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Iranian Alert -- May 12, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 5.12.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 05/11/2004 9:00:39 PM 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 05/11/2004 9:00:41 PM 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 05/11/2004 9:02:58 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Students Vow To Fight Professor's Death Sentence

May 11, 2004
The Associated Press

Iranian students protested Tuesday the "medieval and disgusting" death sentence against a history professor who spoke out against the country's hard-line clerics, a case that led to a wave of clashes in 2002.

Under tight security, more than 600 students gathered on Tehran University's campus to protest the death sentence against Hashemi Aghajari. It was students' first protest since a court in western Iran re-imposed Aghajari's death sentence.

The original death sentence, handed down in November 2002, sparked nationwide student protests that led to violent clashes with hard-line vigilantes, a key episode in the power struggle between reformists and conservatives in Iran.

The protests ended only when Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ordered the judiciary to reconsider the verdict. The Supreme Court overturned the death sentence in February 2003 and returned the case to the lower court for review, which reinstated the verdict May 3.

"We will fight this medieval and disgusting verdict," said prominent reformist political activist Mostafa Tajzadeh, drawing applause from the audience. "It's in the interest of conservatives to free the courageous Aghajari and apologize to him."

Hossein Bagheri, a student leader organizing Tuesday's protest, called on Khamenei to explain to the nation why the judiciary was promulgating an appalling picture of Islam and disgracing the Iranian nation through such verdicts.

"We want to hear your explanation on this verdict," Bagheri said, receiving a standing ovation from the students.

Khamenei appoints the head of judiciary. Questioning the supreme leader is still considered a taboo in Iran and punishable by imprisonment.

Aghajari's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, said last week Aghajari has vowed not to appeal the sentence - effectively challenging Iran's hard-line judges to execute him and risk massive unrest among Iran's youthful population.

The original sentence came after a court in Hamedan, in western Iran, convicted Aghajari of insulting Islam for questioning the rule of the clerics in a speech he gave to students in the province. The new conviction was for apostasy.

Aghajari's sister, Zohreh Aghajari, who also is a university professor, said the verdict has caused a new brain drain in Iran.

"When the response to an intellectual's opinion is death, then how do you expect the elite not to leave the country because of lack of freedom of speech," she said.

Aghajari, who is now imprisoned in Tehran, was a history professor at Tarbiat-e-Modarres Teachers' Training University in the capital.

President Mohammad Khatami has criticized the court that issued the initial death sentence, saying Aghajari had done more for Iran than "that inexperienced judge who unjustly accused him of apostasy."
3 posted on 05/11/2004 9:04:16 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
The Students...

4 posted on 05/11/2004 9:05:02 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Appeal Court confirms 18-month Jail Sentence Against Journalist Ensafali Hedayat

May 11, 2004
Reporters Without Borders

The Tabriz appeal court on 11 May confirmed an 18-month prison sentence against journalist Ensafali Hedayat. Imprisoned since 16 January 2004, Hedayat has been physically weakened by health problems. He should have been released pending his appeal trial after paying his bail. Reporters Without Borders is particularly concerned about the fact that the journalist has recently started a hunger strike.


Health of imprisoned journalist causes concern, another gets jail sentence

Reporters Without Borders today voiced concern about the state of health of jailed 75-year-old journalist Siamak Pourzand, it deplored the 18-month prison sentence just passed on freelance journalist Ensafali Hedayat, and it voiced outrage at the UN Human Rights Commission's failure to condemn the Islamic Republic during its 60th session.

The organisation warned that Pourzand's life could be in great danger if he is not released immediately and given appropriate treatment. He has been paralysed for months and suffered a heart attack on 31 March that left him in a coma for 36 hours.

The refusal to free him on medical grounds suggests that the authorities have failed to learn any lesson from the death of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi on 10 July 2003 from a beating received in detention, the organisation said, calling for the release of all 12 journalists currently imprisoned in Iran.

In a continuing crackdown on freedom of expression, Hedayat was sentenced on 14 April by a court in the northwestern town of Tabriz to 18 months in prison, of which a year was for "insulting senior officials of the Islamic Republic" and six months for "propaganda against the regime."

At the same time, the title of "Best Leader of the Year" has just been awarded to Tehran state prosecutor Said Mortazavi, who as head of a "press tribunal" has been responsible for the closure of about 100 newspapers and the arrests of many journalists, and who has been directly implicated in Kazemi's death.

The award of this title to Mortazavi "would be the height of absurdity if the situation were not so tragic," Reporters Without Borders said, adding that the Islamic Republic was just highlighting its arbitrary and repressive nature by celebrating this travesty of justice.

"Amid these sinister developments, it is outrageous that none of the member countries of the UN Human Rights Commission, not even the countries of the European Union, has until now tabled a resolution condemning Iran," Reporters Without Borders added.

A freelance contributor to several independent newspapers, Pourzand has been in prison since 30 March 2003. He is bedridden with osteoarthritis of the neck and disk problems that need an operation. He went into a coma after a heart attack two weeks ago. He spent months in solitary confinement and was forced to confess on television by means of psychological pressure and torture.

Pourzand was previously arrested on 24 November 2001 and sentenced in May 2002 to eight years in prison for "actions against state security and links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries." He had been allowed home in December 2002 before been returned to prison in March 2003.

Hedayat was arrested on 16 January 2004 on the orders of the Tabriz court when he returned from Germany. He was previously arrested on 16 June 2003 at Tabriz university while covering student protests.

With 12 journalists detained, Iran is the biggest prison for the press in the Middle East.
5 posted on 05/11/2004 9:06:06 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
No doubt that the Mullahs have aided CAs economy.
6 posted on 05/11/2004 9:23:15 PM PDT by Righty1
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's baby boomers will defeat the ayatollahs

By Nicholas D. Kristof
May 12, 2004, 19:08

If, as the poet Philip Larkin observed, sex began in 1963, it has finally reached Iran over the last year.

True, girls and women can still be imprisoned for going out without proper Islamic dress. But young people are completely redefining such dress so it heightens sex appeal instead of smothering it.

Women are required to cover their hair and to wear either a chador cloak or an overcoat, called a manteau, every time they go out, and these are meant to be black and shapeless. But the latest fashion here in Shiraz, in central Iran, is light, tight and sensual.

"There are some manteaus with slits on the sides up to the armpits," said Mahmoud Salehi, 25, a manteau salesman. "And then there are the 'commando manteaus,' with ties on the legs to show off the hips and an elastic under the breasts to accentuate the bust."

Worse, from the point of view of hard-line mullahs, young women in such clothing aren't getting 74 lashes any more - they're getting dates.

"Parents can't defeat children," Salehi mused. "Children always defeat their parents."

And that's what Iran's baby boomers, a wave of 18 million people 15 to 25 years old, are doing. They will transform their country, just as baby boomers in the West changed America and Europe. I don't think Iran's theocracy can survive them, for I've never been to a country where young people seem more frustrated.

The regime's problem is that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini exhorted Iranians to have more children, and they responded - today, 60 percent of the population was born after his Iranian revolution. And these young people are determining social mores and carving out a small zone of freedom for themselves.

In one sense, the relaxation in clothing requirements is superficial, and some Iranian women have scolded me for asking them about head scarves when they are more angry about discrimination in divorce, child custody and inheritance rules. But the clothing rules affect every woman every day and raise the central question in Iran's future: Should a few aging male mullahs still determine the most intimate elements of every Iranian's life?

It looks to me as if the revolution is sputtering. The mullahs are refusing to accept real democracy, but they are backing down to popular pressure in some areas. The draft is immensely unpopular, for example, so this year the hard-liners shortened the service requirement. More important, individual Iranians are reclaiming their individuality and their autonomy - and how they dress is the best measure of that.

The morals police no longer order women to cover up stray hairs. These days, the fashion is for brightly colored, glittery see-through scarves, worn halfway back on the head.

"It's possible head scarves will be gone in another year or two, the way things are going," said Amir Suleimani, a scarf salesman in the Tehran Bazaar. "God willing."

No wonder conservative newspapers in Tehran denounce Iranian women for strolling around "nude."

The baby boomers include Saghar Tayebi, a 17-year-old in Isfahan who wore a tight manteau with high slits, embroidered jeans and a red headband. Her mascara was hefty and her lipstick bold, and her sleeves were rolled up to reveal lots of bracelets. Lots of hair escaped her scarf. But when I asked her whether she dreamed of wearing Western-style skimpy clothing, she looked aghast.

"We totally reject that," she said indignantly. "We don't want that freedom."

Young people want to remain good Muslims, and some are happy enough in an Islamic republic - but above all, they want to laugh and love. Many are not overtly political, nor sure exactly what kind of government they want, but they do know that this isn't it.

"We want fun," declared Tannaz Haj Hosseini, 20, a university student who was out with her boyfriend in Tehran. "There's no joy here."

I protested that her nail polish and see-through scarf - not to mention the boyfriend - underscored the progress in Iran. A few years ago, she would have been lashed.

"I don't compare myself with 10 years ago," she said. "I compare myself to what I could have and don't."

Ayatollahs, look out.

7 posted on 05/11/2004 9:34:25 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Aghajari's lawyer, Saleh Nikbakht, said last week Aghajari has vowed not to appeal the sentence - effectively challenging Iran's hard-line judges to execute him and risk massive unrest among Iran's youthful population.

Brave man! When Iran is free (tomorrow would work for me) they really need to honor him.
8 posted on 05/11/2004 9:59:14 PM PDT by Valin (Hating people is like burning down your house to kill a rat)
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; freedom44; nuconvert; sionnsar; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; onyx; Pro-Bush; ...
Overdosing on Islam

Published: May 12, 2004
The NYTimes

QOM, Iran — In the offices of an ayatollah here, I was jokingly introduced as coming from the Great Satan.

"Humph," a young man responded immediately. "America is only Baby Satan. We have Big Satan right here at home."

Turbans to the left, turbans to the right — Qom is the religious center of Iran, but even here, there is anger and disquiet. One of the central questions for the Middle East is whether Iran's hard-line Islamic regime will survive. I'm betting it won't.

"Either officials change their methods and give freedom to the people, and stop interfering in elections, or the people will rise up with another revolution," Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri told me.

"There is no freedom," added Ayatollah Montazeri, who is among the senior figures in the Shiite world but is excluded from power in Iran because of his reformist ideas. "Repression is carried out in the name of Islam, and that turns people off. . . . All these court summonses, newspaper closings and prosecutions of dissidents are wrong. These are the same things that were done under the shah and are now being repeated. And now they are done in the name of Islam and therefore alienate people."

Whoa! Ayatollah Montazeri was a leader of the Islamic Revolution, and was initially designated by his close friend Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to be his successor as supreme leader of Iran. Everything he says carries immense credibility, for he is a more senior religious figure than any of Iran's present leaders. (I've posted comments by Ayatollah Montazeri, along with a video of the interview, at, Posting 389.)

Another Shiite leader outside the club of power, Ayatollah Jalaledin Taheri, has denounced the regime as "society's dregs and fascists who consist of a concoction of ignorance and madness. . . . [and] those who are convinced that yogurt is black."

So the Islamic Republic is increasingly vulnerable to the most devastating accusation of all: that it is un-Islamic and is alienating its youth from Islam. The mullahs have even made beards unpopular.

"I'm sorry — I've been too busy to shave recently," said Ashkan Almasi, a musician, mortified at having a faint beard and not wanting me to get the wrong idea about his politics. "In contrast to what [leading Islamic philosophers] say, this regime is the very opposite of Islamic government," Mr. Almasi said. "It has made Islam unpopular."

On the 1,100-mile round trip between Tehran and Shiraz in the south, I did meet some staunch supporters of the regime. But my experience at a teahouse in a small town was more typical. With a small crowd around me, I asked people what they thought of the government.

"How can you have hope for life any more?" said Abdullah Erfani, a plumber, adding, "If there were a free vote, 99 percent would oppose this system, and only the 1 percent within the system would support it."

A 20-year-old, Hadi Zareai, working hard to look cool in his leather jacket, said: "There will be a Judgment Day, and all of us will meet up. Then I'm going to find those who launched the Islamic Revolution and go after them."

In much of the world, young Muslims are increasingly religious, but compulsive Islam has soured some Iranians on religion. Fewer people go to Friday prayers, and Western-style clothes are the hottest fashion.

One young woman I met, Elaheh Falakmasir, is religious and inclined to support the regime. But smoke was almost pouring from her ears because she and a couple of friends had been kicked out of an exhibition a few hours earlier for being floozies: one wore a red vest over her black overcoat, and Ms. Falakmasir herself wore a silver nose stud.

"I like it," she said hotly. "It's beautiful. God likes it. But they complained." And so the regime alienated three more constituents who want to be good Muslims — but also want to live in a modern world.

There's a useful lesson here for George Bush's America as well as for the ayatollahs' Iran: when a religion is imposed on people, when a government tries too ostentatiously to put itself "under God," the effect is often not to prop up religious faith but to undermine it. Nothing is more lethal to religious faith than having self-righteous, intolerant politicians (who wince at nose studs) drag God into politics.
9 posted on 05/12/2004 3:06:49 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: F14 Pilot
How much of Iran's population are radical Muslim?
10 posted on 05/12/2004 3:08:33 AM PDT by onyx (Rummy's job is winning the war, not micro-managing some damn prison.)
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To: DoctorZIn
11 posted on 05/12/2004 3:17:02 AM PDT 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: onyx
There are radical people in any community in this world. But Iranians are more secular and open minded. I can't give you any number on how many of them are radical. Most Not As I Believe!
12 posted on 05/12/2004 3:19:29 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: SandRat; Smartass
Ping on #9!
13 posted on 05/12/2004 3:47:04 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: F14 Pilot
Free Iran bump! If the regime is losing support even in Qom, stick a fork in it, cause it's done.
14 posted on 05/12/2004 4:25:50 AM PDT by Heatseeker
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To: DoctorZIn; All
Grand Ayatollah Hosein-Ali Montazeri

15 posted on 05/12/2004 5:06:25 AM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ...( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: F14 Pilot; All

"Grand Ayatollah Hosein-Ali Montazeri welcomed me for an interview in his office in Qom, Iran, with a few words in English and a nice, folksy manner. Later, we tried to communicate in Arabic: I spoke to him a bit in Cairo colloquial Arabic, and as far as I can tell he couldn’t understand a word, and then he replied in Quranic Arabic that I couldn’t understand a word of. Because it’s not often that you hear a Grand Ayatollah saying that Iran is as bad now as under the shah, I’ve made a partial transcript of the translation from Farsi."

"In an interview with Nicholas D. Kristof in Qom, Iran, Grand Ayatollah Hosein-Ali Montazeri said that the current government is pushing the people toward another revolution."

"These gentlemen became dominant in this country in the name of Islam. They do what they do in the name of Islam. All this repression, all these convictions, are done in the name of Islam. Islam is presented as a tough and harsh religion. And the young may well be turned off by that. The style of these gentlemen has caused it. And they should rethink how they do things and give more freedom to the young."

"There is no freedom. Repression is carried out in the name of Islam, and that turns people off. Young people in their heart are naturally interested in religion. It’s instinct. …but violence and harsh actions, arrests and court summons, done in the name of religion turn people off. Officials should reexamine and change their practice."

Here's the link to the video........
16 posted on 05/12/2004 5:15:48 AM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ...( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: F14 Pilot
U.S. wonders how much trouble is the fault of Iran

The Associated Press
WEDNESDAY, May 12, 2004
The Salt Lake Tribune

WASHINGTON -- Reports from inside Iraq continue to suggest that Iran's conservative Islamic government is meddling in the affairs of its neighbor, according to U.S. officials and lawmakers with access to information about the instability there.
Yet as of late last month, the U.S.-led coalition held only 15 Iranian prisoners, according to the U.S. military command in Baghdad. Officials are struggling to pin down exactly what role Iran may be playing in the chaos still roiling military forces in Iraq.
Some think Iran is operating simply as any worried neighbor would: keeping tabs on the affairs of a tumultuous nation with which it shares a 900-mile border. Iran's critics contend Tehran is stirring up trouble and laying groundwork to try to establish an Islamic republic on the Iranian model after the United States and its allies leave Iraq. Others say the truth lies in between.
Senior officials including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have warned Iran not to get involved.
"We know the Iranians have been meddling, and it's unhelpful to have neighboring countries meddling in the affairs of Iraq," Rumsfeld said last month at a Pentagon briefing.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi has repeatedly denied U.S. allegations that Iran is meddling in Iraq.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, has said Iran has "obvious designs on the future of Iraq." So, too, says another member, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.: "There is some Iranian effort to influence events."
Majorities in both countries belong to the Shiite sect of Islam, although Iraq's Shiites were dominated under former President Saddam Hussein by the Sunni sect. Iraq and Iran fought in the 1980s.

That the situation inside Iran is complex may be adding to the difficulty in unraveling what, if anything, Iran is doing in Iraq, said Rasool Nafisi in Washington, an Iranian-American in regular contact with both reformers and hard-liners in Iran.
Robert Baer, a former Iraq-based CIA officer who left the agency in 1997, said Tehran probably is delighted that Saddam was overthrown and his Sunni followers disenfranchised. The ruling Shiites in Iran have ties with Iraq's Shiite majority.
But the Iranian government probably is unnerved by the U.S. presence in Iraq and by American goals, Baer said.
"They do not want to see a secular, democratic, pro-Western government in Iraq with 12 American bases," Baer said. "They will assume these bases are meant to interfere in Iran."
17 posted on 05/12/2004 5:28:10 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn; All
Fighting Muqtada Al-Sadr - A description of the mission from one of our soldiers.

"He vigorously pursued courting and forming alliances with Iranian hard-liners"
"Now Sadr's patrons and mentor in Iran are breaking from him. Grand Ayatollah Hossain Kazzam Haeri in Qom, Iran, is no longer backing him and has instead made it clear that Sadr's uprising is not sanctioned. Haeri is his mentor, and was a close intimate to Sadr's respectable father. The Teheran Times has run stories that are largely exaggerated, but still are making clear that Sadr's uprising is counter to Iranian interests and does not have the support of even one of Iran's grand statesman, Hashemi Rafsanjani."

(For entire piece see....
"I Ask That the American People Be Brave"

Thanks Valin
18 posted on 05/12/2004 8:21:58 AM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ...( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: nuconvert; AdmSmith; McGavin999; freedom44; downer911; Cindy; Dolphy
Airport debacle is 'bad for Iran'

BBC News
Wednesday, 12 May, 2004

The forced closure of Iran's foreign-owned new airport is a big blow to investor confidence in the country, analysts have said.
Named after the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the new Tehran airport was built and expected to be run by Turkish and Austrian consortium TAV.

Yet the Iranian army closed it down on Saturday, citing that its foreign ownership was a security concern.

The army also criticised what it said were TAV's business links with Israel.

As a result of the closure, airlines have been forced to re-route flights to Tehran's congested Mehrabad airport, which the $475m new facility, 30 miles south of the city, was meant to replace.

"It's a bit of a joke... you can't give out a contract and then do this," said Dr Ali Ansari, lecturer in Iranian studies at Exeter University and fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs.

Contract difficulties

"It's clearly going to have a negative impact on investor confidence," he says.

"There are potentially lucrative deals [in Iran] but the legal framework is lacking and until the government sorts that out, foreign companies aren't going to be interested in the way the government would like them to be."

The Iranian authorities declared the closure illegal and threatened legal action against "irresponsible officials".

But Iran's armed forces said the decision to entrust the airport's operation to a foreign company "threatens the security of the country as well as its dignity".

"Unfortunately airport officials took this untimely decision without taking into account either security constraints or the Supreme Council law on national security banning the use of foreign forces," a statement said.

The government has reportedly promised the consortium compensation; TAV said it had invested $15m in the deal.

The affair was "not a good sign", given the proximity of the 2005 presidential elections, particularly as conservatives forced out reformists in February's parliamentary poll, a Western diplomat told AFP news agency.

Concerns would be heightened if the incident was repeated, given Iran's investment climate is currently "moderately positive", said a locally-based economist.

Meanwhile, Turkey said trade ties with Iran could suffer.

"Our economic relations could be influenced negatively by this situation," a spokesman for the Turkish foreign ministry Namik Tan told correspondents on Wednesday.

He said talks were being held concerning the issue.

In 2003, Turkey's imports from Iran - made up of mainly oil and gas - amounted to $1.8bn while exports totalled $524m.

Iran 'red-faced'

The Iranian press were damning of the affair.

"The nation is left red-faced on the international scene," said the pro-reform Iran Daily.

"Can't we even do a simple thing such as putting an airport into operation without getting bogged down in useless controversy or complicating the issue?" it asked.

"Shouldn't those in charge be concerned how the rest of the world looks at us at a time when we are simultaneously striving hard to enter the global market and wooing foreign investment."

"Unfortunately in the case of the IKIA (Imam Khomeini International Airport) we have been very successful in managing to portray our system as incompetent, mismanaged and lacking in professionalism."

But according to Dr Zhand Shakibi, lecturer in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics, foreign investors will still view Iran with interest.

"Conservatives want investment in the country, especially in the energy field... which they control," he said.

"The airport was a bit different, especially given its name... For them, Khomeini was against imperialism and foreign investment."
19 posted on 05/12/2004 8:35:33 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Approves Torture Ban Amid High-Profile Cases

May 12, 2004
The Washington Times
From Combined Dispatches

TEHRAN — Iran's ruling Guardian Council has passed a law banning the use of torture, effective immediately, a judiciary official announced this week.

The council, which rejected at least three similar proposals in the past, approved the law last Thursday, a day after Iran's judiciary chief ordered it, said Nasser Hosseini, the judiciary official.

"For courts, it's obligatory to implement the law after it is approved by the Guardian Council," he said.

Human rights groups long have complained about the use of torture against detainees, including intellectuals and political activists.

"I hope the law provides enough protection for prisoners who have complained about torture," said lawmaker Rajab Ali Mazroui, a reformer.

Iran's bleak human rights record was highlighted by the case of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, 54, who died last July, about three weeks after being detained for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison during demonstrations.

She was posthumously honored last Saturday in Vancouver by the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ), which named Mrs. Kazemi this year's recipient of its President's Award for exemplary contributions to the craft of journalism. Her son, Stephan Hachemi, accepted the award on her behalf. At its convention, the CAJ renewed its demand that Toronto push Tehran for justice in the death of Mrs. Kazemi and to respect her family's wishes by returning her remains to Canada.

In a separate challenge to Iran's hard-line religious courts, the attorney for an academic sentenced to death for blasphemy said yesterday that he might persuade his client to again appeal the verdict, which has provoked protests at home and condemnation abroad.

Hashem Aghajari has refused to appeal the sentence, reissued by a provincial court last week, effectively challenging the hard-line judiciary to hang him for saying Muslims should not blindly follow senior clerics "like monkeys."

His wife, Zahra Behnoudi, told reporters Monday that Mr. Aghajari remains defiant.

"Free me unconditionally, or carry out the sentence. I will not appeal in order for you to lose my case again in an administrative labyrinth," she quoted him as saying. "I refuse to sign the notification of the verdict, and I refuse to appeal."

She said her husband had told her that the verdict, a confirmation of one handed down by the same judge in the western city of Hamadan, was dated last August, although it was made public only last week.

This second sentence ignored objections raised by the Supreme Court to the original decision, newspapers quoted Mr. Aghajari's attorney, Saleh Nikbakht, as saying.

The Hamadan judge failed to "clear any points that were signaled as shortcomings by the Supreme Court," he said.

"The judge has issued the ruling without clearing up those deficiencies ... and this amounts to a ruling against the Supreme Court," Mr. Nikbakht contended.

Iran's top judicial authorities are thought to be anxious to avoid a repetition of the protests at home and abroad that occurred after the original death sentence was handed down against Mr. Aghajari, a disabled veteran of the Iran-Iraq war.

The Hamadan court found Mr. Aghajari had committed blasphemy in a speech in that city, and so, in line with Islamic and Iranian law, he deserved to die.

The speech struck at the core of Iran's 25-year-old Islamic regime, calling for a reformation in the state religion and asserting that Muslims "should not blindly follow" religious leaders.

Powerful hard-liners saw this as an assault on the Shi'ite doctrine of "emulation" and of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's status as supreme leader.

After demonstrations by students and protests by reformists in the government over the death sentence, the Ayatollah Khamenei demanded that it be reviewed. In January 2003, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial.

Mr. Aghajari also was sentenced to eight years in jail. That term later was commuted to four years before being scrapped on April 14, but he is still being held in Tehran's Evin prison.

Judicial officials said last week the new Hamadan verdict is not final and would be reviewed again by the Supreme Court.

The judiciary recently issued directives banning torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and guaranteeing the rights of citizens, in what was seen as an admission that abuses exist.

The directives were given the force of law by the outgoing pro-reform parliament, strengthening existing legislation, in a move that was endorsed on Monday after a review by the hard-line Guardian Council.
20 posted on 05/12/2004 8:55:42 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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