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Iranian Alert -- February 16, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.16.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/16/2004 12:00:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

1 posted on 02/16/2004 12:00:26 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 02/16/2004 12:02:34 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
A Mystery Uneavelled

February 13, 2004
Benador Associates
Fereydoun Hoveyda

Twenty-five years of uninterrupted Iranian autocratic theocracy confront us with a basic question: How a group of incompetent and often corrupt lower ranking clerics were able to survive the demise of their charismatic "Imam" and keep the Iranian people under their thumbs for such a long period of time?

Indeed , the IRI accumulated miseries upon miseries all over these years: Eight years of bloody war; more than 40.000 political executions in its two first years; political and economic mismanagement; quasi-isolation of the country ; millions unemployed; population doubled; annual double-digit inflation; numerous citizens forced to have more than one job in order to make ends meet; women discriminated against; extensive corruption at every level of society; gross violations of human rights; assassination of opponents both within and without; students unrest and revolt; soaring crime; wide drug use; helping terrorist organizations; and so on.

For years specialists have predicted the IRI's imminent end. Yet it is still alive (if not totally well ) and functioning . It is true that Islamic law is not anymore enforced with Khomeini's strictness . But it still is the law of the country and the thugs employed by the regime go from time to time on rampage in order to enforce it . Many travelers tell that revolt is brewing and the regime is poised on the threshold of collapse.

Then what is it that keeps it in place? Resignation of the poverty-stricken people? Formidable secret police? Special security groups such as Pasdaran (guardians of the revolution) or Bassiji ( armed volunteers)? Will of Allah? Ability of the mullahs to pit lesser satans against the great one? Etc. Etc.

To be sure, some of these elements have played in favor of the mullahs. But they cannot account for the long survival of their failed regime.

Who is the culprit in this mystery?

I think I have found the real "saviors" of the IRI.

They are a quartet of European nations, namely: England, France, Germany and Russia. The governments of these countries have invented a new diplomatic fiction dubbed "constructive dialogue" in order to isolate not the IRI but the U.S. and to conduct profitable business with the mullahs.

They have encouraged fanciful analyzes of the political situation according to which the "smiling" president Khatami is a "reformer" opposed to the "stern" conservative Khamenei. Their most recent "redeeming" intervention happened on october 21 , 2003, when the British, German and French foreign ministers flew to Tehran and convinced Khamenei to allow IAEA to inspect Iranian nuclear sites.

On February 11, 2004, the Iranian regime handed out hundreds of placards of its leaders and friends to the hired demonstrators in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Khomeini's ascent to power. I was amazed not to find among them the portraits of Blair, Chirac, Schroeder and Putin.

O, ungrateful mullahs!

Author Fereydoun Hoveyda was Iran's ambassador to the United Nations from 1971 to 1978.
3 posted on 02/16/2004 12:03:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tens die in smash of rebellion in Marivan

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 15, 2004

Tens have died and injured in the deadly smashing of a riot which embrazed, today, the western City of Marivan.

Confirmed reports are stating about the degree of extreme violence and the use of deadly force, by the Islamic regime's heliported forces sent to back the ground forces engaged in the repression of the local demonstrators who had started a peaceful action in order to protest against the persistent repression in Iran. These forces were sent as the repressive ground forces witnessed the demonstrators' armed support by activists of the "Komela" and even some members of the local Bassij and Military having rallied astonishingly to the people.

Tens have been reported as killed and injured among the demonstrators and the regime forces and several public buildings have been damaged.

The situation is very tense in the city and the region, especially in the cities of Baneh and Saghez. Many Iranian Kurds are planning to start again the armed struggle against the regime.

Loads of ammunitions have been transferred to the region following the deadly bombings of last week in N. Iraq and which resulted in the deaths of tens of Iraqi Kurds.

The Komala which was an independentist group, few years ago, has claimed its attachment to Iran and intends to help all Iranians to free themselves of the tyrannical rule of the Islamic republic.

A renew of Guerilla war in the region will increase the armed actions across Iran as especially more young Iranians are starting to believe that this will be the only way to oust the mullahs from power.
4 posted on 02/16/2004 12:05:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Movement's Coordinator lauds President Bush in VOA interview

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 16, 2004

The SMCCDI Coordinator, Aryo Pirouznia, lauded President Bush during an interview re-broadcasted, this morning (Iran time), by "Voice of America" for Iran. This interview which was made in reference to the Movement's Public letter, to the US Executive Chief and at the occasion of the US "Presidents day", was originally broadcasted, by VOA, on Sunday evening.

In this interview made with the VOA Persian service's anchor, Behrooz Abassi, Pirouznia explained that the original copy of the letter was delivered to the White House, on Friday by FedEx, and that the copy of the letter was also posted on the Movement's website and mass e.mailed. He explained that "we judged the time has come, once again, to express our gratitude to Mr. Bush, at the occasion of the Presidents day, as he has shown at several occasions his public support of the Iranian nation and the Student Movement."

"We intended as well to let the Movement's dismay being expressed as their are few among US legislators that are pushing to establish relations with a falling regime. We reminded, in this letter to the President, that such actions are undermining his policy which is so welcomed by the majority of Iranians" He emphasized.

On the question of Mr. Abassi about the Movement's position on the Feb. 20th elections, Pirouznia added: "We haven't issued any specific statement for calling on People to boycott these sham elections as this is to give too much price to something that is doomed to fail anyhow. Of course in the last months we have requested the boycott in several of our statements issued for other purposes in reference to the Islamic regime. I remind you that from the day 1 of the so-called reforms and all along these years, the Movement's position , expressed so many times in its statements, calls and interviews , has been that SMCCDI do believe that no real reforms can ever be made within the frame of ideological regimes and that we qualified the sham reforms as a masquerade intending to buy time for the regime. That's why we have called, since July 1999, for the Civil Disobedience against this regime in our essay which became later famous under the name of the Third Force and which predicted ourdays and better days to come".

The integral version of this interview can be listened in Real Audio (from the minute 36 till 44 of the VOA program) at:

The Public letter to Mr. Bush can be read at:
5 posted on 02/16/2004 12:06:15 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran’s Elections
Change What to Whom?

By Alan Peters

Ten hours on Friday, February 20th, 2004, will define Iran’s new parliament members and throw Western governments into a dilemma beyond what they have faced till now with an anti-West clerical regime.

Some 5,000 survivors - from a starting field of around 8,000 candidates– will vie in 207 constituencies in Iran’s Islamic Republic for the 290 Majliss (parliament) seats voted on by 46.3 million people over the age of 15-years from the 65 million strong population.

Some constituencies elect more than one Member of Parliament. Tehran, the capital, returns 30 and approved minority religions have five representatives: Jews and Zoroastrians with one each and three for Christian denominations.

If a candidate fails to win more than 25% of votes cast in the first round, voting will have to go to a second round after a month.

Sounds democratic till you realize that about 2,300 mostly Reformist candidates have been banned from taking part by the 12-man Guardian Council of hard line clerics – the unelected and autocratic, de facto rulers of Iran - under Ayatollah Khamnei, whose veto power over everything, even legislation passed by the “democratically” elected Majliss allows him to do as he pleases.

Those banned from running for re-election, as being incompatible with required religious precepts, number 80 sitting members of parliament, among them President Khatami’s brother, leader of the largest Reformist party and Deputy Speaker of the Majliss.

At last, the gloves have come all the way off in the struggle between hardliners and reformists. Already in February of 2003, the hardliners used their approval rights to validate favorable candidates and an apathetic voter turn out to win control of most municipalities in Iran. They now reach out for the final, total power of a rubber stamp Majliss to approve all they wish in a “democratic” fashion. And here comes the rub for the Western world.

The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution expressing regret at the "severe setback in efforts towards the establishment of democratic structures in Iran". It said "the lack of respect for democratic procedures may lead to a parliament unable to legitimize itself" and warned Iran could see its position in the international community weakened.

Without the fragile and basically fictitious excuse of dealing with a country claiming a democratically elected government, Europe and the USA will have to revise attitudes, policies and procedures toward Iran, though some say that dealing with rulers, who have the power and authority to implement matters to which they have agreed, looks attractive to some pragmatists in the various governments.

On the other hand, the likelihood of another Shia Islamic Republic in Iraq under the auspices of Ayatollah Sistani, which then forms an alliance with the Iranian Shia clerics in an anti-American and soon thereafter anti-Western partnership, may be enough to scare even the hardiest of those thinkers.

President Khatami’s inability to conclude any meaningful reforms has opened him to criticism that the only effect his reform efforts have had, has been to legitimize Supreme Ruler Khamnei, who has been able to hide behind the existence of an elected parliament to continue to rule by decree – albeit couched under the seal of the constitutional authority of the clerical Guardian Council.

And on Friday the 20th, Khatami has again fallen into the same trap. While Reformist members of parliament have tendered their resignations in advance of the impending fiasco, while several hundred more have withdrawn from the elections in protest, he has formed a movement of “reformist” clerics to take on the fight. And by fielding a “team” of any sort, prolongs the farce into which Iran has sunk, by creating the appearance of a democratically contested election.

With no emergent leader to whom to turn or follow – either charismatically or philosophically – the Iranian voter’s apathy extends to no longer being as willing to hit the streets in protest. Spiraling, sky rocketing prices of everything from food to shelter, increasingly demands a man hold down two or three jobs to pay for his family’s daily bread, so politics, nowadays, drops far down the list of priorities. And theocratic despotism becomes an ever greater threat to the Western and secular world.
6 posted on 02/16/2004 12:08:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
I hope Iran will be free soon.
7 posted on 02/16/2004 12:19:56 AM PST by Betwixte
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To: DoctorZIn
American firms 'seeking new Iran oil contracts'

16 February 2004
Gulf Daily News, Bahrain

Several American oil firms have voiced their interest in bidding for new oil contracts in Iran despite US sanctions designed to block foreign investment in the Islamic republic's petroleum sector, a top Iranian official was quoted as saying yesterday.

According to Mohammad Mohaddes, the head of the exploration division of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the unnamed US firms expressed interest in tenders for 16 recently discovered oil blocks during a commercial forum last month in the Netherlands.

"At the forum, the frameworks of the contracts as well as technical and financial issues and execution of seismological surveys and drilling by the contractors were outlined," he was quoted as saying by the state news agency Irna.

"There is no problem on the side of Iran for the presence of American oil companies in these plans," he said, adding that firms had until until April 10 to buy tender documents and until July 10 to submit their bids for the 25-year contracts.

The 16 blocks are among 51 sites the country has discovered in recent years and intends to put out to tender.

But while US firms may be showing interest, few have been prepared to risk falling foul of Washington by investing in Iran.

In 1995, the then US president Bill Clinton prohibited US companies and their foreign subsidiaries from conducting business in Iran, and specifically any "contract for the financing of the development of petroleum resources located in Iran."

The US Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 imposes mandatory and discretionary sanctions on non-US companies investing more than $20 million annually in Iranian oil and gas.
8 posted on 02/16/2004 12:32:43 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; Pan_Yans Wife; seamole; ..
Change in Iran

Tullahoma News
February 12, 2004
TN Editorial

After two decades of iron-fisted rule by ultraconservative Islamic clerics, winds of change are blowing in Iran.
Despite Iran's being tagged as part of the "Axis of Evil," some Iranians are making the hard push toward democracy, as evidenced by the mass resignation of a third of the country's parliament on the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

Many of the adults who were teens and children in 1979 have grown to understand how extremism has resulted in their country's lagging behind the world in economic growth and political influence. And thanks to outside influences such as the Internet and satellite television, young Iranians have come to realize that America and the West are not the "Great Satan" they were purported to be. It is the West's good fortune that many in the current generation of Iranians want to give democracy a try.
Comment: The article shows that other Media's attention to Iran grow day by day.
9 posted on 02/16/2004 12:39:10 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn
Reformist protests 'rigged' Iran poll

The Australian
16th Feb 2004

THE incumbent reformist head of Iran's parliament vowed reforms would continue after Friday's elections, even though his camp is poised for defeat in polls he said had been rigged by conservatives.

"We consider these elections to be unfair, but have decided to take part because our participation is more productive than our absence," said Mehdi Karoubi, a cleric close to embattled President Mohammad Khatami.

Mr Karoubi's Association of Combatant Clerics is one of the few reformist parties that has chosen not to boycott the polls, although on Sunday the spokesman for the reformist coalition it has joined conceded there was no chance of heading off a conservative victory.

The main reformist parties are staying away after a conservative-run political vetting body, the Guardians Council, barred some 2300 people - most of them reformists - from even standing in the February 20 polls.

They are the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF) which is head by the brother of President Khatami, and the Organisation of Mujahedeen of the Islamic Revolution (OMIR), on the left of the reform camp.

The Association of Combatant Clerics is taking part under the banner "Coalition for Iran", a grouping of the few reformers approved to stand and some independents.

Mr Karoubi said those boycotting the polls "have the right not to take part, but should not campaign for a mass abstention."

"The rights of a lot of people have been trampled on, but this means we should modify the electoral law," asserted the Majlis speaker.

"If we get or do not get votes, we will continue our activities. The future of reforms depends on the people, and they will continue through different means," added the cleric.

Mr Karoubi also stood by the president, under fire for failing to deliver on his promise of "Islamic democracy" and widely criticised for being too weak.

"Certainly, President Khatami has not achieved all of his objectives, but the climate today is nothing like what it was before he was elected" in 1997, Mr Karoubi insisted.,5744,8702775%255E1702,00.html
10 posted on 02/16/2004 1:50:59 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: All
$100,000 to kill Rushdie

Gulf Daily News
16th Feb 2004

TEHRAN: An Iranian extremist Islamic group calling itself the General Staff for the Glorification of Martyrs of the Islamic World has offered a $100,000 (BD37,800) reward for the killing of British novelist Salman Rushdie, a Press report said yesterday.

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 novelist, born in Bombay, India, to a Muslim family, sparked fury from Muslims worldwide a decade ago because of alleged blasphemy and apostasy in his novel The Satanic Verses.

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.
11 posted on 02/16/2004 1:54:36 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn
12 posted on 02/16/2004 2:13:39 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: F14 Pilot
13 posted on 02/16/2004 2:40:30 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44; F14 Pilot
This has probably been posted before, but I just found it. Very moving site: IRAN TESTIMONY.

The purpose of "Iran Testimony" is to gather information and testimonies about victims of oppression and violation of human rights in Iran by Islamic republic of Iran since 1979."

Mass Grave in Iraq

Location of Kahvaran cemitary is marked with a red point

14 posted on 02/16/2004 4:46:02 AM PST by risk (It's better to die on your feet than on your knees.)
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To: All

American freestyle wrestlers, from far left, Joa Heskett, from California, Mike Mena, from Indiana, and Samie Hensom, from New York, arrive at Mehrabad International airport in Tehran, Iran on Monday, Feb. 16, 2004, to participate in Takhti Wrestling Cup on Feb. 18 in Tehran.

15 posted on 02/16/2004 5:43:43 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44; McGavin999; Eala; Pan_Yans Wife; Pro-Bush; RaceBannon; AdmSmith; seamole; ...
A text from Senator Brownback webpage. I just wanted to share that with you here -- pilot

To date, Iran remains one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism -- supporting terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah among others. These terrorist organizations are largely behind the suicide bombers in Israel as well as bombings against U.S. interests in the region. It is largely believed that these groups are the reason that Middle East peace is so elusive because they commit violence every time any progress is made. Recent reports indicate that Iran's progress toward acquiring nuclear weapons is moving faster than anticipated with Iran likely possessing these weapons by 2005.

Democracy protests - An amazing thing is now happening inside Iran. The nation has been gripped by numerous protests -- led largely by university students and professors. These brave protesters oppose the terrorist regime in control of their country and speak out at the risk of death. Their numbers have been steadily growing. Iran today is a country where nearly 70% of the population is under the age of 30. These young people have known only repression and violence in their young lives. They feel they have nothing to lose. Nearly 7 years ago,so-called moderat reformers were overwhelmingly elected in Iran's very limited elections (The religious clerics pre-screen all candidates.) Sadly, since then, there have been no reforms. Now, the brave people of Iran are crying for a referendum -- a whole new government which respects human rights, religious liberty and the rule of law. I am proud to support this important movement. The United States must not engage with the current terrorist regime. To do so, would be to undermine the historic movement within Iran to take back their country.

How can you help? Inform your friends and community about this important issue. Write letters urging the passage of Senate Resolution 82 supporting the democracy dissidents in Iran which I have introduced in the Senate and Congressman Lantos has introduced in the House. It may seem like our support is not really that important, but in truth, democracy dissidents inside Iran tell me that it is crucial in helping to motivate the opposition and for them to know that there can be a strong future with the U.S. once they have re-claimed their ancient land.
16 posted on 02/16/2004 6:30:11 AM PST by F14 Pilot (Either you are with us or you are with the REGIME)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Russia Can't Agree on Bushehr's Completion

February 16, 2004
Middle East Newsline

MOSCOW -- Russia has acknowledged the failure to resolve a dispute that has delayed completion of the Bushehr nuclear reactor for Iran.

Russian officials said the disagreement has resulted in the cancellation of a meeting of the nuclear chiefs of Moscow and Teheran scheduled for this week. The Russian delegation, led by Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev, has delayed its visit to Teheran by at least two weeks.

Rumyantsev said the dispute regards Iran's refusal to return spent nuclear fuel for the Bushehr plant to Moscow. Iran insists that Russia bear the costs of securing the spent nuclear fuel as well as its transfer from Bushehr to Moscow.

The minister said another disagreement concerns the price of the Bushehr project, reported at $1 billion. The project is said to have overrun its original price by 25 percent.
17 posted on 02/16/2004 8:48:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
From Nose Job to No Job, Tehran's Youth Uninspired by Elections

February 16, 2004
Agence France Presse
Stefan Smith

From leafy north Tehran and its chic coffee shops to the tea houses in the grim, grey south of the Iranian capital, the Islamic republic's youth would have been thought to be agonising over politics with just days to go before a vote of their country's political future.

But most appear to have their minds set firmly on matters wholly unrelated to Friday's parliamentary elections, be it a spot of cosmetic surgery or skiing for the wealthy few, or grappling with an uncertain economic future for the rest.

Leila is 21 and readily acknowledges to being one of the hordes of voters who in past polls turned out to back President Mohammad Khatami and his pro-reform allies - a movement now poised for defeat given that most of their candidates have been barred from standing.

"I voted twice for the reformists," she says, sipping cappuccino while being careful not to get any froth on the bandage covering her recently adjusted nose.

And will she be voting this time?

She pauses for a moment, as if in deep thought, and then replies: "I don't really know. There's not much point voting for the reformists anymore."

Finally she makes up her mind: "I'm not going to vote. It won't change anything at all," she says, before returning to her conversation with friends on the recent lack of fresh snow on the pistes north of Tehran.

Like many Iranians, more than two-thirds of whom are too young to remember the 1979 Islamic revolution, Leila's vote has in the past been instrumental in shaping Iran's political dynamic.

Since 1997, the Islamic republic has been buffeted by a wind of change - reformists with a crushing mandate to challenge the power of the ruling clerics and shifting the delicate balance between Islam and democracy.

But despite holding the executive and the parliament since 1997 and 2000 respectively, reformists have run into stiff obstacles laid down by hardliners determined to prevent what they see as an erosion of the Islamic values the 1979 revolution was designed to deliver.

With the hardliners exercising their power through the courts, legislative oversight bodies, the official media and the security forces, reformers - themselves divided between leftists and moderates - have stood little chance.

"Khatami is not a bad man, but he has been too weak," complains one of Leila's friends, also drinking coffee in the bar nestled in the wealthy north of the city that looks over the smog-clad poorer south.

"Young people are disappointed now. We want more freedoms, but we don't have them, so I think most of us will not be voting. There is no point."

But the absence of significant social or political reforms is not the only gripe among young people.

A drive to the south of Tehran, where tree-lined avenues give way to a sparse, polluted urban mess, brings other concerns - notably related to the poor state of the Islamic republic's jobs market.

"The reformists are always talking about freedom and democracy. And the conservatives talk about religion. But what good is any of that if you can't get a job?" complains Ali, 19 and unemployed.

Official figures put unemployment here at close to 13 percent, athough the real figure is believed to be much higher. Aside from the energy sector currently enjoying high oil prices, much of the rest of the economy remains in stagnation.

Although proficient in English and holding a high school diploma, Ali complains that his job options are limited.

"What can I do? You need good connections to get a good job. I do some work driving a taxi sometimes, or delivering groceries for shops. And all I see is corruption, and that applies to conservatives and reformists," he says in a south-central Tehran tea house, a world away from the swanky services on offer up north.

With that in mind, the unshaven young man says he will not be voting either, another example of what appears to be a broad assumption that whoever wins control over the Majlis, nothing will change.

"Politicians are all in it for themselves, so how can they expect us to vote for them?"
18 posted on 02/16/2004 8:49:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Welcome US Companies in Ongoing Exploration Round

February 16, 2004
Platts Commodity News

Iran would welcome the participation of US companies in an ongoing licensing round covering 16 exploration and development blocks, Mahmoud Mohaddes, the director of exploration at the National Iranian Oil Company, said Sunday.

"There is no problem from the Iranian side for the participation of US companies in these projects," the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported Mohaddes as saying. US companies are currently effectively barred from investing in Iran by the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, a 1996 US law that threatens reprisals against foreign oil companies that invest over $20-mil/year in the oil sector of either country. In late January Iran announced it was inviting international companies to bid for 16 onshore blocks covering over 253,000 sq miles in southeast, northwest, west and some northern parts of the country.

Companies have until Jul 11 to submit bids, with the proposed rate of return to be one of the main criteria for choosing between bids, Mohaddes said.

Exploration of the 16 blocks is expected to involve investment of at least $300-mil, the NIOC official said. For the first time Iran is offering contracts covering both the exploration and development phases, under similar buyback terms to other foreign oil investments in the country. Companies from Spain, Germany and Australia have shown serious interest in the new projects, Mohaddes said, adding that companies from the Netherlands, Italy, France, China, Thailand and Croatia were also expected to consider the opportunities. The contracts covering the 16 blocks are for periods of up to 25 years. A Tehran-based official from one European company studying the blocks said the new terms were a step in the right direction. "I think it is a sign that alternative contract forms now are under discussion in Iran, including PSAs (production sharing agreements), which is a contract form more familiar and well understood and accepted by the industry," the official said.
19 posted on 02/16/2004 8:50:48 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Egyptian Foreign Minister Fails to Attend Tehran Conference

February 16, 2004
BBC Monitoring
BBC Monitoring Newsfile

Tehran -- Ahmad Mahir, the Egyptian foreign minister, has failed to attend the D-8 conference.

According to the political-foreign affairs reporter of the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), whilst it was expected that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Mahir would be heading the Egyptian delegation that has come to Iran to attend the D-8 conference, he failed to attend the seventh ministerial meeting of the D-8 countries and only a representative from the Egyptian government attended the conference.

Text of report by Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) web site

Source: ISNA web site, Tehran, in Persian 0759 gmt 16 Feb 04
20 posted on 02/16/2004 8:52:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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