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Iranian Alert -- February 25, 2004 -- IRAN LIVE THREAD --Americans for Regime Change in Iran
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 2.25.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 02/25/2004 12:06:36 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 02/25/2004 12:06:37 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 02/25/2004 12:09:12 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy. Many even want the US to over throw their government.

Though this is good news, I don't think the Iranians deserve freedom unless the do it themselves. The Muslim approach is let somebody else do it for us. Let's see the nads first, if they really want it that bad. Only %22 of the population in the US was in favor of the Revolutionary War.
3 posted on 02/25/2004 12:19:11 AM PST by jwh_Denver (Oh that's right, I'm a certified doom and gloomer.)
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To: jwh_Denver
Your comment that they don't deserve freedom is over the top. Many Iranians that daily read these threads are putting their lives on the line daily for the freedom we inherited.

Iranians struggling for freedom don't need our permission.

But don't forget we got help (military) in our quest for freedom, from the French no less. We could provide some moral support which is all they are asking for.
4 posted on 02/25/2004 12:43:46 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
U.N. Inspectors Report Evidence That Iran Itself Made Fuel That Could Be Used for A-Bombs

Published: February 25, 2004

Despite Iranian disavowals, International Atomic Energy Agency experts in Iran have found evidence of indigenous production of a concentrated fuel that, if pure enough, can be used to make nuclear weapons. They said in an inspection report that equipment made there showed many traces of the fuel, highly enriched uranium.

Iran has consistently argued that any traces of concentrated fuel must have come from equipment contaminated before it was imported, presumably from Pakistan. But the report, distributed yesterday to the agency's board, found the fuel on parts Iranians had made, and "only negligible traces" on imported parts.

The evidence that Iran may still be hiding crucial elements of its nuclear program prompted a sharp response from the Bush administration, with one senior official saying, "The key right now is to build an international consensus about what Iran is doing, and the Iranians are making it easier every day, by their failure to disclose and by what's being found in Iran."

The agency's report stops well short of declaring that Iran has a weapons program under way, and in that respect it disappointed American officials who have cast scorn on Iran's arguments that it is seeking to produce fuel only for power plants.

But the report also contradicts many of the claims of Iranian leaders. It found, for example, that Iran had concealed plans and experimental work to make sophisticated centrifuges, including a model called the P-2, a second-generation Pakistani design that has also been found in Libya. Centrifuges are used to make enriched uranium.

Iran has said it encouraged domestic companies to produce the components it needed for the centrifuges. But, the report noted, "most workshops for the domestic production of centrifuges are owned by military industrial organizations."

Centrifuges are hollow metal tubes that spin very fast to enrich uranium in its rare uranium 235 isotope. When thousands are linked together, they can concentrate the isotope enough to make potent nuclear-bomb fuel. Nuclear reactors use a less concentrated isotope.

Other findings include the assertion that until pressed, Iran hid work done at a previously known reactor to make polonium 210, a highly radioactive isotope that in small amounts can help set off a nuclear explosion. Polonium 210 has peaceful uses as well, and the Iranians denied it was linked to a weapons program. The polonium program's existence was reported yesterday by The Washington Post.

The Iranians also failed to account for a discrepancy between the amount of plutonium they showed inspectors and the amount the inspectors calculated the Iranian equipment should have produced. But the missing amount does not appear to be enough to build a bomb.

The agency, a branch of the United Nations, said it was still trying to figure out whether nuclear material had been diverted to projects that inspectors have yet to discover.

According to the report, Iranian officials have now promised to go beyond past pledges to suspend operation of fuel-producing centrifuges: They have vowed to halt the production of new centrifuges and parts early next month.

The agency said Iran had assembled "some 120 centrifuges" since it announced its suspension of operations in November. It also said Iran had agreed that if it cannot suspend all its contracts for centrifuge parts, it will put those parts under the supervision of international inspectors.

In London on Tuesday, senior British officials confirmed the new commitments from Tehran. "It's significant," a European diplomat familiar with the report said of the new pledges. "If you don't have centrifuges spinning, you can't make material for bombs."

Iran's efforts to produce bomb fuel became a central issue for George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in an appearance on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss threats facing the United States.

While noting that Iran had begun to give international inspectors access, he said, "The difference between producing low-enriched uranium and weapons-capable high-enriched uranium is only a matter of time and intent, not technology."

Over the weekend, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell urged Britain, France and Germany to put additional pressure on Iran, despite the deal struck by the three countries late last year to avoid a showdown on the nuclear issue at the United Nations Security Council.

Still, one senior American official said, there is little concern that Iran is on the verge of obtaining a weapon. The official said, "Everyone believes that with the I.A.E.A. crawling over the country," it would be difficult for Iran to do so.

Another official said, "I don't think we're prepared to go to the Security Council yet, but every week, we're peeling back another layer of the onion, and maybe that's just as good."

The international agency's report notes "several common elements" between Iran's nuclear program and Libya's, which is being dismantled.

It does not raise the question foremost in the minds of American officials: whether the Pakistani network led by A. Q. Khan sold Iran the complete plans for building a warhead. Such a plan was sold to Libya, and when Libyan officials turned it over to the United States and the agency last month, it was flown out of country. It is now being examined at the Department of Energy, the custodian of the American nuclear arsenal.

Last year, the I.A.E.A. found traces of highly enriched uranium on Iranian centrifuge equipment, touching off an international crisis. The new report said the centrifuge gear and Iran's claims about it still pose "a number of discrepancies and unanswered questions."

For instance, it said, uranium contamination from two centrifuge plants differed in material respects, even though Iran said the source in both cases was the same: imported centrifuge parts.

It added that the agency had found the purity of highly enriched uranium from one of the sites, the Kalaye Electric Company, to be 36 percent — short of the 90 percent needed for most nuclear bomb designs but far greater than that needed to make fuel for nuclear reactors.

The most surprising disclosure was the report's claim that the agency had found "only negligible traces" of the 36 percent-enriched uranium on imported parts. In the past, Iran had argued that any such material would have entered the country on imported gear.

By contrast, the Kalaye site, which housed Iran's prototype centrifuge plant, "seems to be predominantly contaminated" with the highly enriched uranium.

Private experts said that finding suggested — but did not prove — that Iran, contrary to its repeated claims and denials, had itself begun to use its centrifuges to produce highly enriched uranium.

"Something here is very fishy," said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, an arms control group in Washington. He added that the Iranians were "clearly nervous to cave" and suspend manufacturing.

The energy agency's report will have the United States government "rubbing its hands in glee," Mr. Albright predicted. "But this is positive, and we should use the leverage to get Iran to cooperate more."

William J. Broad reported from New York for this article and David E. Sanger from Washington.
5 posted on 02/25/2004 12:46:02 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Hard-liners face hurdles in new Iran

By Borzou Daragahi

TEHRAN — The momentous takeover of Iran's parliament by hard-liners in Friday's elections means a new era for the country, and likely the end to the Islamic republic's seven-year experiment in softening its harsh domestic and international policies.

Although hard-liners have returned to prominent positions of power, their options are limited, analysts here say, by Iran's new social, economic and geopolitical realities. These include a restless, underemployed generation of young people intolerant of religious social controls and a lively civic culture filled with unofficial associations and groups.

The population is savvy, and has access to the Internet and satellite television.

Other realities include an ailing economy in need of foreign investment and a ubiquitous U.S. military intolerant of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

After Shirin Ebadi's win of the Nobel Peace Prize, they also include a sharpened international focus on the clerical regime's treatment of citizens.

President Bush reacted yesterday in Washington, saying:

"I am very disappointed in the recently disputed parliamentary elections in Iran. The disqualification of some 2,400 candidates by the unelected Guardian Council deprived many Iranians of the opportunity to freely choose their representatives. I join many in Iran and around the world in condemning the Iranian regime's efforts to stifle freedom of speech, including the closing of two leading reformist newspapers in the run-up to the election. Such measures undermine the rule of law and are clear attempts to deny the Iranian people's desire to freely choose their leaders.

"The United States supports the Iranian people's aspirations to live in freedom, enjoy their God-given rights, and determine their own destiny."

In the same vein, Bernard Hourcade, a noted Iran scholar who has traveled to the United States at least once a year for the past 35 years, said in Tehran: "Everyone in Iran, even the right-wingers, knows that human rights is on the agenda."

Open for business

Indeed, the election comes as Iran prepares to reopen its economy to the world for the first time since Iranians toppled the pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. The French car manufacturer Renault signed a deal in October to invest $750 million in Iran over the next few years. Last week, Turkcell, a Turkish company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, won a contract to build a mobile-phone network, and Japan agreed to invest $2 billion in developing oil fields.

"If there's a huge crackdown on human rights in Iran, there's going to be huge pressure on these companies to leave," said Ali Ghezelbash, an analyst at a Tehran-based investment consulting firm. "These companies don't want to be seen as supporting a despotic government."

Religious hard-liners took control of the parliament after a short, troubled political season filled with comical election charades, such as people suddenly lining up and pretending to vote when reporters arrived and candidates running at the order of their well-connected bosses.

"I think they awarded some of my votes to other candidates," said Homa Nasseri, an independent liberal who failed to win a seat. "Based on my campaign supporters' estimates, I thought I would receive 15,000 to 20,000 votes. Instead, I had 500 votes. I'm very discouraged."

The biggest reformist bloc in parliament — indeed, the best-known political group in the country — was mostly barred from running by a right-wing council appointed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's top religious and political figure and the successor to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

A group of political unknowns calling themselves the Developers of Islamic Iran won the biggest bloc of votes, including about 30 of the 38 seats representing the capital. They adopted many of the good-government slogans of the reform movement, and promised not to crack down on women with hair peeping out of their head coverings or young people listening to pop music, as hard-liners have done in the past.

"Our goal is to solve economic problems," said Emad Ghetassi, who works in the group's public relations office. "The last parliament ignored economic problems. We've promised to solve unemployment. We've promised to increase people's purchasing power and solve the inflation problem."

But even Ayatollah Khomeini vowed he would address people's economic troubles, just before his revolution plunged the country into a quarter-century economic abyss from which it is only now emerging. Many say that the hard-liners who have taken over the parliament represent two strains — one pragmatic and focused on the economy, the other ideological.

"One part of them are these unknown people who are making slogans about development and economic growth," said Rajabali Mazroui, one of the reformist members of parliament barred from running again by a council of hard-line clerics and jurists. "Another part of them are the very radical, harsh right-wingers. It's not clear who's going to come out on top."

Radicals rule

Many in Iran shiver at the prospect of newly triumphant religious radicals cracking down on human rights and pursuing an international policy certain to alienate the West and the United States, which has criticized the clerical regime's attempts to obtain nuclear technology.

In the past week, the hard-line judiciary already has closed most of the country's few remaining liberal newspapers, and the Foreign Ministry has admitted under pressure it obtained nuclear material on the black market.

Mr. Mazroui said reformers that were booted from the government plan to return to society at large and try to regroup, joining the hundreds of new nonprofits, civic associations and literary and political groups that have been forming throughout Iran.

"We thought we could compromise with the [religious] conservatives," he said. "Now we understand it's not possible."

But analysts say a new conflict could be brewing between religious fundamentalists who want to tighten social controls and battle Western culture, and pragmatists who want to ensure the clerical regime's survival by adapting it to the new domestic and international realities.

The two groups united temporarily for the sake of defeating the reformists, but a new split, caused by divergent social and economic interests, may emerge.

Though Iran is growing economically, this country of 68 million people faces growing income disparities and unemployment of its educated, youthful population.

The young have increasingly little taste for the traditional values and Islamic piety advocated by state propaganda organs.

"The country faces a crisis of legitimacy," said Ramin Jahanbegloo, a scholar at the Cultural Research Center, a Tehran think tank. "It's a crisis that's been growing since 1989, when Ayatollah Khomeini died. The young people, the new generation, are moving and further and further away from the system."

The reform movement, analysts said, was an attempt to alleviate the crisis while playing by the rules of Iran's system. Beginning in 1997, President Mohammed Khatami and his allies took control of the government while seeking to turn Iran into an Islamic democracy. But faced with the vested interests of clerics who control the legal system, the experiment failed.

Internationally, Iran fared no better under a weak reformist government constantly sabotaged by hard-liners. "No one knew whom to talk to," said Mr. Jahanbegloo. "Iran became a country with double figures and double messages."

The pragmatists talk of a new approach and a new social contract — a "Chinese model" in which the country would open itself to foreign investment, provide jobs as well as limited social freedom, and continue to stifle political dissent and activism, all the while keeping violent, hard-line elements — the regime's shock troops — in check.

"They know that if the hard-liners start putting pressure on people, it's dangerous," said Mr. Ghezelbash, the investment analyst. "If people get beaten up on the head, they might go home. But they'll go home angrier and angrier and eventually blow up," he said.

Pragmatists — epitomized by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani and U.S.-educated state television director Ali Larijani — would like to "water down the existing severe social atmosphere, implement reforms, give minor social freedoms to the society and develop a positive approach with foreign powers," including Washington, said Davoud Hermidas Bavand, a professor of international relations in Tehran.

Looking east

The Chinese model would be no easy fit in Iran. China's market of 1.2 billion consumers makes it a land of great potential riches, where corporations will look the other way when the government tortures dissidents or Beijing gets into shouting matches with Washington.

Though Iran has reformed foreign-investment laws and set up tax holidays for investors, its market is paltry.

"Iran is an interesting market, but it's not China," said the Tehran representative of a French corporation. "There's an understanding among the companies doing business here that there are things the government can and can't get away with in terms of human rights."

Moreover, additional foreign investment will mean foreigners bringing Western and secular values, demanding social freedoms and introducing new ideas.

"If you are building a foreign company here, it means bringing hundreds of families here," said Mr. Hourcade, the Iran scholar who has spent his life scouring this country's farthest corners. "The sociology of these cities will change. The social climate will change."

That would alienate the hard-liners and the pious traditionalists who voted in droves for the religious candidates in the recent election, who believe Iran should implement and export its Islamic values.

Mr. Bavand, the international-relations scholar, predicts these religiously oriented forces might stymie the Chinese model of pragmatists, who remain unable to solve Iran's unemployment, brain drain, drug addiction, corruption and international-relations problems.

Indeed, for the first 18 years after the Islamic revolution, the various religious factions held near-monopolies on power in Iran and were unable to solve any domestic problems without relying on Iran's oil revenues or any international conflicts without resorting to name-calling and demonizing foreigners.

"You look at them now, it's the same individuals," said Mr. Bavand. "Previously, they had the same authority, and they weren't able to do a thing."
6 posted on 02/25/2004 12:50:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Amir Taheri: End of the reformist itch may ironically be healthy for Iran

Gulf News

Whichever way one looks at Iran's latest general election the result is a decisive defeat for the so-called "reformist" camp. The product of an illusion, the so-called "reformist" movement had deceived itself into believing it could deceive all the people all the time.

It all started with Mohammed Khatami's election as president in 1997. Iranians turned out en masse to vote for Khatami not because they liked, or even knew, him but because they wanted to prevent the election of the establishment's candidate whom they knew all too well. Nevertheless, Khatami's election manifesto at the time sounded both reasonable and promising. It contained 10 pledges.

The first was to restore law and order to a country where extra-state organs exercised often arbitrary power since 1979. It is clear that Khatami has failed to honour that pledge. His supporters, including his brother Mohammed Reza, who was not allowed to stand as a candidate in last week's election, now speak of a "constitutional coup d'état" by their rivals.

Khatami's second pledge was to "revive the Iranian economy". Here, too, his record is one of failure. Despite annual economic growth rates of more than four per cent in 2002 and 2003, the average annual rate for the past seven years stands at 1.5 per cent, which means an actual recession.

Nor has Khatami made any progress on his third pledge: to remove all discriminatory measures against women. If anything Iranian women are likely to receive a big slap in the face when the full results of the latest election are known. It is quite possible that no more than one or two women will enter the new majlis (parliament).

Khatami's fourth pledge, to normalise relations with the outside world, also remains unfilled. The European Unionis beginning to lose patience at what it sees as a pattern of duplicity by the mullahs.

Washington, having made some conciliatory gestures towards Tehran, now seems hesitant, preferring to wait and see who actually rules Iran. Even the much heralded restoration of diplomatic ties with Egypt has not materialised.

Khatami had made other pledges: to ease pressure on Iran's youth, some 65 per cent of the population, and to provide jobs for at least some of the 10 million or so men and women shut out of the labour market. Nor has he managed to stem the flow of Iranian "brains" that, according to Unesco, are leaving the country at a rate of 150,000 a year.

Insipid speeches

The so-called "reform" leaders say they are surprised at the fact that the people did not support their 11th hour show of militancy symbolised by a sit-in at the parliament building last month. During the sit-in the "reformists" made lengthy and passionate speeches.

The people yawned. The "reformists" then decided to resign but did so only after the parliamentary session had ended. In other words they were quitting the show after the curtain had fallen.

Worse still, the "reformists" never made it clear what it was exactly that they wanted. They moaned about "dictatorial and despotic tendencies" in the regime but never proposed any measure to correct them.

During the seven-year "reformist" experience we have had over 2000 executions – almost 50 per cent of the world total – in Iran. At least 50 dissidents, writers, journalists, politicians, and religious minority figures have been assassinated. More than 200 publications, including some 100 newspapers, have been shut down. The number of prisoners has risen to its highest levels since 1985.

The last hope of the "reformists" was a massive boycott of the polls by the voters. Had that happened they would have been able to claim the result as a round-about victory for themselves. But it didn't happen.

At the time of writing this column, the official figures indicated that the turnout had been at least as high as it was four years ago. The only difference is that this time around some 20 per cent of those who went to polling stations cast blank ballots.

What does this mean? It means that many people went to the polls to deny the "reformists" the low turnout they had dreamed of. At the same time, they cast blank ballots to make it clear that they do not approve of the system.

All in all, some 25 per cent of the total electorate voted for the candidates. Of those less than a quarter chose the candidates regarded as close to the "reformists".

A further quarter voted for candidates who have genuine local power bases and could not be classified either as "reformist" or "conservative".

Thus the support base for the so-called "conservative" faction amounts to around 12 to 15 per cent of the total electorate. In other words, what matters in the present context of Iranian politics is who controls the levers of power. On that score, there is no ambiguity: power in Iran today belongs to the camp identified by western Iranologists as "conservative".

That camp, however, does not consider itself as "conservative" at all. On the contrary, it prides itself as the standard-bearer of the Khomeinist revolution whose aim remains the conquest of the universe for "the one and only true faith". Anyone who would think Iran's true rulers are conservatives would be making a mistake.

Whether anyone likes it or not - and this writer does not - the Khomeinist movement remains a revolutionary force. As already noted, its support base in Iran has shrunk to between 12-15 per cent of the electorate.

But, unlike the confused, not to say hypocritical, "reformists", the radical Khomeinist camp has a clear ideology, a well-established agenda, and well-known methods of dealing with its opponents. It is as it appears. And that, in the context of Iran's current politics, is a relief for all concerned.

Genuine, or if you like "hard", Khomeinism, still enjoys some support in Iran. Ersatz, or "soft" Khomeinism as represented by the so-called "reformists", however, has no firm constituency.

As long as Iranians are not able to offer a clear alternative to genuine Khomeinism, the nation will not emerge from its historic impasse. By dispersing the fog of confusion, last week's election may make the formation of such an alternative that much easier.

Time may prove that the end of the seven year "reformist" itch in Iran would be good for the Iranian people and all those who want Iran to resolve its revolutionary crisis and return to normal.

Amir Taheri is an Iranian author of ten books on the Middle East and Islam, between 1972-79 he was the Executive Editor of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper. Taheri is reachable through
7 posted on 02/25/2004 1:03:29 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Amir Taheri: End of the reformist itch may ironically be healthy for Iran

Gulf News
8 posted on 02/25/2004 1:05:01 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn

Empty democracy in Iran

To no one's surprise, conservatives claimed an overwhelming victory in parliamentary elections held in Iran last week. The results were predictable since many of the country's reform-oriented candidates were not allowed to run. The low turnout is proof that the outcome does not reflect the will of the Iranian people. The only question now is how they will channel their frustrations: continued apathy or stepped-up confrontation with the hardliners who are determined keep their grip on the country.

The results of this election were preordained when the Governing Council, an unelected body of 12 clerics that oversees all laws and elections in Iran, disqualified thousands of liberal candidates, among them more than 80 current members of the Parliament. Widespread criticism of that move prompted the Council to restore about one-third of the disqualified candidates, but 2,400 were still not permitted to run.

Reformers were not satisfied, and more than 120 liberal members of the Parliament offered resignations. But that, and the prospect of international criticism, did not dissuade the hardliners. The elections went ahead as scheduled.

As anticipated, conservatives swept the vote. According to the most recent results, conservatives have taken more than 149 seats in the 290-seat Parliament, giving them an absolute majority and wresting control from the reformers. Reformers and independents look set to take about 65 seats. In districts where no one got more than 25 percent of the vote, a second round of balloting will be held later.

Reformers have claimed a moral victory after calling for a boycott. That may have had an impact on turnout: A little more than 50 percent of voters cast ballots, a considerable drop from the 67 percent that turned out in the last round of elections, nearly four years ago. Turnout in Tehran, the capital and largest city, was a little more than one-third.

Undaunted, the conservatives saw the results as a victory for the nation and as a refusal to be intimidated by Western nations bent on subverting the Islamic revolution. More accurately, reformers deemed the vote a "national fiasco."

The apathy in Iran is a product not only of disgust with the blatant rigging of the elections, but of exhaustion with the reformers. Since taking power in 1997, President Mohammad Khatami has been unable to break the conservatives' grip on power, even though he and his allies have commanded a majority in the Parliament. Reforms have languished, bottled up by the Governing Council. At every confrontation, the president has backed down. He has had good reasons: The hardliners control the security ministries and would welcome a confrontation that they would invariably win. Khatami is unwilling to see blood shed by his supporters. Despite his concerns, the image he has projected is one of weakness, and he has alienated his most fervent allies.

With these results in, the hardliners have claimed control of all the levers of power and can begin to throttle the reformers through supposedly democratic instruments. Reformers have lost a vital platform that allowed them to reach the Iranian people as well as international public opinion. President Khatami is now more isolated than ever.

Iran is likely to be isolated as well. There has been near universal condemnation of the election results, but that has only strengthened knee-jerk nationalists who view any foreign criticism as an opportunity to build support for their positions. An increasingly conservative Parliament is likely to push for more confrontation with critics and there are several issues upon which they can oblige.

One troubling topic is Iran's nuclear energy program. As additional information about that clandestine nuclear effort is revealed, it is becoming clear that Tehran is still cheating on the International Atomic Energy Agency. The announcement that Iran is willing to sell nuclear fuel on the international market is an open invitation to nuclear proliferators and is clearly designed to thwart the intent of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Hardline Shiite Muslims in Iran could push co-religionists in Iraq to become more obstructionist in an effort to dominate the post-Hussein government. Those groups have been quietly supportive of the U.S.-led occupation, but they could lose patience with the nation-building process and decide to take matters into their own hands. Support from Iran would be essential to that effort. At a minimum, increasing violence would tie down the U.S. and prevent Washington -- and the supporters of secular, democratic government in the region -- from winning an important victory. As the recent elections confirm, Iran's conservatives use democracy as a fig leaf -- and cast it away when necessary. As it happened last week.

The Japan Times: Feb. 25, 2004
9 posted on 02/25/2004 1:23:41 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"does not consider itself as "conservative" at all. On the contrary, it prides itself as the standard-bearer of the Khomeinist revolution whose aim remains the conquest of the universe for "the one and only true faith". Anyone who would think Iran's true rulers are conservatives would be making a mistake."

"whose aim remains the conquest of the universe for "the one and only true faith"."

Most people have no idea that the ultimate goal of the regime is to take over the world. They are Fanatics; not "conservatives" .
10 posted on 02/25/2004 4:56:55 AM PST by nuconvert (CAUTION: I'm an acquaintance of someone labelled :"an obstinate supporter of dangerous fantasies")
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To: DoctorZIn
11 posted on 02/25/2004 5:30:14 AM PST by windchime (Podesta about Bush: "He's got four years to try to undo all the stuff we've done." (TIME-1/22/01))
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran's Rafsanjani Says Open to Dialogue with U.S.

February 24, 2004
Agence France Presse

Iran's powerful former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani revealed Tuesday he was open to the idea of dialogue with the United States, but that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was opposed.

"For me, talking is not a problem. But this is only if it was for me to decide on personally," Rafsanjani, who now heads the Islamic republic's top political arbitration body, said in an interview with the hardline Kayhan afternoon daily.

But he added that because Iran's late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor as supreme leader, Khamenei, were both opposed to talks with Washington, "I follow them and I say nothing."

Rafsanjani was Iran's president from 1989 to 1997, and he remains a key figure at the top of the 25-year-old clerical regime as head of the Expediency Council.

He also told the paper there were no new developments in Iran's relations with Washington.

"They continue to send us threatening messages and continue to raise the four questions," he said, referring to Washington's concerns over Iran's nuclear programme, opposition to the Middle East peace process, alleged support of militant groups and human rights.

"But they are stuck in the mud in Iraq, and they know that if Iran wanted to, it could make their problems even worse," Rafsanjani told the paper.

He said the two sides were in contact over Iraq and Afghanistan, "but regarding diplomatic relations, there is nothing".

When asked if Iran should hold a referendum on resuming relations with the United States - a possibility raised recently in an official strategic journal - Rafsanjani refused to give his view, "given that I know that the policy of the supreme leader is hostile".

He said Ayatollah Khamenei was the "axis" of the country and that it was "important not to create divisions".

Rafsanjani did acknowledge that there had been some "positive signals" from Washington, but said these were "only signals".

Iran and the United States severed diplomatic relations in 1980, after the Islamic revolution when the US embassy here was seized by students and its diplomatic staff and guards held hostage for 444 days.

Two years ago, US President George W. Bush famously lumped the country into an "axis of evil" along with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Stalinist North Korea.
12 posted on 02/25/2004 8:24:07 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
International Save the Children Alliance Statement on Iran

February 25, 2004
International Save the Children Alliance
Reuters AlertNet

Iran Earthquake Iranian government officials say it will take years to repair the damage caused by the earthquake that struck Bam and its surroundings on 26th December 2003. Official revised figures as of 9th February show that approximately 43,200 people lost their lives and 75,600 were displaced.

Meanwhile 2,000 children were orphaned, while 5,000 lost one parent or other family members. The Government estimates that 25,000 intermediate shelters are needed for Bam city and 5,000 for nearby villages Increasing numbers of people who have been living amongst the rubble left by the earthquake are now moving into camps that have been set up in and around the city. The Iranian Authorities are looking for the most suitable proposals for shelters. It is estimated that a total of 25,000 houses in the city of Bam were destroyed while 24,000 in the rural areas surrounding Bam were destroyed or damaged.

The infrastructure of the city has been severely affected. Almost all of the health facilities in Bam and its surroundings were destroyed, and 50% of local health staff reported dead or missing. The water distribution network suffered damage that has left many people largely dependent on water tankers and bottled water.

90% of schools were destroyed and the rest suffered damages likely to be beyond repair. In addition, according to the UNICEF 30% of Bam district's 32,443 students and one third of its teaching cadre have perished. Some teachers have however, have returned to work in temporary shelters that have been set up on some of the old school building sites.

Local farmers and plantation owners have been badly hit by the disaster, in particular, small-scale date plantation owners and families depending on livestock production.

Key Issues for Children ; The earthquake has left many children dead or injured ; Children have lost families, homes and possessions ; Many children do not have adequate shelter or access to basic services such as health care and sanitation facilities ; Children's education has been disrupted ; A number of children were separated from their families following the disaster

Save the Children Response The Save the Children response has been conducted with the support of Save the Children Finland, Japan, Norway, Spain, UK and US.

Save the Children is focusing its assistance on: ; Re-establishing primary health care, especially 'health houses' ; Establishing 'child-friendly' spaces and recreation facilities for children to give their lives an element of normality. ; Helping especially vulnerable groups such as women-headed households, orphans and refugees.

Relief Following the disaster the Save the Children Alliance distributed, emergency supplies including 1,000 tents and 10,000 blankets as well as soap, children's clothes and shoes, cooking equipment and medical kits in co-operation with the Red Crescent Society. The relief phase has now slowed down but it is anticipated there will be a likely need to re-supply tents. Save the Children has a stock of tents, blankets and some children's clothes that can be made available to families in need or to local organisations for their projects as and when required,

Health A number of tents have been distributed by Save the Children to hospital staff in 42 health centres in and around Bam to provide shelter for their family needs, in order to facilitate their return to work. Staff in five centres have returned to work but they are experiencing problems obtaining re-supplies of equipment and medicine.

The Iranian Ministry of Health has requested that Save the Children develop a programme to strengthen the Mother and Child health services throughout Kerman Province, in particular strengthening the capacity at urban health centres to provide emergency obstetric care and essential new-born care. In response Save the Children has requested donor funding for a six- month programme of activities.

Child Protection Save the Children has continued with its plans to support several Iranian organisations with tents and toys for non-formal education/recreation centres for children. Save the Children is seeking proposals from local organisations for more non-formal education projects and other child-focused projects. An outreach team of social workers will also be set up, to follow up child protection issues.

Save the Children is also continuing to seek a role within the Iranian Welfare Organisation tracing mechanism to help trace families of children separated and, in many cases, moved to other locations, following the earthquake. Whilst seeking opportunities to provide additional support to this mechanism Save the Children is monitoring the situation with regard to separated children and is building a system to obtain data that can be used for advocacy activities in this important area of our work. Emergencies Section, 24th February, 2004
13 posted on 02/25/2004 8:26:03 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Government Daily: The U.S. & 'Zionists' have Bribed the IAEA to Fabricate Lies About Iran's Nuclear Progress

February 25, 2004
The Middle East Media Research Institute

A column in the Iranian English-language government daily Tehran Times criticized the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for allegedly breaching agreements between Iran and the IAEA, and called on the government to consider ending cooperation with the IAEA. The following are excerpts from the article:(1)

Iran Must Consider Suspending Cooperation Rather than Suspending Enriching Uranium

"Pressured by U.S. officials and supported by the Zionists, some officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its official website have started fabricating lies about the Iranian nuclear program, and even allowing some secret news about the Iranian nuclear program to leak to Western media. Such moves show the Iranian officials should have considered suspending cooperation with the IAEA rather than suspending enriching uranium.

"Recently, diplomats from the Vienna-based IAEA have warned about the increasing U.S. pressure on the IAEA top officials, including its director Muhammad El-Baradei and some inspectors, in order to egg on them [sic] to give a negative report on Iran's cooperation with the IAEA. Even an expert from the IAEA told the Mehr News Agency about secret meetings between the IAEA senior officials and some envoys from the U.S. and Israeli intelligence services in recent weeks. The expert even didn't rule out the possibility of bribing or threatening IAEA officials by these secret services.

"Some observers in Vienna have evaluated the U.S. pressure on El-Baradei as so high that he has become depressed and passive. Even a Western diplomat from the UN nuclear watchdog has said there is no certainty the statements aired inside the IAEA headquarters are not eavesdropped. Some evidences including recent statements by El-Baradei, stressing the necessity of tough inspection of the members' nuclear sites, especially after unfounded allegations by the U.S. officials over Iran's nuclear program and a wide coverage of these rumors by the Western media despite a close cooperation between Tehran and the IAEA would clearly show that the agency has been degenerated into an international political tool for pushing forward the U.S. unilateral policies in the world. There are some other indications to substantiate the point."

'The IAEA Official Website has Started Spreading False Reports about Iran's Nuclear Program'

"Instead of releasing official and reliable reports, the IAEA official website has started spreading false reports about Iran's nuclear program in recent days, which is quite unexpected...

"According to the NPT, Iran's agreement with the agency, the agency's bylaw, safeguards agreements and even the contents of the Additional Protocol, the IAEA officials have been obliged to consider any information obtained during the inspections or coming through cooperation of member states as quite secret.

"Even formerly secret information about the Iranian nuclear program were released to Western media and those publications ran counter to the Islamic republic [i.e. Iran] to the extent that the secret reports by El-Baradei were leaked to the media before they were delivered to Iran or the IAEA board of governors.

"Therefore, it seems that a clear-cut and definite decision by Iranian officials is necessary in order to force the IAEA officials to end such actions and El-Baradei should be officially questioned why Iran's secret nuclear information has been released by his diplomats and inspectors and thereby creating [sic] an unhealthy atmosphere against Iran. If such a move is going to persist and if only Iran has to abide by its commitments and take no benefit from this unilateral cooperation, is it not better for Iranian officials to mull suspending cooperation with the IAEA?"


(1) Tehran Times (Iran), February 19, 2004.
14 posted on 02/25/2004 8:27:52 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Iranian Government Daily: The U.S. & 'Zionists' have Bribed the IAEA to Fabricate Lies About Iran's Nuclear Progress

February 25, 2004
The Middle East Media Research Institute
15 posted on 02/25/2004 8:29:05 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Swing of Political Pendulum Heralds Another Clash

February 25, 2004
The Guardian
David Hirst

With its victory in the parliamentary elections, Iran's arch-conservative clerical oligarchy has made a decisive comeback in its long power struggle against President Mohammad Khatami and his reformists.

But by the manner of it, the blatant rigging and intimidation, it has suffered something at least as serious - a grievous blow to its own legitimacy and that of the Islamic Republic as a whole.

"These people have regained a maximum power at the price of maximum distance from the people," said a liberal Islamist.

True, President Khatami and the reformists owe their defeat in part to their own shortcomings in the public's eyes, to their failure to fulfil the original promise: democratising the system from within.

But their failure does not translate into a moral or political gain for their adversaries. For everyone knows that the main cause was the relentless obstructionism with which the conservatives, through the republic's unelected Islamic institutions, thwarted all they tried to achieve by constitutional means.

"This is the end of the Khatamist reforms," said a sympathiser, "but not the end of the reformist struggle."

During the Khatami era reformism was led from within the system itself, for both sides in the power struggle were products of the Khomeini revolution.

Though one of them had in effect come to place a higher value on democracy than on Islam, it was not ready, in the end, to push its ambitions to the point of risking the destruction of the whole regime, and itself with it.

Reformism is now expected to develop into something much broader and harder to control.

There has been a repetitive pattern to Iran's long struggle between modernity and tradition, freedom and despotism, a struggle which, the elections show, is still unresolved.

Out of the short-lived chaos that follows the collapse of one form of arbitrary rule arises a new form that, in turn, creates the conditions for yet another revolt by virtually the whole of society.

With the conservatives' latest power grab, the Islamic Republic certainly seems to be conforming to this cycle.,12674,1155766,00.html
16 posted on 02/25/2004 8:42:54 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Our Victory [An Iranian Student from inside Iran]

February 25, 2004
National Review Online
Koorosh Afshar

Iranians take matters into their own hands.

The vigilantes entered the dormitory with the aid of the riot police. We were not expecting this one; we thought the dormitory, at least, was a safe space, one they wouldn't invade. But they did, and we were ambushed. Some students were dragged out of their rooms, clad in nothing but their underwear. The police beat us, forcing us into their cars. For a few days nobody knew where we were. Many of our parents were so worried that they dropped everything and rushed from wherever they were — scattered in cities and towns all over the country — to Tehran, to search for us, their missing loved ones.

After a few days, they took us back to Amir-abad Street. Late in the night, the Islamic republic's agents kicked us from their cars. Many students were still in their underwear, only this time, the scantiness of their clothing revealed bruised bodies and hinted at tormented minds. Later we learned that many of our peers were forced to stay in the regime's torture cells for several years. Others were maimed, and the lucky ones were "only" dismissed from the university...

Nearly four years ago, when we, the Iranian students, started the first phase of our new dissident movement, the so-called reformers (i.e., the pro-Khatami types) never staged "sit-ins" to support us. Vigilantes, revolutionary guards, and the Islamic republic's riot police were assailing us from every corner, as the reformers seemed to turn a blind eye to our struggle. At the same time, many — both inside and outside Iran — were nonetheless deceived by the Khatamists. They still hadn't realized that the mindset of these Islamic reformers was, if not exactly identical, at least undeniably very close to that of their hard-liner comrades.

Ironically, a few weeks ago, when the regime's Council of the Guardians disqualified the reformers from running for office in the parliamentary elections, the Khatamists realized that their time was up, felt the danger, and saw that the Iranian democratization process was in peril. Only when their own interests were on the line did the reformers stage sit-ins and resign.

Of course, it was too late.

You will have to excuse us Iranians for our lack of sympathy for these so-called reformers: Just ask yourself, as we ask ourselves, where they were while Iranian youths were being beaten, tortured, abducted, maimed, and deprived of their legitimate rights to continue their university studies.

But despite our disappointment with the Khatamists, Iranians were nevertheless given an occasion for joy and pride on February 20, the date of our most recent elections, and of the momentous boycott of them. It will be remembered in the history of my nation, because on that day, Iranians showed again that we have the resolve to clear "Islamic mullahism" from our homeland once and for all. We have decided that our children must not be tormented as we have been.

Throughout the day on February 20, I went to different parts of Tehran to observe for myself what was going on at the polling stations. To my great pleasure, there were only few people at any of them. Although the regime had done its best to urge everyone to participate in the elections, brave Iranians were far more determined to tell the world and the regime, again, that they are tired, and are on the verge of achieving their much longed-for change.

Iranians abstained from the elections not because of the prohibition against Khatamist candidates, but because we — almost all of us this time — have finally realized that our goal can only be achieved "over" the Islamic republic, not "through" it. The vision of tomorrow's secular Iran will prevail, and soon. With or without the rest of the world's help, we are determined to paralyze and eventually oust the militants of the Islamic regime.

This weekend showed that our efforts have nearly, after all this time, borne the fruit we have striven for all these years: freedom.

— Koorosh Afshar is a pseudonym for a student in Tehran. His name has been changed for his protection.
17 posted on 02/25/2004 8:45:38 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Protest wave rocks more provincial cities

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Feb 25, 2004

The increasing wave of protest rocked more of Iran's provincial cities, such as Ardel, Kiar and Farsan, where hundreds of demonstrators were came attacked by the Islamic regime forces after they came in the streets.

Plastic bullets, Tear Gas and clubs were used against peaceful demonstrators who were shouted slogans against the regime and its leaders and have resulted in tens of injured and arrested among the demonstrators.

The brutal attacks resulted also in the popular anger and the protesting crowd took against several public buildings and security patrol cars which were damaged.

The situation in the region is very tense.
18 posted on 02/25/2004 8:47:18 AM PST by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn; freedom44; nuconvert; faludeh_shirazi; Eala
Iranian-American Group Urges UN to Push for Leadership Change in Tehran

Voice of America
Leah Krakinowski, New York
25th Feb 2004

An Iranian-American human rights group is asking the United Nations and Western governments to push for a leadership change in Iran. The National Coalition of Pro-Democracy condemned last week's parliamentary elections in Iran as a sham, citing record low voter-turnout and mass resignations of reformist candidates. Iran's Islamic hard-liners won control of the 290 member parliament by a landslide in the February 20 elections.

But the hard-liners' victory was no surprise. Weeks before the election, Iran's religious leaders disqualified 2,400 mostly reformist candidates from running in the election. Shortly after the vote, reformist members of parliament began stepping down following their defeat.

Though the reformers won a majority in the 2000 elections, they were harshly criticized for failing to make any steps toward democracy in the face of opposition from powerful conservatives.

The National Coalition for Pro-Democracy held a news briefing about the elections in New York. The group's director, Nasser Rashidi, said the elections had no credibility. "Many months prior to election day, the Iranian people asked for a boycott of the elections, mainly Iranian students because they didn't believe there would be any reform at all in this regime," he said.

Mr. Rashidi said barely half of the nation's voters turned out to cast their ballots. He says that without a change in the country's hard-line religious leadership, which supersedes all elected officials, including the president, free elections are impossible. "We all believe that there won't be any free elections under the supreme religious leader, as long as they are holding the absolute power," he said.

The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution withholding its support of Iran's elections and called for a democratic government to be put in place.

A spokesman for the hard-line Guardian Council, made up of of conservative clerics and Islamic jurists, has said the United States has to recognize the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic and take the first step to restore diplomatic ties.
19 posted on 02/25/2004 10:52:35 AM PST by F14 Pilot
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To: DoctorZIn
U.S.: Iran Must Prove It Has Abandoned A-Bomb Effort

Feb. 25 — VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.S. envoy to the United Nations in Vienna said Wednesday the U.N. nuclear watchdog's latest report on Iran strengthens Washington's view that Tehran has a secret nuclear weapons program.
"Iran needs to demonstrate verifiably to the (IAEA) and the international community that it has abandoned its efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability," ambassador Kenneth Brill told reporters.

Tuesday the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published an interim report on its inspections of Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran says is intended only for the peaceful generation of electricity.

The report said Tehran had continued to hide from the IAEA technology and research that could be linked to a weapons program, despite its declaration in October that it had no more secrets to divulge.

"The continuing pattern of Iranian deception and delayed admissions about its nuclear activities, as well as specific information in the IAEA report, strengthens our assessment that Iran's nuclear clearly geared toward the development of nuclear weapons," Brill said.
20 posted on 02/25/2004 1:42:30 PM PST by freedom44
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