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Iranian Alert -- September 20, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 09/20/2003 12:27:15 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movment in Iran from being reported.
From jamming satellite broadcasts, to prohibiting news reporters from covering any demonstrations to shutting down all cell phones and even hiring foreign security to control the population, the regime is doing everything in its power to keep the popular movement from expressing its demand for an end of the regime.
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: iran; iranianalert; norway; protests; studentmovement; studentprotest
Discover all the news since the protests began on June 10th, go to:
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posted on 09/20/2003 12:27:16 AM PDT
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread
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posted on 09/20/2003 12:28:46 AM PDT
Iran Cleric Suggests Nation Quit Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
By NAZILA FATHI
NY Times 9.20.2003
TEHRAN An influential cleric suggested today that Iran opt out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, adding to signs that the difference over Iran's nuclear policy was increasing among the authorities here.
The head of Iran's nuclear energy agency, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, said at an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting this week that Iran would continue working with the agency and was fully committed to its obligations within the treaty.
But Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the powerful Guardian Council, which is responsible for approving parliamentary bills before they can become law, said the demand by the international agency to allow unrestricted access to its inspectors was "extra humiliating."
"What is the problem with withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty?" asked Ayatollah Jannati during Friday Prayers. "North Korea withdrew from the treaty. Many other countries have not even signed it."
Reuters reported, meanwhile, that Britain, Germany and France defied the United States last month by offering Iran the prospect of sharing technology if it stopped its disputed nuclear fuel enrichment program and accepted tougher United Nations inspections.
Western diplomats said a joint letter from the three countries was delivered to Tehran in early August despite intense lobbying by Washington.
A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said he could confirm that a letter had been sent to Iran, but he said it did not include any offer to cooperate on other issues. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/20/international/middleeast/20IRAN.html
posted on 09/20/2003 12:31:42 AM PDT
posted on 09/20/2003 12:36:42 AM PDT
(Socialism is slavery)
Protesters accost Iranian diplomat
LONDON, Sept. 19 (UPI) --
An Iranian diplomat accused in an Argentine bombing ran a gauntlet of protesters Friday outside a London court to appear at a 15-minute hearing.
Former Iranian Ambassador to Argentina Hade Soleimanpour, 47, is fighting extradition to the South American nation for the 1994 car bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that left 85 dead and 100 injured.
Soleimanpour is free on nearly $1.2 million bond on the condition he live in London from Monday through Thursday and report to a police station daily. He lives at another address in northeastern England Friday through Sunday.
Protesters from the National Council of Resistance of Iran greeted the diplomat, chanting "terrorist, terrorist, terrorist" and "one less terrorist out of U.K.," the London Daily Mail reported.
Soleimanpour's next court appearance is Oct. 23. He has denied involvement in the bombing, which Argentina alleges was financed by Tehran. Soleimanpour says he wasn't even in the country at the time. http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20030919-090336-5280r.htm
posted on 09/20/2003 12:37:36 AM PDT
Britain Defies US on Iran Weapons
September 20, 2003
Britain ignored American objections and joined France and Germany in offering Iran a deal to develop a non-military nuclear programme in exchange for dropping attempts to enrich its own fuel, it was disclosed yesterday.
The initiative, in a letter to the Iranian foreign ministry in August, was intended to encourage Teheran to agree to the International Atomic Energy Agency's additional protocol providing for unlimited inspections of its nuclear facilities.
Britain has long been at odds with the Bush administration in believing that dialogue with Teheran is preferable to Washington's more robust approach: comply or face the consequences.
"Washington believes that only compliance with a regime of immediate and full inspections of all its nuclear facilities will prevent an attempt by Teheran to draw out negotiations until it is too late," diplomats said.
But Washington understood that Britain preferred to work through diplomatic channels and that a joint effort with France and Germany was preferable to France and Germany operating alone again. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/09/20/wiran20.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/09/20/ixportal.html
posted on 09/20/2003 12:41:08 AM PDT
To: AdmSmith; nuconvert; Persia; RaceBannon; yonif; downer911; Eala; dixiechick2000
Store offers taste of Middle East
Look at these raisins. The quality is incredibly different than in a supermarket, said Rosenfeld, as his wife, who is from the former Russian republic of Georgia, searched for Oriental dates. This is a very good store. We walk a good distance to come here.
Rosenfeld said he and his wife love to come to the gourmet food store at 97-22 Queens Blvd. for the imported nuts, dates, dried fruits and other goods that no other stores in the area carry.
Eat a Turkish pistachio and youll never eat a California pistachio again, Rosenfeld said. The taste difference is unbelievable.
The stores owner, Rahm Mizrahi, helped serve a continuous stream of customers on a busy weekday last week with nuts, bulk dark chocolate, white pearl Bulgarian Kashkaval cheese, Israeli dates, dried cranberries, fresh halvah sweets and gol gavzaban, a dried purple flower from Iran used to make tea that can be used as an aphrodisiac.
Everybody has a special ingredient that they use for cooking, Mizrahi, 43, said. If we dont have it in our store, we can get it for them.
Originally from Iran, Mizrahi, who speaks Farsi, Hebrew and English, came to this country with his brother in 1979 when he was 18 years old. He studied electrical engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and later worked as an engineer while his brother opened up Sunflower International Gourmet Foods, a specialty store that catered to people from Israel, Iran and all over the Middle East.
In 1996, Mizrahi moved to the city to help out with his brothers small business. Two years later, he took over the Rego Park store completely, while his brother opened up another Sunflower International Gourmet Foods store in Brooklyn.
In addition to selling fruits, nuts, cheeses and sweets, the store carries an extensive back section of spices used in Persian, Indian and Israeli dishes.
This is used in almost every food in Iran, said Mizrahi, holding up a bag filled with dried lemons. We use this in all soups and all stews, in goumeh sabzi, a mixed vegetable stew that smells so nice, people say they named the word gourmet after it.
The dried lemon is also available in powder form, near the stores bags of fennelgreek, whole sumac, whole mahlop, tarragon, esphard, esparzeh and khaksher.
One of the most expensive items in the store is saffron, a red spice that costs $25 per ounce from Spain and $35 per ounce from Iran.
Saffron is more expensive than gold, said Mizrahi, holding up a small black box containing the spice. You use just a little bit of it in cooking.
Another ingredient that is popular in Iranian dishes is pomegranate paste, which is used in fesingham, an Iranian stew that contains walnuts and chicken, Mizrahi said.
I find the store to have merchandise I couldnt find where I live, and the owners are very nice, said Arthur Laifer of Far Rockaway who has been coming to the store for more than two decades. Like this whole section of pickled foods, you couldnt find where I live.
For the Jewish New Year known as Rosh Hashanah, Mizrahis brothers store in Brooklyn is preparing a special jam made with squash for some Syrian customers. The store often takes special orders for holidays such as Rosh Hashanah and Christmas as well as Persian holidays, Mizrahi said.
The store is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to sundown on Friday. It is closed Saturdays. Special orders can be placed at 718-275-3800. http://www.timesledger.com/site/News.cfm?BRD=1079&dept_id=170343&newsid=10179721&PAG=461&rfi=9
posted on 09/20/2003 1:22:36 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
Iran: Japan Lost Exclusive Rights To Oilfield - Report
Fri Sep 19, 3:42 PM ET
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Japanese oil companies lost their exclusive rights to develop Iran's Azadegan oilfield as they failed to sign an agreement on time, Iran's oil minister was quoted Friday as saying.
The BBC Monitoring service quoted Bijan Namdar Zangeneh as making the comment to the Fars News Agency in Tehran.
The issue has surfaced in recent days after a Japanese consortium of Inpex Corp., Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. and Tomen Corp. didn't sign a development agreement by the June 30 deadline.
The U.S. had asked Japan to delay signing the contract due to concerns over Iran's nuclear activities.
Iran reportedly has selected at least three companies in Europe and China to take part in the bidding for development of Azadegan, one of the world's biggest reserves. Total of France, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. and the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Royal Dutch/Shell Group reportedly have been invited to bid.
"The timeframe in which Japan enjoyed exclusive rights to developing the Azadegan oilfield has expired for some time now, particulary since they failed to sign the contract in the time given to them."
He said, "the Iranian National Oil Co. has entered negotiations with international companies to develop the Azadegan oilfield. But, we have not reached any conclusive results yet."
Commenting on reports that Indonesia would be given an oilfield project, Zanganeh said: "Indonesia had asked to develop an oilfield, but it is not true that it will be given the project without its participation in bidding." http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/dowjones/20030919/bs_dowjones/200309191542000677
posted on 09/20/2003 1:34:34 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; AdmSmith; seamole; Valin; McGavin999; Texas_Dawg; Persia; yonif; ...
Iran lagging in war on terror, says Saudi envoy to U.S.
The Saudi ambassador to the United States took aim at Iran Friday, saying his country's neighbor is dragging its heels in the war on terrorism.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz waded into the complex tug-of-war between Washington and Tehran, saying Iranian hard-liners are refusing to extradite several high-ranking members of al Qaeda who were captured in Iran in recent months.
"The Iranian government has told us that they are not supporting (al Qaeda) and not cooperating with them," Bandar said in a meeting with The Chronicle's editorial board.
"But those people are there (in Iran), and somebody must be helping them. The question is who? And this is the problem with Iran. The people who we can deal with can't deliver, they can't lead eight ducks across the street," he said referring to reformist President Mohammad Khatami, who is opposed by conservatives in charge of the nation's security apparatus.
"And the guys who can deliver, they're not interested. So it's a waiting game."
Bandar said his government believes there are between 100 and 400 al Qaeda members in Iran. Among the suspects whom the Saudis want extradited are Saad bin Laden, one of Osama bin Laden's older sons and a Saudi citizen, and the terror network's No. 3 leader, Saif al-Adel.
Saudi officials have said al-Adel, an Egyptian, helped orchestrate the May 12 bombings in Riyadh that killed 35 people, including nine Americans.
However, the Saudi-Iranian dispute appears to be a proxy battle over U.S. policy toward Iran.
Diplomats say the Iranian government is demanding a three-way deal in return for extraditing the prisoners. The Iranians want the U.S. military to close the Iraqi training camps of the Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian guerrilla force that was armed by Saddam Hussein and has been designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.
Although the State Department has reportedly supported such a deal, U.S. forces in Iraq have made no move to shut down the camps. Some analysts say the rebels are supported by Bush administration conservatives who want to use them to overthrow the Tehran government.
The stakes in the struggle are high because of U.S. charges that Iran is building nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency, a branch of the United Nations, has given the Islamic government until Oct. 31 to disprove the allegations.
Bandar is no stranger to geopolitical intrigue. The kingdom's envoy in Washington since 1983, he is the longest-serving foreign diplomat in Washington and has been a confidant of several presidents. He has been a major inside player in many U.S. policy initiatives in the Middle East.
In the meeting Friday, Bandar strongly defended Saudi cooperation with the anti-terror fight. He cited recent Saudi steps to crack down on money laundering and to prevent Saudi charities from funneling money to terrorists.
"Have I told you we've cleaned up every crazy in Saudi Arabia?" he asked. "No. But we're doing our best." http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/09/20/MN310231.DTL
posted on 09/20/2003 6:18:13 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
Map of Iran locating nuclear facilities there after the IAEA imposed an October 31 deadline on Iran to prove that it is not developing atomic weapons.(AFP)
To: nuconvert; DoctorZIn
Analysis: Splits in Iran on nuke ultimatum
By MODHER AMIN
TEHRAN, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Heated differences have emerged within Iranian political circles over how to react to the recent resolution from the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, giving Tehran until the end of October to come clean on its nuclear programs.
Despite unanimity among the reformist and right-wing figures and bodies in seeing the deadline as an affront to Iran's national dignity, there appears to be no agreement on how to react.
However, the reaction ranges from a call on the country's officialdom to abide by the resolution to advocating a pullout from the non-proliferation treaty altogether.
The biggest of the reformist factions, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, which dominates Parliament and is headed by President Mohammad Khatami's brother, Mohammad Reza, was quite explicit in uttering its views that Iran should sign up to the additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, allowing the IAEA to conduct snap, short-notice inspections.
Apart from calling on Iran to sign the protocol, last Friday's resolution also urged the Islamic republic to provide a full declaration of all imported material and components relevant to uranium enrichment, as well as to halt all related activities.
A leaked report last month revealed the IAEA's unease at finding traces of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz facility in central Iran, 180 miles south of Tehran. Iran blamed the finding on contaminated machinery purchased abroad.
Also the disclosure that the program of uranium enrichment went back to 1985 and not to 1997 as previously stated, added to the suspicions that the theocratic establishment had been pursuing a secret nuclear weapons program for nearly two decades.
The Islamic republic, however, fiercely rejects the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is designed to meet a growing demand for electricity and for peaceful research.
Failure to satisfy the IAEA could lead to referring the case to the U.N. Security Council when the nuclear watchdog's 35-nation governing board convenes on Nov. 20. The outcome, in that case, could be the imposition of international sanctions on Tehran.
In a strong statement, the Participation Front said accepting the protocol would serve the country's national interests rather than harming them as the compliance would help improve Iran's international image.
The influential, and one of the few organized, right-wing groupings, the Motalefeh Eslami or Islamic Coalition, has urged the government not to "bow to the IAEA's requests" and to pull out of the NPT, assuming a stance similar to North Korea's.
The hard-line Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper sees only one way to resist what it calls "U.S. pressure."
"The political and illegal treatment of Iran's peaceful nuclear program by America and European countries has proven the bitter truth that, in today's world, the only way for countries wishing to maintain their independence to survive is to become powerful," the paper said.
Iran's powerful former president and the head of the influential Expediency Council, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has termed the resolution as part of "the U.S. campaign against Iran's peaceful nuclear activities," which, he said "is nothing except declaring war on Islam."
He accused the United States of trying to deprive the Islamic world of "up-to-date and sophisticated science and technological know-how."
"If Iran were not an Islamic government, the U.S. would never try to stop its nuclear activities," he said, referring possibly to some voices in Iran saying that, in 1960s, the United States encouraged the shah to develop nuclear energy.
The plan for the present reactor, being built with the help of Russians in the southern port of Bushehr, dates back to early 1970s. The German Siemens accomplished most of the civil work before the 1979 Islamic revolution.
President Khatami's reaction to the controversy has been the denial of charges that his country was seeking nuclear weapons.
"Our slogan has been 'no atomic bombs, no weapons of mass destruction, but access to advanced technology, including that aimed towards peaceful nuclear programs,'" Khatami said in a meeting of top commanders of the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps on Monday. He further said that "no one can ever stop us from materializing such a goal," adding, however, that Iran's official position on the resolution has been spelled out by the foreign ministry, which stated that "the nature of our cooperation with the IAEA is under consideration."
Khatami, at the same time, accused the United States of "making a hue and cry without any reasonable grounds ... just as their policy is based on extremism and expansionism."
In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a leading reformist member of Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Akbar Alami, described the deadline as "contradictory to international laws."
"On the basis of what international norms and standards has Iran been threatened to sign the additional protocol when Israel has not even agreed to sign the NPT and the U.S. refuses to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and also the additional protocol?" the letter asked.
"The pressures exerted by the West and even the issuance of a resolution against Iran cannot force Iran to succumb to such illegitimate wishes," the letter further said.
Some other key reformists, including the Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karrubi, have also rejected the ultimatum, calling it "political."
"The Iranian people will not accept giving in to the logic of force," Karrubi said, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
And a prominent conservative, Iran's Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, termed the resolution as "unjust," echoing other Iranian leaders' views that the United States and its allies "want to stop Iran from accessing new technology."
"The only solution is to resist," Shahroudi said.
Despite contradictory statements from Iranian officials, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who is also a vice president, told a meeting of the United Nation's watchdog body in Vienna on Monday that Tehran had no intention of withdrawing from the 1968 pact.
"Iran is fully committed to its NPT responsibilities, not only because of its contractual obligations, but also because of its religious and ethical considerations," Aghazadeh was quoted as having said.
Analysts believe, despite major successes, there are fears it is getting too late to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and that no country, including Iran, can, in reality, be stopped from developing a nuclear weapon even if they sign up to stricter inspections. http://interestalert.com/brand/siteia.shtml?Story=st/sn/09200000aaa03221.upi&Sys=siteia&Fid=WORLDNEW&Type=News&Filter=World%20News
posted on 09/20/2003 8:35:23 AM PDT
by Pan_Yans Wife
("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
To: Pan_Yans Wife; AdmSmith; Persia
Iran's agro exports up 43.5 percent for the year, to hit $1.1B by March
Minister of Agriculture Jihad Mahmoud Hojjati has indicated a growth of 43.5 percent in Iran's total exports of agricultural products in the last Iranian calendar year of 1381 (ended March 20), stressing that the exports are expected to reach as much as 1.1 billion dollars this year, IRNA reported from Tehran.
The Persian-language newspaper 'Jomhouri-ye Eslami' on Saturday quoted Hojjati as saying that the figure of Iran's expected exports of agricultural products excludes export of processed foodstuff.
He further stressed that the agriculture sector has the highest growth rate in Iran in the area of non-oil exports.
Hojjati recalled Iran's vast potential in the livestock section, stressing that Iran's domestic industries supply almost 95 percent of the red meat while there is a surplus of production of poultry meat.
He said that there will be an increase of 20 percent in state purchases of wheat from farmers, adding that Iran's total production of maize is also expected to increase by 25 percent by March 2004.
Hojjati further said that cooking oil still tops the list of Iran's imports of agricultural products, adding that Iran meets about 90 percent of its cooking oil needs through imports. http://www.payvand.com/news/03/sep/1120.html
To: Pan_Yans Wife; AdmSmith; Persia
The interesting thing is that they are saying lies about their successes in different fields.
They are still importing wheat and rice... and people are in trouble for their daily food.
September 20, 2003
Exploring the roots and reason of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks, two television specials, "Searching for the Roots of 9/11," hosted by The New York Times' Tom Friedman on the Discovery Channel, and "Why U.S.?" on the Discovery Times Channel, aired on Sept. 10 and Sept. 11, respectively.
The specials explored the thoughts, sentiments, hopes, aspirations and anger of students, writers and others in several Arabic countries. One young Arab, while bemoaning the loss of "innocent lives," said that he and most Arab Muslims relished America's Sept. 11 "punch in the nose." One young female Arab student spoke of her resentment of how "American schools look down on us." One theme -- repeated again and again -- suggested that the resentment of America's dominance, power and exportation of its dominant culture converged to create the atmosphere that provoked 19 young Muslim men to hijack planes and crash them.
One Arab bitterly complained about America's "support" for Arabic dictators who deprive them of basic human rights. Several spoke of their yearning for democracy and accused America of hypocrisy for enjoying domestic democracy while propping up totalitarian governments that deprive their citizens of the basic rights enjoyed by Americans.
The Israeli-Palestinian dispute, of course, came up repeatedly, with one Muslim suggesting that a small "Jewish lobby" dictated American foreign policy, resulting in her "one-sided" support for Israel.
The New York Times' Tom Friedman, host of "Searching for the Roots of 9/11," asked: To what extent do you Arab Muslims hold yourselves responsible for your poverty and your lack of civil rights? One student agreed that, yes, he held Arabs, in part, culpable for living under corrupt regimes that maintain power through force and intimidation. Put another way, Friedman asked, why do you hold Americans responsible for the inequality, poverty and lack of rights in your own country? On the one hand, you complain about American interference, and on the other, you imply that you expect America to secure -- for you -- these rights and a better life. Which way is it?
In Iraq, for example, the United States military suffers almost daily casualties as the coalition partners struggle to put together a representational government in Iraq -- presumably the type many Arabs claimed they desire. Doesn't this demonstrate America's wish for the very type of government many young Arabs claimed they want? What of America's willingness to sacrifice lives on behalf of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Somalia?
The specials showed scenes of American cola-vending machines and American fast-food signage, such as an apparently vandalized Kentucky Fried Chicken sign. Would the lot of the Arab world improve if U.S. business interests simply pulled out?
America helped to save the world from fascism and communism without becoming an imperial power. Yet, in the Arab world with its lack of free press, people -- from schoolchildren to adults -- receive a steady diet of America bashing and American hatred, as well as the "indictment" of American support for the "racist, Zionist" state of Israel.
Arabs complaining about evil America fail to confront this conundrum. With "the great Satan" so thoroughly infused with evil and ill will, why doesn't she use her unparalleled power to simply destroy her enemies? America could, if she wished, simply nuke its enemies, and since America presumably seems indifferent to international public opinion, what would hold her back? None of the Muslims interviewed showed the least concern about the loss of innocent Israeli lives by homicide bombers. If homicide bombing reflects acts of desperation by impoverished, disenfranchised people, why not use the same method to dislodge your own rulers, whom you claim to despise? No one posed that question.
One Arab, for example, complained bitterly of the decades-long rule of the Saudi royal family, and another of Hosni Mubarak's Egyptian government. Yet "punching America in the nose" made more sense to them than punching their own, presumably despised, governments in the nose.
Watching the specials, while attempting to keep an open mind about the plight, yearnings and hopes of the Muslims interviewed, one still reduced their anger to a single word -- irrational. One Muslim, for example, said he yearned for the day when the flag of Islam "flew over the White House"!
If American "interference" in the Muslim world created this hostility, how would a "Muslim flag" over the White House solve the problem? Do the Muslim critics of American policy truly care more about the plight of the Palestinians outside of their own country? Did Egypt or Jordan create a Palestinian state when, pre-1967, they held the Gaza strip and the West Bank, respectively?
A suggestion. On the third anniversary of Sept. 11, Al-Jazeera should run specials with Arabic hosts traveling throughout America. Suggested title: "Why Americans See Our Hatred Toward Them as Irrational."
Larry Elder is the author of the newly-released Showdown. Larry also wrote The Ten Things You Cant Say in America. He is a libertarian talk show host, on the air from 3-7 pm Pacific time, on KABC Talkradio in Los Angeles. For more information, visit LarryElder.com. http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=9925
Islamic Regime in Iran Linked to Argentine Bombing
September 20, 2003
Knight Ridder News
Kevin G. Hall
BUENOS AIRES - Nearly a decade after the bombing of an Argentine Jewish center killed 85 people in the worst anti-Semitic act since World War II, investigators have stunning new evidence that the culprit was a Lebanese-born suicide bomber aided by Iran.
Israeli diplomatic sources told Argentine investigators earlier this month that the bomber was Ibrahim Hussein Berro, a 29-year-old Shiite Muslim who has been honored with a plaque in southern Lebanon for his ''martyrdom'' on July 18, 1994, the date of the terrorist attack
The powerful ammonium nitrate bomb hidden in a van reduced to rubble a seven-story building that housed the Israelite-Argentine Mutual Association, known as AMIA, and the offices of the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations, or DAIA, the political umbrella organization for Latin America's largest Jewish population.
Argentina suspected Iran from the outset because of its support for the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, notorious for its car-bomb attacks on Jewish and American targets. And there had been suggestions that the blast was the work of a suicide bomber.
But now, the theory of a suicide bomber has been confirmed, with a name and hometown. Both investigators and Jewish community leaders now think that after nine years of slow-moving court inquiries the pieces of the puzzle are coming together to strongly implicate Iranian diplomats in Buenos Aires.
The 1994 bombing, along with a March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 28, remain unsolved and a festering wound for Argentina. Court investigations have achieved little more than spotlighting corrupt police officers, petty thieves and stolen-car rings that might have provided the vehicle or the explosives.
At times, the Argentine probe has seemed circus-like. One key witness was an Iranian defector who fled to Cuba.
A former Iranian spy, testifying under protection in Germany, said earlier this year that former Argentine President Carlos Menem took $10 million in hush money from Iran to quash any serious investigation. Menem denied the charge.
But now, new intelligence information, detailed phone records and a promise by new Argentine President Néstor Kirchner to share with Jewish groups intelligence files concerning the attack, are serving to rekindle the investigation and renew hopes.
On Sept. 2, Israel passed via diplomatic channels to judicial investigators in Argentina vital information that helped identify Hussein Berro as the alleged suicide bomber.
Attorney Marta Nercellas, who represents bombing victims in court proceedings and oral testimony, said phone records presented to the court show a call made from Buenos Aires to Hussein Berro's family home in the Beirut neighborhood of al Ouzai just hours before the attack. There were no prior calls from Argentina to the Beirut number, nor any after the attack.
''We believe this was a good-bye call,'' Nercellas told Knight Ridder.
A former Argentine policeman who converted to Islam, Miguel Alfredo Barcia, testified Aug. 28 that he met and befriended Hussein Berro days before the 1994 blast at the Al Iman mosque and religious center funded by the Iranian government in the town of Canuelas, about an hour outside Buenos Aires.
Transcripts of Barcia's testimony are not yet available, but Nercellas made her notes from the session available to Knight Ridder. Testifying before a three-judge panel investigating alleged police support for terrorists, Barcia reportedly said Hussein Berro confided that his eight brothers had been ''martyred'' in suicide bombings or clashes with Israeli troops in southern Lebanon.
Barcia described Hussein Berro as depressed because he had failed in a previous attempted suicide bombing, Nercellas said. Investigators are combing through immigration records in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay to check whether Hussein Berro entered legally under his own name.
Barcia also testified that Hussein Berro disappeared from Canuelas shortly before the AMIA attack, according to Nercellas' notes. In earlier testimony before Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who has conducted the principal investigation into the 1994 bombing, Barcia did not provide such details, Nercellas said.
The new details from Barcia add to evidence being used in court to implicate Iran in the attack.
Acting on an arrest warrant signed by Judge Galeano on Aug. 13, Great Britain on Aug. 21 detained Iran's former ambassador in Buenos Aires, Hadi Soleimanpour, 47. His extradition proceedings began Friday but were postponed until Oct. 23 to give British officials time to consider the evidence that Argentina has presented against him.
Galeano also signed arrest warrants for seven other Iranians employed in the embassy at the time of the bombing. Also wanted is Ali Fallahijan, who headed Iran's state intelligence apparatus at the time of the 1994 bombing.
Citing diplomatic immunity, Soleimanpour refused to cooperate with Argentine investigators in the weeks and months after the 1994 bombing.
CALLS TO MOSQUE
Among the circumstantial evidence linking Soleimanpour to the bombing is a flurry of calls to the mosque where Hussein Berro was living, made by Soleimanpour and others in the Iranian embassy days before the attack.
Argentina has sent Tehran five requests for legal comment on the alleged involvement by Soleimanpour or others but received no reply, Jorge Palacios, Argentina's top anti-terror officer, said in an interview.
''They need to justify a ton of [strange] circumstances. This is not a capricious move by the judge,'' said the head of the anti-terror directorate of Argentina's national police. ``If you really don't have anything to hide, why not answer?''
Iran has insisted vehemently that it had no hand in the bombing, and that the United States and Israel are behind Argentina's attempts to prosecute former Iranian diplomats.
Argentine Jewish groups believe there is strong, albeit circumstantial, evidence that Iranian diplomats were involved in the attack.
They point to a strange change in diplomatic procedure in the weeks before the blast. Like many other embassies around the world, Iran's mission in Buenos Aires routinely received official mail in diplomatic pouches shipped through air carriers. Weeks before the bombing, however, diplomatic couriers began to bring in all mail in person, said Nercellas.
Testifying on Aug. 28, the imam, or spiritual leader of the Canuelas mosque, confirmed that the Iranian embassy had asked him to look into the purchase of a Renault van -- similar to the vehicle used to attack the mutual association offices -- to transport the mosque's eight members to prayer.
Imam Abadallah Madina, an Argentine convert to Islam who was born Ruben Abal Medina, testified that in the end, embassy officials told him they would buy a vehicle in Buenos Aires. http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/6817336.htm
To: DoctorZIn; nuconvert; Eala; onyx; yonif; Persia; AdmSmith; downer911; Valin; seamole; ...
UK urged to aid Iran dissidents
By Matthew Davis
BBC News Online
Human rights campaigners and British Labour MPs are calling on the UK to help secure the release of two London-based dissidents handed over to Iran's secret police during a family visit to Syria.
Abrahim Khodabandeh and Jamil Bassam - of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - were seized on 12 June and flown from Damascus to Tehran.
Mr Khodabandeh's wife Elaheh Azimfar said the pair were being held "under severe torture".
Hundreds of Iranians have taken part in a series of rallies in support of the pair this week in London and a number of other European cities, both outside British embassies and offices of the UN refugee agency.
Win Griffiths, Labour MP for Bridgend - who has formed an action group to press the British Government to do more to secure the pair's release - said they were travelling on proper documents and Syrian visas.
"The British system of justice has handled the extradition proceeding of the ex-Iranian ambassador to Argentina, Hadi Soleimanpour, totally in public.
"That is to be contrasted to the totally secretive ways of the Iranian authorities in the case of Abrahim and Jamil," Mr Griffiths said.
'Disaster in prisons'
Ms Azimfar said: "It seems to me rather callous that the British Government is doing nothing about my husband and his colleague, who are under severe torture, by citing a technicality that since they are political refugees, they are not entitled to consular services.''
But the UK Foreign Office said while it was aware of the case, it was unable to offer any consular assistance to the two men, because they were not British citizens.
"We will continue to express our concerns about human rights in Iran, but that will be as part of our ongoing dialogue with Tehran," a spokesman told BBC News Online.
The pressure comes as reformist leaders in Iran have been expressing renewed concern for the conditions of political prisoners in the country.
The leader of the biggest reformist party, Mohammad Reza Khatami - who is the president's brother - said they were deeply concerned about what he called a disaster in the country's prisons which could dwarf the recent case of Zahra Kazemi.
She was a Canadian-Iranian photo journalist who was arrested in June and died in custody as the result of a blow to the head.
Reformists say there are about 40 prominent political prisoners in the capital alone, including journalists, liberal political figures and student leaders. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3123336.stm
Putin Says Western Firms Helping Iran Nuclear Industry
September 20, 2003
MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin, hitting back at accusations Russia is irresponsibly supplying nuclear technology to Iran, said on Saturday he has proof western firms are also working in Iran's atomic sector.
Iran has come under pressure to show its nuclear programme is peaceful and U.S. officials have been lobbying Russia to stop work in the Islamic republic.
But Interfax news agency quoted Putin as saying: ''Many western firms are working with Iran in the atomic technology sector, including dual-use technology.''
Dual-use technology is atomic equipment that can have peaceful or military applications. Russia has not finished the atomic power station it is building in Iran, a country that Washington has dubbed part of an ''axis of evil'' seeking illegal arms, and says it will not deliver nuclear fuel until Tehran promises it will be returned.
Putin said he would happily share information about western firms' Iranian activities with other countries.
''We think that we do not need a complete monopoly on this and will share it with our partners,'' he added. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters09-20-112446.asp?reg=EUROPE
"What is the problem with withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty?" asked Ayatollah Jannati during Friday Prayers.
By all means, play the rebel to the mean-spirited Uncle Sam. It has worked so well for the Hussein family.
posted on 09/20/2003 4:39:17 PM PDT
(Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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