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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 03/16/2004 9:01:43 PM 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 03/16/2004 9:03:46 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
DoctorZin Update Note:

I haven't heard much in the past few hours from inside of Iran. I assume I will be hearing more soon.

It is amazing the lack of coverage this story has received from the media. Thank God for the Internet. We can get the story our to those who really want to know.

I will publish the reports as I receive them.
3 posted on 03/16/2004 9:08:18 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Has Long Way to Go to Convince World of Nuclear Intentions

March 16, 2004
VOA News
Melanie Sully

Listen to Melanie Sully's report

A U.S. diplomat says Iran has a long way to go to convince the International Atomic Energy Agency and the rest of the world that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, as it claims. The U.S. ambassador to the IAEA says Iran has been deceiving the world and is not cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.

Kenneth Brill, says a majority of the 35 countries represented on the IAEA board of governors are genuinely worried about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. He said Iran's past deceit has fueled these concerns. "The classic example of why people are concerned about the Iran nuclear program is the Kalaye Electric Company plant which was originally portrayed by the most senior Iranian officials as a simple watch factory or simple warehouse and over time its true use and purpose was conveyed to the IAEA: it was a place where centrifuge experiments had been done," he said.

Tehran claims the centrifuges are used in its civilian program, but the United States insists that they are part of the government's secret weapons program.

"Before the Iranian government would allow the agency inspectors into that facility they took it apart. They took out all the equipment. They repainted it. They did everything," said Mr. Brill. "They dug it up and they tried to hide as much as they could. Nonetheless the agency still found evidence of things going on there that clearly shouldn't have been. The question that we all have when we heard about the delay in the inspection was is this going to be yet another example of where Iran delays inspectors from coming to facilities that [the IAEA] hasn't yet inspected while they try to clean it up and get rid of evidence."

Unlike Libya, Mr. Brill said, Iran has not cooperated fully with the IAEA, and this is cause for concern. "The lack of cooperation makes it very clear Iran has something to hide. We know it has something to hide. We think their actions have only underscored that fact in the past few days," he said.

The IAEA board of governors will meet in June to consider once again what to do about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
4 posted on 03/16/2004 9:09:33 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Washington hardliners wary of engaging with Iran

Financial Times
By Guy Dinmore in Washington
Published: March 16 2004 21:57 | Last Updated: March 16 2004 21:57

Iran's proposal of a road map leading to the restoration of relations with the US did not come as a complete surprise to the Bush administration, but it has intensified a fierce internal debate between "realists" and "neo-conservatives" over ambitious plans to remake the wider Middle East.

Signs of an overture from Tehran had been picked up by Washington a year before the invasion of Iraq, as Iran's faction-riven clerical rulers struggled to reach a consensus over how to respond to the threat inherent in the "Axis of Evil" speech by President George W. Bush in January 2002.

Even before May last year when the road map proposal arrived from Tim Guldimann, the Swiss ambassador representing US interests in Iran, a suggestion had been aired by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president.

Mr Rafsanjani, a powerful figure central to several abortive bids over the past 18 years to strike deals with the US, suggested the question of Iran-US relations could be put to a referendum, a move almost sure to secure approval for rapprochement.

His remarks were published in Tehran soon after the fall of Baghdad. But instead of replying to Tehran, an official said the State Department rebuked the Swiss foreign ministry for overstepping its diplomatic mandate. Mr Guldimann told the Financial Times he never commented on such matters.

According to the US side, the Iranian offer mentioned cutting off support to the militant Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and converting Lebanon's Hizbollah into a purely socio-political organisation. Iran also indicated it could recognise Israel and a separate Palestinian state.

But it was not clear whether Iran was prepared to abandon its development of the nuclear fuel cycle programme, including uranium enrichment that can be used to run reactors or make bombs.

The offer was said to come from a senior Iranian official designated two years ago by Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, to co-ordinate a special committee on US relations. The Bush administration did not question the authenticity of the proposal, a US official said.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, followed up with a commentary in the International Herald Tribune on May 12 suggesting talks with the US on Iraq and the nuclear issue.

Mr Zarif played an important role in mediating with Lebanese groups in the early 1990s to secure the release of western hostages in Beirut. Mr Rafsanjani was then president.

Important figures on the US side then, and still wielding influence now, are Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser under Mr Bush's father, and Thomas Pickering, then US ambassador to the UN. Now in the private sector, both encourage engagement. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, backs Mr Scowcroft's talks with Mr Zarif.

Fellow realists inside the administration include Colin Powell, the secretary of state, and his deputy, Richard Armitage.

Last October, Mr Armitage told a congressional hearing that pursuit of regime change was not official US policy and that change should come from within. His statement had not been cleared with all other departments.

Another believed to favour engagement is Robert Blackwill, strategic planner for the Middle East under Ms Rice. He was quoted as telling a meeting of European diplomats that "Bush has a vision for the Greater Middle East but not a strategy. My job is to make sure that gap doesn't cost him an election."

But for US hardliners and neo-conservatives, their experience of Iran is dominated by events a decade earlier - the morass of Lebanon and the Iran-Contra debacle when Ronald Reagan, then US president, tried to trade guns for hostages.

For Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, Iran and its creation Hizbollah cannot be forgiven for the retreat of US forces from Lebanon in 1983 after 241 Marines were killed by a bomb.

For many in the Bush administration, that humiliation, followed by no meaningful retaliation, created an image of American weakness in the Arab world that ultimately encouraged the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11, 2001.

US officials concede that the blood spilt in Beirut and the 444-day Tehran embassy hostage crisis have left baggage far weightier than Libya's destruction of the Pan Am flight over Scotland or the Korean war half a century ago.

A bargain can be struck with Muammer Gadaffi of Libya or Kim Jong-il of North Korea because there is no internal opposition or alternative, officials say. But in Iran, US hardliners see an alternative to bargaining: a mass of discontented people who are ready to revolt, perhaps with US help.

In May Mr Rumsfeld responded to Iran's overtures by fighting for regime change to be made official US policy, though not necessarily through military means. He attacked Iran publicly, accusing it of being unhelpful over Iraq. He told the Council on Foreign Relations that getting into a close, intimate relationship with Iran would give its clerics the legitimacy they craved and discourage Iranians who sought change.

The neo-conservatives believe the Iranian regime will collapse sooner rather than later. The realists are not so sure. For Mr Bush, who has no personal experience of Iran, it is a moral question. In speeches on the Middle East, he has said that consorting with tyrants such as the Shah of Iran or his religious successors has rebounded on America.

Reuel Gerecht, an Iran expert at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, says the realist school sees a silver lining in the conservatives' rigging of last month's elections that ended four years of reformist majority.

Writing in the Weekly Standard, he said the realists (his political rivals) believed the "pragmatic conservatives are the men to cut a deal" over Iran's weapons of mass destruction. "The realist temptation in the American foreign policy establishment is always powerful, principally because it is the path of least resistance and least action and it dovetails nicely with the status quo reflexes of the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the military brass at the Pentagon," he wrote.

Senator John Kerry, the Democrats' challenger to Mr Bush in this year's election, appears to have embraced the realist cause.

US officials admit the Bush administration's dysfunctional policy on Iran has resulted in confused signals such as the sizeable relief effort for the quake-stricken city of Bam, a moderate, European-led approach on the nuclear issue within the International Atomic Energy Agency, and indecision over how to deal with a growing Iranian presence in Iraq.

Mr Gerecht expresses the concern of neo-conservatives that Mr Bush is "going soft" because of the sobering US experience in Iraq. The administration is urged to take a tougher approach on Iran, especially in response to its suspected sheltering of al-Qaeda fugitives.

Much more than Iran is at stake. What neo-conservatives foresee as a generational struggle with the Islamic world could start or finish with the regime in Tehran.

As Mr Gerecht concluded: "If the Bush administration is serious about transforming the Muslim Middle East - and the jury is still out on whether it is - it will inevitably unsettle, if not alienate, every single pro-American king, emir and dictator in the region."
6 posted on 03/16/2004 9:12:07 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
U.N. watchdog suggests U.S.-Iran nuclear dialogue

17 Mar 2004 01:37
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent

The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief, during meetings in Washington on Tuesday, suggested a U.S. dialogue with Iran as a way of resolving a growing controversy over Tehran's nuclear program, U.S. sources said.

One source familiar with the meetings told Reuters that Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, "thinks the Iranians are open to a deal" on the nuclear issue but it would need to include a move toward normalized ties between the United States and Iran.

ElBaradei raised the idea of a U.S.-Iran dialogue in talks with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who took the idea "under advisement," a U.S. official said.

While the United States is willing to talk to Iran's government "if we see it in our interest to do it," the U.S. official said the Americans were unclear if ElBaradei was communicating a message from Tehran or expressing his own views.

ElBaradei "said what others have said before, that the Iranians are interested in talking about things," a U.S. official said. But he added: "It's not clear where this is coming from. It could be what you hear from technocrats," rather than an authoritative feeler from Tehran.

A third source familiar with ElBaradei's comments said the IAEA chief told the Americans: "It's time for dialogue."

The United States has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons and has been pushing to put the issue before the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

Washington intends to keep pressuring Iran to allow IAEA inspectors to probe its nuclear facilities and produce a "clear and verifiable declaration of what Iran is up to," the official said.

The issue could come to a head in June when the IAEA board of directors next meets.

European Union countries led by Britain, France and Germany have favored a negotiated solution to Iran's nuclear controversy, although they went along with a tough IAEA resolution last week after Iran temporarily halted IAEA inspections.

President George W. Bush's administration has been divided about the wisdom of pursuing a dialogue with Iran and many are skeptical that Bush would take the risk of any dramatic gesture toward Tehran before the November U.S. presidential election.;:4057add2:7079a0efaf724375?type=worldNews&locale=en_IN&storyID=4582824
7 posted on 03/16/2004 9:15:56 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S. stalls over offer of talks from Iran - report

Wed 17 March, 2004 03:18

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States has for 10 months been stalling over an Iranian offer of talks on nuclear weapons, terrorism and Israel because of divisions within the Bush administration, the Financial Times says.

U.S. President George W. Bush, who in January 2002 branded Iran as part of the "axis of evil", was now looking for an opening with Tehran, Secretary of State Colin Powell recently told an internal meeting, the newspaper said on Wednesday.

But talks, which could help establish normal diplomatic relations between the two arch-foes, have been resisted by hawks in Washington, according to U.S. officials and go-betweens, the FT said.

The offer, known in diplomatic circles as "Iran's grand bargain" was first communicated to the U.S. State Department through Swiss diplomats in May 2003, the report said.

Under the plan, Iran would address U.S. concerns over nuclear weapons, terrorism, co-ordinate policy on Iraq and consider a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the FT said.

In return, Iran would expect a lifting of sanctions, recognition of its security interests, dropping of "regime change" from the official U.S. lexicon and eventual re-establishment of relations.

"There was a lot of detail to be worked out," an American familiar with the proposal was quoted by the FT as saying. "They proposed concrete steps on how to work on this. The substance of the agenda was pretty reasonable".

The U.S. gave no formal response to the Iranian offer and the Swiss foreign ministry received a rebuke from Washington for "overstepping" its mandate, the FT said. Switzerland has looked after U.S. interests in Iran since Washington cut ties with Tehran after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The U.S. has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons and has been pushing to put the issue before the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

U.S. sources said on Tuesday that Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, suggested during meetings in Washington that Tehran was open to a deal on the nuclear issue but it would need to include a move towards normalised ties between the two nations.

Relations have been tense since 1979 but the two countries came together to help victims of the earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam last December that killed more than 30,000 people.

The recent example of Libya, which has pledged to give up its weapons of mass destruction, has shown how some countries that the U.S. branded as "rogue" nations can rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of the Bush administration.
8 posted on 03/16/2004 9:17:30 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
azadi, o ye Medes!
stern and terrible, and proud to a fault you can be, yet strong and upright and honorable you have ever been,
save when under the heel of these fundamentalist parasites and their rabid lackeys.

Shrug off your chains, o ye Medes!
Crush the alien cult under your feet, as would the dehgans of old - as would Rustam himself!

Redeem and restore yourselves, o ye Medes!
teach your children to ride, to shoot, and above all else to despise all lies!
You will find in all this that we of this land love honor, and shall help you rise again!
11 posted on 03/16/2004 9:19:35 PM PST by King Prout (You may disagree with what I have to say... but I will defend to YOUR death MY right to say it.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Fight my brothers and sisters, fight for your freedom and raise your voice to be heard.
51 posted on 03/16/2004 11:08:36 PM PST by Trueblackman (My lastest bumper sticker..."Support terrorism, Vote Democrat in 04.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Anti-Regime Violence Erupting in Iran As Crowds Burn Pictures of Khamenei

New York Sun - By Eli Lake
Mar 17, 2004

WASHINGTON—Iranians reportedly took to the streets in protest of their government last night as a Persian fire ritual in Tehran turned into a pretext for anti-regime violence.

The Iranian Student News Agency, a wire service affiliated with the government there, reported yesterday that explosions could be heard throughout the city after celebrations of a pre-Islamic feast in Iran known as Chaharshambeh Soori turned violent.

According to KRSI, an exile radio station based in California, a crowd of people in Iran’s capital began kindling fires for the holiday with pictures of Iran’s supreme ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in front of the headquarters of the Sepah Pasdaran, the state’s security service. In some clashes in Tehran neighborhoods, KRSI reported from eyewitnesses calling the station on cell phones, crowds of demonstrators threw homemade explosives at the feet of anti-riot police and set patrol cars ablaze.

The Iranian Student News Agency said 44 police garrisons and 60 ambulances had been readied in response to the angry crowds.

Last month, Iran’s unelected Guardian Council disqualified more than 2,000 reformist candidates from running for election to the country’s legislative body, known as the Majlis. The decision led many legislators willing to work within the system to begin to question the utility of pushing for liberal reform, which has been stymied by the country’s clerical elites.

Since the Islamic revolution in 1979, the celebration of Persian holidays such as Chaharshambeh Soori and the New Year festival of Nowruz has been discouraged and at times banned by the Iranian authorities.

Tehran’s police angered the country’s hard-liners by cordoning off 40 areas of the city this year to observe the holiday, where people traditionally jump over bonfires and set small bushes on fire to mark the last Wednesday of the Persian year. But the decision was not without controversy, as the holiday this year fell in the same Islamic month that Imam Hussein was martyred, a period Iran’s ruling clerics said should be marked without gaiety.

“In all Iranian cities without exception, Iranians celebrated this tradition even when they were attacked by plainclothed officers of the regime,” a spokesman in America for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran, Aryo Pirooznia, told The New York Sun yesterday.“They resisted fiercely by using the materials used in celebration of the fire feast.”

Mr. Pirooznia said he had received more than two-dozen witness reports yesterday of demonstrators clashing with the government in Tehran alone. He said that some violent demonstrators had devised explosives from yellow and white powder wrapped in cardboard.

“The authorities started to charge in neighborhoods of Sarsabil, Sadeghieh and Shahrak Gharb,” he said. “The celebrations turned into demonstrations, with chanting, dancing, and booing and cursing at the security forces sent there. The crowds started to throw pictures of Ayatollah Khamenei into the fire.”

The Iranian Student News Agency reported eight people were seriously injured. The agency also reported that 20 people were taken to the emergency room of Motahari and 50 people were taken to the Towhid hospital in the Tehran metropolitan area. Cab drivers, the news agency said, were volunteering to take injured citizens to hospitals free of charge. The Associated Press and CNN did not report anti-regime violence yesterday.

“It is our view that the human-rights situation in Iran has been taking a turn for the worse,” a State Department official told the Sun yesterday. “On the whole it would seem Iran is less democratic now than it was three to four years ago. We take domestic developments in Iran very seriously and we will be talking to other countries that do have diplomatic representation in Iran to find out about these reports.”

The State Department was particularly critical last month of the elections to the Majlis. More recently, Secretary of State Powell has criticized the Iranian regime for threatening to end cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, after pledging to allow unannounced inspections in the fall.

The IAEA has recently disclosed that Iran’s nuclear energy program was almost definitely a cover for weapons research, a position shared by the American intelligence community.

The president of the Washington based International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Jack DuVall, said the violent demonstrations in Tehran were a troubling development. “If the regime is authoritarian any domestic violence reinforces the regime’s position because ultimately their power derives from their armed defenders.When violence occurs in the public space those defenders do reflexively what they are hired and expected to do and that reinforces both the authority as well as the control mechanisms of the regime.”

Mr.DuVall was the executive producer of “A Force More Powerful,” a documentary on the history of nonviolent conflict in the 20th century that has ended up in the hands of Iranian activists.

Chaharshambeh Soori celebrations are expected to continue today in the run-up to Nowruz festivities this weekend.
54 posted on 03/16/2004 11:11:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Dr. Z,

I have been following your dedication to the Iranian cause here on FR over the months now. Thanks for all you are doing. With out you this would have passed me by I am sure.
Time will tell if tonight we are on the cusp of history. I hope we are. Even if this is one of many battles before the overthrow of the Mullahs it is at the very least a quantum shift in the revolution. From the reports that I have seen tonight, defiance is open and the lines are much more clearly drawn.
I pray for success for those who fight for freedom in Iran. When they fight for freedom so intensely they are our brothers indeed.
Thanks again and keep up the good work.

81 posted on 03/17/2004 12:10:43 AM PST by Solar Wind
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To: DoctorZIn
Major Breaking News from inside of Iran...

Watchers of Iran have long waited for the Oil Sector Workers to go on strike. It could quickly cripple the regime.

It is being reported by the ILNA (Iranian Labor News Agency)that approximately 500 oil sector workers have blocked the road between Khoramshahr to Ahvaz. They are reportedly in the second day of their strike.

This stretch of road is reportedly a critical because it most oil products must pass through this area in order to reach other areas of Iran (it is near their oil complex). They are calling on local people to join them in their strike.

Here is the report in Persian (I am told)
94 posted on 03/17/2004 6:01:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
I am also told the Nurses and doctors are to start a strike in Iran. This is also coming from the Iranian Labor News Agency.

My link is is Persian. Will translate ASAP.
102 posted on 03/17/2004 6:29:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
We are way ahead of the rest of the media on this story.

I was woken last night by an Iranian Student (Freeper) with this breaking news.

He also says that the road has been blocked since 10am (8 hours) and that security officers are on the way to negotiate or stop the road block.

He says that it is being reported that the workers haven't been paid for the past 8 months.
109 posted on 03/17/2004 6:57:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Finally... Some pictures from the events in Iran yesterday.

112 posted on 03/17/2004 7:17:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
New Year, New Destiny
Iranians fight for their future.

March 17, 2004, 10:18 a.m.
By Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi

On Tuesday night, Iranians celebrated Chaahaarshanbeh Souri, the feast of fire. This is an ancient Persian celebration, predating Islam by a couple of thousand years; it marks the approaching of the Iranian new year (which is also pre-Islamic), celebrated on March 21, the vernal equinox. People build small bonfires and jump over the flames to purify and purge themselves of all the negativity and pain of the passing year so that they can begin the new year with a clean spirit and fresh outlook. During this celebration, it is also customary to light sparklers and throw fireworks. Since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, the mullahs have done everything they could to dissuade the people of Iran from continuing these Persian celebrations, calling them pagan in an attempt to eradicate the Persian heritage from Iran.

Over the past few weeks, there were threats of major March 16 clashes, as the mullahs continued to force the issue of this celebration being haraam — religiously prohibited or unclean — because it occurs during the religious month of Mohharram, which is fraught with mourning for Shiite martyrs. Fatwahs were issued by various major and minor clerics. The regime also warned against sparklers and fireworks, insisting that they are banned.

Early Tuesday afternoon, in the wake of five days of severe clashes in northern Iran, in the town of Fereydoun-Kenaar (as well as other serious clashes in the southern part of Iran and weeks of clashes in Iranian Kurdistan, which began days before the scheduled February 20 elections), people all over Iran made good on the threat and took to the streets, not only to celebrate, but to also draw on the clashes up north, down south, and in Kurdistan. Clouds of smoke from the detonation of M80's, homemade mini-hand grenades, and Molotov cocktails filled the air. From one city to the next, similar stories were heard. One account mentioned plans to hang a life-sized puppet of Khamenei, intended to be burned in effigy under the Sattaar Khaan Bridge in Tehran. The effigy seems to have been blocked by the non-Iranian revolutionary guards, who are often Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Afghan Arabs, and Yemenis who are imported to beat up on the people of Iran, since it is only the rare Iranian who wants to beat up on other Iranians anymore.

For a while there was no sign of the police. This was the mullahs' way of performing for the foreign press who were visiting Iran; it was a way of looking liberal and easygoing. But by about 9 P.M., in the town of Gohar Dasht (a suburb of Tehran), the movement reached a fever pitch; demonstrators had taken over the roads and main arteries chanting and yelling slogans when eight pickup trucks carrying dozens of armed non-Iranian revolutionary guards arrived on the scene, savagely attacking people with knives, billy clubs, and chains. Tear gas was released in the streets in order to disperse the celebrants. People scattered-many into the homes of townsfolk who had stayed home-they left their doors open for the celebrants/protesters to take refuge. The people worked together to protect each other against the brutal regime-they all know its wrath too well.

In other cities like Gorgaan where a six-month-old child had been trampled by the guards, anger lead demonstrators toward the local police headquarters, proclaiming that they would set it on fire. In Mashhad, approximately 300 people were arrested, while many more were knifed and severely beaten by the terror forces of the government.

It must be noted, though, that despite the clashes, Iranians enjoyed the celebrations. Music played; people laughed (which is actually banned by the mullahs); girls and boys were seen dancing together (which is also banned); girls lifted off their scarves. There was a general a feeling of inspiration and dedication. And there was a special symbolic joy in the lighting of bonfires, using pictures of all the major mullahs.

Tuesday was a victory; it was one more jolt to the weakening anatomy of the theocratic fascists. All in all this was one of the most significant days in the seven-year course of bitter and fateful battles between the 70 million Iranian hostages of the mullahcracy. Few in the West are listening and hearing the cries of the people of Iran, but that's okay, because we will be the power behind forging our own future; for Iranians, the mullahs and their Western enablers will be history.

— Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, a native of Iran, is currently and activist and writer based in New York.
116 posted on 03/17/2004 8:15:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Festival of Light and Fire, A Defiance of Ruling Clerics

March 17, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Potkin Azarmehr

The inherent sense of Iranian nationalism has always manifested itself during the darkest hours of Iran's turbulent history and delivered the nation from certain collapse. To date Iranian nationalism remains the most potent weapon against foreign occupiers and the present day ruling clerics.

For the last 25 years of the Islamic rule, the Iranian New Year Nowrooz, and the Red Wednesday fire Festival, which falls on the last Tuesday evening of the Iranian year, have been the battleground between the Iranian culture of joy, knowledge and life and the non-Iranian culture of mourning, ignorance and martyrdom.

When Ayatollah Khomeini tried to ban these celebrations, the uncompromising reaction of the Iranian people forced him into his first unprecedented retreat.

In more recent years, the coinciding of the Arab lunar calendar and the Shiite mourning month of Moharram with the solar Iranian calendar and the new year celebrations, gave the impression to the clerics that they can use this opportunity to ban these pre-Islamic celebrations at least while they fall in the month of Moharram. Instead the celebrations became even more poignant and more symbolic in terms of showing defiance to the imposed non-Iranian culture of the ruling clerics.

Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpaygani issued his decree by stating earlier this week: "The superstitious ceremony of Chaharshanbeh Suri is incompatible with the dignity and understanding of the Muslim Iranian nation".

The Islamic regime's security forces tried to reach a compromise this year by not banning the celebrations but declaring only certain official parks in the cities for lawful celebrations. Yet the people and the youth in particular once again turned the Red Wednesday celebrations into a combat zone for the test of forces.

As the youth jumped over the bonfires the traditional ancient rhymes were replaced with anti-government ones. "toop, tank, feshfesheh Akhoond bayad koshteh sheh" " Cannons, Tanks and Firecrackers We must kill the Mullahs".

In the Haft-Howz, Falakeh Dovvom and Nirooye Havaii, districts of Tehran more than 10,000 people had gathered. Some women openly removed their scarves encouraging others to do so too. In Mohseni Square, the youth fought back the Law Enforcement Forces. At least 20 government forces were reported badly beaten up by the crowds. In Amir-Abad district the people joined the students and more anti-government slogans were shouted. Police patrol cars, which attempted to disperse the crowd, drove away from the scene as the people started throwing home made grenades at them. In Aryashahr, the crowd were throwing pictures of Supreme Leader, Khamenei and Islamic Republic flags on to the bonfires.

Other districts in Tehran like Javadieh, Ferdowsi and Noor similar scenes continued. In some districts the noise prevented the telephone reports from making their reports audible.

Not far from Tehran, in Karaj, the house of the Friday Prayer leader was set on fire copying the similar action by the people in Fereydoon Kenar .

In Yazd, between 7000-8000 people gathered in Atlasi Sq and attacked the known regime agents.

In Booshehr, one revolutionary guard is reported killed.

In Shiraz, the people attacked government agents who were filming them and broke their cameras.

In Kerman, the people were shouting, Referendum, Referendum, This is the cry of nation.

In Sarab, Azarbijan, where the people have a fierce reputation for their fighting capabilities, the local Baseejis were on the run while shouting Allah-Akbar.

As in last year Iran's Kurdistan contained the biggest scenes of celebrations. Huge bonfires were reported from Marivan and Sannadaj, with the youth openly taunting the regime's forces.

Even in many other places throughout Iran where the celebrations were less political, young boys and girls circled around bonfires, held hands and danced to the music. An unthinkable act in the month of Moharram, even in the pre-Isalmic revolution of 1979.

So on a night where the Islamic state run TV even resorted to showing popular American films to encourage the people of Iran to stay indoors, the fire of Zarathustra remained defiant and rekindled.
122 posted on 03/17/2004 10:50:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Yes, Sir

New York Sun - Editorial
Mar 17, 2004

Iranians once again have challenged the ruling clerics there in demonstrations that turned violent, according to reports from Iran. The occasion this time was a feast to commemorate the last Wednesday on the Persian calendar known as Chaharshambeh Soori. For the particulars please see Eli Lake's dispatch at page one.

After much hemming and hawing, Tehran's chief of police allowed the citizens of his city to celebrate the festival in 40 cordoned-off areas over objections from powerful ayatollahs who tried to stop the celebrations because they fell at the wrong time on the Islamic calendar, two weeks after Shiites are supposed to celebrate Ashura, the somber holiday commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. It is the tension between the Arab dictates of Islam and the indigenous traditions of Persia that was at play last night when some Iranians threw homemade explosives at the feet of the anti riot police and set patrol cars ablaze.

The protesters are extraordinarily brave. Few secret police services in the world are as ruthless as Iran's Pasdaran, and many of the students who directly challenged the government in the fall and winter of 2002 are still missing. The regime has even arrested close associates of President Khatemi, sending the message that no one will be spared.

All the more reason, though, for the Bush administration to give these protesters moral, material, and, to the degree practical, diplomatic support. It was in October of 2003 that the deputy state secretary, Richard Armitage, answered "no, sir," when asked by Senator Hagel whether the Bush administration supported regime change. The thing to remember is that on the streets of Tehran this week, the Iranians are risking their lives for freedom, and they deserve a resounding "Yes, sir," in Washington.
126 posted on 03/17/2004 11:04:08 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
To view more pictures of yesterday's celebration/demonstrations in Iran visit this website:
128 posted on 03/17/2004 11:07:39 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Holy Month Reveals Schism Between Shiite Youth, State

March 10, 2004
Inter Press Service
Ramin Mostaghim

TEHRAN -- The holy month of Moharram, marked by ritual mourning, has highlighted a rift between official religious doctrine and young people who make up the large majority of this Shiite Islamic republic's population.

Contrary to the uniform and austere religion promoted by the state, young Iranians increasingly have turned to individual interpretations that allow them, for example, to express themselves through Western fashions and popular music.

The specific forms of expression and the energy with which young people pursue them might be unique to the current generation, but its members recognize that the act of balancing state doctrine with individual conscience is not new.

''My father, a pensioner and self-employed businessman, plays the piano, has an occasional alcoholic drink, says his prayers five times daily, and describes himself as a Muslim,'' said Amin Mazaheri.

The 24-year-old chemical engineer and bachelor lives with his parents in a three-story building a few minutes' walk from the Madar (mother) roundabout. The nouveau-riche area is named for the sculpture that dominates it, a structure consisting of a hollow trunk, a metal heart and a headscarf, and designed to symbolize an archetypal Islamic mother.

The neighbourhood, like the rest of Iran, has been observing Moharram. The first month of the Islamic year is marked not by celebratory festivals but by mourning for the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, in Karbala (in present-day Iraq) some 14 centuries ago. Observances, including massive processions in which men flagellate themselves, peak on Ashura, the tenth day of the lunar month, which this year fell on Mar. 2.

''My friends and I lament and beat our chests gently during the first ten days of the mourning month of Moharram and listen to rhythmic lamentations while we go riding in our cars,'' said Amin, speaking in his French-style decorated dinning room.

”When we were small kids in the first decade of the Islamic revolution, we did not feel like joining these sorts of mourning ceremonies but for the past few years, the Heia't (makeshift mosque) in our neighborhood has been our gathering place,” he added.

''On the way to Heia't, we exchange phone numbers with the young girls who bump into us on the pavement. For some of the young boys who fancy themselves as Muslims, it truly is a pick-up scene,'' Amin said, adding that he regarded this as an insult to the holy month.

But Kambiz Pejman, 24, said he and the many girls who are among his friends saw no contradiction between the lamentation processions and the young crowd's parallel ”Hussain parties.”

''I respect Imam Hussain and his companions who were martyred in Karbala,'' he said as he looked over his shoulder in case vigilantes were eavesdropping. ''They were justice seekers from my point of view but commemorating him does not have to be at odds with fancying girls.''

As some tell it, young men who beat themselves on the chest and young women who wear trendy dresses and muted makeup are drawn to the processions increasingly by a desire to be seen and to be found appealing.

''By avoiding eye-catching makeup during these days I intend to show my tribute to the Karbala tragedy and Imam Hussain's martyrdom but at the same time I am on the trail of the parade to see and to be seen. What is wrong with that?'' said Farideh Agahi, 20, a student at Tehran Azad University, in the capital's affluent northern district.

Over the years, new musical instruments, fashions, rhythms and eulogies have been incorporated into the mourning ceremonies in Tehran.

''Many things, such as drums, flutes and synthesizers, today are common but were unthinkable ten or 12 years ago,” said shopkeeper Ali Hassani, 60.

Western couture is a relative newcomer, and it stands in stark contrast to Mader roundabout's sculpture, which serves as a constant reminder of acceptable dress for Muslim women.

”For the first time, the new middle class mourning fashion almost spontaneously popped up in the aftermath of the Sep.11 tragedy,'' said Nader Forghani, 35, who runs a boutique featuring the latest Italian and French fashions on the northern side of the roundabout. She was referring to the 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

Since then, it has become common for the neighbourhood's middle-class residents to descend on the roundabout for a candlelight vigil to mark the tenth of Moharram, Nader said.

The new ways enjoy sympathy from some older Iranians.

''People have rights to be Muslim or to worship their God in their own way,'' said Hashem Navazi, 70, manager at an air conditioner repair shop near the roundabout. After all, he added: ”I am Muslim but I do not feel like participating in elections in this so-called Islamic regime.''

Others have been less tolerant. Local media reported that vigilantes attacked participants in the Ashura candlelight vigil with iron bars and heavy chains. Some of Amin Mazaheri's friends were among the victims.

”The vigilantes were about 15 to begin with but suddenly turned out to be around one hundred,” Amin said. ”I recognized some of them as my playmates from elementary school. That's why I was not beaten up. They looked at me and shouted 'run away'.''

''We are Muslims in our own way and I think our Islam has nothing to do with the established Islam advocated by the regime,'' he added.

Sociologist Karamat Azimi, 60, said the vigilantes had misjudged the situation.

''Before the Islamic revolution, middle class and educated people used to convert covertly and overtly to different schools of thought such as Marxism, even various Islamic or Protestant Christian denominations. But nowadays, they try to individualize the official version of Islam,'' Azimi said.

''By attacking these young fashionable mourners, nothing changes and the young people will be more agitated and come up with new approaches,” he added.
132 posted on 03/17/2004 1:49:35 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Allies in Terror

March 17, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Amir Taheri

It may take weeks before the identity of those responsible for the 3/11 bombings in Madrid is established, and by then a new government, led by the Socialists, will be in power in Spain. But one thing is already certain: Europe has not yet taken the full measure of the terrorist threat to its way of life, indeed its existence as a zone of peace and prosperity in an unstable world.

Within hours, the Spanish political and media establishment was divided into two camps: one blaming the Basque-separatist ETA, the other pointing the finger at Islamist terrorists. In other parts of Europe, too, those who had supported Spain's decision to join the war of liberation in Iraq tried to portray the attacks as part of ETA's campaign of terror. Those who had opposed the intervention in Iraq, on the other hand, presented the attacks as an understandable, though not necessarily justifiable, retaliation by "Muslims with hurt feelings."

But the partisan approach to the understanding of the Madrid tragedy could harm efforts to develop a coherent European strategy in the context of the global war on terror. The two sides of the European divide, still squabbling over the Iraq war, have ignored a third possibility -- that ETA and al Qaeda might have worked together to bring about the Madrid tragedy.

* * *

This is not as fanciful as it might sound. Terrorism is a doctrine based on the maxim, "The ends justify the means." In the current debate those who try to exculpate ETA imply that it is, somehow less evil than al Qaeda. That assumption is both wrong and dangerous.

The difference between ETA and al Qaeda is one of means and methods not of nature and category. Until last week ETA had never managed to kill more than 30 people at any given time. But that was not for want of trying. Nor is ETA's relationship with Middle Eastern radical groups new.

ETA established contact with the People's Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in 1970. A number of ETA militants were trained in various PFLP camps both in Lebanon and Libya. British and Spanish intelligence have also established ETA's link with Libya at least until 1986. During that period Libya supplied the Basque terror group with money and arms.

An ETA delegation has visited Tehran every year since 1985 to participate in an annual gathering of "anti-Imperialist" movements that is held annually from Feb. 1 to Feb. 11. (The Tehran terror-fest, known as "The Ten Days of Dawn," celebrates the victory of the 1979 Islamist Revolution). Indeed, the list of ETA and Islamist-terrorist links is long and well-documented:

• In 1986, the French police identified one Vahid Gorji, an attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Paris, as the mullahs' liaison officer with European terror groups, including ETA. (Gorji was subsequently allowed to fly home under escort as Iran and France severed diplomatic ties.)

• In 1993, ETA -- along with a dozen other Western terrorist organizations -- had observers in the largest ever gathering of Islamist groups held in Khartoum, the Sudanese capital. The conference elected a nine-member "steering committee" that included Osama bin Laden.

• In 1998, Spanish police arrested another Iranian agent, Rahman Dezfouli, on charges of contacts with ETA. He, too, was subsequently expelled because he was the holder of an Iranian "service passport."

ETA's literature, as disseminated over the past three decades, is replete with expressions of sympathy for various Islamist causes including "wiping Israel off the map" and "driving the American Imperialists out of the world." In exchange, al Qaeda literature has paid tribute to ETA's "heroic struggle" for Basque independence. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al Qaeda second-in-command, has spoken of his dream of "liberating Andalusia," the part of Spain once ruled by Muslims, presumably letting ETA rule its own neck of the wood in the Basque country.

Spain was targeted by Islamist groups long before it joined the war to liberate Iraq. These groups blame Spain for having "sold" the Spanish Sahara to Morocco while refusing Muslim rule over the two North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

The more militant of the Islamist groups openly preach revenge for what they see as an unjust expulsion of Muslims from the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the 15th century. That sentiment is also reflected in school textbooks in many Muslim countries from the Persian Gulf to the eastern Mediterranean.

Some analysts claim that ETA, a leftist and nationalist group, cannot ally itself with Islamists who are on the extreme right and firmly reject nationalism. But so great is the terrorist groups' hatred of democracy that alliances across the ideological divide cannot be excluded.

An objective alliance of radical groups, from the extreme left to the Islamists, is already in place in many countries. This alliance has organized numerous marches opposing the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and conducts a vigorous campaign against any attempt at "imposing" democracy on any other Muslim country. The core of this alliance's ideology consists of an acute form of anti-Americanism which assumes that the U.S. represents evil in a Manichean view of the world.

The truth is that there is no good terrorism and that the current European wave of anti-Americanism cannot but encourage those who wish to impose their will on the world through terror. Whether or not they actually joined forces to plan and execute the Madrid attacks, ETA and al Qaeda remain objective political allies.

Mr. Taheri is the author, most recently, of "L'Irak: Le Dessous Des Cartes" (Editions Complexe, France; 2003).
133 posted on 03/17/2004 1:50:15 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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