Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 29, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/28/2004 9:11:03 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 Trying To Buy Substance That Can Be Used In Nuclear Weapons
July 28, 2004
VIENNA, Austria --- Iran is trying to make or buy a gas that could be used in an atomic weapons program, increasing suspicions of its nuclear ambitions, diplomats said Wednesday.
The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified the substance as deuterium gas, which can be used to generate electricity in a nuclear reactor but also to boost the power of a nuclear explosion.
One diplomat said Iranian agents were trying to buy the gas on the Russian market and had plans to manufacture it domestically. Russia's Foreign Ministry said Moscow "does not plan to make such deliveries."
They cited an intelligence report being circulated among diplomats familiar with Iran's nuclear dossier and with attempts by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency to establish whether the Islamic republic has a nuclear weapons program.
Iran insists its nuclear agenda is peaceful and for energy production.
Beyond increasing the punch of nuclear warheads, the gas also is a key component for heavy-water nuclear reactors. Iran is building a heavy-water facility, which it says will be used to generate electricity.
One of the diplomats said the country was likely looking for the substance "to get the reactor going."
Still, the reactor is one of dozens of Iranian projects that have raised questions about its nuclear aims.
Heavy water can be used to make plutonium. Either plutonium or highly enriched uranium are used to make nuclear warheads. Evidence gathered by the IAEA suggests Iran may have tried to produce enriched uranium, something Tehran denies.
Exile Ambassador, Says Journalist's Son
July 28, 2004
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA -- Iran's ambassador to Ottawa should be kicked out in protest over his country's failure to bring the killers of Zahra Kazemi to justice, says the son of the slain journalist.
"The Iranian ambassador has nothing to do in Canada right now," Stephan Hachemi told a news conference Tuesday. "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.
Kazemi was arrested in June 2003 while taking photos outside Evin prison in Tehran. She died of a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage while in detention last July.
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 - another demand made by Hachemi and his lawyer John Terry.
"This case is imbued with international human rights issues," said Terry. "We're talking about torture, wrongful detention, extra-judicial killing."
He acknowledged that, even if the court ruled against Iran, it has no way of forcing Tehran to abide by the ruling.
But a court case is still one of the most effective pressure tactics Pettigrew has at his disposal, said Terry.
"A decision in Canada's favour at the ICJ would be condemnation (of Iran) at the very highest level of the international judicial system."
On Saturday a Tehran court cleared secret agent Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, the sole defendant, of killing Kazemi.
In Geneva on Tuesday, a panel of United Nations human rights experts expressed their "profound" concern about Iranian legal proceedings in the Kazemi case.
"Many reports indicate that the proceedings did not meet international standards of fair trial because key evidence that might have incriminated judiciary officials, the prosecutor's office as well as the intelligence ministry were ignored by the court," said a UN statement.
The expert panel - made up of specialists in free speech, torture and independent judges - said Iranian authorities failed to ensure an open trial and the independent functioning of the judiciary.
The statement noted that journalists and other foreign observers were barred from full access to the courtroom from the third day of the trial.
The UN experts said they fear Iranian authorities "are favouring a climate of impunity for law-enforcement officials and setting the ground for the recurrence of similar human-rights violations in the future."
Nobel laureate and lawyer Shirin Ebadi, who is representing the Kazemi family, said Tuesday she hoped the UN comments would help her get an Iranian court to hear an appeal of the weekend verdict.
In an interview from Tehran with Broadcast News, Ebadi said that public opinion on an international scale can only aid her attempts to secure a fair trial.
She also asked Canadians to call for an "independent and efficient" judiciary in Iran.
Hachemi, for his part, complained that "Ottawa prefers to pray that Iran will do something. It's almost begging them.
"There must be a will from the Canadian government to act and this will is, frankly, clearly not there."
Pettigrew, speaking before his meeting with Hachemi, reiterated his view that Iran's actions so far have been "absolutely unacceptable."
He called on the Iranian government to grant the family's request for an appeal and ensure that the new trial is "serious" and hears all relevant witnesses.
"I hope that the Iranian government understands that it has the responsibility that its own laws are applied and respected. Iran has to respect the United Nations charter of which it is a signatory as well."
Pettigrew also insisted that Canada's stand has been sufficiently strong in the matter and "we are in for the long run, we will not let go.
"We want the truth to be known."
Three Dozen Guerrillas, 7 Iraqi Troops Killed In Raid [Excerpt]
July 28, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
BAGHDAD -- Iraqi forces backed by U.S. and Ukrainian troops launched a raid Wednesday in Suwariyah, southeast of the capital, hunting for militants who had crossed from the Iranian border, said Polish Maj. Krzysztoz Plazuk, a coalition spokesman.
The raid sparked a battle in which 35 guerrillas and seven Iraqi policemen were killed, 10 Iraqi police were wounded and 40 insurgents were captured.
When asked if the guerrillas in the battle were Iranian or Iraqi, Plazuk said he couldn't comment.
Iranian Influence Returns to Post-Taleban Afghanistan
July 28, 2004
As Afghanistan's post-war politics begin to take shape, various foreign powers are vying to place their own interests at the top of Kabul's agenda. Among these is Iran, Afghanistan's neighbor to the east and host to at least 1.5 million Afghan refugees.
When it comes to making its voice heard in Afghan political circles, Iran has long had some advantages.
The first is language. Dari, a local dialect of Iran's Farsi language, is the dominant means of communication in Afghanistan.
Then there is religion. An estimated 15 to 20 percent of Afghans follow Shia Islam, the state religion of Iran.
Increasingly, there is money. Iran is helping Afghanistan fight the drug trade, train workers, and build roads and hospitals. Also, many of Afghanistan's imports come from Iran.
Vikram Parekh is the senior Afghan analyst for the policy institute, the International Crisis Group.
"Afghanistan has become a big market for Iran," he said. "Over the past two years, I think it's very easy to see in the shops here in Kabul, Iranian manufactured goods are displacing those that come from Pakistan."
That is a change from the days of Afghanistan's Taleban regime. Iran suffered frosty relations with the Taleban, a strict Sunni Muslim movement from Afghanistan's southeast.
Iran supported the Taleban's main opponents, known as the Northern Alliance.
The Taleban fell from power in 2001, when the United States teamed up with the Northern Alliance, after the Taleban refused to surrender accused terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Today, Northern Alliance commanders retain significant power in Afghanistan. Some are described as "warlords," retaining militias that rule over semi-autonomous states.
Abdul-Hakim Noorzai, a former senior Afghan intelligence official, says these Northern Alliance leaders are Iran's biggest friends.
"I can tell you that all warlords that belong to the Northern Alliance have a very close relationship with the Iranian intelligence service," said Mr. Noorzai.
Several Afghan and foreign officials say Iran has especially strong support from former Northern Alliance commander Ismail Khan, the governor of Herat Province.
A report earlier this month by the Center for Contemporary Conflict, a U.S. Navy research facility, says Governor Khan is among many of the Northern Alliance leaders who have received arms and money from Iran in the past few years. The report says, however, that the governor also has at times shut out pro-Iranian groups trying to influence activities in Herat.
The sources say the relationship with Governor Khan has helped Iran expand its exports to Afghanistan, which cross the border in Herat.
Iran's Foreign Ministry declined an interview for this report, and the Iranian Embassy in Kabul was unavailable to speak on the subject.
But Afghanistan's Deputy Trade Minister Ghulam Nabi Farahi denies that Iran holds any special sway in Afghanistan. He says Teheran does not have any more sway than other countries in the region, and that in general, Afghanistan's foreign policy focuses on free trade and equal relations among all its neighbors.
In terms of grassroots support, Iran would appear to have plenty in Afghanistan. More than half a million Afghan refugees have returned home after sheltering in Iran during their country's two decades of war.
Mr. Parekh with the International Crisis Group notes that at least three times that number of Afghans still live in Iran and are likely to return home.
"This is already having a transformative impact, especially in Herat, Mazar[-e-Sharif] and Kabul, where entire neighborhoods are experiencing a large influx of refugees from Iran," explained Mr. Parekh.
However, he says, Iranian treatment toward the refugees was strict to encourage them to return home as early as possible.
"Refugees had a very subordinate social position in Iran, in which they could be easily arbitrarily detained, in which they were often just held in - well, they were detention centers, but the conditions were sometimes more like concentration camps," he described.
He says, however, that while many Afghans, especially in the west of the country, do have close ties to Iran, they are balanced by the Pashtuns. Many members of Afghanistan's largest ethnic group see Iranian influences as a threat to their own cultural traditions.
U.S. Tells Europeans to 'Hold Firm' on Iran
July 28, 2004
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is urging Britain, France and Germany to "hold firm" against any new deals ahead of a meeting on Iran's nuclear program, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
They also told Reuters that as Washington considers ways to increase pressure on Tehran, they do not see imposing sanctions as an immediate goal.
The latter comment suggests an attempt by Washington to dampen international resistance to bringing the controversial nuclear issue before the U.N. Security Council.
Britain, France and Germany are due to meet in Paris on Thursday with Iranian officials in an effort to persuade Tehran to end activities that Washington and the Europeans believe are aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
U.S. officials with access to intelligence estimates say Iran can achieve that goal in three to five years. Iran insists its program is peaceful.
A push by the Europeans last October won promises that Iran would suspend uranium enrichment and allow snap inspections of nuclear facilities by international monitors.
But Tehran, angered by a tough resolution sponsored by the three states last month rebuking it for poor cooperation with U.N. inspectors, said it would resume manufacture and assembly of uranium enrichment centrifuges, a key nuclear weapons process.
"The Iranians want to drive a wedge between the Europeans and the United States and to drag this process out as long as they can in order to do what they want to do in terms of developing a nuclear capability," a senior U.S. official said.
"What we've been telling the EU three is to hold firm and not cut any deals with the Iranians," he said.
U.S. officials said the Europeans, bruised by Iran's broken promises, should realize Tehran is using negotiations as a delaying tactic while it accelerates its nuclear program.
The administration has been agitating to bring Iran before the U.N. Security Council, which can impose sanctions on violators of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
Iran has fiercely resisted the move.
So have key U.S. allies and Security Council members, who instead have kept the matter before the U.N. nuclear watchdog -- the International Atomic Energy Agency -- as they tried to persuade Tehran to adhere to NPT and IAEA commitments.
Whether the U.S. effort advances depends in part on the European-Iran meeting in Paris.
U.S. officials said a showdown vote on elevating the nuclear issue to the United Nations may not come until November, rather than September as some have suggested.
An IAEA report expected in August is unlikely to contain revelations that would convince the world of an imminent danger from Iran, they said.
Barring that, "the (Security Council's) first reaction is not necessarily sanctions," the senior official said.
The council could give the IAEA more powers to probe Iran's program or have its chairman issue a rebuking statement.
Another senior official said that even if Iran was put before the council, there would be no quick vote on using force or other tough action.
Still, this move would "change the entire global dynamic (by putting Iran) at center stage in the U.N. body charged with the maintenance of international peace and security," he said.
He said major pressure could be brought to bear if Russia, which is building Iran's nuclear plant at Bushehr but has delayed delivering the facility's fuel, scuttled the deal.
Organizing a boycott of Iran's vital oil industry is a "step down the road" but newly improved ties with Libya and Iraq raise the possibility both countries will soon be producing more oil and prove Iran no longer has an "economic whiphand" in this regard, he said.
IRANIAN JUSTICE NEW RABBIT: KAZEMI DIED OF DROP OF SUGAR PRESSURE
By Safa Haeri
Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2004
TEHRAN, 28 July (IPS) The Iranian Judiciary has taken a new rabbit out of its sleeve concerning the murder of Mrs Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian photographer, announcing on Wednesday 28 July 2004 that she had died of a sudden drop in her blood sugar caused by hunger strike.
The new finding emerged in the form of a stern statement by the Tehran branch of Justice Ministry in which the official spokesman of the Government was also severely criticised.
At first, the authorities had reported that the photographer, -- who had been arrested on 23 June on orders of Mr. Said Mortazavi, the Prosecutor of Tehran and Islamic Revolution Tribunal in front of the notorious Evin prison in the outskirts of the Capital, charged with espionage --, died of a brain stroke.
But a ministerial committee formed on orders from President Mohammad Khatami concluded that Mrs Kazemi had died on 10 July 2003 from a brain hemorrhage caused by a heavy object hitting the head, or the head having hit a heavy object during interrogations.
While in custody, Mrs. Kazemi had been interrogated for three days by agents from the office of the Prosecutor, including Mr. Mortazavi, the Police and the Intelligence Ministry, and beaten several times.
Concordant sources told Iran Press Service that Mr. Mohammad Bakhshi, an assistant to the Prosecutor at the prison had beaten the photographer violently, probably fatally immediately after her transfer to Evin.
Mrs. Kazemis defence team, led by Mrs. Shirin Ebadi, had confirmed this version during the last hearing of Mr. Mohammad Reza Aqdam Ahmadi, an Intelligence Ministrys employee accused by the Prosecutor of having hit the photographer.
To Iranian and international indignation, the court acquitted Mr. Ahmadi of charges of semi-intentional manslaughter.
The sentence was met with indignation in Canada, where the Government said immediately warned it would ratchet up pressure on Iran and called on Tehran to respect international human rights norms and the defence walked out in protest.
"The only suspect in this quasi-intentional murder of Zahra Kazemi was innocent, so there remains only one other option, that the incident leading to the death of the late Kazemi was because of a drop in her blood sugar level caused by her hunger strike, thus making her fall from a standing position and get hurt", the statement said.
On Monday, Mr. Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the official spokesman for the powerless government of Mr. Khatami told reporters that if asked, the Intelligence Ministry could identify the culprit very quickly.
In response, the Tehran Department of Justice described the declaration as irresponsible and ambiguous comments that have no juridical value and are outside of his competence.
Such comments, polluted with political intentions not only leads to bewilder the public mind but also provides food for foreign media and malicious people the statement said, adding however that in case Mr. Ramezanzadeh or anyone else has a different version, "Tehran province judiciary and the judicial apparatus are ready to review any new reports and documents from any competent body, including the Ministry of Information (Intelligence).
At the same time, the Justice Ministry called on Mr. Ramezanzadeh to show nationalism and patriotism by also, in fairness, address the case of Mr. Keyvan Tabesh, the young Iranian who was beaten up to death by a Canadian policeman who had been acquitted with the same sense of justice as he shows for the case of Mrs. Kazemi.
On Wednesday, the Defence team for the family of Mrs. Kazemi called on the Judiciary to designate an independent judge outside the Office of the Prosecutor to review the case, insisting that the photographer died because of blows she received during the interrogations.
Stephen Hachemi, the son of the slain photographer urged the Canadian authorities to expel Iran's ambassador to Ottawa in protest over Tehrans failure to bring the killers of her mother to justice.
"The Iranian ambassador has nothing to do in Canada right now", the young Hachemi told a news conference. "He should be expelled. The embassy should be closed", Hachemi said just before meeting the Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew.
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.
"We are going to work with our partners across the world, in the European Union and in the United Nations to increase the pressure on Iran", Pettigrew told reporters.
He promised Canada would use the next session of the United Nations General Assembly to review its resolution denouncing Iran's human rights record that was adopted last November.
The 25 members European Union issued a critical statement after the controversial trial of the 41 years old Ahmadi and on Tuesday, the UN special rapporteurs on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, on the independence of judges and lawyers, and on torture expressed "their profound concern regarding the unanswered questions" and said Iranian "authorities are favouring a climate of impunity".
ENDS KAZEMI DEATH 28704
By Jacob Laksin
Published 7/29/2004 12:07:32 AM
NEW YORK -- It has come to this: The toughest line against Iran's thuggish mullahcracy is Canadian.
Following Sunday's sham trial of an Iranian intelligence agent accused of murdering a Canadian journalist -- a charge of which he was, in suspicious symmetry with the pre-trial verdict of the presiding judicial hardliners, found wholly innocent -- the lonely task of challenging the Islamic republic fell to Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew.
"Canada continues to insist that justice be done," Pettigrew announced, before calling for a new trial that would be "transparent" and "credible." Then, with the community of nations locked in unanimous silence, he strongly suggested Canada may consider more serious action. Stepped-up sanctions, perhaps. Possibly, Canadian relations with Tehran would be downgraded.
Pettigrew's tactful tut-tutting is, depressingly, the nearest thing to a threat the Iranian regime hears these days. And with Iraq hijacking headlines, the mullahs have taken advantage of their newfound anonymity: They've resumed assembling centrifuges for uranium enrichment, forging ahead with an illegal nuclear program that may be completed any day now; they've notched up the anti-American rhetoric and threatened to lay nuclear waste to U.S. allies like Israel; and they're challenging Saudi Arabia for the title of leading sponsor of global terrorism, subsidizing the Lebanese terror outfit Hezbollah to the tune of $80 million a year and actively ushering mujahedeen into Iraq to battle U.S. troops.
Why is Tehran enjoying such free rein? Simple: the Bush doctrine is not working. More accurately, it is not being allowed to work. Rather than taking up its instinctively hard-nosed approach to rogue states, the Bush administration has resigned itself to the soi-disant "multilateral" course favored by the European powers, most notably France and Germany, but also Britain. Working through the constraints of the IAEA, and the agency's chief enforcement tool of wrist-slapping resolutions, this multilateral coalition has been willing to believe that concerted diplomacy will stunt Iran's nuclear ambitions.
But if their effort has had any appreciable effect on Tehran's nuclear program, it has been to hasten its completion: At the end of June, for instance, Iranian officials had news for the agency's monitors: They had broken IAEA seals on their nuclear equipment and restarted the process of assembling and installing centrifuges. The subtext had a distinctively Teresa Heinz Kerry flavor: the international community could take its "multilateralism" and shove it.
The Bush doctrine is increasingly looking like the best answer to Iran's ongoing deception. And just what would the Bush doctrine do about Iran? The president has been clear: "When it comes our fight against terror will uphold the doctrine, either you're with us or against us; and any nation that thwarts our ability to rout terror out where it exists will be held to account, one way or the other."
Those words are particularly worth recalling today. Recent reports suggest that the al Qaeda splinter group, Ansar al-Islam, is reconvening in Iran, where its surviving 800 or so operatives found refuge after U.S. air strikes demolished their bases in northern Iraq. Then there are the troubling findings of 9-11 Commission. According to the commission's report, between October 2000 and February 2001, Iran's clerics helped eight to 10 of the hijackers of September 11 cross from Afghanistan into Iran without stamping their Saudi passports -- thereby allowing the future terrorists to pass without suspicion through U.S. Customs. And while it's still unclear that Tehran had prior knowledge of their intentions, it is almost certain that several al Qaeda suspects -- including Osama bin Laden's son Saad and al-Qaeda's security chief Saif Al-Adel, as well as eight others -- are currently residing in Iran under the aegis of the regime.
Thwarting our ability to rout terror? Check. Held to account? Not remotely.
AMAZINGLY, ALL THIS IS lost on the State Department's fellow travelers at New York's Council on Foreign Relations. Witnessing the abject failure of diplomacy to moderate Iran, the Council last week produced a policy report in which it called for more diplomacy. Oddly titled "Iran: Time For A New Approach," the report insists that friction between the U.S. and Tehran is misguided. No sense confronting the mullahs, reckon authors Zbigniew Brzezinski and Suzanne Maloney. Instead, Iran ought to be appealed to as a "critical actor in the post-war evolution" of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Leave it to the Council on Foreign relations to turn out this sort of harebrained assessment. When sticks are sorely needed, they opt for an endless supply of carrots. Or, as Brzezinski prefers, "cautious, selected, probing, national interest-oriented engagement."
Infinitely more sensible would be a thorough reconsideration of the "engagement" approach to the growing Iranian threat. One alternative, recently pushed by Pentagon officials, is dragging Iran before the U.N. Security Council. Given that our French, German, and British counterparts seem to be growing exasperated with IAEA fecklessness (one can never be too sure on this point), this seems the most likely outcome. But even Security Council sanctions may be no deterrent against a regime determined to go nuclear. In that case, the U.S. should consider more forcible measures. Rumors abound that Israel is waiting for a green light to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. If true, it is worth encouraging their efforts. Still another option is military pressure. Notwithstanding the circulating vapors that Iran is positively delighted by our troop presence in Iraq, the regime is clearly uneasy about a possible collision with American forces -- a match up that, however strained our forces, does not favor the mullahs. It's not unreasonable to demonstrate to the clerics that their nervousness is well-founded.
By now, it should be apparent that we need urgently to reconsider our strategy toward Iran. Bringing back the Bush doctrine's assertive approach to rogue states is a good place to start. Let's face it: With all credit to our neighbors to the north, relying on Canada to stand guard against the Iranian threat is no kind of policy.
Nonetheless, if Canada today represents the force of opposition to Iran's theocrats, we should ask ourselves this question: Are we with Canada, or against it?
Jacob Laksin is a writer in New York.
Interesting to know that there are lots of evidences proving Ghotbzadeh was an American citizen/agent within the interim government of Iran after 1979 revolution. Two elements within the interim government were American citizens ( US Passport holder ): 1- Ebrahim Yazdi, Islmic Prosecutor and IRGC founder and later Foreign Minister of the interim government. This guy is still alive and he is responsible for executing Generals and Top ranking officers of the SHAH's Army.
2- Sadegh ghotbzadeh, Islamic TV chief and later foreign minister of the intertim government, there are also rumors that he served the Soviets too.
U.S. Fears Israeli Strike Against Iran
By Ori Nir
July 30, 2004
Forward newspaper, NY
WASHINGTON With Iran warning that it will "overthrow the entire Zionist entity" if Israel strikes its nuclear facilities, American officials are seeking assurances that Jerusalem has no plans to launch a unilateral strike, the Forward has learned.
Recently a Bush administration official who deals with security affairs told the Forward that the administration is trying to obtain information regarding Israel's intentions. Israeli sources said that the administration is seeking assurances that Jerusalem will not act unilaterally against Iran. It is not clear if such assurances have in fact been given to the administration.
In a statement quoted by the government-backed Teheran Times, General Mas'ud Jazayeri, the director of Iran's Armed Forces Public Relations and Publications Office, said Monday that the Islamic Republic will deliver a strong, decisive and effective response if Israel tried to attack it. Jazayeri claimed that alleged Israeli threats to attack Iran's nuclear facilities originated from the White House, the newspaper reported.
Officials and pundits in Washington have been buzzing recently over the possibility of a strike by either Israel or the United States. Charles Krauthammer, a popular columnist among Bush administration hawks and an early supporter for toppling Saddam Hussein, wrote an article this week calling for an American strike.
Israel, meanwhile, has not indicated publicly any intent to attack Iran. The Israeli army chief of staff, Moshe Ya'alon, said Tuesday that all diplomatic efforts should be exhausted before any further steps to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear arms are considered. Israeli Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz officially stated last month that Israel had no intention to launch an attack.
But recent reports in American and British publications, quoting unnamed sources, contended that Israel is conducting military exercises for a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear power facilities. In 1981, Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear power plant, eliciting worldwide criticism.
According to media reports, Iran has recently resumed tests aimed at completing the uranium enrichment process a key step in the development of nuclear weapons and is months away of completing that process. 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 are pursuing talks aimed at convincing Iran to abandon its nuclear program.
Ya'alon said Israel was concerned about Israeli intelligence assessments that Iran could build an atomic bomb by 2007.
A report issued earlier this month by the Council on Foreign Relations asserted that America should not let Israel act unilaterally against Iran. The report, authored by former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former Central Intelligence Agency chief Robert Gates, said: "Given the potential threat that Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons could pose, the full range of alternatives including military options for confronting Tehran must be examined. Yet the use of military force would be extremely problematic, given the dispersal of Iran's program at sites throughout the country and their proximity to urban centers.
"Since Washington would be blamed for any unilateral Israeli military strike, the United States should, in any case, make it quite clear to Israel that U.S. interests would be adversely affected by such a move."
Britain's Sunday Times quoted Israeli sources this week as saying that Israel is worried that a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities could provoke "a ferocious response," which could involve terrorist attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets abroad, as well as Lebanese-based rocket attacks on northern Israel.
Israel's chief of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, told the Cabinet on Sunday that Iran has supplied hundreds of Iranian-made missiles to Hezbollah, which can hit all of northern Israel and territory as far south as Tel Aviv, in addition to several dozen missiles that can reach the southern city of Beersheva.
With reporting in Israel from Ha'aretz.
Germany Worried by Iran's Nuclear Activity
July 29, 2004
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has said he is concerned about Tehran's latest decision to go ahead with a threat to resume production of nuclear enrichment activity.
Expressing "great concern" over reports that Iran had flouted the international community's warnings and was once again building centrifuges that could be used to make weapons-grade uranium, Fischer on Wednesday cautioned the country against making a "miscalculation."
Under a landmark deal brokered in October with Europe's "Big Three" of Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment programs, stop making centrifuges, allow tougher inspections and file a complete declaration of its nuclear activities
Since then, experts from the United Nation's nuclear watchdog have discovered omissions in Iran's reporting on its atomic energy program, inspection visits have been delayed and the government has backed away from a pledge to stop all enrichment-related efforts -- a process of purifying uranium for use as fuel for nuclear power plants or weapons.
Several weeks ago the agreement unraveled even further, when Tehran broke seals placed on enrichment equipment by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and threatened to resume the manufacture and assembly of centrifuges, diplomats said Tuesday.
Another intelligence report being circulated by diplomats this week alleges that Iranian officials were caught negotiating with a Russian company over the procurement of a substance that can boost nuclear explosions in atomic weapons.
Iran has denied that it is developing nuclear arms, and has said that its nuclear program is solely intended for peaceful purposes. At the same time, officials in Tehran accuse Britain, France and Germany of reneging on last year's deal by pushing for a tough new UN resolution which rebukes the country for failing to cooperate with the IAEA.
The door is still open
"The news reaching us from the IAEA gives cause for great concern over whether the leadership in Iran ... is not making a miscalculation," Fischer said Wednesday in an interview with private German news channel N-TV.
The foreign minister said Iran should understand that the current action is "not the right path to go down" and that it is in the interest of "peace and stability in the region to continue on the path, through the door that we opened."
"I do not want to give up hope," he added.
Ahead of a meeting scheduled for Thursday in Paris between the foreign ministers of Germany, Britain and France and Iranian officials, Fischer stressed that the Europeans "have held exactly to what we agreed."
A French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said French, German and British officials were ready to negotiate with Tehran. "It is in this context that discussions continue with the Iranian authorities, with a view to providing all guarantees on the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program," she said.
Late last month, Iran's top nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani said his country should continue talks with the European trio over its nuclear program.
Averting a crisis
While the IAEA has found many instances where Iran concealed potentially weapons-related activities, the UN organization says it has no clear evidence that Tehran is trying to build a bomb.
The United States says there is sufficient proof and has accused the international agency of acting too cautiously. Washington accuses Tehran of using its civilian atomic energy program to mask development of nuclear weapons and wants the UN Security Council to take up the issue and possibly impose sanctions.
Europe has been working closely with Iran to persuade it to cooperate fully with IAEA inspectors and to allay Western doubts in order to prevent an escalation of the crisis. The three countries have met with opposition from US officials for refusing to refer Tehran to the UN.
Prisoners Beat Striking Political Prisoners
July 27, 2004
Radio Farda Newsroom
Using metal clubs, angry prisoners attacked 12 political prisoners after they ended their 21-day strike, beating lawyer Nasser Zarafshan, who headed the strike and others, jailed student Ahmad Batebi, who was one of the political prisoners on hunger strike, and has since has been released on furlough, tells Radio Fardas Stockholm correspondent Elaheh Ravanshad.
The prisoners were angry that because of the hunger strike of the political prisoners, the entire cellblock had lost privileges, such as phone and open cell doors, Batebi said.
The altercation, which resumed on the next day, was ended with the participation of the prisons special guards.
Batebi adds that after 21 days, and after receiving message from activists outside the jail that the hunger strike has had wide press coverage, the prisoners decided to end their hunger strike on Monday, and Zarafshan ate a simple meal Monday night.
The armed forces judiciary sentenced Zarafshan to five years in jail in 2002, for speaking to press as a lawyer representing families of the victims of the 1998 serial murders of dissidents by intelligence ministry agents. The Islamic revolutionary court sentenced Batebi to eight years, because his picture holding up the bloody tee-shirt of a fellow demonstrator appeared on the cover of the Economist after the 1999 student uprising.
The political prisoners hunger strike was championed in Sweden by a committee of Iranian exiles, which managed to get Swedish press to cover the statements of their striking students.
Russia Not to Supply Deuterium to Iran
July 28, 2004
Xinhua News Agency
MOSCOW -- Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Moscow does not plan to supply deuterium to Iran, denying a rumor that a negotiation about the business is underway between the two sides.
"Russia is cooperating with Iran in the sphere of peaceful usage of atomic energy within the framework of the appropriate intergovernmental agreements that do not envisage Russia supplying heavy hydrogen to Tehran," the ministry said in a statement.
The remarks came amid reports from Vienna that Iran agents are negotiating with a Russian company on purchasing deuterium, or heavy hydrogen that can boost nuclear explosions in atomic weapons.
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.
It is not illegal for Iran to purchase deuterium but it should be reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Russia is helping Iran build an 800-million-dollar nuclear power plant in the coastal city of Bushehr.
The United States has accused Iran of using the plant as a cover to develop nuclear weapons and has urged Russia to freeze the project. Both Russia and Iran have dismissed the US allegations, vowing to continue their nuclear cooperation.
Iran Reportedly Testing Nuke Equipment
July 29, 2004
Defying international concerns, Iran has resumed clandestine work linked to uranium enrichment, testing equipment and producing a gas that can be used to make nuclear warheads, diplomats said Wednesday.
The diplomats said Tehran has restarted equipment used to make uranium hexafluoride gas, which, when injected into centrifuges and spun, can be enriched to a level high enough to make the weapons.
While Iran only appears to be testing the machinery, it has apparently produced some of the gas as a side effect, said the diplomats, who are either familiar with Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency's investigations or privy to intelligence. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said they did not know how much hexafluoride was made or when the testing resumed.
The move -- coupled with revelations Tuesday that Iran had restarted building centrifuges -- heightened concern that Iran was moving toward full uranium enrichment, despite pledges not to do so.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Iran had launched a direct challenge to the Atomic Energy Agency's call to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. ''It certainly raises questions about other commitments Iran has made concerning its nuclear program,'' he said.
Iran dismissed accusations it is interested in making nuclear weapons, insisting its main interest in nuclear power is to generate electricity. But one of the diplomats said the news was part of a pattern of recent revelations showing Iran to be more interested in pressing ahead with suspect nuclear activities than working to dispel worldwide concerns.
Agency officials had no comment about the revelations, which came only a day after diplomats disclosed that Tehran had resumed building centrifuges.
That move alarmed France, Germany and Britain, which have been seeking a negotiated resolution with Iran, and was likely to move them closer to the United States, which insists Tehran wants to make nuclear weapons.
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer expressed ''great concern'' Wednesday over the centrifuge report and cautioned Iran against making a ''miscalculation.''
Now, see, this is the problem with the mad mullahs. A military should not have a martyrdom-seeking spirit. A military should love and revere life, that's the only way that sacrifice is meaningful. For someone to give up his life for his country, life must mean everything. You are to protect your country and your people and seek to live but if required, you will die. You should never seek death.
Connecticut Company Pays $500,000 Fine for Arms Sale to Iran
AP ^ | 7-29-04 | Diane Scarponi
Posted on 07/29/2004 5:18:51 PM PDT by Indy Pendance