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Iranian Alert -- February 23, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.23.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/23/2004 12:00:35 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 02/23/2004 12:00:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

2 posted on 02/23/2004 12:03:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Deadly clashes rock several other southern cities

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 22, 2004

Violent clashes, often deadly, between demonstrators exercising their legal right to protest and security forces rocked the provincial cities of Khorram-Abad, Firoozabad and Dehdasht located in Southern Iran. The clashes in Southern Iran have reportedly resulted in several deaths and tens of injured protestors and government security forces.

Portions of the Amir Momenin special brigade, composed mainly of Iraqi expatriates and hardcore Iranian elements were called on to support local regime authorities in subduing the violent demonstrations. Rubber bullets and tear gas were used on the peaceful demonstrators causing the protestors to react violently to the heavy-handed tactics of the regime's security forces.

Buildings, patrol cars and houses of selected official candidates declared as winners of the sham election held on Friday were torched or damaged during the clashes following the brutal attack on the demonstrators.

The situation is very tense in and around the cities experiencing the violent reactions to the regime's security forces brutality. Roads have been blocked to prevent the unrest from spreading to other cities in Iran.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5034.shtml
3 posted on 02/23/2004 12:05:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Sporadic clashes rock cities in northeastern Iranian cities

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 22, 2004

Sporadic clashes, often very violent, rocked several northeastern provincial Iranian cities. Reports from the cities of Mashad, Sabze-war, Neishaboor and Tchenaran indicate that security forces comprising of staunch regime enforcers and Afghani members attacked the demonstrators with excessive force. The brutal attacks on the peaceful demonstrators led to subsequent violence that resulted in damage being sustained to government buildings and patrol cars.

The demonstrations were triggered when it was discovered that officials misrepresented the actual number of voters participating and winners in the boycotted sham elections on Friday. Shouting protests against the corrupt and brutal regime and it's leaders, security forces attacked the demonstrators with clubs and tear gas.

Peaceful demonstrations in Southern Iran turned deadly when special Iranian and Iraqi security forces attacked a legal demonstration that led to the deaths of several protestors and injury to many security forces and demonstrators.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5038.shtml
4 posted on 02/23/2004 12:06:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
EU to Condemn Iran Election, Keep Options Open

February 22, 2004
Reuters
Ha'aretz

BRUSSELS -- The European Union is set to condemn Iran's parliamentary election as unfair on Monday but keep its options open on stalled trade talks pending a report on Tehran's nuclear compliance, diplomats said on Sunday.

EU foreign ministers will discuss policy towards the Islamic Republic at their monthly meeting in the wake of a poll from which an unelected hardline clerical watchdog barred some 2,500 reformist candidates.

Those banned included 80 sitting lawmakers, some of whom had been key interlocutors of the EU in its dialogue with Iran.

"It will be very difficult for the EU to qualify these parliamentary elections as free and fair because the process leading up to them was neither free nor fair," a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told Reuters.

Islamic conservatives scored an easy victory over the shackled reformists on a record low turnout in Friday's poll, which pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami had branded unfair.

"We will certainly focus on the mass disqualification and say how this was an unfair election," another EU official said.

"But I suspect some ministers will want to wait and see what comes out of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report before drawing policy conclusions," he said.

The EU has linked a resumption of negotiations on a first trade and cooperation agreement to Iran's compliance with pledges to accept intrusive spot inspections of its nuclear program and halt uranium enrichment.

But it also seeks progress on human rights, the fight against terrorism and Iran's stance on the Arab-Israeli peace process before concluding the trade deal.

Some reformists suspect the Europeans of seeking to cut a deal with the Islamic conservatives, regardless of what they see as the muzzling of democracy, provided the hardliners deliver results on the nuclear and terrorism issues.

Recent visits by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and Britain's Prince Charles after the mass disqualification of reformists were seen as signalling "business as usual".

But the EU ministers also have to take account of public opinion and human rights groups in Europe, which will subject any "realpolitik" towards Iran to critical scrutiny.

Under the headline "Winter again in Tehran", Germany's Tagesspiegel newspaper said the election result showed the "clocks are being turned back" in the Islamic Republic.

"The conservatives are officially taking back control of the levers of power they never really relinquished. That at least is what the failure of the short Tehran spring shows. Anyone who thought the system installed by (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini 25 years ago was reformable knows better now," it wrote.

The United States accuses Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists its program is purely for civilian energy purposes.

IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei is due to issue a new report on Iran this week, but diplomats said it would not be circulated in time for the EU ministers to discuss it on Monday.

The ministers of Britain, France and Germany negotiated a key agreement with Iran last October under which it agreed to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing tough spot checks, and to halt enrichment.

But EU diplomats said Tehran was still haggling over the scope of that unilateral suspension, which the Europeans insisted must be a complete stop to any work towards enriching uranium, which could be used to make a bomb.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=397034&contrassID=1&subContrassID=8&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y
5 posted on 02/23/2004 12:07:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Love New Proxy Voting System

February 22, 2004
Scrappleface
scrappleface.com

The new, more efficient, proxy election system in Iran allowed about 20 million citizens to cast ballots for hard-line conservative candidates yesterday without actually going to the polls or marking a ballot of any kind.

Under the proxy system, President Mohammad Khatami determines which candidates the electorate supports by consulting with a small group of leading Muslim clerics. The president then delivers a proxy ballot, on behalf of the voters, to an election official.

"It saves time, money and hassle," said Mr. Khatami. "The free people of Iran enjoy the proxy system because it allows us to have huge voter turnout, without the inconvenience of actually voting. We tallied 20 million votes, with no traffic jams, no long lines, no pesky decision making to trouble our people."

Election Day Excitement: President Mohammad Khatami (second from rt.) presents a precinct official with proxy votes for 20 million Iranians as another voter awaits his turn in "virtual line around the block" to cast a ballot the old fashioned way.

http://www.scrappleface.com/MT/archives/001606.html
6 posted on 02/23/2004 12:08:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
What the BBC Didn't Report from Iran Elections

February 23, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Iran va Jahan Network

Following the election sham in the Islamic Republic, several towns and cities in Iran have become unstable and widespread clashes are reported from them.

In Dehdasht (old name Belad-Shapoor) between 2 to 9 people are reported to have been killed in the clashes. People started protesting after the cheating just became too brazen.

In Firoozabad, Fars, people clashed with the Law Enforcement Forces when a cleric by the name of Yunesi-Sarcheshmeyi was declared the winner. One conscript soldier is reported killed. It is not certain whether he was on the side of the people or against them. The people have set fire to banks and all shops are shut.

In Miando-ab, West Azerbijan, some of the cheaters have publicly confessed how they were taught by a cleric to remove the voting stamp from their ID cards and vote again.

Marivan is still reported to be tense after several days. People have beaten up one of the candidates by the name of Ali Karimi, after he was seen in public.

In Izeh, the outgoing MP who clashed with the bodyguards of a judiciary official after pointing out the cheatings, is said to have died after going into a coma as a result of his injuries.

In Bam, the quake victims have protested at their ongoing conditions by gathering in Sardaran-shahid Square.

Today in Isfahan, more than 25000 people in three locations, Nikbakht Court, AhmadAbad Square, and in front of the provincial government building have gathered after a saving account was declared bankrupt one day after the elections. Even though the authorities knew about the bankruptcy before the elections. Several banks have been attacked and had their windows broken.

In Malekan in East Azerbijan, people were told that 45000 are eligible to vote, yet the number of declared votes for candidates totalled 50000! Everyone including children and old people have poured into the streets of Malekan and there is non-stop running battles with the Law Enforcement Forces.

Today Mehdi Karubi, the outgoing speaker was asked why he is in the 31St position in Tehran election results. His reply was "Because people boycotted the elections".

For those of you who can read Persian, see Jamshid Barzegar's analysis for BBC world service. He seems to have accepted the official figures of 40-50% turnout without questioning the credibility: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/story/2004/02/040221_jb_electionresult.shtml and ignored what the people from Iran have reported to the website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/persian/iran/story/2004/02/040220_mf_eyewittness.shtml
7 posted on 02/23/2004 12:10:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Tarnished Vote

February 22, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Opinion

If it had been up to Iran's clerics, today's big story would be the results of the parliamentary "election" they held Friday.

As it turned out, the focus has shifted to the manipulation of what had anyhow been only a mock-democratic process, and to the governmental decay that evidently lurks behind it.

In a Muslim Middle East dominated by Arab non-democracy, the presence in non-Arab Iran of a popularly elected and free-to-talk parliament has often been celebrated as a breath of fresh air.

Compared with regional norms it was indeed a rare manifestation of power sharing, albeit one bluntly obstructed by a lack of administrative clout, as well as harsh restrictions on candidacy eligibility.

The election last decade of the outgoing and savvy Muhammad Khatami in what seemed to be a defeat for arch-conservatives, was presented as proof that Iran was changing, and that people power was finally having its day. It wasn't.

As it turned out, Khatami proved helpless in the face of the country's real ruler, the ultra-fanatic Ayatollah Ali Khamanei. Moreover, Khatami's own much-hailed moderation has failed to emerge as more than merely part of an effort focused on improving Iran's image abroad.

Clearly, Iran has had a severe image problem since its violent takeover a generation ago by its current regime. Bettering that image should have been a fine goal for the regime, though also quite a professional challenge for any Western PR firm, some of whom are indeed believed to have been consulted on the matter. The much-heralded appearance two weeks ago of a visibly affable, warm and smiling Khatami in a Teheran synagogue for a Tu Bishvat celebration was apparently part of a shrewd, if cumbersome, effort to portray Iran and its leaders as more benign than they are ordinarily perceived.

Yet Iran's problem has not been one of appearance, but one of substance. To what extent its political system has come to be split between "reformists" and "hard-liners," as simplistic Western media have been presenting the Iranian power struggle, is no longer the issue. Rather, the question is how much more damage will the Ayatollahs inflict both within and beyond their pivotal country before they finally arrive in history's dustbin?

Ironically, just as they were busy subverting the electoral process – in the hope that the new Majlis will prove less unpredictable than its predecessor – the mullahs ineptitude was exposed in broad daylight: First, in the aftermath of an earthquake that has killed tens of thousands of poor villagers whose only sin was having lived in a country led by people who have not the faintest idea about setting and imposing construction standards. And second, with last week's transportation disaster, which killed at least 320 people and injured 460, after an evidently poorly supervised cargo of chemicals was derailed.

Evidently, with all their high talk of reinventing their country, Iran's self-appointed rulers are failing to rule. With their imposed cultural asceticism increasingly defied by a young generation thirsting for life; with their diplomatic bravado suddenly clouded by America's effective conquest of its neighbors to the east and west, Afghanistan and Iraq, and with their economy visibly stagnating, Iran's leaders are living on borrowed time.

The lengthy decades in which Iran's leaders have fashioned their country as a furnace for international terrorism and a bulwark of theological fascism have taken their toll, and made Westerners reflexively perceive it as such. Yet the thousands of years in which Iran has been a relatively integral state and cohesive civilization have been far from one-dimensionally fanatic.

The Jewish nation certainly remembers Cyrus, the emperor who restored the Jews to their ancestral land and fashioned ancient Persia as a model of political tolerance and cultural pluralism. In subsequent generations, Iran was alternately tolerant and intolerant.

It now seems the country's latest period of fanaticism may be drawing to a close, and that opportunity is fast beckoning for its industrious middle class and worldly intelligentsia to succeed the mullahs and herald an era of restoration. And when their moment finally arrives, a newly liberal Iran will no longer have to grapple with its "image problem."

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1077351470507&p=1006953079865
8 posted on 02/23/2004 12:11:25 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...

"in the last election in the year 2000, the number one winner of city of Tehran got more than 1,700,000 votes but now, the first winner of Tehran could not get more than 107,000 votes.

According the sources in ministry of interior, the whole turnout in Iran was 37%
9 posted on 02/23/2004 12:14:16 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Clergy kill hope of reform in Iran

Hardliners emerge triumphant in parliamentary elections ending President Khatami's project of combining democracy and clerical rule

Dan De Luce in Tehran
Monday February 23, 2004
The Guardian

Iran's seven-year experiment with reform effectively died yesterday when hardline conservatives, including former members of the revolutionary guard, took back control of parliament.
Conservatives aligned with the theocratic leadership won 133 seats out of the first 192 declared in the 290-member parliament, according to figures released by the interior ministry.

Only half of the eligible electorate turned out to vote.

The conservative victory had been virtually guaranteed after more than 2,000 reformists were barred from standing in the election on the grounds that they lacked loyalty to Islam and the theocracy.

Leading reformists had boycotted the election in protest, and appeared resigned to a period in the political wilderness. They said their movement was facing a period of reflection and "stagnation".

Turnout was estimated at around 50%. Conservatives hailed it as "massive", but it was a record low for the period since the 1979 revolution which toppled the Shah. A majority of voters stayed away from the polls in the main cities, but turnout was higher in rural districts.

The conservative bloc known as the Builders of Islamic Iran had the most votes. It was backed by powerful hardliners, who portrayed reformists as incompetent and treacherous.

The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who presides over the theocracy with near-absolute authority, had condemned the reformist boycott as a foreign plot.

"The losers in this election are the United States, Israeli Zionists and the country's enemies," he said.

The victorious conservative bloc is led by Gholamali Haddadedel, whose daughter is married to Mr Khamenei's son.

The conservative move back to parliament marks the end of a reformist project which had raised hopes of a more democratic and tolerant era in Iran.

Since his election in 1997, President Khatami has embodied the reformist vision and advocated a gradual loosening of restrictions on press freedom and personal liberty.

But the appointed conserva tives who dominate the theocracy vetoed his initiatives and his supporters were put on trial and imprisoned.

Reformist MPs said they now expected the conservatives to pile pressure on Mr Khatami's cabinet in his final year in office.

"If the conservatives feel any potential danger, they will take it into account and handle it forcefully," one reformist told the Guardian.

The hardline judiciary was expected to make an example of the more outspoken voices in the reformist faction.

Last week, the judiciary closed the two most prominent reformist newspapers, Sharq and Yas-e-nou. Sharq's editors subsequently issued an apology at the weekend for publishing excerpts of a letter castigating Mr Khamenei.

Many reformists have concluded that the electoral blacklist has buried Mr Khatami's idea that democratic principles could coexist with clerical rule.

Among those expected to fill the next parliament are former members of the hardline Revolutionary Guard and the former police chief of Tehran, who was implicated in a brutal clampdown on student demonstrators in 1999.

Also expected to secure a seat was a cleric known for his anti-US rhetoric, Mohammad Reza Faaker.

Some optimists among the reformists camp predicted that the more pragmatic conservatives would prevail and would keep hard-core ideologues in check. In the 1990s, pragmatists tried and failed to open up the country's economy. Vested interests in the conservative establishment - of those who profit from state-owned enterprises and well-connected foundations - resisted changes to the status quo.

Violence threatened to overshadow the election result as riots broke out in two towns in southern provinces. It remained unclear to what degree the political conflict between reformists and conservatives had played a role in the incidents, in which early reports said several people had died.

In Fars province, in the south, a conservative candidate won by a narrow margin with an unusually high voter turnout, prompting accusations of fraud and clashes that injured several people, local officials said. More people were injured in the south-western province of Khuzestan, where a crowd tried to storm the governor's office, the Isna student news agency reported.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/iran/story/0,12858,1154029,00.html
10 posted on 02/23/2004 12:15:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Mullah$ like to pretend they can pull it off, and
their idiot pathetic European backers blinded by greed,
are also banking on the Mullah$ being like the Chinese.
But they ain't. Why?

Because:

1. The Mullah$ do not have the efficient and functional central government command of the Chinese. They have the brute force in sqaushing rebellions and thats about it, but not the efficient infrastructure of control that Peking wields. Every European looting Iran can tell you that the Mullah infrastructure is an extremely corrupt, dysfunctional, inefficient infrastructure where loyalties can be bought and traded for peanuts! That is simply not the case with the Chinese. Look, the Mullah$ haven't even been able to ban the Internet with the efficiency of the Chinese despite their hollow rhetoric and threats for the last year. Plus nowadays most well connected Chinese have full Internet access using the new satellite services, which just goes to show you, that even the Chinese Worm has its limits, in case the Mullah$ think that paying the Chinese billions for it is going to work. Laughing

2. The average Chinese has a higher standard of living than the average Iranian. They had a higher standard of living circa Tianneman sqaure, and they have a hell of a lot higher standard of living today! Iranians are amongst the poorest people in the world today! That is not the case with the Chinese. Remember the French didn't pour out because they didn't have freedom to form political parties during their revolution, they did it for bread, same with the Boston tea party ( taxes) and also the Russian revolution. The Chinese have bread, the Iranians don't!

3. The majority (93%) of the Chinese do not hate their government the way the Iranians do, nor believe that their government is stealing everything that isn't nailed down the way 99% of all Iranians do, including the Mullah$ own security guards!! The Chinese do not see their rulers as greedy and corrupt thieves the way Iranians do, and this is the golden pre-requisite of all revolutions which the Mullah$ have beautifully fullfilled!

4. Morale and loyalty is considerably lower in the government, military and oppression apparatus of the Mullah$ than it is amongst the same in China.

5. The Chinese supply many basic social services to their people that the Mullah$ don't.

6. The Chinese don't live in the shadow of the excesses of wealth and decadence by their leaders the way starving Iranians do watching zillionaire Mullah$ and their children live it up in a grotesque display of wealth and power not seen since the 'let them eat cake' pre-revolutionary heydays everywhere else! The Mullah$ and their families are putting on quite a display of capitalist decadence of a kind very few in China do. China simply does not have the divisions between the haves and have nots of Iran, and their workers don't waste away in the shadows of decadent wealth.

7. The Chinese have many basic freedoms that Iranians don't have. I said this before, I'll say it again atleast in the Soviet Union the oppressed people could drink their vodka and have their song and dance, and in Cuba they get to drink their beer and dance on the beach. But not in Iran where political oppression is compounded by religious oppression, social oppression, and personal limitations too severe to maintain idefinately while nobody gets to drink, dance, sing, play music without constant fear of severe persecution for committing a major offense/crime!! The Mullah$ will not hold power for long, because unlike the Chinese they do not allow the people the few freedoms that the Chinese people have! If the EU wasn't as blinded by its own greed, it would see the sheer idiocy of investing in the Titanic of the Mullah$!

8. There is no way the Mullah$ can imrpove the economy or the condition of the people to even bring it close to what the Chinese have because: they are too greedy to give anything to the people; most of the rank & file in Iran is stealing as much as they can before escaping the sinking ship (thus the sudden epidemic of bank/business closures throughout the country); the cost of maintaining the internal oppression and external bribes in the billions to government officials in the west has bankrupted the government and the even higher bribes needed now will break the bank even more; none of those loyal to the regime ideologically have any knowledge or ability to deal with economic issues or any other issues requiring an education level higher than high school, corruption and nepotism has so crippled the system that no progress of any kind is possible and the Mullah$ are not about to cart off their own relatives to jail for fraud. Therefore the economic reform will not happen, and any EU country pouring money into Iran, is only pouring it into the pockets of the greedy Mullahs and their 'gedda' relatives, they ain't saving the economy.

So in conclusion:

The Mullah$ lack the Chinese's eficiency of control, the Iranians have considerably lower standards of living than the Chinese, the Iranians watch the elite live in lavish lifestyles that would put Marie Antoinette to shame while the Chinese workers never see such things since their society doesn't have the same harsh divisions between have's and have nots, the Iranians can't even deliver the most basic social services the Chinese do and thus effectively bribe the masses, the Chinese have many more personal freedoms and simple human joys the Iranians are denied, and there is no way the Mullah$ can turn the economy around because of the paralysing corruption and nepotisim caused by their own!

Posted at ActivistChat.com Message Forum
link: http://activistchat.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1429
11 posted on 02/23/2004 12:19:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran theocrats' coup

Published: February 23 2004 4:00
Last Updated: February 23 2004 4:00
Financial Times

Very much as they expected and arranged, Iran's theocrats have wrenched back control of the Majlis or parliament from the reformists grouped around Mohammad Khatami, the president, ending what turned out to be a delusion that the Islamic Republic could be reformed from within.

The promiscuous clusters of hardline mullahs and vested commercial interests built up after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's revolution 25 years ago have asserted what they claim is a higher sovereignty that, because it purportedly derives from God, is fully entitled to trample the sovereignty of the people into the dust. Yet even they must know that winning a landslide as a result of a collapse in the popular vote is not an exercise that demonstrates credibility or legitimacy.

The result of Friday's elections was settled weeks ago, when the Guardian Council - an unelected body that constitutionally "interprets" Islamic orthodoxy - disqualified about 2,500 out of 8,200 candidates, including 87 MPs, from standing. Requested by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader under its Islamist revolutionary constitution, to review the bans, the council made minimal changes and warned any further challenge to its ruling would be "making war on God" - in principle a capital offence. Nearly 1,200 more candidates withdrew in protest. The reformist camp had been all but erased at the stroke of a pen.

Yet Mr Khatami had already capitulated over the previous 18 months. Elected president in 1997 and 2001 in what can only be described as electoral insurrections, he won decisive control of parliament in 2000. Blocked by the clerical establishment, the reformist Majlis voted to curb the powers of the Guardian Council and the hardline judiciary; Mr Khatami threatened to resign if these laws were vetoed. They were, and he stayed, forfeiting the last of his waning credibility. His project of making Iranian government accountable under the rule of law lay in ruins. This tolerant and cultured figure now looks rather pathetic - a man famous for translating Machiavelli, but seemingly without reading it.

His opponents were yesterday cruising to victory, on what looks an artificially inflated turnout of about 45 per cent. That is around half the turnout that elected Mr Khatami in 1997. Reformists say this reflects the success of their boycott; in reality, it reflects the disgust of Iranians who have given up on the system as a whole.

But if the banners of reform are folded, what will take their place? On the eve of the poll, more than 100 MPs wrote to Mr Khamenei blaming him because "the rights of the people are being trampled in the name of Islam". Two reformist newspapers that published this extraordinary cri de coeur were shut down. But that will not stop theocratic rule from being exposed in all its nakedness, now that the theocrats themselves have torn away the last remaining reformist veil.

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1075982733163
12 posted on 02/23/2004 12:22:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Components bought from black market admits Iran

23 February 2004

TEHRAN: Iran acknowledged yesterday that it bought nuclear components on a shady black market amid mounting concern that the Islamic Republic may still be concealing sensitive nuclear research.

Disclosures by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme, have in recent weeks lifted the lid on the global trade in nuclear technology that could be used to make atomic bombs.

"We have bought some things from some dealers but we don't know what the source was or what country they came from," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.

"It happens that some of those (dealers) were from some sub-continent countries," Asefi added.

Meanwhile, confessed nuclear black marketeer Buhary Syed Abu Tahir is free to leave Malaysia, police said, as authorities abroad widened investigations into his role in a trafficking network that sold nuclear secrets to Iran and Libya.

A three-month police investigation found no evidence that Tahir - or a Malaysian company he contracted to make parts for Libya's nuclear programme - had broken Malaysian law, national police chief Mohamed Bakri Omar said.

http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Articles.asp?Article=74928&Sn=WORL
13 posted on 02/23/2004 12:30:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: DoctorZIn
Power Of One

Iran's elections deliver a big victory to hard-line leader Khamenei and dash hopes for reform

Sunday, Feb. 22, 2004
Time
By SCOTT MACLEOD/TEHRAN

A reverential hush filled the heavily guarded Islamic community center in downtown Tehran when Iran's Supreme Leader arrived to cast his vote last week in the country's parliamentary elections. "Allah bless the Prophet and his descendants," cried some fellow mullahs and government officials, in a traditional invocation. With his flowing robe, clerical turban and solemn visage, Ayatullah Ali Khamenei seemed to radiate a sacred otherworldliness, at least in the eyes of his followers, even as he undertook the mundane task of placing a blue card listing his candidate preferences into the slot of a cloth-covered ballot box. "I am grateful to Allah for the blessing of being able to vote," he told assembled reporters. In a rebuke to Washington, which questioned the elections' fairness, Khamenei added, "No one can prevent our enthusiastic youth from taking part in the destiny of their country." As he turned to leave the voting station, Khamenei allowed himself a satisfied grin.

Khamenei, who smiles about as often as did his dour predecessor, Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, had appealed for a big turnout. It may be days before anyone knows the exact tallies from elections that Khamenei, despite his upbeat words, knows alienated many Iranians, young and old. But whatever the precise totals, the results are likely to hand Khamenei's conservative political allies a healthy majority in the 290-seat Majlis, dealing a devastating blow to reformists who swept into the assembly four years ago trumpeting an era of democratic change.

For now, the power struggle in Iran — mullah warfare, some Iranians call it — is over, and the conservatives have won. The big winner is Khamenei, 64, who played a decisive role in putting his conservative allies back in power. The main loser is reformist President Mohammed Khatami, who will serve the last year of his two terms of office facing a hostile parliament and the possibility that conservatives will win the presidency in 2005. It's a prospect that fills Khamenei's allies with glee. "A quarter of a century after the triumph of the Islamic revolution," boasts Mohammed Kazem Anbarlui, editor of the conservative daily Resalat, "we are at the height of power."

The reformists' defeat owes partly to the fact that most of them didn't even run. The Khamenei-appointed Guardian Council, a powerful oversight body consisting of six clerics and six Islamic jurists, barred hundreds of reformists, including 87 members of the Majlis, from standing as candidates on various grounds, such as undermining the authority of the Supreme Leader. Among them was Reza Khatami, deputy speaker and brother of Iran's President. Ten reformist parties, including Reza Khatami's Islamic Iran Participation Front, then pulled out of the balloting, saying they could not run in "illegal and unjust" polls. President Khatami politely asked Khamenei to review the disqualifications, but the Guardian Council still barred some 2,000 candidates.

Under the Islamic Republic's constitution, Khamenei is supposed to be above politics. But he has routinely supported conservative moves — many reformists charge that he has secretly directed them — to quash the pro-democracy movement. He has relied mostly on his legal powers as Supreme Leader, which are greater than Khatami's. He has full authority over the Iranian armed forces, Revolutionary Guards, intelligence services, TV and radio stations and charitable foundations, and he has access to revenues from Iran's $24 billion oil industry.

Besides the Guardian Council, Khamenei appoints other key bodies like the Expediency Council, a sort of Iranian House of Lords, and the Iranian judiciary. In the past four years, together they have shut down reformist newspapers, jailed outspoken journalists and overturned every major reform bill approved by the Majlis. Student demonstrations protesting the actions have been suppressed by the security forces, leaving among young people a trail of disillusionment with Khamenei — and with Khatami for not speaking out or resigning in protest.

Years ago, Khamenei was an underground revolutionary. He later served as the Islamic republic's second President, guiding the country through a long, bloody war after Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During that time, he was maimed by a bomb set off by Iranian terrorists that paralyzed his right arm. Khamenei these days is an enigma to many Iranians. His down-to-earth image clashes with his hard-line pronouncements against the U.S. and Israel. Before the balloting, he called on Iranians to give America a "punch in the mouth" by going to the polls.

But Khamenei is also a pragmatist. Although he has allowed pro-democracy politicians to be crushed, he has shied away from stifling reform urges altogether. Satellite TV, Internet access, expanded political debate, looser restrictions on women's dress and mixing of the sexes are reform-movement achievements that Khamenei has allowed to stand. He has presided over the most significant opening to the outside world since the revolution. In December, with Khamenei's approval, the government signed a protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency allowing inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities — a sea change from the republic's long standoff with the West.

Yet if the Supreme Leader is allowing himself to smile, he could soon have regrets if the election results so neutralize the opposition that the hard-liners lose the fig leaf of respectability the reformers have provided for Iranians wanting change and for wary Western governments.

Many reformists conclude that changing the system from within isn't possible. Some advocate pushing for a constitutional change to curb or even abolish Khamenei's powers. That appeals to militant students, who have chanted "Death to Khamenei!" in street protests. Reform strategists say they may turn next year's presidential election into a referendum on the Supreme Leader's powers by asking voters to cast blank votes to signify dissatisfaction. Former Khomeini aide Mohsen Sazegara was imprisoned for 114 days this year after penning an essay that challenged Khomeini's doctrine stipulating the right of an Islamic jurist — currently Khamenei — to absolute rule. "I was hopeful we could reform the regime," he told TIME. "But now I believe that with this constitution, we cannot achieve any reform."

Open criticism of the government last week reached a level not seen since the fall of Shah Reza Pahlavi. In a letter to Khamenei, angry reformist Majlis members denounced his repressive policies and compared him unflatteringly with his predecessor. "The popular revolution brought freedom and independence in the name of Islam," they wrote. "But now you lead a system in which legitimate freedoms and the rights of the people are being trampled in the name of Islam." Khamenei's allies responded immediately, with judicial officials shutting down Iran's two leading reformist dailies for daring to publish parts of the criticism.

With reporting by Nahid Siamdoust/Tehran

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101040301-593571,00.html
15 posted on 02/23/2004 12:34:27 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
See Iran Run

Christian Science Monitor
from the February 23, 2004 edition -

With American troops now sitting on either side of Iran (in Afghanistan and Iraq), that nation's hard-line Muslim leaders are bolting the door - from both sides.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Council of Guardians can't afford to have their authority challenged from within while the US tries to rid the region of terrorist regimes. So they fiddled with Friday's elections by eliminating over 2,000 reformist candidates for parliament to ensure victory for conservative candidates. The conservatives can now put a halt to reform efforts by liberal parliamentarians.

The clerics also are besieged after being caught twice recently by foreign inspectors with equipment for making bomb-grade nuclear material. They now face the greater prospect of the United Nations imposing economic sanctions on Iran, which isn't what they need with so many jobless youth in open defiance of Islamic rule.

In one unusual act of defiance, two reformist parliamentarians last week openly criticized the antidemocratic actions of the ayatollah, whose position was supposed to be beyond criticism.

In the US effort to put pressure on Middle East regimes, is this what President Bush intended: That Iran's limited democracy get worse before it gets better?

Many authoritarian regimes implode after they crack down harder on dissent. Leaders like the ayatollah fail to understand that legitimacy lies with the people. No wonder voter turnout in Friday's election was the lowest since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0223/p08s02-comv.html
16 posted on 02/23/2004 12:38:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
What the BBC Didn't Report from Iran Elections

February 23, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Iran va Jahan Network

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1083555/posts?page=7#7
17 posted on 02/23/2004 12:42:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
   
   
 
Special Information Bulletin
        January 2004
   
http://www.intelligence.org.il/eng/bu/iran/sponsor.htm
   
 
Iran and its Proxies are Sponsoring and Encouraging Terrorism
in the Palestinian Authority Administered Territories
   
 

 
A photograph of Fatah terrorist operatives in Ramallah against the background of a picture of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah , the leader of Hezbollah. The operative on the left was identified as Nasser Muhammad Yusuf Naji Abu Hamid , a key figure in a Fatah Tanzim cell in Ramallah , who initiated and coordinated dozens of terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
   
 
The arrest of three Nablus-based Fatah Tanzim operatives – all brothers – sheds light on the extensive financial assistance extended by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (hereinafter: “IRGC”) and Hezbollah to support Fatah terrorist infrastructures across the Northern West Bank. As part of this activity, apparently innocent funds ostensibly gathered for social activities were transferred through Jordan by these three brothers. The funds, totaling approximately NIS 1,000,000 (approx. $220,000) were used to finance terrorist activities. Among else, some of this money served as a direct source of funding for a terrorist attack at the Kfar-Saba railway station (April 2003), where one Israeli citizen was killed and fifteen more were wounded.
   

During the course of the current Palestinian Israeli violent conflict, Iran's funding of Fatah terrorist infrastructures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip has become a commonplace phenomenon. Groups and organizations related to Iran (mainly Hezbollah and the IRGC stationed in Lebanon ) routinely transport arms and funds to Fatah terrorist organizations with the purpose of perpetrating terrorist attacks against Israel, including suicide bombing attacks. An obvious example of the above was the double suicide bombing attack in the neighborhood of Naveh Sha'anan in the vicinity of the Tel-Aviv old central bus station (January 5, 2003), perpetrated by a Fatah cell in Nablus, which was sponsored by the IRGC. The death toll in that suicide bombing attack reached 22; a number of foreign workers (many of whom residing in that area) were among the casualties.

   
 

  Overview
 
During the last six months, Israel's General Security Service and the IDF have arrested three brothers residing in Nablus, all three of them Fatah Tanzim operatives. Fadi, Hamdi, and Shadi Abdu were arrested for their alleged involvement in transferring a sum of approximately NIS 1,000,000 that originated in Iran and Hezbollah. An investigation of the three brothers revealed some of the methods and techniques used by Iran and Hezbollah for sponsoring and encouraging terrorist activities in the Palestinian Authority administered territories.
 
Within this context, it is worth mentioning that during the ongoing Palestinian Israeli violent conflict, Iran has been involved in operating additional Fatah terrorist cells in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in an attempt to fan Palestinian terrorism and to extend its influence inside Israeli territory. Thus, for example, the double suicide bombing attack at the Tel-Aviv old central bus station (January 5, 2003, 22 dead) was perpetrated by a Nablus-based Fatah cell that was funded by the IRGC.
 
In its endeavors to step up Palestinian terrorist activities against Israel, Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite terrorist organization operating under the patronage of Iran and Syria, invests many resources in the Palestinians living in the Palestinian Authority administered territories. Hezbollah's assistance to terrorist cells in the Palestinian Authority administered territories is realized, for the most part, in transferring funds toward financing terrorist activities, training Palestinian operatives sent to Lebanon and smuggling arms and ammunition to the Palestinian Authority administered territories (the emphasis being on “quality” arms, “power boosters” for the Palestinian terrorism).
 
Among all terrorist organizations it sponsors, Hezbollah's chief beneficiary is Fatah. Hezbollah encourages operative terrorist cells of Fatah (known as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades) to perpetrate devastating terrorist attacks in order to inflict more damage upon Israelis and prevent security and political agreements. Such was the suicide bombing attack in Rosh-Ha'ayin, a city east of Tel-Aviv (August 12, 2003), perpetrated by a Fatah cell in Nablus and coordinated by Qays Obeid, a former Israeli Arab recruited by Hezbollah.
 
 
The methods used for transferring funds from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah
to the Fatah terrorist infrastructures in Nablus, as uncovered during Fadi Abdu's interrogation
 
On July 4, 2003, Fadi Nazmi Hamdi Abdu, a resident of Nablus and key Fatah Tanzim operative, was arrested. For several years, Fadi served as the general secretary of the Fatah students' movement (the Shabibah ) at Al-Najah University in Nablus . Under interrogation, Fadi admitted that since July 2002 he had received funds toward Fatah activities from Fouad Balbisi, a Fatah activist operating from the Jordan office of Farouq Qaddumi, head of the PLO political department. Fouad Balbisi coordinates Fatah groups from his office in Jordan and serves as a link between Fatah and Iran and Hezbollah. Fadi admitted that he had received sums of money totaling about NIS 160,000 (approximately $35,000) from Fouad Balbisi.
 

Under interrogation, Fadi Abdu admitted that as of October 2002, he had been receiving funds (totaling approximately $30,000) from Ali Hussein Saleh as well. According to foreign publications, Saleh was a key operative for the IRGC stationed in Lebanon, from where he used to coordinate terrorist cells in the Palestinian Authority administered territories until his death in August 2003. Ali Hussein Saleh was the former handler of Kamel Taha Ahmad Ghanem, head of a Fatah cell in Ramallah that operates from within the Muqata'ah , Arafat's compound (serving as his headquarters 1). In this context, Ghanem, sponsored by the Iranians, acted in coordination with operatives in Nablus to carry out suicide bombing attacks in Israel proper. As part of this activity, two female suicide bombers were supposed to travel from Nablus to Kamel Ghanem in Ramallah and, once there, depart to carry out suicide missions in Tel-Aviv's nightclubs.
1 On August 2, 2003, Kamel Ghanem granted an interview to the Al-Jazirah TV network. In that interview, it was reported that Ghanem was staying in the Muqata'ah (Yasser Arafat's compound) along with other wanted members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

 
Fadi admitted to employing young women, mostly students, to transfer funds from Jordan to the Palestinian Authority administered territories. Through the use of those proxies, Fadi funneled funds that originated in Iran to the Fatah Tanzim terrorist infrastructures across the Northern West Bank. These funds were ostensibly transferred to sponsor social activities; in practice, however, they were used to finance terrorist attacks.
 
  Under interrogation, Fadi admitted to transferring a sum of about NIS 100,000 (approximately $22,000) to Amir Saber Sharif Sawalmeh, chief of Fatah / Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus (detained as of June 2003). Sawalmeh was involved in the coordination and perpetration of numerous terrorist attacks, the funding and coordination for most of which were provided by Iranian elements. During Sawalmeh's interrogation, it was discovered that the funds he had received from Fadi Abdu, originating in Iran and Hezbollah, were the direct source of funding for a suicide bombing attack at a train station in Kfar-Saba (April 24, 2003), where one Israeli citizen was killed and fifteen were wounded.
 
  Under interrogation, Fadi admitted to serving as a link between Fouad Balbisi and Husni Abd al-Ghaffar Zaloum, head of a Fatah Tanzim cell who was also involved in acts of murder and coordinating terrorist attacks (detained as of November 2002). Under interrogation, Zaloum admitted to maintaining contacts with Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon and with Jordan-based Balbisi, drawing upon their assistance to fund his activities. He admitted that he had used the funds received from Balbisi to acquire arms and finance regular expenses related to the terrorist activity.
 
  Fadi also served as a link between Fouad Balbisi and Nasser Na'im Muhammad Jum'ah, a senior Fatah Tanzim operative in the Nablus area who was involved in a series of terrorist attacks. Jum'ah also served in the military intelligence apparatus of the Palestinian Authority and was one of the key figures among the Fatah Hawks (Palestinian vigilantes) in Nablus.
 
   

Fadi Abdu
:
The key figure among the three brothers.
Through a Fatah activist in Jordan, he received funds originating in the IRGC stationed in Lebanon and Hezbollah.
     
   

Hamdi Abdu :

His bank account in the Arab Bank was used for the transfer of funds originating in Iran;
in addition, he received funds from an operative of the IRGC stationed in Lebanon.
     
   

Shadi Abdu :
Served as contact person with the IRGC. After Fadi Abdu's arrest, he was sent to Jordan to meet with
Lebanese operatives in order to procure equipment for operatives in the Palestinian Authority administered territories.
 
Transfer of funds from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to Nablus
through Fadi Abdu's two brothers
 
Fadi Abdu recruited his two brothers, Hamdi and Shadi , to the funds transfer activity. A reference to a forty-year-old Fatah operative residing in Nablus who helped transfer the funds came up during Fadi's interrogation. On October 27, 2003, Hamdi Abdu was arrested as well. Under interrogation, he admitted that Fadi had provided him access to his bank account in the Arab Bank for the purpose of transferring funds. He had knowledge of several transfers totaling tens of thousands of shekels carried out through his bank account. After Fadi's arrest, Hamdi continued receiving funds from Ali Hussein Saleh of the IRGC.
 
The other brother, Shadi Abdu, a thirty-year-old Fatah operative residing in Nablus as well, served as Fadi's second in command. When Fadi was arrested, Shadi took his role as contact person with Ali Hussein Saleh of the IRGC. On September 25, 2003, Fadi dispatched Shadi to Jordan to meet with Lebanese operatives from whom he was to procure equipment for operatives in the Palestinian Authority administered territories. Shadi, too, was arrested when he returned to the Palestinian Authority administered territories on October 7, 2003.
     
 
Appendix
 
Displays of admiration for Hezbollah leader: Photograph of Fatah Tanzim operatives in Ramallah against the background of a picture of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
 

A photograph of Fatah terrorist operatives in Ramallah against the background of a picture of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. The operative on the left was identified as Nasser Muhammad Yusuf Naji Abu Hamid, a key figure in a Fatah Tanzim cell in Ramallah, who initiated and coordinated dozens of terrorist attacks against Israeli targets including but not limited to Jerusalem (arrested on May 6, 2002). The photograph was found in a photo album seized by IDF forces during the course of Operation Defensive Shield; it probably belonged to Nasser Muhammad Abu Hamid.
 

A photograph of Fatah terrorist operatives in the Ramallah area. Nasser Muhammad Yusuf Naji Abu Hamid is in the center; pictures of Yasser Arafat are in the background to the right. Fatah terrorist operatives, while supported by Iran and Hezbollah, consider Yasser Arafat to be their leader. The full scale of the tripolar cooperation between Yasser Arafat, Iran, and Hezbollah was exposed in the Karine A incident.
 


Terrorist operatives, probably of a Ramallah Fatah cell, against the background of a picture of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. The photograph was found in a photo album that probably belonged to Nasser Muhammad Abu Hamid, a key figure among a Fatah Tanzim cell in the Ramallah area.


18 posted on 02/23/2004 12:53:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Reformist students: Iran reform movement 'dead'

23 Feb 2004
IranMania News

TEHRAN, Feb 22 (AFP) -- Iranian students, many of whom boycotted controversial parliamentary elections, appeared Sunday to agree that the Islamic republic's reform movement was dead and discredited.

"I did not participate as I did not know any of the candidates," said Shohreh, a 22-year-old female student of chemical engineering at Tehran University.

But while unwilling to sift through the long list of names of mostly conservative candidates who were approved to stand, the student -- wearing make-up, tight jeans and a long coat -- said she had little more time for reformists either.

"Even if the reformists were approved I would not have participated," she said bluntly.

Since winning the parliament in 2000, reformists legislation has been blocked at almost every turn by powerful hardliners who screen all laws.

And when student activists, one of the main driving forces for change and whose votes helped put President Mohammad Khatami and his allies into office, also have bitter memories of when in 1999, 2002 and last year they took to the streets to protest crackdowns on dissent by the courts and security forces.

Khatami was powerless to stop heavy handed police tactics, and reformists in parliament could only mutter some complaints.

"The reformists are dead. They were dead already, but now they are deader," said Reza, 23 and a medical student from the northeast of Iran.

"This was not an election where they could expect me or my family to participate in. They disqualified the reformists anyway," he added, instead looking ahead to a conservative-controlled assembly.

"I hope that they can do something about the economy and live up to their promises," he said.

Aside from failing to assert themselves, the reformists have also come under fire for failing to address pressing concerns over inflation and unemployment -- especially among the thousands of students who graduate from universities every year but have few job prospects.

"The reforms have been dead for years and they were finished by these kind of elections," said Saeed, a 23-year-old civil engineering student and a member of the pro-reform Student Islamic Association.

"For the next six to seven years political reforms will be out, but the economy will get better. Khatami did at least has managed to lay the foundations for more deals, more investment."

Few students were predicting a crackdown on their pro-democracy activities either, but did say their room to manoeuvre would be more limited.

"I don't think the conservatives will restrict us, since they do not want another June 1999 and another June 2003," said Saeed, referring to the dates when thousands demonstrated against the regime and bloody clashes ensued.

"On the surface things will become better: they would not stop us in the street for things like the way we dress, because they want to win the presidential elections" next year, said Shokofeh as she strolled across the campus in her figure-hugging clothes.

"But they will surely close down more newspapers," she said.

Abolfazl, 28 and a student of drama, was one of the few people on the campus who said he had voted -- he is a member of the Basij, a hardline volunteer militia attached to the Revolutionary Guards.

"I voted to raise the participation and show that the fundamentalists can do things in an orderly fashion and answer the US threats," he asserted.

But even he agreed that with even with the reformists gone, a puritanical crackdown would not follow.

"The reforms will continue and even the atmosphere will be more liberal, since the fundamentalists have learned how to deal with people over time. They have learned their lesson," he said.

"There will be less tension."

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=22821&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
19 posted on 02/23/2004 4:09:53 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Iran reformers say parliament vote was a ``historical fiasco''

23 Feb 2004
The San Francisco Chronicle
Via ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

Reformers barred from last week's disputed parliamentary election said Monday that the conservative victory was a "historical fiasco" in which Iranians had no free choice.

Iran's liberals boycotted Friday's elections, in which the nation's conservatives nearly cemented their control of parliament. The bloc of Islamic hard-liners and those considered loyal to the ruling clerics hailed the win as "epic."

But reformers challenged that assessment.

"Victory in a competition without rivals is not epic but a historical fiasco," Rasoul Mehrparvar said during a session of parliament broadcast live on state-run radio.

Mehrparvar, one of the lawmakers barred from seeking re-election, said hard-liners must await God's punishment.

"I hope you will be questioned in the Judgment Day before God because you are not responsive to the people in this world," he said, addressing the head of the hard-line Guardian Council, which banned more than 2,400 prominent reformist candidates.

Interior Ministry figures show the conservative bloc has won at least 135 of the 290 seats, and even holds the lead in the pro-reform stronghold of Tehran. Reformers and self-described independents had about 65 seats.

The final tally on the remaining seats was not expected until at least Monday evening.

Record-low voter turnout was seen by reformists as public backing for their drive to weaken the almost limitless controls of the theocracy.

The nationwide turnout stood at 50 percent; in the capital, Tehran, turnout was recorded at about 30 percent, according to Interior Ministry. More than 67 percent of voters turned out in the last parliament elections in 2000 in a pro-reform landslide.

Despite the low numbers, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, welcomed the turnout as a "national and an Islamic epic in the true meaning."

But reformers pointed out that voters' rights had been violated because they could only vote for candidates that had already been chosen by the Guardian Council.

"Restricting people's choice and imposing certain candidates on them is contrary to the constitution," said Hossein Ansarirad, a cleric and reformist lawmaker. "Through disqualifying more than 2,000 well-known candidates, the Guardian Council prevented candidates from being chosen and the nation from choosing freely. This is a violation of people's sovereignty."

Meanwhile, Iran's parliament on Monday accepted the resignation of Fatemeh Haqiqatjou, a reformist lawmaker who fought for women rights.

Haqiqatjou is one of about 130 reformist lawmakers who resigned earlier this month to protest the mass disqualification of liberal candidates.

Resignations must be debated one by one in the parliament and need a majority vote to take effect. Haqiqatjou's is the first to be accepted.

The shift of control in parliament expands the influence of theocracy and denies liberals an important forum to challenge the non-elected clerical establishment that has final say in almost all affairs.

Election-related violence claimed at least eight lives and injured 38 others in towns in southern Iran, local officials said.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/02/23/international0606EST0478.DTL
20 posted on 02/23/2004 4:13:18 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
LOL!!!
21 posted on 02/23/2004 4:43:05 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: DoctorZIn
This man is funny!
22 posted on 02/23/2004 5:26:51 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
"I hope you will be questioned in the Judgment Day before God because you are not responsive to the people in this world," he said, addressing the head of the hard-line Guardian Council,"

WoW.
That's Harsh. Gutsy.
Wonder how much longer we'll be hearing from him....?
23 posted on 02/23/2004 5:40:59 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: DoctorZIn
"No one can prevent our enthusiastic youth from taking part in the destiny of their country."

LOL!
No one but you, Khamenei.
Where does he come up with this stuff?
Really should keep track of these lines. Lol.
24 posted on 02/23/2004 6:43:29 AM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Parliament Poised to Swing Right

February 23, 2004
The Financial Times
Gareth Smyth and Mohsen Asgari

Iran's parliament was yesterday set to swing firmly to the right after Friday's general election in which the turnout was well down on the last poll.

Conservatives won more than 130 of the first 194 seats declared for the 290-seat assembly. The interior ministry announced a turnout of 50.57 per cent against 67 per cent in the election of 2000.

The interior ministry's figures put the turnout in the capital Tehran at only 33 per cent.

Two reformist parties withdrew when the Guardian Council, a constitutional vetting body, disqualified more than 2,000 mainly reformist candidates.

But observers said the decline in voter participation reflected disillusionment with politicians of all factions rather than support for the boycott urged by some reformists and by exiled opposition groups. Reformists fear the result will end faltering moves by Mohammad Khatami, the reformist president, to curb the political powers of religious bodies. There are also concerns that it could jeopardise moves backed by the European Union to thaw relations between Tehran and Washington.

The closure of two reformist newspapers on the eve of the poll fuelled such fears.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said the real losers in the elections were "the United States, Israeli Zionists and the country's enemies". But many of the newly elected parliamentarians are not well-known and some observers have argued that many will take a pragmatic approach.

* Iran's foreign ministry yesterday admitted that it had bought parts for its nuclear programme from dealers on the international black market. But a spokesman said it was not known from where they were sourced.

http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1075982733198&p=1012571727172
25 posted on 02/23/2004 8:32:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Britain Calls Iran Elections 'Flawed'

February 23, 2004
AFP
IranMania

BRUSSELS -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Monday Iran's elections were "flawed", after religious conservatives trounced depleted reformists on a record low turnout.

"It's plain for everybody to see that these were from the start flawed elections in which in at least half the constituencies, reformist candidates were not on offer to the electorate," he told reporters.

"And by all accounts, the turnout is down by 25 percentage points from its level when there were free elections in 1997," Straw said as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=22836&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
26 posted on 02/23/2004 8:33:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Boycott a Bogus Election

February 23, 2004
National Review Online
Nasser Rashidi

Last Friday, the theocrat tyrants ruling Iran held yet another sham election rigged with massive fraud and grossly inflated numbers to claim high turnout.

Unofficial estimates from government sources notwithstanding, reports from Iran indicate solid shunning of the election by Iranians and a defeat for the clerical regime. The Financial Times reports that, "Despite spring-like weather and impassioned calls to vote from the country's leaders, millions of Iranians appear to have failed to turn out for the Islamic republic's seventh parliamentary elections since the 1979 Islamic revolution."

The mullahs made a mockery of Friday's election by disqualifying nearly 2,500 candidates, 80 of them sitting parliament deputies. This was despite the fact that the rejected candidates had declared their allegiance to the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, in order to be eligible to run in the first place. Khatami's refusal to protest over the fate of his colleagues, and his promise to work within backdoor channels of power, alienated many in his own camp. This goes to show that the apparent conflicts are not over such fundamental issues as free speech and press, but more a fight over who gets a bigger piece of the pie. The San Francisco Chronicle quotes a resident of Tehran as saying: "They (reformists) enter parliament on a bicycle and they leave driving Mercedes Benzes.''

When Mohammad Khatami took office in 1997, many in the West were mesmerized by his citing of renowned Western philosophers, and rejoiced over the prospects of reform in Iran. Now, seven years later, there is hardly anyone who would make the case for fundamental change in Iran so long as the clerical establishment is in power.

Unfortunately, millions of Iranians paid the price for that misperception as the regime brutally crushed anti-government protests, hanged people in public and stoned victims to death. Some 4,000 students, arrested in June for demonstrating in Tehran and for demanding a referendum for regime change, remain incarcerated. The last seven years of "reform" have meant a rise in prostitution and suicide among the young.

The fact is that the Iranian clerical regime is fundamentally and institutionally incapable of reform; one step back and the whole roof would collapse. Ironically, by founding his Islamic republic, Ayatollah Khomeini sowed within it the seeds of its ultimate demise — the inability to change.

Nevertheless, the biggest political crisis facing the regime in the past quarter-century, has taken the mullahs to the brink. It has also stained the elections with the mark of illegitimacy. The lesson to be learned by Tehran's European trade partners is that a theocracy that does not tolerate its own parliament deputies is not about to allow any genuine dissent on the part of the public.

Millions of Iranians saw that and boycotted the election farce. The cry in Iran now is for a United Nations-sponsored referendum for regime change. The more than 5,000 Iranian Americans who took part in an evening of solidarity with Iran at the Washington, D.C., convention center earlier this month echoed that call. They were joined by dozens of parliamentarians from Canada, Europe, and Australia as well as several American dignitaries, including former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle, and the Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi. According to the AFP news service, Mrs. Rajavi called for a "referendum to effect regime change in the Islamic republic, saying it was ‘the only way to peacefully change the medieval regime.'"

Rajavi, who graduated from Tehran Sharif University, said in a statement this weekend that because "a crushing majority of Iranians...have decisively boycotted" the vote, a referendum remained the only option available to change the hardline government.

A resolution, initiated by Kansas Republican Sam Brownback and adopted unanimously by the U.S. Senate last week, underscores that Friday's election in Iran was all for show and that "such elections stifle the growth of the genuine democratic forces in Iran." The Senate resolution demands, "The policy of the United States should be to advocate a genuine democratic government in Iran that will restore freedom to the people of Iran, will abandon terrorism, will protect human rights, and will live in peace and security with the international community."

The message from Tehran and Washington, D.C. rang loud and clear: No more dancing with Tehran's mullahs. It is time to work to end the religious dictatorship in Iran, through a referendum for regime change.

— Nasser Rashidi is executive director of the National Coalition of Pro-Democracy Advocates.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/rashidi200402230856.asp
27 posted on 02/23/2004 8:37:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
2 Million Iranians Jam Southern Iraq Under Cover of Religious Activity

February 20, 2004
IranExpert
iranexpert.com

The Baghdad correspondent for the Jordanian daily al-‘Arab al-Yawm, Ahmad Sabri, reports that Arab public opinion is following with great concern the rapidly growing Iranian presence in Iraq.

Iranians are present in Iraq on the grounds that they are making pilgrimage to Shi‘i holy sites such as an-Najaf and Karbala’ but religion is frequently a pretext for the smuggling of drugs into Iraqi territory and the smuggling of Iraqi resources, antiquities, manuscripts, and even foodstuffs into Iran.

Sabri writes that observers of the situation in Karbala’, an-Najaf, al-Kazimiyah, and Samarra’, as well as Iraqi cities near the Iranian frontier are reporting that Iranian government agencies are working systematically and now have a widely established presence in the centers of these cities where they exploit the absence of local security and order.

According to Iraqi newspaper reports, tens of thousands of Iranians cross the border into Iraq every day, ostensibly to visit Shi‘i holy sites. But those who closely follow this development regard this highly significant scale of Iranian influx – said to total 2 million Iranians in all – as being of potentially serious danger to the security and welfare of Iraq as a result of the chaotic and unsupervised situation that prevails at the border crossings between the two countries.

The Shi‘i holy cities of Karbala’, an-Najaf, and al-Kazimiyah have taken on the appearance of Iranian cities, Sabri writes, making it difficult even to find Arabic speakers there. The Iraqi press published a feature story on the Iranian presence in Iraq that reported that the Iranian flag now flies in the courtyard that lies between the tomb of the Shi‘i Imam al-Husayn and that of his brother al-‘Abbas in Karbala’. Nor is the matter limited to such symbolic manifestations. The Iranian secret police have become highly active in Iraqi cities, recruiting Iraqis by enticement or threat, and distributing pamphlets and books that promote Iran’s political experience, according to the police chief in al-Basrah, who reported that his policemen had monitored this Iranian activity and arrested a number of agents.

Eye witnesses from Karbala’ and an-Najaf report that the cities are being swept by a wave of unprecedented inflation in the price of land and rental rates for apartments and shops. Prices for food are also on the rise because of the huge influx of Iranians into the two cities where they buy and smuggle locally available goods.

The Iraqi press reports that the Iranian secret services are pouring millions of dollars into Iraq and stockpiling large quantities of weapons in specifically designated secret locations in the southern part of the country. The Baghdad papers warn of the danger that hundreds of explosive devices can be imported long-distance from Iran and that they are in fact already in the possession of arms merchants, criminal gangs, and thieves.

http://www.iranexpert.com/2004/iraq20february.htm
28 posted on 02/23/2004 8:39:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Mullahs Regime's Third Surgery

February 23, 2004
The Intellectual Conservative
Nooredin Abedian

On February 20, the seventh legislative elections under the Islamic Republic were held in Iran. In spite of the row on the event, and in spite of a call to postpone the elections by the so-called reformists in the regime, the ballot was held without much difficulty. Counting all other "elections," this was the 24th overall election in the life of the Islamic Republic, and there seemed to be nothing peculiar about the elections except the low turnout. Yet it was very meaningful for the regime.

The Islamic Republic had undergone, up to this election, two main internal surgeries. The first one, in 1981, was when the first president of the regime, Abolhassan Banisadr, elected with a ballot of 11 million votes, was stripped of his position and obliged to join the clandestine opposition, later to leave the country and enter exile. He was accused of being "deceived" by the "Monafeqin" (hypocrites: regime's term for the armed opposition group) Mujaheedin Khalq, which took up arms against the new republic after Banisadr was dismissed. Having resorted to open repression of all legal opposition inside the country as well as being engaged in a bloody external war with Iraq, Khomeini was not capable of tolerating a president not obedient enough to carry out what he was asked to do.

The second surgical operation came in 1988, when Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini's heir apparent, fell from grace when he protested against the massacre of "thousands of political prisoners overnight," as he mentioned in a letter to Khomeini in protest against the exercise. Not able to stop the executions, Montazeri was dismissed quickly, and was later put under house arrest, only to be relieved recently, years after Khomeini's death, when authorities were obliged to end his house arrest because of public opinion. Strangely enough, Montazeri also was labeled as being "deceived" by the MEK. Again, in his weakest position, and after having -- in his own words -- sipped the "poison of accepting a cease-fire" in the war with Iraq, Khomeini was unwilling to let his second in command criticize him for what he purposefully did to save his own neck, and his regime's.

Friday's election, in spite of its banal appearance, was in fact the third big surgery of the regime. Seven years ago, Mohammad Khatami found his way to the regime's presidency amid high hopes for a rather quick process of normalization between the Islamic Republic and the West, in general, and the United States, in particular. In 1997, a few days after Khatami's election, CNN's Christine Ammanpour went all the way to Tehran to interview the newly-elected president long enough to give a clear picture of a true moderate to the whole world. But Khatami never was nor wanted to be a real moderate, and a real moderator of change in Iran. He cared more for the existence of the regime than for reforming it from within. Yesterday, Khatami was seen on CNN, criticizing himself for preaching a reform movement which was now dead, and about to be "buried," after the recent elections. During his seven years in office, the internal balance of power, as well as the regional and international parameters, allowed Khatami and his so-called reformist faction, to keep pace with Khamenei, the supreme leader, and his hardliner gang. Khatami's faction even won the sixth legislative elections four years ago, but nevertheless failed to bring along substantial change. The part of the population deceived by the myth of reform slowly began to leave his camp. And then with the recent changes in the region, notably the installation of several pro-western regimes on its borders in Afghanistan and Iraq, and with international pressure against it to curb its lust for prohibited arms of mass destruction, the regime began to realize that internal schism and infighting could be no longer tolerated. The last thing the mullahs in Tehran wanted was a disobedient parliament and a foot-dragging government during visits by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or the nerve-crashing maneuvers against the United States.

After the regional whirlwinds that changed two regimes in their neighborhood, the mullahs in Iran count on two footholds to keep themselves in place: first, try to "go nuclear," as they call it, as a preemptive measure and for extra leverage in their regional blackmail; and, second, interference in Iraq, a country they consider to be the United States' soft belly exposed to their export of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. Though strategically, nothing can replace the "bomb" for the mullahs, tactically -- especially in a US election year, and when there seems to be a certain level of criticism against the Bush administration for its engagement in Iraq -- they give priority to developments in Iraq in order to gain precious time back home.

In order to proceed full speed towards these two goals, the mullahs needed first to put their house in order. "Never go out looking for trouble if you already have trouble inside your own house," says an old Iranian proverb. The mullahs could have opted for continuing the show of "pluralism," or rather "dualism," to keep at least willing Europeans behind them as a counterweight to the American pressure. But unlike the pre-Iraqi war, the Europeans have seemed to act fairly in concert with the United States in pressuring the mullahs for their lust for the "bomb." Khatami and his reformists' show of "pluralism" was not enough to stop that pressure. So the mullahs decided to get rid of them, and gain some time by pretending to abide by the Non Proliferation Treaty of the IAEA. They took the risk of the third surgery.

It might prove fatal:

-- The population turned a cold shoulder to the mullahs' infighting during the election. They did not even care for the sit-in of pro-Khatami members of the mullahs' parliament after they had been dismissed and kept out of the election game.

-- The unprecedented low turnout, put by the regime at around 50% of those eligible to vote, but as low as 6% by the opposition, means that for any elections to be meaningful in the future, the opposition must come from outside the mullahs’ regime and the poll must have the form of a referendum to determine the fate of the regime in its totality.

-- Given the above, much of the mullahs' remaining power should be devoted to curbing internal discontent and unrest, as seen even during the two days after Friday's sham elections, when unrest spread to various towns.

-- The third surgery is different from the two earlier ones in one very important aspect: it comes at a time when somebody of Khomeini's stature is not heading the regime. Already, after having eliminated hundreds of so-called reformist candidates from elections for reason of non-compliance with the laws, Khamenei came under fire by more than 70 members of the current parliament whose applications for a new round were dismissed by organs under Khamenei's power. The disillusioned members of Majles even publicly accused Khamenei of hypocrisy. He chose not to respond. Maybe he was right. The regime is much weaker and more vulnerable after this internal feud, and the upcoming weeks might stand as proof.

Nooredin Abedian is an Iranian engineer based in Germany, and a former lecturer at Tehran University. He writes from time to time on Iranian issues and politics.

http://www.intellectualconservative.com/article3160.html
29 posted on 02/23/2004 8:40:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the ping!
30 posted on 02/23/2004 8:59:17 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: DoctorZIn
The Great Iranian Election Fiasco

February 23, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

What actually happened; what we must do.

Even for a regime that excels in deception, the announcement by the Iranian government that nearly half the eligible voters cast their ballots in Friday's election is an extraordinary bit of effrontery. And even those Western "news" outlets that decided to pronounce the turnout "low" (the BBC, of course, echoed the party line by talking about a large turnout), did so by comparing the official numbers with those of the last parliamentary election, when more than 60 percent voted for the toothless "reformers."

The real numbers are a tiny fragment of the official ones. The overall turnout came in at about twelve percent, with Tehran a bit lower, and places like Isfahan and Qom (of all places, the headquarters of the Shiite religious elite) closer to five percent. The only major city with a substantially higher turnout was Kerman, due to a local factor: A widely hated hardliner was running, and many people judged it more important to demonstrate their contempt for him personally by voting for others than to show their rejection of the regime en bloc by abstaining.

It shouldn't have been hard to get this story right, at least in its broad outlines. A leading member of the old parliament, Mehdi Karoubi, was asked why he did badly, and he replied, publicly: "because the people boycotted the election."

Keep in mind that the reporters knew full well that all but a handful of polling sites in Tehran — the only place they were able to observe, thanks to the usual clampdown on information — were virtually dead. They knew, or should have known, that the regime had trotted out more than 10,000 "mobile voting booths," that is to say, trucks driving around inviting people to vote. They surely heard the stories — widely repeated on Iranian web sites — of thousands of phony ballots, and of citizens being forced to turn over their identity cards, thus making it possible for others to pose as legitimate voters. They must also have heard that high-school students were warned that if they did not vote they would never get into the universities.

But they did not report any of this. The Washington Post's Karl Vick wrote an upbeat report, as if the hardliners had won a normal election, and CNN's legendary Ms. Amanpour stressed that Iran was changing for the better since the dress code for women had loosened a bit in the past few years. Neither seemed to know that there were violent protests throughout the country, that several people had been killed and scores wounded by the regime's thugs, and that highways were blocked because the regime was afraid the protests would spread. There was enough electoral fraud to fill any Western news report, had the correspondents wished to do so. As the website The Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran recorded violent clashes in Izeh, a southern city where a local politician was murdered by security forces when he protested his exclusion from the electoral list. Other protests were reported from Khorram-Abad, Firoozabad, and Dehdasht in the south, in Isfahan, and near the Afghan border in Mashad, Sabze-war, Nelshaboor, and Tchenaran.

Instead of this important information, we get the usual election-day analysis, as if a real election had been conducted, and one could understand something important about Iranian public opinion from the official numbers.

Oddly, the wild distortion of the real results does show something that the mullahs do not want us to know. They fear the Iranian people, knowing how deeply the people hate them, and they believe they must continue to tell a big lie about popular support for the regime. But the people know better. Thus, the demonstrations.

The regime clearly intends to clamp down even harder in the immediate future. Hints of this were seen in the run-up to the election, when Internet sites and foreign broadcasts were jammed, the few remaining opposition newspapers shut down, and thousands of security forces poured into the major cities. One wonders whether any Western government is prepared to speak the truth about Iran, or whether they are so determined to arrive at make-believe deals — for terrorists that are never delivered, for promises to stop the nuclear program, that are broken within minutes of their announcement, or for help fighting terrorism while the regime does everything in its power to support the terrorists — that they will play along and pretend, as Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has put it, that "Iran is a democracy."

For those interested in exposing hypocrisy, it is hard to find a better example than all those noble souls who denounced Operation Iraqi Freedom as a callous operation to gain control over Iraqi oil, but who remain silent as country after country, from Europe to Japan, appeases the Iranian tyrants precisely in order to win oil concessions.

Meanwhile, the only Western leader who consistently speaks the truth about Iran is President George W. Bush, and the phony intellectuals of the West continue to call him a fool and a fascist. Meanwhile, his most likely Democrat opponent, Senator John Kerry, sends an e-mail to Tehran Times, Iran's official English-language newspaper, promising that relations between the United States and Iran would improve enormously if Kerry were to be elected next November.

Finally, perhaps our enterprising journalists could ask the administration how it can be, three years after inauguration, that we still have no Iran policy. Yes, Virginia, there is still no National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) on Iran, even though Iran is the world's leading sponsor of terrorism, and we claim to be in a war against the terror masters.

Faster, please.

http://www.nationalreview.com/ledeen/ledeen200402231057.asp
31 posted on 02/23/2004 9:00:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
The Great Iranian Election Fiasco

February 23, 2004
National Review Online
Michael Ledeen

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1083555/posts?page=31#31
32 posted on 02/23/2004 9:01:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom now!
33 posted on 02/23/2004 9:08:28 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Al Qaeda & Hezbollah Will Attend Terrorist Conference In Iran

Gary Fitleberg, 02/23/04

The Islamic regime of Iran will host a conference of international terrorists next week that will see attendees coming from across the globe, including representatives of the groups linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and terrorism expert Amir Taheri reported in The New York Post.

Wrote Taheri: "Most of the groups attending the event, labeled 'Ten Days of Dawn,' are branded by the United States and some European Union members as terrorist outfits. These include 17 branches of the Hezbollah

The Islamic Republic's hospitality cuts across even religious divides. Militant Sunni organizations, including two linked to Al Qaeda - Ansar al-Islam (Companions of Islam) and Hizb Islami (The Islamic Party) - will enjoy Iranian hospitality."

The State Department considers the Iranian regime to be the world's leading state sponsor of terror and has also condemned its efforts to build nuclear weapons. The U.S. Congress is considering legislation against Iran much like it did with Syria and the "Syria Accountabilty Act" which will make Iran legally accountable for its actions and with possible repurcussions in the form of sanctions.




Gary is a Political Analyst specializing in International Relations with emphasis on Middle East affairs. His articles have been published in numerous publications including La Prensa (Managua, Nicaragua equivalent to the L.A. Times), Pakistan Today, The Kashmir Telegraph, The Iranian and many more.

Copyright © 2003 Gary Fitleberg.

http://www.americandaily.com/item/4856
34 posted on 02/23/2004 12:17:16 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's regime unrattled by record low turnout

Monday, February 23, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

TEHRAN, Feb 23 (AFP) -- Iran's conservatives have regained control of almost all the main seats of power ahead of next year's presidential polls, despite a record low turnout in Friday's parliamentary elections.

The reformist-controlled Interior Ministry dashed the hopes of conservatives of a high turnout to add credibility to their sweeping victory when it announced on Sunday that only 50.57% of the electorate took part.

Before the election, the leading regime figures of the 25-year-old Islamic republic called for a strong turnout, playing on nationalist and religious sentiments.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said it was a "religious duty", while Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, head of the Guardians Council political vetting body, said "voting is as important as praying".

And although state television, on its six national channels, repeatedly backed up their calls, the turnout was still 17% lower than the last parliamentary elections in 2000.

The reformists had urged voters to stay away after nearly all pro-reform candidates were disqualified from even standing for the Majlis by the unelected Guardians Council.

The outcome was an "acceptable" turnout "which does not put into question the regime's legitimacy, even if the rejection of candidates raises questions over the regularity of the elections," said political journalist Said Leylaz.

Many reformists had predicted that less than 40 to 45% of the 46.3 million eligible voters would cast their ballots.

But Iranian leaders will still not be able to overlook the low turnout in the major towns, especially the capital, where the figure was as low as 28%.

"You cannot offset the 70% abstention by Tehranis with the 70% turnout of voter in small constituencies in the provinces. That would be a big political error," said Leylaz.

"The vote, or rather the non-vote, in Tehran has a political significance, whereas the strong turnout in the small places has none."

In the small provincial towns, voting in the Islamic republic is normally motivated by local considerations, or by ethnic or clan rivalries, rather than major national issues.

It was the second time in a year that voters in the cities failed to turn up at polling stations.

Last February, largely due to voter apathy and disenchantment, less than 12% took part in municipal elections in Tehran, where conservatives strolled home with less than five percent of the potential votes.

"We can't question the correctness of the municipal elections because all the political groups put up candidates. But this time, the reformists were eliminated even before the contest started," said Leylaz.

Moreover, the regime can argue that the 50% turnout compares favourably with those of Western democracies, especially the United States.

Although the turnout was the only issue of suspense going into the polls, in which a conservative triumph was a foregone conclusion, "in a few days, nobody will be talking about it any more", said another Iranian journalist.

Those reformists who were approved and did not boycott appeared set to take about 40 seats in the 290-seat Majlis. They were able to contest just over half of the seats up for grabs.

Definitive results were expected from Monday.

A blend of hardliners, conservatives and independents -- a label under which many other right-wingers have stood -- appears set to replace the noisy but largely ineffectual reformist-held parliament.

Embattled President Mohammad Khatami, whose final term ends in June 2005, now stands isolated as one of the few reformists left in public office.

http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=22823&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
35 posted on 02/23/2004 1:45:13 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran, Isfahan and Kurdistan had lowest turnouts in Iran elections
Monday, February 23 2004 @ 09:30 AM CST
TEHRAN, Feb 23 (AFP) - Iran's capital, the historic central city of Isfahan and northwestern Kurdistan province had the lowest voter turnout figures in the controversial parliamentary elections, interior ministry figures showed Monday.

In Tehran, which has 6.04 million eligible voters, turnout in Friday's polls was just 28.11 percent. During the last Majlis elections in 2000, participation was 55.91 percent.

Incumbent reformists had held a majority of the city's 30 seats, but most had been disqualified from standing for re-election by the Guardians Council, a hardline political watchdog that screens all legislation and candidates for public office.

In Isfahan, Iran's third city and ancient capital, another former bastion of reformists, just 32.19 percent of the electorate showed up at polling stations. Four years ago, participation there was 47.45 percent.

In Kurdistan province, whose outgoing deputies had been close to the reformists and most of whom were also disqualified from standing again, turnout was more than halved, falling from 70.18 percent to 32.26 percent.

In the ethnic Kurdish city of Mahabad, participation was just 23.65 percent.


http://www.dozame.org/article.php?story=20040223093019610
36 posted on 02/23/2004 1:48:04 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
•Several activists in Iran, including constitutional reform advocate and former pro-reform newspaper publisher Mohsen Sazegara have asked the UN to investigate the Friday elections for possible fraud. Former UNIFEM official Parvin Paiydar who returned to London after tours of duty in Afghanistan and Pakistan, tells Radio Farda that UN intervention is a legitimate demand. When democracy is destroyed in one country, it is the responsibility of all democratic states to protest, she adds. (Shahran Tabari, London)

•The Los Angeles Persian-TV broadcasters, who beam their shows to Iran via satellite, actively promoted elections boycott. We receive detailed information on the activities of the government officials from their bodyguards and IRGC members, who have now turned against the regime, operator of a Persian satellite channel Reza Fazeli. Knowing the truth is the people's right and we try to provide that in our broadcasts, owner of another channel Zia Atabai says. Most callers to my 90-minute daily broadcast were pro-Shah women, Azadi-TV broadcaster and monarchist activist Behruz Suresrafil says. (Firouzeh Khatibi, Los Angeles)

Culture Minister Asks Khatami to Intervene on Behalf of Two Closed Reformists Newspapers

•In an open letter to President Khatami, culture minister Ahmad Masjed-Jamei asked him for advice on reversing the Tehran judiciary's bans on two reformist newspapers Shargh and Yaas-e Now. The two newspapers were closed a day before the Majles elections for having carried a letter signed by 130 Majles MPs blaming the Supreme Leader for the mass disqualification of 2,500 reformist election candidates. The judiciary said the newspapers were closed by the order of the secretary of the supreme national security council Hasan Rowhani, who yesterday denied judiciary's claim. (Mahmonir Rahimi)

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Admits Black Market Nuclear Buys

•“We purchased some (nuclear) parts from some dealers, but we don't know what the sources were or which countries they came from,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said today, in an admission that confirms recent reports about the activities of an international black market in nuclear equipment and technology operated by Pakistani scientist. “It happened that some of the dealers were from some subcontinent countries,” Asefi added, refusing to name Pakistan. “We have said from the beginning that we acquired some equipment from some dealers. We haven't mentioned any specific scientist or government organization,” he added. (Shireen Famili)

EU Foreign Minister to Discuss Iran Elections

•In their meeting tomorrow in Dublin, the foreign ministers of the EU countries will discuss the Friday Majles elections in Iran, according to Austria's foreign minister, who said conservatives' takeover the Majles would endanger the future of the reforms. (Shahram Mirian, Cologne)

Depositors Demonstrate Outside Three Failed Isfahan S & L Institutions

•Angry depositors who lined up outside three failed Islamic savings and loan institutions on Saturday demanded the return of their deposits, an eyewitness tells Radio Farda. The crowd blocked several highways and streets, he adds. Another eyewitness says people find it curious that the institutions closed a day after the elections. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)

Neyshabur Residents Block Rail Road in Protest against Poor Relief Work after Train Explosion

•Four days after the massive cargo train explosion near Neyshabour, which killed 300, wounded 400, and leveled several villages, angry demonstrators blocked the Tehran-Mashhad railroad in protest against poor relief work. As people who have lost their loved ones in the explosion, we demand to know the nature of the cargo carried by the exploded train, a Neyshabur resident told the state-owned “students” news agency. A protestor said hospitals demand payment before admitting the surviving victims. (Ali Sajjadi)

.
http://www.radiofarda.com/transcripts/topstory/2004/02/20040222_1530_0350_0629_EN.asp
37 posted on 02/23/2004 1:57:10 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Toughening of EU-Iranian Relations Follows Elections

February 23, 2004
EUobserver
Andrew Beatty

BRUSSELS -- Iran is today facing international isolation as its premier western ally, the EU, followed the United States in branding the country’s recent elections undemocratic.

Meeting in Brussels on Monday (23 February), EU foreign ministers have condemned the elections as a setback and expressed their "deep regret and disappointment".

Earlier the United States criticised the poll, pointing to the ban on 2,400 candidates, many of them reformists opposed to the powerful conservative Council of Guardians - today the EU followed suit.

"It is clear that they [the elections] have not taken place according to what the EU perceives as international standards", Commission spokesperson Diego Ojeda told journalists.

"This is a step back for democracy in Iran" he said adding that the elections would be a "factor to take into account in our future relations with Iran".

Although Washington has had terrible relations with the Islamic republic since the revolution in 1979, the EU has continued to follow a policy of constructive engagement - this now looks set to change.

Trade impact
Publicly, the EU refuses to make any formal link between the elections and the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, currently under negotiation between Brussels and Tehran, insisting that the primary obstacle remains Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities.

But privately officials acknowledge the impact of the elections.

One official close to the External Relations Commissioner, Chris Patten, told the EUobserver that the Commissioner viewed the elections as a setback that could only impact relations.

In a practical sense there are also problems with some concern that the EU has backed a losing horse. "We have had a policy of backing reformists", said one diplomat.

Now the reformists have been ousted and the President severely weakened, the EU’s best interlocutors have been swept away.

In the coming days, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is set to report on its investigations into Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Officially at least, the decision to schedule more talks will be taken on the basis of the IAEA’s findings. However, diplomats say that, for now, no future talks are scheduled.

Last December talks were scheduled to be held, but were cancelled by the Iranian’s shortly before.

http://www.euobserver.com/index.phtml?sid=9&aid=14583
38 posted on 02/23/2004 3:37:14 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Rumsfeld: Syria, Iran Allow Anti-US Fighters Into Iraq

February 23, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

BAGHDAD -- Syria and Iran both continue to allow anti-U.S. fighters across their borders and into Iraq, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday in Baghdad while on a visit to U.S. troops.

"We are not getting good cooperation with Iran and Syria," Rumsfeld said.

It isn't the first time that Rumsfeld has accused the two countries of actions that harm U.S. interests in Iraq, although other U.S. officials have said there is little sign of active Syrian or Iranian meddling in the country.

Meanwhile, U.S. military officers told Rumsfeld that the chief threat to stability in Iraq is evolving away from pro-Saddam guerillas to suicide bombers and other terrorists.

U.S. officials in Iraq told Rumsfeld the origin of these terrorists remains murky - in particular the extent of their relationship with al-Qaida. Some are thought to be from the homegrown Ansar al-Islam group; others are thought to be former supporters of ousted President Saddam Hussein who have joined Islamic extremist groups, and others might be from al-Qaida itself.

"We've seen a real step up on the part of these professional terrorists from al-Qaida and Ansar al-Islam conducting suicide attacks," L. Paul Bremer, chief of the Coalition Provisional Authority, told reporters after meeting with Rumsfeld on Monday.

The best evidence of terrorist ties is in the nature of the attacks - some of which rely on suicide bombers - and the tactics and weapons used, said Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the deputy operations director for coalition forces in Iraq.

The tactics are similar to those used by al-Qaida and related organizations, Kimmitt said. Only one al-Qaida figure has been captured in Iraq, and another senior terrorist-Abu Musab Zarqawi - is described by U.S. officials alternately as a freelancer with al-Qaida ties to a senior associate of Osama bin Laden. He remains at large.

Rumsfeld, on a daylong trip to the occupied Iraqi capital, was also briefed on the threat and the status of new Iraqi security forces, which the U.S. hopes will eventually take the lead in combatting it. For now, though, they work largely under the leadership of the better-equipped and trained U.S. forces.

Meanwhile, attacks on coalition forces have dropped from 50 per day in November to between 15 and 20 a day, Kimmitt said. And gun battles with guerrillas have been supplanted by remotely detonated bombs and suicide bombers.

The targets have also changed. Around 8:45 a.m. local time Monday morning, an unidentified bomber detonated a white Oldsmobile outside a police station in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, Kimmitt said. At least 10 people were killed and dozens others injured.

Iraqi police were investigating. It was unclear if the driver of the car was inside when it exploded, Kimmitt said.

U.S. officials say their adversaries are targeting U.S. forces less, instead targeting police and civil defense stations and trying to foment interethnic and religious violence. Such are the goals laid out in an intercepted letter that U.S. officials believe was written by Zarqawi.

Kimmitt and other officials attributed the drop in guerrilla-style attacks to the December capture of Saddam. Documents found with him provided information on the guerrilla organization and financing, and his detention probably served to persuade some Iraqis to stop supporting the resistance.

In addition to meeting with senior U.S. military and occupation officials Monday, Rumsfeld also visited elements of Iraq's security apparatus. He saw trainees with the new Iraqi Civil Defense Corps taking a first aid class, and also spoke of the importance of transferring security duties to Iraqis.

"We're looking forward to seeing Iraqis take over responsibility for the security of your country," he told a a small group of young Iraqis in uniform.

Kimmitt said the new security agencies, financed by .2 billion from the last Iraqi funding bill approved in Congress, don't have the training or equipment to handle many security threats. But U.S. authorities are trying to get them patrolling the streets as much as possible.

Rumsfeld arrived Monday morning from Kuwait and took a helicopter ride to the headquarters of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment east of here. It was his fourth trip to the region since the U.S.-led coalition ousted Saddam from power last spring.

http://framehosting.dowjonesnews.com/sample/samplestory.asp?StoryID=2004022318390005&Take=1
39 posted on 02/23/2004 3:38:01 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
US Criticizes Iran Parliament Election

February 23, 2004
VOA News
David Gollust

The United States Monday criticized Iran's parliamentary election, saying the contest, from which many reformist candidates were excluded, was "deeply flawed," and did not meet international standards.

The State Department said the election was a setback for political reform in Iran but it said pressure for democracy in that country will continue nonetheless.

At a news briefing, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher expressed the United States' disappointment in the election results. "It was not an electoral process that met international standards and I think you've seen other members of the international community say that. But we do continue to believe the Iranian people deserve a government that responds to their aspirations, and we believe that that desire on the part of the Iranian people will continue to be expressed in a variety of ways," he said.

Mr. Boucher said the election, and a broader lack of respect for human rights, was only one among a list of concerns the United States has about Iranian government policies.

http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=C20B9C66-C788-474F-A37D5848B37674D7&title=US%20Criticizes%20Iran%20Parliament%20Election&catOID=45C9C78D-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C&categoryname=Mideast
40 posted on 02/23/2004 3:59:40 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran reformists resign

A quarrel between MPs has erupted following elections

Scuffles broke out in the Iranian parliament as reformist MPs began resigning one by one following a win by hardliners in Friday's elections.

There were heated exchanges on Monday as the MPs, whose mandate ends in May, blasted on Friday's polls as rigged and accused hardliners of seeking to impose an Islam similar to that of Afghanistan's ousted Taliban.

"I resign," said female reformist MP Fatemeh Haghighatjou, "because a staged, unfair and uncompetitive election was held with the aim of yielding an obedient Majlis (parliament)."

"They do not want a republic, but a Taliban-style Islam," she charged.

More than 80 incumbent deputies in the reformist held parliament, were disqualified from standing in Friday's polls by the Guardians Council, an unelected 12-member political watchdog run by hardliners.

Haghighatjou was one of 120 MPs who quit before the polls, but under parliamentary procedure each resignation has to be debated and approved by the assembly.

Results

Official results show conservatives have so far won 129 of
parliament's 290 seats compared to 40 won by reformists.

Independents won 30 seats, five places are reserved for the
Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian minorities and votes for the
30 Tehran seats are still being counted. The poll was postponed in Bam due to December's earthquake and 55 seats are to be recontested because no candidate got more than 25% of the vote.

Two women were among 14 conservatives who already have
enough votes in Tehran to be elected, with 2600 of more than 3700 ballot boxes still to be counted. There were 13 women MPs in the last parliament.

Angry session

"I resign, because a staged, unfair and uncompetitive election was held with the aim of yielding an obedient Majlis (parliament). They do not want a republic, but a Taliban-style Islam."

Fatemeh Haghighatjou
reformist MP

Hossien Ansari-Rad, another reformist MP, said there was no point in deputies tackling any pending legislation - such as the national budget - given that they were deemed unsuitable to stand in the polls.

The Guardians Council, which drew the blacklist, also screens all legislation passed by the Majlis.

"Since the Guardians Council disqualified some 77 of incumbent MPs, whatever laws that the current Majlis approves will be rejected, so why are they insisting on approving the budget law?" he asked.

The angry session was carried live on state radio.

'Gap'

Another reformist MP, Muhammad Kianoush-Rad, said the 50.57% turnout - an all-time low for a parliamentary poll in the 25-year history of the Islamic republic - showed a "deepening of the current gap between the people and the regime."

And Bahaodin Adab, an ethnic Kurdish MP, spoke of reformists
being targeted by increasing threats.

"We are getting threatening phone calls home to our families, so are you expecting us to come here sit and discuss the budget?" He told Majlis speaker Mehdi Karoubi that outgoing deputies "have no security."

Scuffles erupted after a conservative MP, Ghodratollah Alikhani, said the reformists only had themselves to blame for losing. "You the reformists did this to yourself, to the reform movement and to (President Muhammad) Khatami," he asserted.

EU's 'deep regret'


The turnout in Friday's elections
was 50.57%


Also on Monday, EU foreign ministers expressed "deep regret" after Iranian elections from which most reformist candidates were barred.

The ministers voiced their "deep regret and disappointment that a large number of candidates were prevented from standing, thus making a genuine democratic choice by the Iranian people impossible," according to a draft statement on Monday.

"This interference was a setback for the democratic process in Iran," the statement added, cited by diplomats attending regular ministerial talks in Brussels.

The European Union has been pursuing a twin-track dialogue with Iran based on trade and human rights issues. But the talks have been on hold since June because of EU concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

'Disappointment'

"(We express) deep regret and disappointment that a large number of candidates were prevented from standing, thus making a genuine democratic choice by the Iranian people impossible."

EU statement


One diplomat said the statement, set to be agreed by ministers, amounted to a severe slap to Tehran, while stopping short of completely rejecting the polls. "It is being critical but the outcome has not been questioned," he said.

"The EU is making clear its disappointment," he added. Another noted that the EU had set four areas where it wanted progress from Iran: human rights; nuclear concerns; the fight against terrorism and support in the Middle East process.

"This is one of those key factors, it is very important when deciding if you are going to reach a trade agreement with someone," he added.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/2A08DA9D-7C02-461B-9CC5-BC18BA104DED.htm
41 posted on 02/23/2004 5:10:45 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn


A quarrel between MPs has erupted following elections
42 posted on 02/23/2004 5:26:27 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
45000 are eligible to vote, yet the number of declared votes for candidates totalled 50000

Turnout was 111%.

Nothing to see here.

43 posted on 02/23/2004 5:37:53 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: F14 Pilot

There was a sizeable turnout and the
conservatives won a substantial victory.

44 posted on 02/23/2004 5:55:09 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: PhilDragoo
LoL!
45 posted on 02/23/2004 6:51:12 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: freedom44
I saw this on FOX today. Quite a surprise.
46 posted on 02/23/2004 6:51:59 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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To: freedom44; DoctorZIn; F14 Pilot; Pan_Yans Wife; AdmSmith; All
I GOOGLED Fatemeh Haghighat-joo and found this :


5/26/03
Declaration of Iranian Cultural and Political Activists

Regarding Ways to Assist National Resistance Against Foreign Threats
Persian text
19 May 2003
In the name of God

On the eve of the birthday of our Prophet Mohammed ibn Abdullah (Peace be upon him), we the undersigned, after offering our congratulations for the happy occasion of the birth of the Prophet of Islam, looking at the grave situation of our region and the delicate condition of our country, and in the pursuit of giving support to the nation to stand against foreign threats and to break the internal political deadlock, wish to offer our sincere advice and to warn those ruling our country and to remember the following:

1) Islam as a religion of liberty and freedom that affirms human dignity is still the strongest element of Iranian culture and identity. However, manipulating people's religious belief in the pursuit of retaining political power has inflicted an immeasurable toll on people's attitude toward religion. Given the fact that pursuing freedom and development is one of the highest goals of Islam, violence, narrow mindedness and monopolizing power are incomplete conflict with Islamic values. Taking away people's God given rights is unacceptable. The misuse of Islam for sinister ends, encouraging factionalism and attacking intellectuals - in the name of religion - who criticize the system has already inflicted damage on the morals and spirit of the nation.

2) The 1979 Islamic Revolution was based on a movement of people who were inspired by authentic Islamic values to reach independence, freedom, justice and popular sovereignty. The struggle of the last 100 years by this nation was to remove dictatorship in all shapes and forms. The wish and hope of the people was that the Islamic regime would return to its original goals that were articulated at the beginning of revolution. The unelected institutions such as the judiciary, Council of Guardians, Expediency Council, Radio and T.V etc. all are united and are standing against the wishes of the nation. They do not tolerate any legal action or legitimate criticism. The accumulation of power in the hands of a few has created a huge financial chasm between classes in society as well as resulted in discrimination and a lack of justice for the general public.

3) On top of the demand for freedom and justice, a popularly elected government is at the top of the list of the nation's demands. All Iranians, regardless of religious belief, opinion, or language, are all the common owners of this ancient land of Iran and they must have the right of self-determination. All persons in-charge of any position in the system must represent the people and honor their wishes. According to basic principles of the Islamic religion, no one has the right to rule or to control any institution without the approval of the nation. It is the rulers who must accommodate themselves to the wishes of the ruled not the other way around. The Islamic Republic has no other meaning except this one

The will of the people is only determined via the ballet box. A true republican system of government is the one elected directly by the people for a limited time, not for life. They are accountable to the nation. Calling for a referendum, such as the one in 1980 is an integral tool of the system working for people's interest. Therefore, arranging a referendum to solve problems seems to be the only way out of this difficult situation.
****

We the undersigned, considering the above three points, express our complete dissatisfaction with the rulers in Iran. We believe our country's interest demands a reduction of political pressure in order to create justice and security for the people and to reduce any threats from abroad. In pursuit of the end, we again demand the following:

1) The Judiciary system must be independent from political and economical powers, and be completely impartial and function according to the law. Most Iranians, particularly legal experts, find the judiciary system unfair, partial and a tool in the hand of unelected groups.

2) Representatives of the people in the parliament must be able to exercise complete freedom at their job. Repeated attacks by the Guardian Council have transformed the parliament into a useless institution. We demand an end to the supervisory role of the Guardian Council and the road blocks they have place against bills passed by parliament relating to the electoral process, protection of the press, defining what constitutes a political crime, the illegality of torture and giving the president the necessary powers to carry out his duties.

3) We demand an end of illegal arrests and the removal of a ban on more than 90 publications so that they may have the freedom for political and journalistic activity. Increasing political and social crackdown such as illegal arrests is against our national interests.

4) We demand a free and independent Iran and to the same extent that we oppose foreign interference in our internal affairs we also oppose religious despotism and the denial of the legitimate freedoms of our people. We are warning the regime to not force the nation to choose between freedom or independence. This might provide an excuse to some groups who desire freedom to sacrifice the independence of the country. If this happens, the responsibility for this outcome falls exclusively on the shoulders of the regime. We are deeply worried that the continuation of the present policies carried out by unelected men is taking us to a point of no return. We must learn a lesson from the fate of the Taleban and Saddam Hussein and understand that despotism and selfishness is destined to take the country down to defeat. The only way out from the current impasse of external threats and pressures is to accept the national aspirations of the Iranian nation.


The above statement has been signed by 196 personalities. Names, social status and political affiliation of some signatories are as follows:



1 Adib, Masoud Theo.-Seminary lecturer, Association of the Lecturers and Researchers of "Qum Theological Seminary" (ALRQTS)
2 Aghajeri, Hashem,Ph.D University Professor, Organization of Islamic Revolution Mujaheds (OIRM)
3 Aghajeri, Zohre Iran Islamic Participation Front (IIPF)
4 Ahmadi, Ali Akbar University Professor
5 Ahmadi, Nemat Law expert
6 Akbarain,Mohammad Javad Researcher&Journalist
7 Alavi Tabar, Alireza, Ph.D University Professor, Researcher&Journalist
8 Amini-Esmaeili,Hamid Researcher
9 Amoli, Naser Researcher&Journalist
10 Amozadeh-Khalili, Freidon Journalist
11 Ansari-e Rad, Hossein, Theologist Theological Seminary lecturer, Head of the Parliament's Commission of Article (of the Constitution)
12 Arabsorkhi,Feyzollah Journalist, OIRM
13 Ayazi,Mohammad Ali, Theologist Theo.-Seminary lecturer, ALRQTS
14 Baghi, Emadoddin Author & Journalist, Society for Defense of the Freedom of Press (SDFP)
15 Basteh- Negar, Mohammad Researcher, Political Activist (PA)
16 Bazargan, Abdolali, Architect Researcher& Author, Freedom Movement of Iran (FMI) Party
17 Bazargan, Abolfazl, Eng. Prime Minister's Deputy in Provisional Government of the Islamic Revolution of Iran(PGIRI),FMI
18 Derayati,Mostafa Theo.-Seminary lecturer, IIPF
19 Dorkeshan, Mahmoud PA
20 Doroodian,Mohammad-Hosein Ex- member of Tehran City Council
21 Ebrahimbay- e Salami, Gholamheydar Member of the Islamic Parliament (MP) (Majlis), IIPF
22 Etemadi,Hosein University Professor
23 Falah, Morteza University Professor
24 Farid A'lam, Hassan, Ph.D (Eng.) University Professor, FMI
25 Farzadi, Ghaffar, Ph.D (Math.) University Professor, FMI
26 Fateh, Nima M.D Researcher
27 Fazel- e Meybodi, Mohammad Taghi, Theologist Theo. Seminary lecturer, ALRQTS
28 Ghabel, Ahmad, Theologist Seminary lecturer, Researcher&Author.
29 Ghabel, Hadi, Theologist Theo. Seminary lecturer, IIPF
30 Ghaderi, Hatam University Professor
31 Ghafari, Masoud University Professor
32 Gharavi, Ali- Asghar, Ph.D Researcher&Author, FMI
33 Gholizadeh, Raahmangholi Researcher
34 Hadian, Naser University Professor
35 Hadizadeh, Hadi, Ph.D. (Nuclear Phys.) University Professor, FMI
36 Haghighat-joo, Fatemeh MP, Ex- member of Union of Moslem Students'-Association of Iranian Universities(UMSAIU)
37 Hajarian,Saeed Researcher, IIPF
38 Hakimi, Majid, Senior high school teacher, FMI
39 Heidari, Ali-Mohammad Theo.-Seminary lecturer
40 Hekmat, Ali Journalist, SDFP
41 Izadi, Mostafa, Eng. Researcher, Journalist, Ex- Deputy Governor of Tehran Province
42 Jala'i- Poor, Hamid- Reza, Ph.D (Pol.Sc.) University Professor, IIPF
43 Jalali,Mohammad Reza Researcher
44 Jalalizadeh, Jalal MP, IIPF
45 Kadivar, Jamileh (Ms.). MP, President of Journalist Women's Association (JWA)
46 Kadivar, Manocheher Researcher
47 Kadivar, Mohsen, Ph.D. University Professor, President of SDFP
48 Kamali-Ahmadsaraee, Fateme(Ms.) Journalist
49 Kaviani,Abolfazl Theo. Seminary lecturer
50 Kazemian, Morteza Journalist, PA
51 Khorram, Amir, Eng. Author&Journalist, FMI
52 KianoshRad, Mohammad MP, IIPF
53 Koolayee, Elahe (Ms.) MP, University Professor, IIPF
54 Koosha, Mohammad-Ali Theo.-Seminary lecturer
55 Lotfi, Mojtaba Theo.-Seminary lecturer
56 Mansoorian, Khosro Tehran Municipality's Social Deputy after the Revolution, FMI
57 Massmoo'i, Gholamreza, Eng. Ind. Consulting Eng., FMI
58 Mazroo'i, Rajabali MP, IIPF
59 Meysami, Lotfollah, Eng. Author&Journalist, PA
60 Mighati, Ghasem Researcher
61 Mir-Moosavi, Ali Theo.-Seminary lecturer
62 Mirzaee- Hojato'lah University Professor
63 Mohammadi-e Ardehali, Mohammad Merchant, PA
64 Mojaradi, Zahra IIPF
65 Montazeri, Sa'id, PA
66 Montazeri, Ahmad, Theologist Theo.-Seminary lecturer, PA
67 Moradi, Mohammad-Ali University Professor, EX deputy of ministry of agriculture
68 Mozaffar, Mohammad - Javad Researcher & Publisher
69 Mussavian, Abolfazl, Theologist Theo. Seminary & univ. lecturer, ALRQTS
70 Nadi, Gholamhossein, Theologist Ex- MP, ALRQTS
71 Narimani, Ali Theo.-Seminary lecturer
72 Paya, Ali Researcher & University Professor
73 Paya, Hossein Researcher & Publisher
74 Peyman Habibollah, DDS University Professor, PA
75 Piran, Parviz Researcher & University Professor
76 Ra'is- Toosi, Reza, Ph.D.(Pol.Sc.) University Professor, PA
77 Rafi'i, Hossein, Ph.D. University Professor, PA
78 Raja'i, Alireza, Ph.D. Journalist, PA
79 Razavi- Faghih, Sa'id Journalist, UMSAIU
80 Reza'i, Abdolali Researcher&lecturer, SDFP
81 Reza'i, Mohammad University Professor
82 Reza'i, Mohammad-Javad University Professor
83 Sa'idi, Meysam, Eng. MP, IIPF
84 Sa'idianfar, Jafar Theo.-Seminary lecturer
85 Sabbaghian, Hashem, Eng. Minister of Interior in PGIRI, FMI
86 Sadr- e Haj Seyyed Javadi, Ahmad, Ph.D. (law) Minister of Interior and Minister of Justice in PGIRI, FMI
87 Safaeefar, Abbas Journalist, SDFP
88 Safdari, Mostafa University Professor
89 Sahabi, Ezzatollah, Eng. Member of the Revolutionary Council, PA
90 Saharkhiz, Issa Journalist, SDFP
91 Salavati, Fazlollah, Ph.D. University Professor, Journalist
92 Salavati, Mahmoud Theo.-Seminary lecturer
93 Samimi, Keyvan Journalist,PA
94 Saremi, Mahmoud University Professor
95 Seifzadeh, Mohammad University Professor, Layer
96 Semati, Hadi, Ph.D. University Professor, IIPF
97 Shah- Hosseini, Hossein Director of Sports Organization of Iran in PGIRI, PA
98 Shamsolvaezin, Masha'allah Journalist, SDFP
99 Shari'ati, Sa'id Journalist, IIPF
100 Sinaee, Vahid University Professor
101 Soroosh, Abdolkarim Researcher, University Professor
102 Taheri, Akbar, Eng. Quranic Researcher, FMI
103 Tajzadeh, Mostafa EX-Political deputy of Ministry of Interior, IISP
104 Talebi, Bagher Theo.-Seminary lecturer
105 Taleghani, A'zam (Ms.) Secretary of Women's Society of the Islamic Revolution of Iran(WSIRI), Social activist
106 Taleghani, Taherh (Ms.) PA
107 Tavallai, Majid, Eng. Journalist, PA
108 Tavassoli, Gholamabbas, Ph.D.(soc.) University Professor, FMI
109 Tavassoli, Mohammad, Eng. First Mayor of Tehran after the Revolution, FMI
110 Tehrani, Reza Journalist, SDFP
111 Vaheb, Mahmoud Theo. Seminary lecturer
112 Vahid Dastgerdi University Professor
113 Yazdi, Ebrahim, Ph.D Foreign Minister in PGIRI, Secretary General of FMI
114 Yussefi- e Eshkevari, Hassan, Theologist Researcher& Author, PA
115 Zandinya, Parviz University Professor
116 Zohdi, Mohammad Reza Journalist, SDFP
117-Hassan Arbabi 118-Morteza Eshfagh 119-Masoud Aghaei
120-Azam Akbarzadeh 121-Ali Akrami 122-Fereshteh Bazargan
123-Mohammad-Navid Bazargan 124-Parvin Bakhtiarnejad
125-Aliakbar Badizadegan 126-Mohammad behzadi
127-Safa Bitaraf 128- Masoud Pedram 129-Abbas Pourazhari
130-Mahmoud Pishbin 131-Majid Peyman 132-Mostafa Tanha
133-Majid Jaberi 134-Abolfazl Hakimi 134-Mohammad-Reza Hamsi
135-Rasul Dadmehr 136-Mohmmad-Mehdi Daneshian 137-Habib Davaran
138-Mosayeb Davani 139-Mohammad-Javad Rajaeian
140-Taghi Rahmani 141-Bahman Rezakhani 142-Ahad Razaei
143-Jamal zerehsaz 144-Ali-Reza Sarikhani 145- Nasrin Sotudeh
146-Fereydun Sahabi 147-Ali Shaamlu 148-Mohammad Shanehchi
149- Mohammad Sharif 150-Allahverdi Shamburi 151-Hoda Sabar
152-Reza Sadr 153-Mahdi Sarraaf 154-Ali-Ashraf Zarghami
155-Fereidun Zarghami 156-Hesaam Taleghani 157-Mohammad Taheri
158-Amir Tayarani 159- Hassan Arabzadeh 160- Reza Alijani
161- Ali Alizadeh-Naeini 162-Reza Emadi 163-Mahmoud Emrani
164-Alireza Gharavi 165-Saeid Ghafarzadeh 166-Ali Ghofrani
167-Mehdi Ghani 168-Morteza Fallah 169-Khosro Ghashghaei
170-Naser Komailieian 171-Bejan Golafra 172-Fatemeh Govaraei
173-Hojatallah Gheyasi 174-Narges Mohammadi 175-Saeid Madani
176-Mashaallah Madihi 177-Mostafa Meskin 178-Ali-Akbar Moeinfar
179-Hormoz Momayezi 180-Yousof Molaei 181-Mohammad Molavi
182-Ali Momeni 183-Mahmoud Momeni 184- Amir Mirkhani
185-Vahid Mirzadeh 186-Allahkaram Mirzaei
187-Abolfazl Mirshams-Shahshahani 188-Mahmoud Naeimpoor
189-Mahmoud Nekurooh 190-Hamid Noohi 191-Majid Noohi
192- Fakhr-Sadat Noorbakhsh 193-Akbar Vali 194-Amin Hadavi
195- Naser Hashemi 196- Ali-Farid Yahyaei

47 posted on 02/23/2004 6:59:31 PM PST by nuconvert ("Progress was all right. Only it went on too long.")
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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”

48 posted on 02/24/2004 12:09:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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