Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - November 7, 2004 [EST]- IRAN LIVE THREAD - "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 11/06/2004 9:31:20 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.
I also hear the people were thrilled with Bush's re-election.
Bush Vows No Letup in War on Terror
Saturday, November 06, 2004
​WASHINGTON Fresh off his re-election victory, President Bush vowed the United States would not retreat from trying to spread democracy through the Middle East and would continue to pursue a no-holds-barred approach to Iraq and the War on Terror (search).
"I understand, in certain capitals and certain countries, those decisions were not popular," Bush said at his first post-election news conference Thursday. But he made no apologizes about the course he had set and said he would not back down.
Before flying to the presidential retreat at Camp David (search ) to rest after the grueling campaign, Bush took congratulatory calls from world leaders and met with his Cabinet to discuss his second term.
He said he had not made any decisions about personnel changes, although some turnover is almost inevitable in his Cabinet and White House staff.
"I haven't made any decisions on the Cabinet yet," nor about his top staff, Bush said. "The word 'burnout' is oftentimes used in Washington, and it's used for a reason, because people do burn out."
The first job to change hands could be that of attorney general, since John Ashcroft might leave even before the second term begins, senior aides said Thursday.
Others expected to leave although maybe not immediately include Secretary of State Colin Powell (search), Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson (search) and Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta (search).
FOX News has learned that Thompson has indicated to associates that he would leave early in Bush's second term.
"I'm proud of every person here they've done a great job for the country and I've reminded them that even though an election just ended, we've still got work to do," Bush told reporters after the Cabinet meeting Thursday.
"I made it clear to them [the Cabinet] I was glad the election was over and reminded them that we're here for a reason," Bush said at the meeting. "They understand that it's such an honor to serve America, it's a privilege to sit around this table ... and do the nation's business."
As U.S. forces in Iraq mobilized for an all-out offensive against Fallujah and other Sunni militant strongholds, the president refused to say how much the war would cost or whether he planned to alter troop levels.
"I have yet to hear from our commanders on the ground that they need more troops," the president said.
Privately, senior Pentagon officials said it was possible that more U.S. forces could be deployed before January.
Two overnight raids in Fallujah destroyed barricades set up by guerrilla forces inside the city. But troops have not yet moved into the heart of the city.
U.S. military commanders believe the insurgents have used the past few months to booby-trap roads and set up potential ambushes using homemade bombs, which they said might slow down the assault but would not stop it.
The president on Thursday expressed determination to see the Iraq mission through.
"In order for Iraq to be a free country, those who are trying to stop the elections and stop a free society from emerging must be defeated," Bush said.
He vowed to work with the government of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (search).
The president is expected to ask Congress early next year for up to $75 billion for Iraq, Afghanistan and operations against terrorism.
The White House said that with Bush's second-term victory and the planned Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, it sees a new opportunity to advance Mideast peace.
"I think it's very important for our friends the Israelis to have a peaceful Palestinian state living on their border," Bush said. "It's very important for the Palestinian people to have a peaceful, hopeful future."
Bush did not go as far as British Prime Minister Tony Blair in declaring that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the world's most important political challenge.
"I agree with him that the Middle East peace is a very important part of a peaceful world," said Bush. One factor in Mideast peace talks is Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, whom a senior Palestinian official said was in a coma in a French hospital.
Bush reaffirmed his policy, enunciated in June 2002, of an independent Palestinian state existing at peace with Israel. The U.S.-backed plan for peace, known as the "road map," called for the new Palestinian state in 2005.
"My hope is that we'll make good progress," Bush said.
The president sees the war in Iraq as part of a drive to establish a stable democracy in the Middle East and create a model for the rest of the region.
"And I fully understand that that might rankle some, and be viewed by some as folly," Bush said. "I just strongly disagree with those who do not see the wisdom of trying to promote free societies around the world."
Bush said he'd reach out to countries around the globe, as well as organizations like the European Union and NATO, to help in the War on Terror and spread democracy; he stressed that these are issues that shouldn't be politicized.
"Every American has a stake in the outcome of this war Republicans, Democrats and independents," the president said. "We have a solemn duty to protect the American people, and we will."
Bush is the first president in 68 years to have won re-election while his party gained seats in both the House and Senate. He said Americans have embraced his conservative agenda.
"I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals," said Bush. A day earlier, he had promised to try to win over those who voted for his Democratic opponent.
"I've earned capital in this election and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on, which is you've heard the agenda: Social Security and tax reform, moving this economy forward, education, fighting and winning the War on Terror," the president said.
FOX News' Steve Centanni and The Associated Press contributed to this report.p>
WHY does the media hide this? How many people even know of the how jubilant the Iranian people were over the President's reelection? I saw ONE story about it.
Leaders and other senior figures across the Middle East have queued up to offer their congratulations to President George W Bush on his re-election. But many people in this troubled region view "four more years" with foreboding.
Iran has been less enthusiastic, but even one senior official there, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, an adviser to President Mohammad Khatami, suggested Mr Bush's victory was good news because of John Kerry's lack of experience in dealing with the region .
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was one of a number of Arab leaders to call on Mr Bush to work harder for peace between Israel and the Palestinians in his second term.
"We hope Mr Bush's new administration, together with the EU, can bring influence to bear to arrive at a peaceful development in the region," the Egyptian leader said.
Fearing the worst
It's easy to argue that the Middle East views President Bush as an ogre. The picture is not quite that simple, but many do fear the worst from a second term.
"We should expect a more tense Middle East in the coming four years under Mr Bush's leadership," said Labib Kamhawi, a political analyst based in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
"And we should expect a more arrogant and less compromising president, who believes that he has been re-elected because his policies capture the support and acceptance of the American people."
It is that unqualified support for Israel that has alienated much of Arab opinion, combined with the growing number of civilian casualties in Iraq, and Mr Bush's uncompromising language of "crusades".
Yet, ironically, many Iraqis still support President Bush for getting rid of former President Saddam Hussein.
Additionally, some Iranians quietly hope Mr Bush will also help the cause of reformers in their country.
Israel knows it will have a firm friend in Washington, whichever party is in power.
But the Israeli leader, Ariel Sharon, also suspects he may come under more pressure during a second Bush term to withdraw Jewish settlements and reach an accommodation with the Palestinians.
Israeli commentators point out that Mr Bush might be forced to apply more pressure on Israel as the price of reconciliation with Europe and in order to defuse the situation throughout the Middle East.
Syrian, Iranian nervousness
No-one can be more nervous, surely, than Syria and Iran.
Syria is being pressed by both the United States and France to withdraw its remaining troops in Lebanon. Iran is in a continued standoff with the United States over its nuclear programme.
Yet any thought either country might be the next target for invasion is wild exaggeration.
Washington still maintains diplomatic relations with Syria - a long way from the chill that existed with Saddam's Iraq.
Even the toughest hawks in Washington know war with Iran is almost inconceivable. Indeed, the occupation of Iraq is already seriously over-stretching American forces.
Despite the widespread dislike of Mr Bush in the Middle East there are voices suggesting he is the man to finish what he has started.
Analyst Mr Kamhawi argues a victory for John Kerry would have done the region no favours.
"I always believed it was better to have Bush re-elected than having Kerry elected," he said. "Because, had Bush failed, a lot of Arabs and Muslims might believe that victory has been attained against Bush, and this is quite fallacious."
So the Middle East will just have to learn to live with President Bush.
Several Secularist dissidents, including an Iranian female journalist, were aggressed today, in the British Capital, as they denounced the organization of the so-called "Ghods Day" sponsored by the Islamic regime and several Islamist groups.
The dissidents were distributing leaflets and shouting slogans against the Mullahs' regime and Islamist fanatism; As Islamist marchers and several mullahs were promoting their anti-Semite and hate agenda under the protection of the British police.
Not astonishingly, most of British Leftist groups had refused to participate in the secularist protest actions intending to condemn the "Ghods Day". These organizations preferred to stay mum by leaving few Iranians and lucid Middle Easterns to carry what should have been the combat of all progressist forces. It's to note that most of the European Left wing is sick of its own anti-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian complexes to the point of being unable to differentiate between Human Rights and the gradual progress of hate and terror ideologies promoted by Islamist fanatics.
Ghods is the Arabic name for Jerusalem and the Islamic regime is organizing, each year, demonstrations and actions targeting the annihilation of the Israeli State. Such policy was instated by Rooh-Ollah Khomeini, the back warded and dogmatic founder of the regime, who was targeting the use of innocent Palestinians in order to solidify his power in the Islamic World at the detriment of both Iranians and Palestinians. In that line, the Mullhacracy intends, next Friday, to bring into the Iranian streets its usual "professional demonstrators" and some forced governmental employees and schools' students while it has invited, again, the heads of several Islamist terror and fanatic groups.
The SMCCDIt's Coordinator called, this morning, for the massive boycott of what has been qualified, by the terrorist and tyrannical Islamic regime, as the 'celebration' of the "Ghods Day". The call was made by Aryo B. Pirouznia during interviews with the well respected Pari Saffari and Cyrus Sharafshahi of the popular Los Angeles based "Voice of Iran" (KRSI) and "National Iranian Television" (NITV).
The Movement's Coordinator stated: "What can be a better sign of a massive rejection of the Islamic regime and hate policy than the majority of the Iranians who will stay home, on next Friday, and will leave to the clerics and their affiliates just some empty streets and dead cities ? ....Tehran alone has over twelve millions of inhabitants... What can do the regime will be to try to bring or force a maximum of one hundred thousands of individuals for its needed false show of legitimacy. But the World will surely witness the maturity and exasperation of Iranians.."
SMCCDI is known for having endorsed or being involved in various anti-terror campaigns in US, France, Germany and it has always denounced the hate and terror policies of the Mullhacracy. Statement entitled "Leave Palestine alone and think about us" or "Another mass murder in accordance with the worldwide celebration of Ghod day" were amply commented, in 2002-2003, by some of the main American newspapers, such as the New York Post and the Miami Herald, and various Middle East Political watch organizations, such as, MEMRI.
The Movement will be issuing, in the next few days, another official statement in condemnation of the organization of the "Ghods Day" and the Islamic regime's anti-Semite policy. It will also call on Iranians to show the power of their Civil Disobedience Movement by boycotting this symbol of terror and violence.
November 5, 2004
A New Beginning in Washington, an Old Menace from Tehran
As several thousands die-hard supporters of the Iranian theocracy were marking the 25th anniversary of taking 52 Americans hostage in Tehran on Wednesday, President George W. Bush was re-elected.
The Iranian state-run press decried Mr. Bushs re-election as a victory for violence and for Zionists. "The United States is intrinsically opposed to the Islamic republic on matters such as Israel, the Middle East peace process, nuclear technology, human rights and democracy," wrote the Siassat Rouz daily. The paper, anticipating a more vigorous campaign by Washington in support of democracy movement in Iran, added that it expected "new hostile measures and new accusations from the United States".
A majority of Iranians, however, had a totally different view of the Tuesday elections, hoping that it would signal a new beginning marked by adopting a firm Iran policy in support of their movement for a secular democracy.
Ironically, it was the faithful 444-day-long occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which introduced America to the evil of the fundamentalist inspired terrorism. This menace plagued the world ever since and culminated in the September 11 tragedy.
The 1983 suicide bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Riyadh, the 1994 explosion of the Jewish community center in Argentina and hundreds of terrorist assaults on Iranian dissidents abroad were part of Khomeinis war on the free world.
Referring to the 1983 Beirut bombing, Irans former minister of the Revolutionary Guards said in the early 1990s that Tehran had provided both the T.N.T. and the ideology for the operation.
Years of appeasement, cloaked under the banner of constructive engagement, or the less-than adequate containment policy, contributed to the spread of Tehran-inspired terrorism as the mullahs soon realized that by continuing their rogue behavior they could gain diplomatic and strategic windfalls.
It is no wonder that even today Tehran is complaining it has not been adequately rewarded for its terrorist actions. On Wednesday, Hossein Mousavian, a top security official in Tehran said, "We showed goodwill and helped release the hostages [in Lebanon], but America reneged on its promises." Translation: we ordered our terrorist proxies, the very same ones we had directed to take American hostage, to release them but we have not been rewarded.
The absence of a coherent and firm policy toward Tehran in the past two decades explains why the mullahs embarked on running a very sophisticated clandestine nuclear weapons program in the mid-1980s. Then, warnings from nuclear proliferation experts and the Iranian opposition about Tehrans menacing nuclear intentions went unheeded, prompting the clerical regime to continue with its secret nuclear program.
Now, as the world is faced with the specter of the most active sponsor of terror going nuclear, the European Union is again prescribing incentives and compromise to resolve the nuclear standoff. It has even offered more carrots following Tehrans rejection of its initial appeasement package and is no longer calling for an indefinite suspension of Iran's uranium enrichment.
On this side of the Atlantic, the expectation is that the re-election of President Bush would herald a marked departure from the engagement policy a legacy of the Clinton administration still lurking within our foreign policy-making circles.
Last Tuesday, majority of Americans declared their support for President Bushs vision that expansion of democracy in the Middle East, particularly in countries under totalitarian rule such as Iran, remained at the core of the war on terror and that nuclear proliferation by rogue regimes was unacceptable.
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Bush said, For too long, American policy looked away while men and women were oppressed, their rights ignored and their hopes stifled. And that era is over. Now that he is re-elected, he ought to put the diplomatic and political weight of the United States behind the democracy movement in Iran that is working to unseat the ruling tyranny.
Iranians are hopeful that America would no longer look away when it comes to their struggle against the religious dictatorship in Iran, opting instead to stand by the people and the anti-fundamentalist democratic opposition there.
Strategically speaking, this would be the only effective stick available to Washington as it tries to cope with Irans nuclear campaign.
For the next four years, democracy for Iran, security for America should be the guiding light of our policy towards the terrorists who are running Iran.
Thanks for the link. The truth needs to get out.
By Leon Malherbe and Paul Carrel
PARIS (Reuters) - Talks between Iran and three European Union heavyweights ended on Saturday without an agreement on Tehran's nuclear program, a source close to the negotiations said.
Iran was seeking a compromise in the talks with France, Germany and Britain to avoid a dispute over its nuclear program being referred to the United Nations Security Council and avert the risk of sanctions.
The EU trio wants Iran to stop enriching uranium.
"At the end of difficult talks, the two parties made considerable progress toward a provisional agreement on a common approach on these issues," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
But a source close to the negotiations said: "Nothing is settled ... The discussions were difficult, very difficult. The Iranians struggled hard."
"Everyone has to touch base now," the source added after the second day of talks. "That's the end of this meeting ... There is no (further) meeting planned."
Iran denies U.S. accusations that it is developing nuclear weapons. It says uranium enrichment, a process of purifying uranium for use as fuel in atomic power plants or in weapons, is a sovereign right that it will never abandon.
Its official IRNA news agency said lawmakers had drafted a bill, to go to parliament next week, outlawing the state from developing nuclear weapons in a bid to show the world that Tehran's atomic ambitions were entirely peaceful.
"Parliament intends to make it a law ... that Iran does not need atomic arms, to prove to the world that the U.S. and Israel are lying," lawmaker Hamid Reza Hajbabaei was quoted as saying.
At the talks Tehran was offering a six-month suspension of its enrichment program but Britain, France and Germany wanted it to agree to an indefinite suspension before an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting on Nov. 25, diplomats said.
If no deal is struck before the meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's board of governors, the EU is expected to support Washington's demand for a referral to the U.N. Security Council.
CHINA OPPOSES SECURITY COUNCIL REFERRAL
China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said during a visit to Iran on Saturday that it would be better if the matter were not referred to the Security Council, where Beijing holds the option of vetoing any sanctions against Tehran.
"It would only make the issue more complicated and difficult to work out," he told a news conference.
Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi added: "It is in the interests of both sides that the issue be resolved in a way that Iran retains its legitimate right to use peaceful nuclear technology and others are assured that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons."
An Iranian negotiator in Paris said a key issue was Tehran's demand for the IAEA's board of governors to stop considering it a case for special investigation. Any suspension of Iran's enrichment program would have to be "linked to the normalization of the IAEA process in Iran," he said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said at an EU foreign ministers' meeting on Friday that Europe wanted full suspension of all uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing activities.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, said on Friday Iran had no intention of producing atomic weapons.
IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has encouraged Iran to reach a deal and offered to guarantee its supply of nuclear fuel if it abandons its fuel production capabilities, diplomats said.
(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in London and Paul Hughes and Amir Paivar in Tehran)
Posted Saturday, November 6, 2004
TEHRAN, 6 Nov. (IPS) China said on Saturday that it will oppose the transfer to the United Nations Security Council of Irans nuclear file, but stopped short of saying it would use its veto power in case the United States and European Unions three major nations presses for harsh sanctions against Tehran.
"My opinion on the issue is that referral of Irans file to the Security Council will make it more complicated and will not help with its settlement", Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Li Zhaoxing said during a joint press conference in Tehran, adding the right way is to solve the problem through dialogue and negotiations.
"Iran has had good cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and all ambiguities have been removed; thus, there is no reason to send the file to the Security Council", observed Mr. Li, who had arrived earlier in the morning for a two days official visit.
Veto cannot be used excessively since there are special limits to that.
But when asked by journalist if Peking would use its veto power against possible sanctions if Tehran was hauled to the Security Council, he said emphatically that "Veto cannot be used excessively since there are special limits to that".
"We must see if there is any ground for such a referral or who has the prerogative to do this", the Minister said, quoted by the official Iranian news agency IRNA.
But experts on the working of the world body expresses surprise, noting that both the United States and Russia have used and abused of its veto right, a power shared also by France and Britain.
If the Iranians think that China would take their side against that of the United States at the UN, they are wrong, no matter that Tehran and Peking have signed a colossal natural gas deal worth 100 billions of US Dollars, Professor Hermidas Bavand who teaches political sciences a Tehran University told the Persian service of Radio France International, adding that among the five nations that have the right of veto in the Security Council, China is the one that has used this power the least.
It is not in the Chinese policy to use veto at the Security Council unless there is something that affects directly its own interests, like the case of Taiwan and Lis explanations about the limit, prerogatives or ground for using veto means very politely that Tehran should not count much on Peking for engaging Washington at the Security Council, he added.
This view was confirmed by the Head of the Supreme National Security Councils Foreign Policy Committee Hoseyn Moussavian in an interview with the hard line daily Kayhan, a mouthpiece of Mr. Khamenehi.
"We would be mistaken if we thought China would ever stand up to the Americans and engage in an embroilment over Irans nuclear activities", Moussavian told the daily, quoting an unnamed Chinese diplomat as having told him once that the volume of our trade transactions with the Americans is thousand times more than that with Iran.
The United States is accusing the Iranian ruling ayatollahs of seeking nuclear weapons by diverting atomic technologies for civilian purposes and is pressing the international nuclear watchdog to sent Irans case to the Security Council for economic sanctions unless Tehran stops completely and indefinitely all activities related to enriching uranium, as demanded by IAEA in its latest resolution sponsored by the EU Big 3 and adopted on 18 September 2004.
If the Iranians think that China would take their side against that of the United States at the UN, they are absolutely wrong.
But Iran insists that it has no plan to produce 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", Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, Irans leader stressed on Friday.
Asked about his phone talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw prior to his Iran tour, the visiting Chinese minister said "I told them that the Islamic Republic has had good, constructive, and positive cooperation with the IAEA.
Receiving Li, Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, Irans senior nuclear negotiator with both the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in the past year, Iran has satisfied all demands from the IAEA and now it is the turn of the Agencys Board of Directors to help closing Irans file.
We shall continue cooperating with IAEA, but would not accept the law of force, Mr. Rohani told Li, adding that both Iran and China are for solving problems by the mean of negotiations and against a one polar world, a reference to he United States as the worlds sole master.
As Li was meeting with Iranian officials, including President Mohammad Khatami and Chairman of Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar hashemi Rafsanjani, in Paris meanwhile representatives from Iran were continuing complicated and difficult talks with counterparts from Britain, France and Germany.
Asked about the results of Saturdays negotiations between representatives of Iran and the EU big trio, Britain, France, and Germany, in Paris, he said, "Although the two sides are holding tough talks, they are eager to keep negotiating.
"This is to the advantage of both parties to reach an agreement on authorizing Iran to enjoy its inalienable right to use nuclear knowledge for peaceful purposes. It will assure the other countries that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons", Kharrazi said, stressing that his country is ready to negotiate or carry out any confidence-building measure but not suspending enriching uranium for ever.
The second round of Paris talks ended after seven hours, with informed sources telling briefly Iran Press service that all is not hat bad. ENDS CHINA IRAN 61104
You know, I've seen a lot of these encouraging reports over a long time, reported as being 'under' reported. Personally, and I've got some professional insight into this as well, I don't see an internal overthrow of the mullahs even on the horizon, without some strong external influence as a catalyst. If anything were going to happen as a result of our just being in the neighborhood (Iraq) it would have already happened. JMO.
Iran wants China its top oil importer
Updated: 2004-11-07 10:29
Iran wants China to replace Japan as its biggest importer of oil and gas, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was reported as saying here.
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing talks to the media while his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi (R) looks on in Tehran, November 6, 2004. China said on Saturday it would be better to resolve Iran's nuclear case without sending it to the U.N. Security Council, where Beijing holds the option of vetoing any sanctions against Tehran. [AP]
"From the supply side, we have no difficulties (in making China the top energy oil importer from Iran)," the minister added.
Iran and China last week signed a preliminary accord under which China will buy 10 million tonnes a year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for 25 years in a deal worth 100 billion dollars.
The memorandum of understanding also grants to Chinese oil giant Sinopec the right to exploit the Yadavaran oil field on a buy-back basis in cooperation with a major international oil company.
On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Tehran that Beijing opposed US efforts to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council over its nuclear programme.
"It would only make the issue more complicated and difficult to work out," Li said during a news conference.
The United States accuses Iran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons under cover of its civilian atomic energy program and wants the UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to take Iran before the UN Security Council when the IAEA meets in Vienna on November 25.
Vienna -- Western diplomats and news sources have made contradictory reports on the outcome of the two-day meeting held between Iran and representatives of the European trio in Paris. Iran and the EU`s Big 3 (Britain, France, Germany), in continuation of their previous talks in Vienna, started a new round of talks in Paris, France on Friday and Saturday in order to reach a consensus on Iran`s nuclear program.
A diplomat close to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said here on Sunday that the Paris negotiations ended with the two sides not able to reach a final agreement on Iran`s nuclear activities although they have considered the process of negotiations as "positive" and "progressing." He did did not elaborate on the issue, but expressed the hope that the two sides will gain access to a final settlement to the "complicated crisis."
The diplomat predicted that another meeting would be held between representatives of the two sides before the November 25th meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors to be held in Vienna.
Meanwhile, Iran`s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Sunday that negotiations between Iran and the European trio in Paris were "complicated and difficult but constructive and progressing."
Talking to IRNA, he said the talks, which lasted over 20 hours, had made "considerable progress" towards reaching a preliminary agreement on a common approach to the Iran nuclear issue.
The negotiations, which began Friday, were earlier said to have been deadlocked over the duration of suspension of uranium enrichment, a condition imposed by the European side, and the timing or scope of incentives in the European Union`s proposal to Iran.
Tehran remains unbending to Europe`s demand for an indefinite suspension, arguing that it would infringe its right to pursue nuclear power for civilian purposes.
Uranium enrichment is permitted under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Iran is a signatory and which is being enforced by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The secretary of Iran`s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Hassan Rowhani, told state television Saturday before the French Foreign Ministry statement that the talks in Paris were "very complicated and difficult," and reiterated Iran`s refusal to give up what Tehran sees as its right to master the sensitive nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment.
"We will not accept any constraint. It is us who will decide on the duration (of a suspension of enrichment) and we will keep it in place for as long as we want," said Rowhani, adding that both sides were sticking to their respective positions on the key questions.
"Negotiations were very hard and complicated but we reached a preliminary agreement on an expertise level," said Hossein Mousavian, head of the Iranian delegation in Paris.
"It is a framework that contains the viewpoints of all sides. "All four delegations are supposed to go to their capitals and if the capitals agree with the agreement, it will be officially announced in the next few days," he told state television.
Iran says its atomic plants are intended solely to produce electricity and denies US accusations they are a front for a bomb-making program.
November 07, 2004
The next surprise
U.S. policy should look ahead to challenges from Iran, North Korea
By Lee Hamilton
The presidential debates provided a clearer look at where the candidates stood on several foreign policy issues, but in a world teetering on the brink of chaos, a major challenge was not debated: the next foreign policy surprise.
On the 9/11 commission, we became interested in how often terrorism was brought up in the 2000 election. A careful review determined that terrorism came up once in the entire campaign, and was not mentioned in the debates - despite the USS Cole bombing on Oct. 12, 2000, and the east African embassy bombings in 1998.
Yet after 9/11, terrorism vaulted to the top of President Bush's agenda, and foreign policy issues debated in 2000 - Slobodan Milosevic, missile defense, humanitarian intervention - shifted to the background.
Unforeseen crises often consume a president's foreign policy. Upon taking office, the former President George H.W. Bush did not expect an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait; former President Clinton did not anticipate the amount of time he would spend on the Balkans.
This does not mean that candidates, and voters, could not have seen trouble on the horizon. Like terrorism in 2000, the 1988 situation in the Persian Gulf and the 1992 situation in the Balkans pointed to gathering peril.
In 1988, the Iran-Iraq war was drawing to a close and the region was unstable; in 1992, Yugoslavia had begun its disintegration. But in each case, key decisions lay far in the future, and candidates focused on more pressing concerns.
It seems necessary, then, to step back and consider what issues, floating under the radar screen, might pose problems for President Bush after his inauguration for a second term in January.
At the top of the list are North Korea and Iran. These hostile countries were addressed in the first debate, but the severity of the threat has not been fully acknowledged. North Korea likely has nuclear weapons; Iran is making progress with its nuclear program. We must decide soon what to do about this.
In the next four years, the president will face one of these situations: a military confrontation with one or both countries, the acceptance of one or two new nuclear-armed nations, or a peaceful resolution of differences with one or both nations that leads to their nuclear disarmament.
It may be difficult to conceive, but an armed confrontation with North Korea or Iran could push terrorism off the front burner of American foreign policy. Averting the possibility of such confrontations and halting nuclear proliferation will not be easy.
Pakistan also could pose enormous problems. Right now, we maintain a firm alliance with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. But there have been many attempts to assassinate Musharraf, and Pakistan is home to several strong radical Islamist movements.
It is not inconceivable that Pakistan - and its nuclear arsenal - could fall into the hands of an Islamic fundamentalist government harboring Osama bin Laden. This would immediately raise dire concerns - about nuclear proliferation, terrorism and the possibility of a war between Pakistan and India.
A crisis could also develop over Taiwan. China has stated its concern that the island is moving toward independence. If the Taiwanese do declare independence, or the Chinese act to pre-empt such a move, the United States might have to make a choice: defend Taiwan militarily, or see the island fall to Chinese invasion. Given our current deployment in Iraq, and China's role in the global economy, a confrontation with the Chinese would be immensely challenging.
The American people are right to demand a focus on Iraq and terrorism. But even these issues are laced with unpredictability. Consider a few scenarios:
What if Iraq becomes a full-blown civil war?
What if Israel strikes Iran's nuclear facilities or goes to war with Syria?
What if a terrorist detonates a nuclear device in Moscow?
There is, of course, no end to these "what ifs." That is why, when we ask politicians for plans, we should recognize that the best-laid plans must adjust to circumstances. In a world of swelling turmoil, a jolt on any number of issues could cause the global scene to explode.
President Bush will not get through the next four years without huge and unforeseen choices - on war and peace, or terrorism, genocides, spiking energy costs, epidemics, financial crises or environmental catastrophes. Americans always must keep a difficult truth in mind: A president must prepare for the challenges clearly ahead, but also for those that lie around the corner. ...
Lee Hamilton, who served Southeast Indiana in the U.S. House for many years, is the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission, director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Readers may write him at WWIC, Ronald Reagan Building, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004.
From CNN's Kasra Naji in Tehran
and Robin Oakley in London
Sunday, November 7, 2004 Posted: 1056 GMT (1856 HKT)
(CNN) -- A provisional agreement has been reached over Iran's nuclear program in talks conducted in Paris, but it must now be taken back to the capitals of Iran, Britain, Germany and France for confirmation, Iran and the EU said.
The agreement could usher in an important change in Iran's relations with Europe and much of the international community, said Iranian delegation spokesman Hussein Mousavian.
"The agreement will have to be approved at the highest levels of government," Mousavian told Iranian TV.
"My impression is that if this is approved by all four parties, we will witness an important change in Iran's relations with Europe and much of the international community in (the) not-too-distant future."
The European Union's so-called "Big Three" -- France, Germany and the United Kingdom -- have been holding their third round of talks with Iran in an effort to persuade Tehran to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities in return for improved trade and political relations.
Washington had warned Tehran that if no agreement was reached, Iran's nuclear program would be referred to the U.N. Security Council at the next meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors.
"The agreement is the outline of future cooperations between Iran and the EU in political, economic, security and confidence-building spheres," Mousavian said.
EU spokeswoman Ewa Hedlund confirmed that an agreement was reached Saturday on a "technical level," but she would not comment on details of its substance until it has the "political blessing by the governments in the four countries."
A spokesman for the French foreign ministry also confirmed the breakthrough, saying there was "considerable progress towards a provisional agreement."
Once the agreement is approved by the four capitals, expert-level talks about specific cooperation will begin.
It was not clear just how the two sides have resolved their difference over the EU demand that Iran suspend uranium enrichment activities -- something Iran has repeatedly said that it would not do for a sustained period. ...
Extremists Moving Across Iran-Iraq Border
Nov. 05, 2004
Extremists Moving Across Iran-Iraq Border
LOUIS MEIXLER/ Associated Press Writer
ANKARA, Turkey - Islamic extremists have been moving supplies and new recruits from Iran into Iraq (news - web sites), say Iraqi Kurdish and Western officials, though it's unclear whether Tehran is covertly backing them or whether militants are simply taking advantage of the porous border
Iranian involvement with extremist groups in the Iraqi insurgency would be potentially explosive, especially given the history of U.S.-Iranian animosity. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said recently Iran was engaged in "a lot of meddling" in Iraq but gave no details.
Iran, which shares a mountainous 800-mile border with Iraq, has confirmed that loyalists of the al-Qaida-linked Ansar al-Islam group illegally entered Iran from Afghanistan (news - web sites) after the start of the U.S.-led 2001 war to oust the Taliban and destroy Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s terrorist training camps. But Iran's government has repeatedly denied it is backing the radicals.
A handful of senior al-Qaida operatives who were among those fleeing to Iran after the Afghanistan war may have developed a working relationship with the Revolutionary Guards, a special military unit in Iran linked to Tehran's hard-liners, U.S. counterterrorism officials have said.
The U.S. government report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks also pointed to contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al-Qaida figures and found evidence that eight to 10 of the Sept. 11 hijackers passed through Iranian territory. There was, however, no evidence the Iranians knew that the hijackers were planning to attack the World Trade Center.
Iraqi officials have suggested privately that Iran, which is overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim, is backing its Shiite brethren, who form a slight majority in Iraq. One Iraqi official said more than 100 volunteer fighters have entered this year from Iran into southern Iraq, where Iran may be trying to use its influence within the dominant Shiite community there.
Iran might also support extremists from the rival Sunni branch of Islam such as al-Qaida or the group loyal to Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to gain influence in the Sunni community, which is powerful in central Iraq, and to destabilize U.S. efforts to control the country, some analysts say.
Brig. Sarkout Hassan Jalal, director of security in Sulaimaniyah, the largest city in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq near the Iranian border, said that Islamic militants "are smuggling recruits to Iraq from Iran ... (and) then take them to Fallujah or other hot spots."
He gave no figures for the number of people who are crossing but said the number has fallen since Kurdish security forces boosted border security in the past few months.
Another Kurdish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that at the start of the year, dozens of militants were crossing the mountainous, poorly patrolled border each week, but that the number had fallen sharply in the past six months.
The official said that extremists who crossed the border often headed for Mosul, the largest Arab Sunni Muslim city in the north and an area where Islamic extremist groups are powerful. He said some of the militants have repeatedly crossed back and forth, returning to Iraq with better weapons, explosives and training.
The fall in the number of people crossing could be attributed to increased Iraqi patrols or to the fact that foreign militants have recently built up better infrastructure within Iraq and now find it easier to train fighters and arm people within the country, the official said.
"There seems to be logistical and practical support," the official said. "These people flee to Iran and come back days or weeks later with better equipment."
Kurds living in mountainous villages near the border who have traveled inside Iran to visit relatives said they have seen Arabs living in what appeared to be safe houses in the Iranian border town of Mariwan.
Former Ansar prisoners held by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan one of two Kurdish militias that control the north have backed up the claim as have PUK intelligence officials.
A U.S. official said Kurdish security forces found passports from Arab countries including Yemen, Egypt and Saudi Arabia buried under the dirt floor in one safe house on the Iranian side of the border.
"We are not just talking about Iranians passively dealing with al-Qaida," one former U.S. official who worked in Iraq said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We are talking about al-Qaida at Revolutionary Guard bases and safe houses. This is active assistance."
The Revolutionary Guards are the shock troops of Iran's Islamic revolution, a well-funded force of 200,000 that answers to the country's Islamic leaders and not the military.
Who could be assisting the militants is sharply contested, however.
The Iranian leadership is deeply divided between moderates and hard-liners.
Hard-liners and elements of the Revolutionary Guards could be backing the insurgents with the Iranian government turning a blind eye or unable to respond, experts say. Many hard-liners are extremely fearful that the United States, which now has some 140,000 troops in bordering Iraq, could try and destabilize Iran.
"There are forces in the Revolutionary Guards who are very, very hard-line and who generally have their own foreign policy and ... are almost never held accountable for their actions," said Gary Sick, professor of international affairs at Columbia University and a former adviser to the U.S. National Security Council. "There is very serious suspicion that members of the Revolutionary Guard felt that they had something to gain from these people who were seriously trying to stir up trouble in Iraq."
Sick called it "extremely unlikely" that the Iranian government itself would sponsor and actively promote Sunni terrorist activities, though officials might want to "keep an eye on the Sunnis." He also noted the matter could simply be a border control problem.
"They have been trying for years to stop the trafficking of drugs coming across the Afghan border with zero success," Sick said.
In the past, Iran has been accused of backing Ansar al-Islam, a militant fundamentalist Kurdish group that opposed ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), as a way of destabilizing and pressuring the secular Kurdish groups that controlled northern Iraq.
Tehran, while confirming that Ansar elements might have crossed its border illegally, has denied the charges.
Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of pro-Taliban fighters possibly linked to al-Qaida left Afghanistan and made their way to northern Iraq, where Ansar al-Islam controlled an enclave on the Iranian-Iraqi border, U.S. intelligence reports said. Al-Zarqawi, one of the most feared terror leaders in Iraq, is believed to have had a role in running Ansar al-Islam in 2002.
Al-Zarqawi, whose group has been responsible for car bombings and beheadings, recently proclaimed his loyalty to bin Laden in a statement released on the internet.
U.S. forces attacked the Ansar al-Islam enclave at the start of the war and many of the activists reportedly fled, either into Iran or Sunni Muslim areas of Iraq, where they eventually ended up in places like Fallujah, a hotbed of violence.
Some experts doubt the Iranian government would risk supporting an extremist anti-U.S. group in Iraq and thereby provoking a reaction from Washington and more instability on their border.
"By allowing al-Qaida to go about its business several Iranian interests are served but it is an incredibly risky card to play and Iran has at times been quite cautious in Iraq," said Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.
EDITORS: Associated Press writer Yahya Barazanji in northern Iraq contributed to this report.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Iraqi government television has repeatedly broadcast confessions of what it says were foreign terrorists - 17 Arabs and two Iranians - who allegedly infiltrated the country's porous borders to fight U.S.-led coalition forces.
The confessions, aired several times over the weekend, coincided with the massing of U.S. and Iraqi forces near Fallujah for an anticipated showdown with insurgents who have made the city their headquarters.
The broadcasts were seen as a means of preparing the population for the coming attack on Fallujah, where the government says it's after foreigners and "terrorists" not city residents who are not involved in the insurgency.
The station, Iraqiya, showed 19 men ages of 20 to 40, dressed in blue jumpsuits and lined up against a wall while the camera panned their pale, bearded faces.
An announcer read a statement accusing the prisoners "of carrying out mass killings, sabotage, inciting sectarianism and racism, destroying the economic and the social infrastructure of our people to take us back to the Dark Ages."
Of the 19 - five Syrians, five Saudis, four Jordanians, two Egyptians, a Palestinian and two Iranians, most were said to have entered the country in October, 2003 during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
One of them, Youssef Hassan Suleiman, said he came from the same town in Jordan as did Iraq's most feared terrorist mastermind, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
"I had $2,000 on me," he said with a smile when asked if he brought money to help finance the insurgency.
Saleh Said al-Rahmani, of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, said that he crossed the Saudi border to Iraq last Ramadan to follow "the call" - a phrase normally meaning to spread the message of Islam.
A young Palestinian, Tayseer Hassan Halabi, said he entered Iraq from Syria where he lived temporarily. "I came to Iraq when the war started to join the fighters," he said. Halabi said that he made contacts with insurgents only after arriving in Iraq.
Others such as Ali Hassan from Yemen, Amer al-Abbas Mohammed from Jordan and Anaas Farouq Ahmed from Syria did not give details of their activities here.
Iraqiya said the 19 were among 167 people arrested recently by Iraqi police and who are now under interrogation.
Iraq's interim government and the United States have been pushing Iraq's neighbors, especially Syria, to secure their borders to prevent foreign fighters from neighboring Arab states and elsewhere to enter Iraq and attack coalition forces.
No wonder it failed. The French were helping.
Perhaps you can help me. I was telling a friend just tonight that Iranians were very pro-American by-and-large and actually hated their present government. My friend was incredulous. But I said I saw a poll about a year ago or so that the Iranian government itself conducted that showed a vast majority of its people were actually pro-American or pro-Bush, I cannot remember the exact poll question and percent. Do you know the poll I am talking about and/or can you get me a link or two to share with him?
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