Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - November 6, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 11/05/2004 9:04:05 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 Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East. In fact they were one of the first countries to have spontaneous candlelight vigils after the 911 tragedy (see photo).
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
The Atlantic Monthly magazine recently arranged a mock war game to examine U.S. options if military force is used to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the exercise showed how limited the options are.
Retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner ran the simulation. Armed with maps and charts in a slideshow, he laid out several options: one night of air strikes against Revolutionary Guard units to punish Iran if it meddles in Iraq; several days of air strikes aimed at Iran's nuclear program; or an all-out war to topple Tehran's clerical regime.
Military expert Michael Mazarr, playing the role of defense secretary, argued that just by starting to talk about military options, the White House closes off diplomatic options in dealing with Iran. Former Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon, playing the role of chief of staff for the president, agreed.
"It's inconceivable that we could come up with a public affairs plan that would explain this, put a bright polish on it, that would bring allies along," Bacon said. "I think the military options have to be part of a broader array of options that we bring to the president."
A slide used in the war game shows satellite photos of Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. The Atlantic Monthly
Fri Nov 5, 9:21 AM ET
BEIJING (AFP) - China's foreign minister discussed the North Korea (news - web sites) and Iran nuclear issues in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites), state media reported, two days after Bush's reelection.
Li Zhaoxing, who heads to Tehran Saturday, exchanged views with Powell on how to properly resolve the row over Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Xinhua news agency said.
The foreign ministry said Thursday that Li will discuss the nuclear issue with Iranian officials during his two-day visit.
Iran is under pressure from the United States to come clean on an alleged program to develop nuclear weapons and to suspend all activities to enrich uranium.
China has been the main mediator between Pyongyang and Washington on resolving the standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Beijing said it hopes the next round of six-nation talks to resolve the issue will resume as early as possible.
Li and Powell also exchanged views on how to further develop the "constructive, cooperative relationship" between China and the United States, as well as how to step up trade and fight terrorism, according to Xinhua.
China's foreign ministry and the US State Department have also agreed to set up a telephone hotline between the two foreign ministers in the near future, Xinhua said in a separate report, without giving a timeline.
The countries, which installed a hotline between heads of state in 1998, have stepped up cooperation in recent years notably on the North Korean nuclear issue and counter-terrorism.
Iran top leader insists Iran is not after nuclear weapon
|By The Associated Press|
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's top leader on Friday insisted that his country was not seeking nuclear weapons because it had "devoted youth and a nation united" to rely on instead, saying U.S. accusations were aimed at preventing Iran's technological progress.
"They accuse us of seeking nuclear weapons. No sir. We are not thinking of building atomic weapons," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told tens of thousands of worshippers in his prayer sermon.
|The Nuclear Case of Iran and the Survival of the Islamic Regime|
| By Bahman Aghai Diba, PhD. Int. Law
Many people have addressed the nuclear case of Iran from the wrong angle. This is the reason for failure in getting the reasonable conclusions and also the root for the repeated failure of the negotiations. The central point in the present nuclear case of Iran is the survival of the ruling regime.
The Mullahs that rule Iran, according to their religious ideology designed by the invaders, do not care for anything except than preserving the power. Anyone, inside or outside of Iran, that looks at the present nuclear case of Iran, from any other angle than preservation of the regime reaches wrong calculations and faces contradictions.
The fact that Iran needs nuclear energy (due to the growing domestic oil consumption, dependence on the oil exports, the low price of the nuclear energy, the need to use oil in other ways as a national capital and many other reasons) has nothing to do with the efforts of the present regime of Iran for continuing its nuclear program. Providing electricity is not so important for the regime of Iran to risk its existence. The only aim of the nuclear program of Iran is to gain a guarantee against the internal insurgency and possible intervention of the foreign forces for changing the regime.
The regime is ready to use all kinds of forces to remain in the top. The internal resistance in Iran is so brutally suppressed that even the reformists (the most lukewarm form of the forces that follow the change in the framework of the Velayate Faghih- the government of Mullahs), are fully neutralized. Undoubtedly, after the Presidential elections in Iran (June 2005) that the conservatives get ride of the Khatami, the regime will start as new wave of suppression and make sure that all of the resistance forces, including the reformists that have exposed themselves are out of the scene. The clear signs of this policy are already visible, but compared to what will be imposed after the next Presidential elections these are nothing. The situation after the next election will be like a creeping coup detate by the conservative side of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Therefore, the people of Iran, inside and outside of the country, are desperately looking to a savoir out of the country. The regime of the Mullahs is well aware of this option and its main policy in front of that option is the nuclear program.
The ruling circles in Iran have proved in the past that do not care what the people think about their polices. Therefore the fact that a number of the conservatives and reformists (that are both followers of the Velayate Faghih) and also a number of the people from all political spectrums (even the dissidents) support the nuclear program of Iran is meaningless. This unity is composed of wrong perceptions, not common interests and clear understanding.
The Conservatives (led by Hayate Motalefeh, which has disguised itself as a party recently) are the ruling power and they want to remain in power and therefore they want the nuclear power (not electricity) to back them up.
The reformists (that follow the Velayate Faghih) had never any real power in Iran. During the last several years that the reformists pretended to have power (only because a few of the reformists were given powerless positions or positions that could be neutralized by the conservations), all of their plans were rejected and finally they were totally and en mass disqualified. The humiliated and embarrassed reformists are trying to buy some kind of prestige for themselves by supporting what looks like a national plan. The problem is that the reformists, as persons believing in Velayate Faghih are not entitled to support any national plans. They are bound by the rules of the game to follow the instructions of the Guardian or the Supreme Leader. Velayate Faghih means that the people are like minors and they need a Guardian and the Guardian is the Supreme Leader who is the personification of all divine forces on the earth. The regime has proved that it has not the capacity to get reformed from the inside and the reformisms that support the Valyate Faghih are wasting the time and energy. It is not important for the ruling circles of Iran (and the people of Iran) what they think.
The ordinary people of Iran who support the nuclear programs and sometimes they say: Israel and India and Pakistan have the nuclear power, why not Iran?, they speak out of national pride and national sentiments. The national pride is good for promoting certain programs and policies in the right time, but it has proved to push the nations down the abyss if provoked in the wrong time and especially when misused by the insincere forces. The ordinary people that support the nuclear program of Iran at the present juncture ignore the real problems of their society.
Are the people of Iran, especially those who claim we should have nuclear power, ready to tolerate the international sanctions? (The regime has no problem. They will bribe their way out by high oil prices and create lucrative black market deals administered by the Aghazadeh-ha, the relatives of the Mullahs. They have extensive experience in violating the sanctions through the dealings with the Iraqis in the era of Saddam.) The people of Iran are living under hardship. In spite of the good oil income, the majority of the people live under the poverty line. 30% of the people are unemployed. The corrupt economic system is giving all economic advantages to a certain group that act as the lackeys of the regime. Are these people ready to go under more pressures and see their children die because they want the Mullahs to have nuclear bombs, or electricity? Are the people of Iran ready to go to war to have a few low level nuclear bombs, put at the tip of several outdated North Korean missiles that are repainted and called Shahab 1, 2, 3, and more, that they never dare to use against any foreign state, but will be certainly used against the people inside Iran if they threaten the government of the divinely assigned Mullahs and the deputies of the hidden imam on the earth?
There is another interesting group that support the nuclear program of Iran. These are some of the Iranian living out of Iran. They are not going to be the target of any sanctions imposed on Iran, they are not going to send their children to the war fronts to be used along with donkeys as the minesweepers, but they want the Mullahs to go ahead with the nuclear programs. This group is in fact spending the credit that they do not have.
The only reason of the Islamic republic of Iran for pursuing the nuclear programs is guaranteeing the survival of the regime. The regime is ready to use the nuclear power against its own people if necessary and according to the Islamic instructions this is fully permitted. The problem is that there is regime in Iran that great powers of the world are concerned about it. They are not ready to let this regime have nuclear teeth. At the same time the regime is ready to use its nuclear power exactly against its own people to be in power. Therefore, this is the wrong time to defend nuclear power for Iran. Some people think the nuclear power will bring security for Iran. What if it is proved that is not case?
The nuclear program of Iran is not focused on the security for the country or state. It is about the security of a regime that is convinced it is going to get into serious conflict with the West, as the symbol of a certain way of life and thinking that stands in contrast to the ideology of the regime of Iran. Look at the following sentences. They are not from the opponents of the regime, human rights organizations, or the Israeli press. These are the direct words of Hassan Abbasi, the Director of Center of External Security Analysis of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, talking in the Tehran University (05/23/04):
The leaders of the Islamic world should have the courage to declare: Islam and Western democracy are not compatible. Islam has nothing in common with the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights. Islam has nothing in common with the Western liberalism and this kind of freedom. Islam opposes these ideas According to Nietzsche, the founding of a civil society leads to the death of God the Koran has said: go to war if it is possible to do something that the disbelievers feel fearful, then this kind of terrorism is holy terrorism . Look at my hands. These are the hands that have created Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad You have 6000 nuclear warheads those are our target. The guerrillas will destroy them . We are working on recruiting the Mexicans and Argentineans for our cause We will mobilize everyone who has a complaint against the America we have identified all of their weak points and we will give on those information to the combatant groups of the world. (http://khbabarnameh.gooya.com/nabavi/archives/real/abbasi-hassan.rm)
The proposals for negotiations that are concentrated on other issues except than the survival of the regime will get nowhere. At the same time, any formula that helps to guarantee the survival of the regime will be greatly welcomed by the regime of Iran. In fact this is the only issue that the Islamic Republic is interested to talk about. All other issues especially detailed and technical points of the nuclear program is aimed at keeping the people inside and outside of the country busy and disoriented.
The reason that the Mullahs are convinced that this is the way for guaranteeing their power is in the treatment of the West. What has happened in the past years has endorsed the view of the regime that the nuclear power can help to guarantee the survival of the regime. A look at the treatment of the USA with the North Korea as compared to Saddams Iraq is a very good example. The North Korea has declared that it has nuclear warheads. It is no secret that the North Korea, along with the open and covert nuclear market of Pakistan, headed by that states chief of the Nuclear Energy Agency, were instrumental in exporting the nuclear know-how to the other countries, including Iran. Yet the West is treating the regime of the North Korea with much respect and caution, while the miserable Saddam who did not have those weapons is sitting in prison and crying for the death of his terrible sons. This has a clear message for the Mullahs who are ruling over a volcano of sick and tired people in live at the verge of explosion.
There is no doubt that the demand of the Western states from Iran to stop its nuclear program is totally in contradiction to the NPT and the other norms and regulations of the international law, justice and equality. However, these notions do not run the world alone. No politician, any where in the world, including Iran, is not ordered by the Constitutional Law and the regime of the state to establish justice. All of the government officials, from the highest to the lowest echelons, in all countries are ordered and instructed to pursue the national interests and if they are proved to do anything except than that, they are set aside. The declared national interest of the dominant powers of the world in focused on the point that the nuclear program of Iran is not trustworthy and they are going to stop the program one way or another. The Iranian people and the government, as usual, must find the limitations of maneuver and the best option under these conditions. If the regime of Iran dose not care about the national interests, national security, and the welfare of people and it is only pursing the interests of the ruling circle, why should the others support such policy? The regime of Iran is preparing itself for a war and claims this to be out of bravery. But the reality is that war is a necessity for the fascism. It is one of the standard definitions of a fascist regime.
Iran is using the differences of the USA and the EU for killing the time and getting closer the nuclear bomb. The differences between the Western countries are very serious. The main question is that: are the Americans and Europeans ready to give guarantees to the regime of Iran for survival? The response of the Europeans is different than the USA. The US does not trust and does not need the Iranian regime and considers it as a source of terrorism and trouble. The Europeans do not trust the regime of Iran too. But they fear the USA, as the source of trouble, more than the regime of Iran. Apart from the sweet dealings of the European states with the regime of Iran (selling almost all of their good and bad products to Iran and getting the contracts in all fields, over the international prices, and delivering goods and services below the standards), the Europeans have a red line (using the jargon of the Iranian regime) in Iran against the American domination all over the region from the countries around the Caspian Sea to the countries surrounding the Persian Gulf, i.e. the reservoir of the world energy and the lifeline of the Europe. After losing Afghanistan and Iraq to the US (forget the discussions about the problems of the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. The US forces have ousted Taleban and Saddam and they have the control of two countries in their hands. This is the strategically important point), Iran is the place that the Europeans have chosen for resistance. The regime of Iran is well aware how desperately the Europeans need Iran and therefore, it keeps telling whatever it likes to the Europeans, before, during and after each negotiation about the nuclear issues and they do not go away. It looks like the relationship of an abusive husband with a wife that has nowhere to go. The Europeans cannot afford to vote against the Iranian regime in the IAEA or the UN Security General.
What the Europeans do in the negotiations with Iran is that they try to sell to Iran the degree of maneuver that they have on the USA. Proposing the so-called carrots like business relations with Iran, and supporting Irans entry to the WTO are almost ridiculous. The Europeans are engaged in a cutthroat completion to sell their products to Iran and Iran does not need to be a member of the WTO. In fact, under the present conditions of the Iranian industries, it is like an economic suicide for Iran to enter the WTO. The membership to the WTO is pursued only by a certain part of the Iranian government (not the conservatives) due to un-economic considerations.
As far as the Americans are concerned, they must make their decision now. The USA cannot attack the nuclear sites of Iran (or let the Israel pretend to have done it) and go home. The Americans must confront the entire Iranian regime right now or start shaking the hands of Mullahs in Washington.
1. The Europeans do not have the necessary capacity and they are not in a position to tackle with the regime of Iran on the nuclear issues.
2. All of the negotiations of the Europeans with Iran in this case are meaningless and Iran is well aware of it. These negotiations are good for killing the time.
3. The Iranian people should set aside the national pride about the nuclear case for the moment. It is not the right time.
Posted Friday, November 5, 2004
PARIS, 5 Nov. (IPS) The Islamic Republic of Iran and its three major European interlocutors are engaged in "complicated negotiations" over Tehrans controversial nuclear programs since this morning in Paris and according to one senior Iranian official, "some small progress" has been achieved so far.
We are seriously debating the latest proposals put forward by the Europeans and our counter-proposal to them, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian told the official Iranian news agency IRNA, adding however that Irans suspension of uranium enrichment is negotiable only for confidence-building but not for an indefinite period.
"Islamic Republic rejects any suspension which obliges the country to terminate its peaceful nuclear programme", Mr. Moussavian, the head of Supreme National Security Councils Foreign Policy Committee told IRNA on Thursday, adding that the so-called Big 3, namely Britain, France and Germany expressed their readiness to recognize Irans right to accessing nuclear technology".
Islamic Republic rejects any suspension which obliges the country
to terminate its peaceful nuclear programme.
The new round of nuclear talks with EU3 will be very complicated, but Im rather optimistic that the talks would yield a solution, he said without going into details.
"Europeans offered a new proposal last week and we have prepared our own proposal, Mr. Moussavian said, stressing that till September 2003, the main issue was the previous nuclear activities of Iran, accused of covert operations and going beyond peaceful nuclear operation. Bu now, as we have accomplished full fuel-cycle, something which is our legitimate right with NPT protocol, something that should not be ignored in the negotiation the question is over the future of our nuclear programs, he explained.
Asked on the effect of US election on Iran, Moussavian said that total US strategy will not change by presidential election. "Iran-US ties have been faced with basic problems with either democrats or republicans", he said.
Iranian delegation arrived in Paris on Thursday to begin third round of talks with European envoys at French Foreign Ministry, a follow up of two earlier rounds of talks in Vienna that yield now substantial results.
The Europeans offered to supply Iran with fuel for power plants, but, Iran does not consider import of fuel economical when it has established fuel-cycle system under the IAEA safeguards
As Mr. Moussavian was talking to reporters in Paris, In Tehran, Irans leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi repeated with force that the country was not seeking nuclear weapons.
As we have often said, and even announced our jurisdiction decree on the issue, we are not after manufacturing, stock piling, or taking practical advantage of any type of nuclear weapons.
"As we have often said, and even announced our jurisdiction decree on the issue, we are not after manufacturing, stock piling, or taking practical advantage of any type of nuclear weapons, strongly believing that a solid and strong nation and government relying on such a huge pious youth power is basically needless of nuclear weapons".
Addressing worshippers on the occasion of the martyrdom of Imam Ali, the Shiies first imam, Mr. Khamenehi said the main reason behind US irrational hue and cry over Irans nuclear projects is Irans advancement despite all sanctions, plots, and enmities.
He also criticised the European trio that had proposed a package containing carrot and stick and following the US-led campaign against Irans peaceful nuclear project.
In an open criticism of the Wests double standard, Mr. Khamenehei said the global arrogance (the Western nations) are ready to give certain technological concessions to nations under their own hegemony, on condition that they would not break the ties of dependence, but when the Iranian nation and government stress the need to preserve their national independence they raise hell".
Nevertheless, he admitted that Iran has become a nuclear power, observing that young Iranian scientists success in making nuclear fuel production quite indigenous in Iran had made Iran one of the 10 world countries that has access to that highly important technology, hence the outrage of the Americans and other enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran to conceal those achievements by accusing Iran of trying to produce nuclear bombs".
A few hours before European Union and Iranian diplomats begin a new round of talks in Paris on Irans nuclear program; the 25-member European bloc renewed its offer of carrots to the Islamic Republic.
"We expect the reply from the Iranian government on Friday. Their reaction to the proposals that were put forward on behalf of the EU by the Trio, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Bot told a press conference in Brussels late Thursday night.
Earlier EU foreign ministers had discussed relations with Iran over dinner, said Bot whose country holds the current EU Presidency. The EU proposals contains a package, "We would like to call that carrots in our jargon... The most important carrot is resumption of trade and cooperation agreement talks, but in general terms improvement of relations between EU and Iran and the continued dialogue and there are other enticements, carrots Bot said, adding that the 25 member European Union expects Iran to comply "with a full and sustained suspension of all enrichment and processing activities".
"So we eagerly await their reaction on Friday because we want the dialogue to be successfully pursued. That is important because it does not concern solely the area of uranium enrichment but we also talk with the Iranians on issues like fighting terrorism, peace and human rights and it would only be possible to address those issues if we have an open and constructive dialogue in place, he said.
According to the Minister, the stick attached with the package of carrots is in case the Iranian authorities show they are not prepared to rally to these suggestions following the report from the IAEA which we have to wait for because we expect that this may well indicate that they are not sticking by earlier promises and that the enrichment activities go somewhat further than energy purposes, from that may flow a decision to go the UN Security Council".
As the EU leaders warned the just newly re-elected President George W. Bush against any possible attack on Iran even if Tehran do not satisfy demands from the IAEA, the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Li Zhaoxing spoke with his American counterpart Colin Powell by telephone ahead of his visit to Iran.
Li is visiting Iran days after the two nations signed a historic 100 billions US Dollars agreement ten days ago for massive import of natural liquefied gas from Iran over a period of 25 years.
Sources said the accord is so far the most important ever signed in this field, as China has become worlds second major energy importer after the United States and Iran has the world largest natural gas reserves after Russia.
Diplomatic sources said besides finalising the accord that was reached in Peking, the Chinese Minister would also discuss the issue of Iran's nuclear program within the framework of the International Atomic Agency.
The U.S. Secretary of State and Chinese Foreign Minister also exchanged views on ways to properly resolve the nuclear issue with Iran during their telephone conversation, the Chinese official news agency reported.
According to some sources, Iran made the gesture, economically very favourable to China, in the hope to secure Pekings veto at the Security Council in case that under pressures from Washington, Irans case at the IAEA is transferred to New York, as the Agencys Board of Directors has warned in is latest resolution of 18 September 2004.
But may be the most interesting event is the visit of the librarian of Congress, James Billington to Tehran.
Billington described his six-day tour of Tehran, the capital, and Isfahan, the second-largest city, as one of the most rewarding of his 17 years at the Library of Congress.
"I've been treated extremely well", he said, adding that he expected the chief of the Iranian National Library, Mohammed Bojnourdi, to visit Washington. No date was set.
Billington is the highest-level U.S. official to visit Iran and openly meet with Iranian officials since relations between the two countries soured with the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, resulting in the cutting of relations between the former allies and imposition of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic by Washington
The only higher-level visit took place secretly during the Reagan administration, when National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane and Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North conducted arms-for-hostages diplomacy. ENDS IRAN NUCLEAR 51104
|Last Update: 05/11/2004 02:19 Bush's re-election will spark American preparations for an operation, perhaps together with Israel, against Tehran's nuclear program. The IDF, however, is not prepared for an Iranian counter-move that would set the northern front ablaze.
On the wall of the defense minister's bureau, to the left of the office of the minister, Shaul Mofaz, hangs a framed letter that was sent by one of his predecessors from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem about half a century ago.
"As you know," David Ben-Gurion wrote in the letter to Prof. Gershom Scholem, "our people was endowed with heroism already in ancient times. The unique quality of `sanctification of the name [of God],' giving one's life for the tenets of Judaism, has accompanied us throughout all the generations and all the places of exile, from the time of Hannah and her seven sons, the Ten Martyrs, down to the victims of the Nazis. Regrettably, though, this was only the passive heroism of those who were tortured, who demonstrated loyalty to their people. In our time we have been privileged to see the emergence of a wonderful young generation, as has been proved to us by the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces and as exemplified by active heroic exploits, which are beyond recounting by any historian - and Israel's independence was renewed. The heroic actions of the IDF fighters are not of a diminished moral level as compared to the ancients."
5 November 2004
Reporters Without Borders today called on women's media and women's rights groups around the world to rally to the defence of two Iraqi women journalists who have been arrested in the past eight days in connection with their work for pro-reform websites.
The latest arrest is that of Mahboudeh Abbasgholizadeh, the editor of Ferzaneh, a magazine about women's issues, who was detained on 1 November on her return from London, where she took part in the European Social Forum. Police searched her Tehran home, confiscating her computer hard drive and other items.
Fershteh Ghazi, who writes about women's issues and who works for the daily Etemad (which means "Trust" in Farsi), was arrested four days ealier, on 28 October, by the Edareh Amaken (a police force that concentrates on vice). She is reportedly accused of "immoral behaviour," a charge often brought against political prisoners in Iran.
In 2001, Ghazi wrote a letter to the Iranian authorities calling for the release of Afsaneh Noroozi, a young woman who had been sentenced to death for the murder of a policemen. The letter also criticised the violation of women's rights in Iran.
The arrests of these two women journalists are part of a crackdown on the online press in which five other cyber-journalists have been imprisoned for writing for pro-reform websites or keeping weblogs. They are :
Javad Gholam Tamayomi of the daily Mardomsalari ("Democracy" in Farsi), who was arrested on 18 October after going to the 9th section of the Tehran prosecutor's department in response to a summons ;
Omid Memarian, a journalist and weblogger who was arrested on 10 October ;
Rozbeh Mir Ebrahimi, Etemad's former political affairs editor, who was arrested at his home on 27 September ;
Hanif Mazroi, a former journalist with several pro-reform newspapers, arrested on 8 September ;
Shahram Rafihzadeh, the editor of Etemad's arts and culture section, arrested on 7 September.
The European Parliament passed a resolution on 27 October condemning their arrests.
George W. Bush won. Sen. John Kerry gave a concession speech, but not until 2 p.m. ET Wednesday did he say, "It is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted -- which they will be -- there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to able to win Ohio, and therefore, we cannot win this election." What took him so long? Back in 2000, Al Gore angered some Democrats by ultimately conceding the election. They still feel, despite Bush's Supreme Court victory, that somehow Gore could have and should have fought on. So after whipping his supporters into a white-hot frenzy of Bush hatred, how does Kerry then become magnanimous and statesman-like? Privately, no doubt, Kerry and his aides saw the inevitable. Publicly, however, the Kerry campaign found itself in a box. Kerry supporters considered the 2000 presidential election stolen, in part through some sort of connivance between the president, his brother Jeb (governor of Florida) and Florida's Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris. Many of Kerry's supporters consider Bush a conniving, lying, manipulating, misleading, arrogant, illegitimate occupier of the White House. Now what did you expect Kerry to do? Come out and, in a statesman-like fashion, tell his supporters, "Chill out"? Meanwhile, the War on Terror continues. But the terrorists are mourning. One night, driving home, I noticed a rare -- in my area -- Bush/Cheney bumper sticker: "10 Out of 10 Terrorists Agree, Anybody But Bush." I thought about the bumper sticker when I read the transcript of Osama bin Laden's videotape, played on Al Jazeera just days before our presidential election. The media made much out of Osama bin Laden's "first direct admission" of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the real emphasis is bin Laden's clear disdain for Bush and, therefore, preference for Kerry. According to a translation, bin Laden said, "It never occurred to us that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face these horrors alone." Bin Laden also said, "It appeared that a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers, resulting in our having three times the required time to carry out the operations." Right out of Michael Moore's playbook. Osama bin Laden also spoke about the ideal way to avoid another Manhattan, about war and its causes and results, and stated that, despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving and hiding the truth from Americans. So, on the one hand, bin Laden accuses his enemy, commander-in-chief George W. Bush, of negligence and incompetence. If you felt that way about your enemy, why not keep him around for another four years? The Arab media, according to translations by the Middle East Media Research Institute, said the following about our elections: "The Palestinians are never satisfied with any president who leaves the White House -- and a month later, they cry because of every new president, and acknowledge that his predecessor was not as bad as he." "With regard to the Syrians, they desire Bush's downfall more than the rest of the Arabs, in hopes that the internal political incitement and external pressure will end. If Bush gets a second term, Syria will, in the opinion of many, be his next target." "Most Arab regimes think that it is in their interest to stick with Bush Jr., even if they are somewhat concerned by his administration. The Arab public, on the other hand, despairs greatly of America in general, and of Bush's administration in particular . . . " A recent Investor's Business Daily editorial said: Palestinian Authority leader and sometime terrorist Yasser Arafat endorsed Kerry. Why? Kerry did once call him a "statesman." And, as his foreign minister noted, under Kerry 'several staff members during Clinton's administration would return.' Kerry has also won praise from Kim Jong Il, North Korea's totalitarian dictator, who has murdered millions of his own people. Kim calls Bush "human scum." But he likes Kerry's support of two-way talks between North Korea and the U.S. -- which would give the 'beloved leader' a big negotiating advantage. . . . Don't forget former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Last year, Mahathir, who is often called "moderate," said Jews "rule this world by proxy." This year, he urged U.S. Muslims to vote for Kerry 'in the name of Islam.' Gen. Tommy Franks (Ret.), former commander-in-chief of the Central Command, said at the Republican National Convention, "The Global War on Terrorism will be a long fight. But make no mistake -- we are going to fight the terrorists. The question is do we fight them over there -- or do we fight them here? I choose to fight them over there." So now the world -- and the Democrats -- will have to live with him . . . for four more years.
Sen. John Kerry gave a concession speech, but not until 2 p.m. ET Wednesday did he say, "It is now clear that even when all the provisional ballots are counted -- which they will be -- there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to able to win Ohio, and therefore, we cannot win this election."
What took him so long?
Back in 2000, Al Gore angered some Democrats by ultimately conceding the election. They still feel, despite Bush's Supreme Court victory, that somehow Gore could have and should have fought on. So after whipping his supporters into a white-hot frenzy of Bush hatred, how does Kerry then become magnanimous and statesman-like?
Privately, no doubt, Kerry and his aides saw the inevitable. Publicly, however, the Kerry campaign found itself in a box. Kerry supporters considered the 2000 presidential election stolen, in part through some sort of connivance between the president, his brother Jeb (governor of Florida) and Florida's Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris. Many of Kerry's supporters consider Bush a conniving, lying, manipulating, misleading, arrogant, illegitimate occupier of the White House. Now what did you expect Kerry to do? Come out and, in a statesman-like fashion, tell his supporters, "Chill out"?
Meanwhile, the War on Terror continues. But the terrorists are mourning.
One night, driving home, I noticed a rare -- in my area -- Bush/Cheney bumper sticker: "10 Out of 10 Terrorists Agree, Anybody But Bush." I thought about the bumper sticker when I read the transcript of Osama bin Laden's videotape, played on Al Jazeera just days before our presidential election. The media made much out of Osama bin Laden's "first direct admission" of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But the real emphasis is bin Laden's clear disdain for Bush and, therefore, preference for Kerry. According to a translation, bin Laden said, "It never occurred to us that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his citizens in the two towers to face these horrors alone." Bin Laden also said, "It appeared that a little girl's talk about her goat and its butting was more important than the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers, resulting in our having three times the required time to carry out the operations."
Right out of Michael Moore's playbook.
Osama bin Laden also spoke about the ideal way to avoid another Manhattan, about war and its causes and results, and stated that, despite entering the fourth year after Sept. 11, Bush is still deceiving and hiding the truth from Americans. So, on the one hand, bin Laden accuses his enemy, commander-in-chief George W. Bush, of negligence and incompetence. If you felt that way about your enemy, why not keep him around for another four years?
The Arab media, according to translations by the Middle East Media Research Institute, said the following about our elections: "The Palestinians are never satisfied with any president who leaves the White House -- and a month later, they cry because of every new president, and acknowledge that his predecessor was not as bad as he." "With regard to the Syrians, they desire Bush's downfall more than the rest of the Arabs, in hopes that the internal political incitement and external pressure will end. If Bush gets a second term, Syria will, in the opinion of many, be his next target." "Most Arab regimes think that it is in their interest to stick with Bush Jr., even if they are somewhat concerned by his administration. The Arab public, on the other hand, despairs greatly of America in general, and of Bush's administration in particular . . . "
A recent Investor's Business Daily editorial said:
Palestinian Authority leader and sometime terrorist Yasser Arafat endorsed Kerry. Why? Kerry did once call him a "statesman." And, as his foreign minister noted, under Kerry 'several staff members during Clinton's administration would return.' Kerry has also won praise from Kim Jong Il, North Korea's totalitarian dictator, who has murdered millions of his own people. Kim calls Bush "human scum." But he likes Kerry's support of two-way talks between North Korea and the U.S. -- which would give the 'beloved leader' a big negotiating advantage. . . . Don't forget former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Last year, Mahathir, who is often called "moderate," said Jews "rule this world by proxy." This year, he urged U.S. Muslims to vote for Kerry 'in the name of Islam.'
Gen. Tommy Franks (Ret.), former commander-in-chief of the Central Command, said at the Republican National Convention, "The Global War on Terrorism will be a long fight. But make no mistake -- we are going to fight the terrorists. The question is do we fight them over there -- or do we fight them here? I choose to fight them over there."
So now the world -- and the Democrats -- will have to live with him . . . for four more years.
Victorious Bush has a rare chance to bring Tehran in from the cold
By Trita Parsi
Friday, November 05, 2004
Twenty-five years after its revolution of 1979, Iran has yet again become too big of a problem for Washington to play politics with. Fortunately, commencing his second-term, President George W. Bush is in a unique position of strength. On the one hand, he is less vulnerable to special interests in Washington seeking confrontation with Iran. On the other hand, his strong record on national security grants him enough political maneuverability to solve America's Persian puzzle once and for all by easing the increasingly costly and unsustainable policy of isolating Iran in return for an end to Iran's objectionable policies.
President Bush has no choice but to address the Iranian challenge with a sincerity that previous presidents have been unwilling or unable to muster. Three decades of failed, ineffective and non-policies on Iran have led to the situation today in which Tehran is on the threshold of becoming a nuclear power, while the U.S. is over-extended in Iraq and at loggerheads with its European allies.
Many policies have been tried and have failed. In the 1980's the U.S. sought to balance Iran by supporting Saddam Hussein in the Iraq-Iran war. While certainly containing Iran, this policy also led to the unleashing of Saddam and his seemingly unending appetite for conquest and conflict. Today in Iraq, America is still dealing with the consequences of that policy. While balancing Iran succeeded, it led to far worse problems.
In the 1990's, inspired by Israel's need to contain its newly appointed Iranian rival in the post-cold war Middle East, America embarked on the policy of dual containment. The essence of this policy was the construction of a new Middle East order based on the exclusion of the region's two most powerful states - Iran and Iraq - while assuring Israel's security and military edge in the region through the peace process. As the first pillar of this policy, the Oslo process, failed - partly due to Iranian support for its enemies - the second pillar slowly crumbled as well, leading to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Not only did the isolation of Iran fail, Tehran made major advances toward its reintegration into the world economy during that same period.
Finally, during the first term of President Bush, internal rivalry between the realists and the neoconservatives effectively disabled Washington from conducting any policy on Iran, save occasional rhetorical exercises which resembled Iranian statecraft more than American.
While dual containment demonstrated the limits of America's political power, the difficulties in today's Iraq have shed light on the limits of America's military power when used for political ends. The common denominator in these different approaches, however, has been the belief that giving Iran a seat at the regional table of decision making was both unnecessary and undesirable.
Presently, the policy of isolating Iran is becoming increasingly difficult and costly. With the situation in Iraq being unlikely to stabilize in the short and medium term, it may soon become unbearable. With Iran inching closer to nuclear technology, and Iraq more likely to become an Islamic state than a liberal democracy, a new strategy which avoids America's over-extension is sorely needed. While engaging Iran may still be undesirable in some quarters in Washington, it is clear today that it is both necessary and unavoidable.
Fortunately, from Washington's perspective, what Iran is asking for doesn't cost the U.S. a thing - an easing of America's failed policy of isolating Iran and Tehran's inclusion in regional decision making on security matters.
This is the policy option that has yet to be seriously tested by Washington, and much indicates that it has strong prospects for successfully ending intolerable Iranian policies.
Past Iranian behavior has shown that when Washington has sought Iran's exclusion and isolation, Tehran has used its influence to undermine U.S. policies in the Middle East. For instance, in the 1990's, Iran opposed the Middle East peace process not out of love for the Palestinians, but out of fear for regional isolation and exclusion under a new U.S. sponsored Israel-centric Middle East.
Today, Iran's support for insurgents in Iraq is a function of American efforts to deprive Iran of what it sees as its legitimate role in developments in its neighboring country. At the end of the day, the Iranians know very well that instability in Iraq is far more of a threat to Iran than it is to the U.S.
However, when the U.S. has either failed or refrained from isolating Iran, Tehran's behavior has also become much more moderate and amenable toward U.S. interests. Afghanistan is a case in point. Iran played a crucial role in convincing the anti-Taliban Afghani forces to cooperate with Washington after the defeat of the Taliban. Iranian diplomacy even won praise in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The ensuing tension between the U.S. and Iran - prompted by efforts in both capitals to exclude the other from a role in post-Taliban Afghanistan - was not resolved through the elimination of Iran from Afghani affairs, but through Iran's inclusion and the acceptance of Iranian involvement in the rebuilding of Afghanistan.
Nevertheless, blame for the failure to resolve U.S.-Iran tensions lies more in Tehran than in Washington. Internal Persian politics have caused the Iranians to become the masters of missed opportunities when it comes to relations with the world's sole superpower. But with the U.S. and Iran on a collision course due to Iran's nuclear deceptions, and with the war president's strong mandate at the election booths, there is a keen awareness in Tehran that the next missed opportunity may very well be the last.
These factors all indicate that time could not be more ripe for an arrangement with Iran, because the Iranians have no choice but to make a deal, and because America cannot afford to continue the unsuccessful policy of unilateral pressure for much longer.
Recognizing Iran for what it is - a major Middle East power with legitimate security concerns - and granting it a role in regional security matters will both lift a heavy burden off the back of America and help evade nuclear ayatollahs and their disagreeable policies. President Bush will be wise to seriously tackle the issue of security in the Gulf region by initiating a new security arrangement for the region, in which all the states of the region are to participate. Through this multilateral track, an end to Iranian obstructionism can be achieved.
After Tuesday's impressive win, no American president has been in a better position than George W. Bush to navigate through the stormy waters of Persian politics. It's an opportunity he cannot afford to miss.
Daily Star Note: Trita Parsi is a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University SAIS in Washington DC, writing his dissertation on Israeli-Iranian relations. He recently spent several weeks in Tehran and Tel Aviv, interviewing high-level Iranian and Israeli officials on security matters.
SMCCDI Note: Titra Parsi is the facade founder of the self called "National Iranian American Council" (NIAC). He's a notorious apologist and lobbyist for the Islamic regime and one of those few Iranians involved in the promotion of the false idea of the possibility for the Islamic regime to become a Democratic entity.
With a very controversial past, Parsi will appear in Sweden, few years ago, and will promote the Khatami gang before moving to the US where he will be for a while an active board member of the so-called "American Iranian Council" headed by the infamous Hooshang Amir Ahmadi who's qualified as the "Broker of Death" by many Iranians.
The group composed by other very controversial individuals and apologists for the Islamic regime, such as, Akbar Ghahary and Hassan Nemazee will push for the recognition of the illegitimate Mullhacracy by the US Administration but will face a fiasco.
After the mediatic collpase of the AIC, Parsi supposedly splitts and creates the NIAC which will carry a much more subtile and hidden agenda. While the group claims to be non-political in what concerns US Foreign relations, in reality Parsi as its named founder uses its impact to carry his real agenda.
Along with his gang and by paying few money oriented TV, they have been able to use, in the last months, the ignorance of many Iranians and Americans in order to promote their till now hidden agenda.
The publication os such article and pulling off his mask, shows the real desperation of the regime's apologists following George Bush victory. In addition, Parsi known for having influenced Representative Bob Ney, can no more claim not having made frequent trips to Iran and meeting the regime's officials as stated in the bottom of the above Daily Star article.
More proof that the goal of Iran's nuclear program is megatons not kilowatts, came last weekend. On Sunday, all 247 legislators present in the Iranian parliament voted to resume their country's uranium enrichment activities, in violation of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) restrictions. As if to confirm suspicions regarding their intentions, some deputies shouted "Death to America."
The vote followed a decision last month by the ayatollahs to flatly turn down an Anglo-French-German proposal to provide the Islamic republic with the uranium it needed for an extensive civilian electricity program, in return for Iran giving up its nuclear research and shutting its centrifuges.
It has always strained credulity that a country with the world's fifth largest oil reserves -- and no environmentalists to worry about -- would consider large-scale nuclear power production at seven to 10 times the cost per kilowatt-hour of generating electricity from oil-fired plants. But this is the limit: The IAEA and the European Union must now remove their blinkers. Iran's public pronouncements are clearly eyewash concealing a hunt for The Bomb. The nation has been negotiating in bad faith -- appearing open to compromise, while continuing its weapons program in underground laboratories.
The best-case explanation for Iran's stubborn retention of its nuke program is that it desires to immunize itself against regional and international interference in its internal affairs. That's plausible, since the ayatollahs' hold on power is increasingly tenuous. But just as likely is the desire of Iranian hardliners to carry their fading Islamic revolution to other nations.
Before 9/11, the U.S. State Department routinely ranked Iran as the world's top supplier, trainer and bankroller of terrorism. And in a prominent sermon in 2001, former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani looked forward to the day when "the world of Islam comes to possess [nuclear] weapons." A bomb used against Israel, Rafsanjani exulted, "would leave nothing on the ground" and rid the world of "extraneous matter."
An invasion of Iran at this point is an impossibility given the Americans' overextension in Iraq. But at the very least, Iran's violations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and of current IAEA restrictions, along with its repeated failure to comply with IAEA inspectors, must be referred to the UN Security Council when the agency's board convenes later this month. And if the Security Council is to retrieve any of the credibility it lost over Iraq, it must swiftly impose sanctions -- and make them stick.
At the very least, the Security Council must impose a total ban on all nuclear trade with Iran, especially with its suspected suppliers in South Africa, Brazil, Pakistan and Russia. Failing this, more direct action to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power may become necessary.
Iran and Europe Locked in Nuclear TalksBy ELAINE SCIOLINO
Published: November 6, 2004
ARIS, Nov. 5 - In an effort to stop Iran from producing a nuclear bomb, the 25 leaders of the European Union on Friday offered Iran economic and political incentives if it suspended its production of enriched uranium.
The proposal, issued in a statement at the end of a two-day summit meeting in Brussels, coincided with negotiations that opened here in which Iran was seeking concessions from France, Germany, Britain and the European Union to allow it to produce enriched uranium. Uranium can be enriched both for peaceful purposes and to develop nuclear weapons.
In the negotiations, which stretched late into the night, the Iranians were willing only to consider a temporary suspension of perhaps six months to buy time for a broader agreement and avoid the threat of sanctions, according to officials involved in the negotiations. One European official labeled the Iranian position "suspension minus."
The goal of the Europeans, by contrast, has been to push Iran to agree to suspend its uranium enrichment indefinitely in exchange for the promise of economic and political rewards, officials said.
Iran has said that its uranium enrichment program is only for energy production purposes, claiming it as a sovereign right and a matter of national pride. On Oct. 31, Iran's Parliament unanimously passed a bill supporting the resumption of uranium enrichment. On Tuesday, Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, ruled out a definitive halt to uranium enrichment but expressed confidence that a compromise could be reached.
"Our nation must be given the assurance that it will not be stripped of its right," Mr. Khatami told reporters at the Parliament, adding that he was optimistic that negotiations in Paris would succeed.
That sentiment was echoed by Hussein Mousavian, the Iranian negotiator in the talks, who told Iran's state television, "I am optimistic because the two parties are determined to reach an accord satisfactory to both."
The spirit of optimism seems to be grounded in two assumptions by Iran.
The first is that the Europeans seem willing to bend to Iran by offering concessions to avoid a confrontation on Nov. 25, when the United Nations' nuclear monitoring body, the International Atomic Energy Agency, meets in Vienna. The second assumption is that the international community will not have the political will to impose sanctions on Iran if it does not comply - particularly economic sanctions at a time when oil prices are so high.
Under pressure from the Bush administration, the I.A.E.A. is scheduled to rule at its meeting later this month on whether Iran has met demands that it cooperate fully to disclose its nuclear activities. The Bush administration is poised to turn the matter over to the Security Council for discussion of sanctions if Iran does not cooperate.
The Europeans, who have worked to avoid sanctions, nevertheless admit that Iran has reneged on an agreement reached with France, Germany and Britain in October 2003 to suspend uranium enrichment and to accept stricter international inspections of its nuclear sites.
In Brussels this week, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer of Germany said Iran had to "stop the fuel cycle." Otherwise, he predicted, "we are moving forward in a very serious situation."
But Iran has charged that the Europeans have reneged on their promises under last year's agreement to deliver peaceful nuclear technology and other economic incentives in exchange for its cooperation.
Mr. Mousavian has taken a hard line on the issue of uranium enrichment. "Cessation is rejected, indefinite suspension is rejected," he was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying in Tehran on Tuesday. "Suspension shall be a confidence-building measure and a voluntary decision by Iran and in no way a legal obligation."
To avoid a diplomatic showdown and to salvage last year's agreement, the Europeans proposed a package of economic incentives for Iran last month that included access to imported nuclear fuel for its reactors, help with regional security concerns, and increased trade, including access to spare parts for Iran's aging airline industry.
That incentive strategy was underscored in the European Union decision contained in the European Union's statement on Friday. "A full and sustained suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing activities, on a voluntary basis, would open the door for talks on long-term cooperation offering mutual benefits," the statement said.
The European leaders also pledged to press for long-term "political, economic and technological" cooperation and the resumption of negotiations on a trade agreement between Iran and the European Union.
In Tehran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, took the unusual step of delivering the weekly Friday Prayer sermon in which he insisted that Iran had no intention of developing nuclear weapons, which, he said, were forbidden under Islam.
"They accuse us of pursuing nuclear weapons," Ayatollah Khamenei said. "I am telling them as I have said before that we are not even thinking about nuclear weapons. Our nuclear weapon is our young and devoted youth and our believing nation."
In an interview published Friday in The San Francisco Chronicle, Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he had no clear proof that Iran was developing nuclear weapons. "We haven't seen any concrete evidence that points to a fact that Iran has a nuclear weapons program," he said in the article. "We have seen Iran experimenting with all aspects of the fuel cycle, but we still have lots of work to do."
But the United States, Britain, France and Germany and other countries believe that despite its denials, Iran is pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program under cover of its civilian atomic energy program.
Twenty-five years ago today, a group of students took dozens of Americans hostage at the US embassy in Tehran, Iran.
One of those former hostages is a retired Navy pilot who lives in the southern Indiana community of Bedford.
After eight months at the embassy in Tehran, Don Sharer was writing his admiral in Washington, saying he hoped to be home in two weeks.
"As I'm writing the letter, 10:30 in the morning, 4 November, 1979, they came over the wall, said Sharer.
They were Iranian militants who wanted the Shah of Iran returned to that country from the United States, where he was getting medical treatment. After a couple of weeks, Sharer knew he'd be a hostage for a long time.
"They'd line us up against the wall. We were blindfolded and handcuffed and they started chambering rounds, letting empty rounds fall on the floor, clicking empty guns, laughing, saying, 'This is an execution' in broken English, said Sharer.
Sharer survived, in part, by setting up a daily routine. It came to include two hours of running in place.
"W hen you're running in place you'd let your mind drift to where you used to run before you got over there. And I came from Chesapeake, Virginia and I had this country lane I'd run down all the time. We'd see deer; and I just put that in my mind and that's where I ran. In my mind I ran in Chesapeake, Virginia, said Sharer.
Sharer also survived by standing up to his captors. When asked to lie down by his captors who said they would shoot him, he refused, telling them he planned to be standing if they were to shoot him. I'm a Navy fighter pilot. Fighter pilots are the craziest guys in the world and do the most obnoxious things, said Sharer.
The militants released their hostages after 444 days. Sharer met Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and Senator Richard Lugar. It was a hero's welcome home.
Still, 25 years later, Sharer wants justice for his captors. "We were kidnapped. We were held for ransom. That's a criminal act. I don't care what country you're in, what society in the world. They have never paid for that, he said.
The US released more than $7 billion in frozen Iranian assets before the hostages were released.
Don Sharer says the former hostages and their families deserve that money back from Iran. He's organizing a group of hostages who are trying to persuade Congress to make that happen.
Why in the world would they report that mock war games have failed?
Despite Europe's fears, Bush may be tempted into an assault on Iran, writes Paul McGeough.
As US Vice-President Dick Cheney promised this week that the new Bush team would "serve and guard the country we love", student rent-a-crowds were burning effigies of his leader and his flag in Tehran.
The state-choreographed protest was to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1979 hostage drama at the US embassy in the Iranian capital.
These two countries are on a new collision course - this time over the conviction by Washington and others that Tehran is covertly developing weapons in tandem with a nuclear energy program which the Iranian leadership insists is civilian and purely peaceful.
The bitterness is deep. Senior Iranian officials used the anniversary of the humiliating 444-day detention of 52 American diplomats to mock the newly re-elected Bush and the US as "the great Satan".
In his 2002 State of the Union address, Bush memorably named Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as the "axis of evil" as he assessed threats to US national security after September 11, 2001.
European countries have worked feverishly to keep the Iran crisis within a diplomatic framework. But the risk in Tehran's "We've got nothing to lose" posturing and in Bush's pre-election form and post-election rhetoric, is that each will perform as the caricatures they have become - facing off as Tehran Terror v Bullyboy Bush.
The Americans have little faith in the diplomatic process. And given their unilateralism and pre-emptive strikes in response to the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the world would be unwise to rule out the possibility of Bush being persuaded by the re-energised neoconservatives to complete a regional trifecta of military strikes - Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.
In his first term, there were good reasons for Bush keeping a low profile on Iran. He and his team were preoccupied with the bungled aftermath of their invasion of Iraq, Iran's western neighbour. And more recently they have begun to recognise a crisis that has the potential to destroy the fledgling democracy they are building in Afghanistan, Iran's eastern neighbour.
Despite the global celebration of the October 9 presidential election in Afghanistan, Administration officials are concluding that their failure in the three years since invasion to check a burgeoning opium poppy economy means that Afghanistan could become an ungovernable narco-state.
But events in the coming months could shape Iran as the Iraq-like crisis of the second Bush term. There is widespread speculation in Washington and other capitals that, even before Tuesday's US election, the Administration's hardliners were sketching plans for an Iran campaign.
Last week the Los Angeles Times quoted Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA Middle East analyst turned conservative commentator, as saying: "I've heard discussion of between 20 and 40 [suspected Iranian nuclear] sites you'd want to hit to deter the program."
The Administration was "very seriously" studying the possibility of military action against Iran, said Michael Rubin, a former US adviser in Baghdad who is a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
And such is the credence being given to the idea that the US might acquiesce in an Israeli strike on the Iranian plants, that this week the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was wheeled out to deny it. It would not be a first - in 1981 Israeli jets destroyed a partly constructed nuclear facility in Iraq.
From an Arab and Muslim perspective, it is hardly surprising that Iran would pursue a nuclear program.
The US has always turned a blind eye to Israel's nuclear arsenal and to its stubborn refusal to sign up for non-proliferation or for international supervision of its program.
Like Saddam Hussein before it, Iran is positioning itself as a counter to Israeli force in the region. And that is the crux of it - the hardline argument in Washington and Israel is that, armed with nuclear weapons, Iran would be a risk to the region. It might share its nuclear technology with terrorists or it could threaten strikes on Israel or other US interests.
On Thursday Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, ruled out the use of US military force against Iran, telling the BBC: "The prospect is inconceivable - I don't see any circumstances in which military action would be justified against Iran, full stop."
And Karsten Voigt, who co-ordinates relations with the US in the German Foreign Ministry, told reporters: "The Europeans - the British, French and Germans - are seeking a peaceful solution. But the goal is to prevent, together with the Americans, Iran gaining access to nuclear weapons."
British, French and German diplomats were downcast about the prospects for a meeting in Paris yesterday, at which they would again offer an Iranian delegation a range of incentives if Tehran agreed to abandon its plans for enriching uranium.
These talks have been going on for three years, but all Straw would say before the Paris meeting was: "It is difficult negotiating with Iran."
The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency was said to be equally resigned to failure, but some reports suggested the Iranians might attempt to buy time by going part of the way towards a compromise.
Deadlock could leave the Europeans with little room to move, despite their resentment, shared by the agency's board of governors, over Washington's bogus claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction as part of the case for war against Saddam Hussein.
If the Paris meeting failed, the Europeans might have to back a US demand that a meeting of the agency on November 25 refer Iran to the UN Security Council, where it could be targeted with economic sanctions.
But Vienna-based diplomats also said that the agency's head, Mohamed ElBaradei, might try to thwart the US. It is thought his report to the meeting may question the extent to which Iran's fuel cycle activities are out of proportion with the rest of its nuclear program, but at the same time state that his staff have found no evidence of the diversion of nuclear material to weapons.
In the meantime, the US is obliged to focus on its attempts to control events in Iraq.
It hopes a planned assault on Falluja might prove the effectiveness of Iraq's new security forces, which are so distrusted by their American trainers and minders that often their weapons are confiscated.
This is the weakness in the US exit plan in Iraq. The theory is that if the Iraqi forces can be trained to impose security, then the US can pull back as all the elements of a democracy fall into place.
But the insurgency still has a grip on parts of the country and exasperated US officers are constantly accusing Iraqi police and military recruits of providing strategic information to the insurgents.
After last month's execution of 49 military trainees, who were unarmed because they were not trusted to keep their weapons during home visits, a senior Iraqi official told Newsweek: "The infiltration is all over, from the top to the bottom, from decision-making to the lower levels."
One of his colleagues added: "Things are getting really bad. The initiative is in [the insurgents'] hands right now. This approach of being lenient and accommodating has really backfired - they see this as weakness."
Despite Washington's hopes and predictions, the insurgency gets stronger and bolder.
The US hopes that an all-out assault on Falluja will change that, but the likelihood is that when the Marines fight their way into the city, most of its defenders will have melted away to fight in other parts of the country.
In which case, the fighting will continue, the elections that the US wants to be held in January will be in doubt and so will be democracy in Iraq.
In the first Bush term, only two people in the presidential loop had the opportunity to challenge his insistence that the Iraq adventure had to be a part of the "war on terror" - Tony Blair and Colin Powell.
History will remember both of them as the flawed individuals who went along for a dangerous ride instead of getting off the bus.
With Powell widely reported to be ready to pack his broken principles and quit as Secretary of State, Blair may be left alone.
This week he came in on cue - making yet another empty call for the US to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Why would Bush listen to him when he has never done so in the past? Why might the Palestinians believe him, when he has delivered nothing despite all his pious words?
Blair has been Bush-whacked before. He'll be bushwhacked again.
THE HAGUE -- The government vowed tough measures yesterday against what a leading politician called ''the arrival of jihad in the Netherlands" after a death threat against a Dutch lawmaker was found in a letter pinned with a knife to the body of a slain filmmaker.
The five-page letter, signed by a suspected terrorist group, was released Thursday by the justice minister, and forced political leaders to take on bodyguards. ...
Titled ''An open Letter to [Aayan] Hirsi Ali," it referred to a Somali-born member of parliament who scripted Van Gogh's film, ''Submission," which criticized women's treatment under Islam. Hirsi Ali, who says she is a former Muslim, is now in hiding.
''We are not going to tolerate this," Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm said. ''We are going to ratchet up the fight against this sort of terrorism. The increase in radicalization is worse than we had thought."
Jozias van Aartsen, parliamentary speaker for the right-wing free market VVD party, said: ''The jihad has come to the Netherlands and a small group of jihadist terrorists is attacking the principles of our country. I hope the Netherlands will now move beyond denial and do what is fitting in a democracy; take action.
''These people don't want to change our society, they want to destroy it," he said.
From CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji
November 6, 2004 Posted: 1135 GMT
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- China will oppose any effort to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council over the issue of Tehran's nuclear program, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said Saturday.
Zhaoxing, who arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit Saturday, said China believes the issue should be dealt with by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Zhaoxing said he has discussed the issue with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
"I also told these colleagues that, to my knowledge, Iran is having a pretty good cooperation with the IAEA," he said.
"And I also opened my mind to them that according to my reading of the pictures, according to my analysis, to bring the matter to the Security Council will only make the issue more complicated and more complex than necessary and more difficult to work out."
Iranian Foreign Minister Kmal Kharazi, speaking at a news conference with Zhaoxing, said there was no reason to refer Iran to the Security Council since Iran has cooperated fully with the IAEA.
"As the (Chinese) minister has clearly mentioned, China will oppose the transfer of this file to the Security Council, as it is a matter for the IAEA Board of Governors," Kharazi said.
The Chinese foreign minister's statement is a boost to Iran's position. Tehran is engaged in talks with Britain, France and Germany over the international community's demand that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities.
Iran is hoping China will use its veto power at the Security Council.
Iran is eager to step up trade with China. ...
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