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

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

1 posted on 02/25/2004 12:06:37 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 02/25/2004 12:09:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

Though this is good news, I don't think the Iranians deserve freedom unless the do it themselves. The Muslim approach is let somebody else do it for us. Let's see the nads first, if they really want it that bad. Only %22 of the population in the US was in favor of the Revolutionary War.
3 posted on 02/25/2004 12:19:11 AM PST by jwh_Denver (Oh that's right, I'm a certified doom and gloomer.)
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To: DoctorZIn
U.N. Inspectors Report Evidence That Iran Itself Made Fuel That Could Be Used for A-Bombs

By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER
Published: February 25, 2004
NYTimes

Despite Iranian disavowals, International Atomic Energy Agency experts in Iran have found evidence of indigenous production of a concentrated fuel that, if pure enough, can be used to make nuclear weapons. They said in an inspection report that equipment made there showed many traces of the fuel, highly enriched uranium.

Iran has consistently argued that any traces of concentrated fuel must have come from equipment contaminated before it was imported, presumably from Pakistan. But the report, distributed yesterday to the agency's board, found the fuel on parts Iranians had made, and "only negligible traces" on imported parts.

The evidence that Iran may still be hiding crucial elements of its nuclear program prompted a sharp response from the Bush administration, with one senior official saying, "The key right now is to build an international consensus about what Iran is doing, and the Iranians are making it easier every day, by their failure to disclose and by what's being found in Iran."

The agency's report stops well short of declaring that Iran has a weapons program under way, and in that respect it disappointed American officials who have cast scorn on Iran's arguments that it is seeking to produce fuel only for power plants.

But the report also contradicts many of the claims of Iranian leaders. It found, for example, that Iran had concealed plans and experimental work to make sophisticated centrifuges, including a model called the P-2, a second-generation Pakistani design that has also been found in Libya. Centrifuges are used to make enriched uranium.

Iran has said it encouraged domestic companies to produce the components it needed for the centrifuges. But, the report noted, "most workshops for the domestic production of centrifuges are owned by military industrial organizations."

Centrifuges are hollow metal tubes that spin very fast to enrich uranium in its rare uranium 235 isotope. When thousands are linked together, they can concentrate the isotope enough to make potent nuclear-bomb fuel. Nuclear reactors use a less concentrated isotope.

Other findings include the assertion that until pressed, Iran hid work done at a previously known reactor to make polonium 210, a highly radioactive isotope that in small amounts can help set off a nuclear explosion. Polonium 210 has peaceful uses as well, and the Iranians denied it was linked to a weapons program. The polonium program's existence was reported yesterday by The Washington Post.

The Iranians also failed to account for a discrepancy between the amount of plutonium they showed inspectors and the amount the inspectors calculated the Iranian equipment should have produced. But the missing amount does not appear to be enough to build a bomb.

The agency, a branch of the United Nations, said it was still trying to figure out whether nuclear material had been diverted to projects that inspectors have yet to discover.

According to the report, Iranian officials have now promised to go beyond past pledges to suspend operation of fuel-producing centrifuges: They have vowed to halt the production of new centrifuges and parts early next month.

The agency said Iran had assembled "some 120 centrifuges" since it announced its suspension of operations in November. It also said Iran had agreed that if it cannot suspend all its contracts for centrifuge parts, it will put those parts under the supervision of international inspectors.

In London on Tuesday, senior British officials confirmed the new commitments from Tehran. "It's significant," a European diplomat familiar with the report said of the new pledges. "If you don't have centrifuges spinning, you can't make material for bombs."

Iran's efforts to produce bomb fuel became a central issue for George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in an appearance on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss threats facing the United States.

While noting that Iran had begun to give international inspectors access, he said, "The difference between producing low-enriched uranium and weapons-capable high-enriched uranium is only a matter of time and intent, not technology."

Over the weekend, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell urged Britain, France and Germany to put additional pressure on Iran, despite the deal struck by the three countries late last year to avoid a showdown on the nuclear issue at the United Nations Security Council.

Still, one senior American official said, there is little concern that Iran is on the verge of obtaining a weapon. The official said, "Everyone believes that with the I.A.E.A. crawling over the country," it would be difficult for Iran to do so.

Another official said, "I don't think we're prepared to go to the Security Council yet, but every week, we're peeling back another layer of the onion, and maybe that's just as good."

The international agency's report notes "several common elements" between Iran's nuclear program and Libya's, which is being dismantled.

It does not raise the question foremost in the minds of American officials: whether the Pakistani network led by A. Q. Khan sold Iran the complete plans for building a warhead. Such a plan was sold to Libya, and when Libyan officials turned it over to the United States and the agency last month, it was flown out of country. It is now being examined at the Department of Energy, the custodian of the American nuclear arsenal.

Last year, the I.A.E.A. found traces of highly enriched uranium on Iranian centrifuge equipment, touching off an international crisis. The new report said the centrifuge gear and Iran's claims about it still pose "a number of discrepancies and unanswered questions."

For instance, it said, uranium contamination from two centrifuge plants differed in material respects, even though Iran said the source in both cases was the same: imported centrifuge parts.

It added that the agency had found the purity of highly enriched uranium from one of the sites, the Kalaye Electric Company, to be 36 percent — short of the 90 percent needed for most nuclear bomb designs but far greater than that needed to make fuel for nuclear reactors.

The most surprising disclosure was the report's claim that the agency had found "only negligible traces" of the 36 percent-enriched uranium on imported parts. In the past, Iran had argued that any such material would have entered the country on imported gear.

By contrast, the Kalaye site, which housed Iran's prototype centrifuge plant, "seems to be predominantly contaminated" with the highly enriched uranium.

Private experts said that finding suggested — but did not prove — that Iran, contrary to its repeated claims and denials, had itself begun to use its centrifuges to produce highly enriched uranium.

"Something here is very fishy," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, an arms control group in Washington. He added that the Iranians were "clearly nervous to cave" and suspend manufacturing.

The energy agency's report will have the United States government "rubbing its hands in glee," Mr. Albright predicted. "But this is positive, and we should use the leverage to get Iran to cooperate more."

William J. Broad reported from New York for this article and David E. Sanger from Washington.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/25/international/middleeast/25NUKE.html?ex=1078290000&en=87a8616b26616e63&ei=5062
5 posted on 02/25/2004 12:46:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Hard-liners face hurdles in new Iran

By Borzou Daragahi
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

TEHRAN — The momentous takeover of Iran's parliament by hard-liners in Friday's elections means a new era for the country, and likely the end to the Islamic republic's seven-year experiment in softening its harsh domestic and international policies.

Although hard-liners have returned to prominent positions of power, their options are limited, analysts here say, by Iran's new social, economic and geopolitical realities. These include a restless, underemployed generation of young people intolerant of religious social controls and a lively civic culture filled with unofficial associations and groups.

The population is savvy, and has access to the Internet and satellite television.

Other realities include an ailing economy in need of foreign investment and a ubiquitous U.S. military intolerant of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

After Shirin Ebadi's win of the Nobel Peace Prize, they also include a sharpened international focus on the clerical regime's treatment of citizens.

President Bush reacted yesterday in Washington, saying:

"I am very disappointed in the recently disputed parliamentary elections in Iran. The disqualification of some 2,400 candidates by the unelected Guardian Council deprived many Iranians of the opportunity to freely choose their representatives. I join many in Iran and around the world in condemning the Iranian regime's efforts to stifle freedom of speech, including the closing of two leading reformist newspapers in the run-up to the election. Such measures undermine the rule of law and are clear attempts to deny the Iranian people's desire to freely choose their leaders.

"The United States supports the Iranian people's aspirations to live in freedom, enjoy their God-given rights, and determine their own destiny."

In the same vein, Bernard Hourcade, a noted Iran scholar who has traveled to the United States at least once a year for the past 35 years, said in Tehran: "Everyone in Iran, even the right-wingers, knows that human rights is on the agenda."

Open for business

Indeed, the election comes as Iran prepares to reopen its economy to the world for the first time since Iranians toppled the pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. The French car manufacturer Renault signed a deal in October to invest $750 million in Iran over the next few years. Last week, Turkcell, a Turkish company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, won a contract to build a mobile-phone network, and Japan agreed to invest $2 billion in developing oil fields.

"If there's a huge crackdown on human rights in Iran, there's going to be huge pressure on these companies to leave," said Ali Ghezelbash, an analyst at a Tehran-based investment consulting firm. "These companies don't want to be seen as supporting a despotic government."

Religious hard-liners took control of the parliament after a short, troubled political season filled with comical election charades, such as people suddenly lining up and pretending to vote when reporters arrived and candidates running at the order of their well-connected bosses.

"I think they awarded some of my votes to other candidates," said Homa Nasseri, an independent liberal who failed to win a seat. "Based on my campaign supporters' estimates, I thought I would receive 15,000 to 20,000 votes. Instead, I had 500 votes. I'm very discouraged."

The biggest reformist bloc in parliament — indeed, the best-known political group in the country — was mostly barred from running by a right-wing council appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's top religious and political figure and the successor to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

A group of political unknowns calling themselves the Developers of Islamic Iran won the biggest bloc of votes, including about 30 of the 38 seats representing the capital. They adopted many of the good-government slogans of the reform movement, and promised not to crack down on women with hair peeping out of their head coverings or young people listening to pop music, as hard-liners have done in the past.

"Our goal is to solve economic problems," said Emad Ghetassi, who works in the group's public relations office. "The last parliament ignored economic problems. We've promised to solve unemployment. We've promised to increase people's purchasing power and solve the inflation problem."

But even Ayatollah Khomeini vowed he would address people's economic troubles, just before his revolution plunged the country into a quarter-century economic abyss from which it is only now emerging. Many say that the hard-liners who have taken over the parliament represent two strains — one pragmatic and focused on the economy, the other ideological.

"One part of them are these unknown people who are making slogans about development and economic growth," said Rajabali Mazroui, one of the reformist members of parliament barred from running again by a council of hard-line clerics and jurists. "Another part of them are the very radical, harsh right-wingers. It's not clear who's going to come out on top."

Radicals rule

Many in Iran shiver at the prospect of newly triumphant religious radicals cracking down on human rights and pursuing an international policy certain to alienate the West and the United States, which has criticized the clerical regime's attempts to obtain nuclear technology.

In the past week, the hard-line judiciary already has closed most of the country's few remaining liberal newspapers, and the Foreign Ministry has admitted under pressure it obtained nuclear material on the black market.

Mr. Mazroui said reformers that were booted from the government plan to return to society at large and try to regroup, joining the hundreds of new nonprofits, civic associations and literary and political groups that have been forming throughout Iran.

"We thought we could compromise with the [religious] conservatives," he said. "Now we understand it's not possible."

But analysts say a new conflict could be brewing between religious fundamentalists who want to tighten social controls and battle Western culture, and pragmatists who want to ensure the clerical regime's survival by adapting it to the new domestic and international realities.

The two groups united temporarily for the sake of defeating the reformists, but a new split, caused by divergent social and economic interests, may emerge.

Though Iran is growing economically, this country of 68 million people faces growing income disparities and unemployment of its educated, youthful population.

The young have increasingly little taste for the traditional values and Islamic piety advocated by state propaganda organs.

"The country faces a crisis of legitimacy," said Ramin Jahanbegloo, a scholar at the Cultural Research Center, a Tehran think tank. "It's a crisis that's been growing since 1989, when Ayatollah Khomeini died. The young people, the new generation, are moving and further and further away from the system."

The reform movement, analysts said, was an attempt to alleviate the crisis while playing by the rules of Iran's system. Beginning in 1997, President Mohammed Khatami and his allies took control of the government while seeking to turn Iran into an Islamic democracy. But faced with the vested interests of clerics who control the legal system, the experiment failed.

Internationally, Iran fared no better under a weak reformist government constantly sabotaged by hard-liners. "No one knew whom to talk to," said Mr. Jahanbegloo. "Iran became a country with double figures and double messages."

The pragmatists talk of a new approach and a new social contract — a "Chinese model" in which the country would open itself to foreign investment, provide jobs as well as limited social freedom, and continue to stifle political dissent and activism, all the while keeping violent, hard-line elements — the regime's shock troops — in check.

"They know that if the hard-liners start putting pressure on people, it's dangerous," said Mr. Ghezelbash, the investment analyst. "If people get beaten up on the head, they might go home. But they'll go home angrier and angrier and eventually blow up," he said.

Pragmatists — epitomized by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and U.S.-educated state television director Ali Larijani — would like to "water down the existing severe social atmosphere, implement reforms, give minor social freedoms to the society and develop a positive approach with foreign powers," including Washington, said Davoud Hermidas Bavand, a professor of international relations in Tehran.

Looking east

The Chinese model would be no easy fit in Iran. China's market of 1.2 billion consumers makes it a land of great potential riches, where corporations will look the other way when the government tortures dissidents or Beijing gets into shouting matches with Washington.

Though Iran has reformed foreign-investment laws and set up tax holidays for investors, its market is paltry.

"Iran is an interesting market, but it's not China," said the Tehran representative of a French corporation. "There's an understanding among the companies doing business here that there are things the government can and can't get away with in terms of human rights."

Moreover, additional foreign investment will mean foreigners bringing Western and secular values, demanding social freedoms and introducing new ideas.

"If you are building a foreign company here, it means bringing hundreds of families here," said Mr. Hourcade, the Iran scholar who has spent his life scouring this country's farthest corners. "The sociology of these cities will change. The social climate will change."

That would alienate the hard-liners and the pious traditionalists who voted in droves for the religious candidates in the recent election, who believe Iran should implement and export its Islamic values.

Mr. Bavand, the international-relations scholar, predicts these religiously oriented forces might stymie the Chinese model of pragmatists, who remain unable to solve Iran's unemployment, brain drain, drug addiction, corruption and international-relations problems.

Indeed, for the first 18 years after the Islamic revolution, the various religious factions held near-monopolies on power in Iran and were unable to solve any domestic problems without relying on Iran's oil revenues or any international conflicts without resorting to name-calling and demonizing foreigners.

"You look at them now, it's the same individuals," said Mr. Bavand. "Previously, they had the same authority, and they weren't able to do a thing."

http://washingtontimes.com/world/20040224-103810-9246r.htm
6 posted on 02/25/2004 12:50:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Amir Taheri: End of the reformist itch may ironically be healthy for Iran

25-02-2004
Gulf News

Whichever way one looks at Iran's latest general election the result is a decisive defeat for the so-called "reformist" camp. The product of an illusion, the so-called "reformist" movement had deceived itself into believing it could deceive all the people all the time.

It all started with Mohammed Khatami's election as president in 1997. Iranians turned out en masse to vote for Khatami not because they liked, or even knew, him but because they wanted to prevent the election of the establishment's candidate whom they knew all too well. Nevertheless, Khatami's election manifesto at the time sounded both reasonable and promising. It contained 10 pledges.

The first was to restore law and order to a country where extra-state organs exercised often arbitrary power since 1979. It is clear that Khatami has failed to honour that pledge. His supporters, including his brother Mohammed Reza, who was not allowed to stand as a candidate in last week's election, now speak of a "constitutional coup d'état" by their rivals.

Khatami's second pledge was to "revive the Iranian economy". Here, too, his record is one of failure. Despite annual economic growth rates of more than four per cent in 2002 and 2003, the average annual rate for the past seven years stands at 1.5 per cent, which means an actual recession.

Nor has Khatami made any progress on his third pledge: to remove all discriminatory measures against women. If anything Iranian women are likely to receive a big slap in the face when the full results of the latest election are known. It is quite possible that no more than one or two women will enter the new majlis (parliament).

Khatami's fourth pledge, to normalise relations with the outside world, also remains unfilled. The European Unionis beginning to lose patience at what it sees as a pattern of duplicity by the mullahs.

Washington, having made some conciliatory gestures towards Tehran, now seems hesitant, preferring to wait and see who actually rules Iran. Even the much heralded restoration of diplomatic ties with Egypt has not materialised.

Khatami had made other pledges: to ease pressure on Iran's youth, some 65 per cent of the population, and to provide jobs for at least some of the 10 million or so men and women shut out of the labour market. Nor has he managed to stem the flow of Iranian "brains" that, according to Unesco, are leaving the country at a rate of 150,000 a year.

Insipid speeches

The so-called "reform" leaders say they are surprised at the fact that the people did not support their 11th hour show of militancy symbolised by a sit-in at the parliament building last month. During the sit-in the "reformists" made lengthy and passionate speeches.

The people yawned. The "reformists" then decided to resign but did so only after the parliamentary session had ended. In other words they were quitting the show after the curtain had fallen.

Worse still, the "reformists" never made it clear what it was exactly that they wanted. They moaned about "dictatorial and despotic tendencies" in the regime but never proposed any measure to correct them.

During the seven-year "reformist" experience we have had over 2000 executions – almost 50 per cent of the world total – in Iran. At least 50 dissidents, writers, journalists, politicians, and religious minority figures have been assassinated. More than 200 publications, including some 100 newspapers, have been shut down. The number of prisoners has risen to its highest levels since 1985.

The last hope of the "reformists" was a massive boycott of the polls by the voters. Had that happened they would have been able to claim the result as a round-about victory for themselves. But it didn't happen.

At the time of writing this column, the official figures indicated that the turnout had been at least as high as it was four years ago. The only difference is that this time around some 20 per cent of those who went to polling stations cast blank ballots.

What does this mean? It means that many people went to the polls to deny the "reformists" the low turnout they had dreamed of. At the same time, they cast blank ballots to make it clear that they do not approve of the system.

All in all, some 25 per cent of the total electorate voted for the candidates. Of those less than a quarter chose the candidates regarded as close to the "reformists".

A further quarter voted for candidates who have genuine local power bases and could not be classified either as "reformist" or "conservative".

Thus the support base for the so-called "conservative" faction amounts to around 12 to 15 per cent of the total electorate. In other words, what matters in the present context of Iranian politics is who controls the levers of power. On that score, there is no ambiguity: power in Iran today belongs to the camp identified by western Iranologists as "conservative".

That camp, however, does not consider itself as "conservative" at all. On the contrary, it prides itself as the standard-bearer of the Khomeinist revolution whose aim remains the conquest of the universe for "the one and only true faith". Anyone who would think Iran's true rulers are conservatives would be making a mistake.

Whether anyone likes it or not - and this writer does not - the Khomeinist movement remains a revolutionary force. As already noted, its support base in Iran has shrunk to between 12-15 per cent of the electorate.

But, unlike the confused, not to say hypocritical, "reformists", the radical Khomeinist camp has a clear ideology, a well-established agenda, and well-known methods of dealing with its opponents. It is as it appears. And that, in the context of Iran's current politics, is a relief for all concerned.

Genuine, or if you like "hard", Khomeinism, still enjoys some support in Iran. Ersatz, or "soft" Khomeinism as represented by the so-called "reformists", however, has no firm constituency.

As long as Iranians are not able to offer a clear alternative to genuine Khomeinism, the nation will not emerge from its historic impasse. By dispersing the fog of confusion, last week's election may make the formation of such an alternative that much easier.

Time may prove that the end of the seven year "reformist" itch in Iran would be good for the Iranian people and all those who want Iran to resolve its revolutionary crisis and return to normal.

Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam, between 1972-79 he was the Executive Editor of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper. Taheri is reachable through www.benadorassociates.com

http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/Opinion.asp?ArticleID=111993
7 posted on 02/25/2004 1:03:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
EDITORIAL

Empty democracy in Iran

To no one's surprise, conservatives claimed an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections held in Iran last week. The results were predictable since many of the country's reform-oriented candidates were not allowed to run. The low turnout is proof that the outcome does not reflect the will of the Iranian people. The only question now is how they will channel their frustrations: continued apathy or stepped-up confrontation with the hardliners who are determined keep their grip on the country.

The results of this election were preordained when the Governing Council, an unelected body of 12 clerics that oversees all laws and elections in Iran, disqualified thousands of liberal candidates, among them more than 80 current members of the Parliament. Widespread criticism of that move prompted the Council to restore about one-third of the disqualified candidates, but 2,400 were still not permitted to run.

Reformers were not satisfied, and more than 120 liberal members of the Parliament offered resignations. But that, and the prospect of international criticism, did not dissuade the hardliners. The elections went ahead as scheduled.

As anticipated, conservatives swept the vote. According to the most recent results, conservatives have taken more than 149 seats in the 290-seat Parliament, giving them an absolute majority and wresting control from the reformers. Reformers and independents look set to take about 65 seats. In districts where no one got more than 25 percent of the vote, a second round of balloting will be held later.

Reformers have claimed a moral victory after calling for a boycott. That may have had an impact on turnout: A little more than 50 percent of voters cast ballots, a considerable drop from the 67 percent that turned out in the last round of elections, nearly four years ago. Turnout in Tehran, the capital and largest city, was a little more than one-third.

Undaunted, the conservatives saw the results as a victory for the nation and as a refusal to be intimidated by Western nations bent on subverting the Islamic revolution. More accurately, reformers deemed the vote a "national fiasco."

The apathy in Iran is a product not only of disgust with the blatant rigging of the elections, but of exhaustion with the reformers. Since taking power in 1997, President Mohammad Khatami has been unable to break the conservatives' grip on power, even though he and his allies have commanded a majority in the Parliament. Reforms have languished, bottled up by the Governing Council. At every confrontation, the president has backed down. He has had good reasons: The hardliners control the security ministries and would welcome a confrontation that they would invariably win. Khatami is unwilling to see blood shed by his supporters. Despite his concerns, the image he has projected is one of weakness, and he has alienated his most fervent allies.

With these results in, the hardliners have claimed control of all the levers of power and can begin to throttle the reformers through supposedly democratic instruments. Reformers have lost a vital platform that allowed them to reach the Iranian people as well as international public opinion. President Khatami is now more isolated than ever.

Iran is likely to be isolated as well. There has been near universal condemnation of the election results, but that has only strengthened knee-jerk nationalists who view any foreign criticism as an opportunity to build support for their positions. An increasingly conservative Parliament is likely to push for more confrontation with critics and there are several issues upon which they can oblige.

One troubling topic is Iran's nuclear energy program. As additional information about that clandestine nuclear effort is revealed, it is becoming clear that Tehran is still cheating on the International Atomic Energy Agency. The announcement that Iran is willing to sell nuclear fuel on the international market is an open invitation to nuclear proliferators and is clearly designed to thwart the intent of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Hardline Shiite Muslims in Iran could push co-religionists in Iraq to become more obstructionist in an effort to dominate the post-Hussein government. Those groups have been quietly supportive of the U.S.-led occupation, but they could lose patience with the nation-building process and decide to take matters into their own hands. Support from Iran would be essential to that effort. At a minimum, increasing violence would tie down the U.S. and prevent Washington -- and the supporters of secular, democratic government in the region -- from winning an important victory. As the recent elections confirm, Iran's conservatives use democracy as a fig leaf -- and cast it away when necessary. As it happened last week.

The Japan Times: Feb. 25, 2004

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/geted.pl5?ed20040225a1.htm
9 posted on 02/25/2004 1:23:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Rafsanjani Says Open to Dialogue with U.S.

February 24, 2004
Agence France Presse
AFP

Iran's powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani revealed Tuesday he was open to the idea of dialogue with the United States, but that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was opposed.

"For me, talking is not a problem. But this is only if it was for me to decide on personally," Rafsanjani, who now heads the Islamic republic's top political arbitration body, said in an interview with the hardline Kayhan afternoon daily.

But he added that because Iran's late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor as supreme leader, Khamenei, were both opposed to talks with Washington, "I follow them and I say nothing."

Rafsanjani was Iran's president from 1989 to 1997, and he remains a key figure at the top of the 25-year-old clerical regime as head of the Expediency Council.

He also told the paper there were no new developments in Iran's relations with Washington.

"They continue to send us threatening messages and continue to raise the four questions," he said, referring to Washington's concerns over Iran's nuclear programme, opposition to the Middle East peace process, alleged support of militant groups and human rights.

"But they are stuck in the mud in Iraq, and they know that if Iran wanted to, it could make their problems even worse," Rafsanjani told the paper.

He said the two sides were in contact over Iraq and Afghanistan, "but regarding diplomatic relations, there is nothing".

When asked if Iran should hold a referendum on resuming relations with the United States - a possibility raised recently in an official strategic journal - Rafsanjani refused to give his view, "given that I know that the policy of the supreme leader is hostile".

He said Ayatollah Khamenei was the "axis" of the country and that it was "important not to create divisions".

Rafsanjani did acknowledge that there had been some "positive signals" from Washington, but said these were "only signals".

Iran and the United States severed diplomatic relations in 1980, after the Islamic revolution when the US embassy here was seized by students and its diplomatic staff and guards held hostage for 444 days.

Two years ago, US President George W. Bush famously lumped the country into an "axis of evil" along with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Stalinist North Korea.

http://www.afp.com/english/home/
12 posted on 02/25/2004 8:24:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
International Save the Children Alliance Statement on Iran

February 25, 2004
International Save the Children Alliance
Reuters AlertNet

Iran Earthquake Iranian government officials say it will take years to repair the damage caused by the earthquake that struck Bam and its surroundings on 26th December 2003. Official revised figures as of 9th February show that approximately 43,200 people lost their lives and 75,600 were displaced.

Meanwhile 2,000 children were orphaned, while 5,000 lost one parent or other family members. The Government estimates that 25,000 intermediate shelters are needed for Bam city and 5,000 for nearby villages Increasing numbers of people who have been living amongst the rubble left by the earthquake are now moving into camps that have been set up in and around the city. The Iranian Authorities are looking for the most suitable proposals for shelters. It is estimated that a total of 25,000 houses in the city of Bam were destroyed while 24,000 in the rural areas surrounding Bam were destroyed or damaged.

The infrastructure of the city has been severely affected. Almost all of the health facilities in Bam and its surroundings were destroyed, and 50% of local health staff reported dead or missing. The water distribution network suffered damage that has left many people largely dependent on water tankers and bottled water.

90% of schools were destroyed and the rest suffered damages likely to be beyond repair. In addition, according to the UNICEF 30% of Bam district's 32,443 students and one third of its teaching cadre have perished. Some teachers have however, have returned to work in temporary shelters that have been set up on some of the old school building sites.

Local farmers and plantation owners have been badly hit by the disaster, in particular, small-scale date plantation owners and families depending on livestock production.

Key Issues for Children ; The earthquake has left many children dead or injured ; Children have lost families, homes and possessions ; Many children do not have adequate shelter or access to basic services such as health care and sanitation facilities ; Children's education has been disrupted ; A number of children were separated from their families following the disaster

Save the Children Response The Save the Children response has been conducted with the support of Save the Children Finland, Japan, Norway, Spain, UK and US.

Save the Children is focusing its assistance on: ; Re-establishing primary health care, especially 'health houses' ; Establishing 'child-friendly' spaces and recreation facilities for children to give their lives an element of normality. ; Helping especially vulnerable groups such as women-headed households, orphans and refugees.

Relief Following the disaster the Save the Children Alliance distributed, emergency supplies including 1,000 tents and 10,000 blankets as well as soap, children's clothes and shoes, cooking equipment and medical kits in co-operation with the Red Crescent Society. The relief phase has now slowed down but it is anticipated there will be a likely need to re-supply tents. Save the Children has a stock of tents, blankets and some children's clothes that can be made available to families in need or to local organisations for their projects as and when required,

Health A number of tents have been distributed by Save the Children to hospital staff in 42 health centres in and around Bam to provide shelter for their family needs, in order to facilitate their return to work. Staff in five centres have returned to work but they are experiencing problems obtaining re-supplies of equipment and medicine.

The Iranian Ministry of Health has requested that Save the Children develop a programme to strengthen the Mother and Child health services throughout Kerman Province, in particular strengthening the capacity at urban health centres to provide emergency obstetric care and essential new-born care. In response Save the Children has requested donor funding for a six- month programme of activities.

Child Protection Save the Children has continued with its plans to support several Iranian organisations with tents and toys for non-formal education/recreation centres for children. Save the Children is seeking proposals from local organisations for more non-formal education projects and other child-focused projects. An outreach team of social workers will also be set up, to follow up child protection issues.

Save the Children is also continuing to seek a role within the Iranian Welfare Organisation tracing mechanism to help trace families of children separated and, in many cases, moved to other locations, following the earthquake. Whilst seeking opportunities to provide additional support to this mechanism Save the Children is monitoring the situation with regard to separated children and is building a system to obtain data that can be used for advocacy activities in this important area of our work. Emergencies Section, 24th February, 2004

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/fromthefield/107770597662.htm
13 posted on 02/25/2004 8:26:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Government Daily: The U.S. & 'Zionists' have Bribed the IAEA to Fabricate Lies About Iran's Nuclear Progress

February 25, 2004
The Middle East Media Research Institute
MEMRI

A column in the Iranian English-language government daily Tehran Times criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for allegedly breaching agreements between Iran and the IAEA, and called on the government to consider ending cooperation with the IAEA. The following are excerpts from the article:(1)

Iran Must Consider Suspending Cooperation Rather than Suspending Enriching Uranium

"Pressured by U.S. officials and supported by the Zionists, some officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its official website have started fabricating lies about the Iranian nuclear program, and even allowing some secret news about the Iranian nuclear program to leak to Western media. Such moves show the Iranian officials should have considered suspending cooperation with the IAEA rather than suspending enriching uranium.

"Recently, diplomats from the Vienna-based IAEA have warned about the increasing U.S. pressure on the IAEA top officials, including its director Muhammad El-Baradei and some inspectors, in order to egg on them [sic] to give a negative report on Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. Even an expert from the IAEA told the Mehr News Agency about secret meetings between the IAEA senior officials and some envoys from the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services in recent weeks. The expert even didn't rule out the possibility of bribing or threatening IAEA officials by these secret services.

"Some observers in Vienna have evaluated the U.S. pressure on El-Baradei as so high that he has become depressed and passive. Even a Western diplomat from the UN nuclear watchdog has said there is no certainty the statements aired inside the IAEA headquarters are not eavesdropped. Some evidences including recent statements by El-Baradei, stressing the necessity of tough inspection of the members' nuclear sites, especially after unfounded allegations by the U.S. officials over Iran's nuclear program and a wide coverage of these rumors by the Western media despite a close cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA would clearly show that the agency has been degenerated into an international political tool for pushing forward the U.S. unilateral policies in the world. There are some other indications to substantiate the point."

'The IAEA Official Website has Started Spreading False Reports about Iran's Nuclear Program'

"Instead of releasing official and reliable reports, the IAEA official website has started spreading false reports about Iran's nuclear program in recent days, which is quite unexpected...

"According to the NPT, Iran's agreement with the agency, the agency's bylaw, safeguards agreements and even the contents of the Additional Protocol, the IAEA officials have been obliged to consider any information obtained during the inspections or coming through cooperation of member states as quite secret.

"Even formerly secret information about the Iranian nuclear program were released to Western media and those publications ran counter to the Islamic republic [i.e. Iran] to the extent that the secret reports by El-Baradei were leaked to the media before they were delivered to Iran or the IAEA board of governors.

"Therefore, it seems that a clear-cut and definite decision by Iranian officials is necessary in order to force the IAEA officials to end such actions and El-Baradei should be officially questioned why Iran's secret nuclear information has been released by his diplomats and inspectors and thereby creating [sic] an unhealthy atmosphere against Iran. If such a move is going to persist and if only Iran has to abide by its commitments and take no benefit from this unilateral cooperation, is it not better for Iranian officials to mull suspending cooperation with the IAEA?"

Endnote:

(1) Tehran Times (Iran), February 19, 2004.

http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD66704
14 posted on 02/25/2004 8:27:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Swing of Political Pendulum Heralds Another Clash

February 25, 2004
The Guardian
David Hirst

With its victory in the parliamentary elections, Iran's arch-conservative clerical oligarchy has made a decisive comeback in its long power struggle against President Mohammad Khatami and his reformists.

But by the manner of it, the blatant rigging and intimidation, it has suffered something at least as serious - a grievous blow to its own legitimacy and that of the Islamic Republic as a whole.

"These people have regained a maximum power at the price of maximum distance from the people," said a liberal Islamist.

True, President Khatami and the reformists owe their defeat in part to their own shortcomings in the public's eyes, to their failure to fulfil the original promise: democratising the system from within.

But their failure does not translate into a moral or political gain for their adversaries. For everyone knows that the main cause was the relentless obstructionism with which the conservatives, through the republic's unelected Islamic institutions, thwarted all they tried to achieve by constitutional means.

"This is the end of the Khatamist reforms," said a sympathiser, "but not the end of the reformist struggle."

During the Khatami era reformism was led from within the system itself, for both sides in the power struggle were products of the Khomeini revolution.

Though one of them had in effect come to place a higher value on democracy than on Islam, it was not ready, in the end, to push its ambitions to the point of risking the destruction of the whole regime, and itself with it.

Reformism is now expected to develop into something much broader and harder to control.

There has been a repetitive pattern to Iran's long struggle between modernity and tradition, freedom and despotism, a struggle which, the elections show, is still unresolved.

Out of the short-lived chaos that follows the collapse of one form of arbitrary rule arises a new form that, in turn, creates the conditions for yet another revolt by virtually the whole of society.

With the conservatives' latest power grab, the Islamic Republic certainly seems to be conforming to this cycle.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianweekly/story/0,12674,1155766,00.html
16 posted on 02/25/2004 8:42:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Our Victory [An Iranian Student from inside Iran]

February 25, 2004
National Review Online
Koorosh Afshar

Iranians take matters into their own hands.

The vigilantes entered the dormitory with the aid of the riot police. We were not expecting this one; we thought the dormitory, at least, was a safe space, one they wouldn't invade. But they did, and we were ambushed. Some students were dragged out of their rooms, clad in nothing but their underwear. The police beat us, forcing us into their cars. For a few days nobody knew where we were. Many of our parents were so worried that they dropped everything and rushed from wherever they were — scattered in cities and towns all over the country — to Tehran, to search for us, their missing loved ones.

After a few days, they took us back to Amir-abad Street. Late in the night, the Islamic republic's agents kicked us from their cars. Many students were still in their underwear, only this time, the scantiness of their clothing revealed bruised bodies and hinted at tormented minds. Later we learned that many of our peers were forced to stay in the regime's torture cells for several years. Others were maimed, and the lucky ones were "only" dismissed from the university...

Nearly four years ago, when we, the Iranian students, started the first phase of our new dissident movement, the so-called reformers (i.e., the pro-Khatami types) never staged "sit-ins" to support us. Vigilantes, revolutionary guards, and the Islamic republic's riot police were assailing us from every corner, as the reformers seemed to turn a blind eye to our struggle. At the same time, many — both inside and outside Iran — were nonetheless deceived by the Khatamists. They still hadn't realized that the mindset of these Islamic reformers was, if not exactly identical, at least undeniably very close to that of their hard-liner comrades.

Ironically, a few weeks ago, when the regime's Council of the Guardians disqualified the reformers from running for office in the parliamentary elections, the Khatamists realized that their time was up, felt the danger, and saw that the Iranian democratization process was in peril. Only when their own interests were on the line did the reformers stage sit-ins and resign.

Of course, it was too late.

You will have to excuse us Iranians for our lack of sympathy for these so-called reformers: Just ask yourself, as we ask ourselves, where they were while Iranian youths were being beaten, tortured, abducted, maimed, and deprived of their legitimate rights to continue their university studies.

But despite our disappointment with the Khatamists, Iranians were nevertheless given an occasion for joy and pride on February 20, the date of our most recent elections, and of the momentous boycott of them. It will be remembered in the history of my nation, because on that day, Iranians showed again that we have the resolve to clear "Islamic mullahism" from our homeland once and for all. We have decided that our children must not be tormented as we have been.

Throughout the day on February 20, I went to different parts of Tehran to observe for myself what was going on at the polling stations. To my great pleasure, there were only few people at any of them. Although the regime had done its best to urge everyone to participate in the elections, brave Iranians were far more determined to tell the world and the regime, again, that they are tired, and are on the verge of achieving their much longed-for change.

Iranians abstained from the elections not because of the prohibition against Khatamist candidates, but because we — almost all of us this time — have finally realized that our goal can only be achieved "over" the Islamic republic, not "through" it. The vision of tomorrow's secular Iran will prevail, and soon. With or without the rest of the world's help, we are determined to paralyze and eventually oust the militants of the Islamic regime.

This weekend showed that our efforts have nearly, after all this time, borne the fruit we have striven for all these years: freedom.

— Koorosh Afshar is a pseudonym for a student in Tehran. His name has been changed for his protection.

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/afshar200402250920.asp
17 posted on 02/25/2004 8:45:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Protest wave rocks more provincial cities

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 25, 2004

The increasing wave of protest rocked more of Iran's provincial cities, such as Ardel, Kiar and Farsan, where hundreds of demonstrators were came attacked by the Islamic regime forces after they came in the streets.

Plastic bullets, Tear Gas and clubs were used against peaceful demonstrators who were shouted slogans against the regime and its leaders and have resulted in tens of injured and arrested among the demonstrators.

The brutal attacks resulted also in the popular anger and the protesting crowd took against several public buildings and security patrol cars which were damaged.

The situation in the region is very tense.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5085.shtml
18 posted on 02/25/2004 8:47:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
'This is war,' Rumsfeld Told Bush

February 25, 2004
The Washington Times
washingtontimes.com

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's determination to kill terrorists and transform the military is detailed in "Rumsfeld's War" (Regnery Publishing Inc.), the new book by Rowan Scarborough, defense reporter for The Washington Times. Exclusive excerpts:

Donald H. Rumsfeld sat in a vault-like room studded with video screens and talked with President Bush as the Pentagon burned.

"This is not a criminal action," the secretary of defense told Bush over a secure line. "This is war."

The word "war" meant more than going after the al Qaeda terrorist network in Afghanistan, the fault line of terrorism. Bush said he wanted retaliation.

The setting was the Pentagon's Executive Support Center, where Rumsfeld held secure video teleconferences with the White House across the Potomac or with ground commanders 10,000 miles away.

The time was 1:02 p.m., less than four hours after terrorists steered American Flight 77 into the Pentagon's southwest wall.

Rumsfeld at first had dashed to the impact site. In his shirt and tie, he helped transport the wounded.

Finally convinced to leave the scene, Rumsfeld entered the closely guarded ESC, where whiffs of burned rubble penetrated the ventilation system. The video monitor in front of him was blank, but there was an audio connection with the president at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Rumsfeld's instant declaration of war, previously unreported, took America from the Clinton administration's view that terrorism was a criminal matter to the Bush administration's view that terrorism was a global enemy to be destroyed.

"That was really a breakthrough strategically and intellectually," recalls Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy. "Viewing the 9/11 attacks as a war that required a war strategy was a very big thought, and a lot flowed from that."

Rumsfeld wanted a war that was fought with ruthless efficiency: special forces, high-tech firepower, a scorecard for killing or capturing terrorists. He had no desire to become the world's jailer. And he refused to be stymied by bureaucracy.

Rumsfeld quickly shared his views in a meeting of his inner circle, the so-called Round Table group including Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This would be a global war, Rumsfeld said, and he planned to give Special Operations forces — Delta Force, SEALs and Green Berets — unprecedented powers to kill terrorists.

Special Operations missions lived or died on secrecy, so he would tolerate no leaks. Staff meetings that once attracted 20 or more bureaucrats quickly were shrunk to no more than 10.

Rumsfeld publicly threatened criminal prosecution whenever "classified information dealing with operations is provided to people who are not cleared for that information."

Two generals

The defense secretary kept his eyes on two balls — one relatively small, the other as big as the globe:

He authorized Army Gen. Tommy Franks to bring him a war plan for toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda operated. Perhaps far more importantly, he also summoned his top Special Operations officer, Air Force Gen. Charles Holland, to draw up a blueprint for a broader war on terror.

Holland's Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., was a sleepy outpost at MacDill Air Force Base. U.S. Central Command (CentCom), across the street, got all the press. It fought wars. Holland's command, dubbed SoCom, merely equipped some 35,000 special forces soldiers. When they went into battle, combatant commands such as CentCom took control.

Rumsfeld wanted that changed. Holland, however, was not a door-busting commando. He was a pilot who had flown the lumbering but deadly AC-130 gunships. Colleagues described Holland as courtly, polite and soft-spoken. He was a compromiser, not a bureaucratic infighter like his boss, Rumsfeld.

Holland arrived for his first wartime face-to-face meeting with Rumsfeld on Sept. 25, 2001. Rumsfeld told Holland he wanted SoCom to become a global command post.

Deeply disappointed by Holland's caution, Rumsfeld walked to the Pentagon pressroom that same day and announced: "The United States of America knows that the only way we can defend against terrorism is by taking the fight to the terrorists."

It was a message for Holland and other commanders as well as the public.

Picking targets

Rumsfeld's Round Table began to settle on strategy.

"We developed what we called the territorial approach to fighting terrorism," Feith recalls. "Instead of chasing every individual terrorist, you recognize that for terrorist organizations over a sustained period to do large-scale operations, they need bases of operations."

Afghanistan was the logical first step. But al Qaeda and its surrogates also thrived in border regions and ungoverned states such as Somalia.

Rumsfeld made a list:

•Yemen, where al Qaeda planned the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

•The Horn of Africa, where terror cells freely moved money and men.

•The Philippines, where a group of Islamic terrorists, Abu Sayyaf, used kidnappings and deadly bombings to try to bring down the pro-American democracy.

Summer of discontent

By June 2002, Afghanistan's interim government was functioning amid the U.S.-led coalition's low-intensity conflict with Taliban holdouts. Iraq war planning had been started.

But Rumsfeld's ideas for hunting down terrorists worldwide had not taken hold. And he let Feith know he was not happy.

"I think we need a scorecard for the global war on terrorism," Rumsfeld said in a confidential June 20 action memo to his undersecretary for policy.

Less than two weeks later, Rumsfeld sent another memo to Feith asking, "How do we organize the Department of Defense for manhunts? We are obviously not well organized at the present time."

Rumsfeld wanted action. He wanted it from, among others, Holland.

Stephen Cambone, a close aide to Rumsfeld, told colleagues: "Holland was given the keys to the kingdom and he didn't want to pick them up."

Another aide told Rumsfeld: "You're going to have to put your finger in his chest and tell him what you want done."

On July 15, Holland returned to the Pentagon for another face-to-face with the boss. Holland again expressed caution about assuming new terror-hunt responsibilities. He didn't want to step on the toes of combatant commanders like Tommy Franks.

Rumsfeld castigated the top commando, saying he had made it clear to Holland and other four-stars that he wanted them "leaning forward." He ordered Holland to come up with a plan of action.

A historic change

I can reveal for the first time that Rumsfeld didn't wait. On July 22, he initialed a highly classified directive to Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

The Rumsfeld directive is just one page, but its impact was historic: The defense secretary changed the nature of Special Operations forces — and the Pentagon — by giving commanders the authority to plan and execute missions on their own with a minimum of bureaucratic interference. Some excerpts:

"•The objective is to capture terrorists for interrogation, or if necessary, to kill them, not simply to arrest them in [a] law enforcement exercise.

"•The objective should be that processing of deployment orders and obtaining other bureaucratic clearances can be accomplished in minutes and hours, not days and weeks.

"•Special Operations command will screen DoD for personnel — civilian and military — with languages, ethnic connections and other attributes needed for clandestine and covert activities.

"•Gen. Holland will brief me on initiatives that can disrupt or destroy terrorist operations and additional assets that might be needed to pursue such initiatives."

Holland returned July 31 with a plan that became known as the "30 percent solution," because Rumsfeld wanted it done one chunk at a time.

Holland wanted more men and money. He wanted diplomatic approval to go anywhere, anytime. And he wanted the always elusive "actionable intelligence" that decided whether a mission was successful.

Rumsfeld wanted to make sure he got it.

In January 2003, as Rumsfeld's tenure reached the two-year mark, he appeared in the Pentagon pressroom to announce a revamped SoCom. From now on, in-theater SoCom units would have authority to plan hunt-and-destroy missions, requisition weapons and men and run covert actions.

Rumsfeld abandoned the Clinton administration's decree that the military must have an official "finding" signed by the president — a step that meant congressional notification and increased the possibility of leaks — before taking any action. Now, special forces on the scene could react immediately to track and kill terrorists.

By spring 2003, Holland had won commitments from the Pentagon for 5,000 new positions and $1 billion more a year, bringing his budget to $6 billion.

But Rumsfeld demanded results. At a conference of commanders at the Pentagon, he pulled Holland aside.

"Have you killed anyone yet?" he asked.

Rumsfeld panel caught Bush's eye

This is the second of three exclusive excerpts from "Rumsfeld´s War" (Regnery Publishing Inc.), the new book by Rowan Scarborough, defense and national security reporter for The Washington Times.

A phone call from House Speaker Newt Gingrich's office marked Donald H. Rumsfeld's re-entry to Washington and the good graces of the Republican majority in Congress.

In little more than two years, the practiced Washington hand would be named secretary of defense — again.

In 1998, Rumsfeld accepted Gingrich's offer of the chairmanship of a congressionally created panel charged with assessing the threat to the nation posed by ballistic missiles.

"We were looking for a strong team and I was a huge admirer of his and always thought he was a potential president," Gingrich recalls. "He was available. He was willing to do it."

Missile defense had become a core Republican issue.

President Reagan had spent billions trying to develop a virtual shield against attack. His "Star Wars" rhetoric rattled the Soviet politburo, helping to hasten the "Evil Empire's" collapse.

Gingrich thought Rumsfeld's resume impressive: Navy pilot, congressman from Illinois, head of the Office of Economic Opportunity and U.S. ambassador to NATO in the Nixon administration, White House chief of staff and defense secretary (the youngest ever) in the Ford administration, the chief executive officer who turned around pharmaceutical giant G.D. Searle & Co., special Middle East envoy for Reagan.

Since 1989, the argument for missile defense had focused on rogue nations like Iran, Iraq and North Korea, which appeared bent on building an arsenal of ballistic missiles armed with nuclear, biological or chemical warheads.

History showed that such rogue regimes made progress acquiring weapons at a faster pace than the CIA predicted. North Korea, for example, did not spend a lot of time on testing and perfecting missiles. The communist regime tested once and then deployed.

The Rumsfeld commission's formal name was the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. Conservative Republicans saw the panel — five Republicans and four Democrats — as a chance to debunk the CIA's latest national intelligence estimate (NIE) on missile proliferation.

An NIE is the intelligence community's best judgment on a national security issue. This particular NIE said the United States had a safety net of 15 years before a rogue nation could activate intercontinental ballistic missiles.

If the Rumsfeld commission could compile evidence to challenge that assessment, it would provide a boon to advocates of developing and deploying a missile defense.

The challenge

The nine-member commission was tilted in Rumsfeld's favor.

On the panel were his old friend Bill Schneider, a veteran of the Reagan administration; future deputy Paul Wolfowitz, who got his first Pentagon job in the Carter administration; William Graham, an early "Star Wars" enthusiast; and James Woolsey, President Clinton's former director of central intelligence.

But in achieving what Rumsfeld wanted — a unanimous report — two members might put up objections. One was Richard L. Garwin, a renowned scientist who had advised Democratic administrations, and the other was Barry M. Blechman, who ran his own consulting firm.

Garwin and Blechman long had supported the Anti?Ballistic Missile Treaty. Liberals cited the 30-year-old ABM Treaty with the Soviet Union as an impenetrable firewall between research, which the pact allowed, and deployment, which it did not.

Also working for the commission was Stephen Cambone, a young defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Introduced to Rumsfeld by Schneider, Cambone had passed the Rumsfeld test: He was smart and willing to work long hours on tough problems.

"Rumsfeld forces you to make a decision about whether you will take the time and energy to be his guy," says a person who worked on forming the commission.

Cambone became the panel's chief of staff and helped the chairman get the right intelligence information.

Rumsfeld immediately cleared away some stumbling blocks. He made it clear that the commission was to assess the current missile threat, not recommend what to do about it. That approach won over anti-missile critics like Garwin.

The full story

The chairman then worked to get access to the CIA's most sensitive intelligence on any given nation's arms programs. Initially, CIA briefers passed out useless information.

"When we started, they were trying to give us pap," Blechman recalls. "It was worse than a briefing for the Kiwanis Club: 'The Russian federation has a lot of missiles.' It was a joke."

After one briefing, Schneider commented, "That briefer is a waste of food."

No expert on one country seemed to know what was going on in other countries.

Rumsfeld took his complaints directly to CIA Director George Tenet. Soon, the commission not only got better information, it got office space at Langley to view the crown jewels.

"Rumsfeld pressed and pressed and pressed until we got the full story on these different countries," Blechman says.

Members remember Rumsfeld reading all the material himself.

"Rumsfeld got very concerned about the intelligence community's lack of willingness to fill in the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle — for which they didn't have direct evidence — with judgment," Woolsey recalls. "That's what you've got to do."

Rumsfeld culminated the research by having the staff write a first draft of findings only. He then reworked it and unveiled the product.

United voice

Only when the findings were agreed upon did the staff produce a 300-page report. In the end, all agreed on relatively simple, but important, language:

"The threat to the U.S. posed by these emerging capabilities is broader, more mature and evolving more rapidly than has been reported in estimates and reports by the intelligence community," the Rumsfeld commission concluded. ... "The warning times the U.S. can expect of new, threatening ballistic missile deployments are being reduced."

In spring and summer 1998, during the Rumsfeld commission's investigation and immediately afterward, two events reinforced the notion of a dangerous, unpredictable world.

In May, India conducted its first underground testing of a nuclear warhead since 1974. It did so while deceiving the United States, lying to the Clinton administration about its plans and preparing the site while U.S. spy satellites were not overhead. India's test prompted Pakistan to do the same.

On Aug. 31, a month after the Rumsfeld commission released its findings, North Korea, as if on cue, test-fired its Taepodong rocket over Japan.

"[Rumsfeld] figured out that a unanimous commission was worth everything, because a unanimous commission meant that [liberal Democrats] are voting yes and it's impossible to discredit the report," Gingrich says. "It's an example of his ability to strategically understand what's necessary and then discipline himself to get it.

"What he wanted to do was get to the hardest unanimous report he could get to, and that was an art form. I think it's a really great work of leadership."

Tapped by Bush

Rumsfeld's chairmanship of the ballistic missile commission gave him his first entry into the inner circle of presidential candidate George W. Bush, the governor of Texas.

In January 2000, about 10 months before the election, Bush invited Rumsfeld to Washington to brief him on missile threats. The setting was a private room at the Mayflower Hotel.

"I met with him for hours, just alone," Rumsfeld recalls.

Rumsfeld told me that he never had a formal job interview with Bush.

After the election, the president-elect sought Rumsfeld's advice on the qualities needed in a defense secretary.

"He wanted to ask me questions about what I thought about the intelligence community and what I thought about defense and foreign policy areas," Rumsfeld told me. "And not because I had any desire to come in or he had any desire to have me. I think that was out of the question. It wasn't on the radar screen."

But Rumsfeld met again with Bush, this time in Austin, Texas. The president-elect did talk jobs, but made no direct offer. Rumsfeld also traveled to Bush's ranch in Taos, Texas.

A few days later, the phone rang. It was Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld's former protege in the Nixon and Ford administrations, offering him the defense job.

Gingrich analyzes the Bush-Rumsfeld marriage this way:

"Bush is talking to a first-rate politician, who won elective office, who's been chief of staff to a president, who was the youngest secretary of defense in history, who had been CEO of a big corporation, very successful big corporation.

"So [Bush] could say to him, do you think you could redo the Pentagon? Well, this Rumsfeld spent his career preparing for this."

Gingrich adds: "It doesn't hurt that the guy in charge of staffing the administration [Cheney] is Rumsfeld's former deputy. This is a small conspiracy."

Rumsfeld targets 'future threats'

"Rumsfeld's War" (Regnery Publishing Inc.), the new book by Rowan Scarborough, defense and national security reporter for The Washington Times, details the defense secretary's determination to transform the military.

"It's a different world today," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told an audience of Marines in Okinawa.

"We have to become much more agile," Rumsfeld said, talking with the troops about terrorism and other threats during a "town-hall" meeting in November. "We have to be able to move in hours or days instead of weeks or months or years."

Rumsfeld's boss, President Bush, had not singled out individual threats to national security in his inaugural address in January 2001, less than nine months before the terrorist attacks.

But even then, Rumsfeld and other Bush aides realized they needed new strategies against Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, as well as against the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.

"We will build our defenses beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge," Bush said after his swearing-in. "We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors. The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom."

Waiting for the new president at the Pentagon was a classified, 160-page report on future threats stretching to the year 2020. The secret report was prepared for the Clinton administration by analysts at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon's own CIA in miniature, which sends agents around the world to collect information.

The DIA report, compiled in 1999, still is used actively today by Rumsfeld and others in the Bush administration with the required security clearance. I obtained a copy of the report, called "A Primer on the Future Threat" and stamped SECRET.

Among the chilling predictions:

•The radical Islamic state of Iran planned to have nuclear capability by 2008 and 10 to 20 nuclear weapons by 2020, including missiles capable of striking Europe.

• China would more than quadruple its nuclear arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the United States, skyrocketing from 40 to as many as 220 missiles.

• Stalinist North Korea could hold as many as 10 atomic weapons, including ICBMs.

•Israel would maintain a nuclear arsenal of about 80 warheads.

• Warring neighbors Pakistan and India would continue to entrench themselves in the nuclear club by building nuclear-tipped missiles, more than doubling their stockpiles. India would launch its first submarine that fires ballistic missiles.

•Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Indonesia were among nations in danger of economic failure and collapse, with "profound implications for the United States."

"While the message is sobering, my intent in preparing this primer is not to instill fear or foreboding," Army Lt. Gen. Patrick M. Hughes, then DIA director, wrote in a foreword to the secret report. "Rather, I hope that by identifying and discussing in realistic terms the emerging threat environment, such knowledge will help leadership better understand and prepare for it."

Terrorists' aims

The DIA report, warning of the "emergence of less predictable groups," forecasted that international terrorism posed a growing threat.

"It is probable that terrorist organizations or individuals will employ a weapon of mass destruction [WMD] against U.S. interests by 2020," the report says. "Heightened publicity about the vulnerability of civilian targets, an increased interest in inflicting mass casualties ... and greater availability of WMD-related production knowledge and technology have already drawn the attention of some terrorist organizations.

"Additionally, the hoax or blackmail value of WMD is a potentially powerful psychological weapon in itself, and its ... use can be expected to increase."

The DIA notes that the Soviet Union developed a nerve agent that, after the communist state's collapse, spread to other countries and cannot be controlled through the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Chemical weapons are easier to obtain than some terrorists might realize, the report adds.

"Many of the components needed for chemical or biological agent weaponization are used in other types of weapons systems, many of which are available in the international arms market," it says. "Chemical and biological agents can be disseminated by tube and rocket artillery, ground and naval mines, aerial bombs ... and a wide variety of spray devices.

"An increasing number of countries are also capable of employing unmanned aerial vehicles, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles for chemical and biological attack. Terrorist use should also be anticipated, primarily in improvised devices, probably in association with an explosive."

The DIA warns that the combination of drug trafficking and terrorism could produce more failed states, requiring U.S. intervention.

"Drug-related corruption will reach epidemic levels in certain countries," the DIA says. "This may require a more direct response from the United States to protect our national security."

WMD dangers

Nations deemed capable by 1999 of delivering both chemical and biological agents included Iraq, Russia, China and North Korea.

"Iran has a chemical weapons capability and probably a limited biological agent delivery means," the DIA report says. "Libya, Egypt, India, Taiwan, Israel, South Korea and Syria have chemical weapons capabilities.

"Pakistan, Sudan, Serbia and Croatia are believed to have programs to develop [chemical weapon] capabilities. Moreover, Libya, Syria and Pakistan probably can produce biological agents on a limited scale and presumably have some means of delivery even if not by military systems."

By 2020, Egypt, India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will have deployed medium-range ballistic missile systems, "and WMD payloads will be available in each of these countries," the report says. India, China, North Korea, Indonesia and Turkey will develop or acquire short-range missile systems.

"Future conflicts," the DIA predicts, "probably will involve the use of these weapon systems with WMD, including nuclear weapons."

The report predicts the United States will keep its status as the world's pre-eminent power for the next 20 years.

"The key 'peer' candidates all have long-term larger problems, and none has the capability or the will to usurp the U.S. over this time frame," the report says. " ... The United States will remain the sole superpower through its economic, political, military, cultural and technological superiority for at least the first quarter of the next century."

Still, the report says a "camp" of unaligned countries would continue to try to limit U.S. power. This group included Russia, China, France, India, Mexico, Iran and Iraq.

Strategic ambitions

The DIA report that Rumsfeld's Pentagon inherited also made these findings and predictions as of 1999:

•Iran "is slowly but steadily building an offensive capability far in excess of its mere defensive needs" and poses the biggest threat in the Persian Gulf now that the U.S.-led coalition has ousted Saddam in Iraq.

In addition to nuclear aims, Iran was "seeking self-sufficiency" in dual-use equipment to produce biological agents for weapons, as well as protective clothing resistant to chemical or biological weapons and medical protection against biological agents.

"Iran should have a greater capability to disrupt the flow of commerce in the Gulf over the next decade, primarily through the use of mine warfare and integrated anti-ship cruise missiles. In fact, absent U.S. intervention, Iran could close the Strait of Hormuz to maritime traffic indefinitely."

•North Korea's communist regime, appearing firmly in control, possessed two to four nuclear weapons of limited yield and an offensive biological and chemical arsenal of uncertain size but thought to include "anthrax, plague, cholera and toxins."

"The likelihood that North Korea will initiate a war to reunify the peninsula is diminishing, but the possibility of conflict spurred by internal instability, miscalculation or provocation is increasing."

•China planned to reduce its People's Liberation Army of 2.5 million by 20 percent, make big increases in strategic forces, deploy its first ballistic-missile submarine and achieve a four-fold boost in spy satellites, to 15 orbiters.

Even though the number of Chinese ICBMs capable of striking the United States will jump to 220, "Nothing indicates China will field the much larger number of missiles necessary to shift from a limited, retaliatory strategy to a first-strike, war-fighting strategy."

'Going to school'

It is not clear how much of the DIA's report was absorbed by Rumsfeld and other key Bush administration officials before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

But it is a certainty that they have done so by now, and that Rumsfeld has his own ideas on how to meet the threats. The secretary of defense is moving to enlarge special forces, improve intelligence collection and analysis so that it is "actionable," and streamline the military for war-fighting in the 21st century.

"We have to have a mindset that is willing to continuously go to school on the terrorists," Rumsfeld said in October, "just as terrorists are going to school on us and watching what we do.

"And," he said, "we've got to be able to move inside of their decision cycles and react sufficiently fast, given the difficulty of intelligence."

http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20040224-113731-3670r.htm
27 posted on 02/25/2004 9:04:17 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Ebadi: EU Must Continue Talks with Iran

February 25, 2004
EUpolitix
EUpolitix.com

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi has urged the EU to continue negotiating with Tehran in the wake of last week’s flawed elections.

“I constantly state that the resolution of issues should be through negotiations. I do not believe in issues such as sanctions because they are not solutions,” she told reporters in Brussels.

“Solutions that come out of negotiations need time to come to fruition and I hope that the negotiations the EU is having with Iran will lead to positive results.”

Ebadi, who won the prestigious Nobel prize last year for her outspoken campaigns for democracy and greater rights for Iranian women and children, said she had abstained from voting in the recent parliamentary poll because she did not know who she would be voting for.

The EU on Monday denounced the Iranian elections as “undemocratic”, warning of a setback in relations with the regime.

The decision by ruling hardline clerics to outlaw some 2500 reformist candidates made “genuine democratic choice by the Iranian people impossible,” said a statement issued by EU foreign ministers.

Trade and political talks, with parallel negotiations on human rights and democracy, stalled last June due to Iran’s intransigence over its nuclear ambitions.

President of the European Parliament Pat Cox, said MEPs would not accept any ‘association agreement’ concluded between the EU and Iran that did not have any link to human rights issues.

“Trade only will not be a sufficient ground to win the approval of this house,” he stressed.

Speaking later to members of the parliament’s women’s rights committee, Ebadi said that the Western world should not see Islam as a threat.

“You can have a correct interpretation of Islam compatible with the exigencies of the time therefore you should not fear Islam,” she stressed.

“Perhaps it is necessary to fear some Muslims but you should not fear Islam.”

Commenting on recent moves in Europe to ban the wearing of headscarves in educational institutes, she argued in favour of the freedom of choice.

“I believe this is something that is up to women to decide. They should be free to choose whether or not they want it, whether in Europe or Islamic societies.”

“The diverse situation of Islam in various countries shows that Islam is not against women,” she said.

Ebadi has grown to be a popular figure in Iran as a key figure in the reformist movement.

Elected the first female judge in the country, she was forced to resign with the advent of the Islamic republic in 1979 and went on to establish her own law practice, specialising in politically sensitive and human rights cases.

http://www.eupolitix.com/EN/News/200402/093050d1-b5ab-4b1a-9186-d4b29b0027aa.htm
28 posted on 02/25/2004 9:05:23 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Digs in Heels Over Nuke Secrets

February 25, 2004
Reuters
Parisa Hafezi and Louis Charbonneau

TEHRAN/VIENNA -- Iran has rejected calls for it to be more open about its nuclear programme while Washington says the latest report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog was further proof that Iran wants atomic weapons.

"Iran has given enough answers to the agency's questions," Hassan Rohani, head of the Supreme National Security Council and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.

On Tuesday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, said Iran had continued to hide from it technology and research that could be linked to a weapons programme -- despite its declaration in October that it had no more secrets to divulge.

"We have other research projects which we haven't announced to the agency and we don't think it is necessary to announce to the agency," Rohani said. The IRNA report gave no details on the kinds of projects he was referring to.

Washington lashed back at Iran's defiant statement.

"Iran needs to demonstrate verifiably to the (IAEA) and the international community that it has abandoned its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability," U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Vienna, Kenneth Brill, told reporters.

He said the IAEA report only strengthened the U.S. view that Iran's programme "is clearly geared towards the development of nuclear weapons".

In a statement sent to Reuters, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, downplayed IAEA concerns about Tehran's nuclear programme, calling them "purely procedural" which did not undermine Iran's denials that it wants the bomb.

However, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said on Tuesday he wanted to see "much more prompt" information from Tehran.

"I hope this will be the last time any aspect of the programme has not been declared to us," ElBaradei said. However, he praised Iran's overall cooperation and its decision to suspend all activities related to the enrichment of uranium.

The IAEA said Iran had failed to declare designs and parts for advanced "P2" centrifuges, which can produce material for nuclear weapons, as well as experiments with polonium-210, a substance that can help trigger a chain reaction in a bomb.

On the subject of polonium, Asefi said the issue had been a "misunderstanding" and was misrepresented by the media.

NO U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL REPORT

Despite U.S. criticism of Iran's nuclear secrecy, diplomats from members of the 35-nation IAEA Board of Governors said Washington was unlikely to push for a resolution at the board's March 8 meeting that would report Tehran to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions.

"I don't think the U.S. will try for the Security Council," one Western diplomat told Reuters, adding that few states were ready to support such a resolution by the IAEA board.

The United States has lobbied Russia to cut off its nuclear supplies to Iran. But in a statement certain to annoy Washington, Moscow reaffirmed its intention to work with Iran.

"Russia supports Iran's right to peacefully use nuclear power and intends to continue its cooperation with Iran in this sphere," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said in a statement. "Russia will fully accomplish its duties regarding the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr."

CLUES FROM LIBYA

The IAEA said inspections of Libya's arms programme, which Tripoli agreed in December to dismantle under IAEA supervision, were helping it understand Iran's programme. Tuesday's report said: "The basic technology (in Iran and Libya) is very similar and was largely obtained from the same foreign sources."

A senior Vienna-based official familiar with the report said IAEA inspectors had asked Tehran if it had obtained nuclear warhead designs that Libya bought on the black market.

"They have made an absolute denial that they have weapons designs," the official said. "(The IAEA) asked them and they said no, but the agency is still investigating."

Gary Samore, who was an adviser on non-proliferation issues to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, said he had no doubt Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's atom bomb, had offered Iran the nuclear warhead designs he sold Libya.

"It's safe to assume that Khan offered Iran the weapons designs which Libya bought for $50 million (26.7 million pounds)," said Samore, who runs the International Institute for Strategic Studies. "The question is, did they agree on a price?"

Khan was a key player in a global atomic black market that stretched from Europe and Africa across the Middle East to Asia.

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=464408&section=news
29 posted on 02/25/2004 9:06:40 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Rights situation have Improved in Iran" claims Nobelist

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 25, 2004

Shirin Ebadi, the controversial Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner, is urging the EU to continue negotiating with the clerics despite last week’s flawed elections and the clear signal, sent by millions of Iranians, who rejected the last doubts on any supposed popular legitimacy of the regime .

This new controversial statement was made, today, at a sitting of the European Parliament's committee of foreign relations in Brussels (Belgium).

Ebadi who has become very unpopular in Iran, due to her condemnable statements in favor of the regime and for closing eyes on the plight of her countrymen, responded to the critics of some EU Mps that "human rights in Iran have made a good progress".

Trying to save the regime from a total isolation and a future collapse, she pushed the "audacity" by trying to buy more time for the Islamic republic and by calling the EU to continue "dialogue" with the Islamic Republic.

It's to note that Ebadi is qualified by many Iranians as a EU tool in service of financial relations with the Islamic regime and she has managed, just in few months, to change from a "noble rights activist" in a "shameless political broker".

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5092.shtml
30 posted on 02/25/2004 9:10:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran dismisses UN nuclear charges

By Jim Muir
BBC correspondent in Tehran

Iran's top security official says Tehran is not obliged to tell the UN's nuclear watchdog of plans to build centrifuges for enriching nuclear fuel.

Hassan Rohani, who also handles Iran's nuclear 'file', further denied polonium - a nuclear-blast trigger - was being used to enrich the fuel.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) has accused Iran of hiding its nuclear intentions.

Iran's government agreed last year to fully disclose its nuclear plans.

The IAEA's report to its board of governors, who are due to meet in early March, complained that Iran had not declared to the agency that it had designs for advanced P-2 centrifuges.

Nor, according to the report, did it declare that it had produced polonium - a material that can be used to trigger nuclear explosions.

Answers 'elsewhere'

In reply, Mr Rohani said that the country was under no obligation to declare research on P-2 centrifuges, which it had not developed.

He also denied Iran had been using polonium for enrichment, saying that that too had only been at research stage.

He said Iran was pursuing other research projects which it had also not declared to the IAEA because it saw no need to do so.

As for accounting for the traces of highly-enriched uranium discovered by agency inspectors at several sites in Iran, Mr Rohani said that all the traces found - apart from some very low-enriched ones - had come on contaminated parts bought on the black market from abroad.

Therefore, he said, the IAEA should look elsewhere for answers.

He praised the level of co-operation between Iran and the Agency and said he expected the IAEA to move towards a final resolution of the Iran issue.

Treaty obligations

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman meanwhile said that the points raised in the IAEA report were mainly matters of form which did not cast doubt on the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

But on the polonium issue, he said that it was an unfinished research programme going back thirteen years and there had been a misunderstanding, he said, which would soon be removed.

The IAEA report urged Iran to intensify its co-operation in order to clarify outstanding questions.

But Iranian officials appear confident that, despite American pressures, they will avoid being referred by the IAEA to the United Nations for being in breach of their Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3486930.stm
31 posted on 02/25/2004 9:17:57 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
ANALYSIS
New revelations on Iran heighten pressure on Bush

Robert Collier, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

A new report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency suggesting that Iran's secret nuclear programs are more extensive than had been earlier believed adds new pressure on the Bush administration to either increase attempts to overthrow the regime or recognize the power of the country's Shiite ayatollahs.

Coming after the Iranian clerics' bare-knuckled grab of power in widely criticized parliamentary elections Friday, the revelations left Washington policymakers at a crossroads in their attempts to promote democracy and stop nuclear weapons development, analysts say.

Along with European nations -- which share the American distaste for Iran's Shiite Islamic extremism but have taken a more conciliatory line -- conservatives in Washington are pushing hard for a change in policy, saying they will insist that Iran, one of the two remaining members of the administration's "axis of evil," be put in the American crosshairs. There is even pressure to support the Mujahedeen Khalq, an anti-Tehran guerrilla group that has had off-again-on-again relations with the United States over many years and now is on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations.

The report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency stated that Iran has failed to fully comply with an agreement reached with European officials in October, in which Iran pledged not to develop nuclear weapons and promised to release all information related to its clandestine development of a civilian nuclear power industry. The report said IAEA investigators in Iran had discovered the existence of advanced designs for P-2 centrifuges -- which experts say would be most suited for making highly enriched uranium for weapons, not for civilian uses -- and had found traces of polonium, a rare material that could be used for nuclear weapons.

Experts say the results are highly suspicious but do not constitute a "smoking gun," because the programs discovered could be used for civilian nuclear power, as the Iranian government claims. Still, the disclosures ensure that Iran will face continued skepticism about its pledge to remain free of nuclear arms. Any hope in Tehran that the country will soon be able to win trade and investment concessions from the West are dead, analysts said.

Iranian officials, briefed about the report by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, pledged Tuesday to take stronger steps to suspend their uranium enrichment program, as they had promised in October. The officials said that Iran, which earlier shut down its enrichment plant but continued to assemble gas centrifuges, will stop the assembly and testing of centrifuges.

The Bush administration praised the toughness of the report and said it will continue to work within the IAEA to press Iran for results, but U.S. officials parried reporters' attempts to draw strong criticism of Tehran.

"I haven't seen anybody here say they've lied," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. "I don't think anybody has said that the information that they provided wasn't more or less correct. What we've said is it was not complete."

Boucher also took a mild stance on the controversial elections, and suggested that the administration wants to keep the door open to negotiations with the hard-liners.

"It was not an electoral process that met international standards." he said. "We are willing to engage Iran on specific issues of mutual concern in an appropriate manner, if we decide it's in our interest to do so."

Many U.S. conservatives are angry at what they see as the Bush administration's unwillingness to confront Iran, which President Bush in 2002 linked with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and North Korea's Stalinist regime as a three-state "axis of evil.""We're three years into (the Bush administration) and we don't have an Iran policy," said Michael Ledeen, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute who was a highly influential advocate of last year's Iraq invasion. "Iran is the leading supporter of terrorism in the world, and we claim to be in a war against terrorism. Maybe we should stop coddling them. Maybe we should support democracy."

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., a member of the House International Relations Committee, is pushing the Bush administration to take the Mujahedeen off the terrorist list and let the group's 3,500 fighters out of the quarantine where they are kept on a military base north of Baghdad.

"We should no longer be constrained to play an aggressive role with Iran, " Tancredo said. "By preventing elections, they've given us an opportunity to do what I think we should have done for a long time. There should be aggressive support for opposition parties inside Iran and dissident groups outside Iran," he said, citing the Mujahedeen as the leading example.

Many analysts said that by ignoring election fraud while focusing mainly on nuclear weapons, the United States will be seen by Iran's neighbors and around the world as enforcing a double standard.

"Just as the United States has dealt with (Libyan leader Moammar) Khadafy on nuclear issues, with no mention of democracy, we'll be seen as not serious on democracy stuff, like nuclear is all that matters," said Michael McFaul, an Iran expert at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Currently, the U.S. and European governments give no overt aid to Iranian reformers, and any move to do so would immediately cause the recipients to be jailed by Iranian authorities, analysts say.

"Frankly, there's not much that the United States is going to do," said Shireen Hunter, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "I think there will be a cooling-off period, but the United States will be willing to continue dialogue," probably using the Europeans as proxies, she said. "There is no reason to expect a big revolt by the Iranian people in the near future."

Some analysts say that the United States should teach by example in Iraq, where Shiites comprise a long-downtrodden majority of the population. The Bush administration has been resisting calls by Iraqi Shiite leaders for full democratic elections by the June 30 deadline for handing over power from the U. S. occupation, apparently fearing that the Shiites would win national power and would install an Iranian-style theocracy.

"If something like grassroots democracy were allowed to develop in southern Iraq, that would be a pretty powerful message to the Shiites that the United States is practicing what it preaches," said Juan Cole, professor of Middle East history at the University of Michigan.

"The best way of bringing democracy to Iran is by practicing it in Iraq."

E-mail Robert Collier at rcollier@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/25/MNG8657PK51.DTL
32 posted on 02/25/2004 9:39:26 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
State Dept. cautions companies in Iran

The Associated Press
2/25/2004, 4:16 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — Oil companies investing in Iran are making a mistake, the State Department said Wednesday.

"We just don't think it's wise to be investing in Iran's petroleum sector at this point when Iranian behavior has still not changed in so many areas," department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Iran's National Iranian Oil Co. has signed a $2 billion deal with France's Total and Malaysia's state oil giant Petronas to form Pars LNG, a liquefied natural gas joint-venture, state-owned radio reported in Tehran on Wednesday.

The deal was the second in a week following Iran's signing last week for the $3 billion development of the massive Azadegan onshore oil field with a Japanese consortium in the face of disapproval by the United States, which says Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

Boucher said the government would look at the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to see whether it can take action against companies investing in Iran.

"We do not encourage investment in Iran's petroleum sector," Boucher said. "We have laws that affect our attitudes toward these investments. And we will have to look at those laws appropriately."

http://www.mlive.com/newsflash/lateststories/index.ssf?/base/business-15/107774394463930.xml
33 posted on 02/25/2004 9:53:45 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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

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

36 posted on 02/26/2004 12:03:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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