Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 9, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/08/2004 11:53:41 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.
In Washington Iran Rally, Dissident Cleric Calls July 9 a National Uprising
RF ^ | 7/10/04 | RF
Posted on 07/08/2004 7:54:14 PM PDT by freedom44
Speaking at a rally held on the steps of US Congress by Iranians living in the Washington, D.C. tri-state area dissident cleric called the July 9, 1999 student-led pro-democracy demonstrations a national uprising against the Islamic regime, which has neither religious legitimacy nor legal legitimacy.
RadioFarda Newsroom - July 8, 2004 - Several US Senators and Congressmen are scheduled to speak at a rally being held on the steps of the US Congress by Washington area Iranian activists, correspondent Parichehr Farzam says in a live report from the event. The July 9 event is a national uprising and it is a duty for all Iranians to honor this day, says dissident cleric Ayatollah Mehdi Haeri, who took part in the July 9, 1999 uprising in Tehran.
Since I am fighting against this regime and consider the Islamic regime corrupt, I am appearing here in my clerical robe in order to show the people that all Iranian Shiite clerics do not support this regime, Haeri tells Radio Farda.
This is the only regime in the world that has a special court for the clergy, which arrests and jails anti-regime clerics. So far, this court has executed 1,600 clerics and has 3,000 clerics in custody. Clerics are also victims of this regime, he says.
This regime has no legitimacy, legal or religious, and is a corrupt regime based on deception, lies, tricks and innuendo, Haeri adds. This regime has ruined our culture, our national identity, and only Palestinian extremists and the Lebanese benefit from this regime, not Iranians.
Iran and Israel: Chain Reaction
July 08, 2004
The Christian Science Monitor
The Monitor's View
In an official trip to Jerusalem this week, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency was able to have Israel reaffirm its willingness to eventually support regional talks aimed at turning the Middle East into a nuclear-weapons-free zone.
Nonetheless, Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), delivered a starkly clear message to a nuclear-armed Israel: With more nations in the region trying to build or buy these weapons, and with a greater risk that international terrorists will obtain them, Israel's atomic arsenal serves less and less as a viable deterrent to its enemies.
What's more, an unexpected opportunity has opened up. Two Arab nations - Libya and Iraq - are currently being stripped of their nuclear-weapons capability, while Iran could face strong economic sanctions by Britain, France, and Germany if it doesn't give up its nuclear ambitions.
In other words, the region is ripe for diplomacy to create a nuke-free zone - if Israel, as the only nuclear power in the Middle East, would begin the long process of taking small, confidence-building steps that could eventually lead to putting those weapons on the table.
Israel's reluctance to even acknowledge it has had such weapons for decades, let alone make the weapons negotiable for elimination, is understandable. While Israel's conventional forces could overwhelm any combination of Arab militaries, its "weapon of last resort" has long provided an added layer of security. This weapon also reduces Israel's reliance on the United States for security.
Israel also doesn't want to end its deliberate policy of ambiguity about whether it possesses such weapons. While Arab leaders know Israel has them, openly flaunting that fact might further rile anti-Israel passions on the Arab street.
Israel insists that creating a nuclear-free-zone can be achieved only in the context of lasting peace pacts with all its neighbors, including the Palestinians. Without strong guarantees safeguarding its existence, Israel doesn't want to give up its nuclear weapons.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reaffirmed that policy - first made at the 1991 Middle East peace talks in Madrid - to Mr. ElBaradei Thursday. The fact that an Israeli prime minister looked forward to such talks provided some hope for the IAEA's efforts to create a Middle East nuclear-free zone.
Israel is a member of the IAEA and a signatory to conventions on biological and chemical warfare, but it has not joined the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The problem for the IAEA is that it has little chance of persuading Iran to give up its weapons-grade nuclear capabilities without Israel doing so at the same time. "As long as you continue to have countries dangling a cigarette from their mouth, you cannot tell everybody not to smoke with a high degree of credibility," ElBaradei told journalists last month.
If Iran gets close to making a nuclear device within a couple years, as some experts predict, it could quickly destabilize the region. Saudi Arabia might go nuclear, or Israel could bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, as it did Iraq's in 1981.
IAEA needs some sort of real gesture from Israel that would encourage regional talks now before Iran gets any closer to making a bomb, and the region is put on the brink of proliferation, if not war. Israel could, for instance, freeze some operations at the Dimona nuclear facilities, if such a step doesn't jeopardize its security.
Also at stake in this debate is the NPT itself. If Iran, as an NPT member, flouts the treaty, it would join other nations that have ignored or left the pact, further unraveling attempts to prevent nuclear proliferation.
The US, after decades of looking the other way while Israel developed these weapons, needs to start showing Iran and others in the Middle East that it can be even-handed, asking both Iran and Israel to join talks that would lead them and other regional players to forgo nuclear defenses. Even as the US pushes its "road map" for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, it might find a way with the IAEA to open a parallel track of talks in the Middle East about nuclear weapons.
Without progress on this front, the US risks a nuclear device falling into the hands of Al Qaeda agents. For both Middle East and global security, talks on a regional nuclear-weapons-free zone should begin soon.
Reporters Without Borders Fears Impunity Will Prevail
July 08, 2004
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders said today it fears that impunity will prevail in the case of Zahra Kazemi, a photo-journalist with Canadian and Iranian nationality who died a year ago (on 10 July 2003) in Baghiatollah hospital in Tehran after being beaten while in detention.
"We suspect that the senior Iranian officials implicated in this murder will remain unpunished and that a scape-goat will be convicted in order to put an end to a case that is embarrassing for the regime," the organisation said.
"We nonetheless hope that the trial due to take place on 17 July will shed full light on this killing and that our Canadian section, which is still awaiting visas, will be able to attend as observers," Reporters Without Borders said.
The organisation called on the Iranian authorities to allow Kazemi's lawyers to participate in preparing the case for the trial as required by Iran's constitution and international norms, and it reiterated its call for the repatriation of her remains to Canada, as requested by her son, for an independent autopsy.
Aged 54 and normally resident in Canada, Kazemi was detained outside Evin prison, north of Tehran, on 23 June 2003 as she was taking photos of the relatives of detainees. Beaten while in detention, she died from her injuries just over two weeks later. After initially trying to cover up the cause of her death, the Iranian authorities recognised on 16 July 2003 that she was "beaten."
Kazemi's body was hastily buried in the southern town of Chiraz on 22 July 2003, contrary to the wishes of her son, Stephan Hachemi, a permanent resident in Canada who has French and Canadian citizenship. Kazemi's mother in Iran publicly acknowledged that she was pressured into authorising her burial in Iran. Since then, the authorities have paid no heed to the requests for her remains to be disinterred and repatriated to Canada.
A commission of enquiry to determine the circumstances of her death was set up at President Khatami's request on 13 July 2003. In a report released a week later, the commission said that between the time of her arrest on 23 June and her transfer to hospital on 27 June, Kazemi was interrogated in turn by the staff of Tehran state prosecutor Said Mortazavi, the police, the prosecutor's staff again, and finally by officials with the intelligence ministry.
The report said the skull fracture that caused her death occurred no more than 36 hours before her hospitalisation at midnight on 27 June. According to the chronology of events established by the investigation, the fatal injury could have occurred while she was in the custody of the prosecutor's staff or the intelligence ministry.
The report also said that doctors in Baghiatollah hospital determined that Kazemi was "brain dead" as early as 27 June, the day that her family was told that she was in a coma in hospital. The report did not explain why the doctors waited until 10 July, the day after the anniversary of the July 1999 student demonstrations, to officially announce her death.
The military prosecutor's office assigned Kazemi's case on 23 July 2003 to Mortazavi, but Mortazavi subsequently recused himself because of the allegations that he was directly involved in her death. The commission of enquiry had established that he personally took part in an interrogation session within hours of her arrest. The case was transferred to Judge Esmaili at the end of July 2003.
After a wrangle between reformist and conservative clans, which blamed each other for Kazemi's death, an Iranian intelligence agent, Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, was named on 22 September 2003 as the suspected killer.
Judicial service chief Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi and intelligence minister Ali Younessi set up a committee at the end of December 2003 with the ostensible aim of reviewing all of the facts of the Kazemi case. The real aim, however, was to find a compromise. Shahroudi said at the time : "The important thing is not who killed Zahra Kazemi. Whether an agent with the intelligence ministry or a member of the Tehran prosecutor's staff, it doesn't matter. What counts is to name a suspect."
The Iranian judicial authorities rule out any question of state institutions being to blame and accuse Ahmadi of "almost deliberate" murder. This is the point on which the Kazemi family lawyer, Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, intends to base her case in order to establish that the blow or blows were inflicted on Kazemi with the intention of killing her. Another lawyer, Mohamad Ali Dadakhah, maintains that the court has no jurisdiction and that the case should be dealt with by an assize court.
Dadakhah also reported that a second person has been charged in the case. It is Mohammad Bakhshi, an official at Evin prison. On its official website, www.rouydad.info, the Participation Front (President Khatami's party) had already claimed that Bakhshi took part in Kazemi's killing as an assistant to the Tehran prosecutor, Mortazavi.
This just in from our friends at ActivistChat.com.
by Khorshid (ActivistChat.com Forum Member)
Except for some bloggers in Iran, few will admit to it but those feeling somewhat disappointed with the coming and passing of July 8, and a nationwide mass protest that never came, need to look at the picture more carefully.
We cannot conclude that our compatriots today were being apathetic or compliant. We have to recall that the largest, and the most effective protest against this regime during its 25 years of existence occurred five months ago. The mass boycott of Islamic Majles elections in February was nothing short of a national referendum sounding the death knell for the Islamic Republic.
Furthermore, we may want to note that the level of security and surveillance during the past 48 hours has been exceptional; perhaps unprecedented. Were I in Iran, I too would have remained home and kept quiet. But there is something far more important here that should not be overlooked: Far from a show of force, these maneuvers by the regime are signs of trembling and fear. Is it difficult to understand why Supreme Leader Khamenei has spent the last two-three days in Hamedan and away from the capital?
To conclude this little note of mine, this level of security cannot be maintained for long; nor is it desirable. But you see, they have no other choice. They know theyre finished. Rebellions WILL follow.
Note to my compatriots in Europe:
The IDEAL form of protest for the exiles would be the physical liberation of Islamist occupied Iranian embassies abroad; I mean by force. I do not necessarily suggest it; Im merely stating a fact.
Iran: Five Years After Protests, Release Students
(New York, July 8, 2004) -- Five years after the 1999 Tehran University protests, the Iranian government should immediately release all student detainees still imprisoned for peaceful dissent, Human Rights Watch said today.
The Iranian governments closure of a reformist newspaper triggered student protests on the Tehran University campus on July 8, 1999 (18th of Tir in the Iranian calendar). After a peaceful student demonstration, police and plainclothes security forces raided a dormitory, beating students and trapping many in their rooms. Protests then erupted beyond the university, growing to a weeklong event. More than 25,000 people eventually participated in the protests, making it the largest political demonstration since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In the weeks following the protests, thousands of students were arrested, taken away by the busload, and held in detention centers and prisons. Initially, several students were sentenced to death, but these sentences were later commuted to time in prison. While many of those initially detained were released, an unknown number of student protestors remain in prison.
Five years after the Tehran University protests, its time for the Iranian government to release the peaceful protestors, said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watchs Middle East and North Africa Division. The government also needs to hold plainclothes militia accountable for the attacks on students that year.
On June 7, Human Rights Watch released Like the Dead in Their Coffins, which documented extensive physical and psychological abuse of political detainees in Iranian prisons. A number of student protestors from the July 1999 protests remain in prison, including Ahmed Batebi, Abbas Fakhravar, Manouchehr Mohammadi, his brother Akbar Mohammadi and Mehrdad Lohrsabi.
Many of the imprisoned students have been brutally tortured in prison, barred from seeing their attorneys, and forced to provide recantations and confessions to the state-controlled media. Many students have suffered permanent physical and psychological injuries while in detention.
In subsequent years, students across the country have commemorated the anniversary of the July 1999 protestors with peaceful demonstrations and public speeches. This year, however, with repression at its highest since 1999, the governments message to students is clear: those who speak out will be detained, punished, and worse.
The Iranian government is trying to sweep the events of July 1999 under the rug, said Whitson. Instead, it should allow peaceful commemoration of the Tehran University protests.
WE SHALL NEVER FORGET 18 TIR (8 JULY)
Posted Thursday, July 8, 2004
TEHRAN, 8 July. (IPS) As the Iranian government firmly stopped the students commemorating the anniversary of 8 July 1999 revolt against the Islamic Republic, stating that the event has no meaning to be commemorated, students warned they would take their complaints against the regime to the United Nations.
In a statement, the Office for Consolidating Unity (OCU) said now that the voices of justice and freedom are silenced and the eye of justice is blind, we have no other choice but to take our complaint to international instances, including the United Nations.
The date marks the fifth anniversary of the nightly attack of the Police, backed by plainclothes men from the Intelligence Ministry and security forces on the dormitories where some 300 students were demonstrating peacefully against the shutting down of a Salam, a popular newspaper.
The surprise raid on the students dormitories in Tehran and Tabriz, the capital city of the northwestern Province of Eastern Azarbaijan was terrible. Some sleepy students were thrown out of the windows, others savagely beaten. Rooms were ransacked and books and belongings burned down.
As a result, students took to the streets the days after, demanding the culprits be brought to justice. Angered by the arrogance of the regime, the demonstrations continued and as days passed, became more political.
On the sixth consecutive days of unrest, as people had started to move backing the demonstrators, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, fearing for the survival of his regime, ordered the police and all others forces of repression to crush the demonstrations at any cost.
On 8 of July, as the revolt had taken openly an anti-regime nature and slogans appeared against Ayatollah Khameneh'i and some other leading ayatollahs, the revolutionary guards, supported by thousands of basij forces and special units of the Intelligence Ministry attacked the students, leaving hundreds of demonstrators wounded, several dead and thousands arrested, some still in prisons.
While the students were claiming that several of theirs had been killed, the authorities agreed to only one dead, in Mr. Ezzat Ebrahim Nezjad.
But what surprised both the students and the Iranians was the fact that Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami, elected president two years earlier mostly thanks to the vote of the students and young generation, had backed Mr. Khameneh'i in sending the forces against the students.
The crackdown revolted the Iranians and created outrage outside. Against repeated demands by the students for identifying those responsible for the savage attack, the authorities took no decision except sending hundreds of students to prison and a mock trial for one of the police commanders, who was later freed.
The event, a savage operation against the students movement, marked for ever the rupture between the students and the regime. From the outset, the students knew well that none of the real culprits would ever be tried. The wound on the students would not disappear, nor those responsible for the brutal attack would ever sleep in peace, warned Mr. Abdollah Momeni, the Secretary of the Office for Consolidating Unity, the Iranian students largest organisation.
Explaining the reasons the students decided to keep quiet, Mr. Said Razavi Faqih, a member of the OCU said considering the enormous pressures put on the students by the authorities, including verbal and telephone threats and warrants sent against students activists, there was no place we could hold demonstrations and express our views, even peaceful, as we intended.
Dossiers against many students were reactivated, newspapers were told not to publish anything about the 18 of Tir (Iranian month), others were contacted by phone, warned to stay at home, he told the BBCs Persian service.
Days before the 8 July, some senior officials, including General Mohammad Talai, Commander of Tehran Police had called on the students to forget the past, whoever bitter.
To prevent any outburst, special anti riot of the Police and plainclothes men had been deployed in Tehran and other Iranian cities, claiming it was for "helping flow of the trafic jam".
As the day passed in Tehran and elsewhere in Iran with no major incident, outside, Iranians of all ideology organised well-attended demonstrations in several major cities and capitals, denouncing the ruling Mollahrchy for its brutal crackdowns on Iranian students, intellectuals, journalists and dissidents.
8 July of 1999 was the year President Mohammad Khatami showed his true colour, abandoning both his promised reforms and the people who voted for him. What started out as a reaction to the utter brutality of the fossilized establishment by young Iranian students has turned into a freedom movement the world should acknowledge and encourage, Iranians said in a statement.
Amnesty International and the New York-based Human Rights Watch renewed their calls to Iran's judiciary to undertake an independent and impartial judicial review of the trials of demonstrators convicted after their arrest during the 8 July 1999 demonstrations.
The organization also calls on the authority to carry out investigations of allegations of torture made by these prisoners and ensure that anyone found responsible for the torture is brought to justice Amnesty International said in a statement released on Thursday from London.
Five years latter, the authorities have taken no measure against those who conducted the savage attack on students and we are certain that like in the case of the serial murders, those who ordered the raid would never be identified, one scholar told Iran Press Service, hinting indirectly at the very person of Ayatollah Khameneh'i who actually ordered the forces to put down the revolt, the largest ever against the 25 years old Islamic Republic.
Iranian analysts said the authorities preventing peaceful manifestations by the students would further damage the already difficult relations between Tehran, now firmly controlled by the conservatives, with the rest of the world, mostly the European Union, which, in a recent statement, had strongly condemned the Islamic Republic for its handling of human rights.
ENDS STUDENTS COMMEMORATION 8704
Letters to the People of Iran # 5
Jul 8, 2004, 20:31
As we approach the anniversary of the students uprising in Tehran, it is crucial to realize that the Mullah Khatami, the once darling of the students, is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing. The so called reformist movement which he championed is dead at its door step. In fact, Mullah Khatami never had any intention of stepping out of the boundaries set by Mullah Khomeini and guarded by Mullah Khamenei.
He was (is) nothing but a puppet who was cleverly chosen by the Mullahs and their European masters to make the hopeless Iranian population into believing he was a different Mullah. His masters, through an elaborate PR campaign, talked about his so called education, understanding of the Western culture and values, mild temperament and steady hands, charisma, and the desire to abolish social constraint established by his predecessors. He became the light by which the darkness imposed by Mullah Khamenei and his Council of Guardians would lead to the only Islamic shinning city in the region promised by Mullah Khomeini and his band of tugs.
Therefore, he was embraced by millions of people in Iran, including this writer's family, as the messiah who would deliver his people from the oppressive chains of Khamenei and his likes. Once again, the Iranian people fell for the promises of the religious coyotes who had sold their souls to the European devils. They naively believed that this black hooded, well spoken, well dressed, and well groomed Mullah was different form the previous white hooded and uneducated cemetery Mullah who always looks as if he slept in his gown. The truth is very different. Now everyone knows that he is a sham, a fraud, and an imposter.
He is nothing but a big lie and his promises of reform are as genuine as Mullah Adabi, the so called freedom fighter and the newest member of the European hand picked puppets. His becoming to power was as staged as the shameful submission of the Noble Peace Prize to Mullah Adabi whose promise of hope for Iran and the Iranian people is written by the same pen which for years deceived Iranians into believing that Islam and individual liberty can coincide. Khatami and Adabi are created and molded by the same philosophy whose sole intention is designed into creating the illusion that there are forces within the Islamic government who favor reforming the existing regime. The European three, fearful of losing their foothold in Iran, have selected a female Mullah who can articulate their lies and deceit to the Iranian people.
They spend a few lousy minutes talking about the human rights violations of the Iranian government while their representatives spend days conjuring new contracts for their governments and private businesses. They talk of supporting the global fight against terrorism while they keep the founders of Hezballah and Hamas in power in Iran to protect their interests. They, very cleverly, introduce individuals like Khatami and Adabi to the Iranian people who, like broken records, keep promising to reform a seventh century Arab ideology which has survived numerous religious and political reformations around the world and is today as static as it was when created in the hopeless deserts of Saudi Arabia.
The fact is that reform and Islam are about as compatible as screen doors on submarines. Islam is about the total submission of one's body, mind, and the soul to the religion. It is more than a belief and religion. It is a way of life. It is the philosophy by which the believers determine their destinies. It is a hog pug of Arab tribal laws, ideas stolen from the Old Testament, and revelations dictated by an Arab sheep herder who spent the early days of his life in search of personal fame and fortune. It is a belief that does not allow its followers to seek any knowledge beyond what is permissible by the religion and its so called guardians.
Islamic laws do not recognize the rights of individuals to be free thinkers. They are designed to display a total domination over one's life. If one wonders why the so called reform movement in Iran has not been able to find its tracks, the reason is very simple. The so called reformers are in a continuous internal struggle to convince themselves that their static ideology is capable of reformation. The fact remains that they are incapable of reforming, because what the world sees in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries is the true Islam, filled with hatred for none-believers, merciless, intolerance of other beliefs, and incapable of allowing its followers to embrace progress.
The true face of Islam is seen day after day on the streets of Iraq and Israel. Islam is Osama bin Laden, Mosaeb Al Zarqawi, Yaser Arafat, Ayattolah Khamenei, and others who embrace the Jihadist movement throughout the Middle East. These individuals are the true followers of their faith and those who tell the world otherwise and try to introduce a friendly and tolerable faith to the world are nothing but liars and traitors to their own religion. We, the Iranian people must recognize that fourteen hundred years of Islamic oppression will only come to an end when we, the children of Kurosh, tell the truth about what is in our hearts.
We must admit to the world that Islam is the religion of the sword and not compassion. We must tell the world that Islam is the only religion which denies its followers to have a personal relationship with their creator. We have to finally realize that the words uttered by us during our prayers are the words of our conquerors and not those of our fathers. Most importantly, we must begin to eliminate all Arabic words from our daily vocabulary. We are the proud people of Persia whose words and actions were the example for the world long before the Arabs of the Saudi desert stopped burying their female offspring alive. We have a rich history filled with magnificent pure Persian names and vocabulary. Why should we name our children after those who have brought us nothing but misery, shame, the destruction? Why should we use names such as Ali and Hussein while names like Kurosh and Daryoosh are truly who we are?! Why can't we eliminate these names and other Arabic words from our daily vocabulary? Who are we trying to impress? Who are we afraid of? For once in your life, be honest with yourself. Tell the world what is truly in your heart. Let the world who you really are and free yourselves of this Arab domination.
Rid yourselves of this shame once and for all. Admit that for all of your lives you have been muttering words that you don't understand, and you only say them because you, like a robot, learned them from the robots before you. Be truthful to your heart. My dear Iranians, I like millions of you, struggled with these very same questions for most of my life until I finally realized that the first step into finding a solution to my problem was to admit that there was something fundamentally wrong with my upbringing. I, blindly, (although with good intentions) was brought up by my parents to cherish the faith and the superstitious of their parents and their parents before them. But, I found the truth to be much different than my childhood teachings. I was, am, and always will be Persian, the offspring of the first Persian King and the founder of the greatest civilization Kurosh. I adore my faith, heritage, culture, and the values which have been the center stone of all of the contemporary civilizations. The words spoken by Zoroaster centuries before Moses are clearly found in Torah and the Old Testament.
I reject the Arab faith, its teaching, and its demand for the total submission of body, mind, and soul. I call upon all of you who know the truth to be different from what you have been taught, those of you whose hearts are filled with different words than those uttered from your mouths, for once in your life, to be honest with yourselves. This is your life, your body, your mind, and your soul. Your faith should be about your personal relationship between you and your creator. If there is an after life, no one is going to hold you responsible for the mistakes of your parents', but you will be responsible for mistakes inflected (by you) upon your children. Do not allow this madness to go on. Speak the truth; tell your children about what is truly in your hearts. Admit to your mistakes and those inflected upon you by your parents. Allow your children to be their own persons. Let them make up their own minds about which path they should follow.
Make them aware of who they really are. Tell them about the glorious times when the world was the envy of our culture. Tell them about the Persian scientist, poets, and philosophers who filled Iranian minds with their knowledge and their words of hope amid the period of Islamic inquisition in Iran. These great minds did not appear in our history, because of the existence of Islam in Iran as it is sometimes suggested by Islamic apologists, but rather despite this faith and its anti knowledge superstitious. We don't see this parallel in any of the Islamic nation in the world but only in Iran. It was the Iranian culture that produced Ferdosi, Khayyam, Saadi, Hafez, Sina, and Razi and not the Saudi culture. Where is the evidence that anyone even close to these great minds ever existed in the birth place of Islam? It is the freedom to explore one's mind and embrace progress which allows one to discover new ideas. Where is the evidence of that in the Arabian Peninsula? How are the people of these people different than they were two thousand years ago? Take the discovery of oil and the material riches that it has brought to this region out of the history and what do you have? Shouldn't have Islam had the most impact on the minds of the people of its birth place? So you see my friends, it was not Islam who gave us these great minds, it was Iran. It was our ability to step beyond the limitations set by this fourteen hundred years old static idea. It was the rejection of the idea that somehow a black hooded uneducated Mullah who claims to have divine intervention is the "master" and should be worshiped as such. The same ideas are alive and well today, but are in the hearts and the minds of Iranians around the world. The truth has to be known. These ideas have to be publicized.
We must speak out and let the world know that we are not of the same race and background who kidnaps and brutally beheads innocent people so joyfully. We are the children of a race who for the first time in the history of mankind spoke of and promoted good words, good behavior, and good deeds. We reject this static ideology and all of the misery that it has inflected upon our people. We demand our freedom from this bondage. Keep hope alive, because if hope dies Iran dies.
Cast an educated Vote
By: Slater Bakhtavar
Jul 8, 2004, 03:52
Judging from the recent wave of politically charged articles on various discussion boards the 2004 President Elections are rapidly emerging. According to various acclaimed political columns, the Iranian-American vote is positively charged and sure to make a dent in the elections. Furthermore, according to the wave of emotionally charged propaganda the well-established Persian community in the US should support the Democratic candidate John Kerry for President.
Course, the political elite have shown little lee-way and a horrendous record for their agenda. The neo-Liberal Iranians often cite three or four reasons for supporting Presidential hopeful John Kerry.
Those reasons typically include:
a) The Iraq war which they portray as a miserable failure resulting in a failed democratic system,
b) President Bush's tax cuts which they claim have resulted in unfair compensation to wealthy Americans and have severely damaged the economy,
c) the Patriot Act which they claim has unfairly targeted Middle-Eastern, and finally,
d) Farenheit 9/11 - which portrays President Bush as a die-hard lunatic in bed with the Saudi Terrorists.
However, I'd like to remind those unsure of their ideology that while the war in Iraq has resulted in hundreds, if not thousands of deaths, freedom is not free and democracy has to be earned. Recent polls shows that 70% of Iraqis support the Interim President Allawi and his administration and the majority of Iraqis have a positive view of their future. Further, according to recent economic assessments the US economy is on a massive upsurge, with consumer confidence at a three year high and the jobless rate taking a near one percent drop. Also, while it's true that the Bush Administration encouraged and established the Patriot Act after 9/11, by all indications former President Clinton would have done the same thing to safe guard the United States. [In fact, in 1993 former President Clinton signed papers to ready the United States for a war against Iraq, and to encourage Acts similar to the Patriot Act in case of a domestic backlash]. Finally, those identifying themselves as Democrats should reminded that Mr.Moore recently slammed the Democratic party as a "miserable, pathetic party that can't win an election even when they win an election".
To further solidify my own understanding of the current political climate within the community. I recently interviewed ten Iranian-Americans on their political affiliation and ideology. First, I wanted to research political identification within our ethnicity. According to the statistics five identified themselves as Democrats, two as Republican and two as Independent. I then inquired about their political positions on ten pressing issues; those issues were taxes, gay marriage, social welfare, abortion, relations with various governments, business, environment, foreign policy, education, and civil rights. After surveying the results and comparing the answer with each parties political ideology, I concluded that nine out of ten people surveyed were far more consistent with the Republican Parties platform.
It's interesting to note that the Iranians I surveyed overwhelmingly supported strong family, hard-work, lower taxes, business, support for a democratic ME, vouchers, and are were largely against gay marriage, abortion, and abundant social welfare - virtually every single question they identified with the Republican Party, but yet claimed themselves Democrats.
This November, I'm not asking you to switch political parties, I'm just asking you to make an educated vote and not base things on sheer ignorance. Please vote, but please make an educated vote.
Jimmah Carter is a DemoRat and he did wonders for Iran, or so he says.
8th of July and Student Movement's recent Developments
SMCCDI (Public Statement)
Jul 8, 2004
8th of July and Student Movement's recent Developments
This year we are welcoming the arrival of 8th of July, the fifth anniversary of the university students' epic uprising for democracy in 1999, at a moment when the student movement itself has arrived at the threshold of a very significant development. This movement which suffered from the influence and control of the Islamic Republic's ruling apparatus and its related branches in the past years, has come to full grasp of the fact that the realization of its democratic ideals and objectives are only possible in lieu of critique of the ruling system and abandonment the groups and currents the system sponsors.
After the failure of the so-called "reform movement" we have witnessed great changes within the universities' Islamic and reformist groups. Their radical and fundamental critique of the "reformist" current, which mostly focused on its ideological beliefs and principles, has resulted in great changes for the student movement.
The plan for formation of a Student's Parliament by the OCU (Office of Consolidation of Unity), which until very recently was regarded as the student arm of the reformers and one of their most important bases, and publication of a 10 page proclamation which emphasizes necessity of political independence of universities, unity and formation of a unified front participated by all student groups, indicate important changes within the student formation. The students' departure from the reformists' camp and their radical ideological stance against the ruling power and declaration of presence and participation of all student and secular groups in the Student's Parliament clearly underscore fundamental changes in OCU and their allegiance with the democratic political currents.
Failure of reform and, subsequently, the student movement's rejection of the reformers' beliefs and views, and also their thrust towards modern and secular concepts can be very much witnessed in their current literature. Even a casual glance over the statements of the Islamic councils associated with the universities is enough to see that a new chapter in their political dialogue has been opened.
As a result of an internal process, a significant portion of the student movement body that had suffered great losses by following the reformers, engaged in a critical analysis of the ideological foundation of the reformist currents. Concepts such as religious democracy, religious enlightenment, function within the framework of the constitution, fighting the agendas through the parliament, adherence to law, government accountability, invincibility of reforms, and many of the reformist slogans and mottos are now subjected to serious doubts by the student movement.
Experiences of losses of past years became the impetus for revising and restructuring the ideological foundations within the student movement; so much that now Islamic political literature have been replaced by modernist views.
The so-called reformers who by insisting that the "system can be reformed," tried to maintain their political hold on the society, werent able to deliver with their claims and rapidly lost their status and position within the society and headed towards political annihilation. The analysis of the reasons of the reformists failure is indeed a very educating lesson by itself. Their thought process which was a product of two contradicting elements, religion and democracy, eventually failed to meet the societys heavy demands and was subjected to severest criticism.
The reformers haphazard views that lacked any originality garnered no more than confusion and chaos for themselves and their followers. In a way, utilization of conjoined contradictory terms had effectively transformed them into strange amphibious political creatures during a period of transition from tradition to modernity! Their beliefs were supposedly based on worldly and rational interpretation of religion, and they aimed to structure a socio-political system based on Islamic concepts. But the results were that the paradox of religion and democracy denied them a clear and realistic observation of the truth and the important fact that it is the humans own volition that forms the basis for a political establishment.
With the view of government as an organism, within the context of modern philosophy, and rationalism, as the sole provider of order in the social arena and rejection thereof of any connection between the human mind and the supernatural, the basis for the modern government as a product of man came to being and citizens right of participation, which is the pillar of democracy, came to stand against the traditional world of a heavenly prescribed system relying on guidance from above! So therefore, by a comprehensive observation it can be said that the modern political school of thought, which is the vehicle for democracy, by departing from religion and heavenly power and arriving at concepts of self-belief, earthliness, and refuting sanctities through critical rationalizing, rejects any point of basis outside of the confines of society. Hence terms such as Islamic Republic or Religious Democracy can only be products of pure rational disarray.
In another aspect, the reformers failed to reform the system of Islamic Republic due to existence of unbreakable bonds that they enjoyed with the system. They knew very well that taking steps towards changes could cause the collapse of the totality of the system and that was not an outcome they desired. So they consistently chose the side of the system against establishing the rule of people. It became apparent that the reformers sole objective had been to come to power and to realize that goal they set aside fulfilling the needs of people. They were not true to their mottos and eventually met defeat. Undoubtedly, the reformers defeat wasnt only because of the conservatives disruptive interference, rather it was due to their own dishonesty with the people.
The incident of 8 July 1999 was by itself a telling example of the reformers political double standards. While people were out in the streets supporting the students, the reformers by bringing pressure on the student movement and forcing the students to just conduct a sit-in in the campus, effectively separated the students from the people and laid the grounds for the crackdown on their uprising. In this midst, the role of Khatami and his explicit orders to crackdown on people is also very important to note as he always hurries to support the government of supreme jurisprudence whenever there is a popular action.
But what is sprouting today out of the ruins and ashes of the reform movement, is the growth of modern thinking, rationalism, and humanism which will push religion out of the political arena. We can definitely call today the end of tradition and beginning of the modern era in which the role of the student movement and their transition out of the reformism is very significant. A secular current, which in the beginning was called the Third Force, has emerged out of the depth of the society and is going to become a powerful replacement to the current rule by reliance on secularism and rejection of religious interference.
But it must be kept in mind that what is being called the critique of reforms isnt just an analysis of a bankrupt political current. Rather, it is a critical look at the path of a historic evolution that is to bring about a great social renaissance. So therefore, the results of the student movement has now climbed in status from the level of change and reform to a greater level of societys push towards modernity and rationality. That can be a historic turning point in the entire eastern world.
In this venue, the most determining factor is existence of an organizational and structural function within the student movement that must take more than 1.5 million students into its mold. Success in a political struggle can not be achieved without group and organizational work. So creation of student organizations and expansion of theoretical and analytical work within the universities, and dissemination of ideas out of the universities through an organized mechanism for the purpose of elevating peoples level of political knowledge and creating hope and a sense of belief in self among them and a purpose to fight amongst the youth are of the most important affairs that must be integral parts of the student organizations agendas.
As it honors the 8th of July event and cherishes the memory of all freedom fighters and political prisoners in Iran, The Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI) requests from the noble nation of Iran to keep alive the epic struggle of this great day with their all out presence in the ceremonies and shout their slogans for freedom of political prisoners and liberation of Iran from the clutches of despotism.
Tehran, July 8, 2004 (18th Tir 1383)
The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI)
Kerry traveled to Nicaragua in 1983 to shake the hand of Daniel Ortega, Communist leader and serial molestor of Ortega's own daughter from age eleven.
Queen Pahlavi called for regime change in Iran on Charlie Rose show, Thursday July 8th, 2004. Charlie was interviewing her because of her new book reviewed by Reza Bayegan here.
Will we answer her call?
Bit-by-Bit Surrender to The Mullahs
July 09, 2004
The released videotaped footage of blindfolded British soldiers captured by the Islamic Republic was evocative of another Western humiliation in the hands of Iranian religious fanatics. On November 4, 1979, when the militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran, they also paraded their hand-tied, blindfolded hostages in front of the television cameras. Today, an analytical approach to Middle-Eastern terrorism cannot be complete without due consideration paid to that watershed event that kept the world transfixed for 444 days. During that crisis the militants kept pressing their luck to see how far they could go, and with the political school of moral vacillation then well represented in the White House, they soon recognized that they could go as far as they wanted to. They managed to accomplish an outright victory for anarchy and hooliganism from which the world has not yet recovered.
Prominent American historian J. Rufus Fears, in a lecture delivered in Princeton on October 8, 2003, points out the dangerous consequences of the Carter administration's mishandling of that far-reaching crisis. Answering a question put to him by one of his listeners, Professor Rufus remarked:
In 1999, I told an audience that our failure to act decisively at the time of the Iranian hostage controversy has left us with a bitter harvest that we will one day reap, and I have never been so sorry to be so right.
In fact, the seizure of the United States Embassy in Tehran presented itself as a possibility to the terrorists by a lesson they had learned from a preceding event. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution and his fanatical supporters had the shrewdness to realize that an America that lacked the backbone to stand by a long-time friend like the Shah, could not muster enough resolve to stand up to ruthless terror and blackmail.
Western democracies today are harvesting the lethal fruits of their past failure of judgment and their inability to foresee what was in store for them with the advent of Islamic fundamentalism. Furthermore, 25 years into the Iranian revolution with all the inherent lessons they still seem to be unable to face up to their enemies and back up their true friends. So-called constructive engagement and creative diplomacy, when applied to terrorist states, can only result in further exposing every citizen of the free world into the potential danger of being blown up or becoming a helpless, blindfolded hostage teetering between life and death.
The British government's policy towards the Islamic Republic is not a policy put together in the light of what the Iranian regime in reality stands for. It is rather sketched on the basis of what Jack Straw and some others in the Foreign Office hope one day it might evolve into. It is grounded in self-deception, bewilderment and irresponsibility. The mullahs on the other hand have no illusions about their enemies and their allies. Like all well-trained, well-experienced terrorists they can immediately sense the moral confusion and intellectual perplexity of their victims and use it to their greatest political advantage. They are toying with Jack Straw the same way they manipulated the weakness and confusion of the Carter administration.
Having successfully flexed their muscles in the Arvand Rood waterway (Shatt al-Arab in Arabic) by seizing the British vessel, the mullahs know full well that they face no retaliation. They are complacent in their assurance that all the dismay expressed by London over the abduction of their sailors will amount to nothing and is a mere face- saving exercise. As The Guardian reported in its July 2 issue, the Foreign Office is unlikely to consider a drastic response since it cherishes its diplomatic links with Tehran.
Accordingly the British government has adopted the same cringing, guilt-ridden, apologetic attitude as that of the Clinton administration (remember Madeleine Albright's apology to Iran for past American errors). Jack Straw is banking on what he calls bit-by-bit, progress in relations between Iran and the United Kingdom. In fact, what we witness seems increasingly like bit-by-bit surrender to the Islamic Republic of Iran rather than a clearly thought out and integrated foreign policy.
The British unwillingness to stand up to the regime in Tehran is partly due to what is taking place at the moment in Iraq. The war waged against Saddam Hussein with its obvious benefit of ridding the world of a cruel dictator has incurred huge human and material loss. The mullahs, instead of waiting for their turn to become the next dispatched member of the Axis of Evil, have been fighting the war for their survival on Iraqi soil by supporting the terrorists and sabotaging the establishment of democracy in that country. Their diabolical efforts have paid off. Fatigued both militarily and economically by the war in Iraq, the United States would have great difficulty in commencing a war on a new front.
This allied exhaustion has offered the clerical dictatorship a new lease on life, which the mullahs are using to push forward with their plan to acquire of nuclear weapons. On June 27, 2004 in defiance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the Iranian government decided to resume centrifuge construction. It is only a (brief) matter of time before the most dangerous regime on earth will be armed with the most destructive means to destroy human life. If such a nightmare is realized, Jack Straw's bit-by-bit, progress with Iran can only mean inching toward Hell on earth.
Nuclear Temptation in the Middle East
July 08, 2004
The Economist Print Edition
If the world is in for a dangerous nuclear chain reaction, its trigger could be in the already fissile Middle East. Arab governments point their finger at Israel, which has long been thought to possess up to 200 nuclear bombs.
Israel, like India and Pakistan, has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). But it points the finger right back, at the chemical- and possibly biological-tipped missiles bristling in its neighbours' armouries.
This balance of insecurity was always uneasy. Now Israel's nuclear edge, which helped steady it, may be eroding. Of the four covert nuclear programmes discovered in recent years, threeIraq's, Iran's and Libya'sare in the Middle East; the fourth is North Korea's. And there are suspicions that these may not be the last.
This week Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, was in Israel, partly for technical discussions (being outside the NPT, Israel's military sites, including its plutonium-producing reactor at Dimona in the Negev desert, are off-limits to inspectors but some civilian sites come under their safeguards), but also to suggest one answer to the accumulating nuclear threats: hold talks on a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle Eastbefore it is too late.
In the past, Israel has been ready to contemplate such a zone, so long as it included all weapons of mass destruction in the region, but only when there was a durable peace. Mr ElBaradei wants to encourage the idea that security talks should run in parallel to the fitful diplomacy in the region. Some Israelis are interested. But for the government, the opportunities have so far been outweighed by the threats.
Certainly, Saddam Hussein's hostile regime in Iraq, which fired missiles at Israel during the first Gulf war and whose own nuclear reactor at Osirak was bombed by the Israeli air force in 1981, is gone. Libya's decision last December to get out of the business of weapons of mass destruction took another country off Israel's threat list.
The information Libya handed over about its suppliers helped expose a vast global black market in uranium enrichment and other militarily useful skills centred on a Pakistani scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan. Since Iran tapped into the same illicit network, all this helped the IAEA expose its 18 years of nuclear-safeguards violations: illegal nuclear experiments set out in a series of reports for all to see. Yet, troublingly, Iran shows no sign yet of giving up the dangerous technologies it has developed, despite a deal with Britain, France and Germany last year that they hoped would give it an opportunity and incentive to do so.
There is also the fourth customer problem. Although Mr Khan had admitted to selling his nuclear wares only to Iran, Libya and North Korea (all wilful breakers of NPT rules), there are suspicions that others may have availed themselves of his services. Although all supposedly bound by their non-nuclear promise under the NPT, few Arab governments have accepted the more intrusive safeguards and inspection regime devised after it was found how close Iraq had come to a bomb before the first Gulf war, without anyone knowing.
Who else, then?
Saudi Arabia has no safeguards agreement with the IAEA at all, though under the NPT it should. It has plenty of cash to buy in nuclear expertise. Back in the late 1980s it acquired Chinese-built CSS-2 missiles capable of striking anywhere in the region, and indeed beyond, with a nuclear or chemical warhead. Having helped, it is said, to finance both Libya's and Pakistan's nuclear-weapons pursuits, some think it may have bought itself an option on a Pakistani bomb or two, should need arise.
Syria, which already has chemical and biological weapons, is a worry too. Unconfirmed reports suggest it may now have a covert uranium enrichment capability. And its efforts to acquire a nuclear desalination plant raise fears that it could some day acquire plutonium.
If Iran's Shia theocracy were to get its hands on a bomb, it is not only Israel that might be alarmed. Egypt has potentially militarily useful nuclear skills and an increasingly sophisticated missile programme. Algeria has a suspiciously large nuclear reactor in the Sahara, surrounded by missile defences. And there are fears that even Turkey, a NATO member, could reconsider its non-nuclear pledge, should others in the region seem about to renege on theirs.
Much depends on whether Iran's nuclear ambitions can be checked before it has a bomb. Some are urging Israel to help the diplomacy along, by declaring an end to its plutonium production and shutting down Dimona (where there are already safety concerns due to the reactor's age), by ratifying the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (which it has already signed) and by taking other confidence-building steps.
But without a better outlook for stability in the region, let alone peace, Israel may prefer self-reliance. Its nuclear weapons can be carried on missiles and aircraft and perhaps now also on submarines armed with American-built Harpoon missiles modified to carry nuclear warheads. It has also hinted that if Russia shows signs of delivering fuel for Iran's nearly completed nuclear reactor at Bushehr, it would consider the sort of conventional strikes that knocked out Iraq's Osirak reactor. One way or another, the finger-pointing could yet turn deadly.
Iran's Supreme Leader Calls For Military Buildup
July 09, 2004
Khaleej Times Online
TEHERAN -- Irans supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called for the armed forces to be boosted, as the Islamic republic unveiled a locally developed fighter jet, the official news agency IRNA reported on Friday.
Our country may not be faced with any military threat for years, Khamenei was quoted as saying during a military parade in the western city of Hamedan.
But the Islamic republics powerful defence system must be prepared to defend the country and the people while consistently developing its abilities, he said.
During his tour of Hamedan, Khamenei was shown one of the countrys first home-made fighter jets -- the Saeqeh (thunderbolt), described by military analysts as a modified Northrup F-5.
The jet has been shown on state television making a test flight. No information about its operational capacity, technical specifications or production were given.
Iran has also reportedly been developing another locally-made fighter called the Azarakhsh, or lightning, as part of efforts to replace an air force fleet largely comprised of US-made planes bought before the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Lost Chances in Iran [Excerpt]
By David Ignatius
Friday, July 9, 2004; Page A19
Whoever wins this November's presidential election, the United States faces an urgent question that the Bush administration has not resolved: What is America's strategy for coping with the rising power of Iran?
Washington and Tehran have had extensive secret contacts since Sept. 11 -- premised on their shared goal of destroying al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Despite many meetings, nothing has come of the contacts -- partly because the Bush administration, not for the first time, was internally divided over the right strategic course.
What's poignant about these wary U.S.-Iranian feelers is that just over a year ago, they yielded a plan for an "anti-terrorist" deal that both countries should have loved: Iran would hand over some senior al Qaeda operatives in its custody and the United States would transfer to Iran some prisoners it was holding from the Iraqi-backed Mujaheddin-e Khalq organization, a group America has officially branded as terrorist.
The State Department is said to have favored such a deal, but the Pentagon balked -- arguing that the Mujaheddin-e Khalq might be useful in fomenting regime change in Tehran. Sadly, this internal dispute between administration pragmatists and ideologues over Iran is similar to the feuds that have obstructed policy on North Korea and Iraq.
To understand why Iran is such an interesting case study of lost opportunities, a little background is necessary. The following account is drawn from current Iranian officials, former U.S. officials and other sources. ....
How to Tame Tehran
July 09, 2004
The Middle East Quarterly
Over the past year, Iran has become a major cause of concern in Washington. The Islamic Republic has been discovered to possess a robust nuclear program, of a scope well beyond previous estimates. It has also made substantial breakthroughs in its ballistic missile capabilities. Less noticed, but equally significant, has been Tehran's growing activism in the Persian Gulf, the Caucasus, and Iraq.
There is a vision and a method to Iran's policies. In the words of Mohsen Reza'i, secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, Iran believes it is destined to become the "center of international power politics" in the post-Saddam Hussein Middle East. Iran's new, more confrontational strategic doctrine even has a name: "deterrent defense." According to foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi, this national security concept is designed to confront "a broad spectrum of threats to Iran's national security, among them foreign aggression, war, border incidents, espionage, sabotage, regional crises derived from the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), state terrorism, and discrimination in manufacturing and storing WMD."
Under the rubric of "deterrent defense," Iran is exploiting U.S. preoccupation with Iraq to build capabilities that will establish its hegemony in its immediate neighborhood and enhance its role across the Middle East. Iran's moves, if unchecked, will create a grave and growing challenge to U.S. aims in the region. At stake are nothing less than the geopolitical balance in the Middle East and the long-term achievement of U.S. goals, from stability in Iraq to regional peace.
How has Iran's policy changed? And what can the United States do to thwart Iran's new drive?
For years, policymakers in Washington had suspected Tehran's rulers of pursuing an offensive nuclear capability. They had viewed with alarm the growing strategic ties between Iran and Russia and had publicly expressed concerns that the centerpiece of that cooperation, the million light-water reactor project at Bushehr, could lead to significant Iranian nuclear advances.
Then, in the summer of 2002, an Iranian opposition group disclosed the existence of an extensive uranium enrichment complex at Natanz in central Iran. This revelation and a series of subsequent discoveries by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)ranging from advanced clandestine nuclear development to the presence of trace weapons-grade uraniumrevealed the true extent of Iran's nuclear endeavor.
This effort turns out to have been far broader and more mature than originally believed. Iran is now thought to have some fourteen other facilities, including heavy- and light-water reactors in Isfahan and Arak, and suspect sites in Fasa, Karaj, and Nekka. Together, these constitute all the makings of an ambitious national effort to develop nuclear weapons. Iranian officials, meanwhile, have hinted at the existence of still other, as yet undisclosed, facilities essential to the country's nuclear program.
Iran appears to have agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment activities under an October 2003 deal with France, Germany, and Great Britain. Similarly, international pressure succeeded in prompting Iran to sign the Additional Protocol to the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), permitting snap inspections and invasive monitoring of segments of Iran's nuclear sector by the International Atomic Energy Agency. However, two of Iran's main atomic suppliers, Russia and China, wield veto power on the United Nations Security Council, making it improbable that Iranian nuclear violations would result in meaningful censure. And in fact, ongoing IAEA deliberations have so far failed to yield decisive international action, despite mounting evidence of Iran's atomic breaches.
There is also a lingering uncertainty over Tehran's nuclear timeline. While informed American observers contend that Iran is still some two years (and possibly longer) away from an offensive nuclear capability, others believe that an Iranian bomb could materialize much sooner. In November 2003 testimony before the Israeli parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned that Iran could reach a "point of no return" in its nuclear development by mid-2004, following which time an Iranian offensive capability would become a virtual certainty. President Bush has himself warned that the United States "will not tolerate" a nuclear-armed Iran. But if estimates are off, even by a few months, Iran could present the world with a nuclear fait accompli.
At the same time, major breakthroughs in Iran's strategic arsenal have made it an emerging missile power. In June 2003, the Islamic Republic conducted what it termed the final test of its 1,300-kilometer range Shahab-3 ballistic missile. The launch was a success, confirming Iran's ability to target U.S. allies Israel and Turkey, as well as U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf. Since then, with great fanfare, the Islamic Republic has inducted the advanced rocket into its Revolutionary Guards (the Pasdaran).
This potential for proliferation is hardly the only worry. If recent signals are any indication, the Shahab-3 has already evolved well beyond its officially declared capabilities. In September 2003, at a military parade commemorating the anniversary of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the Shahab-3 was officially described as possessing a range of 1,700 kilometers. Additionally, opposition groups have charged that Tehran's overt missile development actually masks a much broader clandestine endeavorone that includes development of the 4,000-kilometer range Shahab-5 and even a follow-on Shahab-6 intercontinental ballistic missile.
Such efforts have only been strengthened by Iranian perceptions of U.S. policy. The Bush administration's rapid dispatch of Saddam Hussein's regime, and its contrasting hesitancy in dealing with a newly nuclear North Korea, has had a profound impact on Iran's calculus. North Korea's nuclear maneuvers, and its ability to successfully stymie U.S. strategy, have led Iranian officials to express their admiration for Pyongyang's resistance to U.S. "pressure, hegemony and superiority." There has indeed been some internal debate in Iran about the risks of stepping over the nuclear threshold. Yet even leading Iranian reformers appear to have gravitated to the notion that nuclear weapons are necessary to shift the regional "equilibrium."
These strategic advances, however, are only part of the picture. In tandem with Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile breakthroughs, a significant transformation has also begun in Iranian foreign policy.
For Tehran, the overthrow of Hussein's regime has only fueled mounting fears of a dangerous strategic encirclement. The U.S. destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan had already ensconced the pro-Westernalbeit fragilegovernment of Hamid Karzai in Kabul. For Iran, the extremist Sunni Taliban posed an ideological threat, but a U.S. foothold on Iran's eastern border is regarded as even more threatening. Regime change in Baghdad, therefore, confronted officials in Tehran with the two-fold danger that Iran could be pinioned between two U.S. client-states, and that Iraq's fall might be a prelude to a similar U.S. drive to transform their country.
In response, Iran formulated its new strategic doctrine of "deterrent defense." In practice, this has entailed a major expansion of Iran's military capabilities. Heavy defense expenditures, and ongoing strategic partnerships with both Russia and China, have made possible a far-reaching national military rearmament. Defense acquisitions made over the past several years have steadily broadened Iran's strategic reach over vital Persian Gulf shipping lanes, to the point that Tehran now possesses the ability to virtually control oil supplies from the region. Iran has also increased its diplomatic activism in the region, redoubling its long-running efforts to erect an independent security framework as a counterweight to the expanding U.S. military footprint.
As part of this effort, in February 2004, Iran codified an unprecedented military and defense accord with Syriaone formally enshrining an Iranian commitment to Syria's defense in the event of a U.S. or Israeli offensive. Iranian officials have subsequently made clear that these mutual defense guarantees also extend to Lebanon and to the Islamic Republic's most potent regional proxy: Hizbullah.
Iran has also raised its military and diplomatic profile in the Caucasus. In April 2003, foreign minister Kharrazi embarked on a diplomatic tour of the region intended to marshal support for a common regional security framework for Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, and Turkey as an alternative to cooperation with "external forces." But lukewarm regional responses have prompted the Islamic Republic to nudge these countries into alignment through less subtle means. In mid-October 2003, Iran commenced large-scale military maneuvers in its northwest region, near Azerbaijan. The exercises, reportedly the largest conducted by Iran in recent memory, massed troops on the Iranian-Azeri border in a clear show of force aimed at dissuading the former Soviet republic from expanding cooperation with the United States. A corresponding Iranian naval build-up is now visible in the Caspian Sea in response to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan's growing military relationships with Washington.
U.S. advances in the region are regarded by Iran as potential threats, but paradoxically they have also presented Iran with opportunities that it has been quick to exploit.
The coalition campaign against Saddam Hussein's regime succeeded in eliminating the threat posed by Tehran's most immediate adversary, thereby cementing Iran's dominant regional standing. Iran has exploited the post-war political vacuum in Iraq to foment instability through a variety of measures, ranging from political support of radical Shiite elements to an increase in drug trafficking. This broad offensive has reportedly included the infiltration of hundreds of Pasdaran operatives into Iraq where they have engaged in active recruitment, influence operations, and assassinationsat a cost to Iran of some million per month.
Hussein's overthrow has also effectively defanged a lingering threat to Tehran: the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), a wing of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. Since the spring of 2003, coalition forces under a U.S.-imposed ceasefire have curtailed the anti-regime group's operations in Iraq. And a subsequent December decision by Iraq's new governing council has labeled the MKOpreviously tolerated and even supported by the Baathistsas a terrorist organization.
To Iran's east, meanwhile, the fall of the Taliban has removed an ideological competitor for Muslim hearts and minds while lingering factionalism and tribal rivalries have allowed Iran to perpetuate Afghanistan's instability.
Iran is clearly determined to remake its strategic environment in its favor. Iran has mobilized its technological resources to give it greater reach and has used political, economic, and military clout to encourage a tilt in its direction in its immediate neighborhood. Paradoxically, the United States, by breaking up the old order in states neighboring Iran, has given Tehran hitherto unimagined opportunities to influence the region.
Can international diplomacy deflect Iran's newest drive for regional hegemony? It hardly seems likely. From 1991 to 1997, the European Union (EU) engaged in a "critical dialogue" with the Islamic Republic, attempting to moderate Iran's radical policies through trade. But by 1997, critical dialogue had actually achieved exactly the opposite result, infusing Iran with much needed currency while failing to alter Tehran's support for terrorism, its pursuit of WMD, and its violations of human rights. Diplomacy has had a limited effect because the EU countries have allowed their economic interests to undercut their diplomatic efforts. For example, in late 2002, in the midst of revelations regarding Iran's advanced nuclear development, the EU signaled its intention to commence new negotiations with the Islamic Republic on a sweeping trade and cooperation pact.
The United States has also wavered in its application of diplomatic pressure. The May 1997 election of soft-line cleric Mohammed Khatami to the Iranian presidencyand his subsequent, much-publicized "dialogue of civilizations" interview on CNNconvinced many in Washington that Iran was moving toward pragmatic accommodation. Since then, U.S. policymakers, despite reiterating their continued commitment to containment of Iran, have time and again qualified Iran's membership in the "axis of evil." Most notably, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in a February 2003 interview with the Los Angeles Times, distinguished between Iran on the one hand and North Korea and Iraq on the otheron account of Iran's "democracy."
This, too, is an illusion. The Islamic Republic in recent years has engaged in a widening governmental campaign of domestic repressionone that includes stepped-up crackdowns on the press and the brutal persecution of regime opponents. The repression reflects a governmental effort to grapple with the groundswell of political opposition that has emerged among Iran's disaffected young population in response to the country's rising unemployment and economic stagnation.
At the same time, Iran's theocrats remain deeply antagonistic to all U.S. overtures. This was demonstrated most recently by the quiet contacts between Washington and Tehran in the aftermath of the devastating December 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran. Despite deep support for dialogue among reformist parliamentarians, clerical hard-liners opposed to such a rapprochement ultimately cut short the contacts.
If the United States wants to alter Iran's behavior, it cannot expect results from the tried-and-failed approaches of "critical dialogue," "dialogue of civilizations," and other false starts.
Yet a policy that reassures allies, deters Iranian aggression, and curbs Iran's expansionism is more than feasible. It requires the United States to do four things: broaden containment to include counter-proliferation; revive Gulf defense alliances; mobilize Turkey; and woo the Iranian people.
Expanded containment. Far and away the most urgent task now facing Washington is arresting Iran's nuclear progress. Over the past year, U.S. policymakers have expressed increasingly vocal concerns over the corrosive global potential of an Iranian nuclear breakout, ranging from a nuclear arms race in the Middle East to Tehran's growing capacity for nuclear blackmail. Yet the United States could assume a more proactive role in preventing the transfer of nuclear technology transfers to Iran.
This is the concept behind the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), the counter-proliferation partnership launched by President Bush in May 2003. Since its inception, the PSIdesigned to prevent the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by rogue nations through more aggressive intelligence-sharing and interdiction effortshas already charted some notable successes vis-à-vis North Korea, including a clampdown on illicit North Korean smuggling operations by both Australia and Japan. And recent maneuvers by PSI-member nations in the Coral Sea and the Mediterranean suggest a growing role for the alliance in the Middle East, both as a mechanism to intercept illicit WMD trafficking in the Persian Gulf and as a means to target proliferation networks (such as the recently unearthed nuclear ring led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan) now active in the region.
But the PSI is not the only tool in Washington's arsenal. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, the United States is quietly moving ahead with Caspian Guard, an initiative designed to bolster regional security through expanded maritime patrols, aerial and naval surveillance, and border protections. As part of this effort, the United States has stepped up military exercises with Azerbaijan and has committed some million to strengthening the former Soviet republic's naval capability and border security. This includes beefing up Azerbaijan's communications infrastructure and helping to carry out counter-proliferation operations.
Similarly, under a five-year defense accord signed with Kazakhstan in 2003, Washington has bankrolled the construction of a Kazakh military base in the Caspian coast city of Atyrau and has allocated millions to equipment and training for the Kazakh army, maritime and border-patrol forces. Central to this effort is the prevention of WMD proliferation through the region, not least the transfer of technology from Russia to Iran.
The early successes of the PSI and Caspian Guard suggest that both initiatives can and should be expanded to address more comprehensively the threat from the Islamic Republic.
Reviving Gulf defense. Over the past several years, fears of a rising Tehran have begun to drive many Arab Gulf countries toward accommodation with Iran. For example, such concerns led Oman to establish a modus vivendi with the Islamic Republic through the codification of a sweeping agreement on military cooperation in 2000 (albeit one that has since been denied by Oman). Kuwait subsequently followed suit, striking a similar bargain in October 2002. Even Saudi Arabia, previously a strategic competitor of Iran, capitulated on a long-discussed framework accord with Tehran in late 2001, in the wake of two multi-billion-dollar Russo-Iranian defense accords.
But for many of these countries, such bilateral partnerships are a product of necessitya function of the inadequacy of national defenses and regional alliances in addressing Iran's rising expansionism. The distrust of Iran still runs very deep. As a recent editorial in London's influential Arab-language Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper emphasized, Iran now poses a threat to "Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, which share with Iran a land border of 5,400 kilometers and a sea border of 2,400 kilometers The Iranian nuclear danger threatens us, first and foremost, more than it threatens the Israelis and the Americans."
Such worries have prompted the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprised of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, to initiate a feasibility study for an alliance-wide anti-missile system. At the same time, individual countries in the Arab Gulf (most notably Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) have initiated efforts to upgrade their individual missile defense capabilities. Recently uncovered nuclear contacts between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan suggest that at least one of Iran's neighbors has begun to actively contemplate the need for a strategic deterrent against the Islamic Republic.
All this suggests that a U.S. strategic initiative toward the Arab Gulf may find ready customers. On the one hand, a deepening of Washington's bilateral military dialogue and defense contacts with individual Gulf nations might lessen regional dependence not only on Iran but on an increasingly volatile and unpredictable Saudi Arabia as well. On the other hand, the creation of a formalized American security architecture over the region could reinvigorate Washington's regional partnerships while excluding and isolating Iran. Common to all of these efforts is the need to provide Tehran's neighbors with the tools to counter its growing potential for nuclear and ballistic missile blackmail.
Talking Turkey. Ties between the United States and Turkey have been tepid since Ankara's unexpected refusal to grant basing rights to U.S. troops on the eve of the spring 2003 Iraq campaigna move that torpedoed U.S. plans for a northern front against Hussein's regime. Since then, however, policymakers in both countries have begun to mend fences. As part of that process, the United States should insist that Turkey do more to hedge Iranian ambitions in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Unfortunately, Turkey's historic role as a strategic competitor of Iran has been substantially eroded. Indeed, over the past two years, Ankara has steadily drifted toward a new relationship with Tehran. Much of this movement has been underpinned by energy. Turkey's growing dependence on Iranwhich could provide roughly 20 percent of total Turkish natural gas consumption by the end of the decadehas diminished Ankara's economic leverage vis-à-vis Tehran.
But politics play an important role as well. Since its assumption of power in November 2002, Turkey's Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) has gravitated toward closer ties with its Muslim neighbors under the guise of an "independent" foreign policy. Iran has been one of the chief beneficiaries of these overtures, and bilateral contacts and economic trade between Ankara and Tehran have ballooned over the past year. This political proximity has only been reinforced by common worries over Iraqi instability in the aftermath of Hussein's ouster.
Nevertheless, Ankara's deep ethnic and historical ties to the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia make it a natural counterweight to Iranian-sponsored religious radicalism in those regions. Given Turkey's deep interest in expanding trade and development in the Caspian, Turkey also remains suspicious of Iran's maneuvers there. Meanwhile, Tehran's ongoing sponsorship of terrorism, including the Kurdish variety, has put Iran and Turkey on very different sides of the war on terrorism.
These commonalities have led observers to suggest that Turkey's most constructive role might be as a force multiplier for U.S. interests in its "northern neighborhood." In fact, Ankara and Tehran's divergent strategic prioritieson everything from Central Asian Islam to Caspian energy to the future political composition of post-war Iraqsuggest that Turkey and Iran could become competitors again. The United States should encourage such competition by creating incentives for Turkey to play its historic role.
Wooing the Iranians. One of the Bush administration's most enduring challenges in prosecuting the war on terrorism has been effectively communicating its goals and objectives to a skeptical Muslim world. Over the past two and a half years, that need has spawned an expanded public diplomacy effort. This has included media outreach on the part of top administration officials like National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Iran, however, has been included only belatedly in these plans. More than nine months after September 11, with U.S. officials saturating the airwaves of Arabic networks like Qatar's al-Jazeera, not one high-ranking U.S. official had granted an interview to a Persian-language television outlet. (This is despite the existence of dissident channels, such as the Los Angeles-based National Iranian Television [NITV], capable of effectively carrying the U.S. message.) Even when the United States did finally overhaul its public diplomacy toward Iran with the launch of the Persian-language Radio Farda in December 2002, the station's entertainment-heavy format led critics to complain that the United States had diluted its democratic message. Since then, broadcasting to Iran has continued to be funded at minimal levels, despite Congressional efforts to expand outreach. Such a lackluster effort reflects continuing confusion within the U.S. government about exactly whom to engage within Iran.
In fact, the success of public diplomacy hinges upon a clear American vision of Iran's desired direction and the sustained political will to assist Iran in reaching that goal. In that light, there should be only one answer to the question of whom to engage: the nascent democratic opposition. The United States should demonstrate its support for that opposition by expanding expatriate and government-sponsored broadcasting, using it to highlight and criticize Tehran's bankrupt clerical rule.
The United States has been guilty of sending mixed signals to Iran over the past few years. Most significantly, it has apologized for the Central Intelligence Agency's role in the coup of 1953an early case of regime changeand it has declared its goal in Iran to be behavior modification rather than regime change. The mixing of signals simply reflects a confusion of policya confusion that has become positively dangerous, both to U.S. interests and the security of Iran's neighbors.
In fact, the U.S. objective in Iran is closer to the regime change it imposed on Iraq than to the behavioral change it brought about in Libya. The Iranian regime is not one mercurial man, whose behavior can be reversed by determined action. Iran has a ruling elite with many members, a shared sense of history, and a consistency of purpose that has been tested in revolution and war. This regime will not change, which is why the ultimate objective of U.S. policy must be to change it. That should not be forgotten, even if regime change in Iran cannot be pursued by the military means used in Iraq.
Short of military intervention, the United States needs a comprehensive strategy to block Iran's nuclear progress, check Iran's adventurism in the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus, and give encouragement to the Islamic Republic's nascent domestic opposition. Through a strategy that bolsters Iran's vulnerable regional neighbors, rolls back its military advances, and assists internal political alternatives, Washington can blunt the threat now posed by Tehranand set the stage for the later pursuit of its ultimate objective.
Ilan Berman is vice president for policy at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C., where he directs research and analysis on the Middle East and Central Asia.
 Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Mar. 5, 2003.
 Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi, cited in Saisat-e Rouz, Feb. 18, 2003.
 Defense News, Jan. 12, 2004; Michael Rubin, "Iran's Burgeoning WMD Programs," Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, Mar.-Apr. 2002, at http://www.meib.org/articles/0203_irn1.htm.
 Ahmad Shirzad, Iranian member of parliament, Nov. 24, 2003, remarks before legislative session, RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) Iran Report, Dec. 8, 2003.
 "Iran: Breaking out without Quite Breaking the Rules?" Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, May 13, 2003, at http://www.npec-web.org/pages/iranswu.htm.
 Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), Nov. 18, 2003. Israeli officials have further threatened to take preemptive military action, if necessary, to prevent this from happening; Agence France-Presse, Dec. 21, 2003.
 The New York Times, June 18, 2003.
 Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, July 20, 2003.
 Agence France-Presse, Sept. 22, 2003.
 Middle East Newsline, Oct. 25, 2002.
 IRNA, Dec. 14, 2003.
 The Washington Post, Mar. 11, 2003.
 Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, Defense Intelligence Agency director, "Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States," statement for the record, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Feb. 11, 2003, at http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_hr/021103jacoby.html.
 M. Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, commentary in The New York Times, May 10, 2003.
 IRNA, Feb. 27 and Feb. 29, 2004; Ma'ariv (Tel Aviv), Feb. 29, 2004.
 Itar-TASS (Moscow), Apr. 29, 2003.
 Uch Nogta (Azerbaijan), Oct. 22, 2003.
 See, for example, Al-Hayat (London), Nov. 28, 2003, and Jan. 5, 2004.
 Ash-Sharq al-Awsat (London), Apr. 3, 2004.
 The New York Times, Dec. 19, 2003.
 Xinhua News Agency (Beijing), Dec. 12, 2002.
 Los Angeles Times, Feb. 16, 2003.
 Mohsen Armin, deputy chairman of the National Security and Foreign Relations Committee, Iranian Islamic Consultative Assembly (majles), Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Jan. 4, 2004.
 Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States currently make up the core membership of the PSI, while over sixty other nationsincluding Turkeyhave voiced their backing for the initiative.
 Associated Press, Jan. 3, 2004.
 Radio Free Europe, Oct. 8, 2003.
 Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Apr. 10, 2000.
 Xinhua News Agency, Oct. 2, 2002; Reuters, Oct. 3, 2002.
 Middle East Newsline, Apr. 18, 2001.
 Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), Oct. 8, 2003.
 Defense News, May 23 and Dec. 1, 2003.
 The Washington Times, Oct. 22, 2003.
 For more on existing defense ties between the United States and the Gulf states, as well as the potential for their expansion, see Simon Henderson, The New Pillar: Conservative Arab Gulf States and U.S. Strategy (Washington, D.C.: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2003).
 See, for example, Kenneth Pollack, "Securing the Gulf," Foreign Affairs, July-Aug. 2003, pp. 2-15.
 "Turkish Energy Policy," Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at http://www.mfa.gov.tr/grupa/an/policy.htm.
 Soner Cagaptay, "United States and Turkey in 2004: Time to Look North," Turkish Policy Quarterly, Winter 2004, at http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/media/cagaptay/cagaptay020204.pdf.
 Interview with Iranian dissident, Washington, D.C., July 2002.
 See, for example, Jesse Helms, "What's Pop' in Persian?" The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 16, 2002; Jackson Diehl, "Casey Kasem or Freedom?" The Washington Post, Dec. 16, 2002.
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
Here are some developments that your readers might be interested in:
1- There are confirmed reports of clashes between people and security forces in east azerbaijan province during the Babak Fortress ceremonies, BBC Persian reports.
2- Most major news sources are blocked by the regime and we keep getting this message:
Dear Valued User
Access to this site has been blocked because of rules and regulations of Islamic Republic of Iran
3- 10 people arrested in Tehran yesterday according to reports by Iran Students News Agency
4- one student arrested in Tabriz, gooya.com confirms in an interview with a student in Tabriz
5- The regime appears to be blocking most foreign phone calls in Iran and especially those calls made through Phone Card Services.
I will keep you informed on the developments.
Your student friend."
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
Here are some developments that your readers might be interested in...
Bush on Iranian Youth
July 09, 2004
Voice of America
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
The U.S. supports the democratic aspirations of Iranians, especially Irans young people. In Istanbul recently, President George W. Bush said that democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq would be powerful examples to other nations, including Iran:
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
The U.S. supports the democratic aspirations of Iranians, especially Irans young people. In Istanbul recently, President George W. Bush said that democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq would be powerful examples to other nations, including Iran:
There are people inside of Iran who are watching what's happening -- young, vibrant, professional people who want to be free. And they're wondering whether or not they'll have the opportunity.
In a speech to students at Istanbul's Galatasary University, Mr. Bush said that the youth of Iran are engaged, like many others around the world, in a struggle against tyranny and for a representative government:
We see the struggle in Iran, where tired, discredited autocrats are trying to hold back the democratic will of a rising generation.
This month brings the fifth anniversary of the July 9th, 1999, student uprising in Iran. That uprising began with a demonstration in Tehran after the closing of a reformist newspaper. Student demonstrators were beaten and arrested, and several were killed by Iranian security forces. Days of protests followed, involving thousands of Iranians across the country. The protests were brutally suppressed by the Iranian government.
Since 1999, June and July have been tense months in Iran, as students and others have tried to mark the anniversary of the uprising, and the government has attempted to stifle them. In June 2003, four-thousand people were arrested, and the government banned any commemoration of the 1999 uprising. Iranian authorities announced a similar ban this year.
Despite such efforts at repression, the Iranian people continue to demand their freedom from Islamic fundamentalist rule. The rule of free peoples will come to the Middle East, says President Bush. And Americans will do all in our power to help them find the blessings of liberty.
Bush on Iranian Youth
July 09, 2004
Voice of America
Powell on Iran Nuclear Program
July 09, 2004
Voice of America
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
For at least eighteen years, Iran has secretly pursued the capability to make fissile material for nuclear weapons. Despite the best efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the I-A-E-A, to shine a spotlight on Irans nuclear activities, and despite demands that Iran cooperate with the I-A-E-A, the U.S. believes that Iran is continuing that clandestine program. The U.S. and other countries believe that oil- and gas-rich Iran is covertly pursing a nuclear weapons capability while telling the world that it is developing nuclear power solely for civilian purposes.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says, We know Irans intentions, and those intentions are to keep a nuclear weapons development program going:
We have for three and a half years...been pointing this out to the international community. I think finally, the international community realizes theres a problem.
Over the past year, the International Atomic Energy Agencys thirty-five member Board of Governors has passed four unanimous resolutions calling on Iran to tell the truth about its nuclear programs and to suspend its ambitious pursuit of the capability to make fissile material. But Iran refuses.
Mr. Powell says that European foreign ministers have made trips to Iran to say to the Iranians they have to give up these programs:
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 nuclear weapons.
Rigorous inspections of Iranian nuclear activities are continuing, and the International Atomic Energy Agencys Board of Governors will take up Irans case again in September. The U.S. has long believed that Irans confirmed noncompliance with its nuclear safeguards agreement must be reported to the U-N Security Council, and the U.S. continues to work with other members of the I-A-E-A Board to that end. The Iranians have been put on notice, says Secretary of State Powell, that the international community is expecting them to answer its questions and to respond fully.
HOW TO HELP IRAQ [Excerpt]
By AMIR TAHERI
July 9, 2004 -- 'WE will do all that we can to help Iraq," says Ger man Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who had been in the forefront of the campaign to keep Saddam Hussein in power before liberation. "The international community must come together and help Iraq," echoes France's new Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, signaling a possible change of course in Paris.
Other opponents of the liberation of Iraq have expressed similar sentiments. "Helping Iraq" was a key pledge in a communiqué issued by Iran and Syria at the end of Syrian President Bashar Assad's visit to Tehran this week.
But how sincere are these promises?
The first step toward helping Iraq is for those countries that have refused to recognize the new interim government to do so immediately, and reopen their embassies in Baghdad. Iraq's government should be allowed to reclaim and reopen the country's embassies abroad. These moves will show that everyone now accepts that Iraq has a new legitimate government.
Next, those who say they want to help must stop their disinformation campaign in Iraq. It is no secret that the bulk of rumors spread there each day come from Arab especially Egyptian and Jordanian intelligence services. Having shut themselves out of Iraq by an ambivalent attitude last year, Egypt and Jordan (along with other Arab states) are compounding their error by waging psychological war against the new leadership in Baghdad.
A more dramatic version of that psychological war can be observed in the Arab satellite-TV coverage of Iraq. These channels are owned by Arab emirs (Al-Jazeera in Qatar) or states (Al-Alam in Iran), and, one must assume, reflect the policies of their governments.
At the very least, these channels should stop broadcasting video messages from terror groups killing people in Iraq. This does not mean censorship, but proper journalistic treatment of material that must not be aired unedited and without comments to put it in context. The claim of impartiality cannot justify showing videos of beheadings as an act of "resistance to occupation."
Another way to help is for Iraq's neighbors to stop giving money and arms to political loose cannons and remnants of the fallen regime. The new Iraqi government says it has "conclusive evidence" that both Iran and Syria are directly involved in fomenting trouble in Iraq.
Those who say they want to help can also send troops. Iraq is likely to need a foreign military presence for another three years. Most forces will be American, but others could help if only via "the Zapatero way."
Spain's new Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero won the election with a promise of withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq. Now that he is in power, he realizes the consequences of that policy. He cannot, of course, eat humble tapas. But he is trying to mend things by sending Spanish troops to Afghanistan and Haiti to replace Americans, thus enabling the Pentagon to have more reserves for Iraq.
Germany and France could do the same, sending troops to replace GIs in some of the 22 peacekeeping missions worldwide in which the U.S. shoulders the main burden. A good place to start would be in in the Balkans.
The Arab states, too, could adopt the "Zapatero way." Iraqis don't want Arab or Turkish troops on their soil. But Egypt, Jordan and other Muslim states (notably Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia) could contribute troops to replace Americans in several African and Asian theaters.
NATO could also help: It could stop treating Iraq as a leper. Iraq needs NATO's help in training the new Iraqi army and police force. This can best be done inside Iraq. French President Jacques Chirac's attempt at preventing this is bad for both Iraq and NATO.
Another way to help Iraq is for OPEC to increase the newly-liberated nation's oil-export quota. There is no reason why Iraq, which has a large population and needs the money, should have the same quota as smaller OPEC members who don't need as much cash.
Much has been said about Iraq's missing billions. By some estimates, the fallen regime hid some $30 billion of Iraqi money in tax havens around the globe. At least another $10 billion disappeared in corrupt deals involving the United Nations. The United States should take the lead in tracing and helping to return these funds. Iraq should also get direct control of the estimated $14 billion still in a U.N.-managed escrow account.
The above actions involve no significant financial cost to countries helping out. Other measures involve serious money. ....
Freedom is our destiny!
Translated by ActivistChat.com Forum Members:
Murder of A College Professor by Basij Forces in Jahram:
In the afternoon of Wednesday 17 Tir (July 7th), the Basij mercenaries in the city of Jaharam killed a young 26 year old man. His name was Akbar Rahmanian, and he was a College Professor and computer engineer at Azad university. Akbar Rahmanian was arrested on his way home by the Basij, and after an interrogation on the street he was killed. According to incoming reports. a mercenary by the name of Yousefi shot him in the shoulder and head, killing him instantly. This tragedy has enraged the residents of Jaharam who hate the Basij.
I hate the way we keep losing these promising young men. The old, decaying, decrepit mullahs stay in power by drinking the blood of the young lions.
I mean by force. I do not necessarily suggest it; Im merely stating a fact.
Unfortunately, that will be the only way.
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