Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Iranian Alert -- March 1, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 3.1.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 03/01/2004 12:04:55 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
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-33 next last
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 03/01/2004 12:04:56 AM 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 03/01/2004 12:08:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Elections in Iraq

February 29, 2004
Amir Taheri

Invited by Washington to have a look at things in Iraq, the United Nations has just reported its most crucial finding: it would not be possible to hold a general election for the foreseeable future.

The UN’s verdict is certain to be used by the US-led coalition as an argument in their ongoing discussions with those Iraqis who insist that, despite terrorist attacks, the country must be given a chance to make its views known.

With the June deadline for the transfer of power to an Iraqi transition government now around the corner, a rising tempo of political posturing on all sides can be expected. Those who have failed to find a popular constituency are likely to paint a grim picture, with emphasis on lack of security, to seek a prolongation of direct rule by the US-led coalition. Some are calling for the Governing Council to be transformed into a permanent organ of state. Others want it expanded and made into an ersatz parliament.

Still others, however, want the Americans and their allies to leave as fast as they can. These are individuals and parties that have been able to fill part of the gap left by the collapse of the Ba’athist regime. They are concerned that a longer American presence may result in the spread of ideas and the establishment of rules that would prevent them from imposing their brands of politics on the newly-liberated nation.

The noisiest of these are the so-called Islamists, some of whom have just had a verbal spat with L Paul Bremer, the Coalition’s “Pasha” in Baghdad.

It all started with a couple of obscure mullahs demanding that Islam be declared the “foundation” of the future Constitution. The demand was echoed by one or two members of the Governing Council , presumably for want of better things to do.

Bremer, a normally cool man who thinks twice before he makes a move, was provoked into a hasty reaction, asserting that he would not sign such a constitution.

The spat looks like a scene from the theatre of the absurd. The mullahs who made the initial noises represent no one except their own images in a mirror. Bremer, for his part, was unwise to brandish a veto that belongs to the people of Iraq.

Do the Iraqis want an Islamist regime?

The question is pertinent and must be debated.

At least five major public opinion polls conducted since the liberation show that support for such a regime hovers around three to four per cent. In one poll, the question whether an Iranian-style Islamic Republic would be suitable for Iraq drew a positive response from only one per cent of the respondents.

None of Iraq’s dozen or so political parties- from the atheist leftists to religious Shi’ites- demands the creation of an Islamic state. Nor can one find a single prominent Iraqi intellectual who would wish to establish a religious regime. Even the Shiite mullahs, starting with their primus inter pares, the Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani, are not making such a demand.

Anyone with some knowledge of Iraqi Shiism would know that the last thing that Iraq’s Shiites want is a regime like that of the Khomeinists in Iran which, after a quarter of a century of terror and war, is now in deep, possibly terminal, crisis.

The Iraqi Shiites’ rejection of the Khomeinist model is based on the Shiite belief that creating “a perfect state” is possible only under the Hidden Imam, a Messiah like figure who is supposed to return to prepare mankind for the end of the world.

In the absence of the Hidden Imam, all governments are bound to be imperfect, and open to criticism. Mixing religion with politics could sully the former and derail the latter.

In 1979, one of Sistani’s foremost masters, the late Grand Ayatollah Abol-Qassem Mussawi Khoi, put it like this: “An Islamic state cannot be imposed by fiat; it can come into being only as the natural consequence of the Divine Will as expressed in the coming of the Mahdi (i.e. the Hidden Imam.)”

Like the overwhelming majority of their co-religionists in Iran and elsewhere, Iraqi Shiites regard Khomeinism as an aberration, an innovation (bed’ a) which violates the basic tenets of the duodecimal imamist faith.

Iraqi Shiites opposition to a religious state, however, is not solely doctrinal. It is also dictated by practical politics.

Though Shiites account for some 60 per cent of the Iraqis, they cannot be regarded as a monolithic bloc even on issues of faith. Like other Shiites they are divided into dozens of ways (tariqats) and countless forms of allegiance (taqlid). As the Iranian experience has illustrated, it is impossible for Shiites to agree on a single political reading of Islam. But even if such a single reading were to be imposed by conjecture, as was the case in Iran in 1979, it would not be sustainable for long. The Iraqi situation is more complex still because 40 per cent of the country’s population are not Shiites and have no reason to accept any Shiite political reading of Islam.

Any attempt at imposing an Iraqi version of Khomeinism would lead to civil war and the dismemberment of the country.

As the sole organising principle of political life, religion is unworkable outside small, ethnically and culturally uniform, and isolated communities, which Iraq is not. All this does not mean that Islam should be scripted out of the future Iraqi constitution. Some 95 per cent of Iraqis, including those who describe themselves as “humanists”, acknowledge Islam as a key element in their existential reality. Thus there is no harm in reflecting that fact in the new constitution, much like what the Afghans have done in theirs.

Even the thorny issue of the “ shariah” ( religious law) need not cause frictions. No modern society can be policed with the “ shariah” as its only legal framework. There is not a single Muslim country -including Iran, the Sudan and Saudi Arabia- where the “shariah” is the only law. Indeed, it cannot be because all Muslim states are signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and hundreds of international treaties that are not of “Islamic” origin. (That most Muslim governments violate or ignore the declaration and the treaties in question is due to their despotic nature, not their love of Islamic jurisprudence.)

There is no reason why the “ shariah” should not be mentioned as one of the sources of law in Iraq. In practical terms this means that where the “ shariah” is in conformity with reason, modern ethics, and international agreements, it will be applied. Where it is not, it will be set aside. The only effective way to settle these matters is through free and fair elections. Nowhere has an Islamist party advocating the “shariah” come to power through the ballot box. Even the most moderate Islamist parties, that, like the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, deny any religious identity, have never won a majority of votes anywhere in the Muslim world. (In Turkey’s 2002 general election the Justice and Development Party collected almost 35 per cent of the votes and formed the government. But let us not forget that 65 per cent of the electorate voted against it.)

In Malaysia the Islamists have polled between 11 and 13 per cent in local and general elections in the past four decades.

In Jordan and Kuwait, the only Arab countries where elections of acceptable standards are held, the Islamists’ share of the vote has varied between 15 and 22 per cent.

In Algeria in 1991, the Islamists won more than 50 per cent of the votes in the first round of a general election. But this was largely because all democratic parties had boycotted the poll, leaving the Islamists alone against the discredited and corrupt one-party establishment that had led the nation into an impasse. In a normal voters turnout the share of the Islamists would have amounted to no more than 21 per cent.

As we have just witnessed in Iran, the Islamists, even when firmly established in power, are always afraid of free elections.

This is why when Iraqi Islamists call for elections, the wisest thing to do is to call their bluff.

Iraq needs free and fair elections to choose a transitional government that would write a draft constitution for submission to a referendum.

It may be difficult to hold elections by the end of June, the deadline set by Washington. But there is no reason why the formation of a provisional government should not be accompanied with the announcement of a timetable for the election of a constituent assembly and, later, a referendum to approve a new constitution.

Just as the light of day turns Nosferatu into dust, the most effective way of killing the Islamist “un-dead” is free elections.

Last year the people of Iraq clamoured for liberation. This year they are demanding elections, not to risk their newly won freedom but to make sure it is safe against all would-be despots, Ba’athist or Islamist.

Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through
3 posted on 03/01/2004 12:09:53 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iran sees no censure at key nuclear watchdog meet

INDIA: March 1, 2004

NEW DELHI - Iran's top nuclear negotiator said last week he did not believe the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) would censure Tehran for its nuclear programme at a crucial meeting next month.

Hassan Rohani, head of the Supreme National Security Council told reporters that a report on Iran this week by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog had used softer language than previous assessments.

"It is highly unlikely in the upcoming meeting they are going to have a resolution on Iran," Rohani told reporters after regular talks in New Delhi, a close ally and one of the world's nuclear powers.

The 35-nation IAEA Board of Governors is due to meet on March 8 to assess the situation in Iran amid accusations from Washington and its allies that Tehran wants to build a nuclear bomb.

The IAEA's latest report on Tuesday said Iran had not answered several outstanding questions about its atomic programme, prompting the United States to say Iran had not clearly shown it had abandoned efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

But Rohani rejected calls for Iran to be more open about its atomic programme, saying Tehran had already given enough answers to the IAEA's questions.

"We are purely engaged in the peaceful use of nuclear energy," Rohani said through a translator. "We will not bow to pressure on us as a result of unlawful measures by America or, for that matter, by any other country."

Rohani also said Iran's decision late last year to suspend activities relating to enrichment of uranium was voluntary and temporary, to create an atmosphere of international confidence.

Rohani met Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and the prime minister's top security adviser Brajesh Mishra on Thursday. Indian officials have not commented on the visit.
4 posted on 03/01/2004 12:19:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn

March 01, 2004
Gary Fitleberg

Iran’s nuclear disclosure is full of gaps. Iran has failed to be forthcoming with the United Nations watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its alleged cooperation regarding its intent in development of a nuclear program. Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is designed for peaceful purposes. But clearly the documentary evidence thus far indicates otherwise. Iran is bent on the intent of a nuclear program for weapons of mass destruction.

The IAEA recently issued a report citing concerns about the origin of traces of enriched uranium among other issues.

In a confidential report, the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that Iran had not disclosed the full range of its nuclear activities as it said it had in October. Inspectors have found further evidence of previously undisclosed nuclear experiments and secret work on advanced centrifuge machines.

The most serious concerns, the report said, surrounded the origin of traces of highly enriched uranium found at two locations and indications that larger quantities of fissile material had been removed from one of the sites.

The presence of significant amounts of enriched uranium would be a strong indicator of experiments aimed at developing an atomic weapon, something Iran has flatly denied doing.

In the report, the IAEA praised Iran for cooperating in some areas, including opening nuclear-related sites on military bases to inspectors and promising to stop assembling centrifuge machines as part of a commitment to suspend its enrichment of uranium.

The IAEA report also confirmed publicly for the first time that Iran and Libya received substantial technology for enriching uranium from the same black-market network of foreign sources.

The report did not identify the origins of the equipment and sensitive designs, but diplomats familiar with its findings said the global network operated by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan provided most of the technology to both countries.

Mohammed ElBaradei, Director-General of the IAEA, has called the network, a major international problem. ElBaredei said in the report that the agency was investigating “the supply routes and sources of such technology and related equipment and nuclear and non-nuclear materials.”

The 13 page document was the latest in a series of IAEA reports detailing a pattern of concealment and deception of Iran regarding its development of a nuclear program. Its cooperation has been done begrudgingly and only one small piece at a time.
America has accused Iran of consistently stonewalling the IAEA investigation and is strongly in favor that the matter be turned over to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions. The U.S. believes Iran is attempting to build nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Iran boldly maintains the program is being designed and developed solely to generate electricity.

A senior State Department official said the report provides substantial “incriminating evidence” that should be discussed further at the next IAEA Board of Directors meeting. Significantly, the official did not call for the case to be referred to the U.N. Security Council; a stance that reflected a tactical softening of the Bush administration’s position last year.

The report, the IAEA’s fourth since June is “definitely the most hard-hitting,” with information “that frankly had to be forced out of the Iranians,” the U.S. official stated.

Iran said its October declaration to the IAEA of its nuclear capabilities was correct and complete but this information makes it very clear that it was neither.

Let’s compare Iran with Libya!!!

Libya voluntarily terminated its program in December and has also acknowledged that it had tried to build a nuclear program for more than 20 years. Since it has done so the travel ban has been lifted once Moammar Khadafi finally also admits his government was responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988.

Pakistan’s Khan confessed this month to providing nuclear secrets to Iran and Libya as well as North Korea. Although Pakistani has shared some information about the network with the United States and IAEA, the report indicated it also has not been completely forthcoming.

Iran for its part, is concerned about how much information Pakistan has shared together with the international agency.

Mohammed Reza Aref, first vice president of Iran, recently left for Pakistan for what a foreign intelligence agency said was an attempt to discover just how much of Khan’s information the Pakistanis had disclosed.

“The Iranians need to know what ammunition has been provided to their rivals regarding their nuclear weapons program and their efforts to conceal it,” as stated in a written analysis report by an intelligence agency official.

Iran and Libya bought nearly identical Pakistani centrifuge designs, but Libya also purchased blueprints for a nuclear warhead and designs to fabricate the device. The IAEA and U.S. intelligence are eager to know whether Iran also bought those plans from Khan’s group.

The IAEA report noted Iran needed to increase its cooperation to clarify several outstanding issues relating to its nuclear program. The IAEA’s major concern now involves finding the source of the highly enriched uranium discovered last year at a pilot plant near the central Iran city of Natanz and a workshop outside Tehran where Iran had been testing and assembling centrifuges on a Pakistani design.

Centrifuges are used to convert uranium into fuel for nuclear power plants or enrich it to higher levels for use in atomic bombs.

In disclosing new details of the earlier discoveries, the report said recently completed tests showed that the uranium had been enriched to 36% , nearly twice the amount used to generate electricity but short of weapons quality.

In addition, the level of contamination discovered at the Kalaye Electric Co outside Tehran “suggests the presence of more than just trace quantities of such material, “ the IAEA report stated.

The Iranians denied inspectors access to Kalaye for several months last year and undertook significant construction at the site, apparently to conceal its nuclear activities.

Once the inspectors were allowed in, tests uncovered evidence of highly enriched uranium. The Iranians then acknowledged that they secretly tested and assembled centrifuges at Kalaye from 1997 to 2002.

Iran has maintained that the traces were from contaminated centrifuge components purchased on the black market illegally from a foreign source. Diplomats said IAEA inspectors were confident that the components were shipped from Pakistan by Khan’s network, adding that Pakistan had refused to provide samples of its weapons-grade uranium so tests could determine whether they match.

“Until this matter is satisfactorily resolved, it will be a very difficult for the agency to confirm that there has not been any undeclared material or activities,” the report stated.

Concerns also were raised about Iran’s failure to disclose that it had purchased drawings for a more advanced model of the Pakistani centrifuge, called the P2, with the information it had provided in its “full disclosure: to the IAEA during October 2003.

Iran has not provided the international community with complete disclosure of factual information regarding its nuclear program. Iran is clearly not convincing in its veiled attempt at deception. Despite its stance that it is intended for peaceful purposes, the contrary documentary evidence indicates otherwise, that its true intentions are designed for a program of nuclear proliferation and weapons of mass destruction.

Gary Fitleberg is a Political Analyst specializing in International Relations with emphasis on Middle East affairs.


Gary Fitleberg is a Political Analyst specializing in International Relations with emphasis on Middle East affairs. His articles have appeared internationally in numerous publications including La Prensa (Managua, Nicaragua equivalent to the L.A. Times), Pakistan Today, The Kashmir Telegraph, The Iranian and many more.
5 posted on 03/01/2004 12:24:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn

PARIS, 29 Feb. (IPS)

Mr. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the official spokesman of the government of President Mohammad Khatami had been summoned to appear before the Judiciary on Friday, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported Sunday.

According to Mr. Ramezanzadeh, in a summon convocation he received from the Judiciary, he is accused of "disturbing and misleading the public opinion", following an article he published in "Iran" newspaper that is published by IRNA.

But observers say the Judiciary is angry against Mr. Ramezanzadeh for his constant criticism of the way the Council of the Guardians that is controlled directly by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i handled the recent parliamentary elections, mostly the mass disqualification of thousands of reformist candidates, including more than 100 lawmakers.

In the article, published by "Iran" days before the voting on 20 February, the government spokesman had described the CG as the "main source" of tensions and backed the reformist deputies who had staged a sit-in at the Majles to protest the decision of the Guardians to stop the reformists in running for the seventh parliament.

He also in several statements and briefings with the local and international media, had said forcefully that the Government would "never" bow to elections that not "free, fair and legal" and would warn that the President might call for postponing the polling if the crisis is not solved in a "satisfactory way".

But the badly lamed Khatami, insisting that the polls "must be organized on time", rebuked him, like Hojjatoleslal Abdolvahed Mousavi-Lari, the Interior Minister who fought against the CG for delaying the date of elections that were finally held on 20 February, after Mr. Khameneh’i also ordered the authorities to maintain the scheduled date.

According to the latest figures released by the Interior Ministry, conservative candidates have already secured the majority in the 290 seats Majles, occupying 25 out of the Capital’s 30 places.

Tehran’s first runner candidate, Mr. Qolam’ali Haddad Adel, a university professor who is married to the younger daughter of Mr. Khameneh’i is expected to be become the next Speaker. If this happens, he would make history, as he would be the first Speaker not wearing turban.

In his first interviews, Mr. Haddad Adel, who is the leader of the conservative minority at the outgoing Majles has assured that the elected deputies would not try to "put the clocks back" but addressing the people’s most urgent demands, citing creating more jobs, fighting corruption and social discrimination among other.

He also wowed that the next Majles would fight hard to make Iran an "Islamic Japan", referring to some reformists who wanted to take Communist China as a model for the Islamic Republic

However, Ayatollah Mahmood Hashemi-Shahroodi, the Iraqi-born Head of the Judiciary has called for reinforcing the notorious Islamic vigilante of "support the virtue and fight the vice" in charge of enforcing Islamic behaviours, mostly by the youngsters, making people worry that encouraged by their victory at the elections, the ruling conservatives would in fact go ahead putting the social clocks back.


6 posted on 03/01/2004 12:26:19 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iraq Backs Pipeline to Iran for Oil Export

February 29, 2004
The Financial Times
Nicolas Pelham

The US-led occupation authorities in Baghdad have backed plans for Iraq to build an oil pipeline to Iran to provide a new outlet for the country's rising oil production.

Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, Iraq's oil minister, told the Financial Times: "We have agreed in principle to an offer from Iran to build a 10km pipeline across the Shatt al-Arab [waterway] to the Iranian port of Abadan," said Mr Bahr al-Uloum. "We faced no objection from the US."

Coalition officials in Baghdad confirmed a memorandum of understanding had been agreed between the former foes. "It's a very good, practical thing to do," said a senior coalition official.

Relations between Washington and Tehran have been uneasy since George W. Bush, US president, two years ago declared Iran part of an "axis of evil".

The coalition official said: "We leave the whole diplomatic question in the hands of the Iraqis. Paul Bremer [the US chief administrator in Iraq] says he realises they [the Iraqis] have to have good relations with all their neighbours."

Iraq's oil minister said the project's cost would be fixed once a feasibility study had been completed. It would take three months to build the pipeline, which will span the waterway over which Iran and Iraq fought an eight-year war. "I can say with confidence the pipeline will be established by the end of the year," he said.

Officials ruled out concern that the deal might not hold after the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty, noting that Iran was the first non-coalition state to recognise Iraq's highest body, the US- appointed Governing Council. The minister said the pipeline was the latest move to overcome the bottleneck at its main Gulf port of Basra, and meet the target of exporting 2m barrels of oil a day by the end of this month.

The port now loads about 1.6m bpd. Export and revenue potential has been held back by Iraq's narrow access to the Gulf and by guerrilla attacks that have stalled the reopening of the northern pipeline to Ceyhan in Turkey, which carried 800,000 bpd of Iraqi crude oil before the war.

The pipeline, with an expected capacity of 350,000 bpd, would boost potential exports. Iraq also has begun loading at a terminal on its Gulf coast that will have a capacity of 200,000 bpd.
7 posted on 03/01/2004 7:30:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Egypt Open to Tourists from Iran

March 01, 2004
The Media Line

Following a recent thaw in the relationship between Iran and Egypt, Iranians will now be able to travel to Pyramid Country and enjoy Egypt’s many tourist attractions.

During the coming month, charter flights will be taking Iranian tourists to Egypt where they will be able to tour religious sites such as Hussein Mosque and the renowned Al-Azhar University and research academy.

A source told the United Arab Emirates-based daily Al-Bayyan that the tourist packages indicate a development in the ties between the two countries.

Iran cut its diplomatic relations with Egypt following President Anwar Sadat’s signing of the Camp David peace agreement with Israel. Sadat’s welcoming of the Shah of Iran following the collapse of his regime in 1979 sharpened the tensions between the two countries. Later, an Iranian street was named after Khaled Al-Islambouli, the man who assassinated Sadat in 1981, further worsening the situation.

Last December, leaders of Iran and Egypt met for the first time in 24 years on the sidelines of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, a meeting the media interpreted as indicative of a full restoration of diplomatic relations between the countries.
8 posted on 03/01/2004 7:31:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Iraq Governing Council Agrees on 'Basic Law'

March 01, 2004
The Financial Times
James Drummond

Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council put aside its differences on Monday and agreed on a "fundamental law", which will serve as an interim constitution - a key step in Washington's plan to hand sovereignty back to Iraqis by June 30.

"Early this morning the Governing Council unanimously approved the transitional administrative law after weeks of intensive discussions," the Council said in a statement.

The document will be officially signed on Wednesday after the Shia holy period of Ashura, which ends on Tuesday.

The 25-member Council had missed a February 28 deadline to strike a deal due to divisions over the role of Islam, quotas for women in government and Kurdish demands for autonomy in northern Iraq.

Officials said the law recognised Islam as Iraq's official religion and said it would be a source, but not the sole source - of legislation. Shia members of the council had wanted Islamic law to be given precedence in family affairs.

"Islam will be the official religion of the state and it will be a source...of legislation. Also the law will say to respect Islam as the religion of the majority," Governing Council spokesman Hameed Kefaey told the BBC, after the deal had been reached.

"Federalism also has been approved as a form of government," Mr Kefaey said, adding details of the agreement would be announced on Wednesday.

The Kurds, who have effectively had self-rule in three northern provinces of Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, have been pushing to enshrine that autonomy in the document.

A coalition official said the new document "strikes a balance between the role of Islam and the bill of individual rights and democratic principles".

It agrees that Iraq will have a president with two deputies, a prime minister and a cabinet, and sets a goal - rather than a quota - to have at least a quarter of the national assembly made up of women, the official said.

The failure to agree on an interim law would have represented a further serious setback for US diplomacy in Iraq, after the UN recommended scrapping the US's proposed system of regional caucuses to elect an interim assembly.

A question mark now hangs over arrangements, due to be agreed by the end of March, under which US and other coalition forces would remain in Iraq after the transfer of sovereignty due on 30 June.

The tone was set for the final phase of the fundamental law negotiations on Thursday when the Governing Council voted to repeal a statute it had passed in January that would have allowed Islamic law to override civil law in divorce and inheritance.

The statute had not been approved by Paul Bremer, the chief US administrator in Baghdad, and had been rejected by the Kurdish regional government.

After the repeal, eight members of the mainly Shia religious bloc walked out of deliberations, according to Mahmoud Othman, a Sunni Kurd member of the council.
9 posted on 03/01/2004 7:33:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Chasing Money, Girls and Dreams in Afghanistan

February 28, 2004
Hindustan Times
Yashwant Raj

Kabul -- The buzz in the streets here is about new cellphones, internet speed, Thai food. And where are the girls?

Afghans are in a hurry to make up for lost time. When the first bar opened here over a year ago, some people reacted with predictable outrage. The club called in some guns for hire and stayed in business. The Great Wall of China, a Chinese restaurant in a tony neighbourhood of Kabul, also serves alcohol now; and there are more.

Most Afghans may not drink but they don't stone or whip those who do. Not any more. Adultery is still not acceptable, but sex never had it so good. An Indian who was in Kabul recently looking for business opportunities says he was shocked by the volume of sale of viagra, and its cheaper herbal cousins shipped from India in tonnes. "Most drugstores told me sex-enhancement medicines or concoctions are the hottest drug here."

Whatever happened to the virile Afghan man? Does he need help? Afghans are still a little cagey about discussing sex, not at least with some one using an interpreter. But relationships? Now that's something that gets them yakking.

Qudratullah Qais, an English teacher, says, "I have had a string of girlfriends." Is that a boast? He picks up his phone (a mobile — almost everyone has one now), scrolls down his phone book to a number and dials. “Speak to a friend,” he hisses into the phone.

Qudrat met her at the institute where he teaches; she is a student there. In fact, he insists, she took the first step. A remarkable thing in male-dominated Afghanistan. But the country — at least its capital — is changing remarkably fast. Whoever, for instance, had heard of traffic jams in Kabul?

The city is one big traffic snarl, cars packing the streets bumper to bumper. Hashimi bought a second-hand car recently to use it as a cab. His brother bought a new one a few weeks later — a Corolla.

Khybar, an aid agency worker, has two mobiles: one he holds in his hand, and the other is strategically strapped to his belt for the world to see. Why two? “Oh well, one is Afghan Wireless and the other Roshan (Afghanistan has only two cellphone companies),” he says.

For $700 a month that he is paid, he has to be on call every moment. He doesn't mind that; $ 700 is good money in Afghanistan. Before he landed this job, Khybar was studying medicine at Kabul University. Does he want to go back? “Life is good now, though a bit tough.”

Sabeer Latifi has been working without a break for three years now. He owned two small guest houses in 2001. Today, he runs two of Kabul's best hotels. The family doesn’t get to see him much, but he plans to make up to them with a trip to India. For himself, he has fixed up a series of business meetings.

That's the new Afghan's new Afghanistan: chasing money, girls and dreams.,00050004.htm
10 posted on 03/01/2004 7:34:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
An Axis of Nuclear Cheating

March 01, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Review & Outlook

The only surprise about the failure of the latest round of six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear blackmail is that anyone should have been surprised by their failure. These ended in Beijing Saturday without even the joint statement that the Chinese hosts had been desperately pushing for.

That failure became inevitable after Pyongyang announced earlier last week that, even if the United States and its allies agree to a long list of demands for everything from free fuel oil to a nonaggression pact, the rogue regime will still insist on retaining part of its nuclear program for "peaceful purposes." Nor was there any explanation of what these supposed purposes are, despite repeated efforts to press North Korea to elaborate during the talks. Indeed it's hard to imagine any peaceful uses for nuclear power in a country with a ramshackle electricity-distribution grid that can't even cope with the output from one large nuclear power plant.

Our bet is that the real purpose behind Pyongyang's latest ploy is rather different -- to provide an excuse for keeping its uranium-enrichment program. That's the program North Korea secretly embarked upon after signing a 1994 agreement with the U.S. to freeze its nuclear activities, an accord Pyongyang never had any intention of honoring. It's also the program North Korea is so desperate to keep that it now denies its existence, two years after confessing otherwise during a meeting with visiting U.S. officials.

If all this sounds familiar, it's because North Korea would not be the first rogue regime to pretend its uranium enrichment was for peaceful purposes. That distinction belongs to Iran, which has been playing the same game for years -- and getting away with it.

The extent of Tehran's duplicity was only finally exposed in a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency last week. This came as close as could be expected to smoking-gun proof that the country's hardliners are building an atomic bomb. Iran was shown to have been 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.

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.

You'd have thought this damning evidence of the Tehran's true intentions would have been enough to prompt some second thoughts among those previously inclined to give Iran the benefit of the doubt. But not a bit of it. Barely had the ink dried on their pro-forma denunciation of Iran's recent rigged elections when European Union foreign ministers offered Tehran another chance to deceive. A senior Bush administration official tells us that America's European friends -- including erstwhile disarmament stalwart British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- rebuffed an explicit request from U.S. President George W. 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.

It's not difficult to see the message that Pyongyang will draw from this blind eye to Tehran's behavior. That's particularly worrying when it comes to uranium enrichment because, unlike plutonium programs, these can't be readily detected by satellite. We understand the U.S. still has no idea where North Korea is hiding its uranium, making it difficult to consider other options -- such as a targeted military strike. If it wasn't the exposure of the proliferation activities of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, we might never have learnt the details of Pyongyang's enrichment program.

Unfortunately, there's no sign of the right lessons being drawn from the recent proof of Iran's cheating. Instead of North Korea's pretence it needs a nuclear program for peaceful purposes being treated with the contempt it deserves, Russia and China have already said the idea is worth considering. And it's probably only a matter of time before South Korea follows suit, given the appeasement-minded attitude of some of those now in power in Seoul.

Even some of our friends at the U.S. State Department seem determined to put an optimistic gloss on Pyongyang's behavior, trumpeting the "progress" allegedly made during the latest round of six-party talks.

All of which misses the crucial message from last week's revelations about Tehran's misdeeds. Namely that allowing one rogue regime to get away with nuclear cheating only encourages others to try the same trick.
11 posted on 03/01/2004 7:35:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
An Axis of Nuclear Cheating

March 01, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Review & Outlook
12 posted on 03/01/2004 7:36:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
"Europe waking up to Iranian nuclear threat"

AFP - World News (via Iranmania)
Feb 29, 2004

JERUSALEM - Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Sunday that Europe was becoming more aware of the threat posed by Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme.

Shalom, speaking to Israeli radio from London, said that the recent Iranian election results showed that hopes the Islamic republic was on the path to reform were wide of the mark.

"Iran is still a dictatorship which is trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction and that is why the world must continue to prevent its efforts to arm itself," Shalom said.

"The elections in Iraq have proved again that those who believe this country is on the path of reform and change are mistaken," he added

The reformist movement in Iran was trounced in February 20 parliamentary elections earlier most of their ranks were disqualified from standing by the Guardians Council, an unelected hardline political watchdog.

Israel has identified the regime in Tehran as its number one threat since the US-led ouster of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein last April.

Meir Dagan, head of Israel's Mossad overseas intelligence service, recently told lawmakers that Iran posed the biggest threat to the existence of the Jewish state since its creation in 1948.

Iran, which agreed in December to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency in monitoring a nuclear programme it says is entirely peaceful, has threatened to use all means at its disposal including medium-range Shahab-3 missiles if Israel strikes its nuclear facilities.

Shalom said that the governments of Britain, France and Germany had come to recognise the threat now posed by Israel's alleged nuclear weapons programme.

"Berlin, London and Paris are within their range," Shalom added.

Shalom arrived in London Sunday after a trip to neighbouring Ireland which is the current holder of the rotating European Union presidency.

He is expected to hold talks at Downing Street with British Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as his counterpart Jack Straw.
13 posted on 03/01/2004 7:56:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
I wonder if Iranian regime will soon make travel to Iraq a bit more difficult for Iranians? Maybe try to limit travel to pilgrimages, in order to prevent Iranians from being corrupted by the "real world" right next door?
14 posted on 03/01/2004 9:03:46 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
The French Connection

March 01, 2004
National Review Online
Nir Boms

Syrian activist is stifled by France.

In 1978, as protests against Shah Pahlavi swept across Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini was living in a cozy house in the Parisian suburb of Neauphle-le-Chateau, engineering an Islamic revolution that would soon shake the world. Under the watchful eye of the French government, Khomeini met regularly with journalists and actively campaigned for the shah's overthrow. In fact, when Pahlavi finally fled his country in 1979, Khomeini was provided with a chartered Air France flight to Tehran, where he presided over one of the world's most repressive regimes until his death in 1989. France's generous hospitality toward Khomeini is interesting in light of the plight of Nizar Nayouf, a dissident Syrian journalist and human-rights activist currently living, as Khomeini once did, as a political refugee in the suburbs of Paris.

In 1991, Nayouf became editor-in-chief of Sawt al-Democratiyya (Voice of Democracy), a newspaper critical of Syria's Baathist regime, and also cofounded the Committee for the Defense of Democratic Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria (CDF). These ventures earned Nayouf a nine-year stay in a Syrian prison, which he barely survived. But in 2001, owing to pressure from former French prime minister Lionel Jospin, Nayouf was released and permitted to travel to France, where he received desperately needed medical attention. Following his recovery, Nayouf — who was granted political asylum in 2002 — resumed his pro-democracy activism with renewed vigor.

Recently, he revealed three potentially explosive documents that he says connect Syria, France, and Iraq to episodes involving hidden Iraqi WMDs and election bribery. The documents, which Nayouf acquired from sources in the Middle East, have captured the attention of media outlets in the U.S. and abroad. They have also drawn the ire of the DST (French Federal Intelligence Agency), which has attempted to silence Nayouf by using tactics reminiscent of those employed by his former Syrian captors.

According to Nayouf, on January 30, he was brought in for questioning by DST officials, who interviewed him for several hours before releasing him. At the end of the interview, a French officer identified to Nayouf only as "Colonel Heprarb" informed him that he was to refrain from making any further public announcements surrounding the deposed Iraqi regime's relations with Syria and Lebanon. Nayouf was also told that his public declarations have caused diplomatic embarrassments for the French government, not only in its relations with Syria but also with other countries that Heprarb refused to mention. While Nayouf was left shaken by this experience, his dealings with the DST would soon take an even more troubling turn.

Nayouf contends that following the interview with the DST he returned home, only to find that his apartment had been broken into and three CD-ROMS containing sensitive documents had been stolen. A map showing possible locations of Iraqi WMDs in Syria was purportedly among the documents taken, as well as information regarding $2 billion that had been deposited by Saddam Hussein into several Syrian and Lebanese banks. The CDs also allegedly contained information describing the establishment of a fund for the reelection of Jacques Chirac by the deposed Iraqi regime via the office of Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, not to mention a list of dissidents and political organizations in Syria that received funds from the intelligence apparatus stationed in the Iraqi embassy in Paris. Colonel Heprarb, for his part, has categorically denied any DST involvement in the burglary. But clearly, as stated by Julien Dumond in Le Parisien on February 5, the "burglary" seemed suspiciously like an intelligence-gathering mission.

Reached by phone to comment on the DST's conduct regarding Nayouf, Heprarb quickly became agitated: "This affair is finished...because this is a very difficult issue to answer about...If you will call again I will never answer...I ask that you must not call here another time." At that point, Heprarb ended the conversation.

Apparently, however, the matter was not finished. On February 3, the DST invited Nayouf to its offices for four more hours of questioning. Incredibly, Nayouf says that during this session DST officials asked for the password to his personal computer so that they could access his files directly (one wonders if Heprarb will deny DST involvement on that count as well). Nayouf maintains he did not provide the password.

Nayouf's recent troubles with the DST coincide with the French government's repeated refusal to provide him with the political refugee passport he was legally granted in 2002 (and is due to him by French law). This action has prevented Nayouf from traveling abroad and continuing his work with the Syrian Democratic Coalition, a fledgling pro-democracy group led by the Syrian-born Farid Ghadry. On February 5, French foreign-affairs-ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous stated that "no measures have been made" by the French government to limit Nayouf's movements. Ladsous also claimed that Nayouf's refusal to surrender his Syrian passport (a passport that has not been in Nayouf's possession for over a year) has caused the bureaucratic delay in issuing his travel documents. However, according to French law, a refugee does not need such a passport to begin with; therefore, no legal basis exists for denying Nayouf valid travel documentation. So Nayouf remains under gag order in Paris, unsure if, or when, he will be extradited to Syria, where opponents of the Baath party invariably turn up dead or languish in prison.

"Nayouf represents the conscience of every Syrian who has suffered under the Baathist rule," says Ghadry. "I believe he deserves the protection of the U.S. and the dignity accorded to people who have fought for human rights all their lives."

For now, Nayouf can only wish for the same treatment the French government so graciously extended to Ayatollah Khomeini years ago.

Nir Boms is a fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Council for Democracy and Tolerance.
15 posted on 03/01/2004 9:56:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
The Problem Within Islam

March 01, 2004
The Weekly Standard
Soner Cagaptay

American Efforts towards a democratic Iraq seem to have created some strange bedfellows in the Middle East.

Why the nations of the Middle East are uneasy at the prospect of a democratic Iraq.

AMERICAN EFFORTS towards a democratic Iraq seem to have created some strange bedfellows in the Middle East. The Sunnis of the region--from Baathist loyalists in Iraq and hardcore Wahhabi zealots in Saudi Arabia to secular-minded elites in Amman, Cairo, and elsewhere--are now united around a common anxiety: Since the Shiite Muslims constitute more than 60 percent of Iraq's population, a democratic Iraq will likely be a Shiite-dominated Iraq.

This is anathema for most Sunnis in the region, many of whom regard Shiite Islam as a perversion. (The feeling being mutual, the Shiites don't think very highly of the Sunnis either.) Thus, the possibility that another Shiite state may emerge next to Shiite fundamentalist Iran has exposed some raw nerves in the region, awakening ancient religious prejudices and creating modern political fears. Those anxieties, together with festering anti-Americanism, explain the reluctance of the region's Sunni regimes to extend America a sincere hand in transforming Iraq.

To be sure, sectarian divisions are not unique to Islam. Other world religions have their own share of internal prejudices: witness the persecution of the French Huguenots, the Thirty Years War, or the flight of the Puritans from England. Yet, while Christianity has mostly moved beyond intra-religious hatred in the modern times, Islam has not quite done so. There is no Muslim equivalent of the Second Vatican Council, the World Council of Churches. or the tradition of intra-religious dialogue that so characterizes the Christian faith today.

Islam remains rooted in its history of deep mistrust between the Shiite and Sunni sects, which, since the 8th century, have been violently feuding over the issue of succession to the Prophet Muhammad. The past 1,300 years of Islamic history have been almost uniformly marked by episodes of strife between these two sects, and political domination by one group has almost always meant persecution of the other.

FOR EXAMPLE, when the Shiite Safavids came to power in Iran in the 16th century, they brutalized the country's Sunnis. The mullahs who took charge in Iran with the 1979 Islamic revolution gladly continue this tradition today. In Saudi Arabia, the opposite is true: The Sunni fundamentalist Wahhabis have turned the country into a prison camp for its Shiite minority since they ascended to power in the 19th century. In Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the secularist Baath Party, ruled by the Sunni minority, oppressed the country's Shiite majority for three decades.

The legacy of this history of persecution is that Sunni and Shiite Muslims in the Middle East view each other with distrust. In most cases, mutual hatred is almost as deeply rooted as any aversion they may have towards non-Muslims.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN for Operation Iraqi Freedom? With the exception of Iran and Syria (which is ruled by an Alawite minority--an offshoot of Islam distinct from both Sunni and Shiite orthodoxies, if somewhat closer to Shiism) all Muslim states in the Middle East are run by Sunnis, who view a Shiite-ruled Iraq as a potential threat. (The only exception to such authoritarian regimes, Turkey--which is democratic--is also a Sunni majority country.) The Sunni states of the Middle East are unwilling to whole-heartedly support Operation Iraqi Freedom because of what it may produce in the end.

This predicament can also be helpful, however, by showing a way out of sectarian hatred within Islam. It is time now for Muslims--clerics and secular pundits alike--to begin a frank debate towards healing sectarian divides through ecumenical dialogue.

Such a process should interest not only the Muslim world, but also the West. There has been much talk since the September 11 attacks about the need for a constructive dialogue between Islam and the West. Before Muslims can extend the courtesy of respect to non-Muslims, however, they will first have to treat each other with compassion. In other words, the path to inter-regional equilibrium between Islam and other faiths is through intra-religious peace within Islam. It is time for Muslims to address the decades-old problem of hatred within Islam, for their sake and for the world's.

Soner Cagaptay is the head of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
16 posted on 03/01/2004 11:37:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
The Problem Within Islam

March 01, 2004
The Weekly Standard
Soner Cagaptay
17 posted on 03/01/2004 11:38:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn
Kerry Will Abandon War on Terrorism

March 01, 2004
Insight Magazine
Kenneth R. Timmerman

The Democratic Party's presidential front-runner, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), has pledged that if elected he will abandon the president's war on terror, begin a dialogue with terrorist regimes and apologize for three-and-one-half years of mistakes by the Bush administration.

In a sweeping foreign-policy address to the Council on Foreign Relations in December, Kerry called the U.S. war on terror as conceived and led by President George W. Bush "the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in modern history." Kerry's remarks were widely praised by journalists. The Associated Press headlined its report on his speech, "Kerry Vows to Repair Foreign Relations." The Knight Ridder news service noted that the new focus on foreign policy "plays to Kerry's strength." None of the major U.S. dailies found Kerry's unusually strident language at all inappropriate. "Kerry Vows to Change U.S. Foreign Policy; Senator Describes Steps He Would Take as President," the Washington Post headlined ponderously.

Presidential contenders have criticized sitting presidents in times of war before, but what's unique today is that "it has become the rule, not the exception," says Michael Franc, vice president for government relations at the Heritage Foundation. "With a few notable exceptions, you have almost the entire Democratic Party hierarchy that opposes what Bush is doing in the most vitriolic and emotional terms."

Heritage presidential historian Lee Edwards called it "not a foreign-policy analysis but a polemical speech, filled with inflammatory rhetoric that is disturbing and beyond the pale. What this suggests is that Mr. Kerry wants to take us back to President [Bill] Clinton and his U.N.-led multilateral policies."

Kerry promised to spend the first 100 days of his administration traveling the world to denounce his predecessor, apologize for his "radically wrong" policy, and seek "cooperation and compromise" with friend and foe alike. Borrowing language normally reserved to characterize "rogue" states, Kerry said he would "go to the United Nations and travel to our traditional allies to affirm that the United States has rejoined the community of nations."

Perhaps frustrated that his radical departure from the war on terror was not getting much attention in the trenches of Democratic Party politics, Kerry ordered his campaign to mobilize grass-roots supporters to spread the word. In one e-mail message, obtained by Insight and confirmed as authentic by the Kerry camp, the senator's advisers enlisted overseas Democrats to launch a letter-writing and op-ed campaign denouncing the Bush foreign-policy record.

"'It is in the urgent interests of the people of the United States to restore our country's credibility in the eyes of the world," the message states. "America needs the kind of leadership that will repair alliances with countries on every continent that have been so damaged in the past few years, as well as build new friendships and overcome tensions with others."

The e-mail succeeded beyond the wildest dream of Kerry's handlers - at least, so they tell Insight. It was immediately picked up by the Mehr news agency in Tehran, and appeared the next day on the front page of a leading hard-line daily there.

"I have no idea how they got hold of that letter, which was prepared for Democrats Abroad," Kerry's top foreign-policy aide, Rand Beers, tells Insight. "I scratched my head when I saw that. The only way they could have gotten it was if someone in Iran was with Democrats Abroad."

The hard-line, anti-American Tehran Times published the entire text of the seven-paragraph e-mail under a triumphant headline announcing that Kerry pledged to "repair damage if he wins election." By claiming that the Kerry campaign had sent the message directly to an Iranian news agency in Tehran, the paper indicated that the e-mail was a demonstration of Kerry's support for a murderous regime that even today tops the State Department's list of supporters of international terrorism.

According to dissident Ayatollah Mehdi Haeri, who fled Iran for Germany after being held for four years in a regime prison, Iran's hard-line clerics "fear President Bush." In an interview with Insight, Haeri says that President Bush's messages of support to pro-democracy forces inside Iran and his insistence that the Iranian regime abandon its nuclear-weapons program "have given these people the shivers. They think that if Bush is re-elected, they'll be gone. That's why they want to see Kerry elected."

The latest Bush message, released on Feb. 24, commented on the widely boycotted Iranian parliamentary elections that took place the week before. "I am very disappointed in the recently disputed parliamentary elections in Iran," President Bush said. "The disqualification of some 2,400 candidates by the unelected Guardian Council deprived many Iranians of the opportunity to freely choose their representatives. I join many in Iran and around the world in condemning the Iranian regime's efforts to stifle freedom of speech, including the closing of two leading reformist newspapers in the run-up to the election. Such measures undermine the rule of law and are clear attempts to deny the Iranian people's desire to freely choose their leaders. The United States supports the Iranian people's aspiration to live in freedom, enjoy their God-given rights and determine their own destiny."

The Kerry campaign released no statement on the widely discredited Iranian elections, reinforcing allegations from pro-democracy Iranian exiles in America that the junior senator from Massachusetts is working hand-in-glove with pro-regime advocates in the United States.

Kerry foreign-policy aide Beers tried to nuance the impression that Kerry was willing to seek new ties with the Tehran regime and forgive the Islamic republic for 25 years of terror that began by taking U.S. diplomats hostage in Tehran in 1979 and continues to this day with Iran's overt support and harboring of top al-Qaeda operatives. Just the day before the e-mail message was sent to the Mehr news agency, Beers told a foreign-policy forum in Washington that Kerry "is not saying that he is looking for better relations with Iran. He is looking for a dialogue with Iran. There are some issues on which we really need to sit down with the Iranians."

The word "dialogue" immediately gives comfort to hard-liners, says Ayatollah Haeri. While Beer's comments went unnoticed by the U.S. press, they were prominently featured by the official Islamic Republic News Agency in a Feb. 7 dispatch from Washington.

In an interview with Insight, Beers went even further. "We are prepared to talk to the Iranian government" of hard-line, anti-American clerics, he insisted. "While we realize we have major differences, there are areas that could form the basis for cooperation, such as working together to stop drug production in Afghanistan."

Beers has a special history in Washington. A longtime National Security Council aide who served President Clinton and was carried over by the Bush White House, he resigned as the war in Iraq began in March 2003. Just weeks later, he volunteered for the Kerry campaign. The Washington Post heralded him in a profile as "a lifelong bureaucrat" who was an "unlikely insurgent." Yet the Post acknowledged that he was a "registered Democrat" who by resigning at such a critical moment was "not just declaring that he's a Democrat. He's declaring that he's a Kerry Democrat, and the way he wants to make a difference in the world is to get his former boss [Bush] out of office."

Talking to Insight, Beers compares Kerry's proposal to begin talks with Iran to the senator's earlier advocacy of renewing relations with Vietnam after the Vietnam War: "No expectations, eyes wide open."

With Iran, which is known to be harboring top al-Qaeda operatives, Beers says "there is no way to have a deal without having the hard-liners as part of the dialogue. We are prepared to talk to the hard-line element" as part of an overall political dialogue with the Iranian regime.

The Kerry policy of seeking an accommodation with the regime is not new, says Patrick Clawson, the deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has been tracking Iran policy for two decades. "Kerry's approach is that of many in Europe who think you must entice rogue regimes. Enticement only works if it is followed up with the notion that there would be a penalty if they didn't behave. I see nothing of that in Sen. Kerry's statements."

For Aryo Pirouznia, who chairs the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, Kerry's offer to negotiate with hard-liners in the regime smacks of lunacy. "America is incredibly popular with the Iranian masses, so this is a grave mistake for a short-term benefit," Pirouznia says. "To the regime, this sends a message that America is willing to make a deal despite the blood of Americans who were murdered in Dhahran [Saudi Arabia] and are being killed today in Iraq by so-called foreign elements. And to Iranians, it shows that the old establishment may be back in power, a return to the Carter era."

Pirouznia's Texas-based support group, which worked closely with protesting students during the July 1999 uprising in Tehran, sent an open letter to Kerry on Feb. 19 noting that "millions of dollars" had been raised for the Democratic Party by Iranian-American political-action committees and fund-raisers with ties to the Tehran regime. "By sending such a message directly to the organs and the megaphones of the dictatorial Islamic regime, you have given them credibility, comfort and embraced this odious theocracy," Pirouznia says. "You have encouraged and emboldened a tyrannical regime to use this as propaganda and declare 'open season' on the freedom fighters in Iran."

Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer for Insight.

For more on this story, read "John Kerry's Iranian-American Fund-Raisers."
18 posted on 03/01/2004 11:39:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Kerry Will Abandon War on Terrorism

March 01, 2004
Insight Magazine
Kenneth R. Timmerman
19 posted on 03/01/2004 11:40:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: DoctorZIn

20 posted on 03/01/2004 11:42:09 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-33 next last

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