Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- June 28, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 06/27/2004 9:04:30 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.
Iran, European 'Big-3' to Hold Talks on Nukes
June 27, 2004
The Daily Star
Iran and the big-three European Union states are to hold new talks this week in the wake of Iran's decision to resume making parts for centifuges used to enrich uranium, officials said yesterday.
Foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the talks with Britain, France and Germany -- which last year brokered Iran's cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog -- would take place "in the coming days".
"The Islamic republic will have discussions with the Europeans this week." top national security official and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani was quoted as saying by the official news agency IRNA.
"We are ready for dialogue and we accept the invitation from the three Europeans," he was also quoted as saying by the student news agency ISNA.
Iranian television said the talks would begin on Tuesday at the experts level, and then move on to meetings at the ministerial level.
Details on the content or aim of the discussions were not given.
The United States and the European Union Saturday called on Iran to go back on its decision to resume the construction of centrifuges, announced by Tehran in retaliation to a critical resolution passed this month at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A halt on centrifuge work had been one of several "confidence-building" measures Iran agreed to while the UN nuclear watchdog investigated allegations the country is seekign to develop nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, Iran yesterday shrugged off yet more international criticism over its nuclear programme, refusing to back down on the construction of centrifuges for the highly sensitive process of enriching uranium.
"Nothing very important has happened," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters, trying to play down fresh alarm over an atomic energy programme the United States sees as a cover for weapons development.
The United States and the European Union Saturday called on Iran to go back on its decision to resume the construction of centrifuges, announced by Tehran in retaliation to a critical resolution passed this month at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
But Asefi insisted that while Iran would go ahead with making centrifuges as of June 29, it was still sticking to its pledge to suspend enriching uranium.
Rowhani Tells MPs Iran Will Resume Centrifuge Production On June 29
Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hasan Rowhani announced here on Sunday that Iran will resume production of parts for nuclear industry centrifuges on June 29.
In a speech to the Majlis describing the current situation of Irans nuclear dossier, Rowhani said that Iran would continue to fully cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog in order to prove the strictly peaceful nature of its nuclear program.
He also reaffirmed Tehran's commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the safeguards agreements.
"The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can continue its inspections. We will also fully cooperate with the agency since we know that such cooperation will benefit the Islamic Republic," he told an open session of the parliament. The inspections will prove that the Islamic Republic's activities are strictly peaceful, Rowhani said, while expressing confidence that Iran's nuclear dossier will inevitably be withdrawn from the (IAEA) Board of Governors agenda sooner or later.
Earlier in the day, the SNSC secretary, who is Iran's main negotiator on nuclear issues, announced Iran's readiness to hold comprehensive negotiations with representatives of France, Germany, and Britain in Tehran this week.
However, Rowhani insisted that Iran would stick to its decision to resume the manufacture and assembly of centrifuge components, starting on June 29.
"We have announced to the three European countries that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to resume manufacture and assembly activities on June 29," he said.
Citing Iran's reasons for the decision, Rowhani said the three countries had failed to fulfill the commitments which they had made at a meeting in Brussels on February 23.
The official also rejected IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei's allegations that some aspects of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program had been concealed.
"Mr. ElBaradei and the agency had found one contradiction (in Iran's report on its nuclear program), but they apologized for that and said they were mistaken," Rowhani said.
He stressed that Iran is prepared to enter long-term discussions with the three European countries, adding that their officials would be invited to Iran for this purpose in the current week.
Rowhani said that according to the NPT, the IAEA is tasked with helping Iran develop advanced nuclear technology.
He announced that Iran has access to uranium mines and the technology to produce UF6 and 3.5% enriched uranium.
All the centrifuges and nuclear centers have been constructed by Iranian specialists and no person or country has the right to take this capability away from Iran, he said.
Rowhani stressed that Iran would continue to cooperate with the European Union and the IAEA, adding that Irans nuclear dossier should be removed from the agenda of the IAEA as soon as possible.
The SNSC secretary also announced that Iran is ready for IAEA inspectors to pay another visit to the country.
Iran Will Not Buckle To Pressure: Intelligence Minister
TEHRAN (IRNA) -- Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi said here Sunday that Iran has so far acted under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog and is to continue its cooperation with the IAEA, but it would not bow to force, he stressed.
Speaking to IRNA, Yunesi said that Iran was determined to get access to the nuclear technology for peaceful application, stressing that the country has never been after developing atomic bombs.
Noting that Iran has repeatedly and clearly announced its policy regarding its nuclear programs, Yunesi said that having access to nuclear technology for peaceful application was the indisputable right of Iran and that the country would never give up its right. As for Iraq, the minister said that Tehran supported restoration of peace and stability to that country and believed this would be achieved only if "the Iraqi people themselves administer their own country."
The U.S. is to bring to power a puppet regime in Iraq and its quite natural that the Iraqi people would resist it, Yunesi said.
Touching upon the question of the terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), the minister said that they have come to the end of the line. However, Yunesi did not give further explanations in this regard.
ElBaradei urges Iran to reverse nuclear move
UNITED NATIONS: UN atomic energy agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Sunday urged Iran to abandon a decision to resume work towards uranium enrichment as a week-long conference on peaceful uses of nuclear power opened in Moscow.
I hope that Iran will go back to a comprehensive suspension as they have committed to us before. I would hope that this is not a major reversal, he told reporters after meeting Russian atomic energy agency chief Alexander Rumyantsev.
Tehran said on Sunday it would resume construction of centrifuges for uranium enrichment but continue to suspend enrichment itself, a key step in making what can be bomb-grade uranium.
Iran had said in a letter to ElBaradei, as well as Britain, France and Germany, last week that it would resume the manufacturing of centrifuge components and assembly and testing of centrifuges as of June 29, next Tuesday, according to a copy of the letter obtained by AFP.
Iran claims the so-called Euro-3 broke an agreement made in February to have the IAEA close in June its investigation of Irans nuclear programme, in return for the suspension of all enrichment-related activities.
ElBaradei is in Moscow to open an IAEA nuclear power conference commemorating a half-century since the Obninsk power reactor became the worlds first to produce electricity for a national grid.
It also marks the 50th anniversary of the UN General Assembly resolution calling for international cooperation in developing the peaceful uses for nuclear energy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will meet ElBaradei on Monday, praised nuclear power an engine of economic growth in a message to the conference.
Today, atomic energy is an expanding sector which actively promotes social and economic development in many states, Putin said according to a statement released by the Kremlin.
Another theme at the conference will be nuclear terrorism.
The United States had at IAEA headquarters in Vienna in May unveiled a 450-million-dollar plan to try to prevent nuclear materials stored around the world from falling into the hands of terrorists who could use them to make a dirty bomb or even a full-fledged atomic device.
The US plan includes working with Russia to repatriate all Russian-origin fresh HEU (highly enriched uranium) (nuclear) fuel by the end of 2005, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham had told the IAEA in May.
Russia has been under US pressure to halt construction of Irans Bushehr nuclear reactor until the IAEA is fully satisfied that Tehran is not hiding its potential nuclear weapons ambition, or using the project to develop an atomic bomb. Russia has vowed however to maintain the Bushehr project.
Solution "in sight" on Iran's nuclear program: Rice
WASHINGTON (AFP) Jun 27, 2004
US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that Iran was providing daily proof why it belonged in the "axis of evil" but a peaceful solution to the row over its nuclear program was still "within sight."
Rice told Fox News Sunday that Iran remains a "dangerous state" that was trying to develop the capacity to use nuclear power for military purposes and even make nuclear weapons.
"The Iranians every day demonstrate why the United States has been so hard on them and why the president put Iran into the axis of evil when he talked about Iraq, North Korea and Iran in 2002," she said.
The national security aide said Washington was working with its European allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to persuade Tehran to drop its nuclear weapons ambitions or face isolation.
The United States was also putting pressure on Russia to curb transfers of nuclear technology to Iran, she said, adding "we've been very clear that these rogue states that seek weapons of mass destruction are a danger."
"It's a very tough situation. But we believe that this is one that still has a diplomatic solution within sight," Rice said, speaking from Turkey ahead of a NATO summit. She did not elaborate.
The IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, rebuked Iran on June 18 for failing to come clean about its nuclear program but the Islamic Republic has shown little inclination for conciliation.
Tehran said Sunday it would resume construction of centrifuges for uranium enrichment while continuing to suspend enrichment itself. But a senior member of parliament said the assembly would push to resume the process.
Rice's remarks appeared part of a general US move to step up the rhetoric against Iran, which President George W. Bush famously lumped with Iraq and North Korea in an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union speech two years ago.
Earlier Sunday, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld delivered his own broadside at the Iranian government, accusing it of "not telling the truth about its role in nuclear development."
"Most recently, we have seen them resisting the UN processes that they have previously seemed to have agreed to, but obviously are not adhering to," Rumsfeld said in an interview with the BBC.
QUIETLY, U.S. PREPARES FOR ISRAEL STRIKE ON IRAN
Middle East Newsline ^ | May 07, 2004 | MENL
Posted on 06/27/2004 8:27:48 PM PDT by streetpreacher
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The United States has been examining the prospect that Israel will attack Iranian nuclear facilities in an attempt to prevent the Islamic republic from completing an atomic bomb as early as this year.
U.S. analysts and government sources said the Bush administration has discussed the prospect of an Israeli air strike at several levels of government. They said the issue has been examined in terms of the diplomatic, military and security implications for the United States, particularly its military presence in Iraq and the Persian Gulf region.
The issue of Iran's nuclear weapons program was discussed by President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during the latter's visit to the White House on April 14. The sources said the two men were alone during the brief discussion in an effort by the president to gauge a likely Israeli response to the completion of an Iranian nuclear bomb.
"It would be intolerable for the Middle East if they [Iran] get a nuclear weapon," Bush said after meeting Sharon.
DoctorZin: Bizarre nonsense from the BBC...
Iranian woman 'gives birth to frog'
An Iranian newspaper has reported the controversial story of a woman who claims to have given birth to a frog.
The Iranian daily Etemaad says the creature is believed to have grown from larva to an adult frog inside her body.
While it is unclear how this could have happened, the paper carries quotes from medical experts who say there are human characteristics to the animal.
It has been speculated that the woman, who has not been named, unknowingly picked up the larva while she was swimming in a dirty pool.
The woman, from the south-eastern city of Iranshahr, is a mother of two children.
The "so-called frog", as the newspaper puts it, has yet to undergo precise genetic and anatomic tests.
But it quotes clinical biology expert Dr Aminifard as saying: "The similarities are in appearance, the shape of the fingers and the size and shape of the tongue."
Medical history recounts stories of people who believed they had frogs - or even lizards or snakes - living and growing in their bodies.
One of the most famous was the 17th Century case of Catharina Geisslerin, known as "the toad-vomiting woman" of Germany.
When she died in 1662 doctors are said to have performed an autopsy, but found no evidence animals had ever lived inside her body.
US Blasts Iran Nuke Program
Voice of America ^ | 27JUN04 | Michael Bowman
Posted on 06/27/2004 7:26:16 PM PDT by familyop
Revolutionary Guard chiefs get into position to take over Iran
Ramita Navai, Tehran
SINCE its formation by conservative clerics as an elite unit to fight the foreign and internal enemies of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Irans hardline Revolutionary Guard has been the countrys most powerful armed force.
The corps barred by Ayatollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of the revolution, from straying into politics may now have its eyes on the presidency. Mohammed Khatamis second term expires next May.
Ali Larijani, a former Guard commander and former head of state media, is widely believed to be considering running for president. Two other former Guard chiefs have also been tipped as possible candidates.
A glance at a number of key positions shows this group is increasingly gaining power, Sharq, a leading reformist newspaper, warned recently.
Indications of the Guards political ambitions came in a week in which it flexed its muscles with the arrest and detention of the eight British servicemen who strayed from southern Iraq into the Iranian part of the Shatt al-Arab waterway that divides the two countries.
Although the men were released on Thursday after three days in captivity, their detention during which they were paraded blindfolded on state television appeared to be a sign of the Guards power.
The Guard has been gaining influence in recent months. Scores of former members were elected to parliament last February in a controversial landslide for conservative candidates after thousands of reformists were barred by the hardline Guardian Council.
A parallel organisation to the military, the Guard takes its orders directly from Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader.
A Revolutionary Guard president will mean all three branches of government totally under the command of the Supreme Leader without reservation or question, said Ebrahim Yazdi, who founded the Guard while deputy prime minister under Khomeini. The aim is to have co-operation and hegemony between three branches. Its a way to get rid of reform.
The influence of the Guard is also reflected in Irans increasingly assertive stance towards attempts by the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate the countrys nuclear programme.
Washington, which accuses Tehran of trying to build a nuclear bomb, believes the Guard is in charge of that programme and of efforts to make chemical and biological weapons.
Anniversary of Student Uprisings in Iran
ActivistChat ^ | 6/14/04 | Amil Imani
Posted on 06/26/2004 2:16:36 PM PDT by Cyrus the Great
U.S. Occupation Forces Release Iranian Diplomat In Baghdad
Tehran Times - Politics Section
Jun 28, 2004
TEHRAN - U.S. occupation forces released on Sunday morning the second highest-ranking diplomat of the Iranian embassy to Baghdad after a 20-hour detention.
According to reports the Iranian diplomat was accompanied by two other diplomats and a driver; the diplomats were returning to Baghdad from the Khosravi border.
The high-ranking Iranian diplomat began his mission in Iraq three months ago; The Iraqi foreign ministry has authorized the diplomat to stay in Iraq for a one-year term.
Following this measure that seems to be in response to the detention of eight British soldiers by Iranian naval units, Iran will probably summon the Swiss ambassador to the foreign ministry who cares about the U.S. interests section in Iran.
Certain Arab media claimed on Sunday that the coalition forces in Iraq have detained an Iranian security official in the Iran-Iraq border.
Iranian foreign ministry officials have not yet confirmed the report.
Why does the USSR come to mind?
>>>Washington, which accuses Tehran of trying to build a nuclear bomb, believes the Guard is in charge of that programme and of efforts to make chemical and ***biological weapons***.
Ping to your freep mail.
It appears the story above has been confirmed at this persian website:
ATOMIC AYATOLLAHS [Excerpt]
By PETER BROOKES
June 28, 2004 -- IRAN ratcheted up international nuclear tensions late last week by announcing it would resume (as soon as tomorrow) building nuclear centrifuges an essential element in nuclear-weapons development. The rest of the world keeps protesting and Tehran keeps thumbing its nose right back.
Iran insists its "civilian" nuclear power program is for "peaceful" purposes only. That's laughable but the consequences aren't.
If other countries don't take decisive action soon, the world will have the 9th nuclear weapons state and its first nuclear-armed state that also sponsors terrorism faster than you can say "atomic ayatollah."
Efforts to stop Tehran's atomic quest have been lackluster so far. The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) latest rebuke, for example, didn't even stop the mullahs from making last week's in-your-face announcement. The European Union's "peace in our time" agreement with Iran last October on nuclear transparency and inspections has become a tragic joke.
DEFINING TERRORISM [Excerpt]
By AMIR TAHERI
June 28, 2004 -- WORKING papers pre pared for today's NATO summit indicate that the alliance now recognizes international terrorism as the most potent and urgent threat to peace and stability throughout the world. Created to face the Soviet bloc's nuclear and conventional threats during the Cold War, NATO now faces the task of recasting itself to win the War on Terror.
One big problem: Where the alliance had little difficulty agreeing on the nature and scope of the Soviet threat, it is now divided on the very definition of terrorism, let alone how to combat it.
Will the Istanbul summit succeed where other international gatherings have not?
Iran opposes Nato expansion in ME
AFP - World News
Jun 27, 2004
TEHRAN - Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said on Sunday that Nato was "not welcome" in the Middle East region, ahead of the alliance's summit in neighbouring Turkey.
"We are opposed to Nato's intervention in the business of the Middle East," he told the official news agency IRNA, labelling the body as a "European organization created for European security".
"The interference of the organization in the Middle East is not welcome," Mr Kharazi said.
During their two-day summit in Istanbul, Nato leaders are set to approve military training for the new Iraqi government, easing months of division over the US-led occupation that officially ends this week.
POWER HANDOVER 'TODAY'
The handover of power in Iraq is to be brought forward to today.
A formal announcement will be made later today, Tony Blair said.
The informal announcement was made by Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari.
The handover of power to an interim Iraqi government was supposed to take place on June 30.
Mr Zebari said the deteriorating security situation in the country was one of the reasons why the date had been brought forward.
"We will challenge these elements in Iraq, the anti-democratic elements, by even bringing the handover of sovereignty before June 30 as a sign we are ready for it," he said.
He added: "We have made some very good progress in terms of the new security council (in Iraq) and the return of sovereignty to the Iraqi people to take away the level of occupation we have suffered a great deal from.
"There are many Iraqis who are standing up to the challenge. We are here to seek more help and assistance, training and equipment."
On to Iran!
The Iraqis and the Neocons
Arab democracy is a work in progress.
June 28, 2004, 9:16 a.m.
In that wonderful way the old media have for admitting error, the Washington Post last week announced in breathless tones that many "anti-American" Iraqi leaders have been busily denouncing the "insurgents" for the constant attacks on Iraqis. The "anti-American" bit is misleading. It would be more accurate to say "anti-occupation," which would make it possible for the American public to appreciate one of the two great things about Iraqi liberation: namely, the Iraqis themselves (the other great thing is the American military).
The Iraqis have a fine understanding of their situation, as reflected in many polls and anecdotes. In big majorities, here is what they think:
Happy to have been liberated from the monster Saddam, thus grateful to the Coalition forces, especially the Americans;
Unhappy to be occupied, thus angry at the Coalition Provisional Authority, especially the haughty Ambassador Bremer, who rarely missed an opportunity to present himself as the savior of the country and bridled at the very idea that Iraqis especially anti-Baathist Iraqis should be entrusted with the management of the country;
Eager to have the occupiers leave, but also:
Eager to have Coalition forces remain to help protect Iraq against the onslaught of terrorists (can we stop calling them "insurgents" finally?), both from the ranks of the Baathists, and from abroad.
Good attitudes, don't you think? Rational, sensible, and mature. And along with their clear-eyed views, the Iraqis have shown a toughness and resiliency that few expected. The more common forecast was that the Iraqis were exhausted and broken after the long, harsh dictatorship, and that it would take quite some time, a generation anyway, before they would be capable of self-government.
In short, the Iraqis are providing exactly what the doctor ordered, and it's particularly gratifying because the Iraqis have been given an enormous, perhaps even historic burden. The Iraqi people are the test case of the conviction that people everywhere, even the much-despised Arab people, want to be free and are capable of governing themselves. If the Iraqis succeed, they will surely inspire a vast democratic revolution throughout the region. If they fail, the tyrannical terror masters in Damascus, Tehran, and Riyadh will live to kill yet again.
So far, at least, they are exceeding expectations, and they are saying things that our own leaders seem afraid to say: namely, that the wave of terrorism in Iraq is in large part the work of foreigners. Unlike, say, the Department of State, Iraqi leaders most definitely including some top Shiites are quite outspoken about Iran's vigorous actions supporting the terror network inside Iraq. It's quite likely that the new Iraqi Government will bring some much-needed clarity to discussions of the terror war.
Of course there are things that don't inspire me. I'm worried about Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's ugly past, and I'm very worried about the return of so many Baathists to positions of considerable power this last the result of Bremer's ill-judged turnaround on DeBaathification. I'm not impressed with Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, but I think we've made enough errors about the training of the new Iraqi security forces so that some of the most egregious ones will be avoided henceforth. Said Iraqi security forces seem to be fighting much better, especially in the recent victory over Moqtada al Sadr. Let's hope they perform as well in the upcoming battles in and around Fallujah.
But the bottom line is that it's getting increasingly difficult to maintain the old racist doctrine that Arabs can't govern themselves, and that our job is therefore to pick the best available tough guy to run the place. Those of us who argued from the beginning that there were plenty of Iraqis capable of governing the country, and therefore that our plan for liberation needed to be much more political, have every reason to think we were right.
And one more thing, never mentioned in the old media. Who was that Iraqi Shiite politician who spent days negotiating the agreement in Najaf that sent Moqtada out of the city and into abject defeat? It was Ahmad Chalabi, the State Department's and CIA's most despised Iraqi. And for those of you who still think that Chalabi might secretly be the Iranians' key agent inside Iraq, ask yourself how the mullahs felt when Moqtada tucked his long forked tail between his legs and limped off to lick his wounds. They hated it. And Chalabi was the key figure in the negotiations. Some agent he turned out to be!
So the conventional wisdom has failed once again. The Iraqis turn out to be much better than the pundits thought, there is a real hope for an Iraqi model for the rest of the region, and the idea of Arab democracy is not a fantasy but a work in progress.
Maybe somebody might give some credit to President Bush for intuitively understanding what the bureaucratic gurus rejected out of hand: that the surest way to defeat the terror masters is to support democratic revolution in the Middle East.
Iran's gov't claims to be "out of the loop on nuclear policy"
AFP - World News (via yahoo)
Jun 28, 2004
TEHRAN - The official spokesman for Iran's reformist government admitted that the cabinet was effectively out of the loop on nuclear policy-making, a domain now in the hands of rising conservative forces.
In his first press conference for months, Abdollah Ramazanzadeh was pressed for more details on Iran's decision to resume the manufacture of centrifuges used for enriching uranium, a move that has drawn fresh criticism from the UN nuclear watchdog.
The official replied that top conservative cleric and national security official Hassan Rowhani as well as the foreign ministry had already addressed questions on Iran's ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"Policy decisions on this matter are not in the hands of the government, so I have nothing to say," said the beleaguered cabinet secretary of embattled reformist President Mohammad Khatami.
He was also questioned why the cabinet had been so silent on a string of other sensitive topics since February's controversial parliamentary elections, which were easily won by religious hardliners after most reformist candidates were barred from even standing.
"I will stay silent," the spokesman said bluntly.
The February polls saw the conservatives cement their grip in the Islamic republic, and left Khatami and some of his cabinet isolated as some of the few reform-minded politicians still in public office.
During the electoral crisis, sources close to Ramazanzadeh even said he may resign, but he later denied this.
The official has since taken up an additional post as head of the Iranian Baseball, Cricket and Rugby Federation -- and betrayed the obvious fact that he no longer wanted to speak to reporters.
"The president ordered me to, so I have to," he said when asked why he had agreed to resume press briefings.
Khatami's second and final term in office ends in June 2005. Reformists have yet to put forward a potential replacement, in contrast to conservatives who have already fielded several names through the local press.
Watchdog Inspects Suspected Iran Nuclear Site
June 28, 2004
MOSCOW -- Inspectors from the U.N. nuclear watchdog visited the Lavizan site in Tehran on Monday where Washington suspects Iran carried out secret atomic weapon activities, the agency's chief said.
In a telephone interview with Reuters, Mohamed ElBaradei said: "We went there today and we took environmental samples. Tomorrow we will also visit places in the country to look at relevant equipment.
"The fact that we got prompt response and access is, I think, something positive."
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that two satellite photos from August 2003 and March 2004 showed Iran had removed all the buildings and much of the topsoil at Lavizan, which is located near a military installation.
The United States, which has branded Iran part of a global "axis of evil" of states seeking illegal weapons, said this suggested that Iran was conducting activities there linked to what it says is a secret atom bomb program.
Iran denies that Lavizan was a nuclear site and insists it has no weapons program.
ElBaradei, in Moscow for talks with Russian officials, declined to give details on the inspectors' initial impression of the site and said it would take some time for the results of the samples to come back from the laboratories.
The U.N. watchdog takes environmental samples to test for traces of nuclear materials that might indicate signs of undeclared activities.
The IAEA found traces of enriched uranium at various sites in Iran last year and has yet to determine their origin.
I know this isn't about Iran, but it's a great day for Iraq!
One day, hopefully very soon, freedom will come to the Iranians, it will be a great day for Iran.
THAT WHICH HAS BENEFIT FOR PEOPLE ["Hail our true friends, the Great People of the USA"]
Monday, June 28, 2004
ÝÇãÇ ÇáÒÈÏ ÝíÐåÈ ÌÝÇÁ æÇãÇ ãÇíäÝÚ ÇáäÇÓ ÝíãßË Ýí ÇáÇÑÖ
This is a famous Arabic verse of divine Wisdom; the eloquence and resonance of the sentence cannot be translated but the meaning is as follows:
As for the scum, it will go (disappear) in vain (uselessly); and as for that which has benefit for people, it will stay in the earth.
One man of the people is asked by an MBC (An Arab network) reporter what he thinks about the new government. He answers very simply in that spontaneous genuine manner of simple folk: arent these men better than the riffraff who used to govern us? Truer words have never been said.
This day, this modest ceremony, no elaborate celebrations, no fanfare; yet surely this is a Mother of Days for Iraq, and history will remember this day.
Likewise, I am not going to say anything grandiose today, rather in the same style of todays ceremonies. All I can say is that almost everybody here has hope, great hope. Personally I am confident of the future because That which has benefit for people will stay in the earth.
Hail our true friends, the Great People of the United States of America; The Freedom giving Republic, the nation of Liberators. Never has the world known such a nation, willing to spill the blood of her children and spend the treasure of her land even for the sake of the freedom and well being of erstwhile enemies. The tree of friendship is going to grow and grow and bear fruit as sure as day follows night. And the people deep down at the bottom of their hearts, they appreciate. Make no mistake about that. The people have voted today, the pulse of the street is clear, without any hesitation I would give 90% of all Iraqis are hopeful and supportive of the new government, and this is a tacit indirect yes to the U.S. which has been the prime mover of all these events. This is what the foolish fail to understand. Why is this a different situation from that for example of a Vietnam? The answer is very simple: Because, the U.S. has achieved something very popular around here; which is the removal of the Saddam regime. Those who are really against the U.S. from amongst the Iraqis have been and remain a small minority; all other forms of resentment are simply disappointment and disgruntlement resulting from the discomfiture of the present situation and will simply disappear with progress and gradual improvement.
As for the enemy, he will not reap but failure and the bitter taste of defeat.
Glory and honor to the U.S. and Allied men and women whose blood is irrigating the tree of freedom in this land; and their sacrifices, suffering, and toil is laying the foundation for a future renaissance of the Mesopotamian People. Hail soldiers of freedom and enlightenment. Do not be dismayed by the trouble and turbulence of the present, for the future generations will remember and appreciate.
And last but not least; Hail, Great El Bush, a leader not only of the U.S. but a true hero of mankind. And Hail Mr. Blair and the other Leaders of the Free World.
God Bless the New Republic of Iraq; God Bless America.
Wa Al Salaam Alaykum Wa rahamutu Allahi Wa Barakatuh
(Peace be upon you and the mercy of God and his blessings)
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