Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Iranian Alert -- February 21, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.21.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/21/2004 12:02:29 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 02/21/2004 12:02:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

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 02/21/2004 12:05:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iranian reform backers shun vote

By Borzou Daragahi
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
2.21.2004

TEHRAN — Iran's conservatives yesterday appeared poised to take control of the country's legislature as pro-reform liberal voters heeded a boycott call and stayed away from the polls to protest what they said was a rigged election.

The only suspense was how many voters had heeded reformist calls not to vote to protest the blacklisting of thousands of moderate candidates. Official numbers are expected to begin trickling in today.

The government began a massive publicity campaign, warning that abstaining would be tantamount to aiding "the enemy," America. While turnout was lighter than in the past, a mass repudiation of the vote did not materialize.

Analysts predicted the Developers of Islamic Iran, a group of hard-liners, would be the new dominant political force in the country. The group's leader, lawmaker Gholamali Haddadadel, is a relative of Ayatollah Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's supreme religious leader and dominant political force.

Election commission head Ahmad Azimzadeh late yesterday was quoted as saying turnout in the region including Tehran was estimated at 40 percent, higher than many reformists had hoped.

Mr. Azimzadeh said conservative candidates seemed to be ahead.

Turnout in more conservative villages and towns outside the major urban centers is expected to be higher, and some analysts were projecting a turnout of 50 percent. That would be more than 16 percentage points lower than the previous parliamentary elections in 2000, but far from the widespread rejection some reformists had hoped for.

The Bush administration, which had muted its criticism of the election for fear of provoking a nationalist backlash, yesterday stepped up its attack on the election.

"Candidates have been barred from participating in the elections in an attempt to limit the choice of the Iranian people for their government," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington.

"These actions do not represent free and fair elections and are not consistent with international norms."

Iran's Interior Ministry said it expected to release the first results and a turnout figure today and dismissed early estimates as mere speculation.

"As long as we have not opened the ballot boxes, none of the figures being bandied around can be confirmed by the Interior Ministry," said spokesman Jahanbakhsh Khanjani.

Four years ago the lines of voters extended out into the streets, with jubilant Iranians talking politics and singing songs as they sent a band of reformers to take over the parliament and deliver a stinging rebuke against the country's hard-line Islamic rulers.

Those elections put Iran's government in the hands of moderates, setting off a battle between the theocratic nation's divinely mandated rulers and elected officials such as President Mohammed Khatami.

But last month the game came to an abrupt end: An appointed conservative watchdog called the Council of Guardians barred thousands of liberal candidates, including dozens of sitting members of parliament, from running. Hundreds more allowed to run withdrew in protest. Many called for a boycott, bypassing the censored media using the Internet or text messages via cell phone.

As a result, the election rolls yesterday were devoid of reformists, liberals and opponents of the clerical regime.

"There's no way I'm going to vote this time," said Amir Farmani, a pubic works engineer who spent the day shopping with his family. "I don't believe in the system. I'd like a system like France or England, where anyone can vote for anyone."

But at a polling station in the southern Tehran, supporters of Iran's clerical regime did turn out to heavy numbers. Most of those who showed up said they were not supporters of Mr. Khatami, the reformists' champion twice elected with huge majorities.

Some, like Fatemeh Hossein, said they were coming to vote for a specific candidate, such as incumbent Soheila Jelodarzadeh, a labor advocate. "She's done well," she said. "She's always speaking up for poor people like me."

In contrast, many of Mr. Khatami's onetime supporters branded him a coward for failing to stand up to the conservatives. The 66-year-old mid-ranking cleric backed off earlier threats to join the boycott.

His supporters were disgusted. "In the end, Khatami turned out to be just like the conservatives," said Sassan Haghighpour, a long-haired medical student walking past a mosque doubling as a voting center. "He betrayed his supporters."

Voting centers were barren in the city's modern, wealthy north, though many Iranians like to vote in the evenings. Late reports said voters were filling polling places in central Tehran and that ministries had kept centers open for as much as four hours after the official closing time to boost turnout figures.

•This article is based in part on wire service reports.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/world/20040220-105656-5236r.htm

3 posted on 02/21/2004 12:10:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
More accurate polling estimates will be reported later on this thread!

4 posted on 02/21/2004 12:17:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
The "reformers" got 9 out of 60 seats so far.
5 posted on 02/21/2004 1:03:06 AM PST by AdmSmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
I thought you might find interesting election reports from Persian blogs. These are translations posts from Persian blogs into English...

Ramshad Shadman: I've never seen so many armed guards in polling stations. I saw four of them in one station. This is not normal.

Iran and World News: This morning, on 10:30, around 50 people gathered around a minibus — a mobile polling station — in Revolution (Enghelab) square... An old lady in black veils who was constantly talking about sacrifice for the revolution and its leader. She said: I wish the flag of Islam rise all over the globe; as a proof of globalization of Islam, you see that women in France also wear head scarves.

My Daily Notes: I just returned from my journey around a few polling station in the city of Karaj. In 2-3 stations in the city center, a number of people had queued to vote, but the queues were not at all as long as they show on TV. Very normal, very calm, most of them were elderly people, a few very young ones. There was almost nothing going on in the polling venues in the posh area of the city; very few people came in, voted and went away. The average age was around 40. I had my camera with me and wanted to click some shots in the polling stations, but none of the station managers allowed me to do so.

eehum: An Evaluation: The number of old women and old men in the queues is really considerable. I can easily claim that the majority of voters are over 45 years old. Now this is while Iran is one of the youngest countries in the world [roughly 70% of population is under 30 years old]. In the presidential elections of 1997, it was exactly the opposite: the majority of voters were young people.

Ramshad Shadman: 8 o'clock in the morning, it was a little bit cold and was raining...I went to a nearby mosque which is managed by a right-wing [conservative] cleric to see what was going on, but unfortunately this year the mosque was not turned to a polling station and there was nothing to report. In other stations, the number of observers and watchdogs were clearly more than the number of voters. Even though 2 hours had passed since the official start of the elections, some stations were still opening up and putting candidate names on the walls. In all the stations that I visited, the number of policemen and armed forces was more than the voters. For instance in one venue, apart from armed soldiers, there were four higher ranking officers holding colts, G3s and Klashnikovs, which was a rather unusual scene for me. I am not sure what the law says in this regard [holding machine guns in polling stations].

Ramshad Shadman: It's 16:30 in the afternoon, and I have prepared another report for you. My observations show that the number of voters differ a lot, from one polling station to another. The participation is very low in general; in one polling station — apart from the big group of security forces and watchdogs — there are not even 2 voters (mostly in schools which have been turned to polling stations). In some other venues you see more people (for example, in a mosques that has been turned into a polling station - probably because the senior clergy in charge of the mosque is relatively popular among the people in that area). The clergy told me that the rate of participation of people is between a third or a quarter, comparing to the presidential elections of 1997 [which brought the reformist president to power].

Achamenian: I'm from the city of Esfahan. In the morning I went out to see what was going on in the city. I went from one polling venue to the other but nothing especial was going on. In the afternoon I talked to a guy in charge of one of the polling stations; he told me that until that time (4 o'clock in the afternoon) only about 50 people had come to vote!! I was very delighted ;-)

Sohrab: After lunch I was tempted to go out again and see what was happening. I left home around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and went to a few polling stations (more remote areas). In all the stations, there were 1 to 2 people voting, and all the authorities in the stations were either taking a nap, or smoking cigarettes or chatting with each other. I could see in their faces that they were extremely bored and were counting down to close the station and go home. In every station, I attracted a lot of attention because there was hardly anyone else; they were wondering what this guy (me) was doing there.

Tears and Fears My most important observations were the two agents with their revolvers at the doors of the station, as if there were a serious raid for a murderer or somthing. "Masoumeh" highschool had to live with its only 4 voters at 13:33, empty and overquiet. In "Kaj" square in Saadat Abad there are photos of the candidates posted on a bus, and numerous cops were present.
A crowd of 14-15 people were densely gathered around a camera, obviously faking a report for the TV. I actually noticed it all through the day on TV, anchors backed by 15-16 people to block the view. The trick was not however played at "Hosseinieh Ershad", as it's a rather roomy place. There are two bearded guards at the doors of the mosque with their walkie talkies, definitely intelligence agents. Women's station #154 was hosting a maximum of 14 voters, 10 of them wrapped in their chadors and the rest in scarves.

World of an Iranian : Unlike last years when the polls were extended through midnight, this year's extension is no later than 19hr local time. In "Kargar" street there are 3 polling stations above "Jalaal Al Ahmed" cross [about ten blocks], two of which is inside of Tehran Uni. dorms of boys and girls. The stations were clearly less crowded than the local municipal's election two years ago. Street was nothing crowded either; a very normal friday indeed.
By the way, among the students who did cast their votes there were a couple warning others on their future prospects, when their birth certificates would be verfied for stamps should they apply for any [governmental] jobs.

http://iranfilter.com/link.php/765

6 posted on 02/21/2004 1:05:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; freedom44; McGavin999; windchime; AdmSmith; Eala; Pro-Bush; ...
US concerned over Iran's parliamentary election

February 21, 2004
IranMania News

WASHINGTON, Feb 20 (AFP) -- The United States on Friday voiced concern over Iran's parliamentary elections, saying measures taken by government hardliners prior to the vote were inconsistent with international norms.

"I think looking at the process leading up to the elections, there are reasons for concern," State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said, citing the closure of the largest reformist party's offices and of two reformist publications.

Some 2,300 reformist candidates were also barred from running in the election.

"These actions do not represent free and fair elections and are not consistent with international norms," Ereli said.

He declined to comment on voter turnout "until credible numbers about voter turnout are available."

"I don't think we're more critical of the elections than the Iranian people are," he added.

Voter turnout is considered a key factor in determining the 25-year-old Islamic regime's popularity.

Conservatives opposed to reformist President Mohammed Khatami are expected to sweep the elections.

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=22771&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
7 posted on 02/21/2004 2:25:45 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; AdmSmith; McGavin999; nuconvert
ELECTION BOYCOTT IN IRAN APPEARS TO KEEP TURNOUT IN PARLIAMENTARY VOTE LOW

Eurasia Net
21 Feb 2004

A reformist election boycott February 20 appears to have kept turnout in Iran’s parliamentary election well under 50 percent. The boycott’s apparent success could undermine the authority of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and stands to hamper the ability of conservatives to push through their political agenda in the next parliament.

http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav022004.shtml
8 posted on 02/21/2004 2:29:57 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; faludeh_shirazi; AmericanVictory; Cindy; nuconvert; freedom44; ...
Beware Iran's atomic ayatollahs

NY Daily Times
Editorial
21st Feb 2004

The numbers aren't in, but it seems reasonable to project that Iran's hard-liners have regained control of the parliament they lost to insurgents four years ago. You can win elections handily when you've got divine authority to throw candidates off the ballot, shut newspapers and drop hints to the people that if they don't vote in approved fashion, they're likely to pay in the afterlife or sooner.
So goes the Triumph of the Clerics, who banned thousands of reformist candidates from standing for election in a bid to put one foot back in the 15th century. The trouble is that Iran's other foot is planted very much in the 21st century. As in: Atomic Age.

Evidence is mounting that Tehran's fundamentalist regime is determined to maintain a covert nuclear program in defiance of international standards. In October, it made a large goodwill show of handing over details of the country's nuke activities to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency. To much relief, it also promised to cooperate fully with nuclear inspections.

At the time, the U.S. was skeptical that a charter member of the Axis of Evil was so suddenly ready to be a good citizen of the world. The wisdom of that skepticism has now been borne out. Exposure of a nuclear black market based in Pakistan has turned up documents indicating that Iran didn't come entirely clean, as U.S. officials had suggested to their more trusting European counterparts.

Indeed, the IAEA reports that Tehran is sitting on key bomb-building components heretofore unreported. Iran's Foreign Ministry flatly denies that it has nuclear weapons programs. "They are just trying to create a fuss about this," said a spokesman.

You're darn right they are. Uranium-enrichment capabilities in the hands of crackpots who teach their young from the cradle that murdering infidels is their highest duty - now there's a nightmare for you. The IAEA is quite properly going to want hard - and fully verifiable - answers from Tehran very soon.

Iran must get no more wiggle room. And the United Nations must gear itself to cracking down with economic sanctions and every other means possible to ensure that Iran does not get close to developing a weapon of mass destruction. Because there are exactly two words for a nuclear-capable Iran: imminent threat.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ideas_opinions/story/166448p-145668c.html
9 posted on 02/21/2004 2:33:58 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: All

Who did vote in yesterday election?

10 posted on 02/21/2004 2:37:06 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Just wanted to inform you about the latest stats;
According to ISNA News Agency, Governor of Tehran said that he predicts a turnout around 1,700,000 to 1,800,000 votes in the city of Tehran and suburb.
The number of potential voters in Tehran are around 8 and half milion.
11 posted on 02/21/2004 2:47:14 AM PST by Khashayar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Khashayar; freedom44; DoctorZIn; Eala; nuconvert; faludeh_shirazi; Pan_Yans Wife; RaceBannon; ...

A grandmother sews at home as she and her husband - both of whom asked not to be named - boycotted national parliamentary elections, staying at home in Tehran, Iran Friday, Feb. 20, 2004. Low turnout was predicted for the election, as Iran's pro-reform parties have urged a mass boycott after the conservative theocracy banned more than 2,400 candidates. (AP Photo)

A husband and wife - both of whom asked not to be named - stay at home and watch television instead of voting in national parliamentary elections, Iran Friday, Feb. 20, 2004. Low turnout was predicted for the election, as Iran's pro-reform parties have urged a mass boycott after the conservative theocracy banned more than 2,400 candidates. (AP Photo)

12 posted on 02/21/2004 3:16:51 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: All
Tehran, Feb 21, IRNA -- Early poll exits at a sample ballot box in
Tehran constituency, where 30 seats are up for grabs, have put the
Coalition of the Islamic Iran Constructors well ahead.
Incumbent Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, who is running in
the election, is said to be lagging at a far 49th in Islamshahr and
55th in Rey, both southern Tehran suburbs.
The results, although not confirmed by the Interior Ministry, are
as follows:
CANDIDATE
1. Gholamali Hadad-Adel
2. Ahmad Tavakkoli
3. Amir-Reza Khadem
4. Saeed Aboutaleb
5. Fatemeh Rahbar
6. Mohammad Khoshchehreh
7. Mehdi Karroubi
8. Majid Ansari
9. Hassan Ghafouri-Fard
10. Jamileh Kadivar
11. Soheila Jelodarzadeh
12. Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani
13. Alireza Mahjoub

http://www.irna.ir/?LANG=EN&PART=_HOME&TYPE=HP#2004_02_2111_46_021
13 posted on 02/21/2004 3:26:16 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; MLedeen; freedom44; Ragtime Cowgirl; Cindy
Do you know that #4 (Aboutaleb) on the above list is the guy being captured by American troops 6 months ago and later freed.
He was charged with espionage, filming American military facilities and couraging Iraqis to start uprising in south of Baghdad.
14 posted on 02/21/2004 4:38:33 AM PST by Khashayar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Khashayar; DoctorZIn; freedom44; nuconvert
I think you are right. I have found some thing about him.
He was in our custody months ago.
--

Ayatollah Khamenei receives two released filmmakers

IranMania News
5th Nov 2003

Tehran, Nov 5, IRNA -- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei received Soheil Karimi and Saeed Aboutaleb, the two Iranian documentary filmmakers detained in Iraq for several months.

During the meeting, Khamenei expressed his happiness with the release of the two documentarians of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) who were released on Monday after spending 127 days in captivity in Iraq.

'Karimi' and 'Aboutaleb' were arrested on July 1 by US troops in Iraq`s southeastern city of "Kut" together with an interpreter and a local driver as they were preparing a documentary on the life of the Iraqi people.

They were later transferred to "Diwaniyah", and afterwards to "Baghdad" before being handed over to the British troops in "Um-al Qasr" prison, southern Iraq.

Upon arrival at "Mehrabad International Airport", the IRIB crew were warmly welcomed by a number of officials and a large group of people.

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?ArchiveNews=Yes&NewsCode=19407&NewsKind=CurrentAffairs
15 posted on 02/21/2004 4:45:57 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
IRIB state run TV keeps on saying that turnout was around 70% and at the same time, IRNA which belongs to reformers says that 40% was the turnout through out Iran and 25% in city of Tehran.
16 posted on 02/21/2004 5:07:49 AM PST by Khashayar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Khashayar
You'd think there would have been a plan in place, when the SHAM elections were being prepared, that the official numbers would be X when completed.

Can't they think far enough ahead? I know the hardliners have all the power, and rule with an iron fist, but, don't they realize how FOOLISH they look?
17 posted on 02/21/2004 7:48:17 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Your friend is your needs answered. --- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
This just in from inside of Iran... preliminary numbers on the regimes 7th parliamentary elections.

"IRNA reported 25% in Tehran and 40% turnout in Iran, but IRIB keeps censoring this stat and claims a 70% turnout.

According to iran-emrooz.de web-page (a very reliable source of news)less than 20% voted in Tehran.

In 6th parliamentary election 3 million voted in Tehran
this time less than 1,200,000 voted."
18 posted on 02/21/2004 8:21:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Alright, we already know what the results will be and we know they are lying about the turnout, but what now? What are the people of Iran going to do now that the mullahs are going to tighten down everything once again?
19 posted on 02/21/2004 8:36:41 AM PST by McGavin999 (Evil thrives when good men do nothing!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran Too Slow in Proving it Has No Nuclear Bomb Program

February 21, 2004
AFP
Khaleej Times Online

WASHINGON -- US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Friday criticized the Iranian government for moving too slowly in showing the world it is not trying to build an atomic bomb and urged Teheran to give up its suspected weapons of mass destruction program.

“After 18 years of trying to deceive the International Atomic Energy Agency and the world, Iran is slowly—still too slowly—coming forward with answers needed by the IAEA and by the rest of the international community to make sure that they are not violating their obligations,” Powell said.

Powell, who was speaking at Princeton University in New Jersey, added that Iran “needs to pledge an end—not just a suspension—to all of its WMD programs and it must follow those promises with action.”

The White House voiced concern on Thursday over a report that IAEA inspectors found in Iran components of an advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuge.

Iran should have declared the centrifuge’s existence by October 31, 2003 under an ultimatum from the Vienna-based IAEA, diplomats in Vienna said.

In a statement, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the report was “without any basis or foundation.”

Asefi said Iran’s research into advanced centrifuges was “a purely scientific project” and that such centrifuges had “never been put into service”

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2004/February/middleeast_February525.xml&section=middleeast&col=
20 posted on 02/21/2004 8:36:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Europe Trumped by Rules of Ballot

February 21, 2004
The Times
Michael Theodoulou

The Iranian election poses a dilemma for the European Union, which has justified its policy of engagement with Tehran by arguing that the aim was to boost President Khatami's reform wing.

With his conservative rivals set to retake control of Parliament after disqualifying most of his supporters, the President will enter his last year in office as a lame duck.

The old guard is expected to attempt a "Chinese model" for Iran, making it likely that the only liberalisation will be economic. Many reformists also fear a crackdown against MPs who resigned in protest at the "illegal" election or led poll boycotts.

To the dismay of reformists, there has so far been only a muted response from Europe to what they claim is a "coup" by the old guard.

"The silence of the Europeans is deafening," Ali Ansari, a lecturer in Middle East history at Exeter University, said. "They don't want to be seen interfering, but they should have said something."

Many Iranians suspect that Britain is prepared to swallow its democratic principles in the hope that the conservatives can achieve results where the reformists could not.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, has been nicknamed "Ayatollah Straw" by reformists who joke that he shows up whenever the regime needs a helping hand.

"Iranians feel abandoned by Europe. The Europeans will do business with anyone who can help their interests," Hossein Alikhani, an Iranian businessman, said. Those interests include stabilising Iraq and Afghanistan, the handover of al-Qaeda members and ensuring that Tehran adheres to nuclear non-proliferation.

Analysts believe that a conservative Parliament is also likely to try to foster better relations with the US as a way of securing badly needed legitimacy at home, while defusing American hostility.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
21 posted on 02/21/2004 8:37:55 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Dictatorial Democracy; A Vote of No Confidence in Iran

February 21, 2004
The Times
Leading Article

Dictators and totalitarian regimes are contemptibly eager to demonstrate bogus democratic credentials. The Soviet authorities used to go to extraordinary lengths to organise "free" elections that were predetermined. Robert Mugabe insists on a charade of electoral campaigns and universal suffrage when intimidation, vote-rigging and fraud are the methods used to produce a spurious result in his favour. And North Korea's regime gets as close as is possible to a perfect electoral score. Yesterday's general election in Iran was as cynical and undemocratic as anything an Orwellian state could devise, with a self appointed clerical elite forcing a cowed press and subservient religious establishment to hail the "democratic" outcome of an election shorn of all but the trappings of democracy.

Iranians had no illusions about the election for the 290-seat parliament. From the moment that the 12-man Council of Guardians used its veto power to ban more than 3,000 liberal candidates, it was obvious that the embattled conservatives would use every legal loophole, theological casuistry and all available levers of power to hobble their opponents and maintain their power. Students, human rights activists and reformers know well the lengths to which the thuggish guardians of the Khomeini revolution will go to block change: vigilantes beat up demonstrators, activists are thrown into jail or murdered, newspapers are banned and editors arrested, and the courts are used to subvert human rights and manipulate the law.

The reformers, to their credit, have fought back, returning to the streets, re-forming disbanded parties, reopening banned newspapers and speaking out against repression. But many are weary and disillusioned. For young people -who constitute almost half the burgeoning population -politics has become a dead end, offering little hope of change through existing channels. The reformist parliamentarians tried various tactics to counter the clerical hardliners, but with little success. Appeals to Ali Khamanei, the Supreme Leader, resulted in the cosmetic reinstatement of some candidates, a move made all the more farcical by the subsequent rebanning of most of them so that in the end more than 2,500 - almost all reformers -were disbarred.

More than 120 sitting members of parliament resigned in protest and staged a three-week sit-in. They called for a boycott of the vote in an attempt to show the world that the elections lack all validity, religious or democratic. But their action was undercut by the weak response of President Khatami, once the vehicle for reform hopes but recently reduced to a vacillating and inarticulate figurehead. His League of Combatant Clerics was hastily assembled in a last ditch attempt to stop the conservatives winning a majority; it looked too little, too late.

Nevertheless, the derisory turnout is a blow to the Guardian Council and its allies. Many in the hardline camp do not care: their preoccupation has been to protect their own personal wealth, often corruptly amassed through state approved quasi-religious monopolies, and to stop any judicial investigation of their own abuses of power. But the election leaves Iran's neighbours and those countries such as Britain insisting on "critical engagement" with a problem. How much should they continue with business as normal?

Jack Straw may have believed it essential to keep lines open to Tehran, especially during the Iraq war and the tense aftermath. But the Foreign Secretary's frequent visits to Iran have done naught to bolster reform. Dialogue with a country as strategic as Iran is important; but endorsing a hardline regime is the worst kind of appeasement.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
22 posted on 02/21/2004 8:39:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Deadly clashes rock southern Iran

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 21, 2004

Deadly clashes rocked, today, Izeh located in southern Iran, as the regime's security forces entered in action in order to smash the local popular rally against the evident fraud in the sham elections.

Special heliported troops were sent from Ahwaz to back the local Bassij force which was unable to block the protesters from occupying several official buildings. Noise of heavy shoutings were heard in several areas as especially fire was open from sky against the demonstrators.

Several demonstrators, including Abbas Moossavi a local banned candidate who had contested the ballots, have been killed so far and tens of others are injured.

Angry crowd helped by masked freedom fighters have destroyed several patrols and take over the arms and ammunitions kept in the local Bassij center.

A chase and run guerilla war is taking place and the situation has been reported as chaotic while most roads have been blocked.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/smccdinews/article/publish/article_4116.shtml
23 posted on 02/21/2004 8:40:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Discovered this on an Iranian Blog...

"There was also various reports of cheating, in one case having the culprits caught transporting voters by bus to various polling stations to vote again and again."

http://eyeranian.net/
24 posted on 02/21/2004 8:47:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
What mechanisms are in place to investigate election fraud, that won't get over-ruled by the regime? (sarcasm)
25 posted on 02/21/2004 8:57:32 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Your friend is your needs answered. --- Kahlil Gibran)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Ramshad Shadman: I've never seen so many armed guards in polling stations. I saw four of them in one station. This is not normal.

From numbers posted yesterday this was the average.

26 posted on 02/21/2004 10:54:34 AM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
would use every legal loophole, theological casuistry and all available levers of power to hobble their opponents and maintain their power.

Reading this, I thought of the Democrats in 2000....

27 posted on 02/21/2004 11:02:14 AM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE: http://eala.freeservers.com/anglican)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
EU says dialogue with Iran to continue
The EU expressed Friday its concern about the conditions under which parliamentary elections are being held in Iran, but underlined that the European bloc's policy to engage the Islamic Republic in dialogue has not changed, IRNA reported from Brussels.

"We are watching developments closely and we are concerned as to what happened in the run-up to these elections," a European Commission source told journalists today in apparent reference to the disqualification of over 2500 candidates.

"The quality of democracy effects our relations with all of our partners. Clearly it is something we take very seriously." "But what it doesn't change is our clear presence to keep channel of communication open and develop ways of talking to Iran." "We are still very keen to maintain all the instruments of dialogue that we have with Iran," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The EU foreign ministers' council is to discuss ties with Tehran in its formal monthly session in Brussels on Monday. The council will also discuss whether to resume negotiations on Trade and Cooperation agreement which is under an "informal pause" since last year June.

IAEA chief Mohammad El-Baradei's report on Iran might be released on Monday or early next week, noted the source.

"We wanted Iran to sign the Additional Protocol, and they have but we also wanted to see verification of implementation of that." On Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment programme, discussions are going on the definition of that undertaking, explained the source. "We are looking forward to what Mr. Baradei has to say." "But the key point is we don't want to move the goalpost. We don't want to make any additional demands. We are against the idea that new demands be made as condition for the resumption of talks," stressed the source.

If Dr. Baradei is able to give a positive report," then the response should be positive." "I also say that we would be able to pursue our positive ambitions for a relationship with Iran. Obviously there are two sides to the partnership," said the source.

The Irish EU presidency has not decided as yet whether the ministers will issue any conclusions on Iran on Monday. "We want to be able to engage with Iran," said the source, adding that progress on trade negotiations will have to go hand in hand with the dialogue on political and human rights issues.

http://www.payvand.com/news/04/feb/1159.html
28 posted on 02/21/2004 11:31:20 AM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
"They used to say that the shah wanted to make society secular, twenty-five years later the society is much more secular. The mosques are empty." -Hamid-Reza Jalaeipour
29 posted on 02/21/2004 11:34:52 AM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
From our friends at activistchat.com...

ANYONE who says that Iranians were rushing to the polls yesterday, is lying! 97% of Iranians stayed home and boycotted the sham elections of Friday, February 20th. In a city of 12 million, does this (below)not look like a ghost town??? WHY does the media NOT tell the truth about the elections in Iran??? When only 3% of the country voted, equaling to 1 million out of 45 million eligible voters...why does media NOT tell it like it is?






30 posted on 02/21/2004 2:41:38 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
EU Says Dialogue With Iran to Continue

Feb 21, 2004, 21:35

Iran news - The EU expressed on Friday its concern about the conditions under which parliamentary elections are being held in Iran, but underlined that the European bloc's policy to engage the Islamic Republic in dialogue has not changed, IRNA reported.

"We are watching developments closely and we are concerned as to what happened in the run-up to these elections," a European Commission source told journalists today in apparent reference to the disqualification of over 2,500 candidates. "The quality of democracy effects our relations with all of our partners. Clearly, it is something we take very seriously. But what it doesn't change is our clear presence to keep the channel of communication open and develop ways of talking to Iran. We are still very keen to maintain all the instruments of dialogue that we have with Iran," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. The EU foreign ministers' council is to discuss ties with Tehran in its formal monthly session in Brussels on Monday.

The council will also discuss whether to resume negotiations on the Trade and Cooperation agreement which has been under an "informal pause" since last June. IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei's report on Iran might be released on Monday or early next week, noted the source. "We wanted Iran to sign the additional protocol, and they have, but we also wanted to see verification of its implementation." On Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment program, discussions are going on the definition of that undertaking, explained the source.

"We are looking forward to what Mr. Baradei has to say. But the key point is we don't want to move the goal post. We don't want to make any additional demands. We are against the idea that new demands be made as condition for the resumption of talks," stressed the source. "If Dr. Baradei is able to give a positive report, then the response should be positive. I also say that we would be able to pursue our positive ambitions for a relationship with Iran. Obviously, there are two sides to the partnership," said the source. The Irish EU presidency has not decided yet whether the ministers will issue any conclusions on Iran on Monday.

"We want to be able to engage with Iran," said the source, adding that progress on trade negotiations will have to go hand in hand with the dialogue on political and human rights issues.

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_1424.shtml
31 posted on 02/21/2004 2:44:39 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Opposition urges Iran referendum
From correspondents in Paris
22feb04

IRANIAN opposition leader Maryam Rajavi called today for a referendum to effect a leadership change in the Islamic republic, saying it was "the only way to peacefully change the medieval regime".

Rajavi, who heads Iran's main armed opposition group, the People's Mujahedeen, said this week's parliamentary elections were not credible because of an anticipated mass boycott by voters disillusioned with the process.
However, with counting continuing, voter turnout appeared today to be around 50 per cent.

Religious conservatives are headed for a landslide victory after Friday's vote for the 290-seat Majlis, or parliament, after a mass disqualification of thousands of reformist candidates.

Rajavi said in a statement issued in France, where she is based, that because "a crushing majority of Iranians ... have decisively boycotted" the vote, a referendum remained the only option available to change the hardline government.

The People's Mujahedeen estimated the turnout in the legislative polls at six per cent, based on "reports taken by members of the Iranian resistance at thousands of polling stations" and from "confidential information from the interior ministry".

No official numbers have been released on how many of Iran's 46.3 million eligible voters turned out on Friday, although early results have signalled a voter turnout weaker than four years ago.

Rajavi said hundreds of lawmakers from 11 countries, including Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy and the United States, had backed the idea of a UN-supervised referendum.

The People's Mujahedeen, whose headquarters are in Auvers-sur-Oise outside Paris, has been classified as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department, the European Union and the Iranian government. It claims it is merely fighting oppression under the Islamic regime in Tehran.

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,8757496%255E1702,00.html
32 posted on 02/21/2004 3:07:12 PM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Hardliners tighten grip on Iran after election ends hopes of reform

Newspapers were closed, liberal candidates were banned … was there ever any doubt over Iran’s election? From Dan De Luce in Tehran

Iran’s experiment with reform officially ended last week after the theocratic leadership orchestrated a conservative takeover of the parliament. Reformists and dissidents are bracing themselves for hard times
In a country that mixes religion and politics in equal measure, it seemed fitting that mosques were converted into polling places in Iran’s elections on Friday.

Voting began early at the turquoise-tiled mosque on Resaalat Square, where women in black chadors and old men holding prayer beads scanned a list of more than 1000 candidates posted on the wall.

Hundreds of names were missing from the list, including those of many sitting MPs. They were disqualified by one of the theocracy’s most powerful bodies, the Guardian Council, which ruled that more than 2000 reformist candidates lacked loyalty to Islam and the constitution.

Holding her blue-and-white ballot paper, Zahra, 32, said she wasn’t bothered that the conservatives were running essentially unopposed. “These elections are free and fair. Those who are criticising are those who have betrayed the revolution,” she said.

Zahra said she had chosen the main conservative group, Builders of an Islamic Iran, because it stood for Islamic principles.

The theocratic leadership relies on Zahra and other members of a small but militant minority to support the system, attending state-organised rallies and turning out to vote in an orchestrated election. Some are true believers; some are state employees or businessmen who go along to get along.

The chasm between the hardline minority, who accept a rigid interpretation of Islam, and the rest of society plays out as a perpetual culture war.

A group of young men stood waiting for a bus only a few yards away from the mosque-turned-polling-place. When one of them spoke, it seemed as though he was light years away from the people arriving to vote.

“There’s no democracy here. This has all been planned in advance,” said Darius, 21, speaking quietly to avoid trouble with the police and security agents at the polling station. “I’ve never heard of any of these people who are running. If there were some candidates that I knew who would do something for us, I would vote.

“All of us hope this regime will fall. I would do anything to help change this regime,” he said.




Ignoring appeals to vote from the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Darius and his mates were escaping their noisy, working-class district for a day of walking in the mountains above Tehran.

Four years ago, young voters waited in long queues to cast their ballots for reformist candidates who promised democratic change . They believed the parliament would carry out the vision of President Mohammad Khatami, who proposed nudging the theocracy forward through what he called “religious democracy”.

His experiment was snuffed out at the outset. One of his senior advisers was shot and seriously wounded. A brief flourishing of press freedom was crushed as the hard-line judiciary shut down one paper after another. Once elected, reformists saw their initiatives vetoed by the Guardian Council, the same body that knocked them off the ballot for this election.

Khatami tried to steer a gradual course and settle for modest gains, but the conservative establishment merely exploited his conciliatory nature.

“He tried to play an intermediary role. But because of the polarisation that’s occurred between reformists and conservatives, there is no room to be an intermediary any more,” said one reformist, who asked not to be named.

“One should choose that way or this way. There is no third way.”

Reformist MPs have moved away from Khatami and are now openly accusing the supreme leader, whose wields near-absolute power, of authoritarian rule.

Looking weary on election day, Khatami offered characteristically oblique criticism of the religious establishment. “This nation has been defeated many times but continued its path and created surprises.”

The idea that democracy and theo cracy could coexist has been thoroughly discredited. Though the ref ormist experiment had effectively been defeated long before, the election was a kind of burial for Khatami’s project.

The elderly men who preside over the theocracy have made it clear there will be no democratic evolution on their watch. It is a sobering message for Iran and all those in the Middle East who had hoped Khatami might open a new era in the Islamic world.

The reformists who sparked lively debate in parliament will be replaced by obscure, obedient figures hand-picked by conservatives to serve as their proxies. In campaign literature they are presented as experts who will solve the everyday problems of Iranians.

“Employment is the most important thing and we’re going to tackle that in a serious way,” said Hassan Moqabessi, a spokesman for the Builders of Iran, which enjoys the patronage of powerful conservatives. “The reformists forgot about a lot of things. They forgot about the economy, about health care, about higher education.”

This is not the first time critical voices have been silenced in Iran. But the reformists were by no means outsiders. They had deep roots in the revolution, the clergy and the political families that have dominated Iran since the Shah was overthrown 25 years ago. Some are war veterans, others spent time in the Shah’s prisons. By crushing these insiders, the theocracy has alienated valuable partners who were prepared to work within the system.

Khatami’s cabinet will be next on the hit-list. Reformist MPs expect the new parliament, which doesn’t take power for another three months, to pile pressure on the interior ministry and the culture ministry – two areas where the conservatives accuse the reformists of being too lax.

Although it had little power, the outgoing parliament served as an outlet for criticism and discussion. Now that outlet has been cut off, pressures from different quarters will begin mounting.

Inflation and unemployment are threa tening to spiral out of control. The younger generation is chafing at restrictions on social freedom. With the reformists ousted, blame will fall solely on the conservatives’ shoulders.

On the international front, Iran is again facing tough questions about its nuclear programme. The UN’s nuclear watchdog has found that Iran had a more sophisticated uranium enrichment technology that it had admitted. The deal that the conservative leadership brokered with Britain, France and Germany last October may yet unravel.

As for the defeated reformists, they speak of carrying on their cause through grass-roots efforts and forging ties to secular liberals. But at a press conference yesterday after the election, the leaders of the main reformist party, the Participation Front, sounded adrift, still struggling to find a footing.

Leaving nothing to chance, the judiciary shut down the two most important reformist newspapers, Sharq and Yas-e No, two days before the vote. Both papers had published excerpts from a scathing letter from MPs accusing the supreme leader of trampling on the rights of the people.

Some reformists worry that the newspaper closures represent an ominous sign of things to come. They are bracing themselves for a bleak era ahead.

http://www.sundayherald.com/40133

33 posted on 02/21/2004 3:08:15 PM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Police Arrest Iranian Students
Feb 21, 2004, 21:56

According to PEYKEIRAN website, citing the declaration of National Union of Iranian Students and Graduates, the student of the Faculty of Law of Tehran University, Peyman Aref, was detained by the police while taking photographs of Northern Tehran constituencies. He was jailed at Police Station 48 for three hours. Moreover, Amir Reza Amir Bakhtiar, head of Iran Party in Khuzestan was also arrested by the police for two hours when he was about to take part in "Election Boycott Celebrations."

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_1432.shtml
34 posted on 02/21/2004 3:11:58 PM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Bump!
35 posted on 02/21/2004 7:32:58 PM 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))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Leader Says US, Israel, Lost the Elections

February 21, 2004
BBC Monitoring
BBC Monitoring Newsfile

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamene'i has said that the Iranian nation had won the elections and the US and Israel lost the elections. In a message to the people on 21 February, Khamene'i said:

"The nation is the winner of these elections. All of those who participated in the elections, be they those who either themselves, or their favourite candidates, gained votes, or those who failed to gain votes. They are both winners. Those who lost the elections were America, Zionism and the enemies of the Iranian nation." The following is the text of a report by Iranian TV on 21 February

The supreme leader of the Iranian revolution [Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i] has sent a message to the proud Iranian nation and praised the faithful and brave Iranian people for creating an Islamic and national epic during the elections for the seventh Majlis. They stressed: The Iranian nation was subjected to the enemy's propaganda bombardment. However, once again, they visibly showed our enemies their awareness, their ability to take advantage of suitable opportunities and their greatness. They took part in elections which were absolutely free, fair and legal. Thus they foiled the plot aimed at inculcating the idea that the people had distanced themselves from the Islamic state. They did so by demonstrating their dignity and intelligence.

The full text of the message is as follows:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. O dear and proud nation. You went to the ballot box yesterday and you truly created an Islamic and national epic. The enemy waged a psychological warfare campaign for two months and it did not pursue any aim other than dashing the hopes of the Iranian people and lowering the turn-out at the elections. However, you demonstrated your awareness and ability to take advantage of suitable opportunities once again. Now, the people of the world can assess your performance. You visibly demonstrated the greatness of our faithful and revolutionary nation to your enemies.

Interventionist imperialists were day-dreaming and they sought to portray the Islamic Republic as being deprived of its popular base. However, you obliterated that baseless idea. Over the last two months, the enemy concentrated all its efforts on executing this malicious plot and praise be to the power of God, you acted with dignity and intelligence and foiled it.

The 1 Esfand, [20 February] elections were held under the enemy's propaganda bombardment and, therefore, they were even more important than the elections held in the years of holy defence [reference to the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-88] when our cities were being bombarded.

I am a humble servant of God and I express my gratitude to Almighty God for His assistance to this country and this nation and for enabling them to have this unforgettable experience. Once again, I would like to say that I truly praise you brave and faithful nation for your greatness and I do so from the bottom of my heart.

Yesterday's elections were completely free and they were completely fair and legal. Regardless of the result, it is completely credible. From the point of view of our people and officials of our country, the judgment of American imperialists who have been talking nonsense about these elections is absolutely worthless.

I think it is necessary for me to thank all executive and supervisory officials, as well as those who were responsible for upholding law and order. I would also like to thank our media, particularly our national media. My advice to our officials is as follows; firstly, you should safeguard the people's votes and remain trustworthy. Secondly, you should express your gratitude to this loyal and dear nation.

My advice to those who will form the seventh Majlis thanks to the people's votes is to make use of their scientific, social and political capacities and to do their utmost to serve this nation and to strengthen the lofty and magnificent edifice of our Islamic state. They are merely the people's trustees and their religious and revolutionary duties are to make efforts to work hard and serve the people.

My advice to political associations, groups and parties is to abandon the distressing debate about who won and who lost. Thus they should refrain from exacerbating disputes which only make our enemy happy. The nation is the winner of these elections. All of those who participated in the elections, be they those who either themselves, or their favourite candidates, gained votes, or those who failed to gain votes. They are both winners. Those who lost the elections were America, Zionism and the enemies of the Iranian nation.

You should work together and you should help each other and help the government, which is serving the people. In this way, our problems will be solved one after the other. May God be satisfied with all of you and may He bestow His mercy and blessings upon you and grant you assistance.

I salute the remnant of God, may our souls be sacrificed for him [reference to the 12th Shi'i Imam, Mahdi]. I salute the immaculate spirits of our martyrs and their Imam who has a lofty status. May God bestow His blessings upon you.

Seyyed Ali Khamene'i, 2 Esfand 1382 [21 February 2004]

Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 1730 gmt 21 Feb 04

http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk/
36 posted on 02/21/2004 8:34:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Reformists Fear Crack Down After Poll

February 22, 2004
Kuwait Times
The Financial Times

TEHRAN -- Islamic conservatives hostile to President Mohammad Khatami's liberal reforms swept towards a predictable victory over shackled reformists yesterday after a disputed parliamentary election with a sharply reduced turnout.

Interior Ministry figures showed conservatives won 133 of the first 194 provincial seats declared, deputy parliament speaker Behzad Nabavi said. A total of 289 seats were at stake.

Reformists won 37, independents 17 and five were reserved for Iran's religious minorities-Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. In 31 districts where no candidate polled more than 25 percent, there will be a run-off later.

There was not one woman among the first 194 lawmakers elected. There were 13 in the outgoing parliament.

Reformists branded the election rigged and many boycotted it after the un-elected hard line Guardian Council banned 2,500 mainly reformist candidates, including 80 sitting lawmakers, prompting Washington to say the vote was neither free nor fair.

"Unfortunately, this was not a free election," said Mostafa Tajzadeh, a leader of the main reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, which boycotted the poll. "Our belief from the outset that the conservatives would win was proved right." A conservative majority could spell an end to Khatami's seven-year experiment in allowing greater freedom of speech and loosening Islamic cultural and social restrictions, a drive that hardliners have tried to obstruct at every turn.

Reformists boycotted Friday's elections because they believed they had been fixed in favour of the conservatives by the disqualification of more than 2,400 candidates. The disqualified included the biggest names in the reform movement, such as Mohammad Reza Khatami, the brother of the president and deputy speaker of the outgoing parliament. Early returns showed those liberals who did run had won 49 seats and independents had taken about 10, according to the Interior Ministry.

Conservatives seemed poised to go well past the minimum 146 seats for a majority in the 290-seat chamber. "It was a race without competition," said Rajab Ali Mazrouli, a leading member of the pro-reform Islamic Participation Front.

Reformers, however, are seeking a moral victory with a low turnout.

With the votes tallied from more than half of Iran's 207 districts, the turnout was 43.29 percent, said Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. If the trend holds, it would be a noticeable drop from the 67.2 percent in the last parliament elections in 2000. The ruling establishment, however, insisted the final turnout will be high. If their predictions hold true, they would have little reason to offer concessions. Top hard-line candidates also apparently received broad support.

The headline in the conservative newspaper Jomhuri Islami called the voter response "remarkable." The Hamshahri daily wrote of "wide participation." The moderate daily Entekhab was more cautious. "Who is the winner?" asked its main headline. The reformist newspaper Aftab expressed the hopes of many liberals: that the new parliament would be more pragmatic and eventually drift to their side. But there could be strong resistance. In Tehran, early returns showed a lead for Gholamali Haddadadel, head of the conservative group Abadgaran Iran-e-Islami, or Developers of Islamic Iran, according to the Interior Ministry official. Also poised for possible victory in the capital was a veteran hard-liner, Ahmad Tavakkoli, who lost in presidential races in 1993 and 2001, the official said.

State radio announced victory for some other leading hard-liners, including Mohammad Reza Faaker, a firebrand cleric who lost his parliament seat in Mashhad in a reformist landslide in 2000, and current ultraconservative lawmaker Ali Emami-Rad from south western Iran. Faaker is vehemently anti-American and strongly objected when US wrestlers took part in a tournament in Tehran in 1998. American athletes have since taken part in other events in Iran.

The candidate ban by the Guardian Council left fewer than 250 veteran reformers among nearly 4,500 candidates and provoked one of Iran's most serious political crises in decades.

The immediate significance of a conservative win would be an end to the ideological clashes that have paralysed the legislature since the reformists won a two-thirds majority in the 290-seat chamber four years ago. Parliament has little power, since all key measures need approval from the appointed conservative clerics. But the new lawmakers could have a free hand to pass budgets that support conservative factions and outlets, such as state broadcasting.

A victory for conservatives also would consolidate hard-line control at a sensitive time. In Iraq, Shiite Muslims are pressing for early elections and look to predominantly Shiite Iran for backing. The United States and its allies, meanwhile, are questioning Iran's denials about seeking nuclear arms technology. In Washington, US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Friday that the candidate bans and other recent crackdowns were "reasons for concern." More than 46 million people ages 15 and over were eligible to vote. Voting was extended for four hours in an attempt to get every last ballot.

State television and radio broadcast a non stop series of reports and appeals aimed at stirring voters. Senior Islamic clerics described voting as a religious duty. With polling extended by four hours beyond the official closing time to allow latecomers to vote, an Interior Ministry source said first estimates suggested a reduced but respectable national turnout of between 47 and 52 percent.

That compares with 67 percent in 2000 when reformers linked to Khatami swept two thirds of the parliament seats.

Most prominent reformists were banned from running this time by the Guardian Council, a panel of unelected hardline clerics.

The ban raised concerns about the legitimacy of the vote in Washington and the European Union, which are also alarmed by new reports suggesting Iran may be pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran's clerical leaders and state media had exhorted voters to "slap America in the face" by turning out in droves, seeking to tap a deep vein of nationalism and suspicion of foreign interference among many Iranians.

The main reformist party, led by Khatami's brother Mohammad Reza, and the main pro-reform student movement boycotted the poll. In Tehran, where their support is strongest, the ministry source said turnout was down to 20 to 25 percent.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, among the first to cast his ballot, said the Islamic Republic's enemies were trying to deter young people from voting.

"You see how those who are against the Iranian nation and the Islamic revolution are trying so hard to prevent people from going to the polls," Khamenei told state television.

The Guardian Council, whose 12 members are all appointed directly or indirectly by Khamenei, disqualified more than 2,000 mainly reformist aspirants. A further 1,179 contenders withdrew.

A gloomy-looking Khatami voted at the Interior Ministry. In an oblique criticism of a poll he has branded "unfair", he told reporters: "This nation has been defeated many times but continued its path and created surprises." A conservative majority in parliament would leave him to serve out his final 16 months in office isolated in a state apparatus in which religious hardliners already control the armed forces, courts and supervisory watchdogs.

Some reformists say they fear a crackdown after the poll. Even before the election, hardliners had used their levers of power to stymie Khatami's drive to liberalise the Islamic Republic by encouraging political debate and some relaxation of strict social codes in the oil-producing nation of 66 million.

http://news.ft.com/world/mideastafrica
37 posted on 02/21/2004 8:36:17 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran's meaningless vote

Boston Globe - Editorial
Feb 21, 2004

Iran's parliamentary elections Friday shone a bright light on the terminal crisis of a failed political system. The travesty of having the 12 members of a hard-line Guardian Council disqualify 2,500 of 8,200 candidates was not lost on the electorate. Reformists speak of a parliamentary coup. Since a fettered Parliament and the office of the impotent President Mohammad Khatami have been the sole institutions in the hands of reformists, the hard-liners' strong-arm efforts to seize control of these platforms betray a fear of anything that resembles real democracy.
.
This is the anxiety of rulers who sense that their days are numbered. Their judiciary pitched in by closing two reformist newspapers Wednesday for printing a scathing open letter to the unelected cleric who bears the title of Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Signed by 100 proreform legislators, the letter castigated Khamenei for allowing freedom to be "trampled in the name of Islam."
.
In response to the thuggish tactics of the hard-liners, reformists called for a boycott of the elections. Iran's eligible voters - there are 46 million of them - may be excused for suffering a bout of vertigo from trying to follow this reasoning.
.
These spasms of a moribund system occur at the same time United Nations inspectors identified traces of highly enriched uranium on advanced centrifuges at an Iranian Air Force base. This suggests the regime has continued to lie to inspectors about its nuclear program.
.
The Bush administration and its European allies must walk a fine line, obliging the regime in Tehran to choose between a verifiable surrender of its nuclear weapons project and international censure and isolation - yet refraining from any threat to use force. Left to their own devices, the ruling mullahs are doing a fine job of inoculating Iranians against the disease of clerical dictatorship.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5018.shtml
38 posted on 02/21/2004 8:38:25 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Protest actions spread to several cities

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 21, 2004

Protest demonstrations spread to several Iranian cities and erupted in various parts of Tehran today. Sporadic demonstrations reportedly rocked Abadan, Marivan, Arak, Eshfahan, Malekan and Hamadan. Anti-regime demonstrations in Izeh turned deadly with, apparently, loss of life.

The regime's reaction to the demonstrators expressing their legal right to protest yesterday's sham election has been predictably brutal. In every instance, the regime's security forces have conducted themselves as though they are foreign oppressors intent upon occupying Iran.

Tehran has been placed under strict martial law with regime security forces deployed throughout the city. In spite of the menacing security forces, young people are circulating on motorized cycles calling for an overthrow of the regime.

The general impression found among residents is that the regime must be removed, if necessary, by armed force.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5022.shtml
39 posted on 02/21/2004 8:40:49 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Protest actions spread to several cities

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 21, 2004

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1082554/posts?page=39#39
40 posted on 02/21/2004 8:42:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

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”

41 posted on 02/22/2004 12:01:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson