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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
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 01/20/2004 12:03:26 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 01/20/2004 12:06:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran’s Request For Israel Is An Illusion

American Daily
20th of Jan, 2004
Gary Fitleberg

Iran is clearly attempting to divert attention away from its own activities of concealment and deceit in a nuclear weapons program, believed by America for weapons of mass destruction, by pressing Israel to relinquish nuclear weapons.

Although it is believed that Israel has nuclear weapons capability, Israel has never ever either confirmed nor denied it has a deterrent nuclear program.

According to Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharraz, Israel should be pressed to give up nuclear weapons.

Kharraz made is remarks after talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. Syria has proposed that the UN Security Council should declare the Middle East a nuclear weapons free zone. "International pressure should be applied to Israel to eradicate its weapons of mass destruction in the interests of the whole region," Kharrazi said. The Security Council is divided on the question of taking up Syria's proposal, which is perceived as aimed at Israel.

One can not expect Israel to give up a deterrent force against any enemy sworn to its annihilation and destruction. Iran and Syria, two of the largest state sponsors of terrorism must clean up their own act and house before pointing the finger at others in the Middle East. Any attempt to pressure Israel to relinquish a deterrent nuclear program which is neither confirmed nor denied is clearly an illusion as well as a smokescreen in covering up its true objective.
Gary is a Political Analyst specializing in International Relations with emphasis on Middle East affairs.
3 posted on 01/20/2004 12:11:54 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: DoctorZIn
Editorial: Iran's stacked vote

January 20, 2004

Iran's hard-line clerics know that their rule is illegitimate. They continue in power only because of their control of the security services, courts and the media. They also know the Iranian people would vote them out of office in a Tehran minute.

The Iranian people can't dismiss the clerics because the final say over every function of government is concentrated in the handpicked, self-perpetuating Council of Guardians.

Iran does have a parliament, a relatively powerless one, but in the closest thing Iran has ever had to a referendum, liberals and moderates swamped the clerics' conservative allies in the 2000 parliamentary elections. The Guardians are determined it won't happen again in new elections Feb. 20.

The Council has the final say over who can run for the 290 seats at stake. More than 8,200 would-be candidates have registered to run, but the council has disqualified hundreds of liberal and moderate candidates, including dozens of sitting lawmakers. And the purge continues.

There isn't much the United States can do to unrig this election, but, for the first time, the council is hearing mutterings of active resistance. Now, Iran's supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, says he will review the candidate disqualifications.

If Iran's clerics press ahead with dictating the outcome of the election by truncating the ballot, the world should denounce this election for what it is — a fraud.,1651,TCP_1125_2581974,00.html
4 posted on 01/20/2004 12:12:44 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Retreat in Iran


IN THE latest round of the tussle for power in Iran, the Guardians' Council, a conservative-dominated body, has barred nearly half of 8,000 hopefuls from standing for election on political and theological grounds. Among them are about 80 sitting members in a parliament where reformers have put conservatives on the defensive. In a sense, the council's move to alter the political landscape ahead of the parliamentary elections, which are due to take place on Feb 20, is a sign of desperation. Conservatives are already in charge of the main levers of power: the courts, the armed forces, the broadcast media and the council, which can reject Bills it considers unIslamic or unconstitutional and veto election candidates. The scale on which the council has used its veto power this time - only 8 per cent of candidates were blocked out before the 2000 vote - suggests hardliners are more nervous about their prospects than they would like to confess.

However, whatever the conservatives' problems, the reformers are faring worse, the very shrillness of their protests betraying their desperation. Many legislators staged a daily sit-in in the lobby of the Majlis, reformist President Mohammad Khatami warned that he might resign if the disqualifications were not reversed, and his political party has threatened to boycott the elections. It appeared for a moment that the political disquiet was having some effect when supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the Guardians' Council to reconsider the disqualifications. But on Sunday, council spokesman Ebrahim Azizi showed that very little had changed. Calling on candidates to prove their 'practical commitment' to Islam and the Islamic Republic, he said that those who, among other things, question the religious government are not qualified to run.

The criteria are so broad it is almost impossible for the council not to net those it wants to - and make overtures to those it wishes to. This Mr Azizi did when he said that certain candidates, notably incumbents, could still run given that their 'aptitude' had been approved in the past.

But even here, he hedged his words in a way that suggests the council is trying to drive a wedge in the reformist camp between those it considers deserving of rehabilitation, and those whose criticism of unelected hardliners in open parliamentary sessions has crossed the line.

Although barometers of the public mood show that 70 per cent of Iranians want reform, citizens do not seem to care much about the current impasse. They have grown accustomed to the reformists' failure to contend with conservatives and translate political promises into reality. Indeed, even those who care do so with a healthy dose of scepticism. For example, a student leader pointed out that MPs did not object to the widespread vetoing of candidates until their own turn arrived. Such is the degree of resignation that Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel peace prize recipient, has said that President Khatami should keep his word and resign if hardliners keep stalling his agenda. That dramatic denouement - which would end Teheran's pretence of a flirtation with democracy - does not look likely. What does appear possible is a tactical manoeuvre by the council. If it publishes a final list only a week or so before the elections, the reformists will have little time to campaign. For the time being, there is a stalemate between reformers and hardliners. To many Iranians, that is another way of saying conservatives are winning without reformists being forced to concede they are on the losing side.,4386,231009,00.html
5 posted on 01/20/2004 12:15:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Austrian President due in Iran

Jan 19, 2004, 23:53

President Thomas Klestil will pay a four-day state visit to Iran starting this Saturday for political and economic talks with his host, President Mohammed Khatami, according to Klestil's office in Vienna.

Accompanied by a large economic and business delegation, Klestil would discuss possibilities of building up economic relations with the Islamic Republic, the announcement said.

There would also be talks on world political issues.

Klestil's visit comes at a difficult time in Iran, observers say.
6 posted on 01/20/2004 12:16:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Amnesty urges Switzerland to back Iran rights

Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - ©2003

GENEVA, Jan 19 (AFP) -- Human rights group Amnesty International urged the Swiss government to use the visit of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami this week to back human rights reform in the Islamic republic.

Accompanied by Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, Khatami is due to make a one-day official visit to Switzerland on Tuesday, before participating in the World Economic Forum beginning beginning a day later in Davos.

Amnesty spokesman Juerg Keler, speaking to Swiss press agency ATS, argued that the human rights situation in Iran had not improved in the past few years under Khatami's reformist government.

According to the rights watchdog, Keler said, 113 people were executed in Iran in 2002. Other rights organizations have said as many as 420 people were executed by the regime.

Keler also condemned practices still in Iran like death by stoning and lashing.

Iran is embroiled in a crisis pitting Khatami's political allies against the powerful Guardians Council, a conservative-dominated body which has barred a large number of reformist candidates from standing in February election.
7 posted on 01/20/2004 12:18:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
'Hero' suspected in nuke transfer

By Anwar Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Abdul Qadeer Khan, the man revered as a national hero as the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, might have been involved in the transfer of nuclear-weapons technology to Iran, Pakistani authorities say.

Yesterday, officials in Islamabad confirmed that they had detained some of Mr. Khan's senior aides for questioning.

"So far, our investigations indicate that only one man is behind this alleged transfer. It is wrong to blame an entire nation for the mistakes of an individual," a senior Pakistani official told United Press International after the detentions.

Without naming Mr. Khan, the official said, "We gave him the status of a national hero when he did something for the country, but now if he makes a mistake, he will have to pay for his mistake as well."

Mr. Khan and some of his associates already have been questioned about suspected involvement in selling bomb-making know-how to Iran.

Pakistan denies detaining its nuclear scientists for questioning, but says several have been "debriefed."

Masud Khan, a spokesman for the Pakistan Foreign Office, who is not related to the scientist, said it was wrong to "presume" that those being debriefed were guilty.

"Some of them could also be cleared," he said.

The investigations, he said, were being conducted under Pakistani laws and "those who have not violated these should have no fears whatsoever."

Pakistan has been investigating the export of nuclear technology and equipment to Iran since early last month, when U.S. news organizations first reported the proliferation.

Quoting officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, several U.S. newspapers reported that Iran clandestinely had received centrifuges and other nuclear know-how from its Islamic neighbor Pakistan.

Tehran has acknowledged having centrifuge designs similar to those used in Pakistan but denied receiving them from Islamabad.

Pakistan denied the government in Islamabad might have been involved in the transfer, but said some scientists might have handed over nuclear equipment to Iran "out of personal ambition or greed."

Those detained yesterday included Islam-ul Haq, a retired major of the Pakistan army who has been Mr. Khan's senior aide since at least May 1998 when Pakistan exploded nuclear devices after similar tests by arch rival India.
8 posted on 01/20/2004 12:20:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
9 posted on 01/20/2004 2:49:15 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; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Their games/shows have started -- Pilot

Iran body allows 200 candidates

BBC News
20 January, 2004

Iran's Guardian Council is allowing 200 reformist candidates of more than 3,500 blacklisted a week ago to stand in next month's elections.

Abbas Kadkodaye of the conservative legal body said it was speeding up the review process after an appeal by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Council's decision has plunged Iran into crisis provoking accusations that hardliners are trying to rig the polls.

President Khatami's political party has threatened to boycott the elections.

"After the order was given by the Supreme Leader, we have been obliged to speed up our work," said Mr Kadkodaye on the Guardian Council website.

"So far 200 candidates have been approved".

He did not specify which candidates.

'Urgent measures'

Mr Khamenei intervened at the weekend, urging the 12-member body - which screens all laws and candidates - to re-examine its blacklist.

"The Guardian Council has enough time to review the cases carefully... to prevent the violation of anyone's rights," he said at the time.

On Monday, President Khatami's party, Association of Combatant Clerics, raised the pressure by threatening to boycott elections scheduled for 20 February.

"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," it said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the electoral vetting arm of the Guardian Council disqualified more than 3,500 of the 8,000 or so candidates.

Since that time, around 80 of the banned MPs have refused to leave the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, in protest at their being banned from re-election.

'Bullying tactics'

While their candidacies received the backing of Ayatollah Khamenei, he warned the Guardians Council not to retreat in the face of people who wanted to resort to bullying tactics, a tacit reference to the protest itself.

The Guardians Council on Sunday reiterated its defiant posture in a rare news conference, saying it would not bow to pressure to retract the candidate vetoes.

Spokesman Ebrahim Aziz said its members would "not succumb to any pressure or propaganda", but added that they would follow Ayatollah Khamenei's request to review the cases.

The Council has until 30 January to complete its review.

Those still disqualified have another chance to appeal before campaigning starts on 12 February.
10 posted on 01/20/2004 5:42:01 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Is there any truth in that, senor?)
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To: F14 Pilot
I'm sure they are trying to attract people to get more votes for their favorite candidates.
11 posted on 01/20/2004 5:44:39 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.)
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To: F14 Pilot
And Saudi Arabia will develop nukes, next.
12 posted on 01/20/2004 8:12:57 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Freedom in Iran
Looking toward the spring.

By Bahman Batmanghelidj & Kamal Azari

The oppressive clerical dictatorship in Iran has once again squashed any illusions of "democratic reform" via recent actions by its hard-line Council of Guardians, which has disqualified a high percentage of candidates from running in the February parliamentary elections.

Since 1997, Iran has had four national elections, in which Iranians have been able to vote for candidates claiming to represent the less extremist elements of the governing clergy. Over 70 percent of the population voted for candidates they hoped would offer more freedom, though this has been in vain, as clerical hard-liners ignored the voice of the voters and continued to use their power to veto, repress, and crush even a few modest efforts at a political opening. For all the elections Iran holds, and for all the post election spins of "reformists" and "religious democracy," the real decisions are made by a handful of ayatollahs behind closed doors.

Now the hard-line dictatorship has overreached by trying to prevent even symbolic opposition. Consequently, the Iranian people are witnessing the detested clerical dictatorship fighting amongst themselves, as all 18 provincial governors, 80 members of parliament, and even the minister of the interior staged a public sit-in demanding reversal of the decision to exclude more than half of the candidates.

Not that it matters to the cause of freedom. This tyranny is incapable of reform — the regime must, and will be, replaced by the Iranian people. Today not only the young population of Iran, and its women, but also a significant proportion of the military and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as most of the clergy in Iran, all oppose and reject the rule of the hard-liners. In fact, the regime's own public opinion polls found only about seven percent gave it their support. The regime's repression, massive financial corruption, economic failures, and its negative effects on the Islamic faith of the population demonstrate what President Bush correctly said in November: "In Iran, the demand for democracy is strong and broad...."

As pro-democracy Iranians in exile, in touch with like-minded Iranians at home, our purpose is to use nonviolent means to help the people of Iran remove the current repressive and corrupt dictatorship. We seek a democratic, secular system of governance, which will respect the inherent human rights of each person, including freedom of religion, political speech, assembly, and association. We espouse free, fair, and open elections as the means of choosing the political leadership.

Replacement of the Islamic republic in Iran with a democratic regime means the immediate termination of Iran's support for international terrorism; an end to its covert intervention and support for violent elements in other states — including Iraq and Afghanistan; and, dismantling of its massive, expensive, and dangerous military programs in weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. This will promote peace, bring safety to the people of Iran, and will save billions of dollars annually.

We strongly advise the Bush administration to consistently support the cause of freedom, and decline to listen to the siren song of "openings" with tyrants proffered by the diplomats at the State Department. There must be no concessions, no easing of sanctions against this brutal and oppressive dictatorship. The pro-democratic movement is organized, and we welcome the support and participation of all who share our purposes and our principles in the coming peaceful campaign of massive citizen protest to bring about the removal of the despotic Ayatollahs in Iran.

This is our liberation; we shall do it as Iranians. From the world's governments, we ask only political encouragement of freedom, and an end to open or secret talks that the clerical regime can use to feign legitimacy and to maintain its rule in the face of rejection by the people of Iran.
13 posted on 01/20/2004 8:17:04 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Bump!
14 posted on 01/20/2004 9:54:02 AM PST by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
RSF Calls for the Immediate Release of Independent Journalist

January 19, 2004
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders has called for the immediate release of independent journalist Ensafali Hedayat, employed by a number of reformist dailies, who was arrested at his home by order of the Tabriz revolutionary court in north-western Iran on 16 January.

"We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ensafali Hedayat, arrested without reason. We note that, with ten other journalists imprisoned, Iran is the Middle East's largest jail for journalists. We call on the Iranian authorities to free all of them, " said Robert Ménard, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders.

Hedayat had just returned from Germany where he attended the first conference of the union of Iranian Republicans in Berlin from 8-10 January. He had been accredited and covered the meeting as a journalist. The authorities, who searched his home, seized personal documents included data CDs and the hard disk of his computer.

Hedayat was previously arrested on 16 June 2003, at the University of Tabriz, where he was covering student demonstrations. Accused of inciting the students to revolt, he spent more than 20 days in solitary confinement. After his release on 14 July, he wrote a letter to President Khatami in which he spoke out against his prison conditions and against torture practised by the security forces.
15 posted on 01/20/2004 10:06:11 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Study the Koran?

January 20, 2004
Daniel Pipes

“Anyone concerned with what's happening in our world ought to spend some time reading the Koran.” Andy Rooney, the famed CBS commentator, gave this advice shortly after 9/11, as did plenty of others.

His suggestion makes intuitive sense, given that the terrorists themselves say they are acting on the basis of the holy scripture of Islam. Accused 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta had a Koran (sometimes spelled Qur’an) in the suitcase he had checked for his flight. His five-page document of advice for fellow hijackers instructed them to pray, ask God for guidance, and “continue to recite the Koran.” Osama bin Laden often quotes the Koran to motivate and convince followers.

Witnesses report that at least one of the suicide bombers who tried to assassinate Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf last month was reading the Koran before blowing himself up. Hamas suicide videotapes routinely feature the Koran.

And lots of non-Muslims in fact have been reading the Koran. In the weeks after Sept. 11, the book’s largest publisher in the United States reported that sales had quintupled; it had to airlift copies from Great Britain to meet the demand. American bookstores reported selling more Korans than Bibles.

All this, incidentally, was music to Islamist ears. Hossam Gabri of the Islamic Society of Boston, a group tied to a terrorism funder, considers non-Muslims trying to understand the Koran “a very good development.”

But reading the Koran is precisely the wrong way to go about understanding “what's happening in our world.” That’s because the Koran is:

- Profound. One cannot pick it up and understand its meaning when nearly every sentence is the subject of annotations, commentaries, glosses, and superglosses. Such a document requires intensive study of its context, development, and rival interpretations. The U.S. Constitution offers a good analogy; its 2nd Amendment consists of a just twenty-seven words (“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”) but it is the subject of numerous book-length studies. No one coming fresh to this sentence has any idea of its implications.

- Complex and contradictory. Contradictions in the text have been studied and reconciled over the centuries through extensive scholarly study. Some verses have been abrogated and replaced by others with contrary meanings. For example, verse 9:5 commands Muslims not to slay pagans until the sacred months have passed and verse 9:36 tells Muslims to fight pagans during those same months. The casual reader has no idea which of these is operational. (In fact, the latter is.)

- Static: An unchanging holy scripture cannot account for change over time. If the Koran causes terrorism, then how does one explain the 1960s, when militant Islamic violence barely existed? The Koran was the same text then as now. More broadly, over a period of fourteen centuries, Muslims have been inspired by the Koran to act in ways aggressive and passive, pious and not, tolerant and not. Logic demands that one look elsewhere than an immutable text to account for such shifts.

- Partial: Holy books have vast importance but do not create the immediate context of action. Reading the Bible in isolation gives limited insight into the range of Jewish and Christian experiences over the millennia; likewise, Muslims have read the Koran differently over time. The admonishment for female modesty meant one thing to Egyptian feminists in the 1920s and another to their descendants today. Then, head coverings represented oppression and exclusion from public life. Today, in the words of a British newspaper headline, “Veiled is beautiful.” Then, the head-covering signaled a woman not being a full human being; now, in the words of an editor at a fashion magazine, head-covering “tells you, you’re a woman. … You have to be treated as an independent mind.” Reading the Koran in isolation misses this unpredictable evolution. In brief, the Koran is not a history book.

A history book, however, is a history book. Instead of the Koran, I urge anyone wanting to study militant Islam and the violence it inspires to understand such phenomena as the Wahhabi movement, the Khomeini revolution, and Al-Qaeda. Muslim history, not Islamic theology, explains how we got here and hints at what might come next.

Daniel Pipes ( is a historian, director of the Middle East Forum, and author of Miniatures (Transaction Publishers).
16 posted on 01/20/2004 10:11:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
A US Couple Learn the Koran in Iran's Holy City

January 20, 2004
Christian Science Monitor
Michael Theodoulou

QOM, IRAN -- People back home simply cannot understand why Wally and Evelyn Shellenberger have chosen to spend nearly three years in the Iranian holy city of Qom.

They are the only American Christians living in the 1,000-year old desert city, which is perched on the edge of a great salt lake 90 miles south of Tehran. It is a world apart from the green hills of their home in Indiana.

The couple are Mennonite Christians who are in Qom on an exchange program with an Islamic institute aimed at building understanding and friendship between the two faiths.

Between the turquoise-and gold-domed mosques and walled seminaries, they share the dusty streets of this austere city - Iran's foremost Shiite Muslim center of clerical learning and a prime destination for pilgrims - with bearded clerics and women swathed in black chadors. There are no bars, fast-food outlets, or video stores in Qom. And Westerners are conspicuous by their absence in the city that was the ideological epicenter of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, a cornerstone of which was anti-Americanism.

"Ordinary people back home think it's a dangerous place to be, but actually it's probably as safe a place as any in the world," says Dr. Shellenberger, a soft-spoken retired psychiatrist who wears a trim white beard without a mustache. "We're treated very well as guests."

It was human tragedy on a massive scale that led to the first contacts between Iran and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), an organization of the Mennonite Church of the US and Canada, that is involved in relief and reconciliation work. The MCC sent humanitarian assistance to the Iranian Red Crescent in 1990, after an earthquake measuring a magnitude of 7.7 struck northwest Iran, killing 35,000 people. The relationship has continued, with aid sent to help in later earthquakes and to assist Iraqi refugees in Iran.

The MCC's student exchanges with Iran, aimed at building people-to-people contacts and encouraging dialogue between American and Iranian citizens, began in 1998 and was modeled after a similar program that existed in Eastern European countries during the cold war.

Seldom has there been a time when dialogue between ordinary Americans and Iranians been more vital. The Shellenbergers' stay in Iran has encompassed not only the Sept. 11 attacks on America, but the US-led wars against two of Iran's immediate Muslim neighbors, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Despite perceptions to the contrary in the West, Iranians are far less anti-American than many of their counterparts in Arab countries whose governments are allied to the US, say some familiar with the Middle East. Surveys show more than 70 percent of Iranians favor restoring diplomatic ties with Washington, which were severed more than two decades ago.

But this is no surprise for the Shellenbergers. "The [Iranian] people are wonderful. They are hospitable, friendly, and helpful. They are sincere in their faith and I feel like they are brothers of mine," says Wally Shellenberger.

The simple life favored by Mennonites, has made Qom less of a culture shock for exchange students such as the Shellenbergers. That alcohol is forbidden in Iran, for instance, is no problem for Mennonites, who do not drink either.

Not that the Shellenbergers lead Spartan lives in Qom. Like other MCC volunteers working abroad, they intended to live like people in their host country, but the Iranian institute where they study was responsible for their accommodation and provided it in style. Home has been a spacious apartment with ornate ceilings.

The couple spent most of their first year and a half learning Farsi. This was followed by reading through the Koran with a professor at the Imam Khomeini Institute of Education and Research, where they attend some four sessions a week. Their learning is reinforced by much reading on their own. Wally Shellenberger is currently devouring the works of Hafiz, a 14th-century Sufi mystic and Iran's great medieval lyric poet.

Evelyn Shellenberger does not mind wearing the mandatory head scarf and long coat but has never become comfortable in the chador, an all-encompassing garment worn by devout or conservative Iranian women, that she is required to wear on visits to the institute. The word chador literally means tent. "It's more of a cumbersome thing to wear and it doesn't have any buttons," her husband explains.

Qom was not their first experience of a culture strikingly different from that of the Midwest. In the late 1960s, the Shellenbergers spent four years as medical volunteers in a hospital in Biafra, the short-lived secessionist state in Nigeria where at least 1 million people died of famine during civil warfare. The couple believe Christians could learn from the Islam they have come to know in Iran. There is more family stability in the Islamic Republic and less personal selfishness, he says.

Ordinary Iranians are surprised when they discover the Shellenbergers have chosen to learn about Islam in Qom in order to foster a better understanding of the faith back home.

Some Iranians ask if they intend to convert to Islam. "No," Mr. Shellenberger tells them politely, adding: "In understanding Islam better, it helps me be a better Christian."
17 posted on 01/20/2004 10:13:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Oil to Constitute 97 % Of Iran's Income from Nat'l Wealth Sale

January 20, 2004
Asia Pulse

TEHRAN -- Oil and related products are expected to constitute 97 per cent of the state revenues from the sale of national wealth and assets, according to the budget drafted for the next Iranian fiscal year (to start on March 21).

The Plan and Budget Studies Department at the Majlis Research Center in an analytical report on next year`s budget bill said that oil and related products will bring in a revenue of about rls 147 trillion (US$18.6 billion) next year.

The report said the figure will reach rls 250.008 trillion if the revenue, earned from domestic oil sale, is also included in the portion -- an amount which exceeds general budget income. It said government`s income from the sale of financial assets, namely cash drawing from the Forex Reserve Fund, privatization of state-run institutions and firms, borrowing, and sale of participation bonds, is expected to stand at about rls 77.594 trillion, showing a growth of 20.9 per cent compared to the figure for this year.

The draft budget stipulates a cash drawing to the tune of rls 43.612 trillion out of the Forex Reserve Fund, a revenue of rls 2 trillion from the privatization of the state-run institutions and firms, rls 1.888 trillion foreign borrowing and an asset of rls 8.5 trillion from the sale of participation bonds next year. President Mohammad Khatami presented the draft budget for the Iranian year starting March 2004 to the Majlis last month.

The roughly US$127 billion budget was based on minimum economic growth of 7.3 per cent in a bid to reduce unemployment, which stood at 12.8 per cent in the first six months of 2003. The draft budget envisages oil revenues of about US$16 billion, calculated at the rate of US$19.5 per barrel.
18 posted on 01/20/2004 10:15:26 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
General Grilled in Pakistan Nuclear Secrets Scandal

January 20, 2004
Irish Independent
Zahid Hussainin

A maverick Pakistani general who allegedly tried to sell nuclear technology to Iran for $12bn was being questioned last night.

General Aslam Beg was held after Abdul Qadeer Khan, the architect of the Pakistaninuclear programme, told investigators during a debriefing that nuclear co-operation with Iran was authorised by the senior army officer.

General Beg, one of a number of senior officers with Islamist sympathies, was the Chief of Army Staff from 1988-1991, the period during which the country's nuclear secrets were allegedly passed on to Iran. He is reported to have tried to persuade the civilian governments in power during that period to transfer nuclear technology in return for the money that Iran was allegedly prepared to pay and which would have underwritten the Pakistani military budget. The government rejected the offer.

Pakistani authorities have also detained eight other officials linked with its nuclearweapons laboratory. Major Islamul Haq, a close aide and principal staff officer to Dr Khan, was detained by two intelligence officials while dining at Dr Khan's house. The authorities are also questioning two more senior scientists in the latest sweep. Pakistani intelligence officials last month questioned Dr Khan and at least three other scientists, who had keyroles in the Pakistan nuclear test of 1998. Seven scientists have now been detained.

Masood Khan, a Foreign Ministry official, said: "There is no presumption of guilt; it is probable that some of these people would be cleared."

Pakistani authorities deny any involvement in the proliferation of nuclear technology but admit that some scientists "motivated by greed" might have sold nuclear secrets.
19 posted on 01/20/2004 10:16:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Straw Discusses Iran with France and Germany

January 20, 2004

LONDON -- Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has met his French and German counterparts to discuss Iran and other issues. Straw hosted Dominique de Villepin and Joschka Fischer at Chevening, his official country residence outside London late on Monday, officials said.

"The foreign ministers had a private, informal meeting at Chevening to discuss Iran" and other topics on which they have been "actively engaged", a Foreign Office spokesman said on Tuesday.

"They will continue to keep in touch on a regular basis as they will with other EU colleagues," he said.

Rumours of the meeting had circulated on Monday night but none of the three governments would confirm it, fuelling speculation of a new diplomatic initiative.

The three foreign ministers travelled to Tehran late last year to persuade Iran to comply fully with international demands over its nuclear programme.

Diplomats said that intervention signalled a willingness to try and bury sharp differences between London, Paris and Berlin over the war in Iraq.

Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder are due to hold a summit next month.
20 posted on 01/20/2004 10:17:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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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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