Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 12, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/11/2004 9:01:42 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largley ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. Most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
Iran test-fires new version of ballistic missile
at 19:25 on August 11, 2004, EST.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran test-fired a new version of its ballistic Shahab-3 missile Wednesday.
The Shahab-3, which Iran last successfully tested in 2002 before providing it to the elite Revolutionary Guards, is the country's longest-range ballistic missile, with a range of about 1,300 kilometres. It has since been modified to improve its range and accuracy. Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said last week the modifications were in response to efforts by Israel to improve its own missiles.
No details on the changes, including the new range, were provided.
"The Defence Ministry conducted the field test today to assess the latest modifications as a result of research carried out on Shahab-3," Iranian radio said without elaborating if the test was successful.
The Iranian missile, whose name Shahab means shooting star in Farsi, can reach Israel and several other countries in the region, fanning fears in the Jewish state that Tehran may strike it.
Israel has jointly developed with the United States the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system in response to Shahab-3.
Developed jointly by Israel Aircraft Industries and Chicago-based Boeing Co. at a cost of more than $1 billion US, the Arrow is one of the few systems capable of intercepting and destroying missiles at high altitudes. Its development followed the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel.
The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Rahim Safavi, warned Iran will crush Israel if it attacks the Persian state, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Wednesday.
"If Israel is mad enough to attack Iran's national interests, we will come down on them like a hammer and will crush their bones," IRNA quoted Safavi saying.
It was unclear what prompted Safavi to make his remarks.
Iranian Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammad Reza Imani said Wednesday more details on the modified Shahab-3 will be released in the coming days after the test's results are studied.
Iran had been unsuccessfully testing the missile since 1988 before its success in 2002.
The missile's latest test came at a time when the United States is accusing Iran of working to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the claims, saying its nuclear program is to produce electricity.
Iran said the missile is entirely Iranian-made but U.S. officials said the missile is based on the North Korean No Dong missile design and produced in Iran. The United States also accuses China of assisting Iran's missile program.
U.S. intelligence officials have previously said Iran can probably fire several Shahab-3's in an emergency but it has not yet developed a completely reliable missile.
Iran launched an arms-development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons Embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armoured personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.
IRANIAN JOURNALISTS ARRESTED IN BAGHDAD
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2004
TEHRAN 11 Aug. (IPS) As relations between Iran and Iraq continue to degrade, the official Iranian news agency IRNA confirmed on Wednesday 11 August that the Iraqi police had arrested its bureau chief in Baghdad and three Iraqi journalists.
According to both IRNA and the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, the Police arrested Mr. Mostafa Darban, a journalist and IRNAs bureau chief and three Iraqi nationals working with him on Monday afternoon.
Eyewitnesses said two vehicles carrying Iraqi uniformed policemen arrived at the IRNAs office, arrested all the people there and took away all equipments, the Agency said, not explaining why it waited two days before announcing the news.
A former Baghdad bureau chief, speaking to state television, said a group of armed men had stormed the IRNA bureau in Baghdad.
The arrest came barely one day after Iran confirmed the kidnapping of Mr. Fereidoun Jahani, an Iranian diplomat that was just appointed as Irans consul in the holy city of Karbala.
Mr. Jahani had been abducted by an Iraqi grouping naming itself as the Iraqi Islamic Party a week ago, but the news about his kidnapping was made public by an Arabic satellite television, showing also identity cards establishing him as an intelligence officer from the Revolutionary Guards.
Irans State-owned, conservatives-controlled television also reported that four Iranians on a trip to promote trade ties between Tehran and Baghdad had been arrested by U.S. troops in Iraq.
Mr. Hasan Kazemi Qomi, Iranian charge daffairs in Baghdad said the Embassy had sent letters to both Iraqi Defence and Interior ministries for explanations.
According to IRNA, all telephone communications between Tehran headquarters with the Baghdad office has been cut out immediately after the arrest of the journalists and the confiscation of material and equipments.
Though the Iraqi authorities had offered no explanation so far, but sources said the measure could be related to the flare up of fighting between American-led Coalition forces with followers of the Iraqi rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
In their report, Iranian media have taken a strong position in favour of the maverick Hojjatoleslam, accusing American and British forces of slaughtering innocent Iraqi Muslims and deliberately destroying Shia holy places, not mentioning that Mr. Sadr not only has refused to put down arms, as demanded by the Iraqi interim government, but has assured that he would fight the American invaders until his last drop of blood.
Visiting recently the holy city of Najaf, Mr. Iyad Alawi, the Iraqi Prime Minister urged Mr. Sadr and his Army of Mahdi to put down arms and leave the city, where he declared a 16.00 to 06.00 hour curfew.
Tehrans relations with Baghdad clouded badly after Mr. Hazem Shalan, the Defence Minister, labelled the Islamic Republic as Iraqs number one enemy and the Interior Ministers announcement of the arrest of four Iranian officers charges with espionage.
In response, Iranian press said Mr. Shalan is a petty CIA informer and accused him to obey orders from his American masters.
ENDS JOURNALISTS ARRESTED 11804
IRAN TEST FIRED NEW VERSION OF SHAHAB 3 MISSILE
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2004
TEHRAN, 11 Aug. (IPS) As expected, Iran confirmed on Wednesday 11 August 2004 the test firing of its Shahab-3 missile.
The test was announced last Sunday by Irans Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani, telling defence correspondents that Iran had updated the weapon and would be announced in due time, which is very short.
But the Defence Ministrys communiqué announcing the test firing did not provide any information about ameliorations brought to the earlier version that had a range of 1.500 kilometers capable of carrying a charge of one ton.
Mr. Shamkhani said the modifications to Shahab-3, which in Persian means meteor, were in response to efforts by Israel to improve its own missiles.
The Minister also revealed that along with Shahab-3, Irans nuclear defence system would also be improved and updated.
This was the first time that a senior Iranian official confirmed that the country had a defence system based on nuclear force.
"The Defense Ministry conducted the field test today to assess the latest modifications as a result of research carried out on Shahab-3", Tehran radio said without elaborating if the test was successful.
The missile's latest test comes at a time when the United States and Israel are accusing Iran of working to build nuclear weapons, claims that Tehran denies vehemently, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes only.
Though Iran says the missile is entirely Iranian-made, but U.S. officials says the missile is based on the North Korean "No Dong" missile design and produced in Iran.
ENDS SHAHAB TEST 11804
Iraq detains Iranian journalists
From correspondents in Tehran, Iran
IRAN said today that Iraqi police have detained several journalists from the Baghdad bureau of the Persian state's official Islamic Republic News Agency.
IRNA quoted the Iranian charge d'affaires in Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, saying the agency's bureau chief in the Iraqi capital, Iranian citizen Mostafa Darban, and three "local staff" had been arrested on Monday by Iraqi police.
Mr Qomi said Iraqi police arrested the reporters at their Baghdad offices before taking them to the Interior Ministry, adding that police have not said why they arrested the IRNA staff.
The Iranian Embassy in Baghdad was investigating the matter and trying to release the reporters, Mr Qomi said, adding that his staff had contacted Iraq's foreign and interior ministries.
There has been tension between Iraq and Iran in recent weeks.
Last month, Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem Shaalan said Iran was Iraq's "first enemy" because it was allegedly playing a role in arming Iraqi Shiite militants battling US-led coalition forces.
Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi later distanced his government from the remark.
Iran, a Shiite Muslim country with close ties to Iraq's majority Shiite population, is suspected of using money to influence the political field in Iraq.
A small number of foreign fighters detained in Iraq have Iranian nationality.
The Iranian government has denied interfering in Iraq, including allowing money transfers. It says it does not allow fighters to cross into Iraq, but it does not rule out that such people might cross the long border illegally.
Separately, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said today that latest reports suggested that a kidnapped Iranian diplomat, Faridoun Jihani, may be released in the coming days.
Mr Jihani was kidnapped on July 4 while travelling from Baghdad to Karbala, a holy city in southern Iraq.
Iran Does Not Rule Out Talks With US, Says Khatami
Agencies, Arab News
TEHRAN, 12 August 2004 Iran is not opposed to resuming talks with arch-foe Washington in future, provided US officials stop trying to topple the Islamic Republic, President Mohammad Khatami said yesterday.
Washington broke off a tentative dialogue with Iranian officials over Iraq and Afghanistan in May 2003 after accusing Tehran of harboring Al Qaeda members involved in attacks in Saudi Arabia.
Iran denies assisting Al Qaeda as well as a host of other US accusations including developing nuclear weapons and stirring up violence in Iraq. If the Americans say the Iranian system should be changed then that is flagrant interference in our affairs, Khatami told reporters.
But if America changes its direction and does not want to impose its demands on us and proves its good will, then why shouldnt our nation sit down and talk with it?
Unlike the European Union which has adopted a policy of critical engagement with Irans reformist government, Washington has preferred to isolate Tehran with which it broke diplomatic ties in 1980.
President George W. Bush has instead sought to reach out to the Iranian people, saying his government supports their aspirations for freedom and democracy.
The key is in Americas hands, Khatami said. Our nation will not yield to this master and servant attitude. ... (But) we dont have enmity against anyone forever. If our interests necessitate it we can adopt another policy, he said.
Meanwhile, state-organized demonstrations are to be held throughout Iran against attacks by allied forces on holy sites in south Iraq, the students news agency ISNA reported. The Islamic Propagation Office said that the rallies are scheduled to be held after mass prayer ceremonies tomorrow.
The shrines of the two Shi'i Imams Ali and Hussein are located in the two holy cities of Najaf and Karbala in southern Iraq and are considered as two of the most sacred sites for Shiite Moslems in Iran.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday harshly condemned the actions by US forces in Najaf and warned that neither the Iraqi nation nor the Islamic world would forget the alleged violation of Islamic sanctities.
Is this the way of the United States and its president to create democracy in Iraq or rather a way to deprive the Iraqi people of their right for democracy, Khamenei said on state television.
In another development, a foreign national arrested in southeast Iran is probably from Bangladesh and not the United States as reported earlier, an Interior Ministry spokesman told ISNA yesterday.
The ministry in Teheran had confirmed the arrest of a foreigner along the border with Pakistan, but said it could not be certain of the nationality. The arrest occurred Tuesday, the spokesman said.
He is probably from Bangladesh but introduced himself as a US citizen but we are still trying to clarify his real nationality, he said. The man was identified by news website Baztab in Farsi letters as Arminster, age 32. The website reported he was Jewish and worked in a special field of chemistry.
The man reportedly entered Iran illegally from Pakistan and was returning to Pakistan when arrested by border guards in Sistan-Balochistan province.
Iran's Khamenei slams U.S. over Najaf
Israel puts Iran in its sights
By James Reynolds
BBC correspondent in Jerusalem
Israel's defence establishment is looking east with concern.
This summer, some here warn that Iran may become a nuclear power, perhaps within the next three or four years.
The Jewish state wants the world to act. If diplomacy fails, Israel warns that it knows how to work alone.
"Israel has many, many capabilities," says Danny Yatom, a former head of Mossad, Israel's international intelligence agency.
"And in the past Israel has carried out long-range military operations, like when we bombed the nuclear facility of Iraq [in 1981]. And since then one can imagine that we've improved our capabilities."
Tackling growing hostility
In public, most Israeli politicians choose to speak delicately about Iran and nuclear weapons, taking care to avoid talking directly of Israel's own never-discussed nuclear capabilities.
"Of course we have to develop our defensive capacities - passive, active, reactive," says Ephraim Sneh, who is a Labour member of parliament and a former deputy defence minister.
"We have to strengthen all our defence shields against possible Iranian attack. But we don't have plans to attack Iran. I can tell you this for sure. It's not on the agenda."
There is one small corner where a handful of Israelis try to avoid the growing hostility between Israel and Iran - that is in Israel Radio's Persian service.
Every evening, from a small studio in Jerusalem, Menashe Amir presents the evening news in Persian. His broadcast goes out directly to Iran.
In his office, over a cup of Iranian tea, we discuss the two enemy countries, and the chance that they may choose to attack one another.
"You know, instead of being afraid, I think it's our duty, my duty, to do all my efforts to prevent a war between the two countries, to bring peace," he says.
"And that's exactly our message to our Iranian listeners."
For most ordinary Israelis the threat from a nuclear Iran is more a distant worry than an immediate concern.
The fear of being killed by a suicide bomber is more real than the thought of generals swapping bombs and missiles with Israel's enemy in the east.
Some think there is a simple political reason for the current debate about Iran - a battle for military funding.
"What happened now is that Israel's intelligence leaders presented their assessment to the Knesset and it gained headlines in the Israeli press because now the battle on the budget is underway," says Yiftah Shapir, an analyst at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies.
We will know how to defend ourselves
Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz,
on the outcome if Iran attacks
"The timing is obviously attached to the budget. I don't think there is a single general in the whole world who has enough - enough budget, enough equipment, and the enemy is always bigger and stronger."
And Israel is a country that never runs out of enemies.
For years, Saddam Hussein's Iraq was seen as the main existential threat to the Jewish state. But that place has now been taken by Iraq's neighbour.
A few months ago a man born in Tehran was a guest on Israel Radio's Persian service.
The guest had spent his early childhood in Iran before coming to Israel and joining the army. And he is now Israel's defence minister.
What if Iran attacks, Shaul Mofaz was asked. The minister answered: "We will know how to defend ourselves."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/08/11 20:25:08 GMT
Your welcome. Hopefully the people of Iran will rise up against the mullahs and bring peace to the region.
Iran won't budge on nuke quest
Iran declared yesterday that threats to send its nuclear case to the UN Security Council would not make it drop its quest for peaceful nuclear technology.
The statement by President Mohammad Khatami came after US officials expressed growing confidence in recent days that international resolve was hardening to deal with Iran's nuclear program and report it to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
Iran has angered Britain, Germany and France -- who have sought to broker a diplomatic solution to Tehran's nuclear case -- by re-starting parts of its nuclear program and refusing to abandon efforts to master uranium enrichment.
Washington says Iran wants to enrich uranium to bomb-grade levels. Tehran says it only wants to make low-grade enriched uranium for use in nuclear power reactors.
"We don't want our case to be sent to the United Nations. We hope to resolve the issue through justifications and explanations," Khatami told reporters.
"But if anyone wants to deprive us of our right (to peaceful nuclear technology) we and our nation would be ready to pay the price," he added.
Iran's claim that it has no intention of building nuclear arms was given a boost on Tuesday by reports that U.N. nuclear inspectors had traced highly-enriched uranium particles found in Iran to equipment bought from Pakistan.
This supports Iran's stance that the uranium samples, including some of bomb-grade level, were caused by contamination.
"We haven't done any enrichment in Iran. The parts were contaminated," Khatami said.
Diplomats in Tehran said Washington would probably push hard to include a trigger mechanism to send Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council in any resolution adopted by the next meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September.
AUSTRALIA AND IRAN HOLD SECURITY TALKS
Australia and Iran are holding top-level talks on a range of security issues, including the spread of nuclear weapons.
Iran's top national security official and nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, has been holding talks in Canberra with the Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, and other officials.
The talks come ahead of a key meeting next month of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss Iran's nuclear program, which the United States says is designed to help the country acquire nuclear weapons.
Mr Downer says he has been using his talks with Dr Rowhani to urge Iran to fully comply with IAEA inspections of its nuclear facilities.
"On our agenda, amongst other issues, is Iran's nuclear program, and obviously we want to see Iran fully co-operate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and fulfil all of its obligations under the International Atomic Energy Agency."
Iran says it already complies with IAEA requirements, and its nuclear program is designed entirely for electricity generation - not production of weapons.
Bravo! A young hard-working intelligent Conservative who knows international politics.
Thanks for proving America's Youth are dedicated to a Conservative America and a free world.
SHAHAB 3 Ballistic Missile
Iran's Defense Ministry carried out a field test of the latest version of its Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile on August 11, 2004 state television reported. Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said last week Iran was working on improvements to the range and accuracy of Shahab-3, which defense experts say Tehran could use to strike arch-foe Israel or U.S. military bases in the Gulf.
US Fears Iran's Secret Nuclear Programme
August 12, 2004
Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons while its possession of missiles threatens Middle East peace, the United States has warned. Washington's renewed criticisms came as Iran carried out a test on an upgraded version of its medium range Shahab-3 missile.
The US has been concerned by recent developments, including Tehran's continued denials of US claims that it is using a civilian nuclear energy programme to hide weapons development.
A spokesman for the State Department said: "They've got a clandestine weapons programme which, combined with delivery systems, is a threat to stability.
"The United States has serious concerns about Iran's missile programmes and views Iran's efforts to further develop its missile capabilities as a threat to the region and the United States' interests."
He added: "We believe they're of concern and we are working with our international partners to address them."
The Shahab-3 is the mainstay of Iran's military technology and has largely been developed to stave off an attack by arch enemy Israel.
Tehran fears Israel could launch a strike against its controversial nuclear programme.
Iran's missile is capable of carrying a one tonne warhead at least 800 miles - well within range of Israel.
Rohani Says Australia a Terror Risk
August 12, 2004
Australia had made itself a terrorist target by joining the war on Iraq, Iranian nuclear chief Hassan Rowhani said.
Visiting Australia for talks with Prime Minister John Howard and other senior government figures, Mr Rowhani said all groups involved in the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq were more at risk of terror attacks.
"All the groups that now are involving in terrorist acts in Iraq seem to take all the groups that are participating and helping with the occupying forces as the targets of the attacks," Mr Rowhani, the secretary of Iran's National Security Council, told reporters when asked if Australia was more at risk since the war.
"Al-Qaeda have declared all the countries that are participating in the Iraqi occupation as their targets."
In Canberra to lobby for Tehran to be allowed to continue its nuclear program, Mr Rowhani said Iran tested a ballistic missile to strengthen its defence in the face of threats by Israel.
He said his country's nuclear program was aimed solely at generating electricity and not at building nuclear weapons.
Tehran has tested a Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile and defence experts said the weapon could reach Israel or US bases in the Gulf.
"Iran has been threatened by some Israeli officials. It's very natural that when our country is being threatened by a foreign country we have to prepare ourselves," he said.
"But Iran is totally opposed to weapons of mass destruction. The accusations and allegations raised by some of the countries against the Islamic Republic of Iran - all of them are totally baseless and unfounded."
He said Iran did not feel threatened by the United States.
"I think the experience of Iraq would be sufficient for the Americans for years to come not to think of invasion against any other country," he said.
Iran: A Place in My Heart
August 12, 2004
Jim Muir, BBC correspondent, Tehran
General elections in February saw Iran's conservatives regain control of the parliament and as a result, the country faces another period of change and uncertainty. So does the BBC's Tehran correspondent, Jim Muir, as he prepares to leave his post... but not his memories.
When I actually moved to Tehran towards the end of 1999 I had not got much beyond the stereotyped images of grim mullahs and fanatical Hezbollahs screaming: "Death to America".
I did not really know what to expect and what I would be able to do.
But I was always mentally prepared for two contingencies.
I thought that sooner or later, for one reason or another, we would have some sort of crisis with the authorities that might end in my expulsion, or worse.
And I also thought that sooner or later we would have a major earthquake. Iran is riddled with fault lines, a big one was overdue.
Well at least I was right about the earthquake, though things did not happen quite as I had imagined.
I was actually out of the country for a break last Christmas when the ancient mud-brick city of Bam, in the far south-east of Iran, was devastated in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.
But I managed to get there very quickly and flew into Bam just as my driver, Nada, arrived in the Nissan Patrol with our equipment after a long drive down from Tehran.
My team and I were on our own for the first 36 hours and the Patrol became our home and office.
Then it became the centre of a little BBC tented township, as reinforcements poured in from all points of the compass to help document the double tragedy of 30,000 deaths and the destruction of a unique piece of Iran's heritage.
But I was wrong about having a crisis and getting thrown out.
I do not think we pulled any punches in our coverage of Iranian politics, though some angry exiles who believe the clerical regime just needs a good kick to bring it down, would undoubtedly disagree.
And we did features which often made me wonder how close to the wind we were sailing.
These were on such issues as the serial murder of dissident intellectuals - which turned out to be the work of intelligence ministry officials - and the growing and related problems of drug addiction, runaway girls, crime and prostitution in Iranian society.
All this and a lot more passed without repercussion.
The only time I was aware of being in trouble was over a story in which I had ventured to suggest there might be some links between Iran and the extremist Islamic group - the Ansar al-Islam - who were ensconced right on the Iranian border just inside the Kurdish area of northern Iraq.
This clearly annoyed the revolutionary guards who were in charge of the border.
But instead of having me kicked out, they invited me for a discussion over tea and fruit at a villa in north Tehran, and then forgave me.
But Iran is a hard place to work.
The bureaucracy of a divided authority often makes you feel you are trying to run through mud up to the waist.
The technology rarely seems to work for long. And if everything else is fine there are always the monster traffic jams to hold you back.
But all that was outweighed by the friendship and warmth I met from the people who are as varied and interesting as the large and diverse country they have inherited.
No one exemplified those qualities more than my guide and companion from the outset, my Iranian cameraman Kaveh Golestan.
A prize-winning photographer before he turned to filming, Kaveh's tireless energy and enthusiasm, his ever-excited love for his own country and his passion for images illuminated his work for TV.
He was my constant side-kick on many trips and adventures round the country and beyond.
In the spring of last year we were in northern Iraq together, as Saddam Hussein's regime was being blasted to bits by the coalition.
By a fateful combination of circumstances we ended up parking in a minefield.
As we were getting out of the car my producer from London, Stuart Hughes, put his foot down onto a mine, which exploded.
We all thought we were being bombarded, even Stuart himself, who had lost the bottom of his foot and later had to have his lower leg amputated.
I threw myself to the ground. Kaveh sprinted off down the hill, stepped on another mine, and fell on another.
He died instantly.
Lives were changed, and one ended, in much less time than it takes to speak these lines.
My journey back to Tehran with Kaveh's remains was the saddest of my life.
The tragedy and trauma of his death was softened only by the kindness and love his family - his mother, his sister, his wife, his son - have given me then and since.
Through all the parties and farewells that have marked my departure from Tehran, there has been the sadness of leaving a country I came to love and where I made many good friends.
And behind that a greater sadness.
When Iranians miss someone, they say "your place is empty".
Kaveh, your place is very, very empty.
From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Thursday, 12 August, 2004 at 1100 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme schedules for World Service transmission times.
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