Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 28, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/27/2004 9:04:27 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 'Can Create' N-Bomb.
July 27, 2004
The Times, London
The Statesman, India
Iran is just 'months away' from having the capability to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb, Western diplomatic sources said yesterday. Through diplomatic manoeuvring, Teheran had bought time to complete its research on constructing a centrifuge system to produce highly enriched uranium, the sources told The Times, London.
The Iranians had clearly chosen that track for developing bomb-grade material over creating plutonium from its nuclear reactor facility at Bushehr, they said. 'Iran appears to be further advanced in acquiring the relevant nuclear technology than we had initially thought,' said one British official. Britain, France and Germany, the three European countries that have sought to defuse the Iranian nuclear threat through negotiation, are now seeking an urgent meeting with the regime in Teheran. The situation was 'grave', said an official.
Teheran has given the impression of conceding to diplomatic pressure by accepting tougher verification controls by the IAEA. But actually they have just continued with the research work and now they are only a few months away from completing the programme,' one source said.
EU trio plan high-level nuclear talks with Iran
Reuters - World News
Jul 27, 2004
LONDON/VIENNA - Britain, Germany and France will pursue talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme and a high-level meeting in Europe is pencilled in for this week, Western diplomats said on Tuesday.
Despite reports that Iran is close to getting the materials for a nuclear bomb, European sources said the trio was committed to resuming negotiations to achieve their aim of stopping Iran from getting atomic weapons. Discussions are ongoing, we still firmly believe that this is the right way to achieve our goal, said a spokesman for the Foreign Office in London, who declined to give further details.
That chimed with comments from Paris earlier this month that it favoured dialogue with the Islamic Republic. Berlin agreed. The talks continue on the basis of our well-known position, said a German government source, declining to comment on a date or venue for a meeting.
Several Western sources said a meeting of senior officials from Iran and the three EU countries was planned, but not confirmed, for Thursday in a European city, most likely Paris.
ERDOGAN IN TEHRAN TO FOSTER TIES WITH IRAN
By Safa Haeri
Posted Tuesday, July 27, 2004
ANKARA-TEHRAN, 28 July (IPS) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tehran Tuesday evening for a two days officials visit, during which he would discuss with the Iranians about several topics, including gas sales, a controversial dispute over an airport contract, enhancing cooperation and operations against Kurdish rebels, Iran's foreign ministry said Sunday.
The officials are scheduled to sign several economic, cultural cooperation agreements on expanding Iran-Ankara relations. The volume of Iran-Ankara trade exchanges reached 2.4 billion dollars in 2003 and the sides are going to increase this amount to 10 billion dollars, the official Iranian news agency IRNA said.
The Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), Iran's gas exports to Turkey, fighting Kurdish rebels and the situation in both Iraq and Palestine are of interest to both sides and will be discussed, diplomatic sources told Iran Press Service.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to leave for Tehran this evening for a visit that will give the chance to the leadership of the two countries to test how much Turkey and Iran can extend their cooperation as neighbours and translate that cooperation into a common stance on a number of regional issues, most notably on the future of Iraq, commented the English-language Turkish Daily News.
But rapprochement with Iran has its limits, the paper cautioned.
The Revolutionary Guards shut down the new airport on 8 May 2004 almost immediately it had been officially inaugurated, invoking security problems and nations pride, as all services, including baggage handling and passengers services like running restaurants and shops was awarded to the Turkish-Austrian Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV) consortium that had partially participated n the construction of the 300 millions US Dollars airport.
At first, the Guards, that like all other Iranian armies are under the supreme commandment of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i, the leader of the Islamic Republic did not explain the reason for the abrupt and unprecedented operation, the first in the 25 years life of the Iranian present regime, but latter they argued that the order to shut down the new airport had come from the Supreme Council on National Security because the TAV also had business dealings with Israel.
Asked about the allegations, Mr. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the Governments official spokesman said on Tuesday 27 July 2004, it is the duty of the intelligence Ministry to find out about the possible deals between the TAV with Israel and so far the Ministry had not confirmed that the consortium had ties with the Zionists or they are spies.
On the security issue, observers from both sides confirmed that Tehran and Ankara, as well as Damascus, are cooperating more closely in fighting rebels from the former Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), now known as Kongra-Gel. Earlier this month Iranian troops killed several Kongra-Gel fighters in clashes close to the Iraqi border.
Turkey and Iran intensified cooperation on security matters after a chilly period during which the two sides accused each other of sheltering their respective dissidents.
"The two countries will try to explore if relations can acquire a strategic dimension," said regional analyst Husnu Mahalli, who said specific issues concerning relations would be resolved almost automatically if the Erdogan and Mohammad Khatami administrations found common ground similar to the one discovered between Ankara and Damascus during Assad's January visit.
This visit coincides with a time when the US has stepped up its pressure on Iran and discussions are taking place on how the West should treat Tehran. Erdogans visit can also be considered a new indication of Turkish diplomacy opening up to neighbouring countries, particularly Syria and Iran, as a result of the new conditions stemming from the war in Iraq.
When the situation in Iraq necessitates it, Ankara might hold common consultations with Tehran and Damascus. However, talk of an alliance isnt appropriate. Incidents in Iraq have a great impact on Turkeys rapprochement with Iran and Syria. Today the three countries are in similar situations in terms of their role in Iraqs future and the Kurdish issue. Tehran and Damascus, just like Ankara, want Iraqs territorial integrity maintained and an end to the occupation and dont favour the establishment of a Kurdish state, commented the influential daily Milliyet.
Even if on a bilateral basis, these three countries are continuing their Iraq policies in sync, which is important internationally. This is a factor, which might make Washington think twice. In addition, this common stance might have a deterring influence, the paper added.
The recent measures taken by the Turkish government against Israel reducing the scope of military, security, intelligence and trade cooperation with the Jewish state has brought the twos sides closer.
Turkey has recently warned Israel about two issues: ending state terrorism against the Palestinians, and its activities in northern Iraq. The Sharon government seems determined to continue acting unilaterally on the former, turning a deaf ear to widespread international criticism. But the latter issue is much more serious for Turkey, Mr. Mustafa Karaalioglu wrote in Yeni Safak.
During his visit, Erdogan would also push for importing natural gas from Iran but at a much-reduced price, on the pretext of poor quality and other problems that the Iranians have rejected, but complied so far, as Ankara had in the past halted twice the import of gas from Iran to lower the price.
ENDS TURKEY IRAN 28704
Waking Up to the Iranian Threat Print Mail
By David Frum
National Post (Canada)
Publication Date: July 27, 2004
What's a Canadian's life worth? Eighteen thousand dollars says the government of Iran. That is the compensation that an Iranian court proposed to pay the family of murdered photographer Zahra Kazemi--after that same court refused to hold any individual responsible for Kazemi's death.
What can or should the government of Canada do now?
It could start by opening its eyes. For years, Ottawa has regarded Iran as just another authoritarian country with an unfortunate human-rights record--deplorable to be sure, but not ultimately a problem of special concern to Canada. Indeed, private citizen Jean Chretien, now a consultant to a Calgary oil company, unconcernedly does business there.
That indifference must end.
Iran is not only a terrible human-rights abuser, although it is that and worse. Iran is also one of the world's leading aggressor states. It is the world's foremost surviving state sponsor of international terror, terror that has reached into Europe and the Americas. Gunmen in Iranian pay have committed mass murder in Berlin; in 1994, Iranian agents blew up the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, killing 86 people--until 9/11, the deadliest act of international terror in the history of the Western hemisphere.
Now this gruesome regime is nearing completion of a nuclear weapon.
Once Iran acquires such a weapon, it will be able to practice terrorism with impunity. Nuclear mullahs will gain the power to defy not only Canada, but the entire international community.
Of course, Iran has promised to use its nuclear program only for peaceful purposes. But just as the Iranian government has told lie after lie in the Kazemi case, so it has repeatedly been caught lying to the International Atomic Energy Authority.
So far, Iran has suffered no consequences for its flagrant violations of its commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The European members of the IAEA have urged a go-slow approach, hoping to coax Iran into behaving better next time. And Canada? Canada's voice has gone unheard.
Nor has Canada spoken up in defence of the brave young Iranian students who have challenged the regime's bogus elections and brutal human rights practices. In 2002 and 2003, dissidents took to the streets to demonstrate against the mullah-dictators. They waved American flags and chanted, "Death to the Taliban in Kabul and Teheran." (The slogan rhymes in Farsi too.) These demonstrations were brutally suppressed: In at least one case, the regime shot at protesters with attack helicopters. Kazemi was arrested and killed for the offence of taking pictures at one of these rallies.
The people who conduct Canada's foreign policy do not seem to connect the dots between the death of Zahra Kazemi and the larger Iranian threat to world peace. They seem to think of the protection of Canadian passport-holders as one kind of problem, terrorism as a second kind, nuclear non-proliferation as something different still and the arrest and murder of student protesters as yet another unrelated problem. They may understand that Iran is a vicious regime. But they have a hard time comprehending that this viciousness has anything to do with them. It is as if, like some ancient South Seas bird, the Ottawa mind has lived in such security for so long that it simply cannot absorb the idea that anyone out there might want to hurt it.
Because they cannot absorb the idea of real danger, Canadian officials seem completely baffled about how to respond to danger. Al-Jazeera's application to the CRTC is a small but telling example. The CRTC seems to have analyzed the application in this way:
Al-Jazeera is a popular international news service that unfortunately sometimes incites its listeners to go kill Jews. We favour international news, but we deplore killing Jews. Let's see if we can't find some compromise that satisfies all parties.
But the whole point of al-Jazeera is that it is precisely not a news service. It is a tool of mobilization and propaganda used by the terrorist enemy to rally support in the Arabic-speaking world. And since the Arabic-speaking world now extends into many Canadian cities and suburbs, Canada as a country has to worry about the effect of this mobilization and propaganda on Canada's own security.
Canada now hosts a large Arabic-speaking population. Most of this population wants exactly what all Canadians want: freedom for themselves, opportunity for their children. But a minority of this population has proven itself vulnerable to recruitment and manipulation by al-Qaeda and other extremist groups. And al-Jazeera's purpose in coming into Canada is to help with that recruitment and manipulation.
The debate over al-Jazeera's free speech rights versus the dangers of hate speech can occur only because it ignores the rather large fact that there is a war going on--and that Canada, like all Western countries, is an involuntary combatant in this war.
Canada's ability to achieve justice for the Kazemi family will depend on whether Canadian leaders wake up to these hard facts. And so too does Canada's ability to achieve security for the Canadian people.
That title above should be .......Waking Up to the Iranian Threat
Iraq Announces Iran as Enemy
Iraq's new interim government have articulated their policies toward Iran and Israel, which were enemies during Saddam Hussein's term. While Iraqi Defense Minister Hazým Salan said that Iran was 'Iraq's first enemy', Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said that relations with Israel would not be normalized without other Arab countries.
Shalan claimed, in an article in the Washington Pos, that Iran, who had waged war against Iraq from 1980 to 1988, has interfered with his country in an attempt 'to kill democracy'. He blamed Iran for 'supporting terrorism and sending enemies to Iraq' and alleged that Iran wanted overtake Iraqi stations along the Iranian border. Many people who fought in Afghanistan were arrested in Iraq, Shalan said, and that these people, furthermore, 'admitted that they received help from Iranian security forces'. After noting that a Sudanese militant associated with Iranian intelligence was caught with poison, intended for Divaniyah city's drinking water, Shalan added, "We can also send death to Tehran's streets".
The Defense Minister accused Iran of aiding violent incidents in a statement he made to Essark Al Avsat newspaper, and added that Iraq was ready to respond to countries that supported the violence in Iraq.
Two Criteria for Israel
Prime Minister Allawi said that Iraq would not take the initiative to normalize relations with Israel without an Israeli gesture toward Arabian countries. Allawi denied the news that Israelis have moved into Iraq during the American occupation. Two issues will determine Iraqi relations with Israel, said Allawi: "The first is an international decision (to engage Israel), the second is a fair and detailed peace adopted by Palestinian and Arab leaders. Iyad Allawi noted that his country would not make a unilateral agreement with Israel without these two criteria."
The new Iraqi administration made a judicial arrangement for Jewish people's return to Iraq, just as they did for everyone else who fled during Saddam's regime. Prime Minister Allawi, in a statement issued to Zaman, said that they did not discriminate against Jewish people, yet no Jewish people have returned to the country so far. Kurdish leader Mesud Barzani, who is a part of the Iraqi administration, said about relations with Israel: "We cannot be more Arab than any other Arab."
1- It wasn't us who waged war on them, their mad leader Saddam Hussein torn 1975 Algeria treaty in a TV show in 20th September of 1980 and ordered a massive attack on Iranian soil and killed Millions of Iranians and gassed thousands of Iranians in fronts during 1980s. I still remember those days.
2- If he has any problem with the regime in Tehran, he should threaten/address the regime not the INNOCENT people of Tehran.
3- He is a diplomat but he talked like an uneducated arab.
4- people of Iran have no role in killing Iraqis or events of Iraq. I don't understand why he wants to kill us here. May be he needs another bloody war to be happy and I am sure PERSIANS can not forget what Arabs have done to their land...
I am hardly an expert on Iran, but I do know that on 9/11/01, Iranians were the only country in the region to take to the streets, in a candlelight vigil, in sympathy to this horrific tragedy in America. You may just be right.
Do not worry. We all know that it was Iraq that invaded Iran (and other countries).
Furthermore we all know that the population of Iran does not like the clerics that are running Iran.
However, there are proofs that Iranian hands are involved in some of the problems in Iraq. Naturally, this does not mean that the Iranian population has approved these acts as they are not allowed to elect their leaders.
We all know that the government of Iran is not in full control of their own country. However, the normal practice is that a government must be held accountable for its foreign policy. I am not so sure that Rafsanjani and his friends understands that, but they will learn in a couple of months.
You may read more about what Hazim al-Shaalan said:
I know my friend. Good that you don't ignore the fact that they invaded us.
Any way, he is an Arab and we can not expect more from him. Arabs have been NUMBER ONE enemy of the Persians.
I think we all share your concern for the well being of the Iranian people.
Iran said seeking nuke bomb "booster"
Wed 28 July, 2004 11:49
By Louis Charbonneau
VIENNA (Reuters) - Iranian agents are negotiating with a Russian company to buy a substance that can boost nuclear explosions in atomic weapons, according to an intelligence agency report being circulated by diplomats.
The two-page report cited "knowledgeable Russian sources" for the information, which Washington will likely point to as more proof that Tehran wants to acquire nuclear weaponry.
"Iranian middlemen ... are in the advanced stages of negotiations in Russia to buy deuterium gas," the report said.
Iran denies wanting atomic arms and says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. Deuterium is used as a tracer molecule in medicine and biochemistry and is used in heavy water reactors of the type Iran is building.
But it can also be combined with tritium and used as a "booster" in nuclear fusion bombs of the implosion type.
Envoys linked to the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said buying deuterium alone was not evidence of intent to acquire a weapons capability.
They cautioned that the report appeared designed to persuade nations who are not convinced Iran wants the bomb.
The United States and others are pushing the IAEA to report Iran to the Security Council for possible punishment with economic sanctions for allegedly seeking nuclear weapons in defiance of its treaty obligations.
"Iran needs to know that they will suffer deeply if they get nuclear weapons," said the diplomat who provided the report.
France, Germany and Britain have been negotiating with Iran to persuade it to cooperate fully with IAEA inspections to allay Western doubts and are resisting referring Tehran to the UN. A further high-level meeting is expected in Paris on Thursday.
DOUBTS OVER TRANSPARENCY
It is not illegal for Iran to purchase deuterium but it should be reported to the IAEA.
Diplomats say the suspicions surrounding Iran's nuclear programme are so great that it would be wise for Tehran to exercise maximum transparency on all such "dual-use" purchases and declare them ahead of time to the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
"Iran has not declared this to the IAEA. Their cover story is that they want it for civilian purposes," said the diplomat who gave Reuters the report.
The report did not name the Russian firm. Moscow has been criticised by Washington for building the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, despite U.S. concerns that it is a cover for Iran to acquire know-how and import items that can be used for bombs.
The report said purchase talks were in the final stages. It added that Iran had tried to produce deuterium-tritium gas -- with the help of Russian scientists -- but had so far failed.
The IAEA declined to comment, Iran's ambassador to the U.N. in Vienna did not return phone calls from Reuters and officials at Iran's embassy in Moscow also made no comment.
An official at Russia's Atomic Energy Agency said he had heard nothing about attempts to buy deuterium. A spokesman for Russia's nuclear watchdog, GosAtomNadzor, said the same.
"We are not aware of any such negotiations or shipments taking place," said the Russian agency official. "I am puzzled. All shipments of sensitive and dangerous gases like deuterium must be carried out with a proper licence."
The U.N. has been investigating Iran's nuclear programme for nearly two years to determine whether allegations that it has a secret atomic weapons programme are false, as Tehran insists.
While it has found many instances where Iran concealed potentially weapons-related activities, the IAEA says it has no clear evidence that Tehran is trying to build the bomb. The United States and its allies say there is sufficient evidence and the agency is being too cautious.
Iran said seeking nuke bomb "booster"
Wed 28 July, 2004 11:49
By Louis Charbonneau
"Political Pressure On Iran 'Must Be Exhausted'"
July 28, 2004
JERUSALEM Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon said on Tuesday that all diplomatic efforts should be exhausted before any further steps to stop Iran obtaining nuclear arms are considered.
Ya'alon said Israel was concerned about Israeli intelligence assessments that Iran could build an atomic bomb by 2007.
Although not ruling out action, Ya'alon stressed it was not only a worry just for Israel, but also the United States, Europe and moderate Arab states.
Ya'alon's language appeared aimed at toning down talk that Israel, which bombed Iraq's Osiraq reactor in 1981, could follow a similar path in Iran.
Israel does "not necessarily" have to resort to military action to counter the threat, Ya'alon replied to a question about whether Israel should take action against Iran.
"Political pressure certainly has potential, just as it worked on Libya. And this must be exhausted first of all, in my view," he said.
The United States, Europe, and moderate Arab states would all "be threatened by a nuclear Iran," he added.
Iran has denied accusations that it is using a civilian atomic program to hide efforts to develop nuclear arms. It argues that its atomic ambitions are limited to generating electricity and that developing the bomb would violate Islamic law.
Britain, France and Germany will pursue talks with Iran on its nuclear program and a high-level meeting in Europe is pencilled in for this week, Western diplomats said on Wednesday.
"Everything has to be done to stop it," a senior Israeli official said earlier this month about Iran's possible nuclear program. But he stressed no military options were being considered.
Diplomats Say Iran Building Centrifuges
July 27, 2004
The Associated Press
VIENNA, Austria -- Iran is once again building centrifuges that can be used to make nuclear weaponry, breaking the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency's seals on the equipment in a show of defiance against international efforts to monitor its program, diplomats said Tuesday.
Iran has not restarted enriching uranium with the centrifuges - a step that would raise further alarm. But the resumption of centrifuge construction is likely to push European nations, which have been seeking a negotiated resolution, closer to the United States' more confrontational stance.
The United States accuses Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons and wants the U.N. Security Council to take up the issue. Iran denies the charge and says the centrifuges are part of a nuclear program aimed only at producing energy.
Under international pressure last year, the Islamic republic agreed to stop enriching uranium and stop making centrifuges, in a deal reached with Britain, France and Germany.
But the moratorium ended several weeks ago, when Tehran - angry over international perusal of its nuclear program - broke seals placed on enrichment equipment by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the diplomats told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Iranian officials then resumed assembling and installing centrifuges, which can enrich uranium fuel for generating power or developing warheads, the diplomats said.
The diplomats - all familiar with Iran's nuclear dossier - cautioned against equating Tehran's move with the removal of IAEA seals on nuclear equipment by North Korea two years ago as it expelled agency inspectors and declared itself no longer bound by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Unlike in North Korea, the seals on Iran's equipment "were not a legal requirement," one diplomat said. Tehran notified the IAEA of its decision to break the seals, the diplomat said.
Iran continues to respect its pledge not to resume nuclear enrichment, said the diplomat.
Still, the move reflected Iranian defiance of international constraints on the country's nuclear program.
For the past year, the IAEA has been carrying out stringent inspections of Iranian facilities, raising evidence that strengthened suspicions about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. In June, the IAEA's Board of Governors rebuked Tehran in a sharply phrased resolution indicating it felt too many unanswered questions remained.
Iranian officials are tentatively scheduled to meet in the next few days with British, French and German officials in Paris or another European capital to try and salvage their deal. But Tehran's decision to resume work on its centrifuges makes any agreement unlikely.
The Iranians are "driving the European Three into the U.S. camp," said one Western diplomat.
Israel noted the Iranian step with concern, its chief of staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon said.
"Iran in essence broke the rules of the game, Yaalon said on Israeli state-run television. "We have to pay serious attention to Iran's intention to arm itself with nuclear capabilities. This should not only concern Israel, but all the countries of the free world."
Iran already announced last month that it had planned to restart the program in response to the IAEA rebuke - a decision that led Washington to sound out allies on calling a special session of the IAEA Board of Governors, said another diplomat. The Security Council can only get involved if the board asks it to take up Iran's case.
The Americans dropped the idea because of lack of backing but hope the resumption of Iran's nuclear activities will give them the support they need at the next regular board session, starting Sept. 13, he said.
Iran has not publicly announced that it has resumed building centrifuges. But President Mohammad Khatami told reporters in Tehran earlier this month that "there is no impediment to doing this work."
Sources at Iran's state-run television recently told the AP that the country's top nuclear negotiator, Hasan Rowhani, said Iran restarted building centrifuges June 29 but that the broadcaster was told not to transmit his comments - apparently out of concern over international reaction.
Most of the IAEA's concerns about Iran's nuclear program focus on traces of highly enriched uranium found at several sites and the extent and nature of work on the advanced P-2 centrifuge.
Iran has grudgingly acknowledged working with the P-2, but said its activities were purely experimental. It says the minute amounts of enriched uranium were from equipment bought on the nuclear black market.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has indirectly questioned such assertions.
Lebanese F.M. Slams Iraqi Defence Minister For Iran Remarks
July 28, 2004
BEIRUT -- Lebanese Foreign Minister Jean Obeid criticised Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem al-Shaalan on Wednesday for remarks in which he accused Iran of seeking to "kill democracy" in Iraq.
"Any declaration about Iraq's relations with neighbouring states including Iran, which gives rise to divisions, will not help achieve full sovereignty, a withdrawal of foreign troops or the restoration of security, unity and democracy in Iraq," Obeid told reporters.
"Efforts to achieve security and sovereignty in Iraq must be wisely conducted and must enjoy the support of Syria, Iran and Turkey," he said.
Obeid added that Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Iyad Allawi had made "no unfriendly sign towards Iran, nor obviously towards Turkey or Syria" during a visit to Lebanon this week.
Shaalan had told the Washington Post on Monday that he had seen "clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran," which he claimed "interferes in order to kill democracy".
In his statements to the Post, Shaalan had accused Iran of taking over some Iraqi border posts and sending spies and saboteurs into Iraq.
He said former fighters in Afghanistan had been helped by Iran to get into Iraq and that Iran was supporting "terrorism and bringing enemies into Iraq".
Iran has consistently denied charges it has supported anti-US insurgents in Iraq, against which it fought a 1980-1988 war that killed an estimated one million people.
Tehran rejected Shaalan's allegations on Tuesday, describing his statements as "contrary to the official message we get from Baghdad".
"We do not consider this to be Iraq's official position," government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told AFP.
Despite lingering suspicions on both sides of the Iran-Iraq frontier, the interim government in Baghdad has talked of the possibility of establishing diplomatic ties with its neighbour.
Iran claims hunger strike behind Kazemi death
Son of dead journalist asks Ottawa to eject Tehran's envoy to Canada
ALI AKBAR DAREINI
TEHRAN - Iran's judiciary claimed today Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died in custody from a fall after her blood pressure dropped during a hunger strike, a sharp shift in position on a case that has strained relations between Tehran and Ottawa since her death a year ago.
The judiciary also denounced President Mohammad Khatami's reformist administration, which offered Monday to help identify the murderer of Zahra Kazemi, accusing it of providing fuel for a ``spiteful" foreign media.
"The death of Mrs. Zahra Kazemi was an accident," according to a judiciary statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
"With the acquittal of the sole defendant, only one option is left: the death of the late Kazemi was an accident due to fall in blood pressure resulting from a hunger strike and her fall on the ground while standing," the statement said.
A Tehran court on Saturday cleared secret agent Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, the sole defendant in the case, of killing Kazemi, who died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage in detention last July.
Kazemi, a Montreal freelance journalist born in Iran, died July 10, 2003, while in detention for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison during student-led protests against the ruling theocracy.
Iranian authorities initially said Kazemi died of a stroke, but a presidential committee later found she died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage. Ahmadi was charged with "semi-premeditated murder." He denied it, and a team of attorneys representing the victim's mother claimed the real killer was Mohammad Bakhshi, a prison official who was being protected by the hardline judiciary.
Bakhshi was cleared of wrongdoing before Ahmadi's trial.
On Tuesday, Kazemi's son said Ottawa should kick Iran's ambassador out of the country.
"The Iranian ambassador has nothing to do in Canada right now," Stephan Hachemi told a news conference.
"He should be expelled. The embassy should be closed."
Hachemi made the appeal just before he met Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew, who has yet to decide on concrete action to show Ottawa's displeasure with the Iranian government.
Hachemi, who has been harshly critical of Ottawa's handling of the affair, saw no reason to change his tone after his meeting with Pettigrew.
The minister refused to make any firm commitments to any of his proposals, he said.
"Until I hear him commit, he has failed me, he has failed my mother and he has failed human rights ... the minister has not respected the memory of my mother."
Canadian officials have said they are considering a range of diplomatic pressure tactics, but haven't indicated that expelling ambassador Mohammad Ali Mousavi is among them.
They are, however, studying the possibility of taking the Kazemi case to the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands another demand made by Hachemi.
Iran-Canada relations, soured by the slaying and subsequent quick burial of Kazemi in Iran against the wishes of her son in Canada, further deteriorated after Iran rejected the idea of Canadian observers at the trial. The Canadian ambassador was barred from attending the last session of the otherwise open trial.
The statement also accused Iranian government spokesperson Abdollah Ramezanzadeh of making "irresponsible" comments when he directly challenged the judiciary Monday by saying Iran's Intelligence Ministry was prepared to identify the person behind Kazemi's murder if the judiciary allows it to do so.
Ramezanzadeh, it said, was inciting public opinion, an accusation that could put the judiciary and government in a direct confrontation if formally pursued as a criminal charge. However, judiciary spokesperson Zahed Bashirirad said today there was no intention to indict Ramezanzadeh at the moment.
The judiciary statement said Ramezanzadeh had ignored the fact that the court gets the final say in any legal case.
"Comments tainted with political intentions have no outcome other than causing ambiguity, inciting and deceiving public opinion and providing propaganda fuel for the spiteful media," the statement said.
Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, who represents the victim's mother, has rejected the court proceedings as flawed, and has vowed to "work until my last breath" to find the murderer. She threatened to take the matter to international organizations if the appeals court and other legal steps fail.
Hardliners were angered when the legal team led by Ebadi accused Bakhshi, the prison official, of inflicting the fatal blow and the conservative judiciary of illegally detaining Kazemi.
Abdolfattah Soltani, who is on Ebadi's team, said hardline Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi could be a possible suspect in the case. Ottawa has blamed Mortazavi for the death, and reformists in Tehran have accused him of a coverup.
Last week, journalists complained that Mortazavi had told them not to report on parts of the trial. Most Iranian newspapers have not published the accusations against Bakhshi and the prosecution, apparently fearing retribution.
Iran, emboldened and suicidal-Trying to understand Washington's response to Teheran's behavior
Jerusalem Post ^ | 7-28-04 | VITOMIR MILES RAGUZ
Posted on 07/28/2004 5:18:22 AM PDT by SJackson
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