TEHRAN -- A top Iranian security official and nuclear negotiator on Tuesday blamed the United States for the delay of the settlement of Iran's nuclear issue, warning a US attack would never destroy its nuclear facilities, the state television reported.
"We are trying to solve the problems, for in the current world there is no problem that is irresolvable. However, the Americans are not willing to resolve them," Hassan Rowhani, secretary of theSupreme National Security Council and chief nuclear negotiator, was quoted as saying.
Rowhani said Iran did not want to escalate tensions with the United States but was determined to defeat any aggression. (Iran-US-Nukes)
New round of Iran-EU3 nuclear talks begins
Vienna, Feb 8, IRNA -- The new round of Iran-EU3 talks on Iran's nuclear program started in the Swiss city of Geneva on Tuesday.
An Iranian diplomat wishing to remain anonymous told IRNA that the talks are going to be conducted by nuclear specialists.
Reluctant to disclose further information on the issue, he hoped that the ongoing negotiations will bear positive results.
He added that the talks are going to be held behind the closed doors and that the negotiators do not wish to present any information on the issue.
Another Iranian diplomat declared on Monday that no news coverage is intended on the current negotiations.
Similarly, the relevant EU officials have so far released no information on the third round of talks which is currently underway.
Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Hassan Rowhani and the senior Iranian negotiator on Iran's nuclear program has said that the relevant talks will only continue in case any progress is to be achieved in the ongoing process.
"The two sides had earlier agreed on a three-month negotiation period due to be expired on March 15, 2005," added Rowhani.
The first two rounds of Iran-EU nuclear talks were conducted in the Belgian capital city of Brussels and the Swiss city of Geneva respectively.
Iran Talks Tough Ahead Of Nuclear Negotiations With Europeans
By Ron Synovitz, RFE
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani has warned of "retaliation" and an acceleration of Tehran's efforts to master nuclear technology if the United States or Israel attacks its nuclear facilities.
Prague, 7 February 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Tough words from Tehran to the United States and Israel yesterday follow criticism by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice against what she called Tehran's "loathed regime of unelected mullahs."
The warnings issued by Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani, also follow a suggestion last month by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that Israel could launch preemptive strikes against Iran's nuclear-enrichment facilities if it feels threatened by them. Israel, thought to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, has not said it will attack.
Rohani told Reuters yesterday that Tehran will "definitely have greater motivation" to accelerate the enrichment of nuclear material if Iran is attacked by the United States or Israel.
"I do not think America itself will take such a risk because America knows very well that we will strongly answer such an attack," Rohani said. "The Americans are very well aware of our capabilities. They know our capabilities for retaliating against such attacks."
Cheney said yesterday that the United States backs a diplomatic effort by the "EU Three" (Britain, France, Germany) aimed at persuading Iran to abandon nuclear enrichment. But Cheney said that Washington is not ruling out a military option in the future or other alternatives to diplomacy.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a weeklong tour of Europe and the Middle East, has been communicating the same message to leaders in those regions.
Speaking in a widely quoted BBC interview that aired yesterday, Rice said the United States remains focused on diplomatic efforts with Iran.
"We believe that this is a time for diplomacy," Rice said. "This is a time to muster our considerable influence -- we the alliance -- our considerable influence, our considerable 'soft power' if you will, to bring great changes in the world."
Analysts say Washington still appears to be far from making a decision on military strikes. That's because the European diplomatic initiative is still under way with negotiations scheduled to start in Geneva tomorrow.
European diplomats in Vienna say they want Iran to suspend all uranium-enrichment programs -- even those for peaceful use of nuclear energy -- as a guarantee that Tehran is not seeking nuclear weapons.
"The diplomacy that is going on at the moment from the European Union -- particularly from the United Kingdom, France, Germany -- is to persuade the Iranians that this is not in their interest," said Alex Standish, editor of the London-based "Jane's Intelligence Digest." And that it makes them a potential target, possibly, for an attack in the future, even if it is not currently on the agenda, from either Israel or the United States."
On the other hand, Standish concludes that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the diplomacy over North Korea's nuclear programs have convinced many Iranian officials that the only way to thwart military strikes by Israel or the United States is to become a nuclear-capable country as soon as possible.
U.S. officials and independent experts say that at the current rate Iran probably will not be able to produce a nuclear weapon for at least another three years.
Remi Leveau, a professor emeritus at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, noted that the United States has so far refused to be involved in direct negotiations with authorities from Iran's conservative Islamist regime.
"Obviously, Iran wants to discuss [these issues] seriously [and] directly with the United States," Leveau said. "If there is no direct involvement of the United States in terms of recognition [of Iran and the] prospects of a common vision on the future of the Middle East -- and especially in relationship with Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- the Iranians will just keep talking with the Europeans. But, I think, without really wanting to come to a significant agreement."
In his interview yesterday, Rohani called for "equal negotiations" between Iran and the United States, saying that agreement could be reached with Washington if talks are conducted "as two equal countries with equal rights."
Rohani also suggested that any breakdown in its talks later this week in Geneva will be the result of U.S. pressure on the EU diplomats.
"Basically, America and Europe, regarding Iran's nuclear issue, have some common aims and some united views," Rohani said. "In regard to some other goals, they have different views and think differently. Since the beginning, the Europeans have adopted a policy based on talks and negotiations with Iran. The basis for America's dealing with Iran was threats. But at the same time, we are in talks with the Europeans. And we hope the Americans, by pressuring the Europeans, are not going to destroy the talks and cause their failure."
In Tehran today, Iranian Vice President and head of the country's Atomic Energy Organization Gholamreza Aghazadeh told Iranian state television that the negotiations with British, French, and German diplomats will enter a crucial phase when they begin on tomorrow.
Aghazadeh said the conclusion of three months of nuclear negotiations is close. But he said European negotiators need to be more clear about their plans.
Bushehr Satellite Photos
"For domestic electrical use"..HUH?
Notice the lact of power transmissinn line from the plant
ya know if these morons' brains were dynamite they couldn't blow their noses...
just what do they think they're accomplishing???duuhhhh
one air strike and the whole place will look like a Sears parking lot on Christmas day!
So they might as well pack up their toys and go say their prayers...
there won't be any nukes in Iran and that's the bottom line!
Gosh, they must need electricity REAL BAD to be willing to risk their entire country! Maybe they should buy some batteries...
What Sistani Wants
He refuses a new air conditioner, yet his office is Internet-wired. He wants women to take political office, but not to shake the hands of men outside their families. He is easily the most powerful man in Iraq. Yet he's an Iranian
By Rod Nordland and Babak Dehghanpisheh
Feb. 14 issue - It's interesting that most published accounts describe Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani as a tall, slender man, towering over his aides and visitors. Actually he's on the short side, about 5 feet 8, but the error is understandable. The housebound cleric has hardly set foot out of his tiny abode in the slums of Najaf in six years. He never gives speeches, never even presides at Friday prayers at the golden-domed Imam Ali shrine, the holiest place in Shiite Islam, only a few hundred feet from his home. But he does receive visitors, hundreds a day, normally, always seated on a thin cushion on the floor of his barrani, or receiving room, wearing a gray robe that is often threadbare, and a large black turban. He won't be photographed (the few grainy images of him were taken without official permission), and he never gives interviews. He is the very picture of an ascetic Islamic prelate, a picture that would not have looked much different if it had been painted five centuries ago. His visitors invariably leave impressed, often describing the encounter in mystic terms; small wonder they remember him as tall.
This is the image that Sistani has carefully crafted over the years, but there's another side to it. He may live humbly and poor, but he also presides over a multimillion-dollar network of charities and religious foundations from Pakistan to England. He may not get out very much, but he has a highly developed network of representatives in every Shia neighborhood in Iraq. One of his sons-in-law runs an Internet company with 66 employees in the Iranian city of Qom, and Sistani's own office is one of the best-wired in Iraq. The interim government installed a T-1 connection to the Internet, so his representatives can stay in touch by e-mail. When he has new visitors, his staff Googles them and prints out a briefing paper. When folks in Baghdad, 90 miles north, need to call his office, they dial a local number that patches through. And he may refuse to have his photo taken, but he doesn't object to his followers' plastering the few available grainy shots on campaign posters and mosques around the country.
All that makes sense. Al-Sayid Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani is now indisputably the most powerful man in Iraq. The elections he demanded, on the terms he insisted upon, were an unexpected success; the party he crafted, and then blessed, has won a landslide victory. The United Iraqi Alliance, better known as the Shia List, racked up more than 65 percent of the votes counted as of last weekend. That's at least enough to choose the leaders of the new government, and when final results come in, it may come close to the two-thirds margin necessary to dictate the terms of Iraq's new constitution. "Ayatollah Sistani is very elated," says Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a member of the United Iraqi Alliance and national-security adviser to the interim government, who spoke to him by phone as results came in last week.
But it raises the question: who is Ali Sistani, really? Is he the ayatollah with a 20-page bibliography of arcane Shia theology to his credit, whose conservative views on the role of Islam in society will reshape the new Iraq? Or a great modernizer who issued a fatwa saying women should vote even if their husbands objected? "The language that Sistani uses in Arabic is quite distinctly drawn from the Enlightenment, from Rousseau and from Jefferson: a legitimate government derives from the choice of its people," says Juan Cole of the University of Michigan, an expert on the Shia.
But the ayatollah also has insisted that Iraq's new constitution must be in line with Islamic principles, and recognize Islam as the nation's religion. Iraq's women are encouraged to vote as they want but, under Sistani's teachings, they won't be able to shake the hand of any man other than a father, brother or husband. (Sistani also forbids music for entertainment, dancing and playing chess.) "It's the Shiite equivalent of the Christian Coalition," says Cole. "The Christian Coalition doesn't want pastors to rule America, but it does want Christian ideals to govern policy."
Sistani is both a savior and a frustration to American policymakers. "Yes, he's a kingmaker. Yes, he's powerful," says one U.S. official. "But he won't meet face to face." No American official has ever been able to see Sistani, whose aides say he thinks such a meeting would justify the U.S. occupation. But while he has condemned the occupation, he has never issued a fatwa against itsomething that would be certain to bring millions of Shia into the streets. The Sunni-based rebellion has been difficult enough, but hardly a mass movement, and Sistani actually helped end the brief Shia rebellion led by Moqtada al-Sadr. "It's masterful," said the U.S. official, with grudging admiration. "Frankly, I have a lot of respect for his political savvy."
Those who suspect Sistani's true intentions are quick to note that the country's most powerful man is not even an Iraqi, but an Iranian. He came to Najaf, Shiite Islam's holiest city, more than 50 years ago as a disciple of the then Grand Ayatollah Abul Qasim al-Khoei. Until last August, Sistani never left, nor did he give up his Iranian citizenship. Al-Rubaie said he offered to get him an Iraqi passport after Saddam's regime fell, but Sistani's response was characteristic: "He said, 'Dr. Rubaie, what would I do with this? I'm a man going to his grave. I haven't left Najaf for 13 years. Why do I need it?' " When he developed heart trouble last August, he went to London for treatment on his Iranian passport. Although Sistani made it a religious obligation to vote in Iraq's elections, he wasn't qualified to cast a ballot himself. His followers say he's above nationality, as the Roman Catholic pope would be. "He's the spiritual leader of all the Shia in the world," says Sheik Jalaladin al-Saghir, imam of an important mosque in Baghdad. "Iranians as much as Iraqis."
Sistani was a contemporary in Najaf of the then far more famous Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran. Khomeini spent many years there in exile, crafting his philosophy of velayat al-faqih, or "rule of the jurisprudent," which laid the foundation for the theocracy Khomeini established after the Iranian revolution. The concept was that clerics should create a perfect Muslim state, which would make their followers perfect Muslims. Sistani followed a different, quietist philosophy, whereby clerics kept their distance from politics. He was elevated to the status of mujtahid at the unheard-of age of 31, meaning he was able to make religious rulings, something usually reserved for older clerics. But by all accounts, Sistani and Khomeini were never friends.
Sistani's power is partly financial. As one of only a handful of grand ayatollahs, he is revered throughout the Islamic world and has far more personal followers in Iran than the theocratic hard-liners there. Shia pledge a fifth of their disposable income to their personal marja, or "object of emulation," and such support translates into a huge incomeone that has flowed far more freely to Sistani since the end of Saddam's regime.
It has had no effect on the ayatollah's austerity. He rarely eats meat, insisting on a peasant diet of yogurt and rice. Once when he was sick, says Sheik al-Saghir, an aide brought him fruit juice to drink. "He refused. He said, 'People are not finding potable water and you're bringing me juice? No'." When his air conditioner broke down, goes an oft-told story in Najaf, aides brought him a new one that wouldn't be as noisy. Instead, he insisted on repairing the old one and giving the new one to a poor family. When the 74-year-old Sistani went to London for heart treatment, the well-heeled Al-Khoei Foundation there (which Sistani is said to control) put him up in a comfortable Mayfair town house; he had the double bed removed and slept on a mattress on the floor. All of that gives him enormous credibility with Iraq's Shia, who had little power in Saddam's regime and were overwhelmingly poor.
The Sunni insurgents, both foreign extremists like Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi and their Iraqi allies, have targeted Shias and their leaders just as much as the Iraqi government and American troops, even setting up highway checkpoints on roads leading to Najaf and killing any Shia they find. Mohammed Bahr Aluloom, a Shia politician, was so incensed by the wave of sectarian murders last November that he went to Sistani to argue for a Shia militia to fight back. "We're not going to have our families attacked by terrorists," Aluloom still insists, banging his wooden cane on the floor. "Everything has its limits. Once that limit is passed, all that's left is God and your weapon." But Sistani spoke very quietly to him. "Please don't do this," he said. "Please be civilized. We don't want to start a civil war. This is the most important point." Aluloom obeyed.
(see link for rest of article)
All right. Maybe we destroy 90 percent of them. How's that ?
Wed, Feb 09, 2005
BAHMAN 21 1383
No Place for Imposed Globalization
TEHRAN, Feb. 8--Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said here Monday that the globalization trend should be resisted if it is accompanied by further bullying of major powers.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of an International Seminar on Globalization and Muslim Women, he said globalization founded on coercion and intimidation is tantamount to cruelty against humans.
The chairman of the arbitrating body, the State Expediency Council, said the big powers are abusing the globalization process despite strong opposition from various groups across the globe.
"For instance, the big powers created the United Nations after the Second World War to impose the right of veto and pursue their own agendas."
The former president singled out the US for special condemnation and said the "United States is acting as a janitor at he World Trade Organization, and preventing countries opposed to its policies from entering the WTO."
Rafsanjani said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established to help nations benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear energy, whereas the agency is now bullying selected countries.
"Iran's nuclear dossier has been subject to bullying by the IAEA despite the fact that Tehran opened all doors to the inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog," he complained.
He said nuclear allegations against Iran are being hurled
when Israel has stockpiled banned nuclear weapons without any protest or opposition from the IAEA.
He, however, urged cooperation by all countries with the international bodies and the need to uphold international laws to help promote peace and stability in the world.
Iran Releases Dissident Cleric
Monday, 7 February, 2005
The Iranian judiciary has released a leading dissident cleric, Hassan Yusefi Eshkevari, after more than four years of imprisonment.
The cleric was arrested in 2000 after returning from a Berlin conference, which the authorities said aimed to topple the Islamic Republic.
He originally faced charges including heresy which is punishable under Iranian law by the death sentence.
A court later dropped the main charge and sentenced him to seven years' jail.
He was eligible for release after serving two-thirds of his sentence.
Tue 8 Feb 2005
Iran Seeks to Resolve Problems with U.S.
Irans top nuclear negotiator said today that Tehran wanted to resolve decades of differences with the United States but warned that a US military strike would not be able to destroy Irans nuclear facilities.
We are not seeking tension with the United States, Hasan Rowhani told the state-run Iranian television. We are seeking to resolve our problems with America but its the Americans who dont want problems to be resolved.
Irans leaders have tried in recent days to ease increasing tensions with Washington amid a continuing war of words.
US President George W Bush last week accused Iran of being the worlds primary state sponsor of terror.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said last week a military strike against Iran was simply not on the agenda at this point, but Bush has not ruled out a military strike saying his administration wouldnt take any option off the table.
Washington believes Iran is secretly using its civilian nuclear programme to build a nuclear bomb. Iran has denied these allegations, saying its nuclear activities are geared solely towards generating electricity, not making bombs.
There is no problem in todays world that cant be resolved, Rowhani insisted.
Rowhani, who is the secretary of the powerful Supreme National Security Council, said a US military strike against Irans nuclear facilities would fail.
Irans nuclear technology is in the hands of its scientists and workshops throughout the country. All of them have the ability to produce centrifuges. Therefore, America will not be able to destroy our nuclear facilities and mines through a military strike, he warned in the television interview.
Israel has warned that it may consider a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear installations along the lines of its 1981 bombing of an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak near Baghdad but Iranian officials have said any potential attack would fail.
Irans nuclear facilities are spread throughout the country and partly built underground making it difficult for an air attack to succeed.
The broadcast reported that Iran had begun a new round of nuclear talks with the Europeans in Geneva yesterday, which some Iranian diplomats called perhaps the last round of talks.
Iran this week called on the Europeans to speed up the talks, reflecting frustration over the lack of progress over the Europeans insistence that Tehran turn its temporary suspension of nuclear activities into a permanent stop.
Iran suspended uranium enrichment and all related activities in November, hoping to build trust and avoid UN Security Council sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency has agreed to police the suspension.
Under an agreement reached with the European Union, Iran will continue suspension of its enrichment activities during negotiations with the Europeans about economic, political and technological aid. Iran has said it will decide within three months whether to continue its suspension, which is monitored by UN nuclear inspectors.
Rowhani said Iran will never scrap its nuclear programme and wont give up its rights under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty which allows Iran access to peaceful nuclear technology.
Talks cant continue for a long time. The Europeans have been told that the period of negotiations has to be within months and not years, he said in the television interview.
And the condition to continue the talks is progress. Therefore, if by the end of the (Iranian calendar) year (March 20), there is no progress in the talks, we will not be obliged to continue the talks, Rowhani said.
He also insisted that Iran now possesses the technology to control the whole nuclear fuel cycle from extracting uranium ore to enriching it.
We have the ability to extract uranium, process it into yellowcake and enrich it and produce fuel. We can claim that we control the nuclear fuel cycle, he said.
Iran needs change. We need to help now.
February 07, 2005
"...to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you." President Bush, in the State of the Union Address
President Bush promised the Iranian people that we would support them in their struggle for freedom, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has reiterated that promise on her trip to Europe. Many of the chatterers the same dismal theorists who didn't believe that the Iraqis really wanted to be free are trying very hard to pretend it isn't so, but the president's words don't leave much wiggle room (although the State Department's spokesman tried; he trotted out one of Powell's favorite lines while Condi was away: "we don't have a policy of regime change in Iran." He should be locked in a quiet room, made to read the State of the Union 100 times, and then assigned to a job at Camp Fallujah).
The president's two revolutionary speeches have had a powerful impact on the Middle East, and he should follow up quickly. The entire region is bubbling with the giddy brew of democratic revolution, and the Iranians, proud of their long traditions of self-government, do not wish to remain an anomaly, the lone tyranny sandwiched between the emerging democracies of Afghanistan and Iraq. They will be looking for the president to fulfill his vows, challenging the mullahcracy in Tehran.
The Iranian people have been standing for their own liberty for many years, as demonstrated by the terrible record of carnage they have suffered at the hands of the regime. Hundreds of democracy advocates are being tortured in Iran's prisons. Tens of thousands have been killed in the past six years, beginning with the mass murders of protesters in 1989. Public executions are commonplace, and women are routinely executed by stoning. The psychopathic regime of Ayatollah Khamenei and former president Rafsanjani has been proclaimed the greatest predator of press freedom in the Middle East. Daily reports from Iraq testify to the enormous support from Tehran to the terrorists killing innocent civilians, government officials, foreign workers, and American servicemen and women in Iraq. As everyone knows, a steady stream of information shows that these evil people are relentlessly pursuing their dream of building atomic bombs, which they foolishly believe will protect them against the forces of freedom.
It is a measure of their madness that they have it backwards. The closer they get to the gateway to the nuclear club, the greater the urgency to bring down the regime. Most experts believe the mullahs are very close indeed, which means that revolutionary steps need to be taken quickly.
Bush fully understands that our most potent weapon against the Islamic republic is the great desire by most Iranians (more than 70 percent, according to the regime's own public opinion polls) to be rid of their meddlesome priests, and as luck would have it there is a legitimate short-term club with which to beat the mullahs: the presidential elections scheduled for June. Nobody believes in the legitimacy of those elections; the mullahs select the candidates, and the beturbaned guardians pretend to count the votes. And even if the elections unexpectedly produced the election of a would-be reformer, no real reforms could or would result, as the failed presidency of Mohammed Khatami has demonstrated over eight years of empty promises.
The only meaningful election in Iran would be a referendum on the legitimacy of the regime itself. Let the people judge the consequences of 25 years of theocratic rule by voting it up or down. If, as the mullahs constantly claim, they are the true protectors of the Iranian people, they will be happy at the chance to demonstrate their popularity. But if, as the regime's critics insist, the Islamic republic is already illegitimate in the eyes of the people, a referendum duly supervised by suitable international observers would mark the first step in a peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy. It would be followed by the selection of a transition government that would supervise the two phases now under way in Iraq: drafting a new constitution that would be ratified by popular vote, and then elections for the new government.
A national referendum has been proposed by numerous Iranian leaders of considerable prestige, most of whom are in Iran, including victims of torture and extended periods in jail. The list of supporters includes one unexpected name: Mohsen Sazgara, the founder of the dreaded Revolutionary Guards and one of Khomeini's original team. It includes pro-democracy activists and some of the leading theological figures in the country. At last count, more than 18,000 Iranians of different political loyalties had endorsed it (see www.60000000.com).
Thus far, no Western leader has endorsed the call for an Iranian referendum. Now is the time. If the mullahs unexpectedly accept it, they will either receive confirmation of their claims to legitimacy, or be permitted to peacefully leave their posts. If they reject it, then no Western leader will be able to dismiss the calls for democratic revolution in Iran, and a united West can do for Iran what was done for Ukraine.
This meets all the president's requirements as well as those of many of his critics. It spreads freedom, which is the best way to defeat the terrorists (a freely elected government in Iran will almost certainly be a mortal blow to the terror network), and it does it without dropping a bomb or firing a shot. It reasserts the principles of the Declaration of Human Rights, and reminds the world's tyrants that their power can only be legitimate if it rests upon the consent of their people. How can any real democrat oppose it?
Well, there's always some spoilsport splashing around in the punch bowl. A column in the Boston Globe the other day noted that "Senator Joseph Biden said that...the world needed to address...Iran's emotional needs, he said, with a nonaggression pact."
I think it would be better to address the emotional needs of appeasement-loving senators, frankly.
God knows mullahs miss Kerry. They wouldnt have had to sound so innocent and conciliatory and logical. In Bush they fear genuine principle which they dont know what to do with since they couldnt make a donation to or bribe or God forbid, eliminate. I am loving this satire of the two face mullasm. I hope the Iranian freedom is only a short time away and that my hope, is realistic.
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