Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 6, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/05/2004 9:00:33 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largley 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.
We are now just a few days away from the anticipated July 9th demonstrations.
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.
Assad Winds Up Iran Visit
July 05, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Amid accusations by US and Iraqi leaders that Syria and Iran were behind political incitement and terrorist acts aimed at destabilizing the new Iraqi government, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday ended a two-day surprise visit to Iran. The tow countries have been united in their opposition to the presence of US troops in Iraq.
Assad met with top officials including leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami. He was accompanied by Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam, Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara and other Syrian officials.
"There is no ambiguity between us and Syria where Iraq is concerned. The solution is the quick end to the occupation, the installation of a government comprising all elements of the Iraqi people and the cooperation of the international community to bring stability and reconstruction," Khatami said.
The US and Iraq have accused insurgents of actively smuggles weapons, fighters and money into Iraq from Syria and Jordan.
According to the British Sunday Telegraph, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said his government had gathered information from intelligence services showing support for the insurgents from some neighboring countries.
Torture Ongoing in Iranian Prisons
July 05, 2004
The Associated Press
WKRC 12 Cincinatti
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian authorities have fired the head of a prison where an inmate lost his hands after being suspended from the ceiling in handcuffs, an independent newspaper reported Monday.
The prisoner, a 21-year-old man identified only by the first name Afshin, was handcuffed to the ceiling last month as punishment for starting a fight with another inmate at the prison in Dezful, a city 375 miles southwest of Tehran, the Sharq newspaper said.
When he was released, doctors at a local hospital found his injuries to be so severe that they to amputated his hands to save his life, the newspaper said.
The prisoner's family complained to the Prison Authority, and the head of the prison was fired.
The Prison Authority and the office of the governor of Dezful refused to comment when contacted by The Associated Press on Monday.
The paper said the Prison Authority offered Afshin the equivalent of $25,000 in compensation for the maltreatment. It was not clear if he had accepted the offer. It also reported that members of parliament and government officials are to visit Dezful prison to investigate the case.
Afshin was jailed for drug smuggling.
Show your support of Iranians by participating in commemoration of the Students Uprising (UPDATED)
SMCCDI (Urgent Action) Updated for Iran (*) and for Palo Alto (CA) and addition of Geneva (Switzerland) and Copenhagen (Denmark)
Jul 6, 2004
Honored struggling Iranian compatriots, Dear World's Freedom lovers,
As it was to be expected, the Islamic Republic has mobilized, once again, all its forces and repressive arsenal in order to try to smash the peaceful and no- violent demonstrations planned across Iran for the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Students Uprising of July 1999. Iranian cities have taken once again the aspect of occupied zones and the regime's militiamen and foreign mercenaries are arresting, beating or harassing our captive fellow countrymen under various pretexts.
But despite all these measures which are intending to extend the life of the shaky and illegitimate theocracy, Iranians are expected to respond, massively, to the calls made by our country's students and secularist forces. These calls are nothing else than the request from the Iranians who are exasperated by quarter of century of rule of terror and dictatorship to show their rejection of the Islamic republic and their support of the legacy of July 1999 Uprising.
(*) They will gather and demonstrate in the main areas of most Iranian cities from the early hours of the afternoon of Thursday, July 8, 2004 around the universities and in a wide scale manner from 19:00 (local time)!
In such conjuncture, it's the duty of any Iranian, residing abroad, and the mission of anyone seeking to put an end to the main generator of terror and fanatism, in the middle east, to support the People of Iran in their legitimate struggle! Such support can't find a better expression than participating in one of the several rallies and gatherings planned in most European and N. American cities and as listed below!
Just remember that the events of "18-23 of Tir 1378" (July 9-14, 1999) provided without a doubt a turning point in the contemporary history of the Iranian politics and will affect the entire region and our world. This uprising heralded the coming freedom of Iran from the dictatorship of this anti-democratic and terrorist regime when students as the flag-bearers of wisdom and awareness rose up and took on the forces of self-serving ignorance and fanatism. Now with the passing of five years from that uprising, still the violent wounds of that barbaric day have not found solace and many of our loved-ones continue to be killed or incarcerated by the forces of the despotic end evil power, and are at the mercy of their instruments of suppression and torture. Still the sounds of the crushing of the bones and prides and honor of these freedom and peace seeking men and women is heard from the dungeons of the Islamic Republic, and everyday, we are witnesses to the violence, torture, and evil-spiritedness of those who will not fall short of any criminality to prolong the reign of their unjustified violence.
By supporting our countrymen's protest actions, we will put, together, shivers to the structure of the system of absolutism and obscurantism! We will show our rejection of fanatism and terror! We will contribute to the creation of a safer and peaceful world for all! Let us turn, together, this anniversary into another day of worldwide support of the struggle for freedom, democracy and accountability in Iran!
Let's send a clear message to the Mullahcracy that its days are over and that we will not sit idle by just contemplating the continuation of its crimes and conspiracies!
Just remember, Together we stand, divided we fall !!!
Here is the worldwide partial listing, in alphabetical order, of these support gatherings and rallies in their local timing (Some cities will host actions in two different days):
A) In Europe:
- Copenhagen on July 8th, from 04:00 PM, front of the Islamic Republic Embassy located at Engskiftevej 6
- Odense on July 8th, from 04:30 PM, In front of the City Hall (Mayor's office)
- Brussels on July 7th, from 02:00 PM, In front of the EU building in Place Maurice Schumann
- Paris on July 8th, from 07:00 PM, At the Place de l'Iena (Close to the Islamic regime Embassy)
- Paris on July 10th, from 04:00 PM, At the Place du Trocadero
- Helsinki on July 8th, from 12:00 PM, In front of the main church of Helsinki
- Düsseldorf on July 10th, from 02:00 PM, A march from Banhoff toward the City Court
- Hamburg on July 8th, from 12:00 PM, At west side of the Central Train Station (Hopt Banhoff)
- Heidelberg on July 10th, from 03:00 PM, At the Bismark Platz
- München on July 8th, from 05:00 PM, At the Stachus square
- Nuremberg on July 10th, from 03:00 PM, At the Halle Platz Konik Strasse
- Den Haag on July 7th, from 12:00 PM, In front of the Dutch Parliament
- Den Haag on July 8th, from 01:00 PM, In front of the Dutch Parliament
- Göteborg on July 8th, from 05:30 PM, A march from the Gustaf Adolfs Torg toward Glatsen
- Stockholm on July 8th, from 04:00 PM, At the Sergels Torg (Center of the city)
- Geneva on July 8th, from 02:30 PM, In front of United Nations Building located at the Place des Peuples
9) United Kingdom:
- London on July 8th, from 12:00 PM, In front of the Islamic republic Embassy
B) In N. America:
- Ottawa on July 7th, from 04:00 PM, In front of the Islamic republic Embassy located at 245 metclafe
- Ottawa on July 8th, from 10:00 AM, In front of the Islamic republic Embassy located at 245 metclafe
- Toronto on July 8th, from 04:00 PM, At the Mel Lastman Square, (hear of North York, north of the city)
- Vancouver on July 7th, from 04:00 PM, At the Victoria Park located in North of the city
2) United States of America:
- Atlanta (GA) on July 7th, from 06:30 PM, At the Amphitheater of Centennial Park Downtown Across from CNN building
- Dallas (TX) on July 11th, from 05:00 PM, At the Intercontinental Hotel located at the junction of Arapaho and N. Dallas Pkwy
- Los Angeles (CA) on July 7th, from 05:00 PM, In front of the Federal Building located at Wilshire Blvd.
- Palo Alto (CA) on July 7th, from 07:00 PM, At the junction of University Ave and Emerson
-Washington (DC) on July 8th, from 11:00 AM, the West side of the US Capitol Building
Also, following are some of the slogans we can chant:
Iranians must go free !
Stop abuses in Iran !
Human Rights for Iran !
Democracy for Iran !
Referendum, Referendum; this is the slogan for Iran !
Democratic Regime change in Iran !
Down with Islamic republic !
United Nations pay Iran attention !
No to Theocracy in Iran !
Stop business with mullahs !
Down with Islamic republic !
Down with terrorists !
Down with mullahs !
The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI), is of the firm conviction that this show of sympathy on your part with the dear loved-ones who are for years now chained in the dungeons of this despotic, religious and terrorist regime, will make the gift of light to their hearts, and it won't be long until the day when with firm steps and ironed wills, we will celebrate the explosion of the light of freedom and deliverance of all of Iranian nation.
REMEMBER, PLEASE BRING YOUR FRIEND(S) ALONG.
MORE THAN EVER, THE SUPPORT OF FREEDOM LOVERS BY THE IRANIAN DIASPORA AND ALL FREEDOM LOVERS IS CRUCIAL!!!
WE URGENTLY NEED YOUR SUPPORT.
July 5, 2004 (15th Tir 1383)
The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI)
IRAN AND IRAQ, FUTURE LEADERS OF THE MIDDLE EAST OR BITTER ENEMIES
By Safa Haeri
Posted Monday, July 5, 2004
PARIS, 5 July (IPS) The surprise hand over of powers from the Americans to the Washington-installed Iraqi government on 28 of June, 48 hours before the official date surprised the Iranians as well.
Being one of the very few nations to recognise the Iraqi Provisory Council when it was installed by the Americans six months ago, Tehran rather quickly reacted to the event, albeit cautiously.
Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi described the formal handover of authority to the Iraqi interim Government of Mr. Iyad Alawi on Monday as a step toward establishing a popular government and restoring full popular sovereignty.
"The transfer of power to the Iraqi government and end of occupation, which is taking place on the basis of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1546, is a positive step", he said, quoted by the conservatives-controlled Radio and Television.
"We welcome any step which is taken in line with handing over Iraq's affairs to the country's public majority as well as ending occupation", Mr. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the official government spokesman said last week.
"We hope the transfer of power will be in this direction and help end occupation and establish a system based on the views and votes of the people," he told reporters at a weekly news briefing, referring to the low-key ceremony in Baghdad, during which the US Vice Roy Paul Bremer handed the transfer document to Iraq leaders, formally ending 14-month occupation of the oil-rich Middle Eastern nation. "This is a historic day, a happy day, a day that all Iraqis have been looking forward to", Iraqi President Sheykh Ghazi Yawar told the semi secret ceremony.
The two countries are starting to come to terms with a destructive war, which they fought between 1980 and 1988 under the regime of Saddam Hussein, who also attacked neighbouring Kuwait.
Either they would embark on a marriage of raison, like the one signed between France and Germany after the last World War, -- a liaison that turned into a love affair, as seen from the latest polls that shows that eighty per cent of Germans consider France as their most trusted and closest allies and friends and together, becoming the political and economic locomotive of the region, the same role Paris and Berlin plays in Europe, or revert to old rivalries, antagonism, animosity and hating, paving the way for another war, Iranian analysts said, talking to Iran Press Service.
Even if the transfer of power is more virtual than real, the event opens new chapter in the tumultuous, love and hate relations between Iran and Iraq, but the big question is whether the two neighbours could turn it into a love or hate chapter.
Irans Arab and Iraq relations are full of mutual hate having their roots in both history and religion. Both they need very wise, broad minded and courageous leaders to make full use of the new situation. For the time being, we dont see any personality of the calibre of a (Charles) De Gaulle or (Konrad) Adenauer pointing in the horizons, at least in Tehran, where the present clerical leaders are too short sighted of Lilliputians and in Baghdad, we dont know who might emerge and which direction the country might go, one analyst told us, referring to the French and German leaders that signed the Franco-German Pact of Friendship more than fifty years ago.
Although the interim government led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi will have full sovereignty, there are important constraints on its powers. Not only it can not make long-term policy decisions and has not control over more than 160,000 foreign troops who will remain in Iraq on his demand, but also faces growing insecurity due to the activities of a number of criminal groups, foreign-paid terrorists, islamist suicide-squads and local guerrillas to name some.
The iraquisation of the situation in Baghdad would place in a new dimension the Iran-Iraq relations. Until now, Irans declared opposition to the presence of occupation forces in Iraq and its backing of groups fighting the Americans was welcomed by the majority of the Iraqis and even many members of the government. But from now on, whatever Tehran says or does concerning Iraq would be dealt directly by the Iraqi government, regarding it as a hostile or friendly act, said Mr. Said Shervini, an Iranian analyst specialising in the Middle Eastern affairs based in Germany.
In his view, the continuation of the presence of American forces, a liability that Prime Minister Alawi can not govern without it can provide the necessary pretext to any force that, for whatever reason, does not want to see peace and stability coming back to Iraq.
Some pundits places the Islamic Republic in this category, observing that the emergence of a real democracy in Iraq, -- one that would be more of the American type -- would be a tremendous encouragement to Iranian forces fighting for the rule of democracy and secularism in their own country.
But others are more optimistic. Not only many of the present Iraqi ministers and personalities are friends of Iran, not only some of them have lived in Iran and enjoyed protection and assistance, but also Iran has been one of the first nations to officially recognise the Provisory Council and kept an embassy in Baghdad, Dr. Assadollah Athari, a University professor in Tehran told the semi-independent Iranian students news agency ISNA.
Although Iranians are happy with the fall of Saddam Hussein, but at the same time are unhappy with the occupation of Iraq by the Americans and the presence of a huge American force at their doors, he added.
Dr Mohammad Ali Basiri, another scholar in Tehran says maybe the Iraqi government is not to the Iranians liking one hundred per cent, but one has to agree that it is one hundred per cent better than that of Saddam Hussein.
Anyway, this (the transfer of powers to the Iraqis) is a good start allowing Iran to establish sound and friendly relations with its neighbours, promising better days for the future, he told the same ISNA agency.
Dr Mohsen Jalilvand, a professor of international relations is also convinced that Iran would do its best to accommodate Mr. Alawis government, but, he points out, Iraq must also keep in mind the conditions, situation and interests of Iran as one of the regions most powerful nations.
There is no doubt that with their natural resources, mostly oil, an energy that places them behind Saudi Arabia but combined together, makes them the largest producer and exporter in the world, enjoying the regions most educated cadres and strongest armies, both war experienced and bound by the same Shia faith, the Tehran-Baghdad couple would be a tremendous force that every one would have to reckon with.
As Mr. Athari had said, the Kurdish and the Shia members of the Iraqi government are among Irans best friends, since the Shia-based Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SAIRI) was formed in Iran and the leaders of the two main Kurdish parties have always maintained close ties with Tehran.
But the speculative creation of such a strong tandem not only would also change dramatically the traditional game play of the strategic region, but also raising hairs in Tel Aviv, Ankara and Riyadh in the one hand, Washington and London on the other.
Thinking that the Iraqi government, because it is installed and backed by the Americans would cross the Rubicon and recognise Israel is just a wishful thinking, as seen by the Afghan experience, where President-Prime Minister Hamed Karzai, also placed on the saddle in Kabul by the Americans, has yet to establish relations with the Jewish State, even in the de facto form.
In the best of situations, Mr. Alawi would close his eyes to the presence of Israel in the region and live the problem for the future Iraqi parliament, said one Iraqi journalist.
The likelihood is the formation of an opposite axis made of Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, all three Americans best allies in the region, backed by Washington, to the Iran-Iraq duo that, in turn, would have the natural support of the European Union, -- plus or minus Britain --.
Ankara and Tel-Aviv are already working closely together in the military, security and intelligence fields, to the ire of Iran, Egypt, Jordan and Syria and although Turkish-Israeli relations had been downgraded by the Turkish government and parliament controlled by the moderate Islam-based Justice and Development Party because of Israels operations against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the military cooperation continues unabated.
For its part, Saudi Arabia had offered the Jewish State normalisation of relations with all Arab nations under Crown Prince Abdollahs peace for land plan that was submitted to the Arab Summit in Beirut two years ago, but dismissed by Israel. Besides, the Saudis, who in great majority are Wahabites, considers the Shia as heretics and outside the Islam faith in the one hand and hates the Kurds, regarding them as being of Iranian ajami (stranger) extract, therefore enemies of the Arabs.
The big question now is whether Iranians and Iraqis could be wise and intelligent enough to resist all sorts of provocations, manipulations, political manoeuvrings and malicious propaganda that the enemies of the Iran-Iraq rapprochement would downpour on them, pushing for a new war, asked Mr. Parviz Mardani, a Germany-based independent Iranian journalist.
ENDS IRAN IRAQ RELATIONS 5704
Except for the verious interpretations of what constitutes 'quick', how exactly does this differ from the current U.S. plan? We don't want to be there any longer, or in any greater numbers than we have to in order to help the intirim government maintain stability and plan for elections. The international community is there, except for a few holdouts. What is the big deal?
Iran got tough Blair just crumpled
By Mark Steyn
This past week these pages have been filled with daily meditations on the British embrace of loserdom - Boris Johnson, James Delingpole, our friends in the leader pen opposite. I'm not sure I'd pass Norman Tebbit's cricket test myself, but, if I did, I'd be as upset as the rest of the Telegraph types at Accrington Stanley losing in straight sets or Annabel Croft blowing the penalty shoot-out. Hard to take, year in, year out.
None the less, it seems to me this morbid obsession with the national loser fetish obscured the really big British defeat - to Iran, in the Shatt al-Arab water polo. Six Royal Marines and two Royal Navy sailors were intercepted in Iraqi waters, forcibly escorted to Iranian waters, arrested, paraded on TV blindfold, obliged to confess wrongs and recite apologies, and eventually released. Their three boats are still being held by the Iranians.
Mullahs 8, HMG nil.
The curious thing is the lion that didn't roar. Tony Blair has views on everything and is usually happy to expound on them at length - if you'd just arrived from Planet Zongo and were plunked down at a joint Blair/Bush press conference on Iraq or Afghanistan or most of the rest of the world, you'd be forgiven for coming away with the impression that the Prime Minister's doing 90 per cent of the heavy lifting and the President's just there for emergency back-up. Yet, on an act of war and/or piracy perpetrated directly against British forces, Mister Chatty is mum.
Likewise, Jack Straw. The Foreign Secretary goes to Teheran the way other Labour grandees go to Tuscany. He's got a Rolodex full of A-list imams. When in the Islamic Republic, he does that "peace and blessings be upon his name" parenthesis whenever he mentions the Prophet Mohammed, just to show he's cool with Islam, not like certain arrogant redneck cowboys we could mention. And where did all the ayatollah outreach get him? "We have diplomatic relations with Iran, we work hard on those relationships and sometimes the relationships are complicated," he twittered, "but I'm in no doubt that our policy of engagement with the Government of Iran is the best approach."
Even odder has been the acquiescence of the press. If pictures had been unearthed of some over-zealous Guantanamo guards doing to our plucky young West Midlands jihadi what the Iranian government did on TV to those Royal Marines, two thirds of Fleet Street (including many of my Spectator and Telegraph colleagues) would be frothing non-stop.
Instead, they seem to have accepted the British spin that there's been no breach of the Geneva Convention because the Marines and sailors weren't official prisoners of war, just freelance kidnap victims you can have what sport you wish with.
Why didn't Bush think of that one?
The only tough talk came from an unnamed official, briefing correspondents on the Iranian ambassador's summons to the Foreign Office for a diplomatic dressing down: "It was very much a one-way conversation," the FCO wallah assured the gentlemen of the press.
Do you think that's true? Or do you think it more likely that it was, in fact, a two-way conversation with lots of cajoling and pleading on the British part and reminders that London and Teheran are supposed to be friends?
Washington's position is clear: Iran is a charter member of the axis of evil. (Well, it's clear-ish: State Department types are prone to Jack Straw moments.) But London opted for "engagement" on the usual grounds that if you pretend these fellows are respectable they're more likely to behave respectably. In return, Britain's boys got hijacked and taken on a classic Rogue State bender. And the version being broadcast throughout the Muslim world is that Teheran swatted the infidel and got away with it.
That's what matters: getting away with it. Do you think Mr Straw, fretting over the "complications" of Anglo-Iranian relations, will make the mullahs pay any price for what they did? And, if he doesn't, what conclusions do you think the Islamic Republic will draw from its artful test of Western - or, at any rate, European - resolve? Right now, the British, French and Germans are making a show of getting tough on Iran's nuclear ambitions. Is that "tough" as in "Go ahead, imam, make my day"? Or is it "tough" as in that official's "one-way conversation"? Just a bit of diplo-bluster. If you were the mullahs, you might well conclude that the Europeans don't mean it, that they've decided they can live with a nuclear Iran, and you might as well go full speed ahead.
One difficulty in dealing with the Islamic Republic is that the fellows out in front are sock puppets. Jack Straw is the real British Foreign Secretary. His Iranian counterpart is a man playing the role of foreign minister for international consumption. The big decisions are taken elsewhere. A couple of years ago, there was a lively speech by Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president and now head of the Expediency Council, which sounds like a committee of EU foreign ministers but is actually Iran's highest religious body. Rafsanjani was looking forward to the big day when his side got nukes and settled the Zionist question for ever "since a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel, while an Israeli counter-strike can only cause partial damage to the Islamic world."
I'm inclined to take these fellows at their word. Next to Mr Straw and his "complications", these dudes are admirably plain-spoken. But let's suppose Rafsanjani is more cunning, and he understands that perhaps he won't have to use his bomb - that the mere fact of it will enable the country to get its way, in the region and beyond. Wouldn't the events of recent days have confirmed this view? And, if this is what he can get away with now, what might he try to pull when Iran is the first nuclear theocracy?
We Bush warmongers have grown fond of Mr Blair: often, he's a better salesman for American policy than the President. But in the Shatt al-Arab incident for once he was on his own, and Britain's Number One seed was unable to return a single volley. Iran is emboldened, and that's bad news for everyone else.
This article has some great lines.....
""Go ahead, imam, make my day""
A good Steyn piece.
European nuclear deal with Iran 'falling apart'
By Stefan Smith
TEHRAN There was plenty of diplomatic drama last October when the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany jetted into Tehran to bring Iran back from the brink of sparking a major nuclear crisis.
But nearly nine months on, diplomats are cannily admitting their bid to strip Iran's ruling clerics of gaining A-bomb potential is falling apart. And perhaps more alarmingly, there does not appear to be a great deal that they can do about it.
The problem, say diplomats who were close to hammering out the "Tehran declaration," lies not so much with Iran's recent backing away from certain technical aspects of it, but with its firm rejection of the accord's more ambitious premise. "We wanted the same kind of agreement with Iran as what we had with Libya. Iran had an opportunity to abandon its more sensitive nuclear work, and in return win greater trade and better relations with the West," recalled the senior diplomat.
This was an effort to get around the inherent weakness of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) a text of good intention in so far as member states are allowed to master the entire nuclear fuel cycle for peaceful purposes as long as they commit themselves not to take the relatively easy next step to military usage.
"Iran is a special case. There was a pattern of years of deception, so we needed to go beyond the NPT," explained another EU diplomat working on the nuclear dossier. "We wanted Iran to give up the nuclear fuel work in exchange for guaranteed supplies of fuel from overseas, as well as improved trade and diplomatic relations." But for Iran's 25-year-old Islamic regime, it was an existential leap too far. While careful to repeat denials of any nuclear weapons ambitions, officials have described the fuel cycle as an "inalienable right", while supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said it is "essential".
Iran may be only interested in generating nuclear power for now, but having a full fuel cycle under its belt means that having a nuclear deterrent would become a feasible strategic option and a tempting display of muscle if the present regional climate does not cool.
Last October Iran did agree to suspend uranium enrichment pending the completion of UN inspections, but it is still working full throttle on other key parts of the fuel cycle a uranium conversion facility in Isfahan, a heavy water reactor in Arak and now centrifuge construction and testing. Officials are also threatening to resume enrichment too, if things do not go Iran's way at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the UN's nuclear watchdog and guardian of the NPT.
And to add insult to injury, Tehran is saying it is the Europeans who have failed to meet their side of the agreement.
So what now for Europe's so-called "big three"?
In diplomatic circles, the three are drawing unflattering jokes that compare their mission last October to British prime minister Neville Chamberlain's attempted appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the fateful Munich agreement of 1938.
"Ah yes, we have in our hand a piece of paper," laughed one European diplomat when asked to reflect on Jack Straw, Joschka Fischer and Dominique de Villepin's convergence on Tehran last year.
The bottom line, he said, is that the deal "has not brought peace in our time. In fact it is falling apart, and Iran has been gaining time."
There are several options, none of which are tempting.
The most extreme declaring war against Iran by launching air strikes on nuclear facilities could only serve to galvanise the regime, and spark a host of retaliatory measures in an already explosive region.
What's more, unless IAEA inspectors manage to turn up a "smoking gun" here, they still have no concrete proof that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons meaning they will have to again tackle the uncomfortable debate on "preemptive" attacks that so badly split the international community ahead of the war with Iraq.
In addition, analysts point out, regional developments are working against them: Iraq is still unstable and Saudi Arabia's predicament means that few have the will to pick yet another fight.
One oft-cited option could be to side with the United States and send the dossier to the UN Security Council even if gaining a consensus there on tough sanctions may be impossible given Russia's attachment to its lucrative contract to build Iran's first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr. Such a move could bring Iran back into line.
But it also send Tehran the other way chastised by the IAEA, Iran's now-dominant hardliners could abandon the NPT altogether and adopt the so-far effective diplomacy of "axis of evil" bedfellow North Korea.
The EU has already frozen talks on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement, but even that has a hollow ring.
European firms have been queuing up for contracts here Total and ENI among others in Iran's oil and gas sector, and giants such as Renault and Volkswagen in the car industry. The next IAEA meeting is in September.
Iran looks unlikely to be satisfied by seeing its case taken off the agenda, and for the Europeans still chewing over their uncomfortable options it may very well result in yet more "wait and see."
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - The arrest of two Iranians suspected of attempting to carry out a vehicle bombing in Iraq on Monday focused new attention on how Tehran is trying to protect its interests in the country it fought for eight years in a devastating war. So far, Iran is believed to have used money, not guns, to influence Iraq - particularly by spreading wealth among Shiite political factions - while avoiding a direct confrontation with its longtime rival, the United States.
Monday's arrests came on the heels of comments by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari saying some neighbouring countries were financing and training terrorists in Iraq, apparently referring to Iran and Syria.
The announcement of the arrests by the Iraqi Interior Ministry was a rare instance of tying Iranians to a particular attack.
But there was no indication that the two men, who the ministry said were caught trying to detonate a car bomb in an eastern Baghdad neighbourhood Monday, were Iranian government agents.
They might instead be working on their own. Iranians enraged that Shiite shrines in Iraq were damaged in fighting between U.S. troops and Iraqi insurgents have volunteered to join the battle against the Americans.
Iranian officials have said they would try to stop zealots from crossing the border and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has refused to give a green light to one group, the Devotees for Martyrdom, that says it's eager to fight in Iraq.
Tehran insists it has no interest in fomenting instability in its neighbour to the west and many observers say that a smooth path to elections could benefit mostly Shiite Iran, since a vote will likely bring an Iraqi government dominated by Shiites.
Hamid Reza Asefi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters Sunday that Tehran wants only "stability and security in Iraq."
"We haven't done any action that may smell of an act of interference in Iraq's internal affairs from the very beginning, and won't do so in the future either," Asefi said.
Tehran fears the United States is cementing its influence in Iraq. But at the same time, Iran can little afford an open clash with the Americans, something that backing for anti-U.S. violence would likely bring about.
To date, Iran has not been considered a source of manpower or financing for Iraq's mainly Sunni Muslim insurgency, said a Western diplomat in Baghdad who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Instead, it is believed to be involved in intelligence gathering inside Iraq, while quietly funding Shiite political parties in a bid to influence the government that emerges from January's elections, the diplomat said.
"Iran wants to be a silent power broker," said Iranian political analyst Davoud Hermidas Bavand. "And Iran needs to make sure that the government in Iraq will not be America's puppet."
The United States, which has been at odds with Iran since the pro-U.S. shah was toppled in the 1979 Islamic revolution, fears Iran wants to establish a fundamentalist Shiite regime in its own image in Iraq.
Saddam brutally suppressed Iraq's Shiites and fought a devastating war with Iraq from 1980-88 that is thought to have killed a million people from the two sides.
Since Saddam's fall, Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of sending money to various Iraqi groups, dispatching intelligence agents and allowing foreign anti-American fighters to travel to Iraq through its territory. Iran has persistently denied the charges.
Iranians have been detained previously in Iraq - U.S. records show several people listed as born in Iran as currently in American custody - but none has been publicly accused of involvement in violence.
Members of Devotees for Martyrdom, a loose grouping of Iranian religious extremists, have said they will go to Iraq as soon as Khamenei gives them the go-ahead.
But Khamenei did nothing when Iranian officials barred volunteers from entering Iraq earlier this year when fighting between U.S.-led coalition forces and militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr damaged Shiite shrines.
Grand Ayatollah Kazem al-Hosseini al-Haeri, al-Sadr's Iran-based spiritual mentor, has said it wasn't yet time for military confrontation with the United States.
Iran is believed to be trying to win influence with both al-Sadr and Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, the Iranian-born Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani.
Iraqis in the southern holy cities have expressed suspicions that offices set up by Iranians ostensibly dispensing charity or providing assistance to Shiite pilgrims might be covers for Iranian government agents.
Mohammad Ali Samadi, a spokesman for the Devotees for Martyrdom, said private Iranian charitable funds were going to a variety of Iraqi groups. He would not specify the groups.
"Iran enjoys a lot of spiritual influence in Iraq," Samadi told The Associated Press. "Iran does offer financial support to Shiites, but in the form of charity. However, it doesn't send any intelligence agents."
Iran long has maintained close ties with a variety of Iraqi groups, including Iraq's largest Shiite group, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, and the two powerful Kurdish groups controlling northern Iraq, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic party. The Kurdish parties are not Shiite.
Iran's contacts with Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress led to U.S. accusations that Chalabi, once a U.S. favourite to replace Saddam, passed classified intelligence to Iran. Iran said it has had a constant dialogue with Chalabi, whose group had offices in Tehran before the war, but denied that he handed over sensitive information.
Secularism & Iran
Jul 6, 2004, 00:21
According to the Chambers dictionary secularism is defined as; the belief that the state, morals, education, etc. should be independent of religion; G J Holyoak's (1817-1907) system of social ethics.
Have those of us who have defended democracy for a long time but been more vocal about secularism in recent years asked ourselves how secular are we prepared to be in a future democratic Iran?
Majority of the democratic governments are secular in one shape or another. From the French and the Turkish forms of republics where principles of secularism is strictly observed and defended, to those European monarchies where religious minority immigrants have been allowed to impose their customs to a degree that is beginning to test the host nation's level of tolerance.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords." My question to our fellow Iranians is that how aggressively are we prepared to defend such noble principles once democracy and secularism are established by a majority vote in our country?
One of the recent challenges and at times heated debates in the Western secular democracies has been the issue of banning the religious symbols including that of the Islamic headscarves in French schools. The new regulation bans Muslim headscarves as well as Jewish yarmulkes and wearing of other ostensible religious symbols in French public schools.
Such decision has even invited opposing views from within Western democracies. Many journalists in Britain for example, have objected the French decision, regarding it as interference in one's personal freedom. However, they have failed to iterate the fact that the French government's proposal was democratically submitted to the French assembly which was in turn accepted by a majority who equally address all religious symbols including that of the Catholics who make the majority of the French nation. Nevertheless some fanatic Muslim groups like to portray such decision as a fight against Islam.
E.J. Dionne Jr. in an article in Washington Post dated 12/23/2003, under the title of "In France, Scarves & Secularism" wrote: "The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Assefi, condemned the Chirac government for "an extremist decision aimed at preventing the development of Islamic values". He continued, "Imagine being called 'extremist' on a religious question by an official of the Iranian government!".
Secularism and democracy are like two sides of a brain. In order to have a fully functional body, both sides of the brain with their specific responsibilities are needed in order to achieve the desired being. Therefore, those who comically advocate baseless concepts such as the Islamic Democracy can never deliver the true freedom our people are fighting for when divine rules and restrictions would oversee every aspects of their daily life.
The question that eventually we have to face is are we going to adhere to principles that would declare Iran a country with no official religion; hence, no advantages given to an Iranian Muslim over those Iranians from other religions? I am talking of a society that goes further than pre-1979 where an Iranian Jew, Baha'i, Christian or a Zoroastrian can become our country's prime minister or in case of a republic, its president.
Prince Reza Pahlavi if not the only Iranian political leader believing in such principles, is definitely the only one who has been brave enough to publicly state his vision for a country with no official religion. He has defended the freedom of all political beliefs/parties, guaranteeing individual rights such as; regional languages and dialects, sexual orientations, religious beliefs as well as all social freedoms that many other progressive and democratic nations in the world enjoy or may take for granted.
However, he or any other Iranian politically active cannot and will not succeed if we as individual Iranian do not participate or take steps for our future. At times in meeting other compatriots I feel we are still blurred in our understanding of secularism or that of a true democracy. Do we really understand what it is all about? If we do, how far are we prepared to go in a free, democratic and secular Iran of the future to defend its principles? Will we make concessions every now and then and therefore, undermining the principles of secularism for religious beliefs of one or two religious public figures or groups?
In order to guarantee and protect the sacrifices of so many pro-democracy and secular activists, we need a modern constitution written by elected experts to meet the modern world's requirements; to respect our true national values and to promote the two unbending pillars of that society; secularism and democracy.
In an article "Defending Secularism, Turkey's Military Warns Islamic Leaders" in New York Times, dated March 2, 1997 journalist Stephen Kinzer wrote; "The communiqué issued by the Turkish military states that the Turkish National Security Council had decided that "no steps away from the contemporary values of the Turkish Republic would be tolerated." "It has been decided that destructive and separatist groups are seeking to weaken our democracy and legal system by blurring the distinction between the secular and the anti-secular," the communiqué continued "It has been decided that in Turkey, secularism is not only a form of government but a way of life and the guarantee of democracy and social peace."
The communiqué further adds: "It has been decided that it is impossible to step back from our understanding of the social and legal principles which form the structural core of the state, and that out-of-date measures which are taken without regard for these principles do not coincide with our legal system."
It may seems at times; in particular in countries where some believers take religious beliefs out of proportion that it is the secularist factor which comes to the rescue of the democratic values of those societies; hence, giving secularism even a more important of a role to play.
What force is going to safeguard our future secularism? Is it going to be the will of the majority - a new constitution? But that can change or be influenced, particularly in countries like ours. Or is it going to be a strong army as in the Turkish case to stand by the constitution? But then again our history has already proved that our military may abandon once again the constitution and hence, jeopardizing the principles of our secular state. Or do we need to achieve a Kemalist like ideology and developing it into a national party that would stand by its principles no matter what the case may be?
Unlike what the leaders of the Islamic Republic like to portray secularists are no atheists. A secular Muslim woman or a man could be a staunch secularist while observing her/his religion in the privacy of their home.
Today our country has a majority of nearly 97% Muslims, but this majority are composed of youths who are the main forces of change in today's struggle against the Islamic Republic's barbarity. Masses that are least religious and most eager to grasp the most progressive ideas the world can offer. These youngsters very rightly do not care what Western politicians think or like in Washington, London or Paris. They are an educated generation with access to the latest communication equipments and are quite well aware of what is going on around the world.
This generation demands total transparency, freedom of expression followed by all social liberties thinkable to mankind. A democratic political system based on a society with its foundation on secular principles; demands that an Islamic republic under whatever shape or form cannot deliver.
Whether the West, or for that matter the world supports us or not is not going to alter the path our movement has chosen. Though their understanding and acceptance of our nation's will can speed up the process and therefore, guarantee a better life for them as well as for my compatriots. The European allies of the Islamic Republic can continue their "constructive engagement" for as long as they find it profitable; but the reality is that when almost forty million Iranians mobilize, no power in the world can stop them.
Iranians have made it very clear and have given enough chances to those who had promised them heavens but instead opened the doors to hell. Establishment of democracy and secularism through a national referendum is the only solution we see for the future of our country. Today is the last chance for those who want to be with the people of Iran.
Iran's Aghajari Says He Was Questioning Clerics, Not Insulting Islam
Jul 6, 2004, 00:15
Iranian Dissident Hashem Aghajari told the Islamic Republic's hardline Judiciary yesterday he had merely been questioning clerics and not insulting Islam in a speech two years ago that landed him in court on charges of apostasy.
In the second hearing of his re-trial, the academic and disabled veteran defended his speech in the summer of 2002, in which he had said Muslims were not "monkeys" and "should not blindly follow" religious leaders. "When I said monkeys, in no way was I talking about the sources of emulation," said the history professor, who arrived in court on crutches and minus his artificial leg.
The concept of emulation is one of the core doctrines of Shiite Islam. Under it, each believer chooses a "person worthy of emulation," usually an ayatollah or grand ayatollah, as a spiritual guide. Aghajari's speech had initially been seen as blasphemy and apostasy a court in the western city of Hamedan was sentenced him in November 2002 to hang. That verdict was overturned amid widespread protests.
After the same court defiantly upheld its verdict in a retrial, a second retrial was ordered to take place in Tehran. The Judiciary has allowed a public hearing and has dropped all charges that could lead to the death penalty. Aghajari still faces between five and 10 years in jail on lesser charges of insulting religious sanctities, propagating against the regime and spreading false information to disturb the public mind. The professor, looking scruffy and with his hair uncombed, dismissed these allegations and put his whole ordeal down to politics. "From the beginning I said this was a political case against reforms.
You say I was talking about politics, but this was not politics," Aghajari told the tiny Tehran courtroom where family members, colleagues and a few reporters were squeezed in. Judge Mohammad Eslami frequently told Aghajari to "get back to the main point". "When you criticize something, it is not insulting something," Aghajari continued. "I consider the (12 Shiite) Imams, the Koran and Prophet to be sacred, but the clergy are not sacred. And I only criticized the clerics, not insulted them," he asserted.
"I am a believer in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I am a religious intellectual, and what I am saying is that modern Islam is at risk from the fundamentalism we see in the Taliban and Osama bin Laden," he asserted, adding nevertheless that "I never said fundamentalists are in the (Iranian) system". He also challenged the judge to "bring me any ayatollah, and I will have a face to face discussion with them on Islam."
Aghajari, who lost a leg in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, sparked the wrath of Iran's powerful hardliners who had taken his speech as an attack on Shiism and of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The judge said a final verdict may be expected by Thursday or Friday.
Jewish leader slams Argentina on bomb probe
BUENOS AIRES, July 5 (AFP) - The chairman of the World Jewish Congress, Rabbi Israel Singer, said President Nestor Kirchner was like prior Argentine leaders in failing to get to the bottom of a deadly 1994 bombing of a Jewish center.
"I've met with President Kirchner once already. He said that he would see to that it will be dealt with strongly. I've heard it from all the previous presidents and I trusted them all. But trust is not as good as success," he told a small group of reporters, including AFP.
"As the time gets longer away from the crime, the trail gets colder and the possibility of capturing the people is less," Israel said on the sidelines of a meeting of Jewish and Catholic leaders.
The attack on the Jewish Argentine Mutual Association center killed 85 and injured 300. Argentina marks the tenth anniversary of the attack on July 18, but with little to show in prosecuting the case.
Kirchner opened up secret service archives on the bombing shortly after taking office, but that move failed to jump-start the investigation.
"I believe it's a scandal," Singer said."I believe it was part of the test that was done by violent people, to see if the world cares, and the first country not to care was Argentina. And it showed that there is no anger for the death of civilians and it showed that
there is no justice against those who did these crimes," he said.
-More radically anti-American jibberish from Ebadi. Her anti-Americanism makes the Ayatollahs in Iran look like American patriots.
Shirin Ebadi: US war in Iraq 'cowardly, barbaric'
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 5 (AFP) - The US war in Iraq is "lawless, cowardly and barbaric" 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, said in an interview published Monday.
"The Iraqis have no water nor electricity in the cities," she told Brazil's O Globo newspaper."But oil continues to flow as never before.
"If the United States really had the goal of protecting Iraq's democracy, it would have done something else," the Iranian lawyer said.
The human rights defender recalled that Iraq had launched a seven-year war on Iran."At that time, Saddam (Hussein, the ousted Iraqi leader) was a great friend of the United States. He purchased chemical weapons from the United States," she said.
"The most interesting thing is that the United States attacked Iraq on the pretext of searching for the arsenal, as though they had nothing to do with it.
"They have not found chemical weapons. They have begun to justify the invasion with the desire to bring democracy.""The United States forgot that it is impossible to send the message of democracy at the same time as a bomb," she told the Rio de Janeiro daily.
She also recalled that the first Gulf war, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, was with the authorization of the United Nations."But not now. This is a lawless war that is cowardly and barbaric."
"If the United States invested not even one percent of what it has spent on the war, the Iraqi people themselves would have toppled Saddam Hussein," she said.
Saddam was arraigned on war crimes charges last week and could face the death penalty.However, Ebadi said she is "radically opposed to the death penalty."
"Killing a criminal does not reveal the truth," she said.Ebadi said that the current situation in Iraq will have a chilling effect
on democratic movements in the region.
"Now, anytime someone talks about change and the democratic process in Iraq, people will ask: 'Oh, of course, they want to do what the United States has done in Iraq?'"
The Real Jimmy Carter
How Our Worst Ex-President Undermines American Foreign Policy, Coddles Dictators, and Created the Party of Clinton and Kerry
by Steven F. Hayward
Regnery, 272 pp., $27.95
DURING THE FUNERAL CEREMONIES for President Reagan, few people mentioned the fortieth president without paying tribute to the job he did in dispelling the national mood that he met at the start of his mission: the enervation and horror, the malaise and bad feeling, the gloom and despair. The person most representative of this mood was carefully not mentioned: James Earl Carter. What was also not mentioned was that Carter was key to the legend of Reagan, symbolizing the darkness in which Reagan shone brighter, the ashes from which he would rise.
Carter is surely one of the worst failures in the history of the American presidency, but he is a failure of a special sort: He did not overreach, as did Lyndon Johnson, or seek to deceive, as did Richard Nixon. Rather, like Herbert Hoover, he seems a well-meaning sort overcome by reality. But while Hoover was blindsided by the depression, Carter failed on a broad range of matters and faced few crises he didn't first bring on himself. Most presidents, even the good ones (sometimes especially even the good ones) leave behind a mixed record of big wins and big errors, but with Carter, the darkness seems everywhere: He is all Bay of Pigs and no Missile Crisis, all Iran-contra and no "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
PBS, whose American Experience series on the presidents has done some fascinating things with such novelistic lives as those of Reagan, Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, and both the Roosevelts, seemed (in a two-part series first aired two years ago and now reappearing) at a loss for how to handle this long dirge-like story, and, to its credit, the program did not flinch from portraying his actual presidency as the total disaster it was. In the end, however, it made a stab in the direction of uplift by portraying his post-presidency as a heart-warming success, the tale of a man who turned defeat in the cruel world of power into a lifetime of unselfish service.
This is the conceit ripped into shreds by Steven F. Hayward in his new book, The Real Jimmy Carter, which maintains that in his current carnation Carter is as wrongheaded and hapless as ever, that he has learned nothing at all from his-tory, and, in his new guise as a globe-trotting statesman, is reprising his role as a bringer of chaos, this time on the stage of the world.
Using a process of selective exclusion, PBS gives Carter credit for hammering away at Habitat for Humanity and raising money to fight diseases in Africa. Hayward concedes this, but then paints a less pleasant picture: Carter the ex-president has been more destructive than Carter the president, and, if possible, still more annoying, undermining later presidents with the ruthless ambition that marked his career.
Carter began, in the contentious post-civil-rights era in the deep South, by beating Carl Sanders in the 1970 race for governor of Georgia, by running as a segregationist, at least by implication: portraying himself as a "redneck" and cultivating the endorsement of Lester Maddox. Once elected, he used his inaugural speech to stun both the state and the nation by declaring that the time for segregation was over, and disowning, in effect, his prior campaign. It may have distressed his original voters (whom he no longer needed), but it was a huge hit with the national press, which may have been his target, and overnight it made him a red-hot political property. Time magazine, which had planned a general story on the new class of southern governors, suddenly came out instead with a story on Carter--with a cover that made him resemble John Kennedy.
Hayward credits Carter with transforming the way men now run for president (he was the man who gave us the Iowa caucus) and with perfecting the role of the outsider-insurgent which since then has dominated national politics. Before Carter was elected, presidential contenders had been creatures of Washington: Nixon, Kennedy, Johnson, Goldwater, McGovern, and Humphrey all had been senators, and Ford was a longtime House fixture. Three of Carter's successors--Reagan, Clinton, and the current Bush--were instead governors who ran against Washington (while, of course, longing to get there).
CARTER ALSO HAD THE SENSE to craft himself a profile as a religious, moral, culturally conservative moderate. He suggested that welfare should be connected to a work incentive, that power in some ways should be decentralized, and that people should take more responsibility for their own lives. "Reagan could hardly have put it differently," Hayward tells us, and sometimes he didn't. Both Carter and Reagan began their campaigns by quoting the same verse from the Bible.
If Carter had governed with the skill he campaigned, PBS might have had yet another inspiring story. Alas, he did not. Frequently, the ability to run a successful campaign presages some talents at governing, but Carter would prove a catastrophe. As party leader, he inspired both a challenge from the left by Ted Kennedy and a revolt from the right among Scoop Jackson Democrats, who in 1980 would find a soulmate in Reagan and a permanent home in the Republican party. "I never understood how Carter's political mind worked," his vice president remarked. "Everything [Carter] touches turns to ashes," the New Republic added.
As a domestic manager, his crowning achievement was to take the old liberal creed of big government and hitch it to the new liberal creed of "limits to growth" and create incoherence. "We have learned that 'more' is not necessarily 'better,' and that even our great nation has its recognized limits," he scolded, taking on two hundred years of the American temperament. Thus he tried to damp down the consumption machine that drives the economy, while balking at the tax cuts that might have spurred on investment. The result was stagflation, a condition economists had once thought impossible, of soaring inflation and no growth in jobs. Interest rates soared, and Carter's approval ratings sank into the thirties. For this he blamed the American people, for being too immature to realize the good times were over for good.
Carter the candidate owed at least some of his votes to his prior career as a career naval officer, where he was a disciple of Admiral Hyman Rickover, a notoriously hard-edged military martinet who made Donald Rumsfeld seem cuddly. Once in office, however, the ex-naval officer infused the office with liberal guilt. Gerald Ford may have lost the election in the one debate in which he insisted the Soviet Union no longer controlled Poland, but Carter behaved as if this were truly the case. In an address at Notre Dame on May 22, 1977, he denounced the "inordinate fear of communism" that had produced the containment theory that had kept the peace for three decades. In his first month in office he announced his intention to withdraw nuclear weapons and ground troops from South Korea, cut six billion dollars from the defense budget, cancel development of the Trident nuclear submarine, and defer construction of the neutron bomb.
All of these proposals were made unilaterally, with no effort to induce concessions by the other side. Cyrus Vance, Carter's first secretary of state, was described by Democrat Morris Abrams as the closest thing to a pure pacifist since William Jennings Bryan, and by Defense Secretary Harold Brown as a man who believed the use of force was always mistaken. Paul Warnke, Carter's chief arms-control negotiator, held views described by George Will as "engagingly childlike"--believing that if we disarmed, the Soviet Union would follow us. Early on, the centrist Committee for a Democratic Majority sent Carter a list of moderates, Jeane Kirkpatrick among them, for consideration for appointment for foreign policy posts. Of fifty-three names, just one was appointed, to a minor trade post.
EVEN CARTER'S MUCH VAUNTED human-rights effort, which gave some people hope he would use it as a moral weapon against the Soviet Union, quickly lost much of its power and luster when it became evident that he intended to use it less against Communists than against the more marginal despots in the non-Communist orbit. Thus he embraced Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev at the 1979 arms-control summit and assured an assemblage of East Europeans that "the old ideological labels have lost their meaning," even as they remained under the Soviet boot. In Carter's State Department, the Sandinistas were thought to be moderates and the Ayatollah Khomeini a saintlike figure surrounded by "moderate, progressive individuals" with a notable "concern for human rights."
Carter's meddling in Central America led to a civil war that killed 40,000 people, left 100,000 homeless, and installed a Soviet-supported totalitarian government that for ten years was a source of unrest in the region. On November 4, 1979, a group of Khomeini's progressive moderates stormed the embassy in Tehran and held Americans hostage for the next fourteen months. The regime that replaced the disposed shah became a major backer of the fundamentalist terrorist movement. As a reward for his efforts to wind down the arms race, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan--astounding the president, who nonetheless told a group of moderate Democrats that current events would do nothing to alter his policies. Carter had done more in three years to weaken the country and destabilize the world than all the other presidents since the Cold War had started. It was Senator Moynihan who gave him his epitaph: "Unable to distinguish between our friends and our enemies, he has adopted our enemies' view of the world."
Carter kept breaking haplessness records, at the rate of one every two or three months. In April 1980, an attempt to rescue the hostages ended when three of eight helicopters developed mechanical problems, one killing eight soldiers when it crashed. An Israeli officer delivered the verdict: "the planning and execution were too incompetent to believe." In June, Carter's failures in the Middle East and in economic and energy policies coalesced in a gasoline shortage that caused long lines and panic at the pumps. There was a two-day riot at a Pennsylvania gas station; over the July 4 weekend, 90 percent of the stations in the New York City area were closed.
CARTER FLEW OFF to an energy summit where he found no relief and came back to the classic Carterian moment: the flight to Camp David, followed by the purge of the cabinet and the world-famous speech on "malaise." Among the millions who were less than impressed was Ronald Reagan, then running against him. Vice President Mondale, who was so enraged he considered resigning, warned Carter: "You can't castigate the American people, or they will turn you off once and for all." And so they did. No one was surprised when Carter was attacked by a "killer rabbit" in Georgia, or when Reagan finished him off in November in a landslide so sweeping that the networks announced it only minutes after the first polls had closed.
Herbert Hoover accepted the verdict of history when he lost in 1932 to Franklin Roosevelt, keeping a profile so low he was all but invisible. Carter instead reacted as if he had retired by choice with the thanks of the nation. He did some good work for general charities, and he was useful at least twice in his international forays: in Panama in 1986 when he faced Noreiga, and unexpectedly in 2002 in Cuba when he went against type to tell Castro off. He also acquired a lengthy record of criticizing, weakening, and undercutting a series of American presidents.
He publicly attacked Reagan's morals and competence. In 1990 and 1991, as George Bush was assembling the Gulf War coalition, Carter wrote secretly to Margaret Thatcher, François Mitterand, Mikhail Gorbachev, and a dozen others, asking the U.N. Security Council not to back Bush. (Bush only found out what had happened when a stunned Brian Mulroney called Dick Cheney up to complain.) Bill Clinton soured on the ex-president after Carter's trip in 1994 to North Korea, in which he publicly embraced the dictator Kim Il Sung and negotiated a wholly worthless treaty banning production of nuclear weapons, which that country proceeded to break.
Carter of course made the same vehement objections to George W. Bush's war on terror as he had made to his father's war in the Gulf ten years earlier, going so far as to happily accept an award from the Nobel Prize committee that was given to him solely for the purpose of giving a black eye to America. "It should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken," the Nobel committee chairman said helpfully, "a kick in the leg to all those that follow the same line as the U.S." Carter's "Lone Ranger work has taken him dangerously close to the neighborhood of what we used to call treason," Lance Morrow wrote in Time. As Hayward notes, Carter's successors have done far more than he did for human rights and for the nation's security. Iran and Nicaragua, the twin targets of his attention as president, turned on his watch into hell holes. And we can safely say that had he been reelected, or had his way afterward, the Soviet Union might still be in existence, and the oil fields of Kuwait and possibly Saudi Arabia might be in the hands of Iraq.
Nonetheless, Carter is a historic figure, one of the hinges on which history swings. No man has done more than he to create and empower the modern Republican party, which, when he became president, seemed down for the count. If he had been the man he seemed when he was running for president--an integrationist but a social conservative, a small businessman and ex-naval officer, a Rickover protégé with a keen sense of power--he might have recreated the party of Truman and Kennedy. As it was, his incompetence and his blundering, coming after McGovern's extremism and the implosions of Humphrey and Johnson, was the last straw for a great many Democrats, who decided the chances they were willing to give to their party had more or less run their course. Under his goading, millions who had never believed they could vote for a Republican president crossed over to vote for an ex-movie actor.
Some would later cross back, but they were never anchored quite so securely as they had been, and they remained available to a plausible Republican candidate as they had not been before. The end of the Democrats as the national majority begins with Carter--as does the end of liberalism as the national creed. A lot has been written about the maturation of the conservative movement from Goldwater to the present day, but this of course is only one half of the story. It was not enough for the Republicans to become more poised and accessible. The Democrats had to collapse, freeing millions of voters to look at an alternative. No one symbolized this collapse more than did Jimmy Carter, victim of rabbits and America's muse of malaise.
Noemie Emery is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.
Analysis: Iran ignored at Saddam's trial?
By Modher Amin
Published 7/5/2004 6:48 PM
TEHRAN, Iran, July 5 (UPI) -- Iranians are indignant at the Iraqi court's failure to include the 1980 attack on Iran and the use of chemical weapons on its fighters as the charges read out during Saddam's Hussein's court appearance last Thursday.
Tehran said Sunday it was drawing its own list of charges against the ousted leader for crimes relating to the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, during which close to a million people -- mostly Iranians -- were killed.
"One of the crimes of Saddam Hussein is the attack of Iran, the death of Iranians, and the use of chemical weapons in Halabja (within Iraq) and other places (in Iran) during the war," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, told reporters. "Iran will definitely file a complaint with the Iraqi court."
Preliminary charges against Saddam Hussein cover invasion of Kuwait in 1990, crushing Kurdish and Shiite revolts after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, ethnic cleansing of Kurds in 1987-1988, gassing Kurds in Halabja in 1988, killing religious leaders in 1974 and killing of political activists over three decades.
"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 it would be addressed at a later date," Asefi said.
The trial of the 67-year-old Saddam has provoked anger among other Iranian officials, who described Saddam as a war criminal, having committed atrocities beyond the borders of his country.
The officials also called for the transparency of the trial, with some urging the case to be referred to the Hague, to, apparently, obtain international recognition of the "crimes committed."
Addressing an open session of the new conservative-held parliament on Sunday, Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel denounced the trial as "American."
"The Iraqi attack on Iran was the most important chapter in Saddam's dossier," he said. "The prosecution will have to reveal if they really intend to prosecute him for his crimes or if this will be a show trial."
On Friday, the influential former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, said Saddam's trial should be totally public, accusing, at the same time, the United States of imposing censorship.
"Saddam's extraordinary crimes must be exposed but from the first words pronounced by Saddam, the Americans imposed censorship and broadcast only what they wanted," Rafsanjani told worshippers at the weekly prayers in Tehran.
Rafsanjani called on all Iranian authorities to press charges against Saddam for using chemical weapons on Iranian soldiers and civilians within the country during the eight-year war between the two nations.
"We faced severe chemical attacks at the beginning of the war when world powers were giving Saddam the green light to do anything to prevent Iran from winning," he said.
Rafsanjani, head of Iran's top political arbitration body -- the Expediency Council -- and still one of the clerical regime's most powerful figures, condemned the absence of the Iran-Iraq war from the main charges leveled against the deposed Iraqi dictator.
"Why is the war against Kuwait, which only lasted several months, among the major charges while the war against Iran, which lasted eight years, is omitted?" he asked, casting doubt on the self-reliance of the Iraqi court.
"If the Iraqi court refuses to include (Saddam's responsibility) in the unleashing of the war against Iran, it means it is on an order from the Americans," Said Rafsanjani, adding that 100,000 Iranians suffered from Iraqi chemical weapons. Iranian officials put the annual cost of treatment alone of the chemically injured victims at $20m.
Once the war ended in 1988, peace negotiations between Iran and Iraq got underway in the U.N. premises in Geneva. Iran's attempts, however, to receive compensation for war damages, which Tehran puts at $1,000 billion, has so far failed.
Tehran says its call for reparations was partially approved by the former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar in 1990, who later on December 9, 1991, declared Iraq as the initiator of the war. But, Saddam's Iraq insisted it was Iran that provoked the war with border shelling and skirmishes, as well as by threatening to export the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution of 1979.
A U.N. fact-finding mission confirmed the use of banned weapons by the Iraqi regime against Iranian troops in a trip they made to Iran in March 1984.
"The specialists unanimously concluded that chemical weapons in the form of aerial bombs had been used in the areas they inspected ... and that the type of chemical agents used were ... mustard gas, and ... a nerve agent known as Tabun," read the 1984 U.N. Yearbook.
It remains uncertain, however, if such agents were developed inside the country or supplied to Iraq by external sources. But Iran believes the U.S. and other Western governments provided Saddam with equipment that helped him use chemical weapons against the Islamic republic.
In its Editorial on Monday, the pro-reform English-language Iran News daily, stresses the prosecution of Saddam for what it calls "unspeakable atrocities against Iran," but, at the same time, criticizes Iranian foreign policy for failing to pursue a strong, effective diplomacy in securing war reparations.
"... Not all fault should lay with the new Iraqi government for this gross oversight of justice (absence of Iran-Iraq war from the charges brought against Saddam Hussein)," it said.
"U.N. Resolution 598 (by which Iran agreed to a cease-fire) expressly stated that Iran was entitled to billions of dollars worth of war damages but our foreign ministry officials were indecisive and not as resolute as needed to secure payment."
The paper compared Iranian situation with that of Kuwait, asking: "Notwithstanding that having U.S. support is a plus, why couldn't we get the kind of deal Kuwait secured?"
After the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the Iraqi regime was ordered to pay $48 billion worth of war reparations. Reports say that Kuwait has already received $18 billion of that money and the U.N. has obtained a guarantee from Iraq's new interim government whereby 5 percent of all Iraqi oil proceeds would be set aside for Kuwait.
"It is high time for Iran's foreign ministry to once again get the ball rolling on Resolution 598," the paper concluded. "In fact, the first step should be a thorough review of the Resolution by our seasoned diplomats and legal experts toward reviving and recovering our long-overdue rights."
The Movement's Call for the Commemoration of the July 1999 Students Uprising
SMCCDI (Public Statement)
Jul 6, 2004
We commemorate and honor the anniversary of July 1999 uprising for freedom and justice
Honorable and freedom loving nation of Iran,
Once again the anniversary of the students' epic uprising of 8-13 July 1999, which bore the message of your oppressed and deprived nation's rightful demands and desires, arrives with its splendid and proud heritage.
It was five years ago during such days that thousands of university students, meaning your own children, aiming to restore your legitimate demands, spilled into the streets and chanted loud the slogans of justice and freedom. They did that after the barbaric attack of the Islamic Republic's oppressive forces on their dormitories which resulted in the death and injury of several progressive and intellectual children of our homeland. Surprised by the dimensions of such unprecedented popular reaction, the heads of the Religionist-Mafia oligarchic regime were undoubtedly in a state of paralysis. But after five days of silence, after Khatami called the same very students who catapulted him to electoral victory in 1997 a "bunch of hoodligans and ruffians," after recognizing that the masses unaware of the students' demands were failing in their support, they got their wits about themselves and seized on the opportunity and began their bloody and widespread systematic crack down.
Yes, that heroic five day student revolt didn't only help to gradually remove the disguise of kindness and lawfulness from the ugly face of the totality of the anti-national, anti-constituent Islamic regime. It also became an intellectual platform for the deprived and oppressed masses of Iran. It revealed the fallacy and contradictory nature of the oxymoronic term "Islamic Democracy." And finally it initiated propagation of belief in possibility of a democratic and secular revolution through national solidarity and unity. It led the way for teachers, workers, farmers and nurses protests in one direction, and in another, announcement of solidarity by the Iranians with the bereaved Americans in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and denouncement of terrorism, soccer game protest movements, nightly anti-regime activities of June 2003, and massive boycotts of the regime's made-for-TV protests and sham elections.
On the international level, the students uprising succeeded in getting the attention of the world and making the world and particularly the United States of America (USA) aware of how much the Iranians were for peace and humanity and how very much they hated the government of the mullahs. Therefore, it isn't without reason that the presidency of the United States, Mr. George W. Bush, has time and again expressed the moral and diplomatic support of his government for Iranians in their quest for freedom and the political structure of their liking, and is taking steps towards observance of human rights in Iran.
And now, in such time that the shaky government of Islamic Republic, faced with disastrous internal and international situations, is futilely trying to prevent its collapse by announcing official ban on any student or popular gatherings and increasing its campaign of fear and intimidation in hopes to prevent commemoration of the historic 8th of July, and while hundreds of students and activists are still languishing in the governments dungeons and torture chambers as governments plundering of our national resources and their crimes continue, and as its agents of oppression like General Talaii ask the students to "forget" about the unforgettable historic 8th of July, you noble and free nation must rise in support of your children and deliver another heavy blow into the mouths of the oppressors!
In this venue and per its historic mission, once again in the run up to the momentous anniversary of the 8th of July, the "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI), as it remembers those who have given their lives in the student movement and expresses its sincerest gratitude to those students who have been hurt or captured by the regime's henchmen, hereby congratulates all Iranians for arrival of the anniversary of this gallant revolt.
This committee, believes that commemorating and honoring such a day is another opportunity for expanding the scope of the civil disobedience and solidarity of Iranians in their fight for freedom, another chance for delivering a decisive blow to the decaying body of the Islamic regime, and an occasion for sending a clear message to certain profiteering European governments to abandon at once their financial and political support of the government of Mullahs.
Therefore, all students and teachers and every individual in the nation is invited to express their support of the progressive and valiant children of Iran and their own deep seated desires by their massive and peaceful presence around the universities from 12:30 PM; And in all of the public squares and main streets of the cities from 7 PM on Thursday 8 July 2004, and if possible chant such slogans as:
"FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, ALWAYS, ALWAYS."
"STUDENTS, STUDENTS, WE SUPPORT YOU."
"UNITY, UNITY, THE ONLY WAY TO LIBERTY!"
"REFERANDUM, REFERANDUM, THIS IS THE PEOPLE'S MOTTO."
"DOWN TO TALEBAN, IN KABUL OR TEHRAN."
Also it is being requested from all those compatriots who may not be, due to physical or age or other limitations, able to attend the gatherings, just as in the years past, at 10:30 PM on Thursday 8th July, after turning off all the lights in the house, to go up on the roofs and chant slogans and make a ruckus by any means possible. Last but not least, cooperation of individuals who may be in cars or other motorized transportation means in those hours by sounding horns and slowing traffic can definitely be a great help to the protestors and it will slow down reaction and cause the confusion of the government forces.
Be it that on the 8th of July we roar for freedom and justice.
Long live freedom!
Long live secularism!
Established be democracy!
Tehran, July 6, 2004 (16th Tir 1383)
The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI)
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