Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - January 5, 2005 - Risks of appeasing Iran's mullahs
Posted on 01/05/2005 12:26:47 AM PST by DoctorZIn
Top News Story
Risks of appeasing Iran's mullahs[Excerpt]
Iran's increasing meddling in Iraq and its defiance in its nuclear weapons program pose the greatest challenge to peace and security in Iraq and the whole Middle East, as we enter 2005. ...
Its proxies in that country, including the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), have put forward a united slate, hoping to gain a majority in the newly elected parliament, whose primary task is to draft Iraq's future constitution. The Iranian clerics have never been so close to realizing their decades-old dream of erecting a sister Islamic Republic in Iraq.
On the nuclear issue, the recent agreement brokered by France, Germany and the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Union, has given Tehran all that it wanted and more. The Iranians have committed themselves to virtually nothing permanent. Reports this week indicate Tehran has prepared large quantities of uranium yellow cake for enrichment, which diplomats say breaks, if not the letter, the spirit of the Nov. 15 pact with the EU big three.
In return, Iran received a host of incentives, including a light-water reactor as well as the promise of European technological expertise to advance its "peaceful" nuclear program. More importantly, it demanded and received a commitment from its European interlocutors not only to keep Tehran's arch-nemesis, the Iranian People's Mujahedeen, on the EU terror list, but also to fight its activities.
The EU's lack of spine in dealing with Tehran has emboldened the mullahs to step up repression in Iran. A resolution just adopted by the U.N. General Assembly censured Tehran for "failure to comply fully with international standards in the administration of justice, the absence of due process of law, the refusal to provide fair and public hearings, and right to counsel, the continuing executions, in particular the execution of persons below 18 years of age, the arbitrary arrest and detention without charge or trial, the use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in particular the practice of amputation and flogging as well as the systemic discrimination against women and girls."
The deterioration of human rights in Iran has revealed new depths of barbarity, where pregnant women and children are routinely executed and floggings and amputations are an almost daily public spectacle. The ban on the moderate Khatami faction from standing for election last February reduced the so-called democratic process to a sham. In place of those moderates, the Legislature now has 40 new deputies who were former Revolutionary Guards commanders and who have formed a hard, extremist right-wing majority to drive increasingly repressive judicial and executive measures.
These stark realities, however, have not deterred the ever-shrewd and business-minded Europeans. Claiming any attempt at firmness toward Tehran would be tantamount to starting an Iraqi-style war, the EU and its allies on the other side of the Atlantic argue conciliation is the best approach.
This deliberately obscures the fact that facing up to the Iranian challenge need not involve a choice between war and appeasement. As the exiled opposition leader Maryam Rajavi said during an address to the European Parliament on Dec. 15, "No concession is going to dissuade the mullahs from continuing their ominous objectives. ... The equation of 'either a military invasion or appeasement' is an exercise in political deception. A third option is within reach. The Iranian people and their organized resistance have the capacity and ability to bring about change."
As Iran inches closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb and developing, with North Korea's help, the missiles to deliver them, the civilized world can ill-afford to be at the mercy of these turbaned tyrants. The bitter, costly experience of Iran's people in the past quarter-century should serve as an example.
Appeasement is not the way to contain or change this evil regime. Nor is it the path to avoid another war. A nuclear-armed fundamentalist regime will not spare the EU, either. Iran's missiles already can reach southern Europe. The mullahs are now rushing to develop a third-generation missile system able to reach Paris, London and Brussels.
By putting the People's Mujahedeen in its terror list, however, the EU has handcuffed itself.
The EU should end the blacklisting of this antifundamentalist group, which provided some of the most critical information on Iran's nuclear weapons program and its intervention in Iraq.
For once, we should side with the millions in Iran whose cry is for freedom and regime change. A modern, secular and democratic Iran would not only be the key to regional peace and security, but also a long-term ally as we try to spread democracy across the Middle East and the world.
DoctorZin Note: The Washington Times writer provides a good analysis, but has made a huge mistake in supporting the MEK.
The MEK are a Marxist revolutionaries and nothing would please the Mullahs more than our support of the MEK.
The Mullahs of Iran understand the degree to which the Iranian people of Iran hate the MEK. US support of the MEK would destroy that trust.
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Exporting the Ukraine Miracle[Excerpt]
One of the most inspiring events of 2004 happened on the last weekend of the year: the election of pro-Western democrat Viktor Yushchenko, who had to overcome everything from poisoning to voter fraud in order to claim the presidency of Ukraine. The triumph of the Orange Revolution should dispel the quaint notion still prevalent in many Western universities and foreign ministries that democracy is a luxury good suitable only for rich countries with a tradition of liberalism stretching back centuries. Ukraine fits no one's criteria of a promising democracy: Its per capita income of $5,400 a year is lower than Algeria's or Turkmenistan's; it has a history of despotism and corruption and a short history of independence. The only less-likely democracy is Afghanistan. Yet Ukraine, like Afghanistan, held free elections this year. Apparently no one bothered to tell the people of these countries that they weren't ready for freedom.
These revolutions reveal the hollowness of the cliché that "democracy can't be imposed by outsiders." True, but outsiders can help committed democrats overcome internal obstacles. Sometimes, when dealing with an entrenched dictatorship, this requires military intervention of the kind that occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan. More brittle regimes can be brought down by their own people, but even they often need a little external shove.
In Ukraine, the U.S. government spent $58 million on democracy promotion in the last two years. European states and various nongovernmental organizations, such as George Soros' International Renaissance Foundation, contributed millions more. ...
There was nothing nefarious about the U.S. intervention in Ukraine, which was designed to promote democracy, not any particular candidate. A quick glance at its website shows that the National Endowment for Democracy handed out grants such as $399,968 for trade union education, $50,000 to conduct monthly public opinion surveys, $32,000 to train secondary school teachers and $50,000 to maintain a website that analyzes Ukrainian media. Pretty innocuous stuff, but it can have a powerful effect in a closed society. For instance, the American Bar Assn. spent $400,000 to train Ukrainian judges in election law. Among those who attended its seminars were five judges of the Ukrainian Supreme Court who voted to overturn the fraudulent results of the Nov. 21 balloting and to hold the revote that led to Yushchenko's triumph. NATO has also spent a good deal of money to train Ukrainian officers over the last decade as part of its Partnership for Peace initiative. This Western education, which includes instruction in human rights, was one reason why the Ukrainian military refused to move against pro-democracy demonstrators.
Notwithstanding the Dec. 26 election, the Orange Revolution is hardly complete. The West should offer expedited NATO and European Union membership to consolidate democracy in Ukraine.
In the meantime, we need to apply elsewhere the lessons of Ukraine, which are also the lessons of Georgia, Serbia, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, Poland, Lithuania and other countries where despotic regimes have been toppled since the original "people power" revolution swept the Philippines in 1986. An obvious candidate for a similar transformation is Iran. Even as Iranian students have repeatedly taken to the streets to protest against their oppressors, and Iranian exiles in Los Angeles have beamed TV and radio programming into their homeland, the U.S. government has largely stood on the sidelines. In 2003, the National Endowment for Democracy supported 23 programs in Ukraine worth $1.9 million. In Iran there were only two pitiful programs worth $55,000.
This disparity, which also exists for other pro-democracy groups, is perverse because the Iranian regime poses a far bigger threat to the West than Ukraine ever did. (The Ukrainians actually sent troops to join the coalition in Iraq, while the Iranians are trying to sabotage our efforts there.) It's hard to think of a higher priority than the overthrow of the mullahs, who are determined to add nuclear weapons to their arsenal of terror.
If we're serious about liberating Iran and that's a big "if" because regime change is not official Bush policy we'll need to rethink the current sanctions regime, which hasn't done anything to dislodge the mullahocracy. The Committee on the Present Danger, a hawkish advocacy group, suggests keeping some sanctions while reestablishing diplomatic ties and lowering barriers for cultural exchanges. The resulting access could be used to help the forces of freedom in Iran.
Democracy in Iran? Sounds improbable, doesn't it? But so, until just a few weeks ago, did democracy in Ukraine.
DoctorZin: Trita Parsi has been busy....
Reconnect Iran With DemocracyJanuary 03, 2005
While the world has focused on discussions over Tehran's nuclear capability, human rights in Iran have suffered severe setbacks.
By, in effect, "de-linking" advances in this area from the economic incentives aimed at ensuring Tehran suspends uranium enrichment, the European Union has sacrificed the Iranian people's rights in order to secure a nuclear deal. This moral failure makes it even more important for Washington to join the talks and put human rights at the top of the agenda. US involvement in the talks will provide the international community with the security guarantees it needs, while ensuring no deal is struck that would be detrimental to Iran's faltering democratisation.
With the rest of the world distracted by the nuclear issue, anti-democratic forces in Iran have clamped down on the Iranian democracy movement. Since much of the country's reformist print media was shut down in April 2000, many pro-democracy activists have turned to the internet to disseminate their message. In recent months, hard-liners in the regime have blocked hundreds of political websites and web logs and arrested those running them.
Europe has maintained a cynical silence as Tehran has resumed policies outlawed under earlier EU-Iran trade agreements, which were contingent on improvements in Iran's human rights record. For instance, since Europe uncoupled the nuclear issue from advances in human rights, the stoning of women - banned by a trade deal struck in the late 1990s - has restarted.
The voice and influence of America will be sorely needed when the nuclear talks resume later this month. Both Washington and Brussels recognise that the Europeans lack the clout to win durable compromises from Iran on uranium enrichment. This is unsurprising: the Europeans cannot offer Iran the security guarantees it seeks in return for compromising on its access to nuclear technology.
For Tehran, a nuclear arsenal is only really useful as a deterrent against possible US aggression. Iran does not need a nuclear deterrent against any other Middle Eastern country. Its security has improved significantly following the fall of the Taliban and the defeat of Saddam Hussein. It already possesses an effective deterrent against Israel in the form of its close links to Hizbollah forces in southern Lebanon. Only security guarantees from the US, as part of a broader political arrangement, can convince Iran to agree to lasting compromises in the nuclear area.
But if the US continues to follow the negotiations from the sidelines, the EU-Iran talks will fail to halt Iran's nuclear progress and contribute to the dismantling of its pro-democracy forces. Without a clear link between the nuclear and human rights issues, the public sphere of the pro-democracy activists will continue to contract and Iran will deprived of the infrastructure to support a smooth, non-violent transition to democracy. Washington's non-participation in the current talks could leave it facing a more authoritarian, nuclear Iran.
Officials and observers in Washington who favour confrontation may be eagerly awaiting a collapse of the EU-Iran talks in order to bring the issue to the United Nations Security Council. But involving the UN is unlikely to end either Iranian uranium enrichment or human rights violations. Sanctions on Iran will hardly be approved by a Security Council where its key trading partners - France, Russia and energy-starved China - hold vetoes. Confrontationists' insistence that a military option exists is a sign of desperation rather than a strategy.
A political dialogue with Tehran in which human rights take centre-stage remains Washington's best option, yet it is the one policy that no US administration has seriously pursued. The increasingly unavoidable nuclear dialogue between Iran and the US provides an opportunity to turn Washington's democracy slogans of the last four years into policy.
Through the multilateral framework of the nuclear negotiations, Washington can compel Tehran to co-operate. Linking progress on the nuclear front with improvements in Iran's human rights record and advances in democratisation will strengthen the international community's leverage by enlisting the support of global public opinion for a nuclear deal that is secure, sustainable and morally acceptable.
The EU has de-linked progress on human rights from the nuclear deal; only the US can reconnect them.
The writer is a Middle East specialist at Johns Hopkins University SAIS in Washington DC.
Iran Celebrates Cartographic VictoryBy THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: January 4, 2005
Filed at 3:13 a.m. ET
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Iran claimed victory after it learned that National Geographic had revised its world atlas to highlight the name ``Persian Gulf'' over the alternative ``Arabian Gulf.'' But the U.S. cartographer said such revisions are common.
Iran had said in November that it would ban from its territory new edition of the atlas, as well as National Geographic journalists, until the map for the Gulf region was changed. It objected to the eighth edition's printing the term Arabian Gulf in parenthesis beside the more commonly used Persian Gulf.
National Geographic defended the twin terms for the body of water between Iran and the Arabian peninsula. Its Web site said that while Persian Gulf is the primary name, ``we want people searching for Arabian Gulf to be able to find what they're looking for and not to confuse it with the nearby Arabian Sea.''
However, on Dec. 30, National Geographic announced it was changing its map to drop the Arabian Gulf in parenthesis. The revised map, published on the society's Web site, bears a note in the middle of the gulf saying that while most people call it the Persian Gulf, ``this body of water is referred to by some as the Arabian Gulf.''
Iran's official news agency on Monday quoted Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi as saying National Geographic had made a ``retreat'' that was ``a victory for every Iranian.''
In the Washington headquarters of National Geographic, spokeswoman Carol Seitz said the company had made thousands of changes to the Atlas in the five years between its seventh and eighth editions.
``We review our cartographic policies on an ongoing basis,'' Seitz said in a phone call. The consultations leading up to the revision had involved Iranian government officials and others, she added.
Seitz denied that National Geographic had been influenced by Iran's imposing a ban on the atlas and the society's journalists.
Iran had also objected to the eighth edition's describing the Gulf islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunbs as ``occupied.'' Iran controls the islands, but the United Arab Emirates says they are its territory. The revised map deletes the term ``occupied.''
Asked if National Geographic expects protests from the United Arab Emirates over the deletion, Seitz said: ``We haven't received any yet.''
Historically the Gulf has been known as the Persian Gulf, but Arab nationalists such as the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein tried to rename it the Arabian Gulf.
National Geographic's revision exists only on the Internet so far. The eighth edition was published in October. When the revision might appear in a reprint of the atlas depends on future sales and demand.
Iran nuclear fuel deal stalled over fee-Russia
By Melissa Akin
LONDON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - A deal that would clear the way for Iran to start up its Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant has been delayed over Moscow's fee for taking back Russian-made spent fuel, Russia's nuclear chief said on Tuesday.
"We have told them they have to pay for spent fuel, just like fresh fuel," Alexander Rumyantsev, head of Russia's Atomic Energy Agency, told Reuters after an informal meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
Rumyantsev on Tuesday rejected earlier reports that said the Iran agreement could be signed as early as January, adding Russia and Iran had until mid-year to finalise the agreement.
Russia's civilian nuclear industry has commercial agreements to re-import and dispose of spent fuel sold to foreign clients, mostly ex-Soviet bloc states with Moscow-built nuclear power plants.
With Iran accused by the United States of seeking nuclear weapons, Russia and Iran have promised the United States they will sign a deal to remove spent fuel from Iran before the Bushehr plant is switched on.
Washington wants to prevent the potential use of spent fuel in a bomb. It has urged Moscow to scrap the Bushehr project entirely as a proliferation risk.
Some diplomats say Russia is stalling on the spent-fuel re-import deal with Iran to keep Washington friendly while hedging its bets with the Islamic Republic.
The agreement must be signed in time to start shipping fresh fuel to Iran for the scheduled launch of Bushehr in early 2006, Rumyantsev said.
Some legal hurdles, included possible successors to the two countries' agents, Russian nuclear fuel producer TVEL and the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency, and the pricing of Russia's re-import services, had been dealt with, he said.
Rumyantsev said the final cost to Iran would be based on future market rates. If the station is switched on according to schedule, the first batch of spent fuel would return to Russia in 10-12 years time, he said.
((Reporting by Melissa Akin
Reuters messaging: email@example.com;
Tel +44 207 542 8798))
from the January 05, 2005 edition
THE RUBBLE OF HISTORY: Iranians walk through the ruins of a 2,000-year-old citadel in Bam, Iran, where an earthquake last December killed more than 30,000 people.
A year after quake, Iran city struggles to rise above the rubble| Contributor to The Christian Science MonitorBAM, IRAN The palm trees still rise from the Iranian desert in the oasis city of Bam. But their dusty leaves now overlook a shattered city, razed by a devastating earthquake that killed more than 30,000 people in 10 seconds.
From a distance, not much seems to have changed since Dec. 26, 2003, the day of the 6.5 magnitude temblor. Collapsed buildings still line the streets. Those families who survived in the center of town have not returned. Caramel-colored dust coats everything.
But out of the devastation, this city, once middle class, is slowly coming back to life. Gone is the smell of death that hung in the air for months, as well as the tents that dotted the city. Some 75,000 survivors live in prefab cabins near town.
Makeshift shops line the main streets - a grocery in an old army tent, a barber shop with cracked mirrors salvaged from the ruins of a salon.
Yet a year after nearly 90 percent of Bam was leveled (see map), just $17 million of $1 billion in foreign-aid pledges has come in, says President Mohammed Khatami. Five percent of the houses have been rebuilt - underscoring challenges Southeast Asian countries may face in rebuild- ing poor and remote areas devastated by last week's earthquake and tsunami.
Aid workers are pleased with the rate of progress in Bam and say rebuilding a city from scratch will take at least three years - if not longer.
"Yes, reconstruction has been slower than we expected, but you can't rebuild a city overnight. Not even in a year - that's impossible," says Patrick Parsons, a project coordinator for the British-based humanitarian organization Merlin, who has been in Bam for the past year.
Iranian officials have ambitious plans for the city, which was home to Arg-e Bam, a 2,000-year-old citadel that drew thousands of tourists yearly.
The government has enlisted the help of a Dutch architect who specializes in designing "child friendly" cities to incorporate more playgrounds and parks and a teachers' resource center. The plan is to consult the children of Bam for their vision of a perfect city.
Along with the prospects for physical improvements in the city, social changes are emerging as well. Many women in the conservative city - impelled by the loss of many male heads of household - have left the confines of their homes to run between housing associations, ministry buildings, and banks to get papers stamped and new ID cards verified in the protracted quest for aid. Out of sheer practicality, more are also shedding the tentlike black chador in favor of a head scarf.
Rapid first response
In the days following Bam's earthquake, more than 1,600 aid workers from 44 countries streamed in to help with the rescue and relief operation. For the first time since the 1979-81 hostage crisis, an American government presence was allowed, with a team of American search and rescue workers drawing excited crowds.
Tents and medical supplies were airlifted in, and experts from the World Health Organization and nongovernmental organizations set about dealing with health and sanitation needs. Everything from "school-in-a-box" kits to hand tools for clearing rubble was distributed.
But now, the sprawling international camp on the grounds of the old sports stadium has been closed down and only a handful of international agencies remain.
Some survivors are finding the pace of reconstruction hard to accept.
"Look around. It's been a year. How many new buildings do you see? Where has all the money gone?" says Hassan, echoing the sentiments of many.
He spent six months living in a tent with his young family and was one of hundreds of Bamis who took to the streets in an angry protest in the spring, denouncing the relief effort as too slow.
Indeed, a key challenge has been that former residents of the city are only just coming to terms with what has happened to them. For the past year, many have been in a state of shock and anger - something that has spurred what doctors and psychologists say is a growing drug problem.
The sweet smell of eucalyptus and orange blossom that used to fill the alleys of this ancient city has been replaced by the thick reek of opium that wafts out of shelters. Thousands of Bamis, doctors say, are turning to drugs to forget horrific memories and ease the pain of daily life.
"It's a really big problem. And now people are also turning to prescription drugs," says Mohammed Abeeyat, a clinical psychologist for the Iranian Red Crescent Society, the relief agency.
Dr. Abeeyat, who sees up to 10 patients a day, says post- traumatic stress syndrome is the biggest problem that survivors face. In response, Iran's Ministry of Health and UNICEF are running extensive psychosocial counseling programs.
Talking to children
Under the palm trees in the village of Baravat on the outskirts of Bam groups of children sit crosslegged in group therapy sessions organized by the Ministry of Health. Amid the playground banter talk of the "balloon technique" emerges - therapy speak for a breathing technique to help children deal with anxiety attacks. Many of the young ones heard their families screaming for help under the rubble and listened as their cries faded away.
"I've learned to deal with my bad memories," says 11-year old Azam. "Therapy has taught me that whenever I get those bad memories I should put them in a box, lock the box and put the key away."
Azam lost both her parents in the earthquake. She heard them calling out to her and dug at the rubble, but her little hands could not cope.
Hope for the future
Seventeen-year-old Reza considers himself one of the fortunate ones - he lost "only" three members of his family.
"I feel the government has looked after me - I've got a prefabricated shelter and I'm sure that one day I'll have permanent shelter," he says.
Seven members of his family now live in a 20-by-13-foot shelter. Like most survivors, he has not gotten a job. Being indoors all day with nothing to do gets him down.
"They say they're going to rebuild Bam into a better city. I don't doubt they will rebuild it, but Bam will never be the same again," he says. "Maybe bigger and newer, but never better."
For most survivors in Bam, it is simply a coincidence that the earthquake and tsunami in Asia happened on the same day - at almost the same hour - as their own.
The residents of Bam say that they will be forgotten now that they have been eclipsed by a bigger earthquake, but they say they feel a connection with the Asian survivors.
Turkish FM Gets Chilly Welcome in JerusalemJanuary 03, 2005
DEBKAfile's Special Political Sources Report
Diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey are far from happy. Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul arrives Monday, January 3, for visits to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. His welcome in Jerusalem will be stiffly correct, unlike the harmonious relations reigning between Jerusalem and Ankara in the times of prime minister Tayyep Erdogans predecessors.
DEBKAfiles Middle East sources reveal the cause of Israels resentment as being the Turkish governments sympathy for and developing acceptance of the extreme anti-Israel positions of Damascus and Tehran on the Middle East conflict.
Erdogan has high hopes of this posture ingratiating his government with the Arab world and Europe, with which accession talks begin later this year. He would like Turkey to become a bridge between Europe and the Arab world, although neither has invited Ankara to assume this role. Turkey hopes that its pro-Arab stance on the Middle East conflict will ease its path past some of the EUs tough terms for its accession, such as recognition of Cyprus and more political, economic and human rights reforms, while at the same time buying influence in Arab capitals.
To promote these interests, Erdogan visited Damascus on December 22 and signed a free trade pact with Syria. DEBKAfiles sources add: The Turkish visitor was very receptive to the complaints of his host, president Bashar Assad, that Israel keeps on spurning his peace feelers under the influence of Washington. The Bush administration wants the Palestinian track pursued first and will not allow the Sharon government to provide Assad with any escape from its demand that he desist from sponsoring Iraqi insurgents and terrorists.
Assad told Erdogan that Syria would be grateful for any Turkish diplomatic initiative to make Assad look good in Washington and Europe and fend off the pressures brought to bear on Damascus. To this end, all the blame for the lack of progress towards peace and the sustained violence in the Middle East must be laid squarely at Israels door while the Assad regime is presented in contrast as wholly committed to a peaceful accommodation.
The Syrian position is the basis of Guls mediation effort between Jerusalem and Ramallah this week. It was reinforced with the briefing he received from the Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharrazi who visited Ankara especially for that purpose on December 24.
Gul can consequently expect a much more cordial welcome in Ramallah than Jerusalem. He will also find a good supply of fodder from the Palestinian Authority for the Erdogan governments campaign to discredit Israel.
Iran: Women are terrorized
by Ina Tin, editor of AmnestyNytt, AI Norways magazine (translated by Laila Belle)
Index: MDE 13/049/2004
Shirin Ebadi is fighting for a new interpretation of Islamic Shari'a laws. In the opinion of the Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the interpretation of the Shari'a permitting discrimination of women is incorrect. She emphasises that women are protesting against these laws. As a lawyer and a human rights defender in Iran, she is giving priority to working towards changing this interpretation of Islam.
"A dynamic interpretation of Islam will accept womens rights, democracy and human rights. We are fighting to prove that Islam is not against women. We live in a patriarchal culture that is against women and therefore dominated by an incorrect interpretation of Islam. You know, most men would oppose any feministic interpretation, but that is not important. We have to do our job even if it puts us at risk. We have to take the challenge. It will not be easy, I know, but it is our job.
"Women in Iran are terrorized. We are facing discriminatory laws as well as family violence. These laws represent the biggest problem. If laws were just, violence would diminish. That is why the fight against laws that discriminate is given priority."
She says that the laws are not adapted to todays society. Today, 63% of students in Iran are women, yet many laws violate human rights because they systematically discriminate against women.
"A man may have four wives; two female witnesses make up for one male witness; in compensation cases, the price of a womans life is worth half the price of a mans; filing for a divorce is more difficult for a woman than for a man. One type of violence against women is forbidden, but another type is permitted", she explains.
"If a woman is killed on the street or in the house, the murderer may be prosecuted. The problem is that such violence is rarely reported to the police. If, however, the woman is killed by her husband because she is unfaithful or is caught in bed with another man, the murderer will not be punished."
She says, with a sigh, that it is difficult for a professor of law to teach her subject.
"How does one create respect and understanding for laws like these?"
She believes that there are many people in Iran who would welcome a new interpretation of Islamic law.
"It is evident that the government creates many problems for those of us who act. Some of us are in prison; others are in exile and others are prohibited from speaking in public. Take me, for instance -- I am not allowed to speak at universities, nor am I allowed to receive honorary doctorates abroad. But that is not important, the authorities do their job and we do ours," she says.
She says that she thinks the government offers some degree of protection against family violence, but it is of no help to those who have actually experienced violence.
"We have no social help. If a husband beats his wife and she reports him for violence, the incident will be investigated. He will get a fine and the wife will be allowed to file for a divorce. But what can a divorcee with small children do -- no job and no income, no house and no social help? It is not sufficient for the authorities to punish a violent husband. In reality, the woman has no alternative but to stay married."
She does not give an opinion as to whether all religious laws should be put aside and human rights confirmed as the one and only common basis of values. She argues, however, that Islam gives people the right to change the laws according to time and place.
"Let me give you one example: the Koran states that all Muslims are expected to fast, not to drink or eat from sunrise to sunset, during the month of Ramadan. In the Middle East, it is easy to fast, but what about on the North Pole? Six months of daylight and six months of dark night -- if a Muslim were to follow the rules of fast, he or she would die. One has to make a compromise. By dividing the day in three, you are expected to fast for eight hours daily. We call them secondary laws; laws rooted in the Koran, but adapted to time and place. Many laws have already been changed like that."
"Amnesty International (AI) has friends all over the world," she says, voicing her support for AIs campaign to stop violence against women. "The campaign is important because womens rights are violated all over the world, in particular in the East".
She says that she believes AIs campaign will make a difference to women in the Muslim world where they face serious problems. However, she points out that she also thinks, in order to succeed in Muslim countries, it would be very useful to obtain support from Muslim clerics for the campaign. She says that she thinks new changes will be made when enough people call for them.
"We have had some success, but we need more changes. I am optimistic. We will succeed if we stand together," the Iranian Peace Prize Laureate concludes.
Editor's note: The Islamic Human Rights Commission has visited the International Secretariat of AI. Ayatollah Bojnourdi, the head of the Imam Khomeini Center for Islamic Studies, has given his support to the organization's work.
Urgent Action: Iran: Fear of imminent execution/fear of flogging, Leyla M http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde130482004
Amnesty International Norway demonstrates in front of the Iranian embassy in Oslo on behalf of Iranian Leyla M. (text in Norwegian) http://www.amnesty.no/web.nsf/pages/49E69A5F8C5764B5C1256F6D003C7587
Clerical chicFor Muslims, looking good has a religious seal of approval. And no one reflects this more than the stylish mullahs of Iran. Niloofar Haeri visits the city of Qom, home to the Muslim clergy's top tailors - and some of the best-dressed men in the Islamic world
Wednesday January 5, 2005
Women's dress in the Muslim world is endlessly debated and written about. But when it comes to what the men are wearing, we hear relatively little. And yet here in Iran it is clear to see that quite a few clerics are no stanger to chic. The graceful draping of good cloth, the layering of colours, the yellow slippers and silver rings with large agate stones, add up in many cases to nothing short of elegance.
If there is one major point of agreement among clerics, it lies in the importance Islam attaches - thanks to the many stories about how well the Prophet Muhammad dressed, and his love of perfumes - to looking and smelling good. Making an effort to be well turned out is not just allowed by Islam, it is positively encouraged.
In the middle-class salons of Tehran these days, one of the lighter topics of conversation is President Khatami's wardrobe. He is seen as very elegant; in fact, a bit of a dandy. Every new outfit he dons as the seasons change unleashes a fresh round of comment about the colours, textures and shapes of the robes, high-collared shirts and mantles that he wears. After the president appeared on TV during the summer in an elegant cream-coloured robe, other prominent members of the government followed suit.
For anyone who wants to learn more about Iranian clerical fashion, the place to visit is Qom. Besides its claim to fame as the spiritual heart of the Iranian revolution (Ayatollah Khomeini chose this traditionally religious city as his residence after returning to Iran in 1979 following the fall of the shah), it also boasts the best tailors to the Muslim clergy in the country, and possibly in all the Middle East.
On a childhood trip to the city, I remember thinking that the clerics in their flowing robes and layered outfits were so much more elegant than the women hidden in black veils - the "black crows" as some Iranians still call them. In my pre-feminist, five-year-old mind, I wanted women to be the elegant ones, showing off their clothes.
Over the past 25 years the Islamic government has successfully promoted Qom as a centre of Shi'ite Muslim learning to rival Najaf and Kerbala in Iraq. Students and mullahs from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, the Gulf, Pakistan and Afghanistan frequent its seminaries. Pilgrims from the Shi'ite diaspora in Africa, America and Europe visit the shrine.
As a result, Qom now boasts more foreign residents and tourists than Tehran. Pizzerias have sprung up all over the city, and restaurants have added Arab dishes to their fare. Hotels, hostels, travel agents and souvenir shops cater to the hordes of pilgrims, religious tourists and seminarians from overseas. You can also check your email at the many "coffee net" places around town (although none of them actually serves coffee).
Qom has changed in other ways too. Everyone in Tehran told me that in Qom I should wear the full female get-up, including the all-covering black chador. I was worried that I was not wearing socks and that my fingernails betrayed bits of nail polish I had not had a chance to wipe off. In the event I did not have to wear the chador at all (a scarf was enough), and the Qomis seemed too busy to worry about bare toes or the state of my nails.
After getting directions from a mullah crossing the street, I headed towards a "passage" (pronounced in the French way) that was one of several shopping arcades made up almost entirely of tailors' workshops specialising in clerical clothes.
On the upper floor of the arcade I found a man who specialised in various kinds of cloth imported from Thailand, India, Korea, Iraq, Italy and England. This tailor turned out to be an Iraqi, the uncle of another tailor I had spoken to briefly downstairs.
Many of the tailors in Qom, it emerged, are Iraqi Shia. This particular family of tailors, the Asgari Najafis, had been deported by Saddam Hussein about 24 years ago at the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war, along with thousands of other Iraqis of Iranian ancestry. A younger brother of the family, Ali Asgari Najafi, who had spent most of his life in Qom and spoke fluent Persian, showed me the clothes and offered to model them himself. "I am very handsome, so these clothes look really good on me," he explained with a big smile.
"The main piece of clothing, apart from the turban," said Asgari Najafi, "is the long robe. Those who want to be chic and contemporary wear the labbaadeh, but those who are more traditional and want to avoid looking wealthy or fashionable wear the qabaa. You may have noticed President Khatami always wears the labbaadeh but the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamanei] prefers the qabaa."
Both the labbaadeh and the qabaa are long and come down to the top of the slippers (this is the case for traditional clerics who do not wear trousers; for those who do, the robe comes down to the middle of the legs). But whereas the qabaa has a V-neck and one side crosses the other at the waist, the more expensive labbaadeh has a high, round collar, tighter sleeves and stiff panelling in the chest area so that it looks very tailored. Many believe that the high-collared version is directly influenced by the robes of the Orthodox and Catholic priests in Lebanon, where large Christian and Muslim communities coexist.
Both robes can have numerous inside pockets, as many as eight for pens, books, prayer beads, watches and mobile phones. A frequent sight on the streets of Qom is of mullahs reaching inside their coats for their mobiles as they ring in various global tones. Many mullahs come for several fittings and can be quite picky, says Asgari Najafi: "The Lebanese ones would rather spend less on their food and pay for better clothes."
The star tailor of Qom is a snowy-haired 74-year-old with a bright smile. Abolfazl Arabpour sews clothes for the president and many important members of the government, and used to make clothes for Ayatollah Khomeini. "I started out in Tehran making clothes for army officers in the days of the monarchy," he says. "I hated that job, but I must say that the detailed work of army uniforms has served me well in making fine clerical outfits." Arabpour's logbook is inches thick. Altogether he has four workshops in Qom. His sons have also become tailors and many other tailors name him as their master.
Clerical dress has become political in Iran. In earlier days, according to Arabpour, clerical clothes were shapeless and too loose. Over time, and particularly since the revolution, they have become far more tailored, varied and formal. Because the new order gives some members of the clergy power and prominence, these politicians want to look their best, especially on television. But political power has also exposed the clergy to intense public scrutiny - so for those mullahs who want to avoid politics or close association with the government, there is a real temptation not to wear their clerical garb except when it is required by their religious activity.
"On the street, if I wear clerical clothes, some people will greet me because of it, and others will insult me for the same reason," says one Tehran mullah. "But when I don't wear it, I get neither reaction. And I prefer that." This mullah has stopped wearing clerical clothes except on very special occasions. When you wear clerical clothes, he continues, "you are advertising for your religion and implicitly calling people to it. But I don't believe that this is my duty as a cleric."
Another cleric that I speak to, who is wearing a light grey-blue qabaa of exquisite cotton with short open seams on both sides of the waist and a white shirt with grey stripes to match the qabaa, insists that interest in clerical fashion is not confined to Islam: "In all religions, the only principle has to do with being covered, for men and for women. Even in Europe until about 100 years ago, it was considered impolite not to wear a hat or some kind of head covering in public."
One of the hottest topics for mullahs now is how to respect the dignity of the clothes while responding to the necessities of modern life. One long-standing controversy is whether they should ride motorcyles in clerical dress. "If it was up to me," says one, "I would ban it; it just looks so undignified, especially when they also have their wife and child riding with them and they have to tuck the ends of their mantle into their trouser pockets."
In Iran's hit film of 2004, Marmulak (The Lizard) - banned after a month in the cinemas, apparently because it was felt to be too mocking of the clergy - a thief dons clerical clothes to escape from prison. But he soon finds out how many things he cannot do in these clothes without catching attention - such as running fast when he thinks the police are after him.
Arabpour echoes the lesson of the film, pointing to the racks of half-finished clerical robes hanging at the back of his shop: "There is only air in these clothes. What really matters is the character of the man who wears them."
Iran boosts air defenses at nuke sitesBy ARIEH O'SULLIVAN AND DAVID HOROVITZ
Concerned that the US or Israel may be planning an air strike against its nuclear facilities, Iran has beefed up its air defenses around various nuclear sites, Israeli security sources have told The Jerusalem Post. Iran is also said to be intermittently pointing its Shihab rockets in the general direction of Israel.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon stressed Tuesday that Israel has no intention of leading any air strike on Iran, and believes that the US-led international diplomatic effort to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions is the only appropriate path at this stage.
Further underlining Teheran's concerns, an Iranian newspaper reported Wednesday that US warplanes had flown over its nuclear facilities near the borders with Iraq and Afghanistan over the past few days. The US aircraft that entered Iranian air space included F-16 multi-role fighters and F/A-18 attack jets, according to a report in the Aftab newspaper.
The aircraft were said to have flown at high altitude and, according to the Iranian report, appeared to have been sent on reconnaissance missions over Iran's nuclear sites, particularly in the southwestern province of Khuzestan. The intrusions, it said, were also possibly designed to assess Iran's air-defense capabilities.
A few weeks ago, the Iranian Army chief, Gen. Muhammad Salimi, said his forces, led by the air force, had been ordered to stand ready to defend the country against any military strike targeting it nuclear sites.
"The air force has been ordered to protect the nuclear sites, using all its power," he was quoted as saying.
And in late December, Iranian Air Force chief Brig. Karim Qavami was quoted as having ordered his forces to open fire and shoot down any unidentified aircraft violating the country's airspace.
"Given that the intrusion of enemy aircraft over Iran's airspace is possible, all fighter jets of the country have been ordered by the army chief to shoot them down in the event of sighting them," he was quoted as saying.
The Israeli security sources told the Post that Teheran has begun to step up protection of its nuclear facilities immediately on agreeing to European demands that it suspend a uranium enrichment program last November.
"They really believe that the United States and maybe Israel will attack them, so they are improving their defenses," said one security source.
Despite the announced freeze in the program, the Israeli sources said, Iran's secret nuclear program continues to hum along; Teheran is determined to enrich uranium to make nuclear bombs.
Ra'anan Gissin, a spokesman for Sharon, confirmed that Iran is maintaining "a secret program, corroborated also by American intelligence, to produce enriched uranium." This clandestine "fuel-cycle" effort, he said, is the "critical element... the one factor that will determine when the program comes to fruition, when you can build a bomb."
If the international community, led by the US, maintains its diplomatic focus on the "fuel-cycle effort,' he said, "then that could... perhaps delay the necessity to use any other option.
"At this stage," Gissin stressed, "we don't think that the military option is the option that should be used. There are still sufficient measures that can be taken and must be taken before you come to the conclusion that everything's lost... You still have time," he said, though "not much."
And even if all else failed, Gissin added, "we are not going to lead" any resort to military force.
Rather than missile delivery of a nuclear warhead, Gissin said the more immediate "nightmare scenario," if Iran did obtain "nuclear-upgraded material,' is that it would be "able to assemble a dirty bomb, strap it to a couple of suicide bombers... and send them."
The security sources said that, at the moment, the Iranians do not have the capability to arm their medium-range Shihab-3 rockets with nuclear warheads. "We assess that this won't happen for at least three years or more," said one source.
A warhead weighing a ton would reduce the current Shihab-3's range by between 250-300 kilometers, thus removing Israel from its 1,300-km. range. At present, these rockets are estimated to have a 500-600 kilogram conventional warhead.
Gissin said the Shihabs were ultimately intended to achieve a range of 2,500 km., which would bring Europe into range. Asked whether Shihabs were intermittently focused on Israel, he said, in "the general direction, that's true." He noted that, at present, "they do have some problems with the guidance system, but no doubt they will solve them."
The Israeli security source described the present Iranian air defenses as "good." It is known that Soviet-origin anti-aircraft systems have recently been deployed around the 1,000 megawatt Busher nuclear reactor.
Iran's air defense systems also features Russian SA-2, SA-5, SA-6 and shoulder-launched SA-7 missiles, according to the Military Balance prepared by Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies. The Iranians also have aged US-made Hawk missiles and have been seeking to purchase the sophisticated S-300P from Russia.
A report from the Middle East Newsline Web site said Iran has also requested that India sell it a radar system, known as the Super Fledermaus, which is designed to detect low-flying objects, like unmanned aerial vehicles.
The radar system is produced by Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) under license from its American designer Ericsson Radar Electronics. The US is pressuring New Delhi not to make the sale.
1/3/2005 Clip No. 458
"Zahra's Blue Eyes" - Episode 4: Zionists Prepare to Implant Zahra's Eyes in Theodor
The following are excerpts from Episode four of the new antisemitic Iranian TV series " For you, Palestine" or "Zahra's Blue Eyes"
Itzhak Cohen: What happened?
Soldier: I'm so angry, it's unbearable. Sir, I'm almost going crazy because of this filthy Arab
Itzhak Cohen:Did he annoy you again?
Soldier: This old man is suspicious of us. If you allow me, I will finish him off
Itzhak Cohen: Don't be stupid, you You must keep the girl healthy. I want her as strong as possible. If anything were to happen to her grandfather, she may fall sick.
Soldier: What should I do with him?
Itzhak Cohen: Scare him a little. That will do.
Soldier: I hear and obey!
Doctor: OK, my girl. Look up. Yes. Open your eyes.
Soldier: Are you happy here with us?
Zahra: Yes, this place is beautiful.
Soldier: Well said, but you should thank the owner of this place.
Zahra: Are you the owner of this place?
Itzhak Cohen: Yes.
Zahra: I envy you.
Itzhak Cohen: Why?
Zahra: Because your property is vast and very beautiful and everything here is new and clean, and there is room for everyone from the refugee camp. There is room for everyone.
Itzhak Cohen: You can stay here if you like.
Zahra: And what about my Grandpa?
Nurse: OK Zahra, it's over.
Doctor: Things are going better than we imagined, sir.
Itzhak Cohen: Speed things up, you must perform the operation ASAP.
Old man: Come out. Isma'il, come out.
Isma'il: What happened?
Old man: Zaynab, it would be better if you explained the situation to Isma'il.
Zaynab: According to the information we got from the UN people about the eye disease They said that there is no such disease at all!
Woman: It was all a scam.
Old man: Right. The UN people monitor such affairs and file charges against the Zionists.
Zaynab: A UN team was detained for several days with all its equipment in one of the Jewish settlements. We were naive and fell in their trap.
Old man: Don't worry. Our people are watching them. They've been moved from the hospital to somewhere else. Our intelligence people are following them to discover the new location.
Isma'il: OK, what is our mission?
Old man: I don't know. We'll see if Yasser can help us.
Old man: Do you know where Abd Al-Rahman and Zahra are now?
Yasser: By Allah, I do not know. They told me that a UN medical team would arrive at the refugee camp, and that I must inform them if it arrived or not. By Allah, it is the truth. Give me another chance. I will find them myself. Give me another chance.
Abd Al-Rahman: What do you want from me? Why did you bring me here?
Soldier: You'd better shut up. As I told you earlier, you are here for treatment. This is a convalescent home, get it? You'd better not ask the nurses or anyone else anything.
Second soldier: We have a lot of evidence against you.
Soldier: I know your sons are among the terrorists.
Abd Al-Rahman: They fight for their land and their people.
Soldier: Shut up! From now on you mustn't say a word. Understand?! Otherwise you will pay for your stupidity with your life.
Itzhak Cohen: This is my son. He is my only child. His name is Theodor. Would you play with him?
Zahra: Yes. I am tired of being alone.
Itzhak Cohen: He is the only reminder I have of my wife. I hope I can make all his wishes come true - whatever they may be. Whatever they may be. Come. Come here and play with him.
Itzhak Cohen: Do you think we can implant the eyes of this Palestinian girl in my son?
Doctor: Yes, sir.
Itzhak Cohen: And what is the Palestinian girl's condition? We must start working quickly. There is no point in waiting.
Doctor: The test results are good. Her physical condition will contribute to the success of the operation. Her eyes are good for Theodor.
Itzhak Cohen: What is the success rate of the operation?
Doctor: For which of them? Your son or the Palestinian girl?
Itzhak Cohen: My son, of course.
Doctor: The physical condition of the Palestinian girl and your son's test result are very encouraging.
Itzhak Cohen: Be careful, I don't want you to make any mistakes during the operation.
Doctor: Of course.
Itzhak Cohen: OK, go
Theodor: Daddy! Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!
bump for Persian Gulf!
Egypt's Secret Nuclear Program
Yesterday we noted a report in the Jerusalem Post that Abdul Qadeer Khans nuclear black market had given a major boost to the nuclear weapons program of an unnamed Arab state; today comes news that evidence of secret nuclear experiments has been discovered in Egypt.
VIENNA, Austria - The U.N. atomic watchdog agency has found evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt that could be used in weapons programs, diplomats said Tuesday.
The diplomats told The Associated Press that most of the work was carried out in the 1980s and 1990s but said the International Atomic Energy Agency also was looking at evidence suggesting some work was performed as recently as a year ago.
Egypts government rejected claims it is or has been pursuing a weapons program, saying its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
A few months ago we denied these kinds of claims and we do so again, Egyptian government spokesman Magdy Rady said. Nothing about our nuclear program is secret and there is nothing that is not known to the IAEA.
But one of the diplomats said the Egyptians tried to produce various components of uranium without declaring it to the IAEA, as they were bound to under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The products included several pounds of uranium metal and uranium tetrafluoride a precursor to uranium hexafluoride gas, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
Uranium metal can be processed into plutonium, while uranium hexafluoride can be enriched into weapons-grade uranium both for use in the core of nuclear warheads.
Wonderful. Russia gets the Iranians to make H-Bomb material for them and pay them for the priviledge. And we get to trust not only the Russians, but the Mullah's on this deal. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.
Iran hard-liner: Nano a key to regional powerProminent hardliner, reformist run for president (IranMania)
Top Iranian hardliner Ali Larijani announced Monday that he was joining the presidential race to become Iran's next president, while a report said top pro-reform cleric Mehdi Karoubi would also be standing.NanoBot Backgrounder
... Larijani told reporters he believed Iran "has the potential to be the region's superior power", and he pledged that even if conservatives won the presidential elections -- scheduled for June 17 -- the new government would display a "synthesis" of ideas including those pushed by the incumbent reformists, ISNA added.
He said a priority in the economy was investment in four fields: nanotechnology, biotechnology, nuclear technology for non-military purposes and information and communications technologies. More here
Drawing a nano-sized line in the sand
Israel and Iran going nano
Jordan clash a threat to Amman meetingBy Gareth Smyth and Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran
Published: January 5 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 5 2005 02:00
A clash between Iran and Jordan over the future of Iraq threatens to undermine tomorrow's meeting of Iraq's neighbours in Amman.
Mohammad Irani, Tehran's ambassador to Amman, said recent claims from Jordan's King Abdullah of Iranian "interference" in Iraq "had not created the proper atmosphere for Iran's participation".
Tehran announced on Sunday that Kamal Kharrazi, the foreign minister, would not attend the conference to discuss Iraq's security in the run-up to elections due on January 30. Instead it would send Gholam-Ali Khoshrou, a deputy foreign minister.
The prospect of Iraq's Shia Muslims, at least 55 per cent of the country's population, electing a majority Shia parliament has created a sense across the region that Iraq, traditionally run by a Sunni Arab minority, is at a historic turning-point.
Jordan - ruled by a Sunni Arab monarchy - enjoyed a generally good relationship with the mainly Sunni regime of Saddam Hussein and, like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, is concerned about the growing role of the Shia.
Many former Iraqi Ba'athists have moved to Amman, funding a small property boom and making Jordan the centre of exiled Sunni Arab opposition to Iraq's emerging new political order.
Iran objected to recent claims by King Abdullah that Iran was "interfering" in Iraq to create a Shia Muslim "crescent" stretching from Lebanon to Iran, and that Tehran had infiltrated 1m people into Iraq to vote.
In a clear reference to Jordan, Hamid-Reza Asefi, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, said on Sunday that interference in Iraqi affairs came not from Tehran but "those holding meetings with Ba'athists in their own countries about how to obstruct elections in Iraq".
The Iraqi Shia - religious leaders and political parties - say they want better relations with Iran, whose population is 90 per cent Shia, and an end to the tension that soured Iran-Iraq relations even before the 1980-88 war.
Some leading Sunni Arabs continue to voice hostility to Iran, and many have called for a delay in the poll.
Hazem Shaalan, Iraq's defence minister and a secular Shia, called the United Iraqi coalition, the Shia electoral coalition for January 30, "an Iranian list".
But the US has shown growing acceptance of the Shia parties' likely poll victory.
Colin Powell, secretary of state, said he thought Iraq's Shia would "stand on their own two feet" even if there was some increase in Iranian influence.
Abdul-Aziz Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution (Sciri), one of the main Shia parties, has offered reassurances to the US and Sunni Arabs. He said last week - after a bomb killed at least 13 people at his Baghdad headquarters - he would continue to favour "pluralism" in the face of "attempts to foment sectarian strife".
Mr Hakim told al-Manar, the Lebanese satellite tele-vision station, he regretted the claims made by King Abdullah.
12/30/2004 Clip No. 461
Romans Crucify Christians and Jews Stone Them in an Iranian TV Series
The following are excerpts from an Iranian TV series, called "The People of the Cave":
Soldier:Halt! Fabius, you are accused of following the false religion of Jesus the Christian and offending the Roman gods, and you are sentenced to death. Fabius, you shall be crucified. Take him away.
Soldier: Adnan, you will be crucified for believing in the religion of Jesus the Christian. Take him away.
Soldier: Salamis, you will be crucified for treason and theft. Take him away.
Salamis: No, no! Have mercy. I have done nothing!
Soldier: Adonya, you will be crucified for spreading Christianity. Take him away. Go!
Salamis: Have mercy on me! I have done nothing. Have mercy! Let me go, let me go! I beg you not to do this to me! Let me go!
Maximilian: Have you read the holy book?
Man: No. I am illiterate and cannot read.
Maximilian: Listen, I will read you verses from the holy book. It is written in the holy book that in the blessing left by Moses to the Israelites before his death, he told them: "The divine light came from Mount Sinai, shone for the people from Mount Sa'ir, and became public for us from Mount Faran." The light that will become public from Faran is the prophet that our Lord the Messiah has foretold, and his name is Ahmad.
Man: Where is Faran?
Maximilian: Faran is the valley where Abraham lived with his wife Hagar and his son Ishmael. The prophet, whose name is Ahmad and who is an Ishmaelite, will appear in that valley.
Jew: Look over there! Stop, stop! stop
Jew: Who are they?
Jew: I don't know.
Jew: I think I know them. Wait, wait. Soldier, who are they?
Soldier: Adonya the preacher and some Christians.
Jew: Really, Who is Adonya?
Soldier: He is the one in the middle.
Jew: Him? Come, we have found Adonya the preacher. Stone him. The accursed!
Soldier: Stop. I told you to stop. He will die anyway. What is the point of stoning him?
Jew: That is exactly what we say. If he will die anyway, what's the harm in stoning him? He has deceived many Jews.
Adonya: Oh the deceived I don't see in you any remnant of the wisdom Moses passed on to his believers. He said that your soul is your worst enemy, and you have no one to blame but yourself. Be humble
Jews: Stone him!
Soldier: Adonya has already been punished for his actions. You have no right to punish him.
Jew: Take this. What do you think now? Come. Come with me. Stand here and pretend you see nothing.
Adonya: Woe unto thee, the deceived
Soldier: He gave me a gold ingot.
Soldier: It's like spoils of war.
Adonya: Woe unto thee, hypocrites. Woe on thee, hypocrites. Woe on thee, hypocrites. Oh you, who have chosen lies and abandoned the tolerant religious laws of mercy, justice, and faith. Woe unto thee. Woe on thee who look good on the outside, but are being destroyed from within
Maximilian: It is Adonya!
Adonya: Woe unto thee
Maximilian: What should I do, my Lord?
Adonya: Oh you, who purify the tombs of prophets and decorate the tombs of the righteous, but stray from the path of the prophets and do not listen to the righteous. Woe unto thee. Woe unto thee. Woe unto thee, hypocritical oppressors.
Maximilian: Leave him alone, cowards. Leave him alone! Accursed be thee. Accursed be thee.
Maximilian: Adonya. Adonya
Adonya: Why do you risk your life, Maximilian? I have reached the end of the road, and your efforts are futile.
Maximilian: I will rescue you. I must find a way to do it.
Adonya: Don't worry about me. The moment of union approaches. I have reached the desired target before you. Leave this place. The guards will return shortly. Leave this place, sir. Go away.
Maximilian: How can I leave you alone?
Adonya: He who is with God, God is with him.
Iran to allow military site probe
Iran is to allow the UN nuclear watchdog to carry out inspections at one of its most secret military sites.
The US says Parchin is suspicious (photo: DigitalGlobe/Isis)
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are on standby to visit the plant, at Parchin.
US officials have accused Iran of using a civilian nuclear programme as front to develop atomic weapons.
Iran has consistently denied the claim, but an IAEA report published last October expressed concern over possible "dual-use" of nuclear technology.
The head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, said the organisation will send inspectors to Parchin "within days or weeks".
US officials have alleged that a secret annex at the Parchin plant, 30 km (20 miles) south-west of Tehran, could be used for research into high explosives.
The IAEA is co-ordinating details of the visit with the Iranian authorities, Mr ElBaradei said.
Iran has been under investigation for allegedly pursuing a programme of "weaponisation" while publicly claiming to pursue a civilian nuclear programme.
In November the US failed in a bid to have the IAEA refer Iran to the UN Security Council over alleged breaches of IAEA resolutions on weapons development.
Instead Iran offered to halt the development of centrifuges designed to enrich uranium - a key stage in "weaponisation".
European nations, led by Britain, France and Germany, have used diplomacy to convince Iran to co-operate with the international community.
The US maintains that Iran is developing weapons, but says that evidence it holds is sensitive and hard to verify.
Iran to allow military site probe
Iran: U.S. spy planes spotted over nuke sites
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COMTuesday, January 4, 2005
Iran has reported flights by U.S. military aircraft over nuclear facilities near the borders with Afghanistan and Iraq.
Iran's state-controlled media said the overflights by U.S. aircraft were spotted near a range of nuclear facilities, including the Bushehr nuclear reactor constructed by Russia.
In late December, Teheran ordered the Iranian Air Force to shoot down unidentified aircraft flying anywhere in the country, Middle East Newsline reported. Iranian officials have accused Israel and the United States of seeking to conduct reconnaissance flights over Iran.
Iran has deployed anti-aircraft missiles around major nuclear sites, including Bushehr. So far, there have been no reports of Iranian missile fire toward U.S. or Israeli warplanes.
The U.S. reconnaissance flights were conducted as Iran was said to be accelerating its nuclear weapons programs in facilities unaccessible to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The U.S. aircraft said to have entered Iranian air space included F-16 multi-role fighters and F/A-18 attack jets, the reports said. The Iranian media said the aircraft appeared to have been sent on reconnaissance missions over Iran's nuclear sites, particularly in the southwestern province of Khuzestan.
On Monday, the Iranian newspaper Aftab reported the entry of a U.S. fighter-jet on Jan. 1. The unidentified fighter was said to have flown at low altitude over the northeastern province of Khorrasan which borders Afghanistan.
Iran's air defense command contains aging U.S.- and Russian-origin surface-to-air missile batteries not regarded as a threat to U.S. fighter-jets. The Iranian systems include the U.S. Hawk MIM-23B, the Russian SA-2, SA-5, SA-6 as well as the shoulder-launched SA-18. Iran has sought to purchase the Russian-origin S-300PMU long-range system.
The Iran Factor in Iraq's Vote
Published: January 5, 2005
lot could go wrong with Iraq's elections on Jan. 30. But one fear that seems misplaced is that the two main Iraqi Shiite parties, which are likely to be the biggest winners, would take orders from Iran's radical Shiite ayatollahs, imposing pro-Iranian policies on Baghdad or establishing an Iraqi Shiite theocracy.
It's true that both of these parties, the Dawa Islamic Party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (known as Sciri), have strong historical and personal links with Iran and its leadership. But their politics, aspirations and main constituencies are now firmly rooted in Iraq. If these parties come to power as part of a national Iraqi government, with broad support from all major population groups, their independence from Iran seems assured. That independence will be harder to preserve if the January vote splits Iraq between a self-governing but weak Shiite and Kurdish zone and a Sunni region with continuing, violent insurrection.
Sciri and Dawa are the dominant parties of the United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of mainly Shiite parties running as a joint slate in the January election. Even with high voter turnout in Sunni areas, these parties are expected to do well because 60 percent of Iraqis are Shiites. With reduced Sunni participation, they are likely to do even better.
Both parties fell under strong Iranian influence when Saddam Hussein was ruthlessly persecuting Iraq's Shiite majority and assassinating its main political and religious leaders. Their leaders received sanctuary and money from Iran. But many of the new constituents they are courting have bitter memories of Iran, dating to the suffering of the Iran-Iraq war. And Iran's corrupt, autocratic and economically floundering clerical dictatorship is not very popular in Iran right now, let alone Iraq. Iraq's leading Shiite ayatollah, Ali al-Sistani, has repeatedly rejected the Iranian political model.
The real threat looming over the January elections comes from the continuing alienation of most of Iraq's Sunni minority. This extends well beyond the terrorists trying to intimidate election workers or the die-hards unable to accept majority rule. The military actions in Falluja and Mosul this fall seem to have deepened it, and it now embraces almost the entire Sunni community. The January election can begin to address this problem only if large portions of the Sunni population accept its results. Otherwise, the gravest dangers facing Iraq after Jan. 30 will not come from Iran's plotting ayatollahs, but from Iraq's own disaffected Sunnis.
Iraqi defence minister says Iran mainly to blame for Iraq unrest
DUBAI AFP- Iraqi Defence Minister Hazem al-Shaalan took a fresh swipe at Iran, accusing it of being mainly responsible for the deteriorating situation in Iraq, in statements published here Wednesday.
"We have a strong belief that Iran is the main accused in the deterioration of the security situation in Iraq, such as illegal entry, smuggling of arms and means of sabotage," he told Emirati newspaper Al-Bayan.
"The proof which we have bears witness to Iran's responsibility in many operations that have shaken Iraq's stability," said the minister, who has previously pointed the finger at Iran and Syria in acts of violence in Iraq.
"Despite this, I say to Iranians and the regime of Tehran that it is in the interests of Iran to have balanced, healthy and positive relations," he added.
Shaalan earlier branded Tehran as Baghdad's "most dangerous enemy" and a source of terrorism.
Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was, meanwhile, quoted as calling on Syria to hand over to Baghdad Iraqis implicated in the violence in Iraq.
"What we want is to be handed those wanted elements accused of planning and executing" such acts, Allawi told the United Arab Emirates' Al-Khaleej newspaper.
On December 16, Allawi accused Damascus of harbouring fugitive Saddam Hussein aides suspected of orchestrating rebel attacks.
"Sebawi al-Tikriti, former head of the general security service, is in Syria with other former security officials," Allawi told Al-Arabiya television.
Both Syria and its key regional ally Iran have repeatedly rejected US-led accusations that they are meddling in Iraq.
UN To Visit Iranian Military Site
The IAEA announced that the UN will inspect an Iranian military site that the US believes was used for nuclear weaponization activities:The inspection will be part of the U.N. investigation into allegations Iran has carried out work linked to nuclear 'weaponization,' the process of testing or assembling a warhead and attaching it to a delivery system. ...
According to globalsecurity.org, a Web Site run by a private Washington-based research group, the massive Parchin complex, around 30 km (19 miles) south of Tehran, is the center of Iran's munitions industry.
Officials from the United States and several other countries said in September that Parchin may be a site where Iran was testing explosives that would be appropriate for an atom bomb.
Although ElBaradei played down the U.S. allegations at the time, agency inspectors asked Tehran to visit the site. They want to take environmental samples to rule out the possibility that Iran had been working with nuclear materials at Parchin.
Either Iran has cleaned up Parchin or the intelligence was faulty. The mullahcracy would not risk detection with a voluntary inspection. The US and the EU-3 also know this, so perhaps the UN and IAEA will look for other indicators at Parchin. I suspect, however, that the end result of this inspection will be a public-relations win for Iran.
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