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Iranian Alert -- October 21, 2003 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 10.21.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 10/21/2003 12:04:24 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” But most American’s are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.

There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. Starting June 10th of this year, Iranians have begun taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.

In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.

This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. 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. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.

I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.

If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.

If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.


PS I have a daily ping list and a breaking news ping list. If you would like to receive alerts to these stories please let me know which list you would like to join.

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; protests; southasia; 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 10/21/2003 12:04:25 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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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”

2 posted on 10/21/2003 12:06:07 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Western Envoys Discuss Iran Nuke Deadline
British, French and German Envoys Meet in Tehran to Discuss Oct. 31 Iran Nuke Deadline

The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran Oct. 21 — British, French and German envoys met over breakfast in Tehran Tuesday to map out a strategy for persuading Iran to comply with an Oct. 31 deadline to prove it is not producing only nuclear energy, not weapons.
Britain Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, France's Dominique de Villepin and Germany's Joschka Fischer had a series of meetings with Iranian officials planned after their breakfast at the German ambassador's residence here.

Fischer, speaking to reporters upon his arrival Monday night, said Europe did not want "nuclearization of the region."

"What we want is constructive steps forward," the German envoy said.

Straw, briefing reporters mid-flight from London to Tehran on Monday night, said Iran had "serious obligations" and must work with Mohammed ElBaradei, the head of the United Nations atomic energy watchdog, to allay international concerns.

"The situation is serious," he said, citing an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution passed on Sept. 12 that "imposed very serious obligations on Iran" if it could not, by Oct. 31, prove its contention that its nuclear aims are peaceful.

"Our trip is intended to encourage them to do so," Straw said.

Britain does not expect a breakthrough Tuesday but officials hope the meeting will encourage Tehran to cooperate by divulging its nuclear plans.

Britain, Germany and France have reportedly proposed nuclear energy cooperation with Iran in return for Tehran agreeing to more intrusive nuclear inspections.

The three European ministers are scheduled to meet with Hasan Rowhani, secretary of Iran's powerful Supreme National Security Council, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and President Mohammed Khatami.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi reiterated Sunday that Iran does not acknowledge the IAEA deadline. But Asefi signaled progress had been achieved during a visit to Tehran last week by ElBaradei, the atomic agency's head.

The United States and its allies accuse Tehran of working on a secret nuclear weapons program, but Tehran says it is only interested in generating electricity.

Straw had spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell about Tuesday's meeting. Unlike the U.S. administration, which has characterized Iran as being part of an "axis of evil," London has sought to engage Tehran's hard-line regime. Tuesday's visit was Straw's fifth to Iran since becoming foreign secretary.

Iran is keen to keep the debate about its alleged weapons program from reaching the U.N. Security Council.

If ElBaradei's team does not have answers from Tehran by Oct. 31, the matter could go to the Security Council and pave the way for possible sanctions.

In late June, Britain, France and Germany began discussing the possibility of approaching Iranian officials together, and sent Tehran a joint letter the following month urging the regime to comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, of which it is a signatory.

Tehran extended the three European ministers an invitation in early October, and after a series of discussions, Straw, de Villepin and Fischer accepted the offer Monday.
3 posted on 10/21/2003 12:13:05 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Reformers Protest Clerics' Crackdown

Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Hundreds of reformist lawmakers, students and political activists held a daylong fast Monday to protest a crackdown on freedoms by Iran's hard-line clerics.

``We are refusing to eat and drink today to protest the lack of legitimate freedoms and violation of the basic human rights of political prisoners,'' leading reformist lawmaker Ali Shakourirad told The Associated Press.

Shakourirad is among more than 110 fasting reformist lawmakers from Iran's 290-seat parliament.

Iran has been embroiled in a power struggle between elected reformers supporting President Mohammad Khatami's program of peaceful democratic reforms and hard-liners resisting them through powerful, but unelected, bodies they control.

Dozens of journalists and political activists have been jailed without trial. Others have faced closed trials without juries. About 100 pro-democracy publications have been closed since April 2000.

After sunset Monday, protesters met at the headquarters of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, Iran's largest reformist political party, to break their fast. Others attended fast-breaking meetings in provincial capitals.

Meanwhile, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi canceled a planned university speech. ``I apologized to students because my leg broke last night due to an accident,'' she told The Associated Press.

She said she was not aware if the government opposed her speech.

Shakourirad urged hard-liners to ``stop jailing Iran's best writers, teachers and intellectuals and abandon violating their rights.''

At the fast-breaking meeting, reformist cleric Mohsen Kadivar called Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a dictator.

``Your rule was expected to promote justice. What we see now is the rule of a dictator,'' Kadivar said to wild applause from the audience.

Criticizing Khamenei is considered taboo in Iran and critics are subject to punishment. But in recent months, reformers have become bolder and have directly criticized Khamenei, along with the unelected bodies he controls including the judiciary.

Kadivar referred to a sit-in protest organized by the family and supporters of several jailed reformist leaders outside U.N. offices in Tehran this week to protest their continued detentions in solitary confinement without trial.

``If you had ruled this country correctly, people should have come to you to demand justice. That people go to the U.N. building to demand justice is a disgrace for you and your judiciary,'' he said.

Mahdi Habibi, who heads the Office for Fostering Unity, Iran's biggest reformist student group, said university students joined the protest.

He said students were convinced Khatami would not achieve reforms. ``From now on, the movement for democratic changes will continue without Khatami,'' Habibi said.

Hashem Aghajari, a professor sentenced to death last year for questioning clerical rule in a speech, was fasting at Evin prison, north of Tehran, according to his sister, Zohreh. Aghajari is serving a four-year jail term after having his death sentence lifted following nationwide protests.

Iran's dissident political group, the Freedom Movement of Iran, also supported the fast.

``When over 110 elected lawmakers refuse eating and drinking as a show of protest, it means people are rejecting the unelected hard-liners who keep the main power in this country,'' said Ebrahim Yazdi, leader of the group.

Yazdi's group opposes Iran's clerical rule, rejects violence and seeks democratic change.

Protesters had long focused their anger on Iran's unelected hard-line clerics, while supporting Khatami, who was elected in 1997 on promises of delivering social, political and economic reforms.,1280,-3287857,00.html
4 posted on 10/21/2003 1:29:48 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn; McGavin999; Eala; AdmSmith; dixiechick2000; nuconvert; onyx; Pro-Bush; Valin; ...
Time for an International Pro-Democracy Tribune for Iran

Almost all factions of Iranian pro-democracy movement agree that we Iranians do not want any foreign invasion of Iran to remove IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran). At the same time almost all factions of Iranian pro-democracy movement want the international support of world people and democracies.

The overwhelming admiration of Iranian people on the occasion of Nobel Prize for Shirin Ebadi shows that Iranian people are glad to see the support of Western democracies for human rights in Iran. On the other hand, IRI was quick to try to call the prize politically motivated, which did not stop Iranian people's exhilarations.

The next move of IRI has been the recent condemnation of the Nobel Prize, by a group of Shi'a Islamist theologians in Qom. They have called it part of a Western conspiracy against Islam.

This is not the first time the Islamists are attacking Western support of Iran's pro-democracy movement as a Western conspiracy against Islam. In fact, long before IRI, this was the way Islamists attacked the West to make sure the West looks at them as the main political force of Middle East with popular support. And in those days, their attack of the West had a lot of support among the people, and among the independent political forces of Iran, who yearned for Iran's independence, when the Iranian monarchy was the puppet of one or another Western state.

But today similar calls of the Islamists not only do not have much of a support among the people, they backfire as we all saw the candle light vigils of Iranians for Sept 11th victims.

Not that the Iranian people want dependence and a puppet state in Iran. Not that the people want a U.S. invasion of Iran. On the contrary, Iranian people want independence, and want to make all changes in Iran by ourselves, but at the same time Iranian people want to have the support of world democracies for Iran's pro-democracy movement.

The mollahs are using their old slogans calling the support of the Western democracies for Iran's pro-democracy movement as Western conspiracy against Islam, in order to deprive the Iran's pro-democracy movement from an international support base, and at the same time they are working hard to appease the Western democracies with various oil and gas deals, to stop them from supporting the movements for secularism, democracy, and human rights in Iran.

The Qom Islamist theologians are trying to create a false impression that Iranian Muslims are the ones who hate Salman Rushdie and they have started to call Shirin Ebadi as a new Salman Rushdie to stop her from speaking up for human rights in Iran. They did the same thing to their own former comrade, Hashem Aghajari, and it backfired and the whole country raised against them.

The Islamists do not have any support among the Iranian people and their communiqué is for external use, and inside Iran their rule is not by alluring people to their ideology anymore. Those days have long passed. The rule of Islamists in Iran has been by the bullets for a long time killing those who ask for secularism.

It is very encouraging that one sees the support of many Western governments here and there being pronounced for Iran's pro-democracy movement. It is now time to make this support more effective. I think it is important to form an international tribune for support of Iran's pro-democracy movement.

I think U.S. government, European Democracies and other countries willing to help Iranian pro-democracy movement as well as United Nations should participate in this tribunal. I believe the Iranian progressive forces should end their isolation from international contact, which is being imposed on us by IRI, by using a weapon of calling those who want to take effective steps to form a secular state as Western lackeys, using the scare tactic of labeling us as Western lackeys to stop us from using the Western support.

There are enough Iranians with impeccable credentials as independent individuals and organizations, who can be part of this international tribunal, and IRI calling them as pawns of Western conspiracy will only prove that IRI is afraid of their strength.

The Iranian pro-democracy movement is carrying a double burden of freeing Iran from a Medieval state and at the same time freeing the world from a major sponsor of terrorism. It makes all sense for the Western democracies to support the Iranian pro-democracy movement and it makes perfect sense for Iranian movement to seek that support and cooperate with the international forces that are willing to help our struggle for secularism, democracy, and human rights, as long as there are no strings attached, and it is all in the open and not in secret deals.

Not only there is nothing wrong in this cooperation, it is necessary, if we want to be able to end the IRI regime in Iran. We should not allow IRI to survive in the way Chinese Communist regime survived, using the so-called reformist tag for a fascist regime on one hand, and making trade deals with the West on the other. Iranian pro-democracy forces need to take the initiative for Western cooperation; and forming the international tribune for Iran's pro-democracy movement is the first step for such cooperation.

One thing that is the most important is to take all these steps in *open*. No secret meetings with U.S. or European officials. All should be done in open and an open international pro-democracy tribune for Iran needs to be formed with the financial support of the Western democracies. This is the best way the world democracies can fight the worldwide terrorism and it will also help the success of Iran' s pro-democracy movement in Iran. A win-win undertaking for both Iranian pro-democracy movement and the Western democracies.

Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
Oct 20, 2003
5 posted on 10/21/2003 2:26:49 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
6 posted on 10/21/2003 4:05:46 AM PDT by windchime
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Will Suspend Uranium Enrichment, Allow Nuke Spot Checks

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
FOX News

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran will suspend uranium enrichment and allow spot checks of its nuclear program, as sought by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, a senior Iranian official said Tuesday after three European foreign ministers came to Tehran to press the international community's case. Iran set no date for the steps.

Iran faces an Oct. 31 deadline, set by the International Atomic Energy Agency to prove its does not have a nuclear weapons program as the United States alleges. Otherwise, the IAEA will likely turn to the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

After talks with the British, German and French foreign ministers, the secretary of Iran's powerful Supreme National Security Council, Hasan Rowhani, said Iran would sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty allowing inspectors to enter any site they deem fit without notice.

"The protocol should not threaten our national security, national interests and national pride," he told reporters.

He added that for an "interim period," Iran will suspend nuclear enrichment "to express its goodwill and create a new atmosphere of trust and confidence between Iran and the international community."

There was no indication of when Iran would suspend its uranium enrichment or sign the additional protocol, and Rowhani did not say how long the interim period would last.

A British official said the Europeans believed the IAEA deadline of Oct. 31 set the timetable. A joint Iranian-British-French-German statement issued at the conclusion of talks said that as a gesture of goodwill, Iran would cooperate with the atomic watchdog "in accordance with the protocol" even before formally ratifying it.

Jack Straw of Britain, Joschka Fischer of Germany and Dominique de Villepin of France, in Iran to press it to meet the IAEA deadline, said that if Iran proves its nuclear program is only for energy production, they would make it easier for it to get nuclear technology.

Iran has said it is prepared to grant unfettered access to IAEA inspectors, but wanted to be able to buy advanced nuclear technology. Iran accuses the United States of using its influence to block such purchases.

The United States strongly believes Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, though Tehran insists its program is peaceful. Iran has allowed IAEA inspectors to view some sites, including at least one military facility -- but for weeks it has hesitated at making a full commitment to the IAEA demands.

Iran is keen to stop the dispute from reaching the Security Council, which could declare Tehran in violation of the anti-proliferation treaty and impose sanctions if it fails to satisfy the IAEA.

In the joint statement, the three European foreign ministers recognized Iran's right "to enjoy peaceful use of nuclear energy in accordance with the Nonproliferation Treaty."

France, Britain and Germany agreed that "the full implementation of Iran's decisions, confirmed by the IAEA director general, should enable the immediate situation to be resolved by the IAEA board," the statement said.

The statement added: "Once international concerns, including those of the three governments, are fully resolved Iran could expect easier access to modern technology and supplies in a range of areas."

De Villepin told reporters the Europeans' trip had achieved important progress on the three pending issues: signing and the early implementation of the additional protocol, full cooperation with the IAEA, and suspension of all enrichment and reprocessing activities.

Straw had spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell about Tuesday's meeting. Unlike the U.S. administration, which has characterized Iran as being part of an "axis of evil," London has sought to engage Tehran's hard-line regime. Tuesday's visit was Straw's fifth to Iran since becoming foreign secretary.

During the talks, about 150 Iranian students opposed to Iran giving ground on the nuclear issue demonstrated outside.,2933,100709,00.html
7 posted on 10/21/2003 5:55:47 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: All
Iran says halt to uranium enrichment is temporary

21 Oct 2003

TEHRAN, Oct 21 (Reuters) - A senior Iranian official said on Tuesday Tehran's decision to halt its disputed uranium enrichment programme was a temporary measure aimed at fostering trust in its peaceful intentions.

"One of the agreed points was that Iran voluntarily will temporarily suspend enrichment to show its goodwill and to create new trust between Iran and other countries," Supreme National Security Council chief Hassan Rohani told reporters.

He was speaking after a series of meetings with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Tehran aimed at dispelling suspicions about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
8 posted on 10/21/2003 5:59:44 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot; DoctorZIn
Iran to Sign and Ratify Protocol on Nuclear Checks
Tue October 21, 2003

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran Tuesday agreed to sign and ratify an agreement on tougher inspections of its nuclear sites and suspend uranium enrichment and processing activities, according to an official declaration obtained by Reuters.
"Having received the necessary clarifications, the Iranian government has decided to sign the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Additional Protocol and commence ratification procedures," the declaration said.

"While Iran has a right within the nuclear non-proliferation regime to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes it has decided voluntarily to suspend all uranium enrichment and processing activities as defined by the IAEA," it added.;jsessionid=MDIKVYJ4FE3V4CRBAELCFFA?type=worldNews&storyID=3654980
9 posted on 10/21/2003 6:11:32 AM PDT by Pan_Yans Wife (You may forget the one with whom you have laughed, but never the one with whom you have wept.)
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To: DoctorZIn
Jamali Cuts Short Iran Visit

October 20, 2003
Sun Network

Islamabad -- Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali has cut short his visit to Iran by a day, owing to pressing domestic engagements. Jamali, who is scheduled to leave for Tehran tomorrow, would now return on October 22, instead of October 23, official media reported here.

Jamali's visit will focus on bilateral talks with the Iranian leadership, including President Syed Mohammad Khatami and Supreme Iranian Leader Ayatollah Syed Ali Khamnei besides addressing the Pakistani community in Iran, official APP news agency said.

The multi-billion dollar Iran-India gas pipe-line project to be laid through Pakistan was expected to come up for discussions during Jamali's talks with Iranian leaders.

While Pakistan continues to support providing guarantees for the safety of the pipeline project, expected to provide 700 million dollars of royalties every year, the project failed to take off as India evinced little interest in it.

Pakistan and Iran have strained relations in the past, inspite of the fact that both are Islamic countries and close neighbours. Pakistan, a majority Sunni state had differences with Iran, which is predominantly Shia, over Afghanistan.

Also, increasing clashes between Sunni-Shia sectarian extremists groups in Pakistan and the emerging close relations between India and Iran continue to cast a shadow on the ties between Islamabad and Tehran.
10 posted on 10/21/2003 8:22:02 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Pledges Transparency on Nuke Program

October 21, 2003
Dominic Evans

TEHRAN -- Iran pledged full transparency on its nuclear program on Tuesday as EU foreign ministers pressed Tehran to comply fully with an October 31 U.N. deadline to assure the world it is not developing nuclear weapons.

"We are ready for total transparency because we are not pursuing an illegal program," Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters following a brief meeting with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.

Diplomats said the EU ministers would offer Iran some help with developing a civilian nuclear energy program in return for its full cooperation with a tough International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution which set the deadline.

"Naturally our rights should be respected and what's legitimate for us should be respected as well as our dignity and security," said Kharrazi, who described the talks as positive.

The three EU ministers went into talks with Iran's Supreme National Security Council chief Hassan Rohani immediately after the Kharrazi meeting. They were due to meet President Mohammad Khatami later.

"We all respect the rights of any sovereign nation to have a civil nuclear program but at the same time not to be involved in any proliferation activities," UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said following the meeting with Kharrazi

Iranian officials, who insist Tehran's nuclear program is for electricity production, have adopted a notably softer tone on the nuclear issue in recent days, and Khatami has even hinted Iran may halt uranium enrichment which Washington says lies at the heart of a covert nuclear arms bid.


IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has warned that Iran's case may go to the U.N. Security Council if he is unable to verify in his November 20 report that Iran has no intention of building nuclear arms.

"If we can agree today I think this would be an important step forward, if not we have a very serious problem," German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said after the meeting with Kharrazi.

Diplomats said the EU ministers would demand Iran cooperate fully with the IAEA, accept tougher U.N. inspections and suspend uranium enrichment.

In return, the ministers would offer to recognize Iran's right to a civilian nuclear energy program, give some technical assistance and guarantee Iran's access to imported fuel for nuclear power plants.

The joint initiative signaled much closer cooperation on Iran's nuclear program by the three big European Union powers, whose opinions on the U.S.-led war in Iraq differed markedly.

It was not clear whether their proposal was backed by Washington, which has tended to frown on any deal-making with Iran's clerical leaders.

Newspapers in Iran reflected the deep split in opinion between hard-liners and reformers in the Islamic Republic about the nuclear issue.

The centrist Entekhab newspaper said the ministers' visit "will prepare the way for getting out of the current crisis and will foil the U.S. and Zionist regimes' pressures."

But the hardline Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper called the reformist Khatami government's cooperation with the IAEA naive.

"Who doesn't know that the IAEA is a tool and that the main decision-makers are the Americans?...Are the American government and little Mr. Bush reliable?" it asked in a front-page editorial. (Additional reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Christian Oliver)
11 posted on 10/21/2003 8:23:21 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
EU FMs Warn of 'Serious Problem' if No Nuke Deal Reached

October 21, 2003

TEHRAN -- The UK, French and German foreign ministers called on Iran to show "full transparency" over its nuclear programme, and warned of a "serious problem" if the three ended their joint visit to Tehran without a deal on the crisis.

"We share the worries of the international community," French Foriegn Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters here after he and his European counterparts met with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi.

"We would like to have full transparency," he added, saying he was "optimistic" the three countries would secure Iran's commitment to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Germany's Joschka Fischer added: "We hope we will able to leave Tehran with a full hand."

"It is a crucial moment for the international community. If we can agree today it would be a step forward, if not we have a very serious problem," he said.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that while the three "all respect the right of any nation to have a civilian nuclear programme", they would not accept Iran being "involved in any kind of proliferation activity."

For his part, Kaharazi said Iran "is not pursuing any illegal activity".

"But our rights, our security and our prestige must be respected," he said.
12 posted on 10/21/2003 8:25:41 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Ranks 161 Out Of 166 in World Press Freedom Ranking

October 20, 2003
Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Without Borders is publishing its second world press freedom ranking. As in 2002, the most catastrophic situation is to be found in Asia, especially North Korea, Burma and Laos.

Second from last in the ranking, Cuba is today the world's biggest prison for journalists. The United States and Italy were given relatively low rankings.

Reporters Without Borders today publishes its second world press freedom ranking. Like last year, the most catastrophic situation is to found in Asia, with eight countries in the bottom ten : North Korea, Burma, Laos, China, Iran, Vietnam, Turkmenistan and Bhutan. Independent news media are either non-existent in these countries, or are constantly repressed by the authorities. Journalists there work in extremely difficult conditions, with no freedom and no security. A number of them are imprisoned in Burma, China and Iran.

Cuba is in 165th position, second from last. Twenty-six independent journalists were arrested in the spring of 2003 and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 14 to 27 years, making Cuba the world's biggest prison for journalists. They were accused of writing articles for publication abroad that played into the hands of "imperialist interests." Eritrea, in 162nd position, has the worst situation in Africa. Privately-owned news media have been banned there for the past two years and 14 journalists are being held in undisclosed locations.

To compile this ranking, Reporters Without Borders asked journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists to fill out a questionnaire evaluating respect for press freedom in a particular country. A total of 166 countries are included in the ranking (as against 139 last year). The other countries were left out because of a lack of reliable, well-supported data.

Wealth and press freedom don't always go togetherAs in 2002, the ranking shows that a country's respect for press freedom is not solely linked to its economic development. The top 50 include countries that are among the poorest in the world, such as Benin (29th position), Timor-Leste (30th) and Madagascar (46th).

Conversely, the 50 countries that respect press freedom least include such rich nations as Bahrain (117th) and Singapore (144th).

Special situation of the United States and Israel The ranking distinguishes behaviour at home and abroad in the cases of the United States and Israel. They are ranked in 31st and 44th positions respectively as regards respect for freedom of expression on their own territory, but they fall to the 135th and 146th positions as regards behaviour beyond their borders.

The Israeli army's repeated abuses against journalists in the occupied territories and the US army's responsibility in the death of several reporters during the war in Iraq constitute unacceptable behaviour by two nations that never stop stressing their commitment to freedom of expression.

General deterioration in the Arab world The war in Iraq played a major role in an increased crackdown on the press by the Arab regimes. Concerned about maintaining their image and facing public opinion largely opposed to the war, they stepped up control of the press and increased pressure on journalists, who are forced to use self-censorship.

Kuwait (102nd) replaced Lebanon (106th) as the Arab world's leader as regards respect for freedom of expression because of cases of censorship in Lebanon, together with abusive judicial proceedings and an attack on the television station Futur TV. Saudi Arabia (156th), Syria (155th), Libya (153rd) and Oman (152nd) used all the means at their disposal to prevent the emergence of a free and independent press.

In Morocco (131st), the hopes pinned on Mohammed VI when he became king in July 1999 have been dashed. Independent newspapers are still subject to constant harassment from the authorities. Ali Lmrabet, the publisher and editor of two satirical weeklies, was sentenced in June 2003 to three years in prison for "insulting the person of the king" because of articles and cartoons touching on taboo subjects.

European Union gets good rankings, except Italy and Spain Italy received a poor ranking (53rd) compared with the other European Union countries for the second year running. Silvio Berlusconi's conflict of interests as head of government and owner of a media empire is still unresolved. Furthermore, a draft law to reform radio and TV broadcasting, tailored to Berlusconi's interests, is likely to increase the threats to news diversity in Italy.

Spain's relatively low ranking (42nd) is due to difficulties for journalists in the Basque country. The terrorist organisation ETA has stepped up its threats against the news media, promising to target journalists whose coverage does not match its view of the situation. Furthermore, the necessary fight against terrorism has affected press freedom, with the forced closure as a "preventive measure" of the Basque newspaper Egunkaria, whose senior staff are suspected of collaborating with ETA.

France is ranked as low as 26th because of its archaic defamation legislation, the increasingly frequent challenges to the principle of confidentiality of sources and the repeated abusive detention of journalists by police.

Former USSR still lags behind The situation remains worrying in Russia (148th), Ukraine (132nd) and Belarus (151st). A truly independent press exists in Russia, but Russia's poor ranking is justified by the censorship of anything to do with the war in Chechnya, several murders and the recent abduction of the Agence France-Presse correspondent in Ingushetia. Russia continues to be one of the world's deadliest countries for journalists.

Press freedom is virtually non-existent in much of central Asia, especially Turkmenistan (158th) and Uzbekistan (154th). No criticism of the authorities is tolerated.

Non-state violence Several countries with a democratically-elected government and a free and independent press have poor rankings. This is most notably the case with Bangladesh (143rd), Colombia (147th) and Philippines (118th). Journalists in these countries are the victims of violence that comes not only from the state but also from political parties, criminal gangs or guerrilla groups. In other cases, such as Nepal (150th), the press is caught in the cross fire between security forces and rebels.

Such violence results in considerable self-censorship by the news media, which do not dare to broach such subjects as corruption, collusion between political leaders and organised crime, or sectarian clashes. At the same time, the authorities very often fail to respond to this violence with the appropriate measures, namely protection for journalists and the punishment of those responsible.

News is the victim of war in Africa Wars and serious political crises have inevitably had an impact on press freedom in Africa. The three countries that have fallen most in the ranking in the past 12 months are Côte d'Ivoire (137th), Liberia (132nd) and Guinea-Bissau (118th). Local and foreign journalists were exposed to the violence of the warring parties in Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, while the military closed down news media in Guinea-Bissau.
13 posted on 10/21/2003 8:27:15 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Europeans Seek Arms Accord in Tehran

October 21, 2003
The Washington Post
Glenn Frankel and Keith B. Richburg

TEHRAN -- The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain flew to Iran on Monday, seeking a commitment from the Islamic state to suspend uranium enrichment and accept tough new inspections of its nuclear facilities. In return, Iran would get European help in developing a civilian nuclear energy program.

The ministers were to meet with President Mohammad Khatami later Tuesday to try to break an impasse over Iran's refusal to comply with similar demands from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

Some European and Iranian officials were optimistic Tuesday that the ministers would reach a formal accord in Tehran, 10 days before an IAEA deadline to meet its demands or have the matter referred to the U.N. Security Council. "I don't know if it's 100 percent yet, but it should be finalized tomorrow, most probably, in the presence of the three ministers," a European Union diplomat in Brussels who is close to the talks said Monday.

But other European diplomats stressed that no agreement had been struck and said Iran would be particularly reluctant to give up fuel enrichment. One characterized the meeting as a "fairly high-risk enterprise."

Tensions between Iran and the West have risen over suspicions that spending on large-scale nuclear facilities masks a weapons program. Last year, President Bush publicly labeled the country part of an "axis of evil" for trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction. The Iranian government denies it is developing nuclear weapons and says its programs are aimed at generating electrical power.

The European foreign ministers -- Dominique de Villepin of France, Joschka Fischer of Germany and Jack Straw of Britain -- plan to make three demands of Iran, all of them echoing conditions that the IAEA set down at a board meeting on Sept. 12, according to European officials: They want Iran to agree to fully disclose all information about its nuclear facilities, accept a new and more stringent inspection system, and suspend its program to enrich and process nuclear fuel that experts fear could be used in weapons.

European officials said the Iranians appeared to agree to the first two conditions in recent meetings with the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, and senior European diplomats. But the third demand would be much harder for the Iranians to accept, they said. "Getting the Iranians to stop completely, after all they've invested, will be very difficult," said one Europe-based official familiar with the issue.

Ultimately, European officials said, they want Iran to agree to give up developing fissile material of any kind and to dismantle its nuclear fuel development program. In return, the Europeans would promise to sell Iran enough fuel to develop its civilian nuclear energy program, while ensuring that the fuel could not be used to develop weapons.

The three foreign ministers first floated this proposal in a joint letter to the Iranians in August, and their diplomats reiterated it last week in discussions in Tehran. The Iranians "didn't say yes and they didn't say no," said a senior European official.

Iranian officials have made clear in previous meetings that they want to keep the matter in the hands of the IAEA and not have it referred to the Security Council, where they fear that the United States would push for punitive sanctions.

The Tehran trip marks the first joint diplomatic venture by Britain, France and Germany since the Iraq war, when Britain sided with the United States, and France and Germany opposed it. The foreign ministers discussed their trip with their U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, but did not ask for or receive American approval, one European official said.

The United States and Europe have jointly warned of the proliferation threat a nuclear-armed Iran would represent. But an EU diplomat said the prospect of an agreement in Tehran vindicated the European policy of remaining engaged with the country's government. "We have diplomatic relations with Iran, which the Americans do not, so we can engage in all levels -- politically, diplomatically, economically," the diplomat said. "It's a real success for our engagement policy instead of the American confrontation policy."

Britain's Straw has made five trips to Tehran in the past two years.

"The United States itself is not prepared to engage in any negotiation with Iran," said Gary Samore, a nuclear proliferation expert with the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies. "But I think the U.S. is happy to have the Europeans try to do it. It's sort of a good-cop, bad-cop."

During their stay here, the ministers will also meet with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and Hassan Rouhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and a key figure in military affairs.

The Iranian government has voiced positive signals in the last two days, since holding talks Friday with ElBaradei. On Monday, one Iranian oil official was quoted by Randa Takieddine, a reporter with the London-based Al Hayat newspaper, as saying that Iran would sign a deal when the three foreign ministers arrived in Tehran.

Over the weekend, Khatami also sounded optimistic, telling reporters in Tehran, "We will do what is necessary to solve the problems, and in return we're expecting our rights to be preserved, which is [the right] to have nuclear technology."

Diplomats and analysts said dropping the uranium enrichment program would be particularly tough for Khatami, a reformist who is often at odds with conservative clerics. But making a deal with the Europeans rather than the Americans would be a politically acceptable way to back off while preserving Iran's nuclear technology ambitions, they said.

Some analysts said conservative forces in Iran also feared that the United States could use the IAEA inspections as cover for espionage, and that inspectors would make "incessant demands" that would impinge on Iranian sovereignty.

The European initiative essentially bypassed the IAEA, which has been trying since February to persuade Iran to disclose its nuclear secrets. On Thursday, when ElBaradei arrived in Tehran for high-level talks on nuclear issues, advance teams from the three European countries were already at work in the Iranian capital.

ElBaradei was briefed on the initiative the same day, and he expressed general support for what the Europeans were attempting, officials with the U.N. agency said.

Russia is now the main supplier of nuclear technology to Iran, and one European official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the IAEA did not consider Russia "100 percent reliable" in enforcing safeguards against proliferation. If France, Germany and Britain replaced Russia, this official said, the IAEA could be more certain that technology would not be illicitly used for arms production. "If we Europeans could be the supplier, that totally changes the equation," this official said.

Richburg reported from Paris. Staff writer Joby Warrick in Washington contributed to this report.
14 posted on 10/21/2003 8:29:49 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran ''Suspends' Uranium Enrichment

October 21, 2003
BBC News

A major breakthrough has been reported in talks over Iran's controversial nuclear programme. Diplomats quoted by international news agencies say the Iranian Government has agreed to suspend the enrichment of uranium and sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The development came as European foreign ministers held meetings in Tehran on ways of defusing the crisis over Iran's alleged nuclear programme.

Earlier, Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi promised "total transparency" on the issue.

As well as meeting Mr Kharrazi, the EU ministers held talks with the head of the Supreme National Security Council, Hassan Rohani - a meeting seen as crucial.

The European ministers were expected to offer to help Iran have access to technology for peaceful nuclear energy production if it meets International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) demands for tougher inspections of its facilities.

Germany's Joschka Fischer said it was a question of trust and transparency and had warned of a "serious problem" if Tuesday's talks did not succeed.

The Vienna-based IAEA has given Iran until the 31 October to provide evidence that it is not trying to build nuclear weapons.

The BBC's Tehran correspondent Jim Muir says the three European ministers clearly would not risk such a high-profile visit unless a large measure of understanding had been reached in advance.

Iran insists that its nuclear programme - which includes uranium-enrichment activities - is designed to meet its energy needs only.

Quid pro quo?

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami is scheduled to meet Mr Fischer and his British and French counterparts - Jack Straw and Dominique de Villepin - later on Tuesday.

After meeting the ministers, Mr Kharrazi said his country was ready for "total transparency because we are not pursuing an illegal programme".

But, he insisted, "what's legitimate for us should be respected as well as our dignity and security" - a reference to Iran's stated ambition of generating its own nuclear power.

And Mr Fischer spoke of "a crucial moment in the international situation".

"It is a question of trust and transparency. If we can agree today it would be a step forward, if not we have a very serious problem," Mr Fischer told reporters.

Behind the scenes

The European initiative is part of a larger package being spearheaded by the IAEA, which has called on Iran to accept tougher UN inspections by signing an additional protocol to the NPT.

According to diplomats, France, Germany and the UK have been engaged in a secretive effort to convince Iran to sign the protocol - which allows for snap inspections of nuclear facilities by the IAEA.

The agency is also seeking clarification on traces of highly enriched uranium found in samples taken by its inspectors at an Iranian nuclear facility earlier this year.

Iran insists the traces were the result of contamination on imported equipment.

The three EU countries are believed to have offered technical assistance to Iran in exchange for its co-operation.

However, diplomats have said that not all outstanding issues had been resolved ahead of the talks.
15 posted on 10/21/2003 8:31:29 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Confident Israel Will Not Attack Nuclear Sites

October 21, 2003

TEHRAN -- Iran asserted Tuesday it is unrattled by speculation that Israel could carry out pre-emptive military strikes against its nuclear facilities, saying such an attack would inflict little damage.

"I do not believe such threats are serious, since Israel is aware that it is not the facilities and buildings that matter, but the technical know-how and scientific achievements," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was quoted as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

"Logically speaking, such an attack can be ruled out. But practically, too, Israel knows that Iran's power will not diminish with such an attack, and therefore such bullying is merely part of a political and psychological campaign -- unless they decide to act foolishly," he said.

Like the United States, Israel accuses Iran -- which officially calls for the abolition of the Jewish state -- of using a civil atomic energy programme as a cover to develop nuclear weapons.

Germany's Der Spiegel magazine claimed in its October 13 edition that a special unit of Israel's spy agency Mossad received orders two months ago to prepare plans for strikes on half-a-dozen targets in Iran suspected of being used to prepare nuclear weapons.

In 1981 Israel bombed the Osirak nuclear power station near Baghdad, smashing former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's nuclear programme.
16 posted on 10/21/2003 8:33:53 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Hardliners' Demo Blocks European FMs in Tehran

October 21, 2003

TEHRAN -- A demonstration by a small number of Iranian extremists Tuesday briefly held up the convoy of the visiting British, French and German foreign ministers after they secured an Iranian commitment to comply with demands from the UN's nuclear watchdog.

Surrounded by riot police, some 200 young extremists were seen outside the gates of the north Tehran Saadabad palace, where the landmark deal had been made during the day, forcing the ministers' conviy to take another exit.

An AFP correspondent at the scene heard the groups chant slogans including "Down with the USA, Israel and Britain!", "Jack go home!" and "Humiliation diplomacy? never!".

Britain's Jack Straw, France's Dominique de Villepin and Germany's Joschka Fischer were in Tehran for just a day, capping a diplomatic bid to resolve Iran's stand-off with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
17 posted on 10/21/2003 8:36:49 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
EU Leaders in Iran Nuclear Talks

October 21, 2003

British, French and German foreign ministers indicated after talks in Iran they are hopeful of making progress on Iran's need to comply with a U.N. deadline for proving it is not producing nuclear weapons.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, France's Dominique de Villepin and Germany's Joschka Fischer flew late Monday to Tehran to discuss the October 31 deadline set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for Iran to prove it does not have a secret nuclear weapons program.

The United States strongly suspects it does have one. Iranian officials insist Tehran's nuclear program is geared solely to electricity production.

"It is a crucial moment in the international situation," Germany's Joschka Fischer told reporters after the Europeans met their Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi.

"It is a question of trust and transparency. If we can agree today, I think this will be an important step forward."

Responding to Iran's assertion it has the right to produce electricity from nuclear sources, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "We respect the right of a sovereign nation to have a civil nuclear program, but not to be involved in any nuclear proliferation program."

The three are due to meet President Mohammad Khatami and Supreme National Security Council chief Hassan Rohani later.

Diplomats said the EU ministers would offer Iran some help with developing a civilian nuclear energy program in return for its full cooperation with an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution which set the October 31 deadline.

Observers say Iran has adopted a notably softer tone on the nuclear issue in recent days, and Khatami has even hinted Iran may halt uranium enrichment which Washington says may be behind a covert nuclear arms bid.

"We've got signals from Tehran but as a diplomat I have to see the reality," Fischer told reporters on arrival in Tehran late on Monday.

"What we want is constructive steps forward. We do not want nuclearisation of the region," he said.

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has warned that Iran's case may go to the U.N. Security Council if he is unable to verify in his November 20 report that Iran has no intention of building nuclear arms.

Diplomats said the EU ministers would demand Iran cooperate fully with the IAEA, accept tougher U.N. inspections and suspend uranium enrichment.

In return, the ministers would offer to recognise Iran's right to a civilian nuclear energy program, give some technical assistance and guarantee Iran's access to imported fuel for nuclear power plants.
18 posted on 10/21/2003 8:38:27 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn


October 21, 2003 -- THIS was to be his political swan song, and he had spent weeks composing it. Yet when Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, who will retire as Malaysia's prime minister next month, addressed the 10th Islamic summit last week, he offered a reheated hodgepodge of the bizarre fare that he has dished out over a 40-year career.
Many have seen Mahathir's speech as an insult to Jews. A closer reading would show that he was insulting Muslims and Christians more than Jews.

Here is part of what Mahathir said: "The Europeans killed six million out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy." This means that all Europeans, not just Nazis, were involved in the Holocaust. It also means that the Europeans are not intelligent enough to prevent a small Jewish community from ruling them.

Mahathir presents the Jews as "a people who think" - unlike Christians and Muslims, whom he regards as too dumb to use their heads. He says the "thinking people" have managed to get "others to fight and die for them. He adds: "Israelis and Jews control most of the economy and the media in the world."

As the world enjoys a level of prosperity not dreamed of even a generation ago, plus unprecedented access to information, Mahathir's claim, if true, would amount to a compliment to "Israelis and Jews."

He says Jews "invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others." In other words, the idea that all human beings have inalienable rights, and that people should be free to choose their governments, are "Jewish tricks."

Christians? At his party's conference last June, he claimed that "European culture" had become "a menace for mankind." "The Europeans are determined to impose a global culture that includes the practice of free sex, especially sodomy. Marriage between male and male, female and female are officially recognized by them. They no longer regard incest as a sin."

If the goal of Jews is to impose human rights and democracy throughout the world, the goal of Christians is to spread sodomy and incest.

Yet Muslims were the main target of Mahathir's vitriol. Inflating their number to 1.3 billion, he lamented that they fail to "deal with" a few million Jews, whatever that means. He claimed that Muslims, though holding assets worth $3 trillion, play virtually no role in global decision-making.

Because Mahathir did not say why Muslims were powerless, one must assume that he believes Muslims lack the "intelligence" of the Jews.

Mahathir received a standing ovation from the leaders of the 57 countries present at the Muslim summit. They did not notice that the doctor was insulting Muslims.

The good doctor was offering a new version of the old delusion that what has gone wrong with Muslims is the fault of others. In the 1950s and 1960s, Muslim leftists blamed everything on Western Imperialism. From the 1970s, the Islamists chose the left as their punching bag. The finger of blame has been pointed at colonialists, multinationals, missionaries, Communists, liberals, religious and/or ethnic minorities, middle classes and even poor Orientalists.

By blaming others, Mahathir and his predecessors in this game absolve Muslim leaders of responsibility. They also divest Muslims of their humanity, turning them into witless pawns in a game played by others.

With his speech, Mahathir did great harm to the cause of those who believe that, as an existential reality, Islam needs to be subjected to serious critical reexamination.

Mahathir's "us-and-them" dialectics belongs to a tribal mentality that has no place in the modern world. He forgets that the Iran-Iraq war, in which a million people died, was not an "us-and-them" conflict. Nor was it "the other" who tried to wipe Kuwait off the map in 1990.

Are Jews raiding Algerian villages at night to massacre entire families, including babies?

Are Jews murdering thousands of Muslim women each year in the name of "honor-killing"?

Are Jews throwing acid at girls who do not wear the hijab?

Is it "the other" who has arranged for Muslim countries to have almost half of all political prisoners in the world?

And who is carrying out those thousands of executions, sometimes by chopping people's heads in public or stoning them to death?

Are Jews preventing Muslims from choosing their governments in free elections? Are they arranging those elections in which government candidates always win with 99.99 percent of the votes?

Are Jews controlling the economies of the Muslim nations - or should we look to our own ruling elites, whose greed knows no bound? People often talk of the need for the separation of mosque and state in Muslim countries. A more urgent need is the separation of business from government.

Mahathir says Jews have persuaded others to fight and die for them. Who does he mean by "others"? If he means the West, let us not forget that Americans and Europeans fought and died to save the Muslim peoples of Bosnia and Kosovo from extermination. Not a single Muslim state provided any help.

Yet who was getting a hero's welcome at the Muslim summit? The Russian President Vladimir Putin, who publicly takes pride in having flushed Chechen Muslims "down the toilet."

During years of war, Putin's army has killed more than 100,000 Chechens and turned a further 300,000 into refugees. That is almost half the Chechen population. Yet Russia was admitted as associate member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, where Putin received a hero's welcome. Yet the same group refuses to admit India - which has more Muslims than all the Arab countries combined.

Mahathir presented Palestine as a religious conflict. He did not apply the same logic to Chechnya, Kashmir, Mindanao, Burma, Cyprus and East Turkestan, among the many places where Muslims are in conflict with non-Muslims.

The logic of Mahathir's position is that Muslim Cypriots, Chechens and the rest are not as worthy as Palestinians. And yet the number of Muslims killed in those conflicts is many times higher than the total victims of all Arab-Israeli wars.

The question is not what others have done to us in the past, but what we are doing to ourselves right now. And what we are doing to ourselves includes the pack of lies and prejudices that Mahathir is presenting as a world vision fit for Muslims in the 21st century.

19 posted on 10/21/2003 9:03:54 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran to Suspend Uranium Enrichment (Prez Carries A Big Stick)

Washington Post ^ | Oct. 21, 2003 | Ed Johnson
Posted on 10/21/2003 6:05 AM PDT by conservativecorner
Edited on 10/21/2003 6:40 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
20 posted on 10/21/2003 9:05:09 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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