Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 20, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 06/19/2004 9:00:08 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 Criticizes Iran's Nuclear Aims
19 Jun 2004, 14:41 UTC
Listen to Melanie Sully's report (RealAudio)
Sully report - Download 365k (RealAudio)
The United States says Iran's threat to restart its uranium enrichment program clearly shows the country has military aims behind its nuclear program. Iran has said it might resume uranium enrichment following Friday's rebuke from the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The U.S. envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Kenneth Brill, says if Tehran reneges on its earlier pledge to suspend uranium enrichment, it will show that Iran is determined to become a nuclear power in the region.
"If Iran were to follow up on its many repeated threats to abrogate its commitments to the Europeans to suspend its enrichment work, it would be another demonstration of their true colors, that they are determined to have an enrichment program and one that goes well beyond the needs for a power program, and we think that underscores their desire to pursue military purposes for their nuclear program," he said.
The American diplomat was responding to Tehran's declaration that it will reconsider its suspension of some nuclear enrichment activities in the coming days. Iran says it has the right under international treaties to carry out such activities, even though it suspended the program last year as part of a deal with several European countries.
On Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency adopted a tough resolution censuring Iran for covering up its nuclear activities. The agency called on Tehran to abandon key parts of the atomic program.
The United States, Canada and other countries represented on the IAEA's board of directors have in the past pushed for even tougher resolutions, saying Iran should be brought before the U.N. Security Council where it could face sanctions.
Gary Samore, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a former U.S. official, says if Iran emerged one day as a nuclear weapons state it would have dire consequences for the Middle East.
"If Iran does acquire nuclear weapons I think it would certainly put pressure on other countries in the region to pursue their own nuclear weapons programs," Mr. Samore. "As it is now, many of the Arab countries feel that it's unfair that Israel has a nuclear program and if the Arab countries found themselves sandwiched between Israel on one hand and Iran on the other, both seen as armed with nuclear weapons then it would probably increase pressure on Arab countries to pursue their own nuclear option and over some period of time that could result in a situation where you have more nuclear armed states in the Middle East which is likely to be destabilizing given the number of regional conflicts and instabilities in the region."
International inspectors have found that, for more than two decades, Iran had engaged in secret nuclear activity, but Tehran maintains its nuclear program is geared to the peaceful use of atomic energy.
FIGHTING TERRORISM: LESSONS FROM EGYPT AND ALGERIA
by Amir Taheri
June 19, 2004
PARIS, 19 June 2004 In the first part of this article that appeared yesterday we mentioned four lessons from nations that successfully fought terrorism. We also described how Egypt managed to infiltrate virtually all terror groups, at times right to the highest levels of their leadership.
The fifth lesson is that a terrorist organization is subject to the same rules as any business enterprise. It needs an income to secure what it needs. It also decides its operations on the basis of cost efficiency, not only in terms of men lost but also of the actual financial expenses involved.
Modern terrorists need big money and cannot run on the basis of amateurish fund-raising methods such as collecting a few coins outside the mosque. In Peru, as already noted, a terror tax on coca leaves provided the cash needed. In Algeria, almost all terror groups were involved in contraband trade, known as trebendisme. Extortion, racketeering and bank robberies are other sources of terrorist income. In most cases a good chunk of the terror money comes from foreign powers interested in destabilizing this or that rival regime.
To deprive the terrorists of their source of income, the Peruvian government concluded a widely criticized pact with drug barons and their death-squads. In Algeria, the government decided to drop the socialist system and allow the legal import of consumer goods thus killing the contraband trade. Both Egypt and Turkey used diplomacy to persuade several countries, including Iran, Libya and Syria, to stop or at least reduce their funding of terror groups.
The sixth lesson to learn from the experiences of the nations that have won the war on terror concerns information. The normal instinct of the state, especially where there is no democracy, is to suppress bad news, especially terrorist attacks. But, in the medium and longer-run this is a counterproductive policy. The absence of reliable information creates a vacuum that is quickly filled by rumors and propaganda from the many different opponents of the government. In these days of satellite television it will also provide an opportunity for sensationalists to overdramatize every incident in the hope of improving their viewer-ratings.
The Algerians tried a Stalinist censorship system at first. This immediately produced a cottage industry of rumormongers, including many out-of-job politicians who gathered at the capital's main hotels to sell their lies to visiting foreign reporters. The Stalinist method also enabled foreign journalists to invent. One British reporter invented an exclusive interview with one Abu-Muhammad who had supposedly dropped in for tea at the Algiers Hotel one afternoon. A Scandinavian television crew paid a number of unemployed youth in the Casbah to play the roles of former militants tortured by the security forces.
That policy was changed in 1995 when the authorities started to regain their self-confidence.
Neither Peru nor Algeria ever allowed any normal coverage of the terrorist wars they faced. But both learned to allow greater space for professional journalistic work. They ended up by depriving the terrorists of propaganda victories.
The seventh lesson to learn is to treat terrorism in immediate terms as a form of crime that needs to be stopped and rooted out. Excessive preoccupation with the causes of terrorism could destroy a state's will to defeat terrorism. Under President Alain Garcia, Peru tried hard to "understand" the grievances of the terrorists and to offer "amends". The result was a massive increase in support for the terrorists and a significant boost to their self-confidence and audacity. That policy was changed by President Alberto Fujimori who described the terrorists as "killers who ought to be killed before they can kill."
Algeria also played with the idea of meeting "the legitimate grievances" of the terrorists in 1992 to 1994. Muhammad Boudiaf said he "understood the anger of those who take up arms." The result was that he himself was gunned down. By 1996, however, Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahya had adopted the Fujimori approach, enabling the state to move onto full offensive against the terrorists.
The eighth, and possibly the most important lesson, is not to become fixated with the terrorist threat. Terrorism, like the fabled cobra, has the ability to paralyze the state with a mixture of fear and fascination. Peru, Algeria, Egypt and Turkey, among others, experienced this to varying degrees. They all learned to break the spell and deny the terrorists the possibility of fixing the national agenda.
Both Peru and Algeria introduced radical economic reforms designed to move them toward a market system. In Peru an unprecedented economic boom created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and changed the nation's gloomy mood. There was no corresponding boom in Algeria. But even there the Ouyahya reforms helped create new economic opportunities that strengthened the state's legitimacy.
In both countries reasonably free elections were held as part of a broader policy of political change. The idea was to show that political power should be sought through the polling stations, not terrorist hide-outs.
In time all societies affected by terrorism manage to factor it in, to consider it as an ugly fact of life like occasional bad weather. It is then that terrorism, like all other human activities, become subject to the iron law of diminishing returns: The more that is invested the less that is gained by terrorists.
Terrorism can make a lot of noise and inflict great damage. But the state always wins.
Demolitions Raise Concern Of Nuclear Coverup in Iran [Excerpt]
By Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, June 20, 2004; Page A14
TEHRAN, June 19 -- Construction cranes stipple the skyline of Iran's capital. A city of 10 million, Tehran has been in a building boom for years.
But in the northeast corner of this sprawling, smoggy metropolis, something was torn down a few months ago, something behind a 20-foot concrete wall.
"It was a municipal sports complex," said a grizzled man who came to the door of the guard house, shrugging and sliding into a camouflage fatigue coat without losing the ash from the cigarette clenched in his lips.
"It wasn't big enough," he said, declining to be identified. "So they demolished it and they want to rebuild it bigger." ...
Iran Police Launch Crackdown On Lax Summer Dress
June 19, 2004
TEHRAN -- Iran's feared morals police will launch a summer crackdown on Western-style coffee shops and women who flout Islamic dress codes, a newspaper reported on Saturday.
Tehran's prosecutor announced last month that a campaign against "social corruption" was under way and Tehranis have complained about an increase in raids on parties.
"As summer aproaches, we have decided to confront corruption at cultural and sports centres, video clubs, and coffee shops...that fail to observe the regulations," Tehran Police Chief Morteza Talaei was quoted as saying in the reformist Tosea newspaper.
Enforcement of strict rules on women's dress, Western music and mixed sex gatherings has eased since reformist President Mohammad Khatami came to power in 1997.
However, young women who wear figure-hugging coats and revealing headscarves risk fines, jail and even lashes.
Iranian women are meant to disguise the shape of their bodies in long, loose clothing and entirely cover their hair.
Islamic conservatives won a sweeping parliamentary victory in February after thousands of liberal candidates were barred from standing by a hardline watchdog.
Conservative MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar approved of police efforts but warned against taking a tough line.
"I hope that the drive to respect values and the prevention of improper behaviour is pursued without resorting to extreme measures," he told Hambastegi newspaper.
Although boys and girls are officially banned from socialising with unrelated members of the opposite sex, bored teenagers pack into brightly lit eateries and coffee shops to flirt over a burger or a coke.
Sociologists said the crackdown would be counterproductive in a state where 70 percent of people are under 30.
"It is impossible to challenge young people, because they will react negatively in order to counter such measures," sociologist Amanollah Qaraei told Hambastegi.
Lebanese Allah Party Officer Arrested in Iraq
June 19, 2004
BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi military source has announced the arrest of a captain of Lebanese Allah Party who entered Iraq through Iran, Al Sharq Al Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday.
The source has also accused Iran of giving facilities to attackson Iraqi oil pipelines, the Baghdad-based newspaper said.
"The Iranian authorities helped passing ten of saboteurs who carry out sabotage operation in Iraq,"the source was quoted as saying.
"We arrested a captain in Lebanese Allah Party in Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad, and he was carrying three identification cards, one of which was Iraqi, to give him the freedom of roaming the country," the source said.
He pointed out that the officer threw a bomb on Spanish forces and injured five Spanish soldiers, and that he admitted after the arrest that the Iranian authorities facilitated his entrance into Iraq, and that there are many others who entered into Iraq through the same road.
There are a series of sabotage and bombing operations that reachmany of institutions in Iraq, especially the ones relating to oil sector, which is witnessing daily sabotage operations by unidentified armed men.
I never dreamed that there was so much news available on Iran.
When we went into Iraq, the map shows that Iran is in the middle of Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm all for meeting up in the middle!
May God bless Iran with freedom.
Iran imported 'P-2 centrifuges from Asian suppliers'
Compiled by Bill Gertz
A confidential report by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency reveals that Tehran is deceiving international monitors about the extent of its covert nuclear weapons development effort.
The report by IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei was made public earlier this month and states that Iran failed to disclose its possession of P-2 centrifuge design drawings and to associated research, manufacturing, and mechanical testing activities.
However, the report provides new details of Irans plans for building between 2,000 and 4,000 centrifuges, which are used to turn uranium gas into highly-enriched uranium for weapons.
Iranian government officials had previously claimed that it had not obtained any of the Urenco-design P-2 centrifuges or any components.
Just a reminder......the list of publications complaining about postings has grown. Please refer to the following link for more info.
IAEA Admits to Omission in Report on Iran
Thursday, June 17, 2004
The UN International Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged that it had inadvertently omitted to note that one of its inspectors had been informed by an Iranian official about the purchase of 150 magnets for uranium enrichment equipment. But IAEA chief said Iran actually had asked a black market supplier about the possibility of buying 100,000 magnets. How ould that square with an R and D program? he asked. The omission was due to unintelligible English accent of the Iranian official being interviewed, ElBaradei said. The mistake does not change the fact that Iran has been providing contradictory information on its nuclear program, US envoy to IAEA Kenneth Brill said. Following the acknowledgment of the error, it was unlikely that a draft resolution would be submitted to the 35-nation agency's board of governors before Friday. Iran's envoy to IAEA Hossein Mousavian played a tape of the interview to discredit IAEA's report as politically motivated.
The resolution drafted by Europe's big three and fine tuned after consultation with the US, would undermine relations between Iran and IAEA, head of Iran's delegation to IAEA Hossein Mousavian said in Vienna, following the release of the full text of the resolution on the second day of the meeting of UN International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors. Representatives from Iran spent the day scrambling to delete a provision calling for the cancellation of Tehran's plans to build a heavy-water research reactor and to start operations at a uranium conversion plant, news agencies reported.
With the ongoing trend, we have no moral commitment any more to suspend uranium enrichment, President, Mohammad Khatami said today in Tehran. His tough words deepened the rift between Iran and IAEA, as the agency's governing board was preparing a resolution that deplores Tehran's less-than-full cooperation. If the draft resolution is adopted by the IAEA board of governors, Iran will not allow any more inspections of its nuclear sites, Khatami added.
Khatami's warning was only one of several issued by senior Iranian officials this week, signaling Iranian impatience with the inspections, the Washington Post writes. While Khatami is considered a moderate in the Iranian government, on Tuesday the hard-line speaker of Iran's parliament suggested the assembly might decline to ratify an additional protocol to the treaty that would allow inspections on two hours' notice, it added.
Summary of Iran Stories in Today's Broadcasts
June 17, 2004
Bootleg Alcohol Poisons in Hormozgan Province
Drinking moonshine vodka poisoned at least one person in Hormozgan province yesterday. Last week, 22 people died of a bootleg concoction in Shiraz and Fasa, of Fars province. More than 90 suffered methanol poisoning in Shiraz and so far at least 20 have died, independent Shirazi journalist Farid Yasamia tells Radio Farda. These deaths and injuries are because selling and consumption of alcohol takes place in secret, and production of alcoholic beverages is not supervised and regulated by the government, he says. Some of the poisoned individuals do not seek help out of fear of being prosecuted, he adds. (Mahmonir Rahimi)
Police Targets Private Co-ed Parties for Raids
The raids and arrests at private parties by members of the Basij Corps, a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, are illegal, because they lack judicial warrants, Tehran-based lawyer Mohammad-Hossein Aghasi tells Radio Farda. But due to their lack of familiarity with laws and regulations, most citizens who are subjected to such illegal searches, seizures and arrests, avoid pressing charges against the police or the IRGC, he says. Citizens should resist, refuse to open their doors, and call their local precinct for help, he says. Having any kind of music cassettes at home and listening to any kind of music in the privacy of one's car is completely legal, and searching a car without court order is a punishable crime, he adds. (Keyvan Hosseini)
RadioFarda - Summary of Iran Stories in Today's Broadcasts
June 17, 2004
Rights Activists Criticize EU-Iran Human Rights Talks
The fourth round of Iran-EU human rights talks met with strong criticism from human rights organization which were barred by both Iran and the EU from participating. The human rights defenders' center had written to the foreign ministry, officially asking to be allowed participation, founding member of the center Mohammad Dadkhah tells Radio Farda. The European and Iranian delegations cooperated on blocking our access to the talks, he adds. The Iran-EU human rights talks can be a lever with which the EU side is pursuing bigger economic and trade incentives, when they reach their financial goals, they would no longer have any worries about the human rights, he adds. (Keyvan Hosseini)
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ebadi Blasts World Bank Policies
The World Bank, which provided $18.5 billion in aid in 2003, should withhold money from governments that are antidemocratic, or that violate their people's human rights, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi writes in an op-ed piece for the New York Times.
Iran-UAE Land Dispute
The arrest two weeks ago of an Iranian fishing boat's crewmen by UAE coast guard, followed by Qatar navy's fatally shooting an Iranian fishing boat captain, were reciprocated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' navy, which seized at least seven UAE fishing boats and arrested 23 crewmen near Persian Gulf island Qeshm.
The three-islands' dispute has become a national issue in UAE, internationally syndicated columnist Amir Taheri tells Radio Farda. The dispute between Iran and Qater is not over fishing in the Persian Gulf; it is about exploiting the largest natural gas field in the world, he adds. Due to the volatile political atmosphere in the region, when a crisis begins, it is hard to control it, he adds.
Former MKO Members Rally for Comrades in France
The followers of the Iraq-based armed anti-regime group the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) prepare to rally in Paris on the anniversary of their leader Maryam Rajavi's arrest on terrorism charges by the French judiciary. Meanwhile, former MKO members are busy organizing a counter demonstration in support of more than 3,000 fellow MKOs living under US supervision in one of their former camps in Iraq near Iran's border. Organizer Masoud Tayyebi tells Radio Farda. The Iraqi government has given them until the end of June to leave the country, he adds. Another group of MKO splinters held a press conference yesterday in Paris calling for the International Red Cross to intervene on behalf of the Iraq-based MKO members. We ask that they be released from the jurisdiction of both the Iraqi government and the US, and be turned over to the Red Cross, organizer and former MKO member Ali-Akbar Rastgu tells Radio Farda. Yesterday in Tehran, a group calling itself relatives of MKO members staged a demonstration in front of the French embassy claiming that the MKO leadership does not allow its members to leave the organization and choose their own destiny. (Amir-Mosaddegh Katouzian)
Hezbollah Fighters Moved to Iraq for Operations Against U.S.
June 20, 2004
WASHINGTON -- The radical Lebanese Shi'ite organization Hezbollah has been moving fighters to Iraq in recent months to battle American troops. According to American intelligence, the transfer has been carried out through Syria, following an Iranian initiative. The transit through Syrian territory is permitted by Damascus along its porous border with Iraq.
The Hezbollah fighters moving to Iraq are part of a broader force of pro-Iranian militants that operates in Iraq to destabilize the country and undermine the Americans there.
Analysts believe that the movement of the Hezbollah fighters to Iraq serves both Tehran and Damascus, which favor instability in Iraq for their own reasons.
Iran is eager to see the Hezbollah fighters establish operations in Iraq before a new regime is installed in Baghdad.
Still, there is no sign that Iran and its Lebanese surrogate are abandoning the friction along Lebanon's border with Israel, which is still considered to be Hezbollah's primary focus.
In its interim report, the Congressional bipartisan commission of inquiry into the events of 9/11 states that the cooperation between the Hezbollah and Al-Qaida is extensive.
American officials said recently that Syria has not seriously responded to American demands to seal its border with Iraq against the transit of "foreign fighters." According to U.S. sources, neither a letter to President Bashar Assad from Secretary of State Colin Powell nor the subsequent American decision to impose sanctions on Syria had the desired effect on Damascus.
On the other hand, Syria over the weekend did extradite a terrorist suspect to France. The man had come into Syrian territory from Iraq and is suspected of being a deputy of Al-Qaida operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Intelligence sources note that the involvement of the Hezbollah in Iraq is restricted to operations in that country alone and does not include the movement of other radical Islamic elements for operations in southern Lebanon.
Tehran to Restart Nuclear Program
June 20, 2004
The Associated Press
The Washington Times
TEHRAN -- Iran will resume some of the nuclear activities it suspended under world pressure and is considering restarting uranium enrichment, its top nuclear official said yesterday, defying a resolution from the U.N. nuclear watchdog that rebuked Iran for past cover-ups in its nuclear program.
Iran also rejected demands by the U.N. agency to stop building a heavy water nuclear reactor and halt operations of a nuclear conversion facility in central Iran.
"Iran will reconsider its decision about suspension and will do some uranium activity in the coming days," Iran's top nuclear negotiator Hasan Rowhani said.
Mr. Rowhani did not say what activities would be resumed. Chief among the suspended activities was the building of parts for centrifuges used in the enrichment process.
Resuming uranium enrichment could spark a crisis in international attempts to resolve questions of Iran's nuclear program. The United States accuses Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Iran insists its program is peaceful, aiming only to produce energy.
On Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution rebuking Iran for not cooperating enough in the probe into its nuclear program.
The European-drafted resolution said the IAEA "deplores" that "Iran's cooperation has not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been," angering Tehran.
Mr. Rowhani said Iran would continue to work with the IAEA and allow inspections of its facilities.
"If they (the IAEA) have any ambiguities, problems or want to visit sites, they can raise it with us and we will solve it," he said.
Tehran to Restart Nuclear Program
June 20, 2004
The Associated Press
The Washington Times
"is considering restarting uranium enrichment"
Lol. Who believes they ever stopped?
Europeans get tough on Iran amid frustration over engagement
AFP - World News (via Yahoo)
Jun 20, 2004
TEHRAN - The European Union has hardened its position on Iran amid mounting frustration with the fruits of its bid to "engage" the Islamic republic on its nuclear programme, human rights and terrorism, diplomats say.
It was the European Union's "big three" -- Britain, France and Germany -- who on Friday pushed through a tough resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that blasted Iran for failing to honour its pledge to come clean.
The EU heavyweights had brokered a deal in October for Iran to cooperate with the UN watchdog, but in a sign of growing impatience have now edged closer to the position of the United States -- which stands by its accusation that Iran's clerical rulers are seeking nuclear weapons and not just electricity.
The resolution repeats a call by IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei "that it is essential for the integrity and credibility of the inspection process to bring these issues to a close within the next few months."
And it "deplores... that Iran's cooperation has not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been."
Iran has responded by toughening its stance, raising the threat of resuming uranium enrichment and accusing the Europeans of betrayal.
On the human rights issue, relations are not going well either.
The Irish EU presidency Sunday issued a blistering statement on the regime's record, saying the 25-member bloc remained "gravely concerned" at the persistence of widespread abuses despite several rounds of lengthy talks.
"The European Union continues to be gravely concerned at the continued and numerous violations of human rights in Iran," said a statement released by the Irish embassy here.
"These include unequal rights for women; the use of torture in prisons and other places of detention, and a culture of impunity for perpetrators."
It also pointed to "the lack of an independent judiciary, the use of the death penalty, as well as reports of the continued use of amputations and other cruel punishments; a continuing campaign against journalists and others who seek to exercise their freedom of opinion and expression, a flawed electoral process which impedes the democratic choice of the Iranian people, and discrimination on religious grounds."
An EU delegation and Iranian officials had met here on Monday and Tuesday, the fourth time the two sides have sat down since December 2002.
The statement said the EU delegation had "raised the cases of 40 prisoners of conscience at present in detention in Iran, who should be released immediately and definitively."
It did not say how the Iranians responded to the demand, but the tone of the statement appeared to back up comments from diplomats that the latest talks had netted "no concrete results". Last week, a senior official in the hardline judiciary even denied the presence of any political prisoners in Iranian jails.
Diplomats also said the meeting here -- the first since the effective ouster of reformists from parliament by religious conservatives -- also failed to fix a date for a fifth round of talks.
"We started off with critical dialogue; then we moved onto constructive dialogue; and now we seem to be in a phase of monologue," was the wry spin on EU policy towards Iran given by one senior Tehran-based European diplomat.
As well as engaging Iran on the nuclear issue and human rights, the EU is also looking for progress in Iran's record on terrorism and a change in its stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Tehran's official position is that Israel should be destroyed. On terrorism, various arms of Iran's security apparatus are suspected of harbouring al-Qaeda members, promoting anti-coalition violence in Iraq and financing attacks by Palestinian militants.
The European Union has made progress on these matters a condition for signing a proposed trade and cooperation agreement.
The tone among diplomats now is that for Iran such a deal is as elusive as ever, even if they are -- for the time being -- stopping short of suggesting the dialogue is about to grind to a halt.
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