Eye of the Storm: The 25-Year US-Iran War
August 19, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
At a meeting in Teheran last week, the Islamic Republic's supreme guide Ali Khamenei took questions from some 150 "Islamic guidance" officials operating around the world.
According to those present, the ayatollah responded with well-rehearsed answers, often consisting of one-line slogans. One question made him hesitate: Is the Islamic Republic at war against the United States?
According to leaks, the ayatollah tried to get around the question by claiming that it was the United States that was at war against "our Islamic Revolution."
Leaving aside semantic subtleties, it is fair to say that the US has been at war with the Khomeinist regime ever since the mullahs seized power in Teheran in 1979.
Much of this war has been of the cold type. But its history also includes lukewarm and hot episodes.
The opening shots were fired in February 1979 when Khomeinist gunmen invested 27 listening posts set up by the US in Iran to monitor Soviet missile tests in accordance with the SALT II accords. The posts had been created with the consent of the USSR and as Iran's contribution to global arms reduction programs. Within weeks all 27 posts were closed and their American personnel, briefly held hostage, expelled from the newly created Islamic Republic.
In October 1979 the Khomeinist regime and the US appeared to be heading for an understanding when Mehdi Bazargan, the ayatollah's first prime minister, met with president Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Bzrezinski, in Rabat. Carter had addressed a flattering letter to Khomeini, praising the ayatollah as "a man of God."
In a show of goodwill, Carter lifted the ban he had imposed during the revolutionary turmoil on arms exports to Iran.
A few days after the Bazargan-Bzrezinski meeting, however, Khomeinist militants raided the US Embassy in Teheran and seized its diplomats hostage. The drama was to last 444 days. In April 1980 Carter ordered a military operation to free the hostages.
This was the first time since 1941 that US forces were involved in hostile action in Iran. The operation ended in disaster, leaving behind the charred bodies of eight American troops in the Iranian desert.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
OVER THE years the mullahs developed a sophisticated strategy for waging low-intensity war against the US. The Hizbullah movement was created to make life difficult for US allies in the region, notably Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
For its part, the US played a key role in encouraging Saddam Hussein to attack Iran in September 1980. Washington's financial and intelligence support also contributed to Saddam's ability to fight for eight years. Washington also waged economic war against Teheran by freezing some billion in Iranian assets and denying the Islamic Republic access to global capital markets, World Bank loans, and new technology.
By 1987, the Islamic Republic had organized the killing of hundreds of Americans, including 241 marines in Beirut, while Teheran agents seized 27 Americans hostage in Lebanon at different times. They also kidnapped and hanged an American colonel working for the United Nations in Lebanon. Kidnapped and murdered as well in Teheran was the head of the CIA in Beirut.
In 1987 a US task force, sent to protect Kuwaiti oil tankers against Iranian attacks, engaged the Iranian navy in the biggest battle it had seen since 1941. The battle ended after more than half of the Iranian navy had been reduced to fuming flotsam and jetsam. The mullahs got the message and soon arranged for an end to their war with Iraq.
The war between the US and the Islamic Republic was then fought in other theaters, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
But the biggest proxy battles were fought between the Lebanese branch of the Hizbullah and Israel. The mullahs believe that they won because they forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon.
For 25 years the Islamic Republic has helped prop up various anti-American regimes, including those of North Korea, Syria, Sudan and Cuba, with cheap oil, cash gifts, and general political and economic support.
Today, this strange war is being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, Teheran is supporting Ismail Khan, the "emir" of Herat, while the US has put its chips on President Hamid Karzai. In recent months the mullahs have helped the Hazara Shi'ites create a 10,000-man army within a day's march to Kabul. To make life more difficult for the US-led coalition, Teheran is also helping the Pushtun fundamentalist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who has just concluded an alliance with the remnants of the Taliban.
In Iraq, the mullahs have a string of client groups not only among the Shi'ites but also in the Kurdish areas. And last month they reached a tactical alliance with the main Arab Sunni insurgent group led by Abu-Masaab al-Zirqawi when the latter visited Iran.
With the mullahs determined to deploy nuclear weapons, the stakes are certain to rise regardless of who wins the US presidential elections.
The writer, an Iranian author and journalist, is editor of the Paris-based Politique Internationale.
They keep on asking for our help..
Hey, DoctorZin... Why does it occur to me that I've seen you before... ;-)
Tensions Escalating Between Israel and Iran [Excerpt]
August 20, 2004
The Associated Press
JERUSALEM -- Iran threatened this week to attack Israel's nuclear facilities. Israel ominously warned that it "knows how to defend itself." Tensions between the two arch enemies have suddenly escalated, underlining the other great enmity that has been bubbling on the sidelines of the Arab-Israeli conflict for more than two decades.
Suspicions that the Iranian regime is moving forward with a nuclear arms program deeply worry Israel, which considers Iran the greatest threat to the Jewish state. Israeli officials say they want to avoid escalating the situation, however, and there is no sign Israel is building up for an attack like the one that destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.
Experts say the two countries are unlikely to go to war anytime soon, despite the heated-up rhetoric coming out of Iran and the intensified efforts by Israel to isolate the Iranian regime diplomatically.
Iran and Israel once had close ties, but they have been foes since the 1979 revolution that ousted Iran's shah and installed an Islamic government. Iranian leaders routinely call for Israel's destruction, while Israelis accuse Iran of supporting anti-Israel terrorists.
The heightened tensions arose from the U.S.-led campaign to organize international pressure on Iran to rein in its nuclear program.
While recently confirming they are working with technology that can be used to produce weapons-grade uranium, the Iranians insist their program's sole purpose is the peaceful generation of power and angrily complain about being under siege.
Last month, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards said Iranians would "crush" Israel if it attacked the Persian state. Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani, upped the ante this week, telling Al-Jazeera television that his government might launch pre-emptive strikes to protect its nuclear facilities if they were threatened.
"We will not sit to wait for what others will do to us," he said, adding that some Iranian generals believe the doctrine of pre-emption is "not limited to Americans."
The warning was seen as aimed at Israel, alluding to the Israeli strike on Saddam Hussein's reactor two decades ago.
A senior Israeli official responded that Israel's government was ready for all eventualities.
"We're not seeking war with Iran. But if a real threat materializes, Israel will know how to defend itself," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reflecting long-standing Israeli policy of not talking publicly about matters involving nuclear arms.
Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, but never formally confirms or denies it has them. It believes this policy of ambiguity is the best way to deter attack, by scaring regional foes about the possibility of nuclear annihilation while denying those nations a rationale for also seeking such weapons.
Despite the tensions, experts don't foresee things boiling over.
"I think it is a serious confrontation. The issue is who can do what about it," said Cliff Kupchan, vice president of the Nixon Center in Washington and a former Clinton administration official who is an expert on Iran.
"On the Israeli side, it is not clear that they have the military capabilities or intelligence knowledge to significantly set back the Iranian program. The Iranians learned from Osirak to disperse and copy everything they have (in their nuclear program). I don't think that Israel can do much."
Iran Calls for Meeting of Islamic Nations on "Catastrophe"' In Iraq [Excerpt]
August 20, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Ali Akbar Dareini
TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian President Mohammad Khatami called on Muslim countries Friday to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the "catastrophe" in Iraq, particularly the 2-week standoff in the holy city of Najaf.
Khatami urged the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference to hold an emergency summit and said immediate action should be taken to end the escalating violence in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, where militiamen loyal to militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have been fighting U.S. and Iraqi forces.
"What is happening in Iraq is a spiritual and human catastrophe and immediate action must be taken to stop the spread of the catastrophe, particularly in Najaf," Khatami said in a telephone conversation with the head of the OIC Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
On Friday, the Najaf uprising, centered on the revered Imam Ali Shrine, appeared to be drawing to an end as militants from al-Sadr's Mahdi Army removed weapons from the holy site.
The militants had been using the shrine, one of Shiite Islam's holiest, as a hideout while attacking U.S. and Iraqi forces. Earlier Friday they offered to give control of the shrine to Shiite religious authorities, who accepted the offer in principle.
It was unclear how Friday's apparent easing of the crisis in Najaf would affect Khatami's summit call.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi urged countries neighboring Iraq to hold an urgent meeting on the Najaf crisis.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan, when asked about Iran's call for a Muslim discussion of Iraq, urged Iran to support Iraq's leadership.
"What Iran needs to do is to be helpful to the interim government in Iraq and helpful to the Iraqi people as they move to build a free and peaceful future and not take steps that would be harmful in that respect," McClellan said.
Kharrazi first raised his meeting idea in a telephone call to Jordanian counterpart Marwan Muasher on Wednesday, but Jordan's response was not immediately made public.
The Syrian government supported Kharrazi's call, Syria's official news agency quoted an unnamed Foreign Ministry official as saying. Syria has been a loud opponent of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
The Political Olympics
August 18, 2004
The Jerusalem Post
To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, some say that the Olympics can forge peace and brotherhood merely by attracting athletes from diverse cultures and political systems.
Let them come to Athens.
Let them meet Iran's Arash Miresmaeili, a two-time world judo champion. Miresmaeili refused to compete because his first-round opponent, Ehud Vaks, committed the unpardonable sin of being an Israeli.
Miresmaeili's attitude should remind the world that totalitarian regimes use sports not to encourage peace and brotherhood but to further their own geopolitical agendas.
Sadly, after almost 70 years, the world needs reminding.
The romantic conventional wisdom about Jesse Owens disproving the myth of "Aryan" racial superiority by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics ignores the fact that the lie nevertheless doomed millions to death within a decade.
Besides, Hitler spared no effort to turn Berlin into a modern Potemkin Village that would impress tourists and allay their fears of Germany's ultimate intentions.
"We must be more charming than the Parisians, more easy-going than the Viennese, more vivacious than the Romans, more cosmopolitan than London, and more practical than New York," stated the Nazi newspaper Der Angriff almost a month before the Olympics.
Defusing suspicion belonged to a more comprehensive strategy.
"The four million Berliners," wrote Richard Mandell in his book, The Nazi Olympics, "has constant instruction from above that they had been entrusted with an obligation to demonstrate the excellence of German National Socialism to the whole world."
Wage and price controls kept meals and accommodations cheap. Official interpreters roamed the streets. Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels threw lavish parties for dignitaries.
The Nazis even dramatically downplayed their anti-Semitism. The government removed anti-Semitic signs and publications. The German Olympic committee reinstated a partially Jewish athlete, Helene Mayer, a world fencing champion and a 1932 Olympian who had been expelled from her athletic club in 1933 for having a Jewish father.
"Jew-baiting had been ordered to cease from the highest quarters," Mandell wrote. "Evidence of persistent racialism might be, and was, interpreted as vestigial rough edges of a superseded policy."
The result? As Mandell wrote, "...almost no one escaped the impression that the new Germans were working hard, were playing hard, were at peace and would stay that way."
THE SOVIET Union went further in exploiting sports for geopolitical purposes. The Soviets considered athletes as valuable as soldiers or diplomats during the Cold War because victorious athletes demonstrated the superiority of communism to the world.
As chairman of the USSR Committee of Physical Culture and Sport, Sergei Pavlov said in 1976 that sports is "another sphere, another criterion for evaluating the advantages of the Soviet political system."
Promoting communism meant creating a complex system of state-run sports schools and clubs to produce world-class athletes who would be technically proficient and ideologically correct. A coach's fundamental duty was to instill what one Soviet periodical called a "high Communist consciousness" in which athletes saw themselves as "Soviet patriots irreconcilable to the enemies of socialism and Communism."
An interview in the newspaper Sovietsky Sport during the 1980 Winter Olympics with Lyuba Baranova, a Soviet cross-country skier, illustrates the intensity of that indoctrination:
"'I mentally transferred myself to the siege of Leningrad from the first day to the last' When the skiing got difficult, Lyuba remembered the blockade of the city on the Neva and said to herself, 'For the Motherland, Lyuba! For Leningrad!'"
Miresmaeili's forfeiture appears orchestrated. A two-time world champion and a contender for an Olympic medal, used to years of disciplined training, suddenly exceeds his weight limit at the Olympics?
What about the immediate praise from Mohammad Khatami, the "moderate" Iranian president who told the Islamic Republic News Agency that Miresmaeili's forfeiture "will be recorded in the history of Iranian glories"?
What about the immediate recommendation from the chief of Iran's Olympic delegation that Miresmaeili receive the $115,000 government prize reserved for Iranian gold medalists?
What about the timing of Miresmaeili's announcement to coincide with the opening ceremonies, where he would be the focus of attention as Iran's flag bearer?
Given Iran's brutal regime and its support for terrorism, Miresmaeili's action did not just slap the face of one Israeli athlete. It slapped the faces of all free men who want to live in liberty and peace.
To paraphrase Kennedy once again, all free men wherever they may live are Israeli Olympians today. Therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "I am an Israeli Olympian."
The writer is a freelance contributor based in California.
Kerry: Carter Redux?
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | August 20, 2004
Now that the Democratic Party has committed itself to warmed-over Carterism in its platform document, the comically titled Strong At Home, Respected In The World, and Mickey Kaus has contributed a ringing endorsement worthy of the Man From Malaise (We survived Carter and wed survive Kerry), it is important to remember just what we owe Jimmy Carter: a resurgent global Islamic radicalism, emboldened and directly aided by the Khomeini regime in Iran that he did so much to set in place.
A sobering reminder of just how much Carter is responsible for Irans now sclerotic but still tenacious mullahocracy comes from Steven F. Hayward of the American Enterprise Institute in his new book, The Real Jimmy Carter (Regnery).
Modern Islamic radicalism, of course, was born in Egypt in the 1920s, when Hassan Al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, the primary progenitor of Hamas and Al-Qaeda. And even Al-Bannas movement was a reassertion of the political Islam that dated all the way back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, and which had just gone into momentary eclipse when the caliphate, the seat of the political/religious successor of Muhammad, was abolished by the secular Turkish government in 1924. Although Islamic radicals achieved many partial successes in the five intervening decades, the Khomeini revolution was the first success of this newly assertive movement on a national scale and its effects on the global movement have been incalculable.
And Carter was instrumental in this victory. Hayward tells the full story of how Carter, through passivity and indecision, allowed the situation in Iran to drift out of control. He notes that Carters National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and the American ambassador in Tehran, William Sullivan, repeatedly assured Pahlavi that the U.S. backed him fully, but in fact that backing extended little beyond private verbal cheerleading.
Whats more, despite the fact that Islamic radicalism was fifty years old by the time Khomeini became a serious threat to the Shah, and that Khomeini himself had been a political force in Iran for years before he came to power, the CIA, says Hayward, not only hadnt read any of Khomeinis writings but didnt even have copies of them. As one State Department official put it, Whoever took religion seriously? According to Hayward, Neither the State Department nor the intelligence community took Islamic fundamentalism seriously, while American scholars on Iran deprecated the idea that the clergy would participate directly in forming or running a government. The chief of staff to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, William Miller, even recommended that the U.S. support Khomeini, who he thought would be a progressive force for human rights.
Manifesting the same misunderstanding of the real nature of Islamic radicalism that still dogs the State Department and other agencies today, Brzezinski embarked on a plan to strengthen Islamic radicalism for the geopolitical ends of the day. According to political analysts and Iran experts Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi and Elio Bonazzi, Brzezinski instituted a plan to train fundamentalist Afghan Islamic mujahidin fighters in Pakistan under CIA supervision for which Carters successor Ronald Reagan is often blamed. Zand-Bonazzi and Bonazzi also point out that the other major Islamist terrorist force active today is also the product of misguided policies of the Carter administration, which deliberately destroyed the Shah of Iran and allowed the Islamic Revolution to take place. Hamas and Hizbollah are direct emanations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, responsible for killing hundreds of Americans (recall the 1984 attacks on the US embassy and the Marine barracks in Beirut) and Israelis. Although Hamas and Hizbollah existed before Khomeini, he was instrumental in their becoming and remaining significant forces.
And Khomeini owed his own political life to Carter. As the peanut President himself put it when Pahlavi made a final appeal for help to regain his throne in February 1979, Fk the Shah.
The bottom line? Khomeinis regime, says Hayward, executed more people in its first year in power than the shahs SAVAK had allegedly killed in the previous twenty-five years. Whether Khomeini in the early Eighties sent a thank-you note to the man now basking in glory as Americas greatest ex-President, who was by then down in Plains licking his wounds and beginning his path to the Nobel Prize, is not known. But should Kerry be elected, Khomeinis spiritual heirs, locked in a mortal struggle with a new movement for secularism and democracy in Iran, may start getting all sorts of new reasons to express their gratitude to the man in the White House.
New opener.....nice. But I'm not sure about American flag being on the Left, and how about a lion on that Iran flag? : )
Iran Plays Down Strike Threat
August 21, 2004
From Correspondents in Tehran
Tehran today disputed remarks by Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani apparently warning of pre-emptive Iranian strikes on US troops in neighbouring countries, claiming they were misinterpreted.
"The statements of the defence minister have not been reported accurately - to some extent they have been altered," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.
"We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us," MR Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV on Wednesday when asked if Iran would respond to a US attack on its nuclear facilities, speaking in Farsi through an interpreter into Arabic.
"Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly," he said, according to the translator.
"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."
But Mr Asefi said there had been "misinterpretations", adding, "Mr Shamkhani said that we would defend our territory and national interests and would allow no one to attack the Islamic republic". "If anyone attacks our country, we will respond with determination."
Mr Shamkhani's remarks were seen as an extension of an exchange of threats between Israel and Iran in recent weeks focussing on Iran's nuclear program.
Iran insists that the program, centred on the construction of a nuclear power plant at Bushehr, is purely peaceful but the US and Israel in particular fear it conceals efforts to develop atomic weapons.
Speculation has arisen that Israel may strike at Bushehr, in a repeat of its attack against Iraqi nuclear facilities at Osirak in 1981.
Mr Shamkhani added: "We will consider any strike against our nuclear installations as an attack on Iran as a whole, and we will retaliate with all our strength.
"Where Israel is concerned, we have no doubt that it is an evil entity, and it will not be able to launch any military operation without an American green light. You cannot separate the two."
"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.
Three Hanged in Public in Southeast Iran
August 21, 2004
Khaleej Times Online
TEHRAN -- Three Iranian men convicted of drug trafficking have been hanged in a square in the historic city of Kerman in southeast Iran on Thursday, the conservative Jomhuri Eslami daily reported on Saturday.
The report, quoting the local judiciary and giving only their first names, said Gholamreza, Mohammad and Hamid, were convicted of drug and arms trafficking.
Gholamreza was also found guilty of dealing in alcohol, which is strictly banned in Iran.
Some 3,500 kilos (nearly 7700 pounds) of opium and morphine, 11 Kalashnikovs, and other weapons that were in possession of the last two were seized, the report said.
Murder, armed robbery, rape, apostasy and serious drug trafficking are all punishable by death in Iran.
Editor's note - With no transparency, the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran hangs, executes and stones to death under the cover of fighting "moral corruption". The accuracy of these convictions are under serious question.
Then What About Iran, Senator Kerry?
August 20, 2004
Since John Kerry can't get his story straight on Iraq even with the benefit of hindsight and tons of "second" chances to explain his position, let's consider how he might deal with other possible threats -- such as Iran.
But first, a little background. I recently wrote a column addressing Kerry's apparent reversal on Iraq after President Bush demanded that he tell us whether he would have voted for the Iraq war resolution given what we know now about our failure to find WMD stockpiles there.
Kerry said he would answer the question "directly," and then proceeded to answer it indirectly. Yes, he would still vote for the resolution authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq.
Silly me. I took him at his word and wrote a column pointing out how inconsistent this "clarification" was with his convention speech promise that we'd only go to war "if we had to," not because we wanted to.
Kerry's handlers immediately said Kerry didn't really mean that he would have approved of going to war with Iraq, just that he would still have voted for the resolution authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq. The difference, you see, is that Kerry believed Bush would only go to war as a last resort and, then, only after he'd exhausted all efforts to build a larger coalition, to include those nations who hate America.
It appears that Kerry was splitting hairs again, engaged in another dodge that would permit him to continue threading the needle between well-grounded Americans who want to know their president will safeguard America's national security interests and the Michael Moore nutcases that constitute at least five of the six cylinders of Kerry's presidential campaign engine.
Perhaps President Bush, understanding Kerry's inability to stay put on any issue, should have added more qualifiers to his question. He should have asked him, "Would you, Senator, have voted to allow me to attack Iraq knowing that 1) we were not going to find WMD there and 2) I was not going to wait for Saddam to violate another 17 U.N. resolutions, correct his 12,000-page report of lies or shoot down some of our jets over the no-fly zone, and 3) I was not about to wait for the permission of France, Germany and Russia?
But forget the indirection, nuance and semantics. Given that this war on terror is going to persist for years, how would Kerry approach another rogue state -- such as Iran -- in the face of strong evidence that this nation constituted, say, a "gathering threat" to our national security?
Actually, pondering such questions is what scares me most about a Kerry presidency during these dangerous times. His worldview seems to make him impervious to certain moral distinctions among nations and the nature of the threat some might pose to our national security.
Kerry has been consistent on a few things over the years. He has been slow to recognize America's enemies. He was oblivious to the nature and threat of global communism. He still does not comprehend the nature and threat of terrorism. And he has always wanted to play "Mother, may I," with our "allies."
Just go back and read his 1971 Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony, set out in Chapter 6 of "Unfit for Command." He peddled the Communist propaganda that Vietnam was engaged in a civil war, that the Vietnamese people "didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy" and that America's actions were morally equivalent to the Viet Cong's. (In 1971, Kerry also described as "ludicrous" predictions that there would be a bloodbath if we were to withdraw. Yet the Communists killed an estimated 3.5 million people in their post-war purges and placed possibly a million in "reeducation camps" when we withdrew.)
And, in a foreshadowing of his obsession with "multilateralism," Kerry said, "We found also that all too often, American men were dying in those rice paddies for want of support from their allies."
This consistent pattern provides a glimpse into Kerry's soul, where we find a man who simply doesn't sufficiently grasp the profound differences between freedom and tyranny, between a benevolent power and the evil forces that want to destroy it.
If Kerry is elected president, we honestly don't know whether he would clearly perceive threats to our national security. He voted against the first Gulf War. He's been all over the board with the second one. He even thought it was necessary to assure us that he would indeed respond if America were attacked! Now that's reassuring.
The main reason Kerry has been inconsistent on the Iraq question is that he's been trying to fit a square peg (his antiwar DNA) into a round hole (the nation's awareness that we are in a dangerous war). America can't afford to take the risk of electing him.
Iran FM to visit New Zealand soon
Aug 21, 2004, 10:09
Iranian Foreign Minster Kamal Kharrazi will visit New Zealand on Monday for delicate talks with Prime Minister Helen Clark aimed at forging for the future of the political and economic relationship, Iran economist internet site said Wednesday.
This is the first visit to New Zealand by a top-level Iranian diplomat of Mr. Kharrazi's seniority in over a decade.
Controversy over Iran's nuclear policies, the tense situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and security issues in Asia and the south pacific will feature in Monday's talks.
But there will also be a strong emphasis on measures to deepen economic cooperation.
The two-day visit will be capped by the announcement of a new political and economic cooperation commission to be ratified in a signing ceremony at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday.
Disarmament minister Marion Hobbs will join Helen Clark for Monday's discussions. Both politicians have taken a strong stance against nuclear proliferation.
Iran last year signed an additional protocol to the Non-proliferation Treaty, which obliges it to accept tighter IAEA inspections.