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Iranian Alert - November 16, 2004 [EST]- LIVE - "EU-Iran Nuclear Deal Hinges on U.S. Engagement"
Regime Change Iran ^
Posted on 11/15/2004 10:01:21 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.
TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: armyofmahdi; ayatollah; binladen; cleric; eu; germany; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iraq; islamicrepublic; japan; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatami; khatemi; lsadr; moqtadaalsadr; mullahs; persecution; persia; persian; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; russia; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; us; vevak; wot
"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin
posted on 11/15/2004 10:01:26 PM PST
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!
posted on 11/15/2004 10:04:04 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
EU-Iran Nuclear Deal Hinges on U.S. Engagement
Mon Nov 15, 2004 03:19 PM ET
By Paul Taylor, European Affairs Editor
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe has taken a first step to rein in Iran's nuclear ambitions, but only engagement by the United States may dissuade Tehran in the long term from seeking atomic weapons, if anything can, diplomats say.
Britain, France, Germany and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana jointly persuaded Iran to suspend its drive to enrich uranium, a process which produces fuel that can be used for power generation or bombs.
In return, the Iranians escaped being reported to the U.N. Security Council for concealing past nuclear programs, as the United States had sought to do.
Under a deal unveiled on Monday, Tehran agreed to freeze all activity related to enrichment, including making equipment and processing materials, in return for talks on peaceful nuclear cooperation and resumed negotiations on a trade and aid pact.
EU diplomats were careful to stress this was just a first, temporary stage pending a longer-term agreement.
"I would like to qualify the term success ... Don't think that the story has finished yet," a senior European diplomat said.
Without naming Washington, Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot contrasted the EU's approach of engaging Iran with the U.S. policy of isolating and punishing the Islamic republic.
"We believe very much that negotiations with Iran is the way to final solutions for a number of problems: the nuclear issue, the human rights situation, their Middle East position, terrorism aspects," said Bot, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
"If you cut off all dialogue you isolate the country even more. Finding a solution to this particular issue (the nuclear one) could have an impact on the other three elements in our dialogue," he told the Foreign Press Association in The Hague.
The Bush administration was fully aware of and briefed on the European initiative and did not oppose it.
An EU diplomat said the Europeans sought to move forward with the "advice and consent" of the United States, which was an important factor although it was not a party to the agreement.
President Bush gave it a guarded endorsement when he met British Prime Minister Tony Blair last Friday.
"We don't want Iran to have a nuclear weapon and we're working toward that end," he 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."
But Washington has shown no sign of willingness to overcome 25 years of hostility with the Islamic republic, dating back to the 1979 hostage siege at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and open a dialogue of its own with Iran.
Influential neo-conservatives such as former Defense Policy Advisory Board chairman Richard Perle advocate "regime change" in Tehran. Others have talked of the possibility of U.S. military strikes against Iranian nuclear plants.
With the imminent departure of Secretary of State Colin Powell, the U.S. cabinet member seen as most sympathetic to European views, an opening toward Tehran seems remote.
The senior European diplomat involved in the negotiations said Iran and the three EU states had agreed to set up working groups on security, nuclear issues and economic and technology cooperation to prepare a long-term agreement.
Those groups are due to report back within three months of a first steering group session in the first half of December.
Meanwhile the EU will resume stalled talks on a trade and cooperation agreement and back Tehran's bid to join the World Trade Organization.
But EU officials say only Washington's involvement can give Iran the kind of security assurances, economic benefits and recognition which might make its rulers feel they did not need a nuclear capability.
EU officials are duly cautious about the prospect of Iran's compliance with the accord.
"After the agreement is verified, we will be partially reassured," the senior diplomat said when asked if the EU was now convinced Iran's nuclear program was purely peaceful.
He noted the new text was largely a more detailed version of a deal the EU3 and Iran reached last year but which was so vaguely drafted that it did not prevent Tehran pressing ahead with enrichment-related activities such as building centrifuges and processing raw uranium.
posted on 11/15/2004 10:04:26 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Powell sees 'progress' on Iran nuke talks
Washington, DC, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said there had been some "progress" in European efforts to end Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program.
"We have to work with our European Union friends and with the IAEA to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear program, and we have seen a little bit of progress, hopefully, over the last 24 hours," Powell said Monday.
The IAEA refers to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher was more cautious.
"We don't have it pinned down at this point," he said.
He said the department was waiting to hear from the Europeans about the content of a letter from Iran to the IAEA about its agreeing to halt uranium enrichment and other international demands. He said the IAEA would have to verify any commitment.
Boucher added that Washington's policy of taking Iran to the U.N. Security Council had not changed.
posted on 11/15/2004 10:09:04 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
posted on 11/15/2004 10:11:02 PM PST
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
Commentary > The Monitor's View
from the November 16, 2004 edition
The Bush administration's hope of punishing Iran for hiding its nuclear-enrichment activities for 18 years will just have to wait.
Keeping Iran From The Bomb
Instead, three European nations, (Britain, France, and Germany) have used the lure of possible trade openings to win an Iranian promise this week to suspend the type of enrichment activities that can be used for both peaceful nuclear power and atomic weapons.
This troika of US allies are out to prove to Washington that the honey of incentives can catch more flies than the vinegar of sanctions (or even the threat of a preemptive attack by Israel). So far, President Bush is playing along.
The US had planned to ask a Nov. 25 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to recommend to the UN Security Council that it impose sanctions on Iran. That move might have begun to put the UN and the US on a trail like the one that led to the long confrontation and eventual war with Saddam Hussein. But the US military is stretched too thin for any war-talk with Iran. And the Security Council isn't likely to go along with the US.
Still, Iran has bought time for itself with an easy give. By suspending its questionable nuclear project, its ruling Islamic mullahs are promised negotiations for special trade concessions from Europe. They need that economic boost to create jobs for a huge and restless mass of young people, many of whom are pro-American.
The IAEA, meanwhile, reported Monday that all nuclear material that Iran had declared in the past year has been accounted for, "...and therefore we can say that such material is not diverted to prohibited [weapons] activities." The report, however, was inconclusive about any undeclared material Iran may be hiding.
Distrust of Iran's intention runs deep in the West, which fears a nuclear-armed Iran could unsettle the region. A similar but weaker agreement to the one just reached was violated by Iran last year. This time, the fear of a US-Iran confrontation seemed more imminent, especially after Mr. Bush's reelection.
The result of all this will probably be months or even years of negotiations, similar to the multilateral talks with North Korea over its bomb-grade nuclear material. The crunch will be in whether Iran gives IAEA inspectors the freedom to probe anywhere they like to uncover any more clandestine nuclear work.
The Europeans and the US are playing effective good cop/bad cop roles for now. As long as the carrots are working, there's no need for a stick.
posted on 11/15/2004 10:11:25 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
US Skeptical About Iran Nuclear Pledge
15 November 2004
U.S. officials have reacted skeptically to Iran's latest pledge to rein in its nuclear activities. Iran says it is willing to suspend any uranium enrichment, and Iran and the European Union have hammered out the outlines of a deal on the nuclear issue. Iran still remains under close scrutiny.
Iran's pledge to suspend uranium enrichment was greeted with caution in Washington, where suspicion of Iranian motives in official U.S. circles remains strong.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was guarded in his reaction to the news. "We have seen a little bit of progress, hopefully, in the last 24 hours."
Under the broad outlines of proposed agreement with France, Britain, and Germany, Iran would temporarily halt its uranium enrichment program in return for incentives in trade and energy from Europe.
Despite Iran's announced intention to suspend the enrichment of uranium, the Bush Administration does not believe Tehran is willing to voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons ambitions. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Iran has long had a covert nuclear program, and that the issue must be discussed by the governing board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA. "If they're trying to correct those violations now by some new promises, first you need to see those promises verified and, second, we need to discuss with others at the (IAEA) Board in that case what the appropriate action is," he said.
IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said what nuclear material Iran is known to have is not being diverted to weapons programs. But, he added, there may still be hidden stockpiles of nuclear material. "What I can say ultimately is that all the declared nuclear materials in Iran have been accounted for and we are confident that they are not being diverted for military activities," he said. "What I cannot say at this point - and this is obviously also reported in the report - is that we are not yet in a position to conclude that they are no other undeclared nuclear materials in Iran. That's the question (for) which we are going to need a much longer period of time."
The United States has been pushing to have the U.N. Security Council impose sanctions on Iran for allegedly contravening the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
But diplomats say the European efforts for a negotiated deal on the issue mean the United States does not currently have the votes to push sanctions through the Security Council.
The governing board of the IAEA - which is a U.N. agency - is to meet next week to discuss Iran's nuclear program.
posted on 11/15/2004 10:11:55 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
IRAN- EUS BIG 3 ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT
Posted Monday, November 15, 2004
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PARIS-TEHRAN-VIENNA, 15 Nov. (IPS) Iran said on Monday that it considers 25 November as an important date for the future of its relations with both the European Union and the International nuclear watchdog.
In our view, the November meeting is very important, as it would show us if the European Unions Troika, namely Britain, France and Germany is serious respecting engagements reached in Paris, Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, Irans senior negotiator on nuclear issue told journalists in Tehran during a lengthy press conference broadcast live on Iranian radio and television.
In our view, the November meeting is very important, as it would show us if the EUs Troika, namely Britain, France and Germany is serious respecting engagements.
What is being published today is a preliminary agreement that would lead us to a firmer and definitive accord in the coming months, Mr. Rohani observed, stressing that the agreement, known as the Paris accord recognises Irans rights to enriching uranium for peaceful purposes.
Diplomats in Brussels and Vienna, where the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based immediately welcomed the announcements.
"We want a durable, cooperative and long-term partnership with Iran. This agreement opens the way. Potentially it is the start of a new chapter in our relations, Mr. Javier Solana, the European Unions senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Security said in a statement from the Belgian Capital, welcoming the accord reached between Tehran and the so-called European Big 3.
IAEA also gave its support to Iran's undertaking to suspend all uranium enrichment activities; the key element of a deal with European countries aimed at ensuring Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.
But Mr. Rohani, who is also the Secretary of Irans Supreme Council on National Security, reiterated that permanent suspension of enriching uranium was out of question.
In our letter to the IAEA, we announces two new suspensions: A) concerning assembling (new centrifuges) and B) all transformation (enriching uranium) activities, the cleric revealed, repeating that definitive and complete stopping of uranium activities are part of Irans red line.
The decision is expected to anger extremists within the ruling Mollahrchy who are insisting that the Islamic Republic must leave both the IAEA and the Non Proliferation Treaty.
In the new understanding, there is nothing named or identified as complete and definitive suspension, as, from the outset, we had insisted and repeated that this is one of our red lines that cannot be discussed. (Uranium enriching) is our legitimate right. It is the right of our people and therefore, it cannot be stopped, he said, adding that what is in question is a voluntary and timed suspension aimed at building confidence in the world that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
An American official associated with the Iranian nuclear issue said Washington, -- where the State Department Secretary Collin Powel had offered his resignation to President George W. Bush -- is waiting for word from its European allies that negotiated with the Islamic Republic the new deal.
The decision is expected to anger extremists within the ruling Mollahrchy .
The United States, pressed by Israel, suspects that the Iranian ayatollahs are seeking to use technologies for nuclear-powered electricity plants to produce atomic weapons and is pushing the Board of Directors of the IAEA to send the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Security Council for economic sanctions.
"In my opinion, President Bush should adopt a different attitude in his second term of his presidency", Mr. Rohani suggested, when he was asked whether the US is the main and back room power for such negotiations.
"We should exercise vigilance to see what would be US reactions to the issue", the official, who is close to the Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi, said, noting that (so far) President Bush has not shown any negative reaction.
"We have to wait and see whether in the upcoming IAEA Board of Governors there would be any under-the-table dealings between the US and the Europeans or the Europeans have entered the negotiations with sincerity", he said.
However, diplomats said if the deal announced Sunday with the Europeans is sealed, it would prevent Iran from being referred to the Security Council.
According to the Paris Understanding, the European Union, in return for the complete suspension of uranium enriching would help Tehran getting access to fuel needed for its nuclear reactors, possible investment in future atomic plants for electricity and also signing a Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Mr. Rohani said he has informed the IAEA that Iran would stop enriching uranium as from 22 November and hoped that as a result of the next meeting of the Directors, scheduled for 25 November, Irans case would enter an ordinary path.
The IAEA said in a confidential report made available Monday to the American news agency The Associated Press that Iran's promise to suspend the enrichment activities by 22 November would satisfy some of the agency's demands.
The agency said other suspicions remain about the nature of nearly two decades of clandestine nuclear programs.
It also called Tehran to task for "many breaches of its obligations" to report all activities that could be used to make weapons to the agency under agreements it has with the IAEA.
(IAEAs Boss Mohammad) ElBaradei was "not yet in the position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials" that could have been used for a weapons program, AP quoted from the report, adding that But all nuclear material that Iran has declared to the agency in the past year has been accounted for, "and therefore we can say that such material is not diverted to prohibited (weapons) activities".
In an important departure from previous reports, the document did not specifically say that ElBaradei would report to the next IAEA board on Iran. Instead it said it would give an accounting on the country and its nuclear activities "as appropriate."
That wording was expected to be welcomed by Iran, who for months has urged the agency to close its file. The United States, which insists that Iran's nuclear activities are geared toward making weapons, was likely to be unhappy with any suggestion that future pressure would ease.
The Europeans call on us to continue the enrichment process in a way not to lead to the production of nuclear weapons, this is not a complicated issue, and we call on the IAEA as well as the Non-Aligned Movement to help us assure the global community that this will be guaranteed", Mr. Rohani underlined.
Asked if he is hopeful that the new agreements would be respected and conclusive, he said emphatically that "It is not possible to judge whether these negotiations will result to failure or not. However, when the parties are serious, the end result must be positive. We have entered the talks very seriously and we have the impression that our European partners are also serious", he responded.
Among the issues that still need clarification were the origins of some traces of enriched uranium found within Iran that exceeds levels Tehran said it had enriched to and questions about the Islamic Republic's development of centrifuges used to enrich uranium a process that can be used to make nuclear fuel or the core of weapons.
While appearing to fall short in some details of a tentative deal worked out between Iran and negotiators from France, Germany and Britain, the suspension agreement appeared to satisfy demand s made in a resolution agreed to at the last board meeting in September.
Bellow is the full text of Iran and the EUs Trio agreement, as distributed by the official news agency IRNA
Iran and the European Union reaffirm the commitments of Tehran Declaration they signed on October 21, 2003 and decided to move forward building on that agreement.
High Representative of the European Union led by France, Britain and Germany recognize Irans rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) exercised in conformity with its obligations under the treaty without discrimination, part of the agreement signed in Tehran said.
Iran reaffirms that in accordance with Article II of the NPT, it does not and will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons. It commits itself to full cooperation and transparency with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran will continue to implement the Additional Protocol voluntarily pending ratification.
"To build further confidence, Iran has decided, on a voluntary basis, to continue and extend its suspension to include all enrichment related and reprocessing activities, and specifically: the manufacture and import of gas centrifuges and their components, the assembly, installation, testing or operation of gas centrifuges, work to undertake any plutonium, separation, or to construct or operate any plutonium separation installation, and all tests or production at any uranium conversion installations. The IAEA will be notified of this suspension and invited to verify and monitor it.
The suspension will be implemented in time for the IAEA to confirm before the November Board that it has been put into effect. The suspension will be sustained while negotiations proceed on a mutually acceptable agreement on long-term arrangements", it said.
"The E3/EU recognise that this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation".
Sustaining the suspension, while negotiations on a long-term agreement are underway, will be essential for the continuation of the overall process. In the context of this suspension, the E3/EU and Iran have agreed to begin negotiations, with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable agreement on long-term arrangements.
The agreement will provide objective guarantees that Irans nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. It will equally provide firm guarantees on nuclear, technological and economic cooperation and firm commitments on security issues.
A steering committee will meet to launch these negotiations in the first half of December 2004 and will set up working groups on political and security issues. The steering committee shall meet again within three months to receive progress reports from the working groups and to move ahead with projects and/or measures that can be implemented in advance of an overall agreement.
"In the context of the present agreement and noting the progress that has been made in resolving outstanding issues, the E3/EU will henceforth support the Director General of IAEA Board as he considers appropriate in the framework of the implementation of Irans Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol".
"The E3/EU will support the IAEA Director General inviting Iran to join the Expert Group of Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle", the agreement said.
Once suspension has been verified, the negotiations with the EU on a Trade and Cooperation Agreement will resume. The E3/EU will actively support the opening of Iranian accession negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
"Irrespective of progress on the nuclear use, the E3/EU and Iran confirm their determination to combat terrorism, including the activities of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups such as Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MeK).
They also confirm their continued support for the political process aimed at establishing a constitutionally elected government in Iraq. ENDS IRAN IAEA NUCLEAR 151104
posted on 11/15/2004 10:12:32 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
I sure am gald that Goss is doing some deep cleaning at the CIA. Condi needs to and will do the same at State. I can sleep a little easier now.
If the Iranians want to topple the Mullahs, their time is coming. The US would do itself a favor to fall on the side of the Iraniam People and lend some assistance to overthow the Mullahs. How can we trust France and Germany after the oil for food scam.
posted on 11/15/2004 10:20:23 PM PST
Thanks for the post.
When Jimmy Carter astounded just about everyone by traveling to North Korea, negotiating on behalf of the United States, it was one of the most pure examples possible, of what Europe, the U.N. and the passifist enabler sect, desire for the world.
Today, in relationship with Iran, Britain, France and Germany are about to hand us another enabler's pipe-dream. Peace in our time, will become Iran's cover for developing nuclear weapons on the sly with the aid of China.
Yes folks, it's that blossoming worker's paradise that many are convinced is on the verge of adopting George Washington, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and our other founding fathers as it's heros. Fat chance.
In six to eight years Iran will have nuclear weapons and the means to deliver those weapons to Israel. Odly enough, it will also be able to deliver them to the very contries that are fronting for it today.
Europe is out of it's mind. Collectively, the European continent should be put on a death-watch. They are poised to allow the ayatollahs to develop the bomb.
It boggles the mind.
The U.S. should stay as far away from this deal as it can. If Europe is going to self-destruct, it should be made abundantly clear that the U.S. was in no way complicit.
We may not be able to stop Europe, but we sure as hell can elect not to help them.
posted on 11/15/2004 10:20:37 PM PST
(US socialist liberalism would be dead without the help of politicians who claim to be conservatives)
"Will Iran Be Next?"
The cover story of the December issue of the Atlantic Monthly is entitled, Will Iran Be Next? A Pentagon-Style War Game Shows Why Military Strikes Would Invite Disaster.
A better subtitle would be: A TV News-Style Roundtable Discussion Shows Why Policy Isnt Made in One Three-Hour Sitting. James Fallows article describes a forum of policy wonks and former officials, sponsored by the Atlantic, who are seated in a room one morning, given few instructions on how to decide anything, and then recorded by videotape to ensure their egos can do the talking for them. The incoherent results are reprehensibly passed off as a mirror of the most plausible, current, non-classified information. (One very alert reader insists that this article is a CIA plant to throw the mullahs off. If only that were so!)
The forum is that of a meeting of the Principals Committee, the most senior national security officials of the next administration. Here is mistake number one: by trying to include both Democratic and Republican viewpoints in their committee, the Atlantic has seriously watered down the decisions of a group comprised solely of either partys officials. Waiting until the election results were clear would have made for a much more realistic forum to discuss the Iran dilemma.
The next mistake is the assumption that Iran would defy the deadline set by the IAEA for satisfying its demands. This is no doubt a result of the vagaries of journalistic deadlines, but aside from the fact that this assumption has proven wrong (link), it ignores the possibility that Iran will both agree to IAEA demands and continue with its weapons program clandestinely which is entirely possible and would require a wholly different set of considerations.
The purpose of the war game is to force attention on the three or four main issues the next President will have to face about Iran . . . and this is rightly how to define the deliberations and product of a Principals Committee meeting. But the wargame unduly focuses their discussion on the use of force. Diplomacy, economic sanctions, CIA covert operations, are all left out of the discussion, though one must assume that a meeting of the Principals Committee is where the combined application of these other elements of national power would most likely be weighed and counterbalanced against each other. The limitations that this imposes will soon be clear.
The participants in the wargame were: Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force Colonel, with many years of experience in developing wargame and other simulation exercises, this time posing as National Security Advisor. David Kay, the former US weapons inspector, played the role of Director of Central Intelligence. Two different individuals play Secretary of State, Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former case officer in the CIA, meant to be the conservative, and Kenneth Pollack, a former CIA analyst, meant to be the liberal.
Kenneth Bacon, a former Clinton administration official, played the White House Chief of Staff, and Michael Mazarr, a professor of national-security strategy at the National ar College, was the Secretary of Defense.
In addition to these participants, there were three observers: Harvard Universitys Graham Allison, Marine Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, and Army Major Donald Vandergriff, the three of whom are known for their expertise or innovative thinking in defense-related decision-making. Being only observers, they can be let off the hook for the results.
So what happens when several once and future wonks gather to debate policy while being videotaped? As Steinbeck once wrote, it was "as spontaneous as peristalsis and as interesting as its result." In short, the "war game" had significant problems.
Aside from the fundamental limitations above, the "game" suffered from no clear mechanism for detailed planning. There was no brainstorming session, no attempt to weigh one idea against another. Instead, a free-for-all took place.
Consider for example:
-The roleplaying nature of the game was "loose":
"Sometimes the participants expressed their institutions' views; other times they stepped out of role and spoke for themselves."
How is it possible for them to express institutional views when those institutions -- the State Department
and the CIA
for example -- are undergoing significant post-election upheaval? Is it not off the mark to say that the institutions whose views they were expected to express don't know what their views are yet?
-The most critical of their product are the gamers themselves, noting for example, the lack of a red cell to figure out the options of the Iranians. Notes Fallows:
"'Process' sounds dull, and even worse is 'government decision-making,' but these topics provoked the most impassioned comments from panelists and observers when they were interviewed after the war game."
How ironic when they had no process to speak of themselves!
Perhaps mirroring an actual military war game,
but without the actual troop movements, would be a better way to untie this knot.
Let us wade through the gobbledy-gook in this article and see what we can find.
The assumptions of the planners/gamers:
1. All of our information leads us to believe that Iran will have nuclear weapons capabilities within three years. This information may not be everything though, and there could be factors we have no idea about that will speed the process.
2. There are two wild-card factors: Iran's involvement in Iraq and Israel's potential involvement with Iran.
Using these two assumptions as starting points, the panel then proceeds to veto nearly every possible tool to affect the Iranian weapons program:
An Israeli strike? The Israelis know they don't have the capability for that! They would have to hit every missile in addition to all the nuke sites! They won't risk a counterattack with chemical weapons! We should tell them to pipe down!
Iran's influence on current US actions in Iraq? The Iranians can make it very difficult for us there if they want! The Iranians might provoke every Shi'ite to rise against us! It could get bloody!
They then consider three military courses of action (COA) for the US to take against Iran:
1. "A punitive raid against key Revolutionary Guard units, to retaliate for Iranian actions elsewhere, most likely in Iraq."
This is a truly baffling option. Weren't we discussing the Iranian nuclear program? How does attacking the Iranian military affect the development of Iran's nuclear weapons, except to force them to speed it up as much as possible? And what Iranian actions are we retaliating against? Do we already possess evidence of these actions?
The inclusion of this option is inexplicable, unless one remembers that when planners are forced to come up with three options, one of them is usually called the "throwaway COA."
2. "A pre-emptive air strike on possible nuclear facilities;"
Much more like it. Now we are talking.
3. "A 'regime change' operation involving the forcible removal of the mullahs government in Tehran."
Certainly appears to be an option, though appearances can be deceiving.
The panel then begins to pick apart each and every one of these three options. Their over-riding goal throughout this exercise is to eschew any and all risk.
Striking the Iranian military? This is supposed to be a measured response to Iranian meddling in Iraq, "and a first step in laying the groundwork for the ultimate step of regime change." Here we see that this first option is nothing more than option three light. It cannot really be undertaken unless the US is willing to go all the way in removing the regime.
The pre-emptive air strike? The US would attack 300 different sites involved in the development of nukes, chem or bio weapons, all in a matter of five days.
An invasion of Iran? Meant to change the regime? Here the panel gets bogged down in details -- where will the feints be? What airfields will the invasion force use? Will it be light, with few divisions and lots of special forces? Or heavy, with many divisions and lots of special forces?
Then, the panel mentions that the invading forces will avoid any stability operations. This is fascinating. Why would the panel assume that a US force would avoid stability operations, given our recent experience in Iraq? Fallows asks this of Gardiner:
"How could the military dare suggest such a plan after the disastrous consequences of ignoring 'stability' responsibilities in Iraq? Even now, Gardiner said after the war game, the military sees post-conflict operations as peripheral to its duties. If these jobs need to be done, someone else must take responsibility for them."
This is nothing short of alarming. First, the post-invasion instability in Iraq was not the fault of the US military. The fault for the lack of planning rests with poor interagency coordination. Stabilty operations must have an overt political goal -- in this case, establishing a government -- and while the removal of Saddam's regime was a rousing success, the quick and efficient installation of the next regimes -- the CPA and the Interim Government -- were a failure. Military planners are not to blame for this inaction -- civilian planners are. In fact, US military units, who were living in Iraq, and had quite a stake in not seeing instability, are to be commended for adapting to the situation and preventing further instability than occurred.
Second, the idea that the military see post-conflict operations as peripheral to its duties is flat-out wrong. Marines for example, have been training for and conducting Miliary Operations Other than War or MOOTW -- what could also be called Small Wars -- for the better part of a century. And the military has moved to make postwar planning a priority in future conflicts as well.
More about this fictional invasion of Iran:
"Our objective is to be on the outskirts of Tehran in two weeks. The notion is we will not have a Battle of Tehran; we don't want to do that. We want to have a battle around the city. We want to bring our combat-power to the vicinity of Tehran and use Special Operations inside the capital. We have no intention of getting bogged down in stability operations in Iran afterwards."
In other words, the war plan is a reproduction of the plan for the invasion of Iraq, but without the guts to take a city. And rather than admit the US did poorly in post-conflict planning in Iraq, and then try to improve on that, the plan avoids all post-conflict involvement whatsoever.
This is a dangerous plan and the panel recognizes this and rejects it.
Sitting on the outskirts of the capital and waiting for a miracle to occur and a regime to evaporate -- especially a totalitarian one -- is not a recipe for success.
The article goes downhill from there, ending with these words:
"After all of this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers," Sam Gardiner said of his exercise. "You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work."
Perhaps Mr. Fallows and his posse have no solutions, but The Adventures of Chester does. Before that though, let us examine some of the panel's assumptions which were not as obvious:
1. Any military action will reflect current thinking within the Pentagon.
2. The only way to stimulate a regime change is through military force.
3. The military has no stomach for stability operations (this one was obvious).
4. The buildup to an invasion cannot be disguised.
5. The US military is too overstretched for an invasion of Iran at this point in time.
6. If a pre-emptive strike only succeeded in delaying the Iranian program, they would sooner or later have weapons after all.
Tomorrow, The Adventures of Chester will address each of these assumptions and offer an alternative analysis and course of action. As the week progresses, we'll examine each part of this alternative one bit at a time.
posted on 11/15/2004 10:28:38 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
The Elephant in the Room, Part 2
by Dan Darling on November 16, 2004 01:33 AM
Continuing on with my post from yesterday, I'm going to continue dissecting the US News and World Report article on the subject of Iran's meddling inside Iraq among other things.
Also, in the comments yesterday a number of readers noted that I didn't mention the comparable threat posed by Saudi Arabia in yesterday's piece. That's true, though I did mention Syria's harboring of the surviving Iraqi Baathist leadership and financiers (now subordinated to their Syrian counterparts, in contrast to the al-Douri Baathists who have folded into Zarqawi's organization). If you want to know about Saudi Arabia, I have plenty of back posts on the subject - Riyadh Bombings Retrospective is an old favorite of mine and I will no doubt write more and more on the subject of the Magic Kingdom in the future.
Right now, however, I'm talking about Iran.
Continuing from where we left off
Whatever its objectives in Iraq, Iran has a well-documented history of supporting terrorist groups. For years, the State Department has identified Iran as the world's pre-eminent state sponsor of terrorism. American officials say the regime has provided funding, safe havens, training, and weapons to several terrorist groups, including Lebanon-based Hezbollah. The commission investigating the 9/11 attacks said in its final report that al Qaeda has long-standing ties to Iran and Hezbollah. Iran favors spectacular attacks, officials say, citing its alleged role in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, that claimed the lives of 19 U.S. servicemen. Six of the Hezbollah terrorists indicted in the attack "directly implicated" senior Iranian government officials "in the planning and execution of this attack," former FBI Director Louis Freeh wrote last year.
As the 9/11 commission and others (myself included) have noted, there is a great deal of evidence that the Khobar Towers bombings were a joint operation carried out by both Iran and al-Qaeda, which would seem to more than satisfy the demands of a "collaborative operational relationship." More to the point, as I and others have repeatedly noted, Iran is now harboring the surviving al-Qaeda leadership, including possibly even bin Laden himself. The network's shura majlis has been reformed from the safety of IRGC bases and villas in eastern and north-central Iran and if one accepts the belief, echoed by many a government official, that al-Qaeda is the greatest threat to US national security at the moment, what does that say about the government that willingly harbors its leaders?
Alliances of convenience
Nor does it seem that the Khomeinists are going to allow such trivial matters as past animosities to get in the way of fighting the Great Satan:
Freeh named two Iranian government agencies, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, or MOIS, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite fighting unit and enforcer for the clerical regime. As the insurgency developed in Iraq, both played central roles in planning and funding some of the attacks on coalition forces, according to the intelligence reports reviewed by U.S. News. Early on, MOIS and the revolutionary guard corps were tasked with the job of creating instability in Iraq, the reports say. In some cases, Iran's agents allegedly worked with former Saddam loyalists, an odd marriage but one that shared a common goal: to drive U.S. forces out of Iraq. The reports detail how Iranian agents sought to recruit former regime loyalists and how one former Iraqi Intelligence Service officer, who had close ties to Saddam's late son, Uday, reportedly set up a front company for Iranian intelligence operations in Baghdad.
The Mukhabarat working with VEVAK post-invasion (and VEVAK's willingness to work with the former) should drive the final nail in the coffin of the belief that ideology determines alliances. Just to put all of this in perspective, Iraq and Iran fought a long and very bloody war during the 1980s, a war that killed many of the best and brightest of Khomeini's Islamic Revolution. During that time and well afterwards, the Mukhabarat assassinated or attempted to assassinate any number of Iranian officials and directed the communist Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) against Iranian targets. If you want a perfect example of long-standing and bitter rivals, it's tough to find a better fit than the Mukhabarat and VEVAK - I doubt the ISI and RAW could even top them much in the mutual animosity department.
Yet here they are, working together to undermine coalition control of Iraq.
Now one can argue that the Mukhabarat thugs couldn't quibble much about who they work with these days, but VEVAK certainly could. I mean, it's not like they planned on keeping someone with close ties to Uday Hussein alive very long after they ran the US out of the Iraq. Here again, this is the kind of pragmatic approach that is the hallmark of VEVAK - and the reason why no one should make any, and I mean any assumptions on the issue of who VEVAK will or will not work for. After all, they had a perfect incentive to work with the Baathists - no one would suspect it because "everyone knows" that Baathists and Khomeinists hate one another.
There are other reasons besides simply plausible deniability for the Iranians to enlist Baathists to do their dirty work, however. The al-Qaeda and allied forces that were active in Iraq before the war aside, they weren't anywhere near as numerous or as well-versed in the country as their Baathist counterparts were. The latter knew Iraq like the back of their hand and had already been making plans for a post-regime insurgency for many months prior to the war at the behest of Tahir Jalil Habbush, who is still at large and belongs to al-Ahmed's wing of the Baathists (or perhaps the other way around) these days. VEVAK was probably aware of Habbush's preparations months before the war ever started (I know that MEK had spies inside the Badr Brigades and vice versa) and it would be quite interesting to learn whether or not he was directly involved in setting up an alliance between the Baathists and VEVAK and if so when.
Setting the stage for Sadr
Only weeks after Saddam was ousted, in April 2003, Iran publicly signaled support for violence against the coalition. In a sermon on May 2, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary general of Iran's powerful Council of Guardians, called on Iraqis to stage suicide attacks to drive U.S.-led forces from Iran. The Iraqi people, he said, "have no other choice but to rise up and stage martyrdom operations. . . . The Iraqi people were released from the claws of one wolf and have been caught by another wolf."
Ayatollah Jannati, I should probably mention, is also among the most vocal voices for ditching the Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether and going forward with their nuclear program. Whether or not somebody as pragmatic and scheming as Rafsanjani clearly is would launch a nuclear attack on Israel given the capability to do so is an open question (I personally think he would), but I can tell you right now that Jannati almost unquestionably would.
Two months later, U.S. News has learned, coalition forces uncovered a document describing a fatwa , or religious edict, that had reportedly been issued in Iran for its Shiite supporters in Iraq. The fatwa urged "holy fighters" in Iraq to get close to the enemy--the U.S.-led troops. These fighters, the fatwa said, should "maintain good relations with the coalition forces" but at the same time create "a secret group that would conduct attacks against American troops." U.S. analysts could not confirm that the ruling was issued by Iranian clerics, but they believe it was credible. Wrote one analyst: "It seems that they [the Iranians] want them [Iraqi Shiite supporters] to be close to the coalition forces and outwardly respect them so that they can gather intelligence that will assist them in their mission."
For those interested in understanding SCIRI's behavior to date, there you have it. This fatwa, I should mention, was not based on the consensus of the entire Iranian leadership, which is why the familiar litany of senior IRGC commanders had to keep themselves amused supporting al-Qaeda until Sadr and his Mahdi Army were ready. It was, however, the accepted wisdom among the senior clerics and the Supreme National Security Council, which is why it was the party line for Iranian officials post-OIF. The "holy fighters" being referenced here, I should add, are the members of Badr Brigades and a number of smaller organizations, while the "secret group" has come up in conversation a number of times under a variety of names, the Iraqi Hezbollah being the most common of them with none other than Muqtada al-Sadr as its declared head. Whether or not that's what Sadr himself refers to his street toughs as is another point, but that's what the Iranians see him as: an analogue to the role that Hezbollah played in Lebanon during the 1980s and 1990s against the Israelis.
Before long, Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security stepped up its intelligence operations in Iraq, many of the intelligence reports suggest. Agents set up "significant" intelligence cells in key Iraqi cities, several reports said, including Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Kut, Basra, and Kirkuk.
They've been involved in stirring up ethnic tensions between the Arab, Kurdish, and Turkmen inhabitants of Kirkuk.
Kut is a little bit of a more interesting beast, since the Iranians were fairly overt in their efforts to establish themselves in the city through proxies like Said Abbas and weren't entirely run out of town until April 2004 in the Sadr Revolt.
And of course, we know what the Iranian pawn Sadr did to Abdul Majid al-Khoei in An Najaf no sooner than had Saddam's statue fallen in Firdus Square.
MOIS agents also set up a "listening post" in a city in southeastern Iraq to monitor the activities of U.S. forces. In southern Iraq, 10 Iranian agents reportedly began operating out of two rooms at a Shiite mosque. Iran, according to the reports, also sought to place spies within Bremer's Coalition Provisional Authority, then running Iraq's affairs, and they followed and photographed coalition forces.
Did they succeed? That would be interesting to know ...
The listening post in southeastern Iraq, incidentally, was also intended as an early warning system for the Iranian military in the event that the US was planning to move in force against Iran. This also raises a new problem for the idea of using Iraq as a base from which to attack Iran - as long as those spies are intact, the mullahs will be able to get at least some advance warning of any potential strike.
Four Iranians, believed to be MOIS agents, were detained in late July 2003 for photographing a hydropower plant near the central city of Samarra. Power plants became a frequent target of insurgents. In one case, U.S. intelligence officials learned that a MOIS agent, a man named Muhammad Farhaadi, videotaped coalition operations in Karbala, a city south of Baghdad, then took the tape back to Iran.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, however. The Iranians have also been involved in sabotaging oil pipelines throughout southern Iraq (not sure about what role, if any, they had in the northern attacks) as part of a bid to keep Iraq's economy in as much uncertainty as possible.
During the summer and fall of 2003, U.S. analysts' reports describe how MOIS and its operatives sought to develop information from Shiites in the south and from Sunnis in the north on the activities of U.S.-led forces. In the fall of 2003, an analyst for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations wrote: "Iranian intelligence has infiltrated all areas of Iraq, posing both a tactical and strategic threat to U.S. interests."
Quite true, and any belief that our crushing the Mahdi Army has put an end to all of this is a fool's delusion - Sadr was always just the opening act, the fact that the Badr Brigades didn't break with the Iraqi government to fight at his side is proof enough of that in my mind. If and when Iran decides to make a full play in southern Iraq, they'll throw everything they've got (Mahdi Army, Badr Brigades, Hezbollah, et al.) against us to such an extent that even their apologists in Western Europe will be hard-pressed to deny the aggressive and, dare I say it, imperialist character of the regime.
The intelligence reports detail precisely what Iran was after. Its "collection priorities" included finding out what weapons U.S. troops were carrying and what kind of body armor they were wearing. Iranian agents also sought information on the location of U.S. Army and intelligence bases; on the routes traveled by U.S. convoys; on the operations of the Special Forces' elite Delta Force; and on the plans of the U.S. military and intelligence inside Iraq. A military report said a source had reported that the Iranians were pressing to find out whether the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, was active in Iraq. According to the report, MOIS directed its agents "to collect information on the Israeli intelligence presence in northern Iraq." Iran's "primary objective in Iraq," wrote another analyst, citing a good source, "is to create instability so coalition forces will focus on controlling the unstable situation rather than concentrating on reconstruction efforts."
The Israeli presence in northern Iraq is, as his supporters will no doubt remind us, something that Seymour Hersh has written a great deal on (at least some of his sources also appear to share my views with respect to the Mahdi Army and Ansar al-Islam, but that's neither here nor there). To a certain extent, at least some of this is stuff that any number of states do when they engage in espionage activities, but the primary difference here is that the information being gathered by VEVAK and its assets aren't being used for information or even national security purposes - they're being used to assist the very people who are killing US troops. And that, I think, makes all the difference in the world.
MOIS agents carried cash, reports said, to bribe Iraqi border police in order to obtain safe passage into Iraq. In reality, however, all the Iranians had to do was walk across the border at any number of crossing points, where they could blend in amid Iranians coming to Iraq to visit relatives, do business, and worship at Shiite shrines, according to the intelligence reports and several senior Army officers interviewed by U.S. News. "The borders were wide open," says one senior officer. "It suggests that terrorists could come over pretty easily. My God, there were busloads of Iranians crossing the border without interference." Another U.S. Army officer was so concerned that Iranian spies and Islamic jihadists were crossing into Iraq that he visited a border site in a mountainous region northeast of Baghdad last January. "I saw over 1,200 people come over [to Iraq] in an hour, and there were no [coalition] troops there," the officer recalls. "I did not see them armed, but then a lot of them came across in carts and some in vehicles and donkeys, and you wouldn't know. If only 1 percent of them were combatants," he adds, "you can see the problem."
The failure to seal the Iraqi borders following the invasion will be remembered, at least in my mind, as chief strategic mistake of the war. We can debate how or why things reached that point and what the consequences for those responsible should be, perhaps more honestly now that there's no presidential election to cloud our judgement, but the simple fact is that it happened and we have to deal with it.
While we're processing all of that, here's a little challenge I'm honestly curious about in the meantime: how many troops (American or Iraqi) would we need to secure the whole of the Iranian border to prevent what they can?
The Badr Brigades
Iranian agents had plenty of help waiting inside Iraq. Numerous intelligence reports say that members of a Shiite militia group in Iraq known as the Badr Corps aided Iran in moving agents, weapons, and other materiel into southern Iraq--sometimes under the cover of humanitarian organizations.
The Saudis, as you can see, are not the only ones well versed in the art of "dual use" charities. The Badr Brigades were basically the Iranian answer to the MEK, made up of Iraqi Shi'ites supported by Tehran. In another era, the two nations might have sponsored pretenders to one another's thrones.
The Badr Corps has served as the armed wing of one of the most popular Shiite political parties in southern Iraq, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI. The leaders of both SCIRI and the Badr Corps, which now calls itself the Badr Organization, have maintained close ties to Iran for about two decades. Iraqis associated with SCIRI and Badr opposed Saddam's regime and fled to Iran in the early 1980s, where their organizations were established. They began returning to Iraq in droves after U.S.-led troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, prompting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to warn the Badr Corps not to interfere in Iraq. Badr leaders say they have no hostile intentions toward U.S. forces, but their loyalties remain much in doubt. Just last month, Iraq's national intelligence chief, Mohammed al Shahwani, accused the Badr Organization of killing 10 of his agents on orders from Iranian leaders. Badr, which denied the charges, was said to have disarmed this past summer, as part of an agreement with the new Iraqi government that would allow its members to serve in the new Iraqi Civil Defense Force.
Badr Brigades fighters, it should probably be noted, have taken part in both the fighting in Fallujah and sided with the US during the Sadr Revolt along with the Ansar al-Sistani and the Thulfiqar Army, the last two of which seem to have disbanded following defeat of the Mahdi Army in An Najaf. They're likely still playing a double game, as I noted earlier in the post, but to be as cynical as possible, their fighters bleed just as easily as anybody else's. Using them to fight the Sunni insurgency enables to the US to accomplish a number of objectives: it weakens the Badr Brigades, weakens the Sunni insurgents, helps to force a divide between Iran and the Sunni Islamists it backs by using the most pro-Iranian group against them, and places the Badr leadership in the most uncomfortable position of explaining to the faithful why they have to help the US.
Yet Badr's historical ties to Iran, as described in U.S. and British intelligence reports, offer little in the way of reassurance. While saying that SCIRI and Badr have "made some attempts to emphasize independence from Iran," a British Defence Intelligence Staff report on "Armed Groups in Iraq," dated Nov. 21, 2003, says that the Badr Organization retains "strong links" to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps." The IRGC, the report says, "has funded, trained, and armed" the militia group, whose membership it estimated at between 18,000 and 20,000. The report says that some Badr members were unhappy with their leader, Abul Aziz al-Hakim, who commands both SCIRI and Badr, and had returned to Iran. At the time, the report says, Badr was "well equipped" with "small arms, mortars and RPG s [rocket-propelled grenades]," T-55 series tanks and a "variety of artillery and antiair pieces." Other intelligence reports say that an Iranian government agency--probably the IRGC--had provided Badr with global positioning systems to better target U.S.-led forces.
Except that Badr isn't involved, at least on the operations side, in the anti-US insurgency - the Mahdi Army and the Lebanese Hezbollah are. As long as they continue to assist the central government against the Sunni insurgents, Iran can probably get away with financing SCIRI and arming Badr. I would still be extremely wary about trusting SCIRI or Badr any further than either organization can be thrown, no matter how non-threatening they appear for the time being. I would also be very interested in making sure that all of the weapons that Badr's turned in to date accounts for everything that we know they've received from the IRGC.
Something else to consider ...
I'll deal with this in greater detail tomorrow, but for the meantime I would suggest reading this article by the late Constantine Menges from earlier this year on Iran's strategy inside Iraq. The information is to a certain extent dated, but I still think that the arguments and conclusions raised in the article are well worth considering with respect to what the Iranians want inside Iraq.
« ok, I'm done now
posted on 11/15/2004 10:36:20 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
posted on 11/15/2004 10:41:54 PM PST
Eyewitness: Iranian resistance to the mullahsOn July 9, 1999, six days of student-led uprising shook the foundations of Irans ruling fundamentalist regime. If not suppressed, the uprising, which quickly spread to nearly two-dozen other cities, had the potential of sweeping the theocracy from power. With the blessing of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami, uniformed and plain-clothes security forces brutally cracked down on students and the thousands of other Iranians who had joined them. Several thousands were arrested and hundreds killed or wounded.
November 16th, 2004
The Economist magazine billed it as Irans Second Revolution. Others described it as a new page in the history of Iranians two decades of struggle to overthrow the ruling tyranny. While the six-day uprising in Tehran was widely covered by the foreign wire services present only in the capital, reporting on the uprisings in the provincial cities and subsequent state crackdown was minimal if not nil.
What follows is based on one eyewitness account obtained and translated by the US Alliance for Democratic Iran. The report by K.S. (his real name is withheld for his safety) sheds light on how the resistance against tyranny is alive and active in every corner of Iran.
After the 1999 student uprising, many students were missing and many more were arrested and physically ill-treated. But the depth of suppression was so great in Tehran that it overwhelmed the news in other cities, including Ahwaz, a hot and humid southwestern city.
The people of Ahwaz, after learning about the students brave uprising in Tehran and other cites followed suit. The regimes organs of repression in Ahwaz responded with utmost force.
Among the many youngsters they arrested was the 24-year-old Mehdi Havizi. During the days of uprising, he participated in many anti-regime gatherings and wrote political graffiti on the walls in downtown Ahwaz.
More than a week into the unrest in Ahwaz, Mehdi was arrested and severely beaten by the security agents as he was writing slogans on a wall. They broke his right leg so badly that he had to be taken to a hospital. After three days he was sent to the local branch of the Intelligence Ministrys detention center where he was subjected to torture during his interrogation.
Mehdi was temporary released, but the Revolutionary Court summoned his father, Hoshang Havizi and subjected him to a harsh interrogation and torture. Hoshang was released in the middle of night and returned home, but died several hours later as a result of a brain hemorrhage, very similar to the killing of Zahar Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist who died because of head trauma that she received while being tortured.
During Hoshangs public funeral, the regimes agents were present to prevent any protests. Mehdi was very upset and charged the regime officials with his fathers death. He was arrested again and in the detention center, they told him that if he talks to anyone about what had happened to him, he would follow his fathers fate. Mehdi was harshly mistreated for three more days before being released in the remote streets of Ahwaz.
The unrepentant Mehdi continued his political activities and was arrested again, this time by the Revolutionary Guards and was sent to solitary confinement. After twenty days of abuse he was released on bail.
Changing his tactics, Mehdi started to secretly film the poor areas of Ahwaz, the cemeteries of political prisoners, and the scenes of the public executions.
With the help of his uncle, Hamid, they prepared photos and documentary movies and made them available to news agencies and Internet-based news sites. His uncles house became a base for gathering and sending out news about the crimes committed by the Iranian regime.
On the morning of July 21, 2004, Mehdi was filming a public execution in the citys Char Sheer Square. Two plain-clothes government agents grew suspicious and approached him but before they could arrest him, he used the crowd to escape to a friends house in a nearby village.
The regimes agents went to his uncles house which was full of incriminating documents, films and photos. Mehdis uncle was arrested and taken to the notorious detention center in the city where he was subjected to brutal torture and died as a result.
The regime did not return Hamids remains to his family. Several days later, Hamids severely beaten and bloodied body was found under Ahwazs White Bridge.
The story of the Havizi family is similar to the story of many families in Iran. This is what the Iranian regime imposes on our nation. How long must we bear witness to these horrific crimes in our homeland?
As this horrific account shows, five years after the 1999 uprising, the Iranians resistance against tyranny continues, albeit at great price. The imprisonments, tortures, and executions, public stoning, amputations and floggings have utterly failed to end the opposition. The Iranians are bent on bringing this religious fascism down as a first step toward the establishment of democracy, secularism, and popular sovereignty.
The European Unions shameless appeasement of Iran is empowering the reign of terror there. As Tehran is blatantly defying international will and persists on its nuclear weapons program, the free world has arrived at a historic crossroad: To continue to ineffectually appease the mullahs or to side with Iranian people and their anti-tyranny struggle.
The choice, no doubt, will have strategic reverberations in Iran, the Middle East and the Western world for decades to come. This is our chance to be on the right side of history by supporting Iranians and anti-fundamentalist democratic opposition forces who are indeed the true vehicle of change in Iran.
Roya Johnson is the Vice-President of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran
posted on 11/16/2004 8:28:08 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Students Plan Rally Against Nuclear Iran November 16, 2004
On Sunday, November 21, the Yeshiva student led Iran Action Committee will stage a rally protesting Iran's emerging nuclear program. Set to take place in front of the Iranian mission to the United Nations in downtown Manhattan, the rally will be the first public protest to deal with the threat of Iranian weapons of mass destruction, a subject that has already drawn attention in Congress, the European Union, and the U.N.
The IAC has spent much time researching the subject, and, in the words of co-chair David Wildman YC '06, this "is not just a national concern, but a universal issue. What makes a nuclear Iran so dangerous is its ability to strike at locations 1300 miles away from its borders- Eastern Russia, the entire Middle East, our allies, our interests, our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq- a very significant portion of the world would be at risk."
Iran has consistently argued that its nuclear aspirations are for purely peaceful, civilian purposes, but their secretive behavior suggests otherwise. In 1968, Iran signed the Nuclear-Proliferation Treaty, committing itself not to engage in the production of nuclear weapons. Over the years the U.S. has successfully blocked several of Iran's nuclear agreements, such as those with Argentina (uranium enrichment and heavy water production facilities), China (plutonium-producing research reactor, two power reactors and a uranium conversion plant) and Russia (heavy water production plant).
In January 1995, the Russian Federation signed an agreement formally announcing that it would complete the construction of three nuclear reactors in Bushehr, Iran. The U.S. also learned that Iran and Russia had concluded a secret protocol stipulating, among other things, construction of a gas centrifuge enrichment facility. The United States has continuously expressed its opposition to the Bushehr deal because of fears that it could provide Iran with the knowledge and technology to support a nuclear weapons program. Although Iran claims that its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes, recent satellite photographs of its nuclear facilities indicate that its reactor at Bushehr is surrounded with missile batteries.
International concern intensified in mid 2002, when American intelligence learned that Iran had hidden the existence of two secret, self-constructed nuclear facilities, each containing alternative method technologies for producing nuclear weapons. The site at Natanz is an enrichment site, which could potentially be used to enrich and produce weapons grade uranium, while the site at Arak is a heavy water production plant, useful in the creation of plutonium, a more convenient material in the building of a nuclear weapon.
Yigal Gross YC '05, co-chair of the IAC, feels that details like this point to fission far more sinister than the nuclear variety. "The very fact that a nuclear program even exists in a country that has such an abundance of natural fuel, and that they are building a heavy water reactor, which is not necessary to produce nuclear energy, but is a prime way to produce nuclear material, raises serious suspicions."
In February 2004, it was revealed that Highly Enriched Uranium traces detected by IAEA inspectors were pure enough to produce nuclear weaponry. Last March, this fact, combined with IAEA evidence that nuclear activities had been pursued on Iranian military bases, led to the first ever acknowledgment by Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani that the Iranian military had produced centrifuges to enrich uranium.
Although Russia claims that it has the ability to monitor the Iranian nuclear program, withholding shipments of material if it finds the state in non-compliance, there are growing questions whether such a safeguard would be effective. In February 2003, Iranian leaders announced a plan for Iran to develop nuclear energy using entirely domestic resources, and thus would be self sufficient. Iran has recently increased efforts to mine uranium inside its own borders, and has announced that it developed technology to produce zirconium, a key metal used in the heart of a nuclear reactor to produce nuclear fuel.
Since the revolution of 1979, Iran's Islamic republic has taken a militantly anti-western, anti-American, stance. The founder, Ayatollah Rhuollah Khomeini called America and Israel "the great and little Satan" respectively, and reffered to them as problems that need to be erased. Iran aids and abets terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah-Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade, and its own creation, Hezbollah. The U.S. State Department lists Iran as the most active state sponsor of terror in the world.
Avi Posnick YC '07, a rally organizer, claims that "Iran is a colossus of terror, and is in many respects even more dangerous than Al Qaeda. It is a country with vast resources and wealth, it sits in the U.N. with full international recognition and legitimacy, can openly acquire serious military equipment and weaponry-planes, bombs, tanks, even nuclear weapons. It provides terrorists with serious funding and cover. In the last 20 years, Iran has provided hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions, of dollars in funding for terrorist organizations. Its pet terrorist organization, Hezbollah, is currently occupying an entire country-Lebanon-and has thousands of missiles, provided by Iran, aimed at Israeli civilian centers, in open daylight, in front of the entire international community."
Supreme Leader Ali Khameini has referred to Israel as a cancerous tumor, and Expediency Council Sct. Rezai has said that Iran will continue its campaign against Zionism until Israel is completely eradicated. Still, the IAC insists that this protest is not just about the Jewish State. If Iran did succeed in producing nuclear weapons, its recent development of the Shihab-3 M Missile would give it the ability to deliver them to any location within 1300 kilometers from its border- a range that includes the entire Middle East, putting America's troops, allies, and interests all at risk.
The rally will feature a realistic, twelve by five foot missile-head that was built by Yeshiva students. The missile head, covered with slogans supporting the cause, will stand outside the mission throughout the afternoon. Letters of invitation have been sent to political figures such as Senator Hillary Clinton and Representative Henry Hyde, and rally organizers such as Ariel Rosenzveig YC '05 are anticipating a large media presence.
The IAC states that the purpose of the rally is to raise international awareness of the danger posed by Iran's attempts to acquire nuclear weapons, and to call on the international community to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear program, cease its support of terror, and enter into the commonwealth of peaceful nations. "This will be a peaceful, respectful rally," said Mr. Wildman. "We hope that this issue can be solved on the streets, in the political arena, through the efforts and resolve of ordinary, concerned citizens."
Mr. Gross echoed his partner's sentiments, but made it clear that he is expecting the rally to have a strong impact on the situation. "We want the citizens of the world to exert pressure on Iran to take decisive action in destroying a lot of their capabilities." Mr. Gross also thanked all of the IAC members, and Ms. Hindy Poupko SCW '05 of the Israel club, for all of their support. "We owe a great deal of gratitude to all those who have been instrumental in making this rally a success. The students at YU should feel proud that we have such responsible and dedicated student leaders."
posted on 11/16/2004 8:37:00 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Straw welcomes Iran's offer on nuclear processBy Robin Gedye, Foreign Affairs Writer(Filed: 16/11/2004)
Britain has welcomed the offer by Iran to suspend its disputed nuclear programme to prove that its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, despite worries that Teheran is merely stalling for time.
Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said yesterday that he was confident that Teheran was taking its commitments seriously "and is ready and willing to fully take on board the meaning of the negotiated statement".
Jack Straw: IAEA inspections
At the weekend Iran formally notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that it would suspend uranium enrichment a process to make either nuclear fuel or material for nuclear weapons and related activities on Nov 22 as part of deal hammered out with Britain, France and Germany during months of painstaking negotiations.
But diplomats were concerned that Iran's announcement to suspend its disputed nuclear activities from Monday does not leave enough time for IAEA inspections to be completed ahead of an agency board meeting scheduled for Nov 25.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Atomic Energy Agency has to be satisfied by the time of the meeting that Teheran has complied with the suspension which, in turn, involves IAEA inspectors visiting Iran's nuclear installations.
"Such verification will be impossible if they are only allowed four days to do it in," said a European official.
A report by Mohamed El-Baradei, head of the IAEA, said Iran's agreement to suspend uranium enrichment satisfied some of its demands but suspicions about Teheran's 20-year clandestine nuclear programmes remained.
The US also remains sceptical, suspecting that Teheran is stalling for time while planning to continue to acquire atomic weapons technology.
Iran did little to dispel those suspicions yesterday, stressing that the suspension was only "temporary".
posted on 11/16/2004 8:41:10 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Israel fears extremists backed by Iran may try to kill Abbas
|By Amos Harel and Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondent
The defense establishment is worried that extremist Palestinians under Iranian influence might in the near future try to assassinate Mahmoud Abbas, the new head of the PLO.
Defense officials do not believe that Sunday's incident, in which armed Palestinians fired at Abbas's entourage, killing two guards, was aimed at Abbas himself. Rather, said one senior defense official, it was meant as a warning: that Abbas should not leave armed Fatah activists from Gaza, who are identified with Moussa Arafat and Tanzim leader Ahmed Hilas, out of the circle of power.
"This will not be the last incident of this type," he added. But the chances of a genuine assassination attempt will increase the closer the new Palestinian leadership comes to an agreement to end the terror and resume diplomatic negotiations with Israel, the official said.
Abbas, he noted, has openly opposed terrorism and the anarchy in the territories ever since the intifada began in September 2000, and he tried to implement this approach during his half-year stint as Palestinian prime minister, under Yasser Arafat, in 2003.
Now, Abbas wants to arrange a new cease-fire, and if he is elected as the Palestinian Authority's new chairman this January, he is also expected to strive for some kind of agreement, even if only partial, with Israel.
Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, however, are vehemently opposed to even a temporary Palestinian reconciliation with Israel, and they are therefore pressing terrorist organizations in the territories to step up attacks against Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces are bracing for a spate of such attacks in the coming days, after the Id al-Fitr holiday.
The first sally in this expected wave of attacks may already have occurred, in the form of a Katyusha rocket fired at the Western Galilee from Lebanon Monday afternoon the second such incident in the last three weeks.
The drone that Hezbollah sent over Israel last week is another sign that the Iranian-backed organization is interested in heating up the northern border. Iran's first move, defense officials said, will be to try to foil Abbas's plans for a cease-fire.
But, they added, Iran views Abbas as a threat, and would therefore not hesitate to target him personally, along with his close associate, Mohammed Dahlan, if his efforts to reach a truce seem likely to succeed.
The senior official noted that just last week, while Abbas was in Paris at Arafat's deathbed, unknown parties shot at his house in Ramallah. The official said that the greatest danger comes from armed activists in Abbas' own Fatah faction, members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, as these activists receive most of their money and their orders from the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
Islamic Jihad is also liable to act against Abbas, he said. Hamas, however, is a far more disciplined organization, and it will apparently opt to sit on the fence for now to see how the leadership battles in the PA and Fatah develop.
Egypt is also working to arrange a cease-fire, and it invited all the armed Palestinian organizations Monday to come to Cairo in early December for talks on the matter, Palestinian officials told Haaretz.
The talks will take place shortly after Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman return from a planned trip to Israel and the PA to discuss the disengagement plan.
That trip is slated to begin on November 24. The Palestinian officials said that Egypt used last week's memorial service for Arafat in Cairo, which was attended by senior leaders of the all the armed organizations, to begin coordinating the cease-fire talks.
Egypt is anxious to get a truce in place quickly, fearing that the security situation in the territories will deteriorate after Arafat's death.
Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia have also met with leaders of Hamas in Gaza to discuss a cease-fire, but so far no agreement has been reached.
According to the Palestinian officials, Abbas and Qureia are seeking a long-term cease-fire under Egyptian and international auspices that would impose rigid restrictions on Israeli military activity.
But Hamas and Islamic Jihad informed the two that they have no intention of bowing to policy set by Fatah and the PLO now that Arafat is dead; they are interested in talks only for the purpose of setting up a "unified national leadership" in which they would have a real influence on decision-making.
Both organizations announced Monday that they will not participate in January's election for a new PA chairman, though they will compete in the municipal elections scheduled to take place in dozens of towns throughout the territories this December.
They added, however, that they are willing to talk with the PA about keeping the conflict with Israel from escalating during the election period.
posted on 11/16/2004 8:47:23 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Bound but GaggedBy SHIRIN EBADIPublished: November 16, 2004
ehran When I received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, Iranians and Muslims around the world hoped that the prevailing and unfair image of Muslims as terrorists would be discarded. We believed that the prize would encourage a positive, forward-looking understanding of Islam. We hoped that our belief in an interpretation of Islam that is in harmony with democracy, equality, religious freedom and freedom of speech would reach a wider audience, particularly in the West.
For many years now, I have wanted to write my memoir - a book that would help correct Western stereotypes of Islam, especially the image of Muslim women as docile, forlorn creatures. Sixty-three percent of Iran's university students and 43 percent of its salaried workers are women. I have wanted to tell the story of how women in Islamic countries, even one run by a theocratic regime as in Iran, can be active politically and professionally. It is my impression, based on the conversations I have had during my travels in the United States and Europe, that such a book would be a welcome addition to the debate about Islam and the West.
So I was surprised and angered when I learned that regulations in the United States make it nearly impossible for me to write a book for Americans. Despite federal laws that say that American trade embargoes may not restrict the free flow of information, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control continues to regulate the import of books from Iran, Cuba and other countries. In order to skirt the laws protecting the flow of information, the government prohibits publishing "materials not fully created and in existence." Therefore, I could publish my memoir in the United States, but it would be illegal for an American literary agent, publisher, editor or translator to help me.
Iranians and other Muslims have long placed great value on the power of the written word. My parents taught my siblings and me that ideas on the page can be put into action. My husband and I have passed these values to our daughters. Iran is bursting with young, educated and dynamic people who are eager to communicate with the American public. Many of our university students and scholars have tried to publish their papers in leading American journals, but they have been turned away out of fear of the Treasury Department's regulations. An American scientific journal, for instance, recently declined to run a paper on the human and economic consequences of the catastrophic earthquake last year in Bam, Iran, because Iranian scientists helped write it and therefore the journal would have to obtain a license to publish it. (Newspapers are exempt from some of these requirements.)
Since 1979, when I was removed from the judiciary after clerics ruled that women were too "emotional" to be judges, I have been defending women, children and human rights advocates as an independent lawyer. I learned, sometimes in the face of tragedy, that the written word is often the most powerful - and only - tool that we have to protect those who are powerless. Many of my cases have placed me in opposition to hard-liners in our government. I have been harassed, threatened and jailed for defending human rights and pursuing justice for victims of violence: most recently when I led the legal team representing the family of Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist who was killed in July 2003 while in detention in Tehran. (She had been arrested for taking photographs of the families of political prisoners outside the notorious Evin prison.)
I cannot publish my memoir in Iran. The book would either be banned altogether or censored to such an extent that it would be rendered useless. Publishing my book in the United States would involve risk and repercussions for me back in Iran. I believe, however, that the message of the book is so important that I will happily accept the risk and its possible consequences.
If even people like me - those who advocate peace and dialogue - are denied the right to publish their books in the United States with the assistance of Americans, then people will seriously question the view of the United States as a country that advocates democracy and freedom everywhere. What is the difference between the censorship in Iran and this censorship in the United States? Is it not better to encourage a dialogue between Iranians and the American public?
This is why I filed a lawsuit against the Treasury Department on Oct. 26, joining one filed in September by several American organizations representing publishers, editors and translators. We seek to overturn the regulations on what Americans can and cannot read in the United States.
Human rights, including freedom to read whatever one wishes, are universal values that transcend national boundaries. Therefore, just as I take on court cases in Tehran to defend others' rights, so must I follow my conscience and take on a lawsuit in the United States to defend my own rights and the rights of Americans.
Shirin Ebadi is a law professor at the University of Tehran.
posted on 11/16/2004 8:51:49 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Riddle of Hizballah Drone's Non-Interception Brought Submarine to Israeli Waters November 16, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Report
A mystery-submarines intrusion into Israeli territorial waters last week provided the sequel for another unfinished tale: the one about Israels failure to intercept a Hizballah drone that flew over the northern Israeli town of Nahariya on November 8.
Examination of the images the drone MIrsad-1 carried back to its senders, as shown four days later by Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah over al Manar television Friday, November 12, raises serious questions in the minds of DEBKAfiles military sources.
For unknown reasons, the Patriot anti-missile missile battery normally posted in western Galilee to monitor Israel-Lebanese border airspace had been removed on that particular day. Deployed there was only an improved Hawk missile battery. The Patriots radar would have spotted the Hizballah drone and transmitted the information early enough for it to be downed. Because the Hawks radar is incapable of picking up a small flying object, the little invader-craft had at least 12 minutes for leisurely surveillance without fear of being shot down by Israels anti-air defenses or air force.
Did the Iranian Revolutionary Guards deployed with Hizballah in south Lebanon, who launched the unmanned aerial vehicle, strike lucky? Or did they know that the Patriot had been removed? If the latter, did they find out about the missing Patriot from cross-border observation or from a tipster on the Israeli side?
That is not the only mystery. The images Nasrallah showed over TV, which he claimed were taken by the November 8 overflight of Mirsad-1 SHOWED A PATRIOT BATTERY PRESENT.
The alternative explanations for this odd fact are of prime intelligence significance.
1. Were the pictures taken by UAVs which entered Israeli skies undetected on dates prior to November 8? If so, the Patriot radar which was present would seem to be as ineffective as the Hawk systems, or -
2. Did the Iranians or the Hizballah obtain the televised photos from another source, possibly even a private satellite company? Such a firm may also have tipped them off on the date of the Patriots removal from western Galilee. If so, such a commercial satellite firm would be guilty of engaging in espionage.
3. Or maybe the information came from a Hizballah spy resident in the district.
Two days after the drone incident, on November 10, the Israeli navy sighted a foreign submarine which had intruded 3 miles into Israels territorial waters opposite the border town of Rosh Hanikra, just north of Nahariya. It vanished as soon as it was detected.
DEBKAfiles military sources point out that the eastern Mediterranean is teeming with submarines. Several times a month, one or more may stray into Israeli waters, but as soon as they discover their error, they turn tail. In the incident of November 10, the intruder made haste to submerge and sail away before Israeli warships appeared on the scene.
Our military sources, speculating on its identity, doubt that the submarine was one of the three Russian-made 3,000-ton Kilo subs known to belong to the Iranian navy. They are 72 meters long, have a crew of 52 and are capable of navigating the Mediterranean. But to reach Israeli waters would take Iranian sub at least a couple of weeks. It would have to sail around the Cape of Good Hope and through the Straits of Gibraltar. Although capable of voyaging for 45 days, such a sub would need to drop anchor en route to take on fresh supplies, so exposing itself to Western or Israeli intelligence surveillance.
It is far more likely that the unidentified sub was Western and came close to the Israeli coast to find out what caused the failure of Israels early warning systems to catch the flying invader two days earlier and see if Israel had plugged the hole in its radar. The sub would also have been instructed to see if the Patriot battery had been repositioned - or perhaps different kinds of electronic tracking and interception devices. After collecting some answers, the sub headed out.
In its Issue 181, DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported:
Officers and engineers of the Revolutionary Guards flying objects program built Mirsad 1 and decided when to launch it, causing some fallout between two of Israels enemies, Syria, the main power broker in Lebanon, and Iran. The quarrel was sharp but not serious. The two countries have a commonality of interests and share a place on the US state departments list of nations that sponsor terrorism.
In its complaint to Teheran, Syria made several key arguments that Iran will have to take into consideration.
Facing possible international sanctions over its military presence in Iraq, Syria told Iran that its act of provocation could only hurt Syrian interests. Akhtari tried to play down Syrias concerns, saying the world was fully preoccupied with the US battle for Fallujah and Yasser Arafats demise. But still, Syria demanded a detailed explanation from Iran and a promise to abide by the existing understandings between the two countries and refrain from similar action in the future.
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly s military sources, Iran has invested heavily over the past decade in its UAV program. Under international sanctions, including a weapons embargo, the Islamic republic has been forced to carry out all of its UAV research and development alone and buy parts and technology on the black market.
In the early 1990s, the Iranians procured advanced remote-controlled model airplanes for the study of UAV technology. It was not an auspicious start: all of the tests conducted in the first three years of the program failed. But last year, Iran bought lightweight engines made in Japan, Germany and even the United States for its UAVS. It has built three types of drones and most were tested successfully, although the Mirsad-1 was the only one tried in field conditions.
The al-Mirsad-2 was built for naval photography. It has been tested twice, both times taking photographs of US warships in the Persian Gulf. The Americans shot at a slow-flying Iranian UAV- but missed. Irans third drone, whose name is unknown in the West, is to be used for long-range reconnaissance flights. It is not yet operational.
Iran is busy further upgrading its UAVs. DEBKA-Net-Weekly has learned that Iranian agents operating in the United States recently tried to recruit engineers of Iranian origin working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The CIA is aware of these contacts and the scientists were warned against going to parties or accepting invitations to events where the guests include people with known or covert connections to the Iranian regime.
posted on 11/16/2004 8:56:34 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Comment #20 Removed by Moderator
posted on 11/16/2004 9:00:17 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Iran, EU Differ On Nuclear Suspension
[Excerpt] November 16, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
European and Iranian leaders hailed a deal suspending Tehran's uranium-enrichment program, but the sides had differing views on how long the suspension would last and whether it would become permanent.
The agreement, the text of which was released yesterday, commits Iran to suspend "all enrichment and reprocessing activities" for nuclear fuels -- including the construction, assembly or importation of equipment -- and all tests or activities related to the production of the feed materials required for the process.
Iran's effort to create nuclear fuel from uranium -- called the nuclear-fuel cycle -- is legal under its commitments to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Such fuel can be used to run civilian power stations. But the program had been covert, leading to suspicions, particularly in the U.S., that it was intended to produce nuclear weapons.
The agreement between Iran and negotiators for Britain, Germany, France and the European Union is far more specific regarding what Iran has to suspend than a previous deal Tehran struck with the Europeans in October 2003, but later abandoned. However, it already was clear yesterday that the two sides have differing views of where the agreement will lead.
"Cessation [of Iran's nuclear-fuel cycle] was our red line. In the agreement there is no talk of cessation, but only voluntary suspension," Hasan Rowhani, Iran's national security chief and lead negotiator in the nuclear talks, said at a news conference announcing the Nov. 22 suspension. The suspension is to last as long as it takes to work out a permanent accord on Iran's nuclear-fuel cycle, which Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said should be completed "in a short period of time."
By contrast, the European Union's foreign policy and security chief, Javier Solana, described the agreement as "just the start" of a potentially difficult process, as negotiators tried to secure the ultimate goal of providing "objective guarantees that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes."
A British official involved in the talks said the accord will lead to negotiations by mid-December on a range of issues, including a permanent pact governing Iran's nuclear program, trade cooperation, technology transfer and commitments on security. Working groups would be established for each of these negotiating strands, and would meet for the first time in three months. It is likely to be several years before the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna is satisfied Iran's nuclear program is purely civilian, the official said.
"The most comprehensive guarantee we could envisage is that the Iranians give up enrichment altogether and import fuel for their power stations," the official said. The Europeans would be willing to look at Iranian proposals that allowed Tehran to continue making its own nuclear fuel. But, the official added, there would have to be "objective" guarantees that the fuel created would be for civilian use only. ...
Write to Marc Champion at firstname.lastname@example.org
posted on 11/16/2004 9:34:52 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Deputy Secretary of State Armitage Quits -Official
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has resigned as expected a day after his boss and close friend, Colin Powell (news - web sites), announced he was stepping down, a State Department official said on Tuesday.
Armitage, a barrel-chested former Navy officer who closely managed the day-to-day operations of the State Department's worldwide bureaucracy, tendered his resignation to Powell on Monday, the official said.
"He came in with the secretary and is leaving with him," said the official, who asked not to be identified.
Armitage was respected among diplomats and lawmakers for his candor. He was always expected to leave at the same time as Powell because of his fierce loyalty to him.
The top U.S. diplomat announced his own resignation on Monday and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) is set to be named to replace him.
"I don't think she has decided on her deputy yet," the official said.
With moderates Powell and Armitage leaving and President Bush (news - web sites) poised to elevate Rice, a close confidante who often sided with the administration's hawks, U.S. diplomacy may become more hard-edged, political analysts say.
posted on 11/16/2004 11:20:32 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
Uranium metal may suggest Iran arms plan-diplomats
16 Nov 2004 16:23:22 GMTSource: Reuters
By Louis Charbonneau
VIENNA, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Plans by Iran to manufacture uranium metal suggest Tehran could have had ambitions to develop capacity for atomic arms production, Western diplomats and a prominent nuclear analyst said on Tuesday.
A report by the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), circulated on Monday, said Iran's stated purpose for uranium metal work -- to use it in its laser enrichment programme -- was "credible".
Western diplomats acknowledged Uranium metal does have some, limited civilian applications. But they were sceptical about the explanation offered by Iran, which denies U.S. accusations its nuclear power programme is a front for atomic arms development.
The IAEA report, a summary of its two-year investigation of Iran's nuclear programme, said Iran had not diverted any of its declared nuclear materials to a weapons programme, but did not rule out the possibility that secret atomic activities existed.
Diplomats and analysts said some issues covered in the 32-page report appeared to support the U.S. view that Iran has bomb plans. They cited Iran's forays into uranium metallurgy.
The report said Tehran planned to buy uranium abroad with 19.7 percent uranium-235, the atom needed in big concentrations in weapons, and transform it into metal. The 19.7 percent enrichment level is well above what Iran needs for power plants.
"This looks like it was a programme to make weapons-grade uranium metal disguised as one focused on making 19.7 percent enriched uranium metal," David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and head of the Institute for Science and International Security think-tank, told Reuters.
Western diplomats questioned were also wary.
"There's no reason why these guys should be playing around with uranium metal, and you don't do laser enrichment to put electricity in a light bulb," said a Western diplomat on the IAEA's 35-member board of governors.
MORE SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET?
Jon Wolfsthal, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think-tank, said Iran may have more skeletons in its closet.
"Iran could have nuclear activities hidden from the IAEA," he said. "The picture in Iran is clearer, but far from crystal."
Several diplomats agreed. They said the IAEA report included suspicious issues that have never been fully explained by Iran.
One has to do with Iran's experiments with polonium-210, a substance that has few civilian uses but can be combined with beryllium to spark a chain reaction in an atomic weapon.
Iran says it tried to make polonium over a decade ago for use in atomic batteries, like those used in U.S. space probes.
But the IAEA said it was "somewhat uncertain regarding the plausibility of the stated purpose of the experiments given the very limited applications of short-lived polonium-210 sources."
Still, Wolfsthal said that Iran's decision to suspend its enrichment programme and related activites gave it a chance to be forgiven for concealing this programme for 18 years.
"Iran can put all of its past violations behind them if they remain committed to suspension and eventual termination of its nuclear production activities," Wolfsthal said.
Iran informed that IAEA on Sunday that it would suspend its uranium enrichment programme as part of a deal worked out with European Union negotiators from France, Britain and Germany.
Diplomats said the suspension, combined with what diplomats said was IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei's partial acquittal of Iran in Monday's report, will protect Tehran from a referral to the U.N. Security Council when the IAEA board meets on Nov. 25.
But European diplomats said this protection from a Security Council referral, as Washington wants, could vanish if Iran resumed its enrichment programme as it says it will do soon.
posted on 11/16/2004 11:55:29 AM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
It is far more likely that the unidentified sub was Western and came close to the Israeli coast to find out what caused the failure of Israel's early warning systems to catch the flying invader two days earlier and see if Israel had plugged the hole in its radar. The sub would also have been instructed to see if the Patriot battery had been repositioned
So this is what Debka thinks is a suitable job for a sub !
posted on 11/16/2004 12:54:25 PM PST
This thread is now closed.
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posted on 11/16/2004 10:01:45 PM PST
(Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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