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Iranian Alert -- February 8, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.8.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/08/2004 12:02:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
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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 02/08/2004 12:02:19 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 02/08/2004 12:04:55 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Unrest in Iran

01:00 AM EST on Sunday, February 8, 2004

The ongoing political crisis in Iran demonstrates how limited that country's vision of a republic remains. Last Sunday, more than a third of the parliament resigned in protest after hardliners managed to bar more than 2,000 candidates from running for elections later this month. The banned candidates tended to be reformers favoring greater freedom, and included 87 current members of the 290-seat parliament. (Their fault? Insufficient regard for Islam.)

The protest came on a day when Iran was to have celebrated the 25th anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's return from exile. That event sparked the revolution that ended 2,500 years of monarchy, and placed Iran under a strict form of Islamic rule. When the reform-minded Muhammad Khatami was elected president, in 1997, the government grew somewhat more moderate. But it remains an odd blend of religious and democratic impulses.

In all matters, the ultimate say lies with Iran's religious ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Under and partly appointed by him is the Guardian Council, which can veto legislation and approve candidates for office. The council's recent decision to block hundreds from vying for seats in parliament led to the current crisis. Opponents rightly see the maneuver as a naked grab for power by fundamentalist forces.

Though religious leaders remain at the pinnacle of power, Iranians have gained some freedoms in recent years. Small victories have made many people, especially the young, impatient for more. But little help is coming their way from the parliament. Denied any real power because of the council's veto authority, Khatami and his forces have resorted to making threats they rarely carry out.

In the short run, it appears that Iran's fundamentalists are on the verge of strengthening their hold on the government. But in the long run, it is hard to imagine how the current political system can survive. Ultimately, Iranians' commitment to a republic based on free elections does not square with a clerical dictatorship. Something has to give.
3 posted on 02/08/2004 12:50:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Nuclear smuggling probe spreads to 3 continents

Feb. 7, 2004, 11:02PM
VIENNA, Austria -- The rapidly expanding probe into a Pakistani-led nuclear trafficking network extended to at least seven nations Saturday as investigators said they had traced businesses from Africa, Asia and Europe to the smuggling ring controlled by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Three days after Khan confessed on television to selling his country's nuclear secrets, Western diplomats and intelligence officials said they were just beginning to understand the scale of the network, a global enterprise that supplied nuclear technology and parts to Libya, Iran, North Korea and possibly others.

"Dr. Khan was not working alone. Dr. Khan was part of a process," said Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Vienna-based U.N. agency that is conducting the probe along with U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies. "There were items that were manufactured in other countries. There were items that were assembled in a different country."

Among the countries known to be involved are Malaysia, South Africa, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and Germany. A company in another European country also was involved, two diplomats said.

In October, the Bush administration presented Pakistan with evidence including detailed records of Khan's travels to Libya, Iran, North Korea and other nations, along with intercepted phone conversations, financial documents and accounts of meetings with foreign businessmen involved in illicit nuclear sales, senior Pakistani officials said.

Using suppliers and middlemen scattered across three continents, the network delivered a variety of machines and technology for enriching uranium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons. Libya and Iran have given investigators the names of many of the companies and middlemen involved, diplomats said.
4 posted on 02/08/2004 12:53:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian footballers to play in the US

Saturday, February 07, 2004 - ©2003

Tehran, Feb 7 (IranMania) – Iran National Team will leave for the US to play two friendlies in April.

The Washington Post Daily on Sunday, February 1st referred to the recent meeting between Iran’s representative to the UN, Mohammad Javad Zarif and two American senators in the Capitol Hill saying the two sides discussed resumption of bilateral ties. They agreed to play two friendlies in the US as well.

The game will be Iran’s second friendly match with the US since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The previous game was held on January 16, 2000, at the time of Mohsen Safaee Farahani’s chairmanship of Iran’s Football Federation which turned to be a controversial issue at that time. That game ended in 1-1 draw.

Emphasizing not to be identified, an official of Iran’s Football Federation firmly confirmed the news but declined to comment on the details of the trip.
5 posted on 02/08/2004 12:54:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Scientist who sold atomic secrets 'can keep his money'

By Victoria Schofield in Islamabad and David Wastell
(Filed: 08/02/2004)

President Pervaiz Musharraf has pledged that the disgraced founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme can keep the vast wealth he accumulated selling bomb-making technology to rogue states around the world.

As Gen Musharraf provoked worldwide consternation by pardoning Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan for supplying nuclear expertise to Libya, Iran and North Korea, he said last week that he would also spare the scientist's property or assets.

"He can keep his money," Gen Musharraf said, adding that there had been good reason not to investigate the origin of Dr Khan's suspicious wealth before 1998, when Pakistan successfully tested its first nuclear weapon. "We wanted the bomb in the national interest and so you have to ask yourself whether you act against the person who enabled you to get the bomb."

Dr Khan is believed to have earned millions of dollars from his sale of nuclear know-how, beginning in the late 1980s. Much of the money was funnelled through bank accounts in the Middle East. His assets include four houses in Islamabad worth an estimated £1.5 million, a villa on the Caspian Sea, a hotel in Mali and a valuable vintage car collection.

Gen Musharraf said he understood the need for Pakistani scientists to develop a secret overseas network when building their first nuclear weapon. "Obviously, we made our nuclear strength from the underworld. We did not buy openly. Every single atomic power has come through the underworld, even India."

Dr Khan, 69, made a televised confession of his wrongdoing last week after being confronted by government investigators. Since then he has been in a state of limbo. Despite being granted a pardon, he is under house arrest and has been forbidden to give interviews. "He should not talk for some time," Gen Musharraf told the Telegraph.

There has been widespread criticism in Pakistan over the treatment of a man nationally revered as the "father of the bomb". His supporters have filed a habeas corpus petition to be heard tomorrow by the Lahore High Court, asking it to end the "media trial" of a "national hero".

Opposition parties, meanwhile, have taken advantage of the growing groundswell of support for Dr Khan to renew their attacks on Gen Musharraf, who came to power in a military coup four years ago.

The Pakistan People's Party, led from exile by the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, doubts the authenticity of Dr Khan's admission, which it says was made "under duress".

Dr Khan was initially reported to have told government investigators that he did nothing without the knowledge of Pakistan's military chiefs, including Gen Musharraf. In his televised confession, however, he said he had no authorisation from the government.

Imran Khan, the former cricketer who leads the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI), claims that Gen Musharraf pressurised Dr Khan in order to safeguard his own reputation. "It could not be possible that nuclear technology was transferred without the knowledge of top military officials," he said.

Dr Khan's evolution into national hero began soon after India shocked its neighbour with its first nuclear bomb test in 1974. He promised Pakistan's then prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, that he could match India's weapon and finally did so in 1998, when Pakistan successfully tested its first nuclear weapon. He became an icon, his image appearing on billboards and bumper stickers.

Dr Khan sold nuclear technology almost as fast as Pakistan devised it, offering Saddam Hussein a design for a nuclear weapon in 1990, according to a document seized by UN weapons inspectors. The Iraqi leader suspected a trap and declined.
6 posted on 02/08/2004 12:56:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; McGavin999; freedom44
Leader asks officials to ignore `grievances` in electoral row

Feb 8, 2004
Tehran - IRNA News Agency

IRNA -- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded
Saturday `certain grievances` nursed by officials against each other
in the electoral row be ignored in order to hold the forthcoming
election in a `healthy, lively and enthusiastic` climate.
"Today our country needs more unity and concord among the esteemed
officials and the dignified (Iranian) nation expects as such from the
country`s officials," he said in a letter, a copy of which was faxed
to IRNA.
"... thus, it is appropriate that certain grievances of the organs
against each other are ignored," he said in response to President
Mohammad Khatami and Parliament Mehdi Karroubi who had complained of
the Guardians Council`s failure to heed the leader`s views.
The executive and legislative heads wrote to the supreme leader
on Friday to thank `His Eminence for his wholehearted efforts as well
as those of his office for resolving the electoral problems`.
On Saturday, President Khatami`s office reiterated that the
Interior Ministry would carry out its task to arrange the
parliamentary election on February 20 as scheduled.
The announcement put an end to speculation that other organs might
intervene to hold the election, which has been marked by a row over
large-scale disqualification of the aspirants.
The daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami on Saturday quoted `informed circles`
as saying that `in case executive officials in charge with the Majlis
election do not announce their readiness to hold the poll by today,
certain measures will be taken to hand over the task to other organs`.
President Khatami`s office stressed that `the election will be
held at the appointed time by the Interior Ministry and all state
authorities across the country`.
They said, `Notwithstanding that a major part of his (the
leader`s) views have not been attended to, the election...will go
ahead on February 20`.
Secretary of the Guardians Council, Ahmad Jannati, announced
Friday that the supervisory body had reinstated more than 200
candidates in the last phase of reviewing their qualifications.
The daily Jomhuri-ye Eslami said among them were 12 incumbent MPs
as well as three members of the Association of the Combatant Clerics.
The Guardians Council had declared over 2,000 prospective
candidates from among more than 8,000 of the nominees as disqualified.
The supervisory body has said that the qualifications of more
than 5,200 candidates had been approved, which meant there were 19
contestants for each seat of the parliament, where 290 seats are up
for grabs.
The Guardians Council vets the candidates as well as parliamentary
bills to vet their compliance with the Islamic Sharia law and the
7 posted on 02/08/2004 12:56:47 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Do Not Believe The Media)
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To: DoctorZIn
Khamenei orders end to poll moans

Iran's supreme leader has ordered an end to complaints about the banning of 2,000 reformist candidates from general elections later this month.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dashed any final hopes of a delay to allow a resolution to the country's political crisis.

President Mohammad Khatami had argued that the conservative vetting council had been wrong in its blacklist, which includes most well-known reformists.

But he conceded defeat and agreed the 20 February vote could go ahead.

Mr Khatami and parliamentary speaker Mehdi Karrubi sent a joint letter to Ayatollah Khamenei complaining that the unelected Guardians Council had disregarded the leader's instructions to review the credentials of disqualified candidates, especially among the scores of sitting reformist deputies who have been ruled out.

The letter warned that the actions of the council had diminished competition and would lead to reduced public enthusiasm for voting.

But in a reply, read on state radio, the supreme leader said the importance of holding elections outweighed other concerns.

"For the sake of the election, some complaints from all parties involved need to be ignored and everyone must work hand in hand," he said.

Questions ahead

The BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran says the reply made it clear that the embattled reformists have a stark choice: to contest the elections with many of their top figures absent, or pull out and leave the way open for a comeback by the conservatives.

But he adds that there are also questions for Ayatollah Khamenei.

"The leader's word is supposed to be final on any issue. His refusal to do more to impose his stated wishes on the hardline council has led many reformists to question where the real power lies," our correspondent says.

The crisis began when the decision last month by the unelected Guardians Council to bar nearly half of the 8,200 candidates who wanted to run in the 20 February election.

Some were reinstated following rare intervention from Ayatollah Khamenei, who then asked the Council to review the remaining 2,500 cases.

But reformist sources say only about 200 more candidates have now been reinstated, leaving more than 2,000 rejected.

The biggest of the reform factions, the Participation Front, has declared it will not compete, although some of the other groups have yet to make up their minds.
8 posted on 02/08/2004 12:57:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Keep your chin up Doc, the times they are a changing.

External pressure from Afghanistan and Iraq will have weight.
9 posted on 02/08/2004 1:05:25 AM PST by mylife
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To: DoctorZIn
Your post in #5 was already posted as a thread here.
Scientist who sold atomic secrets 'can keep his money'

Why are you reposting it? You do this a lot. Can't you just post a link to previously posted articles?

10 posted on 02/08/2004 1:07:00 AM PST by Jean S
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To: DoctorZIn
My apologies, it was #6, not #5.
But you haven't answered my question, why are you regularly reposting articles that have already been posted here?
11 posted on 02/08/2004 1:30:41 AM PST by Jean S
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To: JeanS
I can't talk on behalf of DoctorZIn but it is really important for people to know more about the ongoing events in Iran and moreover this thread is dedicated to articles and issues of Iran, that is why, I think, he keeps posting articles here. Therefore, many Freepers can visit the thread and find their favorite topics or articles. Another reason can be his Archiving, Doc and a couple of Freepers archive the articles of this thread.
Hope you get your answer. And I have to thank you for your comment.
12 posted on 02/08/2004 1:55:32 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Do Not Believe The Media)
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To: DoctorZIn
Doc, my take is that the upcoming election is just a Political Maneuver. Every one should be aware that there is NOT ANY DIFFERENCE between Reformists and Hardliners inside the Islamic Republic Regime.
13 posted on 02/08/2004 2:06:56 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Do Not Believe The Media)
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To: Cindy; nuconvert; Ragtime Cowgirl; MEG33; Pro-Bush; McGavin999; AdmSmith; freedom44; RaceBannon; ...
Iran Helped Bin Laden’s Lieutenant al-Zawahiri Escape

Debka Files, Israel
7th of Feb 2004

Iran consistently denies ever having sheltered or hidden Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant and operations ace, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, in the group of al Qaeda leaders present in the country. This assertion is wide of the truth. The Islamic Republic did in fact hide the bespectacled Egyptian medical doctor for close on a year. He was granted sanctuary, a base of operation and finally provided with a safe getaway route – as discovered by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s most reliable exclusive sources.

Two years after the September 11 terrorist horrors in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, Zawahiri’s importance as a linchpin and live wire of the al Qaeda network and badly wanted quarry of American special forces and intelligence agents.

His capture is as crucial to the United States global war on terror as the apprehension of Bin Laden himself or Saddam Hussein.

The Iranians looked after him very well. Last month, as the hunt drew near, they helped Zawahiri stay a step ahead of his pursuers and leave the country by a secret tortuous route. DEBKA-Net-Weekly learns that Iranian intelligence agents were personally ordered by Iranian intelligence minister Hojatoleslam Ali Younesi to spirit the wanted terrorist chief, disguised as an Iranian Shiite cleric out of his hiding place and across into Turkey. Travelers from Iran are not required to show passports at the Turkish frontier. An Iranian spy cell buried in Turkey waited for him and conducted him to one of their own safe houses. There he stayed for two or three days before moving on to an unknown destination.

Zawahiri is as intent on keeping al Qaeda’s terror campaign alive as of keeping his head down. Our al Qaeda watchers therefore point to his two most likely destinations: The Ferghana Valley, a lawless territory ruled by Al Qaeda that straddles Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and China; or the wild Pankisi Gorge badland on the Chechen-Georgian border. Iranian intelligence would be able to prepare the absconding terrorist mastermind’s welcome in the latter place through its active channels of communication with Chechen rebels and Saudi Al Qaeda fighters focusing on Chechnya and its environs. At the Pankisi Gorge, Zawahiri would have moved on to his next stop helped by many helping hands in his own movement.

Some made their escape there in late May, when Tehran plotted the flight of some of the al Qaeda perpetrators of the massive bombings in foreigners’ compounds in Riyadh on May 19. Flouting insistent Saudi and American demands to hand the wanted men over, Iranian intelligence gave them transportation and money to smooth their way as far as the Pankisi Gorge.

Reporting from exclusive sources in Tehran, DEBKA-Net-Weekly has learned that, a day or two after Zawahiri left Iran, a tense tug-o’-war took place between Iranian intelligence ministry officers and Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen over control of a group of al Qaeda terrorists. They confronted each other at an airport in the northern Iranian city of Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan.

Eight senior al Qaeda operatives were known to have been harbored in Tehran as recently as mid-August. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia, as DEBKA-Net-Weekly has reported, have a list of 60 names of Al Qaeda operations officers in the Islamic Republic.

Three of those terrorists were the prize fought over by the two armed Iranian factions.

A large Revolutionary Guards contingent was about to put them on an unmarked plane parked near a side runway with its engines running to extradite them to Saudi Arabia, the start of their deportation to their countries of origin, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Suddenly, the Iranian Guardsmen were surrounded by a larger contingent of Iranian intelligence ministry officers, who demanded custody of all three Al Qaeda men. A second group of officers had meanwhile boarded the plane and ordered the pilot to switch off the engines. At one point in the four-hour standoff, according to our Iranian sources, guns were drawn and threats made. But the officers from the Tehran ministry issued a 15-minute ultimatum to hand the terrorists over or else they would open fire. The Revolutionary Guards backed down.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources report that this was the third time Guards had been frustrated in attempt to send some senior Al Qaeda operatives back to their respective home countries.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence and counter-terrorism sources believe that one of the three terrorists was Saif al-Adel, number three in the Al Qaeda hierarchy and the group’s military commander. Last month, the CIA determined that al Adel, like Zawahiri an Egyptian national, had been in Iranian custody for some three weeks. They have been searching for him for ten years, since the “Black Hawk Down” incident in Somalia in 1993 in which 18 Americans were killed. He is suspected of having commanded a Al Qaeda unit fighting in Mogadishu at the time.

Now, he is named as mastermind of the Riyadh bomb blasts and was on the point of being flown out to Saudi Arabia when the Intelligence minister Younesi had managed to block the extradition while also spotlighting a deep division in the Islamic Republic’s ruling regime.

Shortly after the airport confrontation, we learn that Moshen Razai, chef de bureau of the still powerful former president Hashem Rafsanjani, sent an encrypted report on the incident to members of his faction in the Revolutionary Guards command. He posted it over his private, closed personal website, which DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources were able to access. At the end of the message, Razai wrote: “There are still elements within Iran’s intelligence services who are protecting Al Qaeda adherents and will do anything to prevent their extradition to Arab countries and thwart any progress towards better relations with them.”

Razai is himself a former commander of the Revolutionary Guards. His boss, Rafsanjani, is thought to be the most influential of any Iranian leader among the Guards.

The next move came about several hours later from Imad al-Parsa, a close associate of Rafsanjani and Razai. He summoned his own inner circle, including a large number of senior Revolutionary Guards officers and told them: “The same elements that executed the 1979 seizure of the US embassy in Teheran and took its diplomatic staff hostage, thereby foredooming Iran to bad relations with the West for a generation, are at work again.”

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s Iran analysts learn from this episode that the attempt to use al Qaeda as an instrument of terror and bargaining chip to gain a respite to develop nuclear weapons has landed Tehran in hot water with regard to the regime’s internal cohesion.

The clerical leaders are now split down the middle.
14 posted on 02/08/2004 5:00:07 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Do Not Believe The Media)
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To: F14 Pilot
Past time to make Iran several offers they can't refuse.

Perhaps it's time to make Teheran ready for massive new city planning . . . for maybe around the year 8,500.

Or maybe the "holy" cities in Iran should go first.
15 posted on 02/08/2004 5:17:14 AM PST by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: DoctorZIn
16 posted on 02/08/2004 5:22:12 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: F14 Pilot
Very interesting info in this post.

Thank You

17 posted on 02/08/2004 6:23:09 AM PST by nuconvert ("Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?")
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To: DoctorZIn
That Continual Matter of Iran

February 08, 2004
The New York Times
Steven Weisman

WASHINGTON — Iran has been the siren of the Middle East for successive American administrations. Each presidency, it seems, has brought a new opportunity for influence that ends badly. The question is: Will President Bush follow the examples of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and be lured in, only to run aground on the Iranian shoals?

The Bush administration's policy makers, like many experts, are riveted by the power struggle between reformers and hardliners in Iran. But administration officials are divided over whether to press for democracy if it could jeopardize other priorities, like getting Tehran to end support of terrorism against the United States and Israel or to dismantle its nuclear arms program. Most immediately, the administration needs Iran's help to keep Iraq and Afghanistan stable.

It is not as if Washington can do much to nurture Iranian democracy. Indeed, increasingly, administration officials conclude that the reformers are likely to be routed by hard-line clerics led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the power behind his religious throne, former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

"Put it this way: we're not holding our breath for democracy to break out," said a senior administration official. "We could be heading toward a situation where the mullahs are even more unambiguously in control and moderates have completely disappeared."

Last week, Iran's leading reform party said it would boycott the parliamentary elections scheduled for this month because nearly half its candidates were rejected by the 12-member Guardian Council, established to ensure rule by the religious elite. But even if reformers compete fairly in an election, many analysts say they would have trouble winning because President Mohammad Khatami, the leading reformer, is widely seen as having failed to bring about much improvement in Iranians' lives since his election in 1997.

Still, the turmoil poses many tactical questions for the Bush administration.

Administration officials wonder, for example, whether American support will make it harder to bring about democratic change. Would pressure for democracy undercut efforts to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons program, or shut down its support of terrorist organizations? Just as bad, would this cost the administration the backing it has received from Iran, and been grateful for, in establishing new regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan?

And if reformers ever gained power, might they loosen religious control in Iran, letting in more jeans and lipstick, but not ease policies inimical to the West?

"Right now, it's safe to say this administration is somewhat paralyzed," said one American official. "The feeling is that, sadly, there is no one in the Iranian government, not even the reformers, who can be the champions of the Iranian people."

Mr. Bush's team has long been divided over how to proceed. Since taking office, the administration has seemed to swing between seeking an opening and cutting off talks. Indeed, the joke in some circles is whether the administration's hardliners and accommodationists are as much at odds as they are in Tehran.

Until last May, the accommodationists were ascendant in Washington. Then came the bombings of residential compounds in Saudi Arabia, and American intelligence suggesting that Iran was sheltering the Al Qaeda operatives believed responsible. A series of meetings between mid-level Iranian and American envoys were suspended.

Last summer, the administration grew increasingly alarmed about Iran's nuclear weapons program and headed toward a nasty confrontation at the International Atomic Energy Agency. The focus of concern was what appears to be a plant to make highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons at Natanz in central Iran, a site not known to nuclear experts until two years ago.

In part because of their desire to avoid another confrontation in the Middle East, Britain, France and Germany won American approval in October for a diplomatic initiative in which Iran agreed to suspend its enrichment activities at Natanz, which it maintains is a peaceful facility, and to accept additional inspection protocols.

Some American officials fear that compliance with that pledge may be slipping, and that, in any case, a confrontation over Natanz is virtually certain. "The European deal may have postponed the reckoning, but unless the Iranians give up their program, it's not going to avoid the reckoning," said a senior American official.

Even many Europeans say they are not sure of Iran's intentions. A senior European envoy said that after a meeting recently with the leader of Iran's national security agency, Hassan Rohani, it was not clear whether Iran truly intended to end its weapon program or was simply playing for time.

"We are very suspicious of their intentions," he said, adding that it was often hard to tell even in meetings who was a reformer and who was a hard-line cleric.

Many American officials argue that, terrorism and nuclear weapons aside, the most pressing concern with Iran has to do with Iraq. That is because the leading Iraqi cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is calling for elections, which would almost certainly lead to Shiite control of Iraq for the first time in modern history.

Born and reared in Iran, Ayatollah Sistani is a mysterious figure himself. Many American policy makers fear that his ascension to power in Iraq could lead to a theocratic state with headquarters in Baghdad.

But some others say that Ayatollah Sistani is a moderate who opposes an Iranian-style theocracy. His authority should be encouraged, according to this reasoning, because it would enhance Iraq's status as a Shiite citadel and ultimately offer an alternative to hard-line clerical rule in Iran.

"Our biggest hope for regime change in Iran is to get things right in Iraq," said Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "If a secular government can be established in Iraq with Sistani's blessings, it's going to have a huge underlying effect next door."
18 posted on 02/08/2004 8:11:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
I just received this from a student inside of Iran...

"I have a happy feeling today over the freedom of my country. I think it will be freed sooner than we all may expect.

The upcoming election will show the realities of the regime and will show its unpopularity to the people of the world.

So we can expect that the free world can support the freedom movement inside Iran and help us get rid of these mad mullahs."
19 posted on 02/08/2004 8:13:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
20 posted on 02/08/2004 8:18:02 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: DoctorZIn
I have a happy feeling today over the freedom of my country.

Rejoicing over the spirit of optimism! Having faith that change can come is an important first step.

Thank you for sharing, Doc!

21 posted on 02/08/2004 8:50:34 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn
Between a Rock and a Hard Place

February 08, 2004
Arabies Trends

Should Iran embrace the transition to democracy in Iraq? A look at the Islamic Republic's role within a changing region.

The winds of change are swirling around Iran. The conservatives are confident of gains in parliamentary elections due on February 20th and want to use their mandate for relaxing tensions with the United States. “We need good bilateral relations with all countries, including the US,” said Amir Mohabian, political editor of the conservative newspaper Resalat. “We do not seek to export our revolution abroad, but to create a successful modern example that others may choose to copy.”

Conservatives like to cite the role of Hassan Rowhani, secretary general of the Supreme Council of National Security. His talks with Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency led to Iran agreeing last month to snap inspections of its nuclear facilities, which Washington claims conceal a weapons program.

“The rise of Hassan Rowhani reflects President Khatami’s lack of power,” said Siamak Namazi, managing director of Tehran-based consultancy Atieh Bahar. Indeed, there is widespread talk of Rowhani running for president next year.

Many obstacles remain to improved US-Iranian relations. Washington has long demanded that Tehran end its support for militants the US regards as terrorists, including the Palestinian groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas, and Hezbollah, the Lebanese resistance group. Iran in turn wants the United States to lift all sanctions. Ali Akbar Rasfanjani, the influential head of the Expediency Council, said last month that before negotiations could begin, it was necessary for the US to “apologize” for its past behavior.

Hamid Reza Asefi, the foreign ministry spokesman, said that Iran was open to talks based on “mutual respect.” But he insisted the United States should not “tell Iran what to do.”

Such sentiments are far from unique to the regime that came to power after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. They could have been expressed by a spokesman for the Shah. Iran has long liked to think of itself as a regional superpower with a reach from the Indian subcontinent through Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea, and from Iraq to the Gulf.

But can Iran’s neoconservatives deal with Iraq, where many predicted Iran and the US were doomed to clash? With no formal relations between Washington and Tehran, diplomats say the file is being mediated by the British. When Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s special representative for Iraq, made his first visit to Tehran in early January, he said senior Iranian officials had showed an “increasingly positive” attitude since the announcement of a timetable for the transfer of power to an Iraqi government.

Greenstock said setting July 1st as a date for establishing an interim government in Baghdad had helped “turn” the “expected” negative attitude of Iran towards US and British rule in Iraq “because they can see the end of foreign domination.” This was a marked contrast to the bellicose tone adopted throughout most of last year by the Bush administration as it repeatedly demanded that Tehran end “interference” in Iraqi affairs.

The root of US fears about Iranian influence lies in the simple fact that Iran shares the faith of Shi’ite Islam with around 55 percent of the people of Iraq, and has longstanding cultural and familial links with its western neighbor. In 1991, the United States noted that many in the uprising in southern Iraq raised the slogan of an Islamic republic and duly decided not to back them.

However, Greenstock says that Iran has an interest in encouraging stability in Iraq, and that he does not believe Tehran wants to create an Islamic republic in its western neighbor. “I have never heard an Iranian [official] express any interest in creating a clone in Iraq,” he explained. “What they want is a free expression by the Iraqi people for the government they want – [something] that creates stability.” Greenstock added that polling in Iraq had shown that 90 percent of Iraqis “want religion to be respected” but that only between 11 and 16.7 percent wanted “a religious government.”

As Iran has switched from the language of international Islamic revolution to issues of realpolitik, it is possible for its leaders to see Iraq as a neighbor with whom it can enjoy good relations. “It all depends on how much the US is prepared to pay in negotiations,” said Morad Veisi, a conservative journalist and security specialist. “Any country is concerned with its own potential benefits.”

But whatever Iran’s calculations of national interest, the fall of Saddam Hussein may have important, and uncertain, consequences for Shi’ite Islam as an international phenomenon.

Najaf and Qom, the two great centers of Shi’ite learning, have throughout the 20th century been rival centers of scholarship, rather like Oxford and Cambridge universities in England. During this time, they have gradually been drawn into politics as the emerging modern states of Iraq and Iran have sought to influence the leading Shi’ite clergy who came to command great influence and resources as marja (sources of emulation) and collectors of the religious taxes, khums and zakat.

It has become fashionable to counterpose the “quietism” of Najaf with the model of Velayet-e Faqih ( or Wilayat al-faqih in Arabic) applied in the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to this analysis, the dominant school in Najaf, derived from Ayatollah Mohammed Abu al-Qasim Khoei, who died in 1992, resists the direct involvement of the clergy in politics. Now freed from the oppression of the Ba’athists, Najaf will, some argue, provide an alternative to the Velayet-e Faqih.

The legacy of Ayatollah Khoei is certainly a powerful one, in Iraq and among Shi’ites internationally. He refused to take sides during the Iran-Iraq War, a stance that led to the arrest, disappearance and murder of many of his advisers and associates. He allocated resources and sanctioned the payment of monies to refugees on both sides.

While in the 1970s Ayatollah Khoei refused invitations from the Shah to support him, in 1990 he issued a fatwa forbidding any dealings in property looted from Kuwait, a brave step given the political circumstances.

Yousif al-Khoei, one of his younger relatives, has written that Ayatollah Khoei’s approach in difficult political times was “to refrain from
any confrontational attitude against his antagonists or adversaries” and that “his real legacy has been, and will remain, his academic work and charity institutions.”

I was given a taste of an even more “quietist” approach this summer in Najaf by Ali Bashir al-Najafi, son and spokesman of Ayatollah Bashir al-Najafi. “We will offer advice to those in politics,” he told me. “But we do not want to be inside the field. Politics now is guns, theft and fighting for rank.” This is certainly very different from the official view in Iran that the clergy should be directly involved in running the country. But to counterpose the “quietism” of Najaf to the Velayet-e Faqih of Qom is very misleading.

Firstly, the theory of the Velayet-e Faqih was developed in Najaf, most obviously by Ayatollah Khomeini in a series of lectures in 1969. And Ayatollah Mohsen al-Hakim played a clear political role from Najaf in the 1960s while Ayatollah Hussain Boroujerdi, in Qom, until his death in 1961 played a very limited role in politics under the Shah.

Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr Sadr, of Najaf, was a key figure in Iraqi politics in the 1970s, helping found the al-Da’awa Party and developing ideas about a future Islamic state that influenced Khomeini. The oppression by the Ba’athist state impeded the development of this current, most obviously when Saddam Hussein ordered the murder of Sadr in 1980 after he refused to condemn the revolution in Iran.
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Najaf marja recognized by perhaps 40 percent of all Shi’ites worldwide, has made at least one telling political intervention in post-Saddam Iraq by issuing a ruling that the country’s new constitution should be drafted by elected Iraqis. Despite an initially dismissive reaction from Paul Bremer, the US chief administrator, Ayatollah Sistani’s call sent shockwaves through the system, even in Washington.

A revival of Shi’ite thought in post-Ba’athist Iraq could provide a powerful challenge to the Iranian system. While some conservatives in Iran will resist, others who support the Islamic Republic welcome a debate about the future of Shi’ite Islam, both across the borders of the nation-state and within Iran itself. Shi’ite Islam is, after all, built around a concept of ijtihad that requires interpretation of the religion to suit changing times.

Taher Hashemi, a cleric who has been a deputy and is now a prominent newspaper columnist and publisher, said that Iraq could learn important lessons from the experiences of the Islamic Republic in Iran. “Perhaps they can avoid some of the problems we have faced,” he said, a comment qualifying as perhaps the understatement of the year.

Gareth Smyth

Arabies Trends 2004

Article originally published by Arabies Trends 08-Feb-04
22 posted on 02/08/2004 9:05:14 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot; nuconvert
Sorry, but DEBKA is not to be trusted. A recent example is

Salih also said the report issued by the website DEBKAfile stating that the Iraqi Kurds blame Turkey for the February 1 terrorist attacks in Arbil is a complete fabrication.

He said the report (Talabani Accuses Turkish Intelligence of Massacre, DEBKAfile Exclusive Report, Feb. 2, 2004, 12:21 a.m., (GMT+02:00)) distorts the true nature of relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government (Erbil and Sulaimani) and Turkey.

He also said it is entirely false that the Kurdistan Regional Government blames the Turkish government for the terrorist attacks in Erbil.

Salih stated that "among other brazen falsehoods in the report was the claim that Jalal Talabani and Barham Salih had alleged Turkish involvement in the Arbil terrorist attacks. It is also entirely false to claim that Dr. Salih made this allegation during a visit to the White House, because he hasn't visited the White House since the Erbil terrorist attacks."

He said the terrorist attacks in Arbil have, if anything, caused relations between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Turkey to improve. "The Iraqi Kurds greatly appreciate the sincere condolences offered to us by the government of Turkey. In addition, the government of Turkey has generously offered to provide medical assistance to those wounded in the Erbil terrorist attacks, for which the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi Kurds generally are grateful."
23 posted on 02/08/2004 9:13:11 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
"Put it this way: we're not holding our breath for democracy to break out," said a senior administration official. "We could be heading toward a situation where the mullahs are even more unambiguously in control and moderates have completely disappeared."

The turmoil must not register on this administration official's radar. He MUST know that the moderates are not moderates. Then again, does the administration make such pacificist pronouncements to lull the regime?

24 posted on 02/08/2004 9:19:39 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: AdmSmith
Yeah, DEBKA has to be taken with a grain of salt...........

"Barham Salih, the prime minister of the PUK region, issued a statement in Washington praising Turkey." (from Kurdistan Observer) So, he was in Washington or he wasn't?

The Zawahiri/alQaeda stuff has been printed before. It's interesting.
25 posted on 02/08/2004 9:24:51 AM PST by nuconvert ("Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?")
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To: AdmSmith
Iran slams US remarks on parliament elections; says Tehran-Cairo relations ''moving smoothly''


Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said US remarks on elections in Iran indicate a "contradiction" in its policies.

During his weekly press briefing Sunday, Asefi referred to Washington's attempts to stop elections in Iraq and said
US comments regarding the mechanism of holding elections in Iran proved a contradiction in its policies.

He brushed aside the possibility of any new developments in Tehran-Washington ties as long as America's wrong policies toward Iran continued to exist.

Asefi described as "clear cases of interference in Iran's internal affairs," the remarks of certain American politicians regarding the 7th Majlis [parliament] elections, the official IRNA news agency reported.

With regards to the Israeli prime minister's recent decision to "evacuate" Jewish settlements in Gaza, Asefi noted that the recent developments in Palestine proved the victory of the resistance and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people.

On the issue of Iran-Egypt ties, Asefi said Tehran-Cairo relations were moving forward on a "smooth path stage by stage". (
26 posted on 02/08/2004 9:27:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Bin Laden met nuke scientists -- 'Nuclear bazaar' story out of Pakistan gets more bizarre

Worldnetdaily ^ | 2.8.2004 | Joseph Farah
Posted on 02/08/2004 9:48:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn
27 posted on 02/08/2004 9:49:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: AdmSmith; nuconvert
Admsmith, You might be right but we can not ignore the fact that Iran is a safe house for terrorists.
Do not forget that they support many terrorist groups around the globe.
28 posted on 02/08/2004 9:59:33 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Do Not Believe The Media)
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To: F14 Pilot
What a joke. Anyone who believes that the Council ignored the wishes of the Ayatollah is fooling themselves. He said one thing in writing and gave quite another impression verbally.

It's going to be interesting to see just how many turn out at the elections.

29 posted on 02/08/2004 10:38:11 AM PST by McGavin999 (Evil thrives when good men do nothing!)
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To: F14 Pilot
I agree, they are supporting many terrorists.

Iran plans to host the largest meeting of hard line Islamic groups regarded by the United States as terrorists, according to informed sources in Tehran.

Iranian officials said the ten-days conference starting next week would discuss strategy against the United States and its allies, particularly Israel and the best ways and means to increase military, financial and propaganda support for Palestinian groups fighting Tel Aviv.

According to same sources, organisations such as the Hamas, the Islamic Jihad of Palestine, the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda allies like the Ansar al Eslam would attend the meeting, to be chaired by Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Mohtashami, also known as "the father" of the Lebanese Shi'ite organisation.
30 posted on 02/08/2004 11:18:08 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
"Arabization of Iran has not worked"

here is a long but interesting article "Iran in History" by Bernard Lewis with comments.
31 posted on 02/08/2004 11:59:24 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn; Pan_Yans Wife; nuconvert; Cyrus the Great; faludeh_shirazi; democracy
Precedent of outgoing Majlis cannot be ignored

Sunday, February 08, 2004 - ©2003

TEHRAN, Feb 7 (Iran Daily) -- A senior press official said the Sixth Parliament's support for the legal rights of the nation will be remembered by history.

Rajabali Mazrouei, head of the Association of Iranian Journalists (AIJ), also said that the outgoing Majlis has set an "example which no individual or group can help but follow".

The Isfahan MP added that the Sixth Parliament is under mounting pressure from the anti-reform camp and that "heavier attacks are expected in the near future". He, however, said pro-reform lawmakers are firmly defending the freedom and law, which is why the conservatives have become so furious.

"Even if the Seventh Parliament will fall in the hands of the conservatives, they will have no option other than respecting public rights and freedoms," he maintained, adding that the reformist-dominated "parliament tried its best to get rid of the restrictions imposed on cultural and press activities".

He also said that "although the parliamentarians faced legislative obstacles, they managed to open up the cultural atmosphere of the country".

Mazrouei noted that the print media fulfilled their professional duty with much more freedom in the wake of the parliamentarians' support for press activities.

Note: 95% of the pieces of legislation introduced by the 6th majlis was vetoed by the hard-line Guardian Council.
There were over 130 bills on greater freedoms, human rights, privization of business, opening up of elections, legalization of satellite dish, and even dismantling the Guardian Council, all of them were vetoed.

32 posted on 02/08/2004 12:49:34 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran opens consulate in Afghan city

MAZAR-I-SHARIF: Iran has opened a consulate in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif, five years after a group of Iranian diplomats were killed there by Taliban fighters.

The consulate was officially opened on Saturday by Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Mohammad Reza Bahramy, who said he hoped the move would lead to an expansion of trade between the countries. “Re-establishing an Iranian consulate is a big move for Afghanistan, especially for trade and economy,” Bahramy said.

“The main aim of opening the embassy in Kabul and some consulates in other provinces of Afghanistan like Mazar-i-Sharif is to bring peace to Afghanistan.... to bring more security,” he said. The ambassador described the security situation in northern Afghanistan, particularly Mazar city, as good.

“The security of Mazar is now good for diplomats, traders and foreign organizations,” he said. The Iranian consulate closed in 1998 when Islamic fundamentalist Taliban fighters captured Mazar city and attacked the Iranian compound, killing eight diplomats and one journalist working for the Iranian news agency IRNA. Iran has also opened consulates in Kabul, southern Kandahar and western Herat province since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001. —AFP

Note: Few know that in 1998 the Iranian government, in spite of their similiarties, almost declared war on the Taliban
33 posted on 02/08/2004 12:51:51 PM PST by freedom44
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To: AdmSmith
Very informative, thank you.
34 posted on 02/08/2004 2:20:39 PM PST by nuconvert ("Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?")
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To: DoctorZIn
Fresh demo rocks Tehran University

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 8, 2004

Fresh demo and sporadic clashes rocked, today, the Technical College of Tehran University as hundreds of students joined a meeting, organized by the Islamic Students Association, on the end of the so-called reforms.

Hundreds of students shouted slogans against the totality of the theocratic regime and its leaders as they witnessed the usual soft speeches of several disqualified candidates, current MPs, and heads of the Islamic Students Association. The presence of these incompetent MPs and their desperate try to use the already decided general boycott of the upcoming sham elections, by the majority of Iranians, in their favor was upset many students and made them to protest openly against the totality of the regime.

Many students cut the speeches by reminding them their accomplice silences when students were beaten up or murdered while these MPs were more thinking of safeguarding their positions and cutting deals on the back of Iranians.

Slogans, such as, "Sherkat dar entekhabat, khyanat, khyanat" (Participation in elections, a betryal, betryal), "Khatami, khejalat, khejalat", (Katami, shame, shame), "Ansar jenayat mikonad, Rahbar hemayat mikonad" (Ansar commit crimes, Supreme Leader support them), "Marg bar Dictatori" (Down with Dictatorship), "Marg bar Taleban, tche Kabol, Tche Tehran" (Down with Taleban, in Tehran as in Kabul), "Zendani e siassi, Azad bayad guardad" (Political Prisoners must be freed), "daneshjoo mimirad, Zellat nemi and "Referendum, Referendum, in ast shoar Mardom" (Referendum, Referendum, this is our people's slogan) were shouted by the students under the brutal attacks of regime's plainclothes men and so-called Bassidj students.

Hundreds of tracts were distributed in the premises denouncing the Feb. 20th sham elections. Same type of tracts have been distributed in wide scale in main Iranian cities calling for solidarity in the general boycott and predicting the future downfall of the regime.
35 posted on 02/08/2004 2:31:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Royal Trip Highlights 'Open Iran'
The Scotsman

By Caroline Gammell, PA News

The Prince of Wales’ visit to Iran is further illustration of the opening up of a strict Muslim state which has remained impenetrable for the last 25 years.

Last December, diplomatic leaps were made when the country agreed to allow UN inspectors access to its weapons programme, earning plaudits from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

But Iran’s relationship with the West and its whole political outlook has lurched from one extreme to the other in the past three decades and is still far from settled.

When the Westernised Shah was toppled in 1979, many of Iran’s liberal attitudes and policies were quashed by the religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

He returned from exile in France and set about re-nationalising the country’s industries and banks as well as reviving Islamic traditions.

All Western influences and music were banned, women had to return to traditional veiled dress and many of the Western-thinking elite fled the country.

Relations with the US collapsed when Iranian militants seized the American embassy in the capital Tehran and held 52 people hostage in November 1979.

When Khomeini refused to negotiate, US President Jimmy Carter imposed an economic boycott and broke off all diplomatic relations.

The Swiss Government assumed representation of US interests in Tehran while Iranian interests in the US were represented by the Pakistani Government.

The hostage crisis lasted 444 days and was only resolved in January 1981 with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan and agreement to most demands, including the unfreezing of nearly eight billion dollars (£5.5bn) of Iranian assets.

In 1980, Iran became embroiled in an eight year war with Iraq over ownership of the Shatt al Arab waterway, which ended up crippling both nations and devastated Iran’s oil industry.

Chemical weapons were used by both countries, but in 1988 Khomeini accepted a UN ceasefire with Iraq.

Since the formation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the country has worked on a theocratic system of government.

Iran is dominated by the Islamic faith and is now made up of 89% Shia and 10% Sunni Muslims.

When Khomeini died in 1989, he was replaced by the president of Iran Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, who remains Ayatolla to this day.

The new president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani sought to improve relations with Western nations and built up his country’s military force.

But relations soured again in 1991 when Iran condemned the US-led coalition against Iraq and allowed Iraqis to seek refuge in their country.

The US has long been suspicious of Iran, believing it to be a harbourer of terrorists and developing its own weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear.

Relations deteriorated so much that all trade between the countries ceased again in 1995.

Two years later, President Rafsanjani was replaced by Mohammed Khatami, a moderately liberal Muslim cleric.

By the late 90s, several European Union countries had started to rebuild economic ties with Iran, but the US would not be swayed, still suspicious of nuclear weapons.

In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Iran was one of many countries to extend its sympathies to the US.

But in January 2002, the US-Iran relationship was rocked once more when US President George Bush named Iran as part of the world’s “axis of evil”.

Since then, Iran has worked towards improving relations and in December 2003 agreed to open its weapons programme to international inspection.

On January 13, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw welcomed the development and said Iran had shown “a new willingness to engage with the international community on the nuclear issue”.

The devastating earthquake in Bam, northern Iran, on Boxing Day last year, also brought the country into the global spotlight.

As the death toll rose to more than 30,000, aid arrived from around the world, with rescue workers worked closely with the Iranian authorities.

The Iranian government rejected an offer from the US government to send a high-level delegation to assist in the distribution of relief supplies.

But American humanitarian groups who travelled to Bam were met with “open arms” and help was eventually accepted.

It is notable that assistance was offered shortly after Iran’s acceptance of UN weapons inspectors and part of the gradual thawing between East and West.

The political scene in Iran is currently stormy as the moderate Khatami does battle with Ayatollah Khamenei and his band of conservative followers, known as the Guardian Council.

Upcoming elections on February 20 have already been accused of being rigged as old-school theocracy tries to undermine the reformers in Iran.

But Charles will undoubtedly steer clear of politics and concentrate on a region crushed by natural disaster.
36 posted on 02/08/2004 4:54:24 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'--- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Masters of Persian Music" (Mohammad Reza Shajarian, Hossein Alizadeh, Kayhan Kalhor and Homayoun Shajarian) as well as Ghazal Ensemble (includes Kayhan Kalhour) have both been nominated for Grammy awards under Best Traditional World Music Album category to be awarded tonight! Spread the word if you can!
37 posted on 02/08/2004 5:13:38 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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Comment #38 Removed by Moderator

Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: DoctorZIn
Here are some protest images sent by students inside of Iran...

40 posted on 02/08/2004 5:39:50 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

41 posted on 02/08/2004 5:40:45 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

42 posted on 02/08/2004 5:41:40 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

43 posted on 02/08/2004 5:42:01 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

44 posted on 02/08/2004 5:42:24 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
First royal in Iran since fall of Shah

By Philip Webster and Alan Hamilton in Basra

THE Prince of Wales flew secretly into Iran last night on a ground-breaking visit that marks the most significant step so far in Britain’s attempts to restore relations with the Islamic republic.
The Prince, who had spent much of the day visiting British troops in Iraq, arrived in Tehran for what appeared to be the most openly poli- tical mission of his career, even though officials were emphasising that its main purpose was humanitarian.

The Prince, the first member of the British Royal Family to go to Iran since 1975, is to visit the earthquake-ravaged city of Bam in his capacity as president of the British Red Cross, but he is also scheduled to meet President Khatami this morning.

The timing is risky. The visit not only coincides almost to the day with the 25th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that saw the Shah driven into exile by Ayatollah Khomeini, but it also comes as political crisis grips the republic.

The country’s Guardian Council, an unelected conservative body, has barred more than 2,000 candidates — mainly reformist allies of President Khatami — from the parliamentary elections to be held on February 20, prompting demonstrations in the streets of Tehran. Reformists have tried to have the vote postponed, but abandoned the attempt at the weekend.

Since the war in neighbouring Iraq, Britain and the US have been trying hard to improve co-operation with Iran, which is seen as vital to enabling the smooth transfer of power in Baghdad. The arrival of the future King in a country that only two years ago was branded part of the “Axis of Evil” by President Bush is expected to have a big impact as the West tries to build a dialogue with Tehran. The trips to Iraq and Iran appear to be part of a deliberate attempt to raise the Prince’s political profile after the damaging royal controversies of recent months. But security concerns meant that both visits were shrouded in the tightest possible secrecy. The trip to Iran was announced only after the Prince had landed there last night.

Earlier he had flown to Kuwait from Basra, where he had visited British troops stationed in one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, and then on to the Iranian capital in a BAE146 of the Queen’s Flight. He found the airport decked in bunting, not to celebrate his arrival, but to mark the anniversary of the revolution. After chatting to waiting dignitaries, including Mohammed Raisi, the head of protocol and Richard Bolton, the British Ambassador, the Prince was whisked away in a black Rover to the Ambassador’s residence in downtown Tehran.

For the Government the Iranian visit is regarded as being of major symbolic importance. Ministers are anxious to show that the Iraq war has produced significant side-benefits despite the failure to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

A visit by the Libyan Foreign Minister to London tomorrow, the first for several decades, is the next mile- stone to rehabilitating that country into the international community after its decision to dismantle its own WMD. Similarly, Iran’s greater co-operation over weapons is being put down to the new atmosphere created by the removal of Saddam.

The Prince usually visits Commonwealth countries or close allies and his trip to Tehran was being seen in a completely different light.

Accompanied by a small entourage, he will assess what needs to be done to help Bam, most of which was razed by the Boxing Day earthquake that left 43,000 dead and thousands more homeless. Diplomats said that the Prince, who is an avid scholar of architecture and Islam, wanted to demonstrate “the concerns of the British people”.

Andrew Dunn, First Secretary at the British Embassy in Tehran, said: “The Prince is a patron of the British Red Cross and is visiting Iran in that role. It’s an official but completely a non-political visit.”

During a reception at St James’s Palace on Friday, the Prince had called for renewed efforts to rebuild Bam, its citadel and its irrigation system, as agriculture is essential to the city.

The British Red Cross said that it, along with the Iranian Red Crescent, has mobilised 8,500 aid workers and distributed 108,000 tents. Several British non-governmental organisations are also working in the city. Iranian aid workers have welcomed the Prince’s visit to Bam. As international interest in its plight has waned, they hope that the royal presence will highlight their continuing battle to help the city and its people.,,2-994864,00.html
45 posted on 02/08/2004 5:55:26 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Prince of Wales arriving in Tehran last night. He is in Iran in his capacity as president of the Red Cross, but his visit at a time of pre-election upheaval could have political implications PHOTO: HENGHAMEH FAHIMI/AFP/Getty Images

46 posted on 02/08/2004 5:58:59 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran denies receiving nuclear information from Dr Qadeer


TEHRAN: Iran on Sunday denied it had received nuclear technology from Pakistan’s top nuclear scientist, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan who admitted to having passed secrets to the Islamic republic.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Tehran had bought pieces of equipment that could raise suspicions and subsequently turned over the sellers’ names to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“Pakistan’s worries are Iran’s worries, but what is being raised in the media is not true,” Mr Asefi said, in the Iranian government’s first reaction to the confession by the founder of Pakistan’s atomic programme.

Dr Khan on Wednesday admitted leaking nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea for personal profit following an investigation based on information from the IAEA.

President Pervez Musharraf pardoned Dr Khan, a national hero, the next day after he delivered a dramatic television apology.

“The Islamic Republic has bought certain parts from the middlemen whose names have been reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Mr Asefi said, although he made no mention of having received atomic information, such as blueprints, which were made available through Khan on the black market.

“It is evident that the Islamic Republic of Iran is not aware of what is going on behind the scenes and we have just reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency the names of the middlemen from whom we bought the parts,” he said.

“Pakistan is among the Islamic Republic’s friends and we attach enormous importance to ties with Pakistan,” he said.

Iran has been asked by the IAEA to come clean on its nuclear programme, after hiding sensitive aspects, including enriching small amounts of uranium and plutonium for 18 years.

It has defended its “inalienable right” to use nuclear energy for peaceful ends, although the United States suspects it is hiding a weapons programme. —AFP
47 posted on 02/08/2004 6:01:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Be sure to email C-SPAN at encouraging them to air this extremely valuable program on Wednesday night.
“Together Forever” will sponsor an event on February 11th at the Beverly Hills Hotel featuring talk show host Larry Elder.

There will be a 15-minute documentary, followed by an insightful forum exploring the contrast between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the people of Iran.

According to a spokesman for “Together Forever,” as the government sponsors terrorism and actively undermines all progress towards democracy in the Middle East, the people, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly pro-democracy and may ultimately be America’s best ally in the war against terror.

Some of the issues which will be addressed are:

• Sponsorship of terrorism and the immediate threat of nuclear
capabilities, which sabotages and destabilizes peace worldwide.

• Al Qaeda has found refuge with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

• The Islamic Republic of Iran funds Hamas and Hezbollah.

• The concept of suicide bombing started with the Islamic Republic
of Iran.

Larry Elder has been on KABC Talk Radio in Los Angeles since March of 1994, hosting “The Larry Elder Show,” a top-rated daily program from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. (PT) on KABC 790, and began a nationally syndicated daily talk show for ABC Radio Networks.

Known to his listeners as the “Sage From South Central,” Elder engages political and cultural leaders in meaningful debates over race, government, personal responsibility and education that have elevated the talk radio genre.

Bijan Kian, who will also be in attendance, is the former director of the State of California Office of Foreign Investment and former boardmember of the State of California Housing Finance Agency.

When investigative reporter and author Kenneth R. Timmerman profiled Osama bin Laden for “Reader’s Digest” in July 1998, few people had ever heard of him. Just weeks later, bin Laden’s terrorists blew up two U.S. embassies in Africa, prompting the U.S. government to launch an international manhunt.

In 1982, Timmerman was taken hostage by terrorists in Lebanon and spent 24 days in an underground cell under constant aerial and artillery bombardment.

Tickets are $50 for general admission and $100 for VIP reserved seating. The program will begin with a video presentation and a forum at 8 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Call 310-273-2991.
48 posted on 02/08/2004 6:03:23 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Government's Royal Gift to the Ayatollahs

February 09, 2004

Should the Government allow the Prince of Wales to be placed in the invidious position of calling upon President Khatami of Iran? Ministers must surely be aware that the visit might turn out to be used as propaganda by a theocratic regime that has been waging psychological warfare on the people since the Islamist Revolution of 1979.

After all, one of the key themes in the mullahs' attempts to demoralise the Iranian opposition has been that the West talks big about freedom, but that when the chips are down, democracy is the least of its concerns. The regime asserts that the Europeans, in particular, will do business with whoever is in power in Teheran. As of today, it is hard to disagree with the Islamists' cynical analysis.

The Prince's visit is the ceremonial culmination of long-time British policy towards Iran, which is based upon two premises. First, as our Diplomatic Editor, Anton La Guardia, reports today, there is a sense of debt on the part of the Government towards the Islamic Republic for not causing too much trouble during the Anglo-American actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Second, there is the project of tilting the balance within the Iranian regime against the ayatollahs, embodied by Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, and in favour of the "moderates", personified by Mr Khatami.

Perhaps we will soon find out that the Prince's visit represents advance payment on a Libyan-style recantation of rogue state status. Such a vindication is unlikely. The Iranians temporarily acquiesced in the Anglo-American invasions of their neighbours for their own reasons: they recognised they could not stop these developments, and anyhow felt no affection for the vanquished Taliban and Ba'athist regimes.

But they are not our tacit allies in Iraq, let alone our friends: indeed, if a successful form of government were established there, the Iraqi model would become a dagger poised at the heart of the Iranian regime. The Iranians thus have a vested interest in Anglo-American failure in Iraq.

But the greatest delusion concerns the efficacy of Mr Khatami as a reformer. Since coming to power in 1997, he has proved to be a great disappointment to his one-time supporters, many of whom now languish in jail. He stood by when clerical vigilantes murdered students during the riots of 1999; he was inert when "hardliners" closed the newspapers in 2000; and he buckled under this year when Mr Khamenei refused to delay the irreparably flawed election.

Meanwhile, the Americans state that work on a second advanced uranium enrichment plant proceeds apace. Intentionally or not, Mr Khatami has rendered the mullahs great service: opening dialogue with the West without altering the basis of their power. It is a potentially far greater failure of Western intelligence than the inability to find WMD in Iraq.
49 posted on 02/08/2004 7:47:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Some interesting comments on the royal visit on
50 posted on 02/08/2004 7:52:47 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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