Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 15, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/14/2004 8:59:55 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.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
Iran warns U.S. against attacking it
Tehran, Iran, Jul. 14 (UPI) -- The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rohani, warned the United States Wednesday against repeating its Iraq adventure in Iran.
"If they want to confront Iran, they will have to face 70 million Iranians," Rohani said in an interview with the London-based Arabic daily al-Hayat.
He explained that the situation in Iran is different from what it was in Iraq before the invasion by U.S.-led coalition forces in March last year.
"No one can compare between the two because the former Iraqi regime had produced weapons of mass destruction which it used against its own people and neighbors and invaded neighboring countries, ignoring the will of the international community," Rohani said.
He argued that in the past 25 years, since the Islamic revolution in Iran toppled the Shah's regime, Iran had proved that it was not seeking war or weapons of mass destruction.
"The Americans know very well that the conditions in Iran are totally different from what they were in Iraq ... There, a dictatorial regime hated by its people was in power, while in Iran there is a popular government which will be defended by 70 million Iranians," he added.
Iran: Four labour leaders summoned to court
Thursday, 15 July 2004, 9:28 am
Press Release: International Confederation Of Free Trade Unions
Iran: Four labour leaders summoned to court
Brussels, 14th July 2004 (ICFTU Online): The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has urged the Government of Iran to drop charges against four labour leaders who have been summoned to court for allegedly collaborating with the banned leftist political organisation "Komala", based in Iran's Kurdistan. Mahmoud Salehi, Jalal Hosseini, Borhan Divangar and Mohammad Abdipoor are to appear in court on 24 August 2004.
The four were among seven labour leaders and activists released after heavy international pressure, led by the ICFTU, following their unlawful arrest on 1st May 2004 (Labour Day). Around 50 workers were arrested while celebrating Labour Day in the city of Saqez (Kurdistan province). Most were quickly released, but the seven, including Messrs. Salehi, Hosseini, Divangar and Abdipoor, all well-known labour leaders, were only released on bail on 12 May.
They were initially arrested for illegal assembly, but at the time of their release no known charges had been brought against them. The ICFTU suspects that the current charges are directly linked to their labour rights activism and in particular their attempt to celebrate Labour Day on 1 May.
The ICFTU is especially worried that the labour leaders' prosecution could be linked to their contacts with the ICFTU mission in late April, only two days before their arrest, as this mission had been closely monitored by the Iranian security service.
In its letter to the Iranian President Seyed Mohammed Khatami the ICFTU urges him to take immediate measures to ensure that charges are dropped and calls upon him to launch an independent investigation into the repression of the Labour Day celebration. The ICFTU has also submitted the details of these latest developments to the ILO as additional information to its existing complaint against Iran for violation of the freedom of association.
The existing complaint against Iran at the ILO concerns the killing of four striking workers in the city of Shahr-e-Babak, the unlawful arrest of 50 workers on Labour Day and government interference to prevent workers from organising and enjoying other workers' rights at the Iran Khodro auto company. The ICFTU represents 151 million workers through its 233 affiliated national trade union centres in 152 countries and territories. ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions: http://www.global-unions.org
Al-Qaida's Kurdish allies find home in Iran
Kurdish Islamic militants driven out of northern Iraq seem to be regrouping just across the Iranian border.
By IWPR reporters in Mariwan, Iran and Biyara, Iraq
The Kurdish militant group Ansar al-Islam is reorganising in Iranian Kurdistan, say residents of the area, Iraqi security sources and local Iranian officials. The radical group's presence - an open secret in the small towns of this mountainous region - appears to have, at the very least, the acquiescence of the Iranian authorities, and some sources report that Iranian intelligence offers logistics and possibly military training. Indeed, IWPR spoke to an Iranian official who says that he was ordered to assist the militants, as well as a local Kurd who was recruited by them for training. Despite the ideological gap between the radical Sunni Islamism of the Ansar and the Shi'ite Islamism of the Tehran government, both Iranian and Iraqi observers believe that there is room for an alliance of convenience between the two parties.
The bargaining chip
While the Kurdish militants need room to rebuild, the Iranians can use them to undercut the influence of secular Kurdish nationalism in the area, and simultaneously have a bargaining chip in dealings with the US. Ansar al-Islam was established in September 2001, first under the name Jund al-Islam, in Iraqi Kurdistan. Most of its founding members were Iraqi Kurdish Islamists who fought in Afghanistan and had strong ties with al-Qaida. According to Ansar prisoners in Iraq, many received al-Qaida training in Afghanistan and then returned to Iraq to conduct attacks against the secular Kurdish political parties, and later against US targets in Iraq. Ansar's fighters fled the mountains of Iraq last March after an American cruise missile pounded their headquarters. Ground assaults on Ansar-held areas continued throughout the war, and most of the surviving fighters, thought to be close to 800, fled east into Iran. "When we were fleeing to Iran after the US bombing, the Iranian authorities singled out the Ansar fighters and their families, and took them away in military cars," said Golala Salih, a resident of the Iraqi town Tawela which sits on the Iraq-Iran border and was the former stronghold of Ansar al-Islam. "They did not let us [ordinary refugees] cross into Iran." Like most non-Ansar people named in this story, Salih is not her real name, as it has been changed for her protection. Most Ansar operatives are identified but they use code names, which change with their location.
Mixing with the locals
The Ansar gunmen and their families who crossed the border are now in camps at the foot of an Iranian mountain range - the first in Baramawa village, 20 kilometers west of Mariwan, and the Darbandi Dizly camp further to the west, say residents of the area. In addition to being outsiders, the militants, who wear the short-hemmed garment and grow the trimmed beard associated with Sunni radicals, are highly conspicuous in the region. The area is renowned for its spectacular beauty, and, perhaps more importantly for the Ansar gunmen, it is surrounded by forests and rugged mountains and lies close to the Iraqi border. Ansar fighters and their families are now mixed in with the local villages, leaving the residents feeling fearful and resentful. "Since these gunmen and their families have been living here, we have been in constant fear," said Mam Rasoul, an elderly resident of the village. "The US might fire missiles at them, or the Kurdish peshmerga (soldiers) might come here to get them." Others are resentful of the apparent financial support the Islamic fighters are receiving. "They get food rations and money every month," said Gulnaz, an elderly woman who lives in Daranaxa village near the Darbandi Dizly Ansar camp. She says that the Ansar group's living standards are better than long time residents of the area. A high-ranking Iraqi security official said that while the foot soldiers of Ansar are living in these camps "their leadership and cohorts in other radical Islamic parties are spread over the Iranian Kurdish cities and towns of Bokan, Sanandij, Mariwan, and Saqiz".
Two prominent Kurdish newcomers in the area bear the same names as Iraqi Ansar activists known to Iraqi intelligence. Both of them have been spotted by locals going to a three-story house in Mariwan's Zrebar Road occupied by Iraqi Kurds with beards and short-hemmed trousers, which locals say was until recently one of Ansar's two headquarters in the town. The second is a two-story marble building near its Stadium Roundabout. One of the two local Ansar leaders is Sheikh Jamal, who lives in the Laylakh district of Mariwan. His neighbors told IWPR that he spent the last five years in Afghanistan fighting with al-Qaida and that he is now teaching military tactics to Ansar al-Islam new recruits. The Iraqi security official said that they know of a Sheikh Jamal but could not confirm that he is the Mariwan Ansar official. "They use different code names in different cities," said the official. "Some had a codename in the town and different one in the mountain." The second leader is Zryan Hawleri, whom Iraqi officials say is a top Ansar operative from Arbil in Iraq, now living in Mariwan. Residents of Mariwan say that an out-of-town Kurd by that name currently owns a small corner shoe repair store. A nearby shopkeeper said that he does not believe that Hawleri has come to Mariwan for business, "He is not working most of the time and receives many visitors."
According to a local Iranian Interior Ministry official, Hawleri has probably received a new identity from Iranian intelligence. The official, who disapproves of the Islamists' presence in the region and fears they will radicalize the local population, showed IWPR a copy of an Iranian ID card with Hawleri's picture. It was issued by the Islamic Hawza of Iran, the Islamic Shiite school of Iran, with the name of Zryan Ali Pour, an Iranian surname. The official said he was ordered by the Iranian Ittilaat intelligence service to provide special permits, required by foreigners to rent houses, to other likely militants, including two Afghans wearing Salafi garb who rented a mud-brick house in a district heavily populated by Ansar members. A neighbor said that during Ramadan the two men received 15 to 20 visitors every night. Most had long beards and short Kurdish trousers, another Salafi trademark. "The meetings would last until midnight," the neighbour said. The official, as well as an IWPR reporter, have also seen Kurdish Islamists being given rides in the Iranian-made pickups and landcruisers favoured by the Ittalat. IWPR also met a young man who claims he signed up with the group in the town of Sanandij for US$250 a month. "Ansar al-Islam was able to attract 150 to 200 young Kurds from the poor neighborhoods of the town," the recruit said. He said he is not a supporter of the group's ideology but joined only for the income. He further said that he disapproves of Ansar tactics which he says exploits needy people. "Leading people in Ansar would not themselves do what they are asking the poor foot soldiers to do," he said. He told IWPR, on the condition of anonymity, that the Sanandij branch of the group has ties with a newly formed group in Pakistan called Tabligh, or proselytizing. Once Ansar leaders feel they can trust a recruit, he said, they are sent to the Iranian city of Zahedan on the Pakistani border for political and military training - and while he has not been trained himself, 35 new recruits left for training in two camps in May. The local ministry of interior official also said that militants are sent for training in Baluchistan, the region of Iran in which Zahedan is located.
Attacking Kurdish secularism
An Iranian journalist who has extensively covered militant affairs in Afghanistan says that before the toppling of the Taliban regime, Kurdish militants received training in the Afghan city of Herat. After 2001, he says, the Iranians allowed fleeing al-Qaida operatives to set up in two camps on the Afghan and Pakistani borders, one of which lies near Zahedan. The Ansar presence in Iranian Kurdistan has coincided with the growth of Sunni radicalism in the region. Mullah Muhammed is the most prominent preacher of Yakshawa village near the city of Bokan. Locals refer to this Iranian Kurdish cleric as the Ansar head there. Mullah Muhammed is a popular preacher. One young government employee who attends Muhammed's Friday sermons regularly says that he understands Islam "better than anyone else" and can explain things very clearly. "He attacks the Kurdish secular parties of Iran and Iraq, and says that jihad is the only right path for Islam," said the government worker. Ansar also maintains what appears to be a propaganda apparatus in Mariwan. The sermons and speeches of Ansar leaders and other radical Sunnis are on sale in the town's shops. Studio Dangi Islam, the Voice of Islam, is a record shop that sells CDs of speeches of Mullah Krekar, the Ansar leader, Osama Bin Laden, Taliban leader Mullah Omer, the Iraqi Kurdish Islamic Group leader Ali Bapir, and other hard-line mullahs. It also sells video CDs of Ansar battles in Iraqi Kurdistan. In a number of bookstores, some of the most prominent titles are biographies of Bin Laden and Mullah Omer that were published in early 2003 by the Iranian ministry of culture. The ministry banned them in mid-2003 but copies still circulate.
This article originally appeared in Iraqi Crisis Report, produced by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). Iraqi Crisis Report is supported by the UK Foreign Office and the US State Department.
Why are Nearly 400 Members of Al-Qaeda Living in Iran?
Orange County, CA,
July 15, 2004 -
Hundreds of alleged members of Al-Qaeda, including 18 of its top leaders, and other terror groups are living in Iran, some under tight security, the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.
"More than 384 members of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are present in Iran, including 18 senior leaders of Osama bin Laden's network," the daily said, citing a senior source in the Iranian presidency.
Al-Qaeda has been threatening an attack on the United States perhaps before the November election. Similarly, the Iranian government, a known supporter of terrorism has also been threatening action against the United States.
In a speech, last May, a top Revolutionary Guards official, Hassan Abbassi, an intelligence theoretician, who teaches at the Revolutionary Guards' Al-Hussein University, said, "there are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri.org).
The Saudi-owned newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, said the terrorist leaders were living under tight protection, some of them in villas in the Namak Abrud region, near the town of Chalous on the Caspian coast, (60 miles) north of Tehran. Others are living in Lavizan, in the northwest of the capital, and which also houses a large military complex, it added. Authorities in Tehran would not verify their report.
Total to Invest in Iran
July 15, 2004
French oil giant TOTAL Group announces it is ready to invest Irans economical and technical projects, especially in South Pars gas field.
Francois Vatier, the representative of Total in Iran, voiced TOTALs readiness to implement LNG installations for phase 11 of Irans huge gas reserves of the South Pars, common with Qatars, with the participation of the National Iranian Oil Company and the Malaysian Petronas.
This is the most important project for which the company is negotiating with Iran, he added.
China, Japan, and Europe are among the countries that Iranian LNG can be sold to.
The Virus Must Be Stopped!
July 15, 2004
by Dariush Shirazi
If, for only a moment, we could melt away all the rhetoric about Bush's military service, failure to uncover stockpiles of WMD, and the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, and instead focus on the bigger picture of freedom's struggle in the Middle East and the future of our world, we would arrive at a very sobering conclusion. The tumultuous history of the human race has led us to where we now stand, on the verge of a historic moment, a moment that if seized to the fullest could give birth to unthinkable beauty, prosperity, freedom and peace.
The question we should all be asking ourselves is not "What about the economy, stupid?", or even, "What about the weapons, stupid?" We should really be asking those questions that remain unasked, almost intentionally so, such as - "What about the Islamic Regime in Iran, stupid?" and "What about the Iranian people who are overwhelmingly pro-US, anti-tyranny and begging for a chance, stupid?" Of course these questions are far from stupid, and in fact the answers to them shine light on many fundamental aspects of this "War on Terror" and the so-called "Forward Strategy of Freedom".
As coalition soldiers roam through the streets and villages of Iraq and Afghanistan, a grand strategy is being devised and implemented in an effort to halt the progress of democratization and freedom. This operation has been launched in the face of America's proposed effort to achieve freedom and stability in the region, and the operating headquarters are without a doubt, to the East of Iraq, in the hands of the Mullahs who brutally hold onto power in Iran. The Clerics who have repressed the Iranian people for over two decades through their systematic murder, torture and imprisonment as well as political assassinations throughout Europe and the United States, have only one thing in mind. They will go to any and all lengths to maintain their mafia rule, and they will do this by spreading their virus into all corners of Iraq and Afghanistan, until the forces of freedom retreat or until the Mafia Mullahs are stopped!
President Bush speaks of a forward looking strategy of freedom in the Middle East, and the natural willingness within all humans to be free, but by rhetoric alone this objective will not be achieved. America's proposed objective is by all means the right one, and in fact many Americans would have supported military action against the regime in Iraq even without the WMD argument, but the past is the past, and the people of the world stand ready, in the midst of a historic battle between the forces of good and evil.
The future of the world depends on the outcome of this battle. On one side there are the Terror Masters, who, through brute repression and enforcement of a twisted fanatical ideology, control large masses of land and it's inhabitants. On the other side, is the free world, a world that grows more interconnected and united each day. However, this evolution can be broken and reversed. The world's evolving state depends on freedom for all human beings, and it's unfailing defense, however the terror masters continue to spread their virus, in an effort to prevent the administering of the one and only cure, freedom. This infection will prevent globalization. This infection will prevent peace. In the end, the successful spread of this virus will destroy our hopes, goals and dreams for the future of the world. Time is not a luxury we have. We must act now!
As witnessed in Iraq, we have found that the cure to this virus is not found within the bark of some tree, but rather it lies within every human being. When the Iraqi regime fell, the cure was released after decades of suppression, and beautiful notions of progress, evolution and liberty were triggered. However, almost immediately the virus began to spread through the porous Iran/Iraq border, within vials carried by thousands of Islamic Clerics sponsored and guided by the regime in Iran. Through propaganda and violent military assaults they are attempting to halt any progress in an effort to destroy mankind's cure. They will continue to spread their fanatical virus, unless they are stopped.
For the American Administration to wait and fail to act for fear of the political uncertainties brought about by the election-cycle whirlwind sweeping across the land of the free and home of the brave is an outright mistake, and a dangerous one at that. President Bush must set aside the political storm clouds that now cast shadows over America, for one last stand, a stand that will most certainly bring about the achievement of his proposed goals for freedom, as well as rewarding him with another four years in office so that he may continue his leadership and sustain current progress.
The ongoing political circus being played out in Iran has shown that neither the "hardliners" nor the so-called "reformers" have the support of the people. Iranians have for years viewed the regime in Iran as illegitimate, and on February 20, 2004 they showed to all of us how illegitimate the clerical regime really is, by massively boycotting the sham elections. The regime claimed that the Iranian people boycotted the election because many reformers were banned from participating, a lie they want us to believe. It was reported that the regime paid off and brought in bus loads of Iranians from rural areas to vote, in an effort to create the illusion that there was no boycott, a trick it seems only the big media fell for. Politicians in America and abroad who have been paid off by the regime as well as regime-loving journalists have and continue to twist and turn the facts, we should ignore them. The regime has been illegitimate for decades, and has sponsored international terrorism from sea to shining sea. On February 20th, 2004, the Iranian people made their case to the world! Did we hear them?
The cure to the entire debacle and virus that is spreading throughout the Middle East rests in the hearts and souls of the Iranian people. If we fail to act in support of the Iranian people, we will have made a huge mistake and committed a great disservice to all of humanity. Everyone of us has a stake in freedom, and its victory in the Middle East. We must not wait one day more and we must never fail to defend freedom.
It's time for one last stand!
Dariush Shirazi is a pseudonym of an Iranian-American university student and Los Angeles-based freelance journalist and can be reached at email@example.com
Isn't it interesting that one of the co-chairs is a President at Texas A&M University? I wonder why a ranking President would involve himself with such controversial activity.
I think people underestimate the mullahs.
"President at Texas A&M University"
That's Nothing....he was Director of the CIA !