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To: F14 Pilot
Iran ballot 'could include banned names'
By Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Published: January 22 2004

Mostafa Tajzadeh, one of Iran's leading reformers, said on Thursday that the reformist-controlled interior ministry might list on ballot papers any candidates excluded from next month's parliamentary election by the Guardian Council.

"If we put them on the list, and people vote for them, no one can object [if they're elected]," Mr Tajzadeh, a former deputy interior minister, said in an interview.

The Guardian Council, which oversees the political process for compatibility with Islam, is considering appeals from around 3,600 candidates, including 80 sitting deputies, it excluded from parliamentary elections due on February 20.

Mr Tajzadeh said that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, who urged the council last week to reconsider the cases, had "apparently not taken sides" and that this had prevented conservative demonstrations against a 12-day protest "sit-in" of reformist deputies.

But he added: "The performance of the Guardian Council will reveal if the supreme leader is a neutral referee or whether he is himself behind all these things."

Mr Tajzadeh argued that both the supreme leader and the Guardian Council were under pressure from public opinion, and cited the 2000 election, when the supreme leader intervened to validate the election in Tehran after the council had ruled there had been irregularities.

But he also warned of the "short-term" danger of "totalitarianism" if the exclusions went ahead. "In the long term, this cannot continue," he said. "People's demands can come through the ballot boxes or through rebellion."

Transcript of interview with Mostafa Tajzadeh
Click here

Mr Tajzadeh's remarks represent both a hardening of the reformers' position and an acknowledgement that they might be heading for short-term defeat.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a leading conservative strategist, predicted this week that reformists would lose at least 50 of the 200 seats they held in parliament, even if all the disqualified candidates were allowed to run.

But Mr Tajzadeh estimated that the exclusions, if allowed to stand, would hand at least 180 of the total 290 seats to conservatives without a contest.

He said that many reformers would resign from parliament, the cabinet and administration if those currently disqualified were not - one way or another - included on ballot papers.

"If the majority of MPs, vice-presidents and ministers resign, it is very difficult to see how [President Mohammad] Khatami could continue," he added. "Surely he would prefer to resign as well."

Mr Tajzadeh, a leading member of two reformist parties that together hold around 140 seats, said Iran's reform movement had continued for seven years due mainly to Mr Khatami.

"Strategically he has been correct," said Mr Tajzadeh. "If the trend continues like this for some more years, we can have a completely democratic society."
9 posted on 01/23/2004 5:40:00 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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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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