Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 24, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 06/23/2004 9:00:36 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.
Iranian Source: British Sailors Apprehended To Swap For 40 Iranian Volunteers for Suicide Missions Captured in Iraq
June 23, 2004 No.734
The London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on what it described as the real reason for the detention of the sailors of British vessels captured in Iranian waters.
The following is the article:(1)
'The Real Reasons and Factors in the Apprehension of the British Navy Vessels'
"A source close to the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat of the real reasons and factors in the apprehension of the three British Navy vessels and the arrest of the sailors by Iranian Coast Guard patrol forces on Monday [June 21, 2004]. He indicated that the British Army command in Iraq had understood the message sent them by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards command by their capture of the ships."
'Detention of 40 Volunteers for Suicide Operations Was Great Concern to the Revolutionary Guards'
"According to the source, the content of the message was very simple: 'Release our comrades, whom you are holding, and we will release your soldiers.' The source clarified that the detention of 40 volunteers for suicide operations by the Ukrainian forces acting in Iraq was of great concern to the Revolutionary Guards command, because they [the 40] constituted the first group of volunteers participating in the Organization for the Commemoration of the Shahids, which was established recently by Revolutionary Guards Commander Col. Dhu al-Qadr.
"Al-Sharq Al-Awsat was informed that one of the senior leaders of the Revolutionary Guards, who had formerly held the post of head of the Committee for Iran-Ukraine Military Cooperation, had gone to Kiev for talks regarding the Iranian detainees. However, it turned out that the Ukrainian units had already handed the volunteers for suicide operations over to British forces acting in southern Iraq.
"Despite contacts between the Iranian and British military committees at the borders and daily contact between them in small conflict resolution - [such that] this has become routine since the British forces entered southern Iraq - the British command has so far refused to acknowledge that it is holding 40 Iranian volunteers in one of its detention camps. According to the Iranian source, this caused the Revolutionary Guards leadership to seek a semi-military solution to bring its men back from Iraq."
A Major Problem for President Khatemi
"The seizure of the British vessels is of great concern to the president of the [Iranian] Republic Muhammad Khatemi, because foreign relations is the only area that remains in his control, following the harmful reduction of his powers by Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei and other elements connected to him.
"Based on statements by a former reformist MP, the aim of Khatemi's policy was to reduce the tensions with the outside world; his achievements in establishing good relations with the neighboring countries, the European Union countries, and the Arab world provided him a large measure of independence.
"Iranian Leader [Ali Khamenei] and the conservatives had always sensed the importance of Khatemi's role in distancing the threats and dangers lying in wait for them, and therefore they had left the sphere of foreign relations to Khatemi.
"However, the picture has begun to change since the recent parliamentary elections [in Iran], when the Guardian Council banned or prevented the participation of more than 2,800 reformist candidates in the elections [to the seventh Majlis], in order to prevent a repeat of what happened four years ago when the reformists obtained full control of the Majlis. Similarly, 47 Revolutionary Guards officers entered the new parliament, and additionally a Revolutionary Guards colonel was appointed by Khamenei to head the Broadcasting and Television Authority. Also, Revolutionary Guards forces took over a Tehran airport, even though it had been opened by Khatemi, and conducted a campaign of arrests of reformists and student organization leaders on the eve of the anniversary of the July 1999 student uprising."
(1) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 23, 2004.
US Device Seen at Supected Iran Atomic Site
Reuters - World News (via Yahoo)
Jun 23, 2004
VIENNA - A radiation monitoring device spotted in Iran at a razed site where Washington suspects Iran conducted covert atomic bomb-related research was made in the United States and sold to directly Tehran, sources said.
A Western diplomat and an independent nuclear expert who follow the Vienna-based U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Reuters the radiation detection device -- called a "whole body counter" -- was identified as having been made by the Connecticut-based firm Canberra Industries, Inc.
The disclosure could prove embarrassing to Washington, which has accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program and has called on countries to crack down on exports of even seemingly innocent machinery that could be used in weapons programs.
Tehran says it only wants nuclear power for electricity.
"There is no doubt that the whole body counter came from Canberra Industries and under a legal export," said the nuclear science expert, who has analyzed satellite images of the site taken by the U.S. firm GlobalDigital's Quickbird satellite.
The counter, used to measure radiation contamination in humans, was sold directly to a university or hospital in Iran in the early 1990s with a U.S. export license, the sources said.
The device was seen at Lavizan, situated near a military installation in Tehran. Satellite images of Lavizan show Tehran razed buildings and removed a significant amount of topsoil. Ironically, the U.S.-made device is the reason U.S. officials are convinced Iran pursued undeclared atomic activity there.
"The presence of the whole body counter there is weird and out of place, but it doesn't prove that there was any weapons activity going on at Lavizan," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former U.N. weapons inspector.
"We need to know how it got there (from the hospital or university) and why," he added.
Lavizan was first mentioned in May 2003, when a group of Iranian exiles said it was a biological weapons research site.
Iran vehemently denied that it has conducted any undeclared nuclear or weapons-related activities at Lavizan. But a diplomat close to the IAEA said inspectors would go there "very soon."
NEW DEMOLITION WORK AT SUSPECT SITE
Canberra Industries declined to comment, but an industry source familiar with devices like the whole body counter said it was a "totally innocuous" device designed for peaceful activity.
Asked if the counter could be modified to detect plutonium or other substances to make it usable in weapons-related activity, the source, who declined to be identified, said: "Very theoretically speaking, all kinds of things can be done."
Last week, Reuters obtained from the Institute for Science and International Security and GlobalDigital two satellite photos taken in August 2003 and March 2004 that showed Iran had dismantled buildings and removed rubble and topsoil at the site, called the Lavizan-Shiyan Technical Research Center.
U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Kenneth Brill accused Iran of using "the wrecking ball and bulldozer" to sanitize Lavizan prior to the arrival of U.N. inspectors.
"This destruction at the site raised concerns because it is the type of measure Iran would need to take if it was trying to defeat the powerful environmental sampling capabilities of IAEA inspectors," the Institute for Science and International Security said in an analysis of the images.
Last week, the IAEA Board of Governors unanimously passed a resolution that sharply rebuked Iran for not cooperating fully with a U.N. investigation of Tehran's nuclear program.
The IAEA began investigating Iran after an Iranian exile group reported in August 2002 that Tehran was hiding a massive uranium enrichment facility and other sites from the IAEA.
I just received from Banafsheh a world-wide schedule of demonstartions in support of the Iranian people in rememberance of the bloodly crackdown on Iranian students July 9th 1997....
PLEASE JOIN US
IN OUR STRUGGLE
SECULARISM AND DEMOCRACY
The Iranian student activist above is Ahmad Batebi and is still in an Iranian prison for this 1999 protest.
Schedule of Demonstrations Against The Mafia Islamist Regime of Iran in Europe, U.S. and Canada
18 Tir Schedule can also be found HERE!
Place: The Western Side of the Capitol Building
Time: Thursday, July 8, 2004 from 11 a.m.
Organized by The Committee for Tir 18 Demonstrations
Place: The Federal Building at 11000 Wilshire Blvd. (Westwood area)
Time: Wednesday, July 7, 2004 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Organized by The Committee for Tir 18 Demonstrations
Toronto, July 8, (18 Tir) Thursday from 6 PM to 9 PM Mel Lastman Square, (hear of North York, north of Toronto) come out and commemorate this event. There will be speaker from Amnesty International, Member of Parliament of Canada, live music, by Sattar, and special speaker, Parviz Sayyad
Place: Halle Platz Konik Strasse
Time: Saturday, July 10, 2004 - from 3 to 5 p.m.
Organized by The Constitutional Party of Iran
Place: from Banhoff toward the City Court
Time: Saturday, July 10, 2004 from 2 p.m.
Organized by the Constitutional Party of Iran, Kassel, Monster and Furzin divisions
Place: Bismark Platz (town center)
Time: Saturday, July 10, 2004 - from 3 to 5 p.m.
Organized by The Constitutional Party of Iran
Place: The Western side of the Central Train Station (Hopt Banhoff)
Time: Thursday, July 8, 2004 - at 12:00 noon
Organized by: The Constitutional Party of Iran, The Iranian Womens Cultural Center, Khashm Organization, The Political-Cultural Center for Free Iranians in Hamburg
Place: Stachus square
Time: Thursday, July 8, 2004 from 5 to 6 p.m.
Organized by: The Constitutional Party of Iran, Irans Freedom Forces, Iranian Freedom Movement, Munichs democrats.
Place: In front of the Occupied Iranian Embassy (in Kensington)
Time: Thursday, July 8, 2004 from 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Organized by: The Constitutional Party of Iran, and The National Unity Front of Iran
Place: In front of the City Hall (Mayors office)
Time: Thursday, July 8, 2004 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Organized by The Constitutional Party of Iran
Place: The Center of City of Stockholm Sergels Torg
Time: Thursday, July 8, 2004 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Organized by: The Constitutional Party of Iran, and Swedens Liberals
Place: In front of the Parliament of The Netherlands
Time: Thursday, July 8th, 2004 - from 1 p.m.
Organized by: The Democratic Front
And much much more to come....
Will the West survive?
Walter E. Williams (back to web version) | Send
June 23, 2004
The Muslim world is at war with Western civilization. We have the military might to thwart them. The question is: Do we have the intelligence to recognize the attack and the will to defend ourselves from annihilation? Their intent is clear, but let's refresh our memories with a bit of history.
At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, several athletes were massacred. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Tehran was taken over and 52 hostages held for more than a year. In 1983, U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut were blown up, killing 241 U.S. soldiers. In 1988, Pan Am flight 103 was bombed, killing 270 people. In 1993, there was the first bombing of the World Trade Center, and in 2001, it was reduced to rubble, killing more than 3,000 Americans. In 1998, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, resulting in more than 200 dead and 4,000 injured. Who are the people responsible for these and other wanton murders of innocents, including the recent barbaric beheading of two innocent men? They were all Muslims.
You say, "Williams, you can't make an indictment of a whole people and their religion!" I'm not, and let me clearly state: By no means are all Muslims murderers. But on the other hand, I've never heard broad Muslim condemnation of their fellow Muslims' murderous acts committed in the name of their God. If anything, there has been jubilation and dancing in the streets in the wake of Muslim attacks on Westerners. Contrast their response to the widespread Western condemnation of the, mild by comparison, behavior of a few coalition forces in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
Muslim atrocities, and the collective Muslim response to those atrocities, might be better understood knowing their belief system as spelled out by a few, among many, passages from the Quran: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah" (Surat At-Taubah 9:29). "I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them" (Quran 8:12). "The unbelievers among the People of the Book and the pagans shall burn forever in the fire of Hell. They are the vilest of all creatures" (Quran 98:1-8). "Fight against those who believe not in Allah, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (Islam), until they are subdued" (Surat At-Taubah 9:29).
Phil Lucas, editor of the Panama City, Fla., News Herald, in his April 4, 2004, editorial "Up Against Fanaticism," asks, "Can anybody name three ongoing world conflicts in which Muslims are not involved?" Lucas says, "They can't get along with their neighbors on much of the planet: France, Chechnya, Bosnia, Indonesia, Spain, Morocco, India, Tunisia, Somalia, etc., etc., etc."
My colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell observes, "Those in the Islamic world have for centuries been taught to regard themselves as far superior to the 'infidels' of the West, while everything they see with their own eyes now tells them otherwise." He adds, "Nowhere have whole peoples seen their situation reversed more visibly or more painfully than the peoples of the Islamic world." Sowell adds that few people, once at the top of civilization, accept their reversals of fortune gracefully. Moreover, they don't blame themselves for their plight. For the Muslim world, it's the West who's to blame.
History never repeats itself exactly, but we might benefit from the knowledge of factors leading to the decline of past great civilizations. Rome was one of those advanced civilizations. Rome was so caught up in "bread and circuses" and moral decline that it couldn't manage to defend itself from invading barbaric hordes who ultimately plunged Europe into the Dark Ages. The sooner we recognize the West is in a war for survival, the more likely we'll be able to escape the fate that befell the Roman Empire.
Iran labels as "propaganda" EU criticism over human rights
June 24, 2004
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi has described as "propaganda" criticism from the European Union over the Islamic republic's human rights record, the student news agency ISNA reported.
"Sadly, with this gesture the Europeans are making propaganda," he was quoted as saying yesterday.
On Sunday the EU, in a statement following a fourth round of dialogue on the issue, said it remained gravely concerned at widespread abuses despite several rounds of talks with Tehran.
Kharzai riposted that "this statement does not correspond with the atmosphere of the discussions in Tehran".
"This kind of attitude does not help in the development of relations," he added.
The EU statement said the 25 member bloc "continues to be gravely concerned at the continued and numerous violations of human rights in Iran."
"These include unequal rights for women; the use of torture in prisons and other places of detention, and a culture of impunity for perpetrators," said the statement released by the Irish embassy in Tehran.
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".
THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
23 June 2004
U.S. and Iran: Beneath the Roiled Surface
By George Friedman
We are in a pattern of escalating confrontation between Iran and the United
States and its allies. Two issues have surfaced. There is the question of
Iran's nuclear program. And there is the more urgent question of Iran's
capture of three British patrol boats along the Iraq-Iran frontier. Neither
of these surface issues is trivial, but the underlying issues are far more
significant. The fact that they have surfaced indicates how serious the
underlying questions are, and points to serious tensions between the Iranians
and the United States.
Iran has historically faced two threats. Russia has pressed it from the
north; during and after World War II, the Soviets occupied a substantial part
of Iran, as did the British. The other threat has come from the west -- from
Iraq, from its predecessor states or from states that have occupied Iraq,
including Britain. The collapse of the Soviet Union has gone a long way
toward securing Iran's northern frontier. In fact, the instability to Iran's
north has created opportunities for it to extend its influence in that
Iraq, however, has remained a threat. Iraq's defeat in Desert Storm decreased
the threat, with the weakening of Iraq's armed forces and constant patrolling
of Iraqi skies by U.S. and British warplanes. But what Iran wanted most to
see -- the collapse of the hated Saddam Hussein regime and its replacement by
a government at least neutral toward Iran and preferably under Iranian
influence -- did not materialize. One of the primary reasons the United
States did not advance to Baghdad in 1991 was the fear that an Iraqi collapse
would increase Iran's power and make it the dominant force in the Persian
Iran Develops a Strategy
Subsequently, Iran's goals were simple: First, Iraq should never pose a
threat to Iran; it never wanted to be invaded again by Iraq. Second, Iran
should be in a position to shape Iraqi behavior in order to guarantee that it
would not be a threat. Iran was not in a position to act on this goal itself.
What it needed was to induce outside powers -- the United States in
particular -- to act in a manner that furthered Iranian national interests.
Put somewhat differently, Iran expected the United States to invade Iraq or
topple Hussein by other means. It intended to position itself to achieve its
primary national security goals when that happened.
From the end of Desert Storm to the fall of Baghdad, Iran systematically and
patiently pursued its goal. Following Desert Storm, Iran began a program
designed both to covertly weaken Hussein's regime and to strengthen Iranian
influence in Iraq -- focusing on Iraq's Shiite population. If Hussein fell
under his own weight, if he were overthrown in a U.S.-sponsored coup or if
the United States invaded Iraq, Iran intended to be in a position to
neutralize the Iraqi threat.
There were three parts to the Iranian strategy:
1. Do nothing to discourage the United States from taking action against
Iraq. In other words: Mitigate threats from Iran so the United States would
not leave Hussein in place again because it feared the consequences of a
power vacuum that Iran could fill.
2. Create an information environment that would persuade the United States to
topple Hussein. The Iranians understood the analytic methods of U.S. policy
makers and the intelligence processes of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Iran created a program designed to strengthen the position of those in the
United States who believed that Iraq was a primary threat, while providing
the United States with intelligence that maximized the perception of Hussein
as a threat. This program preceded the 2003 invasion and the Bush
administration as well. Desert Fox -- the air campaign launched by the
Clinton administration in December 1998 -- was shaped by the same information
environment as the 2003 invasion. The Iranians understood the nature of the
intelligence channels the United States used, and fed information through
those that intensified the American threat perception.
3. Prepare for the fall of Hussein by creating an alternative force in Iraq
whose primary loyalty was to Iran. The Shiite community -- long oppressed by
Hussein and sharing religious values with the Iranian government -- had many
of the same interests as Iran. Iranian intelligence services had conducted a
long, patient program to organize the Iraqi Shiite community and prepare the
Shia to be the dominant political force after the fall of Hussein.
As it became increasingly apparent in 2002 that the United States was
searching for a follow-on strategy after Afghanistan, the Iranians recognized
their opportunity. They knew they could not manipulate the United States into
invading Iraq -- or provide justification for it -- but they also knew they
could do two things. The first was to reduce the threat the United States
felt from Iran. The second was to increase, to the extent possible, the
intelligence available to those in the Bush administration who supported the
They accomplished the first with formal meetings in Geneva and back-channel
discussions around the world. The message they sent was that Iran would do
nothing to hinder a U.S. invasion, nor would it seek to take advantage of it
on a direct state basis. The second process was facilitated by filling the
channels between Iraqi Shiite exiles and the United States with apparently
solid information -- much of it true -- about conditions in Iraq. This is
where Ahmed Chalabi played a role.
In our opinion, Iranian intelligence knew two things that it left out of the
channels. The first was that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
programs had been abandoned. The United States did not invade Iraq because of
WMD, but used them as a justification. The Iranians knew none would be found,
but were pleased that the United States would use this as a justification.
The second thing Iran kept from the United States was that Hussein and his
key aides did not expect to defeat the United States in a conventional war,
but had planned a guerrilla war to follow the fall of Baghdad.
The Iranians had a specific reason for leaving these things out. They knew
the Americans would win the conventional war. They did not want the United
States to have an easy time occupying Iraq. The failure to find WMD would
create a crisis in the United States. The failure to anticipate a Baathist
guerrilla war would create a crisis in Iraq. Iran wanted both to happen.
The worse the situation became in Iraq, the less the United States prepared
for the real postwar environment -- and the more the credibility of President
George W. Bush was questioned, the more eager the United States would be in
seeking allies in Iraq. The only ally available -- apart from the marginal
Kurds -- was the Shiite majority. As the situation deteriorated in the summer
and fall of 2003, the United States urgently needed an accommodation with
Iraq's Shia. The idea of a Shiite rising cutting lines of supply to Kuwait
while there was a Sunni rising drove all U.S. thinking. It also pushed the
United States toward an accommodation with the Shia -- and that meant an
accommodation with Iran.
Such an accommodation was reached in the fall of 2003. The United States
accepted that the government would be dominated by the Shia, and that the
government would have substantial Iranian influence. During the Ramadan
offensive, when the lid appeared to be flying off in Iraq, the United States
was prepared to accommodate almost any proposal. The Iranians agreed to
back-burner -- but not to shut down -- their nuclear proposal, and quiet
exchanges of prisoners were carried out. Iran swapped al Qaeda prisoners for
anti-Iranian prisoners held by the United States.
Things Fall Apart
Two things happened after the capture of Hussein in mid-December 2003. The
first was that the Iranians started to make clear that they -- not the
Americans -- were defining the depth of the relationship. When the United
States offered to send representatives to Iran after an earthquake later in
December, the Iranians rejected the offer, saying it was too early in the
relationship. On many levels, the Iranians believed they had the Americans
where they wanted them and slowly increased pressure for concessions.
Paradoxically, the United States started to suffer buyer's remorse on the
deal it made. As the guerrilla threat subsided in January and February, the
Americans realized that the deal did not make nearly as much sense in January
as it had in November. Rather than moving directly toward a Shiite
government, the United States began talking to the Sunni sheikhs and thinking
of an interim government in which Kurds or Sunnis would have veto power.
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani -- who is an Iranian -- began to signal the
United States that trouble was brewing in Iraq. He staged major
demonstrations in January, calling for direct elections -- his code words for
a Shiite government. The United States, no longer pressured and growing
uneasy about the enormous power of the Iranians, did two things: They pressed
ahead with plans for the interim government, and started leaking that they
knew the game the Iranians were playing. The release of the news that Chalabi
was an Iranian agent was part of this process.
The Iranians and al-Sistani -- seeing the situation slipping out of control
-- tried to convince the Americans that they were willing to send Iraq up in
flames. During the Sunni rising in Al Fallujah, they permitted Muqtada
al-Sadr to rise as well. The United States went to al-Sistani for help, but
he refused to lift a finger for days. Al-Sistani figured the United States
would reverse its political plans and make concessions to buy Shiite support.
Just the opposite happened. The United States came to the conclusion that the
Shia and Iran were completely unreliable -- and that they were no longer
necessary. Rather than negotiate with the Shia, the Americans negotiated with
the Sunni guerrillas in Al Fallujah and reached an agreement with them. The
United States also pressed ahead with a political solution for the interim
government that left the Shia on the margins.
The breakdown in U.S.-Iranian relations dates to this moment. The United
States essentially moved to reverse alliances. In addition, it made clear to
al-Sistani and others that they could be included in the coalition -- in a
favored position. In other words, the United States reversed the process by
trying to drive a wedge between the Iranians and the Iraqi Shia. And it
appeared to be working, with al-Sistani and al-Sadr seeming to shift
positions so as not to be excluded.
Iran Roils the Surface
It was at that moment that the Iranians saw more than a decade of patient
strategy going out the window. They took two steps. First, they created a
crisis with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear
weapons that was certain to draw U.S. attention. Second, they seized the
British patrol boats. Their point? To let the United States know that it is
on the verge of a major crisis with Iran.
The United States knows this, of course. Military planners are updating plans
on Iran as we speak. The crisis is avoidable -- and we would expect it to wax
and wane. But the fundamental question is this: Are American and Iranian
national interests compatible and, if they are not, is either country in a
position at this moment to engage in a crisis or a war? Iran is calculating
that it can engage in a crisis more effectively than the United States. The
United States does not want a crisis with Iran before the elections -- and
certainly not over WMD.
But there is another problem. The Americans cannot let Iran get nuclear
weapons, and the Iranians know it. They assume that U.S. intelligence has a
clear picture of how far weapons development has gone. But following the U.S.
intelligence failure on WMD in Iraq -- ironically aided by Iran -- will any
policy maker trust the judgment of U.S. intelligence on how far Iran's
development has gone? Is the U.S. level of sensitivity much lower than Iran
thinks? And since Israel is in the game -- and it certainly cannot accept an
Iranian nuclear capability -- and threatens a pre-emptive strike with its own
nuclear weapons, will the United States be forced to act when it does not
Like other major crises in history, the situation is not really under
anyone's control. It can rapidly spin out of control and -- even if it is in
control -- it can become a very nasty crisis. This is not a minor
misunderstanding, but a clash of fundamental national interests that will not
be easy to reconcile.
(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
The relation between the US and the Mad Mullahs should not be NORMALIZED.
US State Department slams the Islamic regime in letter sent to the Movement
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jun 23, 2004
The following is the official reply of the US State Department to a letter sent by Aryo B. Pirouznia, the SMCCDI coordinator, to the American leadership.
In this reply, Mr. Thomas E. Williams, the Deputy Director of the US State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, is addressing the issues mentioned by SMCCDI in reference to the evil nature of the Islamic republic regime and the plight of the Iranian people.
The text is as follow:
" Dear Mr. Pirouznia,
I am writing in response to your letter of February 12th, expressing your concern over Iranian human rights violations.
We share your concern for Iran's support of domestic and foreign terrorists, as well as other issues like its nuclear weapons program and its suppression of domestic dissidents. With regard to the latter, we want to encourage the Iranian people's desire to live under a freely elected government that respects civil rights. U.S. policy is to reach out to Iranian public while remaining firmly opposed to the Iranian government's support of terrorism.
Our response to the compelling humanitarian emergency that resulted from the December 2003 earthquake in Bam was one way in which we sought to demonstrate our support for the Iranian people and their aspirations for a real democracy. At the same time, as you correctly point out, the Iranian regime continues to be a state sponsor of terrorism via its assistance to terrorist groups like Hezbollah, and we are gravely concerned by Iranian WMD procurement efforts, particularly in the nuclear field.
I hope the foregoing is responsive to your inquiry.
Thomas E. Williams
United States Department of State
Deputy Director, Arabian Peninsula Affairs
Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
Iran releases British prisoners
24 June 2004
The Iranian government accused the men of entering their territory, in the Shatt al-Arab waterway on the Iran-Iraq border, without permission.
They were arrested, and the boats they were in were confiscated. They were shown on Iranian TV wearing blindfolds, admitting they had broken the law.
British officials say the men may have gone over the border by mistake while training the Iraqi river patrol.
The arrests come at a bad time for relations between Iran and the UK.
There have been many angry protests in Iran against the occupation of Iraq by UK forces.
Britain also took part in writing tough new laws against Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency last week.
Good news. Thanks
Sporadic clashes in southern Tehran
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jun 24, 2004
Sporadic clashes occurred, yesterday, as hundreds gathered in front of one the Rey's Islamic Mutual Funds companies in order to request the restitution of their assets.
Tens of demonstrators shouted slogans against the regime and its leaders while requesting their deposits. Security forces were quick to rush and smashed the protest action by beating and arresting several demonstrators.
The rumor of the local company's bankruptcy due to the official fraud and the escape of some of the managers has been widely spread in the town. The same cycle of malaise-demonstration-repression is existing, actually, in several other cities, such as, in Esfahan, Hamadan and Kermanshah. An increasing number of Iranians are afraid of the regime's banking and financial institutions by preferring to buy foreign currencies, especially US Dollar and Euro, and gold.
It's to note that Rey is one of the poorest suburbs of Tehran and has been the scene of violent anti-regime protests in the last years. It was, a day, one of the cradles of regime's popular support along with Tehran's other poor districts, such as, Eslam-Shahr, Akbar-Abad and Varamine.
Britain Pledges to Stay "Engaged" with Iran
June 24, 2004
Saudi Press Agency
LONDON -- The British government said on Thursday it remained committed to a policy of constructive engagement towards Tehran despite diplomatic tensions over the arrest of eight naval personnel who strayed into Iranian waters.
"I am in no doubt at all that our policy of engagements with the government of Iran and the Islamic People's Republic of Iran is the best approach," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said minutes after UK diplomats reported the eight were on their way out of Iran.
Iran Ups the Nuclear Ante
June 17, 2004
Access Middle East
The Iranian concern that international pressure directed at its nuclear program is part of an American plot against Tehran has led to escalating threats against the United States and its allies in the Gulf and the Middle East.
The international pressure on Iran to accept further restrictions on its nuclear program and to publicly reveal its nuclear activities so far is causing a backlash in Tehran. The pressure by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meeting this week in Vienna, which is looking, inter alia, whether Iran is complying with non-proliferation guidelines, is construed as another facet of an American conspiracy. This conspiracy theory holds that, along with the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the US naval presence in the Persian Gulf, Washington plans to encircle Iran -- and, in the end, to topple the regime.
On the nuclear issue, Iran has upped the ante. The chorus of denials by senior officials, such as the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hasan Rowhani and the Minister of Defense Ali Shamkhani, that Iran has any clandestine military nuclear program, has been augmented by a series of not-so-veiled threats. By these threats, Iran has been trying for the last few days to create an impression that any further pressure for Iranian concessions on the nuclear issue will be met by a complete breakdown of cooperation with the international community in this area.
The secretary of the SNSC Hussein Mussavian was adamant (Tehran Times, 15 June) that Iran will not give up its control over the nuclear fuel cycle and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi declared that Iran has to be recognized by the international community as a member of the nuclear club. Both Kharazi and the new conservative speaker of parliament Gholam Ali Hadad-Adel warned that the Majlis may not ratify Iran's signature of the additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing for intrusive challenge inspections. This warning seems to be implicit also in Iranian President Mohammad Khatamis letter (16 June) to Britain, France and Germany that if pressure continues, Iran will consider other alternatives. Iran may resume uranium enrichment if a draft resolution rebuking it for inadequate cooperation with UN inspectors is approved, Khatami said on Wednesday in his toughest warning so far to the IAEA (Daily Times, June 17).
Meanwhile, Iran is attempting to add to its deterrent image by stepping up its open patronage of terrorist groups and support of terrorist attacks against the US. A new Committee for Tribute to the Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, linked to the IRGC (Revolutionary Guards) announced (Kayhan, 22 May) that martyrdom operations are the only way to expel the British and American forces from Iraq and that it has already begun registering volunteers for such operation. Mohammad Ali Samadi, a spokesman for the Committee declared that the targets are the occupying American and British forces in the holy Iraqi cities, all the Zionists in Palestine and Salman Rushdie. Hassan Abbasi, the head of another IRGC-linked academic center -- The Center for Doctrinal Studies, was quoted as vowing to burn the roots of the Anglo-Saxon race (Vaqa-yi Etefaqi-yi, 25 May) and claiming that Iran has formed a plan to crumble the US; the plan will soon be passed on to the hands of various militant organizations worldwide in order to attack 29 targets considered to be important for the Americans (al-Shark al-Awsat, 28 May).
A conference in Tehran in early June brought together members of the Majlis, military officers, and religious scholars to discuss "Martyrdom Operations and Military and Security Strategies". In this conference, IRGC General Hossein Salami warned that there is not a single safe clod of earth for [the US] on Islamic soil, and foretold that very soon, the American empire will fall before the Muslim empire.
The explicit threat of terrorism was accentuated by the spontaneous attack by demonstrators on the British Embassy in Tehran -- an attack that could not have taken place without the regimes blessing.
Iranian relations with its direct neighbors have also been strained. The Kuwaiti press disclosed in May that the Iranian ambassador in Kuwait had hosted meetings of Shiite political activists. The meetings were explained by Iran as aimed at reconciliation between the various Shiite parties; in fact, it seems that Iran was attempting to put together a united Shiite front under its own tutelage for the upcoming Kuwaiti elections. The Iranian involvement was seen in Kuwait as a gross intervention in Kuwaiti domestic affairs.
More ominously, Iraqi government sources indicated (alShark alAwsat, 15 June) that Iran has deployed four divisions on the Iraqi border and has performed intelligence patrols across the border. Iran has denied these claims. Iran has expressed its support of the new Iraqi government, but apparently also sees the need to prepare itself for a potential American disengagement.
Meanwhile, over the last week the Iranian Navy seized at least seven UAE boats near the southern Iranian coast and took 22 crewmen into custody. This escalation towards the UAE has come after the UAE navy seized an Iranian fishing boat near the Tunb and Abu Mussa islands (disputed between Iran and UAE). Another naval incident also took place on Friday 11 June when a Qatari naval vessel seized an Iranian fishing boat which had strayed into Qatari waters.
The Iranian behavior is commensurate with the Iranian defense doctrine, as defined by Minister of Defense Ali Shamkhani as "Strategic Deterrent Defense". The essence of Iranian deterrence, however, is the threat of total insecurity for the entire region if Iran were attacked. Iran seeks to deter strategic rivals by radical rhetoric, implied willingness to endorse popular resistance (i.e. terror), and a projection of an image of a nation which cannot be intimidated or deterred. In this context, the regime promotes -- in public statements, in propaganda and in indoctrination -- the readiness of the Iranian public to absorb the most extreme damage and the Iranian soldier's readiness for self-sacrifice.
Dr. Shmuel Bar is a senior research fellow at The Institute for Policy & Strategy, The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya
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Real Freedom [Must Read]
June 24, 2004
National Review Online
State backs Iranian reformers who dont exist.
Recently, the State Department has posted a 15-page document on its website under the title of "Voices Struggling to be Heard." This document has been presented as a "fact sheet," but much of it is more fiction than fact. Although it's a positive step on the part of the State Department to publish such a report in the first place, what is disappointing is that this publication is geared more towards promoting the so-called reformists in Iran than exposing human-rights violations by the Islamic regime.
State Department: "Today the courageous voices of the Iranian people are being stifled as they call for their rights, beliefs and needs to be respected. In response, the non-elected elements of the Iranian Government hierarchy are rebuffing these calls and attempting to extinguish the voices."
Fact: The State Department reference to "non-elected elements of the Iranian Government" implies that some elements of the government in Iran are elected. The State Department is wrong. There are no democratically elected elements in Iran. For example, Presdient Mohammed Khatami, the darling of the U.S. and Europe, was among just four selected candidates by the Guardian Council after 234 candidates were eliminated. All the so-called reformists who were "elected" in the previous parliament were first selected by undergoing the same filtering process.
State Department: "In June 1997 and again in 2001, a decisive election victory ushered President Mohammed Khatami into office under the auspices of a reformist agenda. The realization of this reform movement has been actively stifled by hard-line elements within the government, most specifically by the un-elected Guardian Council, a board of clerical leaders and legal scholars. Reformist and dissident voices within the government and society have been repressed and harassed by government and quasi-government factions under the influence of the hard-line clerics."
Fact: The proclaimed "reform movement" by Khatami did not materialize because he never had the intention of changing the status quo. He used the hollow promise for reform to stabilize the shaky regime and to prevent the escalation of popular unrest. What the oppositionists (not the reformists) want is very different from what the reformists within the government want. The reformists realize that some changes must be made if the whole system is going to be preserved. What the freedom-loving people of Iran want is a fundamental overhaul of the system; they want a separation between religion and state.
State Department: "In a move to diminish pro-reformist reelection chances, the Guardian Council disqualified approximately one-third of the 8,200 submissions for candidacy, including those of more than 80 reformists currently holding Majlis seats, effectively limiting the democratic alternatives available to Iranian voters."
Fact: The Guardian Council follows the rules and laws written into the Islamic constitution. Contrary to the State Department's assumption, all these actions are very much within the law. Those who accept this constitution, including the reformists, have nothing to complain about. Where were they when the other candidates were eliminated in last "election"? These sham elections are not democratic because at best, they only allow regime loyalists to participate, thus eliminating any chance of a real democratic election for Iranians. Therefore, there is no democratic alternative available to Iranians.
State Department: "Students have mobilized to demand greater freedoms and to support reform efforts by the Khatami Government, the Majlis, and individuals willing to speak the truth."
Fact: The Iranian students no longer support reform efforts by Khatami and his government and have repeatedly rejected him. Slogans such as "shame on Khatami" and "Resign Khatami" have been favorite catchphrases in recent demonstrations. The Iranian students are struggling for a secular democratic regime that by its definition cannot include the clerical elements.
In sum, the State Department has used human rights as a tool to promote the reformist faction of the government in order to justify reestablishing relations with the Islamic regime. The so-called hardliners have also started making hollow gestures towards reform. And why shouldn't they? It works. It does not cost them anything and it makes them competitive with their reformist rivals. (The recent move of the hardliners on banning torture in Iran was well received by the entire world. Nobody noted, however, that the Islamic constitution allows torture under the name of tazir and that this has remained intact.)
We believe that the majority of Iranian people does not recognize the Islamic regime as its elected representative and is determined to change the regime of terror by civil disobedience and nonviolent action. If the Islamic regime claims otherwise, it should take up the challenge of a nationwide referendum monitored by the international human-rights community.
Let's hope that the State Department and other U.S. institutions will eventually show respect for the freedom movement in Iran by not legitimizing and promoting its enemy, the Islamic regime of Iran.
Mohammad Parvin is an adjunct professor at the California State University and director of the Mission for Establishing Human Rights in Iran.
Real Freedom [Must Read]
June 24, 2004
National Review Online
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