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Iranian Alert -- May 9, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 5.9.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 05/09/2004 12:50:00 AM PDT 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.” 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: alsadr; armyofmahdi; ayatollah; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; iraq; jayshalmahdi; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; moqtadaalsadr; persecution; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
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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 05/09/2004 12:50:00 AM PDT 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 05/09/2004 12:53:10 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Posted Saturday, May 8, 2004

TEHRAN, 8 May (IPS) In a spectacular move that looks like a coup, Iran's Armed Forces closed on Saturday the Emam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran's newly built international airport hours after it was officially inaugurated.

In a statement carried by the official news agency IRNA, the Armed Forces said they shut down the EKIA of fears of security concerns.

But informed sources said however that dispute between the Turkish- Austrian consortium ((TAV) that built the new airport, situated 50 kilometres south of the capital might also be one of the reasons.

"Unfortunately officials at the airport ignored the security measures...on not deploying foreign groups at this vital centre in the country", the statement said, adding that the airport would remain close until further notice

The joint-armed forces were not immediately available to comment, but said in the statement they allowed only one of six planned flights from Dubai to land before shutting the airport.

Experts had from the start objected to this project that cost the country more than 500 millions US Dollars, with works going on for more than 30 years, insisting that the constructors, TAV had not prepared it to international standards.

Aviation sources for their part cites more charges, difficulties for fuelling, absence of proper security measures and other concerns for demanding delay in the transfer of flights from the old to the new airport.

Before the airport was to open, two local airlines said they would refuse to transfer their flights in protest at a government decision to hand over operation of the airport's only existing terminal to the TAV consortium.

"We are not flying from an airport run by foreigners", Ali Abedzadeh, director of semi-privately-owned Aseman Airline, was quoted as saying by Economic Hayat-e No daily on Wednesday.

While the flights were again diverted to the old Mehrabad international airport in central Tehran, the head of Iran's Aviation Organization told the students news agency ISNA that he opposed the closure.

"The security forces have no right to close the airport and it is illegal in terms of both domestic and international laws", he added.

For his part, Mr. Ahmad Khorram, the Transport Minister assured that the new airport would be open to international flights “as decided”. ENDS NEW AIRPORT CLOSED 8504
3 posted on 05/09/2004 12:54:34 AM PDT 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; ...

Posted Saturday, May 8, 2004
4 posted on 05/09/2004 12:56:48 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
N. Korea, Iran May Be Cooperating on Ballistic Missiles

May 08, 2004
Jiji Press English News Service
Jiji Press

Washington -- North Korea may be working with Iran in the development of ballistic missiles, a senior U.S. official said Thursday and stressed the need to strengthen international cooperation to stifle such activities.

Washington does not know for sure how deeply they are cooperating, but "it's obviously a concern when these two countries in the axis of evil are cooperating," John Bolton, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, said in an interview with Jiji Press.

Bolton said the United States sees it important to find out "what kind of cooperation North Korea and Iran are engaged in for example in the missile testing areac" North Korea has said it suspended long-range missile testing after causing a panic in Japan by firing a Taepodong missile over Japan in 1998.

The ballistic missiles of both North Korea and Iran are based on Scud technology, so "there is much that the North Koreans could learn from cooperation with Iran." Bolton said.

North Korea has made no pledge to restrict its research and development in the missile field, Bolton stressed. It has only promised not to conduct any tests of ballistic missiles from the Korean Peninsula, he added.

His shot across the bows of North Korea came ahead of next week's six-nation working group meeting on North Korea's nuclear weapons development and followed news that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is considering visiting Pyongyang again to break the deadlock on the issues of abduction of Japanese citizens by North Korea.

The working-level meeting will be held to pave the way for a third round of six-party nuclear talks. The previous rounds, held in August 2003 and February this year, produced no agreement on the nuclear disarmament of North Korea, due in part to North Korea's insistence on a U.S. security guarantee and also to its refusal to acknowledge possession of a uranium-based weapons program.

North Korea is believed to have supplied weapons-grade plutonium to Pakistan and to have obtained uranium-based nuclear technology from the country.

Verification will be the key to any agreement on North Korean disarmament, Bolton said.

He also said that an important role would need to be played in the verification process by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

Nuclear weapons programs are "something beyond the scope of the IAEA" and require the cooperation of the five powers, Bolton said.

As for the North Korean request for a U.S. security guarantee, Bolton stressed the need to see the elimination of nuclear-related facilities before such assurances are given, citing the experience of Ukraine.

Pointing out that "the security assurances for Ukraine came into effect after all of the nuclear weapons, all of the nuclear weapons-related materials, had been removed from Ukraine," Bolton said "that would tell you something possibly about the timing of security assurances for North Korea."

While diplomatic efforts continue on the nuclear issue, Bolton said he is worried that the communist country may merely be engaged in delaying tactics. "I'd have to say we are somewhat concerned that the North Koreans may be waiting until after our election is over in November," he said, referring to the U.S. presidential poll this autumn.

North Korea has not hidden its desire to see Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry win the election, apparently expecting Kerry to take a more moderate stance toward the communist country.

Bolton, who is in charge of nonproliferation issues in the U.S. State Department, argued that international nonproliferation regimes need to be strengthened to prevent countries like North Korea and Iran from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

The recent U.S. proposal to limit access to uranium enrichment and reprocessing technologies for most countries will be discussed at the Group of Eight summit, to be held in the United States June 8-10, he said.

The G-8 is also expected to discuss the role of the Proliferation Security Initiative, an international partnership to intercept shipments of weapons of mass destruction, and how it might be expanded, he added.

The U.S. initiative is gaining international support and has secured participation from more than 60 countries so far.

It is hoped Russia will join the initiative before the PSI's first anniversary on May 31, Bolton said.
5 posted on 05/09/2004 12:57:37 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Kazemi's Son Turns Up Pressure on Ottawa

May 08, 2004

The son of a Canadian photographer who died in Iran says Ottawa isn't doing enough to bring her killers to justice.

Zarah Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi, spoke out in Toronto Saturday.

He and his lawyer were joined by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. The Iranian human rights activist is representing the Kazemi family in Iran.

Hachemi says only the Canadian government can ensure the trial is fair. He says he's making two demands: the return of his mother's body to Canada and a transparent trial of the interrogators blamed for Kazemi's death.

"I'm not going to go away. I'm going to be there and I'm going to do what I do," he said.

Kazemi died after being beaten in custody last July by interrogators in Iran.

An Iranian security agent has been charged with involuntary homicide. The trial is supposed to begin in July.

Hachemi says he wants help from Ottawa beyond the involvement of Canada's ambassador.

"We've asked them to have experienced jurists and monitors," said Marlys Edwardh, Hachemi's Canadian lawyer.

"We understand that Ambassador Philip McKinnon is going to be there. But that, in our view, is not the same as having experienced jurors look at the process to decide whether in fact it's transparent, whether in fact there is a real trial that is going to go on."

Hachemi also wants the government to support a claim for compensation if justice fails. Ottawa hasn't responded yet.
6 posted on 05/09/2004 12:58:08 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
More Security Agents Deployed in Iranian Cities

SMCCDI (Information Service)
May 8, 2004

More security agents have been deployed in Iranian cities in what seems to be the Islamic regime's preparation for avoiding unrest with the approach of the 1st anniversary of the nightly demos which rocked main Iranian cities for several consecutive nights.

Anti-Riot and plainclothes men have been deployed in most symbolic squares and avenues of the Capital and provincial cities, such as, Esfahan, Shiraz, Hamedan and Khorram-Abad. These elements are pressuring the Iranians by stopping and questionning them.

Many young Iranians or motobikers have been arrested by these elements in the last days.
7 posted on 05/09/2004 12:59:10 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Hundreds of Sudanese "Policemen" Travel to Iran

SMCCDI (Information Service)
May 9, 2004

An important number of Sudanese "Policemen" are going to travel to Iran in the next few days for supposedly "receiving training". The first contingent of these forces has been declared as over 2,000 elements.

In reality, these forces are to join the existing foreign mercenaries of the Islamic republic regime in preparation for a brutal reaction to any popular riot which might rock Iran in the next two months.

The Islamic regime uses thousands of foreign elements, from Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine, in its anti-riot and elite forces. These forces have been seen as using of an extreme brutality against the Iranian demonstrators.

The official anounce of the transfer of Sudanese "Policemen" to Iran, with the approach of symbolic days, shows the desperate intention of the regime to smash any popular dissent.
8 posted on 05/09/2004 12:59:56 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Thanks for the thread and the news.
9 posted on 05/09/2004 1:01:52 AM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran embassy hostage dies in riding fall

Seattlepi, WA
May 8, 2004

RECTORTOWN, Va. -- Elizabeth Ann Swift Cronin, one of two women held hostage for 444 days after the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1979, died Friday in a horseback riding accident. She was 63.

Cronin was the ranking political officer at the embassy when Iranian students angered by American policies seized the compound. She and Kathryn Koob, then director of the Iran-American Society, were kept largely separated from the 50 men also taken captive.

After her release in January 1981, she continued her State Department career with postings in Greece, Jamaica and London and served as a deputy assistant secretary of state for overseas citizens services. She retired in 1995.

The Washington Post quoted a family friend as saying Cronin was riding with her husband, Paul, when her horse stumbled after clearing a jump and she fell from the saddle.

Besides her husband of 10 years, survivors include two stepsons.
10 posted on 05/09/2004 2:04:18 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: All
Hardliners dominate Iran's majles

Persian Journal
May 9th 2004

Iranian conservatives win second round of parliamentary election -- Iranian conservative candidates have won 33 of 57 Majlis (parliament) seats in the second round of voting on Friday, the official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday.

The results also showed that reformists took 5 seats and independents won 7 seats. The second round of voting took place in 39 constituencies where candidates failed to win 25 percent of the votes cast in the first round on Feb. 20. With the 33 seats, the conservatives have gained dominance by some 190 seats in a 290-member parliament.
11 posted on 05/09/2004 5:48:38 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Macchiavelli wrote in his Discourses Upon The First Ten Books of Titus Livy (book two, chapter XXXI)


And it does not appear to me to be foreign to this subject to discuss among other matters how dangerous a thing it is to believe those who have been driven out of their country, these being matters that are acted upon each day by those who govern States; and I am especially able to demonstrate this by a memorable example given by T. Livius in his history, even though it may be outside his subject.

When Alexander the Great crossed with his army into Asia, Alexander of Epirus, his brother-in-law and uncle, came with his forces into Italy, having been called there by the exiled Lucanians, who had given him the hope that he could through their means occupy all that province. Whence he, upon their faith and hope, having come into Italy, was killed by them, because they had been promised a return to their Country by the Citizens if they would kill him. It ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of those who find themselves deprived of their country. For, as to their faith, it has to be borne in mind that anytime they can return to their country by other means than yours, they will leave you and look to the other, notwithstanding whatever promises they had made you. As to their vain hopes and promises, such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin yourself.

The previously mentioned example of Alexander is enough for me, but in addition, that of Themistocles, the Athenian, who, having been declared a rebel, fled to Darius in Asia, where he promised him so much if he should want to assault Greece, that Darius turned to that enterprise. Themistocles, not being able to observe these promises, he poisoned himself, either from shame or from fear of punishment. And if this error was made by Themistocles, a most excellent man, it ought to be considered how much more those men err who, because of less virtu, allow themselves to be drawn by their desires and passions. A Prince, therefore, ought to go slowly in undertaking an enterprise upon the representations of an exile, for most of the times he will be left either with shame or very grave injury. And as the taking of towns rarely succeeds by deceit or by intelligence others within may have, it does not appear outside the subject to discuss it in the following chapter, adding some account of how many ways the Romans acquired them.

12 posted on 05/09/2004 7:40:31 AM PDT by A. Pole (<SARCASM> The genocide of Albanians was stopped in its tracks before it began.</S>)
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from a student inside of Iran...

"This is translation of some of the disputes in BBC Persian website about the outcomes of the recent abuses in Iraqi prison.

A former POW said: Nothing will happen and it reminds me of the wartime in the 1980s when the Iraqis abused our POWs and killed hundreds of our POWs in their famous Abu Gharib prison.

The other one said, this is disgusting but we see how democracies react they punish the abusers and investigate
but in countries like Iran abusers named as the best people of the country.

The other one says: I have not been affected by the images very much as the Mullahs do worse than this to our own people and we are also abused here.

The other listener said: We expected the Iraqis to beg pardon for what they have done to those 4 Americans in Fallujah."
13 posted on 05/09/2004 8:15:45 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Lawyer Optimistic, Son Doubtful as Trial Nears in Photographer's Death

May 09, 2004
Paul Cross

TORONTO -- The Nobel Peace Prize-winning lawyer representing the family of a Montreal woman beaten to death in an Iranian jail is optimistic as the trial of her alleged assailants approaches.

But as Shirin Ebadi prepares to go to court, the son of slain photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi believes she'll be powerless to ensure justice for his mother and he called on the Canadian government to get more involved.

Ebadi, the first female judge in Iran, has been granted standing in the case of Kazemi's death.

"The prosecutor has ruled that the homicide was unintentional," Ebadi told a Toronto news conference Saturday.

"I protested and said that this homicide was intentional," she said, speaking through an interpreter.

An Iranian pathologist's report concluded Kazemi died as the result of a blow to the head.

A United Nations report noted an Iranian prosecutor's office had originally reported Kazemi had died from a digestive order.

"This statement provoked a wave of protests, both inside and outside the country," said the UN report. "All non-governmental reports available indicated that Mrs. Kazemi was ill-treated during her detention, resulting in her death."

Following the protests, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced last July that Kazemi died from a stroke.

But then, the UN report stated, a ministry official admitted he was pressured by the prosecutor to make a false statement about Kazemi's death.

Three days later, Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Ali Abtahi admitted Kazemi had died as the result of a skull fracture, after sustaining a blow while in custody.

Kazemi was arrested June 23, 2003, while taking photographs during a protest by families of prisoners outside a Tehran jail.

She had obtained a permit from the Iranian government to take the pictures.

Her family was informed of her whereabouts on July 6, and told of her death on July 12 - two days after she died.

At one time five suspects faced charges in the case, but no one is currently in custody, Ebadi said.

She said she expects "one or two" suspects to face trial July 18.

Toronto lawyer Marlys Edwardh, who represents Kazemi's son Stephen Hachemi, said it's her understanding just one person will be tried.

The trial will be held in an open court and Ebadi expressed optimism that justice will be served.

"I must remain optimistic," she said. "Because if I am not optimistic, I cannot pursue the case and do my job."

But Hachemi was skeptical that his mother's killers will be punished.

"They changed several times (the) judge, they changed their court several times, they changed their accused several times," he said.

Hachemi does not intend to travel to Iran to attend the court proceedings.

"What for? We have the best person that could help us there, and she can't do much," Hachemi said. "Her resources are very little."

Hachemi repeated his demand for the federal government to pressure Iran to allow an independent Canadian court monitor to observe the trial.

"They have to take some measures," he said. "They have to go forward and ... get to a point that we can have some kind of dialogue with Iran."

But Patrick Riel, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs department, said the Canadian government is using every opportunity to raise the case with Iran.

"It's our firm intention to obtain ... independent Canadian observers at the trial," Riel said in an interview.

Canada has also not promised to support Hachemi's claim for compensation if it turns out justice is not served in Iran, Edwardh said.

If the investigation and the trial are "not credible," our relationship with Iran will remain under review, said Riel.

Hachemi, who has frequently been critical of the federal government, also criticized the Iranian government as he vowed to continue to press for justice.

"They did a big mistake ... not only at the beginning when they killed her, but they did a big mistake not to return her body."

"It's not a year yet," he said, "and they still didn't return it."
14 posted on 05/09/2004 8:19:10 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Israel Testing Bone Fragment Said to Be that of Ron Arad

May 09, 2004
Ha'aretz Staff

Israel is currently carrying out DNA tests on a bone fragment recently handed over by Lebanese officials, which the militant Hezbollah organization claims is from the body of Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad, who went missing over Lebanon in 1986.

The outcome of the tests is expected in the coming weeks. This is not the first time that the guerilla group has handed over a bone it said was from the missing navigator, although tests on a previous bone revealed that it was not from Arad, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Some six months ago, Israel received a bone fragment, which Hezbollah said came from Arad's body. Subsequent DNA tests, however, did not substantiate Hezbollah's claim, and Israel is treating the new bone fragment with skepticism.

Army Radio reported that the bone fragment was received via the German negotiators who brokered the prisoner swap in January, in which Israeli captive Elhanan Tennenbaum and the bodies of three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were returned in exchange for the release of more than 400 Palestinian detainees and the bodies of some 60 Lebanese fighters buried in Israel.

Yossi Melman adds: Security and political sources in Israel last week vehemently denied reports of progress in the contacts with Hezbollah with regard to another prisoner exchange. The sources said they knew nothing of any developments on the subject, but confirmed that they too had heard rumors that Hezbollah was planning to pass on to Israel items that would help to determine Arad's fate.

"We know that there have been rumors over the past days to the effect that Hezbollah is about to hand over to us a certain item, but our checks and inquiries have shown that this item has not been handed over," the sources said.

The sources stressed that the reports and rumors had originated in Lebanon, adding that they believed that elements close to Hezbollah were responsible for leaking information to the Lebanese media with the purpose of applying psychological pressure and creating the impression that a deal was in the works and had almost been finalized.

According to the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal, the second stage of the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hezbollah will include the return of the bodies of the three Israeli MIAs from the 1982 battle at Sultan Yakub, together with information on Arad.

Quoting diplomatic sources in Lebanon, the newspaper last week reported that under the deal, Israel would first release Samir Kuntar in return for "accurate and decisive information" about Arad. Thereafter, the bodies of Zachary Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehuda Katz would be handed over to Israel in return for the release of Lebanese prisoners serving time in France and Germany, and the release of additional prisoners from Israeli jails.

Al-Mustaqbal also reported last week that Hezbollah had managed to garner information about Arad and the three MIAs through contacts with "Lebanese and Palestinian elements." The newspaper stressed that in addition to the European countries involved in the deal and supporting the efforts of German mediator Ernst Uhrlau, "two regional states continued to play an influential role in the process."

The newspaper was apparently referring to Syria and Iran, although past reports have alluded to an Egyptian role in the deal. The Israeli intelligence community believes that the key to determining the fate of Arad lies in the hands of Iran.

"We have to get back Ron Arad alive, or his body, or items that will undergo a DNA test that clearly indicates he is no longer alive," the Israeli sources stressed. "And only then is Israel obliged to release... Samir Kuntar, who was arrested some 30 years ago and convicted of the murder of the Haran family and a policeman on the Nahariya beach."

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said last week that it would be improper at this stage to release any information with regard to ongoing negotiations on the matter of Arad, "whether such exists or not."

Arad's brother, Chen, said in an interview with Army Radio last week that he was unaware of any new information about his brother. "Every time there is a political crisis in Israel, Ron is taken out of the mothballs," he said, alluding to the problems facing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the wake of the Likud's rejection of the disengagement plan.
15 posted on 05/09/2004 8:20:18 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Hard-Liners In Iran Back Torture Ban

May 08, 2004
The New York Times
Nazila Fathi

TEHRAN -- Iran's hard-line Guardian Council, in a surprise move, has approved a law banning torture two days after the measure was passed by the departing reformist Parliament. The council, a powerful oversight agency, had rejected an earlier bill three times, saying it violated Islamic law.

The approval of the bill on Thursday is an important political achievement for Parliament, which ends its term on May 26. Its reform agenda has suffered because of pressure from the council, which must approve all measures before they become law.

The new bill was drafted after the leader of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Shahroudi, a hard-line cleric, issued an order in recent weeks that banned torture and the extraction of confessions under duress. Ibrahim Azizi, the spokesman for the Guardian Council, said Thursday that the current bill was found not to be in conflict with Islamic law or the Constitution.

Bahaedin Adab, a reformist member of Parliament, said the lawmakers took advantage of the statement and had reflected all aspects of it in the bill's text. "It was more complete than Parliament's original antitorture bill because it even pointed to the details of interrogation," he said. "It did not matter which political faction was the source of the bill. We are not pursuing political goals and want to serve people's interests."

Although banned by the Iranian Constitution, the use of torture has been common in prisons and during interrogations. An Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, Zahra Kazemi, died last year while in custody. She died July 10 from a brain hemorrhage caused by a blow to her head, a government statement said.

Mr. Shahroudi's statement ruled that suspects could not be blindfolded, shackled or humiliated. It added that a suspect should be considered innocent until proven guilty and stressed the right of the suspect to have a lawyer. "All forms of torture aiming to obtain confession are banned, and confessions obtained in this way have no legal or religious value," the statement said.

Political analysts say the shift by the Guardian Council may indicate an intention to work more closely with the new Parliament. Hard-line politicians won elections in February amid low voter turnout and wide-scale disqualifications of reform candidates by the council. Runoff elections were held Friday for 57 of 290 seats for which no candidate had won the required 25 percent of votes in the first round of voting in February.

"There are signs that indicate hard-liners have changed and that we will see them allow more social, cultural and political freedoms," said Saeed Leylaz, an economist and political analyst.

Three political prisoners were allowed a few days of leave last week after a year in custody without being brought to trial. In Hamedan, a court confirmed a death sentence for another political prisoner, Hashem Aghajari, a university professor, but the judiciary said the ruling was not final. Mr. Aghajari's crime was to say in a speech a year ago that people were not monkeys and should not be required to follow the rulings of clerics without thinking about them.
16 posted on 05/09/2004 8:20:54 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Ex-Iran Envoy To IAEA Suggests Pulling Out Of NPT

May 09, 2004
Reuters News

TEHRAN -- Iran should consider withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which in not beneficial for the country, a former Iranian envoy to the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog was quoted as saying on Sunday.

"The time has come for Iran to really put on its agenda pulling out of the NPT," Mohammad Kiarashi, the former Iranian representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was quoted as saying in the Sharq newspaper.

"Iran, through its membership (of the NPT), has gained nothing but pressure and it is not beneficial at all for Iran," he said.

Concerted international pressure following revelations last year that Iran had hidden potentially weapons-related technology for 18 years forced Tehran to agree to snap checks of its nuclear sites and to halt the enrichment of uranium.

Some sections of Iran's clerical establishment have called for the country to follow North Korea's example and pull out of the NPT.

But the reformist government has repeatedly assured the international community that Iran will continue to cooperate with the IAEA and will not pull out of the NPT.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei warned Iran on Thursday the world would not wait forever for Tehran to divulge the full extent and nature of its nuclear programme.
17 posted on 05/09/2004 8:21:47 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
IDF Chief: Syria & Iran Responsible for Northern Border Attacks

May 09, 2004
Arutza Sheva

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya’alon stated that Syria and Iran are response for attacks from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. He added that despite the seriousness of Friday’s attack, which claimed the life of a soldier and left others injured, a military response is not always called for.

When pressed to respond during an Army Radio interview this morning, he was asked if Syrian targets would be hit by air force planes in retaliation for the latest attack. The senior commander reiterated that each case must be weighed and analyzed to ascertain if a military assault is to our advantage. In some cases he explained, alternative methods, such as the political arena, are preferred.

Referring to Friday’s attack, the commander added it is believed Hizbullah terrorists may have been trying to approach the Gladiola Outpost in the Har Dov area to abduct soldiers.
18 posted on 05/09/2004 8:22:20 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
From our friends at

Red Alert:

In recent days several articles have surfaced regarding the possibility of Israeli missile strikes on Iranian Nuclear facilities. We know that many of you who receive these news updates are pro-Iranian freedom however we have noticed that many conservative leaning Americans who support Iranian freedom have unfortunately also voiced approval and support of Israeli military assaults on the clerical regime's facilities. We must tell you that this is a very dangerous point of view and if you truly want to stand up for the United States and defend freedom both in the Middle East and here at home, you must be against any and all strikes on Iranian soil.

We will not bore you with the plethora of reasons why military strikes are counterproductive, but we must say that if there is one thing the Mullahs in Iran want, it is a military strike on Iranian soil. The United States already has the support of the Iranian people - a military attack on Iran could have the devastating consequences of turning many Iranians against the United States and stir up Iranian Nationalism (In support of a regime they currently despise) - Nationalism which is now very anti-Mullah and pro-US. In almost every possible scenario that can be thought through - any event that begins with military assaults on Iran is likely to lead to a situation in which the Mullahs are strengthened, more regional wars breaks out, thousands upon thousands of Iranians if not millions will be killed, and the prospects for peace and freedom will undoubtedly fall to the deepest depths and will be unattainable for many decades to come.

Please, if you support freedom in the Middle East and continue leadership and strength of the United States you must adamantly oppose Israeli Military strikes on Iranian soil - because the simple fact remains that no matter how some pundits criticize and characterize the United States/freedom's current predicament, America and all people in the world who demand freedom are in fact in a good position and have the cards stacked in our favor - we mustn't waste this opportunity. Remember: Regime change is the objective - but there are countless ways to go about this other than through the most devastating and counterproductive method of military assaults, which would result neither in regime-change nor anything the United States would be the least bit favorable of.
19 posted on 05/09/2004 8:53:12 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
My take is that Israeli Attack is just a warning to Iran right before IAEA meeting.
20 posted on 05/09/2004 9:38:39 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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