Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - September 22, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 09/21/2004 9:05:21 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.
Tue Sep 21,11:16 AM ET
By Francois Murphy VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran defied the United Nations (news - web sites) on Tuesday by announcing it has begun converting a large amount of raw uranium to prepare it for enrichment, a process that can be used to develop atomic bombs.
The announcement was likely to provoke an angry reaction from Washington and increase suspicion in Israel, which plans to buy 500 "bunker buster" bombs from the United States that could take out Iran's underground atomic facilities.
Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, told reporters Iran had begun converting 37 tonnes of raw "yellowcake" uranium to process it for use in nuclear centrifuges -- the machines that enrich uranium.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, adopted a resolution on Saturday calling on Iran to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment. The United States, Russia and the European Union (news - web sites) reinforced the message on Monday by urging Tehran to comply.
"Some of the amount of the 37 tonnes has been used. The tests have been successful but these tests have to be continued using the rest of the material," said Aghazadeh, one of Iran's vice presidents, who is attending a general conference of the Vienna-based IAEA.
One nuclear expert has said that once converted from yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride, the feed material for enrichment centrifuges, Iran would eventually be able to enrich enough uranium for up to five nuclear weapons.
The IAEA is aware of Iran's plan to convert the uranium for the enrichment process and said it would monitor the tests.
"IAEA (chief) Mohamed ElBaradei continues to call on Iran, as did the board, to suspend such a test as part of their confidence building measures," spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.
"We are determined to obtain peaceful atomic technology even if it causes the stop of international supervision," he said.
They (Iran) have a continuous record of making and then breaking promises, both to the board as well as to others," a State Department official said in New York, where Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) is attending the U.N. General Assembly.
"This is the pattern of a country that has not made the strategic decision to give up its nuclear weapons program."
Iran had promised Britain, France and Germany last October it would freeze all activities related to uranium enrichment.
But Tehran angered the EU's "big three" by announcing earlier this year that the production of feed material for centrifuges would not be included in the freeze.
The resolution said the IAEA board would consider whether "further steps" would be necessary if Iran failed to implement the suspension -- which diplomats said would mean a referral to the U.N. Security Council and possibly economic sanctions.
The United States and some other nations believe Tehran intends to use fissile material for weapons. Iran denies that and says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
Israel has made clear it will never permit Iran, which does not recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist, to become a nuclear power.
Diplomats and analysts say Israel would prefer diplomacy to war and a coalition if military action were needed against Iran, but is ready to act alone if needed.
In June, the Pentagon (news - web sites) said it was considering the sale to Israel of 500 BLU-109 bombs, designed to destroy reinforced targets, as part of a munitions package meant "to contribute significantly to U.S. strategic and tactical objectives."
Israeli security sources said the sale would go through and one told Reuters: "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria."
(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Parisa Hafezi in Tehran, Louis Charbonneau in Vienna and Arshad Mohammed in New York)
Posted Tuesday, September 21, 2004
TEHRAN, 21 Sep. (IPS) The Islamic Republic of Iran, in a visible defiance and disdain for the international community, announced Tuesday that on line with its nuclear policy, it has successfully converted tones of yellow cake into refined uranium gas.
The news was delivered to reporters in Vienna by Mr. Qlamreza Aqazadeh, the Head of Irans Atomic Energy Organisation at almost the same time that in Tehran, Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Khatami was assuring the nation that the Islamic Republic would push on with its controversial nuclear program even if it risks international isolation.
President Khatami's warning and Aqazadehs announcement came exactly two days after the United Nations international nuclear watchdog called on Iran to stop all activities related to enriching uranium or it might be taken to the UNs Security Council for economic sanctions.
Some of the amount of the 37 tons of yellow cake has been used and tests were successful.
Iran rejected the resolution approved Saturday 18 September by the 35 members of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but reiterated that it would continue cooperation.
The international community had to acknowledge our natural and legal right and open the path for understanding... so we can accept comprehensive international supervision and we can continue our path to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes", the powerless President said, warning that
"otherwise we will continue on this path even if the result is the cutting off of international supervision".
Addressing a parade marking the beginning of "Sacred Defence Week" that marks the anniversary of the outbreak of war with Iraq in 1980, Mr. Khatami said "we have made our choice and it is now the turn of others to chose", a reference to the IAEA, which gave Iran until November to come clean on its nuclear intentions and ratify the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty.
A clause in the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) permits any country to withdraw on three months' notice. North Korea withdrew in 2001, allowing it to proceed with the separation of plutonium from spent uranium and presumably the development of a nuclear bomb.
However Mr. Khatami assured that Iran was not after making nuclear weapons. "If we are under supervision or not, we will in no way try to acquire nuclear weapons because it is against our religion and culture. We are opposed to nuclear weapons", he said.
But while analysts said the Presidents warnings might be for domestic consumptions, it was Aqazadehs declaration that sent alarms to Washington, Tel Aviv, the European Union and the IAEA.
"Some of the amount of the 37 tons has been used," Mr. Aqazadeh told journalists as he was entering the annual meeting of the IAEAs members, referring to a quantity of yellowcake, or uranium oxide, which Iran had earlier indicated it planned to convert into gas
"The tests have been successful but these test have to be continued using the rest of the material", he said, adding that though Iran did not accept the last resolution of the Agencys directors, yet it would continue to be fully opened to inspections.
Under the NPT regulations, Iran has the right to enjoy nuclear technologies for peaceful and civilian uses, like producing electricity, a right recognised by the IAEAs latest resolution
No country with a project of producing 7.000 megawatts of electricity from nuclear energy can possibly depend on foreign providers for fuelling the stations.
But the United States and Israel alleges that Irans ruling ayatollahs main aim is to divert the technology for building an atomic arsenal to be used against the Jewish State.
Brushing aside the allegations, a senior Iranian official associated closely to the countrys nuclear programmes told Iran Press Service that Iran was ready to accept any safeguards imposed by the United Nations agency to ensure its enrichment activities do not go beyond the 3.5 percent concentration of the uranium-235 isotope needed for its power plant
The IAEA has this system and we welcome that it is installed in Iran and kept under its supervision, the official said, adding, No country with a project of producing 7.000 megawatts of electricity from nuclear energy can possibly depend on foreign providers for fuelling the stations.
To satisfy its electricity needs, Iran plans the construction of 6 more nuclear-powered electric stations in addition of the one that it is building in the Persian Gulf port of Booshehr with assistance from Russia.
It was against that background that the Israeli newspaper Haarretz revealed Tuesday that the United States would sell Israel 5,000 smart bombs for $319 million.
Known by the military designations GBU-27 or GBU-28, "bunker busters" are guided by lasers or satellites and can penetrate up to 10 metres (30 feet) of earth and concrete. Israel may already have some of the bombs for its U.S.-supplied F-15 fighter jets.
The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage, and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests.
Though Haaretz said Israel has some similar weapons, which it has used against Palestinians extremists in Gaza, but the British news agency Reuters quoted un-named official sources saying that the bombs could be used to destroy Irans nuclear facilities.
"This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran or possibly Syria", Reuters quoted the official.
A banner at the military parade stating "Israel must be wiped off the map" was draped on the side of a Shahab-2 missile, while a banner saying "We will crush America under our feet" was on the side of a trailer carrying the latest Shahab-3 missile, correspondents reported from the Iranian Capital.
The missile, whose name means "meteor" or "shooting star" in Farsi, is thought to be capable of carrying a one-tonne warhead at least 1,300 kilometers (800 miles), well within range of Israel.
"The Shahab-3 missiles, with different ranges, enables us to destroy the most distant targets", said an official commentary accompanying the parade, which was carried live on state television.
ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 21904
Iran's Assembly of Experts, the body of powerful Muslim clerics that chooses the country's supreme leader, opened its 12th session Sunday calling for an Islamic republic in Iraq.
In his opening speech, the assembly's speaker, Ayatollah Ali Meshkini, urged Iraqi leaders to unite to expel foreign troops in Iraq and establish a government based on the principles of Islam similar to the one in Iran, according to reports in the Tehran Times yesterday.
The Iraqi leadership must "expel the occupiers and establish an Islamic government," the ayatollah said.
He also said that the United States and Britain were responsible for "the ruthless massacre of the Iraqi people and must be punished by a competent court."
The export of Iran's Islamic fundamentalist revolution, which was led by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has been a goal of the mullahs in Tehran since they forced Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi into exile in 1979.
The United States, as a counterweight to Iran's radical Islamic theocracy, supported the secular Ba'athist dictatorship of Saddam Hussein through the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. It broke with Saddam after his invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
The United States still views an emerging democratic Iraq as a counterbalance to Islamic radicalism in the region.
In an interview at The Washington Times last week, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Iran was "providing support" to the insurgents in Iraq, but it was not clear to what extent. He also emphasized that most of the insurgency in Iraq was "self-generating" and homegrown.
"I don't think there's any doubt that the Iranians are involved and are providing support. How much and how influential their support is, I can't be sure, and it's hard to get a good read on it," Mr. Powell said.
"There is a practical limit to how much influence the Iranian [Shi'ites] will ever have on the Iraqi [Shi'ites]," he said.
Michael O'Hanlon, an Iran specialist at the Brookings Institution, said yesterday's declaration in Tehran could "backfire" in Iraq.
"Iraqis do not want to be seen as pawns of Iran," Mr. O'Hanlon said. "If Iran pushes too much, that is likely to turn Iraqis off, even if they are [Shi'ites] and share some of the same goals."
Mr. O'Hanlon said Iraqis, who are Arab, very nationalistic, but majority Shi'ite, carry some resentment that historically Iraq was the center of Shi'ite scholarship, but that Iranians, who are Persian, have usurped that position in Muslim intellectual circles.
"We need to be vigilant, but there is a natural law here that pushes Iraq and Iran apart, the more Iran tries to meddle," he said.
Michael Ledeen, at the American Enterprise Institute, has been a critic of Iran's government and the goals of the mullahs for years.
"They have wanted an Islamic republic next door all along," Mr. Ledeen said yesterday. Asked whether in trying to attain that goal, Iran was supporting the insurgency in Iraq, he answered, "yes," but added that no one knows the extent of the support.
"They believe that if there is a successful, stable democratic government in Iraq, they are doomed. ... They will go to any length to ensure their survival."
Clerical body calls for 'Islamic' Iraq
By Tom Carter
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
SUSPECTED NUKE BUNKERS SPOTTED IN IRAN
|WASHINGTON [MENL] -- A U.S. research institute has released satellite photographs that detail suspected nuclear weapons testing facilities at an Iranian military base outside Teheran.
The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security has released photographs of the Iranian military base at Parchin where nuclear weapons activities were suspected of taking place. The seven satellite images show buildings where nuclear weapons components were suspected of being prepared for testing.
Parchin is located about 30 kilometers southeast of Teheran, and the Iranian government has asserted that the facility has long been used for the testing of chemical explosives. The International Atomic Energy Agency has requested access to inspect the site, operated by the Iranian Defense Industries Organization.
The U.S. institute, which contains leading nuclear experts and former officials, said Parchin could be converted to a nuclear weapons research and assembly facility. The institute said Parchin could also be used for testing nuclear explosives as well as missile and rocket delivery systems.
IAEA Ultimatum to Iran Suits All Parties to the Row
Amir Taheri, Arab News
A Persian proverb says: From this signpost on the road to the next, there is hope! And it was in that spirit that the International Atomic Energy Agency decided last Saturday to give Iran until Nov. 25 to comply with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The resolution passed by the IAEAs 35-nation board of governors criticizes Iran for lack of candor over its nuclear program and calls on Tehran to suspend all uranium enrichment activities that could contribute to producing fuel for a nuclear bomb.
The resolution warns that the agency considers it necessary that Iran halt its uranium enrichment programs, and meet all of the agencys demands within the next eight weeks.
But is this an ultimatum?
Hardly. This is, in fact, the third time in two years that the IAEA has fixed a signpost for Iran before moving to the next with no more than some timid huffing and puffing. IAEA spokesmen have made it clear that, come Nov. 25, they would simply review the situation once again. The new signpost suits all sides of this bizarre dispute.
The Iranian leadership will get two more months in which to hasten whatever it is that they are doing. The Bush administration, which has been making loud noises about the threat of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic, is happy because the potentially explosive issue is postponed until after the US presidential election in November.
The Europeans, who have already burned their fingers by trying to coax Iran into a diplomatic solution, have their own reason to be happy: The IAEAs decision gives them time to see who will be the next US president. If Bush is re-elected, the European Union would find it hard to continue their diplomacy with the Iranian leadership. If Sen. John Kerry is the winner, however, new horizons could open for deal-making with Iran.
It is important to understand what this dispute is really about. On the surface it is about uranium enrichment. The process, in which uranium is converted into a gas and spun in centrifuges to concentrate more fissile isotopes, is used to produce fuel for nuclear reactors, but it can also produce material for making nuclear weapons. Signatories to the NPT are allowed to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, provided the IAEA is allowed to keep an eye on the operation to make sure it will not be used for weapon-making.
Iran had a uranium enrichment program in 1978. At the time Iran was also a shareholder in Eurodif, a company formed to mine uranium in Gabon and enrich it in France, Spain and Iran. No one objected to the Iranian program because Iran, one of the 11 countries that had originally sponsored the NPT, was not suspected of seeking nuclear weapons.
There is no doubt that Iran has the scientific, technological and industrial base to produce weapons grade uranium. But this is also true of almost all other signatories of the NPT, including those that do not belong to the so-called nuclear weapons club. The real question, therefore, is this: Does the IAEA trust Irans present leadership?
The present Iranian leadership has never committed itself to foreswearing nuclear weapons forever, and cannot do that for at least two reasons.
The first is that no regime worth its salt will voluntarily limit its options when it comes to national defense, especially when none of its neighbors are asked to do the same. Iran is at the center of a region with the largest number of nuclear powers: Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and the United States, thanks to the NATO presence in Turkey. Ali Khamenei has issued a statement forbidding the use of nuclear weapons, but not manufacturing them.
The second reason is that the present Iranian government is in conflict not only with the regional status quo, which it sees as a threat, but also against the so-called global system dominated by the Islamic Republics archfoe, the United States.
Irans national defense doctrine, as developed since 1989, is based on the so-called pre-emptive defense concept.
The assumption is that the enemies of the Islamic Republic will, at some point, use military threat and/or action to check the spread of its influence, especially in its natural habitat of the Middle East, the Caspian Basis and the Gulf.
To meet those threats the Islamic Republic needs three assets: A capacity to sustain large casualties in long wars, a massive arsenal of medium and long-range missiles to compensate for the weakness of its air force, and a nuclear arsenal to deter the big powers, meaning the United States, that wish to curb Tehrans regional ambitions.
Without its nuclear component, the Iranian national defense doctrine would have little value beyond diplomatic gesticulations.
The question therefore is not to persuade Iran to abandon the nuclear component of its doctrine but to revise its regional and global ambitions.
An Iran that does not want to export its ideology or reshape the map of the region will not be a threat even if it has nuclear weapons. One question that is often asked is why should Iran be singled out while others, notably India, Pakistan and Israel, are allowed to do as they please? The answer is that India, Pakistan and Israel are not signatories of the NPT and have no obligation to act in accordance with the rules of the IAEA.
Developing and deploying nuclear weapons is not illegal. The Islamic Republic is not the victim of any conspiracy. It could withdraw from the NPT, and do as it pleases. The problem is that the Iranian leadership wants to stay in the NPT so as to benefit from legal access to technology, equipment and material. If they withdraw from the IAEA whatever they buy would be regarded as illegal and banned by the signatories of the NPT.
The problem, as stated above, is one of trust. The IAEAs chief, Mohamed El-Baradei, made that point abundantly clear when he said Iran needed to suspend its enrichment activities in order to restore confidence.
In July, Iran resumed the manufacture of centrifuge parts and the assembly of centrifuge units, while pledging not to use those to enrich uranium.
Trust and confidence, of course, are subjective notions. There is no way for IAEA ever to find out exactly what Iran is up to without sincere cooperation from the Tehran leadership.
The IAEA was able to close down the nuclear programs of Kazakhstan, the Ukraine, Byelorussia and South Africa because it was invited by the governments of those countries to do so. The most recent example of voluntary nuclear disarmament came from Libya which transferred the material and the equipment it had assembled to the United States.
The real question is whether or not the major powers are prepared to accept the Islamic Republic on its own terms, which includes a capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons, or will be able to persuade Tehran to abandon its revolutionary ambitions and seek a normal place within the global system? And this, as all those involved know without saying so, is a geo-strategic problem, not a technical one about uranium enrichment and centrifuges.
Israel admitted yesterday that it is buying 500 "bunker-buster" bombs, which could be used to hit Iran's nuclear facilities, as Teheran paraded ballistic missiles as a warning against attack.
The BLU-109 bombs, which can penetrate more than 7ft of reinforced concrete, are among "smart" munitions being sold to Israel under America's military aid programme.
The US and Israeli governments did not comment publicly but Israeli security sources said the deal would go through. "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria," an Israeli source said.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz said the sale would take place after the November presidential election.
Israel regards Iran as its greatest strategic enemy and has issued thinly-veiled threats of military action to try to stop Teheran's nuclear programme if diplomatic efforts fail to halt it.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week gave Teheran an informal deadline to halt all aspects of its controversial uranium enrichment programme by November - and answer all outstanding nuclear questions - or face referral to the United Nations for possible sanctions.
However, Iran has denounced the resolution as "illegal" and defiantly announced that it would continue converting 37 tonnes of yellowcake - milled uranium oxide - into uranium hexafluoride, the feed-material for uranium enrichment.
Teheran said it may renege on a promise to Europe to "suspend" enrichment. It says it seeks to make nuclear fuel for its planned electricity-generating reactors but the West fears that the same process could make material for weapons.
Western diplomats believe that America, or Israel, could resort to air strikes against nuclear facilities. Israel's bombing of Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor in 1981, which set back Iraq's nuclear programme, is held up as a model of "pre-emptive action".
Iran has placed some of its facilities, such as the large Natanz enrichment plant, in protected underground sites. Teheran has vowed to retaliate against any attack, and at one point said it might launch pre-emptive strikes if it felt threatened.
Seeking to underline the point, Iran showed off its ballistic missiles at an annual military parade in Teheran near the mausoleum of Iran's revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. A banner proclaiming "Israel must be wiped off the map" was draped on the side of a 450-mile Shahab-2 missile. Another saying "We will crush America under our feet" graced a trailer carrying a 930-mile Shahab-3 missile.
"The Shahab-3 missiles, with different ranges, enable us to destroy the most distant targets," said the commentary.
Speaking at the parade, President Mohammad Khatami said Iran would not give up its "natural and legal right" to nuclear know-how, but he also tried to reassure the West.
"We've made our choice: yes to peaceful nuclear technology, no to atomic weapons," he said.
Iran said yesterday it was preparing to enrich uranium, taking a key step toward the capability of making atomic weapons just three days after the United Nations' nuclear agency demanded that it suspend all such activities.
The announcement came amid renewed speculation that Israel, which feels directly threatened by Iran's nuclear program, might use one of 500 bunker-buster bombs and other military equipment that it has requested from the United States to strike Iran's underground atomic facilities.
"This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria," an Israeli source was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.
Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, chief of staff of Israel's air force, was quoted last week as saying that if the government decides that a military solution to Iran's nuclear development is required, "then the military has to provide a solution."
But Secretary of State Colin L. Powell expressed skepticism about the prospects for such a strike during a meeting last week with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
"I don't want to get too deeply into this, but based on what I know about the [Iranian nuclear] program, it is not one that lends itself to a simple military solution," Mr. Powell said.
The secretary did not elaborate, but Newsweek reported this week that the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency had conducted war games on a strike at the Iranian program and had been unable to keep the conflict from escalating.
Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said yesterday that Iran had started converting 37 tons of raw "yellowcake" uranium for use in nuclear centrifuges the machines that enrich uranium.
"Some of the amount of the 37 tons has been used. The tests have been successful, but these tests have to be continued using the rest of the material," Mr. Aghazadeh, one of Iran's vice presidents, told reporters in Vienna, Austria, where he was attending a general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the IAEA, said the agency was aware of Iran's plans and would monitor its activities.
IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei "continues to call on Iran, as did the board, to suspend such a test as part of their confidence-building measures," she said.
Iran continued to insist yesterday that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
"We are determined to obtain peaceful atomic technology, even if it causes the stop of international supervision," said President Mohammad Khatami.
U.S. officials were not surprised by the announcement and their comments echoed previous statements on the subject.
"They have a continuous record of making and then breaking promises, both to the [IAEA] board as well as to others," a State Department official said in reference to the Iranian government.
"This is the pattern of a country that has not made the strategic decision to give up its nuclear-weapons program," the official said.
Both U.S. and Israeli officials declined to comment on an article in the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz yesterday, which said the United States would conclude a $319 million sale of military equipment to Israel, including 500 bunker-buster bombs, after Election Day.
Israel's announcement came after the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible military sale to Israel worth as much as $319 million.
"Israel purchases a wide range of military equipment from the United States on an ongoing basis," one Israeli official said. "We can't confirm specifics of any particular sale."
On June 1, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a "possible" sale to Israel of "joint direct attack munitions, as well as associated equipment and services." whose "total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $319 million."
As part of the deal, the United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years, wire service reports quoted Israeli military officials as saying.
The deal will expand Israel's existing supply of the weapons, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The agency listed the items that the Israeli government had requested, including the bunker-buster bombs.
"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," the agency said in June.
"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not affect the basic military balance in the region," the agency said.
Although U.S. and Israeli officials said the deal in question is no different from many other such sales over the years, Iranian officials were quick yesterday to issue warnings.
An Iranian defense ministry spokesman said a U.S.-Israel deal that targets Iran could be "psychological warfare to test us."
"Our response to any invasive measure will be massive," said Massoud Jazaeri, spokesman for Iran's Revolutionary Guard.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.
Sep. 21, 2004 23:20 | Updated Sep. 22, 2004 0:40
The International Atomic Energy Agency last week gave Iran an additional few months to consider abandoning its uranium enrichment programs, allowing Teheran more time to potentially advance toward nuclear weapons capability, and throwing the Bush administration's efforts to have Iran's program referred to the UN Security Council for censure into serious doubt.
Not only did the IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog group, not refer the Iranian program to the Security Council, where sanctions might be imposed, it simply asked Iran to "suspend all enrichment-related activities" as a way "to promote confidence."
The IAEA's Director-General Muhammad el-Baradei said he had found no evidence that Iran was seeking nuclear capability in order to produce weapons.
"We haven't seen in Iran any material imported or produced that could be used for nuclear weapons. That is the good news. We haven't also seen any of their small experiments directly related to a nuclear weapon program... so I'm not sure we are facing an imminent threat," Baradei told CNN on Sunday.
With that belief, analysts say, there is little hope that Iran will suffer any consequences for its covert efforts to enrich uranium, and is thus bound to become self-sufficient in producing nuclear weapons at some time in the near future. Israeli intelligence chiefs warned in July that Iran would have a nuclear weapons capacity by 2007.
The IAEA's ruling last week, says Michael Ledeen, a Freedom Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a strong advocate of regime change in Teheran, "means we've given Iran another pass until the end of the November."
Asked if last week's deliberations were a setback for US policy, which for over a year has been focused on getting Iran's nuclear program referred to the Security Council, Ledeen said, "This is more of the same, however you want to define it. We're not making any progress. The UN and the Europeans keep saying the same thing every three months. You wait every three months and eventually Iran has an atomic bomb. Then you don't need to worry about this failed policy."
Ledeen also believes that even if the Iranian program were to be referred to the Security Council, it is unlikely that sanctions on oil or natural gas the only ones that might have an impact on the regime in Teheran would be imposed. And even if they were, he says, "oil is fungible. Saddam proved oil sanctions don't really work. So who are we kidding?"
Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who proposes more engagement with Iran, says it was clear the IAEA would not make a decision on what to do about Iran before the US presidential election in November.
And he predicts that the issue could be punted even further into the future, until after the scheduled elections in Iraq and the US presidential inauguration in January.
"I don't know realistically if we're going to get to the UN Security Council," Takeyh said.
The IAEA, he says, "produces ambiguous reports" and seems unprepared to find Iran in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
One positive outcome of the recent deliberations on what to do about Iran's nuclear program, Takeyh says, is that there appears to be a "greater degree of harmony" between the US and the Europeans on the need to halt Iranian uranium enrichment.
The Europeans were embarrassed when Iran resumed its enrichment programs after vowing last year to a European delegation that it would halt them.
Nevertheless, the apparent impotence of the IAEA board members, including the Europeans, has drawn rebuke from Capitol Hill.
"It is disconcerting to see that many of our allies have once again failed to heed the warnings of history. Believing that appeasement will change Iranian behavior, the IAEA Board members, particularly our European partners, have extended Iran's lifeline and further reinforced the regime's hands," said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), chair of the subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia of the House Committee on International Relations.
"Iranian cooperation has only come when punitive UN Security Council action has been raised The weakness demonstrated by the international community at the recent IAEA meetings has sent a message to Iran that it can continue its activities without suffering any real, concrete consequences."
Money from Zarqawi, Iran drawing Hamas to Iraq
BAGHDAD Iraqi officials said the Palestinian Hamas organization has sent operatives to carry out suicide strikes in Iraq.
They said Hamas agents were hired by both Iran as well as Abu Mussib Al Zarqawi, the Jordanian national regarded as the lethal Sunni insurgent in Iraq, official said citing evidence from the Defense Ministry.
"There's less money for Hamas in Palestine and Syria," an Iraqi official said. "The result is that Hamas agents have been recruited by Al Zarqawi and Iran for operations in Iraq."
In 2003, Iraqi officials began asserting that Hamas agents were operating in Iraq against security and military forces as well as the coalition. So far, the government in Baghdad has not presented any evidence of a Hamas presence, Middle East Newsline reported.
On Sept. 19, the Shi'ite-based Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution accused Hamas of being responsible for a series of recent car bombings in Iraq. A council representative was quoted by state-owned Iraq Television as saying that 200 agents were sent to Iraq from Iran and have been responsible for recent attacks.
"They have been deployed all across Iraq and launched terrorist attacks and explosions of the Iraqi police and National Guards bases," the representative said.
Officials said Iran began using Hamas in 2004 for operations against police and National Guard targets in Shi'ite cities and suburbs. They said some of the Hamas agents joined the Iranian-financed Mahdi Army, led by cleric Muqtada Sadr, and participated in the Shi'ite revolt in April.
For his part, Sadr has termed the Mahdi Army an "extension" of Hamas and the Beirut-based Hizbullah. Hizbullah has been sponsored and financed by Iran and was said to have sent hundreds of operatives to Iraq.
Officials said Hamas agents were believed to be operating in several cities controlled by Sunni insurgents, including Faluja. The U.S. military has launched air strikes on targets of the Tawhid and Jihad group, led by Al Zarqawi.
On Monday, U.S. aircraft conducted what the military termed a successful precision strike on construction equipment belonging to insurgents outside Faluja. The military said the equipment was being used to build combat positions outside the city.
Some of the well known, US based, Islamic regime's apologists and lobbyists have mobilized in order to boost Senator J. Kerry's Presidential Campaign among the Iranian-American community. In that line, paid interviews with their controversial leaders or TV advertisements for Mr. Kerry, with two of the Los Angeles based TV networks, such as "Tamasha" and "Channel One", and "Radio 670 AM" have started since mid-September. But contrary to these three non scrupulous and money oriented networks, all the others, who have a sense of integrity, have rejected the substantial offers made to them.
It has been reported that Tamasha's offices were searched, last week, for an un-revealed reason, by several FBI agents, and that its manager, the money thirsty and a well known Khatami promoter named Farzan Deljou, is under investigation.
The case of Channel one is not better neither and its opportunist manager, Shahram Homayoon who's subject to many controversies and known for enriching himself in the name of 'trying to free Iran', is under increasing sharp attacks made by many Iranians who have become well aware of his dual agenda. The very 'diplomat' Homayoon's crocodile tears for "Iranian Freedom Movement" became more evident when he accepted to interview Akbar Ghahry, a notorious apologist of the regime, in a "face to face program" and stayed mum and without reaction to any of his guest's demagogy contrary to his nightly shows in which he shed tears speaking about the same subjects. The same kind of service was requested, earlier, from the scrupulous networks which had rejected all the proposed remuneration by preferring to stand firm to their principles.
Un-confirmed rumors are stating that the FBI has placed Channel One under observation, as well, due to tips on controversial fundraising and money mismanagement. Several complains seems to have been made by upset supporters who are accusing the network of fraud. Radio 670 AM is known as "Radio Khatami" by most Iranians residing in S. California. Most of its programs, even after the evident collapse of the sham "reforms in Iran", are focused on promoting a so-called possibility of gradual change within the regime. Most of its political interviews are made with individuals with a bloody past and doing frequent travels to Iran in order to participate in official seminars or to publish their books with the benediction of the notorious Islamist censors. Some of them, such as the notorious Kazem Alamdari or Mohamad Arassi or Ali Shakeri, were former members or affiliates of Marxist terrorist groups who have, in our days, converted into reformists and become Khatami's ardent supporters. This propaganda source is announcing phony polls in which Kerry supposedly beats Bush while in reality, a majority of Iranian-Americans support the current White House resident. It's to note that the ultimate goal of Mr. Kerry's Iranian connections seems to be trying desperately to promote the Democratic candidate who's victory will bring a concilient US administration toward the shaky Mullhacracy. Most of these few individuals and entities, involved in this agenda, are already known for having bought time for the Islamic regime by promoting the sham "reforms from within" and Khatami's demagogue and corrupt administration. In that line, the most notorious are Hooshang Amir-Ahmadi, Hassan Nemazee, Akbar Ghahary, Faraj Aalaei, Titra Parsi and Susan Akbarpoor, who have founded or are managing very controversial inter-linked and dependant to each other groups, such as, the so-called "Iranian American Political Action Committee" (IAPAC) or the "National Iranian American Council" (NIAC) or Silicon Iran. Most of the gang was heavily involved in trying to bring the Clinton Administration and the Mullahs together. Speeches and interviews were made, in the presence of the very same J. Kerry, portraying the Islamic regime as almost a kind of Islamic Disneyland and promoting the renew of ties. Madeleine Albright, the then secretary of State, was persuaded to offer the US apology to 'Iran' (meaning the Mullahs' regime). Meetings were organized between the two sides' officials. Money was widely distributed during several fundraisings for US lawmakers including for Senator Joseph Biden, in the Islamist center of Los Angeles which is headed by one of their close colleagues and friends named Sadegh Nemazikhah. These illegitimate activities were slowed down due to their constant denunciation by groups, such as SMCCDI, and especially due to George W. Bush's victory and the tragedy of 9/11. The approach of the new US Presidential elections have brought the gang to start their activities again but in a more cautious manner. Fearing a renew of denunciation, by the Iranian opponents, these apologists and lobbyists have adapted to our days political dynamics and seems to be trying to carry the same usual agenda in different manners and by trying to be less noticeable. They have learned the need to claim to be "bi-partisan" or "having just an educative mission" or "just focusing on the future and promotion of Iranians in the US without any goal in foreign policy". Fundraisers are now organized even for soft elements of the Republican camp, such as, Robert Ney and Arlene Specter under the cover of lobbying them for making better the situation of Iranian-Americans in the US, but astonishingly, it was the same Ney and Specter who few months ago announced their goal of engaging the Mullhas 'regime. The deep reality of the new used tactic seems to be the very same, meaning targeting the gradual legitimization of the Islamic republic with the parallel hope of helping it by the establishment of ties with a dreamed future Democratic administration. It's to note that most of these lobbyists and apologists are master in demagogy and are playing the fear and nationalistic feelings of voters of Iranian origin, in order to use their voices and huge financial resources, in key states such as California, with hope of helping their Democratic protégé. They are targeting the reversal of the increasing negative impression of John Kerry among the majority of Iranians and Iranian-Americans. To that end, the use of all kind of lies or creating fear about the possibility of military strikes or an invasion of Iran, in case of President George Bush's re-election, is on their agenda. Some of them are even playing on the arrests of several Iranians, who have had breached few years ago their immigration status, in order to claim that a new Bush administration might send back to Iran most Iranians living in the US. Such false statements are made despite the very well known fact that Mr. Bush has always praised the success of the Iranians and especially Iranian-Americans and qualified them as being one of the most advanced and respectable minorities living in America which has made major contribution to its grandor. In addition, they omit to mention that on the fate of the renegade and tyrannical Islamic regime and while rejecting any military option against Iran, Mr. Bush has at several occasions stated to wish to help the Iranians morally in order to bring down the theocratic dictatorship. The apologists' desperation is due to the increasing popularity of Mr. Bush who's qualified by many Iranians as the "Messiah of Freedom". In contrary, Mr. Kerry has fallen from the eyes of many Iranians as he has promised to legitimize the Mullahcracy if elected. Worst of all, the Democratic candidate who's influenced by Akbar Ghahary and Hassan Nemazee, has announced his intention to make a "nuclear deal" with the terrorist and tyrannical regime ruling in Iran. Such a deal, if it takes place following Kerry's victory, would mean a legitimization of the Islamic regime and a green light for smashing the remain of Iranian opposition inside the country. On another hand, Kerry's Iranian connections have launched a website in order to increase their activities. This website's domain name, announced by Akbar Ghahary in his recent TV appearances, is: www.iranianamericansforkerry.com . But witnessing the angry reactions of several callers, during the live show, and their support of Mr. Bush, Ghahary has stated: "well you can visit this site and use it to show your support of Mr. Bush" (?). The latter has been reported as having become very nervous, last Thursday, following the announce of the Movement's Coordinator's live interview, on the subject of Kerry-Iran, with the well respected Ms. Pari Safari of the Los Angles based popular "Radio Voice of Iran" (KRSI). He seems to have become the chosen new front man of "Kerry's Iranian Campaign". Such choice seems to have occurred as Nemazee, known as Kerry's main Iranian fundraiser and the one who introduced all the gang to him, has been widely discredited beside a majority of Iranians and Iranian-Americans. Nemazee's gradual discreditation was boosted following the spread of the news about his litigation with the Movement and its Coordinator and his lawyers' request to know the emails of SMCCDI's affiliates and members living inside the country. The SMCCDI's Coordinator will be speaking again, this Thursday and on the Kerry-Iran subject, on the waves of KRSI at 05:00 PM US PST.
Radio 670 AM is known as "Radio Khatami" by most Iranians residing in S. California. Most of its programs, even after the evident collapse of the sham "reforms in Iran", are focused on promoting a so-called possibility of gradual change within the regime. Most of its political interviews are made with individuals with a bloody past and doing frequent travels to Iran in order to participate in official seminars or to publish their books with the benediction of the notorious Islamist censors. Some of them, such as the notorious Kazem Alamdari or Mohamad Arassi or Ali Shakeri, were former members or affiliates of Marxist terrorist groups who have, in our days, converted into reformists and become Khatami's ardent supporters. This propaganda source is announcing phony polls in which Kerry supposedly beats Bush while in reality, a majority of Iranian-Americans support the current White House resident.
It's to note that the ultimate goal of Mr. Kerry's Iranian connections seems to be trying desperately to promote the Democratic candidate who's victory will bring a concilient US administration toward the shaky Mullhacracy. Most of these few individuals and entities, involved in this agenda, are already known for having bought time for the Islamic regime by promoting the sham "reforms from within" and Khatami's demagogue and corrupt administration. In that line, the most notorious are Hooshang Amir-Ahmadi, Hassan Nemazee, Akbar Ghahary, Faraj Aalaei, Titra Parsi and Susan Akbarpoor, who have founded or are managing very controversial inter-linked and dependant to each other groups, such as, the so-called "Iranian American Political Action Committee" (IAPAC) or the "National Iranian American Council" (NIAC) or Silicon Iran.
Most of the gang was heavily involved in trying to bring the Clinton Administration and the Mullahs together. Speeches and interviews were made, in the presence of the very same J. Kerry, portraying the Islamic regime as almost a kind of Islamic Disneyland and promoting the renew of ties. Madeleine Albright, the then secretary of State, was persuaded to offer the US apology to 'Iran' (meaning the Mullahs' regime). Meetings were organized between the two sides' officials. Money was widely distributed during several fundraisings for US lawmakers including for Senator Joseph Biden, in the Islamist center of Los Angeles which is headed by one of their close colleagues and friends named Sadegh Nemazikhah.
These illegitimate activities were slowed down due to their constant denunciation by groups, such as SMCCDI, and especially due to George W. Bush's victory and the tragedy of 9/11. The approach of the new US Presidential elections have brought the gang to start their activities again but in a more cautious manner.
Fearing a renew of denunciation, by the Iranian opponents, these apologists and lobbyists have adapted to our days political dynamics and seems to be trying to carry the same usual agenda in different manners and by trying to be less noticeable. They have learned the need to claim to be "bi-partisan" or "having just an educative mission" or "just focusing on the future and promotion of Iranians in the US without any goal in foreign policy". Fundraisers are now organized even for soft elements of the Republican camp, such as, Robert Ney and Arlene Specter under the cover of lobbying them for making better the situation of Iranian-Americans in the US, but astonishingly, it was the same Ney and Specter who few months ago announced their goal of engaging the Mullhas 'regime. The deep reality of the new used tactic seems to be the very same, meaning targeting the gradual legitimization of the Islamic republic with the parallel hope of helping it by the establishment of ties with a dreamed future Democratic administration.
It's to note that most of these lobbyists and apologists are master in demagogy and are playing the fear and nationalistic feelings of voters of Iranian origin, in order to use their voices and huge financial resources, in key states such as California, with hope of helping their Democratic protégé. They are targeting the reversal of the increasing negative impression of John Kerry among the majority of Iranians and Iranian-Americans. To that end, the use of all kind of lies or creating fear about the possibility of military strikes or an invasion of Iran, in case of President George Bush's re-election, is on their agenda. Some of them are even playing on the arrests of several Iranians, who have had breached few years ago their immigration status, in order to claim that a new Bush administration might send back to Iran most Iranians living in the US.
Such false statements are made despite the very well known fact that Mr. Bush has always praised the success of the Iranians and especially Iranian-Americans and qualified them as being one of the most advanced and respectable minorities living in America which has made major contribution to its grandor. In addition, they omit to mention that on the fate of the renegade and tyrannical Islamic regime and while rejecting any military option against Iran, Mr. Bush has at several occasions stated to wish to help the Iranians morally in order to bring down the theocratic dictatorship.
The apologists' desperation is due to the increasing popularity of Mr. Bush who's qualified by many Iranians as the "Messiah of Freedom". In contrary, Mr. Kerry has fallen from the eyes of many Iranians as he has promised to legitimize the Mullahcracy if elected. Worst of all, the Democratic candidate who's influenced by Akbar Ghahary and Hassan Nemazee, has announced his intention to make a "nuclear deal" with the terrorist and tyrannical regime ruling in Iran. Such a deal, if it takes place following Kerry's victory, would mean a legitimization of the Islamic regime and a green light for smashing the remain of Iranian opposition inside the country.
On another hand, Kerry's Iranian connections have launched a website in order to increase their activities. This website's domain name, announced by Akbar Ghahary in his recent TV appearances, is: www.iranianamericansforkerry.com . But witnessing the angry reactions of several callers, during the live show, and their support of Mr. Bush, Ghahary has stated: "well you can visit this site and use it to show your support of Mr. Bush" (?).
The latter has been reported as having become very nervous, last Thursday, following the announce of the Movement's Coordinator's live interview, on the subject of Kerry-Iran, with the well respected Ms. Pari Safari of the Los Angles based popular "Radio Voice of Iran" (KRSI).
He seems to have become the chosen new front man of "Kerry's Iranian Campaign". Such choice seems to have occurred as Nemazee, known as Kerry's main Iranian fundraiser and the one who introduced all the gang to him, has been widely discredited beside a majority of Iranians and Iranian-Americans. Nemazee's gradual discreditation was boosted following the spread of the news about his litigation with the Movement and its Coordinator and his lawyers' request to know the emails of SMCCDI's affiliates and members living inside the country.
The SMCCDI's Coordinator will be speaking again, this Thursday and on the Kerry-Iran subject, on the waves of KRSI at 05:00 PM US PST.
Can you help confirm the post on recent purchase of MI-35s by Iranian regime?
haven't read anything solid on Iran purchasing the Mi-24/35 Hinds,though Russia recently sold a batch of Mi-17 assault helos,which can also launch limited attack missions.The main attack helo for the Iranians seems to be the Cobra even now.
Hmmm....this seems like a lot of information and wonder how much could be true?
I have some thing contrary about the above report:
Why should they Buy AK-47 or it ammunition when Iran can make it anyway?
Why does he buy AK-47 for US$ 450 when you can buy it for less than USD 100 in open market ??
QUESTION who has to date seen any Mil-24 or Mil-35 in Iran flying on Tarmac of airports ? ........ answer is no one, except the one Iraqi Mi-24 captured in 1986 in front lines and is on display.
As for US$ 5 Billion order, I ask anyone to realistically look at conventional arms transferred to Iran since 1988 and you see how such disinformation we get about Iran and its military Build-up ......
So my conclusion on the report is that, this is a False Report.
Many of the websites, known as blogs or weblogs, have also posted news items from the banned publications on their websites.
The protest was started by blogger Hossein Derakhshan, a student at Toronto university in Canada.
He told the BBC that although he felt the action was symbolic, he wanted to show Iranian authorities "that they would not be able to censor the internet in the same way as they have managed to control other media".
He said he was delighted with the response.
The hardline Iranian press has published a personal attack on him, he said, "which is proof that the authorities must be worried by the bloggers' protest".
Earlier this month, three reformist websites - Emrooz, Rooydad and Baamdad - re-appeared in a stripped-down form after having been blocked by the authorities.
One of them moved the content of its site onto a blog as a means of getting around the block.
It is thought that the number of Iranians keeping blogs is now between 10,000 and 15,000.
However, some recent reports have now suggested that Iranian authorities are considering the creation of a national intranet - an internet service just for Iran - which would be separate from the world wide web.
This would potentially mean that users would not be able to access anything the authorities do not want them to see.
But Mr Derakhshan said he and his fellow bloggers are working on a strategy to get around the intranet, using email subscription services.
Tue Sep 21, 7:23 PM ET
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Europe warned on Tuesday that it would not tolerate an Iran with nuclear weapons after the Islamic republic defied the United Nations (news - web sites) by announcing it had begun converting a large amount of raw uranium to prepare it for enrichment, a process that can be used to develop atomic bombs.
Solana spoke to Reuters after a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly that was "frank ... tough and friendly."
Solana sidestepped a question about whether he felt the Iranian nuclear controversy was still open to negotiation.
"I think we have to keep on doing the utmost in talking and dialogue ... If we fail in that direction, we may have to resort to other mechanisms (such as taking the issue to the U.N. Security Council but) we prefer not to have to," he said.
Iran's announcement on Tuesday came just three days after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, adopted a resolution calling on Iran to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment.
Iran had promised Britain, France and Germany last October it would freeze all activities related to uranium enrichment.
But Tehran angered the EU's "big three" by reneging on that commitment.
The United States and some other nations believe Tehran intends to use fissile material for weapons. Iran denies that and says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
The IAEA, which has been probing Iran's nuclear program for two years, has found many previously concealed activities that could be used in weapons production, but no "smoking gun."
Washington believes the resolution passed by the IAEA on Saturday opened the door to tough action by the IAEA board when it meets again in November -- namely, a referral of Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council and possibly economic sanctions.
Solana, in a telephone interview, said he told Kharrazi "in a very clear manner that they had to comply with the (IAEA) report ... and that we will not tolerate that Iran will have nuclear weapons, potentially nuclear weapons."
He described the meeting as "tough and friendly at the same time because we want to maintain a friendly attitude" with Iran.
The IAEA set a fixed period -- the November meeting -- "to clarify the position of Iran (and) we have to use this period to get everybody convinced .. They have to convince us and generate trust that what they are saying is the truth," Solana said.
He said he told Kharrazi "if you don't want to go in the direction of having the capability of nuclear weapons, we can start talking about so many things. The possibilities of dialogue and cooperation between the EU and other countries with Iran are very many," he said.
He declined to say if he thought the United States, which has not had diplomatic relations with Tehran since the 1979 Iranian revolution, should engage in dialogue.
President Bush (news - web sites) has refused to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue, but Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) has said he would be willing to talk with Tehran about some kind of a deal.
|Number 899||September 16, 2004|
THE IAEA AND IRAN: THE PERILS OF INACTION
By Michael Eisenstadt
Deep divisions among the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), currently meeting in Vienna, continue to hamper U.S. efforts on two key fronts: pressing Iran to suspend work on its nuclear program, and referring allegations of Iranian violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to the UN Security Council. With the current meeting unlikely to produce tangible steps to halt Iran's nuclear program, it is important to understand the potential consequences of Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability.
Political Dynamics -- Iran and Beyond
Iranian possession of nuclear weapons could have significant political consequences. It might dim prospects for political change in Iran by discouraging supporters of reform and bolstering outspoken hardline supporters of the nuclear program. It might cause some of Iran's neighbors to accommodate the Islamic Republic on various issues, while influencing others to seek an independent deterrent capability or to deepen security cooperation with the United States -- though Iranian nuclear weapons could constrain U.S. military freedom of action in the Persian Gulf as well. Such a development would also likely embolden forces opposed to Arab-Israeli peace (such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah), further complicating efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. And, as Iran eventually extends the range of its missile force to enable it to strike targets outside the Middle East, the states of the European Union will have to factor the country's nuclear potential into their policymaking toward Tehran.
North Korea's unchecked development of a small nuclear stockpile has long prompted fears that South Korea and Japan might develop nuclear weapons themselves; recent revelations regarding South Korean enrichment experiments carried our four years ago have vindicated these concerns. Iran's nuclear program -- whether or not it results in a declared nuclear weapons capability -- has likewise raised concerns that it could spur a new round of proliferation in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia might try to purchase a nuclear weapon from North Korea or Pakistan, while some of the smaller Gulf states might leverage their petrochemical industries to produce modest chemical weapon stockpiles for deterrence. Israel would probably continue its successful policy of nuclear ambiguity, though it may find ways to bolster its deterrent posture by further reducing the thin veneer of ambiguity regarding its nuclear status. This could cause Egypt and Syria to explore their nuclear options (although there is reason for concern that Syria is already doing so). Finally, Iran's activities could eventually cause post-Saddam Iraq to consider its nuclear options, if and when a degree of stability returns to that country.
Fostering Stability or Instability?
There are two schools of thought regarding how nuclear weapons affect the behavior of states. One argues that the acquisition of nuclear weapons induces greater prudence and caution among possessor states, and adduces U.S. and Soviet behavior during the Cold War as proof (though post-Cold War revelations regarding the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and false warnings of nuclear attacks during the Cold War have diminished the appeal of this model). The other argues that the acquisition of nuclear weapons (or, more generally, weapons of mass destruction) can lead to an increased propensity for risk-taking. Thus, Iraq's maturing chemical and biological weapons programs may have emboldened Saddam Hussein to pursue a more aggressive regional policy in 1989-1990 and to invade Kuwait. Similarly, the confidence that Pakistan's leadership drew from its May 1998 nuclear weapons test may have emboldened it to attempt to seize a portion of Kashmir from India, due to its mistaken belief that India would be deterred from responding militarily. This attempt resulted in the Kargil Crisis of May-July 1999.
It is impossible to know how nuclear weapons might affect Iranian policy, though several of the regime's past actions give reason for pause: witness Tehran's employment of gunboat diplomacy in 2001 vis-a-vis Azerbaijan (to halt its exploration for oil in contested portions of the Caspian Sea); its abandonment of an October 2003 agreement with Britain, France, and Germany that temporarily froze key elements of its nuclear program; its humiliating treatment of British servicemen recently detained in the Shatt al-Arab waterway; its threats to annihilate Israel should the latter bomb sites associated with the Iranian nuclear program; and its rebuff of an IAEA request to visit a suspected nuclear site at a military industrial facility at Parchin. Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons might further embolden its increasingly self-confident hardline leadership to bully its neighbors, stiff-arm Europe, threaten Israel, and more aggressively work to undermine U.S. interests in the region.
Iranian decisionmakers may believe that the possession of nuclear weapons could provide Tehran with greater latitude to pursue more aggressive policies against its neighbors, the United States, or Israel. Although Iran is unlikely to conduct conventional military operations against any of its neighbors (its conventional military forces are weak, and there are few scenarios in which a conventional military move would make sense), it might increase support for terrorist groups that target U.S. or Israeli interests, or resume efforts to export the revolution to places where there are large Shiite communities.
Implications of Instability in Iran?
Instability and unrest in a nuclear Iran could have dire consequences. Were antiregime violence to escalate to the point that it threatened the survival of the Islamic Republic (unlikely in the near term, but a possibility in the future should popular demands for political change continue to be ignored by conservative hardliners), diehard supporters of the old order might lash out at perceived external enemies of the doomed regime with all means at their disposal, including nuclear weapons. The apocalyptic possibility of nuclear terrorism by an Islamic Republic in its death throes, though unlikely in the near term, cannot be dismissed as a source of concern.
Potential for Nuclear Terrorism?
The fact that Iran or its agents have not yet used chemical or biological agents in terrorist attacks may indicate the existence of a normative threshold, or it may indicate that, having achieved important successes by conventional terrorism (e.g., the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing, which led to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Lebanon), Tehran perceives no need to incur the risk that the use of weapons of mass destruction would entail. Nevertheless, Iran is likely to seek, when acting against more powerful adversaries, the ability to covertly deliver such weapons by nontraditional means (i.e., terrorists, boats, or remotely piloted aircraft). Because such methods offer the possibility of deniability, they are likely to become important adjuncts to more traditional delivery means such as missiles. In situations in which deniability is a critical consideration, they are likely to be the delivery means of choice. The possibility of deniable, covert delivery of nuclear weapons by Iran could pose a major challenge for deterrence -- particularly if the country's leadership believed that the nation's vital interests or the regime's survival was at stake.
Any assessment of the implications of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons is necessarily speculative, and it is unlikely that all of the aforementioned possible outcomes will come to pass. But there can be no doubt that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by an Iran that supports terrorism, seeks hegemony in the Gulf, works to undermine American efforts to achieve Arab-Israeli peace and other critical U.S. interests in the region, and continues to call for the destruction of another UN member-state (Israel), will be a source of instability in a region of strategic importance to the international community.
Michael Eisenstadt is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute.
HonestReporting has repeatedly denounced media outlets' categorical refusal to call terrorists 'terrorists' in news reports (see our special report on this topic).
As Islamic terror continues to spread worldwide, one major news outlet decided that enough is enough - it's time to call terrorism by its name. CanWest, owners of Canada's largest newspaper chain, recently implemented a new editorial policy to use the 'T-word' in reports on brutal terrorist acts and groups.
So when CanWest's National Post published a Reuters report on Sept. 14, they exercised their right to change this Reuters line that whitewashes Palestinian terror:
... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. (Jeffrey Heller, 9/13 'Sharon Faces Netanyahu Challenge')
to this, more accurate line:
... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel.
Reuters didn't like the adjustment, and took the unusual step of officially informing CanWest that if it intended to continue this practice, CanWest should remove Reuters' name from the byline. Why? The New York Times reported (emphasis added):
"Our editorial policy is that we don't use emotive words when labeling someone," said David A. Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor. "Any paper can change copy and do whatever they want. But if a paper wants to change our copy that way, we would be more comfortable if they remove the byline."
Mr. Schlesinger said he was concerned that changes like those made at CanWest could lead to "confusion" about what Reuters is reporting and possibly endanger its reporters in volatile areas or situations.
"My goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity," he said.
Schlesinger (right) with Reuters' news exec Stephen Jukes, who instructed editors not to call 9/11 'terror,' since 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.'
This is a stunning admission ― Reuters' top international editor openly acknowledges that one of the main reasons his agency refuses to call terrorists 'terrorists' has nothing to do with editorial pursuit of objectivity, but rather is a response to intimidation from thugs and their supporters.
In every other news arena, western journalists pride themselves on bravely 'telling it as is,' regardless of their subjects' (potentially hostile) reactions. So why do editors at Reuters ― and, presumably, other news outlets; bend over backwards to appease Islamic terrorists, using 'safe' language that deliberately minimizes their inhuman acts?
Scott Anderson, editor-in-chief of CanWest Publications, said that Reuters' policy 'undermine[s] journalistic principles,' and raised the key question: 'If you're couching language to protect people, are you telling the truth?'
An editorial in the Ottawa Citizen, one of CanWest's newspapers, spells out the issue in black and white:
Terrorism is a technical term. It describes a modus operandi, a tactic. We side with security professionals who define terrorism as the deliberate targeting of civilians in pursuit of a political goal. Those who bombed the nightclub in Bali were terrorists. Suicide bombers who strap explosives to their bodies and blow up people eating in a pizza parlour are terrorists. The men and women who took a school full of hostages in Beslan, Russia, and shot some of the children in the back as they tried to flee to safety were terrorists. We as journalists do not violate our impartiality by describing them as such.
Ironically, it is supposedly neutral terms like 'militant' that betray a bias, insofar as they have a sanitizing effect. Activists for various political causes can be 'militant,' but they don't take children hostage.
* * *
The CanWest/Reuters affair is remarkably similar to CNN's Iraqi cover-up from last year, when CNN's top news executive admitted that CNN's knowledge of murder, torture, and planned assassinations in Saddam's Iraq was suppressed in order to maintain CNN's Baghdad bureau. We asked back then:
Now that this senior CNN executive has come clean, it leaves us wondering: In what other regions ruled by terrorist dictators do the media toe the party line so as to remain in good stead?
We now have our answer in the Palestinian region. Reuters admits to regulating their language to appease the terrorists; and that's an open admission of pro-Palestinian bias.
(1) Send comments to Reuters: email@example.com
(2) If your local paper uses Reuters wire stories for coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bring Reuters' admission of non-objectivity to the attention of your local editor. (3) Write a short letter to your local newspaper, citing Reuters' declaration that the goal of their soft language is to protect reporters, and recognizing the implication: Reuters is not providing unadulterated, independent coverage of stories like the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.
Baghdad, Iraq, Sep. 22 (UPI) -- Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan says Iran has reduced its interference in Iraq's domestic affairs and ended support of Shiite radical cleric Moqtada Sadr.
The London-based Saudi daily al-Hayat quoted Shaalan as saying Wednesday that Iran had restricted its interference in Iraq after a recent visit by Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh to Tehran.
"In fact, border infiltrations have receded and interference is restrained in Iraqi state institutions," Shaalan said.
Shaalan, who had described Iran as Iraq's number one enemy, stressed that "security will not be consolidated before we succeed in controlling the border with all neighboring countries."
He said Iran had also withdrawn its support of Moqtada Sadr, who waged a rebellion against U.S. forces in central Iraq, notably in the holy city of Najaf.
Iran: Curbs on foreign investment
Iran's conservative-held parliament has approved the first reading of a bill that will place tough controls on foreign investment.
Embattled reformist President Muhammad Khatami has said the move will deal a major blow to the economy.
"This law is without precedent in the history of the Islamic republic," a visibly angry Khatami told reporters after a cabinet meeting. "It will paralyse the work of the government."
A majority of deputies gave preliminary approval to the bill, which obliges the government to seek the approval of MPs for major deals signed with foreign companies.
"This will discourage foreigners from investing in Iran. This will cost the country billions of dollars," Khatami complained.
"This law signifies that the voice of a government led by a president representing the people has no value and that the government cannot deal with the international community," the president fumed.
The vote is yet another setback for Khatami and his reformist-dominated cabinet, already politically isolated after the ouster of reformists from parliament in February's elections.
Hardliners and conservatives took control of the Iranian parliament, or Majlis, after most reformists and moderates loyal to the government were barred from standing in the polls.
Parliament is now scheduled to examine the bill article by article and Khatami said he hoped it would "change the nature of the text" in the process.
In its current form the bill is retroactive and would apply to any contracts signed from the beginning of the current Iranian year on 20 March, and in which a foreign company has more than a 49% stake.
It also singles out contracts related to airport services and telecommunications.
This is a direct reference to an airport building and operating contract signed with Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV) - an Austrian-Turkish consortium - and a deal with Turkey's Turkcell to provide Iran with more mobile phone lines.
In May, Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guards shut down Tehran's new airport arguing that the contract with TAV endangered the Islamic republic's security because the operators also had business dealings with Israel.
We do not expect much from the international community in general - the US in particular. We just expect them not to legitimize or help this terrorist regime. We expect a rigid sanction against the IRI, not of the type that we have been witnessing during the years that a sanction was supposed to be enforced, and not of the type that would exclude Halliburton, GE and more than two-hundred American companies. A genuine and real sanction.
We expect the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Regime to the lowest possible level. This regime is not the representative of the Iranian people, and we challenge those who think otherwise by an internationally monitored referendum. If the US government and politicians want to be on the side of the brave Iranians who have not given up hopes in spite of confronting a brutal regime and all its western supporters, they should just give them moral support by declaring that they do not recognize the Islamic Regime as their representatives, and that they would refrain from establishing friendly relations with their abusers.
That is all we believe most Iranians expect from the U.S. and other countries. Just do not help this terrorist regime, and the Iranians themselves will topple the Islamic Regime through disobedience and non-violent action.
Those who listen will earn the love and votes of the Iranians.
Mohammad Parvin is an adjunct professor at the California State University and director of the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR) - http://mehr.org
The new Iranian Academic Year started, today, and millions of school and university students commenced a year placed under increased repressive measures. Militiamen and Bassij paramilitary members were seen posted in front of many schools and universities by questionning, often very brutaly, whom ever seemed "suspect" or not observing the "Islamic moral code".
Several students have been reported as having been beaten up or arrested for their first day of Academic year.
Bust despite all the official desperate tries to intimidate, reports from many academy districts in the Capital and cities, such as Esfahan or Hamadan, are stating about the astonishing refusal of especially school students to chant the regime's anthem and instead to chant the banned Iranian National Anthem "Oh, Iran...!"
Scenes, such as, students turning their backs during the official opening ceremonies of several schools have been reported as well as sporadic slogans against the regime and its leaders.
Fresh political graffitis, such as "Sal e Azadi" (the Year of Freedom), were already noticeable on the first day of classes and hand written and typed tracts calling for solidarity of all students against the regime were seen circulating.
Most first day's discussions were political despite the massive monitoring of the students by members of Herrasat (Intelligence) and Bassij mercenaries deployed in what is supposed to be a place of exchange of thoughts and learning.
Most universities won't become fully operationnal till end of the month and it's doubteful that in the current situation this Academic Year will go till its end.
|Damage control: Workers try to finish a nuclear reactor in Bushehr, Iran. The US and UN must prevent similar scenarios elsewhere.|
WASHINGTON: This weekend, the UN's nuclear watchdog agency called on Tehran to freeze its efforts to produce nuclear fuel, since this would enable Iran to come within days of having a nuclear arsenal. On one side, the US and its allies want Iran to restrain its declared nuclear activities. On the other, Iran and its supporters insist that they have the right to pursue them all. Although it's unclear who will win, what's not is that the dispute is forcing all sides back to square one. At stake is the future of international nuclear controls, as well as any hopes of keeping the Middle East from following Iran's nuclear example.
Unfortunately, these risks are not yet well appreciated. When it comes to Iran's nuclear ambition, everyone, both hawks and doves, Europeans and Americans, is in some form of denial. They all still believe that there is some way to keep Iran from coming within a few weeks of having a nuclear bomb. Iran, however, is no more than 12 to 36 months from acquiring nuclear arms, possesses technology and material to produce them, and seems dead set on securing an option to do so. US officials insist that Iran has begun testing non-nuclear weapons components. Preventing Iran from building the bomb, therefore, can no longer be assured.
Still, most experts don't perceive this urgency. President Bush's detractors believe Iran's nuclear misbehavior is little more than a misunderstanding. By simply dealing directly with Tehran, they insist, the US can resolve the troubling nuclear ambitions. Washington, they argue, should offer a reliable supply of fresh reactor fuel in exchange for Iran's pledge to refrain from making its own (and thereby coming within days of making a bomb). Never mind that the US has tried and failed over the last two decades to settle an array of matters with Tehran, or that Iran's defiance of a year-old nuclear enrichment freeze agreement has humiliated Britain, France, and Germany. A new US president, according to Bush's opposition, can reverse these trends.
White House officials, meanwhile, insist that Iran, having repeatedly violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), should be hauled before the United Nations Security Council to make sure it doesn't get the bomb. After two years of failed International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) attempts to get Iran to come clean, UN action is long overdue. What are the chances that the UN can keep Iran from getting the bomb? Judging from the Security Council's inability to ensure Saddam's compliance with international weapons inspections, hardly as much as one would hope.
This, then, gives rise to the hawkish solution: bombing (with or without UN approval). Israeli or US attack of Iran's nuclear plants, this group insists, is the only hope. Striking Iran's known nuclear plants would at least delay its program a few years, but at what cost? Certainly, any lasting results would require a much larger follow-up "game plan" to overthrow the current regime - an endeavor still underway in Afghanistan and Iraq.
If there is no sure way to prevent Iran from getting within a screw driver's turn from having nuclear arms, what should the international community do? The answer: Tackle the most worrisome preventable problems. This would clearly exclude getting Iran to keep its nuclear materials and capabilities out of the hands of terrorists. This scenario is not only unlikely (Tehran's power-controlling Mullahs are unlikely to allow it), but clearly beyond the scope of international powers.
What, then, deserves greater attention? The one thing that's even worse than a nuclear-ready Iran and that can still be thwarted: an entire Middle East cast in Iran's nuclear mold. Earlier in 2004, senior Saudi officials announced their interest in acquiring or "leasing" nuclear weapons from China or Pakistan (a legal move under the NPT, so long as the weapons remain under Chinese or Pakistani "control"). Egypt, having revealed plans to develop a large nuclear desalinization plant, also recently received sensitive nuclear technology from Libya. Syria, meanwhile, is believed to be experimenting with uranium enrichment centrifuges. And Algeria is in the midst of upgrading its second large research reactor facility, which is still, curiously, ringed with air defense units.
If these states continue to pursue their nuclear dreams (spurred by Iran's example), could Iraq, with its considerable number of nuclear scientists and engineers, be expected to stand idly by? And what of Turkey, whose private sector was recently revealed to have been part of Pakistani proliferator Dr. A. Q. Khan's network? Will nuclear agitation to its south and its repeated rejection from the European Union cause Turkey to reconsider its non-nuclear status? What would happen if, under the pressure of increasing anti-US sentiment in Turkey, the US withdrew its forces, along with the tactical nuclear weapons it has based there?
What can be done to stem these developments?
First, the international community must challenge Iran's claim that its nuclear activities are peaceful and protected under the NPT. No nation that sits on so much oil and gas as Iran does has a legitimate, "peaceful" need to generate nuclear electricity. Consider: Had Iran openly solicited proposals to provide electrical generating capacity, all of the non-nuclear bids would have come in at a fraction of the cost of building nuclear power reactors and fuel production plants. These points need to be hammered home in the lead-up to the NPT review conference next May. Certainly, if the NPT is to prevent nuclear proliferation, it cannot allow nations the right to pursue dangerous, uneconomical nuclear activities that bring them within days of having an arsenal.
Second, the US and its allies should build on France's recent proposals that the UN Security Council adopt country-neutral rules for dealing with NPT violators. These rules should stipulate that countries that reject inspections and withdraw from the NPT (something Iran has threatened to do) without first addressing their previous violations must surrender and dismantle their nuclear capabilities (especially large research and power reactors and bulk handling facilities) to come back into compliance. They also would stipulate that nations not found to be in full compliance should no longer receive nuclear assistance from any other country (e.g., Russia to Iran to complete the reactor at Bushehr, which has been the "peaceful" justification for Iran's most dangerous nuclear activities) until the IAEA Board of Governors unanimously issues a clean bill of health.
Surely, if France can support such rules, so can Europe, the US, and its allies. If these nations unite, Russia, moreover, will likely follow, particularly if it receives a reward. (Here, one might start with the cost-free nuclear cooperative agreement Moscow has been seeking for so many years from the US.)
Finally, the US and its allies need to pace themselves. In the end, the only sure path to nonproliferation is more moderate self-rule and increased arms restraint backed by US and allied military resolve and economic cooperation. Iran's current rulers, for sure, will have to go. Until then, though, bombing or bribing Tehran should be put aside in favor of tightening up and enforcing the rules to keep others from following Iran's example.
Henry Sokolski is executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, DC, and is editor with Patrick Clawson of "Checking Iran's Nuclear Ambitions" (US Army War College, 2004).
|9/14/2004||Clip No. 267|
Iranian Political Analyst Proposes Sinking a Ship in the Straits of Hormuz
The following are excerpts from an interview with Iranian political analyst Abo al-Fazl Zohreh-Vand:
Abu Al-Fazl: Iran is in a position where a nuclear attack against it is impossible. If it were to be attacked, the whole international atmosphere would be distorted. Everyone always talks about the oil in the Caucasus and central Asia. These are negligible quantities. Today, more than 70% of the oil comes from the Persian Gulf.
If something happens to the Hormuz Straits if only one ship were to sink there the oil [supply] would stop and then you'd see what happen's to the world economy. Why should a bomb fall? Suppose some ship falls Suppose some tanker sinks in the Hormuz Straits As you know, there are two narrow waterways in the Hormuz Straits. One lane is used coming and the other is used going. Outside these corridors no ship can move. The water's depth permits passage only through these two lanes. If some tanker were to sink in one of these lanes, it will be impossible to export oil.
DoctorZin Note: To view this video click on the MemriTV logo above.
I am just wonderning if there is a country any country that dosen't even recognise the current governmet in that country at all any at all?