Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 1, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 05/31/2004 9:24:28 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 warns IAEA
May 31, 2004, 23:32
Iran's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Piruz Husseini, said that Iran will take legal action if any classified information from Iran?s confidential report to the IAEA is leaked.
Husseini told the Mehr News Agency that Iran presented a 1000-page comprehensive report to the agency on May 21, adding that, logically, the IAEA should not allow the information to become public.
The IAEA Board of Governors will begin examining Iran?s nuclear dossier on June 14.
IRAN PLANS TO PROVIDE MILITARY AID TO LEBANON
NICOSIA [MENL] -- Iran plans to provide military aid to Lebanon, including exporting weapons to its Arab ally.
Iranian officials said the two countries plan to form a joint committee to examine Lebanon's military and defense requirements. They said Iran has agreed in principle to help fulfill some of those Lebanese military needs.
Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani agreed to defense and military cooperation during a visit to Lebanon in late February. Shamkhani told reporters on Feb. 29 that Beirut and Teheran have agreed to launch a joint panel to bolster Lebanon's military.
The defense minister said Teheran would offer Lebanon a range of products from Iran's defense industry. He said Iran's goal would be to rebuild and improve Lebanon's military.
Sheeesh........have they gone a day without threatening SOMEONE in the past week or 2?
They're pushing their luck.
They're really asking for it, aren't they?
Jordan sees no harm in invite to shah's widow despite Iran complaint
AMMAN, May 31 (AFP) - Jordanian government spokeswoman Asma Khodr said Monday she did not expect relations with Iran to deteriorate because the widow of the ousted shah was invited to attend the wedding reception of Crown Prince Hamza last week.
"No one has the right to protest because this was a social, private event and a royal invitation," Khodr told reporters in Amman.
"I don't think it will have any (negative) impact because there is a difference between the political and diplomatic relations between Jordan and Iran and social and private relations," Khodr said.
Iran lodged an official complaint with Jordan and the foreign ministry summoned the Jordanian charge d'affaires "to protest this invitation" which Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi described as an "unjustifiable gesture".
The shah's widow, Farah Diba, was among more than 2,000 guests, including several Arab and European crowned heads, invited to attend the reception hosted Thursday by King Abdullah II of Jordan for his half-brother Hamza bin Hussein.
The crown prince and his bride Prince Noor, a distant cousin, were engaged and wrote their marriage contract in August but delayed the garden party celebration until last week.
Asefi told reporters Sunday in Tehran that Farah Diba should not have been invited to the reception because she has "no status" in her own country and warned that it "will have repercussions on the relations between" Iran and Jordan.
The Iranian spokesman gave no details on what the consequences would be.
Iran's complaint comes after the invitation of both Farah Diba and her son Reza Pahlavi to the marriage a week ago of Spain's Crown Prince Felipe de Bourbon and former television news presenter Letizia Ortiz sparked a mini-crisis between Tehran and Madrid.
In protest, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi delayed a visit to Spain for talks with Spanish leaders by a day.
The widow of the ex-shah, who is 66, and her son now live in exile in France and the United States.
DoctorZin Note: It would appear that a lot or "royals" are welcoming the Pahlavi family to their events... are they giving a sign to the people of Iran that the rule of the mullahs is nearing the end?
It is more than that, I guess. The Foreign Ministry of IRI keeps saying that the Iranian Royals are no more popular among Iranians. And I'd like to ask them why do you protest if they are not any more popular?
As long as they treat their local Christians better than Ataturk did, I'm all for it.
LOSSES AND GAINS OF VOID IN IRAN-US RELATIONS
By Masoud Behnoud
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2004
LONDON, First of June (IPS) As the new Iranian Majles, dominated by the ruling conservatives starts working, a veteran Iranian journalist advises them to stay away of sloganmania and warns that the decision-makers should not sacrifice national interests for the sake of foolish slogans that have lost their charisma.
Now that the conservatives have booted out the reformists from the Majles and are looking to the government, one must hope that they would quickly realise the importance of their responsibilities by ending the senseless void in Iran-US relations, allowing Iran to come back to the international community and play its due role, Mr. Masoud Behnoud, a well-known journalist and commentator of Iranian affairs suggested.
Although the members of the new Parliament have been told to avoid futile political debates a land mark of the sixth Majles dominated by the reformists -- and pay more attention to peoples needs, yet, most of Iranian analysts are of the opinion that one of the reasons the conservatives wanted to get back the control of the Majles at any cost was to have it approve open talks with Washington on the thorny and complicated normalisation of relations that were cut off by the United States after its Embassy in Tehran was stormed by revolutionary students on November 1979, taking 55 diplomats and staff as hostages for 444 days.
In one of his now celebrated declarations, Mr. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, the new Speaker and the first one not being a cleric who is closely related to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic (his daughter is married to Khamenei's son), said the new Majles would work hard to make Iran an Islamic Japan.
Nevertheless, not only the new Majles started its inaugural session with shouts of "death to America", but Mr Haddad-Adel approved initiatives by the Revolutionary Guards to have people enrolling in suicide brigades for defending Shi'a Muslim's holly places in Iraq, now the scenes of heavy fightings between american-led Coalition forces with militiamen of the rebel cleric Moqtada al Sadr.
According to several Guards commanders, a so-called "World Islamic Martyrs and Fighters Staff Headquarters" was created to train Islamic suicide attackers.
To express its opposition to the policies of Washington does not mean cutting relations with the worlds only superpower. The whole world is opposed to Americans arrogant behaviour except in Iran, where people, exacerbated by the ultra anti-American attitude of the rulers, see America as an ally, Mr. Behnoud wrote in the Germany-based, Farsi-language website Iran Emrooz ( www.iran-emrooz.de )
After having reminded that Iran, with more than three millions Iranians scattered all over the worlds, but mostly in the United States, is probably one of the few countries in the world where America is present in peoples daily life even the grocery next door tells you the prices in US Dollars and the taxi drivers explain the price hike on the Green backs value in the market Mr. Behnoud says the endless, unabated anti-American policy and propaganda of the ruling conservatives waged mostly via the Radio and Television has no other result that turn the Iranians more pro American.
One of the very few Iranian journalists well established under the former regime, Mr. Behnoud stayed in Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, continuing to work as journalist under heavy pressures, constant menaces. However, he left Tehran for London, where he lives now, after receiving serious threats against his and his familys life.
The days people were dancing in front of the occupied American embassy in Tehran are over. The day when the world was divided between the Soviet Union and the United States is over. Today, American forces surround us. Our only lifeline is oil, which the Americans can close it, one way or another and starve us. If one days one could find pride in challenging Washington, today such a challenge does not fool anyone, mostly our Arab neighbours who, despite the Palestinisation of our foreign policy, not only never liked us and helped, but also continue to sincerely believe that Iran is still Americas and Israels best friend, he added.
In his opinion, never ever the Arabs and Muslim nations helped Iran, as seen in the case of the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf, while in fact, it was the Iranian who benefited the more from Americas military intervention in both Afghanistan and Iraq, removing their two most dangerous enemies, the ultra-orthodox Muslim Taleban in Kabol and the Iraqi bloodthirsty dictator Saddam Hoseyn.
This was not a wrong policy, but is there any logic behind the state (conservatives)-controlled and organised anti-American demonstrations. But whatever the logic, the end result is that the demonstrations and the anti-American diatribes not only have erased all the benefits from cooperation in Afghanistan and Iraq but also placed Iran in President Bushs basket of Evil states, he noted.
Iran and the Iranians absence in recent terrorist operations, explosions and destructions was the best occasion to show the world that we had nothing and would have nothing to do with Mollah Omar, Osama Ben Laden or Saddam Hoseyn, but this golden occasion was deliberately lost on the altar of empty slogans favoured by some of the people who rule over the country, he added.
According to Mr. Behnoud, the reformists, led by President Mohammad Khatami, after taking the control of both the Executive and the Legislative, tried hard to normalise relations with the United States, but mostly because of the weak nature of Mr. Khatami and the lack of strong personalities and leadership among the reformists, the conservatives did not allow them to go ahead.
Among other things, the journalist mentioned the second trip of Mr. Khatami to the United Nations, where, in order not be placed near the former American President Bill Clinton, he failed to show up for the traditional family photo.
At the beginning of the Revolution most of the political groups and formations were almost unanimous on cutting relations with the United States, today however, the idea do not work and the question does not make sense anymore since after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Washington has become the only superpower of the world, like it or not, said Mr. Behnoud.
Though Im certain that at the end of the day, no one would ever accept the responsibility for the losses Iran have suffered because of antagonistic policy with the United States, yet, History must be told that the ruling conservatives are to blame, especially because that they first opposed radical policies to make it their own brand of governance. The Iranians would never forget.
ENDS IRAN US 1604
Preying on Chalabi
By Joel Mowbray
Inside the halls of the State Department, career members of the Foreign Service have been buzzing about a prospect that excites them very much: President John Kerry. Never mind that their current boss is President George W. Bush.
To what extent this impacts day-to-day job performance or leaks to the press is unclear, but it is clear that Mr. Bush presides not over an administration divided on philosophy, but over an administration whose foreign policy team is dominated by those who desperately want him to lose come November.
And if Mr. Bush doesn't act soon, their wish might be granted.
For proof, look at the "scandal" surrounding Iraqi Governing Council member and longtime U.S. ally Ahmed Chalabi. His Baghdad home was raided recently, and the media coverage has been clogged with quotes from anonymous "intelligence officials" claiming that there is "rock solid" evidence that Mr. Chalabi gave the Iranian mullahs "highly classified" intelligence.
It didn't take a particularly astute observer to notice an awful lot of hostility being vented. For Mr. Chalabi, it was a comeuppance of sorts. He has been hated by State and the CIA, for different reasons, for years.
State Department diplomats dislike the Iraqi democrat because he is committed to a secular, pluralistic society. The Foreign Service doesn't necessarily oppose such values, but it does fiercely when it comes to lands where they have never existed. Why? Because it would threaten the most important of all State Department objectives: stability.
Mr. Chalabi is seen as a threat to the Arab world order. State has long supported whichever tyrant can bring "stability" to a given Arab nation, as the diplomats believe that that region of the world is incapable of fostering or supporting democracy or even anything resembling a free society.
Even if State now grudgingly has to support Iraqi democracy and even that's an open question its bureaucrats long ago developed an unshakable hatred of Mr. Chalabi, and they will do anything in their power to undermine him.
Although the CIA largely shares State's worldview, its contempt for Mr. Chalabi is much more visceral. In the mid-1990s, the CIA organized a ham-handed coup attempt against Saddam. Mr. Chalabi warned them it wouldn't work. He was right and said so publicly. The CIA fumed. Bad blood has existed ever since.
Given the history of acrimony, the smear campaign against Mr. Chalabi was almost inevitable. His enemies at State and CIA are still bitter not just that Mr. Chalabi won the support of the White House he was seated behind Laura Bush at the State of the Union but that his decades-long push to oust Saddam finally succeeded.
In striking Mr. Chalabi, State and CIA are not simply attacking him, but his allies inside the administration and the decision to go to war in the first place.
And that's not unintentional.
State Department diplomats and "intelligence officials" from State and CIA hate the hawks inside the Pentagon the so-called "neocons" almost as much as they do Mr. Chalabi. Luckily for them, they can kill two birds with one smear campaign.
After all, it was the administration hawks primarily based in the Pentagon, though there are others, such as Vice President Dick Cheney and a handful at the State Department that championed Mr. Chalabi from the very beginning of this administration.
"Intelligence officials" leaked to the New York Times last week that there was an investigation centered on "a handful" of officials, most of whom "are at the Pentagon."
The dividing line is very clear: On one side are the president's political appointees; and on the other are careerists who have no loyalty to the commander-in-chief.
To fully appreciate the mutinous sentiment at State, consider that it is a place where its employees feel free to display on desks and doors political cartoons lampooning President Bush. Anecdotally, several State Department officials know of many Foreign Service colleagues who joined antiwar rallies last spring.
The undermining is not merely symbolic, either.
Last spring, State Department officials learned from Pyongyang representatives in New York that North Korea was admitting, for the first time, that it was reprocessing plutonium. And it kept that bombshell a secret, even from the White House, because it didn't want to give administration hawks a reason to cancel upcoming talks something for which State had lobbied very hard.
The insubordination continues to this day. Bureaucrats at State and CIA despite CIA Director George Tenet being the one claiming the case for WMD was a "slam dunk" largely did not support the war. They can no longer win the fight on the decision to go to war, but taking out Mr. Chalabi is the next best thing. It calls into question the motives and justification for the war, and in the process, defends the institutional integrity of both State and CIA.
So far, the White House has not refereed the open revolt in its ranks. This has only emboldened the president's enemies at State and CIA. If there is evidence against Mr. Chalabi, it should be put on the table.
But if not, if this smear campaign is merely a bluff to carry out character assassination, then Mr. Chalabi might not be the only one who unfairly falls from grace.
Joel Mowbray writes occasionally for The Washington Times.
THE IRANIAN HERESY
By AMIR TAHERI
Thomas Friedman: Bin Laden in Every Saudi Home
Repeated terrorist attacks by homegrown al-Qaida operatives on Saudi Arabian oil interests show that a civil war is raging inside the key strategic U.S. ally, the New York Times' Thomas Friedman argued on Sunday.
"You could do a revisionist history of 9/11 that basically describes this as a [Saudi] civil war," Friedman said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "There's a real problem inside Saudi Arabia."
Friedman said that after the 9/11 attacks, while Saudi leaders publicly expressed their regrets, Saudi citizens privately sympathized with Osama bin Laden.
"Right after 9/11, you know, I was in neighboring United Arab Emirates," he recalled. "An Emirates official said to me - he'd just come from a conference in Saudi Arabia - he said, 'Tom, let me tell you something. Bin Laden is in every home in Saudi Arabia.'"
The Times columnist argued that bin Laden struck the U.S. primarily as "a way of undercutting what he saw as the strongest prop of the Saudi ruling family."
He urged President Bush to use the Saudi turmoil to recruit European nations to join the U.S. in helping to stabilize Iraq - telling them:
"'Guys, we've now got a Saudi Arabia that's got a low-grade civil war going on. We have Saudi opposition groups, al-Qaida sympathizers, attacking fortified oil installations. We need to put Iraq - tilt that on the right direction. The last thing we need is two unstable countries there."
Iran Revokes Academic's Death Sentence-Source
By Parisa Hafezi
June 1st 2004
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's hardline judiciary has revoked the death sentence of dissident academic Hashem Aghajari, a verdict which sparked mass student protests in 2002, a judiciary source said on Tuesday.
The source, who declined to be named, confirmed comments by Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Elham to the ISNA students news agency earlier on Tuesday that the Supreme Court had scrapped Aghajari's death sentence.
"Yes, the sentence has been revoked," the source told Reuters.
Reformist history lecturer Aghajari was convicted by a provincial court of blasphemy in late 2002 for saying in a speech that Muslims were not "monkeys" to blindly follow the teachings of senior clerics, comments deemed as a challenge to Iran's clerical establishment.
Aghajari's case was seen by political analysts as a litmus test of the limits of free speech in the Islamic Republic.
The sentence sparked the biggest pro-democracy protests in years and has been roundly criticized by senior clerics who said it was excessive and invited international criticism.
Aghajari's lawyer Saleh Nikbakht told Reuters he had received no official word of the Supreme Court's decision.
He said Aghajari was likely to remain in jail for other convictions, including spreading lies and inciting public opinion -- charges that stemmed from the speech he made in the western province of Hamadan two years ago.
"He is not going to be released immediately because of his other charges," Nikbakht said.
As well as being sentenced to death, Aghajari's original conviction included an eight year jail term, a 10-year teaching ban and banishment to remote desert cities for several years.
Such multiple sentences are common in Iran.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the top figure in Iran's clerical establishment, has twice intervened and called for a review of Aghajari's death sentence.
His latest intervention came last month after a court in Hamadan upheld the death sentence after Aghajari's lawyer appealed.
Khamenei's comments and stern criticism of the sentence by hardline commentators and senior clerics led most legal experts in Iran to deduce that Aghajari's death sentence would eventually be scrapped and replaced with a jail term.
I just have a few questions... Should we liberate the suffering Christians in Sudan from the radical terrorists who are slaughtering them, before we go into Iran?
How many billions would the liberation of Iran cost U.S. taxpayers.. or is money even any issue?
Will this be an actual declared war or will it be another war where pesky Congress is bypassed, or will a 'resolution' be adequate?
And finally, will the heroic UN be begged to 'come in and help set up' an interim world order...err.. i mean interim govt when the dust settles?
Where does the liberation of Cuba and Red China fit in? Do they make the 'liberation list' at all, or do we keep having BBQ's at the ranch with their leader.
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
We have heard about quashing Aghajari death sentence today in Iran.
I think they quashed the death sentence to avoid further political tensions and Students' protests in Iran.
That can be a victory for our Iranian students."
IGC Names Ghazi Al-Yawar as Iraqi President
June 01, 2004
The Financial Times
James Drummond in Baghdad and FT Reporters
Members of the Iraqi Governing Council on Tuesday named Ghazi al-Yawar, a tribal leader originally from northern Iraq, as the country's president.
The announcement followed a morning of confusion in Baghdad. Early reports suggested the Council had named Adnan Pachachi, a veteran liberal politician and former foreign minister, to take the largely ceremonial role, but Mr Pachachi reportedly turned down the offer. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy, later confirmed Mr Yawar's appointment.
The US-led Coalition Provisional Authority had delayed the meeting to announce the new president. Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said on Monday that Mr Yawar, favoured by most members of the council, was being considered because of his tribal connections and his weight in security issues.
Mr Yawar is a leading member of the Shamar tribe, based in northern Iraq. A Sunni Muslim, he was born in Mosul and trained as a civil engineer. Until recently he worked as a businessman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Mr Pachachi, who was thought to be favoured by the US and Mr Brahimi, had experience and the strength of his international contacts on his side, Mr Hakim said.
Clashes rock the City of Arak
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jun 1, 2004
Several workers of Arak Aluminium Industries have been injured and others arrested following the sporadic clashes which rocked, today, this city located near Tehran.
The workers along with members of their families and supporters were attacked by the elite forces of the regime as they intended to rally against their conditions. Clubs, Chains and Tear gas were used against them and they retaliated by setting tires ablaze and throwing pieces of stones against the regime forces.
The situation is very tense and the factory might be in strike from tomorrow morning.
Kerry: Nuclear Terrorism Is Gravest Threat to U.S.
June 01, 2004
The New York Times
WASHINGTON -- Nuclear terrorism is the gravest threat the United States faces, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said on Tuesday as he offered a plan to secure atomic arsenals and materials around the world.
``The enemy is different and we must think and act anew,'' Kerry said in excerpts of remarks prepared for delivery in West Palm Beach, Florida. ``We have to do everything we can to stop a nuclear weapon from ever reaching our shore and that mission begins far away.''
In the second of three speeches on national security, Kerry is expected to propose a new high-level White House job to oversee efforts to prevent a terrorist attack using nuclear weapons and recommend speeding up a current program to secure nuclear material in the former Soviet Union.
``The greatest threat we face today (is) the possibility of al Qaeda or other terrorists getting their hands on a nuclear weapon,'' Kerry said. ``Osama bin Laden has called obtaining a weapon of mass destruction a 'sacred duty.'''
The senator from Massachusetts, a 20-year veteran of the Foreign Relations Committee, also said he wanted to end nuclear programs in countries like Iran and North Korea.
Kerry has criticized President Bush for refusing to hold bilateral negotiations with North Korea. He has said he would adopt a two-track policy of continuing the six-party talks that include Russia, Japan, China and South Korea while also holding direct discussions with Pyongyang.
After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Kerry said Americans needed to ``take away politics, strip away the labels'' and ask honest questions.
``Have we done everything we could to secure these dangerous weapons and materials? Have we taken every step we should to stop North Korea and Iran's nuclear programs? Have we reached out to our allies and forged an urgent global effort to ensure that nuclear weapons and materials are secured?''
``The honest answer, in each of these areas, is that we have done too little, often too late, and even cut back our efforts,'' he said.
A Kerry foreign policy adviser said when Bush came to office he curtailed the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, known as Nunn-Lugar after the two senators -- Democrat Sam Nunn and Republican Richard Lugar -- who created it.
In the past decade, the program has spent $4 billion to help former Soviet states eliminate or secure nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, including the deactivation of more than 6,000 nuclear warheads.
Kerry has supported expanding and accelerating Nunn-Lugar as an important defense against terrorists and rogue states obtaining old Soviet weapons of mass destruction.
``If we secure all bomb-making materials, ensure that no new materials are produced for nuclear weapons, and end nuclear weapons programs in hostile states like North Korea and Iran, we will dramatically reduce the possibility of nuclear terrorism,'' he said.
The presumptive Democratic nominee, who is locked in a tight battle with Bush five months ahead of the Nov. 2 election, has launched an 11-day mini-campaign devoted to national security as the chaos in Iraq and the June 30 handover to an as-yet-unnamed interim government dominates the headlines.
Last week, he outlined four ``imperatives'' -- rebuilding alliances ``shredded'' by Bush's go-it-alone policies, modernizing the U.S. military, using diplomacy, intelligence, economic power and American values to defeat threats and freeing the United States from its ``dangerous dependence on Middle East oil.
Bush and his Republican allies have tried to portray Kerry as an equivocating liberal, soft on defense and weak on fighting terrorism.
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