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Iranian Alert -- January 22, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.22.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/22/2004 12:05:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

1 posted on 01/22/2004 12:05:38 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 01/22/2004 12:09:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Disqualified reformists woo alienated supporters in Iran

Leader of conservative group hints sit-in may have dire fallout

Proponents question why parliamentarians failed to fight for more sensitive issues but staged a sit-in when they were barred from running in elections

Borzou Daragahi
Special to The Daily Star

TEHRAN: Reformists here once galvanized thousands of organizers and turned out millions of voters in a peaceful mass movement to change the nation’s harsh clerical dictatorship from within. But the latest assault by conservative clerics against the reformists shows how the movement has faltered.

Eighty reformist politicians are holed up in Iran’s Parliament as part of a protest against a decision not to let them and thousands of others run in Feb. 20 parliamentary elections.

The issue has sparked a political crisis in Tehran. Mohammad Ali Abtahi, an adviser to reformist President Mohammad Khatami, told reporters Wednesday that a number of ministers had already submitted their resignations, which they would withdraw only if the Council of Guardians, the 12-man committee which barred the candidates, would give way.

Reformist politicians have threatened to resign before, but never have.

After two weeks of talks with each other and constituents, the deputies said they will likely announce Thursday whether they will continue, end or intensify their protest.
All week long they have tried to drum up support among an apathetic populace. In a crusty walk-up building in the old section of town, a group of skeptical young men and women gathered this week to hear the politicians make their case.
“We, the sit-in strikers at the Parliament, hope to be able to block this major diversion from the correct path,” Fatemeh Haqiqatjou, a Tehran parliamentarian, told the audience of around 50. “Either the people will trust us, or the mistrust that has spread among all Iranians will prevail and the strikers won’t be supported.”
But the listeners, mostly former student activists still nominally attached to the reformist cause, were unimpressed. “As you can see,” said Javad Alaei, an erstwhile reform activist, “no one gives them serious support.” The former student activists questioned why the parliamentarians failed to hold a sit-in strike when the Council of Guardians refused to approve a law outlawing torture; or when students were imprisoned and held without charge; or when the government first stalled, then botched, then quashed an investigation into who ordered a series of assassinations of dissidents; or when conservative judges shut down reformist newspaper after newspaper, hauling journalists off to jail.

“On other, more sensitive issues they didn’t show any real will to fight; there was no protest or action on their part,” said Sajad Qoroqi, political editor of a Tehran college newspaper. “But now that they themselves have been barred from running, they’re coming forward and claiming that they’re defending reform and the rule of law.”

Led by Khatami, the reform movement pulled off a string of electoral victories, taking control of the presidency, Parliament and local government councils in the late 1990s.
But they failed to build and sustain a mass movement to top their electoral victories. Indeed, Khatami and others in the reform movement often discouraged their supporters from taking their grievances to the streets or organizing political rallies.

Instead, the reformists were content to wrangle with their opponents within Iran’s convoluted parliamentary and legal framework, a constitutional theocracy which has an elected government but is ultimately controlled by powerful conservative clerics.

Though they had the votes, reformists were not able to wrest control of Iran’s security, intelligence, judiciary and armed forces from the tight grasp of conservative clerics.

And as Iran’s youthful, dynamic population hurtles toward modernity ­ embracing the internet, satellite television, foreign languages and fast-food ­ the conservatives thwarted any attempts to substantially change Iran’s political system.

Many reformists themselves concede their strategy has failed, dousing the political hopes of Iranians and turning them off from the political process.

“Unfortunately, the time that people were present on the political scene and were expecting more effective actions from their representatives has passed,” Mohsen Kadivar, a reformist cleric and member of parliament, told his colleagues in Parliament earlier this week.

Faced with their own imminent political extinction at the hands of conservative clerics, they are now trying to woo back their lost shock troops: students, women, youth and the intellectuals clamoring for new jobs and new opportunities and new freedoms.

The protest itself has taken on the shape of an old-fashioned campus sit-in.

The representatives and their allies, make speeches and drink tea. Strategy sessions run into the early morning, with breaks for prayer.

For their part, conservatives have dismissed the protesters as hypocrites who call for the rule of law but break it when it goes against their favor.

Kayhan, a conservative daily, described the sit-in as an attempt to sow “tension and unrest and insurgency” on the eve of the elections while Habibollah Asgaroladi, leader of a conservative group, warned of a crackdown.

“If the sit-in continues, it may carry unpleasant consequences for those organizing it,’’ he said, according to the official Iranian news agency.

The daily Jomhouri Eslami, in a Jan. 13 editorial, called the reformist protesters tools of the “European, American, and Zionist propaganda machines.” But the Council of Guardians itself may be playing out a carefully scripted move aimed at further weakening the reformists.

At the behest of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the spiritual and political leader who appoints the Council of Guardians and has ultimate authority, the council has begun reviewing the disqualifications. It has already said it would re-instate the candidacies of at least 200 of the several thousand barred from running, but says the process might last until just before the elections and that it will bar candidates that do not meet its “criteria,” even if they hold seats now.

“Lawmakers whose speech or behavior suggest that they have had no loyalty to Islam or the constitution will remain disqualified,” said council spokesman Ebrahim Azizi.
Conservatives could allow some reformists already holding office to run while barring others ­ including candidates representing Iran’s nationalist and secular political strains as well as ethnic minorities. That would split the reformists even further from the population.

But reformists say they are aware of that possibility and insist they will not let it happen.

For now, many Iranians ­ including 70 percent of students at Amir Kabir University, a former political hotbed ­ say they will not vote, preferring to let the reformists lose. They say they prefer the clarity of an all-out confrontation between the people and the government to the agonizing pace of reform.

“Allowing the conservatives to win would be better than this situation,” said Alaei, a grizzled veteran of the political battles who’s been jailed three times. “With the reformists in power, if you criticize the government, you’re criticizing the reformist government. If you don’t criticize the government, your supporting this bizarre economic and political system.”
3 posted on 01/22/2004 12:15:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran denies getting nuclear material from N. Korea

Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 22 January 2004 0943 hrs

DAVOS, Switzerland : Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has given new assurances that Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful and denied that Iran has any improper ties with North Korea.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, where he delivered a keynote address, he insisted Iran never owned weapons of mass destruction and "vehemently" opposed production of nuclear arms.

Mr Khatami also strongly denied that Iran had received nuclear materials from North Korea and ridiculed US President George W Bush's claim that tough US policies had made Iran a good nuclear citizen.

"Iran has never had weapons of mass destruction," the reformist president told reporters.

"We vehemently oppose the production and manufacturing of nuclear weapons and for this reason we have extensive, sincere and honest cooperation with the IAEA," the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Mr Khatami also issued a strong response to reports that North Korea had supplied Iran with nuclear material.

"I categorically deny the shipment of nuclear material by North Korea to Iran. We have nothing to hide," he said.

The Iranian president said his country has a stronger relationship with South Korea than the communist North.

Mr Khatami said Iran reserved the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Tehran has been accused by Washington of seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Mr Khatami rejected any suggestion that it changed its nuclear policy for fear of the United States after the Iraq war as suggested by Mr Bush in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.

He said Iran was already a participant in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and other international efforts to curb the spread of weapons.

He attributed any progress to Tehran's dialogue with European countries instead.

Mr Khatami also challenged Mr Bush's claim of success in Washington's Middle East policies, citing its failure to capture Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden or find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Despite speculation of the beginnings of a thaw in relations between Iran and the US since the Iraq war, Mr Khatami said Tehran had yet to see any signs of respect and a desire for an equal dialogue from Washington.

But he had noted a change in tone by the US administration that once characterised Iran as part of an "axis of evil."

"I hope the changes we have witnessed in tone used by the United States will not be a tactical ploy but a real strategic change in policies and attitudes."

On the political crisis unfolding in Iran, Mr Khatami said he has no intention of stepping down as president, despite the fact that many cabinet ministers are said have submitted their resignations.

He expressed confidence that his showdown with conservative is heading towards a settlement after free elections are held. - CNA
4 posted on 01/22/2004 12:17:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran not bowed to US pressure on NPT

09:39:58 Þ.Ù
Davos, Jan 22 -

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Wednesday rejected comments by US President George W. Bush that its cooperation with the IAEA was a sign of giving in to US pressure.

"I do not accept that. Before all this fanfare, we were an official member of the NPT. We have signed the CTBT, and a convention on the prohibition of biological and chemical weapons and have consistently said that all our nuclear activities are within the rules," Khatami told reporters following his keynote speech at the forum.

Indicating that US foreign policy has not been successful, Khatami said: "America, with all its might, invaded Afghanistan in order to quash Bin Laden. Has the threat of al-Qaeda disappeared? And Iraq was occupied under the pretext of WMD. Clearly the pu blic opinion was deceived because there are no WMD."

Asked whether he would use the opportunity of the international forum for a dialogue with co-participant US Vice President Dick Cheney, Khatami reiterated that a prerequisite for holding a political dialogue is "mutual respect" on both sides, however adding that he "hoped" the "changes we have witnessed in the US tone are not tactical" ones.

Questioned by a journalist on whether Iran could ever recognise an Israeli state, the Iranian President responded by saying that Tehran has a "moral debate with Israel and the world which is that occupation does not bring legitimacy."

"It is very dangerous to occupy a land and claim its ownership, but we do not intervene in the affairs of others and we respect the decisions of the Palestinian people, whatever their decisions (be)."

Turning to whether reforms were possible in Iran with its given constitition, Khatami reminded that through the course of its history, Iran has called for peace and democratic values, adding that the "Islam I want, is one that is compatible with freedom and progress, and I believe that these have been taken into account in the current constitution."

"No doubt our people need and desire democracy, one that is compatible with its religious and cultural values and the present constitution has the capacity to make such a democracy possible," Khatami stressed.

"I and our nation will do our best to achieve this goal," he promised, adding that however "any constitution can be changed by a referendum of the people (...) if there is a need and the time is ripe."

Responding to reported allegations that Tehran was supporting Shiites in Iraq, the Iranian Head of State said that ethnic rivalry is always a cause of concern but that there "has never been a conflict between Sunni and Shiites in Iraq."

"We have always said: One man, one vote in Iraq," Khatami added saying that Tehran considers a "democratic government" compatible with its cultural and religious background as the "best" one for its neighbour.

In response to a final question on alleged shipments of nuclear material to Iran, Khatami said Tehran "vehemently denies" the transfer of such material to Iran by North Korea.

"We have nothing to hide, and even before signing the additional protocol, we declared that we accept the terms of the IAEA."

The press conference with Khatami in Davos came on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which opened earlier during the day in the presence of over 30 heads of state and government and some 2,200 participants, mostly political and economic per sonalities, from around the world for five days of talks themed "partnering for prosperity and security."
5 posted on 01/22/2004 12:20:14 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Inventors of the `Islamic bomb' lose hero status

Taipei Times, Taiwan
Thursday, Jan 22, 2004

NUCLEAR DETERRENT: The scientists behind Pakistan's nuclear weapons were once treated as heroes, but they are now being rounded up amid fears over proliferation

In a country that takes great pride in having produced the only "Islamic bomb," few people enjoy higher esteem than the scientists at the heart of Pakistan`'s three-decade-old drive to produce a nuclear deterrent to archrival India.

But now, prominent members of the nuclear establishment -- accustomed to being treated as national heroes -- are suffering a humiliating fall from grace.

An investigation into alleged leaks of sensitive secrets abroad has picked up steam since a scientist was first detained two months ago. Over the weekend, a half-dozen more scientists and administrators were rounded up for open-ended interrogation.

The US government has made nonproliferation a priority, fearing nuclear material could end up with terrorists or rogue states. Pressure has mounted on Pakistan to investigate allegations that its program has spilled sensitive technology or know-how to countries such as Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Relatives say as many as 24 men, many of them respected scientists, may be in custody, a far higher number than the government has acknowledged. Family members say they have had no reassurance from the government, no indication where the men are being held and no word on when they might come home.

Defying warnings from government agents, the wives, sons and daughters of several detained men appealed Tuesday for their release.

"First, they treated them as heroes of the nation," an angry Sobia Nazeer Ahmad, daughter of one detainee, told reporters in Islamabad. "Then they treated them like criminals."

Her father, Nazeer Ahmad, is director general of scientific technology and cooperation at Khan Research Laboratories, Pakistan's top nuclear weapons lab. It is named for Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program and a household name nationwide.

On Saturday night, a half-dozen men in civilian clothes turned up at the family's home. They told Ahmad to come for questioning and, the family says, manhandled a servant. They haven't had word of Ahmad since.

In the living room sits a poster-size photograph of a former president hanging Pakistan's most prestigious medal around Ahmad's neck. Above it hangs a plate painted with two nuclear-capable missiles to commemorate the 1998 nuclear missile tests that shocked the world, coming days after a similar demonstration by archrival India. Pakistan is the only predominantly Islamic country with nuclear weapons.

"He's a patriotic and aboveboard man," said another daughter, Saima Adil. "What happened to him was disgraceful. The whole street saw it."

Similar scenes played out at other homes around the capital over the weekend. In one case, a director of the laboratory was taken into custody by a pair of men as he was dining with the now-retired Khan himself.

Ruled by the military for most of its 56 years, the country of 146 million people exists in a permanent state of edginess toward neighboring India. The countries have fought three wars, and nearly had a fourth as recently as two years ago. Relations have warmed in recent months, with talk of comprehensive peace talks to begin soon.

The nuclear establishment is revered for protecting national security. And in a country where so much goes wrong -- from illiteracy and poverty to fitful attempts to restore democracy -- Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) is considered a peerless success.

"KRL is the only institution that our country can boast of in the world, where we are on a par with the developed world," said Shafiq-ur Rahman, whose father, Sajawal Khan Malik, the lab's retired head of maintenance and general services, was detained Saturday.

Until recently, the detentions would have been unthinkable, but since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US, President General Pervez Musharraf has become a key US ally.

Pakistan has denied officially proliferating nuclear technology, but has acknowledged that rogue individuals may have been the source of leaks.

The government has acknowledged detaining "five to six" scientists and administrators for what it calls "debriefings." Almost none has been released, relatives say, and no formal appearances or charges have been made in court.

"We are moving toward the conclusion of these debriefing sessions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan said Monday. "We haven't made our final determination yet. There is no presumption of guilt. It is probable that some of these people would be cleared."
6 posted on 01/22/2004 12:30:55 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: F14 Pilot
There is cynicism in Iran, but civil society will recover

Almost a century after the 1906 constitutional revolution, a new crisis is brewing in Iran, a fact highlighted by the recent decision of the Council og Guardians to bar candidates to next months parliamentary elections. The outcome of this nascent parliamentary struggle remains to be seen. However the implications of the contest are great not only for the 70 million Iranians who have repeatedly voted for political reform, but also for the wider Middle East region, where opposition and reformist political expression is seldom permitted.

Understanding Iran?s political landscape requires distinguishing between theory and practice. In theory, the Iranian political system has democratic manifestations, most prominently a popularly elected president and Parliament. In practice, however, unelected institutions such as the Council of Guardians often intervene in this landscape to reject parliamentary bills and to vet, and sometimes rebuff, potential presidential and parliamentary candidates.
This vetting process is what pushed the current Majlis, or Parliament, to stage a continuing sit-in to protest against the disqualification of potential candidates from the upcoming Feb. 20 legislative elections. Earlier this month the Council of Guardians barred 3,605 candidates from running (some 200 have since been reinstated), 84 of whom were incumbents, including President Mohammed Khatami?s brother, Mohammad Reza Khatami, and others from the dominant reformist Second of Khordad Party. Candidates can be disqualified for any number of reasons, ranging from bribery charges to refusing to support the constitution, the notion of Velayat-e Faqih (guardianship of the jurisconsult) or the supreme leader.

However, the reasons for the recent disqualifications have yet to be disclosed. In solidarity with the Majlis representatives, Irans 27 provincial governors threatened to resign, along with at least 10 members of Khatamis Cabinet. The president himself has vacillated in his usual manner, blending statements of support such as ?at this stage my historical mission is to prevent the illegal seizure of the levers of power, to appeals for compromise and concessions in line with the official position of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The political chaos has emerged at a unique moment in Iranian history. Having barely recovered from the earthquake at Bam, the Iranian government has been under pressure to accommodate its domestic constituency, while also playing its hand internationally. The reform movement and Khatamis 1997 election brought hope and promise to many Iranians, who overwhelmingly sought a reversal of the countrys international isolation and relief from the impact of the Iran-Iraq war and economic and political repression.

Such hope proved elusive, however, as conservative-dominated institutions threatened by the prospect of political transformation exerted every effort to emasculate the reform movement. And they have succeeded, with Khatami and his reformist allies blocked at every turn. Yet what many Iran analysts and policymakers have overlooked is the lack of unity among reformists themselves in the formulation of their political and economic objectives. And as reformists have pursued diverse, over-ambitious aims, they have further alienated apprehensive conservative bastions of power, such as the judiciary and the Council of Guardians.

Conservative clerics have been awaiting an opportunity to reassert control over Iran?s system, and the parliamentary elections provide the perfect occasion. However, this power play is strategically significant for other reasons besides the obvious aspiration of conservatives to tighten their hold on power. Though marginalized by the wave of popular support for the reform movement, the hardliners remain the ultimate decision-makers in Iran. By rendering the reform movement impotent, they hope to regain the initiative with a cynical population disappointed by the failed promises of the reformists.

Change engineered by the conservatives would most likely seek to emulate a Chinese model favoring economic and cultural liberalization over political openness which is already the trend in Iran. With unemployment and inflation skyrocketing, social controls would continue to be relaxed in such a way that youths, who make up half of the Iranian population, would be allowed greater freedom to interact in public, even being permitted to attend open-air concerts a recent development. Such changes could prolong the life span of the failing Islamic regime, albeit ephemerally since the existence of an autonomous civil society is now inherent to Iran?s political conscious.

A conservative victory and unified government could also provide a solid opening for engagement with the United States. Khatami was allowed to pursue a policy of detente and dialogue that restored Iran?s reputation with the European Union (EU) and the Arab world, but little progress has been made with the US. With no domestic reformist threat on the horizon, the conservatives may choose to pursue a policy of engagement with Washington, even compromising on such issues as weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, Israel and human rights. This process would be delicate, however, as the Bush administration and the EU have opposed the undemocratic exclusion of parliamentary candidates.
Khamenei could intervene at the eleventh hour and allow all the disqualified candidates to run for office. By doing so he would come across as a benevolent leader supportive of democracy. This maneuver would be astute considering the apathy that has taken hold of the Iranian electorate. In light of the lack of popular participation in the last municipal elections, as well as the generally pessimistic mood among youths after the protests and arrests last summer, it is likely that the decline in voter participation will continue, enabling conservative candidates to dominate in the forthcoming elections.

Most noteworthy during this time of political discord is the lack of public solidarity with the ongoing protest efforts in the Majlis. Perhaps Iranians are bored with watching the unending power struggle between members of the political elite, or maybe students, who are in the midst of their examination period, have grown tired of protesting in vain. Whatever the answer, such skepticism and discord, by demobilizing the potential reformist opposition, are strategically important to the conservatives? strategy.
Ultimately, however, the fatigue and doubt prevailing among Iran?s dynamic, young and pro-Western population will only be temporary. The seeds of political reform have been planted in the collective imagination. The future prospects for political change are undeniable, since Iran?s century-long democratic struggle has finally taken root in a blooming civil society.

A conservative clampdown, and the ensuing political respite, might in fact re-energize Iran?s vibrant population and induce Iranians to once again push for the political, economic and social reforms needed to embrace the challenges of the new century. This struggle for self-determination is without doubt the most promising in the region and one that should be observed and championed from the sidelines.

Sanam Vakil, who was recently in Iran, is a doctoral candidate and lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She wrote this commentary for THE DAILY STAR
7 posted on 01/22/2004 12:43:52 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
(replies to # 3&4)

"Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has given new assurances that Iran's nuclear programme is peaceful and denied that Iran has any improper ties with North Korea."

Thanks, Khatami. I feel much better. lol

"We have nothing to hide," he said"

LOL! NO.....they hid things for at least 18 yrs, but they're not hiding anything now. LOL!

“If the sit-in continues, it may carry unpleasant consequences for those organizing it,’’ he said, according to the official Iranian news agency."

"The daily Jomhouri Eslami, in a Jan. 13 editorial, called the reformist protesters tools of the “European, American, and Zionist propaganda machines.” But the Council of Guardians itself may be playing out a carefully scripted move aimed at further weakening the reformists."

"carefully scripted move" ?

"The former student activists questioned why the parliamentarians failed to hold a sit-in strike when the Council of Guardians refused to approve a law outlawing torture; or when students were imprisoned and held without charge; or when the government first stalled, then botched, then quashed an investigation into who ordered a series of assassinations of dissidents; or when conservative judges shut down reformist newspaper after newspaper, hauling journalists off to jail."
"But now that they themselves have been barred from running, they’re coming forward and claiming that they’re defending reform and the rule of law.”

That's it in a nutshell.

8 posted on 01/22/2004 4:49:40 AM PST by nuconvert ( "It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.")
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To: AdmSmith
The hardliners are working aginst their own good.

Iran hardliners attack pro-reform gathering
Thu 22 January, 2004 10:58

By Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Scores of hardliners have attacked a reformist gathering in central Iran, injuring at least five people in the first outbreak of violence of a tense build-up to parliamentary elections, according to a reformist deputy.

Political tensions are running high in Iran after the Guardian Council -- an unelected hardline body with sweeping powers -- vetoed thousands of reformist candidates from standing in the February 20 vote.

The mass disqualification of allies of moderate President Mohammad Khatami prompted dozens of top officials to threaten to resign and MPs to stage a 12-day sit-in protest at parliament.

But until now most Iranians have appeared unmoved by the political standoff and there had been no reports of large street protests or clashes.

The violence erupted on Wednesday when a speaker at a pro- reform gathering in the central city of Hamedan accused the Guardian Council of disregarding Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's advice for the disqualifications to be reviewed.

"Some 200 hardliners attacked the podium, broke the microphone and punched people," the parliamentarian, who asked not to be named, told Reuters on Thursday.

At least five people, including Hamedan MP Hossein Loqmanian, were injured, and one person was hospitalised, the official IRNA news agency reported.

It said the attackers in Hamedan chanted slogans such as "Death to hypocrites" and "We are ready to sacrifice our lives".

Hardline vigilante groups fiercely loyal to Iran's clerical establishment have attacked reformist gatherings and student protests in the past.


Reformers insist the 24-year-old Islamic Republic has to become a more democratic state where the rule of law is paramount if it is to survive. Hardliners fear reforms might open the floodgates of change and sweep aside clerical rule.

Liberals accuse the Guardian Council of trying to clear the way for conservatives to regain control of parliament, which they lost to reformists in the 2000 parliamentary election.

The council judged many of those disqualified to have displayed insufficient loyalty to the constitution and the system of clerical rule began after the 1979 revolution.

The Guardian Council has so far re-admitted into the race only 200 of the 3,100 candidates who appealed their bans.

The council -- a 12-man body comprised of conservative clerics and Islamic jurists -- has until the end of the month to announce its revised candidate lists but reformists accuse it of dragging its feet to disrupt their campaigns.

Public support for reformists has waned since Khatami's shock election win in 1997 when millions of Iranians backed the mid-ranking cleric and his pledges to enforce the rule of law, bolster democratic institutions and foster a more open society.

But hardliners have used their power bases in the judiciary and Guardian Council to close scores of liberal publications, jail dozens and reformist activists and block legislation proposed by the pro-reform parliament
9 posted on 01/22/2004 4:50:03 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
"The hardliners are working aginst their own good. "

Yeah, well, they're fanatics.
10 posted on 01/22/2004 5:44:07 AM PST by nuconvert ( "It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.")
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping!
11 posted on 01/22/2004 7:01:46 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: DoctorZIn
Rice: US Must Pursue Nuanced Policy Toward Iran

January 22, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
Rebecca Christie

WASHINGTON -- U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. faces a more complicated situation in Iran than it did in Iraq and must craft its policies accordingly.

"People go back and forth in Iran in ways they never did in Saddam Hussein's Iraq," Rice said in a radio interview Wednesday. "A lot is going on in Iran. It's a complicated place and I think we want to have a nuanced policy in dealing with it."

Rice said the U.S. has made "a little bit of progress" in its efforts to disarm Iran and move the country toward democracy. However, she said Iran's regime still will require unified pressure from outside to continue recent reforms and make more progress.

"The international community is going to have to stay very tough on this," Rice said. "They're not going to be able to let the Iranians have the wiggle room that's been the case in the past."

Rice was one of several senior officials interviewed by Fox News Radio host Tony Snow during a White House "media day" for broadcast reporters. The interview aired on KLIF 570 AM radio in Dallas.

During the interview, Snow quizzed Rice on the outlook for another major battle besides the war on terrorism: Super Bowl XXXVIII. Due to time constraints, her response couldn't be broadcast, but Snow reported back on the bottom line.

"She's with the bookies," the talk show host said. "She thinks New England's gonna win, unless of course Carolina gets lucky."

-By Rebecca Christie; Dow Jones Newswires; 202 862 9249.
12 posted on 01/22/2004 7:52:04 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Reformers will "Lose Parliament"

January 22, 2004
Gulf News Online

A senior conservative official said Iran's reformists would lose their comfortable majority in parliament in elections next month even if a ban is lifted that keeps thousands of liberals from running.

Reformist allies of President Mohammed Khatami are in uproar over the move by the hardline Guardian Council – an unelected body with sweeping powers – to bar nearly half of the 8,200 hopefuls from running in the February 20 election.

But Mohammed Javad Larijani, head of international affairs in the conservative-controlled judiciary, said reformists would pay the price for not addressing voters' prime economic concerns.

"Regardless of the political skirmishes that are going on now, the reformists are going to lose at least 50 seats in parliament," Larijani said in an interview on Tuesday. "Even if the reformists hold a majority (in the next parliament), it will be a very shaky majority," he said.

A reduced majority would make life even more difficult for Khatami, whose government has struggled to overcome resistance to his reforms from conservatives who fear they could undermine Iran's Islamic values and clerical system.

Reformists won around 200 of parliament's 290 seats in 2000 elections and accuse the Guardian Council of trying to help conservatives reverse that defeat with the candidate bans.

But Larijani, who described himself as a "liberal conservative" and has advocated an Iranian rapprochement with arch-enemy the United States, said conservatives did not need to rely on the Guardian Council to beat reformists in the election.

"I think we should go easier on them (reformists) because they are going to lose enough seats to make us happy." Disillusioned with failed promises of reform and declining living standards, many Iranians have lost faith in Khatami and the reformists after nearly seven years in power.

Larijani, who speaks fluent English after spending six years at university in California before the 1979 Islamic revolution, said criticisms of Iran's election system were unjust.

"With this same system we and the left (now reformists) have changed power frequently over the last 25 years," he said.

He noted most of the conservative establishment, including himself, had strongly endorsed Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri in the 1997 presidential election which Khatami won in a landslide.

"So in my view this system is working. It cannot block the will of the people," he said. He said reformist MPs had wasted an oil price bonanza which could have been used to improve the economy.
13 posted on 01/22/2004 8:17:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Extremists Beat Up Iran Reformists

January 22, 2004
Yahoo News

TEHRAN -- Iranian hardliners beat up speakers at a protest meeting against the wholesale rejection of pro-reform election candidates, hours before the expiry of a reformists' ultimatum warning of a poll boycott.

Some 200 members of the radical Islamic Hezbollah movement burst into the meeting in the ultra-conservative town of Hamedan in western Iran late Wednesday, the state news agency IRNA reported Thursday.

Speakers were condemning the decision of the conservative Guardians Council to ban hundreds of reformists from standing in February 20 parliamentary polls for allegedly failing to satisfy the Islamic qualifications.

The assailants injured a number of speakers, including student leader Said Razavi Fagih, reformist MP Hossein Loghmanian and Hossein Mojahed, a head of the main pro-reform party, Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF), IRNA said.

The reformist daily Yas-e No reported that Mojahed was hospitalised with his nose and an arm broken.

The 12-member Guardians Council which screens all legislation and candidates plunged Iran into one of its most serious crises when it disqualified 3,605 of the 8,157 people seeking to stand for the parliament, or Majlis.

Most were reformists. Among those figuring on the blacklist were prominent figures in the reform movement and some 83 incumbent MPs.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week ordered the council, all of whose members he directly or indirectly appoints, to be less stringent in its vetting procedure.

The council has since reinstated some 300 candidates, but none of them were sitting MPs.

On Sunday, 18 reformist parties in a coalition said in an open letter to President Mohammad Khatami that they would decide on Thursday whether to boycott the election.

The coalition, led by the IIPF of Khatami's brother Mohammad Reza Khatami, said it would make its decision based on the extent of the Guardians Council's review process.

Several dozen reformists MPs were Thursday continuing a sit-in protest which was launched on January 11 when the Guardians Council issued its blacklist, triggering charges of an attempted "coup" in the Islamic republic.

"So far, the files of 260 (rejected) candidates have been approved," said Seyed Mohammad Jahromi, an election official in the council, quoted by the state television.

He said 10 commissions have been set up to re-examine the vetting process and that their decisions would be "announced gradually over the coming days".

Despite the ultimatum laid down by deputies, the Guardians Council has until January 30 to inform the interior ministry, which is in charge of organising the polls, of the final approved list of candidates, he said.

According to Tehran newspapers, five of Iran's vice presidents, including Massumeh Ebtekar, and six ministers, including Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mussavi-Lari, have handed in their resignations.

But Khatami was upbeat on Wednesday, saying at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland he had no plans to resign and that the crisis was moving towards a settlement.

"I still intend now to carry on with my duties and service to the people," the reformist president said. "The course of the events is going, hopefully through the grace of God, towards such a free and competitive election."

The US State Department, meanwhile, said Washington was keeping a close eye on the crisis.

"We think it's important that Iran's leadership permit free and fair elections through an electoral process that meets international standards and that government needs to be responsive to the needs of the people," deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said.

"This is an evolving situation and there are a lot of developments every day," he told reporters. "We are watching these events carefully."
14 posted on 01/22/2004 8:19:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
IAEA Sees Tough Implications Unless Iran Cooperates

January 22, 2004
Washington Post

DAVOS, Switzerland -- International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Thursday Iran must cooperate with the nuclear watchdog's efforts to monitor its atomic energy program or face "serious implications."

"They know it's very important for the agency to come to a conclusion that the Iran program is for peaceful purposes," he told reporters at the World Economic Forum. "It would obviously have serious implications if they do not continue to cooperate fully with us in investigating the scope, nature, and content of that program."

The United States suspects Iran to be acquiring nuclear arms under cover of its atomic energy program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes.
15 posted on 01/22/2004 8:20:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
That Iranian Nuclear Headache

January 22, 2004
National Review Online
Henry Sokolski

The IAEA's key role.

Some problems get worse even after they've been tackled. Tehran's admission late last week that it is still building uranium-enrichment centrifuges needed to make nuclear bombs is surely a case in point. Late last October, Germany, France, and Great Britain announced that Tehran had agreed to freeze this activity. Now, it appears they were bamboozled. If Europe and the U.S. are serious about capping the Iranian nuclear threat, they need to get the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to admit that it still can't be sure Iran is out of the bomb-making business and to demand that IAEA members (including Russia) suspend nuclear cooperation with Tehran until it can.

A review of recent developments suggests why at least this much is needed.

On September 12, 2003, the IAEA all but found Iran in violation of its Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations. The agency urged Tehran to suspend all uranium-enrichment and -reprocessing activities and advised it to open up to more intrusive inspections by signing an additional inspections protocol. The IAEA's deadline for these actions was October 31, 2003. On October 21, 2003, Tehran agreed with Germany, France, and Great Britain that it would sign the protocol and "voluntarily suspend all uranium-enrichment and -reprocessing activities as defined by the IAEA." The quid pro quo for this announcement was a promise that Iran could expect greater access to European high technology. Finally, in December, nearly two months after the IAEA's deadline, Tehran signed the additional inspections protocol and volunteered to adhere to it even without ratification. This produced sighs of relief in Europe and Washington.

What it didn't do, though, was address two problems. First, the protocol still allows Iran to come within weeks of getting nuclear weapons and, second, Iran has accelerated its nuclear program and done so legally. How is this possible? Mostly, it's a result of how the NPT is read. The treaty's popular interpretation permits NPT members to pursue even the most dangerous nuclear activities — i.e., ones that bring nations within weeks of producing nuclear weapons — provided these activities are open to occasional inspection. So long as this is how the treaty is viewed, intrusive inspections — even of the sort Iran just agreed to — will only confirm that allowable nuclear activities are underway. This will hardly reveal, much less guard against, what Iran is pursuing: We already know it is nearing completion of two worrisome, declared nuclear projects.

The first is a large light-water reactor being built with Russian help at Busheir. This undertaking is roughly 80 percent complete. Shortly after the IAEA's September ultimatum, Moscow announced it would delay completion of the plant — originally slated to go online late this spring — by about a year. Late last week, however, Russian and Iranian officials met and announced that they planned to accelerate Busheir's construction.

This is worrisome. Many experts insist that light-water reactors are "proliferation resistant." But all reactors produce plutonium usable for bombs. That's why we have the IAEA — to safeguard against "peaceful" reactors being put to military use. With large light-water reactors, like that at Busheir, over 50 bombs' worth of near-weapons-grade plutonium is produced during the reactor's first 15 months of operation. All that's required to get at this material is to remove the spent fuel from the reactor (something that is done as a matter of course approximately every 12 months) and chemically strip out the plutonium from the fuel rods.

If Iran was to undertake this stripping process, called reprocessing, on a commercial scale, it would be expensive and difficult to hide. But Iran needn't go the commercial route. In l977 — when the U.S. was training hundreds of Iranian nuclear students at American universities — Oak Ridge National Laboratory detailed how a small, inexpensive reprocessing plant could be constructed covertly. This could be done by a nation of Iran's nuclear abilities within a matter of four to six months. With dimensions of only 130 feet by 30 feet by 40 feet, the plant could produce a bomb's worth of plutonium daily after operating for a week. Fashioning this material into a workable bomb would only require Iran to have mastered the crude design that Iraq perfected a decade ago.

Russia says it can guard against this by taking back the spent fuel that Busheir produces. Iran, however, has not yet agreed to this. More important, spent reactor fuel is risky to move long distances until it has cooled off for several years. Once it is removed from the reactor, though, Iran could quickly shift this material at any time to a nearby covert reprocessing plant. Doing so might set off alarms but by the time any outside nation tried to block the diversion, Iran could have its first bomb.

The story is much the same with Iran's enrichment program. Last week, Iran admitted that it was still importing the means to build more centrifuges. It insists it has a right to do so under the NPT and that building more enrichment capacity does not violate its October pledge to stop enriching uranium. It says it is not currently operating any of its centrifuges. Neither the Europeans nor the IAEA concur with this loose view of what the freeze agreement banned but they have yet to reach a formal understanding with Iran over what precisely is prohibited.

If Iran imported centrifuge equipment of the sort Libya did last fall — nearly complete machines of Pakistani design made in Malaysia — Tehran could be developing quite a nuclear-breakout capability. Just 1-2,000 of these machines would enable Iran to convert enough natural uranium into weapons-grade material to produce a bomb in one to two years. On the other hand, if Iran fed these centrifuges with the lightly enriched uranium Russia plans to send it for Busheir, Iran could produce enough material for a bomb in a matter of weeks.

Clearly, getting rid of Iran's centrifuges and its large reactor program is the best way to keep it from becoming a nuclear weapons-ready nation. It also suggests why keeping Tehran from taking delivery of lightly enriched uranium ought to be a high priority. Given that bombing Iran's known nuclear sites or overthrowing its regime right now are politically unlikely, though, U.S. and allied officials are at a loss as to how to slow Iran's nuclear efforts.

One approach that's worth trying is to enforce the rules. The IAEA will report on Iran's NPT compliance in the next three weeks. It then will meet in March to decide what to do. It would be useful, given Iran's revelations about importing centrifuge equipment, if the IAEA publicly told the truth: The agency cannot clearly find Iran yet to be in full compliance with its NPT obligations. It also would help if one or more of the IAEA's key members — say Germany, France, Great Britain, or, if necessary, the U.S. — formally asked the IAEA to determine how much time and access it would need to give Iran a clean bill of health. The IAEA did this in 2001 for North Korea but, so far, for some reason, no senior official from any member state has formally asked the agency to do this for Iran. This needs to be corrected immediately.

Armed with a study, either underway or completed, that would detail how much more time and access is needed, the IAEA's key members in March could reasonably insist that all agency members (including Russia) suspend nuclear cooperation with Iran until the IAEA can clearly find Iran to be in full compliance.

Rather than a call for sanctions for a violation, this would merely be a prudential request for due diligence. It would allow the IAEA to get a clearer idea of what Iran intends to suspend or dismantle under the October freeze and to determine whether or not Tehran is truly out of the bomb making business. It also would demonstrate a renewed seriousness about enforcing the rules — something Washington, Europe, and the others members of the IAEA urgently need to impress now upon Tehran.

-- Henry Sokolski directs the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, D.C., and is editor with Patrick Clawson of Checking Iran's Nuclear Ambitions (U.S. Army War College, 2004).
16 posted on 01/22/2004 8:34:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn

17 posted on 01/22/2004 8:35:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
That Iranian Nuclear Headache

January 22, 2004
National Review Online
Henry Sokolski
18 posted on 01/22/2004 8:36:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
LOL! Funny
19 posted on 01/22/2004 8:39:55 AM PST by nuconvert ( "It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Let the IDF take care of the threat the way they want to....
20 posted on 01/22/2004 8:59:43 AM PST by b4its2late (A bartender is just a pharmacist with a limited inventory.)
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