Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - December 6, 2004 [EST] -- Iran tells UN: sites off limits
Posted on 12/05/2004 10:57:43 PM PST by DoctorZIn
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Iran tells UN: sites off limitsFrom correspondents in Tehran
December 5, 2004
IRAN said today it was not obliged to allow UN atomic energy agency inspectors to visit military sites alleged to be involved in secret nuclear weapons work, but that it was willing to discuss the issue.
"It is not a matter of unlimited commitments and unlimited inspections," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters when asked if International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) teams would be able to probe two suspect military facilities.
"We will act in accordance with the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), our duties and responsibilities," Asefi added.
The IAEA is mandated under the NPT to verify that all nuclear material in a country is declared and not being diverted for nuclear weapons purposes, as the US claims is the case in Iran.
But under the NPT and even its additional protocol - also signed by Iran - the agency has limited inspection powers.
The Vienna-based watchdog has asked Iran if it can visit the Parchin military base east of Tehran, where US officials have said the Iranians may be testing "high-explosive shaped charges with an inert core of depleted uranium" as a dry test for how a bomb with fissile material would work.
IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei told AFP in an interview that he had "every reason to expect that Iran will allow us to go" to the site.
But Asefi said Iran has not been officially asked by the IAEA if it can inspect Parchin, although he did add that "we are ready to cooperate within the framework of our commitments with the IAEA."
The IAEA is also researching another site in Tehran, Lavizan II, which the exiled Iranian opposition has alleged is a site involved in the secret enriching of uranium.
Iran insists its nuclear program is solely directed at generating electricity, and fiercely denies allegations it is seeking weapons.
The country escaped possible UN sanctions last week after agreeing to a deal with Britain, France and Germany to suspend its controversial fuel cycle work in exchange for a package of incentives.
"A temporary suspension means a short while, not a long time," Asefi said of the suspension.
However he said comments Friday by powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani that the freeze would not last more than six months should not be seen as a firm timeframe. Asefi said Rafsanjani only mentioned six months as an "example".
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A nuclear Iran poses extreme threat to U.S.Orde Kittrie Special for The Republic Dec. 5, 2004 12:00 AM
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Students clash with State Security Forces in western IranSat. 4 Dec 2004
Tehran, Dec. 3 - Heavy clashes erupted between Irans State Security Forces (SSF) and students from the University of Qazvin (western Iran), after SSF agents raided university buildings and attempted to bring to an end a hunger strike that had been organized in protest to poor university conditions.
Students defied official warnings of a crackdown on protesting students. University windows were broken and some buildings were damaged in the clashes.
Last Tuesday as part of the ongoing hunger strike, students wrote the word etesab, meaning strike, on the floor of the main university canteen using their food trays.
No word has come about the fate of students who were arrested during the ensuing mayhem.
The university campus is presently under siege with local residents reporting that in the past few days, faculty staff have not been permitted to leave the university even during nighttime.
DISSIDENTS JOURNALISTS OFFERING EXCUSES AND CONFESSIONS
Posted Sunday, December 5, 2004
TEHRAN, 6 Dec. (IPS) In a marked return to old demons, the Iranian Judiciary power which is directly controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenehi is reverting to letters of repentance written by intellectuals coming out of prisons.
The press in the last days has published such letters of confessions from three Iranian reformist journalists presenting sincere excuses to the leader and the noble people of Iran because of their betrayal to the mighty and merciful regime of Islamic Republic.
Every time we reach an important election, we stand witness of same kind of crackdown on the dissidents.
The Director of the notorious Evin prison has sent a five pages letter to the press, claiming it is written by Mr. Javad Qolam Tamimi, one of the ten journalists arrested few months ago for writing in personal weblogs or internet sites articles deemed critical to the ruling Iranian theocracy and its leaders.
In the letter, Mr. Tamimi accuses his pairs at the Association of Iranian Professional Journalists of being puppets of foreign powers and confesses that against receiving money, he had passed information to the military attaché of a foreign embassy in Tehran.
However, he did not identify the incriminated attaché nor he says what kind of information he had to be of interest for a military attaché?
Both the AIPJ and the Association for the Defence of Iranian Journalists had called for a rally on Sunday to protest the arrest of the journalists, but after warnings from the Judiciary and the fact that most of the detainees had been released, they decided to call off the meeting.
A former editor at the reformist daily Mardomsalari (Democracy), Mr. Tamimi also confesses to criminal activities against the security of the Islamic Republic and admits that under encouragements and persuasions of some perverted elements, he had deviated from the path of serving the people and nation.
In any other country, I would be condemned to death or long term prison for what I did, but the attitude of the officials in the Islamic regime and in prison was so human that instead of punishing him, they just made him sorry and shameful, he says, according to newspapers.
Three other journalists, Omid Memarian, Shahram Rafizadeh and Roozbeh Mir-Ebrahimi, in letters to Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, an Iraqi dissident appointed as the Head of the Iranian Judiciary by Mr. Khamenehi made identical confessions and presented similar repentances, saying they had been brainwashed by foreigners and counter-revolutionaries and demand pardon from the people and the leader.
Observers said though this is not the first time that the ruling conservatives proceeds to this kind of pressures and crackdown on journalists and intellectuals, but this time it coincides with the victory the Iranian diplomats scored at the International Atomic Energy Agency thanks to cooperation and understanding from the European Union in exchange for suspending activities related to enriching uranium.
Every time we reach an important election, we stand witness of same kind of crackdown on the dissidents, observed Mr. Hoseyn Bastani, a reformist journalist in Tehran, adding that the scenario is copy conform of an article wrote a month ago by Mr. Hoseyn Shariatmadari, the leader-appointed Executive Editor of the radical daily Keyhan, entitled The Spiders Web.
In the article, Mr. Shariatmadari, who is a high-ranking intelligence officer specializing in the interrogation of intellectuals and scholars accused most of the arrested journalists plus a certain number of leading reformist personalities of collaborating with counter-revolutionaries and getting money from foreign intelligence services, mostly American and British.
Few people can resist the kind of tortures political prisoners suffers in Iranian jails.
What the released journalists admit in their letters is exactly what Mr. Shariatmadari had alleged in his article, Mr. Bastani told the Persian service of the BBC.
I was brainwashed by elements seeking to destroy the image of the regime by relating with counter-revolutionaries and talking to foreign radio, Mr. Memarian said in his letter.
I and people like me in the past years have been trapped by the ones who were merely concerned with their own political benefits and used us as puppets, Mr. Mir-Ebrahimi confessed for his part in letter that experts said has nothing with the writing style of the journalist.
I spread lies as I was influenced and encouraged by the ones who have for years been wounding the Islamic regime, Mr. Rafizadeh said for his part.
Few people can resist the kind of tortures political prisoners suffers in Iranian jails, particularly during the time they are held in solitary confinement, cut from the outside word and told, for instance, that his wife is put in prison with bandits and criminals or his daughter is being raped by smugglers and drug addicts, a journalist who had experienced prisons in Islamic Republic told Iran Press Service.
It is difficult to understand why the officials revert to such old methods of intimidation and fabricated confessions knowing well that no one give any credit to them? he asked. ENDS DISSIDENTS CRACKDOWN 61204
U.S. SOUGHT TO ENTRAP IRAN ON NUKES
NICOSIA [MENL] -- Iran has asserted that the United States sought to entrap the Islamic republic into purchasing equipment required for the assembly of nuclear weapons.
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry said it has foiled a plot by the CIA to entice Teheran into signing a contract for gas centrifuges used for the enrichment of uranium, a key process for the production of an atomic bomb. The ministry said an Iranian national was placed as the head of a bogus company that initiated talks with Teheran for the sale of centrifuges.
"Asghar C, who has a past of spying for foreigners, was seeking to make centrifuges with a fictitious contract and under the name of a false company," the Intelligence Ministry said in a statement on Dec. 3.
Officials said the Iranian suspect offered the government a supply of centrifuges and sought to entice Iran into signing a contract. They said the United States then planned to publicize the contract in an attempt to demonstrate that Iran had violated its pledge to suspend uranium enrichment.
U.S. Slows Bid to Advance Democracy in Arab WorldBy JOEL BRINKLEY
Published: December 5, 2004
ASHINGTON, Dec. 4 - When Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other senior American officials arrive at a summit meeting in Morocco next week that is intended to promote democracy across the Arab world, they have no plans to introduce any political initiatives to encourage democratic change.
President Bush started speaking in 2002 about the need to bring democracy to the Arab nations. Since then, however, the popular view of the United States in the region has grown so dark, even hateful, that American officials are approaching the meeting with caution and with a package of financial and social initiatives that have only a scant relationship to the original goal of political change.
Administration officials and their allies defend the change in strategy, saying the United States should no longer try to take the lead.
"Others have gotten involved in the political side, and that is a good thing," said Lorne W. Craner, who was assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights until August and now is president of the International Republican Institute, a government-financed organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide. But administration officials said some senior officials in the State Department were frustrated by the unwillingness of their colleagues to raise political initiatives at the meeting.
A senior administration official involved in Middle East policy said that if the American program remained largely centered on business and financial initiatives, "that's not good enough." The United States needs "to hold people accountable," he added.
Another official working in the same area added that Arab leaders were "willing to take the aid, but they're not willing to carry out the reform."
Mr. Powell, in a radio interview on Thursday, said he hoped the summit meeting participants would "come to an understanding of the need for reform and modernization in the broader Middle East and North Africa region."
When the State Department set up a news media briefing last month on the Morocco meeting, it assigned Alan P. Larson, undersecretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs, to make the presentation. He said the meeting was intended "to create greater opportunities for the next generation in the broader Middle East" through grants and aid to small businesses, networking among regional financial institutions and exchanging "views about how to bring more capital in the region," among other ideas. The United States is involved in most of those efforts through its Middle East Partnership Initiative.
In an interview, Mr. Larson contended that these and other financial proposals would contribute to democratic change, at least indirectly.
"When you help small entrepreneurs, that creates a middle-class part of the social underpinning of a democracy," he said. "We see synergistic links between political and economic initiatives."
He and other officials said more direct discussions of political change would come from the Democratic Assistance Dialogue, a new program administered by Italy, Turkey and Yemen intended to foster discussion of political change. But after an initial organizational meeting in Rome last month, future meetings have not yet been scheduled, said Burak Akcapar, counselor in the Turkish Embassy.
The Middle East Partnership Initiative, which has received $264 million from Congress since 1993, has a political component. But a study by two scholars at the Brookings Institution, published this week, found that it was "increasingly shifting its resources from democracy promotion and engagement with local volunteer organizations, to the far less provocative path of regime-led economic development."
That "can have the effect of subsidizing an Arab government's attempts to build a kinder, gentler autocracy," it added.
"The whole thing rings hollow," said Steven A. Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan research group based in New York. "What is missing is not technical and financial know-how, it is the political will to reform," said Mr. Cook, whose field of study is political change in the Arab world. "I don't think these programs mesh with the president's rhetoric."
At the briefing, Mr. Larson emphasized repeatedly that the Morocco conference was not "an effort to impose anything from the outside as much as to facilitate efforts that are already being undertaken in the region" and "share experiences, share ideas" among Arab foreign ministers.
Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a public research organization, said, "If only the Arab leaders are involved, that will be a brief discussion."
Anger about a perceived bias toward Israel in Washington and about the war in Iraq have made the United States quite unpopular among many in the Arab world. Then, in February, when an Arabic newspaper published a draft of a Bush administration plan urging the world's wealthiest nations to press for political change in the Middle East, several Arab leaders erupted in anger. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, a close ally of Washington, called the plan "delusional."
The administration quickly abandoned the plan.
The unspoken fact behind all of the discussions, said Leslie Campbell, director of the Middle East Program at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a government-financed group that promotes democracy worldwide, "is that we are trying to work with a bunch of people who are going to be kicked out of office" if democratic change moves forward. For now, he added, "it's easier to support free-trade agreements than political change."
Now, not only do many Arab leaders oppose the plan for broad democratic change, so do some opposition leaders.
"The Bush plan is opposed by the ruling elites who fear losing their privileges and powers," wrote Amir Taheri, a political commentator, in Gulf News, "and by a variety of oppositionists who use anti-Americanism as the key element of their political message."
There is little question that Arab leaders prefer the new approach. A senior Arab diplomat said in an interview that when American officials spoke to his nation's prime minister about political change recently, "the prime minister told them: 'I have two trains - the political train and the economic train. And the political train cannot run ahead of the other.'
"So we started talking to them about economic development," the diplomat said.
A senior State Department official said discussions with several Arab states brought similar results.
In a speech to open a session of Parliament on Wednesday, King Abdullah II of Jordan emphasized that his country must continue "reform, modernization and development," which would enable "the Jordanian individual to actively take part in formulating the present and the future." He went on to emphasize that change should be focused on fighting "poverty and unemployment."
Mr. Craner, the former State Department official, said: "I would watch for the prominence of political versus economic and social reforms discussed at the meeting. If it is mostly economic and social, it is not a good sign."
The senior Arab diplomat offered a broader warning.
"Something must happen as a result of this meeting," he said. "If nothing happens, it will be very difficult to keep this alive because there are lots of people who want to kill it."
Steven R. Weisman contributed reporting from Washington for this article.
Iran concerned over human rights violations in EU12/5/2004 7:30:00 PM GMT
Iran expressed its concern over the human rights violations in Europe and the wave of anti-Muslim sentiment in the Netherlands.
We are seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Europe, foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday.
We expect the Europeans to take necessary measures so that we will not see violation of the rights of Muslims, minorities and foreigners any more, he added.
Asefis statements came in response to fresh EU criticism of the human rights situation in the Islamic republic.
Last week, the Netherlands, as the current president of the EU, sent an official letter to Iran demanding the release of all those arrested in connection with Internet and media activities as well as the staff of non-governmental organizations.
The Iranian media said Saturday that four of the arrested journalists, three of them recently freed, have written letters of repentance, saying that they were brainwashed by foreigners and counter-revolutionaries.
The letter also said that; All 25 EU members will back a resolution against Iran as regard the violation of human rights and abuse of civil liberties in the country.
The EU letter comes as Iran and Europe are expected to continue talks on nuclear, political and economic issues next week.
Asefi reacted to the allegations at The Hague in an apparent reference to the slain filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, widely known for attacking Islam.
In the Netherlands we see somebodys appalling act has provoked Muslims, and this has been followed by harsh measures being taken by anti-Islamic circles, Asefi said.
Canberra urged to get tough on Iran
December 06, 2004
AUSTRALIA is being urged to support Israel by taking a tougher stand on Iran by joining the US in imposing sanctions on the Islamic state over its nuclear program and sponsorship of terrorism.
This message was delivered by politicians, government officials and academics when The Australian visited Israel in the wake of Yasser Arafat's death.
Many Israelis are concerned that Iran's support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Syria and its infiltration of Palestinian groups such as Hamas will derail any peace effort with the Palestinians.
Few have any faith in Iran abandoning its nuclear ambitions, despite Tehran agreeing to a European-sponsored initiative to suspend uranium enrichment.
The range of the missile Iran is now testing, the Shihab-3, is 1300km, putting Israel well within range.
Director of the Bar Ilan University's program on conflict management and negotiation, Gerald Steinberg, said Israel viewed a nuclear Iran as "particularly dangerous".
"The regime is dedicated to wiping Israel off the map and that's the sort of message that's printed on the side of their missiles," he said.
"If Iran develops nuclear weapons it would quite simply create a radical Islamic superpower in the heart of the Middle East, triggering a regional arms race."
Professor Steinberg said Australia had been supportive of Israel through its backing for International Atomic Energy Agency disarmament efforts and by applying diplomatic pressure on Iran over its sponsorship of terrorism.
But he suggested Australia should consider joining the US in imposing economic sanctions on Iran. Washington is also pushing the UN to impose sanctions, but has faced strong opposition from Russia and China.
Knesset member and Labour opposition whip Yitzhak Herzog told The Australian Iran was the "most pressing security threat" to Israel.
"What can Australia do? I think Australia should co-ordinate its efforts with the US and impose economic and trade sanctions on Iran," Mr Herzog said.
Australia, unlike the US, continues to have full diplomatic ties with Tehran, and Iran has been a leading buyer of Australian wheat.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Trade Minister Mark Vaile are regular visitors to Iran, and government sources suggest Australia will continue to play a role as a conduit between Washington and Tehran over the nuclear issue.
Monday, December 6, 2004; Page A20
IN AN EFFORT to make the Bush administration's incoherent and failing policy toward Iran look sensible, Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage recently claimed that the United States and its European allies were engaged in a classic "good cop, bad cop" maneuver. The administration's refusal to talk to the Iranian government and its threats to use U.N. sanctions or military force to stop Iran's development of nuclear capabilities, he asserted, had helped induce Tehran to strike an interim deal with the Europeans to suspend the program. "If it works," he said of the accord, "we'll all have been successful."
The depressing truth is nearly the opposite. The European agreement with Iran, approved last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency amid loud grumbling from Washington, effectively blocks the Bush administration from taking more forceful action. Meanwhile, the U.S. refusal to cooperate with Europe's strategy is likely to doom the long-term negotiations required by the new agreement. Far from containing Iran, the West's cops stand to neutralize each other, further poisoning transatlantic relations while delighting Iran's hard-liners.
Good and bad cops are effective only when they work together. Attempts by Britain, Germany and France to coordinate their Iranian diplomacy with Washington have failed, largely because Bush administration hard-liners oppose any policy not aimed at "regime change." Mr. Bush's hawks command the moral high ground: They are right that the "evil" Iranian regime has suppressed its people's democratic aspirations, sponsored terrorism and violated its legal commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The problem is that they offer no realistic policy of their own. Military action short of an all-out invasion probably couldn't stop the Iranian nuclear program. The hawks speak of supporting a democratic revolution inside Iran, but none seems likely soon, and many of Iran's democrats also want the bomb.
Since the United States already sanctions Iran and boycotts its government, the most practical means of influence available to the administration involve carrots, not sticks. Conversely, since European nations negotiate and do business with Iran -- and the Iranian government desperately needs foreign investment and trade to prop up its economy -- a threat by Britain, France and Germany to support U.N. or even Western sanctions could have enormous influence in Tehran. The United States won't use carrots, nor the Europeans sticks, on their own. But a coordinated transatlantic strategy that employed both these levers -- the prospect of a general Western economic boycott, or security guarantees and economic concessions from the same alliance -- might work.
It might not; maybe there is no practical way to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Even then, however, the United States would be better off if it had joined with its major European allies in facing this threat, rather than remaining mired in quarreling as Iran builds bombs with impunity. Iran's current regime is surely repugnant, but once armed with nuclear weapons, it will be far more dangerous. ...
Iran Hints It Sped Up Enriching Uranium as a PloyBy NAZILA FATHI
Published: December 6, 2004
EHRAN, Dec. 5 - Iranian officials have hinted in recent days that they sped up their enrichment of uranium in the past year to put Iran in a better position to negotiate with the West.
In a rare admission, Sirous Nasseri, a member of Iran's negotiating team with three European countries over its nuclear program, was quoted Sunday in the daily newspaper Shargh as saying that Iran had mastered the nuclear fuel cycle since last year, when it came under international pressure to abandon its uranium enrichment program.
"We are in a better negotiating position for political work than last year," the daily quoted him as saying.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told students at Ferdowssi University in Mashhad on Wednesday that the government of President Muhammad Khatami had, for the first time, allocated money and facilities to make "advanced centrifuges" for uranium enrichment, Shargh also reported.
Iran has taken the position that its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes, though it has pursued technology that could easily be converted to weapons production. The United States has accused Iran of secretly trying to make nuclear weapons and has urged its allies on the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear monitoring agency, to send Iran's case to the Security Council.
The agency opted for a gentler approach and issued a mildly worded resolution after Iran agreed in talks with the three European nations - France, Germany and Britain - to suspend its uranium enrichment activities. In return Iran expects rewards, including economic benefits, political and security cooperation with Europe and help with nuclear technology.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Sunday that Iran was not obliged to allow United Nations inspectors to visit military sites said to be involved in secret nuclear weapons work, but that it was willing to discuss the issue, Agence France-Presse reported.
"It is not a matter of unlimited commitments and unlimited inspections," said the spokesman, Hamid Reza Asefi. "We will act in accordance with" the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
Despite statements by Iran's leaders that their nuclear program has wide public support, reaction among Iranians to the agreement to suspend nuclear activities has been muted.
Except for a protest outside the British Embassy in Tehran, for which about 200 members of a militia force were bused in, no noticeable protest has occurred.
Frustrated by more than two decades of isolation and eight years of war with Iraq, many Iranians indicate that they would rather avoid confrontation with other countries. They say their priorities are an improved economy and more political and social freedom.
"The government could spend the $12 billion it has spent over a nuclear program for development of the country," said Karim Bozorgmehr, 32, an English teacher. An analyst in Tehran, who had done surveys on the subject but who said he feared retaliation if his name was published, said a majority of people he approached viewed the government's nuclear ambition with skepticism, saying the government was seeking nuclear capacity as a deterrent and as a way to consolidate its power.
"The clerics want to get hold of the bomb to rule for another 50 years," said, Reza, 36, a civil servant, who, fearing retaliation, would agree to be identified by only his first name.
News of the United Nations agency's resolution last week helped Iran's economy, in which important sectors like real estate and the stock market had slumped over fears that the nuclear dispute could result in a military confrontation with Israel or the United States.
"People were in a wait-and-see situation," said Saeed Leylaz, a journalist and an analyst in Tehran. "The decline in the economy and the soaring unemployment led to discontent among people. Iranian society is not ready for any kind of confrontation, and this put pressure on the government to reach a deal with Europe."
Iran began its nuclear program before the Islamic revolution in 1979 with aid from the United States, Germany and France. But the world has been suspicious of the nuclear program of Iran's Islamic government.
Iranian students protest against regime and mandatory veilSMCCDI (Information Service)
Dec 6, 2004
Hundreds of Iranian students gathered at the occasion of the official and governmental sponsored "Students Day", in Tehran University's amphitheater, in order to denounce persistent repression. Thousands of more gathered in the campus and in front of the univeristy.
Slogans were shouted against the regime and its leaders during officials speeches, such as, the one made by Mohammad Khatami. "Freedom, Freedom", "Enough lies", "Student is Angry, Rejecting Khatami" were heard at several occasion forcing an angry and threatening Khatami and other speakers to cut each time their speeches.
Many female students protested against the mandatory veil which is one of the basis of the regime's gender apartheid by carrying placards condemning the chador.
Some students were calling for an end to the theocratic regime and a real election on the choice of the future Secular Iranian regime. Other were requesting the release of all political prisoners and especially held students and teachers.
Other were denouncing the desperate try of Bassij students intending to use the students gathering in order to carry anti-US propaganda. Students took their distances with these elements by souting "Down with Taleban, In Kabul and in Tehran".
The protest actions were made despite heavy security presence.
The situation at Tehran University and many other Academic institution are very tense despite the fact that many students didn't participate as they do believe that the real "Students Day" is the date of July 9th.
Several Academies are on strike, such as, Esafahan and Ghazvin in which violent clashes happened last week between the students and members of the regime security forces resulting in the destruction of many public materials and arrest of several students.
2004 Monday 06 December
6000 Revolutionary Guards and "Basiji" enforcers of the Islamic Regime´s new wave of crackdowns
Iran Press News
The Islamic regimes has begun enforcing a fierce crackdown in the province of Hamadân in order to suppress "sound pollution" (listening to music) and bad "veiling" habits (for women) in cars.
According to the December 4th issue of the Tehran daily, Keyhan, Nassiri, the deputy chief of the Army staff command of the Province of Hamadân stated that the undercover prevention squad of the army staff will conduct a sweep and heavily fine drivers playing music which in turn promotes sound pollution and women exhibiting unacceptable veiling habits.
He added that approximately 6000 revolutionary guards and Basijis act as army staff bailiffs in the province of Hamadân. Nassiri said: "Since the inception of this plan in said province, in early October, 650 people have been apprehended." According to Nassiri, figures for of the detainees who are highschool or university students increased from 25% to 60% after the reopening of schools for the fall scholastic year.
Iran Parliament To Keep Hands Off Foreign Deals[Excerpt]
December 06, 2004
Dow Jones Newswires
TEHRAN -- The new conservative-dominated Iranian Parliament has recognized the importance of the country's energy industries and will likely continue to allow foreign investment in development projects, the oil minister and a member of Parliament both said Sunday.
Potential investors in Iran 's oil and gas markets have become increasingly concerned that the recently elected Parliament, or Majlis, will oppose any new hydrocarbon project with foreign participation.
But Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh downplayed the possibility of parliamentary intervention in the energy industry.
"In the first year of any new Parliament there will be differences and arguments," Zangeneh told Dow Jones Newswires. But he added, "I don't have any concerns that they will try to block the awarding of any new oil or gas project to foreign companies."
Hossein Afarideh, a moderate member of Parliament's energy commission, echoed those sentiments, adding that the new Majlis members are becoming more aware of how critical the development of Iran 's energy sector is for the country's economy.
"In the beginning the new Parliament didn't realize quite how important development of this sector (energy) is for the country, but already their ideas are changing," he said.
Parliament has been debating the legality of foreign contracts on Tehran's new airport and scrutinizing a telecommunications deal with Turkish companies. Conservative deputies have called for the contracts to be scrapped, saying the Turkish firms have business ties with Israel, an enemy of the Islamic Republic.
In September, Parliament also passed a bill forcing the government to secure parliamentary approval for foreign investment projects. Iran 's President Mohammad Khatami has warned that the bill has the potential to cause billions of dollars of damage to the Iranian economy.
Afarideh noted that Parliament has not moved to investigate oil or gas deals. "Recent developments have nothing to do with energy projects," he added.
Zangeneh said although Parliament wants to be informed of all negotiations taking place between Iranian oil officials and international oil executives, this doesn't mean members want to be involved in the actual talks.
He said Iranian officials are in fact close to awarding an energy project to a major international oil company.
Although Zangeneh declined to give specific details on the project, other sources within Iranian oil circles say Iran is moving close to awarding a contract for the development of phases 10 and 11 of its massive South Pars gas field.
Royal Dutch/Shell (RD) is believed to be one of the companies negotiating for the project, which will develop liquified natural gas for the export market.
Iran , eager to maintain its position as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' second-largest producer, has a near-term target to raise its crude production capacity to 5 million barrels-a-day by 2010. ...
-By Sally Jones; Dow Jones Newswires; 44-207-842 9347; email@example.com
DoctorZin Note: Iranian expatriates are disagreeing on how best to push for a referendum inside of Iran regarding the type of government the people of Iran want to represent them. Some such as the group below want a referendum now, while others argue that a vote needs to take place only after the regime has been overthrown, see: http://70000000.com
Can The Call For A National Referendum Snowball Into a Mass Movement For Change?December 05, 2004
A new breath of life has been given to the badly beaten and exhausted body of the Iranian pro-democracy movement, by a group of distinguished Iranian dissidents and activists.
These dissidents have called for the staging of a national referendum with the free participation of the Iranian people, under the supervision of appropriate international institutions and observers, for the drafting of a new constitution that is compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all its associated covenants.
What is significant in this call is the calibre of the original eight people who have made the appeal. These incluse:
Mohsen Sazgara, the founder of the original post-revolution elite Revolutionary Guards and one of those who accompanied Ayatollah Khomeini on his famous return flight to Iran from his exile.
Dr. Mohammad Maleki, first post-revolution chancellor of the Tehran University, who has spent many years in Islamic Republic prisons and badly tortured on several occasions.
Mehrangiz Kar, Human Rights lawyer, writer and the wife of jailed Iranian journalist Siamak Pourzand.
Nasser Zarafshan, Jailed Iranian lawyer.
Ali Afshari, imprisoned student activist.
Reza Delbari, Iranian student activist from Amir Kabir university in Tehran.
Akbar Atri, Iranian student activist, previously imprisoned by the Islamic regime.
Abdollah Momeni, Iranian student activist, abducted by regime.s security forces in June, 2003.
Apart from Mehrangiz Kar and Mohsen Sazgara, the rest of the dissidents who have made the appeal live in Iran. Sazgara is currently outside Iran waiting for an operation. I met with him today and already he was talking about returning to Iran after his operation. .If I am to stay outside Iran, I may as well only do academic work, a political struggle in which I am not right in the middle of it does not appeal to me. He told me when we met this morning.
In the last five years since the student uprising in 1999, Don Quixote and unscrupulous exiled Iranian figures with satellite bases in LA, have tried to jump on the Iranian pro-democracy movement's bandwagon, resulting in loss of credibility for the whole movement and the Iranian masses becoming more indifferent to politics in general.
The names above who started this appeal however, are serious people who have credibility amongst the Iranian people, they have shown to the Iranian people that they are prepared to make sacrifices unlike those who have called for people to come on the streets from the comfort of their armchairs or television studios.
Their website www.60000000.com in a short space of time has attracted more than 18000 signatures from ordinary and distinguished Iranians, and from a spectrum of political groups from the Left of Iranian politics to the serious Monarchist groups.
The student day in Iran tomorrow will be an opportunity for student activists in Iran to launch the appeal amongst the Iranian people and solicit their support.
It is hoped that the appeal will snowball into an organised mass movement demanding for real radical change of the constitution in Iran.
A text of the appeal in English can be found under: http://www.60000000.com/index-eng.php3
Students heckle Iranian president
Iranian students have interrupted a speech by President Mohammad Khatami to mark Student Day at Tehran university.
Khatami: Accused of failing to stand up to conservatives
Students chanted "Shame on you" and "Where are your promised freedoms?" to express their frustration with the failure of Iran's reform movement.
A visibly-shaken Khatami defended his record and criticised the powerful hardliners who have closed newspapers and jailed dissidents.
He asked students to stop heckling and accused his critics of intolerance.
Students were once some of President Khatami's strongest supporters.
But they now accuse him of failing to stand up to the conservatives who won parliamentary elections in February.
Students are very disappointed because they paid a heavy price for supporting Khatami, but in return they got nothing
Correspondents say Mr Khatami is concluding his second and final term in office as a virtual lame duck - having once been seen a force for great change in the Islamic republic.
"My period is going to be over soon but I do not owe anyone," Mr Khatami told the meeting of about 1,500 students in remarks quoted by Reuters news agency.
"Those power-seeking fanatics who ignored the people's demands and resisted reforms... the ones who destroyed Iran's image in the world, they owe me."
And he defended the record of free speech in Iran, despite the closure of dozens of pro-reform publications in the last four years.
Some students' anger was unabated during the speech
"There is no Third World country where the students can talk to their president and criticise the government as you do now.
"I really believe in this system and the revolution and that this system can be developed from within," he is quoted as saying.
But student leader Abdollah Momeni complained that there was is no difference between the president and the authoritarians who thwarted his reform programme.
"Students are very disappointed because they paid a heavy price for supporting Khatami, but in return they got nothing," he is quoted as saying by Reuters.
A statement distributed by one pro-reform student group at the meeting said: "Unfortunately what Khatami sees as his tolerance was his extreme weakness towards the opponents of democracy".
Tehran altering ballistic missile
By Andrew Koch JDW Bureau Chief Washington, DC
Robin Hughes JDW Deputy News Editor London
Additional reporting by Alon Ben-David, JDW Correspondent Tel Aviv
As the controversy over whether Iran is conducting a secret nuclear weapons programme gathers momentum, new details are emerging about Tehran's ballistic missiles likely to carry such weapons.
The mostly likely delivery system, a liquid-fuelled medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), referred to in the US as the Shahab 3A, has been flight-tested several times in the past few months.
The Paris-based Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), in London on 2 December, claimed that Tehran, under what it alleged to be a " wider clandestine programme," is developing a new medium-range ballistic missile called the Ghadr-101. US intelligence officials believe the Ghadr 101 is the same as the Shahab 3A.
However,Uzi Rubin, former director of Israel's Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation told JDW: "It appears that there are two competing teams in Iran working on its future medium-range ballistic missile. The version that was recently tested [in August] and presented in public already deserves the title Shahab 4, as it is completely different from the previous Shahab 3. Everything but the propulsion system was changed, the range was increased, as well as the re-entry vehicle."
The missile has a modified nose section allowing it to hold a larger warhead and thus provide additional room for a nuclear device. Israeli officials have said the larger nose section is capable of separation and visually appears similar to that used on the Russian SS-9 intercontinental ballistic missile. "It is not a copy of a known missile but the new Shahab has a major-league design. It's clear that it is the work of seasoned missile engineers, probably Russian, rather than an experimental beginners," version, added Rubin.
Such extra room is vital as Iranian nuclear engineers would face major technical challenges in making the country's first nuclear weapon light enough and small enough to fit on its existing missiles, particularly without benefit of having conducted full-scale nuclear weapons tests. The weapon is believed by US officials to be an indigenous design although knowledge gained from blueprints of a working, but too large nuclear weapon, provided by the Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan would be helpful to the effort. If true, the efforts would signify that Iran is further advanced in its nuclear weapons programme than previously known.
OH COME ON! What more do the lefties need to hear to know that Iran is building a Nuclear bomb?!?
I just wish we could get a few Marines like we saw on the Fox special last night, to walk up to the mullahs, stick an AK-47 in their faces and ask them to repeat that statement about not letting anyone inspect.
BTW, I sent an e-mail to Fox last night to commend them on the India Co. special and it was returned to me as undeliverable because the mailbox at Fox was too full!!!!
This is very encouraging (students heckling the Iranian president)! Earlier today, I was thinking about this. I must say that I have been fairly disappointed with the White House that they basically haven't taken a substantive position on Iran. In my mind, I've thought for the last few weeks and months that we wouldn't see any real heavy-handed diplomatic action 'till January or February, 2005. Still - I don't like waiting. You must assume that the Iranians are farther along than you have evidence for.
Major dissident figures have said that the thing they really want is just for the US to come out in support of them. That's it! C'mon, Mr. President, just do it, and then maybe the IAEA and the UN will just be a bad dream, and not a nightmare.
Have the Iranian people overturn their government, send a few thousand American troops over and secure and neutralize the nuclear facilities, and then leave. ALthough Iran is chock-full of terrorists, so it might not be THAT easy.
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