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Iranian Alert -- October 2, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 10.2.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 10/02/2003 12:21:30 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: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; studentmovement; studentprotest
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Discover all the news since the protests began on June 10th, go to:

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

1 posted on 10/02/2003 12:21:31 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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2 posted on 10/02/2003 12:23:03 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread

Live Thread Ping List | DoctorZin

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

3 posted on 10/02/2003 12:24:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Kuwait foils smuggling of chemicals, bio warheads from Iraq
Associated Press

Kuwait City, October 2

Kuwaiti security authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle $60 million worth of chemical weapons and biological warheads from Iraq to an unnamed European country, a Kuwaiti newspaper said on Wednesday.
The pro-Government Al-Siyassah, quoting an unnamed security source, said the suspects had been watched by security since they arrived in Kuwait and were arrested "in due time." It did not say when or how the smugglers entered Kuwait or when they were arrested.

The paper said the smugglers might have had accomplices inside Kuwait. It said Interior Minister Sheik Nawwaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah would hand over the smuggled weapons to an FBI agent at a news conference, but did not say when.

Government officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Iraqi Interior Minister Nouri Al-Badran met on Tuesday with Sheik Nawwaf and discussed cooperation between the two countries in security matters. His visit is the first by an Iraqi interior minister to Kuwait since 1990.,00050004.htm
4 posted on 10/02/2003 12:24:59 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
‘Iran will prevent nuclear issue from going before UN’

Daily Times

TEHRAN: Iran will do all it can to prevent the International Atomic Energy Agency from referring the Iranian nuclear program to the UN Security Council, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi has said.

Speaking on his return from New York late Tuesday, Kharrazi said Iran was working toward “providing the necessary clarifications and taking the appropriate decisions to prevent this matter from going before the Security Council.”

Hard-line elements in the Iranian establishment have urged the government to reject the deadline and even to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which prohibits Iran from building nuclear weapons.

But Kharrazi, who belongs to the reformist wing of the hierarchy, made clear he rejected such a course. “Of course, we should not allow our issue to be dragged before the Security Council,” Kharrazi said in an interview posted on state television’s web site.

The United States strongly suspects Iran does have a secret program for nuclear weapons and has lobbied the IAEA board of directors to declare the country in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Kharrazi reiterated that Iran was prepared to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty providing for IAEA inspectors to enjoy unfettered access to all sites it deems suspicious. “First, the ambiguities of this protocol must be removed through discussions, and then we must be assured that by signing this protocol we will not be deprived of our rights, which include the manufacture of (nuclear) fuel for our (nuclear) power plants,” Kharrazi said.

Iran unlikely to meet nuclear deadline: “At the moment it looks like they’re on a collision course with the Security Council,” said one European diplomat in Teheran. “You can’t rule it out, but I can’t see them pulling a surprise and meeting our demands before the deadline.”

Loathe to ditch a project it began in 1985 and riven by factional disputes on how to respond to international pressure, Iran appears unlikely to allay fears about its atomic aims before an October 31 UN deadline.

“They just don’t show any sign of changing their pattern of very grudging and limited cooperation,” a diplomat said. “Pulling out of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) is the most logical path to adopt,” Hossein Shariatmadari, influential editor of the hardline Kayhan newspaper, wrote in an editorial on Tuesday.

“The debate is very intense as the public comments suggest. But ultimately the onus is on reformists to convince the hardliners that it’s in Iran’s best interests to meet the IAEA’s demands,” said one local analyst. While differences exist between hardliners and reformers about how to respond to international pressure, there is broad cross-factional support for the nuclear programme.

Concerned that Iran may sign the Additional Protocol but delay for years its ratification and implementation, the European Union on Monday hardened its stance by demanding Iran also stop activities which could produce fissile material.

That would mean halting a uranium enrichment project which Iran now acknowledges dates back to 1985. —Agencies
5 posted on 10/02/2003 12:35:43 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
Nuclear inspectors set for Iran talks

By Jim Muir
BBC Tehran correspondent

The agency has given Iran until the end of October to convince it that it is not seeking to produce nuclear weapons.

Otherwise, the issue could be referred to the United Nations Security Council, and Iran could face sanctions for breaching the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The 31 October deadline has stirred anger in Iran, which has been giving out mixed signals about how far it will co-operate.

Not 'one-way street'

The IAEA has already given Iran a detailed programme and timetable for the work it wants its inspectors to do here during the four remaining weeks.

The question is whether Iran will go along with that programme and answer the many questions the agency is also asking, such as how traces of highly-enriched weapons-grade uranium came to be found at two Iranian facilities.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali-Akbar Salehi, told the BBC that Iran would answer such questions - handing over, for example, lists of the imported components on which it says the contamination was brought in from outside the country.

Mr Salehi said Iran would also co-operate in allowing further inspections and the taking of more samples.

But Iranian officials have made it clear that it is not going to be a one-way street.

'Middle ground'

They want practical recognition of Iran's right to produce peaceful nuclear energy and to process their own uranium for fuel - something the IAEA has asked them to stop doing, at least for the time being.

Iran also wants assurances that if it signs an additional protocol that would allow tougher inspections, there would be limits to how intrusive they would be - and also that signing that protocol would not spur the Americans to make more demands.

This has emerged as a substantial middle ground here, after several weeks of widely-divergent views and arguments behind the scenes.

Some hardliners have been arguing that Iran should scrap its NPT commitments altogether and go the way of North Korea.

That is certainly not the official position, though it can't be ruled out if the talks go badly wrong.

One problem could be that the Iranians want to negotiate on many points, while the IAEA officials are bound by the resolution passed by the agency's board of governors last month and have little room for manoeuvre.
6 posted on 10/02/2003 1:21:44 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All
>>>> An interesting scheme of Nuclear Centers in Iran.
7 posted on 10/02/2003 1:27:52 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
MPs one on Iran

Want Kazemi's body back
By Sun Media

OTTAWA -- Federal political parties banded together yesterday and upped the pressure on Iran to exhume and return the body of a Montreal photojournalist yesterday.

MPs of all stripes offered a rare show of unity in the Commons by unanimously supporting Brampton Liberal MP Sarkis Assadourian's call for Zahra Kazemi's body to be returned to her son in Montreal.

Canadian Alliance MP Stockwell Day said his party supported the motion but objects to Canada returning its ambassador to Iran.

"We have been asking the government to be firm on this particular item all along, and it has not," Day said.


Kazemi died July 10 from a blow to her head while being interrogated for taking pictures of an Iranian prison.

Also yesterday, the head of the Arab League said he would raise with Damascus the case of a Canadian man who is facing trial after being deported to Syria by the U.S. last year.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa spoke after a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham that focused on the plight of Maher Arar and other Canadians who have fallen foul of the law in Middle Eastern countries.
8 posted on 10/02/2003 1:30:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Asefi: Canada approach has no impact on Iran stance

TEHRAN ,Oct 2, IRAN NEWS -- Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi, denouncing the allegations of Canadian Foreign Minister Bill.Graham, said that Canada's approach had no impact on Iran's stance, IRNA reported.

He added that the improper and non-diplomatic approach of Canadian officials has degraded their position in the mutual political dialogue and bilateral cooperation trend which will disrupt the process of mutual understanding and confidence-building. Asefi reiterated that this will leave its negative impact on Canada's future policy towards Iran.

According to a report released by one of the news agencies on Tuesday, Graham had announced on Monday that Canada returned its ambassador to Iran, Phillip MacKinnon, mainly to pressure Iran on its nuclear program.

The Tehran Times yesterday, quoting Canada's Foreign Ministry, said that MacKinnon returned to Tehran after several months of being kept at home in protest over the beating to death of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi.

Thursday, October 02, 2003 - ©2003
9 posted on 10/02/2003 5:00:49 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...

TEHRAN, First of October (IPS) With senior Iranian clerical leaders still undecided over the crucial issue of bowing to demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Islamic Republic expressed Wednesday for the first time its fear of seeing its raw with the Vienna-based Organisation to be sent to the United Nations’ Security Council for final decision.

"This question must not be sent to the Security Council. This must be prevented" Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Kamal Kharazi told reporters in Tehran upon his return from New York, where he took part at the UN’s general assembly.

He was joined by Mr. Abdollah Ramazanzadeh, the Government’s official spokesman, who told journalists that Iran does not want this question to go to the Security Council and would "take all measures to reach an accord with the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

Iran fears that if the issue is passed on to the UN, it could face harsh sanctions, considering that the European Union’s instance on Iran’s atomic intentions have considerably been going close to that of the United States.

Washington alleges that Iran’s ongoing atomic projects, including the electricity plant that is under construction in the Persian Gulf port of Booshehr with the help of Russia are a "cover" for producing atomic bomb.

Last week, French President Jacques Chirac, speaking on behalf of the 15-25 members EU, also urged Tehran to fully comply with demands by the IAEA.

Both Kharrazi and Ramezanzadeh, as well as the Vice-president for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali Abtahi stressed on Iran’s readiness for "full cooperation" with IAEA and repeated that all Iran’s nuclear programs were for peaceful purposes, but were not able to say whether Tehran would sign the Additional Protocols to the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Protocols would enable IAEA’s inspectors full and unrestricted access to all Iranian nuclear and nuclear-related sites, including enriching uranium plants, but Iran says some of the sites would be off-limit to international experts.

According to Mr. Kharrazi, signing the protocol is not against the Constitution. "The issue would undoubtedly be discussed in Majles and the Expediency Council", he said, adding that the government will sign the protocol after reviewing all its aspects "if it becomes sure that this would help the country’s progress".

Iranian political analysts noted that while the Parliament is controlled by reformers who in general supports signing the Protocols, but the final decision falls with the Expediency Council, a powerful organ that is chaired by former president ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime’s number two man and controlled by the conservatives who are strongly against signing the Protocols.

Abtahi told reporters that decision on Iran`s accession to additional protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is too difficult and one of the important challenges facing the country in the post-Islamic Revolution era.
He said all strata should have a share in the decision making process.
He added that Majlis and government had in separate sessions discussed Iran’s accession to the additional protocol.

But on Monday, IAEA’s Egyptian Chief Mohammad El-Bradeh’i said signing the Protocols is no more his top priority. "What we want now from Iran is to convince that its nuclear programs and projects are not for military use.

The change in the IAEA’s first priority took place after Iranian leaders, including President Mohammad Khatami as well as senior conservative personalities and spokesmen close to the regime’s orthodox leader Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i made contradictory statements, confirming indirectly that Iran wanted the nuclear technology for defence purposes.

Kharrazi stressed Iran has no hidden program to produce nuclear weapons and said all doubts should be cleared up and that Iran would be able to use its legitimate right for peaceful nuclear activities.

Iran’s ambassador to IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday that he has submitted a report to President Khatami on the outcome of what has so far been discussed on the Additional Protocol by the IAEA Board of Governors.

The 35-members Board on 12 September urged the Islamic Republic to sign "immediately and unconditionally" the Protocols and also stop "at once" all its controversial enriching uranium programs.

"Our collaboration with IAEA is based on understanding and joint cooperation", Mr. Salehi told reporters after meeting with Mr. Khatami.

Asked whether Iran will stop enriching uranium, Salehi pointed out that no decision has yet been taken to the effect and that the process is still underway.

Turning to the IAEA delegation’s visit to Tehran on Thursday, he said their mission is to hold talks and not to inspect Iran’s nuclear facilities, adding that the agency’s inspectors are likely to arrive two days later.

"The two officials, namely Mr. Pierre Goldschmidt, the Belgian Deputy to Mr. El-Bradeh’i and an IAEA director are commissioned to negotiate on nuclear safeguard regulations and executive issues with Iranian authorities respectively", he added.

In reply to a question about El Baradei`s rejection of the priority of signing the additional protocol by Iran and the importance of accepting the IAEA-resolution, he said that exerting pressure on any country into signing a treaty is against international laws.

The official hoped that the visit by IAEA’s officials to Iran is another proof to Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities’ being transparent, according to IRNA.
He stressed that naturally, the Agency`s inspectors should respect national dignity and individuality of countries.

"We're going to start very important discussions with the top officials from Iran...We do expect that we will make a lot of progress", Mr. Goldschmidt told reporters before leaving for Tehran.
10 posted on 10/02/2003 7:04:03 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
GWB and the US will do what's appropriate and right!
11 posted on 10/02/2003 8:23:07 AM PDT by blackie
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To: F14 Pilot
Maybe fear will bring them to their senses.
12 posted on 10/02/2003 8:44:34 AM PDT by blackie
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To: F14 Pilot
Thanks for the heads up!
13 posted on 10/02/2003 8:47:36 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: DoctorZIn
I wonder how long it wile take for this story(chemical weapons) to disapear.
14 posted on 10/02/2003 8:51:08 AM PDT by oyez (Stop the insanity while we can.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Reportedly Ready to Accept Nuclear Inspections

October 02, 2003
Ardeshir Moaveni

Iran will conditionally accept the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Additional Protocol as early as October 4, according to source familiar with the country’s strategic planning. Tehran’s prickly disposition toward joining the protocol, which would allow expanded inspections of its nuclear facilities, has been a major source of global tension, involving Iran, the United States and the European Union.

In signaling a willingness to accept the Additional Protocol, Iranian leaders are insisting on an international guarantee that the country can continue existing nuclear programs, including uranium enrichment activities, which they insist are for civilian purposes. The source indicated that the decision of Iran’s leadership could be implemented only after it received the formal approval of the parliament and cabinet, as well as the Islamic republic’s non-elected institutions; the Council of Guardians, the Expediency Council and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

"We fulfill our obligations in the context of our commitments. We have made up our mind about the protocol which will be announced later," said government spokesperson Abdollah Ramezanzadeh in an October 1 report by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

For Iran, acceptance of the Additional Protocol would mark the perhaps most momentous move taken by the government since the decision to end the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, experts in Tehran say. Some see the move as a preemptive act, designed to prevent the issue of Iran’s nuclear programs from being discussed in the United Nations, and possibly being the subject of a UN Security Council resolution.

In a strongly worded resolution adopted September 12, the IAEA demanded that Iran accept the Additional Protocol by the end of October or face possible sanctions. US pressure reportedly played a key role in the formulation of the IAEA ultimatum. The EU subsequently threatened to reduce trade ties if Iran failed to comply with the IAEA’s wishes.

Iranian policy makers, including Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, reportedly have been eager to keep the country’s nuclear programs beyond the reach of the UN Security Council. The thinking in Tehran is that if the Security Council took up the issue, it would come under intense pressure from the Bush administration to approve a tough resolution.

Miriam Rajkumar, project associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, believes that Iran’s conditional acceptance may foster negotiations -- even though the United States is likely to take a skeptical position. "If true, this is an opening gambit that may lead to further negotiations down the road," Rajkumar told EurasiaNet. "Most governments don’t want to see this turning into a crisis. It is possible that after Iran modifies its position somewhat, the Europeans would put pressure on the United States for a compromise solution."

The EU, Russia and India have significant trade links with Iran and would stand to suffer if the UN imposed sanctions against Tehran. Thus, they would likely be open to a compromise that satisfies the IAEA’s concerns while leaving Iran’s nuclear programs in place.

Iran’s move on the Additional Protocol does not automatically mean the end of the dispute with the IAEA. In addition to wanting a guarantee on maintaining its nuclear programs, the source said Iran also seeks permission to continue receiving expert assistance from "advanced countries" after signing the Additional Protocol. In addition, Tehran is reportedly wants to exempt certain sensitive sites from inspection, citing religious, security and political reasons. This position emerged, according to the source, was hammered out during high-level meetings of the country’s Supreme National Security Council on September 27. It is unclear whether the IAEA will accept such terms.

During a public appearance September 24 in New York, Kharrazi stressed that Iran would be happy to conduct all its activities under IAEA’s aegis, as long as it was not forced to abandon its current nuclear efforts.

The willingness to accept the Additional Protocol marks a significant policy shift by Tehran. Right-wingers and religious conservatives in Tehran had earlier dubbed the Additional Protocol a modern form of colonialism. Of late, however, the hardliners appeared to be softening their stance, starting to speak of a compromise "third option."

In Iran, opposition to the Additional Protocol has centered on the IAEA’s powers of inspection.

Some conservative newspapers stirred controversy by publishing stories of IAEA inspectors being able to make unannounced inspections of private homes and places of worship. In general, hardliners sought to portray the Additional Protocol as an infringement upon Iran’s sovereignty. A leading protocol opponent, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary-general of the elite Guardian Council, inferred, through an expressed appreciation for North Korea, that rather than accepting the Additional Protocol, Iran should withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The so-called rejectionists also sought to play on public concerns about the US-led ouster of Saddam Hussein’s regime in neighboring Iraq. Citing years of inspections in Baghdad, the rejectionists argued that accepting the Additional Protocol would effectively be the first step of a US-orchestrated campaign to topple the Islamic republic.

Such arguments found a large audience in Iran, as many citizens are extremely sensitive on sovereignty-related matters. As recently as late September, some Iranian experts were publicly wondering how the government could accept the IAEA ultimatum without tarnishing the prestige of its prominent detractors.

Only a minority of officials fully embraced either full accommodation of the IAEA ultimatum, or outright rejection. The fact that most policy makers found themselves somewhere in the middle, created enough space for Iran’s conditional acceptance.

Editor’s Note: Ardeshir Moaveni is the pseudonym for an Iranian journalist.
15 posted on 10/02/2003 3:55:06 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iran Reportedly Ready to Accept Nuclear Inspections

October 02, 2003
Ardeshir Moaveni
16 posted on 10/02/2003 3:56:09 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Prominent Iranian Editor Threatens Resignation

October 02, 2003
The Media Line
The Media Line Staff

The managing editor of a centrist Iranian newspaper said that he is considering resigning because pressures from conflicting political forces and a lack of civil liberties infringe on his journalistic freedom, according to Iranian news sources.

Seyyed Taha Hashemi, an analyst for the Entekhab daily newspaper, said this week that president Muhammad Khatami’s proposed democratization reforms must be realized.

Hashemi was quoted in the English-language Iran Daily newspaper as speaking in vague terms. Likewise, he did not accuse specific people or organizations, connoting the lack of freedom of expression inherent in Iranian society.

Hashemi also said that financial motives, factional alliances and anti-religious actions impede effective reporting.

In recent months, thousands of Iranian students have been imprisoned for demonstrating in favor of reforms and secularization.
17 posted on 10/02/2003 3:58:12 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
IAEA Team, Iranian Officials to Discuss Tehran's Nuclear Ambitions

October 02, 2003
VOA News

U.N. nuclear inspectors meet with senior Iranian officials in Tehran Thursday in another attempt to determine if the Islamic republic is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran faces a deadline of October 31st to prove it is not producing nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection team, headed by Pierre Goldschmidt, is to hold what is described as crucial talks regarding Iran's uranium enrichment program, which could be used to produce atomic weapons. Talks will also focus on Iran's testing of centrifuges used to enrich uranium.

Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi promised greater cooperation with inspectors but also indicated Iran does not want to allow limitless inspections of its nuclear facilities without its right to enrich uranium being guaranteed. But he also said Tehran will do all it can to keep the IAEA from referring Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council.

Observers say if the IAEA's concerns are not fully satisfied, Iran could face stiff economic and diplomatic sanctions from the U.N. Security Council.

The European Union also has warned if international concerns are not fully addressed, Tehran could lose a lucrative economic accord.

The United States suspects Iran is enriching uranium to make nuclear bombs -- a charge Iran denies. Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.
18 posted on 10/02/2003 3:59:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Top Iran Clerical Dissident Calls for More Freedom

Reuters - World News
Oct 2, 2003

QOM - Iran's leading dissident cleric urged ruling authorities to ease restrictions on a restless population and said President Mohammad Khatami had failed to capitalize on the huge mandate he had won for reform.

"If officials really want to solve the crisis and satisfy the people, they should put aside their strictness. People should be free to express their ideas," Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said in an interview at his home Wednesday.

Montazeri, 81, one of a handful of Shi'ite scholars to attain the rank of Grand Ayatollah, has first-hand experience of the consequences of standing up for his ideas.

Jailed and tortured under the former Shah for his close ties to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini before the 1979 Islamic revolution, he spent five years under house arrest for criticizing Khomeini's successor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, before being released earlier this year.

But the short-statured cleric, whom Khomeini once referred to as "the fruit of my life" and designated as his natural successor, remains undaunted.

"This country and the revolution belong to the people and the officials are their servants. If the officials review their behavior, everything will be fine," he said, seated in his study in Qom, the center of religious studies in Iran.

Montazeri said the restrictive climate in Iran, where scores of liberal publications have been closed and dozens of writers, students and political activists jailed in the last four years, was forcing thousands of Iran's best minds to leave the country.

He highlighted the actions of the judiciary, where the Special Court for Clergy and Revolutionary Courts have jailed dozens of Khatami supporters in recent years, often after closed-door trials without a jury.

"We do not have Special Courts and Revolutionary Courts in our constitution, both have been invented. They should close these courts and stop the judiciary's harshness. Then many things could become better," he said.

Montazeri, sidelined by Khomeini in 1988 for criticizing the execution of political prisoners, has recently returned to teaching after a bout of heart problems leading up to and following his release from house arrest in January.

Analysts say hard-line officials released Montazeri because of fears that his death while under arrest could become a lightning rod for protests against the political system.


Around 300 men, including many senior reformist clerics, packed into a simple classroom Wednesday to listen to Montazeri's message of tolerance and equality.

"My point is that all human beings, no matter whether they are believers or not, or whether they are Muslims or not, should be respected," he told the attentive audience.

Friends say they are not surprised Montazeri, who wears large black-rimmed glasses and sports a pointed white beard, has returned with vigor to teaching and making his opinions known.

"He cannot be changed, everyone knows that. He has never been scared of prison or exile or torture. They described him like that in the SAVAK files," said Ayatollah Hossein Mousavi-Tabrizi, referring to the Shah's feared secret police.

Back at his desk, having removed his white turban and put on house slippers, Montazeri turned his attention to politics.

Parliamentary elections are due to be held in four months' time but turnout is predicted to be very low because of growing disillusionment with the slow pace of reform.

Khatami, despite the large mandate he won in 1997 and 2001 elections, has been unable to overcome resistance to change from powerful unelected conservatives who control the judiciary, armed forces and veto-wielding constitutional watchdogs.

"Khatami made a lot of promises to the people, he had the backing of 22 million voters and people were hopeful, but he was not able to fulfil his promises and this has caused people's disappointment," Montazeri said.

"If the situation continues like this, yes the turnout (in the February parliament vote) will be low," he said.
19 posted on 10/02/2003 10:26:15 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Top Iran Clerical Dissident Calls for More Freedom

Reuters - World News
Oct 2, 2003
20 posted on 10/02/2003 10:28:31 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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