Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 22, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/21/2004 9:00:51 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 Nukes Loom
July 21, 2004
JTA Daily Briefing
Israeli intelligence believes Iran will have nuclear weapons by 2007. The projection was made by intelligence chiefs in a report Wednesday to Cabinet ministers, Israel Radio said. Recent U.S. assessments have predicted Irans atomic program will produce nuclear arms by the end of the decade.
The intelligence chiefs also warned that missiles held by Syria and Hezbollah posed a serious threat to Israel.
Iraqi Defense and Interior Ministers Accuse Iran of Terrorism against Iraq
July 21, 2004
The Middle East Media Research Institute
In an interview published in the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Al-Sha'lan warned Iran that Iraq is capable of responding to Iranian-supported terrorism in Iraq, within Iran itself. To read previous MEMRI dispatches on Iran's subversive actions within post-war Iraq, see MEMRI's Inquiry & Analysis, "Iran's Stirrings in Iraq," released on May 5, 2004.(1)
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat also reported about statements made by Iraq's Interior Minister Falah Hassan Al-Naqib, following his meeting with Jordanian Interior Minister Samir Al-Habashnah.
The following are excerpts from both reports:
Iraqi Defense Minister: 'The Country that Penetrates the Borders and Encroaches the Most on Iraq is Iran'
Question: "Contrary to statements by [Iraq's] prime minister and interior minister regarding quickly putting an end to the terrorist operations, these operations have recently become more serious. How do you explain this problem?"
Sha'lan: "On the contrary. Such operations have not increased. We had actually expected a stronger reaction by the terrorists to what we did to them prior to July 17, which is the anniversary of the 1968 Ba'thist coup. Seventy bombings had been planned [by the terrorists] for Baghdad alone. However, the operations by the National Guard, in cooperation with Iraqi Police, led to the capture of [two important] terrorist groups..."
Question: "What is your strategy for putting an end to terrorist operations?"
Sha'lan: "Our strategy is based on our abundant data [on terrorist threats] and we actually act according to priorities and to the gravity of each item of information, without overlooking any information that reaches us either from the intelligence apparatus or from the citizenry... There is information that came to us from citizens that led us to positive results in our hunt for terrorist cells."
Question: "What is the number of those terrorist cells in the whole of Iraq?"
Sha'lan: "It is in the hundreds, if not the thousands."
Question: "Do you receive information on these cells from the multinational force or from the intelligence services of some [foreign] countries?"
Sha'lan: "Never. We have received absolutely no information from any foreign party, or from the multinational force. We get our information, as I have stated, from our [own intelligence] apparatus, and from Iraqis with a sense of honor."
Question: "How strong is the Iraqi army today?"
Sha'lan: "At present, we have 40,000 fighting troops in the National Guard. They are not the regular army. We shall start building the regular Iraqi army as of the beginning of next month. The command echelons are already well prepared. We are also getting ready to build the other branches of the military, such as the air force, navy, and armored corps. We have prepared many of the officers of the dissolved Iraqi army for service so as to benefit from their experience. We cannot return [to service] all the officers [from Saddam's army] because the army we are building now will comprise six divisions, whereas Saddam drafted half the Iraqi people."
Question: "What about the other branches [of the military]?"
Sha'lan: "Iraq is going to have a strong, modern air force, navy, and armored corps, and they will all function according to highly advanced technology to defend Iraq. Presently, as a national guard, we have reconnaissance aircraft flying over our borders."
Question: "What problem is there with the borders of the neighboring countries?"
Sha'lan: "It is a big problem. We have set up advanced defensive border posts equipped with modern high-speed communications equipment."
Question: "Which neighboring country, in your view, presents a direct threat?"
Sha'lan: "The country that penetrates the borders the most and encroaches the most on Iraq is Iran."
'Iranian Penetration is Extensive and Unprecedented Since the Establishment of the Iraqi State'
Question: "How serious is Iranian penetration into Iraq?"
Sha'lan: "Iranian penetration is extensive and unprecedented since the establishment of the Iraqi state. The Iranians have entered the crucial junction points of the country as a whole and established many intelligence and military positions in Iraq. We have begun dealing with this matter in a way both subtle and exacting. The prime minister, the foreign minister, and I all make our voices clear against Iran's blatant intervention in Iraqi affairs, which is a dangerous precedent. They admit to having spies in Iraq, whose task is to undermine the social and political situation. The Iraqi people, however, are immune to this."
Question: "What is your view on proposals by the president of the [pro-Iranian] Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Hakim, that Iraq bear the blame for the Iran-Iraq war, with the implication that Iraq pay compensation to Iran?"
Sha'lan: "I believe that the demand that Iran be compensated for the war losses is an unpatriotic proposal, because everyone knows that the Iraqis were [at that time] the prisoners of Saddam's regime... No Iraqi should propose such a thing..."
Question: "How competent is the multinational force in maintaining security operations?"
Sha'lan: "The final decision [for each operation] belongs to the Iraqi side, and comes from the prime minister. This has been agreed upon. There is one command center under the leadership of the prime minister, and its members include the multinational force and the Ministries of Defense and Interior Minister. This is the headquarters that issues orders to carry out operations and respond to emergencies."
Question: "Have you obtained important intelligence from interrogating some of the terrorists you have apprehended?"
Sha'lan: "Yes. In their confessions they pointed to important leaders inside Iraq, who were [subsequently] captured. They also confessed to funding from countries that are steeped in terrorism."
'Whatever Comes from the Neighboring Countries has First Passed through the Security Services of Those Countries'
Question: "Do they get funding from governments, or from organizations within those countries?"
Sha'lan: "They are called organizations, but they come from this given country or that given country, and we know that whatever comes from the neighboring countries has first passed through the security services of those countries."
Question: "Haven't you spoken with these countries on this matter?"
Sha'lan: "Yes, we have spoken with them, and we confronted them with the facts and the evidence, but they have not taken any measures to stop their support of the terrorists and their operations on Iraqi soil. When we reached a dead end, we started to issue statements and we said, and I reiterate it here, that we have the capability to move [the response] to assaults on Iraqi dignity and rights into those countries. We have the capability to move the assault into their countries."
Question: "Do the [Iraqi] Ba'thists play a significant part in the terrorist operations?"
Sha'lan: "Absolutely not. They started contacting us and cooperating with us particularly in the area erroneously called 'the Sunni triangle.' We have neither a Sunni nor a Shiite triangle."(2)
Iraqi Interior Minister: 'Iran Plays an Important Part, Whether Official or Popular, in the Terrorist and Sabotage Operations being Carried Out in Iraq'
"The Iraqi Interior Minister Falah Hassan Al-Naqib attacked Iran and accused it of being behind the terrorist actions to which Iraq is subjected. Following discussions yesterday with his Jordanian counterpart Samir Al-Habashna, Al-Naqib told reporters, 'It must be acknowledged that Iran plays an important part, whether official or popular, in the terrorist and sabotage operations being carried out in Iraq.' He emphasized that Iraq is now being targeted.
"Al-Naqib added, 'The sabotage and criminal operations now going on in Iraq, regardless of their political or religious garb - it is the same element that plans it, the same mind that organizes it, and it is using one and the same strategy for targeting Iraq and Iraqi unity.'
"The Iraqi minister wondered aloud who these elements could be, who aim to kill innocent children, women, and the elderly, as well as the Iraqi justice minister ... and members of the police force who enforce the law to protect public order.' He emphasized that Iraq 'understands well these conspiracies woven against it and against the Arab countries.'
"As for the fate of the former Ba'thists who are now in other Arab countries including Jordan, Al-Naqib said: 'There are former Ba'thists living in Iraq normally like other citizens, provided they were not involved in security, criminal, or other legal matters during the previous regime.' He focused on the Ba'thists' strong-arm style, as opposed to the style of the new regime, based as it is on rule of law.
"Jordanian Interior Minister Samir Al-Habashna told reporters, in the presence of his Iraqi counterpart, 'Jordan is willing to meet any Iraqi request for support and assistance in all security matters.' He added, 'Jordan has played an important role in supporting Iraq in all difficult and trying times.'
"The two ministers refused to reveal the topics they had discussed, emphasizing that these included matters of security, borders, police training, and problems Iraqi nationals face in Jordan.
"[Iraqi Prime Minister] Allawi concluded his visit to Jordan yesterday, following his meeting with Arab ambassadors in Amman, and left for Syria and then Egypt."(3)
(1) MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 173, 'Iran's Stirrings in Iraq,' May 5, 2004. http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA17304
(2) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 20, 2004.
(3) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 20, 2004.
Iran Uses Hamas, Hizbullah in Iraq
July 21, 2004
Middle East Newsline
WASHINGTON -- Iran has been using Hamas and Hizbullah as part of plans to impose Teheran's authority in Iraq. A report by the New York-based Hudson Institute said Iran has been sponsoring and cooperating with a range of Shi'ite insurgency groups in an effort to develop a power base in Iraq.
The Shi'ites have been employed to work against U.S. interests and intimidate independent figures within the majority Shi'ite community in Iraq.
"Following the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the Iranian clerical dictatorship has mounted a covert effort to establish an allied Shi'a Islamist extremist regime in Iraq," the report, by senior fellow Constantine Menges, said. "Iran has been preparing to do this for many years and has recruited political, military, and covert agent assets among the hundreds of thousands of Shi'a Iraqis who fled Iraq and have lived in Iran for years."
The report said Iran has tried to dominate Iraq in several ways. Menges cited Iran's use of Iraqi Shi'ite clerics, the establishment of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the cooperation with Shi'ite cleric Moqtada Sadr and the use of Hizbullah and Hamas for insurgency attacks on Iraq.
Influential US Senator renews support
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jul 21, 2004
The following is the official reply of US Senator "John Cornyn" (R-TX) to a letter sent by Aryo B. Pirouznia, the SMCCDI Coordinator, in reference to Iran-US policies and the struggle of Iranians to reach freedom, secularity and democracy.
Close to President George W. Bush, the influential Honorable John Cornyn was the former Texas Attorney General (1999-2002). An ardent and principled supporter of freedom, he's one of the main co-sponsors of the "Iran Democracy Act" introduced by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). This text promotes the official US support of Iranian secularist forces against the Islamic republic regime.
It's to note that Mr. Cornyn was also the guest speaker of the commemorative ceremony of the 4th anniversary of July 9th Student Uprising, organized by SMCCDI, on July 13, 2003, in Dallas - Texas. He has since intervened at several occasion for the defense of Iranians and their repressed students and activists.
The text of his new reply and renewal of support is as follow:
"Dear Mr. Pirouznia,
Thank you for contacting me about the United States policy toward Iran. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.
After 24 years of theocratic rule and nearly 7 years of so-called reform government, it is clear that the repressive government of Iran has not changed. Last year's pro-democracy demonstrations crushed by the government saw several demonstrators killed, hundreds badly beaten, and over 4,000 arrested. These are actions of a vicious regime that fears for its survival.
A State Department report released in 2003, cites Iran as "the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2002". It has provided funding, training, weapons, and safe haven to anti-Israeli terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. According to the State Department, Iran is also in the process of developing a full-scale nuclear program.
On May 19, 2003, Senator Sam Brownback introduced the Iran Democracy Act (S. 1082), of which I am a co-sponsor. This legislation, which supports the right of the Iranian people to choose their own government, is just the beginning. The United States must send a clear message to Iran that we will not stand idly by while the regime abuses Iranian families and children, and we will not tolerate support for terrorism or illegal weapons programs that threaten the cause of peace and security in the Middle East.
For the sake of freedom and security in the Middle East, we must adopt a comprehensive policy toward the current regime in Iran. This policy should provide strong and unequivocal support for groups in Iran that are dedicated to freedom and human rights. It should also include increased pro-democracy broadcasting into Iran. We must undertake serious diplomatic efforts to end the flow of nuclear components to Iran and continue multilateral efforts to press Iran to allow international inspectors to have unfettered access to all locations.
I appreciate having the opportunity to represent the interests of Texans in the United States Senate, and you may be certain that I will keep your views in mind as relevant legislation is considered.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator
Anti-Iran sentiment hardening fast
Critics in Congress finger Iranian ties to Al Qaeda and influence in Iraq as cause for a tougher approach.
By Howard LaFranchi | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON Iran's governing mullahs may feel uneasy at the prominent attention they are attracting in the US as the 9/11 investigations conclude.
But a bigger worry for them may well be the growing signs that the US Congress - even without the 9/11 reports of Iran's ties to Al Qaeda - is pressing for a tougher approach toward Tehran.
With US interests in a reformed Middle East as strong as ever - even with Saddam Hussein out of the picture - Iran is emerging as the new Satan for some forces in Washington. That is particularly true on Capitol Hill, where pro-Israel and anti-Iran hard-liners are calling for an Iran policy advocating regime change - much like what happened with Iraq in the late 1990s.
On the other side of the freshly roiling debate are promoters of engagement, including prominent figures who advocate dialogue to address the top two US concerns: state sponsorship of terrorism and nuclear-weapons proliferation. For them, the US must proceed from the reality that, especially with its hands still full in Iraq, forceful options (in particular, military intervention) are virtually nonexistent.
Even with the 9/11 reports and the prospect of various Iran-focused initiatives in Congress this fall, most experts foresee little actual movement until after the November elections. The angry rhetoric may ratchet up, they say, but even after the elections, a conflict-weary America is likely to probe the chances of dialogue.
"The question remains whether the Iranian state, given its very nature and the increasing influence of the conservatives, is able to respond to a call for dialogue," says Daniel Brumberg, an Iran expert at Georgetown University and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "But that's still the direction things will take no matter who wins [the US presidency] in November.
"Opponents on both sides will employ their capacities to undermine it," he adds, "but our military situation, conditions in the region, and the situation in Iraq will make it necessary."
One of three members of President Bush's "axis of evil" - North Korea remains in the club while Iraq has fallen out - Iran had inched away from its evil status for two reasons. Leaders deemed "reformers" had gained prominence in Tehran, and potential for cooperation seemed to bloom in the wake of the US removal of Iran's archenemy next door in Baghdad.
But hopes for improvement withered as Iran made clear its intentions to pursue a nuclear-power program with proliferation implications. Contacts between Tehran and Washington, which had picked up as the US sought Iran's cooperation on Iraq's post-Hussein evolution, were cut off last spring when the US decided Tehran was supporting radicalized and anti-American Shiite factions in Iraq.
Now the bipartisan 9/11 commission reports that Iran allowed at least eight of the Sept. 11 hijackers to transit through its territory on their way to their assignments. While commission members say they uncovered no signs of Iranian participation in the attacks, the findings prompted Bush this week to dust off a tough rhetorical stance towards Tehran, calling it a "totalitarian society ... I have long expressed my concerns about."
Yet supporters of dialogue argue that Iran is not a totalitarian regime - and that in recent elections, the country's hard- liners garnered more support as a budding youth-led reform movement faded. With prospects for political change weakened, the logic of dialogue with those in power grows, some say.
Tehran may even be signaling a desire to talk with Washington on issues of mutual interest, some analysts say. They point to Iran's extradition last week of Saudi Al Qaeda member Khaled al-Harbi as a possible feeler.
In a report this week, a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) task force co-chaired by former CIA director Robert Gates and former Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski recommended a Nixon-to-China ap-proach to Iran.
Mr. Brzezinski notes that much of the American public and diplomatic community were skeptical of prospects for relations with China when President Nixon made his diplomatic move - yet Nixon set the stage for engagement with a global giant. "Recall that the statement of principles [the US and China initially signed on to] didn't solve any issues, but it pointed the way," he says.
And Mr. Gates notes that the presence of 140,000 US troops on Iran's western border has no doubt influenced Tehran's calculations for relations with the US.
Still, supporters of dialogue are running into growing resistance from others who say Iran's clear interference in Iraq - and its historic support of Islamic (and primarily anti-Israel) extremists - demand a tougher US policy. They point out, for example, that the US believes the Iran-backed Hezbollah supports the Jordanian Islamic extremist Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, who has been carrying out deadly acts against US forces and interests in Iraq.
"There are too many carrots here, but where are the sticks?" says Raymond Tanter, a national security official under Reagan. The US should threaten support for Iranian resistance groups including the Iraq-based Mujahideen-e-Kalq, he says.
The State Department only closed down the Mujahideen's Washington offices last year, but already it appears the issue of US support for the Iranian resistance will resurface later this summer.
The Senate is expected to take up a resolution calling for sanctions against Iran when it returns in September. But beyond that, some Senate Republicans plan to push for legislation on Iran modeled after the Iraq Liberation Act that would similarly call for regime change and financial support for resistance forces.
But the CFR task force concludes that the Tehran regime is "firmly entrenched," and joins other pro-engagement forces in recommending the very opposite - that the US should offer to press for the Mujahideen's full disbanding as a "carrot" to draw Tehran into dialogue.
Saying there are few signs of support among Iranians for the Mujahideen, Gates says, "It would be a tad awkward for us to support a group the State Department includes on the list of terrorist organizations."
Iran MPs mull controls on satellite TV, Internet
3:54 a.m. July 21, 2004
TEHRAN Iran's conservative-dominated parliament plans to draft new legislation controlling access to satellite television and the Internet, the official IRNA news agency reported late on Tuesday.
The Islamic state has been seeking ways to control Iranians' access to external influences via satellite TV and the World Wide Web for years.
Satellite dishes and receivers are officially prohibited, although enforcement is sporadic and an estimated 3 million homes receive satellite TV.
Fatemeh Rahbar, head of the media section of parliament's Cultural Committee, told IRNA: "Iranian society is using the Internet and satellite dishes. Therefore, the only solution now is organising (their use)."
Rahbar gave no details on how parliament planned to do this.
Iranian authorities are particularly concerned about the "corrupting" influence of Western music and film channels and about a number of California-based channels run by Iranian exiles, which they accuse of stirring up unrest against the country's clerical leaders.
The government has promoted Internet use and some 5 million Iranians now log on regularly, officials say. But Internet service providers are required to block access to sites containing pornographic material or anti-regime content.
Iran's hardline Guardian Council legislative watchdog last year rejected a bill that would have eased the widely flouted ban on satellite TV by allowing certain channels to be viewed using officially approved receivers.
Italy calls for expansion of ties with mullahs of Iran
Jul 21, 2004, 09:26
The Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said that Italy is willing to expand Tehran-Rome cooperation.
Mantika spoke of the difficult situation in Iraq and hoped that with the transitional government taking office in Iraq, the problems would gradually be removed.
He appreciated Iran's stance on Iraq and said that Iranian position is based on wisdom and logic.
Mantika drew Kharrazi's attention to the resolution of the European Union on Iran-EU interaction and called for mutual understanding.
Halliburton-Mullahs of Iran ties under scrutiny
Jul 21, 2004, 09:13
Halliburton, the oilfield services company formerly headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, has disclosed that a Treasury Department probe into its business dealings with Iran had been elevated to a criminal investigation.
The company acknowledged that it had been subpoenaed by a grand jury in the southern district of Texas to present documents related to a Cayman Islands subsidiary that serves the Iranian National Oil Company.
Halliburton said it would co-operate with the investigation, and that it believed it had complied with US trade restrictions against Iran. The subpoena has emerged at a time when Iran has come under fresh scrutiny in Washington for its possible links to al-Qaeda.
Marines detained in Iran faced mock execution
Thu 22 July, 2004 03:01
LONDON (Reuters) - Iranian soldiers who detained eight British naval troops last month on the Iran-Iraq border subjected them to a mock execution, The Sun reports.
The six Royal Marines and two sailors were seized on the Shatt al-Arab waterway by Iran's Revolutionary Guard on June 21, sparking tense discussions between the two governments.
Royal Marine Dave Reid, 24, told The Sun that Iranian guards had forced their blindfolded captives into a ditch during a transfer between prisons.
"We had been taken into a small ditch which we thought was our shallow grave," he said.
"There was just ten seconds of silence, ten seconds of hell, as we waited for the bullet," he added. "And there is no doubt at all that that is what the Iranians wanted us to think."
The troops were released after three days when British officials had convinced Iran the troops had strayed into Iranian waters accidentally and without ill intent.
7/21/04 - IRAN SUPPRESSES DISSENT
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
In Iran, no demonstrations marked the fifth anniversary of the historic Tehran University pro-democracy protests. Why? The government sent a message to students and anybody else advocating free speech in Iran: anyone who tried to commemorate the anniversary this year would be detained, punished -- or worse.
On July 9th, 1999, more than twenty-five thousand people throughout Iran participated in a student-led protest sparked by a police and vigilante raid on a small, peaceful campus demonstration the previous day. The nationwide protest was the largest political demonstration in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The Iranian government responded with a major crackdown on dissent. And all of the protesters demands were ignored, says exiled Iranian human rights activist Ladan Boroumand:
The demands are freedom of all political prisoners, the abolition of special courts, the right to due process, the freedom of the press, the abolition of discrimination against women, adherence to the international convention against torture. Basically, none of these reforms have been implemented, and thats why the pro-democracy movement reached the conclusion that this regime is unable to reform from within."
President George W. Bush says that if Irans clerical rulers do not heed the democratic demands of the Iranian people, the regime will lose its claim to legitimacy:
Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny, and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.
Across the Middle East, people are demanding that authoritarian rule give way to democracy and respect for human rights. We continue to stand with the people of Iran, said President Bush, and we call on the government of Iran to respect the will of its people and be accountable to them.
David Warren: Iran
The Ottawa Citizen ^ | July 21, 2004 | David Warren
Posted on 07/21/2004 8:46:49 AM PDT by quidnunc
July 22, 2004
The truth about Iran's capture and mistreatment of British servicemen is only beginning to emerge. British officials have hushed up reports that the men were forced into Iran's waters, rather than straying into its territory.
Despite disturbing images of the men paraded blindfold on Arab/Iranian propaganda channels - which would have caused outrage in Britain's media, had they been captured terrorists displayed by allied forces - the UK press has been fairly timid about the incident.
Now The Sun reveals that the eight men were subject to treatment that would normally have Britain's human rights industry in hysterics. According to one of the marines, they were forced ashore by heavily armed Revolutionary Guards who confronted them in unmarked boats. During their interrogation, they were humiliated, threatened with trial for espionage - or whatever passes for a trial in Iran - and subject to a horrifying mock execution.
These reports come as more evidence emerges regarding Iran's continuing support of terror: Newsweek reports that at least ten of the 9/11 mass murderers had used Iran as a "safe stop-off" on their way to Afghanistan. The leading conspirator behind the terror attacks, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, paid a particularly suspicious visit to Iran just eight months before September 11th.
Most sensible commentators agree that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon - one of its leading clerics hopes to use such a device against Israel, despite the millions of deaths this would cause in his own country, should Israel retaliate.
The European strategy for dealing with Iran is based on consultation, gentle persuasion and downright bribery - confrontation is thought to be the worst possible solution. Analysts agree that Iran's citizens are not bloodthirsty fanatics, unlike their religious leaders - an invasion or attack on Iran would surely risk harming many potential allies.
Nevertheless Iran is becoming a terrorist state - much more dangerous, and much more urgent a threat than Iraq appears to have been. Dealing with this nation and the aims of some of its leadership promises to be the crucial test of western policy in the next decade.
Iran Warns EU Against Double Standards Over Nuclear Issue
July 22, 2004
TEHRAN -- Iran warned the European Union to refrain from using "double standards" in its dealings with the Islamic republic over its nuclear activities, the official news agency IRNA reported.
Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi accused the EU of failing to live up to undertakings in a landmark deal with Iran in October which saw Tehran agree to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency.
But Iran has accused the Europeans of damaging the deal by sponsoring a critical resolution adopted last month by the IAEA, which deplored a lack of cooperation by Tehran.
"If the EU is interested in extensive relations with the Islamic republic of Iran as a key player in the establishment of peace and security in the region, it should refrain from double standards and stand firmly committed to its undertakings," Kharazi said after holding talks in Cairo with EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana.
"We made it clear that the EU did not respect its undertakings consistent with the Tehran Declaration signed on October 21, 2003 or it has adopted double standard toward its commitment," he said without elaborating.
However, Kharazi added: "Despite the ups and downs in Iran-EU relations, the two sides are keen on developing mutual ties."
The clerical regime in Tehran is accused by the United States of using an atomic energy programme as a cover for top secret weapons development, a charge Iran denies.
Under the October deal with Europe's "Big Three" of Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment, allow tougher inspections and file a comprehensive declaration of its nuclear activities.
But since then, IAEA experts have discovering omissions in Iran's reporting, inspection visits have been delayed and the regime has backing away from a pledge to suspend all enrichment-related activities.
Iran's top national security body has said that the next round of talks with Britain, France and Germany on the nuclear issue would resume later this month.
Appeasement: Now, More Than Ever
July 22, 2004
Just as news was breaking that Iran had sheltered more than half of the hijackers in the 9/11 plot, a group of liberal foreign policy hacks were calling for the liberalization of relations between Iran and the United States. Iran has stayed in the spotlight because of the revelations that Iran sponsors terror within Iraq. How could American scholars have misread the situation so badly?
According to a news item released by Time and Newsweek, the anticipated report of the 9/11 Commission contains strong new evidence on the ties between al-Qaeda and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The findings of this Commission indicate that the regime in Tehran had more to do with helping Osama bin Laden than Saddam Hussein did. In its July 16 issue, Time reports:
These findings follow a commission staff report, released in June, which suggested that al-Qaeda may have collaborated with Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, a key American military barracks in Saudi Arabia. Previously, the attack had been attributed only to Hezbollah, with Iranian support. A U.S. indictment of Bin Laden filed in 1998 for the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa said Al-Qaeda forged alliances...with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.
The Commission also concluded that 8-10 of the 14 hijackers involved in attacking the Twin Towers in New York passed through Iran in a period from October 2000 to February 2001. Anti-terrorism experts assert that dating back to October 2000, the Islamic Republic has "had a history of allowing al-Qaeda members to enter and exit across the Afghan border with Iranian authorities issuing specific instructions to their border guards to facilitate their travel and offer them cooperation. This comes as no surprise: For the past quarter of a century, Iranian territory has been a welcome destination for political assassins and a colloquium for international masterminds of violence and terror. (Naturally, he officials of the Islamic Republic of course deny any connection with al-Qaeda, as they also deny helping the insurgency in Iraq and any plan to acquire nuclear weapons.)
All this activity rests against a long history of anti-American terrorist advocacy. From the massacre of the U.S. Marines in their barracks in Beirut in 1983, to the attack against the USS Cole in 2000, the Islamic Republic of Iran stands unrivaled in its claim to the worlds premier sponsor of terrorism. The embassies of the Islamic Republic around the globe are cells for financing and training Islamic fanatics. Those pupils who display promising talents for brutality and blind obedience are awarded with educational opportunities, in camps operated by the Revolutionary Guards.
Members of the so-called reformist cabinet of the lame-duck President Khatami hold news conferences pontificating on what policies the government of the Islamic Republic should pursue underlining the fact that they have nothing to do with the running of the country. Vice president Mohammad Abtahi told Gareth Smyth of The Financial Times (on July 19, 2004) that Iran should continue a policy of detente and keep away from things that can become a big political crisis. Mr. Abtahi's favorite expression is, I cannot explain the action of the Iranian government. He uses this line most recently when asked about last month's detention of British sailors by the Revolutionary Guards.
Despite this well-known history, the Council on Foreign Relations Taskforce, chaired by President Carter's failed National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski submitted its report on July 19, exploring the possibility of warmed relations between Iran and the United States. The report released by this Taskforce on July 19 advocates establishing commercial ties and engaging in a dialogue with the regime in Tehran. Disinterring the disastrous policies of appeasement practiced by Jimmy Carter's administration toward the Islamic Republic, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and his Council on Foreign Relations Taskforce are reinforcing the powerful mullahs within the United States itself.
History appears to have thrown cold water on their appeasenik plans. However, if it comes to pass that the recommendation of this Taskforce is put into practice, Americans should prepare themselves for a variation on the same theme of horror and humiliation that kept them breathless during the final 444 days of the Carter presidency. Since that crisis, the terrorists have developed far ghastlier methods than they once employed in Tehran. Unfortunately, officials of the Carter administration (including President Carter himself) still seem to have learned nothing from the course of national shame and defeat they steered for the United States of America.
To succumb to the fear of terrorist reprisal or temptation of striking lucrative financial deals with the dictators in Tehran is to rob our world of a free and secure future. Should there be a dialogue with Iranians-at-large? Definitely. But not with the authorities of the Islamic Republic. The mullahs are incapable of understanding the basic values of democracy and civilization. Sitting with them at a negotiating table can only provide them with the recognition they covet a recognition they certainly do not deserve.
Bush Tries Diplomacy To Tackle Iran Nukes
Forward Magazine - By Marc Perelman
Jul 23, 2004
The Bush administration is working with European governments on a plan to kick the question of Iran's nuclear ambitions to the United Nations Security Council as a part of a broader examination of nuclear proliferation.
The strategy combining gradualism, multilateralism and a reliance on the United Nations contrasts sharply with the approach the administration took a year ago toward Iran's neighbor, Iraq. Facing what it then described as a regime that had links to the September 11 terrorist attacks and was committed to developing non-conventional weapons, the administration overrode European appeals for patience and bypassed the United Nations.
The decision to rely heavily now on the United Nations and European nations including France and Germany comes as Iran's alleged terror links are under increasing scrutiny, and is sure to fuel the anger of White House allies upset over what they see as the administration's failure to confront Tehran. Many foreign policy hawks are criticizing the White House for failing to push aggressively for regime change and are accusing the administration of lacking a coherent Iran policy.
It is a "major problem," said Danielle Pletka, the vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, a hawkish think tank associated with many of the neoconservative analysts who pushed for the Iraq war.
Further complicating the administration's task, several hawkish measures are working their way through the GOP-controlled Congress that would require more direct confrontation with Iran, up to and including regime change.
At the other end of the spectrum, key allies are pressing the administration for greater engagement with the existing regime. A report released Monday by a bipartisan task force of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations recommended that since the "solidly entrenched" government in Iran provides the only "authoritative" interlocutors, Washington should "deal with the current regime rather than wait for it to fall."
The new information surfacing on links between Iran and Al Qaeda has sharpened doubts about the administration's emphasis on ties between the terror network and Iraq.
As first reported by Time magazine in its online edition last weekend, the report due this week from the September 11 commission was expected to state that Iran allowed as many as 10 of the 19 hijackers involved in the September 11 attacks to pass through its territory between October 2000 and February 2001. Iranian officials reportedly ordered border guards not to stamp the terrorists' passports, thus facilitating their entry into the United States.
Iranian officials have acknowledged the possibility but blamed it on sloppy border controls. Both the American and the Iranian government say that no evidence exists to suggest that Tehran was involved in the Al Qaeda plot.
Nonetheless, President Bush told reporters Monday that the administration would continue to look into the issue.
The September 11 Commission report was expected to outline other Iranian connections to terrorism as well, including a claim that Iranian officials approached Al Qaeda after the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000 to collaborate on future attacks against the United States. The overture was reportedly rejected by Osama bin Laden.
Such disclosures are expected to increase the calls in some corners for a more hawkish White House policy on Iran.
In a sign of potential trouble for the administration, a Cold War-era coalition, The Committee on the Present Danger, reformulated itself this week and launched a new campaign to press for a more aggressive fight against "terror inspired by radical Islamists." The committee, a coalition of prominent hawks such as Norman Podhoretz, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Jack Kemp, has two senators serving as its honorary co-chairmen, Democrat Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona.
So far, the committee is steering clear of direct attacks against the Bush administration, but its full-page advertisement Wednesday in the New York Times offered several arguments that have been employed by hawks to suggest that the White House is not doing enough to fight against radical Islam and Arab terrorism.
Pletka told the Forward that she advocates a proactive policy that would have the American government employ a mix of public diplomacy and moral and financial support to encourage Iranian citizens to change their government, in the same way that the United States aided Eastern Europeans in their fight against Soviet rule.
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution in May calling for punitive action against Iran if it does not fully reveal details of its nuclear arms program and authorizing the use of "all appropriate means" to deter, dissuade and prevent Iran from acquiring such weaponry. The Senate is expected to adopt a similar resolution when Congress reconvenes in September.
In addition, Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, plans to introduce a bill in the fall that will call for the administration to adopt a policy of regime change in Iran. The stated goal would be to help the "transition into democracy" by funding human rights and advocacy groups, according to a source familiar with the bill. The bill is expected to request between $20 and $50 million for helping nongovernmental organizations, think tanks and Web sites instead of opposition parties, the source said. Calls to Brownback's office were not returned.
For now, the Bush administration appears to be staking out a dramatically more patient approach than its allies advocate, opting to explore with European countries the possibility of bringing the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations in the coming months. The idea would be to address the issue through a more general discussion of the fight against nuclear proliferation, sources said.
The administration's goal would be to have the Security Council call for a tighter enforcement of the rules governing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, without specifically referring to Tehran's ambitions. A U.S. official said the administration was considering this option, adding that discussions were still at an early stage.
During the past year, the International Atomic Energy Agency has issued several critical reports on Iran's nuclear activities, but has refrained from referring the issue to the Security Council. While Iran has repeatedly said it was pursuing a nuclear program exclusively for civilian use, the United States and influential European countries have expressed serious doubts about Tehran's intentions.
In October 2003, France, Great Britain and Germany reached an agreement with Tehran under which Iran would suspend its uranium enrichment activities and allow unfettered inspections of the atomic energy agency in exchange for technological aid.
Both President Bush and the atomic energy agency's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, have proposed a crackdown on international trade in nuclear materials. France began pushing in late June for a sharper focus on Iran and other immediate threats, floating an informal proposal just before the G8 summit of industrial nations that advocated a tighter enforcement of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, according to a source close to the issue.
Meanwhile, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has issued a report endorsing the idea of granting more robust powers to the Security Council for enforcing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Patrick Clawson, vice president of the Washington Institute on Near East Policy and a hawk on Iran, said he could envision the Security Council passing a resolution that would send a clear message to Tehran by holding out the implied threat of sanctions. Clawson said it made perfect sense for the administration to play a supporting role to the Europeans rather than take the lead on the issue, given American-Iranian tensions and the limited prospects for quick changes in Iran.
"The Europeans are very involved, and we are in broad agreement with them on the main issues," he said. "So the U.S. has a policy, and it is a wise one."
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
Tonight, streets of Tehran are full of Anti riot police forces. Lots of Police on patrol, and I dont have any idea why it is like that.
I will let u know if any thing happens."
Now that's interesting. Something must be going down.....but what?