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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 02/03/2004 12:01:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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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”

2 posted on 02/03/2004 12:04:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Islamic Republic is 25 - and at a watershed

By Gareth Smyth
Published: February 3 2004 4:00 | Last Updated: February 3 2004 4:00

When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew home from exile in Paris on February 1 1979, so many millions of people lined the streets of Tehran that the 78-year-old cleric abandoned his station wagon for a helicopter.

By contrast, the 25th anniversary of the key event in the establishment of Iran's Islamic Republic was a low-key affair on Sunday with few public displays of enthusiasm.

Dignitaries gathered to inaugurate Tehran's new international airport, where President Mohammad Khatami gave an address predicting it would help foster international co-operation.

The ceremony gave no hint of any crisis in the Islamic Republic, despite the resignation notices handed in on Sunday by 134 out of 290 parliamentary deputies.

Mosharekate (Participation Front), the largest reformist party, with around 120 parliamentary seats, yesterday said it would boycott the parliamentary elections due on February 20, but stopped short of calling on Iranians to abstain.

"We have no hope there is any possibility of free and fair elections - all legal opportunities have been killed," said Mohammad Reza Khatami, the party's secretary-general and brother of the president.

Since the Guardian Council, an unelected constitutional watchdog, three weeks ago barred 3,600 mainly reformist candidates, including 80 deputies, from this month's election, President Khatami has argued the matter could be resolved through discussions with the council and Ali Khameni, Iran's supreme leader.

Last Friday's announcement from the council that 2,450 candidates remained barred was a heavy blow to the president's whole project of revitalising the Islamic Republic through greater pluralism.

On Saturday, President Khatami took to his bed with severe back pain, rising only for the opening of the Imam Khomeini airport.

He missed the cabinet meeting which agreed late on Sunday "not to hold elections that are not competitive, fair and free" and apparently endorsed a call from Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari, the reformist interior minister, to postpone the poll.

While the Guardian Council must agree to any delay, the reformist-controlled interior ministry and the governors of Iran's 28 provinces are responsible for the practical conduct of the election and could refuse to carry out their duties.

With some reformers still hoping that the supreme leader may intervene in the crisis, they are giving no clear sense of how far they are prepared to go, or of whether they have a common strategy.

There is still little public interest in a political crisis that has been brewing for three weeks, despite a sit-in protest by deputies.

"The sit-in came far too late, and the reformers have not raised effective short-term demands among the people," said Javardi Hesar, a Mosharekate member banned from the election.

But while there has been no repeat of the demonstra tions that four years ago followed the closure of several reformist newspapers, there is aquiet sense that the Islamic Republic is at a watershed. "Maybe it's better to have conservatives in both the parliament and the government," said an Iranian civil servant. "At least then, people will know who's running the country and can see if this system can ever work."

Some conservatives worry that such a short-term victory may breed long-term problems for the system's legitimacy.

While conservative strategists made no secret of their original desire for a low turnout in the elections, at least one has criticised the Guardian Council's actions.

"The council's inflexibility has unified the reformist camp," wrote Amir Mohebian in Resalat newspaper. "It is not helpful to remove all control from the hands of Mr Khatami."

The deeper fear of pragmatic conservatives may be that brushing aside reformists may ultimately swell the ranks of those who, like many student leaders, argue that the Islamic Republic created by Ayatollah Khomeini 25 years ago cannot be reformed.
3 posted on 02/03/2004 12:08:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Former French President D'estaing calls for better Iran-EU ties

Feb 2, 2004, 22:44

Former French President Valery Giscard D'estaing here on Saturday called for expansion of relations between Iran and European countries.

In a meeting with Iran's ambassador to Paris Sadeq Kharrazi, Giscard D'estaing, who is currently chairman of the Convention on the Future of Europe, praised the ancient Iranian culture and civilization.

During the meeting, held on the threshold of the 25th anniversary of victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian envoy appreciated hospitality of the French government and nation during stay of the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Imam Khom eini, in France.

As to chairmanship of Giscard D'estaing over the European Convention, Kharrazi underlined the need for promotion of relations between European bodies and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
4 posted on 02/03/2004 12:11:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
I've Sold Nuclear Secrets to Iran

February 03, 2004
Ahmed Rashid and Anton La Guardia

The father of Pakistan's atomic bomb has confessed to selling nuclear weapons secrets to some of the world's most notorious "rogue states", a senior official said yesterday.

The admission that Abdul Qadeer Khan freely sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea confirms one of America's worst fears - that a close ally in the "war on terrorism" has turned out to be the secret armourer of its worst foes.

In a briefing to Pakistani journalists, the official admitted that successive governments had failed to control the activities of Mr Khan. He claimed that the technology sales were made for "personal greed" and did not involve Pakistani governments - something many experts find difficult to believe.

There were unconfirmed reports last night that Mr Khan's daughter had fled abroad with information that could compromise Pakistan's top brass.

According to journalists invited to the briefing, Mr Khan told investigators in an 11-page confession that he had provided the secrets to other Muslim countries - Iran and Libya - so they could become nuclear powers and strengthen the Islamic world.

The transfer to North Korea was supposedly "to divert attention of the international community from Pakistan".

The 69-year-old Mr Khan has been kept under 24-hour house arrest since the investigation was prompted by Iran's admission to United Nations nuclear inspectors that Pakistan had provided designs and hardware for uranium enrichment gas centrifuges. These are used to make fuel for civilian power reactors, but can also be used to make fissile material for nuclear weapons.

The government of Gen Pervaiz Musharraf has been gradually preparing public opinion for the news that one of its public heroes has betrayed Pakistan's most important military secrets.

In recent days, newspapers have reported that Mr Khan had a vast range of properties in Pakistan and abroad, and even used military transport aircraft to ship furniture to a hotel he owned in Timbuktu, Mali.

The disclosure is an acute embarrassment for Gen Musharraf. Islamic radicals accuse him of bowing to America's diktat. But the Pakistani leader is under Western pressure to tighten his grip of Pakistan's nuclear technology or risk being treated as a rogue state.

Senior Western officials have given Gen Musharraf private assurances that if he takes stern action they will take at face value his claims that nuclear technology was sold by scientists for "greed" and not at the behest that Pakistani governments.

In his confession Mr Khan absolved the army of any wrong-doing. "He does not mention the armed forces," said the official. "There were intelligence lapses on our part and we admit to them."

That is unlikely to convince international inspectors or the Pakistani public, who have long believed that the army rather than the government of the day has always controlled Pakistan's nuclear programme.

Officials said two former army chiefs have been questioned, but were not implicated in the scandal.

"Investigators have been able to establish that all this was driven by personal greed and ambition," the official said.

"He [Khan] talked unconvincingly about dispersal among Islamic states, but that does not seem very convincing as North Korea is also included."

Three nuclear scientists, two brigadiers and a major general are also among those accused of being involved. The army has so far declined to say whether anybody will be put on trial.

Officials said Mr Khan first began to transfer designs, drawings and components for gas centrifuges to Iran between 1989 to 1991. He provided similar technology to North Korea and Libya between 1991 and 1997.

They say these transfers ended in 2000. However America has said nuclear technology transfers from Pakistan to North Korea took place as late as 2002 and to Libya in August last year.
11 posted on 02/03/2004 7:45:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Cheney vs. the Mullahs

February 03, 2004
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 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 that 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 noted, "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 January 17, 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 false 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 02/03/2004 7:46:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Don't Want To Go Nuclear

February 03, 2004
The Washington Post
Karim Sadjadpour

Do the people of Iran want the bomb? Iran's recent decision to allow for tighter inspection of its nuclear facilities -- which Iran says are for civilian purposes -- was hailed by Iranian and European officials as a diplomatic victory, while analysts and officials in Washington and Tel Aviv continue to be wary of Tehran's intentions. But despite the attention given to Iran's nuclear aspirations in recent months, one important question has scarcely been touched on: How do the Iranian people feel about having nuclear weapons?

Iranian officials have suggested that the country's nuclear program is an issue that resonates on the Iranian street and is a great source of national pride. But months of interviews I have done in Iran reveal a somewhat different picture. Whereas few Iranians are opposed to the development of a nuclear energy facility, most do not see it as a solution to their primary concerns: economic malaise and political and social repression. What's more, most of the Iranians surveyed said they oppose the pursuit of a nuclear weapons program because it runs counter to their desire for "peace and tranquility." Three reasons were commonly cited.

First, having experienced a devastating eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of their compatriots, Iranians are opposed to reliving war or violence. Many Iranians said the pursuit of nuclear weapons would lead the country down a path no one wanted to travel.

Two decades ago revolutionary euphoria was strong, and millions of young men volunteered to defend their country against an Iraqi onslaught. Today few Iranians have illusions about the realities of conflict. The argument that a nuclear weapon could help serve as a deterrent to ensure peace in Iran seemed incongruous to most. "If we want peace, why would we want a bomb?" asked a middle-aged Iranian woman, seemingly concurring with an influential Iranian diplomat who contends that a nuclear weapon "would not augment Iran's security but rather heighten its vulnerabilities."

Second, while a central premise of Iran's Islamic government from the time of its inception has been its steadfast opposition to the United States and Israel, for most Iranians no such nemeses exist. Iran's young populace -- more than two-thirds of the country is younger than 30 -- is among the most pro-American in the Middle East, and tend not to share the impassioned anti-Israel sentiment of their Arab neighbors. While the excitement generated on the Indian and Pakistani streets as a result of their nuclear detonations is commonly cited to show the correlation between nuclear weapons and national pride, such a reaction is best understood in the context of the rivalry between the two countries. The majority of Iranians surveyed claimed to have little desire to show off their military or nuclear prowess to anyone. "Whom would we attack?" asked a 31-year-old laborer, echoing a commonly heard sentiment in Tehran. "We don't want war with anyone."

Finally, many Iranians, youth in particular, are opposed to the Islamic republic's becoming a nuclear power because they believe it would further entrench the hard-liners in the government. "I fear that if these guys get the bomb they will be able to hold on to power for another 25 years," said a 30-year-old Iranian professional. "Nobody wants that." In particular some expressed a concern that a nuclear Iran would be immune to U.S. and European diplomatic pressure and could continue to repress popular demands for reform without fear of repercussion.

At the same time, most Iranians -- including harsh critics of the Islamic regime -- remain unconvinced by the allegations that their government is secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Many dismiss it as another bogeyman manufactured by the United States and Israel to further antagonize and isolate the Islamic regime. "I don't believe we're after a bomb," said a 25-year-old Tehran University student. "The U.S. is always looking for an excuse to harass these mullahs." A recently retired Iranian diplomat who said he is "strongly critical" of the Islamic government agreed with this assessment, saying Iran's nuclear program "is neither for defensive nor offensive purposes . . . It's only for energy purposes."

I draw two lessons from this. First, the European-brokered compromise on Iran's nuclear program, which appealed to reformists and pragmatists within the Iranian government, was also a victory of sorts for the Iranian people, who are eager to emerge from the political and economic isolation of the past two decades and are strongly in favor of increasing ties with the West. A blatant lack of cooperation with the international community would not have been well-received domestically.

Second, a more aggressive reaction by the international community -- a U.S. or Israeli attempt to strike Iran's nuclear facilities -- could well have the unintended consequence of antagonizing a highly nationalistic and largely pro-Western populace and convincing Iranians that a nuclear weapon is indeed in their national interests. Such a reaction would be disastrous for U.S. interests in the region, especially given Iran's key location between Iraq and Afghanistan.

Western and Israeli diplomats and analysts should know that the ability to solve the Iranian nuclear predicament diplomatically has broad implications for the future of democracy and nonproliferation in Iran and the rest of the Middle East. The goal is to bring the Iranian regime on the same page with the Iranian people. A non-diplomatic attempt to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities could do precisely the opposite.

The writer, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, is a visiting fellow at the American University of Beirut.
13 posted on 02/03/2004 7:48:45 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
End Game

February 03, 2004
Mother Jones

Iran is at the brink -- but of what? Hard-line repression or revolution? It's hard to believe that things will ever be quite the same in the Islamic republic after the current standoff between the forces of reform and tradition.

Iran’s largest pro-reform party, the Participation Front, said it would boycott the February 20th elections because the Guardian Council, an un-elected, hard-line clerical body that oversees the political system, refused to reinstate all of the 3,600 pro-reform candidates it had blacklisted -- even after more than 40 per cent of the Iranian parliament resigned in protest.

Where is this going? It could be that Iran’s reformist forces finally wield power; more likely, though, religious conservatives will clamp down and consolidate their grip.

Part of the trouble is that the Iranian public are disillusioned, having seen the reformist candidates they voted into office virtually powerless to effect change. Like many Americans, they register their disgust by staying away from the polls. In the last Iranian elections (about a year ago, for local councils), only about 10-15% of Iranians voted, handing religious conservatives an easy victory.

President Khatami, the early focus of reformist hopes, was first voted into office in 1997 and reelected in 2001. Since then, he and the majority reformist parliament have tried to pass progressive laws, but have been repeatedly rebuffed by the Council of Guardians. One parliamentarian said of the Council’s attempt to disqualify candidates, "They want to cover the ugly body of dictatorship with the beautiful dress of democracy". The Economist reports:

"The parliament has passed some remarkably enlightened laws in recent years: to liberalise the press; to sign United Nations conventions outlawing torture and sex discrimination; to expand trial by jury; and to stop the police from storming the universities, which are a main base for pro-reform movements. But the Council of Guardians has spiked every one."
One Iranian columnist, Ahmad Sadri, sums up what many Iranians feel: they are chafing under theocratic rule and are bitterly disappointed with the reformists' performance:

"The real news is that the Iranian reformers put on a grand show of defying the widely hated Islamic troglodytes and Iranians didn't care.The majority of Iranians didn't care about the spectacle of the reformist resistance on the floor of their parliament because they had no confidence in a movement that had once embodied their political aspirations. The reform mint had lost its luster and much of its currency when Iranians went to the polls in 2001 to reelect a do-nothing reform president."
In fact, so low is popular interest in Iranian politics that the Council of Guardians may not have needed to remove the reformist names from the ballot; low voter turnout would anyway have most likely resulted in a win for the religious right. They were simply covering their bases. The Iranian Interior Minister has called for a postponing of the February elections, on the grounds that they should not proceed if they can’t be "free, fair, and competitive." The Council of Guardians has thus rejected this call.

Analysts now say that only Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- who has the final say in all matters political as well as spiritual -- can defuse what is shaping up as one of the country's worst political crises.

Of course, the outcome in Iran will have a large effect on world opinion, particularly U.S. opinion:. This from a January 30 editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle:

"If the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, has any regard for citizens' rights in his Islamic republic, he will halt the attempt by anti-democratic hard-liners to corrupt the next round of parliamentary elections … Khamenei, the nation's ultimate authority, has gone through the motions of promoting a compromise, ordering the Guardian Council to reconsider its controversial disqualifications. That seems to be a sham -- a foot-dragging exercise resulting in few restorations of candidacies and no real change in the strategy of subverting electoral democracy. The ayatollah should be reminded that the world sees what is going on and will not respect his theocracy for denying Iranians a minimal degree of control over their currently harried lives."

Perhaps one of the worst prospects for the reform movement is another small turnout like the last elections. Alex Vatanka, a country risk analyst with the Jane's Defense group of publications, said:

"As you have now seen, the elections that are about to be held are already pretty much discredited -- the worst-case scenario as far as democracy in Iran is concerned. The way I look at it is, if you have a similar situation as you had with the local elections [last year], that would be bad for the evolution of reform in Iran because that would pretty much put everything in the hands of the conservatives."
Students, who are largely pro-reform, are a powerful force in Iran, and they may play a role in all this as well. Two-thirds of the population is under 30 and the minimum voting age is 15. So far they have kept out of the conflict, but a demonstration may be in the works.

One Iranian political observer told the Christian Science Monitor that a decisive crisis is brewing:

"Now [politics] is so completely polarized. [The conservatives are] happy and singing, because they think they will soon control the [parliament], and the presidency after that, in elections for 2005.The conservative strategy before was to drive a wedge among the reformists, to tame the opposition. Now the attitude is absolutist and heavy handed."
14 posted on 02/03/2004 7:51:50 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Islamic Republic Urged to Heed UN Rapporteur's Findings

February 03, 2004
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders today hailed the report issued on 12 January by the UN special rapporteur for freedom of expression and opinion, Ambeyi Ligabo, following his 4-10 November visit to Iran, and it urged the Iranian authorities to implement the report's recommendations.

"The observations and conclusions of this official UN document confirm the dramatic situation for press freedom in Iran, which Reporters Without Borders has been condemning for years," the organisation's secretary-general, Robert Ménard, said.

"The Iranian authorities accepted the principle of this visit, so we call on them now to implement the conclusions and proposals made by the special rapporteur for a rapid reform of the press code and criminal code and an improvement in the judicial practices which currently allow widespread abuses in the trials of prisoners of opinion," Ménard said.

"Like the special rapporteur, we expect the release of all the journalists who have been imprisoned just for doing their job. We also hope that Zahra Kazemi's murderers will not benefit from any impunity and that her body will be repatriated at once to Canada, as her son wishes," Ménard added.

Ligabo found a decline in respect for freedom of expression in Iran, with increasing numbers of newspapers being closed and journalists being imprisoned, often beyond what is legally allowed for provisional detention. The systematic repression of all critical opinion as regards political and religious institutions has ushered in a climate of fear and encouraged self-censorship.

The special rapporteur also noted the arbitrary procedures being followed by judicial institutions, in violation of the most elementary rights of defendants, who are tried behind closed doors without a lawyer present. He saw very harsh prison conditions, with long periods of solitary confinement that are tantamount to torture.

Ligabo urged the Islamic Republic to revise its judicial procedures and make them conform to international standards, and to adopt a human rights charter. He said the revolutionary courts should no longer have authority over crimes of opinion and he called on the authorities to end prison sentences for crimes of opinion and press offences.

Ligabo was the second rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights to make an official visit to Iran. Louis Joinet, the chairman of the working group on arbitrary detention visited Iran from 15 to 27 February 2003, but his recommendations had no effect.

Both rapporteurs expressed the same expectations as regard press freedom and respect for human rights in Iran.

Reporters Without Borders hopes that the changes recommended by Joinet and Ligabo will be implemented with monitoring by international bodies, in particular, by human rights organisations and the European Union, which has been conducting a constructive dialogue with the Iranian regime on human rights issues since 1998.
15 posted on 02/03/2004 7:53:48 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Inelegant Lies

February 03, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

Making sense out of mullahs.

To underline one of my favorite themes, notice that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's arrival in Iraq last week was, as usual, welcomed by massive suicide bombings, this time in the north. At least sixty Kurds were killed in Irbil by simultaneous attacks on the two big political parties, and hundreds were injured, some of whom will likely die. This sort of message — you come, we kill you and your allies — is well understood in the Middle East, although not so well back here. Last time he was in Iraq, they tried to kill Wolfowitz, when he was unaccountably put in one of the terrorists' favorite target areas, the al Rasheed hotel in Baghdad.

Anyway, Agence France Presse quoted Mr. Tachlo Khodr Najmeddine, the official spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan — the attractively acronymned PUK — as convinced that Iran was involved. "We (the two Kurdish groups) have a common enemy: the terrorists who come from Iran and other countries, and we must face them."

On January 29, our excellent General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force 7, said that "al Qaeda's fingerprints have been here in Iraq (for months)." He said that their methods had been evident at least since the suicide attacks against the Italian carabinieri in Nassiriyah last November.

Apparently nobody thought to ask him from which planet the terrorists had entered Iraq, although Mr. Najmeddine had undoubtedly shared his concerns with the leader of Task Force 7. In any event, General Sanchez knows full well where the operations are staged, for he named Abu Musab Zarkawi as the ringleader, and Zarkawi has long worked out of Tehran (and briefly from Baghdad, according to Secretary of State Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom).

Not that Iran limits itself to organizing suicide missions. The pattern is, in fact, distinctly multicultural: They send non-Iranians to blow themselves up, but their own people get easier duty. On February 2, an Iranian and an Afghan were arrested planting bombs in a major oil refinery in Baghdad. And, in darkest Africa: "An Iranian has been arrested by Nigerian police for taking photographs of what they say are strategic buildings in the capital, Abuja." Iranians — including official diplomats — have previously been caught taking pictures of Jewish community centers in London, and the New York City subway system. While Iranians are brilliant moviemakers, it is unlikely that these guys were planning to enter an artistic competition.

These are the gentle souls with whom our diplomats and a handful of their willing handmaidens in Congress wish to "improve relations." One can only imagine the negotiations that have already taken place, the only results of which have been broken Iranian promises regarding al Qaeda terrorists "held" in Iran and concerning the ongoing Iranian nuclear program. The mullahs are not models of consistency. Just the other day, President Mohammed Khatami delivered himself of a line worthy of George Orwell at his finest. "We have reached a deadlock with the Guardians Council regarding the qualifications of candidates" he was quoted by the official news agency, the student news agency and several other media outlets. But a few hours later his office produced the Orwellian masterpiece:

"In the official and quotable comments of the esteemed president, this sentence and comment does not exist." This sort of inelegant lie should be a warning to anyone who tries to understand Iran through the words of their spokesmen. You have to watch their feet, not their lips. Thus, for example, the pathetic charade over the upcoming elections — a charade that has produced an incredible quantity of misreportage — has been portrayed exactly as the mullahs want: as an important power struggle between "hard liners" and "reformers." The "hard liners" dissed several thousand would-be candidates for the February 20 parliamentary elections, including some sitting "reformers," and many of the parliamentarians have been protesting. On occasion, they have announced their resignations (although they are still there, debating and protesting).

If you ignore the rhetoric and just watch the behavior, you will see that it all signifies nothing, as the Iranian people know full well. Foreign journalists have been baffled by the near-total indifference of the populace to what the journalists see as a really big story, but their bafflement only bespeaks their own lack of understanding. There is no real power struggle, because all effective power is in the hands of the two main thugs: Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his henchman Akhbar Rafsanjani. The others, most decidedly including the esteemed president, do not matter at all. They hold no power, they can do nothing for the oppressed Iranian people, and the people know it. Recent polling in Tehran suggests that less than 15 percent of the electorate plans to go to the polls on election day, and even that number may be high.

The most likely explanation for the passionate protests is quite mundane: In a country reduced to economic misery, where workers are not paid for months on end, a government job is a miracle well worth fighting for. Has no one noticed that some 9,000 people signed up to run for a few hundred seats in the Majlis? Why such an enormous number? Because those are paying jobs, and paying jobs in Iran nowadays are hard to come by.

Despite the cheery words from Foggy Bottom and the eager appeasement from Capitol Hill, the Iranian regime is at war with us. The talk about "improved relations" has a double objective: to delay our support for democratic revolution in Iran, and to discourage the democratic revolutionaries by showing them that even the ferocious Bush administration is seeking a modus vivendi with the regime itself.

Our diplomats have it wrong. Sanchez and Najmeddine are the reliable sources. We will never get a firm grip on Iraq until the regime is changed in Tehran.

Faster, please.
16 posted on 02/03/2004 8:04:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Decide on Iran

February 01, 2004
The Jerusalem Post

For over a year before the war in Iraq, US President George W. Bush waged an internal struggle over his own administration's policy. It took a number of high-profile speeches for Bush to swing his own State Department in line, after it had resisted the notion of Saddam's forcible removal for as long as it could.

Though certain aspects of US policy toward Iraq remain in internal dispute even today, the question of whether Saddam's regime should be removed has been resolved. Yet today, long after Bush's "axis of evil" speech, the question of the nature of the Iranian regime remains the subject of blatantly contradictory US policies.

Testifying before Congress some months ago, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was asked point blank whether US policy was to pursue "regime change" in Teheran. His equally blunt answer was, "No, sir." Last month, following the terrible earthquake in Bam, Iran, Secretary of State Colin Powell seemed to see an opportunity for dialogue with the regime. Now a US-funded radio station broadcasting into Iran reports that, following the parliamentary sit-in by "moderate" Iranian MPs, Senator Arlen Specter would lead a trip to Iran to "improve relations" accompanied by Bush administration officials.

The Bush administration seems not to be able to decide something fundamental: Should the US be talking to the Iranian regime or seeking its removal? It is difficult to understand this ambivalence in the face of increasing signs of the mullocracy's unraveling. Yesterday, over 100 members of the Iranian Parliament resigned, following the mullahs' decision to disqualify 3,600 of 8,000 candidates seeking to run in the next elections, including about 80 sitting parliamentarians.

A government-sponsored poll found that more than 85 percent of the electorate intends to boycott the parliamentary vote on February 20. Even President Muhammad Khatami said that, under such circumstances, the elections would lack legitimacy.

In this context, a Bush administration-blessed congressional visit would be "throwing a life-line to a sinking regime," according to Shaheen Fatemi, writing on the Web site, Iran va Jahan. "How is this to be explained to the people of Iran, who have been listening to the president of the United States and his message of hope for the future of democracy in the region? While people of Afghanistan and Iraq are inching their way toward freedom and true self-determination, why is the Taliban-like regime in Teheran being courted?"

There is no explanation that stands up to scrutiny. As our columnist, Amir Taheri, wrote on January 23, "The Khomeinist regime is prepared to change aspects of its behavior and even concede some tactical retreats to weather what many in Teheran call 'the Bush storm.' But the regime's strategy, which is aimed at driving the US out of the Middle East, destroying Israel, and replacing all Arab regimes with 'truly Islamic' ones, remains unchanged."

How long will the West, particularly the US, continue to play the regime's game of giving powerless "moderates" credence?

Taheri reports that, in about 10 days, the regime will host a terrorists' jamboree, including their prize client, Hizbullah, two al-Qaida-linked Sunni groups, Latin American guerrillas, clandestine Irish organizations, Basque and Corsican separatists, and a variety of leftist groups from Trotskyites to Guevarists.

"Teheran today is also the only capital where all the Palestinian militant movements have offices and, in some cases, training and financial facilities," Taheri writes.

The "moderates" have no power to do anything about this, and that's assuming they oppose Teheran's support for terrorism. So why should the West constantly pretend that the regime in Teheran is any less of an implacable and uniform dictatorship than that in Damascus or formerly in Baghdad?

If there is a difference, it is not in the pliability of the regime, but the ferment among the people. Iran, unlike Syria or Iraq under Saddam, has a people that is not so crushed by the regime that there is no potential of mass disobedience of the sort that toppled the communist governments of central Europe.

Every feeler sent out to the mullocracy postpones the day of its collapse. The West should not be searching for moderate mullahs, but should be doing what the millions of ordinary Iranians want, which is to help them by isolating the regime. An invasion is not necessary. But a decision is.
17 posted on 02/03/2004 8:10:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from a student in Iran....

The following are the results of an alleged poll conducted in Iran...

"A New poll done a few days ago about the upcoming Election:
How is the importance of MPs' sit-in?
1- Very Important >> 2.6 %
2- Important >> 4%
3- Usual >> 14.6%
4- Not Important >> 78.6%

How do you feel over the ban on so-called reformists?
1- I am sad 10.6%
2- I am happy 65.3%
3- I dont care 24%

Whats the best reaction that Mr. Khatami is able to do now?
1- Resign 5.3%
2- Keep working to solve the crisis 1.3%
3- Join the protest and sit in 4%
4- I never care about him 89%

Will you join the elections to vote?
1- Yes, absolutely 2.6%
2- No, No way 51%
3- Not Decided yet 10.6%
4- Yes, If the lift the ban 18.6%

The poll was done in Northern part of the city of Tehran on last monday. "

The student could not provide the source of the poll, so I can't confirm its reliability.
19 posted on 02/03/2004 8:22:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Terrorism Is Free Speech

By Michael Radu | February 3, 2004

Freedom of speech permits supporting terrorism, as long as you are only providing "expert advice and assistance" to groups the federal government has designated as “foreign terrorist organizations.” So says a California district judge, in a decision that can only be disheartening for those on the frontlines of the struggle against terrorism. We can hope the decision will be set aside on appeal, but it nevertheless shows how vulnerable our legal instruments are against international terrorism -- and how powerful the influence is of those who would dismantle existing Homeland Security legislation.

The Decision

In a decision released January 26, Federal Judge Audrey B. Collins (Central District of California), ruled in Humanitarian Law Project, et al. v. Reno et al. that the U.S. Departments of State and Justice cannot stop groups from providing "expert advice and assistance" to either the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey or the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka.

The plaintiffs had brought their suit in 1998, after passage of the Anti-Terrorism Law, most of which was initially upheld by Judge Collins. However, she agreed with the plaintiffs that the prohibition against providing "expert advice and assistance" was “impermissibly vague.” The newest decision comes in a new phase of the case based on the post-9/11 Patriot Act’s similar prohibitions. “The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature,” said Collins. She specifically cited the provision that makes it a crime to provide personnel and training to designated terrorist groups as unenforceable, saying that it was sufficiently vague to raise First and Fifth Amendment issues. (Surprisingly, she rejected arguments by the plaintiffs that the law was too general and that it gave the Secretary of State “virtually unreviewable authority” to designate a group as a foreign terrorist organization.)

As the New York Times noted [1], Judge Collins is the first federal judge actually to strike down part of the Patriot Act. But this is not the first legal challenge to aspects of the war on terror. California courts have made earlier attempts to weaken anti-terrorism legislation introduced in 1997. In 1998, the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that fundraising for the lawful activities of a foreign terrorist organization is protected by the First Amendment, if there is no specific intent to further the group’s illegal ends [2]. That decision, resulting from a complaint by pro-terrorist Arab groups, would have allowed Hamas, Palestinian Jihad and others to openly raise money in the United States. Had it not become moot after 2001, the decision also would have allowed most of those tried or indicted since 9/11 to remain free, and the terrorist-funding Islamic “charities” the Bush administration has closed down to remain open and active.

Judge Audrey Collins, who was appointed to the court in 1994 by Bill Clinton, is a product of Affirmative Action. Her decision follows a familiar pattern of California jurisprudence that the Supreme Court routinely overrules in some 80 percent of the cases, far more than for any other court. Indeed, California judges are the ones who declared that God has no place in the Pledge of Allegiance and who have twice attempted to cripple the nation’s already limited legal defenses against terrorism.

The Plaintiffs

The plaintiffs in the case were suing for the right to provide support “to the political and humanitarian activities” of the PKK and LTTE. One of them, the International Educational Development-Humanitarian Law Project (IED-HLP), has long provided aid to the PKK, and was joined in the suit by five Tamil organizations who aided the LTTE.

The IED-HLP said that, since 1992, it had conducted fact-finding investigations of human rights violations by the Turkish government against the Kurds, published reports on their findings that were supportive of the PKK, and provided training to the PKK on how to advocate for their "rights" under international law. The five Tamil organizations support the LTTE with donations of food, clothing, books and educational materials for its orphanages, refugee relief centers, and schools. These groups also wanted to make cash contributions to the LTTE to finance both its 1997 lawsuit challenging its terrorist designation and the distribution of LTTE literature in the United States.

So who are the terrorist beneficiaries of this court case, the PKK and LTTE? Both the PKK (now going under the name of the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy–KADEK) and the LTTE are separatist, terrorist, Marxist organizations, whose actions have so far led to more than 100,000 deaths over the past two decades.


The PKK has always been defined not by Kurdish nationalism but by Marxism. Founder Abdullah Öcalan was half-Turkish, as he himself reminded his Turkish commando captors in Kenya in 1999; its other early leaders included ethnic Turks as well as Kurds, but no “workers.” In the “Party Program of the PKK,” adopted at the Fifth “Victory” Congress of January 1995, the organization portrays itself as the vanguard of the new global socialism movement. On the subject of the decline of the USSR, it claimed that Soviet socialism was a rough, wild, even “primitive” deviation. By contrast, its own approach to socialism was “scientific and creative.”

The Party’s internal structure also demonstrates its Leninist character. Öcalan’s continuous control was only obtained by ruthlessly eliminating challengers, “the most deviated” of whom, he says, “could only be neutralized.” Even journalist Chris Kutschera, a sympathetic but knowledgeable analyst of the PKK, has acknowledged that five or six of the Party’s original leaders were killed. Three others committed suicide, and others have been driven underground.

After training in PLO-run international terrorist camps in Lebanon, the PKK opened its military campaign against the Turkish state in 1984, largely from its secure bases in Syria. By 1990-93 it was able to take advantage of the post-Gulf War environment (specifically, the power vacuum created by the de facto creation of an autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan), and it became a real threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity. The PKK engaged in a massive rural insurgency in southeastern Turkey, which, by 1999, resulted in some 30,000 fatalities. These deaths were mostly insurgents, civilians and anti-PKK village guards -- and almost all were Kurds. Indeed, far more Kurdish civilians have been killed by the PKK than Turks, some as reprisals for suspected collaboration with Ankara, others during clashes with rival clans. Kurds in Europe and Lebanon who disagreed with Öcalan were murdered. Throughout the 1990s the PKK in Iraq enjoyed Saddam’s support and regularly engaged in clashes with local Kurdish forces.

At its Fifth Congress the PKK decided to engage in suicide bombings and, by 1997, the group had formed “Suicide Guerrilla Teams.” The early “volunteers” came from the most vulnerable segments of society: young, impoverished, poorly educated women. The group’s ambitions went even further: in November 1996, thirteen PKK members arrested on the Syrian border with the Hatay Province were found to possess antimony, which they thought was uranium.

PKK operations in Western Europe are led by relatively well-educated people. They enjoy support from governments and groups in Western countries (Germany, Benelux, Scandinavian states), local governments such as the Basques in Spain, prominent individuals and member parties of government coalitions in Italy, France, Russia, and Greece, and most of the remnants of Germany’s and Italy’s Marxist terrorists. These latter occasionally participated (and were killed or captured) in PKK combat operations.

In addition to its key role in PKK propaganda and political support, Europe was and still is the major source of PKK funding. European assessments of the PKK’s income generally placed it at between $200 and $500 million a year for the mid-1990s. The German government has asserted that the PKK collects millions of deutsche marks at its annual fundraising events, and some sources have estimated PKK’s annual income from these along with drug trafficking, robberies, extortion, and emigrant and arms smuggling at $86 million (U.S.). Considering the range of PKK drug trafficking in Europe (Germany, France, Denmark, Romania, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands), the group is wealthy indeed. None of this dissuaded such self-proclaimed “human rights” militants as Danielle Mitterand, the radical widow of former French president, from addressing Öcalan as “Dear President Öcalan” in a 1998 letter which ended with: “Looking forward to an initial result, rest assured, Abdullah, that I am committed to be beside you in the bid for peace, Sincerely yours, Danielle Mitterand.”

This, then, is the organization the HLP managed to get Judge Collins to allow open support for in the United States in the name of the First and Fifth Amendments. Karen Parker of IED-HLP, an NGO accredited by UNESCO, has called it “an affront to humanitarian law” that Turkey and the United States designate the PKK a terrorist organization. IED-HLP president Ralph Fertig, a retired administrative law judge with the EEO Commission in Los Angeles, claims that the Kurdish civilian population is being “terrorized” by the Turkish armed forces and that the PKK elements are being denied protections they should have under humanitarian law.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

Ever since the group’s founding in 1976, the LTTE have been led by a high-school dropout and perhaps the world’s most successful terrorist, Velupillai Prabhakaran. His main spokesman is Anton Balasingham, a Marxist and former journalist. The group’s goal is to establish a totalitarian, ethnically pure Tamil state in northern and eastern Sri Lanka.

Whereas the PKK engaged in suicide bombings only sporadically, the LTTE were the world’s main practitioners of suicide terrorism until very recently, when Palestinian groups overtook them. Their more prominent victims include former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993. Since 1987, at least 243 Tigers, all members of a special “Black Tigers” unit, have blown themselves up, including 53 women (“the Birds of Freedom,” in LTTE parlance). In addition, just about every LTTE member captured has followed Prabhakaran’s strict orders and swallowed the cyanide pill that is an obligatory part of terrorist equipment.

In the book Inside an Elusive Mind: Prabhakaran. The First Profile of the World’s Most Ruthless Guerrilla Leader (Delhi, 2003), M. R. Narayan Swamy writes that LTTE managers in the Western world use coercion to force Tamils to support them, “keeping tabs on Tamils, their incomes, and names and addresses of their relatives back in Sri Lanka.” Considering the enormous size of the Tamil diaspora in Britain, Canada, Australia, and the fact that many of its members are professionals with high incomes, these are huge sums of money -- to which one can add the “taxes” imposed on inhabitants of LTTE-controlled areas in Sri Lanka and international drug and precious stones trafficking. Judge Collins' decision would open the gates for a flood of legal contributions from the likes of Parker and Fertig, as well.

Where are these contributions going? To LTTE’s de facto statelet in Sri Lanka, where "illicit" sex, smoking, liquor, and homosexuality are forbidden and rules are enforced by a secret police at Prabhakan’s arbitrary will. That is the future of the “free Tamil state” for which the LTTE fights for and in the name of which the group has left 60,000 dead. This is also the militant aim of the Humanitarian Law Project (HLP). Nonetheless, the HLP describes itself as “a Los Angeles-based not-for-profit organization that advocates for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts and for worldwide compliance with humanitarian law and human rights law before the United Nations, where it has consultative status as an NGO, and in other arenas.” Or, alternatively, in a purely Orwellian manner, HLP states it is “a nonprofit organization founded in 1985, dedicated to protecting human rights and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflict by using established international human rights laws and humanitarian law” (See it works for the PKK’s right to kill).

The HLP’s goals

The HLP is open about its goals within the United States. As Parker puts it, “Citizens, wherever they are, pay taxes. Our taxes have gone to perpetrate atrocities and gross violations of human rights and the humanitarian law around the world. Now, as we succeed in unraveling and curtailing that involvement, less tax money is required in those areas.” In fact, by making PKK and LTTE “taxes” [read: extortion and crime proceeds] legal, Judge Collins’ ruling would permit further atrocities by those groups, precisely because “less tax money is required in those areas.”

A Canadian Security Intelligence Service report asserts that a “quasi-diplomatic” LTTE organization had cells and offices in some 54 countries in 1998. The most important are in Western nations with large Tamil expatriate communities, most notably the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Australia. Most LTTE international propaganda tends to be conducted through politically sympathetic pressure groups and media units, the activities of which are coordinated through umbrella front organizations such as the Illankai Tamil Sangam in the United States. The LTTE uses its “peace” slogan to attract NGOs such as the IED, whose support has helped the LTTE internationalize their cause.

The implications

Nancy Chang, senior staff attorney at the leftist Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), asserts that the Anti-Terrorism Law effectively intimidates the plaintiffs from exercising their First Amendment rights. She contends that convictions under this law can result in up to ten years imprisonment and substantial fines. The plaintiffs’ counsel, David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, was an attorney for one of the al-Arian defendants who was subsequently deported. He explains the legal theory behind the case: “The Anti-Terrorism Law violates a cardinal principle of the First Amendment: it imposes guilt by association, rather than on the basis of one’s acts. The Anti-Terrorism Law makes it a crime to send blankets to a refugee relief center, not because doing so is wrong, but because the government has designated the group that runs the center as 'terrorist.' This is guilt by association, which is prohibited by the First Amendment.”

This is the faulty logic accepted by Judge Collins.

In a globalized world of mass communications, travel and instant financial transactions, the PKK and LTTE cannot survive without international help. The same can be said of al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Philippines’ New People’s Army, the Basque ETA and many other violent groups. And, as Clausewitz put it, war is the continuation of politics by other means. Giving “political and humanitarian” aid to terrorists is paying for murder.

Prof. Cole’s claim that the Anti-Terrorism Law "imposes guilt by association, rather on the basis of one’s acts" is made in apparent blissful ignorance of such legal concepts as “accessory to crime” or “conspiracy to commit murder.” It makes one wonder about the legal training that is being inflicted on his Georgetown students. According to this kind of thinking, Hitler or Osama bin Laden would be untouchable. After all, neither committed a physical crime. So would Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted in connection with the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He was merely a poor, blind old man, obviously incapable of personally inflicting violence.

How much should we excuse supporters’ purported ignorance of the nature of these groups? Ignorance should be no defense here: a search for PKK on Google brings 355,000 results; one for LTTE returns 278,000. These are not exactly obscure sects. In fact, the plaintiffs in Judge Collins’ court made no secret of their being well aware of the nature of these groups.

The IED-HLP or CCR say that the First Amendment is being violated by the application of the Anti-Terrorism Law’s restrictions to legitimate activities of supporters of international human rights. This means that the providers of funds, recruiters, and ideologues of terrorism are immune from punishment, while their homicidal rank-and-file recruits are unpunishable under “human rights” protections (“human rights” that 100,000 victims of terrorism by the PKK no longer enjoy). No one is to blame.

One can only hope that Judge Collins will be overruled, if not by her colleagues on the Ninth Circuit (yes, miracles do happen), then by the Supreme Court. But regardless of what happens, we can draw valuable observations from these developments. The War on Terror has numerous fronts, many of them, unfortunately, within America itself, where sympathetic lawyers, “human rights” militants and inane judges can be the most dedicated enemies to national security.


1. “Citing Free Speech, Judge Voids Part of Antiterror Act,” Eric Lichtblau. The New York Times. January 26, 2004.

2. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee v. Reno, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1997.

Michael Radu is Senior Fellow and Co - Chair, Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism, at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.
20 posted on 02/03/2004 8:28:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Thanks for the ping.
22 posted on 02/03/2004 8:59:21 AM PST by GOPJ (MTV Flash --Grown men don't watch porn/whores with their mothers, wives, and children in the room)
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To: DoctorZIn
US calls on Iran to hold free elections
Posted Tue, 03 Feb 2004

The United States on Monday renewed its calls for authorities in Iran to "respect the Iranian people's wish" for free and fair elections amid a political crisis in the Islamic republic over upcoming parliamentary polls.

"We urge the Iranian government to respect the Iranian people's wish for a genuine voice through free and fair elections," State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher said.

"We've always been supporters of free and fair elections, always been supporters of the idea that the Iranian people should have a right to decide their government and their government's policies," he told reporters.

He refrained from any specific comment on the situation unfolding in Iran but said the United States was watching developments closely after the main reformist party has vowed to boycott the February 20 election in a dispute with conservatives.

"Certainly we've been following closely the various events out there and the questions in Iran about how they (the elections) proceed," Boucher said.

"We've also made clear our concerns about the status of political freedom and human rights in Iran generally, and we watch the events unfolding in that context.

Earlier Monday in Tehran, the leader of the main reformist party — and brother of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami — said the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) would not participate in the elections after conservatives barred many of its candidates and refused to postpone the poll.

"We have no hope that free and legal elections will be held on February 20," said Mohammad Reza Khatami, while stressing that the IIPF could change its mind if the polls were postponed as the reformists are demanding.

The factional conflict has plunged the Islamic republic, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, into what many see as its worst-ever crisis.

Last month, Iran's conservative Guardians Council vetting body barred some 3500 would-be parliamentary candidates out of around 8000. Most were reformists who were disqualified for an alleged lack of respect for Islam and the constitution.

Subsequently, the council — ordered to carry out a review by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — reinstated 1160 in a drawn-out appeals process, but some 80 sitting MPs, prominent pro-reform figures and allies of the embattled president remained barred.

A total of 125 members of parliament have resigned in protest along with all 28 provincial governors, according to the official news agency IRNA.
26 posted on 02/03/2004 10:18:43 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran conservative prosecutor warns eight dailies

Tuesday, February 03, 2004 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Feb 3 (AFP) -- Leading conservative prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has warned eight reformist newspapers about their coverage of Iran's political crisis, the Culture Ministry said Tuesday.

Mortazavi, the prosecutor for Tehran who shut down dozens of newspapers when he was at Iran's press tribunal, "has written to the Culture Ministry asking it to warn (the newspapers) Shargh, Yas-e No, Nassim-e Sabah, Tossee, Aftab-e Yazd, Etemad, Hambasteghi, Mardom Salari," said the Ministry, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

Iran Deputy Culture Minister Mohammad Sohfi, who praised the papers for "doing their work" properly since the political struggle between reformists and conservatives erupted, said the prosecutor accused the newspapers of "spreading discord".

The Ministry, which oversees the press, has defended the newspapers during the crisis which erupted last month when the conservative Guardians Council vetting body barred 3,500 would-be candidates out of around 8,000 from standing for the February 20 parliamentary election.

Most of those barred were reformists.

Subsequently, the council -- ordered to carry out a review by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -- reinstated 1,160 in a drawn-out appeals process, but some 80 sitting MPs, prominent pro-reform figures and allies of embattled President Mohammad Khatami remain barred.

Sohfi also emphasised that elections are organised under the authority of the Interior Ministry and it is up to the Ministry to determine whether the press has committed offences.

The Culture Ministry has received no instruction about any new working rules for journalists, he said.

Meanwhile, an Iranian journalist noted for his support for press rights has been summoned before a judge over his harshly critical coverage of the political crisis.

Friends said Mashallah Shamsolvaezin has been accused of "spreading confusion among the public".

Shamsolvaezin has been jailed in the past and had three of his papers closed by the courts. Several reformist papers have run his comments on the elimination of the reformist candidates by the Guardians Council.
27 posted on 02/03/2004 10:21:13 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Americans appeasing evil.

Sorry to say, I haven't reread Dante's "Inferno" for some years, but I still remember his description of a very low and extremely unpleasant level of hell that houses traitors. Surely abject appeasers of evil qualify for the same treatment, and we must note grimly that three prime candidates have recently come forward to swell the ranks of that overheated realm: Senator Joe Biden of Delaware (D.), Senator Arlen Specter (R.), of Pennsylvania, and Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio (R.).

All have undertaken to "improve relations" between the United States and the theocratic fascist regime of Iran. Specter announced over the weekend that congressional staffers would soon go to Tehran in the first stage of the appeasement program. After supping in Washington with the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. at a dinner helpfully facilitated by the State Department, Specter proclaimed that Iran had "helped us in the fight against al Qaeda and in the Afghanistan situation. I don't think we have given them sufficient credit. They deserve credit." And since "They are showing some signs of wanting to improve relations. Now is a good time."

One must wonder what elixir was served at the dinner, or if these remarks are the result of a more durable mental disorder. The recent wave of terror attacks against our Coalition in Afghanistan famously include the Iranian-supported forces of Gulbadin Hekhmatiar, and the whole world now takes it for granted that top al Qaeda figures, including Osama and his number-one son, along with the likes of Zawahiri and Zarkawi, have been operating out of Iran for some time.

Senator Specter has long labored for better American relations with Middle Eastern tyrannical regimes, three times traveling to Damascus for meetings with Syrian dictators: kicking off a short-lived love-fest with Syria's Hafez al Assad in January, 1990 with a sortie to Damascus; again in December, 1998, when he witnessed a mob storm the U.S. embassy following Clinton's missile attack on Baghdad; and then in January, 2003, when he met with Bashar Assad as part of a holiday junket to Europe and the Middle East. On that occasion, Specter warned of massive Arab uprisings against the United States if we attempted a military liberation of Iraq, and reiterated his insistence that we ask for further U.N. resolutions before moving forward.

Ney and Biden have reportedly received campaign contributions from pro-Tehran Iranian-American groups, and Biden has been outspokenly critical of President Bush's repeated criticism of the mullahcracy. He vigorously rejected the inclusion of Iran in the Axis of Evil — even though Iran is always number one on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism — and recently met with the Iranian foreign minister at the big party in Davos, Switzerland.

Ney, who lived in Iran 30 years ago, has been the most cautious of the three, endorsing the Iran-trip idea by warning that "I don't think it is set in stone." Ney's first-hand experiences may have made him more perspicacious than Specter, because, within hours of the "announcement" of the trip, an Iranian foreign-ministry spokesman said that he knew of no such plans.

This is part of a longstanding pattern, part of the Iranians' policy of deception, aimed simultaneously at us and at their own people. It is not unusual for conflicting statements to emerge from different offices and different leaders. Over and over again for the past several months, some of our most celebrated officials, from Secretary of State Colin Powell and his loyal deputy Richard Armitage, to State Department spokesmen, have enthusiastically gushed over vague hints that the Iranians were prepared to hand over al Qaeda terrorists who, it was said, were "being held in Iran. The Iranians officially announced their desire to cooperate with the United States, then quickly attacked America as a satanic force. The same has happened with regard to "better relations;" some leaders speak as if they welcome it, others declare it out of the question. The same, again, happens with regard to Iran's "promise" to "suspend uranium enrichment;" one day, one leader says it's a whole new policy, and the next day another leader says it's only temporary, it depends on what "suspend" means, and it's going to be resumed right away.

This is baffling to our diplomats, who love to parse language and to believe that words have the same significance to our enemies as to us. But with the mullahs, it's important to reason from first principles. No terrorist of any importance was, or will be, released, for the simple reason that Iran is a major supporter of al Qaeda, and could no more enable us to strike a major blow at Osama and his henchmen than they could provide us with Imad Mughniyah, the top killer of Hezbollah, or any of the others who receive all manner of support from the Islamic regime.

Did Specter, Ney, and Biden — and the deep thinkers at State who sponsored the appeasement — happen to notice that, at the very moment they were kissing up to the mullahs, the leaders of some 30-plus terrorist organizations were converging on Tehran for their annual powwow? Is this the sort of helpfulness of which Senator Specter oozed enthusiastic?

If the Specter/Ney/Biden efforts to "improve relations" were simply acts of folly by men who don't know better, one might laugh them off. But they have serious consequences, as our diplomats — who actively encouraged the representatives' acts of appeasement — must realize. The Iranian people overwhelmingly hate the regime, and look to Washington for encouragement and support to carry out a democratic revolution, and therefore the mullahs try to create opportunities to convince the people that the Bush administration in fact approves of the regime itself. Any warm statement from a famous American is a body blow to the democratic opposition, and a balm to the mullahs, just as every critical word from President Bush has encouraged the people, and weakened the tyrants.

Appeasers are sent deep into the Inferno, because their acts are truly wicked, shoring up our would-be killers and discouraging our would-be allies inside the country. And they are doing it at a potentially explosive moment, as can be learned by listening to the instructions given to Iranian interpreters, assigned to the foreign journalists flying in for the 25th-anniversary celebrations starting this week (of which the terror jamboree is a part). The words came from Mohammad-Hossein Khoshvaght, head of Iran's international press bureau. He reminded them that lying or mistranslating Iranians' words is mandatory, if the truth would give a bad image of the country. "If a woman starts saying that her lipstick is a sign of revolution, just don't translate it. Say it's nonsense."

If any foreign journalist tries to cover politically sensitive matters (like student protests) or if they ask to work on their own, the interpreters should immediately report them to the regime. Furthermore, foreign journalists are not to enter Iranians' homes, and the interpreters should remember that the journalists' phone calls will be monitored by security officers.

"These days are very tough days," he told the translators. "The security of the regime is threatened. You shouldn't do anything that threatens the security of the system."

And almost anything can be judged to threaten the mullahcracy nowadays. Ask poor Ali Akabar Najafi, a 27-year-old taxi driver who was arrested in south Tehran for an imaginative bumper sticker: "The era of arrogant rulers is over." He was held blindfolded, in solitary confinement, for 53 days, and now, according to Reuters, "faces a possible lengthy prison term or even the death penalty."

But Specter, Ney, and Biden, and their State Department facilitators, think this is a good time to improve relations.

Someone should tell them about the January 24 executions of several commanders and senior officers of the Revolutionary Guards, the elite security force of the regime. The most distinguished of the men was Brigadier General Mohammed-Mehdi Dozdoozani, one of the founders of the RG and a hero in the Iran-Iraq War. His crime was to have exposed government corruption, especially the massive trafficking in young Iranian girls, sold for prostitution to Arab countries. Dozdoozani and his comrades had written an open letter, entitled "We the Warriors," threatening rebellion against these evils.

If they want to know more, they can read "Sex Slave Jihad" by Donna M. Hughes, which speaks of a 635-percent increase in teenage prostitution, and trafficking of girls as young as 8 and 10 years old. There are 25,000 street children in Tehran alone, and the trafficking network feeds on them, often in cahoots with authorities, including judges and Justice Department officials. As Hughes concludes, "only the end of the Iranian regime will free women and girls from all the forms of slavery they suffer.

But Specter, Ney, and Biden, and their State Department facilitators, think this is a good time for "improved relations."

It would be nice to think that they will be held accountable for their acts of appeasement — Ney and Specter are up for reelection — but the odds are that justice will be delayed until their final judgment.

Faster, please.

-- Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen is Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute.
29 posted on 02/03/2004 10:29:28 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Yesterday one of America's most popular radio hosts
Hugh Hewitt linked our thread on his blog...

You can hear him online by going to:

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33 posted on 02/03/2004 1:23:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Heady Concerns
France goes where law should not.

By Amir Taheri
February 03, 2004, 11:11 a.m.

Ignoring the advice of many, the French government has just presented to the parliament a draft bill to prevent women from wearing the so-called "Islamic" headgear, or foulard, at state-owned schools.

The move became inevitable when President Jacques Chirac, in a solemn address to the nation, televised live last December, presented the banning of the foulard as vital for the preservation of France's "secular character."

Like other hasty moves in politics, this one, too, is likely to be subjected to the law of unintended consequences.

Even before it becomes official and binding, Chirac's foulard policy has done some damage:

It has divided France's Muslim community into pro- and anti-hijab camps.

It has killed the recently established French Council of Islam, and enabled the most radical extremists to take center stage.

It has given official recognition to the foulard as a religious icon, when Islam recognizes none and considers obsession with symbols as a sin.

To win support for the ban on the foulard, Chirac dispatched emissaries to Arab capitals to seek fatwas from Muslim theologians. In one instance, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Cairo to secure a fatwa from the rector of al-Azhar, Muhammad Said al-Tantawi. This was a bizarre scene: a minister from a major Western democracy asking a Muslim mufti to give his blessing to a law that is supposed to defend French "secular values."

This Pandora's Box has only just opened.

Once the bill becomes law, possibly later this month, the authorities will face the task of spelling out what constitutes "ostentatious religious signs" that should be banned.

The primary target, of course, is the foulard, but even that is not as easy as it might sound. There is no agreement, for example, on what constitutes an "ostentatious foulard."

Would this include Hermes scarves, sold for $300 apiece?

Should the colorful headgear worn by Berber and black African ladies also be banned?

What if the girls appear at school with transparent headgear, designed by L'Oreal, which covers the hair without concealing it?

And what about the hijab designed by Calvin Klein, which covers the hair but leaves the ears and the neck free to view?

There is also the fluorescent horse-hair wig, including a blonde version, marketed by Iranian designers, that gives a woman a second head to expose to public view without revealing her own hair.

With the focus on the foulard, the girls could also turn up wearing turbans of the kind once favored by Tallulah Bankhead and Marlene Dietrich.

There are countless forms of hijab, all rooted in folklore and tribal traditions. Here are a few: burqaa, chador, chaqchur, kulaya, maqna'ah, niqab, purdah, picheh, rusari, rubandedh, sitrah, and tolqa.

Is Mr. Chirac going to define them all before he can ban them?

And what would happen if Muslims of the Sitri sect, originally from Baluchistan, appeared in their traditional gear, which consists of a white drape that covers the entire body of a man or a woman from head to toe, leaving only two holes for the eyes? (The Sitri rule is applied to both sexes from the age of four.)

What's more, the new law's proponents will have to decide whether the it applies only to women.

In a gesture of fake impartiality, the new law will also ban "large" Jewish skullcaps and "big" crosses. But what do "large" and "big" mean in this context? Would we have special agents measuring skullcaps and crosses at school gates?

French Sikhs, who number 6,000, have already expressed concern that their traditional turbans may be banned.

And what if France's 1.8 million Muslim schoolboys decided to wear turbans and/or kufia headgear, as is the fashion among Iranian mullahs and Arab tribesmen?

And what about neckties? They are banned in Iran as "a sign of the cross" and in Saudi Arabia as a Zoroastrian symbol, smuggled into Islam by Jaafar Barmaki, the Persian vizier of the caliph Harun al-Rashid. Would France want to ban neckties as well?

Then there is the vexing problem of beards.

Islamist fundamentalists believe that a man who shaves ceases to be a "complete Muslim." Iran's President Muhammad Khatami claims that a man's beard is "a shield against impiety."

France's Education Minister Luc Ferry has made it clear that the ban could include "some forms of the beard."

But what forms?

Will short beards and designer stubbles, of the kind once sported by Brad Pitt, be tolerated?

Can those with a goatee or a Vandyke enter French schools?

Or will we have agents posted at French schools to measure the pupils' facial growths, much like the Taliban did in their heyday in the bazaars of Kabul? (The Taliban wanted long beards, while Ferry wants short ones.)

Minister Ferry may not know it, but the length of a man's hair could also be a religious symbol. Ferry himself, for example, wears his hair flowing down his neck. This conforms exactly to the style of the sect of Qalandars in Islam, who regard any shortening of a man's hair as "a step towards the fires of hell." The Sikhs are, of course, required by their faith never to cut their hair.

What would Ferry do if hundreds of thousands of boys turned out at French schools with long hair, bushy beards, and "ostentatious" turbans?

Even a lack of hair could be a religious symbol, as is the case with Buddhist monks. In Islam, too, many sects, including the Malamatis, shave their heads completely.

As Jung observed decades ago, man's ability to invent symbols is limitless. Fighting symbols is, at best, a quixotic endeavor, and, at worst, a symptom of national self-doubt.

— Amir Taheri is an Iranian-born author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He is reachable through
34 posted on 02/03/2004 1:49:20 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran Bans Student Demonstration

February 03, 2004
BBC News

Iranian students say they have been banned from holding a demonstration to support reformist candidates barred from this month's election.

The student news agency, ISNA, quoted the Tehran governor's office as saying no authorisation had been given for a rally planned in the city on Wednesday.

Student protests last year sparked a national security crackdown.

Iran has been embroiled in a three-week row between conservatives and reformists over the 20 February poll.

Request denied

The Tehran University branches of the Islamic Association said they had requested permission to stage a demonstration outside the main campus.

But Ali Taala, director of political and security affairs for the city, was quoted as telling the students: "No gathering will be allowed outside the entrance of Tehran University."

Correspondents say students are often seen as a driving force behind the reformist movement.

Last week, the main pro-democracy student movement, the Office to Consolidate Unity, OCU, called for a national boycott of the elections from which thousands of candidates have been banned by the conservative Guardians Council.

The students also called for a referendum on the country's political future.

But Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said on Tuesday that he hopes the controversy will be resolved to allow free and fair elections.

Speaking during a visit to Ukraine, Mr Kharrazi said Iran was following a path of democratic change.
35 posted on 02/03/2004 5:13:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Khamenei Effectively Sides With Hard Liners

February 03, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

TEHRAN -- Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, opposes postponing Feb. 20 elections, effectively siding with hard-liners in a crisis that has paralyzed the nation's political system, a prominent lawmaker told The Associated Press Tuesday.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told President Mohammad Khatami during crisis talks that parliamentary elections must be held as scheduled, reformist lawmaker Rajabali Mazrouei said.

"The leader insisted that elections must be held on Feb. 20th under any circumstances," Mazrouei, who has been barred by hard-liners from running in the polls, said.

The meeting between Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, and the embattled president was seen as a last chance to ease Iran's worst political crisis in years.

The meeting was also attended by parliamentary speaker Mahdi Karroubi and Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the hard-line head of judiciary.
36 posted on 02/03/2004 5:13:47 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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