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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 ^ | 2.28.2004 | DoctorZin

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 American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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To: DoctorZIn

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.

21 posted on 02/28/2004 9:34:53 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...

February 28, 2004
22 posted on 02/28/2004 9:35:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Shohreh's turn
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 fellow Oscar nominee Ben Kingsley.

In "House of Sand and Fog," Aghdashloo plays a dignified Iranian homemaker married to a hubris-stained former colonel (Kingsley), as he battles a boozy Californian (Jennifer Connelly) for a modest house. Aghdashloo's performance segues from gentility to fear to fury back to gentility, then to some wrenching but holy place that seems recognizable to a moviegoer but, at the same time, unknowable and personal. As her family is dragged deeper into tragedy, Aghdashloo's Nadi, who speaks mostly in Farsi, retreats further into herself. But her compassion for the woman her husband is fighting never dries up.

The film is based on Andre Dubus III's 1999 novel, a copy of which Aghdashloo bought a few years ago when Oprah Winfrey recommended it as part of her book club. Dubus's cogent knowledge of Iranian culture floored her. "I asked him, at one point, `Andre, where were you? Behind the door, or under that table? You know everything, even the most intimate details between the colonel and his wife. Where were you?' " she recalls.

Dubus echoes Aghdashloo's astonishment. "She could not have more faithfully brought this woman to life," he says. "She's the soul of the film." When he saw the movie, and she appeared for the first time polishing the furniture in her home, "I literally gasped," Dubus says. "I forgot I had written the words she was saying."

Finding her voice

When Aghdashloo was a girl in Tehran, she used to perform for herself, which naturally led her parents to believe she was deranged. She would come home from the movies, intoxicated with the characters she'd just seen. One of the earliest was Claudia Cardinale in "Girl with a Suitcase," from 1960. Aghdashloo's father, an accountant, wanted her to be a doctor. And when she was 12, the Aghdashloos took their daughter to see a psychologist -- her Cardinale was that convincing. After a session or two, Aghdashloo wanted to know why she was there. The doctor asked back, "Why do you talk to yourself?"

She wasn't talking to herself, Aghdashloo said. She was playing characters. She wasn't crazy, said the doctor; she wants to be an actress.

When she was 25, the shah's regime began to fall apart, and Aghdashloo left for London, where she earned a degree in international relations. She never thought of herself as less than a liberated woman, which ran counter to the Ayatollah's propaganda, so leaving Iran was really the only option.

"It really disturbs me," she says, "when I see a voiceless woman, a voiceless human being who's been abused or molested, and can do nothing about it. It kills me." Nadi was one of those voiceless women. This was a character Aghdashloo says she knew she had to play, telling her husband, "You know if they don't cast me in this part, it would be really, really unfair."

After a fruitless search to find the right actress for the part, screenwriter and director Vadim Perelman and his casting directors scoured the Iranian entertainment industry for a prospect; Aghdashloo's name came up the most. She was sitting in her office, after a trip to Europe, when the phone rang.

" `Hello. Can I help you?' " Aghdashloo remembers asking. " `I would like to speak to, uh, Soreya Agodoslo,' " said the voice. " `That sounds familiar, but it's not my name. And we don't have a Soreya. But that sounds like my name.' "

The voice said, " `We have so many different spellings. Would you like to come down and straighten it out?' " Aghdashloo recalls.

It was Deborah Aquila, one of the casting agents on "House of Sand and Fog." She was calling to send over a copy of the script. But Aghdashloo wouldn't let herself get carried away. A friend who was in the room wanted to know what was wrong. Why was Aghdashloo being so tentative?

" `There are only four characters in the book,' " she remembers telling the friend. " `Maybe they want me to join their party or go to their wedding. Let me ask.' " She called back. The casting agent still didn't get the name right, but confirmed that they were calling about the key role of the colonel's wife.

"And it was then that I started shaking," Aghdashloo recalls. "I could not believe it. It was like a miracle coming true."

Aghdashloo had worked hard for this moment, but she always believed something amazing was coming. When she left Iran, she talked herself out of fearing failure. "I was on my own," she says. "I had no parents, nothing. I had to be my own parents. That's what I kept telling myself: `You're going to be successful. You're going to be successful.' Be an optimist. Be useful to your society, and then everything will return to you.' "

This is also a healthy way to feel, should she go home empty-handed at the Oscars tomorrow night. Or she could take the Dubus approach and get steamed. Aghdashloo is "the only reason I'm watching," he says. "If she's not holding that statue, I'm throwing my hammer through the TV and walking out."

He calms himself and adds, "This award is almost worthy of her."
23 posted on 02/28/2004 12:41:35 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Many Iranians express bitterness over conservatives’ victory
‘I think they awarded some of my votes to other candidates. I am very discouraged’
Borzou Daragahi

“People should take care of their votes, and if they see any wrongdoing, they should report it.” ­ Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, head of the Council of Guardians, in the Feb. 15, 2004 issue of Hamshahri.

TEHRAN: The candidate was dull, cautious and watery, and his grotesque campaign extravaganza failed to draw any potential voters, other than his cousins.
But his campaign aid was nervous and talkative. And, perhaps guilty for having taken part in a campaign he never believed in, he was anxious to give me what he says were the secrets of Iran’s campaign 2004.
“Everything you see here is a lie,” said “Morteza,” a wiry 34-year-old who asked that his real name not be used for fear of retribution. “I will tell you the real story.”
Conservatives took control of Iran’s Parliament this month following a short, troubled political season during which many candidates were barred from running by the conservative Council of Guardians. Though a little over half of the electorate officially turned out to vote, the list of election irregularities was considerable.
At some precincts on election day I personally witnessed people suddenly lining up at polls and pretending to vote when myself and other reporters showed up.
“I think they awarded some of my votes to other candidates,” said Homa Nasseri, an independent liberal who failed to win a seat.
“Based on my campaign supporters’ estimates, I thought I would receive 15,000 to 20,000 votes. Instead I had 500 votes. I’m very discouraged. Some grumbled to me that schools and mosques were closed the day after the election, which they say was an unprecedented move that allowed authorities to replace ballot boxes.”
In the run-up to the elections the country’s newspapers reported a stream of irregularities. Before it was shut down by the right-wing judiciary on the eve of elections, the reformist paper Yas-e-nou reported on Feb. 17 that the conservative-controlled city council distributed $3 million worth of discount coupons to Tehran teachers four days before the elections in an attempt “to persuade Tehran citizens to vote for their candidates.”
The centrist, government-controlled Iran reported on Feb. 16 that 3,200 observers from the Council of Guardians ­ the same hard-line watchdog that barred thousands of candidates from running ­ would be posted to guard Tehran’s ballotboxes in an unprecedented move that worried other inspection observers.
Various critics told me that many voters simply cast ballots according to directives by influential conservative groups with government ties like the Basiji militia, which answers to supreme leader Ali Khamenei, whose son-in-law’s political group took over the Parliament.
“The right-wingers just declare that the Basijis have recommended these candidates,” said Mohammad Hossein Salavati, an independent candidate in Mashad. “And the right-wingers say, ‘It’s our duty to vote for these candidates.’ There’s no thinking or research.”
Meanwhile conservative clerics, many of whom owe their posts to Khamenei, used their pulpits to call on people to vote. A week before the vote Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed-Shabestari, Tabriz’s prayer leader, said voting was a “religious duty” while Ayatollah Mohieddin Haeri of Shiraz, went a step further, asking people to vote for those who believe in clerical rule.
Many pious elderly people, who had vowed not to vote, changed their minds after their favorite ayatollah announced it was a sin to boycott the polls.
During the campaign, candidates took ads out in newspapers, plastered walls with posters and gone out onto the streets to press the flesh with prospective voters, in a burst of campaign activity following a political crisis over who could run in elections.
But Morteza, the campaign manager, told me much of this, too, was all for show, funded by the same forces who sabotaged a reform movement begun by the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997. Other reporters throughout the country told me that many addresses for campaign headquarters led to empty offices devoid of activity.
“It wasn’t an election,” Morteza said. “It was a selection.” The wedding salon that doubled as his candidate’s campaign headquarters, Morteza says, cost $400 a night, more than two months’ salary for most Iranians. But it was loaned to him by a powerful religious foundation that answers only to Khamenei. The head of the same religious foundation personally called the candidate, a manager of a company owned by the foundation, and asked him to run a liberal campaign, Morteza said.
“In his heart, he didn’t even want to run,” Morteza said. “He was forced to run by the right-wingers. Whether he wins or loses, he already knows he’s lost.”
Other candidates include the employees of companies run by right-wing organizations and the young relatives of hard-liners ­ some of them boasting degrees from England and the “University of Hawaii” in their ads. They, too, he said had also been pressed into running.
“It’s the mafia,” Morteza said. “You can’t say ‘no’ to the mafia.”
A small business owner, Morteza came up with a strategy to lure young people to his candidate’s cause. He came up with a catchy political gimmick: a sign with the words “political arguments” scratched out.
To appeal to young voters attracted more to the aesthetics of the west than the Taleban-lite look favored by the clerical regime and its supporters, Morteza got a bunch of his relatives to shave their faces, wear neckties and stand oustide the salon. He hired women to wear nail polish and headscarves with their hair peaking out. He put up signs touting the candidates’s name in English and boasting a website.
“I wanted to appeal to young people,” the candidate himself told me.
On that particular evening, however, no young people showed up, heartening Morteza. “We’ve gotten too smart,” he added. “We are tired of this whole game.”
24 posted on 02/28/2004 12:45:25 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Fun should not be legislated

Saturday, February 28, 2004 - ©2004

TEHRAN, Feb 28 (Iran News) - According to the Tehran Police Chief, public places such as parks, restaurants, shops and stores as well as entertainment and recreation centers can now stay open until 3 am.

Two years ago, on the orders of the Judiciary, the police limited opening hours for all public facilities to midnight. The horrendous traffic problem in the capital during the last few years has reached such a level that it is virtually impossible for Tehrani citizens to venture out for fun and games until at least after 10 p.m. when the traffic dies down a bit.

But the dilemma was that as soon as the residents of the capital went somewhere after 10 p.m., the place would close down shortly thereafter with hardly anytime for the people to have a chance to enjoy themselves.

As a result, fun and entertainment moved into private homes where there is basically very little control over depraved and morally corrupt activities. Analysts consider this decision as a positive and welcome development and a sign that the police and security forces have made a consciously wise choice in their struggle against social and moral depravity. However, other experts are of the view that this latest police directive is a political move by the conservatives.

One of the main campaign slogans of the "Abadgaran" party that swept the Seventh Majlis elections was to allow and create more "fun" for the people.

While welcoming this sensible and prudent action by the police forces, most observers are unanimous in their opinion that fun, recreation, entertainment and happiness should not be legislated by the government as long as it remains within the confines of the law, social norms and behavior.
25 posted on 02/28/2004 12:47:19 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
TEHRAN, Feb 28 (Iran News) -- Clutching at straws, dozens of angry reformist parliamentarians have demanded that President Mohammad Khatami appear before them to explain why he allowed the legislative elections to go ahead in spite of the fact that 2,500 of his supporters were barred from standing.

A member of the Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Jafar Golbaz said more than 100 lawmakers are summoning Khatami to Parliament to explain his unrealized promises and his half-hearted positions in the face of hardline unelected bodies.

Reformist MPs were widely expected to show such reaction because they had demanded that the reform-minded president refuse to organize "unfree, non-competitive and unfair" elections.

Government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh had also said that only free and competitive polls would be held. Eventually, President Khatami and his ally, Speaker of Parliament Mehdi Karroubi, wrote a letter to the all-powerful Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promising to organize the poll on schedule--February 20.

Now, the outgoing reformist lawmakers can only query Khatami and his Cabinet ministers to open the way for impeaching the president, whose term ends in mid-2005. The incumbent MPs can no longer pass any piece of legislation to influence the political atmosphere. The top constitutional watchdog Guardian Council - comprising six hardline clerics and six jurists - will vet any legislation for conformity to Islam and the Constitution.

In the meantime, the conservatives are powerful enough to overpower the reformist legislators. A clear example was the 2001 probe into the conservative-run state broadcasting service. The reformist MPs investigated the working of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and drafted a disputed report, but the state media faced no consequences.

Political analysts and pundits are of the view that the reformist lawmakers are pulling out the stops to get a message across: What was behind the unfair parliamentary elections? Analysts, however, are unanimous on the fact that the embattled president will not face an impeachment.
26 posted on 02/28/2004 12:49:17 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran polls to affect EU talks: Straw

BRUSSELS, Feb 23: Iran's parliamentary election will inevitably have an impact on trade talks between Tehran and the European Union, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said on Monday.

The EU has linked a resumption of negotiations on a potentially lucrative trade and cooperation agreement with Iran to compliance with pledges to accept intrusive spot checks of its nuclear programme and halt uranium enrichment.

It is also demanding progress from Tehran on human rights, the fight against terrorism and its attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before concluding the pact.

EU diplomats said Friday's election, from which an unelected hardline clerical watchdog barred some 2,500 reformist candidates, could be seen as a step backwards on human rights.

"The results of the elections in Iran will obviously create a new environment for the discussions with Iran to take place," Mr Straw told reporters before a meeting of foreign ministers from the EU's 25 current and future member states.

"It's plain for everybody to see that these were - from the start - flawed elections in which in at least half the constituencies reformist candidates were not on offer to the electorate. By all accounts the turnout is down 25 percentage points from its level when there were free elections in 1997."

Mr Straw did not spell out what impact the poll would have on trade talks with the EU. Conservatives scored an easy victory over the shackled reformists on a record low turnout in the poll, which pro-reform President Mohammad Khatami has branded unfair.

Those banned from standing in the poll included 80 sitting lawmakers, some of whom had been key interlocutors of the EU in its dialogue with Iran. -Reuters
27 posted on 02/28/2004 12:50:39 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

Pahlavi Official portrait by Roloff Beny in Elements of Destiny, 1976.
28 posted on 02/28/2004 12:51:26 PM PST by freedom44
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To: knighthawk; McGavin999; SJackson; tet68; Eala; Stultis; river rat; risk; F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; ...
USA Ashtray from 1980.
29 posted on 02/28/2004 12:53:31 PM PST by freedom44
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To: knighthawk; McGavin999; SJackson; tet68; Eala; Stultis; river rat; risk; F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn; ...
Medals Shah and Nixon Medal Commemorating friendship and Empire. Text: IRAN PERSIA







30 posted on 02/28/2004 12:55:21 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
There are several possibilities, including the one you suggested. But it may also be simple disinformation to convince the world that Osama is NOT in IRan, where he has spent so much time since Afghanistan was liberated.

It may also be that Iran has made a deal with the U.S. to "arrange" for some of the al Qaeda chieftains to arrive on the Pak side of the border so they can be arrested...there are some deep thinkers in Europe who believe this one.
31 posted on 02/28/2004 2:38:38 PM PST by MLedeen
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To: DoctorZIn; F14 Pilot; freedom44; nuconvert; Grampa Dave
All the world-known and notorious
terrorists are made with US money,
support and experience.--Rafsanjani

Not all. Robert Baer, See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism, Crown, 2003, states Iran was responsible for the 1983 bombing of the Beirut Embassy which killed over sixty.

But if Rafsanjani wants to go the "Bush knew" route, Kerry is ready to make a slot for him on his campaign staff.

32 posted on 02/28/2004 5:16:53 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: freedom44
Shohreh Aghdashloo... I dunno after reading this bit:

When she popped into the Globe after a charity reading of "The Vagina Monologues" in Newburyport

33 posted on 02/28/2004 5:59:23 PM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE:
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To: DoctorZIn
There's something going on between Spain and Iran..........
34 posted on 02/28/2004 8:56:38 PM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
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To: DoctorZIn
35 posted on 02/28/2004 8:57:42 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))
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Official: Iran and Iraq Have Freed All POWs

The Associated Press

Published: Feb 28, 2004

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran and Iraq have freed all prisoners of war from their 1980-88 war, an Iranian official said Saturday.
"There are no Iranian POWs in Iraq and no Iraqi POWs in Iran now," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Brig. Gen. Abdollah Najafi, head of Iran's POW Commission, as saying.

Najafi said the last POWs from both sides were freed last May under an exchange agreement.

The agreement was announced last March as former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein faced threats of a U.S.-led invasion that later toppled his regime. The move was seen as a bid by Saddam to win support from Muslims and Arabs.

The commission is now investigating the cases of 7,000 Iranian soldiers who went missing in action, and most are probably dead, Najafi said. He said his commission is talking to the International Committee of the Red Cross to verify the fate of the Iranian MIAs.

Thousands of Iranians went missing in the war, and their status remains a source of tension between the Iraq and Iran. The sides have accused each other of concealing the number of prisoners they hold.

Iran and Iraq have exchanged thousands of prisoners and remains of dead soldiers since the war ended with a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been trying to repatriate all the remaining POWs since 1998, but says it doesn't know how many people were held.
36 posted on 02/28/2004 8:57:55 PM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Other Khatami

February 28, 2004
Babak Dehghanpisheh

It would have been easy for Mohammed Reza Khatami, 44, to let his brother Mohammed Khatami, the Iranian president, overshadow him. Instead, for the last four years he has led the nation's largest reform party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, and served as a deputy speaker of Parliament.

The younger Khatami, a trained kidney specialist, started his revolutionary career like many other notable figures of his generation: by joining the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Now the tables have turned. Khatami was among hundreds of candidates disqualified by hard-liners in the run-up to parliamentary elections last week. His political future, and that of the reform movement, is now in question. He spoke last week to NEWSWEEK's Babak Dehghanpisheh. Excerpts:

DEHGHANPISHEH: What lies ahead for reformist political parties?
KHATAMI: They can arrest us, close our papers and even apply pressure to get us fired from our jobs. But our party will definitely survive, even if we have to organize ourselves in smaller groups.

Does this mean you will be transformed into an internal opposition group?
There is no problem with that. But labels can be misleading in Iran. Opposition often means enemy. Yes, we are opposed to many of the policies adopted by the judiciary, by the Guardian Council and other appointed bodies of the government. So yes, in that sense, we are an opposition group, but one that likes to operate within the framework of the law. We don't want to overthrow the regime.

Are you worried you may be arrested?
It's possible. I didn't think I would be disqualified as a parliamentary candidate, but it happened. I don't think there will be a massive crackdown in the short term.

How do you think Iran's political system can be reformed at this stage?
Some people say the only means left is violence and revolution, but we don't agree. If we organize ourselves and our supporters better, [hard-liners] will slowly give up. Something like the Spain model, where Franco ruled like a dictator until his last day. But after his death the society transformed so much that reform took root and the system became democratic—without any bloodshed. We need to look at such models and work toward them.

Would hard-liners be willing to negotiate?
When the hard-liners feel threatened, they become very rational. We have many examples of this, like the nuclear issue. It shows they are not completely ideological and not willing to die for a cause. Conservatives have also adopted the language of reform—some have even used our slogans. They are putting aside their radical faces and presenting new, kinder faces to the public. This seems to be the death of conservatism in its radical form. This will also lead to their own downfall.

Are you keeping in touch with the clergy in Qum?
We think the senior clerics are on our side. Most of the grand ayatollahs have stayed quiet during the election crisis. The traditional clerics are leaning toward the idea of separating religion from politics. It's only under these circumstances that a cleric's words can carry weight. Look at Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq. These days, when Sistani utters a word, Bush and his administration have to listen. Many of our clerics today can't understand how we fought for 25 years, but we don't have a fraction of Sistani's influence against the Americans.

Do you also think it's important to strengthen your ties with students?
Yes, but only a small percentage of students are political. Most students are more interested in social and civil activities—and this is a positive sign. Our society is beginning to understand that political activism belongs within the framework of political parties. A newspaper should be a newspaper, not a rag for a political party.

Did you ask President Khatami to take a strong stand during the current crisis?
Our beliefs are the same, but we differ in tactics. We would like the president to use all the power given to him by the Constitution to stand up against the hard-liners. But he thinks some of our party members went too far and spurred the conservatives to crack down on us. He should have put the names of disqualified candidates back on the ballots. We believe if Khatami had stood firmly, the conservatives would back off. But he's not confrontational.

Why hasn't President Khatami used all the legal tools at his disposal?
He's afraid the society will fall apart. It's a valid concern. Khatami wants to treat his enemies with kindness. Whenever he gets angry at someone, he immediately wants to make it up to them. You can't change him. A friend once told him, "A politician should have some tricks, too." But Khatami doesn't. He's a person with a lot of moral values, and our opponents have taken advantage of this repeatedly.

Newsweek International

March 1 issue
37 posted on 02/28/2004 8:58:18 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Pakistani Army Denies Reports of Osama bin Laden's Capture

February 28, 2004
Yossi Melman

The United States and Pakistan on Saturday denied reports by Iran's official IRNA news agency on Saturday that al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has been been captured.

The U.S. Department of Defense denied the Tehran Radio report that the bin Laden had been captured in a border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistani Army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sultan told The Associated Press "that information is wrong."

A Pakistani military operation has been under way in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan and a Pakistani official said previously that members of al-Qaida are being sought there, although bin laden was not a specific target.

Citing "knowledgeable sources," Tehran Radio reported that Osama bin Laden was captured, but the official Iranian media outlet did not specify when he was captured, and the report has yet to be confirmed elsewhere.

It said that Bin Laden was apprehended "some time ago" in a tribal region along the border between the two countries, adding that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visit to Pakistan on Thursday was related to capturing the al-Qaida leader. It also said that U.S. President George W. Bush "is intending to use it for propaganda maneuvering in the presidential election."

The report was broadcast on the station's external broadcast, in the Pashtun language, which reaches Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Homayoun Jarir, son-in-law of Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, said he could not confirm the report.

Shamim Shahed, the bureau chief for "The Nation," an English-language newspaper in Peshawar, was cited by the director of IRNA's Pashtun radio service as the source of the bin Laden report.

But Shahed denied in an AP interview ever telling the Iranian news service that bin Laden had been captured.

"I never said this, but I have for the last year been saying that he is not far away. He is within their (the Americans) reach, and they can declare him arrested anytime," Shahed said. He gave no evidence to back up that claim.

Washington says Bin Laden masterminded the September 11, 2001 suicide hijack attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Also Saturday, an army spokesman said that Pakistani forces involved in ongoing anti-terrorism operations in a tribal region killed 11 people in an exchange of fire after a minibus failed to stop at a roadblock.

The shooting occurred early Saturday, the morning after armed men and soldiers exchanged fire at a military compound in the region. Pakistani forces have been carrying out a sweep for terrorist suspects, and tension is high in the area.

The minibus failed to stop at a roadblock in Zeri Noor, a village just outside of Wana, the main town in tribal South Waziristan, army spokesman Gen. Shaukat Sultan told AP. He said soldiers only shot at the bus after someone inside opened fire on them.

"It was a terrorist act," he said.

Allah Dad, a local resident, told AP that the bus was filled mostly with Afghan refugees on their way to the border. A taxi driving near the minibus was also hit, and the driver killed, Dad said.

He said as many as 12 people were killed, and seven more injured in the incident.

"They opened fire when the bus didn't stop," Dad said. "There is a lot of tension in the area and a lot of troops. The roads to Afghanistan have been sealed."

Two local officials who spoke to the AP earlier on condition of anonymity did not mention an exchange of fire, saying it was not clear exactly what prompted the shooting.

The deaths are sure to increase anger in the region. Tribal leaders deeply resent the presence of the army on their lands. Pakistani forces have been slowly increasing their presence under pressure from Washington to crack down on al-Qaida and Taliban suspects, who are believed sheltering in the region.

In the operation Tuesday in Wana, troops arrested 25 suspected terrorists, none of whom have been identified.

In Friday's raid, armed men tried to sneak into a military compound in Wana, sparking a shootout, Sultan said Saturday. There were no casualties and the spokesman said he had no details.

"I can only say that there was an exchange of fire but there were no casualties," Sultan told The Associated Press.

Wana is located about 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of the capital, Islamabad.

Pakistan has not revealed the identity of the suspects captured in the counterterrorism operation in Wana, the fourth by the army to track down suspects since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Security officials caution they have no confirmed information on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, but say the operations are geared toward locating him.

They say Pakistani rapid reaction forces have been deployed to specific areas along the border with Afghanistan, a mountainous landscape that runs 3,300 kilometers (2,000 miles) from the Himalayas in Pakistan's northern territories to the desert of southwestern Baluchistan.

The latest operation in Wana began on Tuesday, and although authorities said it had ended, fresh paramilitary troops rolled into the town late Friday, setting up new checkpoints and examining documents.

Most of the 25 people arrested this week appeared to be tribesmen from a region whose inhabitants are linked by language and culture to Afghan Pashtuns, the ethnic group that was the Taliban's power base. Four of those arrested - a man and three women - appeared to be of Middle Eastern origin.

Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty, a spokesman for the American military in Afghanistan, said Saturday he had no information on the identity of those arrested in the Pakistani operation, or if any of them had been taken to Bagram Air Base.

Bagram is the main U.S. base in Afghanistan, where terrorism suspects are often detained and interrogated. The military refuses to give details of who is held there.

Military officials say ordinary Afghans are providing better intelligence on Taliban and al-Qaida activities, pointing to frequent tips on the location of arms caches as proof.

Asked if better intelligence was behind commanders' optimism that bin Laden and other top fugitives will be caught, Hilferty said only that there was an "overall sense of confidence that things are getting better."

"The Taliban no longer exist as a real movement. I think al-Qaida in Afghanistan no longer exists as a threat, as a military threat. So it's mainly just a sense of optimism in the country as a whole."

He said "typical operations" including patrols and searches were continuing across the south and east of Afghanistan, but declined to give details.

Meanwhile, U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism Coffer Black was in the capital Islamabad for talks with Pakistani officials.

He met Friday with Tariq Osman Hyder, a senior Foreign Ministry official, to discuss cooperation in the global campaign against terrorism, a ministry statement said.

The U.S. Embassy confirmed Black's arrival but would give no details about his discussions.
38 posted on 02/28/2004 8:59:33 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Can Produce Nuke Warhead in Days

February 28, 2004

Iran has secretly developed its uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz, which is now considered the linchpin of the nation's nuclear weapons program, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service.

U.S. officials said that Iran transferred research, development and assembly operations to Natanz in an effort to transform the site into the main facility for the Iranian gas centrifuge program.

Iran has ambitious plans for Natanz. Currently, the site includes centrifuge assembly areas and a pilot fuel-enrichment plant slated to hold 1,000 centrifuges. A production-scale fuel-enrichment plant is being constructed at Natanz to house some 50,000 centrifuges.

Iran has designed its nuclear weapons program so that it could produce enough enriched uranium to construct a warhead within days, official says.

"Natanz could be operated to make low-enriched uranium fuel until Iran decided it wanted to make weapon-grade material," David Albright and Corey Hinderstein write in the March/April 2004 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

"It wouldn't take long to enrich the low-enriched material to weapon grade. For example, if Natanz was operating at full capacity and recycled the end product – low-enriched uranium [5 percent uranium-235] – back into the feed point, the facility could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for a single weapon within days."

Officials said Iran possesses blueprints for the construction of the advanced P2 gas centrifuge, which can enrich bomb-quality uranium in half the time of first-generation Pakistani-origin centrifuges. Iran has acknowledged possessing hundreds of P1 machines at Natanz. The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors is scheduled to meet March 8-10 in Vienna to discuss the issue.

U.S. officials and analysts have assessed that the Iranian nuclear facilities the IAEA inspected are part of an infrastructure designed to produce up to 30 nuclear weapons annually.

The Iranian nuclear infrastructure includes both open and closed facilities, such as the Bushehr nuclear reactor, the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, the Kalaye facility and the Arak heavy water plant.

Despite Iran's pledge to the IAEA, Teheran has continued to conceal its nuclear weapons program, including designs for the enrichment of uranium as well as experiments with polonium, an element that facilitates the chain reaction that produces a nuclear explosion, officials said.

"There's no doubt in our mind that Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapons program," U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said.

"They have not been fully forthcoming with their arrangement with the IAEA and we need to continue our effort, along with our European friends, to gain compliance."

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said: "The information that the IAEA has learned is certainly consistent with the information that we had, and it's not surprising. It's another act of Iranian deception and not something that leads to any feeling of security, that they are carrying through on their commitment to suspend enrichment activity."

Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said that prior to Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment in November 2003, Teheran was conducting both single machine tests and small cascades with uranium hexafluoride at the pilot plant.

Iran was assembling four-rotor machines similar to the P1 design, each with a capacity of roughly three separative work units [swu] per year, he said.

Albright and Hinderstein, a senior researcher at the institute, said the pilot plant at Natanz could produce about 10 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium a year. This would be far less than the amount of enriched uranium required to provide fuel for all of the civilian power plants Iran intends to build over the next 20 years.

"Alternatively, the same capacity could be used to produce roughly 500 kilograms of weapon-grade uranium annually," Albright and Hinderstein wrote. "At 15-20 kilograms per weapon, that would be enough for 25-30 nuclear weapons per year."

Albright said U.S. and other intelligence agencies knew of Pakistan's contribution to Iran's nuclear weapons program as early as a decade ago. But the agencies were hampered by a lack of knowledge of Iran's nuclear program, particularly whether it was succeeding in procuring vital components.

By the mid-1990s, Iran had succeeded in concealing its procurement of critical centrifuge components from U.S. intelligence agencies. Albright said U.S. intelligence estimates regarding the time Iran needed to build a pilot centrifuge plant proved to be reasonably accurate.

"After the mid-1990s, according to former senior U.S. government officials, U.S. intelligence agencies learned little concrete about Iran's centrifuge progress," Albright said. "As a result, there was little concerted action until 2002 to stop Iran's secret centrifuge program or demand far more intrusive IAEA inspections in Iran. From 1995 until 2002, Iran moved relatively freely and secretly toward building a domestic centrifuge industry that could enrich significant quantities of uranium."
39 posted on 02/28/2004 9:01:08 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Can Produce Nuke Warhead in Days

February 28, 2004
40 posted on 02/28/2004 9:01:58 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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