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Iranian Alert -- DAY 25 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
Live Thread Ping List | 7.4.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 07/04/2003 12:07:45 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

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1 posted on 07/04/2003 12:07:46 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
Join Us at The Iranian Alert -- DAY 25 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 7.4.2003 | DoctorZin

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

2 posted on 07/04/2003 12:17:38 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 5 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
3 posted on 07/04/2003 12:25:02 AM PDT by Travis McGee (----- -----)
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
The following article is a bit long but for those who want to understand what is going on in Iran it is excellent!

Millionaire Mullahs
Paul Klebnikov, 07.21.03 | On The Cover/Top Stories

A nuclear threat to the rest of the world, Iran is robbing its own people of prosperity. But the men at the top are getting extremely rich. It's rumble time in Tehran. At dozens of intersections in the capital of Iran thousands of students are protesting on a recent Friday around midnight, as they do nearly every night, chanting pro-democracy slogans and lighting bonfires on street corners. Residents of the surrounding middle-class neighborhoods converge in their cars, honking their horns in raucous support.

Suddenly there's thunder in the air. A gang of 30 motorcyclists, brandishing iron bars and clubs as big as baseball bats, roars through the stalled traffic. They glare at the drivers, yell threats, thump cars. Burly and bearded, the bikers yank two men from their auto and pummel them. Most protesters scatter. Uniformed policemen watch impassively as the thugs beat the last stragglers.

These Hell's Angels are part of the Hezbollah militia, recruited mostly from the countryside. Iran's ruling mullahs roll them out whenever they need to intimidate their opponents. The Islamic Republic is a strange dictatorship. As it moves to repress growing opposition to clerical rule, the regime relies not on soldiers or uniformed police (many of whom sympathize with the protesters) but on the bullies of Hezbollah and the equally thuggish Revolutionary Guards. The powers that be claim to derive legitimacy from Allah but remain on top with gangsterlike methods of intimidation, violence and murder.

Who controls today's Iran? Certainly not Mohammad Khatami, the twice-elected moderate president, or the reformist parliament. Not even the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a stridently anti-American but unremarkable cleric plucked from the religious ranks 14 years ago to fill the shoes of his giant predecessor, Ayatollah Khomeini, is fully in control. The real power is a handful of clerics and their associates who call the shots behind the curtain and have gotten very rich in the process.

The economy bears more than a little resemblance to the crony capitalism that sprouted from the wreck of the Soviet Union. The 1979 revolution expropriated the assets of foreign investors and the nation's wealthiest families; oil had long been nationalized, but the mullahs seized virtually everything else of value--banks, hotels, car and chemical companies, makers of drugs and consumer goods. What distinguishes Iran is that many of these assets were given to Islamic charitable foundations, controlled by the clerics. According to businessmen and former foundation executives, the charities now serve as slush funds for the mullahs and their supporters.

Iran has other lethal secrets besides its nuclear program, now the subject of prying international eyes. Dozens of interviews with businessmen, merchants, economists and former ministers and other top government officials reveal a picture of a dictatorship run by a shadow government that--the U.S. State Department suspects--finances terrorist groups abroad through a shadow foreign policy. Its economy is dominated by shadow business empires and its power is protected by a shadow army of enforcers.

Ironically, the man most adept at manipulating this hidden power structure is one of Iran's best-known characters--Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who has been named an ayatollah, or religious leader. He was the speaker of parliament and Khomeini's right-hand man in the 1980s, president of Iran from 1989 to 1997 and is now chairman of the powerful Expediency Council, which resolves disputes between the clerical establishment and parliament. Rafsanjani has more or less run the Islamic Republic for the past 24 years.

He played it smart, aligning himself in the 1960s with factions led by Ayatollah Khomeini, then becoming the go-to guy after the revolution. A hard-liner ideologically, Rafsanjani nonetheless has a pragmatic streak. He convinced Khomeini to end the Iran-Iraq war and broke Iran's international isolation by establishing trade relations with the Soviet Union, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In the 1990s he restarted Iran's nuclear program. He is also the father of Iran's "privatization" program. During his presidency the stock market was revived, some government companies were sold to insiders, foreign trade was liberalized and the oil sector was opened up to private companies. Most of the good properties and contracts, say dissident members of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, ended up in the hands of mullahs, their associates and, not least, Rafsanjani's own family, who rose from modest origins as small-scale pistachio farmers.

"They were not rich people, so they worked hard and always tried to help their relatives get ahead," remembers Reza, a historian who declines to use his last name and who studied with one of Rafsanjani's brothers at Tehran University in the early 1970s. "When they were in university, two brothers earned money on the side tutoring theological students and preparing their exam papers."

Discontent Unveiled
Disaffected, denied opportunity and just plain bored, Iran's youth have taken their frustrations with the clerics' regime to the streets.

The 1979 revolution transformed the Rafsanjani clan into commercial pashas. One brother headed the country's largest copper mine; another took control of the state-owned TV network; a brother-in-law became governor of Kerman province, while a cousin runs an outfit that dominates Iran's $400 million pistachio export business; a nephew and one of Rafsanjani's sons took key positions in the Ministry of Oil; another son heads the Tehran Metro construction project (an estimated $700 million spent so far). Today, operating through various foundations and front companies, the family is also believed to control one of Iran's biggest oil engineering companies, a plant assembling Daewoo automobiles, and Iran's best private airline (though the Rafsanjanis insist they do not own these assets).

None of this sits well with the populace, whose per capita income is $1,800 a year. The gossip on the street, going well beyond the observable facts, has the Rafsanjanis stashing billions of dollars in bank accounts in Switzerland and Luxembourg; controlling huge swaths of waterfront in Iran's free economic zones on the Persian Gulf; and owning whole vacation resorts on the idyllic beaches of Dubai, Goa and Thailand.

But not much of the criticism makes its way into print. One journalist who dared to investigate Rafsanjani's secret dealings and his alleged role in extrajudicial killings of dissidents is now languishing in jail. He's lucky. Iranian politics can be deadly. Five years ago Tehran was rocked by murders of journalists and anticorruption activists; some were beheaded, others mutilated.

Some of the family's wealth is out there for all to see. Rafsanjani's youngest son, Yaser, owns a 30-acre horse farm in the super-fashionable Lavasan neighborhood of north Tehran, where land goes for over $4 million an acre. Just where did Yaser get his money? A Belgian-educated businessman, he runs a large export-import firm that includes baby food, bottled water and industrial machinery.

Until a few years ago the simplest way to get rich quick was through foreign-currency trades. Easy, if you could get greenbacks at the subsidized import rate of 1,750 rials to the dollar and resell them at the market rate of 8,000 to the dollar. You needed only the right connections for an import license. "I estimate that, over a period of ten years, Iran lost $3 billion to $5 billion annually from this kind of exchange-rate fraud," says Saeed Laylaz, an economist, now with Iran's biggest carmaker. "And the lion's share of that went to about 50 families."

One of the families benefiting from the foreign trade system was the Asgaroladis, an old Jewish clan of bazaar traders, who converted to Islam several generations ago. Asadollah Asgaroladi exports pistachios, cumin, dried fruit, shrimp and caviar, and imports sugar and home appliances; his fortune is estimated by Iranian bankers to be some $400 million. Asgaroladi had a little help from his older brother, Habibollah, who, as minister of commerce in the 1980s, was in charge of distributing lucrative foreign-trade licenses. (He was also a counterparty to commodities trader and then-fugitive Marc Rich, who helped Iran bypass U.S.-backed sanctions.)

The other side of Iran's economy belongs to the Islamic foundations, which account for 10% to 20% of the nation's GDP--$115 billion last year. Known as bonyads, the best-known of these outfits were established from seized property and enterprises by order of Ayatollah Khomeini in the first weeks of his regime. Their mission was to redistribute to the impoverished masses the "illegitimate" wealth accumulated before the revolution by "apostates" and "blood-sucking capitalists." And, for a decade or so, the foundations shelled out money to build low-income housing and health clinics. But since Khomeini's death in 1989 they have increasingly forsaken their social welfare functions for straightforward commercial activities.

Until recently they were exempt from taxes, import duties and most government regulation. They had access to subsidized foreign currency and low-interest loans from state-owned banks. And they were not accountable to the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance or any other government institution. Formally, they are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Leader; effectively, they operate without any oversight at all, answerable only to Allah.

According to Shiite Muslim tradition, devout businessmen are expected to donate 20% of profits to their local mosques, which use the money to help the poor. By contrast, many bonyads seem like straightforward rackets, extorting money from entrepreneurs. Besides the biggest national outfits, almost every Iranian town has its own bonyad, affiliated with local mullahs. "Many small businessmen complain that as soon as you start to make some money, the leading mullah will come to you and ask for a contribution to his local charity," says an opposition economist, who declines to give his name. "If you refuse, you will be accused of not being a good Muslim. Some witnesses will turn up to testify that they heard you insult the Prophet Mohammad, and you will be thrown in jail." The Cosa Nostra meets fundamentalism.

Other charities resemble multinational conglomerates. The Mostazafan & Jambazan Foundation (Foundation for the Oppressed and War Invalids) is the second-largest commercial enterprise in the country, behind the state-owned National Iranian Oil Co. Until recently it was run by a man named Mohsen Rafiqdoost. The son of a vegetable-and-fruit merchant at the Tehran bazaar, Rafiqdoost got his big break in 1979, when he was chosen to drive Ayatollah Khomeini from the airport after his triumphal return from exile in Paris.

Khomeini made him Minister of the Revolutionary Guards to quash internal dissent and smuggle in weapons for the Iran-Iraq war. In 1989, when Rafsanjani became president, Rafiqdoost gained control of the Mostazafan Foundation, which employs up to 400,000 workers and has assets that in all probability exceed $10 billion. Among its holdings: the former Hyatt and Hilton hotels in Tehran; the highly successful Zam-Zam soft drink company (once Pepsi); an international shipping line; companies producing oil products and cement; swaths of farmland and urban real estate.

Theoretically the Mostazafan Foundation is a social welfare organization. By 1996 it began taking government funds to cover welfare disbursements; soon it plans to spin off its social responsibilities altogether, leaving behind a purely commercial conglomerate owned by--whom? That is not clear. Why does this foundation exist? "I don't know--ask Mr. Rafiqdoost," says Abbas Maleki, a foreign policy adviser to Ayatollah Rafsanjani.

A picture emerges from one Iranian businessman who used to handle the foreign trade deals for one of the big foundations. Organizations like the Mostazafan serve as giant cash boxes, he says, to pay off supporters of the mullahs, whether they're thousands of peasants bused in to attend religious demonstrations in Tehran or Hezbollah thugs who beat up students. And, not least, the foundations serve as cash cows for their managers.

"It usually works like this," explains this businessman. "Some foreigner comes in, proposes a deal to the foundation head. The big boss says: ‘Fine. I agree. Work out the details with my administrator.' So the foreigner goes to see the administrator, who tells him: ‘You know that we have two economies here--official and unofficial. You have to be part of the unofficial economy if you want to be successful. So, you have to deposit the following amount into the following bank account abroad and then the deal will go forward.'"

Today Rafiqdoost heads up the Noor Foundation, which owns apartment blocks and makes an estimated $200 million importing pharmaceuticals, sugar and construction materials. He is quick to downplay his personal wealth. "I am just a normal person, with normal wealth," he says. Then, striking a Napoleonic pose, he adds: "But if Islam is threatened, I will become big again."

Implication: that he has access to a secret reservoir of money that can be tapped when the need arises. That may have been what Ayatollah Rafsanjani had in mind when he declared recently that the Islamic Republic needed to keep large funds in reserve. But who is to determine when Islam is in danger?

As minister of the Revolutionary Guards in the 1980s, Rafiqdoost played a key role in sponsoring Hezbollah in Lebanon--which kidnapped foreigners, hijacked airplanes, set off car bombs, trafficked in heroin and pioneered the use of suicide bombers. According to Gregory Sullivan, spokesman for the Near Eastern Affairs Bureau at the U.S. State Department, the foundations are the perfect vehicles to carry out Iran's shadow foreign policy. (One of them offered the $2.8 million bounty to anyone who carried out Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa to kill British author Salman Rushdie.) Whenever suspicion of complicity in a terrorist incident--in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Argentina--turns to Iran, the Tehran government has denied involvement. State Department officials suspect that such operations may be sponsored by one of the foundations and semiautonomous units of the Revolutionary Guards. If anyone in Iran is aiding al Qaeda, that may be the best place to look.

Iran's foundations are a law unto themselves. The largest "charity" (at least in terms of real estate holdings) is the centuries-old Razavi Foundation, charged with caring for Iran's most revered shrine--the tomb of Reza, the Eighth Shiite Imam, in the northern city of Mashhad. It is run by one of Iran's leading hard-line mullahs, Ayatollah Vaez-Tabasi, who prefers to stay out of the public eye but emerges occasionally to urge death to apostates and other opponents of the clerical regime.

The Razavi Foundation owns vast tracts of urban real estate all across Iran, as well as hotels, factories, farms and quarries. Its assets are impossible to value with any precision, since the foundation has never released an inventory of its holdings, but Iranian economists speak of a net asset value of $15 billion or more. The foundation also receives generous contributions from the millions of pilgrims who visit the Mashhad shrine each year.

What happens to annual revenues estimated in the hundreds of millions--perhaps billions--of dollars? Not all of it goes to cover the maintenance costs of mosques, cemeteries, religious schools and libraries. Over the past decade the foundation has bought new businesses and properties, established investment banks (together with investors from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), funded real estate projects and financed big foreign trade deals.

The driving force behind the commercialization of the Razavi Foundation is Ayatollah Tabasi's son, Naser, who was put in charge of the Sarakhs Free Trade Zone, on the border with the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan. In the 1990s the foundation poured hundreds of millions of dollars into this project, funding a rail link between Iran and Turkmenistan, new highways, an international airport, a hotel and office buildings. It even paid $2.3 million to a Swiss firm to erect a huge tent for the ceremonies inaugurating the Iran-Turkmenistan rail link.

Then it all went wrong. In July 2001 Naser Tabasi was dismissed as director of the Free Trade Zone. Two months later he was arrested and charged with fraud in connection with a Dubai-based company called Al-Makasib. The details of the case remain murky, but four months ago the General Court of Tehran concluded that Naser Tabasi had not known that he was breaking the law and acquitted him.

Few receive even a slap on the wrist. A rare exception: Hard-line cleric Hadi Ghaffari, who specialized in seizing expropriated properties, like Star Stockings (maker of sexy lingerie), and reselling them at a nice profit. He was convicted of embezzlement in the early 1990s.

Iran's most distinguished senior clerics are disgusted by the mullahcrats. Ayatollah Taheri, Friday prayer leader of the city of Isfahan, resigned in protest earlier this year. "When I hear that some of the privileged progeny and special people, some of whom even don cloaks and turbans, are competing amongst themselves to amass the most wealth," he said, "I am drenched with the sweat of shame."

Meanwhile the clerical elite has mismanaged the nation into senseless poverty. With 9% of the world's oil and 15% of its natural gas, Iran should be a very rich country. It has a young, educated population and a long tradition of craftsmanship and international commerce. But per capita income today is actually 7% below what it was before the revolution. Iranian economists estimate capital flight (to Dubai and other safe havens) at up to $3 billion a year.

No wonder so many students turn to the streets in protest. The dictatorship tells them what to think, what to wear, and what to eat and drink. It has also been robbing them of their future.

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
4 posted on 07/04/2003 12:56:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 5 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
A most excellent and thoughtful post.

We're getting closer everyone to Iran's day of destiny.

5 posted on 07/04/2003 1:52:03 AM PDT by Big Bad Bob (On July 9th 2003, We will all be Iranians, United against Evil)
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To: DoctorZIn
A very important article. In crime, politics and religion (and all other human activities) follow the money and the cause will be revealed. It is a safe bet that Rafsanjani if he has to choose will take the money instead of the Khomeini constitution.
6 posted on 07/04/2003 3:45:15 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: DoctorZIn
Whoever can play the US card in Iran wins the game

4 July Guardian

The real question is whether to strike a deal with the Tehran regime. Next week, on the fourth anniversary of student protests in Tehran which ended with many injured and at least one dead, thousands of demonstrators are expected to burst on to the streets of the Iranian capital. The regime is fearful and divided about the proper response, while the protest leaders are anxious that their show of force should this time have some genuine impact rather than subsiding without any visible result, as on so many previous occasions. Iranians in general are waiting, without much hope, for some resolution of the contradictions of their political system - and for an end to the paralysis which leaves them forever poised between reform and reaction, autocracy and democracy, international isolation and acceptance.

They have waited for such a resolution for years, but two significant changes, one domestic and one international, could mean that what has always in the past been subject to indefinite postponement may not be too far away. The domestic change is the coming of age of the generation born just after the Iranian revolution, men and women with no memory of the Shah or, except for childhood recollections, of the Iran-Iraq conflict. The international change is, of course, the result of the two wars that have put America next door to Iran in Afghanistan and now Iraq - a change which makes the two countries even more important to one another than they were in the past. Iran could possibly undo the Americans in Iraq, if it set its mind to it, while the US has new means, including conceivably military ones, of influencing events in Iran. Yet a military intervention, even a limited one against nuclear facilities, is the remotest of prospects.

What is likely to ensue is a wary sparring for advantage, within Iran and between Iran and the United States and Europe, as competing elements within the Iranian regime and in the Iranian opposition all look for American support. Whoever can play the American card in Iran, delivering at the same time security against the US threat and meeting the aspirations of a youthful population for a nation more open to the world, will win the political game there, at least for a time.

The emergence into adulthood of the generation of '79 is the culmination of a demographic explosion that has seen the population of Iran double since Ayatollah Khomeini returned in triumph from Paris. It has added to the mass of doubtful and discontented young people who have been at the centre of Iranian politics since the early 90s. They have known nothing but the Islamic republic, but their experience of that republic, especially if they are middle class, is conditioned by their active alternative life as virtual citizens of the wider world, which they know through television, film, and the back and forth circulation of the huge and constantly topped up Iranian diaspora in America, Europe and Australia. Even the devout among them have their doubts about a regime whose religious credentials have eroded after years of exposure to the temptations of office, and after respected clerics have raised anew the question of whether it is theologically right that the clerical class should enjoy political power.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme cleric, said last month after a week of student protests that "disgruntled people" who allowed themselves to become "mercenaries" for the Americans would be punished. But he and others know that shooting students in the streets, or even going beyond a certain limit in detentions, would be wildly counterproductive. The wily former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, projecting both moderation in dealing with protesters and a desire for dialogue with the US, shows that he knows that the key to political success in Iran is not to suppress the young but to satisfy some of their demands. Because a romanticised America, in part a code for a more general opening up of Iranian society, has such symbolic importance for many of the youthful middle class, whichever Iranian leader can claim to have achieved an understanding with the United States would get a big lease on political life, for himself and the regime as a whole. In that sense, Rafsanjani is in competition with the much more genuinely liberal Mohammad Khatami, the current president, who promised so much but has been able to deliver so little. He is also in competition with less flexible conservatives who may accept that some concessions to the US are unavoidable but still see America as an enemy that must be resisted everywhere in the Middle East. American leverage, therefore, arises much less from American military power than from the fact that almost everybody in Iranian politics probably wants to do some kind of a deal with them, or at least benefit from a deal done by others.

Some readiness to bend has therefore been apparent in Tehran. Jack Straw's visit adds to the evidence that the Iranians are prepared to allow the intrusive inspections of nuclear plants upon which America, with support from Europe, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Authority, has been insisting. The French swoop on the Mojahedin Khalq network and reports that the Iranians are about to hand over a number of al-Qaida men to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt - countries which could hand them on to the US - suggest some elements of a bargain are in place. (Although some think the French move is unrelated.) The Americans and Europeans also want, and probably already have seen, some reduction in Iranian support for groups like Hizbullah, or the use of its influence to moderate their behaviour.

In the US the idea of inducing a sudden and total regime change in Iran has its supporters, perhaps including Donald Rumsfeld. Many of them set store on the opposition group connected to Reza Shah, the last Shah's son. Broadcasts in Farsi from his group encouraged the student protesters last month. But few Iranians, however discontented, have any interest in a monarchical restoration, just as few had any time for the Mojahedin Khalq. Backing outside opposition groups is not a serious policy.

The real choice before America and Europe is a harder one. If Iran is ready for some kind of bargain with western countries, a bargain which Europe, in particular, has been pursuing for years, should that bargain be done with an essentially unreconstructed regime, for whom an American deal would be the glue that would enable it to enjoy a few more wobbly years of power over an unhappy population? Or should we wait in the hope of a more radical transformation, perhaps based on an alliancebetween the more moderate segment of the regime and the opposition?

That may be wishful thinking, but it is worth a little time to find out how wishful it is. The best policies could lie somewhere between unwise attempts at regime change and support of the Iranian regime as it now exists.

7 posted on 07/04/2003 3:55:40 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
RE #6

Would Rafsanjani be able to hold onto his money if he initiates a change which can be acceptable to general population? It seems to me that he is one of those protesters want to get rid of.

8 posted on 07/04/2003 4:13:23 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: DoctorZIn
Good morning
Thanks for the ping
& bttt
9 posted on 07/04/2003 6:06:00 AM PDT by firewalk
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Rafsanjani has two options
1) he initiates the ineviatable reform and keeps his money or

2) he waits util the "forces of the history" sweeps him away in a violent change in case he will lose everything.

Now my dear Ayatollah, your move...
10 posted on 07/04/2003 6:12:13 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: *southasia_list
11 posted on 07/04/2003 6:35:41 AM PDT by Free the USA
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To: DoctorZIn
A picture emerges from one Iranian businessman who used to handle the foreign trade deals for one of the big foundations. Organizations like the Mostazafan serve as giant cash boxes, he says, to pay off supporters of the mullahs, whether they're thousands of peasants bused in to attend religious demonstrations in Tehran or Hezbollah thugs who beat up students. And, not least, the foundations serve as cash cows for their managers.

The implications are clear. If the mullahs are deposed, they will still have their stashes of cash, and their armies of thugs. They will figure out a way to sabotage any new government, and their supporters among the underclass to agitate for a "return to Islam".

Machiavelli, the great political theorist of the Renaissance, originated a famous saying: "Do not do your enemy a small injury". What he meant was, if you're going to strike at an enemy, do not do it in such a slight manner that you've succeeded in making him angry, but failed in eliminating his ability to retaliate against you.

The mullahs will need to be eliminated. All of them. And their mosques razed. Otherwise they will be back, the underclass will welcome them back, and they will have meanwhile accumulated the names of the leadership of the revolt that temporarily overthrew them

12 posted on 07/04/2003 7:32:38 AM PDT by SauronOfMordor (Java/C++/Unix/Web Developer looking for next gig)
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To: DoctorZIn
I'm sure that God has a special place in hell for people like this. Men who claim to be Men of God but use their position to steal from the people. I will be glad when each and every one of them gets the opportunity to explore that "special place" first hand.
13 posted on 07/04/2003 8:21:40 AM PDT by McGavin999
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To: All
A follow-up on the Forbes article...

Mullahs such as Rafsanjani, family and friends own all kinds of property in the US and Europe. For instance, I have been told that his family owns a major new hotel in Orange County, California.

I hope someone is investigating their holdings so we can take some kind of action should the regime fall and the mullahs are on the run.
14 posted on 07/04/2003 8:27:43 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 5 days until July 9th)
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To: JulieRNR21; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; RobFromGa; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; ...
SMCCDI: Iranians celebrate National Hero's Legacy Of Fighting Against Islamist Legions

SMCCDI (Information Service)
July 4, 2003

Thousands of Iranians defied the Governmental ban and Religious taboos, yesterday, by gathering around the ruins of the famous "Babak Fortress" located in the Azarbaijan province.

Babak who's real name was "Papak" was the brave Iranian commander who fought for several years the 7th century's Islamic and Arab invaders of Iran and inflicted huge dammages to their troops.

Sporadic clashes and arrests took place in the later hour of this gathering as the regime plainclothes men tried to silence those calling for the renew of the Iranian traditions over those forcely imposed 14 centuries ago. The crowd protested about the desperate try of the regime men who believed to be able to shatter Papak's Legacy by installing huge speakers spreading the Qoran versets in Arabic.

In addition to the regime's men, few nostalgic of Pan-Turkism, who had traveled from the land of Aran (the self called Republic of Azarbaidjan), tried to use the event for the promotion of their agenda but faced massive protests from the Iranians and especially from most of the Iranians of Azari origin who renewed their atachement to their Iranian culture and history.

Some of these individuals are headed by the constroversial "Mahmudali Chohraganli" who claims to be the leader of a so-called Freedom movement in South Azerbaijan. Chohraganli who is among the nostalgics of Pan Turkism has recently attenuated his baseless claim, due to lack of Popular support among Iranian Azaris.

Once claiming that the majority of Iranian Azaris are seeking independence, he has resigned recently and at at least for now, to claim that his movement will content itself with more rights within an Iranian Federal Republic by hoping that time and spending foreign money can give him a chance.

It's to note that most Iranian Azaris have rejected his baseless claims and have declared at various occasions their attachement to Iran.

The false propaganda campaign carried by the Pan Turkist circles who're dreaming to split the Iranian province of Azarbaijan is not something new and has a long desperate history. But despite all these tries, Iranian Azaris have always shown the attachment to Iran and have contributed to its existence by chasing out the Pan Turkists who were able in the 50's to detach the Azarbaijan province from Iran with the help of Soviet Army.

Perhaps the sacrifices made by all Iranians of any ethnicity or religion in order to defend the motherland, especially during the Iraqi aggression of the 1980s, is the best example of what Iranians stand for and the consolidation of a National identity rather than ethnic as few nostalgic of Stalin era try to claim. The defense against Iraq took place while many were rejecting, already, the newly formed Islamic republic and some of the pan-Turkist, pan-Kurdish or pan-Arab were claiming that the Iran facing a revolutionary period will split following the attack of an external force. From Iranian Arabs who were the first to stop the Iraqi forces due to the lack of an organized army by passing to the Iranian Azari and Iranian Kurdish legions which went to fight the common and hereditary enemy of Iran the exploits of valiance and patriotism are not rare.

In addition it is important to know that the so-called republic of Azarbaijan was formerly known as Aran and was part of the great Persia till the mid 1800s when it was lost to the Russian empire at the issue of a bloody war.

It's to note that many Arani families still have, after the passage of all this time, the nostalgia of being Iranian and many of them still chose pure Persian name for their children instead of Turkic names. As an example, we can name "Shahin Imranov" the Arani box champion of the so-called Republic of Azarbaijan. Shahin in Persian means Eagle.

The name of Azarbaijan, which is the name of an Iranian province located in south of Aras river, forming the today's northern Iranian border, was usurped by Stalin and some pan Turkist groups in an effort to create a ground for the split of Azarbaijan from Iran. Such split was tried at the end of the WWII but failed following the departure of the Soviet troops from Iran which lead to the rebellion of the Iranian Azaris against the pan turkish.

The name Azarbaijan or Azarpadegan means bastion or temple of fire, in reference to the old Persian tradition of creating special places in order to keep on fire (Azar) which is considered as symbol of life and purification. Till our day no temple of fire has been found in the north of Aras river despite all propaganda efforts and falsification methods known to the Soviet Union and pan Turkist groups, contrary to the south (in the Iranian province of Azarbaijan) where ruins of huge temples of fire, such as, Azargoshassb have been found.

Also, everybody must note that The most well known of all Iranian warrior commanders who fought the Arab invaders was "Papak" known as "Babak" who lost his life lives following several years of fighting against the troops of the Islamic Calife ruling in Baghdad.

Papak or Babak will held in check for several years the Arab and Islamist troops in their tentative quest of conquering the Azarpadegan province (named as Azarbaijan following the Mongol invasion of Iran). Papak will loose his last battle following the betrayal of Afshin, an Iranian converted to Islam and benefiting from the caliph's gifts, lead the Arab troops in an effort to capture Papak. It is important to note that The name of "Papak" has been converted to "Babak" by Arabs as they're unable to pronounce the word "P". In addition many pan-Turkists try to claim our history and use Papak or Babak as a Turkist symbol. This is an illegitimate claim in line with the pan-Turkist policy of falsification of history. As Papak was living several centuries before the Mongol and Turkist invasions of Iran and was speaking the old Persian which was still spoken, till a few decades ago in some parts of the Azarpadegan (Azarbaidjan ) province.

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
15 posted on 07/04/2003 8:36:25 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 5 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
Re #15

Ancient Persia is the key to Iran's future just as ancient Greece and Rome were the key to Europe's future around 15th century.

16 posted on 07/04/2003 8:46:57 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: DoctorZIn
Good morning bump!

Thanks for the posts. Have a very Happy 4th!
17 posted on 07/04/2003 9:15:33 AM PDT by dixiechick2000 (Hey, mullahs..........KAKKATE KOI!)
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To: DoctorZIn; *Bush Doctrine Unfold; *war_list; W.O.T.; Eurotwit; freedom44; FairOpinion; ...
Excellent info!

Thanks for your efforts in keeping us informed!

Bush Doctrine Unfolds :

To find all articles tagged or indexed using Bush Doctrine Unfold , click below:
  click here >>> Bush Doctrine Unfold <<< click here  
(To view all FR Bump Lists, click here)

18 posted on 07/04/2003 9:47:03 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Iran Mullahs will feel the heat from our Iraq victory!)
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To: All
Member of Iran's Parliment says arrested student's confessions baseless

Tehran, July 4, IRNA -- A Tehran Constituency MP here on Friday labeled the confessions of an arrested university student, published in a morning and an evening Iranian dailies, as "funny and cent percent against the truth."

MP Fatemeh Haqiqatjou, who was reacting to the confessions made Peyman Aref, that were published in Kayhan and Resalat dailies, in a message faxed to IRNA said, "The publication of such confessions is a stage of a pre-planned scenario, designed by the strategists of despotism and aggression against the university students."

She added in her statement, "One of the objectives behind such moves is concealing the inhumane crimes committed against the university students at Tarasht University dormitory."

Haqiqatjou said, "These confessions are virtually a piece in the puzzle that can be called 'suppression of Iran's reforms movement', aimed to denying all the righteous demands of the Iranian nation, and are therefore totally worthless and unauthentic.

The Tehran Constituency MP emphasizes, "Everyone knows that I was nominated as a candidate for Iran's 6th parliamentary elections by the the country's largest student body, the Office to Foster Unity (OFU), and therefore, my relation with the university students have never been made secretly, or behind curtains."

She adds, "My relation with the OFU, too, has always been quite transparent, and its dimensions are quite clear for the country's security officials, therefore, the publication of such phony confessions would not result in ceasing the strong support of the parliament for Iran's student movement."

Haqiqatjou added, "Amid the highly radicalized prevailing atmosphere at the country's universities, the efforts made by my colleagues and I, who pursue the developments in the country's student movement, particularly those made by the esteemed parliament speaker, are aimed mainly at inviting the students to pursue their objectives peacefully, and respect the rules of national security."

She further stressed, "Had we not worked hard in those respects, I seriously doubt that the Iranian universities would have been able to continue their academic activities today."

The Tehran Constituency MP adds, "I have met Peyman Aref only once at the parliament and the only issue we discussed was around his being summoned to Bench 26 of Tehran's General Court. Both my colleagues and I, on the average, advised him to appear at the court on the appointed
date during that meeting."

She Further stressed, "I personally have neither met Mr. Tabarzadi, nor Mr. Sazegara in my life, let alone proposing a suggestion regarding cooperation with them in the framework of the Iranian student movement."

Haqiqatjou adds, "On the night of the incidence, I was informed by (the Tehran Police Chief Brigadier) General Morteza Talaie, who even invited me to attend the Tehran University dormitory to talk to the protesting students and invite them to observe tranquility, but I rejected the initiative."

She adds, "Yet, the day after that, when the university students took captive three of the members of the Sarallah Headquarters, again upon a direct request made by General Talaie, and along with the head and deputy head of the Tehran Intelligence Organization, I attended at the gathering of the protesting students and made my best efforts aimed at releasing the captured figures, which led to their release."

Haqiqatjou says, "I preserve the right to file a complaint against these accusations (supposedly made by Peyman Aref), and pursuing the case at the country's courts of justice."

She concludes, "In order to clarify the roots of the recent student unrest, it is suggestible to look for those who forged the news on privatizing of the Iranian universities, which is not very difficult to find out either, and furthermore, to clarify the role played by the illegal pressure groups and plain clothes anarchists,
who were the ones that instigated a higher level of tension and unrest."
19 posted on 07/04/2003 10:09:20 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... 5 days until July 9th)
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To: DoctorZIn
EU Parliamentarians: Stop Torturing Manochehr Mohammadi

July 04, 2003 Iran va Jahan Shaheen Fatemi

Three prominent members of the European parliament who are also members of the Swedish and European Liberal Party in an unusually strong language have " demanded that....the IRI immediately take action to stop the torture" of Mr. Manochehr Mohammadi who "has been imprisoned since 1999 is now being held in the basement of a military camp in Tehran." In their letter addressed to the Iranian Ambassador in Stockholm they add: "...torture is of course a serious violation of international law, in particular the "UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment."

One of the signatories of this letter, Mme. Cecilia Malmstrom, in a letter addressed to the same Ambassador, as a symbolic gesture of her protest against the IRI regime, refused an invitation to attend the Embassy's celebration of their revolution. That letter was published in Iran va Jahan.

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran Stockholm

Stockholm 1 July 2003

Dear Mr Ambassador,

We are writing to you concerning the case of the liberal student Mr Manochehr Mohammadi imprisoned since 1999. You probably know that Mr ManochehrMohammadi is of bad health and needs various treatment and operations in the dental area.

We have been informed that Mr Manochehr Mohammadi now is being held in the basement of a military camp in Teheran. He also said to be tortured by a brutal interrogator of the intelligent service, named Mr Ahmad Sheyka.

As you well know, torture is of course a serious violation of international law, in particular the "UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". We therefore insist that you will examine if the information we has been given is true, and we, of course wish to be informed about the result of your inquiries. If our information is correct we demand that you and your government immediately take action to stop the torture and investigate the conditions for medical treatment and the release of Mr Maonochehr Mohammadi from prison.

With best regards,

Erik Ullenhag, Liberal member of the Swedish Parliament

Cecilia Malmstr?m, Liberal member of the European Parliament and its Foreign Affairs Committee

Carl B Hamilton, Liberal member of the Swedish Parliament and of its Foreign Affairs and EU Committees

Fred Saberi, Chairman of the Liberal Immigrant Association of Stockholm
20 posted on 07/04/2003 10:34:44 AM PDT by AdmSmith
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