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Iranian Alert - November 2, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Regime Change Iran ^ | 11.2.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 11/01/2004 9:23:30 PM PST 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.

DoctorZin



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
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
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 11/01/2004 9:23:33 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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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!


2 posted on 11/01/2004 9:26:00 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran warns of $US100 oil price

From Laurent Lozano in Tehran
November 02, 2004

A TOP aide to Iran's supreme leader today declared Tehran did not fear being taken to the UN security council over its nuclear program and warned any resulting oil embargo would see world prices top $US100 a barrel.

Ali Akbar Nateq-Nuri, one of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's closest advisers, dismissed as "ridiculous" some suggestions from Europe aimed at persuading Tehran to end uranium enrichment to avoid being summoned by the security council.

But Iranian government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh said Tehran saw "positive signals" from the three European countries - Britain, France and Germany - with whom it has been negotiating to try to close its file with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

"If we had not received positive signals, we would not continue negotiations," he said.

Mr Ramezanzadeh also said he was optimistic that negotiations, which resume this week in Paris, would end in an agreement. "There is little chance that the negotiations will end with nothing."

But he, too, repeated that Iran was prepared for all possibilities and would "stand up against threats". He warned, too, that taking Tehran to the security council and possible sanctions would affect more than Iran.

"We must not fear that such a decision will only affect one of the parties," he said, referring to Iran and echoing Mr Nateq-Nuri's words.

Washington charges that Iran is using its nuclear program as a cover for efforts to develop a nuclear bomb, allegations vehemently denied by Tehran which also points out it has the right, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

But under international pressure, Tehran now has to prove to the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, that it is not pursuing the bomb or risk being hauled in front of the security council for possible sanctions.

Overnight, hundreds of Iranian university students created a human chain around the Islamic Republic's atomic organisation headquarters backing the resumption of uranium enrichment.

"Enrichment is our natural right," they shouted, along with the habitual "Death to America".

Earlier, Iranian lawmakers passed a Bill backing the resumption of uranium enrichment, as the Government left the door open for further negotiations with Europe over the controversial practice.

Mr Nateq-Nuri, in an interview with Iran News, said he saw no reason to fear the UN.

"Since our position is logical, right and consistent with the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and the international law, we do not fear the security council," he said.

Questioned about a possible UN embargo on Tehran's oil exports, the former parliamentary speaker said: "The big loser will be them, not us.

"If an oil embargo is slapped on Iran, the price of oil will exceed $US100 per barrel, with a potential to paralyse the West's economy."

World oil prices are near recent record levels at $US50 a barrel.

Mr Nateq-Nuri added: "If the No.2 producer within OPEC is prevented from selling its oil on the international market, it would spell disaster for all consuming nations.

"I believe even if we are referred to the UN security council, an oil embargo will not be placed on us right away."

Last week, Iran's influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said the country would continue talks with Europe over its nuclear activities, but reject any threats aimed at depriving the country of peaceful nuclear technology.

"We agree to continue negotiations within the framework of international rules, but if the Europeans want to use threats, there is no more place for negotiations," he said on state radio.

3 posted on 11/01/2004 9:26:19 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

IAEA Chief Presses North Korea, Iran on Nuclear Threat



1 November 2004
Heinlein report - 426K
Listen to Heinlein report

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has described North Korea as a serious challenge to nuclear non-proliferation efforts. In a speech to the General Assembly, agency chief Mohammed ElBaradei also urged Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment activities.

rtv Austria IAEA ELBARADEI file eng 150 6oct04
ElBaradei
Mr. ElBaradei told the 191-member Assembly that the International Atomic Energy Agency has not performed verification activities in North Korea since the end of 2002. As a result, he said the U.N. nuclear agency could not be sure there had not been any diversion of nuclear material.

"The situation in the Democratic People's Republic of korea continues to pose a serious challenge to the nuclear non-proliferation regime," Mr. ElBaradei says.

In separate comments to reporters, Mr. ElBaradei expressed frustration at the failure of the six-party talks aimed at pressing North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in exchange for economic benefits and security guarantees.

 

"It is slow, I am frustrated it is not moving as fast as it should," Mr. ElBaradei says. "I am telling the North Koreans again the international community is ready to look into your security concerns, to your economic and humanitarian needs, but the prerequisite is for them to commit themselves to full and verifiable dismantlement of their weapons program."

On Iran, Mr. Baradei reported some progress. But he said movement was slow, and urged the Tehran government to halt its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

"Iran has reversed some of the suspension measures initially undertaken in November, 2003 and the board has called on Iran again to suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities as a confidence-building measure," Mr. ElBaradei says.

In his General Assembly address, Mr. ElBaradei did not mention the controversy over nearly 345-metric tons of explosives said to be missing in Iraq. His report last week that the explosives were unaccounted for at a military base near Baghdad has become an issue in the final days of the U.S. presidential campaign.

The U.N. nuclear agency chief did, however, express hope that his inspectors would be allowed to return to Iraq to settle once and for all the question of Saddam Hussein's possession of weapons of mass destruction.

The U.N. nuclear agency was ordered to stop its inspections in March of last year, after finding no evidence of any revival of Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Referring to that conclusion, Mr. El Baradei told the Assembly that the international community is reassured that the agency's findings have been validated.

4 posted on 11/01/2004 9:26:53 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Yawar accuses Iran of orchestrating attacks


Web posted at: 11/2/2004 2:39:25
Source ::: AFP

KUWAIT CITY: Iraqi President Ghazi Al Yawar accused Iran of orchestrating attacks in his country and declared his opposition to a threatened assault on the rebel hotbed of Fallujah, in an interview published yesterday.

“Iran is playing a negative role in Iraq. It is behind the assassination of more than 18 Iraqi intelligence officers. It is also playing a negative role in southern Iraq,” Yawar told Kuwait’s Al Qabas newspaper.

The interview appeared while the Iraqi president was in Kuwait on a three-day visit, the first by an Iraqi head of state to the oil-rich emirate, which was invaded and occupied by Iraqi forces in 1990-91.

Yawar said he opposed any military solution to the situation in the rebel-held Fallujah city, one day after Prime Minister Iyad Allawi issued an ultimatum to the city to surrender insurgents or face an all-out assault.

“I totally differ with those who believe there is a need for a military solution to the (Fallujah) issue.

“The management of the (US-led) coalition of the crisis is wrong,” Yawar said, describing it as like the man “who shot his horse” to scare a fly, resulting in the fly escaping and the horse’s death.

The coalition should continue to have “dialogue until the arrival of Iraqi troops... This will encourage neutral citizens to stop sympathizing with the rebels, most of whom are Saddam Hussein loyalists and forces which came from outside Iraq,” Yawar said.

General elections will be held on time in January, Yawar said “unless international observers say it cannot be held due to technical reasons.”


5 posted on 11/01/2004 9:27:19 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran's Afghan refugees feel pressure to leave

Thirteen-year-old Sudabeh and her sisters sit glued to the television watching a Hindi pop star tossing her long silken hair around in time to the gyrating music.

It's the middle of the day and their Iranian friends are at school but as Afghan refugees they have to pay for education this year for the first time.

That meant only one child in the family could go to school and predictably Sudabeh's brother Khusrow was chosen.

For a man who works as a gardener in the municipal parks, $150 for every child is a lot.

Tears

"This decision by the Iranian government will force Afghan refugees to go back to their own country because we simply cannot afford these fees," says the childrens' father, Ghasser Nasseri.

Though he has a university degree he's spent the last 12 years in exile in Iran doing manual labour because he wanted his children to have a better future.

"Every time I see Iranian school girls in their uniforms going to and from school I get really upset. Tears come to my eyes because for an educated person it's very hard to have uneducated children," he says.

The family has reluctantly decided to return to Afghanistan next spring because of this problem of education.

Blame

At the Khane Koudak-e-Shoush (Shoush Childrens Home), a literacy centre for street children in South Tehran, the number of Afghan children has doubled this school year.

They have nowhere else to go and the centre offers free education.

Like the Iranian government, the organisers blame the United Nations refugee agency for creating the problem.

They say UNHCR's decision to withdraw their subsidies for refugee education triggered the crisis.

"When it comes to the facilities and budget that UNHCR should have allocated to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran... naturally when that's cut then education stops as a result," says Ali Akbar Esmailpour from the Society for Supporting Childrens Rights that runs the centre.


But the UNHCR says at best the subsidies were only about $8 per child, a tiny fraction of the real cost.

They say they withdrew the subsidy because the Iranian government said it was going to charge fees.

The huge difference in quality of life between Iran and Afghanistan means that UNHCR believes some incentives to repatriation are acceptable.

Denial of basic education is not, however.

"I think physical threats, psychological pressures are not acceptable - such as arrests and detention - and I would say that education - particularly primary education - are part of those pressures that are not acceptable," says UNHCR's head of mission in Tehran, Pierre Lavanchy.

Desperate

Step by step Afghan refugees in Iran are being denied basic services - they're not allowed to buy medical insurance any more, to rent a house without government permission or open a bank account.

It's official Iranian policy that all the remaining one million Afghan refugees in Iran should go home within the next 18 months.

The education policy has sparked small protests by Afghan women and children outside UN offices and the Afghan Embassy.

"The sin of our children is only that they are refugees," read the banner in one such protest.

And in a sign of how desperate Afghan refugees are for education, informal schools have begun to open up in recent weeks.

They are given a licence to open to teach the Holy Koran - not offer a primary education.

In one such school in south Tehran nearly a thousand children study in two different shifts.

The building is a gymnasium with cotton curtains dividing the different classes. Younger children sit on the floor, there are no toys, no playground and only one toilet.

"They were always asking for money all the time and calling us Afghans," said one little boy who went to an Iranian school until this year.

Born in this country he now knows he no longer belongs here.

6 posted on 11/01/2004 9:27:47 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

DoctorZin Note: I received this from Banafsheh...

Dear ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends and colleagues,

Please find attached our call against this year’s international “Al-Quds Day”, which Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini has declared as struggle day for the destruction of Israel in 1979. The “Al-Quds Day” is celebrated every last Friday of the Muslim fast month Ramadan. Last year, a broad coalition of German and migrant organizations and individuals has been formed. For the very first time, this coalition protested against the annual manifestation of anti-Semitic hatred and radical Islamism on “Al-Quds Day” in Berlin, Germany.

Since Al-Quds Day“ demonstrations take place at several places all over the world, this year we would like to internationalize the protest with our call. On November 3, the call will be presented in English, Persian and German language at a press conference in Berlin, Germany. For this presentation, we are looking for prominent supporters – worldwide! Thus, if you would like to support the call (even if you are not a public figure), please send a short e-mail to basisvernetzung@yahoo.de (please specify your name, job title, the institution your work for and/or represent and your city and country of residence).

We also ask you to forward this e-mail to friends and other interested people. However, please note that the call itself shall remain unpublished until Wednesday, November 3, 2004, 11:00 GMT (06:00 EST).

Further information about our Berlin activities and the full list of supporters will be available at:

http://www.aktion-november.de/en

With kind regards,

The initiators from Berlin:

Alliance Against Anti-Semitism [BgA] Berlin
Anstoß. Verein für Basisvernetzung e.V.
Claudia Dantschke, Center for Democratic Cultur
Annetta Kahane, Amadeu Antonio Foundation
Dr. Jochen Müller, Middle East Media Research Institute, Berlin
Hamid Nowzari, Association of Iranian Refugees, Berlin
Mohammed Schams, interpreter
Thomas Uwer, Wadi e.V.
Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, lecturer and journalist
Ali Yildirim, journalist AYPA-TV

Together against anti-Semitism and radical Islamism

Call against the international “Al-Quds Day” on November 12, 2004*

In 1979, the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of the Muslim month of Ramadan as an international day of struggle for the “liberation” of Jerusalem (Arabic: Al-Quds) and against Israel. Henceforth, on “Al-Quds Day”, Muslims all over the world were to demonstrate against the existence of the state of Israel. Annually, the Iranian regime organizes a central demonstration in Teheran, the Hizbullah holds a military parade in Beirut and all over the world, from Manila to Jakarta, from Berlin to London or Toronto, demonstrators demand the destruction of Israel.

We – the undersigned – do not agree on all issues related to the Middle East conflict. But we do join in protest against the anti-Semitic hatred expressed on international “Al-Quds Day,” on which the Iranian dictatorship instrumentalizes the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to stabilize its own power. By practically and ideologically supporting Islamist terror groups, such as Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the Iranian government also systematically destroys
any prospect of peace within the scope of a political solution.

But the international Al-Quds Day“ is far more than a day of anti-Semitic propaganda. It is a day when the doctrine of Ayatollah Khomeini is propagated and the Islamist dictatorship in Iran is hailed – a dictatorship that has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands members of the opposition or of ethnic or religious minorities in Iran. In Iran, gender apartheid is the rule; homosexuals and female „adulterers“ are threatened with stoning. Even in exile, members of the Iranian opposition are murdered by regime agents or threatened by “Death Fatwas” – the famous writer Salman Rushdie is only one prominent example. Therefore, we empathically show our solidarity with these victims of the Iranian dictatorship and support all emancipatory forces in Iran that strive to overturn this regime –today rather than tomorrow.

With our protest, we also criticize a widespread approach to Islamism in the Western societies, where racist and culturalist views of Islam prevail. On the one hand, migrants with Muslim background suffer discrimination as potential terrorists and are subjected to expeditious deportation. On the other hand, many people perceive Islamism as merely one of many cultural expressions of Muslims. Accordingly, there is a great willingness to consider Islamism as an influential movement in so-called Islamic countries and to enter into a “dialogue of
civilizations” (a project of Iran’s president Kathami).

We explicitly object to any form of racist stigmatization of Muslims in Western societies and advocate a liberal migration policy. At the same time, we demand a confrontation with Islamist ideology and all its representatives. In particular, the endeavors of some Muslims to fight against Islamism – a political and partly militant attack on universal human rights – should be supported.

Thus, the political tenets of Ayatollah Khomeini and other representatives of Islamism are of concern to all of us – no matter where we come from, or whether we are religious or not. It is against this backdrop that, last year for the first time, a broad coalition of German and non-German activists publicly protested against the Al-Quds demonstration in Berlin, Germany.

We call for international protests against this year’s Al-Quds.

More information about the Berlin campaign and events against the Al-Quds Day are available at:

http://www.aktion-november.de/en
7 posted on 11/01/2004 10:21:58 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

10/30/2004 Clip No. 311

An Iranian Animated Clip about the Bush-Kerry Race

The following is an Iranian animated clip about the Bush-Kerry presidential race

To view the video click here.


8 posted on 11/01/2004 10:32:32 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

The entire Iranian government promote Bush fiasco was in direct response to the mass allegations against US based organizations like NIAC, and AIC under scrutiny for their ties to the Iranian government. [Mainly due to Namanzee's recent lawsuit and sudden flipflop and swap at the Iranian government, IRI trying to protect it's dearest agents in the US]


9 posted on 11/01/2004 10:52:06 PM PST by freedom44
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To: freedom44

I just received this from a student inside of Iran...

AND PLEASE VOTE FOR BUSH
Send a report to your thread from your student friend:
I want all good Americans to vote for Bush and help us get rid of the dangerous regime of Iran.
Please vote for Bush if you care about others' freedom as well.
Many people in Iran are waiting for the result of these historical moments so please give us more power by voting for Bush.

Do not forget to vote for Bush, he has to win.

10 posted on 11/01/2004 11:43:25 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...

I just received this from a student inside of Iran...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1265880/posts?page=10#10


11 posted on 11/01/2004 11:45:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Source: Iranian money financed suicide attack
Tel Aviv bombing killed 4 Israelis, wounded 30 others


Posted: November 2, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com

Iranian money, funneled through Hezbollah, has been partially financing recent Palestinian suicide bombings, possibly including yesterday's suicide attack, Israeli security sources tell WorldNetDaily.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for yesterday's bombing attack on the Carmel Market in the center of Tel Aviv. The attack, which occurred at a stall in the open Carmel Market in central Tel Aviv, killed four Israelis and wounded 30 others.

Israeli security sources say Iran has been financing Palestinian terrorist factions, including Popular Front and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. They say there is much documentation, including traced bank accounts and admissions from Palestinian and Iranian leaders.

In July, Iranian-backed Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah publicly admitted on Al-Manar Middle East TV there was a faction in his organization active in providing operational support for "Palestinian operatives."

Also at a recent memorial service for killed Hezbollah activist Ghaleb Awaleh held in the Sheikh Radwan suburb of Gaza and organized by the Popular Resistance Committees,local Popular Front/Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades leaders were recorded talking about financial support from Iran and Hezbollah, security sources say.

Other high-ranking PFLP/Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades operatives have also made public the support they receive from Iran and Hezbollah. Prominent among them was “Abu Mujahid,” a nickname for a local senior operative in Nablus Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades who in an interview given to Ynet.com in August, said, "We do not hide the fact that some active operatives of our organization are financed and encouraged by interested parties, from senior Palestinians who finance operations to inflame the situation to operatives who are financed by Hezbollah and Iran.”

Arafat, meeting with activists from the Israeli Peace Block, spoke about Iranian support of various terrorist elements in the PA-administered territories in relation to a cease fire. A statement from the Peace Block, reported by UAE, quoted Arafat saying "there are some operatives ... who claim that I [Arafat] am their commander, but they receive money from Iran through an officer named Munir al-Maqdah who left the organization [Fatah] in Lebanon several years ago."

And a security source told WorldNetDaily that in July, Israeli forces arrested Khaled Bassal Suliman Shashtari, a Fatah/Tanzim operative from Nablus, who, directed by Hezbollah, was planning to perpetrate a suicide-bombing attack against Israeli soldiers at a roadblock.

The charges come amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran's nuclear projects. It was recently announced Iran is nearing completion of a uranium conversion facility in Isfahan. The facility is designed to convert uranium ore, or yellowcake, into uranium hexafluoride, a key component in the process of enriching uranium to produce nuclear weapons.

Israel has said it has completed military exercises for a pre-emptive strike against several of Iran's nuclear power facilities and is ready to attack if Russia supplies Iran with rods for enriching uranium.




Aaron Klein is WorldNetDaily's special Middle East correspondent, whose past interview subjects have included Yasser Arafat, Ehud Barak, Shlomo Ben Ami and leaders of the Taliban.
12 posted on 11/02/2004 9:31:40 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
President Mohammad Khatami
Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 02 November 2004 1632 hrs

Khatami rejects halt to uranium enrichment but optimistic on talks

Related News »
UN nuclear chief presses Iran, North Korea over weapons programmes
Iran backs enrichment as government demands commitments from Europe
Iran demands commitments from EU on nuclear energy


TEHRAN : Iranian President Mohammad Khatami categorically ruled out a definitive halt to uranium enrichment as demanded by European states to end a standoff over its nuclear programme.


However, he said he was optimistic that negotiations with European states on the nuclear dossier would not result in Iran being brought before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

"Our nation must be given the assurance that it will not be stripped of its right (to enrich uranium)," Khatami told reporters.

On a new round of talks between European and Iranian officials to take place in Paris on Friday, he said: "I am optimistic.

"Both sides are showing flexibility."

Washington charges that Iran is using its nuclear programme as a cover for efforts to develop a nuclear bomb, allegations vehemently denied by Tehran which also points out it has the right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

- AFP

13 posted on 11/02/2004 9:38:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn


North Korea, Iran Respond To UN Nuclear Chiefs Challenge

[Excerpt]
November 02, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
AP


UNITED NATIONS -- Challenged by the U.N. nuclear chief to prove their atomic programs are peaceful, North Korea said it would scrap its "nuclear deterrence" if the United States ended its hostile policy and Iran said negotiations with three European countries may "bring fruit."

But North Korea's deputy U.N. ambassador Kim Chang Guk on Monday totally rejected the International Atomic Energy Agency, calling it "a political tool of the superpower." He also accused Japan of allowing U.S. nuclear weapons on its soil and South Korea of nuclear ambitions -allegations both countries vehemently denied.

Iran's deputy U.N. ambassador Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi was less strident, but stressed that Tehran "is determined to pursue its inalienable rights to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." He also criticized the international community for targeting Iran's nuclear program while saying nothing about Israel's.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei challenged both countries in his annual report to the U.N. General Assembly, urging Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program "as a confidence building measure" and North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program or at least allow inspections to ensure it is "exclusively peaceful."

He expressed hope that Iran will decide to suspend enrichment before the IAEA board meets in Vienna, Austria on Nov. 25. Britain, Germany and France have warned that most European countries would back the United States' call to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council -where it could face possible sanctions -if the Iranian government does not abandon all enrichment activities before the board meeting. ... Danesh-Yazdi said Iran has a right "to develop, research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." But he told the General Assembly Tehran has voluntarily suspended enrichment activities since last November.

"Iran is also currently engaged in negotiations with France, Germany and Britain to reach mutual objective assurances on nuclear cooperation, transparency and non-diversion" of nuclear material, he said. "These negotiations will bring fruit if mutual understanding, political will and good faith prevail."

At the moment, there aren't any negotiations taking place on North Korea's program -and the IAEA hasn't conducted any inspections in the country since December 2002.

ElBaradei said he was frustrated that six-nation talks involving the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas were not moving faster.

The goal is to negotiate a deal for the communist regime to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for economic help and security guarantees. But the process is at a standstill because North Korea refused to show up for talks scheduled for September.

"I'm telling the North Koreans again that the international community is ready to look into your security concerns, ready to look into your economic and humanitarian needs," ElBaradei told reporters. "But a prerequisite is for them to commit themselves to full, verifiable, dismantlement of their weapons program -as they say they have a weapons program."

But North Korea's Kim blamed the United States for the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula, dismissed the IAEA, and said "it is a political military question to be settled" between Pyongyang and Washington.

North Korea has made it clear that if the United States "renounces its hostile policy ... including (its) nuclear threat, (North Korea) is willing to scrap its nuclear deterrence accordingly," Kim said, stressing his country's commitment "to the ultimate goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

After about 20 speeches, the General Assembly voted on a resolution supporting the IAEA's "indispensable role" in promoting the peaceful uses of atomic energy "and in nuclear safety, verification and security." The vote was 123-1, with only North Korea opposing the resolution.

14 posted on 11/02/2004 9:43:04 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Iraq, Iran, Middle East Dominate EU Foreign Mins Talks

[Excerpt]
November 02, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
AP


BRUSSELS -- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Tuesday he was hopeful Iran would stop enriching uranium - a key step in making atomic weapons - in exchange for peaceful nuclear technology from European powers.

Fischer spoke after arriving in Brussels for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, who are expected to discuss Iran's nuclear program, the conflict in Iraq and the reshuffling of the E.U.'s new executive. The same issues are also expected to dominate a summit of E.U. leaders slated for later this week in Brussels.

Fischer said Germany, France and the U.K. "will hopefully be successful in completing these negotiations," but acknowledged the talks have so far been "difficult."

There have been two rounds of negotiations in which the Europeans have offered Iran a trade deal and peaceful nuclear technology - including a light-water research reactor - if Tehran abandons its uranium enrichment program. A third round is planned, but not yet scheduled.

Sunday, Iranian lawmakers shouting "Death to America" unanimously approved the outline of a bill that enables their government to resume uranium enrichment.

The legislation is likely to deepen an international dispute over Tehran's atomic program.

The U.K., Germany and France have warned the E.U. may back the U.S.' call to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council - where it could face possible sanctions - if the Iranian government doesn't abandon all enrichment activities.

The foreign ministers are also expected to discuss what role the E.U. is willing to play in stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq.

Friday, the E.U. leaders will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who is expected to ask Europe to contribute more to the reconstruction of Iraq.

The 25-nation union has been reluctant to take on a larger role in Iraq because of the poor security situation in that country, and Tuesday, Fischer again said Germany had no plans to send troops to Iraq.

"We need to see what we can achieve in the civilian field for the stability and reconstruction of Iraq," he said.

The foreign ministers were also expected to meet with incoming E.U. President Jose Manuel Barroso, who is trying to piece together a new executive.

The European Parliament last week threatened to veto Barroso's proposed European Commission if Rocco Buttiglione -a conservative Italian nominated for the justice commissioner post -was not dropped from the 24-member executive.

Buttiglione, who had called homosexuality a sin and said women needed the protection of men, stepped aside following the threatened veto, forcing Barroso to begin reshuffling his team. ...

15 posted on 11/02/2004 9:47:31 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran to U.S. winner: Keep away

By CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji
[Excerpt]
Tuesday, November 2, 2004 Posted: 6:27 AM EST (1127 GMT)

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's President Mohammad Khatami says he hopes the winner of the U.S. presidential election will not interfere in Iran's affairs.

Speaking to reporters hours before Americans headed to the polls Tuesday, he said he had no personal preference between Sen. John Kerry and U.S. President George W. Bush.

"But I hope whoever is the winner, either Bush or Kerry will act realistically and rationally in the long-term interest of the United States to reduce tension by not interfering in the internal affairs of other countries," Khatami said.

Most Iranian leaders and officials have shied away from commenting on the U.S. elections until now. But some believe a Bush victory may lead to greater tension in the Middle East and possibly a military attack against Iran, which Bush has branded as being a part of an "axis of evil" along with Iraq and North Korea. ...

Iran recently rejected proposals from European negotiators to indefinitely suspend its program in exchange for incentives.

During the talks in Vienna -- the headquarters of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) -- negotiators for Britain, Germany and France offered to supply nuclear fuel for Iran's planned power plants and enhance trade and political relations.

The proposals were a last-ditch effort before the next meeting of the IAEA board of governors scheduled for November 25.

Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the Iranian delegates told the Europeans that "restricting Iran's access to nuclear technology marks a red line for the country and it would not be acceptable at all."

16 posted on 11/02/2004 9:55:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Message from Shiraz
"Please let everyone know that most every young Iranian supports George Bush"

November 2, 2004
iranian.com

Few can forget President Bush's State of the Union speech in 2002 where he bluntly labeled the Iranian government alongside Iraq and North Korea as the world's leading advocates of terrorism. Not surprisingly immediately following the controversial speech Mideast experts, journalists, and politicians spewed forth an anchorage of viewpoints regarding its effects on the battle for the soul of Iran.

Predominately all leftist liberals contented support for democratic movements within the country aided the hard-line Islamists establishment while American conservatives strongly dissented arguing the exact opposite. Contrary to various propaganda polls inside of Iran drastically sided with the latter.

In polls stationed by reformists within the country, 75 percent of Iranians favor relations with the United States, 58 percent favor a separation of Mosque and State, 74 percent favor a referendum supporting a change of regime, and perhaps most importantly 52 percent of Iranians feel that Bush administration policy on Iran is 'somewhat correct'.

In 2003, President Bush once again renewed his support for the Iranian people. This time with a deeper sense of urgency and depth. "The government of Iran represses its people. Iranian citizens are risking intimidation and death to speak out for liberty, human rights, and democracy. Iranians have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny -- and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom."

In a message separating the good natured people of Iran with the government, the President won the hearts and minds of many Iranians demonstrating for human rights, democracy, and freedom against a ruthless dictatorship.

According to several publications several months before departing, a group of 127 Iranian reformist MPs launched a blistering attack on their powerful hard-line rivals, warning supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the political deadlock was threatening the very survival of the Islamic republic.

The letter stated that "Perhaps there has been no period in the recent history of Iran that was as sensitive as this one," warned the strongly-worded letter, citing "political and social gaps coupled with a clear US plan to change the geopolitical map of the region."

Furthermore, "If this is a glass of poison, it should be drunk before our country's independence and territorial integrity are put in danger," the letter said in its call for "fundamental changes in methods, attitudes and figures".

It also highlighted the Iranian people's desire for fundamental changes within the regime including calls for democracy and human rights. "Most people are dissatisfied and disappointed. Most of the intellectuals are either silent or leaving (and) foreign forces have surrounded the country from all sides."

According to the Iran Press Service, "perhaps one of the most striking sections of the letter spoke of the possibility of either internal revolution or foreign invasion if massive reforms aren't implemented. The unprecedented direct and uncompromising tone of the warnings to Mr. Khamenei reminded the last days of the deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979, when many nationalist personalities, forecasting the dangers ahead, would advise him to return to democratic rules, but he would not accept."

The President's support for freedom fighters inside of Iran has fueled virus debate at home. While Pentagon officials have been pressing hard for public and private actions that they believe could lead to the toppling of the government through a popular uprising, State Department officials are advocating supporting the lamed reformers surrounding President Khatami inside of Iran. But then again when has the State Department ever been correct regarding International Politics. They were predicting horrible consequences following our War on the Baathist party in Iraq, consequences which never came to be.

While no one believes that the current status quo can survive inside of Iran there is a lively discussion regarding the possibility of either an internal revolution or possibility of hard-liners relinquishing their power. Whichever the outcome of the mounting debate on US policy towards Iran President Bush' unrelenting support for the demonstrators in Iran has had an immensely positive effect.

The majority of Iranians inside Iran stand strongly behind President Bush while those ungrateful and those organizations with questionable ties with the Iranian government stand with the oppressors of the Iranian populace and John Kerry.

One young Iranian female in Shiraz eagerly told me to inform President Bush that "those who had visited Iran and spoken to the Iranian populace had consistently quoted our desire to support George W. Bush's efforts and show our solidarity with his unrelentess efforts for a free, democratic, Iran. We're quite aware, mainly due to the Internet and Satellite television that John Kerry and his supporters are apologists of the Iranian government and working to cut deals with the Iranian dictatorship.

Speaking for Iran's youth population, she addressed Mr. Kerry: "We refuse to be your paid-off pawns and we refuse to allow you to allow our slaughter for your selfish intentions in Iraq and Afghanistan.: We know the truth and the truth is that you, Mr. Kerry, are a great oppressor to our people and an enemy to a free Iran. Please let everyone know that most every young Iranian supports George Bush."

Indeed the devoutly pro-Bush young populace in Iran do, but how about the ungrateful pro-Kerry Iranian young populace in United States?

17 posted on 11/02/2004 10:40:22 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Americans Rank Iran as the Greatest Threat

[Excerpt]
November 02, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Gerald F. Seib and Carla Anne Robbins


WASHINGTON -- Americans today reach the end of their first wartime presidential campaign in more than a generation, and the most pressing question on their minds is the obvious one: Who will win? But though it's been obscured by the fog of the campaign, an equally momentous question lurks in the background: Have Americans agreed on the role they want to play in the post-9/11 world?

The answer, at least in some broad ways, is yes.

While President Bush and Sen. John Kerry have prominent differences over the wisdom and management of the war in Iraq, the American people quietly seem to have come together in the past few months on some of the fundamental questions about their role in a world that has changed dramatically in the last three years.

For example, al Qaeda is an immediate concern, but there is widespread agreement that the far bigger danger lies in nuclear proliferation that might feed terrorists. Iraq is today's crisis, but the country actually is more worried about Iran and North Korea in the long run.

Even with the problems in Iraq, Americans are still willing to strike out militarily to prevent a new terrorist threat from taking shape. But they want more international help next time around and to be sure the target is the right one. America's view of China -- a burgeoning economic and military superpower -- is also shifting from enemy-in-the-making to necessary partner in facing down new threats.

Americans appear eager to repair alliances, not because of any sudden enthusiasm for multilateralism, the United Nations or the French, but because they're worried that going it alone has overstretched U.S. resources. Indeed, the perception of U.S. limitations may be one of the biggest changes of all.

In some respects, these areas of agreement indicate that President Bush has succeeded in shaping and changing American thinking since Sept. 11, 2001. His definition of the "axis of evil" facing America seems to have been widely accepted. So has his general argument that America has the right to strike at its enemies before they hit the U.S. On other fronts, particularly the desire to have more international friends alongside, it appears the country has pulled back from the Bush vision.

All told, these areas of consensus offer some guideposts for the next American president, whether his name is Bush or Kerry. Here, based on an examination of the political debate and public polling, is a look at what the country appears to have decided on some of the key questions that formed the backdrop of this post-terrorism campaign:

What is the threat?

Terrorism is the obvious concern of 2004, but the answer is a lot more complicated than that. Two pictures -- the first from the 1996 presidential campaign, the second from this year's -- illustrate how dramatically the broader view of threats abroad has changed.

In 1995, Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar ran a brief, Cassandra-like campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, warning of the dangers of loose nuclear weapons. He asked voters to imagine what would have happened if the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, who blew up a bomb in the parking garage, had had a nuclear weapon in their van.

He was largely ignored by voters focused on taxes and welfare reform. His bid went nowhere.

Flash forward to this year's campaign. When asked during the first presidential debate what each thought was "the single most serious threat to the national security of the United States," both President Bush and Sen. Kerry gave the same answer: nuclear proliferation.

Today the issue of proliferation -- and particularly the fear of terrorists armed with a nuclear weapon -- also tops Americans' list of international concerns. In a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, respondents were asked what the top priority should be for the next president. By a wide margin, the largest share -- 32% -- cited the problem of potential nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran. That compared with 20% for rebuilding Iraq, 12% for negotiating peace between Israelis and Palestinians and 11% for dealing with China as a growing superpower. Similarly, when Republican pollster Frank Luntz canvassed Americans at one point this year, they ranked Iran, with its nuclear potential, as the greatest threat.

Americans appear to have broadly accepted President Bush's contention that the 9/11 attacks pointed above all to the risk of an even more horrendous future in which terrorists might be armed not with planes but weapons of mass destruction.

Agreement breaks down on the third member of Mr. Bush's axis of evil, Iraq. Even after months of problems in Iraq, the Journal/NBC News poll continues to find that a majority of Americans still think taking military action to oust Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do. But the share of Americans who think that is slipping steadily. Democratic Pollster Peter Hart, who conducts the Journal/NBC News survey along with Republican Bill McInturff, says that Americans haven't dropped their willingness to strike out again, but they do want to be more discerning about it. "They want to understand the threats out there and what they really mean early on," he says.

Should America act pre-emptively?

When Mr. Bush first articulated his doctrine of pre-emptive military action -- hitting at potential enemies even if the U.S. only suspects they're planning to strike America -- the notion came as a jolt. Critics at home and abroad saw international conventions being shredded and the potential for a dog-eat-dog world. Now the idea of striking pre-emptively in some circumstances seems accepted by most Americans; the fierce debate is over when and how.

Perhaps the best sign of the broad acceptance of the notion came in the first presidential debate, when Mr. Kerry was asked what he thought of the "concept of pre-emptive war." He replied: "A president always has the right, and always has had the right, for pre-emptive strike." Never, he said, would he cede "the right to pre-empt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America."

It appears that Americans more broadly have taken that possibility into account and come to accept it. When the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations conducted a survey of American opinions on international relations earlier this year, it asked about a series of measures to combat terrorism; 83% said they favored U.S. air strikes against terrorist training camps and other facilities, and 76% favored attacks on those targets by U.S. ground troops. The group surveyed 1,195 American adults between July 6 and July 12.

But while the country has absorbed the idea of pre-emptive strikes, it doesn't want to jump at the chance. When the Chicago Council asked whether the U.S. should in the future put more emphasis on military methods or on diplomatic and economic methods, 45% spoke for more emphasis on diplomatic and economic tools, while 23% said military methods and 26% said the U.S. has the mix about right. Bottom line: Be prepared to pre-empt but not as a first option.

Do we want to go alone?

The experience in Iraq has left the country clearly feeling it wants more help in the future, but it is ambivalent about what that means. There's little sign Americans want to cede any maneuvering room to allies, and they don't appear to have any nostalgia for once-close ties with the French in particular. Richard Holbrooke, who negotiated the Bosnian peace accord and is now a top Kerry adviser, says that wherever he travels in the U.S., even a mention of France is a setup for jokes. "The nation has become Francophobic," he says, adding that Americans still "don't want people to fear us and don't like the fact we're losing friends in traditional places."

Americans are especially worried about bearing the burdens of the war against terrorism alone. The Chicago Council survey found broad and deep support for acting in concert with allies, and with approval of the U.N., when threats call for action.

The most recent rhetoric of both candidates suggests they have absorbed the message. Mr. Kerry was hammered by Republicans for mentioning the idea of a "global test" of approval before the U.S. moves pre-emptively (his advisers say he misspoke). Still, he has scored well with his charge that the U.S. is paying 90% of the price in Iraq and taking 90% of the casualties, even though the Bush campaign says those figures unfairly overlook the contributions and sacrifices of Iraqis.

For his part, Mr. Bush no longer speaks as firmly of the need for the U.S. to be willing to strike out on its own and has been touting his multilateral credentials, most notably his ability to lure new allies such as Poland into the Iraq alliance and his friendships with foreign leaders including Russia's problematic president Vladimir Putin.

When asked how he plans to deal with the North Korean and Iranian nuclear threats, Mr. Bush enthusiastically endorses six-nation multilateral talks with Pyongyang and European-led efforts to wean Tehran of its nuclear ambitions. Privately his advisers have been skeptical of both.

Behind the desire to have allies alongside in the future is a hardheaded calculation that even a country as powerful as the U.S. can be stretched thin in a time of war. Sen. Lugar, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, has heard his constituents express some ambivalence. Indianans have a "tremendous sense of vulnerability" because of the 9/11 attacks, he says, but they haven't lost the political will to continue fighting the war against terror. Still, "there is a sense of some limitations," he says, and particularly a sense that U.S. military force is being overstretched. ...

Write to Gerald F. Seib at jerry.seib@wsj.com and Carla Anne Robbins at carla.robbins@wsj.com

18 posted on 11/02/2004 3:28:59 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Shia look to dominate a new Iraq parliament
By Charles Clover
Published: November 2 2004 17:23 | Last updated: November 2 2004 17:23

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani Agence,France-Presse Though he rarely leaves his house, has no armed militia, holds no press conferences or interviews and communicates largely through hand-written notes, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has somehow cornered the US into accepting his vision for the post-war destiny of his country.

Less than three months to go before planned January parliamentary elections, which the US reluctantly assented to under pressure from Mr Sistani, the elderly spiritual leader of Iraq's Shia Muslims is poised for the culmination of his strategy.

If they can unite, Iraq's majority Shia stand a good chance of dominating the first elected, sovereign government in Iraq, and overturn decades of Sunni domination that began in 1921 when the British put King Faisal on the throne. Mr Sistani is doing his utmost to see that they do.

Mahdi Karbala'i, Mr Sistani's representative in the holy city of Karbala, said Mr Sistani's goal was to create a “unified list of candidates which is accepted by the Shia religious authority and by society as a whole, which will restore to the Shia their absent rights.”

There is a good chance such a list would win a majority in parliament, giving the Shia clergy a leading role in writing Iraq's constitution and drafting legislation.

Preparations have been going on for at least a month. On October 18, Mr Sistani's representative, Hamid Khaffaf, announced the formation of a committee which would cobble together a single list of candidates to run in the election.

While the list would be open to all Iraqis, Mr Khaffaf said, it would be dominated by Shia religious parties the Supreme Council for the Islamic revolution in Iraq, and the Islamic Da'awa party, which boast the most popular politicians in the country, according to several recent polls.

Mr Karbala'i said on Saturday that secular parties would also allowed on tothe list provided they agreed to three conditions: that they maintain voting discipline within the Shia coalition; that they do “not change the Islamic character of the Iraqi people”; and that they do not support any legislation opposed to the Sharia [Islamic law].

In effect this would give power over what is likely to be the largest block in parliament to the Shia religious authorities, who are the ultimate arbiters of Islamic law.

“The Shia religious authority has taken on a fatherly role for all Iraqis, but they must pay some specific attention to the Shia, so that they may take back some of their rights which have been stripped from them through the years,” said Mr Karbala'i.

Mr Sistani has repeatedly refused to meet American and other western officials to discuss his plans, and they complain that his reclusiveness has forced them to interpret second-hand what he has said.

US officials are not entirely happy with Mr Sistani's plan. A Shia politician close to Mr Sistani said he was told by a US official that Washington did not want the election to “create sectarianism”.

The US government clearly has another worry: that a Shia-dominated government would forge close links with Tehran.

Instead of a Shia list, a senior coalition official in September spoke approvingly of a “consensus list”, including several US-backed parties, to run in the elections. This would be all but impossible if Shia parties joined Mr Sistani's project, as they have said they would. The US is loath to criticise the elderly cleric, who enjoys the highest popularity rating of any figure in Iraq, according to recent polls. They are also beholden to Mr Sistani for defusing the August siege of the holy city of Najaf, when he returned from surgery in London and persuaded radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to move his forces out of the city after a three week assault by US Marines had failed to dislodge him.

Mr Sistani has repeatedly sought to force US administrators in Iraq to accept elections rather than appoint governing officials a demand that the US, self-styled global guardian of democracy, has been hard pressed to deny.

Last November his objections led to the accelerated transfer of sovereignty to Iraq's interim government, and to the promise of elections in January to a parliament which will write Iraq's constitution. Hussein al Shahristani, a member of the six-person committee chosen by Mr Sistani, emphasised that the role of the committee was not to choose the individuals and movements on the candidate list but to act as “a co-ordinating body”

He also insisted the candidate list would not be “a Shia list” but would be “made up of the entire spectrum of Iraq's population, who want to end the occupation through peaceful means and agree on a set of principles”.

“As for the fear that this could become a sectarian list, a Shia list, we are aware of such dangers and we are doing our utmost to open discussions with with other parties. As you know, Shias are the largest constituency in the country and those parties will have some influence, though I would not call it dominance.”

Asked about US objections, Mr Shahristani said the committee would not be taking the views of foreign governments into account, and would not meet foreign officials before the elections.

“We do not know the US position, but we have read in the media that the US is encouraging the formation of a national secular list. All I would stress is that our list will be open to all participants,” he said.

19 posted on 11/02/2004 3:31:28 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Controversial Dutch filmmaker shot dead

Tue November 02, 2004 02:48 PM ET

By Paul Gallagher and Marcel Michelson

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A controversial Dutch filmmaker accused by Muslims of ridiculing their religion has been stabbed and shot dead on his bicycle, shocking the Netherlands where the murder was denounced as an attack on free speech.

Theo van Gogh, a distant relative of 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, stirred controversy with newspaper articles, books and films voicing his contentious views on Islam after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Van Gogh, 47, was attacked near a park close to the centre of the Dutch capital in the morning on his way to work in what could be the second political killing in the country in two years after anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn was shot.

Police arrested a man near the scene after an exchange of gunfire in which the suspect wounded a police officer. The suspect, who was wounded in the leg, was a 26-year-old man with dual Dutch and Moroccan citizenship.

Police said the murder was clearly premeditated.

A note was found at the scene and, Dutch media said, it contained lines from the Koran, the Muslim holy book.

Van Gogh, who branded imams women-haters and ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad in his newspaper columns, was hailed as a champion of free speech by some Dutch but others called him an extremist, while Muslims said they found his work insulting.

He had received death threats but had rejected protection after a recent television programme, called Submission, about domestic violence in some Muslim marriages.

"Van Gogh was someone who joined the public debate with outspoken views. He was a champion of free speech. The Netherlands is a country in which people can speak their mind. We must all stand for that," said Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.

Security for politicians was stepped up after the killing of Fortuyn by an animal rights activist ahead of a May 2002 election in which his party took second place.

The Netherlands is home to nearly one million Muslims or 5.5 percent of the population.

NOISY DEMONSTRATION

Several thousand people demonstrated on Amsterdam's central Dam square and railway drivers were urged to honk their horns to protest the murder.

People banged on drums, pots and pans and blew whistles for some 15 minutes, with some participants holding up signs saying "Muslims against Violence".

Abdou Menebhi, of the Amsterdam Moroccan council, urged his co-religionists to obey a minute of silence in the mosque in the evening during regular Ramadan holy month prayers.

The UMAH association of Moroccan-Dutch academics said they did not share Van Gogh's opinions but condemned his murder.

Police in the Hague, seat of the Dutch government, arrested several people who had been shouting anti-immigrant slogans.

Immigration, integration and Islam are burning issues in the Netherlands where outspoken parliamentarians such as Geert Wilders, an opponent of Turkish EU membership, have received death threats.

"In this country, nobody can be killed because of what he says, that is not what we want," Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk told the crowd.

20 posted on 11/02/2004 3:36:48 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Outside View: Challenging Islam is risky

By IRSHAD MANJI

TORONTO, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Tuesday's slaying of Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker who criticized Islamic practices, reminds all of a nagging truth: More than 15 years after the government of Iran issued a death warrant against novelist Salman Rushdie, challenging Muslims remains a risky business.

As a Muslim dissident, I speak from experience. My book, "The Trouble with Islam," has put me on the receiving end of anger, hatred and vitriol. That's because I'm asking questions that we Muslims can no longer hide from. Why, for example, are we squandering the talents of half of God's creation, women? What's with the stubborn streak of anti-Semitism in Islam today? Above all, how can even moderate Muslims view the Koran literally when it, like every holy text, abounds in contradictions and ambiguity? The trouble with Islam today is that literalism is going mainstream.

Muslims who take offense at these points often wind up reinforcing them in their responses to me. I regularly get death threats through my Web site. Some of my would-be assassins emphasize the virtues of martyrdom, wanting to hurl me into the "flames of hell" in exchange for 72 virgins. Others simply want to know what plane I'm next boarding, so they can hijack it. Somehow, I don't feel the urge to share my schedule.

A few threats have been up-close and personal. At an airport in North America, a Muslim man approached my traveling companion to say, "You're luckier than your friend." When she asked him to explain, he turned his hand into the shape of a gun and pulled the trigger. "She will find out later what that means," he intoned.

But, for all of the threats, there's good news: I'm hearing more support, affection and even love from fellow Muslims than I thought possible. Two groups in particular -- young Muslims and Muslim women -- have flooded my Web site with letters of relief and thanks. They are relieved that somebody is saying out loud words they have only whispered, and grateful that they're being given the permission to think for themselves.

That's why I don't take my bodyguard everywhere I go. It may be necessary to have one when I visit France next week. But in my day-to-day life, I refuse to be closely protected. If I'm going to have credibility conveying to Muslims that we can, indeed, live while dissenting with the establishment, I can't have a big, burly fellow looking over my shoulder. I must lead by example. So far, so good.

To be sure, I haven't tried visiting Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan since the release of my book. (One challenge at time, please!) Still, the relative safety with which I've debated Islam in the West -- from Britain to Belgium, from Australia to Canada, from the Netherlands to the United States -- convinces me that Muslims in the West have a sterling opportunity. They are best poised to revive Islam's tradition of independent reasoning. Why in the West? Because it's here that we already enjoy the precious freedoms to think, express, challenge and be challenged -- all without fear of state reprisal.

I'm not denying that some Muslims have been targeted for harassment, profiling and discrimination by Western governments. I faced the same during the 1991 Gulf War when I was marched out of a federal building in Ottawa, Canada for no apparent reason. However, none of this negates a basic fact: If Muslims in the West dare to ask questions about our holy book, and if we care to denounce human rights violations being committed under the banner of that book, we need not worry about being raped, flogged, stoned or executed by the state for doing so. What in God's name are Muslims in the West doing with our freedoms?

I know what many young Muslim would like us to be doing -- thinking critically about ourselves and not solely about Washington. Indeed, a huge motivation for having written my book came from young Muslims on American and Canadian campuses. Even before 9/11, I spoke at universities about the virtues of diversity, including diversity of opinion. After many of these speeches, young Muslims emerged from the audiences, gathered at the side of stage, chatted excitedly among themselves, and then walked over to me.

"Irshad," I would hear, "we need voices such as yours to help us open up this religion of our because if it doesn't open up, we're leaving it."

They're on the front lines in the battle for the soul of Islam. Whatever the risks to my own safety, I won't turn my back on them -- or on the gift of freedom bestowed by my society.

(Irshad Manji is author of "The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith." She can be contacted through her Web site, www.muslim-refusenik.com.)

21 posted on 11/02/2004 3:43:05 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

In major compromise EU softens demand on Iran for uranium enrichment suspension
Tue Nov 2, 2:15 PM ET
Add to My Yahoo!  World - AFP

VIENNA (AFP) - The European Union (news - web sites) is no longer explicitly calling for an indefinite suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment, diplomats said, outlining a compromise proposal ahead of a crucial meeting with the Iranians on their nuclear programme.

Photo
AFP Photo

 

The diplomats said ambassadors from Britain, France and Germany were Tuesday to hand over in Tehran the EU's written offer, ahead of a scheduled meeting with Iran in Paris on Friday on Europe's request for Iran to halt uranium enrichment, which can be used to make nuclear weapons.

"This paper fudges the uranium enrichment question by saying suspension needs to hold until the conclusion of negotiations over the long-term status of Iran's program," said a Western diplomat who requested anonymity.

It is "a very polished linguistic version, so to speak, to bypass that problem (indefinite suspension of enrichment)," another diplomat close to the talks said.

The EU, led by Britain, France and Germany, has until now said Iran must indefinitely suspend uranium enrichment, a key part of the nuclear fuel cycle, but Iran insists that its right to enrichment cannot be called into question, which would be the case in an indefinite suspension.

Top nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian said in Tehran that Iran could agree to maintain a suspension of uranium enrichment for half a year.

But he added: "Cessation is rejected, indefinite suspension is rejected, suspension shall be a confidence-building measure and a voluntary decision by Iran and in no way a legal obligation, and this has to be clear in our understanding."

In Brussels, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier urged Iran to produce a "lasting" halt to its uranium enrichment activities, carefully avoiding the word "indefinite" as signs emerged of a compromise deal between Iran and the EU.

The United States, which is keeping a low profile on the European initiative, wants the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at a meeting in Vienna on November 25 to take Iran before the UN Security Council for running what it claims is a secret nuclear weapons program.

The Council could then impose punishing sanctions.

The Western diplomat said the United States was "fully in waiting mode, waiting to see how the Iranians react" to the European offer, which is aimed at avoid taking Iran to the Security Council.

Europe's three major powers have vowed to offer nuclear technology, increased trade and help with Iran's regional security concerns if Tehran halts enrichment.

But Iran has said it wants these incentives to be given to it up front, instead of the Islamic Republic having to wait until the end of the negotiating process, diplomats said.

"Iran is willing to consider a suspension but wants to know what it will get in return," a non-aligned diplomat close to the IAEA told AFP Tuesday after a briefing by Iran's IAEA ambassador Pirooz Hosseini.

Mousavian's comments were echoed by President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites) who said: "Our nation must be given the assurance that it will not be stripped of its right (to enrich uranium)."

But of Friday's new round of talks, Khatami told reporters: "I am optimistic... Both sides are showing flexibility."

Moussavian has told the European trio that Iran's national security council is "pretty divided on the issue," a diplomat told AFP in Vienna.

 

Moussavian said the council has "a small majority in favor of suspension and some opposed to it," the diplomat said.

The diplomat said: "Iran now has the choice -- the Iranians can say yes (to the European offer) and things can move forward or they can say no and they know the consequences."

22 posted on 11/02/2004 3:44:43 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn

Ping. I voted. Best to you. Norski. (no reply nec.)


23 posted on 11/02/2004 7:34:33 PM PST by Norski
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To: Norski
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24 posted on 11/02/2004 11:02:26 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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