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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 03/26/2004 9:26:37 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 03/26/2004 9:29:01 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iraq, Integrated - Civil war is not inevitable

National Review - By Steven Vincent
Mar 26, 2004

KIRKUK - Along with the one-year anniversary of the Coalition's invasion of Iraq has come the media's "summing-up" of the war and its aftermath. One overview I found particularly interesting appeared in the Financial Times's March 20-21 Weekend section. Below a year-old photograph of a terrified Iraqi infant, the paper ran a timeline entitled "Iraq: A Year On," listing such high points of Iraq's liberation as car bombs, civilian deaths, and the fruitless search for WMDs. You'd think it might have mentioned the discovery of mass graves — a major event to Iraqis — but never mind. The FT also printed a chart registering military fatalities to date (671), although more edifying statistics might have included Iraq's daily oil production (2.5 million barrels, nearly at the pre-war level of 2.8 million), electricity generation (4,200 megawatts, just short of the prewar level of 4,500), or the 200 neighborhood and tribal councils created by the CPA. But that would contradict the negative assessments of the war favored by the press.

What really captured my attention, however, was an accompanying article headlined, "A year after the invasion the spectre of murderous civil war still hangs over Iraq". Aside from the word "murderous" (is there another kind of civil war?), I was surprised by the FT's narrow conception of present-day Iraq. Yes, civil war is a possibility here. The current elbowing for power among the country's constituencies — particularly the Kurdish and Shiite populations — may escalate into fisticuffs once the CPA dissolves on June 30. And it is troubling that many government ministries have become virtual fiefdoms for ethnic and confessional groups. But like many other articles on this same topic, the FT's piece ignored Iraqis who maintain a tenacious optimism about the future and are working in countless ways, large and small, to defeat the forces seeking to tear their nation apart. Where are the voices of these people in the discussion about the potential for harb ahlea — civil war?

Take, for instance, Kirkuk, where a multiethnic population of 700,000 is a microcosm of Iraq as a whole. In the one-story headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) — which, along with the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP), is the main political group in northern Iraq — I met Sabah Mohammad. "Everyone wants peace and democracy — Kurds, Shiites, Turkmen, Arabs, we work as one," he said, rubbing his index fingers together in the Iraqi sign for cooperation. Down the street from the PUK's office is the Islamic Union of Kurdistan. There, director Abdul Kharder said, "Our purpose is to foster justice and brotherhood among the people of Iraq. Under Islam, there is no difference between Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, or Arabs."

To be sure, these expressions of comity mask tensions that periodically erupt into violence — in the mid-1990s, for example, the PUK and KDP fought a brief war, while over the last year Kurdish gunmen have killed numerous Arabs and Turkmen protesting Kurdish demands for autonomy in northern Iraq. And although the population of this region is overwhelmingly Muslim, many people reject an Islamic state. Over tea at the Women's Freedom Center, office manager Parrween Ahmed commented, "We want freedom, even if we go against the Koran. The mixture of secular law and sharia is not good for women or democracy."

Complicating matters, for nearly 40 years the Baathists displaced tens of thousands of Kurds, Turkmen, and Assyrians from Kirkuk and settled Arab families in their places, a process known as "Arabization." How deep resentment runs against Arabs in Kirkuk can be measured by one cab driver's comment, startling for anti-Semitic Iraq: "Kurds are better than Arabs, Turkmen are better than Arabs — even Jews are better than Arabs."

Amidst this sociological maelstrom sits Farmid Hamid, director of the Office of Human Rights. Among his myriad tasks, Hamid helps adjudicate complaints among Kirkuk's restive ethnic groups. "Right now the situation is stable, and will be as long as terrorists don't stir up ethnic conflict," he told me, our conversation interrupted by ringing phones and document-bearing assistants. "We know the world is watching — if we can't manage our problems, what does this mean for the future of Iraq?" As for Kurdish demands for autonomy, he envisions instead a federal system in which "certain Kurdish laws would pertain to Kurdistan only" — laws, for example, granting women freedom from sharia. "The Iraqi people want to stay together," he concluded. "We believe Kurds and Arabs should live together peacefully."

Hamid is not the only Iraqi attempting to hold his nation together. In Baghdad, Abdul Mashtaq is also dedicated to uniting Iraq. "We need political parties that represent more than the interest of ethnic or religious groups," said the genial 69-year-old man on a day I found him addressing a group of Arab and Kurdish tribal leaders about his plans for a new political party called "Building Democracy." "We seek to unite all of Iraq, no matter what ethnic, social, or religious background." When I asked him about the danger of harb ahlea, he shrugged. "There's no danger of that. Kurds will not press for independence, and Shiites will agree to a federal-style government. Besides," he noted, patting my knee, "in the Middle East, no force can oppose the United States. You will prevent civil war."

Other proponents of unity and democracy include Iraq's Communists. Unlike the scores of secular parties emerging across the country, the Communists possess name recognition, a legacy of resistance against Saddam Hussein, and experience in grassroots organizing. Plus, they are saying many of the right things these days. "We oppose religious and ethnic parties seeking to divide Iraq," commented Samir Adil, head of Baghdad's Worker-Communist party. "Our enemies are not Shia, Sunnis, or Kurds, but Islamic terrorists." Seated in his tiny office just off Ferdowsi Square, where Saddam's statue fell on April 9, Adil related how WCP members in Kirkuk assisted the American army in calming tensions after outbreaks of ethnic violence last May. "We also helped the Americans keep order in many Baghdad neighborhoods."

In Basra, Communist-party head Ali Medhi sounds more like a Social Democrat than a to-the-ramparts Bolshevik. "We want an honest police force and an accountable government that represents all the people," he said. "We favor capitalism, too. Capitalism can unite Iraq." No wonder the director of a Basra-based NGO commented to me, "If the Americans really want to support democracy and help prevent civil strife, they should pour money into Iraq's Communist parties."

But even the best-funded group can do little in a society that, after 40 years of Baathist rule, has forgotten the concept of democracy. Quipped the same director, "We must remind Iraqis that just because you win 51 percent of the vote, you don't go out and kill the other 49 percent." Still, this lack of experience doesn't trouble Juliana Yussef, editor of the Basra newspaper Al-Akhbaar. "The climate is poor for democracy now, but that doesn't mean the country is heading for civil war. Iraqis will stay together because we have no other alternative."

You hear that a lot these days. Despite their differences, Iraqis know that failure to stand together will bring unimaginable catastrophe — and this realization, combined with their innate common sense and distaste for fanaticism, might prevent the nation from splintering. While this attitude reflects some wishful thinking, it does have a historical basis: From its ancient desert kingdoms until the rise of the Baath party in the 1960s, Iraq's multi-ethnic peoples lived together in relative harmony. Today in Karaada, the Baghdad neighborhood where my apartment is located, one finds Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Chaldean Christians, Sunni, and Shia forming a model of Iraqi integration.

This is why the March 17 car bomb that destroyed Karaada's Mount Lebanon hotel was such a powerful reminder of the damage terrorists can inflict on Iraq's psyche. By detonating 1,000 pounds of plastic explosives in this neighborhood, Islamofascists signaled that multicultural tolerance was no protection against the chaos they spread. How Iraqis interpret this message remains to be seen. For among the people these days, a counter-feeling is developing — one literally growing out of the ruins of the hotels and police stations shattered by terrorists. "Iraq is a divided country," says poet Naseer Hasan. "But each terrorist attack joins our people in bonds of shared suffering. In the end, it may be the terrorists who make us one."

— Steven Vincent is a freelance American writer currently living in Iraq.
4 posted on 03/26/2004 9:34:57 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Fearful Iranians seek passports

By Tom Spender
Times UK

There has been a surge in applications for British passports from the borough's Iranian community in response to the fate of two Barnet-based refugees who are languishing in an Iranian jail.

Dr Rudi Vis, the MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said that the Foreign Office had not visited either Abrahim Khodabandeh, of Barnet, or Jamil Bassam, of Hendon, in jail in Iran because neither had chosen to take British nationality despite living in the borough for more than 30 years. They were arrested while visiting Syria last April and were flown back to Iran a flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

Now Dr Vis, who was born in Holland, said: "More people from Iran who are more British than I am are asking for British citizenship. They may want to go to countries neighbouring Iran such as Syria to meet up with families and friends."

A Foreign Office spokesman has said that the Government has no right to visit the men in jail in Iran because they are not British citizens.

But Mahmoud Tabrizi, a childhood friend of Mr Khodabandeh who lives in Mill Hill, said that passports were not the real issue.

"The Government could do something if it wanted to. It's a matter of humanity. These men have been living here for 30 years morally they have as many rights as any other citizen.

"The Foreign Office is choosing not to use the influence it claims to have."

The Government has said it is pursuing a policy of engagement with Iran, which it hopes will give it enough influence to try to persuade the Iranians to improve their record on human rights.
6 posted on 03/26/2004 10:22:10 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Spinning a tale of desperation out of 'Gold'

By Wesley Morris, Globe Staff, 3/26/2004

Crimson Gold" opens in remarkable distress. A man holds up a small jewelry store in Tehran. It's empty save for the harried jeweler who runs it. A woman comes in and runs out when she realizes what's happening. The alarm goes off, and the robber, a big hulk of a man, shoots the jeweler, who's just off-screen. Outside, in daylight and in front the store's iron gate, a frantic crowd gathers, including the gunman's friend, who wants to know why on earth he's shooting people, but he just waves them back and busts open some of the cases.

The sequence is filmed in a single, static take, with the camera positioned so the store's entrance becomes the center of the frame. By the robbery's conclusion, the camera has crept from the back of the store to the front, and we're left with a chilling, abjectly ironic awareness of the chasm between chaos and control. The camera's sobriety can capture mayhem, but it can't stop it from happening.

The director of "Crimson Gold" is Iran's Jafar Panahi, who also made "The White Balloon" and "The Circle," a stinging, tautly structured indictment of Iranian society told through its women's eyes.

"Crimson Gold" takes us back to the days before the botched heist, whipping us from that gunshot and static camera to a motorbike flying through the streets of Tehran. We meet the demoralized robber in a less desperate but no less unhappy state. His name is Hussein (Hussein Emadeddin), and he has a large face that seems to be swallowing his eyes and his mouth and whatever else he'd need to complete a communicative facial expression. His pal Ali (Kamyar Sheissi) arrives with a purse he claims he found. From it falls a gold wedding band and a note about an expensive Italian necklace at a jewelry shop.

The two hop on Ali's bike and head over to the shop. They want to see what such a pricey necklace looks like. But the owner (Shahram Vaziri) takes one look at them and says to try someplace else. Ali lets the incident go, but Hussein has a tough time moving on. You start to see his weight as an extension of his inability to put life's humiliations behind him. Quite literally, he's heavy with hurt.

Written by the director Abbas Kiarostami, who wrote Panahi's debut, "The White Balloon," the film takes us through protracted snapshots of Hussein's life. On any given night, his pizza-delivery job could bring Hussein to a building with a broken elevator, which means a trip up several flights of stairs. (Indeed, Emadeddin really delivers pizzas for a living.) His customers include a former co-worker who doesn't recognize him because of his weight gain. As the slights to his dignity increase, Hussein grows frustrated and sad.

Hussein gets a respite when a rich, American-bred kid invites him into his palatial bachelor pad to share a pizza. While the boy ignores him to talk on his cell phone, Hussein tours the house, samples the libations, and has a swim. The next day, hungover more from dispossession than alcohol, he pulls his heist.

To a large extent, "Crimson Gold" is about the unbearable weight of being. The film, however, is deceptively light in its construction, built of long sequences and enduring silences. Spareness is a virtue for Panahi as he contemplates the space between commentary and cinema. Emadeddin's work is unaffected but deeply informed, and no close-ups or reaction shots are required to feel his character's pain. His emotionality is a surprise because it's emitted more than expressed. This is the first beautiful performance in the year's first great movie.

Wesley Morris can be reached at
7 posted on 03/26/2004 10:23:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Inspections Begin Amid Nuclear Cover-up Claims

March 27, 2004
ABC News Online

United Nations (UN) nuclear inspectors are due to arrive in Iran on Saturday for a crucial mission to discover whether the Islamic republic is secretly developing atomic weapons, as the US accuses it of doing.

Iran had tried to put off the mission earlier this month after the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), condemned it for continuing to hide sensitive nuclear activities.

But Iran yielded and allowed the visit after a delay of two weeks, following international outcry against it for failing to cooperate with the atomic agency.

The UN team will focus its inspections on the Natanz uranium enrichment plant and the Isfahan nuclear technology centre.

The Natanz plant is one of two sites where IAEA inspectors have discovered traces of highly enriched uranium.

This substance can be used in civilian nuclear reactors to generate electricity but it can also be used as raw material for a nuclear bomb.

Isfahan is a nuclear technology centre with a uranium conversion facility.

A diplomat close to the IAEA said this week the inspection visit was "routine, nothing spectacular".

He said the IAEA would not - on this trip - be verifying Iran's pledge to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran promised in February to halt not just enriching uranium but all related activities, such as building centrifuges.

IAEA director general Mohamed El Baradei has said that move is crucial if Iran is to convince the world it is cooperating fully with the UN watchdog and honouring its nuclear non-proliferation commitments.

Mr El Baradei has also said another UN team may go to Iran in April for a more aggressive inspection.

Activities 'hidden'

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that a committee of senior Iranian officials is overseeing efforts to conceal important elements of the country's nuclear program from international inspectors, citing Western diplomats and an intelligence report.

The diplomats told the paper Iran set up the committee late last year to coordinate the concealment efforts after inspectors found evidence it had tried to hide elements of its nuclear program, including research on advanced centrifuges that could produce weapons-grade uranium.

The newspaper quotes a diplomat, speaking anonymously, as saying the committee's work includes trying to hide nuclear evidence at almost 300 locations.

The committee is said to include senior officials of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation who report to high-level government officials.

Pirooz Hosseini, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, told the newspaper that charges of a cover-up are "totally baseless".

"We have adopted a policy of full transparency, and we have declared all of our nuclear activities to the IAEA."
18 posted on 03/27/2004 7:47:30 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Inaugurates Uranium Conversion Facility

March 27, 2004
The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran has inaugurated a plant for processing uranium ore into gas, a step prior to enrichment of uranium, in the central city of Isfahan, Iranian nuclear officials said Saturday.

The Uranium Conversion Facility began operation “some time ago,” a senior official at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said on condition of anonymity.

The nuclear facility in Isfahan, 250 miles south of Tehran, converts uranium ore into gas, which is destined for enrichment at a nuclear plant in Natanz. Iran suspended enrichment last year under strong international pressure over the aims and dimensions of its nuclear program.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are scheduled to arrive in Iran later Saturday.

The United States strongly suspects Iran has a secret atomic weapons program, but Tehran insists its nuclear program if only for power generation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency recently rebuked Iran for failing to disclose certain aspects of its nuclear development, as it is obliged to do under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Washington has called for Iran to suspend all uranium-related activity. But Iran has repeatedly said its suspension is temporary and enrichment will resume.

IAEA inspectors return to Iran

The Atomic Energy Organization official said the inspectors would visit the conversion facility in Isfahan as well as the enrichment plant in Natanz, 200 miles south of Tehran.

Mohammed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has said Iran needs to take many steps before the U.N. agency can give its nuclear program a clean bill of health.

Suspicions about Iran’s program heightened last year when the IAEA revealed that its inspectors found radioactive particles that had been enriched to weapons-grade level — higher than what Iran requires for fuel for a nuclear reactor.

Iran said the particles came from imported equipment.

ElBaradei, who plans to visit Iran early next month to encourage it to be more transparent, hopes to present an assessment of Iran’s nuclear activities to the IAEA board of governors in June.

Iran has repeatedly denied concealing any illegal nuclear activity. After the IAEA rebuked it this month, the Tehran government barred the inspectors for two weeks. Their scheduled return Saturday will be their first visit since then.
19 posted on 03/27/2004 7:48:58 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Hiding Its Nuclear Activities [Excerpt]

March 27, 2004
LA Times
Douglas Frantz and Sonni Efron

Senior Iranian officials are overseeing efforts to conceal key elements of the country's nuclear program from international inspectors, according to Western diplomats and an intelligence report.

If the cover-up is confirmed, it would bolster the U.S. assertion that Iran is trying to hide a secret nuclear weapons program.

Iran set up a committee late last year to coordinate the concealment efforts after international inspectors uncovered evidence that the Islamic Republic had tried to hide aspects of its nuclear program, including secret research on advanced centrifuges that can produce weapons-grade uranium, according to the diplomats.

A diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the committee's most pressing tasks include trying to hide nuclear evidence at nearly 300 locations around the country. The committee is said to be composed mainly of senior officials of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran who report to high-ranking government officials.

Iran has said that it will deny access to some suspect sites by international inspectors, who are scheduled to continue their work today. Iran cited a continuing New Year holiday as justification for barring the inspectors.

A Bush administration official said the United States had received the intelligence report — prepared by a country other than the United States — within the last month and believes it to be credible.

Washington would probably portray any Iranian cover-up as smoking-gun evidence of a nuclear weapons program. The U.S. is likely to use any such evidence to prod the Europeans, who have been pursuing an engagement strategy with Tehran, to take a harder line at the June meeting in Vienna of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA.

"The report is being viewed seriously because it originates from outside U.S. intelligence sources," said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "It has contributed to a greater sense of frustration, both in the U.S. and within the IAEA."

The full text can be found at:
20 posted on 03/27/2004 7:52:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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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”

27 posted on 03/27/2004 9:13:28 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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