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Iranian Alert -- October 9, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^
Posted on 10/09/2003 12:58:23 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; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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posted on 10/09/2003 12:58:23 AM PDT
posted on 10/09/2003 12:59:24 AM PDT
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posted on 10/09/2003 1:04:11 AM PDT
GOVERNMENT COMES OUT STRONGLY DEFENDING INTELLIGENCE MINISTRY
TEHRAN 8 Oct. (IPS)
The raw between the leader-controlled Judiciary and the Executive escalated Wednesday to new heights after senior tenors from the government came out strongly in defending the Intelligence Ministry, accused of being behind the murder of Ms. Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-born, Canadian photojournalist killed in prison.
The office of Tehran and the Islamic Revolution Court, accuses Mr. Mohammad Reza Aqdam Ahmadi, an employee of the Intelligence Ministry, for having killed the photographer.
Ms. Kazemi was arrested on 23 June while taking pictures of the families of detained political prisoners demonstrating near the notorious Evin prison in the outskirts of the Capital and taken to prison, where she had been interrogated by the Prosecutor, Mr. Said Mortazavi as well as officials from the Law Enforcement intelligence department and the Intelligence Ministry.
She died on 10 of July in a hospital belonging to the Revolutionary Guards from severe injuries on her skull, the result of a blow by a heavy object to her head, according to a five men team formed on orders from President Mohammad Khatami.
At first, the authorities said she had died of a brain stroke, but they changed the version, admitting that one or more of the interrogators hit Ms. Kazemi.
Immediately, the fingers pointed to Mr. Mortazavi, who had ordered the arrest, on charges of espionage. According to the French newspaper Liberation, Mr. Mortazavi, trying to force Ms. Kazemi confessing to espionage, hit her with his shoe.
But the Prosecutor, put in charge of the case, accused Intelligence Ministrys interrogators for the assassination and at the same time refused requests from both Canada and Ms. Kazemis son, who is living in Montreal, and mother, to transfer the body to Canada for autopsy.
From the outset, the Intelligence Ministry denied that its employees had anything to do with the murder and thretened to tell all the story if the Judiciary continued in its fabricated accusations.
However, Mr. Ahmadi was brought to Court on Monday, accused of having hit Ms. Kazemi while interrogating her.
Mr. Ahmadi denied all the charges during the first session of trial, which was open to the public and the prsence of the press and the Canadian diplomts in Tehran.
It is not clear why Mr. Mortazavi, who also had personally interrogated the photojournalist is not questionned in order to understnad what happened at that time?, asked Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali Abtahi, the Vice-president for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on Tuesday.
He was echoed on Wednesday by the powerless President, repeating that the Intelligence Ministry had never accepted the charges.
What I want is justice to be applied according to the laws, he told newmen at the Majles, wher he was introducing the new Higher Education Minister, Mr. Ahmad Tofiqi.
The Intelligence Ministry feels that it is unjustly victimised and the process is not fair, he pointed out, adding that in this case, even the lawyer (of the accused) had been denied access to legal documents.
For its part, the Intelligence Ministry rejected the charges and renewed its threats on Wednesday that it would directly address the public, but stopped short of explaing when?
No one could destabilise the regimes most powerfull intelligence organisation as did the office of the leader, said Mr. Ahmad Salamatian, a respected analyst of Iranian affairs based in Paris.
Hinting indirectly that Mr. Mortazavi, better known by the public as The Buthcer of the press is a protege of Mr. Khamenehi, Mr. Salamatian told the Persian service of the BBC the reason the Intelligence Ministry do not go along telling the public all the information it has over the case, it is because pressures coming from the office of the leader. ENDS JOURNALIST KILLED 81003 http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2003/Oct-2003/journalist_killed_81003.htm
posted on 10/09/2003 1:07:28 AM PDT
October 08, 2003
Sources in the Bush administration say that Iran is putting pressure on Shi'ite members of Iraq's Governing Council to pull out of the newly created 25-member body. If this story is true, and the Shi'ites walk out, the council would be plunged into crisis. The story may, however, be US propaganda.
What Foreign Report has learned, however, is that Abdulaziz Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and a member of the Governing Council, was in Tehran on 6 October meeting President Mohammed Khatami and the role of the council was up for discussion.
With little sign of elections, the Governing Council is trying to become a de facto government. The problem is that, because it was set up to represent all the different groups within the country, the Council has let the genie of ethnic competition out of the bottle.
The Governing Council is also considering a report on creating a new constitution. Many would like to see a strongly Islamic document with reference to Sharia law, but it is hard to see the USA agreeing. And the thorny subject of federalism is still in the pending tray. http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/fr/fr031008_1_n.shtml
posted on 10/09/2003 1:08:49 AM PDT
Khatami Says No Room for Talks With US
TEHRAN, 9 October 2003 Irans President Mohammad Khatami said yesterday there was no room for negotiations with the United States, whom he accused of waging an international pressure campaign against the Islamic republic.
The United States has always shown animosity toward us, and has always raised accusations against Iran and has used international means to pressure Iran. They have nothing to say to us and we have nothing to say to them, Khatami told reporters.
As long as the United States uses underhand means, I think there is no room for discussions, he said, adding it was up to Washington to take the first step and show it wishes to change its policy.
Khatami resorted to a footballing metaphor yesterday when pressed on his woes with the UNs atomic energy watchdog, predicting an IAEA ultimatum would go into extra time.
We havent reached the 90th minute yet, the president of the football-mad Islamic republic said when asked if Iran would wait until the last minute before bowing to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) deadline.
And frequently there is five to six minutes of extra time, added Khatami as he left a Cabinet meeting. The IAEAs board of governors on Sept. 12 gave Iran until the end of this month to guarantee it is not developing and will not develop nuclear weapons. Iran has said it is not bound by the resolution passed after heavy US lobbying but will nevertheless try to answer the IAEAs concerns.
Tehran expects shortly to sign a nuclear agreement with Moscow that would allow Irans first nuclear power plant to go on-stream, the Iranian ambassador to Russia said yesterday.
Negotiations are taking place to iron out some technical issues. We hope that the protocol will be signed very shortly either in Tehran or Moscow, the envoy Gholamreza Shafei was quoted as saying by the Itar-Tass news agency. Russia is building Irans first nuclear power reactor, but says it will not begin delivering nuclear fuel needed to operate the plant until Tehran signs a deal pledging to return the spent material to Russia.
Under pressure from the US and Israel which fear that Iran is developing nuclear weapons Russia has made the return of the spent fuel a key condition for concluding the $800 million project.
Moscow officials assert that negotiations over the Bushehr plant have broken down over Irans demand for Russia to buy back the spent fuel.
In another development, Khatami vowed to do everything possible to deliver free and fair parliamentary elections in February, despite his failure to push through a key electoral reform bill, the official news agency IRNA reported. http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=33295&d=9&m=10&y=2003&pix=world.jpg&category=World
posted on 10/09/2003 1:21:45 AM PDT
by F14 Pilot
Khatami blasts custody death trial
Wednesday, 8 October, 2003
Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami has publicly questioned Iran's judges over their handling of the investigation into the killing in custody of a Canadian journalist.
An intelligence ministry interrogator went on trial on Tuesday, accused of killing Zahra Kazemi, but President Khatami has cast doubt on the proceedings and called for them to be corrected.
"We are asking for nothing else than impartiality, and we think that there should be an impartial trial that is not influenced by the very same people who rank among those who have been accused in the affair," he said.
The BBC's Jim Muir, in Tehran, said Mr Khatami has followed closely the case which has implications for human rights in the country and that has also aggravated tensions between reformists and hardliners.
Ms Kazemi, 54, was detained on 23 June for taking pictures of Tehran's Evin prison.
She died in hospital in Tehran on 10 July after falling into a coma having received head injuries during more than three days of interrogation.
Our correspondent says the case has sparked a bitter feud between the highly conservative judiciary and the largely reformist Intelligence Ministry.
Between her arrest and her admission to hospital, the journalist spent four days moving between the custody of prosecutors of the judiciary, police and the Intelligence Ministry
It is one of the ministry's interrogators who has being accused by the judiciary of dealing the blow which killed Mrs Kazemi.
But President Khatami clearly cast doubt on the prosecution, saying he said it was essential to identify who had carried out the action.
The procedure of the case, he said, had not been correct, and he hoped the head of the judiciary would amend it.
"Why were all the people who were implicated in this affair... not interrogated?" Khatami told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
This was a reference to Tehran Chief Prosecutor, Judge Said Mortazavi, our correspondent says.
Judge Mortazavi personally interrogated Mrs Kazemi early in her detention.
The Intelligence Ministry has already challenged the indictment of its interrogator, saying the charges ignored testimony that Mrs Kazemi had been beaten while in the custody of judiciary officials.
The ministry has promised to hold a news conference to lay out its version of the truth. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3174802.stm
posted on 10/09/2003 1:24:57 AM PDT
Russia doggedly at Tehran's side
By Stephen Blank
It should come as no surprise that President Vladimir Putin refused to curtail Russia's assistance to Iran's nuclear reactor at his recent summit with President George W Bush. Indeed, it would have been surprising if he had agreed to do so. Russia's unwillingness to foreclose on Iran's nuclear project is what philosophers might call overdetermined. That is, Russia, which is assisting with the construction of a light-water nuclear reactor near Bushehr, derives so many benefits from the Iranian project that it would be strange for it to forego those merely to please America.
After all, it is eminently arguable from a Russian standpoint that Russia received very little for supporting America after September 11. Not only did the US and then North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops appear in Central Asia, Georgia and Azerbaijan invited US forces to their countries to help them defend against threats, not the least of which are from Moscow.
These moves clearly contravened the Russian elite's ingrained belief in an imperial state where the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are wayward children who, unable to govern themselves, will soon return, whether they want to or not, to the Russian fold. Likewise, NATO enlarged to the Baltic states, another reminder of the end of empire. And since then American emissaries throughout the CIS have more or less overtly used their influence to retard Russian attempts at reintegrating those states under its auspices. The US also went ahead and withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty to build missile defenses, and to add final insult to injury, it disregarded Russian offers of assistance in Iraq in return for guarantees of Iraq's debt payment to Russia and a share in future oil contracts. Meanwhile, few contracts with US oil firms have materialized since 2001, despite ongoing negotiations in some cases.
Presently, Washington wants Russian assistance in Iraq, and while Putin will supposedly support sending Russian troops there pending an authoritative UN resolution, one can be sure that there is a larger payoff, presumably connected to that Iraqi debt and energy supplies. Therefore, there are few quid pro quos that Washington can offer Moscow in return for cessation of its support for Iran, Putin's rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding.
To understand this fact in its full context one must remember that nuclear and other forms of proliferation are an issue that brings together domestic and foreign policy issues. Key domestic lobbies stand to benefit considerably from aiding Iran. In this case, Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy, Minatom, is a prime example. It makes a fortune from sales abroad, including Iran, and has steadily refused to even consider not selling nuclear reactors to Iran and other potentially proliferating states like India and China. Although not a rogue elephant, as it may have been in the 1990s, it still remains a formidable bureaucratic player.
The same may also be said for Russian weapons producers. The defense industry is a shadow of what it was under communism, but on issues of direct relevance to it it has shown considerable power and ability to get its way, including major state subsidies for key projects. It, too, has large and vested interests in arms sales to Iran. Indeed, it views Iran as being potentially, if not actually, the third largest foreign market for Russian arms sales. So it will certainly oppose any Russian policy that imposes limits on Iran's ability to acquire Russian weapons and technology.
Thus these two elite blocs, and many members of the government, have habitually taken refuge in the endlessly reiterated their belief that America simply wants to take away a Russian market for itself, as it supposedly did with North Korea. Putin, too, has baldly restated this story and publicly pretended that he has no idea of the extent of Russian nuclear assistance to Iran. When one considers that in 1997-98 Russian journalist Evgenia Albats published a detailed institution-by-institution account of who was helping Iran and how, it is clear that Putin's and his acolytes' story is wrong.
But even if key domestic lobbies were silent on this issue, there are strong foreign and defense policy reasons for continuing to support Iran. Iran remains the only true friend of Moscow in the Persian Gulf and Middle East as well as a state dependent on Russian diplomatic support and arms transfers. Both of them share a common determination to keep Washington out of the Gulf and the CIS. Their leaders have at times talked in public about the virtues of a bloc with China against America in support of a "multipolar world". Therefore, Iran is a major foreign policy investment for Russia's ministries of foreign affairs and of defense.
Likewise, despite a lot of official rhetoric, major sections of Russia's foreign policy makers clearly do not take the threat of proliferation very seriously. Otherwise they would not have been proliferating to Iran, Iraq, China, India, and North Korea during the past decade. As all those cases are pretty well documented, it is hard to square protestations about the danger of proliferation with the actual policies involved.
Finally, despite many pubic fears to the contrary, Iran has, since 1991, followed an extremely circumspect policy towards the Caucasus and Central Asia. It decided when the Soviet Union was collapsing that it made no sense for it to antagonize Russia with regard to these areas, which Iran rightly appreciated would come to be seen as Russian vital interests, given America's unremitting hostility to it. Moreover, it clearly calculated correctly that Russia would be a source of diplomatic support, collaboration and arms sales to it. Moscow, for its part, had decided by February, 1992 that Iran, if it did not get arms sales, could make a lot of trouble for Russia in the Caucasus and Central Asia, which Moscow did not need.
Thus these sales are a way of paying off Iran not to make trouble, a bargain that Iran has faithfully kept and which works very well for Russia. Ending that bargain gains nothing for Moscow, except American good will, which it has already clearly discounted.
This analysis also shows that once again Washington has fallen for one of the oldest mistakes in relations with Russia, namely the belief that good personal relations with Russia's leader overrides anything else in the bilateral equation. While such relations are vital, they go nowhere if bureaucratic support and elite support are not forthcoming.
As Nikolai Gvosdev forcefully pointed out in the Moscow Times, that is precisely the case in US-Russian relations, neither side's domestic and bureaucratic elites has any compelling interest in making presidential agreements a reality, at least as far as Iran is concerned. Thus Washington cajoles Moscow, which pretends to listen. And when Moscow shows its true colors on this issue, nothing much happens, except for some meaningless sanctions of a few small fry.
Unfortunately, Iran advances ever closer to a nuclear capability that will constitute a global threat, given its support for terrorism on a global scale, as in Argentina and Western Europe. Russian authorities know what is at stake, but clearly do not care very much. The hour of decision on Iran is fast approaching, and if Iran does succeed in going nuclear, Moscow will hardly be able to escape the ensuing threats to its position in Central Asia and the Caucasus. But by then it will be too late for both it and for America, not to mention other states.
Meanwhile, the experience of the 20th century and of current world politics tells us that if we really want to prevent someone from going nuclear, it is necessary either to physically destroy the weapons by preemptive strike, as Israel did to Iraq in 1981, or to occupy the country, as the post-1945 history of Japan and Germany tell us.
Do Moscow and Washington really want to leave themselves only these options to prevent a conclusion that they both profess to want? If so, this is a very strange way to form the strategic partnership that they both claim to want. On the other hand, as the summit in Camp David suggests, rhetoric aside, that there is probably less to this partnership than meets the eye.
Stephen Blank is an analyst of international security affairs residing in Harrisburg, PA.
(Copyright 2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
for information on our sales and syndication policies.) http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/EJ07Ag02.html
posted on 10/09/2003 1:28:24 AM PDT
Once again thanks for keeping the FR crowd informed.
posted on 10/09/2003 1:50:28 AM PDT
(Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!)
To: JerseyHighlander; All
Friedman And OPEC
Thomas Friedman wrote a cynical commentary against OPEC, the highlight of which was an advice he gave to President George Bush, inviting him to impose a one-dollar tax on every oil barrel in the U.S. Friedman argues that this tax would reduce oil consumption and weaken OPEC, thus constituting a form of punishment. It would also ensure revenues for the U.S. administration, instead of OPEC. But his advice is a one-way road for the U.S. to get rid of President Bush. The American people are entirely dependent on the car as a means of transportation, and it would be impossible to deprive American citizens, whether in Los Angeles, Seattle or any other city, from their cars, considering that there are no alternative public means of transportation as developed as there are in Europe. Besides New York, where the use of the subway is almost generalized, the majority of Americans rely on their cars, enjoying low-priced fuel with a much lower tax rate than the rest of the world. Friedman's suggestion of imposing a one-dollar tax on fuel, to be spent on the reconstruction of Iraq, would represent a blow to the U.S. economy as well as an unfaltering recipe for having Bush fail in securing a second term.
As for OPEC, which is always complaining about Europe's raising taxes on oil, it never wished to be the one to benefit, as Friedman claims. In fact, OPEC is against such policy because it makes consumers believe that the price of oil is high, while the real reason for its increase are added taxes.
In this respect, the expert on oil affairs Pierre Terzian, who heads the magazine Petrostrategy, drew a comparison between France's revenues from its oil sales in 1999, which reached 53 billion dollars - knowing that it is a country with a medium consumption rate compared to Japan for example, and the revenues of Saudi Arabia, the largest oil exporter within OPEC, which stood at around 42 billion dollars in 1999 when the oil price was at a low point of 17.75 dollars per barrel. In 1999, France's revenues were three times those of Iran, which stood at 11 billion dollars, knowing that Iran is one of OPEC's major members. As for OPEC's decision to lower its production to 900,000 barrels per day, it wasn't taken in a bid to raise the price of gasoline in the U.S., as Friedman claimed, but rather it was taken as a practical and peaceful decision, based on the international oil market situation. OPEC doesn't want the prices to drop or increase in a way that would negatively affect the international economy, as OPEC's officials are all well aware that a slower development of the international economy would bear a negative consequence on the oil consumption and the demand for OPEC oil.
OPEC lowered its production level in a bid to administrate the market and preserve an equilibrium, which means neither flooding it nor making it become a scarce product. Maintaining the oil market stability isn't just words; it is a practical policy that has been adopted by the major oil-producing countries for years, especially during the last three years when the war on Iraq came to show that the market wouldn't have any shortage despite the lack of Iraqi oil. The recent decision to lower OPEC's production rate was to prevent the prices from dropping to below the line of 22 dollars per barrel, as the Iraqi exports have resumed to the level of 900,000 barrels per day. At the same time, the world reserves started being refilled during the last quarter of the year, which is contrary to a regular season, and this brought a fear that speculators would start meddling with prices in the future through the use of oil reserves.
OPEC has become a wise and practical organization, and its ministers enjoy a long-standing experience in the sector of oil, and they know exactly where their national interest lies. They realize that maintaining the price between 22 and 28 dollars per barrel will not affect the international economy, and represents fair and equitable revenues for all. The first Riyadh Forum that gathered producers and consumers showed that the price of 25 dollars per barrel is acceptable for OPEC and for U.S. Energy Minister then, Bill Richardson. OPEC is a responsible organization, and isn't under the control of the U.S. administration, as it is claimed. As a matter of fact, the administration was opposed to the last decision to lower the production rate, and its decision is based first and foremost on OPEC's members national interests and on the international interest.
If Friedman were honest with himself, he would have included in his commentary what he says in private, namely that the decision-maker of Saudi Arabia's oil policy is a responsible, nationalist minister, who is extremely cautious on implementing the general principles of Saudi's policy, in a methodical and professional way, always based on the stability of prices and of the international market. http://english.daralhayat.com/OPED/10-2003/Article-20031008-1b82dd32-c0a8-01ed-003c-37f4c321c23f/story.html
New Iran business scandal feared
Updated: 09 Oct
The president of the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry (NHO), Jens Ulltveit-Moe, has been asked to explain to a committee the details behind a series of dubious deals with leaders of the Iranian oil industry. A similar scandal recently toppled Statoil leaders.
The NHO president is currently in Brazil but was expected to make a report on his version of the Iran issue next week, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported.
Newspaper VG reported that Mehdi Hashemi, the son of former president Rafsanjani, was involved in aiding an Ulltveit-Moe company in 1997, when firm Umoe Schat-Harding sent NOK 1.2 million to Iran to clear up problems connected to the sale of nine lifeboats to Iranian oil company IOEC (Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company.
Mehdi is the same man that Statoil management believes was to receive vaguely earmarked consultancy funds amounting to NOK 115 million from Statoil. CEO Olav Fjell, foreign director Richard Hubbard, and board director Leif Terje Loeddesoel all lost their positions at Statoil in the wake of this scandal.
Ulltveit-Moe's associate Erlend Grimstad was unsure that Mehdi Hashemi was involved in both deals, and also claimed to be unaware of any connection between Hashemi and Umoe Schat-Harding.
During the Statoil revelations Jens Ulltveit-Moe emphasized the NHO's stand against corruption.
"For the market economy corruption is a cancer, an extra cost and an unfortunate distortion of competition," Ulltveit-Moe said on the NHO's behalf.
Aftenposten English Web Desk http://www.aftenposten.no/english/business/article.jhtml?articleID=643786
Leader underlines Islamic morale
Tehran, Oct 9 - Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei here on Thursday stressed that the only solution to all the existing problems facing the world of Islam is to maintain and strengthen the Islamic morale and identity.
Addressing participants in the 3rd international Conference on Ahlulbait (AS), the infallible household of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), the Supreme Leader said since the Muslim Shiites have always been forerunners in the Islamic unity campaign, the Islamic Republic of Iran considers defending Muslim nations as its own duty.
As to Iran's support for the struggle of the Palestinian people against the Zionist regime, Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out that the Islamic Republic has not come to terms with the Zionist occupiers, the global arrogance and their allies over the past 25 years and will maintain such an stance in the future.
Commenting on attempts by the global arrogance, headed by the United States to eliminate the Islamic morale from among Muslims, the Supreme Leader underlined the need for consolidation of unity among the Islamic Ummah throughout the globe.
Ayatollah Khamenei further paid tribute to the late Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Al-Hakim, the former deputy head of the World Ahlulbait Assembly.
Referring to presence of the occupying forces as the main problem facing the Iraqi people, the Supreme Leader emphasized that if the Iraqi people are allowed to choose their own ruling system and constitution, they will certainly run their country in the best possible manner.
The third international conference on Ahlulbait (AS), is to open in Tehran today with participation of some 500 intellectuals from 84 world countries.
The agenda of the meeting include reports to be given by Muslim scholars and intellectuals, review of the problems of the Islamic world and future programs of the World Ahlulbait Assembly. http://www.iribnews.com/Full_en.asp?news_id=189914
To: F14 Pilot
The purpose of posting stories and articles made by Mullah run Media is to show that how they speak, think and behave.
IRIB is one of the state run Media and the Supreme leader of the Islamic Republic has a great and overwhelming influence on that.
To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
Militant group accuses Shi'ites, Iran of murder
By Zeeshan Haider
ISLAMABAD, Oct. 9 The successor to a radical Pakistani Sunni Muslim militant leader slain by gunmen this week blamed rival Shi'ite leaders and Iran for his death and vowed to campaign against the country's minority Shi'ite community.
Maulana Azam Tariq, head of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), was killed in a hail of bullets on Monday on the outskirts of Islamabad, stoking fears that a new wave of sectarian violence could erupt.
The murder followed a recent wave of sectarian killings in the country, including a shooting spree by suspected Sunni extremists on a Shi'ite mosque in the city of Quetta in July in which more than 50 people died.
''We have evidence that these Shi'ite leaders and an Iranian official have conspired to kill Azam Tariq,'' said Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi on Wednesday.
''From the day our organisation was founded, we have been demanding that Shi'ites should be declared non-Muslims,'' Ludhianvi, who was elected Tariq's successor on Tuesday, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
He said Tariq's supporters had filed a case against three senior Shi'ite Muslim leaders and an Iranian official in Pakistan, giving no further details.
Only around 15 percent of Pakistan's 149 million people are Shi'ite, and religious parties and militant groups in the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim state are suspicious of Shi'ite Iran's involvement in sectarian violence.
SSP, which exists under the new name of Millat-e-Islamia despite being outlawed by President Pervez Musharraf in his crackdown on extremism, is accused of sectarian killings and had close links with the ousted Taliban militia in Afghanistan.
Ludhianvi denied his followers were involved in sectarian strife in Pakistan.
''We never believed in terrorism before, nor will we do in future,'' he said.
He added that SSP was ready to negotiate with rival Shi'ites, despite declaring them non-Muslims.
Millat-e-Islamia has called for countrywide protests on Friday over Tariq's assassination, which triggered two days of rioting and angry demonstrations in several Pakistani cities.
Tens of thousands of supporters attended Tariq's burial in his stronghold of Jhang, a city some 300 km (190 miles) south of Islamabad.
Thousands of people have been killed in sectarian violence in Pakistan. The Quetta mosque raid was followed last week by an attack on a bus in the southern port city of Karachi in which six Shi'ites were killed.
Differences between Sunnis and Shi'ites date back to early days of Islam when controversy erupted over the succession of the Prophet Mohammad.
Sunnis believe Mohammad's companion and father-in-law Abu Bakr was the legitimate successor while Shi'ites follow the Prophet's cousin and son-in-law Ali.
Most of Pakistan's Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims live at peace with each other and the violence is mainly restricted to militants from both sides. http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl/reuters10-09-053954.asp?reg=ASIA
To: F14 Pilot
To: F14 Pilot
Excellent post. It is helpful to see the different perspectives, to understand the situation more fully. Thank you.
posted on 10/09/2003 8:05:36 AM PDT
by Pan_Yans Wife
("Life isn't fair. It's fairer than death, is all.")
In First, IAEA Inspects Iranian DM Nuke Site
October 09, 2003
Middle East Newsline
LONDON -- The International Atomic Energy Agency has completed its first inspection of a secret nuclear facility.
Arab diplomatic sources said the IAEA conducted an inspection of the Kolahdouz military base on Sunday. Located 14 kilometers southwest of Teheran, Kolahdouz has been under Defense Ministry administration and never opened to outsiders.
Kolahdouz was said to have been at the top of the IAEA list of targets. The diplomatic sources said the inspection marked a watershed in the agency's efforts to determine whether Teheran has been developing nuclear weapons.
The sources did not report the results of the IAEA inspection. But the London-based Al Hayat daily said on Wednesday that the IAEA team did not find any traces of uranium enrichment or other nuclear activity at Kolahdouz. The facility upgraded and produced main battle tanks in wake of the 1980-88 Iranian war with Iraq. http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2003/october/10_09_1.html
October 09, 2003
The Washington Times
The current Liberal government headed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien has long attempted to trumpet Canada as being at the forefront of a global movement, led by the United Nations, to promote human rights worldwide.
Canada is currently signed on to a wide range of U.N. human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Political Rights of Women and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The government has incessantly promoted the message to Canadians that Canada is the torch-bearer for a global community that will no longer accept state behavior that condones systematic abuses of individual rights and freedoms. Canada is seen to advocate the standard themes espoused in the human-rights community; the rights of children, persons with disabilities, aboriginal peoples, and freedom of expression.
Our voice on these issues is projected to the international community via organizations such as the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie. In addition, the government supports numerous Canadian and international NGOs working on the implementation of global human rights initiatives at the grassroots level.
The government's desire to continuously promote issues surrounding social justice betrays the fact that it has failed to translate its loaded words into fundamental change in the countries guilty of consistently ignoring human rights.
Canada is certainly not the only paper tiger in the international community when it comes to enforcing international standards, but our voice on these issues is often the loudest. The governments that are notorious for committing violations of the very U.N. treaties we signed continue to go unpunished for their actions.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that Canada continues to encourage and embrace international trade with some of the worst offenders. China is perhaps the most visible example of this hypocrisy, as it has risen to become our third largest trading partner. China's human rights abuses are numerous and well- documented but our government understands that ignoring the Chinese market would allow other countries to fill the very profitable void created by our absence. As a result, it is willing to overlook China's record while easing its conscience with the tried and true "controlled engagement" argument.
The case of Burma is particularly troubling, as the Canadian government has been a very vocal supporter of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in response to her repeated detention by the military junta controlling the country. In the meantime, Canada imported close to $18 million in 2001 of goods from Burma not including the millions of dollars that have made Burma Canada's No. 1 heroin supplier.
Iran is one of Canada's largest export markets in the North Africa- Middle East region with export's of roughly $500 million a year (2001 figures). The extreme nature of Iran's human-rights abuses was encapsulated by the recent killing of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi while being detained for photographing a prison. Canada is Cuba's third-largest global trading partner with figures totaling $753 million. Fidel Castro's regime has been responsible for, among other things, countless political imprisonments and the complete abolition of the free press. Canada also has active trade relationships with questionable regimes such as Syria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Zimbabwe.
Canada would lose valuable markets by refusing to trade with the large number of countries that systematically ignore its calls for human rights and freedom for all. As a result, putting serious economic and political pressure on these countries is a proposition that would require consensus among all nations.
Governments that consistently violate U.N. Human Rights treaties have no incentive to change their policies when the revenues keep rolling in. Canada should play a significant role in establishing a new global foreign policy framework that creates that incentive.
If Canada truly aspires to formulate a foreign policy rooted in the principals of human rights, than it must be prepared to lead in practice not just theory.
Greg Raikes is a free-lance writer. http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20031008-090121-7130r.htm
To: F14 Pilot
The sectarian violence in Pakistan between Shi'ite and Sunnis has killed many people in Pakistan since the division of India and Pakistan.
It did not start in 1979, although it increased in strength in the 80s. Ufortunately, the last years the Sunni extremist has mainly targeted Shia doctors in Pakistan causing more problems for the Shi'ite minority.
posted on 10/09/2003 9:21:25 AM PDT
Kazemi Wrote About Prison Beating, Iranians Say
October 09, 2003
MONTREAL - The Montreal photojournalist killed while in custody in Tehran managed to write down details of a beating she received on the first day of her imprisonment, Iran's Intelligence Ministry has said.
In a statement released after one of its agents went on trial on Tuesday for Zahra Kazemi's killing, the ministry said the victim's own account, written on June 24, was ignored by authorities investigating her death.
"A letter written by Zahra Kazemi the day after her arrest said she had been beaten and thrown to the ground during her first day in detention in Evin prison," the statement carried by Iran's ISNA student news agency said.
"It was in the report prepared by [intelligence] agents but unfortunately, this important detail, which is just part of a body of evidence we have, was not taken into account by prosecutors." The statement offered no additional details but said more information would be provided at a future news conference.
The revelation comes amid a power struggle between the reformist Intelligence Ministry and the conservative judiciary, which has charged Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, an obscure intelligence agent, with fatally beating Ms. Kazemi.
The 54-year-old photographer, who was born in Iran and held both Iranian and Canadian citizenship, was arrested on June 23 while taking pictures outside Evin prison.
After enduring 77 hours of interrogation, she fell into a coma and died in hospital on July 10. Authorities initially attributed her death to a stroke but later admitted she had suffered fatal blows to the head.
Mohammad Khatami, the reformist President, yesterday cast doubt on the fairness of the trial and suggested the judiciary is covering up its own involvement in the death. The trial was adjourned on Tuesday to allow the defence time to study the indictment.
"How is it that the trial opens but the defendant and his lawyer are not informed of the bill of indictment?
"That means they are invited to a court to defend something they don't know about," Mr. Khatami said.
The President urged the police to question the judiciary official who initially said Ms. Kazemi died of a stroke.
"Why are all those who were in contact with Kazemi not questioned, including those who ordered a Culture Ministry official to say she died of stroke," Mr. Khatami said in reference to the hardline Tehran Prosecutor General, Saeed Mortazavi.
In a statement carried on the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency yesterday, Iran's deputy judiciary chief responded to criticism of his department by belittling Ms. Kazemi.
Mohammad-Javad Larijani, the deputy judiciary chief, denied any political motive behind Ms. Kazemi's death, "given that Kazemi was neither a prominent figure, nor had she accomplished any significant achievement." He went on to say "such a crime is likely to happen everywhere in the world," according to the statement.
Canada's ambassador, Philip MacKinnon, who returned to Iran this month after being recalled in protest, attended the trial's opening.
Asked whether Canada is satisfied with the legal process to date, Reynald Doiron, a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said only, "We're watching closely." email@example.com http://www.nationalpost.com/national/story.html?id=F4E0E398-3D26-4027-8E15-0F1EB028470B
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