Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - November 18, 2004 [EST]- LIVE Thread - "Powell Says Iran Is Pursuing Bomb"
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 Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East. In fact they were one of the first countries to have spontaneous candlelight vigils after the 911 tragedy (see photo).
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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." ...
|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|
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.
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.
"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.
bump! bump! bump!
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.
2004-11-18 11:17 GMT:
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. email@example.com
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