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Iranian Alert - October 24, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Regime Change Iran ^ | 10.24.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 10/23/2004 9:00:24 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 American’s 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.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: armyofmahdi; ayatollah; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iraq; islamicrepublic; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; lsadr; moqtadaalsadr; mullahs; persecution; persia; persian; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin

1 posted on 10/23/2004 9:00:26 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Iranian alert ping

2 posted on 10/23/2004 9:01:41 PM PDT by fastattacksailor (Sic Semper Tyrannus!)
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To: DoctorZIn

Axis of Weakness

October 18, 2004
Weekly Standard
Jeffrey Gedmin

In early September at an annual meeting here of Germany's ambassadors, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told his top diplomats that the E.U. would "not accept" nuclear weapons in the hands of the mullahs. He had discussed the matter with the foreign ministers of France and Britain and "nothing would change" in this position. Fischer warned against a nuclear arms race in the Middle East (it would be a "nightmare," he said) and appealed three times to the Iranian leadership not to miscalculate.

That sounds serious. But then remember that high-noon rhetoric in Euroland means something different than it does in Texas. I once watched a dubbed western in Germany. In the original the sheriff says to the outlaw, "If yer not outta town by sundown, I'm gonna come gunnin' for you." In the German version the villain gets stern mutterings about the need to de-register at the Einwohneranmeldeamt--literally, the inhabitant registration office, the local authority where you fill out forms anytime you move from one place of residence to another. Now that'll make you shake in your boots.

In truth, Germany's Iran policy has been bankrupt from nearly day one. Bonn started the project in 1992 under the banner of "Critical Dialogue." While Germany and its European partners tried aid, trade, credits, and diplomatic indulgences, the regime in Tehran continued to support terrorism, repress the Iranian people, and clandestinely pursue nuclear weapons. In 1999 the E.U. changed the name of the policy to "Constructive Dialogue." A German friend of mine once explained to me, with some embarrassment, how the policy works. Europe is nice to the mullahs, and when this fails, well, Europe tries to be a little nicer.

It is not hard to imagine how hilarious all this must look from Tehran's perspective. While today Fischer talks tough, senior officials in Berlin are making no secret of the fact that they believe multilateral sanctions will never work and a military option to check Iran's nuclear ambitions is out of the question. Germany has been allergic even to the idea of stepped-up political pressure. There is some irony to all this, of course. On the one hand, Berlin has been campaigning hard for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. Germany loves the U.N. On the other hand, the Germans have also campaigned to keep the issue of Iran's nuclear program out of the Security Council.

A recent headline in a Berlin daily called for the West to offer Tehran "a fair price" to give up its nuclear ambition. A paper recently published by an important government-funded think tank in Berlin offers concrete proposals: "normalization of American-Iranian relations, U.S. abandonment of stigmatizing Iran as a 'rogue state' [and] the lifting of economic sanctions." It seems the Germans have run out of carrots and it's time for the Americans to do their part. The author argues for greater European support of "moderate forces," referring not to Iran, but rather to those in the United States who support more "engagement" with the mullahs.

Things are not much better in Britain. Prime Minister Tony Blair may have more serious inclinations, but he is using Iran to show his Europeanness and will be loath to break E.U. ranks again as he did over Iraq. His foreign minister, Jack Straw, is a dedicated advocate of the E.U. approach. Straw raced to Tehran shortly after 9/11 to appeal to common values in the struggle against terrorism. Even among Tories, there is consensus about the imperative of "engagement." Conservative politician Chris Patten says the failure of E.U. policy on Iran has been one of the biggest disappointments in his tenure as E.U. commissioner. Strangely, Patten also steadfastly rejects a harder line and insists that there is no alternative to détente.

For their part, the French, of course, still see Iran as part of the greater game: building the E.U. as a geostrategic counterweight to the United States. President Jacques Chirac and German chancellor Gerhard Schröder recently visited Madrid together. They must feel encouraged by developments there. The new Spanish defense minister, José Bono, says his country is no longer "kneeling" before Washington and that it is high time for Madrid to "show its sovereignty." What better chance than to use Iran as a test case for an independent E.U. foreign policy?

You can get to the bottom line pretty quickly. The mullahs want the bomb. The E.U. will help them get it. Over the last 22 months--and six board meetings of the International Atomic Energy Agency--the terrible unilateralists of the Bush administration have pushed in vain for the E.U. to support the United States in getting the matter referred to the Security Council. It is simply not the time "to wield that weapon," writes the left-wing British newspaper the Guardian. A mighty weapon it is! When the issue finally gets to the U.N., we all know the script. Saddam Hussein got 17 resolutions and 12 years, at the end of which America received angry calls from Berlin and Paris for still more time to coax the Iraqi dictator to behave.

It is hard to see how we avoid another transatlantic meltdown. The chattering classes across Europe are already busy developing the rationale for appeasement. Britain's Financial Times says "Iran has legitimate security concerns," being "surrounded by nuclear-armed powers including Israel and nervous of U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, central Asia and the Gulf." In the August 26, 2004, issue of the British magazine Prospect, one columnist poses the question: "Rather than thinking about how to keep [the mullahs] in their place, why not take their interests seriously?"

Adds Steven Everts of the London-based Centre for European Reform in the Financial Times: "It's very, very difficult to dissuade a country from going down the path of nuclear weapons if it's convinced that its strategic approach requires them." This E.U.-speak roughly translates as: "You varmints better high tail it outta here, unless of course you prefer not to because you'd rather stick around and mess with the townfolk, in which case all of us are gonna be pretty darn mad."

Jeffrey Gedmin is director of the Aspen Institute Berlin.

3 posted on 10/23/2004 9:01:55 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

October 24, 2004

Iran will defy curbs on nuclear ambition

Nicholas Rufford
IRAN is to resist international demands to abandon a nuclear programme that has alarmed the West and worsened the risk of instability in the Middle East.

Secret intelligence seen by Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, reveals that Iran will not give up production of nuclear material that could be used in weapons.

Under a proposed deal, the country would receive international help to develop a genuinely peaceful nuclear energy capability.

However, at talks due to begin in Vienna on Wednesday, Iran will refuse to put an immediate stop to its uranium enrichment programme.

Its rejection of proposals by France, Germany and Britain will bring it into direct confrontation with Europe and America. Washington has accused Iran of secretly building nuclear weapons under the guise of a peaceful programme.

The standoff will heighten fears over Iran’s rapid progress towards being the second Islamic country — after neighbouring Pakistan — with a nuclear weapon.

There have been warnings of a new crisis in the Middle East if Iran continues to defy demands by the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations to allow full inspections of its programme. Some observers have predicted Israel will launch pre-emptive strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations.

A senior western diplomat said British negotiators were preparing for Iran to issue “counter-proposals and new demands”.

“They are going to want the benefits (to come early). The Iranians are not going to say ‘no’ to the offer — at least not in a word with two letters in it,” said the envoy. “They are going to come back in a way that makes it look like they want to keep talking but their objective is to spin this out as long as they can.”

The country has also failed to report to the UN its progress in developing a new type of centrifuge for enriching uranium.

Intelligence that Iran will ask for more time and enhanced terms is believed to be based on talks between officials of Iran’s foreign ministry and members of its delegations at the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and at UN headquarters in New York.

“Britain will have little choice but to support demands that Iran is called before the UN Security Council,” said a senior source.

4 posted on 10/23/2004 9:02:51 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Carrot offered on nukes, but Iran to say stick it

Richard Beeston in London
October 23, 2004

BRITAIN, France and Germany have presented Iran with a package of economic and political incentives as part of a last-ditch attempt to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear enrichment program.

With only a month to go before a key meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Europeans promised to help Iran build a civilian nuclear industry, as long as it abandons what many regard as efforts to assemble an atomic bomb.

The proposal, contained in a seven-page memorandum, calls on Iran to "suspend all enrichment and reprocessing" activities. Experts fear that this part of Iran's nuclear program could enable Tehran to produce enough enriched uranium for use in a nuclear warhead as early as next year.

If Tehran complies with the offer, the Europeans are ready to help Iran build a light-water reactor and to sell the Iranians nuclear fuel, as long as it is reprocessed outside the country.

The Europeans are also prepared to boost Tehran's trade ties with the West and to help it work within the World Trade Organisation.

But the letter contains a "stick" as well as a "carrot". The Europeans warned that their 15-month-long attempt at "constructive engagement" will cease if Iran turns down the offer. In that case, the Europeans would support America's policy of referring Iran to the UN Security Council, which could impose punitive measures and give nuclear inspectors more intrusive rights.

There were no negotiations yesterday. The Iranian side simply accepted the European offer and sent the document back to Tehran, where the leadership must decide which course to take. The Iranian delegation predicted they could have their answer ready in days and a second meeting in Vienna now seems likely.

Hopes of a breakthrough are slim, however. President Mohammad Khatami said on Wednesday that Iran "would not give up our rights" to acquire nuclear technology. The Bush administration, which has long argued that oil-rich Iran does not need nuclear power but only wants to acquire the atomic bomb, predicted that the European initiative would probably fail.

Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, said earlier this week that he was waiting for the Europeans to "call us as soon as you have finished".

But his spokesman later suggested that Washington was not holding its breath. "At this point Iranian compliance does not seem likely ... based on Iran's history and their current expressions and the things they are saying and doing right now," said Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman.

5 posted on 10/23/2004 9:05:08 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Powell Says US on the 'March' to Refer Iran to UN Security Council

October 23, 2004
Agence France Presse

TOKYO -- The United States has seen no sign Iran will comply with international demands on its suspect nuclear program and will push next month for the matter to be sent to the UN Security Council unless Tehran reverses its course, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Saturday.

Powell said Washington believed it could get support from the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer Iran to the Security Council in the event it fails to comply with its IAEA obligations and commitments to European nations.

The IAEA's governing board last met in September and called on Iran by its November 25 meeting to halt uranium enrichment activities that could be used to produce nuclear weapons and disprove fully US accusations that it is secretly developing such arms.

"I think everybody left the September meeting believing that if there was not a significant response, and a very clear significant response that met all of the IAEA requirements and was totally consistent with the agreement they had with the EU, that there should be a referral in November," Powell said.

"We're approaching November and it is our position that we should continue to march toward action by the IAEA ... that would refer it to the Security Council if there is no complete satisfaction on the part of the Iranians toward the international obligations and commitments that they have made," he said.

Powell made the comments to reporters aboard his plane en route to Japan, the first leg of a three-nation Asian tour during which another nuclear dilemma -- North Korea's atomic weapons programs -- will be the chief focus.

He said the United States was looking forward to hearing Iran's formal response to a proposal from Europe's three key states for it to avoid possible UN sanctions and receive nuclear technology by indefinitely suspending uranium enrichment.

The United States has frowned on the incentives offered by Britain, France and Germany but made no move to stop the offer from being made and Powell held out little hope that Tehran would respond positively.

Earlier Saturday, a senior Iranian lawmaker branded the European conditions unacceptable and in violation of Iran's right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Tehran insists that its program is to produce energy and vehemently denies the US allegations.

The European trio had in October 2003 struck a deal with Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, against promises of getting technology transfers.

But the deal has soured with the Europeans calling for Iran to halt all enrichment activities, including making centrifuges and the feed gas for the centrifuges which refine the uranium, and Iran saying such support activities were not included in the agreement.

6 posted on 10/23/2004 9:05:51 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Expediency Council Passes New Decisions on Privatization Drive

October 23, 2004
BBC Monitoring

Tehran -- The Expediency Council on Saturday [23 October] passed new decisions to privatize national economy and help rid it of stagnation.

"The new decisions will help speed up growth of national economy, boost efficiency and productivity of material and human resources and prepare the ground for competition in the economic sector," said a statement from the Expediency Council.

The Management and Planning Organization (MPO) has drawn up a 20-year economic, social and cultural development plan (2005-2025) which requires privatization of major enterprises now being run by the government.

The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei forwarded the long-term vision plan to the heads of the three branches of government in order to be put into effect and assigned the Expediency Council to remove any obstacle that the strategic plan may find with the articles 43 and 44 of the Constitution.

The Constitution drawn up after victory of the Islamic Revolution has envisaged monopoly of government over national economy.

But, experience of the past 25 years proved that the state monopoly has brought stagnation to the economy sector.

The Expediency Council said that the government officials in charge of the economic affairs were present in the meeting and offered expert views about the topics being examined.

Source: IRNA web site, Tehran, in English 1404 gmt 23 Oct 04

7 posted on 10/23/2004 9:06:18 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iraq's Shadow Ruler

When Ayatullah Sistani speaks, millions obey. Can the conscience of the nation make it safe for democracy? By JOHANNA MCGEARY BAGHDAD

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2004
The very name Sistani is shrouded in mystery. Few Westerners have ever met the most powerful man in Iraq. If they did, they would encounter a thin, bearded figure with little interest in the trappings of office. Grand Ayatullah Ali Husaini Sistani, the revered leader of the nation's 15 million Shi'ites, receives visitors, powerful and meek alike, in a plain, bare room in his modest home down a dusty alley in the holy city of Najaf. He sits on the floor with his back to the wall, dressed always in the same simple robe and turban. (An intimate says he hasn't refreshed his wardrobe in 10 years.) He is modest and respectful, and listens more than he talks. But his charisma is striking. His eyes "look into your psyche," says Mohammed Kamil al-Rudaie, a university professor in Baghdad who has met him often. "He has a kind of esp for understanding people and tailoring his answer to suit the person in front of him."

And when Sistani speaks, Iraqis obey. At 74, the Shi'ite spiritual leader is widely acknowledged as the conscience of the nation, armed with a unique moral authority to arbitrate Iraq's future. Though he was quiet during the long, hard years of Shi'ite repression under Saddam Hussein, Sistani has emerged since the dictator's fall as the country's pivotal political figure. Iraq's Kurds and Sunnis, as well as Shi'ites, pay heed to his views. His reach extends as far as Washington, where he has repeatedly forced the Bush Administration to yield to his demands and issued decrees that have altered U.S. plans for postwar Iraq. The reclusive ayatullah inserts himself into the political fray whenever he feels it is necessary. Just last week he issued a statement encouraging all Iraqis to participate in the election scheduled for January, and he called on the Iraqi government to start registering voters. The powers that be in Iraq ignore him at their peril.

Sistani proved his authority in August, when Najaf had sunk into chaos. As the fighting began, he abruptly quit the city to seek medical treatment abroad. The rumors started: Sistani was dying; Sistani was afraid; Sistani was losing influence to Muqtada al-Sadr, the brash young cleric whose militiamen were battling U.S. troops to a standstill. But on Aug. 26, as the Americans were on the verge of assaulting one of Iraq's most sacred Shi'ite shrines, Sistani showed he was still the Man. Straight from medical treatment for a heart condition in London, he was driven into Najaf at the head of thousands of unarmed loyalists who had answered his call to march on the city. Within hours, he had brought an end to postwar Iraq's bloodiest battle. Even the cocksure al-Sadr bowed his head when he came to sit on a threadbare carpet across from Sistani and acceded to the cleric's commands.

In some Western minds, an elderly white-bearded figure in a black turban who is adored by the masses evokes the dark image of another Shi'ite mullah: Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini, who turned Iran into a stern, inimical Islamic theocracy. Sistani is of a different breed.

He has insisted on rapid elections to choose a government reflecting "the will of the people" and forswears any executive role for himself or fellow clerics. But Sistani is equally determined that after 300 years of domination by Iraq's minority Sunnis, the time has come for Shi'ites to take the reins of power. If he has opposed al-Sadr and others who seek control through violence, Sistani has been just as rigorous in refusing to align himself with the U.S. That may give many Americans pause as they contemplate the U.S. investment in the embattled country's future. But Sistani's moral stature and unyielding push for a new democratic order have made him America's best hope for preventing Iraq from spinning into anarchy.

His intervention in Najaf paved the way for the deal cut last week, by which al-Sadr agreed to disarm his militia and enter the political arena. Here's the story of how Sistani became the country's supreme power and what he envisions for Iraq: means of ascent in the Shi'ite universe, the first requisite for leadership is erudition, measured by a lifetime's knowledge of Islamic principles and law. Sistani's learning is universally recognized. According to his official biography, the child born into a pious, scholarly family in rugged northeastern Iran began learning the Koran at age 5. He absorbed the conservative traditions of the Islamic seminaries in Qum, where he arrived as a 19-year-old prodigy. Three years later, he left to study in the Iraqi city of Najaf, the prestigious 1,000-year-old home to some of Shi'ism's most prominent teachers of jurisprudence; he has lived there ever since. Najaf's schools were filled with as many Persians as Arabs. Sistani never lost his thick native accent and remains an Iranian citizen, which has made him a target of Arab rivals like al-Sadr who disparage his ethnicity.

Sistani excelled in Najaf and soon became a disciple of Grand Ayatullah Abul Qassim al-Khoei. At the unusually young age of 31, Sistani reached the senior level of accomplishment called ijtihad, which entitled him to pass his own judgments on religious questions.

Sistani kept his distance from Khomeini, who was then in exile in Najaf and already honing his militant philosophy of temporal clerical rule. Al-Khoei, Sistani's mentor, preached the "quietist" approach, in which religious leaders address matters of spirituality and behavior but stay out of politics. Sistani embraced that philosophy.

For 50 years, Sistani has devoted his waking hours to solitary prayer, reading and teaching. He has acquired legions of students, attracted by his charisma, sound logic, prodigious research and quick wit. On social issues Sistani has always been an Islamic conservative. But unlike many fellow clerics, he possesses a keen appetite for subjects ranging far beyond theology—modern science, history, political philosophy, biography, comparative religions, current events—and employs an unusual freedom of expression in reinterpreting religious questions. "He merges Islamic principles and modern life," says al-Rudaie, the Baghdad professor. "His rules are not frozen in time." Groomed by al-Khoei for supreme religious authority, Sistani took on the mantle of marja, or object of emulation, the highest rank among Shi'ite clerics, soon after al-Khoei's death in 1992.

Sistani proved himself an assertive competitor among the jostling senior ayatullahs, including Muqtada al-Sadr's influential father, who was assassinated by Saddam in 1999. Perhaps even more important, Sistani inherited the treasure chest of religious tithes and pilgrim's donations that al-Khoei had amassed, a fortune soon augmented by his own popularity. That enabled Sistani to fund a vast and flourishing network of agents and allies. From his shabby Najaf office, he runs a formidable array of schools, libraries, hospitals, charities and even technology centers spread across Iraq and Iran, as well as outreach offices from the Middle East to Western Europe.

Though the marja is akin to a Roman Catholic Pope in religious authority, no college of mullahs elects him. Every one of the faithful chooses a cleric as his spiritual guide, whose rulings he will follow. Clerics rise to the top on the basis of their popular following as well as the esteem of their colleagues. In a country given to flash and corruption, Sistani has earned widespread admiration for his ascetic lifestyle and upright reputation. For decades, he has lived out of public view with his wife, two sons and several daughters. They inhabit a humble rented house a few hundred yards from the golden-domed shrine of Imam Ali, the Shi'ites' most venerated martyr. His meals are the frugal fare of the poor: tea, bread, yogurt, a bit of cheese, vegetables. As a result of the meager diet, he suffers on and off from anemia as well as the blocked arteries treated in London. Tall but never robust, he now looks frail and old.

Sistani's invisibility is in part cultivated, some aides and rivals say, to enhance the aura of mystery that contributes to his appeal.

Says Sheik Haitham Nasrawi, a representative of al-Sadr's father: "When he sits behind closed doors, he is seen as a man who makes no mistakes." But during Saddam's reign of terror, Sistani's seclusion turned into house arrest imposed by the regime. He endured it as a "religious duty to defend the Shi'ites' sacred center," says Tawfiq al-Yassery, a secular Shi'ite politician with close ties to the ayatullah. After Saddam fell, Sistani faced new threats from al-Sadr's militia, and now armed guards tightly control access to his house. He is still most comfortable operating behind closed doors; he hasn't conducted Friday prayers for years and even discourages the dissemination of posters bearing his image. He has refused to meet with U.S. officials and says he will not talk to any Westerners as long as their armies occupy Iraq. The Americans complain that Sistani's reclusiveness has muddied lines of communication, as officials struggle to interpret his views secondhand.

For all his seclusion, Sistani is worldly wise about Iraq's current realities. "He has his hands on the pulse of the nation," says Hussein Shahristani, a former nuclear scientist who returned from exile to advise Sistani. "It's at his fingertips." Sistani sees a steady stream of aides and agents based around the country as well as Iraqi leaders eager to court and consult him. Sheik Jameel al-Qurayshi, who represents Sistani in Baghdad's restive Sadr City district, visits the ayatullah at least once a week to discuss the fine points of Islamic practice and get political advice for handling his neighborhood. Sistani's declarations are succinct and to the point. "He makes no decision until he is totally clear he has come to the right conclusion," says Shahristani. "He says exactly what he means, and he sticks to it"—something the Bush Administration learned the hard way. "I'm very glad Washington conceded on early elections, or we'd have been in trouble," says a Western diplomat in Baghdad. Sistani "has a few gut core beliefs, and he doesn't change them."

But Sistani tends to express principles that leave the details open to interpretation. He communicates them before and after sunset prayers, when he addresses his followers' 1,001 questions on proper religious observance, social behavior and personal conduct. He engages in a busy written dialogue with his followers by letter and via the Internet. Not long ago, Rifat al-Amin, a university student in Baghdad, wrote the ayatullah to ask whether protests by his followers should take place in narrow streets where they would block traffic. The marja replied that demonstrations should take place in wide squares instead. Al-Amin also asked if Sistani accepted "what was going on" in Iraq. He received back a simple no.

What Kind Of Democrat?

Sistani's personal history would be interesting but unimportant if the U.S. had not invaded Iraq. The fall of Saddam left the country in chaos, with a power vacuum at the top. The Shi'ite masses naturally looked to Sistani for direction, says Shahristani, and the ayatullah felt compelled by religious duty to step in. "He believes at a crisis time like this, the marja must guide the people," says al-Qurayshi.

So the cleric who had shied away from politics all his life began to issue fatwas of profound political importance.

Sistani quickly emerged as a voice of restraint, urging Iraqis to be patient and eschew violence. He told Shi'ites to neither help nor hinder the U.S. invaders, although he made his opposition to foreign occupation clear by counseling citizens to ask Americans, "When are you leaving Iraq?" He advised people against revenge killings of Baathists. Iraqi and U.S. officials agree that his calming influence was critical in tamping down Shi'ite resistance. "That was the only reason there was no bloodbath in those early days," says a secular Iraqi politician. When the orgy of looting after Saddam's departure ran unchecked, Sistani stood up to label it immoral and wrong.

Overnight, thieves were piling up stolen air conditioners, computers, art and relics at the doors of Shi'ite mosques.

At the same time, Sistani has forced the U.S. to abandon many of its designs for Iraq's future. When Washington laid out a lengthy timetable for returning Iraq to self-rule, Sistani's objections forced the Bush Administration to deliver a swift handover instead.

He has been uncompromising in his call for prompt elections and in his determination that Iraqis write their own constitution. When the U.S. proposed a complex caucus system for voting, Sistani responded by putting 100,000 peaceful demonstrators into the streets to support his call for national one-man, one-vote elections by January 2005.

With a word, he temporarily blocked the signing of the U.S.-designed interim constitution last spring because it gave too much power to minority Kurds and too little to Islamic law. When the elected assembly drafts a permanent constitution next year, he will insist it maintains Shi'ite dominance as well as strong national unity.

The critical issue, of course, is how Islamic Sistani wants Iraq to be. He has made it clear that foreign powers cannot be allowed to dictate the country's form of government, nor does he want to replicate a Western model. He has said Islamic law should govern family and personal matters. "His vision of the good state," says a Western diplomat in Baghdad, "is not where my wife and daughter would want to live." But Sistani's aides say he considers the Khomeini and Taliban experiments in theocracy failures—too extreme and rigid for modern society, especially one as demographically diverse as Iraq.

And he opposes al-Sadr in large measure because the upstart is pushing to make Iraq a carbon copy of Iran, with al-Sadr at the helm.

Sistani aides like al-Qurayshi describe the cleric's vision as a "democratic Islamic state," a parliamentary system whose laws comport with Muslim principles. He would allow de facto separation of church and state, leaving the daily business of government to politicians and technocrats—under the umbrella of religious values. He sees his role, says a secular politician, "as the country's guardian wise man." So when Iraq's elected parliament takes up issues related to religion, says University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, an expert on modern Middle Eastern history, "he'll issue a ruling and expect the Shi'ite members to obey." Since a large minority in Iraq does not share the Shi'ite faith, Sistani recognizes his sect's brand of Shari'a cannot be imposed on the country. Iraq's system, he often says, is "up to the will of the people." But once Shi'ites attain majority power, his aides acknowledge, Sistani hopes they will democratically vote in Islamic laws.

Despite Washington's unspoken dependence on Sistani to keep disaffected Shi'ites in check, U.S. officials read dark omens in his increasing activism. They don't want to set a precedent in which the grand ayatullah always has the final say. And the specter of Khomeini deeply colors the Bush Administration's view. Officials are wary that Sistani's long-term interests are not aligned with the U.S.'s. Some fear that he wants to become the political puppetmaster, running a religious regime behind the veil of a titular secular leader. Others distrust his Iranian background and connections and are worried that he would take instructions from the mullahs next door. Sistani and his supporters may not want a strict Islamic republic, but if they win, says Kenneth Katzman at Washington's Congressional Research Service, "they're going to have very, very close ties to Tehran." But Iranian authorities say Sistani has well-established financial and philosophical independence from Tehran.

Those who know Sistani say fears of outside influence are misplaced.

They describe a devout but independent cleric whose religious calling requires him to rise above both the intrigues of day-to-day politics and the pursuit of personal political power. "The Islamic view," says Dhafer al-Qaisey, a Sistani representative in southern Baghdad, "is that a religious leader must take responsibility to say what is right and what is not. Then it is up to you whether to follow that advice."

Despite the stream of politicos knocking on his door to seek his blessing, Sistani has said he will not anoint any person or party. He even refuses to allow visitors to be photographed with him, for fear they might turn pictures into propaganda.

His overriding motive, intimates say, is to seize this moment in history to ensure that Shi'ite hopes are not dashed yet again. For centuries, the sect has ended up on the wrong side of power, and Sistani wants to make sure it comes out on top this time. He has been adamant about elections because he believes Shi'ites can get what they want at the ballot box, and the rest of the world will have to accept it. Some Sistani aides say there is an implicit warning in that: if Shi'ite expectations of electoral victory are thwarted, Sistani could call his followers to rebel. "He does not think of jihad now," says Ali al-Mousawi al-Waath, Sistani's agent in the Baghdad shrine district of Khadimiya, "but that depends on what the Americans do." Iraq's Shi'ites, he says, "follow our marja. If he tells us to die, we die."

No one thinks Sistani is close to giving such an order. He is too "humane," says Shahristani. When al-Sadr's soldiers disobeyed Sistani's directive not to spill blood in Najaf, Sistani "wept for hours" over the young Iraqi lives that were lost, says an intimate. A diplomat in Baghdad regards Sistani as a "cautious man who doesn't go out on a limb." Sistani's men say he has repeatedly doused al-Sadr's uprisings because he fears violence will only cost the Shi'ites their legitimate claim to power.

But his aides say he is growing increasingly worried that the U.S. is manipulating the electoral process to limit Shi'ite influence. White House and State Department officials are concerned that in a completely open election, Shi'ites might emerge with an enormous majority that would dangerously shunt Sunnis and Kurds aside. The National Security Council's Iraq point man, Robert Blackwill, came up with the idea of uniting members of the former and current interim governments, made up largely of exiles chosen for their ethnic balance and pro-American attitudes, into a single slate. That would give Washington's favored candidates, who have well-organized political operations but are not individually popular, a way to stay in power. Blackwill, says a well-placed U.S. official, "created the idea to counter Sistani's power." Blackwill's office claims that while he was developing the plan, some Iraqis hit on the same idea "independently." But the ayatullah has indicated he disapproves of the unified slate. "He's afraid the way the voting is being set up, the Shi'ites might be cheated out of their majority," says Michigan's Cole. The system has also encouraged the curious alliance of the religious al-Sadr and the secular Ahmad Chalabi, former U.S. favorite, who see in each other a way to trump Sistani's power. The ayatullah is agitating for changes that would give Islamic parties aligned with him a higher profile. While the cleric has not tried to negotiate the specifics, observers say that is as far into the grit of politics as he has ventured. He has to show Shi'ites that the election can benefit them, says Katzman. If it doesn't, he risks a damaging loss of legitimacy among ordinary Shi'ites that demagogues like al-Sadr will try to exploit.

The last thing Washington wants is to help someone like al-Sadr rise to power. "Sistani's the most moderate ayatullah in sight," says a Western diplomat in Baghdad, "and the U.S. needs to see eye to eye with him on basic political steps." That means the Bush Administration may have to accept that the version of democracy it went to war to create in Iraq may not be the one it gets. To achieve a stable, free Iraq, there's no going around the power—and preferences—of Grand Ayatullah Sistani.

— With reporting by the Iraqi staff of TIME/Najaf, Massimo Calabresi/ Washington and Nahid Siamdoust/ Tehran

8 posted on 10/23/2004 9:06:55 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran's Politics Sinks NIOC's Freedom Bid

October 23, 2004
Petroleum Intelligence Weekly
Energy Intelligence Group

Is domestic infighting constraining Iran's oil and gas potential almost as much as the US sanctions that complicate access to investment and technology? Internal disputes certainly figure alongside external impediments to progress, as conservative members of parliament are threatening to scupper attempts by state National Iranian Oil Co. to retain and invest more of the money that it earns from producing and selling the country's oil.

At present, NIOC has no control over the proceeds from crude exports, currently around 2.5 million b/d, which go into the state budget. The conservative-led Majlis (parliament) vetoed in the summer a government proposal to improve transparency at NIOC and give it greater control over oil revenue. The plan was for NIOC to retain a royalty payment for each barrel produced for investment in upstream and downstream projects.

NIOC is currently allowed to spend the money earned on exports of condensates and refined products, which net about $3 billion per year, but part of this has to cover the rising cost of gasoline imports -- currently about $1 billion/yr. Apart from this funding, NIOC's Swiss-based subsidiary Naftiran Intertrade Co. (Nico) can borrow internationally and has equity in several upstream "buy-back" projects, including Eni's Darkhovein field development, several phases of the South Pars gas and condensate schemes and a 25% stake in the Japanese-led Azadegan field development.

As it licks its wounds, NIOC is concentrating on raising current production levels of around 4 million barrels per day to 4.2 million b/d by early next year and the award of new oil exploration areas to international companies. But parliament could put another fly in the ointment by vetoing incentives introduced by NIOC earlier this year that give companies the automatic right to develop the fields if they make a discovery. Such sweeter terms were implicit in bids last year that have produced two recent awards: Spain's Repsol YPF this month inked a $27 million contract to tap the Forouz and Iran-Mehr blocks in the Gulf and Brazil's Petrobras agreed a $35 million deal in July to drill appraisal wells at the Tusan Block over a three- to four-year period. The blocks were among eight offered in a licensing round last year.

Though it is managing to push up production, NIOC's newest oil streams from the Royal Dutch/Shell-led development of the Nowruz/Soroosh fields are low grade and proving hard to sell. Finding a permanent home for the 190,000 barrels per day of heavy 20° API, high-sulfur oil will be no easy task. One consolation for NIOC is that as long as prices remain so high, it is under no great pressure to sign big onshore development deals. NIOC is collecting bids for two major onshore projects: development of the North Azadegan field and the neighboring Yadavaran prospect, which groups the Khushk and Hosseinieh structures. Several European firms, including Total, Shell and Norwegian duo Statoil and Norsk Hydro bid for Yadavaran last month but no award appears to be imminent. NIOC has complicated the equation by offering companies that agree to buy long-term volumes of liquefied natural gas -- in effect, the Chinese and Indians -- a stake of up to 20% in Yadavaran.

9 posted on 10/23/2004 9:07:25 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Israel has not ruled out attack against Iran's nuke facilities

Press Trusted of India - Report Section
Oct 23, 2004

WASHINGTON - Israel has not ruled out a military strike against Iran's uranium enrichment facilities in the event of failure of diplomatic means to persuade Tehran to dismantle them, senior military officials and analysts said.

Israel would prefer a diplomatic agreement to shut down Iran's uranium enrichment programme, but if Tehran was approaching a "point of no return", it would not be deterred by the difficulty of a military operation, a media report said on Saturday quoting officials.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his top aides have been asserting for months that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a clear threat to Israel's national security and existence in the highly-volatile region.

They have repeatedly threatened, in elliptical but unmistakable terms, to use force if diplomacy and the threat of sanctions fail.

"All options" were being weighed to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz was quoted as saying by the local media, while his Army Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon declared that "We will not rely on others," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Iran presents "a combination of factors that rise to the highest level of Israeli threat perception," the report quoted Gerald Steinberg of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies as saying.

Israel's concerns are magnified by the fact that Iran already possesses the medium-range Shahab-3 missile, which is capable of reaching Israel with either a conventional or non-conventional warhead. Iran said this week that it had test-fired an upgraded, more accurate version of the missile.

10 posted on 10/23/2004 9:07:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

U.S. May Not Push for Ouster of IAEA Chief


Published: October 23, 2004

Filed at 11:35 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite urging U.N. nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei to step down after two terms, the Bush administration may be unwilling to undertake an all-out political battle to oust him, U.S. officials and diplomats say.

ElBaradei, who has worked at the International Atomic Energy Agency for 20 years, officially announced his interest in a third term late last month, rebuffing President Bush's team, which said it hoped he would step down and allow the appointment of a new leader.

A senior U.S. official said: ``We'd rather see an elegant way out for everybody. What we're seeking is a resolution that doesn't force the issue.''

Bush and Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry have both declared that keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists would be their first priority after the Nov. 2 election, and the IAEA is a key player in efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

IAEA directors-general traditionally have not had term limits. But western countries have discussed the need for limits and the White House affirmed its preference for a two-term cap.

Bush administration hard-liners, led by Undersecretary of State John Bolton, fault ElBaradei and the IAEA for not being tough enough on states seeking to develop weapons of mass destruction, including Iran and North Korea.

In the runup to the Iraq war, Elbaradei stoked U.S. anger by saying IAEA inspectors had found no evidence of a continuing nuclear program in Iraq. Bush and top aides insisted the program existed as they made the case for an invasion, but evidence to support the existence of such a program has not been found.


ElBaradei would have made it easy for his critics if he had agreed to step aside.

His decision to stand for a third term means Washington could provoke an all-out international political battle if it seeks his ouster when the issue comes to a head next year. The IAEA board normally likes to make decisions by consensus.

The U.S. strategy will turn on who wins the presidential election. Bush charted a bold, largely unilateralist, foreign policy course during much of his first term. Kerry has promised to work more closely with allies.

The Massachusetts Democrat has not evolved positions on such issues as the IAEA director-general appointment, campaign sources say.

But a Democratic insider told Reuters that, while some Kerry advisers may like to see ElBaradei replaced, ``We'd have to look at the political consequences.''

Senior Bush officials said there is no obvious alternative candidate to ElBaradei and there is a reluctance, at least in some quarters, to try and forcibly oust an Egyptian-born diplomat from a top U.N. job.

The Clinton administration engineered the ouster of former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, also from Egypt, after one term.

Some U.S. officials predict an effort to kick out another prominent Egyptian -- ElBaradei was considered this year for a Nobel Peace Prize -- would fan new anti-American feelings in the most populous Arab country.

Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, is a close U.S. ally and an important intermediary in the Middle East peace process.

Asked if the Bush administration would actually vote against ElBaradei, another senior official said he did not know.

If Bolton stayed in his current job or were promoted, he might persuade the administration to fight ElBaradei on a third term and this ``could be ``nasty,'' that senior U.S. official said.

The last IAEA director-general, Hans Blix, was in his job for 16 years, and the administration believes these appointments should not be open-ended, officials said.

11 posted on 10/23/2004 9:08:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

12 posted on 10/23/2004 9:14:19 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Once elections take hold in Iraq and W wins in the US, I am confident that Iran is one of our next targets. It is the administration's hope that freedom to their east and west will topple the government, but military force could be necessary. However, we might choose to deal with Syria first.

13 posted on 10/23/2004 9:21:51 PM PDT by wastedpotential
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To: DoctorZIn


By Safa Haeri
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2004


Some of the recently arrested online and weblog creators

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PARIS, 23 Oct. (IPS) 20 leading European online news sites have rallied to join Reporters Sans Frontieres, or Reporters Without Borders in support of colleagues in Iran as the fifth journalist was arrested on 18 October in a crackdown against the online media.

They are calling for the release of Shahram Rafi’zadeh, Hanif Mazrou’i, Rouzbeh Mir Ebrahimi, Omid Me’marian and Javad Qolam Tamayomi.

We want to demonstrate our solidarity with our Iranian colleagues, imprisoned simply for doing their jobs

The five journalists, as well as Mehdi Derayati, Mas’oud Qoreyshi and Ahmad Vatankhah are accused by the leader-controlled Judiciary of contributing to reformist news websites or having created their own independent weblogs. In the past few months, the regime has also tightened filtering of most internet sites, blocking access to several dozen online publications, political, social or cultural weblogs.

"We want to demonstrate our solidarity with our Iranian colleagues, imprisoned simply for doing their jobs", the media said in a statement, adding, "At a time when the Internet has become one of the main sources of news, protecting online journalists and publications is the key to defending press freedom".

Tens of journalists, lawmakers, scholars, artists, intellectuals and politicians as well as families of imprisoned journalists attended on Wednesday a protest meeting called by the Association of Iranian Professional Journalists (AIPJ) and Iranian Association for de Defence of Journalists (IADJ) to denounce the arrests, the largest since the mass crackdown on Iranian media three years ago.

Ordered by Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic that the Paris-based RSF has awarded as “one of the world’s most dangerous predator on freedom of the press”, the Iranian Judiciary shut more than 100 newspapers, weeklies and other publications that had flourished after the first election of Mohammad Khatami as president in May 1979 as well as the arrest of most leading journalists.

The arrests would not stop the free flow of news and information.

“These arrests would not stop the free flow of news and information, but helps rumour mill to play a more important role”, noted Mr. Masha’allah Shamsolva’ezin, the spokesman for the IADJ, while expressing concern for the situation of both the independent press and newsmen.

Mr. Mostafa Tajzadeh, a former Deputy Interior Minister who is now in charge of the reformist internet site Emrooz (Today) also warned that the closing of internet sites and weblogs would lead to the expansion of “nigh letters”, or clandestine publications that, in his view, would be more dangerous than an open press.

"We are living in a country that wanted to become a model of freedom and democracy, but it has become a place were people are jalous of other nations", he added.

As for Mr. Ali Mazrou’i, the Head of the AIPJ and the father of Hanif, “living as a free person and alive has become very difficult” (in Iran), he pointed out, asking why the (Islamic Republic) spends so much money crushing and muzzling the press?”

“We have fought for democracy and freedom of the expression and the result is that now we stand as accused”, he said, as other speakers touched on the appalling situation of students.

"To attract the attention of the authorities to this sad state, 103 journalists and political activists wrote a letter to the leader, but as usual, there was no answer from Mr. Khameneh'i", Mr. Isa Saharkhiz, an outspoken professional journalis told the Persian serive of Germany's State-run Deutsche Welle, adding, "to tell the truth, we didn't expect any answer, since no senor official ever responded to any request".

The crackdown on pro-reform students started after police, revolutionary guards and special security units backed by plainclothes islamist vigilantes stormed students dormitories on the night of 18 July 1999, killing at least one student and wounding and arresting many others, including some who were thrown out of windows three floors under.

As a result, students took to the streets for six consecutive days in the Islamic Republic’s worst anti-regime demonstrations, shut in blood by the revolutionary guards and basij (volunteer) forces.

In recent months, particularly after the ruling conservatives took over the control of the Majles, or parliament, pressures on students and the civil society also increased, targeting mostly women and the youngs.

In a country where television, radio and newspapers are heavily censored, the Internet is, despite censorship, the only source of independent news and information”, the international press watchdog said in a statement.

Families of the arrested journalists have, in a letter to the Judiciary, asked for explaination in regard of the long time that their relatives are held without trial.

A sopkesman for the Judiciary power has said the detainees have not asked to be defended by lawyers have responded, saying they have not been allowed to meet with their clients.

List of online publications taking part in the campaign:

France -,,,,,,


Germany -,,,,,

Italy -,

UK -

14 posted on 10/23/2004 9:28:05 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Saudi Arabia to set up power plant in Iran

Tehran Times Economic Desk
TEHRAN (MNA) — Head of Iran Power Development Organization said here Saturday that a combined cycle power plant will be established by Saudi Arabia in Tabriz, capital city of East Azarbaijan Province. Hossein Mahmudzadeh added, “On the basis of a BOT (build-operate-transfer) agreement reached between the country’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and a Saudi company, the Arab party will construct a 1,000MW power plant.”

The plant will cost some 500 million euros, said the official, expressing hope the agreement will be finalized by March 20, 2005.

Iran’s private sector has already started building three power plants of Southern Isfahan, Rudshur, and Parehsar, noted Mahmudzadeh, adding that Tabriz power plant is the fourth.
15 posted on 10/23/2004 9:39:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Bush asking Iran to eliminate all access to nuclear technology: Gary Sick

Tehran Times Political Desk
TEHRAN (MNA)— The Columbia University Professor Gary Sick took part in a telephone interview with the Mehr News Agency on the Bush Administration policy toward Iran, the relations between U.S. and Europe and the U.S. presidential election. The text of the interview follows: Q: What is your assessment of President George W. Bush’s policy toward Iran?

A: I think it is extremely unlikely that the Bush administration will take any preemptive military action against Iran, at least under the present circumstances. As you very well know the United States is very heavily occupied in Iraq and Afghanistan and I think the Bush administration knows very well that any attempt to intervene in Iran would in fact be a much bigger problem and probably much more difficult than the operation in Iraq and for that reason I think that is not likely to happen.

There is a real possibility of an accidental escalation either because of Iranian activities or U.S. activities in the region. Whether there’s a clash of some sort accidentally in Iraq or along the Iran-Iraq border or at some point in the Persian Gulf. I think an example of that is the Iranian arrest of those British on the river some time ago. Incidents like that which probably are not regarded as aggressive on either sides can escalate into a conflict and I think accidental confrontation is in some ways a danger but clearly the United States is going to keep up its pressure as much as possible on Iran to try to get it to accept a less threatening version of its nuclear program, particularly focusing on enrichment and reprocessing as very dangerous and trying to persuade Iran to give up both of those in ways that would in fact give Iran the capacity to build a nuclear weapon not necessarily to try to stop Iran from building nuclear power plants. Q: What is the role of Iran in establishing stability in Iraq?

A: Yes, I think events in Iraq are going to be very important and particularly as we come up to the elections supposedly in January, if there are outbreaks of fighting, if there is a Shia opposition to the election and if Iran supports the Shia opposition, I think that could in fact lead to very serious differences of views between Iraq and Iran and also between the Unites States and Iran.

Q: The unilateral policy of the U.S. has hurt the relations between the United States and its European allies. Europe has a different approach than that of the current Bush administration but, Mr. Kerry has said his policy is different from that of Bush and he has sought the support of the former allies of the United States. So the Europeans prefer Kerry rather than Bush. What is your opinion in this regard?   A: There has been some difference of opinions in the past between Europe and the United States. The Bush administration has taken a very hard line position asking Iran to eliminate all access to nuclear technology. The Europeans were more willing to compromise and to negotiate based on limited Iranian access to nuclear technology particularly peaceful access, nuclear technology that did not immediately threaten the possibility of building a nuclear weapon.

Those differences I think have in fact narrowed very much. The European position and the American position are still different but they are not as different as they used to be. The Europeans are in fact taking a much tougher line with regard to Iran because of this difference of opinion about enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of plutonium.

The Europeans, especially the three countries that have been negotiating with Iran have begun to take a much more demanding view about Iran’s program so the differences are not that great. The big difference it seems to me between Mr. Kerry and Mr. Bush is that Mr. Kerry says quite clearly that he would favor a direct dialogue with Iran and he does not say that because he intends to praise Iran or that he has any illusion about differences of views but he does believe that the way to deal with those differences is to address them directly. Mr. Bush does not say that.

The real issue in my mind if Mr. Kerry becomes president is whether Iran itself is preparing for a direct dialogue and that is not clear to me. In the past the United States has proposed talking to Iran, has proposed an opening for discussions and Iran has rejected it. So, I never make any predictions about this because I can’t predict who will win in the election, but if Kerry should win the election I think he will in fact propose direct conservation with Iran in some point next year.

I cannot also predict how Iran may respond because in the past some people in Iran said they would like to have direct conservations with United States but others said no, only at very extreme circumstances where pre-conditions were made that the United States has to lift all the sanctions, that the U.S. has to do a whole series of things first then they would be prepared to talk.

To me at this stage it’s not really predictable, but I do believe that the Unites States and the Europeans will continue to cooperate at some level in terms of their policies which they have been doing up until now. Each takes a different position but they have been in fact coordinating their policies and talking about them and I would expect that to continue not with Europe breaking away from the United States but rather Europe taking a more collaborative view with Iran wanting to talk and the U.S. resisting such operations but both sides talking to each other and collaborating about their view with regard to Iran.

Professor Gary Sick is Adjunct Professor of International Affairs and Acting Director of the Middle East Institute at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. Gary Sick served in the National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan and is the author of two books on U.S.-Iranian relations. He is also the executive director of Gulf 2000, an international research project on political, economic and security developments in the Persian Gulf.

16 posted on 10/23/2004 9:41:17 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran's nuclear decision tied to Nov. 2 outcome

Tehran might compromise if Kerry wins,
then renew enrichment after Bush is gone

Posted: October 23, 2004
10:07 p.m. Eastern

© 2004

Iran will wait until after the Nov. 2 U.S. elections before responding to a European proposal to provide the country with nuclear fuel before supporting its entry into the World Trade Organization.

The deal would include giving Tehran a light-water reactor that produces less fissionable material than the heavy-water reactor Iran plans to build, reports Al-Jazeera. In exchange, Iran would suspend all of its own uranium-enrichment activities.

The U.S. is pushing for the International Atomic Energy Agency to send the matter to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions. The European proposal is seen as a last-ditch effort to avoid sanctions.

But analysts are now saying that Iran is factoring in a possible Kerry victory.

"I think if Kerry wins, Iran would strike a compromise that would essentially delay the issue until early next year," says Gary Samore of the London think-tank International Institute of Strategic Studies.

Iran's goal, says Samore, is to have the international community concede it's claim to a right to enrich uranium. It may agree to a temporary suspension and await the outcome of the election.

"I don't get a sense that Iran is ready to agree to the suspension. I could see the Iranians restoring the suspension for only a brief period of time," Samore said.

As WorldNetDaily has reported, John Kerry has proposed giving nuclear fuel to Iran to test its intentions.

During the first presidential debate, 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 same policy of accommodation toward Iran's nuclear aspirations is clearly outlined on Kerry's campaign website as well.

17 posted on 10/23/2004 9:53:28 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iranians voted for a secular regime in 1953 under Dr. Mossadeqh. We were strongly fooled by the selfish brits who were worried about their oil supplies and convinced Einsenhower Dr. Mossadeqh was a 'Communist'. Dr. Mossadeqh was the farthest thing from a Communist immaginable. In fact, he consistently denounced the Communist funded parties in Iran including the Tudeh and the Islamist-Marxist MKO. The overthrow eventually became the biggest foreign policy blunder by the US government ...ever.

18 posted on 10/23/2004 10:16:21 PM PDT by freedom44
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran Says EU Nuclear Proposal Unacceptable

Sun Oct 24, 2004 03:29 AM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran on Sunday turned down a European Union proposal that it stop enriching uranium in return for nuclear technology.

Diplomats had said that if Iran rejected the proposal, most EU countries would back a U.S. demand that Tehran be reported to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meets on Nov. 25.

"The EU proposal is unbalanced ... unlimited uranium suspension is unacceptable for Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a news conference.

Washington accuses oil-rich Iran of using its nuclear program as a veil for developing an atomic arsenal. Tehran says it only wants to generate electricity.

French, British and German officials are to meet Iranian negotiators on Wednesday to discuss the European offer.

The EU "big three" have led a European effort at compromise that would avoid sending Iran's case to the U.N. Security Council.

The IAEA, the U.N. atomic watchdog body, has been investigating Iran's nuclear program for more than two years.

It has uncovered many previously hidden activities that could be related to a weapons program but has found no "smoking gun."

19 posted on 10/24/2004 11:37:50 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

GOP Shifts, Pursues Immigrant Votes

by Jill Stewart

Sam Kermanian is one of many Jewish Republicans in Los Angeles reaching out to immigrants on behalf of President Bush, yet perhaps the biggest news of all is that such committed immigrant activists in the Republican Party are no longer red hot news.

Kermanian, an Iranian Jewish immigrant, is still rawly aware of how people’s lives in his native Iran are under the strict control of Islamist radicals.

“We understand what the president is doing, and we support him strongly,” said Kermanian, who stepped down as chairman of the Iranian American Jewish Federation in Los Angeles to join the Bush ’04 campaign team. “Immigrants look at how the world really is, so they no longer support just the Democrats.”

It was no surprise, then, when Bush spoke several words of Spanish during his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York City. The gesture went virtually unremarked by the media and caused nary a ripple of discernible backlash in his party.

Ten years ago, veering outside the English language to appeal to a special group of mostly Democratic voters would have been front-page news across the land, but today the imagery of the Republican leadership reaching out to heavily Democratic immigrants is not only commonplace, it’s indicative of a major shift in views and strategy.

When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told his up-by-his-bootstraps tale at the RNC, it was not merely a personal story from the Republican Party’s most famous moderate. It was also a direct appeal to immigrants, using the GOP’s message of personal responsibility and eventual triumph.

These two RNC moments are indicative of an almost imperceptible change inside the Republican Party to not only reach out to immigrants but to target the message and explain the GOP philosophy as never before. There may be only minor dividends to show for it this November, but Republicans are energized about their chance to make inroads with traditionally Democratic immigrant voters.

Going after the potentially huge vote among Latino immigrants, a heterogeneous group with many contradictory and nuanced views on both policy and values, has become a key focus of the GOP in California. But even among Jewish immigrants, who form only a tiny percentage of voters in California, the GOP has become energized.

Hector Barajas, director of grass-roots development at the California Republican Party’s Burbank headquarters, has been building an outreach program to Latinos, who were largely ignored by Republicans for decades. Barajas noted that today, he oversees a massive computerized list of experts and speakers who spread the party’s message far beyond Latinos, to niche immigrants of every persuasion.

“We’re not saying you’ve got to become a Republican today, but it’s just: ‘Please listen to the message we are bringing forth,’” he said of the outreach strategy. “Of course we seek the major group, which is Latinos, but now we outreach to Asians, Filipinos and all the various language groups.”

“We have a group that only goes out to Middle Eastern immigrants, including Jewish immigrants,” he continued. “We have a spreadsheet of people who speak all the various languages, so if I need to find an Asian American woman teacher who speaks Cantonese, because somebody wants to hear a speech from such a person, I can find somebody right here.”

Barajas, who grew up in heavily Mexican-American Echo Park, said, “We no longer use this one-size-fits-all method, sending out the Caucasian face or the English speaker to a group who doesn’t relate to that.”

One of the strongest volunteers to reach out to Jewish immigrants is attorney Paul Weisman, who oversees 350 precinct walkers who are familiar with heavily Jewish areas in Hancock Park and on the Westside.

Noted Barajas, “Paul has put his law practice aside, basically, to do this, and his energy level is being replayed in many other urban areas where Jewish Republicans are now a force.”

Nobody believes the Republicans will score huge gains among immigrant groups this year. But there are signs that immigrant interest in the Democratic Party is not what it once was. If Republicans can shift even a modest percentage of immigrants to their side, the Democrats could face trouble in coming years — even in California.

The voter registration gap between Democrats and Republicans in California is the narrowest it has been since the 1930s, with Democrats holding only an 8 percentage point lead over Republicans. Last October’s election of Austrian immigrant Schwarzenegger as governor has not only helped pour millions of extra fund-raising dollars into Republican coffers, it has also made voter signup easier.

Now it’s the Democrats who are sweating, not the once-divided Republicans. Lately, noted Republican pollster Stephen Kinney, large numbers of Latinos — especially Latinas — have begun registering as “decline-to-state” voters and rejecting the Democratic Party.

Kinney and many others believe the Democrats have taken immigrants for granted for too long. Nobody knows if the move by Latinos toward “decline to state” is a harbinger of a sea change in immigrant voter sympathies in other immigrant groups, but Kinney noted, “It’s definitely not good news for the Democrats.”

With immigrant interest in the Democrats waning somewhat, some GOP groups and activists are using the opening to interest immigrants in voting for and contributing money to Bush. Although Latinos get much of the attention, because they represent a potentially vast voting bloc, the Iraq War has enlivened Middle Eastern immigrant groups as well, and some are clearly siding with the GOP.

Kermanian typifies the Republican Jewish immigrants who are speaking out for Bush in 2004. He noted that no polls have been conducted that break out the Iranian Jewish vote for president. However, a poll by the American Jewish Committee shows Jewish support for Bush has jumped from less than 20 percent during the 2000 election to 24 percent now, a roughly 25 percent gain, laid in part to support from Jewish immigrants.

Iranian Jews make up about 30,000 to 35,000 of the half million Iranians in California, Kermanian said, and he estimated 75 percent back Bush.

“Our group takes the threat of terror and the militant Islamist ideology a lot more seriously than average Americans and average Jewish Americans,” he said. “We had to live with it for generations.”

Despite working so high up in the GOP effort for Bush in California, however, he does not yet see a fully engaged outreach to Middle Eastern and other immigrant groups, largely because they make up too small a percentage of voters. However, he said, the Republicans now see immigrants as up for grabs, while the Democrats appear to be assuming that they have a lock on the majority of immigrant voters.

Change could come if Republicans effectively spread the Bush message of “keeping more of your own money and giving less of it to government, and achieving your aims and your children’s aims with the very values that made you immigrate to the United States,” he said.

Si Frumkin is a well-known journalist for Panorama newspaper and political activist in the Russian Jewish community, whose column also runs in three papers in Israel and two in the former Soviet Union. Frumkin is among the growing number of voices urging Jewish immigrants to get involved in politics — through the GOP.

Frumkin noted that at a recent Bush-Cheney organizing event at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in the San Fernando Valley, within the group of about 50 volunteer activists who attended, several were immigrants — and six were Jews from the former Soviet Union.

“People keep getting in touch with me to register and to get the forms so they can sign up voters,” Frumkin said. He said that decades ago, when he arrived in the United States, he and other Russian Jewish immigrants were shocked by the left-leaning views of American Jews.

But today’s Russian Jewish immigrants, who he said lean heavily Republican, “have gotten over the surprise and are much more eager to speak out than before. American Jews were shocked and horrified at [Ronald] Reagan for calling the former Soviet Union an evil empire, but immigrant Jews knew it was an evil empire. When you go to a party now where the vodka flows, people stand up for America and love America and are real flag wavers.”

While there are probably fewer than 100,000 Russian Jews in Southern California, Frumkin noted that “they are often very successful in business. What they lack in voting numbers, they make up for in financial contributions to George Bush.”

Frumkin, a Holocaust survivor who has lectured at the Wiesenthal Center, said the GOP has also lightened up somewhat, loosening its tie so to speak, in reaching out to immigrants who didn’t relate as well to the old, more formal version of the party.

“We like to enjoy the campaign fight and say what’s on our mind,” he said. “I like to say, ‘My God, I cannot see Teresa Heinz as the first lady.’”

The California Republican Party is indeed no longer in the hands of a hard-right faction that dominated its voter registration effort and platform throughout the 1990s. That far-right wing became the tail that wagged the dog of a party that probably has fewer than 20 percent “very conservative” voters. The hard right drove many voters away from California’s GOP, handing the Democrats their biggest statewide voting victories in 40 years in 2000.

Schwarzenegger’s election has helped marginalize the far right in California. But even before Schwarzenegger announced his candidacy in the summer of 2003, the California Republican Party elected two moderates, Duf Sundheim and Mario Rodriguez, as its chairman and vice chairman, in the spring of 2003.

Five years ago, Rodriguez, a hip, bilingual, former military brat who owns a successful printing business, had little chance of being elected to such a post in the GOP. Now, he’s in such demand as a public speaker for the Republicans at Latino and other immigrant events, that it can take weeks to book him.

Rodriguez’s popularity has not gone unnoticed by outreach czar Barajas, who is making Republican immigrants available as speakers in dozens of different languages, no longer ceding even the high school crowd to the Democrats.

“The GOP used to be invited into the high school government classes to give their version of politics and government, and the GOP would not even bother, while the Democrats spoke to all the kids,” Barajas said. “Now we are there, and we don’t shrink from explaining the tough stuff, like why we oppose driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. These kids are the future voters.”

Among a dozen top public and private pollsters in California, none believes Bush can win the state. But with a Republican president who’s as comfortable in a monied group of Middle Eastern business leaders as with Latinos at a rally in the Southwest, it may be only a matter of time before Democrats have to fight back in order to hang on to immigrants. n

Jill Stewart is a syndicated political columnist. She can be reached at

20 posted on 10/24/2004 11:41:40 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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