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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Friday, January 23, 2004

Source: WMD imported to Iraq from Iran
Saddam loyalists reportedly contracted with al-Qaida-related groups

Posted: January 23, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida insurgents have raised the stakes significantly in Iraq with the arrival of warheads and chemical components from Iran into northern Iraq, U.S. military sources said, citing intelligence reports.

This could signal a weapons of mass destruction campaign against the U.S.-led coalition, said Geostrategy-Direct, the intelligence news service.

Several convoys reportedly have entered northern Iraq, and Kurdish militia forces captured one. The Kurds found a warhead containing C-4 plastic explosives meant for an unspecified rocket.

The Kurds told U.S. military commanders Saddam loyalists have contracted with al-Qaida-related groups to bring 30 missile warheads into Iraq.

U.S. sources are particularly alarmed by the report of the driver of the captured convoy. He told the Kurdish forces some of the warheads might have contained lethal chemical agents.

U.S. military intelligence believes up to 12 warheads were laced with lethal chemicals meant to form a deadly cloud over their targets.

The warheads were to have been attached to short-range Iraqi rockets deployed by Saddam loyalists. The Saddam regime developed the Laith-90 rocket, with a range of 90 kilometers.

Saddam supporters are planning the mother of all attacks on American troops, military sources said.

The most likely target is the Coalition Provisional Authority complex, where thousands of people work.

On Sunday, a car bomb killed about 30 people at the entrance to the CPA. But the sources believe a rocket attack with chemical weapons is the kind of mega-attack Saddam's people are gearing up for.
12 posted on 01/23/2004 5:58:54 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
23 Jan 2004 13:51

Iran Guardian Council to review "mistakes" in poll
By Amir Paivar

TEHRAN (Reuters) - The head of Iran's hardline Guardian Council said on Friday the watchdog panel was willing to reverse any "mistakes" made when it banned thousands of liberal candidates from running in parliamentary elections.

The Guardian Council's move to bar nearly half of 8,200 hopefuls from standing in the February 20 vote has prompted dozens of top government officials to threaten to resign. Reformist parties have said they may boycott the election.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said the 12-member panel, which has received more than 3,000 complaints from disqualified candidates most of whom are reformist allies of President Mohammad Khatami, would inform candidates of any changes by January 30.

"There are misunderstandings about the Guardian Council's work," Jannati told a Friday prayers congregation in Tehran.

"Mistakes are possible. We neither insist on (standing by) mistakes nor would we violate the law," he said in the sermon which was broadcast live on state radio.

Many of those barred from standing were accused by the council of lacking loyalty to Iran's constitution and the system of clerical rule adopted after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, has urged the council to review the bans and said that hundreds who had been allowed to run in previous elections should be allowed to stand again.

Among those barred from running are around 80 of the standing 290 MPs. They have held a 13-day sit-in at parliament to protest the mass disqualifications.

Reformists accuse the Guardian Council -- comprised of conservative clerics and Islamic jurists and invested with sweeping powers -- of trying to help conservatives reverse their 2000 parliamentary election defeat to liberal candidates.

U.S. and European Union officials have criticised the vetting process.

MPs protesting at parliament vowed to continue their sit-in as long as "people's right for free elections is not observed," the ISNA students news agency reported.

A coalition of reformist parties is due to hold a meeting early next week to decide the next stage of their protest which also includes dawn-to-dusk fasting by the MPs.

Despite the political standoff most analysts expect a negotiated compromise will be reached to allow the elections to go ahead.

The political struggle has provoked little interest amongst ordinary Iranians, most of whom are disillusioned with politics and have lost faith in Khatami's ability to overcome stiff resistance to reform by hardliners.

A Guardian Council spokesman said on Thursday roughly 260 barred candidates have been re-admitted to the election race and that more revisions would be announced in coming days.

(So the spectacle has served its purpose, and driven people from the polls... is it time to "kiss and make up"?-PYW)
13 posted on 01/23/2004 6:08:45 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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