Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 17, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/16/2004 9:01:03 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largely 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's Rulers Fear the People
August 16, 2004
Voice of America
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
Like despotic rulers everywhere, the extremist Muslim clerics who run Iran consider the people their greatest enemy. That is why, says U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Irans rulers are worried about the movement toward democracy in Iraq:
Theyre aware that trends in Iraq toward a government that would be democratic, that would not be theocratic, like the Iranian regime -- would be Islamic, but not theocratic -- would expose some of the weaknesses of the Iranian regime. I think they fear nothing more; the mullahs fear nothing more than their own people, and they fear nothing more, therefore, than when the voices of the people of the Middle East start to be heard by their governments, that the Iranian people are going to demand the same.
Through such means as the Voice of America and the new Radio Farda, says President George W. Bush, the U.S. is bringing the message of freedom to the people of Iran:
There is a significant diaspora here in the United States of Iranian-Americans who long for their homeland to be liberated and free. Were working with them to send messages to their loved ones and their relatives. . . . And one method -- and very overt, I might add -- weve got radio broadcasts, a new radio broadcast system, going into Iran, say[ing], Listen, we hear your voice, we know you want to be free, and we stand with you in your desire to be free.
In addition, the determination of the U.S. to help Iraq become democratic, says Mr. Bush, sends a clear message to people in Iran:
. . .that freedom is possible. In other words, there are reformers and people who want to be free watching carefully as to whether or not this country [the U.S.], which is the beacon of freedom, is strong enough not to wilt when the pressure gets significant.
By serving the ideal of liberty, says President Bush, were bringing hope to others, and that makes our country more secure. . . . Free nations do not export terror. Free nations enhance the dreams of their citizens. Free nations are peaceful nations.
Iran calls for U.N. intervention to stop fighting in Iraq
By Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press, 8/16/2004 14:49
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran and Saudi Arabia called Monday for the United Nations to intervene in Iraq to stop the fighting between U.S. forces and Shhite militants hiding in the holy city of Najaf.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi made the request in a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Monday.
''Americans once again made a grave blunder in calculating developments in Iraq and provoked the sentiments of the Iraqi people through resorting to the use of force,'' IRNA quoted Kharrazi as telling Annan.
The Saudi Cabinet issued a statement expressing ''deep pain and sorrow'' over the situation in parts of Iraq and calling for ''a greater role for the United Nations in efforts to stop the bloodshed,'' the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Radical Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his followers have fought U.S. and Iraqi forces from within the compound of the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, in central Iraq, for over a week.
U.S. forces on Sunday launched a new offensive against the militants in the mosque, the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law, who is revered by Shiites.
Predominantly Shiite Iran is keenly interested in the security of the holy sites. It also has links to Iraq's Shiite majority, and Iraqi officials have accused Tehran of meddling in the country's politics a charge Iran denies.
Meanwhile, Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said Tehran holds the interim Iraqi government responsible for the safety of an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Baghdad.
A militant group holding Iranian diplomat Faridoun Jihani has said it would release him if Iran frees 500 Iraqi prisoners it is holding but Tehran has rejected the conditions, saying there were no Iraqi prisoners in Iran.
''We hold the Iraqi interim government responsible for the safety of the diplomat,'' Ramezanzadeh told reporters Monday.
According to the Arab television station Al-Jazeera, the kidnappers who say they belong to a group calling itself the Islamic Army of Iraq has threatened to ''punish'' the diplomat but hasn't specified how.
Jihani, the Iranian consul to the Iraqi city of Karbala, was kidnapped while traveling from Baghdad to Karbala, 50 miles south of the capital last week.
Scores of other foreigners have been kidnapped as leverage to force foreign troops and businesses from the country.
There has been tension between Iraq and Iran in recent weeks. Last month, Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan said Iran was Iraq's ''first enemy'' because it was playing a role in the insurgency. Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi later distanced his government from the remark.
Ramezanzadeh said such hostile comments resembled the language used by the toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
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.
The Iranian government has denied interfering in Iraq. 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.
IRANIANS DIVIDED ON MIRESMAILIS REFUSAL TO MEET ISRAELI JUDOKA
By Safa Haeri
Posted Monday, August 16, 2004
ATHENS-TEHRAN, 16 Aug. (IPS) As Olympic judo officials say they need more evidence before any action can be taken against Iran for an apparent political boycott of a bout with an Israeli, many Iranians and sports commentators regretted that Mr. Arash Miresmaili refused to fight his Israeli competitor over sympathy with the Palestinian people.
Having failed to reach a conclusion immediately after Sunday's withdrawal in Athens by Mr. Miresmaili, expected to win a gold medal, the International Judo Federation's (IJF) executive committee was to meet again on Monday on the case of Iranian world champion.
Mr. Miresmaili was to have fought Israel's Ehud Vaks in the first round of the under-66 kg class on Sunday but was overweight at the weigh-in, but made headlines after he announced on Friday that he would refuse to fight against Vaks to express his sympathy with the Palestinian people suffering at the hands of Israeli usurpers, oblivion of the fact that Palestinian athletes do not refuse to challenges their Israeli competitors.
While Iranian officials, including the embattled President Mohammad Khatami and Mr. Qolamali Haddad Adel, the Speaker of the conservatives-dominated Majles, or the Iranian Parliament, as well as the hard line press praised his decision warmly, others, mostly outside Iran, both regretted and condemned the initiative, saying he had no right to deprive the Iranian people from a victory.
I have a question. Lets imagine the day that all this parody (of not recognising Israel) is finished, that another, nationalist regime come to power in Iran which, like any other rational government in the world, would establish normal diplomatic relations with Israel. On that day, who would respond for Mr. Miresmaili for having lost his medal so cheaply? Mr. Hoseyn Khonsari, a sportscommentator based in Holland pointed out.
Though a spokeswoman for Iran's Olympic Committee said Miresmaili had been told to pull out in line with national policy towards Israel the forbids Iranian sportsmen to face Israeli contenders, however, Olympic officials said the reasons were unclear.
"Before speaking of sanctions we have to know exactly why he failed his weight", IJF spokesman Michel Brousse told reporters, adding the IJF is very surprised that such an elite player could not manage to make his weight".
"We have to know whether it was done on purpose or accidentally. At the moment we don't know, he observed.
However, faced with severe sanctions, the Iranian Olympic Committee said on Sunday that the reason Mr. Miresmaili was not able to take part at the competition was because he had refused weight-checking procedures.
This was in total contradiction with earlier Iranian position, where officials, including the powerless President Mohammad Khatami and Mr. Qolamali Haddad Adel, the conservative Speaker of the Majles, or the Iranian Parliament as well as the conservatives-controlled press congratulated Mr. Miresmaili for his heroic and courageous act of protest against force and occupation and presented him as a national hero.
"The heroic and great action of Arash Miresmaili who, in protest to occupation, terror and usurpation renounced to his medal at the Olympic games has gone strait in our heart and would be incrusted in the history of the glories of our nation, said Mr. Khatami in a message on Sunday 15 August 2004 addressed to the president of the Iranian Physical Education Organisation Mr. Mehr Alizadeh, adding that Iran would consider Mr. Miresmaili as a world champion, meaning he would be entitled to the one billion Rials (115.000 US Dollars) prize promised to any one of the small Iranian team who would get a gold medal at the games.
I felicitate you on your sense of sportsmanship, a common spirit among Iranian champions", Mr. Haddad-Adel had stated a day before in a message to Miresmaili, reported by the official news agency IRNA.
"Your disqualification because of supporting Palestine would promote your position in the heart of Muslims", the conservative lawmaker added.
Miresmaili refused his (not yet won) gold medal to prove to the world that at a time that the Olympic games continue under the slogan of Union, Peace and Equality, countrymen of the Zionist competitor also continue their crimes in order to show that there is no a country and nation named Palestine, to.., commented the semi-independent Iranian students news agency ISNA on Sunday 15 Aug.
"Miresmaili must receive a special prize as he was the prime candidate for a gold medal and I will do my best about it", said head of the Judo Federation, Mohammad Derakhshan, a revolutionary Guards officer.
Im a Muslim and a Shia, but each has its own religion and this must be respected. And anyhow, one forgets all these things once on the tatami. The Olymic games is a meeting point where one can meet representatives of numerous nations that come there in a spirit of friendship and sportsmanship, he told Mr. Armin Arefi, a journalist quoted by the influential French daily Le Monde dated 15-16 August 2004.
Underlining how Tehran's apparently political gesture clashes with the Olympic ideal, Brousse said: "Entering the Olympics means sharing the values of the Olympic movement.
"The International Judo Federation has similar values to the Olympic movement. We value friendship, solidarity, and tolerance.
"We value peace and we cannot tolerate discrimination.
"This is very important for the future of the IOC, for the future of judo".
Over the years there have been several cases outside the Olympics of Israelis and Iranians being drawn against each other and the Iranian then failing to turn up for various reasons.
Many leading figures in the judo world were convinced Miresmaili had wanted to fight but was prevented in doing so: "When governmental politics starts to play a role in Olympic competition there are no winners".
Veteran Iranian sport commentator Iraj Adibzadeh of the Persian service of Radio France International regretted Mr. Mirsesmailis decision.
The Olympic games are a theatre of friendship and humanity. The International Olympic Committee has always warned against bringing politic into the games. But what the Iranians does is against this policy and if they do not want to compete against the Israelis, they should get out of the games altogether, he told The Asia Times Online.
Not only the Islamic Republic of Iran do not recognise Israel, but it consider the Jewish State as najes, an Arabic word meaning unclean or untouchable and wants its destruction.
Contrary to the Iranian authorities, there is no praising Mr. Miresmaili for what he did. In my view, the most cherished wish for any athlete and sportsmen is to get a gold medal at the Olympic or any other international games. With his background and experience, Miresmaili had great chances to embrace this magic moment of glory. But I think the possible gold medal was sacrificed to Iranian leaders who thinks of nothing but their own petty personal interests, Mr. Khonsari observed in an talk with Mr. Adibzadeh.
Other Iranians were more straightforward.
Arash Miresmaili's refusal to compete with his Israeli counter part is another black mark for the reputation of Iranians around the world. His irresponsible and ignorant decision has made the International Olympic Committee (IOC) question whether Iran should even be in the Olympics, wrote Pesare Gol, a pseudonym meaning nice guy in the popular website The Iranian. (www.iranian.com)
What a great disappointment it was watching the Iranian contingent at the Olympics opening ceremonies the other night. They seemed by far the most dejected, most depressed, and the worst dressed group of athletes among the 200 nations who paraded before the eyes of the world that night, added Shahriar Zahedi writing on the same internet site.
ENDS MIRESMAILI 16804
Arash Miresmaeili, a two-time world champion in judo, carried the Iranian flag into the Olympic Stadium last Friday in a moment he described as the proudest of his life. Within 36 hours, he suffered the most shameful moment -- even if he and Iran don't necessarily see it quite that way.
Miresmaeili, who was scheduled to fight an overmatched Israeli named Ehud Vaks, told INRA, his nation's official news agency, that he refused to face an Israeli because of his sympathy with the oppressed people of Palestine. His stated political beliefs might not have covered him in glory, but he did cover himself with a few extra pounds -- causing him to fail the weigh-in. (Reportedly he was lugging an extra two kilograms, almost 4 1/2 pounds. At the Olympics any veteran judoka who arrives two kilograms over the limit should have his head -- and not his stomach -- examined.)
If Miresmaeili truly had the courage of his convictions, he would have stopped hiding behind his weight and simply told officials he did not want to sully himself on the mat against an Israeli. Period. Or his National Olympic Committee should have sent someone to the judo hall and done it for him. As Reuters reported, an Iranian NOC spokesman said Miresmaeili was instructed not to fight because of government policy of not competing "against athletes of the Zionist regime."
If Miresmaeili intentionally ballooned to miss his weight -- and there is no other explanation that makes sense -- the International Judo Federation, which continued to deliberate the case in an emergency session Monday, should suspend him from competition. Then the International Olympic Committee should bar him from future Olympics for blatantly violating the athlete's oath.
Last Friday night the 10,500 athletes amassed in the Olympic stadium tacitly agreed to these words: "I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games ...in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams."
See you, pal. Don't let a Doric column hit you on the head on your way out.
But if the Iranian NOC was the driving force behind Miresmaeilias seems likely and as Vaks himself fervently thinks -- then the IOC has a bigger problem. Maybe it should start by finding out if the judoka is being compensated by Iran, rewarded for blowing off his competition with the same bonus he would have been in line to receive had he won the gold medal. Follow the money, in other words. Iran's president already has said the judoka would be compensated for his stance.
And then just to clarity this business once and for all, the IOC should verify the spokesman's statements about Iran's sports policy regarding Israel. If Iran won't face Israel, banning one judoka is not enough. The position of an NOC, on behalf of its government, should make Iran a pariah in the Olympic family. The rules of sport were mocked, the spirit of the Olympic movement trashed. The Miresmaeili/Iran case was worse than any doping violation.
As venal as doping might be, it is (with the notable exception of the former East Germany and a few others) committed by individuals and coaches. There is no official imprimatur. Miresmaeili's move appears to have been a state-sanctioned act that undermines why athletes gather for these quadrennial symposiums of sweat.
As International Judo Federation spokesman Michel Brousse put it, "At the Olympics you have to share the values of the Olympic spirit." There are a record 202 National Olympic Committees represented in Athens. If Iran wants to play by its own rules, the IOC would be better off with 201.
Iran will go ahead with N-programme
TEHRAN: Iran is determined to proceed with its nuclear programme despite international concern, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has insisted, the state news agency IRNA reported on Monday.
The Islamic republic will continue on the reasonable path which will result in the peaceful use of nuclear energy without concerning itself about all this fuss and bother, Khamenei told Iranian ambassadors at a meeting in Tehran on Sunday, the agency said. But the means of winning their confidence must be based on reason, he added. He also recalled the outraged reaction in the West to the news that Iran was to resume manufacturing of parts for centrifuges to enrich uranium, underlining that such production does not contravene any (international) agreement. afp
Iranian Conservatives Push for Gender Segregation and Bill to Enforce Islamic Dress Code
Source: Radio Farda Newsroom
The conservative faction of the Islamic Republic government, though the Majles, the judiciary and police, which it controls, is pressing for passage of a bill on enforcing Islamic dress code on women and segregate university classes.
August 15, 2004 - Isfahan MP Nayyereh Akhavan said the government should submit to the Majles a draft of a comprehensive bill on enforcement of the Islamic dress code, Hejab. In a speech at the Majles last week, Ms. Akhavan defied Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Khomeini, who had ruled out separating male and female university students, and said gender segregation of students in universities will end worries and anxieties and behavioral dangers.
The cultural committee of the conservatives-led Majles formed a new sub-committee to deal with social issues. The new guidance and Islamic propaganda sub-committee is drafting a bill to combat violations of the Islamic dress code, conservatives MPs said.
Separating the students in different classes is not the answer, it only erases the question, Zanjan MP Rafat Bayat said. Such a move will not resolve any of our problems, but we will be accused of acting like the Taliban, Pakdasht MP Mohammad Qomi said.
Head of the womens affairs office of the Islamic Republic law enforcement forces said a bill is being drafted by the police to combat dress code violators. She added that the tight and short overcoats worn by women in the streets cannot be called Islamic dress, and wearing them should be considered a crime punishable by law.