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Iranian Alert - November 23, 2004 [EST] "Bush wants proof of Iran's suspended nuclear efforts"
Regime Change Iran ^ | 11.23.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 11/22/2004 9:05:35 PM PST by DoctorZIn

The US media has finally discovered Iran. For the past few years the media has largely ignored 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

PS Check out our blog.



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; napalminthemorning; persecution; persia; persian; politicalprisoners; protests; rafsanjani; religionofpeace; 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 11/22/2004 9:05:37 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 11/22/2004 9:06:57 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Bush wants proof of Iran's suspended nuclear efforts

[Excerpt] CARTAGENA, Colombia (AP) -- President Bush said Monday that he hopes Iran's claim that it has suspended uranium enrichment and has no nuclear weapons ambitions is true, but "there must be verification."

Iran must "earn the trust of those of us who are worried about them developing a nuclear weapon," Bush said at a seaside news conference during a four-hour visit with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Earlier Monday, Iran announced it has suspended uranium enrichment. The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said he believed Iran had stopped its enrichment activities -- the central part of an agreement with Europe designed to head off possible U.N. sanctions.

"Let's say I hope it's true," Bush said.

But, he added, "I think the definition of truth is the willingness of the Iranian regime to allow for verification."

Iranian leaders "have said some things in the past, and it's very important for them to verify" that Tehran is not attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, Bush said.

He said that it wasn't just the United States that was concerned. "France, Great Britain and Germany and other nations around the world understand the dangers of the Iranian government having a nuclear weapon."

"It looks like there is some progress," Bush said. "But to determine whether the progress is real, there must be verification."

The United States had sought to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, a step that could lead to sanctions. However, if the International Atomic Energy Agency rules that Iran is honoring its commitment to suspend enrichment, it would blunt any call for sanctions.Monday, November 22, 2004 Posted: 3:41 PM EST (2041 GMT)

3 posted on 11/22/2004 9:07:14 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran has suspended nuclear operations ahead of IAEA meeting, diplomats say

By Stephen Fidler in London
Published: November 23 2004 02:00 | Last updated: November 23 2004 02:00

Iran appears to have ceased all sensitive nuclear operations ahead of a crucial meeting later this week of the board of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, according to western diplomats.The apparent suspension of activities follows an agreement last week with Britain, France and Germany designed to stave off US efforts to report Iran to the United Nations Security Council, a move that could result in UN sanctions.

Diplomats said the three had been alarmed by evidence that, after agreeing the suspension, Iran had produced significant quantities of uranium hexafluoride (UF6). They said it had raised further questions about its good faith.

UF6 is spun in centrifuges to produce an enriched form of uranium usable in nuclear power plants or an atomic weapon, and officials reported that Iran had produced, for the first time, about two tonnes of the material at a plant in Isfahan. That plant now appears to have halted production. Iran denies US accusations that it has a nuclear weapons programme.

IAEA inspectors have not had time to verify that all aspects of the country's uranium enrichment programme had been shut down, but they were hopeful that verification could take place before the IAEA board convened on Thursday, officials said.

"I think pretty much everything has come to a halt right now," Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA director-general, told reporters in Vienna.

Iran has said its suspension would not last long, but the European governments hope to offer Iran incentives to make the suspension permanent. "I think it's in Iran's interest to maintain the suspension peaceful purposes," Mr ElBaradei said.

The US is pushing for strong language in the board resolution that would insert a trigger clause that would result in Iran being automatically referred to the Security Council if it breached its commitment to the European governments. Scott Mcclellan, White House spokesman, said yesterday "the recent reports . . . have underscored our concerns about Iran and its intentions to continue to pursue nuclear weapons. We always said that the proof of the agreement they reached with the Europeans would be in the implementation. And so we look forward to seeing what's reported at the board meeting later this week."

A report this month to the board concluded that Iran had not diverted material from its known nuclear activities to any weapons programme, but it said it could not verify yet whether there was any nuclear programme that Iran had not declared.

4 posted on 11/22/2004 9:08:42 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran Deceives the World Again

by Shalom Freedman
November 22, 2004

Today, November 22, there has been a report that Iran has suspended its enrichment of nuclear fuel. This is clearly a propaganda step aimed at thwarting any US-initiated action against Iran in the Security Council. It is Iran doing its side in the 'deal' with Great Britain, Germany and France, which would have Iran indefinitely suspend its enrichment program while receiving aid, including nuclear technology, from the Europeans. It is a wise tactical measure on the part of Iran, which in any case is covered against Security Council action through a promised veto by its increasingly powerful ally, China.

Iran, while pretending at suspending its uranium enrichment, is, according to Iranian dissidents, continuing to enrich uranium at secret sites. According to Israeli intelligence, Iran has two kinds of secret sites: those it has told the West about and those it has not. Debkafile estimates that Iran now has three-hundred and fifty nuclear sites that would have to be targeted if its nuclear program were to be halted completely. Debkafile claims that because of the great distance and the difficult route, Israeli planes would not be able to make these strikes effectively. It suggests that the only real military option is in the hands of the United States.

President Bush has repeatedly said that Iran would not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. The US has also recently suggested it might begin targeting Iranian leaders. But the consensus seems to be that for the US to effectively disable Iran's nuclear program it would have to make a ground invasion of Iran. Given the present difficulties that the US is having in Iraq, and the limitations on its forces, it seems extremely unlikely that the US will go any time soon for such an option.

On November 21, there was a report in the Jerusalem Post quoting Israeli intelligence sources saying that Iran would have a deliverable nuclear weapon in two years. This would seem to give the US and Israel a certain extra amount of time. But it is not clear that this report is accurate, as there have been many different estimates, including some suggesting that by this time Iran already has deliverable nuclear weapons.

Iran's strategic location in the Persian Gulf, its capacity to intimidate smaller neighbors, and the fact that it is one of the world's largest producers of oil also make a strike against its nuclear facilities problematic. The economic consequences of a strike against Iran, some believe, might be disastrous to the world economy.

There are, therefore, many reasons the Iranians might believe that their gamble is going to pay off, and they are going to get away with it. They are going to make the bluff temporary suspension gesture while continuing with their secret programs. They are going to continue improving their missile range and accuracy while adapting them for nuclear use. They are going to, under the world's eyes and against the promises their own leaders have repeatedly made (including those in which they claim that WMD are against all principles of Islam and were opposed by Ayatollah Khomeini), attain a considerable nuclear capability.

Again, most experts believe that Iranian targets are too numerous, too widely dispersed, too deeply bunkered underground and, in some cases, too unknown to be completely eliminated. There are experts who argue that attacks against the major sites in Bushehr, Natanz, Arak and Esfehan would considerably delay the Iranian nuclear program and so make a lot of sense. It is clear that the United States does have, as it is so close to Iran in Iraq, a real military option. Again, it is not clear that Israel, without full cooperation of the United States, has such an option.

What is more than clear is that the Iranians are determined to attain the nuclear option, that they are deceiving the Europeans, that the Europeans perhaps want to be deceived (at least this may be true for the French), in order to undermine the Americans, that Iran is greatly bolstered by having the China option, that an Iranian nuclear capacity is the greatest danger that Israel now faces. And that the stopping of Iran from becoming a nuclear power should be a first priority of the free world, not only in words but in deeds.

5 posted on 11/22/2004 9:09:04 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Powell Has Dinner Chat with Iranian Minister

Mon Nov 22, 2004 07:29 PM ET

By Saul Hudson

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell had "polite dinner conversation" seated alongside his Iranian counterpart on Monday in the most extensive, high-level contact between the countries in years.

Iran and the United States, which are locked in a crisis over Tehran's nuclear program, do not have diplomatic relations but occasionally over the past few years their senior envoys have crossed paths at international meetings.

The Bush administration has been under pressure from many in the U.S. foreign policy establishment to begin a dialogue with Tehran but it has been divided over whether and to what degree it might reach out.

"During the course of dinner the secretary and the Iranian foreign minister engaged in polite dinner conversation," said a senior State Department official, who asked not to be named.

Substantive issues such as the nuclear crisis and Iraq are not considered "polite conversation," he added.

The Egyptians, hosts of the international conference, arranged the seating at a first-night dinner for countries' top representatives, putting Powell between the Iranian, Kamal Kharrazi, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, the official said.

It was not clear if Powell knew before the meal who would be at his elbow for what would his most extensive encounter with an Iranian as the top U.S. diplomat.

In November 2001, Powell took the opportunity of a post-Sept. 11 meeting on Afghanistan to shake hands with Kharrazi at the United Nations in New York.

Powell has since attended two international donor meetings attended by Iranian diplomats, according to U.S. officials.

Any gesture toward Iran at the Iraq meeting would be modest, U.S. officials said before the meeting.

TWO DECADES

The United States has not had formal diplomatic relations with the Islamic republic since a hostage crisis more than two decades ago. It has had only intermittent contacts since then, despite Tehran's growing ability to thwart some of Washington's major objectives, such as stability in Iraq.

In the days leading up to the conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Powell played down the possibility of a meeting to discuss bilateral issues. He also angered Iran with new accusations that it was seeking to adapt its missiles to carry a nuclear warhead.

But Powell, whose cautious support of European nuclear negotiations with Iran faces opposition from some Bush administration hawks, noted there would be conference social events and that he was "not a discourteous man."

The encounter came on the same day as Iran suspended sensitive nuclear activities that could be used to make a bomb in a move likely to thwart U.S. efforts to report it to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

The United States accuses oil-rich Iran of pursuing a nuclear bomb and has vowed to stop it achieving that goal. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and only to generate power.

On Tuesday, the second and final day of the conference, Powell also plans to hold a bilateral meeting with his counterpart from Syria, another country Washington has strained ties with.


6 posted on 11/22/2004 9:09:24 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Sharon Expresses Israeli Concerns Over Iran

01:01 Nov 23, '04 / 10 Kislev 5765

(IsraelNN.com) In yesterday’s (Monday) meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon explained intelligence reports indicate that Iranian uranium enrichment efforts continue despite a declaration from Iran that efforts would halt in response to the demands of the international community.

Mr. Sharon called on Powell to bring the Iranian issue to the UN Security Council.

7 posted on 11/22/2004 9:09:42 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Opinions

JAY AMBROSE: Dealing with the Iranian threat
Copyright © 2004 Nando Media
Copyright © 2004 Scripps Howard News Service



Scripps Howard News Service

(November 22, 3:27 pm AST) - There are two stark truths to be kept in mind as Britain, Germany and France continue their negotiations with Iran, the first being that virtually no one doubts that this terrorist-friendly, autocratic theocracy has been plotting and maneuvering for years to acquire nuclear weaponry.

The second is that under no circumstances can the United States allow the acquisition to occur, not unless we are fools willing to put hundreds of thousands of American lives at peril, to put Israel at peril and to grant that the Middle East will become Iran's playfield, a place where its nuclear heft will cause others to tiptoe.

Lately, the three European nations have expressed satisfaction in winning an agreement from Iran to stop uranium enrichment in exchange for economic goodies and light-water reactor fuel. But watch out: Iran has sounded conciliatory before only to pull fast ones, the United States and an Iranian group outside the country have already issued warnings of deception and danger, and the light-water fuel itself could be used to develop nuclear bombs if Western observation is insufficient.

The U.S. position has been to have the U.N. Security Council consider sanctions, which conceivably might get Iran's attention. Because Iran has a significant democratic movement, some in the Bush administration have voiced hopes that the ruling ayatollahs might someday be displaced, a solution devoutly to be wished.

And there have been whispers about military action, although an invasion of Iran might make Iraq look like a picnic. Relying on bombs to take out nuclear facilities - such as Israel did to an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 - is difficult for many reasons, such as the fact that they could be all over the place, hard to find and fortified against explosions.

Despite all these difficulties, stark truth No. 2 must take precedence over stark truth No. 1. Iran must be made to know that the United States will not permit it to have nuclear weapons, that our power does count for something in this world despite the cries against its being used, and that Iran's best course is quickly to reach an agreement that offers the best possible safeguards that it will never make a nuclear weapon.

Contact Jay Ambrose, director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard Newspapers, at AmbroseJ@shns.com.

8 posted on 11/22/2004 9:10:05 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

USA > Foreign Policy
from the November 23, 2004 edition

If Iran goes nuclear ...

Bush softens his rhetoric as new intelligence indicates Iran is accelerating nuclear pursuit.
| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
As recently as April, President Bush said it would be "intolerable" for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon.

Since then problems in Iraq and the presidential campaign have pried attention away from Iran's nuclear ambitions. But now the spotlight is back, intensified by new intelligence suggesting Iran is accelerating its nuclear work.

Yet Mr. Bush's recent rhetoric on the topic has been nuanced - gone is the word "intolerable." The shift may suggest two things: first, a realization that diplomatic options are limited, and second, a realization that Iran has tremendous means of influencing events in Iraq.

Despite those factors, the prospect of Iran possessing a nuclear weapon is cause for concern on several fronts, from the role that Iran's Islamic regime sees for itself in the Muslim world and the specific threat it poses to Israel, to the crucial place it holds as a global oil power. But perhaps the greatest risk is how an Iran declaring itself a nuclear power would almost certainly set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

"We need to be much more worried than we have been that what we do with Iran will be a model for others," says Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington. "The real problem of Iran is how it sets an example for others to follow in the region."

An "overtly" nuclear Iran could result in a "large nuclear crowd in the Middle East," Mr. Sokolski says: Israel would go public with the nuclear armament it has been mum about, which in turn would put tremendous pressure on Egypt to stand shoulder to shoulder in the nuclear club. Syria, Algeria, Saudi Arabia - which would feel threatened by Iran's new status - would also feel pressed to ratchet up what are assumed to be varying existing programs.

The potential impact on Israel is also key. "Right at the top I'd put what I'd call the Israel issue," says Daniel Brumberg, an Iran and Middle East expert at Georgetown University in Washington. "If Iran has an effective nuclear deterrent, its allies, particularly Hizbullah, might feel emboldened and that they have the cover to pursue a more hostile approach to Israel."

Most experts believe Iran is at least three years from actually possessing a nuclear weapon, although some believe it could get there sooner if it focused on plutonium separation rather than uranium enrichment. Another possibility is that it possesses materials and facilities the international community doesn't know about, which could also telescope that prognostication to a shorter point in the distance.

Either way, the time for heading off Iran's nuclearization is fleeting, experts say, which is one reason the issue has resurfaced. On Thursday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is scheduled to take up Iran's case and decide whether to refer it to the Security Council - one reason Bush last week returned his attention to Iran and what he has called the problem of the world's worst regimes possessing the world's deadliest weapons.

Few observers expect the IAEA to send the Iran case to the Security Council at this point, with several European countries having just concluded an agreement with Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programs while international assistance is negotiated.

On the heels of that agreement last week, Iran announced Monday it had frozen its uranium enrichment program. But the seeds of a breakdown appeared already sown in the deal, with Iran saying the freeze would be "brief" and tied to the Europeans' making good on promises of economic assistance, while the Europeans insisted on a "sustained" freeze before other elements of the deal would set in.

In any event, the Bush administration remains deeply skeptical of the prospects for the European plan to derail Iran's nuclear ambitions. One reason is that over recent years Iran's nuclear program has become tightly bound with national pride, thus making it all the more difficult for a regime - particularly one whose popularity is already on the wane - to give it up.

"It doesn't matter what faction it is, from the radical religious conservatives to the left, there's a consensus that Iran has a right to pursue the nuclear fuel cycle, and that indeed it has a right to develop nuclear weapons if it chooses," says Mr. Brumberg. "It's something that unites the country, so in a time of deepening divisions it's not something that anyone wants to renounce."

Ray Takeyh, an Iran expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, says the Iranians are not yet on a par with Pakistanis: "In Karachi you see clocks in the form of a nuclear warhead." But he says polls show as many as 80 percent of Iranians supporting the country's nuclear ambitions, underscoring how difficult securing an agreement from Iran may be.

Still, experts like Mr. Takeyh say it is the "exceptionalism" of the bomb landing in the hands of such an "unpredictable, unstable, and aggressive regime" that makes Iran "a nearly existential threat."

Some experts hold out the hope that Iran, if it became a nuclear power, could yet evolve in somewhat the same way India has- from a one-time international agitator to a nuclear power taking its position seriously and demonstrating stronger interests in regional stability.

That Iran has not caused all the trouble in next-door Iraq that it is assumed it could have is one factor cited in support of Iran's potential for evolving into a responsible actor. Maybe Iran would not use its nuclear status to try to drive up oil prices, or to husband a more radical Palestinian future, some observers suggest.

But even that would not address the risks posed by nuclear proliferation in perhaps the world's least stable region. As nonproliferation expert Sokolski says, the world is opening a can of worms if it allows countries the right, as Iran is claiming, to enrich uranium while claiming its ambitions are peaceful. The message to other nuclear wannabes would be clear.

The problem of everyone "becoming nuclear ready," Sokolski says, is that "maybe it's not quite the bomb, but it's within a screwdriver turn of it."


9 posted on 11/22/2004 9:10:26 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Tehran Rocks to Forbidden Beat of 'D.J. Maryam'

Commentary, Shahla Azizi,
Pacific News Service, Nov 22, 2004

Editor's Note: With most female singing prohibited by the Islamic state, frustrated young Iranians are tuning in to a mysterious voice that to them symbolizes freedom.

TEHRAN--Late at night in a taxi, the driver must smell my whiskey breath, for he plays the CD of a female singer.

Female singing, like drinking alcohol, is banned in Iran. Women can only sing for other women, with a special license from the Ministry of Culture and Guidance. They can sing in choirs or accompany other male singers in groups, but the lone female voice is considered too provocative. The fundamentalist stance: A woman's voice, like her hair, needs to be hidden from men because it is too much of a turn-on.

From my breath, the cabbie knows my politics. If you drink, you must be anti-regime. Political lines are drawn simply in this Islamic republic: the laxness of your Hejab, the lipstick you choose to wear and the kind of fun you like to have defines your politics.

The banning of female singing, of course, does not mean that men and women do not listen to female singers. There are ways to get around every social stricture. A thriving Iranian music industry based in Los Angeles churns out the latest pop music, which is widely disseminated here through satellite TV and radio, as well as black market CDs and tapes.

The voice coming from the taxi's radio is distinctive: techno-computerized, heavily auto-reverbed but somehow still youthfully sweet. This synthesized vocal effect -- the young, gel-haired cabbie informs me it was first used by Cher -- is extremely popular among Iranians. I think this is because the distorted voice sounds like a computerized avaaz (a traditional form of singing where the voice trembles deliberately), which is appealing to the Iranian ear.

"This is D.J. Maryam," the driver says. I ask, "A new import from L.A?" "No," he answers, "she is from Tehran. They caught her singing at a party, took her away and pulled all her teeth out. They have been holding her since."

From that day on, every taxi I take seems to be playing D.J. Maryam, called "D.J." because of her use of computerized mixing. The stories about her arrest and disappearance become increasingly horrid. Some say they have cut off her tongue. Others say that her father is rich, but no amount of money can free her.

There is hardly a car full of youths from which you cannot hear the strange, sad and computerized voice of this young woman. Everyone from my conservative landlady to my devout housekeeper and the students in my class talk about what a great injustice this poor young woman has endured. One woman I know, who is very religious and works hard to support her entire family, told me that nowhere in the Koran is there a stricture against female singing. Her anger is revealing. She tells me, "Why do they not worry about the economy rather than what people listen to?" Because, I tell her, it is easier to stop people from doing something than it is to fix the economy.

Finally, in October, D.J. Maryam, trying to clear her name and put an end to rumors, gave an interview with BBC Farsi radio.

She told BBC that she is in fact an 18-year-old "moloodi" (religious/mystic music) singer who only performs for women. She complained that her music had been recorded and disseminated without her permission, and that rumors of her arrest were unfounded. Although she sings and dances to techno-pop, she says, she is a devout Muslim who would never perform in front of a mixed audience. She likes this genre of music because it has movement in it, and that is what is needed for progress.

At a party with some twenty-somethings, D.J. Maryam's music is playing again. I tell them about the BBC interview. Without hesitation, all claim that D.J. Maryam had been forced to talk the way she did. "This music does not come from the heart of a Hezbollahi (here loosely defined as all fundamentalist supporters of the theocracy). Another young woman says, "She is one of us -- just listen to her."

In her interview, the woman says that D.J. Maryam is not her real name. When asked what her real name is, she betrays a desire and need to maintain the enigma surrounding her. "My name is Mahshar, daughter of the sun and the earth and sister of water and air," she says.

Whatever her identity, this young singer has become a pop idol in a nation where 50 percent of the population is under 25 years old. The forbidden voice of a woman singing to a techno-beat embodies both their frustration with the repressive regime and their desire for change. The lone voice of a woman, having been banned, has become a powerful weapon of opposition and resistance. Tehran rocks to the forbidden beat of D.J. Maryam.

PNS contributor Shahla Azizi is a Western-educated Iranian American who lives in Tehran with her two children. Her name has been changed.

10 posted on 11/22/2004 9:10:46 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Regime change may one day be better than a nuclear-armed Iran

By Anton La Guardia
(Filed: 23/11/2004)

The more one looks at Iran's civil nuclear programme, the more it looks like a concerted project to build an atomic bomb. So Teheran's decision yesterday to suspend all aspects of uranium enrichment is, on the face of it, good news because it blocks the mullahs' most direct route to making weapons-grade fissile material.

The so-called EU-3 - Britain, France and Germany - that negotiated the deal are congratulating themselves on neutralising Iran's nuclear programme through diplomacy rather than blunt military force. They believe they are on their way to a grand bargain that averts the danger of another Iraq-style war, "turns the corner" in relations with Iran and begins the process of reconciling America with Teheran's Islamic revolutionaries.

This should be treated with caution. There are serious questions about how much of Iran's nuclear programme remains hidden from international inspectors. Even if scrupulously respected by the mullahs, the suspension can be instantly abrogated. Britain's attempt at match-making between Washington and Teheran is also questionable. Many in both capitals seem more bent on confrontation than reconciliation.

Iranian hardliners believe the "Great Satan" is mired in the Iraqi insurgency and can be thrown out in the same way as the Soviets were evicted from Afghanistan. They believe the lesson from Pakistan and India is that, once a country has nuclear weapons, it is safer and accepted at the top table.

Meanwhile neo-conservatives in Washington, emboldened by George W Bush's re-election, believe the time is ripe for "regime change" in Iran, as the next member of the "Axis of Evil". They claim an invasion would not be necessary - at most there could be limited strikes against the Revolutionary Guards and nuclear facilities - because Iran is in "incipient revolution". They believe America can help students rise up against the clerics, in the same way as they backed Poland's Solidarity movement in its confrontation with the communists.

It may seem perverse that America could even think of a new adventure in the Middle East. Yet the neo-con high priests, who once argued that overthrowing Saddam would create a wave of democracy in the region, now say democracy cannot be established in Iraq without first changing the regimes in Iran, Syria and even Saudi Arabia. In other words, stability in Iraq can be achieved only by destabilising its neighbours.

British ministers believe the Iranian regime is firmly entrenched, and say they will have nothing to do with trying to overthrow it. But after September 11 they also said they would not invade Iraq. What will Tony Blair do if the intelligence agencies report that Iran is dangerously close to a nuclear weapon and Mr Bush decides he has no choice but to bomb its nuclear facilities?

The Government pins its hopes on European "critical engagement" with Teheran. It will not be easy, though. One senior British source described bargaining with the Iranians thus: "It's like agreeing to buy a car for £1,000, handing over the money and finding the car has only three wheels. You then agree to pay £100 for the wheel, only to find it has a bald tyre. It never stops."

In its deal, the EU-3 finds itself paying ever more for the same goods: Iran had already promised to "suspend all uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities" in October 2003, but dragged its heels, then reneged last summer.

The Europeans at first gave Iran just a vague promise of "easier access to modern technology and supplies" once the enrichment programme had been permanently halted. Now they have agreed to "move ahead with projects and/or measures that can be implemented in advance of an overall agreement". Senior officials say these could include an EU trade deal and the supply of civilian aircraft.

The Europeans know the agreement is just a stopgap until Mr Bush decides what to do. Iran is fast becoming one of the most pressing foreign policy questions of his second term. Having invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, America has become Iran's close neighbour. And, like hostile neighbours, they can either turn each other's life into a living hell or seek an accommodation.

With US forces surrounding Iran, America presents a real threat to the Iranian regime. Teheran, for its part, can cause even greater mayhem in Iraq and Afghanistan, and could throw its weight behind the international terrorist war against America.

"If they get into a confrontation, it will be very bloody," said one British source - adding that British forces in southern Iraq, along the border with Iran, could be caught in the middle. No wonder London is so keen on effecting reconciliation.

Engineering the downfall of the Iranian regime is too uncertain a policy to be relied on: American interference could strengthen the regime, as it has done with Fidel Castro. In any case, the mullahs may obtain nuclear weapons long before the students can sweep them from power.

With US forces badly stretched, the invasion of as large and mountainous a country as Iran is unthinkable. Even the bombing of nuclear sites is difficult, because they are dispersed and some facilities are buried in deep concrete bunkers. "It would be odd to have to use nuclear weapons to destroy the nuclear programme," said one senior British official. Moreover, military action could cause a nationalist backlash in Iran, and a wave of anti-Western outrage in the Muslim world.

So, for the moment, there are few choices but to try to contain Iran's nuclear programme by political pressure and rigorous inter-national inspections. To succeed, the Europeans will need America to continue playing "bad cop" while acquiescing to cautious rewards for good behaviour. But if the Europeans fail, the day may come when military action, unpleasant as it may now appear, will seem less unpalatable than the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran.

11 posted on 11/22/2004 9:11:06 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Dean Calma/IAEA
The head of Iran´s Atomic Energy Organization, Reza Aghazadeh, at left, speaks during an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna on Sept. 21.
BEHIND THE HEADLINES

As Palestinian picture improves,
ominous signs about Iranian nukes

By Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON Nov. 22 (JTA) — For Israel, it’s the classic “I’ve got good news, but you might want to hear the bad news first” scenario.

Just when a confluence of unrelated events revived the prospect of peace talks with the Palestinians, Iran’s potential nuclear threat to the Jewish state suddenly seems greater than ever.

In fact, the Iran dilemma is almost the mirror image of new hope with the Palestinians: The prospect of a nuclear-armed, radical Islamic regime suddenly has moved from the “within years” to the “within months” column, differences between the United States and Europe are dogging resolution — and the United States wants Israel to just sit still.

Reports of Iran’s accelerated development of nuclear material, as well as missiles to deliver it, have profoundly unsettled Israelis.

“We believe we know what the real intentions of the Iranians are,” Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said last week in Cleveland at the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, the umbrella group of North American Jewish federations. “The real intention of the Iranians is to develop a nuclear bomb.”

The level of agreement over keeping at bay a nation that routinely calls for Israel’s elimination and glorifies suicide bombers reached across Israel’s otherwise fractious political culture.

“Israel cannot, cannot live under the shadow of nuclear Iran and the bomb,” Ephraim Sneh, a leader of the opposition Labor party, said on CNN.

“Israel is very vulnerable,” said Sneh, who was in Washington last week. “All our economic and intellectual assets are concentrated in a piece of 20 and 60 miles. That’s all. Two bombs can turn Israel into a scorched Third World country. We cannot live with it.”

Yossi Beilin, leader of the dovish Yahad party, said the issue hangs over the nation at a time when Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s death, forthcoming Palestinian elections and the Bush administration’s post-election energy present renewed opportunities for peace in the region.

“Iran is a very, very important issue,” Beilin told JTA. “For us it is hovering, it is a problem.”

Israel and the United States were hoping the International Atomic Energy Agency would announce tougher measures at its board meeting Thursday, including more rigorous international monitoring and a trigger mechanism that automatically would refer any violation of Iran’s nonproliferation agreement to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions.

Mindful of this week’s IAEA meeting, the Iranians signed an agreement last week with France, Germany and Britain to temporarily suspend their uranium enrichment efforts.

Iran announced on Monday that the suspension, in effect until Iran works out a long-term agreement with the international community, is now underway.

Instead of assuaging concerns, however, the agreement underscored skepticism about Iran’s intentions. Within days of signing the agreement, a reliable opposition group said Iran was using advanced technology to enrich uranium at military sites and keeping the activity secret, presumably to exempt it from the suspension.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran also said that the country had purchased enriched uranium in 2001 and designs for nuclear warheads in the mid-1990s.

Iran dismissed the claims out of hand, but on Friday European diplomats — some apparently from the same nations that had negotiated the suspension agreement — were telling reporters that Iran was accelerating enrichment ahead of the suspension.

The diplomats were furious with the obvious effort to get Iran as close as possible to weaponization before the freeze kicks in.

President Bush said he found the allegations credible. Attending a meeting of Pacific Rim leaders in Chile, Bush said he considered the reports a “very serious matter.”

Another area of concern for the Americans is the development of missiles needed to deliver the warheads.

“I have seen some information that would suggest they had been actively working on delivery systems,” U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said last week.

Iran dismisses the reports as unfounded and compares them to the erroneous intelligence on weapons development that helped draw the United States into war with Iraq.

“The burden of proof is on the shoulder of the person who makes the claims,” Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said Monday in an interview on CNN.

The problem with that explanation is that Iran often is the source of the claims. In August, Iran released photos of a new version of its Shihab missile that had a baby-bottle design, as opposed to the usual cone shape.

The design apparently was drawn from Soviet era ICBM nuclear missiles, said Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, since a nuclear device fits better in a baby-bottle shape.

Why would the Iranians allow the release of those pictures?

“They want people to know,” Clawson said.

With Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein out of the way, flexing muscles sends a message that Iran is now a dominant power in the Middle East. That would allow Iran to continue its disruptive involvement in Lebanon, where Israel says Iran has armed Hezbollah terrorists with 13,000 missiles. Hezbollah and Iran also have emerged among the main financiers of Palestinian terrorist attacks in the West Bank.

The revelations late last week only increased skepticism among some on the 35-member IAEA board, and the United States has expressed its determination to impose stiffer standards, especially since Iran reneged on previous deals.

Europeans also are unnerved that the newer Shihab missiles apparently could put major European cities within range.

On the other hand, China and Russia — which as declared nuclear nations have considerable influence at the IAEA — are averse to sanctions. Russia has a financial stake in Iran’s main nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

Furthermore, Mohammed ElBaradei, the IAEA’s director-general, on Monday called Iran’s enrichment suspension a “step in the right direction,” despite skepticism by Israel and others that any real suspension was underway.

Should Iran clear the IAEA hurdle, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) plan to reintroduce their bipartisan “Iran Freedom Support Act” when Congress reconvenes in January. It would allow the president to sanction countries that do business with the Islamic regime and strengthen support for opposition groups.

That likely would have the strong support of the pro-Israel community in Washington, which believes the suspension agreement with Europe is inadequate.

“Iran is intensely working to marry its nuclear and missile programs so that it can deliver a nuclear weapon at the earliest possible date,” said Andrew Schwartz, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. “Nothing in the agreement stops Iran from completing nuclear warhead designs or improving its missiles to enable them to deliver nuclear weapons.”

After this meeting, Bush likely would raise the threat of sanctions when the IAEA board meets again, in about four months.

Israel, meanwhile, is sitting on its hands, not wanting to upend delicate U.S. efforts to build international support. U.S. officials have made clear they do not want Israel to repeat its successful 1981 strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak.

“I don’t see how it would do anything but provoke . . . a conflict between Israel and Iran, and we want to avoid that at all costs, and I think the Israelis recognize that,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press. “It’s one thing to attack a reactor in Iraq 20-some years ago. It’s something entirely different to take on that challenge now.”

Israelis say they are happy to comply, for now. On the record, they say the window for Iran’s nuclearization is two years; off the record, they say the world is looking at 12 months.

“The complacency of the international community drives Israel, pushes Israel to the corner,” Sneh, a retired general, told CNN. “We don’t prepare a pre-emptive strike, but, gradually, along the axis of time, we are pushed to the corner.”


12 posted on 11/22/2004 9:11:24 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

A Woman Parlimentarian recommends execution for prostitutes in Iran !

Iran Press News

In her speech in the Parlimant of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a representative from Tabriz said: "There are no laws specifically designed to deal with "street-walkers" and if we execute 10 of them, we will have dealt with the problem once and for all."

According to reports from the Islamic Regime´s official news agency, ILNA, Mrs. Eshrat Shayeq, the representative of Tabriz to the Islamic Assembly, stated during the third conference of women members the central Assembly of the of Islamic provinces being held in Tehran: "Any judge who claims that there is no legeal precedence regarding "street-walkers", needs to come and talk to me!" She added: " Single women are worth nothing and in many cultures single women are shunned from society! Our culture respects women; it is the women themselves who have no self-respect!"

Shayeq also stated that the Parliament cannot go against the ultimate order of the Supreme Leader himself and will not be pressured to accept the decision of anyone in the government. She also added that the representatives of the 7th Islamic Parliament have been handed a "house" that is not exactly in ruins but has many dire issues.

13 posted on 11/22/2004 9:11:50 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

2004 Tuesday 23 November

German border police arrest man over Iran nuclear sales

BERLIN – AFP- German border police said Monday that they had arrested a 53-year-old man suspected of trying to illegally export material used in nuclear power plants to Iran.

The man, who was picked up as he returned from Poland, will appear before a judge in Postdam, eastern Germany on Tuesday, a spokesperson said.

He is one of eight people and three companies suspected of trying to sell Iran cranes, broken down into parts and moved through Poland and Russia between 2000 and 2002, for use in its nuclear plants.

A 44-year-old man was arrested in eastern Germany on November 4 on suspicion of involvement in the same activities. Police raided several homes and buildings in at least six cities the same day.

14 posted on 11/22/2004 9:12:11 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Moderate Muslims and Arabs Emerge from the Shadows

FrontPageMagazine.com | November 22, 2004

After 9/11 it was generally understood that cultivating moderation throughout the Arab and Muslim world was crucial to winning the war on terrorism.  Suddenly, the elusive moderate Muslim was much sought after.  But after coming to the disappointing discovery that their numbers were few and far between, many Americans became cynical about their existence.  “Where are the voices raised in protestation?” they wondered as the crimes of Islamic terrorism stunned the rest of the world. But even as the West comes face to face with the barbarity of Islamism, the disingenuousness of the Arab media, and the conspiracy-theory-driven Muslim masses, voices of reason have begun to emerge from the chaos. That many of them originated in the West is not surprising; only in a political environment friendly to free expression can such voices truly flourish.

But even amidst the dictatorships of the Arab world, a brave few have refused to conform.  Fed up with the scapegoating – of Americans, Jews, Christians, and the West – that passes for governance and journalism in their countries, some Muslims have begun writing their own narratives. They suffer intimidation, harassment, and even attacks at the hands of fellow Muslims, but by refusing to cave in to the extremists, they can perhaps pave the way for future generations to follow.

Daniel Pipes, Middle East scholar and Bush appointee to the U.S. Institute of Peace (although often falsely accused of the opposite), routinely gives moderate Muslims and Arabs their due. In his article "Moderate Voices of Islam" Pipes calls attention to such writers and activists because, as he puts it, "Promoting anti-Islamists and weakening Islamists is crucial if a moderate and modern form of Islam is to emerge in the West."  Indeed, it behooves those who wish to advance U.S. victory against Islamic terrorism to highlight such voices.  For such a struggle cannot be won on the battlefield alone, but must also be fought ideologically. And in order to do so, reform should be encouraged from within.

 

In the United States, organizations such as CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic Relations), beholden to Wahhabist interests in Saudi Arabia, have for too long set the agenda for American Muslims. Issuing selective condemnations of terrorism or none at all, and opposing every U.S. effort to combat Islamism, these groups are part of the problem, not the solution. In contrast, organizations like the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism and the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) are shaking the foundations of the American Islamic establishment. Not only do these groups renounce Islamic terrorism and the ideology that fuels it, they also express unconditional support for their country – America, that is.

 

The Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism has become increasingly visible on the national scene, with its spokespersons appearing regularly on Fox News and beyond. The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) put on the first Muslim-sponsored “Rally Against Terror” in the country earlier this year in Phoenix, Arizona.  Although the turnout wasn’t huge and members of CAIR reportedly tried to infiltrate the crowd, AIFD should be commended for its efforts.  In his articles for the Arizona Republic’s “Plugged In” weblog, AIFD chairman M. Zuhdi Jasser routinely condemns Islamic terrorism, as well as critiquing Arab journalists who provide backhanded support for Islamism.

  

Arab and Persian intellectuals living in the United States are also making their mark. The brilliant Fouad Ajami, professor of Middle Eastern studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, is one of the most eloquent voices in American journalism. Born in Lebanon, Ajami’s books, The Dream Palace of the Arabs, The Arab Predicament and The Vanished Imam, provide insight into an Arab culture seldom understood by most Americans.  His articles for Foreign Affairs and the Wall Street Journal are a both essential and pleasurable reading. 

 

Another professor originally from Lebanon, Walid Phares, a Christian, is now a terrorism analyst and Middle East expert for various mainstream media outlets in the U.S.  His articles appear regularly at Frontpage.com and he is a senior fellow for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.   He is represented by Benador Associates, a public relations firm that features many of today’s brightest political stars.  The writings of fellow Benador expert, Iranian Amir Taheri, provide an indispensable source of knowledge on Iran and the Muslim world.

 

Unsurprisingly, Muslim women have been some of the most powerful voices of moderation among their peers. Canadian Irshad Manji has become well known for her groundbreaking book, The Trouble with Islam: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith, which provides an honest examination of the religion and its drawbacks. As a gay woman, Manji is intimately familiar with the prejudices her own culture elicits.

 

Asra Q. Nomani, an accomplished reporter originally from India, caused a stir last year in her Morgantown, West Virginia, mosque when she refused to abide by the usual gender-segregated seating. She continues to speak out for women’s rights in the American Muslim community and to oppose what she calls the attempted “takeover of many U.S. mosques by conservative and traditionalist Muslims.” 

 

In the Netherlands, Somali-born Dutch MP Ayann Hirsi Ali has been a strong proponent of Muslim women’s rights.  An ex-Muslim who left Somalia to escape an arranged marriage, Ali has paid a high price for her outspokenness.  She’s accompanied by a security guard at all times and has had to go into hiding on several occasions, most recently in the wake of Theo Van Gogh’s murder by an Islamist with ties to terrorism.  Ali and Van Gogh had collaborated on Submission, a controversial film that criticizes the treatment of women under Islam.  Ali was threatened directly in a note attached to Van Gogh’s body, titled “An Open Letter to Hirsi Ali” and has since gone underground.  She may yet be rewarded for her bravery by the growing outcry in the Netherlands against Islamic extremism.   

 

Lest it be thought that such figures only defend America while still clinging to animosity toward Israel, there, too, is progress.  Freelance writer and public speaker Nonie Darwish – a former Muslim born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, and the Gaza Strip who later converted to Christianity – has lived in the United States for over 25 years. Darwish set up a Web site with the unlikely title ArabsforIsrael.com, which seeks to bridge the gap that others all too often deem unbridgeable.

 

Even more surprising is Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist who now lectures on behalf of Israel. He, too, converted to Christianity and became a devoted Zionist in the process. Providing firsthand experience of the hatred and anti-Semitism that is instilled in Palestinians from the time of their youth, Shoebat’s testimony is a powerful indictment against Islamist intolerance. 

 

The past several months alone have produced a slew of articles written by Arabs defending the state of Israel. Israeli Arabs in particular, mostly Druze and Bedouin, have broken ranks with those who continue to demonize Israel.  As a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report, Israeli Arab Khaled Abu Toameh continues to provide rare unbiased reporting on the Middle East.   

 

Lebanese Christian Brigitte Gabriel delivered a moving homage to Israel during a speech last month at Duke University’s “Counter-Terrorism Speak-Out.”  And Farid Ghadry, president of the Reform Party of Syria, urged Arab self-reflection in his article “Israel Cultivates Nobel Laureates, Arabs Cultivate Suicide Bombers.”

 

The Arab media, although not typically known for moderation, have produced some pleasant surprises lately. Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya news channel, became famous in the West when his column "Innocent Religion Is Now a Message of Hate" was published in the British newspaper the Telegraph. Written in the wake of the Beslan horrors and first published in the pan-Arabic newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, al-Rashad’s article caused quite a stir with its opening statement: "It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims." Up until that point, only non-Muslims had dared to utter such a revolutionary (yet obvious) fact and they were immediately labeled "racists" for doing so. Al-Rashad’s admission paved the way for a more honest approach to the problem of Islamic terrorism, although his omission of Israeli citizens leaves something to be desired. 

 

Aisha Siddiqa Qureshi’s unprecedented article in Muslim World Today, "Liberal America, Europe Slowly Rebelling Against the Values Required for Civilized Existence," offered a potent warning to the West and to liberal Jews in particular about underestimating the destructive capabilities of Islamist hatred and aggression. That such an article was circulated among American Jews was wonderfully ironic.

 

The war in Iraq, far from producing extremism, as is often claimed, has in fact led to a growth of moderate voices. And unlike the pessimism of much of the Western media on the subject, many Iraqis have expressed gratitude for the liberation of their country through various organizations, Web sites and Web logs on the Internet.

 

The Iraq-America Freedom Alliance (IAFA) is made up of American and Iraqi organizations and individuals that support the War on Terrorism and, as they put it, "a free, democratic and pluralistic Iraq that is at peace with the world." The Future of Iraq Portal Web site provides what is probably the most complete listing of links focused on "empowering the Iraqi people." An Iraqi dentist who goes by the name of "Zeyad" provides "daily news and comments on the situation in post Saddam Iraq" with his Web log HealingIraq.com. Another Iraqi dentist, "A.Y.S.," provides a similar take on "Iraq after the liberation" at Iraqataglance.com. His header reads "Liberation, Freedom, Democracy – Now we have the right to act as we choose."  And over at The Mesopotamian, blogger “Alaa” pledges “To bring one more Iraqi voice of the silent majority to the attention of the world.”

 

Iran also produces countless Web logs and Web sites, both from inside and outside the country. In a welcome departure from the belligerence and extremism of Iran’s rulers, the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran provides a voice for the country’s dispossessed youth. Despite untold dangers to its members, the group maintains a Web site that offers a "vision of a free, independent, democratic, secular and industrialized Iran." The students also speak out against anti-Semitism and call for relations with Israel in the "post theocracy Iran" they dream of. One can only hope they’re receiving whatever support from the West is possible under the circumstances.

 

Another class of moderate Arabs is not composed of Muslims. They have either become converts to Christianity (like some of those described above) or renounced religion altogether and become secularists. Both groups are highly critical of Islam itself and encourage Muslims to question their faith.

 

One of the most famous of these is Ibn Warraq, who uses a pseudonym for reasons of safety. Inspired by the 1989 fatwa ordering the death of author Salman Rushdie by Iran’s then-leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, Warraq wrote his first book, Why I Am Not a Muslim. The title is obviously inspired by Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian, and in the book Warraq describes his transformation from Muslim to secularist. His second book, Leaving Islam: Apostates Speak Out, is a collection of testimonials by ex-Muslims. Warraq has since founded the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society, whose Web site, SecularIslam.org, elaborates on his thesis.

 

Another Web site, FaithFreedom.org, provides an extensive collection of articles, by both ex-Muslim and non-Muslim writers, that critiques Islam in general and Islamism more specifically. They describe themselves this way: "Islam and Quran [Koran] denounced by ex-Muslims as the root of terrorism." Whether or not one subscribes to the group’s beliefs, they provide a welcome source for unfiltered criticism of Islam.

 

Capping off this trend of growing moderation are two recent events.  One is the historic conference that took place in Washington, D.C., on October 1, 2004.  The Middle Eastern American Convention for Freedom and Democracy held its first forum in what organizers hope will be a continuing series.  Participants included many of the groups and individuals discussed in this article, all there "to show their support for the efforts to defeat terrorism and radicalism and to create a free and peaceful Middle East."  That they succeed in their efforts is critical.

 

The other is a petition signed by 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries titled "From Liberal Arabs to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and the chairman and members of the Security Council."  First posted at two liberal Arabic Web sites on October 24, 2004, the petition is partially translated at Memri.org and reported on more extensively by Daniel Pipes.  It calls for an international treaty banning the use of religion for incitement to violence and even names specific offenders, or "sheikhs of death."  Such initial steps toward religious reform should indeed be recognized by the international community, whether or not the United Nations chooses to do so.

 

When the 9/11 Commission met earlier this year, one of its recommendations was for "a more focused foreign policy approach to reach out to moderate Muslims around the world."  And President Bush indeed made that a cornerstone of his first term.  After all, it’s no coincidence that these monumental shifts in the Arab and Muslim world have taken place over the last three years.  It seems that repeating the mantras of "freedom" and "democracy," not to mention elections in Afghanistan and soon Iraq, may just be having the effect that Bush and the so-called "neocons" desired. 

 

But despite such promising developments in the Arab and Islamic world, Americans should not be under the illusion that this evolution in thought is yet widespread. The Muslim world still has many crimes to account for, and all too often its people remain silent in the face of injustice. To impatient Westerners, change can seem excruciatingly slow to take hold in a culture so mired in the past. But the voices of moderation should not be ignored, nor should they be stifled. Just as the West grappled earlier with its reformation, so, too, must the Muslim world face its own demons. The question is can we wait for this process to occur before our own survival becomes tantamount? Only time will tell.

 

Cinnamon Stillwell is contributing editor to ChronWatch.com and a writer for Frontpage.com.  Her articles have also appeared at Opeds.com, IntellectualConservative.com, Jewish Press, and Israel National News.  She lives in San Francisco and can be reached at:  cstillwell@chronwatch.com.

15 posted on 11/22/2004 9:24:45 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
But, he added, "I think the definition of truth is the willingness of the Iranian regime to allow for verification."

Lov it!

16 posted on 11/22/2004 9:51:51 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (A Proud member of Free Republic ~~The New Face of the Fourth Estate since 1996.)
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To: DoctorZIn

bump


17 posted on 11/22/2004 9:53:53 PM PST by Nateman (The enemies of reason are allies of evil.)
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To: DoctorZIn; Ernest_at_the_Beach; freedom44; nuconvert; Grampa Dave

18 posted on 11/22/2004 11:06:50 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn

NEXT IAEA MEETING ON IRAN LIKELY TO BE “BUSINESS AS USUAL”

By Safa Haeri
Posted Monday, November 22, 2004

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VIENNA, 22 Nov. (IPS) Iran is expected to score a half diplomatic success when the Board of Directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meets on Thursday 25 November in Vienna to review controversial nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic.

“The meeting is very important for the Iranians. If their case is closed at the IAEA, something that Iran expects; it would be a great victory for them. But even if the Agency’s Board keeps the case for further review, not yielding to American pressures, it would be a half success”, a political analyst close to the problem told Iran Press Service.

likely, it is going to be business as usual: No sanction and not closing the case”, predicted one Iranian observer about next IAEA meeting

Diplomats also said that sanctions remain unlikely as China and Russia, two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, have said they support Iran's stance, ruling out at the same time using their veto power in case Washington can fulfill its aim.

“Very likely, it is going to be business as usual: No sanction and not closing the case”, predicted one Iranian observer.

According to a draft resolution prepared by Britain, France and Germany, the three most powerful members of the European Union that are actively working with Tehran to solve the case since a year ago, the so-called “Big 3” would ask Iran to continue suspending uranium enriching activities and approve the Additional Protocol to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The draft, obtained by the Iran press and to be presented to the Board, welcomes Iran’s suspending enriching activities but urges the IAEA’s Boss Dr. Mohammad Ebrade’i to continue monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities to make sure that the atomic technology is not diverted to military purposes, as Washington and Tel Aviv suspects.

In an agreement reached on 15 November 2004 in Paris with the European Troika, Iran accepted “voluntarily” to suspend enriching uranium as from 22 November “for the duration of talks”, but ruled out definitive stopping of the activities, as demanded by Berlin, London and Paris and pressed hard by Washington.

For their part, the Troika promised Tehran access to nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes and signing a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union.

Speaking in Moscow with reporters, Mr. Hoseyn Moussavian, one of Iran's senior negotiators with the IAEA and the Troika repeated that contined suspension of enriching uranium would depend on the outcomes of the 25 November meeting.

"If the Europeans respect their part of the (Paris) Accords, we would stay by our engagements, otherwise, we have no other obligations", he said.

In a statement in Santiago de Chile, President George W. Bush welcomed cautiously the Paris Accord, but added that what “all of us we want is to see Iran stopping all its nuclear activities at once and definitively”.

The Trio’s draft faults the Islamic Republic for the past activities it had not reported to the IAEA and calls on Tehran to continue cooperating actively with the Agency to “consolidate confidence building” by making sure that nuclear inspectors could visit any site they wishes to inspect “any time with no restrictions”.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told reporters in Brussels on Monday that Iran's move was a positive one but warned that it was not the end of the matter.

If there is a failure by Iran to meet its obligations then Britain, Germany and France reserve collective right to refer the matter to the Security Council", Mr. Straw warned

"If there is a failure by Iran to meet its obligations then Britain and also Germany and France reserve our collective right to refer the matter to the Security Council", Mr. Straw warned on the sideline of the EU foreign affairs ministers meeting, quoted by the BBC.

In an interview with the BBC radio on Sunday, Mr. ElBarade’i said cautiously though that “so far”, international nuclear inspectors have not found evidence proving that Iran is diverting nuclear technology to military uses.

"We believe that all the declared nuclear material in Iran is in our custody right now and has not been diverted to nuclear weapons", he said, observing however that “there is still a lot of work to do to make sure there are not undeclared activities in the country".

He also welcomed news of Iran's suspension as "a good step in the right direction" that could "build confidence" in the Iranian government's intentions.

He also said that Iran had made the uranium gas used in enrichment but that the quantities involved were not enough to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran reacted angrily to recent reports that it was speeding up uranium enrichment during the week-long gap between the deal being struck and the deadline for its introduction.

"So far, we have been able (...) to visit all the facilities we want to visit... including military sites. I hope that will continue", ElBarade’i said, adding that IAEA inspectors "have pretty extensive rights of verification".

"I would like Iran to continue to demonstrate maximum transparency," he said. "The more transparency they show, the more confidence we can build and the more assurances we can provide the international community".

The declaration by the international nuclear watchdog’s boss contradicted earlier statement by both American officials like the outgoing State Secretary Collin Powell and un-identified diplomats in Vienna accusing the Iran to develop new hardware capable of transporting nuclear charges and transforming quantities of yellow cake, or raw uranium into hexafluoride gas needed for enriching uranium.

But while the so-called diplomats – the same ones that always turn out right before the start of each meeting of the IAEA directors when Iran’s nuclear case is on debate, giving Western correspondents new information on Iran’s breaches of the Agency’s earlier resolutions – were vague on the quantities of yellow cake and the dates it had been enriched, Mr. Powell also was challenged by the press on the accuracy of his “exclusive information” on new Iranian weapons.

As expected, Tehran hit back at Powell's charges, saying not only the information were “totally baseless”, but also ruled out as “useless” the possibility of him meeting Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharrazi on the sidelines of the Sharm alSheykh international conference on Iraq.

“Despite some unreasonable demands, the proposed draft has a lukewarm language”, the official Iranian news agency IRNA quoted “analysts” as having commented on the Big 3’s proposal, adding however that it is unlikely to satisfy the United States.

“Presenting many contradictions with the views of the Americans, the draft, even if approved, would remain at the IAEA but would not go to the United Nations Security Council for sanctions against the Islamic Republic”, IRNA added. ENDS IRAN BIG 3 NUCLEAR 221104

19 posted on 11/23/2004 12:14:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran23 November 2004

Impunity triumphs in Iranian justice

Families still waiting six years after serial killings of intellectuals and journalists

Six years after a wave of murders of intellectuals and journalists in Iran, the Kazemi, Forouhar, Charif, Mokhtari, Pouyandeh and Davani families, and other families like them, still wait to know the truth about what happened to their loved ones, while the instigators and perpetrators of these killings celebrate six long years of almost total impunity that shows no sign of stopping given the frequent displays of judicial complicity and hypocrisy in these cases, Reporters Without Borders said today.

"The ban on any demonstration by the families of the victims to mark the sixth anniversary of these killings is a reflection of the obstructiveness and bad faith of the Iranian justice system, which is controlled by the conservatives in power," the organisation said.

Referring to the July 2003 murder of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photojournalist of Iranian origin, Reporters Without Borders said : "In this case, the Iranian justice system gave yet another demonstration of denials of justice, manipulation and lies that guarantee lasting impunity for the instigators, especially when they hold high government positions."

One of the most outrageous examples of this impunity was undoubtedly the decision of Ayatollah Shahroudi, the judiciary's supreme chief, to appoint former intelligence minister Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi as state prosecutor in June of this year. Dorri-Najafabadi was alleged to have been directly involved in the serial killings but was never prosecuted.

Akbar Ganji, one of the few journalists to investigate these killings, has been imprisoned in Evin prison north of Tehran since 22 April 2000. He wrote several articles about these cases in the newspaper Sobh-é-Emrouz implicating religious affairs court prosecutor Mohseni Egeie and several political leaders including Ali Fallahian and Hashemi Rafsandjani, a possible successor to Mohammad Khatami as president.

As for the lawyer of the victims' families, Nasser Zarafshan, he was arrested on 7 August 2002 and is still detained. A military court found him guilty in March 2004 of "divulging case information" and sentenced him to five years in prison.

The wave of killings of intellectuals and government opponents took place in November and December 1998. The victims included liberal opposition figureheads Darioush and Parvaneh Forouhar, Iran-é-Farda editorialist Majid Charif and writer-journalists Mohamad Makhtari and Mohamad Jafar Pouyandeh.

These deaths had been preceded by a few months by the disappearance of Pirouz Davani, the editor of the magazine Pirouz ("Victory" in Farsi). His body was never found. All these cases were extensively covered by many pro-democracy news media. The intelligence ministry officially recognized in January 1999 that some of its agents were involved and announced dozens of arrests. Fifteen intelligence ministry agents were convicted in January 2001 for the murder of the Forouhars. Three were sentenced to death. The other 12 received prison sentences. Three other suspects were acquitted. The supreme court upheld the verdict but only two persons were sentenced to 15 years in prison. The authorities never tried to establish the circumstances Davani's disappearance and there was never any investigation into Charif's death.

None of the instigators of the 1998 murders have ever been questioned or detained. The victims' families, who are supported by Reporters Without Borders, have filed complaints before international judicial bodies.

There have been no limits to the judiciary's duplicity and hypocrisy in the Kazemi case. Arrested on 23 June 2003 while photographing the families of detainees outside Evin prison, Kazemi died in custody, probably on 10 July 2003. After trying to conceal the causes of her death for nearly a week, the Iranian authorities finally recognised that she was beaten to death.

Following an Iranian parliamentary enquiry and under heavy pressure from Canada and the international community in general, the judicial authorities named an intelligence agent who had been one of Kazemi's interrogators as the person responsible for her death. He was charged and then acquitted in a sham trial on 24 July 2004.

Lawyers acting for the victim's family requested that Mohammad Bakshi, an Evin prison agent working for Tehran prosecutor Said Mortazavi, and five other senior judicial officials present during Kazemi's interrogation, should appear at the trial. But the Tehran court refused and concluded the trial in two days. Yet various Iranian commissions of enquiry had implicated these officials.

A few days after this parody of justice, the Iranian judicial authorities revised the findings of the investigation and announced that Kazemi's death was "accidental."

20 posted on 11/23/2004 10:03:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

November 23, 2004

Iranian objections threaten nuclear deal

From Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor, in Sharm el-Sheikh

Iran today raised last minute objections to the wording of an agreement to limit its controversial nuclear programme, raising fears of a confrontation on Thursday at a key meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Kamal Kharrazi, the Iranian Foreign Minister, told Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, at a meeting in Egypt that Iran wanted two key paragraphs reworked, two weeks after the text of the agreement was finalised in Paris.

"We hope to have an agreement," said Mr Straw. "Minister Kharrazi made strong representations to me about some aspects of the resolution. We all look forward to it being resolved."

The deal struck earlier this month calls on Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment programme and open its nuclear facilities to inspectors from the IAEA, the nuclear watchdog.

In return Britain, France and Germany have pledged to reward Iran by boosting trade and political relations between the European Union and Tehran. They may also help Iran build a civilian nuclear programme.

The compromise also protects Iran from America, which has accused the Iranians of secretly trying to assemble a nuclear bomb and wants the regime referred to the UN Security Council for possible punitive sanctions.

Iran announced yesterday that it had suspended its enrichment programme and allowed IAEA inspectors to visit nuclear sites.

But British officials said today that Iran raised objections about the wording of the freeze on enrichment and how the suspension would be monitored. In particular the Iranians want to avoid "an automatic trigger" that could lead to the country being referred to the UN Security Council if it was found in breach of the resolution. "We have 48 hours of hard work to do," said a British official.

While the British, French and German foreign ministers pressed Mr Kharrazi in Sharm el-Sheikh, diplomats in Vienna were working through the text searching for new wording that would satisfy all sides. "We are close but not there yet."

The Iranians have made it clear that they have only "suspended" but not terminated their enrichment programme, which critics suspect is a cover for making highly enriched uranium capable of being used in a nuclear warhead. The Europeans are hoping that the suspension will be made permanent when Tehran enjoys the benefits of its improved relations with Brussels.

The wording of the final resolution must also satisfy countries like America, Australia, Canada and Japan that want guarantees that the deal will prevent Iran from pursuing a secret atomic weapons project.

IAEA sources predicted that a compromise would finally be reached. "We have had six rounds of these talks. Even when the situation looks difficult, we always seem to get a consensus at the end," said the source.

One diplomat, with long experience in dealing with the Iranians, said he was not surprised by the last minute objections. "Negotiating with the Iranians is like buying a used car. You agree on the price, but when you take delivery find there are only three wheels. There is always something that needs to be fixed," said the diplomat.


21 posted on 11/23/2004 10:06:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Ending Iran's Terror Regime

By Mohammad Parvin
FrontPageMagazine.com | November 23, 2004

The task of changing the regime of terror in Iran and establishing a secular democratic government undertaken by freedom-loving Iranian people is huge and difficult, but Iranians are capable of defeating their enemy, the Islamic Regime, if it is not supported by the interest-driven industrial power. The European Union’s support of the Islamic Regime of Iran (IRI), and its legitimization and acceptance, has been devastating to Iranians.  The recent EU-IRI nuclear agreement with the Islamic Regime is the utmost shameless act of appeasement of terror masters in Iran. Is the U.S. going to endorse these appeasing policies?

 

Unfortunately, there are also reasons to be concerned about the U.S. approach towards the Islamic Regime in light of its nuclear activities. During the election campaign and especially presidential debates, President Bush indicated many times that the U.S. government has given this message to mullahs directly and also through the EU that “if you expect to be part of the world of nations, get rid of your nuclear programs.”

 

Based on the recent EU-IRI agreement, the murderous regime of Iran has been offered lucrative incentives even without accepting this offer. IRI has volunteered to suspend its enrichment process, and the text of the agreement has made it quite clear that this is only a formality: “The E3/EU recognizes that this suspension is a voluntary confidence building measure and not a legal obligation.”

 

It is indeed an “all carrots, no stick” agreement that is designed to embrace a terrorist regime that is not giving up anything.

 

The message is very clear for the Iranians who cannot live under such a reactionary religious dictatorship, and believe that they deserve a secular democratic government: “We have finally converted the most active sponsor of terrorism and have brought it into the civilized world. Just live with it.”

 

Well, we have news for you. We believe Iranians will not accept your advice; we will not!

 

There is no doubt that the nuclear ambitions and activities of the Islamic Regime are a danger to the whole world and must be stopped. However, it is a huge mistake to ignore the very terrorist nature of this regime and assume that, regardless of what it is doing to the Iranians, it can be brought into the “world community” by bribes and lucrative incentives. The reality of the Islamic Regime based on its track record is that the very existence of this monster is not only a daily danger to the lives of millions of Iranians, it is a danger to the entire world. This threat must be removed.

 

Iranian people can do it. Iranians can change this regime on their own and, by doing so, bring peace and freedom to Iran and security to the whole world. What is expected from the U.S. government is the curtailment of the will of the interest-driven institutions and companies, and that it stand with the Iranian people in their struggle against the clerical dictatorship by addressing simple demands.

 

So, what are President Bush and State Secretary, Condoleezza Rice, going to do with respect to Iran?  If the US government wants to be on the side of the brave Iranians who have not given up hopes in spite of confronting a brutal regime and all its western supporters, they should just give them moral support by declaring that the U.S. government does not recognize the Islamic Regime as Iranians’ representatives, and that they refrain from establishing friendly relations with such abusers of the Iranian people. This support should be manifested in certain actions and not stop at words.

 

We expect the U.S. not to help this terrorist regime and not to legitimize it regardless of the promised compliance with curbing of nuclear activities. We expect a rigid sanction against IRI - not a phony type that we have witnessed during the past years, and not of the type that would exclude Halliburton, GE and more than 200 other American companies - we expect a genuine and real one. We expect the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Regime to the lowest possible level. This regime is not the representative of the Iranian people, and we challenge those who think otherwise by an internationally monitored referendum.

 

We believe that this is all most Iranians expect from the U.S. and other countries. Just do not help this terrorist regime! Iranians themselves will topple the Islamic Regime of Iran through disobedience and non-violent action. The EU will soon find out that their investments in Iran under Mullahs can never be safe because the brave Iranians will not ever allow this murderous regime to stabilize. A free Iran will not forgive those governments that betrayed its people, and it will not honor deals made by a terrorist regime.

The U.S. has the humane option of standing on the side of the brave Iranians who have not given up hope in spite of confronting a brutal regime and all its western supporters, and are fighting for a secular democratic regime. When this struggle succeeds to eliminate the IRI, the cause of terror, not only the Iranians will embrace peace and justice, but the entire world will be a safer place.


Mohammad Parvin is an adjunct professor at the California State University and director of the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR) - http://mehr.org
22 posted on 11/23/2004 10:11:15 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

The Elephant in the Room, Part 5

by Dan Darling at November 23, 2004 09:53 AM

This is something of a way of summarizing all of my most recent posts with respect to Iran and the logical conclusions that we can derive from recent events there (it will be updated later tomorrow when I return from class to explain why no guarantees we provide will be sufficient deterrence to the current Iranian regime). On Wednesday, you'll get my policy recommendations for how we deal with Iran as well as the reason why I believe that Iran is more of a threat to US interests than is Pakistan. This will also touch on some of the reasons why I believe Pollack's argument is more or less flawed, entirely apart from my earlier pop psycho-analysis of why I think he wrote The Persian Puzzle.

The Bad Guys Are In Charge

Since the election of President Khatami in 1997, a number of European governments and officials within our own State Department have pressed for a policy of engagement (particularly the economic variety) with the Iranian regime, arguing that it will strengthen the reformists' hand and lead to the eventual full democratization of Iranian society. Whether or not this argument had any objective merit to it is a quite worthwhile discussion, but it is also largely academic. Since 9/11, we have seen progressive marginalization of any serious efforts at reforming the Iranian system from within and watched Khatami behave more or less like a labor boss who's been bought off by the mob (unfortunately, I can't take credit for that, Joe was the one who came up with such a great formulation) in face of the Expediency Council and the Council of Guardians. These actions have more or less left the inmates in control of the assylum and led to widespread popular unrest that we've seen put down again and again by the likes of the brownshirts in the Baseej and the Hezb-e-Ansar. A lot of people have died or been imprisoned, but the end-result has been that the nastiest elements of the Iranian polity are now in control of the elected, military-intelligence, and clerical sections of government.

The emergence of the Abadgaran movement and its counterparts in other sections of the Iranian hierarchy as the hardliners have consolidated their control over the government should give us a pretty good idea of who we're dealing with:

Abadgaran’s aggressive pursuit of its political vision seems to have caught not only Khatami-aligned reformists off guard, it also has surprised Old-Guard conservatives – namely the actual participants in the 1979 Islamic revolution whose idealism has faded over subsequent decades. The young neo-cons still tenaciously believe in the earlier utopian notions of the revolution; a theocratic and authoritarian state structure; an egalitarian and state-owned economic system; and a messianic foreign policy ...

... Abadgaran members clearly want to develop into the dominant faction within the conservative camp. In striving to do so, the movement has attracted the backing of the Revolutionary Guards and many hardliners within the political and security establishments, as well as a significant number of religiously-inclined members of Iran’s lower and middle classes.

This is part of the problems inherent in the "engaging Iran" policy. The issue is no longer whether or not we can engage Khatami and strengthen him enough so that he can start to implement some Gorbachev-style reforms within the Khomeinist system but rather whether we're going to be dealing with the utopians in the Abadgaran movement or the more cynical pragmatists like Rafsanjani. When the choice is between a fanatic and a manipulator, the question is basically whether you want to deal with someone who's going to shoot you in the head or someone who's going to stab you in the back. Or to put it another way, there should be something inherently disturbing about a situation in which Rafsanjani is to be viewed as the voice of sweet reason.

Moreover, I think that the kind of situation we are now in with respect to issues of engagement becomes quite clear in listing what exactly some of the goals of Rafsanjani and people like him are:

1. Power. Or to put it quite simply, they seek to guarantee their own power and the system that supports it throughout the duration of their lifetime. That means that they will be completely unwilling to accept any scenario that they will regard as leading to eventual regime change or a fundamental shift in the Iranian form of governance.

2. Regional influence. Iran, even before Khomeini, has long regarded itself as a kind of "regional hegemony" for the Middle East and its various attempts to destabilize neighboring states in favor of either pro-Iranian Shi'ites (Iraq, Bahrain, and Yemen come to mind as some of the most recent examples) or ecumenical Sunni Islamist dictatorships (Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, et al.) should be viewed in this context. I will be quite honest and say that I don't see Iran abandoning either those goals or current means employed to achieve them under the current regime.

3. The destruction of Israel. If any kind of moderate voice has emerged inside the Iranian hierarchy with respect to Israel, I don't see it. Even Khatami, who is regularly championed as the most moderate voice within the regime, regularly champions Hezbollah and calls for the annihilation of Israel. There is even a holiday, Qods Day, specifically crafted to memoralize these kinds of sick sentiments among the general population. One can argue how much that approach has worked, but the Qods Day festivities certainly reflect the opinions of the ruling class of the regime.

4. Eviction of the United States from the Middle East. This has been a key part of Iranian foreign policy since Khomeini and can be seen at least in part through #3, as the US is regarded as the force that ensures Israel's security. The successful eviction of US troops from Lebanon in the 1980s in addition to the earlier embassy seizure was viewed by the Iranian hierarchy as a sign that such an outcome is possible, provided enough casualties are inflicted against the US. That the sheer brutality of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s and the hundreds of thousands slaughtered in that conflict were not enough to stem the ambitions of the Iranian leadership in this respect should tell you something right there about the character of the regime.

5. The elimination of the An Najaf school of Shi'ism as a rival to Qom. This is going to be another non-negotiable point with respect to the mullahs - they are not going to allow Sistani or anyone else who rejects Khomeini's velayet-e-faqih to achieve a position of prominence in An Najaf to rival that of the regime ayatollahs based in Qom. By their very existence, people like Sistani pose what the Iranians regard as an unacceptable threat to the legitimacy of the regime. That stance simply isn't going to change, nevermind whether or not we can persuade the mullahs to ditch their nuclear program.

There are others I could list, but these are more than enough to I think illustrate the character of the people that we are or would be dealing with here. So even we by some act of God (since that's what it's going to take at this point) persuade them to ditch or actually suspend their nuclear program, they are not going to alter any of the other issues we have with respect to Iran and all we'll basically be doing is preventing them from adding a new item to our list of worries. That's all well and good as far as it goes, but I don't see that doing much to stop Iran from engaging in the kind of behavior that there is now a perponderance of credible evidence that it is doing with respect to Iraq.

Engagement Can Be Shown To Have Failed ...

I will now share two names with you that you may not have heard anywhere else - Amer Azizi and Mustafa Setmariam Nasar. They are senior Moroccan and Syrian al-Qaeda representatives respectfully, with Azizi being the top leader of the Moroccan Salafi Jihad and Nasar being the head of al-Qaeda's Syrian contingent. Between the two of them and a number of other al-Qaeda leaders, they masterminded the 3/11 bombings in Madrid that left hundreds dead.

And today, despite the election of Zapatero and Spain's excellent economic ties with Iran, both men are being harbored by the elite Qods Force of the IRGC. And while intelligent individuals like Judge Garzon appear to have grasped the current extent of the threat posed by the al-Qaeda leadership based in Iran, such clear-headed views appear to be lacking in the upper echelons of the Spanish government. The same can be said for any number of other European governments, including the "Big 3" that most recently presided over the Iranian uranium enrichment freeze or any number of other European states. That Iran appears to have made no effort whatsoever to curtail the activities of Qods Force given its documented patronage of senior al-Qaeda figures would seem to suggest that all the European diplomacy, economic ties, and apologetics for the mullahs has done one drop of good as far as discouraging them from allowing their guests to plan and amount mass casualty terrorist attacks, even against European soil. If such things do not prevent a government or hard-line elements within it or whatever else you want to call them from sponsoring attacks against supposedly "friendly" nations like Spain, then what in God's name are they good for?

As for claims that the Iranians were helpful with respect to the war in Afghanistan, I believe I've written on that before. They helped us against the Taliban because it furthered their regional ambitions to do so, but they also fielded Hekmatyar against us and have taken the place of the former Afghan regime in serving as al-Qaeda's patrons.

One of the most recent under-reported stories was the recent closure of an al-Qaeda website containing audiotaped speeches, some of them fairly recent, from Suleiman Abu Ghaith, al-Qaeda's official spokesman who is, per the government of his former homeland of Kuwait, currently present inside Iran. He has been there since at least early 2002, yet his speeches referenced events from at least mid-2003 onwards. If he is in custody and not hosted as the Iranians claim, then why are his rants being regularly posted on the internet? If such privileges are not granted to imprisoned students and dissidents, why then are they being granted to a "detained" international terrorist?

Enough already.

23 posted on 11/23/2004 10:25:26 AM 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 IV

[See Part I, Part II, Part III]

This part of the Iran series will consist of reactions to reader comments. The original plan was to cover in Part IV each of the military options mentioned in Part III. But responding to reader comments will foster lively discussion. We'll still cover each military option in-depth, and we'll still look at the hand that the Iranians hold as well. All in good time.

We asked for comments from readers in Part III and received 30 comments here on the blog and a couple of dozen more via email. All were great contributions.

Some general observations:

Many readers were very pro-spec ops use. Special operations forces are a powerful asset and we should all be glad that they are on our side. But they are not a pancea for our current dilemma. If a military campaign does kick off, special operations troops will surely be heavily involved, but they won't be the only ground forces. The Afghanistan campaign may have looked like nothing but special forces with a smattering of conventional troops, but Iran is quite a different situation. In Afghanistan, the country had been in a civil war for several years. The Northern Alliance was a veteran military force, regardless of their sophistication or training. All the US had to do was give them some guidance, and integrate their use with the combined arms power of air assets and they were able to roll right over the Taliban.

In Iran, on the contrary, while there are democracy movements, and opposition to the government is supposedly high, there is no organized military force that Green Berets could join and co-opt or assist. Depending on how bad the police state really is, there may be little or no political organization amongst the opposition either. Training an opposition force would probably take months -- and would be hard to keep under wraps.

Several readers also took the route of covert action, wherein the CIA in some way would undermine the government and support the opposition. While this is entirely plausible, there are many issues with pulling it off. First, this is a long-term strategy. If the CIA has been mixing things up, building relationships, gaining footholds and whatnot for the past 3 or so years, then perhaps an option like this could work -- and even then as part of some larger military campaign. But if we're going to ask the CIA to overthrow the Iranian regime and they are starting from scratch tomorrow, it's just not going to happen within the time frame that we've established for ourselves (12-18 months). I think it best to completely discount the possibility that the CIA could engineer a coup, plan for something else entirely, and then if they do pull it off, it'll just be a bonus for all of us.

Other readers mentioned the idea of sabotaging the nuclear sites somehow. This is an excellent idea, but many of the above-mentioned caveats about CIA action still apply. Before the first Gulf War, the CIA managed to have a virus installed on a large printer that was destined to be shipped to Iraq via Jordan and used in Iraq's air-defense system. The virus was then triggered somehow and made the air-defense network go haywire right as our F-117s were beginnng to hit Baghdad. An excellent example of sabotage --but this meant: infiltrating the networks of arms dealers and computer companies who would sell this type of equipment, making sure that it would be used, getting the virus right, etc, etc, etc. "Keep it simple stupid" applies to everything you are doing against an enemy with an independent will, and precise acts of covert sabotage have many, many key points at which they can fail if just one thing goes wrong.

Other readers mentioned the possibility of new bunker-buster weapons that are still classified. This is entirely possible. Every time I hear Bush talk about the need for a smaller bunker-busting nuke, I keep hoping that we've already built one and he's just getting us ready for its debut. Still though, best to discount this, and assume we don't have anything like it. [Whatever happened to the AGM-154A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW)? Perhaps someone out there could answer. Still not a total solution though.]

One reader pointed out that Iran has an elected government, and that it is just undermined by the religious clerics. We could remove the religous aspects of the government and let the elected government remain. This could be one way to skin this cat, but what is happening to the nuke sites and materials while we're doing it? And would a new Iranian government composed of many of the same folks totally give up nuke development? This option would have to be employed with others. Good point though.

Some final thoughts, not in reaction to any particular readers comments, but inspired by them:

In Iraq, there were Sensitive Site Exploration teams, whose job was to occupy and examine all manner of suspected Iraqi WMD facilities. But they were too little too late. Perhaps if they had had both strategic and tactical surprise, they would have found more. As it was, whatever had been there had been moved by the time they arrived. Sure there was some evidence of a weapons program, but all the sexy headline-making stuff was gone.

I think the keys pieces to this puzzle are going to be the answers to three questions:

What facilities of the nuclear program need just plain old destruction? That is, once hit, they are useless.

What are the key components of the program that cannot be allowed to be moved elsewhere or slipped into the hands of another country or a terrorist group? Where are these components? Like enriched uranium? Seems that these will need more than just bombing -- they'll need to be physically captured, and possibly transported back to the US for safeguarding.

Can the US act with strategic surprise? If our blow is telegraphed, the Iranians will have time to mitigate the effects of our strike by moving equipment, possibly giving nuclear materials to terrorists, or to have an on-call counterattack with their cruise missiles at the ready, etc. So, it seems whatever the US is to do must be done with little or no warning to keep the Iranians off balance. Strategic surprise is incredibly difficult in a democracy . . . and as I've said before, when it comes to large-scale troop movements, you cannot hide the logistics . . .

Completely thinking out loud now . . .

If our goal is to bomb 300-500 targets over a period of a week, you could precede that campaign by seizing the three or four top-priority sites, where the nuclear material is, with a relatively small number of US troops -- a MEU or two, a large special forces footprint and maybe the ready brigade of the 82nd Airborne. I bet security at the various sites is not that great. Underground sites would be more difficult to seize . . . a troop size that small would have to be in and out pretty fast too, and have massive air cover in addition to the bombing campaign . . .

Part V will be later this week.

24 posted on 11/23/2004 10:28:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Richard Cohen

How to Defuse Iran

[Excerpt]

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, November 23, 2004; Page A29

If you ask an American why he keeps a gun, he'll say it's a dangerous world out there. If you ask the average Iranian why his country should have a nuclear weapon, he'll tell you the same thing. The difference between your average American and your average Iranian is that the former, while hardly crazy, is overreacting a bit, while the average Iranian is, as the Brits might say, spot on. If ever a country could use a nuclear arsenal, it is Iran.

This is not an endorsement of Iran's reputed and deeply suspected effort to go nuclear. It is merely an attempt to show that the country President Bush once cited as a card-carrying member of the "axis of evil" is, while somewhat evil, actually being totally rational. For starters, it is surrounded by nations that have at one time or another been enemies -- some of which have nuclear weapons.

Take Russia. It is now on friendly terms with Iran and an important trading partner, but at the end of World War II, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin had to be pressured into withdrawing from the northern part of the country. At the moment Russian designs on Iran seem both unlikely and preposterous, but what happened once could happen again -- or so an Iranian might argue.

To the east is Pakistan, a certified member of the nuclear club. Iranians may wonder why the Pakistanis can have a bomb and they cannot. It is a question without an answer. Farther afield is Israel, which no one in his right mind would consider a mortal threat to Iran. But Iran is an Islamic (Shiite) theocracy, and it is engaged in a struggle with Israel that makes as much sense from Iran's point of view as did, say, the American effort to rid the world of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. In its own way, every country is a bit nuts.

Then, to the west, is Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein, it invaded Iran in 1980 and devastated its oil infrastructure. As we have now learned the hard way, Hussein did not have nuclear weapons, but he desperately wanted them -- as might some Iraqi leader of the future. The country is now in the hands of the United States, which has hardly been a mere observer in the region. In 1953 the CIA mounted a coup in which the prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq, was ousted and the shah, who had prudently fled the country, was restored to his throne. Mossadeq was put under house arrest, but some of his aides, including the foreign minister, were executed. Years later, when the shah was toppled and hostages were taken at the U.S. Embassy, it was not entirely an episode without context.

From an Iranian point of view, then, the world is indeed a dangerous place. It must seem all the more dangerous since Bush made Iran one-third of his axis of evil, promulgated a virtual divine right to wage preemptive war -- and made good on both statements by taking out Saddam Hussein. From the Iranian point of view, the world must also seem an illogical place. Why is it okay for Israel to have the bomb or, for that matter, France? The answer is, that's the way it is, booby.

But if that's the way it's going to continue to be, then the United States had better change its approach. It ought, right off, to join with its European allies -- Britain, France and Germany -- in offering Iran a package of goodies to induce it to abandon its nuclear dreams. Instead, Washington has declared itself "agnostic" about these talks, which is hardly a rousing endorsement.

Maybe more important, the Bush administration had better wake up and smell the importance of international organizations and the rule of (international) law. If a country can't trust the law it will, like any American gun owner, hanker for a weapon of its own.

Repeatedly, Iran vows it has no nuclear intentions. "Trust, but verify," I say, echoing Ronald Reagan's echo of Mikhail Gorbachev. But if it turns out that Iran is lying (imagine!), unilateralism will not work. The United States is not about to go into another war, this time with a much larger country where anti-Western sentiment has been a factor since the 19th century -- and the Iranians have to know it. ...

It's Iran.

cohenr@washpost.com

25 posted on 11/23/2004 10:52:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Better hurry and do something to end this regime..tick tock tick tock--Bush won't and can't wait forever


26 posted on 11/23/2004 10:57:08 AM PST by rang1995 (They will love us when we win)
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To: DoctorZIn
they will be coming iran's way if something can't be done quick
27 posted on 11/23/2004 10:59:46 AM PST by rang1995 (They will love us when we win)
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To: DoctorZIn

ABC News

U.S., Iran Face Off Over EU Nuclear Draft-Diplomats

ReutersReuters

Nov 23, 2004 — By Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States and Iran were headed for a diplomatic showdown at the U.N. nuclear watchdog, with Washington demanding Tehran be threatened with tough action if it resumes atomic work it could use for bombs, diplomats say.

France, Britain and Germany, who spearheaded an EU offer of incentives if Iran halted its uranium enrichment program, circulated a draft resolution that diplomats at the United Nations said was unacceptable to both Washington and Tehran.

The Americans see it as too weak and want to include an "automatic trigger" which makes it clear that resuming any activities related to enrichment — a process of purifying uranium to fuel power plants or make weapons — would spark a referral to the U.N. Security Council and possibly sanctions.

Diplomats said that inclusion of such a clause in a resolution submitted to Thursday's meeting of the U.N. agency would be unacceptable to Tehran and would ruin the Iran-EU deal.

"The Europeans will not allow this," said a Western diplomat close to the backroom talks on the text. "There is an agreement (the EU has) with Iran that must be kept."

The Iranians accuse the Europeans of slipping into the text an indirect trigger mechanism that could give Washington a chance to force the Iranian case out of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and into the hands of the Security Council in New York.

"Iran made strong representations about some parts of the agreement," said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw after meeting his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi on the sidelines of a conference in Egypt on Iraq.

The text says that it is "essential" that Iran keep all parts of its enrichment program suspended if Iran's case is to be resolved "within the framework of the Agency."

While not a direct threat of a Security Council referral, this wording hints that it could be considered, which makes it troublesome for the Iranians, diplomats said.

"We have 48 hours of hard work to do," a senior British official said about the negotiations taking place in Vienna and between the capitals of the major players on the IAEA's 35-member board of governors.

SHIFT IN U.S. POLICY?

Meanwhile, diplomats said that recent comments by top U.S. officials indicated Washington might be exploring a potential shift in strategy regarding the Iranian nuclear program, which it believes is a front for developing bombs.

"I think there may be some movement in the U.S. toward a softer approach," a diplomat from the European Union told Reuters. "This change would not happen immediately, but there are hints that it is coming."

The likely change would be an attempt to play the "bad cop" role alongside the EU's "good cop" role as the Europeans pressure Tehran to abandon uranium enrichment permanently.

On Monday, Iran said it has kept a promise it made to the European Union last by freezing its entire uranium enrichment program and the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, gave a cautious confirmation.

President Bush reacted to the announcement with mild skepticism. "Let's say, I hope it's true," he said.

European diplomats also said they noticed that Bush acknowledged the possibility the EU initiative might work.

"It looks like there is some progress, but to determine whether or not the progress is real there must be verification. We look forward to seeing that verification," Bush said.

ElBaradei said he hoped to report to the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors meeting on Thursday that IAEA inspectors on the ground in Iran had verified the suspension of the entire program.

If verified, Iran will likely escape a Security Council referral — as long as it does not resume enrichment work.

Iran made a similar promise in October 2003 but never fully suspended its enrichment program.

(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt)

28 posted on 11/23/2004 11:07:16 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...

US seeking "automatic trigger" in Agreement

ABC News

http://regimechangeiran.blogspot.com/


29 posted on 11/23/2004 11:28:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

30 posted on 11/23/2004 11:42:52 AM PST by prairiebreeze (The AP is no longer a news organization. It's a transcription service for the DNC.)
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To: DoctorZIn

"If you ask the average Iranian why his country should have a nuclear weapon, he'll tell you the same thing."

Really?

"...while somewhat evil,..."?

Somewhat?

"the United States had better change its approach. It ought, right off, to join with its European allies..."

? Who is this guy?


31 posted on 11/23/2004 12:21:26 PM PST by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: DoctorZIn

exclusiveExclusive

Powell Dismisses Dinner Diplomacy with Iran

Sec. of State Says U.S.-Iran Diplomacy Could Happen 'In Due Course'

Colin Powell

Secretary of State Colin Powell says U.S. "prodding" has brought international attention to Iran's weapons program. (ABC News)

Nov. 23, 2004 — Nov. 23, 2004 — In his first broadcast interview since announcing his resignation from President Bush's Cabinet last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke to ABC News' Jonathan Karl while visiting Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for an international conference on Iraq.

Watch more of the interview tonight on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Powell told Karl about an unexpected seating arrangement at a conference dinner, which positioned Powell next to his Iranian counterpart, Kamal Kharrazi.

"We just happened to be seated next to each other at the instigation, I suspect, of our Egyptian hosts, and we made polite dinner conversation," Powell said.

Last week, Powell told reporters that the United States had intelligence that Iran was working to adapt missiles to deliver a nuclear weapon.

That topic, said U.S. officials, was not discussed during dinner, which Powell described as "very pleasant."

Powell said he arrived at the dinner a few minutes late, saw his place setting and sat down, previously unaware of the seating plan.

"That was fine by me," said Powell. "We shook hands and enjoyed dinner and exchanged polite conversation."

Powell, who previously dismissed the notion of writing a book about his experiences as secretary of state, now tells ABC News it might be something he would consider, although he hasn't approached any publishers.

Asked if it was time for the United States to renew diplomatic ties with Iran after a near 25-year rift, Powell left open the possibility, saying it could happen "in due course."

32 posted on 11/23/2004 5:11:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Conference on pro-Islamic regime lobbies in the US on 11/28

SMCCDI (Public Announcement)
Nov 28, 2004

The Movement is organizing a meeting focused on the pro-Islamic regime lobbies and those promoting the establishment of 'dialogue' between the unpopular and illegitimate Islamic republic regime and the US Administration.

This meeting will be held in Los Angeles (California).

Several speakers will explain the current geopolitical situation and how controversial groups and individuals are pushing their hidden agenda to save the Mullhacracy.

On Sunday November 28, 2004

From 10:00 AM till 12:30 PM

At the "West End" , West Side 2 Building, 2nd Floor, Room C.

Located at 10800 W. Pico Blvd. LA, CA 90064

(Corner of Westwood and Pico by Barnes & Nobles)

 

Contact: (214) 906-8181

33 posted on 11/23/2004 5:32:00 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Diplomats: U.S., Iran Face Off Over EU Nuclear Draft

Tue Nov 23, 2004 02:29 PM ET

By Louis Charbonneau

VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States and Iran were headed for a diplomatic showdown at the U.N. nuclear watchdog, with Washington demanding Tehran be threatened with tough action if it resumes atomic work it could use for bombs, diplomats say.

France, Britain and Germany, who spearheaded an EU offer of incentives if Iran suspended its uranium enrichment program, circulated a draft resolution that diplomats at the United Nations said was unacceptable to both Washington and Tehran.

Washington sees it as too weak and wants to include an "automatic trigger" which makes it clear that resuming any activities related to enrichment -- a process of purifying uranium to fuel power plants or make weapons -- would spark a referral to the U.N. Security Council and possibly sanctions.

"It is still just in the eyes of the Iranians, a suspension," Secretary of State Colin Powell told CNN television. "A suspension means they can turn it back on at any time. We want it turned off permanently."

But Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters the suspension would remain in place only long enough to provide assurances that Tehran was not diverting to a bomb program and would be reviewed after three months.

"Suspension is a voluntary action. As long as it is leading to ... ensuring the other side that Iran is not going to divert to nuclear weapons, it will be continued," he told reporters.

Diplomats said including an "automatic trigger" clause in a resolution submitted to Thursday's meeting of the U.N. agency would be unacceptable to Tehran and would ruin the Iran-EU deal.

"The Europeans will not allow this," said a Western diplomat close to the backroom talks on the text. "There is an agreement (the EU has) with Iran that must be kept."

INDIRECT TRIGGER

The Iranians accuse the Europeans of slipping into the text an indirect trigger mechanism that gives Washington a chance to force the Iranian case out of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and into the hands of the Security Council in New York.

"Iran made strong representations about some parts of the agreement," said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw after meeting his Iranian counterpart Kharrazi on the sidelines of a conference in Egypt on Iraq.

The text says it is "essential" that Iran keep all parts of its enrichment program suspended if Iran's case is to be resolved "within the framework of the Agency."

While not a direct threat of a Security Council referral, this wording hints that it could be considered, which makes it troublesome for some board members and Iran, diplomats said.

The United States accuses Iran of using its nuclear power program as a front to build a bomb. Tehran rejects this claim.

"We are opposed to any trigger, direct or indirect, that would send a country to the Security Council over a confidence building measure," Malaysian ambassador to the U.N. in Vienna, Hussein Haniff, told reporters on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which holds a third of the 35 IAEA board seats.

Haniff said a clause in the draft calling on Iran to give "unrestricted access" to the IAEA was illegal and should be explicitly limited to nuclear sites declared under the IAEA's Additional Protocol permitting short-notice inspections.

On Monday, Iran said it has kept a promise it made to the European Union last week by freezing its entire uranium enrichment program and the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, gave a cautious confirmation.

Iran made a similar promise in October 2003 but never fully suspended its enrichment program.

Meanwhile the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a group of Iranian exiles who revealed in August 2002 that Tehran was concealing a uranium enrichment plant and other sites from U.N. inspectors, called on the IAEA to inspect two sites in Tehran which the NCRI says are secret enrichment plants.

"The clerical regime should not be given a chance to transfer or conceal equipment and materials or sanitize the sites," the statement said.

On Monday, ElBaradei said his inspectors would only follow up "credible information" and that his experts were trying to determine whether the new NCRI claims were credible. (Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers and Amil Khan in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt)


34 posted on 11/23/2004 5:37:02 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

This is the longest 34 post thread in history.


35 posted on 11/23/2004 5:40:49 PM PST by Joe Hadenuf (I failed anger management class, they decided to give me a passing grade anyway)
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To: DoctorZIn

Powell: U.S. Open to Eventually Restoring Ties with Iran


By Saul Hudson

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (Reuters) - Outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) signaled on Tuesday Washington was open to one day re-establishing diplomatic ties with Iran after the countries held their most sustained, high-level contact in years.

Powell, who spoke with his Iranian counterpart on Monday at an international conference dinner, said the United States could "in due course" hold direct talks and review relations if Tehran addressed concerns over its terrorism links and nuclear programs.

The remarks were sure to fuel speculation over the prospects for a thaw in relations as the administration of President Bush (news - web sites) debates whether to engage or confront a country it bracketed in "an axis of evil" with North Korea (news - web sites) and pre-war Iraq (news - web sites).

Asked if the United States could one day consider restoring ties with Iran, Powell, a sometimes lonesome dove in Bush's cabinet, said: "In due course."

"It is not in the best interests of international relations for there to be permanent enmity or animosity between two states," he said in an interview with U.S. television network ABC.

Powell's appeasing tone came after Iran on Monday met international demands to suspending uranium enrichment activities, which in part have motivated U.S. accusations Tehran is pursuing a nuclear bomb.

While diplomats and political analysts do not expect a breakthrough anytime soon, Powell may have raised hope for the start of a rapprochement with a country that regards the United States as the "Great Satan."

Some European diplomats acknowledge their own negotiations to persuade Iran to give up sensitive nuclear work will only succeed if Washington gets involved.

In recent years, the United States and Iran have quietly held occasional, low-level talks, under international auspices, about Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites).

Powell said he was not predicting formal U.S.-Iranian talks, but echoed his earlier phrase. "In due course, it might turn out to be the case," he said.

"But conditions have to be present before you can simply walk away from not only the 25-year history, but current behavior," the top U.S. diplomat said, alleging Iran supports Islamic militant groups and has a secret nuclear arms program.

DINNER DIPLOMACY

Powell, whom Iran dismissed as a lame duck with no policymaking clout, sat alongside Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi on Monday night. According to both sides, they made small talk in English without touching on substantive diplomatic issues such as the nuclear crisis.

The two men had previously shared little more than a handshake in 2001. But neither objected to the symbolic seating arranged by Egypt, the host of the conference on Iraq.

And both countries recognize a lasting solution to some of their most intractable problems can only be achieved by puncturing their wall of mutual mistrust.

But tentative exchanges and dialogues have been initiated on several occasions in recent years only to collapse amid recriminations and accusations.

And Washington and Tehran strived to downplay Monday's "dinner diplomacy."

Powell said of the encounter: "There's no reason to be discourteous, even though sometimes you disagree about positions."

36 posted on 11/23/2004 5:52:12 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Canada appoints new ambassador to Iran


By ALLISON DUNFIELD
Globe and Mail Update

Canada has appointed a new ambassador to Iran and is making renewed efforts to pursue the Zahra Kazemi case, Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew announced Tuesday.

Mr. Pettigrew appointed Gordon Venner, who has worked in the Department of External Affairs and International Trade since 1989 in various capacities, as Canada's new ambassador to Iran.

Mr. Venner replaces former ambassador Philip MacKinnon, who was withdrawn in July over the Canadian government's frustration with the Iranian justice system regarding the case of Ms. Kazemi.

The 54-year-old photojournalist died on July 10, 2003 in Tehran. An Iranian-born photographer who also had Canadian citizenship, she was beaten to death after being arrested for taking photos of protesters outside a Tehran prison.

Mr. Pettigrew said the new appointment means Canada will resume its full diplomatic presence in Iran, and Mr. Venner will try to make progress on the Kazemi case.

"Justice denied is offensive to all Canadians. This case will be pursued energetically."

The government was frustrated by efforts by the country's hard-line judiciary to censor news accounts of the trial of an intelligence officer accused of killing the Montreal woman. Although the trial was initially open to Canadian ambassador Philip MacKinnon and other foreign observers, they were eventually not allowed in.

The Iranian judiciary later said the Montreal photographer died when she fell on the ground and hit her head, and a Tehran court acquitted the intelligence agent.

The case has stalled since then, although Ms. Kazemi's son, Stephan Hachemi, has taken up his mother's cause and has been fighting to get her body returned to Canada and to have those responsible charged for their actions.

The case has strained relations between Canada and Iran.

Mr. Pettigrew said appointing Mr. Venner, formerly the director of the international economic relations and summits division at the European Union Division in Ottawa, will hopefully improve communications between the two countries.He added: "Our ambassador will be responsible for representing Canada's views on Iran's nuclear program at a time when Canada chairs the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency."

Mr. Venner will also advocate for Canada's position on the human-rights situation in Iran, Mr. Pettigrew said.

Meanwhile, Mr. MacKinnon, the former ambassador, was named the Canadian ambassador to Egypt in September.Conservative Party foreign affairs critic Stockwell Day said Mr. Venner's appointment and return to Iran must have a clear purpose.

"The Iranian regime should understand in no uncertain terms that Canada's Ambassador is returning with a mandate to secure clear steps of action on two fronts; resolving the Zahra Kazemi case and the abandoning of the uranium enrichment program," said Mr. Day.


37 posted on 11/23/2004 6:29:04 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!


38 posted on 11/23/2004 11:54:44 PM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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