Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - September 17, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 09/16/2004 10:15:07 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.
VIENNA -(Dow Jones)- Royal Dutch/Shell Group (RD) confirmed Thursday that it has signed a project framework agreement with Iran, as part of its Persian liquefied natural gas joint venture with Spain's Repsol (REP).
Shell spokesman Simon Buerk told Dow Jones Newswires the deal was still subject to the approval of the Iranian authorities.
Earlier, Buerk said the pact with Repsol and the National Iranian Oil Co. would "take forward the Persian LNG project to the next stage of design. Although good progress has been made, significant commercial and engineering work still needs to be undertaken and we will not reach the stage of being able to make a final decision on whether to proceed with the project for at least two years." On the impact of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act on the deal, Buerk said; "ILSA is a government matter between the U.S. and the E.U."
ILSA was passed by the U.S. Congress and can be used to punish non-U.S. firms for investing more than $20 million a year in the energy sectors in Iran or Libya.
Posted Thursday, September 16, 2004
VIENNA, 16 Sept. (IPS) As the European Unions so-called Big 3 and the United States reached an agreement on a draft resolution concerning Irans controversial nuclear activities, the regimes former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani warned the Europeans that there are limits to Irans capacity for compromise.
The United States reached an agreement with France, Britain and Germany on a draft U.N. resolution on Iran that calls for an immediate halt to Tehran's uranium enrichment program, a diplomat said late on Thursday.
The draft dropped the trigger mechanism that existed in the proposal by the Americans, Australians and the Canadians urging the international nuclear watchdog to report automatically the case of Iran to the United Nations Security Council for adopting sanctions in case Tehran did not comply with the demands formulated by the Board of Directors.
A diplomat at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the key points of the resolution calls for the IAEA to make a decision in November "whether or not to take appropriate steps" regarding Iran's commitments under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), according to the British news agency Reuters.
The diplomat said that this meant that the board would decide whether to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council, which can impose economic sanctions, for violating the NPT by hiding its uranium enrichment program for nearly two decades.
"If they (EUs trio) behave like this, our capacity for compromise will naturally shrink and we will act more independently", Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani said adding that Iran would never part from our compromise policy, but we will not go back on our course either
Iran would resist all international pressures, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani assured.
The cleric, who, as the Chairman of the Expedience Council, is the regimes number two man after the leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi stressed that Iran is open to a deal with the Europeans as long as the countrys legitimate rights to peaceful nuclear technology is observed.
Iran would resist all international pressures, the cleric assured, as the disclosure by an American television that Iran has hide a complex for production of nuclear weapons triggered a new round of accusations and counter accusations between Tehran and Washington.
ABC News quoted on Wednesday US experts saying that the Parchin military complex might be involved in the research, testing, and possibly production of nuclear weapons.
The complex, located about 30 kilometers southeast of Tehran, is a huge site dedicated to the research, development, and production of ammunition, rockets, and high explosives, David Albright, a scientist, has told the network.
The site is owned by Iran's military industry and has hundreds of buildings and test sites. According to the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP), the IAEA has known about this site for some time and it has independently assessed its potential for nuclear weapons work. As a result of its analysis, the IAEA recently asked Iran about visiting this location. But Iran has so far not agreed, added the AFP report.
ABC said Iran has refused IAEA nuclear experts to visit the site.
But Mr, Hoseyn Mousavian, the spokesman for the Iranian delegation at the ongoing talks in Vienna dismissed the allegations as "a lie" and said that the agency had not asked to visit the site.
the key points of the resolution calls for the IAEA to make a decision in November
"This is a new lie, like the last 13 lies based on news reports that have been proved to be lies", Mr Mousavian told Iran Press Service, adding that the whole bunch of lies are aimed at influencing the Agencys Board decision on iran, expected for Friday or Saturday.
A U.S. official expressed alarm Thursday about a possible nuclear-weapons-related test site in Iran and accused the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency of keeping silent on its own concerns about the issue.
"This is a serious omission", on the part of IAEA director general Mohammad ElBaradei, said the official, alluding to the lack of specific mention on Parchin in a report written for the board by ElBaradei on the status of a probe into Iran's nuclear activities.
The official said the United States would "go to the other board members" and make sure the suspicious site is considered in any Iran resolution submitted to the board meeting.
Mousavian said the allegation was timed to influence talks on a draft resolution on Iran's nuclear program.
Iran Foreign Affairs Ministrys spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said on Thursday that experience has shown that Americans use pressure and resort to hue and cry whenever they run out of any justification and logic to convince others.
Prior to the former session of the IAEA Board of Governors; the US had mentioned to the name of Lavizan, an area in northern Tehran with hue and cry hen it was proved a lie. This time, and as they are not sure to push with their resolution, they got Parchin out of their sleeves, the spokesman observed.
Iran is not prohibited from enrichment under its obligations to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. But it has faced mounting international pressure to suspend such activities, which can produce uranium for generating power or making nuclear weapons, as a good-faith gesture to prove it is not seeking to make atomic weapons.
The IAEA meeting adjourned Wednesday to allow for back-room negotiations and consultations with capitals. Plans were to reconvene Friday for a vote on a final version of the Iran resolution.
"We have done everything to build confidence, but if the Europeans want us to do something else we can discuss it", Mr. Mousavian said, warning that Irans patience has limits.
Although the IAEA has uncovered undeclared nuclear activities in Iran, it has found nothing to prove the U.S. allegations.
European diplomats believe the demand to report Iran to the Security Council immediately would be counterproductive.
There are five members at the Security Council with veto right. If we decide on strong measures against the Islamic Republic, not only it will face veto by Russia or China, the measure would also help Irans hard line rulers to get out of the NPT and follow the path of North Korea, one diplomat explained, speaking with IPS
But if Tehran goes ahead with its plans to enrich uranium, the EU trio would accept the idea of reporting Iran when the IAEA meets in November, diplomats say.
However, Mr Mousavian, who is also the Secretary of Irans Supreme Council on National Securitys Foreign Policy Committee, said Iran was not afraid of being reported.
"We are not really afraid of the Security Council, but it would be a setback in our cooperation (with the IAEA)", he said. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 16904
Photos of Iranian N-site released
VIENNA: The Institute for Science and International Security think tank on Wednesday released seven satellite photographs of an Iranian military complex suspected of doing illicit nuclear weapons work.
The satellite images showed the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran may be a site for research, testing and production of nuclear weapons. The pictures show a large industrial complex hidden in a warren of valleys and crevices created by a mountainous plateau in northern Iran. A paved road snaking in between barren hills connects warehouse-like buildings and smaller installations.
But expert commentary accompanying the material suggests that the Parchin conventional weapons complex, located about 30 kilometres southeast of Tehran, could also be used for nuclear work. This site is a logical candidate for a nuclear weapons-related site, particularly one involved in researching and developing high explosive components for an implosion-type nuclear weapon, weapons experts David Albright and Corey Hinderstein commented on the images.
Their suspicion is directed toward what they see as a high explosive testing bunker set in a rocky hollow. The concern is that this bunker could be where Iran would test a full-scale mock-up of a nuclear explosive using natural or depleted uranium as a surrogate of a highly enriched uranium core, Albright and Hinderstein pointed out. US officials insist the work at the military complex was used by Tehran as cover for a clandestine nuclear weapons programme.
A senior Iranian official said on Thursday that a nuclear experts allegation that Tehran was hiding an atomic site from UN inspectors was a carefully timed lie intended to influence a resolution on its nuclear programme. This is a new lie, like the last 13 lies based on news reports that have been proved to be lies, Hossein Mousavian, Irans chief delegate to this weeks meeting in Vienna of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said.
Albright said the UNs nuclear watchdog had asked to inspect the site but its request had been ignored. But Mousavian said: They have not asked to see the site. The IAEA declined to comment, but Western diplomats familiar with the matter said Parchin was not a new site for IAEA inspectors.
Mousavian said the allegation was timed to influence talks on a draft resolution on Irans nuclear programme that could set the stage for November showdown at the IAEA. That could result in the case being referred to the UN Security Council, something Washington has demanded for more than a year. agencies
US, Europe agree on draft resolution for Iran nuclear programme: US official
VIENNA : The United States and Europe's three main states reached agreement in Vienna on a UN draft resolution on Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, a US official said.
The resolution does not set an October 31 ultimatum for Iran to comply with demands from the UN nuclear watchdog, according to a copy of the text obtained by AFP.
A US State Department official told AFP the text had been approved by President George W. Bush's top non-proliferation official, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, but still had to be approved by Secretary of State Colin Powell.
It also must be approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-nation board of governors, meeting this week in Vienna. Many members of the board, including non-aligned nations, had been hostile to the US's insistence on an ultimatum.
The United States, which charges that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, would like to see the IAEA board judge Iran in non-compliance with nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) safeguards and take Tehran before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
A Western diplomat close to the talks in Vienna said that despite the United States acceding to demands from Britain, France and Germany to drop the ultimatum, "the language is still pretty tough. There are the equivalent of two strong deadlines in the text."
The draft says it is "imperative" for Iran to clear up "outstanding issues" with the IAEA "before the board's November 25 meeting," such as "the sources and reasons for enriched uranium contamination and the import, manufacture and use of centrifuges."
It also said it "is necessary that Iran immediately suspend all enrichment-related activities, including the manufacture or import of centrifuge components, the assembly and testing of centrifuges and the production of feed material" for enriching uranium, the process that produces fuel for civilian reactors but also the explosive core for atomic bombs.
The draft says the IAEA board of governors will decide at a meeting in November "whether or not further steps are appropriate in relation to Iran's obligations under its NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) safeguards agreement and to the requests made of Iran by the board in this and previous resolutions."
Such steps could be to take Iran to the Security Council, although there is no automatic requirement for the board to do this, as the United States had wanted.
|Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini|
In the spring of 2003, shortly after U.S.-led forces captured Baghdad with surprising speed, more than a few Western analysts began to foretell winds of change blowing toward Tehran.
Reconsider the possibilities: Iraq's burgeoning (secular) democracy would serve as a model for Iran, or perhaps inspire envious Iranians to rise up against their anti-democratic mullahs; Baghdad's fall and the subsequent envelopment of Iran by U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf sheikhdoms would frighten Tehran's ruling mullahs into improving their behavior; Iran's most respected Shiite scholars and clerics - the majority of whom are opposed to Khomeini-style theocratic rule - would take flight from Qom to Najaf, where they could freely criticize the Islamic Republic's religious legitimacy and, potentially, incite the masses. For those familiar with the depth of popular discontent in Iran, such scenarios did not appear outside the realm of possibility.
However, they also assumed a smooth postwar transformation in Iraq. While Bush administration officials talked of how success in Iraq would change the political culture of the Middle East, few seemed to contemplate the regional repercussions for Washington if things didn't go as planned. In the case of Iran, the chaotic state of postwar Iraq has served not to intimidate Tehran's mullahs but rather to embolden them. Today, nearly 17 months after the fall of Baghdad, Iran's Islamic regime appears more entrenched than it has been in over a decade.
According to many analysts, postwar American difficulties in Iraq are due in large part to Iranian meddling. While on its own the explanation is overly facile, there is certainly some truth to it. Given that various Bush administration officials and advisers intimated that Tehran should be next after Baghdad, it was logical that Iran would do its best to make sure that the postwar transition in Iraq was anything but smooth. At the same time, however, Tehran's leadership has been cognizant of the fact that a civil war in Iraq - with the potential to spill over the Iranian border - would not be in its interest either. Hence Iran's de facto policy of "contained chaos:" generate enough unrest in Iraq to dissuade the U.S. from contemplating regime change in Iran, but refrain from supporting a full-fledged insurrection.
Rather than put its money on one specific horse, Iran has diversified its Iraqi portfolio. Both Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who advocates an Islamic republic in Iraq, and Ahmad Chalabi, the secular Shiite expatriate with close ties to Bush administration officials, have links to Tehran. Above all, however, Iran seems to support the will of the seemingly moderate, respected Iranian-born cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Given a one-person, one-vote democratic election in Iraq, it is widely assumed that those aligned with Sistani would emerge victorious. And given Sistani's religious and cultural ties to Iran, Tehran is confident that a Sistani victory would ensure that its influence in Iraq exceeds that of Washington. For this reason, the idea of a democratically elected Iraqi government seems cause for greater concern in Washington than in Tehran.
Iran has displayed a similar combination of duplicity and cunning with regard to its nuclear strategy. Despite U.S. and Israeli threats and the risk of European condemnation, Tehran has shown little sign of retreat. Iranian officials - from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to President Muhammad Khatami to the influential Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani - have consistently insisted that Iran is not interested in pursuing a nuclear weapons program. "We are ready to do everything necessary to give guarantees that we won't seek nuclear weapons," Khatami said recently. "As Muslims, we can't use nuclear weapons. One who can't use nuclear weapons won't produce them."
Given Iran's dubious track record with the International Atomic Energy Agency, however, few are convinced. "What they're doing is the equivalent of buying a $25,000 ball point pen," one nuclear analyst familiar with Iran's program told me. "If their sole interest is to build a civilian nuclear energy program, they're doing far more than what's necessary."
In addition to its nuclear ambitions, the vacuum caused by the Americans' removal of Saddam Hussein allows Tehran to pursue its ambitions for regional hegemony. The former head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Mohsen Rezaii, succinctly summed up Tehran's aspirations: "Why shouldn't Iran be the flag-bearer of peace, justice, development and democracy in the region? The region cannot have stability and security in the absence of Iran, and all nations need Iran's presence, even the Americans."
After years of putting intangible Islamic interests ahead of national interests, Iran's ascendant conservatives have ironically begun to use the same rhetoric once used by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi three decades ago. Then as now, Iran's neighbors are likely to view Tehran's self-anointed role as policeman of the Gulf with a certain degree of wariness.
But while Iran's hand seems to have been temporarily strengthened, it is still far too early to predict the ultimate reverberations of the Iraq war. Just as Iraq's future hangs in the balance, so too does that of its neighbors. So far, however, Tehran's ruling mullahs have far more reason to smile than their counterparts in Washington. Rather than extinguish Iran's Islamic regime, the Iraq war seems to have given it new life.
Karim Sadjadpour is a Middle East analyst based in Tehran and Washington. This
commentary was first published in bitterlemons-international
Last Update: Friday, September 17, 2004. 10:46am (AEST)
Australia and Canada have delivered the United States a compromise with France, Britain and Germany on a toughly-worded United Nation nuclear resolution on Iran that calls for an immediate halt to Tehran's uranium enrichment program, a Western diplomat said.
"It's a text that all six countries can live with," the diplomat close to the talks told Reuters, referring to discussions between Australia and Canada, both representing the US, and the European Union's "big three" on Iran's nuclear program.
Iran's program for uranium enrichment, a process of purifying uranium for use as fuel for power plants or nuclear weapons, is the most controversial part of Tehran's atomic plans, which it says are limited to electricity generation.
Washington says Iran is developing nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian nuclear power program.
Tehran denies the charge, insisting its nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful.
The preliminary agreement, which still has to be approved by most of the 35 nations on the governing board of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ended nearly a week of discussions on the text, which the diplomat said would set the stage for a November showdown over Iran's nuclear program.
Another diplomat said the United States had to abandon its demand for an "automatic trigger" deadline forcing the IAEA to report Iran to the UN Security Council if it did not meet a number of demands, including suspending enrichment activities.
The diplomat summarised the key points of the resolution, saying it called for the IAEA board to decide in November "whether or not to take appropriate steps" regarding Iran's commitments under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The diplomat said that this meant that the board would decide whether to report Iran to the UN Security Council, which can impose economic sanctions, for violating the NPT by hiding its uranium enrichment program for nearly two decades.
The draft text, which diplomats said would likely be adopted on Friday or Saturday with only minor changes, also called on Iran to answer all of the IAEA's outstanding questions about its nuclear program by the time the board meets again in November.
The IAEA has been inspecting Iran's nuclear program for two years.
While it has uncovered many previously concealed activities and facilities, it has found no clear evidence to back US accusations that Iran is developing atomic weapons.
New allegations were made this week.
A prominent international expert said on new satellite images showed the Parchin military complex south-east of Tehran may be a site for research, testing and production of nuclear weapons.
Iran rejected the new allegation.
"This is a new lie, like the last 13 lies based on news reports that have been proved to be lies," Hossein Mousavian, Iran's chief delegate to this week's IAEA meeting told Reuters.
SOMETIME in the next year or two, Israel is going to have to make a decision. Will it accept that Iran has nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them against Israel? Or will it do what it did to Iraq's developing nuclear capability in 1981 and bomb it out of existence?
This sounds all rather apocalyptic. That is because it is - at least for Israel. Iran is developing a wide range of nuclear facilities and capabilities. It is doing so even though there can be few countries with less need for nuclear energy than oil-rich Iran.
But, surely, Iran is developing these nuclear facilities under the eagle eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the body charged with ensuring that such facilities are developed for peaceful purposes only and not diverted to military use. True enough. Furthermore, the IAEA is charged with referring any concerns it may have of any possible diversion to military use to the UN Security Council for action.
Now this sounds all fine and dandy. But there are a few problems. The IAEA supervised Iraq's nuclear facilities and developments and swore they were for peaceful purposes only. Unfortunately for Iraq, its invasion of Kuwait in 1990 led to its military trouncing and to the imposition of UN weapons inspections. These weapons inspectors found that the American and Israeli assertions that Iraq was indeed developing nuclear capability were not accurate - they were far too optimistic. The Americans and Israelis had in fact underestimated - that's right, underestimated - how far Iraq had progressed down the path to nuclear weapons.
Then there was Libya. When Libya in the past 18 months decided to give up its nuclear facilities, lo and behold, once again it turned out that Western intelligence agencies had severely underestimated how far Libya had progressed down the nuclear weapons path.
And, of course, there are the fine fellows who lead the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Their nuclear facilities were also subject to IAEA safeguards. Yet they, too, have diverted so-called peaceful uses of nuclear energy to military purposes, and have left the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the IAEA system.
Former IAEA director-general Hans Blix has been replaced by a genuinely competent and much more serious person, Mohamed ElBaradei. The new director-general has done everything he can to try to bring the Iranians to heel. The Europeans demanded a central role in helping out on this, but every time things come to a head the usual suspects, Russia and France - and this time, to its shame, Britain - have refused to take the necessary action to force Iran to comply with its obligations. Only in the past few days they have again failed to take strong action.
The Iranian leadership is widely hated by its own people. It is a fundamentalist Islamic dictatorship that made a farce of the recent so-called elections - a fundamentalist dictatorship that is another great gift to the world from that fine nation France, just as Iraq's original nuclear reactor was a gift from the generous-hearted people of France. While the Iranian dictatorship is no friend to Osama bin Laden, it does agree with him absolutely on one thing: Israel should cease to exist.
Furthermore, we cannot rely on this kind of dictatorship having the same sense of self-preservation as the US and the Soviet Union showed during the Cold War. Although there were moments when we stood on the brink of nuclear war, each side accepted the terrible logic of mutual assured destruction and stepped back. This is not true of Iran's leadership. Their beliefs embrace death and martyrdom. To rely on a nuclear-armed Iran to show restraint would be a triumph of hope against reason.
So, sometime soon, Israel will be faced with this choice. Does it allow an implacable enemy determined to obliterate it as a nation to develop the means by which it can achieve that end? Or does it rely on the international community to protect it, an international community that cannot even agree on action to protect the hundreds of thousands of people being subjected to genocide right now in Darfur? Or should it simply "go gentle into that good night"? No, I don't think so. I think it will "rage against the dying of the light".
If Israel does undertake military action to protect itself, action that will be far more difficult, extensive and dangerous than that which it took against Iraq, the world will throw up its hands in horror. Instead the world should hang its head in shame for its failure to insist that Iran meet the commitments it has made.
Whether it is Iraq, or Iran, or North Korea, or Rwanda, or Darfur, or any of the other many and manifest blights on human decency, the international community continues to fail the great promise of those who founded the UN with such high hope: hope that it would bring to the world peace at last. Not peace at any price - but peace with justice and right.