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Iranian Alert -- February 22, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.22.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/22/2004 12:00:11 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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To: DoctorZIn
"However, a senior Western diplomat in Tehran told Reuters on Sunday he did not expect further major revelations about Iran.

"I don't think there will be more nasty surprises on the nuclear file," he said."

He said Iran appeared to have taken a fundamental decision, endorsed by all factions in the ruling establishment, that developing nuclear weapons was not worth the trouble. "

Who Is This clown??
21 posted on 02/22/2004 8:39:22 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: DoctorZIn
"The number of voters in that city was more than the whole population."

Hmmm.....sounds familiar. Didn't we see that strange phenomenon in a few places when counting the votes for Gore?
22 posted on 02/22/2004 8:43:03 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: All
Q&A: Iran's elections

CS Monitor
22 Feb 2004

The Monitor's Scott Peterson provides cultural context for the Feb. 20 political contest.

What's the most positive development from Friday's elections in Iran?

As with most political events in Iran, the question of what is positive and negative is in the eye of the beholder. Very little happens here that is not seen through the prism of the political battle between the hard-line/conservative camp, and the once-popular reform camp.

On the face of it, for the conservatives, this election - now that around 2,500 reform-minded candidates have been disqualified - will almost certainly yield victory. That will return control of parliament to the right wing, but will also cause new problems for that faction. The turnout is likely to be very low - in keeping with boycott calls from the main reformist party, and just plain apathy on the part of disenchanted voters - which creates legitimacy problems. The conservatives also must create a new model of rule accepted by more Iranians, who have seen their hopes of more democracy and freedoms - codified by three crucial pro-reform votes since 1997 - dashed by conservatives over the years.

What's the most negative development?

The reformists are crying foul, because the unelected Council of Guardians that barred so many candidates has ensured that reformists can't keep their parliament seats. But there is a much broader issue at stake: Most Iranians these days have as little time for reformists as they do for the hard-liners. They have been completely turned off by politics, and in this vacuum, the divisions between extremists on both sides have deepened.

No one is predicting a new revolution, and there is little chance that the fundamental pillar of Iran's Islamic system - divine clerical rule, in the hands of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - will change anytime soon. There are more calls for that kind of change, especially from the increasingly secular reform camp, but most Iranians will tell you that they don't mind who rules, as long as their regime lets them live their own lives, and make their own political and social decisions.

Were these elections a mere show, with the outcome already determined? How likely is it for a civil war to break out in Iran? If one did, would the conservative clerics or the reformers win?

Civil war on the streets is not likely, though there have been sporadic clashes for the past five years. Instead, expect to see new divisions appearing in the conservative camp, between the hard-liners and the so-called moderate, or "rational" conservatives.

These moderates say they are the ones who, after this vote, will be able to carry out key elements of the reform agenda, and have learned the lesson of the reform experience, that reforms are the key demand of the majority. While there have been a few signs that this faction can have an influence - witness Iran's decision last December to sign the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - there are also many signs that the hard-liners still control everything. For example: 4,000 candidates were at first banned by the Guardian Council, then the Council essentially ignored the Supreme Leader's call that those rejections should be reconsidered.

If the conservatives gain control of the parliament, is the reform movement dead?

Checkmated at almost every turn, the reform movement has been dead for some time. But as reformists often say, its ideals and agenda has now become a bedrock part of Iranian politics and popular demands, even if those who first championed that cause have been unsuccessful in achieving the kind of change they were expecting, after so many landslide electoral victories.

Why has the democratic reform movement run out of gas in Iran?

Critics charge that the movement and reform-minded President Mohamed Khatami misjudged the willingness of conservative, unelected bodies - the judiciary, Guardian Council, etc. - to use extralegal means to force the collapse of the reformists. More than 100 reform newspapers have been shut down. Legislation was never approved. Dozens of political prisoners languish in jail. President Khatami is now accused of proving too weak in the face of that onslaught, and of failing to force accountability on the part of most conservative tools of power.

How would you characterize Iran's relations with its neighbors and the United States since Sept. 11? Does it feel threatened by having US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan or does it prefer the US to Hussein and the Taliban?

Iran's relations with its neighbors have changed dramatically since Sept. 11, primarily because of changes in the region wrought by the US - Iran's official arch-foe, which is still known as the "Great Satan" in some quarters here. Two of Iran's key enemies have been removed - the Taliban, and Hussein - with Tehran barely having to lift a finger. These moves are in addition to a long-standing effort by Iran to improve ties to the Gulf states and other neighbors, as it seeks to bring itself out of the isolation that has prevailed since the 1979 Islamic revolution, and cement its role as a regional superpower.

Which western country has the best relations with the current government of Iran? In what ways is it possible for this country to influence, or modify, the hard-line clerical positions?

France probably has the best relations with Tehran at the moment, but the British and Germans are close behind, and relations do vary considerably. Prince Charles just visited last week, to see the destruction of the Bam earthquake. At the same time, the British Embassy in Tehran has been subject to shootings and other attacks in the past year. And France has come under rhetorical fire for its recent decision to ban headscarves and any religious symbols in state classrooms.

Often, those states have little influence on regime decisions. But the foreign ministers of all three governments visited here last October and persuaded the Iranians to open up its nuclear program to the UN's atomic energy watchdog.

Can you give us a sense of how the "man in the street" in Iran views developments in post-Hussein Iraqi? Are there expectations that a Shiite majority government will form closer ties with Iran? Has the image of the US improved at all in the general population? Or just among the young?

Surprisingly, all these issues are tied together. While some Iranian critics of the regime at first welcomed the American presence so close to their border - and some not-so-subtly hoped that the US would continue its "regime change" mission in Iran, too - the chaos that has ensued during the American occupation of Iraq has turned many of them off the idea.

A Shiite government will certainly look more kindly on Iran that Saddam's regime, but the real influence may be the reverse: Analysts say that Iraq's powerful Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is proving that clerics can be powerful, without holding an actual political position. That is a salutary lesson for Iran's leaders, who have insisted on running the show here for a quarter century, but have turned many Iranians off religion in the process, and set themselves up for blame for every problem in Iran.

Are Iranians looking forward to visiting the Shia holy sites in Iraqi, now that Iraqi is not run by the Baathist party?

According to some estimates, there are as many as 50,000 Iranian pilgrims in Iraq at any one time. The ones I have met in Karbala and Najaf have been enthusiastic, and pleased to be able to return so easily to the Iraqi shrines.

How would you characterize relations between expatriate Iranians and those living in Iran under clerical rule? Does the government allow for immigration as a kind of safety valve to minimize dissent?

More and more expatriate Iranians are making the trip back to Iran - some against the wishes of their families in the US; others with their blessing. Often they find that nothing here fits the image they had of the place in their minds, which is often colored by stories of the brutally violent first years of the revolution, and the strict enforcement of social rules for a decade and a half after that. Difficult as life in Iran continues for many, Iranians and their expat brethren are adept at getting around every type of rule, and often revel in the challenge of doing so, as a simple form of protest.
23 posted on 02/22/2004 10:08:03 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
Libya and Iran - A Great Nuclear Intelligence Failure?

February 22, 2004
Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA -- While Western intelligence policed the globe to halt the spread of nuclear weapons, a Pakistani company that specialised in enriching uranium offered its expertise to interested buyers in glossy brochures.

One pamphlet from Khan Research Laboratories (KLR) featured a picture of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme, against a background of missiles, rocket launchers and the mountains where the Islamabad government conducted its 1998 nuclear tests.

"The main focus of our expertise/service is on the promotion of joint ventures for the manufacturing of advanced defence weapons/equipment," said a brochure, seen by Reuters.

Libya, Iran and North Korea knew where to shop for sensitive nuclear technology in a marketplace that stretched across Europe into Africa, the Middle East and Asia, but the U.N. nuclear watchdog and some Western intelligence agencies have said they were in the dark until recently.

"This was a massive intelligence failure," a non-aligned diplomat told Reuters. "Where was the intelligence?"

One source said Khan was not a figure on the arms trade-fair circuit and that his company's advertising "was circulated but not through legitimate channels".

But a Western diplomat recently told Reuters the United States "had its eyes on Khan for a long time" and also knew about a Malaysian facility that was building centrifuge parts based on Khan's blueprints for Libya's nuclear programme.

In early February, Khan admitted in a televised confession that he and other KRL scientists had leaked nuclear secrets. The International Atomic Energy Agency and Western diplomats said his top nuclear customers were Iran, Libya and North Korea.


Several diplomats and analysts said the Libyan and Iranian nuclear programmes highlighted the failure of governments either to gather proper intelligence, or if they did have intelligence, to give it to the IAEA.

"Remember that it wasn't the CIA or MI6 that uncovered the Iranian enrichment programme, it was the NCRI," said a diplomat close to the IAEA, referring to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition of exiled opposition groups that Washington considers a terrorist organisation.

In August 2002, the NCRI said Iran was hiding a massive underground enrichment facility at Natanz, a facility Tehran eventually declared to the IAEA.

Khan and several nuclear "middlemen" arranged for the illicit sale of sensitive atomic technologies that slipped past supposedly strict national export controls to countries under embargo. Thanks to this, Libya was able to pursue an aggressive, covert nuclear weapons programme under the nose of the IAEA.

Diplomats said it was Khan who provided Libya with the centrifuge technology and weapons designs. They say he appears to have sold many of the same things to both Tripoli and Tehran.

Intelligence sources say Khan sold Pyongyang the same enrichment technology for North Korean missile technology, which prompted Washington to slap sanctions on the KRL.

While Tripoli never managed to build a weapon or even enrich uranium, an IAEA report released on Friday said Libya developed the know-how to make a small amount of plutonium, the ingredient used in the atom bomb the United States dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945.

The IAEA only learned about Libya's arms effort in December, when Tripoli said it was scrapping its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes and invited U.S., British and international experts to help it disarm.

The IAEA report said prior to Libya's disclosure "it had no actionable intelligence" to go on, despite suspicions raised by numerous analysts over the years.

"It is a disturbing sign that Libya was able to accumulate materials and technology without the IAEA or apparently U.S. intelligence being aware of these developments," Jon Wolfsthal, deputy director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Reuters.

"The United States and other countries should share more intelligence with the IAEA," said David Albright, former U.N. weapons inspector and head of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).


Iran has admitted to concealing the full extent of its nuclear programme for decades, but it rejects U.S. charges it is secretly developing nuclear weapons and has promised full transparency in the future.

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran the country purchased nuclear components from black-market suppliers. "It happens that some of those (dealers) were from some sub-continent countries," he said.

The IAEA is expected to release a report on its inspections in Iran in the coming week. Diplomats said it would detail Iran's continued failure to declare potentially weapons-related atomic equipment to the U.N. agency.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said Khan was a key player but was "the tip of an iceberg" in the atomic "supermarket" for states wanting the bomb, a network he said spanned the globe.

Questions also remain about the possible involvement in governments in the black-market network.

The KRL logo sports the words: "The Government of Pakistan".

Khan has said he leaked weapons secrets without the knowledge of the Pakistani government. But diplomats who follow the IAEA find this hard to believe.

"Signing contracts with governments and international agencies? It's hard to believe Pakistan's government didn't know what he was up to," said one Western diplomat.;jsessionid=0T4YGCLAOXPECCRBAEOCFFA?type=reutersEdge&storyID=4409308
24 posted on 02/22/2004 10:15:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Reformist Look to Regroup for Presidential Poll

February 22, 2004
Agence France Presse
Peter Mackler

Divided, discredited and bracing for a hardline crackdown after their rout from parliament, beleaguered Iranian reformers are vowing to press on and regroup for next year's presidential election.

Pro-reform movements could take little comfort in Friday's legislative polls that looked set to produce a solid conservative majority and a voter turnout large enough to thwart hopes for an effective boycott.

They were also fearing renewed pressure from an unforgiving judiciary which already closed down two of their newspapers last week for publishing remarks critical of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

But pro-democracy leaders were not ready to throw in the towel on their largely frustrated efforts to open up Iranian society since taking over the government with the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997.

"We think we will be quick to come back," said Mostafa Tajzadeh, a leading member of the main reformist group in the outgoing parliament, the Islamic Iran Participation Front (IIPF).

"We are going to restructure our party. We will have more exposure with the people," Tajzadeh told a news conference Saturday. "It is a good opportunity for us."

The reformers say they had no hope of holding onto the 290-seat parliament after their clerical regime's Guardians Council disqualified most of their candidates in Friday's contests.

But they see a more level playing field in the race for a successor to Khatami, who chalked up 77 percent of the vote in winning a second and final term that expires in June 2005.

"If the Guardians Council does not reject our candidate, we have a chance to win the presidential election," Tajzadeh said.

The dissident camp sees the poll as putting the conservatives in a bind. A free vote would put the presidency up for grabs; any move to disqualify reform candidates could produce an embarrassingly low turnout.

But if the reformers still feel they have some tactical cards to play while licking their wounds from the stinging parliamentary defeat, they have some hurdles to surmount before returning as a credible political force.

For one, they are badly split: the IIPF and its ally the Islamic Revolution Mujahedeen Organisation boycotted the legislative polls while Khatami and his Association of Combattant Clerics chose to take part.

They are also expecting more heat from a conservative regime emboldened by Friday's voter turnout of about 50 percent, lower than the 67 percent who cast ballots in 2000 but higher than the forecast of boycott proponents.

"The higher the turnout the more the conservatives will be able to limit (the reformers') political margin of maneuver," said Rajab Ali Mazrouie, a member of the IIPF and outgoing legislator.

More fundamentally, the reformers will have to overcome growing apathy among a young electorate that has become disillusioned with the amiable but largely ineffectual Khatami and his government.

The 66-year-old president has been criticised for failing to push a range of initiatives, from reining in the power of the judiciary to abolishing torture, through the conservative clergy.

Iranians also reproach his administration for failing to devote enough attention to economic problems in the country plagued by high unemployment and inflation.

The political stalemate has produced declining voter turnout rates, with less than half the eligible 46.3 million voters taking part in local elections last year - 12 percent in Tehran.

But analysts said low turnouts favor the conservatives since it is usually younger, reform-minded Iranians who tend to stay away from the polls while the hardliners can usually count on their core support.

25 posted on 02/22/2004 10:16:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from a student inside of Iran...

"There are rumors that the government has not yet counted Tehran's polls because the amount of turnout is so low.
That is what all people keep sayin to each other today."
26 posted on 02/22/2004 12:04:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Analysis: Why Iran's reformists lost
Sunday, February 22, 2004 Posted: 12:00 PM EST (1700 GMT)

Manage alerts | What is this?

TEHRAN, Iran -- Hardline conservatives opposed to reform are heading for a landslide victory in Iran's controversial parliamentary elections. CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji explains the background and suggests what may happen next.

Why did the reformists lose after two big victories in the last parliamentary elections?

They lost a good deal of credibility with the Iranian public because they failed to initiate many of the reforms they had promised. One could argue that in parliament their efforts to legislate reformist bills were blocked at every turn by the hardline Guardian Council. And there is plenty of evidence to back that argument.

But at the end of the day, they failed to deliver on important issues. And in some cases when many people expected them to stand up to the hardliners' excesses outside parliament, they proved feeble. I met a lot of people in the past few days who said to me that even if thousands of reformists had not been barred from standing in the elections, they still would not have voted for them.

With the conservatives now set to dominate parliament, where does it leave Iran's reform program?

The reformist camp here obviously has to do much soul searching. The inspiration for the reform movement is President Khatami. But his term of office runs out in about a year from now. The hardliners are already planning to replace him with their own man. If and when that happens, then the reform movement will be completely out in the cold in many ways.

What the reform movement might do then is anybody's guess at the moment. There is a lot of talk about organizing a civil disobedience campaign to force the hands of the hardliners. But for a civil disobedience movement led by the reformists to take shape they need the extensive support of the people which they do not have.

Is Mohammad Khatami now a lame-duck president?

The hardliners who will be in control of parliament after June onwards, when the new parliament is inaugurated, have said they will try their best to work smoothly with President Khatami's government . Their decision stems from the fact that by the time they find their feet in parliament, President Khatami's term of office will be near its end anyway. But I believe so long as he is at the helm, President Khatami's presence will continue to have a moderating effect on the hardliners. And he will continue to be a source of support to the reformists.

Will this mean Iran becomes more isolated from the rest of the world?

That is the concern of many both inside and outside Iran now that the hardliners have made a huge comeback. Many here fear the return to the days some 10 years ago and before, when Iranian regime was picking fights with many countries on a range of issues ... when Iran's human rights record was far worse that it is now ... and when there were political murders abroad that were alleged to have been carried out by the agents of the Iranian government.

But there are many observers here who now point out that the hardliners of today are more experienced in international relations, in diplomacy and in politics. These observers say that the hardliners have been showing signs that they want to be part of the international community of nations. Already there have been feelers sent out by the hardliners to the U.S. for resuming dialogue once they have the total control. These observers argue that the hardliners will now have no opposition to speak of, which will help them make decisions that the reformists were unable to make because of their precarious political position vis a vis the hardliners.

How will the victory affect Iran's nuclear negotiations with the West?

That is the question I have been trying to find an answer to -- so far unsuccessfully. For Iranians, their nuclear program is a source of pride. They say they have a nuclear program which is peaceful and not a nuclear weapons program. They say they reserve the right to pursue their program of peaceful use of nuclear energy. And also, they say they are willing to cooperate fully with the IAEA inspectors.

Now, the problem is the international community, particularly the U.S. and the Europeans, do not entirely trust Iranian pronouncements that they do not have a weapons program. And frankly, Iranian behavior over the past year or so, since the international attention has turned to Iran's nuclear ambitions, has fueled these suspicions.

Every now and then the IAEA finds a piece of equipment that the Iranians had not declared before. With the hardliners back in power, I do not suppose anything will change. But one thing is clear: the international community will almost certainly exert maximum pressure on Iran on this issue as it deals with weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a regime which is not entirely friendly to the West.
27 posted on 02/22/2004 2:47:42 PM PST by freedom44
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To: freedom44
28 posted on 02/22/2004 11:02:22 PM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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

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

29 posted on 02/23/2004 12:02:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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