Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - November 15, 2004 [EST]- LIVE THREAD - "Iran Agrees to EU Demand for Nuke Freeze"
Posted on 11/14/2004 9:45:03 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.
VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment program in an attempt to ease concerns that its nuclear program is aimed at developing atomic weapons, a Western diplomat close to the United Nations said on Sunday.
The diplomat said Iran had not yet taken the crucial step of formally informing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the scope and starting date for its suspension, which will make the freeze a binding commitment for the Islamic republic.
"A deal for a full suspension is done but the IAEA has not received a letter confirming it. That's also important that they would have a look at that and see what they (Iran) signed on to," the diplomat told Reuters.
Several other diplomats confirmed the deal, though none were able to confirm any specifics about the scope and duration of the freeze.
This announcement comes after weeks of negotiations between Iran and the European Union's "big three" states -- France, Britain and Germany -- and one day before the United Nations releases a crucial report on its two-year investigation of Tehran's nuclear program.
Once confirmed by IAEA inspectors on the ground, this suspension by Iran will almost certainly protect it from being reported to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions when the IAEA board of governors meets on Nov. 25.
Washington, which accuses Iran of using its nuclear program as a front to develop nuclear weapons, wants the IAEA to refer the case to the Security Council because Tehran concealed a uranium enrichment program for 18 years.
Diplomats in Tehran said that ambassadors from the EU big three were meeting with Hassan Rohani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, to discuss the suspension.
"We have reviewed all the details and made our decision and Rohani will inform the ambassadors of our decision," Rohani's deputy, Hossein Mousavian, told the semi-official Mehr news agency.
The pillars of world oppression have launched an undeclared war against Islam, Khamenei told a huge audience in central Tehran, using one of the regimes favoured attributes for the US and Israel.
For all of those who observed the fasting, Ramadan became a month of mourning because of the tragic events in Palestine and Iraq, he said in his sermon marking the end of the holy month and the Eid Al Fitr celebrations.
Every day during the fasting, Palestinians continued to give their lives as martyrs and the Iraqi people continued to suffer immense difficulties.
But Irans all-powerful guide asserted that we see the signs of resistance across the Muslim world and the Palestinian people are at the forefront of this resistance.
Iran celebrated Eid one day later than most of its neighbours. Late on Saturday Khameneis office published a statement saying the new moon had been sighted, meaning the end of the fasting month.
But unlike last year, there was no confusion over when the fasting should end. A year ago, some clerics said they spotted the moon a day earlier than the official announcement.
To remove problems this year, Khamenei decreed that technological aid -- such as a telescope could be used in spotting the moon, removing some of the difficulties involved in using the naked eye.
TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran agreed to suspend "nearly all" of its uranium enrichment-related activities as part of a deal with Britain, France and Germany in a step that eases the threat of possible UN sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.
"We have agreed to suspend nearly all activities related to enrichment," top national security official and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani said after late-night talks with the ambassadors of the three European Union states.
"What we have accepted virtually corresponds with what was demanded of us in the resolution" adopted in September by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rowhani said.
Diplomats at the IAEA in Vienna confirmed the UN`s nuclear watchdog had received an official letter from Iran confirming the suspension.
A close aide to Rowhani, Hossein Moussavian, said the suspension would remain in force while Iran and the European Union negotiated a long-term cooperation accord. He said these negotiations would start on December 15.
"The suspension is valid for the duration of the negotiations," he told reporters. "This is the beginning of the normalisation of Iran`s dossier at the IAEA."
He said Iran had bowed to demands that it suspend not only enrichment itself, but also activities related to it -- converting raw uranium into the feed gas for enrichment at a uranium conversion facility in Isfahan and making centrifuges used to enrich.
The EU`s "Big Three" have been engaged in tough negotiations with Iran since October in a bid to convince the Islamic republic`s clerical regime to stay in line with demands from the IAEA as it presses on with a two-year-old investigation.
While Iran insists it only wants to make fuel for a nuclear reactor to generate electricity, there are fears that once the fuel cycle has been mastered the Islamic republic could choose to enrich its uranium to weapons-grade levels.
The UN watchdog has uncovered some activities deemed suspicious, but has not uncovered a "smoking gun" that proves Iran is seeking weapons of mass destruction.
The IAEA has been waiting for Iran`s response to be able to incorporate it in a report to members ahead of a November 25 session of the agency`s 35-nation board of governors.
The meeting will decide on US-led calls for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions. Both the United States and Israel charge that Iran`s bid to generate atomic energy is merely a cover for a covert weapons drive.
But many states, including veto-wielding Security Council members China and Russia, have been resisting sending the dossier to New York -- fearing such a step would merely spark an Iranian pull-out from the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and an end to inspections.
Top Iranian officials have threatened to halt tough inspections if the dossier was sent to New York.
And with the crises in Iraq and between Israel and the Palestinians raging on, few diplomats have shown the appetite for yet another confrontation in the Middle East.
But nevertheless, Britain, France and Germany had warned they would back the US hard line if Iran fails to tell the IAEA that it agrees to a full suspension.
The carrots the EU are said to be offering Iran are civilian nuclear technology, including access to nuclear fuel and a light-water research reactor, increased trade and help with Tehran`s regional security concerns.
Iran has consistently refused to halt its fuel cycle work, saying such activities for peaceful purposes are the right of any signatory of the NPT.
11/14/2004 - 19:28 GMT - AFP
I don't think it is a coincidence that Iran is now backing down and saying they'll bow to pressure to suspend their Nuclear Program. I believe the PRINCIPLE reason is that GWB was re-elected. Had Kerry been elected, they wouldn't have caved ... assuming they've actually caved and are not just lying.
The Islamic republic has issued a death sentence against "Forood Fooladvand", an Iranian satellite TV host, exiled in Britain. The death sentence has been published in the form of an article in one of the latest issues of the notorious Kayhan Daily of Tehran. Fooladvand's alleged 'crime' has been declared as "insulting Islam and its prophet".
Fooladvand's alleged 'crime' has been declared as "insulting Islam and its prophet".
A historian and political researcher, speaking several languages including Arabic, Fooladvand is also the host of radical daily programs broadcasted worldwide on the satellite "Television e Shoma" (Your TV). He's the writer of several articles and books on Islam and the Arab invasion of Iran which have been published following his defection in the early 80's.
A cinematographer, he was sent to produce a governmental financed movie on the return of Rooh-Ollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic regime, but preferred to join the opposition as soon as exiting Iran. Living several years in Cairo under the late Anvar Al-Sadat regime, he was producing daily radio programs against the newly born theocracy before leaving for Britain few years later. Since then, he has become an outspoken critic of Islam and an increasing danger for the Mullhacracy, which sees in him the incarnation of Devil and someone who's jeopardizing the ideological basis of the theocratic regime by 'disseminating doubt about Islam and its origins and legacy'. His death sentence follows this month's barbaric murder of "Theo Van Gogh", a Dutch filmmaker critic of Islam abuses and its ideology of promoting gender apartheid. Tens of other Iranian dissidents have been assassinated outside Iran following such death sentences. Their murderes were often able to escape from 'friendly' countries, such as France, Germany and Austria, in a total impunity. Tens of thousands of others have been also executed by the Islamic republic regime for their believes qualified as contrary to Islam and its first new government on the Earth. Some of them were officially qualified as "Apostate" by the dogmatic clerical regime. In addition, several other critics of Islam, such as, the Iranian researchers "Ali Dashti" and "Koorosh Aryamanesh", as well as, "Hitoshi Igarashi" the Japanese translator of the "The Satanic Verses", written by the still condemned to death "Salman Rushdie", have been killed or slaughtered for their works. In July 1991, "Ettore Capriolo", the Italian translator of The Satanic Verses, is beaten up and attacked with a knife in his Milan flat by a man who says he's Iranian. In October 1993, "William Nygaard", the director of Rushdie's book's Norwegian publishers, is shot three times and seriously wounded outside his Oslo home. "Kill the infidels!" has been clearly stipulated in the Koran. It's to note that Kayhan daily is under the management of the fanatic and pro-terror "Hossein Shariatmadari" who's well known for his responsibilities in the deaths of several Iranian dissidents. The latter has close ties to the regime's supreme leader and is an intelligence officer and a former torturer identified by several dissidents who have escaped from the Islamic regime's penitentiary system. Fooladvand has declared 'his readiness to die' and believes to have been relatively successful to carry his mission and to show what he qualifies as the 'true face of Islam'. His website which is broadcasting live his programs and his contact references are as follow: http://188.8.131.52 ; Phone: +44/208/441-1179 ; Fax: +44/208/440-9174
Since then, he has become an outspoken critic of Islam and an increasing danger for the Mullhacracy, which sees in him the incarnation of Devil and someone who's jeopardizing the ideological basis of the theocratic regime by 'disseminating doubt about Islam and its origins and legacy'. His death sentence follows this month's barbaric murder of "Theo Van Gogh", a Dutch filmmaker critic of Islam abuses and its ideology of promoting gender apartheid.
Tens of other Iranian dissidents have been assassinated outside Iran following such death sentences. Their murderes were often able to escape from 'friendly' countries, such as France, Germany and Austria, in a total impunity.
Tens of thousands of others have been also executed by the Islamic republic regime for their believes qualified as contrary to Islam and its first new government on the Earth. Some of them were officially qualified as "Apostate" by the dogmatic clerical regime.
In addition, several other critics of Islam, such as, the Iranian researchers "Ali Dashti" and "Koorosh Aryamanesh", as well as, "Hitoshi Igarashi" the Japanese translator of the "The Satanic Verses", written by the still condemned to death "Salman Rushdie", have been killed or slaughtered for their works.
In July 1991, "Ettore Capriolo", the Italian translator of The Satanic Verses, is beaten up and attacked with a knife in his Milan flat by a man who says he's Iranian. In October 1993, "William Nygaard", the director of Rushdie's book's Norwegian publishers, is shot three times and seriously wounded outside his Oslo home.
"Kill the infidels!" has been clearly stipulated in the Koran.
It's to note that Kayhan daily is under the management of the fanatic and pro-terror "Hossein Shariatmadari" who's well known for his responsibilities in the deaths of several Iranian dissidents. The latter has close ties to the regime's supreme leader and is an intelligence officer and a former torturer identified by several dissidents who have escaped from the Islamic regime's penitentiary system.
Fooladvand has declared 'his readiness to die' and believes to have been relatively successful to carry his mission and to show what he qualifies as the 'true face of Islam'.
His website which is broadcasting live his programs and his contact references are as follow: http://184.108.40.206 ; Phone: +44/208/441-1179 ; Fax: +44/208/440-9174
ARIS, Nov. 14 - The governments of France, Germany and Britain are studying a letter delivered Sunday by Iran in which it pledged to suspend uranium enrichment activities temporarily in exchange for economic and political incentives, European officials said.
The officials said it was unclear whether Iran had agreed to all the conditions set out in marathon talks in Paris last weekend with senior officials from France, Britain, Germany and the European Union or had inserted new conditions that could not be accepted.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the diplomacy between the Europeans and Iran is so sensitive, said the letter had been delivered to the ambassadors of the three countries in Tehran and to the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna and would have to be scrutinized Monday before any announcement of a deal was made.
"All three governments need to examine the text carefully to see if this is what we want," said one British official in London.
A French official in Paris said an issue of such magnitude could not be rushed, adding, "We need to get as clear a deal as we can."
However, at the International Atomic Energy Agency, as the watchdog agency is called, the mood was more upbeat.
A Western diplomat connected to the agency said: "A letter has been received from Iran confirming that it will implement a full suspension of its uranium enrichment program. It's what the Europeans asked Iran to do."
The agency is prepared to include Iran's new pledge in its comprehensive special report on Iran's nuclear activities, expected to be released Monday.
But the three European governments are particularly cautious about a premature embrace of Iran.
The foreign ministers of the three countries brokered a deal, announced with much fanfare in Tehran 13 months ago. In it, Iran agreed to suspend its production of enriched uranium, which can be used in nuclear energy or nuclear weapons programs, and to submit to more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities.
After Iran violated the agreement, officials from the three countries acknowledged that the deal had been made too hastily and that the language of the final accord was too vague and open to misinterpretation.
In Tehran on Sunday, Hassan Rowhani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, announced that the letter had been given to the three ambassadors. Mr. Rowhani, who conducted the negotiations with the Europeans last year and who reports directly to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the suspension would not be indefinite. Rather, he said, it would continue "during the period of talks" with the European Union on the entire package deal, which includes a long list of incentives for Iran.
"We have agreed to suspend nearly all activities related to enrichment," Mr. Rowhani was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse in Tehran after meeting with the ambassadors of the three European countries. He added that what Iran had accepted "virtually corresponds" with what the 35-country ruling board of the International Atomic Energy Agency demanded in September.
Mr. Rowhani's deputy, Hossein Mousavian, who led the Iranian delegation talks in Paris a week ago, told reporters in Tehran that Iran had bowed to European demands that it suspend its program to convert raw uranium into uranium tetrafluoride. Uranium tetrafluoride is a precursor to the form of uranium that is fed into centrifuges to enrich it for use as fuel that can be used either for peaceful purposes or to develop nuclear weapons.
Mr. Mousavian also made clear that Iran's decision was not legally binding. "We have accepted the suspension as a voluntary step, and it does not create any obligations for us," Mr. Mousavian told Iranian state television.
On Nov. 25, the 35-country governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency is scheduled to decide whether to accept the Bush administration's call for Iran's case to be referred to the Security Council for possible sanctions over its nuclear program. The United States contends that Iran's program is a cover for a secret program to build nuclear bombs.
The Bush administration has repeatedly expressed skepticism over the European initiative, arguing that Iran needs to be punished, not rewarded, for its nuclear activities.
But in a surprising shift last Friday, President Bush lent support to the European initiative. At a joint news conference with the British prime minister, Tony Blair, at the White House, Mr. Bush praised Mr. Blair's efforts to try to achieve a deal.
"We don't want Iran to have a nuclear weapon, and we're working toward that end," Mr. Bush said. "And the truth of the matter is the prime minister gets a lot of credit for working with France and Germany to convince the Iranians to get rid of the processes that would enable them to develop a nuclear weapon."
Rowhani looks like Santa Claus.
How are we going to check for compliance?
Hit those plants.
Repeat, hit those plants.
US Administration... Faster Please.
Then comes the very last paragraph:
European diplomats said Bush's reelection helped the negotiations by limiting Iran's options. Had Democrat John F. Kerry won, Iran might have tried to play for time or probe what policy shifts a new administration was considering, they said.Doh!
I agree. I would also venture to say that it means they see more success in Iraq that the MSM and global media would have anyone see.
The Iranians are probably lying again. They usually do. It's cultural, it's endogamous in their culture.
And FWIW, as an aside, in Achaemenid Persia before the coming of Alexander, veracity was the highest value. Look what Islam hath wrought -- the corruption of a once-noble people.
"The Iranians are probably lying again. They usually do"
You're speaking of the regime, I hope?
"...Iran might have tried to play for time...."
That's what they've been doing, and are doing now.
The Europeans are negotiating with fanatics & terrorists to maximize whatever benefits they can get out of it.
I agree with you about Dubya being a big reason for this, but why don't I feel good about this "suspension" of nuke developement? I dunno. Is this just a hudna? Is this another North Korea? How will we be able to KNOW for sure that Iran's government isn't just lying as usual? This "suspension" is ONLY going on (IF it really is) while the "talks" continue. This just feels like a hudna to me. Sure hope I'm wrong.
The message of "DEATH, KILL, AND MORE DEATH" comes loud and clear from the representitives of the "religion of peace", sigh.
I wouldn't even call it a hudna. They most likely haven't stopped a thing. Why should they? No one can tell what they're doing.
Sure sounds good to say that they're making some kind of concessions, though, doesn't it? And Europe buys it every time.
"The message of "DEATH, KILL, AND MORE DEATH" comes loud and clear from the representitives of the "religion of peace", sigh."
They portray themselves as muslims. The regime is/are Khomeinists.
Fanatics are never true representatives of ANY religion.
The report will include an agreement Iran reached with EU states last week to halt uranium enrichment plans.
Iran is facing a 25 November deadline to comply with an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution ordering the suspension.
The agreement to halt enrichment is expected to ward off the threat of UN sanctions, correspondents say.
The IAEA report will cover two decades of what the US views as clandestine nuclear activities aimed at developing the capacity to build nuclear weapons.
Sanction threat easing
IAEA board members from 35 countries will review the report on 25 November before deciding if Iran is in breach of a resolution, passed in September, calling for the suspension of uranium enrichment and related activities.
The US has pushed for the IAEA to refer Iran to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions.
The BBC's Bethany Bell in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, says if the European enrichment freeze can be verified over the next few days, the US is unlikely to have enough support to send Iran to the Security Council.
The EU has offered to Iran increased co-operation on trade and energy in exchange for the freeze.
Successful uranium enrichment could be seen as a key stage in the development of weapons-grade nuclear material.
On Sunday chief Iranian negotiator Hassan Rohani said the suspension would be in force until a final settlement is reached.
Speaking in Tehran, Mr Rohani said Iran would suspend "almost all" its enrichment activities until a long-term agreement on Iran's nuclear programme is reached.
Talks will begin next month, he added.
Another senior negotiator, Hossain Mousavian, told Iranian state television the agreement was a "confidence-building" move and not a legal obligation.
He stressed that the suspension was temporary, the Associated Press news agency reported.
A deal reached last year between the EU and Iran on a uranium-enrichment freeze later unravelled.
Iran has said it has a legal right to nuclear energy - and in particular to securing their own source of fuel for power stations, rather than being dependent on outsiders.
TEHERAN - Iran will suspend uranium enrichment but will never agree to a total halt, Irans foreign ministry said Monday after a crucial deal on easing nuclear concerns was struck with Britain, France and Germany.
We stayed within our red lines, and this red line meant we could suspend enrichment but not stop it, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.
Faced with the threat of being referred to the UN Security Council over its nuclear activities, Iran agreed late Sunday to suspend its controversial uranium enrichment-related activities in a deal with the three European Union states.
In the text, we insisted on the fact that the suspension is a voluntary decision and not a legal obligation, Asefi asserted. Irans acceptance is political.
This is an important change. In the past, the Europeans insisted on Iran stopping its enrichment programme, but the question now is how Iran can continue its programme without worrying other countries.
He said the accord recognises the right of Iran to master nuclear technology.
While Iran insists it only wants to make fuel for a nuclear reactor to generate electricity, there are fears that once the fuel cycle has been mastered the Islamic republic could choose to enrich its uranium to weapons-grade levels.
Iran has consistently refused to halt its fuel cycle work, saying such activities for peaceful purposes are the right of any signatory of the NPT.
The UN and France are creating a "Nukes for Oil" program.
Filed at 9:45 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The single greatest danger facing humanity, President Bush says, is the threat of nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands.
So in the next four years, Bush looks to work with other nations to prevent countries from developing nuclear weapons, to secure and dismantle weapons that already exist and stop black-market trafficking of nuclear materials.
This isn't exactly the arms control of past presidents -- the lengthy negotiations and detailed agreements, mostly between the United States and the Soviet Union or Russia over nuclear stockpiles, missile defense and weapons testing.
Instead, this is arms control rooted in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
``Those attacks also raised the prospect of even worse dangers -- of other weapons in the hands of other men,'' Bush said in February. ``The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weapons.''
Bush has said terrorism is a global problem and he's looking for a multinational solution. He has worked with other nations to stop North Korea and Iran from developing nuclear programs. He has promoted new programs to encourage countries to intercept weapons components and to help nations secure or remove radioactive materials.
He has also promised to expand on the 1991 Nunn-Lugar program for dismantling weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and finding work for former weapons scientists.
The program's co-founder, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said he will propose legislation this week to eliminate bureaucratic snags and to create a new program aimed at dismantling conventional weapons. He said he has worked with the administration on the plans.
But Democrats and some analysts say the president's efforts don't reflect the urgency of the threat. And they say his ability to rally nations behind his arms control measure has been undermined by his disdain for older weapons treaties and the faulty U.S. intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs.
Jack Mendelsohn, a U.S. arms control negotiator in the 1970s and '80s, said U.S. credibility on identifying nuclear threats ``is only slightly greater than zero'' because of Iraq.
When the United States describes dangers in Iran or North Korea's nuclear programs, ``the other countries say, `Yeah, but you guys tend to go off the deep end and you exaggerate,''' he said.
But to the administration, the threats from both nations are real. They are the two remaining points on Bush's ``axis of evil'' now that Iraq's Saddam Hussein has been toppled, and both are considered sponsors of terrorism.
The United States is working with South Korea, China, Russia and Japan in talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapon program. It is looking for France, Germany and Britain to persuade Iran to indefinitely suspend its uranium enrichment program. If no agreement is reached, the United States wants the U.N. Security Council to consider sanctions. Iran says its nuclear program is only for generating electricity.
To prevent problems similar to those in Iran, the administration is seeking support for protocols to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to make it harder for countries to use nuclear energy programs as a cover for weapons production.
Bush has shown less interest in traditional arms treaties. The one major agreement he signed with Russia, the Moscow Treaty, called for a two-thirds reduction in strategic nuclear warheads by 2012. But it requires weapons only to be removed from service, not destroyed, and either side could easily withdraw.
Bush withdrew the United States from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty and is working on a limited missile defense system. He opposes the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was never ratified by the Senate. Although his administration hasn't conducted tests, it has worked to speed up the time needed for tests to be conducted. He has also pushed for research on new types of nuclear weapons.
Some analysts say the president's rejection of older arms-control efforts will make it harder for him to persuade countries to agree to his nonproliferation proposals.
``It gives other countries an excuse,'' said Jim Goodby, who held various arms control positions from the 1950s to 1990s. ``If a country says we would rather not do something that constrains us, all they have to do is point to the U.S. behavior and they can justify it.''
Some analysts believe the greatest nuclear threat to the United States could come from Pakistan.
Bush has cited as a success the breakup of a proliferation network headed by Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan, and President Pervez Musharraf has become an important ally in the fight against terrorism. But Islamic militants are active in Pakistan and its politics are turbulent.
Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said instability in Pakistan could ``mean a hemorrhaging of nuclear expertise, materials and possibly even weapons themselves.''
``Our policy toward Pakistan is basically the hope that everything stays OK,'' he said.
Iran told the United Nations atomic watchdog on Sunday it would suspend uranium enrichment and processing activities as part of a deal with the European Union to avert any U.N. Security Council sanctions.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi, hailed the deal on Monday at a weekly news conference, saying: "These were very important talks and the parties made the best decision.
"Accepting the suspension is a politically motivated move. In the agreement it says it is not a legal obligation for Iran and Iran has voluntarily accepted this," he said.
Iran, which denies U.S. accusations its atomic energy programme is a front for a nuclear weapons bid, has said the suspension will remain in place while it and the European Union discuss a lasting solution to its nuclear case.
The EU -- in talks with Iran led by Britain, Germany and France -- wants the oil-rich country to give up its nuclear fuel cycle activities like uranium enrichment for good.
In return the EU is prepared to offer Iran a range of incentives including help with a civilian nuclear programme and a possible trade deal. But Iran has said it will never give up its enrichment technology.
Asefi stressed that the talks -- and enrichment suspension -- would be brief.
"The talks will be for a short period of time ... and in the agreement it has been emphasised that Iran has the right to develop peaceful nuclear technology," he said.
The talks are due to commence on December 15 and would be handled by separate working groups for political, security, technology and economic issues, Asefi said.
He said a team of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors now in Iran could verify the suspension.
Diplomats say Iran's decision to suspend enrichment should be enough to ensure a relatively favourable report at the IAEA's board meeting on November 25 and avoid referral to the U.N. Security Council which could have placed sanctions on Iran.
Text of EU - Iran nuclear agreement
On Monday (Nov. 15), the Mehr News Agency published the final text of the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the European Union.
CIA plans to purge its agency
Sources say White House has ordered new chief to eliminate officers who were disloyal to Bush
BY KNUT ROYCE
November 14, 2004
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Colin Powell and three other Cabinet members submitted their resignations, a senior administration official said Monday, as the shake-up of President Bush's second-term team escalated.
Besides Powell, who had argued Bush's case for ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein before a skeptical U.N. Security Council in February 2003, others whose resignations were confirmed Monday included Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Education Secretary Rod Paige and Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
The departures of Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans had been announced last week. The resignations revealed Monday bring to six - out of 15 - the number of Cabinet members to leave so far.
Bush already has chosen White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to succeed Ashcroft.
The White House was preparing an announcement. According to one official, Powell expects that his departure date will be sometime in January. It was not immediately clear whether he would leave before Bush's second inauguration, on Jan 20.
Most of the speculation on a successor has centered on U.N. Ambassador John Danforth, a Republican and former U.S. senator from Missouri, and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice.
Abraham, a former senator from Michigan, joined the administration after he lost a bid for re-election, becoming the nation's 10th energy secretary. If he stays at the post until the end of this term, as is planned, he would become the longest-serving secretary at the department.
Sources said that Abraham intends to stay in Washington, where he plans to work in private law practice. Abraham struggled in attempt to get Congress to endorse the Bush administration's broad energy agenda, but was unable to convince Congress to enact energy legislation.
The leading candidate to replace Paige is Margaret Spellings, Bush's domestic policy adviser who helped shape his school agenda when he was the Texas governor.
Paige, 71, the nation's seventh education secretary, is the first black person to serve in the job. He grew up in segregated Mississippi and built a career on a belief that education equalizes opportunity, moving from college dean and school superintendent to education chief.
The daughter of a California peach grower, Veneman, 55, was the nation's first woman agriculture secretary. Speculation on a potential replacement has centered on Chuck Conner, White House farm adviser, Democratic Rep. Charles Stenholm of Texas, who lost his seat in the Nov. 2 elections, Allen Johnson, the chief U.S. negotiator on agricultural issues and Bill Hawks, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.
Powell has had a controversial tenure in the secretary of state's job, reportedly differing on some key issues at various junctures with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. Powell, however, has generally had good relations with his counterparts around the world, although his image was strained by the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
"It's been a joy to work with Colin Powell," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said. He praised Powell as "a unique figure" who had made the transition "from being a great soldier to being a great statesman and diplomat."
Powell, who submitted his resignation letter to Bush last Friday, was scheduled to meet later Monday with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and was to attend a meeting of Asian officials in Chile Wednesday and a multinational conference on Iraq next week.
He told some two dozen staff members of his projected departure at the start of the day.
For many months, Powell had been viewed as a one-term secretary of state but he has always been vague about his intentions. He had said repeatedly in recent weeks that he serves at "the pleasure of the president."
Powell's role in shaping foreign policy was one of promoting moderation and traditional diplomatic alliances with friendly nations. His influence was measured, though, since most of Bush's other senior advisers generally took a harder line and they often prevailed.
Earlier, after the 9-11 attacks, Powell helped fashion a fragile coalition of countries for the war against terrorism, careful to request all the help a country could give without pushing any country beyond its limits. Similarly, when leaders decided to end or shorten their troops' duty in postwar Iraq the State Department avoided any harsh reaction, saying simply that it was up to each country to make up its mind.
Iraq has dominated Powell's attention during his nearly four years as secretary of state.
"There has been a bipolar U.S. foreign policy in which the president has been receiving sharply differing assessments and advice from his most senior aides," an administration source said. "It has disturbed the president and I'm sure he wants this to end before his second term." moreA major shakeup of the CIA is now in the works, NewsDay.com reported: Sources say White House has ordered new chief to eliminate officers who were disloyal to Bush.
DoctorZin: A regime change in Iran is more likely now than ever.
LOL, zots from Condi!
For a long time, people like myself and a great, great, many others have been talking at length about the fact that the Islamic "Republic" of Iran poses a dangerous threat to the United States, both inside Iraq and worldwide. I noted nearly a year ago and continue to stand by my belief that if the United States suffers a major terrorist attack, nuclear or otherwise, Iran is almost certain to be singled out for US retaliation by virtue of the regime's decisions. Wretchard noted the grim reality of the situation and unfortunately little has occurred to change that analysis over the last year.
Yet one of the things that people continue to ask me is, if all of this is true, where is the evidence from government officials?
This series of analyses will deal specifically with the US News article as well as another published in the Los Angeles Times some time ago. I will also attempt to explain in my final analysis why Iran is a greater threat to the United States than Pakistan, a comparison that some have made in the past as a means of criticizing US Iran policy or lack thereof.
A note on sources ...
Because of the "intelligence duel" that has unfortunately emerged over the issue of pre-war Iraq intelligence in the realm of popular opinion, I recognize that many readers are going to regard this as little more than neocon propaganda. When I last discussed the Iranian threat, one individual noted all of the evidence that appeared to be emerging on the subject of Iran's ties to terrorist groups dismissed as nothing more as "round 2 of the OSP's grand plans" (for oil, power, and Israel, no doubt, the latter being where Jewish American loyalties check in but don't check out). That's unfortunate, because the kind of threat posed by Iran is one that doesn't bother to differentiate between neocons and realists except when it suits their advantages - no more than Osama bin Laden seriously considers distinguishing between red and blue staters when he considers which Americans to kill.
Fortunately, we also have the benefit of having American intelligence with respect to Iran here backed up by British and other European intelligence sources, sources that are presumably untained by the
Jews neocons and their evil plans.
As with Testing the Standard, this analysis will attempt to take the information provided by US News and try to provide additional information and/or context so that readers can better understand what's going on.
And with that, into the fire ...
In the summer of last year, Iranian intelligence agents in Tehran began planning something quite spectacular for September 11, the two-year anniversary of al Qaeda's attack on the United States, according to a classified American intelligence report. Iranian agents disbursed $20,000 to a team of assassins, the report said, to kill Paul Bremer, then the top U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq. The information was specific: The team, said a well-placed source quoted in the intelligence document, would use a Toyota Corona taxi and a second car, driven by suicide bombers, to take out Bremer and destroy two hotels in downtown Baghdad. The source even named one of the planners, Himin Bani Shari, a high-ranking member of the Ansar al-Islam terrorist group and a known associate of Iranian intelligence agents.
Himin Bani Shari, also Romanized as Hemin Benishari, was Ansar al-Islam's top assassin and a member of the group's "Mujahideen Military Council" who went by the kuniyat of Abu Darda'a and escaped into Iran during the US attack on the Ansar enclave. That he was a VEVAK asset hasn't been disclosed to the public until now (though one wonders how well he and Abu Wael got along - more on that a little further down). His being directly involved in planning such an assassination in concert with VEVAK should be seen as a sign of just how important eliminating Bremer was to the organization - as well as just how closely intertwined Salafist groups like Ansar are with Shi'ite government agencies like VEVAK when it comes to planning attacks on US officials. Could this be a "collaborative operational relationship," one wonders?
The alleged plan was never carried out. But American officials regarded Iran's reported role, and its ability to make trouble in Iraq, as deadly serious.
Actually, the timing of the planning for the attack as well as the description of what was supposed to occur makes me wonder if it wasn't so much scrapped as it was altered. Compare the assassination attempt on Wolfowitz in October 2003 in Baghdad (the perpetrators of which included a European national) and what was supposed to happen to Bremer and a number of similarities seem to emerge.
Iran, said a separate report, issued in November 2003 by American military analysts, "will use and support proxy groups" such as Ansar al-Islam "to conduct attacks in Iraq in an attempt to further destablize the country." An assessment by the U.S. Army's V Corps, which then directed all Army activity in Iraq, agreed: "Iranian intelligence continues to prod and facilitate the infiltration of Iraq with their subversive elements while providing them support once they are in country."
That tracks with what the State Department said in their 2003 global terrorism report and fits with all of the reports we've seen of Iran providing cash, weaponry, and medical treatment to insurgent forces in Iran proper and then supporting them once they're in-country. It is also seems to be more or less common knowledge to the Iraqi people if the statements by various Iraqi bloggers and government officials are anything to consider.
Of course, this also kind of derails the idea that we're fighting a "popular resistance movement," unless one wants to explain away the fact that it's led by a Jordanian and backed by Iran's mortal enemy.
With the Pentagon's stepped-up efforts to break the back of the insurgency before Iraq's scheduled elections in late January, Iran's efforts to destabilize Iraq have received little public attention.
Sure it has, just not in the mainstream press. The blogosphere has been tracking Iran's hand in Iraq for quite some time, and the utter failure to make it a major issue in the presidential campaign is something that both candidates should be ashamed of.
But a review of thousands of pages of intelligence reports by U.S. News reveals the critical role Iran has played in aiding some elements of the anti-American insurgency after Baghdad fell--and raises important questions about whether Iran will continue to try to destabilize Iraq after elections are held.
My guess would be yes - a democratic Iraq with a Shi'ite majority that doesn't adhere to vilayet-e-faqih poses an existential threat to the Khomeinist model used by Iran. They simply can't co-exist peacefully with it - the cards are too firmly stacked against them. That's why the Iranians have been so keen to marginalize, subvert, and finally eliminate Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who right now posed one of the most formidable challenges to any remnants of Iran's domestic legitimacy.
The classified intelligence reports, covering the period July 2003 through early 2004, were prepared by the CIA; the Defense Intelligence Agency; the Iraq Survey Group, the 1,400-person outfit President Bush sent to Iraq to find weapons of mass destruction; the Coalition Provisional Authority; and various military commands and units in the field, including the V Corps and the Pentagon's Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force. The reports are based on information gathered from Iraqis, Iranian dissidents, and other sources inside Iraq. U.S. News also reviewed British intelligence assessments of the postwar phase in Iraq.
Wow. Time to see just how far the tendrils of the neocon conspiracy extend, I guess. And before anybody starts shrieking about defectors because of the situation with the INC or INA with respect to pre-war Iraq, let me just say that then as with now, US intelligence based its intelligence assessments on far more than just some defector's good word, as anybody who has actually read the SSIC report can tell you. Indeed, after all the hype that Chalabi and Co had been afforded by the press, I was quite surprised to see just how little a role they played in the US and British assessments of their pre-war Iraq intelligence.
Many of the reports are uncorroborated and are considered "raw" intelligence of the type seldom seen by those outside the national security community. But the picture that emerges from the sheer volume of the reports, and as a result of the multiplicity of sources from which they were generated, leaves little doubt about the depth of Iran's involvement in supporting elements of the insurgency and in positioning itself to move quickly in Iraq if it believes a change in circumstances there dictates such action.
Given all of the problems, petty rivalries, and press wars that have occurred in the US intelligence community with respect to the issue of intelligence analysis (but not for long, hehehe ...), I'd much prefer "raw" reports to anything else these days. I should also point out that Iran backing the insurgency against the US is pretty much a casus belli if and when Bush should want one, but as the Iranian hierarchy is more or less convinced at this point that the US is coming after them one way or another, their goal is to keep Iraq within the manageable (for them) state of unrest and disorder, at least until their nukes are ready for either defensive or offensive purposes.
"Iran," wrote an analyst with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations on Dec. 5, 2003, "poses the greatest long-term threat to U.S. efforts in Iraq." An analyst at the V Corps summarized matters this way: "Iranian intelligence agents are conducting operations in every major city with a significant Shia population. The counterintelligence threat from Iran is assessed to be high, as locally employed people, former military officers, politicians, and young men are recruited, hired, and trained by Iranian intelligence to collect [intelligence] on coalition forces."
Here again, this tracks with what various people have been saying for awhile. Those "former military officers," I should mention, are likely to have been either Shi'ite conscripts or Shi'ites who formerly collaborated with Saddam Hussein in ruling their co-religionists. While the vast majority of Shi'ites were treated as an underclass under Saddam Hussein's regime, there were a few who rose quite high in the "secular" Baathist hierarchy, with some like Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf even making their way into Saddam's inner court. Now that they're out of power they're likely short a great deal of money - something that Iran has a great deal to offer for those willing to do their bidding.
Even as Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority and the U.S.-led military were pressing last year to consolidate their grip on Iraq, the intelligence reports indicate, the seeds of the insurgency were growing, in some cases with funding and direction from Iranian government factions. "Iranian intelligence will not conduct attacks on CF [coalition forces] that can be directly linked to Iran," wrote a senior Army analyst, "but will provide lethal aid to subversive elements within Iraq . . . in the form of weapons, safe houses, or money."
This is precisely why Iran has chosen Sunni Islamists like Ansar al-Islam as their preferred in carrying out anti-US attacks. Anything too overtly Khomeinist, like Hezbollah, would lead the US directly back to Iran with dire consequences for the regime (I personally think they went too overtly with Sadr, but the punditocracy seems to disagree with me on that since the Iranians haven't suffered any serious consequences since). Sunnis, however, make ideal proxies since "everybody knows" that Shi'ites hate Sunnis and would never cooperate with them. I guess VEVAK must've missed that memo, though ...
In an interview, David Kay, the former chief weapons inspector for the Iraq Survey Group, said he believes that factions within the Iranian government have been plotting with and funding some insurgency groups. "I think we are in an intelligence war with Iran," Kay said. "There are Iranian intelligence agents all over the country [Iraq]." Another former American official, Michael Rubin, who worked for the Pentagon and the Coalition Provisional Authority, agrees. "Iran feels it should be the predominant power in the region," Rubin said. "With the U.S. out of there, they [will] have no real competition."
That seems to be the plan - kick the US out of Iraq and turn it (or at least the southern part of the country) into an Iranian puppet state. As for Kay's formulation there are factions within the Iranian government orchestrating all the nation's meddling in Iraq (which implies that there are others that aren't), he's likely correct but the problem is that the hardline elements of the Iranian hierarchy, such as this Abadgaran movement, are now officially in control of the elected, the clerical, and the military-intelligence elements of the Iranian government. In other words, the bad guys are openly in ascendance in Tehran right now; the inmates have taken control of the assylum.
The intelligence reports reviewed by U.S. News appear to support those assessments. Examples:
Oh goody, examples ...
Iran set up a massive intelligence network in Iraq, flooding the country with agents in the months after the U.S.-led coalition toppled Saddam Hussein's regime. Sources told American intelligence analysts that Iranian agents were tasked with finding information on U.S. military plans and identifying Iraqis who would be willing to conduct attacks on U.S. forces that would not be linked to Iran.
These would be all of those "pilgrims" that flooded across the Iraqi border after Saddam's fall. They were most likely contacting Iranian assets across Iraq as well as reaffirming their ties to the al-Qaeda and allied jihadi forces and the nascent Iraqi Islamists. As I noted above, Sunnis - who formed the bulk of the insurgency from its onset to the beginning of the Sadr Uprising in April 2004 would be the preferred means that the Iranians would use to go after the US.
Iranian intelligence agents were said to have planned attacks against the U.S.-led forces and supported terrorist groups with weapons. Iranian agents smuggled weapons and ammunition across the border into Iraq and distributed them "to individuals who wanted to attack coalition forces," according to one report, citing "a source with good access." Separately, an Iraq Survey Group report said that Iranian agents "placed a bounty" of $500 for each American soldier killed by insurgents and more for destruction of tanks and heavy weaponry.
We knew about the bounty, but I always figured that it was al-Qaeda or members of the Golden Chain who had placed them on US troops. The stuff about smuggling weaponry to insurgent forces is fairly consistent with what captured Ansar al-Islam leaders like Qods and Aso Hawleri have told coalition interrogators.
Iran trained terrorists and provided them with safe havens and passage across the border into Iraq, several of the reports say. The Iranian-supported Ansar al-Islam began carrying out bombings and other attacks against coalition forces and Iraqi citizens in the summer of 2003. One report, describing an interview with a source, said: "There were approximately 320 Ansar al-Islam terrorists being trained in Iran . . . for various attack scenarios including suicide bombings, assassinations, and general subversion against U.S. forces in Iraq." The reports linked Ansar al-Islam to al Qaeda and to Abu Musab Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq. "Among the more capable terrorist groups operating in Iraq," an analyst wrote in another report, "are al Qaeda, the al Zarqawi network, as well as Ansar al-Islam."
This tracks with PUK intelligence reports, though they had originally placed the number of Ansar al-Islam trainees at being a lot lower than 320. The convergence between al-Qaeda, the Zarqawi network (i.e. al-Tawhid), and Ansar al-Islam isn't all that hard to imagine, as the leadership of all three appears to be based out of Iran and harbored by the same factions within the IRGC and VEVAK.
Iran has been a principal supporter of Moqtada al-Sadr, a radical Shiite cleric whose black-clad Mahdi Army fighters have clashed often with U.S.-led forces. Months before the worst of the insurgency in southern Iraq began last April, U.S. intelligence officials tracked reported movements of Iranian money and arms to forces loyal to Sadr. According to a V Corps report written in September 2003, "There has been an increase of Iranian intelligence officers entering" Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Basra, and Amarah. Sadr's fighters later engaged in fierce battles with coalition forces in each of those cities.
I told you so at the time, if memory serves.
Iran's permanent mission to the United Nations in New York did not respond to repeated requests for comment from U.S. News.
They're too busy casing New York City landmarks ...
In a sermon given last April, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a leading political figure in Iran, said that Americans were "a very effective target" but that Iran "does not wish to get involved in acts of adventurism." Separately, in New York last September, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi denied that his country had funded or armed Sadr's Mahdi Army.
With all the pious denial that one might expect from the Iranians, who if memory serves still officially deny any role in the 1983 Beirut bombings or the attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s. Does the press seriously expect them to come out and openly flaunt the fact that they're engaged in a low-level state of war with the world's sole remaining superpower?
U.S. government officials, questioned about the intelligence reports reviewed by U.S. News , say the evidence of Iran's destabilization efforts in Iraq is persuasive. "We certainly do have a lot of evidence of Iranian mischief making," a senior Pentagon official said in an interview, "and attempts [at] building subversive influence. I would never underestimate the Iranian problem. . . . Iran is a menace in a basic sense."
Good to know that somebody is on the case. The problem when it comes to dealing with that menace, however, is that there is no consistent US policy as far as where to proceed. Hopefully that will be cleared up soon but until it is we are left in the position of simply reacting to our enemy. Not a good place to be when you're in the middle of a low-level world war.
Looking at the overall problem in Iraq, however, the official identifies Sunni Muslim extremists as the "hard core" of the insurgency. They include former supporters of Saddam and some foreign fighters--most prominently Zarqawi, whose network has claimed responsibility for some of Iraq's bloodiest bombings and the beheading of American Nicholas Berg and other western captives. Some terrorists, the official noted pointedly, are also using Syria as an outpost and safe haven.
A large number of whom appear to be former Baathists who are seeking aid from their co-ideologists. Mohammed Younis al-Ahmed al-Moali (Khadr al-Sabahi) and about 20-50 of his cronies appear to have sought shelter there, at least on the cash side of the operation, but they're from a different faction of Baathists than the ones that have aligned themselves with Zarqawi.
More than a year ago, the Defense Intelligence Agency reached similar conclusions in a secret analysis headlined "Iraq: Who Are We Fighting?" The analysis cited foreign jihadists as "potentially" the most "threatening." An analyst with the Iraq Survey Group concluded that "[a]s time passes and more and more terrorists and foreign fighters come into Iraq, the situation will become more dangerous because you will get a more experienced enemy, with more training, resources, and experience."
That analysis, by the way, is the perfect rebuttal to charges that the US "knows nothing" about the current state of the insurgency as some have charged.
The pundits weigh in ...
Patrick Clawson, a leading expert on Iraq and Iran at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says it is not surprising that Iran is heavily involved in Iraq. "It only makes sense that the government of Iran would want to have a network of contacts with the insurgents, develop friends, develop intelligence sources, provide them information about American assets and capabilities," he said in an interview. " . . . It is in their national interest." At the same time, Clawson says, Iran is playing "a double game"--stirring up trouble in Iraq while publicly professing support for Iraqi elections.
Indeed and that's the problem. Developing an espionage capacity inside Iraq is not in of itself a crime, though the Iraqis might differ with me on this one. It's a legitimate tool of statecraft, which is why Turkey, Jordan, and Kuwait likely all have assets of their own there. The difference, however, is that none of those countries' intelligence agencies are actively supporting, arming, financing, or directing attacks on US troops. And that is what makes all the difference in the world.
Understanding Iran's precise motives in Iraq is no simple matter. Ahmed Hashim, a professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College, says that the Islamic regime in Tehran does not always speak with one voice. "I think Iran has its hand in a lot of what's going on [in Iraq], but we shouldn't assume the government is unified," he says. "When you look at the Iranian system of government, if you say Iran, it could actually be the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the [charitable] foundations, or various agencies of the government. They act almost independently."
That's certainly true, but the "dual government" model for understanding Iran operates is rapidly becoming an antique as the hardliners consolidate their control over all three organs ("elected," clerical, and military-intelligence) of the government. More to the point, many of the establishment "reformists" are with the hardliners on the issue of Iraq because they understand what it means for their little theocracy. The internal Iranian factions may operate independently from one another, but they are quite capable of clamping down when one of their own steps off the reservation - look into the killings following Khatami's 1997 election carried out by "rogue" intelligence officers if you want an example of what I'm talking about. The fact that they haven't done so implies that those factions who were once viewed as restraining influences over the more militant forces in the Iranian hierarchy (a view I think is self-refuting, but nevermind that) either can't or won't stop them from killing US troops in Iraq. Period.
Another Iran expert, Kenneth Pollack, who served in the Clinton White House as director of Persian Gulf affairs on the National Security Council staff, believes Iran does not want chaos in Iraq. "The Iranian leaders are terrified of chaos in Iraq," he says, "and the spillover" aspect. Iran, Pollack adds, wants a stable, "independent" government headed by Shiites.
A little history here I think is worth noting. Pollack is the author of a book which argued in favor of US military action against Iraq on the basis of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's WMDs. He, like most everybody else in favor of the WMD argument for war, got badly burned in the process when the weapons appeared to be lacking. Since then, he seems to have largely taken on a dovish position towards Iran, due in no small part I think because of what happened when he did favor the hard line against Saddam Hussein.
Be that as it may, the evidence cited in this article appears to run counter towards his beliefs. It is true that Iran wants a stable Iraq - but only under their control. In addition, does anyone seriously believe that Iran is going to just sit back and allow Sistani to champion An Najaf as a rival to Qom? To allow such a thing, even on the surface of it, knocks down the last remaining edifices of the regime's domestic legitimacy and makes the new Shi'ite majority Iraq a serious contender to Iran.
The next step of this analysis will go further into the US News article and by the time all of this is over I promise that I will address the question of why Iran is a greater threat to the US than Pakistan.
European diplomats said Bush's reelection helped the negotiations by limiting Iran's options. Had Democrat John F. Kerry won, Iran might have tried to play for time or probe what policy shifts a new administration was considering, they said.
I saw this also, pretty amazing confession
Has anyone started a thread based on Wash Post article?
source "Iran Vows to Freeze Nuclear Programs" by Dafna Linzer 11/15/2004 page A01