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Iranian Alert -- January 24, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.24.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/24/2004 12:02:43 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 01/24/2004 12:02:44 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 01/24/2004 12:05:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
US Seeks Interrogation of al-Qaida Suspects to be Put on Trial in Iran

David Gollust
23 Jan 2004, 23:25 UTC

Listen to David Gollust's report (RealAudio)
Gollust report - Download 305k (RealAudio)

The United States said Friday it opposes Iranian plans to put suspected al-Qaida members on trial. Bush administration officials say they should he handed over to the United States or their countries of origin to be interrogated about knowledge they have about terrorist attacks.

The Bush administration believes there may be some senior figures of al-Qaida in Iran, and it is making clear its disapproval of plans announced by the Iranian foreign minister to put 12 suspected members of the terror group on trial in that country at some unspecified date.

In a television interview at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland the Iranian official, Kamal Kharazzi, did not identify those facing trial and said the proceedings would begin "when their files are ready."

At a news briefing here, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said it was not the first time Iran has suggested putting al-Qaida figures on trial and said the U.S. position remains that they should be handed over to countries that want to question them about past or intended terror acts.

"We have long made it clear that we believe Iran should turn over all suspected al-Qaida operatives to the United States, or to countries of origin, or to third countries for further interrogation and trial. In our view, it is essential that other countries have direct access to information these people may have about past and future al-Qaida plans," he said.

Western intelligence officials have said that those held in Iran may include Saad bin Laden, son of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and the group's Egyptian security chief Saif al-Adl.

The Bush administration has been frustrated that Iran has refused to turn over, or share intelligence learned from, al-Qaida members held there and U.S. officials have said that progress on that issue is essential to any improvement of relations between the two countries.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Iran continues to ignore requests from several countries for the hand over of al-Qaida suspects.

Iran has said it arrested and deported hundreds of al-Qaida members who fled into that country after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. Last September, it gave the United Nations a list of 225 alleged members of the group it said remained in Iranian hands.
3 posted on 01/24/2004 12:10:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
Iran, France expand trade ties

IRIB English News
24th of Jan 2004

Paris, Jan 24 - Minister of Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadari, on an official four-day visit to Paris, briefed the French media and the major world press representatives on his outlook on Iran-France trade ties.

Speaking to reporters, he said that his tour is in response to the recent visit to Iran by the French minister delegate for foreign trade Francois Loos.

"The agreement on joint investment, signed during Loos' visit to Tehran, has been ratified by Majlis and approved by the Guardian Council in the shortest possible time through close follow-up of the commerce ministry," he added.

Shariatmadari noted that the exchange of visits between Iranian and French trade delegations has provided the financial institutes and trade companies of both states with the opportunity to consider prospects of serious cooperation with one another.

The minister said that significant developments including foreign trade facilities, revision of export and import laws and unification of hard currency rates have taken place in the field during the six-year presidential term of President Mohammad Khat ami.

"Lifting the license requirement for import of goods as well as legitimizing opening branch offices in Iran by foreign banks and insurance companies are also among the reforms materialized in the country during the specified period," he added.

He also referred to revision made in tax laws applicable to the private companies and real entities effecting an reduction from 65 percent to 25 percent as some of the measures taken in the field of trade.
4 posted on 01/24/2004 12:19:01 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
‘Serious Implications’ If Iran fails to Cooperate: El Baradei

Al Jazeera News
24th of Jan, 2004

DAVOS, Switzerland, 23 January 2004 — The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog warned yesterday of “serious implications” if the Iranian government failed to fulfill its promise of cooperation to dispel fears about its nuclear program.

At the same time, Mohamed El Baradei warned that a nuclear program by North Korea was the world’s most dangerous non-proliferation issue. The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Tehran had been working with the IAEA as it pledged to do late last year.

But he added: “It is very important for the agency to come to a conclusion. It will have serious implications if they do not cooperate fully with us in the investigations. I hope and I am confident that they will cooperate.”

El Baradei did not elaborate on what he meant by “serious implications” if the Iranians did not come clean on their nuclear program.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami gave new assurances in this Swiss ski resort on Wednesday that his country had no nuclear ambitions and opposed the production of nuclear arms. “Iran has never had weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

Tehran agreed last year to suspend uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure, and El Baradei said yesterday the IAEA had no indications Tehran was still trying to procure materials to make a bomb. “They are working hard to verify the suspension of all procurement activities and I think we are making good progress and I hope we will continue to make progress,” he said.

Asked about reports that nuclear materials were being smuggled into Iran, El Baradei said, “We have individuals involved, I do not want to jump to the conclusion that the government is involved. We are in the process of investigating this network first of all to stop it and then avoid a recurrence of that very dangerous phenomenon.”

On the question of North Korea, which has boldly advertised its nuclear ambitions, El Baradei said: “The North Korea issue is the most dangerous non-proliferation issue we are facing today. The good news is that North Korea would like to sit and have a diplomatic settlement to solve that problem. But whether we would have a breakthrough soon depends on the outcome of these six-party talks.”

The Stalinist state is due to join a second round of talks this year with China, the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan aimed at resolving its nuclear crisis. But a first round of discussions held last August ended inconclusively, and El Baradei was pessimistic about an imminent settlement. “There is no other way to resolve this issue other than through a dialogue and we must encourage all the parties to find a solution,” he said.

Earlier this month, North Korea offered to freeze its nuclear weapons program in return for concessions, including an end to US sanctions and a resumption of energy aid. Washington, however, is holding out for a commitment from Pyongyang to scrap its nuclear ambitions.

“What is important is to make them understand that nuclear blackmail does not pay,” said El Baradei. “That would be a very bad message.”
5 posted on 01/24/2004 12:28:38 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: F14 Pilot
DAVOS, Switzerland, 23 January 2004 — The head of the UN’s atomic watchdog warned yesterday of “serious implications” if the Iranian government failed to fulfill its promise of cooperation to dispel fears about its nuclear program.

Wonder what he has in mind?

12 years of sanctions?

6 posted on 01/24/2004 12:32:09 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Saddam-backed terrorists hold U.S. fund-raiser
Congressman seeks probe of event in Washington this weekend

Posted: January 24, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004

A congressman is asking the Justice Department to probe sponsors of a fundraising event in Washington tonight for possible ties to an Iranian terrorist group supported by Saddam Hussein.

The Iranian-American Society of Northern Virginia's "solidarity" fund-raiser at Washington Convention Center will attempt to raise $140,000 for survivors of the 30,000 victims in the Dec. 26 earthquake in Iran, reported the congressional newspaper, The Hill.

Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio, has asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to investigate whether some of the event's sponsors are tied to Mujahedin-e Khalq, the MEK, or People's Mujaheddin, a known terrorist group.

Ney, noting organizers featured an MEK official's picture in marketing material, believes the event likely violates the global terrorist support ban.

"The MEK is hiding behind earthquake victims; you'll find those [sponsors] are false groups," Ney told The Hill. "They're not supposed to operate, and I don't know what they're going to do with the money. I just think it smells."

The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said they were aware of the event, but they declined to comment.

The Hill said an MEK representative in Washington did not return repeated calls for comment.

An official with the Iranian-American Community of Northern Virginia would not provide any details on the participating groups, the paper said.

"It's about solidarity with victims of the earthquake in Iran and to support the Iranian Resistance and call for referendum in Iran," said the official, who would not give his name.

The official said all of the money raised would be donated to the American Red Cross, but a Red Cross spokeswoman declared it "will not be accepting donations from this fund-raiser."

"Given the political undertones of the event, we just could no longer field donations because of the potential to compromise our neutrality, but the Red Cross has backed out of the event," said Jacki Flowers.

The MEK was responsible for the deaths of at least six American servicemen and civilians in Iran during the mid-1970s and participated in the 1979 U.S. Embassy seizure in Tehran, the U.S. intelligence community alleges.

The group fell out of favor with the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1986 and went to Baghdad to operate under the covering of Saddam Hussein.

Intelligence sources say the group launched periodic strikes inside Iran and participated in Saddam's deadly suppression of the Kurdish and Shiite minorities.
7 posted on 01/24/2004 1:08:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44
Does this Mr. Ney work with NIAC? A branch of Mullahs' regime in the U.S?
8 posted on 01/24/2004 3:44:16 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran denies Sept. 11 connection

Iran has denied that it had anything to do with the September 11th
attacks in the United States two and a half years ago. A statement
issued by the Iranian Embassy in Berlin categorically denied that
Iran had any involvement in the attacks. It also said that there
was no connection between Tehran and the al Qaeda terror network.
The denials were in response to allegations of a witness in the
Hamburg trial of a Moroccan man accused of involvement in the
attacks. The witness, quoted by an investigating police officer at
the trial, said Iran was behind the attacks. Media reports said
security experts do not believe the claims of the alleged Iranian
former spy.

9 posted on 01/24/2004 10:19:58 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Election Ban Talks Were Ineffective-Khatami
Sat January 24, 2004 08:40 AM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami admitted on Saturday talks with a conservative watchdog that banned thousands of candidates from next month's election made little headway.

Khatami and Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi had put on a brave face after the talks with the 12-man Guardian Council a week ago. But news they were fruitless had filtered through to MPs.

The council banned almost half of the aspiring 8,200 candidates from the February 20 poll, mainly Khatami's liberal allies, including 80 of the standing 290 MPs.

"Our talks were unsatisfactory," said a joint statement from Khatami and Karroubi, carried on the official IRNA news agency on Saturday.

The statement said the Guardian Council's ban prevented 190 parliament seats from being fairly contested.

The statement went on to condemn the disqualifications as "unworthy of the religious and democratic establishment" and reiterated demands for the bans to be reviewed.

A review was demanded by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, but the reversal of the bans is moving at a snail's pace.

Mohammad Jahromi, a Guardian Council Spokesman, was quoted by IRNA as saying only 400 had been reversed so far.

Liberal MPs are on their 14th day of a sit-in in parliament to protest against the candidacy bans.

Parliamentarian Ali Shakourirad told the ISNA students' news agency the joint statement was encouraging.

But MP Jamileh Kadivar said it came too late.

"If Khatami had stood up from the beginning, we would not have this problem now," she told ISNA.

The statement came on the day Vice President Dick Cheney called on Europe to join the United States in promoting democracy in Iran.

MP Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour said public disenchantment over an unfair election could usher in foreign interference.

"If parliament is formed by less than 50 percent of the electorate, the ground will be laid for infiltration and interference by foreigners, particularly the Americans," he told the Tosea newspaper.

© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
10 posted on 01/24/2004 10:21:05 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
WASHINGTON: US Senator Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat, met Friday with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Biden, number two on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met recently with the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif.

Washington has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since staff at the US Embassy in Tehran were taken hostage at the outset of the Islamic revolution in

Note: Joseph Biden is a advocate of 'engagement' with the Islamic Republic.
11 posted on 01/24/2004 10:22:01 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
US Senator Meets Iranian FM Kharazi in Davos

January 23, 2004

WASHINGTON -- US Senator Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat, met Friday with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a source close to Biden said here.

"I don't know how much time they spent together, but I can tell you that they met," said the source, who did not specify the subjects covered in the meeting.

The source, who requested anonymity, said Biden, number two on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met recently with the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Javad Zarif.

He said President George W. Bush was being kept abreast of efforts by Biden and his Republican colleague on the committee, Senator Chuck Nagel of Nebraska, to establish contacts with Iranian officials.

Washington has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since staff at the US Embassy in Tehran were taken hostage at the outset of the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Shortly after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush declared Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, part of an "axis of evil" for their support of international terrorism.
12 posted on 01/24/2004 10:23:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Violent clashes results in several deaths and tens of injured in Kerman province
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jan 24, 2004

The today's deadly clashes, in the Babak City of Kerman province, have resulted, so far, in at least 8 deaths and tens of injured among protesters who were attacked by the Elite troops of the Pasdaran Corp. Tens of other residents have been reported as arrested and transferred to Kerman city.

The local authorities unable to persuade the residents to end their peaceful rally had called on the nearby stationed Elite Forces in order to break the protest. These special sections are mainly composed by hardcore Iranian militiamen and hundreds of foreign Islamist mercenaries defending the Clerical regime.

Bullets, Clubs, Chains and Tear gas were used to break the popular gathering which happened, in the Khatoon Abad district, in order to protest against the raising unemployment and the degrading economic conditions of the residents.

Reports from the extreme brutality used against the protesters and women and kids who tried to make of themselves as shield to their husbands and brothers are of the most shocking and mark the degree of the regime's fear of any gathering even peaceful.

Reacting to this brutal repression, the residents continued showing their rejection of the regime by attacking governmental centers, buildings and military vehicles and shouting, later in the evening, slogans from roofs against the regime and its leaders.

The situation in the city have been reported as very tense and all accesses to the area have been placed under military control.
13 posted on 01/24/2004 10:24:36 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Referendum Should Decide Political Future of Iran, Says MP

January 24, 2004
Khaleej Times

TEHERAN -- A referendum should decide the political future in Iran, a reformist MP told the news service Kar on Saturday.

“If the current trend continues, we should enter a new phase and let the people decide about the performance of the Guardian Council in a referendum,” Fatemeh Rakei said.

A referendum has been the key word in recent months among reformists and especially students in which the people would decide whether democratically elected or state appointed bodies should have the final say on state affairs.

The senate-like Guardian Council has rejected more than 3,500 reformist candidates for the February 20 parliamentary elections. Despite interference by senior leaders, the hardline council has so far only revised the eliminations of 350.

Kar reported that following last week’s resignation threats by six reformist ministers, four vice-presidents, one presidential advisor, the government spokesman and 27 governors, on Friday 76 deputy ministers threatened resignation if no breakthrough in the crisis was achieved.

Reformists say that the delaying tactics by the council will eventually deprive them of a proper election campaign and reduce their chances of getting a renewed majority in the parliament to a minimum.

The government wants at least 618 of the 3,500 rejected candidates to be approved but the Guardian Council has not made any guarantees to follow the government’s demand.

While expecting an election boycott by the people, the reformists have threatened to join the boycott as well if their approvals are not made in the next few days.

Although in that case the conservatives would win the elections, reformists say that the low turnout would put the legitimacy of the parliament and system under question.
14 posted on 01/24/2004 10:24:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
IAEA Urges Iran to Halt More Enrichment Activity

January 24, 2004
Alistair Lyon

DAVOS, Switzerland -- The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) pressed Iran on Saturday to suspend more activities related to enriching uranium, a technology that can be used to make nuclear weapons.

"I am advising them that it would be good to have a very generous, comprehensive suspension," Mohamed Elbaradei told Reuters after talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"That would create confidence and it would help me and the Europeans to move forward in normalising and expanding cooperation between Iran and the international community."

He said IAEA concerns focused on the discovery by agency inspectors in Iran of equipment contaminated with highly enriched uranium, along with continued enrichment-related activities like production of centrifuges.

Iran has blamed the contamination on parts imported from elsewhere without identifying their origin.

Asked about the IAEA's concerns, Kharrazi said: "It's just a question of spare parts or something, it's minor issues."

"We have very good cooperation with the IAEA," he told Reuters. "I believe the important thing is that we do not have any program to produce weapons and this is now established."


Vice President Dick Cheney, also in Davos, said his country would support European diplomatic efforts to get the Iranians to agree to a more intrusive inspection regime.

"We'll have to see whether or not that produces the desired result. We believe the Iranians have been actively and aggressively pursuing an effort to develop nuclear weapons," Cheney told the conference of political and business leaders.

"They deny that, but there seems to be a good deal of evidence out there to support the fact that that's exactly what they have been doing," he said.

Kharrazi said Iran's nuclear technology was a source of pride for all Iranians. "At the same time it is totally peaceful and nothing is wrong with having nuclear technology for peaceful purposes," he said.

"We have suspended the activities of uranium enrichment, but this does not mean we are going to stop it for ever. This is our right, based on the NPT, to have nuclear activities for peaceful purposes," he said, referring to the provisions in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for the sharing of nuclear know-how.

France, Britain and Germany, whose diplomacy encouraged Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and sign the NPT's additional protocol permitting intrusive inspections, worry that Iran is reneging on its November pledge to halt all enrichment-related activities in return for a possible exchange of technology.

Western diplomats say Tehran has been acquiring large amounts of equipment for centrifuges, used to enrich uranium.

Monday, the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain met and discussed Iran's insistence on applying a very limited definition of the term "enrichment-related" to enable Tehran to continue amassing centrifuges.
15 posted on 01/24/2004 10:26:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Turn Up the Heat on Terror Central

January 23, 2004
Steve Forbes

Despite the seeming post-earthquake thaw in relations with Iran, a new day between our countries is not a-dawning. Iran's hard-liners are still in charge, and they are expert at playing the good cop (moderate)/bad cop (hard-line) routine to win advantages. Make no mistake, this clerical dictatorship is a principal source of terrorism around the world today.

In Iran terrorists receive training as well as funding, and the country is a prime sanctuary for these agents of evil. Iran also is working rapidly to develop nuclear weapons and is far along in the process of creating missiles to deliver these and other weapons of mass destruction to Europe and, eventually, the U.S.

In short, the Bush Administration should ratchet up pressure to bring about a regime change. Invading Iran à la Iraq is out of the question--for now. But instead of trying to work with Teheran's corrupt clerics, we should openly extend aid to various Iranian opposition groups, substantially beef up Radio Free Europe-like broadcasts to this critical country and start putting real pressure on Russia to stop providing Iran with all-important assistance for its military programs.

Iran's malicious mullahs' ploy is to buy time. Nothing in Iran's past behavior suggests it is about to turn over a new leaf. Its supposedly moderate President Mohammad Khatami--elected by the people--is a toothless tiger who has not opened up Iran during six years in power. The regime still cracks down hard on democratic dissent.

Our pusillanimous State Department says that ultimately the Iranian people must take their country back from its oppressors. Maybe, but that doesn't mean we can't take a more proactive approach in helping them do so. Ronald Reagan pursued such a course with regard to the U.S.S.R.'s European satellites. He was not content with containment; he wanted to actively undermine the Evil Empire. His Administration did all it could to clandestinely help Poland's Solidarity movement. Other dissidents were also aided, especially with communications equipment. Broadcasts of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and the Voice of America were all strengthened. And, of course, Reagan engaged America in its biggest peacetime military buildup, including the much-criticized Star Wars missile defense program. Result: The Berlin Wall fell soon after Reagan left office.

The sooner we revive this Reaganesque spirit vis-à-vis Teheran, the faster we'll win this war against terrorism.
16 posted on 01/24/2004 10:27:13 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; ...
Turn Up the Heat on Terror Central

January 23, 2004
Steve Forbes
17 posted on 01/24/2004 10:30:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Pres, Parliament Speaker Blast Hard-Liners Over Vote

January 24, 2004
The Associated Press
Dow Jones Newswires

TEHRAN -- Iran's president and parliament speaker jointly warned Saturday that liberal candidates will be unable to contest more than two-thirds of the seats in upcoming legislative elections unless hard-liners who are trying to sway the results in their favor lift a ban on who can run.

The disqualification of more than a third of 8,200 hopeful candidates by the hard-line Guardian Council recently was against "Islamic democracy," said President Mohammad Khatami and house Speaker Mahdi Karroubi in a statement made available to The Associated Press.

"An election in which there will be no possibility of competition for 190 (designed) so that it gives a greater chance to a certain thinking," the statement said.

It added that the disqualification, and the manner in which the elections are building up, are "against the dignity of the noble Iranian nation."

In delivering the warning, Khatami and Karroubi stopped short of calling for a boycott of the election.

The battle over who can run in the Feb. 20 elections has turned into Iran's worst political crisis in years, with powerful hard-liners inside Iran's Islamic government trying to grab control of the 290-seat Majlis currently dominated by liberals allied with the president.

Saturday's statement was a rare show of solidarity by the highest reformist figures in Iran, openly challenging unelected hard-liners who seek to cling to power despite great unpopularity.

Hard-liners control the Guardian Council, the powerful unelected body that disqualified the candidates.

"We insist on fair, free and competitive elections and hope...the Guardian Council reconsiders disqualification as soon as possible," the statement said.

Reformers believe the conservatives are trying to skew the elections in their favor. Hard-liners claim the disqualified failed to meet the legal criteria for being members of parliament.

Among those barred from running are 80 liberals who are members of the current parliament.
18 posted on 01/24/2004 10:32:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Father of Pakistan Nuke Program Confined

January 24, 2004
The Associated Press
Matthew Pennington

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program has been barred from leaving Islamabad and has been questioned repeatedly amid an investigation into possible proliferation by the country's nuclear scientists, an acquaintance said Saturday.

The report about the restriction imposed on Abdul Qadeer Khan came as officials said investigators were checking the bank accounts of eight scientists and administrators detained so far in the probe.

Khan has been questioned "many times" in recent weeks and is confined to Islamabad, said Zahid Malik, author of the book "Islamic Bomb" on Pakistan's nuclear program, who said he met Khan on Thursday.

"He's cooperating (with the investigation) but he's satisfied that he's done nothing wrong," Malik told The Associated Press.

A government official said on condition of anonymity that "security restrictions may have been increased" on Khan, but added that the scientist had "chosen to stay in Islamabad" while "debriefings" of laboratory employees take place.

Khan is lauded by his countrymen as the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, and the country's leading nuclear weapons facility, the Khan Research Laboratories, bears his name.

Eight scientists and administrators from the lab are currently in detention for "debriefings."

Pakistan's government denies it authorized any transfers of weapons technology to other countries - such as Iran, Libya or North Korea - but says individuals may have done so for their own profit.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said one KRL scientist, Saeed Mansoor Ahmad, was released late Saturday. He said the debriefings may end within a week.

An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said investigators were checking bank accounts of the detainees. He said investigators suspect that one scientist and one other person did something for personal gain, but would give no names or further details.

"Pakistan's investigations are vigorous. And they are looking into all dimensions, including financial aspects," Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan told AP.
19 posted on 01/24/2004 10:33:50 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Cheney Urges US-Europe Drive for Mideast Democracy

January 24, 2004
Randall Mikkelsen

Vice President Dick Cheney urged Europe Saturday to join the United States in promoting democracy in Iran and the Arab world as the key to winning the global war against terrorism.

"We must confront the ideologies of violence at the source, by promoting democracy throughout the greater Middle East and beyond," Cheney told political and business leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss mountain resort.

In a speech aimed at healing transatlantic relations frayed by a bitter dispute over the Iraq war, Cheney described the war on terrorism in broader, softer terms to counter criticism that Washington focuses too narrowly on military solutions.

Europe and the United States should join in encouraging the Iranian government to "honor the legitimate demands of the Iranian people," he said.

"Our forward strategy for freedom commits us to support those who work and sacrifice for reform across the greater Middle East. We call upon our democratic friends and allies everywhere, and in Europe in particular, to join us in this effort," Cheney said.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Friday warned in Davos against following the "laws of the jungle" in the quest for global security. Several Arab and Muslim leaders accused the United States of hypocrisy and double standards in a selective drive for democracy and disarmament in the Middle East that they said ignored Israel's nuclear arms and behavior.

Cheney acknowledged European efforts to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and reaffirmed Washington's commitment to the NATO defense alliance.

He said NATO's future lay outside the European heartland and urged Europe to step up its long-range military capabilities. He also urged the European Union, as it develops its own defense policy, not to shrink from military power and influence.

"America wants the strongest possible Europe. And just as we must not force you to choose between your European and transatlantic vocations, you must not sell yourselves short and settle for less than the military capability and influence that your people deserve," Cheney said.

With the U.S. military stretched by engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Cheney said "today that need is critical" for Europe to step up its troop deployment capacity. He noted that Europe and Canada had 1.4 million soldiers under arms, of whom just 55,000 were deployed abroad.

NATO and the European Union could not "afford waste, duplication or competition," he said in an allusion to lingering U.S. concern about plans for an EU military planning cell.

Cheney showed no sign of backing off from a central element of the U.S. case for war on Iraq -- its alleged unconventional weapons stockpiles and programs -- even after the head of the U.S. hunt for Iraqi weapons quit Friday and said he doubted any such stockpiles existed.

The vice president defended the war, saying that if the United States had not acted, Iraq would still be "defying the United Nations and making a mockery of its mission."

The world's democracies must send an "unmistakable message" that "the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction only invites isolation and carries great costs," he said.

Cheney said there was reason for optimism over the course of global events following the divisions of last year in the run-up up to the Iraq war.

He cited "robust" economic growth in the United States and Asia, the adoption of a new constitution in Afghanistan, an easing of tensions between India and Pakistan, and Libya's decision to abandon its unconventional weapons programs.

He credited "quiet diplomacy" for Libya's decision, but said this was reinforced by a German-Italian operation to intercept nuclear equipment bound for Libya, and America's proven determination to fight the spread of unconventional weapons.

"We mean exactly what we say," he said.
20 posted on 01/24/2004 10:35:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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