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Iranian Alert -- February 15, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.15.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/15/2004 12:01:09 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.

DoctorZin


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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 02/15/2004 12:01:10 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 02/15/2004 12:04:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
GOVERNED BY GOD
In Iran, a Quiet but Fierce Struggle for Change

By ELAINE SCIOLINO
Published: February 15, 2004
NYTimes

IRAN is embroiled in one of the most serious crises it has faced since clerics seized the palaces of kings in Tehran and declared an Islamic republic a quarter century ago.

To protest the rejection of the eligibility of thousands of candidates in parliamentary elections this month, more than a third of parliament has resigned, and the reformists have vowed to boycott the election.

But it is a curious crisis. While parliament may not survive in its current form, there have been none of the street protests that rocked the big cities in 1999 and have occurred sporadically ever since. This is certainly not a repetition of the strike and riots that crippled Iran's economy and political system in 1978 and brought down the monarchy a year later.

During a tense sit-in by dozens of parliamentary deputies that started in January and ended this month, people went about their business on the streets outside.

High oil prices have alleviated some economic pressure, and a relaxation of some social restrictions has given young people more personal freedom. Many voters have grown so fed up with political infighting that they have tuned out the election and claim not even to know its date.

"The conservatives know they face no serious challenge," said Saeed Leylaz, an economist. "They know that people will not come out into the streets for the cause of reform."

Still, even if ordinary Iranians are in a quiescent mood, many still resent the idea of one-man rule - rule by a cleric rather than a shah, but one man just the same.

Hamid-Reza Jalaeipour, a 46-year-old sociologist and former newspaper publisher, is emblematic of those who fought for the revolution, served in the early years of the Islamic republic, and now regard Islamic rule as a failure. Though he still struggles to build democracy, he said he would not want to go through a second revolution. "They used to say that the shah wanted to make society secular," he said in an interview. "Twenty-five years later the society is much more secular. The mosques are empty."

As for the standoff in the election, Mr. Jalaeipour, who published a newspaper until the government banned it, said the effort to bar reformist candidates was part of a long-term strategy by hard-liners to change Iran from a republic to "a kind of fundamentalist Islamic monarchy."

So widespread is the belief that Iran has returned to the repression of the monarchy that for over a year student protesters have been calling Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the spiritual leader and the country's most powerful person, "Shah" Khamenei. A joke in Tehran about Reza Pahlavi, the late shah's son, who leads a political movement from his American exile, goes: "Why don't we need a new king?""We already have one."

Insults and jokes reflect the extent to which Iran has changed since the early days of the revolution. Contempt for clerics once was punishable by a prison term if expressed too openly; today this criticism is expressed in speeches, lectures, academic treatises and demonstrations.

Four years ago, Mohsen Kadivar, a midlevel cleric who was highly critical of repression by the top rulers, was sent to prison for 18 months. Today, he has returned to university teaching and public speaking. He is head of the Society for the Defense of Freedom of the Press. In recent days, he has publicly called on his fellow cleric and reformist, President Mohammad Khatami, to resign rather than accept an unfair election.

The most popular entry in the current annual Fajr film festival is "The Lizard," a comedy about a thief who disguises himself in a cleric's stolen turban and robe. When called on by his congregation to give a sermon, he uses lock-picking as a metaphor for finding the key to God's heart.

The celebration last week of the 25th anniversary of the revolution was much more muted than anniversary festivities of just a few years ago. Efforts to rekindle the revolutionary hatred of the United States have failed. The American embassy complex, which was seized in 1979 by Iranian militants who took its diplomats hostage, was reopened in 2001 as a museum dedicated to the "crimes" of the United States. A few weeks later it shut down for lack of visitors.

If the current impasse has changed anything, it has made obvious a fault line that has existed since the creation of the Islamic Republic. "Islamic'' implies the rule of God; "republic'' means the rule of the people. Arguments among the framers of Iran's constitution over secular versus Islamic law and the distribution of power in the government were so fierce that the framers just wrote in the contradictions. The elected president, elected parliament and judiciary were made part of a theocracy whose ultimate authority was a "supreme leader'' - a cleric who controls the police, the military and other institutions of power.

That arrangement, and the current crisis, can be seen as a continuation of a built-in conflict between authoritarian rulers and parliaments that dates to 1906, when a sit-in of 14,000 Iranians supported by bazaar merchants, clerics and a reformist press forced the monarchy to agree to create a parliament, hold elections and accept a constitution modeled on that of Belgium.

The alliance between clerics and secularists unraveled, and a new absolutist monarchy, of Reza Shah, in the 1920's crushed the effort to create constitutional government.

Three decades later, Iran experimented with democracy again. Mohammad Mossadegh, an elected prime minister, challenged the authority of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the new king and Reza Shah's son. When the shah tried to dismiss Dr. Mossadegh in August 1953, the prime minister's followers took to the streets and the shah fled, only to be restored by a coup backed by the United States and Britain.

So there is a pattern much older than the Islamic republic: Autocratic rule establishes itself, followed by outbursts of discontent that end either with modest reform or a new spike of repression.

The current impasse began after a decision of the 12 clerics and jurists, who sit on the supreme leader's Guardian Council, to ban more than 2,000 reformist candidates. In the last election, four years ago, the council banned some reformists, but their bloc swept into office anyway. This time, the council is taking no chances.

Those banned include Mohammad Reza Khatami, the deputy speaker of the parliament until he resigned, and brother of the elected president, Mohammad Khatami.

Asked early this month if the reformists had failed, Mohammad Reza Khatami said: "If failure means not having a free and fair election, then yes, we have failed." Then again, he has vowed to fight and has called on conservatives to open the way to democracy and "save themselves from being overthrown."

Some female candidates also have been barred from running; they include Zahra Eshraghi, the wife of Mr. Khatami and a granddaughter of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution.

She has chastised her brother-in-law, the president, for not acting against his enemies "more aggressively," telling the Iranian student news service ISNA, "As a member of family I have told President Khatami that he should act in a way that our children will be proud to call themselves Khatamis."

The conservatives have used well-worn arguments to tarnish the reputations of their opponents, from calling the reformists American puppets to branding potential female candidates immoral because of what they wear. Ruhollah Hosseinian, a hard-line cleric, warned the reformers: "The Islam that coexists with drinking wine, gambling, looseness, bare-headedness and impiety is not Islam. You sent some girls with makeup to the streets to campaign for you."

Ayatollah Khamenei has struggled to appear above the fray, but without success. He failed to persuade the Guardian Council to reinstate more than a tiny percentage of the candidates they had banned, then insisted the election be held anyway.

The absence of popular protest has delighted conservatives, who are banking on a low voter turnout this Friday in hopes of regaining a majority in the parliament.

The reformers "were thinking if they staged a sit-in, the nation would respond to it," said Ali Akbar Nateq-Noori, the conservative cleric who lost the 1997 presidential election to Mohammad Khatami. "Well done to the people who did not respond at all!"

But the reformists still have hope. "Reform inside the government has died," Mr. Kadivar said in a speech at Tehran University Monday. "But reform outside the government and the establishment is developing." And this, he added, "is a new era."

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/15/weekinreview/15scio.html
3 posted on 02/15/2004 12:07:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Revealed: how photographer died after Iran prison beating

By Angeli Mehta
(Filed: 15/02/2004)
News.Telegraph.co.uk

Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photographer killed in Iran last summer, died after she was brutally beaten in a Teheran jail and later denied basic medical treatment that could have saved her life.

Fresh evidence has emerged about her death, which has soured relations between Iran and Canada after Teheran's authorities attempted a cover-up, claiming she had suffered a stroke.

According to a witness who has only recently come forward, the photographer was still conscious when she was taken to hospital by prison guards after undergoing hours of interrogation at the notorious Evin prison.

The guards remained with Ms Kazemi while she was seen by doctors, who ordered brain scans several times. However, no scan was done for 12 hours, by which time Ms Kazemi was in a coma.

According to the BBC's This World programme, the witness said the scan showed that Ms Kazemi's head "had been hit very hard, causing severe brain damage and bleeding".

In a situation like that, the witness said, "every second is vital". Iran's health minister, Masoud Pezeshkian, has admitted that had she been treated promptly, Ms Kazemi might be alive today.

Her death - and Iran's subsequent attempts at a cover-up - escalated the battle still raging between the country's unelected hardline religious leaders, who believe in the absolute authority of Ayatollah Khamanei, and reformist politicians such as the president, Mohammed Khatami.

Ms Kazemi was born in southern Iran in 1949 but left during the Shah's rule, though her mother stayed on. Last summer, her first visit for 30 years, she was granted a work permit but was arrested after photographing families holding a vigil for people detained during a crackdown on demonstrations against the regime.

Drawing on official reports, and information from eyewitnesses and other people familiar with the case, This World pieced together what happened next.

When Ms Kazemi was first challenged, she was told to leave her camera and collect it the following day. She refused, ripping out the film to expose the frames. Her defiance ensured she was kept in prison.

"She was confronted by the authorities and asked to give the camera and the film," said Hamid Mojtahedi, a Canadian human rights lawyer with access to officials involved in Ms Kazemi's case. "She resisted."

Inside Evin, she was interrogated for nearly four hours by officials from the Judiciary, a hardline bastion, and accused of being a spy. Teheran's general prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, who is notorious for jailing journalists, was there - "I poked my head in to see how things were going," he told Mr Mojtahedi.

On June 25, she was again interrogated for four hours by the hardliners, and later that evening was sent to a rival authority in the Evin jail, the intelligence ministry, which comes under the control of the reformists. On the fourth day, she fell ill. After a routine medical examination at 4.30pm, the doctor reported nothing amiss.

An hour later, Ms Kazemi complained of feeling faint, and by 8.40pm was bleeding from the nose and coughing up blood. Just after midnight she was admitted to hospital with medical papers that said she was suffering from "intestinal problems".

The eyewitness said she could respond to questions by blinking but appeared to be in shock. When her mother went to visit, she asked a nurse to pull back the sheet. "They'd beaten her up so badly her body was black and blue all over," Mrs Kazemi said. "I asked the nurse to raise her head up and as soon as she took her hand away, her head fell back lifeless."

An official who later saw the hospital report said it raised the possibility that the fatal blow had been struck several days before Ms Kazemi eventually collapsed.

Fourteen days later, she was dead. Her life-support machine was switched off at the hospital without any consultation of her mother or her son, Stephan. The official verdict - an announcement allegedly ordered by Mr Mortazavi - was that she had suffered a stroke, but President Khatami ordered an inquiry.

Within days, the vice-president, Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, revealed that Zahra Kazemi had died from a brain haemorrhage caused by a blow to the head. Crucially, the president's report said that the family could arrange an independent postmortem examination, which would help to establish the timing of that blow.

Mrs Kazemi and Stephan formally asked for her remains to be returned to Canada, but she was then intimidated by armed men into having Zahra buried in her birthplace of Shiraz, and all hope of an independent postmortem examination vanished. The Canadian government temporarily withdrew its ambassador to Iran in protest.

By now, however, a battle for the truth was raging between the hardliners and the reformists. A Judiciary inquiry blamed two intelligence ministry officials and one ministry interrogator, Reza Ahmadi, went on trial last October.

His indictment said that because an intelligence ministry doctor had pronounced Ms Kazemi fit an hour before she became ill, the fatal blow must have been struck by a ministry interrogator.

According to the reformists who carried out their own investigation, however, Ms Kazemi was struck during a struggle with Judiciary officials as she tried to hold on to her camera equipment when first detained. Prison guards who initially testified to this version of events later changed their story.

Brain specialists say it is possible to remain lucid for days after a severe blow to the head before the build-up of blood causes death. They suggest that it is likely that Ms Kazemi was unconscious during some of her first hours in prison.

The coroner's report remains under wraps but, under pressure from reformists, the Judiciary inquiry has been reopened. It is understood that three men, this time Judiciary officials, have been arrested.

Politically, however, Iran's reform movement is struggling for its own survival. Many of the reform MPs who have campaigned to discover the truth behind her murder are among the 2,500 candidates banned by the hardline Guardian Council from standing in parliamentary elections to be held on Friday.

Within days, there may be no one left in authority willing to fight for justice for Zahra Kazemi.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/02/15/wiran15.xml&sSheet=/portal/2004/02/15/ixportal.html
4 posted on 02/15/2004 12:09:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Election debate intensifies struggle for power between Iran's reformist and hardliners

15 February 2004
Channel News Asia

TEHRAN, Iran: Iran's reformist government has said it's nearing a compromise with the country's conservatives over the contested upcoming parliamentary election.

Reformists have been accusing conservatives of trying to rig the election to retake control of Parliament by disqualifying hundreds of liberal candidates.

The election debate is intensifying the struggle for power between the country's reformists and hardliners.

For Iran's reformists, today is unprecedented and tomorrow is far from certain.

These yellow folders hold the resignation letters of around 120 reformist Members of Parliament.

Said reformist MP from Tehran, Mohsen Mirdamadi: "You should understand that we may be ready to ignore many things, but we are not ready to compromise or negotiate the most inalienable right of the people, their right to vote."

They're protesting a move by the country's conservatives to bar hundreds of reformist candidates including around 80 current lawmakers from running in February's election.

A move, they say, designed to rob reformists of their dominant position in Parliament.

Mohammad Rashidian, a reformist MP from Abadan, said: "People have taken part in elections because they have had numerous and various candidates, so we should not discourage them from participating by not giving them this right."

The hardline Guardian Council has disqualified nearly 30 percent of the roughly 8,000 people who had signed up to run for the election, stating many were opposed to Islam or the constitution of the Islamic Republic.

The council has said the election will still offer plenty of opportunity for competition.

Spokesman for the Council, Ebrahim Azizi, said: "In all the countries of the world, or at least in some countries, there are some conditions and obstacles that are more difficult than ours."

But Iran's largest pro-reform party has said it will boycott the election.

Calls to postpone the election have been turned down by the Guardian Council itself.

Some reformists here say they hope people show their support for them by not turning out at the polls.

Reformist lawmaker, Meisam Saidi, said: "Since their votes are not translated into real power, I predict that voter participation will decrease in protest to this state of affairs."

But despite a 3-week sit-in held by reformists, public interest has remained largely muted.

"Any of these representatives that enter the Parliament, the first thing they do is to ratify certain laws they need to benefit themselves," said an Iranian youth.

But there are some who disagreed.

"In order for them to be able to do something for our country, we must vote for them so that they can get something accomplished," said an Iranian man.

What happens next is uncertain. The Parliament's Speaker has called on the country's political and spiritual leader to intervene.

And pressure is falling on the country's reformist President, Mohammad Khatami, who has consistently pushed for both the rule of law and stability.

A true balancing act when it comes to deciding who will fill these seats next.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/middleeast/view/71207/1/.html
5 posted on 02/15/2004 4:41:47 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: All
Hey, Want to Buy an Atomic Bomb?

by James Dunnigan
February 14, 2004
Strategy Page

The details of how Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear weapons scientist and "father of the Islamic atomic bomb" ran a "nuclear bomb plans for sale" operation, have come out. In a situation so typical of Pakistan, corruption and willingness to use a government position for personal gain led Kahn to go into business for himself, selling nuclear weapons technology to anyone who could pay (North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and possibly others).

The CIA picked up hints of this business in the 1990s, some ten years ago. Bit by bit, the evidence piled up. Finally, Pakistan's president was forced to confront Kahn, and Kahn was forced, by the weight of the evidence, to admit his guilt. But Kahn is so popular in Pakistan (as "the father of the Moslem bomb") that is was considered political suicide to try and prosecute him for his crimes. So Khan agreed to admit his guilt (phrased as "errors in judgment"), in return for a pardon.

Actually, Khan's crimes were quite extensive. He had begun by stealing plans for uranium processing equipment (centrifuges and such) while working for a European nuclear power engineering company three decades ago. He was later convicted for this crime, but he was by then safely back in Pakistan and working his way towards the leadership of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Khan was energetic and opportunistic. Although his technical contributions to the bomb design effort were mainly contained in the technology he had stolen, he managed to take credit for much of the efforts other Pakistani scientists and engineers contributed. Khan also abused his position as head of the nuclear weapons program by giving sweetheart contracts to friends and family, skimming money for himself and taking bribes. But this is so common in Pakistan, that no one really noticed. Even the sale of nuclear weapons technology (but not a complete bomb) to foreign nations was not considered all that unusual. There were dozens of others, both in the nuclear weapons program, and outside it, who worked with Kahn to move the goods, and collect and hide (and share in) the money. Khan's pardon allows him to keep the money. But the CIA, and European intelligence agencies, believe that Khan's group are still in business. So the investigation continues, and Pakistan has been told that members of Khan's group (including Khan) are fair game if caught outside Pakistan.

American nuclear security experts are working with Pakistan to equip Pakistani nukes with electronic locks that prevent the weapons from being used by anyone who does not have the proper codes. This means that if any Pakistanis try and sell an actual a-bomb, they will have to get the codes as well. This won't make it impossible for a Pakistani bomb to be sold, just more difficult. And Khan has shown that you can sell nuclear secrets and get away with it. It's a bad precedent.

North Korea has denied being a Khan customer, but Iran and Libya were caught red handed with material from Pakistan (Libya admits it, Iran is stonewalling). Evidence collected in Iraq indicates that Saddam was approached by Khan's salesmen, but had not yet put down the five million dollars required to get the weapons information coming.

http://www.strategypage.com/dls/articles/2004214.asp
6 posted on 02/15/2004 4:47:06 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn
Revenge of the Mullahs

February 15, 2004
Scotland on Sunday
Ian Mather

Life could soon be very different for the millions of Iranians heading for the polls this week as they face one of the greatest crises to grip their country since the Islamic revolution.

Amid accusations that they have effectively mounted a coup, fundamentalists look set to gain power in Iran’s parliament and so push the country back towards the extreme fundamentalism from which it has gradually been emerging.

That could produce a backlash of street demonstrations against the clerics who rule from behind the scenes. Iran’s reform-minded President Mohamad Khatami has warned that Iran is veering towards religious despotism and "dictatorship".

This could also be an embarrassing setback for Prime Minister Tony Blair and other European leaders who have defied Washington by pursuing a policy of "constructive engagement" with Tehran in an attempt to move it out of President George Bush’s so-called "axis of evil".

The US argues that Britain should remain at arm’s length from Iran because it has one of the world’s worst human rights records and boasts of giving aid to terrorist groups throughout the Middle East.

Prince Charles, who became the first member of a British royal family to visit Iran in 33 years when he travelled to Bam, the site of a major earthquake, last week also found himself embroiled in the Iranian politician scene.

"The prince’s visit strengthens the position of hardliners at a critical moment," said Davoud Hermidas Bavand, a Tehran-based political analyst. He and others hold the view that a visit by the British Royal Family looks like a gesture of appeasement, only serving to stoke anti-western feeling to the benefit of the fundamentalists.

The immediate crisis stems from a decision by the ruling Council of Guardians, which is dominated by hardline clerics, to ban thousands of reformist candidates for high office.

The unelected 12-man body, which has the authority to block candidates, disqualified over 2,500 pro-reform candidates as "unfit" to stand. Several of those barred currently sit in the 290-seat parliament.

Hardliners accused reformers of creating tension by approving bills that undermine Islamic values. In turn reformers have accused conservative clerics of mounting a ‘coup’ to regain control of parliament and the government.

The bans caused outrage among the allies of the Khatami, who claimed that the vote was being rigged to oust them. Around 130 liberal members of parliament resigned and held sit-ins to protest at the disqualifications.

The council then reinstated around 1,100 candidates. But the reformers complain that no prominent liberal politicians and party leaders have been reinstated.

As a consequence nearly all of the 5,600 candidates who are now campaigning for Friday’s elections are hardliners.

"After 25 years, we are at the end of attempts to legally reform the system, and there are real fears and worries," says a former revolutionary in Iran. "But this is part of a dead end. If you don’t want another revolution, and legal reform doesn’t work, there is nothing left but a miracle."

Almost all the reformist parties are boycotting the elections. They include Iran’s largest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, which is led by the Mohammed Reza Khatami, younger brother of the president and deputy speaker of parliament. He is one of those banned from running.

"This is no election. The Guardian Council has already decided for the nation. This so-called election will be a black page in the history of Iran," said Saeed Shariati, a leader of the front.

Only a few reformist groups that have had some candidates approved by the Guardian Council are running in the polls. They include the Militant Clerics Association, the only pro-reform clerical group in Iran, which is led by Mehdi Karroubi, the current speaker of parliament.

The arrival on the political scene of the moderate President Khatami in 1997 was seen as a "revolution within a revolution" which might lead to a more forward-looking Iran in the eyes of the rest of the world.

A number of European countries, including Britain, decided to engage with the moderates, and re-opened diplomatic relations with Tehran in the hope of encouraging the regime to move further along the road to reform. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has since visited Tehran five times.

In the 2000 elections, the reformists gained a majority in the parliament. But reformists have increasingly complained of being frustrated in their attempts to modernise the country in the face of opposition from hardline clerics, all of them supporters of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, who returned to Iran in 1979 and ousted the Shah.

Scores of pro-reform newspapers have been shut down. There are dozens of political prisoners, some jailed for publishing the results of an opinion poll that showed a majority of Iranians wanted to re-establish ties with the US.

The hardliners look to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who, as the Velayat-e-faqih (Guardian Theologian), is regarded by the Iranian faithful as God’s representative on earth.

On Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, hundreds of thousands converged on Tehran’s Azadi Freedom Square after calls through the official media for celebrations for the anniversary. Normally the event is dominated by praise for the Islamic struggle and denunciations of the United States. But Khatami broke with tradition to condemn the hardliners’ election tactics.

"Elections are a symbol of democracy if they are performed correctly," he told the crowd. "If this is restricted, it’s a threat to the nation and the system. This threat is difficult to reverse."

Despite the propaganda and the laying on of official transport the numbers were far less than in 1979 when three million came on to the streets.

Analysts say that the conservative clerics have calculated that the rejection of candidates will draw only minor protest from a public that has grown disillusioned after seven years of failed democratic reform. It remains to be seen whether they are right.

A confidential opinion survey conducted by the government recently projected only a 30% turnout in the elections. Such a low poll would leave the religious conservatives with a legitimacy problem. It is no surprise then that state-run radio and television, controlled by hardliners, are devoting much of their air time to urging people to vote.

http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=184082004
7 posted on 02/15/2004 8:26:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Karoubi Refuses to Accept Mass Sham Resignations

February 15, 2004
The Media Line
themedialine.org

The resignations of some 120 Iranian politicians are invalid, according to the country’s parliament Speaker Hojjatoleslam Mehdi Karroubi.

He says there is “no procedural provision” to accept the resignations, reports the official Iranian news agency IRNA.

"According to Article 95 of the Majlis by-law, massive resignation cannot be accepted, because it deprived the parliament of the quorum necessary to go ahead with formal debate," said Karroubi.

Last week Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Seyed ‘Ali Khamanai said the parliamentary elections will be held as scheduled on February 20.

Khamanai’s speech came after the reformists raised calls to delay Election Day.

The political crisis in Iran started at the end of 2003, when the hard-line Guardian Council decided to disqualify thousands of reformist candidates from running in the next elections. That led to the resignations of the reformist lawmakers.

http://themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=4819
8 posted on 02/15/2004 8:27:47 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...

"I got some reports:

1- True Iranians decided to boycott the upcoming election on Friday.

2- Men and Women have been told to wear Black or White Shirts and Scarves on Friday to show their anger toward the regime on Friday. And this also helps them to signal others that they are out for themselves not for voting.

3- I got confirmed reports about importing thousands of people into the city of Tehran on Friday."
9 posted on 02/15/2004 8:33:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Dissident Says Reforms at an End

February 15, 2004
AFP
Aljazeera Qatar

One of Iran's most prominent dissidents, jailed academic Hashim Aghajari, has warned his country that the reformist movement has now reached a dead end and passive resistance is now the only option.

His open letter, published by the student news agency ISNA, comes just days before parliamentary elections overshadowed by the mass disqualification of pro-reform candidates by the Islamic republic's powerful religious hardliners.

"Organising an unfree election is an end point for reforms within the regime," wrote Aghajari, who was condemned to death for blasphemy in 2002 after he questioned the Shia clergy's right to rule.

"We are witnessing a comical repetition of history: in a very short period of time, the democratic face of the Iranian constitution is going to be turned into an autocratic face," wrote the dissident, who is jailed pending a review of his case.

"The current generation should be given the right to choose their own structure of government and constitution," said the academic. "The Iranian people should ..., with passive resistance, tell the totalitarians: No".

Khatami slammed

But Aghajari also hit out at embattled pro-reform President Muhammad Khatami, who faces seeing his allies in parliament ousted by conservatives on Friday and holding office as a lame-duck leader until his second and final term ends in 2005.

"Alongside this comical repetition of history we are also witnessing a tragedy: the tragedy of Khatami," he wrote.

"During the six years that have elapsed for the reformist government and the four years of the reformist parliament, because of a lack of will and courage great opportunities were missed."

Khatami, the dissident wrote, "has reached a point where people are disappointed in him."

"People have discovered that, after six years of this experience, the preservation of the status quo will bring no developments or reforms."

Religious renewal

In the summer of 2002, the disabled war veteran and history professor delivered an explosive speech in the western city of Hamedan directed at the very core of Iran's 25-year-old Islamic regime.

Aghajari called for a "religious renewal" of Shiasm, espoused a major structural shake-up in Iran's religion of state, and asserted that Muslims were not "monkeys" and "should not blindly follow" religious leaders.

For powerful hardliners, those comments were seen as a frontal assault on the Shia doctrine of emulation and the status of Ayat Allah Ali Khamenei as Iran's supreme leader.

In November 2002, a judge in Hamedan ruled that Aghajari had committed blasphemy and, in line with Islamic and Iranian law, deserved to die.

Case to be re-examined

But following a week of protests by students and complaints by reformist government officials, Khamenei stepped in and demanded the sentenceshould be reviewed. In January 2003, the supreme court annulled the verdict and ordered a re-trial.

Last month, the hardline judiciary said Aghajari's case would be re-examined after the parliamentary elections in order to "preserve calm", and the dissident acknowledged his open letter might make his predicament worse.

"There is a probability I will be under more pressure after the publication of this letter. Nevertheless, I made the promise to God and my own nation and I am sure that in the combat of Islam, human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and peace against Taliban Islam, despotism, totalitarianism, violence, war and terrorism, the victory will be with the first party."

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/F00AB2B1-5C61-42F2-8E6B-5CC6FF96DEA8.htm
10 posted on 02/15/2004 8:35:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Was Iran Behind the Most Daring Attack in Falluja?

February 15, 2004
Agence France-Presse
Anthony Shadid in Falluja

A brazen daylight attack on a police station in , in which 27 people were killed, has raised new questions about the ability of Iraqis to assume control of public order when the US hands over sovereignty in June.

While security posts in Falluja and elsewhere have regularly come under fire, the latest assault featured unprecedented tactics and audacity.

Barricades constructed to withstand the kind of car bombings that killed at least 100 Iraqis last week served as cover on Saturday for the fighters, who hid their faces with chequered headdresses. Shouting "God is greatest," some repeatedly returned to cars to reload weapons, witnesses said.

"There was no place without blood," said one witness, Sinjar Hammad.

The local police chief, Hakim Jumaili, said about 15 attackers stormed the station. Firing rocket-propelled grenades, machine-guns and mortars, they freed dozens of prisoners, dealing another blow to US efforts to resurrect Iraq's security forces.

Some officers who survived the attack said they huddled inside as the assailants directed a barrage of fire for more than 30 minutes on the police station and another fortified security post near it.

Police complained they were outgunned and outmanoeuvred by the fighters, who arrived in cars, then raced through concrete barricades and into the station on foot. US forces, nominally in charge of security, had not arrived at the scene by late afternoon.

Another assault was launched at the local headquarters of the Iraqi Civil Defence Corps, where the senior US commander in the Middle East, General John Abizaid, was attacked two days earlier. He escaped unharmed.

Within minutes, the fighters made their way to a detention area at the station and freed prisoners. Witnesses said at least 50 were released; the Iraqi Interior Ministry put the number at 87. Some officials suggested there were foreigners among them.

Officials at Falluja General Hospital said three fighters were killed. Their bodies were taken to a morgue in nearby Rammadi. At one point in the afternoon, armed men surged into the hospital, trying unsuccessfully to find wounded fighters.

Hospital sources said yesterday the death toll had risen to 27.

Some policemen said they believed the fighters were motivated by clan or tribal affiliations in freeing the prisoners. But most in this largely Sunni town pinned the blame on Iranian agents or the Badr Brigade, a militia long exiled in Iran that is controlled by Iraq's leading Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

One officer, Jumaa Mohammed Darwish, said that when the fighters shouted "God is greatest", it was in an Arabic accent that didn't sound Iraqi.

Another officer, Mohammed Khalil, said one of the dead men wore a black headband that read, "There is no god but God, the Forces of Hezbollah." Hezbollah, which usually refers to Lebanon's most powerful Shiite group, is a name also used elsewhere in the Arab world.

There were reports of a wounded assailant with a Lebanese passport. But no concrete evidence of an active Shiite role in the attacks has emerged.

The latest attacks came after the United Nations deemed Iraq was not ready for early elections.

A Governing Council member, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, said he expected sovereignty to be handed to the interim council on June 30 if no elections had been held by then to form a transitional government.

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/15/1076779839926.html
11 posted on 02/15/2004 8:37:16 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 inside of Iran...

"These groups, inside Iran, announced Boycott of the election:

1- Students of Amir Kabir Technical University ((Poly technic Uni))
2- The Islamic Participation front
3- The Islamic Office of students at universities
4- Nationalist-Religious groups
5- Doctor Aghajari also asked the people not to vote on Friday
6- Iran's national front party ((Supporters of Premier Mosadegh))
7- 190 Parliament Members who banned from election
8- Iran's National Resistant Movement

The list will be completed as we get close to the day of election."
12 posted on 02/15/2004 8:39:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Right War for the Right Reasons

February 13, 2004
The Weekly Standard
Robert Kagan & William Kristol

With all the Turmoil Surrounding David Kay's comments on the failure to find stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons in Iraq, it is time to return to first principles, and to ask the question: Was it right to go to war?

Critics of the war, and of the Bush administration, have seized on the failure to find stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But while his weapons were a key part of the case for removing Saddam, that case was always broader. Saddam's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction was inextricably intertwined with the nature of his tyrannical rule, his serial aggression, his defiance of international obligations, and his undeniable ties to a variety of terrorists, from Abu Nidal to al Qaeda (a topic we will not cover in detail here, rather referring readers to Stephen F. Hayes's reporting in this magazine over the past year). Together, this pattern of behavior made the removal of Saddam desirable and necessary, in the judgment of both the Clinton and Bush administrations. That judgment was and remains correct.

I

IT IS FASHIONABLE TO SNEER at the moral case for liberating an Iraqi people long brutalized by Saddam's rule. Critics insist mere oppression was not sufficient reason for war, and in any case that it was not Bush's reason. In fact, of course, it was one of Bush's reasons, and the moral and humanitarian purpose provided a compelling reason for a war to remove Saddam. It should certainly have been compelling to those (like us) who supported the war on Slobodan Milosevic a few years ago. In our view--and here we disagree with what Paul Wolfowitz said to Vanity Fair a few months ago--liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam's brutal, totalitarian dictatorship would by itself have been sufficient reason to remove Saddam.

Such a rationale is not "merely" moral. As is so often the case in international affairs, there was no separating the nature of Saddam's rule at home from the kinds of policies he conducted abroad. Saddam's regime terrorized his own people, but it also posed a threat to the region, and to us. The moral case for war was linked to strategic considerations related to the peace and security of the Middle East.

Saddam was not a "madman." He was a predator and an aggressor. He achieved through brute force total dominance at home, and it was through force and the threat of force that he sought dominance in his region, as well. He waged war against Iran throughout the 1980s. He invaded Kuwait in 1990. He spent tens of billions of dollars on weapons, both conventional and unconventional. His clear and unwavering ambition, an ambition nurtured and acted upon across three decades, was to dominate the Middle East, both economically and militarily, by attempting to acquire the lion's share of the region's oil and by intimidating or destroying anyone who stood in his way. This, too, was a sufficient reason to remove him from power.

The last time we restated the case for war in Iraq (in October 2003), we quoted extensively from a speech delivered by President Clinton in February 1998. This time we quote extensively from another speech, delivered ten months later, in December 1998, by President Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger. Like President Clinton, Berger did a masterful job of laying out the case for removing Saddam Hussein. And Berger's argument extended beyond the issue of weapons.

Yes, Berger acknowledged, America's "most vital national interest in dealing with Iraq" was to "prevent Saddam from rebuilding his military capability, including weapons of mass destruction, and from using that arsenal to move against his neighbors or his own people." But the threat Saddam posed, by his "continued reign of terror inside Iraq and intimidation outside Iraq," was broader than that. The future course of the Middle East and the Arab world were at stake in Iraq.

"The future of Iraq," Berger argued, "will affect the way in which the Middle East and the Arab world in particular evolve in the next decade and beyond." Those peoples were engaged in a "struggle between two broad visions of the future." One vision was of "political pluralism" and "economic openness." The other vision fed on discontent and fear; it stood for "violent opposition to liberalizing forces." So long as Saddam remained "in power and in confrontation with the world," Berger argued, Iraq would remain "a source of potential conflict in the region," and perhaps more important, "a source of inspiration for those who equate violence with power and compromise with surrender."

In the end, Berger explained, containment of Saddam would not be enough. The "immediate military threat" might be held at bay for the moment. "But even a contained Saddam" was "harmful to stability and to positive change in the region." And in fact, containment was probably not "sustainable over the long run." It was "a costly policy, in economic and strategic terms." The pattern of the previous years--"Iraqi defiance, followed by force mobilization on our part, followed by Iraqi capitulation"--had left "the international community vulnerable to manipulation by Saddam." The longer the standoff continued, Berger warned, "the harder it will be to maintain" international support. Nor was there any question what Saddam would do if and when containment collapsed. "Saddam's history of aggression, and his recent record of deception and defiance, leave no doubt that he would resume his drive for regional domination if he had the chance. Year after year, in conflict after conflict, Saddam has proven that he seeks weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, in order to use them."

For this reason, Berger continued, the Clinton administration had concluded it would be necessary at some point to move beyond containment to regime change. At stake was "our ability to fight terror, avert regional conflict, promote peace, and protect the security of our friends and allies." Quoting President Clinton, Berger suggested "the best way to address the challenge Iraq poses is 'through a government in Baghdad--a new government--that is committed to represent and respect its people, not repress them; that is committed to peace in the region.'"

We made substantially the same argument in a January 1998 letter to President Clinton, a letter whose signatories included Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Robert Zoellick. In our letter, we argued that

The policy of "containment" of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades U.N. inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq's chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam's secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.

That last prediction turned out to be better than we knew at the time. But we did note that uncertainty itself was a danger, because it meant that the United States would have difficulty knowing whether or how fast the risk from Saddam was increasing. The uncertainty of the situation would, we argued, "have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East." It now appears that this uncertainty about Iraq's actual capabilities was perhaps what Saddam aimed to achieve.

II

SO THE THREAT of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction was related to the overall political and strategic threat his regime posed to the Middle East. Still, there is no question that Saddam's history with and interest in weapons of mass destruction made his threat distinctive. The danger was not, however, that Iraq would present a direct threat to the physical security of the United States or, in the current popular phrase, pose an "imminent" threat to the American homeland. Our chief concern in 1998, like Berger's, was the threat Saddam posed to regional security and stability, the maintenance of which was in large part the responsibility of the United States. If Saddam "does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction," we argued, which eventually he was "almost certain to do if we continue along the present course," American troops in the region, American allies, the stability of the Middle East, and the world's supply of oil would all be put at risk. The threat to the United States was that we would be compelled to defend our allies and our interests in circumstances made much more difficult and dangerous by Saddam's increasingly lethal arsenal.

That was why Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs, both what we knew about them and what we did not know about them, gave the situation a special urgency. It was urgent in 1998, and it was urgent four years later. There was no doubt in 1998--and there is no doubt today, based on David Kay's findings--that Saddam was seeking both to pursue WMD programs and to conceal his efforts from U.N. weapons inspectors. After 1995, when the defection of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law and chief organizer of the weapons programs, Hussein Kamal, produced a wealth of new information about Iraqi weapons programs and stockpiles--information the Iraqis were forced to acknowledge was accurate--the U.N. weapons inspections process had become an elaborate cat-and-mouse game. As President Clinton recalled in his speech three years later, Kamal had "revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more." The inspectors intensified their search. And they must have been having some success, for as they drew closer to uncovering what the Iraqis were hiding, Saddam grew less and less cooperative and began to block their access to certain facilities.

Finally, there was the famous confrontation over the so-called "presidential palaces"--actually vast complexes of buildings and warehouses that Saddam simply declared off-limits to inspectors. Clinton intelligence officials observed the Iraqis moving equipment that could be used to manufacture weapons out of the range of video cameras that had been installed by U.N. inspectors. By the end of 1997, the New York Times reported, the U.N. inspection team could "no longer verify that Iraq is not making weapons of mass destruction" and specifically could not monitor "equipment that could grow seed stocks of biological agents in a matter of hours."

President Clinton declared in early 1998 that Saddam was clearly attempting "to protect whatever remains of his capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction, the missiles to deliver them, and the feed stocks necessary to produce them." The U.N. inspectors believed, Clinton continued, that "Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions . . . and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons." Meanwhile, a February 13, 1998, U.S. government White Paper on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction stated that "in the absence of UNSCOM inspectors, Iraq could restart limited mustard agent production within a few weeks, full-production of sarin within a few months, and pre-Gulf War production levels--including VX--within two or three years."

It was President Clinton who, in February 1998, posed the critical question: "What if [Saddam] fails to comply and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route, which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction. . . . Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some way, I guarantee you he'll use this arsenal." "In the next century," Clinton predicted, "the community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now--a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists . . . who travel the world among us unnoticed."

Over the course of 1998, the U.N. inspections process collapsed. Attempts to break the stalemate with Saddam and allow the U.N. inspectors access to the prohibited sites came to naught. About a week after Berger gave his speech warning of the limitations of containment, the Clinton administration launched Operation Desert Fox, a four-day missile and bombing strike on Iraq aimed at destroying as much of Saddam's weapons capabilities as possible. Based on American intelligence, the Clinton administration targeted suspected weapons production facilities throughout Iraq. The Air Force and intelligence agencies believed the bombing had destroyed or degraded a number of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction facilities, but they never knew the extent of the damage, because, of course, there were no inspectors left to investigate.

Saddam expelled the U.N. inspectors in response to the attack, and they did not return until November 2002. As Clinton this past summer recalled, "We might have gotten it all; we might have gotten half of it; we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know." Clinton went on to say about President Bush's actions in the fall of 2002, "So I thought it was prudent for the president to go to the U.N. and for the U.N. to say you got to let these inspectors in, and this time if you don't cooperate the penalty could be regime change, not just continued sanctions."

The situation as it stood at the beginning of 1999 was troubling to all concerned, and not just to American officials. A report to the U.N. Security Council in January 1999 by Richard Butler, head of the U.N. weapons inspections team, warned that much was not known about the Iraqi program but that there was ample reason to believe a significant weapons of mass destruction program still existed in Iraq. Butler recounted a seven-year history of Iraqi deception and concealment of proscribed weapons and activities. During the first four years of inspections, Butler noted, the inspectors "had been very substantially misled by Iraq both in terms of its understanding of Iraq's proscribed weapons programs and the continuation of prohibited activities, even under the [U.N.'s] monitoring." Only the defection of Hussein Kamal had revealed that the inspectors had been wrong in their "positive conclusions on Iraq's compliance." But even after Kamal's defection, the Iraqis had continued to conceal programs and mislead the inspectors. The Iraqis were caught lying about whether they had ever put VX nerve agent in so-called "special warheads." Scientific examinations proved that they had.

The Iraqis were also caught lying about their biological weapons program. First they denied having one; then, when that falsehood was exposed, they denied weaponizing their biological weapons agents. Eventually they were forced to admit that they "had weaponized BW agents and deployed biological weapons for combat use." The U.N. inspectors reported that hundreds of shells filled with mustard agent had been declared "lost" by Iraq and remained unaccounted for. There were some 6,000 aerial bombs filled with chemical agent that were unaccounted for. There were also some "special warheads" with biological weapons agent unaccounted for. Butler's report concluded that, in addition, "it needs to be recognized that Iraq possesses an industrial capacity and knowledge base, through which biological warfare agents could be produced quickly and in volume, if the Government of Iraq decided to do so."

The inspectors left, and for the next four years, Saddam's activities were shrouded in darkness. After all, many prohibited Iraqi activities had escaped detection even while the inspectors were trying to monitor them. Without the inspectors, the task of keeping track of Saddam's programs was well-nigh impossible.

III

WHEN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION CAME TO OFFICE, therefore, it had no less reason to worry about Saddam's potential capabilities than the Clinton administration. And it had no more reason to believe that containment would be sustainable. In the early months of the administration, Bush officials began to contemplate some increased support for Iraqi opposition forces, pursuant to legislation passed overwhelmingly in 1998, which was supported by the Clinton administration. (The Iraq Liberation Act chronicled Saddam's use of chemical weapons and declared that Iraq "has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs." It continued: "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.") Meanwhile, Secretary of State Colin Powell was trying to prevent the collapse of the international sanctions regime and to staunch the hemorrhaging of consensus at the U.N. Security Council by instituting a more streamlined effort, the so-called "smart sanctions."

Then came the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. September 11 shocked the nation, and it shocked the president. Its effect was to make many both inside and outside the administration take a closer look at international threats, because it was clear that all of us had been too sanguine about such threats prior to September 11. Nor was it in the least surprising that the issue of Iraq arose immediately. True, neither candidate in the 2000 election had talked much about Iraq. But that was not because anyone believed it had ceased to be an urgent and growing problem. The Clinton administration didn't want to talk about it because it felt it had run out of options. The Bush campaign didn't talk about it because Bush was running a campaign, ironic in retrospect, which promised a less active, more restrained American role in the world. But that did not mean the Iraq issue had gone away, and after September 11, it returned to the fore. After all, we had a decade-long history of confrontation with Iraq, we were flying military missions in Iraqi air space, President Clinton had declared Saddam the greatest threat to our security in the 21st century, Clinton officials like Sandy Berger and Madeleine Albright had concluded that Saddam must eventually be removed, and U.N. weapons inspectors had written one alarming report after another about Saddam's current and potential weapons capabilities.

So the Bush administration concluded that it had to remove the Saddam Hussein regime once and for all, just as Clinton and Berger had suggested might someday be necessary. For all the reasons that Berger had outlined, Saddam's regime itself was the problem, above and beyond his weapons capabilities. It was an obstacle to progress in the Middle East and the Arab world. It was a threat to the Iraqi people and to Iraq's neighbors. But a big part of the threat involved Saddam's absolute determination to arm himself with both conventional and unconventional weapons.

September 11 had added new dimensions to the danger. For as Bush and many others argued, what if Saddam allowed his weapons capabilities to be shared with terrorists? What if, someday in the future, terrorists like those who crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons? Would they hesitate to use them? The possible nexus between terrorism and Iraq's weapons program made Iraq an even more urgent issue. Was this concern far-fetched? If so, it was exactly the same far-fetched concern that had preoccupied President Clinton in 1998, when he warned, in his speech on Iraq, about a "rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists," and when he had spoken of an "unholy axis" of international terrorists and outlaw states as one of the greatest threats Americans faced.

Nor was it surprising that as President Bush began to move toward war with Iraq in the fall and winter of 2002, he mustered substantial support among Democrats as well as Republicans. A majority of Democratic senators--including, of course, John Kerry and John Edwards--voted for the resolution authorizing the president to use force against Iraq. And why not? The Bush administration's approach to Iraq was fundamentally in keeping with that of the Clinton administration, except that after September 11, inaction seemed even less acceptable. The majority of the Democratic party foreign policy establishment supported the war, and not because they were misled by the Bush administration's rhetorical hype leading up to the war. (Its hype was appreciably less than that of Clinton secretary of defense William Cohen, who appeared on national television in late 1997 holding a bag of sugar and noting that the same amount of anthrax "would destroy at least half the population" of Washington, D.C. At a Pentagon press briefing on Iraq's WMD, Cohen also noted that if Saddam had "as much VX in storage as the U.N. suspects," he would "be able to kill every human being on the face of the planet.") Nor did they support the war because they were fundamentally misled by American intelligence about the nature and extent of Saddam's weapons programs. Most of what they and everyone else knew about those programs we had learned from the U.N. inspectors, not from U.S. intelligence.

IV

SOME OF THAT INTELLIGENCE has now turned out to be wrong. Some of it has turned out to be right. And it is simply too soon to tell about the rest. The press has focused attention almost entirely on David Kay's assertion that there were no stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons when the United States and its allies invaded Iraq last March. We'll address that assertion in a moment. But what about the rest of Kay's testimony?

The key question for more than a decade, for both the Clinton and the Bush administrations, was not only what weapons Saddam had but what weapons he was trying to obtain, and how long it might be before containment failed and he was able to obtain them. The goal of American policy, and indeed of the U.N. Security Council over the course of the dozen years after the end of the Gulf War in 1991, was not primarily to find Saddam's existing stockpiles. That was subsidiary to the larger goal, which was to achieve Iraq's disarmament, including the elimination not only of existing prohibited weapons but of all such weapons programs, to ensure that Iraq would not possess weapons of mass destruction now or in the future. As Richard Butler and other weapons inspectors have argued, this task proved all but impossible once it became clear that Saddam was determined to acquire such weapons at some point. As Butler repeated time and again in his reports to the Security Council, the whole inspections regime was premised on Saddam's cooperation. But Saddam never cooperated, not in the 1990s and not in 2003.

It is important to recall that the primary purpose of Security Council Resolution 1441, passed on November 8, 2002, was not to discover whether Saddam had weapons and programs. There was little doubt that Saddam had them. The real question was whether he was ready to make a clean breast of everything and give up not only his forbidden weapons but also his efforts to acquire them once and for all. The purpose was to give Saddam "one final chance" to change his stripes, to offer full cooperation by revealing and dismantling all his programs and to forswear all such efforts in the future.

After all, what would be accomplished if Saddam turned over stockpiles and dismantled programs, only to restart them the minute the international community turned its back? Saddam might be slowed, but he would not be stopped. This was the logic that had led the Clinton administration to conclude that someday, somehow, the only answer to the problem would be Saddam's removal from power. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration was even more convinced that Saddam's removal was the only answer. That the administration went along with the inspections process embodied in Resolution 1441 was a concession to international and domestic pressure. No senior official, including Secretary Powell, believed there was any but the smallest chance Saddam would comply with the terms of Resolution 1441.

Resolution 1441 demanded that, within 30 days, Iraq provide "a currently accurate, full, and complete declaration of all aspects of its programs to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and other delivery systems such as unmanned aerial vehicles and dispersal systems designed for use on aircraft, including any holdings and precise locations of such weapons, components, sub-components, stocks of agents, and related material and equipment, the locations and work of its research, development and production facilities, as well as all other chemical, biological, and nuclear programs, including any which it claims are for purposes not related to weapon production or material." Administration officials doubted Saddam would do this. They hoped only that, once Saddam's noncompliance became clear, they would win unanimous support for war at the U.N. Security Council.

And it was pretty clear at the time that Saddam was not complying. In his May 30, 2003, report to the Security Council, Hans Blix reported that the declared stocks of anthrax and VX remained unaccounted for. And he elaborated: "Little progress was made in the solution of outstanding issues. . . . The long list of proscribed items unaccounted for and as such resulting in unresolved disarmament issues was not shortened either by the inspections or by Iraqi declarations and documentation."

Now, of course, we know more definitively that Saddam did not comply with Resolution 1441. That is a part of Kay's testimony that has been widely ignored. What Kay discovered in the course of his eight-month-long investigation was that Iraq had failed to answer outstanding questions about its arsenal and programs. Indeed, it had continued to engage in an elaborate campaign of deception and concealment of weapons activities throughout the time when Hans Blix and the UNMOVIC inspectors were in the country, and right up until the day of the invasion, and beyond.

As Kay told the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, the Iraq Survey Group "discovered hundreds of cases, based on both documents, physical evidence and the testimony of Iraqis, of activities that were prohibited under the initial U.N. Resolution 687 and that should have been reported under 1441, with Iraqi testimony that not only did they not tell the U.N. about this, they were instructed not to do it and they hid material." Kay reported, "We have had a number of Iraqis who have come forward and said, 'We did not tell the U.N. about what we were hiding, nor would we have told the U.N.,'" because the risks were too great. And what were the Iraqis hiding? As Kay reports, "They maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their programs. So there was a lot they wanted to hide because it showed what they were doing was illegal." As Kay reported last October, his survey team uncovered "dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the U.N. during the inspections that began in late 2002." Specifically, Kay reported:

*A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment suitable for research in the production of chemical and biological weapons. This kind of equipment was explicitly mentioned in Hans Blix's requests for information, but was instead concealed from Blix throughout his investigations.

*A prison laboratory complex, which may have been used in human testing of biological weapons agents. Iraqi officials working to prepare for U.N. inspections in 2002 and 2003 were explicitly ordered not to acknowledge the existence of the prison complex.

*So-called "reference strains" of biological organisms, which can be used to produce biological weapons. The strains were found in a scientist's home.

*New research on agents applicable to biological weapons, including Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever, and continuing research on ricin and aflatoxin--all of which was, again, concealed from Hans Blix despite his specific request for any such information.

*Plans and advanced design work on new missiles with ranges up to at least 1,000 kilometers--well beyond the 150-kilometer limit imposed on Iraq by the U.N. Security Council. These missiles would have allowed Saddam to threaten targets from Ankara to Cairo.

Last month Kay also reported that Iraq "was in the early stages of renovating the [nuclear] program, building new buildings."

As Kay has testified repeatedly, Iraq was "in clear material violation of 1441." So if the world had known in February 2003 what Kay says we know now--that there were no large stockpiles of weapons, but that Iraq continued to pursue weapons of mass destruction programs and to deceive and conceal these efforts from the U.N. inspectors led by Blix during the time allocated by Resolution 1441--wouldn't there have been at least as much, and probably more, support for the war? For Saddam would have been in flagrant violation of yet another set of commitments to disarm. He would have demonstrated once again that he was unwilling to abandon these programs, that he was unwilling to avail himself of this "last chance" and disarm once and for all. Had the world discovered unambiguously in February 2003 that Saddam was cheating on its commitments in Resolution 1441, surely even the French would have found it difficult to block a U.N. resolution authorizing war. As Dominique de Villepin acknowledged in the contentious months before the war, "We all realize that success in the inspections presupposes that we get full and complete cooperation from Iraq." What if it were as clear then as it is now that Saddam was engaged in another round of deceit and concealment?

If Kay is right, Saddam had learned a lesson at some point in the 1990s, perhaps after the Kamal defection, perhaps before or after Operation Desert Fox in 1998. But it was not the lesson the United States or the rest of the world wanted him to learn. At some point, Saddam may have decided that instead of building up large stockpiles of weapons, the safer thing would be to advance his covert programs for producing weapons but wait until the pressure was off to produce the weapons themselves. By the time inspectors returned to Iraq in 2002, Saddam was ready to be a little more forthcoming, because he had rejiggered his program to withstand somewhat greater scrutiny. He had scaled back to a skeletal program, awaiting the moment when he could breathe life back into it. Nevertheless, even then he could not let the inspectors see everything. Undoubtedly he hoped that if he could get through that last round, he would be home free, eventually without sanctions or further inspections. We now know that in early 2003, Saddam assumed that the United States would once again launch a bombing campaign, but not a full scale invasion. So he figured he would survive, and, as Kay concluded, "They maintained programs and activities, and they certainly had the intentions at a point to resume their programs."

Was this a satisfactory outcome? If this much had been accomplished, if we had succeeded in getting Saddam to scale back his programs in the hope of eventually turning them on again, was that a reason not to go to war? Kay does not believe so. Nor do we. If the United States had pulled back last year, we would have placed ourselves in the trap that Berger had warned about five years earlier. We would have returned to the old pattern of "Iraqi defiance, followed by force mobilization on our part, followed by Iraqi capitulation," followed by a new round of Iraqi defiance--and the wearing down of both the international community and the United States.

There was an argument against going to war last year. But let's remember what that argument was. It had nothing to do with whether or not Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and WMD programs. Everyone from Howard Dean to the New York Times editorial board to Dominique de Villepin and Jacques Chirac assumed that he had both. Most of the arguments against the war concerned timing. The most frequent complaint was that Bush was rushing to war. Why not give Blix and his inspectors another three months or six months?

We now know, however, that giving Blix a few more months would not have made a difference. Last month Kay was asked what would have happened if Blix and his team had been allowed to continue their mission. Kay responded, "All I can say is that among an extensive body of Iraqi scientists who are talking to us, they have said: The U.N. interviewed us; we did not tell them the truth, we did not show them this equipment, we did not talk about these programs; we couldn't do it as long as Saddam was in power. I suspect regardless of how long they had stayed, that attitude would have been the same." Given the "terror regime of Saddam," Kay concluded, he and his team learned things after the war "that no U.N. inspector would have ever learned" while Saddam was still in power.

So it is very unlikely that, given another three months or six months, the Blix team would have come to any definitive conclusion one way or another. Nor, therefore, would there have been a much greater probability of winning a unanimous vote at the Security Council for war once those additional six months had passed. Whether the United States could have kept 200,000 troops on a permanent war footing in the Persian Gulf for another six months is even more doubtful.

V

DID THE ADMINISTRATION CLAIM the Iraqi threat was imminent, in the sense that Iraq possessed weapons that were about to be used against the United States? That is the big charge leveled by the Bush administration's critics these days. It is rather surprising, given the certainty with which this charge is thrown around, how little the critics have in the way of quotations from administration officials to back it up. Saying that action is urgent is not the same thing as saying the threat is imminent. In fact, the president said the threat was not imminent, and that we had to act (urgently) before the threat became imminent. This was well understood. As Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said on October 10, 2002, explaining his support for the legislation authorizing the president to go to war, "The threat posed by Saddam Hussein may not be imminent, but it is real, it is growing and it cannot be ignored."

One reason critics have been insisting that the administration claimed the threat from Iraq was imminent, we believe, is that it is fairly easy to prove that the danger to the United States was not imminent. But the central thesis of the antiwar argument as it was advanced before the war asserted that the threat from Iraq would not have been imminent even if Saddam had possessed every conceivable weapon in his arsenal. Remember, the vast majority of arguments against the war assumed that he did have these weapons. But those weapons, it was argued, did not pose an imminent threat to the nation because Saddam, like the Soviet Union, could be deterred. Indeed, the fact that he had the weapons, some argued, was all the more reason why the United States should not go to war. After all, it was argued, the likeliest scenario for Saddam's actually using the weapons he had was in the event of an American invasion. The current debate over "imminence" is an ex post facto attempt to relitigate the old argument over the war. The non-discovery of weapons stockpiles has not changed the contours of that debate.

VI

ON "MEET THE PRESS" ON FEBRUARY 8, Tim Russert asked the president whether the war in Iraq was "a war of choice or a war of necessity." The president paused before responding, asking Russert to elaborate, as if unwilling to accept the dichotomy. He was right.

After all, fighting a "war of choice" sounds problematic. But how many of our wars have been, strictly speaking, wars of necessity? How often did the country face immediate peril and destruction unless war was launched? Was World War I a war of necessity? Was World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor, or afterwards with respect to fighting Germany in Europe? Was the Spanish-American War a war of necessity? Was the Korean War? Never mind Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. And what about the first Gulf War? Many argued that Saddam could be (indeed, was) contained in Kuwait, and that he could eventually have been forced to retreat by economic sanctions.

In some sense all of these wars were wars of choice. But when viewed in the context of history and international circumstances, they were all based on judgments about the costs of inaction, the benefits of action, and on strategic calculations that action then would be far preferable to action later in less favorable circumstances. In other words, war was necessary to our national interest, if not absolutely necessary to the immediate protection of the homeland.

In this case, we believe that war would have come eventually because of the trajectory that Saddam was on--assuming the United States intended to continue to play its role as guarantor of peace and security in the Middle East. The question was whether it was safer to act sooner or later. The president argued, convincingly, that it was safer--it was necessary--to act sooner. Sanctions could not have been maintained; containment, already dubious, was far less persuasive after September 11; and so the war to remove Saddam was, in the broad strategic sense, in the sense relevant to serious international politics, necessary. This is of course a legitimate subject of debate--but it would be almost as much so even if large stockpiles of weapons had already been recovered.

VII

SO WHAT ABOUT THOSE STOCKPILES? The failure to find them, and now David Kay's claim that they did not exist at the time of the invasion last year (a claim reported by an astonishing number of journalists as meaning they never existed at all), has led many to maintain that the entire war was fought on false pretenses. We have addressed that claim. But we also want to address Kay's assertion.

We are prepared to believe that the large stockpiles of anthrax, ricin, VX, and other biological and chemical weapons that once existed were at some point destroyed by the Iraqis. But we do not understand why Kay is so confident he knows what happened to those stockpiles, or to other parts of Saddam's weapons programs that have not been found.

According to Kay's testimony before the Senate (and since he has provided no written report and no documentation to support his recent claims, this is all anyone has to go on), Kay and his team "went after this not in the way of trying to find where the weapons are hidden." When the Survey Group did not find the weapons in "the obvious places," presumably meaning the places that had been identified by intelligence and other sources, Kay explains, he tried other means of discovering the truth. His principal method appears to have been interviews with scientists who would have known what was produced and where it might be stored, as well as a search through a portion of the documents uncovered after the war. Kay acknowledges that stockpiles may, in fact, still be hidden somewhere. But he does not believe they are.

Under questioning from the senators, however, Kay admitted a few areas of uncertainty. The first concerns his interviews with Iraqi scientists. On some occasions Kay has claimed that, with Saddam out of power, it could be assumed that scientists once fearful of telling the truth would now be willing to speak. Therefore, their testimony that no weapons stockpiles exist could be trusted. But when asked whether people involved in Iraqi weapons programs might now fear prosecution for war crimes, Kay said, "Absolutely. And a number of those in custody are worried about that greatly," which is "one reason they're not talking." So it turns out there are scientists who are not talking. This produces, Kay suggests, "a level of unresolvable ambiguity" about Saddam's weapons programs. But is the ambiguity truly "unresolvable," or was it just unresolvable within the limited time of Kay's investigation? Is it possible that when all the scientists feel safe enough to talk, we may learn more?

The same question might be asked about the physical searches Kay did not conduct. When Kay delivered his interim report in October 2003, he noted that there were approximately 130 ammunition storage areas in Iraq, some of them spanning an area of about 50 square miles, and including some 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets, aviation bombs, and other ordnance. In the 1990s, U.N. inspectors learned that the Iraqi military stored chemical ordnance at the same ammunition depots where the conventional rounds were stored. As of October, only 10 of these ammunition depots had been searched by U.S. teams. Kay has not said how many were searched in the succeeding four months, but one suspects a great many still have not been examined. Surely this creates another level of ambiguity, which, in time, may be resolved.

Finally there is the question of Iraqi documents. We understand that thousands of pages of documents seized at the end of the war have still not been read. During the 1990s, U.N. inspectors frequently opened treasure troves of information simply with the discovery of a single document in a mountain of paper. Is it possible that some of the unread documents contain useful information? In addition, according to Kay's October report and his most recent testimony, Iraqi officials undertook a massive effort to destroy evidence, burning documents and destroying computer hard-drives. The result, Kay acknowledged, is that "we're really not going to be able to prove . . . some of the positive conclusions that we're going to come to." Yet another level of ambiguity.

The truth is, neither Kay nor anyone else knows what happened to the weapons stockpiles that we know Iraq once had--because the Iraqis admitted having them. Again, we are willing to be persuaded that Saddam had no weapons stockpiles last year when the war began. But it is too soon, we believe, to come firmly to that conclusion. Nor do we find particularly persuasive the argument that Saddam was only pretending to have weapons of mass destruction, or that he was delusional and being deceived by all around him. These hypotheses are possible. It is also possible we will find stockpiles of weapons, or evidence of their destruction or removal just before the war.

Kay, oddly, has himself suggested in one press interview that the stockpiles or some portion of them may have been transferred to Syria before the war. If that were true, then it would not be the case, pace Kay, that "we were all wrong." This past week, moreover, another U.S. government report concerning Iraq's weapons surfaced in the press. Although widely misreported as confirming Kay's claim regarding the stockpiles, in fact the report casts doubt on it. In December 2002, according to USA Today, a team of U.S. intelligence analysts predicted it would be extremely difficult to find weapons of mass destruction in the aftermath of an invasion. The study had "considered but rejected the possibility that Iraq had no banned weapons." But it predicted that "locating a program that . . . has been driven by denial and deception imperatives is no small task." Efforts to find the arms after the war would be like "trying to find multiple needles in a haystack . . . against the background of not knowing how many needles may have been hidden."

It remains possible that new evidence will be found. We understand why some now want to declare the search over. But we can hardly see how it benefits the people of the United States or the world to declare it over prematurely.

VIII

WHATEVER THE RESULTS OF THAT SEARCH, it will continue to be the case that the war was worth fighting, and that it was necessary. For the people of Iraq, the war put an end to three decades of terror and suffering. The mass graves uncovered since the end of the war are alone sufficient justification for it. Assuming the United States remains committed to helping establish a democratic government in Iraq, that will be a blessing both to the Iraqi people and to their neighbors. As for those neighbors, the threat of Saddam's aggression, which hung over the region for more than two decades, has finally been eliminated. The prospects for war in the region have been substantially diminished by our action.

It is also becoming clear that the battle of Iraq has been an important victory in the broader war in which we are engaged, a war against terror, against weapons proliferation, and for a new Middle East. Already, other terror-implicated regimes in the region that were developing weapons of mass destruction are feeling pressure, and some are beginning to move in the right direction. Libya has given up its weapons of mass destruction program. Iran has at least gestured toward opening its nuclear program to inspection. The clandestine international network organized by Pakistan's A.Q. Khan that has been so central to nuclear proliferation to rogue states has been exposed. From Iran to Saudi Arabia, liberal forces seem to have been encouraged. We are paying a real price in blood and treasure in Iraq. But we believe that it is already clear--as clear as such things get in the real world--that the price of the liberation of Iraq has been worth it.

Robert Kagan is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard. William Kristol is editor of The Weekly Standard.

02/23/2004, Volume 009, Issue 23

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/735tahyk.asp
13 posted on 02/15/2004 8:43:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Students Criticize Khatami Over Election

February 15, 2004
Reuters
Paul Hughes

TEHRAN -- Iran's main pro-reform student group strongly criticized President Mohammad Khatami Sunday for agreeing to hold a parliamentary election which leading reformists say has been rigged by hard-liners.

The students urged voters to shun Friday's vote, for which more than 2,500 candidates have been barred by an unelected hard-line watchdog, and said turnout would be a "symbolic referendum" on the Islamic state's clerical establishment.

The statement from the Office to Consolidate Unity (OCU) student organization was a further blow to Khatami, whose 1997 and 2001 election wins were backed by millions of young Iranians excited by his reformist message.

But the mid-ranking cleric's inability to break resistance from religious hard-liners to his calls for greater social and personal freedoms has seen his popularity plunge, particularly among the two Iranians in three who are aged under 30.

"By accepting to hold the elections...Khatami has proved that he prioritizes the demands of senior officials and religious decrees at the price of sacrificing justice, freedom and people's rights," the OCU said in its statement.

Several prominent reformist parties are boycotting the vote. The Interior Ministry said Sunday that 607 out of some 5,600 candidates approved to run have withdrawn from the race.

Conservatives say those banned were unfit for office and accuse them of trying to turn Iran, which is marking the 25th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, into a secular state.

Yet the row over the candidate bans has provoked little interest among Iranians already numbed by seven years of power struggle between Khatami's reformists and hard-liners.

Turnout among the 46 million eligible voters is expected to be well below the 67 percent who voted overwhelmingly for Khatami's reformist allies in 2000 parliamentary elections.

"The number of votes cast will be a symbolic referendum measuring the legitimacy of the establishment in the eyes of Iranian citizens," the OCU said.

Outspoken reformists, including some 80 sitting deputies barred from seeking re-election, say they will take no part in the vote. But moderates closer to Khatami vowed to fight on.

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=4361208
14 posted on 02/15/2004 8:48:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Al-Qaeda has 'Board of Managers' in Iran"

February 15, 2004
AFP
IranMania

Barcelona, Spain -- Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network has been restructured and has a "board of managers" in Iran, Spanish terror judge Baltasar Garzon told El Periodico daily Sunday.

"This council has, on some issues, maintained positions critical of Osama bin Laden," said Garzon, who last September issued an international warrant for Bin Laden's arrest in the framework of an inquiry into a Spanish Al-Qaeda cell.

"Currently there is coordination, a series of objectives clearly established (by Al-Qaeda), but there is no need for an order for an act to be executed ... It's diffused terrorism," said Garzon, who spends a third of his time as a judge on "terrorism linked to Islamic fundamentalism."

Garzon hit the headlines in Spain this week as the presiding judge in the case against a Spanish Al-Qaeda suspect extradited from the US prison at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba.

Hamed Abderrahman Ahmed stands accused of being a member of a Spanish Al-Qaeda cell dismantled in November 2001.

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=22609&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
15 posted on 02/15/2004 8:50:32 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; ...
"Al-Qaeda has 'Board of Managers' in Iran"

February 15, 2004
AFP
IranMania

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1078459/posts?page=15#15
16 posted on 02/15/2004 8:51:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Hardline Iranian group offers reward for Rushdie killing

Agence France-Presse
Tehran, February 15

An Iranian extremist Islamic group calling itself the General Staff for the Glorification of Martyrs of the Islamic World has offered a $1,00,000 reward for the killing of British novelist Salman Rushdie, a press report said on Sunday.

According to the hardline Jomhuri Eslami newspaper, the tiny and little-known group called on "all volunteer Muslims to sign up on its Internet site... To kill Salman Rushdie."

"The reward will be paid to anyone who kills Salman Rushdie or his family," the paper said, quoting a member of the group who also pledged the organisation's facilities to help with the operation.

The new reward marked the anniversary of the fatwa, or religious edict, issued by Iran's revolutionary founder, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, on February 14, 1989 calling for Rushdie's execution.

Under reformist President Mohammad Khatami, who was elected in 1997, Iran's leadership has distanced itself from the order, but on Saturday, the 15th of Khordad Foundation — ostensibly an Iranian charitable trust that had offered a $3 million bounty — issued a statement saying the fatwa was still valid.
---

http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_573472,00050004.htm
17 posted on 02/15/2004 9:45:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Accused Over al-Qaida Links

February 15, 2004
Aljazeera
Agencies

Al-Qaida has been restructured and has a "board of managers" in Iran, a prominent Spanish judge told a newspaper on Sunday. Baltasar Garzon, who investigates "terrorism linked to Islamic fundamenatlism", told El Periodico that although Iran's al-Qaida cell does not necessarily issue orders, its does coordinate operations.

He said: "Currently there is coordination, a series of objectives clearly established (by al-Qaida), but there is no need for an order for an act to be executed... It's diffused terrorism."

Garzon issued an international arrest warrant last September for Usama bin Ladin in the framework of an inquiry into a Spanish al-Qaida cell.

He also hit the headlines in Spain this week as the presiding judge in the case against a Spanish al-Qaida suspect extradited from the US prison at the Guantanamo naval base in Cuba.

Iranian denials

Although Iran has admitted it is detaining al-Qaida suspects, it denies allowing the network to operate from its territory.

Tehran said last December that it had arrested 130 suspected members of al-Qaida and was ready to extradite some of them.

President Muhammad Khatami said that "those who have committed crimes in Iran will be judged in Iran and the others will be extradited to their country of origin...

"There is no place for al-Qaida, no place for any terrorist, for those who act against peace in the world."

Khatami added al-Qaida was "very hostile" to the Iranian government.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/18E0E4B1-57B6-4A70-B92F-3B06AC2CC416.htm
18 posted on 02/15/2004 9:47:47 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; ...
This just in from inside of Iran...

"I am hearing of bloody battles in west of Iran in city of Marivan... Also Army joined and backed the people.

It is a kurdish area and people torn apart Elections' Headquarters."
19 posted on 02/15/2004 10:43:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Movement's representative talks to VOA on France's policy

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 15, 2004

SMCCDI's France representative, Kaveh Mohseni, interview with "Voice of America" (VOA) was broadcasted, yesterday evening, for Iran and was focused on the well welcomed Movement's Op-Ed published unprecedently by the influential famous daily "Le Figaro", on Feb. 11th, at the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Islamic revolution.

In this analytic article, Mohseni, criticized elements within the EU members administrations, especially in France, for supporting the Islamic regime at a time that Iranians have raised to gain secularity and democracy. Qualifying the French version of "Forbidden Iran", of Jane Kokan aired by the French governmental TV "Antenne 2", as "Iranians respond to those who were promoting the false idea of reforms within the existing regime", the Movement's representative suggested to EU leaders to change their policy and to start supporting openly the Iranian freedomlovers and secularists if they wish to have future opportunities in Iran.

Mohseni described, as well in his interview, with VOA Persian service's M.R. Shahid, about the increasing interest of French media to the cause following the final collapse of sham reformists in Iran.

The copy of the article published in "Le Figaro" can be seen at: http://www.daneshjoo.org/article/publish/article_3127.shtml

The recorded VOA interview can be listened at: http://www.voanews.com/mediastore/shahid13feb04.ra

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_4925.shtml
20 posted on 02/15/2004 11:17:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
I just received this from our friends at Activistchat.com...


It has been reported that the people were protesting the photos by stompong on the campaign literature the Mulahs were handing out.


















21 posted on 02/15/2004 12:05:35 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Fantastic photos, Doc!
22 posted on 02/15/2004 12:50:30 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Your friend is your needs answered. --- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn
Picture's worth a thousand words.......
23 posted on 02/15/2004 1:35:57 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Women to Shun Parliamentary Election

February 15, 2004
Agence France-Presse
Rita Daou

Iranian women appear determined to stay away from the country's parliamentary elections this Friday, amid frustration with the failure of the reform movement they played a key role in launching.

Many Iranian woman interviewed here feel helpless to reverse what they consider a disastrous social and economic situation in the Islamic republic, and fret that things can only get worse.

Others say that conditions may have to deteriorate until there is an explosive backlash before progress can be made in the country.

One 22-year-old student, who refused to be named, said she would not vote in the February 20 legislative polls because the reformists were not adequately represented after the massive blacklisting of their candidates by conservatives.

"Although the reformists did not change anything during their time in the government and parliament, it was because they couldn't do anything," she said.

The young woman, who spoke in front of Tehran University, was sporting a red coat and white headscarf, colors forbidden to women before the reformists took over the government.

Although considering herself apolitical, she still reserved the right to express herself. "I hope that things will get worse and worse until they explode."

Olduz, a 25-year-old student, was also downbeat. "I prefer not to think about the future of my country," she said. "I have no hope."

A conservative rout of the reformists in Friday's vote could only worsen the current situation, said the budding artist, made up and wearing a long blouse and tight-fitting pink jacket.

Asked if a boycott of the vote was the solution, Olduz said, "Maybe not. But the (conservative) officials will know that the young are not with them."

She said she had once gone to the ballot box to vote for reformist President Muhammad Khatami but he ended up disappointing her. "There is no real hero around," she shrugged.

Most young Iranians think of only one thing, getting out and finding decent jobs abroad, she said.

Women represent slightly more than half of Iran's 66 million people and turned out massively in the past to support reformist candidates since Khatami's first election in 1997.

The president, a mild mannered and good looking cleric, drew women's attention with his love of culture and promise of "Islamic democracy." He even appointed Islamic Iran's first female vice president.

But the outlook for women has become progressively bleaker.

An 18-year-old psychology student, who wore the classic chador black robe and spoke on condition of anonymity, also said she does not plan to vote Friday.

"The situation is not going to change in Iran whether it is the conservatives or reformists who win," she said.

She put little stock in the fact that the conservatives were also fielding women candidates in the election.

"Sixty to 70 percent of the members of parliament were reformists and they could not do anything. Each time they got to the point of changing something, the Guardians Council imposed a veto," she said, referring to the hardline political watchdog also behind the mass barring of candidates.

"So what can one or two candidates do, whether they be men or women?"

Several older women refused to speak about the political situation. But Roya, 46, a retired schoolteacher, also planned to sit out the vote.

"I am not satisfied either with the candidates, nor the current members of parliament nor the government nor the regime," she said.

The main problems facing the country were economic, social and administrative, she said, adding that she was eligible for her pension but was told that the administration had no money left for it.

"Things can't be worse," Roya said.

One wife was making a statement not only for herself, but for her husband, the 30-year-man said. She has no plans to vote Friday and has hidden his voting card so he can't turn out either.

http://www.afp.com/english/home/
24 posted on 02/15/2004 2:10:01 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
•In a statement issued in Tehran, the pro-reform society of the Islamic university professors denounced the February 20 elections as “unlawful,” because, it said, by eliminating competitions, a majority of the contests have already been decided. Ignoring the people's demands in the past few years has brought the democratic aspect of the Islamic regime under question, Georgetown University sociology professor and political activist Mehrdad Mashayekhi tells Radio Farda. Today, he adds, one faction says it would be happy if only less that 15 percent of voters turn out to vote. The regime, following what it considers the Chinese pattern, has moved to purge itself from any dissent, hoping to prop itself through better relations with the west. However, the positions of the US and EU on dialogue with Iran have been getting closer in the past two years; and the EU has announced that improvement in human rights is a condition of improving economic ties with Iran, he says. (Shireen Famili)

•One cannot be too proud of the elections in which the people's trust in the government has been destroyed, reformist daily Aftab-e Yazd writes. Though the conservatives believe that they will win in the elections, but not a single reformist believes there is any benefit to behind-the-scenes negotiations between the two factions, reformist daily Yaas-e Now writes. President Khatami is being hammered by radical reformists, because he did not go along with their demands, conservative daily Resalat writes. The upcoming Majles will be neither reformist nor conservative. It will be dominated by independent MPs, conservative Mashhad daily Qods writes. (Amir Armin)

•Thirty candidates started campaigning for Kerman's three Majles seats, editor of banned local daily Hadith Mohammad-Sadeq Taheri tells Radio Farda. Twenty-six of the candidates have declared themselves independent, while two are from the reformist faction and two from the conservative faction, he adds. The presence of reformists in the mix has created an atmosphere of real competition, he says, adding that no elections will be held in the earthquake-stricken Bam, according to the provincial governor. (Masoud Malek)

•With the reinstatement of reformist candidate Dr. Mohammad Farokhi, competition between the two factions has heated up in the central town of Jiroft, local journalist Shahram Parsa-Motlaq tells Radio Farda. However, political alliances in this town are influenced by ethnic and tribal links, he adds. (Farin Asemi)

•In the absence of major political figures, who have been banned from running in the elections by the Guardians Council, in Shiraz there is hardly any interest in the elections, local journalist Farid Yasamin tells Radio Farda. The candidates' slogans do not go beyond such clichés as bread, justice and housing, which do not reflect the real demands of the voters, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)

•The reformist candidates who have been approved by the Guardians Council to run in the elections, such as moderate reformist MPs Elias Hazrati, Jamileh Kadivar and Majid Ansari, say that by dropping out of the elections the reformists should not leave the Majles to the conservatives. Their position reveals a growing rift in the ranks of reformists, as MPs Ali-Akbar Mohtashami, Fatemeh Rakei and Shams Vahabi, along with hundreds of reformist and independent candidates who pulled out of the competition, no longer see any benefit in political participation. Reformist MP Fatemeh Rakei, who has been banned from reelection by the Guardians Council, and is among the 120 MPs who resigned, said the MPs plan to prevent the Majles from reaching a quorum in its final months. (Siavash Ardalan)

•There is no mention of the banned MPs and disqualified candidates in the Tehran press. The conservative newspapers played up the Supreme Leader's speech in their headlines, in which the voters were urged to turnout for the elections, but reformist daily Yaas-e Now's headline says the Participation Front has no candidate in these elections. (Arash Qavidel, Tehran)

•Of 290 Majles seats, at least 190 will go to the conservatives, who are running unchallenged, Berlin daily die tageszeitung writes. The real power in Iran resides not with the Supreme Leader, but with the conservative clerics who, in addition to receiving all kinds of government subsidies and tax exemptions, control major economic levers, including widespread smuggling of goods and drugs, it writes. (Parviz Farhang, Cologne)

http://www.radiofarda.com/transcripts/topstory/2004/02/20040214_1430_0131_0403_EN.asp
25 posted on 02/15/2004 3:25:16 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; Cyrus the Great; Persia; F14 Pilot; faludeh_shirazi
Very interesting...



Conservatives Switch Positions on US Relations, Press Law, Women's Dress

•Campaigning to increase voter turnout in the February 20 elections, members of the leading right wing coalition Abadgaran retracted former hard-line positions on Islamic dress code for women, relations with the US, ban on satellite TV viewing and the press law. We shall reform the press law, if necessary, and rules on women's dress code, viewing foreign satellite TV broadcasts and relations with the US are all subject to change, due to the conditions of the time, Tehran conservative MP Gholamali Haddad-Adel, a relative of the Supreme Leader and head of the Majles conservative block, said today in a campaign speech. The sources of investments are not important for us, since any investment can be in the national interest, conservative politician Ahmad Tavakoli, former labor minister and a former presidential candidate, who is a major figure in the newly formed right-wing coalition Abadgaran, said, reversing the Guardians Council's position on foreign investment as a tool of foreign domination. (Amir Armin)

http://www.radiofarda.com/transcripts/topstory/2004/02/20040214_1430_0131_0403_EN.asp
26 posted on 02/15/2004 3:26:46 PM PST by freedom44
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To: freedom44
LOL!

Campaign promises !
27 posted on 02/15/2004 3:29:50 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: freedom44
"•In the absence of major political figures,... in Shiraz there is hardly any interest in the elections, local journalist Farid Yasamin tells Radio Farda. The candidates' slogans do not go beyond such clichés as bread, justice and housing, which do not reflect the real demands of the voters, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)"
28 posted on 02/15/2004 3:33:06 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44; F14 Pilot; nuconvert

Clinton & Clinton blew a dozen opportunities to kill or capture bin Laden.

John Fedayeen Kerry defended Clinton's draft-dodging and philandering, and now apologizes to Iran for U.S. actions the past three years.

Kerry has received the coveted bin Laden endorsement to add to his endorsements by Khameini and General Vo Nguyen Giap.

29 posted on 02/15/2004 4:45:57 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. administration should be arming the insurgents and preparing to recognize a provisional government.

John Fedayeen Kerry would accomplish Bay of Pigs Redux.

30 posted on 02/15/2004 4:51:55 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Lovers Sidestep Valentine's Crackdowns

February 14, 2004
Reuters
MSNBC News

TEHRAN - The word “Valentine” may be banned in Iran, but florists and chocolate shops are packed with romantic gifts and young Iranians have found ways to sidestep police crackdowns on the Western lovers’ day.

A quarter-century after the Islamic revolution, gift shops were brimming over on Saturday with candles, heart-shaped cards and cushions with “Love” written on them.

But writing “Valentine” on anything remains taboo.

“I want to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day. I do not care if it is a banned Western cultural habit. I want to show my affection for my boyfriend,” said Elmira, 23, carrying a teddy bear with a red heart stitched on it.

The Islamic Republic prohibits public displays of affection but has relaxed a touch since reformist President Mohammad Khatami won a landslide election victory in 1997. Some couples in Tehran now furtively hold hands and embrace in parks.

Moral police fail to deter shopkeepers

Even so, moral police cracked down on Valentine’s Day presents last year, closing or fining some gift shops and confiscating their decadent Western merchandise.

Shopkeepers are undeterred. “We have been ordered by police not to display any gift with the word 'Valentine’ on it, but heart-shaped ornaments are not problematic,” said one shopkeeper, wrapping amorous gifts in shiny paper.

Some reformist newspapers published pictures on Saturday of swans kissing and ran features on the significance of Valentine’s Day around the world.'We have been ordered by police not to display any gift with the word ’Valentine’ on it, but heart-shaped ornaments are not problematic.'

Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi, in an article called “A bouquet of flowers for intimacy,” praised the notion of a day dedicated to friendship and love.

“Our Islam is a pioneer among other religions in encouraging people to express their love and affection,” Abtahi wrote on his Web site (www.webnevesht.com).

Restaurant owners say they are fully booked for candlelit dinners and flower shops are packed with young people buying red roses — 70 percent of Iran’s 66 million people are under 30.

But Amir, in his late 20s, went against the trend, saying he refused to surrender to what he called glitzy, tawdry U.S.-style profiteering. “Why should I commercialize my love?” he asked.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4269105/
31 posted on 02/15/2004 5:47:19 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; PhilDragoo; F14 Pilot; faludeh_shirazi; Cyrus the Great

Bow to your master.
32 posted on 02/15/2004 6:26:46 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn; PhilDragoo; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; F14 Pilot

33 posted on 02/15/2004 6:34:53 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
I hope this is a trend for the army.

I feel like we're getting ready to start the beginning of the end this week.
34 posted on 02/15/2004 8:29:27 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: nuconvert; DoctorZIn; Pan_Yans Wife; McGavin999; MEG33; RaceBannon; yonif; Valin; Eala; Cindy; ...
Iran flags next step: trade in nuke fuel

February 16, 2004
The Australian

IRAN signalled yesterday that it might resume its controversial effort to produce nuclear fuel.

"As a country that is capable of producing nuclear fuel, Iran is ready to sell it on the international market," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

"The Iranian people are not ready to compromise on their national interests. No government can relinquish an issue that has gained it national pride, but we are ready to co-operate internationally."

Iran, which denies US allegations that it is using an atomic energy program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons, pledged last year to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it would temporarily cease enriching uranium.

That promise, which officials in Tehran have warned could expire at a moment of their own choosing, was part of a confidence-building package negotiated with Britain, France and Germany.

Iran also agreed to allow IAEA inspectors to conduct tougher investigations of its nuclear program after admitting to a string of violations of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Although the treaty permits the enriching of uranium for peaceful purposes, Iran has been under pressure to halt its work on such technology, given concerns expressed by the US and others over its ambitions.

They see a longer-term risk that, once having mastered the full fuel cycle, Iran could be just months away from producing weapons-grade material.

However, the state of Iran's effort to produce its own nuclear fuel, let alone export it, had been considered limited, given the country's effort to acquire such fuel from Russia. Iran announced only early last year that it was beginning to mine uranium.

Mr Kharazi's comments, which also included a new denial that Tehran was seeking nuclear weapons, come amid a fresh storm surrounding his country's nuclear program.

Diplomats at the Vienna-based IAEA said last week that nuclear weapons inspectors in Iran had found blueprints for an advanced centrifuge - used to enrich uranium both for nuclear reactors and for atomic bombs - that Tehran had failed to declare.

In Berlin on Thursday, US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said: "The response is clear. There's no doubt that Iran continues a nuclear program."

But the diplomats in Vienna said the discovery was not a "smoking gun" that the UN watchdog could use to take Iran before the Security Council, where it could face sanctions.

Mr Kharazi's assertions also come at a time when Iran is having problems acquiring nuclear fuel from Russia, which is withholding supplies for a nuclear plant it is helping build in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr.

The IAEA's board of governors is to meet on March 8 to review the situation in Iran.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,8693231%255E2703,00.html
35 posted on 02/15/2004 9:40:48 PM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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

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

36 posted on 02/16/2004 12:01:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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