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Iranian Alert - November 18, 2004 [EST]- LIVE Thread - "Powell Says Iran Is Pursuing Bomb"
Regime Change Iran ^ | 11.18.2204 | DoctorZin

Posted on 11/17/2004 9:26:10 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 American’s 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.

DoctorZin



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

1 posted on 11/17/2004 9:26:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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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!


2 posted on 11/17/2004 9:27:46 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Powell Says Iran Is Pursuing Bomb

[Excerpt]

Secretary Cites Evidence of Missile Effort

By Robin Wright and Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, November 18, 2004; Page A01

SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 17 -- The United States has intelligence that Iran is working to adapt missiles to deliver a nuclear weapon, further evidence that the Islamic republic is determined to acquire a nuclear bomb, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Wednesday.

Separately, an Iranian opposition exile group charged in Paris that Iran is enriching uranium at a secret military facility unknown to U.N. weapons inspectors. Iran has denied seeking to build nuclear weapons.

Mohammad Mohaddessin, of the National Council for Resistance in Iran, uses satellite imagery to pinpoint what the group says is a previously unknown nuclear facility in Iran. (Laurent Rebours -- AP)


"I have seen some information that would suggest that they have been actively working on delivery systems. . . . You don't have a weapon until you put it in something that can deliver a weapon," Powell told reporters traveling with him to Chile for an Asia-Pacific economic summit. "I'm not talking about uranium or fissile material or the warhead; I'm talking about what one does with a warhead."

Powell's comments came just three days after an agreement between Iran and three European countries -- Britain, France and Germany -- designed to limit Tehran's ability to divert its peaceful nuclear energy program for military use. The primary focus of the deal, accepted by Iran on Sunday and due to go into effect Nov. 22, is a stipulation that Iran indefinitely suspend its uranium enrichment program.

"I'm talking about information that says they not only have these missiles, but I am aware of information that suggests that they were working hard as to how to put the two together," Powell said, referring to the process of matching warheads to missiles. He spoke to reporters during a refueling stop in Manaus, Brazil.

"There is no doubt in my mind -- and it's fairly straightforward from what we've been saying for years -- that they have been interested in a nuclear weapon that has utility, meaning that it is something they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there," Powell said.

Iran has long been known to have a missile program, while denying that it was seeking a nuclear bomb. Powell seemed to be suggesting that efforts were underway, not previously disclosed, to arm missiles with nuclear warheads.

Joseph Cirincione, director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said Powell's remarks indicated that Iran was trying to master the difficult technology of reducing the size of a nuclear warhead to fit on a ballistic missile.

"Powell appears to be saying the Iranians are working very hard on this capability," Cirincione said. He said Powell's comments were striking because the International Atomic Energy Agency said this week that it had not seen any information that Iran had conducted weapons-related work.

In a 32-page report released this week, the IAEA chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, wrote that "all the declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material is not diverted to prohibited activities," such as weapons programs. But ElBaradei said that he could not rule out the possibility that Iran was conducting a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Powell also told reporters that the United States had not decided what action to take following Sunday's agreement. The Bush administration had insisted that Iran's past violations warranted taking the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

Powell said the United States would monitor verification efforts "with necessary and deserved caution because for 20 years the Iranians have been trying to hide things from the international community."

Meanwhile, in Paris, the exile group charged that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium and would continue despite the pledge made Sunday to European foreign ministers. The group, the National Council for Resistance in Iran, or NCRI, also claimed that Iran received blueprints for a Chinese-made bomb in the mid-1990s from the global nuclear technology network led by the Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. The Khan network sold the same type of bomb blueprint to Libya, which has since renounced its nuclear ambitions.

Mohammad Mohaddessin, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Paris-based NCRI, told reporters at a news conference that the Khan network delivered to the Iranians a small quantity of highly enriched uranium that could be used in making a bomb. But he said the amount was probably too small for use in a weapon.

The NCRI is the political wing of the People's Mujahedeen organization, which the U.S. State Department has labeled a terrorist organization. The NCRI helped expose Iran's nuclear ambitions in 2002 by disclosing the location of the government's secret uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. But many of its subsequent assertions about the program have proven inaccurate.

On Wednesday, Mohaddessin used satellite photos to pinpoint what he said was the new facility, inside a 60-acre complex in the northeast part of Tehran known as the Center for the Development of Advanced Defense Technology. The group said that the site also houses Iranian chemical and biological weapons programs and that uranium enrichment began there a year and a half ago, to replace a nearby facility that was dismantled in March 2004 ahead of a visit by a U.N. inspections team.

The group gave no evidence for its claims, but Mohaddessin said, "Our sources were 100 percent sure about their intelligence." He and other group members said the NCRI relies on human sources, including scientists and other people working in the facilities and locals who might live near the facilities and see suspicious activities.

The IAEA , the U.N. nuclear monitoring body, had no immediate comment on the claims but said it took all such reports seriously.

The agency has no information to support the NCRI claims, according to Western diplomats with knowledge of the U.N. body's investigations of Iran. ...

Richburg reported from Paris. Staff writers Glenn Kessler and Dafna Linzer in Washington contributed to this report.

3 posted on 11/17/2004 9:28:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran has black market nuclear bomb drawings, still enriches uranium: opposition


Wed Nov 17,10:00 AM ET

GEORGE JAHN VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Iran bought blueprints of a nuclear bomb from the same black-market network that gave Libya such diagrams and continues to enrich uranium despite a commitment to suspend the technology that can be used for atomic weapons, an Iranian opposition group said Wednesday.

 

Farid Soleimani, a senior official for the National Council for Resistance in Iran, said the diagram was provided by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani head of the nuclear network linked to clandestine programs in both Iran and Libya.

"He gave them the same weapons design he gave the Libyans as well as more in terms of weapons design," Soleimani told reporters in Vienna. He said the diagram and related material on how to make nuclear weapons was handed to the Iranians between 1994 and 1996.

Mark Gwozdecky, spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said the UN nuclear watchdog agency follows up "every solid lead," but that it would otherwise have no further comment on the allegations.

A diplomat familiar with the agency and its investigations into Libya's and Iran's nuclear programs said the IAEA has long feared that Iran might have received bomb-making blueprints from Khan.

Libya bought engineers' drawings of a Chinese-made bomb through the Khan network as part of a covert nuclear program that it renounced last year.

Iran says it does not have such drawings, and no evidence has been found to dispute that claim.

Former UN nuclear inspector David Albright earlier this year described the Chinese design that Libya owned up to having as something "that would not take a lot of modifying" to fit it on Iran's successfully tested Shahab-3 ballistic missile.

The opposition group made its claim days after Iran announced it would suspend all activities related to nuclear enrichment as part of an agreement with three European countries aimed at heading off a confrontation over its nuclear program.

Soleimani said centrifuges and other equipment needed to produce enriched uranium had been covertly moved from a facility at Lavizan-Shian to a nearby site within Tehran's city limits.

The opposition group says Lavizan-Shian was home to the Centre for Readiness and New Defence Technology and was part of the covert attempt to develop nuclear weapons.

A report detailing IAEA investigations into Iran's nuclear programs prepared for the agency's Nov. 25 board meeting notes that Iran has failed to produce a trailer that apparently contained nuclear equipment at Lavizan-Shian for IAEA inspection.

The IAEA report also said Iran has "declined to provide a list of equipment used" at Lavizan-Shian, which the government says was home to research on how to reduce casualties in case of nuclear attack.

Referring to the new, secret location, Soleimani said that "as we speak, the site continues to produce (enriched) uranium" and said it "is not the only one that is being kept secret."

Soleimani's organization is the political wing of the People's Mujahedeen, or Mujahedeen Khalq, banned in the United States as a terrorist organization. While much of its information has not been confirmed, it was instrumental in 2002 in revealing Iran's enrichment program at Natanz.

Enrichment at low levels generates fuel for nuclear power - and Iran says that is its sole interest. But the United States says it suspects Iran wants to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium for nuclear warheads.

Lavizan-Shian was razed by the Iranian government earlier this year as IAEA inspectors prepared to visit it. The government says it was destroyed to make way for a park. But suspicions remain about the extent of the work done there - including the removal of topsoil, which reduced the effectiveness of environmental samples taken by IAEA inspectors looking for unreported nuclear activity at the site.

 

The IAEA says it will start monitoring Iran's commitment to halt enrichment activities starting early next week.

The suspension pledge reduced U.S. hopes of having the board refer Iran to the UN Security Council for alleged violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Under the agreement, Tehran is to suspend all uranium enrichment in return for European guarantees that Iran has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program. The suspension holds only until a comprehensive agreement is sealed, but European diplomats hope the freeze will turn into a long-term arrangement.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites) called the agreement a "great victory" but said Wednesday that Tehran won't respect its commitment if Europeans fail to support his country at the IAEA board meeting.

"If the IAEA board of governors adopts a correct decision, it will be a step in the direction that will give us more hope that our rights will be exercised," Khatami said.

"If we see that they don't keep their promise, it's natural that we won't fulfil our promise," he said.

4 posted on 11/17/2004 9:32:09 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran nuclear deal 'a fine pearl in return for candy'

By Guy Dinmore and Gareth Smyth
Published: November 17 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 17 2004 02:00

The Bush administration yesterday expressed its cautious approval of the freeze on Iran's critical nuclear activities worked out with the trio of European negotiators, but said Tehran's commitment must be verified and sustained.

Responding to the agreement reached by Iran at the weekend with France, Germany and the UK (EU3), the State Department called it a "useful step" but added that "verification and sustainability" were the two key aspects. It accused Iran of 18 years of covert nuclear activities.

"It's better to have somebody agree to something than not to agree to something," Richard Boucher, the US spokesman said. "But it doesn't make a difference until it's implemented and verified, and that's what counts."

Diplomats said the US would drop its threat to refer Iran to the UN Security Council at the next board meeting on November 25 of the International Atomic Energy Agency. However there was talk that the US might seek a "trigger clause" for referral in the case of non-compliance, even though Iran's suspension is regarded as a voluntary relinquishing of its right to enrich uranium as a confidence-building measure.

In exchange for the freeze, which has no timeframe attached, the European Union will start talks on a long-term agreement.

"The experience of the past year shows there can be progress through understanding, even if it's tough," Hassan Rowhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, said on Monday.

How long the suspension lasts depends on the outcome of the talks. Under the agreement, working groups on political, economic, security, technological and nuclear issues will report back by March 2005.

There was fierce criticism of the deal inside Iran. Much of the media seized on a quip from Ali Larijani, a possible presidential candidate in next year's election, that "we gave a fine pearl, and received candy".

In parliament yesterday, deputies joined the attack. Ghodratollah Alikhani compared Mr Rowhani's meeting with the three European ambassadors to the Shah of Iran fawning before foreigners.

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of the Kayhan newspaper, wrote that with no end-point set for talks with the EU3, Iran had accepted "indefinite suspension of uranium enrichment".

But Mr Rowhani insisted negotiators had upheld "all the principles considered red lines by Iran" and stressed the EU3's acknowledgment that Iran's suspension was voluntary.

"Europe has recognised Iran's rights within the NPT [nuclear non-proliferation treaty] and has accepted it should not discriminate against us," he said.

Mr Rowhani said the latest IAEA report disproved the US case that "Iran was lying and seeking weapons".

But western officials continue to stress that Iran's failure to disclose its nuclear programme fully before October 2003 calls Tehran's credibility into question. Faced with mounting pressure, Iran's agreement to suspend enrichment was a pragmatic one.

"We have to be realistic. We didn't want to escalate," said a senior Iranian official, considered a regime insider. He disclosed that China's foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, had recently made it clear that Iran could not count on Beijing's support if the matter came before the Security Council. A similar pragmatism, and similar awareness of difficulties ahead, was evident on the European side.

Under the agreement, Iran reaffirmed that it did not seek to acquire nuclear weapons and committed itself to "full co-operation and transparency" with the IAEA. The suspension, which also includes a freeze on plutonium separation, will be implemented in time for the IAEA to confirm before the board meeting, according to the text of the deal.

Iran also said it would abide by the "additional protocol" that allows for unannounced inspections of its facilities by the IAEA.

A diplomat close to the talks said: "Obviously, basic disagreements remain. The Iranians want to enrich uranium in the future, and we want them not to.

"But for us [the Europeans] it's better to achieve something through negotiation if you can."

5 posted on 11/17/2004 9:32:48 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Khomeini in Dearborn

November 17, 2004
FrontPageMagazine.com
Robert Spencer


Last Friday, Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan, held an anti-American, anti-Israel demonstration. Protestors carried a large model of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and waved signs bearing slogans such as “US Hands Off Muslim Land.” But the most arresting image was of a Muslim woman carrying a large sign featuring the face of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Time dims memories. I wonder if any onlooker at the demonstration saw the Khomeini sign and remembered those tense days of the Iranian hostage crisis, when Khomeini’s regime violated the traditional sanctity of the embassy and held 50 Americans for month after month while Jimmy Carter dithered. I wonder if any of the onlookers knew that Khomeini’s triumph in Iran in 1979 embodied the idea that Islamic law was superior to all other ways to order societies, and must be pressed forward by force. As Khomeini himself put it: “Islam makes it incumbent on all adult males, provided they are not disabled or incapacitated, to prepare themselves for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country in the world....But those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”

The goal of this conquest would be to establish the hegemony of Islamic law. As Khomeini put it: “What is the good of us [i.e., the mullahs] asking for the hand of a thief to be severed or an adulteress to be stoned to death when all we can do is recommend such punishments, having no power to implement them?”

Khomeini accordingly delivered notorious rebuke to the Islam-is-a-religion-of-peace crowd: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]…. Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”

Was the woman who carried Khomeini’s image in the Dearborn demonstration concerned about the human rights of women? Did she know that the Ayatollah himself married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight? Did she know that Khomeini called marriage to a girl before her first menstrual period “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house”?

It is unlikely that the protestor knew that in 1985, Sa’id Raja’i-Khorassani, the Permanent Delegate to the United Nations from the Islamic Republic of Iran, declared, according to Amir Taheri, that “the very concept of human rights was ‘a Judeo-Christian invention’ and inadmissible in Islam. . . . According to Ayatollah Khomeini, one of the Shah’s ‘most despicable sins’ was the fact that Iran was one of the original group of nations that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

I wonder if anyone at the Dearborn protest realized that the appearance of these signs in Dearborn, Michigan, exalting this man as a hero, indicated that Khomeini’s vision for society is alive in America today — and that it is dangerously naive to assume that all Muslims immediately and unquestioningly accept American pluralism and the idea of a state not governed by religious law. The Netherlands is just finding out, thanks to the cold-blooded murder and attempted decapitation of the “blasphemer” Theo van Gogh by a Muslim who appears to have been part of a larger jihadist cell, that not all the Muslims in Holland are the committed pluralists and secularists that they have been assumed to be by credulous European authorities.

With Khomeini a hero in Dearborn, Americans may be finding that out for themselves before long. Just where American Muslims stand on Khomeini’s doctrines — and how many stand with Khomeini — are still forbidden questions for the major media. But if the old man could have spoken from his sign in Dearborn, he might have said, “Ignore me at your own risk.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and the author of Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery Publishing), and Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter Books).

6 posted on 11/17/2004 9:33:20 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iranian group claims 'new' nuke facility in Tehran

[Excerpt]

From David Ensor
Thursday, November 18, 2004 Posted: 0041 GMT (0841 HKT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An Iranian opposition group says it has disclosed the location of what it claims is a newly discovered nuclear weapons research facility in Tehran.

The allegation was made three days after Iran agreed with European nations to suspend its uranium enrichment program, a move that could improve the Islamic republic's relations with the West.

While Iran says its uranium enrichment activities are intended to produce fuel only for nuclear power plants, the United States contends the program is aimed at building nuclear weapons. (Full story)

Sources in the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) told CNN there was a weapons site in the Lavizan district of the capital that was under the control of the Ministry of Defense.

The group said the Iranian regime moved various nuclear equipment to the new site after its previous facility in the Bagh Sian area in Lavizan was publicized and subsequently visited by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

NCRI sent satellite photos to CNN that were apparently taken before and after the nuclear equipment was removed from the Bagh Sian facility, dated August 11, 2003 and March 22, 2004.

NCRI, also known as the People's Mujahedeen of Iran, has been put on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations because it is accused of violence against civilians in Iran, a charge NCRI leaders reject.

CNN's Matthew Chance said the group had made similar allegations in recent years and its information had been found to be "somewhat patchy." The U.N.'s IAEA said Wednesday it was aware of the report and was investigating.

It already had a team in the region, diplomats in Vienna said, based on beliefs that Iran may be working on developing nuclear enrichment.

The diplomats said there have been fears for the past year that Iran could develop such technology, which is why Germany, France and Great Britain were negotiating with the Iranians on a permanent suspension.

'Spent scenario'

Iran's top nuclear negotiator told CNN's Kasra Naji the latest report about the weapons site was false and politically motivated.

"This allegation is timed to coincide with the next meeting of the board of governors of the IAEA," Hussein Moussavian said.

"And every time just before the meeting there are these kind of allegations either from the United States or terrorist groups. And every time these allegations have proven to be false."

While the United States does not have contact with NCRI members because of its terrorist designation, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli said some of the group's claims have proved true in the past.

He said Washington hopes the IAEA will investigate the claims.

"It is the responsibility of the IAEA to follow up on reports like this, to determine whether Iran is conducting covert nuclear activity," Ereli said in a briefing Wednesday. "There have been reports like this in the past, and the IAEA has been able, because of its activities, to substantiate them. So given that track record, we think it's important that when information like this does come to light, that it be taken seriously and looked into."

Moussavian called the allegations "a spent scenario."

"Categorically, Iran has no undeclared nuclear-related activity or facility," he said.

NCRI says the location -- called the "Modern Defensive Readiness and Technology Center" -- is a 60-acre area opposite the Nobonyad Area, Mozhdeh Street, Lavizan District, Tehran.

"Despite its claims of cooperation with the IAEA, the Iranian regime is continuing its nuclear weapons program in defiance of its international obligations," said Ali Safavi, a business consultant in Washington with ties to the NCRI.

"It also reveals, for the first time, some information on the extent of the involvement of Iran's Ministry of Defense in nuclear weapons research and development." ...

7 posted on 11/17/2004 9:33:50 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Activist talks of life in Iran

By Sharon Stello/Enterprise staff writer

SHARING: Mehrangiz Kar, right, chats with Kevin Johnson, associate dean of the King Hall School of Law at UC Davis, before her lecture Tuesday afternoon. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo
Mehrangiz Kar, an Iranian human rights lawyer and writer, spoke about the struggles for freedom in Iran during a lecture Tuesday at UC Davis while visiting the campus as a member of the Scholars At Risk program.

This international network of more than 90 colleges and universities, based at New York University, was created to give persecuted scholars a safe place to continue their work and promote academic freedom and human rights.

In 2002, UCD hosted one of the first scholars placed through the Scholars At Risk network, Maimul Khan of Bangladesh, and the university is working to host another scholar in coming years. Kar, hosted this year by the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, gave a lecture at UCD's University Club as part of International Education Week.

According to the Scholars At Risk Web site, Kar is internationally renowned for her writing, speaking and activisim in defense of women's and human rights and she has received several human rights awards for her work. A colleague of 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, Kar is the author of some 15 books in Persian; her most recent work in English is "The Deadlock in Iran: Constitutional Constraints," a chapter in Islam and Democracy in the Middle East (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

Kar was imprisoned in Iran in spring 2000 for expressing critical views about her country's legal system while at an international conference in Berlin. In January 2001, she was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison on charges of acting against national security and disseminating propaganda against the Islamic regime.

Kar was later released on bail and her sentence was reduced to six months' imprisonment, calculated as time served (two months) plus a fine of 500,000 rial, the Iranian monetary unit.

Kar left for the United States after her release on bail in 2001. After she arrived here, her husband, journalist Siamak Pourzand, was tried and sentenced to eight years in prison for charges widely thought to be politically motivated. He still remains in prison. If Kar returns to Iran, she could be arrested as there remain some charges pending against her.

At UCD on Tuesday, Kar spoke in English about the struggle for a true democracy in Iran as well as the government's recent efforts to shut down newspapers and online news sites and persecute journalists. She answered questions in Farsi and an interpreter translated her responses into English for the audience.

Kar said the legal structure in Iran "is anti-democratic in its nature." She said the terminology makes it seem like a democracy, but there is only "a framework for democracy rather than a democracy of substance." She noted that judges are appointed by the country's supreme leader and can be easily removed under the existing system so "impartiality is undermined."

Kar said there is also an effort to silence news organizations in the country, reporting that more than 60 news publications have been shut down in the last six months alone and the government has begun cracking down on news Web sites. She said at least 26 journalists have been arrested, but only nine cases have received attention by the national or international media.

These journalists are taken into custody without being charged, and kept for weeks or months in solitary confinement without communication with a lawyer or family members. "In essence, they are kidnapped," Kar said. They are often forced to sign confessions later used against them in court, she added.

Kar highlighted the plight of one woman, Fereshteh Ghazi, an Iranian journalist arrested after writing about a woman who was sentenced to death for killing a senior security official who had allegedly attempted to rape her. Kar passed around a petition asking for immediate release of Ghazi and others who have been arrested.

Kar said Iran's population is different from Iranians in past generations. About 70 percent of the population is under age 30. Many Iranians are without jobs, she said, and much of the youth are not religious, although they respect religion. Kar said they demand freedoms, but pursue them by writing and speaking rather than through violence against the government.

"That's why it takes time," she said.

Kar said she believes in the short term, there will be political, social, cultural and economic crisis, but in the long term, "the future of Iran is very good and we're hopeful of that."

Kar's lecture was organized by the UCD Extension International Programs, University Outreach and International Programs, the School of Law, the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program and International Relations.

There are plans to post Kar's speech online, on the University Outreach and International Programs Web site, at uoip.ucdavis.edu, by next week.

- Reach Sharon Stello at sstello@davisenterprise.net or 747-8043.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

8 posted on 11/17/2004 9:34:35 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran's nuclear ambition

(Filed: 18/11/2004)

There has always been something suspect about European mediation over Iran's nuclear programme. This is not to deny that the EU trio (Britain, France and Germany) is sincere in wishing to prevent Teheran from acquiring nuclear arms. It lies, rather, in its ineffectiveness.

On the one hand, the three foreign ministers are confronted with a long-held Iranian determination to become a nuclear-weapons power and thereby to dominate the Gulf. On the other, they are out of step with the Bush Administration, which, rather than negotiating with Iran, believes it should be taken to the UN Security Council and subjected to sanctions. Without a unified approach, the West has little hope of persuading the Islamic republic permanently to renounce its nuclear ambitions.

That weakness was demonstrated in the unravelling of an EU-Iranian deal struck in October 2003. Prospects for the latest agreement, concluded on Sunday, are not much better. Teheran has accepted a temporary suspension of uranium enrichment in return for a series of economic incentives, but, as last time, the deal could well come unstuck over differing interpretations of what it entails.

Yesterday, Teheran's reliability was called in question by claims from the exiled National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) that uranium is being enriched at a site in the capital, concealed from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors; and that Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of the Pakistani bomb, gave Iran a small amount of weapons-grade uranium and the design of a warhead developed by the Chinese. In 2002, the NCRI revealed the existence of a uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water facility at Arak; having been thus caught reneging on its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Teheran declared both sites to the IAEA.

The EU trio will claim progress in having persuaded the Iranians fully to suspend uranium conversion, if only for a while. However, given its previous duplicity, the deal is more likely to have afforded Teheran breathing-space to pursue its long-term goal. It was reached only 11 days before an IAEA board meeting in Vienna at which, in the absence of concessions, the case was likely to have been referred to the Security Council. The threat of an Iranian bomb is already high on George W Bush's agenda. As he approaches his second term, the ineffectiveness of EU mediation puts it even higher.

9 posted on 11/17/2004 9:35:10 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran 'breaking nuclear deal with secret site'

By Robin Gedye
(Filed: 18/11/2004)

Iran is secretly producing enriched uranium for nuclear weapons at a military site in Teheran in direct breach of an agreement signed earlier this week, according to Iran's most prominent opposition group.

The site is said to be in the Lavizan district in north-east Teheran, three miles from a former suspected secret nuclear development facility that the regime razed earlier this year after its existence was revealed by the opposition group.

 
XXX
An NCRI official provides data about a secret nuclear facility

"The new site in Mozhdeh Street is controlled by Revolutionary Guards and staffed by Iran's four top nuclear scientists, who are working on producing enriched uranium," said a spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

"One can only wonder why Teheran did not report its existence to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna."

The claim by the NCRI comes two days after Iran agreed to suspend nuclear enrichment and allow inspectors from the agency to return in order to defuse suspicions that it is seeking to develop atomic weapons. In return, they will receive a range of political and economic concessions from the European Union.

The inspectors are scheduled to present a report on Iran to the IAEA board by the end of next week.

The NCRI is the political wing of the People's Mujahideen. It is banned in the United States as a terrorist organisation but has a record of providing reliable information on Iran's nuclear activities due to its wide range of dissident sources.

Two years ago it disclosed the existence of a secret site at Natanz, 150 miles south of Teheran, which finally confirmed international suspicions that the government was pursuing a clandestine nuclear programme.

An IAEA spokesman in Vienna said the United Nations nuclear watchdog would follow up the latest disclosure "just as we follow up every serious lead".

The NCRI says the Mozhdeh Street site covers 60 acres and houses chemical and biological warfare research facilities as well as the nuclear development project.

10 posted on 11/17/2004 9:35:35 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran Got Black Mkt Nuclear Plan

[Excerpt] November 17, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
The Associated Press


Iran bought blueprints of a nuclear bomb from the same black-market network that gave Libya such diagrams and it continues to enrich uranium despite a commitment to suspend the technology that can be used for atomic weapons, an Iranian opposition group said Wednesday.

Farid Soleimani, a senior official for the National Council for Resistance in Iran , said the diagram was provided by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani head of the nuclear network linked to clandestine programs both in Iran and in Libya.

"He gave them the same weapons design he gave the Libyans as well as more in terms of weapons design," Soleimani told reporters in Vienna. He said the diagram and related material on how to make nuclear weapons were handed to the Iranians between 1994 and 1996.

Mark Gwozdecky, spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency said, "we follow up every solid lead," adding that the U.N. nuclear watchdog would have no further comment.

But a diplomat familiar with the agency and its investigations both into Libya's and Iran 's nuclear program said the IAEA has long feared Iran might have received bomb-making blueprints from Khan.

"The IAEA has found that Iran received pretty much the same things Libya did from his network," said the diplomat, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. "The one thing that they have not been able to find was the blueprint."

Libya bought engineers' drawings of a Chinese-made bomb through the Khan network as part of its covert nuclear program that it renounced last year.

Iran says it doesn't have such drawings, and no evidence has been found to dispute that claim. But experts say it is possible Iran already possesses a copy.

Former U.N. nuclear inspector David Albright, in comments earlier this year, described the Chinese design Libya owed up to having as something "that would not take a lot of modifying" to fit it on Iran 's successfully tested Shahab-3 ballistic missile.

On the allegations Iran continued enrichment at a secret site near Lavizan-Shian outside of Tehran, the diplomat said the agency was looking into the possibility of equipment moved from Lavizan-Shian to an unknown location.

In a possible allusion to the group's claims, a report detailing IAEA investigations into Iran 's nuclear programs prepared for the agency's Nov. 25 board meeting notes Iran has failed to produce a trailer that apparently contained nuclear equipment at Lavizan-Shian for IAEA inspection.

The IAEA report also said Iran has "declined to provide a list of equipment used" at Lavizan-Shian, which the government says was home to research on how to reduce casualties in case of nuclear attack.

"The agency investigation of Lavizan...is still open," the diplomat said. "They are still pursuing what happened to the equipment at Lavizan."

Detailing what he said were Tehran's plans to make nuclear weapons, Soleinmani said that "as we speak the site continues to produce (enriched) uranium."

"The site...is not the only one that is being kept secret," he said. "There is a huge network devoted to this activity in Iran , and unfortunately the IAEA has hitherto understood the apparatus in only a small way."

Soleimani's organization is the political wing of the People's Mujahedeen, banned in the U.S. as a terrorist organization. While much of its information hasn't been confirmed, it was instrumental in 2002 in revealing Iran 's enrichment program at Natanz.

The opposition group says Lavizan-Shian was home to the Center for Readiness and New Defense Technology and was part of the covert attempt to develop nuclear weapons and included elements of Iran 's centrifuge enrichment program.

On Wednesday, Soleimani said that centrifuges and other equipment needed to produce enriched uranium had been covertly moved to the new site, near Lavizan-Shian but within Tehran city limits.

Enrichment at low levels generates fuel for nuclear power - and Iran says that is its sole interest. But the U.S. and other countries suspect Iran wants to produce weapons-grade enriched uranium for nuclear warheads.

Lavizan-Shian was razed by the Iranian government earlier this year as IAEA inspectors were preparing to visit it. The government says it was destroyed to make way for a park. But suspicions remain about the extent of the work done there - including the removal of top soil, which reduced the effectiveness of environmental samples taken by IAEA inspectors looking for unreported nuclear activity at the site.

Iran announced a full suspension of enrichment late last week, and the agency said it would police that commitment starting early next week, just ahead of the Nov. 25 IAEA board meeting.

The suspension pledge reduced U.S. hopes of having the board refer Iran to the U.N. Security council for alleged violations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The agreement, detailed Monday by Iran and in a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, commits Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment and related activities within a week in return for European guarantees that Iran has the right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program.

Under the agreement reached with the Europeans, a working committee would be formed within weeks to define what economic, technological, security and nuclear cooperation the European Union will provide in exchange for the enrichment freeze. It will report back within three months. ...

11 posted on 11/17/2004 9:36:03 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: DoctorZIn; Grampa Dave; MeekOneGOP; Happy2BMe; potlatch; devolve; nuconvert; freedom44

KERRY OUT~CONDI IN

13 posted on 11/17/2004 10:29:32 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: PhilDragoo

LOL


14 posted on 11/17/2004 10:31:39 PM PST by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: PhilDragoo; nuconvert

FreedomISHOULDBESTUDYINGFORFINALS44.com
15 posted on 11/17/2004 11:02:37 PM PST by freedom44
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To: PhilDragoo
bump! bump! bump!

16 posted on 11/18/2004 3:10:20 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: DoctorZIn
With Khomeini a hero in Dearborn, Americans may be finding that out for themselves before long. Just where American Muslims stand on Khomeini’s doctrines — and how many stand with Khomeini — are still forbidden questions for the major media. But if the old man could have spoken from his sign in Dearborn, he might have said, “Ignore me at your own risk.”

Brrrrrrrr. While all the info coming in about the ongoing deceptions being preformed by the Iranian leaders is alarming, this kind of crap above is what REALLY gets to me! How could ANY WOMAN, even muslim, support Khomeini? I hope our government is keeping a close eye on these muslims.

17 posted on 11/18/2004 5:55:26 AM PST by Reborn
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To: DoctorZIn

BTTT


18 posted on 11/18/2004 7:58:37 AM PST by TruthNtegrity ("No man works harder for his money than he who marries it.")
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To: DoctorZIn

Bump!


19 posted on 11/18/2004 8:38:50 AM PST by windchime (Won't it be great watching President Bush spend political capital?)
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To: DoctorZIn

2004-11-18 11:17 GMT:

Iran's supreme leader denounces 'infidel crimes' in Fallujah

TEHRAN (AFX) - Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced what
he said are crimes committed by "infidels" in the shattered Iraq city of
Fallujah and called on the Muslim world to protest.

"The massacre of civilians, women and children by the thousands, the execution
of wounded, the destruction of homes, mosques and other places of prayer...
makes every Muslim restless", Khamenei said in a statement read out on state
television.

newsdesk@afxnews.com

20 posted on 11/18/2004 1:45:16 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

2004-11-18 15:11     * IRAN * NUCLEAR * ESPIONAGE * COURT *

IRAN COURT TO CONSIDER NUCLEAR ESPIONAGE CASE

TEHRAN, November 18 (RIA Novosti's Nikolai Terekhov) - The Islamic Revolution Court of Iran has started to consider the case of four people accused of selling information about Iranian nuclear programs to other countries.

"The accused won the trust of officials having access to nuclear facilities in Iran and then sold the information to foreigners," said the government's newspaper Iran on Thursday.

According to the newspaper, each of the four people has something to do with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq.

According to a source in the foreign policy research center of Tehran University, "the matter concerns members of the opposition terrorist group of the Mojaheddin-e Halq-e Iran Organization that the U.S. and Israel used to obtain information about nuclear facilities of the Islamic Republic."

According to the source, Washington has recently put unprecedented pressure on Iran, using the information about its nuclear facilities, sold by the organization. The U.S. is accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons.

"Presenting the purchased information as obtained from satellites, the U.S. initiated comprehensive inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities by IAEA experts who failed to find any confirmation of the military component of the Iranian nuclear developments in the past two years," said the source.

In his words, radical members of the organization have recently cooperated with the Saddam regime in subversive activities against Iraq. It was believed that after the Saddam regime was toppled, the organization was neutralized and disarmed. However, the backbone of the group is staying in Iraq's camp Asraf.

In late 2003, the Iraqi authorities allowed the extradition of the Organization from Iraq. Their activity was outlawed, and a special tribunal was formed to investigate the crimes committed by this group.

However, the Iranian media report that the US forces are not hurrying to eliminate the Mojaheddin-e Halq-e Iran basedin Iraq and controlled by the U.S. The latter is using the most informed and active members of the group in subversive and espionage activities against Iran.

21 posted on 11/18/2004 1:47:39 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

The new geopolitics
of the Persian Gulf:

What the 2nd Bush administration
should do about Iran

By Assad HomayounSPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The following article is adapted from an article in Defense and Foreign Affairs Daily of Nov. 9, 2004.



The re-election of U.S. President George W. Bush significantly affects the entire strategic balance in the Middle East, and particularly with regard to Iran.

The Iranian and Syrian governments, in particular, plus many nominally non-state, transnational players — such as al-Qaida, HizbAllah, and the like — geared much of their strategic posturing over the past few years to removing the Bush Administration in the U.S. This created its own dynamic, but, having failed, the positions and policies of these entities will now evolve.

U.S. evaluation of, and policies toward, the Middle East must take account of this transformation of realities, and potential threats and opportunities. Clearly, it has to be recognized that much of the greater Middle East is highly unstable, with some aspects moving so detrimentally to international order that the situation could move beyond capacity and power of the United States to control it. The Middle East has witnessed revolutionary change in the past three years, and still more massive changes are underway, particularly as one of the most static focal elements, the Arab-Israeli dispute has transformed with the current transition of power in the Palestinian camp.

But it is important not to forget that the geographical factor in Middle Eastern history has great significance. Geography, in a way, is history in motion.

This region is geopolitically located in middle of three continents and connects and separates three Oceans. The Middle East is, according to British geographer, Sir Hanford Mackinder, “the heart of Eurasian-African world island”, and is also the cradle of civilization and birthplace of important religions such as Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

This region has always had great role and impact in world history, and there is no reason to suppose that this will change.

In the early 19th Century, and indeed after the expedition of Napoleon to in 1798, and temporary French occupation of Egypt, the Middle East entered into international politics and rivalries and became the bone of contention between Europeans: the French and especially the British, Russia, and Germany.

After World War I, and especially after World War II, the U.S. gradually and finally replaced Great Britain in the region as the dominant power in the Middle East. The U.S. presence gave a new dynamic to the Middle East.

The  Change in Iran and the Triumph of Revolutionary Islam

The revolution in Iran, the fall of the Shah in 1979, and the coming to power of fundamentalist clerics that year introduced massive, destabilizing changes to the region as well as to international politics.

In November 1979, Islamist militants raided the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, took diplomats and the embassy staff as hostages. It was the first fundamentalist challenge and a serious test of resolve of the United States Government. It was a challenge which the then-Carter Administration in the U.S. failed to meet. Due to the weakness of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, government-sponsored international terrorism started its advance towards a new kind of war.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Shi'a fundamentalism, in January 1980, in a speech to 120 Pakistani Army officers visiting him in the Iranian city of Qom, said: “We are at war against infidels. Take this message with you. I ask all Islamic nations and all Muslims, all Muslim armies and all Islamic states must join us for holy war; jihad must triumph.” For the first time in the region, a government openly supported jihad, promoted and sponsored international terrorism, and transformed the region into turmoil and posed a threat to moderate regional governments, and to U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf.

Saudi Arabia, to prevent Iranian-style revolution and to compete with the Shi'a Islamic Administration in Tehran, began to promote its own Sunni-Wahhabi version of Islamic fundamentalism. Competition between the two branches of Islam — Shi'ism and Sunnism — and financial, logistical, and ideological support for the promotion of their causes, has been main reason for much of the present unrest, even though the Iranian clerics and the extreme Wahhabists cooperate closely on matters regarding common enemies, such as the United States and the West in general.

Between them, they created new warriors with no fixed address, who devised and undertook wars — using classic and new forms of asymmetrical doctrines in both the psychological warfare arena (including terrorism), and in guerilla warfare — ostensibly on behalf of no state, but against Russia, the West in general, and the U.S. and Israel in particular. Their steady escalation of capabilities, cohesion, willpower, doctrine and capabilities — honed by fighting in Afghanistan, Chechnya, the Philippines and, particularly, the former Yugoslavia — led to increasingly direct confrontation with the U.S., and ultimately to the pivotal events of September 11, 2001.

Financial support for building of tens of thousands of Iran-oriented Shi'a and Wahhabist Sunni mosques throughout South Asia, Central Asia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and elsewhere in the Balkans, in Western Europe, Australia, Africa, the U.S. and elsewhere; the printing and distributing religious literature and organizing religious schools; and the targeted use of television: all this helped to indoctrinate millions of Muslim youths and “remade them” and equipped them for terrorism and suicide bombings.

This surge, now substantially self-financing, and increasingly seeking strategic weapons to support, defend and project their momentum, is the main reason that the world has, in recent years, been catapulted to the verge of a new Dark Age.

The Soviet Union, to prevent fundamentalist contamination of the Central Asian and Caucasian regions, and also to benefit from the vacuum and gain influence in the Persian Gulf, invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The United States and Saudi Arabia, to keep the Soviet Red Army from the Persian Gulf, helped Afghani-based mujahedin with money and arms to fight the Red Army in Afghanistan. This created a sense of mission and identity among many Muslim youth (not just the Afghanis), and, coupled with the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia (created to counter the essentially-secularist military expansion of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein), led to creation of the terrorist and political momentum of Osama Bin Laden and the al-Qaida network of terrorist groups which pledge allegiance to him.

Revolution in Iran had another ramification in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere.

Iraq's Saddam Hussein, to fill the vacuum in the Persian Gulf which was created after the fall of the Shah, as well as to dominate the Persian Gulf, was happy to be able to respond to the provocations of the Iranian clerics, and invaded Iran in 1980. The ensuing war lasted eight years. With that war resolved, when it was reduced to a stalemate, Saddam's forces invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and the U.S. and an international coalition mobilized, invaded Iraq, defeated Saddam, and freed Kuwait. After September 11, 2001, the U.S., in retaliation for the al-Qaida attacks on New York and Washington, DC, invaded Afghanistan and ended the Taliban Administration which had given shelter and supports to bin laden and al-Qaida.

In early January 2002, in his State of the Union address to the U.S. Congress, President Bush warned that an “axis of evil” — made up of Iraq, Iran and North Korea — had  accumulated weapons of mass destruction (WMD) which could be used to commit terrorist acts. In a speech in June 2002, at West Point, the President declared his “Pre-emption Strategy”, and, in early 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq, defeated Saddam's Armed Forces and ended the Ba'athist Government there. With the toppling of Saddam Hussein, and the subsequent expansion of insurgency wars and terrorism, the status quo has been shattered and the entire region is now in revolutionary turmoil.   

The U.S. strategy to remove Saddam from power was basically a logical response to the threat posed to U.S., Western and regional interests. Military operations which led to military victory and the fall of Baghdad in 2003 were historical in their speed and effectiveness, but, perhaps inevitably given the significant planning by Saddam and his advisor to wage a post-war insurgency, the post-conflict violence still confronts the new Iraqi Administration and the Coalition forces.

As Chinese strategist Sun Tzu said: there has been never a protracted war from which a country has benefited.

But all war is hell and chaos. And, in war, no matter what preparations and good plans are laid, there are, inevitably, unpredicted difficulties. According to the German strategist, Carl von Clausewitz, war is the providence of chance, and, moreover, from the Trojan Wars to the present war in Iraq, failures of intelligence have always led (and in the future will lead) to the frustration of the best designs, despite all possible precautions.

In looking at all of the events now challenging the region, it is clear that the catalyst was the revolution which began in 1978-79 in Iran, and the transfer of control of that strategic country to the hands of radical clerics. The clerics started to use Iran as a springboard to advance their revolutionary designs, and historic events took place one after another, and are still continuing to happen.  It is almost certain that, but for the involvement of Iran, the ongoing Iran-Iraq competition, and the ongoing Iran-Saudi Arabia (Shi'a-Sunni) competition, the Palestinian question would have resolved into a viable modus vivendi before this.

The Middle East as the New Center of Gravity

Today, the Middle East has — geopolitically — been expanded and extended from the Pamir-Alai mountains on the Central Asian-China boundary, through the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, from the Urals to the Horn of Africa; and it has become volatile, and — in a new manner than in the past century — a center of gravity in 21st Century international politics.

It has become, increasingly rather than less, the nexus of international lines of communications. Despite the growth in available oil and gas reserves in Africa and Central Asia, the Middle East contains some 70 percent of the oil reserves vital to the economies of the U.S., Europe, Japan, India, and China. It is the scene of present and future rivalry, especially between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the U.S. for secure access to energy. The Chinese dependence on oil is growing every year; indeed, energy — together with water — has become the bottleneck for the Chinese economy.

We cannot forget that four of the seven important strategic and commercial passages of the world for commerce and specially oil are located in the Middle East:

The Middle East is a center for fundamentalism, ethnic and religious rivalries, as well as the dispute which has been underway for a half-century between Israel and the Palestinians.

More importantly, the Middle East is the major world center of international terrorism and the fountainhead of the new type of asymmetrical warfare being conducted by Islamist forces against, essentially, Western forces. This form of warfare is pivotal because it has changed the contextual framework of strategic conflict. We no longer see conventional, structured military forces fighting against like adversaries. Rather, we see warfare initiated from within the realms of civil society — masked as to its origins, formations, operating doctrines, and legitimizing framework — as it confronts an economically, technologically and militarily superior set of adversaries on terms conducive to the initiator.

This new form of asymmetric warfare is led by the radical governments of Iran, Sudan, and Syria, none of which could afford a direct and attributable, or conventional, confrontation with their adversaries. Within this strategy sponsored by Iran, Syria and Sudan, fundamentalist militant fringe groups are trying to hijack Islam, to undermine moderates in the region and bring about confrontation between Islam and Judeo-Christian nations. It is not an overstatement to say that Islamists are pushing the cause of radical Islam in a way which could disturb the international order and present a grave threat to the world's equilibrium and to its civilizational structures.

Finally, the region has become center for WMD, including nuclear proliferation and expanded ballistic missile inventories. The uncontrolled WMD environment — which the U.S.-led operations against Saddam was intended to begin to address — holds the greatest potential since the creation of nuclear weapons for globally-catastrophic eruption.

Prescription for Stability
It is the responsibility of the United States, as the only power with sufficient political and military force projection capability, to secure peace and stability in the region. For stability and real reform, however, it is logical and critical that the U.S. policy leaders and their teams should understand the present realities of the region to follow sound and workable policies.  

Today in Iran, an administration which is totally irresponsible and which vigorously supports international terrorism, while grossly violating the human rights of its own citizens, is fast moving toward becoming a military nuclear power. It is clear that it already possesses the delivery systems, doctrine, command and control systems, and national command authority to manage nuclear weapons on a sophisticated scale. It has also been known for more than a decade that Iran has acquired nuclear warheads from the former Soviet Union, and possibly from North Korea, while pursuing its own nuclear weapons program.

Strategic analyst and regional expert Yossef Bodansky reported in February 1992: “By the end of 1991, Iran had all (or virtually all) the components needed to make three operational nuclear weapons: aerial bombs and/or surface-to-surface missile (SSM) warheads. Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy has learned from highly-reliable sources that the weapons were assembled from parts bought in the ex-Soviet Muslim republics. These weapons can become operational as early as February to April 1992. Tehran is committed to providing Syria with a nuclear umbrella before June 1992.”

Iran is the biggest and most important country of the Persian Gulf. External powers need to understand that Iran has legitimate security deeds and may need to expand and strengthen it defense capability. However, Tehran clerical Administration's drive to develop nuclear weapons is dangerous for Iran and the region, as much as it is for the West. Indeed, despite the claim that an Iranian nuclear capability is essential to Iran because of the regional proliferation of such weapons (India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia), the main reason for ruling nomenklatura in Tehran wishes to possess nuclear weapons is to consolidate its shaky and domestically-unpopular rule and to prevent external support for the Iranian population.  

Indeed, all scenarios for the use of nuclear weapons by the clerical Iranian leadership would be most disastrous for Iran, rather than the states which it attacks with such weapons. Nuclear weapons are not, for Iran, war-winning weapons. Any use by Iran of its strategic nuclear weapons — either as terrorist weapons or as ballistic missile-delivered counter-city weapons — would invite an overwhelming retaliation which would destroy Iran's strategic and social infrastructure even more than has already been done by the clerics' consistent warfare with Iraq and the West.

Indeed, it is logical to suggest that the vast expenditure by the clerics on nuclear weapons and associated delivery and command and control systems may have been totally wasteful from another perspective: Israel and the U.S., the two principal targets of Iranian clerical hostility, are now well-advanced in the development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems which could render the Iranian threat essentially meaningless for other than rhetorical purposes.

It must be accepted that the Iranian clerical Government is already de facto nuclear and that it has secured several nuclear warheads which could be mounted on its Shihab-3D intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Hojjat ol-Eslam Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, the head of powerful Council of Expediency, in his interview in May 15, 2004, elliptically implied that Iran had reached the “breakout path” with regard to its strategic weapons program. The Islamic Republic has accepted new protocol of safeguards (Program 93+2) but has not approved it in the Iranian Parliament, the Majlis. It is possible — even probable — that Iran could withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and follow the path of North Korea in this regard.

 Moreover, Russia will not change its commitment to Iran because of economic and strategic interests. Neither will the bulk of the European governments, which are trying in vain to change the mind of the Tehran Administration. They appear to wish to support a government which is totally rejected by its own people. The governments of France, Germany and Britain, due to their economic interests, have been trying to appease the ruling clerics, coaxing Tehran to depart from its strategy of developing nuclear weapons. These governments must soon face realty and understand that nothing will deflect the clerics from their course of action.

President Bush's initiatives for political, social and economic reform, and for promoting democracy in the greater Middle East, along with his roadmap for a viable Palestinian state, are sound within the context of historic trends and current realities, but Muslim leaders, too, are showing signs that they know they must address the region's social and economic problems and proceed toward genuine reform.

Clearly, within this reality, the ongoing stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians would, if not addressed in the emerging post-Arafat era, be detrimental to the security of the wider Middle East. A new approach to Palestinian-Israeli problems is imperative to the stability of the region, and now seems possible.

A stable and democratic Iran — possibly only with the removal of the clerical Government — would be most significant in helping to achieve a stable peace in the region, particularly given the ruling clerics' pivotal efforts in financing and sustaining the Palestinian, HizbAllah and proxy Syrian conflict against Israel.[5] Regional stability, including an end to the Palestinian-Israel conflict can only be reasonably expected to occur when the clerical leadership of Iran is replaced by a secular, democratic Government.

The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and against transnational terrorism will not be solved or eased unless until the Iranian clerical Administration, the operational and financial center for terrorists and a major sponsor of the insurgency in Iraq, is removed from power. Perhaps as significantly, Iran, with its history, strategic location, population, and resources, can, with a return to a secular, nationalist Government, play an important rôle for peace and stability of the region.

Today, the great majority of Iranians have indicated through a wide range of quiet and public protests that they are against the ruling clerics and are ready to rise to establish a secular democratic government. The President of the United States has repeatedly supported the cause of Iranian freedom, but different voices from different branches of the Administration, expressing different and confusing messages, has been disappointing to Iranians who have been for decades struggling for freedom.

Clearly, however, the history of Iranian and Persian nationalism militates against the efficacy of foreign, armed intervention in Iran, even to support the Iranian people. The Iranian people have shown on many occasions that, at the appropriate “tipping point”, they have the strength to act suddenly to change their situation, provided they understand that the outside world supports them.

But if armed foreign intervention is counter-productive when it comes to Iran, so, too, is the kind of negotiation and ostensible offering of incentives which France, Germany and Britain — the EU3 — are advocating. Nor will sanctions or an Osirak-style surgical military strike (of the type undertaken by Israel against Iraq in 1981) work. Any military attack on Iran will, because of the great strategic depth and military capability of the country, escalate and propel the entire region to a wider war with unpredictable consequences. Iran is advanced in various fields of WMD. Military attack or surgical operations could create centrifugal forces and those weapons could fall into the hands of radicals and terrorist groups and create problems much more extensive than those of today in Iraq.  

However, to successfully achieve change in Iran, there cannot be any compromise by the U.S. or any deals by it with the clerics, because such actions will not change the mullahs' mindset. The most practical option for the United States is to assist the Iranian people, given the momentum of the anti-clerical sentiment in Iran.

Negotiation, compromise or the offering incentives, such as is being advocated by various European leaders, will not change the intentions of the ruling clerics, but could bolster and contribute to consolidation of their shaky administration. Indeed, any signs of protection of the clerics by European leaders disappoint and antagonize the people of Iran. Perhaps more importantly, the European proposal — also advocated by failed U.S. Presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry — to offer the clerics non-military nuclear energy technology as an incentive for Iran to stop developing military nuclear capability, should be seen as being patently ludicrous, as it was for North Korea.

The Iranian leadership is not overly concerned with energy matters. It wants nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons, not nuclear energy, are what it sees as its safeguard and its assurance of continued power.

But the clerical Administration of Iran has lost it political and religious legitimacy. It is fragile and is ready to be toppled.

The Armed Forces as a whole and a large body of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are dissatisfied with the leadership. They fully understand that the mullahs, with their mishandling of foreign and domestic affairs, are leading Iran to the verge destruction and disintegration. More than 270,000 (out of approximately 300,000) clerics have turned against their own leaders.

While hardliners in the February 2004 Majlis election forced out so-called “reformists”, the system is not as monolithic as it looks. A power struggle within the system, like the last days of the Soviet Union, is underway. The only thing the Iranians need is open U.S. moral and political support give them the psychological impetus to act.


Dr Assad Homayoun writes occasionally for WorldTribune.com, and serves on its Advisory Board. He is a Senior Fellow with the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), in the Washington, DC, area, specializing in studies on the Northern Tier region. He is also President of the Azadegan Foundation for Democratic Change in Iran, an institution which promotes Persian culture and history. Dr. Homayoun was a senior diplomat in the Iranian Foreign Ministry, and was the last Iranian diplomat in charge of the Imperial Iranian Embassy in Washington, DC, when the Shah left office in 1979.

22 posted on 11/18/2004 1:50:37 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

White House: World Resolved to Halt Iran Nuclear Weapons

November 18, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
Alex Keto


LITTLE ROCK -- The Bush administration said Thursday that the international community is "resolved" not to allow Iran to become a nuclear power. "The international community is united in its resolve to make sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

"Ultimately, our view is that Iran needs to stop all its enrichment related and reprocessing activities. There is no need for it," he added.

Doing so would "give everybody confidence that they're (the Iranians) not pursuing a nuclear weapon," he said.

McClellan made the comments a day after Secretary of State Colin Powell said U.S. intelligence has discovered that Iran is trying to modify some of its missiles to carry a nuclear warhead.

Powell made the comments at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation organization meeting in Santiago, Chile. U.S. President George W. Bush is to arrive in Chile Friday to attend the summit of APEC leaders over the weekend.

Powell also said he had seen intelligence that backs up the claim of a dissident group in Iran that Tehran continues activities related to developing a nuclear weapon.

McClellan declined to vouch for the accuracy of the reports by the dissident group, the National Council for Resistance in Iran, but said the International Atomic Energy Agency ought to look into the matter on its own. In the past, reports by the council have proven largely accurate.

-By Alex Keto, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-9256; Alex.Keto@dowjones.com

23 posted on 11/18/2004 1:52:33 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

The Adventures of Chester

The Future of the Iranian Nuclear Program, Part II

In Part I yesterday, The Adventures of Chester attempted to show, among other things:

-That confrontation with Iran is looming because of Iran's weapons program.
-That the US must make its decision to act within the next 12-18 months.

Today:

GOALS OF US ACTION

The key to unraveling and predicting the steps which the US will take with regard to Iran lies in deciphering what the American political goals will be. A word on strategic goals, from Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1-1, "Strategy":

"Despite their diversity, political objectives in war can be labeled as either limited or unlimited. The distinction is fundamental. An unlimited political objective amounts to the elimination of the opponent as a political entity. A limited political objective on the other hand, is one in which the enemy's leadership can survive and remain in power . . .

"An unlimited political objective, then, may embrace anything from merely deposing a particular leader to physically exterminating an entire people or culture. Ideological revolutionaries, would-be world conquerors, and both sides in most ture civil wars tend to seek unlimited political objectives. Occasionally, defensive alliances seeking to eliminate a habitual aggressor will also pursue an unlimited political objective.

"Conversely, a limited political objective includes anything short of eliminating the political opponent. It is envisioned that the enemy leadership will remain in control after the conclusion of hostilities, although some aspects of its power (influence, territory, resources, or internal control) will be reduced or curtailed. Limited political objectives are the characteristic of states seeking better positions in the international balance of power, clans vying for political position within a larger society, mafias or street gangs battling for "turf", and reformist political movements. "

Examples of each:

Limited Political Objectives:
(opposing political leadership survives)

-intimidate
-cause change in policy
-reduce enemy miliary capacity
-take slice of territory

Unlimited Political Objectives:
(opposing political leadership is removed)

-change regime
-change form of government/ruling class
-conquer/absorb
-exterminate (genocide)

What will the goals of US action in Iran be, with regard to its weapons program? There are many possibilities, but two are distinct:

1. Limited Political Objective: Remove the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

2. Unlimited Political Objective: Remove the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the Iranian regime that created it.

Many variations of these two goals exist, but these are the most fundamental. For example, a tangential goal could be stopping Iranian support to the Iraqi insurgency. Moreover, there are varying degrees of action for each goal. Removing the Iranian regime could involve simply that and no postwar stability operations at all, in a distinctly realist fashion. Or the removal of the regime could be accompanied by a US goal to create a free and democratic replacement -- an ideological goal, a la Iraq or Afghanistan.

Tomorrow, in Part III, The Adventures of Chester will begin to examine different operational campaigns to accomplish either of the above political objectives. A series of alternatives will be examined for each objective, and each one analysed against the criteria of:

-Possibility of accomplishing the given political objective
-Constraints in time, space and material
-Reinforcement of overall national strategy against Islamic Fascism (the War on Terror)
-Iranian Responses

24 posted on 11/18/2004 2:45:39 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

The Elephant in the Room, Part 3

by Dan Darling on November 17, 2004 07:35 AM
Continuing on from my previous screeds on the subject of Iran, its activities in Iraq, the implications for US policy that one can draw from them, and why Iran is a greater threat to the United States than Pakistan.

read the rest! »

The Mujahideen-e-Khalq

Here comes the section of the US News piece that its opponents have waited most eagerly for - a chance to discount all of the information presented by claiming that it was all provided by the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a Marxist cult terrorist organization opposed to the current regime in Tehran that shilled for Saddam Hussein and fought against US forces during OIF. After all, the detractors claim, wasn't the much-maligned INC also just as eager to lie when it suited their purpose of convincing the US to invade Iraq?

Maybe.

Some of the most important information on Iran has been provided by an Iranian exile group, the Mujaheddin-e-Khalq. The MEK fled Iran after the 1979 revolution and later relocated with Saddam's support to Iraq, where it continued to advocate the overthrow of the Iranian clerical regime. U.S. forces now are guarding its 3,800 members at Camp Ashraf, the MEK's sprawling compound northeast of Baghdad. Designated a terrorist organization by the State Department, the MEK nevertheless has provided American officials with significant intelligence on Iran's nuclear weapons programs. The MEK, wrote one Army analyst, is "quite proficient at intelligence collection." Other analysts said that the MEK also had provided valuable on-the-ground intelligence to Army Special Forces after the invasion of Iraq. "The SF guys claim the [MEK] are a valuable intel asset," wrote an Army sergeant who had met frequently with the MEK, "and are generally reliable." At the same time, an Army team wrote that it was important to be mindful that, given that its stated goal is to topple the government in Tehran, the MEK's reports "were designed to inform as well as influence American policy toward . . . the Iranian regime."

Emphasis mine.

I should also point out before I go any further on the INC that most of the charges that have been hurled against the organization and its counterparts are more or less refuted in the SSIC and Butler reports on US and UK pre-war intelligence with respect to Iraqi WMDs. To put it as bluntly as possible, we didn't believe that there were WMDs in Iraq solely on the basis of the good word of Ahmed Chalabi and his associates. Moreover, a key difference between the "MEK = Iranian INC" comparison is that, according to the INC's critics, none of the intelligence provided was worth the price of the paper that it was printed on. The MEK info, by contrast, appears to have more or less panned out with respect to those things they told us that specifically relate to Iraq.

Please understand, it is not my intention to legitimize the MEK or hold it up as a bastion of people who want nothing more than freedom and democracy for the Iranian people. However, they do appear to have had some information that has been valuable to the US that they were more than happy to provide, in large part because they are now defanged and attempting to claw their way out the hole their leadership has created for them because of their decision to shill for Saddam Hussein. I should mention, incidentally, that the MEK is now claiming to possess secret evidence to be released today with respect to the Iranian nuclear program. Maybe it's true, maybe it ain't, but we should know one way or another soon enough.

That caveat with respect to the MEK info, incidentally, was also on every US and British intelligence report that discussed groups like the INC.

Relying on its own agents inside Iran and other sources, the MEK has given Army personnel detailed reports on what it says have been Iran's efforts to destabilize Iraq. In its reports, some of which were reviewed by U.S. News, the MEK reported on the intelligence-collection methods of Iran's MOIS, arms shipments from Iran to Iraq, and the involvement in these operations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps's so-called Qods Force, or "Jerusalem Force."

A little bit of background is probably helpful here. MEK was used heavily by the Mukhabarat to supplement its own HUMINT issues with respect to Iran. Since most MEK members are themselves Iranian and maintain their own intelligence presence inside the country separate from that of the Mukhabarat. Qods Force, it should be noted, is made up of the elite of the IRGC and when hosting senior al-Qaeda leaders appears to pass its time by killing suspected MEK members. The Iranian regime regularly arrests people on charges of assisting the MEK, and even if half of those are trumped up it would seem to figure that the group is quite active inside Iran.

In December last year, MEK intelligence officers provided the Army with a detailed report and maps on what it called "a widespread network for transferring and distributing arms from Iran to Iraq" through the Ilam region in western Iran. The MEK said its sworn enemy, the Badr Organization, was involved in the network. According to the MEK's operatives, both Badr and the Iranian command staff were based in Iran at the border town of Mehran. "In order to control and manage the intelligence and terrorist activities in Iraq," a MEK intelligence officer wrote, "the Qods Force has recently moved part of its command staff from Tehran to the border city of Mehran." His report also identifed the areas in western, northwestern, and southern Iran where Qods Force commanders operated, along with the identities of more than a dozen commanders.

In December last year, MEK intelligence officers provided the Army with a detailed report and maps on what it called "a widespread network for transferring and distributing arms from Iran to Iraq" through the Ilam region in western Iran. The MEK said its sworn enemy, the Badr Organization, was involved in the network. According to the MEK's operatives, both Badr and the Iranian command staff were based in Iran at the border town of Mehran. "In order to control and manage the intelligence and terrorist activities in Iraq," a MEK intelligence officer wrote, "the Qods Force has recently moved part of its command staff from Tehran to the border city of Mehran." His report also identifed the areas in western, northwestern, and southern Iran where Qods Force commanders operated, along with the identities of more than a dozen commanders.

The MEK's reports contain detailed information on arms shipments. On Dec. 4, 2003, the MEK reported, Iranian agents moved 1,000 rocket-propelled grenades and seven boxes of TNT from western Iran to Iraqi resistance groups. A week later, Iran's Qods Force moved "a number of Mirage submachine guns" into Iraq in a "truck loaded with cement bags under which the arms were hidden," according to another report. Later that month, the MEK said, an Iraqi working for Iran drove a red fruit truck--a "cover for a consignment of arms," including RPG s, mortars, and Kalashnikov rifles--across the border into Iraq.

The Badr Brigade was pretty much the Iranian analogue to the MEK and the two engaged in violent clashes during the course of OIF as Iran attempted to use SCIRI to eliminate the terrorist organization amidst the chaos of the Iraq war. All of this information is quite impressive and suggests that all of the money that Saddam Hussein blew financing the MEK was well worth it as an intelligent capacity if not as a proxy force - provided its true, that is. Unfortunately, the US News article doesn't say one way or another, and I presume that the US has at least some way of verifying the information. Certainly enough Iranians were captured fighting with the Mahdi Army for verification purposes of at least some of this stuff ...

The dissident Iranian group also provided American intelligence officers with information on how Hezbollah was aiding Iran in gathering intelligence in Iraq. Hezbollah, a bitter enemy of Israel with close ties to Iran and Syria, collected information on American and British troops, photographed them, then sent the information to Qods Force commanders in Iran, according to MEK intelligence reports.

This'd be the Lebanese Hezbollah, that "independent resistance group," in case you're curious. And if anybody is still doubting, their presence inside Iraq was confirmed by US intelligence officials in the New York Times who noted that they were there but also that they weren't attacking. Guess now we know why ...

Intelligence officers for the MEK also said they had learned that Hezbollah had some 800 operatives in Iraq as of last January, including assassination teams. "The teams assassinate their opponents," a MEK intelligence officer reported, "and carry out sabotage operations." The MEK claimed that Hezbollah had assassinated an Iraqi man who had provided information to coalition forces.

The highest number of Hezbollah operatives I've seen inside Iraq is between 200-500, Imad Mugniyeh apparently among them. And Hezbollah carrying out assassinations inside Iraq, given what they do in Lebanon, is something I'd quite easily believe.

Other sources provided similar information, including Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. Mossad warned U.S. intelligence officials in October 2003 that Hezbollah planned to set up a resistance movement that would cause mass casualties, according to a report prepared by the Defense Intelligence Agency's Joint Intelligence Task Force--Combating Terrorism. Iran, the report said, was calling the shots. "Should such mass casualty attacks be considered," the task force wrote, "they [Hezbollah] must first receive approval from Iran." The Iranians "do not want the U.S. and the coalition to focus attention on Iranian support for terrorist networks or other anti-coalition activities they're involved with," said a report by an analyst for a U.S. Central Command support team in Iraq. "Iran is also trying to ensure it has a great deal of influence in Iraq, and one way of doing that is to supply weapons to anti-coalition groups."

There are a great many unsung casualties of the war in Iraq. One of them, unfortunately, is that intelligence information from a loyal ally like Israel on countries that it must keep a very close watch on for reasons of its own national security are no longer considered reliable in some circles. Putting such people aside for a moment, this seems to track with the general pattern one can see emerging here: Iran wants to stir up trouble inside Iraq, but nothing so great as to draw the full force of US retaliation (at least until they go nuclear, at which point all bets are off), and nothing that can be too directly tied back to them. Hezbollah is one such example, so their more militant members (Mugniyeh) have been reined in by the Iranian leadership - at least for the time being.

Iranian agencies put the intelligence they gathered to practical use, planning, funding, and training attackers, according to many of the intelligence reports reviewed by U.S. News. In November of last year, the Iraq Survey Group received information that Iran had formed small groups of fighters to conduct attacks in cities across Iraq. "Iran had reportedly placed a bounty on U.S. forces of U.S. $2,000 for each helicopter shot down, $1,000 for each tank destroyed, and $500 for each U.S. military personnel killed," the Iraq Survey Group reported. Iranian agents were also suspected in the assassination of at least two prominent Iraqis. In the fall of 2003, there were two reported plots against Bremer, the Coalition Provisional Authority administrator. The Iraq Survey Group, citing a source who "has provided reliable information in the past," said a senior Iranian cleric in Tehran set up a special 100-member army, known as al Saqar, which means eagle in Arabic, to assassinate Bremer and carry out other terrorist attacks. The Eagle Army, the Iraqi Survey Group was told, had trained for 30 days at an Iranian terrorist camp. This alleged plot and others reportedly planned against Bremer came to nothing. There were many reported plots against Bremer during his one-year tenure in Baghdad, and throughout his time there he was provided with blanket security. He declined to be interviewed for this story.

This is from the Iraq Survey Group, mind you, not the MEK. And if you want to consider the ISG as being the final word on the issue of WMDs (as I do), it makes more than enough sense to trust them on issues such as this, which in of itself should help to illustrate the nature of the Iranian threat with respect to Iraq. Placing bounties on US soldiers and vehicles, plotting to assassinate US officials, at what point does the status quo become intolerable? And if it does, what then? These are the questions that, unfortunately, aren't being asked as we get into the issue of how best to handle Iran, with some people even going so far as to argue that it doesn't really matter if Iran goes nuclear. If they're placing bounties on the heads of US soldiers, I (along with most sensible people) would say that it makes a great difference indeed.

Ansar al-Islam

Jihadists saw Iraq as an opportunity. In a report quoting a source who was not otherwise characterized, a U.S. Special Operations task force wrote that "the Lebanese Hizballah leadership believes that the struggle in Iraq is the new battleground in the fight against the U.S." In fact, other analysts wrote, Hezbollah and Ansar al-Islam were among the most active groups in Iraq, although al Qaeda operatives also were believed to be operating there soon after the invasion.

They're distinguishing between Ansar al-Islam and al-Qaeda here, though I myself don't. Most of the al-Qaeda inside Iraq prior to the war were al-Tawhid/Bayyat al-Imam, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e-Taiba (the latter two arriving in February 2003), etc - though even the SSIC report said that several hundred al-Qaeda fighters showed up to reinforce Ansar al-Islam prior to the war. In any case, regardless of how one regards al-Qaeda activity inside Iraq prior to the war, nobody is really going to debate that they're there now.

Ansar al-Islam is a small group of Arabs and Iraqi Kurds that is believed to have figured in some of the most violent attacks in Iraq. American and British intelligence, the reports show, concluded that Ansar al-Islam was working closely with Iran, and also al Qaeda, in its terrorist attacks against coalition forces. Military intelligence reports suggested that the group was believed to be linked to two horrific bombings in Baghdad last year--the attack on the Jordanian Embassy on August 7, in which 17 people were killed, and the August 19 bombing that devastated the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. That attack killed 22 people, including U.N. envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello. Intelligence reporting indicated that the mastermind of the U.N. attack was Zarqawi, the terrorist who has continued to bedevil coalition forces, and that al Qaeda operatives also played a role. A "reliable source with good access" said that Zarqawi had coordinated his plans for attacks in Iraq with Ansar al-Islam's top leader, Abu Abdullah al-Shafii. The reports did not link Iran directly to either the U.N. attack or the Jordanian bombing. But one British defense report noted pointedly: "Some elements [of Ansar al-Islam] remain in Iran. Intelligence indicates that elements" of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps "are providing safe haven and basic training to Iran-based AI [Ansar al-Islam] cadres."

Ansar al-Islam, as I and others have noted before, had ties to both Iraq and Iran prior to the beginning of OIF - remember what I said earlier about how odd some of these alliances can get and neither patron was likely aware of the other's existence. Abu Abdullah al-Shafei [Shafii] is an Iraqi Kurd from Gwer who is the new Ansar al-Islam supremo with Mullah Krekar still up in Norway. He was originally the leader of Jund al-Islam (the proto-Ansar formed in September 2001 at bin Laden's behest) and served as Ansar al-Islam's top military commander even after Krekar joined the group and became its spiritual leader. Al-Shafei is also a former Iraqi soldier who traveled to Afghanistan after the Iraq-Iran War and also fought in Chechnya under Khattab before returning to northern Iraq.

As far as Iranian patronage of Ansar al-Islam, here's some further information a little bird provided me from what I consider a highly reliable source:

Following OIF, most of the Ansar’s leadership appears to have relocated to the Iranian province of Kordestan. More specifically, Ansar leaders Abdullah al-Shafei, Ayoub Afghani, and Abu Wael reconstituted their organization in the Iranian border town of Sanandaj and are believed to be under the protection of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.39, 40 Ravansar, Meriwan, Sina, and Marakhel are other Iranian border towns where Ansar is believed to have a presence.41 While the level of official support within the Iranian hierarchy for Ansar is limited, Kurdish intelligence suggested in June 2003 that between 20 and 30 members of the group were taken to Tehran for special training.42 In addition, representatives of Ansar are believed to have been invited to attend the "Ten Days of Dawn" terrorist summit in Tehran in February 2004.43

And:

Iran appears to have regarded Ansar as the proxy force of choice to use against the secular PUK. It is therefore likely that in its fight against the PUK, Ansar had the tacit approval of Iranian authorities to resupply its forces from Iran.83 This support continued post-OIF, when hardline elements within Iran are believed to have sheltered Ansar. Additionally, Ansar reportedly maintained offices in Tehran in August 2002, and most intelligence analysts believe it to be highly improbable that the al Qaeda contingent active within Ansar would have been able to move from Afghanistan into Iran without the knowledge of the Iranian security forces.84

To conclude:

As noted, since OIF, senior leaders of Ansar have been regrouping in Iranian Kordestan under the protection of hardline elements within the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Since August 2003, suspected Ansar members have been streaming back across the Iranian border into Iraq.85 According to captured members of Ansar, the Iranian military provided them with weapons, medical treatment, provisions, and sanctuary before they went into Iraq to carry out terrorist operations.86 Also, over a dozen Ansar members were taken to Tehran for training, and the organization was invited to participate in a terrorist summit in Tehran in February 2004.87

The British information appears to back these conclusions up and add further details:

A separate report from the British Secret Intelligence Service, quoting a source who "has proved fairly reliable," said that Iranian government agencies were also secretly helping Ansar al-Islam members cross into Iraq from Iran, as part of a plan to mount sniper attacks against coalition forces. There were also multiple American intelligence reports identifying Iran as a chief supporter of Ansar al-Islam. U.S. intelligence received information that an Iranian was aiding Ansar al-Islam "on how to build and set up" improvised explosive devices, known as IED s. An analyst for the U.S. Central Command offered this assessment: "AI [Ansar al-Islam] is actively attempting to improve IED effectiveness and sophistication."

But of course, everyone knows that a Shi'ite theocracy would never aid Sunni fanatics. And thus does the Iranian strategy of support for the insurgency and plausible deniability truck on, leading to the question of at what point do these kinds of ideological blinders stop being a pleasant exercise in alternative history and start becoming a serious liability? As long as people, many of them entirely intelligent people, make the argument that we need not fear the possibility that a nuclear Iran might turn into a new central command for al-Qaeda (though I tend to doubt that's possible anymore than it already is) because Shi'ites hate Sunnis and vice versa, we're essentially still running blind with respect to the nature of the threat. How can we hope to defeat an enemy we still don't understand?

Enough already.

« ok, I'm done now


25 posted on 11/18/2004 2:54:22 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

26 posted on 11/18/2004 3:34:32 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!


27 posted on 11/18/2004 9:08:20 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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