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Iranian Alert -- February 28, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement -- Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 02/28/2004 12:01:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn
The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. But most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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AN AXIS RESURGENT
By AMIR TAHERI
February 28, 2004
IN a reversal of its policy not to enter into military alliance with any foreign power, the Islamic Republic of Iran has just concluded a defense pact with Syria. Signed in Damascus yesterday, the pact commits Iran to Syria's defense against "the Zionist entity," which in the Iranian lexicon means Israel.
The idea of a pact was first raised by Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the immediate aftermath of the liberation of Iraq last April. The Syrian leader paid three visits to Tehran, pressing the Iranian leadership to come to the help of his beleaguered regime.
Sources in Tehran say the Iranians were at first reluctant to commit to a course that could make war with Israel almost inevitable. All changed sometime last November when Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian "Supreme Guide," decided that the only way to deal with the perceived threat from America was to raise the cost of any attempt by Washington to implement further "regime changes" in the Middle East.
According to our sources, Iran's decision to strengthen its commitment to Syria is one of several factors behind President Assad's recent decision to adopt a tougher stance against both the United States and Israel.
Iran's defense minister, Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani (who signed the pact with his Syrian counterpart, Lt.-Gen. Mustafa Tlas), told reporters in Damascus yesterday that its "arrangements" also extend to Lebanon, where Syria maintains an army of 30,000 and Iran supports the Hezbollah (Party of God).
From Damascus, Shamkhani went to Beirut, where he presided over a war council attended by the entire political and military leadership of the Hezbollah. Top of the agenda was closer coordination between Hezbollah and Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of which are supported by Iran.
The pact has three sections. One spells out the strategic partnership of the two nations on "military and intelligence" issues, including a framework for joint staff conversations, exchange of information, joint planning and exercises, and reciprocal access to segments of each nation's weapons systems.
The second section provides mechanisms whereby Iran and Syria will assist one another against aggression by a third party. The full text of the section has not been released, but Shamkhani and Tlas made it clear that "mutual defense" includes the commitment of troops and materiel to deal with any clear and present danger against either nation.
The third section is a memorandum on technical and scientific cooperation that commits Iran to build a national defense industry for Syria. The text also commits Iran to supply Syria with a wide range of weapons, including fighter-bombers and theater-range missiles, on a lend-lease basis. Iran has also agreed to train an undisclosed number of Syrian officers and military technicians, especially in the use of a wide range of missiles.
In a Thursday speech in Damascus, Shamkhani explained that Iran and Syria felt threatened by U.S. and Israeli "aggression."
"In the existing strategic configuration in our region, Syria represents Iran's first line of defense," Shamkhani said. "Iran, in turn, must be regarded as Syria's geo-strategic depth."
Iran already has a military presence in both Syria and Lebanon. The Iranian military mission in Damascus consists of over 500 officers and experts in weaponry and military intelligence. The Corps of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard has a contingent of 1,200 men in Lebanon on missions including training, deployment and maintenance of certain categories of weapons, and military intelligence. Each year Iran also trains an unspecified number of Syrian officers and military technicians, plus hundreds of Hezbollah fighters and cadres.
The new pact is presented by the state-controlled media in Iran and Syria as a response to the close military ties between Israel and Turkey.
Iranian and Syrian analysts believe that Washington plans a new regional military alliance to include Israel, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, seven regional countries are scheduled to sign an association accord with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) later this year. The leaders of the countries concerned (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel and Jordan) have been invited to a NATO summit to be held in Istanbul in May.
As the only regional countries left out (along with Lebanon, which is de facto a Syrian dominion), Iran and Syria fear that their isolation could render them vulnerable to attack by either Israel or the United States.
The Irano-Syrian pact is scheduled to last for a period of five years but could be renewed with mutual consent.
To come into effect, the text must be approved by the Iranian and Syrian parliaments, which should happen early this summer. Syria's parliament, controlled by the ruling Arab Socialist Ba'ath (Renaissance) Party was never a problem. The new Iranian Majlis (parliament) is not expected to be a problem either since it will be controlled by groups loyal to the "Supreme Guide" and opposed to concessions to the United States.
The recent defeat of the so-called "reformist" camp in Iran is certain to concentrate control of foreign policy in the hands of Khamenei and his special foreign policy adviser, Ali-Akbar Velayati.
In a series of speeches and articles last year, Velayati urged the leadership to adopt "a position of strength" vis-à-vis the United States and Israel. His argument is that the Bush administration is committed to the overthrow of the Khomeinist regime and that the only way to counter its "conspiracies" is to raise the stakes to a point that would be unacceptable to American public opinion.
The Iran-Syria pact is only part of Velayati's grand vision. A more important part is Iran's decision to acquire a credible nuclear deterrent, probably within the next two to three years, thus raising the stakes even higher.
It is no exaggeration to suggest that the new Iranian tough line has been encouraged by the reaction of both the United States and the European Union to the recent election in Iran, in which only handpicked pro-regime candidates were allowed to stand.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed his "sadness" but insists that rapprochement with Tehran would continue regardless. The European Union has gone further by suggesting that the controversial election represented nothing but a dark patch in an otherwise serene sky. As for Washington, the announcement by CIA chief George Tenet that the Iranian regime is "secure" is seen by the hard-line Khomeinists as an admission of American despair.
Just three months ago, the Iranian and Syrian regimes had their backs to the wall. Now, however, they manifest a new self-confidence. And that could lead either to a serious dialogue with Washington or, more likely, a sharpening of the conflict with it, especially in Iraq, Lebanon, and the occupied territories.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/19159.htm
posted on 02/28/2004 9:34:53 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
posted on 02/28/2004 9:35:54 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
With an Oscar nod, the Iranian actress steps into the spotlight
By Wesley Morris, Globe Staff, 2/28/2004
If it were perfect, the world would have heard of Shohreh Aghdashloo before Jan. 27, 2004. But it's not, so Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, had to tell us: "Shohreh Aghdashloo in `House of Sand and Fog.' " It was the first name in the first category to be called the morning the Oscar nominations were announced. (Not to mention the first Iranian acting nominee ever.) And, as you might expect, Aghdashloo life's was changed irrevocably. But heaven knows it was fine before.
Over three decades, Aghdashloo, who was raised in Iran and has lived in Los Angeles since 1987, has starred in a handful of films and been a leading name in Iranian theater. As an activist, she writes and speaks out around the world, and she has even done political commentary on Jaam-e-Jam, California's popular Iranian cable TV network, looking fierce and smashing in beige pantsuits.
Suddenly, though, she was flung from the middle of American pop-culture nowhere to a teary appearance on the "Today" show, and anybody getting ready for work had to stop and compose themselves as Aghdashloo talked about her stern father's pride in her success. One of the best-kept secrets in America's Iranian community had become a full-fledged celebrity.
Her longtime fans were elated. Her husband was thrilled. But her 15-year-old daughter, Tara? Eh.
"When I was nominated, I thought she was going to jump up and down like myself," Aghdashloo says during a recent visit to the Globe. "She did not. She was in bed. I said, `I have been nominated!' She said," -- here Aghdashloo becomes a bleary, vaguely impressed teenage girl -- " `Cool.' "
It wasn't emphatic, exactly, but Aghdashloo was thrilled: "Are you kidding? Coming from her, it means you're the best."
According to her mother, Tara has been encouraging Aghdashloo and her husband, the actor and playwright Houshang Touzie, to do less Farsi film and theater and more movies in English. "She was always telling me, `You have to do things in the mainstream, you have to be part of the American mainstream. The stage is too tiring, mom. You cannot do this all your life,' " Aghdashloo says.
If you can feign ignorance of Hollywood's historical preference for young white women, you might ask why it took Aghdashloo, who's 51, so long to command our attention. Most people will never meet a more charismatic and charmingly intelligent woman. She's a grand raconteur, with the regality of a dignitary. When she popped into the Globe after a charity reading of "The Vagina Monologues" in Newburyport, the first thing you noticed is that she's nothing like Nadi Behrani, the character she plays in the movie. Both women are warm, but Aghdashloo is dynamic and witty. The second thing is her speaking voice, which is low, gravelly, and slightly accented.
You also notice the woman at her side. Jaleh Modjallal has been her good friend and manager for most of Aghdashloo's career. While her client is off being interviewed, Modjallal, who asks that you call her "Zsa Zsa," is working the phone, planning, among other things, the logistics of Aghdashloo's upcoming appearances. The next night Aghdashloo is on Larry King's TV show, seated beside costar and