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Iranian Alert -- January 23, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 1.23.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 01/23/2004 12:01:37 AM PST 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.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: iaea; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; protests; southasia; studentmovement; studentprotest
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Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

1 posted on 01/23/2004 12:01:37 AM PST 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 – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

2 posted on 01/23/2004 12:04:24 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran Continues To Amass Equipment For Nuclear Weapons Material

Gary Fitleberg, 01/22/04

In violation of its agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union, Iran is continuing to procure equipment to enrich uranium, a key ingredient necessary to develop nuclear weapons, Reuters reported.

"They're getting a lot of stuff" according to one Western diplomat, referring to centrifuge technology" as told to Reuters.

Another high-ranking official stated that "The ultimate goal has always been the cessation of enrichment activities and we're clearly not moving in that direction."

Late last year, Hassan Rohani, secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and lead negotiator of nuclear disarmament, called Iran's suspension of enrichment activities "temporary" and said "the issue of ending uranium enrichment is not in question and nver has been nor will be."
3 posted on 01/23/2004 12:05:25 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Here is a short article on Zakeri:

A senior intelligent officer who escaped from Islamic Republic just days ago spoke to Mr.Meybodi today.

He introduced himself as "Hamid Reza Zakeri" (Nourizadeh confirmed his identity).

He revealed that more than 3000 Islamic Mafia have stolen more than $60 Billion which is kept in various forging banks.

The Islamic Mafia has planned it's exit in 2004 (1383 Arabic calendar).

In the meantime the Islamic Mafia is planning to create civil war in Iran to disintegrate the country in order to ease their escape in the chaos of civil war.

The civil war is planned for the next year. It will start in various provinces; Azarbaijan, Khouzestan, Kordestan, Khorasan, and Balouchestan.

He also revealed that there are close to 5000 spies working for Islamic Republic in various countries.

He declared his allegiance to Reza Pahlavi and asked all Iranians to form a united front against this mafia Islamic family before they destroy our country."

Comment: He is of the opinion that something will happen in Iran in June/July 2004.
4 posted on 01/23/2004 1:32:48 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: freedom44; F14 Pilot; nuconvert; DoctorZIn
The question is if this Zakari is an intelligent or an intelligence officer ;-)

There is a site with his name here:

What do you think?
5 posted on 01/23/2004 1:39:04 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
I read a piece in a couple of weeks ago, which is run by that ruthless thug Mohsen Rezai who is now called Dr. Rezai (he looks like a fruit salesman in downtown Tehran like the rest of'em!). In that short article they said that some forign entity is training up to 300 terrorists in urban warfare so that they enter Iran and start a series of assassinations in Iran (Killing top IR officials namely Province governors etc.). Now, this is make it sounds as though the Islamic Mafia are making the killings from their own lot and in the mayhem they make an escape with the stolen $60Billion.
Mohsen Rezai was the commander of pasdaran and in the same camp as Rafsanjani (Rasman-Jaani, Officially a Criminal, Persian translation used by Iranians!)
Now, what I can't figure out is how this Mr Zakeri thinks that June/July 2004 Iran can rid itself from this dirt! ...I guess a number of things, the noncompliance of Nuclear stuff which El-Baradei has warned them again yesterday and the real isolation of the IR as the Axis of Evil beginning to look like the Blob of Evil (N.Korea, Libya, Syria have understood the reality!) except for the ruthless Mullahs!
6 posted on 01/23/2004 4:16:34 AM PST by Mullah-Killer
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44; nuconvert; Pan_Yans Wife; seamole; Valin; RaceBannon; Cindy; downer911; ...
Germany secures a foothold in Iran

By Safa Haeri
Asia Times Online
24th of Jan 2004

PARIS - Iran has become the prize for which both the United States and the European Union are fighting, with the EU having already made huge investments in future decision-makers, thus possessing a determining edge over Washington, according to analysts.

The end game is about the political return of Germany to the Middle East, where other major players, namely the United States, France, Britain and Russia, are present and have their proxies, analysts say.

"From a long time ago, Germany, aware of the importance of Iran as the major economic, but also political and strategic power in the region, and given the new situation created following the Islamic revolution of 1979 that revived Iranian nationalism, chose Iran as its principal ally for its political return to this sensitive region, building firm contacts with the new Iranian leaders, including both the clerics and civilians, many of them pro-German," Morteza Rai'si, an Iranian journalist based in Bonn who has followed Iran-Germany relations for over half a century, told Asia Times Online.

It is important to note that Germany also played an important role in Iranian industrialization, which was started by Reza Shah, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty that was toppled by the revolution of 1979. However, Germany enjoyed a better image with the Iranians than the hated British Empire on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other. These two countries were replaced in terms of influence by the United States after the pro-monarchy coup of 1953, staged with the assistance of the Central Intelligence Agency. All three - Britain, the Soviet Union and the US - were widely viewed as plunderers of Iranian wealth, imperialist powers imposing their policies on Iran and humiliating a nation and people proud of their ancient civilization.

"It was Hans Dietrich Genscher, the former German foreign minister, who, in order to create a balance between Germany as an economic giant and political dwarf, and aware of the fact that the ayatollahs, who had ended the overwhelming American presence in Iran, had turned to Europe to thwart American pressures and sanctions, decided to use Tehran as a jumping spring board for Berlin's re-entry in the region," explained Kambiz Roosta, a veteran Iranian political activist and human rights campaigner based in Berlin.

"Not only does this policy continue today, but also in its quest, Berlin is strongly backed by Paris, which, because of it challenging Washington's hegemonic policies, is very popular in Iran and among other Middle East nations, except Israel," added Roosta in a telephone conversation with Asia Times Online.

"At the end of the day, it was the EU that got Iran to sign the Additional Protocol to the NPT [non-proliferation treaty] and which is pressing the ruling conservatives to normalize ties with the United States," Ra'isi noted.

"All the world's major nations have reached the conclusion that the [Middle East] region needs a strong power; which cannot be any other than Iran, where Germany, rich and with a very positive record, would have a privileged position," Ra'isi said, explaining Berlin's close relations with the Islamic Republic, a regime that Germany is well aware is isolated on the international scene and which has internal political problems too.

In the view of other Iranian observers, while the United States is banking on the collapse of the theocratic regime in Iran and pushing strongly for regime change, the European Union, including Britain, is served by better "humint" (human intelligence) in contrast to that of the US and will tell its governments that the ayatollahs are here to stay for "quite a long time" and to adopt a policy of "critical dialogue".

Though unpopular with the majority of the Iranians, and particularly among the young generation which makes up 70 percent of the population, the conservatives remain the ultimate decision-makers in Iran, where all key posts are controlled by them and the leader has the ultimate word on every major issue.

"There is no real threat against this regime and the atomic issue, the biggest threat to the Islamic Republic, was solved thanks to the EU negotiating with Hojjatoleslam Hasan Rohani, the influential secretary of Iran's Supreme Council for National Security, who was discovered and cultivated by the Germans a decade ago," Ra'isi said.

Iran has admitted that it produced small amounts of low enriched uranium using both centrifuges and laser enrichment processes ... and that it had failed to report a large number of conversion, fabrication and irradiation activities involving nuclear material, including the separation of a small amount of plutonium. As a result of the admission, and because of its willingness to inspections of its nuclear facilities, Iran has escaped international sanctions.

Among the subjects discussed between the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany with Rohani, beside the nuclear issue, was the normalization of ties with the US, which is now in progress and which will be fully addressed once the ruling conservatives secure control of the next majlis (parliament), another Iranian source who was in Vienna at the height of Iran's negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency last November and who has first-hand information about the talks, told Asia Times Online on condition of anonymity.

"One day or another, Iran will establish relations with the United States. All of our abilities and art should be used for deciding the most opportune moment," a 56-year-old cleric who is close to both the leader of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the second man in command, said in an interview published in the newspaper Le Figaro on January 17.

Very probably, it was on recommendations from Berlin that France reserved an almost head of state welcome for Rohani, considered by many Iranian observers as "the rising star" representing what Western analysts have termed as "neo-conservatives", when he visited Paris 10 days ago, meeting French President Jacques Chirac, Foreign Affairs Minister Dominique de Villepin and the Speaker of the Senate.

The clerics who rule Iran realize that normalizing ties with Washington is a must, hence their determination to start talks on a semi-official level after securing the next majlis, which will then give them the green light to the process - blocked until now because of rivalries between the two wings of the Iranian leadership.

"With no domestic reformist threat on the horizon, the conservatives may choose to pursue a policy of engagement with Washington, even compromising on such issues as weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, Israel and human rights," wrote Sanam Vakil, a doctoral candidate and lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, who was recently in Iran, for the Beirut-based The Daily Star of January 21.

"A conservative victory and unified government could also provide a solid opening for engagement with the United States. [President Mohammad] Khatami was allowed to pursue a policy of detente and dialogue that restored Iran's reputation with the European Union and the Arab world, but little progress has been made with the US," she added, noting, however, that this process would be delicate as the Bush administration and the EU have denounced the disqualification of a great number of reformist lawmakers running for the upcoming legislative elections by the powerful Guardians Council (GC), a conservative-controlled body that vets all candidates to all elections in Iran and which also goes through all laws passed by majlis to see if they are in conformity with the Sharia, or Islamic canons.

Responding to the outrage expressed inside and outside Iran on the disqualifications, Ayatollah Khamenei, who appoints six senior clerics out of the 12 members of the GC, urged the guardians to "review" the decision, which the reformists have rejected vehemently, threatening to resign en mass, including the president, and also to boycott the elections, a threat that few take seriously, reminding that such threats in the past had never been carried out for fear of encouraging popular demands for radical changes in the constitution.

"This is the most vicious and poisonous gift the leader could offer the reformists," Ali Keshtgar, a political activist and editor of the Paris-based Mihan (Homeland) monthly described in a conversation with Asia Times Online.

Explaining his view, he said: "When the Guardians Council disqualified the reformist candidates, public opinion, regardless of its apathy towards them, expressed sympathy without solidarity. Now that the GC has bowed to the leader's demand, the same opinion would turn more violently against the reformist lawmakers, having the feeling that they created all the noise just for saving their own political advantages. If the disqualified candidates are allowed to run, the voters would punish them by not voting for them."

Ms Vakil confirmed in her article: "By doing so [urging the GC to review the mass disqualifications] he [Khamenei] would come across as a benevolent leader supportive of democracy. This maneuver would be astute, considering the apathy that has taken hold of the Iranian electorate. In light of the lack of popular participation in the last municipal elections, as well as the generally pessimistic mood among youths after the protests and arrests last summer, it is likely that the decline in voter participation will continue, enabling conservative candidates to dominate in the forthcoming elections."

And Mohammad Javad Larijani, an advisor to the leader and the head of the international department of the conservative-controlled judiciary, told the news agency Reuters: "I think we should go easier on the reformists because they are going to lose enough seats to make us happy. Disillusioned with failed promises of reform and declining living standards, many Iranians have lost faith in Khatami and the reformists after nearly seven years in power, dong nothing for the people."
7 posted on 01/23/2004 4:54:26 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: F14 Pilot
Mysterious witness in German Sept 11 trial accuses Iran in attacks

Posted: 22 January 2004

-- This is a must read story!

8 posted on 01/23/2004 4:56:12 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: F14 Pilot
Iran ballot 'could include banned names'
By Gareth Smyth in Tehran
Published: January 22 2004

Mostafa Tajzadeh, one of Iran's leading reformers, said on Thursday that the reformist-controlled interior ministry might list on ballot papers any candidates excluded from next month's parliamentary election by the Guardian Council.

"If we put them on the list, and people vote for them, no one can object [if they're elected]," Mr Tajzadeh, a former deputy interior minister, said in an interview.

The Guardian Council, which oversees the political process for compatibility with Islam, is considering appeals from around 3,600 candidates, including 80 sitting deputies, it excluded from parliamentary elections due on February 20.

Mr Tajzadeh said that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, who urged the council last week to reconsider the cases, had "apparently not taken sides" and that this had prevented conservative demonstrations against a 12-day protest "sit-in" of reformist deputies.

But he added: "The performance of the Guardian Council will reveal if the supreme leader is a neutral referee or whether he is himself behind all these things."

Mr Tajzadeh argued that both the supreme leader and the Guardian Council were under pressure from public opinion, and cited the 2000 election, when the supreme leader intervened to validate the election in Tehran after the council had ruled there had been irregularities.

But he also warned of the "short-term" danger of "totalitarianism" if the exclusions went ahead. "In the long term, this cannot continue," he said. "People's demands can come through the ballot boxes or through rebellion."

Transcript of interview with Mostafa Tajzadeh
Click here

Mr Tajzadeh's remarks represent both a hardening of the reformers' position and an acknowledgement that they might be heading for short-term defeat.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, a leading conservative strategist, predicted this week that reformists would lose at least 50 of the 200 seats they held in parliament, even if all the disqualified candidates were allowed to run.

But Mr Tajzadeh estimated that the exclusions, if allowed to stand, would hand at least 180 of the total 290 seats to conservatives without a contest.

He said that many reformers would resign from parliament, the cabinet and administration if those currently disqualified were not - one way or another - included on ballot papers.

"If the majority of MPs, vice-presidents and ministers resign, it is very difficult to see how [President Mohammad] Khatami could continue," he added. "Surely he would prefer to resign as well."

Mr Tajzadeh, a leading member of two reformist parties that together hold around 140 seats, said Iran's reform movement had continued for seven years due mainly to Mr Khatami.

"Strategically he has been correct," said Mr Tajzadeh. "If the trend continues like this for some more years, we can have a completely democratic society."
9 posted on 01/23/2004 5:40:00 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: DoctorZIn
If I had to guess, the Iranian regime will be toppled no later than the end of 2005. The pressure is building, both from newly pro-western neighbors, but also from within. It won't be long.
10 posted on 01/23/2004 5:43:01 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Dog Gone
That is what we all hope to happen there.
11 posted on 01/23/2004 5:46:23 AM PST by F14 Pilot ("Terrorists declared war on U.S. and War is what they Got!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Friday, January 23, 2004

Source: WMD imported to Iraq from Iran
Saddam loyalists reportedly contracted with al-Qaida-related groups

Posted: January 23, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Saddam loyalists and al-Qaida insurgents have raised the stakes significantly in Iraq with the arrival of warheads and chemical components from Iran into northern Iraq, U.S. military sources said, citing intelligence reports.

This could signal a weapons of mass destruction campaign against the U.S.-led coalition, said Geostrategy-Direct, the intelligence news service.

Several convoys reportedly have entered northern Iraq, and Kurdish militia forces captured one. The Kurds found a warhead containing C-4 plastic explosives meant for an unspecified rocket.

The Kurds told U.S. military commanders Saddam loyalists have contracted with al-Qaida-related groups to bring 30 missile warheads into Iraq.

U.S. sources are particularly alarmed by the report of the driver of the captured convoy. He told the Kurdish forces some of the warheads might have contained lethal chemical agents.

U.S. military intelligence believes up to 12 warheads were laced with lethal chemicals meant to form a deadly cloud over their targets.

The warheads were to have been attached to short-range Iraqi rockets deployed by Saddam loyalists. The Saddam regime developed the Laith-90 rocket, with a range of 90 kilometers.

Saddam supporters are planning the mother of all attacks on American troops, military sources said.

The most likely target is the Coalition Provisional Authority complex, where thousands of people work.

On Sunday, a car bomb killed about 30 people at the entrance to the CPA. But the sources believe a rocket attack with chemical weapons is the kind of mega-attack Saddam's people are gearing up for.
12 posted on 01/23/2004 5:58:54 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
23 Jan 2004 13:51

Iran Guardian Council to review "mistakes" in poll
By Amir Paivar

TEHRAN (Reuters) - The head of Iran's hardline Guardian Council said on Friday the watchdog panel was willing to reverse any "mistakes" made when it banned thousands of liberal candidates from running in parliamentary elections.

The Guardian Council's move to bar nearly half of 8,200 hopefuls from standing in the February 20 vote has prompted dozens of top government officials to threaten to resign. Reformist parties have said they may boycott the election.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said the 12-member panel, which has received more than 3,000 complaints from disqualified candidates most of whom are reformist allies of President Mohammad Khatami, would inform candidates of any changes by January 30.

"There are misunderstandings about the Guardian Council's work," Jannati told a Friday prayers congregation in Tehran.

"Mistakes are possible. We neither insist on (standing by) mistakes nor would we violate the law," he said in the sermon which was broadcast live on state radio.

Many of those barred from standing were accused by the council of lacking loyalty to Iran's constitution and the system of clerical rule adopted after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, has urged the council to review the bans and said that hundreds who had been allowed to run in previous elections should be allowed to stand again.

Among those barred from running are around 80 of the standing 290 MPs. They have held a 13-day sit-in at parliament to protest the mass disqualifications.

Reformists accuse the Guardian Council -- comprised of conservative clerics and Islamic jurists and invested with sweeping powers -- of trying to help conservatives reverse their 2000 parliamentary election defeat to liberal candidates.

U.S. and European Union officials have criticised the vetting process.

MPs protesting at parliament vowed to continue their sit-in as long as "people's right for free elections is not observed," the ISNA students news agency reported.

A coalition of reformist parties is due to hold a meeting early next week to decide the next stage of their protest which also includes dawn-to-dusk fasting by the MPs.

Despite the political standoff most analysts expect a negotiated compromise will be reached to allow the elections to go ahead.

The political struggle has provoked little interest amongst ordinary Iranians, most of whom are disillusioned with politics and have lost faith in Khatami's ability to overcome stiff resistance to reform by hardliners.

A Guardian Council spokesman said on Thursday roughly 260 barred candidates have been re-admitted to the election race and that more revisions would be announced in coming days.

(So the spectacle has served its purpose, and driven people from the polls... is it time to "kiss and make up"?-PYW)
13 posted on 01/23/2004 6:08:45 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Germans study claims by source tying Iran to 9/11

By John Crewdson
Tribune senior correspondent
January 23, 2004

WASHINGTON -- In sorting out which parts of the story told by Hamid Reza Zakeri are true, German federal police have their work cut out for them.

The Bundeskriminalamt, known as the BKA, has produced Zakeri as a surprise witness in the German government's troubled case against Abdelghani Mzoudi and declared that Zakeri can link Mzoudi to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But before a five-judge panel Thursday in a Hamburg courtroom, prosecutors acknowledged that BKA agents still are assessing Zakeri's credibility.

They can start with his name. As Zakeri cheerfully admitted during a telephone interview with the Tribune from a hotel room in Germany, the name is a phony one--bestowed on him, he says, during his years of service as an Iranian intelligence agent.

Other parts of Zakeri's story may prove harder to nail down, but also more consequential. Zakeri says the supreme Iranian leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the country's former president, Hashemi Rafsanjani, both were fully informed well before Sept. 11, 2001, that a brutal attack on America was planned.

"They were informed by Al Qaeda," which "needed the Iranian government's help," Zakeri says.

He says he knows this because he was working for a security and intelligence unit operating out of Khamenei's office in early 2001, when Iran was visited by Osama bin Laden's chief deputy.

Then, "four months and five days before 9/11," Zakeri says, one of bin Laden's sons, Saad bin Laden, turned up in the Iranian capital, met with Khamenei and Rafsanjani and gave them the details of the Sept. 11 plot.

His account, he says, can be corroborated by the Iranian security agent who served as Saad bin Laden's bodyguard during the visit, and who now is living quietly in Najaf, Iraq.

Zakeri has much more to say: He remembers seeing Mzoudi at the Iranian intelligence headquarters "four years before 9/11."

If confirmed, Zakeri's testimony will not help the 31-year-old Mzoudi who has denied charges that he knowingly assisted the Sept. 11 hijackers in their preparations for worst terrorist attack against the U.S. Moreover, any proven link between Sept. 11 and Iran would pose a challenge for the Bush administration, which has vowed repeatedly to punish any foreign government--as it did the Taliban in Afghanistan--whose fingerprints are found on the attack.

The 11th-hour appearance of Zakeri, who says he is 40 years old and was born in the central Iranian city of Esfahan, has thrown Mzoudi's trial into disarray. Zakeri, who is keeping his whereabouts a secret because he fears retaliation from the Iranian government, nevertheless insists that he is willing to testify at the Mzoudi trial, which is taking place behind bulletproof glass in a high-security Hamburg courtroom.

Dr. Ulrich von Jeinsen, a German lawyer who represents the families of some of those who died on Sept. 11, and who would like to see Mzoudi convicted, attended Thursday's session and said he was inclined to believe what Zakeri has to say. The BKA, von Jeinsen said, had "checked his position in the Iranian secret service, and it's true. Now they will try to verify other details."

New court hearing set

The court will hear the results of those inquiries Jan. 29, at which time the five judges can either deliver a verdict in the case, as they had planned to do this week, or ask the BKA to provide more information about Zakeri's assertions--and, possibly, to produce Zakeri himself.

Ali Nouri Zadeh, a Iranian-born writer for the London-based Arab newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat who first interviewed Zakeri more than a year ago, has mixed feelings about the man's veracity.

"What he says is partly correct--30 percent," Zadeh says. "Partly exaggerated--20 percent. And 50 percent is nonsense."

Told that some German and American intelligence officials had greeted his revelations with pronounced skepticism, Zakeri replied: "I don't know why they say that. We got lots of evidence."

At least some of what Zakeri says is inconsistent with known facts. Zakeri told the BKA, for example, that he had seen one of the hijack pilots, Ziad Jarrah, at a terrorist training camp in Iran in 1997, four years before Sept. 11.

"I did not recognize the person then," he said. Only after seeing Jarrah's picture in the wake of Sept. 11, Zakeri said, did he remember that "I had seen the person on the picture in Iran. ... I did not know his name before."

However, 1997 is the year that Jarrah arrived in Hamburg from his native Lebanon to study aircraft design at Hamburg's University of Applied Sciences. By all accounts he was the antithesis of a radical fundamentalist Muslim, spending his free time drinking, driving sports cars and living with a Turkish girlfriend. BKA interviews with Jarrah's neighbors and fellow students suggest that Jarrah didn't become radicalized until 1999, the same year he and several of the other hijackers visited an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan.

Zadeh says he was able to confirm, with sources inside and outside Iran, that Zakeri did work for an intelligence unit of the hard-line Revolutionary Guards, a kind of fundamentalist counterpart to the regular Iranian army, and then for a special security unit in Ayatollah Khamenei's office.

"That's where he got his information and documents," says Zadeh, who says he has examined the documents and that some are genuine "and some are not."

Zakeri said that in July 2001, two months before the Sept. 11 hijackings, he visited Azerbaijan, the former Soviet republic with which the U.S. now has diplomatic relations, and gave CIA personnel at the U.S. Embassy there a letter addressed to President Bush that warned of a major impending attack on U.S. soil. Zakeri, who says he also faxed a copy of the letter to the White House, claims it described a scale model of the World Trade Center and other high-rise buildings that suddenly and mysteriously had appeared in a hallway of the Iranian intelligence service's headquarters--and which he was told by a deputy intelligence minister would be the target of the attack.

Working for CIA?

In the Tribune interview, Zakeri was unclear about how much of the information he purports to possess was obtained firsthand, and how much was garnered from friends, acquaintances and other secondary sources after he left Iran. Zakeri claims a relationship with the CIA that dates from a meeting in Canada in 1992, after which he returned to Iran as an agent of the CIA--at least in his own mind. "I was thinking I'm working for them," he said.

The relationship, Zakeri said, culminated with an acrimonious meeting with the CIA and other American intelligence services in The Hague four months ago. "I told them the same story," Zakeri says. "They want me to say a different story. I said, `This is the truth that I'm saying.'"

The CIA has declined all comment on Zakeri, citing the Hamburg trial. German news reports say Zakeri walked, uninvited, into the Berlin office of the BKA last week and proceeded to tell his story. But Zakeri claims it was the BKA that "brought me to Germany, to be a witness." He won't say from where. "I live all over," he says. "France, Canada ...."

During 5 1/2 hours of questioning Monday, Zakeri told the BKA that among the Al Qaeda figures who visited Iran was Saif Al-Adel, who is under a U.S. federal indictment in absentia for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa. According to a transcript of the BKA interview obtained by the Tribune, Zakeri identifies Al-Adel as the Al Qaeda figure "in charge of the execution of" the Sept. 11 hijackings. Saudi intelligence officials believe Al-Adel, a former Egyptian military officer, gave the order--by telephone from Iran--that launched the first of several suicide bombings in the Saudi capital last May.

`Housekeeping' duties

Zakeri also told the BKA that Mzoudi, the defendant in the trial, had been "in touch with Saif Al-Adel." Mzoudi, Zakeri said, "was involved in the logistics of the operation of 9/11/01. His area of operations was to draft and send information to liaison persons, because he knew well how to handle codes."

Up to now, the case against Mzoudi has been circumstantial, resting on evidence showing that he performed a number of logistical and "housekeeping" services for the principal hijackers before and after they left Hamburg to begin flying lessons in the U.S.

In the Tribune interview, Zakeri denied news reports that he demanded money from German authorities in return for his testimony, and also accusations that he stole large sums of money from the Iranian government before defecting to the West.

"It's not true," he said. "I'm a poor man. I'm living as a poor man.",1,7199724,print.story?coll=chi-news-hed
14 posted on 01/23/2004 6:16:25 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: Pan_Yans Wife
Muslim convert to Christianity wins asylum

Judge ruled he could face persecution if sent back to native land

January 22, 2004

A court in Germany ruled a refugee who faced persecution because he converted from Islam to Christianity can receive political asylum.

In a case regarded as a precedent for others seeking asylum, the federal administrative court in Leipzig said Tuesday the Iranian defendant could face persecution if sent back to his native Iran, reported Deutsche Press-Angentur, the German press agency.

The judge said the man's decision to join and regularly attend a Christian church was proof of his religious convictions. Those beliefs, he concluded, potentially conflict with policies of a conservative Islamic republic.

Abandonment of Islam, or apostasy, is punishable by death under Islamic law.

In the United States, illegal immigrants can receive asylum if they prove that they have a "well-founded fear of persecution" based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group.

An estimated 1,000 asylum-seekers wait in detention centers around the U.S. for processing of their cases, said Matthew James Wilch, who handles asylum and immigration issues at Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, according to the Baltimore Sun.
15 posted on 01/23/2004 6:53:04 AM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (He who has never hoped can never despair.)
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To: F14 Pilot
"the suspect told German police that Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and three other ayatollahs met with Osama bin Laden's oldest son at an airbase near Tehran May 4, 2001 to finalize the plans for the attacks."

Earth-shattering news for the regime, if it's true.
16 posted on 01/23/2004 7:02:09 AM PST by nuconvert ( "It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.")
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To: DoctorZIn
Reform vs. Reality

January 23, 2004
The Washington Post
David Ignatius

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Even by the standards of this annual gathering of the masters of the great and the good, it was a remarkable sight: Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, standing in his black turban and clerical robes before the assembled chiefs of the global economy, lecturing them on the convergence of Islam and the Western philosophy of Max Weber and David Hume.

It was a sort of Davos dream come true: The idea that, as Khatami argued, dialogue and rational debate could save the world from its troubles. The Iranian leader seemed like a man who had landed in the Swiss Alps in a time machine from the Age of Enlightenment: He decried the effects of overspecialization of knowledge; he spoke of the tension between the ideal and the possible and said that only reason and ethics could overcome such contradictions.

Harvard professor Joseph Nye emerged from the hall shaking his head in bemused wonder; it was the kind of presentation that could have been given at an American university and received a respectable grade.

Khatami's speech to the World Economic Forum was a stirring performance, but as a guide to the political future, I fear it was misleading. It's not that he doesn't mean his fine words. You could see the pleasure he took in displaying his intelligence and erudition for the Davos audience. It's just that he doesn't have the political cards back home to deliver on his promise of neo-enlightenment.

The reality is that Khatami and his fellow reformers in the Iranian parliament are being eaten alive by the conservative clerics who really run the country. The reformers have become enough of a nuisance that the mullah's Council of Guardians disqualified nearly half of them from next month's elections. Khatami and his parliamentary allies threatened to quit, but their protests are bootless -- and most Iranians unhappily know it.

Unless Iran's constitution is changed, the mullahs have the ultimate power. And, as Khatami conceded at a news conference after his speech, he has no plans to change the constitution.

Iran-watchers tell me the real power player in Tehran today is former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. He's a classic wheeler-dealer -- everything that the intellectual Khatami is not. Rafsanjani may run for president again, but even if he remains in the shadows, he is a truer image of Iranian politics than the philosophic Khatami. What's more, Rafsanjani is said to be the man coordinating Iran's highly manipulative (and highly successful) policy toward Iraq -- and the one who will coordinate any back-channel deals with Washington.

For me, Khatami embodies that classic dilemma of the intellectual in politics. His world is the library, not the street; however popular his call for modernism may be with ordinary Iranians, he won't win the brawls that determine day-to-day politics.

Over time, I suspect that Khatami's reformist ideas will prove more powerful than they seem today. That's the other paradox of intellectuals in politics: They may seem to lose in the short run, but in the long run, their ideas can transform nations and cultures. Khatami, the Islamic Hegelian who believes that ideas drive history, may eventually win. But he might not be around to savor the victory.

This is the mullahs' moment. Tehran is coordinating a very clever strategy of drawing the United States onto terrain where the Iranians control all the hidden levers of power. President Bush's claim that the U.S. show of force in Iraq has intimidated the Iranians is, as Khatami suggested, questionable. Tehran exerts substantial influence over Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who has defied U.S. occupation czar Paul Bremer and gotten away with it.

Iran's hegemony extends farther west. The most dynamic political force in the Arab world today is probably the Lebanese Shiite militia, Hezbollah -- another Iranian creation. Already, Hezbollah agents are said to be infiltrating Iraq. Are they preparing to use the tactics of kidnapping and hostage-taking that made Lebanon a deadly zone for Americans in the mid-1980s? I hope not, but this is a danger that should concern policymakers.

Finally, it seems inevitable that over the next few years, Iran will emerge as a nuclear-capable power. As long ago as 1995, Iraqi intelligence estimated that Iran was very close to having a bomb. That doesn't necessarily mean the Iranians will build and test a nuclear weapon. They may, like Israel, coast along in a posture of ambiguity, meeting demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency even as they covertly pursue their nuclear ambitions.

The rise of Iran is a decisive fact of life in the Middle East. The learned voice of Mohammad Khatami is part of that Iranian reality, and we should embrace his proposals for dialogue. But the West should remember that the real power lies elsewhere, far from the library.
17 posted on 01/23/2004 9:16:21 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Attack the Roots of Terror, Not Terrorists - Ebadi

January 23, 2004
Jordan Times

BOMBAY -- Iranian Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi says punishing those who commit acts of terror will not rid the world of terrorists and might even make the problem worse.

The outspoken lawyer, who has repeatedly accused the United States of using the Sept. 11 attacks as a smoke screen to violate human rights, said terrorism had only increased despite years of cracking down on militants around the world.

“The solution for eradicating terrorism is not just to punish terrorists. We must go to the roots of terrorism,” Ebadi told Reuters in an interview in Bombay late on Wednesday.

“Terrorism is the reaction, the wrong reaction, to injustice and discrimination,” said Ebadi, the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to win a Nobel Prize.

In India's financial hub to speak at several venues including the World Social Forum (WSF), which ended on Wednesday, the diminutive Ebadi drew the sort of attention normally reserved for stars of India's Bollywood films.

Mobbed by excited teenagers, autograph hunters and reporters, she was also a big draw at WSF seminars packed with thousands of anti-globalisation activists from all over the world, who seemed to hang on her every word.

Iran's first woman judge, who became a hate figure among the country's religious hardliners for her outspoken support of social and legal reforms, denounced people who misinterpret Islam and misguide Muslims to commit heinous acts of terror.

“People who believe human rights, democracy and Islam are incompatible are only justifying dictatorship. They use it to impose their beliefs,” she said, speaking through an interpreter.

Not one to mince words, Ebadi is equally critical of the US-led war on terror.

“America and the West should know that Islam does not support terror. In Bosnia, when so many Muslims were killed, we did not consider it Christian terrorism,” said Ebadi, who was without a headscarf — compulsory under Iranian law — to cover her close-cropped auburn hair.

President George W. Bush has maintained since Sept. 11 that the US. war on terror is not a fight against Islam, though many Muslims still regard it as an attack on their religion.

Hailed as a hero among human rights bodies and a much sought-after speaker around the world, especially after receiving the Nobel award last month, Ebadi is still trying to come to terms with the global adulation.

“I have no hero or role model in my life. And I don't want to be a role model for other people, even my own daughters, because I believe everyone should live life by himself or herself and use their own wisdom.”

The 56-year-old human rights campaigner has been lambasted by Iran's conservative newspapers for shaking hands with men and appearing in public without a headscarf.

Because of her vocal support for political and economic reforms and abolition of Islamic penalties such as stoning and amputation of limbs, Iran's conservatives call her an agent of the West.

She is accustomed to living with the death threats she receives nearly every day by phone and mail. But Ebadi, the mother of two daughters and wife of an electrical engineer, says she is not a “superwoman” and has learned to cope with fear.

“She's a very forthright person,” said Helen Ralston, a Canadian sociologist who attended one of Ebadi's public talks in Bombay. “But she's also a woman of heart and compassion.”
18 posted on 01/23/2004 9:17:35 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
French Minister: Developments in Iran Bode Well for Expansion of Ties

January 23, 2004
Islamic Republic News Agency

Paris -- Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari, heading a trade delegation, met here Thursday with French Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry Francis Mer.

Mer welcomed Iranian delegation saying that the developments in Iran bode well for expansion of ties between Tehran and Paris.

Paris sees no obstacle in strengthening bilateral trade ties he said adding "The visit to Paris by the Iranian Commerce Minister is the right step in bolstering relations."

Shairatmadari briefed the French Economy Minister on policies in lessening the role of government in the Iranian economy, ceding the state-owned enterprises to the private sector and other structural adjustments in the economy in the past several years.

Implementing investment and tax reforms, unification of foreign currency rates, modifying imported exports laws, amending tariff regime and provision for establishing private banking system are among other economic policies, he stated.

Currently there are suitable opportunities for Tehran-Paris cooperation in telecommunications, aeronautics, and oil and gas sectors.

Shariatamdari, heading a 100-man delegation, is on an official visit to France to examine ways of promoting Tehran-Paris economic cooperation.

Meetings with a number of senior French economic and trade officials, including Foreign Trade Minister Francois Loos, and conclusion of memoranda of understanding on mutual economic cooperation are high on agenda of the Paris visit of Shariatmadari and h is entourage.

Seventy managers from Iran's manufacturing and export institutions grouped in 16 teams are to enter into negotiations with their French counterparts on issues of mutual interest.

The group of Iranian industrialists is expected to represent different economic and industrial sectors, which deal with the technical, engineering, banking, insurance, steel, food, and hand-woven carpet industries as well as the information technology, e xhibition, free trade and industrial zones, machinery, cosmetics, mineral, pharmaceutical, hospital equipment, marine and railway industries and vehicle related services.
19 posted on 01/23/2004 9:19:49 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
Janati Warns EU Against Interfering in Iran Elections

January 23, 2004
Khaleej Times

TEHERAN - An Iranian Ayatollah warned the European Union on Friday against interfering in the parliamentary election process.

Relations with the EU does not mean that Europeans can interfere in our legal system and election process, said Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a senior member of the senate-like Guardian Council, at Friday prayers in Teheran.

The European Union had voiced grave concern over the ban of more than 3,500 reformist candidates from running in the February 20 elections.

The EU should fulfill its obligations to Iran rather than come up with new issues such human rights and misuse them as political tools against us, said Jannati, one of the front-runners of the hardline clergy faction.

Iran last year signed the additional International Atomic Energy Agency protocol and had allowed unlimited inspection of its nuclear sites in return for an E.U. promise to acknowledge Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear activities and to assist the country in this field.

According to Teheran, the EU has failed to fulfill its promises and Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi even warned that Iran might not see any reason to continue the dialogue.
20 posted on 01/23/2004 9:20:56 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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