Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- September 2, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 09/01/2004 9:15:06 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. As a result, 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. In fact they were one of the first countries to have spontaneous candlelight vigils after the 911 tragedy (see photo).
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.
9/1/04 - POWELL ON IRAN
The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government:
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has spoken out on the need for democratic change in Iran. Asked in a television interview about the possibility that the Iranian people could replace their government, Mr. Powell said, I see this speculation and...we just have to leave it up to the Iranian people to decide how they wish to be governed.
Irans largely young population has grown increasingly restive under the backward and repressive policies of Irans radical fundamentalist rulers. Ive been in touch with a number of Iranians who have relatives here in the United States, said Secretary of State Powell, and theyre looking for a better life. They see what the rest of the world has. They know that they could be doing better than they are doing now. And as we have seen in recent months, they are pressuring their government.
Mr. Powell said it is important for the U.S. to communicate with the Iranian people. We have learned over the years that we should listen to what the Iranian people say and we should talk to the Iranian people with the message we have of a desire for a better relationship with Iran, he said. But it is up to the Iranian people to determine how they will be led and what kind of leadership they would like to see in power in Iran.
U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice says that Irans theocratic rulers fear their own people:
They fear nothing more 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.
President George W. Bush says that Irans discredited autocrats are trying to hold back the democratic will of the younger generation.
VIENNA, Austria - U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said Wednesday that Washington viewed Irans plans to process 37 tons of raw yellowcake uranium with great concern and said Tehran was a threat to global peace.
Iran announced plans to turn tons of uranium into a substance that can be used to make nuclear weapons, the U.N. atomic watchdog agency said in a report earlier Wednesday.
Irans announcements are further strong evidence of the compelling need to take Irans nuclear program to the Security Council, the Bolton said in a statement to Reuters. The U.N. Security Council can impose economic sanctions.
The U.N. nuclear watchdog said Iranian technicians had told its inspectors they planned to convert 37 tons of yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride.
The confidential report of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the agency had been informed that the Islamic Republic planned to process more than 40 tons of raw uranium into uranium hexafluoride.
Uranium hexafluoride is spun in centrifuges to produce enriched uranium, which in turn can be used to generate power or make nuclear warheads, depending on the degree of enrichment.
A senior diplomat familiar with the agency declined to say how much hexafluoride could be obtained from that amount of raw uranium, also known as yellowcake, beyond saying it was a substantial amount.
Monday, August 30, 2004; Page A01
A John F. Kerry administration would propose to Iran that the Islamic state be allowed to keep its nuclear power plants in exchange for giving up the right to retain the nuclear fuel that could be used for bomb-making, Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards said in an interview yesterday.
Edwards said that if Iran failed to take what he called a "great bargain," it would essentially confirm that it is building nuclear weapons under the cover of a supposedly peaceful nuclear power initiative. He said that, if elected, Kerry would ensure that European allies were prepared to join the United States in levying heavy sanctions if Iran rejected the proposal. "If we are engaging with Iranians in an effort to reach this great bargain and if in fact this is a bluff that they are trying to develop nuclear weapons capability, then we know that our European friends will stand with us," Edwards said.
Edwards's notion of proposing such a bargain with Iran, combined with Kerry's statement in December that he was prepared to explore "areas of mutual interest" with Iran, suggests that Kerry would take a sharply different approach with Iran than has President Bush. The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since its 1979 revolution, and Iran was part of Bush's "axis of evil" that included North Korea and the former government of Iraq. Earlier this month, Bush declared that Iran "must abandon her nuclear ambitions."
Edwards will deliver a speech today in Wilmington, N.C., that aides said will seek to sharpen the differences with the Bush administration on a range of foreign policy issues. Seizing on Bush's statement last week that he miscalculated the postwar conditions in Iraq, Edwards will lay out a broad indictment of how he believes the administration has miscalculated on Iraq, overseas alliances, Afghanistan and other issues.
Edwards, interviewed yesterday in the living room of his Georgetown townhouse as he sipped a Diet Coke, said that in Afghanistan, Kerry would push to expand NATO forces beyond Kabul to enhance security and would double the $123 million in funds to counter the drug trade that the administration spent in 2004 in Afghanistan. He said that despite the problems NATO has had in meeting its commitment in Afghanistan, Kerry would push NATO to add troops there and perhaps military equipment, but that the U.S. force of 20,000 would not be expanded.
"NATO has made promises that have not been kept by some of the NATO countries in getting the equipment -- helicopters, etc. -- that are needed there," Edwards said. "But we believe that with a president who treats NATO and the NATO countries the way they should be treated, and with a fresh start, we have a real chance of getting NATO more involved."
Edwards also said the Democrats would be able to obtain greater NATO involvement in Iraq for the same reason, even though NATO officials have said it will be difficult for the organization to undertake a major mission in Iraq until its work in Afghanistan is completed.
On Iran, Edwards accused the Bush administration of abdicating responsibility for the Iranian nuclear threat to the Europeans, who have maintained relations with Tehran and in the past years have tried to broker a deal that would end its nuclear enrichment program. "A nuclear Iran is unacceptable for so many reasons, including the possibility that it creates a gateway and the need for other countries in the region to develop nuclear capability -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, potentially others," Edwards said.
Kerry first outlined the idea of providing nuclear fuel to Iran in a speech in June -- a proposal favored by many Europeans -- but Edwards, who twice described the concept as a "bargain," was more explicit in suggesting the Kerry administration would actively try to reach an agreement with the Iranians. "At the end of the day, we have to have some serious negotiating leverage in this discussion with the Iranians," he said, noting that Kerry would press the Europeans to do much more than "taking rewards away" if the Iranians fail to act.
Iran has insisted that it be allowed to produce nuclear fuel, which would give it access to weapons-grade material. Under Kerry's proposal, the Iranian fuel supply would be supervised and provided by other countries.
Experts on Iran have long speculated that some sort of "grand bargain" that would cover the nuclear programs, a lifting of sanctions and renewed relations with the United States would help solve the impasse between the two countries. But campaign aides later said Edwards was not suggesting an agreement that covered more than the nuclear programs. In the December speech, Kerry criticized Bush for failing to "conduct a realistic, nonconfrontational policy with Iran."
Despite its oil reserves, Iran has long sought nuclear energy to provide future energy for a burgeoning population, which has doubled since 1979. But Tehran, during the monarchy and under the current theocratic rulers, is also seeking nuclear energy as a key to development in the 21st century.
Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Iran's last monarch, had plans -- approved by the United States -- to build more than 20 nuclear reactors. Iran is currently building one plant at Bushehr, a long-delayed project started during Pahlavi's reign with help from Germany. Russia took over the development contract after the revolution. Iran said this month that it plans to build a second at an unspecified location because of growing drains on its other resources.
September 01, 2004
For decades, the Cold War standoff between the Soviet Union and America contributed, paradoxically, to a sense of security. Both sides knew that firing a nuclear weapon would guarantee a catastrophic retaliation. The concept of mutually assured destruction virtually guaranteed that neither would use nuclear weapons. With the notable exception of the Cuban missile crisis, both superpowers generally discouraged other states from possessing nuclear weapons so as not to tip the balance of power.
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, however, have changed that calculus. Now the prospect of a nuclear attack is as real as it was for those schoolchildren who drilled for "duck and cover" in the classroom, and whose parents built back-yard fallout shelters in case of nuclear Armageddon. The main threat is no longer a single nation, but at least two rogue regimes--Iran and North Korea--and thousands of terrorists around the world.
There's plenty of evidence that Al Qaeda is intent on using a nuclear weapon.
The recent Sept. 11 commission final report documented Al Qaeda's purchase, for $1.5 million, of what it thought was a cylinder of weapons-grade uranium. Only later did the terrorists discover the contents of the cylinder were bogus. Experts say that was not the only attempt to buy such materials. Two Pakistani nuclear weapons scientists admitted that in August 2001 they met with Osama bin Laden and discussed nuclear weapons at length. Intercepted Al Qaeda communications have referred to inflicting a "Hiroshima" on the United States, and some experts say Al Qaeda operatives have tried to recruit nuclear weapons scientists to help them. The United States uncovered rudimentary diagrams of nuclear weapons in a suspected Al Qaeda house in Kabul, former CIA Director George Tenet told Congress in January 2002.
The alarm clanged even louder in February, when law enforcement officials revealed a huge underground black market in nuclear technology and expertise. Suddenly, much of the mystery of how Iran and Libya acquired so much nuclear equipment so quickly was solved. A network run by Pakistani scientist Dr. Abdul Q. Khan, known in his country as the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, sold it to them.
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There are several ways terrorists could acquire a nuke. They could build one. They could steal one. They could buy one. Or they could be given one by a sympathetic regime.
Here's how those risks stack up.
Building the bomb remains the most difficult challenge. Witness the efforts of a country such as Iraq, which did not lack funds but tried and failed for years to develop its own weapon. It's not hard to get the parts or design blueprints. U.S. weapons scientists have been able to construct a bomb mock-up using parts readily and legally available on the open market, Harvard researchers report. The physics is well known. Indeed, the first atom bomb, dropped on Hiroshima, had never been tested. The mechanics were so simple--two pieces of uranium fired at each other in a gun-like device--that there was little doubt it would work.
Some expertise and technical skill is required, obviously. A 1986 paper written by five nuclear bomb makers at the Los Alamos weapons lab explained the considerable technical prowess that is needed. Even so, they concluded, determined terrorists could build a rudimentary bomb.
The main challenge is making or acquiring the highly enriched uranium or plutonium that's at the heart of the bomb. Unfortunately, tons of such material remain insufficiently secured around the world.
Stealing a bomb is possible, but making use of it may not be so simple. Without certain codes to electronic locks, terrorists may not be able to detonate it.
Another frightening scenario: Terrorists buy or otherwise acquire the bomb and the means to use it from a sympathetic nation, such as Iran or North Korea.
- - -
So, how to stop them? The swiftest and surest way to stop terrorists--or anyone else--from building a bomb is to deny them the two nuclear fuels that can be used: highly enriched uranium or plutonium. No fuel, no bomb.
Enriched uranium is only a tiny fraction of the uranium that is mined. The 100 or so pounds needed for a crude gun-type bomb--or about a third of that for a more sophisticated device--must be purified from tons of uranium ore.
Plutonium is a byproduct of nuclear fuel after it is burned inside a reactor. But it must be stripped from the fuel rods in a difficult and dangerous chemical process. The plants needed to do this are complicated and potentially detectable by outside monitors because they often vent gases. A chunk of plutonium the size of a grapefruit--about 9 pounds--is enough to build a bomb of roughly the same yield as the Nagasaki bomb, which killed tens of thousands.
Such material is scattered in many countries, but most of it is concentrated in two: the United States and Russia. To stop terrorists, it is imperative to secure stockpiles of nuclear materials in Russia and ensure that weapons sites are as impervious to theft as modern security technology will allow. That also means spending millions to retrain former Soviet nuclear scientists and help them find jobs so they're not tempted to sell their expertise to terrorists.
But the threat isn't just in the former Soviet Union. Dozens of research reactors around the world use highly enriched uranium, much of it sent in decades past by the U.S. in the name of peaceful nuclear research. Many of these reactors are lightly guarded and potentially vulnerable to theft. Recently, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham pledged an aggressive, $450 million decade-long campaign to retrieve that material. That's welcome, but it should be accelerated and accomplished in a much shorter time frame.
There are scores of other important initiatives under way to prevent terrorists and rogue states from acquiring nuclear capability or delivering a weapon to America's shores. They range from new law enforcement efforts to interdict nuclear smugglers in U.S. ports and around the world to a new United Nations effort to encourage countries to clamp down on nuclear technology trafficking.
Above all, Pakistan must come clean about Khan's network. Ever since Pakistan authorities arrested Khan and then immediately pardoned him for his nuclear crimes, there has been an open question of how aggressively Pakistan is moving to help authorities ferret out and arrest all of those who worked in Khan's lethal network. Pakistan's assertions at the time that Khan was acting without help or support of the government or its most powerful institution, the army, were unconvincing. The U.S. must apply pressure on its ally to make sure that the Khan network is rolled up and brought to justice. Allowing those who aided Khan in his nuclear treachery to skip free of the law, probably to traffic in nuclear technology again, is unthinkable.
- - -
The other priorities are North Korea and Iran. North Korea already may have as many as eight bombs. Desperate for hard currency, it's not hard to imagine that North Korea would be willing to sell a bomb or bomb material to terrorists.
That nightmare already may be coming true. In late May, it was reported that international inspectors found evidence that North Korea secretly had sold nearly two tons of uranium hexafluoride--probably enough for a bomb, if enriched--to Libya in early 2001. The uranium was turned over to the United States, but Libya hasn't come clean on who supplied it.
Meanwhile, Iran is playing a cat-and-mouse game with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), gulling credulous officials in France, Germany and Britain with promises to stop its nuclear weapons program, hoping to avoid a UN confrontation. So far, unfortunately, that's working. On Saturday, Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, vowed that his country would not abandon its nuclear program, but that it was willing to "provide any guarantee" to prove its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Those are empty words, coming from a regime that spent the better part of two decades hiding its nuclear programs from the world.
There is genuine danger in allowing Iran, with its extensive history of Al Qaeda contacts and proud support of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, to develop nuclear weapons.
One thing is certain: Iran will not be stopped unless the world speaks with one voice. The IAEA and the UN Security Council must force Iran to choose: Give up its nuclear weapons ambitions or be isolated from the world. Iran must be convinced, as Libya was, that seeking nuclear weapons is not a guarantee of strength, but a road to economic ruin. That can happen only if a broad array of nations agree to apply political, economic and, if necessary, military pressure on Iran to halt its activities.
The first step is the IAEA's. The agency has been reluctant to declare Iran is developing nuclear weapons in violation of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. It should reach that logical conclusion now. That declaration would set the stage for a crucial Security Council debate on sanctions that could squeeze Tehran.
So there are certain steps that nations can take in concert to prevent rogue states and terrorists from possessing the knowledge and material to wield nuclear weapons. The confounding thing is that the UN and IAEA know what is needed and have been unwilling or unable to do it. Iran and North Korea have been able to develop weapons programs under the gaze of the IAEA, in part because of a loophole in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. They can summarily toss out international inspectors, as North Korea did, and exit the treaty in favor of building nukes without much fear of consequence.
That game won't be stopped by diplomats wagging their fingers over broken pledges.
Iran's blocked websites resurface
By Sebastian Usher
BBC world media correspondent
Three Iranian reformist websites blocked more than a week ago have re-emerged at different internet addresses.
Their temporary disappearance has been blamed on the hardline conservative establishment in Iran trying to prevent the expression of any political opinion opposed to theirs.
With the broadcast media in the hands of the state and controlled by hardliners, and most of the reformist and independent press harried into submission by bans and closures, the internet had become a vital source of communication for Iran's reformists.
It, too, has been targeted, with websites forced to close and independent bloggers silenced.
Alternative view missing
The three sites that were blocked last week - Emrooz, Rooydad and Baamdad - were the main outlets for the reformist party, the Participation Front, which is led by Mohammed Reza Khatami, the president's brother.
The loss of these sites meant that a key source of alternative news and commentary in Iran was no longer available.
Now, all three sites have reappeared - to some extent.
One is using its weblog address, another an old internet address that had not been blocked, and the third has a completely new address.
What they all have in common is a stripped-down, temporary look, compared to their previous appearance.
Khatami, the president's brother, is leader of the Participation Front
There are no longer any bylines or pictures, except for one of Mohammed Reza Khatami.
This may in part be explained by reports that some of the staff on the original sites have been arrested.
Despite the technical shortcomings, the sites seem to be regularly updated and continue to catalogue reports of abuses of power by conservative hardliners.
One news item in Baamdad from a few days ago reports on moves to try to dissolve the Participation Front, while another reports on threats to a singer by a radical Islamic group.
As for their own situation, one report on the Rooydad site says that one of the government's senior legal officials has said the blocking of the websites will be investigated, in response to Mohammed Reza Khatami's letter of protest.
Iranian Athlete Paid For Boycott
(JTA) Iranian officials reportedly awarded $120,000 to an athlete who refused to compete against an Israeli in the Olympics. The amount given last weekend to Arash Miresmaeli was equal to what he would have received for winning a gold medal.
Miresmaelis act was extremely valuable, and therefore we are awarding him the gold medallist award, said an Iranian official, Mohsen Mehralizadeh.
Miresmaeli officially failed to make weight for his judo bout against Ehud Vaks at the Athens Games, but most observers believe that was just a cover.
79.6% against decision proves further radical minority are controlling Iran's decisions.
I think he also got a new car.
| September 02. 2004 4:16AM
Source: al-Qaida Suspect Came From Iran
By NASEER KAKAR
Associated Press Writer
QUETTA, Pakistan - A suspected al-Qaida operative who was captured along with another man during raids in this southwestern city is an "explosives expert" who had arrived here from Iran, a security official said Thursday.
The suspects, an Egyptian named Sharif al-Misri and another man of Middle Eastern origin identified as Abdul Hakeem, were caught Sunday when Pakistani intelligence agents acting on a tip raided a home in Quetta, the capital of the province of Baluchistan.
The arrests were announced Wednesday by Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
A security official who is familiar with the investigations of the two suspects told The Associated Press on Thursday that al-Misri had arrived in Pakistan from Iran, where his wife and children have been living since the U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban government from Afghanistan in late 2001.
"He (al-Misri) is an explosives expert. He has told us that his wife and children live in Iran," said the official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
He said al-Misri admitted training militants in Afghanistan but insists he has done nothing against Pakistan.
"So far, it is not clear why he came here," said the official. "We suspect he was on some mission, but we don't have any details."
Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, shares a border with Iran. Pakistani and Iranian border guards often arrest people, mostly Pakistanis, who try to illegally cross the border to travel to Europe in an effort to seek better jobs.
The latest arrests came weeks after Pakistani police and intelligence agents arrested Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian with a $25 million bounty on his head, and Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani computer expert allegedly with links to al-Qaida operatives around the world.
The arrests led to a terror warning in the United States, and counterterror operations in Britain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan has arrested more than 550 al-Qaida suspects and turned most of them over to the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mohammad Fathi, head of Iran's Scientific and Industrial Research Center, said the Mesbah (lantern) satellite was domestically produced and would be used for weather forecasting and locating natural resources.
"The Mesbah satellite will pave the ground for Iran to build other satellites in the future," Fathi said.
State television said it would be cube-shaped, weigh 134 pounds and would be placed into orbit at an altitude of around 560 miles.
Iran had announced in January that it would be the first Islamic country to go into space and was developing its own launch pad for the project, but did not elaborate.
Thursday's television report did not say where the satellite would be launched from.