Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 30, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/29/2004 9:00:27 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.
Kerry's Foreign Policy
Benador Associates - By Amir Taheri
Jul 29, 2004
Ever since Senator John F Kerry emerged as the Democrat Party's presumptive presidential nominee last spring, his Republican opponents have been accusing him of harbouring the dream of restoring the Clinton era.
The Democrat Party's platform document, "Strong At Home, Respected In The World", however, envisages a Kerry presidency that would more resemble Jimmy Carter's rather than Bill Clinton- at least in foreign policy.
Nearly half of the pages of the document, just approved at the party's convention in Boston, are devoted to foreign policy, twice that of its predecessor in the 2000 presidential campaign.
The document , primarily designed to persuade American voters that, as President, Kerry would be at least as tough as President George W Bush on such issues as national security and the war on terror, is, perhaps, not a blueprint for American foreign policy in a putative Democratic administration. Nevertheless, it offers some insight into US foreign policy under Kerry.
The focus is on the Middle East and related issues of oil and terrorism. Issues like the future of NATO, the reform of the United Nations, the emergence of China and India, the accelerating rate of international regulations, and the global environment are mentioned but hardly tackled.
The Kerry foreign policy would be different from that of Bush in at least three areas: * Under Kerry, the US would forswear the right of pre-emptive action against its foes. It will employ its military only in a multilateral context, with the consent of the United Nations.
Such a policy would give the UN and the allies, who are not identified, a veto on the use of force by the US.
It also means that the US will act only after it is attacked, and not to prevent attack on itself or its allies.
Afghanistan is offered as an illustration of a "good war". It was right for the US to invade Afghanistan because the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington had been orchestrated by Al Qaeda from Afghan territory. This was also a "good war" because the UN approved it and the allies agreed to take part .
The Iraq war, however, was a bad one: the US should have waited until after an attack from Iraq before reacting.
Call it the Pearl Harbor Doctrine, if you like, but, if adopted, it would offer insurance to such regimes as North Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pyongyang and Tehran would know that, short of attacking the US directly, they should fear no military retaliation
* A Kerry administration would abandon Bush's commitment to promoting democracy, including by military pressure and/or action. Instead, the US will adopt the "soft power" method, using public diplomacy, battle of ideas, education, development aid, and human rights. (Here, the document echoes themes developed by Carter in 1976 .)
This takes us back to dønte during the Cold War in which preserving the status quo was more important than reshaping the world on the basis of democratic ideals.
The document insists that "democracy will not bloom over night", echoing Kerry's statement that spreading democracy would not be among his priorities.
The document says a Kerry presidency will help "sustain voices of freedom against repressive regimes.
The word "sustain", used to avoid "support", is, meaningless in this context, while the label "repressive regimes", instead of "anti-democratic regimes", is unfortunate.
"Voices of freedom" will be sustained, a status quo word, to shout until they are hoarse, but never supported to actually prevail.
* In the war against terror, Kerry would put the emphasis on measures that the US and its allies must take within their realm rather than impose on others. This means police cooperation among the 60 countries with active terrorist cells.
The US will orchestrate the freezing of terrorist assets and the closing of terrorist channels of communication.
The problem, however, is that one man's terrorist is often someone else's "freedom fighter". For example, Syria and Iran will never admit that the Hezballah is a terrorist organization and almost all Arab states refuse to label Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist.
There are also thousands of front organizations- charities, and NGOs, enjoying high patronage in their respective countries, part or all of whose activities could be regarded as terrorist.
The governments concerned are unlikely to disband them to please Washington, especially if refusal to do so entails no costs. The document's suggestion to "name and shame" countries that finance terror is no deterrent. Many Arab leaders would love to be singled out as supporters of Hamas or Islamic Jihad because that would give them an almost heroic profile in their own neck of the wood.
THREE SPECIFIC CASES Though mostly concerned with generalities , the document cannot avoid three specifics.
The document states that " people of goodwill will disagree about whether America should have gone to war in Iraq. This is bizarre. Both Kerry and his vice-presidential running mate John Edwards are people of goodwill and yet did not disagree on the issue. Both voted for the liberation of Iraq twice and, to my knowledge, have said nothing to indicate regret on that score.
A Kerry administration may not have a clear policy on Iraq. The document proposes the nomination of an International High Commissioner, a kind of UN Pasha to rule Iraq for an unspecified period. But we are long past that in Iraq. There is no way that Bremer Pasha could be replaced by another Pasha. The Iraqis have an interim government and are preparing for elections within six months. So, who is going to impose a new Pasha on them and how?
The idea of a UN Pasha was first aired by France's President Jacques Chirac before liberation. Chirac had even proposed former French Defense Minister Francois Leotard for the job. To try and put the clock back two years is no way of going forward in Iraq.
Perhaps anxious not to antagonize the Howard Dean wing of the party, the document, is vague about the role of US troops in Iraq. Kerry would keep them there but in the context of " an international presence". But this is already the case. With the end of occupation the US and other coalition forces are in Iraq on the basis of a Security Council resolution.
The UN has also appointed a new representative to Iraq. The problem is that he cannot go there because the UN does not want him to be protected by American and coalition troops while no one else offers soldiers for a UN "protection force."
All the 198 members of the UN are welcome to contribute troops to Iraq. But , apart from the 34 members of the US-led coalition, none seems willing to do so. Thus the document's proposal could mean only one thing: putting the existing US and coalition forces under the UN flag.
The documents say: "A nuclear-armed Iran is an unacceptable risk to us and our allies."
The use of the word " risk" instead of " danger" or " threat" is interesting. Risk has some positive connotations because it could involve both losing and winning, but "danger "or "threat" cannot but be negative. The term "unacceptable" is also interesting because, according to the diplomatic lexicon, it represents the lowest level of dissatisfaction. For example if members of a friendly government boycott a Fourth of July cocktail party at an American embassy this is "unacceptable" behavior.
What will Kerry do about a nuclear-armed Iran?
The answer is: nothing, unless we take into account the senator's recent proposal , not included in the document, to supply Iran with as much enriched uranium as it wants provided the US gets custody of the spent fuel. (Tehran has dismissed the proposal as " arrogant musings".)
The document takes back Clinton's pledge to give part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians as the capital of their future state. It calls for a democratic Palestinian state under a new Palestinian leadership, echoing the Bush policy. It also calls for the revival of the special envoy tradition, initiated by Carter, and abandoned by George W Bush. That does not amount to much of a policy.
The document mentions Saudi Arabia twice.
The first is with reference to Bush's "kid gloves approach to the supply and laundering of money" for terrorism, and the second is in the context of a wish to reduce dependence on oil from OPEC, including Saudi Arabia. The first is too vague to stand analysis. The second is a pious hope, first expressed by Carter in his failed 1979 campaign.
On intelligence, Kerry will adopt the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, although some are either duplications or contradictory. But that is another story.
Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam. He's reachable through www.benadorassociates.com.
Powell Warns of Sanctions Over Iranian Nuclear Program
July 29, 2004
Secretary of State Colin Powell says it is increasingly likely that the issue of Iran's nuclear program will have to be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. Speaking to reporters in Kuwait, the latest stop on his trip to the Middle East, Mr. Powell said Iran's latest nuclear moves are troubling.
The Bush administration has long held that Iran has a covert nuclear-weapons program. But it has refrained from taking the issue to the U.N. Security Council, hoping that pressure from key European allies, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency will persuade Tehran to change course.
In a talk with reporters traveling with him in Kuwait, Mr. Powell made clear that U.S. patience on the issue is running out, saying "it is more and more likely" that the matter will have to be referred to the Security Council.
The United States said earlier this week that Iran had mounted a direct challenge to the IAEA, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency. The U.S. statement came after diplomats in Vienna said Iran had resumed construction and assembly of uranium-enriching centrifuges.
Under an agreement reached last year with the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany, Iran committed to suspending sensitive nuclear activity and allowing tougher international inspections.
Mr. Powell said here Iran has not met its commitment, and the three European governments and the rest of the international community must consider the consequences for Tehran.
"Now Iran has made it clear that they do not intend to abide by all of those commitments," he said. "My three foreign minister colleagues are concerned about this and they are working on the problem, and I stay in close touch with them. But I have made it clear to them that we believe they must insist on their commitments being met, that they receive from the Iranians. And they have to factor it into any other actions the European Union might be thinking of taking, either in the economic sphere, the political sphere or elsewhere. It is a very troubling development."
Mr. Powell said the IAEA board would review the Iranian nuclear program at meetings in September and November. The 35-nation board could, at either meeting, decide to refer the matter to the Security Council.
Iran has steadfastly insisted that its nuclear program, which includes a power reactor complex being built for it by Russia, is for peaceful purposes only. But U.S. officials, among others, have questioned why Iran, a major oil and gas producer, is investing huge sums for nuclear power plants and a uranium-enrichment capability.
U.S. Fears Israeli Strike Against Iran
July 29, 2004
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.
Iran at the Brink
July 30, 2004
Last October's Tehran agreement between Iran and the foreign ministers of the big three European powers - Britain, France and Germany - was hailed at the time as a breakthrough. This was not just for the cause of nuclear non-proliferation but for diplomacy itself. Old Europe, it was claimed, had showed Washington how a hostile regime in the Middle East could be turned by negotiation, rather than invasion, back to the path of peace.
This claim has proved somewhat premature. What the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency found when they were finally allowed into Iran's nuclear facilities was a programme of uranium enrichment - the process essential to manufacturing bomb-grade material - substantially more advanced than they had bargained for.
Iran's nuclear glasnost had not lessened European suspicions that Tehran had been trying to make a nuclear bomb. It had increased them. Iran, for its part, felt betrayed by the fact that Europe had not stuck to the deal. Iran was still regarded as the bad boy, high on the IAEA's agenda.
Last month, Iran wrote to the European Union troika to say that the deal was off. It would resume manufacturing parts for centrifuges that refine crude uranium into the material, which it continues to claim, it needs for its civilian nuclear power programme.
On Tuesday it was revealed that Iran has restarted building the centrifuges and as diplomats from the three European countries and Iran sat down in Paris yesterday, room for manoeuvre appeared to have narrowed even further.
Iran had begun testing equipment used to make uranium hexafluoride, the gas which can be enriched when injected into the centrifuges.
The gap between the two sides is so wide that officials are pessimistic about their ability to bridge it. While intent on resisting pressure from Washington for a UN resolution and sanctions, British officials know that they are playing a waiting game.
The IAEA is due to report in August, but will try to keep the ball in play until after the presidential election in November. The Bush administration has made little secret of its desire to target Iran next, by fermenting the reformist opposition, a prospect which democrats in Iran must dread.
The big question is how far Tehran will go. Will it feel emboldened by the fact that Washington has rid it of its two worst regional enemies in Saddam and the Taliban, and pursue a bomb as the only effective insurance policy against regime change, or will it draw back from the brink?
Hope of Saving Iranian Nuclear Deal is Fading
July 30, 2004
British, French and German officials met their Iranian counterparts in Paris yesterday to try to salvage the agreement by which Tehran promised not to develop a nuclear weapons programme. Pessimism is growing in the Foreign Office where there is now a belief that Iran is intent on creating the capacity to produce a nuclear bomb.
The Foreign Office warned against expecting a breakthrough from the meeting.
"The Iranians are set on research into and development of the nuclear fuel cycle - for which read nuclear weapon - and we are trying to stop them," a spokesman said.
The Iranian position is a setback for European diplomacy, which has been aimed at pursuing dialogue with Tehran. If there had been any serious hope of progress in Paris foreign ministers rather than officials would have attended.
The US, which has no diplomatic relations with Iran, has voiced its despair at the attempts by European states to resolve the issue through diplomacy rather than by the UN security council imposing sanctions.
Israel has hinted that it will bomb Iranian nuclear stations rather than allow it to make a nuclear bomb.
At a private briefing this month the assistant under-secretary for arms at the US state department, John Bolton, a leading hawk, said President Bush would make Iran a priority if he won the election. The US will consider funding groups to destabilise the Iranian government.
Diplomats in Vienna, where the UN's non-proliferation body, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is based, said this week that Iran had broken the IAEA seals on nuclear equipment and resumed clandestine work linked to uranium enrichment.
A Foreign Office source said it would take Iran years to make a nuclear weapon, even if it was unhindered.
The IAEA is due to report at the end of August on the level of cooperation offered by Iran and its board will discuss this in September.
The board could refer the issue to the UN security council, though it would be reluctant to do so. But the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, said yesterday that it was more and more likely that the matter of Iran's nuclear programmes would have to be referred to the security council.
He said developments in Iran in the past week were troubling.
The mood in the Foreign Office contrasts with that last autumn when the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and his German and French counterparts flew to Tehran to secure what they thought was a deal on the nuclear issue.
Iran continues to deny that it is intent on making a nuclear weapon and insists it is interested in purely civilian applications, making electricity.
Ariel Sharon said yesterday that Israel would only reconsider the need for its "deterrent capability" - the code for nuclear weapons - when there was a comprehensive Middle East peace and its neighbours had abandoned weapons of mass destruction.
Israel refuses to admit or deny that it has nuclear weapons but international experts estimate that it has an arsenal of 100 to 200 warheads, making it one of the biggest nuclear powers.
Iran says it is building a "stealth" missile
AP - World News
Jul 29, 2004
TEHRAN - Iran is producing its first stealth missile, a rocket that can evade electronic detection, the Iranian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
The missile, named Kowsar after a river in paradise, will be capable of hitting ships and aircraft, Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Reza Imani told The Associated Press.
He refused to give the missile's range or provide other details. Features of the Kowsar, such as its guidance and positioning systems, are currently on show at an exhibition in Tehran that is open only to select government officials.
Iranian state television announced the Kowsar Tuesday while screening pictures of a missile flying through the air.
Iran manufactures various missiles, chief among them the Shahab-3 whose range of 1,300 kilometers (810-miles) makes it capable of reaching Israel.
Iran also produces tanks, armored personnel carriers, and a fighter plane.
The Kowsar river is mentioned in the Quran, Islam's holy book.
The liberals attack Bush for not going after Iran, now that he is its almost like the media doesn't want to pay attention to it. Look, John Kerry was FOR going to war with Iraq first...it will be interesting to see the reaction if Bush does use our millitary against Iran. Im sure we will see more flip-flopping from the liberal side.
Europe trio seeks guarantee on Iran nuclear policy
By Gareth Smyth in Tehran and Jo Johnson in Paris
Published: July 30 2004 5:00 | Last Updated: July 30 2004 5:00
French, German and British officials met Iranian counterparts in Paris yesterday to restart negotiations over Tehran's nuclear programme.
The meeting comes a month after Iran announced that it would resume making nuclear equipment in spite of an earlier agreement with the three European states, known as the EU3, to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment.
Hervé Ladsous, a French foreign ministry spokesman, said the talks sought "guarantees with regard to the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear policy".
The meeting in Paris came only days after unconfirmed reports suggested that Iran had broken seals placed on equipment by the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), the UN watchdog.
Although the US has long argued that Iran's civilian activities mask a weapons programme, the Europeans have negotiated to limit Iran's nuclear capacity.
The three European countries had persuaded Iran in December to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
This extra agreement granted greater access to IAEA inspectors, whose subsequent reports fuelled suspicion about Iran's programme.
Diplomats played down expectations of any breakthrough after yesterday's discussions at the French Foreign Ministry.
"The important question now is whether Iran is prepared to accept that it cannot have control over the fuel cycle, as the EU3, like the US, now demand," said Steven Everts, senior research fellow at the London-based Centre for European Reform.
"The EU3 idea is that the west and Russia would guarantee supply of nuclear fuel in return for Iran renouncing control of the full fuel cycle. This would rule out the possibility that Iran could later announce its intention to withdraw from the NPT and have a bomb."
Contrary to the EU3's wishes, Iran's leaders have argued that IAEA supervision should end as soon as possible.
Conservative - and to a lesser extent reformist - politicians in Tehran see the issue as part of wider US hostility.
Iran's government was angered this week when the US designated the Muja- hidin-e Khalq, an armed, Iraq-based Iranian opposition group, as "protected persons" under the Geneva Conventions.
Mohamoud Mohammadi, deputy head of the parliament's foreign policy and security commission, said most deputies believed that parliament should not endorse the NPT additional protocol under current circumstances.
In Washington on Wednesday, Adam Ereli, the State Department deputy spokesman, expressed concern that Iran had "gone back" on its "pledge to suspend the manufacture and assembly of centrifuges", while stressing Washington's "close contact with our EU3 partners".
"The US is looking at co-ercive options, beginning with sanctions," said Mr Everts.
"But Washington understands there is no chance of European support for punitive actions later if it does not let the EU3 try diplomatic means first."
The next IAEA report on Iran will be to the governors' meeting in Vienna on September 13.
Kerry Courts Disaster in Iran
By Pejman Yousefzadeh
Tech Central Station | July 29, 2004
Despite the prominence of national security and the war on terrorism as issues in the Presidential campaign -- and despite a disturbing report from the 9/11 Commission linking al Qaeda to Iran -- there has been sparse coverage on how the two major Presidential candidates stand on the issue of how to deal with Iran. This is surprising, because of Iran's longstanding ties to terrorist groups, and because of the ongoing struggle for the future of the country between hardline reactionary leftovers from the Khomeini era, and the pro-democracy and student movements.
The lack of extensive coverage is surprising as well because of the wide gulf between President Bush's and Senator Kerry's Iran policies. This recent Reuters news article reveals that while President Bush would work to support pro-democracy groups that want to displace the Islamic regime, Senator Kerry takes a decidedly different view:
"Reflecting a different approach, Kerry foreign policy adviser Rand Beers told Reuters in an interview: 'Yes, we would be prepared to talk to Iran.'
"He said the Democratic candidate is 'not naïve' and recognizes deep differences between the two countries. These include nuclear proliferation, the Arab-Israeli conflict and policy toward Iran's neighbor Iraq.
"'But we do think there are some issues about which we can talk and can move forward and hopefully those issues would represent building blocks on which to base a broader degree of cooperation,' Beers said."
The New Republic's Lawrence Kaplan -- who is a critic of the Bush Administration's policies regarding Iran, and who believes that the Administration has abandoned any hope of regime change in that country -- highlights the problems with Kerry's approach:
". . . The very regime that Kerry demands we engage, after all, has just been certified as an Al Qaeda sanctuary--and by the very commission in which the Kerry campaign has invested so much hope. The report's finding, moreover, counts as only one of Teheran's sins. Lately its theocrats have been wreaking havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan, aiding America's foes along Iran's borders in the hopes of expanding their influence in both countries, even as they continue to fund Palestinian terror groups. Then, too, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has amassed a mountain of evidence pointing to Iranian violations of the Nonproliferation Treaty. With two nuclear power plants slated to go online in Iran, and IAEA inspectors stumbling across designs for sophisticated centrifuges, even the Europeans and the United Nations have nearly exhausted their efforts to engage the Islamic Republic."
Kaplan's points are well taken. But we should also note the internal struggles in Iran that make Kerry's position not only unrealistic, but also potentially amoral -- even immoral. Iran's recent parliamentary elections were flawed and rigged to favor hardliners over reform advocates. Any semblance of adherence to democratic principles was dispensed with by the reactionary mullahs as they sought to consolidate their power, and to frustrate the aims of a reform movement that had overwhelming popular backing. Reform parliamentarians and Iranian president (and pseudo-reformer) Mohammad Khatami had their attempts to change the political system in Iran blocked by the hardline-dominated Council of Guardians and by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Religious Guide. The Islamic regime continues to engage in systematic human rights abuses, and in efforts to deny justice in the rare case when human rights abusers are put on trial.
If in the midst of these human rights travesties, a Kerry Administration decides to try once again to engage Iran, it will be giving the hardline rulers of the Islamic regime every reason to believe that the United States will do nothing to stand on the side of human rights in Iran, and on the side of a pro-democracy movement that identifies so strongly with America and the West. Meanwhile, the regime itself will be strengthened by being able to deal with the world's most powerful democratic republic, and will be able to use its newfound prestige to try to completely snuff out the pro-democracy movement. You see, the mullahs will tell the pro-democracy demonstrators, even the Americans accept our legitimacy and wish to do business with us. The international community -- led by America -- will welcome us anew and will want to deal with us as the valid rulers of Iran. Your cause is hopeless.
Additionally, there is scarce evidence that the Islamic regime is disposed to seriously bargaining with the United States. Ultimate power in Iran's government resides in the hands of Khamenei as the country's Supreme Religious Guide. As I have argued previously, various factors lead Khamenei to be a rigid hardliner in terms of his public policy stances, and Khamenei does not have the scholarly or intellectual credentials to depart from his hardline stance in a way that will not threaten his power. However, a departure from Khamenei's hardline stance is essential for negotiations between the United States and Iran to yield any serious or positive results. If John Kerry and his foreign policy team really believe that they will be able to negotiate with a country whose supreme ruler is effectively held hostage to his own reactionary stances, they are being quite naïve -- assurances to the contrary notwithstanding.
In The Prince, Machiavelli wrote that
"Men worry less about doing an injury to one who makes himself loved than to one who makes himself feared. The bond of love is one which men, wretched creatures that they are, break when it is to their advantage to do so; but fear is strengthened by a dread of punishment which is always effective."
The "threat of punishment" would do more to coerce Iran to act within international norms than would the premature bestowal of legitimacy on Iran's hardline rulers. But John Kerry's proposal to negotiate with Iran would undercut the regime's more democratic opponents, and reward the regime for its reprehensible policies -- and at a time when the regime are still quite weak, and vulnerable, no less.
If that doesn't leave you scratching your head in confusion, nothing will.
BTTT .. thanks for the ping
US warns Iran over nuke plans
ABC News, Australia
Friday, July 30, 2004
Galls Inc. Exported Police Equipment to Iran (Mullahs)!
PoliceOne.com ^ | 29/2004 | LEX-18 TV News
Posted on 07/30/2004 5:28:21 AM PDT by faludeh_shirazi
Emami Kashani: US Would Collapse
July 30, 2004
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Tehran -- Tehran substitute Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani said here that the United States would collapse, just like Gengiz Khan's Empire did in the old world.
Kashani, addressing thousands of Tehrani worshipers at Tehran University's campus, added, "the United States, resorting to misleading the world public opinion and phony phrases, pushes forth its malign objectives at global level.
He added, "the Americans, for instance, resort to all types of terrorist acts in the name of promoting democracy and freedom, and then call such acts a phase in international campaign against terrorism."
The Friday prayers leader further stressed, "in the name of campaign against terrorism, the Americans commit all kinds of inhumane acts at any part of the world they choose and at any time they wish."
Emami-Kashani said that the global arrogance, in general, is a world in which gold, military power, and misleading the public opinion always rule, posing the question, "I seriously wonder why the American nation remains silent in the face of so much inhumane deeds."
He reiterated, "criminal and oppressive regimes can not last long, and therefore the United States would definitely collapse as the Mongols captured vast territories, but were forced to retreat."
Referring to detainment and trial of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hossein, Kashani said, "Saddam who acted as if he was quite drunken with power in dealing with various countries, is now chained and going through a prosecution."
The Ayatollah said, "history would judge quite negatively against the United States.
Touching on Iran's peaceful nuclear projects, he said, "the Islamic Republic of Iran's efforts aimed at mastering nuclear technology is aimed at scientific, economic, and industrial objectives, but the west keeps posing the question, what is Iran's real intentions in insisting upon achieving scientific mastery in that field."
He added, "they refrain from announcing openly that they are opposed to Iran's scientific blossoming in modern technologies."
Emami-Kashani further argued, "the continuation of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inspectors' job, too, has proven that Iran's nuclear projects are of a peaceful nature."
The interim Friday prayers leader of Tehran meanwhile focussed on cultural on slaught of the west against the youth", arguing, "all crimes committed by the global arrogance against mankind are merely aimed at depriving the youth of sound reasoning capability."
Ayatollah Emami-Kashani added, "an addict or a hedonist youth easily yield to a foreign attack, even against his own home."
He advised the youth to recognize the plots hatched by "the enemy" against them, and not to fall prey to the various traps speared by the west to enslave them.
The Ayatollah also commemorated the anniversary of the first Friday prayers of Tehran, led by late Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Taleqani on July 21, 1979, upon an order issued by the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Imam Khomeini.
No Progress in Nuclear Talks With Iran [Excerpt]
July 30, 2004
The Washington Post
A meeting yesterday between European and Iranian officials over Tehran's suspect nuclear program ended with the sides agreeing to continue discussions, but Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said it is increasingly likely the matter will have to be brought to the U.N. Security Council.
The Paris meeting, attended by French, German and British diplomats, was the first since Iran resumed nuclear work in June that it had promised to suspend 18 months earlier in exchange for European trade incentives.
The three European powers, trying to defuse a standoff over Iran's nuclear efforts, want Tehran to work with U.N. nuclear inspectors and halt activities that could lead to weapons development.
"The discussions are continuing with Iranian authorities toward obtaining all the guarantees relative to the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program," said Herve Ladsous, spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry. He said the meeting was aimed at reestablishing trust between the sides.
But Powell, traveling in Kuwait yesterday, made it clear that the United States believes Iran is concealing its true intentions and suggested the European efforts were unlikely to succeed. "It is getting more and more likely that this matter is going to have to be referred to the Security Council," Powell said.
"It is our judgment that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon," Powell said. "The world has to take note of this."
The secretary talked by phone with his German, French and British counterparts ahead of the meeting, which had been scheduled for London and then moved to Paris.
European diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said both Washington and Moscow would be briefed on the outcome of the discussion.
The Bush administration wants Iran rebuked by the Security Council for violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has been pressuring allies to take a harder line with the Islamic republic.
In June, the Europeans crafted a condemnation of Iran for failing to fully cooperate with international inspectors. But Iran responded by breaking its commitments to halt certain nuclear efforts.
A European diplomat, who spoke ahead of yesterday's meeting, did not discount the possibility of going to the Security Council but said that currently appears remote. "All different scenarios are in play, but the goal is to try to convince Iran to come back to the process."
Since June, Iran has resumed building centrifuge parts and is conducting tests at an enrichment facility. But the activities, which Iran is allowed to carry out for peaceful purposes, are being done under the eye of nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency who have been trying to determine whether the country has a clandestine weapons program.
Iran has denied it is intending to build a nuclear bomb, but in recent months inspectors have turned up inconsistencies in Iran's claims and have found evidence suggesting research in the area of nuclear weapons development.
Iran's foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, told reporters in Tehran yesterday that "Iran's right to peaceful nuclear technology should be respected."
What a Farce
July 29, 2004
The Economist Print Edition
It was a farcical solution. Muhammad Khatami, Iran's timidly reformist president, had been keen that interrogators from the intelligence ministry should not be blamed for the murder of Zahra Kazemi, a 54-year-old Iranian-Canadian photojournalist, following her arrest last year.
Mr Khatami's foes in the conservative judiciary were equally determined that officials under their purview should be exonerated. So, on July 24th, efforts to find and convict a culprit were abandoned when the trial of an alleged killer ended in an acquittalfor lack of evidence.
Most people agree that Muhammad-Reza Ahmadi, the intelligence agent who was acquitted, did not cause the brain haemorrhage that killed Ms Kazemi. Instead, Abdolfatah Soltani, a lawyer representing the Kazemi family, points to a wealth of evidence suggesting that prison officials landed the fatal blows. But he says that judges sympathetic to the prison authorities let their officers' tracks be covered.
Mr Soltani alludes to many witness statements, later retracted, attesting that a senior prison official hit Ms Kazemi very hard on the day of her arrest. Mr Soltani also says that records of a brutal interrogation that allegedly happened the same night were tampered with. Early in the case, a culture-ministry official accused Saeed Mortezavi, Tehran's notoriously harsh prosecutor who has led a campaign to gag Iran's reformist press and jail its stars, of pressurising him to announce that Ms Kazemi died of a stroke.
Doubts multiplied during the trial. Why, Mr Soltani asks, did the judge refuse to call the original witnesses or to hear a doctor who was prepared to testify that Ms Kazemi's injuries might have been caused early in her four-day detention in prisonin other words, when she was in Mr Mortezavi's hands? Why did the indictment ignore Ms Kazemi's allegation, apparently referring to her interrogation by judicial officials, that they have broken my nose, and my thumb and toe?
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation provides coverage in depth of Ms Kazemi's death and its repercussions. Canada's foreign minister and Reporters Without Borders, a group campaigning for press freedom, have criticized the trial. The EU outlines its relations with Iran. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch report on human rights in the country.
Mr Soltani's explanation? Justice has been sacrificed to political machinations. For a president who stresses the rule of law, Mr Khatami has shown little appetite to pursue the case. Last year, a report that he commissioned did not question medical reports, hotly disputed by Ms Kazemi's mother, that the corpse showed no signs of torture. With the intelligence ministry's man off the hook, no one expects it to carry out its threat to reveal its version of events.
A second report on the same case, issued by the last reformist parliament before its dissolution earlier this year, was much tougher on the judiciary. Mr Mortezavi was characteristically contemptuous of its findings. He and his supporters have less to fear from the new parliament, now stuffed with conservatives. It kept obligingly quiet a few weeks ago, when the judiciary forced two reformist papers to suspend publication; one had criticised the judiciary's handling of the Kazemi case.
The head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, sounds a bit embarrassed. Citing the national headache caused by Ms Kazemi's murder, he recently issued a directive, swiftly passed into law, banning torture. On July 20th, a judge handed a relatively light prison term to Hashem Aghajari, a freethinking academic who had criticised the clergy, in place of the death sentence that he had received nearly two years ago.
Still, the Kazemi case is a reminder to Iran's interlocutors of their frustratingly limited influence. The European Union ruminates glumly on its two-year human-rights dialogue with Iran. The EU's sole undisputed achievement is a moratorium on the stoning to death of adulteresses. It's hard, confesses an EU diplomat, to determine whether the dialogue is helping the human-rights situation or exacerbating it.
Canada withdrew its ambassador when he was denied access to the second session of the recent trial. The new Canadian foreign minister, Pierre Pettigrew, is pondering other forms of protest, which might include sponsoring a resolution at the United Nations to condemn Iran's handling of the affair and taking the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. But Mr Pettigrew says he still hopes that there will be a successful appeal against the Iranian court's verdict and that a more serious trial will then be held.
This cautious vagueness infuriates Ms Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi, who has spent much of the past year campaigning for his mother's body to be returned to Canada and for her killers to be held to account. Canada, he says, has been humiliated, lied to, toyed around by Iran. At a meeting this week with Mr Pettigrew, he called for Iran's ambassador to Canada to be expelled and the embassy closed. Alas, that is unlikely, at present, to make Iran's interrogators gentler, its judiciary fairer or the grip of the conservatives weaker.
Iranian University Student Jailed For Protesting
July 30, 2004
An Iranian university student from the north-western city of Tabriz has been sentenced to two years in prison for taking part in anti-regime protests in the summer of 2003, his lawyer was quoted as saying by student news agency ISNA.
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, a lawyer working with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, said the student had been convicted of insulting high-ranking regime officials and "disturbing the public mind".
He said the verdict would be appealed.
From June 10 to 20, 2003, Iranian university students led a series of anti-regime protests across the country, with the 25-year-old clerical regime responding with a major security crackdown.
Justice System Delivers New Affront in the Zahra Kazemi Case
July 29, 2004
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders said it was "astounded" at the 28 July 2004 statement by Iran's justice system that the death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi could have been "accidental".
The international press freedom organisation joined the family's lawyers in calling on the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi, to name a judge independent of the Tehran prosecutor's office to review the entire file and reconstruct the facts in the case.
"Reporters Without Borders cannot find words strong enough to describe the latest statements from the Iranian justice system. They dare to say that, since the man responsible for Kazemi's murder was acquitted - at a rigged trial - it proves that Zahra Kazemi died accidentally !
"This reasoning goes beyond the ridiculous and amounts to an affront. We join the lawyers in calling for a judge independent of the prosecutor's office, which is implicated in this case, for a full investigation of this murder that the legal authorities are trying to dress up as an accident, " said the organisation.
Kazemi was arrested on 23 June 2003 while taking photographs of families of inmates in front of Evin Prison in the north of Tehran. She was beaten in detention and died from her injuries on 10 July. After first trying to hide the cause of death, the Iranian authorities admitted on 16 July that she had been "beaten".
Intelligence official Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, one of those who interrogated Kazemi in custody, was charged and then acquitted on 24 July 2004.
During the trial, the family's lawyers called for evidence to be given in court by Mohammad Bakshi, an agent at Evin Prison under the control of the Tehran prosecutor ; Said Mortazavi, Tehran prosecutor ; and five top legal officials who were present at the interrogation.
The Tehran court rejected the request and dispatched the trial in two days. However various Iranian investigative commissions have implicated these legal officials.
In a statement released on 28 July, the family's lawyers' collective, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, urged the head of the judiciary Ayatollah Shahrudi, to name a judge independent of the prosecutor's office to review the entire file and allow an genuine reconstruction of the murder.
The statement also put a series of questions :
"It has been proved, including in statements from several witnesses present at the scene, that a senior official at Evin Prison struck Zahra Kazemi a very heavy blow on the left side of her head that broke her skull. We want to know why certain people want to cover up this case.
Why was the identity not revealed of an interrogator of Zahra Kazemi, from 23 June at 10.30pm to 24 June at 2.30am, although the interrogation took place in the presence of the prosecutor and one of his assistants ?
Why were the records of the interrogation falsified ?
Why was the intelligence services proposal to take part in reconstruction of the murder scene not taken into account ?"
Reporters Without Borders is also maintaining its demand for Kazemi's body to be repatriated to Canada, in accordance with the wishes of her son and for an autopsy to be carried out there.
Powell Warns Iran On Iraq
AFP - World News (via Yahoo)
Jul 30, 2004
BAGHDAD - US Secretary Colin Powell, making an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Friday, warned neighboring Iran against seeking undue influence in Iraq while pledging to speed the flow of reconstruction funds to the country.
"Any actions taken by Iran which seek to gain influence in Iraq we would look at with disfavor," he said, adding: "We continue to monitor the situation."
Speaking at a joint press conference with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, he said: "We hope the Iran authorities realize that it is in their interest to have a stable Iraq as their neighbor."
After talks with Saleh and the public works, minerals and housing ministers, Powell said: "We want to speed up the flow of funds into the reconstruction effort ... to get the job done."
He said improvements in supplies of water and electricity, as well as infrastructure would "contribute to the sense of safety and improve the security environment."
Powell however was forced to admit that the wave of kidnappings in Iraq, with at least 25 people currently held captive or missing, had a "deterring effect" on reconstruction and the multinational coalition.
"There is nothing romantic about this. There is nothing justified about this. The world must stand united," he said.
Justice, mullah style
National Post - Editorial
Jul 30, 2004
The prospects for justice in the case of Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian journalist murdered last year while working in Iran, once seemed merely bleak. Now, they appear to have evaporated entirely.
For a time, Iranian officials at least conceded that someone within the government was likely responsible for her death. But in the wake of last Sunday's acquittal of the intelligence agent charged with the murder, they've come up with an explanation so absurd that it would be comical if it were not so tragic.
"With the acquittal of the sole defendant, only one option is left: The death of the late Kazemi was an accident due to a fall in blood pressure resulting from a hunger strike and her fall on the ground while standing," declared a statement from Iran's Office of the Prosecutor General on Wednesday. We'll leave readers to figure out how someone could receive massive head trauma -- let alone die -- from a "fall in blood pressure" after simply falling over. But even more bizarre is the leap in logic that would lead the Prosecutor General -- who, incidentally, is believed by many to be directly implicated in Ms. Kazemi's murder-- to conclude that because the defendant was acquitted, the death must have been an accident.
Of course, there's no reason to believe that this version of events is the last one we'll get from the Islamic Republic. After all, Wednesday's statement was at least the third different explanation we've been offered to date.
The Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's state mouthpiece, originally claimed she had suffered a "brain stroke." An inquiry conducted soon thereafter by five Iranian cabinet ministers found she died from a "physical attack," and Iran's Vice-President, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, conceded last July that Ms. Kazemi died from "a brain hemorrhage resulting from blows inflicted on her."
By now, it should be obvious even to Iran's most ardent apologists that the country has no interest in seeking justice for Ms. Kazemi and her family. To the mullahs and the country's judiciary, dominated by hard-line theocrats whose concept of justice is moulded by their own warped interpretations of Koranic scripture, it's case closed.
Even as this reality sinks in, Canada's response -- thus far limited to recalling our ambassador to Tehran and doing a lot of grumbling -- remains too meek. With the United Nations having been virtually silent on the matter to date, it's time for our federal government to ratchet up the pressure. On top of expelling Iran's ambassador and imposing sanctions, Ottawa should pursue the matter internationally.
If we command as much respect on the world stage as our leaders claim, then let's lead the charge for Iran's censure at the General Assembly. If the United Nations can get itself worked into a tizzy every time Israel or the United States sneezes, then surely it can muster the fortitude to rap Iran for its brutal injustice against an innocent Canadian.
Iraq Wants Smuggled Aircrafts Back
July 30, 2004
The Middle East Media Research Institute
MEMRI News Ticker
Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem al-Sha'lan announced that his country has decided to begin negotiating with the Iranian government about returning the aircraft smuggled into Iran by the previous regime.
(Al-sharq al-Awsat, London, 7/30/04)
In response to his statements that Iran is Iraqs enemy no. 1, the conservative Iranian dailies Jomhour-ye eslami and Kayhan accused Iraqi defense minister Hazem Sha'lan of murdering Iraqis after the fall of Saddam Hussein, of spying for Saudi intelligence and the CIA, and of being a member of Saddam Hussein's ba'th party.
(Jomhour-ye eslami & Kayhan, Iran, 7/29/04)
Irans expediency council head Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said during a meeting with the visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that terrorism is rooted in the wrong views of the U.S. and in its exploitative ambitions.
(Jomhouri-ye eslami, Iran, 7/29/04)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during his visit to Iran that the expansion of the two countries' political, economic, and security cooperation is a priority in Turkish foreign policy.
(Jomhouri-ye eslami, Iran, 7/29/04)
An IAEA spokeswoman said a new IAEA report on Irans nuclear program will be prepared in early September and the next meeting of IAEA board of governors is set for September 13.
(Kayhan, Iran, 7/29/04)
With the renewal of Irans nuclear talks with the three European countries in London, Iranian MPs said that until the Iranian dossier at the IAEA is closed, it would not ratify the additional protocol.
(Kayhan, Iran, 7/29/04)
Iranian president Muhammad Khatami warned Israel that it would be making a mistake in attacking Irans nuclear installations, and Iranian defense minister Ali Shamkhani said that in the event of an Israeli threat on Iran, nowhere in Israel would be safe for the heads of its regime.
(Kayhan, Iran, 7/29/04)
The reformists in Iran presented as a candidate for the presidential elections in May 2005 Mir Hussein Mousavi, an engineer, who together with the reformist clerics is supported by the reformist parties.
(Aftab-e yazd, Iran, 7/29/04)
The Iranian daily Jomhour-ye eslami reported that the Hamas news agency Quds press had said that Israel, under the aegis of the u.s. forces, has for the past year maintained an embassy in Iraq, and that over 900 Israelis are in Iraq.
(Jomhour-ye eslami, Iran, 7/29/04)
The 'Fedayoon [martyrs] of Qaddafi' threatened to kill anyone who raises questions about the disappearance in Libya in the 70s of senior Lebanese Shi'ite cleric Ayatollah Mussa al-Sadr.
(Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, 7/30/04)