Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 15, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 06/14/2004 9:01:01 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. Most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
The Ticking Clock Of Iran's Nuclear Program
June 14, 2004
The International Atomic Energy Agency convened a board of governors meeting June 14, debating how to respond to Irans nuclear program, which critics say is dedicated to the development of nuclear weapons. The head of the United Nations agency, Mohammad ElBaradei, announced that Tehrans cooperation has been "less than satisfactory."
The most recent IAEA report on Irans nuclear program chronicles a long list of deceit, defiance, contradictory accounts and denial of access to some key sites. The report says the agencys inspectors found more traces of highly enriched uranium that could be bomb-grade, and that Iran had admitted importing parts for sophisticated P-2 centrifuges to enrich uranium. Equally troubling, the IAEA revealed that Iran told a black-market supplier it was interested in obtaining thousands of magnets for the P-2 centrifuges. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive].
Experts believe, with two magnets per uranium enrichment centrifuge, Irans desire to obtain such a large number of magnets means that its nuclear research activities significantly exceed what Iranian officials insist is just an experimental program. If the magnets are an accurate indicator of the scale of the nuclear program, Iran could soon be capable of generating enough weapons-grade nuclear material to produce several warheads a year.
The IAEAs revelations clearly depict a long-term pattern of denial and deception in Irans behavior that can be only explained by Tehrans scheme to buy time and mask its military nuclear program. An Iranian opposition group, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance (NCR), alleged recently that Irans Revolutionary Guards are supervising the nuclear program. [For additional information see the Eurasia Insight archive]. The Revolutionary Guards, according to the NCR, are supposedly pursuing this project through four military organs; the Center for New Defense Preparedness and Technology, the Headquarters for New Warfare, the Nuclear Research Division of the Revolutionary Guards Imam Hussein University and the Special Industries Division in the Military Industries Organization. If the program moves ahead without encountering obstacles or unexpected delays, Tehran could develop a nuclear weapon within two years, the NCR claims.
At the IAEA governing board meeting, the jockeying has already started over the expected resolution on Irans program. Europes big three - Britain, France and Germany have reportedly circulated a draft resolution that "deplores" Irans hindering of inspections. At the same time, the draft is said to lack a meaningful trigger mechanism to bring Irans case before the UN Security Council in the event that Tehran does not improve its cooperation with the IAEA. Without such a trigger mechanism, Tehran could potentially drag the inspection issue out, as it worked towards developing an atomic weapon.
Irans primary objective in its cooperation with the IAEA is to buy time for weapons development by creating the impression that inspections are working. That the existing inspection regime is shedding new light on Tehrans secret nuclear program, however, does not mean it is hindering the development of a bomb. Conducting inspections just for the sake of having inspections, as time is running out, is a recipe for disaster. What is at stake is the IAEAs reputation as an effective non-proliferation agency. In addition, stability in the Persian Gulf region will take a substantial hit if Irans mullahs come into possession of nuclear weapons.
In the mid-1980s, Tehrans leaders concluded that they needed a non-conventional arsenal to achieving their strategic aim of becoming a dominant power in the Persian Gulf region. They adopted asymmetric warfare as the cornerstone of their military doctrine. It would be simply naìve to suggest that Irans rulers have since had a change of heart. If anything, the recent reports about Irans increasing meddling in Iraq indicate that Tehran is determined to extend its influence. [For background information see the Eurasia Insight archive].
Given their huge commercial ties with Tehran - which seems to be in a big rush to grant them lucrative contracts in exchange for concessions in the IAEA and other areas European nations, including France and Germany, may feel they have good reasons to adopt a conciliatory approach towards Iran. However, the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran the most active state sponsor of terrorism is far too ominous to let appeasers in the EU dictate policy toward Tehran. By being soft on Iran, the EU could inadvertently be pushing the issue of Tehrans nuclear program toward a military solution, a scenario nobody welcomes.
For now, Irans breach of its nuclear obligations must be reported to the UN Security Council. UN sanctions are arguably the best available way to slow down Tehrans drive to develop atomic weapons. The IAEA does not need to find an actual bomb to conclude Iran is indeed running a nuclear weapons program. There is already enough evidence to refer the case to Security Council.
In the long term, however, only a democratic secular government, not the ruling theocracy, could ensure a WMD-free Iran. To this end, the EU capitals and Washington should embrace Irans democratic opposition forces that are working to unseat the ruling mullahs. The clock is ticking.
Editors Note: Reza Bulorchi is the Executive Director of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran.
White House urges Iran to 'Come Clean' on Nuclear Program
Reuters - World News
Jun 14, 2004
WASHINGTON - The White House said on Monday it had serious concerns about Iran's cooperation with U.N. inspectors but stopped short of publicly calling for a deadline to be set for compliance.
"Iran needs to come clean and abide by its international agreements," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told Reuters.
The United States has accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons and has been pushing to put the issue before the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.
Tehran says its atomic ambitions are limited to generating electricity.
McClellan said the United States shared the "serious concerns" expressed by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei.
"These are concerns shared by the international community," McClellan said. "There is no reason why they (the Iranians) need a nuclear program."
ElBaradei said earlier Iran is not fully cooperating with U.N. inspectors and must provide full answers within months on the extent of its nuclear program.
Diplomats said the United States would be pushing at the IAEA board meeting in Vienna, expected to last at least several days, for the agency to set Iran a deadline to cooperate fully.
McClellan declined to comment on possible next steps, including setting a deadline.
A deadline could be used to force Iran to keep the promises it made to the Europeans in October 2003, when Tehran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment activities in exchange for peaceful atomic technology.
Washington would also like a "trigger mechanism" that would call for the board to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions if its cooperation remains sluggish.
Bush said in April that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an intolerable threat to peace in the Middle East and a mortal danger to Israel.
"They will be dealt with, starting through the United Nations," Bush said at the time.
The stand-off comes at a time of turmoil for U.S. policy in the Middle East, including Iran's neighbor Iraq, which the United States invaded last year after alleging it possessed weapons of mass destruction.
No such weapons have been found.
Earlier this month, Bush's former counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke, said it would have made more sense to invade Iran than Iraq.
US State Dept. seeks tough IAEA resolution on Iran
AFP - World News (via Yahoo)
Jun 14, 2004
WASHINGTON - The United States demanded that the UN nuclear watchdog pass a tough resolution demanding Iran's cooperation to assure that its nuclear program is not for military ends.
"The US believes the board of governors this week must adopt a strong resolution that calls on Iran to cooperate with the IAEA and to resolve all the outstanding issues regarding its nuclear program," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
The United States accused Iran of trying secretly to develop nuclear weapons, of which uranium enrichment is a crucial stage.
Boucher did not comment on possible UN Security Council sanctions, but the United States does want an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board resolution.
"At this point we think it is the appropriate step," Boucher said.
IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei told the executive board Monday in Vienna: "It is essential for the integrity and credibility of the inspection process that we are able to bring these issues to a close within the next few months and provide the international community with the assurances it urgently seeks regarding Iran's nuclear activities."
Elbaradei said the IAEA has been aware of "Iran's undeclared nuclear program" for almost two years but had been kept from getting to the bottom of it due to "less than satisfactory" cooperation from Iran.
Tehran needed to be "proactive and fully transparent" from now on as "we can not go on forever," ElBaradei said.
Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit Over Iranian Hostage-Taking
June 14, 2004
The Associated Press
KPHO TV 5
Supreme Court -- The Supreme Court is refusing to let a suit filed by former American hostages against Iran move forward. The high court won't consider reinstating the 33 billion dollar class-action suit filed four years ago.
The hostages were kept for 444 days, before being freed in 1981. The international agreement that led to the release banned legal action against Iran.
Congress has tried to help the former hostages get around that deal, by passing bills authorizing lawsuits. But a federal appeals court ruled last year that the agreement remains in effect.
Feeding the Minotaur
Our strange relationship with the terrorists continues.
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
June 14, 2004, 8:11 a.m.
As long as the mythical Athenians were willing to send, every nine years, seven maidens and seven young men down to King Minos's monster in the labyrinth, Athens was left alone by the Cretan fleet. The king rightly figured that harvesting just enough Athenians would remind them of their subservience without leading to open rebellion as long as somebody impetuous like a Theseus didn't show up to wreck the arrangement.
Ever since the storming of the Tehran embassy in November 1979 we Americans have been paying the same sort of human tribute to grotesque Islamofascists. Over the last 25 years a few hundred of our own were cut down in Lebanon, East Africa, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, and New York on a semi-annual basis, even as the rules of the tribute to be paid never spoken, but always understood were rigorously followed.
In exchange for our not retaliating in any meaningful way against the killers addressing their sanctuaries in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, or Syria, or severing their financial links in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and their various state-sanctioned kindred operatives agreed to keep the number killed to reasonable levels. They were to reap their lethal harvests abroad and confine them mostly to professional diplomats, soldiers, or bumbling tourists, whose disappearance we distracted Americans would predictably chalk up to the perils of foreign service and exotic travel.
Despite the occasional fiery rhetoric, both sides found the informal Minoan arrangement mutually beneficial. The terrorists believed that they were ever so incrementally, ever so insidiously eroding America's commitment to a pro-Western Middle East. We offered our annual tribute so that over the decades we could go from Dallas to Extreme Makeover and Madonna to Britney without too much distraction or inconvenience.
But then a greedy, over-reaching bin Laden wrecked the agreement on September 11. Or did he?
Murdering 3,000 Americans, destroying a city block in Manhattan, and setting fire to the Pentagon were all pretty tough stuff. And for a while it won fascists and their state sponsors an even tougher response in Afghanistan and Iraq that sent hundreds to caves and thousands more to paradise. And when we have gotten serious in the postbellum reconstruction, thugs like Mr. Sadr have backed down. But before we gloat and think that we've overcome our prior laxity and proclivity for appeasement, let us first make sure we are not still captives to the Minotaur's logic.
True, al Qaeda is now scattered, the Taliban and Saddam gone. But the calculus of a quarter century threaten, hit, pause, wait; threaten, hit, pause, wait is now entrenched in the minds of Middle Eastern murderers. Indeed, the modus operandi that cynically plays on Western hopes, liberalism, and fair play is gospel now to all sorts of bin Laden epigones as we have seen in Madrid, Fallujah, and Najaf.
Much has been written about our problems with this postmodern war and why we find it so difficult to fully mobilize our formidable military and economic clout to crush the terrorists and their patrons. Of course, we have no identifiable conventional enemy such as Hitler's Panzers; we are not battling a fearsome nation that defiantly declared war on us, such as Tojo's Japan; and we are no longer a depression-era, disarmed, impoverished United States at risk for our very survival. But then, neither Hitler nor Mussolini nor Tojo nor Stalin ever reached Manhattan and Washington.
So al Qaeda is both worse and not worse than the German Nazis: It is hardly the identifiable threat of Hitler's Wehrmacht, but in this age of technology and weapons of mass destruction it is more able to kill more Americans inside the United States. Whereas we think our fascist enemies of old were logical and conniving, too many of us deem bin Laden's new fascists unhinged their fatwas, their mythology about strong and weak horses, and their babble about the Reconquista and the often evoked "holy shrines" are to us dreamlike.
But I beg to differ somewhat.
I think the Islamists and their supporters do not live in an alternate universe, but instead are no more crazy in their goals than Hitler was in thinking he could hijack the hallowed country of Beethoven and Goethe and turn it over to buffoons like Goering, prancing in a medieval castle in reindeer horns and babbling about mythical Aryans with flunkies like Goebbels and Rosenberg. Nor was Hitler's fatwa Mein Kampf any more irrational than bin Laden's 1998 screed and his subsequent grainy infomercials. Indeed, I think Islamofascism is brilliant in its reading of the postmodern West and precisely for that reason it is dangerous beyond all description in the manner that a blood-sucking, stealthy, and nocturnal Dracula was always spookier than a massive, clunky Frankenstein.
Like Hitler's creed, bin Ladenism trumpets contempt for bourgeois Western society. If once we were a "mongrel" race of "cowboys" who could not take casualties against the supermen of the Third Reich, now we are indolent infidels, channel surfers who eat, screw, and talk too much amid worthless gadgetry, godless skyscrapers, and, of course, once again, the conniving Jews.
Like Hitler, bin Ladenism has an agenda: the end of the liberal West. Its supposedly crackpot vision is actually a petrol-rich Middle East free of Jews, Christians, and Westerners, free to rekindle spiritual purity under Sharia. Bin Laden's al Reich is a vast pan-Arabic, Taliban-like caliphate run out of Mecca by new prophets like him, metering out oil to a greedy West in order to purchase the weapons of its destruction; there is, after all, an Israel to be nuked, a Europe to be out-peopled and cowered, and an America to be bombed and terrorized into isolation. This time we are to lose not through blood and iron, but through terror and intimidation: televised beheadings, mass murders, occasional bombings, the disruption of commerce, travel, and the oil supply.
In and of itself, our enemies' ambitions would lead to failure, given the vast economic and military advantages of the West. So to prevent an all out, terrible response to these predictable cycles of killing Westerners, there had to be some finesse to the terrorists' methods. The trick was in preventing some modern Theseus from going into the heart of the Labyrinth to slay the beast and end the nonsense for good.
It was hard for the Islamic fascists to find ideological support in the West, given their agenda of gender apartheid, homophobia, religious persecution, racial hatred, fundamentalism, polygamy, and primordial barbarism. But they sensed that there has always been a current of self-loathing among the comfortable Western elite, a perennial search for victims of racism, economic oppression, colonialism, and Christianity. Bin Laden's followers weren't white; they were sometimes poor; they inhabited of former British and French colonies; and they weren't exactly followers of the no-nonsense Pope or Jerry Falwell. If anyone doubts the nexus between right-wing Middle Eastern fascism and left-wing academic faddishness, go to booths in the Free Speech area at Berkeley or see what European elites have said and done for Hamas. Middle Eastern fascist killers enshrined as victims alongside our own oppressed? That has been gospel in our universities for the last three decades.
Like Hitler, bin Ladenism grasped the advantages of hating the Jews. It has been 60 years since the Holocaust; memories dim. Israel is not poor and invaded but strong, prosperous, and unapologetic. It is high time, in other words, to unleash the old anti-Semitic infectious bacillus. Thus Zionists caused the latest Saudi bombings, just as they have poisoned Arab-American relations, just as neo-conservatives hijacked American policy, just as Feith, Perle, and Wolfowitz cooked up this war.
Finally, bin Laden understood the importance of splitting the West, just like the sultan of old knew that a Europe trisected into Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism would fight among itself rather than unite against a pan-Islamic foe. Hit the Spanish and bring in an anti-American government. Leave France and Germany alone for a time so they can blame the United States for mobilizing against a "nonexistent" threat, unleashing the age-old envy and jealously of the American upstart.
If after four years of careful planning, al Qaedists hit the Olympics in August, the terrorists know better than we do that most Europeans will do nothing but quickly point to the U.S. and scream "Iraq!" And they know that the upscale crowds in Athens are far more likely to boo a democratic America than they are a fascist Syria or theocratic Iran. Just watch.
In the European mind, and that of its aping American elite, the terrorists lived, slept, and walked in the upper aether never the streets of Kabul, the mosques of Damascus, the palaces of Baghdad, the madrassas of Saudi Arabia, or the camps of Iran. To assume that the latter were true would mean a real war, real sacrifice, and a real choice between the liberal bourgeois West and a Dark-Age Islamofascist utopia.
While all Westerners prefer the bounty of capitalism, the delights of personal freedom, and the security of modern technological progress, saying so and not apologizing for it let alone defending it is, well, asking a little too much from the hyper sophisticated and cynical. Such retrograde clarity could cost you, after all, a university deanship, a correspondent billet in Paris or London, a good book review, or an invitation to a Georgetown or Malibu A-list party.
Nearly three years after 9/11 we are in the strangest of all paradoxes: a war against fascists that we can easily win but are clearly not ready to fully wage. We have the best 500,000 soldiers in the history of civilization, a resolute president, and an informed citizenry that has already received a terrible preemptive blow that killed thousands.
Yet what a human comedy it has now all become.
The billionaire capitalist George Soros who grew fabulously wealthy through cold and calculating currency speculation, helping to break many a bank and its poor depositors now makes the moral equation between 9/11 and Abu Ghraib. For this ethicist and meticulous accountant, 3,000 murdered in a time of peace are the same as some prisoners abused by renegade soldiers in a time of war.
Recently in the New York Times I read two articles about the supposedly new irrational insensitivity toward Muslims and saw an ad for a book detailing how the West "constructed" and exaggerated the Islamic menace even as the same paper ran a quieter story about a state-sponsored cleric in Saudi Arabia's carefully expounding on the conditions under which Muslims can desecrate the bodies of murdered infidels.
Aristocratic and very wealthy Democrats Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Howard Dean, and John Kerry employ the language of conspiracy to assure us that we had no reason to fight Saddam Hussein. "Lies," "worst," and " betrayed" are the vocabulary of their daily attacks. A jester in stripes like Michael Moore, who cannot tell the truth, is now an artistic icon precisely and only because of his own hatred of the president and the inconvenient idea that we are really at war. Our diplomats court the Arab League, which snores when Russians and Sudanese kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims but shrieks when we remove those who kill even more of their own. And a depopulating, entitlement-expanding Europe believes an American president, not bin Laden, is the greatest threat to world peace. Russia, the slayer of tens of thousands of Muslim Chechans and a big-time profiteer from Baathist loot, lectures the United States on its insensitivity to the new democracy in Baghdad.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Iraq, and the rest of the Middle East, we see the same old bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings, the obligatory pause, the faux negotiations, the lies and then, of course, the bloodcurdling threats, the horrific videos, the bombings...
No, bin Laden is quite sane but lately I have grown more worried that we are not.
Victor Davis Hanson, an NRO contributor, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of The Soul of Battle and Carnage and Culture, among other books. His website is www.victorhanson.com.
Reagan's lessons for Islamism
June 14, 2004
With the 60th anniversary of D-Day and the nearly coinciding death of Ronald Reagan, Americans have been compelled to reflect on the past, seeing rocky, bloody eras fall into the clean arc of history that appears only in a flash of hindsight.
Looking back on Nazism and communism, we see the seamless succession and demise of totalitarian threats once poised to rob the West of its liberties. In this sweeping history lesson, it becomes clearer still that the rise of Islamism -- or Islamic totalitarianism, or Islamic radicalism, or Islamofascism (we haven't yet settled on a term) -- has now succeeded these vanquished foes. Whatever it is called, this ideology is now the principle menace to freedoms treasured by 21st-century Western civilization, a secular society still rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition.
Totalitarian Islam, however, is totalitarianism with a difference. Unlike both Nazism and communism, it is not godless. I can't help wondering what Ronald Reagan would have done had Marx and Engels been deemed prophets of God. What would he have said had the Communist Manifesto been regarded as a holy book?
Communists always glowed with the zeal of religious fanatics, but communism, of course, is explicitly opposed to religion. Still, imagine that Lenin's tomb had been built as a holy shrine for sacred relics, not a ghoulish mausoleum for a moldering corpse: Would the history of the Cold War have been any different? Would Ronald Reagan have dared to define a religious faith in communism as the evil that launched the empire?
I ask this unanswerable question having just read a brief essay by Islam expert Robert Spencer, author of "Islam Unveiled" (Encounter, 2003) and "Onward, Muslim Soldiers" (Regnery, 2003). Writing in frontpagemag.com, Spencer compares totalitarian foes immediately past and present -- communists and jihadists -- to lament that our age lacks a calls-it-like-he-sees-it leader such as Ronald Reagan, someone to flip the conventional wisdom that once denied the evils inherent in communism and now denies the evils inherent in totalitarian Islam.
"Today's stifling orthodoxy remains largely unchallenged," Spencer writes. "Not just liberal publications and spokesmen, but conservatives who claim to wear Reagan's mantle temporize and dissimulate about our current despotic antagonist in a way that the man himself would have found contemptible. Leaders and pundits must cling to fond fictions about Islam being a religion of peace that has been hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists. They thus pass up the opportunity to call for worldwide reform of Islam."
In other words, "fond fictions" overwrite the urgent truth that Islam requires moderating and modernizing reform if ever it is to co-exist peacefully with Western democracies. The reform starts, Spencer explains, "by identifying the elements of Islam that give rise to violence and extremism." The place to begin is with the twin Islamic precepts of jihad, or holy war, and dhimmitude, the institutionalized inferiority of non-Muslims and women living under Muslim rule. Reform is doomed, however, if these elements are ignored, obscured and denied.
Alas, I can think of no political leader, and precious few historians and commentators, who have made this point. We hear "terrorism" and "murderous ideology" denounced, but we never hear "terrorism" and "murderous ideology" defined. We hear nothing about the religious roots of jihad's bloody violence that must be exposed if they are ever to wither. Ronald Reagan was never reluctant to define the "terrorism" and "murderous ideology" of his day as being specifically communist-driven manifestations of the "evil empire." I like to think he would have identified Islam's evil elements -- jihad and dhimmitude -- and provided a level-headed explanation of why domination and repression, whether serving a secular totalitarian state or a religious totalitarian movement, are forces America opposes.
A profound respect for religious freedom informs our tortured silence -- although "holy" justifications for terror attacks on civilians offered by mainstream Islamic authorities surely deserve no such respect. But there's another angle to consider. Ronald Reagan believed the United States could transform communism through freedom's triumph. The transformation of Islam is necessarily a Muslim affair.
This is all the more reason not to flinch, rhetorically speaking. As Spencer writes, "By vilifying and attempting to marginalize those who dare tell the truth about Islamic radicalism as Reagan did about Communism, today's intelligentsia provides ample cover to radical Islamic terrorists, allowing them to operate under the radar screen of media scrutiny and even law enforcement."
This isn't only terrifying; it's tragic. It's also downright un-Reaganesque.
Iran Will Strongly Respond to Europes Negative Approaches: MP
TEHRAN June 14 (MNA) - MP Seyyed Ahmad Musavi said here Sunday that Iran will continue its cooperation with Europe only if the three European countries -- Britain, Germany and France -- remain honest toward their commitments as stated in the Tehran Declaration.
He said that Tehran would strongly respond to the European big three if they adopt a negative approach toward Irans peaceful nuclear program.
In an interview with the Mehr News Agency (MNA) he said that Iran has absolute right to find access to peaceful nuclear technology, adding that no one can forgo this right.
He said that Europe, the U.S. and other western countries know that coercive measures toward Iran have never bear fruit.
Musavi said that Iran should adopt a logical approach in its foreign policy in order to protect the countrys national security.
IAEA tackles Iran on nuclear imports
By Mark Huband, Security Correspondent
Published: June 15 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: June 15 2004 5:00
Iran was accused yesterday of failing to co-operate fully with United Nations nuclear inspectors, who demanded that Tehran provide clear information on its nuclear activities within a few months.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), yesterday challenged Iran to be "pro-active and fully transparent" in its response to demands by the UN nuclear watchdog that it give details on its imports of nuclear material.
Mr ElBaradei's demands were made at a meeting of the IAEA board, which was discussing a report on Iran's nuclear programme. IAEA inspectors have been examining Iranian installations since Tehran agreed last October to halt uranium enrichment and permit intrusive inspections to its nuclear sites in order to prove that it was not developing nuclear weapons.
The IAEA report cast doubt on Iran's claim that components found at sites in the country were contaminated by enriched uranium before being imported. Inspectors have also questioned why Iran placed large orders to import magnets for use in centrifuges that could enrich uranium when it had previously said the components were produced in Iran. 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".
Hossein Mousavian, Iran's senior delegate to the IAEA meeting, said yesterday that Iran was providing "full co-operation" to the inspectors, supplying all information requested and narrowing down the range of outstanding issues.
But Mr ElBaradei said yesterday: "Clearly this pattern of engagement on the part of Iran is less than satisfactory if it wishes to build confidence in the international community that Iran has indeed revealed the full extent of its nuclear programme. After a year of difficulties encountered by the inspectors, Iran needs to be pro-active and fully transparent."
A POTENTIAL NUCLEAR POWER, IRAN IS ALREADY A TERRORISM SPONSOR
By Bill Samii
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 111, Part III, 14 June 2004
The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) Board of
Governors is meeting on 14 June to discuss Iran's nuclear ambitions
and its level of cooperation with the nuclear watchdog. While the
world worries about a nuclear-armed Iran in the future, it must not
forget about a terrorist Iran today.
The U.S. State Department first designated Iran as a state
sponsor of terrorism in January 1984, and it has been on the list
ever since. Indeed, "Iran remained the most active state sponsor of
terrorism in 2003," according to the State Department. By now, Tehran
is jaded about this and, as it has every year, responded with denials
and counter-accusations. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman described
the charges as "repetitive, demagogical, and worthless." He added
that the United States "has had an active role in spreading murder
and terrorism and is not in a position to assess the record of
others." Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, chairman of the
Expediency Council and the second most powerful figure in Iran, said
in a 30 April Friday prayer sermon that the terrorism charges merely
relate to the upcoming U.S. presidential election, and he went on to
describe U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan as acts of
Tehran does not hide its relationships with terrorist groups
such as Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas. Hizballah's Sheikh Abd-al-Karim
Obeid, who was released from an Israeli prison in January, visited
Tehran in April and met with President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami,
Rafsanjani, and other officials. Moreover, Hamas has a permanent
representative in Tehran: Abu Osama Abd-al-Moti. Tehran does,
however, challenge the U.S. characterization of its relationship with
these organizations, saying that it provides only moral and political
support, not arms and money. Tehran also views Hizballah and other
groups as liberation movements, not terrorist organizations.
U.S. officials have expressed concern about Iranian
activities in Iraq, while Tehran denies that it is interfering there.
Nevertheless, Iran is openly advocating suicide bombings
(euphemistically called martyrdom operations) in Iraq. Enrollment
forms for volunteers were distributed after a 2 June meeting in
Tehran, where Tehran parliamentary representative Mehdi Kuchakzadeh,
military officials, and scholars spoke on topics such as "Martyrdom
Operations and Military and Security Strategies" and "Martyrdom
Operations -- The Last Weapon," the Iranian Labor News Agency
reported on 4 June. Kuchakzadeh has expressed similar attitudes
before. He said in the legislature's inaugural session on 27 May, "I
call on you to chant slogans for the defeat of the occupying American
forces, who have attacked holy sites, and turn your attention to the
issues which need attention," the Islamic Republic News Agency
reported. His colleagues responded by shouting, "Death to America."
The awkwardly named Headquarters for Tribute to the Martyrs
of the Global Islamic Movement announced, "We are confident that
expelling the British and American occupiers from Iraq is not
possible in any way other than martyrdom-seeking operations," the
"Kayhan" daily reported on 22 May. "The headquarters has started
registering the names of volunteers for martyrdom-seeking operations
against the British and American occupiers," it added. The same
newspaper, which is officially linked with Iran's leadership,
reported five days later that more than 2,000 people -- including a
13-year-old boy and a 45-year-old woman -- had registered to blow
themselves up. This suicide-bombing headquarters reportedly is
connected with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), an arm of
the Iranian armed forces.
The Center for Doctrinal Studies, which is connected with the
IRGC, is doing more than calling for suicide bombings. The center's
director, Hassan Abbasi, said at a seminar at Tehran University: "We
will burn the roots of the Anglo-Saxon race. We have made plans for
America's Achilles heel, and we will present these to all the
guerrilla organizations in the world," "Vaqa-yi Etefaqi-yi" daily
reported on 25 May. Abbasi added: "Our missiles are now ready to hit
their civilization. As soon as we receive the orders from the leader,
we will launch the missiles toward their cities and installations,"
"Al-Sharq al-Awsat" reported on 28 May. Abbasi added that 29 sites in
the United States and elsewhere in the West have been targeted.
Iran's relationship with Hizballah and Iran's role in Iraq
are brought together by individuals like former Tehran
parliamentarian Ali-Akbar Mohtashami-Pur, who as ambassador to
Damascus in the 1980s was instrumental in Hizballah's creation. He
said in a discussion about Iraq, "Sharq" daily reported on 27 May:
"Our duty today is very clear. We, the Islamic countries, should
create a massive storm against America and Israel.... Many of the
youths and Muslims are ready to carry out suicide operations against
the American crusaders." He continued, "Today, Islamic resistance in
Iraq and the devoted and brave forces in Al-Najaf and Karbala need
the moral and material support of the entire world of Islam."
Nor is it just the sponsors of terrorism in Iran who are
advocating action in Iraq. Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan
Nasrallah said in an 18 May speech that the forces of Iraqi cleric
Muqtada al-Sadr should "fight until the last drop of blood" against
U.S. forces in the holy cities of Al-Najaf and Karbala. In his 21 May
speech to an audience that included people wearing white burial
shrouds, which indicate their readiness to die, Nasrallah said the
only way to defeat the enemy is through "jihad, martyrdom, and
It is possible that the statements of Iranian leaders and
their proxies are nothing more than rhetoric meant for domestic
audiences. Yet Tehran's long and bloody record in supporting
terrorism, its professed hostility to the United States, and its
1,500-kilometer border with Iraq mean that Iran's threats should not
China Helping Iran, North Korea on Weapons-Panel
Tue Jun 15, 2004 12:06 AM ET
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China is sending nuclear technology to Iran in exchange for oil and allowing North Korea to use Chinese air, rail and seaports to ship missiles and other weapons, congressional investigators reported on Tuesday.
Although the Bush administration has emphasized a growing convergence with Beijing on halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction and countering terrorism, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission took a much harder line.
"China's continued failure to adequately curb its proliferation practices poses significant national security concerns to the United States," the commission said in its annual report.
It also raised the possibility the administration is using "inducements" -- such as not being tough enough with Beijing on trade infractions -- to reward China for its cooperation on the North Korea nuclear crisis.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, established by Congress in 2000, tends to be skeptical of Beijing, and its conclusions are often controversial.
"China's assistance to weapons of mass destruction-related programs in countries of concern continues, despite repeated promises to end such activities and the repeated imposition of U.S. sanctions," the commission concluded.
This "calls into question the effectiveness" of Washington's partnership with Beijing, the panel said.
Unlike the 1990s, "Chinese transfers have evolved from sales of complete missile systems to exports of largely dual-use nuclear, chemical, and missile components and technologies; qualitatively, these transfers are equally worrisome," it said.
Dual-use refers to items that could be used for either weapons-related or peaceful pursuits.
"Continuing intelligence reports indicate that Chinese cooperation with Pakistan and Iran remains an integral element of China's foreign policy," the commission reported.
It said cooperation on North Korea is a "critical test" of U.S.-China relations, but Beijing is not using its substantial leverage to force Pyongyang to end its nuclear programs.
While making made much of hosting six-party talks aimed at resolving the nuclear crisis, Beijing "continues to permit North Korea to use its air, rail and seaports to trans-ship ballistic missiles and WMD-related materials," the commission reported.
U.S. officials, in recent public testimony and interviews with Reuters, put different emphases on China's behavior, underscoring continued differences over proliferation issues.
Chinese leaders have told the Americans any nuclear-related trafficking is done without the government's knowledge.
The State Department recently sanctioned five Chinese companies for trading with Iran, but the commission faulted this focus, saying many companies have direct ties to top level government and military officials.
The commission said China's growing energy needs are "driving it into bilateral arrangements ... that may involve dangerous weapons transfers." Iran is a key oil producing country.
"This need for energy security may help explain Beijing's history of assistance to terrorist-sponsoring states, with various forms of WMD-related items and technical assistance, even in the face of U.S. sanctions," it said. ((Reporting by Carol Giacomo, editing by Mike Rhea; tel: 202-898-8300; Reuters messaging: email@example.com)
China Helping Iran, North Korea on Weapons-Panel
Tue Jun 15, 2004 12:06 AM ET
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
If ao many people in Iran are disapproving of the leadership, then where is the removal of that leadership?
Are you talking about a democratic government/country?
I mean where the ones who supposedly like us taking control of the nation there.
Iran's Summer Persecution
By Nir Boms and Reza Bulorchi
The National Interest
June 15, 2004
In recent years, summer in Iran has been marked by uprisings, strikes, public protests and the governments harsh crackdown against them. There are signs this summer will be no different.
As the anniversary of the anti-government uprising of July 1999 approaches, widespread arrests of students and women are taking place. Some students are nabbed from their dormitories by plainclothes Revolutionary Guard agents, while many others are served arrest warrants. The US International Bureau of Broadcastings Radio Farda reported on May 29 that, the persistent summoning and detention of students all over the country has caused fear and insecurity in universities.
Tehran's Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi has ordered a crackdown on "social corruption, saying that, a serious fight has started to tackle the spread of social corruption in society, especially the improper dress code. Youth, particularly women, are the main targets of such campaigns.
These repressive actions are in line with a series of preventive measures taken by the Iranian regime to neutralize Irans democracy movement and to subdue an increasingly restive population.
The state-controlled daily Ressalat expressed concern over the spread of popular uprisings, stating certainly, the psychological atmosphere of June and July requires the vigilance of the Hezbollah as never before.
Similar repressive measures last year gave rise to number of arrests and executions. The (Iranian) Government's poor human rights record worsened in 2003 states the recent Country Report on Human Rights Practices published by the U.S. State Department. Continuing serious abuses included: summary executions; disappearances; torture and other degrading treatment, severe punishments such as beheading and flogging; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention.
According to an appalling report by the Human Rights Watch, Irans rulers through the systematic use of indefinite solitary confinement of political prisoners, physical torture of student activists and denial of basic due process rights" work to silence the dissidents.
Last month, perhaps in light of the increasing concerns about Irans rampant human rights violationsparticularly the torture death of the Iranian-borne Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi last summerIranian Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Shahroudi ordered a ban on the use of torture. But in Iran, torture is not an issue of action but one of definition.
Although torture had already been banned in Irans 1979 Constitution, it remained the mullahs preferred weapon of choice in dealing with dissidents. In fact, Shahroudis decree was an explicit admission that widespread torture continues.
Most of the practices that fall under the religious punishments in Irans penal code, such as lashing, amputations, eye-gouging and stoning to death, are banned by the Convention Against Torture. In the perverted lexicon of the mullahs, these punishments are not considered torture.
Just this past weekend, the state-run daily Kayhan reported that four prisoners had been sentenced to death for waging war on God and corrupting the Earth, a charge that is usually saved for political dissidents. The daily added that the right hand and left leg of two other prisoners will be amputated.
Inside prisons, a religious judge can arbitrarily issue an order for Tazir, a religious term for physical punishment of the detainee that ranges from lashing the victim to solitary confinement and electric shock. The torture ban, of course, does not apply to Tazir.
The memoir of Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, an 82-year-old senior Iranian cleric and former designated successor to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, documents many of the atrocities committed by the clerical regime.
Among the damning revelations is the text of a 1986 private letter to Khomeini. Complaining about the ill treatment of prisoners, Montazeri wrote in part:
Do you know that crimes are being committed in the prisons of the Islamic Republic in the name of Islam the like of which was never seen in the Shahs evil regime?
Do you know that a large number of prisoners have been killed under torture by their interrogators?
Do you know that in (city of) Mashad prison, some 25 girls had to have their ovaries or uterus removed as a result of what had been done to them ?
Do you know that in some prisons of the Islamic Republic young girls are being raped by force?...
Despite such repression, Iran's pro-democracy activists will be active once again this summer, planning the next march, rally or public protest. Although the U.S and Europe regularly condemn Iran's human-rights record, they have done little to promote the efforts of Irans democracy movement in its struggle to unseat Irans ruling tyrants. This summer, perhaps, they will find time to do more.
Iran's Summer Persecution
By Nir Boms and Reza Bulorchi
The National Interest
June 15, 2004
Iran massing troops on Iraq border
The Washington Times
Beirut, Lebanon, Jun. 15 (UPI) -- Iran reportedly is readying troops to move into Iraq if U.S. troops pull out, leaving a security vacuum.
The Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, monitored in Beirut, reports Iran has massed four battalions at the border.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted "reliable Iraqi sources" as saying, "Iran moved part of its regular military forces towards the Iraqi border in the southern sector at a time its military intelligence agents were operating inside Iraqi territory."
In other words, they're cutting off the outside world in advance of the protests...
This just in from a student from inside of Iran...
"There was a big teachers protest in front of the Parliament this morning.
Police clashed with the teachers but no injuries reported from the scene."
Thanks for the ping!
Iranian Experts in N. Korea to Conduct Joint Nuke Experiments
'The World Could Be in a New Arms Race'
June 15, 2004
Editorial, June 14
"In October, the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany went to Tehran and came back with a deal: Iran gives up its nuclear ambitions in exchange for better trade relations with the west ... Eight months later, the jury is in.
"On June 1, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA], Mohamed ElBaradei, issued a report ... It caught Iran in lie after lie ... Iran is bent on enriching nuclear fuel in a way that points in only one direction: nuclear weapons ...
"It is not too late to attempt, by economic means alone, to force Iran to go the way of Libya and get out of the nuclear and terrorism business. The longer Europe and the US wait ... the more the options will become limited to living with Iran as a terrorist base with a nuclear umbrella, or taking military action."
Editorial, US, June 12
"The hope in Europe that 'soft power', offering engagement in place of confrontation, would encourage Iran to give up its dangerous nuclear ambitions seems set to collide with hard reality ... Iran threatens consequences if the IAEA will not drop the issue ... It could quit the nuclear non-proliferation treaty ... And what would the Europeans do then? Little but bellyache, Iran may calculate. If it is to be persuaded differently ... Europe's soft power needs to be given a harder edge ... If Iran won't keep its side of the October bargain, Britain, France and Germany should join America in insisting that Iran's nuclear rule-breaking go directly to the [UN] security council, where ... sanctions could be contemplated."
Editorial, Iran, June 10
"In the course of the past year, the issue of Iran's nuclear activities has been turned into a sad and prolonged affair ... The western world is pursuing a single strategy towards ... Iran's nuclear activities ... The EU and the US are trying to control Iran, the EU through the policy of 'dialogue' and the US by relying purely on threats ...
"It is clear that in order to get out of the boxing ring in the field of foreign policy, Iran needs to restructure its domestic policy. But can anyone be hopeful about such a prospect in the ... domestic policies of ... Iran under the present circumstances?"
Wall Street Journal Europe
Editorial, June 14
"If Iran goes nuclear within the next year or two, don't blame ... the IAEA ... [It is] the international community ... that is treating it all as a matter of indifference ...
"With the presumed American security umbrella jeopardised by the mullahs' bomb, the political calculations of every Middle East government would change. Many countries may conclude they have no choice but to go nuclear, and the world could be off to another nuclear arms race ...
"Last year the US deferred to the Europeans as they brokered an inspection agreement ... that the mullahs have since violated with impunity. The 'multilateral' diplomatic path is failing. We at least hope that Washington is preparing covert andmilitary options to sabotage the Iranian programme ... History will not look kindly on the leaders who let Iran get the bomb on their watch."
Editorial, June 13
"Allowing Iran to develop the bomb is tantamount to giving it to terrorists ... That's why it is essential that the world speak with one voice ...
"It is time to send an unequivocal message to the Islamic fanatics who run the country: the world will not accept another member in the nuclear weapons club, and nations will use all means necessary to stop that from happening. Iran must be convinced, as Libya was, that seeking nuclear weapons is not a guarantee of strength, but a road to isolation and ruin."
EU Draft to IAEA Reflect US View
June 15, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi said here on Monday that the draft resolution drawn up by European trio on Iran's nuclear program is line with the US policies. Describing the resolution as 'very hostile', Shahroudi said they want to compensate the arrogance's defeat in Iraq in this manner.
Shahroudi said the plots would be foiled however in light of experience, prudence, courage, and strong will of Iranian nations and officials.
European trio -- Britain, Germany and France -- have forwarded a draft resolution at the disposal of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors on Iran's nuclear program.
The board is, in a meeting in Vienna which started on Monday, examining the resolution as well as a report by the IAEA Chief Mohamed Elbaradei on Iran.
Iranian Forces Preparing to Strike Iraq After U.S. Pullout
June 15, 2004
The Media Line
Iranian military forces have recently moved close to the Iraqi border. According to the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, four Iranian army divisions are now based near the border, awaiting orders to invade Iraq once the American forces retreat.
Citing reliable Iraqi sources, the paper says Iranian secret agents have infiltrated into Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein in order to evaluate the internal situation. Iran plans to exploit an expected power vacuum in Iraq following the American evacuation, according to the sources.
Iran Threatens UN Nuclear Watchdog as Pressure Mounts
June 15, 2004
TEHERAN -- Iran reacted to fresh pressure from the UN nuclear watchdog on Tuesday by threatening to reconsider its cooperation with inspectors trying to verify suspicions the Islamic republic is secretly developing atomic weapons.
As diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna mulled a tough European-drafted resolution that criticises Irans failure to fully come clean, top regime officials here said they would not tolerate what they saw as a US-Israeli plot.
The new conservative speaker of parliament, Gholam Ali Hadad-Adel, warned the assembly might not ratify Irans signature of the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing tougher UN inspections.
The three European countries are demanding parliament adopt the protocol, but I say to France, Germany and Britain not to tell the Iranian parliament what to do, he told deputies.
The Iranian parliament does not take orders from foreigners, because these orders do not reflect the interests of the Iranian people. If we consider it to be in the interests of the Iranian people we will adopt it, if not we will not, he said.
He also warned the Europeans not to fall into the trap of the Zionists, a reference to Irans oft-mentioned enemies in Israel and the United States.
And according to press reports, President Mohammad Khatami has also told Britain, France and Germany in writing to ease the pressure, or risk pushing Iran to consider other alternatives.
Khatami also reportedly accused the so-called Euro-3 of aligning themselves with Irans arch-enemy, the United States.
According to the Tehran Times newspaper, Khatami wrote that Iran will not forego its inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and that if such confrontational behaviour continues... Iran will contemplate other alternatives.
It was not clear what Khatami, a reformist, meant by other alternatives, although some hardliners in the regime have been calling for Iran to respond to the pressure by pulling out of the NPT altogether.
Khatamis office was not immediately available for comment.
Iran asserts that is is only seeking to generate nuclear power to meet future energy needs, and contends that it has completely abided by its commitments to the NPT and has cooperated with the IAEA.
Irans compliance with a string of IAEA demands was brokered in October last year by the three European states, who pledged that Iran could eventually hope to receive technological assistance if it managed to quash suspicions over its nuclear activities.
But EU diplomats appear to be running out of patience as key questions over Irans activities -- notably surrounding the discovery of highly-enriched uranium that is possibly bomb-grade -- continue to go unanswered.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said in Vienna on Monday that Irans cooperation had so far been less than satisfactory and that the clerical regime needed to be proactive and fully transparent.
Iran signed the additional protocol in December 2004, but the text still has to be ratified by the Iranian parliament, or Majlis, which fell into the hands of religious right-wingers in February after most reformist candidates were barred from contesting the polls.
Even though the text has not yet been approved, Iran has nonetheless pledged to submit to the tougher and surprise IAEA inspections it prescribes. But a rejection of the text by the Majlis would spell a return to the only limited probe exacted by the NPT.
Hadad-Adel complained the draft resolution put forward by Britian, France and Germany was effectively aimed at forcing Iran to abandon all of progress in the nuclear field, and said this was against our interests.
As the senior Iranian officials have said on a number of occasions, Iran does not have the intention of using nuclear technology for non-peaceful means, he added.
Euro Big 3 Propose Swift End to Iran Nuclear Probe at IAEA Talks
June 15, 2004
VIENNA -- The UK, France and Germany have proposed a draft resolution to the UN atomic agency calling for a probe into Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program to be wrapped up within months, diplomats said.
A diplomat close to negotiations on a draft resolution told Agence France-Presse that the Euro big 3, helped by the US and other members of the 35-nation IAEA board of governors, had revised their original text after UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei called for the International Atomic Energy Agency to conclude its probe soon regarding Iran's nuclear activities.
Calls to resolve the probe in a few months and references to ElBaradei's criticism of Iran's lack of cooperation had now been incorporated into the draft text, he said.
The diplomat said the text had been softened in one point, however, backing off from a demand that Iran halt construction of a heavy water research reactor that is a key part of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Iran reacted angrily to the fresh pressure from the UN nuclear watchdog by threatening to reconsider its cooperation with inspectors.
"The three European countries are demanding parliament adopt the protocol, but I say to France, Germany and Britain not to tell the Iranian parliament what to do," the new conservative speaker of parliament, Gholam Ali Hadad-Adel told deputies.
The IAEA board is not expected to debate the draft resolution until later in the week, possibly Thursday or Friday, diplomats said.
Iran's Nuclear Anger
June 15, 2004
The Iranian press has reacted angrily to comments on Iran's nuclear programme by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei. Mr ElBaradei said on Monday that Tehran was not co-operating satisfactorily with the IAEA.
Some papers accuse the agency of following policies set out by the United States and Europe, while another says Iran should consider withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Iran's Growing Nuclear Threat
June 15, 2004
After months of playing hide-and-seek with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has taken a hard-line stance against any restrictions on its nuclear program.
For years, the Iranian government has been playing games with the world about its nuclear program, claiming it was only interested in peaceful nuclear development. That lie is about to be disproved in the most terrible way possible -- by the emergence of Iran as a nuclear power.
For reference, ordinary natural uranium has an atomic weight of 238. Only .72 percent of naturally-occurring uranium consists of an unstable isotope with a weight of 235. Various complex methods can be used to separate the lighter uranium from the mix; the most common is by gas centrifuge, of the sort that was found buried under a rosebush in Iraq. Highly-enriched uranium (HEU) contains more than 20 percent Uranium-235. Weapons-grade HEU consists of more than 90 percent pure U-235. A power-generating reactor can be fueled with lower grades of uranium; there is no need for HEU unless you want a sustained nuclear fission reaction -- in other words, a nuclear bomb.
After months of playing hide-and-seek with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has taken a hard-line stance against any restrictions on its nuclear program. Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said, "Iran has a high technical capability and has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path." The "nuclear club" consists of those countries that admit to having nuclear weapons -- the US, the UK, France, Russia, China, and most recently Pakistan and India. North Korea claims to have working nuclear weapons, but has not yet openly tested one, and Israel is suspected of having them. Libya was close to achieving nuclear capability, but Moammar Ghaddafi wisely gave up his ambitions in that direction after the US-led coalition removed Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq in March 2003. Though Iran claimed to have halted its uranium enrichment program, inspectors from the IAEA have repeatedly found traces of highly-enriched uranium at multiple sites in Iran.
Iran has been caught in lies regarding its nuclear weapons programs before, and has covered up very badly. When IAEA inspectors tried in May 2004 to visit suspicious sites they had seen only months earlier, they found that the sites themselves had vanished. The buildings that the inspectors believed contained working enrichment facilities were gone, and in their place were freshly-planted flowerbeds. The Iranians pretended that no buildings had ever been there, even when shown aerial and satellite photographs of the missing buildings. Now, they refuse to keep up even a weak pretense. What else could it mean but the imminence of their nuclear ambition being fulfilled?
A radical fundamentalist government which sponsors global terrorism gaining nuclear capability is a horror that cannot be allowed to happen. If terrorists are willing to blow themselves up in cars packed with explosives or strap on "bomb belts" in order to kill innocent civilians in restaurants and buses, why would they balk at using nuclear weapons in the same way? If they believe they will be rewarded in the afterlife for killing a few children on a schoolbus, what reward do they think they'll receive for wiping an entire city off the map? It's no longer a matter of if, but when. If we allow Tehran to create nuclear weapons, how long will it be before we wake up to find that a nuclear bomb has destroyed a major city like Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Paris, New York, London or Washington DC? Every place on Earth that terrorists have struck, they would have attacked with nuclear weapons if it had been possible. Next time, it might be.
What can be done to stop this threat? If we think we have the time -- and that depends entirely on our intelligence services, which have not exactly had a good track record in the Middle East -- we can attempt to impose sanctions. Most of Iran's oil exports are shipped through the Straits of Hormuz, which can be blockaded with just a small percentage of America's naval force. With the bulk of its oil income halted, the Iranian economy would collapse, but not overnight. Will we have the determination to keep up the blockade long enough? Other oil-exporting nations would undoubtedly halt their exports to any participating nations, and gas and oil prices would rise higher than ever before. (One has to wonder whether this is why President Bush refuses to release oil from the nation's emergency reserve.) The only other option is to strike Iran's suspected nuclear facilities before they can enrich enough uranium to build a weapon, although knowing their locations depends on our intelligence services as well.
The only certainty either way is that the "mainstream" media, Democrats and Liberals would vilify President Bush even more than they already do, if that's even possible. One really has to wonder whose side they're on. Of course, they wouldn't be too kind to him if whole cities began to disappear, either.
Joe Mariani was born and raised in New Jersey. He lives in Pennsylvania, where the gun laws are less restrictive and taxes are lower. His essays and links to articles are available at http://guardian.blogdrive.com.
The World Bank Props Up the Iranian Mullahcracy
June 15, 2004
National Review Online
Even as the Islamic Regime of Iran accelerated the number of arrests, tortures, and death sentences it carried out, on May 29, the World Bank awarded it with two loans totaling $369 million. As justification for granting the loans, the World Bank claims they were awarded to help the people of Iran.
"In many countries we have enfranchised civil societies," the Bank's president, James D. Wolfensohn said at a luncheon. "Should we stop doing that and wait until we had perfect countries before we lend?"
Wolfensohn added: "The easiest thing for me, for the Bank, would be to say, just wait until these countries are democratic, but that is impracticable. The bank is not the United Nations. Its goal is economic development. Sometimes this must go hand in hand with democratic development."
These are fair points, but surely Wolfensohn is aware that in Iran, 70 percent of non-oil revenue and 50 percent of the economy is controlled by the "tax-exempt organizations" (bonyaads), which are accountable only to the Supreme Leader. The people of Iran, in other words, will not benefit from these loans.
Since May 2000, Iran has borrowed $801 million from the World Bank and another $276 million has been approved for two more projects.
Based on information provided by the Bureau of International Information Programs of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. has always opposed World Bank's assistance to Iran, but has been unsuccessful to block the approval of the loans to that country in recent years, mainly because other large Bank shareholders have sought to increase their engagement with Iran.
"I want to assure you that the Treasury Department and the U.S. Executive Director at the World Bank, while not fully successful, have consistently and actively sought to block all proposals for World Bank Group assistance to Iran," Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury William Schuerch said in his October 29 testimony before a panel of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Although the United States is the Bank's largest shareholder, with a voting share of 16.4 percent, it cannot block lending decisions without support from other major member-countries, Schuerch said.
He said that from July 1993 to May 2000 the Group of Seven (G-7) worked together to stop lending to Iran, but added that this consensus unraveled when some members notably, European ones began supporting reengagement with Iran.
"Some of this reengagement was due to their expressed view that engaging with Iran's 'reformers' would support them in their efforts against Iran's hardliners a view which is still evident as the Europeans negotiate with Iran over their nuclear program," Schuerch explained.
However, the need of the Islamic Regime to stabilize its bankrupt economy is not going to be satisfied by these loans. A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on the Iranian economy predicted that Iran needs to mobilize $4 billion a year in foreign loans and in direct investments if it is to achieve a level of growth that stabilizes unemployment.
There is a lot at stake for the World Bank, as we expect more loans to be awarded to Iran in the future. But, the World Bank should realize that supporting the present regime by granting loans is to ignore the will of the people of Iran. The World Bank should know that as the people of Iran do not recognize this regime as their legitimate representative, and as these loans will mostly be used to support the mischief of the regime (such as acquiring weapon of mass destruction or sending terrorists across the border to Iraq), and because they are not the beneficiary of these loans, the World Bank is putting its investments at a great risk.
Every tyrant regime including this one comes to an end. The World Bank should have the vision of the future that, when the people of Iran have freed themselves from this monstrous regime, Iran under its future democratic government will not have any responsibility to pay back these loans.
Mohammad Parvin is an adjunct professor at the California State University and director of the Mission for Establishing Human Rights in Iran.
Negotiating Human Rights in Tehran?
June 15, 2004
The European Union's approach to Tehran is to engage in "dialogue," even as political detainees are being tortured in the presence of judges, held for weeks in absolute solitary confinement, and denied basic due process rights.
The European Union's human rights delegation to Iran began its two-day session with Iranian officials in Tehran on Monday, June 14. The Regime's official news agency, ISNA, speaks of the "fourth roundtable talks on human rights between the Islamic Republic and the EU," inaugurated, according to the agency, in an atmosphere of "friendship and mutual understanding" and far from "presumptions built by masters of power or forced by political pressures."
Before the delegation left for Iran, the Human Rights Watch Organization warned EU officials that they, "should take a much stronger approach in the upcoming E.U.-Iran human rights dialogue than they have in previous meetings with the Iranian government."
In fact, the organization had on June 7 published a priceless 73-page report entitled "Like the Dead in Their Coffins: Torture, Detention, and the Crushing of Dissent in Iran" which gave unprecedented details on how political detainees have been tortured in the presence of judges, held for weeks in absolute solitary confinement, and denied basic due process rights.
In recent weeks, hundreds of student protesters have been summoned to court around the country or sent to university disciplinary committees for punishment. Last month, a number of political detainees on medical leave received harsh prison sentences for articles they had published.
Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa executive director, Sarah Leah Whitson, urged the EU to "publicly condemn the crackdown currently underway."
The organization asked the EU to make further human rights negotiations with Iran contingent on certain steps, such as: releasing all political prisoners currently held for legal exercise of their right to free expression, creating specific enforcement mechanisms for its anti-torture laws, conducting a thorough investigation of its secret prisons granting full access to international observers, and providing for independent investigation of judges and prosecutors who violate local and international laws.
The HRW report covers mostly the so-called Khatami era (after President Mohammad Khatami). The report shows quite flawlessly that the two-term presidency of Khatami only worsened the human rights situation in Iran. Iran's record of human rights during the '80s and the '90s is well-known and documented, but especially since Khatami's second term, beginning in 2001, the degrading situation shows much more than mere rights abuses. This was supposed to be a period of "openness," one of "reform." Now with such a rights record, and with the recent parliamentary elections -- with virtually all candidates not belonging to the opposite faction, namely the Supreme leader Ali Khamenei's faction, put out of the game -- one can easily deduce that no reform will ever be in sight with the current regime in place.
Then the big question would be the use of "human rights negotiations" with such a regime. EU's policy of "dialogue" with the mullahs has always been criticized, justly so, because of the lack of a minimum of sincerity on the part of the mullahs. Because of this lack of sincerity, the whole outcome is an appeasement of the regime's most notorious factions.
The EU should insist on sending delegations to visit Iranian jails, secret torture chambers, and the indefinite array of solitary confinement cells in the notorious Evin prison of Tehran, not sit down at a roundtable negotiation with those who are responsible for all this mayhem. "Human Rights negotiations" with the regime is shivering enough, but going to Tehran to do this is ridiculous to the Iranian people. It is not without reason that the mullahs say brazenly that "since two years that this dialogue goes on, the EU has not sponsored any resolutions on rights violations in Iran in the UN Human Rights' Commission, and has even recently prevented such a resolution from being issued after opponents of the Islamic Republic instigated that." (Mehr news agency, June 9, 2004). What would those victims in solitary cells, or in torture chambers, or in unknown safe houses-turned-into-prisons say, when they hear about such "friendly atmospheres?"
More dangerous than neglecting rights abuses is letting such abuses be used by those who undertake them as bargaining chips.
Nooredin Abedian is an Iranian engineer based in Germany, and a former lecturer at Tehran University. He writes from time to time on Iranian issues and politics.
Diplomats float resolution that is a sharp rebuke of Iran
AP - World News
Jun 15, 2004
VIENNA - Europe's major powers floated a finely tuned draft resolution Tuesday that reprimands Iran for delaying an investigation into its suspect nuclear activities but refrains from direct threats of sanctions.
Even without such threats, the toughly worded document under consideration at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency maintains pressure on Iran to come clean on aspects of what was a covert nuclear program for nearly 20 years until discovered two years ago.
The new draft, written by France, Germany and Britain and seen by The Associated Press, toned down demands on Iran to abort plans to build a heavy water reactor and slightly modified tough language taking Tehran to task for hampering the IAEA probe.
But the overall wording remained tough. One key phrase "deplored" the fact that Iran's cooperation "has not been complete" _ strong terminology in diplomatic language.
Still, the draft contained no deadline or "trigger mechanism" as sought by the United States and its allies that could set into motion possible sanctions on Iran if it continued its foot dragging past a certain date.
Delegates, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity, said that the draft was unlikely to undergo major changes before being formally submitted for a vote later in the week.
Earlier Tuesday, Iran rejected the IAEA criticism.
"We have no plans to produce weapons and all of our activities are for peaceful purposes and nothing is wrong," Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters in Istanbul, Turkey.
In a letter to the leaders of the European powers that drafted the text, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned them against giving in to "U.S. pressure." Quoting from the letter, the daily Sharq cited Khatami as saying that "Iran's cooperation with the international community for the peaceful use of nuclear energy" was at stake.
But in Vienna, Kenneth Brill, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, said Washington remained convinced that Iran was "trying to hide ... a weapons program."
As a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board of governors opened Monday, the agency's chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, reflected the general frustrations with Iran's delaying tactics, saying his agency's probe "can't go on forever."
The agency is mainly concerned with ambiguous, missing or withheld information on the scope of Iran's uranium enrichment program, and the source of enriched uranium found inside the country.
"These are two issues where we need accelerated and proactive cooperation," ElBaradei told reporters. "The way they have been engaging us on these issues has been less than satisfactory."
In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said ElBaradei's views provided "further evidence that Iran's troubling lack of cooperation with IAEA continues."
He said the United States believes IAEA's board must adopt a strong resolution that calls on Iran to cooperate with the agency and to resolve all the outstanding issues regarding its nuclear program.
Asked why the United States at present does not think Iran should be referred to the U.N. Security Council over its lack of cooperation with the IAEA, a move that could lead to formal U.N. sanctions against the country, Boucher replied that the agency's investigation and verification work in Iran must continue for the foreseeable future.
"We think the agency has continued to find out things about the program, to conduct valuable investigations, to continue to bring facts to light and to continue to keep the pressure on Iran to comply," Boucher said in Washington.
Under growing international pressure, Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and stopped building centrifuges. It also has allowed IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities without notice.
Iran has rejected U.S. allegations that its nuclear program is a smoke screen for making weapons. Instead, the country says its uranium-enrichment _ which could be used to make bombs, once fully operational _ is geared solely toward generating electricity.
The IAEA report, written by ElBaradei, says Iran inquired about buying thousands of magnets for centrifuges on the black market _ casting doubt on Iranian assertions that its P-2 centrifuge program was purely experimental and not aimed for full uranium enrichment.
On the traces of enriched uranium _ which include minute amounts at weapons-grade levels _ Tehran says they were not domestically produced but inadvertently imported in purchases through the nuclear black market.
The IAEA's investigators have not been able to fully test that claim because Pakistan, the main source of the equipment, has blocked free access to its nuclear material.
Iran Plays 'Cat and Mouse' with UN Nuke Body
June 15, 2004
The New York Times
VIENNA -- An Iranian exile accused Tehran on Tuesday of playing a ``cat and mouse'' game with U.N. nuclear watchdog while it secretly develops atomic weapons, a charge that was vehemently denied by a senior Iranian official.
The latest allegation comes from Iranian exile Alireza Jafarzadeh, formerly a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the man who reported in August 2002 that Iran was hiding a massive uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water production facility at Arak.
Jafarzadeh said his latest information -- that Iran's leaders have adopted an official policy of feigning cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) while forging ahead with hidden nuclear weapons activities -- comes from the same sources who told him about Natanz and Arak.
``Their (Iran's) cooperation is intended to confuse the IAEA, to divert their attention to buy time while they get closer to their goal -- a weapon,'' Jafarzadeh told Reuters.
``Their strategy is to keep this inspection process going as long as possible, to keep the inspectors busy, and then pull the plug and leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),'' he said. ``It's like cat and mouse, a nuclear shell game.''
Jafarzadeh is now president of the Washington-based Strategic Policy Consulting Inc. and is not officially affiliated with the NCRI, whose Washington offices were shut down last year after the United States listed it as a terrorist organization.
Hossein Mousavian, secretary of the foreign policy committee of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said the charge was yet another baseless allegation in a string of false claims.
``During the last 15 months, they (the Iranian exiles) have made many allegations and given the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) such information, but all of it has been proven to be false information, all had no basis (in fact),'' Mousavian told Reuters in a telephone interview.
``More than 670 IAEA inspections prove that we are completely open. We have nothing to hide,'' Mousavian, who is in Vienna for an IAEA board meeting that is expected to pass a resolution rebuking Iran for failing to cooperate fully with the IAEA.
``GUERRILLA WAR STRATEGY''
Washington has long accused oil-rich Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic power program. Tehran denies this, insisting its program is designed solely to produce electricity from nuclear reactors.
Joe Circincione, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Jafarzadeh's allegation was credible.
``It certainly looks like Iran's strategy is a traditional guerrilla war strategy -- draw the enemy in deep,'' he said, adding that the majority of the 35 nations on the IAEA Board of Governors thinks Iran is playing ``cat and mouse'' with the U.N.
On Monday, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei's said Iran's cooperation with the agency had been ``less than satisfactory.'' He also said the IAEA was still trying to determine whether Iran had declared all of its uranium enrichment activities.
ElBaradei has said there is no proof Iran has a weapons program, though he said recently ``the jury is still out.''
The IAEA declined to comment, but a Vienna-based diplomat who follows the IAEA said Jafarzadeh and the NCRI were credible.
``While we don't support the NCRI in its methods, their public information about Iran's program has not infrequently proven to have some basis in fact,'' the diplomat said.
Diplomats Near Agreement to Censure Iran
Tuesday June 15, 2004 7:46 PM
By GEORGE JAHN
Associated Press Writer
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Diplomats said they were near agreement Tuesday on a toughly worded draft resolution to censure Iran rather than punish it for its lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The document under consideration at the IAEA 35-nation board of governors meeting here said the document lacked a direct threat of sanctions but did keep pressure on Iran to come clean on aspects of its 20-year covert nuclear program that was discovered two years ago.
The draft resolution - written by Germany, France and Britain - was expected to be adopted later this week, the diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
The new draft toned down demands on Iran to abort plans to build a heavy water reactor and slightly modified language taking Tehran to task for hampering the IAEA probe. But the overall wording remained tough, according to the envoys.
One key phrase in the planned resolution ``deplored'' Iran's spotty record on cooperating with the agency. Other omissions by Iran were noted with ``concern'' or ``serious concern.'' All the phrases are tough language in the diplomatic context.
The draft contained no deadline or ``trigger mechanism'' as sought by the United States and its allies that could set into motion possible sanctions if Iran continued its foot-dragging past a certain date.
However, in an apparent nod to the United States, Canada, Australia and other nations calling for more action, the draft contrasted the ``the passage of time'' - a year since the IAEA probe began - and the still blurry contours of Iran's nuclear program.
The draft appeared to echo the sentiments of IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, who said Monday in unusually blunt comments that his agency's probe ``can't go on forever.''
Iran has rejected U.S. allegations that its nuclear program is a smoke screen for making atomic weapons. Instead, the country says its uranium-enrichment is geared solely toward generating electricity.
``We have no plans to produce weapons and all of our activities are for peaceful purposes and nothing is wrong,'' Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey.
In a bid to sway the meeting, the Iranian delegation met privately with ElBaradei for an hour Tuesday and lobbied the chief delegates of the three European nations who wrote the draft, said a diplomat close to the agency.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami also sent a letter to the European powers behind the draft resolution warning them against giving in to ``U.S. pressure'' and saying Iran may cut back its cooperation.
The United States wants the IAEA to declare Iran in breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to refer Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.
Kenneth Brill, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, said in Vienna that Washington remained convinced that Iran was ``trying to hide ... a weapons program.''
One diplomat told The Associated Press that Washington recognized it could not get majority board support for a direct or implicit threat of U.N. sanctions.
Instead, he said, the Americans were looking ahead to the next board meeting in September with the expectation that new revelations about Iran's nuclear program would surface by then.
The results of analysis of enriched uranium traces found on military sites in Iran and now being evaluated by the agency could provide the trigger in September, said the diplomat, suggesting such a finding could support suspicions that Tehran enriched uranium domestically.
Iran denies working on enrichment beyond the experimental stage and says the traces found within the country, which include minute amounts at weapons-grade levels, were inadvertently imported.
Under growing international pressure, Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and stopped building centrifuges. It also has allowed IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities without notice. But recent revelations have raised new suspicions.
An IAEA report, written by ElBaradei, says Iran inquired about buying thousands of magnets for centrifuges on the black market - casting doubt on Iranian assertions that its P-2 centrifuge program was purely experimental and not aimed for full uranium enrichment.
Correct. They are also trying to regain control of the young people. There have been a number of reports of increase in arrests by the "morals police".
The mullahs have let things get a bit out of hand, and now they're trying to reign things in.
I can imagine these crackdowns leading to protests.......
U.S. Presses Europeans To Toughen Tone Against Iran: German Envoy
VIENNA (IRNA) -- Americans are putting strong pressure on Europeans to change and toughen the second draft resolution proposed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.
The German Board member, who spoke to IRNA on condition of anonymity here on Tuesday, said certain European states are now getting prepared to drastically change the resolution to meet the U.S. wishes.
The source said Americans are seriously and persistently calling for inclusion of two issues, namely condemnation of Iran and setting a timeframe and deadline for the country.
The German envoy said Americans believe that the second draft by the Europeans has adopted a very soft tone against Iran. He said European delegations predict they will have to put forward a third or even fourth resolution to settle differences with the U.S.
He predicted that the Board meeting will take until Saturday and Sunday.
The 35-nation IAEA Board has been studying Iran's case since Monday.
"a toughly worded draft resolution to censure Iran rather than punish it for its lack of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency."
Oh, Good Grief !! Censure?!
-Comedy piece of the Day. The hidden imam was actually the one who authorized the banning of 2,500 reformists in recent elections according to Ayatollah Meshkini.
Hidden Imam's Signature under List of Majles MPs
Qum prayer leader Ayatollah Ali Meshkini, who is speaker of the Experts Assembly, which oversees the conduct of the Supreme Leader, said on Friday that the Shiites' 12th Imam, believed to be hidden from views until the Judgment Day, approved and signed a list of names and addresses of the conservative MPs elected in last February's elections, which followed the Guardians Council's widespread ban on reformist candidates. With all due respect to the hidden Imam, we believe that people elect the Majles MPs, not the hidden Imam, Majles speaker Mehdi Karrubi said. Qum prayer leader's statement has no basis in logic, former prosecutor of revolutionary courts Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardabili said.
Lol. Oh, Phil's gotta be able to use that one!
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