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Iranian Alert -- March 24, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 3.24.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 03/23/2004 10:34:36 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.

DoctorZin


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

1 posted on 03/23/2004 10:34:37 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 03/23/2004 10:39:13 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Report: Iran, N. Korea building secret underground nuke plant

3.24.2004
World Tribune

North Korea and Iran are building a secret underground facility in northwestern North Korea to produce centrifuges to enrich uranium, according to a Japanese press report.

The Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported March 10 that the factory would be located north of the Yongbyon facility near the town of Kusong.

The report, quoting a military source, stated that a high-ranking Iranian military official visited Pyongyang in late January and stayed several days for negotiations with the North Koreans.

The centrifuges would be used in a "cascade" - a series of such machines to produce enriched weapons-grade uranium.

http://www.east-asia-intel.com/eai/
3 posted on 03/23/2004 10:56:15 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Yep, we've read about this before.
Sounds just as bad now as a few weeks ago.
Something has to be done about it......
4 posted on 03/24/2004 4:42:09 AM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
Why Sharon Did It

New York Post - By Amir Taheri
Mar 24, 2004

'IN my prayers, I always beg the God Almighty to bless me with the honor of martyrdom." This is how Sheik Ahmed Yassin often expressed his deepest desire.

Despite such pronouncements, the sheik was extra careful not to be caught in a situation in which he would meet martyrdom. Yet the other day the Hamas leader had his wish fulfilled at the hands of an Israeli commando dispatched to eliminate him on the orders of his most determined foe, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

But why would Sharon want the sheik out of the way - and why now?

Yassin's "targeted killing" could be seen as part of Sharon's broader plan to withdraw Israeli forces from Gaza and to dismantle Jewish settlements there.

Sharon does not want his withdrawal from Gaza to look like Ehud Barak's retreat from southern Lebanon, which Hezbollah translated into a great triumph for itself. Sharon wants to leave Gaza from a position of strength. So he needs to dismantle as much of the Hamas infrastructure as he can.

Before leaving, Sharon must find someone to assume control of Gaza. Secret negotiations have been going on with Egypt for months. Egypt, which administered Gaza between 1947 and 1967, had indicated interest in returning in an interim role - on two conditions:

* It should not face radical armed groups that could turn their guns and suicide bombers against Egyptian forces after the Israelis are gone.

* The Western world must provide a package of urgent aid to revive Gaza's economy and provide jobs for at least part of the working population - which, shut out of the Israeli labor market, would be in total despair.

Sharon's hope is to revive the "Gaza first" plan first worked out by Shimon Peres in 1993. The idea is to let Gaza shape its own destiny as best as it can. But Gaza could easily become another southern Lebanon, which means another Damocles' sword hanging above Israel's head.

This is why Sharon wants all Palestinian groups in Gaza disarmed before the enclave is put under the control of Egypt, one of only two Arab states that have signed a peace treaty with Israel.

Sharon also believes that by decapitating Hamas - and in this context one must expect more "targeted killings" - he could bring the current Intifada (uprising) to a quick end. A similar tactic was used when the first Intifada was brought to an end with the elimination of its principal leaders, notably Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad), Yasser Arafat's No. 2 and closest associate.

The timing of Yassin's killing may also be linked to two other facts:

* It came just days before the Arab summit at Tunis - where Syria, backed by its client state of Lebanon, plans to promote a new version of the "rejection front" both against Israel and the American initiative for a new Middle East.

* Sharon is scheduled to visit Washington soon to discourage moves to take Hamas off the State Department's list of international terrorist organizations.

BUT possibly the most important reason why Sharon believes he can hit Hamas at the highest level of its leadership is the Israeli belief that the Palestinian radical movement is losing momentum. In 2003, the number of Israelis killed by Hamas and other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine was down by almost 50 percent compared to 2002. Although this was partly due to more effective prevention work, there has also been a sharp decline in the total number of planned attacks.

Hamas and virtually all other Palestinian radical groups have been experiencing growing difficulties in attracting new recruits, especially for suicide operations. Hamas is also facing financial difficulties.

The fall of Saddam Hussein closed what had become the single biggest source of funds for Hamas in the past five years. Several other Arab countries have been forced to close channels through which funds were collected for and directed to Hamas.

Both the United States and the European Union have also plugged sources of finance for Hamas. (Until 2001 nearly half of all foreign contributions to Hamas came from front organizations in the United States.)

Talks between Hamas and Iran, held in Tehran in February, failed to produce a massive increase in Iranian contributions. Since last November, the cash prize offered to the families of "suicide-martyrs" has been reduced from $25,000 to just over $11,000.

SHARON'S Gaza gamble may look like a daring tactical move. What is needed, however, is a strategy aimed at enabling a new Palestinian leadership to emerge. Caught between "suicide" leaders like Yassin and corrupt despots like Arafat, the Palestinians have no opportunity to put together a moderate and clean political leadership to lead the nation out of the current impasse and onto the path of peace based on the two-states principle.

Most Palestinians know that suicide attacks have never secured freedom and independence for any nation. They also know that the Arafat coterie is unable, if not actually unwilling, to lead the nation at this juncture. Yet the combination of Arafat, with his financial clout, and Yassin, with his suicide squads, has left little space for an alternative leadership to emerge.

And without such a Palestinian leadership, prospects for a durable end to violence shall remain dim.

In the 1980s, Israel helped create Hamas as a counterweight to the Palestine Liberation Organization. In the 1990s, Israel brought Arafat back from his political tomb in order to outflank the moderate Palestinian leadership that had emerged under people like Faisal al-Hussaini and Heidar Abdul-Shafi.

That leadership had made a strategic choice of accepting Israel as a reality, something that neither Yassin nor Arafat were able to make. The result is that the majority of Palestinians are excluded from any meaningful role in shaping their future.

Yassin's demise may provoke a final bouquet of suicide attacks. But once that is over, we shall still be left with the real issue: how to help Palestinians and Israelis to emerge from the impasse of violence and terror.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5466.shtml
5 posted on 03/24/2004 8:21:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Leader Warns That Enemies Are Trying to Destabilize Iran

TEHRAN, March 24 (Mehr News Agency)

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that the enemies should know that any act against Iran would be thwarted because Iranians are awake and vigilant.

Addressing large groups of pilgrims at the holy shrine of Hazrat Musa al-Reza (AS), the eight Shiite Imam in Mashad, Ayatollah Khamenei said that Americans and Zionists have faced an impasse in Iran as well as in Iraq and Palestine.

Contrary to their expectation, the U.S. has encountered numerous difficulties in Iraq and is bogged down in a quagmire, said the Supreme Leader said.

Urging the people to maintain their vigilance and awareness, Ayatollah Khamenei said enemies and the arrogant powers have today realized that Iranian nation would show their national strength whenever needed.

He warned the audience that enemies are striving to destabilize Iran because instability would inhibit scientific, economic, and cultural progress.

The most important duty of people and officials is to be vigilant and responsible and make the most of the stability in the country obtained through high public turn out in rallies and elections.

The Supreme Leader instructed the officials to be accountable to the public, report details of their performance to them and avoid considering themselves immune to any criticism.

He further urged the officials to abide by their faith, strive for social justice, avoid discrimination, squandering public wealth, violation of public rights and abusing their positions.

The Supreme Leader also urged the judiciary to provide the public with the first hand account of its performance for restoration of the oppressed`s rights and turn the judiciary branch as real sanctuary of the oppressed.

The Supreme Leader said the MPs-elect for the seventh Majlis should know that the public expect them to work and act in line with the Islamic ethics.

http://www.mehrnews.com/wfNewsDetails_en.aspx?NewsID=66930&t=Political
6 posted on 03/24/2004 8:23:55 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; yonif; PhilDragoo; RaceBannon; freedom44; seamole; Valin; southland; SusanTK; ...
Iran says intifada is Palestinians' only option

Hi Pakistan Daily
25th March 2004
Pakistan

TEHRAN: Iran's government on Wednesday condemned Israel's killing of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin but said the action would only strengthen Palestinian resistance to the Zionist criminals.

'The objective of Israel was to bring the heroic Palestinian resistance to its knees. But experience shows that with the martyrdom of each Palestinian, that the intifada (uprising) will only gain more strength,' the government said in a statement carried by the official iranian news agency.

Slamming Monday's assassination as 'a terrorist act by a terrorist government', Iran also blasted 'a direct complicity in the crimes of Israel by the United States.' It condemned what it said was the 'silence of certain international organisations and world powers'.

http://www.hipakistan.com/en/detail.php?newsId=en58522&F_catID=&f_type=source
7 posted on 03/24/2004 8:25:02 AM PST by F14 Pilot (John Fedayeen Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
China to Buy Iran’s LNG, Ignoring U.S. Energy Sanctions

TEHRAN March 24 (Mehr News Agency)

Iran has advanced in negotiations to sell up to $20 billion worth of liquefied natural gas to China, Interfax reported on Sunday.

No Iranian Oil Ministry officials were available to give comments or further information on the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC)’s MOU, signed on March 3 in Beijing.

In what could be the largest Iranian energy deal since 1996, Tehran has agreed in principle to sell $20 billion worth of LNG to China over the next 25 years. The two countries -- ignoring U.S. energy sanctions on Tehran -- have signed a memorandum of understanding that envisions the start of LNG supplies in 2008.

Under the proposed arrangement, the Beijing-based, government-sponsored oil trading company, Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp., a spin-off of China's defense and missile contractor, China North Industries Corp., would begin importing an annual 2.5 million metric tons of Iranian LNG. That figure would increase to five million tons annually starting in 2013.

China North Industries, also known as Norinco, has been the target of U.S. sanctions.

"The [LNG framework] agreement is a supplementary deal to the MoU signed by us at the end of last year," Interfax quoted Zheng Mei, with the International Trading Department of Zhuhai Zhenrong, as saying.

"The deal represents purely a corporate operation, through which we've concentrated on discussing the possibility of cooperation," continued Zheng. "Doesn't the government encourage us to develop such kind of projects?"

The agreement also stated that the National Iranian Gas Exporting Company (NIGEC), under the auspices of NIOC, had made it one of its priorities to export LNG to China, according to information from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration

Commission (SASAC).

According to SASAC's announcement, Iran has finished engineering design for the project that is going to make the contracted LNG delivery to China. Tenders for the project have been issued to bidders, and the current estimate for the start of production is 2008.

Zhuhai Zhenrong was founded in 1994 and is among nearly 200 large state-owned enterprises under the direct administration of the central government, which have been under the authority of SASAC since last year. Among the top 500 trading companies in China, the firm had imported a cumulative total of 34 million tons of oil as of 2001.

Starting in 2002, it imported 12 million tons of crude oil annually from Iran under a 10-year governmental fixed-volume oil-trading contract. Last year's oil imported by the company stood at 11.76 million tons.

Energy guzzler China, which imported 12.4 million tons of crude oil in 2003, has become a major energy client of Iran and plans to develop Iranian energy fields. In April, a Zhenrong unit, Tianbao Energy, will renew a contract to buy 80,000 tons of fuel oil a month from the state-owned NIOC. That contract will last through March 2005.

China has signed LNG importing contracts with Australia and Indonesia, and is constructing two terminals in the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian in the south to receive the first delivery from the two countries in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

The imported LNG from the two countries, expected to reach more than 6 million tons per annum combined, will be mainly used to fuel power plants in southern China that suffered rolling blackouts during the power shortages last summer. Up to four more LNG terminals are being planned by the government on China's eastern coastline, in Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Tianjin, as Interfax previously reported.

http://www.mehrnews.com/wfNewsDetails_en.aspx?NewsID=66886&t=Economic
8 posted on 03/24/2004 8:27:11 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Gains by Kin in Iraq Inflame Kurds' Anger at Syria

March 24, 2004
The New York Times
Neil MacFarquhar

AMISHLIYE, Syria -- The larger-than-life statue of the late president, Hafez al-Assad, that towers over a traffic circle here stands hidden beneath a blue and red striped tarpaulin, which residents say hides the fact that antigovernment protesters knocked off its head.

In Malikiya, a nearby town, two gilded plaster busts of the elder Mr. Assad and his son, President Bashar al-Assad, the main décor inside a culture center, were also decapitated and the building was set on fire. Someone scrawled "Kurdistan" in bright red spray paint across an interior wall of the gutted Water Authority building there, too.

Antigovernment protests are extremely uncommon in Syria, where grim memories are vivid of thousands of Islamic militants mowed down by government troops in the early 1980's. But grievances simmering within the Kurdish minority for decades — over their difficulties in obtaining citizenship, the ban on their language, their poverty amid rich farmland — finally boiled over in the last few weeks.

Kurdish Syrians, 2 million of Syria's 17 million people, say that watching rights for Kurds being enshrined in a new if temporary constitution next door in Iraq finally pushed them to take to the streets to demand greater recognition. In their wake is a toll of blackened government buildings, schools, grain silos and vehicles across a remote swath of the north.

"What happened did not come out of a void," says Bishar Ahmed, a 30-year-old Kurd whose cramped stationery shop sits right next to a cluster of blackened buildings in Malikiya. "The pressure has been building for nearly 50 years. They consider us foreigners; we have no rights as citizens."

Clashes on March 11 between fans from rival soccer teams set off the sudden squall, which officially left 25 people dead and dozens wounded. But the raw emotions shocked Syrians and left officials painting a sinister picture of foreign plots to partition the country.

To a man, local officials all suggest that the Kurds were motivated by infiltrators from Iraq. "They came from outside the country, from the east, and they have been paid in U.S. dollars supplied by Bremer and his gang," said Ahmed al-Salah, an employee of a burned-down government feed warehouse in Qamishliye, some 400 miles northeast of Damascus. He was referring to L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator of Iraq.

For their part, Kurdish residents claim the government responded to what they call peaceful protests with violence as an excuse to say Syria remains too unstable to introduce the kind of democratic reforms that are helping their brethren in Iraq.

"We want democracy like the others," said Hoshiar Abdelrahman, another young shopkeeper in Malikiya, 60 miles east of Qamishliye.

The question of minorities remains a highly sensitive, largely unspoken topic in Syria, particularly because one small group, the Alawites, dominates the government. "Unity" has been their rallying cry. Already edgy about the possibility Iraq will split on sectarian lines, Syrian officials see the Kurdish riots as another step in an attempt to partition all Arab states.

After the first few demonstrators were killed, Kurdish areas throughout Syria bubbled over with years of repressed grievances, local residents say. In Malikiya, a town of one and two-story buildings, the tide of angry voices at the Saturday market eventually led to a march on city hall. As the crowd approached, troops opened fire, killing a 17-year-old and a 20-year-old, residents said.

The government version is that the Kurds starting setting fire to buildings first and the government fired on them to protect its property. "If we were attacked by an Israel missile, we would respond with all means possible," said Salim Kabul, governor of Hassakeh Province, where Kurds are concentrated. "So what do you expect when we are attacked from inside?"

He put the toll in his province at 20 dead, including 14 Kurds and 6 Arabs, among them two policemen. Kurds suspect the toll is far higher.

The area produces significant amounts of oil, wheat and cotton, and yet, residents say, they get little development money. Instead, they complain, for the past four decades the government has been slowly moving more Arabs into the area, trying to form a belt 10 miles wide and 165 miles long to sever the Kurds from ethnic kin in Iraq and Turkey.

Village and even mountain names have been Arabized and the Kurdish language banned, although most families teach it at home. Worse, tens of thousands of Kurds are denied citizenship. (Kurdish groups say more than 200,000; the government says 100,000.) The government says Kurds denied citizenship are the offspring of illegal immigrants who came over the border from Turkey to find jobs and stayed.

"My grandfather was born here, yet my father is considered a foreigner, I am a foreigner and my 3-year-old son has no nationality," said Mr. Abdelrahman, the shopkeeper. Both he and his wife's identification cards read "single"; their marriage is not recognized.

He pulls out a tattered orange identification card that reads, "Foreign Records Department, Hassakeh Governorate," and notes that the bearer cannot travel outside Syria.

Suddenly every young man in a crowd that has gathered starts waving similar cards and shouting against the government. It was a brazen, unusual display of discontent, considering that the Ministry of Information had organized the recent tour for a few journalists, who were escorted by security officers.

Syrian officials deny that the Kurds face any discrimination or have any real basis for their complaints. They note that the young President Assad visited the area in 2002 and pledged greater development, which will come.

After the riots, the Kurdish Democratic Party in Iraq issued a statement suggesting that Damascus do something to end the problems in "Syrian Kurdistan" peacefully. Shock waves rippled through the government here.

Hoshar Zubairy, Iraq's Kurdish foreign minister, made his first official visit to Syria, partly to try to smooth ruffled feathers. At a news conference on Monday, where Mr. Zubairy was peppered with questions that fell just short of calling him an American stooge, he said Iraq had enough trouble with instability to want to create any here.

Of course, not even a riot in the Middle East seems complete without invoking some historical precedent, in this case, Saladin. This Kurdish warrior, who is buried in Damascus, evicted the Crusaders from Jerusalem in 1187.

Syrian officials asked aloud this week how a country that enshrined Saladin could mistreat his descendants. "We want a political dialogue because our nation is for all," Ahmed Haj Ali, a consultant to the minister of information, said on Al Arabiya satellite television.

But Abdul Baqi Youssef, a Kurdish opposition figure in Qamishliye, said that by drawing all the warriors and intellectuals out of the Kurdish area to battle the Crusaders, Saladin left it buffeted by overlords to this day. "The Arabs should consider him a saint, but he brought devastation to the Kurds," Mr. Youssef said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/24/international/middleeast/24SYRI.html
9 posted on 03/24/2004 8:28:57 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot
Freedom ~ Now!
10 posted on 03/24/2004 8:40:39 AM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Caught on tape: Syrian State`s crimes against humanity - updated
20/03/2004 KurdishMedia.com
London (KurdishMedia.com) 20 March 2004: Amatuer cameramen caught on tape the Syrian state security forces firing indiscriminately on unarmed Kurdish civilians at a March 13th funeral.

Similar pictures were broadcast by the UK TV station Channel 4, which reported that the officials in the Syrian embassy in London declined to be interviewed.

In a newly released unedited videotape, the mourners are taking for burial the bodies of the Kurds who had been killed by the same state security forces during a football match the day before, on March 12th, in the Kurdistani city of Qamishlo.

The unedited videotape, along with two other edited tapes, clearly demonstrates that Syrian state security forces responded to the unarmed crowd of men, women and children by shooting to kill.

The images show that the Kurdish protestors at first think that the soldiers and militias on moving vehicles were firing into the air. Some in the crowd are trying to calm the panicking crowd. People are falling down by what seems to be the gunshot wounds they receive.

Some in the crowd are trying to help the wounded while some demonstrators put up resistance, by shouting slogans and throwing stones, many civilians are running for their lives; women and children are screaming.

The videotapes were released by a newly established Web site, serhildanaqamishlo.com. It is a news and information site, established by a number of other information providers to offer information specifically on the current situation of West [Syrian] Kurdistan.

1) Unedited video:
http://www.serhildanaqamislo.com/qamislo_13_03_04.wmv

2) Edited video 1
http://www.serhildanaqamislo.com/Video/qamishlo.ram
3) Edited video 2
http://www.serhildanaqamislo.com/Video/qamishlo130304.ram
Warning: The videos include extremely violent images, not suitable for children or other vulnerable people.
source: http://www.kurdmedia.com/news.asp?id=4805

11 posted on 03/24/2004 9:56:57 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
Karbala Connection: Where Bombs, Heroin and Islam Meet

March 24, 2004
Kuwait Times
Ned Parker

The US-led coalition and its Iraqi allies say they have another enemy in Iraq-Afghan drugs that are providing Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network with the cash to finance the car and suicide bombings dogging the occupation.

The police and coalition military officials told AFP that the drugs trade has bankrolled the recruitment of Iraqis into the ranks of a growing Islamic extremist movement that now counts up to 200 cells around the country.

Karbala police say some of the suicide bombers are doped up on volatile mix of Islam and anti-psychotic pills when they go on their deadly missions. "Drugs are entering into Iraq through Al-Qaeda. They are using the revenues to finance their network," said Karbala investigative judge Ahmed Al-Hillali who has been tracking the clandestine world of terror that has carried out two major attacks on Karbala since December.

Despite widespread accusations against alleged Al-Qaeda operative Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, US military officials concede that the network of Islamic extremism is first and foremost Iraqi. "Even if we have 10 or 12 Zarqawi-like personnel out there ... they still depend on the local area for sanctuary, linguistics, for support, for transportation," Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt told AFP. "It is my judgement that you may bring some foreigners in from the outside, but numerically we have far more Iraqis involved in support of these operations-if not the actual trigger pullers."

Police say that with a porous border and an influx of pilgrims from around the Islamic world, particularly neighbouring Iran, the shrine city of Karbala is the perfect centre for al-Qaeda agents and drug smugglers. All parties come together in this hothouse of intrigue. "First it (drugs) spreads from Afghanistan to Iran then it's smuggled through the pilgrims. No one searches the pilgrims when they enter Iraq," said police colonel Kareem Sultan, the deputy commander for Karbala. "The drug merchants are closely related to Al-Qaeda people." The main Afghan cash crop of heroin leaves its trail of sallow-skinned addicts in this city. The traffic then moves down into the scorched desert on the Saudi Arabian border. "Drug dealers in Saudi Arabia are buying it from these guys," Sultan said. The profits pay for, and ease the journey of, Iraqis into the cadres of Islamic radicalism. Drug money has penetrated the mixed Sunni and Shiite villages north and south of Karbala, which boast a small population of Wahhabi Muslims, the puritanical sect of Islam embraced by al-Qaeda. "We have what we call the troubled areas; one is Ukhaidhir, another is Husseiniya and Awanad but the main one is Ukhaidhir. It was not originally Wahhabi but it collaborated and was won over with money and drugs as well," Sultan said. Last month, raids by police and Polish forces on these villages exposed what they believe to be the drug and terrorism connection.

In Ukhaidhir, the security forces grabbed nine suspects from the al-Khadush tribe, two of whom coalition officials forces said were Al-Qaeda figures. They also seized a large amount of drugs, thought to be heroin which would be worth 20 million dollars, according to Sultan. "Two of the men were from the Al-Qaeda group connected with Zarqawi," Master Warrant Officer and spokesman Zbigniew Dabkiewicz told AFP. The two Iraqis were allegedly implicated in the coordinated December 27 four-car suicide bomb attack on Karbala that killed 19 people. The pair were now in US custody, while the other men were divided among the US, Polish and Iraqi security forces.

The Polish forces say they believe drug money was financing the attacks around Karbala. Sultan said: "We suspected such behaviour from the Khadushes. We had intelligence about them from the beginning about links to Wahhabi, Qaeda, and drugs." He added that some of those rounded up in February 23 raids were intoxicated on drugs like R-Tine, an anti-psychotic medication available at pharmacies. many of the suicide bombers, some of them Iraqi, were believed to be drugged up when they attacked, he said. "We believe they pay them money and give them drugs to have them half-conscious when they detonate their explosives. It's like brainwashing." Kimmitt said the Americans were trying to understand the secretive and purposefully decentralized Iraqi Islamist movement. "We think there are a couple of hundred (cells) out there," he said. "They're loosely affiliated but they're not all inter-connected. Small cells, at the most maybe double figures. What we have to do is go knock down that one, knock down that one and keep going after them," he said. But this extremist world is a new one for the Americans. "The absence of the ideology is what confounds us. This is not like Vietnam, where it was democracy versus communism; or a corrupt Vietnamese government against a pure communist government," Kimmitt said. "This is freedom, democracy, liberty, a country at peace with its neighbour versus something else and we are just having a hard time figuring out what that something else is." he said.

http://www.kuwaittimes.net/today/analysis_s2.php
12 posted on 03/24/2004 10:23:20 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Our National Celebration of Life

March 24, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Reza Bayegan

Until quite recently the custom of Noruz courtesy visits required that the younger people called on those relatives and friends who enjoyed seniority in age. Is this custom changing? This year in the first few hours of Noruz I received phone calls from many Iranians who were much older than myself; and I in turn picked up the telephone and without any qualms saluted younger friends and relatives on the occasion of our highest national day. It was as if we had important news to communicate which did away with rigid rules and strict conventions.

Moreover, vitality and flexibility rather than rigid rules and strict regulations are the hallmarks of Noruz. There are no injunctions or decrees telling people on how to "correctly" observe the Noruz rituals. You do not need the advice or blessing of a clergy or a spiritual intermediary. More than anything else, this spring feast is an affirmation of life and celebration of creative forces in our surrounding universe. It has persisted since time immemorial by the individual devotion of every Iranian family without any expectation of heavenly reward and sometimes under serious threats of earthly punishment.

Noruz is the cornerstone of being an Iranian. And what do we mean by an Iranian? Is it a matter of certain blood type, DNA composition or racial characteristics? Do you have to be born in Iran or of Iranian parentage to qualify as an Iranian? Being an Iranian I believe is a great deal like being a student. You can be a student and truly live up to the high standard demanded from such a status or you can be called a student, carry a valid student card, dress like a student, attend school and do anything except studying.

Accordingly, being an Iranian can be a matter of mere citizenship or it can be a deep moral and emotional allegiance to a certain way of life and frame of mind. In this latter sense it entails partaking of a rich heritage and sensitiveness to those values that are part and parcel of a great civilization.

For centuries Noruz, this highest mark in the Iranian calendar has brought together Tajiks, Persians, Arabic speaking Iranians, Turkmen and Kurds to rejoice around a collection of symbols that stand for vitality, compassion and enlightenment. It has united Jews and Christians, Zoroastrians and Moslems in a common tribute to the inestimable splendor of life.

When the Al Qaeda assassins claimed responsibility for the slaughter of hundreds of innocent men, women and children on the 11 March in Madrid their benighted spokesman said, "You love life and we love death." No lover of death and no promoter of persecution and terror can understand what Noruz is all about, or truly participate in its celebration. That is why the criminal rulers of Iran have done their level best in the past quarter of a century to undermine and belittle the celebration of life affirming national feasts such as Noruz and Chaharshanbeh Soori (Bonfire Wednesday). What the ruling mullahs in Iran share with Al Qaeda is a love of death, blood and destruction.

Iranian people in their annual testimony to what their rich culture and ancient civilization stands for, reiterate their rejection of terrorism and dictatorship. They affirm their hope to a bright and exquisite future and the spring of their political emancipation.

http://iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2004&m=03&d=24&a=4
13 posted on 03/24/2004 10:24:00 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran to buy TU 100-204 planes from Russia

Islamic Republic News Agency - Report Section
Mar 24, 2004

Moscow - Head of Iran`s Civil Aviation Organization Hassan Hajalifard is to travel to Russia on Friday to hold talks with Russian aviation committee on purchase of Russian-made TU 100-204 planes.

Hajalifard is to go to Moscow along with a delegation, which will
also comprise a group of experts.

The visit follows a visit by a 13-member Russian aviation
delegation to Tehran in February.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5465.shtml
14 posted on 03/24/2004 10:25:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian radio host helps his listeners bridge culture gap

By Azadeh Moaveni
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — It is one hour into Farhang Holakouee's daytime radio show, and a caller reveals a Persian version of "The Scarlet Letter."

The woman is 33, unmarried and six weeks pregnant. Her boyfriend refuses to marry her. Should she have an abortion or become a single mom? Her own horrified mother, meantime, is staging "typical Iranian mother theatrics."

"My dear, you need to think realistically," Holakouee says, gently probing the woman's ethical position on abortion and her financial ability to raise a child alone.

In a calm voice, he walks her through some costs of keeping the baby: It will be harder to find a husband. Her family might not be willing to help. He suggests she weigh that against her reluctance to end the pregnancy.

"Find some solitude, talk quietly with your God, and decide which pain is easier to bear," he says.

Then he takes a moment to stick up for the maligned "Iranian mother": "Theatrics?" he asks. "Isn't it possible she's simply upset?"

Six days a week, Holakouee offers thousands of Iranian listeners advice on how to balance their traditional values with U.S. culture. He preaches a sympathetic realism in dealing with shifting gender roles, homesickness, mental illness and the conflicts between generations over premarital sex and cohabitation.

Holakouee has helped to make it respectable to discuss such concerns outside the family and with a stranger, a significant break from Iranian tradition.

Since 1980, Holakouee has transformed himself from a teacher of classes on self-esteem and anger management into a radio star in the Iranian community through his show, "Needs and Mysteries."




His seminars pack hotel ballrooms in Los Angeles, New York, Washington and Europe. He speaks on cruise ships bound for Mexico and Alaska. His radio show on Los Angeles' Persian station KIRN-AM reaches thousands of Iranians living in Southern California. He also draws listeners via satellite and the Internet from Iranian expatriate communities around the world.

Holakouee grounds his thinking in history, philosophy, literature and psychology. He sprinkles his lectures with references to Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and 11th-century Persian Sufi poet Mevlana Jalaleddin Rumi.

His critics, who include husbands leery of psychology who can't fathom why their wives listen to his show, accuse him of dispensing advice that runs counter to Iranian culture. They say such ideas as a person's "inner child" and attention-deficit disorder are Western notions Iranians must avoid to retain cultural purity.

But such criticism often is overshadowed by praise from his devotees. "He's insightful, funny and makes a point of keeping you engaged," says Ferial Sarrafian, of Beverly Hills, who regularly listens to him on her commute home.

Holakouee says he is trying to find a middle ground, where Iranians shed the worst of Persian and U.S. cultures and forge more humane values.

"If you're wise, you don't believe culture is holy."

His callers' dilemmas are commonplace: an immigrant teenager obsessed with Internet chat, a girl frustrated with her father's traditional reserve, a husband estranged from a rapidly assimilating wife, a meddling mother- in-law.

Some need coaching to relax their hold on daughters so the daughters can leave home to attend college or get jobs. Others might struggle with prejudice if their daughters date men of other backgrounds.

Holakouee's followers see him as a catalyst for change.

"It's rare that one person can change a culture," says Homa Mahmoudi, a psychologist who has practiced in Los Angeles for 35 years.

Holakouee, 59, grew up in the Iranian city of Shiraz, where the great national poets he quotes are buried.

He taught collective behavior at the University of Tehran until 1977, when he anticipated the Iranian revolution and moved to the United States.

He earned a doctorate in sociology and a master's degree in marriage and family counseling at the University of Utah and began teaching classes and seminars.

Along the way, his marriage ended and he raised his two sons alone.

When asked by a listener how he can advise on marriage when his own failed, he replies that he prefers to keep his life private.

Rarely does Holakouee dispense harsh advice. But his tone can drip with dismay, such as when he chided a mother for being concerned about her tot's choice of outfit: "Dear lady, a 3-year-old cannot distinguish from chic."

Often, callers are perplexed by the dizzying array of choices of life in the United States.

Holakouee's biggest lesson is that freedom has consequences. "Having options is certainly progress. But when you're free, it's your own choices that can confine you."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001886489_radio24.html
15 posted on 03/24/2004 1:43:26 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Quake shakes northeastern Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.6 degrees on the Richter scale rocked the Iranian city of Shahroud, in the northeastern province of Semnan Wednesday morning, according to IRNA news agency.

The seismological base of Tehran University's Geophysics
Institute said the tremor took place at 07:09 hours local time (0239 GMT).

There were no reports of any casualties or damage to property caused by the quake, the agency added. (Albawaba.com)

http://www.albawaba.com/headlines/TheNews.php3?action=story&sid=273341&lang=e&dir=News
16 posted on 03/24/2004 1:44:27 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran mullahs: Palestine, most important issue of world of Islam
Mar 25, 2004, 00:50

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IRNA -- Head of Majlis Speaker`s office in Tehran Ahmad Hosseini said on Tuesday that Palestine is the most important issue of the world of Islam. In a meeting with Hamas representative in Tehran Abdulmoatta in Tehran on Tuesday, Hosseini underlined the valuable role of the late spiritual leader of Hamas Sheikh Ahmed Yasin in formation of Hamas and Intifadha, saying his martyrdom would be source of blessing for Palestinians` Intifadha.

Hosseini attended the meeting on sidelines of a ceremony to lay wreath at Hamas`s Tehran office in commemoration of late Yasin, who was assassinated by Israel in Gaza early Monday morning. He said Iranian government and people pay special attention to Palestinian issues and consider Palestinian Intifadha as a valuable move taken by Palestinians to regain their legitimate rights.

He added that Zionist occupiers` "criminal" move in the occupied Palestine is clear stance of terrorism. "The US that claims to have been fighting terrorism is the main propagator of terrorism in the region and the world for supporting the criminal move," said Hosseini.

He voiced sympathy with Palestinians on the incident on behalf of Iranian government and people. Abdulmoatta said for his part that the million-strong presence of people in Yasin`s funeral was sign of public support for Intifadha.

He said that the usurper Israel and its US ally were falsely thinking that they would be able to suppress Intifadha by assassination of Yasin. Iran`s government on Tuesday condemned assassination by Israel of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, saying that Palestinians` continued resistance is the only way to face Israel`s brutal policies. Issuing a six-point statement, Iranian government also stressed further unity among Palestinians against Israeli threats. The statement said that undoubtedly, Israel`s main objective in adopting such measures is to bring the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people into its knees but experience has shown that martyrdom of any Palestinian inhales a new life to other Palestinians, their resistance and Intifadha. The statement said the "terrorist" incident indicates the US` direct role in Israeli atrocities.

It highly criticized the international organizations and communities, especially certain Arab and Muslim states, for their indifference towards the ongoing events in Palestine as well as Israel`s crimes against the defenseless Palestinian people.

It said that international organizations` silence had further encouraged Israel to go on with its policy of assassination and massacre. It added that Israel has been insisting on its policy of assassination, suppression and insecurity, proving that it considers its life depended on escalation of tension in the occupied lands and the region. It warned that the US` support for Israel and the global community`s silence against Israeli atrocities would undoubtedly result in continued instability, tension and atrocities of Israel in the region.

Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, President Mohammad Khatami, Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, Vice-President Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, government spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi, Leadership envoy in Syria Ayatollah Seyed Mojtaba Hosseini, Friday prayers leaders in Iran, Majlis National Security Commission, Islamic Revolution Martyrs Foundation and Basij have thus far condemned the assassination.

Israel on Monday assassinated Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yasin. An Israeli warplane fired several missiles at Yasin`s car shortly after he performed the dawn prayer at a central Gaza mosque. Sheikh Yasin 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 Yasin`s death and the movement`s leaders said the retaliation would be thunderous. The Zionist regime claimed responsibility for the murder.

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_1819.shtml
17 posted on 03/24/2004 1:49:57 PM PST by freedom44
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To: freedom44
Oh Barf
18 posted on 03/24/2004 2:40:03 PM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: AdmSmith
I'm glad they have the truth on video.
19 posted on 03/24/2004 2:51:50 PM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
"He warned the audience that enemies are striving to destabilize Iran because instability would inhibit scientific, economic, and cultural progress"

LoL. I'm sure the audience looked at each wondering what economic and cultural progress he was referring to.

Hey, Khamenei! We just want to inhibit the nukes and YOU!

20 posted on 03/24/2004 2:58:15 PM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn; All
FYI :

For any of you lucky New Yorkers :

Amir Taheri will be speaking in New York tomorrow night Mar. 25th, 6:00PM at the Pierre Hotel.
For information and registration, go to www.benadorassociates.com.

21 posted on 03/24/2004 3:11:21 PM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
IAEA Sends Inspectors to Natanz and Isfahan Facilities

•The International Atomic Energy Agency sent a team to inspect the Natanz and Isfahan uranium enrichment facilities, IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said on Wednesday. Iran postponed the inspectors' visit for eight days. The delay may have given the Islamic authorities time for camouflaging their activities, diplomats in Vienna said. Iran had made alterations prior to the inspectors' visit last year to the Kalaye Electric company near Tehran, where traces of enriched uranium were found. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in Egypt today that in his upcoming visit to Tehran he will ask for full cooperation.

•The Russian foreign ministry spokesman called on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA. Head of the newly formed atomic energy department Alexander Rumyantsev postponed his April trip to Iran until May.

•“We will continue to cooperate with Iran in the peaceful civilian nuclear field as there have been no instructions to the contrary by relevant international bodies,” Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said today. “Russia will fully accomplish its duties regarding the construction of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, he added. (Mani Kasravi, Moscow)

•Russia denied today that it has stopped cooperating with Iran on Bushehr nuclear plan, but a few days ago a Russian official said financial and organizational obstacles have prevented the timely completion of the project. Due to the US pressure, and Russia's own concern for relations with the European countries, the Bushehr nuclear plant would not be completed in three or four years' time, Glasgow University international relations professor Reza Taqizadeh tells Radio Farda. Russian officials' contradictory statements are nothing new, he adds. (Jamshid Zand)

•Iran has no intention of stopping its nuclear weapons program, and wastes time by trying to negotiate, Italian daily Il Folio writes. (Ahmad Ra'fat, Rome)

Judiciary Blocks Former Reformist MP from Traveling Abroad

•The judiciary banned foreign travel for reformist Tehran MP Fatemeh Haqiqatjoo, who left the Majles last week after the Majles voted to approve her resignation. she found out about her travel ban when she arrived at the airport for a trip to London to attend a students' New Year gathering, she tells Radio Farda. She adds that the travel ban maybe linked to her conviction last year to 10 months in prison for a speech she gave at the Majles. The sentence had been suspended until the end of her term, she adds. Two other resigned MPs, Armin and Yegnanegi, may have also been banned from leaving Iran, she says. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)

http://www.radiofarda.com/transcripts/topstory/2004/03/20040324_2030_0157_0536_EN.asp
22 posted on 03/24/2004 4:48:02 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
IRAN LASHES OUT OVER US RELUCTANCE TO ENGAGE IN DIALOGUE
Jim Lobe: 3/22/04

Iranian officials have characterized Washington’s policy-making process as "childish" after a top Bush administration official downplayed the chances of a rapprochement between the United States and Iran. Meanwhile, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called on Iranians to be vigilant against foreign efforts to destabilize the country.

Iran’s conservatives, who regained control over the Iranian legislature in February’s parliamentary election, have been reportedly eager to pursue a rapprochement with Washington. The rationale for normalization, from the point of view of Iranian conservative leaders, is that a greater sense of international stability is needed to increase the chances for the successful implementation of their domestic agenda, which is aimed at providing an outlet for public frustration over the country’s flagging economy. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

Over the last year, Iran has made repeated overtures to the United States, expressing a desire to restart a dialogue on the normalization of relations, according to a March 16 report in the Financial Times. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive]. Tehran’s main aim would be the lifting of US sanctions, an act that would make it immeasurably easier for conservatives to invigorate Iran’s struggling economy.

To demonstrate its good faith, Tehran reportedly offered to cut its support to a variety of radical groups in the Middle East, including the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. Iranian officials also may have held out the prospect of talks concerning Tehran’s ongoing efforts to develop nuclear capabilities. Iranian leaders insist that the country’s nuclear program is designed to meet civilian energy needs. International experts worry, however, that Iran’s program may develop weapons-making capabilities. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

The Bush administration never responded to the Iranian feelers. Apparently, fierce differences among top presidential advisors caused policy gridlock within the White House, the Financial Times report suggested.

Iranian officials did not comment on the Financial Times report. Then, in a March 18, television interview broadcast by the CNN network, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice dismissed the need for US-Iranian talks. She cited US concerns about the Iranian nuclear program. Rice also mentioned Washington’s suspicion that Tehran may be sheltering leaders of the al Qaeda terrorist organization, and trying to disrupt US stabilization efforts in neighboring Iraq. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. "I don’t think anybody needs to have a conversation with the Iranians, because they know what the problem is," Rice told CNN.

On March 20, the official Iranian news agency IRNA ridiculed Rice’s comments as "another example of contradictory and non-coherent stances in the American policy-making apparatus." The report went on to say that Washington had sent "contradictory" signals in recent months, mentioning specifically the US goodwill gesture of providing humanitarian aid to victims of the late December 2003 Bam earthquake, and the tough US stance on Iran’s nuclear program.

The IRNA commentary suggested that Iran was looking for a more consistent policy coming out of the White House. "Only a fundamental change in US policies would change the existing atmosphere of hostility between the two arch-foes [the United States and Iran]," the IRNA commentary said.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, also heaped scorn on the Bush administration. "America’s childish persistence on its wrong policies has led to an escalation of insecurity in the world," the foreign ministry spokesman said. He added that the US reconstruction struggles in both Afghanistan and Iraq raised questions "about the appropriateness of American policies among its [Washington’s] own allies."

Iranian leaders are now concerned that, rather than engaging Tehran, Washington will undertake measures aimed at destabilizing the Islamic republic, especially in the event that Bush wins re-election in November. Many in Tehran apparently believe that ongoing problems with reconstruction efforts in both Iraq and Afghanistan could prompt the Bush administration to attempt to cast Iran as a scapegoat.

In public comments March 21, Khamenei, the supreme leader, said the United States was "stuck in a quagmire" in Iraq. He went on to caution that the United States was likely to try to destabilize Iran. "The most important duty of people and officials is to be vigilant," IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying. "The enemy should know that any decision it is making against the Iranian nation will be thwarted because Iranians are awake and vigilant."

The shrill tone of recent Iranian rhetoric may be indicative of the conservatives’ profound disappointment over the Bush administration’s refusal to engage. The inability to count on a rapprochement with the United States means the conservatives’ ability to implement their domestic stabilization agenda is in doubt.

Just a few months ago, many observers in both Washington and Tehran believed that a thaw was in the offing. This idea gained momentum in January when the United States dispatched planeloads of emergency aid to Bam earthquake victims, and followed up with an offer to send a high-level delegation to inspect the damage.

In addition, while Washington was highly critical of February’s parliamentary election, it refrained from mounting an intensive effort to discredit the results. Meanwhile, in Iraq, the US-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) approved plans for the construction of an oil pipeline across the Shatt al-Arab waterway to the Iranian port of Abadan, a project that is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Iranian conservatives had hoped such signals meant that the United States was prepared to parlay. But subsequent events have shown that such hopes were misplaced.

http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav032204.shtml
23 posted on 03/24/2004 4:55:09 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
”A Year Closer to Meeting You” Tehran Municipal Government's New Year Banner Says

•The Tehran municipal government emphasizes death over life in the New Year banners it has dispatched across the city that portray the New Year as a mark of the passage of time and aging, Wesleyan University's Ali Akbar Mehdi tells Radio Farda. The banner appears to remind the residents that as they celebrate the New Year, they are in fact a step closer to death, and must be concerned with the after life. The message, he adds, is the opposite of the message of the Persian New Year, which celebrates the joyful renewal of life. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)

http://www.radiofarda.com/transcripts/topstory/2004/03/20040324_2030_0157_0536_EN.asp
24 posted on 03/24/2004 4:56:28 PM PST by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn
Mideast Trips Vs. Nonprofit Support

March 25, 2004
Jewish Exponent
Joshua Runyan

With Philadelphia-based Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes at his side, Rep. Pat Toomey (R-District 15) stepped up his criticism of Republican Arlen Specter last week and called the four-term senator to task for trying to arrange a congressional delegation to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Arlen Specter is just plain wrong. Now is not the time for the U.S. to be establishing diplomatic relations with the mullah regime in Iran,” Toomey said during a March 16 press conference at the Union League in Center City. “Unfortunately, Arlen Specter has reached out to such tyrannical regimes in the Middle East in the past.”

The two GOP politicians are facing each other in Pennsylvania’s April 27 primary to determine who will run against Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel (D-District 13) to represent the commonwealth in the U.S. Senate.

Speaking after Toomey, Pipes called into question Specter’s foreign policy of “co-option instead of confrontation,” and suggested that Toomey’s more hard-line approach of isolating Iran’s Islamist regime was the right way to go.

“I’d like to commend Rep. Toomey for his hard-hitting and knowledgeable assessment,” the director of the nonprofit Middle East Forum and White House appointee to the U.S. Institute of Peace said at the event, which was billed by the Toomey campaign as an endorsement of the congressman’s foreign policy. “Iran is still a dangerous state, in some ways more than ever.”

Although Pipes appeared alongside Toomey as a “private citizen,” the Specter campaign questioned the propriety of a nonprofit organization’s leader taking sides in an inherently political forum.

According to Section 501 of the federal tax code, nonprofit groups cannot endorse candidates running for public office.

“Toomey’s campaign has a history of crossing the line when it comes to ethical ways of running a campaign,” said Specter spokesman Bill Reynolds.

On the foreign-policy question, Reynolds contended that only Specter, who has championed his ability to sit down with hostile leaders and produce compromise, had the experience to serve America’s interests abroad.

“There is one candidate involved in Middle East policy for the past 25 years, and it certainly isn’t Toomey,” said Reynolds.

When Syrian President Bashar Assad “compared Zionism to Nazism” at a 2001 Arab League Summit, “it was Arlen Specter who ... confronted him on it and gave him a history lesson.”

Nixing shuttle diplomacy

Nevertheless, Pipes maintained that Specter’s shuttle diplomacy is not the way to continue dealing with rogue regimes. On Iran, specifically, Pipes said that any moves seen as propping up the Islamist government would undermine the democratic reform movements gaining strength in the country.

“We see that the ideology of the state has lost its appeal,” said Pipes. “While in general it is better to work with foreign governments, we must stay away from this regime.”

In a telephone interview after the event, Pipes defended his comments as solely his personal views, and said it was the only time that he had cooperated with the Toomey campaign.

Said Pipes: “I was not there in my professional capacity.”

According to Larry Noble, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan election watchdog group, while Pipes’ appearance was a legal expression of the scholar’s free-speech rights, the blending of nonprofits and political campaigns has always been a murky issue.

“We’ve always seen instances when people affiliated with nonprofits go to political events. It’s gone on, and it’s always raised eyebrows,” said Noble. “There’s always the danger that when nonprofits get heavily involved in politics, it will discourage voters.”

Frances Hill, a professor at the University of Miami School of Law who specializes in nonprofits and election laws, said that Pipes’ appearance was not especially troublesome.

She noted that the Middle East Forum routinely takes positions on foreign policy in the region, and for Pipes to express a certain view is not out of line.

The larger issue, she said, should be how nonprofits affect political discourse: “It may turn people off from giving to charities, and that’s a terrible risk.”

You may contact Joshua Runyan via Email: jrunyan@jewishexponent.com

http://www.jewishexponent.com/Zoom.asp?storyID=20567&szparent=569&pubID=255&Archive=
25 posted on 03/24/2004 5:09:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Moscow Discovers what Caused Delay in Building Bushehr Nuke Plant

March 24, 2004
RIA Novosti
en.rian.ru

MOSCOW -- Delays in commissioning the first unit of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran are due to the bulk of its equipment earlier installed by foreign companies being unfit for operation, Vladimir Asmolov, deputy head of the Federal Nuclear Energy Agency, has said.

"Checks of the equipment earlier installed in Bushehr by the German firm Siemens have proved that only 10 percent of it can be used", Asmolov said. "The time required to assess the efficiency of the equipment installed before has caused the delay".

He recalled that equipment checks in Bushehr have taken two and a half years.

Now, much of the equipment has been replaced and the rest ordered to be supplied, he said.

As reported before, the first unit of the Russian-built Bushehr facility can be started up in 2005 and wholly commissioned in 2006.

http://en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?prd_id=160&msg_id=4097978&startrow=1&date=2004-03-24&do_alert=0
26 posted on 03/24/2004 5:10:47 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iraq's Basra Gives View of what a Shia State May Be Like

March 23, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press

BASRA, Iraq -- It was the clearest sign yet that what's developing in southern Iraq is not the open, free and democratic society promised by the U.S.-led coalition occupying Iraq. The police officer at a roadblock ordered a traveler to cover her hair if she expected to continue her journey.

"This is an Islamic country and you must respect our feelings," said the officer in the pale blue uniform supplied by the occupying coalition.

Welcome to the Islamic state of southern Iraq where almost every public building is adorned with murals and posters of the three prominent Shiite Muslim clerics "martyred" in the chaos of today's Iraq or under the rule of Saddam Hussein.

It is the sons, brothers and followers of these three men who -with the backing of neighboring Iran -are shaping the Shiite politics in the south. Here, secular ideas are not tolerated, alcohol sellers and video shop owners risk their lives, clubs and restaurants are closed for playing music, and women fearing for their lives hide behind veils.

While the world's attention has been focused on the bickering over whether the country's interim constitution should make Islam "a source" or "the source" of legislation and over the form of federation best suited for Iraq, these hardline Islamic forces are quietly putting down roots and building their power base.

Many Basra residents say that the Shiite clerics who rule Iran are behind much of the religious-vigilante violence taking place in this city of 2 million and that the Islamic Republic is determined to have an influential role here.

"Basra is the center of culture and science," said Mustafa, a 26-year-old businessman. "Most of the religious parties are mercenaries who lived in Iran .... They want to impose their ideas on us. They want their word to be the law. We are afraid of them."

Many in Basra fear that by the time elections are held next year and a constitution is in place, it will be too difficult to eliminate these forces, which will be fully entrenched.

There is not yet talk of a Shia state within a federated Iraq, but Basra and the surrounding four provinces offer some clues of what such a state would look like.

Things have changed since the days before the 1991 Gulf War when Basra was a favored weekend destination for Kuwaitis, whose country bans alcohol and who made the three-hour drive across the border to live it up in the city's bars and nightclubs.

Although alcohol is not strictly illegal, all the bars and liquor shops have now closed. Many were shut by the now ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after the 1990-91 Gulf War to appease the Muslim faithful. Others have been bombed by Islamic vigilantes more recently, and owners of other shops shut down out of fear.

At least three vendors of alcohol have been killed in recent months. It's still possible to buy booze, but it's a hush-hush affair. A bottle of Johnny Walker Scotch goes for up to $50, so most consumers opt for the $20 harsher whiskey brewed in the region.

Women have been especially affected by the changes in Basra. They are hardly seen in the streets -almost never at night -and when they do go out they wear the hijab, or veil. Even some Christians follow this practice, though the law doesn't mandate such Islamic dress, as it does in Iran .

"The situation of women used to be bad under Saddam, but it's worse now," said Ahood al-Fadhly, a women's rights activist. "Now, they can't even come into the street the way they want to dress."

Some Basra residents complain that Britain, whose troops occupy Basra, is turning a blind eye while the religious establishment usurps the running of the city through intimidation and threats against secular residents.

Explaining why the British are loath to intervene, Maj. David King, a British spokesman, says: "We are not here to dictate our way of life," but merely "to provide a basic foundation to get Iraqis back on their feet."

Analyst Gareth Stansfield, of the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, isn't surprised at the Iranian role. Basra is just 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Iranian border, and Stansfield sees no way that the British, with their 8,220 soldiers, could block Iranian influence.

"Basra is in Iran 's backyard," he said in a telephone interview. "To suggest that Iran wouldn't get involved is ludicrous."

The U.S.-led coalition also is already engaged in a guerrilla war farther north, in the "Sunni Triangle," and needs the Shiites -who make up 60% of Iraq's people -as allies, and not as adversaries.

The drive south from Baghdad to Basra, Iraq's second largest city, shows how southern Iraq is changing. Villages along the road are dominated by images of Imam Ali, a revered Shiite saint, and the black and green flags of Islam fly over mud houses.

In small towns and cities -where politics is more defined -Imam Ali's images give way to murals and posters of Ayatollahs Mohammed Baqir al-Sadr, founder of the Islamic Dawa Party, Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI, and Mohammed Sadiq al-Sadr -whose hardline followers are now led by his young son, Muqtada al-Sadr, who is based in the holy Shiite city of Najaf.

Ayatollah al-Hakim, who was killed in an explosion last summer in Najaf, had his headquarters in Iran until the U.S.-British forces ousted Saddam, and his brother Abdel Aziz al-Hakim is a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

Al-Hakim's close ties with Iran have not dented U.S. support for him. Nor have they stopped U.S. President George W. Bush from endorsing him as a moderate.

SCIRI's presence is obvious in Basra, from the Iranian-backed al-Nakheel TV station and -more importantly -the forcing of the police intelligence unit to recruit more than 150 men from the Badr Organization, the SCIRI militant wing that is trained and financed by Iran .

But beyond that, SCIRI does not have much popular support in Basra. Even though the Dawa party enjoys more support, it is less visible in public.

In addition to the three main factions, there are more than 150 small groups that officials call organized crime mobs that have been terrorizing Basra since Saddam's fall.

Life in Basra today gives little hope for secular Muslims who were looking forward to the open society that U.S. and British officials promised when their forces invaded Iraq last year. Another fear is that the interim constitution signed in early March leaves it open for individual provinces to determine whatever laws they want, raising fears of a separate clerical-dominated Shia federation within Iraq.

http://online.wsj.com/public/us
27 posted on 03/24/2004 5:11:54 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Inspectors to Begin Delayed Iran Atomic Probe

March 24, 2004
Reuters
Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA, March -- A team from the U.N. nuclear watchdog will head to Iran this weekend to conduct inspections that Tehran has delayed in retaliation against a harshly worded resolution on the Islamic republic, officials said on Wednesday.

"IAEA inspectors will leave on Saturday for Iran to conduct inspections at the Natanz gas centrifuge enrichment facility and at the Isfahan nuclear research centre," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.

The agency's inspectors had originally planned to leave for Iran on March 12 to visit Natanz and Isfahan, but Tehran cancelled the visit in response to an IAEA Board of Governors resolution, then in draft form. The Iranians later relented and said the IAEA could return on March 27.

The resolution, passed on March 13, "deplores" Iran's failure to inform the IAEA about potentially arms-related research - such as work on "P2" uranium-enrichment centrifuges capable of making polonium, a substance that can trigger a chain reaction in a bomb, and bomb-grade uranium.

The United States says Tehran is using its nuclear power programme as a front to develop an atom bomb. Iran vehemently denies this charge and insists its programme is solely for the peaceful generation of electricity.

A number of Western diplomats have expressed concern that Tehran delayed the Natanz and Isfahan inspections so that it could hide undeclared activities from the U.N. team.

Last year, Iran carried out significant reconstruction work at the Kalaye Electric Company before granting the IAEA the right to take environmental samples there.

TRACES OF ENRICHMED URANIUM

The United States said this was an attempt to sanitise the site to prevent the United Nations from uncovering hidden activities. But the IAEA eventually found traces of enriched uranium at Kalaye believed to be of Russian origin.

In addition to the uranium at Kalaye, the IAEA found traces of enriched uranium suitable for use in bombs on centrifuges at Natanz. Iran said this was the result of prior contamination in the country of origin, which Tehran identified as Pakistan.

Diplomats who follow the IAEA said the visit to Natanz was intended to verify that Tehran was keeping its promise to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

Speaking in Cairo on Wednesday, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said he would visit Tehran at the beginning of next month. During the visit to his native Egypt, ElBaradei met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss the creation of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.

ElBaradei said that during his upcoming Iran visit he "would underscore the need for complete cooperation and transparency with the agency so we will be able to be sure that the Iranian programme is completely dedicated for peaceful purposes".

The IAEA began its investigation of Iran's nuclear programme shortly after an exiled opposition group reported in August 2002 that Tehran was hiding a massive underground enrichment facility at Natanz. The allegation was confirmed to be correct and Iran later declared the site to the U.N. watchdog.

(Additional reporting by Cairo bureau).

http://www.reuters.com/
28 posted on 03/24/2004 5:13:05 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Bekaa Beckons

March 24, 2004
The Washington Times
John R. Thomson

Lebanon's beautiful Bekaa Valley is a hotbed of evil. The primary connecting link between Syria and Lebanon, the ruggedly lush area is an important center for much of what troubles and terrifies the world: drugs, terrorists and, reportedly, weapons of mass destruction.

The narrow 75-mile-long corridor has in fact become one of the most dangerous places on Earth, not just for chance passersby, but also for the world at large. It is long past time for the Bekaa Valley to be returned to its peaceful past.

For 20 years, the Bekaa has become one of the world's most important transit points as well as refining points for opium and its derivatives. In the 1960s, families would drive out from Beirut to picnic there.

No more. Syrian troops are bivouacked in the valley and people driving out from Damascus are likely to be Hezbollah terrorists. Founded and financed by Iran, and coddled by Syria, Hezbollah is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Their fighters linger for training in the Bekaa, before heading south to the Israeli border to cause as much mischief as possible.

As peace unfolded in 1967 and during the rest of the decade, a flood of Palestinians surged north from the territory newly occupied by Israel. Intercommunal hostilities between Lebanese Christians and Muslims took a massive toll. Beirut was reduced to rubble. Israel invaded Lebanon from the south, and Syria from the east.

In October 1983, the U.S. Marines' peacekeeping encampment near the Beirut airport was truck-bombed, killing 241 troops. When the remaining Marines decamped having scarcely retaliated, Arabs throughout the region decided America had no stomach for confronting the simmering discontent emanating from the tortured Palestinian- Israeli confrontation.

With Syria effectively in control of Lebanon and already involved in the drug trade, it was a small step to utilize the Bekaa Valley as a transit base, and another small step to set up heroin- processing facilities. Indeed, units of the Syrian military have long provided the Bekaa's dirty denizens "protection" services ... to protect their monetary interests in the various businesses.

The formerly relaxed valley had become a safe haven for the manufacture of illicit drugs and a training ground for fanatical terrorists. What could have been a more natural place for Saddam Hussein, under threat of invasion and destruction, to warehouse his weapons of mass destruction?

Following the end of major Operation Iraqi Freedom hostilities, Israeli intelligence began last June to investigate the possibility, and within weeks became convinced substantial quantities of Iraqi WMDs had transited Syria and were now stashed less than 15 miles from Israeli territory. So convinced were they that plans were made for offensive strikes aimed at the Bekaa and at Damascus. And then, silence.

As the Israelis were rattling their sabers, Syrian President Bashar Assad assured Secretary of State Colin Powell his government was at last moving against terrorist organizations in Damascus, and they did so, for as long as it took Mr. Powell to return to Washington. Then Syrian officials said there had been some misunderstanding, rescinding the concessions the U.S. secretary of state a few days earlier had announced. It seemed clear Mr. Powell had been hoodwinked into convincing the Israelis to stand down from their offensive posture.

The Bekaa Valley is a fetid swamp of subversion, and it is time to drain it, whether or not WMD are found there. As was the case in Iraq, there are multiple reasons to relieve Lebanon, the region and the world of the Bekaa's multiple dangers. What a victory it would be, were the heroin factories and the Hezbollah fighters removed from their cushy existence, forcefully if necessary.

Moreover, it is time to tell Bashar Assad to come clean on a host of unsavory subjects, including :

* Revealing Iraqi WMD locations in Syria and cooperating in their disposal.

* Handing over Iraqi funds held in Damascus banks.

* Capturing ex-officials of Saddam's regime hiding around the country.

* Closing down Syria's own WMD programs.

* Withdrawing Syrian troops and ending the occupation of Lebanon.

Just as the mood in the United States has altered radically since September 11, 2001, so has the Middle East's image of America since the end of major hostilities in Iraq. Once again, there is respect for the United States - not affection, but respect. That respect has resulted in numerous national changes of direction towards more open societies:

(1) Iraq: promulgation of an interim constitution as a first step to open election of representatives and writing of a permanent constitution.

(2) Libya: Discontinuance of all WMD programs and renunciation of the presidential aspirations of Col. Moammar Gadhafi's son Seif, groomed for 12 years to succeed his father.

(3) Egypt: Declaration by President Hosni Mubarak that a special commission will create a democratic succession plan and simultaneous denial that his son Gamal, groomed for 10 years to take over, was ever a candidate to succeed the man who has headed Egypt for 22 years.

(4) Saudi Arabia: Decisions to hold the first democratic elections in the country's history, to fill half the seats on municipal councils, as well as to broaden women's rights.

(5) Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar: Announcement of plans for faster- paced democratization and more liberal women's rights.

The foregoing represent significant advances in the Middle East's glacial political climate. In less than a year, seven Arab regimes have taken important steps to loosen their autocratic grips on their populations.

If it can happen in these countries, progress can surely occur in Lebanon and Syria. For the sake of peace, in the region and worldwide, it is essential the Bekaa Valley be returned to a nonthreatening condition.

John R. Thomson has lived and worked in the Middle East for three decades as businessman, diplomat and journalist. Starting before 1967's Six-Day War, he has reported extensively on the region's wars and geopolitics from bases in Beirut, Cairo and Riyadh.

http://www.washtimes.com/commentary/20040323-091220-3532r.htm
29 posted on 03/24/2004 5:14:13 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Says US-led Forces Impose New Restrictions on Pilgrims

March 24, 2004
Agence France Presse
AFP

US-led forces in Iraq have imposed new restrictions targeting Iranian nationals wanting to make pilgrimages to Shiite Muslim sites there, Iran's pilgrimage organisation said.

According to the official body, quoted by the state news agency IRNA, the occupying forces have told Iraqi police only to allow Iranians across the border if they hold a valid passport and limit their stay to a week.

The demand for individual passports is likely to present a huge bureaucratic headache to many travellers, most of whom have so far crossed to Iraq on group permits or illegally.

The new rules come in the wake of the March 2 deadly bomb attacks on Shiite worshippers in the holy Iraqi city of Karbala and the capital Baghdad, in which some 170 people were killed.

Iran, which lost 49 of its nationals in the blasts, closed its borders after the attacks but reopened them last week amid continued massive demand here for visits to Shiite holy cities.

Since the fall of Saddam Hussein a year ago, only limited numbers of Iranians have been allowed to cross legally, although a top Shiite member of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council and Iranian officials later struck a deal to raise the number of 3,000 daily.

But thousands have made the journey illegally, despite a growing death toll from landmines and bandits and the risk of arrest by US forces on the lookout for infiltrators from a country they accuse of underming post-war security.

Pilgrimages to Iraq's holy Shiite places were halted throughout the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, and only resumed in very limited numbers at the end of the 1990s.

Six of the 12 imams revered in the Shiite branch of Islam dominant in Iran are buried in Iraq, where Shiites also make up the majority of the population.

http://www.afp.com/english/home/
30 posted on 03/24/2004 5:18:33 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
UN nuclear agency "has plenty to do in Iran"

AP - World News
Mar 24, 2004

CAIRO - THE UN nuclear agency has almost finished its work in Libya, but has plenty to do in Iran, its director Mohammed ElBaradei told reporters today.

Speaking after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, ElBaradei, who is Egyptian, said he would visit Iran in early April to try to persuade its nuclear authorities of the need for "complete and transparent cooperation with the agency to make sure that the Iranian program is completely dedicated for peaceful purposes".

Earlier this month, Iran barred inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency for two weeks after the UN watchdog criticised the country for failing to disclose certain nuclear activities. Iran later agreed to allow inspections to resume March 27.

The United States strongly suspects Iran has a secret program to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.

IAEA inspectors have been supervising the dismantling of Libya's nuclear program since the country declared in December that it would stop trying to build weapons of mass destruction.

"We're almost done concerning inspecting the Libyan program," ElBaradei said today. "Concerning Iran, we still have to do a lot of work because the Iranian program is more complicated and comprehensive."

"There was a difficult period at the beginning of our work in Iran" but things are on track now, ElBaradei said.

ElBaradei hopes to be able to present an assessment of Iran's nuclear activities to the IAEA board of governors in June.

ElBaradei said he briefed Mubarak on his meeting last week with US President George W Bush about the need for vigilance against the nuclear "black market". It was recently disclosed that a Pakistani nuclear scientist had illegally sold nuclear techniques and material to other countries.

Asked why the IAEA was concerned with Iran and Libya but not Israel, ElBaradei said: "The agency doesn't have the legal authorisation to inspect in Israel".

Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, but declines to confirm or deny such reports.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_5467.shtml
31 posted on 03/24/2004 5:19:42 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
That's a troubling article.
I hope someone working for the President reads it.
32 posted on 03/24/2004 6:28:38 PM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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

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

33 posted on 03/24/2004 9:01:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot
When the Ayatollah's organ-grinder monkeys say, "The objective of Israel was to bring the heroic Palestinian resistance to its knees," I must object.

The Pallies' "heroism" is to sneak in an Israeli home and murder a five-year-old girl asleep in her bed.

The Ayatollah and the Hamas leadership are in for the Big Ceaucescu, this year, you can take it to the bank.

34 posted on 03/24/2004 10:21:24 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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