Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 16, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 06/15/2004 9:06:41 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.
US Accuses Iran of 'Bullying' UN
June 16, 2004
The US has accused Iran of bullying foreign diplomats, in an escalating row over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. US diplomat Kenneth Brill said Iran's president was using "intimidation" by saying Tehran might resume its uranium enrichment programme.
President Mohammad Khatami rejected a draft before the International Atomic Energy Agency which "deplores" Iran's lack of co-operation on nuclear inspections.
Iran denies US accusations that it is secretly developing nuclear weapons.
'Something to hide'
Mr Brill, the US Ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, said: "This full-blown effort to try to change the direction of the [IAEA] board through public and private intimidation suggests Iran has something to hide."
"People who are trying to produce electricity for light bulbs don't engage in this kind of behaviour," he added, referring to Iran's position that it only wants to use nuclear technology to generate power.
He was responding to Mr Khatami's rejection of a toughly worded resolution being considered in Vienna this week by IAEA members.
"If this resolution passes, Iran will have no moral commitment to suspend uranium enrichment," Mr Khatami said.
International pressure made Iran open up to nuclear inspections "The IAEA resolution is very bad... [it] violates our country's rights.
"If it passes, in the future we will have more problems with co-operating with the agency."
But he added that Iran had no intention of withdrawing from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as North Korea has done.
The BBC's Jim Muir says officials in Tehran are angry, arguing that they have met all their commitments.
They claim Britain, France and Germany - the countries behind the latest resolution - are acting under pressure from Washington.
Our correspondent says in the past, Iran has continued to co-operate despite some tough rhetoric.
But with a new conservative-dominated parliament, there is no guarantee that will continue, he says.
The draft resolution does not contain any deadline or trigger mechanism to set into motion possible sanctions on Iran.
Washington has been pushing for the IAEA to report Tehran to the UN Security Council, which could lead to formal sanctions.
An IAEA report published in April said suspicions still hung over Iran's nuclear programme.
It said the discovery of bomb-grade uranium traces at Iranian facilities, and an Iranian attempt to buy centrifuges to speed up the enrichment of uranium, were a cause for concern.
Under growing international pressure, Iran says it has suspended uranium enrichment and has allowed the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities without notice.
Iran 'Hiding' Nuclear Power
June 16, 2004
From Correspondents in Vienna
Threats by Iran to reduce cooperation with the UN atomic agency constitute intimidation and show that the Islamic republic has something to hide, US diplomat Kenneth Brill said today.
"This full-blown effort to try to change the direction of the (International Atomic Energy Agency) board through public and private intimidation suggests Iran has something to hide," Brill said at IAEA headquarters in Vienna where the agency's board of governors is meeting.
In Tehran, President Mohammad Khatami warned today that Iran would have no moral obligation to maintain a suspension of uranium enrichment and allow tougher UN inspections if a harsh British-French-German-drafted resolution is adopted by the IAEA at its board meeting this week.
The US claims that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons and has urged the IAEA to cite Tehran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
The resolution however calls for continued IAEA cooperation with Iran on resolving the nuclear issue.
Iran claims its nuclear program is for the peaceful generation of electricity and wants the IAEA to break off its investigation.
"I think what we are seeing here is a full-court press of intimidation by the government of Iran and its delegation here," said who is the US ambassador to the agency.
He added that the proposed resolution, "while not perfect, is clearly based" on statements IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei has presented to the board listing Iranian failures to fully report on its nuclear program.
Iran was trying "to get the board to abdicate its responsibility," which is to monitor Iran's nuclear activities, he added.
"People who are trying to produce electricity don't engage in these kinds of behavior," Brill said, referring to Iran's work into development of advanced P-2 centrifuges that can make bomb-grade uranium.
"It raises a lot more questions than Iran is trying to answer," Brill said.
Khatami said Iran wanted to "continue cooperating with the Europeans, the international community and the agency" but that the IAEA's adopting the resolution would mean "the Europeans do not respect their obligations to us and we will not have any obligations to them."
The so-called Euro-3 had struck an agreement in October 2003 with Iran to cooperate with the IAEA, including confidence-building measures, in return for the possibility of the agency wrapping up its investigation in Iran's favor, something that would open the door to wider trade with Europe.
The three countries showed their draft resolution Tuesday to the board calling for a probe into Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program to be toughened and wrapped up in months.
ElBaradei told the board on Monday that two main issues were still unresolved about Iran's nuclear program, the contamination of some equipment by highly enriched uranium (HEU) and Iranian research into advanced P-2 centrifuges which can be used to make HEU, or bomb-grade uranium.
He said the "information provided by Iran with regard to the P-2 centrifuge program, after repeated requests, has been changing and at times contradictory" and that information about HEU contamination of equipment, which Iran claims came from components imported through an international black market, "has not been sufficient to resolve this complex matter."
Iran Takes on West's Control of Oil Trading
June 16, 2004
Iran is to launch an oil trading market for Middle East and Opec producers that could threaten the supremacy of London's International Petroleum Exchange.
A contract to design and establish a new platform for crude, natural gas and petrochemical trades is expected to be signed with an international consortium within days.
Top oil producing countries are determined to seize more control of trading after being advised that existing markets such as the IPE and Nymex in New York are not working in their favour.
Three years ago a former compliance director accused the IPE of manipulating prices, although these allegations were dismissed after an investigation.
The Tehran oil bourse is scheduled to open in 2005, according to its architect, Mohammad Javad Asemipour, who is a personal adviser to the Iranian energy minister.
"We are in the final stage of choosing a concession for what is going to be a very big development for us and the region," he said.
The expected winner of the contract is a consortium of Iranian and international companies known as Wimpole, which is understood to include PA Consulting and a former director of Nymex.
Mr Asemipour has been in London in the last few weeks visiting commodity traders to encourage them to participate in his new venture.
He played down the dangers that the new exchange could eventually pose for the IPE or Nymex, saying he hoped they might be able to cooperate in some way.
Some industry experts have warned the Iranians and other Opec producers that western exchanges are controlled by big financial and oil corporations, which have a vested interest in market volatility.
The IPE, bought in 2001 by a consortium that includes BP, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, was unwilling to discuss the Iranian move yesterday. "We would not have any comment to make on it at this stage," said an IPE spokeswoman.
Many of the contracts for crude oil being exported from producers such as Iran and Saudi Arabia are linked to prices for the UK North Sea Brent blend.
The Middle East producers would like to establish a rival Persian Gulf blend contract alongside hedging mechanisms that could operate around the new bourse.
The regional initiative is significant but not entirely new. The Dubai Mercantile Exchange recently tried to develop an oil trading market with the help of Nymex but it collapsed through lack of interest.
The Tehran bourse is considered to be more likely to succeed because Iran exports 2.7m barrels a day and produces 13m tonnes of petrochemicals every year. The country has the second biggest oil reserves in the world behind Saudi Arabia.
But Adam Sieminski, oil analyst with Deutsche Bank in London, questioned whether it would succeed. "The IPE and Nymex work because there are many sellers and many buyers. They are regulated markets based on well-established systems for trading and I think the Iranians will struggle to duplicate that."
Mr Asemipour said the new project is in tune with both Islamic and local constitutional law and has been given the go-ahead by government and parliament as part of the country's five-year plan.
There was "considerable scope" for proven reserves and production levels to keep on rising in Russia and elsewhere, he said in BP's statistical review of world energy.
Production in some areas such as the North Sea might have peaked but "this is no reason for current high prices," said BP chief economist Peter Davies. Oil prices during 2003 were the highest for 20 years despite world oil production growing by 3.8%, higher than the 2.1% increase in demand, BP noted.
Air France Resumes Flights To Iran
June 16, 2004
Air France has resumed non-stop commercial flights between Paris and Tehran after a seven-year halt, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday. The French airline struck Tehran off its list of destinations in 1997 due to poor profitability of the route.
But growing foreign investment opportunities in the Islamic Republic have seen increased demand for seats between Europe and Iran in recent years.
The Air France spokeswoman said the company would offer three direct flights a week, the first of which landed at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Tuesday night.
Rafsanjani Slams Graeter Miseast Plan
June 16, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Expediency Council chief Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani here Wednesday referred to the US-sponsored Middle East initiative as Iran's major challenge with the Americans who are intent on imposing their culture and democracy on the region.
Speaking at the sixth meeting of high-ranking Ulama from Qom seminary, he added that the meeting of the Group of Eight most industrial states in the US mainly focused on the Islamic Revolution and its great impact on the world.
Turning to the history of Islam and the current conditions prevailing in the world of Islam, he said, "Given our remarkable progress, at present we have new responsibilities."
"Upon the victory of Islamic Revolution, the main arrogant power which had earlier been in a defensive position, took on an offensive approach," he added.
He further noted that world arrogant powers led by the US, which were shaken by the September 11 terrorist attack, launched multi-sided attacks on Islam.
"Despite their abortive attempts, they reproached us as the center of invasion. However, actually the US ended up being trapped in the consequences of its own acts," he added.
Human Chain Around Nuke Sites
June 16, 2004
From correspondents in Tehran
Members of Iran's hardline Islamic Basij militia have formed a human chain around the Islamic republic's first nuclear power station, and have vowed to defend the facility to their "last drop of blood", the official news agency IRNA said today.
The agency said the protest at Bushehr - sparked by fresh pressure on Iran over its nuclear program from the UN atomic energy watchdog - took place on Tuesday and yesterday.
However, there were no photos or television images of the symbolic act of defiance by 400 student Basij, as the site is subject to tight security.
The power station, situated on the Gulf coast and being built with Russian help, is still under construction.
"The students of the Basij formed this human chain to tell the western countries ... that they will defend, to their last drop of blood the achievements of Iran in the domain of nuclear technology," a Basij official, Ali Kamal Chonbadi, was quoted as saying.
"We will continue this action until the legitimate rights of Iran are secured," he said.
IRNA said a similar protest also took place in the central city of Arak, where a heavy water reactor is being built.
Protesters reportedly chanted slogans against Britain, the United States and Israel, and also called for the breaking off of diplomatic relation with France and Germany.
Britain, France and Germany have drawn Iranian ire after proposing a draft resolution to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that calls for the probe into Iran's suspect nuclear program to be stepped up, and chastises the clerical regime for its failure to allay suspicions it is seeking nuclear weapons under the cover of generating atomic energy.
Unsigned Copy of Farah Pahlavi's Memoirs
June 16, 2004
Iran va Jahan
I went through the wrought iron gates of the Passy cemetery in Paris on Saturday 12 June, just before 3 o'clock in the afternoon to attend the service held to commemorate the third anniversary of Princess Leila's death.
Rows of solemn Iranians dressed in black lined the path leading up to the grave of their beloved Princess. Many proudly holding high a full size Imperial flag. There was no empty spot and spying few friends, I asked them to let me pass and stand behind them not very far from Princess Leila's grave. Two large Iranian flags made from flowers, together with Leila Pahlavi's portrait were displayed nearby. Pots of pink and white hydrangeas and freshly cut white roses were laid on the tombstone.
We were all holding our breath waiting for the arrival of Shahbanou who was going to come directly from Washington where she had been attending President Reagan's funeral. My friend turned around and said:
"It must be exhausting going from Paris to Washington just for one day and flying back and then directly coming to the ceremony here without a moment's rest." In the anxious eyes of all standing there one could discern the words of prayer for their beloved Shabanou.
A little girl was holding to her mother's arm with one slender hand and with the other was trying hard to keep steady on the ground the pole of a large Iranian flag. Many of these Iranians had come from miles away from all over Europe and further.
All of a sudden there was an excitement amongst the crowd and someone said: "She is coming, she is coming". The cameras were clicking incessantly and reporters holding up their filming equipment were walking backwards in front of Shahbanou. Her tall graceful figure could be seen moving up the path. She was nodding and smiling kindly at everyone. One could see that she wanted to stand by every Iranian holding and greeting them individually.
Words of sorrow, sympathy, love and patriotism were spoken at the ceremony by Iranians. Shahbanou, in spite of a losing battle against tears, expressed her thanks and appreciation to everyone. The mother who was there at the grave of her own flesh and blood was also a queen united with her people in a collective grief.
And no, the Empress did not go directly home afterwards to rest. Following the ceremony everyone was invited for refreshments to a hotel not far from the cemetery. Shahbanou sat at a table in the garden and a long queue formed of those wishing to pay their respects. I saw the Deputy Mayor of Paris passing by.
A few hours later, as I was walking in the garden of the hotel I felt tired and leaned against a low stone wall next to a man with a small Iranian flag pinned to the lapel of his jacket and a book of Farah Pahlavi's memoirs in his hand. I said hello and asked him whether he lived in Paris. "No, I have come from Germany to attend the memorial service." "Did you get your book signed?" I asked. "You know I wanted so much to see her and waited in the line-up for a long time, so I could talk to her and have her autograph my book. When there were only two people ahead of me, I thought to myself that Shahbanou must be really tired and after such a long demanding day she needs her rest. So I decided to move out of the queue."
Looking at him there sitting on the low stone wall in the garden holding on to an unsigned copy of Empress's memoirs, I knew I was looking at a man who bore the signature of a fine character. He represented what I missed most about my homeland. A loving kindness that no amount of hate-indoctrination of the fanatical mullahs will ever be able to efface. This man had not come all the way to receive, but was able to find pleasure in offering his own considerateness and generosity. What a tender, respectful and civilized contrast this man made to the foaming and clamouring mob showing their supposed devotion to the supreme leader and Ayatollahs of the Islamic Republic.
"The Empress is tired and after such a long demanding day she needs her rest."
I sat there thinking of the fine sentiment these words conveyed. It took me back in my mind to the frenetic revolutionary days of 1979. How tragically then the deep sensibility and compassion present in our national character was overpowered by the venom of the lynch-mongering fanatics. How could we fail to think of our king's long years of hard work and his need for a little respite after a tumultuous reign?
To remember Princess Leila is to think of the love she lived for and eventually died of. Manifestations of that indestructible love were present everywhere on the third anniversary of her death: they were there in the efforts of that little girl trying hard to hold up her national flag, in the tender and tearful words of Shahbanou and in the intelligent eyes of the man carrying an unsigned copy of Farah Pahlavi's memoirs.
Iran Says Snap Nuke Checks Won't Be Ratified Soon
Wed Jun 16, 2004 04:03 AM ET
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran warned on Wednesday that a U.N. protocol allowing inspectors to conduct snap inspections of nuclear sites will not be ratified by parliament any time soon, despite repeated international calls for its prompt approval.
"The process of the final approval of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is a lengthy process," Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.
"One should not expect the Additional Protocol to be approved quickly by the parliament," he said.
U.N. nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and several Western nations have urged Iran to ratify the protocol on snap inspections as soon as possible.
A draft resolution prepared by Britain, Germany and France for an IAEA Board of Governors meeting in Vienna this week again calls for the prompt ratification of the protocol as well as rebuking Tehran for lax cooperation with the IAEA.
Iran, which says its nuclear aims are entirely peaceful, insists it has cooperated fully with IAEA inspectors and has called for its case to be closed.
Angered by the tough language in the draft IAEA resolution, Iranian officials have issued a number of warnings that Tehran may scale back cooperation with U.N. inspectors in retaliation.
Parliamentarians, in particular, have said they may not ratify the protocol on snap nuclear inspections which the Iranian government signed last December.
Kharrazi noted that the new parliament, in which Islamic conservatives now hold a clear majority, may be less compliant than the previous assembly which was dominated by reformists.
"We have told the Europeans that the new parliament does not think the same way as the previous parliament and that should be considered in their calculations," he said.
A European diplomat in Tehran said he believed Iran would use ratification of the Additional Protocol as a bargaining chip in the coming months.
"They're going to keep warning us that parliament won't approve it while keeping it off parliament's agenda for as long as possible," he said.
Iran 'Getting Close' to Trial of Al Qaeda Suspects
Wed Jun 16, 2004 06:05 AM ET
By Mark Trevelyan, Security Correspondent
VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran is close to putting on trial a group of al Qaeda members it suspects of plotting terrorist activities inside the country, a senior official said Wednesday.
Hossein Mousavian, secretary of the foreign policy committee of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, described the suspects as middle-ranking al Qaeda members and said they were still being questioned in jail.
He told reporters in Vienna, where he is heading Iran's delegation to talks at the U.N. nuclear agency, that the alleged militants had been "plotting against the national security of Iran and they have planned for terrorist activities inside Iran."
Asked why Iran was taking so long to try them, he said: "I think we are getting close to a trial...The process is going on. First of all I think the process of questioning should be finalized."
The United States has long believed that Iran was harbouring al Qaeda militants who escaped Afghanistan after U.S. troops invaded in late 2001 after the September 11 attacks.
Iran denies providing safe haven to al Qaeda members and says the suspects are behind bars, but has refused to name them.
The most important figure that Western intelligence agencies say may be there is Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian. He is widely believed to have taken charge of al Qaeda operations after Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was captured in Pakistan.
Asked if Iran was holding Adel, Mousavian refused to answer directly but added, laughing: "This is not, definitely, (Osama) bin Laden or Mullah Omar" -- a reference to the fugitive al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
Iran's foreign minister first said in January that Iran was holding about a dozen al Qaeda suspects and planned to try them. The United States demanded at the time that Tehran hand over the suspects to their countries of origin.
Mousavian said such a handover was possible, but only after a trial. "It depends on the result of the trial...If and when Iran decides to deliver, they will deliver to their own countries, not to the United States," he said.
Nope, we don't target innocent people these days. I suggested 2 tactical nukes to wipe out the 4 Iranian battallions on the Iraq border for three reasons: First, it quickly and completely eliminates the threat of invasion by Iran. Second, it greatly reduces the military power of the mullah mafia running Iran. And third, it sends the message to the rest of the world LOUD AND CLEAR that we are not playing tiddly-winks and democracy is going to happen in the middle east, regardless of what the 13th century barbarians think.
This is just a few lines from this page http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=IA18104
Statements by Dr. Hassan Abasi, theoretician of Revolutionary Guards intelligence, head of the Revolutionary Guards' Center for Doctrinaire Affairs of National Security Outside Iran's Borders, and political expert for the Iranian broadcasting authority, who told a secret meeting of Ansar-e Hizbullah activists about Iran's "locating and spying on 29 sensitive sites in the West, with the aim of bombing them? Our intention is that 6,000 U.S. nuclear warheads will explode in [the U.S.]. We have located the  weak points and we have transferred the information about them to the guerilla organizations, and we are acting through them." Abasi added, "We have established a department for Britain as well, and the discussion about bringing about its collapse is on our agenda. We are also operating among the Mexicans, the Argentineans, and all those with a problem with the U.S."  According to another report, Abasi said, "We defend [the line of] violence and war against the enemies of revolutionary Islam. I take pride in my actions that cause anxiety and fear among the Americans? We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilizationand for the uprooting of the Americans and the English. Our missiles are now ready to strike at their civilization, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Leader [Ali Khamenei], we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations. Our motto during the war in Iraq was: Karbala, we are coming, Jerusalem, we are coming. And because of Khatami's policies and his 'dialogue among civilizations,' we have been compelled to freeze our plan? And now we are [again] about to carry out the program? The global infidel front is a front against Allah and the Muslims, and we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front, by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles." 
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