Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 21, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 06/20/2004 10:09:33 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.
Reining in Iran
June 20, 2004
A recent e-mail circulated among Middle East policy types quoted a Persian saying, in reference to Iran's lousy foreign-policy skills. "The road you have taken will only lead to Turkestan," is how the saying was translated. Which means loosely, according to Persian sensibilities, you're heading the wrong way.
It's an apt description of Iran's intransigence in dealing with questions about its nuclear weapons ambitions. The problem for the rest of the world is what to do about it.
Iran has been duplicitous about its nuclear program for 18 years. Last October, France, Germany and Britain worked out a deal agreeing not to refer Iran's nuclear violations to the U.N. Security Council; in exchange Iran would stop all work on uranium enrichment and come clean about its nuclear activities. Iran also agreed to more intrusive inspections. This was widely seen -- especially after the discovery that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -- as a triumph of diplomacy in dealing with nuclear proliferation issues.
It also highlights what can become the limits of that approach. Iran continued to play cat-and-mouse games with the International Atomic Energy Commission, which led the inspections, and seems to have continued work on a nuclear energy program that could lead to weapons development. By the end of last week, the IAEA passed a resolution submitted by France, Germany and Britain deploring Iran's lack of cooperation and demanding compliance.
The Europeans declined to set a deadline the United States requested for Iran to satisfy inspectors. Instead, the resolution gives Iran a "few months" to comply. If Iran refuses, it will have made a mockery of the U.N. Security Council and the IAEA. Iran has said it will not pull out of the nonproliferation treaty, but that treaty is hollow if its laws are meaningless.
A military threat to reinforce the resolution is clearly something to avoid with the region still in turmoil. On the other hand, there is a window of opportunity with Iran that we did not have with North Korea, where we learned after the fact about its nuclear capabilities. There is still time for deterrence, but Europe, and Russia, have to take a tougher stand.
Right now, the only option is more vigorous diplomacy that includes possible economic consequences for noncompliance and holds out inducements for dismantling any weapons capacity. A firmer deadline would be wise.
The Bush administration has appropriately allowed Europe to take the lead on dealing with Iran. It should support those efforts. Europe and the United Nations, meanwhile, need to grapple with the issue of when to draw a line in the sand. If the White House has seemed too quick to draw that line, the administration's critics around the world have been leery of drawing any lines at all. Ultimately, if they can't bring themselves to enforce international laws, countries like Iran will feel free to break them.
No Theocracy for Iraq
June 21, 2004
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
On a visit to the U.S., the president of the interim Iraqi government, Ghazi al-Yawar, said he does not believe that Iraq will become an Islamic theocracy like Iran:
I don't think so. Whoever knows the social background of the Iraqi people, they know that, yes, they are genuine believers in God. But it's a live-and-let-live society. What we want to have in Iraq is a society [in which] everybody can live comfortably. Everybody respects other people's private beliefs, but nobody should prevail [over] the others. We are a diversity of religions and ethnic groups which we are proud of because this is a positive sign.
Theocratic Iran is far from being a model for Iraq. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be the case. A democratic and pluralist Iraq, says President George W. Bush, will be a beacon of hope to the Iranian people:
A free Iraq on the border of Iran is going to send a very clear signal to those who want to be free -- that a free society is very possible.
Iraqi interim President al-Yawar says he is optimistic that ethnically and religiously diverse Iraq will not break out in a civil war or become a haven for terrorists. But he expects violence from what he calls foreign and domestic enemies to increase as Iraq moves to full sovereignty on July 1st, and to national elections in the coming months. He says that Iraq can have a democratic future:
Why not? If we make all Iraqis feel that they are partners in this country; if all Iraqis know that they have a stake, an interest in the prosperity of Iraq; when we enhance the level of national awareness within the Iraqi people; when all Iraqis feel they are equal in front of the law of Iraq; definitely, we will be a democracy.
President al-Yawar says Iraqis are determined to have a free, democratic, federal Iraq. And he, like President Bush, says that such an Iraq will be a source of stability to the Middle East, which is very important for the rest of the world.
Behind 'The Terminal,' a true story
Christian Science Monitor - By Ethan Gilsdorf
Jun 21, 2004
PARIS As far as Steven Spielberg's new blockbuster, "The Terminal," is concerned, the experience of being trapped inside an airport for a year can lead to friendship, comic high jinks, and even romance.
But it's hard to see the life of Mehran Karimi Nasseri through Spielberg-colored glasses. Mr. Nasseri is the inspiration for the movie - a real-life Iranian refugee who arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport in 1988 without a passport and without papers to enter another country. He's been stuck in Terminal One ever since. Like a lost and battered suitcase, he has been claimed by no one.
"The Terminal," which opened Friday in the United States, recounts the hardships of Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks), a fictitious Balkan traveler stranded at New York's JFK Airport. His homeland erupts into civil war and his passport becomes void. He can't officially enter the US, but neither can he return to Eastern Europe. So he lives for months in the hermetically sealed microcosm of an airport concourse.
Some of Navorski's survival tactics are similar to Nasseri's, like bathing in the washroom, setting up a living area on a bench, and accepting food vouchers from airport workers. But where the movie has embellished the story with madcap adventures and a fling with a flight attendant played by Catherine Zeta-Jones, Nasseri's life consists mostly of reading. His most recent book is Hillary Clinton's autobiography. "Maybe I don't do it like Tom Hanks does it," he says. "My day is just like inside a library. Silence."
Lately, though, he's had more visitors than usual. This urban legend is already the subject of three other films, two of them documentaries. Reporters and tourists visit and talk with him all day at his makeshift press lounge. "Is this public entertainment?" Nasseri asks with a pained grimace. Yet, at the same time, "Alfred," as he is also known, seems to relish his celebrity.
"He is known throughout the world and people come to see him," says Valérie Chevillot, who can see Nasseri's encampment of assorted boxes, bags, and suitcases through the window of her Phénix clothing boutique. "But no one really knows him."
The original crisis began when Nasseri tried to travel to England from Belgium via France. But he lost papers declaring his status as an Iranian refugee. It's been confirmed that he was expelled from Iran in the 1970s, but the famous squatter has since rejected his heritage - even denied he can speak Farsi - under the belief that his Iranian background is the cause of cause of his troubles. No family members have ever contacted him. "Police say they don't live," he says cryptically.
Summarizing the details of Alfred's bureaucratic nightmare since then isn't easy. Nasseri waited at Charles de Gaulle while Britain, France, and Belgium played a shell game with his case for years. At one point, in a classic Catch-22, Belgian authorities said they had proof of his original refugee papers, but insisted he pick them up in person - yet wouldn't let him into the country. He has been jailed several times, and technically could be removed from the airport at any time.
After a lengthy legal battle waged by his lawyer, the French government finally gave him the necessary documents to reside in France and legally travel.
But he refuses to use them.
Nasseri is convinced he has no official identity. If he leaves France, he says, "There are soldiers there who shoot you dead." So he won't venture further than the first floor of the terminal. "I stay until I obtain my origin identity," he often repeats.
Airport shopkeepers don't seem bothered by the fuss over their famous neighbor. The cleaning staff warn that he'll charge a few euros if you take his picture. But otherwise, "he never asks anything of anyone," says Mossaoid Ben, who runs the Coccimarket next door.
Mr. Ben hypothesizes why Nasseri has remained in the dreary cocoon of the Charles de Gaulle building, a kind of doughnut-shaped, concrete UFO stranded out on the tarmac. "He'll have to pay rent elsewhere. Maybe that's why he's here."
Other theories abound as to why Nasseri persists with his self-imposed exile. "In my opinion, Alfred needs professional help to get him adapted to the outside world," says Alexis Kouros, an Iranian documentary filmmaker and doctor, who tried to help him leave for Brussels while making his film, "Waiting for Godot at de Gaulle," in 2000. "He used to be a normal person. By spending 15 years in that place, he has become institutionalized," says Mr. Kouros, who worries Alfred's mental health is worsening.
Nasseri, a pale and listless man, spends much of his day writing on sheets of blank white paper that have become a journal of his self-imposed captivity. "I write about what I hear on the news," he says. "Ray Charles dead; the elections in France." His reams of papers and books fill some dozen Lufthansa cargo boxes. "The only problem is I need a portable TV," he says.
In theory, he has plenty of money to buy one. DreamWorks, the company that made "The Terminal," paid Nasseri for the use of his story. But he doesn't have a bank account, so he can't access checks reportedly sent to his lawyer.
Nevertheless, he's enjoying the renewed burst of attention. "Gives me something more to read. It's better to read than about war, Iraq, terrorism," he says.
There's also a hint of optimism in Nasseri's voice. He talks wistfully of how he hopes to move to the United States or Canada. "I expect some change by October," he says. "In the end I will be happy."
Just shows that things are getting worse and worse in Iran.
Thanx for the pics
Iran would be an interesting place to visit if it could get back it's own culture. Freedom for the Persians bump.