Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - October 21, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 10/20/2004 9:16:23 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.
Can you please explain verse 8:11 from the Koran ?
Sorry, i meant 8:12 2:216 4:74 47:4 9:5
October 21, 2004
Any qualified student of history would attest to the concept that foreign policy is an ongoing process of trial and error. Very often, what worked in the past is quite worth replicating. However, the failure of a given policy might not indicate that it should never be tried again. The conditions by which a strategy failed in the past either might not exist today, or have changed enough to make it more viable under current circumstances.
A good example of this precept is our present state of diplomacy or, maybe, lack thereof with Iran, and how we are allowing the failures of the past in North Korea to prevent us from effecting what could be a winning strategy today.
For some background, on October 21, 1994, the United States and North Korea entered into a nuclear non-proliferation treaty referred to as the Agreed Framework. Without going into too much detail (see 2001 State Department briefing), this pact was designed to end North Koreas exploration into expanding its nuclear weapons capability in return for financial and engineering assistance from the U.S. and its allies for two 1000-mega watt light water reactors. In retrospect, one of the main flaws of this pact was that the spent fuel rods from these reactors were left in North Koreas hands for too long thereby allowing them to be used for other more nefarious purposes. Also, it appears that the checks and balances that were incorporated into this framework were not active enough to totally ensure North Korean compliance. As a result, the diplomatic engagement process began breaking down in the late 90s, and, unbeknownst to us at the time, North Korea initiated a uranium enrichment program. The U.S. uncovered this in the summer of 2002, leading President Bush to impose sanctions that included the cessation of oil shipments that had been a part of the 1994 agreement. By the end of 2002, North Korea departed the non-proliferation treaty, leaving tensions on the Korean peninsula quite high.
Now, almost exactly a decade later, America finds itself in a similar position with Iran. And, due to the accurate perception by the current administration that this policy failed miserably before, they are largely taking a diametric position today. The problem is that a remodeled and updated, post-9/11 Agreed Framework might be ideal given current conditions. In fact, to a certain extent, this is largely what is to be offered to Iran this week by a group of diplomats from the G-8 and the European Union (see 10/16/04 NY Times article). Unfortunately, it doesnt only appear likely that Iran will reject this, but it is quite unclear as to how behind this plan the Bush administration is given the poor precedent of such a pact with North Korea. A further complication is that Russia has already engaged in such an arrangement with Iran as they are currently constructing an $800 Million 1000-megawatt nuclear power plant in Bushehr that is destined to be fully on line by 2006. The only thing blocking final completion of this plant is an agreement between Iran and Russia concerning the return of spent fuel rods. Sound familiar?
The reality is that there are likely huge differences between the Iranian and North Korean situations that make definitive comparisons rather specious. First and foremost, the agreements that were reached between the U.S. and North Korea in the 90s were done so prior to the attacks of 9/11. At the time, America and the international community were rejoicing in the afterglow of the end of the Cold War. The world to a very large extent believed that we were at peace, and, as a direct result, our foreign policy edicts were much more trusting than they would be today. Additionally, although North Koreas neighbors were certainly concerned about their proliferation activities, it doesnt approach how they are feeling this moment, nor how nations within striking distance of Iran are viewing their activities. Also, it was quite unlikely that the Clinton administration ten years ago was considering North Korean nuclear proliferation from a terrorism perspective.
As a result of these distinctions, America must view Iran today with a much wider lens than we did Korea ten years ago. For instance, how might a more compliant and peaceful Iran impact: Islamic extremists who are pouring over their borders into Iraq to assist in destabilization; our dealings with Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and; the Roadmap to Peace?
Lets address these questions from a purely hypothetical and rosiest scenario perspective. First, assume that a multi-national treaty can be worked out with Iran that is somewhat similar to the Agreed Framework, but guarantees that spent fuel rods are immediately removed from Iranian soil, and that President Khatami would also agree to some form of IAEA inspection program to confirm compliance. How might this be any worse than the situation that now exists? In fact, this potentially would be an improvement. However, a clear uptick would be the ratcheting down in the rhetoric that might encourage Iranian participation in helping us with securing Iraq as opposed to their current antipathetic efforts in this regard. This could quite lead to better U.S. relations with all of the Arabic nations in the region, which would tremendously improve our position in the War on Terror, as well as advancing the Roadmap to Peace in Israel.
Unfortunately, standing guard over such a scenario is an almost totally illogical intransigence by most of the leaders in this region whereby diplomacy appears to have been replaced by a caveman-like adjudication process where the first person that blinks loses. Now, to a certain extent, one could argue that, after decades of such diplomacy, Moammar Gadhafi of Libya blinked first, and we won that battle without spilling much blood. However, I would fervently suggest that the months of negotiations between Libya, Great Britain, and the United States involved a myriad of financial and diplomatic carrots being tossed in Mr. Gadhafis general direction that acted to encourage his capitulation. In fact, an article at IranMania this weekend avowed that the EU is offering Iran a Libya-style deal that rewards compliance with a host of incentives. Moreover, Xinhua out of China this weekend actually reported, The Group Eight diplomats have agreed on a proposal by France, Germany and Britain to present a package of "carrots and sticks" at pressing Iran to halt uranium enrichment. Fascinating.
Lets take this a dovish, leftist, appeasement step further. Whether any of us devout Hawks who are card carrying members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy wants to admit it or not, there are times when a top chess master will accede a strong position to back build for the next offensive. We have been executing a very solid, aggressive foreign policy now for more than three years that has been largely successful regardless of what the Left and their media minions believe and have been disseminating to the masses. However, the egos of some of the foreign leaders that we are currently engaging are quite akin to the old Tareyton cigarette smokers theyd rather fight than switch. Also, it appears quite a part of the culture that we are dealing with that they see giving in to anothers demands, regardless of how appropriate they might be, as an inherent sign of weakness. As such, we could be playing this person who blinks first loses game for a long time. Unfortunately, as these folks are also well aware that in our form of democracy, a president is elected every four years, time is quite on their side inasmuch as they can play the waiting game while hoping for a new, less Hawkish regime. To be sure, this November 25 th deadline before this matter gets taken up more seriously by the U.N. carries about as much leverage as that bodys resolutions did with Saddam especially since Russia due to its own financial interests will likely veto anything that blocks Bushehr. Given this, assuming that Bush wins in November, we might have only four more years to get the job done before the next boss comes in who, contrary to what Roger Daltry avowed in the 70s, might NOT be the same as the old boss.
In reality, we could be at a fascinating juncture in our War on Terror where a little bit of give in our present steadfastness, along with some monetary incentives, might go a very long way. With one fell swoop, we could radically change our relationship with both Iran and Syria. In doing so, this could dramatically alter the current picture in Iraq and in Israel. Furthermore, our G-8 and EU brethren might potentially be so thrilled by this that theyd be willing to give us military and financial assistance in Iraq. In fact, this could be a requirement for our buy in. To be sure, they would be looking for a payback in the future if this all works out in the form of contracts with Iran when the current sanctions are lifted down the road.
Since September 14 th, 2001, President Bush has been talking about fighting terrorism by spreading freedom and democracy across the globe. Conceivably, the lesson of Libya might be that as we continue on this journey, we mustnt forget to bring our checkbook along with our passports.
The more I see of George W. Bush, and the more I hear from his detractors, the more he reminds me of Harry S Truman.
Like Truman, Bush came to the White House greatly under-estimated, even by those who voted for him. I was one of them. People made fun of his speechmaking ability, his leadership potential, even his intelligence. Leaders in his own party compared him unfavorably to his Democratic predecessor.
Truman got to be president mainly because the smarter Democrats didn't want Henry Wallace to be the ailing FDR's vice-president a second time. Of course, Truman's enemies couldn't make that same claim in 1948, when he pulled off the biggest upset in presidential history, knocking off Thomas Dewey.
For his part, we were told, Bush got the job because the electorate in Florida didn't know how to cast their ballots, and because the U.S. Supreme Court was part of a vast right wing conspiracy. (Funny how the Democrats never point out that Al Gore is one of the few presidential candidates who have failed to carry his home state. If Tennessee had voted for its least favorite son, it wouldn't have mattered what happened in Florida!)
The Democrats, still licking their wounds from 2000, haven't yet gotten around to explaining how this political nonentity managed to lead his party to victory in the 2002 elections without any help from Justice Rehnquist and his judicial cohorts.
What Bush and Truman have in common, besides their less than dazzling oratorical skills, are honesty, principles and a respect for the Office. Truman had a sign on his desk stating that The Buck Stops Here. Bush might as well have one of his own.
Bush speaks of an Axis of Evil, and he names names. For his part, Truman waged the Cold War because he recognized that evil exists in the world, and you either combat it or you become its accessory. And for men of honor, the latter course is never an option.
In Truman's day, the appeasers claimed that the Soviet Union was not a danger to America or the world. They claimed that Joseph Stalin was, at worst, a tinhorn dictator ruling a backward nation; at best, a heroic leader who had helped defeat the Nazis. When he gobbled up all of Eastern Europe, enslaving hundreds of millions of people, they defended him. Stalin needed a buffer; after all, mother Russia had been invaded by Napoleon and Hitler. They pointed out that Germany had slaughtered millions of Russians, while ignoring the brutal fact that for a quarter of a century, Stalin had done the exact same thing with never a peep heard from the American left.
Now the children and grandchildren of these people cast Bush, not Saddam Hussein, in the role of villain. It doesn't matter to them that Iraq has invaded Iran and Kuwait and launched missiles at Israel, just as it doesn't faze them that Hussein gassed Kurds by the thousands, and reneged on his peace treaty. Ask them whether or not it would have been a good thing if the western democracies had done something about Adolf Hitler before he invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia, and watch them change the subject to sports or the weather.
These four-flushers will praise the likes of France and Russia as representing the conscience of mankind, while accusing Bush of being beholden to the oil interests--all the while ignoring the fact that it was France and Russia that had billion dollar oil deals with Hussein, and Kofi Annan who had cut himself in for a piece of the action. Obviously, if Bush were out to gain control of Arab oil, he would go to war against such pushovers as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
If we had merely wanted Iraqi oil, we'd have bought it, the same way we get the stuff from Mexico, Venezuela and the rest of the Middle East. Hussein would have been only too happy to sell it to us. No, if it were really about oil, the way the pinheads insist, would George Bush so openly side with Israel, the one country in that part of the world whose oil supply comes from olives?
Because Bush's detractors lack principles themselves, they can never acknowledge the virtue in others. Because they despise America, they regard patriotism as villainy. Because they indulge in double-talk, they abhor plain-speaking. They claim that North Korea became suddenly hostile and dangerous because Bush dared to call them evil, disregarding the fact that he called them evil because they had broken their nuclear treaty within a few months of brokering the agreement with the Clinton administration.
The hypocrisy of the left is boundless. They demanded that Bush get congressional backing before invading Iraq. He did. They then demanded he take the matter up with the Security Council. He did. Then they demanded that he do it all over again. In the meantime, they insisted that he not rush to war. If that was their idea of rushing, one has to wonder what they regard as slow and steady.
No matter how patient Bush might have been, no matter how much he kowtowed to the U.N., it would never have been enough for these people. You notice, though, that they never said a discouraging word when Clinton dropped bombs in Serbia, Somalia and the Sudan. There was no outcry that he was being imperialistic, that he wasnt being analytical, that he was trying to conquer the world. Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon didn't demand that he go hat-in-hand to the United Nations. I don't recall liberals claiming he went into Kosovo without a plan for winning the peace, just as I don't recall any of these aging hippies offering themselves up as human shields in Somalia.
George W. Bush's being a devout Christian embarrasses these folks, but Bill Clinton, the man who turned the Oval Office into a back alley -- him they'd enshrine on Mount Rushmore.
To show you how foolish and out of sync with the American people those on the left truly are, you have merely to consider that they call Bush a Texas cowboy, just as they used to call Truman a Missouri haberdasher -- and that's their idea of an insult!
Iran successfully tests improved Shihab-3 missile
|By Yoav Stern|
Iran yesterday conducted a successful test of the latest version of its Shihab-3 missile, the Iranian Defense Ministry announced yesterday.
The Shihab is Iran's longest-range ballistic missile, and even the old version of the Shihab-3 was known to have a range of 1,296 kilometers - making it capable of reaching both Israel and American military bases in the Middle East. The Arrow anti-missile missile was developed partly in order to counter the Shihab threat.
| Tehran shows defiance on eve of crucial nuclear arms talks by test-firing missile
Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor
Thursday October 21, 2004
The Iranian government carried out a missile test yesterday, 24 hours before a make-or-break meeting with Britain, France and Germany on its suspected nuclear weapons programme.
The test may have been intended as a warning to the US, Israel and the Europeans on the eve of the meeting in Vienna with the European troika.
Tehran has threatened to retaliate if either the US or Israel launches a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear facilities.
Yesterday it said it had tested the Shahab-3 ballistic missile, which is estimated to be capable of reaching Israel.
The defence minister, Ali Shamkhani, told Reuters after the weekly cabinet meeting: "Iran test-fired a more accurate version of the Shahab-3 in the presence of observers."
The Shahab (meteor) has a range of about 807-932 miles but, until now, it has been regarded as wildly inaccurate, unable to hit military targets but capable of hitting civilian populations.
A Foreign Office source described today's meeting as a "last chance" for Tehran. The US, Israel and Europe are convinced that it is intent on securing a nuclear weapon. Iran denies this, claiming it is only pursuing a civilian nuclear programme.
The European trio will offer help with the civilian programme in return for Iran suspending a nuclear enrichment programme alleged to give it the ability to make nuclear weapons by 2006 or 2007. The Europeans expect a formal response from Iran in about a week.
Its failure to do so will almost certainly cause an international crisis. The board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, is likely to refer the issue to the UN security council when it meets in Vienna on November 25. The council could then impose sanctions.
Iran to propose new nuclear deal
Astana. October 21. KAZINFORM. Iran has formed its own alternative proposals for easing international concerns over its nuclear ambitions, says Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.
The proposals will be unveiled after France, Britain and Germany put forward a compromise formula at a meeting in Vienna on Thursday, he said, Kazinform quotes BBC News.
Iran insists it has a right to develop nuclear technology but says it can show its nuclear intentions are peaceful.
The country test-fired a long-range Shahab-3 missile on Wednesday.
It was a deliberately timed show of military strength a day before the Vienna negotiations, says our correspondent in Tehran, Frances Harrison.
In the negotiations, the European nations are expected to demand that Iran give up uranium enrichment in exchange for guarantees of imported nuclear fuel.
Correspondents say it is a last-ditch attempt by negotiators to prevent a showdown at the next meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in November.
UN sanctions could be imposed on Iran if uranium enrichment continues.
But Iran's top delegate to the IAEA, Hossein Mousavian, said on Wednesday that the Vienna negotiations would fail if Iran was not allowed to keep control of the entire nuclear cycle.
"If the demand is going to be that Iran give up the nuclear fuel cycle, one should not pin any hope on the talks," Mr Mousavian said.
"If the fuel cycle is off the table, and they're ready to talk about confidence-building measures, the way is open for dialogue."
It is not clear what Iran's counter-proposals to resolve the international tensions might be, says our correspondent.
But the Iranian president has said he will give any kind of co-operation to the outside world to prove the country is not moving towards a weapons programme.
Iran test-fired an improved version of the Shahab-3 ballistic missile on Wednesday.
The weapon, which Iran says has an increased range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), was tested in front of observers, said Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani.
The missile is thought to be able to carry a nuclear warhead and its increased range would put Israel within its sights, our correspondent notes.
Defence experts say it is normal to refine a missile's range and accuracy with several firings. The last reported test was during military exercises in August.
Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2004
PARIS, 20 Oct. (IPS) The Mojahedin (Khaq Organisation, MKO) have no secret information about secret Iranian nuclear sites, contrary of what the group pretends, a former high-ranking commander of the outlawed organization said.
The Mojahedin have not satellite to monitor secret Iranian military sites and what they have revealed is in fact nothing more than installations the Iranian authorities have created for enriching uranium without informing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr. Masoud Khodabandeh told Iran Press Service in the sidelines of a press conference in Paris.
The conference, held at the Foreign Press Centre in Paris was called by Mr. Alain Chevalerias to present his new book, Burned Alive, on the secretive organization, listed by all major Western countries as a terrorist group.
Asked if he believes that the MKO has inside information about Iranian military installations producing atomic bomb, Mr. Khodabandeh who, until 1996, was in charge of the security and communications of the Baghdad-based organization said it were the Americans who in fact revealed the installations at Arak and Natanz.
He was referring to the so-called revelations made three years ago by the Council of Iranian National Resistance, the political branch of the MKO in Washington about sites the group said were secret military installations for making nuclear weapons.
One day after, an American specialized agency affiliated to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) published satellite pictures of the incriminated places.
However, IPS had latter learned from well-placed experts and intelligence sources that the revelations where in fact a scenario worked out by hard liners at the Pentagon to promote the case of MKO as a lever against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In fact, until the American attack on Iraq, the MKO used to be a favourite of many US lawmakers, branding the organization, working mostly under the label of National Resistance, as a movement fighting for democracy and secularity in Iran.
Formed in the sixties, the MKO, hand in hand with a Marxist-Leninist group, killed at least six American military advisors in Iran while fighting against the Iranian Monarchy regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Americas closest ally in the region except Israel, then also a friend of Iran.
Formed in the sixties, the MKO, hand in hand with a Marxist-Leninist group, killed at least six American military advisors in Iran while fighting against the Iranian Monarchy regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Americas closest ally in the region except Israel, then also a friend of Iran.
A close ally of the Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic Revolution and founding father of the Islamic Republic up to the fall of the Monarchy in 1979, the MKO, then at a zenith of popularity in Iran, was crushed by Mr. Khomeini and Mr. Rajavi fled to France alongside with Mr. Abolhasan Banisadr, Islamic Republics first elected president, dismissed the ruthless Grand Ayatollah.
Mr. Rajavi moved from France to Baghdad and with hundreds of followers, took part in the war Mr. Hussein had started against the newly established Islamic Republic of Iran in 1981, buying at the same time for himself and his secretive organization the label of traitors to the nation.
A blend of Marxism and Islamism, the MKO, led by Masoud and Maryam Rajavi, worked closely with the former Iraqi Saddam Hussein and participated actively in the terrible massacre of the Iraqi Kurds and the Shites by the now toppled dictator, said Mr. Chevalerias, an investigating journalist and writer, adding that his findings were the result of more than a year of researches on the MKO in Iran, Iraq and Europe.
He also confirmed that the MKO was the subject of divergences in the Bush Administration, with some, at the Pentagon around Defence Secretary Donald Rimsfeld looking to the group and its well-trained members, estimated at between 2.000 to 5.000, and military equipments provided by Mr. Hussein as a source of information concerning agents infiltrated in Iraq by Tehran as well as a mean of pressure over the Iranian theocracy against the State Department that has listed the group as a terrorist organization.
Pressed by journalists to explain why the West, mostly France, -- where the Organisation has its international head quarter in the peaceful and picturesque small city of Auvers-sur-Oise near Paris since 1981 -- allows the group they have listed as terrorist to operate more or less freely, like organizing open demonstrations against the Islamic Republic in American and European major cities and suddenly cracking down on them, Mr. Chevalerias has a diplomatic answer, advancing raisons dEtat, or States interests.
The question was referring to the pre-dawn raid the French polices special anti-terrorist special units carried last year against the MKOs head quarters, arresting all the leaders of the group, including Mrs. Rajavi, seized sophisticated communications equipments and millions in cash.
To protest the arrest, tens of the MKO members flew to Auvers-sur-Oise and some immolated themselves in Paris, London and other European cities, inspiring Mr. Chevalerias to investigate at the movement, intrigued by the immolations, an act that has nothing to do with Islam, but more with secretive associations taking their roots from Hasan al Sabbah, the legendary Iranian leader and founder of the Ismailliyah, a shoot out of the Shia sect better known as the Assassins in 1090.
According to Mr. Khodabandeh, the megalomaniac and authoritative leader of the MKO not only operated as a branch of Iraqi army, but also ruled ruthlessly over the organization, jailing and assassinating hundreds of his critics.
Asked about Mr. Rajavis whereabouts, not heard or seen since the invasion of Iraq by American forces last year, Mr. Khodabandeh said he is now living in the huge Ashraf Camp near Baghdad among other members protected in fact by the American.
Not only the MKO fought against Iran, but also carried out operations against other Iranian opposition forces opposed both to them and the Islamic Republic, Mr. Khodabandeh sakid, accusing the MKO of having destroyed the overall Iranian national opposition to the regime.
As the conference went on, MKOs supporters distributed a communiqué accusing the former official, -- as well as other members who have cut with the movement -- of being an agent of Iranian intelligence services and Mr. Chevalerias a collaborator of the ruling ayatollahs, hence confirming assertions that the group uses violence against its opponents.
ENDS MKO 201004
TEHRAN - Iran is prepared to reject an offer to be made Thursday by European countries aimed at defusing mounting tension over its nuclear program.
Hossein Mousavian, the chief Iranian delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview Wednesday with Knight Ridder that the expected deal - nuclear fuel and economic incentives in exchange for Iran abandoning uranium enrichment - would be unacceptable.
Mousavian said Iran was prepared to guarantee it would never produce or use nuclear weapons, but it would never give up its right to enrich uranium for nuclear energy as Washington and its European allies are demanding.
"We are prepared for full implementation (of nuclear safeguards), full transparency and full access. At the same time we are insisting on our full rights," he said. Demands from the West for anything less would be rejected, he added.
However, he said Iranian officials had been instructed to listen to any offer with open minds and would respond only after careful deliberations.
His comments came a day before a private meeting in Vienna, Austria, with officials from Iran, France, Great Britain and Germany intended to prevent an international showdown over Iran's nuclear program, which the United States charges is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
Uranium enrichment and other nuclear-fuel cycle work is allowed for peaceful purposes under the terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran, a signatory to the treaty, says it will use nuclear power only to meet its growing domestic energy needs and free its huge oil and gas supplies for export.
According to the treaty, Iran should be able to receive nuclear technology from other signatories. However, U.S. pressure has largely blocked that.
If Iran fails to agree to suspend its enrichment program by Nov. 25, when the IAEA board of governors next meets, the three European countries may well back the United States' plan to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council to seek sanctions.
Mousavian said Iran was prepared for a showdown at the Security Council. After the United States defeated Iran's two main regional enemies, the hard-line Taliban regime of Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Iran is stronger regionally than it has been since the Islamic republic's inception in 1979.
"If they want to choose confrontation, they should be prepared to pay the costs as we are prepared to pay the costs," Mousavian said. "As we know, we would have damages also."
He said Iran was fed up with what he described as a "double standard" of the West rewarding nuclear powers such as Israel - which is not a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty and is widely believed to have a nuclear arsenal - with nuclear technology while prohibiting signatories such as Iran from acquiring nuclear power.
"Iran is the only country in the region which is a member of all mass weapons conventions. And we have opened all nuclear sites in this country to inspectors. In a year they have done nine hundred man-days of inspections, which in the history of IAEA is unique," he said. "No other country has shown such a level of cooperation."
Numerous overtures by Iran - including paying for a permanent IAEA inspector to monitor the fuel cycle and offering complete control over the Bushehr nuclear plant to the Germans - were rejected, added Mousavian, who was Iran's ambassador to Germany in the early 1990s. Now, Iran is prepared to stay on its solitary path and even deal with attacks on its nuclear sites, he said.
"I recognize that we have a bilateral mistrust. The Western countries, they cannot trust Iran and Iran also cannot trust them. Everyone has their own reasons," Mousavian said.
Even if Iran were forced to withdraw from the nonproliferation treaty, it would never pursue nuclear weapons, Mousavian said.
"Our policy - security, political and defense - is renouncing nuclear bombs and mass destruction weapons forever," he said. "If there are any suspicions, we are prepared for dialogue and clarification and confidence-building measures."
Iran claims it has not yet enriched uranium. But officials here admitted to converting several tons of raw uranium into hexafluoride gas. That gas is fed into centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
At a low level, enriched uranium produces nuclear fuel to generate electricity, but further enriching creates material that can be used to build nuclear weapons.
Iran also continues to assemble and make centrifuges, heightening the Bush administration's concerns that it intends to build a bomb.
WASHINGTON - The United States said it would be "concerned" by Iran's acquisition of any new nuclear technology, signalling opposition to a reported European offer to give Tehran a light-water reactor it proves it is not secretly developing atomic weapons.
The State Department said the transfer of such technology would be problematic given Iran's past performance and failure to comply with international demands to come clean on details of its nuclear program, which the United States maintains is a cover for acquiring atomic arms.
"We have long had concerns about Iran's acquisition of nuclear capability, of nuclear technology, because for many years we have seen a confirmed pattern of noncompliance with safeguards," spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.
"We have seen the use of nuclear exchanges, nuclear technology, in order to develop what we can only describe as a nuclear weapons program and therefore we have been concerned and would remain concerned about Iran acquiring new capability in nuclear technology areas," he said.
"We fundamentally have concerns about Iran acquiring more nuclear technology and capability."
Boucher repeatedly refused to comment on the reported details of the European proposal, but acknowledged that the United States was aware of the contents of the offer, the proponents of which -- Britain, France and Germany -- are to present to Iran on Thursday.
However, according to a document obtained by AFP on Tuesday, Britain, France and Germany -- the so-called "EU3" -- the offer includes a joint promise to provide Iran with nuclear technology, including light-water nuclear reactor, if the Islamic republic complies with demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The EU3 shared specifics of its incentive package with the United States and other members of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations at a meeting last week in Washington.
US officials have not taken a formal position on the offer, saying it is a matter for the EU3 and Iran to consider but raised no objection to the package being presented and, until Boucher's comments on Wednesday, appeared willing to sign off on it.
Boucher insisted the United States was not rejecting any proposals but stressed that Washington had nothing to do with the offer.
"We haven't bought on, signed on or endorsed it, but we know they're going to do it," he said.
Thursday's meeting, at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, is aimed at giving Iran a last-chance to come clean and to agree to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment before the agency's governing board meets next month to decide whether Iran is in compliance or not.
The United States wants the IAEA, which has been investigating the US accusations of Iran's secret nuclear weapons program since February 2003, to send Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. Iran vehemently denies the US charges and has warned against such a referral.
To date, the EU3 have opposed taking the matter to the United Nations, favoring instead a policy of "constructive engagement" to get Tehran to cooperate.
But Washington has held firm to its stance and Boucher reiterated it again on Wednesday.
"Iran has shown, unfortunately, no sign of compliance with the requirements of the (IAEA) Board of Governors," he said.
"They have shown a long-term effort not to comply with the requirements of the safeguards and other agreements and therefore they need to be referred to the UN Security Council."
A Vienna-based western diplomat said the United States is watching the EU3 initiative to see how Iran responds and would afterward reconvene the G8 nations, which include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, for further discussion.
If Iran does not agree and does not comply with its obligations, the EU3 would join the United States in calling for the Islamic Republic to be taken to the Security Council, the document said.
But, if Iran does comply, the EU3 would be ready to offer a whole range of measures, including access to nuclear fuel for its civilian reactors and recognizing Iran's right "to develop a nuclear power generation program to reduce its dependence on oil and gas," it said.
The latter would also appear to clash with Washington's strong belief that Iran, with its vast petroleum reserves, has no need for atomic energy plants.
"We don't see the economic or any other rationale for a country like Iran to try to generate power with nuclear energy, given that ... they flare off way more gas every year than they could get energy from nuclear power plants of the kind that they're talking about," Boucher said.
Khatami: Kerry, Bush both hostile to Iran
October 21, 2004
On the 18th of September, Iran was called to halt its uranium enrichment activities immediately and permanently in a decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors. Iran rejected the demand and claimed that its nuclear activities, including uranium enrichment designed to produce a nuclear fuel cycle, are anchored in the international treaties and regulations. 
Recently, the three European countries, France, Germany, and the UK, initiated (in the talks between the EU and Iran in the past two years) a new proposal where nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes would be provided to Iran by European countries as part of an incentive package. Iran principally refused the offer. In the next few days, the three foreign ministers of France, Germany, and the UK are expected to arrive in Tehran for talks, in which they will officially submit the offer.
Iran claims that its uranium enrichment program is meant only to power its nuclear reactors for civilian purposes, but the capability to produce an independent nuclear fuel cycle makes the production of nuclear bombs possible as well.
The international treaties and regulations in the field of nuclear proliferation prevention permits countries to produce low-enriched uranium (LEU) solely for civilian purposes. The level of enrichment permitted for these purposes stands at 3%-7%, under inspection from the IAEA, and after prior notification of the Agency. On the other hand, high-enriched uranium (HEU), required for military purposes stands at a level of between 20%-90%.
The three Europeans, with backup from the G8, are offering Iran nuclear fuel in order to operate its nuclear reactor in Bushehr, while committing to immediately cease any independent Uranium enrichment activities. The meaning of this offer is that if Iran indeed wants nuclear fuel for civilian purposes - then the fuel it will receive from the Europeans at an enrichment level of 3%-7% should meet its needs. However, it will not suffice Iran for military use - but rather for civilian purposes only, and under the tight supervision of the international bodies over the Iranian use of that fuel.
The Iranian Reaction
The Iranian foreign minister's spokesperson, Hamid Reza Asefi rejected the offer, stating: "[this is a question of] the preservation of our inalienable right [to pursue Uranium enrichment activities] the Europeans will have to accept the fact that they cannot force Iran to do [whatever they want]."  Iran claims that it is determined to achieve independent nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and that it cannot be swayed from this right. 
In order to defend its ability to enrich Uranium beyond the requirement of civilian needs, Iran makes several arguments:
*Ayelet Savyon is Director of the Iranian Media Project.
 See MEMRI report No. 189, September 21, 2004, 'Iran's Nuclear Policy Crisis,' http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?page=countries&area=iran&ID=IA18904
 Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), October 19, 2004.
 See statements of Iranian officials on this matter: Iranian president Khatami, IRNA February 13, 2003; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran) September 6, August 29, 2004; statements by Supreme National Security Council Secretary, Hassan Rohani, Keyhan (Iran) June 19, September 8, 2004 and also claims by Hussain Mussavian, Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), Siyasat-I Rouz, October 18, 2004.
 IAEA reports contradict this claim.
 Iran and the European countries have reached secret understandings about the nuclear activities of Iran in a series of meeting during the past two years. As a result of these talks Iran surprisingly announced, in October 2003, its willingness to sign the 'additional protocol' and the cessation of its actions in the field of Uranium enrichment as a gesture of good will, in what was known as the 'Tehran declaration'. In February 2004, Iran agreed to halt the production and assembly of centrifuge parts, in what was subsequently known as 'the Brussels understandings'.
Iran indifferent to outcome of US presidential polls
Tehran, October 21
With Iran's nuclear ambitions part of the US presidential debate, Tehran is indifferent to whether Republican incumbent George W Bush or Democrat contender John Kerry wins November's elections, a senior official has said.
"It makes no difference for us which of the two parties wins the elections," Iran's top national security official, Hassan Rowhani, said in an interview on state television.
Rowhani, who is also in charge of Iran's nuclear programme, was reacting to US press reports that the Islamic republic would rather see Kerry win than Bush.
"We have not seen any good coming from the Democrats, so we won't be happy if the Democrats win," he said.
While Bush wants to haul Iran in front of the UN Security Council over allegations that Tehran is seeking nuclear technology for military purposes, Kerry has proposed supplying Iran with fuel in exchange for an end to its nuclear fuel cycle work.
"We should not forget that most sanctions and economic pressures were imposed on Iran during Clinton's administration," Rowhani added, referring to former Democrat president Bill Clinton.
The 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act was passed unanimously by US Congress and signed into law by Clinton, and initially provided for sanctions on any company in the world that invested more than $ 40 million a year in the Iranian oil and gas sectors.
That sum was lowered to $ 20 million in 1997, and a further Clinton-era law forbade US businesses having any commercial contact with Iran.
Clinton did make some efforts at rapprochement following the election of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, but without visible success.
"We are not afraid of the US even if the Republicans win since, at least in the region, they have found out that aggression and bullying will only result in their interests being threatened," he added.
"We also should not forget that while under Bush there were some harsh, void and baseless slogans, there were no real practical steps taken against Iran," Rowhani said.
Shortly after the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan, Bush labelled Iran as part of an "axis of evil", along with Iraq and North Korea, despite discreet help from Tehran in eliminating the hardline Taliban regime.
"Historically, Iranian leaders have always had better relations with the Republicans," said analyst Said Leylaz.
"Relations between the United States and its faithful ally Iran were bad under (Democrat Presidents John F) Kennedy and Jimmy Carter."
"After the revolution, (Republican Ronald) Reagan initiated the Iran-Contra affair, supplying Iran with weapons."
Under the deal, Iran was supposed to arrange the release of American hostages held in Lebanon in exchange for arms sales from Washington.
In 1981 the nascent Islamic Republic's leaders supported the Republicans against the outgoing Carter, freeing US hostages held at the Tehran embassy barely hours after Reagan was sworn in.
Iran and the United States broke diplomatic relations in 1980 after the 52 diplomats were taken hostage.
By Brian Murphy
The Associated Press
TEHRAN They are the shock troops of Iran's Islamic revolution the men who helped seize the US embassy a generation ago and bore the brunt of their country's eight-year war with Iraq.
The vast and well-funded Revolutionary Guard are still the most potent force available to the regime. And their network of soldiers and vigilantes may be hungry for even more clout as Tehran faces new pressures over its nuclear ambitions, the war in Iraq and the approach of Iran's critical presidential election next year, analysts say.
A vivid example is Tehran's new international airport. It was supposed to showcase a new, more outward-looking Iran.
Flights should have begun months ago. Instead, it's empty and controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, who shut it down because they suspected the company hired to help operate it could have business ties to their archenemy, Israel.
Those terminals gathering dust on Tehran's desert outskirts may be that Iran's theocracy is loosening the reins on the guards at a sensitive time, some analysts believe. This could mean a retrenching of hard-line positions rather than a move towards compromise with the West on pivotal issues such as Iran's nuclear programme.
The climate is ready for the Revolutionary Guard to play a bigger role, said Tehran-based political analyst Saeed Ale Agha.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his inner circle feel buffeted from many directions.
Washington is warning Iran to keep its distance from Shiite Muslim brethren in neighbouring Iraq. Iran also is facing an uphill struggle to convince the West its nuclear programmes are for energy, not arms. Presidential elections next year to replace the exhausted reformist camp of Mohammad Khatami could again bring political feuds to a boil.
The more than 200,000-member corps of Revolutionary Guard which is independent of the ordinary armed forces have a direct pipeline to the leadership and a broad mandate to confront dangers to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Each advance by the Revolutionary Guard is another potential blow to the influence of the elected government, the regular armed forces and reformist officials.
The guards carry considerable prestige for their front-line role during the 1980-88 war with Iraq and direct the volunteer militia known as the basij, which some estimates say includes 15 per cent of the population, or about 10 million people.
But it doesn't stop there. The Revolutionary Guard oversee such vital and lucrative interests as oil platforms, pipelines and dams, and the airport affair suggests they are reaching into new areas of politics and the economy.
The regular military also must defer to the guards on many key matters, including missile development. Earlier this month, Iran announced the range of its missiles had been extended to 2,000 kilometres, reaching anywhere in the Middle East and Central Asia.
In September, at a military parade, the corps rolled out a Shahab-3 missile with expanded range. It was draped with a banner saying: Israel must be wiped off the world map. It's no surprise that Iran's leaders could be turning to institutions such as the Revolutionary Guard, said Gary Samore, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. This is a period of many uncertainties for Iran, and the Revolutionary Guard represent a reliable fallback position for the establishment. The airport seizure was a lesson in how far they will go and how little anyone can do about it.
The guards shut down the $200 million (§160 million) airfield on the first day of scheduled flights in May, citing security risks. They feared possible business links between Israel and a Turkish company with the contract to co-manage the airport.
The government and liberal lawmakers protested, but in vain. The conservative-dominated parliament, which includes former officers and sympathisers of the guards, voted Oct. 4 to impeach the transport minister over complaints topped by the airport deal.
There's suspicion although unproven that the Revolutionary Guard are actively supporting militant Shiite factions in Iraq. But no one questions the Guards' deep influence over Iran's most hard-line policies, including opposition to any political thaw with Washington.
These days, heightened anxiety is evident. Iranian Web sites, Friday prayer leaders and political commentators are all chewing over scenarios of a US or Israeli strike, and the Revolutionary Guard do nothing to discourage the nail-biting.
Bush won't hesitate to attack Iran if he wins the elections, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander, Hojatoleslam Mojtaba Zolnour, told a gathering last month.
The guards also are flexing their muscles in other directions as Iran and other oil exporters cash in on record-high crude prices. Its development would accelerate if the basiji had control of construction, the Revolutionary Guard commander, Brig. Gen. Rahim Safavi, said last month.
Ehsan Ahrari, an international affairs commentator based in Norfolk, Va., traced the guards' resurgence to the US-led attacks that toppled the Taleban in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Iran has been nervous that they could be next. Iraq only made it worse, he said. The Revolutionary Guard are borderline paranoid. This is why they could be seeking as much control as possible.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
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