Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- May 23, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 05/22/2004 9:04:06 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 LAUNCHES MAJOR NAVAL EXERCISE
NICOSIA [MENL] -- Iran has launched what has been described as a major regional naval exercise.
Iranian officials said the exercise was the largest in more than a year and included underwater, and surface vessels. The naval assets were supported by fighter-jets and bombers.
The exercise, termed Unity-83, included the participation of 76 marine units as well as a range of air force combat jets. Officials said the exercise would proceed in four stages to test a series of capabilities, particularly the interoperability between surface vessels, submarines and aircraft.
Unity-83 was described as a regional exercise in which submarines would conducts maneuvers in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean. Officials said the exercise would demonstrate the navy's power projection capabilities, force readiness, and new naval basing facilities.
Iran gives IAEA initial report on atomic program
May. 22, 2004 17:13
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Iran has delivered its initial declaration of its nuclear program to the U.N. atomic watchdog, a key step ahead of an agency meeting next month to assess suspicions that it is covertly trying to make weapons, the agency said Saturday.
The Tehran regime handed over the dossier on Friday to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the documents "should provide broader information about Iran's nuclear activities," IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said.
The Vienna-based agency will work to assess the "correctness and completeness" of the declaration, and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei will deliver a report to the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors when it meets on June 14, Gwozdecky said.
Iran was obligated to provide the declaration under a so-called additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which allows international inspectors to conduct intrusive unannounced checks of its nuclear facilities.
ElBaradei has said his inspectors are getting the access they want in Iran but need additional information.
The United States has long maintained that Iran _ part of U.S. President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" along with Iraq and North Korea _ is not telling the truth when it says its nuclear programs are geared only toward generating energy. Washington insists that Iran's real goal is to make arms.
The U.S. House of Representatives this month accused Iran of "continuing deceptions and falsehoods" involving development of nuclear weapons, alleging in a resolution that "it is abundantly clear that Iran remains committed to a nuclear weapons program."
Last month, U.S. officials said Iran may be running a covert military nuclear program parallel to the peaceful one it has opened to international scrutiny in efforts to dispel suspicions it has weapons ambitions.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said new intelligence on Iran's nuclear activities was strengthening suspicions of two programs _ one that IAEA inspectors have access to and another, run by the military and geared toward making nuclear weapons.
Iran has dismissed the allegations as "baseless" and has insisted it has offered the complete story on its nuclear program.
Iran said it suspended uranium enrichment last year under international pressure but continued manufacture of uranium-enriching centrifuge components. In April, it said it had also stopped building centrifuges.
Iran's nuclear aims first came under international scrutiny after the IAEA discovered a covert centrifuge facility in the central city of Natanz.
Since the initial discovery of the centrifuges, traces of weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium; new, more advanced centrifuge prototypes; and suspicious covert experiments that can also have military applications have increased suspicions.
Last year, IAEA inspectors found radioactive particles that had been enriched to weapons-grade level _ higher than what Iran requires for fuel for a nuclear reactor. Iran said the particles came from imported equipment.
Although the U.N. agency has no proof that Iran has enriched uranium to weapons levels or has attempted to build a bomb, it suspects the Iranians have the expertise to do so, ElBaradei said earlier this month.
Iran - A theocracy at the tipping point
Ottawa Citizen - By Michael Petrou
May 22, 2004
Conservative religious beliefs still command much loyalty in Iran. But more and more, Iranians openly disparage the ruling clerics, drink smuggled alcohol , watch MTV and, if they are women, wear their headscarves perched precariously on the back of their heads. It is a nation ready for change.
ESFAHAN, Iran - In a trendy coffee shop in Esfahan's Christian Armenian quarter, four Muslim men sit at a low table near the bar, smoking cigarettes and drinking espresso.
The coffee shop's stereo is playing Green Day's Time of Your Life. Several of the young men and women in the cafe and on the sidewalk outside have bandages on their noses, the result of recent plastic surgery -- a popular trend among young Iranians who can afford it.
Nasser Behruz, a heavyset man with thinning black hair, uses a piece of chocolate to scoop foam from his small cup of espresso and talks about change. Unlike most of the cafe patrons, he's old enough to remember the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and has watched the country transform since.
"Look at this," he says, waving his hand at the young men and women sitting in the cafe with their foreheads centimetres apart. "Ten years ago, this would not be possible ... Things are getting better, but slowly, very slowly. I don't know what will happen in the future, but I hope the changes continue."
I order a malt beverage that contains no alcohol, which prompts Mr. Behruz to talk about his favourite alcoholic drinks and the occasional house parties he throws for his friends.
"Sometimes if I have a party and there is a lot of music and dancing and my neighbour calls, then the police will come. But it's not a problem," he says, and rubs his thumb and forefinger together to indicate a bribe.
"I give them something and they go away."
Mr. Behruz invites me to his apartment for a few drinks.
"The government doesn't like Iranians talking to foreigners," his friend says. "If they see us talking to a tourist, we get questioned. But it's OK. We thought you were Iranian, and the police will, too. Let's go."
On the outside wall of Mr. Behruz's apartment building someone has spray-painted "Down with women who don't wear the hijab."
"Must have been some Islamic person who did this," he says.
We spend the evening drinking a clear and potent moonshine that has been smuggled into the country from the Kurdish areas of Iraq in two-litre pop bottles. In Mr. Behruz's kitchen, we mix the alcohol with Mecca Cola and fruit juice.
Mr. Behruz tells me he is an atheist, and we have a long, spirited conversation about whether God exists.
After a couple of hours, Mr. Behruz puts on a video of the Iranian singer Googoosh performing at Maple Leaf Gardens. The singer had been banned from performing by Iran's fundamentalist clerics after the Islamic Revolution and was only permitted to leave the country a few years ago. She promptly launched a triumphant world tour to capacity audiences.
As we work our way through the bottle, Mr. Behruz becomes a little more animated. Like every other Iranian I speak with, he says he doesn't want the United States to overthrow Iran's government. (The only person I meet in Iran who thinks this would be a good idea is a visiting businessman from Afghanistan.)
But Mr. Behruz is desperate for regime change.
"If the Americans come here I will shoot them," he says.
"But they must go, the mullahs. They must go. I don't know how. Maybe we will have another people's revolution. I think our spirit is like France, and French democracy is best for us."
Late that night, Mr. Behruz and I walk across the lower level of the exquisite Khaju Bridge spanning Esfahan's Zayandeh River. A group of middle-aged men has gathered beneath the bridge's vaulted archways to take advantage of the structure's shower-like acoustics and sing. One man plays a flute and another earnestly belts out a Googoosh song: "Of all the men in the world, you're the one for me ..."
- - -
I leave Esfahan and travel northwest, across the Iranian plateau toward the mountainous borders of Iraq and Turkey.
It is a rugged and seductive part of the country, frequented by nomads and smugglers. Most of the people who live here are Kurds, Turkic Azaris, and Armenian and Assyrian Christians.
Kurds in Iran have their own distinct language and culture. And, unlike the majority of Iranians who are Shiite Muslims, Iranian Kurds practise Sunni Islam. However, even though heavy fighting raged in 1979 between Kurdish separatists and the country's new Islamic regime, few Iranian Kurds today want outright independence from Iran.
Most would prefer greater autonomy, more democracy and the freedom to practise Islam as they see fit.
Kurdish friends invite me to a wedding in a village near the city of Mahabad.
Women wearing beautiful, brightly coloured dresses and no headscarves dance hand-in-hand with men while energized musicians sing and play horns and stringed instruments.
Guests hand the singer wads of cash with their names written on the bills. The singer reads the names and sings their praises without missing a beat. The dancers hold hands in a line and move in a counter-clockwise circle.
The man leading the dance twirls a handkerchief above his head, knocking blossom petals from an overhanging tree, adding to the riot of colour.
"The Persians dance with the men and women separate," one guest says. "We Kurds dance together. It causes some problems with the Islamic people, but I don't care.
"We Kurds are Muslims, too. But Islam isn't telling women to cover their faces. We don't do that."
- - -
Christianity has existed in Iran since before the advent of Islam.
An Assyrian church in the northwestern city of Tabriz is built on the ruins of a much older church, believed to have been founded by one of the three Magi, or wise men, who returned to Persia after visiting the newborn Jesus in Bethlehem.
Today, about 300,000 Iranians are Christians, mostly ethnic Armenians.
"We don't feel isolated here," says Violet, a young Armenian woman in Esfahan, where the Persian shah settled a large community of Armenian Christians during the early 17th century.
"We have been here for 400 years and it is our home. Maybe our motherland is elsewhere, but this is our birth land. We have deep roots here and the attachment in our hearts is strong."
Privately some Armenians will admit to "misunderstandings" between their communities and Iran's government since the Islamic Revolution.
"Obviously sharia law isn't natural to Christians," one man says.
"But our religious rights are respected. We celebrate all our holy days, even national days commemorating battles between Armenians and Persians ... And we have our representatives in parliament. They represent us and help us reclaim our rights."
But if the older Armenian and Assyrian churches in Iran are at least officially protected, the regime does not tolerate evangelism. Muslims who convert are considered apostates and are subject to harsh punishment. Most evangelical churches in the country have gone underground.
"Me, personally, I must evangelize privately, in people's homes," says Sharif, 26, an Assyrian man from Tabriz who joined a local Protestant church as an adult.
"If the government found out, there would be a lot of problems for me."
Iran is also home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Middle East outside of Israel.
Their history here began 2,500 years ago when the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great captured Babylon and freed the Jewish slaves. Some elected to stay in Persia rather than return to Palestine, and subsequent generations of Jews immigrated here to escape the persecution of Greeks and Romans.
Today, Muslims in the Iranian city of Shiraz speak casually about the numerous Jewish merchants in the city they do friendly business with.
"They're Iranian, just like the rest of us," one man says.
But the attitude of the clerics in the Iranian government is less benign.
In 2000, a revolutionary court convicted 10 Shiraz Jews of spying for Israel, in a trial widely regarded outside Iran as unfair. All the convicted men were released within three years, but the incident exposed the theocracy's continued intolerance.
Officially, foreigners visiting a synagogue in Iran need permission, and a guide, from the Ministry of Information and Islamic Guidance. But I simply ask my taxi driver to take me to the "Jewish church," and he does.
The synagogue is located behind unmarked walls about a block away from a Christian church. Inside, two dozen worshippers are preparing themselves for prayer. Several men who speak with me are clearly uneasy about my presence and continually look over my shoulder to where my driver is parked outside.
One man seems to suggest in broken English that I come back later when I am alone. But the entire atmosphere is uncomfortable. I leave quickly and do not return.
- - -
It would be misleading, however, to imply that all Iranians are opposed to the ruling clerics, or that support for the religious fundamentalists running Iran is limited to an old guard of aging revolutionaries.
In Shiraz, I visit several madrassas, or Islamic schools, and other centres of Islamic study that are crowded with young scholars and new students.
I am guided through the city by Rezvan, a 42-year-old man with a quiet voice and thick black beard. In one of his eyes, the pupil appears to have somehow burst and the inky blackness has leaked into the lower half of his iris.
I assume he supports the religious clerics because of his beard, a rarity among most Iranians, but we have barely started walking toward the first madrassa when he says: "Iran today is like Europe of the Renaissance."
"We want to become secular," he continues. "Religion and government should not go together. Most of us feel this way. But the government does not want what the people want."
At the madrassa, we visit with Hussein, a young scholar of 20 who invites us to his whitewashed room, where he sleeps and studies. The walls are lined with religious books and decorated with a photograph of him when he was about 12 years old.
We sit on the floor, looking out over the madrassa's courtyard and drink tea that Hussein boils on a gas burner in his room. Below us in the courtyard, a young student sits cross-legged on the floor opposite a cleric with an open copy of the Koran between them, discussing passages from the holy book.
Hussein wants to be sure that I know Muslims respect Jesus, and asks why Easter is important to Christians. He says he will study Islam for 12 more years, likely much longer.
"I want to spend my life helping to advertise Islam," he says. "It doesn't matter if it is in a mosque or a school. It is all part of the same life."
On our way to a neighbouring Islamic study centre, Rezvan warns me not to refer to the clerics there as "mullahs."
"They don't like to be called mullahs, because they think it makes them sound like Osama bin Laden," Rezvan says. He pauses before adding: "But there really isn't that much difference."
All the clerics we talk to at the centre are gracious and polite. One insists on personally driving us across town to our next appointment, clutching his robes around his tall frame before folding himself into his tiny car and plunging into the city's chaotic traffic.
Another tries to explain the role of religion in Iran's government.
"The Koran gives guidance for all parts of our lives: culture, family, science," he says.
"And so it is natural for our religion to be part of government as well. The two are connected."
The cleric is a small man with a scraggly goatee and sideburns, and a face smooth except for a few wrinkles around his eyes. He is 30 years old but almost looks like a teenager.
I mention this to Rezvan after we leave the study centre and sit down to a glass of tea and a pot of lamb stew at a bazaar teahouse. Rezvan sticks a small piece of sugar under his lip and strains his tea through the sugar as we talk.
"Of course, he looks young," Rezvan scoffs. "The mullahs never do any work."
- - -
Iran is approaching a tipping point.
Religious conservatives still command the loyalty of some. But the gulf between the Iranian people and their government is deep and widespread.
Many Iranians openly disparage the ruling clerics, drink smuggled alcohol in their homes and at parties, watch MTV on their satellite televisions and, if they are women, wear their headscarves perched precariously on the back of their heads.
State-censored newspapers are full of propaganda against Israel and the United States. But a private bookstores near Tehran University prominently displays copies of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
For a while it seemed possible that President Mohammed Khatami and parliamentary reformers might change the system from within. But the conservative clerics cynically crippled the reform movement before the last election by banning reformist candidates, and many Iranians who seek democracy have now turned their backs on Mr. Khatami and his contemporaries.
"We have had the so-called reformers for six years with nothing to show for it," one student says. "They think saving the system is more important than the needs of the people. They are a dead end."
The clerics will defend their power. And indeed, the death of Zahra Kazemi, the Canadian photojournalist who was murdered while a prisoner at Iran's notorious Evin prison, and the coverup of her killing betray both the determination and desperate depravity of Iran's religious dictatorship. But a confrontation with Iran's people is inevitable.
Before coming to Iran, I had thought the country would be divided between young and old, between those who supported the Islamic Revolution and those who can't remember it. And many of the most active dissidents are young people and students.
But one of the most impressive people I met in Iran is Farouk Kahn, an elderly scholar who lives in a southern Iranian city. Mr. Kahn has written more than 10 books on philosophy and poetry, all of which sit unpublished on the shelves of his apartment.
He was once imprisoned along with his daughters because of his secular and leftist beliefs, and there is little chance the clerics would allow his ideas to be published today, even a decade after his release.
During our evenings together, Mr. Kahn loved to drink brandy when it was available, and Kurdish moonshine when brandy was not, and talk about religion, women and poetry.
He would sing Iranian folksongs and recite long verses from the Persian poet Hafez, a hero to many Iranians and something of a kindred spirit to Mr. Kahn, who shares the poet's love of wine and sex.
Around midnight, we'd usually retire to Mr. Kahn's living room to drink tea and watch his illegal satellite television, which beamed music videos, softcore pornography and programming from Iranian exile communities into his home.
When I left Mr. Kahn's home on my last night, he unwired a painting from his bedroom wall and pressed it into my arms, refusing all my attempts to give him something in return.
"I am 71 years old, 42 years older than you," Mr. Khan said. "And all my life I have been lucky to continue learning as if I were a young man. If you don't learn, if you don't continue to learn, you are frozen. The mullahs in Iran are frozen. They are trapped 1,400 years ago."
Michael Ledeen: Let Sadr be and go after Chalabi?
Lying into the Mirror
Misunderstaning the war on terror.
We have adopted our enemies' view of the world
May 21, 2004, 4:43 p.m.
National Review Online
Shortly after moving to Washington from Rome we're talking late Seventies I did a long interview with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan about the Carter administration's foreign policy. At a certain point, Moynihan elegantly summarized what had happened to us: "being unable to distinguish between our friends and our enemies," he said, "Carter has adopted our enemies' view of the world." So, it seems have many of our policymakers in their panicky and incoherent decisions regarding Iraq.
First, the matter of the "abuses" of the prisoners. Maybe the temperature of the rhetoric has cooled enough for us to address the most important aspect of the debacle: Torture and abuse are not only wrong and disgusting. They are stupid and counterproductive. A person under torture will provide whatever statements he believes will end the pain. Therefore, the "information" he provides is fundamentally unreliable. He is not responding to questions; 99 percent of the time, he's just trying to figure out what he has to say in order to end his suffering. All those who approved these methods should be fired, above all because they are incompetent to collect intelligence.
Torture, and the belief in its efficacy, are the way our enemies think. And remember that our enemies, the tyrants of the 20th century, and the jihadis we are fighting now, are the representatives of failed cultures. Our greatness derives from the superiority of our culture, and we should, as the sports metaphor goes, stick with what got us here.
Second, our defeat in Fallujah. I had hoped that the tactic of enlisting Sunni leaders to assist in the defeat of the jihadis would accelerate the terrorists' defeat and enable us to round them up and clean out the city. But it turns out that it wasn't a tactic at all; it was a strategic retreat. Today, throughout the region, everybody knows that the bad guys outlasted us. We were forced out. The Sunni generals (the first of which, unforgivably, was one of Saddam's henchmen) just told everyone to cool it for a while, and the bad guys are now reorganizing for the next assault. Instead of smashing the terrorists, we set ourselves up for more casualties.
Worse yet, some of the crackpot realists in our military and their exhausted civilian commanders in State and Defense, have convinced themselves that this is the way to go, and they are now whispering to one another that we should adopt "the Fallujah model" in future engagements.
If that holds, then we have lost. Because it means that we have surrendered the initiative to the terrorists and will not destroy them in future engagements. That adds up to actively encouraging the enemy to attack us.
Third, is the decision to launch a preemptive strike against Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress. Our enemies religious fanatics and other advocates of tyranny have long dreaded the emergence of an Iraqi leader with unquestioned democratic convictions, someone at once deeply religious and yet committed to the separation of mosque and state. Yet the State Department's and the CIA's Middle East gangs have hated him and fought him for more than a decade, because he is independent and while he is happy to work with them, he will not work for them. Moreover, he has often proved more knowledgeable, as when, in the mid-Nineties, he informed CIA that one of their fatuous little coup plots had been infiltrated by Saddam's agents. They laughed at him, but not for long. Soon thereafter an Iraqi intelligence officer called the CIA man in charge of the operation on his "secret" cell-phone number to say "listen carefully and you'll hear the final screams of your coup leader."
I am not sure if CPA including State and CIA officials has spent more man hours fighting Chalabi than fighting Moqtada al Sadr, but it's probably pretty close, and in any event somebody should ask Viceroy Bremer why he massed so much firepower to break into Chalabi's house and Kanan Makiya's house, and the offices of the INC, instead of doing the same to Moqtada, who at last account was still free to mobilize the masses of his faithful to kill us. Is this not proof positive of the total inversion of sound judgment of which Moynihan spoke so elegantly a quarter-century ago?
Now the usual unnamed intelligence sources are whispering to their favorite journalists that they have a "rock-solid case" showing that Chalabi was in cahoots with the Iranians. This, coming the same crowd that told President Bush they had a "slam-dunk case" on Iraqi WMDs, should arouse skepticism from any experienced journalist, but it doesn't (another grim sign that confusion reigns supreme in Washington these days). It's a truly paradoxically accusation, since the refusal of the American government to provide Chalabi with support and protection for the past decade is what drove him to find a modus vivendi with Tehran in the first place. And Chalabi is not alone in dealing with the Iranians and their representatives in Iraq; it is hard to find any serious organization or any serious leader of any stripe Kurdish, Shiite or Sunni, imam, mullah, or Ayatollah who doesn't work with the Iranians. How could it be otherwise? We have shown no capacity to defend them against Iranian-supported terrorists. And terror works. Finally, it's hilarious to see this crowd of diplomats and intelligence officers attacking an Iraqi for talking too much to Iranians, when Powell's State Department and Tenet's CIA has been meeting with Iranians for years.
As I once wrote, the war against Saddam is nothing compared to the war against Ahmed Chalabi.
All of this is the inevitable result of the fundamental misunderstanding of the war against the terror masters. It is a regional war, not a war limited to a single country. Since we refuse to admit this, we are unable to design an effective strategy to win. Deceiving ourselves, we lie to the mirror, saying that defeats are really victories, that Baathists are our friends and independent minded Shiites are our enemies, and that appeasement of the mullahs will end their long war against the United States.
Has anyone told the president?
Michael Ledeen: Let Sadr be and go after Chalabi?
Lying into the Mirror
Misunderstaning the war on terror.
We have adopted our enemies' view of the world
May 21, 2004, 4:43 p.m.
National Review Online
I agree with your comments and assessment above, and I appreciate your efforts on this subject. You're doing a great service for forum participants.
It's no surprise the media is not covering the events in Iran. They have a vested interest in demoralizing the US populace so that Bush foreign policy will fail. Insuring that failure, brings their socialist fellow travelers closer to power in the U.S.
May God in heaven damn our subversive media players to hell.
Keep up the good work.
Here's a section from Afshin Molavi's book on the US Media in Iran.
Afshin Molavi's Persian Pilgrimages: Journeys across Iran's review can be found at the link below:
From Afshin Molavi's book "Persian Pilgrimages"
*Afshin attends anti-US, anti-Israel rally in Iran*
The hard-liners attracted a small audience, no more than one hundred people trivial in comparison to the thousands of students who regularly agitated for freedom of the press and democracy. Several young bearded men in black shirts stood atop a stage, passing around a blue loud speaker.
"Death to America" he yelled.
"Death to Israel!" he yelled.
A number of foreign journalists stood in the crowd. For every three demonstrators there was one foreign based journalist.
One student on the edge, a young man in sunglasses approached me as i jotted notes. "Are you a journalist?" He asked.
At first, he was friendly. He thought i worked for an Iranian reformist paper. When he found out i worked for a Western newspaper, he became agitated and angry. "You Western journalists record these fanatics on camera, and then you show them to the world and the world thinks we are all fanatics. It is not fair!" He walked away, huffing.
Is it true that Iranians are the most pro-American (or least anti-American) people in the Islamic world?
-- No 18.23 % (109)
-- Yes 72.74 % (435)
-- Not Sure 9.03 % (54)
Total Votes: 598
as of 5/23/04
Is it true that Iranians are the most pro-American (or least anti-American) people in the Islamic world?
-- No 18.23 % (109)
-- Yes 72.74 % (435)
-- Not Sure 9.03 % (54)
Total Votes: 598
as of 5/23/04
Thanks for posting the picture!
Iran Presidential Candidates Named
May 23, 2004, 02:15
Ali Akbar Velayati, Hassan Rowhani and Mohsen Rezai as candidates for the next presidential election. Moreover, former IRIB director, Ali Larijani, also resigned from his post on Monday to pave the way for his possible candidacy in the upcoming presidential election.
Ali Akbar Velayati is the former foreign minister. Hassan Rowhani is the secretary of the Supreme Council for National Security (SCNS) and Mohsen Rezai is the secretary of the Expediency Council.
Iran warns US over Iraq
From correspondents in Tehran
Sunday Herlad Sun
IRAN has sent a "formal warning" to the United States over US policy in neighbouring Iraq, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said today.
Iran mullahs warn Australian
May 23, 2004
Iran is threatening possible diplomatic and trade sanctions against Australia. The warning is in response to Australia's involvement in Iraq and backing for disclosure of Iran's nuclear program by the U-N nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.
Thanks for the link and the account of that exchange. I'd say that Iranian has the press's number.
Iranian Teachers protesting in front of the Ministry of Education in Tehran to show their anger and unity over the discriminations that the Islamic government impose on them.
Farah Pahlavi, wife of the late Shah of Iran waves on arrival at Barajas airport in Madrid Thursday May 20, 2004, ahead of the royal wedding between Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Letizia Ortiz which takes place on May 22. (AP Photo/Paul White)
I think there's a name or 2 missing from that list.
I Second That!
It seems the way the media reports it isn't what people from Iran who are here tell you. I believe the Persians over the media which seems to be leaving out an awful lot of news that doesn't fit their agenda.
You Got It!
Perhaps someone can post the differences between these candidates (and the similarities).
LOL! Like it Matters!
Actually it does. The key thing is who got the support from Rafsanjani and who is supported by the Revolutionary Guards.
Well, Rafsanjani's support will go to himself as soon as he announces he's in the running.
Follow the money.
Iran Tells US to Pull Out of Iraq
May 23, 2004
The Iranian foreign ministry has sent a warning message to the US, criticising its policy in Iraq. A spokesman said Iran wanted "the departure of the occupation forces as quickly as possible and the restitution of authority to the Iraqi people".
Iran, a Shia republic, is worried by fighting in holy cities such as Najaf and Karbala in neighbouring Iraq.
Around 400 people also took part in a protest against the Iraq occupation outside the UK embassy in Tehran.
Demonstrators chanted slogans demanding the closure of the UK embassy and expulsion of the British ambassador from Iran.
About 100 of them repeatedly tried to rush the police lines but they were heavily outnumbered by the security forces, the BBC 's Jim Muir reports from Tehran.
Some stones and firecrackers were thrown at the embassy compound, which has become a focal point for demonstrators angered by what they see as the violation of Shia holy places in Iraq.
But there was more violence at a demonstration on Wednesday, when petrol bombs were thrown.
Sympathy for militant
Iran issued its warning through the Swiss embassy, as its diplomatic ties with the US have been severed.
The foreign ministry said Iraq's Shia should take their lead from their senior religious leaders.
Our correspondent says that while Iran has officially thrown its weight behind the moderate cleric, Ayatollah Ali Sistani, some hardline elements appear to have a good deal of sympathy for the younger and more militant Moqtada Sadr.
Spying allegations denied
In a separate development, Iran has denied that it received confidential information from Ahmed Chalabi, a senior member of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.
However, Iran did acknowledge it had a "continuous and permanent dialogue" with Mr Chalabi, who faces allegations of passing US secrets to Tehran.
Mr Chalabi was previously tipped for high office by senior figures in the Pentagon, but has fallen out of favour since reports on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction provided by his informants have proved to be unfounded.
Iran Sends Diplomatic Warning to U.S. Over Iraq
May 23, 2004
The New York Times
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran said Sunday it had sent a formal message of warning to the United States about its actions in neighboring Iraq.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also denied suggestions made by some U.S. officials in recent days that Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi had passed sensitive U.S. intelligence about Iraq to Iran.
``We have warned the Americans about Iraq,'' Asefi told a weekly news conference. ``It is natural for two countries which do not have diplomatic relations to exchange messages.''
Asefi did not comment on the contents of the warning, but officials and religious leaders in Shi'ite Muslim Iran have expressed outrage in recent weeks about the presence of U.S.-led forces in the holy Shi'ite Iraqi cities of Najaf and Kerbala.
Asefi said the diplomatic message was sent via the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which represents U.S. interests in Iran. Washington broke ties with Iran in 1980.
Asefi described as ``baseless'' accusations made by unnamed U.S. officials in some U.S. media that Chalabi -- whose Baghdad headquarters were raided by U.S. troops and Iraqi police last week -- had leaked information to Iran that the officials said could ``get Americans killed.''
``We have not received any classified information, neither from Chalabi nor any member of the Iraqi Governing Council,'' he said.
``What is going on between us and members of the Iraqi Governing Council and all groups in Iraq is negotiation, the exchange of views and clear and transparent cooperation.''
Asefi said the accusations against Chalabi, a former favorite of the Pentagon, were part of an effort to deflect attention away from Washington's problems in Iraq.
``The Americans have in recent months lied about several issues and failed to prove them,'' he said. ``It seems that lying is becoming institutionalized in American policy.
Iran Petrol Prices Must Be Raised, Says Official
May 23, 2004
TEHRAN -- Gas-guzzling Iran, where subsidised petrol is cheaper than mineral water, must lift prices at the pump to global levels, a senior state oil company official was quoted as saying yesterday.
The call by Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, Executive Director of the National Iranian Oil Company, is in line with a proposal in the country's next five-year economic plan, beginning in March, that seeks to make Iran's motorists pay realistic prices.
"We are allocating huge subsidies to fuel imports and that is not good," he was quoted as saying on the oil ministry web site (www.shana.ir).
"Many are worried that petrol prices may reach a global level but that is the only solution," he added.
Although Iran is Opec's second-biggest crude producer it lacks the refinery capacity to satisfy its motorists.
Iran traditionally spends about 10 per cent of its gross domestic product on subsidising fuel.
The retail price of petrol is currently around $0.10 cents per litre, compared with $0.52 in the United States and well over $1 in many European countries.
Ghanimifard said 26 million litres of the 60 million litres of petrol burned every day were imported.
He added Iran's latest budget plans had massively underestimated how much fuel imports would cost.
The national budget earmarked about $1.34bn for importing petrol in the year from March 2004, but the official said this would only cover six months.
He predicted demand soaring to 26 million litres per day in the three months from March 2004, leaping from 16 million litres per day in the same period last year.
Opec nations say scorching oil prices have been fired by political tension in the Middle East and refinery problems in the United States, arguing the market is oversupplied.
Iran raised petrol prices 23 per cent in March and Iranians have complained of knock-on inflation hitting everyday goods.
Some parliamentarians have argued lifting petrol prices to global levels next year will stoke up rampant inflation.
Parliament has approved raising the price to about 25 cents gradually from March 2005 but the legislation still needs to be approved by a hardline constitutional watchdog.
Ontario Sharia Tribunals Assailed
May 22, 2004
Had she stayed in Iran, Homa Arjomand would now be dead. All all of the women's activists she worked with in Tehran have been executed, victims of a reactionary regime that ruled, and continues to rule, by strict adherence to Islam's sharia law.
In 1989, she and her husband paid $15,000 to smugglers to help them and their two young children flee the country.
For three days, they rode on horseback through the mountains, sleeping in barns before finally reaching Turkey.
Two years later, the onetime professor of medical physics arrived in Canada as a refugee. And how grateful she was to be in a secular country, where female equality was the law.
That was then.
Last fall, Arjomand, now a transitional counsellor in Toronto for immigrant women, heard the province had quietly approved the use of Islamic law in Ontario's Muslim community.
A group she'd never heard of, called the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice, had gained the right to hold tribunals, darul qada, in which marriage, family and business disputes can be settled according to sharia.
The 1,300-year-old body of laws and rules for living was inspired by the Qur'an, Islam's holy book.
Arjomand was horrified.
"The last thing I expected in Canada, the last thing I want, is sharia law," she says. "Women are not equal under it, therefore it is opposed to Canada's laws and values. The government can't let this happen."
The government has no intention of stopping it.
Muslims can't be excluded from Ontario's 1991 Arbitration Act, which allows religious groups to resolve family disputes, says the attorney-general's office. Hassidic Jews have been running their own Beit Din arbitrations based on Jewish law for years. Catholics, too, even Ismaili Muslims. Rulings are binding, but must be consistent with Canadian laws and the Charter of Rights.
"There are safeguards built into the act," says Brendan Crawley, the attorney-general's spokesperson, who has been fielding calls from the world's press on the unprecedented decision.
"Participation must be voluntary by both parties and there is recourse if a decision doesn't abide by Canadian law. They can appeal to the courts."
Arjomand has heard all this and doesn't buy a word of it.
Now head of the new International Campaign To Stop Sharia Courts in Canada, she and representatives from several concerned groups met last month with senior staff at the attorney-general's office and with Sandra Pupatello, the minister responsible for women's issues.
Arjomand told them flatly that under the guise of protecting religious freedom and multiculturalism the fear, perhaps, of offending the Muslim community's male leadership they were about to let the rights of Canadian Muslim women be trampled on.
Most at risk are young immigrants, said Arjomand, who come from the Middle East or North Africa, where sharia is the law and has been used to subjugate them their entire lives. They know nothing different.
Now that sharia tribunals are to operate here, she says, many women will be socially and psychologically coerced into participating. To refuse would mean rejection by their families and the community or worse.
"In a straight disagreement between a husband and wife, the husband's testimony will prevail. That is sharia. Even those women who know they can appeal will not challenge an arbitration decision for fear of the consequences."
Despite what the attorney-general's office blithely assumes, she says, it's unlikely decisions contrary to Canadian law will ever show up before the courts.
Sharia-approved but illegal activities already occur in Toronto, and she fears this will give strength to them. Muslim women are battered but don't dare report it. Bigamous marriages occur. Among her clients are two 14-year-old girls who were married last year to older men, in defiance of Ontario law prohibiting marriage before age 16.
"This is child abuse, sexual abuse," Arjomand says scathingly. "These girls were born in Canada. I want to tell them to leave and get them into group homes, but if they do they'll be disavowed and isolated."
In a May 7 letter to Arjomand, John Gregory, general counsel to the attorney-general, acknowledged "the oppression that some Muslim women experience in Canada."
But that was not reason to deny the Islamic Institute the right to use the Arbitration Act.
"The family or community pressure that prevents (a woman) from going to court to dispute an arbitration seems likely to prevent her from going to court to assert her legal rights even without an arbitration."
Moreover, he added, "you may be asking us to find a legal remedy for what is mainly a cultural or possibly religious problem. So far it is not clear to us what legal remedy would be effective and constitutional."
Arjomand is now meeting with lawyers to see if they can find a remedy. A campaign Web site petition to halt the tribunals before they begin has already collected 2,056 names.
Alia Hogben, Indian-born president of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, says she got the same "nothing we can do" response after meeting with Gregory. And a council letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty was "sloughed off."
"We've consulted scholars and they tell us we can't accept this," says the retired social worker. "Everyone in the world is looking at Canada. A precedent can't be set. We can't give in."
Hogben dismisses the province's claim that Ismaili Muslims (followers of the Aga Khan) have used private arbitration for years without problem and therefore why shouldn't the rest of the community. As she dryly points out, "Ismailis don't use the sharia in their arbitrations."
The women's council's 900 members come from all Islamic sects: Shia, Sunni, Sufi, Wahhabi, Somali and Ismaili. "It is difficult for us to speak out because we are practising, pro-faith Muslims who don't want to provide ammunition to those who malign Islam."
But they feel they must, she says, because the equality of the sexes espoused by the Qur'an is not reflected in the sharia the laws that evolved over 200 years following the death of Mohammad in 632 AD.
"We see this as a women's equality issue," Hogben says. "Women are afraid they will not be `good' Muslims if they don't go along with it or that they'll be accused of blasphemy. Why, why is it happening?"
She answers her own question with another question: "Is it because the government doesn't want to be seen as anti-Muslim? But this is anti-women. Why should we be treated differently from other Canadian women?"
The international rights group Women Living Under Muslim Laws has warned that secular states like Canada must be careful not to fall into the trap of not interfering in old-world traditions out of misguided sensitivity. Trying to avoid discrimination against a whole group, it says, can lead to discrimination against its female members.
Like Arjomand, Hogben resents the contention of the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice and its head, Mumtaz Ali, that sharia arbitrations are an expression of Canada's multicultural ethos.
"It's a false argument," she says. "Multiculturalism was never meant to take away the equality rights of a group, in this case Muslim women."
Adeena Niazi, executive director of the Afghan Women's Organization, is "in between" on the issue. If it's applied correctly, Islamic law will be of benefit to women, she says, "but there has always been misinterpretation and misuse under the sharia, and women deprived of their rights."
Niazi grew up in an Afghanistan that had an Islamic constitution in which women were educated and had careers. Only when the warlords and ultimately the Taliban seized power, she says, were sharia laws used to persecute women. She fled in 1988.
The majority of Canada's 600,000 Muslims more than half live in Ontario are recent arrivals. Niazi says they often don't speak the language, don't know the laws, certainly know nothing about equal rights.
"We see women who are beaten and who take it because they are afraid of the community. That's the reality."
Many in the Muslim community, men included, don't see how the arbitration tribunals can possibly work. Sharia differs among various sects and countries of origin. An interpretation in one country is unacceptable in another. In 2002, many Muslims around the world were outraged, for instance, when a Nigerian sharia court sentenced a woman found guilty of adultery to be stoned to death. After a global protest, the Nigerian high court overturned the ruling.
"Which model will be used?" asks a male critic, Mubin Shaikh. "There is too much division in the community for this to work. Sharia is complex. Wahhabis Muslims won't go to a Sunni arbitrator and so on."
The whole contentious idea of private sharia courts belongs to Mumtaz Ali, a retired Indian-born lawyer, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims and founder of the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice.
Ali has been working since 1991 to find a way for Muslims to fully practise their faith in secular Canada, to be able to follow the sharia, which is required if they are to be devout.
"Living by religious law is our whole life," he says. In facilitating that, "the Ontario government is the most enlightened in the world. This is the multiculturalism of my friend Pierre Trudeau."
The existence of sects with varying interpretations of Islamic law isn't a concern because the model to be used is a "Canadianized sharia," he says.
"It will be a watered-down sharia, not 100 per cent sharia. Only those provisions that agree with Canadian laws will be used. If there is a conflict between the two, Canadian law will prevail."
(To critics, his remarks are confusingly at odds with an article written for the Calgary Herald in January by Syed Soharwardy, a founding member of the Islamic Institute, in which he wrote: "Sharia cannot be customized for specific countries. These universal, divine laws are for all people of all countries for all times.")
Yes, Ali is aware that many Muslim women fear females will not be treated equally. They are wrong, he says: "That issue will not arise."
He thinks they're afraid because they don't understand how the tribunals will work; indeed, few people do because details haven't been released.
Ali says there will usually be two arbitrators hearing a dispute; one an expert on Canadian marriage, divorce and family laws, the other a sharia expert. If necessary, a third will act as umpire. They all will have access to a raft of Islamic scholars.
Initially, arbitrators will come from a panel of about 15 lay people, not all of whom will be Muslim. One, he says, is a retired Ontario judge and non-Muslim. Few imams will be used, however, because "they are not qualified academically."
Most will have taken a course on the arbitration process (which differs from mediation, in which parties reach their own agreement). Ali says this training accounts for the delay in getting the tribunals going.
Husbands and wives will each have their own lawyer in attendance, he stresses, and arbitrators will be duty-bound to ensure no party is being pressured to take part or to accept a ruling.
In any event, "that does not happen here," he says. "It happens in Egypt, in other countries, but not Canada. No one will be pressured. People think we're bringing in Taliban law. Not so. No one is going to be stoned to death or have their hands cut off."
As he notes, "the Charter of Rights doesn't allow for cruel and unusual punishment."
After speaking to a Muslim women's group in Edmonton this week, Ali was asked why women should go near a sharia arbitration when their rights are covered by Canadian courts. "To be a good Muslim you must," he told them.
But it is also in women's own interests, he says. Just as Canadian law allows for prenuptial agreements, sharia offers marriage contracts. As an example, he says a woman could ask for the right of divorce normally belonging only to men to be transferred to her. Sharia also provides for her dowry to be returned to her.
Critics are welcome to monitor any arbitration appearing as "a friend of the court" if they think the rights of women will be violated, he adds.
This will come as news to the Council of Muslim Women, which was not informed that the arbitration tribunals were in the works, not asked for its views, nor to make recommendations. As far as it knows, the arbitrations will be private.
"It would have been in Mumtaz Ali's interest to consult women's groups," says Annie Bunting, director of York University's law and society department.
"Yes, Canadian laws will trump the sharia, on the books at least. But what impact will these tribunals have on women's lives?"
That's the question being asked by Muslim women living in Canada a decade or more. A Halifax woman called Alia Hogben to say that if the tribunals come to pass, she will no longer consider herself a Muslim.
Homa Arjomand no longer does, not after what happened to the women of Iran and almost to her under its draconian regime. She believes passionately that state and religion must be kept separate despite Canada's well-intentioned allegiance to multiculturalism.
"Your beliefs should stay in your home, in your mosque, your church, your temple. We should remain a secular country with no separate rules for some groups, not when they discriminate against women."
Iran denies Chalabi spying accusations
AP ^ | 23 May 2004 | Staff
Posted on 05/23/2004 5:35:38 AM PDT by Grampa Dave
Edited on 05/23/2004 5:56:00 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
These guys are all hardliners and terrorism supporters!
UK Embassy Under Repeated Attack as Iran Vents Anger Over Iraq
May 23, 2004
Agence France Presse
TEHRAN -- The British embassy here came under attack by stonethrowing protestors Sunday for the fourth day in a week, as Iranian opponents of the US-led occupation of neighbouring Iraq vented their fury on the key coalition partner in the absence of a US mission in Tehran.
Hundreds of police formed a cordon a block away to prevent the 400 or so student demonstrators approaching the embassy compound.
But at least two powerful firecrackers exploded against the building as a steady hail of stones breached the defences to rain home the message of anger, an AFP correspondent witnessed.
"Close the embassy," "Send home the lacky envoy," chanted the protestors, marshalled by members of the Basij volunteer militia, an alternative police force controlled by the regime's hardliners.
"We'll take the White House from (President George W.) Bush, the Kremlin from the Russians and Downing Street from the British, we only need orders from the guide," a cleric speaking from a podium by loudspeaker told the crowd, referring to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei.
"We want the United Nations to condemn the attacks against the holy places .. and set a date for the withdrawal of the occupying forces from Najaf and Karbala," said a statement circulated by the protest's organizers.
Shiite Islam is the majority denomination in Iran as it is in Iraq and the twin Iraqi shrine cities are widely revered here.
The demonstrators also took the US-led coalition to task for the abuses inflicted by its troops on detainees in Iraqi prisons, demanding that US and British leaders appear on television to "formally apologise to Muslims".
The Iranian foreign ministry said every reasonable precaution had been taken to protect the British embassy but insisted nothing could be done to limit the right of free assembly.
"Our police did a good job," said ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi, adding: "Iran is a country where people have the right to express themselves freely."
There have been repeated violent protests outside the British embassy here over the past week -- on Wednesday petrol bombs were hurled at the compound's perimeter wall.
But Asefi insisted the rallies' negative impact on relations with London was being "exaggerated".
"Even the British say there are no big problems," he said.
The British embassy here has been a particular target for demonstrators because there is no US mission.
The United States has had no embassy in Tehran since 1980. Washington broke off relations after radical students seized the mission and took its staff hostage in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution the previous year.
Iranian Students Demand UK Ambassador Be Slapped
May 23, 2004
The Associated Press
TEHRAN -- About 500 students called the British Embassy in Tehran a "house of corruption" on Sunday and demanded that U.K. ambassador be slapped in the face for his country's involvement in the occupation of neighboring Iraq.
Surrounded by riot police, the students gathered in front of the British Embassy in central Tehran to condemn damage to a Shiite Muslim shrine in Iraq caused by fighting between U.S.-led forces and insurgents, as well as abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
"We want the Foreign Ministry to summon the British ambassador and literally slap him in the face, the same way Americans and British treat Iraqi Muslims," a student leader said over the loudspeaker.
The students vowed to seize the British Embassy if Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would allow them to do so.
The protesters burned U.S. and U.K. flags as they chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Britain," and called on the Iranian government to close down the British Embassy and expel its ambassador.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters Sunday that expulsion of the British ambassador was not on Iran's agenda.
All staged for the cameras since these are Khameini's hired help.
"These guys are all hardliners and terrorism supporters!"
I guess those would be the similarities. LOL!
Let Freedom Ring ~ Bump!
Iran Chides Spain for Hosting Iranian Royals
May 23, 2004
Islamic Republic News Agency
Tehran -- Iran sternly admonished Spain Sunday for inviting the son and widow of the defunct shah to the wedding of Crown Prince Felipe.
"Inviting such individuals, who have been banished by the Iranian people, was not a suitable move," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters here in a weekly news briefing.
Iran`s embassy in Madrid, he said, had formally protested to the Spanish government for inviting Reza Pahlavi and Farah Diba to the wedding.
"These individuals have no place not only among our people, but among other people around the world and the Spaniards will realize later that the individuals invited are not used as delegates in any such ceremonies," Asefi added.
Crown Prince Felipe married former television presenter Letizia Ortiz Saturday amid tight security in the wake of the March 11 train bombings, which killed 191 people.
The 36-year-old heir to the crown exchanged vows with Letizia, a 31-year-old divorcee, before 1,400 guests at the Roman Catholic Almudena Cathedral.
There were reports of protests held before wedding, including by several hundred republicans who staged a parody of a wedding and chanted sloagans "Tomorrow Spain will be a republic!".
According to AFP, the protest passed off without incident under the watchful eye of a large police presence.
Another grouping, the news agency said, denounced this `waste of money`.
Iran`s `Peacock Throne` was overthrown following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which was led by late Imam Khomeini and forced Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to flee.
He died one and a half years later after being denied asylum by one after another government, including by his own closest ally -- the United States.
Chalabi Denies Giving U.S. Intelligence to Iran
Sun May 23, 2004 11:28 AM ET
By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ahmad Chalabi, once a favored Iraqi exile of the Bush administration, on Sunday denied accusations that he passed along U.S. secrets to Iran and challenged the CIA director to a duel before Congress.
Some U.S. government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have accused Chalabi of giving U.S. intelligence to Iran, which the United States considers to be part of an "axis of evil."
"It's not true. It's a false charge," Chalabi said on ABC's "This Week" television program. "It's a smear."
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said suggestions that Chalabi had passed sensitive U.S. intelligence to Iran were baseless. "We have not received any classified information, neither from Chalabi nor any member of the Iraqi Governing Council," Asefi said.
The Baghdad headquarters of Chalabi, a council member, were raided last week, and his lawyers have written to Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, condemning the raid and demanding financial restitution.
Chalabi said the CIA, which had viewed his Iraqi National Congress group with skepticism for years, was trying to discredit him and that CIA Director George Tenet was behind the accusation that he gave American secrets to Iran.
"We never provided any classified information from the U.S. to Iran, and neither I nor anyone in the INC. And that is a charge being put out by George Tenet," Chalabi said on CNN's "Late Edition."
"I say, let him bring all his charges, all his documents. We also will bring all our charges and all our documents to the U.S. Congress, and let Congress have hearings and resolve this issue. We believe that the Congress is the place to resolve this issue, and I think our record will be cleared," he said.
Chalabi acknowledged that the Iraqi National Congress had met with representatives of the Iranian government.
"Indeed we have had many meetings with the Iranian government, but we have passed no secret information, no classified documents to them from the United States," Chalabi said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Furthermore we have not had any classified information given to us by the United States," he said.
U.S. officials last week said the Pentagon had stopped the monthly payments of about $340,000 to Chalabi's INC group.
Chalabi on Sunday said he believed the Bush administration had turned on him because while he had favored the U.S.-invasion of Iraq, he opposed the subsequent occupation.
"I have become a person who is calling for complete sovereignty in Iraq," he said on ABC.
Chalabi also deflected criticism that he misled the U.S. government before the war by introducing defectors who made a strong case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the main justification given by the Bush administration for invading Iraq. No stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction have been found since the invasion.
"We gave no information about weapons of mass destruction, we introduced the U.S. government agencies to defectors at the request of the U.S. government agencies -- three defectors," Chalabi told ABC.
"It was up to them to analyze this (information), and the responsibility for reporting to the president after analyzing the information is not mine," he said.
Very well put.