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Iranian Alert -- March 2, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 3.2.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 03/02/2004 12:01:40 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
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 03/02/2004 12:01:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

2 posted on 03/02/2004 12:04:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Mischief in Iraq

By David Ignatius
Washington Post | March 1, 2004

Iran's crucial role in shaping the future of Iraq was conveyed in a subtle threat made this week by the country's key power broker, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The United States is "stuck in the mud in Iraq, and they know that if Iran wanted to, it could make their problems even worse," Rafsanjani said in an interview with the Tehran daily Kayhan. He coyly opened the door to a Washington-Tehran dialogue about Iraq and other issues, saying, "For me, talking is not a problem."

The hard-line mullahs in Tehran are sitting pretty these days: America has toppled their historical foe, Saddam Hussein, and is struggling with a nasty postwar insurgency. Meanwhile, an Iranian-born Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has emerged as the dominant figure in the new Iraq.

Sistani this month forced U.S. occupation czar L. Paul Bremer to abandon his plan for regional caucuses to select a transitional government. The cleric said yesterday he would accept an interim government if elections were held by the end of this year. But his statement cautioned that the interim government shouldn't make "binding" decisions, which could prevent it from approving a future U.S. military role in Iraq -- as American officials had hoped.

The Iranian mullahs have consolidated political control at home, too. Determined to crush opposition, they simply vetoed reform candidates from running in the recent parliamentary elections. It was a naked power grab, and it worked.

Anyone in the White House who imagines that the Iranians are running scared because more than 100,000 U.S. troops are bivouacked next door hasn't been reading the papers. From Iran's standpoint, the United States is pinned down and vulnerable. And because of Tehran's overt and covert influence among Iraq's Shiite majority, the mullahs may actually be in a position to shape the terms and timing of America's departure.

"To have America in a difficult but not impossible situation in Iraq is good for Iran," says Olivier Roy, a French professor who is a leading analyst of Iranian affairs. "They are absolutely convinced that America will not try for a regime change in Iran now. They think it's too late for that."

Tehran wants to keep the pot boiling in Iraq rather than allow a smooth transition to a pro-Western democracy. "They don't want to see a strong Iraq return, even if it's headed by Shiite Muslims," explains Roy, whose new book, "Globalized Islam," will be published this year.

Iran has an array of tools to influence Iraq. Revolutionary Guards and Iranian intelligence officers have been operating in Iraq for years, and they have deep and durable networks. If nothing else, these Iranian agents can get tens of thousands of Iraqi Shiites on the streets to protest the U.S. occupation.

The hotheaded young Iraqi mullah Moqtada Sadr is also useful to Tehran. U.S. officials had hoped to break the back of Sadr's movement with a crackdown on his followers late last year. They were even thinking of arresting him for complicity in the murder of pro-Western Shiite cleric Abdel Majid Khoei, who was killed in Najaf on April 10. But the arrest hasn't happened, perhaps because of fears it would upset Iraqi Shiites.

A more benign friend of Tehran is Iraqi opposition leader Ahmed Chalabi, who serves on the Governing Council and has allied himself in recent weeks with Sistani. Though he has long been the Pentagon's favorite Iraqi politician, Chalabi has cultivated good relations with Tehran, visiting there before and after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Indeed, some of the Shiite militiamen Chalabi brought with him to Iraq last April are said to have been trained in Iran.

"Our cooperation with Iran is very good. One can argue that Iran has cooperated with us more than any other neighbor," Chalabi told the Iranian Student News Agency in December, according to the online newsletter Stratfor.

Finally, there is the bearded figure of Ayatollah Sistani. His Web site, at, certainly is focused on religious issues, rather than politics. The site answers questions on everything from sex to gambling. (For his explicit advice, consult the site.) Sistani's supporters stress that his "quietist" version of Shiite Islam is the opposite of the Iranian model of clerical rule.

By successfully defying Bremer, Sistani is now Iraq's key political personality. Western liberals fear he will create a Shiite-dominated Iraq that imposes sharia, or religious, law and curtails human rights. The main check on this consolidation of Iraqi Shiite power, strange as it sounds, may be Tehran.

For now, the Iranians don't seem to have an interest in a stable Iraq, no matter who leads it. But as Rafsanjani's comment suggests, they may be ready to bargain.
3 posted on 03/02/2004 12:21:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"A more benign friend of Tehran is Iraqi opposition leader Ahmed Chalabi"

A little too friendly.........
4 posted on 03/02/2004 5:41:42 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Deal

March 01, 2004
The New Yorker
Seymour M. Hersh

Why is Washington going easy on Pakistan’s nuclear black marketers?

On February 4th, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who is revered in Pakistan as the father of the country’s nuclear bomb, appeared on a state-run television network in Islamabad and confessed that he had been solely responsible for operating an international black market in nuclear-weapons materials. His confession was accepted by a stony-faced Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s President, who is a former Army general, and who dressed for the occasion in commando fatigues. The next day, on television again, Musharraf, who claimed to be shocked by Khan’s misdeeds, nonetheless pardoned him, citing his service to Pakistan (he called Khan “my hero”). Musharraf told the Times that he had received a specific accounting of Khan’s activities in Iran, North Korea, and Malaysia from the United States only last October. “If they knew earlier, they should have told us,” he said. “Maybe a lot of things would not have happened.”

It was a make-believe performance in a make-believe capital. In interviews last month in Islamabad, a planned city built four decades ago, politicians, diplomats, and nuclear experts dismissed the Khan confession and the Musharraf pardon with expressions of scorn and disbelief. For two decades, journalists and American and European intelligence agencies have linked Khan and the Pakistani intelligence service, the I.S.I. (Inter-Service Intelligence), to nuclear-technology transfers, and it was hard to credit the idea that the government Khan served had been oblivious. “It is state propaganda,” Samina Ahmed, the director of the Islamabad office of the International Crisis Group, a nongovernmental organization that studies conflict resolution, told me. “The deal is that Khan doesn’t tell what he knows. Everybody is lying. The tragedy of this whole affair is that it doesn’t serve anybody’s needs.” Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who is a member of the Pakistani senate, said with a laugh, “America needed an offering to the gods—blood on the floor. Musharraf told A.Q., ‘Bend over for a spanking.’”

A Bush Administration intelligence officer with years of experience in nonproliferation issues told me last month, “One thing we do know is that this was not a rogue operation. Suppose Edward Teller had suddenly decided to spread nuclear technology and equipment around the world. Do you really think he could do that without the government knowing? How do you get missiles from North Korea to Pakistan? Do you think A.Q. shipped all the centrifuges by Federal Express? The military has to be involved, at high levels.” The intelligence officer went on, “We had every opportunity to put a stop to the A. Q. Khan network fifteen years ago. Some of those involved today in the smuggling are the children of those we knew about in the eighties. It’s the second generation now.”

In public, the Bush Administration accepted the pardon at face value. Within hours of Musharraf’s television appearance, Richard Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State, praised him as “the right man at the right time.” Armitage added that Pakistan had been “very forthright in the last several years with us about proliferation.” A White House spokesman said that the Administration valued Musharraf’s assurances that “Pakistan was not involved in any of the proliferation activity.” A State Department spokesman said that how to deal with Khan was “a matter for Pakistan to decide.”

Musharraf, who seized power in a coup d’état in 1999, has been a major ally of the Bush Administration in the war on terrorism. According to past and present military and intelligence officials, however, Washington’s support for the pardon of Khan was predicated on what Musharraf has agreed to do next: look the other way as the U.S. hunts for Osama bin Laden in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan dominated by the forbidding Hindu Kush mountain range, where he is believed to be operating. American commanders have been eager for permission to conduct major sweeps in the Hindu Kush for some time, and Musharraf has repeatedly refused them. Now, with Musharraf’s agreement, the Administration has authorized a major spring offensive that will involve the movement of thousands of American troops.

Musharraf has proffered other help as well. A former senior intelligence official said to me, “Musharraf told us, ‘We’ve got guys inside. The people who provide fresh fruits and vegetables and herd the goats’” for bin Laden and his Al Qaeda followers. “It’s a quid pro quo: we’re going to get our troops inside Pakistan in return for not forcing Musharraf to deal with Khan.”

The spring offensive could diminish the tempo of American operations in Iraq. “It’s going to be a full-court press,” one Pentagon planner said. Some of the most highly skilled Special Forces units, such as Task Force 121, will be shifted from Iraq to Pakistan. Special Forces personnel around the world have been briefed on their new assignments, one military adviser told me, and in some cases have been given “warning orders”—the stage before being sent into combat.

A large-scale American military presence in Pakistan could also create an uproar in the country and weaken Musharraf’s already tenuous hold on power. The operation represents a tremendous gamble for him personally (he narrowly survived two assassination attempts in December) and, by extension, for the Bush Administration—if he fell, his successor might be far less friendly to the United States. One of Musharraf’s most vocal critics inside Pakistan is retired Army Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, a fundamentalist Muslim who directed the I.S.I. from 1987 to 1989, at the height of the Afghan war with the Soviets. If American troops start operating from Pakistan, there will be “a rupture in the relationship,” Gul told me. “Americans think others are slaves to them.” Referring to the furor over A. Q. Khan, he added, “We may be in a jam, but we are a very honorable nation. We will not allow the American troops to come here. This will be the breaking point.” If Musharraf has made an agreement about letting American troops operate in Pakistan, Gul said, “he’s lying to you.”

The greatest risk may be not to Musharraf, or to the stability of South Asia, but to the ability of the international nuclear monitoring institutions to do their work. Many experts fear that, with Khan’s help, the world has moved closer to a nuclear tipping point. Husain Haqqani, who was a special assistant to three prime ministers before Musharraf came to power and is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, noted, with some pride, that his nation had managed to make the bomb despite American sanctions. But now, he told me, Khan and his colleagues have gone wholesale: “Once they had the bomb, they had a shopping list of what to buy and where. A. Q. Khan can bring a plain piece of paper and show me how to get it done—the countries, people, and telephone numbers. ‘This is the guy in Russia who can get you small quantities of enriched uranium. You in Malaysia will manufacture the stuff. Here’s who will miniaturize the warhead. And then go to North Korea and get the damn missile.’” He added, “This is not a few scientists pocketing money and getting rich. It’s a state policy.”

Haqqani depicted Musharraf as truly “on the American side,” in terms of resisting Islamic extremism, but, he said, “he doesn’t know how to be on the American side. The same guys in the I.S.I. who have done this in the last twenty years he expects to be his partners. These are people who’ve done nothing but covert operations: One, screw India. Two, deceive America. Three, expand Pakistan’s influence in the Islamic community. And, four, continue to spread nuclear technology.” He paused. “Musharraf is trying to put out the fire with the help of the people who started the fire,” he said.

“Much of this has been known for decades to the American intelligence community,” Haqqani added. “Sometimes you know things and don’t want to do anything about it. Americans need to know that your government is not only downplaying this but covering it up. You go to bed with our I.S.I. They know how to suck up to you. You let us get away with everything. Why can’t you be more honest? There’s no harm in telling us the truth—‘Look, you’re an ally but a very disturbing ally.’ You have to nip some of these things in the bud.”

The former senior American intelligence official was equally blunt. He told me, “Khan was willing to sell blueprints, centrifuges, and the latest in weaponry. He was the worst nuclear-arms proliferator in the world and he’s pardoned—with not a squeak from the White House.”

The most recent revelations about the nuclear black market were triggered by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a now defunct opposition group that has served as the political wing of the People’s Mujahideen Khalq, a group that has been on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations since 1997. The National Council lobbied in Washington for decades, and offered information—not always accurate—about Iran. There had been suspicions about Iran’s nuclear intentions since the eighties, but the country’s religious rulers claimed that its nuclear facilities were intended for peaceful purposes only. In August of 2002, the National Council came up with something new: it announced at a news conference in Washington that it had evidence showing that Iran had secretly constructed two extensive nuclear-weapons facilities in the desert south of Tehran. The two plants were described with impressive specificity. One, near Natanz, had been depicted by Iranian officials as part of a desert-eradication program. The site, surrounded by barbed wire, was said to include two work areas buried twenty-five feet underground and ringed by concrete walls more than eight feet thick. The second plant, which was said to be producing heavy water for use in making weapons-grade plutonium, was situated in Arak and ostensibly operated as an energy company.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the organization that monitors nuclear proliferation, eventually followed up on the National Council’s information. And it checked out.

A building that I.A.E.A. inspectors were not able to gain full access to on a visit in March, 2003, was found on a subsequent trip to contain a centrifuge facility behind a wall made of boxes. Inspectors later determined that some of the centrifuges had been supplied by Pakistan. They also found traces of highly enriched uranium on centrifuge components manufactured in Iran and Pakistan. The I.A.E.A. has yet to determine whether the uranium originated in Pakistan: the enriched materials could have come from the black market, or from a nuclear proliferator yet to be discovered, or from the Iranians’ own production facilities.

Last October, the Iranian government, after nine months of denials and obfuscation—and increasingly productive inspections—formally acknowledged to the I.A.E.A. that it had secretly been producing small quantities of enriched uranium and plutonium, and had been operating a pilot heavy-water reactor program, all potentially in violation of its obligations under the nuclear-nonproliferation treaty. Some of the secret programs, Iran admitted, dated back eighteen years. At first, the country’s religious leadership claimed that its scientists had worked on their own, and not with the help of outside suppliers. The ayatollahs later admitted that this was not the case, but refused to say where the help had come from.

Iran’s leaders continued to insist that their goal was to produce nuclear energy, not nuclear weapons, and, in a public report last November, the I.A.E.A. stopped short of accusing them of building a bomb. Cautiously, it stated, “It is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations . . . with respect to the reporting of nuclear material and its processing and use. . . . To date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities referred to above were related to a nuclear weapons programme.”

Privately, however, senior proliferation experts were far less reserved. “I know what they did,” one official in Vienna told me, speaking of the Iranians. “They’ve been lying all the time and they’ve been cheating all the time.” Asked if he thought that Iran now has the bomb, the official said no. Asked if he thought that Iran had enough enriched uranium to make a bomb, he said, “I’m not sure.”

Musharraf has insisted that any dealings between A. Q. Khan and Iran were independent of, and unknown to, the Pakistani government. But there is evidence to contradict him. On a trip to the Middle East last month, I was told that a number of years ago the Israeli signals-intelligence agency, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code and began monitoring communications that included talk between Iran and Pakistan about Iran’s burgeoning nuclear-weapons program. The Israeli intelligence community has many covert contacts inside Iran, stemming from the strong ties it had there before the overthrow of the Shah, in 1979; some of these ties still exist. Israeli intelligence also maintained close contact with many Iranian opposition groups, such as the National Council. A connection was made—directly or indirectly—and the Israeli intelligence about Iran’s nuclear program reached the National Council. A senior I.A.E.A. official subsequently told me that he knew that the Council’s information had originated with Israeli intelligence, but he refused to say where he had learned that fact. (An Israeli diplomat in Washington, asked to comment, said, “Why would we work with a Mickey Mouse outlet like the Council?”)

The Israeli intercepts have been shared, in some form, with the United States intelligence community, according to the former senior intelligence official, and they show that high-level officials in Islamabad and Tehran had frequent conversations about the I.A.E.A. investigation and its implications. “The interpretation is the issue here,” the former official said. “If you set the buzzwords aside, the substance is that the Iranians were saying, ‘We’ve got to play with the I.A.E.A. We don’t want to blow our cover, but we have to show some movement. There’s no way we’re going against world public opinion—no way. We’ve got to show that we’re coöperating and get the Europeans on our side.’” (At the time, Iran was engaged in negotiations with the European Union on trade and other issues.) It’s clear from the intercepts, however, the former intelligence official said, that Iran did not want to give up its nuclear potential. The Pakistani response, he added, was “Don’t give away the whole ballgame and we’ll look out for you.” There was a further message from Pakistan, the former official said: “Look out for your own interests.”

In the official’s opinion, Pakistan and Iran have survived the crisis: “They both did what they said they’d do, and neither one has been hurt. No one has been damaged. The public story is still that Iran never really got there—which is bullshit.” And analysts throughout the American intelligence community, he said, are asking, “How could it be that Pakistan’s done all these things—developed a second generation of miniaturized and boosted weapons—and yet the investigation has been shorted to ground?”

A high-level intelligence officer who has access to the secret Iran-Pakistan exchanges told me that he understood that “the Pakistanis were very worried that the Iranians would give their name to the I.A.E.A.” The officer, interviewed in Tel Aviv, told me that Israel remains convinced that “the Iranians do not intend to give up the bomb. What Iran did was report to the I.A.E.A. the information that was already out in the open and which they cannot protect. There is much that is not exposed.” Israeli intelligence, he added, continues to see digging and other nuclear-related underground activity in Iran. A nonproliferation official based in Vienna later explained that Iran has bored two holes near a uranium-mining operation that are “deep enough to do a test”—as deep as two hundred metres. The design of the bomb that could be tested, he added, if Iran chose to do so, came from Libya, via Pakistan and A. Q. Khan.

Last December, President Bush and Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, jointly announced that Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, had decided to give up his nuclear-weapons program and would permit I.A.E.A. inspectors to enter his country. The surprise announcement, the culmination of nine months of secret talks, was followed immediately by a six-day inspection by the I.A.E.A., the first of many inspections, and the public unveiling, early this year, of the role of yet another country, Malaysia, in the nuclear black market. Libya had been able to purchase hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of nuclear parts, including advanced centrifuges designed in Pakistan, from a firm in Malaysia, with a free-trade zone in Dubai serving as the main shipping point. It was a new development in an old arms race: Malaysia, a high-tech nation with no indigenous nuclear ambitions, was retailing sophisticated nuclear gear, based on designs made available by Khan.

The centrifuge materials that the inspectors found in Libya had not been assembled—in most cases, in fact, the goods were still in their shipping cases. “I am not impressed by what I’ve seen,” a senior nonproliferation official told me. “It was not a well-developed program—not a serious research-and-development approach to make use of what they bought. It was useless. But I was absolutely struck by what the Libyans were able to buy. What’s on the market is absolutely horrendous. It’s a Mafia-type business, with corruption and secrecy.”

I.A.E.A. inspectors, to their dismay, even found in Libya precise blueprints for the design and construction of a half-ton nuclear weapon. “It’s a sweet little bomb, put together by engineers who know how to assemble a weapon,” an official in Vienna told me. “No question it’ll work. Just dig a hole and test it. It’s too big and too heavy for a Scud, but it’ll go into a family car. It’s a terrorist’s dream.”

In a speech on February 5th at Georgetown University, George Tenet, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, hailed the developments in Libya as an American intelligence coup. Tenet said, “We learned of all this through the powerful combination of technical intelligence, careful and painstaking analytic work, operational daring, and, yes, the classic kind of human intelligence that people have led you to believe we no longer have.” The C.I.A. unquestionably has many highly motivated and highly skilled agents. But interviews with former C.I.A. officials and with two men who worked closely with Libyan intelligence present a different story.

Qaddafi had been seeking a reconciliation with the West for years, with limited success. Then, a former C.I.A. operations officer told me, Musa Kusa, the longtime head of Libyan intelligence, urged Qaddafi to meet with Western intelligence agencies and open up his weapons arsenal to international inspection. The C.I.A. man quoted Kusa as explaining that, as the war with Iraq drew near, he had warned Qaddafi, “You are nuts if you think you can defeat the United States. Get out of it now. Surrender now and hope they accept your surrender.”

One Arab intelligence operative told me that Libyan intelligence, with Qaddafi’s approval, then quickly offered to give American and British intelligence details about a centrifuge deal that was already under way. The parts were due to be shipped aboard a German freighter, the B.B.C. China. In October, the freighter was seized, and the incident was proclaimed a major intelligence success. But, the operative said, it was “the Libyans who blew up the Pakistanis,” and who made the role of Khan’s black market known. The Americans, he said, asked “questions about those orders and Libya said it had them.” It was, in essence, a sting, and was perceived that way by Musharraf. He was enraged by what he called, in a nationally televised speech last month—delivered in Urdu, and not officially translated by the Pakistani government—the betrayal of Pakistan by his “Muslim brothers” in both Libya and Iran. There was little loyalty between seller and buyer. “The Pakistanis took a lot of Libya’s money and gave second-grade plans,” the Arab intelligence operative said. “It was halfhearted.”

The intelligence operative went on, “Qaddafi is very pragmatic and studied the timing. It was the right time. The United States wanted to have a success story, and he banked on that.”

Because of the ongoing investigation into Khan and his nuclear-proliferation activities, the I.A.E.A.’s visibility and credibility have grown.The key issue, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the I.A.E.A., told me, in an interview at the organization’s headquarters in Vienna, is non-state actors. “I have a nightmare that the spread of enriched uranium and nuclear material could result in the operation of a small enrichment facility in a place like northern Afghanistan,” he said. “Who knows? It’s not hard for a non-state to hide, especially if there is a state in collusion with it. Some of these non-state groups are very sophisticated.”

Many diplomats in Vienna expressed frustration at the I.A.E.A.’s inability, thanks to Musharraf’s pardon, to gain access to Khan. “It’s not going to happen,” one diplomat said. “We are getting some coöperation from Pakistan, but it’s the names we need to know. ‘Who got the stuff?’ We’re interested to know whether other nations that we’re supposed to supervise have the stuff.” The diplomat told me he believed that the United States was unwilling to publicly state the obvious: that there was no way the Pakistani government didn’t know about the transfers. He said, “Of course it looks awful, but Musharraf will be indebted to you.”

The I.A.E.A.’s authority to conduct inspections is limited. The nations that have signed the nonproliferation treaty are required to permit systematic I.A.E.A. inspections of their declared nuclear facilities for research and energy production. But there is no mechanism for the inspection of suspected nuclear-weapons sites, and many at the I.A.E.A. believe that the treaty must be modified. “There is a nuclear network of black-market centrifuges and weapons design that the world has yet to discover,” a diplomat in Vienna told me. In the past, he said, the I.A.E.A. had worked under the assumption that nations would cheat on the nonproliferation treaty “to produce and sell their own nuclear material.” He said, “What we have instead is a black-market network capable of producing usable nuclear materials and nuclear devices that is not limited to any one nation. We have nuclear dealers operating outside our front door, and we have no control over them—no matter how good we are in terms of verification.” There would be no need, in other words, for A. Q. Khan or anyone else in Pakistan to have a direct role in supplying nuclear technology. The most sensitive nuclear equipment would be available to any country—or any person or group, presumably—that had enough cash.

“This is a question of survival,” the diplomat said, with a caustic smile. He added, “Iraq is laughable in comparison with this issue. The Bush Administration was hunting the shadows instead of the prey.”

Another nonproliferation official depicted the challenge facing the I.A.E.A. inspection regime as “a seismic shift—the globalization of the nuclear world.” The official said, “We have to move from inspecting declared sites to ‘Where does this shit come from?’ If we stay focussed on the declared, we miss the nuclear supply matrix.” At this point, the international official asked me, in all seriousness, “Why hasn’t A. Q. Khan been taken out by Israel or the United States?”

After Pakistan’s role in providing nuclear aid to Iran and Libya was revealed, Musharraf insisted once again, this time at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, in January, that he would not permit American troops to search for Al Qaeda members inside Pakistan. “That is not a possibility at all,” he said. “It is a very sensitive issue. There is no room for any foreign elements coming and assisting us. We don’t need any assistance.”

Nonetheless, a senior Pentagon adviser told me in mid-February, the spring offensive is on. “We’re entering a huge period of transition in Iraq,” the adviser said, referring to the coming changeover of forces, with many of the experienced regular Army combat units being replaced by National Guard and Army Reserve units. “We will not be conducting a lot of ops, and so you redirect and exploit somewhere else.”

The operation, American officials said, is scheduled to involve the redeployment to South Asia of thousands of American soldiers, including members of Task Force 121. The logistical buildup began in mid-February, as more than a dozen American C-17 cargo planes began daily flights, hauling helicopters, vehicles, and other equipment to military bases in Pakistan. Small teams of American Special Forces units have been stationed at the Shahbaz airbase, in northwestern Pakistan, since the beginning of the Afghanistan war, in the fall of 2001.

The senior Pentagon adviser, like other military and intelligence officials I talked to, was cautious about the chances of getting what the White House wants—Osama bin Laden. “It’s anybody’s guess,” he said, adding that Ops Sec—operational security—for the planned offensive was poor. The former senior intelligence official similarly noted that there was concern inside the Joint Special Operations Command, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, over the reliability of intercepted Al Qaeda telephone calls. “What about deception?” he said. “These guys are not dumb, and once the logistical aircraft begin to appear”—the American C-17s landing every night at an airbase in Pakistan—“you know something is going on.”

“We’ve got to get Osama bin Laden, and we know where he is,” the former senior intelligence official said. Osama bin Laden is “communicating through sigint”—talking on satellite telephones and the like—“and his wings have been clipped. He’s in his own Alamo in northern Pakistan. It’s a natural progress—whittling down alternative locations and then targeting him. This is not, in theory, a ‘Let’s go and hope’ kind of thing. They’ve seen what they think is him.” But the former official added that there were reasons to be cautious about such reports, especially given that bin Laden hasn’t been seen for so long. Bin Laden would stand out because of his height; he is six feet five. But the target area is adjacent to Swat Valley, which is populated by a tribe of exceptionally tall people.

Two former C.I.A. operatives with firsthand knowledge of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas said that the American assault, if it did take place, would confront enormous logistical problems. “It’s impenetrable,” said Robert Baer, who visited the Hindu Kush area in the early nineties, before he was assigned to lead the C.I.A.’s anti-Saddam operations in northern Iraq. “There are no roads, and you can’t get armor up there. This is where Alexander the Great lost an entire division. The Russians didn’t even bother to go up there. Everybody’s got a gun. That area is worse than Iraq.” Milton Bearden, who ran the C.I.A.’s operations in Afghanistan during the war with the Soviet Union, recounted, “I’ve been all through there. The Pashtun population in that belt has lived there longer than almost any other ethnic group has lived anywhere on earth.” He said, “Our intelligence has got to be better than it’s been. Anytime we go into something driven entirely by electoral politics, it doesn’t work out.”

One American intelligence consultant noted that American forces in Afghanistan have crossed into Pakistan in “hot pursuit” of Al Qaeda suspects in previous operations, with no complaints from the Pakistani leadership. If the American forces strike quickly and decisively against bin Laden from within Pakistan, he added, “Musharraf could say he gave no advance authorization. We can move in with so much force and firepower—with so much shock and awe—that we will be too fast for him.” The consultant said, “The question is, how deep into Pakistan can we pursue him?” He added, “Musharraf is in a very tough position.”

At home, Musharraf is in more danger than ever over his handling of the nuclear affair. “He’s opened up Pandora’s box, and he will never be able to manage it,” Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan, a former government minister who now heads an opposition party, said. “Pakistani public opinion feels that A.Q. has been made a scapegoat, and international opinion thinks he’s a threat. This is a no-win situation for Musharraf. The average man feels that there will be a nuclear rollback, and Pakistan’s immediate deterrent will be taken away. It comes down to an absolute disaster for Musharraf.”

Robert Gallucci, a former United Nations weapons inspector who is now dean of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, calls A. Q. Khan “the Johnny Appleseed” of the nuclear-arms race. Gallucci, who is a consultant to the C.I.A. on proliferation issues, told me, “Bad as it is with Iran, North Korea, and Libya having nuclear-weapons material, the worst part is that they could transfer it to a non-state group. That’s the biggest concern, and the scariest thing about all this—that Pakistan could work with the worst terrorist groups on earth to build nuclear weapons. There’s nothing more important than stopping terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons. The most dangerous country for the United States now is Pakistan, and second is Iran.” Gallucci went on, “We haven’t been this vulnerable since the British burned Washington in 1814.”
5 posted on 03/02/2004 8:57:38 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; ...
The Deal

March 01, 2004
The New Yorker
Seymour M. Hersh
6 posted on 03/02/2004 8:59:34 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Iran Has Been Targeted to Confront the Uprising of the Hidden Imam"

March 02, 2004
Middle East Media Research Institute

Iran’s Islamic revolutionary guards corps head Yahya Rahim-Safavi said: 'Americans have realized that Islam will dominate the world one day under the leadership of the hidden imam and are quite alarmed,' and called Saudi Arabia 'the geographical heart of Islam,' and Iran the 'political heart of Islam' that 'has been targeted to confront the uprising of the hidden imam.'
(Iran daily, 2/29/04)

Iranian defense minister Ali Shamkhani said a defense and military cooperation agreement has been reached with Damascus that stressed 'the development and consolidation of military and defense ties, with the aim of strengthening political, economic and security relations' and 'creating peace and stability in the middle east.'

(IRNA, Iran, 2/29/04)
7 posted on 03/02/2004 9:02:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
IDF Monitored Iran-Pakistan Transmissions on Nukes

March 02, 2004
Yossi Melman

An IDF intelligence unit has intercepted communications between Iran and Pakistan about Iran's nuclear weapons, the U.S. weekly The New Yorker reported Tuesday.

The magazine's reporter, Seymour Hersh, who writes about nuclear and intelligence issues, reported that the Israeli signals intelligence agency, known as Unit 8200, monitored the transmission after breaking a sophisticated Iranian code.

According to the report, high-level officials in Islamabad and Tehran had frequent conversations about the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation and its implications, and wanted to coordinate their positions.

Hersh quoted a high-level Israeli intelligence officer as saying that the Pakistanis were very worried that the Iranians would give their name to the IAEA, and that Israel is convinced that "the Iranians do not intend to give up the bomb."

The official told Hersh that Iran reported to the IAEA the information that was already out in the open and which they could not protect. Israeli intelligence, he added, continued to see digging and other nuclear-related underground activity in Iran.

According to the report, the U.S. ignored the fact that Pakistan was smuggling nuclear weapons parts to Iran, Libya and North Korea, because Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf helped the Americans in the struggle against terror.
8 posted on 03/02/2004 9:03:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
U.N. Nuclear Chief Sees 'Sea Change' in Iran

March 02, 2004

BRUSSELS -- The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that Iran was cooperating better with global nuclear non-proliferation efforts and he was confident Tehran would comply with its commitments.

"If you look at the big picture, we are clearly moving in the right direction. If you compare where we were a year ago and where we are today, that's a sea change," Mohamed Elbaradei told reporters in Brussels, a week before the International Atomic Energy Agency board considers his latest report on Iran.

The United States accuses the Islamic Republic of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons, but ElBaradei said he fully expected Tehran to make good on its recent promise to halt uranium enrichment activities.
9 posted on 03/02/2004 9:04:44 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Report: Israel broke Iranian code

Jerusalem Post ^ | Mar. 2, 2004 | Yaakov Katz
Posted on 03/02/2004 6:24:22 AM PST by Alouette

A secret Israeli intelligence unit, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code enabling Israel to monitor communications, including contacts with Pakistan regarding the development of Iranian nuclear weapons, the New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday....
10 posted on 03/02/2004 9:07:55 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Report: Israel broke Iranian code

Jerusalem Post ^ | Mar. 2, 2004 | Yaakov Katz
Posted on 03/02/2004 6:24:22 AM PST by Alouette

A secret Israeli intelligence unit, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code enabling Israel to monitor communications, including contacts with Pakistan regarding the development of Iranian nuclear weapons, the New Yorker magazine reported on Tuesday....
11 posted on 03/02/2004 9:08:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Yahya Rahim-Safavi said: 'Americans have realized that Islam will dominate the world one day under the leadership of the hidden imam and are quite alarmed,'"

News to me...........
12 posted on 03/02/2004 11:04:58 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
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To: DoctorZIn
Kerry and the Ayatollahs

March 01, 2004
The Washington Times

As Sen. John Kerry expands his lead in the Democratic presidential primaries, he is coming under fire for his conciliatory statements about the government of Iran and his attacks on the Bush administration's policy toward the regime.

Ever since the Iranian Revolution occurred during Jimmy Carter's presidency a quarter-century ago, Tehran has been hostile to the United States and one of the world's leading supporters of terrorism — providing funding, weapons, training and safe haven to groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even al Qaeda. But Mr. Kerry seems to believe that the crux of the problem isn't Iran's despotic, violent rulers, but President Bush's behavior toward them.

In a Dec. 3 address to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry suggested that the Bush administration's unwillingness to bargain with Tehran is to blame for Iran's harboring of al Qaeda operatives. "It is incomprehensible and unacceptable that this administration refuses to broker an arrangement with Iran," Mr. Kerry declared. "The Bush administration stubbornly refuses to conduct a realistic, non-confrontational policy with Iran."

Mr. Kerry's national security issues coordinator, Rand Beers, said last month that U.S.-Iranian talks have been blocked by the Bush administration, which "is so tied in its own ideological views of Iran and waiting for the Iranian regime to collapse."

On Feb. 8, the Tehran Times published a letter that Mr. Kerry's office sent to an Iranian news agency explaining why he should be elected president. The letter suggests that the Bush administration's objectionable behavior toward other nations is to blame for many of the world's problems. "Sadly, we are also painfully aware of how the actions and attitudes demonstrated by the U.S. government over the past three years have threatened the goodwill earned by presidents of both parties over many decades and put many of our international relationships at risk," the Kerry letter says.

Mr. Kerry's comments suggesting that the Bush administration is to blame for Tehran's animosity have drawn a sharp rebuke from the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran. "Why, Senator? Why and how could a man of your honor and valor disregard the suffering people of a nation and appease a brutal regime?" the group asked in a Feb. 19 open letter to Mr. Kerry (the full text is availableonthegroup'sWebsiteat Mr. Kerry's campaign has thus far failed to respond to this newspaper's queries about the letter or his position on Iran. But his statements thus far indicate a profound misunderstanding of reality: It is not Mr. Bush, but the Iranian regime's malevolent behavior for the past 25 years, that has damaged relations between the two countries.
13 posted on 03/02/2004 11:36:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Journalist Emadoldin Baghi Under Threat of New Prison Sentence

March 02, 2004
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders has expressed its serious concern in response to a court summons against independent journalist Emadoldin Baghi, known for his staunch defence of free expression.

Baghi has been ordered to appear on 3 March before the 3rd division of Teheran's revolutionary tribunal. He is accused of writing an article in the (suspended) reformist daily Yas-e no, in which he called the 20 February legislative elections illegal.

The journalist was given a one-year prison sentence, suspended for five years, by the sixth branch of the same revolutionary tribunal on 4 December 2003 on an unspecified charge. He is therefore at risk of going to prison as a result of the new hearing.

The journalist has been targeted by the regime's hard-liners for several years now. He was jailed for three years on 23 October 2000, for "damaging national security and spreading "false news".

Since his release, on 6 February 2003, Baghi has actively campaigned for human rights, chiefly through by-lined articles in the reformist press exposing violations of free expression and founding an organisation for the defence of prisoners of opinion.

Reporters Without Borders also condemns :

The detention, from 21-23 February, of Farshad Gorganpour, financial editor of the daily Gilan-e emrouz, accused of signing a letter protesting at the holding of legislative elections.

The suspension, from 19-21 February, of the daily Nassim-e Sabbah, for carrying an article on the temporary closure of two major reformist dailies Sharq and Yas-e no.

The 6 April 2004 summons against journalist Mohammad Javad Roh, working for the reformist daily Sharq, accused by the Teheran tribunal in connection with his articles on the political culture of the Islamic Republic of Iran and in particular its censorship.

Harassment of cinema critic Payam Fazlinejad, journalist on the weekly Sinema, by Adareh Amaken (a police department that usually deals with "moral" offences) and by the Teheran prosecutor, Said Mortazavi. Failure to respect legal procedure in the trial of Iradj Jamshidi, editor in chief of the (suspended) financial daily Asia, that opened on 24 February in the 26th division of the Teheran revolutionary tribunal. Even though his lawyer is allowed to attend the trial, he has had no access to the file of his client, who was arrested on 6 July 2003.
14 posted on 03/02/2004 11:37:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tens arrested following sporadic clashes in Tehran

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 2, 2004

Tens of young Tehrani and Esfahani residents were arrested, yesterday evening, following the brutal attacks of the Islamic regime's militiamen and plainclothes agents who intervened in order to stop the hundreds of protesters to transform, once again, the Shi-a religious mourning of Ashura into another show of rejection of the Islamic religion and the theocratic regime.

Clubs and chains were used against demonstrators gathered in the Madar, Shahrak Gharb, Tehran Pars and Narmak areas of the Capital and the N. Chahr Bagh of Esfahan.

While most official mourning places such as mosques were emptier than any year, the noise of fire crackers and celebration was covering the usual noise of mourning ritual.
15 posted on 03/02/2004 11:42:41 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; ...
Tens arrested following sporadic clashes in Tehran

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 2, 2004
16 posted on 03/02/2004 11:43:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
2nd night of Fire Cracker "mourning" leads to more arrests

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 2, 2004

For the 2nd consecutive night, tens of young Tehrani residents have been arrested following the brutal attacks of the Islamic regime's militiamen and plainclothes agents who have intervened, at this time (22:00 IR local time) in order to stop hundreds of protesters to transform, once again, the Shi-a religious mourning of Ashura into another show of rejection of the Islamic religion and the theocratic regime.

Clubs and chains are used against demonstrators gathered in the Madar and Tehran Pars areas of the Capital.

While most official mourning places such as mosques have been emptier than any year, the noise of fire crackers and celebration is covering the usual noise of mourning ritual.
17 posted on 03/02/2004 11:44:36 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; ...
Kerry and the Ayatollahs

March 01, 2004
The Washington Times
18 posted on 03/02/2004 11:46:48 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
So, are Khameini and the mullahs tacitly happy with the bombings in Iraq?
19 posted on 03/02/2004 12:24:10 PM PST by Shermy
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To: nuconvert
I think it is because of the "heightened state of awareness" AKA, alert level ORANGE, that you have been under for so long. The Dept. of Homeland Security has kept us tied up in so many knots, that you can't tell how alarmed you are anymore.

See, isn't that better? :)
20 posted on 03/02/2004 12:37:47 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals. --- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn
"The suspension, from 19-21 February, of the daily Nassim-e Sabbah, for carrying an article on the temporary closure of two major reformist dailies Sharq and Yas-e no."

Guess it was suspended before it could report on the suspension of the financial daily Asia.


21 posted on 03/02/2004 12:47:55 PM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
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To: DoctorZIn
Shi'i-Sunni Clashes Reported in Northeast Iran

March 02, 2004
BBC Monitoring
BBC Monitoring Newsfile

Tehran -- The spokesman of the Interior Ministry, referring to the incidents and unrest last night and this morning in Khaf, has stressed that the situation is calm in Khaf.

Jahanbakhsh Khanjani, speaking to Mehr's political affairs reporter, said that, thanks to the sagacity of Khorasan Governorate-General's Security Council, the street clashes in Khaf have currently ended and the situation is calm in the town.

He said: Yesterday evening, an accident between a small van belonging to groups of mourners for Aba-Abdallah-al-Husayn [Imam Husayn, the third Shi'i Imam] and two motorcyclists who were Sunnis led to clashes between the two sides. Then, a group of Sunnis congregated on the route of the [Shi'i] mourners [marking the anniversary of Imam Husayn's martyrdom] and clashed with them. The situation was calmed thanks to the sagacity of the province's Security Council and the concentration of Husayn's mourners in the town's prayer centre.

He added: This morning, with the provocation of rogue, adventurers, who mainly seek their own objectives in incidents of this kind, fan the flames of disputes and engage in hooliganism, the situation became disturbed in the town again and one or two public places were damaged.

According to him, these people belonged to both the Shi'i and Sunni sects.

The Interior Ministry spokesman also declared: One or two people were slightly injured in the clashes.

According to Mehr's reporter, special law enforcement units in various parts of Khaf now have the situation under control and, in some streets, bits of rocks and burnt tyres have been left behind from the past hours' clashes.

In the course of the clashes, several government buildings and vehicles were also attacked by the rioters.

Text of report by Iranian Mehr news agency

Source: Mehr news agency, Tehran, in Persian 1130 gmt 2 Mar 04
22 posted on 03/02/2004 2:06:25 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Some 45 Pct of Iranian Workers Live Below Poverty Line

March 02, 2004
Turkish News Digest

Currently, some 45 pct of the Iranian workers live below the poverty line, the representative of the Iranian northern province Golestan in the Majles (the country's Parliament), Ali Akbar Rahimi, was quoted saying on March 1, 2004.

For the 25 years after the Islamic revolution in 1979 in Iran, the inflation rate has been 114 pct while the minimum wages have increased by 54 pct, Rahimi revealed.

For the 1382 Iranian year, starting March 21, 2003 and ending March 20, 2004, the minimum wage was set at 850,000 Iranian rials ($101.24/81.4 euro). It is imperative the minimum wages to reach 1.5 mln rials ($178.66/143.64 euro) next year, Rahimi also said.

(Editor's note: Iran's labour force is estimated at 21 million with 30 pct engaged in agriculture, 25 pct in industry and 45 pct in the services sector. The unemployment rate was 16.3 pct in 2003, according to estimates.)

23 posted on 03/02/2004 2:07:07 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Qaeda Blamed as Attacks on Shi'ites Kill 170 in Iraq

March 02, 2004
The new York Times

BAGHDAD/KERBALA -- A wave of suicide bombings and mortar attacks on vast crowds of Shi'ite worshippers killed at least 170 people in Baghdad and Kerbala on Tuesday, Iraq's bloodiest day since Saddam Hussein's fall.

Leaders of the country's 60 percent Shi'ite majority said the bloodbaths were intended to ignite civil war. The Iraqi Governing Council blamed a Jordanian who Washington says is working for al Qaeda and trying to fuel chaos in Iraq.

The U.S. military said three suicide bombers killed 58 people in Baghdad around the Kadhimiya mosque, and a suicide bomber, mortars and concealed bombs combined to kill scores in Kerbala, a Shi'ite holy city 110 km (68 miles) to the south.

Ahmed al-Safi, a leading cleric in Kerbala, said at least 112 people had been killed there.

More than 400 people were wounded in the two cities.

The near-simultaneous attacks ripped through an annual ritual -- banned under the Sunni Saddam -- during which Shi'ites beat their heads and chests and cut their heads with swords to honor a revered figure killed in battle 1,324 years ago.

In Kerbala, where at least two million worshippers had gathered, rescuers raced through the streets with bodies stacked two or three deep on wooden carts, desperately searching for a doctor or an ambulance.

Shi'ites who earlier had ritually gashed open their heads with swords queued up to give blood to the wounded. Many of the victims were blown to pieces. A man's scalp and ear lay alongside rotting fruit.

In Baghdad, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, a Governing Council member and head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), a leading Shi'ite party, said his group's militia had thwarted a similar attack in the holy city of Najaf.

They also confiscated rocket-propelled grenades and mortars from cars in Kerbala, he said.


Several Governing Council members blamed the blasts on Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian whom Washington suspects of being behind a series of major attacks in Iraq.

U.S. forces have placed a million bounty on his head. They said last month they had intercepted a computer disc with a letter from Zarqawi urging suicide bomb attacks on Shi'ites to inflame sectarian tension in Iraq.

``This was a clear and tragically well organized act of terrorism,'' Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy chief of operations for the U.S. Army in Iraq, told a news conference.

He said a man strapped with explosives had been apprehended near the Baghdad mosque -- the capital's holiest Shi'ite shrine -- and several people had been arrested in Kerbala. Kimmitt said they would be interrogated to see who was behind the attacks.

In a separate attack in Baghdad, guerrillas threw a bomb at a U.S. military vehicle, killing one American soldier and seriously wounding another, the army said. The death took to 379 the number of U.S. soldiers killed in action since the start of the U.S.-led war in Iraq nearly a year ago.

In southwest Pakistan, Shi'ites in a procession to mark the same festival as their Iraqi brethren were attacked by suspected Sunni radicals with guns and bombs. At least 44 were killed and more than 150 wounded, hospital sources said.


Unsure who to blame, survivors in Baghdad hurled stones at U.S. troops who arrived on the scene. In Kerbala, enraged Shi'ites turned on Iranian pilgrims after the blasts -- even though Iran said at least 22 Iranians were among the dead.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most revered Shi'ite cleric, issued a statement from his office in Najaf calling for national unity but criticizing U.S.-led occupation forces for not doing enough to secure Iraq's borders against infiltrators.

Shi'ites on the Governing Council urged calm and unity among all of Iraq's myriad religious and ethnic groups.

``The civil war and sectarian strife that Zarqawi wants to inflict on the people of Iraq will not succeed. Zarqawi failed, his gang and their evil plans have failed,'' Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, a Shi'ite Governing Council member, told a news conference.

Iraq's U.S. governor Paul Bremer said in a statement: ``The terrorists want sectarian violence because they believe that is the only way they can stop Iraq's march toward the democracy that the terrorists fear.''

Monday, the competing religious and ethnic groups in the Governing Council agreed on an interim constitution, putting aside differences over the role of Islam, representation for women and Kurdish demands for autonomy.

The agreement was due to have been signed Wednesday but officials said this would almost certainly be postponed out of respect for a three-day mourning period for Tuesday's victims.
24 posted on 03/02/2004 2:07:41 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Constitutional Deals

March 02, 2004
New York Post
Amir Taheri

After months of heated debates, Iraq's interim leaders have approved a constitutional draft designed to close decades of tyranny. It will be put to nationwide debate ahead of elections for a constituent assembly that will write the final text of the nation's new constitution.

Until even a week ago, some believed that the Governing Council would be unable to agree on a text. The more pessimistic observers even predicted the council's disintegration. In the West, many Saddam nostalgics hoped the council would fail, thus "proving" that Iraqis can only live under a bloodthirsty despot.

The document is remarkable for a number of reasons. To start with, it is a patchwork of compromises in a region where give-and-take is regarded as a sign of political weakness if not outright dishonor.

In the macho world of Middle Eastern politics, the "strongman" imposes his will by force, giving even the mildest critic no quarter. In a game in which the winner takes all, the most that the losers can hope for is not to be put to the sword, thrown into prison or forced into exile. This is why, with the exception of Turkey, there has never been a genuine coalition government in any Muslim country.

The Iraqi success in agreeing to a draft is all the more meritorious because the compromises that had to be made concerned fundamental issues.

The most hotly debated was the place of Islam in a future Iraqi state. Some members, arguing that the new state should belong to all citizens, opposed any mention of Islam as the state religion. Others campaigned for an Islamic state in which non-Muslim Iraqis would, in effect, become second-class citizens in a system of apartheid based on faith.

The compromise: Islam is mentioned as the religion of the state but will not be used as a means of barring non-Muslim citizens from public office. Nor will the state interfere in personal religious matters, as is the case in many other Muslim countries, notably neighboring Iran.

Some radical secularists have already expressed disappointment at this compromise. In fact, giving the state a right of oversight on matters Islamic will prove good for Iraqi democracy. Under a totally secular system, Islam would be monopolized by the most radical elements that could use it as a political base from which to build a state within the state.

Consider two examples:

First, the shrines at Najaf, Karbala, Kazemiah and Samarra are bound to emerge as magnets for mass pilgrimage for the world's estimated 200 million Shi'ites. Linked with these shrines are thousands of endowments in the form of real estate, farms, industrial units and commercial businesses. Allowed to escape some form of state control, these could develop into a string of mini-empires controlled by the mullahs who could then be tempted into creating a parallel authority, thus weakening the democratic state. Under the compromise, the shrines and the businesses linked with them, worth billions of dollars, could be managed by a ministry in an atmosphere of transparency.

The second example concerns the way Islam is taught in the new democratic Iraq. If the state excludes itself from the process in the name of secularism, it will leave an important space open to groups with extremist ideologies. This has happened in Turkey and Pakistan in recent years, with private madrassas (Islamic schools) monopolizing the teaching of religion under the auspices of radical groups.

At a time when the European Union is leaning towards honoring its "Christian culture" in its proposed new constitution, no one should take the Iraqis to task for acknowledging the religious heritage of 95 percent of their people.

Linked to the issue of Islam as state religion was that of the role that sharia (Islamic law) might play in Iraq's legal system. Some on the Governing Council wanted it declared the sole source of legislation in the new Iraq. This was never a serious proposal but the opening gambit by several parties who used Islam as a weapon against the Ba'athist regime and its supposed socialist ideology.

Under the compromise, the sharia is mentioned as one source of Iraqi law. This is reasonable: There is much in the sharia that reflects centuries of customs, traditions and practices that do not contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which Iraq was one of the first signatories.

The draft constitution offers yet another important compromise. It allows the two Kurdish enclaves of the north to retain the autonomy that they have enjoyed since 1991. The compromise was designed to avoid a battle between those who want a federal system, patterned on Germany, and those who believe that federalism is inapplicable to Iraq.

This writer supports the latter view. A federation comes into being when two or more existing states come together to form a single one. This is not applicable to Iraq which was put on the map as a unitary state from the start. There is also the need for a strong central authority to distribute the oil revenue and manage the nation's water resources.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to re-impose a highly centralized state. Those Kurds who have enjoyed autonomy for the past 13 years are unlikely to accept any system in which all key decisions are made in Baghdad.

There are aspects of the proposed draft with which it is hard to agree:

* Having both an executive president and a prime minister is a recipe for perpetual fights at the summit of the state. Things could become even more complicated: The draft envisages the appointment of two vice presidents, presumably to represent ethnic and religious minorities, thus encouraging communalism at the highest level.

* The new constitution cannot emphasize both the concept of "Iraqiness" (Uruqa) and encourage ethnic and/or religious sectarianism.

* The decision to impose quotas for women - 25 percent in the parliament and 40 percent in government departments - is not helpful. Added to the quotas for religious and ethnic minorities, these "reserved places for women" could complicate the task of forming an efficient administration with the help of the most qualified Iraqis.

Helping women secure a bigger role in the decision-making process could better be assured by political parties and, later, cabinet ministers, on an informal basis. The parties, for example, could include more women in their electoral lists. More women could also be appointed to key positions such as governorships of provinces, ambassadorships and the management of major state-owned corporations. There is no need for constitutional "charity," so to speak.

The Governing Council has already taken a much more important step towards removing discrimination against women by canceling the law on "identity and personal matters." That infamous law made women subservient to men, in many cases treating them as second-class citizens.

Overall, the Governing Council has come up with a credible draft. That success must be seen as further encouragement to those who believe that, given a chance, most Iraqis can learn the rules of democratic politics. And that, in turn, is a strong argument for holding free and fair elections as soon as possible.

E-mail: -
25 posted on 03/02/2004 2:08:19 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; ...
Constitutional Deals

March 02, 2004
New York Post
Amir Taheri
26 posted on 03/02/2004 2:27:55 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Bad as it is with Iran, North Korea, and Libya having nuclear-weapons material, the worst part is that they could transfer it to a non-state group. That’s the biggest concern, and the scariest thing about all this—that Pakistan could work with the worst terrorist groups on earth to build nuclear weapons. There’s nothing more important than stopping terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons. The most dangerous country for the United States now is Pakistan, and second is Iran.

Redeploying to Pakistan.

With Saddam and Osama captured or killed, what's next?

"Did you just kick me?"
"Are you talkin' to me?"
"You donkey's uncle, no, the jackass behind you."
"You are the nephew of a camel."
"So you did kick me."

27 posted on 03/02/2004 3:07:37 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
Mass protests rock Iranian cities instead of religious mourning

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 2, 2004

Thousands of Iranians sized, this evening and for the 2nd consecutive night, the religious ritual of Ashura in order to come into the streets and to show their rejection of the theocratic regime.

Slogans qualifying the regime as tyrannical and despotic were mixed to the noise of fire crackers and gave again a total different aspect than a religious mourning which the regime has based on it one of its ideological bases. Many slogans accused the regime to be the real mastermind behind the today's deadly explosions of Karbala and Baghdad as many Iranians still remember the scandal over the bombing of the 8th Imam of the Shi-a, in Mashad, which was in reality carried by agents of the Islamic regime instead of opponents who were executed few years ago for such charge.

Sporadic clashes leading to injuries and arrests, among the demonstrators and also the regime forces, rocked several areas of the Capital and also several provincial cities, such as Esfahan and Shiraz. Hand Made grenades and incendiary devices responded to the regime's men clubs, chains and tear gas which were used against young Iranians striving for freedom and an end to the promotion of the culture of mourning.

Several security patrol were damaged by the incendiary devices thrown by the crowd angered by the persistent repression and back warded ideology.

Most perimeters to Madar, Mirdamad, Zarab Khaneh Shahrak Gharb, Tehran Pars, Narmak, Vanak, Eslam Shahr, Dolat, Tajrish and Vali- e-Asr (former Vali-Ahd) were closed in the Capital due to the wide scale demos and sporadic clashes. The same security measure were instated by the regime's local forces in the cities of Esfahan, Abadan and Shiraz.
28 posted on 03/02/2004 3:36:08 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Operates 100 Military Contracts in Libya

March 03, 2004
Middle East Newsline

WASHINGTON -- The United States has found an extensive Iranian military presence in Libya. Western intelligence sources said a British-U.S. team that inspected Libyan facilities in late 2003 found evidence of nearly 100 military-related Iranian contracts in Libya. The sources said they include the development of missiles as well as conventional and nonconventional weapons.

"Iran has used Libya as a laboratory for Teheran's defense industry," an intelligence source said. "The United States found evidence of Iranian involvement in virtually every major Libyan weapons program."

Many of the Iranian projects in Libya focused on medium- and intermediate-range missile development, the sources said. They said a British-U.S. team that inspected Libyan facilities in October and December 2003 found an Iranian-built plant for the production of fuel for Libyan liquid-fuel missiles based on the Scud.

29 posted on 03/02/2004 3:37:17 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Bush Renews Warning to Iran to Abandon Nuke Arms

March 03, 2004
Kyodo News
Japon Today

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George Bush, marking the first anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security, warned North Korea, Iran and other alleged nuclear arms-aspiring countries on Tuesday not to pursue nuclear weapons programs.

"With our allies, we're taking action to stop the spread of chemical and biological, radiological or nuclear weapons," Bush said in a speech. "We're working together with our friends to prevent terror networks from gaining the means to match their hatred.
30 posted on 03/02/2004 5:06:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tyranny wins in Iran

(Filed: 21/02/2004)

When you read the rather intersting view set forth below, you begin to wonder if the THREE STOOGES of the European Union have finally "got it" or not. It's really quite unlikely, as thieves are rather impossible to rehabilitate...however, the people of Iran have won a brilliant hand at showing colonialists bearing feckless royalty that certain poker players cannot be bluffed! I recommend all Brits stay out of Vegas OR Casino Royale at this juncture! - Banafsheh ZB

The conduct of the campaign leading up to yesterday's Iranian elections tells us more about the political balance of power in that country than any interpretation of the results of the discredited poll.

The hardline clerical leadership marked the eve of the election by shutting down the office of the main reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, many of whose members had been among the 2,500 candidates already disqualified from standing in the election. The offices of the last two pro-reform newspapers still publishing were simultaneously padlocked, raising concerns that conservative forces are tightening their grip in advance of declaring "victory" in the election.

The hardliners' current confidence in acting so brazenly against the reformists raises questions about the European Union's efforts to encourage Teheran to change its ways. The British Government authorised - perhaps encouraged - Prince Charles to visit Teheran this month as part of this strategy, but today that gesture looks decidedly ill-judged. If the royal trip, and other diplomatic overtures from Britain and EU governments, were designed to tilt the balance in favour of the reformist President Khatami and against the ayatollahs, they would appear to have failed.

The political clampdown inside Iran coincides this week with further revelations about Teheran's nuclear ambitions. United Nations inspectors have discovered previously undeclared components for uranium enrichment so sophisticated that civilian use can all but be ruled out. The White House will seize on these new discoveries to demand Teheran be referred to the Security Council for sanctions at next month's meeting of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

There may have been good reasons for the EU to play good cop to the Washington bad cop in its dealings with Iran. But given the alarming developments in Iran this week, it seems that policy towards Teheran should now be based.
31 posted on 03/02/2004 6:04:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
32 posted on 03/02/2004 9:58:07 PM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot

By A. William Samii

"The next parliament is going to be moderate, without paying
any attention to right-wing or left-wing slogans," Expediency Council
Chairman Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani said after casting
his vote in the 20 February parliamentary elections, "Farhang-i
Ashti" reported on 22 February. A specific date for the inauguration
of the new legislature has not been set yet, but in 2000 the
legislature was sworn-in in late May.

So far this message of moderation has been championed by what
is normally one of the country's most conservative newspapers,
"Resalat." Amir Mohebian wrote in a 21 February editorial that
"reform" is important to all of Iranian society, and he added that
"religious democracy" does not have a "specific backer." Mohebian
said the new legislature will cooperate with President Mohammad
Khatami's administration, and he also criticized the judiciary's
press closures. "We prefer the overall intelligent management of the
media," Mohebian wrote.

Mohammad Kazem Anbarlui, a "Resalat" editorial-board member,
predicted in a 21 February interview with ISNA that there will be
"less political commotion and sensationalism." He also predicted
greater cooperation between the legislative and executive branches.
These predictions of calm on the political front may very
well come true. The most likely reason for this is that disputes
between the legislature and the Guardians Council, which must approve
all legislation on Islamic and constitutional grounds, are unlikely
to occur. And if the president who wins in Iran's 2005 presidential
election is of a like mind, there will be almost no need for public

The new political setting will affect policymaking in
different ways in the domestic and international arenas. It can be
argued reasonably that legislators in the last parliament had limited
power, contending as they did with a Guardians Council that blocked
their efforts, but they did have the ability to voice concern about
important issues and bring them to public attention.
It was the outspoken outrage of parliamentarians over the
beating death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi that forced
the government to investigate the case, and similar outrage resulted
in the trial of security officials after the July 1999 attack on a
Tehran University dormitory. Admittedly, nothing really came of these
protests, but at least the legislators exercised their
responsibilities as the electorate's representatives by voicing
concern over these issues.

The reformist parliamentarians also spoke out against the
harsh press law and accompanying numerous press closures. It is
unlikely that the new parliamentarians will defend the media with the
same vigor.
The parliamentarians-elect were not very forthcoming with
policy statements on other domestic issues. When asked about a range
of subjects on 22 February, Haddad-Adel responded, "Let the seventh
parliament convene, we will speak about issues together," IRNA
Yet it seems that they agree on the importance of economic
issues. Ahmad Tavakoli told a questioner before the election that
Abadgaran's focus on entering the parliament would be "jobs, jobs,
jobs," "Resalat" reported on 9 February. Tavakoli said at a
subsequent press conference "we will pay serious attention to
investment" in order to resolve the unemployment problem, "Nasim-i
Saba" reported on 15 February. Another Abadgaran leader, Hussein
Fadai, said that the coalition had studied people's demands over the
last two years and found that resolution of "economic and political
problems" tops the list, "Nasim-i Saba" reported. Tehran
parliamentarian-elect Elham Aminzadeh described economic issues as
the main priority, Mehr News Agency reported on 28 February.
Their economic plans could be tested soon. The parliament
approved the outlines of the Khatami administration's 1.07 trillion
rials ($129 million) budget for the coming year on 24 February, IRNA
reported, and on 29 February approved a 1.15 trillion-rial budget. If
the Guardians Council does not approve the budget before the end of
May, the new parliament will have to complete work on it. On a
related issue, the new parliament is less likely to insist on its
oversight authority over controversial state agencies like Islamic
Republic of Iran Broadcasting and the foundations (bonyads), that
tend to be either controlled by or supportive of hard-line interests.

The current parliament has blocked the accession to the
Guardians Council of a new jurist member several times. While it is
possible that the head of the judiciary will persist in his efforts
to get the new member approved by the incumbent legislators, he is
more likely to wait for the new -- and presumably more amenable --
parliamentarians to be sworn in.
The predominant Iranian foreign policy issues will continue
to be relations with the United States, nuclear developments, and
interference in other countries' affairs. Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei set the tone for relations with the United States in a
21 February speech about the elections that was broadcast by state
radio and television. "The nation is the winner of these
elections.... Those who lost the elections were America, Zionism, and
the enemies of the Iranian nation," he said.
And in the first Friday prayers sermon after the elections,
Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani
described the turnout as a major defeat for the United States, IRNA
reported on 27 February, and he went on to claim that the United
States is now backing the opposition in Iran. He said Iran is open to
cooperation with all countries, except the United States. Rafsanjani
claimed that Europe and the United States are seeking pretexts for
interfering in Iranian affairs.
Under these circumstances, it seems unrealistic to expect a
repeat of the August 2000 or January 2004 meetings between senior
Iranian officials and U.S. senators and representatives.
Nor should one expect members of parliament to openly
advocate an opening with the United States, as was the case in April
2002. At that time, parliamentarian Mohsen Mirdamadi organized
several sessions to discuss ways to deal with the United States and
said that there is nothing preventing discussions between Iranian
parliamentarians and the United States. Tehran's Mohammad Naimipur
said the taboo against relations with the United States must be

This is not to say that officials from Tehran will be banned
from meeting with their counterparts from Washington. Rather, they
will just do so in secret, or else these contacts will take place in
the context of "track-two diplomacy," in which unofficial actors
convey governmental messages. It is less likely, furthermore, that
legislators will conduct their own foreign-policy initiatives.

Some of the newly elected parliamentarians, on the other
hand, are giving mixed signals on the possibility of relations with
the United States. Ahmad Tavakoli, recipient of the second-highest
number of votes in Tehran, said, "We do not regard relations with
America ideologically as being absolutely necessary, like daily
prayer and fasting, or absolutely forbidden like wine," "Etemad"
reported on 22 February.
Tavakoli then launched into a familiar litany of alleged U.S.
misdeeds: "America's approach to the Iranian nation is one of
superiority and arrogance, and for years, it has been trampling on
the rights of the Iranian nation. Therefore, it is not at all in our
benefit to speak about relations vis-a-vis this hegemonic attitude.

It should amend its behavior so that the system can respond
accordingly to this change." He added that there is no need to make
"specific changes" to the country's foreign policy.
Reformists, on the other hand, predicted before the election
that the conservatives would begin discussions with the United
States, because they want to claim for themselves the credit for
doing so. A 5 February commentary in the reformist "Yas-i No" daily
asserted that the conservatives requested that "foreign parties" stay
quiet on the rejection of candidates before the election, and that
afterwards, "the outlook for the development of relations will be
good." Mujahedin of the Islamic Revolution Organization and Islamic
Iran Participation Front official Mustafa Tajzadeh told ILNA on 16
February that the conservatives are promising the United States that,
in exchange for its support, they will help solve the problems in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

The new legislature is likely to be very supportive of the
government's nuclear activities. In November 2003, Isfahan
parliamentarian Ahmad Shirzad spoke openly and critically about an
Iranian nuclear weapons program. It seems certain there will be no
repetitions of this incident.
Members of parliament also voiced concern about the Israeli
discovery on the "Karine-A" (a ship carrying a cargo of Iranian
supplied weapons), about the presence in their country of Al-Qaeda
and Taliban personnel, and about the Iraqi foreign minister's visit
to Tehran shortly before Operation Iraqi Freedom. A
conservative-dominated legislature is unlikely to speak critically
about these issues.

Source:RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 40, Part III, 2 March 2004
33 posted on 03/02/2004 10:47:23 PM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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

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

34 posted on 03/02/2004 11:41:24 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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