Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- September 9, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 09/08/2004 9:46:53 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.
Then why did the Iranians toss the Shah out and replace him with the Komeni?
They made a mistake. Just like we elected Carter...
Refusal by Iran to comply would produce a new Middle East crisis in which the issue would almost certainly be referred to the United Nations security council, which could opt for punitive action.
Although the deadline is designed to pile pressure on Iran, the early signs from Tehran are that the theocratic regime is unwilling to comply unconditionally and that it is seeking major concessions from the west in return, including a trade agreement and transfer of civil nuclear technology.
A British official said yesterday that Iran must comply by the November board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN watchdog body.
"Iran needs to meet its commitments. We would like it to meet its commitments before then, but if it doesn't, Iran needs to know and it needs to know now, that there is going to be a decision point in November and at that point a very serious option ... is referral to the United Nations security council," he said.
"We cannot have any kind of negotiation that goes on forever. At some point you have got to decide whether negotiating further makes sense, or whether you need to do something else."
The new position was agreed by British, French and German foreign ministers at a meeting in the Netherlands at the weekend. The German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, yesterday warned that Iran's nuclear activities were "extremely alarming" and the German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, described the prospect of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East as the "nightmare scenario".
Israel is the only Middle East country with the nuclear bomb.
A French government source echoed the British and German positions, saying that Iran had reneged on commitments it had given to the European trio in Tehran last year.
The US, Israel and the Europeans all claim Iran is covertly engaged in building a nuclear weapon.
Tehran denies the accusation, insisting its nuclear programme is purely for the production of electricity.
The European countries' new position brings them closer to the US, which is hawkish on Iran and has long expressed scepticism about the European policy of "constructive engagement".
If the security council opted for punitive action, the likeliest course of action would be sanctions.
But senior members of the US administration have in recent months threatened Iran with more serious options, including covert military operations, and Israel has warned it could mount a pre-emptive strike against an Iranian nuclear reactor.
An Iranian source said this week that the Bushehr plant in southern Iran, being built with Russian help since the early 1990s, was scheduled for completion within the next two years.
At a meeting in Vienna on Monday, the IAEA board is expected to reiterate continued concern over Iran's intentions.
Iran this week offered some concessions ahead of the IAEA meeting. But the British official said they were late and were neither clear, nor had been formally put forward.
In a statement, Iran's defence minster, Ali Shamkhani, said yesterday that "Iran will not achieve peace by giving concessions".
On Tuesday, Mr Shamkhani suggested test-firing Iran's nuclear-capable medium-range missile Shahab 3 in front of observers, after press reports abroad suggested that an August 11 test may not have been as successful as Iranian officials had claimed. The missile is capable of reaching Israel.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post published yesterday, the Israeli prime minster, Ariel Sharon, urged the security council to impose sanctions.
Mr Sharon said he has no doubt Iran was trying to develop nuclear weapons.
"That is their intention, and they are doing it by deception and subterfuge, using this cover or that. This is completely clear," he said. "I don't see that [international pressure] against them is enough to stop them from obtaining nuclear weapons. And that is a very big danger."
Mr Sharon added that Israel was "taking measures to defend itself".
With so much world attention focused on Iraq, Iran is freely pursuing its dangerous agenda. The mullahs could be mistaken, however
Stan Crock is a Washington-based correspondent for BusinessWeek
Whether the U.S. or Iraq will be substantially better off in the end from the invasion of Iraq won't be known for some time. But Operation Iraqi Freedom already has one clear, short-term winner: Iran. With the U.S. bogged down in Baghdad, the mullahs in Tehran must feel as liberated as anyone in Iraq -- maybe more so. Instead of facing a threat from U.S. troops on its border, Iran can pursue an agenda clearly at odds with American interests with near impunity. Tehran's agenda is ambitious. It's injecting money and manpower into Iraq to try to influence the direction of politics there. Iran's support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas is largely unfettered. Most worrisome, experts believe, is that the mullahs are plunging ahead with development of a nuclear bomb. And Iran's huge oil reserves -- which undermine its claim that it needs to develop commercial nuclear power -- mean Tehran has the rest of the world over a barrel (see BW Online, 8/7/04, "Iran: "A Tougher Nut" than N. Korea").
A SHIA ALLIANCE? Or at least Iran's leaders think they do. Europe, in particular, has no stomach for confrontational diplomacy just yet. Engaging in that manner would serve only to raise tensions and lead Iran further toward what Philip Gordon, a Brookings Institution Europe expert, describes as the North Korean model: "No trade, no dialogue, no evolution -- but there are nuclear weapons."
The question now is whether Iran will overplay its hand. And it's certainly possible. Consider relations between Iran and Iraq. These two nations have a longstanding rivalry and engaged in an eight-year war in the 1980s. Now various Iranian factions are helping different political groups in Iraq in the hope of forming a Shia alliance that would make the Sunni-dominated region shudder. But if the Iranians pick the wrong horse, the strategy could collapse.
Some current Iraqi officials, who could end up as leaders for the long haul, are already griping about Iranian interference. And if Tehran does achieve its goal, Sunni-led nations could unite in an effort to blunt any regional ambitions the Iranian-led coalition might have.
BUM DEALS. Iran could face trouble on the terrorism front as well. If the current foment in Palestinian ranks prompts real reform and alters the makeup of the Palestinian leadership, the U.S. may press for a new Middle East peace negotiation regardless of who wins the White House in November. The Europeans would like to see progress, too. If Iran proves a stumbling block because of its support for terrorism, European capitals could change their attitude toward Tehran and join Washington in pressuring Iran to toe the line.
Finally, Iran's assertion that it will continue to build centrifuges, which can be used to make weapons-grade uranium, could unite the U.S. and Europe -- and much of the international community -- on a new arms-control scheme. Many nations now believe that existing nuclear-arms-control pacts have a deep flaw. Such accords enable countries to start down the road toward commercial nuclear capability, yet the rules do little to stop any that decide to use the nuclear expertise they acquire to build weapons instead.
A global consensus is growing that weapons wannabes shouldn't be allowed to operate the entire nuclear-fuel cycle. Spent fuel, for example, should be exported to another country so that it can't be enriched for use in a bomb. Iran could be a test case for nuclear nonproliferation's new template.
The U.S. clearly is on board. Europe may be, too. After all, the Europeans had chosen to engage Iran and thought they had a deal that stopped its nuclear progress cold. Instead, Iran turns out to have had some secret facilities and programs. And now Tehran says it has a right to the nuclear cycle.
DEFT PLAY. Europe feels betrayed. The question is how forcefully it will respond -- and Iran may be surprised. The Europeans already have postponed a trade pact with Iran and backed a tough International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) condemnation of Tehran. And of course, the Israelis may feel so threatened that they take matters into their own hands and opt for a preemptive strike against the nuclear facilities they know about. After Iraq, Washington would be hard-pressed to argue against such unilateral action.
So far, though, Iran is playing its hand deftly. The prospect that anyone will come down hard on it for its support of terrorism, meddling in Iraq, or its nuclear program seems slim right now. And as long as Tehran thinks it can get away with all these things, it has little incentive to moderate its policies.
If the Bush Administration thought invading Iraq would have a salutary effect in Iran, it was sadly mistaken. And right now it looks as if only an Iranian miscue could change that.
Crock covers national security and foreign affairs for BusinessWeek from Washington. Follow his views in Affairs of State twice a month, only on BusinessWeek Online
Iran is likely to be given an ultimatum that it must suspend all uranium enrichment activities or face being reported to the United Nations Security Council, according to senior British officials.
Speaking in advance of a board meeting of UN nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on 13 September, the officials said: "At its last meeting in June, the IAEA laid out what Iran had to do and it has done only part of that."
"Iran has to give the international community the assurances we need and only a full suspension will do that."
However, any decision on going to the UN Security Council would not be taken at this meeting but at the following one scheduled for November.
The officials strongly implied that Britain would support reporting Iran to the council if it did not comply.
"It is a serious option which we would consider seriously," they said.
Iran's 'offer' dismissed
The US would prefer an immediate decision to go to the Security Council. But Britain, France and Germany, which have been acting together over Iran, believe that unity in the IAEA requires that Iran be given a final chance.
The British officials dismissed reported Iranian offers this week to return to a policy of suspension.
"This kind of thing should not come days before an IAEA meeting," they said.
The officials also said Britain wanted to go beyond suspension and was demanding that Iran give up any ambitions to make fuel for a nuclear reactor.
This is also a position taken by the US and, the British officials suggested, was supported by France and Germany as well.
The reason for this is that once a country knows how to enrich uranium to make fuel, it could go on to enrich it further to make a nuclear bomb.
"We don't want Iran to develop any part of the fuel process," was the comment.
Such a demand goes beyond what is covered in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This does not ban a country from making fuel but says that it has to be under inspection.
The problem is that Iran has evaded inspections in the past and western governments now do not trust it.
The US has said publicly that it believes that Iran wants to make a nuclear bomb.
To get round the NPT Treaty, western governments would look to the UN Security Council to demand that Iran give up fuel enrichment as the only way to restore confidence in its peaceful intentions.
Iran has stated that it intends to develop fuel enrichment because it cannot rely on outside suppliers. It says that it has no intention of making a nuclear weapon.
|8 September 2004
BERLIN - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Wednesday expressed alarm over Iran's nuclear programme, but suggested no new initiatives aimed at dealing with Teheran.
September 8, 2004
Three Years Later The Arab and Iranian Media Commemorate 9/11
Days following the release of the September 11 Commission report this summer, Sheik Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari, the former dean of the faculty of Shariah at the University of Qatar and a leading Arab reformist, wrote an article in the London Arabic daily Al-Hayat on August 2, 2004, asking, "Why won't we [Arabs] take the opportunity of the appearance of the September 11 commission's report to ponder why destructive violence and a culture of destruction have taken root in our society? Why won't we take this opportunity to reconsider our educational system, our curricula, including the religious, media, and cultural discourse that cause our youth to live in a constant tension with the world?"
Within hours of the September 11 attacks, conspiracy theories began to emerge in the Middle East.(1) They were repeated by the highest echelons of powers, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was quoted in the Egyptian paper Al-Ahram weeks after the attack: "I find it hard to believe that people who were learning to fly in Florida could, within a year and a half, fly large commercial airlines and hit with accuracy the towers of the World Trade Center which would appear, to the pilot from the air, the size of a pencil. Only a professional pilot could carry out this mission." A year following the attacks, Saudi Arabia's powerful Interior Minister Prince Nayef more explicitly blamed "the Zionists."
During this past year leading up to the third anniversary of the attacks, there has been a consistent stream of articles and TV programs in the region's government-controlled media continuing to focus on conspiracy theories surrounding the attacks. The commemoration within the region's media includes statements made by leading professors, religious leaders, government officials, and even Muslim-Americans.
These conspiracy theories primarily state that Arabs and Muslims were not involved and that the U.S. government and/or Jews/Israel are the true culprits. While it should be no surprise that Iran, a country with no official ties with the U.S., is supporting many lies regarding September 11, the U.S.'s closet Arab allies, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are also supportive of these lies.
Another Egyptian professor, Galal Amin of the American University, wrote an article for Al-Ahram in April 2004: "The claim that the Greater Middle East Initiative aims, wholly or partly, to eliminate terror of the type seen on September 11, 2001 is unconvincing, for several reasons. One is that there is still doubt that the September attacks were the outcome of Arab and Islamic terror. No conclusive proof to this effect is yet available. Many writers, American and European, as well as Arab, suspect that the attacks were carried out by Americans, or with American assistance, or that Americans knew about them and kept silent. Such doubts are strong and rest on damning evidence, but the U.S. administration forcefully censors them and bans any discussion of the matter something that, by the way, makes one suspect the U.S. administration's commitment to 'knowledge.' But enough of that."
In an article in the Egyptian government daily Al-Gumhouriyya titled 'The Secret Israeli Weapon,' published on April 23, 2004, deputy editor Abd Al-Wahhab 'Adas accused the Jews of perpetrating all terrorism throughout the world, including the September 11 attacks: "Actually, it is they who are behind the events of September 11. Proof of this is what was broadcast by the Canadian news agency on September 17 that prior to the events the CIA had received a report that the Mossad would carry out an attack operation on American territory, in a new attempt to divert attention from the barbaric Israeli operations against the Palestinian people. Further [proof] of this is the news in the American papers at that time, that 4,000 Jews of American origin who worked at the World Trade Center received instructions from the Mossad not to go to work that day. We also find a heavy blackout by America regarding the results of the investigations into the September 11 events. So far it has published no conclusions, and has not told us who the real perpetrator of these events is, as revealed by the investigations. Since America knows very well that the Jews and the Mossad are behind these events, it will never declare the results of the investigations..."
On August 9, 2004 Galal Dweidar, editor of the Al-Akhbar Egyptian government daily, wrote an article titled 'Barbarian Imperialist Occupation,' questioning who was really behind the attacks: " There are strong doubts on the identity of those who schemed the terrorist action that targeted the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York "
To commemorate the attacks of two years earlier, on September 11, 2003 Al-Arabiyya TV conducted an interview with Egyptian Muhammad Al-Amir Atta, father of Muhammad Atta, a leader of the 19 hijackers. He characterized the September 11 attacks as "100% made-in-America. All the facts that have been verified and published in the press, on television, and in the statements of officials in the U.S. and abroad prove definitively that this even is an American product, as I said on Egyptian television 72 hours after the event The subject [at hand] is not my son; it is more general. Is my son or any of the other 19 young men four of whom died over a year before the event are these young men the ones who went to the 4,000 Jews and Americans who work at the World Trade Center to tell them not to go [there]? What I am saying was not stated in the newspapers, not stated by you, and not by me; rather, it was stated by America, and that is the truth. Four thousand American Jews did not come to work on September 11. [Moreover], none of the 101 Jewish businessmen without exception who booked tickets for business purposes for the four flights in America boarded the four planes, and none of them notified the airlines [that they would not be boarding]. About a week after the event, the American authorities arrested 117 Israelis and not only Jews but Jewish Israelis who had come from Israel to the U.S. and live in different groups located in the same vicinity in Florida. They were found to be holding detailed maps on the routes of the four planes. They were questioned, but no information was released. [Moreover], the FBI announced it had recorded two telephone calls on the 11th made by two congressmen at the Capitol to two American newspapers, in which they said, 'The zero hour has come, and the competition begins tomorrow.'"
For its September 10, 2003 edition, the Egyptian weekly Akher Sa'a interviewed several experts for articles commemorating September 11, 2001. Among them was General Mahmoud Khalaf, an Egyptian strategic expert, who said: "What took place on September 11 was a conspiratorial plan by the U.S. to justify invading Afghanistan and later Iraq. In 1999, books were published exposing a plan by far right-wing American hawks to fulfill the dream of a large empire, and there was an opportunity [for this] on September 11. They did not wait for investigations to expose the perpetrator of the operation, not even for those exposing the negligence in preventing the event. The American invasion of Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, in other words, only three weeks after the September 11 event. This is not at all a sufficient period in which to transfer [military] forces, train them, and draft the operational plans. This proves these plans were ready at an earlier date and that the forces were close to Afghanistan, the results of which are unknown to this day. [In addition], the declared goals were not achieved. Afghanistan did not develop, it has not democracy or control, and bin Laden was not caught. But what was achieved is that the Americans positioned themselves along the borders of Russia, China, central Asia, and in the center of Islamic countries."
Also interviewed for Akher Sa'a was General Ali Hafzi, governor of the northern Sinai district: "The September 11, 2001 event was meant to determine and direct the events of the 21st century in order to force American hegemony on the world and to enable it to be the sole superpower in the world and prevent the Soviet Union from returning, or prevent the emergence of new superpowers, such as China, Japan, and others The Americans have not yet announced the results of the investigation of the event. Moreover, an important document published after the event says that 6,000 Jews who used to work daily with the companies and offices housed in the World Trade Center did not go to [that area] on the day of September 11. Let us take a look at what [the U.S.] has achieved so far, beginning with the invasion of Afghanistan. The U.S. has already reached the border of the former Soviet Union in order to prevent an attempt on the part of [the Soviets] to reemerge. It has also reached the Chinese border in order to keep it from spreading to a particular local or regional border so that it does not reach the stage of becoming a world superpower "
In Egypt this past year one of the most popular songs says that the U.S. was behind September 11. The following are excerpts from a review in the January 15-22, 2004 Cairo Times of beloved Egyptian singer Sha'ban Abd Al-Rahim's new album, which included the song: "[Popular] singer Sha'ban Abd Al-Rahim is making headlines again with his announcement that he has put the final touches on his latest album Mahibish Al Karasi (I Don't Like the Chairs) possibly referring to political positions as opposed to furniture. The new album includes a new ditty about the U.S., Israel, and the road map. 'Kharittat Al Tariq' (Road Map) is the name of the song which gives voice to widespread views in the Egyptian street regarding the September 11th events and the U.S.-Iraq standoff
boldly sing[s] that the U.S.A. is the perpetrator of the September 11th attacks. 'Hey people it was only a tower and I swear by God that they are the ones who pulled it down.' Abd Al-Rahim further sings that they purposely did it to make people think that Arabs and Muslims are terrorists and were behind that disaster. Now the U.S. can do what it pleases to the Arab world since everyone thinks they are to blame."
In Saudi Arabia, the Al-Watan daily published an interview with Muslim Brotherhood Leader Muhammad Mahdi Othman 'Akef on February 3, 2004, and asked "Don't you think that the September [11, 2001] events are justification of America's [activity] in Afghanistan?" 'Akef responded by stating, "This is a false statement, because [America] has no proof. They held no fair trial for those arrested on the charge of the September explosion. All they say is a list of names whom they claim bear the responsibility for the September events. If [the Americans] provided proof of the truth of their version, I would fight together with the Americans and join President Bush in this war." Regarding the claim that "the Al-Qa'ida organization acknowledged responsibility for these operations in the videocassettes aired on several Arab television channels," 'Akef said: "I do not pay any attention to these films, because they are part of the psychological war between these people [Al-Qa'ida] and the American administration. These cassettes came in response to the American operations. Washington must prove by trial that they [Al-Qa'ida] are the ones who carried out the explosions in September."
In the front page of its November 3, 2003 edition, Al-Watan published an Arabic translation of an article from Glasgow's Sunday Herald about the Mossad's involvement in the September 11 attacks: "Israeli intelligence has been showing the Al-Qa'ida hijackers as they move from the Middle East through Europe and into American, where they trained as pilots and prepared to suicide-bomb the symbolic heart of the United States. And the motive? To bind America in blood and mutual suffering to the Israeli cause If Israel's closest ally felt the collective pain of mass civilian deaths at the hands of terrorists, then Israel would have an unbreakable bond with the world's only hyperpower and an effective free hand in dealing with the Palestinian terrorist, who had been murdering its innocent civilians as the second Intifada dragged on throughout 2001 There is more than a little circumstantial evidence to show that Mossad whose motto is 'By way of deception, thou shalt do war' was spying on Arab extremists in the U.S.A. and may have know that September 11 was in the offing, yet decided to withhold vital information from their American counterparts which could have prevented the terror attacks Mossad agents were spying on Muhammad Atta and Marwan Al-Shehi, two leaders of the 9/11 hijack teams. The pair had settled in Hollywood, Florida, along with three other hijackers, after leaving Hamburg where another Mossad team was operating close by Certainly, it seems, Israel was spying within the borders of the United States and it is equally certain that the targets were Islamic extremists probably linked to September 11. But did Israel know in advance that the Twin Towers would be hit and the world plunged into a war without end; a war which would give Israel the power to strike its enemies almost without limit?"
The Iranian Media
One June 1, 2004 Jaam-E-Jam 1, the Iranian government TV channel directed at Europe, aired the first in a series about the September 11 attacks, which included video clips of the O.J. Simpson murder case: "Zionism, as expressed in the Jewish Protocols, nurtures in its mind the dream of taking over the world. With Bush's rise to power, it controls the White House with greater force. A short while before the blasts of September 11, Mercury, a local Pennsylvanian newspaper, reported that two Jews were arrested while filming the Twin Towers Some hours after the Twin Towers were blasted, the FBI had arrested five Israelis who had planned to blow up the New York Bridge in the Manhattan and New Jersey area. Also, the absence of 4,000 Jews [working] in the Twin Towers strengthened the claim that they took a vacation on that day. A while afterwards, a source in American military intelligence raised details pertaining to an intelligence memo regarding Israel's espionage organization, the Mossad, and its role in the events of September 11. In fact, the claim that Israel was involved in the blasts of September 11 and used it as a basis of America's new strategy for fighting the world of Islam disappeared in the media coverage, but world public opinion still believes this possibility."
In an editorial in the July 27, 2004 Tehran Times titled, 'What the 9/11 Commission Report Ignores: the CIA-Al-Qa'ida connection,' stated, "The 9/11 reports excludes, a priori, the most important question raised by the events of September 11, 2001 - did U.S. government agencies deliberately permit, or actively assist, the carrying out of this terrorist atrocity, in order to provide the Bush administration with the necessary pretext to carry out its program of was in Central Asia and the Middle East and a huge buildup of the forces of state repression at home The FBI played a key role in burying a series of warnings about the potential dangers from an Al-Qa'ida terrorist enrolled at U.S. flight schools, most notably in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui This refusal to name names and assign responsibility has a definite significance. [Naming] individuals within the intelligence apparatus would be likely to defend themselves by shifting responsibility to those higher up in the chain of command thus directing the investigation toward the top levels of the national security apparatus and the White House. The 9/11 commission sought at all costs to avoid such an outcome, and to safeguard these key institutions of the state, while documenting numerous CIA and FBI actions that effectively prevented the exposure of the 9/11 conspiracy, the commission's report never addresses an obvious and crucial issue - were any of the Al-Qa'ida operatives, especially the ringleaders and organizers of the suicide hijackings, at some point assets or agents of the U.S. intelligence services? The conduct of the 9/11 conspirators strongly suggests that they were under some form of official protection. They made few efforts to conceal themselves, moving about as they pleased, both within the U.S. and across its borders. They used telephones and credit cards both easily traceable. They enrolled openly under their won names at U.S. flight schools, and made repeated transcontinental flights to test out airline security and familiarize themselves with the aircraft interiors It is highly plausible and on the basis of the available evidence, more likely than not that the U.S. intelligence agencies had identified the main leaders of the 9/11 hijackings long before they boarded the doomed flights "
Muslims In America
Her son added: "I am one of those who believe these events were fabricated from the outset as part of the global groundwork for the distortion of Islam's image Even before these events took place there was preparation for them "(5)
The U.S. Controls Bin Laden's Al-Qa'ida and Orchestrates the Attacks
To accompany its broadcast of the September 11 memorial ceremony in the U.S. on September 11, 2003, Al-Arabiyya TV interviewed political commentator Mustafa Al-Habra. In response to the question, "Did the U.S. succeed in proving, after two of the attacks, that bin Laden was [the perpetrator]?" Al-Habra said, "If we go back to Thierry Meyssan's book 'the Great Deceit,' we will find the answer to that question. And there are a lot of questions. I cannot imagine that a neophyte organization like Al-Qa'ida managed to take control of the U.S., [its] technology, and [its] radar system over a lengthy period lasting about two hours. I would add that there are those who said that what struck the Pentagon was not a plane but a missile, and to this day the U.S. does not have clear and plain answers about what happened on September 11 "
Al-Habra was also asked, "Do you think Osama bin Laden is capable of carrying out this attack on his own, without domestic help?" He answered: "I think Osama bin Laden is capable of carrying out a terror operation on the scale of the Tanzania operations. [But] I doubt that either Osama bin Laden or Al-Qa'ida alone was able to carry out the September 11 events with such precision, with no American domestic assistance, and without the American security apparatuses turning a blind eye
According to the American versions, the members of the group carrying out this terrorist, horrible, inhuman call it what you will operation trained on light planes. In aeronautics, a person who trains on this type of aircraft is not able to fly a large passenger plane like this with advances techniques like these."
Syrian researcher Tayyeb Tizini was interviewed on Iran's Al-'Alam TV on August 16, 2004, and claimed that an Intifada against globalization broke out and that in order to thwart it, America attacked its own soil on September 11: "According to American and European documents, including the investigation of President Bush and his aides about 9/11, I'd like to say that 9/11 was an American action. These Americans began to understand that the new order must be marketed by a great event that would create new dangers for the world. 9/11 was for this purpose
All TV segments mentioned in this article can be found at www.memritv.org
TEHRAN: Iran has responded to restrictions in France, Germany and Turkey on the wearing of headscarves by offering university places here to women who want to wear the veil, state television reported yesterday.
According to the report, Iran's top decision-making body on cultural and university affairs the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council said it would provide additional places to well-veiled females.
It made no mention of whether Iranian universities would also waive fees, but did say such students would be exempt from sitting entrance examinations.
The French embassy in Tehran has been the target of demonstrations over a ban on Muslim girls wearing the headscarf in French state schools.
Two German states have also voted through similar restrictions, while six other states have put forward draft laws banning headscarves or other religious symbols in public institutions.
TEHRAN: An Iranian extremist group is to begin recruiting suicide squads to defend the Islamic republics first nuclear power station in the event of an Israeli attack, a member of the group said yesterday. We are going to have a ceremony to recruit volunteers for suicide operations and create the first suicide battalion to defend the Bushehr power station, which is the target of Israeli propaganda, a member of the Committee for the Glorification of the Martyrs of the World Islamic Movement said.
The source, who asked not to be named, did not specify whether the volunteers who signed up in the meeting scheduled for today would be used as human shields or in retaliation to any attack. The source only added that Bushehr, which is still under construction and being built with Russian help, was a part of the interests of Iran and the Islamic world.
You idiots!! God! You elected Carter? LOL
Seriously, great come back. I guess I never understood what was a very wealthy Iran decided to throw away their wealth for a patriarch. Women lost their hard earned rights, ect ...
My fear is that Komeni will try to extend Iran's borders into Iraq via the little Ayotollahs running around Iraq at the moment. Is that a valid concern?
Posted Wednesday, September 8, 2004
KABOL, 8 Sept. (IPS) Candidates to the next month's presidential election in Afghanistan started campaigning on Tuesday 7 September, with the present Prime Minister-President Hamid Karzai, the favourite of the Americans, given by most analysts as the victor.
Both the presidential and parliamentary polls were due to be held last June, but were delayed due to security and logistical concerns and as a result, the legislative race was delayed until early next year.
Present Prime Minister-President Hamid Karzai, the favourite of the Americans and Europeans, is given by most analysts as the victor.
"Karzai has started his electoral campaign today", Javad Ludin told reporters in Kabol. He declined to answer questions about Karzai's campaign platform saying it would be handled at a later press conference.
The Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB), which includes representatives of the United Nations and Afghanistan, said the campaigning for this still war-ravaged, ethnically divided and mountainous nations first elections would end on 7 October.
Eighteen candidates, including one woman, are running in the elections, scheduled for 9 October.
The vote count will take two to three weeks and if no runner secures 50 per cent of the votes, the election could drag on through the Muslim month of Ramadan and into November.
The group of candidates is varied, representing different political points of view, ethnicities and genders.
Nasrullah Stanakzai, a professor of political science at Kabul University, said no challenger had the courage or the means to tour the lawless provinces and build up a national profile to rival that of Karzai.
"There are a lot of candidates and there will be a lot of confusion,'' said Stanakzai. his is a big opportunity for Karzai, and in the end he will win'', he added
Fundamentalist fighters loyal to the ousted hard line Islamist Taleban rulers have vowed to disrupt the polls and have been waging a bombing and guerrilla campaign, killing hundreds of people including 12 election workers since the beginning of the year.
Despite the bloodshed, about 10.5 million people have registered to vote .32
They, but also some local commanders, have subjected voters to harassment and abuse, a report by the United Nations and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission observed, adding that some had their voter registration cards forcibly confiscated "by commanders, state authorities and private individuals," while others were abused for not obtaining their cards, the report found.
The report also warned that the elections would be affected by insecurity, lack of information and the control of regional warlords and militias.
U.N. officials and Afghan human rights activists say that voter intimidation and insecurity are on the rise in Afghanistan, raising questions whether the landmark presidential elections set for October 9 will be free and fair.
A joint study conducted by the United Nations and Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission says voter intimidation and insecurity plus a lack of information about democracy are likely to undermine the upcoming presidential elections.
Presenting details of the report at a news conference Sunday in Kabul, the U.N. deputy special representative for Afghanistan, Filippo Grandi, said these shortcomings must be addressed before elections.
Islamist fundamentalist fighters have vowed to disrupt the polls.
"There continues to be intimidation, especially in the south and southeast and east, linked to the offensive of those who want to destabilize the process by creating a climate of insecurity and also by intimidating voters", he said.
However, despite the bloodshed, about 10.5 million people have registered to vote in the central Asian state's first-ever presidential elections -- more than the 9.8 eligible voters earlier forecast by the United Nations.
In many cases men drawn from the forces of local warlords who have intimidated voters will provide security, warned Vikram Parekh, analyst with the International Crisis Group.
Disarming regional factions, however, remains the key to creating a single country under a central government. An estimated 50,000 armed militia members are attached to warlords across the country. By contrast, the fledgling Afghan national army, controlled by the president, has 14,000 troops.
The country's infrastructure has also been reduced to rubble by decades of fighting, cutting off one area of the country from another.
US President George Bush booted out the Taleban after it refused to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama Ben Laden, suspected of having masterminded the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington D.C..
The candidates and the names of their vice presidential running mates:
The favourite to win, Afghanistan's US-backed President is leading Afghanistan since December 2001 when he was chosen as an interim care taker prime minister in Bonn, Germany, where several Afghan groups and personalities had gathered after the Americans invasion of the country earlier in October.
An ethnic Pashtun leader from Qandahar, the image of the 47-year-old Karzai image at home is clouded by slow reconstruction.
In September 2002, Mr Karzai survived an assassination attempt in the former Taleban stronghold of Qandahar. Afghanistans Loya Jirga, or grand council of the elders endorsed him as head of state last June.
Vice-presidents: Ahmed Zia Masood (Tajik), Karim Khalili (Hazara)
Tipped as the top candidate of powerful anti-Taleban Northern Alliance commanders, Karzai's former Education Minister is now seen as his chief challenger in the presidential race.
The 47-year-old Tajik has the support of Defence Minister Mohammed Fahim and Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, forming a powerful troika from the Panjshir Valley bidding for the loyalty of their fellow ethnic Tajiks and commands substantial support in the Panjshir valley, a stronghold of resistance against the Taleban north of Kabul.
Vice-presidents: Taj Mohammed Wardak (Pashtun), Sayid Husain Aalimi Balkhi (Hazara)
ABDUL RASHID DOSTOM
A whisky-drinking Uzbek warlord who fought for the Russians before changing sides and joining the mujahedin during the 1980s and 1990s, Dostom, 50, changed sides frequently. He now commands a private militia near the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif. This archetypal Afghan warlord is widely distrusted, particularly by Pashtuns.
Vice-presidents: Safiqa Habibi (female), Wazir Mohammed.
A leader of the Hazara ethnic minority, Mohaqeq, 49, is a warlord who fought against the Soviets in the 1980s and now commands wide support in northern and central Afghanistan. He was made vice president and minister of planning in Karzai's first interim government but was sacked as vice president in 2002 and as minister in March this year, because, according to Mohaqeq, of his candidacy to the elections.
Vice presidents: Nasir Ahmad Insaf, Abdul Faiaz Mhiraain.
ABDUL LATIF PEDRAM
The French-speaking 41-year-old poet and journalist is an ethnic Tajik. He studied literature and philosophy and in the early 1990s he founded a publication, which denounced corruption and Islamic fundamentalists. He fled the Taleban regime in 1997 and took refuge in France, returning only this year to run for president with the express purpose of putting Karzai out of office.
Pedram attacks Karzai's government for doing too little for the three million refugees who have returned since 2001. Like some other candidates, he also argues that the presidential election should be delayed because of insecurity and to arrange for the whole Afghan diaspora to vote.
Vice presidents: Haji Ahmad Nirow, Mohammed Qasem Masomi.
The only woman running for president, the 41-year-old Tajik doctor and mother of three rose to prominence at the constitutional Loya Jirga in 2002, when she came second to Hamid Karzai in the vote to elect a transitional leader.
About 50 women, almost all completely veiled, clapped wildly and prayed for their "sister'' under a tree in the yard as she attacked the warlords who brought them suffering.
Vice-presidents: Mir Habib Sahily, Sayid Mohammed Aaliam Amini.
AHMAD SHAH AHMADZAI
Ahmadzai, 61, an ethnic Pashtun, was a radical anti-communist leader who once headed the rebel government-in-exile over the border in Pakistan's Peshawar during the 1980's Soviet occupation. He fled Afghanistan when the Taleban came to power and took refuge in Turkey and Britain, returning only after the Taleban's defeat in late 2001.
Ahmadzai was a leader of the radical Ittihad-e Islami party, which had links to the Arab volunteers who joined Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance and later Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida. Ahmadzai says those ties are long gone and that the in-fighting that killed thousands after the Soviets withdrew was a "big mistake."
Vice presidents: Aminullah Shafajoo, Abdul Manna Urzgani.
SAYED ISHAQ GILANI
Gilani, 49, is an ethnic Pashtun and Sufi Muslim intellectual from a respected Afghan family, which claims descent from the Prophet Mohammad. He joined the anti-Soviet resistance movement in the 1980s. He is believed to have strong support among the Pashtun majority. A keen hunter and famed gun collector, he is married with two daughters.
Vice-presidents: Mohammed Ismail Qasimyar, Baryali Nasraty.
ABDUL SATAR SIRAT
A professor of Islamic literature, 67-year-old Tajik Sirat ran against Karzai to form an interim government in Bonn after the collapse of the Taleban in 2001 and won 11 votes to Karzai's three, but later swung his support behind Karzai.
Sirat had a varied career as a university lecturer, justice minister and attorney general and ministerial advisor prior to Soviet occupation and was the special envoy of Afghanistan's exiled King. He has written 12 books in Dari, Arabic, English and French on Islamic studies and political science.
Vice-presidents: Qazi Mohammed Amin Waqad, Abdul Qadir Amini.
ABDUL HAFIZ MANSOOR
A 41-year-old journalist and ethnic Tajik from the Panshir valley, Mansoor claims to represent the legacy of assassinated mujahedin commander Ahmad Shah Masood. A graduate of Kabul University's journalism faculty, Mansoor runs the weekly paper Payam-e-Mujahid (Mujahedin Message)
He served as acting minister of information and culture and the head of State TV and Radio immediately after the fall of the Taleban and as former head of Afghan state TV, he has links with the Tajik faction in the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. But he has emerged as a pole of independent dissent against Karzai, accusing him of trying to install an elected dictatorship.
Vice presidents: Sayid Mohammeed Iqbal Manib, Mohammed Ayub Qasimi.
HOMAYOON SHAH ASEFI
Asefi represents the National Unity Party of monarchists with ties to former King Mohammed Zahir Shah. He served as a minister in Zahir Shah's government before going into exile for over 20 years and working as an advisor to foreign firms on Afghanistan.
Assefy, 64, studied law and political science at Dijon university in France and is fluent Dari, Pashtun, English and French. He is married with three children.
Vice-presidents: Eng Abdullah Rahmatee, Dr. Nelab Mobarez (female).
ABDUL HASIB ARYAN
Ethnic Tajik Arian resigned as a police colonel to run for president after a decades-long career as a policeman. The 43-year-old father of five vows to give equal rights to women and not to campaign along ethnic lines.
Vice-presidents: Dil aqa Shkaib, Sayid Jahya.
SAID ABDUL HADI DABIR
A new face in Afghan politics, 42-year-old Tajik is a father of four and speaks all of Afghanistan's official languages -- Pashtu, Dari and Uzbek. He was imprisoned by the communists and is a member of the anti-Soviet mujahedin Jamiat party.
Vice-presidents: Abdul Rashid, Dad Mohammed.
ABDUL HADI KHALILZAI
The oldest candidate at 72, Khalilzai worked as a teacher and headmaster becoming a lawyer and prosecutor. An ethnic Pashtun, he was born in eastern Kunar province and studied law and religious jurispudence at Kabul University.
Vice-presidents: Khidai Noor Mandokhil, Khdadad Urfani.
MIR MOHAMMAD MAHFOZ NEDA'I
An ethnic Pashtun, the 65-year-old lecturer at Kabul Univerisity studied science before doing a masters in management in Switzerland and a doctorate in geochemistry at Moscow University. He was Karzai's minister of mines and industry to run for office before resigning to contest the polls. He has written several books on politics and economics.
Vice-presidents: Sayid Mohammed Arif Ibrahim Khil, Mohammed Hakrim Karimi.
MOHAMMED IBRAHIM RASHID
A 49-year-old father of two hails from a Pashtun family of landowners who fled to Pakistan when the communists took power. Rashid studied in Germany and later worked with a Afghan-German refugee body in Pakistan. He speaks English, French, German, Pashtun, Dari and Urdu.
Vice-presidents: Sayid Mohammed Hadihadi, Hamid Taheri.
GHULAM FAROOQ NIJRABI
A medical lecturer and pediatric surgeon, the 50-year-old ethnic Tajik trained medical students at the Indira Gandhi hospital in India and returned to lecture in Kabul University in 1983. He speaks Pashtun, English and Arabic.
Vice-presidents: Abdul Fatah, Abdul Hanan.
An ethnic Pashtun, Mangal was born 1954 in Khost in eastern Afghanistan and studied zoology at Kabul University before getting his masters degree in the Soviet Union. He has edited Jihad magazine, published several books and speaks Pashtun, English, Russian and Urdu.
Vice-presidents: Mohammed Yunus Moghil, Dina Gul
When the more than 10 million eligible Afghans go to the polls, some 10,000 NATO soldiers will be guaranteeing their safety. In order to do so, the military alliance will have had to double its contingent from the 5,000 troops currently stationed in the country.
"Rather than focusing on preparing for an election, the international community should be working to rebuild the country, for instance concentrating on the infrastructure and the water resources," he said. An election could be held once the much more crucial reconstruction work is completed -- in a couple of years, Albert Stahel, a professor for strategic military studies at the Technical University in Zurich said.
The Swiss expert also warned of placing too much faith in the elections. "Of course it will not be an election according to western democratic standards," he said. And in order to guarantee that the elections throughout the country take place freely and peacefully, a much larger military presence will be necessary.
However, Stahel acknowledged that the election couldnt be postponed. The international community cannot change the timeframe with such short notice. "If the election date is pushed back, the United Nations, NATO and the United States would risk losing face and the population in Afghanistan would not go along with it either", he told the German Radio Television Deutsche Welle. ENDS AQAN ELECTIONS 8904
* US defence secretary says Tehrans behaviour shows it is not part of civilised world
* Declines to give more details
WASHINGTON: Money and people channelled from Iran fuel the insurgency in Iraq, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an interview published on Wednesday.
They have put people in there. They have put money in there, Rumsfeld said in an interview with The Washington Times. By they, Im not going to say which element of the government or whether its even known to the government. But money has come in from Iran. People have come in from Iran.
He gave no further details. Iran has denied previous charges of meddling in Iraq.
Rumsfeld said it was a very difficult thing to stop because Iran has shown by its behaviour that it is not part of the civilised world.
But he said other countries are not willing to join in pressuring Tehran to change.
And when you have countries of the world that are not willing to participate in an organised effort to try to persuade a country to behave in a civilised way, it encourages them simply to continue on its merry way. And thats a problem, Rumsfeld said.
The Washington Times said it had been told by military sources that Irans Revolutionary Guard helped fund Iraqs rebel Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr who led a series of insurrections.
Asked about reforming the US intelligence structure as recommended by the commission that investigated the Sept 11 attacks on the United States, Rumsfeld cautioned against moving too quickly.
You know, a lot of damage can be done in the name of reform, if one gets in a hurry and doesnt think it through carefully, Rumsfeld told the newspaper.
Rumsfeld was quoted as saying that an enormous number of changes have already been made to try to fix intelligence shortcomings. reuters
Iran will never compromise on nuclear fuel cycle: Rowhani
TEHRAN (MNA) -- Upon his return from the Netherlands on Wednesday, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rowhani said that Tehran will never compromise on its right to gain access to the complete nuclear fuel cycle.
"Iran regards access to the fuel cycle as its legal and logical right and will not abandon it. It tries to follow up this goal in the most appropriate time and in the best possible way," Rowhani told reporters.
He also said that the Netherlands, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, is opposed to the use of threats or pressure against Iran and does not take a favorable view of efforts to isolate the country.
Rowhani called Dutch Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenendes remarks very important, saying they would form the basis for Iran-EU talks.
"We have had good cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the recent IAEA report proves it," he said.
"Almost all issues between Iran and the agency have been settled since last year and only minor issues remain," he added.
The visit to the Netherlands was necessary to create the necessary coordination on the eve of the IAEA Board session and the upcoming meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, he said.
"We are still holding important talks with the European Union," he added.
Referring to uranium enrichment, nuclear contamination, and the P-2, he said, "The agency claims that certain ambiguities still remain on the key issues of contamination and the P-2 and believes there are still questions in this regard.
"I believe the political situation has not yet been prepared for the agency to declare the case closed," he said.
Iran is prepared to deal with any decision the IAEA Board may take when it meets on September 13, Rowhani added.
The agency's recent report has confirmed Irans declaration that uranium contamination detected on imported nuclear equipment had a foreign source, and this means that Iran has had no clandestine nuclear weapons program and has acted in accordance with NPT regulations, Rowhani stressed.
"The agency confirmed Iran's report on the P-2," he added.
Lacking substantial legal and technical evidence, the U.S. has failed to convince the IAEA Board to refer Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN Security Council, he noted.
"If the IAEA reports Iran's case to the Security Council, it will obviously be a politically motivated decision There are no technical and legal reasons for Iran's case to be reported to the council," Rowhani said.
"I believe the Board of Governors will not compromise its independence and dignity to fall in line with the U.S. views," he observed.
"Iran should have diplomatic ties with all member states of the Board of Governors and should continue its diplomatic activities with China, Russia, and member states of the Non-Aligned Movement as well as with Europe," he stressed.
We held negotiations with the EU based on a 10-point strategic plan," he said.
He also pointed to the EU report on the status of human rights in Iran and noted that the Islamic Republic has always been committed to human rights based on Islamic principles and has held negotiations with the European Union in this regard and will continue such talks in the future.
Too bad the US and Israel pulled its troops from Lebanon. From what I know Lebanon was a great country until Syria got a hold of it.
You bring an interesting point of view. Until now I assumed the reformers in Iran were the minority. I figured the majority were happy with their leadership.
The fact is the Republican party relies far more on grassroots donations than the Democrats. You wouldn't think that from what the media portrays. The Democratic Party is the party that gets the big money. From unions. From corporations ( I don't get that one at all. Why would businessmen support these Stalinists is beyond me ) From billionaires like Ted Turner, Warren Buffet, Gates, ect ...
Sadly this is why the US cannot leave now. The Iranians were work night and day to destabilize Iraq.
Personally I believe partition is the answer for Iraq, The Turks will hate us. But of all people, the Kurds deserve a homeland of their own. Give the Shiites a homeland. And then give something to the Sunnis. But the US must have a long term committment.
Then why did the Germans elect Hitler? Why did the US south endorse slavery and the KKK? Why did the Japanese do okay under dictatorship? Why did Italians fair fine under Mussolini? Why did the Russians embrace communism?
Times change. Your point is mute and ridiculous.
Bush Can't Afford Inaction on Iran [Excerpt] Hyped reports about an Israeli "mole" in the Pentagon are falling apart faster than the Kerry campaign. It now seems likely that the analyst in question was, at worst, guilty of mishandling a classified document, not espionage. According to news accounts, the memo he's accused of passing to pro-Israel lobbyists called for U.S. support of Iranian dissidents trying to overthrow their dictatorial government. This may not be spy-novel stuff, but it does raise an important question: Why hasn't President Bush implemented the recommendations reportedly contained in the Pentagon paper?
The case for action seems overwhelming in light of Bush's oft-stated warning: "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists." There is no question which side Iran is on.
The State Department calls Iran the "most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world." Much of its support goes to groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, but the 9/11 commission also reported that Al Qaeda members including eight to 10 of those involved in the airplane attacks on the United States were allowed to use Iran as a transit route to and from training camps in Afghanistan. A number of Al Qaeda operatives remain in Iran, ostensibly under house arrest but in all likelihood allowed to carry on their deadly work.
Iran has trained and armed Muqtada Sadr's militia, which has been attacking U.S. forces in Iraq. Former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani, the cleric who now heads an influential government council, makes no bones about what his country is up to. In an April sermon, he declared that the situation in Iraq posed "a threat because the wounded American beast can take enraged actions, but it is also an opportunity to teach this beast a lesson so it won't attack another country."
Why would Iran be worried about being attacked by the United States? Because it is close to producing a nuclear bomb. It is also working on missiles with the range to strike targets in Europe and North America, though the likeliest vehicles for delivering an Iranian nuke would be its terrorist networks. Hassan Abasi, a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards, recently boasted that Iran had "a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization."
Faced with this grave and gathering threat, John F. Kerry advocates appeasement. He recommends making a deal for Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program in return for U.S. concessions, such as helping it to build "civilian" nuclear reactors. There's no reason to think this approach would work any better than a similar accord with North Korea in 1994. Iran has already violated a 2003 agreement with Britain, France and Germany to curtail its nuclear weapons development. The mullahs are hellbent on going nuclear; they are not going to give up what one Iranian newspaper editor calls "the rare pearl for which we have labored greatly."
If we can't trust Tehran to make a deal, then we need a more confrontational approach. A military strike can't be ruled out, but it would be hard to pull off, especially without better intelligence than we had on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Luckily, Iran has a robust opposition movement that makes peaceful change from within a feasible alternative.
Self-styled realists claim that the tyrants of Tehran can't be budged, but then that's what they said about the Soviet commissars too, right up until the fall of the Berlin Wall. As in the Soviet bloc, most people in Iran have lost faith in their rulers. Many have even braved regime goons to protest in the streets. If they can succeed in establishing a representative government, it will not matter whether Iran has nuclear weapons, any more than it matters that India, Israel, France or any other democracy has nukes. Conversely, even without nukes, the terrorist-sponsoring mullahs would remain a major threat. We need to focus on the nature of the regime, not simply the nature of its weapons. ...
by Michael Adler
VIENNA, Sept 9 (AFP) - Iran is continuing to buy parts for centrifuges abroad, often skirting sanctions and export controls, as it seeks to supply a program which the United States charges is secretly developing nuclear weapons, Western intelligence officials said.
Their comments this week came as the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency was set to meet Monday to assess its ongoing investigation into the Iranian program and its links to the international nuclear smuggling network that was run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced father of Pakistan's atomic bomb.
Khan was arrested earlier this year in Pakistan and confessed to his activities but IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei has said these were just the "tip of an iceberg" of international trafficking in nuclear technology and materials which the IAEA seeks to monitor.
IAEA officials refused to comment on the intelligence sources' information but the IAEA had in a report September 1 said it was "continuing to pursue its investigation of the supply routes and sources of conversion and enrichment technology and the sources of related equipment and nuclear and non-nuclear materials."
A non-US intelligence official said Iran has been getting material not only from Pakistan.
Iran claims its nuclear program is strictly peaceful and that it has had to use the black market in order to skirt sanctions against it acquiring nuclear technology.
"There are companies all over Europe involved. The Iranians want to keep these channels open for ongoing operations and future operations," the official said.
The official said the Iranians have "for centrifuge production, kept purchasing materials in recent months."
This was in Russia but also "Iranian scientists, including nuclear scientists, are coming and going also to and from China," the official said.
Analysts said that while Iran has civilian nuclear programs with China and with Russia, which is building a reactor in Iran, Iran uses front companies to get around export controls on sensitive equipment.
While the United States has sanctions against selling nuclear-related equipment to Iran, even these can sometimes be defeated by selling through foreign subsidiaries or middlemen.
China and Russia are both members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which seeks to fight proliferation of nuclear weapons through guidelines for nuclear and nuclear-related exports.
David Albright, a former nuclear weapons inspector and head of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), said the Iranians have simply continued using front companies in different countries "to buy things needed in centrifuges," which are machines used to enrich uranium.
The Iranians are both using selling through foreign subsidiaries to skirt export controls and buying "items that aren't controlled but are needed in centrifuges," Albright said.
"The interest is that this trafficking continues" since the crackdown on Khan's network and after Iran promised to suspend uranium enrichment, including a brief but now withdrawn promise not to manufacture, assemble and test centrifuges, Albright said.
He said the problem with lists the NSG compiles of dual-use equipment, meaning with both civilian and military applications, was that "companies and governments don't want to limit competition so they limit what's on the list."
Also, a country can claim that dual-use items such as high-speed cameras useful in weaponization steps are needed for peaceful purposes.
In addition, these lists have no legal weight since export controls are a matter for individual countries.
Non-proliferation expert Gary Samore, from London's International Institude for Strategic Studies said: "Obviously the Iranian enrichment program at least in the beginning depended on AQ Khan. The issue is whether there is still a key bottleneck in the program that requires foreign supplies.
He said a question was "can the Iranians make maraging steel," which is a key component in making the rotors that spin in centrifuges to refine the uranium isotope U-235 which is the explosive for an atomic bomb.
An intelligence official said it would be "most probably less than a year before the Iranians will be in control of the technology to enrich uranium."
And he said "by that time they would have enough feed material for their centrifuges so that they won't be dependent on foreign inputs."
Iran has told the IAEA it plans to convert 37 tons of uranium yellowcake into the uranium hexafluoride gas that is the feed material for enriching uranium. Experts said this would supply enough gas to make enriched uranium that could make from one to several bombs.
Another source, a diplomat close to the IAEA, said the Iranians were "almost self-sufficient" in centrifuge technology, but lacked magnets needed to turn the rotors.
Thu Sep 9, 8:22 AM ET
By Louis Charbonneau
VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran is using negotiations with the European Union (news - web sites)'s "big three" on suspending sensitive nuclear activities to buy the time it needs to get ready to make atomic weapons, an Iranian exile and intelligence officials said.
With intelligence sources saying Iran could be months away from nuclear weapons capability, the United States wants Iran reported to the U.N. Security Council immediately, charging Tehran uses its civilian atomic energy program as a front to develop the bomb. Tehran vehemently denies the charge.
France, Britain and Germany want to avoid isolating Iran and have taken a go-slow approach, negotiating with Iran to suspend uranium enrichment activities.
"Iran continues to use existing differences between the U.S. and Europe to their advantage and tries to drag out talks with the EU to buy time," Alireza Jafarzadeh, an Iranian exile who has reported accurately on Iran's nuclear program in the past, told Reuters.
"They feel they have bought at least 10 months," Jafarzadeh said. He said he was citing sources in Iran familiar with the results of a recent high-level meeting on Iran's nuclear program attended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Jafarzadeh said officials at the meeting also decided to allocate an additional $2 billion from Iran's central bank reserves to supplement some $14 billion already spent on what he called Iran's "secret nuclear weapons program."
The EU trio has expressed disappointment at Iran's failure to keep promises it made in October to suspend all activities related to the enrichment of uranium, a process of purifying it for use as fuel for atomic power plants or in weapons. But the three remain committed to a process of engagement with Tehran.
However an intelligence official said a failure to act now as Washington would like, could be decisive for the development of an Iranian nuclear weapons capability.
"The Europeans express helplessness, despair and lack of strategy, which is exactly what (the Iranians) want to hear," a senior non-U.S. intelligence official said.
"This is their golden opportunity, between now and the coming of a new (U.S.) administration."
"PLAYING FOR TIME"
The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been investigating Iran's nuclear program ever since Jafarzadeh announced in August 2002 on behalf of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled opposition group, that Iran was hiding several massive nuclear sites from the IAEA.
Although the EU trio are reaching the point where they too might support a referral of Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council, which could impose economic sanctions, diplomats in Vienna say they will give Iran one more chance to end its enrichment activities before the November IAEA meeting.
On Tuesday, diplomats said Iran had agreed with the Europeans in principle to renew its suspension of centrifuge production, assembly and testing. But U.S. and other officials dismissed this as a ploy to escape a Security Council referral.
"Iran is playing for time," a Western diplomat told Reuters.
The IAEA Board of Governors meets next week to discuss Iran's nuclear program, parts of which it hid from the U.N. nuclear watchdog for nearly two decades. Vienna diplomats say the EU three oppose a U.N. Security Council report next week.
Diplomats and intelligence officials say this may give Iran just enough time to reach the point where it has all the technology and expertise it needs to develop an atom bomb at a time of its choosing.
"It is a matter of several months, up to a year, most probably less than a year (for nuclear capability)," the intelligence official said. "By that time we think they will have enough feed material for the centrifuges so they won't be dependent on foreign input."
Iran recently announced it would convert 37 tons of raw "yellowcake" uranium into uranium hexafluoride, the feed material for centrifuges. Experts say this is enough for a bomb.
The official said the IAEA was making a mistake by being so cautious about what the agency has called a lack of any evidence proving Tehran has a covert military atomic program.
"If the IAEA would wait forever to see a smoking gun ... it will be too late," the official said.
ASHINGTON, Sept. 8 - The Bush administration's campaign to persuade Iran to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons programs is running into resistance among some allies and disputes over the seriousness of a new Iranian offer to suspend part of its activities, administration officials said Wednesday.
The officials said Iran made the offer during negotiations with the three European nations - Britain, France and Germany - that are trying to get Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and avoid punitive action sought by the United States.
The informal Iranian offer has not been made public, but officials who say they have seen details describe it as involving a suspension of some of Iran's nuclear programs in return for normal relations with the West and an end to threats of sanctions.
The United States has demanded that Tehran give up all its uranium enrichment activities, saying they are needed only to produce weapons, not electricity. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said he had seen reports of the Iranian offer, but was more interested in action. A senior official said Thursday that the offer, while inadequate, was a sign that American pressure is working.
"It was very telling that in the past 24 to 48 hours, the Iranians have started to try to deal again," said a senior administration official. "That indicates a great concern on their part.''
Other officials said, however, that the Iranian offer may have the effect of forestalling the action that the United States seeks next week at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The agency has deplored Iran's lack of willingness to answer questions about its nuclear program but has taken no action.
The Bush administration wants the agency's 35-member board of governors to refer Iran's lack of cooperation to the United Nations Security Council, where sanctions and other forms of pressure might be considered.
On the other side, Germany and France argue that more pressure will make Iran less willing to consider curbs on its nuclear programs, which most experts regard as close to giving it the ability to make nuclear weapons.
Later this week, during a meeting in Geneva of top nuclear proliferation specialists from the major industrial countries, John R. Bolton, under secretary of state for nonproliferation affairs, will be trying to build a consensus to increase pressure on Iran.
The United States has tried and failed five times to get the votes to refer the matter to the Security Council, and Mr. Powell said last week that it would try again.
"We've been trying for the past five meetings to achieve that result," Mr. Bolton said in an interview before leaving for Geneva, referring to the effort to bring the matter before the Security Council. "We're going to try again in the sixth meeting. Whether or not that's possible, we've been unambiguous that we would make that push."
But European diplomats, asking not to be identified because the sensitive talks are continuing, expressed doubts that the referral would succeed. Some suggested instead that the United States give Iran one more chance to comply with the demands, with the clear understanding that failure will lead to sending the matter to the Security Council in November.
To some diplomats, the November meeting is critical because it would come after the American presidential election. Many experts say Iran is waiting to see the outcome of the race before deciding whether to negotiate with the Bush administration, even though Senator John F. Kerry has also taken a tough stance on the issue.
Administration officials said they had not yet been able to achieve a consensus on the board of governors. Normally the board takes action by consensus or not at all, which means that a strong dissenting minority can prevent it from acting.
Failing to get a consensus could signal a change of strategy for the administration, administration officials said. If there is no consensus, the administration may try to get a simple majority of the agency's board to send the issue to the Security Council. As a last resort, the administration may have to put the matter off until November.
"We're working it really hard right now," said a senior American official. "We may have to wait until next time, but we're really pushing hard to get this now." The official said that Mr. Powell had been on the telephone in the past week to press the issue.
If there is a yes-or-no vote, according to diplomats from countries involved in the talks, the United States might be able to get the votes of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, perhaps Japan and perhaps Spain and the Netherlands. The American strategy appears to be to line up enough votes that wavering countries might go along.
US threat against Iran unlikely to develop into war for now
The United States has recently uttered a new wave of charges against Iran, which Washington had accused of being involved into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but war is unlikely on the Mideast country, at least before the November US presidential elections.
The United States and Israel have long been threatening to launch preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. What happened in the past months seems to give a signal that the Bush administration may have sorted out Iran as its next target and Washington's diplomatic and political containment may turn into military operations.
Washington granted protected status to nearly 4,000 members of the anti-Tehran Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) in July and accused Iran of being involved into the terrorist attacks occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.
On September 1, US Secretary of State Colin Powell uttered the new wave of attack, announcing Washington would prompt the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council.
Even so, some analysts here believed the US threat is unlikely to be escalated into war for the time being.
Obviously, if the United States extends aggression to Iran out of the diplomatic and legal domains, it will wait for the nuclear watchdog's decision.
Furthermore, whatever conclusion is reached at the IAEA meeting, the United States will be too preoccupied with the presidential election to spare any energy for Iran, and adopting any new tactics against Iran seems to be too risky for the Bush campaign.
And Iran will also hold its presidential election in May next year. The United States will not be so impatient that it can not wait until Iran's next president emerges.
If the reformists, who are more willing to cooperate with the West, continue to hold the Iranian presidency after the election, Washington can adopt more political and diplomatic measures to reach its strategic goal.
If the conservatives come into power, it will not be too late for Washington to plan operations then.
Moreover, considering Iran's military capacity, the United States has to calculate the price of launching a war upon the country with counterattack muscle.
Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said last month that Iran has achieved the effective deterrent power to confront its enemies in the region.
Iran's Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile, an upgraded version of which was successfully tested last month, can reach any strategic site in the Middle East.
On the other hand, Iran, although it has the capability of attacking the US military bases in the Middle East, is definitely unwilling to plunge itself into a military counterwork with the only superpower in the world.
Therefore, Iran, though beleaguered by Washington politically and militarily, will be very cautious within the battlefields that has opened so far and tried to clear itself of the US accusations within the framework of the international laws.
Sporadic but violent clashes rocked main areas of the Iranian capital following a soccer game played yesterday evening in the frame of the pre-qualification for the next world cup.
Groups of young seized the occasion of Iran's victory in order to come into the streets for celebration, by dancing and chanting, and shouting slogans against the regime and its leaders. The most important gatherings were located in western, eastern and central parts of Tehran, such as in Azadi, Enghelab, Madar, Tehran Pars.
Groups of demonstrators retaliated to the brutal attack of the militiamen who were using plastic bullets and tear gas, by throwing pieces of stone and incendiary devices which resulted in heavy damages done to collective buses and several patrol vehicles. Tens have been injured or arrested during the clashes which persisted till late evening and the early hours of today.
Iranians use often various pretext in order to carry a collective action against the Islamic regime. Same Soccer demonstrations have rocked, in the past, many Iranian cities.