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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 01/25/2004 12:01:14 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 01/25/2004 12:04:26 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Pakistan’s nuclear father did help Iran

Marie Colvin
January 25, 2004

INVESTIGATORS in Islamabad have acknowledged for the first time that Abdul Qadeer Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, and another research scientist provided technical assistance to Iran’s secret nuclear weapons programme.

The scientists allegedly gave their help, the investigators said, under a covert agreement between Pakistan and Iran that was supposed to be limited to the sharing of peaceful nuclear technology. They are accused of breaking that agreement without the knowledge of the state.

Confirmation of Khan’s involvement, which follows weeks of damaging revelations about Pakistan’s role in the supply of bomb technology to rogue states, will increase the pressure on the president, General Pervez Musharraf, to prosecute a man regarded by many radical Muslims as a hero. Khan has been confined to Islamabad while the investigation is taking place.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Musharraf promised that “we will move against anybody who proliferated ... because they are enemies of the state”. Prosecuting Khan, however, could prove politically suicidal for Musharraf, who survived two assassination attempts in December.

As Musharraf faces up to one of the most awkward decisions of his career, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), described the network that spread the apocalyptic technology as a “Wal-Mart of private sector proliferation”.

ElBaradei, who was also at Davos, said: “When you see things being designed in one country, manufactured in two or three others, shipped to a fourth, redirected to a fifth, that means there’s lots of offices all over the world. The sophistication of the process, frankly, has surpassed my expectations.”

ElBaradei’s agency is arguing with Washington over how closely it can work with British and American inspectors in analysing and dismantling non-conventional weapons in Libya. The country’s dramatic admission of a clandestine nuclear programme last month helped to clarify the extent of Pakistan’s involvement in the proliferation business.

The US-UK team is now working towards a delicate compromise: in effect, it means Washington and London will dismantle the most worrying part of Libya’s arsenal — at least 11 facilities that contain sensitive nuclear materials — while the IAEA will provide the international stamp of approval.,,2089-976069,00.html
3 posted on 01/25/2004 12:08:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Double Standards and Deception - How the Left Treats Iran and the Middle East

Defense & Foreign Affairs - By Elio Bonazzi
Jan 24, 2004

In an article that appeared in the New York Post, in early March 2003, prior to the Coalition war on Iraq, Iranian-born journalist Amir Taheri denounced what he felt were the deeply hypocritical position of the peace movement, which had, in the build-up to the 2003 US-led war against Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein, organized marches and rallies throughout 600 cities and 25 countries.

Stalin founded this “peace movement” movement in 1946, when the USSR was in a distinctly weak position; he was trying to consolidate the newly conquered empire in Eastern Europe without nuclear weapons to counter the military predominance of the West. Pablo Picasso designed the emblem of the movement, the famous dove, and world-renowned poets such as French Paul Eluard and Chilean Pablo Neruda composed odes inspired by Stalin. The goal of the movement was to extend the influence of the various communist parties over the more moderate center-left political formations, to push the Kremlin’s agenda in the West with the support of forces which would have transcended the meager political weight of the various communist parties operating in what was then described as “the free world”. The symbol was a dove, rather than hammer and sickle; the emblem color was white, rather than red. But the International Section of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), operating behind the scenes in Moscow, orchestrated the “peace movement” to fulfill their goals.

In the course of its existence, the “peace movement” never betrayed its origins.

In his article, Mr Taheri reminds us that the movement was not opposed to all wars indiscriminately, but only to those that threatened the Soviet empire. The “peaceniks” (which is the appellation by which Mr Taheri refers to them) were comfortable with the Soviet annexation of 15 percent of Finland’s territory and the Baltic States, and did not demur when the Soviet tanks entered Budapest and Prague. But when the US led a coalition under a UN mandate to prevent North Korean communists from conquering South Korea, the “peace movement” was “up in arms”, denouncing the “imperialist ambitions” of the US. Peaceniks reached their peak during the Vietnam War. And once again they were silent when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, but became very vocal about the deployment of the Pershing theater-strategic surface-to-surface missiles in Europe in the years which followed that very invasion. The missiles were a response to the Soviet deployment of entire batteries of SS-20 ballistic missiles aimed at European capitals. But the peaceniks never asked for the dismantling of the SS-20s; their protest was only aimed at impeding the deployment of the Pershing SSMs.

While the “peace movement” is probably the most evident example of double standards, tolerated and even encouraged by the left, the recent events which have occurred in Iran and the repercussion which those events had in the Western world are a revival of the hypocrisy and duplicity by those who theoretically should be staunch supporters of democracy and freedom for the Iranian people.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is an extreme-right theocracy, which has increasingly lost consensus even among the clergy. It oppresses the large majority of Iranians, perpetrating what by accepted international standards would be described as “crimes against humanity” on a daily basis. Women are stoned to death, people [especially the young] are tortured and executed in public without trial, tens of thousands of political prisoners populate highly objectionable prisons; the oppressors must resort to Muslim foreigners for help in anti-riot policing, enlisting Palestinians, Afghani Talibans and even Syrians arriving straight from Damascus to Tehran via camouflaged chartered flights, because Iranian police will no longer beat fellow compatriots during demonstrations.

It is clear that Iranians want a secular, representative government ; anything short of that is not acceptable. Surprisingly, both liberals and left wing radicals have, up until now shown little or no support for a secular democracy in Iran. It is difficult to argue that the struggle for a secular democracy in Iran is not “progressive”. After all, the Iranian opposition forces are trying to defeat religious obscurantism, which is definitely not a left-wing ideological asset; they propose a modern democracy instead, which is certainly more in line with left-wing rhetoric.

Historically, whenever a brutal dictatorship teetered on the edge of collapse, left-wing movements and media worldwide stood up in support of the “freedom fighters”. For instance, the autocracy in Nicaragua which lasted until July 1979 and proceeded the fall of the Pres. Anastasio Somoza had liberal media worldwide in a campaign which completely discredited Somoza’s Administration. The turning point was the assassination of journalist Bill Stewart by a soldier of the regular Nicaraguan Army, captured on the video camera of a fellow journalist and promptly distributed throughout the world.

Something similar has recently happened in Iran. A Canadian-Iranian photojournalist, Zahra Ziba Kazemi, was raped and murdered (at the instigation of Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortezavi) in June 2003 while detained after being arrested for filming anti-Government riots outside the political prison of Evin in Tehran. After an initial pathetic attempt to cover up this assassination, [the Islamic Republic officials injected her body with rapid decomposing chemicals and burying her hastily] essentially refusing to return her body to Canada, in spite of an official request made by her family and demand by the Canadian Government. The murder of Ms Kazemi, however, did not provoke the same amount of public outrage which forced Nicaraguan Pres. Somoza to step down.

For weeks during the month of June 2003 and on the occasion of the July 9, 2003, anniversary of the 1999 University protests in Iran, the opposition movement inside Iran challenged the authority of the Administration, marching and rallying, chanting anti-Government slogans, defying the guns and death squads of the various mullahs in key posts. As a result, thousands of political activists, students, and others, were rounded up and packed into prisons, subjected to torture, and in some cases murdered.

It is instructive to compare and contrast the articles about Nicaragua that appeared in liberal newspapers in 1979 and the articles about Iran today. In 1979 not a single liberal journalist strove to be “neutral”. From the perspective of the political left, there was no doubt: Somoza and his Government had to go.

The situation is totally different today. If it is to succeed, the growing opposition movement inside Iran needs tangible support from the West. Freedom fighters need laptops, fax machines and cellular phones to organize the uprising. If the Iranian opposition is to succeed, it also needs support from international media. But, significantly, that is not happening. The basic ingredients of the political situation in Iran ­ a growing opposition movement fighting against a leadership which oppresses the vast majority of the population ­ would normally be considered to be the perfect ingredients for a left-wing recipe to galvanize the masses in the name of freedom and democracy. It worked for Nicaragua, at the end of the 1970s; it worked for Poland and Solidarnosc in the 1980s. The question for analysts today is why the same recipe has failed to take hold in Iran.

Mainstream US liberal media barely reported on the Iranian uprising which occurred at the end of June and beginning of July 2003. Instead of praising the opposition demonstrators who literally risked their lives, soon after the end of the uprising, The New York Times, which in spite of recent scandals still remains one of the most prestigious national newspapers, published an Op-Ed by Mr Reza Aslan, a visiting professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Iowa.

In that article, Mr Aslan argued that the Iranian opposition was fighting for a religious democracy, not secularism, and religion must play a rôle in the country. Mr Aslan completely misrepresented the reality of Iran, and could not be further from the truth. The New York Times, by publishing that article, sided with those who sought to maintain the status quo in Iran. The most prominent Shi’ite scholars, ayatollahs like Taheri and Montazeri, have distanced themselves from the “political” clergy (Khamnei and Rafsjani), openly criticizing the very concept of Islamic Republic. Hossein Khomeini, himself an ayatollah and the grandchild of the Islamic revolution’s very leader, recently joined Taheri and Montazeri, criticizing religious interference in State matters, in a significant blow to the theocratic establishment. Mr Khomeini left Iran, and is now in Najaf, Iraq, which has once again become the most prominent Shi’ite theological center, relegating the Iranian holy city of Qom to a secondary rôle. Coalition forces in Iraq recently discovered a plot to assassinate Hossein Khomeini organized by the Shi’ite extremists sent by Iran’s “Supreme Leader”, “Ayatollah” Khamene’i and former Pres. Rafsanjani’s assassination teams.

Taheri, Montazeri and Khomeini the younger understand that Islam today is losing consensus in Iran and that the harshness of the Islamic revolution backfired. As a result, it is no longer appealing to Iranian youth; they now respond with either religious apathy or by embracing Zoroastrianism [the ancient religion of Iran, before Persians were forced to convert to Islam by the Arab invaders].

The “peace movement” taught us that only wars which were threatening the Soviet Union were worth protesting. Contemporary liberals would like to sell us a similar concept: siding with the “oppressed freedom fighters” against the brutal oppressors is not always politically correct. In the case of Iran, for example, the toppling of the mullahs could potentially benefit the US Bush Administration, simplifying the process of stabilization in Iraq, and extending US and Israeli influence in the Middle East. The perceived Bush-Sharon axis would come out undoubtedly stronger, after HizbAllah and HAMAS were left without their primary source of financial and logistic support, the Iranian clerics.

It is easy to understand why it is in the interest of the left to deliberately downplay the growing opposition movement in Iran. Apart from the more evident reason explained above, as far as Iran is concerned, the left still has a few skeletons in its closet, and must come to terms with past mistakes and faulty assessments.

To begin with, the left significantly contributed to the creation of the Islamic Republic, when US President Jimmy Carter deliberately destroyed the Shah, who had been a staunch ally of the US for 27 years. In the Shah’s White House visit of November 1977, Jimmy Carter and his aides ­ who demanded radical changes in the way the internal affairs of Iran were conducted ­ met the Shah with open hostility. They asked the Shah to institute the right of free assembly, at a time when the Soviet Union was stepping up a campaign of propaganda, espionage and even sabotage inside Iran, and Islamic fundamentalists where teaming up with the Iranian Communist Tudeh party to overthrow the Government.

Nureddin Klanuri, head of the Tudeh Party, who was living in exile in East Berlin, officially sanctioned the party line in support for Khomeini:

“The Tudeh Party approves Ayatollah Khomeini's initiative in creating the Islamic Revolutionary Council. The ayatollah’s program coincides with that of the Tudeh Party.”

Furthermore, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh, a key figure in Khomeni’s entourage, was known for his strong connections with Soviet and Eastern European intelligence.

The Shah was left with little room for maneuver; he had to succumb to the blackmail of the Carter Administration and release political prisoners, ending military tribunals and granting rights of assembly in order not to lose vital US military supply and training. But the mechanism designed by Carter to provoke an escalation of the opposition to the Shah was already in motion. In addition to the support of the Tudeh party and Eastern intelligence, Khomeini could also count on US leftist radicals like Ramsey Clark, who had served as Attorney-General in the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration. Mr Clark went to Tehran and to Paris, to visit Khomeini. Upon his return to the US, he played a behind-the-scenes rôle to influence prominent senators and congressmen not to allow the US military to back the Shah in case of popular upraising against the Peacock throne.

Mr Clark is today still proud of his crusade of 1979. In a recent interview he talked of overthrowing the Shah as “the” accomplishment of his lifetime, quoting overly exaggerated numbers of supposed Shah’s victims as the moral justification for his actions. The smear campaign orchestrated by left media while the Shah was still on his throne, and which continued well after his fall, depicted the Shah as a mass murderer, responsible for the killing of 60,000 people, who died between 1963 and 1979. That number was fabricated by Khomeini, and never verified, not even by Western media, which took for granted the “official truth” of the newly installed Islamic Administration.

Only recently a respected historian, Emad al-Din Baghi, who had access to the files of the so-called “Martyrs Foundation”, told the truth about the real number of Shah’s victims. For years, The Martyrs Foundation collected the names of the victims of the revolution against the Shah, classifying them by age, sex, education, etc. The findings where never disclosed by the Islamic Republic, in order not to contradict the official number “established by decree” by Khomeini. The statistical breakdown of victims covering the period from 1963 to 1979 adds up to a figure of 3,164. Emad al-Din Baghi left the Martyrs Foundation to write books about his findings. According to his historically accurate account, the worst moment of the uprising against the Shah, culminated in the massacre at Jaleh Square, gave the “revolutionaries” the chance to grossly inflate the number of victims, from 88 to initially 3,000, which later became 4,000. Western media never bothered to verify the accuracy of the numbers, based on rumors and anti-Shah hysteria, and helped perpetuate the inflated figures.

Not only the left contributed to the creation of the Islamic Republic; in more recent years, during the US Clinton Administration, the media and left-wing politicians helped the Islamic Republic propaganda, repeating and magnifying the “Big Lie” about Iran and its “Reformist Leaders”. “Big Lie” is a term originally coined to describe a characteristic form of nazi (and later Soviet) propaganda. The essence of the Big Lie propaganda technique is that if one repeats the lie often enough over enough channels, people will soak it up deep into their pores and come to believe it as something of “common knowledge” or “fact”.

In this case, the “Big Lie” consisted of portraying current Iranian Pres. Hojjat ol-Eslam (Ali) Mohammad Khatami-Ardakani and his Government as a genuine force capable of reforming the Islamic Republic “from within”, expanding democracy and meeting the requests of Iranians who voted for change against hard-line clerics in 1997. The “Big Lie” remained credible for a short time, and even opposition forces of the Iranian diaspora initially credited Mr Khatami with good intentions. But soon after the electoral victory of May 1997, it appeared evident that Khatami was a mere façade figure, whose task was to restore an image of respectability, which the Islamic Republic had lost when Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsajani, the former President, had ordered the elimination of anti-Islamic Republic activists [carried out by Iranian killers] in Berlin. After several European countries recalled their ambassadors from Tehran to protest against the assassinations perpetrated on European soil and threatened to reconsider business deals with Iran, the clerical apparatus in charge of the Islamic Republic decided to give itself a new and more presentable look.

The Iranian society had already sent strong signals of deep disaffection towards Islamic rule. It was easy to maneuver the elections; spiritual leader Ali Khamene’i handpicked a fossilized, ultra-conservative mullah, Nategheh-Nouri, the Speaker of Parliament (Majlis), as the candidate of the establishment, knowing full well that the electorate would have voted for the alternative candidate.

But what kind of alternative was Khatami? One should not forget that “democratic elections” are in reality nothing more than a farce in Iran. Opposition parties that do not pledge their allegiance to the Islamic regime are banned. And as if that is not enough, the all-powerful Council of Guardians subjects all candidates to a close examination of their loyalty to the “system”. The latter represents the “will of God”, while the Parliament (Majlis) represents the “will of the People”. Needless to say, the will of God always prevails over the will of the people. The “Spiritual Leader” Ali Khamene’i, who presides the Council of Guardians, is, to all intents, an absolute monarch. Of the initial 240 candidates who wanted to run for the May 1997 election, the Council of Guardians chose four who were deemed sufficiently Islamic to run. All women candidate were filtered out, leaving Khatami, carefully screened by the establishment, as the only reasonable choice. With his image of well-spoken, clean-shaven mullah capable of debating without losing his temper, Khatami was the perfect choice to rebuild the shattered image of Iran, especially in the eyes of the European powers.

The fictitious contraposition between “conservatives” and “reformists” and the “electoral victory” of the latter was the PR stunt that allowed the Europeans, anxious to continue usurping cheap oil and gas from Iran, to feel morally justified when they restored diplomatic and business relations with the Islamic Republic. The Western media on both sides of the Atlantic did the rest, generating a false sense of confidence in the “good guys”, the reformists, who, in spite of all the obstacles erected by the conservatives, would have eventually succeeded in fulfilling the needs and the democratic aspirations of Iranians. In all fairness, it has to be said that all mainstream media, irrespective of political leaning, initially praised Khatami’s election, to the extent of giving him the nickname of “Ayatollah Gorbachev”. The mullahs benefited from the newly-found line of political credit by cracking down on internal opposition with renewed vigor. A few months after Khatami’s “landslide victory”, journalists and intellectuals were killed in what went down the annals of history as the “chain murders”. In addition, real opposition magazines and newspapers were banned and forcibly closed down.

In spite of the repression of internal dissent, Khatami was invited by the major European powers for State visits. He went to Italy in March 1999, where he delivered a speech to the Parliament, to France in October 1999, where he was welcomed by Pres. Chirac at the Elysée Palace, and to Germany in July 2000, where he met federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer.

The Big Lie represented a perfect win-win situation for Iranian officials and European powers. It legitimized the Islamic Republic and its crackdown of the opposition, while justifying the Europeans in their renewed business interests with Iran, because, as German Foreign Minister Fisher claimed: “any opposition to Khatami only benefits his conservative opponents”. Khatami visited Germany exactly one year after the July 1999 student protests, during which security forces and Islamic militia murdered several young people. Khatami explicitly supported the repression of the protest, and in spite of receiving thousands of petitions; he did not intervene to stop the tortures and the arrests if students who were then sentenced to death after mock trials. But that was not enough to defeat the Big Lie; the sad reality of Iran was not convenient for liberal media and European politicians, anxious to clear the way to lucrative business deals with Iran.

The latest elections held in Iran on February 2003 also showed that the Emperor had no clothes; in Tehran only 10 percent of voters cast their votes, in other parts of the country the percentage of voters was higher, but in average no more than 25 percent. That sent Iranian authorities and the world a strong message of the distaste the Iranian public felt towards Islamic rule. Initially, only the Council of Guardians was labeled “the unelected few”; today the same can be said about the entire ruling class.

US non-liberal mainstream media finally woke up and started questioning the Big Lie, reporting on the June/July 2003 uprisings, realizing that Iran needed a secular democracy and not the false promises of a better future by a powerless mullah. In several occasions, however, liberal media still described the Iranian situation in terms of internal fighting between reformists and conservatives, demanding that the US State Department open a dialogue with “reformist forces” to reach a compromise on the Iranian interference in Iraq and the nuclear facility being built in central Iran.

Left-wing radical fringes recently gave birth to a Committee called the “International Committee for Transition to Democracy in Iran”. Radical celebrities like Noam Chomsky, Costa Gavras and the Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago were among the founders of the committee, which mixes anti-US and anti-Imperialist rhetoric with legitimate requests for a genuine democratization in Iran. It is now time for the more moderate mainstream left to start the long overdue process of self-criticism of past mistakes, and to recognize that the only reasonable political position is to side with the growing opposition movement that wants to overthrow the mullahs to create a secular democracy in Iran. The left opposed the war in Iraq using morally charged messages like “no blood for oil”. In order not to lose its credibility, the left can no longer ignore the legitimate aspiration of Iranians for a secular democracy. If the left insists on perpetuating its mistakes as far as Iran is concerned [trading long term benefits for myopic short term anti-Bush gains], it will be caught, once again, on the wrong side of history. It is not too late for the left to recognize its mistakes and to rectify its position on Iran, after a factual and honest debate; but that must begin now.

Elio Bonazzi is an Italian-born political scientist and IT professional, with extensive experience covering Iranian issues.
4 posted on 01/25/2004 12:13:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Cheney's Message for the Iranian Rulers

January 25, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Reza Bayegan

Dick Cheney's speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on 24 January is of special significance for its vision and timing. It spells out the challenges that are still ahead of the free world in confronting terrorism. It makes clear that the search for global peace is inseparable from combating dictatorships and supporting democratic movements in the Middle East and around the world. It singles out Iran by name as a country whose rulers should "honour the legitimate demands of the people". He said "there are growing calls for true democracy and human rights in Iran." Cheney's words come at a time when the totalitarian establishment in Iran has again dashed hopes for a free parliamentary election. The Islamic regime in Iran survives by intimidating the country's population and promoting terrorism abroad. Dick Cheney has used the opportunity of appearing in Davos to state that Americans are aware of this fact and harbour no illusions about the identity of their number one enemy.

September 11 has brought home to Americans the reality that the virus of dictatorship cannot be contained within the borders of one country or a continent. The world has turned into a place where the life and safety of the whole human civilization has become interdependent. Saddam Hussein not only was an evil to his own people, but an ongoing international menace. His removal has freed the Iraqi people and at the same time saved countless potential victims around the globe. The unfortunate truth is that a far greater danger than Saddam still threatens the world and the Middle Eastern peace with an ideology that thrives on hatred and xenophobia. The deadly ideology of suicide bombers and hostage takers that is fostered and promoted by the government of the Islamic Republic and is as dangerous as any weapons of mass destruction. Any political analyst worth his salt knows that without a regime change in Iran and the restoration of civil and political rights to the people of that country, peace in the Middle East is bound to remain a piecemeal peace, in constant threat of danger destruction.

To those Iranians struggling for freedom, Dick Cheney's words are a welcome sign that the Americans are still with them in their fight against the mullahs and have not bought into the policy of appeasement adopted by some European countries towards the Islamic Republic. The American Vice-President called on Europe to stand together with America in insisting on democratic changes in Iran. His statement that the "ideologies of violence should be confronted at the source" was clearly directed at the rulers of the Islamic Republic who are incontrovertibly the spiritual and ideological doctrinarians of terrorism in the Islamic world.

Another top American official who gave a clear indication that America will maintain the pressure for bringing about democratic change in countries of the axis of evil was Condoleezza Rice, Bush's National Security Advisor. In an interview she gave from Camp David where she was editing the drafts of the State of the Union speech delivered by George Bush on Tuesday she emphasized the need for providing moral help to the people of the countries suffering under totalitarian rule. Citing the example of the collapse of the Soviet Empire she said:

"When Ronald Reagan spoke out against the Soviet Union, it stimulated those inside, who saw they had friends around the world, and they were able to speak out".

Codoleezza Rice also underlined the need for truthfulness regarding the nature of undemocratic governments. The truthfulness she referred to is what is ignored by many European countries who encourage and embolden the totalitarian governments by their false bonhomie and moral indecision. This amounts to glossing over their crimes and making them look respectable. Those who are fighting to change those regimes need international solidarity; and it will not aid their search for a cure to call their national disease by any different name than what it really is.

It will not help those Iranians struggling for democracy when the Economist, in keeping with the dominant European relativism of the day, in its 17 January 2004 issue, paints an ameliorating picture of the lives of Iranians under President Khatami and calls it "less appalling" than what it used to be. As if "less appalling" is what any self-respecting nation can settle for. Dick Cheney in his speech spoke against this kind of moral relativism. Calling it a condescending attitude he said the idea that the Islamic World is incapable of accommodating democracy is ridiculous.

As the world can never settle for a piecemeal peace Iranian people also cannot settle for a demi-democracy or a "less appalling" dictatorship. There are positive and encouraging signs coming from Washington indicating that in their genuine struggle for freedom, the Iranians can count on American support.
12 posted on 01/25/2004 9:49:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Dismisses Claims of Sept 11 Link

January 25, 2004
ABC News

Iran has rejected a suggestion by a man claiming to be a former member of its intelligence services that Tehran was involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The Iranian embassy in Berlin said in a statement that claims of a link between Iran and Al Qaeda were groundless and that the statements were the "contradictory and false declarations of an unknown person".

In the statement the Iranian embassy "robustly denied this rumour, which is without foundation," and said Tehran was fully committed to the fight against global terror.

The man has been called as a witness in a trial being held in Germany of Moroccan student Abdelghani Mzoudi over the suicide hijackings that killed more than 3,000 people.

Identified by the codename Hamid Remz Zakeri, the man was called on by federal prosecutors to appear at the trial only hours before a verdict was due because they were convinced he could incriminate Moroccan student Abdelghani Mzoudi in the attacks.

On Wednesday, the court made a shock announcement that it had agreed to wait to deliver its verdict in the case in order to assess the credibility of the new witness.

German media report the witness told German police that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ex-president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and three other clerics met with Osama bin Laden's eldest son at an airbase near Tehran on May 4, 2001 to finalise the plans for the attacks.

The officers testified that the witness told them Mzoudi had been in Iran and was "active in the logistics of the September 11, 2001 operation," including the "composition and transmission of [encrypted] information to intermediaries".

The mysterious witness is due to testify in person at the trial in Hamburg, north Germany, German radio and television broadcaster NDR reported on its website on Saturday, claiming to have spoken with Zakeri by telephone.
14 posted on 01/25/2004 9:52:11 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Pakistan Scientists Admit Helping Iran with Bomb-making

January 25, 2004
Massoud Ansari

Scientists and officials working on Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme have admitted for the first time that they gave Iran crucial technical information on building an atomic bomb.

Interrogators who have questioned the eight people detained last weekend over allegations that nuclear secrets were sold abroad have confirmed that at least three confessed to helping pass secret nuclear know-how to their opposite numbers in Iran.

The two scientists and one official work for Khan Research Laboratory (KRL), the headquarters of the country's nuclear weapons programme, and include close associates of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, a national hero in Pakistan as the "Father of the Bomb". One is said to be a senior manager at KRL and an expert in centrifuge technology.

All three deny supplying equipment directly to Iran, a senior official told the Telegraph. He said, however, that one scientist admitted: "We confided in them about the items needed to construct a nuclear bomb, as well as the makes of equipment, the names of companies, the countries from which they could be procured and how they could be procured."

Scientists are also said to have revealed the names of retired senior army officials and nuclear experts who played key roles in deals which helped Iran to launch its nuclear weapons programme. Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, ordered an investigation of his country's nuclear scientists late last year, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned of possible nuclear links between Pakistan and Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Iran pledged last year to halt uranium enrichment activity, but Western diplomats believe that the country is still acquiring advanced centrifuge equipment needed to make a nuclear weapon. Inspections carried out by IAEA inspectors or Iranian nuclear facilities revealed links with Pakistan, including blueprints for a type of centrifuge similar to those used by Pakistan.

The latest information from Pakistan's scientists poses a dilemma for President Musharraf, who promised last week to prosecute anyone who sold nuclear secrets.

He said on Friday that scientists appeared to have sold nuclear designs to other nations "for personal financial gain", but insisted that no state or government officials were involved. He must decide whether to widen the investigation to include senior military figures who have been identified by scientists.

"This is highly sensitive," said an official. "Some of those identified by the scientists are 'big names', and it would not be easy for the government to lay its hands on them."

Last weekend's arrests bring the number of KRL scientists and officials arrested by Pakistani authorities over the past two months to more than 20, including key members of the team responsible for Pakistan's 1998 nuclear test. Most have since been released, but at least nine are still under interrogation. Dr Khan has also been questioned, although he was not detained and he denied any involvement in passing information abroad.

However, after these latest disclosures, officials said, that Pakistani authorities are investigating the wealth accumulated by nuclear scientists and KRL officials, many of whom enjoy luxurious homes in opulent neighbourhoods beyond the reach of someone living on a government salary.

One senior government official said: "Some of the top scientists and people associated with the country's nuclear programme appear to be living beyond their means. We do not know whether they have accumulated this wealth by illegally siphoning off funds from the KRL budget, or by obtaining money in exchange for transferring nuclear expertise."
15 posted on 01/25/2004 9:53:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Calls for Free Elections

January 25, 2004
BBC News
Sadeq Saba

Iran's President, Mohammad Khatami, has hardened his position on the country's election row by demanding a fair and free poll. He urged the unelected Guardian Council which has disqualified more than 3,000 candidates from next month's elections, to make a full review of its decision.

He has tried to find a solution by holding talks behind closed doors.

Mr Khatami's comments indicate his patience is wearing thin with the country's hardline conservatives.

In a joint statement with the parliamentary speaker, Mehdi Karrubi, Mr Khatami accused the leader of the Guardian Council, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, of misrepresenting their views at a meeting with him last Saturday.

The president met members of the Guardian Council - which vets all candidates in elections - in an attempt to persuade them to reverse their controversial decision to disqualify thousands of reformist candidates from the parliamentary poll.

Mr Khatami's statement indicates that his mission has brought no significant result.

He has warned the conservatives that as a result of the disqualification more than two-thirds of constituencies would have no competing candidates in the elections.

He said if the elections were held in this situation, it would be against democracy and against the dignity of the Iranian people.

Mr Khatami did not make it clear what his reaction would be if the situation was not reversed. But it appears that his options are limited and his moderate policies are having little effect.
16 posted on 01/25/2004 9:54:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran MPs Reform Election Law in Challenge to Candidate Blacklist

January 25, 2004
Yahoo News

TEHRAN -- Iran's parliament voted for an emergency reform of the electoral law aimed at forcing hardline religious rivals to reinstate thousands of reformist candidates barred from next month's election.

MPs backed amendments aimed at making it easier for candidates to stand, in a direct challenge to the powerful Guardians Council whose election blacklist has triggered a bitter political crisis in the Islamic republic.

The conservative-controlled council, which vets legislation and candidates for office, barred 3,605 of 8,157 prospective candidates, most of them reformers, from standing in the February 20 election.

Dozens of reformist MPs, ministers, governors and even President Mohammad Khatami, have threatened to resign en masse in protest at the disqualifications that could paralyse the new legislature, due to convene in June.

Among those rejected are 80 sitting MPs, as well as other prominent figures.

In the emergency session on Sunday, the reformist-dominated Majlis or parliament approved an amendment which would prevent the Guardians Council from disqualifying sitting MPs unless they had been convicted of a criminal offence.

A second amendment would prevent disqualifications based on any other criteria than Iran's common law, a response to the Council's rejection of a number of candidates for alleged failures to respect Islam or the constitution.

The vote came only a day after Khatami and the speaker of parliament, Mehdi Karubi, demanded a "full review" of the blacklist.

But the electoral reforms, drawn up less than a month before the election, still have to be approved by the 12-member council, a bastion of Iran's religious right which has consistently blocked efforts to shake up the 25-year-old Islamic republic.

The fate of the amendments is likely to be known later Sunday or on Monday, with all the signs pointing to a council veto of the reforms.

"These amendments weaken the council's legal position and give more power to the (reformist-run interior ministry which organises the polls)," charged ultra-conservative MP Mussa Ghorbani.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei moved to haul the Islamic republic out of one of its worst ever crises by ordering the council to to be less stringent in its vetting procedure, but only some 300 of the rejected candidates have so far been reinstated.

The council, whose 12 members are directly or indirectly appointed by Khamenei, has been accused of seeking to rig the polls in order to oust reformers from the Majlis.

The body, which has defended its vetting process and insisted it is only exercising the laws of the Islamic republic, has until January 30 to certify the final list of candidates to the interior ministry.

That gives those finally approved only three weeks to pitch their views to an electorate already widely disillusioned, particularly voters who have supported Khatami and the reformists in the past.

"We are opposed to illegal control by a body which sometimes claims to know men better than God himself knows them," said reformist MP Mohsen Armin.

But another reformer, Hossein Ansari-Rad, warned that the electoral reforms may only serve to heighten political tensions.

"We may find ourselves jumping out of the frying pan into the fire."
17 posted on 01/25/2004 9:57:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Hard-Liners Veto Election Bill

January 25, 2004
The Associated Press
ABC News

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's hard-line Guardian Council has vetoed a bill that sought to reverse the disqualification of thousands of reformist electoral candidates, a leading legislator said Sunday night.

The move is part of an escalating battle between reform-minded lawmakers and religious conservatives who dominate the most powerful branches of the government.

"We've been informed that the Guardian Council has vetoed the legislation on the grounds that it contradicted the constitution and Sharia (Islamic) law," Mohsen Mirdamadi told The Associated Press. Mirdamadi heads the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the parliament and is one of the lawmakers disqualified.

The bill sought to overturn the disqualification of more than a third of the 8,200 candidates who registered for the Feb. 20 elections.

Members of the Guardian Council could not immediately reached for comment.

The veto is considered likely to provoke a boycott of the elections by reformist parties and politicians, who dominate the current 290-seat parliament. Reformists had condemned the disqualifications as an attempt by the hard-liners to skew the elections in their favor.

The legislators had passed the bill earlier Sunday in a session broadcast live on state radio. They categorized it as "triple-urgent," meaning highest priority. It was the first time since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution that parliament had approved a triple-urgency bill.

The bill would have amended the National Elections law to force the Guardian Council, which oversees elections, to reinstate all candidates unless there is legal documentation to prove them unfit for parliament.

The council's members are chosen by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has asked the body to reconsider its disqualifications. The council has reinstated only a few hundred candidates. Its slow response has angered reformists, who say it does not act without the supreme leader's approval.

After the bill was passed, and before it was vetoed, lawmaker Rajabali Mazrouei said the crisis would determine in which direction Iran moves: toward dictatorship or democracy.

He said rejection of the bill would mean the council was "publicly revealing its true objective of imposing brazen dictatorship."

"The rejection will mean that all options to avert an exacerbation of the crisis are finished," Mazrouei added.

Reformist political parties have threatened to boycott the elections if the disqualifications are not overturned. Members of Khatami's government have said they will not hold what would be "sham elections."

On Friday, Khatami and parliamentary speaker Mahdi Karroubi warned that unless the disqualifications were withdrawn, there would be no liberal candidates in more than two-thirds of the electoral districts.

The battle over who can run on Feb. 20 has turned into Iran's worst political crisis in years.

Reformers believe the conservatives are trying to tilt the elections so they will regain control of the 290-seat parliament. In the 2000 polls, the hard-liners lost the majority in the assembly for the first time since the 1979 revolution.

Hard-liners claim the disqualified candidates including more than 80 sitting lawmakers failed to meet legal requirements to run.
26 posted on 01/25/2004 7:03:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. Mulls Stronger Nuclear Curbs

January 25, 2004
Carol Giacomo

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is considering a change in international rules to prevent countries like Iran from legally acquiring components for a nuclear weapons program, senior U.S. officials say.

The goal is to strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, cornerstone of efforts to stem the spread of atomic arms, by closing what is now viewed as a major loophole.

The initiative is similar to a deal that France, Germany and Britain recently offered Iran and to proposals advocated by some of Washington's most respected security experts.

It is still in early discussions but may be formally advanced at the June 8 U.S.-hosted summit of the Group of Eight major industrialised countries, U.S. officials told Reuters.

Under a bargain struck when the NPT took effect 33 years ago, most countries pledged never to acquire nuclear weapons.

In return, they were promised that the five declared nuclear weapons states -- the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China -- would help them acquire nuclear technology for peaceful uses, namely nuclear power plants.

However, U.S. officials and experts say it is clear that some NPT signatories -- like Iran, Libya and North Korea -- exploited the pact to acquire technology that brings them close to being able to produce nuclear weapons.

In general, the proposal now under discussion in Washington would guarantee and even enhance the ability of non-nuclear weapons states to obtain nuclear power for electricity.


But they would be denied the right to manufacture, store or reprocess nuclear fuel -- a key component of nuclear bombs.

"A lot of people have been talking about that and we're considering it -- cutting off enrichment and reprocessing technology to close the loophole while guaranteeing them (non-nuclear states) access to fuel," one U.S. official said.

"Guaranteeing these states access to (nuclear) fuel has its own risks, but it's better than allowing them to have enrichment and reprocessing capabilities ... We may well do that in the G8 context," he said.

The official added: "It's obvious that there is a problem with the NPT when a country can stay in compliance with it and still get very close to a nuclear weapons capability."

Experts say acquiring weapons-grade material is the biggest hurdle countries face in seeking to make atomic bombs.

President George W. Bush put a new spotlight on Iran's ambitions in 2002 when he accused the Islamic republic of being part of an "axis of evil" -- with North Korea and Iraq -- bent on acquiring atomic arms.

Later, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, found traces of bomb-grade highly enriched uranium at two sites in the country.

Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful. Libya, on the other hand, recently agreed to dismantle its nuclear program while North Korea, having withdrawn from the NPT, claims its nuclear activities are proceeding.


Last November, France, Germany and Britain struck a deal under which Iran agreed to suspend enrichment activities and accept more intrusive snap IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities in exchange for western technology.

But Iran has since balked at fully suspending the nuclear program as Washington and the Europeans demand.

Rather than amend the NPT -- a tedious and maybe impossible task -- experts have suggested that the international community supplement the pact with additional inducements and penalties.

Writing in the New York Times last month, former national security adviser retired Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, former Defence Secretary William Perry and two other former officials -- Arnold Kanter and Ashton Carter -- outlined their proposal.

Nuclear countries should withhold nuclear power technology from states that do not forsake atomic weapons but should offer a reliable source of nuclear fuel to, and retrieval of spent fuel from, states that do forsake atomic weapons, they said.

They urged Washington to propose that Russian plans to help Iran build a network of civilian nuclear power reactors be permitted to proceed -- as long as Tehran agrees to a verifiable ban on enrichment and reprocessing and lets a Russian-led consortium handle its nuclear fuel needs.

Such a deal will not be easy, partly because of a lack of U.S. trust in Iran and because Russia and Europe may argue over whose nuclear industry should benefit most from this arrangement, experts said.

But it would present Iran with a "clear test" of whether it harbours nuclear ambitions, Scowcroft and his co-authors said.
27 posted on 01/25/2004 7:05:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Germany: We'll Free Prisoners for Arad

January 26, 2004
Aluf Benn, Yoav Stern and Baruch Kra

The German government has promised to free two Lebanese and an Iranian currently serving life sentences in Germany, and also to try to persuade France and Switzerland to release Lebanese prisoners they hold, in exchange for the return of missing Israeli navigator Ron Arad or his body.

The German pledge is included in the prisoner exchange deal reached by Israel and Hezbollah through German mediation.

The deal comprises two stages. In the first stage, to take place on Thursday, Israel will release 435 Arab prisoners - 400 Palestinians, 23 Lebanese and 12 nationals of other countries - and one German, in exchange for the return of businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum and the bodies of three slain soldiers - Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Suwad.

The following day, Israel will also hand over the bodies of 59 Lebanese buried in Israel, as well as any information it has on 24 Lebanese who have been missing since 1982 and maps of mines laid by Israel in Lebanese territory.

The second stage deals with the attempt to find information about Arad and bring him back to Israel. A joint German-Hezbollah committee will be set up to conduct the search for information, with indirect help from "other sources" - an apparent reference to Iran.

If solid information is obtained - meaning DNA samples to confirm his identity and proof of whether he is alive or dead - Israel will release Samir Kuntar, the only Lebanese prisoner who is not being freed this week, and also the only one convicted of murdering civilians in Israel rather than soldiers in Lebanon.

However, the agreement is deliberately vague on this point, saying in another place that Kuntar will be released once the discussion of his case ends, and that the parties hope this will be in two to three months.

If Arad is located, negotiations will begin over his return to Israel. Any deal would include the release of the three prisoners held in Germany, all of whom were involved in the murder of an Iranian dissident in a Berlin restaurant in 1992. Israel will also have to release additional Arab prisoners, mainly Palestinians.

Once the joint committee is established - which is supposed to be this week - Israel will also give it any information it has relating to the disappearance of four Iranian diplomats in Beirut in 1982.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who gave a press conference in Beirut to announce the deal, said the second stage will begin immediately after Friday's exchange. "Four Israeli prisoners are not sufficient for a comprehensive agreement, because there are additional Israelis in Lebanon," he explained.

Specifically, he said, Hezbollah believes Arad is in Lebanon, and not in Iran, as Israel believes.

At the conclusion of this stage, "if the Arad affair ends positively," Israel will release a large quantity of other prisoners, who, Nasrallah hinted, may include Israeli Arabs as well as Palestinians. "Israel has expressed willingness to pay a heavy price if the second stage goes well," he said.

If Israel fails to implement the second stage, he added, Hezbollah will continue to kidnap Israeli soldiers.

In Israel, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Sunday told a meeting of the Manufacturers Association in Tel Aviv that "today, Israel is closer than ever to the possibility of obtaining real information about the fate of Ron Arad."

"We will not rest until we have brought all the captives and MIAs home: Ron Arad, Zacharia Baumel, Yehuda Katz, Zvi Feldman and Guy Hever," he said. "The deal ties Ron Arad's fate to the next stage of implementation. But I say that very cautiously, because we are dealing with a very cruel enemy."

"This is the best deal we could achieve under the present conditions," he continued. "The price we had to pay for the return of Elhanan Tennenbaum and the three soldiers was extremely high ... The decision was difficult but, in my opinion, correct."

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces and the Prisons Service are busy preparing for the first stage of the exchange. On Monday, the list of 400 Palestinian prisoners to be released will be finalized, and the bodies to be returned to Lebanon will be exhumed and readied for transfer. The final list of prisoners to be released will be published on the Prisons Service's Web site tonight, so that anyone who wants to petition the High Court of Justice against a particular release can do so. However, it is considered very unlikely that the court would uphold such a petition.

According to Israeli sources, which Palestinians will be released is entirely at Israel's discretion; Hezbollah will have no say in the matter. The criteria set by the cabinet are that only prisoners with less than two years still to serve and without "blood on their hands" will be released. However, Israel did promise Hezbollah that only security prisoners, as opposed to ordinary criminals, will be included in the deal. Many of those to be freed will be administrative detainees rather than convicted prisoners.

Nasrallah said in his press conference that Hezbollah's key achievement in the deal was Israel's agreement to release Palestinian prisoners and not just Lebanese. The Palestinians, he said, will be released to their homes in the territories; "they will not be deported to other places."

As for the Lebanese, he said, "We will receive the 17 prisoners who operated against Israel with official and popular festivities. The Lebanese government will decide how to receive the others."

The deal, step by step

* Sunday: Location of the bodies of the Lebanese citizens to be handed over to Hezbollah.

* Monday: Coordinator Major General (res.) Ilan Biran leaves for Germany to complete the arrangements.

* Monday or Tuesday morning: Publication on the Prison Service Web site of the names of the prisoners to be released.

* Wednesday: Final identification of the bodies of the kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldiers and a sign of life from Elhanan Tennenbaum.

* Thursday: Implementation of the deal - a German plane will fly Tennenbaum and the bodies of the three soldiers from Beirut to Munich. An Israeli plane will fly 36 Arab nationals to Munich; 59 bodies will be transported over land to Lebanon; and 400 Palestinian detainees will be freed into the territories.

* Over the coming weeks: Negotiations to secure information about Ron Arad and the release of terrorist Samir Kuntar.

* If reliable information is received about Arad: Negotiations for the release of the navigator, or his body, in return for additional Arab prisoners.
28 posted on 01/25/2004 7:06:10 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Sees 'Positive Signals' From US - Newsweek

January 25, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
Dow Jones

NEW YORK -- Iran's president has said there have been some "positive signals in the tone and the pronouncements" of U.S. officials recently, and he is "sure there will be new developments" unless this is a "tactical ploy."

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, President Mohammad Khatami said "we are hearing different voices from the U.S," but "we must be confident that the voice we hear is the voice of the entire U.S. administration."

Newsweek quoted the Iranian leader as saying you can't "continue imposing sanctions and leveling baseless allegations against a country and at the same time ask for dialogue."

Khatami made his comments about "hearing different voices" and "baseless allegations" when Newsweek asked his response to recent "gestures" by the U.S. - a statement by Secretary of State Colin Powell that the two nations should keep open the possibility of dialogue and U.S. assistance after a recent earthquake.

When asked about President George W. Bush labeling Iran as part of an axis of evil, Khatami said the U.S. knows that Iran is also an adversary of the terror group al Qaida and also knows that his nation has "acted wisely and rationally in Afghanistan and in Iraq."

"We must all contribute so the U.S. can be extricated from Iraq" and the occupation ended, he was quoted as saying.

The Iranian leader said his country was worried about the possible breakup of Iraq. Khatami told Newsweek a "representative government should take charge." Such a government could "decide a good destiny for Iraq with the help of the neighboring countries and even those countries that are occupying powers" along with the U.N., he told the magazine.

When asked by Newsweek, "what would it take" to get Iran "to stop producing fissile material," Khatami replied "we have said categorically that we are not looking for nuclear weapons." But he repeated Iran's position that "we regard it as our right to benefit from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."

Khatami said India, Pakistan and Israel all have nuclear weapons and Iran expects the U.N. and U.S. "to help establish a Middle East free of nuclear weapons."
29 posted on 01/25/2004 7:06:51 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

31 posted on 01/26/2004 12:13:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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