U.S. Wants Iran Breaches Reported to UN Council
Reuters - World News (via Yahoo)
Jun 18, 2004
VIENNA - The United States said on Friday that Iran should be reported to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose economic sanctions, for violating its international non-proliferation obligations.
"The U.S. continues to believe that Iran's documented non-compliance should be reported to the U.N. Security Council and that its nuclear program presents a threat to international peace and security," U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in Vienna, Kenneth Brill, said in the written text of a speech.
Brill was addressing a closed-door session of the International Atomic Energy Agency's governing board, which adopted a resolution earlier that rebuked Iran for its failure to fully cooperate with U.N. inspectors but did not refer the case to the Security Council.
The United States accuses Iran of using its nuclear program as a front to build an atomic bomb. Iran denies this, insisting its ambitions are limited to the peaceful generation of electricity.
THEIR REAL TARGET IS . . . YOU [Excerpt]
By AMIR TAHERI
June 18, 2004 -- 'IT is time to go home." This is the message that Moqtada al-Sadr, the 30-year-old Shi'ite cleric who led a brief insurgency in Najaf and Kufa, has sent to members of his so-called Army of the Mahdi (Jaish al-Mahdi).
"The fighting is over," says Qais al-Khazaali, a spokesman for Sadr. "We want all our combatants to return to normal life and help Iraq's transition from occupation to full sovereignty."
By the time Sadr issued his instructions, however, few combatants were there to hear it. The rag-tag band recruited to "drive the Americans out of Iraq" disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC AGENCY URGES IRAN STOP SUSPICIOUS NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES
Posted Friday, June 18, 2004
VIENNA, 18 June (IPS) The Islamic Republic of Iran termed as positive a Resolution from the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which deplores that "Iran's cooperation has not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been".
The 35 members Board, in its decision, also rebuked Iran on Friday for past cover-ups in its nuclear program and warned the Islamic republic it has little time left to disprove it has a nuclear weapons program.
Since Iran's undeclared program came to light two years ago, a number of questions remain outstanding," the Resolution, sponsored by Britain, France and Germany said, noting however that "with the passage of time Iran's cooperation with the IAEA probe was becoming more important.
A U.S. official suggested that the phrase included in the last draft resolution could help Washington impose a deadline for Tehran, setting the stage for United Nations Security Council involvement at the next scheduled meeting in September, according to the American news agency The Associated Press.
U.S. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton welcomed the tough text and said it will hinder Iran's efforts to "deceive and obstruct" agency inspectors, AP reported from Washington.
Iranian analysts said the Resolution is a compromise between the Americans who wants a strong signal to Iran and the Europeans that insists on the continuation of keeping the doors open with Tehran.
The fact that the IAEA refused to refer the Iran case to the UN Security Council was a big diplomatic failure for the US authorities, Irans official news agency IRNA quoted Mr. Hoseyn Mousavian, the head of the Iranian delegation at the Vienna negotiations as having said.
If we go from the point that Iran is really after the A bomb, then the resolution is a victory, for it gives it more months to come clean, but time factor is what the Iranian military needs more than everything to finish his first weapon, Mr. Mansoor Farhang, an Iranian scholar based in New York explained in interview with the Persian service of Radio France International.
Talking to reporters after the successful passage of the Resolution, that came up after a week of tough deliberations, hard bargaining and threats from the Iranian authorities, Mr. Mousavian said the Resolution was more positive than the previous resolutions, as it does not include any comments on the deviation of the Iranian nuclear programs to military channels or issues such as the P-2 centrifuges which, in the previous resolution resulted in deep controversy in the world.
The resolution does not set a deadline, but it does state that Iran must answer open questions "within the next few months".
But Mr. Amir Zamaninia, a high-ranking official with the Iranian delegation told the meeting the tone of the resolution was influenced by "wild and illusionary allegations of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program" and warned his country was reviewing its "voluntary confidence-building measures," an indication that Iran might rethink the suspension of its uranium enrichment activities.
He was echoing hard line Iranian newspapers controlled by the ruling conservatives urging the government to get out of the NPT and end cooperating with the IAEA.
In a strong worded letter to the leaders of Britain, France and Germany that had worked out with Iran last October the voluntary suspension of Iranian uranium enriching programs and the signing of the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty, Irans embattled President Mohammad Khatami had warned that his government might stop cooperating with the IAEA if the Agency insisted on imposing conditions that are unacceptable for Iran.
In fact, the resolution urges Iran to give up on plans to start a uranium conversion facility and build a heavy water reactor, both of which have possible weapons applications.
IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei also told reporters the board "expects these issues to come to a close in the next few months".
Mr. Mousavian, a former Ambassador to Germany who now is the Secretary for the International Department at Irans Supreme Council on National Security said Mr. Khatamis letter had very good results and changed the wording of the UN nuclear watchdog resolution on the suspension of the heavy-water project of Arak and UCF project.
He also noted that the resolution includes comments on the good cooperation between the Iranian government and the UN nuclear watchdog as well as comments on Irans good will gesture to offer its nuclear sites to the UN arms inspectors on short-notice or strap inspections.
The increased pressure on Iran coincided with new allegations that Iran was razing parts of a restricted area next to a military complex in a Lavizan Shiyan, Tehran suburb, where nuclear facilities had been hidden.
Tehran says its nuclear program is in accordance with the countrys bid to produce 7,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 20 years, when the countrys oil and gas reserves become overstretched.
But the United States, Israel and some European nations, wondeing why Tehran is not taping its huge natural gas reserves for producing cheaper and cleaner electricity, accuses Iranian ruling ayatollahs to pretext peaceful nuclear activities for producing atomic weapons.
ENDS IRAN IAEA 18604
Paris Arrests 'Used to Seal Iran Deals'
June 19, 2004
France has been accused of agreeing to a crackdown on exiled opponents of Iran in return for lucrative commercial contracts.
Lawyers for France's human rights league, speaking on the anniversary of a huge police raid on the National Council of Resistance of Iran near Paris, pointed out "troubling coincidences" in the timing of the operation and a series of deals with Teheran.
In March last year, the regime signed a large contract with the French telecommunications group Alcatel for a telephone network.
In April last year Teheran offered the petrol giant TotalFina a £660 million gas fields contract. At the same time, a contract was signed with Renault to produce 500,000 cars over four years, the lawyers said.
Then, in June, police arrested 164 members of the Iranian opposition and placed 17 under investigation for having links with or funding terrorism. The authorities said they were looking for a link with a mortar attack on the office of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, in Teheran in 2000.
"The public should ask itself why this type of operation [was made] at the same time as commercial contracts were signed with a tyrannical and terrorist regime," said Patrick Baudoin, a lawyer.
One year on, not a shred of evidence incriminating the 17 had been found, said Mr Baudoin, who will file for the case to be closed next Tuesday. The French state had "flouted the rule of law to gain from petro-dollars", he said.
Spinning 9/11 [Excerpt]
June 18, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Review & Outlook
We'll say this on behalf of the latest staff reports from the 9/11 Commission: They are far more interesting than the media coverage suggests. Americans who go online to read the reports will actually learn a few things.
For example, they'll discover new details about the links between al Qaeda and Iran. The conventional wisdom has been that these Shiite and Sunni cultures couldn't meet, but the report says they did so "to cooperate against a common enemy" -- the infidel U.S.
Specifically, al Qaeda operatives trained in Iran, and al Qaeda helped Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorists obtain explosives. Al Qaeda was also probably involved in two attacks on U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, including the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers that killed 19 Americans and injured 372 and had previously been blamed largely on Hezbollah. This certainly sheds some useful light on State Department attempts to "engage" Tehran's mullahs as they attempt to build a nuclear bomb.
Another revelation concerns al Qaeda and anthrax. The 9/11 panel says al Qaeda had an "ambitious" biological weapons program and "was making advances in its ability to produce anthrax prior to September 11." It cites CIA Director George Tenet as saying that al Qaeda's ability to conduct an anthrax attack is "one of the most immediate threats the United States is likely to face." Given that we already were attacked by anthrax, and that we still don't know who did it, this sounds like news too.
Yet nearly all of the media coverage has focused on what the 9/11 panel claims it didn't find
Iran Says to Review Uranium Enrichment Suspension
June 19, 2004
TEHRAN -- Iran said Saturday it would review its suspension of uranium enrichment after a tough U.N. resolution sharply rebuked Tehran for not cooperating fully with nuclear inspections.
Enrichment, a process of purifying uranium for nuclear power plants, can also be used to make atomic weapons. Any resumption would provoke a major crisis.
Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Iran would probably not resume enrichment for the moment, but might start building parts for enrichment centrifuges.
The United States says Iran's nuclear program is a front for building an atomic weapon, but Iran insists its ambitions are limited to generating electricity.
It agreed to suspend uranium enrichment last year after a visit to Tehran by foreign ministers from the so-called "EU big three" of Britain, France and Germany.
"Iran will review its decision regarding suspension and we will announce our decision in the coming days," Rohani told a news conference.
However, he cautioned such a resumption would probably not mean pumping uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges which spin at high speed to produce enriched uranium.
"I should underline that our decision might not be resuming enrichment itself, it might be other activities such as building parts....Probably we will continue not to inject gas into centrifuges for a while," he added.
A spokeswoman for the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), declined comment on Rohani's statements.
Mid-ranking cleric Rohani said Tehran's decision was prompted by the three European powers reneging on what he described as their commitment to have Iran's case closed at the board level of the IAEA by June.
Rohani said Iran had no secret uranium enrichment sites and the country would continue cooperation with the watchdog.
"I am saying openly that Iran, apart from the sites it has openly declared ... has no other places for enriching uranium," he said.
He dismissed accusations Iran had an undisclosed site in north Tehran, as Washington alleges from satellite photographs.
A U.N. resolution said Friday it "deplored" Iran's failure to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors.
The IAEA has been probing Iran since August 2002 and has pushed it to be fully open with U.N. inspectors as they struggle to reduce the spread of weapons of mass destruction in an increasingly unstable Middle East.
June 18, 2004
Iran on the Verge
There appears to be another battleground in the War on Terror. A looming nuclear crisis seems to be developing in the Islamic extremist country of Iran.
Months ago, Iranian leadership, under pressure from the world community, agreed to allow United Nations inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to evaluate their nuclear capabilities amid reports of Iranian efforts to develop such weapons. The inspectors were given free reign to inspect suspect locations within the country and the ability to launch surprise investigations of facilities in the country.
From the outside it seemed that Iran was falling in line with the wishes of the UN and complying with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons), of which it is a member state.
Recent events, however, demonstrate Irans true unwillingness to comply with such regulations.
Apparently, the Iranians have relocated many of their nuclear testing facilities to avoid detection by UN inspectors. Many locations, found on satellite imagery, seem to disappear when UN inspectors arrive. Not only that, but a trace amount of weapons grade plutonium was found at a site the inspectors were able to locate.
The Iranians claim the plutonium was there by mistake, however, since the location was a military instillation, their intentions seem quite suspect.
Furthermore, reports from the IAEA indicate Iran is purchasing centrifuge technology and scientific expertise from the communist Chinese in exchange for oilneeded for their growing economy.
The threat posed by a nuclear Iran is immenseand will have a profound impact on the War on Terror. After all, it is well known that Iran is a major supporter of terrorismand has been for nearly 30 years. In fact, just last week, Tehran (the Iranian capital) hosted an international summit of terrorist leaders. At this summit, supposedly unbeknownst to Iranian leadership, it was decided that suicide bombers would be used against United States forces providing security for the new Iraqi government. Even more threatening are reports that Iran has amassed four army battalions on the Iraqi border; ready to invade for security purposes when the United States finally withdraws troops from Iraq.
With the evident threat, one would think the Bush Administration would consider it prudent to explore the possibility of enlisting the UN in actions against Iran, but, surprisingly, they have not.
Despite harsh lip service by Secretary of State Colin Powell and other Administration leaders, the president has done little in the way of offering serious consequences for continued Iranian non-compliance. Apparently, President Bush is too concerned with election year politics to address the Iran problem. Let me explain.
Even though the IAEA has confirmed Iran should be brought before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, the council has reneged opting instead to revisit the issue in September. This charge was led by US diplomats claiming Iran should be allowed more time to comply with IAEA demands.
On the surface, it appears to be a gracious gesture of faith, but considering President Bushs stance on terror sponsoring states, it seems unlikely he would extend such faithespecially to a country as militant as Iran. No, more realistically, the president realizes that should sanctions be imposed on Iranthose hindering oil exports from the countrydomestic gas prices would surge.
This would provide fuel to the Kerry Campaign, dampening the robust economy produced by the Bush tax cuts, and perhaps costing him the White House come November.
By delaying action to September, the president knows any sanctions would not take hold until after the election, having already been safely re-elected and in position to deal with gas prices.
If this is truly the case, the president is taking a deadly gamble with national security. Some analysts claim Iran is nearly three years from having the bomb, but because no one can be sure, the sooner action is taken the better.
Now, Iran does fit into the War on Terror, but not in the same way as Iraq. Iran is not a candidate for invasion because there is no stable element to return power to after the fall of the current government. Moreover, the alternative to Irans current leadership is even more extreme. Any element of liberal reform in the country would be crushed by the predominance of extremist Islamic militantscreating an even greater threat than that already present.
An economic war should be waged on Iranone conducted in conjunction with UN sanctions and pressure from the international community. Pressure should also be exerted upon supporters of Iran, namely the Chinese and Russians.
Like Iraq, however, the world community will not act unless President Bush takes the leadand the time to start is now.
Friday June 18, 10:37 AM
Japanese Firms Eye Iran's Economy
SANANDAJ, Kurdestan Prov, June 18 Asia Pulse - The presence of 30 Japanese companies in Iran`s economic sector is a token of the interest of Japanese economic and trade organizations in the country.
Japanese Ambassador to Tehran Takekazu Kawamura told a group of businesspersons in this western Iranian city on Wednesday that Tokyo has been trying to facilitate the presence of its private sector in Iran.
The ambassador said Japanese enterprises are keen to cooperate with Iran in technical and investment domains.
He said that he has been visiting Iran`s Kurdestan province because the province gives a good impetus for expansion of economic ties.
Southern Iranian city of Lali in Khuzestan province hit by quake
Tehran, June 19, IRNA -- An earthquake measuring 3.5 degrees on the Richter scale once again hit the city of Lali, in the southern province of Khuzestan, on Friday night.
The seismological base of Tehran University's Geophysics Institute registered the tremor at 22:42 local time.
An earlier quake, measuring 3.9 degrees on the Richter scale, jolted the suburbs of the city on Friday at 20:12 local time.
There were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage to property caused by these quakes.
Iran is situated on some of the world's most active seismic faultlines and quakes of varying magnitudes are usual occurrences.