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Iranian Alert -- August 14, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 8.14.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 08/13/2004 9:42:55 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 American’s 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.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alsadr; armyofmahdi; ayatollah; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; iraq; islamicrepublic; jayshalmahdi; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; moqtadaalsadr; mullahs; persecution; persia; persian; politicalprisoners; poop; protests; rafsanjani; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin

1 posted on 08/13/2004 9:42:57 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 08/13/2004 9:44:56 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Bush administration stepping up pressure to stop Iran's nuclear program

Knight Ridder - By Warren P. Strobel
Aug 13, 2004

WASHINGTON - Get ready for another crisis over weapons of mass destruction.

Convinced that Iran is covertly speeding toward making nuclear weapons, the Bush administration has begun a diplomatic campaign to sharply increase the pressure on Tehran.

The sudden sense of urgency follows the apparent collapse of a three-nation European initiative to persuade Iran to freeze its nuclear program. Iran is trying to renegotiate the deal and insists that its nuclear program is for civilian energy purposes.

The Bush administration faces a fundamental dilemma similar to the one it faced two years ago in Iraq: Should the United States continue to work with allies who favor negotiation or should it take pre-emptive, unilateral action to stop Iran?

President Bush's go-it-alone course in Iraq continues to draw criticism, both from foreign allies and many Americans as they prepare to select their next president. But action to confront Iran may be more necessary than against Iraq, some officials and private experts argue, because Iran has a far more advanced nuclear program and much closer ties to terrorist groups than Iraq did in 2003.

Concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions have bubbled for more than a decade, but they've taken a back seat to Iraq and the war on terrorism. That could soon change.

"Iran is going to be the 800-pound gorilla of American foreign policy come September," said a State Department official.

A senior European diplomat in Washington agreed. It is "one of the two or three biggest issues that we'll have to deal with in the next period," he said. Both spoke on condition of anonymity, citing diplomatic sensitivities.

U.S. officials say they will begin a new push to have Iran's nuclear activities referred to the United Nations Security Council, which can impose sanctions. The next crossroads is a mid-September meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been monitoring Iran's nuclear work.

"This is a troubling development ... and you just can't ignore it any longer," Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently.

A senior administration official went further in an interview this week. He hinted that if Bush is re-elected, the use of U.S. military force to stop Iran from going nuclear - even by overthrowing the government in Tehran - wouldn't be out of the question.

U.S. credibility on Iran, however, has been undercut by the failure to find the weapons of mass destruction that the White House warned of in Iraq.

"This administration has been discredited by the WMD experience" in Iraq, said Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter.

Said another State Department official: "Would it have been better if prewar Iraq intelligence had been better? Sure. ... But it doesn't mean we're wrong" on Iran.

Brzezinski co-chaired a task force sponsored by the private Council on Foreign Relations that last month called on the White House to open a broad dialogue with Iran, rather than waiting until the nuclear issue is settled.

"The problem with this administration is, it doesn't know the difference between diplomacy and unilateralism," Brzezinski said. "If it simply uses inflammatory rhetoric, it will make the Iranians dig in their heels." Moreover, Iran, which borders Iraq and Afghanistan, could make life much more difficult for the United States in those places if it chose to, he said.

The CIA's rough estimate is that Iran could have a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade. Israel puts the date at 2007.

But the real crunch date could come sooner, when Iran's nuclear program becomes self-sufficient, rendering trade bans and other sanctions irrelevant.

Vastly complicating matters, Iran's suspected weapons program uses the same basic technology involved in a civilian nuclear energy program, which it's permitted to have under the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"Our ability to stop that program is very limited," said former CIA Director Robert Gates, who co-chaired the task force with Brzezinski.

Bush administration officials argue that momentum is moving behind the U.S. position, with the collapse of a deal struck by Britain, France and Germany in which Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium and associated activities.

If the international community agrees Iran is moving toward a nuclear weapons capability, "then you have to ask yourselves what are you going to do?" said the senior administration official.

Iran has resumed assembling centrifuges to enrich uranium, in violation of its pledges. At a stormy meeting with diplomats from the three European nations in late July, Iranian representatives demanded a series of concessions, including security guarantees.

Yet the Europeans remain cautious about taking the issue to the Security Council.

"The question is, what then?" said the senior European diplomat. "Taking it to the Security Council does not automatically mean you are taking a step toward solution."

U.S. plans to squeeze Tehran hit another speed bump this week when IAEA inspectors appeared to verify one of Iran's central contentions about its nuclear research.

The inspectors determined that particles of enriched uranium found at Iranian industrial sites came from equipment purchased abroad, buttressing Iran's denial that it has been conducting home-grown enrichment of uranium for a bomb program.

IAEA spokeswoman Melissa Fleming declined to comment, pending a Sept. 3 report by the agency.

It now appears the United States will not have enough support to refer Iran to the Security Council when the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors meets in mid-September. The issue could come to a head at the next meeting in December.

U.S. officials and many outside experts say there's plenty of other evidence Iran is striving for nuclear weapons.

They charge it includes Iran's construction of a heavy water reactor, ideal for producing plutonium; covert uranium processing; experiments with a substance called polonium-210, used to initiate nuclear explosions; and secret procurement of centrifuges from the nuclear smuggling network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan's nuclear weapon.

Iran had denied having a covert uranium enrichment program until it was exposed by an exile opposition group in August 2002.

U.S. officials say they still hope diplomatic pressure might work. Iran, they note, is keenly sensitive to its world image, and its economy is badly in need of outside help.

"We're still at a place where we hope diplomacy can change their mind," a senior State Department official said. "They have not yet changed their mind."

3 posted on 08/13/2004 9:47:56 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

US, Canada see eye-to-eye on Iranian nuclear program, human rights concerns

AFP - World News (via Yahoo)
Aug 13, 2004

WASHINGTON - The United States and Canada share concerns about the extent of Iran's nuclear programs and Tehran's poor human rights record, US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Canadian Foreign Minsiter Pierre Pettigrew said.

Washington and Ottawa will both look for tough action on Iran from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) when it meets next month in Vienna and will press Tehran to resolve lingering questions about the death in custody in Iran of a Canadian-Iranian photographer last year, they said.

"We are very preoccupied by the nuclear proliferation and we are not pleased at all with the way the Iranians are conducting this particular question of nuclear proliferation," Pettigrew told reporters after meeting Powell at the State Department.

"This is something on which we need to cooperate and make sure that Iran respects international obligations and absolutely limits that," he said.

The United States, which accuses of Iran of hiding a nuclear weapons development program under the guise of a civilian atomic energy program, is leading a charge at the IAEA to push Tehran into respecting commitments under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and bring it into compliance with a pledge to suspend all enrichment-related activities.

Iran vehemently rejects the US charges but has bristled at pressure from the IAEA which has found it to be in violation of several commitments.

In addition to the nuclear issue, Pettigrew said Canada had serious concerns about the investigation into the death of the photographer, Zahra Kazemi, who died in Iranian custody in July 2003 after being arrested for taking photos outside a prison.

Despite a conclusion by Iran's reformist government that the 54-year-old photographer had died from a brain hemorrhage caused by a blow to her skull, an Iranian court last month acquitted a security agent in her murder, ruling she had injured herself in a fall after having been on a hunger strike.

Canada has categorically rejected the latest explanation, deepening a diplomatic rift over the affair, and Pettigrew on Friday called Kazemi's death an "assassination" and termed the Iranian investigation into the matter "a farce."

"We have no cooperation from the Iranian government," he said, noting the requests for Kazemi's body to be returned to Canada had not been met.

"We have realized that the whole justice system has been treating this as a farce, unfortunately," Pettigrew said, adding that he intended to raise the issue next month when the United Nations General Assembly convenes.

Iran's decision to bar Canadian diplomats from the last day of hearings in the case in July prompted a furious Ottawa to recall its ambassador to the Islamic Republic and a senior Canadian foreign ministry official said privately that relations with Iran might be downgraded.

4 posted on 08/13/2004 9:49:16 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Morning BUMP. (It's good to be back.)

5 posted on 08/14/2004 6:44:55 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (" It is not true that life is one damn thing after another-it's one damn thing over and over." ESV)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife

Glad to see you.

6 posted on 08/14/2004 8:34:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran's Sadr Strategy

August 13, 2004
National Review Online
Jed Babbin

This fight in Najaf is vital to victory.

The on-again, off-again military offensive to destroy Moqtada al-Sadr's "Mahdi militia" in the holy city of Najaf was on again Thursday. This outcome will be crucial to the competition between the conflicting goals for the future of Iraq: ours and Iran's. Ours is to defeat the insurgency and enable freedom to take root. Theirs is to prevent a stable democracy from governing Iraq, and to damage our tenuous relationship to half the Islamic world.

The Shia majority of Iraq, long oppressed under Saddam, was ripe for insurgency or even revolution long before Saddam fell. Iran's radical Shia kakistocracy has been funding, supplying — and in Sadr's case operating — the insurgency in Shia Iraq ever since Coalition forces began massing to attack Iraq in 2002. According to one estimate, there are at least 30,000 Iranian-funded insurgents in Iraq.

One of the Iranians' principal obstacles has been Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shia mullah in Iraq. Al-Sistani has called on Sadr to stop the fighting, but his power over Sadr is limited, and Sadr's is expanded greatly by his Iranian backers. When al-Sistani left Iraq for medical treatment in London, Iran and Sadr began the latest round of fighting in Najaf and in the "Sadr City" area of Baghdad, the huge slum that used to be known as "Saddam City."

There is important dissention among the new Iraqi government about whether American forces should be allowed to take the fight to Sadr in the heart of Najaf. Early Thursday, Ibrahim Jaafari, head of the Dawa party and one of Iraq's two interim vice presidents, called for all American forces to leave Najaf. If we and the Allawi forces fail in Najaf, the internal dissention could cause a split in the interim government that won't be healed soon. Al-Sistani, speaking from London, called for another ceasefire. If these pressures split the new Iraqi government, that alone would be a significant victory for Iran, which will stop at nothing to prevent the Iraqi democracy from taking root.

The Iraqi go-ahead against Sadr was given some time Wednesday, within some well-understood limits. The holiest site in Shia Islam is the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, and it is from this mosque and other sites in Najaf that Sadr and his militia have been launching their attacks. Imam Ali — who is buried in the shrine — is revered as the founder of Shia Islam. Ali was the six-year-old who took Mohammed's place in his bed on a night when Mohammed expected an assassination attempt, and is believed by the Shia to have had divine guidance. But the Shia radicals — and I still believe that term isn't redundant — see no inconsistency in using their holiest site as a base for terrorist activity. We've all seen the television coverage of them running out of the mosque, RPGs, and other weapons in hand, to engage American troops.

The shrine/mosque is only part of the problem. The "Valley of Peace" cemetery — the largest in the world with perhaps five million graves — is another favorite of the militia to hide within and fire at Coalition forces. The city itself, with about 600,000 people, is the typical Iraqi city of narrow, winding streets. The Marines are running the show, backed by the Army and both Air Force and Navy aircraft on call. They all are aware of both the dangers and the necessity of protecting the mosque. It is already a touch-and-go fight, and is evolving into the kind of urban warfare that we managed to avoid last year. It's August, which means temperatures of 120 degrees during the day in Iraq. Kicking down doors, fighting sometimes room-by-room, the Marines, God bless 'em, are doing their usual superb job. I've heard several reports of wounded Marines getting patched up and running back into the fight.

At this writing, American troops with armored vehicles, attack helos, and heavier air support, are trying to close the circle around the mosque, crowding Sadr and his fighters into a smaller and smaller area, diminishing their strength and numbers to the point that the Allawi forces can finish the fight. If we can do that, we will succeed. All Sadr — and Iran — need to do to succeed is to maneuver us into damaging or destroying the mosque. Sadr and his men are perfectly willing to destroy the holy site themselves in some way that makes us appear responsible. Al Jazeera will be there to stage-manage and broadcast the finale.

If the Imam Ali shrine is destroyed in a Coalition operation, the Iranians will use that fact to divide and discredit the Allawi government. They will try to raise all of Shia Islam against the American occupiers in Iraq and American interests everywhere. The Shia are the second-largest Islamic sect, with about 700 million adherents in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and parts of North Africa. It is quiet conceivable that the destruction of the Imam Ali mosque would trigger the clash of civilizations that Iran and Osama bin Laden have been working desperately to create. It could be a significantly destabilizing force in nations such as India and Pakistan where our influence and fragile alliances could easily wither and die. Too much hangs in the balance in Najaf. But the fight has to be made because Iran, and its Sadr proxy, are the two most significant obstacles to freedom in Iraq.

It is tempting, and wrong, to believe this fight is not worth the risk. Young Americans will die there in as important as any other fight has been for Iraqi freedom. Sadr's force is fighting for political advantage. It would be an easy fight for us to win if we weren't concerned with the repercussions from destroying the Imam Ali shrine or the number of civilians who might be killed. If we had somehow negotiated the cooperation of Ali al-Sistani in the year and a half since the Saddam regime fell, the fight wouldn't even be necessary. If we had been able to bring other Islamic forces in to join the Coalition forces, this fight could have been theirs if it had to be fought at all. But we didn't, and that risk and the cost is now ours.

The Najaf fight won't end today, tomorrow, or perhaps even next week. The Iraqi forces fighting with us against Sadr's men may not be sufficiently strong or dedicated to end the matter for days or weeks. Allawi, facing very strong opposition in his own government, may change his mind and demand we stop short of the necessary conclusion. But even if we win this fight without destroying Shia Islam's holiest site, even if the Iraqis manage to kill Sadr and defeat his force decisively, the Iranian interference in Iraq won't end. Until it does, there will be no peace in Iraq. The central point of the Iraqi insurgency is now — as it has been for more than a year — Tehran.

— NRO contributor Jed Babbin is the author of Inside the Asylum: Why the U.N. and Old Europe are Worse than You Think.

7 posted on 08/14/2004 8:59:41 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Pettigrew Pledges to Work With U.S. to Stop Iran Acquiring Nuclear Arms

August 14, 2004
The Globe and Mail
Paul Koring

WASHINGTON -- Canada and the United States will "work as partners" to increase pressure on Iran to scrap its clandestine nuclear-weapons program and end human-rights abuses, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said yesterday after his first official meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"We're very preoccupied by [Iran's] nuclear proliferation, and we're not pleased at all" with Tehran, Mr. Pettigrew said. "We need to co-operate and make sure that Iran respects international obligations."

But aside from agreeing to press the issue at the September meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the ministers offered no specifics on tightening the screws on Tehran.

With Canada-U.S. relations still on the mend after being frayed by Ottawa's opposition to President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq without explicit UN Security Council authorization, Mr. Pettigrew made it clear that going to Washington for his first official visit was no accident.

"It was absolutely appropriate that I have my first international visit here in Washington," he said.

However, observers in Washington who follow the Canada-U.S. relationship expect no substantive change until after the Nov. 2 election in the United States.

Mr. Pettigrew replacing Bill Graham in the Foreign Affairs portfolio "won't change the relationship," said Jim Leblanc, a senior associate in the Canada program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former senior Canadian government policy adviser.

Damage control rests largely with the White House and the Prime Minister's Office, not with the foreign ministers who spent most of a working lunch talking about global problem spots, including Haiti and Sudan. No specific proposals were exchanged on either, officials said.

"Most of the major files will remain with the Prime Minister's Office, as they always have," Mr. Leblanc said.

Canadian officials stressed that Mr. Pettigrew had raised bilateral irritants, notably the continuing U.S. ban on Canadian beef and cattle because of a single instance of mad-cow disease in Alberta.

The former international trade minister seemed keen to keep pressing those issues with Mr. Powell. "I've expressed to the secretary the importance for us as foreign ministers that the trade issues get the best attention because in Canada they are, of course, very important. . . . It is, of course, always the 5 per cent that works less well that catches the attention," he said.

His meeting with Mr. Powell was a curtain-raiser to an event that attracted far more attention from the Washington media, accustomed to visits from foreign ministers.

It's not every day, including Friday the 13th, that the U.S. Secretary of State gets to greet a feline namesake.

After Mr. Pettigrew headed back to Ottawa, Mr. Powell posed for pictures with the cat of the year, a Bombay originally called Wolfman Jack that was renamed Colin Powell for "patriotic reason," said his owner, Sig Hauck.

"If you had a cat named after you that won the Cat Fanciers' Association cat of the year -- I mean that doesn't happen every day," a U.S. official said. "This is recognizing a cat of outstanding ability."

8 posted on 08/14/2004 9:04:32 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Rumsfeld in Russia for Talks

August 14, 2004
BBC News
Nick Childs

The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, is in St Petersburg to meet his Russian opposite number, Sergei Ivanov. They are likely to discuss Iran, missile defence and Russian-Nato relations.

Donald Rumsfeld was last in Russia in May 2002.

Then the Bush administration was in the throes of withdrawing from the anti-ballistic missile treaty to pursue its plans for missile defence.

Since then much of the heat has gone out of that debate and talks now between Mr Rumsfeld and his Russian opposite number are more likely to focus on possible technical co-operation in this field.

But the Russian side may be looking for some new reassurances, with Washington about to announce an initial operating capability for its missile defence system.

Iranian programme

Iran is likely to come up in the talks as well.

Already on this trip Mr Rumsfeld has again expressed his concern about Iran's nuclear development activities.

Russia is involved with Iran although, it insists, entirely innocently.

The Americans will be encouraging further Russian co-operation with Nato in the wake of Russian unease over the recent expansion of the alliance, as well as further developments in bilateral military ties.

The United States is also interested in recent changes in the Russian military structure and welcomes those that seem to enhance the role of civilian control over the military.

But Mr Rumsfeld's visit also comes against the backdrop of concerns in Washington about recent reported trends in wider economic and political developments in Russia.

9 posted on 08/14/2004 9:05:16 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

American held in Iran being interrogated

AFP - World News
Aug 14, 2004

TEHERAN - Security forces have detained an American man for illegally entering Iran from Pakistan, state television reported on Friday.

An Iranian police officer confirmed to the Associated Press the arrest of the unidentified American on Tuesday, saying his motives for crossing the border had not been determined.

The American was being interrogated, the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Iran has tightened security on its eastern border with Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent infiltration by supporters of the Al Qaeda terror group and the former Taleban regime in Afghanistan.

State television said the man was a Jewish American. It said he was arrested in Sistan-Balochistan, a southeastern province that borders Pakistan. Americans are allowed to enter Iran provided they obtain a visa beforehand. The US severed diplomatic relations with Iran after militants stormed the US Embassy in Teheran in 1979 and held its occupants as hostages for more than a year.

Though relations thawed somewhat in the late 1990s, they deteriorated in recent years after President George W. Bush accused Iran of being part of an "axis of evil."

10 posted on 08/14/2004 9:06:41 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn


by Amir Taheri
August 14, 2004

August 14, 2004 -- THE Greek organizers of this summer's Olympics, which began in Athens yesterday, claim that more women athletes are competing than ever before. Women are also playing a high-profile role in making the whole enterprise, the biggest of its kind in Greek history, run as smoothly as possible. Seen from the Muslim world, however, the Athens game will look like a male-dominated spectacle in which women play an incidental part.

According to officials in Athens, the number of Muslim women participating in this year's game is the lowest since 1960. Several Muslim countries have sent no women athletes at all; others, such as Iran, are taking part with only one, in full hijab. And state-owned TV networks in many Muslim countries, including Iran and Egypt, have received instructions to limit coverage of events featuring women athletes at Athens to a minimum.

A circular from the Ministry of Islamic Guidance and Culture in Tehran asks TV editors to make sure that women's games are not televised live: "Images of women engaged in contests [sic] must be carefully vetted," says the letter, leaked in Tehran. "Editors must take care to prevent viewers from being confronted [sic] with uncovered parts of the female anatomy in contests."

Women athletes in Athens are unlikely to wear the Islamic hijab or full-length manteaux that cover their legs to the ankle and their arms to the wrist. The ministry's order thus could mean a blanket ban on images of female athletics.

Fear of Muslim viewers seeing bare female legs and arms on television is also shared by theologians in several Arab states. Sheik Yussuf al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian theologian based in Qatar, claims that female sport is exploited as a means of undermining "divine morality."

Ayatollah Emami Kashani, one of Iran's ruling mullahs, goes further. In a recent sermon, he claimed that allowing women to compete in the Olympics was a "sign of voyeurism" on the part of the male organizers.

"The question how much of a woman's body could be seen in public is one of the two or three most important issues that have dominated theological debate in Islam for decades," says Mohsen Sahabi, a Muslim historian. "More time and energy is devoted to this issue than to economic development or scientific research. "

Islamist theologians are divided on how much of a woman's body can be exposed in public. The most radical, the Sitris, insist that women should be entirely covered from head to toe, including their faces and fingers. The less radical Hanbalis say a woman should be covered all over, but recommend a mask with apertures for the eyes and the mouth. (A version of this, known as the burqa, was imposed on Afghan women by the Taliban).

The Khomeinist version of the hijab, invented in the 1970s and now popular in many countries, including the United States, covers a woman's entire body but allows her face and hands to be exposed. Hijab theoreticians agree on one claim: a woman's hair emanates dangerous rays that could drive men wild with sexual lust and thus undermine social peace.

But the problem of women athletes goes deeper. Some theologians claim that any form of sporting activity by women produces "sinful consequences." In 2000, for example, the Khomeinist authorities in Tehran announced a ban on women riding bicycles or motorcycles. The rationale? Riding bicycles or motorcycles would activate a woman's thighs and legs, thus arousing "uncontrollable lustful drives" in her. And men watching women on their bikes in the streets could be "led towards dangerous urges."

The problems don't end there. According to some theologians, a woman should not be allowed to venture out of her home without a "raqib" or male guardian. But that guardian must be either her husband or her father, brother, grandfather, uncle or son.

Even if a woman is accompanied by such a "raqib" at a sporting event, the problem isn't solved. One woman's "raqib" will be a stranger to the other women playing, say, a game of volleyball. Thus any sport involving more than one woman produces complex chaperonage problems.

Some countries, like Saudi Arabia, have tried to avoid these by imposing a blanket ban on physical education and sports for women. Some Saudi women resent this and have been trying to persuade the government to change its mind.

In June, the kingdom's appointed parliament passed a bill legalizing physical education for girls. But last week the Ministry of Education announced that it would take no notice of the act of parliament because there has been no decision by the Council of Ministers, which is headed by the king (who also acts as prime minister).

"Coming on the eve of the Athens Olympics, this is a big disappointment," says Fa'ezah Ahmad, a Saudi women's right campaigner.

There is also bad news from Iran.

Last year, the Tehran Municipality presented a plan to provide sports facilities for women. It proposed amendments to 37 laws and ordinances that discriminate against women. It also unveiled a plan to develop women-only sports grounds. A model stadium was set up with 12-foot-high walls to make sure that no one could see the women from the outside. The stadium was to operate with an all-female staff, including coaches and administrators.

The plan was scrapped last February, when critics claimed that the proposed stadium was located close enough to an airport that women in the stadium might be seen by men flying above them in jetliners and helicopters.

The municipality still hopes to find another plot of land to build an all-female facility. "Women account for a majority of the population in this city," says Esfandiar Mashaie, Tehran deputy mayor for social affairs. "We cannot ask them to pay municipal taxes but be denied the same facilities as men simply because we fear that some men may go wild by seeing women doing sport."

At times, fear of women doing sports causes major headaches for Islamic governments. The Islamic Republic in Iran, for example, has agreed to host the Muslim Women's International badminton games next year. Although all the participating athletes have agreed to wear uniforms that cover them from head to toe, the organizers are still worried that men might sneak in to have a look at what is going on.

To solve the problem, the authorities have decided to hold the games in a remote mountain resort. The only road leading to the resort will be sealed by an all-female unit of the paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The games will be organized and supervised by exclusively female staff and recorded by an all-female TV crew. ...

11 posted on 08/14/2004 11:06:27 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
USS JFK Rescues Iranian Mariners in Arabian Gulf

Navy Newsstand
August 14, 2004

Story Number: NNS040814-01 Release Date: 8/14/2004 1:59:00 PM

From Commander, Joint Forces Maritime Component Commander/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

ABOARD USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (NNS) -- USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) rescued six mariners from an Iranian cargo dhow Aug. 14, after learning that the vessel was taking on water.

The distress signal was initially received by USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), which was operating with Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 in the Arabian Gulf. Because the vessel was more than 200 nautical miles away, Mobile Bay relayed the message to John F. Kennedy. Kennedy dispatched two H-60 Seahawk helicopters from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15 to the scene at 6:40 a.m. local time. Aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 9, a P-3C Orion squadron, monitored the dhow and coordinated helicopter rescue operations. The HS-15 air crew rescued all crewmembers aboard the Iranian-flagged dhow Naji.

One survivor reported a broken propeller shaft seal as the cause of the vessel taking on water.

Once aboard, Kennedy’s medical staff treated the mariners, who are in good health, according to the aircraft carrier’s senior medical officer.

Kennedy's leadership is working closely with the U.S. Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain to repatriate the Iranian mariners as soon as possible.

John F. Kennedy and HS-15, both of Mayport, Fla., deployed June 7 and are operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.^

12 posted on 08/14/2004 6:38:18 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

13 posted on 08/14/2004 9:01:39 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: nuconvert; freedom44; AdmSmith
USS JFK Rescues Iranian Mariners in Arabian Gulf


When will they learn GEOGRAPHY?

14 posted on 08/15/2004 2:46:05 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (Imagine...)
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