Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- May 19, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 05/18/2004 9:02:25 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 Americans 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.
EU, PGCC Welcome Iran's Signing of Additional Protocol
BRUSSELS (IRNA) -- The European Union and Persian Gulf Cooperation Council welcomed Monday the signing by Iran of the Additional Protocol to the NPT and also Tehran's suspension of its uranium enrichment program.
"The EU and the PGCC welcomed Iran's signature in December 2003 of the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement and recalled that Iran has committed itself to act in accordance with its provisions, pending its entry into force, and urged its implementation and early ratification," said a joint communiqué issued after the 14th EU-PGCC joint council and ministerial meeting late Monday night.
The two sides also welcomed the decision by Iran of February 24, 2004, to extend the scope of its suspension of enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and its confirmation that the suspension applies to all facilities in Iran. "In accordance with this decision, they expected Iran to proceed with the full suspension of all such activities, and to take all necessary steps to build up confidence." They also urged Iran "to provide full and proactive cooperation with the IAEA in resolving all outstanding questions in a spirit of full transparency." Both sides, however, expressed "concern at the lack of progress towards resolution of the territorial conflict between the United Arab Emirates and Iran over Abu Musa and the Tunbs Islands."
"They reiterated their support for a peaceful solution to the conflict in accordance with international law, either through direct negotiations or by referring the issue to the International Court of Justice," said the communiqué.
Deadly clashes rock Kamyaran in western Iran
SMCCDI (Information Service)
May 18, 2004
Deadly clashes rocked, yesterday, the western City of Kamyaran as residents marched toward the Security forces HQ in order to ask justice for the killing of several yong resients shot by the regime forces at a check point.
The regime forces opened fire on the crowd and the shoot out lead to the popular retaliation causing the injuries of several security agents and heavy damages to their center. Reports are stating that 3 to 5 residents have been killed in the clashes and tens injured.
Elite forces were sent to the city in order to smash the riot by night's end and the situation of the town has been reported as very critical.
AS STUDENTS WARN OF LARGE DEMONSTRATIONS, AQAJARI REJECTS APPEAL
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004
TEHRAN, 18 May (IPS) One week after his death sentence confirmed by a court in the eastern city of Hamadan, a defiant Hashem Aqajari reiterated that he would not seek appeal, raising the menace of unleashing the wrath of the students and renewed condemnations of the Islamic Republics crackdown on the dissidents, human rights and freedom of expression.
I refuse to sign the notification of the verdict and I refuse to appeal. 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, Mrs. Zahra Behnoudi, the wife of Mr. Aqajari was quoted by the semi-official Students news agency ISNA on her husbands decision not to appeal.
A University professor and Islamist reformer, Mr. Aqajari was condemned two years ago to capital punishment for blasphemy, insulting Muslims prophet Mohammad and the Shia hierarchy, saying, during a conference at this city, that people are not apes to follow blindly what the clergy tells them.
His view was a seen as an attack on the both the country's ruling Islamic establishment and the very person of Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, a junior cleric made overnight Ayatollah after he was elected by the Assembly of Experts on August 1989 to replace Grand Ayatollah Roohollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic.
The court in its ruling, also condemned him to 74 lashes, ten years of ban from professional activities and seven years of exile in a remote village, but did not say if the bans would take effect before or after the application of the death sentence.
The Office for Consolidating Unity (OCU), the Iranian students largest organization that had organized nation-wide demonstrations against the original decision pronounced on November 2002 warned the authorities that it would renew the actions in support of Mr. Aqajari if the sentence is not removed and the academic set free without conditions.
In a statement, the OCU condemned the confirmation of the sentence as a shameful and mediaeval punishment, adding that the sentence pronounced against Aqajari is an action by the leader controlled Judiciary against freedom in general but also all the militant students condemned to heavy penalties.
According to Mrs. Behnoudi, her husband had told her that the verdict, a confirmation of that handed down by the same judge in the western city of Hamadan, was dated the second half of August last year. The second sentence, announced last week, ignored objections raised by the Supreme Court to the original decision, newspapers quoted Aqajaris lawyer Saleh Nikbakht as saying.
Mr. Nikbakht said he has been officially told of the re-imposition of the death penalty, but added immediately that the Hamadan judge failed to clear any points that were signaled as shortcomings by the Supreme Court.
The judge has issued the ruling without clearing up those deficiencies in line with the orders of the State Supreme Court, and this amounts to a ruling against the Supreme Court, the lawyer explained.
Irans top judicial authorities are thought to be anxious to avoid a repetition of the protests at home and abroad that followed the original death sentence on the respected scholar, a disabled war veteran who lost a brother during the eight-years long Iran Iraq War.
For this reason, on order from Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, the Supreme Court later annulled the death sentence and sent the case back to the provincial court for review, but the provincial court re-imposed the death penalty earlier in May.
According to some sources, Ayatollah Khamenehi has told the head of the justice department to re-examine as quickly as possible Mr. Aqajaris file.
Giving no source for its report, the semi-independent students news agency ISNA said in a dispatch that Mr. Khamenehi is seriously unhappy about the delay in the case.
ISNA reported that the leader, who has the last word on all state matters, was angered by the decision to re-issue the death penalty and called on the judiciary to review the verdict.
However, an unidentified source from the Judiciary contradicted, saying the leader had issued no instructions about the case of the convicted academic.
As far as we are concerned, the beloved leader has always stated that the case must follow its legal path, the source said, according to some press reports.
Mr Aqajari is currently being held in Evin prison in Tehran, where he is serving a four-year sentence imposed in place of the death penalty by the Supreme Court.
ENDS AQAJARI SENTENCED 18504
UN watchdog unable to complete Iran nuclear probe by June: diplomats
by Michael Adler
VIENNA, May 18 (AFP) - The UN atomic agency will not be able to complete an investigation into Iran's alleged secret nuclear weapons program by mid-June due to delays by Tehran in allowing international inspections and disclosing its nuclear activities, diplomats said.
"This is ironic since the Iranians are the ones who want the file on them to be closed," a diplomat close to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and who asked not to be named told AFP Tuesday.
During a visit by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei to Tehran in April, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi had said Tehran expected the IAEA investigation to be completed in June ahead of a meeting of the IAEA board.
But an earlier delay to a crucial round on inspections in March "threw us out of sequence," an official close to the IAEA said, adding key results would not now be available for the board of governors meeting in Vienna June 14.
"It takes a long time time to get analysis of environmental samples (swipes to find traces of radioactive particles) so there is no way to get results in June in order to wrap this thing up," a Western diplomat said.
The Iranians have "succeeded in slowing down the (investigation) machine," a second Western diplomat said.
ElBaradei has said he hopes the IAEA can finish its investigation by the end of the year, but he warned in a CNN interview Saturday that Iran's cooperation so far had been insufficient.
"The jury is still out," he said about whether Iran's nuclear program is peaceful as Tehran has insisted.
Iran delayed inspections after the IAEA board in March condemned the country for failing to report key activities, particularly its acquiring of blueprints for sophisticated centrifuges to enrich uranium, which can be used in both civilian reactors and to make atomic bombs.
Iran had also failed in a report filed in October to fully disclose, as it had promised, its nuclear activities.
One diplomat said that while the international community may tolerate a lack of resolution on Iran's nuclear program until the US presidential elections in November, the issue "cannot go on forever. We are not going to debate on this for the next three years."
Diplomats were wary of speculating about whether Washington was backing off from pushing for the IAEA to take Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear program due to the Iraq conflict.
Washington, which charges Iran is hiding attempts to make nuclear weapons, did not lobby for this at the last IAEA meeing in March and is not expected to insist on it in June.
Iran is close to the majority Shiite community in Iraq, which is crucial to securing peace there.
A diplomat said one thing sure was that "the Iranians are more confident because they know they're needed in Iraq."
IAEA inspectors now say they can see a pattern of radiation contamination in Iran which could indicate attempts to enrich uranium to bomb-grade level, diplomats said.
But the agency is waiting for another, more complete report from Iran on its nuclear program, which will take "half a year to a year" to evaluate, the official close to the IAEA said.
IAEA inspectors have so far reported two concentrations of particles of highly enriched uranium -- at a Kalaye Electric Company workshop in Tehran and at the Natanz pilot fuel enrichment plant 250 kilometres (150 miles) south of the capital.
Diplomats have confirmed other sites have been found, although details have not been made available
Posted on Tue, May. 18, 2004
Irans police state too inept to survive
NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
New York Times
I had just about convinced myself that Iran is not a police state and then the authorities detained me for a second time.
The first time was in Isfahan, for committing journalism. The police apologized and let me go after 30 minutes when my papers were found to be in order. The second time was at Tehrans airport as I was trying to leave, and this time the interrogation was tougher.
Have you ever been to Israel? Gulp, yes.
Are you working for the Israeli government? Of course not.
Are you working for the American government? I tried to explain that my views make me unemployable by either the Bush or Sharon administrations, but the interrogators were weak on both subtlety and humor.
After hinting for 90 minutes that I was a spy and a liar, and that they might hold on to me indefinitely, the interrogators finally let me board my plane. Indeed, toward the end, they seemed worried principally by my threat to write about the encounter.
That episode crystallized an impression that had been forming during my trip through Iran: If it were an efficient police state, it might survive. But its not. It cracks down episodically, tossing dissidents in prison and occasionally even murdering them (like a Canadian-Iranian journalist last year). But Iran doesnt control information partly because satellite television is ubiquitous, if illegal and people mostly get away with scathing criticism as long as they do not organize against the government.
The embarrassing point for us is that while Iran is no democracy, it has a much freer society than many of our allies in the Middle East. In contrast to Saudi Arabia, for example, Iran has (rigged) elections, and two of its vice presidents are women. The Iranian press is not as free as it was a few years ago, but it is now bolstered by blogs (Web logs) and satellite TV, which offer real scrutiny of government officials.
I was astonished that everywhere I went in Iran, people would immediately tell me their names and agree to be photographed and then say something like, There is no freedom here.
All this means, I think, that the Iranian regime is destined for the ash heap of history. An unpopular regime can survive if it is repressive enough, but Irans hard-liners dont imprison their critics consistently enough to instill terror.
Pet dogs, for example, are strongly discouraged in Iran as dirty and contrary to Islam, and traffic police regularly arrest dogs and their owners. But the number of pet dogs is multiplying, and Tehran now has dozens of veterinary clinics.
Many Iranians believe that the Iranian leadership is pursuing a Chinese model, in which the authorities tolerate personal freedoms but rigidly control politics. But it wont work. In China, the greatest expansion of personal freedoms was followed, in 1989, by the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Chinese history.
In one country after another (including Iran in 1979), repressive governments have tried to buy time by easing up a tad, and dissidents have used that as leverage to oust the oppressors. Im convinced that Iran will be the same (although I should acknowledge that my Iranian friends, who know the situation much better, tend to be more pessimistic).
The crisis in legitimacy even manages to create nostalgia for the repressive shah. Everybody longs for the good old days of the shah, said Amir, a peasant in a village north of Isfahan. Prices were cheap, and he was good at building the country. If the shah built a road, it would still be good after 30 years. Now if they build a road, it cracks and falls apart in a few years.
Young people constantly told me how they scolded their parents for backing the Islamic Revolution in 1979. As a young woman, Sogand Tayebi, put it, Those who backed the revolution are now sorry about that.
In the end, I find Iran a hopeful place. Ordinary people are proving themselves irrepressible, and they will triumph someday and forge a glistening example of a Muslim country that is a pro-American democracy in the Middle East.
I treasure a memory from the airport: After I was detained, a security goon X-rayed my bags for a second time and puzzled over my computer equipment. He snarled at me: American reporters bad! The X-ray operator, who perhaps didnt know quite what was going on, beamed at me and piped in: Americans very good!
No order from Khamenei to re-examine Aghajari death sentence: judiciary
TEHRAN, May 17 (AFP) - The head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, denied Monday receiving any order from supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei to review the death sentence for blasphemy of dissident intellectual Hashem Aghajari, the official IRNA news agency reported.
"The judiciary has so far not received any order from the Supreme Leader in this regard," Shahrudi was quoted as saying in reply to the question of whether his department had been told by Khamenei to re-examine Aghajari's death sentence "as quickly as possible."
"No official decree has been issued on this matter... Aghajari's case has been sent to the state Supreme Court and it is going through its natural course," he added.
On Saturday, the student news agency ISNA reported without a source that Khamenei had told the head of the judiciary to review the sentence, referring to the "supreme leader's serious unhappiness about the delay seen in the case."
However IRNA quoted Shahrudi's deputy Abdul Reza Izadpanah as saying that according to both Khamenei and the head of the judiciary, Aghajari's speech in the western city of Hamedan which triggered the sentence "is not considered to be apostasy and blasphemy and therefore not punishable by death."
On Friday, the head of the judiciary in Hamedan province, Zekrollah Ahmadi, said that Aghajari's case "has been sent to the Supreme Court," adding, "It is highly probable that the State Supreme Court will quash the (death) sentence, since I as the head of the judiciary apparatus here has objected to the ruling."
Aghajari, a history professor at Tehran University and a disabled war veteran, was convicted of blasphemy by a judge in Hamedan for calling for a reformation in Iran's state Shiite Muslim religion.
He also said that Muslims were not "monkeys" and "should not blindly follow" religious leaders.
The November 2002 verdict sparked protests in Iran and abroad, and Khamenei demanded it be reviewed.
In January 2003, the Supreme Court ordered a retrial but the same judge in Hamedan recently confirmed his previous sentence. Aghajari has refused to appeal.
Iran's top judicial authorities are thought to be anxious to avoid a repetition of the protests that followed the original death sentence, prompting a call to order from Khamenei.
ISPs Volunteer Filtering Websites
After the government padlocked nearly 20 Tehran Internet Service Providers (ISPs) over filtering of banned news and information sites, such as Radio Farda's, a number of ISPs, fearing loss of their businesses, have begun filtering many websites, even beyond the list of banned sites provided by the government, ISP owner Nima Akbarpour tells Radio Farda. At least one closed ISP managed to sign a deal with Iran Telecom to provide Internet phone service. Although the padlocking of ISPs was portrayed as punishment for ignoring the filtering rules, observers said the real reason was that the ISPs were gaining market share against Iran Telecom in long-distance phone business, he adds. (Keyvan Hosseini)
Laws Protect Fathers in Child Abuse Cases
Our biggest obstacle in prosecuting fathers for perpetrating child abuse and neglect is the civil code, which considers child a property of the father,Dr. Shiva DowlatabadiRadio Farda. (Farin Asemi)
Majles Releases Committee Report on Car Industry
Head of the Majles industries' committee criticized the report of the special investigation committee on the country's auto industry as the personal opinion of the investigative committee's chairman Ebrahim Baisalami. Tehran-based journalist Ali Zandi tells Radio Farda that the poor quality and high prices of domestic cars prompted criticism from consumers and industry observers, including the producers' society (Anjoman Towlidgaran), a think tank headed by Tehran MP Ebrahim Baisalami, who maintained that the state-owned automakers relied on their monopoly to rip off the consumer. Their criticism prompted the Majles to form a special commission under Baislami to investigate the car industry. The commission's report, unveiled yesterday in the open session of the Majles, took three years, and cannot be the opinion of one person, he adds. Some of the profits generated by the automakers go to the government, but many private and semi-private companies reaped huge profits by winning supply contracts through special relations with the state-owned auto companies. (Fereydoun Zarnegar)
Shah's Policy in the Persian Gulf
The Shah followed a foreign policy which he thought was best for his country, and it would be unfair to call the Shah a puppet of the US and Britain, Amir Feisal Salman al-Saud, author of a new book on the Shah's Persian Gulf policy in the three years between 1968 and 1971, tells Radio Farda. (Shahran Tabari, London)
Iran-US Talks: Two Views
In his speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, former political officer of the US embassy in Tehran William Miller, who had just returned from his third trip to Iran since the revolution, said common interests should bring the US and Iranian officials together for negotiations over Iraq, Afghanistan and other issues. Mr. Miller talked about the Iranian people's support for the US, but did not mention that the majority of the people want the status quo changed, and do not want to see relations with the US become a lever to keep the Islamic regime in power, former diplomat Mehrdad Khansari tells Radio Farda. (Parichehr Farzam, Washington)
How trustworthy is Iran?
The Washington Times
May 19th 2004
By Claude Salhani
KUWAIT. At a time when Muslim fundamentalists are busily trying to export Islamic revolutions around the globe, they might want to take a good close look at Iran.
When the popular uprising, propelled by Islamic fervor and initiated largely by students and Tehran bazaar shop owners, overthrew the shah in 1979, the mullahs and ayatollahs believed Iran would rapidly export its Islamic revolution. The expectation was that Iran would spread fundamentalism, much the same way the Soviet Union exported socialism to dozens of countries around the world, uniting them into a pact against the West.
But surprise, surprise, the mullahs, ayatollahs and associated revolutionary guards tried to interest a number of countries to follow in their footsteps, but ultimately failed. There is not one country that has adopted the Iranian system.
Yes, Iran had limited success installing a detachment of Guardians of the Revolution in Lebanon, thanks to a governmental void created by Lebanon's civil war. The Iranians thus were able to temporarily Islamize parts of Beirut's southern suburbs and the historic Bekaa Valley town of Baalback, as well as a string of hamlets in south Lebanon. But even in those locations, chadors and Islamic headscarves mix freely with skin-tight Western denims, Nike T-shirts and New York Yankee ballcaps.
In short, Iran's revolution was "unsellable" outside its borders. Now, some 25 years later, Iran is beginning to change once more, slowly swinging back towards a more moderate center. As Amir Taheri, an Iranian-born writer recently pointed out, "Iran is coming around." Nicholas D. Kristof, just returned from a trip to Iran writes in the New York Times, " ... the Iranian regime is destined for the ash heap of history."
With elections still rigged, the country has a long way to go before it can be confused with anything resembling a democracy. Nevertheless, it is a very different Iran from the one that ousted the shah, and who 21/2 decades ago hanged from construction cranes anyone who dared oppose the Islamic Revolution. And with a large young population born after the revolution, the change will continue apace.
"We do not want the Islam of the Taliban," said Atta-Allah Muhajirani, an Iranian official, speaking at a conference in Kuwait on "Iran and the Future." But, said Mr. Muhajirani, "nor do we want the Islam that Bush saved."
So what does Iran want today?
There is little doubt Iran strongly desires to establish itself as a regional power in the Persian/Arabian Gulf region as well as in the Middle East. Iran has been supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories in their fight against Israel. Iran has trained, financed and armed both groups which the U.S. State Department considers to be engaged in terrorist activities and has placed on its terror watch list.
Iran has tried to influence Lebanese politics, whenever possible, through the Hezbollah militia and the Hezbollah political system, now represented in the Lebanese parliament. The government in Tehran has in the past supported terrorist groups and has even engaged in terrorist activities itself.
Iran has had dreams of attaining regional superiority since the days of the shah. And while much has changed in Tehran under the mullahs, Iran's "need" to enjoy junior-superpower status does not seem to have abated in any way.
However, if Iran's desire to export revolution has somewhat faded, it still very much want to remain involved in regional politics such as in Iraq where Iranian agents are extremely active in supporting the Shi'ite community.
Iran is widely believed to be backing the troublesome cleric, Sheik Muqtada al-Sadr. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic still holds high hopes of becoming a nuclear power. Despite cat-and-mouse games with the International Atomic Inspection Agency, Iran, many observers believe, is proceeding with plans to become the second nuclear power in the Middle East, after Israel, as well as the second Muslim nation to go nuclear, after Pakistan. While Iran may not actually produce a nuclear device, it may well proceed with learning and preparing the technology that will allow it to build one.
Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy warned that "Iran's nuclear activities threaten the Gulf and the world." Mr. Clawson said Iran could be initiating a nuclear arms race between Gulf countries, forcing Saudi Arabia, for example, to feel threatened enough to develop its own nuclear program.
Iran today will do everything it can to maintain its junior-superpower status in the region. The great peril from that is a danger of partial confrontation between Israel and Iran.
All indications seem to confirm Israel will not sit back and allow Iran to develop its military nuclear capability. Under such circumstances, a repeat performance of the strike on Iraq's Osirak facility is almost a given. The relevant question here is how would Iran reply? As Iran still commands much influence over Lebanon's Hezbollah, an Israeli pre-emptive strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear sites would undoubtedly unleash military or guerrilla action along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert and national security analyst for ABC News, told a weekend conference in Kuwait, "Rational stability is not characteristic to the region."
Maybe for that very reason the long overdue dialogue between Iran and the United States might just get off the ground, thinks Mr. Cordesman, who said the name calling Axis of Evil vs. Great Satan must stop as it will get both countries nowhere. The trick is to create a climate of trust.
Trust Iran? Unlikely, say many Kuwaitis who live next door and like to keep a watchful eye on their powerful neighbor. Mohammed A. Al-Jassem, editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti daily newspaper Al-Watan and Newsweek in Arabic believes the Iranians are difficult to trust and says Iranians have been "increasingly active" in Iraq, where their intelligence services are positioning themselves for the post-U.S. occupation period.
"The Iranians know that the United States will one day have to leave Iraq," said Al-Jassem. And the Iranians also know they will be around long after that. Stay tuned.
Claude Salhani is international editor of United Press International.
U.S. ON IRAN'S NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES
May 18th 2004
The U.S. Congress has voted overwhelmingly to condemn Iran for its covert nuclear activities. In a three-hundred-seventy-six to three vote, the House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution that expressed "the concern of Congress over Iran's development of the means to produce nuclear weapons." The resolution cites Iran's "continuing deception to the International Atomic Energy Agency [I-A-E-A] and the international community," and says it is "abundantly clear that Iran remains committed to a nuclear weapons program."
The resolution demands that Iran "immediately and permanently cease efforts to acquire nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and cease nuclear enrichment activities." It calls on "all state parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [N-P-T], including the United States, to use appropriate measures to deter, dissuade, and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."
President George W. Bush has said that the world cannot tolerate a nuclear weapons-armed Iran. Congressman Tom Lantos of California says the U.S. Congress shares that view:
"It's very important that both the Iranian authorities and all the countries which are involved with this issue understand that the administration and the Congress stand together in our determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons."
Congressman Lantos says there is a logical way to deal with the issue:
"Basically the formula that Libya has adopted. Libya was developing weapons of mass destruction, and Colonel [Moammar] Gadhafi saw that this was contrary to the best interests of Libya itself. And [he] chose to give up its weapons of mass destruction. . . . We very much hope that the Iranian authorities will take a similar position, recognize that developing nuclear weapons is unacceptable and counterproductive and will give up those ambitions."
The resolution passed by the U.S. Congress urges the International Atomic Energy Agency "at its earliest opportunity, to report to the United Nations Security Council that Iran is in noncompliance with its agreements to the I-A-E-A." The I-A-E-A Board of Governors meets again in June to consider Iran's case.
Thanks for the ping!
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
There is an Anti-US rally today in Tehran in Enghelab Square.
I saw many governmental cars and buses bringing HIRED people to the site. There were also some Revolutionary Guards soldiers who forced to join the rally.
It is going to be held at 10 Am local time and I think less than 5000 people join the rally.
We, real Iranians, support USA in Iraq!"
Shah's Policy in the Persian Gulf
The Shah followed a foreign policy which he thought was best for his country, and it would be unfair to call the Shah a puppet of the US and Britain, Amir Feisal Salman al-Saud, author of a new book on the Shah's Persian Gulf policy in the three years between 1968 and 1971, tells Radio Farda.
Here is a great flash video on Iran from Krisof of NYTimes
Bassijis throw petrol bombs at UK embassy in Iran
May 19, 2004, 17:05
Tehran (Reuters)- Bassiji demonstrators angry about the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq have hurled petrol bombs, firecrackers and stones at the British embassy in Iran, witnesses say.
Two petrol bombs landed harmlessly outside the high embassy compound walls, but one cleared the wall and landed inside, a Reuters witness at the scene on Wednesday said.
The crowd of about 200 bassiji demonstrators broke some windows in an administrative building belonging to the embassy, a British diplomat said.
"Muslims, rise up because there is bloodshed in Iraq," chanted the crowd of bassijis, which gathered outside the embassy after a larger state-sponsored rally against the U.S.-led occupation of Iran's western neighbour had fizzled out.
Nuts With Nukes
May 19, 2004
The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof
There is one force that could rescue Iran's hard-line ayatollahs from the dustbin of history: us.
For all its denials, Iran seems to be pushing for nuclear warheads and for missiles to carry them. It could make its first weapon in two years, and it could eventually produce enough enriched uranium at Natanz for 25 weapons a year.
Iran's leaders have regularly gotten away with murder. They apparently helped bomb U.S. marines in Lebanon in 1983, a Jewish center in Argentina in 1994 and U.S. military barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996. So it's easy to understand why President Bush declared recently that it's "intolerable" for Iran to be on the road toward nuclear weapons, adding, "Otherwise they will be dealt with, starting through the United Nations."
To Mr. Bush, not unreasonably, Iran conjures up a frightening combination: nuts with nukes. The push for a tougher approach toward Iran isn't partisan, and a President Kerry might also pursue a more confrontational, albeit more multilateral, approach to Iran.
But that would be a mistake.
First, it won't work. If we haul Iran before the Security Council, it will restart its programs (it has suspended at least some) and kick out inspectors. Iran will respond to more pressure not by dropping its nuclear program, but by accelerating it.
Second, we'll create a nationalistic backlash in Iran that will keep hard-liners in power indefinitely. Our sanctions and isolation have kept dinosaurs in power in Cuba, North Korea and Burma, and my fear is that we'll do the same in Iran.
What I fear is this: Over the next year or two, the West will press Iran harder, Iran will halt its nuclear cooperation and evict inspectors, Israel will bomb a couple of Iran's nuclear sites (a possibility widely discussed in security circles, although it would slow Iran's nuclear progress without ending it), and Iran's ayatollahs will benefit from a nationalistic surge to stay in power and rule more rabidly than ever.
"We love America," began Mansour Jahanbakhsa, a businessman, in a typical comment, but he added that Iran should develop nuclear weapons. "Iranians would become angry at meddling by America," he said, and his demeanor changed. "We are an old country with an ancient civilization, and we are proud of it. How come Israel can have them and we can't? It makes me angry."
A young woman, Maryan Nazeri, complained about the regime but said she would support it in a confrontation over nuclear weapons. "We're going to have them," she said. "Maybe we do already. It's our right. We're Iranians, so what do you expect? Just as you want America to be strong, we want Iran to be strong."
Then Massoud Taheri scolded: "Your president calling us a rogue nation and disrespecting our 5,000 years of civilization is offensive. How many years of civilization do you have?"
Our goal should be regime change in Tehran. But if Mr. Bush (or Mr. Kerry) pushes Tehran too hard over nukes, we'll fail to get rid of either the nuclear program or this regime.
The only alternative is engagement the precise opposite of the sanctions and isolation that have been U.S. policy under both Presidents Clinton and Bush. Sanctions are even less effective against Iran than against, say, North Korea, because Iran oozes petroleum and is independently wealthy. Isolation by the U.S. has accomplished even less in Iran than it has in Cuba.
So we should vigorously pursue a "grand bargain" in which, among other elements, Iran maintains its freeze on uranium enrichment and we establish diplomatic relations and encourage business investment, tourism and education exchanges.
"What would destroy the conservatives [in Iran] would be a money flood" of American investment, says Hooshang Amirahmadi, the president of the American Iranian Council. "In just a few years, the conservatives would be finished."
The bottom line is that we could soon have a pro-American Islamic democracy as a beacon for hope in the Middle East in Tehran, not Baghdad. The risk is that we'll blow it.
Iran is a dazzling smorgasbord, from its "Death to America" murals to its winding bazaars. You can join me on a multimedia tour of Iran here.
Laws Determine Internet Offenses
May 19, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elhamhere Tuesday said that the laws and the policies approved by the ruling system serve as the main basis for probe into Internet offenses.
Speaking to domestic reporters in his weekly address, he made the remarks in response to a question raised concerning claims of complete closure of Internet on account of what was termed by some judicial officials as profanity and insult to the values on the Internet.
He denounced the quoted remarks and said that he has no reply to them and added that such a view would be disapproved by the judiciary.
"The judiciary is neither a policy-maker, nor a lawmaker. It rather enforces the laws and policies approved by the ruling system. This is our main working policy."
"There are some laws approved by the high council for cultural revolution, which indicate the legal and illegal cases, methods of inspection, filtering and the centers eligible to present Internet services on domestic or international sites," he added.
"Given that the electronic trade law was ratified and the judiciary as well as nationwide justice departments were notified to enforce it, hereafter specialized courts would mainly probe internet offenses."
"According to the electronic trade law, charges of infiltrating private networks lacking license as well as wiping or copying the confidential documents belonging to companies or individuals could be filed at courts," he added.
Arrests Of Journalists and Press Freedom Violations Continue Unabated
May 19, 2004
Reporters Without Borders
Two more journalists arrested, a managing editor banned from doing his job, and two newspapers suspended. Iranian courts persist in serious press freedom violations.
Managing editor Massiolah Soltani, of the weekly Sedai é Zanjan, was summonsed on 13 May 2004 by the third chamber of the Zanjan court in the north-west of the country and after questioning he was immediately remanded in custody. He is accused of "disseminating false news" and "disturbing public opinions and order". His colleague, Massud Almassi, was arrested for the same reasons on 15 May. The newspaper decided to suspend publication in protest against the arrests which it termed "illegaI and arbitrary". The arrests appeared to be linked to a story carried by the newspaper about the rape of a four-year-old girl.
Editor of the monthly Aftab (The Sun), Issa Saharkhiz, was given a six-month ban on all journalistic work and fined two million rials (about 2,000 euros). The Tehran court gave its verdict almost three months after the trial, that took place on 25 February. One year earlier, in its 28th edition, Aftab carried a translation of an article "The Lessons of Iran" written by Israeli Bary Robin on the 1979 Iranian revolution. The author considered that "the Ayatollah Khomeini's criticism of the Shah's relations with the West was unjust." Iranian courts ruled that the article was "an insult to the guide of the revolution"
Elsewhere, on 5 May, the Azeri-language daily Nedai Azarabadegan was suspended for two months by the Tabriz court and ordered to pay a three million-rials fine (about 3,000 euros). Its editor Abolfazle Vésali, said that several bodies had made complaints against the newspaper but that he believed "it had only done its job in providing news".
The following day, the weekly Gorgan é Emrouz was banned. Its editor Mostafa Sabti, has been imprisoned since 19 March on the orders of the first branch of Gorgan Court in northern Iran. Sentenced on 1 September 2003 to three months in prison and four months suspended, Sabti had been on temporary release since then. He had published an open letter from residents of a neighbourhood in Gorgan protesting at the taking over of a park by the local authorities. The courts, implicated in the case, laid a complaint for defamation.
With 14 currently behind bars, Iran is the Middle East's largest prison for journalists.
GOP Woman of Iranian Heritage Wins
May 19, 2004
The Seattle Times
The Associated Press
PORTLAND -- Goli Ameri, a businesswoman who played up her Iranian heritage during the campaign, won the GOP nomination in the 1st Congressional District race yesterday and will face incumbent Democrat David Wu in November.
Ameri defeated stockbroker Tim Phillips and Jason Meshell.
In another congressional battle, Lake Oswego lawyer Jim Zupancic was leading state Sen. Jackie Winters for the Republican nomination. The winner will face Rep. Darlene Hooley.
In the presidential primary, Sen. John Kerry easily won nomination by Democrats.
With 83 percent of the vote counted, Kerry had won 81 percent of the votes, compared with 16 percent for U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and 2 percent for perennial candidate Lyndon LaRouche.
President Bush was unopposed on the Republican ballot.
Meanwhile, incumbent Bill Bradbury trounced Paul Damian Wells in the Democratic primary for secretary of state, and on the GOP side, state Rep. Betsy Close of Albany defeated Portland businessman Fred Granum.
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