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Iranian Alert -- March 26, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 3.26.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 03/25/2004 10:58:56 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 03/25/2004 10:58:56 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 03/25/2004 11:02:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Hails North Korea, Deplores Israel's 'State Terrorism'

March 25, 2004
Al Bawaba

Iran's President Mohammad Khatami said on Thursday that the Islamic Republic of Iran approves Pyongyang's efforts for establishment of peace and unity between the two Koreas. Receiving credentials of new North Korean ambassador to Tehran, Kim Chong Ryong, on Thursday, Khatami said his country and North Korea want to remain independent and free by reliance on their nations.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is for peace on the basis of justice and will stand those trying to impose war and violence on Iranians, said Khatami, according to IRNA. The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to attain all necessary means for promotion of its technology and science and no one can prevent the move, added the Iranian president.

During the meeting, Khatami condemned any form of terror and aggression, especially the "state terrorism," and said assassination of Hamas spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, by Israel signs ugly image of the Israel's state terrorism in today's world. He said that unfortunately the US approves the move.

The North Korean envoy for his part called for promotion of Tehran-Pyongyang cooperation and relations. It should be noted that North Korea and Iran were dubbed by US president Bush as the "axis of evil" along with Iraq.
3 posted on 03/25/2004 11:02:54 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
EU Warns Iran Over Human Rights

March 25, 2004
Middle East Online

GENEVA -- The European Union warned Tehran on Thursday that it had seen little progress in Iran's human rights dossier, which Brussels has effectively made a precondition to improved trade ties.

The EU also openly admitted at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva that its policy of constructive engagement with Tehran on human rights was flagging.

"Unfortunately, the fourth round of our human rights dialogue with Iran has not taken place due to Iran's failure to confirm the dates agreed," Ireland's envoy Mary Whelan told the Commission on behalf of the EU presidency.

"We regret that overall we see little improvement in the human rights situation in the country," she added.

Despite some improvement in women's rights, Whelan underlined that violations of human rights "continue to be widespread" in Iran, including torture, disappearances after arrests, arbitrary detention and political and religious repression.

The EU also noted that a de facto moratorium on amputations in Iran, a criminal penalty under Islamic law, had not been respected, while public executions continued.

"The recent interference in the electoral process represents a setback for democracy and a general trend toward even more restrictions on the exercise of political rights and freedoms," Whelan charged.

The EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten said in February, after elections in Iran were marred by a ban on many reformist candidates, that Brussels would be watching closely to see how the situation there evolved.

The EU promotes constructive engagement with the Islamic Republic, seeking dual-track talks on trade and political issues, in contrast notably to the United States which has labelled Tehran part of an "axis of evil."

But the talks have been on hold since June 2003 because of EU concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
4 posted on 03/25/2004 11:03:40 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
GCC Concerned Over Iranian Nukes

March 25, 2004
Middle East Newsline

ABU DHABI -- Gulf Cooperation Council states have been warned that an Iranian nuclear bomb could threaten the Persian Gulf region.

Speakers at a recent Gulf security seminar in Abu Dhabi reviewed Iran's efforts to construct an infrastructure for nuclear weapons and said such a development could destabilize Gulf Cooperation Council and other states. The speakers said an Iranian nuclear weapon would also trigger efforts by others in the region to acquire nuclear arms.

One prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon is that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey will reconsider their pledges against producing weapons of mass destruction. Egypt was said to have an extensive nuclear infrastructure while Saudi Arabia and Turkey were allies of Pakistan, which has exported nuclear weapons expertise and components.

"The announcement of an Iranian atomic bomb will send shock waves through the Gulf and north into Turkey and in to the border to Middle East," Geoffrey Kemp, director of regional studies programs at the Washington-based Nixon Center, said at the seminar in January. "Three countries, in particular, will quickly rethink their policy on weapons of mass destruction: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They will have grave concerns about an Iranian bomb and might, under certain circumstances, consider developing their own nuclear deterrent."
5 posted on 03/25/2004 11:04:34 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Democracy or Islamocracy

March 25, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Mehdi Mozaffari

It is of common knowledge that democracy cannot be established in one day. But, one day, the process of democratization must begin. This day has now arrived to the Middle East. Middle Eastern societies are facing a painful, dramatic and decisive choice between democracy and Islamocracy. It is not that the Middle East is a particularly fertile terrain for democracy, but rather because democracy is a necessity. Currently, the Islamic world is producing Oil, Terrorism and Emigration. This 'Islamic Bermuda Triangle' represents a major challenge to the world. Until recently, a combination of oil and despotism was tolerated and even supported by western powers; particularly by the USA. The global terrorism, the perpetual waves of emigration, the attempts to access of nuclear weapons, and the propagation of Islamism as a new totalitarian ideology which is claiming the conquest of the world by all means is too much to be ignored.

Unfortunately, it is illusory to think that the change in Muslim societies will come from within, alone. Four interrelated factors are hindering a successful internal and autonomous change: oriental despotism, the rentier economy, the domination of Islam, and external interventionism. These elements constitute a Gordian knot which can only be cut off by Alexander's sword. The USA's intervention in both Afghanistan and Iraq must be understood as an imperative chirurgical intervention to break this vicious chain. American plans to democratize the 'wider Middle East' are also a proposed remedy to the agony of Muslims. During decades, Americans have been strongly criticized for their support to dictatorial regimes. Now, when Americans are firmly demonstrating their will for democratization of the Middle East, they are again accused being too ambitious, too naïve and hypocritical! In this respect, Professor Amitai Etzioni refers to the Bush administration's plans as an 'American Fantasy' (Herald Tribune, March 5, 2004). The fantasy is rather to await the process of democratization to start by itself and to progress slowly, gently and peacefully from within the Middle Eastern societies. It is not so much because demands for democracy, justice and humanity are absent from the Middle Eastern arena. Forces for democracy in this region are under an organized, systematic and deep going repression. American plans cannot make miracles. Nevertheless, they do make a difference and they have especially changed the agenda. Already the paradigm has changed in the Middle East. For the first time in history, democracy figures on the agenda. Dynamism is going to replace stagnation and brutality gives place for dialogue. This is not a fantasy; it is a fact and it is real. The constitution of Afghanistan is now in place. The transitory constitution of Iraq is signed. Of course it is not fully conformed to Max Weber's ideal type of democracy; but there is no doubt that it will be moving in this direction.

The new wave of democratization is so strong that Arab and Muslim autocrats are trembling. In the name of national, cultural and religious identity, president Mubarak of Egypt together with president Assad of Syria and the Saudi family tries to build up a 'Refusal front'. It is astonishing that each time claims on freedom of speech, free elections and gender equality strongly arises, Arab and Muslim leaders immediately resort to counter attacks, considering these claims to be in contradiction with their culture and identity. What they are saying is actually that despotism and repression is more conform to Islamic and Arab values than democracy and liberty! They also argue that democracy should not be imposed from the outside. If demands for change comes from the outside, it is because nothing has been done in this direction by Middle Eastern autocrats who have been holding on to power for decades. Instead of a Philadelphian inspired democracy, they are looking for Islamocracy. Islamocracy or 'Islamic democracy' as president Khatami of Iran formulated it means selection instead of election, a parliament without real attributes, a judiciary without independence, political parties without liberty, and mass communication without a voice.

The time for Islamocracy is over and the waves of democratization have finally reached the shores of the wider Middle East. Max Weber would be delighted to witness the result of this historical experience.

Mehdi Mozaffari is a professor of political science at the University of Aarhus - Denmark. His recent book is Globalization and Civilizations” (ed.), Routledge, 2002.

Also, by professor Mehdi Mozaffari:How To Combat Islamist Terrorism Without Combating Islam?

6 posted on 03/25/2004 11:05:54 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Democracy or Islamocracy

March 25, 2004
Iran va Jahan
Mehdi Mozaffari
7 posted on 03/25/2004 11:07:09 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
I believe that you are correct that one day the Iranian people will throw out the fundamentalists. A nation that at one time was quite modern will not stay long in the 15th century imposed upon them by the Islamist overlords.

The people of Iran probably didn't get to vote in the election that gave Jimmy Carter his Nobel prize. He, as much as anyone, can take credit for the state of affairs in Iran today.

8 posted on 03/26/2004 1:15:43 AM PST by Lawgvr1955 (I am not completely worthless; I can always serve as a "bad example".)
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To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert
My guess is that a year from now Iran will be protected by the US and there will be no need for the other countries to develop WMD as a defense against a nuclear Iran.

On the other hand; this is what I have been guessing the last five years... ;-)
9 posted on 03/26/2004 4:06:13 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
"Khatami condemned any form of terror and aggression, especially the "state terrorism,"

Again? So, that must mean he's cancelled next Feb.'s 'Ten Days of Dawn' ? (aka 'Terrorfest', 'Terrorist jamboree')
10 posted on 03/26/2004 5:12:49 AM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
"The time for Islamocracy is over and the waves of democratization have finally reached the shores of the wider Middle East"

"The time for Islamocracy is over".....I'll second that.
11 posted on 03/26/2004 5:21:41 AM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: AdmSmith
"My guess is that a year from now Iran will be protected by the US..."

My guess also. (for what that's worth)
12 posted on 03/26/2004 5:31:28 AM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: nuconvert; All
Great seeing everyone today!
13 posted on 03/26/2004 7:10:04 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Great to be back!
14 posted on 03/26/2004 7:30:38 AM PST by Eala (Sacrificing tagline fame for... TRAD ANGLICAN RESOURCE PAGE:
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To: DoctorZIn
Farah Pahlavi on FOXNews tonight, with Greta Van Sustern. Did I see that,right, or was I still sleeping?
15 posted on 03/26/2004 7:38:14 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Much of your pain is self-chosen. --- Kahlil Gibran)
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To: DoctorZIn
Terrorist States for Kerry

By Amir Taheri
Gulf News | March 26, 2004

If elected President of the United States, will John Kerry offer the Arabs a better deal? This is the question being raised in the Arab media these days. And, despite the many different answers given, a consensus seems to be emerging that a Kerry presidency will end what the Arab élite regards as "its worst nightmare" during the presidency of George W. Bush.

The Kerry debate was kicked off by the Saudi daily Al Jazeera, which published a photograph of the Massachusetts senator with Prince Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, on its front page. The photograph was later run by several other Saudi newspapers to illustrate what they claimed is "the history of a long and close friendship between Senator Kerry and the Saudi kingdom."

The pan-Arab daily Asharq Al Awsat, which also ran the "friendship photo," claimed that Kerry's recent promise to end the America's dependency on Saudi oil was nothing more than an electoral tactic by the Democrat Party's presumed presidential nominee.

The newspaper also claimed that Kerry was introduced to the Saudi ambassador by Edward Kennedy, the senior senator for Massachusetts in 1990. The two "worked hard" to organize an exhibition in Boston to introduce "Saudi culture and civilisation" to Americans.

The Saudi media also claim that they have seen "official documents" that testify to the "close friendship" that Kerry ostensibly developed with Riyadh for more than a decade. Kennedy's "Arab connection" is even older, dating back to the mid-1970s.

Presidential nomination

In 1976 Kennedy, with an eye to his party's presidential nomination, toured several Arab capitals, including Baghdad where he met Saddam Hussain, then Vice-President of Iraq.

"Kennedy understands the Arabs because he has visited the region and developed relations with Arab leaders," says a Saudi official. "As the senior figure of the Democrat Party, Kennedy will help put a Kerry administration on the right track with regards to relations with the Arabs."

Beyond Saudi Arabia, the assumption in Arab media and political circles is that Kerry as president will abandon Bush's "dreams of change" in the Middle East and restore Washington's traditional policy of support for the status quo in the Arab world.

"We are certain that a Democrat administration will be more realistic," says a senior advisor to Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. "Bush's talk of imposing democracy can only destabilise the region and produce catastrophe for all concerned."

Arab chancelleries are doing all they can to freeze all issues pending the outcome of the American presidential election. Some Arab politicians, however, reject this "wait-and-see" position as "a sign of weakness."

"For decades, we have geared Arab politics to the rhythm of American presidential elections," says Lebanese politician Walid Jumbalat. "Each time we deluded ourselves into believing that a change at the White House would lead to a change in our favour."

Jumbalat is right. The Deus ex-machina of American elections has seldom helped save the Arab from a tight spot.

Fail to understand

Many Arab leaders also fail to understand the sea-change that the September 11, 2001, tragedy has produced in the average American's view of the world. What Bush has tried to do is to reflect that change, which, incidentally, goes against his original inclination to keep the U.S. as clear of international affairs as possible.

Today, it is safe to say that no one can get elected president of the U.S. on an antiwar platform. The rise and rapid fall of Howard Dean, the anti-war populist, was a sure sign of that. Congressman Kucinich, the most ardent of the antiwar hopefuls, has failed to rise above the one per cent level in Democrat Party primaries.

The Arabs should not delude themselves into believing that a Democrat administration will be able to abandon the war on terror or ignore its root cause which is the absence of democracy and human rights in countries where religious fascism has established itself as the key challenger to often corrupt and despotic ruling cliques.

The Arabs are not alone in deluding themselves into believing that a Democrat at the White House will let them do as they please. Kerry's recent claim that he has been told by several foreign leaders that they need him to beat Bush is not as fanciful as the Republicans have pretended.

Some "old Europe" politicians, including France's President Jacques Chirac, also hope that a future President John Kerry will dance to their tune, not only on Iraq but also on a string of other issues such as the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court.

Dominique de Villepin, France's foreign minister, makes no secret of his belief that the Bush presidency has been an "aberration" and that a Democrat president will "lift the fog of war."

A glance at America's relatively short history reveals that the Democrats have been the principal war party. The 1812 war, the first major military confrontation the then newly-created U.S. engaged in, was provoked by a Democrat administration.

In the Mexican War it was a Democrat, President James K Polk, that sent American troops into battle in the face of diplomatic efforts to avoid war. The U.S. joined both world wars under Democrat presidents. The Cold War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War were also started by Democrats. In 1962, it was John Kennedy, a Democrat President, who brought the world to the brink of annihilation over the Cuban missile crisis.

Even President Bill Clinton, the last man one would imagine as a war leader, led the U.S. into military action in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, both times without a UN mandate.

More interestingly, of the 22 wars, big and small, in which the U.S. became involved under Democrat presidents, all but one were what one may call wars of choice. The sole exception was World War II, when the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour left President Franklin D. Roosevelt with no choice but to enter the foray. Even in the World War I the U.S. could have stayed on the ringside.

The Republicans, however, had always acted as the party that ended the wars started by the Democrats. Apart from the Civil War, started by President Abraham Lincoln, the Republicans have been responsible for only three wars: the first Gulf War to liberate Kuwait, and the latest wars to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan and end Saddam Hussain's reign of terror in Iraq. (Some historians add the American-Spanish war to the list because it was conducted by the Whigs and Federalists who are regarded as precursors of the Republican Party).

American stand-up comedians often use the adage: "Vote Republican to get a Depression, vote Democrat to get a war!"

What the outside world must understand is that most Americans now believe that they are threatened by enemies that can strike in the very heart of the U.S.

Different reaction

But the average American's reaction is quite different from that of the average Spaniard, who changed his vote because of the terrorist attacks on Madrid on March 11. Few Americans are prepared to turn the other cheek for Osama bin Laden and societies that have helped breed, raise and finance him. Nor would they share the "old-Europe" illusion that one can change the nature of a man-eater by feeding him vegetables and cuddling him.

Kerry and Kennedy may be "sincere friends of the Arabs" as the Saudi media suggest. It is also quite possible that Monsieur de Villepin told Kerry "you've got to beat Bush for all of us."

But the problem that Arabs and some in the "old-Europe" have is that they do not yet understand that, for a majority of Americans, the war on terror is a real war and not a pose that could be altered with a change of administration.

Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of 10 books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through Email Benador Associates:
16 posted on 03/26/2004 8:55:26 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

PARIS, 25 Mar. (IPS)

According an Iranian scholar, the last elections proves that the present clerical regime of Iran, being not reformable, has reached its end.

In an interview carried on Wednesday by the French Communist Party organ "L’Humantie", Ramin Kamran, who teaches at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations in Paris describes the latest legislative elections to a "metaphor" in the Islamic Republic, where candidates are "pre-selectionned" by the non-elcted Council of the Guardians.

"To speak about elections within the framework of an Islamic regime is a metaphor, since from the beginning, the elections were reserved to the islamist candidates. Thus these elections do not change anything radically with the ongoing policies nor, naturally, in the nature of the regime. At the bottom, these elections are kind of regularly organized plebiscites of which the principal goal is to show that people, while going to vote, support the regime in its entirety. What is important is the rate of participation which counts, not for who one votes. At the end, it is white turban and turban white. In this fight between the factions, of which I am not sure that one can regard them as "reformers" on one side and "conservatives" on the other, one faction had been evicted from the Parliment under the pressure of the other".

L’Humanite - One all the same saw a dichotomy between "Islamic reformers" and "secular reformers"?

Ramine Kamran - There are only turbanned islamists and islamists without turban. For twenty-five years, the number of islamists without turban has always been very large. There is no difference on Islamism, the heritage of Khomeyni or on the Constitution. The two largest factions are in fact made up of many smaller factions, and are alliances which, in fact, face each other in a tribal manner. One sees various political tendencies among reformers but these differences do not go beyond the islamist regime. In the other camp, which has just won, there is no more homogeneity. On occasions, these small factions can change camp. If people do not vote, it is because they think that there is nothing at stake. Khatami lost the credit which he enjoyedd since he first was elected.

L’Humanite - There is a paradox: On the one hand, one witnesses a reinforcement of political Islam within the Moslem world, and on the other, in Iran, people seem to be rejecting it?

Ramine Kamran - It is normal: It was from Iran that the Islamist movement first started. The Iranians were the first to judge on experience the merits of an islamist regime. And they were the first to reject it. The others always have the illusion, the utopia, as well as other motivations which push them, wrongly, to think that Islamism can be regarded as a solution. In my opinion, Islamism is a problem, not a solution.

L’Humanite - One did not see a popular movement supporting the reformers when they were facing an iron arm from the part of the conservatives just a few weeks before the elections. From where can the solution come?

Ramin Kamran - The students, more than any other class in Iran, express the aspirations of the society. Since 1999, their rupture was consumed with Khatami. They descended in the street to claim a free regime, democracy and secularity. This is the first time in the Moslem world where the request for secularity comes from the body of the society. Until now this demand has always been imposed from the top under authoritative state -- Atatürk or Pahlavi --.This time, and in reaction against the islamist regime, it is the reverse. Without exaggerating, one can put this movement in parallel with what which occurred in Europe in XVIe and the XVIIe centuries, after the wars of religion, where the idea of tolerance emerged and imposed itself. People in Iran aspire to secularity. In other words, they want no more mollah and no more religion in politics. Can one live in democracy in a religious regime? I don’t think, and this is an extremely widespread idea in Iran. People want to go towards secularity, towards a secular system where there could be democracy, therefore equality of the citizens, therefore religious tolerance and so on. From this point of view, there is no solution but by getting out of this regime. That is called a revolution. Everyone wish that this is accomplished with the least possible violence. However, nad in anyway it happens, it would be the end of the khomeinist regime.

L’Humanite – And who would carry this idea?

Ramin Kamran – I can’t tell you. Sine the assassination of Shapour Bakhtiar, who, after Mosadeq, was the greatest figure of liberal and secular democracy in Iran, there is no a federating personality. However, with the idea being well generalised, well rooted and widespread, one can be certain that one day or another, somebody would emerge. The important point is the the people have undestood what is really a stake.


Editor’s note: Ramin Kamran has just published "Islamism in Impass" in Éditions Buchet-Chastel.
17 posted on 03/26/2004 8:56:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
EU Ministers Put Forward Strategy for Mideast

March 25, 2004
The Financial Times
Judy Dempsey

European Union foreign ministers on Thursday night set out a two-pronged security strategy for the Middle East, based on promoting reforms in the region while working with the US to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The strategy marks a shift in policy, with the EU seeking ways to encourage democratic reforms in the Middle East without having them held hostage to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"This is not a one size fits all approach," states the paper, expected to be presented at the Group of Eight and EU-US summits in June.

"The strategy should take account of differentiation and the requirements of individual countries in the region."

In practical terms, the EU wants to differentiate much more between countries that are trying to move faster with modernising their societies and those still reluctant to change.

Furthermore, instead of imposing its ideas on any of these countries, the EU wants to promote "ownership" and start consulting its partners in the region.

"Consulting with our partners is key," says the paper, backed by the European Commission. But if the EU is to have any credibility and success in the region, it says, "the countries themselves must feel a sense of 'ownership' of the initiative".

The EU's own policy towards the region comes in the wake of attempts by the US to draw up a "Greater Middle East" plan, which has been shelved for the time being, despite Washington's original aim of unveiling its democratisation proposals in the region during the Group of Eight summit.

US diplomats said Washington's plan was based on the premise that if democracy could be introduced into Iraq, the rest of the region could follow suit.

"We see the region in terms of security threats," added the diplomat.

The EU last night made it clear that it saw countries in the region as partners.

"For us, the countries of North Africa and the Middle East are our neighbours and partners in which engagement is long term and coherent," Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief, said this week.

The strategy paper insists that the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains the EU's top priority for the region. However, it adds that the Union cannot ignore the wish and need for change in a region plagued by corruption, lack of perspective for the younger generation and growing unemployment.

"Progress on the Middle East conflict cannot be a precondition for confronting the urgent reform challenges facing the countries of the region and vice versa," it says.

Nevertheless, it adds, "it will not be possible to build a common zone of peace, prosperity and progress unless a just and lasting settlement of the conflict is in place.

"The lack of clear prospects for peace is already making it harder for reformers in the region to succeed."

The EU, which is the dominant trade partner in the region, allocates €3bn (.65bn, £2bn) each year in grants and loans.

Some of those funds will be shifted from big development projects to promoting human rights, supporting the rule of law and non-governmental organisation and judicial reform.
18 posted on 03/26/2004 8:57:51 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Conversation With The Queen

March 24, 2004
Beverly Hills Weekly
Karmel Melamed

The Weekly’s exclusive interview with Queen Farah Pahlavi about her life, her late husband, and her new tell-all book.

For the first time in 25 years, since her exile from Iran, Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi sheds new light on her private life as Empress in her memoir entitled An Enduring Love, My Life With The Shah published by Miramax Books. Released in bookstores earlier this month, the book is a personal account of the queen’s life in Iran and the lasting legacy of the Shah.

After marrying the Shah in December of 1959, Farah Diba’s life was transformed from one of an architecture student in Paris to the Empress of Iran. Sharing her husband’s goals of bringing her country into the modern era, the Shahbanou promoted numerous progressive national social programs to advance public education and the arts, eliminate poverty, aid those stricken with leprosy, and usher in a new era of women’s equality in Iran. But due to political unrest within the country and pressure from abroad in the late 1970s, the Shah was toppled by the Islamic fundamentalist revolution of the Ayatollah Khomeni. She fled her homeland and traveled the world in search of a new home for nearly a year while her husband was battling cancer. The Shah later died in Egypt in 1980.

In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan granted her family asylum, and she has since resided in Greenwich, Connecticut and now in Potomac, Maryland near her children and grandchildren.

In an exclusive interview with the Weekly, the Shahbanou talks about her late husband and shares her thoughts on life in exile and America.

BHW: Why did you decide to tell your side of the story in An Enduring Love? Did you feel historians and politicians have painted an inaccurate picture of the Shah’s legacy?

Farah Pahlavi: Well, you know, I was always thinking of writing my story and the period that I lived in Iran. But I needed some distance with the events; I also thought that my compatriots needed some distance. I first started writing this three years ago.

I considered it a duty toward my husband’s memory, for my children, for my grandchildren, for those young Iranians who’ve been born after the revolution, and also it’s the story of a woman that is out of the ordinary.

BHW: In your book you discuss your initial encounters with the Shah very vividly and at great length. Was it love at first sight?

FP: The first time I saw him, of course, I was so impressed-- my heart was beating because in my family and myself, we always had love for our king-- and admiration. He put me so much at ease when he [first] talked to me about my life as a student in Europe and asked me about my different studies. Then we met several times afterward and the love of a citizen to a king was starting to change into the love between a woman and a man.

BHW: When you look back at your early years of marriage were you prepared for the tremendous stately responsibilities that came with being empress at the fairly young age of 21?

FP: You know, the first thing the king told me when he asked me to marry him was that as a queen you will have responsibilities toward your country and your compatriots. In those days I couldn’t imagine the scale. I had some sort of sense of responsibility that I learned in my family and in school when I was the captain of our basketball team. But then again with the support of my husband and so many Iranians, men and women, who came to me and explained their problems, I traveled the country and we found solutions to hopefully realize many of their dreams. That was in a different field; there were so many other non-governmental groups and also government groups that were taking the country toward development, progress, and the welfare of our people.

BHW: How difficult was it for you to give up your education in architecture in Paris to get married?

FP: Of course I wanted to be an architect, but somehow even if I didn’t finish my studies, I was very much involved with many architects and urban designers in Iran and internationally. I was very involved in trying to not destroy some of our neighborhoods, or giving my opinion and the opinions of other architects because we were an old country and had beautiful architecture. We wanted to modernize but not destroy everything.

BHW: You indicated in the book how joyous the birth your son, Crown Prince Reza, was for yourself, your husband, and the country. Was there a lot of pressure to produce a male heir?

FP: Well, I knew the whole country was waiting for a male heir, but for me I just wanted to have a child. Frankly, after my son was born and I saw the impatience of all the journalists and media people that had slept on the sidewalks outside the hospital and their happiness-- this was the moment when I realized, ‘My God, if it was a girl, they would have been disappointed.’ But thank God I had two boys and two girls, as I always wanted.

BHW: You have described the Shah’s coronation ceremony in 1967, when you were also crowned Empress, as a day of emancipation for women in Iran.

FP: In 1963, the real emancipation [for women] happened after what we called the White Revolution, when women had received the right to vote and get elected. Afterwards with the help of many women, many laws were changed in favor of women. The family protection laws were we had equal rights as women. In the coronation when the Shah crowned me, I felt as if he had crowned all the women of Iran because for many years never a queen had been crowned in Iran. In the past, in our history, thousands of years ago we had two queens who were the leaders of the country for a short time.

BHW: Today outside of Iran, the first Iranian woman has been given the Nobel Peace Prize, the first Iranian woman has headed one of J.P.L’s space programs, and the first Iranian woman has been nominated for an Academy Award. Tell us how the status of Iranian women has changed since your reign?

FP: I believe in and admire the Iranian women [in Iran] who are struggling with the humiliation and the laws that have changed for them in their disfavor. But they are still fighting in a way they can against that repressive regime for their rights. I also have a lot of admiration for all the Iranian women in exile. They have kept their families together and they have accepted any job or sort of work to keep their family together and educate their children. I really hope that with the help of all Iranians inside and outside our country, we will gain freedom and democracy-- especially for the women who deserve acclaim in our society.

BHW: You mention that your final departure from Iran in 1979 was difficult because you were not able to bring out many of your family’s sentimental items and do certain things. If you could go back in time, is there anything you would have done differently?

FP: I always say that what I did was [all] in my ability to do. What I did in my involvement in so many different activities, these were the seeds that you plant with love and they don’t disappear. And many of them are still there and still working, although some of it has been changed.

BHW: After leaving Iran, did you feel betrayed that the Iranian people whom the Shah tried to help turned their backs on him?

FP: You know, the revolution had many inside and outside reasons. Now [in] hindsight I think, [despite] the problems that were in our society, they [Iranians] didn’t deserve such a horrible revolution. If the people were more patient, and maybe [in] hindsight it was more the political participation of people. If the other side was not organizing with the old opposition, which was very much organized inside and outside [Iran] sometimes with the help of foreigners and the fundamentalists, maybe this would not have happened. But unfortunately it was sort of a mass hysteria and they believed that the Ayatollah Khomeni would bring them paradise, but [instead] he opened the door to hell

BHW: What was the most difficult aspect of making the transition to private life while living in the U.S.?

FP: As you know, we were going from one country to another and my husband was sick and we were away from our children. We were hearing about all the assassinations of those people who had served Iran and it was so difficult. From the beginning there was a problem of getting our lives together in other countries and the education of my children. Also from the beginning, we started a small cell of opposition to try to help our country, and all these years I have been active in being in contact with my compatriots or being aware of the news of what’s happening in Iran. In the last 25 years I’ve talked with radio, television, and the press to tell them about what’s happening in our country and I continue to do so. Of course there were so many problems, so many difficulties, so many people who had changed [their loyalties], but at the same time I always think of so many of my compatriots who had suffered as much as we have but they kept their sympathy and affection. That has kept me going on, really.

BHW: Is there any part of royal life you don’t miss?

FP: You know, the royal life, sometimes people say it was a fairy tale. It was in a way a fairy tale, it was a fantastic period, but at the same time I must say that it was not all honey. It was hard work, it was worries, and it was really a lot of work. What I really miss is my country, my compatriots, all that I’m familiar with. I always say that [it is] whatever you see, you touch, you hear, you smell, you taste-- this is the part I miss and now I look at my life as an observer from outside.

BHW: During your reign you were heavily involved in promoting a variety of social programs in Iran including women’s rights , education, and fighting poverty. What charitable organizations are you still involved with?

FP: Without having the means, but with the people that help me, I’ve tried all these years to help some of some my compatriots in the ways that I could-- whether materially or because I’m in a position or know some people to [help] them find a job or ask for a visa or asylum somewhere for them. But really it takes a lot of my time and I don’t have the means to help them all.

I’m not involved in any special organization, except for the organization which is called the Foundation For the Children of Iran, which my daughter–in-law [Washington, D.C. attorney] Yasmine [Pahlavi] has created to help the Iranian children who cannot be cured inside Iran to come to the States. I’ve participated in their fundraising, or sometimes I’ve been invited to international welfare associations just to be present and support them. Otherwise, it was has been on a private level.

BHW: Your sister-in-law, Princess Shams, was one of the first Iranians to move to Beverly Hills. Have you ever considered moving to Beverly Hills or Los Angeles?

FP: No, because there are a lot of Iranians also in Maryland and Washington, D.C., but when I came to the States I was living between the United States and Paris, France. But I prefer the East Coast because it’s somehow closer to the rest of the world.

BHW: Many of our Iranian readers in Beverly Hills struggle with how to best teach their children and grandchildren about the Persian culture. What questions do your grandchildren ask about the old days in Iran? How do you expose them to the Persian culture?

FP: You know, [my grandchildren’s] parents and I try to explain the Persian culture to them. Like our festivities yesterday when they were jumping over the fire for Char-Shambe Sooree and my granddaughter jumped over the fire. They know Char-Shambe Sooree and they know Noruz [Persian New Year], they know about all these festivities. I know it’s very hard for parents because the children are living in a different society and at the same time they want them to keep some of their traditions. Some of the traditions should be kept, but at the same time these children that are brought up in an American society or in Europe shouldn’t be too different from other children, otherwise it’s too much pressure on the child.

BHW: Both you and the Shah spent a large portion of your time and effort in helping to bring Iran into the modern era by introducing progressive ideologies about education, gender equality, technology, etc., which have all been eliminated in the last 25 years by Iran’s fundamentalist regime. If there were a regime change in Iran, would you be willing to start over and do it again?

FP: I always say that the future of Iran belongs to the young generation. There are so many educated Iranians inside [Iran], and as you know, successful young Iranians outside our frontiers that I hope will help Iran enter into development and progress again. Me, as a person, one day if I can see my country again, it will be the greatest joy in my life. But we belong to another generation, we have some experiences about different things, but really the future and rebuilding of Iran belongs to the youth.

BHW: Do you believe that a monarchy, even if it were ceremonial like the one in England, will return to Iran as it has recently in Afghanistan?

FP: I always say what my son has said, that he has fought in the last 25 years with so many Iranians with different political opinions for freedom in Iran-- one day if hopefully the Iranians are free by referendum to choose their system of government whether a constitutional monarchy or any other form of democratic government. He is ready to serve his country, and in my point of view, a constitutional monarchy-- a king has always been a symbol of unity of different ethnic groups, religious minorities, and the keeper of our territorial integrity. It’s up to the Iranian people to choose the system they want.

BHW: When historians write the chapters on 20th century Iranian history, how would you like your reign to be remembered?

FP: When you look back 25 years ago, Iran was stable; the area was peaceful. Iran had relations with the west, we were allies with the United States. In those days we also had good relations with the Eastern bloc and also all our neighbors. And look at what has happened to Iran after we left-- the [Soviet] invasion of Afghanistan, the Iran-Iraq War, the Persian Gulf War, and now all the troubles in Iran. I think that the world will see that that period [of the Shah’s reign] was one of development, progress, and modernization in Iran. It was a land of peace and stability with friendly relations with all the nations of the world.

BHW: Thank you, Your Majesty, and from our readers we would like to wish you a Happy Noruz.

FP: My pleasure, [and] a Happy Noruz to you and your Iranian readers in Beverly Hills.
19 posted on 03/26/2004 9:00:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami Bids to Honor Mandela

March 26, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami will meet with the former South African president Nelson Mandela on Saturday in Saad-Abad Palace in northern Tehran and will award him the highest sign of honor and respect.

85-year-old former president is considered as the most popular figure in South Africa. Mandela has been awarded many international prizes including the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mandela is also going to visit Saudi Arabia. As the former leader of the African National Congress (ANC) Mandela led the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
20 posted on 03/26/2004 9:03:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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