Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- May 28, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 05/27/2004 10:32:20 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.
Turkey Could Turn to Nukes After Iran
May 27, 2004
Middle East Newsline
LONDON -- Turkey could quickly assemble atomic bombs should Iran achieve nuclear weapons capability.
Leading analysts said Turkey could be one of several Middle East states that could launch a crash nuclear weapons program if its Iranian neighbor achieves such capability. The other countries likely to turn nuclear after Iran include Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Turkey has been a NATO member for more than 50 years. But the analysts said NATO was not structured to defend Turkey from a nuclear Iran.
"Were Turkey to decide that it had to proliferate to defend itself, it has good industrial and scientific infrastructures which it could draw upon to build nuclear weapons on its own," Patrick Clawson, director of research at the Washington Institute, wrote in an analysis. "It would be difficult to prevent a determined Turkey from building nuclear weapons in well under a decade."
U.S. Accuses Iran of Intimidation on Nuclear Issue
May 27, 2004
Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
WASHINGTON -- The United States on Thursday accused Iran of intimidation with its threats to stop cooperating with the international community if the U.N. atomic watchdog agency persists in pressuring Tehran on its nuclear program.
But U.S. and European officials told Reuters the threats seem to be backfiring and Iran, unwilling to risk diplomatic isolation, was unlikely to follow through.
Iran is waging an aggressive multi-pronged offensive -- including threats to resume uranium enrichment and halt snap inspections of its nuclear sites -- to persuade next month's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board meeting to end an inquiry into its nuclear activities.
The offensive includes Iranian threats to deny some imports from Australia, which has joined the United States in demanding complete answers about the Islamic republic's nuclear intentions, said one U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
At a news briefing, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: "We don't think it's appropriate to try to intimidate the atomic energy agency or its board into overlooking many failures of Iran to meet its nonproliferation commitments."
He spoke after Iranian President Mohammed Khatami told reporters in Tehran the IAEA's June decision "will have an influence on our cooperation with the agency."
Americans and Europeans are drafting separate resolutions for IAEA consideration. But officials on both sides say they are more united than ever in favor of a tough position and the board is expected to reach consensus on a final version that will keep the pressure on Iran.
UPPING THE ANTE
Iran is clearly trying to "up the ante" ahead of the IAEA meeting, but "I don't take the threats too seriously," a senior U.S. official said.
If Iran withdrew from the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty -- including its prohibitions against uranium enrichment and its requirement for IAEA inspections -- it "would become a pariah to everyone" and ally itself with North Korea at a time when Tehran seems to want integration with the world, another U.S. official said.
With such threats, the Iranians are further "digging themselves into a hole," a European diplomat said.
Washington insists Tehran is producing nuclear weapons. The argument was bolstered by revelations last year of an 18-year cover-up of sensitive nuclear research, which Iran claims is for peaceful purposes only.
Iran last week submitted what it says is a full declaration of its nuclear activities and it has repeatedly urged the IAEA board of governors to remove Tehran's case from its agenda. For now, that "is not possible," a second European diplomat said.
The Bush administration has decided that barring some dramatic new revelation about Iran's program, it cannot win adoption next month of an IAEA resolution that would send the Iran case to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
Instead, some U.S. officials now look to the September IAEA board meeting for what one called a "showdown" on that issue, although other officials say the controversy could slip into early 2005, after the U.S. presidential election.
U.S. officials say Iran has hidden military-run nuclear facilities and they have shared information on this with the IAEA. But IAEA inspectors have had trouble getting access to these sites. This will be a focus of the June board meeting, officials said.
Although the United States and Europe have often been at odds on Iran, the Europeans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with Tehran.
Iran in Uranium Threat
May 28, 2004
The Associated Press
From Correspondents in Tehran
Iran threatened yesterday to resume uranium enrichment if the UN nuclear watchdog gives in to pressures from the United States, which accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapons program.
The United States and other nations accuse Iran of running a covert nuclear weapons program and are pushing the United Nations to impose sanctions. Iran has rejected the allegations, saying its nuclear program is geared only toward generating electricity.
"If the International Atomic Energy Agency decides under US pressure and doesn't investigate Iran's dossier with a legal outlook, we will take the necessary decisions," President Mohammad Khatami told reporters.
On Friday, Iran delivered a 1000-page report that it said provided "all the information" the agency needs to draw a full picture.
IAEA Chief Mohammed ElBaradei plans to present an assessment of Iran's nuclear activities to the IAEA board of governors in June.
"The IAEA should not look for pretexts," Khatami said. "The problem is political pressure. We are sure that even if we respond to all the agency's demands, the United States will still look for excuses. We expect the IAEA not to give in to US pressures."
Iran agreed last year, under international pressure, to suspend uranium enrichment and allow intrusive inspection of its nuclear facilities.
Khatami said there was no reason for Iran to continue cooperation unilaterally.
"Cooperation is a two-way street. To show our goodwill, we voluntarily agreed to suspend enrichment. We are already enforcing additional protocol even if it has not been finalised. We will resume enrichment if necessary," he warned.
Khatami said it was unlikely that Iran would achieve its goal of getting the IAEA to give its nuclear program the all-clear by June.
May 27, 2004
National Review Online
The year the ice cracked.
Anniversaries are, of course, of merely numerological significance. If God in His wisdom had given us six fingers on each hand instead of five, then we should have to wait 144 years to celebrate the centenary of a great man, and there would be 1,728 years in a millennium. As it is, we nod in perfunctory recognition as the tenth, 25th, 50th, or 100th anniversary of some momentous event passes by. There is no harm in this. It is good to cast a backward glance once in a while, and these numbers, though arbitrary, are convenient pegs on which to hang our remembrances.
A 25th anniversary has some slight extra significance, as 25 years make up more or less one human generation. In 25 years a new cohort of humanity is born, grows to maturity, and begins to accomplish things in the world. This is also about the period that a middle-aged person can look back over with complete understanding, having lived through it in full and worldly consciousness.
Let us look back 25 years from the present day, then, to 1979. I believe a case can be made I am going to try to make it that 1979 was a key year in modern history, the year a great logjam began to shift and break up.
The major events of that year can easily be listed:
Communist China and the U.S. established diplomatic relations, and Deng Xiaoping came visiting.
Iran underwent a revolution. The Shah left, Ayatollah Khomeini returned from 15 years of exile, and the U.S. embassy hostage crisis began.
The Carter presidency began its slow disintegration, and Ronald Reagan announced that he would be a candidate in the 1980 presidential election.
China invaded Vietnam, Vietnam invaded Cambodia, Russia invaded Afghanistan.
Every one of these events cast a long shadow forward through time. For example: China's Deng Xiaoping had already determined upon economic reform and put forward the slogan: "To get rich is glorious!" Others in his party still needed convincing, though. Deng's U.S. trip, and the TV broadcasts of it beamed back to China, opened the eyes of Deng's colleagues to the distance their country had fallen behind the West, and made the necessity of reform plain to all. Back home again, Deng launched the free-trading New Economic Zones. At the same time he cracked down savagely on those seeking political liberalization, crushing the Democracy Wall movement and jailing Wei Jingsheng, the highest-profile dissident, after a show trial. The main outlines of Chinese policy were thereby set for the rest of the century and beyond: verligte economics, verkrampte politics.
The Iranian revolution was, of course, an appalling disaster for that country. It was also a key factor in the implosion of the Carter presidency. In retrospect, it is hard not to feel sorry for Jimmy Carter. As often happens with failing projects Herbert Hoover comes to mind once the Fates had decided against him, they piled on, and misfortunes came thick and fast. The first were already showing up in 1979: the Three Mile Island catastrophe in March, the 24-percent OPEC price hikes in June, the resignation of Andrew Young in August. Then, at the end of the year, in quick succession came the Chrysler bailout, the takeover of our Teheran embassy, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Carter's famous "malaise" speech of July 15 makes melancholy reading now. A clever and sincere man, filled with public spirit and the desire to do good, Carter had the misfortune to be president at time when his particular weaknesses were just those most disastrous to the nation and his plans. Abroad, amoral despots and madmen with bazaar-trading skill-sets behind their glittering eyes combined to make him look like a babe in the woods. At home, as David Frum chronicled in his book about the 1970s, Carter presided over a time when the great shifts of thought and behavior that the baby-boom rebels of the 1960s had pioneered hedonism, anti-authoritarianism, "loathing" of the military, the obsession with equality and rights and "root causes" had soaked deep into American life. Possibly the country was ungovernable by 1979. Certainly it is depressing to see an earnest man telling the nation plain truths that it did not (and, a cynic might add, still does not) care to hear:
What you see too often in Washington and elsewhere around the country is a system of government that seems incapable of action. You see a Congress twisted and pulled in every direction by hundreds of well financed and powerful special interests. You see every extreme position defended to the last vote, almost to the last breath by one unyielding group or another. You often see a balanced and a fair approach that demands sacrifice, a little sacrifice from everyone, abandoned like an orphan without support and without friends.
Tell it, preacher! But Carter's own faults his naivety, feebleness of will, and obsession with detail contributed much to the malaise he complained of. The year closed with an annual inflation rate of 11.3 percent, the highest in 30 years.
Of the three great figures who together took up arms against the negative trends of that time, the first had already mounted the world stage in 1979. In October of the previous year, Karol Wojtyla had been elected Pope at the comparatively young age of 58. A vigorous man of firmly conservative convictions, John Paul II swiftly asserted his church's role in world affairs, mediating a dispute between Argentina and Chile, receiving the Soviet Foreign Minister in audience, and then, in June of 1979, paying the first-ever Papal visit to a Communist country, his own native Poland. Those nine days in Poland changed everything. From them came the rise of the "Solidarity" workers' movement the following year, and from that, in ever swifter steps, the collapse of Communism in Europe. As Mikhail Gorbachev himself ruefully testified: "It would have been impossible without the Pope."
The second of those three world-changing figures appeared on May 4 of that pivotal year. I was living in England at that time. Late in January I had left the country to visit friends in Hong Kong. The leaving, in bitterly cold weather, had itself been something of a trial. This was Britain's "winter of discontent," when the country was plagued by strikes, inflation, and economic mismanagement. The teams responsible for de-icing the runways were in some sort of dispute with the management of Gatwick airport, and I was stuck in the departure lounge all night with several dozen angry travelers. When we got into the air at last, I remember recalling an observation of Tim Garton Ash's, that when a plane outward bound from the U.S.S.R. crossed the Iron Curtain into the free world, the pilot would sometimes announce the fact, and the passengers would burst into applause. I felt inclined to do the same as the coast of late-socialist Britain passed beneath and behind us.
I came back three months later just in time to see Margaret Thatcher's party elected into government. It was actually at the home of some left-wing friends that I watched the election coverage on TV. My friends were in a sour mood, of course, and I felt vaguely sorry for them. I had not paid much attention to the campaign, being out of the country for its entire duration; but when I saw the news clips the next day of Mrs. Thatcher coming to Downing Street from the Palace, speaking plain clear words to a confused and unhappy nation, I knew that something great and good was in the air, that some corner had been turned. The words she spoke were actually, she told us, from St. Francis of Assisi: "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope."
My instinct was correct. In Britain, and soon in the world, a great reaction had commenced. On November 13, in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton, Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in yet more plain, inspiring words: "A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny... [W]e will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and above all responsible liberty for every individual."
The miserable shuffling retreat had been stopped. Western civilization had turned to face its enemies, both those inside the walls and those without. The war that then commenced is not yet over. Perhaps it never will be; but it was in 1979 that we got our nerve back, picked up our discarded weapons again, and resolved to fight. This was the year it all changed, the year the ice cracked.
Jordan Fetes Wedding of Crown Prince
May 27, 2004
AMMAN -- Hundreds of guests, including several European royals, attended a garden party reception to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein to a distant cousin, Princess Noor.
The 24-year-old heir to the throne is the half-brother of King Abdullah II and the son of the late King Hussein and Queen Noor, formerly Lisa Halabi, an American of Lebanese origin.
Princess Noor is the daughter of Prince Assem bin Nayef, a cousin of King Hussein.
The couple who were engaged and signed their wedding contract at a family ceremony in August set off at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) -- an hour later than had been announced -- in a motorcade from the Raghadan court complex.
The drove to the Zahran Palace in west Amman, the same spot where the prince's father and mother tied the knot in 1978, in a cream-coloured open-topped 1961 Lincoln Continental preceded by motorcycles and palace military vehicles.
State television aired the event live.
The car which has been traditionally used in ceremonial functions, including the weddings of King Abdullah and King Hussein, was taken out of the Royal Car Museum to make the 10-kilometer (six miles) route.
But unlike most royals, Prime Hamza and his 22-year-old bride did not tour the streets of Amman as both decided against a pretentious wedding with fanfare.
"The crown prince is not in a very festive mood because of the situations in (neighbouring) Iraq (news - web sites) and Palestine, so this will be a formal affair to meet his guests, both Jordanian and foreigners," a court official told AFP.
Hundreds of well wishers lined roads and bridges waving at the royal couple, applauding and throwing fistfuls of rose petals at their car. Women wearing traditional embroidered bedouin dresses ullulated.
Prince Hamza, a captain in the Jordanian army, was in military uniform, his head covered in the traditional bedouin white-and-red chequered keffieh, while Princess Noor wore a white lace dress and a white lace mantila covered her head.
Meanwhile hundreds of guests, 2,500 according to officials, gathered on the manicured lawns of the Zahran Palace, the former residence of King Hussein's late mother Queen Zein.
Security was reinforced around the white-stone palace in a residential area of west Amman, home to several embassies and ambassadorial residences.
But traffic flowed normally on the flag-decked Zahran Avenue, which cuts Amman from south to north, until a few hours before the start of the reception.
Inside the grounds of the palace the guests included royals from Sweden, Norway, Britain, Spain, Belgium, Brunei as well as princes from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Arab monarchies.
A wooden platform was built atop an arabesque water fountain to accommodate a simple round table covered in white satin on which was set a simple three-tier white wedding cake surrounded by a green wreath.
But before cutting the cake Prince Hamza and Princess Noor, flanked by King Abdullah and Queen Rania, received congratulations in a reception room inside the Zahran Palace.
Among those seen on television shaking hands with the royal couple were Spain's Queen Sophia, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and his new bride, Letizia Ortiz; the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and his son, Crown Prince Muhtadee Billah Bolkiah.
Guests also included Britain's Prince Andrew, Norway's Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Mette-Marit, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Sylvia, and the widow of the late Shah of Iran, Farah Diba.
On Friday the couple plans a "private dinner" at the Red Sea resort of Aqaba.
Prince Hamza is the 43rd direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. King Abdullah officially named him crown prince on February 7, 1999, on the death of their father.
Like all other members of the Jordanian royal family he attended the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in Britain, graduating in 1999 as a commissioned officer in the Jordan Arab Army.
He is now a captain and has served with the Jordan-United Arab Emirats force operating in former Yugoslavia under the umbrella of international peacekeepers.
Prince Hamza is following undergraduate studies at a US university.
Good to hear that Farah Pahlavi was invited by Jordan.
Spain invited the Pahlavi's, Jordan, and Egypt refused to remove the sword and lion flag.
Sounds like some foreign countries are standing by Iran's pro-West Pahlavi regime.
Dinosaurs vastly out of touch with their people take charge after disqualifying 2,500 candidates for office.
New hardline Iranian Majlis hears first cries of Death to US
TEHRAN: Irans new conservative-dominated parliament was sworn in here on Thursday following February elections in which thousands of reformist candidates were banned from running.
In a sign of the sea change in the Majlis, several MPs shouted "Death to America" when pro-reform Interior Minister Abdolvahed Moussavi-Lari recalled that most of them were elected in lopsided contests.
Conservatives hold around 200 of the 290 seats, while another 40 MPs have formed an independent bloc regarded as closer to the conservatives than the reformers.
Mohammed Ali Sheikh, the oldest member of parliament, read out the oath, in which MPs swore to defend Islamic values and "velayat-e faqih," the principle that sets the religious leadership at the pinnacle of power in Iran.
Moussavi-Lari got the seventh Majlis session off to a stormy start when he noted the hardline Guardians Council had rejected thousands of candidates for election, including 80 outgoing deputies, slanting the elections heavily in favour of the conservatives.
The blacklisting sparked a serious political crisis and highlighted the gulf between hardliners and weakened reformists, led by President Mohammad Khatami.
The interior minister and several provincial governors had threatened to resign to protest the ban and demanded the polls be postponed, but backed down after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei intervened. Several hardline deputies violently protested the ministers speech.
"Death to the occupation forces in Iraq," they shouted referring to the United States and Britain, followed by the classic chant of the 1979 Islamic revolution: "Death to America."
Saudi royal family also invited Farah Pahlavi to a wedding ceremony this week.
US accuses Iran of trying to intimidate UN nuclear watchdog
WASHINGTON (AFP) May 27, 2004
The United States on Thursday accused Iran of trying to intimidate the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by threatening to enrich more uranium unless the UN nuclear watchdog gives it a clean bill of health.
"We don't think it's appropriate to try to intimidate the atomic energy agency or its board into overlooking many failures of Iran to meet its nonproliferation commitments," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
His comments came in response to remarks by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami who said the Islamic republic could resume uranium enrichment if the IAEA gives in to US pressure to censure it for allegedly hiding a nuclear weapons program.
"We can at any time reverse our voluntary decisions," Khatami said in Tehran earlier Thursday, referring to agreements to suspend enrichment and ratify the additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The United States charges Iran with hiding a program to build the bomb and has called for the IAEA, which has been investigating the Iranian program since February 2003, to refer the country to the UN Security Council for possible international sanctions.
Iran categorically denies those allegations, saying its nuclear program is purely for civilian purposes.
Boucher said the IAEA board of governors, which is due to meet next month on Iran's case and a new report from its director general, should consider the facts carefully and not be swayed by pressure from Tehran.
He noted that the agency had already found Iran to have violated its commitments under the NPT and made it difficult for IAEA experts to inspect nuclear facilities.
"Tehran has repeatedly failed to declare significant and troubling aspects of its nuclear program," Boucher said. "It's interfered with and suspended inspections. It's failed to cooperate with the IAEA in resolving outstanding issues related to the program.
"And Iran has made clear, as shown by (Khatami's) remarks, that Iran doesn't somehow feel bound by its own pledge to suspend all enrichment-related activity," he said.
Despite Khatami's threats, he insisted that Iran still wanted to cooperate with the IAEA and said "it is not our intention to disengage from the NPT."
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said last week that Iran's cooperation with the agency had been insufficient, but added that he had not drawn any conclusions over the nature of the country's nuclear program.
'Death to America' chanted again in Iran
TEHRAN -- In a display of anti-U.S. anger not seen in parliament for years, Iran's conservative-dominated legislature chanted "Death to America" and hardliners clashed with reformists yesterday in the first day of the house's new session. The tensions signalled a tough year ahead for President Mohammad Khatami, after fellow reformists lost control of the parliament in contentious February elections. The ballot was boycotted by reformists and largely spurned by voters because the hard-line Guardian Council disqualified thousands of reformist candidates.
In a speech to legislators, reformist Interior Minister Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari accused the clerics of the Guardian Council of acting without justification when it barred candidates from running in the election.
A number of conservative legislators shouted in protest, and, in a bid to end the bickering, hardline legislator Mahdi Kouchakzadeh asked parliament to condemn the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
"To attract the attention of everybody to what is our main task, I invite you to pray for the devastation of the American belligerent occupiers," he said.
Fellow conservatives responded by chanting "Death to America."
It was a sign of how much the new parliament, in which conservatives hold about 180 of 290 seats, differs from the previous one, dominated by reformists. Before, only a few would have shouted anti-American slogans.
With the election, the reformists lost an important forum for challenging hardline policies and supporting Khatami's foundering campaign to ease social and political restrictions. His term as president is in its final year.
Reformists had promoted political freedoms and the lifting of restrictions imposed after the 1979 Islamic revolution. But the clerical establishment saw these moves as undermining the principles of the revolution. It used its control of bodies such as the Guardian Council, which vets legislation and electoral candidates, to thwart reforms.
Khatami, who watched the shouting and chanting in silence, later called for tolerance.
"Through respect and avoiding tension, while taking the country's supreme interests into consideration, we can demonstrate co-operation," Khatami said.
Later, Khatami told reporters he remains critical of the way elections were conducted. "Preparations for elections were not appropriate. Our protest still stands," he said.
Khatami said in February the elections were not democratic but that his government was holding them because it had been ordered to do so by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Earthquake Hits North Iran City of Sari
Fri May 28, 2004
TEHRAN (Reuters) - A strong earthquake hit the city of Sari in northern Iran on Friday, state television reported, and the United States Geological Survey said it had a magnitude of 6.2.
A huge tremor which devastated the Iranian city of Bam in southeast Iran on December 26, measured 6.8 and killed more than 20,000 people.
There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.
The Geological Survey, monitored from London, said on its Web site: "A strong earthquake occurred at 12:38:46 (GMT) on Friday...The magnitude 6.2 event has been located in northern Iran."
The earthquake shook buildings in Tehran and people in the streets screamed. People in west Tehran said some windows in the city shattered.
State television reported the earthquake was felt from the Caspian Sea provinces to the central city of Isfahan and the northwest city of Ardebil.
Iran's Red Crescent said they had no yet received any calls for aid or assistance. ((Writing by Christian Oliver; editing by Steve Pagani; Tehran newsroom)
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
Mullah Khamenei declared friday as National Mourning over the damages of Holy sites in Iraq.
All of us know that, it happened by the Sadr and Iranian intel forces in Iraq.
Moreover, Mullahs asked people to pray in the evening for the total destruction of the United States of America.
NO ONE ATTENDS IN THEIR GAMES, ANY MORE.
We pray for the destruction of the Mullahs every night."
Rezai Briefs on US Mideast Plans
May 28, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Yazd -- Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei said here Thursday night that Iran should turn to the most powerful country in southwestern Asia within the next 20 years.
Talking to members of political and student associations and NGOs of Yazd province, central Iran, the EC secretary added, "all of us should join hands to help develop the country and turn it to the mightiest country in the region."
Pointing to a US-backed greater Middle East initiative, he said,"the plan was supposed to include Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
The United States achieved its goals in Afghanistan and Iraq but the developments in Iraq raised serious doubts about following up the policy."
Asked about the country's peaceful nuclear policy, Rezaei said, "Iran's policy is merely based on following up peaceful proliferation of nuclear energy but foreign countries particularly the United States and Europe do not agree with it."
Iran Mullahs to Dispatch "Battalions of Suicide Bombers" to Iraq
May 27, 2004
The US Alliance for Democratic Iran
For the fourth time in little over a week, several hundred students demonstrated outside the British embassy in Tehran last Sunday in a government-sanctioned protest against the actions of U.S.-led forces in Iraq. The students, who belonged to the paramilitary force, the Bassij, also condemned damage to a Shiite Muslim shrine in Iraq.
Irans ruling regime has used the cloak of religion to legitimize its tyranny and advance its political and diplomatic goals. In 1990s, it was behind a bomb explosion inside the most revered Shiite Shrine in Iran, that of Imam Reza, in city of Mashad. The explosion, which killed and wounded dozens, was promptly blamed on the Mujahedeen opposition group. Several years later, government officials finally admitted that Irans Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MIOS) had planted the bomb and had the blessing of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to do so.
Theirs track record proves the mullahs have no heartfelt affinity for the sacred holy shrines
That was not all. A government-sponsored website in Iran quoted a member of a state-run paramilitary student organization as saying that: Tens of students from the University of Science and Technology in Iran will be sent to Karbala on Thursday, May 27, as the advance party of the Karbala-bound Battalion to join the defenders of the holy shrines in the city and to fight the occupiers of Islamic lands.
The website, Rouydad, added that state-organized groups such as Hezbollah and Bassij have begun forming battalions of suicide bombers against Coalition forces in Iraq.
It also quoted an official of the Revolutionary Guards, Hassan Abbassi, as saying, Our main weapon is jihad and through it, we are shaking the foundations of the infidels.
He added, Reconnaissance has been done on 29 weak points in America and the West to prepare attacks on them. Our plans aim at 6,000 nuclear warheads in America, so that they would blow up. By doing reconnaissance on their weaknesses, we will pass on the information to guerrilla groups and take action through them.
Meanwhile, Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, the terror master, who directed the Hezbollah in Lebanon in the 1980s and is believed to have coordinated the 1983 bombing of the US Marine barrack in Beirut, told the Arab satellite television network, Aljazeera, that armed attacks against occupation in Iraq is an Islamic resistance. Now a top advisor to President Khatami, Mohtashamipour was speaking in the ceremony marking the Fourth anniversary of Liberation of Southern Lebanon, where he demanded the opening of all Iraqi borders to the Enteharyoun (suicide bombers).
These shocking statements from various corners of Irans political landscape render hollow assertions made by Tehrans friends in the some EU capitals that the mullahs are interested in a stable and secure Iraq. Blinded by billions of dollars worth of trade, these self-interested Europeans have been misreading the mullahs in the past quarter century.
The sooner we acknowledge that Tehran has launched a multi-faceted, long-term campaign in Iraq, the better we can neutralize it. It is a mistake to downplay Tehran's mischief in Iraq and rely on its "good will". This policy must be corrected before battalions of suicide bombers from Iran strike.
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
Today is the national mourning day in Iran as you know.
The Hardline dominated IRIB TV showed a movie named Omar Mokhtar. This Omar is a Libyan muslim warrior who fought the Fascist Italians in 1930s.
The purpose of showing such movie today in Iran is to compare the Facists government of Italy in the 30s with today US Government.
They want to make us believe that your troops in Iraq are the same as Italian troops in Libya in the 30s.
Just wanted to let your readers know how we are getting feed in Iran."
May 28, 2004
The Washington Times
Terence P. Jeffrey
President Bush's speech Monday at the Army War College was steeped in the realistic perspective that America will need to stay the course in Iraq over the next 18 months as we work to implant a stable government in Baghdad.
"There are difficult days ahead, and the way forward may sometimes appear chaotic," Mr. Bush warned. "Yet our coalition is strong, our efforts are focused and unrelenting, and no power of the enemy will stop Iraq's progress."
But as we struggle to transform this conflict from an international military confrontation into a peaceful Iraqi political contest, we need to be as realistic in assessing the political obstacles confronting our efforts to leave Iraq with a benign regime as we are in assessing the military obstacles.
One of those political obstacles is the Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, Iraq's leading Shi'ite cleric.
Policymakers ought to carefully examine the similarities and differences between Ayatollah Sistani and Ayatollah Khomeini, the late Shi'ite cleric who sparked the Islamic revolution in Iran.
One difference between them is that Ayatollah Khomeini would actually meet with Westerners, including female Western reporters. Ayatollah Sistani won't even meet with Paul Bremer, head of the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority.
This may be explained by an entry on Ayatollah Sistani's English language Web site. Discussing things that are "najis," which he defines in a glossary as "impure," and things that are "pak," which he defines as "clean," Ayatollah Sistani says: "As regards people of the Book [i.e. the Jews and the Christians] ... they are commonly considered najis, but it is not improbable that they are Pak. However it is better to avoid them."
Another difference between Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Sistani is that when Khomeini communicated with the West in the days before the Iranian revolution, he made soothing noises about free elections, political pluralism and women's rights. When Ayatollah Sistani communicates with the West today, he speaks about free elections (which would empower his own Iraqi Shi'ite base, 65 percent of Iraq's population), but he doesn't tout pluralism or women's rights. Indeed, he won't endorse Iraq's draft constitution because it gives Iraqi Kurds a chance to veto Shi'ite political domination and doesn't guarantee Islamic law will be the basis of Iraqi government.
Last November, Sistani ally Abdul Aziz al Hakim explained the ayatollah's objection to a U.S. plan to hold caucuses to pick an interim government. "There should have been a stipulation which prevents legislating anything that contradicts Islam in the new Iraq," he said.
In April, The New York Times reported: "Ayatollah Sistani's supporters want Islam to govern such matters as family law, divorce and women's rights."
Where does Ayatollah Sistani stand on these issues? Postings on his Web site include prescriptions for temporary marriage ("In a fixed-time marriage, the period of matrimony is fixed, for example, matrimonial relation is contracted with a woman for an hour, or a day, or a month, or a year, or more."); keeping wives indoors ("It is forbidden for the wife of a permanent marriage to go out without her husband's permission."); and multiple marriages and divorces ("A man is not permitted to marry more than four women by way of permanent marriage. He also has the right to divorce his wives.")
Khomeini may have shared Ayatollah Sistani's values here, but his pre-revolutionary propaganda was better packaged for the West. In November 1978, for example, Dorothy Gilliam of The Washington Post's Style section interviewed Khomeini, who was then living in exile in France. While noting Khomeini's aides "order Western women journalists to cover their heads and shoulders" before meeting him, she dutifully recorded that the ayatollah himself said: "In Islamic society, women will be free to choose their own destiny and activity. God created us equally."
That same month, The Washington Post's correspondent Ronald Koven also interviewed Ayatollah Khomeini and some of his aides. "The aides say he rejects the authoritarian models of Islamic republicanism in much of the Arab world. Iran is not an Arab country," wrote Mr. Koven. "The aide quoted Khomeini as saying, 'In the history of Islam, those who denied God were free to express themselves.' This, said the aide, is Khomeini's way of saying all political parties would be legal in his vision of an Islamic republic to be established in a national referendum."
Why did the man who installed a theocracy in Iran in 1979 say these things in France in 1978? Perhaps he was practicing "taqiyya," the Shi'ite doctrine that Grand Ayatollah Sistani blandly defines on his Web site as: "Dissimulation about one's beliefs in order to protect oneself, family, or property from harm." Ayatollah Sistani has written an unpublished treatise on this doctrine. Is it wise to assume he is not practicing it today in his dealings with a U.S. occupational force?
Reuel Marc Gerecht of the American Enterprise Institute, a strong advocate of installing democracy in Iraq, wrote in the Weekly Standard last month that Ayatollah Sistani "virtually has a de facto veto over American actions" there. If so, it's the wrong veto in the wrong hands.
If we want to leave an Iraq that is at peace with itself and the world, we will need to find a way to give Iraqis who oppose the ayatollah's theocratic vision a veto over him.
Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor of Human Events and is a nationally syndicated columnist.
Torture By Any Other Name
May 28, 2004
Earlier this month, Irans Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi wasted no time denouncing the abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison, accusing the United States of "systematically killing, torturing and raping Iraqis." Echoing this statement, President Mohammad Khatami said, "The painful torture inflicted by the occupying forces on Iraqis is a great tragedy." Top Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Janati went even further with his own invective saying "the pictures shown on the television showed the US criminal essence, which emanates from American savagery."
While the leaders of Irans tyrannical regime have shamelessly jumped on the band wagon to take the moral high ground in the midst of the Abu Ghraib prison fiasco, they conveniently forget to mention the real "systematic" killing, torture, and rape practiced in their own prisons against Iranian dissidents during the twenty five years of their rule.
They neglected to mention the bloodbath they created during the infamous 1988 massacre of political prisoners at Evin prisonin which somewhere between 4,000 and 30,000 prisoners were methodically executed in several months. Sixteen years after this tragic slaughter, the families of those prisoners still have not located the graves of their love ones.
"The massacre continued until October 1988," testified Hossein Mokhtars, a political prisoner who survived the Evin prison. "But they killed more than 90% of prisoners during the first 10 days. So many times we heard the heavy machine guns which were shooting to the victims in the Shooting Execution hall of the prison. These were in addition to hanging on cranes and other hanging stands," he said. French daily Le Monde wrote that many of the executed were only between 12- and 14-years-old when they were jailed for taking part in public demonstrations years before.
Last month, perhaps in light of the increasing concerns about Irans rampant human rights violations, particularly the torture death of Canadian photojournalists Zahra Kazemi last summer, the Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Shahroudi ordered a ban on the use of torture. The Iranian-borne Kazemi, 54, died from a brain hemorrhage caused by a blow to the head while in custody. She was arrested for taking photographs outside Tehran's notorious Evin prison.
Although Irans 1979 Constitution banned use of torture, it remained the mullahs preferred weapon of choice in dealing with dissenters. In fact Shahroudis decree was an explicit admission to widespread practice of torture in Iran. "All forms of torture aiming to obtain confessions are banned, and confessions obtained in this way have no legal or religious value," said the text of his circular. But for the tyranny under the cloak of religion in Iran, torture is not an issue of action but one of definition.
Iran has not yet joined the Convention Against Torture, a convention that was introduced in 1975 and has been ratified by several countries, including Libya, China and Sudan. Article 1 of the convention bans most of the existing practices that fall under the "religious punishment" of Irans Sharia-based penal code. It is a system of laws that codifies lashes, amputations, eye-gouging, and stoning for charges ranging from robbery, drinking alcohol, and adultery to anti-government political activities. In the perverted lexicon of the mullahs, these "punishments" are not considered torture.
Inside prisons, on any given day, a religious judge could issue an order for "Tazir," a religious term for physical punishment of the detainee that ranges from lashing the victim for hours to solitary confinement and electric shock. The ban does not apply to "Tazir".
The use of torture has been widely debated in Iran as we learn from the published memories of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, an 82-year-old senior Iranian cleric and former designated successor to Khomeini. He revealed a number of shocking documents on the atrocities committed by the clerical regime along with some words of criticism.
Among the damming revelations was the text of a private letter, dated October 8, 1986, which Montazeri wrote to Khomeini, complaining about the ill treatment of prisoners. He wrote in part:
Do you know that crimes are being committed in the prisons of the Islamic Republic in the name of Islam the like of which was never seen in the Shahs evil regime?
Do you know that a large number of prisoners have been killed under torture by their interrogators?
Do you know that in (city of) Mashad prison, some 25 girls had to have their ovaries or uterus removed as a result of what had been done to them ?
Do you know that in some prisons of the Islamic Republic young girls are being raped by force?
Do you know that as a result of unruly torture, many prisoners have become deaf or paralyzed or afflicted with chronic diseases? And there is no one to listen to their complaints?
Do you know that even once a prisoner is tried and receives a sentence, he is beaten and abused?
In the past quarter century, Irans leaders have used spin and double-talk in dealing with the international community. In negotiations over suspending their uranium enrichment program, the term "suspension" has a totally different meaning for the mullahs. The same goes for the definition of "torture" and "political prisoner".
Despite such repression, Iran's pro-democracy activists have proven to be a perseverant and gutsy bunch, as evidenced by frequent reports of anti-government protests most often led by university students that have raged in the streets of major Iranian cities over the past several years. But without additional support from the West, achieving any real change will likely prove difficult for Iran's democratic opposition. The U.S. regularly condemns Iran's human-rights record. Perhaps it is about time that it will do more to encourage the country's democracy movements as well.
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