods--breaks the mold of nonproliferation history and suggests not only what's possible, but what should be done next.

Muammar Qaddafi's nuclear renunciation is unprecedented. The handful of nations that previously relinquished their nuclear weapons capabilities--South Africa, Brazil, Ukraine, and Argentina--did so less out of fear than from confidence, which each of these nations experienced when they moved toward more democratic self-rule. Until Qaddafi's submission, there seemed little reason to believe that authoritarian proliferators would relent without liberalization (or overthrow). The hardest cases--Iran and North Korea--suggest this is still true.

Libya's example, though, provides hope for the cases in between. Neither Libyan backsliding nor a repeat of America's 1986 bombing run on Qaddafi's home now seems probable. If we are willing to enforce the nonproliferation rules we have--as we did with Iraq and are now doing against illicit nuclear trade--blocking the further spread of nuclear weapons may be possible, in brief, without bombing every proliferating prospect.

The question now is how to exploit Libya's nuclear exit to accomplish this.

Many nonproliferation experts-- including those that rushed off earlier this month to visit North Korea's known nuclear sites and those who still object to America's invasion of Iraq--insist that Libya's announcement means we should now cut nuclear deals with Pyongyang and Tehran. Shooting at these goals now, though, is a surefire loser.

To begin with, Pyongyang and Tehran are hardly contrite about violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). When uranium enrichment equipment bound for Libya was interdicted this fall, Qaddafi showed penitence; he immediately signed a sweeping missile, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons renunciation pledge (penned with British and American officials); and invited international nuclear inspectors in.

After U.S. officials confronted Pyongyang with evidence of nuclear cheating, it countered defiantly, threatening everything from nuclear testing to plutonium exports. Now North Korea refuses even to freeze its known nuclear facilities (much less its undisclosed uranium production plants) unless it is paid handsomely in advance with energy aid and security guarantees. Dismantlement is something Pyongyang claims it will consider doing only after two U.S.-promised plutonium-producing power reactors are completed (i.e., pretty much never).

Iran is no less shameless. Over the last four weeks, its leadership announced that President Bush deserved the same fate as Saddam, insisted Iran would resume enriching uranium (and admitted to expanding its enrichment capacity despite its pledge last October to freeze such work), demanded Bush apologize for accusing Iran of having a nuclear weapons program, blew off an American aid delegation headed by Senator Elizabeth Dole, and met with Russian officials to accelerate completion of a prodigious plutonium-producing power reactor at Busheir. Tehran is expanding its reactor and uranium enrichment efforts (both critical to making bombs) even though the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is still not yet able to find Iran in full compliance with the NPT.

Cutting a quick deal with Iran or North Korea, then, hardly guarantees another Libya. More likely, it will jeopardize the gains we have made. As a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman noted last week, the idea that Pyongyang might follow Libya's example by unconditionally renouncing its nuclear weapons capabilities is a delusion. "Expecting a change in our position," he explained, "is like expecting rain from a clear sky." Tehran's leaders, who insist on Iran's right to all forms of "peaceful" nuclear energy, are no less obdurate. If we make even partial concessions to their current demands, Qaddafi's worthy nonproliferation standard will be the first to suffer.

Focusing on Iran and North Korea as the next Libya is therefore, at best, a distraction. Meanwhile, adjacent to Libya, a clear nonproliferation opportunity has gone begging for attention. At Ain Oussera, in the middle of the Sahara, Algeria continues to expand a large nuclear "research" facility. This nuclear park, whose centerpiece is a large Chinese reactor covertly built during the 1980s, is capable of making approximately a bomb's worth of plutonium a year. Unlike Algeria's smaller research reactor operating in Algiers, the Ain Oussera facility is encircled with SA-5 air-defense missiles.

If this second reactor were clearly needed to make medical isotopes (as Algeria claims it is), it would still be plenty worrisome. Spanish intelligence as well as disarmament experts, though, fear it is simply a bomb factory. Worse, Algeria has only grudgingly revealed the bare minimum about it to IAEA inspectors and did so only after U.S. intelligence discovered the project by accident months before it was to go critical. With Qaddafi's nuclear renunciation, U.S., Libyan, French, and Spanish officials should approach Algeria to close down Ain Oussera.

Then there's Egypt, which has chemical weapons and long-range missile programs (an overt, active SCUD program and a dormant Vector solid-rocket effort dating back to the 1980s). Egyptian officials claim they are planning to acquire a nuclear-desalinization plant, which, again, would make nuclear weapons-usable plutonium. Would Egypt be willing to renounce the plant if Israel shut down its own plutonium-production reactor, now well over 30 years old and in need of a billion-dollar-plus refurbishment? Finally, there is Syria, a state that has rockets and chemical weapons and recently tried to acquire a nuclear desalinization plant from Russia. Wouldn't our diplomatic hand be strengthened against Iran if we could get other Middle Eastern nations to swear off nuclear-power reactors, uranium centrifuges, desalinization plants, and large, unnecessary nuclear research facilities?

If the United States and its allies were to take this approach, it could succeed, but only if they insist that the NPT be read in a more sensible way--i.e., in a fashion that deprives members of the right to acquire all they need to break out and build a large arsenal of nuclear weapons within a matter of weeks. A good start here would be to demand that all countries, including the United States, terminate any large nuclear effort that isn't profitable enough to be fully financed by private capital. This rule would put a crimp on Iran's nuclear plans and those of many other would-be bombmakers. It's one principle Washington and its friends should insist upon at the upcoming NPT review conference in 2005.

Finally, to give meaning to the NPT, the United States and its allies will have to act against violators well before they have photographic proof they have a bomb. The IAEA didn't suspect Libya was covertly working to enrich uranium. Even U.S. intelligence was incomplete until this fall's interdiction. And so it has been historically with every other nuclear proliferator, from the Soviet Union to Iran: By the time it's clear we have a problem, the best options for dealing with it have evaporated.

What this suggests--contrary to the post-Iraq war rants for more intelligence and greater caution--is that we be prepared to act more quickly on less information. Of course, it would be helpful if we did not wait until the only option for action was regime overthrow. This, among other things, recommends Bush's international Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict illicit nuclear weapons-related trade: It gives meaning to the rules and offers nonproliferation officials an action plan other than wringing their hands or devising new ways to cave in to proliferators.

We've certainly tried the latter over the last half-century and produced abysmal results. After Libya, we have clear cause to stop.

Henry Sokolski directs the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center and is editor with Patrick Clawson of "Checking Iran's Nuclear Ambitions" (U.S. Army War College, 2004).

The weekly Standard - 01/26/2004, Volume 009, Issue 19
32 posted on 01/20/2004 5:45:53 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Nuclear Pledge Broken"

January 21, 2004
Anton La Guardia

Senior western diplomats accused Iran yesterday of breaking a promise to halt uranium enrichment, a key process in making a nuclear weapon.

The Iranian undertaking, given three months ago, was hailed at the time as marking a new approach to the disarmament of rogue states through diplomacy rather than war but western officials said Teheran was still buying and assembling machines to enrich uranium. "The Iranians are definitely still out procuring equipment," said one senior western source.

"This is clearly a breach. The goal is cessation of enrichment and we are moving in the opposite direction."

Iran says it has only "temporarily" suspended operation of the gas centrifuges to enrich uranium and insists it has a right to make fuel for nuclear reactors to generate electricity.

However its behaviour will deepen suspicion in America and Europe that Teheran's civil nuclear programme is being used to mask a secret project to build an atomic bomb.

The latest disclosure could undermine the fragile agreement negotiated in October by Britain, France and Germany to avert a new crisis over weapons of mass destruction.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, met his German and French counterparts on Monday to discuss Iran and other issues.

Diplomats said the United States was certain to raise the enrichment issue when the governing board of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog meets in March.

This carries the implied threat to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

"If the Iranians want to go to the Security Council, they are going about it the right way," said one diplomat. "We are in the middle of a negotiation. Like all negotiations with Iran, it's hard work. You have to do a lot to get a little."

Under concerted pressure from America and Europe, Teheran admitted in November to lying about its nuclear programme for 18 years, confirmed it had made small quantities of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium and agreed to a new system of intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran also promised to suspend "all uranium enrichment-related activities" as part of the deal that saved Iran from being referred to the Security Council and being treated as an international pariah.

However, the issue is now mired in a legalistic argument over what constitutes "enrichment activities". Diplomats said the Iranians had adopted a very narrow definition: halting the operation of gas centrifuges while continuing to build up their facilities.

However the Americans and Europeans believe Iran should stop building the machines or even importing the components. The Europeans' aim is to convince Iran to abandon uranium enrichment in exchange for guaranteed supplies of nuclear fuel from Russia or western Europe.

Iran's move in November was seen as a major diplomatic breakthrough, and a tangible success for the war in neighbouring Iraq.

But Iran's co-operation now looks half-hearted after Libya's dramatic announcement last month that it was ridding itself of all weapons of mass destruction.

American and British weapons experts, overseen by the CIA and MI6, arrived in Tripoli at the weekend to dismantle the weapons programmes and aim to complete the job "in weeks or months". Much now depends on Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the international atomic agency.
33 posted on 01/20/2004 6:48:07 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; ...
"Nuclear Pledge Broken"

January 21, 2004
Anton La Guardia
34 posted on 01/20/2004 6:49:07 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Hmm....Is it just me, or did Iran say that it would only temporarily stop their unranium enrichment? That's how I remember it, anyway. Now people are surprised they've started up again?? What did they think?? That the regime would have second thoughts and decide that maybe they shouldn't continue because it was kind of against the "spirit" of the agreement? LOL
35 posted on 01/20/2004 8:39:00 PM PST by nuconvert ( "It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.")
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping!
36 posted on 01/20/2004 9:47:44 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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”

37 posted on 01/21/2004 12:11:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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