Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- May 20, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 05/19/2004 8:59:55 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.
Iran Could Test ICBMs as Early as 2005
May 19, 2004
Middle East Newsline
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. intelligence community has determined that Iran could begin testing components of intercontinental ballistic missiles as early as 2005.
U.S. officials said Iran has achieved sufficient progress in its Shihab-class intermediate-range missile program to enable testing of ICBM components starting from next year. The officials said Iran has succeeded in overcoming major obstacles in extending the range of its ballistic missile program.
Iran has maintained or even exceeded its targets in 2003 for the extended-range Shihab-3 program. Officials said the successful test of the Shihab-3 in June 2003 could enable Teheran to quickly advance toward the development of a ballistic missile with a range of 1,700 kilometers. This would mark the start of Iran's research and development program into space-launched vehicles.
"During 2003, Iran continued R&D in its longer-range ballistic missile programs, and publicly reiterated its intention to develop space launch vehicles -- and SLVs contain most of the key building blocks for an ICBM," CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Feb. 24. "Iran could begin flight-testing these systems in the mid- to latter-part of the decade."
Iran's Revolutionary Guards Making a Bid For Increased Power
May 20, 2004
Kamal Nazer Yasin
Irans Revolutionary Guards, the military force that has served as the main pillar of support for the Islamic republic, is seeking to play an independent role in the countrys domestic political life. The entry of the Revolutionary Guards into the political fray can have many unintended consequences, including the rearrangement of Irans policy-making process.
Irans conservative clerics created the Revolutionary Guard Corps to defend the 1979 Islamic revolt from both foreign and domestic enemies. Before his death in 1989, the spiritual leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini, prohibited the Revolutionary Guards from becoming actively involved in politics, which for much of the Islamic republics history has been marked by factional infighting. In addition, the Iranian constitution prohibits members of the armed forces from direct engagement in politics.
However, recent domestic and regional developments enabled the Revolutionary Guard commanders to break the taboo on political activity. Conservative clerics became increasingly reliant on the countrys security forces as they went about re-establishing their firm grip on power.
On the domestic front, hard-liners relied heavily on the Revolutionary Guards to manage get-out-the-vote and other activities that helped secure a conservative landslide victory in the controversial February parliamentary elections. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].
At the same time, the Revolutionary Guards domestic prestige has been significantly enhanced by the fact of its management of Irans nuclear program. The program, under intense international scrutiny because of its arms-making potential, is a source of tremendous national pride in Iran.
On the security front, the US-led war on terrorism -- specifically the presence of US troops in two neighboring countries, Afghanistan and Iraq has enhanced the Revolutionary Guards clout in defending Irans national interests. Indeed, the Revolutionary Guards reportedly dominate Irans embassy in Iraq, and have garnered praise in Tehran for running effective intelligence and diplomatic operations that stifled Bush administration talk of promoting regime change in Iran.
Prior to taking on a higher political profile, the Revolutionary Guards established itself as an economic force in the country, launching a vast array of financial and economic enterprises. In large part, the businesses were seen as needed to finance Revolutionary Guard security programs. At the same time, the ventures were intended to build the guards independence. In this, guard commanders sought to mimic their military counterparts in Pakistan and Turkey. In both those countries, the army acts as far more than an instrument to protect national interests: they both play high-profile political roles and often define what the respective nations security interests are.
Signs of the growing political clout of the Revolutionary Guards are abundant. For instance, on May 18, a former guards commander, Ezatullah Zarghami, was named to the key post of national television and radio chief.
In addition, in apparent exchange for its help during the parliamentary elections, the Revolutionary Guards were permitted to field its own slate of candidates. Thus, when the new parliament convenes later in May, about one dozen legislators will be under the effective control of the Revolutionary Guards. Political observers note that this is the first time in the Islamic republics 25-year history that the guards have had such a parliamentary presence.
By far the greatest demonstration of the Revolutionary Guards political influence occurred in early May, when the military abruptly closed down Tehrans new Imam Khomeini International Airport. In justifying its action, Revolutionary Guard representatives said the fact that a Turkish consortium, TAV, was in charge of operating the airport terminal posed a threat to Irans "security and dignity," the official IRNA news agency reported. Accordingly, the guards have demanded that the TAV airport deal be voided before the airport reopens.
Some observers suspect an economic motive is behind the Revolutionary Guards action in the airport row. When TAV won the tender to operate the airport, the losing bidder was reportedly a company with close ties to the Revolutionary Guards.
TAV in a statement said it had already expended million to fulfill its airport operation obligations. The statement also asserted that a memo of understanding governing TAVs management of the airport was still valid.
The Iranian student news agency, ISNA, described the May 8 closure of the airport as illegal, going on to blame the action on "irresponsible elements." IRNA, meanwhile, quoted the lame-duck Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi as characterizing the incident a "disaster and disgrace for the country." Nevertheless, the new airport which was 30 years and $465 million in the making remains closed while the issue is decided at the highest levels of Irans government.
Given the opaque nature of Irans political system, it is difficult to determine the attitude of the countrys conservative religious hierarchy towards the guards rising political profile. Some observers suggest the guards efforts to become more politically active are simply a reflection of changing geopolitical conditions that have rewritten the rules governing domestic Iranian politics. Others believe the Revolutionary Guard commanders may be overplaying their hand, and thus could soon be subject to action designed to curb their political ambitions.
An important indicator of the Revolutionary Guards future in politics should come in 2005, when the Guardian Council will vet candidate for the presidential election. If the candidate favored by the guards current Tehran Mayor Mahmud Ahmadinejad is allowed to run in the election, many observers will take it as a sign of conservative acceptance of a Revolutionary Guard role in politics.
Editors Note: Kamal Nazer Yasin is a pseudonym for a journalist specializing in Iranian affairs.
Journalist for British paper expelled from Iran
Iranian authorities have ordered the only US journalist based in Tehran to leave the country because he reported on the aftermath of the Bam earthquake without permission, his British newspaper said.The Guardian said correspondent Dan de Luce, 38, would return to London on Thursday after authorities declined to renew his visa and accreditation. He would be permitted to reapply in three months, authorities said.
Mr De Luce had published a dispatch last month critical of the reconstruction effort in Bam after last year's earthquake which killed more than 20,000 people.
He had travelled to the city as an aid volunteer, after being denied a permit to make the trip as a journalist.
"Dan de Luce deliberately contravened the regulations. His professional activities have been suspended for three months and this is not because of what he wrote but because of contravention of the regulations," the Iranian Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance said in a statement.
Mr De Luce told The Guardian he was disappointed to be leaving.
"I was just trying to do my job. I wrote the story from Bam because I thought it was important to document the situation there, what the survivors and the aid agencies were saying," he said.Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said the expulsion "can only set back our attempts to understand the fast-changing nature of Iranian society", adding he hoped Iran would reconsider.
The British Foreign Office said it was for Iran to decide who could enter the country, but Mr de Luce's expulsion "sends the wrong messages about freedom of the press, about Iran's willingness to engage sensibly with the international community".
Mr De Luce's predecessor for The Guardian, Geneive Abdo, left Tehran in 2001, expressing fear she might be punished after authorities criticised her interview with a political prisoner.
Do we really need these reports daily? How about weekly or monthly?
Yes, yes, there's turmoil and tension in Iran, but that's old news. The place has been in turmoil and tension for years, with no change in sight.
British embassy attacked in Iran protest
By Mohsen Asgari in Tehran and Gareth Smyth in Baghdad
Published: May 20 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: May 20 2004 5:00
Demonstrators threw stones and home-made hand grenades at the British embassy in Tehran yesterday during protests against the presence of US troops in Najaf and Karbala, the two Shia Muslim holy cities in neighbouring Iraq.
Police used batons to disperse the crowd, which included members of the Basiji paramilitary group linked with conservative clerics.
Earlier, tens of thousands of people had heard Mehdi Karrubi, the speaker of parliament, support Tuesday's call by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's leading Shia cleric, for both US troops and the militia led by renegade cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to leave Najaf and Karbala.
As the demonstrators dispersed from the city's vast Revolution Square, about 500 gathered in front of the British embassy. They called for it to be closed and hurled stones over the high walls, breaking windows and prompting officials to lower the British flag. There were no reports of injuries.
US and British officials have generally welcomed Tehran's co-operation over Iraq, at least 55 per cent of whose 25m population are Shia Muslims. But there is growing popular concern in Iran, where 90 per cent of the 65m population is Shia, about the fate of the holy shrines, which mark the graves of Ali and Hussein - Shia Islam's most important saints.
Fighting broke out again yesterday in Karbala between the US and Mr Sadr's militia, with news agencies reporting as many as four Iraqis killed.
Last Friday the golden dome of the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf was holed in four places during exchanges of fire.
Iranian Shia flocked to the shrines after the downfall of Saddam Hussein last year, but at least 40 died in bombings in Karbala and Baghdad in March and the Iranian government subsequently discouraged citizens from making the pilgrimage.
In Lebanon, whose 4m population is at last 40 per cent Shia, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, yesterday urged Iraqis to defend the holy places against the Americans.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, said the Islamic world was "sensitive to sacrilege" and that if the US continued to "offend the Muslim world" it would "for sure experience the bitter taste of defeat".
The British embassy in Tehran has suffered several attacks in the past year. A fire bomb was thrown at the back gate of the compound last November and there were four shooting incidents in August and September last year after a former Iranian diplomat was arrested in the UK, following an extradition request by the Argentine authorities.
Regime's Anti-Coalition Demo Turns Into Another Fiasco
SMCCDI (Information Service)
May 19, 2004
The Islamic republic Anti-Coalition demo turned into another fiasco, today, as millions of Iranians ignored the official calls for "massive participation". In Tehran alone, with over 14 millions of inhabitants, the regime was not able to bring into streets more than 30,000 professional demonstrators composed mainly from affiliates of the regime or foreigners along with forced individuals from governmental offices, military forces and schools.
Same trend was followed in most Iranians cities where the residents boycotted the official demos.
Groups of Bassijis were seen trying to enflame the few protesters and reports are stating about a simulation of attack against the British Embassy in Tehran where several incendiary devices were thrown by these plainclothes agents toward the diplomatic premises.
The absolute majority of Iranians have shown, in the last years and at several occasions, their rejection of the Islamic regime and its calls for supporting violence. The today's fiasco was similar to the regime's last Anti-Israeli demo where it was not able to bring in more than 5,000 individuals.
You can check in here weekly or monthly......the rest of us look forward to daily news about Iran.
That's too bad. We got good articles from De Luce.
You will hear more about Iran in the months ahead.
We should just precision bomb the regime over and over again. Entirely from the air.
The Persian people can do the rest.
This is the 2nd time they expell British Journalists from Iran. Last time, they expelled Economist Weekly reporter from Iran.
Sending British a message, I guess.
You're free to check it yearly.. Alot of us want to know daily.
Is it true that Iranians are the most pro-American (or least anti-American) people in the Islamic world?
-- No 20.40 % (82)
-- Yes 69.15 % (278)
-- Not Sure 10.45 % (42)
Total Votes: 402
404 Votes so far... LoL! I voted Yes.
We should freep this poll!
I think it's better when you have Iranians voting. That's the whole idea behind the poll. To get their prespective on things.
Yeah, you are right but I thought voting there is a help as long as we know they are veyr Pro-America.