Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - September 20, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 09/19/2004 9:27:58 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.
| (IsraelNN.com) Security sources in Israel believe that Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshal was quietly relocated from Syria by President Bashar el-Assad and moved to Iran in response to mounting American pressure against Damascus. Syrian officials also feared an Israeli attempt to eliminate Meshal, contributing to the decision to have him leave the country.
At this time, security sources are hesitant to predict just how long Meshal will remain exiled to Tehran.
Iranian Control of Hamas Opens Gaza Strip to Iranian Surface Missiles
DEBKAfile Exclusive Military Report
September 20, 2004, 11:42 AM (GMT+02:00)
Luna-2 on which Iran`s Zelzal-2 is based
The missile in the photo with this article is the Luna-2 short-range ground-to-ground missile, known to NATO from Soviet times as FROG-7, which Iran has developed as its Zelzal-2/Mushak-200. In the hands of Irans Lebanon-based Revolutionary Guards, it has extended the Iranian-Hizballahs missile range due south to Israels coastal cities of Haifa, Hadera and Netanya. The missile, its launchers and infrastructure are well-hidden in special storehouses in the port town of Sidon in the care of Revolutionary Guards specialist teams. A Lebanese urban center was chosen for their hiding places to reduce the weapons vulnerability to an Israeli air strike. With Tehran already issuing operational orders to the Palestinian Hamas fundamentalist terrorist group, it is only a question of time before these missiles are transferred to the Gaza Strip, so bringing southern Israel, Tel Aviv and the cities in between, such as Rehovot, Rishon Lezion and Ashdod, within striking range.
This looming menace finally drove Shin Beit Director Avi Dichter and IDF chiefs this week to openly challenge prime minister Ariel Sharons plans for the removal of Israeli settlements and military units from the Gaza Strip in the framework of his disengagement blueprint.
According to DEBKAfiles military sources, Zelzal-2/Mushak-200 is 8.3 meters long with an estimated range of between 100 and 400 km effective most probably at 200 km. It is armed with a 600 kg warhead. Iran is known to have developed chemical and biological payloads but not to have located them in Lebanon. On the other hand, intelligence sources estimate that Syria has perfected the right chemical warheads for attachment to the Zelzal missiles deployed in Lebanon and they can be fitted within hours. These weapons may be delivered through the Palestinian gunrunning routes from Sinai into the Gaza Strip whenever the rulers of Iran and Syria so decide.
Israeli security chiefs fear that the Hizballah, aka Iran, is already shipping 240mm Katyusha and Iranian Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets across the Mediterranean to northern Sinai. Egyptian security authorities, who are similarly concerned by the heavy weaponry Iran is landing on their territory, are known to have seized one delivery of Katyusha 220mm upgraded to 240 mm before it was smuggled into the Gaza Strip. But there is no knowing how much was not intercepted before reaching destination.
In readiness for their post-disengagement schemes, Tehran and Damascus have ordered Hamas to veto any Egyptian or other programs for securing the Gaza Strip after Israels evacuation. The military and defense chiefs in both Israel and Egypt have concluded that the implementation of against Sharons evacuation plan will open the door wide to Gazas transformation into a second South Lebanon in the heart of Israel.
Sunday, September 19, DEBKAfile discussed the controversy over a more immediate threat: Evacuation under fire.
The simmering argument between Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and Israels military chiefs over the feasibility of his evacuation plan came to a head at the Israeli cabinet meeting Sunday, September 19. Sharon, who failed to offer the traditional New Years greetings to the nation this year, finally admitted that which the military, security and police chiefs as well as DEBKAfile - have been saying for months: the unilateral evacuation of some 9,000 Israelis living in the Gaza Strip cannot be accomplished, if at all, without a substantial cost in military and civilian lives. Conditions on the ground, say these authorities, make disengagement unfeasible.
But the conclusion they elicited from the prime minister was unexpected: I am sticking to my disengagement guns and not budging one whit from my timetable, he told the ministers and army chiefs: it is up to the military to make it possible; they had better start preparing for evacuation under enemy fire.
As reported previously by DEBKAfile, the Palestinians are in the midst of massive preparations, including training special operations units and procurement of fresh supplies of upgraded weapons, for hammering the evacuating forces and Gush Katif evacuees and making the operation a bloodbath. Egypt has virtually retired from its post-disengagement security role in the Gaza Strip and is only half-heartedly blocking Palestinian arms supplies through Sinai.
Until now, Sharon and defense minister Shaul Mofaz said that if the evacuation cannot be accomplished without an unacceptable level of bloodshed, then it will not be implemented at all. But now, Sharon appears determined to go forward regardless.
With the onus of a predictable disaster on their heads, Israels military and security chiefs explain: If this plan goes ahead, it will not be disengagement, but total war, a tornado of terrorist attacks, gunfire and missiles blasting the Gaza Strip, the western and southern Negev and Gush Katif. Instead of pulling back, the army will be forced to drive back into the large sections of the Gaza Strip controlled by Palestinians in order to subdue their war offensive. Many lives will be lost in these maneuvers.
Addressing the same cabinet meeting, Shin Beit director Avi Dichter limited his warning to a single issue: If Israel pulls out of the Philadelphi corridor on the Gaza Strip-Egyptian border it will open the door to an avalanche of advanced weapons the like of which was prevented from reaching the Palestinians in all four years of their warfare against Israel.
Sept. 27 issue - Unprepared as anyone is for a showdown with Iran, the threat seems to keep growing. Many defense experts in Israel, the United States and elsewhere believe that Tehran has been taking advantage of loopholes in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is now within a year of mastering key weapons-production technology. They can't prove it, of course, and Iran's leaders deny any intention of developing the bomb. Nevertheless, last week U.S. and Israeli officials were talking of possible military actioneven though some believe it's already too late to keep Iran from going nuclear (if it chooses). "We have to start accepting that Iran will probably have the bomb," says one senior Israeli source. There's only one solution, he says: "Look at ways to make sure it's not the mullahs who have their finger on the trigger."
After the Iraq debacle, calls for regime change without substantial evidence of weapons of mass destruction are not likely to gain a lot of traction. But if the allegations are correct, Iran is only one of the countries whose secret nuclear programs hummed along while America waged a single-minded hunt for WMD in Iraq. Another is North Korea, which hasn't stopped claiming that it's turning a stockpile of spent fuel rods into a doomsday arsenal. And arms-control specialists are increasingly alarmed by Brazil's efforts to do precisely what Iran is doing: use centrifuge cascades to enrich uraniumwith a couple of key differences. Unlike Iran, Brazil has never signed the NPT's Additional Protocol, which gives expanded inspection rights to the International Atomic Energy Agency. And unlike Iran, Brazil is not letting the IAEA examine its centrifuges. If the Brazilians go through with their program, it's likely to wreck the landmark 1967 treaty that made South America a nuclear-free zone. But the White House has shown scant concern about the risk.
The Iran crisis is more immediate in the eyes of the Bush administration, in part because Iran is among the president's "Axis of Evil." Israel, which has long regarded Iran as a more dire threat than Iraq, is making thinly veiled threats of a unilateral pre-emptive attack, like its 1981 airstrike against Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. "If the state decides that a military solution is required, then the military has to provide a solution," said Israel's new Air Force chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, in a newspaper interview last week. "For obvious reasons," he added, "we aren't going to speak of specifics." U.S. defense experts doubt that Israel can pull it off. Iran's facilities (which it insists are for peaceful purposes) are at the far edge of combat range for Israel's aircraft; They're also widely dispersed and, in many cases, deep underground.
But America certainly could do itand has given the idea some serious thought. "The U.S. capability to make a mess of Iran's nuclear infrastructure is formidable," says veteran Mideast analyst Geoffrey Kemp. "The question is, what then?" NEWSWEEK has learned that the CIA and DIA have war-gamed the likely consequences of a U.S. pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. No one liked the outcome. As an Air Force source tells it, "The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating."
Instead, administration hawks are pinning their hopes on regime change in Tehranby covert means, preferably, but by force of arms if necessary. Papers on the idea have circulated inside the administration, mostly labeled "draft" or "working draft" to evade congressional subpoena powers and the Freedom of Information Act. Informed sources say the memos echo the administration's abortive Iraq strategy: oust the existing regime, swiftly install a pro-U.S. government in its place (extracting the new regime's promise to renounce any nuclear ambitions) and get out. This daredevil scheme horrifies U.S. military leaders, and there's no evidence that it has won any backers at the cabinet level. ...
September 20, 2004, 8:36 a.m.
An evil regime.
As our leaders, hypnotized by the cobra's fatal dance and entranced by the fakir's music, stand immobile while the mullahs complete their nuclear program, it may be useful for the rest of us to maintain a clear-eyed understanding of the nature of the most formidable terror regime in the world. Would that our oxymoronic intelligence community and the feckless foreign service paid attention, but that would be more difficult than liberating Iran itself. Two recent events provide the basic profile.
First is the story of Sheikh Rasini of Tehran, a religious leader of middling importance who attracted the attention of some of the more sober officials of the Revolutionary Guard in the mid-Nineties. It seems Rasini was spending a lot of time in the intimacy of young boys, and showed other signs of corruption. The Guardians of the Revolution objected, and took their complaints to the Ayatollah Milani, who duly issued a fatwa authorizing a violent death for the sheikh. But Rasini turned the tables on his accusers and had them thrown into the nightmarish Evin Prison in Tehran, where Milani and the others were killed.
Rasini continued his active support of gay marriage until, a couple of months ago, he was surprised en flagrante and hauled before an Islamic tribunal for his conjugal activities with one Amir. The situation looked grave for the sheikh until the mullahs came up with an imaginative solution. Amir was "converted" to the opposite sex by some of Tehran's finest surgeons, thereby removing quite literally the basis for the accusation.
Amir is now Zohreh, and she and her sheikh may well live happily for the foreseeable future.
Then comes the story of Mehdi Derayati, also of Tehran, whose midadventures were reported a couple of days ago by ILNA, the Islamic Labor News Agency. Mehdi Derayati is a young Iranian who worked for a while with some internet news sites that apparently published some stuff that offended the mullahcracy. Like hundreds of young Iranians who enrage the mullahs, Mehdi was summarily rounded up and carted off...who knows where. It's a very common occurrence in the country that our Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, calls a "democracy," and it would hardly be worth mentioning were it not for Mehdi's lineage. For he is the son of Mustafa Derayati, the personal adviser on clerical affairs to President Khatami.
Mustafa Derayati was so upset at the mistreatment of his boy that he gave a public interview. "All we have had is a few phone calls from him, we know he has been arrested but no law-enforcement authority is telling us where he is. They just say we have acted in accordance with our duties."
To which my pen pal Potkin Azarmehr neatly adds, "Well there you go. So much for Khatami's "Civil Society" which fooled so many gullible anti-Americans in Europe. Here is an example of an Islamic Civil Society where the president's adviser is unable to find out where his son is incarcerated. What hope for the ordinary Iranian parents searching for their abducted sons or daughters?"
When people ask me why the Iranian people so hate the regime, I begin telling them stories like these, because no list of adjectives, no amount of statistics on social misery, child prostitution, unemployment, corruption of the elite, or drug addiction can convey the horror of this murderous tyranny. If a mullah is caught committing an act that would automatically lead to the death penalty for an ordinary citizen, the problem is "fixed" by a sex-change operation on his partner. But even the son of a counselor to the president can be "vanished" without any accountability.
Can you imagine these creatures with atomic bombs? And yet the U.N. issues yet another "deadline" for the end of November, the European Union preens itself on its avoidance of conflict, even with evil, the president speaks bravely but does nothing to support freedom in Iran, and his challenger lets it be known that, if elected, he will offer the mullahs the same misguided nuclear deal that has already failed in North Korea.
The legislation - which would apply to holdings of more than 49% and would be backdated to 20 March 2004 - is now set to come up for a vote on Tuesday.
Its language singles out airports and telecoms deals for special attention.
The government of President Mohammad Khatami, which backs increased foreign investment, said it could do little to block the move.
"The government frankly opposes the bill, but it is obliged to implement any law passed by parliament," Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the cabinet secretary, told AFP.
"The proposed bill would paralyse the foreign policy apparatus and those economic apparatuses with dealings abroad."
The bill's progress comes just four months after an Austrian-Turkish consortium was ejected from the airport it had been contracted to build and run.
Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV) had spent $15m (£8.4m) on Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport before Revolutionary Guards shut it down in May, saying that TAV's business with Israel made its presence a security risk.
The guards have occupied the premises ever since.
Turkcell, Turkey's biggest mobile operator, has been awarded a contract to build a second GSM phone network in Iran with the assistance of Sweden's Ericsson, but has yet to sign the $3bn deal.
Turkcell, too, is accused by hardliners in parliament of having business links to Israel.
The bill represents the latest twist in the ongoing power struggle between the parliament, dominated by conservatives since February elections, and the more reform-minded government of President Khatami.
It is currently reviewing a five-year economic plan presented by President Khatami, who has been in office since 1997.
The plan, the original version of which called for privatisation - particularly of banks - and outside investment, had been thrown out by the Guardian Council, a religious legislative watchdog.
The Council had blocked much of the legislation put forward by the previous parliament, a majority of whose members had backed President Khatami.
The argument over investment meant that talks with the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in late July ended without the signing of the investment deals which had been intended as the centrepiece of the visit.
|World Powers Urge Iran to Comply With IAEA
20 Sep 2004, 12:26 UTC
The United States and other world powers are urging Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and freeze all work on uranium enrichment.
The European Union and Russia joined Washington in saying Tehran should abide by an IAEA resolution adopted Saturday.
Russia's Foreign Ministry says Moscow backs the resolution as a way for Iran to answer questions about the aim of its nuclear program.
Russia is helping Iran to build a nuclear reactor, over objections from the United States, which has accused Iran of striving after nuclear weapons.
Iran denies that charge but on Sunday, it rejected the IAEA's demands as illegal under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Monday, an Iranian spokesman said Tehran's earlier decision to suspend uranium enrichment was voluntary, and the program could be resumed at any time.
Security fears spark Linux drive in Iran
September 20 2004 at 02:57PM
By Stefan Smith
The reason has nothing to do with the guilt of using pirated software (a cracked Windows XP CD costs the same as a blank CD), but more pragmatic considerations - not least because of the irony that Iran's information technology (IT) backbone is based on software from its arch-enemy, the United States.
Firstly, Iran is trying to gain entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a step that would entail respect of international intellectual property laws.
"We would have to pay a lot of money," said Sephery-Rad, noting that most of the government's estimated one million personal computers (PCs) and the country's total of six to eight million computers were being run almost exclusively on the Windows platform.
"Secondly, Microsoft software has a lot of backdoors and security weaknesses that are always being patched, so it is not secure. We are also under US sanctions. All this makes us think we need an alternative operating system."
The alternative selected is Linux - an operating system adapted by computer makers and other users to meet their own specifications.
Derived from the Unix system by a Finn, Linus Torvalds, it has become one of the biggest competitors of Microsoft, even if Windows is still used on nearly 90 percent of the world's computers.
Whereas Microsoft's code is a closely-guarded secret, the Linux core code - or Kernal - is the subject of ongoing development and is available for free download and adaptation, hence the term "open-source".
"Our strategy is to have the option to change over if we have to. We need to have a solution that is ready, otherwise one day we may be caught with our hands in the air," Sephery-Rad told AFP in an interview.
"Then we will try to convince people it is the best option. We want to switch over as much as we can."
Around the world, several governments have been embracing Linux as a way to save money, break free from Microsoft's virtual monopoly and evade the daily barrages of viruses that bombard Windows systems.
Linux advocates also tout what they say is superior stability, fewer crashes and those "Blue Screens of Death" that drive many Windows users to despair - hence the already widespread use of Linux in server applications.
"Microsoft is a national security concern. Security in an operating system is an important issue, and when it is on a computer in the government it is of even greater importance," said the official.
"Even with Linux, security is an issue - but maybe less so."
But if there is one weak point with Linux, it is user-friendliness when ported to the desktop. Sephery-Rad acknowledged that you may not need to be a geek to use Linux, but it certainly helps.
"It is very promising. Students and universities are showing great enthusiasm, but for older people it is difficult," he explained, adding that graphical environments such as KDE or Gnome were getting close to matching the easy task manipulation that a Windows-based PC provides.
"It is not as easy as we thought. We will have to get people used to changing over. People are used to using Microsoft, so we'll need courses and seminars."
Iran's Linux initiative is now three years old, but the idea is beginning to catch on. A Farsi-language Linux "Live CD" - a preview that does not interfere with a computer's hard drive - has just become available in what is the first concrete step to a changeover.
Sephery-Rad, who also works as a physics professor, said the project should really get going in the next two to three years, with inspiration coming from similar efforts in Latin America, Europe and East Asia.
"Most people have come to the conclusion that sticking to an operating system controlled by one company is dangerous," said Sephery-Rad.
"Microsoft is like having a car where the bonnet is welded shut." - Sapa-AFP
| See the Sol Sanders Archive
One of those mysterious North Korean explosions and the intractability of Iran dramatize, if more evidence were needed, just how dangerous the world [again!] has become in the post-Soviet era. The events of 9/11 only served to focus the nature of that new jungle out there. Grappling with it is as complex as only a worldwide phenomenon could be. But the threats posed by North Korea and Iran do segment and dramatize it.
Pyongyangs explanation of a planned hydroelectric construction explosion is not only ridiculous, but further evidence of the rickety nature of the regime. Big events are always trumpeted as obeisance to The Dear Leader. Certainly not a hydroelectric project in an area notorious for its aridity but known to have underground weapons installations. It does demonstrate the dichotomy of Communist regimes relatively efficient weapons production accompanied by starvation, in living memory in a revisionist China and continuing today in ultra-Stalinist North Korea. [Note even the less than prosperous post-USSR Russia and Ukraine are grain exporters; the extent of the perennially failing Soviet crop used to be a measurement hotly debated among the Kremlinologists.]
Tehrans conflicting statements and the International Atomic Energy Agencys equivocation about its snooping is only matched by the wishful thinking [again!] among the US allies in Western Europe now Britain as well as Germany, and, of course, France. They are holding out for diplomacy [appeasement?] to halt what has to be the mullahshellbent effort at producing nuclear weapons. There is no logic, as they maintain, in an impoverished society with some of the worlds largest petroleum reserves seeking a full nuclear fuel cycle for electricity even for obscurantist Islamicists drowning in their 7th Century tribalism.
It is no accident, as the Communists used to say, joint development of missiles and perhaps nuclear technology bind the two pariah states. They have not only abetted each other. But their external support for diverse but equally deadly terror organizations notoriously continues. North Korea has graduated from aiding student revolutionaries in Mexico City, airport massacres in Israel, public assassination in Burma, and kidnapping in Japan, to peddling high tech weapons for its survival.
The Iranian mullahs are still in the same old business: arming terrorists working out of Syria [again!], to Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan. But their ambitions are now grander. With nuclear arms, a large population base, nascent industrialization, and a strategic position, they see themselves as the dominant Mideast power. These dreams are not new. But in the Shahs time [with the exception of a little problem of OPEC and higher oil prices for the US and the West] nostalgia for past Persian glory was within the bounds of a U.S. alliance -- and a modernization toward more universal values.
Its there all the efforts for compromise founder. Compromise is the product of diplomacy and a shared reasoning. But in neither instance is there much hope of that.
Its proponents argue were the U.S. to negotiate on a one-on-one basis with Pyongyang, it would produce disarmament agreement which would remove the threat of a nuclear clad North Korea, and, worse, its selling such weapons, possibly even non-state terrorists like Al Qaida. Yet that logic dictates North Korea would have to transform itself, at least as far as Communist China has, into a more viable society with access to and dependence on foreign investment, trade and technology transfers. There is no evidence North Koreas leadership does not see such developments as the regimes death warrant. It seeks nuclear weapons to maintain the dictatorship of a military elite. The Bush Administrations strategy, limping perhaps through the untrustworthiness of its allies [again!], is to seek the help of North Koreas neighbors. They all have an interest in a North Korea without nuclear weapons, at least in theory. The threat of an economic blockade is the alternative to a compromise which would include economic aid for the regime. The problem is our allies South Korea, and to some extent, Japan are unwilling to consider applying those sanctions. China, the principle player, while mouthing platitudes, continues to be the main prop of the regime. Moscows Putin, ever ambivalent, blames U.S. rhetoric for the impasse.
The mullahs present an even more horrendous predicament. They see themselves as instruments of a higher power for world domination, justifying all prevarication and obfuscation with infidels. At their furtherest reaches, they pursue a fanaticism in which their followers death is only the entrance to paradise. But the Europeans base their hopes for the kind of change which came in Central and Eastern Europe under the Communists on a policy of engagement with these same mullahs. Meanwhile, the threatening clock ticks louder, not only for Irans Mideast neighbors, but for Europe as the range of their missiles lengthens.
Iraq, with all its problems, is only the opening act of the drama now ahead of us.
Sol W. Sanders, (firstname.lastname@example.org), is an Asian specialist with more than 25 years in the region, and a former correspondent for Business Week, U.S. News & World Report and United Press International. He writes weekly for World Tribune.com.
Sep 20 2004 2:46PM
MOSCOW. Sept 20 (Interfax) - Russia has called on Iran to fully meet a resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors adopted in Vienna on September 18.
"The appeal to resume moratorium on enrichment projects is, in particular, addressed to Tehran. We support this appeal. Russia hopes that the maximum possible will be done to resolve problems and meet the resolution in full by November, when the IAEA Board of Governors will have another meeting," says a Monday report of the Russian Foreign Ministry received by Interfax.
The Choice on Iran
The Washington Post ^ | September 20, 2004
Posted on 09/20/2004 12:49:23 AM PDT by F14 Pilot