Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- July 31, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 07/30/2004 8:59:51 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largley ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. Most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
Powell Says U.S. Uneasy About Iranian Role in Iraq
July 30, 2004
The United States is uneasy about attempts by Iran to gain influence in Shi'ite dominated southern Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday, and he urged the neighbors to forge stable relations.
"Iran has the potential of playing a helpful role (in Iraq), but we are uneasy about some of the actions that Iran has been taking in the south, the influence that they are trying to gain in the south," Powell told a news conference in Baghdad.
"We hope that the Iranian authorities will realize that it is in their interest to have a stable Iraq as a neighbor."
Powell said it was in the interests of both countries to cooperate and avoid confrontation.
"Too much blood has been shed between these two people over the years," he said.
Powell was speaking during a surprise visit to Iraq on Friday as part of a swing through the Middle East.
Iraq's Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan told the Washington Post in an interview this week that Iran was Iraq's "first enemy," and has accused Tehran of "blatant interference" in Iraq's internal affairs.
Iraq and Iran fought an 8-year war during the 1980s and relations between the two have been delicate ever since.
Iran, a majority Shi'ite Muslim country governed by clerics, has been accused of seeking to gain influence among Iraq's Shi'ite community, which is focused in the south of the country.
Iraq is also majority Shi'ite, but the community was suppressed under the rule of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni.
During Saddam's reign, many Shi'ites from southern Iraq went into exile in Iran and formed militia which carried out occasional attacks against the Iraqi armed forces.
Since Saddam's overthrow, and during the past 15 months of insurgency, U.S. authorities and Iraq's interim government have repeatedly accused Iran of not doing enough to patrol its borders and prevent foreign fighters entering Iraq to wage war.
Iran has denied foreigners are entering across the long and mountainous border with Iraq.
Iran Said Insisting on Enriching Uranium
July 30, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Iran, intensifying a standoff over its nuclear programs, has told European officials it will not back down on its right to proceed with uranium enrichment, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.
"The British and the French tell us Iran insists it will not back down on its right to proceed with enrichment," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters.
During a meeting in Paris on Thursday that included Germany, the three European delegations responded that halting uranium enrichment was fundamental to a deal negotiated with Tehran last October, the U.S. official said.
The Europeans added that "nothing else was coming if Iran didn't get back on the road to suspension, leading to cessation of enrichment and reprocessing," the American said.
The European Union trio have given no details of their high-level talks with Iran.
But a French spokesman said in Paris on Friday that they would push ahead with talks on Iran's nuclear program, even though Washington says a U.N. Security Council showdown is becoming increasingly likely.
The European Union three secured promises from Iran last October to suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities in exchange for sharing peaceful nuclear technology.
But Iran, which says it has only peaceful nuclear ambitions, was infuriated last month by a tough rebuke from the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency -- the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- over cooperation with its inspectors.
Even before the meeting in Paris, Iran said it would resume the manufacture, assembly and testing of enrichment centrifuges, which can be used to enrich uranium for weapons.
The United States says Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
U.S. officials with access to intelligence estimates say Iran can achieve a bomb in three to five years, although some experts say it might even be sooner.
The IAEA has uncovered many potentially weapons-related activities in Iran, but no clear proof that Washington is right about Iran -- no "smoking gun."
Another U.S. official, speaking anonymously, said the Europeans were "not too happy" with the Iranian meeting.
"The EU three underscored their concerns and said (to the Iranians), 'Look, you're making a big mistake. You need to get back on the program," the U.S. official said.
The Iranians "pushed back. ... The fact that Iran just decided to back off of its commitment took them by surprise and they weren't happy about it," he added.
Secretary of State Colin Powell repeated on Thursday that Iran had not met its IAEA obligations or kept its commitments to the EU three.
A U.N. Security Council referral was now "more and more likely," he said during a visit to Kuwait.
The administration has been agitating to bring Iran before the security council, which can impose sanctions on violators of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
Iran has fiercely resisted the move.
So have the EU three and other security council members, who instead have kept the matter before the IAEA as they tried to persuade Tehran to adhere to NPT and IAEA commitments.
In interviews with Reuters this week, U.S. officials for the first time said that as they move to increase pressure on Tehran, they do not see imposing sanctions as the first goal.
The comments suggested an attempt by Washington to dampen international resistance to bringing the controversial nuclear issue before the security council.
Before imposing sanctions, the council could give the IAEA more powers to probe Iran's program or have its chairman issue a rebuking statement, officials said.
Halliburton Defends Iran Work as Ethically Sound [Excerpt]
July 30, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
John M. Biers
HOUSTON -- Halliburton Co. maintains that its work in Iran - criticized by some as exploiting a loophole in U.S. sanctions law - is not only lawful, but ethically sound.
In an address on corporate ethics, John Gibson, chief executive of Halliburton's energy services group, said this week that decisions like whether to operate in Iran shouldn't be seen as questions of right and wrong.
"It's right and right," Gibson said in a speech to the Houston Forum, an educational nonprofit.
"It's right to operate there within the law, to believe you can build relationships, to have a long-term positive influence on Iran," Gibson said later in an interview. "You can also say it's right not to."
Halliburton is barred under U.S. sanctions from directly working in Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism that is believed to be seeking nuclear weapons. But Halliburton is one of several U.S. companies that own foreign subsidiaries that are allowed to operate in Iran under heavily prescribed rules.
With terrorism a growing concern, companies like Halliburton are under increased pressure to justify policies, even in cases where they are complying with the law.
"The line between what's legal and illegal may be the least important one," said Patrick McGurn, special counsel at Institutional Shareholder Services, which advises investors on governance issues. "Sometimes getting close to that line, from the standpoint of shareholders or employees, is every bit as bad as crossing over it."
Last week, Halliburton disclosed that it received a grand jury subpoena related to its Iran work. The inquiry is believed to center on whether the subsidiary, Cayman Islands-based Halliburton Products & Services Ltd, is truly independent of the parent.
The inquiry comes on the heels of a number of other investigations into Halliburton, including those on the company's government contracts in Iraq and its involvement in a kickback scandal involving a Nigerian natural gas plant.
Halliburton vigorously defends its performance in Iraq. Regarding Nigeria, the company recently severed ties with the former chairman of Halliburton's KBR unit who, the company said, violated the corporate ethics code by taking as much as $ 5 million in improper payments.
Speaking to 200 businessmen and retirees, Gibson said Halliburton's commitment to ethics distinguished it from Enron Corp. (ENRNQ) and other fraud-ridden companies that imploded due to an obsession with short-term gain. Halliburton realizes the importance of ethical leadership, because in corporate life "people in general do what they're told," Gibson said.
Although Halliburton has a written code of business conduct, Gibson described the document as "litigation-avoidance policy," less important than Halliburton's corporate culture formed through day-to-day activity.
"Our motto is 'Done right,'" Gibson said. "The right thing means maximizing the benefit to everyone over the long-term."
During Halliburton's annual meeting in May, antiwar protesters donned pig costumes and handcuffed themselves inside the Four Seasons Hotel, shouting " people died so you can make money." By contrast, the crowd at Monday's luncheon warmly greeted Gibson, chuckling over coffee and chocolate eclairs as the jovial executive quipped about the upcoming presidential election. Afterwards, Gibson was even invited to speak at a theology class this fall.
Exceptions Called Intentional
Halliburton has said its Iran work has "been intensively reviewed" by company lawyers. The small Cayman unit, which tests wells and provides other standard oil services, took in $39 million in 2003, according to a company report prepared in response to shareholder criticism.
Gibson dismissed the charge that the company is exploiting a loophole in Iran, pointing to U.S. sanctions that prohibit foreign subsidiaries from operating in Cuba.
"If the government had not wanted anyone to operate (in Iran), they know how to construct laws to completely prevent it," Gibson said. "There's nothing wrong with what we're doing."
Peter Fitzgerald, a professor at the Stetson University College of Law, said the U.S. has retreated somewhat from the 1963 Cuba restrictions, which have been criticized as an imposition of U.S. law on other countries. The U.S. is trying to balance its Iran policy with other diplomatic and foreign policy objectives, he said.
"'Loophole' has a pejorative connotation," Fitzgerald said. "They're doing what's permitted. If you don't like what's permitted, you might call it a loophole."
The difference between being in compliance and in violation can sometimes turn on subtle distinctions, Fitzgerald said. It could be legal for the parent to forward mail to the Iran subsidiary, but it would be a violation for a Houston executive to refer a bid request.
Iraq Defense Minister Received $8 Million Bribe From U.S.: Source
July 31, 2004
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Some Iraqi officials have realized that Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan has received at least eight-million-dollar bribe from the U.S. administration, a source close to the interim Iraqi government has revealed.
Shaalans links with the ousted Iraqi government and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are known to everyone in Iraq and he is considered a great traitor to the nation and country, the source, who declined to be identified, told the Mehr News Agency.
The source who holds a post in the Iraqi administration also said the recent anti-Iran remarks by Shaalan are meant to meet this purpose.
Shaalan told the Washington Post on Monday that Iran remains his country's "first enemy". "I've seen clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran," Shaalan said. Iran interferes in order to kill democracy." The source said the eight-million-dollar bribe has been transferred into his personal account in a Britain-based by the U.S.
Praising his statements against Iran, the Washington officials have asked other Iraqi officials to adopt a similar approach toward Iran, he said.
Some officials in the Basra governorate have told our correspondent that Shaalan has ordered that the former Iraqi security forces loyal to the toppled Baath party be returned to the new-fledged Iraqi security forces.
A security force in Basra also revealed that the recent information has shown that the White House has tasked Shaalan to coordinate the presence of the Israeli intelligence forces under different names and that his position as Defense Minister is in line with this purpose.
Do the mad mullahs think the entire world sufferes from the paranoia they seem to suffer from?
The Wrong War [Excerpt]
July 31, 2004
FOREIGN policy was expected to be at the center of this year's duel between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry. Kerry, in accepting the Democratic nomination on Thursday, raised expectations by admitting that America was "a nation at war."
Nevertheless, Kerry's speech of more that 5,200 words devoted only around 500 words to foreign-policy in general and the war against terrorism in particular. Even then, Kerry used those words for sloganeering.
Kerry's speech revealed a man who, though vaguely conscious that the world has changed, prefers to assume that it has not.
"The world tonight is very different from the world of four years ago," Kerry told the convention. "We are a nation at war a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have known before."
Yet Kerry did not say in what ways the world is different. And when it came to dealing with this different world, he had little to offer but pre-9/11 the solutions.
Nor was the Democratic nominee willing to define the nature of this war and point out why this "enemy" was unlike any that the United States has known.
It is important for the American to understand that they face a war that involves more than a mood. It involves real people, command structures, states that offer safe haven, global networks of finance and propaganda, and fifth columnists of various faiths and ideologies in many countries, including the United States.
How would he fight?
At the same time, however, this is a new type of war because it is not about territory, control of natural resources, access to markets, and/or other classical causes of trans-national conflict. This is an asymmetrical war in which old tactics of low-intensity conflict have been redefined to allow the use of modern technologies.
How would a President Kerry fight this war?
His answer is simple: "As president, I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in [the Vietnam] war," the senator told the convention.
This is precisely the problem.
The lessons of Vietnam could be misleading in fighting the war against terrorism. In Vietnam, the war was over territory: The Communists who had seized control of North Vietnam wanted to annex the south. The United States had intervened to prevent that and enable the South Vietnamese to choose a different future.
That war was fought in Indochina, thousands of miles away from America. The Vietcong would not send death-squads to kill Americans in New York and Washington. Nor did it dream of conquering the world for its ideology, whatever it might have been, or to force all humanity to adopt its beliefs. And the Vietcong enjoyed significant levels of support and sympathy inside the United States, which is presumably not the case in the current war against terrorism.
One of the things the Americans need to do in the war against terrorism is to unlearn the lessons of Vietnam.
1967 vs. 9/11
Kerry's speech was dominated by one powerful image: that of himself in "that gunboat in the Mekong delta."
But that was the image of 1967.
The image of 2004 is that of hijacked jetliners running into the twin towers in New York. U.S. strategy in this war must be built around that image.
The choice the United States has is not between war and peace. The enemy it faces does not understand peace. As a statement attributed to Osama bin Laden, and addressed to the Europeans, said recently, there can be no peace with the "infidel."
The choice here is between war and endless war. This is not an enemy that could be drawn into Paris "peace talks" to win Nobel Prizes for the participants.
Kerry says "We need to be looked up to, and not just feared." Yet, while it is always pleasant to be looked up to, what is needed now is that the terrorists, and their allies and patrons, should fear the United States. The bin Ladens and Saddam Husseins of this world are unlikely to look up to the United States. But they can be made to fear it, to the point of running to hide in caves and holes.
Kerry says he would wage "a smarter, more effective war on terror."
Ok, but how?
First, he would "ask hard questions and demand hard evidence."
But when it comes to terrorism, hard questions don't necessarily produce hard evidence. Often, such evidence becomes available only after an attack, not before.
Anyway, once a President Kerry has asked his hard questions and obtained his hard evidence, he would only be at the start of a long road to a policy. He would next have to persuade other nations (variously described in his speech as "allies," "erstwhile allies" and simply "others") to accept his "hard evidence" and side with the United States. Then the whole matter would have to be taken to unspecified "international institutions," supposedly for approval.
After that? Here is Kerry's answer: "Only then with confidence and determination we will be able to tell the terrorists: You will lose, we will win!"
Will such a warning make the bin Laden and Saddam Husseins of this world tremble?
The value of allies
Kerry also says: "We need to build our alliances, so that we can get the terrorists before they get us." Yet he also says: "I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security."
Well, that is what Bush did when he led the war to liberate Iraq. And this is what President Bill Clinton had done when he sent troops to break the Serbian fascists in Bosnia and, later, in Kosovo. In both cases, the U.N. Security Council had indicated its unwillingness to back the American position.
Kerry, however, has made his strategy conditional on support from unidentified allies.
But who are these allies?
A majority of NATO members backed the United States in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, as did a majority of the European Union members, plus Japan. In the Balkans, Greece alone of NATO members led the opposition to U.S. policies. In the case of Iraq, France played that role.
Thus what Kerry's offers amounts to nothing but bringing occasional dissidents such as Greece and France on board. Is that so important in the larger scheme of things? Americans might be surprised to learn that "we will win" if, and only if, French President Jacques Chirac agrees to join Kerry in fighting al Qaeda or in deploying NATO forces to Iraq.
But what if the Americans have no support from other nations and yet need to fight against an enemy? This is not a hypothetical question: It happened to the British in 1939-40, when they had to fight Hitler alone.
Defense won't win
Kerry says: "I will never hesitate to use force when it is required; any attack will be met with swift and certain response." This means that Kerry's strategy in the war against terrorism is reactive, not pro-active.
He also says: "The frontlines of this battle are right here on our shores", and then proposes a series of new security measures, especially for container ships and airports.
But while such defensive measures might be necessary, it is vital to take the war to the terrorists.
It is important that fear should change camp: Instead of Americans living in fear, make sure that the terrorists and their sympathizers do. In this war, search-and-destroy tactics must play a central role for victory, the only acceptable outcome, to be achieved.
Kerry says: "The United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to."
This is stating the obvious. The problem arises when you have to go to war but you don't want to. There are also times when you do not have to go to war, but want to because you wish to topple mass-murderers like Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein.
Kerry's position on Iraq is an exercise in ambiguity. In 1991, he voted against the use of force to drive Saddam out of Kuwait, although that had been unanimously approved in the U.N. Security Council. Later, he said he regretted that vote. In 2002, he voted for toppling Saddam by war, although this did not have specific U.N. support. And now he implies that he regrets that vote, too.
As a multilateralist, Kerry should have voted for intervention in Kuwait in '91 and against intervention in Iraq in '02. But, each time, he did the opposite.
Kerry says he will reform the American intelligence services so that "policy is guided by facts."
Intelligence, however, is seldom capable of producing facts. The best it can do is to point at probabilities. But even when it can provide facts, war decisions are made on the basis of a leader's political judgment. A leader is not a computer which, when fed with certain facts, decrees war. And going to war is too serious a decision to be left to spooks.
'Plans for peace'
The most disturbing idea that Kerry launched, however, came when he spoke of a message that he would send to American troops on the first day of his presidency: "You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace."
Logically, this means: never. ....
Israel May Be Compelled to Pre-empt
July 31, 2004
Iran is moving rapidly to become a nuclear power. The Iranian mullahs have publicly promised to use nuclear weapons to exterminate Israel even if Israel were to achieve peace with the Palestinians. They also claim that Iran, with 70 million people, could absorb and survive any response from Israel while Israel, with only 5.5 million Jews, is vulnerable to devastating losses if only a few of Irans missiles got through.
Each time these Iranian threats were announced, the U.S. administration failed to issue any statement in opposition. (When Saddam Hussein earlier vowed to burn half of Israel the US administration also remained silent.) The Iranian mullahs could not fail to notice the significant American silence and to draw conclusions. They can also note that Israel is outside NATO and has no mutual defense treaty with the United States. If Iran attacks Israel they need not fear any U.S. response.
All of Israels past experiences with America and the United Nations underscore the reality of Israels isolation and vulnerability. Some examples:
At its birth Israel totally accepted the United Nations partition resolution. The Arabs rejected that resolution and attacked the new state, attempting to destroy it at birth. The U.N. failed to help Israel and America imposed a regional arms embargo, which only affected Israel because the Arabs were already well-armed. Israel survived only due to its own sacrifice and would have perished if it depended upon the United Nations and the United States. There was no subsequent punishment or even criticism for Arab aggression.
In 1967 Egypt and Syria were openly poised to launch an unprovoked attack to ''drive the Jews into the sea'' as Gamal Abdul Nasser vowed. There was no strong U.S. warning to Egypt and Syria not to attack. Instead the U.S. urged Israel not to pre-empt and to wait on U.S. diplomacy. When it became clear that U.S. diplomacy was failing and Israel could face catastrophic losses if the Arabs were allowed to strike first, Israel was forced to pre-empt. Again there was no subsequent punishment or even criticism for Arab aggression.
In 1973 Egypt and Syria again were openly poised to launch an unprovoked attack on Israel. And again there was no U.S. warning to Egypt and Syria not to attack. But this time Secretary of State Henry Kissinger did not just urge Israel ''not to fire the first shot,'' he warned Israel not to pre-empt and to not even mobilize, lest it face the loss of American support, and then have to face Egypt and Syria backed by Russia and be left all on her own. Israel obeyed, was attacked, and almost lost that war while sustaining horrendous loss of life and suffering a brutal blow to its economy. Again there was no subsequent punishment or even criticism for Arab aggression.
These examples illustrate an ongoing pattern of U.S. behavior from Israels birth until this day. The Arabs are always free to commit aggression and launch repeated attempts to destroy Israel without facing punishment or even criticism. It appears that the U.S. will always act to restrain Israel from exercising its full right of self-defense but will never act decisively to blunt Arab aggression. If Israel obeys U.S. pressure it could gravely endanger its security but if it acts in legitimate self-defense it could face U.S. punishment because of a consistent U.S. double standard.
Today the Iranian threat poses the greatest danger ever, because even a single nuclear missile reaching an Israeli population center could cause catastrophic damage and casualties. The U.S., the U.N., and the Europeans are also concerned, but only because Iranian nukes could also endanger them. However, they have so far failed to generate a sufficient collective response to guarantee that the ongoing Iranian quest for nuclear weapons will be halted and dismantled in time.
The U.S. is the lead player in all this and recent reports suggest that President Bush is unlikely to act until after the November election, assuming that he is re-elected, and that there is still enough time left to act. Note that President Bush, after Iraq, is now gun shy about pre-emption and he has announced no deadline for Iran to terminate its nuclear program.
Perhaps the West believes that Israel is their free insurance policy. The Western nations may prefer to have Israel take out Irans nuclear facilities for them, as in 1981 when Israel bombed the Iraqi reactor. This means that Israel takes all the risk, Israel takes all the blame and the other nations benefit for free. The U.S. and the other nations still want to avoid alienating more Muslims and want to appear ''even handed'' concerning Israel. Bluntly put, the survival of Israel may be desirable for the nations, but not at any cost in jeopardizing their essential oil supplies and facing increased enmity among the worlds Muslims.
It is not unreasonable to speculate that the U.S. and Europe may have decided to wait and let Israel be forced to pre-empt and do their dirty work, and hopefully be successful. But if something goes wrong they can always claim plausible deniability and join in the denunciation and possible punishment against Israel to appease the Arabs. It has happened before after the 1981 Israeli attack on the Iraqi reactor.
Another possibility is for the U.S. and Europe reluctantly to allow Iran to go nuclear in the same way that we allowed North Korea to go nuclear while downplaying the real threat. And once they do go nuclear to then say that they have become too dangerous to attack and now we must negotiate--just as with North Korea which signed agreements, accepted U.S. aid and then secretly violated their agreement and brazenly announced their nuclear capability. We have established the pattern and Iran can simply follow suit.
Iran will then have additional options besides overt missile attack. They could build mini nukes and secretly distribute them to various terrorists for smuggling into target countries to be used against Israel and the West while adamantly denying all culpability. Heavy Western pressure might be put on Israel, including possible threats, to not pre-empt and to rely on their missile defense. This approach may appeal to the West because it simply plays for time and avoids having to take unpleasant decisions today that could upset their voters in the next election.
What is the military option? Retired Air Force and Army Generals, Thomas McInerney and Paul E. Vallely wrote the book, ''Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.'' At a recent lecture, they claimed that the United States has the military capability to effectively take out the nuclear facilities of both North Korea and of Iran and can reach facilities buried deep underground. They stated that American capabilities are much greater than Israels. If that is true then it is primarily a U.S. political decision rather than one of military capability.
There are further complications if Israel feels compelled to pre-empt. Unlike Iraq in 1981 Irans facilities are buried underground, dispersed and well protected with air defenses. Israel may not be able to readily neutralize these facilities. Iran also had ample time to develop a counter strategy to deter Israel that may include Syrias launching chemical and biological attacks on Israel combined with Iranian-backed Hezbolla attacks on northern Israel. If Israel is forced to pre-empt, other Arab countries may join in a general attack on Israel. This would rapidly create an entirely new situation that could escalate out of control. In such a situation Israel may be forced to use some of its nuclear weapons. (Note that prior to the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. publicly reserved the right to use tactical nuclear weapons if required.) A worst-case scenario could also include an oil embargo and even destruction of some oil fields resulting in major damage to Western economies. Thus a Western policy that results in Israel feeling gravely threatened and forced to pre-empt could backfire severely against Western interests.
There is also the question of knowing just how close Iran is to having the bomb. Keep in mind how often Western and U.S. intelligence have been wrong in the past. There has also been a tendency to underestimate the capabilities of rogue nations and their ability to deceive. We were fooled by North Korea and then surprised at their progress. After the 1991 Iraq war we were surprised at how close Saddam was to having a nuclear bomb. He fooled us again by moving his nuclear weapons program to Libya while we were still searching in Iraq. We only found out when Momar Khadaffi decided to come clean. And Iran insists its program is only for non-military purposes that legally allow it to progress just short of weapons level. If all their nuclear components are fabricated but unassembled, they may be able to assemble them suddenly and then announce they are now a nuclear power. We know they are also acquiring more and better missiles as delivery systems. We may tell Israel that there is still plenty of time to act but we have little credibility, and Israel can also suspect that we may be lying just to restrain her for our own convenience.
There are still other complicating factors, including the paranoia of the Iranian mullahs who may also act irrationally in response to their own fears, both real and imagined. Nevertheless the Iranian bomb must be stopped. The best way is to mobilize a solid Western front plus any other international support, with an ultimatum to Iran combined with support for Irans large internal opposition. This will require America to lead with more firmness and more wisdom than we have seen in the past. Any perceived weakness by our side will only serve to increase the defiance of the Iranian mullahs.
In summary, it is definitely not in American or Western interests to leave Israel with no other security option except to pre-empt and thus open Pandoras Box of horrors. The longer we wait to act the higher the stakes and the greater the danger. And to again push this problem into the future may be the worst option of all.
About the Writer: Rachel Neuwirth is a freelance writer who resides in the Los Angeles area. Rachel receives e-mail at email@example.com.
Iran, Turkey Cancel Deal Signing Ceremony
July 30, 2004
Radio Farda Newsroom
The dispute over the price of Irans gas export to Turkey, and the domestic dispute within the Islamic government over the airport management contract with the Turkish-Austrian concern TAV, prevented the two governments from holding an official deal signing ceremony on Thursday, on the last day of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans visit to Tehran. But that did not prevent the neighbors from agreeing on a security pact which includes cooperation against Turkeys Kurdish militants and the Iraq-based anti-regime group MKO.
The Kurdish armed group changed its name last June from PKK to Kongra-Gul, and ended the self-proclaimed ceasefire it was observing in its battle against the Turkish government.
I think the security cooperation between the two countries is bearing fruit, Erdogan said.
Iran has agreed to put rebels from the former Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on its list of terror groups, the Islamic governments deputy interior minister for security affairs Ali Asghar Ahmadi said.
Turkey in return agreed to place the Iraq-based anti-regime group the Mojahedin-e Khalaq Organization (MKO), on its terror list.
Both Iran and Turkey have decided to brand the PKK and MKO as terrorist groups, and what was signed today stated that even if they continue to operate under different names, they will continue to be dealt with as terrorist groups, Ahmadi said.
In an crackdown earlier this month, the Islamic governments security forces killed 35 PKK members hiding inside Irans borders. The groups hideouts in Iran had been the target of Turkish air raids in the past.
On the dispute between the two neighbors over Irans gas exports, Erdogan said the energy officials of the two nations need to negotiate more, indicating that no agreement had been reached during his visit. Turkey halted gas imports from Iran last year, complaining about the price and quality of the gas Iran was piping to Turkey, through a pipeline built for that purpose by the two countries.
The visit did not produce any accord on TAV's airport management deal. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps forcibly shut down Tehrans new international airport on May 8, the day it began operations after 35 years in development. IRGC officers said the Khatami governments deal with Turkish-Austrian consortium TAV for managing the airport endangered Iran's national security.
During his visit, Erdogan met with President Khatami, ministers of oil, defense and foreign affairs, as well as Majles speaker Gholamali Haddad-Adel.
Thanks Adm....lets see if Angelus Errare has seen this.
Iran Reneges on Nuclear Pledge
July 31, 2004
TEHRAN -- Iran has resumed building centrifuges that Washington says are intended to enrich uranium to weapons-grade for use in atomic warheads, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi says.
Iran's decision backtracks from a pledge made last year to the European Union's "big three" -- Britain, France and Germany -- to suspend enrichment-related activities.
"We have started building centrifuges," Kharrazi told a news conference on Saturday.
Iran said it would restart making centrifuges to retaliate against a resolution from the U.N. nuclear watchdog last month that deplored Tehran's failure to co-operate fully with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Diplomats say Iran has also restarted work at a uranium conversion facility near the central city of Isfahan.
This plant turns processed ore, or yellowcake, into uranium hexafluoride gas which is pumped into centrifuges to form enriched uranium.
During a meeting in Paris on Thursday, Iran told the EU "big three" that it would not surrender its right to proceed with uranium enrichment.
The IAEA says the enrichment suspension was meant to cover both centrifuge construction and the uranium conversion plant.
However, Kharrazi gave assurances that Tehran had not resumed enriching uranium, the key part of the process which can either produce fuel for power stations or bomb material.
Iran insists it needs enriched uranium for power stations being built to meet booming domestic demand for electricity.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Iran on Thursday that its case was increasingly likely to be referred to the sanction-imposing U.N. Security Council for failing to meet IAEA commitments.
Kharrazi said such comments were part of pressure to deprive Iran of its legitimate right for peaceful nuclear technology.
"We just want to produce fuel for our plants and we are not after nuclear weapons," he said.
Washington says Iran is stringing the international community along with talks over its nuclear programme while buying time to make an atomic bomb.
July 31, 2004
Press Journal Editorial
War with Iran is not in the offing. Talks should continue, especially since there are now additional reasons to worry about this frightening Mideast tyranny. But talks so far have proven futile. There's another policy worth all-out pursuit: encouraging Iranian dissenters in removing the theocratic regime that oppresses them.
The new information causing concern comes from the acting director of the CIA. While he says there is no evidence of an Iranian tie to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he did recently say Iran allowed some of those terrorists to pass through the country on their way to wreaking catastrophe. It's hardly a far-fetched surmise to suppose that the Iranian government was in cahoots with al-Qaida, considering what else we know about that government's deeds.
It is no secret that the government is run by a relatively few, dictatorial, Islamic clerics who have engaged in murder of fellow countrymen to strengthen their hold on the land. The clerics have given every sign of aiming to develop nuclear weaponry, and they have been sheltering al-Qaida leaders.
To some extent, the war in Iraq appears to have benefited the Iranian government. The war has deposed Saddam Hussein, an enemy. And, owing to the Iraqi insurgency and the drain on U.S. military and other resources, the war has made it less likely that the United States poses a threat. So the United States should keep on talking, say some observers and talk is always advisable.
Are we to ignore, however, the fact that it would be a betrayal of decency for the United States to turn its back on the brave Iranians yearning to be freed of their oppression? An overthrow of the current regime would make the world safer and give Iranians the chance for the kind of lives that most of them clearly want. To the extent that the United States can aid in that cause without outright military involvement or contributing to wholesale slaughter by the regime, it should.
Iranian Dissident Professor Released on Bail
July 31, 2004
Voice of America
Iranian dissident Hashem Aghajari greeted family and friends at his home in northern Tehran Saturday, just hours after being freed from prison on bail. Defying a court order that he not speak to the media, Mr. Aghajari told supporters outside his home that he hopes "there will come a day when no one goes to prison in Iran for his opinions, let alone be sentenced to death."
The professor was jailed nearly two years ago and sentenced to death for saying Muslims are not "monkeys" and should not blindly follow their leaders. But in a retrial, the court instead gave him a five-year jail term, as well as five years of "deprivation of social rights."
An Iranian court ordered the academic's release on $112,000 bail as he awaits a final ruling on his case by the Supreme Court.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.
I thought the real reason they shut down the new airport, was because of a radioactive materials spill?