Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - January 16, 2005 - "Jordan receives photo of al-Zarqawi with Iran military chiefs"
Posted on 01/15/2005 6:43:07 PM PST by freedom44
Iraqi official accuses Iran Sat. 15 Jan 2005
United Press International
Baghdad, Iraq - A senior Iraqi official Saturday accused Iran of channeling money into Iraq to "achieve sectarian objectives" and destabilize the country.
Waset Gov. Mohammad Ridha said $18,987.30 in Iranian tomans were seized and found to have been sent to a resident in the province "to try to entice sectarian extremism and ruin the elections process."
While he did not specify Iran by name, referring only to its currency allegedly seized, Ridha insisted there were "hidden hands trying to destabilize the province by focusing on sectarian allegiance over allegiance to the homeland."
His accusation came amid repeated charges by Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem al-Shaalan that Iran was interfering in his country's internal affairs.
More than 200 tons of narcotics discovered in Iran in past 9 months Sat. 15 Jan 2005
Tehran, Jan. 15 More than 200 tons of narcotics have been discovered in Iran over the past nine months, according to a senior Iranian security official.
Speaking to a gathering of reporters, the State Security Forces commander, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, hinted today that such a large quantity of drugs in circulation might raise questions that drug smuggling has become institutionalized.
Qalibaf's announcement came at a time when certain departments and officials within the Iranian regime are suspected of involvement in narcotics trafficking.
In the interview, Major Ghodratollah Mahmoudi, the head of the Office to Combat Narcotics in Greater Tehran, said on Wednesday that in the past nine months alone more than 700 kg of narcotics had been confiscated from addicts in the capital, adding that this figure did not include the much larger amounts of narcotics "discovered in the hands of drug lords".
The total number of illegal-drug users in Iran is estimated to be more than seven million.
I'm shocked I tell you just shocked!
Was John Kerry seated to the right or left of Zarqawi ?
What do you make of the arrest in Kuwait of an Iranian operative?
Saturday, January 15, 2005 - ©2004 IranMania.com
LONDON, Jan 15 (IranMania) - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami rejected US charges of human rights violations in Iran, denouncing Washington's own record in abusing prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba.
"Of all the people entitled to speak about human rights, we don`t let the Americans talk about the respect for human rights in Iran," he said before leaving the Senegalese capital for Sierra Leone on the third stage of a seven-leg African tour, according to IRNA.
"I believe the American claim of human rights violations in Iran are lies and they had better stand accountable for their own crimes in Iraq`s Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons," he said, touching on a scandal which shocked the world when it was revealed last year.
"The Americans had better answer for a ruthless killing which they are routinely perpetrating in the name of democracy and freedom in the world," Khatami added. The Iranian president stressed the need for `all-out efforts` to observe human rights in the world `without any discrimination`, citing US-backed violation of the Palestinians` rights by Israel.
"As regards (respect) for human rights, cultural characteristics of each country must be taken into account; the complete observance of human rights is a process which has to evolve patiently." Khatami, however stressed that Iran `respects all the benevolent people who are righteously worried about human rights`.
"I'm shocked... shocked! To find Zarqawi meeting with the Iranians!"
Seems like Iran is rooting back to their original ideology of spreading their fundamentalism to neighboring nations. Given US presence in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq and the level of discontent within Iran this isn't surprising.
Ebadi: I Won't Obey Iran Court Summons
Saturday January 15, 2005 9:31 AM
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Associated Press Writer
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi said Saturday she won't obey a summons by the hard-line Revolutionary Court even though she could be arrested, a challenge to the powerful body that has tried and convicted many intellectuals.
Ebadi, the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel peace prize, received the summons Thursday.
``The manner in which the summons has been arranged is illegal. I won't go to the court,'' Ebadi told The Associated Press. ``A summons has to specify the reason. That a summons is issued for somebody without specifying the reason and subject is illegal.''
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, one of three lawyers to represent Ebadi if she is charged, said the Revolutionary Court can arrest Ebadi for disregarding the order. Though a reason wasn't specified, Dadkhah said she had been summoned to testify as a witness, not as an accused.
The summons was issued Wednesday, ordering her appearance within three days. However, because she received the summons Thursday, Dadkhah said the deadline was Sunday.
In Washington, the State Department has warned it is watching the situation, with spokesman Richard Boucher saying Friday that arresting ``proponents of moderation, pluralism, and political reform'' violates international human rights standards.
``We will continue to follow closely the (Iranian) government's actions against Ms. Ebadi and others,'' Boucher added.
Dadkhah, who co-founded the Center for Protecting Human Rights with Ebadi and several other lawyers, said Friday that his center does not recognize the Revolutionary Courts because ``they are not mentioned in the constitution.''
``Even if there was a need for these courts, it was only in the early years of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. A revolutionary court 26 years after the revolution seems irrelevant,'' Dadkhah said.
The Revolutionary Courts deal with security crimes. Many political activities, intellectuals and writers have been tried at the court on vague charges of endangering national security and discrediting the ruling Islamic establishment.
Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, is known to oppose the hard-liners, whose political strength has grown since last year's legislative elections.
They may be close allies but they are not that stupid to take picture together
I so hope that after Iraq gets their government set up they turn and just destroy Iran for their actions to undermine the Iraqi's.
UNHCR threatens Iran with suspension of aid for Afghan refugees
Sat Jan 15,10:13 AM ET World - AFP
KABUL (AFP) - The UN refugee agency threatened to suspend aid for Afghan refugees in Iran unless Tehran stopped their forced repatriation.
"We think that the Iranian authorities have gone too far... we are not going to be instrumental in forced repatriation," United Nations (news - web sites) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ruud Lubbers told AFP on Saturday.
Speaking on a visit to Afghanistan (news - web sites), Lubbers said a tripartite agreement between the UNHCR, Iran and Afghanistan would not be renewed when it expires in three months' time if Iranian authorities "don't improve their behaviour."
Some 375,000 Afghan refugees returned from Iran in 2004, with the UN agency assisting many of them with packages of house-building materials including doors, beams and windows, a small cash stipend and transportation across Afghanistan.
But in recent months fears have mounted that Iranian authorities are exerting undue pressure on Afghan refugees to return home, suspending education and medical care for them and revoking their residence permits so that police who stop them on the street can threaten them with deportation.
Afghan refugees returning home in September told AFP that there was a government-run radio campaign in Iran urging them to return home and threatening them with arrest and legal action if they failed to do so.
"I think that the Iranian authorities sometimes go beyond what they should do in the propaganda as if everybody is obliged to go. It is not good," Lubbers told AFP.
More than two million Afghans fled to Iran as refugees in the years of conflict which followed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, but many have begun returning home since the fall of the hardline Islamic Taliban regime in late 2001.
However, with living conditions in Afghanistan so basic after 23 years of conflict, many refugees based in Iran are reluctant to return to the war-shattered country fearing to rebuild their lives from scratch.
Lubbers said the first returnees were very patriotic and had returned volutarily, adding: "Why do we hear these stories now? It is because we are entering these people who had good lives there and are not so patriotic and feel more obliged to go."
Since 2002, more than 1,100,000 Afghans have returned from Iran, including some 330,000 Afghans who returned under their own steam without help from the UN.
According to UNHCR, there are still 950,000 Afghans living in the neighbouring country.
However, the Iranian consul in Kabul, Muslim Salatani, told AFP in an interview last year that it was the right time for Afghans to return home.
"The war is over in Afghanistan. The country is at peace. Iran was a second home for the Afghans during the war, but now they should go home to participate in the country's reconstruction," he said.
Iranian web writers plead to Kofi Annan
Saturday, January 15, 2005 - ©2004 IranMania.com
LONDON, Jan 15 (IranMania) Irans Association of Web Writers in an open letter to UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan called on the world body to warn the Iranian regime against frequently trampling on the basic rights of Iranian people, Iran Emrooz reported.
According to Article 19 of the UN Human Rights Charter everyone can enjoy freedom of expression, but the Iranian regime deprived the Iranians from their very basic rights as regards dissemination of information. It bans the papers and breaks the pens. Detaining and torturing journalists and authors and accusing them of the crimes they have never committed have tuned into a common practice for the Iranian government. And now that they have become apparently weary of papers and books, they have begun their anti-democratic moves against Internet sites. part of the letter reads.
Irans Association of Web Writers referred to the heavy bails set by the Judiciary for the release of detained journalists and the harassment of their families by security agents.
Copies of the letter have been sent to UNESCO, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders.
What? You speak of another war between those countries?
I think Iraqis killed enough Iranians in the 80s and that was enough!
ISLAMIC JIHAD COORDINATES WITH OTHER GROUPS
JERUSALEM [MENL] -- The Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad has been termed a leading contractor of insurgency attacks in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israeli security sources said Jihad has used Iranian funding to recruit operatives from other insurgency groups for major attacks against Israel. The sources said Jihad has recruited operatives from such groups as the ruling Fatah movement and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for suicide and other missions.
"Islamic Jihad has long sought cooperation of other groups because it does not have enough operatives," a security source said. "Now, with plenty of Iranian money, Jihad can recruit whomever it wants."
The Iranian funding has been relayed to Islamic Jihad headquarters in Syria, the sources said. From there, Jihad sent the funds through couriers arriving in the West Bank.
Do you know what you are talking about????!!!!!!!!
"Was John Kerry seated to the right or left of Zarqawi ?"
Don't be shocked; or even worry.
Iran is next!
Unless the "Anti-American demonRATS" muster enough strength, to throw a "monkey wrench" into our security scheme.
Iran's women continue to defy hardliners
By Najmeh Bozorgmehr
Published: January 15 2005 02:00 | Last updated: January 15 2005 02:00
The six Iranian women and four men who make up the Mehr-Banoo classical music band are given a warm reception by an enthusiastic crowd in northern Tehran.
But the presence of female performers, wearing yellow scarves and long black shirts and trousers, outnumbering the men in the band, poses a direct challenge to Iran's hardliners, who would like to see greater restrictions on women.
Mahroo, a woman singer in the band, is not allowed to sing solo, as the regime regards it as un-Islamic for women to sing to men. Instead, she is accompanied by Hamed, a male singer.
"It is difficult to co-ordinate voices, but we do what can be done. I am happy as long as I can sing," Mahroo says.
As a woman, she is at least able to perform to a mixed audience, thanks to some liberalisation following the reform movement that followed the election of President Mohammad Khatami in 1997.
But even this, and other relaxations in social and political rules, are now at risk, following a shift to the right that took place after the parliamentary elections last February.
The conservatives won back control of the previously reformist legislative body after the Guardian Council, a constitutional watchdog, rejected more than 2,000 reformist would-be candidates, including 80 sitting deputies.
Iran's hardliners had capitalised on widespread disillusion with politics, due to the slow pace of reforms. And the balance could tilt further in their favour in presidential elections expected in June.
But despite their growing political strength, the conservatives face a challenge in the social arena. Their main source of support comes from the traditional sections of Iranian society. But there is widespread dissatisfaction with the regime among Iranians under 35 years old, who make up about 70 per cent of the population of 70m.
Many are highly educated and with access to internet and satellite TV, making attempts at censorship futile.
"The mental gap between the rulers and young people is now between 100 and 150 years," said Mohammad-Ali Abtahi, a former vice-president who resigned in protest at parliament's conservative shift.
Young people are able to ignore the intense power struggles within the leadership and go their own way thanks to the "institutionalisation of the reforms", says Mr Abtahi.
"During the past seven years, we managed to help society get on a train. .. It may stop because of differences in the engine room, but whenever it starts moving, it goes in the same direction - towards reforms. This path is irreversible," he says confidently.
One of the most obvious manifestations of the gulf between Iran's conservative hierarchy and the country's young is in the Islamic dress code. A quarter-century after the Islamic revolution made wearing the hijab compulsory for women outside the home, the issue remains controversial.
Many young women ignore the loose dresses recommended by the religious establishment and instead wear tight trousers, covered with short overcoats or flimsy cotton shirts. Their headscarves slip backwards to reveal as much hair as possible, and they wear heavy make-up.
Last summer, a Tehran police chief announced during a crackdown on women for non-observance of hijab that the arrest of "100 street supermodels" would resolve the problem. But this proved not to be the case, as many women responded with defiance.
Recently a member of parliament, who was also a cleric, tried to beat a woman journalist inside the parliament in protest at what he considered to be her improper dress. He was prevented by other parliamentarians from doing so.
Fatemeh Rakei, a former MP, sees a "short-sighted and restricted interpretation of Islam" as the main problem. "We are suffering from a horrible paradox. Some claim that they are serving Islam, whereas they are striking the biggest blows against Islam, because their methods are outdated and their Islam has few customers. The stick is not today's language any more."
Social challenges are not restricted to cosmopolitan Tehran. Senior clerics have raised concerns over the spread of "corruption" in the holy city of Qom, where women are expected to wear the all-encompassing black chador.
The parliamentary research centre in Tehran is working on a standard uniform for women that would fully comply with Islamic codes. But experts say that even if it was approved, it is very unlikely that people would comply. MPs behind the proposal refused to be interviewed.
Mahroo does not seem too worried about the future of her singing - even if power does fall more fully into the hands of the conservatives. "I do not want to think about presidential elections. That has nothing to do with me."