Iran Bans Commemorations of 99 Unrest
July 07, 2004
Agence France Presse
TEHRAN -- Iranian authorities signaled yesterday they had banned any commemorations marking this weeks fifth anniversary of violent student protests amid an effort to prevent a fresh outburst of anti-regime dissent.
In comments carried in the Iranian press, the security affairs chief for Tehran, Ali Taala, said the Interior Ministry had decided to bar any gatherings and rejected a request for a student event outside Tehran University.
Student representatives have also reportedly been summoned to meet Tehran police chief Gen. Morteza Talaie and Mohsen Gomi, a university representative of Irans supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In recent years there have been excellent relations between police and students and today, hand in hand, we should try to forget the bad memories of the 18th of Tir, or July 9, 1999, Talaie was quoted as telling them.
In addition, the Tehran University campus will also be shut down for the anniversary. A pro-reform group, the Association of Islamic Students, told the news agency ISNA that it had been informed the measure was taken to disinfect the campus because of cockroach infestation.
Although Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi later insisted to ISNA that no decision had been taken by his ministry on the event, he did assert it was not necessary to mark the deadly riots.
On July 9, 1999, pro-democracy students clashed with police in Tehran and other cities in unrest sparked by a heavy-handed police and vigilante raid on a smaller dormitory protest over newspaper closures.
Officially, one student was killed and hundreds of others injured in the violence, which prompted a major regime crackdown on dissent in universities a major driving force behind the pro-democracy movement.
On each anniversary of the unrest, the government has sought to prevent any gatherings from taking place.
In 2003, protesters merely took to the streets of Tehran in their cars, honking their horns, with the sidewalks and universities patrolled by huge numbers of police.
Prior to the anniversary last year, some 4,000 people were arrested in the wake of other protests. In recent months, police and Special Forces
units have been out in force in the capital, officially to help crackdown on bad driving amid an effort to cut Irans massive highway death toll.
There is a view that the Special Forces are there to show that the regime is strong and powerful enough to tackle any protest, explained journalist and analyst Hamid-Reza Jalaipour. But in all truth, they have been mainly deployed to sort out the traffic problem and above all arrest motorcyclists who are the cause of a lot of accidents.
Nevertheless, the 25-year-old Islamic government has gone all-out to prevent fresh protests. This year the anniversary falls on Thursday, July 8, due to the difference in the Gregorian and Persian calendars.
The end-of-year exams finished a week ago, and the universities and dormitories are now closed, said Abdollah Momeni, a leading member of the Office to Consolidate Unity, Irans main pro-reform student group.
The police presence will also have a dissuasive effect, even if officially they are there to control the traffic.
But we do think the events of the 18th of Tir should be preserved in the memory of Iranians, so we will be sending a letter of protest to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, he said.
Under the circumstances, observers and even activists say no major protests can be expected. There has been a lethargic atmosphere in the universities, Momeni admitted.
Since the last anti-government protests a year ago, Irans reformist camp has become increasingly isolated. Most moderates were barred from contesting Februarys Parliament elections, won easily by conservatives. The polls passed off calmly despite charges from reformists that the result had been rigged.
Meanwhile, Iran has appealed to Russia, which is helping build its first nuclear power plant, not to yield to US pressure to abandon the multimillion dollar deal, the official news agency IRNA reported yesterday.
In light of the good relations and expanding cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, Iran expects Russia not to yield to the US biased approach and constant political pressure, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi was quoted as telling visiting Russian security chief Igor Ivanov.
Ivanov held a string of meetings here in Iran, which according to Iranian press reports were focused on the nuclear issue, the ongoing dispute over sharing Caspian Sea resources and the situation in the Caucasus.
In another development, a Chinese woman detained at Tehran airport on charges of carrying a fake passport has finally been released after three months in legal and linguistic limbo, a press report said yesterday. The Iran Daily newspaper said the woman, identified only as a student traveling as a tourist, was finally put on trial after the Chinese Embassy here provided her with a translator.
The 26-year-old, who was not named, was detained at the capitals Mehrabad airport in late March as she tried to leave the Islamic republic. Unable to speak any of the languages the Islamic republics judiciary or immigration service are equipped to deal with, she was instead locked away in prison and almost forgotten about.
The paper said that when she finally appeared before a judge, she asserted she had no idea she was carrying a fake passport. Although unable to pay a fine of 2.5 million rials ($310), she was then sent home on a flight to Beijing.
'I Will Never Bow to the Mullahs'
July 06, 2004
Iran va Jahan
The Mother of Payman Piran, Iranian student currently serving a 10 year sentence, today vowed that she will never bow to the Mullahs and plead for the freedom of her son and husband from the lslamic dungeons.
Payman Piran, is currently on hunger strike along with other Iranian political prisoners in Evin prison to mark the fifth anniversary of the July student uprising. Yesterday tens of Islamic security agents ransacked his parents' house and kidnapped his father, Mustafa Piran, a school teacher.
'They have confiscated all our belongings and evacuated us from our house, I am now staying with friends. They have taken my son, they have taken my husband, and they say we can not live in a State apartment for school teachers and pay rent for our accomodation and at the same time be against the Islamic Republic, but I will never bow to the Mullahs, I will never plead to them for the release of my son and husband and our belongings." Mrs Piran said.
"They kept telling my husband to plead to the judge and tell your son to do the same too otherwise we will throw all your belongings and yourselves out of the house, but my husband refused saying NEVER, nor will my son, he is not a traitor, we are patriots." Mrs Piran continued.
Mrs. Piran finished by saying "I have no fear of them, I said it to them when they were beating my husband, if this is your Islam, I hate it, I don't want to be a Muslim."
They may have removed the Sun and the Lion from our flags, but they will never remove all the Lions and the Lionesses and our everlasting guiding Sun from our motherland.
July 07, 2004
Iran va Jahan
In order to achieve world peace, we must change the political and socio-economics of the world. When the late President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Empire an "Evil Empire" in 1982 and described his "plan and hope for the march of freedom and democracy..." there was political outcry from all corners of the academic institutions and media and political analysts, slating his statement as diplomatic insensitivity and nothing more than a propaganda slogan. Even now, fifteen years on, the collapse of the Berlin Wall personifies "a dream come true" for so many. Democratic governments overturned Communist regimes in Eastern Europe; Germany was reunited, and the Warsaw Pact sunk into the abyss. The end of the Cold War and the end of the forty-year barricade that divided Europe has today made it possible for ten new countries, namely most from the formerly communist east, to be accepted to join the EU. There have been no regrets since.
In fact until the spotlight was turned on apartheid in S. Africa and segregation in the U.S. was "named and shamed", there were no lawsuits or protests to challenge and eventually change these systems.
However, once upon a time, nobody would have believed that one day the communist powers would end. Likewise in the 21st century, despite all the bad press, such as the foolish American soldiers who decided to take the law into their own hands at Abu Ghraib, one shouldn't have doubt for the future of Iraq and its democratic prospects. With the right policies and determination the free world can overcome tyrannies and the whole free world can dream the impossible. At the same time unfortunately the left-wing media had only focused on "those pictures" and turned it into a political fiasco. However, while Saddam or Mullahs of the Islamic Republic in Iran have committed the same atrocities and worse, or when a terrorist decapitated 26-year-old Nick Berg, or 33-year old Kim Sun-il, the South Korean translator, or Private Keith Maupin, 20, who was shot dead, there was not a murmur of a call for an investigation of any kind by these leftists. In a democracy such episodes are unacceptable and are punished which was not the case under Saddam's regime. The whole purpose of terrorist activities is to draw attention to their cause. By committing a gruesome act, such as filming an execution and posting it on the Internet, all they are doing is seeking our attention. The murder appeared calculated to horrify America and couldn't have happened at a worse time, as support for the US intervention in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level. So what do we; the people fighting a "war" on terrorism, do? We post their pictures across the front page of our papers and show them on national television. Yes, that makes sense. For the sake of a few pictures we can see what kind of an uproar they have caused.
Is the public's need to see these pictures greater than the need to discourage terrorists from doing increasingly disgusting acts to get our attention? One very much doubts it. The behaviour of a number of soldiers at Abu Ghraib was beyond reprehensible. There is no equivalence, though, between abuse brought to our attention by US military personnel and brutally hacking a man's head off then hanging his body upside down from a bridge. The man who cut off Mr. Berg's head, identified as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a deputy of Osama bin Laden, gave this message on the film: "For the American mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the US administration to exchange this hostage with some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused...you will not receive anything from us but coffins after coffins, slaughtered in this way." The condemnation has by most, been claimed that this murder was an act of revenge for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Mr. Berg went missing on April 9, before the Abu Ghraib scandal had emerged; therefore he was not captured on the assumption that there might be a scandal relating to American troops a few weeks later. Abu Ghraib was merely a weak justification given by the slaughterers. If the US army were not in Iraq, then they would have claimed it was because of the Israeli - Palestinian struggle, if that was not an issue in today's society then perhaps Afghanistan would have been their excuse, if not that then a different argument and so forth. These Islamic extremists have been on a fierce mission - a mission to kill. The driving force of the terrorists is not different from the Nazi's motivations. Mass murder feeds on its appetite for hatred and dogmatic justification. For the Nazis, it was a dream of a pure race, white supremacy, which fuelled their loathing of Jews. Al Qaeda's dream is religious supremacy concluding in Islamic world domination, they proudly murder all those they deem inferior and all those who dispute their fanatical beliefs, as the Nazis did. In fact they have hatred for all Western established ideals such as, democracy, liberty, equality and essentially deem all disbelievers as the enemy who must be exterminated one way or another. In point of fact they hold a great deal of resentment for a population so diverse in religion and ethnic backgrounds, that they have declared half the world as infidels! They would even gladly butcher their own as a means to an end, as we have seen the countless attacks on western interests in Muslim countries, such as in HSBC Turkey, Spanish Cultural centre in Casablanca, Morocco, a nightclub in Bali.
Nonetheless, all those left-wing sceptics of the war on Iraq should wake up and realise the velocity of this fanatical Islamic threat and the sensitivity of the situation in Iraq. Al-Qaeda's intention has always been to coerce the U.S. forces out of Iraq via the constant barrage of attacks and killings and, to cause enough economic crisis that would probably influence the November Presidential election in the U.S.A. and, they would most certainly find Iraq as a suitable base for its operations; thus it must be appreciated that one cannot just shift 200,000 people from one regime to another. The Cold War lasted for 40 years, but it was the assertive power of pressure; which lead to a free economy and democracy, as is the case for Iraq. However, when the sand has settled, all those media pundits and left-wing governments will see that history will repeat itself and democracy will prevail; with no regrets!
Nicole Sadighi is a Market Research Analyst and freelance Journalist based in London, UK. She contributed this article to Iran va Jahan.
US, Israel Highlight Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program
July 06, 2004
ABC News Online
The United States and Israel have highlighted Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program as the UN's atomic energy agency moved to probe Tel Aviv's nuclear strength. "Iran is the country that have announced that one missile toward Israel will destroy the Jewish state. So we should be concerned about the Iranians' efforts to develop nuclear weapons," Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters after holding talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
He said that Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who arrived in Tel Aviv to persuade the Government to reveal its nuclear secrets, should instead step up his probe on Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Mr Shalom charged that Iran, regarded as the Jewish state's number one enemy, was trying to develop "a new missile that will include Berlin, London and Paris, and the southern part of Russia in its range".
"So if we would have to do something with ElBaradei, is to ask him to continue with his efforts to push the Iranians to put an end to its effort to develop a nuclear weapon," Mr Shalom said.
ElBaradei is expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, but Mr Sharon had earlier indicated that Israel's policy of refusing to confirm or deny that it has nuclear weapons would continue.
Most foreign experts believe that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal, comprising around 200 warheads, although it has stuck to a policy of "ambiguity" for the last 40 years.
Mr Powell, speaking alongside Mr Shalom, said the Bush administration had been pointing out Iran's nuclear weapon capability to the international community for the last three-and-a-half years.
He noted that European foreign ministers had made trips to Iran to convince it to give up its nuclear arms program but without much success "even though they have received some commitments which have been unfulfilled".
"So the United States will continue to press in every way that we can, use all of the diplomatic and other resources at our disposal, to make sure the international community stands unified behind the effort to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons development, or worse, acquiring a nuclear weapon," Mr Powell said.
Under an understanding with the United States dating back to 1969, Israel has committed itself to abstain from any comment on its nuclear potential and not carry out nuclear tests.
In return, Washington does not pressure Israel to adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would oblige its nuclear facilities to submit to international supervision by the IAEA.
Experts have said that Mr ElBaradei's mission was more of a political gesture to convince Arab states the IAEA is as concerned about Israel as it is about Iran, being investigated on suspicions of harbouring a secret atomic weapons program.
Israel warns of nuclear Iran by 2008
By HERB KEINON
Jul. 4, 2004 10:14 | Updated Jul. 7, 2004 0:16
If the international community doesn't halt Iran's march to acquiring nuclear weapons, Teheran may have its first nuclear bomb by 2008, OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi said Tuesday night.
Ze'evi made his comments on Channel 1, soon after the arrival of Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for a two-day visit.
Ze'evi said according to Israel's intelligence information, Iran has no intention of halting its nuclear program, despite the international pressure.
Ze'evi said Israel believes that by the spring of 2005 the Iranians will have independent nuclear research and development capability, and that it will take another two and a half years for Iran to build its first nuclear weapon.
Asked if Israel needs to respond, Ze'evi said that as long as the world is taking action to halt this development, Israel should stand aside.
"This concerns Europe, the US, and the free world more than it does us, and of course it does concern us," he said.
Israel is expected to raise with ElBaradei the question of Iran's nuclear program, and what moves the international community and IAEA can take next to keep Teheran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Officially, however, the Iranian issue is not on the agenda of ElBaradei's talks here. The focus, according to Israeli officials, is to be on a wide range of bilateral issues.
ElBaradei is slated to meet with Health Minister Dan Naveh on Wednesday and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Thursday.
If Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who is currently in the US, returns to Israel on time, ElBaradei will meet with him Thursday at the airport.
In addition, he is scheduled to hold discussions with officials of the Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, including its director, Gideon Frank.
ElBaradei is also to deliver a lecture at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on Thursday.
ElBaradei is accompanied by Vilmos Cserveny, who is in charge of external relations for the IAEA, and the organization's spokesman, Mark Gwozdecky.
Israeli diplomatic officials repeated on the eve of ElBaradei's visit that Israel has no intention of changing its long-term policy of nuclear ambiguity.
Israel is also expected to make clear to ElBaradei that while it in favor of a Middle East nuclear free zone in principle, such a zone is premature before there is a fundamental political change in the region, including peace agreements and an end to Arab regimes calling for Israel's destruction.
Though Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty which gives the IAEA powers to inspect nuclear programs it is a member of the agency. ElBaradei will not be visiting the nuclear reactors in Dimona or Nahal Sorek.
Israel neither confirms nor denies it has nuclear weapons, and has maintained a policy of nuclear ambiguity for nearly 50 years, saying only that it will not be the first country to introduce nuclear arms into the Middle East.
ElBaradei: I have no power to pressure Israel
Saying he had no "magic wand" to change Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), arrived as an invited guest in Israel Tuesday for a two-day meeting that Israeli officials said will focus on bilateral issues.
"I obviously don't have a magic wand nor do I have a power of prescription ... I have the power of recommending, of advising and I have no reason to believe that I will not have an open and frank discussion," ElBaradei told reporters in Tel Aviv.
"We need to strengthen security in the Middle East and I think everybody understands that. I'd like to see Israel supporting the Nonproliferation Treaty. I'd like to see the beginning of a dialogue on how a ... nuclear security free zone could look. If I get the parties closer on the need for a dialogue, I think I'll be successful," he added.
Meanwhile, in only his second interview since his release from prison, Israe's nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu urged ElBaradei to persuade Israeli leaders to allow him into the Dimona plant.
"Now, after 18 years that my revelation has gone to all the world and I come out of prison and report to all the world, he too must go and demand to be inside Dimona and to report to IAEA and to all the world," Vanunu said on Channel 1 TV.
This just in fro a student inside of Iran...
An Iranian arrested in North of Iraq by Iraqi forces.
And in another incident, two other Iranians arrested in Baghdad by US troops.
In Turkish-Iranian border clashes, 16 Iranian soldiers and 2 Officers killed in Action in fight against Anti-Turkey government rebels.
German based MHA news agency and BBC Persian confirms the clashes in Turkish Iranian border.
Finally, regarding the July 9th demonstrations:
Doctors & Nurses promised to rally in occasion."
freedom for Iran
Majlis Endorses Uranium Enrichment
July 07, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Majlis national security and foreign policy commission on Tuesday gave go-ahead to resumption of uranium enrichment activities, said the rapporteur of the commission.
The project will be discussed thoroughly in the commission next week, Kazem Jalali said.
Iran enriches uranium to produce fuel for Bushehr power plant which is to come on stream by 2005.
Iran is a signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and signed Additional Protocol to NPT in December 2003 which grants the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) intrusive inspection of all its nuclear sites.
Iran Will Respond Any Aggression
July 07, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Minister of Defense Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani said here Tuesday Iran will strongly respond to any military aggression. "We are not afraid of sanctions, and will not be bound to specifics over time and location of retaliation", the minister told reporters.
On accusations by Israel levelled against Iran, he added "Israel has a long history of lies and deception."
The US has also flagrant weakness in intelligence gathering and structure and has seen its ramifications by not been able to thoroughly identify the perpetrators of September 11 attacks on its soil, had no knowledge over actions of its military forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and accused Iraq of having nuclear weapons which it failed to find in the aftermath of invading the country, the defense minister stated.
The US also accused Iraq of having links with Al-Qaeda,"but could not produce any credible document to that effect." It also wrongly bombed wedding ceremonies in Iraq and Afghanistan under the guise that they were gatherings of rebels, Shamkhani underlied.
"The US has not come up with any document against Iran's peaceful nuclear program which it says is for making nuclear weapons."
Shamkhani said Saddam Hussein started the 8-year war against Iran. He is a criminal because of his use of unconventional weapons, including, chemical weapons against Iranian troops, which contravenes all international norms, he underlined.
"Iran is now facing threats over its nuclear program," the defense minister said.
It is said that if Iran dose not abandon its peaceful nuclear program, which is within the framework of UN charter, it will face two threats of different kinds: one military and the other sanctions.
"If we abandon the legitimate capability of access to peaceful nuclear technology, then we have, in fact, sanctioned ourselves and no nation will accept this. The US's experience in Iraq has been such that it knows it can not act in the same manner in Iran," he added.
Powell, Shalom Say Iran Poses Serious Threat
July 07, 2004
Washington -- Highlighting the alleged nuclear weapons programme of Iran, the United States and Israel have stressed that Tehran has to be stopped from pursuing nuclear weapons development.
"Iran is the country that has announced that one missile towards Israel will destroy the Jewish State. So we should be concerned about the Iranians' efforts to develop a nuclear weapon," Israel Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters yesterday after holding talks with U.S Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"More than that, they are trying now to develop a new missile that will include Berlin, London and Paris and the southern part of Russia in its range. So if we would have to do something with ElBaradei, (it) is to ask him to continue with his efforts to push the Iranians and to put an end to its effort to develop a nuclear weapon," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, Powell said "We know Iran's intentions, and those intentions are to keep a nuclear weapons development programme going."
"The United States will continue to press in every way that we can, use all the diplomatic and other resources at our disposal, to make sure the international community stands unified behind the effort to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons development, or worse, acquiring a nuclear weapon," he said.
Both Powell and Shalom stressed their commitment to the creation of a Palestinian State according to the roadmap after the Palestinians give up terrorism.
El Baradei: Israel Worried About Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
July 07, 2004
The Associated Press
The Globe and Mail
Tel Aviv -- Israel is extremely concerned about Iran's nuclear ambitions, the head of the UN atomic watchdog agency said Wednesday, an indication that the issue is preventing any change in Israel's nuclear policy.
"They're expressing concern about Iran," Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said after talks with senior officials at Israel's secretive nuclear energy agency.
Mr. ElBaradei arrived in Israel on Tuesday to pitch for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. Israel refuses to discuss its nuclear capacities, but it is thought to be the only state in the Middle East possessing nuclear weapons.
Later Wednesday, Mr. ElBaradei was scheduled to meet with the Israeli health minister and take an aerial tour over the country.
While declining to go into details about his talks, Mr. ElBaradei indicated Wednesday that fear that Tehran was trying to develop nuclear arms was a dominant theme.
Mr. ElBaradei's agency is probing nearly two decades of suspect nuclear activities in Iran that the United States, Israel and others say reflect attempts to make such weapons.
Tehran insists it only wants nuclear energy to generate power, but several IAEA reports over the past year have suggested the Islamic Republic has not fully cooperated with agency inspectors and has failed to clear up suspicions about its aims.
Mr. ElBaradei has suggested that the Israelis should at least consider loosening their taboo on talking about nuclear arms as part of any long-term Middle East settlement that would rid the region of such weapons.
He acknowledged Tuesday that he had "magic wand" to change Israel's policy of so-called nuclear ambiguity.
"But in the long run you need to build a system, where nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction will not be part of your security structure," he said.
In Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell declined to take a stand Tuesday on whether Israel should be forced to open its reactors to inspection.
But Mr. Powell, at a joint news conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, renewed his demand for international pressure on Iran to stop what Washington says are attempts to build nuclear arms.
Earlier Tuesday, Israel Army Radio rebroadcast comments made in May by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who said he would not budge from the country's traditional "no show, no tell" policy.
"I don't know what he [Mr. ElBaradei] is coming to see. Israel has to hold in its hand all the elements of power necessary to protect itself, by itself," Mr. Sharon told the radio. "Our nuclear policy has proven itself and will continue."
Israel's doctrine of nuclear ambiguity is meant to deter its enemies, while denying them the rationale for developing their own nuclear weapons.
While Mr. ElBaradei was scheduled to meet Mr. Sharon Thursday, there were no plans to give him access to Israel's main nuclear facility near Dimona in the southern Negev Desert, which is the suspected center of its nuclear weapons program.
Israel has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which would force it to declare itself a weapons state and curb its nuclear activities.
But Mr. ElBaradei said he hoped to persuade Israeli leaders to agree to a separate protocol curbing nuclear exports and imports.
Such a move would be mostly symbolic Israel already has strict export and import commitments and is seen as an attempt to nudge it toward increased cooperation with the IAEA.
Evidence that Israel has nuclear arms is overwhelming, much of it based on details and pictures leaked in 1986 by Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, as well as research and statements made by Israeli leaders.
Mr. Vanunu, who was freed in April after serving an 18-year sentence for espionage and treason, urged Mr. ElBaradei to persuade Israeli leaders to allow him into the Dimona plant.
"Now, after 18 years that my revelation has gone to all the world and I come out of prison and report to all the world, he too must go and demand to be inside Dimona and to report to IAEA and to all the world," Mr. Vanunu said on Israel's Channel One TV, in only his second interview since his release from prison.
Israel is believed to be the only country in the region to have nuclear missiles ready to launch. Experts say it may already have as many as 300 warheads as well as the capability of building more quickly.
'Iran will abandon nuclear obligations if attacked'
7 July 2004
TEHERAN - Irans defence minister has warned that the Islamic republic will abandon its commitments to the UN atomic watchdog if its nuclear installations are attacked, the official news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday. Today the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) holds every detail on Irans nuclear programme, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying. If there is a military attack, that would mean that the IAEA has been collecting this information to prepare for an attack. Naturally, after such an action, it would be necessary to renounce all of our nuclear commitments, he added.
The IAEA is currently investigating Irans ambitious bid to generate atomic energy, but has been critical of the regimes level of cooperation. The United States and Israel accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons.
Shamkhani warned them of a fierce retaliation if they decided to attack.
The United States and the other enemies of the Islamic republic must know that we will respond to a military action against our country with all our force, he said, adding the retaliation would be unlimited by time and space.
Iran confirms clashes with Turkish Kurd rebels, puts death toll at 10
7 July 2004
TEHERAN - Iran confirmed on Wednesday that its troops had been engaged in clashes with rebels from the former Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) near the border with Turkey, the student news agency ISNA reported.
Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi said the clashes took place on June 28, killing two Iranian soldiers and eight rebels from the group, now known as the Kongra-Gel.
On Tuesday a pro-Kurdish news agency said 16 Iranian soldiers and four Turkish Kurd rebels were killed in fighting in a mountainous region along the Turkish border.
Turkish security sources confirmed the clashes, saying they were part of a large-scale operation launched by the Iranian army.
There are at least 10 dead, a Turkish official told AFP in Diyarbakir, the center of Turkeys mainly Kurdish southeast.
The Germany-based MHA news agency, which is close to the rebels, reported that Iranian security forces had launched a comprehensive operation against the armed wing of the PKK last week. The first clashes occurred on Friday.
The Iranians used helicopters and heavy weapons, it said, adding that the operation was continuing.
Iranian security forces also carried out raids -- apparently on PKK targets -- in the towns of Salmas and Khoy, near the Turkish border, MHA said.
The PKK has long used the mountainous border regions of Iran and Iraq, which are difficult to guard, as a springboard for attacks on Turkish territory.
Most of the groups militants are believed to have taken refuge in northern Iraq after the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire with the Ankara government in 1999.
The group ended its truce on June 1.
The PKK has waged a 15-year war for self-rule in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, with the conflict claiming some 37,000 lives.
Turkey and Iran have in recent years intensified cooperation on security matters, including the PKK, after a chilly period during which the two sides accused each other of sheltering their respective dissidents.
Iran's Terrorist 'NGO' [Excerpt]
July 07, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Nir Boms and Reza Bulorchi
It's tempting to dismiss Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's latest threat that Iran will harm America "around the world" if it attacks its interests as empty bluster from Iran's mullahs. But there are signs that Iran is taking concrete steps to match its belligerent words with deeds.
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are usually associated with humanitarian relief and peaceful advocacy work. So it is not every day that an "NGO" is in charge of recruiting "suicide volunteers" to dispatch overseas to strike at "world arrogance."
Yet that reportedly was the case last month at a three-day conference sponsored by the Iranian government and its "Committee for Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement," which the ruling mullahs, in a bit of transparent fakery, choose to bill as an "NGO."
According to the Tehran-based daily Sharq, the conference provided a forum for volunteers to register their names for suicide attacks. The BBC Monitoring service, quoting a number of Iranian sources, said the group's sponsors claim that over 10,000 candidates from around the world have signed up to die for the cause.
The calls to join the "Army of Martyrs" began at mosques across Iran following Friday prayers, after which registration forms were distributed by the tens of thousands at local Islamic universities to prospective male and female suicide attackers.
The London based Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that the "Army of Martyrs" is operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps [also known as the Pasdaran], and IRGC sub-agencies tasked with intelligence gathering and the planning of terrorist attacks.
At the conference, Brigadier General Sardar Salami, director of operations for the Revolutionary Guards, delivered a keynote speech titled "Suicide Operations: A Security and Military Strategy Perspective."
"As you see, the explosion of the two World Trade Center towers divided history to before and after [Sept. 11]. And with this minor incident, policy of the United States and other world and regional powers changed," Gen. Salami said according to Sharq.
In an indirect reference to Iran's nuclear weapons program, Gen. Salami reportedly added that, "the Americans now know that the Muslims with tendencies for suicide missions have acquired new technology and have technological capabilities which have caused more fear for them."
According to the quotations in Sharq, another high-ranking Revolutionary Guards commander explained the choice of terminology: "Since the Committee for Commemoration of Martyrs is an NGO, it does not need to ask for permission of the country's military institutions if it decides to carry out an operation. Their operations would be similar to those by Palestinians and have nothing to do with the regime in Iran." So the regime would be able to deny that it is sponsoring terrorism -- although not very plausibly.
In a closing speech entitled, "Suicide Operations: The Last Resort," a top Revolutionary Guards official, Hassan Abbassi, tried to rationalize Iran's support of terrorism. "If Muslims create fear in the heathen world, this fear is sacred; it is not terrorism or violence," he said according to the Sharq account.
Last month at the Technical College of Teheran, Mr. Abbassi said: "We have identified some 29 weak points for attacks in the U.S. and in the West. We intend to explode some 6,000 American atomic warheads. We have shared our intelligence with other guerrilla groups and we shall utilize them as well." ....
New clashes in southern Tehran
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jul 7, 2004
Sporadic clashes occurred, yesterday, as hundreds gathered, again, in front of one the Rey's Islamic Mutual Funds companies in order to request the restitution of their assets.
Tens of demonstrators shouted slogans against the regime and its leaders while requesting their deposits. Security forces were quick to rush and tried to smash the protest action by beating and arresting several demonstrators. But the popular support of the demonstrators lead to the spread of the protest action in most areas of the Fadayian e Eslam avenue resulting in the injuries of several demonstrators and also of some of the regime forces.
Tires were set ablaze and official buildings' windows were smashed during the action which lasted till the beginning of Tuesday evening.
The rumor of the local company's bankruptcy due to the official fraud and the escape of some of the managers has been widely spread in the town. The same cycle of malaise-demonstration-repression is existing, actually, in several other cities, such as, in Esfahan, Hamadan and Kermanshah. An increasing number of Iranians are afraid of the regime's banking and financial institutions by preferring to buy foreign currencies, especially US Dollar and Euro, and gold.
It's to note that Rey is one of the poorest suburbs of Tehran and has been the scene of violent anti-regime protests in the last years. It was, a day, one of the cradles of regime's popular support along with Tehran's other poor districts, such as, Eslam-Shahr, Akbar-Abad and Varamine.
Renewed Unity Among Iranian Students
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - By William Samii
Jul 7, 2004
The fifth anniversary of 18 Tir (8 July) -- the day in 1999 when uniformed police and plainclothes vigilantes attacked a Tehran University dormitory with fatal results -- is looming. That incident in the capital led to fatalities and a week of civil unrest that wracked the country, and calm was restored only after massive arrests and a threat from Islamic Revolution Guards Corps commanders to President Mohammad Khatami that if he did not calm the situation they would take matters into their own hands. Every 18 Tir since then has seen a renewal of the unrest, although not on the same scale.
This year the security forces are trying to preclude anything taking place. Said Robati, who heads the Tehran University branch of the Office for Strengthening Unity (OSU) student organization, said that in a 1 July letter to the Tehran governorate-general his group formally requested permission to hold a rally outside the university's main gate, according to the Islamic Association of Isfahan University of Technology website (http://www.iutnews.com). Robati said two days later that upon returning to the governorate-general he and his colleagues were informed verbally that a permit would not be forthcoming and any kind of off-campus rally would thus be illegal, according to the website.
The absence of a permit has not stopped the students before. Students demonstrated in July 2003 despite a ban on rallies (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 9 and 30 June; and 7, 14, and 21 July 2003). Furthermore, in June of that year demonstrations occurred in major cities in reaction to rumors that university students would have to pay tuition (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 16 June 2003). Egged on by exile television stations, the protests continued for four days until intervention by vigilantes and arrests by police.
Two-thirds of the Iranian population is under 35 and this cohort is chafing under clerical misrule. Ever since the events of 1999, therefore, there has been a degree of anticipation about the students' potential to overthrow the regime. Whether this anticipation has been based on politically motivated hype from foreign observers or the optimism of Iranian political activists, reality has not fulfilled expectations. There are many reasons for this, including the regime's coercive powers, public apathy, and an absence of organization and leadership among the students.
There has been no change in the government's ability to use force when it wants to, and the relatively low level of participation in the most recent parliamentary election indicates the level of apathy. It does appear, however, that student disunity has been reduced.
The OSU split into two wings in 2002. The majority Allameh wing wanted to withdraw from mainstream politics, while the smaller Shiraz wing preferred to continue its support for the president (for more on this split, see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 14 October 2002).
These divisions and the accompanying apathy were remarked on by members of the Sixth Parliament's "student faction," all of whom were in the OSU, during a 9 May ceremony at Allameh Tabatabai University. Tehran parliamentarian Fatimeh Haqiqatju reminded the gathering that the student movement's most important duty is "criticizing power," "Sharq" reported on 10 May. She urged the students to be actively involved with the upcoming presidential election, and she commented that there is a "language of despair" in the student movement. She warned that the conservatives find the student movement is an irritant that must be controlled, and they are trying to sow discord. Shiraz parliamentarian Reza Yusefian observed that because issues are viewed from an individualistic perspective there is no longer a student "movement."
In mid-May the OSU met at Khajeh Nasredin Tusi University. In a speech to the students, Tehran representative Ali Akbar Musavi-Khoeni urged the OSU that it must behave as a cohesive entity, "Vaqa-yi Itifaqi-yi" reported on 15 May.
Apparently, the gathering took Musavi-Khoini's words to heart. Members of the Shiraz and Allameh factions held lengthy discussions, and subsequently voting for new Central Council members took place. According to "Vaqa-yi Itifaqi-yi" on 16 May, the new council reflects the reduction in differences between the two factions. "These elections showed that the spell has been broken, and that the obstructions and external threats have been neutralized and that there is consensus among Islamic Student Associations," Abdullah Momeni of the OSU commented, according to "Hambastegi" of 17 May.
OSU Central Council member Hojatollah Sharifi described the meeting in an interview with Radio Farda and said the new unity of purpose would result in greater political involvement on the part of the student movement (http://www.radiofarda.com/transcripts/iran/2004/05/20040515_1030_1109_1458_fa.asp).
The outcome of the Central Council elections was unexpected, according to a report in the 6 June issue of "Sharq." The individuals elected to leadership positions were veterans of the student movement "who are well past their student years and student characteristics." The newspaper warned that the age gap between OSU leaders and the average university student precludes easily creating a relationship. The OSU will begin to function more like a party, and to outside observers it will be the "flag-bearer of Iran's reform movement." The two wings, according to "Sharq," believe that it is time to bury the old OSU.
An article by Central Council member Majid Haji-Babai in the 28 June "Sharq" suggests that the outcome of that funeral could be dramatic. He says ideas for ending the student movement's disunity included a "student parliament" and the Office for Fostering Democracy. The latter was an elitist version of the OSU, Haji-Babai writes, and the former would have been all-inclusive and nationwide. The student parliament, furthermore, would require direct voting by the students and would require cooperation from the universities and the regime.
Another problem, Haji-Babai writes, is that these two ideas only deal with the domestic situation. The "tens of thousands" of Iranians studying in the United States and Europe have created dynamic Iranian organizations at their individual institutions, and it would be a mistake to ignore them. What is required is a National Union of Iranian Students modeled on the old Confederation of Iranian Students that was active internationally from the 1950s onward. This entity could coordinate all the student organizations and play a powerful political role.
Developments in the OSU are noteworthy because it is one of the country's biggest student organizations and because it played a key role in Khatami's 1997 election victory. Nevertheless there are other organizations that have advocated more radical action against the regime. One of these is veteran activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi's Democratic Front. It is unlikely that Tabarzadi will be part of any student union, and it is similarly unlikely that the OSU's new tendency will have a lasting impact.
Iran Confirms Clash with Turkish Kurd Rebels
07 Jul 2004, 14:45 UTC
Iran confirmed Wednesday that its troops had been clashing with Turkish Kurdish rebels. Iran's deputy interior minister, Ali Asghar Ahmadi, said at least two Iranian soldiers and eight rebels from the group called Kongra-Gel had died in the fighting.
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Namik Tan told a news conference in Ankara that Iranian officials would be briefing their Turkish counterparts about the operations against the rebels during a joint security committee meeting to be held in the coming days.
Iranian officials say the fighting erupted on June 28 along the rugged mountains separating Iran from Eastern Turkey. Rebel Kongra-Gel sources said 16 Iranian soldiers and four rebels had died in the fighting, that was described by Turkish security officials as part of a "large scale" operation launched by the Iranian army.
The move comes just days before Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is to travel to Iran on a long postponed official visit. Relations between the formerly hostile neighbors have been warming in recent months. Both countries have large and rebellious Kurdish minorities. Both are deeply concerned that the broad autonomy enjoyed by Iraq's Kurds will refuel separatist sentiment among their own ethnic Kurd minorities.
Turkey has long been pressuring the United States to move against some Kongra-Gel rebels holed up in the mountains of Kurdish controlled northern Iraq. President Bush, during a trip to Turkey last month renewed pledges to help put the group, which is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations, out of action. But Turkish leaders complain that the United States has yet to deliver on its promise.
Long known as the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K, the rebels fought a 15-year-long insurgency in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeastern provinces. They called off their campaign for Kurdish independence following the capture of their leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in 1999.
But last month, Kongra-Gel, as the group is now known, announced that it was ending its five-year unilateral truce because the Turkish government had rejected their calls to negotiate a peace agreement. Clashes between Turkish forces and the rebels have steadily increased in recent weeks, despite calls from Kurdish political leaders for both sides to end the violence.
July 6, 2004
Darren Shuster, M.A.
Phone: (818) 776-9585
Dr. Iman Foroutan
Iran of Tomorrow Movement (a.k.a. S.O.S. IRAN)
Phone: (888) SOS-IRAN
For Immediate Release
PRO-DEMOCRACY SUPPORTERS STAGE MOCK EXECUTIONS IN LOS ANGELES AGAINST CLERICAL IRANIAN REGIME ON JULY 6TH
-- S.O.S. IRAN stages mock executions and public lashings at gathering to demonstrate brutality and terrorist violence against Iranian people
July 5, 2004 (Los Angeles) Protesters against the clerical regime in Iran will meet at the Federal Building at 11000 Wilshire Boulevard from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, 2004, to show their support for an open, democratic and free Iranian society and government.
It calls for the immediate end to terrorism, brutality and political violence perpetuated by the current regime in Iran.
The demonstration is connected to a much wider show of support for a democratic and open Iranian society with simultaneous events in Denmark, Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Sweden, UK, Canada, and the US including Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and dozens of other cities.
Iran of Tomorrow (a.k.a. S.O.S. IRAN) is comprised of a group of Iranian experts from around the world including researchers, engineers and other professionals and businesspersons and now has thousands of registered members.
S.O.S. IRAN has joined other groups in working towards the establishment of freedom, human rights and a democratic, secular government in Iran. Dr. Iman Foroutan, Executive Director of Iran of Tomorrow, wants to be clear on who is invited to participate: Anyone who believes in the equal treatment of all people regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, language, race, color, and social, economic or political status. It goes beyond Left, Right and Center. It is about human freedom.
These worldwide street demonstrations also have an Internet component with more than 5,000 e-mails being distributed to top leaders and decision-makers from around the world.
About Iran of Tomorrow Movement (a.k.a. S.O.S. IRAN)
The mission of S.O.S. Iran is to support the people of Iran for the non-violent removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the establishment of Freedom, Human Rights, and a democratic, secular and modern government in Iran. Please go to www.sosiran.com for more information. S.O.S. IRAN also develops and distributes content globally through its 24-hour satellite television studios XTV, which can also be viewed live or via archive on the Internet at www.sosiran.com.