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Iranian Alert -- DAY 21 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
Live Thread Ping List | 6.30.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 06/30/2003 12:01:55 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

The Iranian regime has been threatening a major crackdown on the protesters. In just 9 days (July 9th) the people of Iran are planning massive demonstrations events and strikes. On this date, 4 years ago, the regime brutally attacked peaceful student demonstrators while in their dorms. The result was the loss of life and liberty of hundreds of students, many of which are still unaccounted for.

Iran is a country ready for a regime change. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a country. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary.

Please continue to post your news stories and comments to this thread.

Thanks for all the help.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iran; iranianalert; protests; southasia; southasialist; studentmovement
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1 posted on 06/30/2003 12:01:56 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
Iranian Alert -- DAY 21 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 6.30.2003 | DoctorZin

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

2 posted on 06/30/2003 12:06:02 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 10 days until July 9th)
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
Iranian Opposition Movement's Many Face

PARIS, June 29 — To true believers, the ones who are waging a hunger strike to protest her detention in a French jail, Maryam Rajavi is the smiling face of Iran's future, the woman destined to overthrow its clerical leaders and become president of a free and democratic country.

To detractors, she is a dangerous cult figure who, with her husband, Massoud Rajavi, has led a terrorist movement that sold out to Iran's enemy, Iraq, and accepted Saddam Hussein's sponsorship. They say the Rajavis brainwash followers, forcing them to abandon spouses and children, and imprison or kill those who resist.

What is not in dispute is that the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People's Mujahedeen, the Iraq-based Iranian opposition group the Rajavis lead, has been designated a terrorist organization by both the United States State Department and the 15-country European Union. Now, in an unintended consequence of the American-led war against Iraq, the United States and France are struggling to figure out just who these people are and what to do with them.

The collapse of Mr. Hussein's government has left the fate of thousands of Iraq-based Mujahedeen followers, including heavily armed troops, in American hands. A major French crackdown nearly two weeks ago against the group's local headquarters in Auvers-sur-Oise and sites outside Paris was aimed at preventing the organization from moving the center of its global operations from Iraq to France.

"We could no longer tolerate an organization that was expanding its terrorist operations, and we feared that it could start organizing and planning attacks from French soil," said Pierre de Bousquet, the director of the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance, France's counterintelligence service, in an interview.

The French government has given political asylum, and even police protection, to the Mujahedeen for more than two decades. But since last fall, Mr. de Bousquet said, French intelligence noticed the arrival of an increasing number of Mujahedeen members and, after the Iraq war, of many of its soldiers. The group had rented a former paint factory in the town of Saint Ouen l'Aumone, which he said it was transforming into a communications center with a television studio and satellite dishes. French intelligence officials reported that the Mujahedeen planned to attack embassies and other Iranian interests in Europe and assassinate 25 former Mujahedeen members. There was a strong desire to crack down on the group at a time when some officials in the Bush administration were suggesting it might be a potential force to use against Iran.

"This is by no means a political movement, a democratic movement," Mr. de Bousquet said. "It was not preparing the restoration of democracy in Iran. They are complete fanatics, a fanatical sect with a total absence of democracy, and a cult of personality towards the leader."

What makes the Mujahedeen difficult to decipher is that it has at least two aspects. One operates a highly regimented operation from inside Iraq with its own army, dress code, calendar, rituals, printing presses, military training camps, clinics and what it calls "re-education camps."

The other has offices in capitals around the world under the group's political arm, the National Council of Resistance, staffed by sophisticated, multilingual representatives in suits and ties. In a contradiction in American policy, the State Department lists the group's political arm as part of the Mujahedeen's terrorist network, but it is allowed to function openly in the United States and is even registered with the Justice Department as a lobbying organization. That designation gives it the right to lobby on Capitol Hill and gather lawmakers' signatures on petitions of support.

Since the arrest in France last week of more than 150 Mujahedeen members, most of whom have since been released, the Auvers-sur-Oise headquarters has become a place of pilgrimage and public relations. In the town where Vincent van Gogh lived and is buried, hundreds of Mujahedeen followers, including dozens of men on hunger strike, have camped out. French riot police officers patrol the area with walkie-talkies. Huge banners bearing Mrs. Rajavi's portrait have been hung.

Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of the late French president François Mitterrand, has paid a visit in a show of support. The mayor of Auvers-sur-Oise has lent them a soccer field to use as a campsite.

Shahin Gobadi, a Mujahedeen spokesman based in Washington, distributed letters from around the world criticizing France's decision to detain Mrs. Rajavi and 10 of her followers on suspicion of terrorism. Several were signed by American lawmakers.

"The arrests serve the interests of the terrorist dictatorship ruling Iran," said a June 19 letter from Representative William Lacy Clay, a Missouri Democrat, calling for the immediate release of Mrs. Rajavi. Representative Edolphus Towns, a New York Democrat, sent an almost identically worded letter the same day.

But for those who have studied the organization — and to some former members — it is far from being a political movement with popular support inside Iran. It has gone through several ideological shifts since its founding in opposition to the Iranian monarchy in the 1960's — moving from anti-imperialism to a blend of Islam and Marxism to egalitarian socialism to a vague philosophy that talks of democracy, freedom and equal rights for women.

"It is a mystical cult," said Ervand Abrahamian, a history professor at Baruch College who has written the most authoritative history of the organization. "It's the stress on obedience to the leader that has kept it going, rather than any political program. If Massoud Rajavi got up tomorrow and said the world was flat, his members would accept it."

The organization has long been intent on showing the outside world its positive face. While its representatives around the world publicly condemned the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, inside Iraq there was rejoicing, former members say.

"There were celebrations at all the Mujahedeen camps on Sept. 11," said Ardeshir Parkizkari, 39, a former member of the group's central council who is now a political refugee in Europe, in a telephone interview. "I was in one of their prisons then, and we never were treated so well as we were that day — given juices and sweets. They called the events of Sept. 11 God's revenge on America."

He explained his own rupture with the group: "You lose your identity and are not allowed to think freely. When I started having fights with them and pointed out their mistakes, they put me on trial and sent me to prison for not following the leader's orders." He said he was beaten so badly that he now walks with a limp.

It was devotion to Mrs. Rajavi, who is about 50 years old, that led several of her supporters throughout Europe to set themselves on fire to protest her arrest. Although Mrs. Rajavi sent a message from jail asking her supporters to stop, former Mujahedeen members said that in training camps in Iraq, self-immolation was praised as a fitting response to the possible persecution of the Rajavis.

In interviews, Mujahedeen defectors described a brutal side of the organization in Iraq, where it had been based since 1986.

After the 1991 Persian Gulf war, they said, the Iraq government ordered Mujahedeen soldiers to help suppress revolts against Saddam Hussein by Kurds and Shiites.

"We were told that if the revolts succeeded in overthrowing Saddam Hussein it would be the end of our movement," said Karim Haghi, 42, a former bodyguard of the Rajavis who is a political refugee in Europe, in a telephone interview. "Mrs. Rajavi told us to kill them with tanks and try to preserve our bullets for other operations. We were forced to kill both Kurds and Shiites, and I said I didn't come here to kill other people."

Mr. Haghi said he was jailed, and eventually escaped.

Former members said they were forced to divorce and some had their children taken from them and sent to families in Europe for adoption. They said their passports were taken from them and they were given new identities, and they were forced at group meetings to confess their "sins," sessions that were videotaped as evidence if members tried to defect.

Muhammad Hosein Sobhani, 42, also a former bodyguard of the Rajavis, said in a telephone interview that he was forced to divorce his wife. Their daughter was taken out of Iraq when she was 6 and adopted by an Iranian couple in Denmark.

"They told my daughter, `Your father died in a Mujahedeen operation,' and I was forbidden to have any contact with her," he said, adding that he has since tracked down his daughter, who is now 18.

Farid Soleimani, a Mujahedeen spokesman, denied the charges of forced divorces and adoptions, saying fighters themselves often decided to send their children out of Iraq for their safety. He also denied that the group was plotting terrorist operations from Paris, noting that the French authorities had found no weapons in the 13 sites they raided.

Meanwhile, the fate of the Mujahedeen in France is uncertain. French authorities say those who are legal residents have a right to remain in France and they have no intention of deporting any of them to Iran, where they would certainly be tried for treason.

Mrs. Rajavi, for example, has political refugee status until 2006. As for Mr. Rajavi, who according to American intelligence was last known to be living in Iraq, there is no information of his current whereabouts or even if he is still alive.

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
3 posted on 06/30/2003 12:11:03 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 10 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Something is cooking in the hozeh (Qom theological schools) with clerics such as Taheri. I expect more declarations to go back to the Mosques and leave the administration to the government and the Majlis (parliament) on order not to taint Islam with corrupt politicians.

When Rafsanjani will follow his long term business interests we will see a regime change.

There is as well a pressure from the Shiia clercs in Iraq with more holy places than Iran. If Teheran not will change, the sprititual leadership for the Shiias will shift from Iran to Iraq in a few years time.

Hopefully we will see a non-violent change soon.
4 posted on 06/30/2003 1:02:47 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
Re #3

Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of the late French president François Mitterrand, has paid a visit in a show of support. The mayor of Auvers-sur-Oise has lent them a soccer field to use as a campsite.

Danielle Mitterrand must love hard-core leftists. She also spoke of Kim Il-Sung, the late "Great Leader" of N. Korea, in favorable terms. That was about two decades ago. Apparently she likes groups which practice totalitarian personality cult.

On the other hand, it is rather disingenuous for France to suddenly wake up to the nature of this organization, now that the regime is in trouble. France must be interested in being to the good side of the Iranian regime by cracking down on the organization which has been the sworn enemy of the regime.

5 posted on 06/30/2003 1:28:26 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: AdmSmith
Re #4

Was Taheri close to the Grand Ayatollah Shariyat Madari, who used to oppose Khomeini? Is Madari still around?

6 posted on 06/30/2003 1:31:54 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Danielle Mitterrand as well supported the KGB funded PKK, the Kurdistan Workers party.

The Marxist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) may be running a military camp near Gavrilov Yam in Yaroslavl, Komsomolskaya pravda reports. Students of the "military-political academy" are reported to be ethnic Kurds from former Soviet republics, as well as "refugees" wanted for activity in Iran and Turkey; the camp is already said to be "swarming with wounded Kurdish guerrillas." The account is relayed in OMRI Daily Digest. [Editor's note: The PKK long received covert support from the KGB for guerrilla and terrorist attacks against Turkey. Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, as head of the Russian External Intelligence Service (SVR), has long been a PKK supporter, and once persuaded Saddam Hussein to allow the PKK to use Iraqi territory.]
7 posted on 06/30/2003 1:39:26 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn; Eala; ewing; RaceBannon; Cindy; backhoe; piasa; pcx99
Italians Are With Iranians too.


ROME 28 June (IPS) On the initiative of a group of Iranian intellectuals and journalists in Italy and in collaboration with "Il Riformista" newspaper, a hundred of leading Italian personalities of all walk announced their support for the Iranian student’s freedom seeking protest movement.

"On 9 July, all of us we shall be Iranian", wrote Marco Follini, the General Secretary of the "Unione di Centro Democratice" (Union of Democratic Centre), referring to the fourth commemoration of the first major student’s protest revolt against the Islamic Republic, seeking freedom and democracy.

The 9 July 1999 rebellion, started as a peaceful protest by students against the closure of a reformist newspaper, was savagely clamped down on orders of Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic and the blessings of President Mohammad Khatami, elected for the first time two years before thanks to massive votes of the students.

On 9 July, all of us we shall stand proudly by Iranian students, supporting their struggle for democracy and freedom", Mr. Follini said, calling on the Italians to join in the support movement "regardless of their political stands".

The latest wave of anti-regime demonstrations started almost two weeks ago with the students protesting a government plan to privatise higher education, discriminating the poorer classes, but it quickly became full scale political, after Islamist thugs and pressure groups, controlled by the ruling conservatives, attacked the protesters.

The students were then joined by ordinary people, clashing with the vigilantes and basij (volunteer) militias, chanting for the first time slogans against the regime’s highest officials, including Ayatollah Khameneh’i, former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime’s highest personage after the leader and president Mohammad Khatami.

The protests intensified after Mr. Khameneh’i called on the Basij to deal "mercilessly" with the demonstrators and another hard line cleric demanded the Judiciary that the students and their supporters be punished as enemies of God, an accusation that carries death penalty under Iranian Islam-based laws.

"The fight of the brave young Iranians is not important for the Iranians alone, but also would have a positive implication for the future of the whole of the Middle East", he observed.
Answering the invitation of the Italy-based "Iranian Committee for Support of 9 July Protest Movement", Italico Santoro, the Editor of "La Voce Republicana" said not only he and all of his colleagues at the newspaper would come out on the occasion, "but I’m certain that most of our readers would also join the commemorative event".

"I shall be with you on 9 July, bringing a message not only for my friend and colleague Babak Payami, who was detained for 48 hours, but also for all Iranians, particularly the students, who, because of their courage, have been admired world-wide", said Paolo Virzi, a veteran Italian movie director.

As for Piero Fassino, the General Secretary of the "Democratice di Sinistra" (Democratic Left), Italy’s main opposition Party, "it is heart-warming" that "at last", some in Italy have decided "not to let Iranian students alone in their struggle for democracy".

In a letter sent last week to the leaders of the European Union, Mr. Fassino had urged them to "end their silence" concerning the Iranian students protest movement.

A former Justice Minister, Mr. Fassino, while announcing his "full support" for the democratic aspirations of Iranian students, said: "By backing the Iranian students, we also defend the interests of the European Union that cannot be separated from democratic movements in Europe".

"In our letter placed on some internet websites, we urged the Italian public not to remain silent in the face of what is boiling down in Iran or to explain why their indifference?" one of the original promoters of the letter, Mr. Ahmad Ra’fat, an Iranian-Italian journalist told Iran Press Service.

"Not only hundreds of people, among them some of Italy’s best known and respected intellectuals, journalists, artists and politicians responded almost immediately to our action, but also said they would suggest to celebrate the 9 July as "Iranian Students Day".
8 posted on 06/30/2003 1:45:54 AM PDT by Khashayar
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To: *southasia_list
9 posted on 06/30/2003 1:51:17 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: Khashayar
Re #8

Now where are those caring champions of human rights, Germans and French? What would be their slogan? I hope it is not, "We are all mullahs in July 9! We love all anti-Americans!"

10 posted on 06/30/2003 1:59:28 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Good to know that French and Germans are not popular in Iran any more.
Every penny they finance in Iran, will let the mullahs live one day longer.
EU is not popular here among the nation.
11 posted on 06/30/2003 2:19:11 AM PDT by Khashayar
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To: Khashayar; SJackson; ALOHA RONNIE; backhoe; Enemy Of The State; Travis McGee; kattracks; ...
Khashayar, I write in response to many of your posts. There is also a battle going on for the soul of America. If our president makes one wrong move, he fears all could be lost. I would ask him to be brave. I would ask him to stand with the American Congress and support your cause. But we have committed to a roadmap to hell. And we are still waiting for the destruction of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Israel. We are waiting for Syria to feel forced to disgorge its Iraqi refuse. We are waiting for Pakistan to feel required to allow us to follow our enemies there. And we are waiting to make our next move on the Korean peninsula.

America is holding its breath. I do not know why. One thing is for certain: you need not believe a single word written here as to our inability to crush your mullahs. We are the singlemost tightly stretched bow ever in the history of mankind. When the next arrow is unleashed, there will be no doubt as to its purpose, and there are as many more where that came from as required.

But our leaders continue to show restraint. What can we say? Sometimes it is best to let those we've elected try to work out the trappings of their machinery. Does that not bode well for you? Perhaps not. My advice: tell your story with digital photographs, English testimony, and corroborated evidence. If I understand our President and his cabinet, they need a drama with a plot and a cast of characters to show to the American people, who grow complacent without something intriguing and dangerous to focus their worries. But tell the truth -- always tell the truth.

And if you find yourself being tortured or killed for what you have said to us here, please turn this one thing over in your mind again and again in comfort: through you and DoctorZIn we have learned of your generation's passion for freedom and justice, and we will never forget you and your dreams.

Fight on, either in spirit, or in the flesh. And while you fight, remember our Captain Davis, who led the volunteer, independent Minutemen who fired the shot heard around
the world on April 19th, 1775 when asked if he were afraid to meet the British colonial army: "No, I am not and I haven't a man that is!" He died that day, one of the first to fall.

There have been many dark days in our country's history when it looked as if no fate but our destruction could come next. It's a good thing the bravest among us did not give up.
12 posted on 06/30/2003 2:37:10 AM PDT by risk ( Where liberty dwells, there is my country. --Benjamin Franklin)
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To: risk
We know and respect the values of your society.
Hope you also let us know more about your great nation and country.
This is a real dialogue between two great nations.
I m for this and I will do my best to transfer your messages and kindness into the Iranian society.
13 posted on 06/30/2003 3:04:37 AM PDT by Khashayar
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To: Khashayar; risk
I'd like to ditto risk's profound, prosaic words in post 12.

His advice, that Bush needs 'a drama', and 'the drama' must be true is correct. That is the most important way to help get US assistance. It's not the numbers. It's not the stats. It's the single photograph. It's the single story of a single victim, in vivid and heart-wrenching detail.

There is no powerful weapon on earth right now than a tear shed by a US voter. But if it's not true, if it's a fraud, you would be surprised how likely it will be found out. A fraud would backfire twice as badly as a true report.

Like I told you earlier, unless you are a high level leader whose personal presence is vital, the best way you can help Iran is not to be one of the many marching there, not to be taking too many chances, but to be like an underground reporter. There are two levels of reporting:

1. Paper scouting
2. Burning shoe leather.

Paper scouting is faster, easier, and cheaper than burning shoe leather. You can use search engines to find reports you know about. My favorite is http/ Learn how to use 'advanced search' if Iran allows you to go there. You can find photos and reports that you remember and post it all here on these Dr. ZIn threads. I'll teach you how to copy and post online photos.

2. Burning shoe leather. If you have access to personal horror stories, and you have access to a scanner, you can post photos of your own online. It's much slower than being a scout, but you can bring out things we might not know.

If you are a high level leader, please recruit others to be underground reporters, people who are not easilly tracked down by the government, people who can stay calm and cautious, staying safe when spontaneous protests erupt.

Show your scummy leadership for what it is. Try to get evidence. If you don't know how to already, try to learn how to post photographic images online and sound images, even webcam if possible. I'll give you some other tips in private.
14 posted on 06/30/2003 4:04:20 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: risk; Eala; pcx99; SJackson; ALOHA RONNIE; backhoe; Enemy Of The State; Travis McGee; DoctorZIn; ...
15 posted on 06/30/2003 4:05:01 AM PDT by Khashayar
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To: Khashayar
Your people are very close to Patrick Henry, right now. While others of our ancestors were scared to speak of war against the British, Patrick Henry had the clearness of mind to see beyond this earthly world and into the very soul of humanity. He made things clear for everyone. Nothing said in the Western Hemisphere was more profound.

Thank God Patrick Henry didn't go nuts before he made that speech and get killed by British soldiers. To hold such passion in his soul, tempered by the wisdom of restraint, is one of God's greatest gifts to mankind. I'm sure you've read his speech before, but I like to reread it once in a while:

"This," said he. "is not the time for ceremony: the question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. It is nothing less than freedom, or slavery. If we wish to be free, we must fight. I repeat it, sir, we must fight! an appeal to arms, and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us. It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, peace! Peace! But there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the north, will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish! What would they have? Is life so dear, and peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but for me," cried he, with both his arms extended aloft, his brows knit, every feature marked with the resolute purpose of his soul, and his voice swelled to its boldest not of exclamation" give me liberty, or give me death!" He took his seat, and the cry "To Arms!" seemed to quiver upon every lip, and gleam from every eye.

[I had heard, my memory not clear on this, nor is it sufficiently confirmed, that lightning struck a tree outside the church right after he said 'death'. Perhaps God spoke in agreement, although the chian lightning that passed through millions of souls was a far greater shock than any lightning bolt has ever been.]
16 posted on 06/30/2003 4:19:49 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: Khashayar

A petition to the UN? No, friend. The UN will never help you. France, with it's veto power, is looking for bribes. I'm sure the mullahs have bribed France, already. I'd be more likely to sign a petition warning the UN to leave the US alone or we start killing them. I want them out of this country. They are threatening to arrest US soldiers for 'war crimes'. The UN is so goofy, they even condemned a South American country for honoring Mother's Day. The UN replaced the US with SUDAN in the Human Rights Commision.

You are wasting your time trying to get us to beg for any table scraps from the goofy, corrupt, insane, UN.

17 posted on 06/30/2003 4:37:16 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March; piasa; risk; norton; pcx99; DoctorZIn

Thanks for your signature

Please hurry mates, It is time to sign this petition.
Please join us! and pass this to the other mates....!
Thank you!
18 posted on 06/30/2003 4:37:53 AM PDT by Khashayar
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Was Taheri close to the Grand Ayatollah Shariyat Madari, who used to oppose Khomeini? Is Madari still around?

I do not know, but Madari was close to the Azeris "The national-liberation movement of South Azerbaijan has a history going back 90 years. National-territorial autonomy demands were put before Iranian rulers during various movements—led by Sattarhan (1908-1909), Hiyabani (1920), Pishevari (1945-1946), Shariat- Madari (1979-1980)."

Here more on Madari

The position of Supreme Leader is rooted in the Shi'a Muslim tradition of emulation of a marj'a taqlid, a senior religious scholar recognized by his followers as a source of guidance for the faithful in resolving questions of how to live an observant religious life in the world.

Traditionally, at any one time there have been a handful of Grand Ayatollahs to whom the Shi'i faithful have looked for guidance. These learned jurists have produced books offering guidance for their followers in many areas of personal life. They have traditionally been based in seminaries in the great centers of Shi'i religious learning in Qom, Mashad or Najaf, where they have educated generations of clerics who have devoted their lives to study or have gone out into the world as preachers in mosques throughout the Shi'i Muslim world. The essence of the tradition ensured diversity within mainstream Shi'i teaching. If a believer did not find the directives of one marja'a to his or her liking, then he or she was free to choose another.

The creation of a kind of "state marja'a" with the establishment of the position of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic was a radical departure from this tradition, in that it fused spiritual and temporal power in an unprecedented manner, and it greatly increased the temporal power of one marja'a over that of his fellows. There were eminent dissenters to this during the ten years that Ayatollah Khomeini occupied the position he had created for himself,(Eminent dissenters included Grand Ayatollah Shar'iat Madari, and also traditional figures like Grand Ayatollahs Golpaygani and Araki.) but his prestige and political acumen, and the need for national unity during the bloody war with Iraq, ensured that he was easily able to override such opposition.

The problems inherent in the position of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic became more apparent with the selection by the Assembly of Experts of Ayatollah Khamene'i as Khomeini's successor. Ayatollah Khamene'i was not widely regarded as one of the leading Islamic jurists of his day, and his status as a Grand Ayatollah was questioned by many. Some saw his appointment, therefore, as an essentially political choice, understandable for a position exercising the political authority of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic but detracting from his prestige as the supreme spiritual guide. As time passed, the Leader's overt political role, often seeking to balance antagonistic conservative and reformist political forces, became apparent. Inevitably, questions arose that if this was a temporal political office like any other, in fact more powerful than any other, then why should it not be filled by direct popular election? Some questioned the need for the position of Leader at all, or advocated a symbolic, politically neutral role for the Leader. Such discussions took on considerable momentum in the independent print media after President Khatami's election in 1997, providing conservatives with great incentive to close down the media.

More on the ideological shift can be seen here

Anybody knows what happened to Madari?
19 posted on 06/30/2003 4:45:05 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: Khashayar
I'll sign a petition to move the UN to Sudan.
20 posted on 06/30/2003 4:50:26 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: AdmSmith
Re #19

Thanks for your info. I appreciate it.:)

21 posted on 06/30/2003 4:54:11 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: Khashayar
UN has been hijacked by the world's worst [Toronto Sun]

With the United Nations now inflicting moral outrages on the civilized world at the rate of about one a week, the question must be asked if the world body can be saved from itself.

Last week's outrage was the news that Iraq will co-chair the UN's key disarmament negotiating forum during its May 12 to June 27 meetings in Geneva. The chairs are chosen alphabetically and it's Iraq's turn, along with co-chair ... wait for it ... Iran.

Never mind that Iraq is under UN sanctions for invading Kuwait, is in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions regarding its own disarmament and that Iraq and Iran, another dictatorship, fought a brutal, eight-year war against each other for most of the 1980s. Such jaw- dropping inanities are simply business as usual at the UN.

The week before, it was word that Libya, one of the world's worst human rights violators, had been elected to chair the UN Human Rights Commission... [much more interesting info snip]

22 posted on 06/30/2003 5:02:33 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: AdmSmith; TigerLikesRooster
Anobody knows what happened to Madari? Perhaps he died in 1985:

"Another maraji in Najaf was Ruhallah Khumeini; there were others in Qum such as Gulpaygani, Shariycat-Madari (d. 1985), Marcashi-Najafi (d. 1989); and in Mashhad Abdullah Shirazi (d. 1986)."
23 posted on 06/30/2003 5:14:55 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: Khashayar
The UN is nothing but a criminal organization. Fraud, graft, shakedowns, bribery-- even child molestation, rape, mass genocidal debauchery, killing unborn infants, and prostitution. Giving them any legitimacy in this only hurts you. Don't give them leverage. They will sell you out to the highest bidder. Ok. I'll call it a day. I realise that few people know much about the UN, and I hope we are still friends. I'll most likely be back in a couple of days. FReegards....
24 posted on 06/30/2003 5:16:12 AM PDT by Arthur Wildfire! March (LIBERTY or DEATH!)
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March
Yes. This practice is bizarre. But if they decided to skip over the countries that were guilty of atrocities they'd decide that everyone was guilty. You know the UN. Hey they're up to the I's. Remember, we sat through the Congo already during the war. It seems a ridiculous kindergarten kind of "let's let everyone have their turn". It's time for them to grow up.
25 posted on 06/30/2003 5:49:36 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March
If I said, UN that is because we do not have any one in our side.
You are in our side, I know, but to many UN still works and that could help them know what we are bearing.
26 posted on 06/30/2003 5:58:39 AM PDT by Khashayar
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To: AdmSmith
They're quite a pair.
27 posted on 06/30/2003 6:09:29 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Good morning
thanks for the ping
28 posted on 06/30/2003 7:09:19 AM PDT by firewalk
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To: Arthur Wildfire! March; AdmSmith
Your people are very close to Patrick Henry, right now.

I'm not informed enough on what's happening in Iran, but any thread that mentions Patrick Henry is certainly worth a bump.

29 posted on 06/30/2003 7:10:35 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Everything good that I have done, I have done at the command of my voices.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Good morning.

It was a delight to wake up and read the posts today. The depth of conversation, knowledge of history, and compassion for the Iranian lovers of freedom has been moving. Keep up the great work. We are making a difference.

30 posted on 06/30/2003 7:27:41 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 10 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
We can be assured that the posts are as well read by the Iranian government. Perhaps they will learn.
31 posted on 06/30/2003 8:36:36 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
MPs end protest, special committee formed to follow up case

Tehran, June 29, IRNA -- Five MPs who had staged a sit-in ended their protest here Sunday after Majlis Speaker Mehdi Karroubi appointed a committee to follow up the case.

One of the MPs, Fatemeh Haqiqat-joo told IRNA that the committee met with security and judicial officials and "it was decided that all the students under arrest in police custody should be handed over to the Information Ministry."

Also, the sides agreed that the court proceedings will be held in open in presence of defense lawyers. The MP from Tehran further stated that the committee is also permitted to visit the imprisoned students and submit a report to the
Majlis speaker.
She also expressed hope that the committee's pursuit will be successful to meet demands of students.
Four Iranian MPs defied judiciary officials' threats to arrest some parliamentarians on charges of provoking recent unrest and started a two-day 'sit in' here Saturday in parliament in protest to the way police treated students.
"The aim of the protest is to defend legal processes and in this way, we are intending to announce our protest to and worries about the way students are confronted," one of the protestors who represents Tehran in Majlis, Meysam Saeedi, said.
Three other protesting MPs - Fatemeh Haqiqat-Joo, Reza Yousefian and Ali Akbar Mousavi Khoini - blasted judiciary and police officials for allegedly failing to deal with 'vigilantes' for attacking students.
"All high-ranking officials believe in confronting vigilante forces, but what we see today is the lack of confrontation with those individuals who have taken up arbitrary approach," Saeedi said.
"Through our sit-in, we are intending to protest to the respective officials and announce our loyalty to the promises we gave and the slogans we chanted during elections," Yousefian said.

32 posted on 06/30/2003 10:28:53 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
Suicide bombings are against Islam, says leading Iranian cleric

30 June By Anton La Guardia, Diplomatic Editor Telegraph

An influential Iranian cleric connected to hardliners in Teheran issued a powerful conciliatory signal yesterday when he denounced suicide bombings against civilians as a "crime" and came close to recognising the State of Israel.

Sayed Safavi, the brother of the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Gen Yahya Rahim Safavi, also called for a dialogue of Muslim, Jewish and Christian religious leaders to help to resolve the Arab-Israeli dispute.

His comments, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, come as Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, holds talks in Teheran to warn the clerical regime that it must subject its nuclear programme to intrusive inspections and stop supporting terrorist groups in the region.

Senior British officials believe the letter "may be a sign of an important change by the regime".

Dr Safavi says his letter contains his "personal reflections". But it is understood the comments have the tacit approval of key elements of the Iranian regime, including hardliners described by British officials as "the forces of darkness".

The cleric's links to the Revolutionary Guards, a vital organ defending the regime, as well as his pedigree as a descendant of the ancient ruling Safavi dynasty, lend particular weight to his words.

Dr Safavi, a follower of Sufi mysticism who shares his time between London and Teheran, criticised the suicide bombers on the grounds that even in a military "jihad", or holy war, Islam does not permit the targeting of the innocent.

"For Muslims to kill civilians unconnected with any attack on them is a crime. This is not in accordance with Islam," he writes, "The principal law of Islam is, 'Don't attack civilians'. This includes Jewish, Muslim or Christian civilians." He added: "If we have an enemy, then our enemy's child and our own child have no involvement in our confrontation . . . It is not right to involve children who have no sin."

Islamic militants will still find room in his comments to justify their bloody actions.

The cleric accepts that "if there is no choice, no peace, no security, then the holy Koran says that when your enemy attacks you, you can fight him".

Moreover, Muslim extremists like to claim that Israeli civilians are not really "civilians" because most of them serve in the Israeli army and perform regular stints of reserve duty.

Nevertheless, Dr Safavi's comments are a rare departure in a region where suicide bombers - especially Palestinian militants who attack Israeli civilians in the name of Islam - are idolised and often receive the explicit blessing of Muslim religious leaders.

Dr Safavi's views on Israel are, if anything, even more revolutionary.

Israel has long regarded Iran as the most dangerous of its neighbours, sponsoring Islamist militants and developing nuclear weapons that directly threaten the existence of the Jewish state.

In his letter, Dr Safavi does not directly address the question of Israel's right to exist. But his comments implicitly accept Israel, and even sympathise with its fears. "Israel is scared of Islam. The Islamic world is scared of the West," he writes, adding: "The Israeli government may not be religious, but Israel is not a secular country. It sees around it a very scary situation. But if we share what terrifies us, we move beyond that."

He implies that Middle East peace talks have so far failed because they excluded religious figures. "Religious leaders are more patient than politicians," he writes, "Religious leaders should have a central role. . . We need dialogue between civilisations and cultures. This is the only solution that will bring peace."

The letter equates President George W Bush and Osama bin Laden, claiming both seek a "clash of civilisations", and denounces both Israel and the United States for carrying out acts of terrorism.

Nevertheless, his remarks amount to an unusually strong appeal to moderation and dialogue among foes.

It is unclear whether the comments will be endorsed by any of the factions in Iran involved in a seemingly perpetual struggle for dominance.

The fact that they were issued to Western newspapers will reinforce suspicions within the Bush administration that they are an attempt to deflect the pressure being applied by America and Europe since the end of the war in Iraq.

The United States has praised a series of student-led demonstrations as a cry for freedom, while the European Union has expressed alarm about Iran's nuclear programme, which it fears may conceal plans to build a nuclear bomb in the coming years.

Moreover, British and American officials accuse elements of the Iranian regime of sheltering senior leaders of the al-Qa'eda movement.

Intriguingly, Dr Safavi declares: "No Islamic country or organisation may legitimately use chemical or biological weapons."
33 posted on 06/30/2003 10:32:51 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
If Iran wants to talk business they should extradite the imprisoned al Qaeda members in a week.

34 posted on 06/30/2003 10:38:48 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
"The letter equates President George W Bush and Osama bin Laden, claiming both seek a "clash of civilisations", and denounces... the United States for carrying out acts of terrorism."

Well, he had it right up until that point.

But I give him credit for everything else.
35 posted on 06/30/2003 10:42:59 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn; All
" It was a delight to wake up and read the posts today."

Absolutely, DrZin! Thanks to all!

36 posted on 06/30/2003 10:43:27 AM PDT by dixiechick2000
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To: AdmSmith
"One of the MPs, Fatemeh Haqiqat-joo told IRNA that the committee met with security and judicial officials and "it was decided that all the students under arrest in police custody should be handed over to the Information Ministry."

And can they make this decision and have it mean anything?

37 posted on 06/30/2003 10:46:28 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
The letter equates President George W Bush and Osama bin Laden, claiming both seek a "clash of civilisations", and denounces... the United States for carrying out acts of terrorism."

Well, he had it right up until that point.
But I give him credit for everything else.

Regard the letter as test balloon, we will see more of this type in the coming week. The part about Dubya and OBL is for internal consumption in Iran in the internal struggle.
38 posted on 06/30/2003 10:47:53 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: nuconvert
Note the words "it was decided that all the students under arrest in police custody should be handed over to the Information Ministry." The Iranian administration has no say over the forces of darkness.
39 posted on 06/30/2003 10:53:13 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
Sorry. A bit confused. "the forces of darkness" being the Mujahedeen?
40 posted on 06/30/2003 11:07:33 AM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
Hardliners described by British officials as "the forces of darkness".
41 posted on 06/30/2003 11:21:19 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
Excellent information gathered by Matt in Cornyn's office....thanks!

Contrast the actions of the Iranian protesters with the sentiments of various senior U.S. officials.

"The axis of evil was a valid comment, [but ] I would note there's one dramatic difference between Iran and the other two axes of evil, and that would be its democracy. [And] you approach a democracy differently," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage – Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2003

“I think we should be working with and supporting the civilian leadership in there that's been taking on the clerical leadership.” Senator Joe Biden (Ranking Minority, Foreign Relations Committee) – Today Show, May 27, 2003

Lugar said he would "not necessarily" want to see a regime change in Iran. "A regime change that comes through the democratic processes of Iran, through the students and the young people taking charge — how all that comes about, I don't know." Senator Richard Lugar (Chairman, Foreign Relations Committee) – Fox News Sunday, June 15, 2003

42 posted on 06/30/2003 11:37:12 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 9 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Express Chronicle (Russia): Iran steps up crackdown

Iran steps up crackdown

The Express Chronicle
By Prima News Agency

June 30, 2003

IRAN. Iranian authorities have shut down for a week the Amir-Abad campus of Tehran University ahead of the anniversary of the July 9, 1999 student uprising. Students were ordered to vacate the campus by July 7 and to lodge elsewhere till July 14. Only students who agree to collaborate with Islamic militia will be allowed in to the campus during the period. They will be given special passes.
In 1999, the Amir-Abad campus was the center of the student unrest sparked after Islamic fundamentalist vigilantes had raided the student dormitories, killing at least one person. This year, the Amir-Abad area and other neighborhoods in Tehran have been witnessing sporadic protests since June 12. Over 4,000 demonstrators were reportedly arrested in Tehran and other cities of the country during this period.

According to the Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI), the Iranian regime proceeds with its plan to hold show trials of the arrested demonstrators.

The SMCCDI also reported that 36-year-old Bagher Parto arrested on June 16 in Shiraz has died under torture in custody of the intelligence department of the Pasdaran Corps. Opposition sources stated that he was tortured to extract information about fellow members of Azarakhsh (Thunder), an underground opposition group, and to force him to make false televised confessions of links with the Israeli and US intelligence services.

The SMCCDI expressed concern over the fate of influential scholars from Shiraz, Ghyessar Barani and the Ghahremani brothers arrested in connection with the demonstrations.

43 posted on 06/30/2003 11:43:28 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 9 days until July 9th)
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
Another must read article by one of our favorite journalists...

Last Straw
The British should not be appeasing the mullahs of Iran.
The National Review Online 6.30.2003

By Amir Taheri

For over 150 years many Iranians have believed that nothing can happen in politics anywhere without the British having a hand.

One of the most popular proverbs in Persian reads: All is the work of the English! (Kar kar englisi hast!)

Try telling the average Persian that long gone are the days when the British Empire, often using gunboat diplomacy, could impose its wishes on weaker nations. They believe that even today, Britain, although a middle-sized power in military and economic terms, is the world's real "superpower" in terms of political chicanery and diplomatic guile.

"The Americans dance on the little finger of the English," says Ayatollah Mahmoud Janati, a leading Khomeinist. " America may be the muscle, but England is the brain!"

Not surprisingly, the visit to Tehran by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw this week, is already at the center of heated debates both among the mullahs and their opponents.

Straw is no stranger in Tehran. He is, in fact, the only prominent Western politician to have visited the Iranian capital on four occasions in less than two years. He has also written columns from some Iranian state-owned newspapers, and spent time to meet as many mullahs, inside and outside the government, as possible.

Straw became something of a hero among the mullahs last year by asserting in an article that he wrote for a Tehran paper that Israel was the principal obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East. Straw's three previous visits to Tehran were understandable for at least two reasons.

The first was that the Anglo-American Coalition needed Iran's neutrality, if not active support, in toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Baathists in Iraq. Straw achieved remarkable success on both occasions.

The second reason was that Straw believed that Britain needed its own direct assessment of the Iranian situation rather than relying on second hand analyses from France and Germany.

But what is the reason for Straw's current visit?

Foreign Office sources in London say he is going to Tehran to assess the situation in the light of growing unrest prompted by the opposition movement. They also say that Straw will seek to persuade the mullahs to open their nuclear program to meaningful inspection by the outside world.

This, however, is not how the mullahs see the visit. Their media claims that the British leader has come to "offer an apology" for remarks made by Prime Minister Tony Blair at the House of Commons last Wednesday. In those remarks, Blair indicated that his government regards the Iranian pro democracy movement as a serious challenge to the mullahs and worthy of support.

As the opposition movement gathers momentum in Iran, it is imperative that the United States, the European Union, and other major powers speak in unison in support of reform and democratization.

The worst thing to do is to give the impression that the major democracies are prepared to bolster the mullahs' tottering regime in the name of "dialogue" and in the hope of real or imagined economic reasons.

The idea of a dialogue with the mullahs was first circulated by Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the man who served as Germany's foreign minister for in the 1980s. Genscher called his policy "critical dialogue," prompting the joke that what he meant was that when the mullahs met the Europeans for a dialogue, both criticized the United States.

The mullahs repaid Genscher by sending a mob to burn the German embassy in Tehran during a stage-managed demonstration. Then in 1992 Tehran dispatched a hit squad to murder four exile opposition leaders in Berlin. Much to Genscher's chagrin, the criminal court in Berlin issued arrest warrants for four of Iran's top leader, including the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenehi on charges of having organized the political murders.

The French tried their version of "dialogue critique" with the mullahs. They were rewarded with the capture of several of their citizens, and the murder of their ambassador in Beirut by terrorist gangs financed by Tehran. French Ambassador to Tehran Guy Georgy was also seized as a hostage in 1984. Throughout the "dialogue" Tehran agents murdered 17 Iranian dissidents in France and killed another 30 French citizens in various terrorist operations in Paris and other major French cites. All that ended when the French, exasperated by the bad faith of the mullahs, suspended diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic for over two years.

Now, however, France is trying to make a spectacular comeback on the Iranian scene. Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has visited Tehran on three occasions in less than a year in the hope of promoting an alliance to counter "American designs" in Iraq and the Middle East at large.

As a show of goodwill to the mullahs, the French police have arrested hundreds of Iranian exiles living in and around Paris and told several prominent opposition leaders to leave France. The mullahs are seeking similar "gestures" from Britain.

Straw would be mistaken to go down that shameful road. The Khomeinist regime is deeply divided with a growing faction within it seeking a deal with the opposition. Straw should encourage that faction to make its move as soon as possible. He should also dispel the mullahs' illusion that they can build a nuclear arsenal without risking military retaliation by the United States.

Because many mullahs believe that the "the English" really know what they are talking about, Straw could make a positive contribution by putting the fear of god in them.

— Amir Taheri's tenth book L'Irak: Le Dessous Des Cartes, was just published by Editions Complexe, Paris. Taheri was born in Iran.

He's available through

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
44 posted on 06/30/2003 11:58:44 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 9 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
"As a show of goodwill to the mullahs, the French police have arrested hundreds of Iranian exiles living in and around Paris and told several prominent opposition leaders to leave France. The mullahs are seeking similar "gestures" from Britain.

Straw would be mistaken to go down that shameful road."

Yet in another article posted here, it said that the French were "cracking down" on followers of Rajavi, the Mujahadeen Khalq. This sounded to me like a good thing.
Which side is Taheri on?
45 posted on 06/30/2003 1:33:08 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
"The SMCCDI also reported that 36-year-old Bagher Parto arrested on June 16 in Shiraz has died under torture in custody of the intelligence department of the Pasdaran Corps."

A hero to his cause and fellow protesters. And one among many, I'm afraid.
46 posted on 06/30/2003 1:44:51 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: nuconvert
Which side is Taheri on?

I am checking on this.

47 posted on 06/30/2003 2:03:25 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 9 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in from Banafsheh...

A Constitutional construct for the post-mullah era

By: Elio Bonazzi & Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi

Most Iranian opposition forces active overseas, including the vast majority of the Iranian political spectrum, plus the opposition movement inside Iran, appear to agree on a referendum that should be held as soon as the mullahs’ regime is toppled. Iranian citizens will have to decide their new form of government. Up until now, however, neither prominent Iranian individual, nor political force has proposed a detailed referendum question. Given the history of the country, and the composition of the Iranian political spectrum, it is likely that the referendum question will ask Iranian people to choose between some form of Monarchy and some form of Republic.

It is definitely reassuring to see such a convergence on the idea of a referendum. Iranian political forces have been extremely fragmented and divided even on insignificant issues during the past 24 years. The fact that most Iranians today agree on the referendum sends a strong signal of political maturity that cannot be ignored.

It is crucial, however, that both the Iranian activist vanguard and all Iranians who care about their country and support the struggle for a free, secular and democratic Iran understand that a referendum is only the initial step towards the creation of a new Iranian State. Several fundamental decisions must be made, which will shape the future of the Iranian democracy.

The form of government (Monarchy, Presidential Democracy, Parliamentarian Democracy, etc) must be supported by an adequate electoral system. Irrespective of the form of government chosen according to the outcome of the referendum, it is very likely that the majority of Iranians want a multi-party system.

The Anglo-American electoral system is not suitable for societies that express a plurality of political formations, rather than two major parties. The winner-take-all plurality system that the US inherited from England represents only those voters whose candidates win a plurality of the votes in single-seat constituency races. Those who vote for loser candidates are not represented. The basic problem with Plurality-Majority electoral systems is the discrepancy between the percentage of votes received by a party and the number of seats in the Parliament/Congress attributed to it. In such an electoral system, a party could potentially receive millions of votes, and yet be under-represented or even not represented at all in the Parliament if none of its candidates won a direct race in at least one Electoral College. In the case of Iran, a Plurality-Majority electoral system could prevent traditional minority forces, which have been active throughout Iranian history and even more active after the Diaspora that followed the 1979 revolution, from representation in the Parliament.

On the other hand, proportional representation systems strive to reduce the disparity between a party’s share of the national vote and its share of the parliamentary seats; if a major party wins 30% of the votes, it should win approximately 30% of the seats, and a minor party with 10% of the votes should also gain approximately 10% of the parliamentary seats. This is achieved by assigning the parliamentary seat to the winner of the Electoral College context, like in the Plurality-Majority system; the votes cast in favor of loser candidates, however, are not wasted, but accumulated nationally and used for the attribution of further seats.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect electoral system, and while proportional electoral systems are generally considered more “fair”, they introduce other problems. For instance, proportional representation systems increase the importance of political parties much more than Plurality-Majority systems. They do so by requiring that the people vote for party lists and for political parties rather than for individuals. Proportional representation usually assumes that the people vote to support political philosophies rather than to elect representatives.

A part from the more “philosophical” issues brought about by proportional systems discussed above, proportionally elected governments do have stability and governance issues. In a multi-party system, rarely one party obtains the majority of votes needed to form the government. A coalition of parties is needed to obtain the required majority. Smaller parties contributing to a coalition government can easily blackmail major parties, increasing the political price for their participation. In the worst case scenario, a smaller party initially participating in a coalition government could be tempted to break its alliance with the other parties half way through the period of office of the legislature, provoking a political crisis and potentially forcing the country to early elections.

Countries that have adopted a proportional electoral system have also put in place mechanisms to avoid the formation of an excessive number of small parties. Usually, that is achieved through the establishment of qualifying thresholds that parties must meet in order to be granted representation in the Parliament. Such thresholds can be a minimal percentage of votes that each party must obtain to gain the right to elected representatives, like in Israel where the threshold is 1.5% of the votes, or in Germany, where the qualifying threshold is 5%; in other countries, like Italy, each party must win at least one electoral college in order to achieve representation.

Most new democracies born after the collapse of communism chose proportional electoral systems; those societies had been oppressed by the tyranny of the single party system, and wanted to experience democracy to the fullest. But the eastern-European new States created after the fall of the Berlin wall “customized” the ideal of pure proportionality and adjusted it to their culture, traditions, political history and to avoid an excessive proliferation of small parties or to increase stability and governance.

The problem is that each correction or alteration to the electoral system is not politically neutral; each amendment could favor or penalize a specific party. A proportional electoral system could arguably work well in a new, multi-party Iranian society. But the amendments to the pure proportional system, necessary to ensure effective governance and to increase stability by mitigating the potential litigation between parties forming the coalition government, are likely to generate an involved debate among the Iranian opposition forces.

One more issue further complicates the creation of a new Iranian political framework. No serious Iranian or western statesman would question the territorial integrity of Iran after the collapse of the mullahs’ regime. But Iran comprises several different ethnic groups, usually geographically concentrated in specific areas, such as Kurdistan or Baluchistan. Some form of local autonomy, both at a political and at an administrative level, must be granted to those ethnic groups, to prevent civil unrest and the possible formation of break away, single-issue parties that could choose extremism as a simple way to assert their minority rights.

The alternative is between complete federalism, following the American model, or political unity in one National Parliament and strong regional/administrative autonomy.

Again, deciding between the two models is not politically neutral. Iranians must consider pros and cons of each model, and choose according to what is more suitable for their historical background and compatible with their political culture.

The debate on the future political and constitutional framework of a liberated Iran cannot be either neglected or postponed. Iranian opposition forces should start to seriously consider the various options and to make up their minds about what to propose after the toppling of the mullahs’ regime. Iranian opposition must buy precious time and start working on constitutional issues in order to achieve consensus on a few, fundamental ideas shared by a consistent majority within the political forces of the opposition. This sense of urgency originates from the following consideration: a power vacuum will inevitably follow after the ousting of the mullahs. Ideology-oriented minority parties, like the Tudeh or the Mujahedin parties, which organize well-disciplined militants, used to operate clandestinely, relying on an established network of dormant, but ready to reactivate cells, could try and exploit the situation to their advantage. The longer the period of power vacuum and the greater the danger of a “Bolshevik outcome”.

Given the current level of general disaffection towards the mullahs, it is very likely that the regime will crumble from within, unlike what happened in the neighboring Iraq. On the one hand, it would be a great accomplishment for the national pride of Iranians being able to get rid of the fascist theocracy with no external help; on the other hand, such an outcome would expose the country to a difficult transition phase, without American or international troops to act as the guarantor of order and democracy while the country decides on crucial aspects of its political life, like form of government and electoral system.

Iranians should work together to ensure a short and stable transition period, between the fall of the mullahs’ regime and the implementation of the new form of government decided through the referendum. Sectors of the Iranian army, led by those generals who have started dialoging with the opposition signaling their willingness to join forces with the anti-mullah movement, could fulfill the role of a neutral force that guaranties social order and prevents possible authoritarian twists, which could be attempted by the modern incarnation of the Tudeh party or by the Mujahedins during the transition phase.

What is needed, and sooner rather than later, is an agreement by most Iranian opposition forces, on a constitutional roadmap that will determine the steps necessary to drive Iran throughout the perilous journey of the next few months, in its passage from fascist theocracy to modern democracy. There are several historical examples on how to proceed in order to build the foundations of a new State. One way to accomplish this arduous task is to vote for the Referendum and at the same time for an assembly of a few hundreds legal experts who will have to write and approve the new Constitution. Such an assembly is democratically elected, and political parties, enjoying the newly found political freedom, actively campaign for candidates to the assembly. But in order to qualify, candidates must be versed in legal matters, able to understand and speak the technical language of Constitutional Jurisprudence.

The new Constitution can only be written after the Iranian people have expressed their fundamental preference on the form of government. It is likely that if a constitutional monarchy will emerge victorious from the referendum, the assembly writing the new Constitution will focus on the creation of check and balance mechanisms to prevent the constitutional monarch from progressively seizing more and more power, transforming the monarchy from constitutional to absolute; on the other hand, if the referendum decides in favor of a republic, the assembly can focus on different issues, such as the debate between presidentialism and parliamentarism.

The same assembly will also debate and approve a new electoral system. In substance, the crucial task performed by the assembly is to establish the rules of the political game. As soon as the new constitution is written and approved, general elections are called, following the rules of the new electoral system.

One of the major risks that democratic forces of the Iranian opposition face today is to be caught unprepared by a sudden demise of the mullahs without an agreement on a constitutional roadmap. Such an occurrence would delay the period of power vacuum, increasing the danger of an authoritarian twist in the worst-case scenario, or instability, looting and personal vendettas in the best-case scenario.

To mitigate the risks discussed above, as a matter of urgency Iranians should:

1) Identify and stand behind those sectors of the army able to ensure a peaceful and orderly transition

2) Agree on the necessary steps for the creation of democratic institutions, starting with a thoughtful and well formulated referendum question

The mullahs’ regime is at the end. The Western World has a chance to redeem itself for past mistakes, helping and encouraging Iranian opposition forces; the recent Iran Democracy Act, cosponsored by the US Senators Brownback, Cornyn, Coleman, Santorum, Bunning, Schumer, Inouye, Coleman, McConnell and Johnson is a step in the right direction. Other positive signs also come from Europe, where the Greek president of the EU recently sent a strong warning to the mullahs’ regime, saying that Europe’s patience towards the Iranian disregard for Human Rights is rapidly coming to an end.

Iranian opposition forces have the duty to respond to this historical call, rising to the occasion and unify and reach consensus at least on the constitutional roadmap. This is not a naïve call to set aside the profound differences that characterize the political forces of Iranian opposition. There will be plenty of chances for real political debate and struggle on social and governmental issues, after the toppling of the IRI; what is needed today, however, is minimal consensus on a limited set of “rules of the game”, that will drive the democratic process towards a new Iran.

48 posted on 06/30/2003 2:06:39 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 9 days until July 9th)
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
Most Iranians Want Political Change, Even With Foreign Intervention - according to the hardliners!

Radio Free Europe ^ | 6.30.2003 | William Samii
Posted on 06/30/2003 4:08 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
49 posted on 06/30/2003 4:11:41 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 9 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Very thoughtful piece.
50 posted on 06/30/2003 6:06:12 PM PDT by nuconvert
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