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Iranian Alert -- September 24, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 9.24.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 09/24/2003 12:00:56 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

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To: F14 Pilot
Thank you so much for the information!
21 posted on 09/24/2003 11:27:48 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Thanks for the ping, Ragtime Cowgirl. I found this thread very enlightening.

Your Pro-Coalition pings are very much appreciated and great for morale.

Thanks for your dedication to spreading the good news.
22 posted on 09/24/2003 11:48:46 AM PDT by RottiBiz
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Thanks for the Pings.
23 posted on 09/24/2003 12:03:11 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: RottiBiz; Alamo-Girl; blackie; BlackVeil; onyx; AdmSmith; DoctorZIn; Pro-Bush; nuconvert; ...
Statoilsupervisors back board on Iran Reuters, 09.24.03, 1:58 PM ET STAVANGER, Norway, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Supervisors of Norwegian oil and gas group Statoil named a new board leader on Wednesday after a string of high-level resignations at Norway's biggest company over an Iran-related scandal. The corporate assembly, which oversees the board, also said it had confidence in the remaining eight members of the board after Leif Terje Loeddesoel quit as chairman late on Sunday. Chief executive Olav Fjell resigned on Tuesday. "The corporate assembly has confidence in the remaining members of the company's board," a statement said after a meeting of the assembly. It said it was appointing Kaci Kullmann Five, a former Norwegian trade minister and member of the committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize, as acting chair of the group.
24 posted on 09/24/2003 12:15:18 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
And hasn't this Administration undermined the rule of international law more than any other U.S. president in recent memory?


25 posted on 09/24/2003 12:27:12 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: All
Supreme Leader: Great Iranian nation to proceed on path towards
prosperity, well being at full strength

Tehran, Sept 24, IRNA --
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in a
meeting with the heads of the country`s three branches of power and
a large number of people and officials here on Wednesday , said "The
great Iranian nation, relying on invaluable lessons gained from the
appointment of the Prophet of Islam PBUH, would pave the path towards
prosperity and well being firmly and strongly."
Addressing military and government officials, a number of Islamic
countries` ambassadors, and a large group of people from all walks of
life, Ayatollah Khamenei congratulated the auspicious occasion of the
anniversary of the appointment of Prophet Mohammad as God`s last
messenger and said that the mankind`s greatest need today, more than
ever, is to stick firmly to the message brought to them by the Prophet
of Islam (PBUH).
Considering the obligations of the (Islamic) nations` leaders and
top authorities as "gravely heavy in the establishment of a great
Islamic civil society" Ayatollah Khamenei said, "As the Holy Prophet
of Islam has stated, in order to push forth social reforms within a
nation, it is necessary to refine their leaders, and therefore, the
nation`s authorities, Alims, intellectuals and experts need to
shoulder the heavy responsibility of mobilizing the Islamic Ummah
(nation) against their enemies, and lead the Islamic world towards
exaltation and advancement."
The supreme leader considered the wretched conditions in which the
Zionist regime is entangled currently due to the brave resistance of
the Palestinian nation as a clear example of the blessed results that
resistance against the enemies of Islam can bear.
Ayatollah Khamenei added, "Wherever the Islamic Ummah stand firm
and resist, such blessed results will definitely be observed."
Elsewhere in his remarks, Ayatollah Khamenei referred to the
United States plans for changing the Middle East map and to expand the
hegemony of the Zionists over the whole region`s nations and
governments, while strongly suppressing the Islamic renaissance.
Ayatollah Khamenei added, "At the peak of its antagonistic
approach towards the Islamic Ummah, the global arrogance has directed
all its vengeance towards the Iranian nation today, since it is well
aware that the alertness, solidarity, and resistance of the Iranians
is a tough obstacle in the way of materializing its illegitimate
The leader said that the topmost important matter today
is safeguarding the wholeness of the Islamic Republic, and the Islamic
identity of the country and emphasized "The (Iranian) authorities
need to abandon material attraction of this world, and not be
influenced by the threats and bullying of the enemy."
He added, "The oppressive powers of the world try their best to
ruin the pattern presented by the Iranian nation to the Islamic
world, but the Iranians, who have gained their revolution and their
Islamic system at the high cost of the noble blood of hundreds of
thousands of martyrs, and the selfless struggle and sacrifices by the
whole nation will not permit any power to affect their strong will."
The supreme leader of the Islamic revolution furthermore
stressed, "The call of the late Imam Khomeini (PBUH) is still heard,
and will be heard for ever after in this world, and the Iranian nation
would pave the path the late Imam showed it, and would brighten
the hearts of those who love Islam around the globe by safeguarding
the fruits of its revolution quite strongly."
Before the supreme leader`s remarks on the auspicious anniversary
of the Prophet of Islam`s appointment as God`s messenger, President
Mohammad Khatami in very brief remarks congratulated him and the
nation on the occasion and defined the objectives of the said

26 posted on 09/24/2003 1:02:52 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the information!
27 posted on 09/24/2003 1:06:44 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: DoctorZIn
U.N. Nuclear Chief Sees Worrying Signals from Iran

Wed September 24, 2003 02:33 PM ET
VIENNA (Reuters) -

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Wednesday Iran faced serious consequences if it fails to meet an Oct. 31 deadline to prove its nuclear ambitions were peaceful, adding that Tehran was putting out "worrying signals."
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, made clear Iran was likely to be reported to the U.N. Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, if doubts remained about Tehran's program when the deadline passes.

Any decision by Iran to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty would ratchet up the crisis even further, ElBaradei told National Public Radio.

"Then the matter would go to a much higher level of confrontation," he warned.

The IAEA governing board set its deadline last month after strong lobbying by the United States for action. Asked what the findings in Iran this year told his agency about Tehran's nuclear program, ElBaradei said: "It tells us that there are signals that are worrying.

"The international community needs as fast as possible assurance that Iran's nuclear program is dedicated to peaceful purposes," he added, speaking from Vienna.

Among the "worrying signals" were the discovery of highly enriched uranium at the Natanz enrichment plant and statements that its enrichment centrifuges have not been tested with nuclear material despite the IAEA's conclusion that Iran must have carried out live tests.

Washington, which branded Iran part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and pre-war Iraq, believes Iran's enrichment plants may be used to purify uranium for use in a nuclear bomb.

The IAEA board called on Iran to suspend enrichment activities.

Iran denies the U.S. allegation and insists its nuclear ambitions are limited to generating electricity.

Many non-proliferation experts say secret tests of the centrifuges, which can purify uranium for use in nuclear fuel -- or weapons -- would be grounds for declaring Iran in violation of its obligations under the non-proliferation treaty. This would require reporting Iran to the Security Council for possible economic sanctions.

If Iran does not answer all of the U.N. watchdog's questions about its nuclear activities by the end of October, ElBaradei will have to inform the IAEA board in November he is unable to verify that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful.

"If I'm not able to verify Iran's program (is peaceful) I think the board will probably take appropriate action, including referring the matter to the Security Council," he said, adding this "could have serious consequences for Iran."

Since adopting the resolution on Sept. 12, Iran has said it would reduce cooperation with the IAEA to the legally required minimum. It has also indicated that it might follow North Korea's lead and withdraw from the non-proliferation pact.

"I hope Iran would look at this (deadline) as an opportunity not as an ultimatum," ElBaradei said. "I think Iran is at a crossroads. Either implement its obligations under the NPT ... or try to walk out of its international obligations."

He warned that a decision to leave the treaty would tell the world that Tehran's nuclear ambitions are not peaceful.
28 posted on 09/24/2003 4:21:42 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
U.N. Nuclear Chief Sees Worrying Signals from Iran

Wed September 24, 2003 02:33 PM ET
VIENNA (Reuters) -
29 posted on 09/24/2003 4:23:38 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Hostile in public, Iran seeks quiet discourse with US

A saber-rattling military parade in Tehran this week belies a number of diplomatic openings.

By Scott Peterson | 9.25.2003
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

TEHRAN, IRAN – As a half-dozen of Iran's most advanced ballistic missiles roll by, at the climax of a military parade this week, the anti-US rhetoric appears unchanged.
"We will crush America under our feet," the painted lettering reads, on the Shahab-3 missile - a rocket with a 1,000-mile range that the Islamic Republic vows can "hit the heart of the enemy" US-ally Israel.

But behind the scenes, analysts say that the US occupation of Iraq - and continued instability there - is prompting both Tehran and Washington to reappraise their archenemy status, and find a number of pragmatic reasons not to antagonize each other.

"The Iranians are up for [a deal], to a point. They don't want a fight," says Ali Ansari, at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. "On the US side, they don't want to make any more enemies in the region. If they antagonize [Iran], hard-liners could whip up real trouble."

A blossoming détente is hardly possible, as questions persist about Iran's nuclear program and the presence of several Al Qaeda chiefs here. Iran is also worried about the US military presence on three borders, and that the Islamic Republic - after Afghanistan and Iraq - could be "next."

But a visit to Tehran a week ago by Jordan's King Abdullah II, followed by his trip to Washington to meet President George Bush at Camp David, may have been a key link.

"[Abdullah] received some new analysis about the region from President [Mohammad] Khatami and Foreign Minister [Kamal] Kharrazi, and transferred that analysis to the US," says Abbas Maleki, Iran's former deputy foreign minister who now runs a Caspian studies institute in Tehran.

Indeed, before visiting Bush, the Jordanian monarch told The Washington Post that he had found "common ground" between US and Iranian security interests, including a mutual fear of the threat from Al Qaeda and Sunni Muslim extremists.

The king said there is "common grounds for a dialogue," between the US and Iran, adding that a shift in policy is "a decision that [Bush is] going to make."

Though Iran remains on Bush's "axis of evil" list, strategic concerns may be causing a tactical thaw.

We now have more border with the US [occupied countries] than Canada, and we hope this makes the US familiar with realities in the region," says Mr. Maleki. As the US military gets more deeply embroiled in postwar Iraq, anti-Iran rhetoric has tapered off, he says, "because they reached the conclusion they can't fight on different fronts."

Western diplomats and analysts in Tehran dismiss US claims from Baghdad that Iran is systematically seeking to undermine the Iraq occupation, saying that Iran also has a stake in stability there.

"Iran has no interest in creating, or being linked to, any kind of problems the Americans are facing in Iraq," says a Western diplomat. "They understand the price to be paid for doing that.

"If in some circles, [Iranians] are happy when Americans are killed in Iraq, the government and many conservatives don't share that joy," the diplomat adds. "Every setback for the Americans is bad news, because it lengthens the occupation and delays the moment when the Shiite [majority] will take control."

"They didn't raise a finger, and Saddam Hussein is gone. They didn't raise a finger, and the Americans are in trouble without them," notes another, senior Western diplomat. "The principle is not to act. I'm not saying they don't do anything [against the US in Iraq], but the role is marginal."

Secret back-channel meetings are known to have been held during the past two years. And despite the show of force on Monday - the largest parade of its kind in Iran for years, with everything on display from tanks and drones to heavy artillery - Iranian leaders sought to strike a balance.

"Even if we don't give a pretext to the enemy, they will find one," Khatami told the thousands of troops. "Despite all the pressure from our enemies, we will pursue our policy of détente, but we will also insist on becoming stronger."

The influential hard-line Revolutionary Guard commander, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rahim-Safavi, said the "powerful" display showed that Iran is "ready to help establish peace in the region."

Those looking for a shaft of light on US-Iran ties, point to an article several months ago by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the powerful chair of the Expediency Council. He described ways to solve the problem, that included intervention by Iran's supreme religious leader - who has final say on all foreign policy issues - a referendum, or even a vote in parliament.

Interest in better bilateral relations has already filtered down to the street. Iranians are obsessed, pro and con, with America.

"The situation in Iraq has caused [Iranian leaders] to change their mind. They know there is no other way than friendship with the US. It's the only way to save Iran and the Iranians," says Kimia, a recent professional-school graduate. "I'm not a pro-American woman ... and people are not impressed with the Afghan and Iraqi examples. But people are tired and want to be free, and think [US ties] could be a good way."

Such high regard has led some here to expect US intervention, following Bush's encouragement of antiregime demonstrations last June. Upon hearing an American accent, Iranians often ask: "America good! When will Bush come?"

But anti-US actions often match the flag-burning public rhetoric. One example is the case of the Abbas Abdi - one of the students who took over the US embassy more than 20 years ago, who has since become a staunch reformer. Mr. Abdi was jailed last November, charged with "providing information to the enemies of the Islamic regime" for conducting a poll that found 75 percent of Iranians favoring renewed ties with the US.

And there are still key obstacles that threaten any possibility of US-Iran warming. One is the officially confirmed presence in Iran of a handful of top Al Qaeda leaders, though their circumstances - are they being hosted or detained and by whom? - are unclear, diplomats say.

Among them are believed to be Osama bin Laden's son, Saad, the movement's No. 2 and No. 3, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Saif al-Adel, and spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith.

Considering the long-standing enmity between Al Qaeda and Iran, analysts here say that the Al Qaeda presence is a high-stakes bargaining chip.

"[Iran] feels it has a hot potato, and doesn't know what to do with it," says a senior Western diplomat. "They don't like Al Qaeda, and had less contact with Al Qaeda than even the CIA did before Sept. 11."

Iran initially denied the presence of any Al Qaeda members, then extradited a handful to Saudi Arabia early last year. Iran has reportedly told the US and other countries that Al Qaeda leaders in Iran have now been detained, and are not allowed to communicate.

"The really difficult moment will be if there is a major attack on a Western target or America," says a Western diplomat. "If something is remotely tied to Qaeda operating in Iran - something that could have been prevented, if Iran had handled it right - I would hate to see the reaction from Washington."

And that possibility feeds skeptics in Tehran. "Because of the open hostility of Bush to Iran, the basis for those who want [US-Iran] relations is very weak," says Taha Hashemi, editor of the conservative Entekhab newspaper. "But as we say in Persian, there are many hopes in disappointment."
30 posted on 09/24/2003 4:26:43 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Any group affiliated with the Nobel Peace Prize should be suspect. :-/
31 posted on 09/24/2003 4:46:40 PM PDT by blackie
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To: DoctorZIn
Thursday September 25, 8:56 AM
On eve of inspection, Iran defies IAEA over uranium enrichment

With UN monitors poised to make fresh inspections, Iran defied the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, insisting that it would not bow to international demands to give up its uranium enrichment activities.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said in New York that his country wanted to produce enriched uranium to avoid reliance on supplies of nuclear fuel from Russia -- which is building Iran's first nuclear reactor.

"It's a matter of national pride to have this capability, this technology especially when it's produced domestically. This does not mean that producing (nuclear) weapons will be on our agenda," he told a business and security forum.

"The capability is the important thing, that we can produce enriched uranium ... needed for power plants as fuel," added Kharazi, in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

"It is not our policy to have nuclear weapons because we don't believe it will bring security in Iran," he said.

The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is to send its first inspection team to Iran Sunday since imposing an October 31 deadline on Tehran to prove it is not secretly developing nuclear weapons.

But Iran announced Monday that it had launched a trial run at a uranium enrichment factory in Natanz, at the centre of Western concerns over its nuclear programme.

This was despite a September 12 resolution passed by the IAEA, that urged Iran to cease enrichment activities amid US allegations that the programme -- part of a bid to generate atomic power -- is merely a cover for nuclear weapons development.

The enrichment could also complicate efforts by the IAEA to account for traces of enriched uranium they found in Natanz, 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Tehran and the site of 164 centrifuges, on a previous inspection -- traces that Iran said were on imported equipment.

The Iranian foreign minister blamed the United States for pressuring the IAEA into setting the October 31 deadline.

"The American administration put alot of pressure on the board of governors of the IAEA to issue this resolution. The IAEA believed it was not the time to make a judgement," he said.

The top Iranian diplomat also sidestepped the issue of whether Tehran was ready to sign an additional protocol with the nuclear watchdog that would allow tougher inspections of its atomic facilities.

"We are ready to negotiate on the additional protocol with the IAEA. The problem is that the Americans believe that additional protocol is not enough. If it's not enough, why should we sign it?

"The Americans say that you have to accept the additional protocol, at the same time you have to stop enrichment facilities. That's not acceptable," he said.

Kharazi also insisted that existing controls by the IAEA were sufficient to monitor its nuclear programme.

"It is true that we have the technology to enrich uranium, but as long as it is under the safeguards of the IAEA and under severe control regime of IAEA, there should be no concern," he said.

Kharazi finally countered criticism that his oil-rich nation had no need for nuclear power, saying that domestic consumption was eating up most of Iran's crude production because of booming economic growth.
32 posted on 09/24/2003 6:52:51 PM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife ("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
"It is true that we have the technology to enrich uranium, but as long as it is under the safeguards of the IAEA and under severe control regime of IAEA, there should be no concern,"

Yeah. No concern at all.
The regime's trustworthy..........NOT!
33 posted on 09/24/2003 7:36:52 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran stands firm on al-Qaeda

September 25, 2003

MEMBERS of the al-Qaeda terror network detained in Iran would not be extradited to the United States, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi said today.

But he said some of the captives would be soon tried in Iran.

Asked if some of the al-Qaeda detainees would be handed over to the United States, Mr Kharazi answered: "Not to the United States."

He said Iran had turned over about 100 al-Qaeda members to Saudi Arabia and had shared some information with the kingdom.

"Those who have committed some crime in Iran, who have done something against national security, they have to be tried inside Iran," the foreign minister said.

"They are under interrogation right now. Their trial will start in the near future."

He added that some Iranians who have been associated with al-Qaeda were already on trial.

Diplomats and Arab press reports have said the al-Qaeda members held in Iran include Osama bin Laden's son Saad, who has been stripped of his Saudi nationality; the movement's spokesman, Sulaiman Abu Gaith, a former Kuwaiti; and its number two and number three - Ayman al-Zawahiri and Saif al-Adel - both of them formerly Egyptian.,4057,7368889%5E1702,00.html
34 posted on 09/24/2003 7:40:37 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Underground economies grow in totalitarian regimes to provide the needs otherwise denied.

They function as Marx's opiate of the masses, religion, ostensibly did in capitalist societies.

As in the Soviet Union, the result is a countervailing force to productivity, ultimately contributing to collapse.

35 posted on 09/24/2003 7:55:16 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Losing Patience, Unlikely to Sign Up

September 24, 2003
Foreign Report

On 12 September, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution giving Iran until the end of October to comply with a long list of demands, including providing complex and detailed information about nuclear facilities and materials.

The demands were understandable given that Iran had during the previous year declared to the IAEA the existence of some important nuclear facilities but only after information on their existence had come from other sources. They included uranium-enrichment facilities at Natanz and at the Kalaye Electric Company in Tehran, a heavy-water production facility at Arak where a heavy-water research reactor is also to be built, waste facilities at Anarak and Qom, and the existence of previously unreported nuclear material.

Nevertheless, Iran has generally co-operated with the IAEA over many years and also in providing the information requested over the past year. It is a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and all facilities are now under IAEA safeguards. It has granted access to facilities and allowed samples to be taken for testing. However it is hesitating to sign an Additional Protocol which would impose more stringent safeguards until it has some assurance that this would then open the way to the technology it needs and to which it is entitled under the NPT. While the IAEA noted that information from Iran was "at times slow in coming and incremental", the Tehran regime's reluctance is rooted in its experience of two decades in which all attempts to acquire nuclear technology were stalled by US pressure on potential suppliers, forcing Iran to rely on developing its own technologies and sometimes resorting to the black market.

IAEA inspections of the newly declared facilities over the past year made it clear that Iran has gone a long way towards mastering many aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle. Detailed reports produced in June and September describe two centrifuge enrichment facilities at Natanz -- a pilot fuel enrichment plant that is almost completed and an industrial scale plant. Some 100 of 1,000 centrifuges are already in place and tests of a single unit began in June. The large facility is to have 50,000 centrifuges and installation is to begin in 2005. Centrifuges make highly enriched weapons-grade uranium.

The IAEA is concerned that such a level of development could not have been reached without running tests involving uranium hexafluoride (UF6), although Iran insists that only inert gases were used. The discovery of small traces of highly enriched uranium on some of the centrifuges is attributed by Iran to the fact that some of the first units to be installed were imported and had already been in use. The IAEA recognises them to be of an old European design, although they were subsequently adapted by Iran following constant failure of some components.

Patience is running out. There is a growing feeling that whatever Iran does will not be enough. European officials at the IAEA privately confirm this, with one noting: "Whatever Iran signs and however much it opens its facilities to inspection, the USA is not going to let it enrich even one gram of uranium."

Faced with this, Iran may well pull out of the NPT completely. A year ago the Atomic Energy Agency of Iran had a website, which carried an immense amount of detail in English and Persian about many of its facilities, including fuel cycle research and development. Today this site is no longer available. Is Iran already being pushed into isolationism?
36 posted on 09/24/2003 8:34:41 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: nuconvert
"...the size of Iran's underground economy to have been in the neighborhood of about 22- 25% in the early 1990s. The steady rise of the demand for money, the continued gaps between family incomes and expenditures, and the increase in non-wage employment in the last decade tend to support the privately estimated figure of 30-35%."

"over $1bn of embezzlement in state-owned banks; and a similar figure resulting from state corporate fraud."
37 posted on 09/24/2003 8:39:18 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: F14 Pilot
"Massachusetts senator, Ted Kennedy, who called Bush's Iraq policy "adrift" and accused Bush of squandering over one billion dollars a month in bribing other countries to contribute troops to Iraq."

He's a real asset to the war effort, isn't he? </sarcasm>
38 posted on 09/24/2003 8:55:38 PM PDT by nuconvert
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
39 posted on 09/24/2003 9:42:31 PM PDT by windchime
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To: windchime; Ragtime Cowgirl; DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; ...
Iran says it can enrich uranium but does not have technology to make nuclear weapons

PETER JAMES SPIELMANN, Associated Press Writer - 09-24-03

Iran is able to mine and enrich its own uranium and can develop its atomic energy program independent on its own, but it does not have the technology to develop nuclear weapons, Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday.

Kamal Kharrazi also said Tehran will "hopefully not" withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as North Korea did. Last week, a leading hardline Iranian cleric said Tehran should withdraw from the nuclear arms control treaty.

"No, we do not have the technology to make a nuclear weapon," Kharrazi told a conference on Eurasian security and economic development held in conjunction with the U.N. General Assembly.

"We have the technology to enrich uranium. There is a difference between having the technology to enrich uranium needed for a power plant as fuel, and the technology to make a bomb.

The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, based in Vienna, Austria, has given Tehran until Oct. 31 to prove its atomic energy program is peaceful. Failure to do so means the issue could be referred to the U.N. Security Council for possible enforcement action.

Kharrazi accused the IAEA board of buckling to political pressure from the United States.

The IAEA said traces of enriched uranium that its inspectors found at Kalay-e-Electric Co. in west Tehran, which raised Western suspicions of a weapons program, needed more investigation to determine their origin.

Kharrazi said that before the IAEA reached a final conclusion, Washington rammed through the IAEA board a demand for Iran to prove it had no weapons.

President Bush declared in his 2002 State of the Union speech that Iran was part of an "axis of evil" with North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

With the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq toppled by U.S.-led military forces and North Korea a pariah state after it declared that it had a nuclear weapons program, Iran is worried that it might be the next country to face U.S. action.

U.S. analysts believe Iran is years away from a nuclear weapon, even with significant foreign assistance.

Kharrazi said Iran had developed high-speed ballistic centrifuges on its own to separate and enrich uranium from its own mines, and denied the technology was imported from Russia.

He said Tehran and Moscow will soon sign an agreement to return to Russia enriched uranium provided to develop the Iranian atomic program. But he added that Iran will be able to enrich its own uranium.

Kharrazi acknowledged that the capability to produce nuclear weapons would be a source of pride for Iran, but insisted that "Iran is pursuing enrichment technology for peaceful use."

On Tuesday, Iran's representative to the IAEA said Tehran remains willing to negotiate for IAEA inspectors to enjoy unfettered access to its energy plants but, in the meantime, it will scale back its cooperation with the U.N. watchdog.

"We have decided to fulfill our obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and not beyond that," Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's representative to the IAEA, told The Associated Press.

This would limit IAEA inspections to Iran's declared nuclear facilities.

In August, Iran allowed inspectors to visit the Kalay-e-Electric Co. after they were turned away two months before when they came to take environmental samples. Iran allegedly tested centrifuges, which are used to process uranium, at the site.

Kharrazi reaffirmed Wednesday that Iran is ready to negotiate with the IAEA the additional protocol allowing complete access to all nuclear sites. But he said the Bush administration would not accept any amount of proof that Iran's atomic program was peaceful.

When asked whether Iran might withdraw entirely from the treaty, as North Korea did before declaring its weapons program, Kharrazi replied only: "Hopefully not."

"We especially agree that the whole region should be free from nuclear weapons," he said.
40 posted on 09/24/2003 11:11:12 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
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