Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - September 23, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 09/22/2004 10:30:47 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.
The I-A-E-A resolution demands that Iran "take all steps within its power to clarify outstanding issues including the source and reasons for enriched uranium contamination" already found in Iran. It calls on Iran to provide "prompt access" to locations and personnel that will allow the I-A-E-A to discover the full nature and extent of Iran's nuclear program. And the resolution says that the I-A-E-A will take up the matter of Iran's nuclear program again in November and decide then "whether or not further steps" will be required.
Spencer Abraham is the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He says the resolution passed by the I-A-E-A helps focus attention on the threat posed by Iran:
"I think that the I-A-E-A board of governors sent a very clear message that Iran must cease its pursuit of nuclear weapons and answer questions which the board has raised, and suspend its enrichment activity. We were very pleased by this consensus. . . .and we should all expect that Iran should follow the obligations and cooperate fully with the I-A-E-A."
The European Union and Russia have joined with the United States in saying that Iran should comply with the resolution. Libya renounced its own clandestine nuclear weapons program in December 2003, and is also urging Iran to cooperate with the I-A-E-A. "The Iranians have to meet these obligations because of the agreement with the I-A-E-A," said Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Matouq Matouq. "We hope that we can have another example [like Libya] of Iran fulfilling the obligations and following the I-A-E-A agreements."
Iran seems unlikely to follow suit. Iran's intelligence minister, Ali Yunesi, called the I-A-E-A resolution "illegal," and said that Iran "will ignore the provisions of the resolution." Iranian Vice President Reza Aghazadeh said Iran will "continue its nuclear activities without interruption."
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that if Iran continues to defy the I-A-E-A, the matter has to be brought before the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
Last Update: 23/09/2004 06:02
Iran vows to react 'severely' to Israeli action against its nuclear sites
|By The Associated Press|
Iran said it will react "most severely" to any Israeli action against its nuclear facilities, issuing the warning after Israel said the United States was selling it 500 bunker buster bombs.
Military officials said Tuesday that Israel will receive nearly 5,000 smart bombs, including the 500 one-ton bombs that can destroy two-yard-thick (two-meter-thick) concrete walls.
​ ​​​​ UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israel urged the United Nations on Wednesday to move toward sanctions against Iran because Tehran is never going to abandon its alleged quest for nuclear weapons.
"We know that the Europeans are trying now to engage with the Iranians. But we know that the Iranians will never abandon their plans to develop nuclear weapons. They are only trying to hide it," Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told reporters at the United Nations.
He said European nations were waking up to the realization that Iran was developing missiles that could hit Paris, Berlin and London as well as Israel.
Iran says its nuclear program, some of which it concealed for years from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, is purely for peaceful purposes.
Tehran defied a resolution by the agency's board on Tuesday 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 atom bombs.
Shalom, whose own country is widely assumed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, dodged questions about whether Israel might attempt a military strike on Iranian nuclear installations as it did on Iraq in 1981.
Security sources in Jerusalem said on Tuesday the United States plans to sell Israel 500 "bunker buster" bombs that could be effective against Iran's underground facilities.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, speaking to reporters later, said that in his discussions with Shalom on Tuesday there was no talk of striking Iran but rather of using diplomacy to make Tehran allay international concerns about its nuclear program.
"I'm not aware of any plans to attack Iran," Powell said, though he twice refused to rule out military options. "Every nation has all options available to it."
"... We're talking about diplomacy and political efforts to stop this movement on the part of the Iranians toward a nuclear weapon and we're not talking about strikes. But every option always of course remains on the table."
Shalom accused Tehran of using diplomacy as a cover while pressing ahead with a weapons program.
"They are trying to buy time, and the time is come to move the Iranian case to the (U.N.) Security Council in order to put an end to this nightmare," he said.
"We are trying to do everything we can in order to convince the members of the IAEA to take the right decision to move it to the Security Council and afterward of course for the Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran if it will not comply," the Israeli minister added.
European Union ministers plan to press Iran in a series of meetings on the sidelines of this week's U.N. session to abandon all activities that could lead to a nuclear weapons capability before a decisive IAEA board meeting on Nov. 26.
The European Union and the US are still divided by deep differences on Iran's nuclear programme even though the two sides managed to push through a joint resolutionon Tehran in the United Nations' nuclear agency last week.
Some European diplomats worry that the divisions over Iran's plans pose a greater danger to the transatlantic alliance than do the enduring problems in Iraq.
Last weekend's joint US-EU resolution at the International Energy Agency called for Iran to suspend all activities linked to the enrichment of uranium. But the US failed to convince its European partners to include a "trigger clause" to refer the issue to the UN Security Council automatically if Iran failed to comply fully.
As a result, the transatlantic gulf on the best way to deal with Tehran could open up again when the IAEA next meets on the topic after the US presidential election in November.
Washington's tough line, exemplified by John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control, involves a more confrontational approach to what the US government maintains is Tehran's clandestine military nuclear programme.
The US wants to punish Iran with UN sanctions if Tehran does not comply with international demands. Analysts close to the administration have added that military options are under consideration, but have not reached a level that indicates the US is preparing actual action.
That contrasts with Europe's greater readiness to deal with concerns about weapons of mass destruction through "preventative engagement" - largely dialogue and economic incentives.
Even Britain, the US's closest ally, has subscribed to the EU approach. Some diplomats argue that the UK's appetite for confrontation has dimmed after the Iraq war; others that UK policy has so far been set by the Foreign Office, which also had deep misgivings about Iraq, rather than by staff of Tony Blair, prime minister.
At present, the EU and the US are trying to broadcast a common message that Iran needs to take big steps to dispel international suspicions about its nuclear programme.
Iran, which denies having a nuclear weapons programme, points out that it has a right to enrich uranium under the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which is enforced by the IAEA.
But US officials have repeatedly expressed their frustration at the EU's slower approach, spearheaded by Britain, Germany and France. Since Berlin, London and Paris agreed a deal with Tehran last October, forestalling a confrontation with the US, Iran has repeatedly corrected "final" disclosures about its nuclear programme. It briefly resumed assembling equipment needed to develop weapons grade uranium. And it has failed to convince sceptics that it is only interested in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
Yet despite the year of disappointment, the EU is not about to abandon its approach. This month, Jack Straw, UK foreign secretary, and Michel Barnier, his French opposite number, both made clear they considered the process of dialogue with Iran to be an achievement in itself.
"It's very, very difficult to dissuade a country from going down the path of nuclear weapons if it's convinced that its strategic approach requires them, but that's not a reason to give up," says Steven Everts, a foreign policy expert at the Centre for European Reform, a London-based think-tank.
"Indeed one reason why the EU approach has seemed to have failed is the lack of positive US support."
The approach charted by Berlin, Paris and London is broadly in line with EU policy set out by Javier Solana, the EU's high representative for external relations, and endorsed by EU leaders at the end of the year.
"In contrast to the massive visible threat in the cold war, none of the new threats is purely military; nor can any be tackled by purely military means," the doctrine says. "The EU is particularly well equipped to respond to such multi-faceted situations."
However, many say that in the final analysis the EU may be only a bit player in a game where the ultimate bargaining chips are WMD programmes and diplomatic recognition by the US.
John Kerry, US Democratic presidential challenger, has indicated his interest in such a "grand bargain", which could involve improving ties with the US in return for a renunciation by Tehran of any nuclear ambitions.
EU officials are confident that they will persevere with their trade-based approach, because trade represents the Union's biggest influence on the world stage. They also argue that the Bush administration's more forceful alternative hardly adds up to a coherent alternative.
GIRLS in bright headscarves fill the sculpture courtyard. The atrium is thick with mid-level diplomats and members of the Islamic Guidance Ministry. There are professors with lined and soulful faces, a cameraman or two, and the anxious, elegantly dressed artists. Downstairs, in the galleries, the musical improvisations have just begun.
From on high, a framed oil portrait of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, glares down.
This was last week's opening of the largest, most ambitious exhibition staged in Iran since the revolution of 1979. On the surface, Ancient Wisdom, New Visions, at Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art, is a contemporary survey show on the theme of Persian gardens, an ancient art form of endless subtlety. But like many such events in societies of this kind, the meaning of the exhibition rests beneath the surface, in the realm of yearning, amid the shadows of ideology.
For culture in the Islamic Republic is a contested space.
Modern art, with its connotations of freedom, of Western, liberal, humanist aspirations, operates under suspicion and under a degree of supervision from the state religious authorities.
The Tehran MCA, temple of the capital's cultural elite, was designed by Kamran Diba, a relation of the late Shah's wife, and was inaugurated just before the revolution.
Its clean, classical lines evoke a world far removed from the domes and arches of Islamic devotional architecture.
At the centre of the galleries, where ramp-paths and internal perspectives meet, lies a square of water, inspired by the hoze or small pool in classical Persian buildings: "It has filled the heart of the museum with a mysterious haze of artistic sense and charm," the museum guide book says.
Against this exquisite backdrop, the opening unfolds intriguingly. The MCA's director, Ali-Reza Sami-Azar, gives a brief, discreet account of the Persian garden in history. Next is the guest curator, Faryar Javaherian, a Franco-American Iranian who has spent many years outside the country and whose life project has been the staging of this exhibition - a venture first planned just before the revolution.
The speakers are careful, of course, to thank the key supporters and enablers in the background. They even pay tribute to Tehran's rather austere city council and as they do, a frisson runs through the audience: thoughts go to an absent figure, the previous, reformist mayor of Tehran, Gholamhossein Karbaschi, jailed briefly five years ago on vague charges of corruption.
Inside the museum's galleries, white-clad mimes execute a slow, broken dance-step, weaving through the press of the capital's intelligentsia. Before them, the exhibition stretches away in two directions, historical and modern, forming a single interconnecting theme.
In the main hall, precious objects from the Achaemenid and Qajar past are on display. Down the subterranean corridors to the main exhibition space, a set of maps and plans and photographs document 17 majestic gardens in the great cities of Iran: many of them now neglected, in danger of decay.
Among these once-famous gardens are sites such as Eram in the southern city of Shiraz, Behesht in Isfahan, and the lovely Shahzadeh in Kerman province. Elaborately scholarly texts in the accompanying catalogue describe their beauty.
The Persian garden is much more than a symbol of the past, or a national tradition, or the emblem of grace and order. It is the gateway to an ideal world. Sami-Azar points out that gardens mark one of the high peaks of Persian creativity: "a channel to the innermost layers of Iranian thought and imagination: an interpretation of the meaning of life, man's destiny, beginning and end, paradise and eternity."
Words such as these catch the elusive flights of Persian thought, and offer clues to the chief difficulty confronting this particular curatorial enterprise.
An exhibition about classical gardens inevitably constitutes a coded challenge to the ruling orthodoxy of the Shia state. The Persian garden, with its sources in pre-Islamic antiquity and its tranquil, redemptive strain of nature worship, marks out an alternative national tradition - speaking not of martyrdom and spiritual sacrifice, but of royal pleasures, of civilising harmony.
The response of contemporary Iranian artists to these themes seems at once grave and joyful.
Ancient Wisdom, New Visions is beautifully presented, combining into a seamless whole installations and up-to-the-minute video works, traditional paintings and treated photography. Some of these works are startling in their scale and in their effect. Leafless Garden, an installation of bare trees by the celebrated film-maker, Abbas Kiarostami, has a bleak and immediate aura; more meditative pieces, such as Behrooz Daresh's Night in the Persian Garden or Farideh Shahsavarani's Reach Out for Light linger in the memory.
Some pieces are piercing and heartfelt: among them the Group 30+ installation, which shows a plaster-like man with a flower growing in his chest. Others match and engage the fugitive beauty of their ancient models: Parts of the Ancient Garden, by Ebrahim Haghighi, depicts fragmentary glimpses of a paradise garden and compels in the viewer a distinctive mood of silence.
I soon recognised the familiar, yet distant tone of evening: it was a tone I had met often years ago, in Soviet-controlled Central Europe, where art was one of the sole channels for free expression and where even the most innocent painted sketch or piece of music could be fraught with politics. How often do modern artists in the West dream of making daring, transgressive art? Here was a gallery full of such art, whose makers trod the fine line between conformity and too overt defiance.
Javaherian was doubtless constantly aware of this as she selected and devised her show, which functions both as evocation of the distant past and exploration of art's place in the present day.
"Please, God, nothing about politics," she says, in Farsi, to no one in particular, as we started talking. I ask her a gentle question. Fists clenched, eyes darting about, she stammers a reply: the neglect of Iranian gardens, the need for conservation, the hope that the garden might be the muse for new creations.
"Everything I want to tell you is in my exhibition notes," she says abruptly, thrusts them at me, and escapes. Love of Nature and Archetype Memories is a brief and shimmering text: anodyne on the surface and of almost unbelievable subversiveness at depth.
It begins as a loose theory of creativity, an anthropological sketch of the Persian past, then shifts to a veiled parable of art's saving role in parched times.
Each Persian, Javaherian argues, has a private garden in the corner of his or her mind - and this mystic relation to trees, water, flowers dates back to the dawn of agriculture and desert irrigation.
"The Persian garden," she continues, "is the elaborate product of a creative people living in a hostile environment, devising a poetic realm for sacred rituals and royal ceremonies."
The garden was everywhere in Persian culture: in poetry and calligraphy, in ceramics, carpets and miniatures. The nation's entire art history was a chain of interweaving floral influences, strongly bound. You could trace them as they passed down the generations, each link borrowing from previous ones. Now, though, all the splendour and joy which emanated from the gardens of the past has vanished.
What remains? What can still flower? I am reading Javaherian's last tentative words, describing the new works in the galleries, each an invitation into the "eternally green gardens of Iranian artists' souls", when a young woman speaks to me. "And what use are gardens to us, anyway?" she says bitterly. "Being an artist, here in Tehran, today ... It's nothing to do with ability. It's who you know, and what you believe, or say you believe and think, that gets you ahead. That's the way it works."
They let this exhibition go ahead, I suggest. "It's true, of course," she says, and frowns. "Do you think I don't know what I'm talking about? It's my life. There's been some room for manoeuvre, these last few years, but we have presidential elections coming next spring, and that will be the end of the reformers.
"What happens at that level affects us all: it decides how free we are, inside our heads. We work with one eye over our shoulder so much we have come to be limited within ourselves."
She flares up, as if the very idea has become intolerable: "And you can quote me. By name. I'm not afraid of them," she says. I ask who she means.
"Can't you see them, the experts from the Ministry of Culture?" she asks, gesturing towards a knot of women inspecting the exhibits, each in tight head-coverings and monochrome robes, the judges of orthodoxy.
And as we stare in their direction in those moments, they looked oddly like a group of performance artists, enacting some ironic rite.
Gardens of Iran: Ancient Wisdom, New Visions, is at Tehran MCA to November 3.
WASHINGTON, Sept 22 (AFP) - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's campaign blasted the Bush administration Wednesday for "another national security failure" on Iran's nuclear program and urged that Tehran be threatened with tougher sanctions.
Campaign spokesman Mark Kitchens told AFP that the White House's "arrogant unilateralism" had made it harder to get the necessary cooperation from European allies and the UN nuclear watchdog to rein in Iran's ambitions.
He made his comments a day after a State Department spokesman expressed alarm over Iran's admitted program of uranium enrichment and declared that Tehran was making an "unrelenting push toward nuclear weapons capability."
"Recent developments represent another national security failure for the Bush administration," Kitchens said as the Kerry campaign sharpened its attacks on President George W. Bush six weeks before the November 2 election.
Kitchens said the administration had lost its bid for a tougher International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution that would have referred concern over Iran to the UN Security Council.
"Now we learn that Iran will not even comply with the IAEA resolution and has begun uranium enrichment activities," he said.
"We must make clear to Iran that the United States will lead an international effort to push for tougher measures, including sanctions, if they do not comply with the IAEA resolution," Kitchens said.
Contacted for comment, the Bush campaign had no immediate response.
Both Bush and Kerry have publicly given a high priority to preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. But neither side has offered any new solution for dealing with Iran and neither has spoken of possible military action as in neighboring Iraq.
September 22, 2004
BBC Monitoring Middle East
[Unidentified Guards commander Jazayeri] More equipment belonging to the forces which were supposed to be in the general area have been pre-positioned. They have started their exercises using the equipment which were supposed to carry during this phase of the military exercises.
Our forces have started their heli-borne exercises and air force units have been carrying out exercises. Moreover, motorcyclists who are supposed to perform their duties in offensive operations are also going to carry out their operations within the framework of the extensive tactical activities of the combatants of Islam.
[Announcer] The most important hallmarks [break in reception] was coordination, scrupulousness and demonstration of creativity. This was demonstrated by motorcyclists, heli-board and mechanized forces. Moreover, light and heavy weaponry were used. They also used air transportation and the brave seamen and infantry of the Basij also took part in the exercises.
[Guards commander, Jazayeri] The Guards Corps is testing a new tactic on the basis of eight years of experience during the holy defence period. It is completing this tactic, namely asymmetric military exercises-5. This has created a new capability and potential for the country. All parts of our country will be covered by our security forces and our armed forces, the Guards Corps and the Basij have an overview of the situation from intelligence, security and defence points of view. That way, we are able to counter the enemy, no matter how powerful it is and what kind of equipment it possesses, even if they are the most destructive bacteriological and chemical weapons. We will prevent it from entering our country and even if it manages to enter our country, it will certainly not be able to go back.
Source: Vision of the Islamic Republic of Iran Network 1, Tehran, in Persian 1159 gmt 22 Sep 04
Text of report by Iranian TV on 22 September
September 22, 2004
Agence France Presse
TEHRAN -- An Iranian convicted of murdering his wife and two daughters has been hanged in a prison in the northern city of Qazvin, while an Afghan convicted of kidnapping was executed in the southeastern city of Zahedan, reports said Wednesday.
In Qazvin, an unidentified man had reportedly confessed to having killed his wife four years ago with a blow to the head following an argument. He then took his two daughters out of the city and killed them.
After being found not to be insane, he was sentenced to three years imprisonment for murdering his daughters and death for murdering his wife. The execution was carried out on Tuesday.
In Zahedan, an Afghan identified as Obaidullah Noorzehi was hanged in public on Wednesday, state television reported.
He had been convicted of abduction and anti-security acts, and was declared to be "corrupt on earth".
Murder, armed robbery, rape, apostasy and serious drug trafficking are all punishable by death in Iran.
According to reports in Iran's main newspapers and other media monitored by AFP, at least 68 people have been executed in Iran since January 1.
Amnesty International reported at least 108 executions took place in 2003 and 113 in 2002.
September 22, 2004
"We have made our choice", Mohammad Khatami, the President of Iran, asserted at a military parade yesterday, "yes to peaceful nuclear technology, no to atomic weapons." His venue for that statement reinforces the concern that the intentions of the regime in Tehran are far less benign.
By announcing that it has embarked on a process that will lead to uranium enrichment, and thus the material for an atomic arsenal, Iran has, in effect, said "no" to further co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Few now doubt that Iran has the facilities and the components to make nuclear weapons if it opted to do so. The constraints on this programme have become political rather than technical. The Iranian authorities agreed last year to permit more aggressive inspection of its nuclear sites. They also signed an additional protocol to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty to that effect.
Its recent activities have, however, so alarmed the IAEA that its governing body rightly demanded that Iran suspend all activities relating to nuclear enrichment.
Still, the Iranian Government has decided to defy the IAEA openly and risk the consequences.
They have done so after making the calculation that the possible consequences will not be very serious. Iran's original willingness to work with the IAEA was not born of unilateral charity but was the result of explicit political pressure.
The US-led intervention in Iraq concentrated minds in Iran. It was evident that there would be a high price to pay if Iran's nuclear ambitions were realised. Even the most fanatical sections of the Iranian regime did not want to force a political showdown with the White House. The situation has evolved and Iran has become bolder. The tragic aftermath of the conflict in Iraq has absorbed Washington's attention. These difficulties have been stoked from and through Iran itself, with hundreds of heavily armed "volunteers" crossing a virtually unpoliceable border every day.
The final stretch of the American presidential contest also makes it harder for Washington to focus on Iran and European nations have realised that Tehran has taken advantage of their willingness to compromise in negotiations.
The regional and international implications of a nuclear Iran are profound and grave. It would be much tougher to deal with an actual nuclear power than an aspiring one. The inner politics of this regime are complex, but to put faith in moderates to act in a responsible fashion has not worked. It is just not clear how much influence they have on the regime or whether, on this issue, they disagree with the hardliners.
It would be far better if the international community resolved to oblige Iran to fall into line with the IAEA. The divide between the United States and the EU on policy towards Tehran has managed to enable the regime there to play one side off against the other. A united and determined stance is what is required for a diplomatic initiative to be anything more than merely wishful thinking.
It is now time for the UN Security Council finally to address this matter and to make it clear what the sanctions will be if the IAEA ultimatum is disregarded.
This may well, alas, be the very last chance left to prevent Iran from becoming a dangerous nuclear power.
ARIS, Sept. 22 - Iran reiterated its right on Wednesday to produce uranium fuel for nuclear energy, seizing on a rift between nuclear-weapon nations that want to slow the spread of such technology and developing countries that see the technology as the entitlement of every signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
"This right is enshrined in the nonproliferation treaty and we will not give it up," Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Tehran, according to Agence France-Presse. He promised full cooperation with the nonproliferation program if that right is internationally recognized.
Iran has been battling a coalition of countries, led by the United States, that want to stop it from developing its nuclear capabilities, fearing that it intends to use the technology to produce weapons. But the United States has met stiff resistance from some of the 35 countries on the board of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency.
Those countries contend that the treaty has become a tool of nuclear states to impede nuclear development in nations they mistrust and has lost its original purpose. The original purpose was to encourage a system under which countries without nuclear weapons that signed the treaty were promised full support in developing other nuclear technologies in exchange for renouncing nuclear weapons.
The debate over Iran's right to produce nuclear fuel, which could be diverted to make nuclear weapons, has widened the rift.
Many developing countries concede that Iran may be using loopholes in the treaty to develop nuclear weapons. But they argue that inequities in the nonproliferation program are undermining efforts to close those loopholes.
Iran has sought to exploit frustration among developing countries with the one-sided nature of compliance with the treaty.
"There is clearly a double standard," Hossein Mousavian, an official at Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said last week in Vienna. He argued that Iran was being unfairly penalized while Israel, an I.A.E.A. member that is presumed to have nuclear weapons, had never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or accepted inspections.
Concerns about a double standard delayed an agency resolution on Iran last week. The agency's board finally passed a resolution censuring Iran on Saturday. But several European and developing countries read statements making clear that the resolution, which called on Iran to suspend its nuclear fuel activities, was neither legally binding nor could be used as a precedent for similar actions against other members, according to a Western diplomat who attended the meeting.
Iran is evidently hoping that this division has given it room to maneuver before Nov. 25, when the agency will review Iran's case and decide on further action. The United States is pushing for the agency to referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council for having enriched uranium without notifying the agency.
Iran voluntarily stopped enriching uranium last year as a gesture of good faith while the I.A.E.A. investigated its nuclear activities, which were largely hidden until 2002. But the country has insisted that the suspension is temporary.
On Tuesday, Iran said it had begun converting 40 tons of uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride gas, the feedstock for enriched uranium. While it has not yet resumed enrichment of the gas by feeding it into supersonic centrifuges, President Khatami has said it intends to do so.
Yet the campaigns of the two presidential candidates remain focused on Iraq, even though their approaches for stabilizing Iraq are far less different from their solutions for preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
On Tuesday, Iran announced it would go full steam ahead and make the precursor materials that could be used to produce atomic bombs. Its Muslim leaders defied a warning on Saturday from the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency that they not enrich nearly 40 tons of raw uranium into weapons-grade uranium.
The converted uranium could be used for either peaceful nuclear power or for bombs. Under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a right to produce such material. But the IAEA says Iran won't need such fuel for 10 years. And it found out last year that Iran broke its treaty obligations by secretly running an enrichment program and clandestinely buying nuclear technology and know-how.
IAEA inspectors were purposely fooled - and could be fooled again.
The agency's board also warned Iran it might refer the issue to the UN Security Council in November for possible sanctions.
Adding to this tension was Wednesday's news that the US is selling 4,500 smart bombs to Israel, where some officials warn of strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities if the Islamic republic appears close to making an atomic weapon.
John Kerry says he would open talks with Iran on a host of issues, and offer to supply Iran with peaceful nuclear power if it gave up any intentions or abilities to produce nuclear weapons. President Clinton tried that approach with North Korea, but the deal failed when the North was caught resuming its weapons production.
President Bush tried to engage Iran but gave up last May and is now seeking a confrontational approach, although he has let Britain, Germany, and France take the lead on negotiations.
Mr. Kerry has said Iran is a bigger issue than Iraq. And he's been more upfront in clearly distinguishing his stance on Iran than he has been on Iraq. Perhaps he should return to the issue and again offer a clear choice to voters, who have as much stake in whether Iraq can become peaceful and democratic as they do in whether Iran, a supporter of terrorism, has nuclear weapons.
WASHINGTON (AFP) Sep 22, 2004
While Iraq, where weapons of mass destruction were never found, has dominated the US presidential race, mounting fears over neighboring Iran's nuclear arms capacity have barely hit the campaign radar screen.
A State Department spokesman expressed alarm Tuesday over Iran's admitted program of uranium enrichment and declared outright that Terhan was defying the world with an "unrelenting push toward nuclear weapons capability."
But neither President George W. Bush nor his Democratic challenger John Kerry had any immediate reaction Wednesday. A Kerry spokesman, when asked for comment, called the situation "another national security failure" for the Republican administration.
Spokesman Mark Kitchens said Bush's "arrogant unilateralism" made it harder to get support within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.
"We must make clear to Iran that the United States will lead an international effort to push for tougher measures, including sanctions, if they do not comply with the IAEA resolution," Kitchens told AFP.
Despite his remarks, neither side gone out of its way to make Iran an issue in the November 2 election, a passivity that contrasts sharply with the heated rhetoric over Iraq.
Bush argues that Saddam Hussein's mere intention to develop nuclear arms justified the invasion last year to oust him. But Iran, another member of his "axis of evil," never came up in a major speech Tuesday to the United Nations.
The 21-minute address made one just passing reference to his determination to "prevent proliferation" as part of his war on terror keyed by the military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Both Kerry and Bush have publicly attached the highest priority to preventing the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. But neither side has spelled out how they would handle continued intransigence by Iran.
Nor have they even hinted at the possibility of eventual military action to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons capability. Asked about the prospect Wednesday, Kitchens declined to comment.
Kerry appeared to have hardened his position on Iran since December when he proposed bilateral talks "to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam a decade ago."
By June he seemed to be soft-pedalling the idea as he declared: "a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable. An America, whose interest and allies could be on the target list, must no longer sit on the sidelines."
The Massachusetts senator called for strengthening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and suggested Washington "call their bluff" when the Iranians say they are merely trying to meet their domestic energy needs.
"We should ... organize a group of states that will offer the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes and take back the spent fuel so they can't divert it to build a weapon. If Iran does not accept this, their true motivations will be clear."
The administration has not picked up on the idea but Bush insisted last month "we are paying very close attention to Iran. ... We are working with our friends to keep the pressure on the mullahs to listen to the demands of the free world."
The Bush administration has stayed away from any detailed explanation why it was willing to go after Saddam's alleged nuclear arsenal but was not ready to brandish the threat of force against Iran.
"Different threats require different strategies," the president said in his State of the Union address to Congress last year.
I remember the Cuban missile crisis when Kenneday told the Russians that any attack from Cuba would be treated as an attack from the Soviet Union.
President Bush needs to make his own video -
In it he should say, that any further attacks against Americans in Iraq will be considered as attacks originating from Iran.
Then we tell the mullahs they should evacuate their capital and when the next American is hurt in Iraq,
Continue the process untill attacks against us stop in Iraq or Iran disappears or Iran's people overthrow the mullahs.
Iran - A great nation mired in turpitude of governance
Sep 22, 2004, 19:35
"I would not reign over the people if they did not wish it" - "Cyrus the Great"
It is a prerequisite for any contemporary social order to endure that it has to find a way that coalesces the trinity, which is: respect of law, importance of science and logic and religion. To expect such conditions to exist in theologically infested societies within cores of the present world of Islam, that of Saudi Arabia and Iran, is an unviable bet.
Naturally, their very theological constitution rarely helps to find themselves in an enviable position in discovering this nirvana of advancement and optimism. The issues of terrorism and barbarism arisen in the present day and age have shaken the limbs of humanity. It is however commendable that, despite insinuation and indirect intervention, Iran has not been responsible for the kind of global terrorism that finds its roots coming from extremist elements within Saudi Arabia. Iran is far too sophisticated for that.
But to see the violations in terms of human rights abuses originating from this great country is heartbreaking; particularly, a nation ingrained with the utterances of Cyrus the Great, who 2500 years ago said, "he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it" and declared that he would not force any person to change his religion or faith.
In very ancient times, it was Iran that taught humanity the
interweavements of Law with Science and Religion. Since Zarathushtra, when human awareness was raised into the inviolability of religion and devised into twenty-one Nasks or Holy Books, one third of Zarathushtra works comprised Law, one-third Science, and one-third pure Religion.
Iran can be rightly termed as the cradle of civilization and of being a "Lawgiver"; it has a rich tradition of culture and diversity of thinking. As a region, Iran has given law to the world; laws of the Medes and Persians acquired wide-ranging prominence. Iranian history has a very close relationship to near the beginning when humanity started living as a civilised society. The first Iranian rulers were lawgivers. Contrast it to today and one sees the 21st century Iran under clergy as the biggest violator of human rights. Its post-revolution decline from bastion and cradle of civilization to the lowest rung of civilized nation's ladder is scandalous and disgusting.
Iran's contributions to codified law, so as to dispense justice, are poignant, evidenced by the extensive corpus of pre-Islamic texts on religious and scientific laws. The ancestors of the Persians, the ancient Zoroastrians, covered texts from the laws applying to soldiers to those
on the cultivation of soil. It is perhaps the tragedy that a few "deranged ideologically motivated" leaders have wasted the histological traditions of Iran in less than three decades, the richness of thousands of years trampled in few years. To live in peace without coercion is
an indispensable human right; terror campaigns violate the sacred trust of "live and let others live" that has been evolved over millenniums. Law started in Iran in the beginnings of human history, however, this rich inheritance has been wretchedly shattered by the in-attendance
clerical tyranny in Tehran.
Although it is generally considered that the most ancient code of laws is understood by Western scholars to be the code of Hammurabi, an ancient king of Babylonia, who ruled about 2100 B.C. Babylonia, the first dignitaries to have rendered extraordinary service in framing and codifying laws was Prince Uruvakhshaya, the brother of the eternal idol Krsaspa (Garshasp) and the son of King Thrita, the vicar of medicine. They were the direct ancestry of Yima, the dazzling antediluvian monarch. This unquestionably demonstrates insistence of early Iranian rulers to codify law and provide justice to their subjects.
The other code known to civilisation popularly is the "Justinian code" Roman law that was promulgated by Justinian, the contemporary of Khosrow, the Great of Persia who was more popularly known as Anoshervan. The influences of Anoshervan on edicts of Justinian code are extraordinarily evident. It is obvious however that the more ancient cradle civilizations of Iran, China, India and Egypt should have had earlier systems of law.
Seeing a rich traditional country like Iran deviating to these low levels of turpitude of governance is incredible. The questions today rightly being asked are: Can 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi's execution for "acts incompatible with chastity" be believed? Why should the mullahs be allowed to hold kangaroo courts and dispense summary justice to waste
young peoples' lives on unskilled crimes without firm evidence? What kind of justice is this where Atefeh Rajabi was executed for a crime when the man she allegedly had relations with was only given 100 lashes? Is human life of a 16-year-old equal to 100 lashes on the hard bottom
of a grown up paedophile? We need to reject this grave attack on "human civility and dignity" by a handful of ideological thugs. It is the string of "civility" that connects our human village together, this source of respect towards each other is a fountain of wellspring of mankind, and Iran has definitely been the source of the universal tradition of civility.
Efforts to erase the Bahai minority from the Iranian mosaic are gruesome. Nearly 1,000 Baha'i university-age students in Iran were recently shocked and betrayed by the new government regulations requiring that, in order to attend a university this coming year, they must accept identification as Muslims. Equality is a right of every human being; Cyrus the Great granted that right, and literally figures like Rumi and Saadi have structured within the Iranian genre by saying:
"The sons of Adam are limbs of one another Having been created of one essence."
"When the calamity of time afflicts one limb, The other limbs cannot remain at rest."
By that token, are Bahais' not the sons of Adam? Unfortunately the Baha'is of Iran still face, day after day, methodical denial of their rights, not only as Iranian citizens with regard to their civil and political rights, but also in terms of their economic, social and cultural
rights as members of a world-wide religious faith. The trample the customs of Cyrus the great and adage of Saadi to annihilate a vibrant community that takes pride in its Iranian roots is poignant day for Iran.
On July 1, 2004, an Iranian newspaper, Etemaad, published an article headlined, "It is now the turn of the House of Mirza Buzurg-i-Nuri to be destroyed." Mirza Buzurg was the father of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i Faith. The demolition of the house of Mirza Buzurg took place openly and quickly. This was an act of wanton desecration comparable to Talibans' vendetta of the destruction of two priceless Buddha statues in Bamiyan. To obliterate the heritage of minorities is not a service to Islam; rather, it is an affront to the religious convictions of pluralism.
The lack of respect for human life, in Iran in particular, and the collective flippant attitude of the world of "political Islam" towards mass human rights abuses in general, stems from sacrificing longstanding universal truths like "strings that have connected the "necklace of mankind" together. The potency of these "strings" that
connects our universal village together lies in the potency of the weakest link. These longstanding universal truths of respect for life and availability of justice are codified as a part of broad-spectrum civility in our genes. What has recently happened post revolutions is that some have discovered the weakest spot in the string that holds the global village necklace.
Rediscovery of "political Islam" in Shiite and Sunni worlds has led to the redefinition of our human social contract evolved over thousands of years through a process of survival of the best idea. The legacy of thousands of years' human richness has been sacrificed on the altar
of holy interpretations of how we should administer our life; unfortunately these interpretations are led by the likes of Khomeini and Mullah Omar.
Ideologically provoked "terrorism" has plunged a dagger into the heart of our social contract, that of basic respect of human life. It provides, through its ill-founded medieval judgment and jurisprudence, the "right to kill innocent" without hearing. The heart and mind of every terrorist has become the "temple of justice", with so many
elevated to dispense summary justice as they please the "high priests"with a 5 kg dynamite belt strapped around their waist, out to avenge and settle scores with those who do not believe in their vision of Dark Age living.
The suicide judges have rewritten the rules of engagement prevalent amongst combatants; the "holy repugnance" of taking one's own life has been redefined as the revenge of the weak. With new ideological jurisprudence in practice, we are living in a two-tiered world of justice, one where justice demands evidence before someone is convicted, the
other, where convictions are handed by 21st century's new inquisitors, those who are quick to dispense justice and are able to craft and interpret the worst of atrocities in the name of "moral equivalence and ideological justifications." "Jihadi and ideological instincts" are
regrettably in dissent with the contract of basic respect for life that works in concert with rich traditional and cultural diversity of our society.
Human beings have overcome a lot of this adversity in the past and our combined human heritage is strong enough to accept this new challenge. The holy inquisitions of the present age, like the inquisitions of the past, are bound to fail. We as human beings have shown that conscientiousness time and again.
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'Iraq-Style' U.N. Plan Not Sought for Iran
Thursday September 23, 2004 4:01 AM
By GEORGE GEDDA
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration has no plans to seek an ``Iraq-style'' U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran if it succeeds in efforts to have the council address that country's nuclear activities.
A senior State Department official said Wednesday there is a widespread misconception that the administration wants the same type of resolution for Iran as the one which led to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year.
If the council takes up the Iran question, the administration would seek a resolution calling for a suspension of uranium enrichment activity by Iran, much as the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has done repeatedly, the official said.
The official briefed reporters on the condition that he not be identified.
For almost a year, the administration has been asking the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran's nuclear activities to the council.
Thus far, the IAEA board has declined to do so. It will address the issue again on Nov. 25.
The administration believes that Iran is developing a uranium-based nuclear weapons capability and rejects Tehran's contention that its program is aimed solely at generating electricity.
American concerns about Iran's program were reinforced on Tuesday when an Iranian official disclosed that work has begun on converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, a process that can be used to produce highly enriched uranium suitable for use in a nuclear weapon.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, in New York this week for the U.N. General Assembly, said in response to a question that he is not aware of any plans to attack Iran. But he added that the military option ``remains on the table.''
``I think there's a clear understanding now that Iran must satisfy the concerns that have been expressed by the international community by the time of the November meeting,'' Powell said.
If Iran doesn't cooperate, he said ``there will be every reason at that point to send the matter on to the Security Council.''
For the time being, Powell said, the United States is relying on diplomacy ``to stop this movement on the part of the Iranians toward a nuclear weapon.''
A nuclear-armed Iran may soon confront America
By GEORGE F. WILL
A 10-year-old had awakened his parents in horror, telling them he had been having an illegal dream. He had been dreaming that he was at the seaside with some men and women who were kissing, and he did not know what to do.
Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran.
WHAT THE young Iranian should have done to please the regime running the Islamic Republic of Iran is obey the prison rules in Vladimir Nabokovs novel Invitation to a Beheading: It is desirable that the inmate should not have dreams at all.
Nafisi, who left Iran in 1997 and now teaches at Johns Hopkins, says, What differentiated this revolution from the other totalitarian revolutions of the 20th century was that it came in the name of the past. In the name, that is, of a lost religious purity and rigor.
Iran is not a mere literary dystopia. It is perhaps the biggest problem on the horizon of the next U.S. President because it is moving toward development of nuclear weapons, concerning which the Bush administration has two factions. One favors regime change, the other favors negotiations. There is no plausible path to achieving the former and no reason to expect the latter to be productive.
The regime-changers have their hands full with the unfinished project next door to Iran. Negotiations cannot succeed without one of two things. One is a credible threat of force, which Americas Iraq preoccupation makes unlikely. The second, which is also unlikely, is a mix of incentives, positive and negative, that can overcome this fact: Irans regime is mad as a hatter, but its desire for nuclear weapons is not irrational.
Iran lives in a dangerous neighborhood, near four nuclear powers Russia, India, Pakistan and almost certainly Israel and the large military presence of another, the infidel United States. Iran has seen how the pursuit of nuclear weapons allows the ramshackle regime of a tin-pot country like North Korea to rivet the worlds attention. Iran knows that if Saddam Hussein had acquired such weapons, he would still be in power and in Kuwait. And even if the major powers could devise security guarantees sufficient to assuage Irans geopolitical worries, there remains the regimes religious mania:
Until 1994, Nafisi says, Irans chief film censor, who previously had been theater censor, was nearly blind. He would sit in a theater with an assistant who explained what was transpiring on stage and took notes on the cuts the censor required. The showing on television of Billy Budd was condemned because it supposedly promoted homosexuality although the television programmers chose it because it had no female characters. After the 1979 revolution, the regime lowered the marriageable age of women from 18 to 9. Since 2002 this is Iranian moderation a courts permission is required to marry younger than 13.
President Kennedy could not have imagined that such a backward-facing regime would be among those that would acquire the most modern of weapons. In the 1960 Presidential campaign, he cited indications that by 1964 there would be 10, 15 or 20 nuclear powers. As President, he said that by 1975 there might be 20 nuclear powers. Today it is unclear whether North Korea has become the ninth by weaponizing its fissile material.
It is in Americas interest indeed, the interest of all members of the nuclear club to keep new members out. But a mere aspiration is not a policy. The club will expand over time. U.S. policy can vigorously discourage this, but must discriminate among, and against, nations. It is unlikely, but possible, that Chinas weight, properly applied in the context of North Koreas desperate material needs, can prevent North Korea from crossing the threshold. However, Iran is almost certainly going to cross it.
Iran can negotiate in bad faith while it continues its progress toward development of such weapons, as North Korea has done while increasing its supply of plutonium. When that tactic has been exhausted, Iran can come to agreements that it then more or less stealthily disregards, as North Korea has done.
On Tuesday, four days after a U.N. agency told Iran not do it, Iran announced that it has begun processing 37 tons of yellow cake (milled uranium) into a gas as part of a process to produce a compound that can be used in nuclear power plants, but also can be a precursor of highly enriched uranium for weapons. U.S. policy is that the international community, whatever that is, cannot allow the Iranians to develop a nuclear weapon (Condoleezza Rice, Aug. 8). It is surreal to cast this as a question of what anyone will allow Iran to do.
George Wills e-mail address is email@example.com
Special to the Mirror
In recent months, government authorities in Iran have demolished historic sites of great artistic and cultural significance, which are also sacred to the countrys Baha'i religious community, the largest religious minority in Iran. In response to the demolitions, the United States Baha'i community placed a statement in the Sunday, September 12 edition of The New York Times calling on Iranians in particular to protest the destruction of their countrys cultural heritage.
The recent destruction of Baha'i sacred sites is the latest tactic employed by Irans ruling clerics in the decades-long effort to destroy the countrys Baha'i community. Since the Islamic Republic of Iran was founded in 1979, the Iranian Government has confiscated Baha'i cemeteries, holy places and historical sites, desecrating and/or destroying them. In the capital city Tehran alone, more than 15,000 graves in the Baha'i cemetery were bulldozed to make way for construction of a municipal center in 1993. In June this year, a wrecking crew demolished a stately home in Tehran that had belonged to the father of Bahaullah, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith. This home of Mirza Abbas Nuri, a renowned 19th century statesman, scholar and calligrapher who was born and died a Muslim, had been preserved as an exquisite example of Iranian-Islamic architecture.
More than 200 leading Iranian Baha'is have been put to death, tens of thousands have lost their jobs, Baha'i youth have been denied access to higher education, retired workers have had their pensions summarily canceled and thousands more Baha'is have felt compelled to leave their homeland. In 1991 an official government document signed by Supreme Leader Khamenei spelled out measures aimed at slowly strangling the Baha'i community a veritable cultural cleansing.
The Santa Monica Baha'i community which has been here since the turn of the last century has among its members some of these displaced Iranian Baha'i refugees. The fundamentalists in power in Iran, in their determination to rid Iran of the Baha'i community and obliterate its very memory, are prepared even to destroy the cultural heritage of their own country. Iranians everywhere should raise their voices in protest against such willful desecrations of religious and cultural heritage.
For further information, contact the Santa Monica Baha'i community at: (310) 394-7971 (recorded message); or visit websites: www.santamonicabahai.org; or www.bahaiworldnews.org.
Sheila Banani is the Public Information representative for the Santa Monica Baha'i community.
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