Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
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posted on 10/14/2004 9:07:38 PM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
posted on 10/14/2004 9:10:23 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Kerry Evades Questions About Ties to Terrorist IranWes Vernon, NewsMax.com
Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004
WASHINGTON Sen. John Kerrys campaign Thursday was accused of avoiding sticky questions about Iranian influence on his presidential bid. In answer to a question from NewsMax.com, Jenevein said the Kerry-Edwards campaign was stalling on signing any deposition acknowledging that Hassan Nemazee, a New York investment banker, had "provided the campaign with advice and/or insight on matters relevant to Iran and U.S.-Iran relations." Nemazee is listed as a member of the board of American-Iranian Council, which SMCCDI says favors "eventually normalization of relations with Iran," a state sponsor of terrorism.
"Do I think they're running out the clock until after the election? Absolutely I do," responded Bob Jenevein, attorney for a top figure in the Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI).
The attorney said Kerrys campaign told him that even though he had sought since July to put the Democrat nominees foreign policy adviser Rand Beers under oath about Nemazee's relation to the campaign for the White House, Beers would not be available until Nov. 10, 8 days after the election. "That is unacceptable," Jenovein told NewsMax. SMCCDI has alleged Nemazee has used his position to advance the interests of Irans Islamic regime. Jenevein represents SMCCDI Coordinator Aryo Pirouznia. Nemaze had filed a $10 million suit against Pirouznia charging defamation of character and denying that he has served as an agent for the Iranian government. Pirouznia has counter-sued, and his attorney's effort to put Kerrys campaign under oath is a part of that legal battle. Nemazee himself has been scheduled to provide a deposition on Monday in New York.
NewsMax has attempted without success to elicit comment from Kerrys campaign on this. We were put in touch with an assistant to Beers, Greta Lundeberg, who refused comment and referred NewsMax to the campaign's press office. That phone went unanswered. A "fact sheet" issued by Jenevein cited reports from the mainstream media and from Kerrys campaign itself that Nemazee had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the senator's race.
John Corsi, who co-wrote the best seller "Unfit for Command," which contradicts many of Kerry's claims about his stint in Vietnam, reiterated at today's news conference that Kerrys campaign had been backed by pro-mullah groups that are funding terrorists attacking U.S. troops in Iraq.
SMCCDI has cited Kerry's comment in the first debate with President Bush, where the candidate made the following statement regarding Tehran and nuclear weapons: "I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide [Iran with] nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together."
Corsi compared that to handing a 5-year-old child a stick of dynamite to see what happens." Or, he added, perhaps something similar to the mistake the U.S. made in the 1930s in selling scrap metal to the Japanese, only to have them shoot it back at us at Pearl Harbor.
In his most recent letter to Beers and Lundeberg of the Kerry campaign, attorney Jenevein urged them to "confirm under oath what you have already confirmed on the record with a reporter." The reporter in question was investigative journalist Ken Timmerman, who was also at the news conference at the National Press Club.
Timmerman said he had warned Nemazee against joining the board of American Iranian Council, telling him that freedom-loving Iranians would regard him "as a traitor" to their struggle. SMCCDIs "fact sheet" notes that Nemazee nonetheless is on the councils board.
As for SMCCDI Coordinator Pirouznia, he told the news conference that he had "no agenda against John Kerry" or for President Bush, that his only interest was in securing freedom for his native land and keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of the radical mullahs who rule it.
posted on 10/14/2004 9:10:40 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
I just received this from Aryo.
It is a transcript of their press conference. I thought this was important enough for our readers to have this immediately.
Please lets get the word out on this. Please send this transcript to bloggers, reporters, anyone that might be interested telling the world the truth about John Kerry. Thanks.
Transcript of the Press Conference
"ISLAMIC REGIME INFLUENCE IN THE U.S."
9:30 11:30 A.M.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2004
NATIONAL PRESS CLUB
ARYO PIROUZNIA: Thanks for coming. My name is Aryo Pirouznia. Im the coordinator of a political entity focused on freedom in my homeland, Iran, which its name is Student Movement Coordination Committee in Iran for Democracy in Iran. I moved to the United States ten years ago in order to carry a mission that I think is the duty of any Iranian to carry at this time, and Im sure that any all of you knows about what the Islamic Republic of Iran is meaning (?).
In my combat for freedom, I have been sued, and Im here to defend myself in America, the land of democracy, freedom, freedom of speech. I will introduce you my counsel teams: my head counsel, which is Judge Bob Jenevein; my co-counsel and my personal attorney, Michael Payma; and of course, people who have raised up to help us: Jerry Corsi, Denem Sormelier (ph) and surely Kenneth Timmerman.
I will be available during later the debate for any question you might have. Thank you for coming.
BOB JENEVEIN: Good morning. My name is Bob Jenevein. Let me give you some spellings because we dont have a list that tells you all these names. Its Bob Jenevein with a J J-E-N-E-V-E-I-N. Im a lawyer in Dallas. Aryos name is spelled A-R-Y-O. Pirouznia is P-I-R-O-U-Z-N-I-A. And again, his committee is the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran. I may refer to that as the committee. Michael Payma P-A-Y-M-A is to Mr. Pirouznias left. Hes a lawyer in Dallas, and then theres Mr. Jerry Corsi C-O-R-S-I and Kenneth Timmerman with two Ms.
As you all know, Senator John Kerry has recently suggested that the United States should give uranium to the Islamic regime in Iran to test the truth of their claims to want it only for peaceful purposes. That is relevant to me as an attorney because it has complicated my job. Let me try to give you some context to the litigation that brings Aryo and his lawyers to Washington, D.C. this morning.
Federal Election Commission and Kerry campaign records reveal that a handful of Iranian Americans have steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Kerry campaign. Thats public record, no secret. What the public does not know and what the Kerry campaign would apparently prefer not to discuss is that at least two of those fundraisers are among the chief advocates in America for the agenda of the Iranian regime, promoting the normalization, for example, of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran. I dont have to remind you that the State Department has classified the Islamic regime in Tehran and the most avid state-sponsor of terrorism in the world today.
These Kerry fundraisers and their names are Susan Akbarpour and thats A-K-B-A-R-P-O-U-R and Hassan Nemazee have each taken a bold step to silence the political speech of their freedom-fighting critics in America. They have each filed defamation lawsuits against those critics. It is in that context that I represent Aryo and the committee.
Hassan Nemazee sued Aryo in Texas for $10 million based on Aryos claim that Mr. Nemazee was linked or promoting the agenda of the Islamic regime. The lawsuit was filed in March of this year, but Mr. Nemazee has refused to give a deposition in that case until after the election, and would have succeeded but for the order of a Texas judge. And now Mr. Nemazee will answer questions regarding his claim in New York City at a Midtown Marriott Hotel on Monday.
At the same time, the Kerry campaign has now tried to distance itself from Nemazee and any connection to the Iranian regime, at least publicly as well as privately, since September. As a lawyer defending a lawsuit that Mr. Nemazee filed, I have been trying to get the campaign to authenticate, in admissible form, an e-mail that they authenticated on the record, actually to Mr. Timmerman in late February or early March of this year. I have sent Fed-Exes, I have made phone calls, Ive sent faxes, Ive sent letters, and they refuse to even sign a very short affidavit that merely says the affidavit is authentic and Mr. Nemazee has advised the campaign on foreign policy issues. I know these things to be true because theyve already said them on the record, but they wont say them under oath.
So to me it appears that the Kerry campaign the disturbing aspect to me is that my ability to defend my client has been impeded by the Kerry campaigns apparent preference for its ties to the friends of the Iranian regime at the expense of the Students for Democracy in Iran. To me thats a matter of public concern.
Let me say one thing to the millions of Iranians watching and listening around the world right now. On behalf of Aryo Pirouznia, the committee, Mr. Payna and myself, we hear those silenced voices, we know you yearn for freedom, and we are fighting for you. We will continue to fight against the powerful forces in this country who are willing to legitimize the Iranian regime, and we will not stop.
Im going to turn the podium again over to Aryo, and then my plan is to let Mr. Timmerman make any statements that hed like to make, and the same with Mr. Corsi, and then at that point well take any questions that you all have. Having said that, I hope that you all will respect my job as an attorney with a pending litigation to be careful about what I and my client say. Obviously thats very important.
MR. PIROUZNIA: I thank Mr. Jenevein. I would like now to introduce my personal attorney, a very (integral ?) man, Michael Payma of Payma & Kuhnel. So he can have also what how it was a struggle even to abort a file that is intending to (unintelligible) in our mission.
Q: Can you spell your name again, please?
MICHAEL PAYMA: Yes, Michael Payma P-A-Y-M-A.
Let me also thank each and every one of you for being here today. I will not say a whole lot because I think Judge Jenevein and the other speakers will be able to give you as much information as you need.
Basically Im the co-counsel with Judge Jenevein on this matter, and as Aryo said it very clearly, basically what this is about is that Aryo is being sued and were just doing our job to defend him in a lawsuit. And its our intention to let the truth come out and then let the American and the Iranian public make the decision for themselves. So with that I will pass the podium to Judge Jenevein. Thank you.
MR. JENEVEIN: I dont have anything else to add. Mr. Corsi, are you ready to say a few words?
JERRY CORSI: Good morning. Im Jerry Corsi, and Im the co-author with John ONeill of Unfit for Command. My next book is going to be titled, Atomic Islam, and its going to focus on the mullahs in Iran and their desire to get nuclear weapons.
Now I was introduced to Aryo and his case in the process of writing Unfit for Command, when Aryo called in to John ONeill and was asking for assistance. John asked me if Id look into it. I began to look into it and began to find merit in Aryos determination to fight for freedom in Iran. As I began to examine the situation, I decided that this would be my next book. Ive signed the book with WorldNet Daily, and I will have a column tomorrow on WorldNetDaily.com dealing with Iran and nuclear weapons.
Now this issue got put on to the agenda by Senator Kerry himself, just as Senator Kerry put on to the agenda the issue of Vietnam when he stood up and saluted at the Democratic National Convention and said, reporting for duty, and then the Vietnam and his entire short service in Vietnam became a topic of consideration and examination. So in the first debate, in a little-noticed part of the debate, John Kerry said that he was in favor of giving nuclear fuel to Iran. Now that was a puzzling statement; many Americans didnt even catch it. And he said he was going to do that in the context of testing whether the mullahs would keep their word and use this nuclear fuel only for electricity and not convert it into nuclear weapons. He said somehow and I guess this was part of his nuanced logic that wed only know their intentions were really bad if they did take this fuel and make it into weapons.
Well, to me, several analogies came to mind immediately. One would be giving dynamite to children to see what they do with it. Another that weve learned in America and should have contemplated now for well over 50 years is that perhaps selling scrap metal to Japan wasnt such a good idea. It might just turn around and come back at us in the form of aircraft carriers and battleships.
So when you examine this whole idea that were going to give nuclear weapons nuclear fuel to the Iranians, it puts it in a context, well, who are these Iranians, and then we examine the public record. In the last week there have been articles that Iran has been funding insurgents going into Iraq to cause instability and to fight against our good troops. That doesnt sound very stable to me.
Then in the press the mullahs have announced that theyve put out a determination that within five or six months they say if youre a believer in Islam, well have nuclear weapons. Well, that doesnt sound very responsible to me. And then you look at the issue of, well, where is Iran, where are these mullahs on the question of Israel, and everything I read its death to Israel.
Now a nuclear-armed Iran means several things to Americans. Atomic Israel we are seeing oil now at $50 a barrel and higher. Do we want to be hijacked for oil? How about $200 a barrel? Where would those excess profits go?
Our current administration says we have a war on terrorism and Iran is part of the axis of evil. We have sanctions on Iran, and Senator Edwards, in his vice presidential debate, made it sound like he was all in support of those sanctions. Well, maybe John Kerry and John Edwards ought to get together because everything that Im reading, including on John Kerrys website go to the little search engine and type in Nemazee N-E-M-A-Z-E-E and up come two articles where Mr. Nemazee is in the top tier of John Kerrys fundraisers, that same Mr. Nemazee that is locked in a suit with Aryo, who countersued him, producing this deposition that we will have in New York City on Monday.
Then look at John Kerrys other statements where John Kerry says he is in favor of normalizing relationships with Iran. You begin to see a pattern of John Kerrys statements supporting the pro-mullah lobby position in the United States. Theyre kind of congruent; same thing. And John Kerry is saying we should give nuclear fuel to Iran. Well, the pictures that Im worried about, that scare me on terrorism are the ones coming out of Russia with the school children being terrorized, and then we find in Iraq a computer in the hands of a terrorist that has plans of our schools in the United States in that computer. Now what are those plans doing there? Are they going into an architecture lesson? I dont think so. And the greatest fear, were told, is nuclear and biological weapons in the hands of terrorists.
Now if we have a rogue regime in Iran, the question has got to be put to senator Kerry, why, in everything thats holy, would we ever give these mullahs nuclear fuel? And thats a question Senator Kerry put on the table, its one that Im going to continue to speak on the radio, well work with the television shows that will have us. This book, Atomic Islam, will be out in the beginning of next year, and as its being developed, I think youre going to see a movement come forward. Were going to call for those people who believe around the world in freedom for Iran to come forward. Well be creating a website and petitions that the world can sign on freedom for Iran. Were going to work to see if we cant reverse this tide and encourage Islam to support its better side, to come forward responsibly and to renounce terrorism. Were going to call on the responsible leaders of Islam around the world to join us in a free Iran. And for that movement, Ill dedicate that thats the next project Im going to work on full time, and Ill write on it and carry it forward with the same diligence that I applied to the Swift Boat vets, whose cause I solidly endorse and continue to support.
And Senator Kerry has given us the opportunity to do two things: one, redeem the honor of the Vietnam veteran who is not a war criminal, renounce that lie which has for over 35 years been a disgrace, an unwarranted disgrace on the 2-1/2 million Americans, including across a little way over here the 58,000 on the wall who died for freedom and knew that they were not war criminals. Let this be their day to stand tall. And thank you, John Kerry, for putting it on the agenda.
And number two, lets look at Iran, lets look at nuclear terrorism, and lets put it on the agenda forefront because as a world we have an opportunity here to move forward in freedom or to retreat into the darkest days such as the Roman Empire went through. We do not need to proceed to the ash heap of history. We have freedom in our hearts; there are many Iranians who have freedom in their hearts, and I applaud Aryo in his brave lawsuit to put his name forward and to advance this agenda. And Senator Kerry, thank you for saying in your first debate with President Bush that you wanted to give nuclear fuel to Iran. In the last couple of weeks in this presidential campaign, please explain yourself, Senator Kerry. Why should we do this? Why does it make sense? Lets have a debate on the issue.
Id like to thank you all for being here, on WorldNetDaily.com, on the various shows including Joseph Farahs radio show, on RadioAmerica and others around the country that will have us. Were going to be bringing this message forth to the American public over the course of the next few months. I thank you very much for being here today.
MR. JENEVEIN: Thank you, Mr. Corsi.
For purposes of disseminating information to you all as quickly as possible, we have established a website that really pertains to the litigation that Ive mentioned. It is regimeinfluence.com. Its up now; youre welcome to and encouraged to visit there.
Id like to give a moment to Mr. Kenneth Timmerman, if hed like to say a few words.
KENNETH TIMMERMAN: Good morning. My name is Kenneth R. Timmerman T-I-double M-E-R-M-A-N. Im here to give you some resources and a bit of factual background, but not just on this case, but in particular on the influence operation by the Islam Republic here in the United States.
Ive been working as an investigative reporter on Iran for about 20 years. I began in Paris interviewing exiles in the early 1980s, came here in 93 to work on the Hill. In 1995 I launched a foundation called The Foundation for Democracy in Iran. One of our board members at that time is now serving at the Defense Department as an assistant secretary.
Its absolutely clear to me that there is a influence operation by the Islamic Republic here in the United States. The goal is to create a fifth column. The goal is to create a fifth column in America, to begin with, within the Iranian-American community. This is a very, very serious thing that is going on. It is similar to what the Soviets did during the Cold War.
Now Id like to give you a few resources. I have some documents which those of you who are interested I will hand out. The documents pertain to Susan Akbarpour and to Hassan Nemazee. I also have some pictures, which are available on the website as well as here, showing the relationships between Mr. Kerry and Mrs. Akbarpour and also Hassan Nemazee. They have been very closely tied, through an organization called The American-Iranian Council.
In the early 1990s the Iranian regime used one-man lobbying shops. Their influence operation was a bit rudimentary. They masqueraded as Iranian-Americans cultural associations. After that, they poured money into U.S.-based television operations aimed at flooding the Iranian community here with regime propaganda, but in the mid-1990s about the same time I set up the Foundation for Democracy in Iran they had a brainstorm. Why not use the lobbying power of large U.S. corporations to sway the public debate in this country to their benefit?
Now the organization that was then set up, called the American-Iranian Council you can find their website, its American-Iranian.org. is the brainchild of a pro-regime individual named Hooshang (sp) Amiramadi A-M-I-R-A-M-A-D-I Hooshang Amiramadi. He claims to teach urban studies at Princeton University, but in fact spends most of his time shilling for the Islamic Republic and their agenda here in the United States.
Mr. Nemazee, against good judgment and against counsel from his friends, including myself, joined the board of the American-Iranian Council. He served on that board for well over a year, and I believe that one of the reasons that he gets associated with the pro-regime agenda in this country is because of his own behavior in joining that board.
AICs goal, from the very start, has been crystal clear: lifting U.S. sanctions on Iran and promoting the resumption of trade and diplomatic ties between the United States and Iran. That is the agenda of the Islamic Republic. Why is that their agenda? Because their economy has been crippled by U.S. sanctions. U.S. sanctions that often decried in this country have actually prevented foreign investment to rebuild the Iranian oil industry, which itself is rusting because of the mismanagement of the clerical regime.
U.S. sanctions, while unilateral and while they could be better if we could get our European partners to forego multibillion dollar contracts in Iran, are yet nevertheless, they are very effective, and they have had a powerful effect on the Iranian economy. And Mr. Nemazee, the American-Iranian Council have been instrumental in trying to convince major corporations and members of Congress to lift the sanctions on Iraq. They even have a project and you can find this on their website which they are trying to raise over half a million dollars for, to fund. Its called, quote, Building Better U.S.-Iranian Relations. Now just think about that for a second. The Islamic-Republic of Iran murders Americans around the globe. Theyve murdered Americans in Beirut, theyve murdered Americans in Jerusalem, in Gaza. Theyre murdering Americans today in Iraq. And yet the AIC, on whose board Hassan Nemazee served, is raising money to explore how we get closer to those same mullahs who are ordering those murders of Americans.
Now Ive got a number of resources, which you can find on my website, which is kentimmerman.com. There are articles that Ive written in the American Spectator, which is out this month, called Dirty Mullah, and in Insight Magazine, a weekly investigative magazine of the Washington Times, about the fundraising operations here in this country.
Let me just tell you a few highlights from those articles. I want to give you some background about a woman named Susan Akbarpour A-K-B-A-R-P-O-U-R. Now Susan was in that picture I showed you earlier with John Kerry. Here she is, okay? This is at a fundraiser where she and Hassan Nemazee were on the organizing committee inviting John Kerry as the top speaker in June of 2002 in San Francisco.
Susan came to this country in 1997 claiming to be a political refugee. She claimed that if she went back to Iran, she would be subject to persecution. In fact and this is one of the documents I have for those of you who are interested Susan Akbarpour was an employee of the Islamic Republic of Iran before she came to this country, and this is the document that will prove it.
These are the kind of people who are working with John Kerrys campaign. Mr. Nemazee has raised over $500,000 for the campaign. Susan Akbarpour and her husband, Feraj Alaie (ph), have raised close to $100,000 each, according to the campaign.
I understand that it is illegal in the United States to make campaign contributions if you are not a U.S. citizen or if you are not a green card holder. Well, Ms. Akbarpour contributed to Mr. Kerrys campaign on June 17th, 2002 and you can pull this down from the FEC website when she was not a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. How do I know this? Ms. Akbarpour told me so. She told me so, and you can see that again in the article from Insight Magazine, she acknowledged that she did not have a green card until after she married Feraj Alaie last year 2003 and other sources tell me she does not have a green card yet.
Now its illegal it is frankly illegal, clearly illegal to make campaign contributions when you are not a U.S. citizen or a green card holder. Susan Akbarpour has broken the law, Mr. Kerrys campaign has broken the law, and they should know that because I have made this public I made this public first in March of this year. There is no excuse. The Kerry campaign has not distanced themselves from this illegal fundraiser.
Now I am also told by immigration attorneys that it is illegal for a foreign individual to come to this country pretending political persecution, and in fact, to be a former employee in good standing with that regime. Susan Akbarpour has been filmed at pro-democracy demonstrations in California haranguing the demonstrators, supporting the regime, and she claims to be a political refugee from this regime. This is the type of person who is supporting Mr. Kerry. This is the type of person who Mr. Kerry has been willing to associate himself with at fundraisers, and I call on Mr. Kerry to distance himself from Susan Akbarpour, from Hassan Nemazee and all of those people that they are working with to raise money who are here to shill for the Islamic Republic.
MR. JENEVEIN: Before we take any questions, I want to make sure you all understand there is no formal affiliation of any kind between our litigation and these distinguished writers who have volunteered to be here and speak their thoughts. We are very grateful for any contributions they can make. Were not paying them and theyre not paying us. I think we just maybe see things the same way.
So with those statements, are there any questions that I can entertain? Yes, sir?
Q: I was wondering, could you clarify the status of Mr. Pirouznias citizenship? (Off mike.)
MR. JENEVEIN: Since theres not a microphone there, I will restate the question. You want to know if Mr. Pirouznia is a citizen of the United States, maybe registered to vote, et cetera.
Aryo, do you want to
(Cross talk, off mike.)
MR. PIROUZNIA: While being grateful to America, I am not a citizen of America. My wife is American citizen. I could have opted for obtaining my immigration status through her. I refused to do so until about two years ago because then I had to travel for political purposes, but Im grateful that I am here on a temporary residentship with authorization of work and employment.
MR. JENEVEIN: Yes, sir?
MR. : One moment, please. Weve got to get this for the audio feed, so Ill hand the microphone to everybody.
Q: Im Jim Lobe from the InterPress Service. I wanted to ask exactly could you explain, first of all, what the basis of both the defamations the specific basis of the defamation suit was, and then the counterclaim. And also, does is the Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran is that incorporated in the United States? And if so, whats its status as a non-profit or whatever? And does it have a board of directors? Because Ive looked at the site and I cant find any board -- if you could clarify those issues.
MR. JENEVEIN: Let me start Jerry, you might want to grab the microphone let me start with the litigation, and to the extent that I give an incomplete response, the pleadings in that case are actually posted on that website at regimeinfluence.com. The defamation claim, which thats the $10 million claim filed by Hassan Nemazee in March in Houston, Texas, actually claims that he was defamed because Mr. Pirouznias website, the SNCCDI website made a statement to the effect that he was an agent for the regime. I dont know if theyre trying to literally interpret the word agent literally is not the right word, but maybe over interpret the word to mean that there was an accusation that he was on the payroll or that he was an agent in the sense of an agent for change. I shouldnt speak to that; thats really a question more appropriately suited to Mr. Nemazee and his attorneys.
I will tell you that we are defending that lawsuit in part on the basis of truth. We believe there is a link between Mr. Nemazee and the regime. Unfortunately, weve been thwarted in our ability to conduct discovery by Mr. Nemazees refusal to appear for deposition until ordered to do so and by the Kerry campaigns stonewalling and refusal to even call us back.
Now as to the
Q: Can I have a follow-up question?
MR. : (Off mike) follow-up question.
Q: The existence of a link is one thing. The question of an agent, which does have certain connotations, is another, and one of the and so I want you to be as specific as possible about the nature of that link. And perhaps to expand the question to the other panelists Mr. Timmerman and so on if they are saying that Mr. Nemazee is an agent of the Islamic Republic because I know you talked about Susan and so on, but you didnt talk about Mr. Nemazee. And I want the presenters to be as specific as possible about their allegations with respect to Mr. Nemazee in particular.
MR. JENEVEIN: I appreciate your need for specifics, and I wish that I could give more. For two reasons I cannot. Number one, Im happy to talk freely about Ms. Akbarpours links because Im not the lawyer in that case. Discovery has been thwarted and is ongoing in the Nemazee case, so theres a lot that I cant say. In other words, I have meaningful suspicions that I believe are well-grounded about exactly the nature of the link between the regime and Hassan Nemazee, but I havent been able to prove them. And so Im very reluctant and really must kind of refuse, regretfully, to extend on that very much.
But I also want to say that I do not accept the premise of your question that there must be a link. Look up agent in Websters. Its not a legal term when a non-lawyer uses it on a political op-ed website. Mr. Nemazee is an agent for the Iranian government to the extent that he is promoting the Iranian regimes agenda. Period.
Now with respect to your question about the structure of SMCCDI, it is incorporated correct, Mr. Pirouznia.
MR. PIROUZNIA: (Off mike.)
MR. JENEVEIN: Is it non-profit?
MR. PIROUZNIA: (Off mike.)
MR. JENEVEIN: No, just real quick is it incorporated?
MR. PIROUZNIA: No.
MR. JENEVEIN: Its not yet incorporated?
MR. PIROUZNIA: Yes, it is incorporated.
MR. JENEVEIN: It is incorporated, it is not a non-profit. Does it have a board of directors?
MR. PIROUZNIA: (Off mike.)
MR. JENEVEIN: I am not going to provide that right now, sir, and the reason is I dont want those people to be, you know, called in to give depositions in this case. Now if its a matter of public record, its a matter of public record, but Im not going to disclose those identities.
Q: Do the other panelists want to respond on the question of agency and whether thats the allegation -- that Mr. Nemazee is a presumably knowing agent of the Islamic Republic?
MR. CORSI: I dont know if theres enough information to make a legitimate claim that Mr. Nemazee is an agent in the sense of paid by, working for the Islamic regime, and I wont make that claim. I think it may be a type of claim that hopefully can be investigated and the deposition may be an opportunity to get more information addressing that issue.
Ultimately it may be the type of issue that would require the powers of the Homeland Security Department or the FBI to answer fully because you are raising issues of conditions of employment, transfer or passage of money, and I dont know whether well be able to address those with the limited investigative powers that we have. That question may not ever be resolved unless it were an investigation with more authoritative law enforcement powers.
Now I want to second what Bob Jenevein just said, and that is what we are noticing and what we are seeing is that the pro-Iranian lobby in the United States, according to the Federal Election Commission records and Senator Kerrys own website include individuals like Hassan Nemazee, who have contributed significant money to John Kerrys campaign. And we notice in John Kerrys campaign that he has adopted positions that would be favorable to the mullahs in Iran. And those positions include his statement in the first debate with President Bush when he said he would give nuclear fuel to Iran to see if they would misuse it.
So its the basis of that type of support by Senator Kerry that were pressing for answers on, and were taking the position Im taking the position that politically -- regardless of whether Mr. Nemazee is or is not an agent of the Islamic regime in any formal sense politically, however, Im objecting to the issue that we should ever allow Iran, with its current mullah leadership, to become nuclear. Im objecting politically to the lack of freedom in Iran with the same mullahs that for 444 days kept American diplomats hostage in our embassy. And it took President Reagan coming into office to get them free. President Carter could not get them out of captivity. I dont want to see us return as a nation to a situation where an atomic Iran could hold us hostage for oil, or could hold a nuclear threat over the head of Israel. And those questions are not dependent on whether Mr. Nemazee or anyone else is or is not an agent of the Islamic regime.
So were going to investigate this, were going to look very carefully at the political positions being taken here, and try to raise the issue on the agenda of the American people, saying first, while this election yet lasts, ask the question of Senator Kerry to explain why we would give nuclear fuel to Iran; and secondly, lets continue pressing this argument politically so that we can have the American people evaluate clearly the risks that could be faced should any rogue regime, in Iran specifically, with terrorist objectives that are clearly documented, including the documentation that came forward from the 9/11 Commission, have nuclear weapons and put the world at risk with those nuclear weapons. I think its a severe threat and one we need to raise. So thats what Atomic Islam, my book, is going to focus on.
MR. : Thank you, Dr. Corsi. We have a question here from Jeff Gannon, White House correspondent for Talon News.
Q: Thank you. Have you looked into whether John Kerry or his close associates might profit from normalizing relations with Iran? I say this because I know when he pressed for normalization of relations with Vietnam, his close family members did profit as a result of that.
MR. JENEVEIN: Yes, as much as possible. It was John Kerry who said, quote, I will be prepared early on to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam a decade ago.
The AIC the American-Iranian Council that Mr. Timmerman spoke about was funded in large part by major American oil companies. I think theres an obvious, unmistakable economic opportunity if diplomatic relations with Iran are normalized and those markets are opened up for American businesses. I think anyone who has positioned themselves in the doorway to that new market stands to make a lot of money.
Now Ive told you everything I know about it, and to the extent this is something we are eager to talk about with Mr. Nemazee on Monday. Until now we havent been able to investigate it.
Lastly, I did not answer the second part of your question, sir, which went to the counterclaim. The counterclaim is simply this: that the lawsuit is frivolous. This is a defamation claim and you may or may not know that Mr. Hassan Nemazee was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be an ambassador for Argentina, but that nomination collapsed after Forbes Magazine wrote an expose on Mr. Nemazee that detailed some of his business dealings. That article is posted at the regimeinfluence.com website, and heres the relevance to our litigation: You cant defame someone who already has a very poor reputation. Defamation is a relative term. I think its a frivolous lawsuit.
Does anybody else need to respond to the question regarding the markets or the economic opportunities? Okay.
MR. : We have a question here from the back.
Q: Hi, Im Laura Rosen (sp), Im a freelance journalist.
Mr. Corsi, you said in the course of researching your book you were put in touch with Mr. Pirouznia. Can you say who gave the introduction?
MR. CORSI: Thats very easy. Mr. Pirouznia called John ONeill and said, John, I need a lawyer. And he evidently from the prominence John was getting with the swift boats, thought maybe John ONeill could direct him to someone or would take the case on himself.
John was too busy with the swift boat veterans. John called me, said maybe youd have an interest. I did. I in my background Ive done extension work on anti-war movement, political protest in the United States, and terrorism. So Ive had a deep interest in Iran for a long time. It was over the Iranian hostage event and the aftermath I published a major article on predicting the outcomes in terrorism. I developed a computer model to do it, published it at Yale. And the Reagan administration, while the hostages were being released and that situation was unfolding, I had a top-secret clearance with the Agency of International Development at the State Department, and I counseled on hostage survival techniques.
So Ive had a deep interest for a long time in Iran on this issue. And I called Aryo and said, tell me about your case. And in the process of that I decided that I would, first, consult with Aryo, and second, write a book on it. So thats how that all happened.
MR. : Right here, sir. We have a question coming from the front row here. Go ahead.
Q: Wes Vernon, NewsMax.com. Im wondering if you could give a little more detail on your efforts to try to get some comment from the Kerry campaign. Who are the people youve contacted? Who told you that there would be no comment or that they declined to comment and so on?
MR. JENEVEIN: Ill be happy to do that. My first initiative was on September 9th, 2004. I sent by Federal Express a letter to Rand Beers. Rand is one of the senior foreign policy staff members of the Kerry campaign, and Mr. Beers is the person at the campaign who spoke with Kenneth Timmerman earlier this year and authenticated the e-mail that the Kerry campaign sent out that ended up in the hands of the Iranian regime the very conciliatory you know, we need to make friends with old enemies and that kind of thing e-mail. That FedEx went out on September 9th. I got no response.
One of the senior in fact, I he may be the director of the Kerry campaign finance. I know he was the finance chairman for John Edwards is a former lawyer in Dallas who I know personally. And so I called him at the campaign to ask him if he could help. He
Q: Whats his name?
MR. JENEVEIN: -- his name is Fred Barron. He was as helpful as I think he could be from his department. He did return my call, told me that I would need to talk to Rand Beers. I said, okay, can you give me a telephone number and maybe a fax number? So that was on September 16th.
Immediately I sent another fax to Mr. Beers and got no response. I even included with that fax a proposed one-page, two-paragraph affidavit that would have served my purposes in this litigation. It would have simply authenticated the e-mail and acknowledged that Mr. Nemazee was an advisor to the campaign. No response.
When I called again I spoke with Greta Lundeberg L-U-N-D-E-B-E-R-G, and Ms. Lundeberg encouraged me to make an appointment. Thats why I was originally going to be in Washington today because I was going to be here when Mr. Beers was back in town after traveling with the candidate. But they never called me back.
I sent them another fax as recently as October 8th, saying Ive heard nothing from you. Can you at least talk to me or call me back? And they of course will not.
I understand its a sticky wicket for them, but from where I stand, they leave the impression that they would rather side with their friends, who are friends of the mullahs, than with forces for democracy in Iran. Thats a political issue and thats not my game.
Q: But you believe that theyre running out the clock to November 2nd trying to run out the clock?
MR. JENEVEIN: It the question is do I believe theyre trying to run out the clock until the election I absolutely do. Yes.
The only dates that Mr. Nemazees lawyers gave us for a deposition remember, this case was filed in March. The only the first date that he would be available for deposition when we requested it back in July was November 10th.
MR. : We have a question from the midsection back here. One moment, let me get the mike over there.
Q: Has there been any discussion of a settlement between Mr. Nemazee and Mr. Pirouznia?
MR. JENEVEIN: The question is has there been any discussion of a settlement between Mr. Nemazee and Mr. Pirouznia. As I understand it I was not a party to those discussions, but I understand that Mr. Nemazee offered to pay Mr. Pirouznia money to make the case go away. Mr. Pirouznia
Q: (Off mike) any comment on that because a representative for Mr. Nemazee says something very different.
MR. JENEVEIN: I will be happy to open up the panel to that.
Let me make sure that it is very clear what my clients position is with regard to settling this litigation. This is not about money. Were not going to take money and were not going to pay money. This is about exposing a man who has tried to remain dormant, but who filed a frivolous lawsuit and found himself in the eye of the public storm.
Aryo, do you have anything you need to add to these settlement discussions?
Mr. Timmerman, can you speak to these?
MR. TIMMERMAN: Yes, I think youre referring to an individual who is close to Hassan Nemazee who has been calling reporters off the record to spread slander and lies. That person is sitting here in this room. I would ask you that you identify your source for this kind of story, which is completely scurrilous and without foundation. I received one of those calls, as well.
MR. : We have another question here from the second row or did you want to respond to that first?
MR. TIMMERMAN: Ive responded.
MR. : Okay, here we go.
Q: Good morning. My question has to do with the Iranian people, the majority of whom have been trying to eliminate this brutal regime of Iran and establish democracy. Now if you offer fuel or any other relationship with Iran, doesnt it mean prolonging this regimes life and suppressing the Iranian people, who are fighting for democracy?
MR. JENEVEIN: Absolutely it does. And theres a litigation-relevant comment that I response that I need to make to that, and then if any of the panel members want to respond I would welcome it.
It goes without saying that if you ease trade sanctions or normalize diplomatic relations, or promote the admission of the Iranian regime into the World Trade Organization, you legitimize that government. And if you legitimize it, thats something of value to that government right now. But sir, as a lawyer, I recognize that those were facts that might be difficult to prove, and I invited Hassam Nemazee to stipulate to those very facts, and he has declined even to those very facts.
I mean, if anybody is interested, I can show you the letter that I sent where I proposed those very stipulations, and he responded to me saying, we will take those under advisement.
I appreciate the question. Anything anybody need to add?
MR : We have a question from the left section here. Go ahead.
Q: Youve identified Susan Akbarpour as having made illegal contributions to the Kerry campaign. Has there been any communication with the FEC or any regulatory agency to pursue this matter?
MR. JENEVEIN: We have not done that. My mission is to defend my client against a frivolous lawsuit, not to prosecute FEC violations.
MR. : In the middle here, one moment. Go ahead, sir.
Q: Hi. I Mr. Timmerman passed up the opportunity to comment on the question that I raised about the precise nature of the relationship between Mr. Nemazee and the Islamic Republic, and I wonder if he could characterize it in a specific way.
MR. TIMMERMAN: Yeah, youre talking about the word that was used by Mr. Pirouznia agent, I believe. And look, I think as the lawyers have described here very clearly, this is Mr. Nemazee who is filing the lawsuit. Its up to him, frankly, to define how he understands the use of the word agent.
What I can tell you is this. Hassan Nemazee was warned by me what it would mean to join the board of the American-Iranian Council. It was absolutely clear that this was an organization established in the United States to pursue and promote the agenda of the Islamic Republic of Iran and specifically the agenda of getting U.S. sanctions on Iran lifted and to restore economic, diplomatic and trade relations between the United States and Iran.
Mr. Nemazee knew exactly that thats what the AIC was all about. I personally informed him of this before he joined the board. I said you do not want to join the board of this organization as an Iranian-American. Your fellow Iranian-Americans will consider you a traitor to their cause of freedom, and yet, knowing that consciously knowing that, aware of that, warned of that, he took the effort, he made the conscious decision to join that board and to stay on that board, and to attend several fundraisers for the American-Iranian Council that supported the agenda of a rapprochement between the United States and Iran. So this was a conscious decision that Mr. Nemazee made against the best advice that he could have gotten.
MR. : We have a question on the right here. Go ahead.
Q: Mr. Timmerman, my question is that Mr. Nemazee has a family wealth in Iran. Is it true that his family wealth in Iran has been confiscated like everybody elses wealth by the mullahs in Iran after the revolution? And Mr. Nemazee has been managed to make deals with the Islamic regime to get his family wealth back. He doesnt need being paid by the regime in Iran, but as long as he gets his family wealth back he can make deals with the mullahs.
MR. TIMMERMAN: Thank you for the question. As you know, a lot of Iranian-Americans have gone back to Iran, they have made peace with the regime specifically to get their assets that were stolen by this regime in 1979, 1980 back.
Now whether Mr. Nemazee has actually gone back to Tehran, I dont think so. I have no information to suggest that he has actually traveled to Iran. Whether he has made a deal for his assets that I think is going to come out in the lawsuit.
MR. : Are any of the panelists want to make any comments on this or any other issues here?
MR. JENEVEIN (?): No, I need to not comment on that.
MR. : Are there any other questions?
MR. : Any further questions or further comments from any panelists?
MR. PIROUZNIA: Indeed, people came to Dallas to see me. There are records of it, payment by credit card, proposing despite having sued me some money to drop, saying to me that he will be destroying you, and hearing that, if I have to go to the ground, I will reveal the true nature of those blackmailing my people and my fellow comrades.
So in that and regarding what is the role of Mr. Nemazee, Im quoting here the Ettalaat (sp) Daily published in Tehran May 3rd, 2004, knowing that the issue of Great Satan meaning America in the vocabulary or jargon used by the clerical regime in Iran, meaning America, and its very taboo, especially under one of the few press allowed in Iran under extreme sensorship. The last paragraph that this document is saying, Mr Nemazee and his friends have been able to neutralize the activities of those this newspaper is calling as anti-Iranian lobbies meaning anti-Islamic Republic lobbies.
This is also an affidavit that I get you do have the translation and its going to be available. Other thing is if I had been defaming someone, why it should be on the question trying to intimidate us requesting for the names of students affiliated in Iraq? Unless for giving them to the hand of the mullah regime to share the fate of Bottabi (ph), Mohamedis (ph) and thousands of others who are languishing in prison, looking for the free world and especially the American leadership, which all of you Im sure remember how, when September 11 happened, my comrades and thousands of our countrymen get into the streets of Tehran to offer the condolence to the great people of America. They are looking to your country.
I hope whomever in November we do not have any agenda against Mr. Kerry. I dont know Mr. Kerry or I dont exactly Mr. Bush, but what I know one thing is that Mr. Kerry has qualified the Islamic regime as becoming a kind of democracy. I know one thing: that he has proposed to repair ties and repair damages with the mullah regime. This means a green light go ahead, do what you are doing. If I am elected, I will consider thats, I think, the bottom, bottom line.
MR. JENEVEIN: Any other questions? Thank you all very much for your attendance.
posted on 10/14/2004 9:11:00 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Warning to America: 'A False Sense of Security Will Destroy You'
|Posted on Sunday, October 10 @ 13:00:00 EDT by ramin
Exclusive Interview With The Shah of Iran
U.S. News & World Report, March 22, 1976 [2nd of Farvardin, 1355]
Photo: "The Shah of Iran: The Emperor of Oil"; Time cover page, 1974
[Shah Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi of Iran:
let me ask you a question. Could the United States afford to see Iran lost? Could the whole world afford it? You can't just live in your dreamland - your "fortress America" - and let all the countries of the world eventually disappear. A false sense of security will destroy you - like nothing. If you pursue that policy, Iran is one country that, if it goes, you are going to feel it badly. If we disappear, don't think that the rest of the region will stay as it is. If we go, the inexorable fate of the region will be that the present source of energy to Europe and Japan, and to some degree to the U.S., will not only be in jeopardy but will probably be cut off
If you remain our friends, obviously you will enjoy all the power and prestige of my country. But if you try to take an unfriendly attitude toward my country, we can hurt you as badly if not more so than you can hurt us. Not just through oil - we can create trouble for you in the region. If you force us to change our friendly attitude, the repercussions will be immeasurable
I am afraid that today America's credibility is not too high. You look rather like a crippled giant. Angola has contributed substantially to that. This kind of policy will only lead you into more Vietnams in the future. Many things happen before an election, but after the election the world will be the same place and you will have to tackle the same problems. I only hope that after the election you can take decisions and move ahead
Question: Do you plan to buy nuclear power plants, even a nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant, from the U.S.?
Shah Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi of Iran: I intend certainly to buy nuclear plants from the U.S. if they are competitive...On reprocessing [plants], not yet, because it is only economical if you process large amounts. Maybe one day we shall have so many atomic plants that we will have to do that in our own country. But don't forget that we signed the nonproliferation treaty, and when we sign something we feel obligated to it
A key Middle East ruler counts on the U.S. for weapons, modern industry, and technology. Americans view Iran as a stable supplier of oil. Yet the once-warm relationship shows signs of fraying. The Shah explains why.
Q. Your Majesty, we hear Iran is running into serious money problems despite its oil wealth. Are you going to have to cut back your ambitious development plans?
A. We have a budget deficit of over 2 billion dollars, and our income has dropped by about 4 billion, if not more. We are going to try to save as much money as possible, inside the country. We have started a very serious and meaningful drive against corruption. In many cases we see that our internal corruption is due to the relation of some of these people with foreigners. And, my God, these foreigners are very, very corrupt people! I am not going to speak about cases, but they are awful.
The foreigners would not hesitate to make a dirty deal or any kind of bribery they can. We are going to weed this out, and probably this will save money.
We are not going to scrap any of the programs. Maybe some will be delayed by a few months, but that is all. I think we will be capable of carrying out the plan with some little delay.
Q. You are spending billions on defenses. Do Iran's security needs justify the build-up of an armed force of such size?
A. Obviously, because of what is going on around us and the amount and type of weapons that we see around us. Just envisage the next 20 years in the general region of the Indian Ocean. And, by "the Indian Ocean," I mean all the countries riparian to that ocean. The East African coast is far from being completely stable and immune to eventual developments which might be harmful to stability in the region. Berbear [site of a Soviet-built naval base in the Somali Republic] is not the only case; there are other sore points.
The Persian Gulf delivers about 70 per cent of Europe's energy needs and about 90 per cent of Japan's. If these lines of communication are not secure, then Japan and Europe will crack. So while we are doing this for ourselves, at the same time I think we are rendering a great service to the whole of Europe and Japan. I wish the responsibility could be shared by as many other countries as possible. But for the time being we are doing the job.
Q. The U.S. Congress has expressed concern about American involvement in Iran's military build-up. Is there a risk in having a great number of U.S. advisers here?
A. First of all, I don't know what the concern is about. We are paying for the arms and the experts. I also don't see what you mean by involvement," because the contracts state that these people will not be involved in any war between my country and any other country. These are the terms of the contracts.
But let me ask you a question. Could the United States afford to see Iran lost? Could the whole world afford it? You can't just live in your dreamland - your "fortress America" - and let all the countries of the world eventually disappear. A false sense of security will destroy you - like nothing. If you pursue that policy, Iran is one country that, if it goes, you are going to feel it badly. If we disappear, don't think that the rest of the region will stay as it is. If we go, the inexorable fate of the region will be that the present source of energy to Europe and Japan, and to some degree to the U.S., will not only be in jeopardy but will probably be cut off.
Q. What would you do if Congress embargoes arms sales in the Persian Gulf region?
A. That would be so irresponsible that I am not even thinking about it. But if it happens, do you think our hands are tied? We have 10 other markets to provide us with what we need. There are people just waiting for that moment.
If you remain our friends, obviously you will enjoy all the power and prestige of my country. But if you try to take an unfriendly attitude toward my country, we can hurt you as badly if not more so than you can hurt us. Not just through oil - we can create trouble for you in the region. If you force us to change our friendly attitude, the repercussions will be immeasurable.
Q. Are American weapons and technology too sophisticated for your people?
A. Well, so far we have been able to handle it, the ratings of units are almost the same as yours. If the rating is lower, it is because of lack of spare parts, and that is your fault. You are not providing the spare parts at the necessary rhythm demanded and required. All our people receive the exact same education that you give your people, and they graduate from your schools, so if they are not good it is a product of your schools.
Q. Will Iran continue to buy American arms even if the U.S. doesn't buy more of your oil?
A. Sure - if we have the money. We never planned to buy more F-14s than first ordered, but we have plans to buy hundreds and hundreds of other types of aircraft from the U.S. This includes F-16 aircraft and other things. I think the advantage to this country of the AWACS [airborne warning and control system] is without dimension.
"YOU LOOK LIKE A CRIPPLED GIANT"
Q. Does Iran consider the United States a responsible and credible ally?
A. Well, I am afraid that today America's credibility is not too high. You look rather like a crippled giant. Angola has contributed substantially to that. This kind of policy will only lead you into more Vietnams in the future. Many things happen before an election, but after the election the world will be the same place and you will have to tackle the same problems. I only hope that after the election you can
take decisions and move ahead.
Q. Some U.S. officials - Treasury Secretary William E. Simon is one - say America should turn away from Iran, move closer to Saudi Arabia!
A. I think that relations between our two countries are based on such a high level of interest that they couldn't be influenced by the pleasure or taste of individuals with momentary careers. This is a lasting relationship, and even if people have opinions and influence they are not everlasting.
Q. Do you anticipate another Arab-Israeli war this year, or more fighting in Lebanon? If there is a war in the Middle East, what will Iran's policy be?
A. I can't say the situation is rosy. And, again, maybe the American election has something to do with that. I am sure that after the elections in the U.S., things will get moving. In the meantime we must try, all of us, to do whatever we can. I think the best thing to do is to reconvene the Geneva Conference and find a formula for the Palestinians to participate there.
The events in Lebanon were heartbreaking, and that poor country suffered
terribly. For the moment it looks like a stalemate - a very dangerous one, too.
I see that the Israeli Prime Minister [Yitzhak Rabin] is saying that he expects a war in May. I have always expressed the opinion that [U.N. Security Council] resolutions 242 and 338 [basically calling for cease-fires, troop withdrawals, peace negotiations] must be implemented. We can't just accept fait accompli - the acquisition of land by force - because if you accept it one place, why should you oppose of someplace else?
Israel and the U.N. must seek real guarantees and formulas within secure boundaries for the future. You can't just risk war every time.
The PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] should be at Geneva in some form, because you cannot ignore the existence of so many Palestinians. We have got to accept this. Just as we accept the existence of Israel, we have to accept the existence of the Palestinians, too. It is a reality. In the event of war, I see no reason to change our attitude. But I hope war will not occur, as it can produce some very unpleasant surprises.
Q. Your Majesty, do you still believe that Iran will become a world power?
A. Yes, I think we can do a lot in 25 years' time. I probably won't be around myself, but the foundation will be laid.
In 12 to 13 years the main infrastructure in every field will be solidly laid down. And from there we will just pursue the same policies using momentum to generate new possibilities and power - economic, industrial and human power, which is so important.
Maybe the oil will be finished by that time, although I hope we can start the conservation of oil in 10 years. In the meantime we will go all out in atomic and solar energy. We shouldn't have ecological problems in dealing with progress. The country is large, we have barren land, and pollution should not be a severe problem. We shall pursue sources of energy and save oil for petrochemical purposes. We also have fantastic reserves of gas. We will educate the people in various fields needed to make this country a sophisticated one.
Q. Do you plan to buy nuclear power plants, even a nuclear-fuel reprocessing plant, from the U.S.?
A. I intend certainly to buy nuclear plants from the U.S. if they are competitive with those offered by France and Germany.
On reprocessing [plants], not yet, because it is only economical if you process large amounts. Maybe one day we shall have so many atomic plants that we will have to do that in our own country. But don't forget that we signed the nonproliferation treaty, and when we sign something we feel obligated to it.
GRAFT IN IRAN: "HEADS WILL ROLL"
Q. You talked earlier about anticorruption, antiprofiteering campaigns. What new measures do you have in mind?
A. The fight against profiteering has resulted in a zero inflation rate this year - hopefully zero.
On corruption, we are in a position in this country, through our internal stability, to fight corruption at all levels, not just petty white-collar crimes. If we find corruption at the highest level, heads will roll. And don't doubt that this will be pursued. Other countries may be willing to live with corruption as an existing fact, but not in our case.
Apart from that, we will need some time to establish correct commodity prices, both for local goods and imports. We have been cheated badly by foreigners - foreign companies and firms that were overpricing things. It will take a little time to know the real prices.
Q. Is Iran a "police state," as so many outsiders charge?
A. No. I don't think I am divulging any important state secret, but the whole number of people in our secret police or security organization is about 3,400. I have seen fantastic figures saying that there were millions of people in our secret police and that we have more than a hundred thousand political prisoners. That number is also about 3,200 or 3,300. It is fantastic how things are exaggerated.
posted on 10/14/2004 9:17:26 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Kerry's Iranian connection
With his presidential campaign faltering, the last thing Sen. John Kerry needs is publicity linking him to a dubious lawsuit filed by one of his top financial backers that seems intended to silence a prominent Iranian pro-democracy organization. But unfortunately for the Democratic presidential nominee, that's what's coming his way.
Back in April, Hassan Nemazee, who has raised more than $100,000 for Mr. Kerry's campaign, filed a $10 million lawsuit in a Texas court charging the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI) and its coordinator, Aryo Pirouznia, with libeling him by suggesting he is a supporter of the Islamist regime in Iran. At the heart of the legal dispute is Mr. Nemazee's connection with groups such as the American-Iranian Council, an organization which has lobbied for a softer U.S. stance toward Iran. Now, according to Mr. Pirouznia, attorneys for Mr. Nemazee who filed the suit nearly five months ago want to delay depositions in the case until after the election because the publicity will hurt Mr. Kerry.
Veteran investigative journalist Kenneth Timmerman reported in Insight magazine that, in 2001, Mr. Nemazee joined the board of the AIC, which had long advocated a more accommodating U.S. stance toward the brutal dictatorship in Iran. Mr. Nemazee subsequently said he regrets joining the AIC board and resigned after serving on it for 12 months. He insists he is no defender of the current regime.
But Mr. Nemazee has attempted to do the impossible: defend Mr. Kerry's weak position on Iran. Earlier this year, he told Insight that Mr. Kerry was not calling for a resumption of relations with Iran. Mr. Nemazee offered this disingenuous spin several months after Mr. Kerry's Dec. 3 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, in which he attacked the Bush administration for blocking a dialogue with Iran.
Now, Mr. Nemazee's lawyers are demanding that the student group's attorneys provide information on communications between Mr. Pirouznia and Bonafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, another prominent Iranian pro-democracy activist, whose ailing, elderly father has spent much of the past year in jail for having the temerity to criticize the regime. SMCCDI's lawyers believe that if they are forced to provide this information in court, it could jeopardize the lives of student activists in Iran. Mr. Pirouznia says he would rather go to jail than permit this to occur.
Mr. Kerry's current political difficulties will grow much more serious if a supporter of Iranian democracy is hauled off to jail for refusing to endanger the lives of Iranian dissidents by allowing their names to be publicized in court at the insistence of a prominent Kerry financial backer, no less. For more information on this case, please see the Web site regimeinfluence.com.
posted on 10/15/2004 12:46:00 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Irans Israeli factor Paul Rogers 14 - 10 - 2004
Washington is sending mixed signals over Irans planned development of nuclear weapons. Will Israel preempt its decision by launching an attack?
As the Iraq insurgency intensified during September 2004, some observers of United States military strategy expected that American forces would increase their attacks on key insurgent centres such as Fallujah; others offered the counterargument that such assaults which could lead to numerous civilian casualties, causing the Washington administration domestic political embarrassment at a sensitive time were likely to be postponed until after the presidential election on 2 November.
The intense military action in Samarra at the beginning of October seemed to suggest that US leaders had decided on the first course, perhaps on the grounds that the insurgency was accelerating in such a manner that it would be too dangerous to wait until midNovember to attempt to suppress it (see last weeks article in this series, Americas Iraqi shift: preemption or reaction?).
Yet it now appears that the second prognosis, of a preelection pause in assaults on insurgent centres, is indeed the more likely course (see Mark Mazzetti, Major Assaults on Hold Until After U.S. Vote, Los Angeles Times, 11 October 2004 but with the qualification that the reduction of intensity in the US campaign is only relative.
The USs military action is being conducted in the context of continuing violence across much of Iraq, with only the most damaging incidents reported in western media. In the past few days the US has conducted further air strikes on Fallujah, and an attack on a car on the main route between Fallujah and another centre of insurgent activity, Ramadi, is reported to have killed five members of the same family, including a child. After a mortar attack on Ramadis city hall and a neighbouring police headquarters that killed four people (including three police officers) US and Iraqi security forces launched raids on eight mosques in the city, and detained a leading local cleric, Sheikh Abd alAlim alSaadi.
Meanwhile, eleven members of the Iraqi national guard were killed and ten injured in an attack on a police station near alQaim, a city near the Syrian border; and a local council member was assassinated in the northern city of Mosul.
This continuing instability means that Iraq remains a controversial issue in the US presidential debate. But the impact of the relentless violence there on American politics is being matched by lowerprofile but equally significant developments in a quite different arena the relationship between the United States and Iran. Here, Washington has in the past two weeks transmitted two contradictory signals.
Iran: the view(s) from Washington
Two of the three members of the axis of evil proclaimed by President Bush in January 2002 continue to prove highly problematic for Washington to deal with. A bitter insurgency in Iraq continues eighteen months after the Saddam Hussein regime was terminated, while North Korea has probably developed a crude nuclear weapons capability, giving it an element of deterrence that would make any US move against it very dangerous. Yet amidst these difficulties, neoconservative elements in Washington still regard the third part of the axis, Iran, as a highpriority policy target for regime change.
What is so significant in recent weeks about the USs policy towards Iran is the combination of two impulses: an unexpected alignment with European initiatives that seek a peaceful, negotiated resolution of the crisis over Irans nuclear plans; and the provision of weaponry to Israel that would be particularly suited to an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
The linkage with Europe which appears to support a package being devised by Germany, France and Britain offering Tehran a series of economic incentives in return for a suspension of its uranium enrichment programme starkly contrasts with Washingtons responses to previous European initiatives. At the core of the USs suspicions about Iranian intentions is the belief that uranium enrichment for civil nuclear power could be diverted to a nascent nuclear weapons programme. The incentive package would therefore have to include the offer of reactor fuel; recent reports suggest that such a package may formally be proposed to Iran soon after 2 November.
This apparent change of attitude by the Bush administration towards Iran seems highly significant, especially in the light of other reports that neoconservative hawks have been advocating a US strike on Irans nuclear industries; some even promoting it as a preelection act, probably on the grounds that this could help secure a George W Bush victory. Any such risky action may have been forestalled by John Kerrys emphasis on the dangerous effects of a military confrontation with Iran.
But the part of the US administration that seems more intent on a military solution over Iran has reason to be encouraged by the conclusion of a remarkably large arms deal with Israel. This deal, reported in detail in the specialist journal Defense News [4 October 2004 (subscription only)] involves a total of 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits; these are essentially an addon mechanism capable of being fitted to a range of conventional bombs to make them hugely more accurate, and are particularly useful when fitted to earthpenetrating bombs that are designed to attack heavilyprotected bunkers.
The JDAM deal is worth $319 million but it will not cost Israel a cent it will be paid for through US military aid to Israel. It will be used to upgrade a range of Israeli weaponry: 500 oneton earthpenetrating bombs, 2,500 conventional oneton bombs, 1,000 halfton bombs and 500 quarterton bombs. The Israeli air force already has a formidable armoury, but the addition of these forces gives it a greater capacity to attack the dispersed and protected facilities that are reported to be at the heart of the Iranian nuclear industry.
Israels determination to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons has been clear for some years; it was recently reaffirmed by Shaul Mofaz, Israels defence minister, who told journalists that Israel would be prepared to use all options to deal with the Iranian threat. This policy recalls Israels attitude to Iraqi nuclear developments which culminated in its aerial bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad in June 1981.
In military terms, the Iranian nuclear facilities are quite different, and would require Israel to take military action on a much larger scale. In the late 1970s, the Iraqis took the plutonium route to nuclear weapons, a method of producing fissile material that tends to be concentrated in large nuclear reactors. These present relatively straightforward targets, whereas the uranium route probably followed by Iran is easier to disperse across a number of sites.
In these circumstances, effective Israeli air attacks to disable Irans nuclear facilities would need several days and numerous strikes using hundreds of bombs including precisely the kind of ordnance that will be available to Israel through the JADM deal. Such attacks would have a profound impact across the region, would be seen by the overwhelming majority of people there essentially as a joint USIsrael operation, and would probably have a particular effect on the Shia majority in Iraq.
Despite these probable consequences, however, many defence analysts believe that the Ariel Sharon government or its successor will indeed attempt to destroy Irans nuclear facilities within the next two or three years, and possibly much sooner. It follows that the alternative European policy towards Iran is especially important; any agreement that could be reached with Iran and that could be endorsed by the United States would make it far more difficult for Israel to undertake military action.
The view from Tehran
Beyond the immediate political and diplomatic dilemmas of the United StatesEuropeIran triangle is the question of the underlying Iranian motives for nuclear weapons acquisition, and it is here that the European proposals become problematic. From Tehrans position, and not just among the conservative theocrats who currently have such influence, there is a fear almost running to paranoia that the country is deeply vulnerable and must have its own deterrent.
Although the United States has formidable problems in Iraq, its strategic position in the region is still powerful: it seeks to reinforce its nominal control of a country that is Irans immediate neighbour by building permanent bases in Iraq; its navy is in full control of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian sea; and it has a longterm military presence in Afghanistan.
The United States is a military ally of another of Irans neighbours, nucleararmed Pakistan; and Pakistan contains serious divisions involving its Shia community, coreligionists of Irans majority. The US also has military facilities in Uzbekistan, only 500 kilometres beyond Irans northeastern borders; and Israel itself is seeking to extend its influence in Kurdish areas of Iraq, just across the border from Iran. All this is underpinned by the Bush administrations depiction of Iran as part of an axis of evil where regime change is essential.
This sense of encirclement is an important component of the way Tehran views the world. Whether or not it helps explain previous or current Iranian involvement in Lebanon, and the more extreme theocratic statements about Israel, it certainly illustrates the very real problems involved in any attempt to ease tensions in the region.
For the moment, several European governments are seriously determined to avoid a military confrontation with Iran, and the recent shift in this direction by the Bush administration is welcome. But at the same time, the obstacles in achieving an agreement with Tehran are considerable, with one thoroughly unpredictable factor at their root.
The current Israeli government is likely to be entirely unconvinced by any agreement with Iran brokered by European states, and even to fear any such deal because it would limit Israels own scope for action. There is therefore a distinct possibility that Israel will choose to preempt the European diplomatic approach by means of an early military assault on Iranian nuclear facilities. This could come more quickly than anyone currently expects.
posted on 10/15/2004 9:50:22 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
G-8 Nations to Meet on Iran
New Plan Aims to Pressure Tehran About Nuclear Ambitions
By Robin Wright and Dafna Linzer Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, October 15, 2004; Page A18
After weeks of behind-the-scenes diplomacy, the United States will meet here today with the world's wealthiest countries to determine a strategy for giving Iran one last chance to abandon its alleged nuclear arms program or face new international pressures.
Both Democrats and Republicans increasingly believe that Iran will be the next big foreign policy flash point -- and that action may prove necessary soon after the U.S. presidential election next month, no matter who wins.
A new proposal drafted by European members of the powerful Group of Eight nations is intended to get Iran to fully agree to a plan that will prevent it from being able to convert a nuclear energy program into an arms program. The proposal includes incentives if Iran complies and punitive measures if it balks, U.S. and European officials said. If Iran accepts such a plan, it could resolve an international standoff that has persisted since Russia resumed construction of Iran's first atomic power plant, at Bushehr, in the early 1990s.
The G-8 talks, hosted by the State Department, come a day after Russia and Iran announced that they have completed the Bushehr facility. Washington has charged it could be converted to the production of nuclear weapons.
Despite its heavy focus on Iraq and the domestic election, the Bush administration has agreed to look at one last overture to Iran, to be made as early as next week, because of mounting alarm over the Islamic republic's advancing capabilities and failure to follow through on an agreement to halt activities that could contribute to a weapons program.
"Iran is definitely the next big issue. It's the number one issue that any administration, be it Kerry or Bush, will have to face immediately because of the intelligence assessment that predicts Iran could have the know-how and capability as early as the summer of 2005," said a senior State Department official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomacy.
"That's a disputed intelligence claim," the official said. "But any capability in the hands of a rogue nation with a long record of supporting terror and a clear interest in challenging the U.S. and Israel makes that the clearest threat facing U.S. interests in the next administration."
Most intelligence assessments project later dates -- three to seven years -- before Iran could develop a nuclear weapon, and U.S. officials say Iran does not now have uranium or fissile material. But Tehran's failure to abide by an agreement with Britain, France and Germany last year not to work toward enriching uranium has triggered broad skepticism among Republicans and Democrats about Iran's long-range intent.
The United States is "open to all ideas" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage said Wednesday in Tokyo. But he warned that Washington is prepared to press for punishment if Tehran does not act.
"We hold the view that Iran needs to be brought to account, and we would like to move to the U.N. Security Council after the November board of governors meeting [of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency], but we're open to all ideas that people have," Armitage told reporters. He said he was returning to the United States to participate in the talks, which are scheduled to be chaired by John R. Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
The new initiative emerged from talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last month between G-8 foreign ministers and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. The G-8 ministers outlined a two-step proposal with a deadline pegged to the next meeting of the IAEA, in Vienna on Nov. 25, U.S. and European officials said.
Given that Britain, France and Germany did not win Iran's compliance, European members of the G-8 -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia and Canada -- are seeking a broader front. That would take away Iran's ability to play one country off another and undermine Tehran's contention that the three nations were operating under U.S. pressure, U.S. officials said.
The G-8 umbrella also would give the Bush administration cover for a new international overture and deniability that it is offering incentives to Iran, U.S. and European officials said.
The other G-8 countries will approach Iran individually, but with a single message that it immediately and permanently end uranium-enrichment and processing-related activities or face punitive international action, the officials said.
"We want to make clear to Iran that it has to comply immediately, and everyone agrees we should go to the Security Council [if it does not]. If they do, we might start talking about what we might be able to offer -- in comprehensive ways, not just economic," said a European envoy who has seen the proposal.
The plan has some support within the State Department, but the Bush administration is not eager to put its name on an offer that could help Iran avoid censure by the Security Council. While it has continually suggested that the council needs to discuss Iran's nuclear intentions, the administration has held back on stating that sanctions or other punitive measures should be placed on Tehran.
The administration yesterday played down its role. "We'll be in a listening mode," said a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the impending talks. "We're going to want to talk about what next steps will be taken."
There is cautious optimism among G-8 countries about the new initiative and the growing unity on Iran policy among the world's major powers.
"Do we expect any change in U.S. policy? Probably not for the moment. But would the U.S. oppose European initiatives with Iran? Probably not either," said a second European diplomat familiar with the plan. ...
posted on 10/15/2004 9:54:48 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Hizbullah is involved in West Bank, says Israel
Ewen MacAskill in Jerusalem
Friday October 15, 2004
The Iranian-backed guerrilla group Hizbullah is increasingly involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with orders and money flowing from its Beirut headquarters into the West Bank, according to a senior Israeli intelligence official.
The group has 10 "controllers" in Beirut who are in daily contact with Palestinian groups in the West Bank, mainly the al-Aqsa Brigades, the official said.
Hizbullah is supported by Syria as well as Iran and controls 44 cells in the Palestinian territories. They have carried out 62 attacks in which 27 Israelis have been killed and 50 injured, he said.
The claims come at a time of increasing tension between Iran and the west, mainly because of suspicion that Tehran is developing nuclear weapons. The allegations of Hizbullah involvement could be part of a softening-up process by Israel ahead of action against Iran or Syria. This week, Israeli jets flew over the Bekaa valley in Lebanon, an area controlled by Syrian forces.
Israel's claim was given some credence this week by the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, who complained about Iran meddling in the West Bank and Gaza. He claimed Hizbullah was trying to "infiltrate" Fatah, his own organisation, which includes the al-Aqsa Brigades.
Hizbullah, whose forces are ranged along the Israeli border in southern Lebanon, is the best-equipped and best-disciplined paramilitary group in the region and is respected and feared by the Israeli military. Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon in 2000 after suffering high casualties at its hands.
For the past four years, Hizbullah has been relatively quiet. It has fired an occasional Katyusha rocket across the border and engaged Israeli soldiers at Shabaa farms, an outpost where the Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian borders meet.
The intelligence official said the head of the Hizbullah operation in Beirut responsible for the West Bank and Gaza was a Palestinian in his 30s who had been born in Israel.
Until now, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been largely self-contained. The main Palestinian groups - Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - are homegrown organisations.
On the ground in Gaza, there is little sign of Hizbullah. Hamas leaders in Gaza earlier this year denied Hizbullah was active. And the Israeli intelligence official said that, although Hamas received money from Iran, it had resisted Hizbullah involvement in Gaza.
But he said it was different on the West Bank, where Israel's policy of targeted killings of the leaders of Palestinian groups had left a vacuum that Hizbullah was helping to fill, mainly within the al-Aqsa Brigades.
The official also confirmed that there was regular contact between Israeli intelligence officers and their counterparts in Mr Arafat's Palestinian Authority. Speaking to British journalists in his compound in Ramallah earlier this week, Mr Arafat said Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "is working against us and giving money to all these fanatical groups, financing Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and trying to infiltrate Fatah".
But he disputed that Hizbullah was already operating in the West Bank and Gaza. "Hizbullah is not active in the territories. It is trying," he said.
Palestinian groups are relatively poorly armed, lacking the weaponry and training available to Hizbullah. The intelligence official claimed that, since June, the Palestinians had smuggled into Gaza 128 anti-tank weapons, 900 Kalashnikovs, 200kg (440lb) of explosive and five anti-aircraft missiles.
Two decades of fighting:
· Hizbullah (Party of God) was founded in Lebanon in1982 by Iran and Syria to fight Israel
· Led by Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah, it has thousands of well-trained fighters plus heavy weaponry
· It forced the Israelis out of southern Lebanon in 2000 in a hasty and chaotic retreat
· It has rockets along the Israeli-Lebanese border and occasionally launches them at Israel, but the border has been fairly quiet since 2000
· It has a popular satellite television station, al-Manar, and 12 members in the Lebanese parliament
posted on 10/15/2004 9:57:42 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Iran 'in control of terrorism in Israel'
By Anton La Guardia in Tel Aviv(Filed: 15/10/2004)
Iran has taken control of many Palestinian terrorist cells from Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, giving them funds and orders to attack Israeli targets, and even rewarding successful missions with "bonuses", according to a senior Israeli security source.
For many years, Iran has given money and ideological support to radical Palestinian groups, especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad, responsible for most of the Israeli deaths in the past four years of the Palestinian uprising.
Lebanon's Hizbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
But Israel believes that much of the Fatah-affiliated armed faction, calling itself the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, has now come under Iran's sway, especially in the West Bank.
Scores of Palestinian attacks, accounting for roughly a third of the 98 Israelis killed so far this year, are believed to have been orchestrated by the Lebanese Hizbollah movement.
The Shia group pioneered the use of suicide bombings in the 1980s, kidnapped westerners and successfully drove the Israeli army out of south Lebanon in 2000. Hizbollah is now a political party in Lebanon.
"Hizbollah is a finger of Iran's hand," the senior Israeli security source said. "In the past year we can see increasing Iranian influence in Palestinian attacks on Israel.
"The same people sometimes receive money both from Arafat's headquarters and from Hizbollah. If the attack succeeds in causing fatalities, they get a bonus from Hizbollah."
Another security source said Hizbollah rewards Palestinian cells to the tune of $5,000 (£2,900) for each Israeli killed.
Israel regards Teheran as its mortal enemy, and has every interest in presenting Iran as a dangerous state sponsor of international terrorism. But on the issue of penetrating Fatah, Israel is in unusual agreement with Palestinian leaders.
Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian "president" who has been confined to his Ramallah headquarters for more than three years, said this week that Hizbollah was trying to infiltrate Fatah.
He said Iran was financing radical Islamist groups, and denounced Iran's spiritual leader, Ali Khamenei.
He said: "Khamenei is working against us. He is giving money to all these fanatical groups. Khamenei is a troublemaker."
Mr Arafat implied that he retains control of Fatah cells. But Israel believes many of his armed followers are being directed by Hizbollah after many cells were broken up during Israel's re-invasion of West Bank cities in April 2002.
The security official said Hizbollah had a team of 10 "controllers" in Beirut dedicated to overseeing the cells.
The senior Israeli security source highlighted in particular the role of an Israeli Arab who fled to Lebanon in 2000.
He allegedly masterminded the abduction of Elhanan Tennenbaum, an Israeli reserve colonel lured to the United Arab Emirates, kidnapped and held in Lebanon for more than three years before being freed in a prisoner exchange last January.
The Israeli Arab's apparent connection with the Israeli and criminal underworld has helped him to remain in contact with Fatah gunmen.
"Since Arafat's headquarters was destroyed and people were arrested, local cells have had no leadership," said the Israeli security source.
"They are more like gangs than ideological terrorist organisations."
The source said Hizbollah also channels funds to Islamic Jihad, and has tried to recruit a "fifth column" among Israeli Arabs, who formally enjoy full citizenship rights as opposed to Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel believes that Hamas, the most active of the Palestinian armed factions, has refused to receive orders from Hizbollah, regarding itself as an important movement in its own right.
Instead, the Israeli security sources say that Hamas liaises directly with Teheran through Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Iranian intelligence agencies.
Israel says that in raids on branches of the Arab Bank in the West Bank town of Ramallah, it seized $8 million in funds sent to terrorist groups, mainly by Iran and Hizbollah.
Hizbollah gained popularity among Palestinians after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000.
Senior Israeli officials are convinced that a contributory factor in the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising or intifida - which has so far claimed the lives of some 1,000 Israelis and about 3,500 Palestinians - was the belief that Palestinians could also evict the Israelis by force.
Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hizbollah leader, makes no secret of trying to help Palestinians.
Last July, he blamed Israel for a car bomb that killed a Hizbollah member, Ghaleb Awwali, in Beirut. He said the victim was a martyr to Palestine because he was part of the team dedicated to helping their brothers in Palestine. "We do not want to hide this truth. We want to declare it and boast about it," he added.
posted on 10/15/2004 10:00:32 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Iraq Accuses Iranian Embassy of Killing Agents October 14, 2004
Agence France Presse
Iraq's national intelligence chief Mohammed al-Shahwani has accused Iran's Baghdad embassy of masterminding an assassination campaign that has seen 18 intelligence agents killed since mid-September.
Shahwani told AFP a series of raids on three Iranian "safe houses" in Baghdad on September 29 had uncovered a treasure trove of documents linking Iran to plots to kill members of the intelligence service and using the Badr former militia of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq's (SCIRI) as its tool.
SCIRI has vigourously denied the allegations and counter-charged that the intelligence service is full of veterans of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's military who are now renewing their vendetta against former Shiite resistance groups based out of Iran in the 1980s.
Since mid-September, 18 Iraqi intelligence agents have been killed in Iraq, 10 of them by the Badr organisation on orders from Iran and the rest by Al-Qaeda-linked foreign militant Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, Shahwani charged.
"Badr and Zarqawi have assassinated 18 of my men," Shahwani said from his heavily-guarded villa in central Baghdad.
Shahwani confirmed that two of his intelligence agents were beheaded by Zarqawi's Unity and Holy War group, as seen in a video released by the fighters on Wednesday.
The intelligence chief said he suspected Tehran was funding Zarqawi, but lacked conclusive proof.
Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's government has escalated its rhetoric against Iran in recent days, accusing the neighbouring Islamic republic of running a campaign of sabotage in Iraq.
But Shahwani's claims of huge caches of documents seized in the September raids are the most explicit charges to date against Iran and the first time an Iraqi party has been publicly named as Tehran's proxy.
Shahwani said that during the raids, "Documents were obtained ... (showing) the Iranian regime ... is seeking to embroil some of the SCIRI members in subversive acts to exaccerbate Iraq's wounds and dominate it."
The intelligence director said the documents showed Iran had a 45-million-dollar budget for sowing chaos in Iraq and had recruited members of Badr and a subsidiary party, Hezbollah, to kill Iraqi intelligence agents.
"A document (showed) that Iran allocated a budget to Badr Corps, totalling 45 million dollars.
"Among the objectives of this budget is to back the formation of a security service grouping several directorates to carry out a set of subversive acts including ... physical liquidation."
Shahwani flipped through folders of charts and writing in Farsi that he said his agents were still sifting through.
He claimed his intelligence service had obtained the names and addresses of Badr members working directly for Iran.
Badr, the former paramilitary wing of SCIRI, has formerly renounced violence since the party returned to Iraq in the spring of 2003 after a 20-year exile in Iran.
SCIRI vehemently denies the charges.
"These are false accusations made against the organisation. Badr and SCIRI are the biggest threats to terrorists," said SCIRI spokesman Haitham al-Husseini.
Instead, Husseini charged that Shahwani, a general who fled Saddam's Iraq, was running amuck and taking out his bias against Shiite parties which fought Saddam during the 1980s when Iran was at war with Iraq.
"We criticise the way the new intelligence agency is ... hiring ex-officers of Saddam Hussein's military back to their posts. They have a history of targeting SCIRI and Badr members."
The two groups currently serve in the interim parliament and Allawi government.
Shahwani says that four Iraqis who were arrested following a botched assassination attempt on an Iraqi intelligence officer in September belonged to the Hezbollah of Iraq party and had confessed to being on the payroll of Iran's intelligence service
Hezbollah is part of the SCIRI alliance of Shiite parties.
The intelligence chief took out dossiers and glossy photos of 27 members of Iran's embassy in Iraq and accused them of masterminding Iranian covert operations.
"We will ask them to leave the country," Shahwani said.
Shahwani also claimed that Iranian spies had held meetings at Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi's Baghdad home since May when the one-time Pentagon favourite's house was raided by Iraqi police and US forces, saying that Chalabi was suspected by the Americans of leaking intelligence to Iran.
The Iraqi foreign ministry declined to comment on the intelligence chief's allegations against the embassy.
posted on 10/15/2004 10:03:44 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Iran Wants Guarantee of No 'Regime Change'-Diplomats
Fri Oct 15, 2004 08:39 AM ET
By Louis Charbonneau
VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran might be willing to give up its uranium enrichment capabilities but it wants many things in return -- above all a guarantee that no one will try to topple the Islamic regime, diplomats and analysts say.
North Korea has demanded similar security assurances from Washington, which listed both Tehran and Pyongyang as members of an "axis of evil," in exchange for relinquishing its atom bomb program. Iran's nuclear ambitions will be discussed at a meeting of senior officials from the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations in Washington on Friday.
France, Britain and Germany have been struggling to persuade Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program, which could be used to develop highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. They will present their plan for a "carrot and stick" approach to Iran to the G8 meeting.
Unlike Washington, the Europeans do not publicly accuse Iran of pursuing weapons. But they are not convinced Tehran's intentions are necessarily peaceful, as Iran insists, and want enrichment activities ended.
Tehran agreed last October to suspend its enrichment program. While the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran has not enriched any uranium, it never froze key related activities, such as the production of enrichment centrifuges and the processing of uranium for enrichment.
"Iran wants some political steps to be taken first," said a Western diplomat in Vienna familiar with the negotiations between Iran and the European trio.
Iran's top requirement was an "assurance of the status quo," he said, meaning a guarantee that there would be no Iraq-style "regime change" undertaken in Iran, which has been an Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution.
While this was not a problem for the Europeans, diplomats said Washington would have trouble assuring Iran that it would not try to topple their regime.
Iran also wants a guarantee that it can maintain a peaceful nuclear program and full economic and diplomatic ties with the West, diplomats close to the EU-Iran talks told Reuters.
Last month, the IAEA passed a resolution calling on Iran to freeze its enrichment program and all related activities, but Tehran has refused to budge, insisting enrichment is its sovereign right.
Diplomats said Iran might try to strike a last-minute deal with Europe to avoid a referral to the U.N. Security Council when the IAEA meets again next month but the Europeans will not compromise.
"Iran knows what it has to do to open relations with the EU," said one diplomat. "They have to suspend the enrichment program. Otherwise they'll go to the Security Council."
WORRIES ABOUT IRAQ
The Iraq war has unnerved Iran, diplomats and intelligence officials told Reuters in numerous interviews.
According to one non-U.S. diplomat, it was the war on Iraq that convinced Tehran it must go for an atomic weapon.
"Iranian leaders got together after the Iraq war and decided that the reason North Korea was not attacked was because it has the bomb. Iraq was attacked because it did not," the diplomat said, citing intelligence reports gathered by his country.
Until this week, the administration of President Bush has characterized the EU trio's initiative with Iran as a failure and accused Tehran of dragging out the negotiations to buy time as it raced in secret to get an atomic weapon.
Some analysts have become very critical of the Bush administration's stance on Iran, saying its confrontational approach based on threats and accusations has been a failure.
David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and head of a Washington think-tank, agrees with this view. He also said there was room to offer Tehran a bigger "carrot" if would give up its uranium enrichment program.
"Iran could be offered an EU trade agreement as an initial incentive, for example," Albright told Reuters.
He said the U.S. decision to "stop throwing stones" at the EU initiative with Iran was a major departure from U.S. policy until now and could give the EU trio the kind of diplomatic weight is has been sorely lacking until now.
posted on 10/15/2004 10:07:49 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
VOL. XLVII No 41
Irans Unemployment Crisis
By Jahangir Amuzegar
The following article was written for MEES by Jahangir Amuzegar, a distinguished economist and former member of the IMF Executive Board.
Stubborn, double-digit, unemployment is currently the Islamic Republics most acute single economic concern. Providing gainful, even if not equally productive, jobs for millions of job seekers now tops the list of the theocratic oligarchy's unrelenting headaches. The challenge is formidable not only because of unemployments debilitating impact on the economy, but also due to its dire political, social, and even cultural consequences for the regime's stability and staying power. While shortages of job opportunities have been a structural phenomenon in Iran for some time, the acceleration in the growth of labor force since the late 1990s has now reached a critical mass defying all attempted solutions.
Despite the enormity of the challenge, statistics on Irans employment and unemployment are the flimsiest, least reliable and most contested of all basic indicators. The principal sources of data are either out of reach, limited, or largely conjectural. Irans total population itself and thus the size of its labor force is based on conflicting estimates. And estimated figures for any given year vary between those of the UN Secretariat, Irans Statistics Center, other local authorities, and foreign organizations often with a 10% margin of difference. The size of the labor force is subject to even greater variety of guesswork. And the official estimate is highly misleading because it suffers from technical, conceptual, and methodological flaws.
Irans current working age population, ie, persons between the ages of 15 and 64, is broadly estimated to be about 37mn of which some 21mn (or less than 32% of the total population) constitute the active labor force This figure compares poorly with the 50-60% labor participation in other countries, partly because it leaves out some 5mn or so deprived job seekers ie women (not including housewives). The total also excludes children below 15 and older men above 64 who are still in the job market due to poverty or inadequate social security benefits. The estimated employed number is equally questionable because it includes seasonal workers, every one who works at least two days a week, and all those who have a job at the time of census taking regardless of their status shortly before or after.
Data collection and dissemination methods used by several competing organizations are defective because they lack a unified scientific basis. Labor market statistics are offered by at least five separate agencies: Irans Statistics Center; the Management and Plan Organization; the Ministry of Labor; the Central Bank of Iran; and the House of Labor with notable differences among them. And since there is no requirement for authentication, and no penalty for unfounded statements, government officials, individual Majlis deputies, newspaper reporters and private analysts also often cite employment figures of their own on various occasions. For instance, the vice-president, the minister of economy and finance, and the head of the labor ministry each give a different rate of unemployment for the first quarter of the current Iranian year (2004-05) ranging from 10.4% to 11.8%. On top of this all, the reliability of each agencys aggregate data is subject to doubt since the politically sensitive nature of the subject invites slight-of-hand manipulations on the part of interested parties.
The Jobless Paradox
Disregarding differences between public and private unemployment estimates, and relying on the figures published by Irans Statistics Center (as the sole organization responsible by law for the collection and dissemination of national data) the jobless numbers remain confusing and questionable because of their inconsistencies. For example, while Irans economy has admittedly failed to absorb all the new entrants into the job market during the last four years, the Centers data show a decline in annual unemployment.
According to the projections of the Third Economic Development Plan for 2000-05, in order to bring the unemployment rate from 15% in 2000 down to 11.5% in 2005 (and thus keep the total jobless number from rising further), a total of 3.8mn jobs (or 760,000 a year on average) had to be created. Now, the figures released by the High Employment Council chaired by the President show the number of jobs created each year during 2000-04 to have been 431,000, 493,000, 690,000, and 700,000 respectively. Citing these figures in his annual state-of-the economy reports to the Majlis, President Khatami acknowledged more than once that the 2.3mn jobs created during the first four years of the Plan have fallen considerably short of the Plans target. By his counts nearly one fourth of the new job seekers have failed to find gainful employment. Nevertheless, Irans Statistic Center shows the unemployment rate for the same four years as 14.3%, 14.2%, 12.8%, and 11.6% respectively without any explanation. According to these numbers, the jobless rate instead of increasing by at least 3.5% in the last four years has actually declined by 2.6%!
Theoretically, the only way this could have happened would have been with a situation where some disappointed job seekers gave up hope for finding work, and dropped out of the active work force. But Irans statistical apparatus is neither equipped, nor has ever tried, to measure this particular aberration. Nonetheless, in his August 2004 report to the Supreme Leader, detailing his administrations latest achievements, President Khatami offers a novel clue to the unemployment enigma. In his words the usual lack of accuracy in statistics has this time worked in his governments favor as merely 590,000-600,000 people have entered the job market each year. Consequently, he concluded, the average jobless rate in the last four-year period has been 13% or 2% less than in 2000. These numbers, however, have been refuted by the Supreme Center of the Islamic Association of Labor, which gave the unemployed rate in August 2004 at more than 16%, and dismissed smaller figures as politically tainted. Iran Daily newspaper reports the rate to be 16-20%. Information based on the central banks data also shows a much larger figure than those of the Statistical Center.
Due to these ambiguities and discrepancies, the true number of current unemployed workers in Iran is subject to wide speculation. By the Statistics Centers account the total is no more than 2.5mn, while other sources put the figure at more than 3mn, and private estimates by Iranian and foreign analysts run as high as 4-4.5mn depending on the size of disguised employment or virtual underemployment. Larger numbers are routinely cited by the opposition at home and abroad.
While the lowest double-digit official figure for the early 2004 unemployment may not be unduly alarming on a comparative global scale, the number is still discomforting for its five specific undesirable features. First, unemployment is especially high at 34% among the 15-24 year olds who officially constitute 25% of the labor force; it is 22% for men and 41% for women.
A report commissioned by the Management and Plan Organization and released in early September 2004 puts the total national unemployment rate at 13.2%, and predicts that if this level holds up, then the jobless rate among the 15-29 age group will reach 52% within two years. Among these idle job seekers, more than 10% are classified as college graduates, and 30% high school diploma holders. Second, the duration of unemployment is not short for most of the people out of work. Some 70% of current jobless workers have been idle for more than two years; others have been looking for jobs much longer. Third, unemployment is highest among women of all ages. While womens participation in the labor force is only slightly more than 13%, their unemployment rate is more than 40%. By some private estimates, only 15% of female university graduates are able to find suitable work. Fourth, more than 43% of the employed group is listed as illiterate or barely literate with significant unfavorable implications for potential economic growth. Fifth, and by far the most worrisome aspect of the picture is that some 76% of the unemployed are technically classified as unskilled including thousands of high school and college graduates.
Principal Causes of Disequilibria
Irans protracted and intractable unemployment crisis may be traced to several separate factors. The first culprit is what a seasoned foreign reporter has called Irans demographic juggernaut, ie the 3.9% annual population growth during 1979-88 encouraged by the Islamic Republics desire to create a 20mn army of Islamic revolutionaries. A left-leaning and anti-Western administration, which implemented this ultimately disastrous pro-natalist policy, unabashedly prided itself in the mid-1980s of having produced 10mn new soldiers of Islam. The 1980s baby-boom generation has now come of age facing a bleak job market and bedeviling the hapless Khatami government. The fateful irony is that a majority of these would-be Islamic soldiers have now turned out to be not only ardent secularists but also eager draft-dodgers by legal or extra-legal means (ie buying out their service obligation for cash, or emigrating abroad). The increased unemployment caused by the l980s population bulge has, in turn, been exacerbated by an enormous labor surplus in rural areas, as well as the unprecedented influx of more than 2.5mn refugees and workers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and other neighboring countries. These poor, desperate, and often unregistered workers have effectively chased native unskilled laborers out of the strained job market by demanding lower wages, and willing to work in less pleasant or more hazardous occupations.
The second factor for the double-digit unemployment has to do with the inadequate pace of economic growth. By a consensus of Iranian and foreign economists, Irans gross domestic product must grow at a rate of at least 8% a year in real terms in order to absorb all the new job seekers, and by 9.5% to reduce unemployment below 10%. The Iranian economys 5.4% average yearly growth in the last four years, however, has not been vibrant enough to generate needed outlets for all the new entrants with the result that the demand for new labor has lagged behind its supply by some 30%.
Aggravating inadequate output growth has been the third factor: absence of labor-intensive investment schemes. With the bulk of the national economy in the states hands, and with the bulk of public sector investments earmarked for large capital-intensive projects in such heavy industries as oil, petrochemicals, iron and steel, base metals, and military hardware, even a respectable 5.4% annual GDP growth has failed to accommodate new job seekers. Directly resulting from this investment bias has been the low labor intensity of growth. According to an IMF report, while Irans annual output growth has been comparable to the performance of peer countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, its employment elasticity (ie change in employment as a percentage of the labor force with respect to change in real non-oil GDP) has been relatively low at 0.5. This figure compares unfavorably with 0.7 in Pakistan, 0.9 in Jordan, and 1.4 in Algeria. Still other factors such as substantial state subsidies on energy and other productive factors, negative or low interest rates offered by state banks to favored clients, and certain other rent-based amenities have induced the private sector to substitute capital for labor.
The fourth factor for the mushrooming of young job applicants has been the mismatching of Irans education system with the countrys occupational needs. The large number of unemployed college graduates classified as unskilled suggests that their formal training is not suitable for the market places requirements. Government officials often boast about the number of university students having increased five-fold in the last 10 years. But for one thing, they neglect to realize that a real impetus for the increased enrollment has been the absence of gainful employment outlets making the opportunity cost of attending a tuition-free public university next to zero. College attendance has thus been simply a means of postponing the day of reckoning. For another, they tend to overlook the students choice of academic studies and their relevance to the economys requirements. Statistics cited in an IMF report show that Irans university graduates in humanities and Islamic studies outpace those in social sciences, commerce, and business administration by a factor of 4 to 1. This glaring imbalance between the kind of skills needed for sustained growth and the purely abstract knowledge acquired through a poorly designed academic curriculum lies at the roots of Irans educated jobless.
Thus while most government departments complain about their need for technical and professional staff, thousands of college graduates in medicine, health care, law, engineering, agriculture, and social sciences reportedly drive taxis, or engage in low-paying clerical or sales jobs. The key to the dilemma is that many degree holders across the land are just that holders of college certificates but in reality are certified unemployables. Of these job seekers 80% are reportedly the products of Irans Islamic Free University a multi-branched, private, tuition-based, diploma mill without a qualified faculty, and with no standard laboratory, library, or research facilities.
Fifth, the early job havens, ie government agencies and state-owned economic enterprises, have now run out of steam. These vast outlets that in the first post-revolution decade absorbed the bulk of job seekers as employers of first resort, are now hugely overstaffed and deeply in debt. By accommodating almost indiscriminately most of the newcomers to the job market, government employees have grown four times from 550,000 in 1979 to more than 3.2mn in 2003 while the total population has merely doubled. Generous hiring policies of state enterprises and their mushrooming subsidiaries have resulted in some of their manufacturing units employing seven times as many workers as a similar factory in the West. Public sector employees increased from 19% of the employed population in 1976 to 32% in 1986. Now, the government perennial budget deficits no longer allow bureaucratic agencies to expand their politically accommodating work force. Nor can state enterprises, operating largely in the red and kept on life support by fiscal subsidies or bank loans, easily add to their job roster.
Sporadic and largely unsuccessful privatization efforts in the last few years have also aggravated the jobless situation as the new private owners have fired redundant workers. Alarming bankruptcies of an estimated 1,400 inefficient private firms in the textiles and similarly vulnerable industries during the last four years have had their share of the increased unemployment with resulting frequent illegal labor strikes in major cities.
Sixth, and by some accounts, the strongest deterrent to high employment has been labor-market rigidities caused in part by the countrys anti-business labor code, passed by a previous left-leaning Majlis. The law, which is now fiercely defended by workers and their friends in high places, imposes onerous burdens on small and mid-size firms that serve as the largest job providers. The code requires employers to pay no less than a minimum wage; observe limited number of hours of work; provide compensation for over-time; give regular annual bonuses regardless of their financial position; pay two-thirds of the 30% workers social security, health and unemployment insurance costs; and provide free training, housing and transportation expenses for their employees. Workers are also entitled to annual holidays and sick leaves with pay, and receive a hefty severance pay if fired, even for cause thus reducing annual employee turnovers to a minimum. By one private estimate, non-wage expenses often amount to 1.5-2 times the wage bill for an average employer. For these reasons, in the last few years, entrepreneurs have remained reluctant to hire full-time workers on a permanent basis, and chosen to fill their vacancies with fixed-term contract employees, in order to escape most of those obligations.
Finally, responsible for inadequate job creation have been such other structural market deficiencies as insufficient wage flexibility, absence of independent labor unions, low labor mobility, lack of collective bargaining, and imperfect information needed to match labors supply and demand.
Economic costs of unemployment as a drag on the economy are highly transparent and calculable. Labor is the most perishable of all productive factors, and a non-retrievable asset when lost. But socio-political and other non-material consequences of idleness while equally deplorable human tragedies are usually hidden and often not easily measurable. In Iran, as elsewhere, widespread joblessness as a straight road to poverty has been a destabilizing social force. According to the latest claim by a high welfare organization official, some 12% of Irans total population, or about 9mn, live below the poverty line, and as many as another 17%, or 11mn are considered needy. Private estimates show as high as 40% of the population under absolute or relative poverty lines with unemployment often cited as a major contributing factor. Jobless-related poverty, in turn, has been frequently found to be as the main cause of countless social ills including suicides, dysfunctional families, high divorce rates, drug addiction, illegal underground activities, violent crimes, prostitution, graft and corruption. Some 60% of nationwide suicides in Iran are directly traced to the absence of paying jobs.
Unemployment has also had its significant cultural backlash. Lack of suitable work for more than 300,000 college graduates each year has been a crucial factor in the intellectual hollowing out of the country. Estimates of Irans technical and professional cadres leaving the motherland each year have ranged from l00,000 to 225,000 young men and women. Poor prospects for finding satisfying work have led thousands of Iranians studying abroad including some 4,000 recipients of government scholarship to choose not to return home even at the cost of forfeiting their return pledge bonds.
A shortage of adequate jobs is also an alarming threat to political stability. No matter which metaphor one wishes to accept or reject regarding the Islamic Republics current unemployment malaise the Achilles heels of the regime, a time-bomb ticking to go off, or the last straw on the clerics back there could be no denying that the governments inability to meet this challenge is the most acute single issue. State officials from the president on down to local police chiefs regularly express their concerns regarding the eerie potentials of a protracted unemployment slump. Apart from clear prospects of street demonstrations, sit-ins, clandestine sabotage, and open riots, the unemployed youth are prone to fall prey to pernicious appeal of fanatical elements, anti-social cults, and outright terror groups. Potentials for political mischief are embedded in stressful idleness.
A Challenging Decade Ahead
Concerted government measures to put people to work vocational training, establishment of an information data base, tax holidays, subsidized credits, and direct budgetary support to high unemployment sectors and depressed areas have so far produced scant results. Efforts to send idle workers to Europe, Southeast Asia and other countries in the region have hardly made a dent a total of few thousands from a pool of millions. Iranian unskilled workers have been unable to compete with lowest wage laborers from India and Bangladesh, and the skilled contingent have not been professionally up to par with those from Eastern Europe and other developed countries. A much-heralded supplemental emergency fund of IR9 trillion (around $1bn), earmarked in 2002 for lending to small private firms at a minimal interest rate in order to create 300,000 new jobs has failed to reach its goal, and has been fraught with a number of unintended consequences. A memorandum of understanding signed with the UN in August 2004 to resolve the problem of youth unemployment remains to be tested.
Official desperation has reached such a low level that incumbent officials as well as aspiring politicians now actually welcome the brain drain. President Khatami has called it a natural phenomenon. The speaker of the new Majlis believes that Iran needs only half of its highly educated elite. And a presidential contender argues that if some 250,000 young university graduates leave the country voluntarily each year, this decades unemployment problem will be solved!
Harmful and self-defeating as this culturally humiliating and economically damaging remedy may be, the diagnosed duration of the problem is not off the mark. Thanks largely to the successful national family planning followed by the government since 1989 in a 180-degree reversal of an earlier stand the fertility rate among women of childbearing age has dropped from seven to three. As a result, annual population growth has fallen from 3.9% in the l980s to an estimated 1.4% now. Under these circumstances, the baby-boomers pressure on the job supply is expected to end by the end of this decade, and the natural rate of employment restored. In fact, if economic growth during 2010-20 should match the pre-revolution peaks, Iran might again become a labor importer, as was the case in the 1970s.
The critical period is thus here and now. Generating nearly 1mn jobs a year up to 2010 is a Herculean task, which requires a series of resolute and painful measures ranging from some short-term emergency measures of the American WPA variety to the long-term restructuring of the economy. Such a fundamental overhaul needed to replace the oil-based growth of the last three years by a labor-based development model in the next seven, would need due diligence on the part of the current 7th Majlis, and the next year winner of the presidential race.
posted on 10/15/2004 11:11:07 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Just naive, or breathtakingly stupid?
Posted: October 15, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
In the first presidential debate, John Kerry made a little noticed statement affirming his intention to provide Iran with nuclear fuel. "I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes."
For those with a short memory, this was essentially the same policy the Clinton administration adopted toward North Korea provide them nuclear fuel under the ridiculous assumption that Kim Jong II would only use the nuclear fuel for electricity. Hence, the growing nuclear arsenal being amassed in North Korea, a threat John Kerry inappropriately sources to President Bush's watch.
Two analogies immediately jump to mind. Let's let the children play with dynamite to see if they've grown mature enough not to blow themselves up with it. Or, why not sell scrap metal to the Japanese? Surely Tojo won't use it to make battleships and aircraft carriers, and besides, the fleet's safe at Pearl Harbor.
The idea that a Kerry administration would willingly arm a rogue regime that supports terrorists with nuclear fuel is either so naive or breathtakingly stupid that we are driven to find a more reasonable explanation for the bizarre policy.
Look no farther than Hassan Nemazee, one of John Kerry's top fund-raisers. Mr. Nemazee since the early days of the Clinton administration has been a staunch proponent of the radical Islamic mullahs now ruling Iran. The list of prominent Democratic politicians who have received generous campaign contributions from Nemazee include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy, Robert Torricelli, Jon Corzine, Joseph Biden, Charles Schumer and Richard Gepardt, to name a few. The records of the Federal Election Commission show that Nemazee makes no attempt to be "fair and balanced" in that Republican politicians, with a few notable exceptions such as Jessie Helms, rarely show up as recipients of Nemazee's largess.
The three goals of the lobbyists supporting the mullahs in Iran are:
- to normalize diplomatic and economic relations with Iran;
- to get Iran included into the World Trade Organization; and
- to provide Iran with access to nuclear fuel under the pretense that Iran would only use that fuel for domestic power.
What about all the oil Iran is sitting on? Doesn't the oil work in Iran to fuel power plants, just like it does here?
Kerry's campaign is on record supporting all these goals, even though John Edwards took the contrary position in the vice presidential debate when he maintained that a Kerry administration would want to increase sanctions on Iran. Doesn't sound like Edwards conferred with Kerry, who told the Council on Foreign Relations in December 2003 that "As president, I will be prepared early on to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam a decade ago."
This was the same John Kerry that told Sen. Fulbright's committee in April 1971 that only a few thousand Vietnamese would be inconvenienced if the Untied States withdrew from Vietnam and abandoned our allies there. Even today, John Kerry refuses to accept responsibility for the half million or more South Vietnamese put in prison camps when the communists took over, for the countless hundreds of thousands who perished in the Cambodian killing fields after the Khmer Rouge communists took over, or to the over 2 million boat people who fled Vietnam in search of freedom, with thousands of women and children perishing in their frail boats sent out on perilous waters.
Now John Kerry wants to give nuclear fuel to the mullahs this, despite the evidence these same Iranian mullahs are funding insurgents coming into Iraq seeking to fight and kill our American troops. Iran is a sworn enemy of Israel. How can Sen. Kerry court the votes of Jewish Americans while he is openly advocating providing nuclear fuel to Iran? Oh, right, that nuclear fuel is only going to be used by the Iranians to produce electricity.
No problem then in asking American voters to back Sen. Kerry. Should the Iranians follow the lead of the North Koreans and actually make nuclear weapons, then, according to Sen. Kerry's famous nuanced logic, we will only then really know their intentions were always bad and they were merely lying.
What would a nuclear Iran mean? Clearly the mullahs wouldn't like to see oil soar to $100 a barrel or higher. Raking in those billions of windfall profits is clearly something the religious clerics of Iran would not seek, given their disdain for worldly gain. Nor would the Palestinians gain any negotiating leverage by pointing to a nuclear Iran as their regional power broker. As Nazi Germany gobbled up Europe and the Japanese rampaged across Asia, we in the United States did our best to put our collective head in the ground. Is this a mistake we want to repeat?
Maybe we should invite Sen. Kerry to tell us once again why nuclear proliferation is our No. 1 international concern, not terrorism, and how his Iran policy makes nuclear proliferation less likely. Or, in Sen. Kerry's world, maybe Iran also is not linked to terrorists, the same way that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with al-Qaida.
Before Sen. Kerry's position reduces to pretzel logic, perhaps the answer is to reference Mad Magazine and imagine Sen. Kerry summing up the whole nuclear-fuel-to-Iran issue with the famous disclaimer, "What me worry?"
Jerome R. Corsi received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972 and has written many books and articles, including the No. 1 New York Times best-seller, "Unfit for Command Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry." Dr. Corsi is an expert on political violence and terrorism and is currently writing a new book titled, "Atomic Islam," due to be released in 2005 by WND Books.
posted on 10/15/2004 11:30:15 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Kerry Taking Campaign Contributions From Pro-Iranian Group
By Jeff Gannon
October 15, 2004
The chairman of a pro-Iranian democracy group is charging that the campaign of Sen. John Kerry has been accepting political contributions from a lobbying group promoting the agenda of the mullah rulers of Iran. Aryo Pirouznia, leader of the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iraq (SMCCDI) says that backers of the regime in Tehran are channeling hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Kerry campaign.
During a press conference in Washington on Thursday, Pirouznia identified several individuals who have close ties to the Democratic presidential candidate. The most prominent of them is Hassan Nemazee, a New York investment banker and a member of the board of the American-Iranian Council (AIC). A chief goal of the lobbying group is the removal of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Once nominated by President Bill Clinton to be U.S. ambassador to Argentina, Nemazee has raised more than $100,000 for Kerry. Nemazee withdrew his name from consideration following allegations of improper business dealings.
On March 19, 2004, Nemazee was listed as a vice chairman by the Kerry campaign, and on June 18, 2004, CBS News reported that Nemazee was part a group that raised more than $500,000.
Other key Kerry fundraisers with similar ties include Susan Akbarpour, a recent immigrant from Iran whom the campaign lists as raising between $50,000 and $100,000 and her husband, Faraj Aelaei, a telecommunications executive raising the same amount.
Iran has been alternately threatening to develop nuclear weapons and insisting that it needs uranium for energy production. During the first presidential debate, Kerry suggested that he would provide nuclear fuel to Iran.
Kerry was critical of President George W. Bush, who called Iran a member of the "Axis of Evil" along with North Korea and Iraq when it was controlled by the regime of Saddam Hussein. Kerry lamented that the U.S. passed up an opportunity to join the Great Britain, France, and Germany in engaging Iran.
Kerry said, "I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes."
The Democrat's web site reiterates the "global test" he proposes for the mullah government. Kerry's plan is to "call their bluff by organizing a group of states to offer Iran the nuclear fuel they need for peaceful purposes and take back the spent fuel so they cannot divert it to build a weapon. If Iran does not accept this offer, their true motivations will be clear."
In one of his public statements about Iran, Kerry said, "I will be prepared early on to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam a decade ago."
Following Kerry's advocacy on behalf of the communist government of Vietnam, Hanoi awarded a contract to Boston real estate firm Colliers International. At the time, the senator's cousin Stuart Forbes was head of the company.
The Kerry campaign won't comment on the individuals in question.
posted on 10/15/2004 11:36:38 AM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
How to Rein In Iran Without Bombing It
By Patrick Clawson, Patrick Clawson is the deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Iran brags that it has the most crucial technologies for a nuclear bomb. It is known to be deploying long-range missiles that would be militarily useless unless equipped with a nuclear warhead. And it has insisted that it will continue to enrich uranium in defiance of a request by the United Nations to stop.
What's more, President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry each has said an Iranian nuclear bomb would be unacceptable to the United States; Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's rhetoric is even tougher. Given all this, what are the prospects that U.S. military force or Israeli military force with tacit or public U.S. backing will be used to stop Iran's nuclear program?
The first hope is that Iran's program can still be stopped via diplomacy. It is not out of the question that Iran will step back from its nuclear program scaling it back and slowing it down, if not dismantling it entirely if confronted by the international community with a stark choice: penalties if the nuclear program continues, benefits if it is stopped.
But such a choice, of course, is effective only if Iran's hard- liners believe that the penalties for proceeding will be serious and it is hard to come up with a set of meaningful and plausible penalties that do not involve the military.
Comprehensive sanctions like those imposed on Iraq seem unlikely. Who would propose banning Iran's 2.5 million barrels a day of oil exports when oil prices are so high?
So is military force a realistic option? An air raid on Iran's nuclear facilities, similar to Israel's 1981 raid on Iraq's Osirak reactor, would face many problems. First, we probably do not know about all of Iran's many facilities. What we do know shows that Iran's nuclear program is physically dispersed and designed to be rebuilt after raids. We can hope that Iran would react to a raid by deciding that its nuclear program was not worth the cost, but if Iran decided instead to rebuild, then our raid might only slow the program by two years.
Plus, if we struck, Iran could retaliate by laying mines in and around the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. That could drive world oil prices even higher. Even more worrisome, Iran has many options for stepping up its support for terrorism in Iraq, against Israel or through aid to Al Qaeda.
And then there's the fact that we could end up paying a high price in international public opinion for a raid against Iran, jeopardizing the willingness of other governments to join with us in putting pressure on Iran.
In other words, a raid on Iran's nuclear facilities might buy some time, but only at considerable cost. And all these problems apply equally or more so if the raid on Iran's facilities were carried out by Israel (which in any case would have to stretch its capabilities to mount a raid on sites so far from its borders twice as far as Osirak in Iraq).
An actual invasion of Iran is even less appealing than an Osirak-style raid. There is the obvious cost in lives and dollars, as well as the sobering lesson from Iraq about postwar stability. Most Iranians would welcome the end of the mullahs' regime, but not a U.S. occupation. And there would be a hard core of Islamist militants whose terrorism could undermine stability.
There is an even more basic problem. Operations in Iraq are already straining the U.S. military, which simply does not have the men or the equipment to invade Iran unless there was a massive national mobilization which would take at least a year and possibly much longer for the U.S. to prepare.
That said, there are military options against Iran other than an Osirak-style raid or an invasion. In an ideal world, the United States could disrupt Iran's nuclear program through covert means, such as corrupting software programs. But it is not clear if U.S. intelligence is in a position to do this.
What America can do both on its own and with allies is to contain and deter Iran. Steps to this end could include increasing U.S. military presence around Iran; putting nuclear weapons on U.S. ships off Iran's coast; reinforcing the region's protection against missiles (including accelerating the planned improvement to the Arrow antimissile system in Israel); extending an explicit nuclear umbrella to those threatened by Iran; transferring more advanced weapons to states around Iran (from NATO ally Turkey to the new Iraqi forces to the more stable Arab Gulf states); and so on.
None of these measures is as dramatic as an air raid, but as a package they could show Tehran that Iranians will be less secure if it pursues nuclear weapons. Containment and deterrence can be used to press Iran to accept a diplomatic solution, and they also enhance the ability of the U.S. to apply military force later if need be.
In short, there is a wide range of military options to step up pressure on Iran if we think creatively; we do not need to start by dropping bombs.
posted on 10/15/2004 3:12:07 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
G8 Talks to Stop Iran Nuclear Plans End Without Agreement
[Excerpt] October 15, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Officials from the Group of Eight leading industrial nations Friday ended talks on how to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons without an agreement or plans for a follow-up meeting.
A European diplomat who participated called the talks useful but said no decision was made on a proposed European package of incentives for Iran to stop its suspect nuclear program. The three-hour session was held at the State Department.
The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the next step was having the International Atomic Energy Agency take up the Iranian situation next month.
In the meantime, Russian officials said construction had been completed at the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran and the hope was to sign agreements next month on shipping nuclear fuel to Tehran.
The U.S. is worried the $800 million Bushehr deal could help Iran build nuclear weapons. But Russia, dismissing the concern, maintains that having Iran ship spent nuclear fuel back to Russia will serve as a preventive measure.
The Bush administration sought to lower any expectations of a breakthrough before the G8 met to consider whether to try to induce Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program.
At the center of the discussions was a European proposal to offer trade and fuel supplies if Tehran will stop enriching uranium, a key step toward producing nuclear weapons.
But the Bush administration stressed the shared goal of stopping the program and taking the issue to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic penalties if Iran did not comply before the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency meets in Vienna in late November.
The G8 nations -the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia -sent senior officials to the session. Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton and Glyn Davies, who is in charge of G8 issues at the department, headed the U.S. delegation.
Diplomats close to the talks said the European package of incentives included fuel for Iran 's civilian programs and a trade arrangement with the European Union.
Even though the Bush administration was reluctant to offer any carrots to Iran , the meeting reflected a willingness to consult with allies -a strategy Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry has found in short supply under President Bush.
The package of incentives was designed by Britain, France and Germany, which have taken the lead in talking to Iran about its nuclear intentions. ...
posted on 10/15/2004 3:14:49 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Last Update: 15/10/2004 23:29
Europeans to offer Iran inducements to end nuke program
|By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Three European allies notified the United States on Friday they intend to offer Iran a package of inducements next week in hopes of persuading Iran to halt nuclear weapons development, but the administration withheld its approval of the overture.
The three allies, Britain, France and Germany, agreed with the administration at a three-hour State Department meeting that this would be Iran's final chance to avert the threat of UN economic sanctions, a U.S. official said.
Despite the administration's tepid response, it did not try to stop the Europeans from going ahead, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A European diplomat who attended the meeting said it was inconclusive, and no follow-up meeting was scheduled before the International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, reviews Iran's program next month.
Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman, said all eight nations that attended the meeting - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia, meeting as the Group of Eight - agreed that Iran "should not be allowed to defy any longer" its obligations to the IAEA.
Casey also reiterated the administration's longtime position that Iran's lack of compliance must be reported to the UN Security Council.
The administration hopes to exact economic penalties there that would squeeze Iran into abandoning any aspirations to become a nuclear power. The administration has lacked the necessary votes so long as Britain, France and Germany negotiated with Tehran in search of a compromise.
In the meantime, Russian officials said in Moscow that construction had been completed at the Bushehr nuclear reactor in Iran, and it hoped to sign agreements next month on shipping nuclear fuel to Tehran.
The United States is worried the $800 million project could help Iran build nuclear weapons. But Russia, dismissing such suspicions, maintains that having Iran ship spent nuclear fuel back to Russia will serve as a preventive.
The Bush administration sought to lower any expectations of a breakthrough before Friday's G-8 meeting to consider whether to try to induce Iran to halt its nuclear program.
At the center of the discussions was a European proposal to offer trade and fuel supplies if Tehran would stop enriching uranium, a key step toward producing nuclear weapons.
The United States stressed the shared goal of stopping the program and pressed the idea of taking the issue to the Security Council should Iran did not comply before the IAEA board of governors meets in Vienna, Austria, in late November.
Diplomats close to the talks said the European package of incentives included fuel for Iran's civilian programs and a trade arrangement with the European Union.
Even though the Bush administration was reluctant to offer carrots to Iran, the meeting reflected a willingness to consult with allies - a strategy that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry contends has been ignored under President George W. Bush.
posted on 10/15/2004 3:17:02 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
'We're done:' Iran reactor ready despite 2-year delay claim
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COMFriday, October 15, 2004
MOSCOW Iran and Russia said they have completed construction of the nuclear power reactor at Bushehr.
The announcement came less than two months after Iran said Bushehr would not begin operations until late 2006, three years behind schedule. At the time, officials said Bushehr a project estimated at $1 billion was delayed by the Russian revision of the original nuclear reactor design, drafted by the German firm Simens in the 1970s.
But officials from both countries said on Thursday that Russia completed the construction of Bushehr and the installation of the first 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor unit. They said the key remaining task was for Russia to supply Iran with the nuclear fuel required to operate Bushehr, Middle East Newsline reported.
"We're done," a spokesman for Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, known as Rosatom, said. "What remains is for the Russian specialists to assemble the unit's control and safety equipment."
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Iran and assured his hosts that his government would provide the nuclear fuel for Bushehr, a move that has been delayed because of Iran's refusal to bear the costs of returning the spent nuclear fuel to Moscow. Earlier, a senior Iranian official said nuclear fuel deliveries must begin seven months before the facility was scheduled to launch operations.
"All we need to do now is work out an agreement on sending the spent fuel back to Russia," the Russian Atomic Energy Agency spokesman was quoted by Itar-Tass agency as saying.
The spokesman made his remarks after Rosatom director Alexander Rumyantsev met a key Iranian parliamentarian to discuss Bushehr. Iran has long complained of delays in the project, and in a briefing in August Mehran Zia Sheikholeslami, head of technical operations at Bushehr, said Teheran was pressing Moscow to meet Iran's latest deadline for the start of the facility's full operations, October 2006.
The Iranian who met Rumyantsev was identified as the chairman of parliament's Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Alaeddin Borudjerdi. Borudjerdi agreed that Russia was required to do little more than provide the nuclear fuel for Bushehr.
"The [nuclear fuel] agreement is practically ready," Borudjerdi said. "If the experts agree on a few remaining commercial matters, it could be signed in November."
Rumyantsev could visit Iran in December to conclude the nuclear fuel agreement, officials said. They said Russia would first wait for the meeting of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Nov. 25, meant to determine whether Teheran was honoring its pledge to cooperate with the international community regarding Teheran's nuclear program.
posted on 10/15/2004 3:23:45 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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posted on 10/15/2004 10:16:56 PM PDT
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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