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Iranian Alert -- March 22, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 3.22.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 03/21/2004 9:02:02 PM 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. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.

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

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

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

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

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

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


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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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 03/21/2004 9:02:03 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 03/21/2004 9:05:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
ElBaradei: Nuclear Probers Still Dubious On Iran Plans

March 21, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Sunday that its inspectors remain skeptical about the intentions of Iran's nuclear program because of Tehran's past secrecy.

Mohammed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, urged Iran to be completely "transparent" about its nuclear program if it wants to clear itself of suspicions that it is developing nuclear weapons.

ElBaradei said the IAEA has made "very good progress" in learning details of the Iranian nuclear program.

"Iran has agreed to fully suspend its enrichment program as a confidence-building measure, so we have to acknowledge we have made a good headway along our effort to make sure that Iran's program is completely for peaceful purposes," said ElBaradei, in an interview on CNN's "Late Edition."

However, ElBaradei said Iran hasn't yet been able to remove all doubts because "we have discovered...that this is a sophisticated program, it's an extensive program and it's a program that has been undeclared for over 15 years."

"There's still a lot of skepticism that something might still be hidden," he added. "The fact that they have not declared to us some of the R&D lately has increased that skepticism."

ElBaradei said he hoped to visit Iran in the next couple of weeks.

He said he intended "to make it very clear to them that transparency is an absolute key if they want to clear their name, and for us to be able to conclude that the program is completely for peaceful purposes."

Earlier this month, Iran barred U.N. nuclear inspections for two weeks after the IAEA adopted a resolution deploring recent discoveries of uranium enrichment equipment and other suspicious activities that Tehran had failed to reveal. However, Iran later agreed to allow the inspections to resume March 27.

ElBaradei has said he hopes to have a more definitive assessment of Iran's nuclear activities by June, when he is due to give his next report to the IAEA Board of Governors.

Iran says its nuclear activities are designed to generate electricity.

ElBaradei, who met last week with U.S. President George W. Bush and his national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, said it is important to learn the right lessons from the experience of U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq.

ElBaradei said the Iraqi experience showed that "an inspection takes time, that we should be patient, that an inspection can, in fact, work." But at the same time, he faulted Saddam Hussein's regime for not being open in its cooperation with U.N. inspectors.

"If a country really wants to show to the world that its programs are peaceful...they ought to be transparent, they ought to take a proactive approach," he said.

ElBaradei took exception to remarks made by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney a year ago during the buildup to the Iraq war that IAEA inspectors had consistently underestimated or missed what Saddam was doing to reconstitute his nuclear weapons program.

ElBaradei said he hadn't seen any evidence prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to support Cheney's conclusion that Iraq had resumed its nuclear weapons program after it was dismantled in 1997.

"I was thinking that he was not really saying what I see on the ground," ElBaradei said. "I haven't seen anything on the ground at that time that supports Mr. Cheney's conclusion...and I thought to myself, well, history is going to be the judge."

ElBaradei was joined on the CNN program by Hans Blix, the former chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, who said that evidence brought forward by the Bush administration about Saddam's weapons-of-mass destruction programs "was rapidly falling apart" just before the U.S. attacked Iraq.

Blix said the Bush administration had initially given the U.N. inspectors "a lot of support and information" but "lost their patience much too early."

After Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the U.S. case against Saddam to the U.N. Security Council, Blix had his experts look into it and reported back to the council that the "evidence was shaky."

"I told that to Condoleezza Rice, as well, so I think they were aware of it, but I think they chose to ignore us."
3 posted on 03/21/2004 9:06:55 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Survey Finds Hope in Occupied Iraq

March 16, 2004
BBC News

Read the full results of the poll.

An opinion poll suggests most Iraqis feel their lives have improved since the war in Iraq began about a year ago.

The survey, carried out for the BBC and other broadcasters, also suggests many are optimistic about the next 12 months and opposed to violence.

But of the 2,500 people questioned, 85% said the restoration of public security must be a major priority.

Opinion was split about who should be responsible, with an Iraqi government scoring highest.

Creating job opportunities was rated more likely to improve security effectively than hiring more police.

However on various issues, there were stark differences of opinion according to region or ethnic group.

About 6,000 interviews were carried out in total, half in Autumn last year and half this Spring, in a project run by Oxford Research International.

Seventy per cent of people said that things were going well or quite well in their lives, while only 29% felt things were bad.

And 56% said that things were better now than they were before the war.

Th poll company's director Dr Christoph Sahm, said Iraqis trained as interviewers travelled around the country to speak to randomly selected people in their homes.

The survey reflected Iraq's distribution of population, balance between men and women, and religious and ethnic mix.

Dr Sahm said: "I would call it very extensive; It is a national survey and it is also representative... the key finding is that Iraqis don't want to break up the country."

Meanwhile, an ICM poll of British attitudes about the Iraq war for BBC Newsnight's special programme, One Year On - Iraq, reveals that 48% of those questioned thought taking military action was the right thing to do; 43% thought it was not.

There is an almost even split on whether the war was legal, while 34% of interviewees believe the war has contributed to the security of the UK against 55% who believe it has not.

US 'will take heart'

In the poll of Iraqis, nearly 80% favoured a unified state with a central government in Baghdad; only 14% opted for a system of regional governments combined with a federal authority.

The majority was even bigger among Iraqi Arabs, but for the Kurdish minority, the situation was reversed, with more than 70% backing a federal system.

There is an existing Kurdish regional government in the north, the powers of which were recognised by Iraq's interim constitution, signed last week.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Barnaby Mason says the American and British governments will take some comfort from the results.

The survey shows overwhelming disapproval of political violence, especially of attacks on the Iraqi police but also on American and other coalition forces.

But among Arabs, nearly one in five told the pollsters that attacks on coalition forces were acceptable.

About 15% say foreign forces should leave Iraq now, but many more say they should stay until an Iraqi government is in place or security is restored.

Looking back, more Iraqis think the invasion was right than wrong, although 41% felt that the invasion "humiliated Iraq".

But by ethnicity, only one in three Arabs believed their country was liberated - compared to four out of five Kurds.

Safety conscious

Dan Plesch, a security expert at Birkbeck college in London said that the poll was good news for the leaders of countries who began the invasion a year ago this week.

"This poll indicates that Iraqis strongly support a unified country with strong leadership. They don't want to see the country divided up and they don't want to see an Islamic government."

Regaining security is rated as by far the highest priority at 85%, followed by holding elections for a national government (30%), ensuring the majority of Iraqis can make a decent living (30%) and reviving the economy (28%).

And only just over a third of people report that their electricity supply is good.

A key concern for the Americans as they prepare to hand over power in June is the unpopularity of the people they are putting in place.

Leaders unloved

Their favoured son Ahmed Chalabi had no support at all, while Saddam Hussein remains one of the six most popular politicians in the country.

Dr Mustafa Alani of the Royal United Services Institute said that the Iraqis wanted a strong leader, but had not found one yet.

"The main point is that the Iraqis are now looking for a strong leader who can save the day.

"As long as the governing council is considered illegitimate and illegal in Iraq, I think they will have to work hard to find something more legitimate and more legal before they disengage from the country."
4 posted on 03/21/2004 9:08:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Arms to Iran: Detente or Treason?

March 21, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Arieh O'Sullivan

The fact that Israeli arms dealers could be suspected of selling weapons parts to Iran at first seems not only incredible but treasonous.

The fact that the pair being investigated has been investigated repeatedly in the past raises questions about the seeming two-faced character of the dubious world of arms trading, particularly when it comes to Iran.

Illicit Israeli military sales to the staunchly anti-Zionist Shi'ite state which is aggressively seeking nuclear weapons are hardly a new phenomenon.

"Life is complicated. Israel, like the US, has a complex policy vis- -vis Iran. There is a certain amount of flexibility," said Dr. Gerald Steinberg of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and an expert on the arms industry, without referring specifically to Eli Cohen and Avihai Weinstein.

Clandestine contacts have served Israel's intelligence if not strategic interests for decades, said Aharon Kleiman, a Tel Aviv University professor of political science and author of Israel's Global Reach: Arms Sales as Diplomacy.

Steinberg noted that in the past arms sales, beyond being lucrative, also served to forge diplomatic ties. India was a case in point. "But after so many connections with Iran, one wonders if you can make that argument today," Steinberg said.

"Still, Israel is trying to preserve options in working with the Iranian government and individuals who are pragmatic and open doors, rather than have an ideological approach which says there is nothing to talk about with Iran," Steinberg said.

The policy is that Iran is a threat, not an enemy, he explained.

In the past, for example, Israel continued to illicitly sell parts for Phantom jets to Iran even after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979.

At the time, the revolution caught the West, particularly the US, off guard.

But because of Israel's close ties with the Iranian military and its operatives there, Israel became a valued intelligence source for the Americans.

For this reason, Israel became a key player in the so-called Iran-Contra affair, or "Irangate," in the mid 1980s. Then US national security council staffer Col. Oliver North took the fall for arranging Israeli arms dealers connected to the Israeli government to supply Iran with over 1,000 LAW anti-tank missiles and parts to Hawk anti-aircraft batteries in a deal worth $100 million. The proceeds of this trade were then funneled into the coffers of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Meanwhile, the US and Israel tried to leverage these sales by asking Iran to pressure Shi'ite groups in Lebanon to release Western hostages.

According to reports, much of the arms trading was conducted through a private Israeli company called International Desalination Equipment, Ltd., then run by Ya'acov Nimrodi, who from the 1950s until the shah of Iran was overthrown in 1979, was Israel's military attache in Teheran. Nimrodi was often aided and counseled by then-prime minister Shimon Peres's adviser on counterterrorism, Amiram Nir, the first husband of Judy Nir-Moses who is today married to Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.

Nir, who also had close connections with North, later died in a mysterious plane crash in Mexico.

Conversely, Nahum Manbar sold arms to Iran with the knowledge and even blessing of the defense establishment, who were hoping it would lead to information on missing airman Lt.-Col. Ron Arad, downed over Lebanon in 1986.

Manbar is currently serving a 16-year sentence for attempting to sell Iran materials to produce mustard and nerve gas.

"If one wanted to make an argument in favor of arms sales to Iran, they would say we are very guarded in what we sell and nothing that poses a direct threat to Israel would be tolerated," said Kleiman.

"The defense establishment says nobody can move nuts and bolts without their approval, but on the other hand there is a laxity in the murky world of arms dealing it's hard to keep track of." There are some 2,000 weapons dealers, but they are not required to report on their activities. The Defense Ministry refuses to make them public for security and business reasons.

Ironically, the Defense Ministry promised the previous Knesset to crack down on weapons dealers after two men, none other than Cohen and Weinstein, were arrested on suspicion of selling spare parts for APCs to Iran.

Police said that Cohen had his arms license revoked in 1994. Defense Ministry spokeswoman Rachel Naidek-Ashkenazi said that both Cohen and Weinstein do not currently hold any defense license.

Despite this, they were caught allegedly selling arms or spare parts to the Iranians in complex deals that pass through Europe and the Far East, which proves one does not need a license to remain in the arms business.

"This is one of the first scandals we have heard in a number of years. There has been some tightening, but one never knows how much winking is going on," Steinberg said.
5 posted on 03/21/2004 9:09:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; yonif; RaceBannon; Pan_Yans Wife; Valin; McGavin999; blackie; Cindy; Dajjal; ...
World blasts Yassin killing

Jerusalem Post
Mar. 22, 2004

Many of the world's leaders, from Britain to Iran, were quick to condemn Israel's killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin – with the United States one notable exception.

AFP quoted a State Department official as urging "all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint."

The official said the US Government was aware of reports of the incident and was following developments in the region. "We are looking into the circumstances and are in touch with Israeli and Palestinians authorities," the official said.

Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, issued a statement saying that "The European Union has consistently condemned 'extra judicial killings'. In this particular case, the condemnation has to be even stronger. These type of actions do not contribute to dialogue and peace in the region. Neither will they bring less violence. The actions of today are bad news for the peace process."

Solana said the killing of Yassin "will not facilitate a positive outcome" to discussion about a possible withdrawal from Gaza.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, in Brussels for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, condemned the attack, saying it is "unlawful" and "unjustified."

Israel, Straw told reporters, "is not entitled to go for this kind of unlawful killing, and we therefore condemn it. "It's unacceptable, it's unjustified, and it's very unlikely to achieve its objective."

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin echoed the sentiment, saying, "France condemns the action against Sheikh Yassin. At a time when it is important to mobilize for the re-launch of the peace process, such acts can only fuel the cycle of violence."

Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Lydie Polfer said she fears the attack will lead to "new violence, and the Danish Foreign Minister, Per Stig Moeller, said Denmark is "against assassinations like this. This is not the way ahead. There's only one way ahead, and that is political."

Poland's Foreign Minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz , whose country will join the EU on May 1, said he recognizes Israel's right to defend itself, but that this is not the way to do it.

"I understand that Israel defends its own country. However the picture of a wheelchair-bound person who was killed with a rocket is probably not the best way of promoting Israeli security," Reuters quoted Cimoszewicz as saying at a press breakfast in Brussels.

Cimoszewicz said he is afraid the assassination " may have very, very negative consequences not only in terms of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I'm afraid that the threat of terrorist attacks also on other countries, including European (ones), is growing."

In the Arab world, the condemnations were even more strident.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, in reaction to the assassination of Hamas spirtutal leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, directed his country's representatives not to take part in activities the Knesset and Foreign Ministry is planning this week to mark 25 years to the signing of the peace agreement with Egypt.

Kuwait's National Assembly (NA) speaker, Jassem Al-Kharafi, was quoted in the Albawaba web site as saying that the killing will "aggravate the crisis, escalate reactions and bring to a state of despair all those who worked hard to forge just and permanent solutions." He said "the Arab and Islamic people would never forget the principles of struggle that Sheikh Yassin ingrained within the Palestinian ranks."

The Jordanian news agency quoted Jordanian Prime Minister Faisal Al Fayez as saying this "is another crime that is added to the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people, and forms a flagrant violation of all charters and norms."

"We in the government," Al Fayez was quoted as saying, "condemn this ugly crime and affirm that such behavior would increase the cycle of violence and instability in the region, lead to more bloodshed and undermine the opportunities of achieving just and comprehensive peace that the region's peoples seek to achieve."

Iran also weighed in with its own condemnation with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid-Reza Asefi, saying that Israel engaged in "state terrorism."

Asefi, according to Albawaba, said the assassination ""would unveil the ugly and unpleasant face of them (the Israelis) before all the world's people."
6 posted on 03/22/2004 5:52:03 AM PST by F14 Pilot (John Fedayeen Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Should U.S. Make Deal With Iran?

CBS News
LONDON, March 22, 2004
Tom Fenton

First Afghanistan. Then Iraq. Which country will be the next Islamic domino to fall?

A good bet is Iran, and the Bush administration is deeply divided over what to do about it.

No one in Washington is suggesting that America should invade Iran, although in Tehran you can find young people who say they would be happy to see the Marines land and sweep away their dysfunctional government.

Instead, the debate within the Bush administration is whether you do a deal with a charter member of the “Axis of Evil” and reap the benefits, as the U.S. has done with Libya. Or whether the United States should give Iran’s unpopular, undemocratic, regime a shove and wait for it to collapse. Both are possible.

There have been public hints for several years that the more pragmatic of Iran’s conservatives are ready to reestablish relations that were broken a quarter century ago, after the Islamic Revolution and the seizure of the American embassy.

Last May, we now know, those hints hardened into a secret Iranian proposal. It was a so-called “grand bargain” transmitted to Washington through the Swiss ambassador, who represents American interests in Tehran. According to a newly published report in London’s Financial Times, the offer was a road map to normal relations.

Iran would address most of Washington’s major concerns. It would coordinate policy on Iraq, stop promoting terrorism by cutting off support to the militant Palestinian organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, stop using Hezbollah in Lebanon to attack Israel, and consider a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What was not clear was whether Iran would give up its uranium enrichment program.

What was asked of Washington in return was recognition of Iran’s security interests, lifting of sanctions, forgetting about “regime change” and eventually re-establishing full relations.

The offer came from a “senior Iranian official” with the blessing of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Washington accepted it as authentic, but is still thinking about it.

Why the foot dragging?

Primarily because the administration is of two minds. ”Realists” want to seize the opportunity and cut a deal that could eliminate Iran as a threat to reform in Iraq and perhaps get rid of its fledging nuclear weapons program. The hawks, or neo-cons as they are known these days, believe the Iranian regime is on the verge of collapsing and do not want to do anything to rescue it.

The recent Iranian legislative elections were a farce. The hard-line conservatives won because the small minority of Iranians who still support them were about the only ones who turned out to vote. The rest of the country stayed home because reform candidates had been barred from running.

But Iranians are not apathetic. They are increasingly resentful and even angry. Seventy percent of Iranians are under the age of 30, and no longer willing to bow to the strict rules of a theocracy that has tried to take all the fun out of life and cannot even offer them the prospect of finding jobs. Barred from getting rid of their unwanted rulers by democratic means, Iranians are increasingly ready to take to the streets.

What is the Bush administration likely to do? Nothing, in an election year when any attempt to do business with Iran could backfire as dangerously as the Reagan administration’s ill-fated Iran-Contra affair. Iran will stay on the back burner.

The chances are that change, when it comes to Iran, will be violent. It will come from within that country, and perhaps with a little push from Washington if President Bush is re-elected.
(CBS) Tom Fenton, in his fourth decade with CBS News, has been the networks' Senior European Correspondent since 1979. He comments on international events from his "Listening Post" in London.
7 posted on 03/22/2004 6:55:17 AM PST by F14 Pilot (John Fedayeen Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: F14 Pilot
Instead, the debate within the Bush administration is whether you do a deal with a charter member of the “Axis of Evil” and reap the benefits, as the U.S. has done with Libya. Or whether the United States should give Iran’s unpopular, undemocratic, regime a shove and wait for it to collapse. Both are possible.

These are not necessarily mutually exclusive. One might do a deal that helps collapse the regime.

8 posted on 03/22/2004 7:06:34 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch is der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom now!
9 posted on 03/22/2004 8:03:42 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: F14 Pilot
What is the Bush administration likely to do? Nothing, in an election year when any attempt to do business with Iran could backfire as dangerously as the Reagan administration’s ill-fated Iran-Contra affair. Iran will stay on the back burner.

I don't agree with this assessment. The writer assumes that something nefarious would be underfoot. Much can be done to help the citizens of Iran. But, the clock is ticking, and yes the election is coming. This does NOT mean that Bush is a coward and refuses to act. This may mean that he doesn't believe he will receive support in Congress to push Iran further. After the election... or with things behind the scene, much can be put into place.

10 posted on 03/22/2004 8:48:07 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Much of your pain is self-chosen. --- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from a Muslim student inside Iran...

I have talked to some people here about the attack on Hamas Leader.

All I talked to were very happy to hear that news.
I am very happy now today."
11 posted on 03/22/2004 10:06:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
India Delivers Ultimatum to Iran

March 22, 2004

The Indian government is planning to give a four-month ultimatum to Iran to keep its part of the 'oil-for-gas' deal proposed under a memorandum of understanding signed last year.

Under the MoU, India agreed to buy gas through the LNG route from Iran, and in return, Iran has said that it would allow Indian national oil companies to participate in its oil blocks on a preferential basis.

"There has been so far no preferential treatment for Indian companies. Further, the yield is not good enough to compensate for the cross-subsidy in the sale of LNG to consumers in India at administered rates. ONGC sells gas at a price of less than $ 3 per million metric British thermal units. The current market rates of LNG are way above this and therefore the returns from the exploration block should be good enough to compensate the subsidy encountered in selling gas in the domestic gas," a senior official at ONGC said.

In this backdrop, the Petroleum Secretary, Mr B.K. Chaturvedi, convened a meeting with the chief executives of ONGC, Indian Oil Corporation and GAIL (India) Ltd on Thursday to discuss the pace of progress of the MoU with Iran.

Following the meeting, it was decided that a four-month period would be given to the Iranians to revert with viable proposals to pursue the MoU. The MoU is being operationalised through a Joint Working Group (JWG) that has met twice so far. The JWG will now be meeting again shortly when the Indian Government's position would be put forth.

According to officials, if Iran does not come up with viable options, the MoU will die a natural death and the oil companies will pursue commercial deals on an individual basis.
12 posted on 03/22/2004 10:07:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Will Yassin's Death Weaken Palestinian War or Spur New Fighting Unity?

March 22, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Report

Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon has fired the Israel-Palestinian war up to a new plane. The targeted assassination of Hamas founder, leader and moving spirit, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Monday, March 22, was the prime minister’s thunderous reply to the critics who argue that his disengagement strategy would hand the Gaza Strip over to Hamas control.

It signals his determination to purge Gaza of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists ahead its evacuation. Yassin’s death is but the precursor to liquidating the violent movement he founded in 1987 to "cleanse" Middle East of Jewish sovereignty and replace it with an Islamic republic.

This cleanout of Hamas strength will take time. Until it is done, Israel cannot pull out of the Gaza Strip or even begin the process of disengagement.

Sharon’s action was addressed in particular to Washington. He was irked by the sharp message he received from the White House this week, which DEBKAfile’s political sources reveal here for the first time:

It consisted of eight main points which are paraphrased hereunder:

1. After listening to Sharon’s aides Dov Weisglass and other emissaries, we find that there is no properly-formed disengagement and evacuation plan. The prime’s proposals are “at best, an agenda.”

2. We don’t know what Israel wants. We are confused. Weisglass and Eiland (head of Israel’s national security council in the prime minister’s office) speak in two languages.

3. “If you wanted us to endorse your plan why did you publish it before discussing it with us? We might have offered observations.

4. We must ask the prime minister if (as part of his disengagement plan) he is prepared to hand over to the Palestinians all the routes to the Gaza Strip. We understand that what is proposed is action to remove only the civilian population. That is okay, but don’t call it disengagement. Evacuating Gush Katif and redeploying Israeli forces around the Gaza Strip would only create a sort of bull pen and leave Israeli responsible for its Palestinian population.

5. According to our information, not a single Israeli settler was killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003. So why the sudden rush?

6. After trying to bring some order to what we (the White House) are told by Weisglass, it appears that you (Israel) are seeking our backing for the British security plan aimed at Palestinian security forces bringing order to the streets of the Gaza Strip at the same time as Israel cracks down on Hamas and removes Jewish settlers. We don’t necessarily accept this plan but it least it has a certain innate logic. What we don’t understand is whether all air, land and sea approaches to the Strip will be laid open to Hamas and the foreign terrorists present there.

7. (DEBKAfile’s analysts rate this as the key paragraph in the White House message to Sharon). If what you intend is to prevent the activation of Gaza port and airfield and cushion the Philadelphi highway route (running parallel to the border with Egypt) with a one-kilometer wide buffer strip and at the same time leave people free to move between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and allow Palestinians to work in Israel – what would be different from the present situation? We don’t see any difference.

8. What we do see is that your plan or the talk abound it means that instead of dialogue with Arafat or Dahlan, you will have to address the Hamas.

DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that the White House shot off the message to Jerusalem after accepting the finding of the National Security Council that Sharon’s proposals for disengagement and removal of settlements are unreal and his actions are confused and governed by the pressures of the investigations against him and his sons and his falling popular ratings as registered in the latest American-backed samplings. Sharon’s visit to Washington, reportedly postponed again until after Passover, has been consequently removed from the presidential engagement diary in the foreseeable future.

It was in the shadow of this message from the White House that the prime minister brushed off hostile questions on his disengagement intentions from his Likud ministers Sunday, March 21. Finance minister Binyamin Netanyahu, one of the few present who was aware of the American rejection, disappointed the critics by refraining from turning against the prime minister. He simply posed three conditions for accepting Sharon’s strategy:

Before pulling out of the Gaza Strip, Israel must finish building its West Bank security fence to include also the main Jewish settlement blocs, Modiin and the Modiin-Jerusalem Highway 443; the Bush administration must formally repudiate the Palestinian “right of return” demand for the 1948 refugees and Israeli must retain control of international crossing points and its freedom of self-defense to fight terrorists everywhere.

After the thunderbolt of the Hamas leader’s death, what happens next will hinge very much on how two quarters react: First, the Hamas leaders, who will have to decide quickly how to channel the fury of their following, whether against Israel or against the Palestinian Authority. If the latter, the fundamentalist group would have to drive all the way in their takeover of the Gaza Strip by kicking the PA and its head Yasser Arafat out of the territory. If the former, the Hamas would opt for a coalition with Arafat and his terrorist arms to wage an all-out war of revenge against Israel. In that case, Hamas would seek guarantees from Arafat for a power-sharing arrangement in Palestinian government.

Before Yassin’s death, the Hamas was moving in the opposite direction, boycotting the PA and Arafat and accepting collaboration only with his Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades for suicide attacks against Israel.

The other party to watch now is Arafat himself. He may decide to take advantage of Hamas disarray and move in on the Gaza Strip and Gaza City where his people have been pushed to the sidelines in recent weeks. It is doubtful that he can muster the strength for a takeover on this scale. He may therefore hold up Palestinian unity as the crisis watchword and call on Hamas remnants to join forces with PA security units to beat Israel into the ground.

This Sharon government would then be confronted with a Palestinian front fighting for a single slogan: We are all Hamas! This would signal a new stage in the Israel-Palestinian war.
13 posted on 03/22/2004 10:08:33 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran Strongly Condemns the Murder

March 22, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- Tehran on Monday strongly condemned massacre of Palestinians and assassination of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin by Israeli forces, calling the "criminal" move as an instance of Zionist regime's barbarism.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Monday that the act is a clear instance of "state terrorism", indicating that for Zionist regime of Israel there is no difference between a Palestinian activist and an ordinary citizen or a spiritual leader.

Asefi said that the move further indicates that Israel is enemy of each Palestinian. He said, "undoubtedly, such move would unveil the ugly and unpleasant face of them (Israelis) before all the world people."The Zionist regime will gain nothing from s uch crimes and would further sink in the crisis it has itself created, added Asefi.

Unfortunately, said Asefi, the global community's indifference towards the injustices, committed against the oppressed Palestinian people, had made Israel more impudent, tempting it to repeat its crimes.

The global community and international organizations are expected to be more responsible than the past and confront Israel so as to halt its crimes, concluded Asefi.

Israel on Monday assassinated Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. An Israeli warplane fired several missiles at Yassin's car shortly after he performed the dawn prayer at a central Gaza mosque.

Sheikh Yassin and two of his aides were killed instantly. Following his death, thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip took to the streets, shouting "God is great."

Hamas has vowed to avenge Yassin's death and the movement's leaders said the retaliation would be thunderous.

The Zionist regime claimed responsibility for the murder.
14 posted on 03/22/2004 10:09:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Russia's Nuclear Boss Says Iran Plans Back on Track

March 22, 2004
The New York Times

MOSCOW -- Russia's plans to finish an atomic reactor in Iran are back on track after a pause that followed a tough new resolution on Iran by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Russia's top atomic official said Monday.

Earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution that deplored Iran's failure to declare sensitive nuclear technology which could be used to make bomb-grade uranium.

``A certain pause in Russia's cooperation with Iran happened because of an IAEA board meeting where this new resolution on Iran was passed,'' Alexander Rumyantsev, head of the Atomic Energy Agency, was quoted as saying by Interfax news agency.

``But the question of construction of the Bushehr power plant in Iran has never been revised.''

The row between Iran and the IAEA prompted industry insiders to suggest Russia, wary of U.S. criticism of its nuclear ties with Iran, could ditch the $800 million project altogether.

Iran later vowed to continue to cooperate with the IAEA as long as Washington, which accuses Iran of seeking atomic arms, does not push its case up to the U.N. Security Council.

``Technical cooperation with Iran on construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant is continuing, and I do not see any reason why we should limit this cooperation,'' Rumyantsev said.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has been locked in months of tough talks with Iran over the project.

The first generating unit of the 1,000-megawatt plant was originally due to have begun full operation in 2003. But as negotiations dragged on, the launch was rescheduled to 2006.

Rumyantsev said ``a number of financial issues'' had yet to be settled, but did not elaborate.

He did not say whether a key bilateral deal requiring Iran to return spent nuclear fuel to Russia -- a measure aimed to alleviate some U.S. concerns -- would be signed during his visit to Iran over coming months.

``The Iranian side wants a few months to study what other countries normally do when it comes to returning spent nuclear fuel,'' he said. ``They have, however, said they are in principle ready to sign this document.''
15 posted on 03/22/2004 10:10:32 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Creeping Democracy

March 22, 2004
The New York Times
William Safire

WASHINGTON -- "Democratic creep" is not a derogation of a liberal candidate. On the contrary, it is the process — now well under way — by which free nations will win the world war on terror.

In Afghanistan, once a hotbed of Qaeda training and Taliban tyranny, nobody can deny we helped bring forth the beginnings of democratic government. Afghans, including newly liberated women, are helping track down fugitive killers.

In Iraq, we mourn our losses this past year, which now approach 2 percent of U.S. casualties in the Korean conflict. Many Iraqis died, too, but literally tens of thousands are alive today because Saddam did not have the power to torture and execute them — as mass graves tell us he did every year of his savage misrule.

Nobody can be certain that Iraq will remain whole and free after we turn over sovereignty on June 30. But prospects look far better than predicted by defeatists who claimed a year ago that political freedom had no chance of taking root in hostile Arab soil.

Free electricity keeps TV sets and air-conditioners humming, oil is flowing, schools and businesses have come to life. Unemployment, now over 30 percent, will surely drop as the $18 billion appropriated by the U.S. Congress — part of the $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan — begins to flow heavily next month into reconstruction by Iraqi workers. (The W.P.A. lives.)

We are training a civilian defense corps, twice the size of a joint Shiite-Sunni-Kurdish army, to take over free Iraq's battle against the Ansar-Qaeda terrorists and Baathist diehards. With the transfer of political power to a transitional Iraqi government, public fury at the mortar and rocket attacks on "soft target" civilians will be a nationalizing, not a destabilizing, force — directed not at occupiers but against the terrorist invaders.

Next year, a trio of local politicians will emerge to lead the country. "Three John Edwardses are out there awaiting their chance," says one observer.

Optimistic? In the grand design to uproot the causes of the rise of radical Islamic terrorism, defeat is no option. We have to believe in the popular success of a combination of democracy and prosperity. In this generation, the world has seen the power of the human desire for freedom.

From Kuwait to Qatar, the coalition's overthrow of Saddam has been a political tonic. Libya's dictator is making weaponry concessions lest his economy be wrecked and he be ousted. Repressive Iran is ripening for revolution. Egypt's boss and Saudi Arabia's princes are nervous because an arc of democracy bids fair to extend from Turkey through Iraq to Israel, with literate, enterprising populations blazing a path to liberating prosperity in the greater Middle East.

Syria's sullen Bashar al-Assad is feeling the heat. He benefited most from Saddam's corruption, probably provided a hiding place for Iraqi weapons and a route of entry into Iraq for Qaeda killers. His troops illegally occupy Lebanon; he supports Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists in rocket attacks and suicide bombings. His so-called intelligence sharing has been singularly unproductive.

A million and a half Kurds live in Syria, despised by the rulers in Damascus. After Syrian Kurds saw the blessings of freedom flow to their ethnic comrades in Iraq, some were emboldened to respond to Arab taunting at a soccer game. Bashar's goons, remembering his father's bloody "Hamas rules," shot a score of the unarmed protesters as a warning to the quarter-million Kurds the dictator keeps stateless.

Congress, more hawkish than President Bush on this state sponsor of terror, passed the Syria Accountability Act four months ago with large majorities; this week, he is expected to put some of its authorized economic squeeze on Bashar. He should consider that Step One.

This unified American message — substantial largess for free Iraq contrasted with the start of serious sanctions for despotic Syria — will not be lost on the Arab League meeting in Tunisia.

Success of democracy in Iraq is the key to democratic reform throughout the greater Middle East. When that reform dawns in Ramallah, there can be an independent, contiguous Palestine. When creeping democracy gradually brings a better life to people of the region, the basis for hatred and terror will erode and the suicide bomber will pass from the scene.

16 posted on 03/22/2004 10:11:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
PARIS, 18 Mar. (IPS) Iranian and international press and human rights organizations urged Iranian clerical authorities to free Mr. Ensafali Hedayat, an Iranian independent journalist jailed more than two months ago on unspecific charges.

The 51 years-old reporter was arrested early on January after his return from Berlin, where he had covered the meeting of Iranian Republicans, attended by hundreds of Iranians, including a dozen who had come from Iran and several other journalists, most of them working for foreign-based Iranian media.

Since then, not only the authorities have kept Mr. Hedayat in jail without giving any serious reason for his detention, but also local media of both sides of the leadership have been conspicuously silent on his fate, despite several letters wrote to the President and other officials by his young daughter, asking them to provide explanation or inform the public about possible charges.

According to informed friend and family sources, Mr. Hedayat is seriously ill and needs urgent medical treatments, but the authorities refuses to provide him needed care, including visit by specialists.

An independent journalist covering Iranian political and social scene for local and foreign-based media like the Prague-based Radio Farda, Mr. Hedayat had been systematically vindicated by the authorities, forcing domestic newspapers not take any article from him.

As a result, he had sold his small apartment in Tehran and left for Tabriz, the capital city of the Eastern Azarbaijan Province, where he lives in a one room flat with his wife and two children.

Informed sources say though his contribution to Radio Farda might be one of the reasons of the authorities anger with Mr. Hedayat, but what has made the rulers so determined in humiliating him is his straight forward and factual reporting, including his outstanding coverage of the strong earthquake that hit the historical city of Bam last year, killing more than 46.000 people, detailing the shortcomings of the Iranian authorities in dealing with the tragedy.

"Why this silence. Why this void. Why no one answers. Why everybody seems to take his distance in this nation from the case of my father, Ensafali Hedayat, a courageous and proud journalist?" wrote Ms. Fatemeh Hedayat in a moving open letter to the Iranian nation.

Iranian media except a few internet sites based outside Iran have refused to publish Ms. Hedayat letters.

"I’m asking why my father is in jail and nobody answers. I’m asking what my father has done and no one say anything. But I’m proud of my father. He is a free, courageous and strong man. He would stand up and shake hands of his countrymen. No matter he is in prison, deprived of all rights, but he is in the right path and his pencil writing the truth, the plights and the pains of his countrymen without fear, nor favour", she continued.

She also confirmed in the letter that his father is seriously ill, suffering from bleeding and infections due to bad prison conditions, but "no one pays any attention".

In letters and faxes to Iranian leaders, including Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, Mohammad Khatami, the President and Ayatollah Mahmood Hashemi Shahroodi, the Head of the Judiciary, the Rome-based Association of Iranian Journalists Abroad (AIJA), joined by the international press watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres called on them to free Mr. Hedayat "immediately and unconditionally" or take "all the consequences".

"Mr. Hedayat is in prison since early January and despite all inquiries, the authorities of the Islamic Republic have refused to provide any answer on the charges against the journalist", both AIJA and Reporters Without Borders said.

For its part, the executive committees of the Iranian Republicans also send a petition to the Iranian authorities, protesting to the "arbitrary" arrest of Mr. Hedayat, whom, it said, had done nothing wrong but to cover the meeting "as did several others of his colleagues".

According to the RSF, the Islamic Republic is one of the world’s largest prison for journalists and its leader, Ayatollah Khameneh’i, "one of the world’s most dangerous predator of press freedom".

Since 1999, Iranian clerical authorities, acting on orders from Mr. Khameneh’i, have shut more than 120 publications and arrested tens of leading Iranian journalist, commentators and editors, some of them still behind bars, including Hoda Saber, Taqi Rahmani, Siamak Poorzand, Reza Alijani and Iraj Jamshidi, but also lawyer Naser Zarafshan, Researcher and writer Abbas Abdi, Islamist reformer Hojjatoleslam Hasan Yusefi Eshkevar and university professor Hashem Aqajari.
17 posted on 03/22/2004 11:18:16 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

18 posted on 03/22/2004 11:20:05 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

Persian New Year in Westwood California
19 posted on 03/22/2004 11:32:14 AM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
'Any Action That Weakens...The Islamic Republican State Is Not Permissible'

March 22, 2004
Radio Free Europe
Bill Samii

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded to a journalist's question regarding the permissibility of labor strikes on 15 March by saying that "any action that weakens the sacred Islamic republican state is not permissible," ILNA reported.

"They can go through legal channels and report on the matter to senior officials in order to obtain their rights," Khamenei added.

Labor unrest has wracked Iran in recent weeks. The country's teachers ended a one-week strike over pay and living conditions on 13 March, newspapers reported the next day, according to Reuters. An anonymous teacher told Reuters, "We were threatened with being fired if we continued the protests."
20 posted on 03/22/2004 11:58:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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