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Iranian Alert -- DAY 35 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
Live Thread Ping List ^ | 7.14.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 07/14/2003 12:07:22 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

The world media has all but ignored this week's dramatic events in Iran. The regime has masterfully handled the world media. As we reported several days ago, the regime appears to have a new ally in their efforts to silent the media, Cuba.

Several days ago we reported the jamming of LA based Iranian broadcasters, the key link of communication of the Iranian protest movement. The regime had been jamming the signals in the past within Iran using equipment purchased from France.

But days before the July 9th protests were to begin the broadcaster began reporting that their uplink signal was being jammed as well. This would require jamming equipment either in the US or nearby. We have been seeking confirmation of this story. We now have it.

Loral Skynet, hired a firm to investigate the source of the jamming. The result was that they have narrowed the probable source of the jamming to be in the vicinity of Havana Cuba.

This story has national security implications. We need to write the media and ensure they cover this breaking story. We need to contact our elected officials and demand they investigate this immediately.

These efforts by the regime, while successful in the short term, do not resolve the fundamental reasons why this regime is crumbling from within.

Iran is a country ready for a regime change. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. 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 join us here, 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: bushdoctrineunfold; iran; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement; warlist
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To: Semper Paratus
I hope you're not suggesting that there is any bias in the media? Oh sure there MIGHT be a hint of bias on the editorial page, but as we all know there is an impenetrable wall between the editorial page and the rest of the paper.
21 posted on 07/14/2003 7:27:42 AM PDT by Valin (America is a vast conspiracy to make you happy.)
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To: DoctorZIn
.....So can it be described as a diplomtic endgame?....

Perhaps a better phrase would be "diplomatic quagmire".

22 posted on 07/14/2003 8:08:16 AM PDT by bert (Don't Panic!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Opposition members' homes raided by special forces
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jul 14, 2003

Tens of opponents homes have been raided in the last four days by special units of the Islamic Intelligence Ministry assisted by the Pasdaran Corp. Intelligence members notorious for their brutality.

Opponents were arrested during late night or in the early hours of the morning and brought to the safe houses of the regime in order to be subject to "detailled" investigations and most likely torture in order to confess about their comardes and make false statements on "links with US and Israeli Intelligences" or "Drug Traffick".

These raids have been carried, mainly, in the cities of Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, Kermanshah and Ahwaz.

In addition, about seven thousands of additional foreign mercenaries and Bassidj members of the regime have been transferred from the SE Iran to the capital in order to reinforce the existing "NE Bassidj Command of the Greater Tehran".

More bycicle units have been created and have been placed under the authority of the infamous "Reza -Zadeh" who has in charge the "kamranieh" and "Apic Street" units of these motorized baton Welding units created for the speedy smash ability of demonstrations.

The security measures of the 9th District of the Capital has been placed under the command of a named "Shamloo" who was involved in the supervizion of the bloody attack of July 9th, 1999, against the Students Dorms. The latter is a former "Iran Khodro" employee known for his fanatism and brutality against other workers. Many of the governmental shops of this district which their managers are linked to the offices of the Supreme Leader are responding to him for the collection of information but especially for allowing the warehouses of these facilities to become the safe houses of the regime for the forced interrogation of arrested opponents.

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
23 posted on 07/14/2003 8:21:53 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
Journalist's son fears Iranian cover-up

By Shawn McCarthy and Ingrid Peritz
Jul 14, 2003

Ottawa and Montreal — The son of Montreal photojournalist Zahra Kazemi says Iranian authorities are putting pressure on his grandmother to bury his mother in Iran, prompting concerns that Iranian officials are engaging in a cover-up of her suspicious death.
Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs said late Sunday that Ms. Kazemi's mother had decided to have the Iranian-born Canadian citizen buried in Iran, in accordance with Islamic custom, after she died while in custody.

Ms. Kazemi died late Friday from what local authorities called "brain failure" after she was detained and reportedly beaten for taking photographs in a Tehran prison.

"The Canadian embassy in Iran has informed Foreign Affairs that Ms. Kazemi's mother has signed papers to have Ms. Kazemi's remains buried in Iran," Foreign Affairs spokesman Reynald Doiron said Sunday. He added that the burial was expected to take place quickly, reflecting Islamic custom that burials should occur as soon as possible.

"According to Islamic law in Iran, only the mother has the legal power to do so and she has done accordingly."

Stephan Hachemi, Ms. Kazemi's son, told reporters in Montreal that he believes his mother's body remains in a morgue in Tehran.

Mr. Hachemi said his grandmother, who is in her 70s and lives in Shiraz, in southern Iran, was pressed by Iranian authorities to agree to a hasty burial, which was against her express wishes.

"It's obvious that my grandmother underwent a lot of pressure — she had been forced and had absolutely no choice [but to sign]," he said.

Mr. Hachemi said his grandmother had pleaded with him through intermediaries — Mr. Hachemi does not speak Farsi — to ensure Ms. Kazemi's body is repatriated to Canada.

"Last night again she said, 'Bring the body, bring the body, Stephan, you have to bring the body back to Canada, you have to do whatever you can,' " Mr. Hachemi said. "She wanted the body to be brought here."

The 54-year-old photojournalist had travelled to Iran by way of Iraq. She was detained three weeks ago while taking pictures of a prison and was allegedly accused of being a spy and beaten. Her mother alerted Canadian authorities that she had been detained in Tehran.

The official Iranian news agency quoted government spokesman Mohamad Hossein Khoshvaght as announcing Ms. Kazemi's death during the weekend. He confirmed she had been detained while illegally photographing a prison.

"We were informed from the judiciary officials that in the first phase of interrogation, she wasn't feeling well," Mr. Khoshvaght told the Iranian news service. "So she had been transferred to the hospital. Then she died in hospital due to a brain stroke."

He said the woman was treated as an Iranian because she had remained an Iranian national.

Canadian ambassador Philip MacKinnon met a senior Iranian official Sunday to demand an investigation into Ms. Kazemi's death and the return of her body.

Iranian President Mohammed Khatami announced Sunday that four ministers would oversee an investigation into her death.

As well, Mr. Doiron said Mr. MacKinnon was told that Mr. Hachemi could arrange to have his mother's body returned to Canada. Later Sunday, however, Canadian officials in Tehran were told Ms. Kazemi's mother had requested an immediate burial.

Some members of Parliament are questioning whether the Iranian investigation ordered by Mr. Khatami will uncover the truth about the circumstances surrounding Ms. Kazemi's death.

Montreal Liberal MP Bernard Patry said the decision to bury Ms. Kazemi in Iran was troubling.

"If there is no chance to examine the body, [no] autopsy of the body, then it will be very very difficult to have any proof to know the truth of what happened and what she died of," Mr. Patry said.

"She died of brain damage — was it a fracture or a fall? Nobody will know. In a certain way, they are hiding behind Islamic law."

Mr. Patry said Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham should insist on having a Canadian official participate in — or at least closely monitor — the investigation. He added, however, that the Iranians are unlikely to agree to such a demand.

Mr. Graham was out of the country on holidays Sunday and unavailable for comment. His officials said he has kept in close contact with the department on the situation. He also spoke to Mr. Hachemi during the weekend.

Hossein Mahoutiha, spokesman for an Iranian human-rights group in Montreal, said the Koran stipulates that burial can be delayed if the cause of death is being investigated. He said the apparent rush to bury Ms. Kazemi's body suggested the Iranian regime was trying to also bury the explosive controversy over her treatment.

"They're doing everything they can to smother the affair," he said.

Mr. Hachemi accused Iran of torturing his mother after arresting her while she was taking photos in the Iranian capital. He said officials of the Iranian embassy in Ottawa also called him to offer their sympathies.

"As I told them, 'Cut the bullshit — don't send condolences when your government killed my mother, tortured her, and still doesn't respond to my demands.'

"I ask for a simple thing: Return the body of my mother."

He said Iranian authorities also seized his mother's belongings, including her Canadian passport, laptop computer, cameras and medication. Her son said Ms. Kazemi also had receipts for between $10,000 and $20,000 in investments. He did not elaborate.
24 posted on 07/14/2003 8:24:06 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Good God! Are the people of Iran going to allow this? Are they going to stand by while this happens?
25 posted on 07/14/2003 8:28:30 AM PDT by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader, contribute to FreeRepublic!)
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To: McGavin999
Which story are you referring to?
26 posted on 07/14/2003 8:36:37 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn; Valin; nuconvert; happygrl; Texas_Dawg; risk; piasa; RaceBannon; Persia; yonif; ...

27 posted on 07/14/2003 8:45:02 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: DoctorZIn
#23, it's absolutely chilling!
29 posted on 07/14/2003 9:02:21 AM PDT by McGavin999 (Don't be a Freeploader, contribute to FreeRepublic!)
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To: DoctorZIn; Valin; nuconvert; happygrl; Texas_Dawg; risk; piasa; RaceBannon; Persia; yonif; ...
Iran's judiciary arrests reformist journalist.

TEHRAN, July 14 — Iran's hardline judiciary on Monday arrested a reformist journalist, the latest in string of dissidents to be detained as a U.N. human rights official was due to visit the country.

Complete story is :

''The managing editor of banned Tavana weekly was summoned to the public prosecutor's office and later he was arrested,'' the ISNA student news agency said. The charges were not immediately clear.

Iran's Revolutionary Court banned the publication of pro-reform Tavana in 2000 for publishing articles which allegedly defamed officials of Iran's Islamic system.

Some 90 publications have been banned since then. One of the country's biggest surviving pro-reform newspapers, Hambastegi, received a temporary ban on Sunday for not publishing the name of its manager. Many newspapers shut down since 2000 remain closed as a result of temporary bans.

Last month, Iran's conservative judiciary arrested some 4,000 people in anti-clerical protests. Around 2,000 of those arrested have since been released, officials said.

The latest wave of arrests come as the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression is due to start a 10-day visit to Iran on Thursday.

Embattled reformist President Mohammad Khatami on Sunday ordered four ministers to investigate the death of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi who died after being arrested outside Tehran's Evin prison where many dissidents are held.

Analysts said Khatami's conservative rivals have intensified their crackdown on the independent press to finish off what was left of the president's promised reforms.

''They do not want any contact between the reformist camp and the people, so by closing papers they are trying to block the last channel,'' said an analyst who asked not to be named.

After briefly flourishing following Khatami's election in 1997, Iran's reformist newspapers have been fighting a losing battle to stay open after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei branded them ''bases of the enemy'' in early 2000.

Paris-based media body Reporters Without Borders earlier this month said nine journalists had been arrested in Iran since mid-June, bringing the number of journalists in jail at that time to 17.

30 posted on 07/14/2003 9:08:42 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: Texas_Dawg; Valin; risk; nuconvert; RaceBannon; ewing; yonif; Eala; rontorr; norton; seamole; ...
News Analysis: Is War on Iran Imminent?

Even with the smoke of gunfire not completely dissipated over Iraq, the United States has already begun its sabre-rattling against another Middle Eastern country, an article in the China Economic Times said.

Even with the smoke of gunfire not completely dissipated over Iraq, the United States has already begun its sabre-rattling against another Middle Eastern country, an article in the China Economic Times said.

In the wake of three terrorist bombings in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, the United States immediately ceased its covert contact with Iran in Geneva, accusing Teheran of harboring members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.

When Washington was exerting pressure on Teheran, two events further strained US-Iranian ties.

One was that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released the news that Iran had not committed to its promise to report its sites and utilization of nuclear materials to the world's nuclear watchdog.

The other was support by the United States for the anti-government demonstrations which broke out in Teheran.

According to reports in the Western media, the United States is now setting its sights on Iran following its war against Iraq.

Since the outbreak of the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979, Washington and Teheran have been in discord.

The revolution pushed the US influence out of Iran, and Washington thus lost its control over the country's rich petroleum resources.

In 1980, the United States severed diplomatic relations with Iran, and imposed economic sanctions. During the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s, Washington threw its weight behind Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Their former ally turned foe a decade later when Saddam invaded Kuwait, triggering the 1990 Gulf War. Since then the United States has adopted a policy of containment against both Iraq and Iran.

The September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001 pushed Washington's policy towards Teheran to a new platform.

In its new National Security Strategy Report released on September 20, 2002, the United States labeled Iraq, Iran, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) countries belonging to "axis of evil."

The Afghan War in 2002 and the Iraq War in 2003 extended US strategic presence at the door of Iran, which places it literally on its doorstep.

For its part, Iran, seeking to take advantage of its traditional influence over its two neighbors, is also trying to prevent post-war Iraq and Afghanistan from becoming puppets of Washington.

How to deal with the Iranian Islamic regime, whose establishment is thought to be an obstacle for US reform of post-war Iraq and Afghanistan, is a decision for the White House and the Pentagon, said the article.

The article said there are two choices for the Bush administration on the Iran issue.

One is the use of force to bring down Iran's Islamic regime so Washington can gain a lasting solution to its conflicts with the country.

The other is to exert pressure upon Iran through the IAEA, the European Union (EU) and Russia, to force it into giving up its nuclear program. At the same time, Washington can also destabilize the Iranian regime through supporting and encouraging Iran's domestic opposition parties.

Among the Bush administration's decision-making circle, there do exist some who are in favor of the first option.

But it has not become the mainstream view, argued the article.

Opposition is based upon the following considerations.

With 200,000 US soldiers still bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, another war against Iran will inevitably lead to US forces being overstretched.

Given the lack of support by the UN, NATO and many nations for its war against Iraq, a war in Iran will surely lead to further isolation for the United States within the international community.

And with a presidential election looming, Bush is faced with the pressing tasks of rejuvenating the US economy and realizing the Middle East peace "roadmap," if he is to boost his image and win re-election.

The words coming out of the White House and the Pentagon of late tend to show that the United States will opt for the destabilizing option when it comes to Iran, said the article.

The Pentagon said on June 20 the United States has yet no plan for a military strike against Iran, but it also warned they would reserve the right to use military means to stop Teheran's nuclear weapons program.

The United States also urged the IAEA to adopt a tougher stance towards Iran, demanding Teheran unconditionally accept the nuclear watchdog's challenging inspection of its nuclear facilities.

Washington also openly supports Iran's anti-government demonstrations, requiring the Iranian Government to respect the wishes of the demonstrators.

The Bush administration seems to have accepted the Pentagon's hawkish position that the United States should aid Iranian opposition parties with the aim of overthrowing the existing regime, said the article.

However, Teheran also has its own bargaining chips in dealing with Washington.

While denying it has a nuclear weapons program, Iran insists that it possesses the right to develop a nuclear program for peaceful purposes. To the IAEA's demand, Iran adopts an ambiguous stance.

The pressure from the United States may possibly postpone Iran's nuclear program, but cannot make Teheran abandon the program unless by use of force, said the article.

As a key regional player in the Middle East, Iran lent its co-operation to the United States in its campaign to hunt down Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan's Taliban regime and the war in Iraq.

While the United States is pouring rhetoric upon Iran, Teheran is possibly awaiting a good reward in return from Washington, the article concluded.

***** A Chinese view from Iran... Interesting huh?

31 posted on 07/14/2003 9:19:38 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot

Washington also openly supports Iran's anti-government demonstrations, requiring the Iranian Government to respect the wishes of the demonstrators.

Wish I knew what was going on behind the scenes...

32 posted on 07/14/2003 9:52:49 AM PDT by Eala (Freedom for Iran --
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To: F14 Pilot
There is not going to be any "War on Iran". The "People's Daily" is just a Communist propaganda scare paper.
33 posted on 07/14/2003 10:04:23 AM PDT by Texas_Dawg ("...They came to hate their party and this president... They have finished by hating their country.")
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To: All
You may have noticed I haven't published much here on the MEK (the marxist's Iranians who oppose the Islamic Republic). Here is an article by the NYTimes for your general knowledge.

The Cult of Rajavi

July 13, 2003
The New York Times
Elizabeth Rubin

For more than 30 years, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People's Mujahedeen, has survived and operated on the margins of history and the slivers of land that Saddam Hussein and French governments have proffered it. During the 1970's, while it was still an underground Iranian political movement, you could encounter some of its members on the streets of New York, waving pictures of torture victims of the shah's regime. In the 80's and 90's, after its leaders fled Iran, you could see them raising money and petitioning on university campuses around the United States, pumping photographs in the air of women mangled and tortured by the Islamic regime in Tehran. By then, they were also showing off other photographs, photographs that were in some ways more attention-grabbing: Iranian women in military uniforms who brandished guns, drove tanks and were ready to overthrow the Iranian government. Led by a charismatic husband-and-wife duo, Maryam and Massoud Rajavi, the Mujahedeen had transformed itself into the only army in the world with a commander corps composed mostly of women.

Until the United States invaded Iraq in March, the Mujahedeen survived for two decades under the patronage of Saddam Hussein. He gave the group money, weapons, jeeps and military bases along the Iran-Iraq border -- a convenient launching ground for its attacks against Iranian government figures. When U.S. forces toppled Saddam's regime, they were not sure how to handle the army of some 5,000 Mujahedeen fighters, many of them female and all of them fanatically loyal to the Rajavis. The U.S soldiers' confusion reflected confusion back home. The Mujahedeen has a sophisticated lobbying apparatus, and it has exploited the notion of female soldiers fighting the Islamic clerical rulers in Tehran to garner the support of dozens in Congress. But the group is also on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, placed there in 1997 as a goodwill gesture toward Iran's newly elected reform-minded president, Mohammad Khatami.

With the fall of Saddam and with a wave of antigovernment demonstrations across Iran last month, the Mujahedeen suddenly found itself thrown into the middle of Washington's foreign-policy battles over what to do about Iran. And now its fate hangs precariously between extinction and resurrection. A number of Pentagon hawks and policy makers are advocating that the Mujahedeen be removed from the terrorist list and recycled for future use against Iran. But the French have also stepped into the Persian fray on the side of the Iranian government -- who consider the Rajavis and their army a mortal enemy. In the early-morning hours of June 17, some 1,300 French police officers descended upon the town of Auvers-sur-Oise, where the Mujahedeen established its political headquarters. After offering the Iranian exiles sanctuary on and off for two decades and providing police protection to Maryam Rajavi, the French mysteriously arrested Rajavi along with 160 of her followers, claiming that the group was planning to move its military base to France and launch terrorist attacks on Iranian targets in Europe. Immediately, zealous Mujahedeen members in Paris, London and Rome staged hunger strikes, demanding the release of Maryam, and several set themselves ablaze.

In Washington, Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas and chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee on South Asia, accused the French of doing the Iranian government's dirty work. Along with other members of Congress, Brownback wrote a letter of protest to President Jacques Chirac, while longtime Mujahedeen champions like Sheila Jackson-Lee, Democrat of Texas, expressed their distress over Maryam's arrest. But few, if any, of these supporters have visited the Mujahedeen's desert encampments in Iraq and know how truly bizarre this revolutionary group is.

Recently, I went to visit Camp Ashraf, the main Mujahedeen base, which lies some 65 miles north of Baghdad in Diala province, near the Iranian border. Ashraf is 14 square miles of ungenerous desert surrounded by aprons of barbed wire, gun towers and guards in trough-like bunkers, shaded by camouflage netting and dehydrated palm trees, their trunks thickened by dust. As you pass the checkpoints and dragons'-teeth tire crunchers into the tidy military town, you feel you've entered a fictional world of female worker bees. Of course, there are men around; about 50 percent of the soldiers are male. But everywhere I turned, I saw women dressed in khaki uniforms and mud-colored head scarves, driving back and forth along the avenues in white pickups or army-green trucks, staring ahead, slightly dazed, or walking purposefully, a slight march to their gaits as at a factory in Maoist China.

Pari Bahshai, a stocky Iranian woman in her mid-40's and the military commander of Ashraf, was my tour guide for the day. We drove through the grounds in her white Land Cruiser out to a dry, burning plain where dozens of young women were buried in the mouths of their tanks -- adjusting, winching, tinkering with the circuits and engines that keep their fighting machines alive. There were neat rows of Brazilian Cascavel tanks, Russian BMP armored vehicles and British Chieftains, most of them captured from Iran at the end of the Iran-Iraq war.

Some of the women smiled shyly; others were expressionless as Bahshai -- who was tough but indulgent and whom they clearly loved -- made her introductions. ''When they first come here, it's hard for them to deal with these armored vehicles,'' she said. ''They don't believe in themselves. They think only men can do it. But as they see the others, they overcome their insecurity. I went through this process myself.'' Hossein Madani, a Mujahedeen political spokesman who was my minder for the day, said, ''These young women are all new from Iran or countries abroad.''

One by one, the youngest Mujahedeen sprang to life to recite their stories. A dark-haired beauty blurted out fast and robotically in Farsi, with a comrade translating into English: ''I came from Tehran six months ago. I'm 20 years old. I was in a very unstable psychological situation in the last days of my stay in Iran. I wanted to commit suicide. Why? Because we had no right to express dissent. There was no freedom. Even personal things young people wanted to do like go out to parties or wear makeup or just go out freely. Many of my friends were burning themselves to die or becoming addicted to drugs. On the Internet, I came across a saying of Maryam Rajavi, 'You're capable and you must,' and I felt after that, that I was also capable. I got my self-confidence. I always believed women were weak, but when I read Maryam Rajavi's words, I got the self-confidence to come here.''

I asked her a question to slow her down, but she simply pushed the pause button in her mind, released it when my question ended, and the tape rolled on. ''My two brothers were supporters of the Mujahedeen,'' she said, ''and were executed by the Khomeini regime.''

Several months ago, she e-mailed the Mujahedeen, who then facilitated her passage to Turkey, where she was met at the border, put on a train to Ankara and then Iraq. ''I was educated in courses of Mujahedeen history, Iranian history and the current political situation,'' she carried on. ''Now I'm in artillery class.'' She explained what it was like to be in Iraq during the U.S. bombing. ''I was scared, but I reminded myself that I came to struggle against fundamentalism, and the fact that I was a member of the Mujahedeen family gave me strength.'' And then she stopped, said thank you and went away.

There were three more just like her. ''When I was in Iran, I didn't think I could drive a tank and shoot a gun, but when I saw sister Maryam Rajavi, I got hope that I can do everything,'' said Shiva, a 21-year-old tank driver. ''Now that I know Maryam Rajavi, I want other people to know about her too, because the freedom of Iran depends on her.''

After the parade of testimonials, I was whisked onto a tank for a spin around the training ring. The women were giddy, affectionate and proud of their vehicles. They all told me how much self-confidence they had gained through Maryam. I had heard that the Mujahedeen must take a vow of ''eternal divorce,'' that the young ones can never marry or have children and that the older ones had to divorce their spouses sometime in the late 1980's. I asked Sima, a woman in her late 20's, whether she ever regretted making that celibacy commitment. ''When I feel that I'm getting closer to my goal,'' she shouted in English against the wind, ''it's a more beautiful feeling than anything else. It's love.'' And what was her goal? ''I have to teach the women in Iran to feel like I feel inside and rebuild what Khomeini destroyed. He is killing the soul of every person.'' I noticed that everyone, young and old, at Camp Ashraf referred in the same programmed way to the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini as if the charismatic icon of the Iranian revolution hadn't died 14 years ago. Sima said that whenever she lapsed into the ''normal girl dreams'' of marriage and children, she looked around her and said she felt proud. ''In the difficult situations, I see happiness in the faces of my sisters.''

Nadereh, an Iranian woman who had grown up in Toronto, told me she had broken off her engagement to come to Iraq. ''I was living the best life in Toronto,'' she said. ''I was studying physiotherapy and body mechanics. I had friends and family. But I was lacking something.'' Then one day in 1998 she lay on her bed staring at the ceiling, and heard on Iranian TV that Assadollah Lajevardi, known as the butcher of Evin, the political prison in Tehran where thousands of Mujahedeen were tortured and executed, had been assassinated. The Mujahedeen claimed to have carried out the celebrated operation. ''I couldn't stand it anymore. I thought, What are you doing for your people?'' Now she drives a Katyusha rocket truck.

After we stopped and dismounted, I noticed my minder, Madani, asking the girls what words we had exchanged out there in the wind. And when he came back, Bahshai picked up her feminist cant about the ''crimes of the misogynist regime'' in Tehran and how Maryam paved the way for women to ''qualify for a hegemonic role'' in the army's general staff. As she would say later, ''Women under Khomeini commit suicide; women here become responsible.''

Though Maryam Rajavi spends most of her time in France or lobbying in the West, her smiling green eyes stalk Camp Ashraf almost as ubiquitously as the image of Saddam in Iraq or Khomeini in Iran. Her photographs in flowery blouses grace bedsides, dining tables, lecture halls and even tanks. Back in the 1960's, the founders of the Mujahedeen were students who melded revolutionary Islam with Marxism, and they were among the few to battle the shah with weapons. Like other radical students in the 60's, they rejected bourgeois values, spurned individualism and found respite in the militarized life of a cause. They were also vehemently against U.S. involvement in Iran and killed several Americans working in Tehran. Most of the student leaders -- except Massoud Rajavi and a few others who were in prison -- were executed in the 1970's.

After the shah was overthrown in 1979, Rajavi, with his charismatic style, gathered thousands of followers. He initially supported Khomeini, but quickly fell out with him and his ring of clerics. And in 1981, he plotted to bring down the Islamic regime. Rajavi dispatched his people into the streets of Tehran, and many were summarily executed. The Mujahedeen detonated a powerful bomb that killed more than 70 officials in the Iranian theocracy. (Today's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, lost the use of his right arm in one such explosion that year.) In retaliation, thousands of Mujahedeen members were arrested and then executed or tortured inside Evin Prison -- including many of today's Mujahedeen commanders in Iraq.

Rajavi fled to Paris in disguise. There, he established the National Council of Resistance in Iran, the political umbrella of the Mujahedeen. In 1986, the French began forging ties with Khomeini and kicked out Rajavi and his squads of assassins, who ran into the arms of Saddam Hussein. Hussein had been welcoming the Mujahedeen for several years. (Many Mujahedeen political supporters did stay on in France as political refugees.) Rajavi, in return, betrayed his own countrymen, identifying Iranian military targets for Iraq to bomb, a move most Iranians will never forgive. Then, right after the Iran-Iraq cease-fire in 1988, as if orchestrating the tragic turning point in his own Rajavi Opera, he launched thousands of his warriors on ''Operation Eternal Light'' across the border to capture Iranian territory. Two thousand Mujahedeen fighters -- many of them the parents, husbands and wives of those who are now in Iraq -- were killed by the Revolutionary Guard.

The coup de grace that metamorphosed the party into something more like a husband-and-wife-led cult was Massoud's spectacular theft of his colleague's wife, Maryam. Massoud fell in love with her and invented an entire political program to elevate her into a revolutionary queen and to justify her divorce from her husband. Women should be equal to men, Massoud claimed, and Maryam should be an equal leader by his side. But working together without being married would be a violation of Islamic law. So he maneuvered her divorce and called it a ''cultural revolution.''

As Ervand Abrahamian, a historian and author of ''The Iranian Mujahedeen,'' told me: ''Rajavi said he was emulating the prophet'' -- Muhammad -- ''who had married his adopted son's wife to show he could overcome conventional morality. It smacked of blasphemy.''

Rajavi liked having women around him and overhauled the command structure to replace the men with women -- this time calling it a ''constitutional revolution.'' It was also politically astute and added alluring spice for their public-relations campaign in the West.

"Rajavi, Rajavi, Iran, Iran, Maryam, Maryam, Iran, Iran,'' shouted a dozen young women commandos, trotting with their Kalashnikovs on a scrubby field, camouflage leaves and twigs bouncing on their helmets, their faces blurred by green paint. ''Run, run, fire, fire.'' They rolled, crouched, crept, fired and regrouped around their commander. One stepped forward: ''We weren't coordinated.'' Another shouted, ''The distance between us was too much.'' Another shouted, ''Our speed wasn't adequate.'' They were given a rest and then, spotting me, skipped up on cue, sweating and out of breath. Nineteen-year-old Sahar began: ''My mother was pregnant with me when she was arrested, and I was born in Evin Prison in 1983. When I was 1 year old, my father was executed for supporting the Mujahedeen. Now I drive a Cascavel. My mother is at another base. It's one of the reasons I decided to join the army.''

As the leaders like to boast, the Mujahedeen is a family affair. (''We have three generations of martyrs: grandmothers, mothers, daughters.'') Most of the girls I was meeting had grown up in Mujahedeen schools in Ashraf, where they lived separated from their parents. Family visits were allowed on Thursday nights and Fridays. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, many of these girls were transported to Jordan and then smuggled to various countries -- Germany, France, Canada, Denmark, England, the United States -- where they were raised by guardians who were usually Mujahedeen supporters. When they were 18 or 19, many of them decided to come back to Iraq and fill the ranks of the youngest Mujahedeen generation. Though ''decided'' is probably not the right word, since from the day they were born, these girls and boys were not taught to think for themselves but to blindly follow their leaders. ''Every morning and night, the kids, beginning as young as 1 and 2, had to stand before a poster of Massoud and Maryam, salute them and shout praises to them,'' Nadereh Afshari, a former Mujahedeen deep-believer, told me. Afshari, who was posted in Germany and was responsible for receiving Mujahedeen children during the gulf war, said that when the German government tried to absorb Mujahedeen children into their education system, the Mujahedeen refused. Many of the children were sent to Mujahedeen schools, particularly in France. The Rajavis, Afshari went on to say, ''saw these kids as the next generation's soldiers. They wanted to brainwash them and control them.'' Which may explain the pattern to their stories: a journey to self-empowerment and the enlightenment of self-sacrifice inspired by the light and wisdom of Maryam and Massoud.

As we cruised around the grounds, Hossein Madani said: ''Did you know that they built all this from scratch? That's why the combatants love their base so much.'' And it was true; the Mujahedeen had managed to cultivate out of the desert their own little paradise with vegetable gardens, rows of Eucalyptus and poplar trees, sports fields and Thursday night movies. When I asked about the fact that the land -- along with all clothing, ammunition, gas and the like -- had been donated by Saddam Hussein and that the Mujahedeen was, in effect, fighting one dictatorship under the wings of another, both Madani and Bahshai insisted that the Mujahedeen's precondition for setting up bases in Iraq was independence from Iraq's affairs. ''All we've used is the soil,'' Bahshai insisted. Either she was an adept liar or in deep denial, since everyone I spoke to -- Iraqi intelligence officers, Kurdish commanders and human rights groups -- said that in 1991 Hussein used the Mujahedeen and its tanks as advance forces to crush the Kurdish uprisings in the north and the Shia uprisings in the south. And former Mujahedeen members remember Maryam Rajavi's infamous command at the time: ''Take the Kurds under your tanks, and save your bullets for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.''

Though for years the Mujahedeen preached a Marxist-Islamic ideology, it has modernized with the times. Today, one of the standard lines of the Mujahedeen's National Council of Resistance to politicians in Europe and America is that it is advocating a secular, democratic government in Iran, and that when it overthrows the regime, it will set up a six-month interim government with Maryam as president and then hold free elections. But despite its rhetoric, the Mujahedeen operates like any other dictatorship. Mujahedeen members have no access to newspapers or radio or television, other than what is fed them. As the historian Abrahamian told me, ''No one can criticize Rajavi.'' And everyone must go through routine self-criticism sessions. ''It's all done on tape, so they have records of what you say. If there's sign of resistance, you're considered not revolutionary enough, and you need more ideological training. Either people break away or succumb.''

Salahaddin Mukhtadi, an Iranian historian in exile who still maintains communications with the Mujahedeen because it is the strongest armed opposition to the Iranian regime, told me that Mujahedeen members ''are locked up if they disagree with anything. And sometimes killed.''

Afshari, who fled the group 10 years ago, told me how friendship was forbidden. No two people could sit alone and talk together, especially about their former lives. Informants were planted everywhere. It was Maryam's idea to kill emotional relationships. ''She called it 'drying the base,''' Afshari said. ''They kept telling us every one of your emotions should be channeled toward Massoud, and Massoud equals leadership, and leadership equals Iran.'' The segregation of the sexes began almost from toddlerhood. ''Girls were not allowed to speak to boys. If they were caught mingling, they were severely punished.''

Though Maryam and Massoud finagled it so they could be together, they forced everyone else into celibacy. ''They told us, 'We are at war, and soldiers cannot have wives and husbands,''' Afshari said. ''You had to report every single day and confess your thoughts and dreams. They made men say they got erections when they smelled the perfume of a woman.'' Men and women had to participate in ''weekly ideological cleansings,'' in which they would publicly confess their sexual desires. It was not only a form of control but also a means to delete all remnants of individual thought.

One of the most disturbing encounters I had in Ashraf was with Mahnaz Bazazi, a commander who had been with the Mujahedeen for 25 years. I met her in the Ashraf hospital. Bazazi was probably on drugs, but that didn't explain the natural intoxication she was radiating, despite -- or perhaps because -- she had just had her legs amputated after an American missile slammed into the warehouse she was guarding. The doctor told me he never heard her complain. ''Even in this way, she's confronting the Mullahs,'' he said. Bazazi interrupted him. ''This is not me personally,'' she said in a soft high voice. ''These are the ideas of the Mujahedeen. It's true I lost my legs, but my struggle will continue because I have a wish -- the freedom of my country.'' At the foot of her bed, surrounded by candles, stood a large framed photograph of Maryam in a white dress and blue flowered head scarf.

In the chaotic days after the fall of Baghdad, several Mujahedeen members managed to flee the military camps and were in Kurdish custody in northern Iraq. Kurdish officials told me they weren't sure what to do with them. One was Mohammad, a gaunt 19-year-old Iranian from Tehran with sad chestnut eyes. He hadn't heard of the Mujahedeen until one day last year when he was in Istanbul desperately looking for work. A Mujahedeen recruiter spotted him and a friend sleeping on the streets, so hungry they couldn't think anymore. The recruiter gave them a bed and food for the night, and the next day showed them videos of the Mujahedeen struggle. He enticed them to join with an offer to earn money in Iraq while simultaneously fighting the cruel Iranian regime. What's more, he said, you can marry Mujahedeen girls and start your own family. The Mujahedeen seemed like salvation. Mohammad was told to inform his family that he was going to work in Germany and given an Iraqi passport.

The first month at Ashraf, he said, wasn't so bad. Then came the indoctrination in the reception department and the weird self-criticism sessions. He quickly realized there would be no wives, no pay, no communication with his parents, no friendships, no freedom. The place was a nightmare, and he wanted out. But there was no leaving. When he refused to pledge the oath to struggle forever, he was subjected to relentless psychological pressure. One night, he couldn't take it anymore. He swallowed 80 diazepam pills. His friend, he said, slit his wrists. The friend died, but to Mohammad's chagrin, he woke up in a solitary room. After days of intense prodding to embrace the Mujahedeen way, he finally relented to the oath. He trundled along numbly until the Americans invaded Iraq, when he and another friend managed to slip out into the desert. They were helped out by Arabs, and then turned themselves over to the Kurds, hoping for mercy. Mohammad fell ill, and the next thing he knew he was in prison. ''The Mujahedeen has a good appearance to the outside world, but anyone who has lived among them knows how rotten and dirty they are,'' he said.

Another Iranian whom I met at the Kurdish prison told me that he had been a zealous Mujahedeen supporter for years in Iran, and when he finally made it to the Iraqi camps, he was horrified to discover that his dream was a totalitarian mini-state.

Before I left Camp Ashraf, Massoud Farschi, one of the Mujahedeen spokesmen who was educated in the United States, told me that he thought the Mujahedeen was in the best position it had ever been in. ''We've said all along that the real threat in the world is fundamentalism, and now the world has finally seen that.'' The Mujahedeen, he said, is the barrier to that fundamentalism. Nevertheless, two days later, in early May, Gen. Ray Odierno of the Fourth Infantry Division was dispatched to the camp to negotiate the Mujahedeen's surrender. American tanks were posted outside Ashraf's gates, and two B-52's were circling the skies above. After a day of discussion, the Mujahedeen commanders reached a capitulation agreement in which they would consolidate their weapons and personnel into two separate camps. Lt. Col. John Miller, also with the Fourth, attended a ceremony in which the men and women bid farewell to their tanks. ''We saw folks kissing their vehicles, hugging them,'' he said. One 50-year-old man broke down in front of them, wailing. The women, he said, were much more controlled. Not so the women in Europe, who until recently were crying on the streets for the release of their beloved Maryam. They got their wish; a court ordered her released on bail. As for Massoud Rajavi, he has not uttered a peep. In fact, he seems to have disappeared. Some Iraqis claim to have seen him a few days before Baghdad fell boarding a helicopter south of the capital.

After the negotiations with the Mujahedeen, it was reported that Odierno said he thought that the group's commitment to democracy in Iran meant its status as a terrorist organization should be reviewed. There are also Senate staff members, Pentagon officials and even some people in the State Department who have said that if all the Mujahedeen is doing is fighting the ''evil regime'' in Iran, it quite likely that it will be removed from the State Department's terrorist list. ''There is a move afoot among Pentagon hard-liners,'' one administration official said, ''to use them as an opposition in the future.'' Recently Brownback submitted an Iran Democracy Act modeled on the Iraqi Liberation Act, which would set aside $50 million to help opposition groups overthrow the regime. The Mujahedeen, their U.S. supporters say, has provided the United States with key intelligence on Iran's nuclear program. One Congressional staff member working close to the issue said that there was a national security directive circulating ''that includes a proposal for limited surgical strikes against the Iranian regime's nuclear facilities. We would be remiss if we did not use the Mujahedeen to identify exactly what the Iranians have and in the longer term, to facilitate regime change.''

Meanwhile, inside Iran, the street protesters risking their lives and disappearing inside the regime's prisons consider the Mujahedeen a plague -- as toxic, if not more so, than the ruling clerics. After all, the Rajavis sold out their fellow Iranians to Saddam Hussein, trading intelligence about their home country for a place to house their Marxist-Islamist Rajavi sect. While Mujahedeen press releases were pouring out last month, taking undue credit for the nightly demonstrations, many antigovernment Iranians were rejoicing over the arrest of Maryam Rajavi and wondering where Massoud was hiding and why he, too, hadn't been apprehended. This past winter in Iran, when such a popular outburst among students and others was still just a dream, if you mentioned the Mujahedeen, those who knew and remembered the group laughed at the notion of it spearheading a democracy movement. Instead, they said, the Rajavis, given the chance, would have been the Pol Pot of Iran. The Pentagon has seen the fatal flaw of hitching itself to volatile groups like the Islamists who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan and, more recently, the Iraqi exile groups who had no popular base at home. It seems dangerously myopic that the U.S. is even considering resurrecting the Rajavis and their army of Stepford wives.

Elizabeth Rubin is a frequent contributor to the magazine. Her last article was about political reformers in Iran.
34 posted on 07/14/2003 10:40:37 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Reza Pahlavi: Regional Stability Only Possible with Departure of the Clerical Regime

July 11, 2003

We asked the Crown Prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, whether some of his followers have been captured at the latest demonstrations.

He replied:

Yes, but, I am not certain about the exact number; however, what worries all of us is the labels used by the clerical regime in reference to the captured youth. The mullahs accuse them of “waging war on God” which is aimed to set them up for the death penalty. I find this accusation quite disturbing because what the youth aspire is simply freedom. I hope that the world will not stand still against what is transpiring in Iran. Iranians are fed up with the current system - a system which is incapable of reform - a system which has been hopeless for more than 25 years. The people of Iran want to change this regime. We want a secular democratic government wherein religion is separated from the State. This is what the majority of Iranians are seeking.

AWAA - Iranian regime had assisted the USA to stand against Afghanistan’s former government (Taliban) and the former Iraqi regime. So, could the internal repression endanger the clerical regime’s report card?

RP - First of all we have to understand the agenda of the clerical regime. Since its inception, the regime’s reason for existence has been to export revolutionary/militant Islam to the region. This platform has served to inspiration to militants such as Bin Laden. Short term acts and tactical maneuvers by the Tehran regime ought not to be mistaken as cooperation. Because of its inherent radical nature and de-legitimization, at home, the regime seeks to secure itself by promoting its style of militancy and fundamentalism throughout the region. The will remain an obstructionist and because of it, will always side with elements of radical extremism within in the Arab world. Coercing Iraqi Shiites into siding with radical political efforts proves Tehran’s true nature and intentions in Iraq.

AWAA - Is there any American fear in the area to establish a Shiite government in Iraq with the help of the current Iranian government?

RP - The Iraqi people should decide who will lead them. Obviously it is in their best interest to have a popularly elected government which stands to serve them and not be subservient to any particular party or State. Any democratic improvement will indeed be positive for the sake of the Iraqi people, and will be fatal to the current Iranian government. If the Mullahs in Tehran did not have intentions of interference in Iraqi affairs, they would not have dedicated so much resource in support of their agents in Iraq. One of the reasons the Iraqi regime was not toppled in 1991, was the fear that Al-Hakim would usher in a regime similar to that of Tehran. Despite Tehran’s mal-intents and meddling, today, we would like to a stable Iraq elect its own sovereign government, independent of Tehran and its clerical model of autocracy.

AWAA - It has been said that the Algerian Covenant signed in 1980, resulted in the freedom of the American hostages. Is it possible that the US has undertaken a commitment not to ever try to topple the regime of the Mullahs in Iran?

RP – The clerical regime has ignored and violated numerous international protocols and agreements. Millions of Iranians reject the current regime in Iran because of its persistent violation of human rights and the suppression of freedoms of speech and the press. Based on the regime’s own statistics, there are more than 600,000 Iranians languishing in prison. There is an absence of freedom for any political parties.

AWAA - The regime has outlawed any demonstrations On July 9th in commemoration of the Tehran University protests in 1999, so why has the US media been concentrating on this date in particular?

RP - July 9th is a day to commemorate the first student strike and acts against the regime. Today however those sentiments have broadened throughout the Iranian society. The Iranian people are rising to liberate themselves. They seek to topple the regime nonviolently – they intend to cripple it and bring its collapse, clearing the way for a free and fair referendum in order to decide the form of democracy desired by the people of Iran. We need large scale strikes in various sectors of the industry. My calls for a nonviolent stand and civil disobedience campaign are aimed at strengthening our national freedom movement while at the same time weakening the regime. It should not surprise anyone to see the clerics do whatever they can to stop it.

AWAA - Do you think that the Iranian government is targeted by exaggerating their nuclear ambitions or is it a real nuclear threat?

RP - Reports and information on the same matter from variety of sources, at the very least, creates suspicion on the issue. There is little doubt that there are very few who trust this regime at its word. The best guarantee against nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction is the establishment of democracy. If the Mullahs obtain such weapons, it would not only be detrimental for the region, but the world at large.

AWAA - Why does the US accept the information by the Mojagedin Khalq Organization regarding the clerics’ nuclear power ambitions, while it recognizes the organization as a terrorist group?

RP - Regardless of the source, the truth remains unchanged and the facts have been laid out. A country rich with energy resources -- such as Oil and Gas – it is difficult to justify the allocation of so much resources to produce nuclear energy. Our region needs to be nuclear free.

AWAA - What’s causing the White House to delay its Iran policy?

RP - We must understand that there cannot be one uniform Middle Eastern policy. What happened in Afghanistan and Iraq can not happen in Iran. There is no doubt that regime change will happen at the hands of Iranians themselves. The best support from the outside world in promoting this change is moral to our people.

AWWA - So far, the European community has continued its relations with Iran and refrained from any economic sanctions. Has this caused any dilemma for George W. Bush?

RP - I have always encouraged investment in the people without enhancing credibility of the Mullahs. So the world has to pressure the clerical regime to yield to the will of the people. It must end all human rights abuses, release all political prisoners, free the press, and respect the right of the Iranian people to establish political parties.

AWAA - The Iranian regime claims that they would not obstruct the “Road Map” or any other peace process between the Arabs & Israelis. They have supposedly released many Jewish prisoners convicted of spying for Israel, so isn't this enough for the White-house?

RP - The regime’s record lacks transparency. Thus far, such rhetoric can not be corroborated. Besides, they are still openly helping the enemies of the peace process.

AWAA - Will the regime in Iran stop helping Hezbollah in Lebanon?

RP - The goal of the Clerical regime is to promote militant Islam at any cost. Therefore, as extremists they continue to aid and assist all Islamic extremists. They continue to disregard our national interests and have neither respect for Iran’s neighbors nor any intentions for cooperation in the region. I believe the region will reach peace and stability only if the Iranian people remove the clerical regime from power. Tehran is the ultimate obstacle on this road. Every time a terrorist act is carried out, the regime’s fingerprints are not far. Their ploy is to create unrest and instability in the region, in order to divert attention from themselves. All fingers are rightfully pointed at them, and they can no longer escape attention because the world is cognizant of their intents.

"If you want on or off this Iran ping list, Freepmail me”
35 posted on 07/14/2003 10:48:13 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
"longtime Mujahedeen champions like Sheila Jackson-Lee, Democrat of Texas, expressed their distress over Maryam's arrest."

Jeez, what an idiot. Can we take up a collection and buy her a one-way ticket to Camp Ashraf?
36 posted on 07/14/2003 11:03:12 AM PDT by nuconvert
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37 posted on 07/14/2003 11:17:32 AM PDT by firewalk
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To: All
I will be interviewed on PalTalk radio at 2:00 PST re: the events in Iran. I will send a link to the internet broadcast as soon as I receive it.

38 posted on 07/14/2003 12:36:58 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
If you want to listen to the live broadcast of this broadcast at 6PM EST, go to:

Click on:

Live on Air or
Listen in Now

39 posted on 07/14/2003 2:47:49 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
On Fox tonight: Gretta talks to Armitage about Iran
40 posted on 07/14/2003 4:00:13 PM PDT by nuconvert
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