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posted on 09/30/2003 12:39:01 AM PDT
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posted on 09/30/2003 12:41:09 AM PDT
US Troubled by 10-Day Suspension of Iranian Daily
September 29, 2003
WASHINGTON -- The United States said on Monday it was troubled that Iran's conservative judiciary had banned a leading reformist daily from publishing for 10 days after it failed to give top billing to a judiciary statement.
The judiciary statement was a riposte to articles in the Yas-e No newspaper on the welfare of imprisoned pollster Abbas Abdi, who published a survey that found three-quarters of Iranians in favor of resuming dialogue with the United States.
''We view with concern the Iranian judiciary banning a reformist publication simply for not placing prominently a judiciary statement,'' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said at his daily briefing, citing U.S. support for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
''We hope the voice of the Iranian people and their call for democracy and the rule of law will be heard and help transform Iran into a force for stability in the region,'' he added.
A member of the newspaper's board of editors said the paper had been told to hold its presses for 10 days from Monday after it refused to reprint the judiciary statement, which it had originally printed in its middle pages.
The judiciary had demanded the paper reprint the statement on its front page. Some 90 newspapers have been banned by Iran's judiciary in the last three years and scores of reformist journalists have been jailed.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed, editing by Patricia Zengerle; Reuters Messaging: arshad.mohammed.reuters.com+reuters.net; e-mail arshad.mohammed+reuters.com; +1 202 898 8393)) http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters09-29-151354.asp?reg=MIDEAST
posted on 09/30/2003 12:43:27 AM PDT
IRAN SOUGHT ENRICHED URANIUM FROM AUSTRIA
LONDON [MENL] -- Iran sought to obtain a significant amount of enriched uranium from Austria in a deal scuttled by the United States.
Western intelligence sources said the Iranian effort took place in 1999 and disputed Teheran's claim that it never sought to purchase weapons-grade fissile material and related equipment. Iran has denied assertions by the United States of an illegal uranium enrichment program, traces of which was discovered by the International Atomic Energy Agency. An IAEA delegation was scheduled to arrive in Teheran on Thursday for another nuclear inspection.
The Iranian effort took place in 1999 when Teheran launched negotiations for the acquisition of an Austrian nuclear research reactor built in the late 1950s. Austria offered Iran its Astra reactor at the Seibersdorf nuclear center in an effort to unload an aging U.S.-origin heavy-water reactor.
Austria's offer stemmed from its assessment that giving away the nuclear facility was cheaper than dismantling the reactor. The cost of dismantling the reactor was estimated at $6.7 million. http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2003/september/09_30_1.html
posted on 09/30/2003 12:44:24 AM PDT
Canadian envoy to pressure Iran over nuclear aims
OTTAWA, Sept 29 (Reuters) -
Canada said on Monday it would send its ambassador back to Iran to help the international community maintain pressure on Tehran to come clean about its program to enrich uranium.
Envoy Philip MacKinnon was withdrawn in late July to protest Iran's handling of the case of Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian photographer who died from a broken skull after being arrested in Tehran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has given Tehran until Oct. 31 to dispel doubts about its nuclear ambitions, which Washington says include making weapons. Iran denies this, saying it hopes to use nuclear technology to produce electricity.
"What we're saying to the government of Iran is 'You have to address these problems, you have to convince the world, and we are going to keep the heat on you to make sure you do that'," Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham told reporters.
"That's a good reason why I want to have our ambassador there because we need the weight of an ambassador to carry that important message to the government authorities."
Relations between the two countries are still strained over the death of Kazemi. An intelligence ministry interrogator has been charged in connection with the her death.
Graham met Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi at the United Nations last week and said he had been given assurances that Ottawa and Kazemi's family would have access to the trial.
Graham said the ambassador would be taking a letter from Prime Minister Jean Chretien to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami saying Canada wanted Kazemi's body returned and a "full, open and transparent trial whereby those who are responsible for her death are brought to justice". http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N29348885.htm
posted on 09/30/2003 12:45:27 AM PDT
Iran confirms enrichment find, denies making it; US expects Russian pullout
Iran on Monday played down the second discovery here by UN nuclear inspectors of highly enriched uranium, while rejecting the imposition of any restrictions on its civil atomic programme.
The Islamic Republic's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told state television that traces of enriched uranium found by the UN body in August at the Kalaye Electric Company near Tehran came into the country on imported equipment. He explained that given the level of enrichment was over 50 per cent, the traces could have only come from overseas because "such enrichment requires a number of centrifuges to be working over a long period of time" - in other words something that he asserted has not taken place in Iran.
Salahi added the company near Tehran had been producing machinery for a nuclear facility located in Natanz, 250 kilometres (150 miles) south of Tehran, where inspectors had earlier found traces of enriched uranium. Officials here say enrichment experiments have only just got underway. Meanwhile, government spokesman Abdollah Ramezanzadeh told reporters that Iran would not accept any restrictions on its bid to generate nuclear power, rejecting international demands for tougher safeguards on Tehran amid suspicions the programme is merely a cover for nuclear weapons development.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran rejects any restrictions on the peaceful use of nuclear technology," Ramazanzadeh told reporters. "Up to now, we have cooperated with the IAEA beyond our commitments" under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he said, adding that future cooperation with the IAEA depended on "how our negotiations progress". The IAEA has given Iran until Oct 31 to answer all its questions concerning allegations that it is seeking to develop atomic weapons, and has also called on the country to cease uranium enrichment.
The agency has also called on Iran to sign an additional protocol to the NPT, which would allow inspectors to conduct surprise visits to suspect sites. IAEA teams are only currently permitted to make pre-arranged visits, although Iran says it is cooperating beyond the terms of the NPT.
"The issue of the additional protocol is not an issue to be dealt with in one or two sessions," Ramazanzadeh said, shrugging off IAEA calls for Iran to sign the text unconditionally and immediately. It is also discussing the additional protocol with the IAEA, in order to clear up what it describes as "ambiguities" in the text. The United States has charged that the Iranians have used Kalaye to test centrifuges used to make highly enriched uranium that can be used to make atomic bombs.
Ramazanzadeh repeated official denials of the allegations. "We are ready to have full cooperation with the IAEA, and according to our religious teachings and special circumstances... we are in no way intending to use nuclear energy for anything other than peaceful purposes," he said.
The United States said Monday it expected Russia to halt construction of Iran's first nuclear power plant should the Islamic state fail to prove by Oct 31 that it is not secretly developing atomic weapons. The US ambassador to Moscow said President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin did not specifically touch on Russia's decision to push on with Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant project during their weekend Camp David talks.
But Ambassador Alexander Vershbow said that Bush had made it clear he expected Russia to cease Bushehr's development project should Iran fail to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA. Russia and the United States "continue to have difference of views on this issue but this (Bushehr) was not the focus of this discussion," Vershbow told reporters. He stressed that Bush's discussion with Putin on Iran was "very positive ... because both the United States and Russia have reservations about Iran's nuclear ambitions."
During a joint press conference with Putin on Saturday, Bush evaded a question on whether the Russian leader had given him a direct assurance if Russia intended to halt nuclear cooperation with Tehran. Although the project is worth some $800 million (around 700 million euros) to Russia, the US official said Washington expected Moscow to end all cooperation with Tehran should it fail to meet the IAEA's Oct 31 deadline. "It is our expectation that if Iran fails to comply (with IAEA resolutions), than the Russian side does the right thing in regards to Bushehr," Vershbow said.
The European Union Monday warned Iran of economic repercussions if the Islamic Republic fails to come clean on its nuclear programme. EU foreign ministers said a lucrative trade accord could be in danger if Iran fails to meet international concerns over nuclear non-proliferation, fighting terrorism, human rights and the Middle East peace process.
"More intense economic relations can be achieved only if progress is reached in the four areas of concern," the EU ministers said in a statement issued at talks in Brussels. The EU foreign ministers, restating demands they made in July, called on Tehran to sign an additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that would allow IAEA inspectors to descend on its nuclear sites without warning.
The EU hopes "Iran will sign and implement the additional protocol without delay as a first and essential step to restore international trust in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program," said the ministerial statement. The United States alleges the Iranians have used a nuclear plant near Tehran to test centrifuges used to make highly enriched uranium, which can be used to make atomic bombs.
The EU, which unlike the United States advocates a policy of constructive engagement with Iran, has been conducting talks on a trade accord with the Islamic republic over the past year. But according to the Iranian foreign ministry, the 15-nation bloc's Italian presidency has warned that the trade talks will effectively stop without a resolution to the nuclear crisis. The reported threat sparked an angry reaction from the Iranian government on Sept 18.
"Iran and the European Union began their political and commercial negotiations based on mutual respect, and just as Iran did not accept preconditions to start the talks, it will very certainly not accept preconditions to continue them," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. http://www.arabtimesonline.com/arabtimes/world/Viewdet.asp?ID=1192&cat=b
posted on 09/30/2003 12:47:37 AM PDT
Iran, Denmark experts to meet on "right to defence"
Monday, September 29, 2003 - ©2003 IranMania.com
Tehran, Sept 29, IRNA -- Experts and law scholars from Iran and Denmark will take part in a gathering on "right to defence" to be held in Tehran on October 7.
The one-day gathering is organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commission within the framework of Iran-Europe cooperation.
Iranian experts are to present articles to the gathering on the right to defence in Iran`s legal system, the right to defence in Islamic jurisdiction, the performance of lawyers and legal consultants in this regard and the practical approaches of the judiciary branch on the issue.
Fair trial, right to defence in the system of international law, role of lawyers in Denmark in enhancing right to defence and legal advices offered to families in Denmark are among the topics to be focused on by Danish scholars. Eight articles on specialized issues are to be presented to the gathering. http://www.iranmania.com/News/ArticleView/Default.asp?NewsCode=18346&NewsKind=Current%20Affairs
posted on 09/30/2003 12:48:40 AM PDT
Nukes in Iran
September 30, 2003
Unless the United Nations acts soon to prevent it, there is a good chance that Iran may face the world with a nuclear weapons crisis .
After disturbing evidence surfaced last month that Iran possessed weapons-grade nuclear fuel in the form of enriched uranium at two of its electric plants, the International Atomic Energy Agency gave Tehran just five weeks to show it was not working on a bomb. That deadline expires Oct. 31; IAEA teams are now in Iran preparing to carry out inspections.
After repeatedly denying it had any weapons-grade fuel, Tehran yesterday conceded traces of highly enriched uranium could be found at both suspected sites. But the government insisted disingenuously that the source could be traced to contaminated equipment purchased from another country. The IAEA must get a more credible explanation and if it's not convinced by it, then report to the Security Council that Iran is violating nuclear non-proliferation accords. That would subject Iran to stringent international economic sanctions.
Sanctions are notably weak enforcement tools. But they would at least put Tehran on notice that stronger measures could follow if it continues to defy UN orders.
More troubling is the certainty that Israel may not be quite so patient. Israel sees a nuclear weapon in the hands of the hard-line Iranian ayatollahs as a potential threat to its existence and has hinted that it would not hesitate to target reactors with air strikes.
Israeli officials estimate that Iran is close to producing a working weapon, perhaps by as early as next year if Russia goes ahead with plans to help Iran build a reactor capable of producing plutonium. President George W. Bush was unable to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin at last week's meeting in Camp David to give up the lucrative Iranian contract to build a reactor. Though U.S. estimates of a weapons timetable are far less alarmist than Israel's - more like five years before a bomb is produced - the potential implications are just as serious.
The United States must make common cause with UN allies to forestall Iran's weapons development before it blooms into a major crisis for the Middle East. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/991489/posts?page=1
posted on 09/30/2003 1:52:59 AM PDT
Wolfowitz Honors Slain Iraqi Cleric
September 27, 2003
The Associated Press
jenifer C. Kerr
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz paid tribute Saturday to a top Shiite cleric killed last month in Iraq, calling him a true patriot and an inspiration to many people of different faiths.
"His untimely death deprived Iraq of an important leader, at a time when men like him are badly needed," said Wolfowitz.
Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim was killed in a car bombing Aug. 29 in the holy city of Najaf. The attack left more than 80 others dead, and over 140 wounded.
Wolfowitz told about 300 mourners at a memorial service that al-Hakim and others who have died since the fall of Baghdad should be remembered for their efforts toward a free and democratic Iraq.
"The best way to honor their memory is to finish their work," he said.
Wolfowitz said much has been accomplished since the "horrible, sadistic, vicious, brutal regime" of Saddam Hussein crumbled. Hospitals and universities have reopened, and new Iraqi army is being trained as more than 40,000 Iraqi police conduct joint patrols with coalition forces, he said.
Critics have complained of the slow pace toward stability in Iraq, and the rising costs and casualties among American and coalition armed forces.
Rebuilding Iraq will take time, said Wolfowitz. "It will require patience."
Wolfowitz, a key architect of U.S. policy in Iraq, drew applause from the crowd when he said a new currency will go into circulation next month, replacing bills with the likeness of Saddam. They will "no longer bear the ugly face of the butcher," he said.
Ahmad Chalabi, the current president of the U.S.-appointed interim Iraqi Governing Council, also attended the service. Al-Hakim's brother is a member of the council.
Al-Hakim spent more than two decades in exile in Iran before returning to Iraq in May. He formed the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a prominent anti-Saddam group that advocated Islamic rule for Iraq.
While al-Hakim denounced the U.S. military occupation, he did not support violent resistance against it. http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAQ_CLERIC?SITE=DCTMS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
Israel - Prisoner Exchange Awaits Crescent Moon
September 30, 2003
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
The machinery is running for the Israel-Hizballah prisoner swap.
Barring hitches, DEBKAfiles intelligence sources report it is due to take place on a date between Wednesday October 22 and Friday October 24, depending on when the sky-gazing senior imams sight the next crescent moon and proclaim the start of the holy Muslim feast month of Ramadhan.
The Israeli government has agreed to this schedule, a bonus for Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah that enables him to advertise himself as the only Muslim leader - not Saddam Hussein or even Osama bin Laden or Yasser Arafat - capable of bringing about the release of Islamic fighters.
However, in the last two days, his demands for restoring Elhanan Tanenboim and the bodies of the three soldiers the Hizballah kidnapped in October 2000: Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Suweid, are spiraling out of sight. Relishing his new status, the Hizballah leader sat in state over the weekend, receiving delegates of the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad Islami terrorist groups with requests to put their imprisoned members on the negotiating table. From obedient minion of Damascus and Tehran, Nasrallah was in the privileged position of bestowing favors on allied terrorist groups - according to the potential usefulness of the recipient.
He may be overplaying his hand.
Tuesday, September 30, the Israeli cabinet put its foot down by taking the item off its agenda. The number of prisoners Israel would release had not been determined, said a spokesman in Jerusalem, and would certainly not include terrorist-murderers, Jordanians or Israeli Arabs.
All sides now await a decision by Irans spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, minister of intelligence Hojatoleslam Akli Younesi and senior justice Mahmoud Hashemi Shah-Roudi regarding the release of information on the fate of the Israeli navigator Ron Arad who fell captive in Lebanon 17 years ago.
Expectations are low. Tehran never parted with a word on what befell two US colonels, William R. Higgins and William Buckley, who were kidnapped in Lebanon in the eighties at their behest and tortured before they were put to death. The Iranians are even less likely to be forthcoming on the Israeli navigator.
Against all odds, Ron Arads family is fighting a courageous and spirited battle to force the Israeli government to make any prisoner handover to the Hizballah conditional on receipt of news about the missing Israeli navigator. They have petitioned the Tel Aviv district court to place a $1 million lien on the rights and properties of a key Lebanese captive, Mustafa Dirani, to prevent his release and cover damages for the abuse he inflicted on Ron Arad before selling him to the Iranians. By filing a second petition with the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, they have gained partial access to a secret report that concluded there is no proof of the missing navigators death; therefore he must be presumed alive.
But it is a losing battle, because the information they want is not in the hands of the Hizballah but in Tehran. It will be made available only if a top Iranian decision-maker calculates that its release will benefit Tehrans interests. In particular, Tehran would like to disentangle its relations with Washington or Berlin without giving up its nuclear program. The Iranians might also be tempted into giving the German government information about the Israeli navigator to set off a four-way prisoner exchange between Germany, Iran, Israel and Hizballah. They would then be able to demand that the Schroeder government hand over Iranian prisoners held on charges of terrorist action or assassination on behalf of Iranian intelligence.
In return Israeli would be required to cut loose an expanded number of Palestinian prisoners or detainees. However, if Tehran stays out of the transaction, Israel will feel less obliged to be forthcoming on Palestinian prisoners.
In any case, some exchange will go forward. The Arads therefore have little hope of winning their just, heartbreaking fight. Rons brother, Hen, who is spearheading the battle, will have to accept that it is too late in the day to bear results. The missing Israeli may still have been alive in the early 1990s. By now, given the nature of his captors, the chances are dim. The dated confidential report to which the Arads have been granted partial access establishes no more than non-proof of his death. At some point, the Sharon government will tell the court that there is nothing more to be done and present them with the solomonic decision between holding out for Ron Arad however hopeless the prospects - or winning freedom for an Israeli known to be alive, Elhanan Tanenboim, and recovering the abducted soldiers to grant their grieving families the solace of a ceremonial burial.
If anyone in Lebanon knows what befell Ron Arad, it is not Nasrallah who was never au fait with his disposition but the wanted master terrorist-abductor Imad Mughniyeh. The only realistic path remaining to the Arads is an appeal through official channels to the White House in Washington with a proposal of concerted action against the man notorious for orchestrating the deadly wave of mass terror and abductions of westerners in the Beirut of the 1980s, who subsequently served Tehran and al Qaeda as their terrorist operational ace.
It was Mughniyeh who abducted the late Colonels Higgins and Buckley and it was he who secretly moved Arad from the Lebanese Beqaa Valley to Damascus for interrogation by Syrian and Russian agents and after that most probably to Tehran. His is the most likely hand to have kidnapped the three Israeli soldiers three years ago. It was up to Mughniyeh to decide whether Nasrallah would be given the locations of Tanenboim and the three soldiers. He therefore held the key to the current prisoner exchange.
However, in recent months, the veteran master terrorist senses Washingtons noose closing around his neck. He lives in Lebanon at the mercy of the Syrians and the Hizballah because he has nowhere left to go. Therefore, the big question hanging over the current trade is not how many Palestinian prisoners Nasrallah will break free, but what deal he struck with Mughniyeh in lieu of the information he received on Tanenboim and the soldiers.
After the prisoner swap goes through if it does Mughniyeh will be left with a single trump word of Ron Arad. That is the card the navigators family must seek to uncover and it wont be achieved by litigation in Israeli courts over Mustafa Dirani. http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=576
U.N. Needs 'Full Iran Nuke-access'
September 30, 2003
VIENNA, Austria -- The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief has said he will need full and unlimited cooperation from Iran to verify Tehran's insistence that it has no secret atomic weapons programme.
Iran said on Monday it would limit the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) access to declared nuclear sites when inspectors arrive this week ahead of an October 31 deadline for Iran to show it has no nuclear weapons programme.
However, to verify Iran's claims about its controversial uranium-enrichment programme and other aspects of Iran's atomic activities, the IAEA needs access to facilities that have not been officially declared as nuclear sites.
"If we cannot have full cooperation, full disclosure, unfortunately I'll have to say that I am not able to verify the Iranian statements (that their nuclear programme is purely peaceful)," IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters Tuesday.
Iran has until the end of October to convince the IAEA that it has not been diverting resources to covertly make an atomic bomb, as the United States and other countries have alleged.
If ElBaradei tells the IAEA governing board at its November meeting that he cannot verify the Iranian statements, the board would have to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic and diplomatic sanctions.
ElBaradei said that IAEA inspectors were leaving on Wednesday for talks in Iran scheduled to begin on Thursday.
He said the priority was understanding the nature of Iran's uranium enrichment programme, which Washington says would be used to purify uranium for use in a nuclear explosive device -- a charge Iran denies.
"The most important issue (is) the nature and extent of Iran's uranium enrichment programme and that's our number one priority," he said.
The IAEA has found weapons-grade uranium at two sites in Iran, diplomats told Reuters, which has raised suspicion that Iran has long been making enriched uranium -- a key element in a nuclear weapon.
Iran says that this is due to contamination, but that explanation has met with scepticism inside and outside the IAEA.
Originally Iran had said that its enrichment programme began in 1997, but recently changed its story and told the agency that it began in 1985. This has made understanding the programme even more urgent than it was before, ElBaradei said.
"We need to reconstruct a two-decade old programme," he said. http://edition.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/09/30/iran.nuclear.elbaradei.reut/index.html
Iran Hardliners Allow Reformist Daily to Publish
September 30, 2003
TEHRAN -- Iran's conservative judiciary has granted a leading reformist newspaper a reprieve from a 10-day ban criticised by the U.S. State Department, one of the newspaper's editorial board said on Tuesday.
Yas-e No had been ordered to stop its presses from Monday after it failed to reprint a judiciary statement on its front page that it originally tucked away in its middle pages.
But Morad Veysi, one of the editorial board, said the daily would return to the kiosks on Wednesday.
''There has been agreement and the newspaper is going to be published tomorrow and I know that the statement will be published in the middle eight pages,'' he told Reuters.
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher expressed concern over the suspension at his daily briefing on Monday.
The judiciary statement had been a riposte to articles in the newspaper on the welfare of imprisoned pollster Abbas Abdi who published a survey that found three-quarters of Iranians in favour of resuming dialogue with arch-foe the United States.
Some 90 newspapers have been banned by Iran's judiciary in the last three years and scores of reformist journalists have been jailed. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters09-30-061256.asp?reg=MIDEAST
Israel May Destroy Iran's Nukes
September 30, 2003
United Press International
TEL AVIA, Israel -- Israel, alarmed by the failure of international community to move against Iran's nuclear weapons program, may do so on its own, says a report.
In a report from Tel Aviv, the Middle East Newsline said senior Israeli government and military officials have been mulling over this possibility.
The report said the clearest warning came on the eve another effort by the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate suspected Iranian violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The suspected violations include the unauthorized enrichment of uranium.
"The fact that a country like Iran, an enemy (of Israel) and which is particularly irresponsible, has equipped itself with non-conventional weapons is worrisome," Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said.
"At the moment there is continuing international diplomatic activity to deal with this threat, and it would be good if it succeeds," Ya'alon added, the report said. "But if that is not the case we would consider our options." http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/9/28/131258.shtml
IRAN'S ATOMIC DILEMMA
By AMIR TAHERI
September 30, 2003 -- IN the next few weeks, Iran's leaders will face one of their toughest decisions in two decades.
The question is: Should Iran accept random inspections of its nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)?
If yes, Iran should adhere to protocols added to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran was one of the first countries to join the NPT in 1970. Thus, for more than 30 years, Iran's nuclear installations have been regularly inspected by the IAEA.
Last month, however, an IAEA team in Iran found traces of enriched uranium, a substance used to manufacture nuclear weapons. When asked by the IAEA about the find, Iranian authorities responded with contradictory claims and assertions. The IAEA director, Mohamed ElBaradei, felt obliged to give Iran until the end of October to come up with clear answers. If it does not, the matter will be reported to the U.N. Security Council.
Washington, of course, would like nothing better. For years it has tried to turn Iran into a pariah in conflict with the United Nations.
There is more bad news for Tehran.
Britain, France and Germany have sent a joint letter to Iran demanding that it adhere to the NPT's additional protocols. Their letter threatens that failure by Iran to comply could lead to punitive measures. But it also contains a promise that, provided Iran signs the protocols, the European Union will offer both financial and technological support for the Iranian nuclear-energy plan.
The European move has received support from Japan while Russia, now building a nuclear power station in Iran, has announced a scaling down of its involvement. Last year, China withdrew from talks about building five nuclear stations in Iran.
Since 1979, Iran's revolutionary authorities have successfully played the Europeans against the Americans. The so-called "critical dialogue" between Iran and the European Union had become a framework within which both sides criticized the Americans.
At times, the Iranians have also played the Russians, Japanese and Chinese cards against both the United States and Europe.
Tehran was able to play that game for two reasons.
The first was that, despite accusations from Washington, no "smoking gun" was ever found to support charges that Iran was sponsoring terrorism and developing weapons of mass destruction. Now, however, there is a "smoking gun" - the uranium discovered by the IAEA.
The second reason Tehran was able to pursue a game of "divide and do as you please" was that successive administrations in Washington had no stomach for a fight with the Islamic Republic.
The Bush administration, however, is full of people itching for a duel with Iran. Their influence is likely to grow if Bush wins a second term. Washington is already drafting punitive plans against Iran, including a global embargo on Iranian oil. Some hawks are talking of "surgical attacks" against Iran's nuclear centers and "terrorist training camps."
It's in Iran's best interest to accept the European offer and sign the NPT protocols. Iran does not need nuclear energy urgently, if at all, and could announce a moratorium on its nuclear program for at least a year until an accord is reached with the E.U.
With Afghanistan and Iraq still unstable, the last thing that anyone needs is a blow-up in Iran.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.nypost.com/postopinion/opedcolumnists/6823.htm
Disinformation on Iraq
By Jeff Kojac
When the electricity went out during Hurricane Isabel, Americans wanted to know when their lights would go on. The same goes for Iraq's citizens who have been through far worse than Isabel. There is no doubt that the residents of Iraq have a hunger for information. Yet, the Coalition Provisional Authority is still struggling to get its message to the Iraqi people. Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera, Iranian state-sponsored broadcasting and others are filling the information vacuum with a bias that is harmful to our mission in Iraq.
The reconstruction of Iraq and the war against terrorism are ultimately battles of ideas, just as the Cold War was a struggle of ideologies. Victories in such confrontations are fundamentally about demonstrating the validity of either side's views. Such a revelation only comes with the communication of information that builds an audience's comprehension, both of specifics and the larger context. If the United States has any hope of convincing the Middle East of the validity of our involvement in the region, it is dependent upon our boosting Middle Eastern access to news and entertainment that is not hostile to us.
The power of information was a critical ingredient in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall by the German people. The Voice of America and Radio Free Europe gave Eastern Europeans a window to something other than the oppressiveness found behind the Iron Curtain, and that vision helped undermine the Communist Bloc's hold on the minds of its people. The question is whether or not America will use this tool to convey the merit of liberty, the rule of law, political pluralism and religious tolerance once again.
Last year, Al-Jazeera profited $66 million from advertisers who believed in the value of reaching the Arabic-speaking world. In comparison, the annual budget for the United States' Radio Sawa for young Arabs is $35 million; and our effort to launch a new Arabic-language 24-hour news and entertainment network has been allotted ten percent less than Al-Jazeera's yearly advertising take. Radio and TV programming are not a panacea for the misunderstandings and rifts in U.S.-Arab relations; but, such programming is crucial for shared security and prosperity in the long term because it promises to shape how Arabs interpret events.
The potential for success is real. Access to international commercial satellite television networks and the Internet have played an important part in the enthusiasm young Iranians have for the West. This sentiment has been strengthened by the United States' VOA Farsi-language television, radio and Internet services, and Radio Farda. Still, the VOA's TV services to Iran are limited to six-and-a-half hours a week. Far more effective programming time is warranted, given the opportunity for the U.S. to connect with young Iranians three-quarters of the population is under 30 years of age and the ramifications of Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Likewise, Turkey is a NATO ally and a democratic frontline state in the Middle East. Nevertheless, internal politics prevented Turkey from hosting U.S. forces in their overthrow of Saddam's regime because Turkey's citizens were poorly informed as to America's resolve and intentions. No surprise: a lack of funds prevents American broadcasters from service beyond 14 hours per week of radio. No television is provided. This is not an adequate use of mechanisms that can further America's relationships at the grassroots level in a pivotal nation.
America's annual international broadcasting annual budget hovers around $550 million ? one-fourth the price of a B-2 bomber. This is a weak investment, considering that the American defense budget is $400 billion and the U.S. has a $10.4 trillion economy. Consider that as a percentage of the government budget, the U.S. spends a quarter of what France spends on international broadcasting. No wonder then that a recent Gallup Poll in Iraq found that France's President Jacques Chirac, who opposed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, is twice as popular as President Bush, even though the vast majority of Iraqis say they are thankful Saddam is gone.
Our nation enjoys history's most powerful military, widest-ranging alliances and largest economy. Our other instrument of national power information nonetheless has yet to see its potential realized in our connection with the world. We need to increase the reach, availability and suitability of U.S. broadcasting programs for the 300 million people in the Middle East.
We have the human resources to accomplish this mission: Of the nine largest global media corporations, seven are American. Let us apply our corporate abilities to make concepts resonate across cultures. And, let us appropriate more broadcasting funds, recognizing that military power cannot be the only tool we use to touch the lives around the globe. As the most successful example of modern liberal democracy, and as the world's foremost example of a republic of ideas, we have much to gain by communicating to the world, and much to lose if we do not.
Jeff Kojac is a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20030929-090653-2503r.htm
French Foreign Minister Urges Iran to Cooperate with IAEA
September 30, 2003
The French foreign minister says Iran must cooperate fully with international inspectors by the October 31 deadline or face possible U.N. sanctions.
Speaking to reporters, Dominique de Villepin urged Iran to comply with the request of the International Atomic Energy Agency and sign an additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty by the end of October. He said he delivered the same message to Iran's foreign minister.
The protocol would expand the list of facilities subject to international inspection and allow IAEA scientists to make full inspections on short notice.
Iran stands accused of maintaining a secret nuclear weapons program, which Tehran has repeatedly denied. Iran said Monday it would give international inspectors access only to declared facilities, raising doubts about the full scale of its nuclear program.
Mr. Villepin said Iran must meet the October 31 deadline that the IAEA imposed or face possible sanctions.
Mr. Villepin said if Iran does not meet the October deadline, then the IAEA board of governors will have to decide whether to refer the matter to the United Nations Security Council. He said it would be up to the international community to decide if sanctions should be imposed on Iran.
Head of the atomic agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, told reporters IAEA inspectors, who are expected to arrive in Tehran later this week, must be given full and unlimited access to all nuclear sites.
The European Union also has stepped up the pressure on Iran, threatening to curtail its trade with Tehran if it rejects tougher international inspections. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=A48B3E10-41CE-485D-86198D5E1F08A9E1
Iran's Medicinal Alcohol Craze
September 30, 2003
Alarmed by soaring sales of medicinal spirits, Iranian authorities have begun seizing large quantities of the liquid which Tehran black marketeers say has fast become a favorite tipple in the officially "dry" country.
According to the country's strict Islamic law, only members of religious minorities are allowed to make and drink alcohol and trade in liquor is forbidden. Violators face punishments ranging from fines to jail terms or flogging.
Those determined to break the enforced sobriety have had to turn to the black market, where smuggled European vodka costs around $30 a bottle, or to buy locally-made white spirits known for their bitter aftertaste and causing prodigious hangovers.
But the recent appearance on pharmacy shelves of the cut- price wheat-based alcohol has caused a sensation.
"People have been coming in and buying cases at a time," said Dariush, a pharmacy owner in Tehran.
Sold in bottles marked "Ethyl Alcohol," the extremely potent clear liquid becomes palatable when watered down with fruit juice, fans of the drink said.
"It's better than European vodka and you don't have to find a dealer to get it for you," said Amirali, a 27-year-old engineer. "You can even buy it at the supermarket for only about $4."
Health Ministry warnings that the liquid, a sterile disinfectant, is unsuitable for consumption have been largely ignored by its growing band of devotees.
"This kind of alcohol is only for medical use but as with sleeping pills some opportunists have misused it," the Etemad newspaper Tuesday quoted a ministry official as saying.
Pharmacists said the drink craze began in March when the Health Ministry began supplying the new alcohol.
Unlike previous medicinal alcohol sold in Iran it is not discolored by dye and the bottles do not carry a "skull and crossbones" health warning.
But Etemad said the Health Ministry has now ordered pharmacies not to sell the alcohol without prescriptions and closed down a handful of pharmacies in Tehran which violated the new regulations.
"This kind of alcohol will be collected from the pharmacies and will be distributed under the supervision of the Health Ministry," the ministry official said.
Black market alcohol dealers say the new drink had hit their business hard.
"It is worse than police raids. We are facing a real recession," said Shahram, one of Tehran's booze dealers.
He said even many of his wealthy customers had switched to the locally-produced drink, claiming they preferred the taste and that it did not give them hangovers. http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=571&ncid=751&e=5&u=/nm/20030930/hl_nm/life_iran_alcohol_dc
Iran Rejected EU's Warnings on Nuclear and terrorism Issues
September 30, 2003
Iran Press Service
TEHRAN -- Iran reacted angrily on Tuesday at the European Unions warning that it would face economic sanctions if it did not comply with demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
This is unacceptable for the Islamic Republic, the Iranian Foreign Affairs Ministrys senior spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was quoted by the Iranian students news agency ISNA as having commented on the 15-25 members organizations statement issued Monday in Brussels.
The warning was "unacceptable" and "far removed from the principles of cooperation" between the EU and Tehran, he said, according to ISNA.
EU foreign Affairs ministers issued the warning to the Islamic Republic as the two sides continue talks on the signing of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Political analysts told Iran Press Service that Europe could stop the TCA, which is very important for Iran, if Tehran fails to sign the additional Protocols to the Non Proliferation Treaty by the end of October.
"More intense economic relations can be achieved only if progress is reached in the four areas of concern", the ministers said in a statement, referring to Irans nuclear programs, its support for international terrorism and its opposition to peace between the Palestinians and Israelis.
Irans harsh reaction shows that it had not expected the EU taking such a hard line on Iran, one political analyst in Tehran said, noting that Tehran has counted on Europe as a bargain chip and counterweight to US and Israeli pressures.
The EU should act in an independent manner, without account of the climate that has been artificially created (by the United States), ISNA quoted Asefi as having said, as the Vienna-based IAEAs Chief Dr Mohammad El-Bradehi warned on Tuesday that, unless Iran began to give him "full cooperation" soon, it could face international sanctions.
On 12 September, the 35 Governors of the IAEA gave the Islamic Republic until the end of October to sign the Additional Protocols or its case would be passed on the United Nations Security council for decision, that could include economic punishments against Tehran.
The Resolution utterly angered the Iranian ruling ayatollahs, with some of them openly urging the government to leave the NPT.
The additional Protocols would allow inspectors from the UNs nuclear watchdog unlimited access to all of Irans nuclear sites.
On Monday, Tehran said it would limit access for IAEAs inspectors, due to arrive in Tehran on Thursday, to declared nuclear sites, including its controversial uranium enriching plants that were built secretly.
"If we cannot have full cooperation, full disclosure, unfortunately I'll have to say that I am not able to verify the Iranian statements", that their nuclear program is purely peaceful, IAEA chief Mohamed El-Baradei told reporters.
He said on Tuesday the "number one priority" was to understand the nature of Iran's uranium enrichment program.
The IAEA has found traces of weapons-grade uranium at two sites in Iran, diplomats told Reuters, raising suspicions that Iran has long been making enriched uranium.
Iran says the traces were due to contamination from imported equipment, but that explanation has met with skepticism inside and outside the IAEA.
The uranium enriching plants have increased international concerns that Iran is after a nuclear arsenal, an allegation strongly rejected by Iranian officials, claiming that the enriched uranium is to be used in Irans nuclear powered electricity plants.
But experts pointed out that the enriched uranium needed for the Booshehr plant would be provided by Russia, the country that is building the nuclear-powered station in this Persian Gulf city.
After meeting with his Iranian counterpart in New York, Russias Foreign Affairs Minister Igor Ivanov said Moscow had no problems in continuing its atomic cooperation with Iran.
El-Baradei said Iran had yet to answer any of the outstanding questions outlined in the September 12 IAEA board resolution, though he hoped all would be answered before the deadline.
He also said that Iran had yet to open talks on signing the Additional Protocol.
"This (the protocol) is not my number one priority," he said. "My number one priority is to resolve past outstanding issues, primarily the enrichment program". http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2003/Sept-2003/eu_iran_nuclear_30903.htm
IAEA: Inspectors in Iran Need Unlimited Access
30 Sep 2003, 18:06 UTC
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is calling for unlimited access in Iran to verify the government's claim it has no nuclear weapons program.
Mohamed ElBaradei made the comment in Vienna Tuesday ahead of talks planned for Thursday in Iran. The IAEA has set an October 31 deadline for Iran to prove it is not developing nuclear weapons, as the United States and several other countries have alleged.
Meanwhile, Iran is rejecting a European Union warning of economic consequences if it does not comply with the deadline. Iran's foreign ministry said today the E.U. threat that Iran could lose a lucrative trade accord is "unacceptable."
French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin is also urging Iran to meet the deadline and says if it does not, the Tehran government could face U.N. sanctions.
Monday, Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi told a gathering at New York's Columbia University that his government does not object in principle to tougher IAEA inspections and would agree to the additional inspection protocol it is currently discussing with the IAEA. But he said the protocol should also allow Iran to continue its nuclear program to create energy and pursue other peaceful purposes. http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=01EFD104-75A5-40D7-B3CE35658FABBB0D
Brain Drain Ministry?
Tehran Times - By Hamid Golpira
Sep 30, 2003
Iran is currently looking for a new science, research and technology minister. This post cannot remain vacant for long.
Iran has one of the worst brain drain problems in the world. Intellectuals, scientists, and young university graduates are leaving the country in droves. Something must be done about this soon or a national catastrophe will occur.
The former minister of science, research and technology, Mostafa Moin, resigned, saying he could no longer tolerate the "poisonous political atmosphere" created by the conflict between rival factions.
Earlier this month, the Majlis rejected President Mohammad Khatami?s nominee for the post of science minister, Reza Faraji-Dana.
Of the 220 MPs present for the Majlis vote, 127 voted to reject Faraji-Dana's nomination, 86 voted in favor, and seven abstained.
It seems that some MPs voted to reject Faraji-Dana?s nomination because he is regarded as apolitical. Well, maybe that?s the kind of person we need now for the post of science minister, someone who will do their job and not get involved in endless and counterproductive factional disputes.
This reminds one of the Indian legend of the man struck with a poisoned arrow. When the doctor arrives, the injured man wants to know about his caste, his family, his character, and other such details before allowing him to treat him. The folly of delay is obvious then and now.
Maybe the MPs who are so concerned about the fact that Faraji-Dana has never been very active politically should take a look at the attendance record of their colleagues in the legislature. Seventy Majlis deputies did not even bother to show up for the vote on the nominee for a ministerial post. That?s nearly a fourth of the entire Majlis. This was an important vote and they should have been present.
At the end of the day, it is obvious that one of the most important tasks of the next science minister will be reversing the brain drain trend. He or she must have a good plan to accomplish this.
And just why are so many educated Iranians leaving the country? For some it is an economic decision since they will be paid much higher salaries in the West. Others are interested in doing serious research that they can not do in Iran because the national budget has never allocated sufficient funds for research. Some feel they are not being properly appreciated.
All of these issues must be addressed in order to solve the brain drain problem. Majlis deputies would be advised to make sure that the person they select as the new science minister has a comprehensive plan to solve this problem. After all, what do we want, a Ministry of Science, Research and Technology or a Brain Drain Ministry? The future of Iran hangs in the balance. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_2646.shtml
To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
It is beginning again. -- DoctorZin
Sporadic protest actions in Iranian universities
SMCCDI (Information Service)
Sep 30, 2003
Sporadic protest actions are taking place in most Iranian universities on the 3rd day of the new University year.
Many students openly criticize the regime and the persistent repression while asking the release of their arrested colleagues and the admittance of those purged from the universities.
Reports from Mashad, Kermanshah, Sari and Hamedan universities are stating about partial strikes and distribution of tracts calling on solidarity and actions intending to use the positive International situation for gaining "our rights".
Many students beleive that Iran's living the last year of dictatorship.
More structured actions are planned for the days ahead. http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_2651.shtml
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