Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 6, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/05/2004 9:18:50 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.
The Fundamentals of an Iran in Exile
Forward Magazine - By Roya Hakakian
Aug 6, 2004
The diplomatic officer asked, for the third time, how I'd been persecuted as a Jew in Iran, as he leafed through my application for political asylum. But I said nothing.
His stern tone, his fierce gaze demanded certainty, clarity and conviction all the things that I could not find within. Sitting opposite him in his office at the American embassy in Vienna on that April day in 1985, I remained silent until my mother finally rushed to offer what I would not.
It's 19 years later, and I'm only beginning to form the answers the officer once wanted. The five years following the 1979 revolution and the way in which they had affected the Jews of Iran were difficult to sum up, though all the alarming signs existed: A few leaders had been executed. Several schools, including my own, had been taken over by diehard Islamic ideologues who were proselytizing the students. School bathrooms had been segregated by religion. And derogatory terms and symbols that I had only known through my father's childhood stories, distant and unreal as fairy tales, suddenly had thrust themselves upon my reality.
There had been no overt or official decrees, but Jews could not receive passports or exit visas. And for a brief period, business owners were ordered to display signs in their shop windows that read: "This establishment is being operated by a member of a religious minority." The war with Iraq had begun, and though the demand for medical professionals had soared, hospital administrators hesitated to hire Jewish professionals, as the wounded members of "Hezbollah" the "Army of God," as was first coined by Ayatollah Khomeini didn't wish to be touched by non-Muslims. Life had, without a doubt, worsened for Jews in Iran.
But life had worsened for everyone I knew. In some ways, life had worsened for our Muslim friends, neighbors and colleagues far more than it had for us. Whereas Jews had lost the opportunities to thrive academically and professionally, secular Muslims who didn't share in the new regime's outlook were losing their lives.
The mullahs considered Jews "people of the book," a legitimate religious minority, and allowed us luxuries that they denied Muslims. When music was banned, the Bob Dylans and Joan Baezes of Iran were allowed to perform only at foreign embassies and Jewish organizations, where adoring fans who once dreamed of a handshake sat to meals with their beloved icons. And as for the crime of possessing books and literature with subversive themes, a Jewish youth had a far better chance of escaping arrest "Jews only got money on their mind, not politics," was the thinking of the authorities than did a fellow Muslim youth.
What drove Jews out of Iran were the ruling mullahs, not an antisemitic nation. Our neighbors prayed for our safe passage, and marked our departure by throwing water behind us for good luck. Our friends shed tears as they saw us to the airport to bid us farewell. What drove us out of Iran was a fundamentalist regime that did not tolerate those who did not share its worldview. They eliminated their own secular Muslim counterparts with no less vehemence.
The regime's campaign was not a campaign of "ethnic cleansing," but one against secularism and modernism, against everything they identified as manifestations of their most ubiquitous enemy: the West. It was all the same war, and waging it against the Jews was easier under the old, familiar guise of antisemitism.
There are signs in many parts of the world that attest to the rising tide of antisemitism. But Iran is another story.
Though the Jewish community in Iran has shrunk significantly since 1979, 2,000 years of history of coexistence between Jews and their Persian neighbors ought to be seen as the rule, and the past 25 years as the exception. The Iran of the 1970s, with its booming economy and modernist strides, had dismantled ghettos. Segregation in schools or trades had nearly vanished. Then came the fiery ayatollahs, in whose flames everyone burned. Fortunately for Jews, finding a refuge outside of Iran offered the exit everyone was searching to find.
Whether Jews and Muslims can live together in peace is the question of our time. But looking at history since 1948 offers too small a window for an informed view. Nor can the search for hope begin in Jerusalem. Tehran is still home to the largest community of Jews in the Middle East outside of Israel.
To address the issue of Iran's shrinking Jewish community is to address the issue before all Iranians: an intolerant regime that knows no civil liberty and grants no freedom to its citizens. To promote the cause of democracy in Iran is to reinvigorate a coexistence that had been, despite some grim periods and practices, peaceful for the most part.
It is this ancient and intimate experience for which Iranian Jewish expatriates yearn as they hold fast to all things reminiscent of "home." It is this yearning that kept me from giving an answer to the foreign service officer so many years ago, the same yearning that keeps my father from driving in America. These roads, he says, don't lead to any place where he first left his heart.
Roya Hakakian is author of the forthcoming memoir "Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran" (Crown Publishers).
Support grows for UN showdown with Iran over nuclear programme
Financial Times - By Guy Dinmore in Washington and Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Aug 5, 2004
The US administration is gaining European support for a diplomatic showdown with Iran over its nuclear programme next month, as a first step towards imposing sanctions.
US officials and European diplomats said momentum was building after a bad tempered meeting in Paris last week between Iran and France, Germany and the UK - the three governments that negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran last October.
Iran was warned that if it continued to move in the wrong direction, it could not avoid the issue being referred to the United Nations Security Council at the next meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency on September 13.
Iran accused the Europeans of being US lackeys and not upholding their side of last year's agreement. At its last meeting in June, the IAEA "deplored" shortcomings in Iran's co-operation with the UN nuclear watchdog, accusing it of withholding information on its advanced P-2 centrifuges and tests to enrich uranium, and demanding clarification.
Iran has since resumed assembling centrifuges. US and European diplomats believe it may also start enrichment. While neither development would breach Iran's commitments if declared to the IAEA, the US insists Tehran has lied to the agency and not complied with its obligations as signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Although meetings with Tehran continue, loss of European support would deal a serious blow to Iran which has long pursued a strategy of widening transatlantic divisions over policy towards the Islamic regime.
The hardliners' rigging of elections this year also depleted Tehran's diplomatic capital with Europe. Officials said France and the UK supported the US position, while Germany was close. The Bush administration, which accuses Iran of using its civilian nuclear programme as a front for developing weapons, is piling on the pressure while refusing to negotiate directly with Iran. Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser, said this week that Iran would be confronted, probably in September, with some "very tough resolutions".
"The Iranians have been trouble for a very long time. And it's one reason that this regime has to be isolated in its bad behaviour, not quote-unquote, engaged," Ms Rice told Fox News, also referring to Iran's alleged refusal to co-operate over its detention of al-Qaeda suspects. Referral to the UN Security Council is intended to lead to condemnation of Iran's alleged breach of its nuclear commitments and a possible warning of sanctions that could, for example, halt Russia's construction of a civilian reactor in Iran.
Iran insists it has co-operated fully with the IAEA, but the rhetoric in Tehran has hardened since the Paris talks. With nationalist feeling running high, no politician or newspaper is airing the idea that Iran should accept long-term international supervision of its nuclear programme.
"Why are our politicians persisting in negotiations with the Europeans, who have broken their promises?" blazed an editorial in the conservative Jomhuri Eslami. "Regardless of the content of Iran's nuclear programme, the EU should not address the Iranian nation in this tone. Maybe they don't know who they are talking to."
Hossein Shariatmadari, chief of the conservative Kayhan newspaper, regretted that Iranian negotiators had "not torn up" a European draft that made "colonialist demands".
He said the trio wanted a declaration that Iran would not leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a recognition that concerns about its nuclear programme were justified and an undertaking to keep them informed about its nuclear activities.
Some deputies to Iran's conservative-dominated parliament argued Iran should not ratify the additional protocol allowing more intrusive inspections by the IAEA. Some said Iran should leave the NPT. Hossein Mousavian, a senior member of the Supreme Council of National Security, said Iran had nothing to fear from sanctions, which had proved ineffective over 25 years.
He also brushed off reports that either the US or Israel might launch a military strike on Iran's facilities. "These threats are baseless, just part of a psychological war," he said.
Terror Tradecraft [Excerpt]
New York Post - By Peter Brookes
Aug 5, 2004
THE mother lode of intelli gence recently plucked from al Qaeda computers in Pakistan shows that we're not dealing only with lethal terrorists, but highly capable spooks as well.
The quality of al Qaeda's information on targets in New York City and Washington, D.C., indicates a covert intelligence-collection capability on par with some of the world's best spy services.
The FBI estimates that there are as many as several hundred al Qaeda-associated extremists in the United States. It could be a deadly mistake not to take recent terrorist threats seriously.
Al Qaeda's casing operations were certainly serious. Its operatives collected more than 500 digital photos, documents and drawings. They detailed building layouts, security and construction and pedestrian and vehicular traffic flow.
They noted employee routines and watering holes. And they mapped the location of the first responders such as hospitals, police and fire departments ? all with an eye to killing as many people as possible.
Bottom line: It's top-notch intelligence work that would make any clandestine service stand up and take notice.
Moreover, the intrusive, coordinated, long-running casings went undetected. Working under cover as couriers and delivery people, al Qaeda operatives were able to observe and enter the buildings without alarming security personnel. Recruited terrorist agents may have even been employees of the targeted facilities, making it a real inside job. (Some of the casing notes were in English.)
Although the information seems to have been collected a few years ago, it's unlikely it went only to the computers seized in Pakistan. The smart money says this intelligence was shared with others in Terror Land, too.
Beware: This surveillance information has likely been updated by other al Qaeda cells since it was first acquired. And it may be tied into the other streams of intelligence we're receiving on threats against U.S. targets this summer.
In raising the terror level to "high," the Department of Homeland Security was spot-on. It would be foolish to assume these plots have been canned.
But where did al Qaeda learn to conduct such thorough sleuthing? Not surprisingly, it had help from the usual suspects.
Iran: The 9/11 Commission fingers Iran as having trained and supported al Qaeda as far back as 1992. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security are thick as thieves with international terrorists, providing intelligence, training, funding and material support.
Remember the expulsion of Iranian (faux) diplomats for intelligence-collection activities last month in New York City? That was the third set of Iranian spies asked to leave the U.S. in the last two years for casing possible terrorist targets. (See New York Post op-ed, "Spooks, Lies and Videotape," July 6, 2004.) The Iranians might well be sharing this intel with al Qaeda.
Hezbollah: The commission also mentions that al Qaeda received training from the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah in the early 1990s in Lebanon's terrorist snake pit, the Bekaa Valley. "Bin Laden showed particular interest in learning how to use truck bombs such as the one [used by Hezbollah] that killed 241 Marines in Lebanon in 1983," the report notes.
Who calls the shots in Iran's foreign policy offensive?
By Amir Ali Nourbakhsh, Editor
Iran Focus July-August 2004 (TIR-SHAHRIVAR 1383), VOL 17 NO 7
This article is from the political-economic monthly IRAN FOCUS, published by the UK based Menas Associates. For more on Menas Associates please visit www.menas.co.uk
Since last month there has been a noticeable change in Irans approach to foreign policy, with indications of a more confrontational attitude.
In mid June, the UAE resumed its usual claims on the three Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf (Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs). Later, an Iranian fishing boat was seized by Qatari forces in the Persian Gulf. One fisherman was killed and two others were injured. This prompted Iran to seize some eight Emirati and Qatari boats and their crews in retaliation.
On 21 June Iran seized three British military patrol boats and their crew after the vessels had entered Iranian territorial waters on the Arvand River (Shatt al-Arab), which forms the border between Iran and Iraq.
The arrests were carried out by Irans elite Revolutionary Guards, which are dominated by hardliners and accountable only to the Supreme Leader. After British sailors were shown on Iranian state TV humiliated and apologizing, they were handed over to British embassy officials in Tehran.
Analysts see a link between the detentions and the European Unions contribution to drafting the resolution rebuking Iran for past nuclear cover-ups only a week earlier, when EU officials met the International Atomic Energy Agencys board of governors.
On 24 July, Iran told three European nations that it would resume the production of its uranium centrifuge parts. This is considered a breach of the agreement that Tehran struck with the IAEA last February to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment, including testing of centrifuges. Last October, Iran signed the additional safeguards protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing snap inspections by the IAEA.
This article elaborates on the decision-making process that lies behind Irans foreign policy, which may account for the Islamic Republics recent behavior. In doing so, factors that are related to Irans national, regional and international affairs are taken into consideration.
The national context
The identification of detailed processes in Irans foreign policy has proved a challenge for observers for years. Although the decision-making process remains vague, there is general agreement that the majority if not all stakeholders are known to observers. What still remains unclear are the criteria according to which these state and non-state actors set their objectives and how the final decisions are made.
The official foreign policy decision-making process This process in Iran is extremely complex and involves multifaceted interactions between official and unofficial forces. From the moment an opportunity or crisis is identified by various agents until a policy decision has been made, an unknown number of players are able to influence the policy outcome. The more security-related the issue is perceived to be, the easier it is for radical forces to manipulate policy to their liking.
First, an opportunity or threat is perceived by diplomatic, military, intelligence, cultural, media or academic agents in Iran and/or overseas. The message is disseminated through foreign, intelligence, defense and culture ministries channels to the president, Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), the Majlis, the Guardian Council (GC), the Expediency Council (EC) and the Supreme Leader.
Although the final say could lie with the Leader, all the other institutions might influence the decision through official or unofficial channels. It is the structure of these institutions, the personal influence of their members and the freedom of maneuver of pressure groups associated with them that make speculation about policy outcomes so difficult. The final decision-maker is not always the Leader since he might delegate his authority to other persons and organizations, or make the decision dependent on whoever emerges victorious from a factional debate.
The domestic power struggle Currently, the conservatives have the upper hand in Irans political power struggle. First, the conservatives undemocratic takeover of the Majlis did not face any major domestic or international resistance. No public uprising took place as bilateral economic agreements with other countries mainly European states remained intact as international accusations continued.
Secondly, the continuation of orchestrated USEU pressure on Iran, even though Tehran had signed two agreements with the IAEA, has strengthened the mindset that distrusts the EU and is skeptical about its nuclear and human rights discourses.
Thirdly, the EUs sporadic support of the UAEs claim on the Persian Gulf islands further weakens the pro-EU lobby, justifying radicalization of Irans relations with the West.
Fourthly, the rise of the military and paramilitary wing in Iran (Iran Focus, 17:6, June 2004, 1) could be symbolically compared to the prevalence of the Pentagon foreign policy mindset in Washington. It is a rule of thumb that the military elite has a military solution to all state crises and foreign ministry officials a diplomatic one. So once the military clique dominates the domestic scene it gets its way in foreign policy as well.
By the same token, the following phenomena account for the militarys interference in foreign affairs. First, the US pressure and subversive terminology on Iran continues, based on Irans breach of IAEA agreements. Secondly, Israeli accusations about Irans regional policies are intensifying as Tel Aviv endorses the regime change discourse. Generally speaking, Irans international relations are becoming more and more security-focused.
The regional context
Irans position in the Persian Gulf region is ambiguous and indefinite. Although there is no common understanding among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states towards Iran, the potential threats and opportunities that Iran could open up for these countries obviously set the tone for the nature of future cooperation in this area. The general question is whether these states will move closer to Tehran or favor Washington.
On the one hand, Iran is aware of these states fear that Iraq might no longer be a strategic counterweight to Iran. And beyond that they are concerned that pro-Iran Shiites might obtain a major share of power in the new Iraq.
On the other hand, they are also aware of the possible consequences of the pronounced US tilt towards Tel Aviv with regard to the Palestinian issue. Moreover, post 9/11 security considerations, which have precipitated the US to push for human rights and democracy reforms in the region, make these states question the benefit for them of US policies. GCC states face the question as to whether the continuation of Washingtons policies or Irans regional ambitions pose a more dangerous threat to their states. The following observations shed light on this notion:
There has been some unrest and uncertain leadership transitions in a few GCC states. Some states have been forced to open up their political processes;
Since 9/11, the US has heightened its attention to the public attitudes of these states, concluding that citizens of some of them are sympathetic to some of the goals of Al Qaeda;
Some of these states have become more critical of the US policy in the region.
The political liberalization of the Middle East, perceived by the Pentagon as a policy to ensure regional stability, has registered in the region as an initiative that could backfire by empowering Islamic extremism. In short, the Bush administrations promotion of civil society in the Persian Gulf through, for example, judicial reforms in Bahrain, political participation in Kuwait and Qatar, parliamentary development in Oman and independent journalism in Saudi Arabia, are sources of concern to these Arab states. Interestingly, Iran is also aware of this discrepancy. The question, however, is whether Iran can take advantage of this state of affairs.
So far, Washington has been more successful than Tehran in encouraging these states to cooperate, despite their reluctance. The GCC states are starting to open up their economies, passing laws allowing foreign direct investment. Some of them, such as Oman, are being assisted by the US in moves to join the World Trade Organization and others, such as Saudi Arabia, are in negotiations.
The GCC states are driven by a number of incentives and disincentives to cooperate with the US. What could possibly tilt the balance against Iran and towards the US are GCC states defense considerations. There is a disincentive for GCC states to cooperate with Washington because the fall of Saddam Hussein encourages some of them to distance themselves from the US and move closer to a broad Arab consensus on the PalestineIsrael issue.
On the other hand, Washingtons arms sales and security assistance to GCC states present them with an incentive to cooperate with the US. The majority of these states are heavily dependent on US training, spare parts and armament codes. This not only prevents any use of these devices against Israel but also keeps them away from any reliance on Iran.
For instance, Bahrain and Oman receive significant amounts of US assistance, while Saudi Arabia obtains a nominal amount of the International Military Education and Training fund (IMET). Either way, none of the pro-US or anti-US arguments favors Irans strategic relation with GCC states.
Hence, the GCC states decision to opt for one strategic partner between Tehran and Washington has to be founded on the following considerations:
The fall of Saddam has tilted the regional balance to Irans benefit;
The rise of Iran as a regional hegemonic power will enhance the possibility of Shiite domination in the region;
Iran is more likely to assume hegemony if it accommodates US priorities;
With the rise of conservatives in Tehran and Washington, the likelihood of a rapprochement between the two states is rapidly diminishing. Besides, intensified accusations against Iran from the US whether these are well founded or not make a pro-Iran choice for a bloc that is itself prone to similar accusations risky;
Although the US is pursuing policies that propagate human rights and democracy in the Middle East, the GCC states are dependent on the US from an economic, military and security point of view. Besides, the political liberalization has been a gradual process that has partly added to internal legitimacy in these states.
With the gradual domination in Iran of the conservatives especially forces close to the Revolutionary Guards (Sepah) the chances that Irans foreign policy might continue within the framework set out by President Mohammad Khatami are becoming slimmer. Although the pro-Sepah mindset would prefer a pro-Arab approach as Irans neighborhood policy, the Islamic Republic has a historical record of hostility towards over-US friendly GCC states, and there are historical hostilities and border issues with some Arab states. The Gulf islands issue and the regional boats confrontations will definitely tip the balance against these Arab states among the Sepahi mindset.
The international context
The same clique is also becoming dominant in Irans approach to the nuclear crisis. From Tehrans perspective, the continued US pressure on Iran despite its recent cooperation with the IAEA only shows that the US is using the nuclear issue to pressure Iran and ideally change the regime. This does not only fit with the conspiracy-minded mindset dominant in the Islamic Republic but also makes more sense than ever before, and may as well be true.
Irans previously good relations with the EU are going through a rough patch. The reasons for this are, first, Iran and the EUs dissatisfaction with the developments and results of the policies but, more important, the fact that the IranIAEA face-off is failing to satisfy Pentagon officials and the White House.
Another reason for the prevalence of the military wing over diplomats in Irans foreign policy decision-making might be Irans failure in playing one side of the Atlantic against the other to its own benefit. Diplomats under Khatami commercialized Irans ties with Europeans and other potential allies. Later they capitalized more on non-European states, mainly members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), including such states as China, India and Malaysia.
To Tehrans disappointment, both blocs, despite their pro-dialogue discourse, are becoming discouraged about politically backing Iran as US pressure mounts. Paradoxically, and perhaps surprisingly to ruling groups in Tehran, European states and NAM member states maintain their economic and trade ties but move at the same time more in line with US policies, at least in the political arena.
All this provides the Iranian military forces with a pretext to take over foreign policy as diplomatic efforts and Khatamis détente have failed in a situation of high security risk.
Irans recent offensive course of action in foreign policy can be understood in the context of the combination of national, regional and international challenges that Tehran is facing.
Domestically, the rise of the conservatives in the Majlis places Iran in a unique situation. The forceful takeover of the parliament marks a unique era even in the history of the Islamic Republic. It would fit with the conservative mindset that under such international pressure, it would be more secure for Iran to speak with one voice.
Simultaneous with Irans domestic and nuclear crises comes the opportunity to become the regional superpower in the light of Iraqs decline. This is a chance the Islamic state cannot forgo because of its domestic or nuclear problems. Consequently, the conservatives seizure of the Majlis might have been in the hope that a unified Islamic state might encourage the US to abandon its regime change discourse. The notion is that security concerns in Iraq would make Iran the most stable Middle East option for the US to side with. But with the handover of power from the coalition administration to an Iraqi government, the regime change discourse for Iran is becoming louder, if still highly unlikely.
Nevertheless, it seems that neither containment nor engagement is an acceptable option to the Washington hawks. This leaves a regime change or the continuation of the status quo the only two foreign policy options in Washington vis-à-vis Iran.
The post 9/11 decisions in Washington show that foreign policy has been shifting from retaliation against the perpetrators of 9/11 over stopping terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, to preventing states from supplying terrorists with weapons of mass destruction. Comments of US officials indicate that a link between members of the Axis of Evil and terrorism is not absolutely necessary for the hawks to adopt a coercive policy. The Iraqi case proved this, if nothing more.
The Pentagons New Security Strategy of 2002 called for preemptive action, and underlined the notion of an unchallengeable American superpower. It also made it a US priority to promote American democratic values abroad.
However, Iranians still tend to misread Washington. The US antagonistic discourse not only continued, despite the rise of the conservatives in Iran, but Washington also stepped up pressure on Tehran and won more support from the EU, the NAM and some GCC states whose national interests might be at odds with those of the US.
Although the Islamic state is historically accustomed to operating under pressure, without allies, Tehran was disappointed at the failure of its efforts to commercialize ties with Arab, European and NAM counterparts and collect the political dividends.
The failure of Iranian pragmatists diplomacy on the nuclear issue plays into the hands of the hardliners, who always argued that Iran should not trust the US, EU and the UN. The mindset that promoted withdrawal from the NPT is now gaining more influence in Irans foreign policy apparatus.
It has taken Iran too long to understand that US hostility is against the conservatives ideology, and that US foreign policy is based on Washingtons post Cold War world view, which sees America as a military superpower with the authority to use force whenever it sees itself in danger.
The recent US and EU reactions have conveyed this message to Iran. In this light, Irans conservatives have decided to pursue the role of a regional superpower with little reliance on other regional powers and the EU. If a rapprochement between Washington and Irans conservatives is impossible, then so be it. This will not encourage the conservatives to hand over power to the reformists. If the US will not recognize Irans sovereignty, then Iran will continue its nuclear enrichment activities which are not a violation of the NPT and have helped Tehran maintain the status quo so far.
At the same time, Iran will not give in to GCC provocations in order to prove that Tehrans regional ambitions are not threatened by US unilateralism in the region, and that GCC states could not seize the opportunity to their own ends.
All this shows that US policies and the regional chaos rising from them have stabilized the conservatives position in Iran, as Washington has overlooked Irans potential as a regional player and sets the stage for more regional tension. Such a militarized regional situation would encourage military officials anywhere in the world to seize power. Iran is no exception.
Allow me to introduce myself with these statements:
Ive got a thing about theocracies. Im glad I dont live in one because I have enough
empathy to know Id be dead by now if I did. Id just as soon not acknowledge them. But,
due to certain recent strategic pushes by lobbyist groups like the Council on Foreign
Relations and the Atlantic Council, we could be forced to do just that. These groups are
seeking the United States reconciliation with the Islamic Republic of Iran on the basis
that the previous twenty years of disengagement have essentially provided limited
opportunities for commerce and dialogue. I say this should not be about effectiveness. It
is about keeping our hands clean.
I refuse to attempt reconciliation with a governmental system that denies its
citizens the right to free expression and whose judicial system is a medieval travesty.
How can I ethically support a policy of dialogue between us when the Iranian
government actively quashes it within its own borders? I could stand a little hostility
between us if it ascertains the fact that we find these practices unacceptable: death
sentences for blasphemy and prison terms for insulting religious sanctities (of which, in
a theocracy like the Islamic Republic of Iran, it has been demonstrated that any criticism
of the government can be arrogantly construed as blasphemy), procedural torture in front
of judges in closed-door trials, judicial approval of the stoning to death of women,
cross-amputations for punishment, regular shuttering of newspapers by the Judiciary for
specious reasons, being what Reporters Sans Frontières calls the biggest imprisoner of
journalists in the Middle East, government sponsorship of basiji (unofficial thugs) who
assault, often with deadly weapons and deadly intent, and intimidate dissenters and
protesters while the police stand by with orders not to intervene, wholesale
disqualifications of thousands reform-minded candidates from parliamentary elections
without the avenue of appeal, and the incitement by the unelected Supreme Leader
Khamenei (ref: http://www.memritv.org ) during his leading of his weekly religious
sermons with the chant Death to America. Oh, wait, thats me. Its probably you, too.
So heres the jist of my screed: I encourage you to mass mail the addresses of the
Council on Foreign Relations and the Atlantic Council listed herein with nastygrams. I
also recommend you contact your own representatives with the message that
reconciliation without reciprocity from the Islamic Republic of Iran is unacceptable,
especially considering the what Amnesty International calls flagrant abuses of human
rights, and that they should actively avoid the recommendations and lobbyists of the
Council on Foreign Relations and the Atlanic Council. Contact your favorite candidate
for office about this very issue, just to be safe, and contact the one you dont like as well.
Remember; for bonus points of lobbyist douchebaggery please note: Council of Foreign
Relations representative Zbignew Brzezinski who co-prepared the Independent Task
Force study recommending the United States reengages with the mullahs of Iran is also a
paid consultant for BP/Amoco ...oh, yeah. Oil company, that. THAT never turns around
to bite us in the ass within a generations time when we accept the practices of dictatorial
regimes in the name of expediency.
Forward this message around to interested and uninterested parties. I thank you
for your time. Now heres all the cut and paste:
I must speak out against the recent motions by certain lobbyists and their agencies; The
Council on Foreign Relations and the Atlantic Council in particular, to present
reengagement with the Islamic Republic of Iran as a excusable path of policy. The
concept is reprehensible, as this is one of the increasingly few instances where a demand
for disengagement in the name of human rights and the demand that we as Americans
must keep our hands clean by not appeasing tyrannical governments is being respected.
There is no proof of reform in the Iranian theocracy, nor is there any evidence of the very
capability of reform as is, and the audacity of these suggestions is inexcusable coming at
a time when, in a single week these events happened: the acquittal in the trial of the
murder of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi occured after shutting down the
process and expelling the press and the Canadian ambassador, the shuttering of two more
newspapers by the government (a seemingly bi-weekly occurance), and the continuing
conviction on lesser charges of Dr. Hashem Aghajari who twice was sentenced to death
for questioning the clerical regime in Iran. As a United States citizen, I forbid you to
entertain the notion of engagement when there is no attempt to embrace even the most
basic of the human right of expression on their part.
Please make a very public refusal of this notion of engagement as there is so much
evidence that we are indeed the heroes in this confrontation of ideology because we as
Americans refuse to place commerce above human rights. A public statement to this
effect on this issue will reinstate a lot of faith in our own government, and worldwide
respect shall follow. I demand to be The Good Guy on this.
P.S.: For further evidence to be considered, please review my own letter to the offending
parties, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Atlantic Council, which is copied and
pasted here below. You can contact via email certain members of the Council on Foreign
Relations that produced the Independent Task Force study that seeks to legitimize the
unelected mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran and let your horror be known at
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com ,
firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com ,
HumanResources@cfr.org , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org ,
email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com
(this organization IS NOT to be confused with the official body of the Senate Committee
on Foreign Relations, but I encourage you to respectfully contact them with your own
concerns by this link: http://foreign.senate.gov/contact.html , and as long as youre out
and about, also make your courteous concerns known at the State Department at
http://contact-us.state.gov/ ) . The Atlantic Council can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org ,
CMakins@acus.org , email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com ,
The great thing is, this is not a conservative or liberal issue, both stripes can happily
lay claim to it with pride, so please stop the righteousness contests and please forward
this to everybody with the orders to contact your own government representatives
courteously and helpfully and contact the above-mentioned apologists of the CFR and
AC angrily and frequently. Please personalize your own message, but you may refer to
mine for my own direction on the matter:
To the Council on Foreign Relations and the Atlantic Council:
It is my duty to inform you that we have no evidence of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Heres just one little justification for the continued policy of disengagement in order to
register our demand for human rights, just for starters: the name Dr. Nasser Zarafshan.
He is the Iranian lawyer investigating the extrajudicial killings of journalists in 1998,
which actually did turn out to be instigated by agents of the government security services.
He was arrested in 2000 and his trial was conducted behind closed doors by a military
court, strangely enough, considering that Zarafshan is a civilian, where he was convicted
of disseminating state secrets, which turned out to be the names of the agents under
investigation, information that an attorney should have in the course of his work.
According to an Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeal in 2002, Dr. Nasser
Zarafshan was sentenced to 70 lashes, five years' imprisonment and has been banned
from practicing law for five years. As he was 56 at the time, he underwent medical tests
to determine whether he is healthy enough to face the flogging sentence handed down on
March 19 and upheld by an appeal court on July 16 of that year.
Have you let the implications of that statement sink in?
This is so normal in the Islamic Republic of Iran that this is procedural in its
Can any member of the Atlantic Council or the Council on Foreign Relations
Independent Task Force that produced this apologist screed that encourages engagement
with Iran picture any of their family members with grey hair being whipped?
Dr. Nasser Zarafshan recently ended a 21-day hunger strike, along with several other
political prisoners, in Tehrans Evin Prison to call attention to the arrest of Mustafa
Piran. His crime? He refused to write an apology begging the Judiciary for forgiveness on
behalf of his son Payman who is serving a ten-year sentence for publicly protesting this
years rigged parliamentary elections in which reformist candidates were barred from the
process. As a result, Mustafa was beaten, arrested, his family was evicted from their
apartment and is now being threatened with internal exile apart from each other.
That is just one little justification, for starters. For other justifications, you may Google
the names of Siamak Pourzand, Dr. Hashem Aghajari, Ahmad Batebi, Zahra Kazemi,
Hassan Yusefi-Eshkevari, and others worth so much more than an et cetera. Go on.
Follow some links. It gets worse. Those other little justifications start to add up when
they get into the thousands. Id invite you research the name of Moshen Mofidi, but you
neednt bother: hes dead. He died soon after his prison sentence and flogging. He was
This is not the evidence of reforming internally. Do not delude yourself into thinking
otherwise, and do not think you can delude us.
No significant mutual interest in the name of partnering with an indispensable player
in the world economy is worth the criminal complicity of engaging with the
government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the system that Reporters Sans Frontières
declares to be the Middle Easts biggest imprisoner of journalists.
Legitimacy is won by accepting things as a normal practice. Engagement presupposes
legitimacy. I refuse to give such a system legitimacy, as would anyone with a conscience.
As we have witnessed repeatedly in history, totalitarian systems do eventually collapse
from internal decay. When it does, are you willing to stand before their damaged
citizenry and inform them that their prolonged misery up to that point was diplomatically
and economically acceptable? This will be their view of those who practiced and
Shame on you, all of you on the Atlantic Council, and we all should have nothing but
contempt for Zbignew Brzezinski, Robert M. Gates, Suzanne Maloney and others of the
CFR for laying this foundation of acceptability.
Do you still believe this is only an internal matter? If you believe an official policy of
fear is currently being promulgated by Washington, you must realize the complicity of
the Iranian government in this very practice by using its state-run television channels to
broadcast Friday sermons by the unelected Supreme Leader Khamenei in which the chant
Death to America is a common refrain (ref: http://www.memritv.org). I can't help but
take that personally. Will you be willing to publicly state in forum your views of
engagement with the Iranian Government as such a broadcast plays alongside you and
still consider this to be evidence of reform?
As for hoping that diplomacy will produce better results, I cannot help but think of
those who work in Battered Womens Clinics who hear the justifications of continuing
abusive relationships along the lines of my love can change him to the point where it
becomes a painful cliché.
We must have evidence of reform as a prerequisite for engagement. We have none as it
stands. We Americans shall not tolerate the path of appeasement for tyrants in the name
of expediency any longer, because, as current events show, it just comes around to
damage us within a generation's time. Do not be a party to leading us down this path, for
we shall see to publicizing your role in this tragedy, the current one and the eventual one.
US Cant Equivocate on Iran Much Longer
Amir Taheri, Arab News
LONDON, 6 August 2004 As if trying to add a last-minute item to a banquet menu, the Bush administration is busy concocting an Iran policy for the Republican Partys convention in New York this month.
During the past weeks the administration has solicited input from many experts and Iranian-Americans. There are no signs, however, that the end product will amount to a blueprint for dealing with a problem set to dominate American Middle East policy for years.
To some it may be news that the Bush administration is drawing to a close without having worked out a policy outline on Iran. Many will be surprised that Condoleezza Rice and her team have produced National Security Directives, the standard guidelines on policy, on more than 70 countries, but none on Iran.
The reason for this paralysis is the Bush administrations divisions on an analysis of the problem, not to mention possible solutions. Early in his presidency, Bush included Iran in an Axis of Evil, and came close to committing himself to regime change there.
The Pentagon supported that position. The State Department, however, retained the analysis made in the final year of the Clinton administration that saw Iran as something of a democracy with which the US must seek positive engagement. The National Security Council, for its part, avoided taking sides by refusing even to commission a paper on Iran.
The policy vacuum has encouraged some ultra-right Republicans to try to commit the US to regime change in Iran through legislation, as happened with Iraq during the Clinton administration.
The Democrats have tried to exploit the Bush administrations lack of policy by promoting rapprochement with Tehran.
This is in sync with Sen. John Kerrys long-held views. In a conversation on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, almost two years ago, Kerry spoke of his desire to engage Iran in a constructive dialogue. And last December in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Kerry promised to adopt a realistic, non-confrontational policy with Iran, ultimately leading to normalization just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam, a decade ago.
Last month the CFR endorsed Kerrys position in a report on Iran produced by a Task Force led by President Jimmy Carters National Security Advisor Zbigniew Bzrezinski and former CIA Director Robert Gates. The report amounts to an attempt at reopening Iran to American oil, aircraft, and construction companies.
Both the ultra-right Republicans and the CFR advocates of detente, however, base their different strategies on a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation in Iran.
Advocates of regime change claim that the Islamic Republic is on the verge of collapse and that what is needed is an extra push from the United States. The promoters of détente, including Sen. Kerry, on the other hand, insist that the Khomeinist regime is solidly entrenched and that Iran is not on the brink of revolutionary upheaval.
Both are mistaken because they see Iran as a frame-freeze, ignoring the realities of a dynamic political life in which nothing can be taken for granted.
The overthrow party underestimates the resilience of a regime that is prepared to kill in large numbers while buying support thanks to rising oil revenues.
The détente party, on the other hand, underestimates the growing power of the movement for change in Iran.
Both camps also ignore the dialectics of the Irano-American relations.
The overthrow party ignores the fact that improving relations with Washington could help the Khomeinist regime solve many of its economic and diplomatic problems, thus strengthening its position.
The détente camp, for its part, fails to acknowledge that a commitment by the US to help the pro-reform movement win power in Iran could alter the solidly entrenched position of the Khomeinists, and encourage revolutionary upheaval.
In other words any action, or inaction, by the US could help alter the picture in Iran.
Both the overthrow and the détente camps in Washington see Iran through the prism that was used for determining policy on Iraq under Saddam Hussein a prism that assumed no role for Iraqi domestic politics. Its modified version ignores the realities of Irans complex domestic political life. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq lacked internal mechanisms for change, and was subject to the second law of thermodynamics. Even the assassination of the despot would not have produced real change, at least in the medium term. Under Saddam only intervention by a deus ex-machina could have altered the fundamentals of the Iraqi situation for better or worse.
The Iranian system, however, is not dependent on an individual and his clan. There are internal mechanisms for change in Iran mechanism which, if helped to function properly, could produce the changes desired both by the people of Iran and the major democracies led by the United States.
Iraq was a tête-à-tête between Saddam and Washington. Iran is a triangle in which the Iranian people, the Khomeinist regime, and the United States have different, at time complementary and at others contradictory, interests and aspirations.
Whatever the outcome of the coming US presidential election, Washington cannot equivocate on Iran much longer.
Anyone with knowledge of Iran would know that a majority of the Iranian people are unhappy with the status quo. The US shares that discontented, albeit for different reasons.
The reasons for American discontent cannot be eliminated by endorsing the status quo in the name of détente, thus helping consolidate a regime, and policies, that caused the discontent in the first place.
The Iranian people and the United States share an interest in promoting change in Tehran. But that shared interest does not mean that the people of Iran would give Washington carte blanche for regime change.
Iran is passing through a phase experienced by virtually all nations that have emerged from a major political revolution. In such a phase, the divergent interests of the state and the revolution come into conflict.
Any student of Iranian politics would know that today there are two Irans: One embodies the Khomeinist revolution that controls the instruments of power; the other represents the Iranian nation-state as shaped over the past 400 years.
In some cases the interests of the two coincide; in many more they diverge.
Today, Iran is one of only two countries in the Middle East; the other is Israel, where the US enjoys popular support.
The reason is that the US is seen as the only major power not yet prepared to appease the Khomeinist regime. Those who preach détente are, unwittingly perhaps, trying to appease the Khomeinists an ultimately self-defeating task. If implemented, their policy could turn the people of Iran against the United States, thus, paradoxically, underpinning the regimes anti-American message.
The overthrow scenario could also alienate the Iranian people by confirming the Khomeinist claim that the US imperialism is out to impose its will regardless of domestic popular movements.
Rather than hastily endorsing half-baked ideas to fill the vacuum on Iran, President Bush and Sen. Kerry should use the campaign for debating the issue at some depth, thus allowing a more realistic understanding of Iran to emerge as the basis of a serious policy.
Time is Not on the World's Side: The Iranian Threat
by Shalom Freedman
Aug 05, '04 / 18 Av 5764
On August 4, 2004, the New York Times published a lead editorial on the Iran question in which it rightly understood that a nuclear Iran presents a danger to the world. It also understood that European negotiations with Iran will probably not move Iran at all. And so it recommended that the US move to have the question taken up by the Security Council.
What the Times does not understand is that that action is another form of delay, too, another waste of time, another act of Western self-delusion. The Security Council, in which Iran's allies and fellow opponents to the United States, Russia and China sit, will impose a veto on any sanctions imposed on Iran. And to go one step beyond that, and this a very remote possibility indeed, should sanctions be voted at the UN, Iran will simply ignore them and continue with its nuclear program. And this is the sad and painful news for the world.
Iran will not be stopped by peaceful means. No dialogue, no sanctions, no blah-blah-blah. Iran is working assiduously to further develop its nuclear weapons programs and will continue doing so.
Thus, the only option for stopping Iran is a military option. However, it may already be the case that there is truly no such option, that the Iranian nuclear weapons facilities are so scattered, and so well-protected, and so hidden that no one can reach them. This is a real possibility. But in contradiction to this, there are major Iranian facilities whose location is well-known - the huge one-thousand megawatt plant the Russians are now completing at Bushehr, the uranium enrichment-by-centrifuge pilot plant and main plant in Natanz, the heavy-water plant in Arak, the facilities at Esfahan. These plants cannot be hidden and are legitimate targets. An attack on them and destruction of them would be a major blow not only to the Iranian nuclear programs, but to the whole Revolutionary Islamic Terror regime in Iran.
The question is the price for such a strike. If Iran already has nuclear weapons or the capacity to quickly assemble such weapons, it would attempt a nuclear strike at its enemies. Most likely it would try to hit Israel. It would also try to destroy US bases and personnel in the Middle East. Should Iran already have the capacity to do this, then a strike against it now would be self-defeating.
The question here is an intelligence question, whether Iran does have such a retaliatory power, or whether it is, in fact, already too late. But it is most likely that it is not and there is a still a certain small interval of time in which the US and perhaps Israel can act to stop a nuclear Iran from becoming the nightmare of the world.
If no such preventive effort is taken, sitting and waiting as Iran develops it programs will be disastrous. Once Iran's nuclear weapons program goes online, there will be a very short period of a year or two before it acquires a considerable stock of weapons. In other words, the Iran of two years from now will be much more dangerous than the Iran of today.
The United States is now engaged in a presidential campaign and it seems very unlikely that President Bush would take the risk now of attacking Iran. By not doing so, he gives Iran a little more time. And a little more time here and a little more time there and Iran may be a major nuclear power.
It is again impossible to gauge accurately on the basis of publicly available sources the retaliatory capacity of Iran. What can be said with certainty is only one thing: the more time goes by, the worse the situation will be.
And this, when the critical question of whether an attack now should be made can only be answered by those with the proper intelligence to know just exactly what Iran's nuclear capacity is now.
Great post, Thanks!
Welcome to Free Republic.
I thought I read that we've put government funding towards the broadcasts into Iran & weren't we putting pressure on our allies to disengage economically?
Welcome to Fr...
Would you please let me know what you think about the Iranian regime and what kind of solution you may offer.
Subject: Bomb Found at Rafsanjani's resident
Reports indicate that a bomb has been found at Rafsanjanis resident.
Soon after the incident a call had been made to the wife of Rafsanjani and the location of the bomb was revealed. The bomb was moved with a crane after the bomb squad's failer to disarm it.
Rafsanjani has not been seen at his resident for 2 days. It is believed that people behind the assault belong to the regime.
Sistani Heads For Treatment In UK
August 06, 2004
Iraq's most influential Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has left Iraq and is on his way to London to be treated for a heart condition. Airport officials in Beirut said the ayatollah arrived on a chartered jet from Iraq before departing for London.
The ayatollah lives in the holy city of Najaf and has been receiving treatment from cardiologists.
But aides have said they fear violence in Najaf could hamper his access to proper medical care.
The ayatollah is the prime marja, or spiritual reference, for Shias everywhere.
He is one of only five living grand ayatollahs and the most senior Shia cleric in Iraq.
Four Iranians Arrested in Karbala for Terror Attacks
August 05, 2004
Xinhua News Agency
BAGHDAD -- The police in the central Iraqi cityof Karbala arrested four Iranians who were suspectedly involved incarrying out assassinations and bombings in different areas of thewar-torn country, said Azzaman newspaper on Thursday. The four Iranians were arrested in a wide campaign made by thepolice in the city in search of foreigners who had entered thecountry illegally, said Rahman Mishary, media director of theKarbala police.
He said the Iranians had admitted their involvement inimplementing several terrorist operations.
The four suspects said they fled to Karbala, 100 km south ofBaghdad, after carrying out attacks in several parts of thecountry, Mishary said.
Iraqi Defense Minister Hazim Shaalan has recently accused Iranof interfering into Iraq's internal affairs and penetrating intoIraqi government institutions, including the defense ministryitself.
Iranian Youth Despair
August 06, 2004
Khaleej Times Online
Two-thirds of Iranians are dissatisfied with the administration of Iran, as per the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) survey. The survey said young people were mainly unhappy with the lack of transparency in the country's governing executive. At present, 70 per cent of Iranians are in the age group of 0-30.
All these young people require jobs, which they find difficult to get. In addition to unemployment, numerous social restrictions are placed on them by the Guardian Council, which mainly consists of conservative clerics. Now, in Iran, the government is the main executive power, according to the constitution, but the final say lies with the supreme religious leadership, currently in the hands of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While the government of President Khatami is pro-reforms, conservative elements in the Guardian Council have scuttled every effort of the government to usher in more reforms in the country. This will be disastrous as youth power cannot be put on leash. The youth of Iran are angry and frustrated at the lack of challenging employment opportunities, while they are depressed by the lack of progress towards a more people-oriented, democratic system.
The youth of Iran want to express themselves in new and creative ways, but the ultra-conservative stranglehold prevents them from doing so. Thus, their restless, creative energies spill out onto the streets of Teheran and elsewhere in Iran, in the form of mass protests. The government is unable to control them because it has not given them enough reasons to be happy and satisfied. While Khatami's government wants to give more freedom to the youth, the Guardian Council acts as a moral police, telling them to conform to the straight and narrow path. Only eight per cent of the Iranian youth have found their way to higher education, and half the youth are unemployed, and even those who have jobs are not satisfied with them. In such a scenario, it would be wise for the Guardian Council to ease the pressure on the nation's youth and let them realise their full potential. The government too must see to it that more youths get jobs - and meaningful ones - according to their abilities and qualifications. For, unhappy youth can prove to be calamitous for the country.
Europe Mum Over Next Step on Iran
August 05, 2004
The US says it's working with Europe on a "tough set of resolutions" demanding Iran's compliance on the nuclear issue, but it's not clear whether Europe will abandon its engagement with Iran to follow the US position.
Earlier this week, the United States stepped up its rhetoric against Iran, warning that Tehran would face increasing international pressure if it refused to back down on its nuclear program. White House National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned that the Iranian government would be isolated if it fails to comply with measures to ensure full disclosure and transparency of its nuclear activities.
"Iran is going to be confronted," Rice told the US broadcaster Fox News. She said that a "very tough set of resolutions" demanding Iranian cooperation would be ready for consideration in September, when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next meets to discuss Iran's nuclear program.
The warnings came two days after Iran said it had resumed building nuclear centrifuges, which the US says are intended to make weapons-grade enriched uranium for use in bombs.
No progress in Paris
Last week, diplomats from the European Union's "big three" -- Germany, France and Britain -- held talks in Paris with Iranian officials about the country's nuclear program, and stressed their wish to see a halt to Iran's work on the centrifuges. The talks produced "no substantial progress." Iran denies that it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, and says the centrifuges are being used to meet increasing demand for electricity.
The US wants to refer Iran to the UN Security Council and impose economic sanctions. But asked whether Europe would go along with US plans to increase pressure on Iran, Rice said Washington would "just have to keep working with the French, the British and the Germans to make certain" they follow the US position.
European diplomats have kept quiet on how they intend to proceed. While there's little doubt that European negotiators were frustrated by the lack of progress at last week's talks, Europe has been committed to a process of engagement with Iran, which the EU says has been developing in a "positive direction."
According to reports in the Iranian media, European diplomats in Tehran said they will continue engagement and communication, though there was mention of a "cooling off period," referring to the pause in negotiations on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement between Brussels and Tehran.
It is interesting that the top shiite clerics prefer British hospitals and ALL of them go to britain for medical treatments & vacations.
Do you see a pattern here? LOL
Actually, Yes! I do see that.
I was agreeing with you...
Well, United Kingdom has a long hand of stiring up religious affairs in the middle east. Britain has been using the "Religion" factor as a tool to rule the middle east in the past 300 years.
Iran Says U.S. Paying for Wrong Policies in Mideast
Fri Aug 6, 2004
TEHRAN (Reuters) - The United States is paying the price for its mistaken Middle East policies with high oil prices and security scares at home, an influential Iranian cleric said on Friday.
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the head a top advisory body to Iran's most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Washington only had itself to blame.
"With what you do in Palestine and Iraq ... how do you expect those who can, not to hit back at you?" he said in a Friday prayers sermon broadcast live on state radio.
"Eventually there will be dissatisfied, angry, righteous people as a result of such oppression, people who will use every opportunity to retaliate," Rafsanjani said.
He said record high oil prices had also been caused by U.S. policies in the region.
"They came to the Persian Gulf to become the king of oil and control it, but contrary to their expectations, oil prices doubled," Rafsanjani said. "Calm cannot be restored to the world like this, they must revise their policies."
Washington accuses Tehran of supporting terrorism and trying to build a nuclear arsenal. Iran denies the charges.
Washington severed relations with Iran after radical Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took dozens of diplomats hostage.
Khatami Accuses US of Double Standards In Iraq
August 06, 2004
Khaleej Times Online
BAKU -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami on Friday said the United States was using double standards in its war in Iraq and accused it of sparking interethnic conflict.
Addressing the Azeri parliament on the second day of his visit to the former Soviet republic, Khatami defended both Iraq and Palestinian territories against the West.
Unilateral international policies followed by double standards create difficulties among people, and this can be seen in Iraq and Palestine, Khatami said.
The Islamic religion allows for peace and security in the region and a true dialogue for between the worlds civilizations, he said.
Khatami was paying the first visit by an Iranian leader to the former Soviet republic since 1993, trying to build ties between two countries embroiled in a dispute over oil access in the Caspian Sea and Azerbaijans closer recent relations with the United States.
Khatami is due to leave Azerbaijan on Saturday.
In recent months, the Pentagon has been ramping up its military assistance to Azerbaijan, which, like Iran, has a Caspian shoreline.
The US military has run joint exercises with the Azeri navy in the Caspian.
The US is backing a major project to export Azeri oil from the Caspian Sea -- home to some of the worlds biggest untapped oil and gas reserves -- to international markets.
But Iran is suspicious of US motives, particularly after President George W. Bush described the country as part of an axis of evil following the September 11 attacks.
Israel Presses for Halt on Iran A-Bomb
August 06, 2004
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
After months of keeping a low profile on Irans nuclear program, Israel has launched an intensive diplomatic campaign to convince the international community to pressure Tehran to drop its efforts to produce a nuclear bomb.
Israeli officials say the campaign, involving the United States, the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is focusing on a September IAEA board of governors meeting in Vienna. That body has the power to refer the "Iranian nuclear dossier" to the U.N. Security Council, where international sanctions could be imposed.
The Israeli diplomatic move has been accompanied by a veiled threat of attack on Iranian nuclear facilities if the international community fails to stop Tehrans nuclear weapons drive. However, the Iranians, undeterred, are continuing to pursue an ambivalent and potentially military nuclear program.
Like Israel, the United States is seeking stiffer international action. The EU position has been less decisive, however, and it is not clear whether the union will back a U.S. demand for sanctions. Europes position could be crucial.
Israel stopped its public criticism of Tehran after Iran and Libya intimated a readiness late last year to cooperate with the international community in dismantling their nuclear weapons programs.
At the time, Israeli experts said Libya was serious, but they didnt trust Iran. Still, given the new situation and not wanting to draw attention to its own alleged nuclear capabilities, Israel decided to adopt a low profile on Iran and let the United States and Europe take the lead in pressuring Tehran to drop its nuclear weapons drive.
Now, Israel feels the international community has not been firm enough and has allowed Iran to get away with a pretense of cooperation, while clandestinely furthering its nuclear ambitions.
In late June, Israeli leaders decided to change tack. As a first step, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom initiated a July 2 meeting in Washington on the Iranian issue with Condoleezza Rice, U.S. national security adviser. Afterward, Shalom declared that the international community "cannot allow the Iranians to move forward in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons."
Less than a week later, Mohammed El- Baradei, IAEA director general, visited Israel, where all his interlocutors, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, stressed the danger to world peace of nuclear weapons in Iranian hands.
On July 22, when the EUs foreign policy boss, Javier Solana, visited Israel, his hosts made sure his itinerary included a meeting with Mossad Chief Meir Dagan, who provided Israeli intelligence material purporting to show Irans nuclear duplicity.
The day before, Maj. Gen. Aharon (Farkash) Zeevi, head of Israeli military intelligence, briefed the Cabinet, delivering an assessment immediately made public that unless Iran was stopped, it would go nuclear by 2007 or 2008.
Hawkish legislators Ephraim Sneh of the Labor Party and Ehud Yatom of Likud took their cue.
"If the international community continues to show ineffectiveness, Israel will have to consider its next steps and fast," Sneh said.
Yatom was more explicit, saying, "Israel must destroy the Iranian nuclear facility just as we did the Iraqi reactor in 1981."
Earlier, there had been what appeared to be a calculated leak to the press. On July 18, the London-based Sunday Times reported that the Israeli air force had completed military preparations for a preemptive strike at Irans Bushehr nuclear facility and would attack if Russia supplied Iran with fuel rods for enriching uranium.
An Israeli defense source, who confirmed that military rehearsals had taken place, was quoted as telling the paper, "Israel will on no account permit the Iranian reactors especially the one being built in Bushehr with Russian help to go critical."
By breaking its silence on Iran, Israel was indicating that it does not take the Iranian threat lightly and neither should the West. Beside the obvious warning to Iran, the subtext of the Israeli message seemed to be directed at the international community: Act to stop Iran going nuclear, or Israel may feel it must take preemptive military action, with all the potentially destabilizing consequences.
Then, on July 29, Israel conducted a successful test off the California coast of its Arrow 2 anti-missile system. Some observers saw the test as yet another message to Iran: In a conflict situation, Israel would have the overwhelming strategic advantage of being able to intercept and destroy incoming missiles, another reason for Iran to reconsider its nuclear program.
The Iranians, however, are showing no signs of backing down. On July 25, Seyed Masood Jazayeri, commander of Irans Revolutionary Guards, warned that if Israel attacks, "it will be wiped off the face of the earth."
A week later, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi confirmed that Iran had resumed building centrifuges that can produce weapons-grade uranium. His statement followed a meeting in Paris in which Britain, France and Germany failed to persuade Iran to stop making the centrifuges and allow spot inspections of its nuclear facilities as promised.
The Europeans had offered to close the Iranian nuclear dossier if Iran cooperated with spot inspections and stopped all production of weapons-grade uranium. But Iran has been delaying the inspections, and though it repeatedly has insisted that it was not making weapons-grade uranium it acknowledged that it was continuing to make centrifuges that could be used for uranium enrichment. It also has said nothing will stop it from joining the worlds nuclear club.
Like Israel, the United States maintains that Iran is dissembling, pretending to run a civilian-use nuclear program while clandestinely conducting a full-scale nuclear weapons drive. With huge oil reserves, U.S. officials note, Iran hardly needs nuclear energy for civilian purposes.
Israeli officials say much will depend now on how the Europeans respond to the latest Iranian rebuff in Paris and what line they take at the September IAEA board meeting. If they back the American position, the result could well be a U.N. Security Council debate on a joint resolution threatening Iran with sanctions.
That would be a new phase in the international communitys efforts to stop Iran from getting the bomb. And if that happens, Israel may feel that its new more aggressive campaign had something to do with it.
'Tests In Iran'; New Missiles Being Readied
August 06, 2004
WASHINGTON -- The United States has determined that North Korea is working on new ballistic missile systems designed to deliver nuclear warheads and that it is testing the technology by proxy in Iran, an official in President George W. Bush's administration said Thursday.
Having agreed to a self-imposed test ban, North Korea is sharing technology information with Iran, which carries out missile tests on North Korea's behalf, the administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The missile program is based on Russian technology and has been conducted with help from Russian scientists - help the United States thinks may be continuing, the official said.
A leading military publication, Jane's Defense Weekly, reported recently that North Korea was developing two new ballistic missile systems that "appreciably expand the ballistic-missile threat." A version of the missile capable of being launched from a submarine or a ship is potentially the most threatening, the weekly said. Not all of the details of the North Korean program are known to the United States, the administration official told The Associated Press. One important question, he said, is whether the missiles are exactly patterned on a Russian model. Another, he said, is whether the missiles could reach the United States.
US officials think North Korea may have the technology for a submarine-launched ballistic missile, but it is not clear whether North Korea has a missile platform, the official said. The Bush administration is working with South Korea, Japan, China and Russia to negotiate an agreement with North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly held talks with South Korean officials this week in Washington in preparation for a resumption of negotiations, possibly in September.
Iranian Journalists boycott the official press day and step up their struggle
Canada News Wire - Report Section
Aug 6, 2004
MONTREAL - Reporters Without Borders voiced support today for the journalists who plan to hold a one-day hunger strike to protest against press freedom violations tomorrow - Press Day in Iran - and to boycott an official ceremony at which the minister of culture and Islamic guidance is to award prizes to the press.
"While staging a pseudo-homage to the work of journalists, the Iranian authorities try to strip them of their right to work and push forward day by day with their campaign of repression," the organisation said. "We reaffirm our support for the movement of Iranian journalists who bravely refuse to let themselves be gagged, and we call on the Iranian authorities to listen to their demands."
Tomorrow's protest will be a continuation of the movement begun on 26 July with a sit-in by more than 250 people outside the Journalists Association in Tehran. It will be a day of "mourning" for the closure of the major reformist newspapers and the threats hanging over the press. Tehran state prosecutor Said Mortazavi announced at the end of July that journalists who wrote for the closed newspapers will be banned from working altogether. They are appealing for international support and solidarity for their movement.
It is also tomorrow that Emadoldin Baghi - a figurehead of the reformist press - is due to appear before the Tehran prosecutor. No explanation had been given for this summons, the latest of many Baghi has received since his release in February 2003. Baghi was sentenced in October 2000 to three years in prison for "threatening national security" and "dissemination false news."
Following his release, he edited the reformist daily Jomhouriat, which was forced to close on 18 July. He also founded a group that defends prisoners' rights.
Only Iranian Shoah Survivor Shares Life
by Karmel Melamed, Contributing Writer
In August 1939, Menashe Ezrapour could have escaped the horrors of the Holocaust by boarding a train in the French city of Grenoble, but instead, he chose to stay, ultimately becoming the only known Shoah survivor of Iranian Jewish descent interned in concentration and work camps during World War II.
Recently, Ezrapour, 86, came forward for the first time in more than 60 years to publicly share his story of survival, perhaps bringing the local Persian Jewish community closer to the Shoah.
A number of Holocaust experts, including ones from Yad Vashem in Israel, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said Ezrapour is probably one of the few if not the only Iranian Jewish survivors held captive in the camps during WW II.
"To my knowledge, I have not heard of any Iranian Jews being held in camps during the war," said Aaron Brightbart, head researcher at the Wiesenthal Center.
Upon learning of Ezrapours Shoah experience, several local Iranian Jewish leaders said his story may personalize the Holocaust for Iranian Jews who in the past may not have been as impacted by its effects as most European Jewry was.
"We [Iranian Jewry] have always felt a close bond with the Shoah," said Dariush Fakheri, co-founder of the Eretz-SIAMAK Cultural Center in Tarzana. "This new revelation for the community just makes it so close to a personal experience for us."
Talking with The Journal at his residence on Wilshire Boulevard near Westwood, Ezrapour can still recall the names, dates and events surrounding his internment in various camps in southern France.
Ezrapours life-altering experience began when he and his brother, Edward, left their home in the Iranian city of Hamadan and went to Paris in September 1938 to pursue higher education. In August 1939, Ezrapour and his brother journeyed to Grenoble in southeastern France. Shortly afterward, when war in Europe seemed imminent, they decided to return to Iran.
"As we were preparing to leave, my friend from Baghdad, Maurice, who was an Iraqi Jew, encouraged me to stay," Ezrapour said.
His brother returned to Iran, but Ezrapour remained in Grenoble and continued his engineering education at a local university. For the next three years, Ezrapour said that neither Frances German occupiers nor the Vichy government bothered him. However, he was eventually forced to register as a Jew in 1941, because Vichy laws required Jews to identify themselves.
In late 1942, he and several hundred Jews in the area were rounded up and sent to nearby detention camps. The French police took Ezrapour to a work camp called Uriage. He said the prisoners there were worried that theyd be deported to Germany.
"After one month there, I got permission to return to Grenoble for two days, and I never returned to the camp," Ezrapour recalled.
Ezrapour said he stayed in the Grenoble home of a Christian woman for two weeks and used false identification papers to get around. He was ultimately arrested after the Christian woman was tricked by a police officer into revealing his whereabouts.
After 45 days in jail, Ezrapour said he was convicted of using false papers and sentenced to serve 40 more days in the Shapoli work camp. From Shapoli, he and other Jewish prisoners were taken to the infamous Gurs concentration camp, 50 miles from the Spanish border.
According to the "Encyclopedia of the Holocaust" (Facts on File, 2000), Gurs was the first and one of the largest concentration camps in France, with approximately 60,000 prisoners held there from 1939 to 1945. According to the 1993 book, "Gurs: An Internment Camp In France," the internees included approximately 23,000 Spanish Republican soldiers who had fled Francos Spain in 1939, 7,000 International Brigade volunteers, 120 French resistance members and more than 21,000 Jews from all over Europe.
Ezrapour said living conditions were unbearable at Gurs, with too many people crowded together into small barracks and very little food.
"Every day, the only food available was one bowl of watered-down turnip soup and 75 grams of bread, which is the size of a teaspoon," Ezrapour said.
Gurs held thousands of Jews prior to their final deportation to the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Sobibor in Eastern Europe. However, more than 1,000 detainees at Gurs died of hunger, typhoid fever, dysentery and extreme cold conditions , according to the "Encyclopedia of the Holocaust."
After a month at Gurs, Ezrapour said he and 40 other prisoners were sent to a work camp in southern France called Meyreuil near Marseilles, instead of being deported with thousands of other Jews to Auschwitz.
"After two days there [at Meyreuil], an officer issuing identification cards asked me if I was Jewish, and I told him I was not, and he luckily did not identify me as a Jew," Ezrapour said. "This was an incredible miracle, because later in 1944, two Gestapo officers came to the camp and saw my Jewish name on the list and asked for me. The camp commandant told them I was an Iranian-Iraqi, and they didnt ask for me any further."
Ezrapour said he was subsequently sent to labor long hours in the coal mines near Meyreuil. He also worked as an electrician.
In August 1944, Ezrapour said, Meyreuil was liberated by American forces, and he left the camp. He sought refuge with rebels in the Spanish underground living in a nearby border town.
For the remainder of the war, Ezrapour returned to Grenoble, where he completed his education in engineering. He returned to Iran in June 1946 and worked in the automotive spare parts business.
Despite enduring tremendous hardships at camps, Ezrapour said the experience has not made him bitter but only reinforced his belief in God.
"After witnessing all of the miracles I encountered then, I have always been grateful to God," Ezrapour said. "I had, and still have, a strong belief in God and his powers, thats what got me through the experience."
The list of Dachau prisoners in Paul Berbens book, "Dachau 1933-1945: The Official History" (Norfolk Press, 1975), indicates that there was one survivor of Iranian nationality at the camp in Germany when it was liberated by U.S. forces in April 1945. However, the list does not identify the prisoners religion. Berbens book also indicates that non-Jews were also interned in Dachau during World War II.
Records from Yad Vashems Hall of Names reveals that a total of five Jews born in Iran perished in the Holocaust.
This past April, the Wiesenthal Center posthumously honored the Abdol Hossein Sardari, the Iranian ambassador to German-controlled France during World War II, who forestalled the deportation of 200 Iranian Jews living in Paris at the time. In addition, Sardari was also honored for saving several hundred non-Iranian Jews in Paris in 1942 by giving them Iranian passports to escape Nazi persecution.
Ezrapour said that while he did not encounter any other Iranian Jews during his internment in the French camps, most Iranian Jews he has known over the years have expressed great sorrow over the loss of their brethren at the hands of the Nazis.
"They do feel great pain, because their co-religionist brothers were murdered," Ezrapour said. "Perhaps my experience will give them a better idea of the seriousness of what happened."
Just let me know when we can break out the champagne.
IN SEARCH OF AN IRAN POLICY [Excerpt]
By AMIR TAHERI
August 6, 2004 -- AS if trying to add a last- minute item to a banquet menu, the Bush adminis tration is busy concocting an "Iran policy" for this month's Republican Party convention.
In recent weeks, the administration has solicited input from many experts and Iranian-Americans. There are no signs, however, that the end product will amount to a blueprint for dealing with a problem set to dominate America's Middle East policy for years.
To some, it may be news that the first Bush administration is drawing to a close without having worked out a policy outline on Iran. Many will be surprised that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and her team have produced National Security Directives (the standard guidelines on policy) on more than 70 countries, but none on Iran.
The reason for this paralysis is the Bush administration's divisions over an analysis of the problem, not to mention possible solutions.
Early in his presidency, Bush included Iran in an "Axis of Evil," and came close to committing himself to regime change there.
The Pentagon supported that position. The State Department, however, retained the analysis made in the final year of the Clinton administration, which saw Iran as "something of a democracy" with which the United States must seek "positive engagement." The National Security Council avoided taking sides by refusing even to commission a paper on Iran.
The policy vacuum has encouraged some Republicans to try to commit the United States to regime change in Iran through legislation, as happened with Iraq during the Clinton administration. Meanwhile, some Democrats have tried to exploit the Bush administration's lack of policy by promoting rapprochement with Tehran.
This is in sync with Sen. John Kerry's long-held views. In a conversation on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, almost two years ago, Kerry spoke of his desire to "engage Iran in a constructive dialogue." Last December, in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, Kerry promised to adopt "a realistic, non-confrontational policy with Iran," ultimately leading to normalization "just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam, a decade ago."
Last month, the CFR endorsed Kerry's position in a report on Iran produced by a Task Force led by President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser Zbigniew Bzrezinski and former CIA Director Robert Gates. The report amounts to an attempt at reopening Iran to U.S. oil, aircraft, and construction companies.
Yet both sets of advocates of regime change and of détente base their different strategies on a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation in Iran.
Advocates of "regime change" claim that the Islamic Republic is on the verge of collapse and that what is needed is an extra push from America.. The promoters of détente insist that the Khomeinist regime is "solidly entrenched" and that Iran is "not on the brink of revolutionary upheaval."
Both are mistaken because they see Iran as a frame-freeze, ignoring the realities of a dynamic political life. The "overthrow" party underestimates the resilience of a regime that is prepared to kill in large numbers while buying support thanks to rising oil revenues. The détente party, on the other hand, underestimates the growing power of the movement for change in Iran.
Both camps also ignore the dialectics of the Irano-American relations. The "overthrow" party ignores the fact that improving relations with Washington could help the regime solve many of its economic and diplomatic problems, thus strengthening its position. The détente camp fails to acknowledge that a U.S. commitment to help the pro-reform movement win power in Iran could alter "the solidly entrenched" position of the Khomeinists and encourage "revolutionary upheaval."
In other words, any U.S. action, or inaction, could help alter the picture in Iran.
Both the "overthrow" and the détente camps in Washington see Iran through the prism that was used for determining policy on Iraq under Saddam Hussein. But the Iranian system is not dependent on an individual and his clan. There are internal mechanisms for change mechanisms which, if helped to function properly, could produce the changes desired both by the people of Iran and the major democracies led by the United States.
Iraq was a tete-à-tete between Saddam and Washington. Iran is a triangle in which the Iranian people, the Khomeinist regime and the United States have different, at time complementary and at others contradictory, interests and aspirations.
Whatever the outcome of the coming U.S. presidential election, Washington cannot equivocate on Iran much longer.
Anyone with knowledge of Iran would know that a majority of the Iranian people are unhappy with the status quo. America shares that discontented, albeit for different reasons. The reasons for U.S. discontent cannot be eliminated by endorsing the status quo in the name of détente: Instead, that would help consolidate the regime, and policies, that caused the discontent in the first place.
The Iranian people and the United States share an interest in promoting change in Tehran. But that shared interest does not mean that the people of Iran would give Washington carte blanche for regime change.
Iran is passing through a phase experienced by virtually all nations that have emerged from a major political revolution. In such a phase, the divergent interests of the state and the revolution come into conflict.
Any student of Iranian politics would know that today there are two Irans. One embodies the Khomeinist revolution that controls the instruments of power; the other represents the Iranian nation-state as shaped over the past 400 years.
In some cases the interests of the two coincide; in many more they diverge.
Today, Iran is one of only two countries in the Middle East (the other is Israel) where the United States enjoys popular support. The reason is that the U.S. is seen as the only major power not yet prepared to appease the Khomeinist regime.
Those who preach détente are, unwittingly perhaps, trying to appease the Khomeinists an ultimately self-defeating task. If implemented, their policy could turn the people of Iran against the United States, thus, paradoxically, underpinning the regime's anti-American message.
Yet the "overthrow" scenario could also alienate the Iranian people by confirming the Khomeinist claim that the U.S. "imperialism" is out to impose its will, regardless of domestic popular movements. ...
IN SEARCH OF AN IRAN POLICY [Excerpt]
By AMIR TAHERI
Seems he sounded safe and sound yesterday in Tehran's friday prayers.
Yes, the info in http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1186003/posts?page=15#15 is more than a week old. Have you seen any other info on that bomb?
Hawlati: Two Eastern Kurds deported back to Iran by KDP
They were probable working for the Iranian gov.
The minorities in both Iraq & Iran are threats to these 2 countries territorial integrity.
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