Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - November 16, 2004 [EST]- LIVE - "EU-Iran Nuclear Deal Hinges on U.S. Engagement"
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.
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.
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.