Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 4, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/03/2004 11:42:04 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.
Giving a FRiendly PING and BUMP!!!!
Iran says oil prices 'good'
4 July 2004
TEHERAN - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said yesterday that current oil prices were "good" and that Opec could consider delaying a scheduled production increase when it meets later this month.
"I think that at the moment the prices are good. Many people are happy about the current prices," Zanganeh told reporters.
"If at the end of this month we feel there is no need for extra oil, we can postpone the decision on the extra 500,000 barrels per day. It depends on the market situation and the prices," he said.
"We can make a new decision about if we want to suspend the August increase, otherwise the 500,000 bpd increase does not need to be approved again," he added.
"We have already said we want to have a balanced market situation."
Faced with record highs on world markets, Opec had announced June 3 it would raise production quotas by two million bpd on July 1, and by another 500,000bpd on August 1.
But signs of wavering on the promise from key group producers, including market kingpin Saudi Arabia, have kept prices buoyant.
Zanganeh's remarks followed similar comments on Wednesday from Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi, who said current prices were "fair" and that there was "no reason to take a measure to reduce or increase production" when Opec meets on July 21. Iran is the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries' number two exporter after Saudi Arabia.
A Former Student of Rafsanjan University Dies due to Torture
Due to surmountable pressure and torture Amir Salari, former student of Rafsanjan University, was faced with heart problems. He was later expelled from the University due to his activities and practice of human rights. Upon his expelment from the University he was brutally attacked by plainclothes affiliates of the inhuman Islamic regime, an attack that has led Mr. Salari to heart problems. Sadly, he has died due to heart failure.
Alliance of Iranian Students
Britain Must Think Again On Iran
July 02, 2004
The trial of Saddam Hussein, which opened in dramatic fashion yesterday, should be an event that is as much about the future of the Middle East as in accounting for the past. It must be a further spur for change in a region with enormous potential that has not been realised. The notion that the Arab world is incapable of economic innovation, social progress and political pluralism is mistaken and deeply insulting. The best form of reform would be, however, as King Abdullah of Jordan makes clear in his interview in The Times today, "home-grown" and not an abstract model imposed by outsiders. The challenge for those in power across the Middle East is to recognise that the demand for a better life comes as much from their own people as Pentagon policy theorists.
King Abdullah himself has demonstrated that reform can be sweeping but sensitive. He has sensibly sought to promote liberal economics, including the most imaginative privatisation agenda in the Middle East, yet has made every effort to assist those temporarily hurt by these measures. His desire to stimulate higher standards in education and open more opportunities for women might take a generation to bear fruit, but they will prove to be a shrewd investment. His campaign to broaden political participation in carefully timed steps offers a model to others. It is as much in the interests of Washington and London to help to ensure that the Jordanian experiment succeeds and is seen to have succeeded as it is to make the transition in Iraq the template.
The reform drive in each of these countries could, nonetheless, be undermined by the intrigue of others. There has been legitimate outrage expressed here at the manner in which Iran treated the eight British ser-vicemen that it detained last month. The mischief of the political elite in Tehran indicates strongly that this was a diplomatic incident entirely of their intentional making.
It is also part of a disturbing pattern. Iran is not so much dabbling in Iraqi politics as stirring the pot with gusto. Hundreds, if not thousands, of its citizens seek to cross the border each day and this is very much one-way traffic. Nor are these people just enterprising traders or private religious zealots. They include senior military figures and intelligence officers plainly mandated to observe matters in Iraq and to take sides in factional politics and assist insurgent militia. Although UK commanders in the south of Iraq have, understandably, been pragmatic in their dealings with Iran, they and the Government in Baghdad should harbour no illusions about the Iranians' intent.
This must prompt a serious reassessment of policy in Whitehall. Britain has sought to pursue "constructive engagement" with Tehran. It is right that there should be a line of communication with Iran. Some political leaders there are indeed more reasonable than others and should be cultivated. The danger of the existing strategy is that Iran has decided that it has two lines of communication with the democratic world -one with Washington and another with the European Union, which is more pliable. If Tehran perceives a chance of playing the US and EU off against each other, it will.
A new approach must, therefore, become more consistent and tougher. It may well be that President Khatami of Iran disapproves of the drive to sabotage the Iraqi Government, but does he also know nothing of al-Qaeda's movements and the supply of arms to Palestinian terrorists? The key point here is that, despite his supposed objections, this behaviour is real and intensifying. The Bush Administration has made mistakes in Iraq over the past 15 months -some of which were avoidable if advice from allies such as King Abdullah had been taken. It is, though, right about Iran. Britain must shift its stance on Tehran towards that of Washington.
Iranian Dissident's Retrial Begins
03 Jul 2004, 17:17 UTC
An Iranian dissident previously sentenced to death for blasphemy has pleaded not guilty to lesser charges in a new trial.
History professor Hashen Aghajari appeared in a Tehran court Saturday to face charges that he insulted Islamic values, spread lies and incited public opinion. The new charges against him carry a maximum of eight years in prison.
In 2002, Aghajari was sentenced to death for publicly questioning the rule of clerics in Iran. The harsh sentence sparked widespread public protests and the Supreme Court overturned the ruling. Earlier this year, the sentence was re-affirmed and then overturned by the Supreme Court again.
On Monday, Iran's judiciary dropped the blasphemy charge carrying the death penalty.
Iran says it has prepared complaint against Saddam Hussein
TEHRAN, July 4 (AFP) - Tehran has prepared a complaint against against Saddam Hussein for his 1980 attack on Iran and use of chemical weapons, and will soon file the dossier with the Iraqi tribunal putting the former president on trial, the foreign ministry said Sunday.
"One of the crimes of Saddam Hussein is the attack against Iran, the deaths of Iranians, the use of chemical weapons. We have prepared a complaint which will be filed to the tribunal," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said.
Urging the Iraqi court to "act with transparency and in a public manner," Asefi also complained that Saddam's 1980 land grab -- which sparked the catastrophic 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war -- did not figure on the original list of charges.
"We have asked the Iraqis to explain why the attack on Iran did not feature among the charges against him, even though the judge said the question would be addressed at a later date," Asefi said.
Iran claims number-two position for world oil reserves
TEHRAN, July 3 (AFP) - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced Saturday that new oil discoveries in the southwest of the country now meant the Islamic republic held the number-two position in world crude reserves.
"We now have the second largest oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia," he told a news conference.He said the oil ministry's new figure of 132 billion barrels of proven reserves, a jump of 17 billion barrels from before, came from discoveries in
the Kushk and Hosseinieh oilfields -- now classed as one single field and renamed Yadavaran -- in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
The minister said exploitable oil at Yadavaran stood at over three billion barrels, with a potential daily output of between 300,000 to 400,000 bpd.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) website places Iran's proven crude reserves at 99.08 billion barrels for 2002, the latest year for which figures are given. That is below even the previous figures given by the Iranian oil ministry.
According to the website, Saudi reserves are estimated at around 262.79 billion barrels, with second place going to Iraq with 115 billion barrels.
With Iran ranking third according to those figures, fourth place is held by the United Arab Emirates (97.8 billion barrels) and fifth place by Kuwait (96.5 billion).
However, Zanganeh pointed to other figures, notably those given in June by British Petroleum (BP) which had put Iran in second place with 130.7 billion barrels.
BP put Iraq in third place with 115 billion barrels.Zanganeh was asked if Iran would now be asking OPEC for an increase in its
daily production quota.
"No, we have not made such a request," he said. "But there is general discussion going on in OPEC to work out a new quota system. These discussions will take a long time. It needs a consensus among all members."
He also predicted that by the end of the current Iranian year in March 2005, Iranian production capacity would reach 4.3 million bpd.
Iran's current quota is 3.744 million bpd, and its production and capacity are around 3.9 million bpd.
US Blocking Iran-Iraqi Oil Sector Cooperation [Excerpt]
July 03, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
TEHRAN -- Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said Saturday that although Iran can contribute substantially to developing Iraq's oil industry - the U.S. is blocking such help on political grounds.
"We can do much for Iraq, but the Americans have not so far opened the way for the two countries' exchange and cooperation in the oil sector," said Zangeneh in a press briefing at the Oil Ministry's headquarters in Tehran.
At the international donors conference on Iraq in Madrid last year, Iran offered to contribute to the reconstruction of its war-torn neighbor if Washington did not stand in the way.
An initial arrangement foresaw the transfer of 350,000 barrels per day of Iraqi light crude to Abadan refinery in southwest Iran near the Iraqi border. Then, an equivalent amount of light crude would be sold on behalf of Iraq.
So far, the two countries' oil industry exchanges have been limited the export of a limited amount of Iranian oil products to its neighbor to alleviate shortages.
According to an Iranian oil industry official, Iran currently has the capability for refining 180,000 b/d of Iraqi crude. That capacity can be raised to 320,000 b/d with minor adjustment at very low cost.
The U.S. has reservations about the involvement of the Iranian government in Iraq, fearing it might incite further insurgency in Iraq - particularly among the Shiite majority.
Syrian President Due in Iran
Jul 3, 2004, 21:51
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, heading a high-ranking political delegation is scheduled to arrive here on Sunday, it was announced Saturday.
Upon his arrival, which follows an invitation by his Iranian counterpart, Assad will be received at Mehrabad International Airport by Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ali Abdol-Alizadeh. The Syrian president and his entourage will be officially greeted by President Mohammad Khatami at Sa'dabad Cultural Complex.
During his two-day stay in Tehran, Assad is to hold talks with senior Iranian officials on bilateral relations, regional issues and the issue of Palestine. The Syrian president paid a short visit to Tehran in February 2003 before the U.S.-led war against Iraq. In his tour of Arab countries in May 2003, Mohammad Khatami also visited Syria.
HASHEM AQAJARI ESCAPES DEATH PENALTY
Posted Saturday, July 3, 2004
TEHRAN, 3 July (IPS) Mr. Hashem Aqajari, an Iranian scholar and islamist thinker that had warned Iranians not to follow the clerics blindfold was saved from death after a court that was trying him on Saturday dropped charges of blasphemy and heretic.
Contrary to his expectations, the trial was held public, with the presence of his lawyer, Mr. Saleh Nikbakht, his wife and the press.
A Tehran University history professor, Mr. Aqajari was sentenced to death two years ago in a court in the western city of Hamadan for blasphemy, after he told a conference that people are not monkey to follow the clerics blindfold.
The speech was seen by fundamentalist ayatollahs as a direct attack on them and their privileged position, on he Shiite concept of emulation, on the very core of the Islamic Republic and above all, the very concept of the velayat faqih, or the absolute rule of the leader as the representative of God on earth who cannot be questioned and t
The sentence sparked massive uproar in Iran, students staged demonstrations in his support and the intelligentsia sharply criticised the Judiciary, as the international community, including the European Union, was also pressing the Islamic Republic to drop the charges.
As a result, Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, the leader of the present Iranian regime who controls directly the Judiciary demanded that Aqajaris case to be reviewed, but the Hamadan court defiantly upheld its original ruling and the Judiciary waited for months before bowing to the leader, whos decisions and rulings must be carried out without delay or discussion.
While dropping the apostasy charges, the deputy general prosecutor, Reza Jafari uphold accusations of insulting Islam, activities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic and dissemination of false information disturbing the public opinion.
Mr. Aqajari, appearing weak, beard grown and wearing a skin hat, rejected all the charges and hoped that this would be his last trial.
Considering all the pressures, I doubt you could be a neutral and independent judge, he told Judge Mohammad Eslami, who had confirmed that the disabled war veteran who was held for months in solitary confinement no longer faced death penalty for having suggested that time has arrived for Islam to be also reformed.
Besides having pronounced the death sentence, the original court had also condemned the islamist reformer, often compared with Martin Luther, to 74 lashes of the whip, 10 years of ban from all professional activities and 8 years of solitary exile in a remote village.
Mr. Aqajari, repeating Marx, argue that religion is the opium of the governments, but if this is the case, how come that in the past 100 years all the oppositions had came from the religion, the deputy general prosecutor told the audience, without explaining what he meant?
The accused has defended opium-stained ideas of (Karl) Marx stating that religion is the opium of the governments and states (sic); he has said that when a state cracks down on the science and religion, such a state is not a religious and Islamic; he has said that in a religious state, men are slaughtered on the name of God and religion and has dubbed the Council of Guardians to a form of political apartheid and said that when religion sits with power and wealth, it loses its values, Hojjatoleslam Jafari told the court, charging the academic of propaganda against the regime and insulting Islam.
Using the unexpected public audience, Mr. Aqajari complained about his treatment in detention, asking "How can you put a history professor in solitary for more than 10 months, sometimes making him mate to criminals?".
"We have to see what the result is", he told reporters briefly after the hearing, adjourned until Monday.
Commenting the trial that was unexpectedly held public, to the point that even the accused had ignored it before the last minutes, observers said the Judiciary, being under heavy domestic and international pressures for the appalling situation of human rights, wanted to give itself one positive point.
ENDS AQAJARI TRIAL 3704
Iran poll update:
Is Iraq better off today?
-- No 40.80 % (204)
-- Yes 42.60 % (213)
-- Not Sure 16.60 % (83)
Total Votes: 500
WANT A NEW TRIAL? WHY NOT TRY ISLAMIC LAW, SADDAM
by Amir Taheri
The Times, London
July 3, 2004
"LAW, what law?" sneered Saddam Hussein in the small courthouse in the grounds of al-Faw palace. At his arraignment on Thursday, the fallen despot denounced as a farce the legal proceedings and dismissed the power of the court to try him.
Saddam looks as if he will emulate his fellow dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, by using every trick and procedure available in a Western-style trial to turn it into a political soap opera, dragged out over months and years.
Muhammad Rashdan, a Jordanian lawyer hired by Saddam's wife Sajjidah, argues that no Iraq court has the authority to try a man who "remains the legal President of the Iraqi Republic". "The invasion was illegal," he says, "which means that all of its consequences, including the formation of the interim Government and the court that it is setting up, are also illegal."
But if Saddam refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the Iraqi Government, maybe he should submit himself to a higher authority? In his last years Saddam, despite having spent a lifetime fighting religion as a relic of feudalism, recast himself as "the sword of Islam".
Legalistic foot-dragging and grandstanding would not be possible if Saddam were tried under Islamic law, as has been demanded by several leading Arab lawyers and Saddam's eldest daughter, Raghd. One major feature of Islamic law is its emphasis on speedy trials. This is because, in its purest form, the Islamic penal system does not include imprisonment as a form of punishment. A man charged with a crime should be tried and sentenced before the sunset of the day of his arrest.
There were no prisons in early Islam and, according to most historians, Muslims learnt to build and maintain prisons only when they came into contact with the Persians and the Byzantines. In Islamic literature imprisonment is a form of inflicting humiliation, itself a sin, rather than punishment. In the Koran, the word sijjin (prison) is a synonym for Hell. And no mortal has the right to decree in this world a punishment inflicted by God in the next.
There are three categories of crime in Islam: those committed against individual believers, those committed against society, and those committed against God. (God, of course, may intervene in all three as one of the aggrieved parties.) Now imagine Saddam appearing in front of an Islamic court. The first thing he would notice is that there is only one judge. This is because having more than one judge might lead to a clash of interpretations that could cast doubt on the solidity (hikmah) of divine rules. He would also notice that there is no jury.
Next he would notice that the charges against him are spelt out by the judge himself. The judge would then call in two male witnesses (or four female ones) to testify to each of the charges. Saddam would then be asked to respond to speak in his defence. He would not have the services of a lawyer since there are none in Islamic jurisprudence. But he could question the testimony of witnesses and call two witnesses of his own.
Once he was sentenced there would be no appeal. His fate would be in the hands of the Commander of the Faithful, the ruler who may bear the title of Caliph or Wali al-Amr (Custodian of Affairs) of the community. He could lessen Saddam's sentence or even pardon him. One thing he could not do is to keep him in prison.
What are the charges that Saddam might face in a hypothetical Islamic court? He could be charged with "betrayal of trust" (khianah fil amanah). This means he breached the trust of the people as ruler of the country. The charge would also cover the plundering of the public treasury (beit al-maal), seizure of property from Muslims, wasting public funds for ostentatious living. The punishment in such cases includes restoration of stolen property, payment of compensation and fines and flogging. But it could also mean death by beheading.
Saddam could also be charged with murder. There is evidence that Saddam shot Izzat Mostafa, who had been Health Minister under him. Then there is film footage of Saddam ordering his henchmen to take rival Baath leaders, among them Abdul-Khaliq al- Samarrai, out of a party congress and shoot them in the courtyard of the conference hall. In both cases, the Islamic punishment is death by beheading.
Saddam could face the more serious charge of "spreading corruption on earth" (ifsad fil-ardh). This is a broad category and covers a variety of crimes, including a reign of terror, depriving Muslims of freedom and dignity and fomenting discord. The wars that Saddam triggered against the Kurds in 1969, 1975 and 1991, the massacre of the people of Halabja with chemical weapons in 1988 and the crushing of the Shia revolt in 1991 could fall in this category. Again the punishment is death by beheading.
The gravest charge that Saddam could face in an Islamic court is that of "waging war on God" (muharibah an-Allah). The charge includes the cult of personality that Saddam built, thus setting himself up as a rival to God in seeking men's devotion, which is a form of sherk (idolatry). Saddam could also be accused of having fought against the will of God by triggering wars against Iran and Kuwait and leading his people into decades of suffering and sorrow. Once again the punishment is beheading.
The fallen despot could, of course, be tried and punished under the laws in force in Iraq during his own presidency. One charge could be "high treason" (khianat al-kubra) for going into hiding and abandoning his people, which is punishable by death.
Whether Western, Iraqi or Islamic, Saddam's trial cannot but produce one verdict: guilty.
Taheri what a great Iranian and Conservative!
"We see the struggle in Iran, where tired, discredited autocrats are trying to hold back the democratic will of a rising generation"
[George W. Bush]
Iran to present indictment against Saddam
Sun 4 July, 2004
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will submit an indictment to the Baghdad court trying former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi says.
"Iran will definitely submit an indictment to the court, it is ready," he told a news conference.
"The trial should be open and his crimes against Iran should be reviewed," he added.
Iran fought a war with Iraq from 1980-1988. Hundreds of thousands died on both sides and Iraq used poison gas against Iranian soldiers and civilians.
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