Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 27, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/26/2004 9:02:46 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 starts atom tests in defiance of EU deal
By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor
Iran has broken the seals on nuclear equipment monitored by United Nations inspectors and is once again building and testing machines that could make fissile material for nuclear weapons.
Teheran's move, revealed to The Daily Telegraph yesterday by western sources, breaks a deal with European countries under which Iran suspended "all uranium enrichment activity".
It will also exacerbate fears that the regional power is determined to make an atomic bomb within a few years.
Enrichment is the most controversial part of Iran's "peaceful" nuclear programme because the same technology used to make low-enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors can be used to refine material for bombs.
America has in recent weeks renewed its call for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
However, diplomats said senior officials from the "EU-3" - Britain, France and Germany - would try to coax Teheran back to the path of co-operation at a secret meeting in Paris on Thursday.
Their chances of success seem slim, however, because Teheran now appears to have calculated that America is paralysed by the presidential election campaign and that Europe is too divided to exert real pressure.
Western sources said Iranian officials last month reclaimed equipment for uranium enrichment centrifuges sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The centrifuges separate the fissile isotope U235.
In what may be a further escalation, some western sources said Iran was carrying out its threat to begin producing uranium hexafluoride, the gas fed into the centrifuges, but the claim could not be corroborated last night.
Under a deal reached with the EU-3 in October, Iran agreed to come clean about its nuclear programme and announced it would suspend "temporarily" all uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure.
However, Iran interpreted this to mean only that it would not introduce gas into the centrifuges while remaining free to build and test them.
Under a deal in February, the EU-3 closed this loophole when Iran accepted a wider definition of "suspension" - and it is this "Brussels agreement" which has collapsed.
Angered by the IAEA's condemnation last month of repeated failures to reveal all about its nuclear programme, Hassan Rowhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, wrote to the EU-3 saying his country would resume manufacture, assembly and testing of centrifuges.
Iran argues that its nuclear programme is designed solely to generate electricity for civilian use.
It argues that it is entitled to enrich uranium under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and insists that the suspension deal was a voluntary agreement that could be revoked.
America believes that a succession of reports by IAEA inspectors "revealing that Iran [has lied] systematically for 18 years and has yet to answer many troubling questions about its activities" provide ample evidence that Teheran has violated the treaty.
Inspectors have found that Iran made small quantities of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium.
Teheran has yet to explain the origin of highly-enriched uranium "contamination" detected at several sites.
Nor has it revealed the extent of its more sophisticated "P2" centrifuge programme that only came to light this year, with the unravelling of the "nuclear supermarket" operated by the disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist, AQ Khan.
British officials say they have no illusions about Iran's intentions, but have hitherto advocated patient diplomacy.
They want to allow inspectors to keep working to "box in" the Iranians to the point where they either give up nuclear weapons ambitions or commit such a blatant violation that the West can win international support for sanctions.
"Iran has resumed research and testing, and every day that passes means it gets closer to mastering the technology," said one western source.
"If the Europeans think they can outfox the Iranians in the carpet bazaar, they are deeply mistaken."
Khatami Government Offers Judiciary Help in Finding Kazemis Killer
(A spokesman for the Khatami cabinet said today that intelligence ministry was capable and ready to help the judiciary find the main perpetrators in Canadian-Iran journalist Zahra Kazemis death in custody case.)
July 26, 2004 - The intelligence ministry is ready, if the judiciary allows it and wants a full and transparent investigation, ... to take measures to identify the truth about this issue," government spokesman Abdollah Ramazanzadeh said on Sunday, offering governments help in finding the killers of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi. We hope the Intelligence Ministry's request is accepted," he said.
He said he believed the intelligence ministry was in a position to identify the real perpetrators.
A criminal court in Tehran last Sunday acquitted an intelligence ministry agent of involvement in the killing. He had been charged with semi-involuntary manslaughter. The judge ended the trial last week abruptly on the second day, after lawyers for the victims family and the defendant said the only man accused in the case was a scapegoat sheltering higher officials.
The case has placed human rights abuses and the judicial process in Iran under intense international scrutiny and strained Iran's ties with Canada which has withdrawn its ambassador and is considering further sanctions against Tehran, Reuters said in a dispatch from Tehran.
Iran's main armed opposition group said that the U.S. had granted its rebels in Iraq protected status, despite its listing as a terrorist organization by both Washington and its key allies.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran said it had received notification from occupation commanders that People's Mujahedeen fighters who have been confined to camp in Iraq since last year's U.S.-led invasion had been accorded recognition as protected non-combatants under the fourth Geneva Convention.
This meant that those rebels were not considered belligerents during the Iraq war, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.
However Mr Ereli said that the new status did not affect the U.S. view that the group was a terrorist organisation.
Iran said the decision undermined U.S. claims to be fighting terrorist groups.
Iran has been pushing for repatriation of the several thousand of those Iranian rebels under U.S. military guard at Camp Ashraf northeast of Baghdad, and last December Iraq's occupation-installed interim leadership voted unanimously to expel them.
"We have determined that they were not belligerents in this conflict and we are according them the human rights protections consistent with the Geneva Conventions," Mr Ereli said in Washington.
The new status gives the militants access to the Red Cross and the United Nations refugee agency.
The controversy highlights the group's rather awkward position, the BBC's Pentagon correspondent Nick Childs says. He adds that what will ultimately happen to the fighters is not clear.
Iran warns Israel of retaliation if attacked
TEHRAN: Iran responds to Israeli threats of attack by vowing to wipe Israel "off the face of the earth" if it attacks the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.
"They will not hesitate to strike Iran if they are capable of it. However, their threats to attack Iran's nuclear facilities cannot be realised. They are aware Tehran's reaction will be so harsh that Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth and US interests will be easily damaged," the public relations head of the Revolutionary Guards, Commander Seyed Masood Jazayeri, was quoted as saying by an Iranian news agency.
The commander asserted that Iran would not initiate a conflict, but in retaliation to any attack has proved itself to be "harsh, assertive, hard-hitting and destructive."
The Times reports Iran just months away from making nuclear bomb
Khaleej Times ^ | 7/27/04 | Khaleej Times
Posted on 07/27/2004 3:33:02 AM PDT by freedom44
LONDON - Iran is just months away from being able to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb, Britains The Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, quoting Western diplomatic sources.
Iran appears to be further advanced in acquiring the relevant nuclear technology than we had initially thought, a British official told the newspaper.
Teheran had bought time through appearing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and with a diplomatic initiative led by Britain, France and Germany, the report said.
But officials now believed the situation was grave, it added.
Actually they have just continued with the research work and now they are only a few months away from completing the programme, a source told The Times.
Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but is allowed to develop nuclear technology for civilian purposes.
US President George Bush has named Iran as part of the axis of evil and accused Tehran of wanting to develop nuclear weapons.
Officials told the Times the IAEA was monitoring Iran closely, and that the country could be referred to the United Nations Security Council in coming months.
Teheran had chosen to use centrifuge technology to enrich uranium for making a bomb, rather than extracting plutonium from used fuel from a reactor under construction at Bushehr with assistance from Russia.
Even if they complete the centrifuge technology, it would still take time to spin the material through the system and to make a bomb, and were monitoring activities rigorously, a source told the Times.
The Times reported recently that Israel would mount a military attack to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities if it thought Teheran was close to having a bomb.
Israel took action against Iraq in June 1981, destroying the French-built Osirak nuclear reactor in an air raid.
Israel Says Hizbullah Rockets Threaten Tel Aviv as Iran Vows to ''Wipe Israel Off'' Map
July 27, 2004
Lebanon's Hizbullah might have a few dozen long-range rockets capable of hitting Tel Aviv area if launched from southern Lebanon, the head of Israel's Military Intelligence told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday, Haaretz reported on Tuesday.
Intelligence Chief Major-General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash said the Iranian-backed resistance movement had a few dozen rockets "apparently" with a range of 115 kilometers and perhaps as great as 200 kilometers.
Israel is certain that the Iranian Fajar 3 and Fajar 5 rockets, with a range of 45 to 75 kilometers, and Syrian-made 200-millimeter rockets, with a range of 70 kilometers, are included among Hizbullah's arsenal.
Farkash's comments were published as a spokesman for Iran's Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying the Islamic Republic will wipe Israel "off the face of the earth" if it dared to attack the its nuclear facilities.
"The United States is showing off by threatening to use its wild dog, Israel," the public relations head of the Revolutionary Guards, Commander Seyed Masood Jazayeri, was quoted as saying by the Iranian student news agency ISNA.
"They will not hesitate to strike Iran if they are capable of it. However, their threats to attack Irans nuclear facilities cannot be realised. They are aware Tehran's reaction will be so harsh that Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth and US interests will be easily damaged," he warned.
The Nature of the Enemy
July 27, 2004
National Review Online
Win first. Hearts and minds will come.
All of a sudden everybody's asking, "Who are we fighting anyway?" It's an interesting question, but it's not nearly as important as many of the debaters believe. The 9/11 Commission tells us we're fighting Islamists, or Islamist terrorists, and David Brooks has cooed over this, because he likes the notion that we're fighting an ideology. The White House has devoted lots of man-hours to this matter, trying to figure out how we win "the battle of ideas," and the Internet is full of people who argue, variously, that we're fighting "radical Islam," "Saddam's die-hards," "foreign fighters," or even "Islam itself." All of these "Islamic" definitions guide us back to Samuel Huntington's thesis that there is a war or at least a clash of civilizations underway. Most share the conviction that we're fighting something that is unusually dangerous because not a traditional enemy, that is to say, a state. It's much more than that, or so they believe.
I wonder. An awful lot of our enemies' ideology comes from us, as several scholars Bernard Lewis and Amir Taheri, for starters have stressed. The virulent anti-Semitism at the core of the (Sunni and Shiite) jihadists is right out of the Fuhrer's old playbook, which helps understand why jihad and the revival of anti-Semitism in Europe are running along in tandem. Sure, there's ample xenophobia in Islam, and Bat Yeor's fine work on dhimmitude abundantly documents the Muslim drive to dominate the infidel. But the kind of anti-Semitism hardly distinguishable from anti-Americanism nowadays that we find in Middle Eastern gutters has a Western trademark. It started in France in the 19th century, got a pseudoscientific gloss from the Austrians and Germans a generation later, and spread like topsy.
Notice, please, that many scholars at the time insisted that Nazism was first and foremost an ideology, not a state. Indeed, Hitler was at pains to proclaim that he was fighting for an Aryan reich, not a German state. And if you read some of the literature on Nazism or for that matter the broader work on totalitarianism produced by the "greatest generation," you'll find a profound preoccupation with "winning the war of ideas" against fascism. Indeed, a good deal of money and energy was expended by our armed forces, during and after the war, to de-Nazify and de-fascify the Old World.
But the important thing is that when we smashed Hitler, Nazi ideology died along with him, and fell into the same bunker.
The same debate over "whom or what are we fighting" raged during the Cold War, when we endlessly pondered whether we were fighting Communist ideology or Russian imperialism. Some mostly intellectuals, many of them in the CIA saw the Cold War primarily in ideological terms, and thought we would win if and only if we wooed the world's masses from the Communist dream. Others warned that this was an illusion, and that we'd better tend to "containment" else the Red Army would bring us and our allies to our knees.
In the end, when the Soviet Empire fell, the appeal of Communism was mortally wounded, at least for a generation.
You see where I'm going, surely. The debate is a trap, because it diverts our attention and our energies from the main thing, which is winning the war. It's an intellectual amusement, and it gets in our way. As that great Machiavellian Vince Lombardi reminds us, winning is the only thing.
That's why the public figure who has best understood the nature of the war, and has best defined our enemy, is George W. Bush. Of all people! He had it right from the start: We have been attacked by many terrorist groups and many countries that support the terrorists. It makes no sense to distinguish between them, and so we will not. We're going after them all.
Yes, I know he seems to lose his bearings from time to time, especially when the deep thinkers and the sheikhs and the Europeans and Kofi Annan and John Paul II insist we can't win the hearts and minds of the Middle East unless we first solve the Arab-Israeli conflict. But he has repeatedly pulled himself out of that trap very nicely, and he invariably does so in terms that show he has a uniquely deep understanding of our enemies.
He says the way to win the war is to liberate the Middle East from the tyrants who now govern it and sponsor terrorism.
And that's exactly right. There are plenty of terrorists out there who aren't Islamists. (There are even some suicide terrorists who have been forced into it; Coalition commanders are reporting the discovery of hands chained to steering wheels in suicide vehicles.) But all the terror masters are tyrants. Saddam didn't have any religious standing, nor do the Assads, but they are in the front rank of the terror masters. Ergo: Defeat the tyrants, win the war.
And then historians can study the failed ideology.
Machiavelli, Chapter Two: If you are victorious, people will always judge the means you used to have been appropriate.
Corollary from Lyndon Baines Johnson: When you have them by the balls, the hearts and minds generally follow.
The Nature of the Enemy
July 27, 2004
National Review Online
No Iranian Surprises
July 27, 2004
The Washington Times
Michael D. Evans
The much-anticipated September 11 commission report has now been released, and details evidence that eight to 10 of the September 11 high-jackers passed through Iran a year prior to the attacks on the United States. The New York Times reports that Iranian officials have instructed border guards on Iran's western border with Afghanistan not to stamp the passports of Saudi citizens who may have been traveling to and from al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. An Iranian stamp in a passport would have caused closer scrutiny by U.S. immigration officials.
Is this really a surprise? Iran has harbored, financed and cooperated with terrorists who have attacked the "Great Satan" since June 1985, when the United States began an embargo against Iran because of its sponsorship of international terrorism. These sanctions have been in place for more than a decade now, squeezing the Iran economy, which suffers from inflation running as high as 50 percent.
Iran has been working day and night to stir up trouble throughout the Gulf region. Hezbollah factions have been infiltrated, and the seeds of a tremendous explosion on the world scene have been sown.
The world was shocked when Israel captured the Palestinian ship the Katrine-A in the Red Sea on Jan. 4, 2002. The ship was loaded with Katyusha rockets with a maximum range of 12 miles, assault rifles, anti-tank missiles, mines, ammunition and explosives. Most of the weapons were Iranian.
The truth is that Iran was flying up to three jumbo jets laden with military supplies to Syria each month. The majority of the supplies were being ferried directly to Hezbollah guerrillas for the war against Israel. At the same time, the Clinton administration was socializing with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
On Nov. 13, 1995, an Iranian-backed Islamist organization, known as the Movement for Islamic Change, claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Saudi National Guard at Riyadh, in which five American servicemen and two Indian workers were killed. This was the first of two promised attacks. On June 3, 1996, Iran vowed to resist the embargo imposed by the United States, and then on June 9, Iran's spiritual leader called for Iran's military to prepare for war.
Ten days later, the House of Representatives cast a unanimous vote in favor of imposing tighter sanctions on Iran. The principle was added to pending legislation. The intent of the bill was to cripple Iran's and Libya's ability to continue their support of international terrorism. A week later, during June 20-23, Tehran hosted an international terrorism conference during which it was announced that attacks against U.S. interests would be stepped up in the coming months.
Two days later, on June 25, the truck bombing of the military housing camp in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, took place, claiming the lives of 19 U.S. airmen and wounding hundreds of others. The Islamic Movement for Change, which already had claimed credit for the Riyadh bombing, took credit for this attack as well.
On July 16, the United States levied its version of sanctions against Iran and Libya. On the following day, July 17, the Movement for Islamic Change sent a chilling fax to the London-based Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, warning:
"The world will be astonished and amazed at the time and place chosen by the Mujahadin. The Mujahadin will deliver the harshest reply to the threats of the American president. Everyone will be surprised by the volume, choice of place, and timing of the answer. The invaders must be prepared to depart ? dead, for their time of mourning is near."
That fax, intercepted by overseas operatives, was forwarded to U.S. agencies.
Michael D. Evans is a Middle East analyst, a New York Times bestselling author and the author of "The American Prophecies."
Governmental TV echoes terror policy
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jul 27, 2004
The Islamic regime's governmental TV has started to echo the official terror policy in order to increase the fear among Iranians on the consequences of opposing the Islamic State. Programs have started to be broadcasted showing footages of public executions, floggings and groups of enchained youth arrested by the security forces and forced to circulate in the streets.
This new repressive propaganda indicates the growing fear of the Mullahcracy of the increasing popular hate and opposition to the Islamic regime while it shows the final choice of the Islamic republic's leaders for a stand off against the absolute majority of Iranians who are looking for Regime Change.
At least, one Iranian is executed each week under false labels, such as, "Drug Trafficker", "Rapist", "Spy", "Bandit", "Hooligan" or "Murderer", while the public flogging of Iranians have re-started again.
It's to note that while most Iranians are well aware that these victims are mostly those who have somehow retaliated to the militiamen's brutalities, the use of such false labels is intending to help the European and Japanese collaborators of the Islamic regime to avoid a protest, by their public opinions, on the continuation of their economic relations with a tyrannical and terrorist regime.
Why We Must Strike Iran Now
By New York Daily News
New York Daily News | July 27, 2004
Did we invade the wrong country? One of the lessons now being drawn from the 9/11 report is that Iran was the real threat. The Iraq War critics have a new line of attack: We should have done Iran instead.
Well, of course Iran is a threat. But how exactly would the critics have "done" Iran? Iran is a serious country with a serious army. Can you imagine the Iraq War critics actually supporting war with Iran?
If not war, what then? The Bush administration, having decided that invading one Axis-of-Evil country was about as much as the country can bear, has gone multilateral on Iran. Washington delegated the issue to a committee of three - the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany - that has been meeting with the Iranians to get them to shut down their nuclear program.
The result? They have been led by the nose. Time is of the essence, and the runaround that the Tehran Three have gotten from the mullahs has meant that we have lost at least nine months in doing anything to stop the Iranian nuclear program.
Iran instead of Iraq? The Iraq critics would have done nothing about either country. There would today be two major Islamic countries sitting on an ocean of oil, supporting terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction - instead of one.
Two years ago, there were five countries supporting terror and pursuing WMDs - two junior-leaguers, Libya and Syria, and the axis-of-evil varsity: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The Bush administration has just eliminated two: Iraq, by direct military means, and Libya, by example and intimidation.
Syria is weak and deterred by Israel. North Korea, having gone nuclear, is untouchable. That leaves Iran. There are only two things that will stop the Iranian nuclear program: revolution from below or an attack on its nuclear facilities.
The country should be ripe for revolution. But the mullahs are very good at police-state tactics. The long-awaited revolution is not happening. Which makes the question of preemptive attack all the more urgent. Iran will go nuclear during the next presidential term. If nothing is done, a fanatical terrorist regime openly dedicated to the destruction of the "Great Satan" will have both nuclear weapons and the terrorists and missiles to deliver them. All that stands between us and that is either revolution or preemptive strike.
Both of which, by the way, are far more likely to succeed with 146,000 American troops and highly sophisticated aircraft standing by just a few miles away - in Iraq.
U.S. Sees No Basis to Prosecute MKO
July 26, 2004
The New York Times
A 16-month review by the United States has found no basis to charge members of an Iranian opposition group in Iraq with violations of American law, though the group is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States government, according to senior American officials.
The case of the group, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, or Mujahedeen Khalq, whose camp was bombed by the United States military in April 2003, has been watched closely as an important test of the Bush administration's policy toward terrorism and toward Iran.
About 3,800 members of the group are being held in de facto American custody in Camp Ashraf, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. The group remains on the United States terrorist list, though it is not known to have directed any terrorist acts toward the United States for 25 years. But it does stage attacks against Iran, which has demanded that the Iraqi government either prosecute its members or deport them to Iran.
But senior American officials said extensive interviews by officials of the State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had not come up with any basis to bring charges against any members of the group. In a July 21 memorandum, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the deputy commanding general in Iraq, said its members had been designated "protected persons" by the United States military, providing them new rights.
The American approach appears to reflect the limits of the government's counterterrorism policy. In the case of the People's Mujahedeen, the United States does not appear to have evidence to charge individual members of the group with acts of terrorism, but it also appears unwilling to surrender its members to their enemy, Iran.
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs treatment of civilians in wartime, "protected persons" are those who fall under the control of an occupying power or a country involved in the conflict. Among the most significant rights they are granted are protection against collective punishment and against expulsion.
The formal American determination came after members of the group signed an agreement rejecting violence and terrorism, General Miller said in his July 21 letter, addressed to the "people of Ashraf." That agreement "sends a strong signal and is a powerful first step on the road to your final individual disposition," the general's letter said, according to a copy that was made available to The New York Times.
The State Department said Monday that the determination of the status of the group in Iraq did not affect its designation as a terrorist organization. The 3,800 members at Camp Ashraf are still being vetted to determine whether any took part in terrorist activities, said Adam Ereli, the department's deputy spokesman.
But in the memorandum, General Miller struck a warm tone, saying he was "writing to congratulate each individual living in Camp Ashraf" on their status. Senior American officials said it that was still possible that some members of the group might be charged with crimes in European countries, but that they did not expect any of them to be charged in American courts.
"A member of a terrorist organization is not necessarily a terrorist," a senior American official said. "To take action against somebody, you have to demonstrate that they have done something."
Muhammad Mohaddessin, a senior official of the People's Mujahedeen, said in a telephone interview from Paris on Monday that the absence of American charges against members of the group, after months in which they have been held, should raise questions about the organization's terrorist designation.
"I think the fact of the matter is that there is no reason for keeping the Mujahedeen on the terrorism list at all," Mr. Mohaddessin said, "because if these thousands of people who are in Iraq are not terrorists - when they all have been screened, and no terrorism link has been found - then really there is no basis whatsoever for accusing the Mujahedeen of being a terrorist organization."
The American military has kept the members confined to their camp since April 2003, when the organization signed an agreement with United States commanders. Their designation as "protected persons" reflects a final determination that they were not involved in acts of belligerence against the American military during the war, American officials said.
The designation would make it all but impossible for members of the group to be extradited to Iran, senior American officials said. In December, the interim Iraqi government ordered that members of the group be expelled, but the move was opposed by the United States, and the directive was never carried out.
Some opponents of Iran, including dozens of members of Congress, have argued that the People's Mujahedeen serves as an effective source of pressure on the Iranian government and should be rewarded, not punished, by the United States.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ereli, the State Department spokesman, said the group "continues to be a designated foreign terrorist organization," a status that was imposed by the Clinton administration.
He said that "we will continue to treat individuals who can be determined to have been involved in terrorist incidents consistent with the laws that apply." But privately, senior American officials noted that it has been more than 25 years since members of the People's Mujahedeen were last believed to have been involved in attacks against the United States, and that most of its recent violent acts were directed at Iran.
In Iran, a government spokesman, Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, said any American move to grant the People's Mujahedeen protected status would undermine the United States' claims to be fighting terrorist groups. "I hope those who claim they are combating terrorism prove the truth and confront the ones who have committed extensive crimes against the Iranian nation," he said.
A senior American official said the United States opposed Iran's request that members of the group be handed over for trial because "we have real questions about the fairness and transparency of justice" there.
Until the American invasion of Iraq last year, the People's Mujahedeen maintained armed camps near the Iranian border that included tanks, artillery and other modern weapons. The group had operated inside Iraq since the late 1980's with the support of the Iraqi government.
The American bombing raids on the camps represented the most aggressive approach by the United States in the handling of the group. It was followed by a gentler approach, including prolonged cease-fire negotiations and a cordial relationship between the group and the American military police units that have guarded the camp, preventing members from leaving except under American military escort.
Arrow-2's Real Test Not Scuds But Iran Rockets
July 28, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
Even if the coming test of the Arrow-2 missile against a live Scud is successful, will it be able to strike down the faster Iranian Shihab-3 rocket? This is the question that technicians and defense officials have been grappling with since the Iranians developed the Shihab-3, which could soon be armed with an existential, nuclear threat against the Jewish state.
The upcoming test of the Arrow-2 against a live Scud rocket on the California coast will examine modifications to the Arrow-2's warhead and sequencing so it can strike higher and more accurately than earlier models, said sources familiar with the project.
For the moment, neither defense officials nor representatives of the Israel Aircraft Industries who led the design and production of the Arrow system are willing to talk on the record. That will come only after the test launch at a US missile testing range off the Pacific coast.
The Arrow project began over a dozen years ago to address the threat posed by the relatively crude Scud missiles, like the ones Iraq fired into Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. But as the project developed, the defense establishment was determined not to fall into the trap of preparing for the "last" war and look ahead to future threats. Those threats include faster rockets launched from farther away, possibly with multiple warheads.
"Speed is not one of the problems, it is THE problem," said Yiftah Shapir, an expert on missile technology.
"If you want to hit an incoming missile, it has to be more sensitive, and earlier detection would help. A Shihab-3 has about a 100-second boost phase and then flies like a stone. If you know from where it is launched, you know where to look for and engage it," Shapir said.
According to a statement issued by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, earlier Arrow models flew about 2.5 kilometers per second, and its proximity fuse warhead meant that it could miss the target by as much as 50 meters and still kill it.
Rockets like the Shihab-3 travel at about 6 kilometers per second roughly four times the speed of Scuds and twice the speed of targets the original Arrow was designed to handle.
Recent reports have said that the Arrow-2 has now doubled its intercept altitude to about 60 kilometers.
Shapir, of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, said that the Arrow missile program is undergoing constant improvements to cope with improving surface-to-surface missile threats. He explained that it is not a question of hit or miss, but a percentage of success.
"Whether these improvements will be successful is hard to say. We are speaking of percentages, not yes or no answers. The improvements are raising the percentage of success," Shapir said.
One former technician explained that the challenge is like two people approaching each other on bicycles with the intent of slapping hands as they pass.
"The rider has to see the other bike approaching and take the position so that he can swing down his hand at exactly the right moment. The faster they are going, the more difficult it is," said the former technician.
He said that changes to the Arrow-2 are specifically to the warhead proximity fuse and the sequencing programming. The idea is to intercept the Shihab missiles, which could be armed with chemical or nuclear warheads, before they reach Israel.
"This will be the first time that the Arrow will be tested against a real Scud missile launched from the ground from its real range and is shot down from the ground; this is something that Israel's geography doesn't allow," said Maj.-Gen. (res.) Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Israel, a former director of IDF Development of Weapons Systems and Infrastructure.
He said the challenge of shooting down a real Scud instead of a simulator is not just theoretical.
"We all remember that during the (1991) Gulf War, the Scud warheads broke up as they reentered the atmosphere, and this is a problem to shoot down," Ben-Israel told Army Radio.
"All these things were taken into account, and the Arrow was designed to deal with them. But in reality the simulators never react as a real Scud might, so there is a great interest in testing it against a live target," Ben-Israel said.
Ironically, due to the ABM treaty, the West was barred from developing a true missile defense shield. But with US funding, Israel was the first country to implement the theory and produce the Arrow. When the Air Force deployed its first of two batteries in October 2000, Israel became the first and so far only country in the world with a working missile defense system. Still, until this test against the Scud, it has all been virtual.
This will be the 12th test of the Arrow. Although planned over three years ago, it comes at a time when Israel is renewing its warning of Iran's nuclear possessions and intentions.
On Tuesday, the Islamic Republic vowed to "wipe Israel off the earth" if any strike is made against their nuclear installations.
"A member of a terrorist organization is not necessarily a terrorist," a senior American official said. "
Huh? Hmmm......okay....then they're a terrorist supporter.....kinda like the Iranian regime.