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Iranian Alert - December 21, 2004 [EST] - "The Shah Will Return"
Regime Change Iran ^ | 12.21.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 12/21/2004 12:39:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn

Top News Story

Iranians Start Questioning Role Of Religion In Politics

December 20, 2004
Kuwait Times
Cyrus Khaki

Throughout history, it has been a frequent occurrence for countries to switch political systems, from feudal states to kingdoms and back again. It has been equally common for a country to change from a republic-based hierarchy, to the equally disputed democratic system. What is much more rare is for a nation to alter is approach to religion.

The history of the Middle East is in large part a patchwork quilt of religious conflicts, shifting dogmas and fracturing of religious systems. But once a nation defines itself by its religions, the definition often becomes set in stone and difficult to alter even from within. Such is the case in Iran today. While many in the country still adhere willingly to the strict Islamic rule, others are questioning the overwhelming role of religion in politics and daily life.

In a recent visit to Iran, I had the opportunity to ask people how they felt about the changes-and lack of changes-in the country they call home. I flew in from Kuwait with no idea of how much and how fast the country was changing and how opinions on the future direction of the country have become so hotly divided. During my visit, it became very apparent that despite the various strenuous sanctions against this country, the market has adapted well to the limited import allowances. Everywhere I looked I noted locally made goods, be it foodstuffs, home appliances, or even cars-despite recent laws that allow BMW cars to be imported with a 300 per cent import tax quota. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if there were ever a self-efficient country Iran would be it.

Weary public Nevertheless, the Iranian public is becoming weary. Everywhere I went I met people who were growing increasingly tired of the firebrand rhetoric and lack of substantive development coming from the government. Many openly condemned the current regime. "Much has changed since 1979," said A.M. who owns a grocery shop in northern Tehran. "I supported this regime back then because I was promised a better life. I was blind to the fact that my life was at the time at its highlight. Many people would agree to this.

Iran's revolution 25 years ago was one of a kind. It really was the first of its kind. Look at the world; everywhere you look, you'll see people revolting and rioting the streets because they are hungry, poor and dissatisfied with their living standards. But we had everything. We were better off then than we are now. Look at me; I used to own a men's clothing store, I used to walk around town advertising the best in men's fashion by wearing the most expensive suits and ties from my own shop. Now I'm here selling fruits and vegetables."

Through held-back tears before a man half his age, A.M. adds, "Iran's revolution was caused not by hunger; it was caused by the peoples' boredom and the abundance of everything." A.M. admitted that he was indeed one of the millions that went to the streets on the day of the revolution, Feb 11, 1979. He maintained however, that had he been given the chance to go back in time, he would not only stay home, but would condemn anyone he knew personally, had they shown a remote interest in supporting the overthrowing of the Shah's dynasty.

Living standards

While taking a drive through Iran's capital, I met another man who also expressed dissatisfaction with the ruling mullahs. He stated that he's been a taxi driver for more than 35 years, but never did he expect living standards to hit rock bottom, as that they have in recent years. He made clear that he is a firm believer of the Islamic doctrine, but is furious at how it is "forced" under the rule of this government.

The 50-year-old taxi driver, M.Q. said, "Back in the day, you could go to a park, and you'd find a drunk man and a Muslim veiled woman sharing the same bench to admire the scenery; neither of them bothered with what the other is doing. But look at us today! We've been reduced to the point where our 5,000 year heritage is being questioned by clerics who want to take away the little bit of pride that remains for us." During the long drive, he made references to today's youth and how they've been led astray by greed and money. His reasoning for this relates to the poverty that has overtaken the country since the revolution.

"Girls used to have dignity, they used to be proud. Now all they want is a rich man to spoil them, and they aren't ashamed to admit it. I remember a neighbour of ours had had a man come and ask for his daughter's hand around 30 years ago, if I'm not mistaken about the year. The groom-to-be was very wealthy; so wealthy in fact, that everyone in the neighbourhood knew that he owned hotels and restaurants abroad. As I recall, my neighbour rejected to marry his daughter off to him, saying that his daughter wasn't livestock, and that even when buying cattle a man should spend more time admiring and analysing it. This is the demise of our people. Today, that very same family is giving away its grand daughters to foreign visitors who want 'temporary marriages,'" added M.Q.

Nevertheless, Iran is a country torn between two ideals. During my visit, I noted that there are those who hold a firm belief in the Islamic traditions; then there are those who ignore it completely, if not for the forced way with which it is implemented then because of the substantial economic hardships this government has brought with it.

Split ideals

Walking in the streets, one can see the split ideals. It is really disconcerting to see a segregated people who are so different and yet so similar in their passion for what they believe. On the one hand there are the Islamists, and on the other you have the liberals. Both are plentiful to the average person strolling the streets of Tehran, although statistics tell a different story. Of the approximate 66 million people in Iran, some 70 per cent are supposed to be under the age of 30. This has different implications for different censuring agencies. Some would argue that 70 per cent of the population have been brought up under this regime and therefore are more grounded in their Islamic beliefs, while others would counter by claiming that the 70 per cent have witnessed the atrocities brought unto them and therefore are more likely to make a stand to oust this regime.

What is apparent though, is that both 'parties' are becoming more and more enraged as the other begins voicing its beliefs more stridently. But as a famous Iranian poet once said, "it is the silent that shall sneak past the blockade, not the violent horde that try to force their way through."

The supporters of this regime try to silence the liberals by protesting in the streets and making themselves heard as the voice of the majority. And indeed, many can feel their aspirations wholeheartedly, as this is their religion they are trying to maintain and the very reason why some of them are still pushing through the life that has been thrown at them. "I will not let a bunch of young kids who don't know what's good for them take away what the Prophet gave us 2,000 years ago!" said F. H, a woman in her mid 30s, who took part in a recent demonstration in Tehran, supporting the Islamic Republic's government.

Undeniably, the liberals are silenced. But in their silence they are hopeful as they wait. S. A. a resolved liberal says, "He will return. Everyone knows this. The Shah will return, and with his return everything will change. This is why the fundamentalists are weary. This is why recently they have been trying extra hard to show the world that they are the people. But the truth cannot be hidden, the world will see. Long live the King and his kingdom that awaits him."

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
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"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin

1 posted on 12/21/2004 12:39:45 AM 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!

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail DoctorZin”

2 posted on 12/21/2004 12:42:17 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Revolution Redux

Watching the Uprising in Kiev Takes Me Back to Tehran

By Roya Hakakian
Monday, December 20, 2004; Page A23

Everyone is serenading Kiev these days. "Magical" and "most valorous" were the words on the morning news. But in my mind, Kiev has never looked more like Tehran -- my capital in 1978. Theirs is an orange revolution. But though I still can't discern the shade of our revolution, the similarities are striking.

Rock stars converged on Independence Square in Kiev. In my time it was poetry, poetry, poetry. Revolutions are ignited by politics, but the fuel that sustains their fire is hardly just that. All of Iran's literati and artistic elite got together that year to stage "Ten Nights of Poetry" at Tehran's Goethe Institute. It rained every night. But, what rain? Thousands gathered to hear the flaming speeches of their beloved authors! Our revolution, too, reached its climax in December. Yet we roamed the streets, unfazed. (Never had the Celsius been so gravely insulted!) On milder days we boasted that it was a sign that God was on our side.

We had no tent cities, but the streets were home. And by January 1979, the revolution had transcended the headlines. It had become something visceral: a paradoxical feeling of drowning in a sea of hundreds, yet never breathing better. Caught in those tides, we became the heroes that the quotidian nature of our days had never permitted us to be. With schools, offices and factories shut down, life and time had come to a halt. Six a.m. was the same as six p.m. Nowhere to be but here. Nothing to do but this. We stood idly like the unemployed, though we'd never been so gainfully occupied. (Imagine my quandary when I was asked, in a college interview after my arrival in the United States, if I'd ever been a cheerleader in high school!) The rest of the world had not vanished, but it had gone from being a place we previously dreamed of discovering to a place that we now demanded discover our dream.

Nearly everything was more than met the eye. A tree was an observation post; the stoops, the place for the ad hoc organizing committee to convene. ...

All the lessons our parents and our civic and religious leaders had been teaching us all our lives sank in overnight. Strangers on the streets seemed familiar, like long-lost family members. The sick or the wounded never made it to the stretchers. They levitated in the air, their bodies passing over the crowds' hands. Drivers yielded to pedestrians. Children, watching the screaming adults, stopped their petulance. Mothers distributed sweets among passersby. Patrons in phone booths cut their conversations short to let others make calls. Even love felt greater on the streets that year. There was more to a kiss, to an embrace amid the throngs. The soldiers lurked about us with apprehension. In Kiev, they send the most beautiful female protesters to negotiate with them. We put carnations in the barrels of their rifles. Despite the chaos, the value of aesthetics is never lost on revolutionaries.

As vivid as these words are on my monitor, so are the details of those memories in my mind. Everything but the color of our revolution. Perhaps it's because history is black. It absorbs all shades into its oblivion, till the victors paint it as they wish. We were the secular, urban youth who wanted, as do our successors even today, a democratic future. We lost. Our grief turned us against ourselves, even against our own memories.

Now we're remembered as the Don Quixotes who chased a sham. Once, we'd been commended for our vision. Soon we were taunted for not having recognized the "realities." (Warning: The popular wisdom that "The journey is more important than the destination" does not apply to revolutions.) And so our brilliant shade of 25 years ago now conjures only darkness. Today, from a corner of the world where I never thought I'd live, suburbs of Connecticut, USA, I, an Iranian exile, with an ear fixed to the radio, root for Ukraine, and hope that the glory of their revolution will not fade in time but remain as it is today: orange and vibrant.

The writer is co-founder of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center and the author of "Journey From the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran."

3 posted on 12/21/2004 12:42:44 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

20 December 2004, Volume  7, Number  45


The chant of "referendum, referendum" rose from the crowd as President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami gave a Student Day speech at Tehran University on 6 December, Fars News Agency and the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported. This is not the first time Iranian students have called for a referendum on the country's form of government. In May 2003, a mock referendum was held at Hamedan's Bu Ali Sina University (see "RFE/RL Iran Report," 19 May, 16 June, 8 December 2003, and 9 February 2004). Of the 635 participants in the 2003 referendum, 91.4 percent said they favored the draft constitution that preceded the creation of the Guardians Council, 2.5 percent favored the official 1979 constitution that includes the Guardians Council, and 1.5 percent backed the revised 1989 constitution.

But that is where the similarities stop. This time, the idea of a referendum is being promoted by a newly reinvigorated student organization -- the Office for Strengthening Unity -- and prominent dissident figures, and it seeks to take advantage of an increasingly accessible technology -- the Internet. Moreover, the mock referendum of 2003 elicited an angry response from hard-line vigilantes, whereas the current call for an online referendum is being dismissed by reformist political leaders.

A new effort in support of a referendum, which has its own website (, encourages Iranians to add their name and e-mail address to a petition. This petition calls for "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." The objective of the campaign is to gather 60,000,000 signatures on the petition.

The organization behind the petition drive is called the Committee to Organize a Referendum, and includes as members such prominent figures as Harvard University professor and human rights lawyer Mehrangiz Kar, national religious activist and former Tehran University president Mohammad Maleki, and journalist Mohsen Sazgara. According to "The New York Sun" on 7 December, the committee is encouraging the involvement of Iranian expatriates in the petition drive. More unexpected, perhaps, is its quest for U.S. involvement in the project.

"We need America to defend the democratic rights of the Iranian people," Sazgara explained in "The New York Sun" report. "We want this right to vote in a referendum, we don't want the current constitution, we want to change it. We need practical help to defend Iranian people. If the Americans can use international policy and sanctions, not against the Iranian people, but against the officials of the regime, this would be good. The people of Iran would like to see the bank accounts frozen for the regime officials. If they publish the bank accounts, the Iranian people will be very happy."

Said Hajjarian, a leading reformist ideologue, dismissed the concept of an online referendum, comparing it to the absurd claims of Ahura Piruz Khalegi Yazdi, a self-styled prophet who appears on California-based expatriate television programs, "Kayhan" reported on 11 December.

"We consider this sort of action neither beneficial nor feasible," former parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Khatami said according to "Sharq" on 7 December. Khatami, who is a leader of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Party, said his organization opposes the call for a referendum, because "Those who make such proposals make it more difficult for themselves and also add to the bumps and potholes in the way of reforms." Khatami suggested that the reformists' opponents would use this issue as a pretext to act against the reformists themselves.

Let's assume 60 million Iranians sign the petition for a referendum, Mohammad Quchani wrote in an editorial in the 12 December "Sharq." A host government must officially invite international observers, he wrote, and any government that does so has effectively disarmed the supporters of a referendum.

The organizers of the referendum, Quchani continued, have a left a number of important questions unanswered. Among these are: what is the relationship between mosque and state; if Iran is to become a secular democracy, what will be the model for this secular democracy; what will the state's role in the economy be; what about the country's religious minorities (i.e. can a Sunni be president); and where do ethnic minorities stand. Other issues raised by Quchani address the fact that the majority of Iran's current laws are based on Shari'a -- will a new political system consider issues like the dress code?

Quchani also criticized the diverse make up of the Committee to Organize a Referendum, saying that there no consensus on its membership (which brings together national-religious figures, secular dissidents, and some student activists). On the other hand, he continued, a consensus does exist among the committee's critics -- such as the traditional intellectual Hatam Qaderi, national-religious figure Alireza Rajai, and reformist politicians like Hajjarian and Khatami. Quchani also noted that monarchists, communists, and other members of the expatriate opposition have spoken out against the online referendum, without providing any specific details.

Reformist opposition to the call for a referendum was unexpected, student leaders wrote in the 12 December "Sharq." Nevertheless, it confirms that reformist activists are not in step with popular sentiment, according to the authors, Office for Strengthening Unity leaders Ali Afshari, Akbar Atari, Reza Delbari, and Abdullah Momeni. Hajjarian has misunderstood the call for a referendum, they continued, because it is meant to eliminate the country's political deadlock rather than overthrow the regime. The four men dismissed Hajjarian's belief that the system can be reformed through the current constitution.

The call for an online referendum has not had a tremendous impact to date. Some 25,000 signatories have given permission for public release of their names as of 16 December; it is not known how many people have signed the petition in total. The Iranian government reportedly is blocking access to the site from inside the country.

A referendum on the form of government and the constitution is permissible under the current law. Article 59 of the constitution says there can be recourse to public opinion on "important economic, political, social, and cultural matters" by holding a referendum if two-thirds of the legislature approves; and Article 177 says the constitution can be revised by a referendum if the conditions of Article 59 are met. That said, it remains very unlikely that the current conservative legislature would permit a referendum to take place. (Bill Samii)

4 posted on 12/21/2004 12:43:13 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran: Judiciary Uses Coercion to Cover Up Torture

On National TV, Journalists Forced to Deny They Were Tortured

(New York, December 20, 2004) The Iranian judiciary is using threats of lengthy prison sentences and coerced televised statements in an attempt to cover up its arbitrary detention and torture of internet journalists and civil society activists, Human Rights Watch said today.

" If there are any credible charges against these journalists, the judiciary should hold fair trials instead of forcing them to appear on television and say their torturers treated them well.

Since September, more than 20 internet journalists and civil society activists have been arrested and held in a secret detention center in Tehran. Most have since been released on bail. In a public letter to President Mohammed Khatami on December 10, the father of one of those detained, Ali Mazroi—who is also president of the Association of Iranian Journalists and a former member of parliament—implicated the judiciary in the torture and secret detention of the detainees.  
Immediately afterwards, the chief prosecutor of Tehran, Judge Saeed Mortazavi, filed charges against Mazroi for libel. On December 11, Mortazavi ordered the detention of three of the released detainees—Omid Memarian, Shahram Rafizadeh and Ruzbeh Mir Ebrahimi—as witnesses for the prosecution in the case. These three journalists and Javad Gholam Tamayomi, a journalist who has been in detention since October 18, were brought to Mortazavi’s office.  
Mortazavi threatened the four detainees with lengthy prison sentences if they did not deny Mazroi’s allegations. They were interrogated for three consecutive days for eight hours each day.  
On December 14, the four detainees were brought in front of a televised “press conference” arranged by Judge Mortazavi, and forced to deny that they had been subjected to solitary confinement, torture and ill-treatment during their earlier detention. That evening, Iran’s government-controlled television news broadcast videotapes that showed the four detainees saying that their jailors treated them as “gently as flowers.”  
“If there are any credible charges against these journalists, the judiciary should hold fair trials instead of forcing them to appear on television and say their torturers treated them well,” said Joe Stork, Washington director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division.  
Human Rights Watch has obtained detailed information about the torture and solitary confinement of the detainees at the secret detention center.  
The detainees had been kept at a secret location within one hour of central Tehran, where they were held in solitary confinement in small cells for up to three months. During the entire length of their detention they were subjected to torture—including beatings with electrical cables—and interrogations that lasted up to 11 hours at a stretch.  
The detainees were denied access to lawyers, and to medical care when they fell ill. They were allowed family visits rarely. They were often threatened with the arrest of family members and friends if they did not cooperate. Their mental stress had reportedly reached such a level that many detainees had become suicidal.  
The apparent purpose of this torture and mistreatment was to extract confessions that implicate reformist politicians and civil society activists in activities such as spying and violating national security laws. The detainees were interrogated by the same person, an operative who uses the pseudonym “Keshavarz.” The magistrate in charge of these detainees is known as “Mehdipoor.” Both the interrogator and magistrate repeatedly delivered messages and threats to the detainees on behalf of Judge Mortazavi.  
“These detainees had been detained and tortured by secret squads apparently taking orders from Judge Mortazavi himself,” Stork said. “Mortazavi obviously has a lot at stake in covering up his role in this affair.”  
Human Rights Watch called on the Iranian government to investigate Judge Mortazavi’s role in orchestrating the detention and torture of nonviolent journalists and activists and to end its campaign of repression against free speech.

5 posted on 12/21/2004 12:43:42 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Iran: One day left to save woman sentenced to be buried up to chest and stoned to death

An Iranian woman charged with adultery faces death by stoning, reportedly by tomorrow (21 Dec) after her death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court last month.

Her unnamed co-defendant is at risk of imminent execution by hanging. Amnesty International members are now faxing urgent appeals to the Iranian authorities, calling for the execution to be stopped.

According to reports, Hajieh Esmailvand was sentenced to five years imprisonment, to be followed by execution by stoning, for adultery with an unnamed man who at the time was a 17 year old minor. Although the exact date of her arrest and trial are not known, it is reported that she has been imprisoned in the town of Jolfa, in the north west of Iran, since January 2000.

The Iranian Penal Code is very specific about the manner of execution and types of stones which should be used. Article 102 states that men will be buried up to their waists and women up to their breasts for the purpose of execution by stoning. Article 104 states, with reference to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes, nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones".

All death sentences in Iran must be upheld by the Supreme Court before they can be carried out. In November 2004, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence against Hajieh Esmailvand but changed the lower court's verdict from ‘death by hanging’ to ‘death by stoning’. Reports suggest that the Supreme Court has ordered that the remainder of Hajieh’s five year prison sentence be annulled so that the stoning sentence can be carried out before 21 December.

Amnesty International UK Media Director Mike Blakemore said:

"This is an urgent case. Hajieh could be killed tomorrow. Our members here in the UK are faxing the Iranian authorities, imploring them to stop this brutal execution. Campaigners in Iran are also taking action. But we need more people to stand up and be counted, to tell the Iranian authorities that this is not acceptable.

"Every day, thousands of women across the world face repression and violence, just because they are women. From the battlefield to the bedroom, women are at risk. Violence against women is a human rights atrocity and one we must tackle immediately."

The news follows reports of a 19-year old girl, 'Leyla M', who has a mental age of eight, reportedly facing imminent execution for "morality-related" offences in Iran after being forced into prostitution by her mother as a child. According to a Tehran newspaper report of 28 November, she was sentenced to death by a court in the central Iranian city of Arak and the sentence has now been passed to the Supreme Court for confirmation.

Leyla M was reportedly sentenced to death on charges of "acts contrary to chastity" by controlling a brothel, having intercourse with blood relatives and giving birth to an illegitimate child. She is to be flogged before she is executed. She had apparently "confessed" to the charges.

Leyla was forced into prostitution by her mother when she was eight years old, according to the 28 November report, and was raped repeatedly thereafter. She gave birth to her first child when she was nine, and was sentenced to 100 lashes for prostitution at around the same time. At the age of 12, her family sold her to an Afghan man to become his "temporary wife". His mother became her new pimp, "selling her body without her consent". At the age of 14 she became pregnant again, and received a further 100 lashes, after which she was moved to a maternity ward to give birth to twins. After this “temporary marriage”, her family sold her again, to a 55-year-old man, married with two children, who had Leyla’s customers come to his house.

One in three women around the world suffer serious violence in their lifetime, at home, in the community or in war, just because they are women. Amnesty International is running a global campaign to Stop Violence Against Women. The human rights organisation is calling on governments to repeal laws that permit and encourage violence against women, and on communities to challenge attitudes that allow violence to continue.


Amnesty International is aware of at least one case in which a sentence of execution by stoning has reportedly been issued this year. According to a report on 8 January 2004 in the Iran newspaper, a criminal court in the city of Qazvin sentenced an unnamed man to 80 lashes and 10 years'’ imprisonment to be followed by execution by stoning. It is not known whether this sentence has been carried out.

Amnesty International believes that the death penalty is the most extreme form of torture. It is a cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and a violation of the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It is clear that the punishment of stoning is designed to cause the victim grievous pain before leading to death. Such methods of execution specifically designed to increase the suffering of victims are of particular concern to Amnesty International, as the most extreme and cruel form of torture.

Take action to stop the executions of Hajieh and Leyla M...

6 posted on 12/21/2004 12:44:14 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Why Iranians Loved the Shah (and Still Do)

By Reza Bayegan | December 21, 2004

I picked up the telephone to talk to a friend right after a French television station aired an hour-long program about the Shah (entitled Le Shah d’Iran: un homme à abattre, by Reynold Ismar, broadcast December 5 on France 5). I asked her how she liked the program and she broke down crying and could not choke out any speech. Watching the program was not easy for me, either. I sat on the edge of the sofa glued to the television, swallowing my tears and watching a chronological account of the beginning and end of a man who was the king of my country for 38 years.

Why do I, my friend, and many other Iranians feel so passionately about the Shah? We were not part of his so-called inner circle to be missing the royal glamour with which we were once surrounded. Speaking for myself, I do not give a hoot for royal glamour. Neither are we pining for the cushy jobs we had while the Shah was in power. I and many of my peers were high school students when the Shah left the country and were not yet of employment age. Our parents had to work hard to make ends meet. No, the affection we have for the Shah has nothing to do with material considerations; it has everything to do with the love we have for our homeland.

The Shah was not a president, a mere ruler or head of state. He was a living manifestation of the continuity of our civilization. And what is that supposed to mean you might say? And you will be right in your skepticism. One hears a great deal of cant rattled off about our “ancient Iranian civilization” stretching from Greece and Egypt across Central Asia, to India and so forth. This kind of talk is only tiresome claptrap. A great deal of it is self-aggrandizement of people who hide behind the laurels of their forefathers. It can be meaningful only if the present achievements succeed in making a logical connection to the traditions and cultural heritage of the past. And a glance at the current state of affairs in our country obviously shows that this connection is non-existent.

So what after all do I mean when I say that the Shah was the manifestation of the continuity of our civilization? I mean he was the living representation and the custodian of an identity that was balanced on three pillars: religious faith, national heritage, and political tradition. He was the personification and upholder of that trinity that provided Iranians with their unique sense of selfhood setting them apart from other cultures and civilizations.  The Shah was absolutely right when in a 1979 discussion with Sir David Frost, in answer to the celebrated interviewer’s question about what in his opinion was the common bond uniting the Iranian people, he answered “The crown, the king.”

For the past quarter of a century deprived of its Shah, that keystone of its national identity, Iran has been writhing in the throes of degeneration and backwardness. It has by no means lived up to its creative potential and true national aspirations. A look at the low morale of the dispirited Iranians living in their homeland (or abroad) shows the extent of this decay. The ever-climbing rates of suicide, drug addiction, prostitution, and family violence demonstrate how the moral foundation of our country has been disturbed and its central assumptions been thrown out of whack. If watching old movies of the Shah makes Iranians break down in tears, it is because of a huge emptiness in their national soul that yearns for fulfillment and repair. For the same reason, Reza Pahlavi’s website is visited by thousands of Iranians everyday, and Shahbanou is greeted by throngs of her compatriots wherever she goes.

The people of a nation can go from day to day, double or triple the size of their population, even materially prosper, and nevertheless remain dispossessed of something essential in their collective soul. To continue as a living civilization however requires something quite different. The Shah was a symbol and a proof of that stubborn Iranian spirit that had stood up to all foreign invasions and resisted all the trespass to its cultural integrity. It had survived the Greeks, Mongols, Arabs, Turks and the Communists because it held on to a spiritual core of national values, which was more powerful than any of those formidable foes.

What the mullahs represented was also an important part of this core. Shia Islam at its best like its Zoroastrian predecessor was a strong pillar that held up our national identity and provided us with a unique set of spiritual, moral and mythological values. These values like the monarchy itself are not measurable in utilitarian terms or by mathematical charts. Nevertheless their worth to the well-being of our culture has been inestimable. Anyone who denies this is either intellectually or emotionally out of tune with the Iranian situation.

The Shah himself was aware of that delicate structure that rested on religious faith, national heritage and a political tradition. Although he was following a secular programme for modernization and development of the country, not only had he nothing against the thoughtful branch of the Shia Islam, he did his best to support and promote it. Thanks to the Shah’s special attention the city of Mashhad, the burial site of the 9th century Shia saint Imam Reza gained high prominence as a magnificent pilgrim city and a reputable center of religious learning. The peaceful spiritual leaders in Qom were far freer in the time of the Shah than during the dictatorship of Ruhollah Khomeini who started the repressive custom of keeping his fellow ayatollahs under house arrest. Even Khomeini himself as the leading exponent of the most backward fanatical branch of violent shiaism had nothing worse to fear from the Shah than an exile into a holy city in the country’s neighborhood.

One should never make the mistake of thinking that the eventual downfall of the Shah proves that he was wrong in allowing so much power and resources to the country’s major religious faith. Apart from being a sincere believer himself, his astute mind provided him with a long- term vision and a far reaching insight into the delicately forged balance that kept the country together, territorially, emotionally and spiritually.

Contrastingly, the mullahs who opposed him could not see further than the tip of their noses. They could only think of short term gain, seizing the reigns of power and holding on to it as long as they could manage it. They failed to see, or could not care less about the long term interests of the religious faith they claimed they were trying to safeguard. They could not see that the heartlessness and emotional sterilization they were instigating against the Shah could eventually pave the way for their own departure. If a nation with 2,500 years of monarchy could bring itself to get rid of such a highly significant national symbol as the Shah, it could also manage to jettison a foreign religion with much less seniority. A parent who mistreats his spouse in front of the children could not expect to gain their love but should understand that he is eroding the sense of respect, family honor and fidelity that will one day come to haunt him. As the saying goes ‘what goes around comes around’. And the time for the end of Islamic faith at least in its present form has come around in Iran for quite some time. It is not a secret to anyone that the mullahs are derided and despised by the majority of Iranians. They hold political power by intimidation and repression and not because they are entrusted to do so by the free will of the population.

What kind of Shia Islam can be expected to emerge after the dust of the present dictatorship has settled in Iran is not an easy question to answer. Whether the religion of the majority of Iranians will be able to recreate itself and be born anew sometime in the future depends on many different factors. In its intelligent progressive form it will have a better chance of survival through the restoration of that political system which itself draws its strength from traditional values i.e. the constitutional monarchy. What is certain is that after their inevitable liberation from the present dictatorship, Iranians will never accept to give religion the overwhelming sway it once exercised in their political life. The concept of Shia Islam as the official religion of the country is finished. For that matter, the Iranian monarchy also in its old overarching form has for ever come to an end.

Today we Iranians are sitting amongst the ruins of twenty-five years of national turmoil. To prevail as a civilization we have to pick up the pieces and recreate our national trinity of God, the Shah and country for the democratic age of the twenty-first century. To think however that we can dissolve this trinity, reduce its number or concoct something else altogether instead is to repeat the folly of the Islamic revolutionaries.

A secular republic with no imaginative roots in our national consciousness for Iranians will be like a loveless marital contract full of clauses and sub-clauses but ultimately bereft of any binding emotional attachment or heartfelt yearning. We cannot build the future of our nation in a spiritual vacuum, forgoing its true sources of cultural inspiration and vitality.

What is certain is that multi billion dollar investments are not the only thing we require for rebuilding our country. We need to make an attempt to identify and heal our festering emotional wounds. We need to scrutinize the truth beyond the clouds of falsehood propagated in the past twenty-five years by political opportunists and religious terrorists. A good place to start is to consider clearly and free of fanaticism the place of the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the history of our modern civilization. Such an understanding is essential for our moral recovery. It will enable us to come to terms with our past and proceed in the direction of creating a just, fair and humane society.

The Shah stood at the political helm of our country for nearly four decades, giving us his youth and old age. He bestowed on us all the intellectual and emotional energy his life could muster. The least we can do for him is to give him the recognition he deserves.

7 posted on 12/21/2004 12:59:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

The last thing the Iranians need is an awful monarchy.

People had to grovel in the Shah's presence, as I remember.

They need honorable leaders with term limits.

8 posted on 12/21/2004 3:51:16 AM PST by tkathy (The Bluenecks need to get over it.)
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To: tkathy

Shah was a great leader who was an ally to USA and Israel, and thats all that matters.

9 posted on 12/21/2004 7:45:08 AM PST by M 91 u2 K
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To: tkathy

The Monarchy was awful to RADICAL MUSLIMS!

10 posted on 12/21/2004 7:45:55 AM PST by M 91 u2 K
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To: M 91 u2 K

Iran needs a democracy, not some crazed monarchy.

11 posted on 12/21/2004 8:43:16 AM PST by tkathy (The Bluenecks need to get over it.)
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To: DoctorZIn

21. Desember 2004

Norwegian protest to Iran

Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen has condemned the planned execution of the mentally retarded 19 year-old Leila M in Iran.

Among other things, the girl has been accused of prostitution.

Norway has sent a formal protest to Iran about the matter.

A representative from the Iranian embassy in Oslo was on Monday
summoned to the Foreign Office to receive the Norwegian protest.

Petersen says the planned execution is totally unacceptable.

- The development for human rights in Iran gives grounds for deep concern, the Norwegian Foreign Minister says.

Norway also endorses a protest note from the EU, and has made this clear to the Iranian embassy.

On Monday there was also a protest demonstration outside the Iranian embassy, and the leader of Amnesty International Norway, Petter Eide, attempted to hand over a protest list with thousands of signatures to the embassy, but was not accepted.


12 posted on 12/21/2004 8:57:19 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: LibreOuMort
13 posted on 12/21/2004 9:07:26 AM PST by sionnsar ( || Iran Azadi ||
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To: DoctorZIn

December 21, 2004


The Iran-E.U. Agreement on Iran's Nuclear Activity

By: Ayelet Savyon

The November 25, 2004 meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors was to be the "crucial session" on the issue of Iran's nuclear dossier. This was after the previous board meeting, of September 18, had concluded by calling on Iran to either immediately suspend all its uranium enrichment activity or have its dossier handed over to the United Nations Security Council for discussion. [1]

On the eve of this crucial session, the Iranian reformist newspaper Iran Daily, which is close to Iranian President Muhammad Khatami, warned in an op-ed that if Iran's nuclear dossier is referred to the Security Council, "it will give Iran further moral right to continue its nuclear research. Freed from all shackles, the enrichment program may even go a step further, and perhaps, the ultimate in nuclear technology – and no power would be able to hold Tehran back…" [2]

To prevent a possible crisis, Iran and The E.U. Three – Germany, France and Britain – convened during the weeks preceding this crucial session for frenetic negotiations in order to reach an understanding to be presented to the IAEA prior to the session. This came after two years of ongoing dialogue between Iran and The E.U. Three had produced only agreements that were unsatisfactory to both parties.

This report reviews the results of this crucial IAEA Board of Governors meeting and their ramifications for the future of Iran's nuclear activities.

Overview of Previous Episodes in the Iran-E.U. Negotiations

During the two years of Iran-E.U. negotiations up to September 2004, the two parties arrived at two agreements that complemented each other but satisfied neither party:

a) The October 2003 Tehran Declaration, in which Iran announced that it agreed to sign the Additional Protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it was willing to suspend its uranium-enrichment activities "as a confidence-building gesture."

b) The February 2004 Brussels Understandings, in which Iran announced that it had suspended its uranium-enrichment activity and specifically set out its elements, which included the manufacture, assembly, and testing of centrifuges and centrifuge parts.

In exchange, The E.U. Three pledged to have Iran's nuclear dossier closed at the June 2004 IAEA Board of Governors meeting, and also to supply Iran with advanced nuclear technology. However, because of Iranian violations, this meeting ended up instead with the IAEA, following a European initiative, condemning Iran for its violations and for its failure to fully comply with the agency's inspectors.

In response, Iran resumed its uranium-enrichment activity, and claimed that in the Brussels Understandings it had committed itself to merely a temporary suspension of enrichment activity, and that it was Europe who had defaulted on its commitments to Iran.

The next IAEA Board of Governors meeting, in September 2004, concluded that if Iran did not halt all uranium-enrichment activity by the date of the next meeting, i.e. November 25, 2004, its nuclear dossier would be transferred to the U.N. Security Council. [3]

The Results of Negotiations Prior to the 'Crucial Session' and the Paris Agreement

The frenetic negotiations in the two weeks prior to the crucial IAEA November 25 session concluded on November 14, 2004, with an agreement called the Paris Agreement. The IAEA adopted this agreement as a basis for the discussions in the crucial session and for its conclusions regarding the future. [4] However, even though the parties had reached this agreement prior to the crucial session, the session nevertheless turned into a five-day negotiation marathon rife with crises that produced four draft resolutions. Ultimately, on November 29, the IAEA arrived at a resolution based on the Paris Agreement. [5]

The IAEA November Resolution

The IAEA Board of Governors resolution removed the threat of Iran's nuclear dossier being transferred to the U.N. Security Council, and promised Iran a package of benefits from the E.U.: E.U. support for Iran's membership in the World Trade Organization; [6] access to nuclear technology for a light-water reactor and nuclear fuel for civilian purposes; membership in the IAEA (Nuclear) Fuel Cycle Committee; [7] security aid; economic aid; funding; and more.

What Were Iran's Obligations In Exchange?

Suspend Uranium-Enrichment Activity

The two main aspects of the E.U. demand for a comprehensive and indefinite suspension of uranium-enrichment activity were not met:

A. The Duration of the Suspension

Iran's position throughout the negotiations was that in principle it had the right to engage in nuclear activity and to enrich uranium because of its membership in the NPT – and that it would never relinquish this right.

The E.U. gave in to Iran on this demand in the Paris Agreement, and the IAEA's concluding resolution adopting the Paris Agreement does not include an absolute and indefinite halt of activity by Iran.

Instead, Iran announced a "voluntary, non-legally-binding, confidence-building measure," the duration of which, according to the Paris Agreement, would depend on two conditions: [8]

a) Ongoing negotiations with the E.U. over a long-term arrangement regarding Iran's nuclear activity; and

b) No IAEA resolution taken against Iran.

Along with these conditions regarding the duration of the suspension of enrichment activity, the Iranian officials involved in the negotiations as well as Iranian leaders stressed that this was to be a suspension lasting "a few months only, not years" – as Iranian National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rowhani, who represents Iran's nuclear affairs, told a press conference following the conclusion of the Paris Agreement: "Iran has not withdrawn from any of its principles. We do not accept a suspension based on the [IAEA] resolution. We accept a temporary and voluntary suspension based on a political deal with Europe. Tehran's red line was not to agree to a permanent suspension of the enrichment process." [9]

At the same time as the IAEA issued its resolution, Iranian Leader 'Ali Khamenei challenged: "Iran will not completely halt its nuclear activity – this is a red line for us… Iran is developing nuclear technology as a national industry." [10] Expediency Council Chairman and former Iranian president 'Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani emphasized in a Friday, December 3 sermon that "the suspension was set for a maximum of six months [only] in order to assure the IAEA that Iran's nuclear activity was for peaceful purposes." [11] Also, Iranian President Muhammad Khatami stated: "We have declared that we will never accept an indefinite suspension, and we will defend our rights." [12]

At a press conference following the IAEA resolution, Secretary Hassan Rowhani stressed that the suspension would be implemented as long as talks with the E.U. continued, and that the E.U. must meet its obligations first: "I want to make it clear that the suspension period will only cover the time when negotiations are going on with Europe. That's all." [13]

Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai continued in the same vein, stating that "Iran will be unable to suspend its [uranium] enrichment [activity] for a lengthy period." [14]

B. The Scope of the Suspension

Iran's position was that the suspension of uranium-enrichment activities would not include research and development activity, [15] and based on this, Iran demanded that the following not be included in the suspension:

a) Continued activity of 20 centrifuge sets located in Iran; and

b) Continued construction of the heavy water reactor at Arak as well as the 40-megawatt nuclear research reactor next to it. [16]

The Europeans gave in to Iran on the "research and development" issue as well. They agreed to the continued operation of the 20 centrifuge sets, and agreed that the centrifuges would not be shut down and locked, but rather would continue to function under IAEA camera surveillance in exchange for Iran's willingness to continue with negotiations on this issue in the two weeks following the IAEA resolution. [17]

However, it must be emphasized that according to the agreement on this issue, it is not the operation of the systems that is to be discussed in the negotiations, but merely the "nature" of their activity. This agreement was aimed at preventing a further crisis with Iran at the last minute that could have overturned the entire negotiations and led to Iran's nuclear dossier being handed over to the U.N. Security Council.

With regard to the Arak heavy water reactor, neither the IAEA resolution nor the Paris Agreement mentions it specifically. [18]

The failure by both the IAEA resolution and the Paris Agreement to address the issue of Iran's "research and development" activity enables the Iranians to claim that it was agreed that their "research and development" activity be excluded from the suspension, as expressed by Secretary Hassan Rowhani, who stated that the suspension "does not and will not include research activity." [19] The Europeans did not deny this statement by Iran.

Although the Europeans gave in to Iran on questions of principle, and even immediately began to implement some of their promises to the Iranians, [20] Iran continues to warn that if Europe does not meet its obligations, or if the talks on the long-term arrangement fail or go on for too long, they will consider themselves freed from their obligation under the Paris Agreement, and will resume their uranium enrichment. [21]

Moreover, according to statements by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran will continue uranium enrichment activity not only if Europe does not meet al its obligations but also if it does – because this is "the red line as far as [Iran] is concerned." [22]

Iran's Perception of the Outcome of the 'Crucial Session:' Further European Legitimization of Iran's Nuclear Program, and an Iranian Victory

Iran considers the IAEA resolution, which was based on the negotiations and the Paris Agreement, to be a political and diplomatic "victory" for Iran. Iranian President Khatami said: "The fact that we prevented our nuclear dossier from being transferred to the U.N. Security Council is a victory for us." The Iranian newspapers, particularly the reformist papers, declared an Iranian political and diplomatic victory over Europe and the U.S. [23]

Iran maintains that it has abandoned none of its national interests: It did not commit itself to giving up its nuclear activity in the final agreement, if and when such an agreement is achieved.

Tehran stressed that it considers the E.U.'s recognition of and support for its right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes to be an achievement. Further, it has also emphasized that its suspension of uranium-enrichment activity is not legally binding but a voluntary confidence-building measure that it can stop at any time.

Iran draws a distinction between its own and the E.U.'s role in this "political deal:" While it presents its own agreeing to a temporary suspension as a voluntary, non-legally-binding measure, it presents the E.U.'s promises as binding, and states that if the E.U. does not fulfill them, the consequences will be grave. Rafsanjani said about the Europeans: "If they do not honor their obligations to Iran, the Iran-E.U. agreement will be called off." [24]

Secretary Hassan Rowhani told a press conference following the November 29 IAEA resolution that a final agreement should be reached within three to four months, during which Iran's dossier at the IAEA will be closed. "However, if the [Iran-E.U.] negotiations do not recognize our rights [to nuclear activity], we will continue with our activity… The suspension will continue as long as the related negotiations are underway. But if the talks end up facing a dead end, we will not be committed any more and the suspension will end…" He added that Iran was expecting that the negotiations would not take long, so as not to create a sense among Iranians that they are a waste of time. [25]

Iranian President Khatami stated in a similar vein: "In the event that [the E.U.] refuses to keep its promises, we will naturally do likewise… We have declared that we will never accept an indefinite suspension, and that we will defend our rights… I advise [the E.U.] … to gain our trust." [26]

In an editorial, the reformist newspaper Iran Daily said, "Needless to say that any time Europe backtracks on the promises made in Paris, Tehran will have the right to abrogate the pact… There are reasons to believe that Europe may try to deviate from the agreement and raise the issue of human rights and political freedoms in Iran… If the European powers honestly seek a new chapter … they should work with sincerity and reinforce the confidence-building measures … to win the trust of Tehran…" [27]

Tehran also took pride in its success at isolating the U.S. in the international arena and driving a wedge between the U.S. and the EU. [28]

The leader of Iran's negotiating team for the E.U. and the IAEA, Hussein Mousavian, said that Tehran had managed to remove Iran's nuclear dossier from the IAEA's urgent agenda. He added that the IAEA resolution enabled the IAEA to follow up all the remaining questions within the framework of the Safeguards and the NPT's Additional Protocol, and to submit its final report at a time appropriate for the IAEA Board of Governors without setting any deadline whatsoever. [29]

Mousavian further said that the text of the resolution notes that all of Iran's nuclear activity had been inspected by the IAEA, and that no evidence of deviation, i.e. activity geared towards producing nuclear weapons, had been found.

It should be noted that Iran had refused to permit visits to military sites where nuclear activity was suspected, which contradicts Mousavian's statements that all of Iran's nuclear activity had been inspected. However, instead of mentioning this refusal by Iran, the IAEA resolution stated (also in contradiction to Mousavian's statements) that no conclusions can yet be drawn regarding the existence of unreported nuclear materials or activity, and that "there are many violations by Iran." [30]

According to Iranian spokesmen, the entire negotiation process, the agreements, and the understandings with the E.U. were aimed at legitimizing Iran's nuclear program.

Secretary Hassan Rowhani stressed that Iran "would in no way forsake its rights and [international] acknowledgement of its rights that are considered essential according to the NPT… No document, guarantee, or resolution could ever persuade Iran to abandon its legitimate and legal right to gain access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes… Iran has not halted its fuel cycle, and will never do it, either… Iran does not fear the threats [by the U.S.]."

Rowhani added that the talks on the long-term arrangement would begin December 13, with the aim of obtaining E.U. guarantees for launching its peaceful nuclear activities as well as its fuel cycle and enrichment activity, and also to obtain a firm promise from the industrialized European countries for nuclear cooperation. Rowhani further said, "Iran has adopted a policy of entering into dialogue and developing trust and understanding in its dealings with the world." [31] He also told a press conference that "Iran still wants to attain a full nuclear fuel cycle." [32]

In an article titled "Getting Accustomed to Living with a Nuclear Iran" published in the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei, columnist Mahdi Mohammedi wrote that Iran had reached the point of no return with the nuclear technology that it had acquired. [33]

A member of the Iranian negotiations team for the E.U, Sirus Nasseri, said, "Iran, as a country that has obtained [nuclear] fuel cycle technology despite illegal restrictions [imposed upon it], wishes to address the legitimate and genuine concerns regarding the peaceful nature of its nuclear program." [34]

Vice Chairman of Iran's Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Muhammad Nabi Ruodaki added that in its talks with The E.U. Three, Iran must stress that it had acquired nuclear fuel technology through domestic efforts on the part of 1,100 Iranian scientists. "The red line with regard to peaceful nuclear technology is gaining access to the fuel cycle. The [Iranian] negotiating team should not cross this red line. We must now be viewed as a country that has access to nuclear fuel. We can not go back…" [35]


Appendix I: The Paris Agreement, November 14, 2004

In the Paris Agreement, Iran insisted on its right to enrich uranium, in its capacity as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Two issues were a source of dispute: the duration of the suspension, and the scope of the suspension. [36]

According to the agreement, Iran agreed only to a temporary and voluntary suspension of its uranium enrichment activity. [37] The suspension is not legally binding, and is presented by Iran as a confidence-building measure aimed at the international community. According to the agreement, the suspension's duration is to be the duration of the talks between Iran and The E.U. Three towards a long-term arrangement, and providing that:

a) The IAEA makes no resolutions against Iran, and as a first step, removes Iran's nuclear dossier from its urgent agenda [which was achieved];

b) As a second step, within the next three months – during which Iran-E.U. negotiations will be conducted – Iran will receive a benefits package from the E.U. This package is to include E.U. support for Iran's membership in the World Trade Organization; access to nuclear technology for a light-water reactor and nuclear fuel for civilian purposes; membership in the IAEA [Nuclear] Fuel Cycle Committee; [38] and security aid.

It was stated that the negotiations would begin December 13 and would continue in three joint work teams that would discuss the implementation of the package of benefits in advance of the final agreement. [39]

Iran maintains that it will no longer see itself as bound by the suspension if the talks fail or if the E.U. does not meet its obligations. The European position is that the Paris Agreement provides an opening for the final agreement. But while the E.U. maintains that Iran must permanently halt uranium-enrichment activities, Iran has declared that it will never give up its right to uranium enrichment, and that its suspension of activity is strictly temporary and that it will last "a number of months, not years." [40] Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said: "The present agreement reached between Iran and The E.U. Three differs from the previous ones in that in the past, Europe and the other countries insisted that Iran completely stop its enrichment program, while now they are concentrating on how Tehran can proceed with its nuclear activities without causing anxiety to other countries. These are important and essential differences." [41]

Appendix II: The IAEA Resolution Session, November 25-29, 2004

During the IAEA session, November 25-29, the E.U., with Russia's support, attempted to dictate a text that was stricter towards Iran than the Paris Agreement, in the following ways:

a) To include a call for an indefinite suspension of Iran's uranium-enrichment activity.

b) To set up an automatic condition for the transfer of Iran's dossier to the U.N. Security Council in the event that Iran violates the agreement.

c) To ensure that IAEA inspectors have free access to all nuclear facilities in Iran.

Iran, with the backing of the Non-Aligned Movement, resisted these pressures, and the E.U. backed down from their demands.

Thus, the text of the final agreement reached on November 29, at the end of the session, was more favorable to Iran, and was based on the November 14 Paris Agreement. [42]

On the basis of Iran's declaration in the Paris Agreement that it would suspend all uranium-enrichment activity as a "confidence-building measure that is voluntary and non-legally binding," the IAEA approved the removal of Iran's dossier from its urgent agenda. [43]

Two central issues that stood at the center of the dispute appear to remain unresolved:

A. The Duration of the Suspension

Since the IAEA decision mentions the Iran-E.U. Paris Agreement, the inevitable interpretation is that the understandings arrived at in the Paris Agreement would be binding upon Iran and the international community. That is: "The suspension will continue as long as negotiations for an agreement acceptable to both sides on long-term arrangements are ongoing. The E.U. Three/ E.U. thus recognize that this suspension is a voluntary confidence-building measure that is not legally binding." [44]

The dispute over the time element was and remains a matter of principle for both Iran and the E.U.

B. The Scope of the Suspension

Despite its commitment to suspend all uranium-enrichment activity, two days before the IAEA resolution, Iran insisted on continuing to operate 20 centrifuge sets for uranium enrichment "for research and development."

In order for the IAEA to be able to pass the resolution, Iran agreed to include the 20 centrifuge sets in the temporary suspension, and to conduct talks with The E.U. Three on the nature of its activity, in the two weeks following the decision. [45] However, in actual fact, the centrifuges are not shut down and locked, but continue to function under IAEA camera surveillance.

Furthermore, it is becoming clear that the construction of the heavy-water reactor at Arak is continuing, as is the operation of the research reactor next to it, within the same interpretation of "research and development purposes." [46] In spite of the European position that the suspension includes all nuclear activity, Secretary Hassan Rowhani stated that research and development were not included in the suspension. [47] The Europeans did not deny Rowhani's statement.

* Ayelet Savyon is Director of MEMRI's Iranian Media Project.

[1] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 189, "Iran's Nuclear Policy Crisis," September 21, 2004,; Inquiry and Analysis No. 191, "Iran Rejects the European Offer to Supply it With Nuclear Fuel," October 21, 2004,

[2] Iran Daily (Iran), November 15, 2004.

[3] See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 189,

[4] See text of agreement published by Kayhan (Iran), November 16, 2004.

[5] See text of the IAEA Board of Governors resolution, "Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran," of November 29, 2004:

[6] However, on December 13, the U.S. once again vetoed Iran's membership in the WTO, as it did in previous years. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Reza Asefi said: "The Europeans did back (Iran), but their power was not sufficient … the important thing is that the Europeans should pressure the Americans and make them face the new reality (and to accept Iran's membership to the WTO)," Kayhan (Iran), December 20.

[7] This obligation has already been met. Iran was invited to serve as a member of the committee, which is slated to hold its third session in January 2005. Iranian National Security Council Secretary Rowhani, IRNA (Iran), December 12, 2004.

[8] See text of the agreement as published by IRNA (Persian), November 15, 2004; Kayhan, November 16, 2004. Even after this agreement, the question of the duration of the suspension seemed to be circumvented; no duration was explicitly stated in the resolution. However, since the resolution mentions the E.U.-Iran Paris Agreement, the inevitable interpretation is that the understandings in the Paris Agreement are binding upon both Iran and the international community, as it states: " The suspension will continue as long as negotiations for an agreement acceptable to both sides on long-term arrangements are ongoing. The E.U. Three/E.U. thus recognize that this suspension is a voluntary confidence-building measure that is not legally binding."

[9] Iranian National Security Council Secretary Rowhani at a press conference: IRNA (Iran), November 15, 2004; and statements in Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004; IRNA, November 30, 2004.

[10] Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran) ; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), November 30, 2004.

[11] Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), December 3, 2004; Rafsanjani in a Friday sermon at Tehran University: "We Will Soon Join the Nuclear Club" – Clip No. 399,; Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said in response that Rafsanjani had indicated six months merely "by way of example." IRNA, December 5, 2004. One of the diplomats involved in the negotiations said immediately following the Paris Agreement that Iran had agreed to a six-month suspension. IRNA (Iran), November 14, 2004.

[12] IRNA (Iran), November 17, 2004.

[13] IRNA (Iran), November 30, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004.

[14] Kayhan (Iran), December 2, 2004.

[15] Iranian National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rowhani stated that the suspension "does not and will not include research activity." IRNA, November 30, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004.

[16] See statements by Iranian Atomic Energy Organization International Affairs Deputy Muhammad-Reza Sa'idi, December 7, 2004,

[17] Mousavian statements, Kayhan (Iran), December 1; November 11, 2004. Also, IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei noted that Iran had suspended all its enrichment activity except for 20 research-and-development centrifuge sets. IRNA (Iran), November 29, 2004.

[18] There may be other nuclear sites operating under the category of "research and development."

[19] Rowhani's statements came at a press conference on the issue of the 20 centrifuge sets, in spite of the E.U. position that the suspension includes all nuclear activity. IRNA (Iran), November 30, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004.

[20] Iran was invited to serve as a member of the IAEA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Committee. Rowhani, IRNA (Iran), December 12. The Iranian delegation for talks with Europe is currently en route to Brussels for discussions on the implementation of the promises. Working groups were set up between the E.U. and Iran on political and security issues, technology and cooperation and nuclear issues. It was decided that Britain is responsible for the economic and trade issue, Germany for the political and security issue and France for the nuclear issue. IRNA (Iran), December 12; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), December 13; Kayhan (Iran), December 14; Sharq (Iran), December 19, 2004.

[21] According to an Iran Daily report, Western diplomats said that "Iranians want to conclude the talks within months, while the Europeans envision them taking years." Iran Daily, December 11, 2004. Prior to his departure for Brussels for a meeting of European foreign ministers, Rowhani said, "If no progress is made in the talks, we will halt them." Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), December 13, 2004. Rowhani also said: "The suspension will continue as long as the related negotiations are underway. But if the talks end up facing a dead end, we will not be committed any more and the suspension will end…" He added that Iran was expecting that the negotiations would not take long, so as not to create a sense among Iranians that they are a waste of time. IRNA, November 30, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), December 1, December 15, 2004.

[22] See Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), November 30, 2004.

[23] IRNA (Iran), November 17, 2004; Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), November 30, 2004; Iran Daily, November 30, 2004; December 2, 2004.

[24] IRNA (Iran), December 5, 2004.

[25] IRNA (Iran), November 30, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), December 1, December 15, 2004.

[26] IRNA (Iran), November 17, 2004.

[27] Iran Daily, December 2, 2004; statements of this nature also appeared in an editorial published in Abrar (Iran), November 30, 2004.

[28] Statements by Mousavian on a visit to China, IRNA, November 24, 2004. Behind the scenes of the E.U.-Iran negotiations, it became known that China and Russia had clarified that they would not veto anti-Iran decisions in the U.N. Security Council due to U.S. pressure if Iran's dossier was transferred to the U.N. Security Council. Nonetheless, China announced that it supported reaching an acceptable solution through negotiations among Iran, Europe and the IAEA. Aftab-e Yazd (Iran), November 9, 2004; It also became clear that Russia, for its own reasons, had pressured Iran and the E.U. for a stricter resolution against Iran. MEHR News Agency (Iran), November 29; 30, 2004.

[29] Iran opposed granting unlimited access to all of its nuclear sites, including those in military bases, and consented to IAEA inspection of its facilities provided there would be adherence only to the Safeguards and the Additional Protocol.

[30] See IAEA Board of Governors resolution, November 29, 2004:

[31] IRNA, November 30, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004.

[32] IRNA, November 15, 2004. See also Rowhani's statements in an interview broadcast on Iranian TV "Technologically, We Have Obtained the Nuclear Fuel Cycle,"

[33] Kayhan (Iran), November 17, 2004.

[34] IRNA (Iran), November 29, 2004.

[35] Iran Daily, December 13, 2004.

[36] Iranian President Khatami said that Iranian Leader Khamenei, along with other senior regime officials, was involved in the details of the negotiations and that "whenever we feel that this trend [of the negotiations] might threaten our interests, we have a free hand to change our course." IRNA (Iran), November 17, 2004.

[37] See text of the agreement as published by Kayhan (Iran), November 16, 2004.

[38] This obligation has already been met. Iran was invited to serve as a member of the committee, which is slated to hold its third session in January 2005. Rowhani, IRNA (Iran), December 12, 2004.

[39] The negotiations began on December 13, and the working groups were set up between the E.U. and Iran on political and security issues, technology and cooperation, and nuclear issues. It was decided that Britain is responsible for the economic and trade issue, Germany for the political and security issue and France for the nuclear issue. Kayhan (Iran), December 14; Sharq (Iran), December 19, 2004.

[40] Statements by Rowhani, who represents Iran at the E.U.-Iran talks, at a press conference: "Tehran's red line has been complete suspension of the uranium-enrichment process. Iran has not backed down from any of its principles: We did not accept suspension based on the [IAEA] resolution; we accept a temporary and voluntary suspension based on a political deal with Europe." IRNA (Iran), November 15, 2004; Rowhani's statements in Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004; IRNA (Iran), November 30, 2004.

[41] Kayhan (Iran), IRNA (Iran), November 15, 2004.

[42] See the November 29, 2004 IAEA Board of Governors resolution,

[43] Iran announced its suspension of uranium-enrichment activity beginning November 22, 2004.

[44] See text of the agreement as published by IRNA (Persian), November 15, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), November 16, 2004.

[45] It was decided that the 20 centrifuge sets would not be shut down and locked, as Europe was demanding; rather, they would operate under IAEA camera surveillance. Statements by Mousavian, Kayhan (Iran), November 29, 2004; Iranian National Security Council Secretary Hassan Rowhani, Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004; IRNA (Iran), November 30, 2004. Also, IAEA Director-General Elbaradei noted that Iran had suspended all uranium enrichment activity except for 20 centrifuge sets for research and development. IRNA (Iran), November 29, 2004.

[46] See statements by Iranian Atomic Energy Organization International Affairs Deputy Muhammad-Reza Sa'idi, December 7, 2004,

[47] On the issue of the 20 centrifuge sets, Secretary Rowhani stressed that the suspension "does not and will not include research activity." IRNA (Iran), November 30, 2004; Kayhan (Iran), December 1, 2004.

14 posted on 12/21/2004 9:26:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Protesters slam Syria, Iran ‘role’ in bombing

Web posted at: 12/21/2004 2:56:39
Source ::: AFP

BAGHDAD: About 100 Iraqis protested yesterday outside Syria's interest section in Baghdad, blaming the neighbouring country for the wave of bombings plaguing Iraq.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, as well as Iraq's eastern neighbour Iran.

"Bashar stop your car bombs", "Baath and Qaeda equals terrorists", "Tehran and Damascus equals terrorists", they shouted outside the Algerian embassy which is home to the Syrian interest section.

The demonstration was led by politician Mithal Alussi, whose party was expelled from Ahmed Chalabi's Iraq National Congress coalition after he made a trip to Israel.

The Democratic Party of the Iraqi Nation is fielding 25 candidates for the January 30 election to Iraq's new 275-member national parliament.

Alussi said he met with a Syrian diplomat inside the embassy and told him "to tell his government that it must stop killing Iraqis, making blood flow and constructing car bombs."

"I also told him, they must give us back all the Baathists who have fled to Syria ... and return our money," he said. "I made it well understood that Iraq will not be the back yard of Damascus and Tehran."

A Syrian state newspaper on Sunday dismissed growing accusations by Iraqi and US officials that Damascus was stoking the relentless insurgency in Iraq.

"It is regrettable that Iraqi officials echo the accusations of the occupation forces (Americans), when they know very well that the Syrian-Iraqi border is under American surveillance," ran an editorial in Ath Thawra.

15 posted on 12/21/2004 9:29:08 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Tuesday December 21, 01:31 AM

U.N. denounces Iran abuses

By Evelyn Leopold

Click to enlarge photo

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly has criticised Iran for public executions, torture, arbitrary sentencing, flogging, stoning and systematic discrimination against women.

Sponsored by Canada, the human rights resolution was adopted on Monday by a vote of 71 in favour, 54 against with 55 abstentions in the 191-member assembly.

The measure also rebuked Iran, a Shi'ite Muslim country, for discrimination against minorities, including Christians, Jews, Sunnis and especially the Bahais, who are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention.

The resolution also said there was a "worsening situation with regard to freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the media and noted the "targeted disqualification" of reformists in Iran's parliamentary elections.

But the resolution welcomed Iran's invitation to human rights monitors and hoped it would carry out recent legislation against torture.

"We brought forward this resolution because we believe that concerted international attention was necessary to send the message to Iran that change is necessary and that it must meet its human rights obligations." Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew said in a statement from Ottawa.

Photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian citizen of Iranian descent, died in custody in Iran in June 2003, from a blow to the head, seriously damaging relations between Ottawa and Tehran.

Iran made no comment on Monday. But in November when an assembly committee passed the draft resolution, Iranian envoy Paimaneh Hasteh called the charges baseless. She accused Canada of introducing the measure in response to a domestic outcry over the death of Kazemi.

The Geneva-based U.N. Commission on Human Rights has adopted annual resolutions on Iran's human rights record from 1984 to 2001, and the assembly followed suit.

But in 2002, the draft was narrowly defeated in Geneva and not revived by the assembly until last year when Canada insisted on a measure.

Nevertheless, the vote showed a majority of nations either abstained or opposed the resolution, a trend on rights measures targeted at individual nations.


On November 24, a General Assembly committee killed resolutions denouncing rights abuses in Zimbabwe and Sudan, with South Africa arguing that Western nations imposed double standards on poor countries.

But the assembly allowed a resolution on Turkmenistan, where opposition is banned and state power is concentrated around the president.

The former Soviet republic was called on to cooperate with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose officials it had expelled, and grant visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross, as well as lawyers and relatives, to those in detention.

With the support of China and Pakistan, Turkmenistan's ambassador, Aksoltan Ataeva, argued against the measure, saying that her country had promised to institute the requested reforms but it was "naive to expect great results" in a short time.

But the resolution was adopted by a vote of 69 in favor, 47 against with 63 abstentions.

On the Democratic Republic of Congo, where war crimes are rampant, a resolution was adopted by 76 to 2 with a record 100 abstentions. Rwanda and Uganda, accused of intervention in the Congo, objected and the United States opposed references to the new International Criminal Court on war crimes, which it wants deleted from all resolutions.

16 posted on 12/21/2004 9:31:10 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

UN chides Iran over human rights

Iranian demonstrator mocks up a stoning scene during protests in Genoa, Italy, in 2001
Cruel and inhuman punishments continue in Iran, said the UN
The UN General Assembly has censured Iran for human rights violations, in a relatively close vote.

By 71 votes to 54, with 55 abstentions, the assembly on Monday said Tehran restricted free speech, used torture, and persecuted dissenters.

The resolution is not legally binding but is an expression of world opinion.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International says it fears an Iranian woman convicted of adultery may be buried up to her chest and stoned to death on Tuesday.

The human rights group has urged the Iranian authorities to grant a last-minute reprieve to the woman, Hajieh Esmailvand.

'Serious concern'

The UN resolution condemning Iran was sponsored by Canada - whose relations with Iran have suffered since Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi died in Iranian custody in June 2003.

The resolution expressed "serious concern" about the "continuing violations of human rights" in Iran - including restrictions on freedom of expression.

It said the persecution of those peacefully expressing political views had increased, citing "crackdowns by the judiciary and security forces against journalists, parliamentarians, students, clerics and academics; the unjustified closure of newspapers and blocking of Internet sites".

The resolution also expressed concern at:

  • the execution of children

  • torture, as well as degrading punishments such as amputation, flogging and stoning

  • discrimination against women and girls

  • the persecution of political opponents, following last February's mass disqualification of opposition candidates in the run-up to parliamentary elections

  • discrimination against minorities, including Christians, Jews, Sunni Muslims, and in particular followers of the Baha'i faith, including arbitrary arrest and detention.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International says time may be running out for Ms Esmailvand, the Iranian woman feared to be facing death by stoning on Tuesday.

She is thought to be have been imprisoned in the north-western city of Jolfa since 2000.

Amnesty says she was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by execution, but adds that the Supreme Court has brought forward the execution to 21 December.

The group also highlighted the case of another woman, "Leyla M", thought to be facing imminent execution for "acts contrary to chastity" in the city of Arak.

Iranian law is extremely specific about how a stoning sentence should be carried out, says Amnesty, ordering that men be buried up to their waists and women up to their chests.

The stones used must be small enough not to kill instantly, it says.

This specificity "leads you to believe that the punishment is designed to maximise suffering", Amnesty International's Steve Ballinger told the BBC.

The group says there were documented cases of 108 people being executed in Iran last year - making Iran second only to China in the rate of executions.

17 posted on 12/21/2004 9:34:37 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Official: Iran missiles pose threat to U.S. interests in Iraq

Monday, December 20, 2004

A senior U.S. official said Iran and Syria have developed ballistic missiles that can destroy U.S. targets in Iraq as well as in nations aligned with Washington.

"Iran and Syria can currently reach the territory of U.S. friends and allies with their ballistic missiles," Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker said.

"Ballistic missiles from Iran can already reach some parts of Europe, and, of course, Iranian and Syrian ballistic missiles threaten our coalition forces deployed in the Middle East," he said.

The United States has also been examining the deployment of ground-based interceptor launchers and forward-based radars in states adjacent to the Middle East, according to a report by Middle East Newsline.

Rademaker told a missile defense conference by the Washington-based American Foreign Policy Council that both countries have received significant assistance from North Korea, which has sought to sell complete missile systems to the Middle East.

Iran is developing space launch vehicles as a building block for an intercontinental ballistic missile which could be completed within a few years, he said on Dec. 17.

"These systems could be ready for flight-testing in the middle to latter-part of the decade," Rademaker said.

Rademaker said North Korea was achieving self-sufficiency in developing and producing ballistic missiles and sought to sell such missiles to the Middle East. He said the missile threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East could grow significantly if Pyongyang sells what he termed longer-range ballistic missiles.

"If North Korea chooses to sell its longer-range ballistic missiles to customers in the Middle East – as it has done with its shorter-range systems – the risk to our friends and allies could grow exponentially," Rademaker said.

"And it is important to recognize that the limited accuracy and targeting capabilities of emerging ballistic missile threats suggests that hostile states possessing such missiles likely would target the population and territory of our friends and allies rather than their military forces and facilities."

North Korea has sold No Dong missiles to Iran and has developed the Taepo Dong-1 and -2 intermediate-range missiles. Officials said the Taepo Dong-2 could deliver a several hundred kilogram payload up to 15,000 kilometers.

Rademaker said the United States was engaged in missile cooperation with 18 countries, including those in the Middle East.

U.S. cooperation with Israel include the Arrow System Improvement Program, which seeks to provide the Arrow-2 with greater capability against Iranian intermediate-range missiles. Rademaker cited U.S. help for Israel to procure a third Arrow-2 missile defense battery, coproduction of the interceptor and flight tests in the United States.

"As part of the cooperative joint testing project, this past summer Israel conducted two flight tests of the Arrow from Point Magu, California," Rademaker said. "Unlike the Israeli test range, with its range safety restrictions, Point Magu permits testing against a real world Scud."

18 posted on 12/21/2004 9:36:36 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

DoctorZin Note: BREAKING NEWS!

Tuesday December 21, 12:59 PM

Iran says U.S. wants talks

By Paul Hughes

Click to enlarge photo

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Washington wants to hold direct talks with Tehran, with which it broke ties 24 years ago, to discuss a number of issues including the Islamic state's nuclear programme, a senior Iranian security official has said.

Hossein Mousavian, one of Iran's chief nuclear negotiators, also said Iran had no objections to European Union efforts to involve Washington in negotiations aimed at dispelling international concerns about Iran's atomic ambitions.

But a Western diplomat in Tehran said talk of Washington joining the nuclear dialogue with Tehran was premature.

EU officials privately acknowledge that their efforts to persuade Tehran to give up sensitive nuclear activities, such as uranium enrichment, have little chance of success without full U.S. support and involvement in the talks.

"The United States wants negotiations with Iran and definitely doesn't like having a mediator in between, even if the Europeans want to mediate," the official IRNA news agency quoted Mousavian as saying on Tuesday.

"But they are after comprehensive and conclusive talks which cover all disputed issues," he said.

U.S. and Iranian officials have held occasional talks in the past on specific issues such as Afghanistan and Iraq. But talks broke down last year when Washington accused Iran of providing shelter for al Qaeda members behind bombings in Saudi Arabia.

"The Europeans have launched massive efforts to bring the United States into the nuclear negotiations," said Mousavian, who is secretary of the foreign policy committee on Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

"We have no objection to the Americans joining the Europeans in this process," he added.


Washington accuses Iran of trying to make atomic arms under the cover of a civil nuclear energy programme. Iran denies this.

"If the Americans want to hamper the Iran-EU cooperation, they can be effective and no one can deny it ... US interaction with Europe in this process is important from our point of view, nevertheless our partner is Europe not America," Mousavian said.

"I don't reject the possibility of nuclear talks between Iran and the United States, but I cannot predict the future."

The Western diplomat in Tehran said the EU "has been very clear that negotiations would have a much bigger chance of success if the Americans put their shoulders behind it".

But he said scepticism remained high in Washington that Iran was negotiating in good faith rather than trying to buy time to continue with a nuclear arms drive at a later stage.

"We're a long way from the Americans taking a seat at the negotiating table," he said.

U.S. fears that Iran has no intention of giving up a quest for atomic bombs are likely to have been exacerbated on Tuesday by reports from Vienna-based diplomats that Iran is continuing to ready large amounts of uranium for enrichment.

Uranium enrichment is a process that can be used to make fuel for nuclear power reactors or to make atomic warheads.

"The Iranians have decided to continue UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) production until the end of February," a diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Two other diplomats in Vienna, where the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is based, confirmed this.

UF4 is the precursor to uranium hexafluoride (UF6), the gas that is fed into centrifuges.

Iran recently pledged to freeze all activities linked to uranium enrichment as a confidence-building gesture.

19 posted on 12/21/2004 9:39:33 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; ...

DoctorZin Note: BREAKING NEWS!

Iran says U.S. wants talks

Tuesday December 21, 12:59 PM
By Paul Hughes

20 posted on 12/21/2004 9:41:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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