Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - October 16, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 10/15/2004 10:15:32 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. As a result, most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East. In fact they were one of the first countries to have spontaneous candlelight vigils after the 911 tragedy (see photo).
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
WASHINGTON (Talon News) -- 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.
Europeans to Offer Iran Last Chance to End Nuclear Weapons Effort
15 Oct 2004, 22:43 UTC
Listen to David Gollust's report (RealAudio)
Gollust report - Download 462k (RealVideo)
Key European allies told the United States Friday they will offer Iran a package of inducements next week in an effort to persuade Tehran to end its drive for nuclear weapons. U.S. officials say if the bid fails, the matter will go to the U.N. Security Council.
The United States will not offer Iran any incentives itself. But it will not stand in the way of having Britain, Germany and France approach Iran with an inducement package next week aimed at defusing the long-running crisis over what U.S. officials say is a covert Iranian drive for nuclear weapons.
The issue was discussed behind closed doors here at a meeting of senior officials of the G-8 leading industrialized countries. Diplomats from both the United States and Europe described the meeting as useful.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said participants reaffirmed the statement by G-8 leaders at their Sea Island, Georgia summit in June that the Iranian nuclear issue needs to be resolved with Tehran in full compliance with Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations and nuclear safeguards agreements.
He said while the United States holds to its view that Iran can no longer be allowed to remain in defiance of International Atomic Energy Agency resolutions, and that the matter must be referred to the U.N. Security Council, it also gave its assent to the European mission to Iran as a last-chance opportunity to comply before the IAEA governing board meets in November:
"The United States listened carefully to the EU three's explanation of their approach, and the EU three agreed to inform us of the results of their effort," he said. "The United States noted that the IAEA board of governors had spoken unanimously to Iran in five successive resolutions of the board of governors, and had set the November meeting of the board as a deadline. Iran should take this opportunity to comply with those resolutions now."
U.S. diplomats said the European offer to Iran is basically a compilation of benefits, including a comprehensive trade deal with the European Union, that Iran has foregone because of its defiance of the international community on the nuclear issue.
It's understood also that the package includes an offer by Russia to provide Iran with nuclear fuel for the power plant it is building at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, provided that Iran returns spent fuel to Russia and ends it own uranium-enrichment efforts.
The diplomats say if Iran rejects the deal, the G-8 countries have agreed that the IAEA board, when it meets in Vienna November 25th, should sent the Iranian case to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose economic sanctions against Iran.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is entirely for the peaceful generation of electricity, and it also says it has a legitimate right to develop an entire fuel cycle for its power plants, including the enrichment of domestically-mined uranium.
Iran has threatened to bar international nuclear inspectors from its territory if the matter goes to the Security Council.
U.S. officials contend the issue should go to the Security Council regardless of any new promises Iran might make, because of its past record of deception with regard to its nuclear activities.
Posted Friday, October 15, 2004
TEHRAN, 15 Oct. (IPS) As the group of eight most industrialised powers gathered in Washington on Friday 15 October 2004 to decide on a possible united stand concerning Irans nuclear ambitions, some hard line officials rejected before hand the latest carrot and stick proposal put forward by the European Union.
The strongest warning to both the G-8 came from Mr. Alaeddin Broujerdi, the Head of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee of the conservatives-dominated Majles, or parliament reiterating that Tehran might stop future inspections by international nuclear experts in case Irans dossier at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is referred to the United Nations Security Council.
Speaking during a press conference in Moscow, Mr. Broujerdi also repeated that if the international community increases pressures on Iran aimed at stopping its uranium enriching activities, the Majles would refuse ratifying the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) allowing IAEAs inspectors unrestricted access to all Iranian nuclear-related sites and projects.
The agreement, that also included suspension of uranium enriching was signed by Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential Secretary of Irans Supreme Council on National Security (SCNS) signed the Protocol on 20 October last year with foreign affairs ministers of Britain, France and Germany, known as the European Unions Big 3 who, in turn, pledged to help Tehran access to advanced nuclear technologies for non military purposes and closing Irans file with the Vienna-based IAEA.
The terms of the Agreement soon became the subject of unending controversies between Tehran with both the IAEA and the Big 3 in the one hand and the Trio with the United States on the other as nuclear inspectors found out that not only Tehran had not respected its engagements, but had also introduced more and new centrifuges for treating uranium.
Iran accused the trio of breach of agreement and observed that suspension does not mean stopping and also the measure was voluntarily and unilaterally aimed at building confidence.
For its part, Washington that pushes for a firmer stand against Iran, including treats of economic sanctions at the Security Councils level, criticised the so-called Big 3 on the Tehran Agreement, pointing correctly to the use of the word suspension instead of stop.
In their last meeting that ended on 18 September, the 35 members of the Agencys Board of Directors gave Iran until the end of November this year to prove it has ceased all activities related to uranium enrichment, including reprocessing uranium and building centrifuges used to enrich it, underlining that if not, they would sent the affair to the UNs Security Council for decision, that would include economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran immediately rejected the Resolution. Hard line newspapers, mot of them mouthpieces of Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, the regimes orthodox Muslim leader, called on the government of the powerless President Mohammad Khatami to get out of the NPT, as did North Korea and lawmakers said they would refuse approving the Protocol.
At the same time, officials in charge of the negotiations with IAEA and the EUs Trio while expressing their displeasure at the latest resolution said they would continue cooperation with the IAEA, provided Irans legitimate rights of access to nuclear technologies are recognised.
No treaties require Iran to stop enriching uranium and use nuclear technology for civilian uses and Tehran has said it has no intention of halting its work, which it has allowed the IAEA to monitor.
To diffuse a situation that looks more and more going straight to a dead end, the foreign affairs ministers of the 25 members European Union on 12 October came out with a new dish, offering Tehran a melange of carrots and hard bones (sticks) that also pleased somehow the Americans palate: Supplying fuel for Irans nuclear-powered electricity plants and the possibility of investing in the countrys future such stations as well as Americas scrapping some of its economic sanctions that cripples Irans poor economy, like giving the possibility of buying passenger planes from Boeing and modern technologies for oil industry.
Diplomatic sources said the Washington meeting of officials from United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, France, Germany and Britain plus Russia
aims at send a signal to Tehran that the international community is seriously concerned about the Islamic republic obtaining nuclear weapons.
John Bolton, the State Department's Under Secretary for Arms control and International Security, and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage are quoted to have said that Washington is open to proposals regarding Iran, but that the matter must be referred to the Security Council unless Tehran comes forward quickly to resolve international concerns.
Sources said Washington is not likely to seek a more open dialogue with Tehran on the matter until after the November 2 presidential election here, rather than risk a political storm as voters head to the polls.
The United States is "open to all ideas" to prevent Iran from developing nuclear arms, Armitage said Wednesday in Tokyo, warning 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, but we're open to all ideas that people have", he told newsmen.
The G 8 is meeting as Russia announced that is has completed the first phase of the US Dollars 800 million electricity project it is building on the Persian Gulf port of Booshehr and that an accord has been reached with Iran over the repatriation of the spent fuel, assuring the international community that the technology would not be turned for military uses, as Washington and Israel insists that the Boohehr deal could help Tehran build nuclear weapons.
"All the external (construction) work has been finished and the main equipment shipped", Vitaly Nasonov, spokesman for Russia's Federal Atomic Energy Agency, told The Associated Press, adding that Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev is scheduled to travel to Iran next month to sign agreements on shipping nuclear fuel to Iran and returning the spent fuel back to Russia.
International nuclear experts have expressed doubts the agreement will be signed before the United Nations resolves foreign concerns over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
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, the Washington Post said on Friday.
The Bush Administration has agreed to look at trios last plan for Iran. "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", the Post quoted 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", the official added.
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 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, according to the Washington Post.
"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.
In Tehran meanwhile, lawmakers bitterly attacked the Big 3s cowardice, saying one can no more relay on them.
We shall not give the Europeans a role more than what they are in reality and their policy of stick and carrots is only under American and Zionists pressures, said Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki, a member of the National Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, speaking at a round table organised by the hard liners-controlled Television.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Irans former Envoy at the IAEA said the new incentive is both unrealistic and illogical. Using nuclear energy saves a lot of oil, a source that is dwindling down every day, he told the same debate explaining why Iran its needs for electricity be satisfied with atomic power.
We are on a cross roads. Either we stand firm (to the West and the IAEA) and we win, or we give in and we loose every thing, he warned.
IRAN NUCLEAR 151004
|Iran is France's primary trade partner in Mideast, French minister|
| Paris, Oct 14, IRNA -- French Foreign Trade Minister Francois Loos said in Paris on Thursday that Iran ranks first among France Trade partners in the Middle East.
Speaking at a seminar on "Foreign Investment Prospect in Iran", he said that the reforms made on foreign investment policy in Iran and the country's suitable investment atmosphere have paved the ground for expansion of bilateral trade relations.
On Iran's peaceful nuclear program and nuclear case pending at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he added "France's policy has always been to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons expansion of industrial and scientific expansion with Tehran."
The initiative by the three European foreign minister of France, Germany and Britain in their visit to Tehran was a victory of sorts for the two sides and can be the best of guarantees for France.
He further thanked the Iranian economy minister in providing the grounds for participation of the French companies in Quake-devastated city of Bam. "We hope that the hospital gifted by France to the city will open by the end the 2004."
The first seminar of Foreign Investments prospect in Iran was inaugurated Wednesday with the participation of Iranian private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the French Employers Syndicates.
The seminar was attended by Loos, Iranian Minister of Economy and Finance Safdar Hosseini featuring more than 100 French industrial and financial cooperation.
The two countries experts have formed four committees to discuss joint programs and activities in industrial, telecommunication, finance and agriculture.
Meanwhile, Iran Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, heading a trade delegation, met here last year with French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Francis Mer.
Mer welcomed Iranian delegation saying that the developments in Iran bode well for expansion of ties between Tehran and Paris.
Paris sees no obstacle in strengthening bilateral trade ties he said adding "The visit to Paris by the Iranian commerce minister is the right step in bolstering relations."
Shairatmadari briefed the French economy minister on policies in lessening the role of government in the Iranian economy, ceding the state-owned enterprises to the private sector and other structural adjustments in the economy in the past several years.
Implementing investment and tax reforms, unification of foreign currency rates, modifying imported exports laws, amending tariff regime and provision for establishing private banking system are among other economic policies, he stated.
Currently there are suitable opportunities for Tehran-Paris cooperation in telecommunications, aeronautics, and oil and gas sectors, he said.
The meeting was held to discuss measures proposed by Britain, France and Germany, which have led a European initiative to engage Iran over its nuclear activities.
Following this meeting the Mehr News Agency conducted a series of interviews on the subject.
A former member of the Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Committee, Jafar Golbaz, says that the European Union has observed none of its commitments regarding Irans nuclear dossier.
Golbaz also said that Iran can have no faith in EU commitments any longer.
He added that so far, the process of investigation on Irans nuclear dossier indicates that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the European Union and the United States intend to stop uranium enrichment activities in Iran.
The EU previous behavior warns us to be more cautious in our dealings with them in the future, the former MP stated.
Referring to the recent proposal of the EU to persuade Iran to halt uranium enrichment, he said that supplying Iran with nuclear fuel as well as transferring relevant technology to Iran, are among the primary rights of the country mentioned in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
This proposal is a sheer lie, Golbaz said, adding that Europe is not the main party facing Iran in the nuclear issue, but rather the EU pursues the interests of the United States in this case.
The former reformist MP said that the EU and the U.S. are imposing difficult conditions on Iran that could weaken the countrys inner unity and destabilize the stances of Iranian officials and political groups.
Iran has been successful in building confidence but the insistence of the United States and the EU on further confidence-building from Iran is merely an excuse, he said.
Golbaz added that Iran should continue talks with the IAEA and the EU, but should not withdraw from its principal stances.
He said that besides the IAEA and EU, Iran should also convince other neighboring countries that its nuclear technology is meant for peaceful purposes and poses no threat to the region.
MP Soleiman Jafarzadeh says that Iran insists on its legal stances regarding peaceful nuclear activities. He added that whoever withdraws from efforts to achieve nuclear technology is betraying the Iranian nation.
Unfortunately the illogical process of the investigation of Irans nuclear dossier indicates that our real disputant is neither the IAEA nor the EU, but the United States, he said.
Jafarzadeh also added that Europe has always sought the U.S. interests, saying the recent proposal made by the EU is in fact a reflection of the U.S. demands.
He also stressed that Iranian officials should act cautiously.
He stated that the U.S. and EU want to test Iran and their claim to supply Iran with nuclear fuel is just another lie.
Referring to the contradictory behavior of the IAEA and the U.S. toward countries that possess nuclear technology, Jafarzadeh said that according to them Iran should put aside its peaceful nuclear activities, while the Zionist regime can possess nuclear weapons without any supervision.
The MP stated that Iran is determined to follow its peaceful nuclear activities within the framework of international treaties and would not renounce its inalienable rights.
A member of the Majlis Presiding Board, Noie Aghdam, also said that the EU recent measures are just a new method to limit Iran. Aghdam said that the seventh Majlis would surely respond to their action.
He said that as the EU has not been successful in referring Irans nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council, it is seeking other strategies to gain new privileges.
When Iran stood against the United States and the European Union and refrained from appeasement, they tried to find new ways to negotiate with Iran, he said.
Washington, DC, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- There was little progress Friday in a meeting of the Group of Eight nations to discuss European incentives for Iran to end its nuclear weapons program.
European diplomats, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, called the meeting "useful," but added neither side changed its view of the issue.
The U.S. State Department said it "carefully listened" to the European proposals, and said it made clear that Iran should be referred to the U.N. Security Council for its non-compliance of previous resolutions of the International Atomic Energy agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
The United States was represented by Glyn Davies, deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's European Bureau, and Undersecretary for Arms Control John Bolton. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage briefly attended, department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
The Europeans were expected to make their offer to Iran next week. The incentives were expected to include imported nuclear fuel for Iran's civilian reactor in Buesher and the lifting of some economic sanctions on Iran so it can modernize its national airline.
The G8 includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Owners of the pro-IRI Iranian.com pulled a recent poll that they expected to favor John Kerry on ties with the Iranian government. When the poll came out strongly against his prefered pro-IRI, Kerry agenda he immediately polled the poll and referred to it as "cheating". After receiving negative e-mails he got rid of the entire polling system all together.
Let him know how you feel. Every single person needs to contact him and let him know that the community is against his decision: Contact email@example.com.
By Amir Paivar
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it would reject any proposal to halt uranium enrichment, a step European Union diplomats are proposing to end a row over whether Iran is seeking atomic weapons.
EU diplomats have said they are seeking U.S. and Russian support for a deal that would ask Iran to give up uranium enrichment in return for technical and economic assistance.
"Any proposal which deprives Iran of its legitimate right to a fuel cycle is not acceptable," Hossein Mousavian, Iran's head of foreign policy on the Supreme National Security Council, told state television.
However, he said he was not responding to a specific offer.
"We have not yet received the text of the proposal and have to see what it contains to assess it," he said.
Uranium enriched to a low level can be used to fuel nuclear power stations such as one Iran is building at the southern port of Bushehr.
If enriched further it can be used in nuclear warheads. But oil-rich Iran denies accusations from Washington that it has military nuclear ambitions and argues its atomic program is dedicated solely to meeting booming demand for electricity.
EU WILL CONTINUE TO PUSH
The French Foreign Ministry in Paris, asked about Mousavian's remarks, said France would still push for Iran to give up its enrichment program.
"Time is short. France and its partners will continue to work with the Iranian authorities ... with, as their goal, securing the complete suspension by Iran of its enrichment and reprocessing activities," a spokesman said.
Iran mines uranium ore in its central desert near the city of Yazd, and Iranian politicians have been united in saying that the fuel cycle, from cutting uranium ore out of the ground to producing fuel, should be entirely in Iranian hands.
"Western countries want to get our oil then sell us nuclear fuel at tens or hundreds of times more than its price," he added.
U.S. presidential hopeful John Kerry and his allies have proposed "calling Iran's bluff" by offering to supply atomic fuel so that Iran could give up its enrichment program.
Foreign Ministers from Britain, France and Germany won Iran's guarantee to suspend uranium enrichment when they visited Tehran last year.
But the promise lapsed and Iran has since restarted making parts for centrifuges that enrich uranium by spinning it at supersonic speed, and has started producing uranium hexafluoride, the centrifuges' feed gas.
Israel has increased pressure on Iran's enrichment activities by buying in weaponry that could target centrifuge bunkers, deep underground near the central town of Natanz. (-Additional reporting by Jon Boyle In Paris)
BAGHDAD - An operation by US and Iraqi forces south of Baghdad has netted two Syrian "terrorists" and an unknown number of Iranians, an official from Iraq's national guard said on Friday.
US-led forces, Iraqi police and national guardsmen conducted the two-day sweep in a belt of farming towns -- Mahmudiyah, Latifiyah and Iskandariyah -- known as the triangle of death, where militants have killed and kidnapped foreigners and locals, the official said on condition of anonymity.
He said "the operation is designed to stabilise the region."
The arrests took place in the same area as an ongoing push by US and Iraqi forces that was launched last week, under the name "Phantom Fury".
ASHINGTON, Oct. 15 - The Bush administration on Friday acquiesced in a plan by three European nations to offer Iran a discussion on political ties and future economic and other benefits in return for an immediate suspension of its nuclear-fuel-enrichment efforts, European and American officials said.
The officials said an understanding to proceed with the offer to Iran next week had come at an unusual and occasionally frosty meeting of top envoys of eight leading industrial nations and the European Union that had been hastily scheduled to head off growing dissatisfaction among American allies over what they see as the administration's nonconciliatory approach on Iran.
Administration officials said they were extremely skeptical that another offer to Iran would persuade it to stop its enrichment activities, which are suspected to be a cover for making nuclear weapons. The United States instead favors taking up Iran's program at the United Nations Security Council for possible consideration of sanctions.
"We've been a broken record on this since the beginning of the process," said an administration official. "It's safe to say that American expectations are fairly low, based on Iran's miserable track record, including its almost instantaneous breaking of the last agreement we had with them."
The official was referring to Iran's agreement to halt its uranium enrichment program last year, only to change its mind this year, citing what it said was a Western refusal to let it have a peaceful nuclear program.
The meeting on Friday occurred at the State Department with envoys from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Canada and the European Union. According to officials familiar with the session, a four-page plan for Iran drafted by Britain, France and Germany was circulated and discussed but not formally adopted.
The plan, various officials said, called for the British, French and Germans to tell Iran next week that if it suspended its uranium enrichment in November, and if this were verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency, a discussion would begin aimed at improving relations over the long term.
Among the items that the Europeans would be willing to discuss with Iran, the document proposed, are a supply of nuclear fuel for civilian reactors, improved trade and commercial ties, and Iran's possible role in efforts to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Europeans would also want to discuss human rights in Iran and the problem of terrorism in the region.
According to people familiar with the session, the main American representative at the talks, John R. Bolton, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, was highly skeptical that any such approach would work or was worth trying. Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage opened the meeting but left after it began.
A European envoy said Mr. Bolton had been unable to disguise his apparent disdain for the European proposal and spoke with "the minimum courtesy imaginable" in a way that "bordered on the unacceptable." But he said Mr. Bolton nonetheless agreed tacitly to let the Europeans go ahead with their initiative. Mr. Bolton would not comment.
"They didn't jump on the train physically," a European official said, describing the American attitude. "But there was nobody who told us, don't go ahead."
An administration official, amplifying the American attitude, said: "They didn't ask for our approval, and we didn't offer it. But everyone came out of the meeting understanding that we're not objecting to it or blocking it either. They said they really wanted to do it. We said, it sounds like you're going to do it anyway, so go ahead."
As a result, a meeting is expected as early as next Thursday, perhaps in Vienna, the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency. A spokesman for the Iranian mission at the United Nations in New York, Morteza Ramandi, said a meeting would probably occur next week.
Officials familiar with the paper discussed on Friday also said it called for a "two-track approach" of engagement, coupling rewards with a threat of confrontation if Iran did not go along. The path of confrontation would be pursued by getting the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors to refer the matter to the United Nations.
The international agency has criticized Iran for noncompliance with disclosure demands on its nuclear program but has not labeled its efforts as clearly aimed at producing a bomb. The agency's 35 board members are divided over whether to send the matter to a body that would immediately discuss sanctions.
Not only are China and Russia opposed to sanctions, but a group of so-called nonaligned countries including Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia also oppose anything that might suggest that countries cannot have peaceful nuclear energy programs.
Iran maintains that its enrichment efforts are part of a civilian program permitted by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which it signed. The treaty grants access to imported nuclear technology if countries agree to international inspections.
Iran has two forms of nuclear energy programs. In one program, it is enriching uranium, and the International Atomic Energy Agency recently found that it possessed 37 metric tons of "yellow cake," a uranium substance that can be enriched for reactors or for bombs. Some experts say 37 metric tons is more than enough needed for civilian purposes and raises suspicions that Iran wants the material for arms.
The second Iranian program is a heavy water reactor dependent on importing fuel from Russia, which has said it would ship the fuel to Iran next year and then re-import it when it is used and becomes available for a nuclear weapon.
European officials said Friday that as part of the discussions at the State Department, Russia in effect agreed to join with the other nations in urging Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment, and that Russia would not ship any fuel to Iran unless it cooperated. But other experts say Russian attitudes are not exactly clear.
Any suspension of uranium enrichment by Iran would have to be "sustained," a European official said - in effect, permanent, although the word "permanent" is avoided because a lasting arrangement for Iran to drop its nuclear weapons ambitions needed to be worked out over the long term.
A long-term agreement would have to be able to verify that Iran had fully abandoned any nuclear weapons program, European officials said, though they acknowledged that verification was technically difficult as long as Iran insists its programs are for civilian purposes.
In addition, European officials say any solution would have to acknowledge Iran's right to have a civilian nuclear energy program. Iran, they say, will never accept a forced abandonment of what it regards as its rights under international agreements.
Check out post #13 if you think our and the EU unemployment numbers are bad.
Iran says it will reject any proposal to end its work on uranium enrichment, a process that could be used to make nuclear weapons.
Hossein Mousavian, a senior Iranian official involved in the nuclear negotiations, has told state television his country will not accept any plan that requires it to drop what he calls "its legitimate right" to enrich uranium to make fuel.
European Union diplomats have said they are seeking U.S. and Russian support for a deal that would ask Iran to give up uranium enrichment in return for technical and economic assistance.
Iran has denied U.S. allegations it has military nuclear ambitions, saying its atomic program is solely dedicated to meeting high demand for electricity.
Uranium, enriched to a low level, can be used to fuel nuclear power stations such as one Iran is building at the southern port of Bushehr. However, if enriched further, it can be used in nuclear warheads.
|10/13/2004||Clip No. 288|
|Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader Khaled Al-Batsh: The Taba Attack Was Justified|
The following are excerpts from an interview with Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh:
Al-Batsh: What happened in Taba is directly related to our situation in Gaza. We cannot separate what happened in Taba from the crimes in the Gaza Strip, especially in Jabalya and the Jabalya refugee camp. What happened in Taba is that a group of Arab mujahideen or Arab resistance fighters from either the Islamic or the national movement were not prepared to watch these monstrous acts against the Palestinian people, while they couldn't see any Arab army protecting the Palestinian people. They have not seen a single Arab regime intervening and threatening to stop the massacre in Gaza "or else " So they made the decision to avenge and to strike blows
We welcome these striking hands despite all our suffering at the hands of the Arab nation. Nevertheless, we say that this is a justified operation in the framework of the response to the occupation's crimes. I believe that since the occupation began exporting the crisis abroad, beyond the borders of Palestine, there were people who stood up and said, "We, as the Arab and Islamic resistance in Egypt, are prepared..." and they dealt a blow in Taba to this aggression.
Therefore, the Taba operation was justified, and it should make the occupation feel there will be no security to whoever kills Palestinians. Whoever kills Palestinians must not be safe in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, or Lebanon. Whoever kills a Palestinian must understand that he will not be safe wherever he sets foot. This is a theory that the Zionists must understand. They must understand that as long as Palestinians are being killed, no settler will feel safe anywhere in the world.