Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 7, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/06/2004 10:41:05 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.
'Tests in Iran'; New missiles being readied
WASHINGTON (Agencies): 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.
Kelly told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in mid-July the United States would not establish normal relations with North Korea even if it fully met US demands for nuclear disarmament. After four negotiating sessions with North Korea, beginning in April 2003, "it is clear we are still far from agreement," Kelly said. Meanwhile, North Korean officials will be in New York next week for informal talks on dismantling the country's nuclear weapons programmes, a South Korean daily newspaper reported on Friday. The Korea Times said officials from the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and China would meet on Aug 10 or 11 on the sidelines of a conference run by the nongovernmental National Committee on American Foreign Policy.
The unofficial meeting would bring together five of the six countries taking part in Beijing-sponsored talks to defuse the nearly two-year-old crisis. Russia is not attending the newspaper reported. Japanese and North Korean officials may hold working-level talks as early as next week to discuss nuclear issues and Japanese kidnapped by Pyongyang, Japan's top government spokesman said Friday."Both the parties have indicated their willingness to hold a meeting as early as next week," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a regular press conference. "We have yet to finalise our discussions," over scheduling the meeting, he said.
TOKYO: Japan wants a speedy solution to the case of a US soldier accused by Washington of deserting to North Korea in 1965 and now in Tokyo with his Japanese wife, the top government spokesman said on Friday. But Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said he could not predict how long it would take to resolve the fate of the US army sergeant, Charles Robert Jenkins. Jenkins, 64, was brought to Japan for medical care last month with his Japanese wife, Hitomi Soga, and their two daughters after the family was reunited in Jakarta on July 9.
The US wants custody of him so he can face court martial but has refrained from seeking custody while he is in hospital. On Thursday, in a step towards resolving a diplomatic standoff between Tokyo and Washington, Jenkins had his first meeting with a US military lawyer who is thought to have advised him on court martial and plea bargaining procedures. Jenkins' fate is a sensitive issue for Washington and Tokyo, which wants Jenkins to be able to live in Japan with his family.
News August 06, 2004
Former Iranian president mocks latest ''US terror threats''
Former Iranian president and Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday urged the West to revise its current policy, given that it will not lead to tranquility.
Speaking at the weekly Friday prayers gathering in Tehran University campus, he called on the West to think about the actual reasons for the current situation.
"The crimes committed in Palestine make the human conscience suffer and what is going on in Iraq, such as Thursday attack on the holy city of Najaf harboring Imam Ali's (as) shrine breaks the human hearts."
Meanwhile, Israel which threatens the entire region is authorized to have nuclear weapons and kill the innocent people because of the double standards in the West's behaviour, the former leader added.
He added that the world powers themselves expect to be secure in their "glass houses" while the world people are insecure, and they wish to promote security in Israel, but not in Palestine.
"Both the Democrats and Republicans in the US have launched propaganda on such issues to their benefit when it comes to presidential elections, he conveyed.
According to IRNA, he said that a Pakistani guerrilla possessing some maps dating back to before the September 11 attacks disturbed the US and led to switching their security status from yellow to orange, a situation which brought shame on them.
Rafsanjani further noted that the US-led troops attacked Iraq with the intention of having full access to the Persian Gulf oil reserves and become the "king of oil."
However, against their will, the oil price almost doubled from its former rate of 24 dollars per barrel, he added. (albawaba.com)
Iranian Refuses Guantanamo Review
August 06, 2004
An Iranian detained at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba has refused to appear before a US military tribunal to review his case. He is the sixth detainee out of 11 to refuse to participate since the hearings began last week.
The tribunals follow a US Supreme Court ruling that the prisoners have the right to challenge their detentions.
Human rights groups have criticised the hearings because the detainees do not have access to lawyers.
The 25-year-old Iranian's case was the only one to be heard on Friday.
He apparently relayed his decision through a military officer who was assigned to be his representative.
"He dropped out," the officer, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
"He said, 'I don't want to participate anymore'."
The US Defense Department said the man was accused of fighting for the Taleban in Afghanistan against US forces and its allies.
The hearing went ahead in his absence. AP said it lasted 13 minutes before reporters were asked to leave so classified information could be discussed in a closed session.
Earlier in the week three Yemenis, a Saudi and a Moroccan refused to appear at their hearings.
On Thursday, the BBC's Nick Childs was one of a small group of reporters allowed to witness the appearance of two Afghan men at their hearings in a windowless, cramped room at Guantanamo.
The men, both handcuffed and shackled, admitted they were with the Taleban but said they never fought US forces. Their requests to call witnesses were denied.
This is the first time any of the 600 or so detainees, who have been held without trial or access to lawyers for more than two years, have been allowed any form of hearing.
Initial results could be given by next week, US officials say.
Human rights groups say the process is inadequate because the detainees are not allowed lawyers, and the three military officers sitting on each panel can not be considered to be impartial.
But the man overseeing the process, Gordon England, has defended the system, saying it derives from the Geneva Convention.
Canada's Iranian Shame
By Ralph Peters
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 6, 2004
Last year, an Iranian security agent beat a Canadian photojournalist to death in a Tehran prison. Apart from recalling its ambassadora meaningless gesture given Ottawas weaknessthe Canadian government was impotent to respond.
Thanks to the alarm of international journalists, the murder received a few back-of-the-paper mentions around the world. Champion cynics, the Iranians agreed to hold a trial. After all, the killers identity was no secret, the circumstances were well known and there had never been serious charges against the victim, Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-born Canadian citizen.
The trial was a mockery (Marxist in the Groucho sense). The acknowledged murderer was acquitted, of course. Months before the trial, Ms. Kazemi, whose skull had been crushed, was ruled to have died of natural causes. The regime hardliners had a grand, old laugh while thumbing their noses at our northern neighbors.
Giggling, the Iranians did offer to pay Islamic blood money to the victims family.
Canadas response? By God, Ottawa showed those fundamentalist thugs. The Canadian ambassador was recalled a second time.
The fact is that Canada is powerless to do anything. The hardliners took that into account as they methodically chose their victim. Such Iranian actions are never accidental. Theyre carefully calculated to make a point or to test some partys resolve.
The ruling mullahs wanted to send a chill down the spine of foreign reporters and meddling émigrés. The entire Kazemi affair would have been approved, step by step, by the inner circle of Irans regime.
Nonetheless, a few Iranian newspaperssince closed by the governmentidentified Said Mortazavi, the prosecutor in the mock trial, as having been enmeshed in Ms. Kazemis death. The judge saw no conflict of interest.
Canada wasnt even the target, just another victim. Ottawa was simply judged as unable and unwilling to respond to such a murder. Far more emigres active in Iranian affairs or journalism hold U.S. or British passports. But killing a journalist protected by the great Anglo-American alliance would have been risky. What could Ottawa do?
In this age of terror and genocide, the death of an individual may not seem to hold much significance. What, after all, is Ms. Kazemis fate against that of the tens of thousands dead and the millions displaced in Sudans Darfur province? Against the mass graves unearthed since Iraqs liberation? Against the Balkan massacres that only stopped when American troops appeared?
Yet, Ms. Kazemis fate does matter. As a matter of justice. But, above all, for Canada.
This cynical murder should resound more powerfully than it has done. Canadians on the left may not like it, but the unmistakable lesson for Canada is that, when it defected from the great Anglolateral alliance that has defended freedom for almost a century, it lost its influence, its authority and the weight of collective power.
Despite the apocalyptic rhetoric of our election year, its Canada that has a crisis of the soul.
Its all too easy for us to write off Canada as a parka-enshrouded land of strategic freeloaders, economic parasites who complain as they profit, kept safe by their proximity to the superpower they love to criticize.
But the truth is that we only hear the noisy, down-with-America Canadians who represent but a fraction of their countrys population (all that French influence at work). As two good friends recently reminded me, there is far more goodwill, common sense and courage on the other side of Niagara Falls than the Canadian media likes to admit.
And many within Canadas military were ashamed that they were not allowed to do their share in the liberation of Iraq. Peacekeeping missions are well and good, but every soldier knows that what really counts is the willingness to give blood by your brothers side.
Will Ms. Kazemis murder awaken Canadas chattering classes to reality? After all, she was one of their own, a card-carrying member of the vaunted multi-ethnic intelligentsia. Her self-righteous peers need to cork the Chablis, crack open a Labatts Blue and take the lesson of her murder to heart: Appeasement of tyrants always has a price.
Its remarkable how unwilling both individuals and nations are to accept unwanted lessons. The historical evidence for the high cost of appeasement runs from classical antiquity, through the Nazi era, to this very moment. The Philippine government is going to learn the cost of caving in to terrorists soon enough, as will the smug new government in Madrid. The Saudis have already begun to read the real price tag of trying to buy off madmen. Even Senator Kerry appears to realize that surrender isnt an option.
We all should pray that our northern neighbors dont hide their heads under the pillow yet again. In the last century, Canada fought heroically on the side of the brotherhood of English-speaking nationsthe worlds only enduring alliance for freedom. They need to rejoin the fold and stand, once again, against tyranny, against murderous ideologies, against the worlds deadly bigots. Some may not care for President Bush, but he hasnt smashed in the skull of any Canadian citizens lately.
Until Canada again stands shoulder to shoulder with her inevitable alliesthose who share her core cultural heritage of the rule of law, democracy and the rights of the individual citizenOttawa will remain powerless, disdained by rogue states and manipulative Europeans alike.
The brutal old men in Tehran sized up todays Canada perfectly when they chose to make an example of one of her citizens. Lets hope they misjudged the Canada of tomorrow.
Ralph Peters is the author of Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and Peace.
NUCLEAR: Irans Drive to Gain Weapons: An American View
August 4, 2004 - Britain, France and Germany want Iran to renounce, permanently and verifiably, all technology capable of making nuclear bomb fuel. In exchange, they offer an equally firm commitment to use outside suppliers to guarantee an adequate supply of uranium for civilian power reactors, the New York Times writes in an editorial. For want of a better alternative, Europe is right to give Iran a little more time to change its mind. But the world cannot afford to wait long. Once the new centrifuges are completed, Iran's ambitions will become much harder to contain. If no agreement is reached soon, this apparent drive to build nuclear weapons should be recognized as a threat to international peace and security and taken up by the United Nations Security Council later this year, it adds.
REGION: Khatami to Make First Visit to Azerbaijan
August 5, 2004 Islamic Republic President Mohammad Khatami is expected in Azerbaijan on Thursday for his first visit to Baku since he came to office in 1996 a sign of the frigid relations between the two neighbors, which came near a full-blown military confrontation in July 2001 when Iranian coastal patrols shot at Azeri ships hired by British Petroleum for oil exploration in a disputed area.
ECONOMY: National Accounting Office Audits 1705 of 2000 State Enterprises
August 5, 2004 - Of the 1,705 state enterprises whose 2003-2004 books were audited by the national accounting office, 583 were losing money, 116 had no profit, and 1006 were profitable, a statement by the national accounting office, printed in newspapers on Wednesday, said, noting that more companies would have shown negative balances, if the auditors used measures other than the companies own statement to calculate their profit and loss. The statement did not give details on the amount of profits and the scale of losses, but state enterprises consume 65 percent of the governments budget for a combination of investment and loss assistance, and the governments downsizing efforts have met with political, bureaucratic and financial hurdles, Radio Fardas Paris-based economic commentator Fereydoun Khavand says.
Iran - Mir-Hussein Mousavi May Run for President
Aug 6, 2004, 17:49
Journalists boycott the official press day and step up their struggle
August 6th, 04
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.
If Iran helped...
Saturday, August 7, 2004
Albany Democrat Herald
One of the many revelations in the final report of the 9/11 Commission is that some of the hijackers got help - whether inadvertent or otherwise is unknown - from Iran.
As reported by the commission, in the months before the attacks, al-Qaida operatives frequently traveled through Iran. This was helpful to the terrorists because Iran did not stamp their passports.
"In sum," the commission said on page 241 of its report, "there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al-Qaida members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers."
The commission found no evidence that Iran knew what al-Qaida was planning. But its habit of not stamping their passports helped the attackers get into the U.S. later. An Iranian transit visa in their passports might well have given U.S. immigration officers reason to question them at length, and perhaps the plot would have become clear.
As the commission concluded, "We believe this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government." The big question is: What will we do if it becomes evident that Iran knowingly helped?
Iran denounces Najaf violence (Excerpted)
The Washington Times
August 7th, 04
Tehran, Iran, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Iran expressed deep concern Saturday over escalating violence in Iraq between U.S. forces and Shiite gunmen led by radical cleric Moqtada Sadr.
IN SEARCH OF AN IRAN POLICY
By AMIR TAHERI
Nearly 200 women arrested in Iran
Press Trust of India
Tehran, August 7
Nearly 200 Iranian women wearing head coverings considered insufficient under the country's Islamic code have been arrested, newspapers reported today.
Iranian security forces launched raids in cities of central Semnan and northern Gilan provinces, arresting 183 women in recent weeks, the reports said.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, all post-pubescent females have been required to wear the veil and a long coat concealing their bodily form, or face fines or imprisonment.
Some 132 "badly covered" women were picked up in Semnan Province, the daily Sharq reported, adding that 69 of them face trial.
Another 1,250 women in the province have received verbal warnings to respect the Islamic dress code, police told the paper.
In Gilan, 51 women and girls were arrested "to fight open spectacles of corruption," the Iran newspaper quoted provincial security forces as saying.
Similar raids have been reported in recent weeks, mainly in Tehran shopping centres.
Police have been seen taking scores of teenaged girls from commercial centres, while both police and Islamic militiamen have also reportedly stepped up raids on private parties where they suspect the presence of alcohol or mixed-sex dancing.
Women ignoring the Islamic dress code can be jailed for up to two months or fined upto $6000.
Iraq President Warns Iran Against Interference In Home Affairs: Press
CAIRO, Aug 7 (AFP) - Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar advised neighbouring Iran not to interfere in Iraq's affairs, an Egyptian daily reported Saturday amid a growing war of words between the two countries.
"I would presume that our brothers in Iran are wise and thoughtful enough not to get bogged down in Iraq's problems and further complicate the situation," he told the government-run Al-Ahram daily.
"We want our relations with our neighbours to be based on mutual respect... We do not expect them to interfere in our affairs," Yawar said.
The premier nevertheless tried to douse the fire sparked when Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem al-Shaalan told the Washington Post last week he had seen "clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran" and accused Tehran of working "to kill democracy" in his country.
Yawar said that Iraq maintained "friendly relations" with Iran and stressed it was "in the interest of Iraq and Iran that bilateral relations be balanced, healthy and positive".
Iran on Saturday called on US-led foreign troops assisting the government in Iraq to show restraint and respect the country's holy sites amid new fighting with rebel Shiite militia.
Zarqawi has safe haven in Iran
WorldNet Daily - From Geostrategy-Direct.
Aug 7, 2004
Intel source says U.S. won't cross border to get him
BAGHDAD Abu Mussib al-Zarqawi, regarded as the leading foreign insurgent in Iraq, is believed to be shuttling between Iran and Iraq.
Western intelligence sources said the United States has concluded that al-Zarqawi has not been in Iraq for more than a month. The sources said al-Zarqawi left the Sunni Triangle for the Iran-Iraq border and has been moving in an arc from Iran in the east to Syria in the west as he continues to relay orders, plan operations and transfer funds.
"Much of the time he is in Iran, where he has been given safe haven," an intelligence source said. "The United States won't cross the Iranian border to get him."
Sources said al-Zarqawi was last seen in the Iraqi town of Dour in the area of Baghdad on June 18, where he held a meeting with a senior aide to deposed President Saddam Hussein, Izzat Ibrahim Douri.
Douri, regarded as a major financier of the Sunni insurgency, reportedly gave the al-Qaida-aligned insurgent large amounts of weapons and equipment. From Dour, al-Zarqawi traveled to Iran and was said to have been in Marivan in northern Iran through late July.
Iran has been harboring a number of senior al-Qaida operatives including the son of Osama Bin Laden, Saad Bin Laden, and Seif Al Adel and Mustafa Setmariam Nasser, suspected of planning the train bombings in Spain in March 2004.
Al-Zarqawi has long benefited from Iranian help. He shuttled between Iran and Iraq on the eve of the U.S.-led war in 2002 and early 2003. After the United States drove Saddam from power, al-Zarqawi returned to northern Iraq and used Ansar Al Islam as a base to organize the Sunni insurgency against the coalition.
Over the past two months, the U.S. military has conducted a series of air strikes against suspected al-Zarqawi strongholds in the Sunni-dominated Iraqi city of Fallujah. But the sources said that al-Zarqawi was not in Fallujah during the air strikes.
On Aug. 2, Iraqi officials accused al-Zarqawi of masterminding the bombing of four churches in the Baghdad area. Fifteen people were killed in the series of attacks on Aug. 1.
Israeli Attack On Iran To Stir Explosive Autumn
Palestine Chronicle - Report Section
Aug 7, 2004
"Military sources had said the raid would be carried out by long-range F-15I jets, overflying Turkey, with simultaneous operations by commandos on the ground.."
CAIRO - Israel could launch a massive strike at Iran's nuclear facilities in autumn, creating an explosive situation in the region with a possible fierce response from Tehran, Arab diplomats have expected according to a leading Arabic-language newspaper.
"Exploiting the November US presidential elections and the European concerns, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could order a strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, similar to the ones Israelis executed in 1981 against Iraq's nuclear weapons program", the diplomats were quoted by the London-based newspaper Al Hayat on Wednesday, August 4.
Iran's continued development of its nuclear program, Israeli plans to block it and the US-European decision not to allow the Islamic Republic to join the nuclear club "would bring in a coming explosive autumn to the Middle East," the sources added.
The revelation came two days after The Sunday Times quoted Israeli officials as saying that Israeli Air Force has completed military preparations for a "preemptive" strike at Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility and will attack if Russia supplies Tehran with rods for enriching uranium.
The rods, currently stored at a Russian port, are expected to be delivered late next year after a dispute over financial terms is resolved, the British paper reported.
Military sources had said the raid would be carried out by long-range F-15I jets, overflying Turkey, with simultaneous operations by commandos on the ground.
As Israeli officials have said they will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, Iran warned of a disastrous retaliation that will "wipe Israel off the face of earth, in the words of the public relations head of the Revolutionary Guards, Commander Seyed Masood Jazayeri on July 26.
Al Hayat, a London-based respectable newspaper, said such a retaliation "could swing the decision-making balance in the hardliners' favor".
The daily quoted experts as saying that Iran has two fields for response to an Israeli attack: Iraq and southern Lebanon.
Tehran, experts expected, could move Iraqi Shiite groups to launch attacks against US occupation forces, already facing a hellish situation amid a bubbling cauldron of chaos and anarchy in the war-scarred country. They can also provide these groups with human and logistic support.
The Islamic Republic could also use Southern Lebanon, controlled by the Lebanese resistance movement Hizbullah which can not stand neutral regarding an Israeli attack on Iran.
However, experts said it will be hard for the resistance group to open a large-scale military showdown with Israel for "imbalance of power and fears this could spill over to a Syrian-Israeli confrontation".
The Hizbullah fighters have forced Israel to end 22 years of occupation of southern Lebanon in May, 2000. But Israeli army still seize the strategic Shebaa Farms there.
Israel's chief of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash, reportedly told the Cabinet on Sunday, August 1, that Iran has supplied hundreds of Iranian-made missiles to Hizbullah, which can hit all of northern Israel and territory as far south as Tel Aviv, in addition to several dozen missiles that can reach the southern city of Beersheva.
Britain's Sunday Times this week quoted Israeli sources as saying that Israel is worried that a preemptive strike against Iran could provoke "a ferocious response," including attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets abroad, as well as Lebanese-based rocket attacks on northern Israel.
The Arab diplomats said the United States, facing a hard brewing time in Iraq, seeks to escalate international pressures on Iran without use of force, which Washington fears could flare up the Iraq situation in consequence.
It is none of US President George W. Bush's interests to push American forces into a confrontation with Iran, the diplomats said.
"Bush is in the midst of presidential elections, in which he seeks to dissipate fears of voters seeking to hold him into account for deciding to go to war against the Iraqi regime on basis of misleading or unreliable intelligence," said the diplomats.
They also expressed relief over European efforts to defuse tension over Iran's nuclear program by encouraging Tehran to be " flexible and transparent to avoid international isolation or a military action".
"France, Britain and Germany still believe diplomatic efforts have not been exhausted yet, and channels of international laws should be first adopted away from military option," the diplomats added.
US diplomats have been reportedly working with European allies to bring the Iranian problem to the United Nations Security Council in hopes of imposing economic sanctions.
A report issued earlier this month by the Council on Foreign Relations asserted that the US should not let Israel act unilaterally against Iran.
The report, authored by former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former Central Intelligence Agency chief Robert Gates, said: "Given the potential threat that Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons could pose, the full range of alternatives - including military options - for confronting Tehran must be examined. Yet the use of military force would be extremely problematic, given the dispersal of Iran's program at sites throughout the country and their proximity to urban centers."
Iran insists it only wants atomic energy. And so far, its nuclear program is in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Israel, India and Pakistan are the only countries with nuclear facilities that have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which was initiated in 1968 to stop the spread of nuclear weapons through inspections and sanctions.
It is widely known that U.S. intelligence agencies routinely omit Israel from semiannual reports to Congress identifying countries developing weapons of mass destruction to protect the country from any economic or military sanctions.
'Fahrenheit 9/11` to premiere in Iranian cinemas
Tehran, Aug 7, IRNA
American filmmaker Michael Moore's widely popular documentary 'Fahrenheit 9/11` will soon be screened on Iranian movie theaters, a head of the institute which runs the country's cinemas said in Tehran on Saturday. According to the broadcasting manager of the Farabi Cinematheque Foundation, Manuchehr Shahsavari, 'the (screen) rights of the movie has been bought' and work has started to prepare it for release.
The documentary, which has already made history by earning more than 100 million box office dollars in Canada and the United States, takes US President George W. Bush to task for the invasion of Iraq and his handling of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
It also bashes Bush for an erosion of US civil rights in the wake of the US-led war against terror and an alleged link between the Bush family and Al Qaeda terror network leader Osama bin Laden.
'Fahrenheit 9/11` begins by recounting the events of the last presidential election, which was decided in Florida. Many Americans believe that the Bush campaign stole the election from Al Gore by disenfranchizing black voters in the Sunshine State.
Bush won the election in Florida by 537 votes after a lengthy recount that eventually wound up in the US Supreme Court.
The movie that cost six million dollars to make and could not initially find a distributor after Walt Disney Corp refused to release it, is the first documentary ever in top spot at the US box office.
In just three days, 'Fahrenheit` smashed the $21.6-million-record for ticket sales for a documentary set over a nine-month run by Moore's Oscar-winning `Bowling for Columbine`.
The documentary which won the prestigious 'Palme d`Ore` at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, has evoked global welcome across the world people because of its plucky exposure of American politics and Bush's antics.
Moore seeks to provide the American electorate and the rest of the world with facts regarding US decision to invade Iraq, while vowing to 'liberate` it, and presents a harrowing future, if Bush is allowed to stay in office for a second time.
U.S. WARNS TURKEY AGAINST IRAN DEAL
ANKARA [MENL] -- The United States has warned Turkey against transporting Iranian natural gas to Western Europe.
Turkish sources said the Bush administration has warned Ankara that any energy deal with Teheran worth more than $20 million would trigger U.S.
sanctions against Ankara. The sources said the administration was careful not to make its warning public.
The U.S. warning was said to have been relayed in July on the eve of a summit between Prime Minister Recep Erdogan and Iranian leaders in Teheran. The sources said Washington did not disapprove of Iranian gas supplies to Turkey under a 1996 accord, which took place before the formal launch of Iran-Libya Sanctions Act.
Erdogan defended his efforts to forge an energy pact with Teheran, saying this was required for Turkish and regional stability. In the end, Ankara and Teheran could not agree over the price for the Turkish transport of Iranian gas to Europe.
U.S. official suggests Japan should reconsider Iran oil deal
WASHINGTON A senior U.S. government official said that Japan should reconsider its oil development deal with Iran and obtain oil from Libya instead. Iran is suspected of resuming construction of centrifuges to enrich uranium, while Libya announced last December that it will voluntarily dismantle all its weapons of mass destruction programs.
The official was referring to an agreement that Japan reached with Iran in February on an oil development project in Azadegan, southern Iran, one of the world's largest oil fields. The comment apparently reflects Washington's increasingly tough stance toward Iran. (Kyodo News)
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