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Iranian Alert -- June 2, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 6.2.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 06/01/2004 9:01:59 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 American’s 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.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alsadr; armyofmahdi; ayatollah; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; iraq; islamicrepublic; jayshalmahdi; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; moqtadaalsadr; mullahs; persecution; persia; persian; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

1 posted on 06/01/2004 9:02:05 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 06/01/2004 9:04:07 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

More possibly bomb-grade highly enriched uranium found in Iran: IAEA

VIENNA : United Nations nuclear inspectors have found more traces in Iran of highly enriched uranium that could be bomb-grade, the UN atomic energy agency said, ahead of a meeting on US allegations that Tehran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran has also admitted to importing parts for sophisticated P-2 centrifuges, which can enrich uranium to bomb-grade levels, going back on claims that it had made the parts domestically, according to a confidential report by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei, which was obtained by AFP.

And while Iran has insisted its P-2 is a research program, the IAEA said Iran had asked through a European intermediary about the possibility of buying 4,000 special magnets, or enough for 2,000 centrifuges.

Nuclear expert David Albright told AFP from Washington that Iran's "centrifuge story just doesn't hold up".

He said the numbers made it look like Iran rather than doing research was seeking "to go into serial production." Highly enriched uranium (HEU) can be nuclear fuel or the explosive in an atom bomb.

Particles of 36-percent HEU found at Farayand, a new site after IAEA inspectors had last year detected such particles at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, leave the IAEA unable to confirm Iran's claims the contamination was from imported equipment, probably from Pakistan, rather than a sign the Iranians may have been trying to enrich uranium on their own.

"This means they're probably lying about the origin of that 36 percent enriched uranium," a Western diplomat close to the IAEA said.

"Obviously they either imported the enriched uranium from abroad or it originated in their own enrichment," the diplomat said, mentioning that the HEU might be from a Russian research reactor.

The United States renewed accusations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons after the IAEA revelations.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Washington's view was "borne out by the facts."

Iran must clear up these questions about uranium contamination and centrifuges if the international community is to believe Iran's claims its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, the IAEA said ahead of a June 14 meeting of its 35-nation board of governors.

The United States has called for the IAEA, which has been investigating the Iranian program since February 2003 after being alerted to it in August 2002, to refer the Islamic Republic to the UN Security Council for possible international sanctions.

But ElBaradei told a NATO meeting in the Slovak capital Bratislava Tuesday "the jury is still out" on Iran's nuclear program.

He said there was at this time "no evidence that the Iranian program has some military dimension."

Diplomats said the IAEA will not be able to reach a decision on Iran in June since Tehran has delayed inspections and only last month submitted a report on its program which the agency will need months to evaluate.

ElBaradei's report praised the Iranians for "cooperating in providing access to locations in response to agency requests, including workshops situated at military sites."

But the report also said that three workshops in Iran are continuing to produce centrifuge components despite Tehran's claim that it has suspended uranium enrichment and related activities.

Iran has said that it had suspended production of centrifuge components as of April 9 as a confidence-building measure with the international community.

But Iran is determined to resume production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), a feed material for enriching uranium, the report said.

"The Iranians don't seem to be taking suspension seriously," Albright said.

Iran had agreed to the suspension last October in striking an agreement on cooperation with the European big three -- Britain, France and Germany.

Albright said that if Iran "continues to embarrass" these countries by hiding aspects of its program, Tehran may lose their support, and perhaps by December be taken to the Security Council by the IAEA board.

4 posted on 06/01/2004 9:08:28 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

A Pressured Iran Admits Importing Parts for Uranium

AP - World News (via Yahoo)
Jun 1, 2004

KRAKOW - In a reversal, Iran has acknowledged importing parts for advanced centrifuges that can be used to enrich uranium, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said Tuesday in a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press.

The report by the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog agency credited Iran with more nuclear openness but said questions remained about nearly two decades of covert activities first revealed nearly two years ago.

The dossier was issued for the June 14 meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors that has wrestled for more than a year about what to do about what that the United States and its allies say is a weapons program.

Uranium enrichment is one way to make nuclear warheads, although the process can also be used to generate power, depending on the degree of enrichment.

In an interview with The Associated Press before the report was leaked, U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton accused Tehran of engaging in "denial and deception."

"We are convinced that they are pursuing a clandestine program to acquire nuclear weapons," he said.

Bolton, who was at a review conference of the U.S.-launched Proliferation Security Initiative to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, said Washington was determined to have it answer to the U.N. Security Council.

While the report did not appear critical enough of Iran to marshal strong support at the board meeting for such a move, it also was far from the clean bill of health Tehran had hoped for in making a case that the books should be closed on its nuclear activities.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA chief, said earlier Tuesday his agency had not found proof to date of a concrete link between Iran's nuclear activities and its military program, but "it was premature to make a judgment."

Iran has rejected the U.S. allegations, saying its nuclear program is geared only toward generating electricity.

Concerns over Iran's nuclear program mounted after IAEA inspectors found traces of highly enriched uranium at two Iranian sites. Iran said the uranium was already on equipment imported from abroad.

But the report leaked Tuesday noted continued inconsistencies, including different levels of uranium enrichment and varying isotope "fingerprints" — both casting doubt on Tehran's assertion that the traces of enriched uranium were already on equipment it bought second hand from abroad.

Without directly naming Pakistan, the source of the equipment, the report said that that the provider state disputes being the source of all the enriched uranium traces found in Iran — potentially strengthening arguments that Tehran itself enriched uranium, something it denies.

Iran agreed last year, under international pressure, to suspend uranium enrichment and allow intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities, and the report suggested that pledge has been generally met.

But while, "the Agency continues to make progress in gaining a comprehensive understanding of Iran's nuclear program ... a number of issues remain outstanding," the report said. Besides the source of the enriched uranium samples, it said "important information" about Iran's advanced centrifuge program "has frequently required repeated requests, and in some cases continues to involve changing or contradictory information."

One example cited was the reversal of previous denials that it bought centrifuge parts from abroad.

Answering all outstanding questions "is of key importance to the agency's ability to provide the international community with the required assurances about Iran's nuclear activities," it said.

The United States has pushed for Security Council involvement for months, asserting that Iran is in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Bolton said that the United States and its European allies were closing ranks on taking a harder line on Iran.

Bolton said outside the conference that the United States was convinced Iran wants to acquire nuclear arms. "We obviously haven't yet gotten to the bottom of the program."

Key European allies France, Germany and Britain, in particular, have advocated a softer line, arguing that persuasion was less risky than confrontation. But Vienna-based European diplomats have in recent days suggested that — with key questions still unanswered — patience with Iran was wearing thin.

Bolton acknowledged that the June 14 board meeting might still not agree to haul Iran before the Security Council, saying "exactly when and how we get there is still not agreed upon.

But "I think there's a realization that ... we should not allow the Iranians to divide us or divert us."

5 posted on 06/01/2004 9:11:27 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

How can ElBaradei ignore this? He has to notify the Security Council.

6 posted on 06/01/2004 9:13:23 PM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( Azadi baraye Iran)
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran Still Making Nuclear Materials, U.N. Agency Says

Published: June 2, 2004

Nearly two months after pledging to suspend its nuclear program, Iran is continuing to make parts and materials that could be used in the manufacture of nuclear arms, according to a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The report, distributed yesterday to the agency's member nations, deepens the challenge of forcing Iran to give up a program that President Bush has charged is intended to turn the country into a nuclear power.

The Iranians insist that they are seeking to enrich uranium simply to produce commercial nuclear power, but the atomic energy agency's report cites continuing evidence that Iran misled inspectors with many of its early claims, especially on questions about where it obtained critical components.

Iranian officials have now told the agency that some of those parts were purchased abroad, after initially insisting that Iran had made them itself.

Last night a senior administration official in Washington said the questions raised in the agency report ran so deep that there was little chance that Iran could seek to have the inquiry into its nuclear activities closed at the June meeting of the agency in Vienna, as Iranian officials had previously demanded. The Iranians had told several European nations that they planned to suspend their operations "on the way to cessation of producing nuclear materials."

"Not only is there no meaningful suspension," said the administration official, "but there are activities that can only be explained as moving forward to enrichment."

Even so, the report said the agency had found no unambiguous evidence of an Iranian program for making nuclear weapons.

"The jury is out on whether the program has been dedicated exclusively for peaceful purposes or if it has some military dimension," Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said at a NATO meeting yesterday. "We haven't seen concrete proof of a military program, so it's premature to make a judgment on that."

The investigation is part of a continuing effort by the agency to understand the scope of the black-market network set up by Abdul Qadeer Khan, known in Pakistan as the father of its nuclear bomb. Dr. Khan's network also provided technology and parts to North Korea and Libya and is suspected of selling them to other nations.

The atomic energy agency's report, obtained from diplomatic officials, said three workshops in Iran were making centrifuge parts despite Tehran's claim to have suspended uranium enrichment and related activities on April 9. In addition, it says, Iran is preparing to make uranium hexafluoride, the material that is fed into centrifuges to produce enriched uranium.

As the centrifuges spin, they enrich uranium to a purity that is useful for nuclear reactors and, in higher concentrations, for nuclear weapons. The work on centrifuge fuel, said the report, "is at variance with the agency's previous understanding as to the scope of Iran's decision regarding suspension."

The report also said the Iranians had secretly sought to obtain magnets to make at least 4,000 P-2 centrifuges, a second-generation Pakistani model. It is the most advanced centrifuge sold by Dr. Khan's network.

Finally, the report said Iran's explanation for how its earlier P-1 centrifuges became contaminated with highly enriched uranium appeared to be false. The Iranians said the contamination had been on the equipment when it arrived from abroad. Investigators have said the centrifuges came from Pakistan.

The report says that explanation now appears less believable. Western diplomats interviewed yesterday said the probable source of the contamination would turn out to be either the nuclear black market or Iran's own enriching of uranium into highly concentrated forms suitable for making atomic bombs.

The findings raise the level of suspicion surrounding the Iranian nuclear program and seem likely to bring new diplomatic pressure to bear on the Islamic republic, possibly climaxing in a confrontation with the agency's board later this month.

The agency could judge Iran in violation of nuclear nonproliferation accords and send the case to the United Nations Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

The findings also bolster the Bush administration, which has long charged that Iran, in part openly and in part secretly, has been building a sprawling complex to make nuclear warheads. New evidence that Iran may still be hiding crucial elements of its nuclear program prompted a sharp response yesterday from the Bush administration.

David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a nonpartisan arms control group in Washington, said: "We're seeing more holes in the Iranian story. They give the strong impression that they're not telling you everything."

The agency's report was distributed to the agency's board, which is to meet this month to review Iran's nuclear status, among other issues. Based in Vienna, the agency is an arm of the United Nations that acts as a global inspector to make sure that nations live up to their pledges to pursue only peaceful nuclear programs.

The report noted that Iran declared its suspension of production of centrifuge parts as of April 9. While able to confirm the suspension at three workshops, the agency found three others, all belonging to private companies, that have continued to operate. The companies say they have not been compensated by Iran's own atomic energy organization, and thus cannot stop producing.

The uranium hexafluoride for the centrifuges, the report said, is to be made "in the near future." It added that Iran said its "voluntary suspension of enrichment activities" did not include that material, whose production is a key step in making fuel for atom bombs and nuclear reactors.

The report said Iran now admitted having imported magnets for the advanced P-2 centrifuges, despite having previously said it had obtained none of them or their parts from abroad and insisting that it had made them domestically.

It said Iran had imported some magnets from Asia and inquired about buying 4,000 magnets for P-2 centrifuges, apparently from European suppliers. China was a major source of such magnets for Pakistan in the mid-1990's, leading to a major conflict with the United States, but it is unclear what Asian nation may have been involved in the Iranian deal.

The report also said Iran delayed for a month, until mid-April, letting agency inspectors check locations where the P-2 centrifuges were housed, resulting in delayed sampling for nuclear clues.

The report's discussion of the mysterious origins of the highly enriched uranium centered on samples that contained 36 percent of the rare uranium-235 isotope, which, in bombs and reactors, easily splits in two to produce bursts of atomic energy.

That level of purity is short of the 90 percent preferred for most nuclear bomb designs, but much greater than that needed for most nuclear reactors.

Last year, the discovery of the samples set off international alarm bells, raising questions about Iran's overall nuclear objectives and where the material had originated.

Earlier this year inspectors found evidence that some of the highly enriched uranium found in Iran might have come from Russia, where 36 percent enrichment is used in certain submarine engines and research reactors.

The report said "only negligible traces" of highly enriched uranium had been found on imported parts, in contrast to Iranian-made ones.

"They've ruled out the Iranian side of the story," said a Western diplomat. "It shows they imported the nuclear material, or did it themselves. This could have implications for the black market."

William J. Broad reported from New York for this article, and David E. Sanger from Palo Alto, Calif.

7 posted on 06/01/2004 9:13:23 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Report casts doubt on Iran's nuclear claims

By Mark Huband, Security Correspondent, in London
Published: June 2 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: June 2 2004 5:00

Nuclear inspectors have cast doubt on Iran's claim that components found at sites in the country were contaminated by enriched uranium before being imported, raising the suspicion that Iran's enrichment programme may have been more widespread than it previously admitted.

The inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, have also questioned why Iran had placed large orders to import magnets for use in centrifuges that could enrich uranium when it had previously said the components were produced at a factory in Iran.

The concerns are expressed in a confidential IAEA report which will be discussed by its governors on June 14.

The US has accused Iran of developing a nuclear weapons programme, though Tehran has insisted its programme is for civil use.

Last October, Iran agreed to suspend all uranium enrichment and open its facilities to intrusive inspections by the IAEA.

During the inspections, IAEA officials found traces of high- and low-enriched uranium contamination at several sites. Iran initially said it had been caused by contamination in the country - widely acknowledged to be Pakistan - from which it said it had obtained the components.

However, a diplomat close to the inspections said that this explanation was increasingly difficult to believe. The diplomat said the contamination was concentrated "in clusters on domestically-produced equipment" and that the levels of contamination were uneven.

"Had the equipment been imported, there would have been even contamination," the diplomat said.

The IAEA is considering the possibility that Iran either imported highly enriched uranium, or produced it domestically.

The report says the information provided by Iran on this issue is unlikely to "contribute further to the resolution of the contamination issue unless more information becomes available about the origin of the components".

Pakistan, from where Iran has said it received assistance in its nuclear programme through the activities of the scientist AQ Khan, has refused to allow the IAEA to seek to match the uranium traces found in Iran with uranium produced in Pakistan.

Until these tests are carried out, the suspicion will remain that Iran enriched the uranium itself.

The report also raises the issue of whether Iran had planned to develop a much larger nuclear enrichment programme than was first thought. It states that Iranian officials now say they had ordered 4,000 magnets for use in the centrifuges for uranium enrichment, and had planned to buy at least 4,000 more through a European intermediary.

Iran originally said its centrifuges were used in research, but the scale of the orders has undermined this claim, diplomats say.

"It is of concern. If you're ordering 4,000 magnets it suggests an active programme," said a diplomat.

The IAEA has now asked Iran to explain how such large-scale procurement fits with the small-scale research programme Tehran previously said it was carrying out.

8 posted on 06/01/2004 9:14:22 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: All

Iranians Face Crackdown on 'Immoral' Behavior

Tue Jun 1, 2004

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran's feared morals police have launched a crackdown on "social corruption" such as women flouting Islamic dress codes, newspapers reported Tuesday, in what analysts said may reflect a changing political climate.

"A serious fight has started to tackle the spread of social corruption in society, especially the improper dress code," Tehran's Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi was quoted by Seda-ye Edalat newspaper as saying.

Enforcement of strict moral codes governing women's dress, Western music and mingling of the sexes has become more lax since President Mohammad Khatami's election in 1997 on a platform of social and political reform.

Emboldened young women have steadily tested the barriers of permissible attire, wearing gradually more colorful, tighter and more revealing coats and scarves and more obvious make-up.

Many young couples in the capital even dare to hold hands in public, in defiance of Islamic rules which prohibit physical contact between unrelated members of the opposite sex.

Religious hard-liners accuse Khatami of encouraging what they deem "immoral behavior" by Iran's youth.

Islamic conservatives who swept aside reformists in a February parliamentary vote Khatami's allies called a "sham," have said they do not intend to roll back social freedoms.

But analysts said the conservatives must play a delicate balancing act between upsetting their loyal supporters and provoking unrest by taking a tough line on social offences.

"This (crackdown) is a display of their power," said one political analyst who declined to be named. "The conservatives have to satisfy the people who elected them."

Tehran residents have noted an upsurge in arrests for "immoral behavior" in recent weeks.

Islamic volunteers and morals police have stepped up raids on illegal house parties where young people meet to drink alcohol and dance to Western music -- both illegal since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

And along Tehran's Jordan Avenue -- a popular place for young Iranians to cruise in their cars at night -- plain-clothes security men have been stopping cars and arresting occupants for a variety of offences.

"My car was confiscated for three months because they found illegal music cassettes and my girlfriend was in the car," said Arshia, a 32-year-old architect.

9 posted on 06/01/2004 10:19:07 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn

Chalabi Told Iran U.S. Had Broken Codes, Report Says

Tue Jun 1, 2004 11:44 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. ally Ahmad Chalabi told Iran that the United States had broken secret communication codes used by Tehran's spy service, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The paper quoted unnamed U.S. intelligence officials as saying Chalabi, an anti-Saddam Hussein Iraqi exile who has now fallen out with Washington, had betrayed "one of Washington's most valuable sources of information about Iran."

It was widely reported last month, after the Bush administration cut off funding for Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, that Chalabi had provided Iran with American secrets.

But the report published by the New York Times on its Web site on Tuesday gave new details.

The paper said the Bush administration had asked it and other news organizations to delay publication of the specifics, citing national security concerns. But the administration withdrew the request on Tuesday, the Times said.

"American officials said that about six weeks ago, Chalabi told the Baghdad station chief of Iran's ministry of intelligence and security that the United States was reading the communications traffic of the Iranian spy service," The Times said.

It said the Iranian official in Baghdad then sent a cable to Tehran, using the broken code and describing his conversation with Chalabi.

"That encrypted cable, intercepted and read by the United States, tipped off American officials to the fact that Chalabi had betrayed the code-breaking operation," the paper said.

It said that according to the cable, Chalabi had received the information about the code from a "drunk" American.

The paper said the FBI was trying to establish exactly what information Chalabi had given to the Iranians and who told him that the code had been broken.

In interviews on U.S. television in recent days, Chalabi has denied passing secrets to Iran.

10 posted on 06/01/2004 10:37:47 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Inspectors find signs in Iran of advanced nuclear program

Palm Beach Post ^ | June 2, 2004 | LATimes
Posted on 06/01/2004 10:35:24 PM PDT by FairOpinion

WASHINGTON -- International inspectors have found new evidence that Iran engaged in a more ambitious program than it had admitted to develop advanced machines for producing material that could be used in nuclear weapons, according to a report obtained Tuesday.

Discoveries by the International Atomic Energy Agency contradicted previous claims by Iran that its scientists had made little attempt to manufacture sophisticated Pakistani-designed P-2 centrifuges.

Agency inspectors also found traces of weapons-grade uranium that indicated Iran imported nuclear-related components from a country other than Pakistan or has made more progress than previously known in developing its own ability to produce material capable of being used in nuclear weapons.


11 posted on 06/01/2004 10:40:13 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iraq & Militant Islam
Saddam’s al Qaeda links were a worthy rationale for toppling his regime.

National Review Online
June 01, 2004, 8:21 a.m.

“We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." — President George W. Bush, September 20, 2001

Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime indisputably harbored terrorists and supported terrorism. Under the Bush Doctrine that won resounding bipartisan assent in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, and that remains as worthy today as it was back then, that should have been more than enough to justify deposing Saddam, even if there had not been ample evidence of — and decisive consensus about — his intentions and wherewithal regarding weapons of mass destruction.


Yet, although there should be few, if any, matters more important to national security than boring into the linkage between Iraq and militant Islamic terror, the very idea of linkage has been discredited. Thanks to a withering campaign waged by ideological opponents of U.S. military operations against Iraq — led by the mainstream media, partisans such as former Clinton counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, and disgruntled factions of the so-called intelligence community whose anonymous carping to sympathetic journalists has now reached a fever pitch — conventional wisdom now holds that secular Saddam could not conceivably have collaborated with Osama bin Laden's jihadist network.

It is, however, pigheaded blindness masquerading as wisdom. There are abundant strands of connection. It is, moreover, breathtakingly irresponsible for the press generally, and for an intelligence community purportedly dedicated to securing America from further attacks, to be ignoring or dismissing countless salient questions, rather than moving heaven and earth to answer them. There is good reason to think we have convicted several terrorists in this country on less proof than already exists regarding Saddam's Iraq. What's more, these linkage questions are not going away.

That is largely because some praiseworthy journalism is not going to let them. Most significant is the assiduous detective work of The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes, who has been investigating and writing about the links for months. Hayes's new book, The Connection, is being released today. It comprehensively lays out a mosaic of operational ties, and questions that Americans, far from brushing aside, should be demanding answers to. Further, the Wall Street Journal is on the case with vital new information, as are other investigative journalists such as Edward Jay Epstein. The issues they are raising may ultimately shape the legacy of the Iraq war, illustrating, in a way the Bush administration has abysmally failed to, that overthrowing Saddam's regime was a logical and worthy progression in the war against militant Islam.


Of the utmost urgency are indications, continuing to emerge, that Iraq forged operational ties with al Qaeda, sought to conduct terrorist attacks against the United States, and may in fact have had a hand in the 9/11 attacks. The focus of this evidence is the Iraqi Intelligence Service and its apparent ties with not one but at least three leaders of the suicide hijacking plot: Mohammed Atta, Khalid al-Midhar, and Nawaf al-Hazmi.

The Atta connection has been downplayed for months by the mainstream media, which has used a simple tactic, found on page one of the defense-lawyer playbook, that has repeatedly served the Iraq/Qaeda naysayers: viz., cull from an entire subject of investigation one isolated piece of equivocal evidence, suggest that this piece is representative of the entire subject, and thus debunk the subject just because the piece is not a 100-percent lock. Of course, if this facile method of determining truth were followed in law enforcement or intelligence circles, most crime would never be solved and most threats would never be identified. Happily, that is not the case, but the approach, regrettably, plays effectively in the bumper-sticker-talking-points worlds of television news and ideology-driven "reporting."

In the instant case, the subject is whether Mohammed Atta had terrorist ties to the Iraqi regime, and the isolated piece of evidence concerns the narrow question whether Atta actually had a meeting in Prague on April 8, 2001 (i.e., a mere seven months before the 9/11 attacks), with an Iraqi intelligence officer named Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. As recently as last week, Newsweek — in its gleeful piece about Ahmed Chalabi's seeming fall from grace (presented, naturally, as a straight news story) — summarily pronounced that although Chalabi had "hyped a story, often cited by the neocons, about" the secret Prague meeting, "[a]fter months of investigation, the CIA and FBI determined that the meeting had never taken place."

Not so fast. First of all, much as Newsweek would clearly like it to be the case, Chalabi is not remotely the source of information about Atta's alarming activities in Prague. More to the point, the CIA and FBI have not concluded that the meeting did not take place. Far from it. Indeed, the most that can be said is that (a) they are unable to say with certainty that the meeting happened, and (b) because they have some hotel and banking records showing that Atta was in the U.S. during parts of April 2001, but have unearthed no records showing Atta traveled overseas during that time frame, some investigators infer that the meeting probably did not happen.

In point of fact, however, there is a powerful circumstantial case — which has grown only stronger — that the meeting not only did happen but must have involved anti-American terrorism. Further, the agencies cannot account for Atta's whereabouts day-by-day. Not only would they have to be able to do this to disprove the meeting, but the holes in their reconstruction of Atta's movements actually bolster the likelihood that he journeyed to Prague at the critical time. Substantial credit for our knowledge of all this must go to Edward Jay Epstein, who has closely followed the investigation since its inception.

A little background. The skepticism about the Prague meeting owes to some misunderstandings and some energetic efforts to cast doubt on it. The commonly accepted version of events is this: a witness on the outskirts of Prague happened to see al-Ani, the Iraqi agent, meeting with a young Arabic-looking male on April 8, 2001; the thin reed for claiming this Arabic male and Atta are one and the same is this witness, whose identification, made only after Atta's picture became a staple of sensational news coverage after 9/11, is thus highly suspect; the Czechs, so the story goes, came ultimately to doubt the veracity of the identification; the witness recanted it; and finally, according to James Risen of the New York Times (which, of course, is obsessively opposed to American military action in Iraq), Czech President Vaclav Havel called President Bush to inform the U.S. that, on further consideration, the meeting had not happened. But there is far more to the story, the Czechs have not walked away from the identification, the witness has not recanted, and Havel's spokesman has expressly stated that the Times reporting was "a fabrication." (See Epstein's report here.)

To begin with, by April 2001, the Czechs had profound reason to be worried about al-Ani and any Arabs he might meet with (more on that momentarily). The Czech Republic, though, does not have the vast resources of the U.S. government; it is not as feasible for the Czechs to commit the numerous police it would take to do round-the-clock surveillance on most investigative subjects. Thus, they take the more economical step of employing "watchers" — civilians stationed at obvious places like restaurants and hotels — who make observations and report them to government handlers. It was one of these watchers who observed al-Ani's meeting with the young Arabic male on April 8, 2001.

Experts and defense counsel will tell you that eyewitness-identification evidence is notoriously suspect. And they have a point if we are talking about, say, a lay witness who has the misfortune of being at a bank when it is robbed and gets a fleeting glimpse of the robber he is then asked to identify weeks or months later. As any experienced investigator will counter, however, there is a vast difference between the reliability of an untrained layperson in such circumstances and that of an agent or covert operative whose very job is to make and retain observations. In this instance, the "watcher" is far more analogous to a government agent than an untrained lay person, and thus the identification would be entitled to far more weight even if there weren't abundant other reasons to believe the Arabic male was Atta.

But there are. As Epstein has recently reported, Czech intelligence ultimately conducted a surreptitious search at the Iraqi embassy that turned up al-Ani's appointment calendar. It indicated that the person he had a scheduled meeting with on that day was a "Hamburg student." As is by now well known, Atta led al Qaeda's Hamburg cell in Germany, and he was for a time enrolled as a student at Hamburg-Harburg Technical University. Significantly, moreover, it turns out that Atta had prior contacts with the Czech Republic, and had in 2000 — right as he was about to head to the U.S. to execute the 9/11 plot — obtained a Czech visa, on the application for which he identified himself as a "Hamburg student."

Furthermore, the U.S. cannot account for Atta's whereabouts on April 8, 2001. What is known, Epstein reports, is that on April 4, 2001, Atta checked out of the Diplomat Inn in Virginia Beach. He was not seen again by any American witness for a week. In addition, whatever he was doing at that point — like, say, traveling overseas — must have required funding because, on April 4, he cashed a check for $8,000 from a SunTrust account, according to the FBI. Access to cash, of course, would make travel expenditures less traceable.

On that score, contrary to what one would glean from the Newsweek and Times accounts, Epstein reports that as recently as February 24, 2004, CIA Director George Tenet acknowledged in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CIA had not discounted the Prague meeting. That concession echoes Tenet's testimony on June 18, 2002, during which, regarding the Prague meeting, he stated that it was "possible that Atta traveled under an unknown alias since we have been unable to establish that Atta left the US or entered Europe in April 2001 under his true name or any known aliases." In the interim, as Epstein notes, we now know not only of the "Hamburg student" entry in al-Ani's calendar but also of the investigation by Spanish intelligence, which determined that both Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh (his al Qaeda Hamburg-cell associate) acquired false passports from a pair of Algerians named Khaled Madani and Moussa Laoua. And, it must be observed, nothing says these were the cell's only sources for phony travel documents.

Remember now: We are talking about national security, which involves protecting American lives; we are not talking about building a criminal indictment so to bring the dear departed Saddam regime and Atta to court. Even if there were absolutely no other evidence of the Prague meeting than the Czech eyewitness identification corroborated by the appointment calendar, the inability to account for Atta's whereabouts on April 8, and the means he appears to have had to travel, that would be reason enough, for national-security purposes, to assume an Iraqi tie to Atta. This is a critical point, crossing into the worldview of counterterrorism Clinton-style — i.e., the so-called "law enforcement approach" to terrorism that Senator Kerry has suggested he would revive if he were elected, and that, maddeningly, remains the sclerotic mindset in swaths of our intelligence community.

In the criminal-justice system, when we are investigating even serious crimes that vex the body politic but that do not realistically threaten national security, it is all well and good to presume innocence and not take enforcement action until a particular quantum of criminal evidence has been amassed — "probable cause" for an arrest or search, "beyond a reasonable doubt" for conviction at trial. National security is vitally different. It is not about securing convictions but rather the survival of the system — the country — itself. It cannot afford to wait to take preventive action, or make assumptions about innocence, until evidence needed to convict in court has been amassed.

If we are to be meaningfully protected, once enough evidence has emerged to give ground for rational concern, we need to assume guilt until we are satisfied otherwise. In this instance, for over a dozen years up until Saddam's overthrow, Iraq was our enemy (and, to be sure, still is in some quadrants). If there is a colorable chance that it collaborated with Mohammed Atta, it is recklessly irresponsible to ignore that possibility until surer evidence develops; the duty of those charged with protecting national security is to get to the bottom of it, and not rest until they have done so.

But even if we leave that aside and put our law-enforcement hats back on, there is considerable other evidence that Atta, an important member of al Qaeda, had operational ties to Saddam's regime, ties that mortally imperiled American interests. These trace back to 2000 — at the very time Atta was about to enter the U.S. for the fateful 9/11 plan — and dovetail with a then-ongoing plot to bomb a distinctly American target: Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Prague.

As Epstein, upon meeting with Czech intelligence officials, reported in Slate in late 2003, al-Ani was not the only Iraqi intelligence operative in Prague to have been the cause of enormous U.S. concern. There was also his predecessor at the Iraq embassy, Jabir Salim. Salim defected at the end of 1998, and is said to have provided information to the Czechs and British intelligence that Saddam's regime supplied him with $150,000 to support a plot to bomb RFE. Salim's task was to recruit Islamic militants to carry out the attack — a sensible plan if Saddam did not want the attack traced to him, since segments of the American intelligence community, we have seen, could be relied on to cast knee-jerk doubt on the notion that secular Baathists and religiously motivated terrorists would ever conspire together.


Such a plot would expose the fantasy world inhabited by Richard Clarke, in which it is said that, after the attempt to murder President George H. W. Bush in Kuwait in 1993, so intimidated was Saddam by President Clinton's forceful response that he stopped taking aggressive action against the U.S. Of course, Clinton's response was not at all forceful — a feckless strike on a Baghdad building that housed Iraq's intelligence service but was intentionally hit while it was relatively empty. Clarke, further, has never quite gotten around to explaining how it was that the purportedly chastened Saddam continued for years after 1993 shooting at U.S. and British planes in the no-fly zone, gaming and finally expelling U.N. weapons inspectors from his country, and, as recent federal prosecutions indicate, stationing his intelligence operatives inside the U.S. to threaten Iraqi defectors. Those oversights, however, would pale next to a plot to destroy RFE circa 1998-2000 — i.e., the very time when Clarke served as counter-terrorism czar.

To be sure, that is an unfair dig unless there really was, at the time, an RFE plot. But not only was there one, it was well-known to U.S. intelligence. U.S. knowledge is plain from the State Department's report, "Global Patterns of Terrorism 2000." Immediately after somewhat misleadingly asserting, as Clarke frequently does, that Saddam's regime had "not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack since its failed plot to assassinate former President Bush in 1993 in Kuwait" (italics mine), the report goes on sketchily to note what the intelligence community believed Saddam was conspiring to do:

Czech police continued to provide protection to the Prague office of the US Government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which produces Radio Free Iraq programs and employs expatriate journalists. The police presence was augmented in 1999, following reports that the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) might retaliate against RFE/RL for broadcasts critical of the Iraqi regime.

(Italics mine.)

Thanks to Epstein, we now know much more about those "reports." Salim's information about Saddam's plans caused the Czechs and the U.S. to want al-Ani closely watched when he came to Prague as Salim's replacement in 1999. Al-Ani, it turned out, only exacerbated these fears: The Czech intelligence coordinator told Epstein that al-Ani was observed photographing RFE headquarters. Given that, and knowing that Salim's instructions had been to recruit an Islamic militant, the Czechs would obviously have been deeply concerned about any meeting between al-Ani and an Arabic male. It is thus no surprise that watchers would have been assigned, and no coincidence that a report of such a meeting, on April 8, 2001, would generate such interest. That interest turned to full-blown anxiety because the Czechs quickly lost track of this Arabic male (which would make sense if the male was Atta, since we know he was in the U.S. as of April 11). Consequently, the Czechs did at least three things: they informed their counterparts in the American intelligence community, they stepped up surveillance to protect RFE headquarters in Prague (as the State Department report observes), and, within two weeks of the April 8 meeting, they expelled al-Ani.

Okay, so granted: We understood Saddam was willing to conspire with militants to blow up an American target; we were manifestly worried about al-Ani meeting with Arab males who might be terrorists; and al-Ani met with an Arabic male whom a presumptively reliable witness has identified as Atta, under circumstances where al-Ani was evidently planning to meet on April 8 with a "Hamburg student," which Atta was. Not bad, but can we really be sure it was Atta? And even if it was, how can we be sure it wasn't just one of those chance encounters between an Iraqi intelligence officer looking to strike an American target and an al Qaeda terrorist hoping to destroy the World Trade Center.

Maybe we can know it because it wasn't the first time. That's right: Atta and al-Ani had almost certainly met before, and, not surprisingly, under highly suspicious circumstances. It is incontestable that Atta made at least two trips to Prague immediately before relocating to the U.S. to carry out the 9/11 plot. On May 26, 2000, he applied in Bonn for a visa to travel to the Czech Republic. This necessarily means he had business there; if he had merely sought to change planes in a Czech airport en route to some other country, he could have done so without a visa.

It also appears his business there was urgent and needed to be conducted on May 30, 2000. Why? Atta was told in Bonn that his visa to enter the Czech Republic would not be ready until May 31, but he went anyway. That is, he flew from Germany to the Prague International Airport on May 30, where, as Epstein reports, he would not have been permitted to go beyond the transit lounge. Six hours after arriving, he flew back to Germany. Did he visit with the Iraqi intelligence operative, al-Ani? Well, no one reported seeing him do so, but he was obviously there to conduct business so important it could not wait even until the next day. And he clearly did not want to be observed conducting that business: although all but a small area of the transit lounge was under video surveillance, Atta somehow managed to elude the cameras for all but a few minutes of his stay — indicating that he was either remarkably lucky or he was meeting with someone who knew the weaknesses in the surveillance system.

Nor is that all. Atta returned to Prague, by bus, only three days later, on June 2, 2000. This time, the visa having been issued, he was permitted to enter the country. His whereabouts for about twenty hours in the Czech Republic are unknown. What is known, though, is that at the end of that time he flew from Prague to the United States. In addition, as Epstein reports, it was shortly after Atta entered the U.S. that large amounts of laundered funds began flowing to the 9/11 conspiracy.

What is going on here? Is it possible that al-Ani and Atta were meeting in 2000 and 2001 about the 9/11 plot? Is it possible that al-Ani, knowing that the RFE plot had undoubtedly been compromised by his defector-predecessor, Salim, was brazenly photographing RFE headquarters as a ruse to make the U.S. think RFE was the real target? Is it possible that Saddam was not only in the 9/11 plot but in it as early as May 2000?

Probably not — but only because I'd put the time at least five months earlier. That brings us to Atta's fellow hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar, and Nawaf al-Hazmi, who piloted Flight 77 into the Pentagon on the morning of September 11. Their mission, it turns out, was the culmination of planning that had begun half a world away in January 2000.


Specifically, as the 9/11 Commission staff has reported, in late December 1999, the U.S. learned through signals intelligence that two likely Qaeda operatives — "Nawaf," who was in Pakistan, and "Khalid," who was in Yemen — were making plans to meet in Malaysia after departing from their respective destinations on January 2. Concerned, CIA sprung into action, such that by the time they arrived at Kuala Lampur's international airport on January 5, Khalid had already been identified as al-Midhar and his Saudi passport, showing a visa permitting entry into the U.S., had already been photocopied (although a series of missteps had resulted in the failure to identify Nawaf as al-Hazmi and to learn that he, too, had a visa to enter the U.S. — issued in Jeddah at the same time as al-Midhar's). CIA headquarters notified officials that same day of the "need to continue the effort to identify these travelers and their determine if there is any true threat posed."

The commission's report does not discuss what happened at the airport. That, though, has been extensively investigated and recounted for months by The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes (See "Dick Cheney Was Right"), coverage that has culminated this week in both the publication of his book on Iraq/Qaeda links and some new reporting. The two eventual hijackers were in fact met by a Malaysian Airlines "greeter" — a functionary whose job is to "[meet] VIPs upon arrival and accompan[y] them through the sometimes onerous procedures of foreign travel." This greeter turned out to be a highly unusual one. For starters, he was not Malaysian; he was an Iraqi named Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. Moreover, he got the job in August 1999 not through Malaysian Airlines but through the intercession of the Iraqi embassy, which had him start that autumn and which controlled his work schedule. Coincidence? I don't think so. As both Hayes and the Wall Street Journal have recently reported, the Defense Department has acknowledged recovering, since toppling Saddam, at least three rosters of his elite paramilitary force, the Fedayeen. These have now been authenticated and translated, and they identify a Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Hikmat Shakir.

Although a greeter's job is generally concluded once the passengers have been cleared through Customs to enter the country, Shakir turns out to have been especially accommodating to al-Midhar and al-Hazmi. As Hayes reports, he not only saw them through the airport but further jumped into their car and accompanied them to the Kuala Lampur Hotel. The extent of Shakir's participation in what went on thereafter is unknown. What is known, however, is that other attendees at this crucial confab included Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Tawfiq bin Atash (aka "Khallad"). The aforementioned bin al-Shibh was, of course, the fellow Hamburg cell and 9/11 confederate of none other than Mohammed Atta. Atash is the reputed architect of the October 2000 bombing in Yemen of the U.S.S. Cole (which killed 17 U.S. sailors).

The timing of the Kuala Lampur meeting, and the presence of Atash and bin al-Shibh together with two of the 9/11 hijackers and, apparently, an officer of Saddam's Fedayeen are significant. The Cole attack was not the first effort to bomb an American destroyer docked in Yemen; that had actually occurred on January 2, 2000, (just three days before this Malaysia conference) against the U.S.S. The Sullivans. On that prior attempt, the attack boat had sunk from the weight of the explosives, but most of the weaponry was recovered, so as Atash traveled from Yemen to Kuala Lampur that week to meet with the eventual hijackers, he knew there had just been a near-miss (like several other al Qaeda near misses during that Millennium timeframe), but that there would be another attempt to attack a vessel in the near future. Furthermore, Atash and bin al-Shibh are believed to have teamed up on other terror initiatives, including an unsuccessful scheme to sink U.S. and British ships in the Strait of Gibraltar. To put it mildly, this is interesting company indeed for Shakir to have kept.

After meeting in Malaysia for a few days, on January 8, al-Midhar and al-Hazmi traveled to Bangkok together with Atash. They were there for a week, during which, the 9/11 Commission Staff reports, Atash received funds from al Qaeda sources, some of which were given to al-Midhar and al-Hazmi, who then flew to Los Angeles on January 15 to begin their in-country 9/11 preparations. Meanwhile, Hayes recounts that after the Malaysia meeting, Shakir showed up for work at the airport for two days (January 9 and 10) and then never again. Evidently, whatever the purpose of his posting there by Iraq was, it had been accomplished.

If that alone were the end of the Shakir story, it would be more than enough to raise deep suspicions. Indeed, is there a judge in America who would not have issued a warrant for Shakir's arrest post-9/11 on just the information heretofore described? But that's not all there is. Not by a long shot.

As Hayes has detailed, Shakir in fact was arrested just six days after the 9/11 attacks — not in the U.S. but in Qatar, where he happened somehow to have gotten a government job (in Qatar's ministry of religious development). Shakir, it seems, was of interest not only because of Kuala Lampur but because of telephone records tying him to a New Jersey location used in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His arrest produced a trove of intelligence, including his possession of contact information for: Zahid Sheikh Mohammed and Ammar al Baluchi, respectively the brother and nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Ibrahim Suleiman, a Kuwaiti whose fingerprints were found on bomb-making manuals during the 1993 WTC investigation; and Musab Yasin, a fugitive suspected of the 1993 WTC bombing, who fled to Baghdad where he was harbored and given financial support by Saddam's regime (and whose brother, Abdul Rahman Yasin, was actually convicted for the bombing).

Shakir also had contact information for an outfit called "Taba Investments." Taba is a well-known al Qaeda front for another Iraqi named Mahmdouh Mahmud Salim (a.k.a. Abu Hajer al Iraqi). Salim, one of the formative figures of al Qaeda and among Osama bin Laden's closest advisers, was actually in a federal prison in the U.S. by the time Shakir was arrested. He had been indicted for the 1998 embassy bombings. He hadn't, however, been tried with his co-defendants because he had complicated matters by plunging a shiv through the eye of a prison guard (who survived but suffered brain damage) during an escape attempt. Last month, Salim was sentenced to 32 years' imprisonment for maiming the corrections officer.

Despite all this information, the Qatari government opted to release Shakir. He tried to flee to Iraq, but was intercepted in Jordan. There he was held for three months without charge (naturally, prompting shrieks from Amnesty International). Hayes reports that the Jordanians permitted Shakir to be interviewed during that time by the CIA, which concluded that he was well-schooled in counter-interrogation techniques. After intense pressure from Saddam's regime, Shakir was finally released in late January 2002. The motivation for letting him go, according to Hayes, was Jordanians' belief — as to which, it is said, they convinced the CIA — that Shakir might be used as a double-agent against Iraq (a strange calculation given that he had evidently been uncooperative during lengthy interrogation). In any event, Shakir is believed to have returned immediately to Baghdad; his current whereabouts are unknown.

Could there be satisfactory, exculpatory explanations here? Sure. Mohammed Atta may never have me an Iraqi intelligence officer — perhaps he made those furtive mid-2000 trips to Prague, in the middle of preparing to enter America for the 9/11 plot, in order to meet someone else besides an Iraqi agent caught up in an apparent conspiracy to blow up an American target; perhaps, the watcher who saw him meet al-Ani on April 8, 2001 — during the time when no other witness can account for Atta's whereabouts — is mistaken, and poor al-Ani should never have been expelled by the Czechs, and the State Department should never have talked about Iraq potentially plotting to bomb RFE in its 2000 report.

Maybe the Ahmed Hikmat Shakir who the CIA thought had counter-interrogation training and who Saddam's regime was anxious to bring home from post-9/11 captivity in Jordan is not the person of the same name who just happens to have been a high-ranking Fedayeen officer. And even if he is the same person, maybe he's just one of those friendly Fedayeens who happened to like militants — keeping up contacts with the very highest levels of al Qaeda, offering rides to secret meetings in the midst of multiple terrorist plots, and quitting the country once they left town.


Maybe all of this is just one big misunderstanding. But should we really be doing contortions to see it that way? Just on the basis of what is known about the RFE conspiracy, is it responsible for the media or current and former public officials to be publicly announcing with certainty that Saddam had nothing to do with anti-American terrorism? I don't pretend to have the answers, but it sure looks to me like Saddam was in cahoots with al Qaeda and that his regime may well have rendered assistance — probably very substantial assistance — to the 9/11 plot. Is there a better explanation than that for Prague and for Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, especially taken together? And if not, what more responsible thing could President Bush possibly have done than taken the war that had been declared against us straight to Butcher of Baghdad?

This last is the most curious question of all. Plainly, there is a case to be made that Saddam was, at the very least, an aider and abettor of a militant Islamic terror network that we have been at war with for over two years. If he was, then that was at least as good a rationale as fears about WMD for toppling him militarily. Why, then, has the administration, besieged by peals of thunderous criticism about the Iraq venture, failed to make the case?

It is hard to say. It could be that the country's fervor for the summoning rhetoric of the Bush Doctrine is not matched by true conviction about what it literally commands. Iraq is hardly the only state sponsor of terrorism — Iran and Syria come instantly to mind, and the jury is still out on whether the Saudis (who say all the right things and fund all the wrong things) are friend or foe. The administration must thus ask: Do we really want to posit that evidence of terror ties is sufficient cause for us to launch military operations? Plainly, it is a far easier thing to heed the Bush Doctrine as a matter of hortatory aspiration than to execute it — which would involve explaining to an already weary country, through the din of an anti-war press, that Iraq is far from the last stop on the long march. Yet, when the case for war is argued as a "links with al Qaeda" test, it immediately implicates uncomfortable matters of policy: What's the principled reason for not having invaded Iran? Do we have a sufficiently robust military to execute the Bush Doctrine? Do we have the budget to carry it out? Do we have the will?

Another factor, palpably, is national mindset. Much of the government and the media continue to think of terrorism as a criminal-justice issue. The evidence outlined above raises grave concerns, but if courtroom standards are to be applied and the defendant, Iraq, is presumed innocent, our mission too readily slips into a need to tighten up the proof, rather than an imperative to act despite many questions unanswered (and some perhaps unanswerable). It is all well and good to say that national security cannot wait for proof beyond a reasonable doubt (just as it is all well and good to announce the Bush Doctrine); but it is quite another thing to arouse the political will toward urgent action as time passes without a domestic attack, as we get more distant from 9/11 and its fervor, and as the strands connecting state sponsors to terrorism — no matter how real they may be — come to be seen as too attenuated to warrant a massive military response. Showing a hostile regime may have profound links to terror simply does not have the visceral immediacy of showing it may have access to weapons of mass destruction.

When a country has treated terrorism like ordinary crime for decades, military action based on apparent but murky ties to terror — especially long after the fact — seems disproportionate. Of course, if we get hit again, there will no doubt be new 9/11 Commissions demanding to know: Whatever happened to the Bush Doctrine?

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others, is an NRO contributor.

12 posted on 06/01/2004 11:29:23 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: All

Iran to face UNSC if military link proved, says ElBaradei

Hi Pakistan
June 2nd 2004

BRATISLAVA: The UN atomic energy agency chief said on Tuesday the jury was still out on Iran’s nuclear program but that he would not hesitate to recommend taking Tehran to the UN Security Council if a military link were found. "We will not hesitate to report to the (agency’s) board, which will report in its turn to the Security Council, if we see any connection with a military program."

13 posted on 06/01/2004 11:29:58 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: downer911; pookie18; PhilDragoo; ovrtaxt; kabar; freedom44; SandRat; Cindy

14 posted on 06/02/2004 2:38:28 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn; yonif; freedom44; AdmSmith; Cindy; RaceBannon


Iran Press Service
June 2nd 2004

VIENNA 2 June (IPS) Officials from the Islamic Republic of Iran rejected a new report from the international atomic watchdog accusing bluntly the Iranian regime of “repeatedly” holding up details about its controversial nuclear program.

In a report obtained by several newspapers and news agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also said Iran, despite pledges, continue enriching uranium with more advanced equipments and technology.

United Nations nuclear inspectors who found more traces in Iran of highly enriched uranium admitted Wednesday that it could be bomb-grade.

The report published by the press on first of June raises new questions about Iran's intentions and appears certain to persuade the agency's board of governors not to end intrusive inspections when it meets later this month, experts said.

The 20-page document is the third consecutive quarterly report to raise significant doubts about Iran's performance. It comes as the Bush administration, which has pledged to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, struggles to curb a proven atomic weapons program in North Korea.

The document provides support for Bush administration officials who contend that Iran is hiding an atomic weapons program behind an insistence that the goal is nuclear energy.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Washington's view was "borne out by the facts."

It is also to help bringing the European Union closer to the American position, as Britain, France and Germany are reported to be “very frustrated” by the ambiguous and non convincing attitude of the Iranian officials.

Last year on October, foreign affairs ministers from the three nations went to Tehran and clinched an agreement with Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the secretary of Supreme Council on National Security to have Tehran signing the additional protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty and suspend enriching uranium.

But they found out latter that not only Iran had continued enriching uranium, but has used more advanced equipments, like the P-2 centrifuges

"This report shows that Iran's nuclear case is approaching the end and there are no more important issues", Mr. Rohani told a news conference, referring to the IAEA report.

He said the U.N. nuclear watchdog was welcome to continue inspections, although Iran had earlier asked for inspectors to finish their work by June.

Rohani added that Iran had bought no parts from abroad for "P2" centrifuges that can produce bomb-grade uranium twice as fast as earlier "P1" types.

The IAEA said Iran had made inquiries through a European intermediary to buy magnets for P2 centrifuges. The machines cannot enrich uranium without these magnets.

Rohani, however, said these were for the earlier P1 type and for other industrial uses.

"We are insisting we have not bought P2 parts from abroad," he told reporters.

Indeed, Iran made such fast progress in assembling and testing advanced P-2 centrifuge equipment that IAEA experts expressed doubts about Iranian assertions that the project lay dormant for six years after scientists first acquired designs in 1995.

"It's absolutely full of unanswered questions and things that don't compute," said a U.S. official, who requested anonymity. "It's a strong argument for the need to continue the investigation."

Last week, Iran submitted to the IAEA a 1000 pages report that it said was containing “all and even more” information and details about Iranian nuclear activities, but the Vienna-based IAEA cited a wide array of missing details and contradictory explanations in a confidential report to board members yesterday.

Questioned further on the basis of new IAEA information, Iranian officials also admitted that an Iranian company had contacted a European intermediary about buying 4,000 magnets for sophisticated P-2 gas centrifuges -- enough for 2,000 machines, more than needed for simple research.

Iran has also admitted to importing parts for sophisticated P-2 centrifuges, which can enrich uranium to bomb-grade levels, going back on claims that it had made the parts domestically, according to a confidential report by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohammad El-Barade’i, which was obtained by AFP.

However, El-Barade’i's report praised the Iranians for "cooperating in providing access to locations in response to agency requests, including workshops situated at military sites."

Much of the report's focus is on previous Iranian statements and contradictory new information produced by Iran voluntarily or under pressure. In another case, the Iranian government told U.N. inspectors that rotors for gas centrifuges were manufactured by a private company in Tehran when, in fact, they were built at an Iranian defence industry site, the IAEA said.

While Iran has insisted its P-2 is a research program, the IAEA said Iran had asked through a European intermediary about the possibility of buying 4,000 special magnets, or enough for 2,000 centrifuges.

Nuclear expert David Albright told AFP from Washington that Iran's "centrifuge story just doesn't hold up".

He said the numbers made it look like Iran rather than doing research was seeking "to go into serial production." Highly enriched uranium (HEU) can be nuclear fuel or the explosive in an atom bomb.

Particles of 36-percent HEU found at Farayand, a new site after IAEA inspectors last year detected such particles at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, leave the IAEA unable to confirm Iran's claims the contamination was from imported equipment, probably from Pakistan, rather than a sign the Iranians may have been trying to enrich uranium on their own.

"This means they're probably lying about the origin of that 36 percent enriched uranium," a Western diplomat close to the IAEA said.

Iran must clear up these questions about uranium contamination and centrifuges if the international community is to believe Iran's claims its nuclear program is strictly peaceful, the IAEA said ahead of a June 14 meeting of its 35-nation board of governors.

The United States has called for the IAEA, which has been investigating the Iranian program since February 2003 after being alerted to it in August 2002, to refer the Islamic Republic to the UN Security Council for possible international sanctions.

Diplomats said the IAEA will not be able to reach a decision on Iran in June since Tehran has delayed inspections and only last month submitted a report on its program which the agency will need months to evaluate.

But the report also said that three workshops in Iran are continuing to produce centrifuge components despite Tehran's claim that it has suspended uranium enrichment and related activities.

15 posted on 06/02/2004 6:33:24 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn

President Bush qualifies a Free Iraq as a "Clear message for Iranians"

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jun 2, 2004

President George W. Bush declared, in his yesterday speech at the White House's Rose Garden, that a Free Iraq will send a clear message to millions of Iranian Freedom Lovers.

The one qualified, by millions of Iranians as the "Messiah of Freedom" declared: " It's important for the Iranian -- those who love freedom in Iran to see. I mean, listen, a free Iraq on the border of Iran is going to send a very clear signal to those who want to be free, that a free society is very possible. It's a hopeful period..."

It's to note that George W. Bush has made several public statements in support of Iranian Freedom lovers and has qualified, justly, the Islamic regime as an "Axis of Evil" member. Millions of Iranians have deep hopes for Mr. Bush's future re-election by backing him against his concurrent, John Kerry, who's known for having send messages to the Islamic regime and promising to "repair damages and establishing formal ties if re-elected".

It's to note that one of John Kerry's main fund raisers and advisers, Hassan Nemazee, has sued SMCCDI and its Coordinator in an effort which seems to be a try to silence the Movement. The suit was filled on March 4th at the Harris County Court (Houston/Texas) is pending.

16 posted on 06/02/2004 7:33:50 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Remarks by The President on Iraq and Freedom in Iran

June 01, 2004
The White House
President George W. Bush

President Bush Discusses the Iraqi Interim Government
The Rose Garden

President's Remarks

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today in Baghdad, U.N. Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, announced the members of Iraq's new interim government. Consulting with hundreds of Iraqis from a variety of backgrounds, Mr. Brahimi has recommended a team that possesses the talent, commitment and resolve to guide Iraq through the challenges that lie ahead.

On June 30th, this interim government will assume full sovereignty and will oversee all ministries and all functions of the Iraqi state. Those ministries will report to Prime Minister Allawi, who will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Iraq's interim government. Dr. Allawi is a strong leader. He endured exile for decades and survived assassination attempts by Saddam's regime. He was trained as a physician, has worked as a businessman and has always been an Iraqi patriot.

Prime Minister Allawi and Mr. Brahimi announced Iraq's interim President, Ghazi Al-Yawar, an engineer from northern Iraq. They also announced two deputy presidents, Dr. Ibrahim Jaafari, who is a physician born in Karbala; and Dr. Rowsch Shaways, a prominent political and military leader who also has been a long-time opponent of Saddam's tyranny.

The new 33-member cabinet announced today reflects new leadership, drawn from a broad cross section of Iraqis. Five are regional officials, six are women, and the vast majority of government ministries will have new ministers. The foremost tasks of this new interim government will be to prepare Iraq for a national election no later than January of next year, and to work with our coalition to provide the security that will make that election possible. That election will choose a transitional national assembly, the first freely elected, truly representative national governing body in Iraq's history.

Earlier today I spoke to Secretary General Kofi Annan. I congratulated him on the U.N.'s role in forming this new government. We also discussed the preparation for national elections and our common work on a new Security Council resolution that will express international support for Iraq's interim government, reaffirm the world's security commitment to the Iraqi people and encourage other U.N. members to join in the effort of building a free Iraq.

Last week, I outlined the five steps to helping Iraq achieve democracy and freedom. We will hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government, help establish security, continue rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure, encourage more international support and move toward a national election that will bring forward new leaders empowered by the Iraqi people. The naming of the new interim government brings us one step closer to realizing the dream of millions of Iraqis -- a fully sovereign nation with a representative government that protects their rights and serves their needs.

Many challenges remain. Today's violence underscores that freedom in Iraq is opposed by violent men who seek the failure not only of this interim government, but of all progress toward liberty. We will stand with the Iraqi people in defeating the enemies of freedom and those who oppose democracy in Iraq. The killers know that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. The return of tyranny to Iraq would embolden the terrorists, leading to more bombings, more beheadings and more murders of the innocent around the world.

The rise of a free and self-governing Iraq will deny terrorists a base of operation, discredit their narrow ideology, and give momentum to reformers across the region. A free Iraq will be a decisive blow to terrorism at the heart of its power, and a victory for the civilized world and for the security of America. The will of Iraqis and our coalition is firm. We will not be deterred by violence and terror. We will stand together and ensure that the future of Iraq is a future of freedom.

I'll take some questions. Hunt.

Q. Mr. President, you just spoke about more international support. With the new government and the expected Security Council resolution, do you expect -- what do you expect in the way of other countries to come forward with major pledges of troops for Iraq? And do you think there's going to be more violence as the turnover occurs?

THE PRESIDENT: I think, on the second half of that question, yes, I believe there will be more violence, because there are still violent people who want to stop progress. Listen, their strategy is -- hasn't changed. They want to kill innocent lives to shake our will and to discourage the people inside Iraq. That's what they want to do. And they're not going to shake our will. In terms of whether or not there would be a major -- you said major commitment of new troops? Is that the adjective you used, "major"?

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know if there will be a major commitment of new troops, but I think there will be a major focus on helping Iraq to become a free country. And the next step in this process is to get a United Nations Security Council resolution. And to this end, I have been speaking with a variety of world leaders to encourage them to -- by telling them we're willing to work with them to achieve language we can live with, but, more importantly, language that the Iraqi government can live with.

And Kofi and I talked today, and he wants to hear from the new Iraqi government, and I don't blame him. And we heard from the new Iraqi government, by the way, today, and the new Prime Minister who stood up and thanked the American people, for which I was grateful. He was speaking to the -- to the mothers and dads and wives and husbands of our brave troops who have helped them become a free country, and I appreciated his strong statement. Steve.

Q Sir, where you surprised at the way the Governing Council took command of the selection process? And are you concerned that the new President has had some criticisms of the United States?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I don't -- from my perspective, Mr. Brahimi made the decisions and brought their names to the Governing Council. As I understand it, the Governing Council simply opined about names. It was Mr. Brahimi's selections and -- Ambassador Bremer and Ambassador Blackwill were instructed by me to work with Mr. Brahimi. As we say in American sports parlance, he was the quarterback. And it seemed like a good group to me. I mean, they're diverse, as I mentioned, a number of women are now involved in the government, which is a positive step for the citizens of Iraq. Go ahead.

Q The new President has had some criticisms of the United States. Are you --

THE PRESIDENT: The new President has had some criticisms?

Q -- concerned about that?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mr. Brahimi put together a government that's going to be, first and foremost, loyal to the Iraqi people. And that's important. It's a government with which I believe we can work. Mr. Allawi said some strong statements today about security matters on the ground, about how he wants to work with the coalition forces to provide security so that the country can go toward elections. But, you know, I'm -- what I'm most for is for people who are willing to work toward a free Iraq. That's my concern. And it sounds like to me that these men are patriots, men and women are patriots who believe in the future of Iraq. And if there is some criticism of the United States, so be it. The end result is a peaceful Iraq in the heart of the Middle East. Gregory.

Q Mr. President, this new Iraqi government and others on the Security Council have expressed an interest in this interim government having substantial power over decisions -- military security decisions. This government has been clear that when it comes to protecting U.S. troops, American commanders will do everything that has to be done.


Q Well, as you go to Europe now, in the next couple of days, what are you prepared to do to bridge that gap, to give this new independent government the sort of independence it's really asking for, while retaining this essential role that you have to have in, you know, securing Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I think -- listen, the American people need to be assured that if our troops are in harm way -- in harm's way, they will -- they will be able to defend themselves without having to check with anybody else, other than their commander. At the same time, I can assure the Iraqi citizens, as well as our friends in Europe, that we have done these kind of security arrangements before -- witness, Afghanistan, there is a sovereign government in Afghanistan, there are U.S. troops and coalition troops there, and they're working very well together. The Iraqis will have their own chain of command. And that's going to be very important. In other words, the Iraqi army will report up to a chain of command of Iraqis, not coalitions or Americans. And I think that's going to be an important part of the spirit and the capabilities of an Iraqi army. But I'm confident we can bridge any gap, David, because we have done it in country after country. Terry.

Q Mr. President, some will see the presence of Iraqi exiles -- some of whom have received money from the United States government in the past -- as proof, in their minds, that this is a puppet government of the United States. Could you answer that criticism? And explain what role, if any, you had in the names, as they --

THE PRESIDENT: I had no role. I mean, occasionally, somebody said, this person may be interested, or that -- but I had no role in picking, zero. Secondly, in terms of whether or not our government helped, we did help some of the figures now in the interim government. We helped them because they were fierce anti-Saddam people. We helped their organizations, which were -- which believed that the tyranny of Saddam was bad for the Iraqi people.

Now, it's going to be up to the leaders to prove their worth to the Iraqi citizens. In other words, the leaders are going to have to show the Iraqis that they're independent, smart, capable, nationalistic, and believe in the future of Iraq. And our job is to work with them.

But the decision-making process is very important for our citizens to understand. The decision-making process is changing. Bremer comes home and the new government replaces Ambassador Bremer. And at the same time, we stand up an embassy that will interface with the new, sovereign Iraqi government.

One of the interesting things I've heard, Terry, from other leaders, are you really going to pass full sovereignty? And the answer is, yes, we're going to pass full sovereignty. And the Iraqi government will need the help of a lot of people. And we're willing to be a participant in helping them get to the elections.

And Terry asked whether there will be more violence. I think there will be. You know, I hate to predict violence, but I just understand the nature of the killers. This guy, Zarqawi, an al Qaeda associate -- who was in Baghdad, by the way, prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein -- is still at large in Iraq. And as you might remember, part of his operational plan was to sow violence and discord amongst the various groups in Iraq by cold-blooded killing. And we need to help find Zarqawi so that the people of Iraq can have a more bright -- bright future.

The other thing we've got to do is work on reconstruction, to help rebuild parts of that country that suffered mightily under Saddam and are being, you know -- parts of which are being destroyed by these -- by these terrorists. Plante.

Q Mr. President, if the decision-making is not fully in the hands of the Iraqis, will that extend to them asking us to leave, pull out U.S. troops? And will you accede to that if they ask?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, Mr. Allawi said today the troops need to be there. And so --

Q But all of them?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, whatever it takes to get the mission done. And we look forward to working with the Iraq Prime Minister and the Iraq Defense Minister to help secure the country. As you know, circumstances change on the ground and I've told the American people and our commanders that we'll be flexible and we'll meet those circumstances as they arise.

And what is important for the American people to know is that if a troop is in harm's way, that troop -- the chain of command of that troop will be to a U.S. military commander. In terms of the strategy as to how to help Iraq become secure enough to have free elections, we'll work closely with the new Iraqi government to achieve those objectives. There may be times when the Iraqis say, we can handle this ourselves, get out of the way; we're plenty capable of moving into secure a town or to secure a situation. And there may be times when they say, you know, we've got our hands full, why don't you join us in an operation. And we will collaborate closely with the new defense ministry.

It's a change of attitude in Iraq, in that they now have got the decision-making capabilities. Mr. Allawi today, I repeat, stood up in front of the world and said two things that caught my attention. One, he thanked America, and I appreciated that a lot. And I think the American people needed to hear that, that in the new leader there is this understanding and appreciation for the sacrifices that our country has been through. And he also said, we look forward to working with the coalition and forces to help secure the country.

Q Given the perception --

THE PRESIDENT: I'm converting this into a full-blown press conference; it's such a beautiful day. (Laughter.) Do I get credit for it? (Laughter.)

Q Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, good.

Q Given the perception out there, especially in Iraq and among some at the U.N. that Brahimi was strong armed, are you confident that this new interim government has enough legitimacy within Iraq to hold together all the various factions there that threaten to go at each other's throats?

THE PRESIDENT: I think that's a -- listen, yes, I am confident. But time will tell whether or not the leaders turn out to be as capable and strong as Mr. Brahimi thinks they will be.

One of the things I think, Richard, that will keep the country intact is the -- is this notion of free elections. I mean, it appears to me that one of the things that does unite the Iraqi people is the deep desire to be able to elect their government. And as we head toward free elections, I think it will make it easier for the interim government to do their job. Eddie.

Q Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Ed, I'm anxiously awaiting.

Q I'd like ask you about your goals for this -- your trip coming up later this week to Europe, vis-a-vis your plan on the Middle East peace initiative. What do you hope in a concrete way to bring home?

THE PRESIDENT: I'm giving a speech at the Air Force Academy that will help answer your question.

Q I won't be there. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Ed, they do have C-Span, you know. (Laughter.) I'll be glad to rent it for you for an hour. (Laughter.)

I'm going to talk about the war on terror, the clash of ideology. Part of winning the war on terror is to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East. The speech will help set up the types of conversations I will continue to have overseas and at Sea Island, Georgia -- which is the need for us to understand that democracy can take hold in the Middle East.

It's important for our partners to understand that I don't view it as American democracy, nor do I think it's going to happen overnight. I will remind them that the Articles of Confederation was a rather bumpy period for American democracy. And so we're talking about reform in their image, but reform at the insistence and help -- with the help of the free world.

And I think it's possible and I know it's necessary that we work toward democracy in the Middle East. Because a society that is not free and not democratic is a society that's likely to breed resentment and anger. And, therefore, a society that is -- makes the recruitment of young terrorists more likely.

And that's what -- and so the idea is to find common spirit and our willingness to work in a variety of ways in the greater Middle East to achieve democratic societies to work with reformers, to work on education processes that teach people to read and write and add and subtract, not to hate. And always reminding people that the war on terror is not a war against a particular religion, and that the war on terror is not a war against a particular civilization. It's a war against people who have got this perverted vision about what the world should look like.

And at my Air Force Academy speech, which you won't be at, I'll remind people that part of their objective is to drive the United States from a country -- countries in the Middle East, so that they can flow their hatred into a vacuum. And it's very important that we not retreat. But not only stay the ground, but also work toward democratic institutions and reform.

Yes, sir.

Q Mr. President, are you confident this interim government wants U.S. troops to stay, at least for the short-term?

THE PRESIDENT: I am confident, yes, sir. And I am confident because of the remarks of Mr. Allawi, and I am told by people on the ground there that they feel -- that they, the Iraqis, feel comfortable in asking for us to stay so that we can help provide the security.

Listen, the Iraqis I have talked to are the first to say that the security situation must be improved. And they recognize that there is a lot of work between now and the election in order to improve the security situation, starting with making sure the chain of command within the Iraqi army and the civilian forces and the police forces is strong and linked. As well as to make sure that these Iraqi forces are equipped and properly trained.

As I said in the statement last Monday, a week ago yesterday, that we saw that there were some weaknesses on the ground in Iraq when the heat got on. Some didn't stand up and do their duty, and we're addressing those weaknesses now. And it's going to take time to fully address them.

But there is a deep desire by the Iraqis, don't get me wrong, to run their own affairs, and to be in a position where they can handle their own security measures. And I think they will be in that position.

But I know that they're not going to ask us to depart until they're comfortable in that position. And Mr. Allawi, again, I referred to his statements today. I thought they were good strong statements.


Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Chalabi is an Iraqi leader that's fallen out of favor within your administration. I'm wondering if you feel that he provided any false information, or are you particularly --


Q Yes, with Chalabi.

THE PRESIDENT: My meetings with him were very brief. I mean, I think I met with him at the State of the Union and just kind of working through the rope line, and he might have come with a group of leaders. But I haven't had any extensive conversations with him.

Mr. Brahimi made the decision on Chalabi, not the United States. Mr. Brahimi was the person that put together the group. And I haven't spoken to him or anybody on the ground as to why Chalabi wasn't taken.

In terms of information --

Q I guess I'm asking, do you feel like he misled your administration, in terms of what the expectations were going to be going into Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't remember anybody walking into my office saying, Chalabi says this is the way it's going to be in Iraq.

Let me step back there and remind you that going into Iraq, we had some -- we had a belief that certain things -- that we had to plan for certain courses of action. One, that the oil production, the Iraqi oil production would be disrupted through sabotage or Saddam's own whims. And it didn't happen. We also thought there would be major refugee flows -- that didn't happen -- or a lot of hunger, and it didn't happen.

What did happen was, as a result of us storming through the country, many of Saddam's elite guard kind of saw what was happening -- laid down -- well, didn't lay down their arms -- stored their arms and hid, and then regrouped. As well as what happened was is that some of the foreign fighters there were encouraged and bolstered by a foreign fighter that had been there during the period, Mr. Zarqawi. And it's been tough, tough fighting. I fully recognize that.

However, I just want to remind you that the mission of the enemy is to get us to retreat from Iraq. Is to say, well, it's been tough enough, now it's time to go home -- which we are not going to do. We will stand with this Iraqi government.

Today, the reason I'm out here is because this is a major step toward the emergence of a free Iraq. This is a very hopeful day for the Iraqi people, and a hopeful day for the American people, because the American people want to see a free Iraq as well. They understand what I know. A free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East is going to be a game-changer, an agent of change. It's going to send a clear signal that the terrorists can't win and that -- and that a free society is a better way to lift the hopes and aspirations of the average person.

Yes, Holly.

Q So far, sir, Congress hasn't responded to your call to do anything about rising oil prices. I mean, you've already said you want them to pass your energy bill, and they aren't. So what are you --

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, so go ask Congress why they haven't passed the energy bill. And I'll repeat it again: Congress, pass the energy bill.

Q But what more can you do as prices rise?

THE PRESIDENT: I can continue calling upon Congress to pass the energy bill and to make sure the American consumers are being treated fairly. But what you're seeing at the gas pumps is something I've been warning for two years, and that is that we're hooked on foreign sources of energy. And that if we don't become less dependent on foreign sources of energy, we will find higher prices at our gas pumps. It's precisely what happened.

Had we drilled in ANWR back in the mid-'90s, we'd be producing an additional million barrels a day, which would be taking enormous pressure off the American consumer.

Yes, ma'am.

Q Mr. President, you were saying the United States wants to stand with Iraqi people. Would you like to go to Iraq before the end of the year and stand with the interim government and --

THE PRESIDENT: I would like to, but I'm not so sure that would be wise, yet.

Q It's not secure?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't know. You're asking me to project six months down the road -- five months down the road. And that's the classic hypothetical. Will Iraq be secure enough for me to go to Iraq? I would hope it would be. And if it is, then whether or not I can go is another uestion.

Q Would you like to go, though?

THE PRESIDENT: I'd love to go back to Iraq at some point in time, I really would. I'd like to be able to stand up and say, let me tell you something about America. America is a land that's willing to sacrifice on your behalf. We sent our sons and daughters here so you can be free. And not only that, we are a compassionate country. We want to help you rebuild your schools and your hospitals. I'd like to do that, I really would.

I'd like to also go to Afghanistan. And, by the way, the reports from Afghanistan, at least the ones I get, are very encouraging. You know, we've got people who have been there last year and have been back this year report a different attitude. And they report people have got a sparkle in their eye. And women now all of a sudden no longer fear the future but believe that we're there to stay the course and we will help a free society emerge.

Both of which, a free society and a free Afghanistan, are very important to a future, a future world that is peaceful. Because freedom is the bulwark of the value system inculcated in those countries.

Yes. Yes, you, Dallas Morning News. Hillman.

Q How close are you to an agreement with the United Nations for a new resolution on Iraq?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think our negotiator, the Secretary of State, feels we're making good progress.

Q A week? Two weeks?

THE PRESIDENT: I don't know, Hillman. That's like saying, can I go to Iraq in five months. Please. I thought I set the tone for hypotheticals. I don't know what it is.

But as soon as possible -- I'd like to get it done tomorrow, if possible. And so we're working with all the parties. But you know how the United Nations is. Sometimes it can move slowly and sometimes it can move quickly, and the quicker the better as far as I'm concerned, because it sends a message to the new Iraqi government, the world stands with you.

Yes, sir. Only one question per major paper. Nice try. (Laughter.)

Q You're about to have a series of meetings with foreign leaders in which Iraq certainly will loom very large. You ruled out, a moment ago, when you said you don't expect a major commitment of troops to come out of those meetings.


Q What, realistically, do you expect to come out of these meetings regarding --

THE PRESIDENT: A commitment to work together, a commitment that we all understand the importance of succeeding in Iraq. An understanding that terrorism will flourish and be emboldened if we're not successful in promoting a free government in Iraq. And a -- and I think, from my conversations, people understand that. But it will give us a chance to sit in the same room and talk about that. And that's an important commitment.

In other words, once you get that in your mind that a free Iraq is important for world security, then it makes it easier for us to work together on certain matters. And, look, we're still getting beyond the period where we had disagreements about Iraq and now there's common ground, that a free Iraq is essential to our respective securities. And, more important, is a very important signal to people in the Middle East that it's possible to live in a free society. And that's an important message, as well.

It's important for the Iranian -- those who love freedom in Iran to see. I mean, listen, a free Iraq on the border of Iran is going to send a very clear signal to those who want to be free, that a free society is very possible. It's a hopeful period. And I'm so appreciative of the United Nations and Mr. Brahimi's work. It's hard work to do what he did. He did a lot of good work and came up with what looks like a very strong government.

Deans, fine looking suit -- the white is back, so are the bucks. (Laughter.)

Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, there have been several uestions about this tightly sequenced statesmanship you have coming up in the next several weeks. I'm wondering if you can say -- or do you expect -- how soon do you think representatives of this interim government will actually go to the U.N. Security Council and plead their case for a resolution?


Q And, two, do you expect to use the G8, do you have the -- will the resolution be on the agenda there at the G8? And where do you think we'll be by the time we get to Istanbul?

THE PRESIDENT: I would hope that the new government sends somebody to New York soon. As a matter of fact, I don't think you're going to see much on the resolution, to answer your question, Bob, until the Iraqis come and make their case about why a resolution is needed. And I would like to see that person come as quickly as possible.

We are going to have leaders from the greater Middle East in Sea Island. And as to whether or not a member of the new government shows up in Sea Island from Iraq, I just don't know. But we will talk about Iraq. We'll talk about Iraq in the context of the spread of democracy. And the countries that will be there will be sharing their experiences with democratic institutions in the Muslim world. And that will also serve as a reminder to the people of Iraq that they can succeed.

In terms of NATO, obviously we'll be discussing Iraq at NATO. Again, I don't expect any additional troop commitments out of NATO. I do expect there to be continuing NATO interest in Iraq. As you know, NATO has provided a headquarters, or support for the Polish multinational division -- Polish-led multinational division. But we'll also make sure that we continue to focus NATO on Afghanistan. A peaceful and free Afghanistan is essential to the -- to our mission, to our objectives of encouraging the spread of democracy.

President Karzai, who I believe is coming soon -- and will be at Sea Island by the way -- another good example of someone who has assumed responsibility in a country that had been savaged by barbaric leadership, is doing a fine job. And he will be able to help people understand how to ask for help, as well as what help is available. I am very impressed by him and impressed by his leadership.

Last question.

Q Mr. President --

Q Mr. President, could you speak about Sudan, the peace agreement in Sudan and how that nation has turned away from terrorism?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I appreciate that. The question is on Sudan. Recently, there was a signature on a document that took us a step closer toward achieving our objective. However, it is very important for the Sudanese government to understand we're watching very carefully, the hunger, the brutal human conditions in the western part of their country, and that we expect there to be an accommodation to the relief agencies as well as the American government to get aid to those people. We're closer to an agreement in Sudan, it's a very important agreement. And we will continue to work the issue really hard.

Q Mr. President, can I ask about one of the things that the new Prime Minister in Iraq has said about your administration? He has said that many of the postwar problems in Iraq have been from lack of proper planning, and that America bears direct responsibility for that. How do you answer that?

THE PRESIDENT: I would answer him that we had a plan in place, we succeeded in making sure that the oil flow continues so that he as Prime Minister has now got roughly 2.5 million barrels a day of Iraqi oil for the benefit of the Iraqi people, that there wasn't major disruptions of food, so that people didn't starve. In other words, we were very successful in certain things.

But there is no question that the security situation on the ground is hard and tough. And my comment to him is, we will be flexible and wise and work with him to continue to secure Iraq; that our mission is his mission, which is to get to elections so the country can be a free country.

Again, I think it's instructive that Mr. Brahimi picked leaders who are willing to speak their mind, which is fine with me. I fully understand a leader willing to speak their mind. I kind of like doing it myself, you know. And all the new Prime Minister needs to know is that I look forward to a close relationship with him, to do what's best for the Iraqi people. That's our interest. Our interest is a free Iraq. It's in their interest and it's in the world's interest. And it's something -- these are historic times. And I am pleased with the progress, the political progress being made today, and vow to the people of Iraq that we will finish the mission. We will do our job. And we expect them to do their job and will work with them to do so.

Thank you all very much. END 12:06 P.M. EDT

17 posted on 06/02/2004 7:35:22 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

This just in from a student inside of Iran...


We can observe large scale of crackdowns on Iranian youngsters as the Islamic Regime is getting ready for any possible protests in June and July this year.

The moral police forces of the regime has started to crack down since a week ago.

The Basijis and Police forces arrest young couples, girls and boys who wear against the regime's morals.

This morning, I saw that Anti-Riot police was arresting youth in city center of Tehran.

I am sure that the regime is trying to make the situation worse in Iran for the people as long as they are under tremendous pressure from the United States of America.

They do not want to see any protest while they are totally busy with Iraq, IAEA and Human Rights Issues."

18 posted on 06/02/2004 7:36:49 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Photos of recent arrests of young people in Iran...

19 posted on 06/02/2004 7:40:05 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran Largely Welcomes Report on Nukes

June 02, 2004
The Associated Press
Ali Akbar Dareini

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Wednesday a report by the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog signaled that the deep dispute over Tehran's nuclear program could soon be closed.

"The report makes it clear that Iran's nuclear activities are peaceful and there has been no diversion from the peaceful path," Hasan Rowhani told a news conference. "However, the report has some problems ... (it) has touched upon cases that it should not."

The report, issued Tuesday by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Iran has acknowledged importing parts for advanced centrifuges that can be used to enrich uranium.

It credits Iran with more openness about its nuclear program but says the agency still has questions about nearly two decades of secret activities.

The report also says Iran has continued production of centrifuge components at three workshops belonging to private companies despite its declaration it would suspend such activities. Iran said the companies continued production because they had not received adequate compensation for the termination of contracts, according to the report.

The report was issued for the June 14 meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors, which has wrestled for more than a year over what to do about what the United States and its allies say is a weapons program.

The IAEA report alleges Iran had tried to buy critical parts for advanced P-2 centrifuges that can be used for energy purposes or to enrich uranium to weapons grade.

Rowhani acknowledged Iran has purchased parts that can be used for P-2 centrifuges, but played down the significance.

"We told the IAEA that we didn't import P-2 centrifuge parts, except a magnet that can be used for production of both the less advanced P-1 or advanced P-2 centrifuges," Rowhani said.

Iran has confirmed it has produced P-1 centrifuges, which are used for low-grade enrichment.

Rowhani said Iran has been doing research for years on the advanced P-2 centrifuges, and has produced sample parts.

"On P-2 centrifuges, we are at the stage of completing our research. We have produced sample parts of P-2 and we have provided information and photos about it to the IAEA. Once research is completed, we will make our decision about production of P-2s," he said.

Rowhani also acknowledged parts for the P-1 centrifuge were still being made in Iran.

Iran suspended uranium enrichment last year under strong international pressure but continued with its centrifuge program. It eventually said in April that it had stopped building centrifuges.

"Government companies have already suspended building (P-1) centrifuge parts but three private companies continue building centrifuges because we haven't settled the issue of compensation with them for stopping work," he said.

In an interview with The Associated Press before the report was issued, U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton accused Tehran of engaging in "denial and deception."

"We are convinced that they are pursuing a clandestine program to acquire nuclear weapons," he said.

Bolton said Washington was determined to have Iran answer to the U.N. Security Council.

Iran long has rejected U.S. allegations its nuclear program is for military purposes. ElBaradei said Tuesday his agency had not found proof to date of a concrete link between Iran's nuclear activities and its military program, but "it was premature to make a judgment."

ElBaradei's report did not appear critical enough of Iran to marshal strong support at the IAEA board meeting for U.N. Security Council action against Iran - which the United States wants.

The agency had verified the suspension of uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities at several sites, including Kalaye, Natanz, Lashkar Ab'ad, the report said, but added that the verification was delayed because Iran wouldn't give immediate access to military sites and "not yet comprehensive" because of the private companies' continued production.

Iran argues that its suspension declaration does not include the production of uranium hexafluoride, a refined uranium that if enriched in a centrifuge could be used to make a nuclear weapon, and has said it plans to test a plant that would produce the uranium hexafluoride.

These tests are "at variance with the agency's previous understanding us to the scope of Iran's decision regarding suspension," the report said.

20 posted on 06/02/2004 7:40:54 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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