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Iranian Alert -- March 28, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 3.28.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 03/27/2004 9:12:10 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 03/27/2004 9:12:12 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 03/27/2004 9:14:22 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Head of UN nuclear watchdog to visit Iran

AFP - World News
Mar 27, 2004

VIENNA - The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Mohammed El Baradei, is to visit Iran in early April to urge it to cooperate fully with international checks on its nuclear program, the watchdog's spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said on Saturday.

It will be the third visit to Iran by Mr El Baradei, the secretary-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), since the IAEA began checks in Feburary 2003 to verify whether Iran was secretly developing atomic weapons, as the United States alleges.
3 posted on 03/27/2004 9:15:28 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Elections do not a democracy make

International Herald Tribune - By Stanley A. Weiss
Mar 27, 2004

WASHINGTON - Call it The Year of the Ballot. Last weekend, voters in three countries went to the polls. In Malaysia, voters rejected the Islamic Party in favor of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's moderate brand of Islam. In Taiwan, the disputed presidential election has been thrown to the courts. And in El Salvador, a pro-American businessman defeated a pro-Cuban Marxist for president.

In Algeria, the presidential election next month will reveal whether secular nationalists and moderate Islamic parties can co-exist after a bloody 12-year civil war. In India, the governing nationalist coalition is expected to prevail in elections next month even as it struggles to preserve what Nehru called "a secular state in a religious country" of Hindus and Muslims. And Indonesia's first direct presidential election will show this year whether the country continues its slow march forward as a democracy-in-progress.

In Iraq, the new interim Constitution - the most progressive document in the Arab world - calls for national elections by January 2005.

Commentators are celebrating these and other electoral milestones as proof of the triumph of democracy. But as demonstrated by the recent phony election in Iran and the coronation of Czar Vladimir Putin in Russia, elections do not a true democracy make.

From Hitler to Milosevic to Aristide, history is littered with examples of democratically elected leaders undermining democracy itself. The aborted Algerian elections of 1991 threatened to empower the Radical Islamic Salvation Front, one of whose leaders declared, "When we are in power, there will be no more elections because God will be ruling." Put another way: one man, one vote, one time.

Today, a majority of the world's countries are indeed electoral democracies. At the same time, most countries still are not free, according to the independent institute Freedom House. How to explain this paradox? Democracy and freedom are not the same. Democracy is the ability to choose one's leaders in elections. Freedom is the ability to exercise one's personal, political and economic rights.

The democratic ideal may be universal, but history reveals that democracy is a luxury. A country can afford democracy only after it fulfills the most basic needs of its citizens, especially their economic security. No one can think of democracy on an empty stomach. Many conflicts around the world attributed to ethnic or religious rivalries are in fact battles over economics, resources and wealth. In Indonesia, the 27-year separatist revolt in Aceh is as much about keeping more of the province's oil and gas profits as about the right to practice Islamic law. Muslim agitation in southern Thailand stems less from religious fundamentalism than economic neglect from Bangkok. The root causes of Algeria's troubles are not religious but economic - the persistent inequities between the francophone elite and the unemployed masses.

Good economics, on the other hand, promote good politics. The seed of democracy and prosperity was planted in autocratic South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and elsewhere by building market-based economies. Political and economic stability helped attract investment. Economic growth eventually produced history's greatest catalyst for democratic change - a prosperous middle class that demanded more political freedom.

Get the economics right, and a country has a much better chance of getting democracy right. Developing nations can learn from Japan and the "four little dragons." South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore achieved high growth by investing in the education and health of their peoples. Conversely, from Angola to Venezuela, citizens of resource-rich countries that fail to diversify their economies tend to be worse off by every measure - income, jobs, education, health - than people in resource-poor countries.

The great task of building stable, prosperous, democratic states is neither quick nor easy. The American experience counsels patience. After the first eight years as a weak confederation, the United States was divided and bankrupt. The word democracy appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution. Full suffrage was denied to African-Americans and women until the 20th century.

What has taken the West centuries cannot be transplanted or replicated overnight. As the American poet Archibald MacLeish observed: "Democracy is never a thing done. Democracy is always something that a nation must be doing." Among the most important things that a nation must do is to give its citizens a vested economic interest in a stable, prosperous, democratic future.

Full stomachs, not just fair ballots, are the key to a democratic future.

Stanley A. Weiss is founder and chairman of Business Executives for National Security, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington. This is a personal comment.
4 posted on 03/27/2004 9:16:29 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
UN Nuclear Inspectors Arrive in Iran

VOA News
27 Mar 2004, 17:17 UTC

United Nations nuclear inspectors have arrived in Iran to visit two nuclear facilities. Their trip was postponed by Tehran for two weeks to protest a resolution adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors criticizing Tehran for hiding sensitive information about its nuclear program.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says the team will conduct inspections at the Natanz gas centrifuge enrichment facility and the Isfahan nuclear research center.

Previously, inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz facility. Iran said that was the result of contamination in the country where the equipment originated.

In a related development, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reports Saturday Iran has set up a committee to coordinate efforts to conceal key elements of its nuclear program from international inspectors.

The newspaper quotes Western diplomats as saying the committee was established late last year and reports to senior Iranian officials. The diplomats' information comes from an intelligence report prepared by a country other than the United States.

If the existence of such a committee is confirmed, it would strengthen Washington's assertion that Iran is trying to hide a secret atomic weapons program. Iran has consistently maintained that its nuclear program is for the civilian production of energy.
5 posted on 03/27/2004 9:18:31 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Mandela postpones controversial trip to Iran

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 27, 2004

Nelson Mandela has postponed his controversial trip to Iran. The former S. African "Freedom Fighter" had scheduled to meet, on Sunday, with the Islamic republic's leaders and to receive a prize in the Sadabad Palace located in North Tehran.

He will be visiting Iran in order to receive his blood stained prize after the April 14th elections in his country.

The cause of this sudden change and last minute postponement has been declared as "Work Load". It follows the reaction of thousands of Iranians and world's freedom lovers who have expressed their dismay and sharp criticism via e.mail and faxes sent to Mr. Mandela's offices and to the S. African Embassies worldwide.

In addition, mass demonstrations of protest were planned inside Iran.

Mandela who changed into a statesman and an International political broker is remembered by many Iranians for his last trip to Iran coinciding with the trial of 13 innocent Iranian Jews accused of spying. The former "Freedom Fighter" slammed the foreign pressures exerted against the Islamic regime for the liberation of the innocent Jews, by stating that "no one has the right to interfere in the affairs of a sovereign country".

Mandela had requested for the foreign pressure at a time that he was himself in the apartheid regime's jails.

Iran of the mullahs is one of the principal investors and bankers in South Africa and is stocking millions of tons of petroleum in this country.
6 posted on 03/27/2004 9:20:58 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Regime warns Germany on Memorial for slained opponents

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 27, 2004

The Islamic republic regime is using all its mouthpieces in order to warn Germany on "the consequences" of the construction, by Berlin's City Council, of a memorial piece for the victims of the Mykonos Restaurant tragedy.

While the regime's Foreign Ministry and its Ambassador, a former notorious Hezbollah thug, have protested beside the German authorities, the new Tehran Mayor, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad who's reputed for murder of opponents himself, has warned Berlin's Mayor in a letter partially published in the today's issue of Tehran Times. Ahmadi-Nejad has threatened that "Tehran municipality is being pressed by the victims of chemical warfare and their families to list the names of the countries in a panel which provided the ousted regime of Saddam with chemical warfare, particularly Germany as the main provider".

Several Iranian opponents were slained by the Islamic regime's terrorists during a sit in gathering at the famous restaurant. The terrorists were arrested and condemned, in 1997, by the German justice particularly due to the integrity of Bruno Yoos, the German Prosecutor, who stood up against all pressures made by the German Government which was promoting the policy of "Constructive Dialogue" with the clerics.

"The Highest levels of the Islamic republic regime are involved in these murders" stated Mr. Yoos, who issued an International Arrest Warrant against several of regime's officials especially against the notorious Rafsanjani's Ministry of Intelligence Ali Fallahian.

It's to note that the majority of Berlin's City Council's members have resisted, so far and just as like as Bruno Yoos, against their Government's pressures; And that the German Government is still looking to use any occasion in order to release the jailed terrorists held in its prisons.
7 posted on 03/27/2004 9:21:55 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; Pan_Yans Wife; Valin; nuconvert; McGavin999; Eala; thierrya; Stefania; Luis Gonzalez; ...
An open letter to Nelson Mandella from Iranians living in Euorpe -- Pilot

Honorable President Nelson Mandela;

Date: March 26th, 2004

Dear Mr. President;

It is a great honor to write to you on the eve of your trip to Iran. Your name and legacy of resistance have always been heartwarming for prisoners of conscience around the world. Some of us have spent days and nights in prison wards thinking of you, and once out of prison have supported your struggle for a free and just South Africa. The Islamic Republic of Iran unfortunately is no exception from the rulers that decide to silence their dissidents by holding them in cold and dark prison cells. You know better than anyone that these policies of suppression did not work for you and will not work for other freedom lovers in the world, including those jailed in Iran. Your long time partner in resistance Archbishop Tutu wrote to our founding assembly last January that ”The purpose of government is to serve the best interests of the people governed in a partnership where justice and freedom of expression ensure peace and stability.” We would like to ask you to remind your Iranian hosts of your wisdom on freedom of expression and your lifetime commitment to non-violence, peace and justice.

Mr. Abbas Amir Entezam, once a minister in the transitional government after the Islamic Revolution, has been in prison for more than a quarter century. Mr. Nasser Zarafshan, a prominent thinker, writer, translator and lawyer representing the families of those who were the victims of the chain murders of 1998, was arrested and sentenced to 5 years in prison. He was persecuted only because of his works in gathering facts and revealing the role of agents of the regime in masterminding the killings of the opposition figures. Mr. Zarafshan’s life is in great danger. His health, due to torture and the terrible conditions of prison, has deteriorated to an alarming state. Mr. Ensafali Hedayat, a journalist, is in prison because he dared to attend our founding assembly in Berlin, the same event for which Archbishop Tutu has sent his message of support. As Mr. Hedayat’s daughter informs us, his health is deteriorating daily. Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel Peace laureate was jailed herself for defending university students in revolutionary courts and now calls for the release of Iranian prisoners of conscience. Please note that we have just mentioned a few of prisoners of conscience here, otherwise there is a long list including prominent reformists such as Mr. Akbar Ganji, Dr. Hashem Aghajari, and Hojatoleslam Eshkevari who have been imprisoned for more liberal interpretation of Islam and advocating the separation of religion and state.

Many other female and male, old and young prisoners of conscience, lawyers, writers, journalists, political activists, labor representatives, and even university students are imprisoned for long periods of time without any charge. Some have even served their mandatory prison terms and still are not released. As you know, according to the reports published by human rights organizations such as the UN Special Representative on Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders, human rights abuse in Iran is widely practiced by the Islamic regime. Currently the pressure inflicted on the prisoners has increased to an unimaginable level and the lives of many of them are in immediate danger. Families of prisoners have no effective legal recourse. In many occasions, those relatives who appeal to the UN or EU Human Rights representatives are also prosecuted for their action.

We are certain that you are cautious not to allow the Islamic Republic of Iran use your trip as a tool for legitimizing its political policies and human rights practices especially after the recent un-democratic elections. While we do not object to your trip, we hope that you use your influence and good will to demand immediate and unconditional release of “prisoners of conscience”. You have been a symbol of peace, justice, and freedom of expression around the world. We hope that your presence in Iran will remind the Iranian officials that you stand against widespread violation of human rights in that country.

In Solidarity;

Ettehad-e Jomhourikhahan-e Iran (EJI)
Unity for a democratic and secular republic in Iran
International Committee
8 posted on 03/27/2004 10:29:05 PM PST by F14 Pilot (John Fedayeen Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
9 posted on 03/28/2004 1:46:04 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: All

Middle East Newsline
28th of March, 2004

MOSCOW [MENL] -- Iran and Russia have failed to agree on a schedule for the completion of the Bushehr nuclear reactor.

Russian officials said Moscow and Teheran have yet to agree on a construction schedule, deliveries of nuclear fuel and a repayment schedule for the estimated $1 billion Bushehr reactor. The disagreements have prevented the visit of a high-level Russian nuclear delegation to Iran to complete the accord.

So far, Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency director Alexander Rumyantsev has twice postponed visits to Teheran to complete talks meant to advance the Bushehr reactor. The first cancellation was in January and the second was in March.

Rumyantsev now plans to arrive in Teheran in the middle of May. Agency spokesman Nikolai Shingarev said the two sides would seek to agree on arrangements for the return of Russian spent nuclear fuel for Bushehr.
10 posted on 03/28/2004 5:46:52 AM PST by F14 Pilot (John Fedayeen Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Tens injured and arrested following clashes in Western Iran

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Mar 27, 2004

Tens of protesters have been injured or arrested, on Tuesday and Wednesday, following the violent clashes that rocked the Eslamieh Town located near the western City of Mehran.

The elite brigades of Pasdaran Corp. were sent in order to smash the violent rebellion caused by the murder, by the local forces, of a young motorbiker.

The news of this killing was followed by popular unrest and the take over of the Law Enforcement Forces center as the local security forces were soon overwhelmed despite the use of plastic bullets and tear gas. Several buildings and public materials including the LEF center, a fuel tanker, banks and patrol vehicles were burned or damaged during the riot.

The situation in the area is very tense as families are let without any news about their arrested relatives.
11 posted on 03/28/2004 8:10:23 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Tehran Mayor Warns Berlin Municipality

March 28, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting

Tehran -- Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Saturday announced that the recent decision taken by Berlin Charlottenburg district municipality to install a panel with baseless remarks as an insult to Iran.

In a letter to his German counterpart, Klaus Woweriet, he warned Charlottenburg district municipality to stop taking insulting measures against Iran.

Addressing Berlin Charlottenburg district Mayor, Ahmadinejad underlined that they should expect retaliatory measures on the part of Iran.

'Tehran municipality is urged by the victims of chemical warfare and their families to install a panel listing names of the states which equipped Saddam's toppled regime with chemical weapons, particularly Germany as its supporter and supplier,' he added .

Turning to the unfavorable impact of the measure, the Mayor hoped that his German counterpart would take the necessary steps to stop the insulting measure.

Berlin Charlottenburg district municipality is set to install a panel with baseless and insulting remarks against Iran in front of Mikonos restaurant commemorating the assassination of four Kurdish leaders there in 1992.
12 posted on 03/28/2004 8:11:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Atomic Energy Inspectors Resume Work in Iran

March 28, 2004
Saudi Press Agency

Tehran -- Inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resumed work Sunday in Iran, IRNA news agency reported.

On its arrival in Teheran Saturday, the group immediately departed for Natanz, central Iran, to inspect the city's nuclear site where Iran is allegedly carrying out uranium enrichment.

Despite the country's New Year holidays, which last until April 3, the local staff has been asked to come to work to assist the inspectors, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said.

The IAEA will inspect the nuclear facility in Isfahan, south of Natanz, after the United States voiced concern over "secret nuclear programs" at the site.

The inspectors plan to prepare an initial draft report for IAEA chief Mohammad El-Baradei who is scheduled to visit Iran in the first week of April.

Teheran must disclose all details of its nuclear programs to the IAEA by June. If not, the case might even be brought to the United Nations Security Council where the country could face sanctions despite numerous denials of a secret nuclear program.

13 posted on 03/28/2004 8:15:27 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Who Rules Iran?

March 28, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Amir Taheri

Westerners often meet with assorted officials who, they are led to believe, run Islamist Iran. They don't.

Chris Patten, the British politician who handles part of the European Union's foreign policy, complains that when talking to Iranian officials, he has the feeling that they are "messenger boys." Long before him, Roland Dumas, France's foreign minister in the 1980s, had reached a similar conclusion.

"The Iranian officials we talked to turned out to be actors playing the roles of officials," he commented years later.

In the next few weeks as a new cabinet is approved by the newly elected Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis), Patten may find himself facing a set of new "actors." But the real strings of power will remain in hands that Western diplomats never see.

Since 1979, Iran has been ruled by an occult oligarchy with a strong theocratic component. That oligarchy sees itself as the embodiment of a messianic revolution in opposition to state structures that remain to be cleansed of millennia rule by "corrupt" kings, emirs and khans.

The oligarchy controls the real levers of power, sets policies, and imposes key decisions with little deference to the governmental fa ade. That fa ade is maintained as a first line of defense for the revolution which, so the oligarchs assert, is sill threatened by internal and external foes.

At the center of the oligarchy stands the "Office of the Leader," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the "Supreme Guide." Under the Khomeinist Constitution, the "Supreme Guide" represents Allah's sovereignty on earth and has unlimited powers. The opening articles of the Khomeinist Constitution, approved in 1979, make it clear that the "Supreme Guide" is also the leader of all Muslims throughout the world, whether they like it or not. Thus, theoretically at least, the Khomeinist "Supreme Guide" can decide what Islam is and is not at any given time.

But that is not all.

In practical terms, the "Supreme Guide" controls the purse strings of the Iranian state, one of the richest in the Muslim world. (In the past quarter of a century the "Supreme Guide" has supervised the expenditure of almost half a trillion dollars in Iran's oil income.) He must approve the national budget and is the commander-in-chief of all armed and security forces. Every ministerial, gubernatorial and ambassadorial appointment must receive his assent. Also, each year he has a cool $1.5 billion, some eight percent of Iran's average annual oil income, to play with as he pleases.

Next to the "Office of the Leader," the most powerful organs are the bazaar and mosque networks that have become interlinked through a cobweb of foundations, charities, corporations, theological seminaries, and associations.

Some "revolutionary foundations" have emerged as major business enterprises with national, and sometimes international, reach.

The Foundation for the Dispossessed, for example, controls assets worth $80 billion, and boasts an annual turnover of $10 billion. It is Iran's second biggest corporation, after the National Iranian Oil Company. The foundation owns banks, factories, hotels, and a string of property in Europe and even the United States. It never publishes its accounts and reports only to the "Supreme Guide." In the year 2000, the foundation reported that it had purchased interest in more than 80 foreign, mainly European and Persian Gulf, companies. These are run by branches in Dubai and Vienna. Banks owned by the foundation control almost a quarter of all banking business in Dubai.

The Imam Reza Foundation, acts as a state within a state with its chairman Abbas Va'ez Tabassi, a mullah, directly negotiating deals with foreign governments. The foundation even run its own foreign policy: as far as Afghanistan was concerned it Ismail Khan, now the "Emir" of Heart, during the fight against the Taliban in 2000.

By some estimates the revolutionary foundations and sibling outfits control some 70 percent of the national economy outside agriculture and the state-owned industries.

THESE FOUNDATIONS are linked with the bazaar merchants, who make their money in import-export, through the so-called Islamic Coalition Council led by Habiballah Asgar-Oladi, a business partner of the "Supreme Leader."

The business networks created by the revolution first took shape when the Khomeinist regime seized the assets of some 130,000 "rich people" between 1979 and 1983. A second wave of confiscations in 1985-89 resulted in the seizure of 75,000 homes and businesses owned by middle-class urban families. Confiscation of private property still continues to this day.

The oligarchy's business networks experienced a second expansion with the privatization schemes launched from 1994 onwards. In the past 10 years an estimated 200 state-owned enterprises have been privatized. Often this has meant the transfer of ownership to a small group of politicians and mullahs close to the "Supreme Guide." Senior Khomeinists, including Khamenei and Rafsanjani, are among major shareholders of over 100 companies.

The incestuous nature of these arrangements is reflected in the fact that all the 500 or so mullahs who occupy political positions are shareholders in the same corporations or serve as members of the boards of trustees of the revolutionary business foundations.

The oligarchy has also divided Iran's foreign trade among its members.

For example, trade with much of Asia, including China and Japan, is reserved for the Rafsanjani-Bahremani clan which also handles most of the foreign investment deals in the Iranian oil industry. The latest deal, providing for billions of dollars of Japanese investment in Iranian gas and oil, represents a bonanza for the clan.

The arms trade, worth some $4.5 billion a year, is almost exclusively controlled by the "Office of the Leader" that distributes contracts among favorites.

As was the case with Iraq under Saddam Hussein, the Khomeinist regime uses special discounts for oil exports as a means of distributing favor among foreign politicians and other friends and for financing terrorist organizations.

In 2002 the Islamic Majlis (parliament) conducted an investigation into oil "baksheesh" deals that concerned dozens of foreign "personalities." Bizhan Namdar-Zangeneh, the oil minister, was asked to resign. He refused, arguing that the favors had been distributed on orders from the "Supreme Guide."

THE OLIGARCHY'S religious network is based on the Hojatieh, a semi-secret society initially crated in the 1950s to fight the Bahai minority. Its founding guru was Ali-Akbar Halabi, a mid-ranking mullah who, at one point in the 1980s, quarrelled with Khomeini. But its current eminence grise is Muhammad-Reza Mahdavi Kani, another mullah who once served as Khomeini's prime minister. The front organization he uses is called Society of Combatant Clergy (Ruhaniyat Mubarez).

The oligarchy also names the Friday Prayer leaders of all the 400 or so centers classified as "towns and cities" in Iran. The network of prayer leaders is controlled by a central committee of mullahs including Ali-Akbar Meshkini, Prayer Leader of Qom, and Imami Kashani, interim Prayer Leader in Teheran. Meshkini is also President of the Assembly of Experts whose task is to choose the future "Supreme Guide."

The oligarchy also offers stipends to some 20,000 students of theology, especially in the "holy" city of Qom and Teheran.

The idea is to have a foothold within the Shi'ite seminaries that have been emerging as centers of opposition to the Khomeinist ideology in recent years. The money used for that purpose is controlled by a triumvirate of mullahs: Mesbah Yazdi, Imami Kashani and Hojati Kermani.

The oligarchy runs several parallel security agencies, financed through back-channels and reporting only to the "Supreme Guide." These agencies are believed to be led by Ali Fallahian, a mullah who acted as minister for intelligence and security in the late 1980s. His second-in-command is Mustafa Pour-Muhammadi, another mullah. Members of these agencies are known as "Yaran Imam" (Friends of the Imam) and, according to unverifiable estimates, number several thousands. In every government department or state-owned enterprise one finds at least one such "Friend of the Imam."

In the field of foreign policy, while Kamal Kharrzai plays the role of foreign minister, all key decisions are taken by a small committee reporting only to Khamenei. Since 1998 the committee has been headed by Ali-Akbar Velayati, assisted by Muhammad-Javad Larijani, the man of secret talks with foreign powers, especially Britain. The committee finances several think-tanks and uses the services of foreign, mostly French, consultants, on specific topics.

Even the defense minister, Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani, is no more than an actor playing a ministerial role. Key decisions on military matters are taken by a committee headed by Ahmad Vahidi, a former general of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, whose official title is "Defense Adviser to the Leader." The committee supervises the work of the regular army, the revolutionary guard, the Baseej (mobilization) and a string of other paramilitary forces. It also runs more than a dozen praetorian-style guard units estimated to number around 25,000 elite elements with absolute loyalty to the "Supreme Guide."

Within the official organs of the state, the oligarchy insists on keeping control of several key positions. These include the ministries of interior, justice and security. Other positions reserved for mullahs linked to the oligarchy include the speaker of the Islamic Majlis (parliament), the chairmen of the Council of Guardians, the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Council and, of course, the president of the Republic.

The oligarchy has created an army of street-fighters, known as the Ansar Hizbullah (Supporters of the Party of God), who specialize in attacking unarmed protesters with chainsaws, meat-choppers, baseball bats, and other "cold weapons." Their leader is Hussein Allah Karam, who calls himself "general" and dines with the "Supreme Guide" once a month. The force, estimated to number some 15,000, includes mercenaries and militants from Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan.

THE OLIGARCHY also controls the media. Radio and television remain under state monopoly and satellite television is banned. All the directors and senior editors of all radio and TV channels are appointed by the "Supreme Guide" whose media point man is Ali Larijani, a former minister for culture and Islamic guidance.

As for the print media, the oligarchy owns several papers, including the Jumhuri Islami (Islamic Republic) which belongs to Khamenei, plus the dailies Resalat (Mission) and Hamshahri (Citizen). The nation's two largest press groups, Kayhan (Universe) and Etelaat (Information), each of which publishes several dailies, weeklies and books, are owned by revolutionary foundations.

The chief executives and senior editors of both are appointed by Khamenei. His point man is Hussein Shariatmadari, one of the regime's best-known propagandists. Through six publishing houses, all confiscated after the revolution, the oligarchy controls an estimated 80 percent of the book market in Iran, including school textbooks.

The oligarchy has developed a network of loyalty to the regime that is estimated to include between 1.5 to 2 million people.

Regime loyalists are offered low interest loans to buy homes and set up businesses, and are given priority in quotas for pilgrimage to Mecca and the Shi'ite shrines in Iraq and Syria. The oligarchy often pays the cost of the loyalists' weddings, hospitalizations, and holidays at state-owned resorts.

The arrangement recalls the Nomenklatura developed in the Soviet Union from the 1930s onwards.

But the Iranian oligarchy has also learned something from the Chinese communists: a mechanism to advance the careers of the children of its cadres. Almost all the 500 figures in the higher echelons of the Khomeinist who's who are related to one another by blood or marriage.

In the outgoing Majlis (parliament) Muhammad-Reza Khatami, a brother of President Khatami, was Majority Leader. In the new Majlis Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the son-in-law of Khamenei will hold that position. The families of both men are also related to each other through marriage and/or blood to the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini. (For example, President Khatami's wife is a niece of Mussa Sadr, the spiritual founder of the Lebanese Hizbullah. She is also a sister-in-law of Ahmad Khomeini, the late ayatollah's son. Khomeini's grand-daughter is the wife of Muhammad-Reza Khatami).

Teheran "revolutionary" oligarchy uses the Iranian state structures, including the parliament, as instruments for implementing policies that are decided by a small group of mullahs and their advisers behind closed doors and without the slightest accountability. This is one reason foreign, especially Western diplomats and politicians, are often led up the garden path by Iranian interlocutors playing the role of ministers or other senior officials.

For seven years President Khatami has been touring the world, babbling about Schopenhauer and Nietzsche to impress Javier Solana and Chris Patten who believed they were dealing with a decision-maker, not an actor.

Next time Patten goes to Teheran to pursue the 25-year-old "constructive dialogue" on behalf of the EU, he should ask to see the real boss.

14 posted on 03/28/2004 8:18:23 AM 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; ...
Who Rules Iran?

March 28, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Amir Taheri
15 posted on 03/28/2004 8:19:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"He will be visiting Iran in order to receive his blood stained prize after the April 14th elections in his country."

LOL. Great Line!

(we report, you decide - LoL)

16 posted on 03/28/2004 8:31:04 AM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
Good Article!

Lots of good stuff today.
17 posted on 03/28/2004 8:46:10 AM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: F14 Pilot
They surely don't think that Nelson Mandela cares about the freedom of the Iranian people, do they? Nelson Mandela cares about communism, Nelson Mandela cares about undercutting the US. He will praise the mad mullahs and close his eyes to the suffering of the Iranian people. He will put his hand out and the mad mullahs will fill it with cash and he will walk away and tell the world how wonderful life is in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
19 posted on 03/28/2004 10:36:01 AM PST by McGavin999 (Evil thrives when good men do nothing!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Good pics. Everyone's keeping an eye on them..............
20 posted on 03/28/2004 3:19:07 PM PST by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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