Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 19, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/18/2004 9:25:11 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.
"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."
I hope you're right.
I realize this is a long term goal, but I hear nothing of Iran today. what is the news good doctor?
when Iraq stabilzes..and Afghanistan we will have news.
I see that Khatami is bowing up, he is playing his hand
Iran Warns Of Preemptive Strike
August 19, 2004
Doha, Qatar -- Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani warned today that Iran might launch a preemptive strike to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities, in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV.
"We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly," Mr Shamkhani said when asked about the possibility of a US or Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
"America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the Gulf and we can be present in Iraq," said Mr Shamkhani, speaking in Farsi to the Arabic-language news channel through an interpreter.
"The US military presence (in Iraq) will not become an element of strength (for Washington) at our expense. The opposite is true, because their forces would turn into a hostage" in Iranian hands in the event of an attack, he said.
Iranian Parliament Proposes National Costume
August 18, 2004
TEHRAN -- Iran's conservative parliament is preparing designs for national Islamic costumes to combat the corrupting influence of Western fashion, a prominent MP said.
"We have to design new trends within the framework of an Islamic dress code. Both men and women need a national costume," Emad Afroogh, head of the parliamentary cultural commission, told student news agency ISNA.
He added that a national fashion reform bill had been put before the parliament's research centre for approval.
The move comes after the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned the nation in July about a "cultural invasion" and the dangers of imitating foreigners, asserting that Iranians needed to design their own styles.
In recent weeks state television has dedicated part of its main news programme to the question of "What is fashion?" -- a series of interviews with residents, clerics and "experts" aimed at defining what can and cannot be worn.
The Tehran chief of police warned women a few days ago not to dress like "models", while a general clampdown over the last few months has seen police rounding up hundreds of young women sporting flimsy headscarves, three-quarter-length trousers and shape-revealing coats.
On Tuesday parliament rejected the gender equality bill put forward by its reformist predecessors.
Iran Delivered Missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria
August 19, 2004
Middle East Media Research Institute
The Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa recently reported that Iran has delivered missiles to Hizbullah in Lebanon via Syria, and that Iran and Syria are cooperating closely in missile development and deployment. The following are excerpts of the article:(1)
"Two cargo aircraft landed on the morning of Wednesday, August 4, 2004, at one of the Syrian military airfields in north Damascus. There to greet the planes were Iranian Ambassador to Syria Riza Baqiri and Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mas'ud Idris."
Al-Siyassa also reported that "several Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers had arrived the previous day from their headquarters at a Hizbullah military camp near the town of Qasrbana in al-Buqa' in order to unload a significant number of surface-to-surface missiles."
According to information received from the Syrian opposition in London on Saturday, August 14, the missiles "are of the most recent and improved Iranian model, with a 250- to 350-kilometer range, with which it is possible to hit any target in Israel." The sources also reported to Al-Siyassa that the two deliveries comprised 220 missiles "that Iran had not so far supplied to any foreign entity...
"Over Thursday and Friday [August 12-13], the missiles were transported in civilian Syrian and Lebanese trucks to three Hizbullah military bases" in the regions of Jenta and Yahfufa near the Syrian border, as well as to southern Ba'albek.
The Syrian opposition said that according to information they claim to have received from a senior source in the Syrian military in Damascus, "the alert level of the Syrian missile corps, deployed mostly in the North and East of the country [i.e., Syria], has been raised to high after commanders in military intelligence and in the Ba'th party in Damascus received information about the possibility that the Israeli Air Force would attack the nuclear reactors in Iran via Jordanian, Iraqi, and Turkish skies."
It was also stated that in the event of such an Israeli attack, "Hizbullah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon overseeing the deployment and maintenance of thousands of missiles of various ranges would fire these missiles at cities in the Hebrew state, which could expand the aerial attacks on the nuclear, chemical, and biological installations and uranium-enrichment plants in Iran, such that the attack would also include Syria and Lebanon." In the same article, Al-Siyassa reported that a "Syrian military source told the Syrian opposition in London that an Iranian military delegation specializing in missiles had accompanied the two deliveries to Syria, in order to oversee the deployment of the missiles in the various regions in Lebanon."
The newspaper also quoted the source as saying that Iranian-Syrian missile cooperation is "the closest cooperation in the history of the two countries' strategic relations, since Iranian scientists working on developing the Shihab missiles in Tehran had gone to Syria at the beginning of the year  to participate in the development of missile artillery based on the same source on which Iran relies - that is, North Korea."
(1) Al-Siyassa (Kuwait), August 17, 2004.
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War of Words as Iran Threatens Israel
August 19, 2004
TEHRAN -- Iran will strike the Israeli reactor at Dimona if Israel attacks the Islamic republic's own burgeoning nuclear facilities, a commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying Wednesday.
If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear centre, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move, General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr warned.
Iran's controversial bid to generate nuclear power at its plant being built at Bushehr is seen by arch-enemies Israel and the United States as a cover for nuclear weapons development. The general's comments, reported by the Iranian press, mark an escalation in an exchange of threats between Israel and Iran in recent weeks, leading to speculation that there may be a repeat of Israel's strike against Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osirak in 1981.
Iran insists that its nuclear intentions are peaceful, while pointing at its enemy's alleged nuclear arsenal, which Israel neither confirms nor denies possessing.
Dimona, in the Negev desert, is allegedly where Israel produces weapons-grade plutonium for its estimated 200 nuclear warheads.
Revolutionary Guard chief Yadollah Javani on Sunday warned that the entire Zionist territory including its nuclear establishments and atomic munitions are now within the range of Iran's advanced missiles.
The statement came a few days after the Islamic Republic conducted what it called a successful test of an upgraded version of its conventional medium-range Shahab-3 missile.
The missile is considered the mainstay of Iran's military technology and portrayed as purely defensive and dissuasive, but also specifically as a weapon against Israel. The Revolutionary Guards, or Sepah-e Pasdaran, to whom the Shahab-3 has been entrusted, exist in parallel to the regular armed forces. The ideological spearhead of the regime, they are well equipped and have a navy and air force as well as ground trooops. Zolqadr however considered that given the internal crises in the Zionist regime and its military, security and geographical vulnerability, Israel is not capable of attacking Iran and its threats are only propaganda. The threats, said General Zolqadr, are aimed at depriving Iran of its indisputable right to nuclear technology for peaceful ends. Israel is concerned that Iran will continue developing nuclear weapons while a diplomatic solution is being sought. Israeli intelligence estimates that Iran will have a nuclear weapon by 2007. John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security and a noted hawk in US President George W. Bush's administration, said Tuesday that bringing the Iranian nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council was long overdue.
We cannot let Iran, a leading sponsor of international terrorism, acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to Europe, most of central Asia and the Middle East, or beyond, he said.
Israel in July tested an improved version of its Arrow II anti-missile system, aimed squarely at fending off any attack by Iran. However, Israeli experts say that there is unlikely to be an Osirak-style strike on Iran's nuclear sites, saying their dispersal throughout the country and the current problems of the United States in Iraq would render such an attack counterproductive.
Mullahs Should be Punished for Nuclear Cheating
August 19, 2004
Iran yesterday stepped up its defiance of the outside world by threatening to destroy Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona. General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr of the Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying that this would be the consequence of any Israeli strike on the nuclear plant being built in the southern Iranian town of Bushehr.
The general was no doubt thinking of the attack ordered by Menachem Begin's government on the Osirak reactor in Iraq in 1981. He might also have reflected on why Israel might again think it necessary to take pre-emptive action against an Islamic threat.
The revolutionary regime in Teheran has steadfastly opposed the existence of the state of Israel and has given force to that belief by supporting Hizbollah in southern Lebanon and various armed Palestinian groups within the occupied territories.
In 2001, Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president who now heads the Expediency Council, said that if the Islamic world achieved nuclear parity with Israel, it would be able to annihilate that state while sustaining only damages from any counter-strikes. This insane calculation, which calmly envisages the death of millions of people on each side, is reminiscent of Mao's boast that China would come out on top after a nuclear war because of the vastness of its population.
Iran has learnt from Osirak to disperse its nuclear activities around the country, thus minimising the chance of a single, decisive strike against them. Having been caught cheating under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it has shown signs of co-operation, then resumed an attitude of defiance.
The government has evidently calculated that American preoccupation with Iraq and the presidential election has created a window of opportunity for the pursuit of its nuclear ambitions with impunity. The International Atomic Energy Agency is due to discuss Iran at its next meeting in September, but it may well be November, when its board convenes again, before the matter is referred to the United Nations Security Council, a step which Washington has long advocated.
The British Government says it has no illusions about Iran's determination to become a nuclear weapons power, an admission which underlines the bankruptcy of its policy of constructive engagement. The rigged victory of the conservatives in parliamentary elections in February shattered any hopes that elected reformers could prevail against the clerical guardians of the 1979 revolution.
The breaking of agreements on nuclear matters with the European Union trio of Britain, France and Germany has dealt a second blow to the proponents of dialogue. Add to these Iranian meddling in Iraq and you have a classic case of diplomatic optimism being quickly confounded by a far grimmer reality.
Iran has long sought nuclear status as a means of achieving regional hegemony. But it also remains a power determined to export Islamic revolution worldwide, with the goal of destroying the liberal democracies. As John Bolton, American Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, reminded us yesterday, the sooner the issue of its nuclear programme is referred to the Security Council, the better.
If it persists in cheating, Teheran must be further isolated and, if necessary, punished by sanctions. Beyond that, America and its allies should leave the clerics in no doubt that they will not tolerate their possession of nuclear weapons. In such hands, they would pose a far greater threat than Iraq under Saddam Hussein.
Israel will not be persuaded by the threat.
Khatami thinks he can rock while GWB is under election scrutiny.
Khatami is wrong
I dont know what your beliefs are other than a free Iran.
It will not happen without a free Israel.
Israel Palestine jordan, they must become neighbors under freedom
"It will not happen without a free Israel."
I take that back.
Iran can be the imputus to a free society.
But we must meld the wounds to do it.
We should all be "Free"
Its a start
"We should all be "Free" "
"We need to stand by our friends."
Yes, we do. Thanks
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
Muqtada Sadr thugs received orders from Iran to end their stand as part of new tactic.
MS militia are surrounded and hopelessly fighting for their death or surrender.
The Iraqi interim government is fool to accept less than surrender of Sadr and his militia after they put their arms not only in Najaf but everywhere else!
Sadr plan is to give up Najaf and continue somewhere else in the south and Al-Thawra city.
Democracy can not be brought to mideast countries by Bombs and Military Forces! The people there should learn the values of freedom, themselves!
Iran allegedly aborts anti-U.S. plot
August 19, 2004
TEHRAN, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Iran reportedly aborted a plot by al-Qaida and radical Iranian Revolutionary Guards to assassinate U.S. officers in central Asian countries neighboring Iran.
The Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat Thursday quoted sources close to Iranian intelligence, which is controlled by reformists, as saying that they discovered the plot after intercepting messages between al-Qaida operatives and Iranian Revolutionary Guards, along with the so-called Quds Brigade, in Iran.
Iranian intelligence also monitored telephone conversations between a senior official in the office of Iranian spiritual guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a senior operative of al-Qaida in Iran.
It said their findings indicated that "there is a sensational plot in which members of Quds Brigade, al-Qaida and the Revolutionary Guards were involved to assassinate U.S. military personnel and intelligence officers operating in central Asia, notably in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkmenistan, which are Iran's neighbors."
The paper said the plot was aimed at drawing Iran into direct confrontation with the United States as well as countries located on its northern border.
Police Quiz Airport Film Group
August 19, 2004
Police have confirmed they are investigating an incident at Inverness Airport when four people, believed to be Iranians, were spotted filming in the early hours of the morning.
A security guard spotted the group, two men and two women, using a video camera from the car park at about 12:40am on 8 August. Later that day, 130 British and American marines arrived at Cameron Barracks in the city, ten miles from the airport, to begin a training exercise.
The group arrived by taxi and were dropped in the airport car park. The driver waited while they filmed near the terminal building, which had been closed for about two hours, before driving them away again. The guard immediately contacted police who later interviewed the group, but no arrests were made.
A police spokeswoman said a report had been received from airport security staff about people believed to be acting suspiciously. She said no arrests have been made but that inquiries into the incident are continuing. She could not confirm the groups nationality.
She added: "It is thought that these persons may be foreigners to the area.
"We have a daily presence at the airport and take any such reports seriously."
Approaching Iran and North Korea
August 19, 2004
The Washington Times
Apart from a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction, few foreign policy threats are as disturbing as the possibility that rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea could soon both have nuclear weapons.
Whether President Bush or John Kerry is elected president, the new administration will find dealing with these countries one of its most difficult challenges. The difference is that the Bush administration has labored thus far unsuccessfully to come to grips with these problems for several years. Mr. Kerry has done little beyond offering empty slogans. His criticism of Mr. Bush for supporting deployment of missile defenses to protect the country against ballistic missile attack will doubtless bolster hopes in Tehran and Pyongyang that they can deter the United States from applying force against them if Mr. Kerry is elected.
In trying to address these growing nuclear threats, there seem to be no good options for resolving the problems just bad ones and worse ones. Economic and diplomatic incentives have produced nothing. Using force would entail the possibility of a nuclear exchange involving hundreds of thousands of casualties (or more). Ignoring the problem carries with it the arguably greatest long-term risk of all: that Iran will have more time to develop nuclear weapons; and North Korea, which most likely has some nuclear weaponry now, will be able to produce more possibly for sale to other governments or terrorist groups. Mr. Bush must explain this to the American people now, not in the final weeks of the campaign, when a serious attempt to address this would be dismissed by the chattering class as a desperate effort to preserve his presidency.
Mr. Kerry, on the other hand, has been irresponsible in the extreme. He touts the failed EU diplomatic initiative as a superior alternative to Mr. Bush's approach to Iran. One of Mr. Kerry's top foreign policy spokesmen, Rand Beers, blames Mr. Bush for blocking talks with Iran.
Mr. Kerry told The Washington Post that Mr. Bush made a serious mistake in not talking directly with Pyongyang, and offered the Clinton administration's approach highlighted by the 1994 agreement to provide the regime with energy and financial assistance in return for a promise to halt its nuclear weapons programs (which North Korea violated from the start) as a model he would attempt to follow.
Mr. Kerry wants to take us back to the good old days when the Clinton gang knew North Korea was cheating, but pretended otherwise to continue a dialogue that gave Pyongyang cover to build more nukes. That's foolishness, not leadership.
What About Iran?
August 19, 2004
Last week in Baghdad, 30 Iranians were captured fighting for the militant Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. A few days earlier, two trucks transporting weapons for Sadrs fighters were caught trying to drive into Iraq from Iran.
NBC reported recently that "thousands" of Iranian-funded fighters are operating in Iraq. And last month, the Sept. 11 commission, which investigated U.S. intelligence failures associated with the terrorist attacks, found that eight of the 19 hijackers were given safe passage through Tehran in 2000 and 2001.
Yet despite all of this damning behavior, a senior Bush administration official last month told the Financial Times, "Irans hard-line government has refrained from efforts to destabilize the new government in neighboring Iraq."
After the release of the Sept. 11 commissions findings about the safe passage, President Bush responded unflappably to the critical accusation, saying the United States "will continue to look and see if the Iranians were involved."
While the on-the-books policy of the current administration is regime change in Tehran, an overstretched military and an absence of good military options have led Bush to sound decidedly dovish. Rather than beating another war drum, he has made murmurs about the prospect of resumed relations in exchange for better Iranian behavior.
Just 10 weeks before the November election, Bush faces a problem: Iran, one of the three points on the axis of evil he described in his 2002 State of the Union address, is compounding headaches for the administration in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is now evidence of a link between the regime and Al Qaeda, throwing further doubt on why the Bush administration chose to strike at Saddam Hussein, rather than deal with the problem of the mullahs in Tehran.
And perhaps most menacingly of all, Iran is driving full speed ahead toward achieving a nuclear weapon. Senior U.S. officials all the way up to Bush have said the world cannot allow Iran to go nuclear, but such rhetoric has not proved powerful enough to halt programs in the past.
"Weve heard this from the administration before. Weve said, We cant allow North Korea to develop nuclear weapons. News flash: North Korea does have nuclear weapons," said Jon B. Wolfsthal, deputy director of the Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice made the pledge most recently in an Aug. 8 interview with NBCs "Meet the Press." "We cannot allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon," she said. "The president will look at all the tools that are available to him."
Yet at the moment, the United States, so consumed with the mess in Iraq, hardly has the stomach for another Middle East confrontation.
"The U.S. commitment in Iraq in terms of attention and troops has dramatically reduced our leverage over Iran," Wolfsthal said.
And in case anyone in Iran remained worried about the Bush administration getting tough, all they had to do was listen to Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz on Aug. 10. "We cant do everything at once," the administrations top hawk told the House Armed Services Committee, when asked how the United States is dealing with Irans nuclear ambitions and its support for terrorism.
With competing camps within the administration, some pushing for engagement, others for, at the very least, support for democracy advocates inside Iran, Washington seems hardly able to draft a coherent approach to Tehran. Gone at least for now is the neoconservative rhetoric that the U.S. superpower can go it alone.
Even though the Iranian nuclear threat is far more imminent than Iraqs ever was, the United States is pursuing an internationalist approach, relying on the Europeans (who provide Iran with 40 percent of its imports and have more leverage) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) actors that the Bush administration ridiculed in the run-up to the Iraq war to fix the problem.
Last October, the Europeans, bearing all kinds of carrots, thought they had won a pledge from the Iranians to halt their nuclear bid. The IAEA quickly found that Iran was continuing to manufacture centrifuges needed for uranium enrichment, the key to a nuclear warhead.
Now the United States is hoping the IAEA, which meets next month, will refer Irans nuclear violations to the U.N. Security Council. And there, the United States hopes the world will sanction Iran for its behavior.
Israel is hoping for that, too. Israeli officials say world attention to the Iranian nuclear problem has slowed the program a bit. Israel recently set back the date by which Iran will have a nuclear bomb to 2008.
But everyone all the way up to Bush knows that if diplomatic efforts to persuade Iran to abandon the program fail, Israel will not wait until Iran has fissile material to take steps to thwart the program. The London Times reported last month that Israel had conducted military rehearsals for a preemptive strike against Irans nuclear power facility under construction at Bushehr.
"Israel will on no account permit Iranian reactors especially the one being built in Bushehr with Russian help to go critical," the Times quoted an Israeli defense source as saying. "If the worst comes to the worst and the international efforts fail, we are very confident well be able to demolish the ayatollahs nuclear aspirations in one go."
Iran, which this month tested its long-range Shahab 3 missile believed to be able to be tipped with a nuclear warhead has pledged in turn to "wipe Israel off the map" if it strikes at its facilities. And Ayatollah Ali Hamenei, Irans supreme leader, recently warned it would strike at the "enemys" interests around the globe in retaliation, most likely a reference to soft targets like Jewish centers and Israeli embassies.
If Iran attains nuclear capability, the perceived threat to Israel may be greater than the actual one. "I think that the odds are they would not use it against Israel. The odds are against that they would contract out the nuclear technology to terrorists," said Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA Middle East specialist who is now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Speaking at a panel on Iran hosted by the Hudson Institute on Tuesday, Gerecht noted that while he believes "the Iranian regime is not a crazy regime" and therefore would not seek nuclear annihilation by striking Israel in a post-Sept. 11 world, people must be "very fearful" of the possibility of a nuclear-equipped, virulently anti-Israel Iran.
Ray Takeyh, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said on the same panel that Irans accelerated nuclear ambitions were motivated primarily by the "massive projection of American power on Irans periphery," not by a desire to strike Israel. "I never really believed that Iran wants nuclear weapons because of Israel. Israel has no territorial designs on Iran."
"Nobody is going to talk about what kind of option Israel has operationally," said David Ivry, who commanded the Israeli air forces 1981 covert strike against Iraqs Osirak nuclear reactor. In a telephone interview, Ivry said one of the keys to the 1981 raid was that "nobody [outside the planners] knew what [Israels] red line was.
"The red line was that we are going to attack when there is enriched uranium on its way to be put in the nuclear reactor," he explained. "The idea was such that we cannot attack the nuclear reactor after the enriched uranium was put in, because it would cause an environmental disaster."
"Now," Ivry said, speaking of Iran, "it is a bit different. There are more facilities. They are underground. You have to define a red line, and this should be done inside [the Israeli military establishment]."
Ivry, unlike the defense source quoted by the London Times, has no delusions that an Israeli military strike would wipe out Irans nuclear capability forever.
"Even when we attacked the nuclear reactor at Osirak, our intelligence said within three to five years they would have it again," Ivry said. "But the idea was such that we have to gain time.... You cannot destroy a nuclear program completely once a nation has a desire to have it. Youd need different leadership."
Zalman Shoval, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, said that an Iranian nuke would be a problem for the entire world, not just Israel.
"If the Iranians actually developed nuclear weapons capability, of course Israel would be worried," Shoval said. "But Im not sure Israel is the sole or even the main potential target. Im not sure this is Irans most important geopolitical aim. What Iran wants to do is to be a regional superpower and control parts of the Middle East, and they apparently believe that having nuclear weapons will give them that ability."
"Im not saying Israel couldnt act," he added. "But Israel doesnt want and doesnt need to be in the forefront of acting."
One of the main obstacles in confronting Irans nuclear program is that the program is not centered at Bushehr, Wolfsthal said. Iran is working on producing highly enriched uranium using small gas centrifuges and cylinders at spots throughout the country. Wolfsthal said Iran has the science down and doesnt need any additional technology from countries like Pakistan or Russia.
"Iran has become largely self-sufficient ... we dont have the ability to constrain them through an embargo or a blockade," he said.
Some experts in Washington predict a second Bush administration would be more robust in its approach to Iran, anything from more actively fomenting domestic dissent to a decapitating strike against the Iranian leadership, should the nuclear threat become critical.
A Kerry administration, some Democrats, in particular, say, may be better able to work with European allies to produce a diplomatic solution. Whats for certain, as Shoval noted, is that "despite the present imbroglio in Iraq, whoever wins in November will have to take the lead in dealing with it."
Terror's South African Front
August 19, 2004
On July 25, following a twelve-hour shootout, two South African Al Qaeda operatives were nabbed in Pakistan, along with Africa Embassy bombing suspect Ahmed Ghailani. According to reports, the pair was plotting attacks against a number of targets in South Africa, including the Johannnesburg Stock Exchange and the National Parliament in Cape Town.
These arrests highlight the growing threat posed by radical Islamists in South Africa. In addition to Al Qaedas increased presence within the country, South Africas government has closely allied itself with Iran and has largely ignored the spread of Islamic extremism within its borders.
Two months before the Pakistan arrests, the South African government revealed that security forces had thwarted an Al Qaeda plot to disrupt the countrys presidential election. South African terror suspects have even attempted to make their way into the U.S.
Just last week, a South African with suspicious travel documents was arrested in Mexico near the U.S. border. His links to Al Qaeda are currently being investigated. And on July 19, customs agents in Texas arrested Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, a South African woman with a doctored passport. Like the man arrested last week, she is also being probed for possible Al Qaeda ties. In addition, immigration officials have been on the lookout for suspicious persons with South African travel documents ever since British authorities discovered hundreds of genuine blank South African passports during an anti-terrorism raid in London earlier this year.
While these developments underscore South Africas importance as a key node in the War on Terror, in fact, radical Islam has held a foothold in South Africa since at least the 1980s.
One of the most well-established Islamist organizations in South Africa is Qibla, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department. Formed in 1980 by radical Imam Achmed Cassiem to promote the establishment of an Islamic state in South Africa, Qibla uses the Iranian Revolution as its model. During the 1980s, Qibla sent members to Libya for military training, and in the 1990s, operatives trained in Pakistan and fought alongside Hizbollah in South Lebanon. By 2000, over one hundred Qibla supporters had been arrested for violent offenses, including murder. After 9/11, Qibla announced that it had recruited fighters to send to Afghanistan.
Qibla is not the only group with which Achmed Cassiem is involved. In 1995, he was appointed chair of the Islamic Unity Convention (IUC), an umbrella organization for over 250 South African Muslim groups. There has been speculation that the IUC is a front for Qibla, and the group has voiced its support for convicted terrorists. Following the sentencing of those involved in the 1993 New York Day of Terror plot, Cassiem and the IUC penned an open letter to President Clinton that demanded the immediate and unconditional release of plot mastermind Shaikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and all those sentenced with him.
To spread Cassiems radical message, the IUC set up the Cape Town-based Radio 786. The station, which claimed 135,000 listeners in a 2000 survey, spreads extremist propaganda to South Africas Muslims. In a 1998 report, the Israeli government singled out Radio 786 for its use of classical anti-Semitic themes. Currently, the Radio 786 website boasts an extensive tribute to deceased Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin.
In addition to Qibla and IUC, People Against Gangersterism and Drugs (PAGAD) also has a significant presence in South Africa. According to the State Department, which labels PAGAD a terrorist organization, the group shares some members and leadership with Qibla.
While PAGAD claims that its sole aim is to eradicate gangsterism and drugs, in reality, the group has launched an anti-Western campaign. For example, PAGAD is believed to have masterminded the bombing of the Cape Town Planet Hollywood in 1998, possibly in retaliation for U.S. strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan. Whats more, PAGAD has adopted the language of holy war, as members are referred to as mujahideen and martyrs. And, according to press reports, the group has sent members to Libya and Iran for training.
While hosting a number of indigenous terror groups, South Africa has also been a haven for international terrorist organizations. According to a variety of media reports, Israel lodged a formal complaint with the South African government in 1996 regarding the existence of five Hezbollah training camps. In 2002, The Wall Street Journal reported growing concern among security analysts that Islamist extremists, including Al Qaeda, are using South Africas open society as a safe haven and a base to raise funds, launder money and plan terror operations. One U.S. counterterrorism official told The Journal, [w]e are detecting so much smoke lately that somethings got to be burning down there somewhere. In July 2003, the Israeli Security Services declared that there is recognizable [Hamas] activity in South Africa.
In addition, South Africa has allowed a stream of radical students to enter the country. As an October 2003 Washington Post article noted, students from Pakistans radical madrassas have fled to South Africa to avoid a post-9/11 government crackdown on extremist indoctrination. The Post quoted Mohammad Jamil, a spokesman for the Federation of Madrassas, who said, [a]bout 500 have already moved to South Africa Others are planning to pack their bags. These students likely found their way to the Islamic schools that recently sprang up in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban to meet the increased demand. The South African Embassy in Islamabad has contributed to this influx with its generous visa policy.
The South African governments willingness to allow this radicalized element into the country is not surprising given its general reluctance to take a firm stance against Islamic extremism. Most notably, South Africa has developed close ties with Iran, arguably the worlds most active state sponsor of terrorism. Speaking on July 21, 2003 at the 7th South Africa-Iran Joint Bilateral Commission (established to expand political, economic, and trade links between the two countries), Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamani Zuma touted the shared values between South Africa and the Islamic Republic of Iran, namely the promotion of democracy, justice, peace and prosperity. Just two months earlier, Zuma had traveled to Tehran for the 30th Session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.
In line with South Africas deeply troubling partnership with Iran, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad, met with the chief of Hezbollahs political bureau, Mohammad Raad, in Beirut in June 2003. In a press release, the Department of Foreign Affairs remarked:
Mr. Pahad noted Mr. Raads position that Hizbollah was a legitimate liberation movement in terms of international law Mr. Pahad concurred that clear distinctions should be made between terrorism and legitimate struggle for liberation.
The South African government has also levied sharp criticism at Israel. For example, in 2002, Minister of Foreign Affairs Zuma led a Non-Aligned Movement delegation to meet with Yasser Arafat in an expression of solidarity with the people of Palestine. The accompanying Department of Foreign Affairs release declared: [t]he NAM delegation reiterated the movements outrage at the intensification of the illegal Israeli occupation, the killing, vast destruction, the economic strangulation and other atrocities committed against Palestine and its people. More recently, the Department of Foreign Affairs lambasted Israel for killing Hamas leader Ahmed Yassin, who it termed a moderating influence.
Despite its governments pro-Palestinian stance, South Africa clearly has not managed to escape Al Qaedas wrath. Instead, Islamic extremists have taken advantage of the governments laxity and, spurred on by a chaotic situation in which poverty, unemployment, and AIDS are rampant, have been able to establish a solid base for fundraising, recruiting, and operations.
As an article in The Economist notes, [South African President Thebo] Mbeki speaks more passionately about the need to stop the war in Iraq than about issues over which he has actual influence, such as AIDS Additionally, violent crime is at epidemic levels (139 police were murdered in 2002 alone) and the police are largely ineffective. Also according to The Economist, [m]any in the police are inexperienced, poorly trained and corrupt; the institution itself cannot be relied upon to enforce the law adequately and to protect the public. Government officials are also wary of a sweeping crackdown on radicals due to fears that such actions could lead citizens to draw parallels with the apartheid era.
While this is a legitimate concern given the countrys past, South Africa must look to the future in taking the necessary measures to neutralize the growing radical Islamic threat festering within its borders.
Preventing Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons
August 17, 2004
John R. Bolton
John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Remarks to Hudson Institute Washington, DC August 17, 2004
I'm very pleased to be here at the Hudson Institute among so many old friends. Today I'd like to speak about Iran, which has concealed a large-scale, covert nuclear weapons program for over eighteen years, and which, therefore, is one of our most fundamental proliferation challenges.
All of Iran's WMD [weapons of mass destruction] efforts -- chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles -- pose grave threats to international security. Iran's pursuit of these deadly weapons, despite its signature on treaties that ban them, marks it as a rogue state, and it will remain so until it completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantles its WMD-related programs.
In response to recent criticism that the Bush Administration has not been attentive enough to the nuclear threats emanating from Iran, let me just say from the very start of his Administration , the President treated Iran as a serious and growing threat to international security, as evidenced by his famous "Axis of Evil" speech. This Administration was at the forefront of warning the international community about the seriousness of Iran's nuclear weapons program. We have been using every diplomatic tool at our disposal -- working through multilateral channels such as the International Atomic Energy Agency ("IAEA"), the G-8, and with our Russian, Chinese, British, French and German counterparts, and many others -- to apply pressure on Iran to halt its illicit activities.
Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program Let me start by describing several aspects of Iran's nuclear activities, and why they trouble us so much. There is much we do not know about Iran's weapons program, but much that we do know has been corroborated by a series of IAEA reports over the past year. It is the accumulation of this public and uncontradicted evidence, not just our own sensitive intelligence information, that leads us to our conclusions about Iran's true objectives. To this moment, Iran has never supplied coherent explanations for what it is up to, which is yet another indication that we are watching a clandestine nuclear weapons program in operation.
Iran is pursuing two separate paths to nuclear weapons, one that would use highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and one that would use plutonium. As to the uranium route, Iran has tried to develop two different uranium-enrichment methods in order to produce weaponsgrade uranium. First, it has established a number of facilities for the manufacture and testing of centrifuges (many of which are owned by military industrial organizations), a pilot enrichment facility designed for 1,000 centrifuges, and a large buried facility intended to house up to 50,000 centrifuges. In parallel, Iran has pursued another program to enrich uranium with lasers. Both of these programs were successfully concealed from IAEA inspectors in Iran for years until an Iranian opposition group disclosed their existence. As IAEA DG ElBaradei's reports confirmed, Iran used both enrichment methods to secretly enrich uranium, enriching to at least 1.2% using centrifuges, and up to 15% using lasers.
Iran has also developed a program for the production of plutonium, an alternate path to nuclear weapons. Covert construction of a large, heavy water production plant was also disclosed by an Iranian opposition group. Its purpose is to supply heavy water for a research reactor that Iran plans to begin constructing this year. The technical characteristics of this heavy water moderated research reactor are optimal for the production of weapons-grade plutonium. Iran claims the purpose of the reactor is for isotope production for civil purposes, a claim that belies Iran's confirmed past interest in building hot cells at the heavy water reactor that appear to be designed for plutonium separation.
Another potential source of plutonium for weapons is the Bushehr light-water power reactor, which is currently under construction. That reactor is under IAEA safeguards. Russia has agreed to provide all fresh fuel for that reactor, and Iran and Russia are discussing an agreement to return all spent fuel to Russia. However, if Iran should withdraw from the Nonproliferation Treaty ("NPT") and renounce this agreement with Russia, the Bushehr reactor would produce enough plutonium each year for about 30 nuclear weapons.
The potential to produce plutonium is just one of several proliferation concerns with the Bushehr reactor. This large nuclear project provides Iran with access to nuclear technology as well as expertise and training in the construction and operation of nuclear facilities. Bushehr can be used as a cover and a pretext for other sensitive and troublesome nuclear fuel cycle activities. For a variety of reasons, including the lack of agreement with Iran on the return to Russia of the spent fuel containing plutonium, Russia has not yet shipped fuel for initial operation of the Bushehr reactor.
The costly infrastructure to perform all of these activities goes well beyond any conceivable peaceful nuclear program. No comparable oil-rich nation has ever engaged, or would be engaged, in this set of activities -- or would pursue them for nearly two decades behind a continuing cloud of secrecy and lies to IAEA inspectors and the international community -- unless it was dead set on building nuclear weapons.
Cover stories put forward by Iran for the development of a nuclear fuel cycle and for individual facilities are simply not credible. For example, Iran is making an enormous investment in facilities to mine, process, and enrich uranium, and says it needs to make its own reactor fuel because it cannot count on foreign supplies. But for at least the next decade Iran will have at most a single nuclear power reactor. In addition, Iran does not have enough indigenous uranium resources to fuel even one power-generating reactor over its lifetime -- though it has quite enough uranium to make several nuclear bombs. We are being asked to believe that Iran is building uranium enrichment capacity to make fuel for reactors that do not exist from uranium Iran does not have.
Iran would have us believe it is building a massive uranium enrichment facility without having tested centrifuge machines, and building a heavy water production plant with no evident legitimate use for the product. The more credible explanation is that Iran is building the infrastructure to produce highly enriched uranium in centrifuges and plutonium in a heavy-watermoderated reactor.
Finally, there is Iran's claim that it is building massive and expensive nuclear fuel cycle facilities to meet future electricity needs, while preserving oil and gas for export. All of this strains credulity. Iran's uranium reserves are miniscule, accounting for less than one percent of its vast oil reserves and even larger gas reserves. Iran's gas reserves are the second largest in the world, and the industry estimates that Iran flares enough gas annually to generate electricity equivalent to the output of four Bushehr reactors.
Over the past two years, the IAEA has reported many details about Iran's nuclear program that leave no doubt of Iran's nuclear weapons intentions. Consider, for example, the urgency of Iran's push to master centrifuge technology in the face of calls by the international community to suspend enrichment activities. On June 19, 2003, the Chairwoman of the IAEA Board issued a statement of the Board urging Iran not to introduce nuclear material into its centrifuge cascade, pending resolution of the issues that have been raised about Iran's nuclear program. According to subsequent reporting by the IAEA Director General, just six days later, on June 25, Iran introduced uranium hexafluoride into its centrifuge cascade. Iran's stated purpose of producing fuel for nuclear power reactors whose construction has not yet begun -- and which will not be in operation for at least a decade -- hardly justifies this need to press ahead quickly. But this urgency is quite consistent with a desire to produce a nuclear weapon as soon as possible. Consider also that the IAEA has discovered that Iran has produced Polonium 210 in the Tehran Research Reactor. The IAEA Director General's reports identify two primary uses for Polonium 210: neutron initiators in certain designs of nuclear weapons, and batteries for space satellites. Since Iran has no space satellites or deep space program, the nuclear weapons application is obviously of concern.
Another unmistakable indicator of Iran's intentions is the pattern of repeatedly lying to and providing false reports to the IAEA. For example, Iran denied testing centrifuges with uranium, denied the existence of a laser enrichment program, denied producing enriched uranium, and denied receiving any foreign assistance in its centrifuge program. In each case, Iran confessed the truth only when confronted with irrefutable technical evidence from IAEA inspections. Iran's October 2003 submission to the IAEA, a declaration that was supposed to be the correct, complete, and final story of Iran's nuclear program, omitted any mention of the development and testing of advanced P-2 centrifuges, which IAEA inspectors discovered in early 2004. Iran's violations of its safeguards agreement with the IAEA include production of plutonium by covertly introducing uranium targets into the Tehran research reactor and reprocessing the irradiated targets to separate the plutonium, and enrichment of uranium with centrifuges and lasers. The IAEA Director General concluded in November 2003 that, "it is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement."
There are press reports of Iranian attempts to purchase deuterium, with speculation that this would be used for boosting the yield of nuclear weapons. Such reports underscore how incomplete our information is on the Iranian nuclear program. Why should Iran be seeking deuterium, when as I have said Iran is building a production facility for heavy water, another name for deuterium, to supply its heavy water reactor program? What other roles does deuterium play in the Iranian nuclear program? There are also troubling press reports of Iran's continued interest in procuring sensitive nuclear-related technologies from abroad that could have nuclear weapons applications, like dual-use high speed cameras and spark gaps. We hope the IAEA is investigating such procurement attempts closely and will report on any findings in the upcoming report.
The impetus behind the Iranian quest for nuclear weapons is so great it has caused Iran to renege on its commitments to the IAEA to ratify the Additional Protocol and fully cooperate with inspectors, and renege on its commitment to the Europeans to suspend uranium enrichment activities. If we permit Iran's deception to go on much longer, it will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons.
Isolation, Not Engagement
Since an Iranian opposition group provided public information on elements of Iran's nuclear program than had been hidden from the IAEA in August 2002, the IAEA has conducted a series of inspections or Iranian facilities. This has resulted in a series of five reports by the IAEA Director General, all of which are posted on the IAEA web site. These reports document a great deal of information on the Iranian nuclear program, and also make clear there are many remaining unanswered questions, including the true scope and nature of Iran' advanced centrifuge enrichment program, the assistance Iran has received in centrifugetechnology and in other areas, the involvement of the military in the centrifuge program and perhaps other aspects of Iran's nuclear efforts,plans for hot cells that can be used for separation of plutonium, and many others. A sixth report of the Director General is expected at the end of August, which is not likely to put these questions to rest.
In response, the IAEA's 35-member Board of Governors has since June 2003 has issued a statement of the Board and adopted four unanimous resolutions expressing increasing concern about the Iranian nuclear program, deploring Iran's failures and insufficient cooperation, and calling on Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA. The Board has repeatedly called on Iran to suspend all enrichment related activities, something Iran steadfastly refuses to do. Indeed, The most recent resolution in June 2004 "deplores" the fact that "Iran's cooperation has not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been," reiterates its call for Iran to suspend all enrichment related activities, and specifically calls on Iran to refrain from production of uranium hexafluoride and production of centrifuge components. Iran has made clear it is going forward with the startup of its uranium conversion faciltiy for production of uranium hexafluoride and other materials for the Iranian nuclear program, and going forward with production of centrifuge components and assembly of centrifuges.
Iran's actions and statements do not bode well for the success of a negotiated approach to dealing with this issue. In June, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Assefi renounced a central part of the deal Iran made last year with Britain, France and Germany to suspend its uranium enrichment programs, saying, "Iran feels itself no longer obliged to its commitments with the European Union trio and will revise its policies on nuclear activities and announce the new decisions within the coming days." And Iranian President Mohamed Khatami declared that Iran was no longer bound by any "moral commitment" to continue suspending uranium enrichment. Iran's decision on July 29 to resume the construction and assembly of nuclear centrifuge parts domestically and remove the seals on material sealed by the IAEA is further cause for alarm.
Iran's repudiation of a central element of its deal with the EU-3 is a substantial setback for the European approach, and underlines why we continue to believe that the Iranian nuclear weapons program must be taken up by the UN Security Council, falling as it does within the Council's mandate to address threats to international peace and security.
There is, of course, a real irony here. Much of the pressure on Iran has come not by the international community threatening the use of force against Iran, but merely by the prosspect of Iran's nuclear program to be placed on the agenda of the Security Council. Never has the Council been so feared! This is quite an achievement for an Administration frequently criticized as "unilateralist."
Clearly, the time to report this issue to the Security Council is long overdue. To fail to do so would risk sending a signal to would-be proliferators that there are not serious consequences for pursuing secret nuclear weapons programs. As Condoleezza Rice told Fox News two weeks ago, "The Iranians have been trouble for a very long time. And it's one reason that this regime has to be isolated in its bad behavior, not quote-unquote, 'engaged."
Our Counterproliferation Strategy
While we work to bring this issue to the UN Security Council, we are simultaneously pursuing other measures to bring a halt to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. We have focused special attention on Russia, the supplier of Iran's Bushehr reactor. Following sustained high-level exchanges, initiated by President Bush, we believe that Russia now shares our concern about Iran's nuclear activities. It joined us in supporting the IAEA's ongoing inspections and backed language in the Sea Island Summit declaration in June deploring Iran's failure to cooperate with the IAEA.
Additionally, Russia recently joined the core group of nations participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative ("PSI"), a robust new tool for counter-proliferation launched one year ago by President Bush. PSI is designed to stop the spread of WMD's, their delivery systems, and related materials to non-state actors and rogue states such as Iran. The overwhelmingly positive response and enhanced awareness that PSI has fostered globally about real, practical steps that can be taken to defeat proliferators is a testament to the importance that countries attach to confronting the challenge of proliferation and developing innovative tools to combat it. The PSI-coordinated interdiction of the ship, BBC CHINA, en route to Libya with equipment for its nuclear weapons program was an important element in the Libyan decision to renounce and dismantle its WMD programs.
In a speech at the National Defense University in February, President Bush addressed weaknesses in the nuclear nonproliferation regime that allowed states like Iran and Libya other states with covert nuclear programs to subvert their NPT obligations. He detailed a number of proposals that made clear the Administration's overarching approach: the frontlines in our nonproliferation strategy must extend beyond the well-known rogue states to the trade routes and entities that are engaged in supplying the countries of greatest proliferation concern. This is a "forward" policy, which can properly be described not as "nonproliferation," but as "counterproliferation." We are employing a number of tools to thwart WMD and missile programs, including sanctions, interdiction, and credible export controls. Most aspiring proliferators are still dependent on outside suppliers and technology. Thus, we can slow down and even stop their weapons development plans by disrupting their procurement efforts.
Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons capability is moving it further and further down the path toward international isolation. We cannot let Iran, a leading sponsor of international terrorism, acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to Europe, most of central Asia and the Middle East, or beyond. Without serious, concerted, immediate intervention by the international community, Iran will be well on the road to doing so. [End]
This document was downloaded from the U.S. State Department website (www.state.gov) on August 17, 2004.
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