Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Iranian Alert -- February 27, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran ^ | 2.27.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/26/2004 11:04:13 PM PST by DoctorZIn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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 02/26/2004 11:04:14 PM PST by DoctorZIn
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

2 posted on 02/26/2004 11:06:53 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran Won't Send Body of Dead Flogged Man

February 26, 2004
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER -- Iran has refused to send to Canada the body of a man who died after being flogged in prison, despite pleas by his family now living here, a lawyer representing the man's three sisters said Thursday.

"The government of Iran will not allow the body to leave the jurisdiction," Robert Kurland said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"There are many technical reasons that they are raising. I think, practically speaking, what government would allow evidence of a body with scars and lash marks all over it?"

Mohsen Mofidi, 35, died last weekend, a few days after being released from prison, where he received 80 lashes for violating the Islamic republic's strict code of conduct.

Kurland said Mofidi had been weakened by severe lung and sinus infections in prison. Even under Iran's harsh justice system, his punishment should have been postponed, the lawyer said.

"I intend to press for an investigation within the domestic Iranian legal arena," Kurland said.

Mofidi was to be buried in Iran on Thursday, Kurland said. The family - his mother and three sisters live in suburban Richmond - planned to hold a private memorial at their home on Saturday.

Kurland is suing the Canadian government on behalf of Mofidi's sisters, who were also jailed in Iran before being allowed to emigrate to Canada.

Their mother won refugee status in 1999 and sponsored her daughters, aged 18 to 22, but Mohsen Mofidi was too old to qualify.

The women claim delays by Immigration Canada in delivering visas to the women after they'd been approved allowed them to be arrested, jailed and beaten with chains.

Mohsen Mofidi turned himself in to police in Tehran so authorities would release his sisters, Kurland said.

The family's problems began last summer when Iran's morality police broke up a party at Mofidi's apartment, attended by two of the sisters and where young men were also present contrary to Islamic law.

The sisters were taken into custody and said they were beaten with chains, breaking their teeth. They were forced to sign confessions that they had boyfriends and were also sentenced to be flogged.

Mofidi was accused of corrupting his sisters, owning an illegal satellite dish and having medicines that contained alcohol.

His plight caught the attention of Amnesty International.

"We had raised concerns in advance of the flogging that took place about the ill treatment that was going to occur," said spokesman John Tackaberry from Toronto.

He said the organization's secretary general spoke with Iran's ambassador to Canada on Thursday, asking for clarification of why an apparently ill man was flogged and calling for an open, impartial investigation.

"We have called for a moratorium on all these types of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment such as flogging," Tackaberry added.

No one was available for comment Thursday at Iran's embassy in Ottawa.

Kurland said it appears the judge who approved Mofidi's flogging didn't properly assess whether he could handle it.

"In this case there was clear evidence that Mr. Mofidi physically was not capable of receiving his punishment," he said.

Kurland said he had been attempting to get Mofidi temporary sanctuary in the Netherlands while trying to get him a visa for Canada when the flogging took place.

Ironically, Kurland said Mofidi's jail sentence was cut short by a mass parole of prisoners to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution.

"On the last day of his sentence he's lashed, so that (the parole) brought forward in time the lashing," he said.

Kurland said he believes Canada, possibly Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, may have tried to intervene behind the scenes with Iranian authorities before the flogging was pushed up.

"If something was done it may have been done behind a diplomatic curtain," said Kurland.

Kurland filed a -million suit in Federal Court against the minister of citizenship and immigration last month on behalf of Mofidi's mother and sisters, alleging delays in bringing the sisters to Canada resulted in the arrest and torture of two of them.

In a statement of defence filed this week, the government categorically rejected claims it was responsible for their injuries or trauma.
3 posted on 02/26/2004 11:07:57 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
EU not considering sanctions on Iran: Patten

BRUSSELS: The European Union is not considering sanctions but has questions over the Iranian government’s commitment to democracy after the elections.

EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said this after meeting Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, here on Thursday. He said, "We haven’t been overwhelmed by the progress made in human rights in Iran."

Iranian leaders, however, dismissed the EU criticism of their victory in the legislative elections and urged the EU, Iran’s largest trading partner, not to take sides. Ebadi asked the EU not to impose sanctions on her country. She told the European Parliament that the only hope to push reform was through talks.

Patten noted that the talks launched in 2002 on improving trade and other ties were umbilically linked to human rights, democracy and political issues, and in particular the nuclear question. The talks have been frozen since June due to Western concerns about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Patten urged Iran to pursue a serious course of democratisation, as well as safeguard civil liberties, meet international concerns about nuclear weapons and work as a constructive partner and neighbour. "In the aftermath of an electoral process, which very few regard as fair, we obviously have big questions about the commitment of the Iranian authorities to some of the things that we believe in," he said. Ebadi urged the EU to continue to insist on democracy and the rule of law in its dealings with nations.
4 posted on 02/26/2004 11:11:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
I am not sure I fit neatly in any catagory. But then, not too many Christians do what I do. It tends to change one's viewpoint on a lot of things living in Israel.

Blessings to you and yours
5 posted on 02/27/2004 1:36:36 AM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
The EU would not consider sanctions if the mullahs nuked Paris and Berlin!

Many thanks DoctorZIn for continuing to keep us up to date - I read them every day.

6 posted on 02/27/2004 1:52:42 AM PST by Heatseeker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Syria, Iran discuss military cooperation

February 27, 2004
IranMania News

DAMASCUS, Feb 26 (AFP) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad discussed "regional developments and cooperation between the Syrian and Iranian armies" with Iran's Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani, the official SANA news agency said.

Assad and Shamkhani, who arrived in Damascus on Wednesday, "particularly looked at developments in Iraq and in the Palestinian territories, as well as relations between the two friendly countries," SANA said.

Syria and Iran, close regional allies, are both the targets of pressure and sanctions by the United States which accuses them of supporting "terrorist" groups.

Shamkhani is due to leave on Friday for Lebanon, whose Hezbollah guerrilla movement is backed by both Syria and Iran, an Iranian diplomatic source said.
7 posted on 02/27/2004 5:00:23 AM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran Denies N-deal with Pak, Seeks Indian Help at IAEA Meeting

February 27, 2004
The Indian Express
Express News Services

NEW DELHI -- Iran today denied receiving any nuclear assistance from Pakistan. Emphasising this, the visiting Secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council also hoped that India would play a positive role at next month’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board at Vienna.

‘‘We have not received anything from Pakistan,’’ said Hasan Rohani on being asked about the recent disclosures of clandestine transfer of nuclear technology by Pakistan to Iran, Libya and North Korea. He added that 14 years ago, Iran had received some parts from a European dealer but did not know about its origins.

Rohani, who called on PM A.B. Vajpayee and held discussions with National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, hoped the Non-Aligned Movement, particularly India, will extend ‘‘positive cooperation’’ to Iran at the IAEA. India is among the 35 member countries which constitute the IAEA Board that is slated to discuss its report on Iran on March 8.

Speaking of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Iranian leader expressed concern over industrialised nations and the IAEA ‘‘not fulfilling their obligations’’ of providing assistance to countries wanting access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

It must be noted that IAEA director-general Mohammed ElBaradei while praising Iran for its ‘‘good cooperation’’ a few days ago, had said: ‘‘I would like to see more prompt information coming from Iran.’’

Further, Rohani made it clear that his visit to India was not aimed at influencing New Delhi to abstain from voting at the IAEA.

‘‘My visit to India takes place in the context of the ongoing annual meetings of the two national security councils.’’

According to Rohani, the feasibility studies for the proposed gas pipeline between Iran and India through Pakistan were being carried.

The discussions, he added, now revolved around whether it should be through sea or over land. On the possible transfer of power later this year in Iraq, Rohani said a ‘‘puppet government’’ would not serve the purpose and that the Iraqi people should be allowed to decide on the country’s destiny.

Meanwhile, the MEA spokesperson said both India and Iran exchanged views on the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and agreed to intensify cooperation in energy and transit sectors.
8 posted on 02/27/2004 5:22:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Europe Should Stand Up

February 27, 2004
Iran va Jahan

The Islamic Regime of Mullahs in Iran has since its inception trampled upon all basic principles of the United Nation's Charter of Human Rights and subjected the Iranian people to barbaric and medieval acts. Recently two brave western journalists acting as tourists have secretly prepared a documentary in Iran which discloses the Islamic Regime's atrocities such as stoning of women to death, cutting fingers and extracting the eyes of victims in public places and regular arrests, imprisonment, torture, and killing of students whose only guilt is the desire for liberty and freedom of expression. This documentary, which was shown on BBC television in the United Kingdom and on Antenne 2 in France, is a vivid and undeniable evidence of the Islamic Regime's violation of Human Rights in all its aspects.

The Mullah's Regime in Iran is continuously committing the horrendous acts demonstrated in this documentary despite outright condemnation of the Regime by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and its confirmation and approval by the UN General Assembly, as well as repeated warnings by the Western World. The Iranian people and in particular the younger generation who form more than sixty percent of the population have for many years been crying out loud and seeking the help of the free world to put an end to the Islamic Regime's atrocities against them. The Islamic Regime of Iran depends for its survival on the support of the European Union, some of whose member countries are the Regime's main trading and commercial partners. It is now evident that constructive dialogue with the Regime of Mullahs has in no way proved effective in stopping them from violating Human Rights in Iran.

It is therefore time for the International Community and in particular the European Union to support their humanistic thoughts and words with concrete action and deeds in response to the rightful demands and aspiration of the people of Iran for freedom and democracy.
9 posted on 02/27/2004 5:23:43 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iranians Unite Against Ruling Mullahs

By Reza Bayegan | February 27, 2004

With the disappearance of the last vestiges of hope for democratic transformation within the existing political system, the Iranian opposition to clerical dictatorship is closing ranks and converging on items of a common agenda for the future of the country. At the beginning of Khatami's presidency, even many of those Iranians who were sympathetic to the Islamic revolution privately voiced the view that the reform card was the regime's last chance. They argued that either Mohammad Khatami would succeed in transforming the religious state into a democracy, or his presidency would be remembered as the final nail in the coffin of the Islamic Republic. Not very surprisingly a term and a half into his presidential mandate, Mohammad Khatami looks increasingly like an undertaker. His public credibility has all but vanished and the political movement that became synonymous with his name lies in tatters.

Hashim Aghageri, a leading Iranian dissident reacting to the massive disqualification of reformist candidates by the Guardian Council has declared that Iran's reform movement is finished. In an open letter published by the Iranian news agency ISNA, this history professor who is a reformist himself said that hopes for mending the system from within are over and he advises Iranians to oppose the regime through passive resistance.

Passive resistance or civil disobedience is one of the items on the wish-list, which is uniting Iranian activists from all over the political spectrum. Many of the items on this wish-list entered the Iranian political lexicon with the publication of a book in 2002 called Winds of Change by Reza Pahlavi, son of the late Shah of Iran, who is leading a campaign to overthrow the mullahs' dictatorship from his home in exile in the United States. Arguing that violence breeds more violence, he has been insisting on a peaceful plan of bringing down the regime through political non-participation. He has also proposed a democratic referendum on the future of the country as the only way out of the present political quagmire. Many of the reformist intellectuals who once vehemently supported President Khatami and his effort to change the republic from within now have also come to see a referendum on the future of the country as the only viable option. One of these people is the prolific satirist Ebrahim Nabavi. Reflecting on the legacy of the reformist movement in a recently published article, this hugely popular writer says: 'What we can all do at this moment is to make up for our past mistakes. We have no choice but to carefully navigate our country's vessel through its surrounding stormy waters and towards the free and democratic world. The reformist movement at this point should concentrate on forcing the hardliners to accept a national referendum on the future of the country'.

What Nabavi means by 'forcing the hardliners' is putting them in a situation so they can see that a quiet departure is their only route to self-preservation and the most generous deal they can expect from the nation. Twenty-five years of mismanagement and impetuous policies in the name of revolutionary Islam has brought the country to the verge of collapse. Iranians are left unprotected not only against man-made and natural calamities, but also against a government that has consistently assaulted their human rights and freedoms. How such a government with such a disastrous record has been able to survive for such a long time has been the subject of mystifications even for some Iranians with long experience in politics. Fereydoun Hoveyda, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations during the time of the Shah, blames the British, French and Germans for propping up the Islamic Republic and preventing its downfall.

In an article published on 13 February 2004, he asks 'how a group of incompetent and often corrupt lower ranking clerics' who have brought nothing but misery and bankruptcy to our nation have been able to survive except with the backing of those powerful European governments in whose economic benefit it is to keep them in power.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with this theory, it is true however that the Islamic Republic has succeeded in defrauding, or as Mr. Hoveyda argues bribing the key European countries and even elements within the Democratic Party in the United States. Seeking the protection of these powers the mullahs have found it necessary to create the impression that they are interested in democratic reform. One should keep in mind that a dictator like Khomeini who thought nothing of ordering the mass execution of hundreds of his opponents also found it expedient to call himself a democrat. Many Iranian activists who had a soft spot for Khomeini's revolution turned a blind eye on profound and irreconcilable defects of the system. They waited patiently hoping that one day a democratic state could emerge from within the Islamic Republic.

One of these activists who supported the 1979 revolution was Shirin Ebadi, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Faced with the mass elimination of candidates, she has declared that she will refuse to vote in an undemocratic election where people are deprived of the right to vote for whomever they wish. The decision of the influential Nobel laureate to stay away from the polls is bound to give a moral boost to the the advocates of political non-participation and civil disobedience.

Ironically, the reform movement which was an ineffective force in its prime, is showing signs of vitality at its deathbed. The disgruntled candidates not only boycotted the polls but have broken a taboo by openly criticizing Khamenei's role in their disqualification accusing him of duplicity.

The recognition that the Islamic Republic is the common enemy of freedom and democracy has induced the country's political activists; monarchists as well as republicans to form a united front against dictatorship.
10 posted on 02/27/2004 5:29:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Evidence of possible work on nukes tests Iran's credibility

Christian Science Monitor - By Scott Peterson
Feb 26, 2004

Tehran says new equipment discovered by IAEA is used to make nuclear energy. But why wasn't the work made public?

TEHRAN AND MOSCOW – Iran's nuclear ambitions - and its honesty - are being tested by fresh IAEA findings of undeclared centrifuge designs, components, and past experiments that could be linked to a weapons program.

Iran denies that it is pursuing nuclear weapons. It has accepted snap inspections by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and signed the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in December.

But a series of inspections since then has left "discrepancies and unanswered questions," the Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told the IAEA Board of Governors in a confidential report circulated on Tuesday.

"The people who are studying this are getting more and more suspicious," says a Western diplomat in Vienna. Late last year Iran said its declaration was "full and complete, and this raises the question: 'Is this everything?' "

The IAEA has been granted unimpeded access to all civilian and military sites in Iran, the report notes. And on Tuesday - just hours before the report was released and leaked to the press - Iran offered to expand the suspension of its uranium enrichment program.

"Iran was telling the truth all the time ... Inspectors are here to prove this," says Hussein Shariatmadari, a representative of Iran's Supreme Leader, and head of the conservative Kayhan publishing group in Tehran. "The Americans are looking for an excuse to drag our case to the UN Security Council." Any gaps between Iran's declarations and recent IAEA findings are "accidental," says Mr. Shariatmadari.

"There was a lack of coordination between the Foreign Ministry, National Security Council, and the Atomic Energy Ministry," says Abbas Maleki, a former deputy foreign minister who now heads a Caspian Studies institute in Tehran. "Iran wants to show that it is honest, and that it doesn't want to do something against the Tehran Declaration [the watershed nuclear deal Iran signed with Britain, France, and Germany last October]. That is the best way for Iran."

But the IAEA still has questions, especially about how much Iran benefited from a pipeline of black market nuclear technology that originated in Pakistan. Libya received bomb plans from Pakistan, and pursued a nuclear program that the IAEA report says used "very similar" technology "from the same foreign sources" as Iran.

As a signatory to the NPT, Iran has always claimed its right to nuclear technology for power production. US officials have just as strongly alleged that Iran was using its civilian program as a cover to make nuclear weapons.

Revelations from last year about four separate uranium enrichment processes in Iran - which can be used to produce nuclear fuel for energy, or for bombs - sparked US-led IAEA pressure on the Islamic republic to open fully to inspections.

"[Iran's leaders] are trying to become incrementally more transparent, while testing the trust of the US and the EU," says Mohammad Hadi Semati, a Tehran University political scientist, who is now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "If they can talk honestly with the IAEA, credibility could be restored. But if this pattern continues, it will be a big problem."

"Deep down there is still a consensus, a fundamental commitment [in Tehran] to no nuclear weapons," Mr. Semati says. But there has also been a domestic backlash, which may explain tough rhetoric about limiting the suspension of uranium enrichment programs, and Iran bridling at IAEA rules.

"They did not anticipate the political reaction from forces inside Iran, that say they sold out the regime," says Semati. "So they had to look tougher."

But if Tehran is trying to appease a domestic constituency, the price may be a loss of credibility in the international community.

"A substantial fraction of European observers confused a big move on the part of Iran [last fall] with a big enough move," says Michael Levi, a nuclear nonproliferation expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "In theory, this should be the final demonstration that Iran is acting in bad faith. Iran is confronted with a tough decision. If they turn over more documents, it shows they are more open. But it also proves they did something wrong."

Tough IAEA scrutiny last year led the agency to report that Iran had been hiding a vast clandestine nuclear effort for 18 years. Little direct evidence points to a weapons program, though some experiments point to weapons uses: Iran dabbled in uranium metal; and tests more than a decade ago with polonium-210 are described for the first time by the IAEA in this report.

While polonium can be used for "nuclear batteries," the latest report says, it can also be used, with beryllium, as a "neutron initiator in some designs of nuclear weapons."

Also detailed is Iran's failure to declare design plans for a more advanced centrifuge known as a P-2 - and components manufactured for mechanical testing. The IAEA called the omission "a matter of serious concern" that "runs counter to Iran's declaration."

Inspectors also found two different types of uranium contamination at two separate sites in Iran - raising questions about Iranian claims that the traces came solely from imported equipment.

In one room at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, IAEA sampling found uranium enriched to levels 30 times as high as Iran has declared it has achieved using centrifuge technology. Those levels, the report said, "suggests the presence of more than just trace quantities of such material."

"The hole in which Iran was in has stopped shrinking - it got deeper," says a Western diplomat in Tehran, about the discrepancies. "It's not clear if it was an oversight or a deliberate deception, but chances are it's the latter. It doesn't look good for Iran.

"We're worried when bits of information tumble out of the closet," the diplomat says. "It doesn't necessarily mean 'weapons program' when a P-2 turns up. The question is whether there is any link between P-2 components, and the ever- present possibility there could be other facilities."

Iran denies that any more undisclosed facilities exist, and senior officials have been meeting with the IAEA in Vienna this week to take the edge off the new discoveries.

On Tuesday, Iran promised to broaden its temporary suspension of enrichment activities, by halting the assembly of new centrifuges and making new components. Any production under existing contracts will be put under IAEA seal.

"It's very significant, because they can't do anything. Their centrifuges can't spin; uranium can't be enriched," says the Vienna diplomat. "What's clear is that the IAEA is on to them - they probably underestimated the ability of the inspectors."
11 posted on 02/27/2004 5:34:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
New political conflict shaping up in Iran

San Francisco Chronicle - By Borzou Daragahi
Feb 26, 2004

Tehran -- Now that hard-liners have seized control of Iran's parliament, they also have assumed the challenge of managing a moribund economy while containing the aspirations of restless Iranians demanding more personal freedom.

Analysts say a new conflict could be brewing between the religious fundamentalists, who want to tighten social controls, and pragmatic conservatives who want to follow the "Chinese model" by adapting to new domestic and international realities.

"One part of them are these unknown people who are making slogans about development and economic growth," said Rajabali Mazroui, a liberal member of parliament who was barred from running in this month's elections. "Another part of them are the very radical, harsh right-wingers. It's not clear who's going to come out on top."

The hard-liners' carefully crafted takeover of parliament comes as Iran prepares to reopen its economy to the world for the first time since Iranians toppled pro-Western Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in 1979.

The stock market has agreed on rules for individual foreigners to invest in Iranian firms. Last week, Turkcell, a Turkish firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange, won the contract to build a mobile phone network.

Japan has agreed to invest $2 billion in developing oil fields. The French car manufacturer Renault has signed a deal to invest $750 million in Iran over the next few years.

Although U.S. sanctions on Iran remain, many U.S. allies are eager to do business there. For those ventures to succeed, the new political leaders may be forced to keep the most extreme hard-liners in check.

"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."

Conservatives took control of parliament by blocking the candidacies of most reformers, even incumbent lawmakers.

Under Iran's system of government, the ultimate authority lies not with the elected president, but with a group of unelected clerics who disdain liberalism and answer only to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Unable to field liberal candidates, reformists urged voters to stay home, guaranteeing the new parliament will shift hard to the right.

Political unknowns calling themselves the Association of Advancement of Islamic Iran, known locally as Abadgaran, won the biggest block of votes. Their leader, incumbent lawmaker Gholamali Haddadadel, is married to a daughter of Khamenei.

The group has endorsed many of the good-government slogans of the reform movement -- for example, vowing not to crack down on women with hair showing beneath their headscarves or young people listening to pop music.

"Our goal is to solve economic problems," said Emad Ghetassi, who works in Abadgaran'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."

Political analysts here say the new conservative majority is bifurcated into two strains, one pragmatic and focused on improving the economy, the other ideological and focused on bolstering Islam. The two groups married temporarily for the sake of defeating the reformists in last Friday's elections, but a new split may emerge.

The pragmatic conservatives talk of a new approach: a Chinese model, in which the country would open itself to foreign investment, provide jobs and limited social freedom while keeping most political dissent in check. Adherents of this approach disdain the tactics of the clerics' most strident supporters.

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

Pragmatic conservatives such as 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 the United States, said Davoud Hermidas Bavand, a professor of international relations in Tehran.

But the Chinese model will be no easy fit for Iran. Although the country has reformed foreign investment laws and set up tax holidays for investors, its market potential -- 68 million Iranians, compared to 1.2 billion Chinese -- is relatively small, while the potential for a public relations fallout is immense, especially with foreign companies that have significant U.S. investments.

One Tehran representative of a European multinational put it bluntly: "Iran is an interesting market, but it's not China."

Moreover, 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 noted French scholar Bernard Hourcade, a specialist in Iran. "The sociology of these cities will change. The social climate will change."

That's exactly what will alienate the pious traditionalists who believe Iran should implement and export Islamic values.

Bavand predicts those forces might stymie the pragmatic conservatives' goal of a Chinese model, leaving them unable to solve Iran's myriad domestic problems -- unemployment, brain drain, drug addiction, corruption -- as well as the international condemnation of its secret nuclear weapons program, support for terrorist movements and record of human rights abuses.

After all, for nearly two decades after the 1979 revolution, the various conservative factions held near-monopolies on power in Iran and still weren't able to solve domestic problems.

"You look at them now, it's the same individuals," said Bavand. "Previously they had the same authority, and they weren't able to do a thing."
12 posted on 02/27/2004 5:37:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
They're up to no good.............
13 posted on 02/27/2004 6:00:32 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: AdmSmith
"Inspectors also found two different types of uranium contamination at two separate sites in Iran - raising questions about Iranian claims that the traces came solely from imported equipment. "

"In one room at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, IAEA sampling found uranium enriched to levels 30 times as high as Iran has declared it has achieved using centrifuge technology. Those levels, the report said, "suggests the presence of more than just trace quantities of such material."

"ever- present possibility there could be other facilities."

Like to wager there are?

14 posted on 02/27/2004 6:08:50 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Reformist lawmakers train guns on Khatami
Tehran |Reuters | 27-02-2004
Print friendly format | Email to Friend

Dozens of angry Iranian reformist parliamentarians have demanded President Mohammed Khatami appear before them to explain why he let last week's elections go ahead even though 2,500 of his supporters were barred from standing.

Many reformers and ordinary Iranians feel let do-wn by Khatami, who promised freedom of speech and the rule of law, but failed to stand up to hardliners once they blocked him.

Conservatives won control of parliament in Friday's polls, leaving Khatami increasingly isolated, heading a cabinet that ac-hieved little even when it had a majority in the assembly.

"We are preparing to summon Khatami to parliament to explain his efforts for a fair election, what he did to ensure there was a free and fair election and why his government held an election which they believed was neither free nor fair," outgoing reformist deputy Reza Yousefian said yesterday.

Pro-reform candidates only won 40 seats in the 290-seat assembly, compared to conservatives' 154, according to Interior Ministry official results released yesterday.

There are currently around 190 reformists in parliament.

Independents won 30 seats, five seats are reserved for religious minorities and 60 seats are to be recontested as candidates did not get the minimum 25 per cent of votes. Polls in Bam were postponed due to December's earthquake.

The biggest reformist party, led by Khatami's brother, boycotted the ele-ctions saying they were rigged. The soft-spoken president first criticised the barring of candidates, then, after talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the polls should go ahead.

With some 100 pro-reform publications banned and state broadcasting fir-mly in the hardliners' grip, outgoing reformist MPs now cling to parliament as one of the last platforms they have to vent their frustration before they step down at the end of May.

Some 75 reformists dep-uties had so far signed the demand to summon Khatami to parliament, Yousefian said.

But parliament speaker Mehdi Karroubi said he did not think the deputies would get the 105 signatures necessary to force Khatami to appear.

Ministers, appointed by the president, are not obl-iged to give regular reports to parliament. MPs have summoned other ministers for questioning in the past, but not Khatami himself.
15 posted on 02/27/2004 8:32:00 AM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Freedom now!
16 posted on 02/27/2004 9:51:30 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; All
Europe's Iran Wimpout

Wall Street Journal
| Feb 27, 2004 |

Anyone who still believes the "international community" had the will to contain Saddam Hussein through inspections need only look at the non-functional non-proliferation process now taking place in neighboring Iran.

This week's report from the International Atomic Energy Agency is as close as could be expected to smoking-gun proof that Tehran's hardliners are building an atomic bomb. The country has been shown to be running multiple uranium-enrichment programs -- all of which it originally failed to declare to the U.N. inspectors, and the more sophisticated of which it kept hiding even when given a chance to come clean in an international agreement last October.

Iran has absolutely no need to enrich uranium if its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, as it claims it is. What's more, IAEA inspectors discovered traces of polonium-210, an element they dryly note can be used "as a neutron initiator in some designs of nuclear weapons." In short, they've found work on what appears to be a bomb core and its trigger.

Yet barely had the ink dried on their pro-forma denunciation of last Friday's rigged Iranian elections when European Union foreign ministers offered Iran another chance to deceive. A senior Bush Administration official tells us our European friends -- including erstwhile disarmament stalwart Tony Blair -- rebuffed an explicit request from President Bush, and cut a deal with Tehran to expand the definition of its ostensibly suspended "enrichment activities."

The IAEA says the agreement, which likely precludes a referral of Iran to the U.N. Security Council when the IAEA board meets next month, "will contribute to confidence building." That sounds about right -- confidence on the part of Iran's ruling mullahs that they're going to get away with it.

Short of finding a bomb blueprint (which Iran probably got from Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan as Libya did) or actual device, after all, the IAEA report could hardly be more damning. The agency threw cold water on Iran's excuse that numerous traces of highly enriched uranium were due to the contamination of foreign-purchased parts. It traced most of the contamination to elements of Iran's domestic program, and it noted that the purity of uranium from one site was 36% -- less than the 90% needed for a bomb but much more than needed to fuel nuclear reactors.

As CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee this week, "The difference between producing low-enriched uranium and weapons-capable high-enriched uranium is only a matter of time and intent, not technology." The IAEA report also notes the military links of what Iran claims is a civilian program: "Most workshops for the domestic production of centrifuges are owned by military industrial organizations."

But as in Iraq, IAEA chief Mohammed El Baradei simply asked for better behavior. "I hope," he implored earlier this week, "this will be the last time any aspect of the program has not been declared to us." Most IAEA member states, meanwhile, seem more interested in oil contracts than in enforcing international atomic energy rules. In recent weeks French and Japanese companies signed petroleum exploration deals with the Islamic Republic. Not surprisingly, Iran's IAEA representative, Hassan Rohani, has responded to the Europeans with outright contempt: "We have other research projects which we have not announced to the agency and do not think it is necessary to announce them to the agency."

Mr. Rohani happens to be a close political ally of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, who said a few years ago that "If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession, the strategy of colonialism would face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world." By "colonialism," he means Anglo-American foreign policy. Iran wants the bomb to contain the U.S. and become the dominant power in the Middle East.

More than a decade ago Margaret Thatcher almost certainly saved the world from a nuclear-armed Saddam Hussein by delivering her famous "Don't go wobbly" message to George H.W. Bush. Now's the time for the current occupant of the White House to return the favor by delivering a similar message of resolve to his British counterpart.

Prime Minister Blair may think he's defending the international non-proliferation system by drawing out negotiations with Iran, but the truth is he risks permanently discrediting it. If Iran's repeated deceptions are not cause for referral to the Security Council, then nothing is. And if Iran goes nuclear on the IAEA's watch, then the agency might as well cease to exist.
17 posted on 02/27/2004 11:27:26 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn; All
AP Exclusive: Pakistan Threatened to Give Nuclear Weapons to Iran, Former Officials Say

Feb 27, 2004

By Matt Kelley
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Pakistan warned the United States 14 years ago that it might give nuclear technology to Iran, but the administration of President Bush's father did little to follow up, former Pentagon officials say.
Word of the 1990 threat from Pakistan's top general apparently was not passed along to the Clinton administration when it took office three years later, according to interviews by The Associated Press.

One of Pakistan's top nuclear scientists admitted last month that he sold nuclear technology to Iran, as well as North Korea and Libya - all nations on the U.S. list of terrorism sponsors. President Bush said the underground nuclear network was exposed by U.S. and British intelligence agencies' work over the past few years.

But former government arms control officials and declassified documents show the United States knew about Pakistan's nuclear procurement network since 1983 and suspected the transfers to Iran since the mid-1980s. The United States had hints of the transfers to North Korea in the mid-1990s, officials say.

The clearest evidence of the Iran link came in January 1990, when Pakistan's army chief of staff conveyed his threat to arm Iran to a top Pentagon official. Henry S. Rowen, at the time an assistant defense secretary, said Pakistani Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg issued the warning in a face-to-face meeting in Pakistan.

"Beg said something like, 'If we don't get adequate support from the U.S., then we may be forced to share nuclear technology with Iran,'" said Rowen, now a professor at Stanford University.

Beg has acknowledged Iran approached him seeking nuclear assistance that year and he publicly advocated military cooperation between Pakistan and Iran to counter U.S. power in the region. Beg said he never authorized nuclear transfers to Iran or made threats to the United States.

"I have said many times it's all pure lies," Beg said in a telephone interview. "Am I a fool, to tell the U.S. what to do or what not to do?"

In recent weeks, evidence has emerged that Pakistani nuclear aid to Iran began in the mid-1980s but accelerated after 1990 and included transfer of some of Pakistan's most advanced nuclear technology.

The former Pentagon officials' accounts suggest the United States may have missed an early opportunity to thwart some of those transfers.

"We knew they were up to no good," said Henry Sokolski, the Pentagon's top arms control official in 1990.

The Pakistani scientist at the center of the nuclear network, Abdul Qadeer Khan, made a public confession this month and said Pakistan's leadership was unaware and uninvolved. President Pervez Musharraf pardoned Khan a day later.

President Bush has said the United States became aware of Khan's network only in the past few years through daring work by U.S. and British intelligence agents.

"We unraveled the Khan network and we are putting an end to its criminal enterprise," Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said in a speech Thursday.

But Sokolski and Rowen said former President Bush's administration did little to follow up on Beg's warning. "In hindsight, maybe before or after that they did make some transfers," Rowen said.

Ashton Carter, an assistant defense secretary from 1993 to 1996, said he doesn't remember even being told about the problem when he joined the Pentagon.

Rowen said he told Beg that Pakistan would be "in deep trouble" if it gave nuclear weapons to Iran. Rowen said he was surprised by the threat because at the time Americans thought Pakistan's secular government dominated by Sunni Muslims wouldn't aid Iran's Shiite Muslim theocracy.

"There was no particular reason to think it was a bluff, but on the other hand, we didn't know," Rowen said.

Declassified documents and former officials say U.S. officials knew since at least 1983 about Pakistan's extensive underground supply network for its nuclear weapons program, which first tested nuclear explosives in 1998. Former officials say Washington had other murky clues about Pakistani help to Iran and strong suspicions of the North Korea link by the late 1990s.

Most of the middlemen for Khan's network in the 1990s were either investigated or convicted in Europe for supplying Pakistan's nuclear program in the 1980s.

Pakistan never cracked down on its scientists when former President Clinton and other U.S. officials shared their suspicions with Pakistani leaders, former U.S. officials say.

"The response was, 'Yes, we'll examine your concerns, but we don't believe they are well founded,'" said Robert Einhorn, who was the head arms control official in the State Department from 1999 to 2001.

While Islamabad and Washington squabbled about the evidence, the Khan network provided sophisticated technology to Libya, North Korea and Iran, three countries the United States considered among the most dangerous.

A decade earlier, the Reagan administration had looked the other way on Pakistan's nuclear program, said Stephen P. Cohen, a State Department expert on the region from 1985 to 1987. Back then, Washington used Pakistan as a conduit for sending weapons and money to guerrillas fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

"They were covering up our involvement in Afghanistan, pretending we played no role in Afghanistan, so they expected us to cover up their role in procuring a weapons system they saw as vital to their survival," said Cohen, now with the Brookings Institution think tank.

American officials scolded Pakistan repeatedly for buying nuclear technology from sources in Europe, Asia and the United States, Cohen said. But often those warnings were with "a wink and a nod" that Washington would tolerate those activities, he said.

A declassified State Department memo from 1983 says Pakistan clearly had a nuclear weapons program that relied on stolen European technology and "energetic procurement activities in various countries."

Cohen said the United States suspected Pakistan was helping Iran in the late 1980s, in part because Pakistan had cooperated with Iran on nuclear matters before Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. The evidence, however, was murky, Cohen said.
18 posted on 02/27/2004 11:50:52 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Rafsanjani Says Elections a Success, US Policies Doomed to Failure

February 27, 2004
Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran -- Substitute Leader of the Tehran Friday Prayers Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said the 20 February parliamentary elections was a great success for the Islamic Republic on the international stage.

Addressing the worshipers gathered for the weekly congregational prayers at the Tehran University campus, Ayatollah Rafsanjani termed as very "important" the result of elections.

He said the enemies of the Islamic Republic who have launched psychological war against Iran were after sending some figures into the parliament otherwise they preferred that the elections would have been marred. Rafsanjani who is also Chief of Expediency Council was pleased over the heavy turnout in the 20 February parliamentary elections and said it was a big defeat for Iran`s arch-foes the United States. He said one should know that the US president George W. Bush revealed how successful the Islamic system was in its policies and strategies.

Rafsanjani pointed out that Bush had said he had been disappointed by hearing the results of elections in Iran. He noted that the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States in a speech in Senate said the US authorities made a mistake in their policies because the US officials had thought that Iran would either move toward electing those who have tendencies toward the United States or it would move towards crisis and civil unrest.

Rafsanjani praised the Iranian masses for keeping vigilant in time of the voting and said if the people had had a low turnout in the elections, then the enemies would have more severely criticized the Islamic system.

He said the active participation of the people from all walks of life have ashamed the enemies of the system and prevented them to direct further criticisms. Rafsanjani hoped that the next four years would be turning point in determining the fate of the country and called on the officials to follow the directives given by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

He added that the strong turnout of voters in the 7th Majlis elections would cement the national authority and security in the country. Rafsanjani noted that "the massive participation of the religious, revolutionary, brave and noble people of Iran constituted another epic in the country`s history that is more glorious and brilliant than those in the past." He said the United States is now backing the opposition in Iran to side with the NGOs or spark new struggles against the Iran regime.

He said employing the terms such "illegitimate elections" or "unfair elections" were void of meaning because the elections were held in a fair atmosphere and were meant to contribute to the democratic process in the Iranian society. Rafsanjani said however that if there had not been a tug-of-war among the political camps and factions in Iran the results of elections would have been yet more eye-catching.

He referred to the Iranian foreign policy and said Iran has put top on its agenda the detente policy and said Iran would keep open its door to all states for cooperation except the United States and Israel.

Referring to the US Secretary of States`s report on human rights of countries, he criticized the Untied States for criticizing some countries for their human rights conditions while turning a blind eye on the crime it is committed in many parts of the world.

He said the US had an inhuman behavior towards those it is keeping it its jail in Guantanamo adding that the US is stampeding the human rights of the prisoners in its prison.

Rafsanjani called on the officials to adopt measures not to allow staunch enemies to intervene in Iran`s internal affairs.

He said the United States and its European allies are after finding a pretext to interfere in Iran`s internal affairs and so officials should be quite vigilant not to allow them to pursue their evil aims. He went on to say that the current circumstances are critical.

Touching on Iraq, he supported the will of the Iraqi people to hold elections to take into their hands the fate of their country and said the United States is well aware that it can do nothing in Iraq against the will of the Iraqis. He commented on the US policies and said the United States has claimed to be in favor of democracy in Iraq but they have made clear that the Iraqis are not allowed to hold the elections in the way they want.
19 posted on 02/27/2004 1:36:09 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Once Upon a Spymaster

February 27, 2004
National Reviw Online
Michael Ledeen

Consulting my man Angleton.

I was going to write something about the testimony of George Tenet (director of Central Intelligence) to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) last Wednesday, but then I thought I'd consult with my old friend, the late James Jesus Angleton. After all, he'd been the chief of CIA counterintelligence for many years, and knew a lot more about the intelligence business than I ever would. So I dragged out the ouija board, and after a few failed efforts (probably the fault of the Patriot Act) I got through.

ML: So how goes it?

JJA: It's pretty boring, frankly. But we do get a few interesting documents up here. I've been reading the Zawahiri tape and the Zarkawi letter, both of which are fascinating.

ML: Did you have a chance to look at Tenet's testimony?

JJA: Oh yes. We watched it, of course, and then I read it twice.

ML: The committee seemed to be impressed, and Tenet got good press on it. What did you think?

JJA: He's got it down pat now. He knows what they like, he speaks well, and the most important thing is that the senators know he's got a close working relationship with the president. That is the single-most important strength of any DCI. If the president likes him and listens to him, the CIA feels strong. Presidents like Clinton always discourage the intelligence community, and produce very weak CIA directors, but this president is interested in it, so Tenet matters a lot.

ML: Anything in there surprise you?

JJA: I thought it was badly crafted. There are many sentences in which it's impossible to decipher what he's referring to. For example, he warns that we have to carefully watch "places where terrorist networks converge." Then he says "Iraq is of course one. But so are the backyards of our closest allies. Even Western Europe is an area where terrorists recruit, train, and target." I don't get that "even." It suggests that Western Europe is in a different category from "backyards of our closest allies." So who are the close allies he's talking about?

ML: Israel maybe?

JJA: Maybe. He does talk about 600 attacks by Palestinian terrorists in 2003, producing 200 dead, including Americans. But I think he's also thinking about the Saudis?

ML: But the Saudis give lots of support to some of the terrorists.

JJA: Sure they do, but he's got them right at the top of his list of "Coalition partners, who have been central to our effort against al Qaeda." He implies that this cooperation is recent, saying that since the May 12 bombings the Saudis have been fighting hard, "and Saudi officers have paid with their lives." Then he talks about Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, the UAE, Oman, Pakistan, and then finally "partners in Southeast Asia" and then "our European partners." I guess that's the full list.

ML: So what's the problem?

JJA: The problem is that several of these countries, starting with the Saudis, are both friends and enemies, and you'd expect the DCI to try to educate the senators, and the American public, to the fact that the real world is complicated, and at least hint at our knowledge of the complexities.

ML: I agree. I was disappointed to find him lapsing back into some of the discredited oversimplifications that got us into so much trouble before 9/11, like the Sunni vs. Shiite business.

JJA: Right, and he puts it right in his "blockbuster." "What I want to say to you now may be the most important thing I tell you today," he says. You can almost hear the drum roll. And what is this most important thing? It's a single sentence: "The steady growth of Osama bin Laden's anti-U.S. sentiment through the wider Sunni extremist movement and the broad dissemination of al Qaeda's destructive expertise ensure that a serious threat will remain for the foreseeable future — with or without al Qaeda in the picture."

ML: You see? There's that "Sunni extremist movement" bit again, as if (Shiite) Hezbollah weren't one of the worst — if not the worst — of the terrorist groups. And as if Osama and Zarkawi weren't getting help from (Shiite) Iran as well as (Sunni) Syria, both of which he names as terror sponsors.

JJA: Indeed. Although he rightly says that it's a mistake to think about the terror network as a collection of discrete organizations — he stresses that it's a global movement — he still seems to believe that the division between Sunni and Shiite is fundamental.

ML: Why do you think he clings to this myth?

JJA: Two reasons. First, it's been conventional wisdom at the agency for a long time, and these things get embedded in the culture in Langley. And second, I think we have much better sources among the Sunni than among the Shiites, particularly in Iran. So he can speak much more confidently about Sunni groups and Sunni countries.

ML: I liked a lot of what he said about Iraq.

JJA: Yes, me too. He was quite explicit that the "insurgency" in Iraq aims at "driving the U.S. and our Coalition partners from Iraq." That's exactly right, and it should point right back to Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. But then he loses sight of one of the main objectives of the jihadists: the creation of an Islamic republic in Iraq. That never gets mentioned, he deals with the insurgency as if it were a purely paramilitary force. Even when he talks about Iran's support for the Badr militia, for example, he only mentions their penetration of the Iraqi police and media outlets in the south of the country. But the fact is that Iran wants to dominate the whole country, because a democratic Iraq would encourage the Iranian people to overthrow the regime in Tehran.

The greatest weakness of his presentation on Iraq is that it's a kind of political-science-style thumbnail sketch of the various contending forces. It's interesting, so far as it goes, but it's not enough. He tells us that, according to the agency, Iran wants a non-threatening Iraqi government (but he doesn't say, "and therefore an undemocratic regime") that is "not a U.S. puppet, can maintain the country's territorial integrity, and has a strong Shia representation." But there is every reason to think that Iran wants an Iraqi Islamic Republic, and there is abundant evidence that they are working towards it. Don't we listen to their radio and television broadcasts to Iraq? They certainly say that often enough.

ML: I thought he put a bit too much stress on the "movement," and not enough about the countries that support it.

JJA: True, although he covered his flanks by stating flatly that Iran and Syria were supporting terrorism, in Iraq and elsewhere. But you're right, his main emphasis was on the "movement," and he even said that you no longer need a state in order to produce terrible weapons. True, but it's a hell of a lot easier when you've got a state supporting you. And if the regimes in Damascus and Tehran were toppled, you'd see much less terrorism.

ML: He was happy to talk about Libya, wasn't he?

JJA: Oh, yes, and he's entitled. That was very well done indeed, and he was also happy to talk about the agency's good work on AQ Khan and his worldwide nuclear-proliferation network.

ML: Anything else strike you?

JJA: Yes, there was that non-sequitur about China.

ML: I missed that.

JJA: Well, he said quite a lot about China's military programs — although you have to pull together elements from different sections of his talk to see it all — and then he comes out with this one: "All of these steps will over time make China a formidable challenge if Beijing perceived that its interests were being thwarted in the region."

Feh! That "if" is a total non-sequitur. All those steps will make China a formidable challenge, period. And China's interests are global, not just regional, as they say in their published military doctrine.

So that was a big disappointment.

ML: And you don't need spies to figure out that one.

JJA: No, you only need people who can read Chinese.

I was about to ask him whether he thought we had enough of those Chinese-language readers, and it occurred to me that I should ask him about Arabic and Farsi raiders, too, but the connection went all wheezy (he was a chain smoker, so it was hard to tell if it was him or the line), and that was it for the day.

Next time I'll follow up.
20 posted on 02/27/2004 1:37:47 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Time Not on Side of Iranian 'Leaders'

February 27, 2004
Scripps Howard News Service
Dale McFeatters

If Iran ever held a truly free election, that country’s supreme leader, his appointed Guardian Council and their coterie of corrupt clerics would be swept from office.

The Iranian people know that, we know that, the Europeans know that — and so do the hard-line clerics. The clerics hit upon the obvious solution.

They guaranteed that there would not be a repeat of the 2000 election, when moderates took control of the parliament, by the simple expedient of banning 2,400 moderates, including about 80 sitting members of parliament, from last Friday’s election. To be on the safe side, the clerics shuttered two popular newspapers that supported the moderates.

The conservatives, with no opponents, easily retook control of the parliament. It requires no great stretch of the imagination to see that next they will go after Iran’s popular but ineffectual reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, when he comes up for re-election next year.

Khatami stunned the hard-liners when he overwhelmingly won election in 1997 and was easily re-elected in 2001. Like with the parliament, the hard-liners aren’t about to let that happen again.

All of this is a dismaying setback for the Iranian people who would like to see their country free of the repressive hand of clerical rule. However, time is not on the clerics’ side, as a restive youthful nation, with no memory of the 1979 revolution, chafes at the lack of opportunity, jobs and social freedoms.

The conservative clerics in control of parliament will now begin agitating for the United States and the European Union to recognize their rule as legitimate. Nations that believe in democracy and civil liberties should not dignify that claim. If it’s legitimacy the clerics crave, let them try to win an honest election, open to all comers and watched over by a free press.
21 posted on 02/27/2004 1:39:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
EU, US to Seek Common Ground on Iran, Middle East

February 27, 2004
John Chalmers

BRUSSELS -- Transatlantic relations may look bad on Monday when the European Union slaps trade sanctions on the United States, but the two sides look set to find common ground on the Middle East at talks in Washington the same day.

Diplomats said the meeting would cover issues which spawned deep differences last year - notably the Iraq war, the Israel-Palestinian conflict and how to handle Iran's nuclear programme - but on which positions have since moved closer.

"After all the tensions there now seems a determination to find pragmatic solutions and move ahead," said one EU diplomat, pointing to this week's deal over Europe's plans for a satellite navigation system rivalling the U.S. Global Positioning System.

He was echoed by a U.S. official who described the agreement on navigations systems as a "win-win" and a good trailer for next week's six-monthly meeting.

The meeting will bring together U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten and Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen, whose country is current president of the bloc.

They will seek to prepare for a major EU-U.S. summit in June at which, Washington hopes, various ideas for a Greater Middle East Initiative will be tied together.

U.S. officials say Washington's plan is to offer countries from Morocco to Afghanistan trade deals, political engagement and military support in exchange for democratic reform.


The Europeans are sceptical about whether such a sprawling region has any coherence as a unit, and they suspect it could distract attention from the need to revive the "road map" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

They favour more modest steps such as deepening NATO's Mediterranean partnership, boosting EU-Gulf ties and laying more emphasis on democracy and human rights in the bloc's trade and aid-oriented Barcelona process with Mediterranean rim states.

"There's been some scepticism and criticism that this is a one-time fix... just meant to distract from the fact that the road map has been a road block. I don't think that is the case," said the U.S. official.

He said Powell would be "prepared to respond" on Monday to the European view, expressed by the fiercest critics of the U.S.-led Iraq war, that the international community must address root economic and social causes of instability in the region.

Germany argues that Syria and Iran could not be excluded from any wider Middle East initiative.

The EU's biggest powers, Britain, France and Germany, joined forces again last week to persuade Iran to completely suspend uranium enrichment activities after convincing Tehran to accept intrusive spot inspections of its nuclear programme.

The EU believes Iran should be rewarded with peaceful nuclear cooperation and a resumption of trade talks if it complies, while Washington - which now backs the Big Three initiative after initial misgivings - still opposes any help for Tehran's civilian nuclear programme, diplomats say.

Other issues on the agenda on Monday include: Iraq, the handover of NATO's peacekeeping mission in Bosnia to the EU, the Cyprus peace talks and Turkey's EU candidacy, Afghanistan ahead of next month's Berlin conference and relations with Russia.

(Additional reporting by Paul Taylor).
22 posted on 02/27/2004 1:40:23 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Power, Cash May Be The Ties That Bind Iran

February 28, 2004
The Age
Ed O'loughlin

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has been dead for 15 years but his face is still everywhere in Tehran, looking down from giant murals over dingy, traffic-choked streets, framed behind glass on every office wall.

Utterly unbending in life, the founder of the Islamic Republic glares down at his creation from a place beyond mercy or compromise. But if the late ruler is frozen forever in certainty, his absolutist blend of politics and religion has had to muddle on without him.

For all the Ayatollah icons, anti-US slogans and hardline Islamic rhetoric, Iran is no longer a country governed by one iron will, or even one coherent faction. Even the Islamic clergy who have the last word in the world's only official theocracy are deeply divided over who, if anyone, should wear Ayatollah Khomeini's mantle.

The hardline clerics and their lay supporters may have come together last week to defeat the reformist, modernist movement in deeply flawed parliamentary elections, but political observers in Tehran say that in truth they are split into at least three main factions.

What holds them together, the regime's critics say, is no longer love of country, Ayatollah or even Islam, but the same things that kept the shah's regime together - power and cash. Mullahs and lay activists who once braved the shah's torturers for justice and religion have become fat on state-owned industries and the network of religious foundations set up by Ayatollah Khomeini to take over the nationalised assets of the shah, foreign businesses and anyone who fled the revolution.

Today, the conservative factions still shout of the need to defend the revolution against America, Zionism and those treacherous Iranians who want secular freedoms. But the real wellspring of reaction, their opponents say, is privilege and wealth. And if any one group or power centre can be said to be directing this effort, many say, it is the political movement calling itself Jami'at-e Motalefeh-e Eslami, or the Society of Islamic Coalition.

"Motalefeh is the so-called business aspect of the conservative group. Both extremist and conservative clerical factions rise out of Motalefeh because it has monopolised economic power on their behalf," said Davoud Hermidas Bavand, professor of international law at the University of Tehran. "If Iran adopts modernism, one of the things it has to do is take this monopoly out of the hands of Motalefeh and the big foundations that are closely linked to it, and of course they'll do what they can to prevent that," Professor Bavand said.

Or as one Tehran-based diplomat put it: "If there is a force in the background pulling the levers, Motalefeh is it."

Not so much a party as a political-religious pressure group, Motalefeh occupies a niche in Iran strikingly similar to the great Catholic orders in reformation Europe, or more recently the secretive right-wing Catholic society Opus Dei. Like its Christian counterparts, Motalefeh believes its task is doing God's work on earth.

The people have not been appreciative. Wiped out in earlier elections, Motalefeh has stopped running candidates under its own banner. Instead, it offers behind-the-scenes support to like-minded candidates running on other lists, notably the Abadgaran Iran-e-Islami (Developers of Islamic Iran).

This will be the largest block in the new Parliament after a 70 per cent voter stay away in reform-minded Tehran gifted it a sweep of the seats.

Perhaps seeking to moderate their public profile, Motalefeh and its clients now deny that they are reactionary or fundamentalist: even the label "conservative" annoys them.

This week Abadgaran rejected suggestions that conservatives plan to use their new control of Parliament to reverse recent relaxations in the enforcement of Sharia law. Motalefeh likes to portray itself as merely another player in mature democracy.

"In our society there has always been different views - among students, people who protest - but it never comes to antagonism," asserts Asadollah Badamchian, Motalefeh's second in command and a survivor of the shah's torture chambers.

"Iran is a free society. It's natural some are extreme and some are moderate. This is what we fought for. We didn't get rid of a dictatorship to replace it with another," he said. Yet dictatorship is what many Iranians do call their form of government, especially since the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and unelected clerical councils repeatedly vetoed reform bills passed by the last, overwhelmingly reformist parliament.

Then in the run-up to last week's election, the 12-man Islamic Council of Guardians hamstrung the liberal movement by banning 2000 reformist candidates for not being sufficiently Islamic. This prompted most of the rest to withdraw. By the time the polls opened last Friday only half the country's 290 seats were contested by a reformist candidate. With the main reformist parties calling for a boycott, the 50 per cent turnout was the lowest in Iran's post-revolutionary history.

Despite its ascendant position, the traditional conservative right represented by Motalefeh is unlikely to have things all its own way. A smaller but more pragmatic conservative faction under the formidable former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, keen to ease international relations, is manoeuvring in the wings.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is also said to enjoy little support from the main conservative faction, and could yet be drawn into an alliance against them.

Reasserting their power, the conservatives must be careful not to stir up resistance from the public, particularly in Tehran. Many people are desperate for change but are too disillusioned with the reform process, and too frightened of possible violence from the groups linked to the Islamic establishment to actively resist.

The political clergy and their backers must also be wary of resistance from within the Islamic establishment itself.
23 posted on 02/27/2004 1:41:23 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Now Tehran's Pushing Buttons

February 28, 2004
Australian Financial Review
Tony Walker

George Bush may appear to have love and marriage on his mind, but Iran is tweaking nerve-endings in Washington severely and for several reasons.

In the swirl of events in an exceptionally busy news week, the following interlocking events could easily have passed unnoticed in the Great Game of tracking the twists and turns of American foreign policy in an era when the administration hardly speaks with one voice.

On the day that US President George Bush commandeered the national debate by announcing he would support a constitutional amendment effectively banning gay marriages, his spokesman, Scott McClellan, addressed another contentious issue which barely stirred the interest of a White House press corps slavering over same-sex unions.

The issue was Iran, and what McClellan had to say in the President's name might have seemed unexceptional, but the fact that he said it, and said it belatedly, added significance to his remarks.

Four days after Iran's parliamentary elections, which by any standards represented a travesty of democratic principles and practice, this is what Bush said: "I am very disappointed in the recently disputed parliamentary elections in Iran. The disqualification of some 2400 candidates by the unelected Guardian Council deprived many Iranians of their 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."

What Bush omitted to mention in his brief statement was the fact that 87 members of the 290-member Parliament were excluded from contesting the poll, vetted out by the Council of Guardians, an unelected body of elders dominated by clerics, which reports to spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The conservatives have spoken, and the reformers' impotence has been exposed. So the calculus shifts from expectations of a continued struggle between modernists and medievalists to a lop-sided outcome which appears to have established a new, regressive and fractious status quo.

Shaul Bakhash of the Brookings Institution, whose book, The Reign of the Ayatollahs, is one of the best pieces of work on post-Shah Iran, said in an interview recently that above all what the election result indicated was that supreme leader Khamenei had asserted his authority by throwing in his lot with the hardliners.

The leadership, he said, was now a mixture of hardliners and conservative centrists whose influence will almost certainly ensure the election next year of a conservative to replace the reformist Mohammad Khatami, who has been a disappointment to those in Iran and in the West who hoped that he might preside over a new era.

In Bakash's view, the reformists are in retreat and it is hard to see them regrouping soon.

But perhaps the real politics was not in Iran but in Washington itself. For it is no secret that the Bush administration is under pressure from conservatives within and without to adopt a sterner posture towards Iran.

In his remarks, which came four days after the February 20 poll, Bush appeared to come down marginally on the side of US hardliners, but the administration's critics on the right identify an obvious contradiction in the US approach between words and deeds.

"We're three years into [the Bush administration] and we don't have an Iran policy," says Michael Ledeen, of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. "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."

What supporting democracy might mean beyond pious words is not clear, but what is almost certainly the case, when the four following pieces of the jigsaw are fitted into place, is that the chances of a thaw between Washington and Tehran have receded for the time being. Hopes, even expectations, of the beginning of an accommodation now seem quite remote.

* In Baghdad this week, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indulged in some of the heftiest criticism of Iran in recent memory.

Asked at a press conference whether the US planned to increase pressure on Iran to stop an influx of terrorists, Rumsfeld engaged in this exchange with a journalist.

Question: How about pressure on Syria and Iran, maybe increasing the pressure on them?

Answer: That wouldn't be a bad thing. Syria and Iran have not been helpful to the people of Iraq. Indeed, they've been unhelpful.

Question: How have they been unhelpful?

Answer: They've allowed people to move from their countries into Iraq to engage in terrorist activities against the Iraqi people."

* The State Department last week issued its verdict for 2003 on human rights abuses, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2003, which was scathing about Iran in a lengthy and detailed section.

Here's a flavour of it: "Continuing serious abuses included: summary executions; disappearances; torture and other degrading treatment, reportedly including severe punishments such as beheading and flogging; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of habeas corpus or access to counsel and prolonged and incommunicado detention."

The Central Intelligence Agency chief George Tenet, in a briefing on Tuesday with the Senate Intelligence Committee, provided a gloomy, though not alarmist, assessment of Iran's future. The regime was secure for now, its foreign policy, which has been in the grip of the more conservative elements anyway, won't change much, if at all, but repression will deepen discontent.

Tenet touched on the issue that is of most concern without going into details. This is suspicion, actually near certainty, that Iran is persisting in its efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability in spite of an appearance of co-operating with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

As Tenet put in open session with the committee before briefing it behind closed doors, Iran was "trying to preserve its weapons of mass destruction options".

* This latter observation corresponds with a piece of intelligence that emerged this week to cast doubt, if that was necessary, on Iran's claims that its nuclear intentions are peaceable.

On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report that United Nations inspectors in Iran had found signs of polonium, a radioactive element that can help trigger a nuclear chain reaction, like that in a nuclear bomb, according to an Associated Press dispatch.

This comes on top of the discovery earlier this month at an air base in Iran of an advanced P-2 centrifuge system that could enrich uranium for weapons use. The US has said the finding raises "serious concerns" about Tehran's intentions.

These "concerns" are certain to be ventilated by the US representative at a board meeting of the 35-member IAEA on March 8 to re-assess what is being described by the Americans as the "Iranian threat".

The atmosphere will be quite tense.

But beyond Iran's trashing of its reformists, beyond its apparent program to acquire a nuclear capability, beyond its support for organisations like Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, it is Iraq which is of most immediate concern to the US and where potential for friction arises, as Rumsfeld indicated.

It would hardly be news in Washington that Iran has no interest in a flourishing example of Jeffersonian democracy on the banks of the Tigris.

As Shaul Bakash observes: "Iran doesn't want Iraq to break up, but if they can make life difficult for the Americans and undermine this shining example of democracy, fine, great."
24 posted on 02/27/2004 1:42:23 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knighthawk; McGavin999; SJackson; tet68; Eala; Stultis; river rat; risk; F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; ...

25 posted on 02/27/2004 2:10:39 PM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
For it is no secret that the Bush administration is under pressure from conservatives within and without to adopt a sterner posture towards Iran.

Huh. So I'm not the only one... *\;-)

26 posted on 02/27/2004 2:13:52 PM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE:
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Japan Misses the Big Picture

February 28, 2004
The Korea Herald
Robyn Lim

Japan needs to see its strategic security through a wider lens than the resource concerns of its powerful economic ministries. Japan's decision to fund the development of Iranian oil "against Washington's objections" ignores this principle.

In return for access to bases here, it still suits America to provide long-range maritime security for Japan, as well as nuclear security. But it isn't America's oil that comes from the Persian Gulf through East Asia's maritime chokepoints and marginal seas. And with the Cold War long over, forward deployments in this region are a matter of strategic choice rather than necessity for the United States. America's alliance with Japan is grounded in interest, not sentiment. Japan's rationalization for signing the deal to develop the Azadegan oil field in Iran is that Tehran has now agreed to accept additional inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

But evidence is daily coming to light that Tehran has not come clean. The IAEA has discovered additional violations, with the latest connection being to a military airfield.

Certainly, resource-poor Japan has reason to be interested in Iranian oil. Last year, Iran supplied some 16 percent of Japan's oil, making it the third-largest supplier after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. And in relation to the Azadegan contract, Iran has played off Japan against China and France. But if Japan is serious about the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, it is far too early to make this deal with Iran. It's hard to believe that Iran, awash with oil and gas, needs nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Moreover, the installation of pro-American regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, on Iran's borders, seems to have made Iran more determined to seek security in nuclear weapons.

In Iran, unlike North Korea, political power is being contested. It is very likely, though, that any government in Tehran will want nuclear weapons now. In any case, the hardline mullahs are digging in, as shown by the recent election charade. They are sponsors of Islamic terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah. Iran is also knowingly harboring operatives of al-Qaeda, which has threatened Japan because it has sent non-combat forces to Iraq. Japan also needs to think about what might happen if a nuclear-capable Iran were able to keep "hostile" shipping out of the Persian Gulf. And if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia will probably want them too. The Saudis have long bankrolled the Pakistan nuclear weapons program.

Nor can Japan afford to ignore the connections between Iran and North Korea. Indeed, these countries are mounting an unprecedented challenge to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. North Korea, having benefited from the treaty, evicted international inspectors and flaunted its nuclear weapons. Then it left it, the first state to do so. Yet the U.N. Security Council has not even met because China, North Korea's quasi-ally, will not allow it. That lack of will by the "international community" has emboldened Iran. Moreover, Iran and North Korea have long cooperated in exchanges of missile technology. Iran's Shahab 3 missile is, in fact, a North Korean Nodong. Northchanges of missile technology. Iran's Shahab 3 missile is, in fact, a North Korean Nodong. North Korea now has some 200 Nodongs threatening Japan. There is also speculation about cooperation in nuclear technology. Japan, by announcing the Iranian oil deal just before the six-party talks started Wednesday in Beijing, risks encouraging North Korea to seek to drive a wedge into the U.S.-Japan alliance. Yet, last year, Japan was complaining that America might agree to a multilateral security guarantee for North Korea, in return for Pyongyang's promises to freeze its nuclear weapons program. Japan worries that such an undertaking would put a hole in Japan's American-supplied nuclear security blanket. Thus Japan's behavior shows a continuing strategic myopia.

Japan needs to think hard about the huge benefits it derives from alliance with America at little cost and risk to itself. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi should invite his economic ministers to explain how they think Japan would fare if it had to look after its own security. It certainly would not be able to do so while spending only 1 percent of GNP on defense. Moreover, Japan has not been able to resolve the issues of World War II on terms satisfactory to its neighbors. So if Japan were to rearm unilaterally, that would inflame regional tensions. Economics and security interact in complex ways. It's time Japan saw the big picture.
27 posted on 02/27/2004 3:00:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Hezbollah Lures Israeli Arabs : Intel Chief

February 27, 2004
New York Post
Uri Dan

Israel's secret-service chief is warning that Iran and its Lebanese-backed Hezbollah terrorist group have been making "tremendous efforts" to recruit Israeli Arabs to carry out terror attacks.

Avi Dichter, the head of Israel's Shin Bet intelligence service, said also that there is recruiting in the Palestinian territories.

But while those who sign up in the territories get paid thousands of Israeli shekels for every attack - and also pocket a bonus when they kill Israelis - the Israeli Arabs "are doing it for free."

"For them, it's not a financial matter," Dichter said in the semiannual report he gave this week before the Knesset's security and foreign affairs committee.

He underlined the importance of Iran in the mobilization of Palestinian terrorists.

"Iran is the number one terrorist state in the world," he said. "The Iranian threat against the state of Israel is substantial, organized and planned on a long-range basis, including giving directives and pointing at targets."

"There is a worrisome increase in the number of recruits among the Israeli Arabs by Iran," Dichter said. "The Iranians are activating a channel to infiltrate terrorists through Europe into Israel."

In his report to legislators, Dichter underlined the importance of the barrier Israel has been constructing along the West Bank and the fence that already exists in the Gaza Strip.

Israel says it needs the barrier as a defense against homicide bombers.

On Wednesday, Arab and Muslim nations asked the International Court of Justice to rule against the legality of the barrier, which is now one-fourth completed. Any decision by the court would be nonbinding.

Yesterday, in what became the most bloodstained protest yet over the partition, three Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded after hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli leftists hurled stones at Israelis bulldozing ground for the barrier.

The clashes in the West Bank villages of Bidou, Beit Surik and Beit Iksa not far from Jerusalem became so fierce that the Israeli border police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, authorities said

"This is a new uprising, an uprising of the wall," said Beit Surik school principal Ibrahim Mughar.
28 posted on 02/27/2004 3:02:51 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: F14 Pilot
Syria and Iran, close regional allies, are both the targets of pressure and sanctions by the United States which accuses them of supporting "terrorist" groups.

Agence France Presse puts terrorist in quotes, calls Hezbollah "guerrilla".

France has surrendered to Isalmofascism, a maneuver it has perfected through sheer repetition.

Syria and Iran form the regional Axis of Weasels, aka, dead men walking.

29 posted on 02/27/2004 3:25:20 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: freedom44

We should go back to Vegas so Elvis can divorce us.

30 posted on 02/27/2004 3:56:00 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
31 posted on 02/27/2004 4:39:45 PM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran Irks IAEA

February 26, 2004
The Heritage Foundation
Heritage Policy Weblog

The International Atomic Energy Agency claims that Iran has not yet answered several outstanding questions about its nuclear program. Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi responded to Reuters that the disagreement is over "only procedural issues" and should not "cast doubt on Iran's peaceful nuclear activities."

Heritage's Peter Brookes explains why this sort of development is especially troubling:

Here's a dirty little secret from the rogue regime playbook: The U.N.'s Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) has a dangerous loophole. Under the guise of a peaceful, civilian nuclear energy program, a state can openly develop - right under the nose of the IAEA - most of what it needs for a nuclear-weapons program. It worked for North Korea and it's working for Iran today.

It is not encouraging, then, that Iran can't even convince the IAEA that it's in compliance with its obligations.

Also of concern is recent information that has come to light about Iran's programs. Two weeks ago, writes Helle Dale, "international inspectors discovered that Iran had hidden blueprints for a highly sophisticated centrifuge, capable of producing a key element in nuclear weapons." In other words, "even as Iran was pretending to be cooperating with the IAEA, it was engaged in a double-cross."

The lesson to take from all this? It is positive that Iran is working with the IAEA, but there is still the risk that this could end up like the 1994 agreement with North Korea. As Brookes maintains, "Washington must remain skeptical of Iran's intentions to hold up its end of the EU-brokered deal until it is verifed that this was, indeed, a breakthrough for nuclear non-proliferation and not for Iran's nuclear weapons program."
32 posted on 02/27/2004 5:29:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
US Criticizes Islamic Government's Human Rights Violations

•In a 30-page chapter of its annual country report on human rights practices around the world, the US State Department criticized the Islamic government for abuses, including persecution of opponents and suppression of liberties, including freedom of expression. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)

US Accuses of Iran of Hiding Info on Nuclear Program

•Iran's actions, as well as information in an IAEA report made public on Tuesday, strengthen the U.S. assessment that Iran's nuclear program is not consistent with its stated purpose, but is clearly geared towards the development of nuclear weapons, US representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ambassador Kenneth Brill said, adding that the Islamic government was engaged in “a continuing pattern of deception and delayed admissions.” (Alireza Taheri)

•Iran must disclose fully the details of its nuclear programs to the IAEA, British Prime Minister Tony Blair demanded today, commenting after a report earlier this week by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei which said there remained a number of questions and discrepancies over Iran's nuclear program that were “a matter of serious concern.” (Leyli Sadr)

•The Islamic Republic does not find it necessary to report the outcome of its research on centrifuge P2, or its other nuclear research projects, to the IAEA, secretary of the supreme national security council Hasan Rowhani said on Wednesday, reacting to the IAEA report. He said the suspension of the uranium enrichment program was voluntary and Iran will not stop the project. Rowhani's statement does not agree with Iran's legal commitments to the IAEA, Stockholm University's political science professor Said Mahmoudi tells Radio Farda. Iran has made a commitment to report all of its nuclear activities to the IAEA, he adds. However, the Islamic government may have taken this position because it had not received promised help to further its peaceful nuclear programs from the three European powers, he adds. (Bahman Bastani)

•It is time to turn over Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council, the Washington Times writes. (Amir Armin)

Reformers Demand Recount, Summon Khatami to Explain “Unfair” Elections

•Dozens of reformists MPs signed a petition summoning President Khatami to the Majles to explain why he let last week's elections go ahead even though 2,500 of reformists were barred from standing by the Guardians Council. (Keyvan Hosseini)

•“Many reformers and ordinary Iranians feel let down by Khatami, who promised freedom of speech and the rule of law, but failed to stand up to powerful hardliners once they blocked him, the Reuters reports in a dispatch from Tehran.

•Announcing the final count of the Tehran electoral district's votes, the interior ministry said 5 of 30 Tehran Majles seats will be decided in runoff elections. Majles speaker Karrubi and Tehran MP Montajebnia, both from the society of reformist clerics (Majma-ye Rowhanioun Mobarez), who had failed to receive the required minimum of 25 percent, withdrew from the runoff elections.

•Twenty were arrested in the Kermanshah province for damaging public property, following post-election riots in Paveh, Javanroud and Falat-Babajani, local resident Koroush Nouri tells Radio Farda. Demonstrators protested against the elections results, asking how 24,000 had voted in Falat-Babajani electoral district, which has only 14,000 eligible voters, he adds. (Nima Tamadon)

Conservatives Win Majles Majority

•After last Friday's elections, some conservative theoreticians talked of plans to adapt what they call the Chinese model –a combination of political repression and economic development. The economies of the countries with closed political systems always lag in development, Cambridge University's economic professor Hashem Pesaran tells Radio Farda. Furthermore, he adds, the conservatives, who will takeover the Majles next June, will further close doors to foreign capital and foreign participation, compounding the existing economic problems. Iran, as an oil exporting country, is in constant need of new technologies, and no regime, under present conditions, can afford to close the doors to foreign capital and more advanced technology. (Shahran Tabari, London)

•Some reformist observers warned that following the conservatives' victory in the Majles elections, more oppression against pro-reform activists and journalists could be expected. The conservatives do have a capacity for increased oppression, Tehran-based pro-reform columnist Jafar Golabi tells Radio Farda. However, in today's political atmosphere, any more repression would blemish the conservatives' election victory, which has given them a greater sense of power. The faction that no longer feels besieged by the opposition would in fact open the political atmosphere, he adds. The people received the conservatives' election victory with indifference, he says. (Jafar Golabi)

•Pro-reform party the Participation Front's central committee member Hadi Qabel said he hoped that the conservatives will let the party remain active in politics, but managing editor of the conservative daily Kayhan, who called the reformists traitors and foreign agents, said they do not deserve to occupy any key government positions. (Keyvan Hosseini)

•British Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Baroness Symons criticized the mass disqualification of 2,500 candidates in the Friday's elections, calling the elections a setback after years of progress towards democracy. (Alireza Taheri)

•The conservatives have taken up and are running with many of the slogans and ideas championed by the reformists, such as prison reform, human rights and respect for traditional Iranian (non-Islamic) celebrations, such as the annual fire fest, or Charshanbeh Suri, Tehran-based journalist Said Dehqani tells Radio Farda. (Nima Tamadon)

•It appears that the next Majles will be under the control of the Supreme Leader, but the differences among the traditional and pragmatic branches of the conservative faction may pull them apart, independent Amsterdam-based journalist Sina Motalebbi tells Radio Farda. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
33 posted on 02/27/2004 5:55:55 PM PST by freedom44
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: PhilDragoo
A good link 4 u
34 posted on 02/27/2004 9:36:12 PM PST by F14 Pilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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

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

35 posted on 02/28/2004 12:02:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

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

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

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