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Iranian Alert -- April 17, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
The Iranian Student Movement Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 4.17.2004 | DoctorZin

Posted on 04/16/2004 10:16:41 PM PDT by DoctorZIn

The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, “this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year.” 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. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.

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.

DoctorZin


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alsadr; armyofmahdi; ayatollah; cleric; humanrights; iaea; insurgency; iran; iranianalert; iranquake; iraq; jayshalmahdi; journalist; kazemi; khamenei; khatemi; moqtadaalsadr; persecution; politicalprisoners; protests; revolutionaryguard; rumsfeld; satellitetelephones; shiite; southasia; southwestasia; studentmovement; studentprotest; terrorism; terrorists; wot
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 04/16/2004 10:16:44 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
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To: Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; McGavin999; Hinoki Cypress; ...
Join Us At Today's Iranian Alert Thread – The Most Underreported Story Of The Year!

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

2 posted on 04/16/2004 10:22:10 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
US Diplomat Holds Rare Talks With Iranian Official

April 16, 2004
VOA News
Nick Simeone

An American diplomat in Iraq has held a rare face-to-face meeting with an Iranian official seeking to mediate an end to an uprising by Shiite fighters led by a rebel cleric. The meeting came as the leaders of the United States and Britain vow not to let the upsurge in violence derail plans for handing over political power on June 30.

Friday there were demonstrations in Iraq's Shiite holy city, Najaf, by disciples of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Najaf remains surrounded by 2,500 U.S. troops who are threatening to move on the city, risking widespread anger by Iraq's majority Shiite community, if negotiations with the cleric fail to end a two-week uprising by his followers who oppose the U.S. led occupation.

Efforts to end the standoff have put the United States in rare, direct contact with Iran. Coalition spokesman Dan Senor told reporters the Iranian government asked for and got a meeting with an American diplomat posted in Baghdad, but the Tehran government was told not to intervene in the standoff.

"We had a firm message for the Iranians across the board with regard to their role in Iraq, which is to be constructive, not destructive," he said. "There is no role for the Iranians, from our perspective, in the Sadr situation and, in fact, we believe that the issue with Sadr and his militia should be resolved by Iraqis."

As he addressed his followers Friday, Moqtada al-Sadr warned coalition forces of the consequences of a confrontation and denounced plans for the country's political transition, saying sovereignty can only be restored through a popular vote.

But after meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Bush vowed to finish the job in Iraq, telling reporters at the White House the coalition will not waver in the face of fear and intimidation.

"And that's why when we say something in Iraq, we're going to do it because we want there to be a free society," he said.

He and Prime Minister Blair endorsed a tentative plan outlined by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for a transfer of power after June 30.

"The idea will be to have a broad-based government and then next year to move to a new constitution and then finally to democratic elections," he said.

But that plan must still be put to a vote in the U.N. Security Council, and the United Nations is warning the tentative steps for how Iraq will be governed after June 30 could be jeopardized if the current level of violence continues.

http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=72179940-E4D2-4F97-AE1DACF5A15EA965&title=US%20Diplomat%20Holds%20Rare%20Talks%20With%20Iranian%20Official%20Over%20al%2DSadr%20Standoff&catOID=45C9C78D-88AD-11D4-A57200A0CC5EE46C&categoryname=Mideast
3 posted on 04/16/2004 10:23:03 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iranian Mediating Role is Unwelcome, Says U.S.

April 17, 2004
Aljazeera
Aljazeera.Net, Qatar

The US occupation administration has said there is no role for Iranian mediators to end the standoff between American forces and Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army. Iranian officials, however, were adamant that they would play a mediating role on Friday.

Spokesman Dan Senor said a representative had met members of an Iranian delegation at their request and informed them that their mediation was unwelcome.

"We had a firm message for them across the board with regard to their role in Iraq, which is to be constructive, not destructive," he told reporters.

"We believe that there is no role for the Iranians to play middleman in discussions between us and al-Sadr.

"In fact we believe that the issue with Sadr and his militia should be resolved by Iraqis, not Iranians."

An Iranian foreign ministry team headed to Najaf earlier on Friday to meet Shia religious leaders, but not al-Sadr who has vowed to die as a "martyr" fighting the US-led occupation.

Najaf visit

"We are going to Najaf to visit the holy place and we'll decide there who to meet from the religious authorities. But (al-Sadr) is out of the picture. We don't have such a mandate to meet with him," the Iranian official said.

A US-led force has deployed in strength around the Shia holy city where al-Sadr is with his armed supporters. Al-Sadr is wanted for the alleged murder of a cleric in Iraq last year.

His militia have battled occupation forces in a bloody uprising across central and southern Iraq over the past two weeks.

Al-Sadr said in an emotional sermon on Friday that a compromise with the US-led forces "will not work" and he was "yearning" for martyrdom.

"We will not allow the forces of occupation to enter Najaf and the holy sites because they are forbidden places for them," he said in his first public appearance in two weeks.

"I say that they are here to stay and will occupy us for many years and, as such, compromise will not work."

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/29E9781A-7E04-4954-B81F-96D4757FF267.htm
4 posted on 04/16/2004 10:23:49 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Najaf Standoff for Iraqis, Not Iranians, to Resolve"

April 16, 2004
US Department of States
Washington File

There is no role for a visiting Iranian delegation to play in mediating between cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's personal Shiite militia and coalition forces in Najaf, Iraq, according to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) spokesman.

Briefing the press in Baghdad April 16, Senior CPA Adviser Dan Senor said, "[I]t is our position that there is no role for the Iranians to play ‘middleman' here in discussions between us and al-Sadr. ... [W]e believe that the issue with Sadr and his militia should be resolved by Iraqis, not Iranians."

Senor said the Iranian delegation, after arriving in Iraq, had contacted British representatives and sought a meeting with U.S. officials. U.S. Ambassador Ron Newman, a member of the CPA, met with the Iranians several days ago, Senor said. The U.S. message to the Iranians was "to be constructive, not destructive," he said.

Briefing with Senor, Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director for operations with Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CTJF-7), said the goal remains "to bring al-Sadr to Iraqi justice and the elimination of his militia as a threat to the nation of Iraq." Senor followed Kimmitt's statement by saying that "the rule of law in Iraq must prevail. Militias -- illegal militias -- and mobs must be disbanded."

Turning to the situation in Fallujah, Senor said a delegation of Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) members has been going there from Baghdad for six days, to try to "minimize the bloodshed and seek some sort of a peaceful resolution." In the past 24 hours, Senor said, a senior CPA representative and a senior representative from CTJF-7 also attended the meetings in order to demonstrate coalition resolve to minimize bloodshed and keep open the option of a political solution.

However, Senor added, "[T]here's only so long that this situation can continue." U.S. Marines outside Fallujah "have been on the receiving end" of attacks even as a political solution has been pursued, he said. "[A]nd all the while the enemy seems to be strengthening their defensive position." A political resolution can't happen "at the expense of our Marines," he said.

Senor said the coalition wants to see Fallujah's local leaders "turn over those foreign fighters we believe to be operating [there] ... international terrorists and those Iraqis that are supporting them."

Kimmitt said that once the Fallujah operation ends, coalition military forces "intend to get on with what we are really here for ... [to] restore the health clinics, reopen the schools, introduce a democratic form of government, let the children ...[and] families have a future."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2004&m=April&x=20040416180552adynned0.7052118&t=livefeeds/wf-latest.html
5 posted on 04/16/2004 10:24:30 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Iran gets its hands dirty

By Safa Haeri
4.17.2004

PARIS - It took a hail of bullets into the car of Iranian envoy Khalil Naimi in Baghdad on Thursday to jeopardize Tehran's attempts to become an influential mediator in Iraq, with the strong hope of seeing itself removed from George W Bush's "axis of evil".

Press and cultural attache Naimi died instantly when the car in which he was traveling near the Iranian embassy was raked by three heavily-armed men.

Against all odds, Iran had embarked on an unlikely diplomatic mission to get the American "Satan" out of its difficulties in Iraq. A five-man Iranian foreign ministry delegation, headed by the ministry's director for Persian Gulf affairs, Hossein Sadeqi, is in Najaf to assist in the crisis over the rebel leadership of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose Shi'ite followers have been engaged in week-long battles with US-led occupation forces.

Muqtada, whom US forces have vowed to "kill or capture", is barricaded inside Najaf, Iraq's holiest city. The US has massed more than 2,000 troops for an offensive, though both sides have said that they want to avoid bloodshed.

Now, though, Iran finds itself as yet another victim of the spiral of violence in Iraq that has seen citizens of a host of countries - ranging from Italy to Japan - either killed or kidnapped over the past weeks, and its official involvement in the country becomes problematical. It was not immediately clear whether the assassination had any direct impact on Sadeqi's plans in Iraq, although the envoy ruled out holding any talks with Muqtada after earlier hinting that this might be a possibility.

And the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, on an unannounced visit to Baghdad, said that the last thing Iraq needed was "influence from neighboring countries trying to promote or protect their own self interest".

Sunni Muslims in Iraq, who for many years under Saddam Hussein and even before dominated the corridors of power, are known to be extremely fearful of Shi'ites - who form the majority in the country - becoming the new rulers. And they constantly warn in newspapers and at mosques of Iran interfering in Iraq and attempting to stir sectarian trouble.

In their first reaction, authorities in Tehran vehemently condemned the murder of Naimi, blaming it indirectly on the American presence in Iraq. But diplomats did not rule out a possible connection between the killing and the mediation efforts undertaken by Tehran to assess the chances of calming down Muqtada, the young and volatile cleric who has plunged American forces and their allies into their fiercest battles since their triumphant entry into Baghdad a year ago.

This was the first time that an Iranian diplomat had been assassinated in Iraq, where Iran, with its strong Shi'ite ties to the Shi'ite majority in Iraq, would think itself "immune" to such attacks.

"Those who killed our diplomat are the same that do not want to see Iraq living in peace and stand up on its feet," one Iranian diplomat in Baghdad said, while in Tehran, Hamid Reza Asefi, the Iraqi-born official spokesman of the foreign affairs ministry squarely accused the Americans, saying: "The violence and bloodshed in Iraq are the direct result of American's foolish policies in the region, making the whole world an unsafe place for humanity."

Officials in Washington confirmed that Britain had invited the Iranian delegation to help restore calm and security in Iraq, as, in the words of Mehdi Karroobi, the speaker of the majlis, or parliament, "it is obvious that Iran has strong influence in Iraq, where the people have traditional brotherly bonds with the Iranians".

An aide to Muqtada told French news agency Agence France Presse that the cleric welcomed the Iranian initiative because it came from an Islamic country. He said Muqtada was ready to meet the Iranian diplomats.

A senior State Department official said in Washington of the Iranian mediation: "They were invited by the British trying to put an end to the bloody standoff between American-led coalition forces with the Mahdi Army of Mr al-Sadr," explaining, however, that although the US went along with the British initiative, the proposal did not come from the Bush administration.

Iranian foreign affairs minister Kamal Kharrazi said in Tehran hours after the delegation left for Iraq that "naturally, there are such requests from the US and Britain that we help improve the situation in Iraq, and we are making efforts in this regard. There has been a lot of correspondence with the US about Iraq and the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents US diplomatic interests in the Islamic republic, played a mediating role in the recent exchanges," Kharrazi added, accusing at the same time the US of breaking its promises in Iraq and "taking a wrong path".

"When the Americans, or their most close and trusted ally, the British, call on Iran to help, this shows the influence Iran exercises in Iraq and the region, something that is not to the liking of many Arab nations and their proxies in Iraq hating the Iranians," one Iraqi diplomat told Asia Times Online.

Jean Pierre Perrin, chief of the foreign desk at the leftist French paper Liberation and a former correspondent of the French news agency AFP in Tehran, commented: "Iran's main adversary is not Washington but the two traditional enemies of the Iranian political Shi'ism: the exacerbated Arabian nationalism that carried to Iran the hardest strokes under Saddam Hussein and the imported Islam Wahhabite of Saudi Arabia that always sees in Shi'ism a 'plot of the Jewish on the one hand and the other groups that are currently engaged against the Americans in the Sunnite regions of Iraq'."

Tehran's attempts to help the US out of its troubles in Iraq (even if for self-serving reasons) have not dulled the rhetoric coming out of Tehran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, leader of Iran, told the country's state-run, conservative-controlled television: "The United States accuses other countries of intervening in Iraq and of inciting the Iraqis, but it is very clear that the crimes of the occupation and their insulting behavior with regard to the young and the women are at the origin of the reaction of the Iraqis, Shi'ite or Sunni."

For the Supreme Leader, it is obvious that "sooner or later, the Americans will be forced to leave Iraq in shame and humiliation".

The assassination happened just hours before Sadeqi and his delegation were to leave for Najaf, from where Muqtada had earlier announced that he would obey the supreme religious authorities, and if necessary give himself up to an independent Iraqi court and dismantle his army, transforming it into a political party.

Michael Rubin, who recently resigned as an "advisor" to the US-installed Iraqi Governing Council, wrote: "The British government, with tacit US approval, has initiated discussions with the Iranian foreign ministry. A team led by top Iranian diplomat Hossein Sadeqi visited Iraq in recent days, but his talks went nowhere. The Iranian regime used Washington and London's outreach not to promote dialogue, but to humiliate the United States at a time our soldiers make sacrifices to preserve Iraq's freedom."

Leaking news of the talks on Iranian television, foreign minister Kharrazi demonstrated to his domestic audience that the US was not in control and had run to Iran for assistance. Moving in for the propaganda kill, Kharrazi stated: "The solution is for the occupiers to leave Iraq."

And Iran's repeated offer for a meeting of Iraq's neighbors to "advise" the Americans who "ignore both the situation in Iraq and the psychology of the Iraqi people", helping them "not to repeat and cumulate mistakes" there.

But at the same time, though the Iranian leaders call on Iraqis to give a lesson to the "wounded American monster", they are nevertheless worried of impending chaos in Iraq, and have avoided any direct praise for the Sunnite opposition in Fallujah, and even for Muqtada's revolt.

So while the Arab press in general glorifies Muqtada, describing him as a "hero", a "popular figure" fighting the occupation of Iraq by foreign forces, etc, the Iranian media are more cautious, observing that the young cleric is "a noise", without any religious or political legitimacy.

The Iranian daily Aftab Yazd said that the media were "wrongly" presenting the activities of Muqtada and his followers as the widespread resistance of the Iraqi people. "It is quite erroneous for our media to give implicit or open backing to people like Sadr, whose causes are not entirely known to us," it said, adding that "clearly no friend of liberty would defend the occupation in Iraq, but it is one thing to oppose occupation and another to take sides in a fight where none of the potential winners are favorably inclined toward Iran".

Columnist Ali Hamade said in the an-Nahar of Beirut, referring to the handling of Muqtada and his Mahdi Army, "The United States administration has made a major blunder in Iraq by thinking it could follow Israel's heavy-handed example against the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza without having to pay the political price."

"The Americans are on their way to doom in Iraq. In addition, the US failure in Iraq will have drastic implications on US plans for the region ... Iraq has shown that it was one thing to bring down an unpopular regime in an Arab state, but quite another to be able to rule that state. Iraq has shown that ruling post-war Iraq was the closest thing to hell for the Americans," Hamade said.

Columnist Rafik Khoury wrote in al-Anwar, another Lebanese Arabic-language daily: "Muqtada al-Sadr, the young Shi'ite militia leader, has shown that the Americans did not come to introduce democracy, but to rule Iraq and lay their hands on its vast oil resources. Washington, which came to Iraq under the pretext of liberating its people from the previous regime of Saddam Hussein, has now saddled them with a more repressive authority," he said, adding: "Meanwhile, Sadr has become the symbol of anti-American Iraqi armed resistance, and Fallujah has become the symbol of Iraqi cities being oppressed by allied force."

Commented the London-based al-Qods al-Arabi. "It was impossible for the United States to succeed in wiping out Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army because it is not an organized group, but a popular movement that expresses a religious ideology."

The paper said that US forces represented the largest power in the world, one that could defeat the Iraqi army and "perhaps the entire Arab armies united in a few days, because of the military disparities, but the US army is unable to defeat the ideas and religious ideologies in a country like Iraq".

According to this paper, capturing and killing Muqtada, as promised by the Americans, would "make him a martyr, while if he is arrested alive, he will become a symbol of resistance, just like Nelson Mandela or the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin", the founder and spiritual leader of the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas. However, that if the US forces fail to arrest Muqtada, it will constitute "a blow to US credibility".

Meanwhile, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports that US officials have repeatedly accused Iran of trying to meddle in Iraq's internal affairs. Iran has rejected the accusations.

On April 12, the head of US forces in the Gulf region, General John Abizaid, said that Iran and Syria had been involved in what he called "unhelpful actions" in Iraq. But he acknowledged that there are elements in Iran who are trying to limit the influence of Muqtada.

Iranian officials have distanced themselves from the cleric. On April 10, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami indirectly criticized the insurgency led by Muqtada. He said Iran "considers any policy that would intensify the crisis in Iraq and jeopardize the establishment of security to be harmful for Shi'ite and Islam".

Gary Sick is a professor of Middle East politics at New York's Columbia University and was a top White House aide for Iran during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and ensuing hostage crisis. Sick said that, despite US criticism of Tehran, Washington has been relying on Iran's assistance in Iraq.

"There have always been two strains to US policy. Just as Iran often seems to follow policies where the one part of the government seems to differ from what the other part of the government is doing, we see the same thing in the United States very much. We have, from the beginning, in fact, relied on Iran and its assistance, especially in the south and its relations with the Shi'ite, to maintain peace and order and to lend support to a more moderate perspective in Iraqi politics. At the same time, almost without stop, we have been criticizing Iran's activities in Iraq," Sick said.

Sick said the US had been maintaining indirect contacts with Iran through British officials and also through members of the Iraqi Governing Council, some of whom have made several official trips to Tehran.

"If you really want to work out cooperation on the ground, you have to do it in person. It's very difficult to send a letter and say, 'Why don't you do such-and-such', and the other side comes back and says, 'Why don't you do such-and-such'. You really need to sit down and talk to each other to do that," Sick said.

Sick said Tehran's role in Iraq cannot be ignored, given Tehran's influence among Iraq's Shi'ite and its past experiences with Baghdad. "If Iran wishes to cooperate with the United States, it's going to be helpful. If Iran decides to openly oppose the United States, that is going to be very unhelpful from the US point of view and could, in fact, be disastrous. So it seems to me that developing a working relationship - it doesn't mean that the countries have to reestablish diplomatic relations, it doesn't mean that they have to express love for each other - it basically means working together on issues that are of mutual significance. What happens in Iraq is tremendously important to Iran, and it's tremendously important to the United States," Sick said.

Iran and the United States cut diplomatic ties following the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Since then, the two countries have communicated through the Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents US interests in Iran. Diplomats from the two sides have reportedly held talks in Geneva over the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

(Copyright 2004 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact content@atimes.com for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FD17Ak03.html
6 posted on 04/16/2004 10:54:25 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Experiencing Islam in Iran




Mennonites Wally and Evie Shellenberger talk about their three years in the Mideast

By Les Gehrett
Albany Democrat-Herald

When Wally and Evie Shellenberger traveled to Iran three years ago as part of a religious student exchange program, they had no idea of the changes that would soon take place in the world.

From the summer of 2001 until this February when they returned home, the couple had a unique view of the events involving the United States and the Muslim world. They lived during this time in Qom, Iran, a city that is a center for the study of the Shia branch of Islam.

They were there as part of a Mennonite Central Committee exchange program that brings Muslims to North America for study in a Christian setting and sends North American Christ-ians to Iran for a similar cross-cultural experience.

The couple is from southern Indiana, but has family in Albany, and they spent the past week talking to various church and school groups throughout western Oregon about their visit.

Their stay was certainly affected by world events, they said.

"To begin with, whenever people met us and realized we were from the United States, they were very excited, eager to talk about the United States," said Wally Shellenberger, a 65-year old psychiatrist.

In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, the couple received phone calls and visits from their new acquaintances who were saddened and horrified by the events. Neighbors brought them bread and other food, and they saw coverage of rallies in Tehran where students expressed sympathy for the victims of the attacks and their families.

As time passed, they did hear the opinion expressed that because of the United States' foreign policies, such an attack was bound to happen. But they didn't see any evidence of Iranians being happy about the attack itself.

Even when the United States decided to invade neighboring Iraq the Shellenbergers say they never felt any personal hostility.

"Everywhere we went in Iran, we were treated like royalty," Wally said.

The Iranians' attitudes towards the American war on terror and the accompanying invasion of Iraq are complex.

Iran and Iraq fought a bloody war in the 1980s and the Iranians are happy that Saddam Hussein has been toppled and captured. Still, there is strong opposition to the American presence in Iraq.

"The fear is that the Americans will stay forever," Wally said.

There is also no doubt that Iran in some ways supports terrorist activities. Groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbellah receive funds from Iran.

At the same time, Iran is a country that is in a serious debate about its own future.

There is a conservative group of older clerics that hold much of the power, while a younger generation is seeking reform.

Already, there are signs of a loosening up in Iranian society. For example, satellite television access is illegal, but widespread and not really suppressed.

"There is change, considerable change already. Not as fast as many would like it to come," he said. "The conservatives now are not as conservative as they were 10 years ago."

One area where Iran differs a great deal from some of its Middle Eastern neighbors is in the place of women in society.

Evie Shellenberger, 62, said Iranian women fill every role imaginable in their country, in law, health care, engineering and other fields. They do not have to be accompanied by a male relative when they leave their homes, as is required of women in Saudi Arabia.

"Women drive cars, ride on motorcycles," she said.

Because it is a religious center, Qom has some of the most stringent expectations for womens' dress in Iran. But even in Qom, a woman must wear a head covering but is not required to cover her face or hands.

In other parts of Iran, women often wear their scarves so that some of their hair is showing and sometimes wear sandals without socks.

"Even in the three years we were there, we saw changes in womens' dress," said Evie, a family nurse practitioner.

The Shellenbergers think the Internet has played a large role in Iran's internal debate. Internet access is widespread and local service providers are common. Access is also fairly open, especially for basic information, while some sexual and violent materials are censored.

There is some level of free press and debate is allowed, within limits.

"Really aggressive or insulting articles could result in the paper being shut down," Wally said.

Since Sept. 11, there has been much debate over why America is a target for terrorist groups.

Based on their experiences, the Shellenbergers believe there are three basic factors.

First, some Muslims look at America, which is known to be a strongly Christian nation, and cannot believe what they see: sexual exploitation of women, widespread alcoholism, divorce and single parent families, and violence.

"To call ourselves Christian and have these problems, they don't understand," Wally said.

Second, there is disagreement with an American foreign policy that seems more interested in creating fear and intimidation than in spreading goodwill. If money that is currently spent on huge military programs was instead spent on extended education and aid, it could change some people's perceptions, they believe.

And finally, America has isolated itself by choosing to largely be on its own in Iraq.

"Arrogance is a word we heard all the time," he said. "We need everyone to work toward peace."

Despite all these obstacles, the Shellenbergers think there is still a chance to build more understanding and they are grateful for the opportunity they had to play a small role in doing this.

Evie remembered one small conversation during her time in Iran that summed up their experience. One day as they were shopping at a small fruit market, a young Iranian university student heard them speaking. The woman, who was studying English, asked the Shellenberg-ers where they were from and was surprised to learn that they hailed from the United States.

"Aren't Iranians enemies of the Americans? Why have you decided to come to live with people who are your enemies?" she asked.

Evie said they didn't think of Iranians in that way at all, an answer that brought a huge smile to her questioner's face. The woman then thanked her and welcomed them to her country.


http://www.dhonline.com/articles/2004/04/16/news/religion/religion01.txt
7 posted on 04/16/2004 11:04:59 PM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
Iran - Poland ink defense memorandum
Apr 16, 2004, 23:29

Iran's Minister of Defense Ali Shamkhani heading a high-ranking delegation in a visit to Warsaw met secretary of the Polish Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Mark Schwitz on Thursday to hold talks on matters of mutual concern.

In the meeting, the two officials discussed mutual relations on security and defense issues on regional and international levels and underlined that negotiation on security would be a proper strategy in promotion of stability and sustainable peace.

For his part, Shamkhani expressed confidence that the visit and regular talks between the defense and security officials from both sides would be quite effective in reinforcing the foundations of trust and growing mutual understanding on joint interests.

"The current trend of affairs in Iraq irrespective of its domestic situation as well as the condition prevailing its surrounding area has disposed the country's sustainable security to serious threats," he added.

In the meeting, Schwitz referred to his recent visit to Tehran and rated the dialogues with Iranian defense minister and security officials on further introduction of the Polish forces to the situation in Iraq as positive.

Turning to dialogue and dismissing violence in Iraq as basic measures to secure the success of the multinational troops in Iraq, he said, "Polish forces have been in close contact with local Iraqi religious and ethnic leaders since their arrival in the country to work towards promotion of security in joint cooperation with the Iraqi people."

Schwitz extended an official invitation to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani to visit Poland and called for continuous dialogues between the officials of the two countries aiming to come upwith joint solutions for establishment of regional peace and security.

At the end of Shamkhani's visit to Poland, a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) on defense, military and technical cooperation was inked between the two sides.

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_2057.shtml
Comment: I anticipate that they discussed Sadr and his thugs in the Mehdi Army as well.
8 posted on 04/16/2004 11:10:25 PM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: nuconvert; freedom44; F14 Pilot
Iran's Revolutionary Court Sentences Nationalist-Religious Activist
Apr 17, 2004, 09:11

Marzieh Mortazi Langeroudi appeared before Bench 26 of the Revolutionary Court Wednesday after being subpoenaed.

At her court hearing she was charged with "action against national security by participating in the Nationalist-Religious Council" and "propaganda against the Islamic system by signing a declaration and by her participation in the Combatant Muslims' Movement".

She was later sentenced to one year in jail. However, because of her gender, her sentence was reduced a three-year suspended jail term.
http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_2062.shtml

Question: Do you have any info on the Combatant Muslims'Movement?
9 posted on 04/16/2004 11:18:36 PM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith
IRAN'S NEWEST AIRPORT REMAINS UNUSABLE.

Nearly three months after its grand inauguration by President Hojatoleslam Mohammad Khatami and other Iranian and foreign dignitaries, the Imam Khomeini International Airport remains unusable, Radio Farda reported on 14 April. Construction of the facility cost some $500 million, but the work is substandard and the airport does not conform to international standards, the station reported. The original engineers quit after the Foundation of the Dispossessed and Disabled (Bonyad-i Mostazafan va Janbazan) took over management of the project. The foundation changed many of the original specifications, so that now the runways must be repaved, neither the electrical power nor the runway lighting function properly, and the aircraft-refueling equipment is inadequate. BS

source: RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 8, No. 70, Part III, 15 April 2004

comment: The Bonyads should be taxed to death.
10 posted on 04/16/2004 11:36:02 PM PDT by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith; nuconvert; freedom44; Cindy; McGavin999; DoctorZIn; Defender2; Eala; XHogPilot; ...
Tabriz University Students Given 30 Lashes in Iran

Persian Journal
April 17th, 2004

Two Tabriz University students received 30 lashes each by the order of the Revolutionary Court. They were both convicted for their part in last May-June university unrest.

The two students had twenty days to appeal the court's verdict, but they insisted that their sentences be carried out. Six other students have also been summoned to court.

http://www.iranian.ws/iran_news/publish/article_2061.shtml
11 posted on 04/17/2004 12:22:37 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" sKerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: F14 Pilot

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, 2nd left with black turban, listens to General commonder of Iran's Air Forces Reza Pardis, 3rd left, as Chief of the General Staff of the Iran's Armed Forces, General Hasan Firouzabadi, left, looks at a model of military aircraft during a parade to mark of Army Day in Tehran, Iran Saturday, April 17, 2004. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

12 posted on 04/17/2004 6:38:09 AM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Security agent shot in Tehran by popular guerilla

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Apr 17, 2004

A security patrol car was blocked and an agent was shot by an armed group of three young freedom fighters in the Iranian Capital. This news has been confirmed, in an unprecedented manner, in the today's "Ghods Daily" which is an official newspaper affiliated to the paramilitary and repressive Bassij force.

The armed popular action took place, in the crowdy Vali-E-Asr district (former Pahlavi), after that the security forces had arrested a young female for non conformity with Islamic guidance. Soon several armed and masked young individuals will attack the security patrol car in order to free the arrested young woman who will be then able to escape from the scene.

The security agents' guns will be confiscated by the guerilla group who will vanish after the action resulting in the injuries of one of the security agents transferred to the Khatam-ol-Anbia hospital.

Opposition to the repressive and dogmatic actions of the Islamic regime's agents, against women who are not respecting the mandatory veil, has been in a constant raise in the last months leading often to sporadic clashes.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/smccdinews/article/publish/article_4184.shtml
13 posted on 04/17/2004 9:23:14 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Khatami: Iran Will Not Melt like Iraq

April 17, 2004
Khaleej Times Online
DPA

TEHERAN - Iranian President Mohammad Khatami vowed on Saturday that Iran’s political system would “not melt” like the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, due to a strong army and people’s support.

Speaking at a ceremony in Teheran marking the annual Army Day, Khatami said Iran was stable because of its strong army and popular support.

“Saddam’s regime was toppled by the coalition forces within a short time and de facto melted like snow by the summer sun,” said Khatami.

“But Iran is acknowledged even by its enemies as the only stable spot in the region due to a strong army and support of the people,” he added.

Khatami also praised the army for its help during last December’s disastrous earthquake in Bam in southeast Iran.

Iran’s armed forces are made up of the regular army and the revolutionary guards with a reported total of 500,000 to 700,000 troops. This number is increased to several millions in case of war such as during the 1980-1988 military invasion by Iraq when the so-called “Basijis”, voluntary forces, joined the revolutionary guards in the fronts.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2004/April/middleeast_April505.xml&section=middleeast&col=
14 posted on 04/17/2004 9:24:41 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: F14 Pilot
The regime and weapons - the ingredients for nightmares........
15 posted on 04/17/2004 12:26:59 PM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
IRAN REDUCES SUPPORT FOR ISLAMIC GROUPS

Middle Eat News Line
April 17th 2004

LONDON [MENL] -- Iran has reduced its support for non-Palestinian Islamic insurgency groups.

Western intelligence sources said the Islamic regime has reduced financial support and links with Islamic groups aligned with Al Qaida. They said Teheran, amid heavy U.S. and Russian pressure, has largely limited its support to Hizbullah and Palestinian insurgency groups.

"They have almost stopped the export of the revolution," Menashe Amir, a leading Israeli analyst and Farsi broadcaster, said. "They have almost stopped cooperation with the terrorist Islamic radical groups like Gamiat Islamiya in Egypt and Jabhat Inqadh in Algeria, and in other parts of the world. But they keep very much and very closely and very extensively their cooperation with Hizbullah in Lebanon."

The intelligence sources said the policy marked the muted cooperation between Iranian President Mohammed Khatami and Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei. They said the two men have rebuffed the efforts of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and supporters in the ruling clergy to expand Teheran's relations with Islamic insurgency groups.

http://www.menewsline.com/stories/2004/april/04_18_3.html
16 posted on 04/17/2004 1:40:46 PM PDT by F14 Pilot (John ''Fedayeen" Kerry - the Mullahs' regime candidate)
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To: DoctorZIn
Health of Imprisoned Journalist Causes Concern

April 16, 2004
Reporters Without Borders
RSF

Reporters Without Borders today voiced concern about the state of health of jailed 75-year-old journalist Siamak Pourzand, it deplored the 18-month prison sentence just passed on freelance journalist Ensafali Hedayat, and it voiced outrage at the UN Human Rights Commission's failure to condemn the Islamic Republic during its 60th session.

The organisation warned that Pourzand's life could be in great danger if he is not released immediately and given appropriate treatment. He has been paralysed for months and suffered a heart attack on 31 March that left him in a coma for 36 hours.

The refusal to free him on medical grounds suggests that the authorities have failed to learn any lesson from the death of photojournalist Zahra Kazemi on 10 July 2003 from a beating received in detention, the organisation said, calling for the release of all 12 journalists currently imprisoned in Iran.

In a continuing crackdown on freedom of expression, Hedayat was sentenced on 14 April by a court in the northwestern town of Tabriz to 18 months in prison, of which a year was for "insulting senior officials of the Islamic Republic" and six months for "propaganda against the regime."

At the same time, the title of "Best Leader of the Year" has just been awarded to Tehran state prosecutor Said Mortazavi, who as head of a "press tribunal" has been responsible for the closure of about 100 newspapers and the arrests of many journalists, and who has been directly implicated in Kazemi's death.

The award of this title to Mortazavi "would be the height of absurdity if the situation were not so tragic," Reporters Without Borders said, adding that the Islamic Republic was just highlighting its arbitrary and repressive nature by celebrating this travesty of justice.

"Amid these sinister developments, it is outrageous that none of the member countries of the UN Human Rights Commission, not even the countries of the European Union, has until now tabled a resolution condemning Iran," Reporters Without Borders added.

A freelance contributor to several independent newspapers, Pourzand has been in prison since 30 March 2003. He is bedridden with osteoarthritis of the neck and disk problems that need an operation. He went into a coma after a heart attack two weeks ago. He spent months in solitary confinement and was forced to confess on television by means of psychological pressure and torture.

Pourzand was previously arrested on 24 November 2001 and sentenced in May 2002 to eight years in prison for "actions against state security and links with monarchists and counter-revolutionaries." He had been allowed home in December 2002 before been returned to prison in March 2003.

Hedayat was arrested on 16 January 2004 on the orders of the Tabriz court when he returned from Germany. He was previously arrested on 16 June 2003 at Tabriz university while covering student protests.

With 12 journalists detained, Iran is the biggest prison for the press in the Middle East.

http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=9789
17 posted on 04/17/2004 5:20:25 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Russia to Complete Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

April 14, 2004
RIA Novosti
Tatyana Sinitsyna

Officials in Moscow deny reports that Russia is deliberately delaying the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran. These allegations stem from the fact that Alexander Rumyantsev, Russia's former nuclear energy minister, repeatedly postponed his visit to Iran.

However, such delays were caused by the administrative reform being conducted in Russia, which transformed the Nuclear Energy Ministry into the Nuclear Energy Agency.

Moreover, the Iranian side's decision to pause and analyze the legal and commercial aspects of Moscow's nuclear-fuel term fuelled these rumors. Russia wants all of the spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr plant to be returned to Russia for storage and processing. In his recent statements, Rumyantsev said that "the current financial differences are being eliminated, the Iranians do not have any principled objections," and are ready to sign an agreement on spent nuclear fuel."

Rumyantsev, the director of the Nuclear Energy Agency, organized a press conference soon after his appointment. Talking to reporters, Rumyantsev noted that he "sees no obstacles that can hinder Russian-Iranian cooperation, which is regulated by international law and the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. Iran is our neighbor and traditional partner. There is no doubt that Russia will fulfil its commitments to Iran, and will complete the Bushehr nuclear power plant."

It is impossible to stop the Bushehr construction project, Alexander Yakovenko, the spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, noted. "Moscow has not examined this possibility at all," Yakovenko stressed, while talking with reporters before Rumyantsev's press conference.

Russia began construction of the Bushehr plant, a unique nuclear power plant on the Persian Gulf coast, six years ago. Siemens, a German company, completed the initial phase of the project in the 1970s. At that time, the German nuclear reactor could have been activated. However, during the Iranian-Iraqi war (1980-1988), missiles seriously damaged the walls of the reactor. Consequently, Siemens stopped working on the project and its specialists left Bushehr.

After the war, no one wanted to complete work on the damaged reactor. Russia was the only country that agreed to begin construction work. However, Russia was suffering from an economic collapse and an acute social and political crisis after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Yevgeny Adamov, the nuclear energy minister at the time, said, "in that difficult situation the nuclear power industry had to retain its specialists. Iran was not stingy, they quickly paid Russia in hard currency." The Bushehr plant contract was worth 800 million. It enabled Moscow to subsidize Russia's machine-building enterprises and research and development agencies.

The task to complete the Bushehr nuclear power plant was unprecedented and formidable. The facility had fallen into disrepair because it had been subjected to scorching heat and desert winds for over a decade. Thorny desert bushes grew all around the reactor and there were snakes everywhere. Most of the reactor equipment was rejected as defective by a joint Russian-Iranian expert survey. Other systems were rejected because they did not conform to the Russian design.

Moscow and Tehran signed a contract for the construction of a 1,000 MWe VVER-1000 water-cooled and water-moderated reactor in 1995. VVER-100 reactors are listed among the safest and best nuclear reactors, in terms of their specifications, in the world. Construction finally began three years later because of technical problems and delayed Western equipment shipments.

Since then, Russia has invested tremendous intellectual, moral and physical resources into the Bushehr project. Several thousand Russian specialists worked at the construction site in adverse weather conditions (40-50 degrees Celsius). The power plant is close to completion because of their efforts. According to Rumyantsev, the Bushehr plant will be tested next year.

Russia was criticized and subjected to political pressure from the United States for implementing the Bushehr construction project. Russia is being reproached for this project because the Bushehr nuclear power plant will allegedly enable Iran to develop its own nuclear weapons. "Accusations to the effect that we are trying to supply military nuclear technologies are groundless," Rumyantsev noted. "Our cooperation with Iran in the field of nuclear power plants construction is completely based on international law on the peaceful use of nuclear technology."

The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Charter expressly states that any country that does not have its own nuclear facilities and wants to create a civilian nuclear power industry, must sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and pledge to fulfil all commitments under IAEA auspices. Consequently, nuclear powers can and must help such countries to develop their own nuclear energy facilities.

Therefore Russian-Iranian cooperation is absolutely legal. In an attempt to remove all IAEA concerns, Iran signed an additional protocol to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in December 2003. According to the provisions of the protocol, the IAEA, which is a respected international organization, can conduct on-site inspections at Iranian nuclear facilities. IAEA inspectors have exercised this right in full measure. However, so far, the IAEA has failed to provide any evidence of a covert Iranian nuclear program.

http://www.cdi.org/russia/302-11.cfm
18 posted on 04/17/2004 5:21:09 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
Bad Neighbor

April 16, 2004
The New Republic
Michael Rubin

"The Americans may think they will have peace in eight months. But, even if they stay eighteen years, we will never give them peace." Sheik Muhammad Al Abadi, a member of the Badr Corps, the more radical military wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), an Islamist political group, didn't mince words as we sat in January at his home in the southern Iraqi city of Al Amarah. At the time, I was seconded to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq from the Pentagon, where I had been an Iran and Iraq policy adviser. Al Abadi's walls were decorated with a picture of his late older brother and a large portrait of Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. An older man whispered to Al Abadi that I was American, and the bespectacled thirty-something changed the subject. Several months later, the sheik's prophecy would come true, and widespread violence would erupt throughout southern Iraq.

Since the violence began, American officials and the media have blamed the bloodshed on poor postwar planning, miscalculations of the strength of radical cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, and even Shia anger at Iraq's new provisional constitution (see Joshua Hammer, "Preoccupied"). But there's another factor largely unappreciated by the U.S. media and unchallenged by the CPA: the well-organized, highly effective infiltration of Shia into Iraq by the government of Iran.

The Iranian security apparatus, having sparred with American forces in Bosnia and Afghanistan, was well-prepared to challenge the United States in Iraq. Almost a month before the opening salvos of the war, the Islamic republic began broadcasting Arabic-language television across the border. As U.S.-led coalition forces fought Saddam Hussein's fedayeen in Basra and advanced on Najaf in March 2003, units of the Badr Corps poured into northern Iraq from Iran, where Sciri was based, provoking a strong warning to Tehran by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. According to an April 25, 2003, report by well-connected Iranian journalist Ali Reza Nurizadeh in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards "brought in radio transmission equipment, posters, pamphlets printed in [the Iranian holy city of] Qom, and huge amounts of money, some of which was used to buy weapons for the Badr Corps."

I arrived in Baghdad in July 2003. With temperatures soaring to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, most CPA staff remained inside air-conditioned headquarters, located in a former Saddam palace. Junior American diplomats tended to stay at their desks, while ambassadors traveled in armored cars among well-armed personal security details. What was good for security, however, was bad for political intelligence. After 35 years of dictatorship, Iraqis avoided talking to armed men, and the CPA staffers, penned up in their palace complex and out of touch with average Iraqis, missed evidence of increasing Iranian influence.

My first night in Baghdad, several Iraqis intercepted me in the Rashid Hotel lobby. Three years before, I had taught for a year in Iraqi Kurdistan; friends had planned a reunion. We talked, ate, and drank until shortly before the 10 p.m. curfew; throughout the evening, Arabs and Kurds alike warned that Iranian intelligence was taking advantage of the U.S. failure to secure Iraq's borders. Later that month, several Iraqis warned me that over 10,000 Iranians had entered Iraq. Coalition officials I spoke to seemed unconcerned, suggesting that the influx was simply Iraqi refugees returning home. But these American diplomats seemed unable to differentiate between returnees speaking Iraqi Arabic and people proficient in Persian, who spoke little or no Arabic; many of the Iranians coming into the country fell into the latter category.

Over subsequent months, I frequently visited the Iranian frontier. Traveling back roads along a smugglers' route in Iraqi Kurdistan, I encountered no U.S. patrols within 100 miles of the border, though American officials had vowed to police the frontiers. And, when I returned to Baghdad, I saw the results of open borders. I often visited Sadr City, a sprawling Shia slum named for Moqtada Al Sadr's slain father. Among posters of Moqtada Al Sadr, Khomeini, and other religious figures, hawkers sold everything from U.S. Agency for International Development rations to stolen cars to forged documents, such as passports and manifests. Safe-passage documents for traveling from Iran to Iraq cost only $50.

Sadr himself has become a recipient of Iranian cash. Iran's charge d'affaires in Baghdad, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, maintains close relations with Sadr. According to the April 6 edition of the Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, Qomi is not actually a diplomat but rather a member of the Revolutionary Guards, the elite Iranian terrorist network dedicated to the export of jihad; Qomi previously served as a liaison to Hezbollah. Meanwhile, Italian intelligence reports show that many Revolutionary Guards have moved to southern Iraq in recent months to organize and train Sadr's armed wing. This Iranian operation reportedly hides its true intentions under the guise of religious charities in Karbala, Najaf, and Kufa, while financial support is channeled to Sadr through Ayatollah Kazem Al Haeri, a Qom-based cleric and close confidant of Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. (The Office of the Supreme Leader retains a budget for which Khamenei is not accountable to Iran's president or parliament.) Italian intelligence has identified one of Haeri's students as Khamenei's personal representative to Sadr.

Sadr is not the only Islamist Shia leader receiving aid from Tehran. When I visited Nasiriya, a dusty town in southern Iraq, local clerics complained bitterly about Iranian intelligence officials swarming into town, creating a network of informers and funneling money to anti-U.S. forces. At a town-hall meeting in Nasiriya last October, tribal leaders repeatedly condemned the United States for failing to confront the "hidden hand"--Iranians coming into the city.

By January, the anti-U.S. Badr Corps, trained and financed by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, had established a large office on Nasiriya's riverfront promenade. Below murals of Khomeini and the late Ayatollah Mohammad Bakr Al Hakim hung banners declaring, no to America, no to Israel, no to occupation. Two blocks away in the central market, vendors sold posters not of moderate Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, but of Supreme Leader Khomeini. By January 2004, Zainab Al Suwaij, the granddaughter of Basra's leading religious figure, was reporting that Hezbollah, which has close ties to the Revolutionary Guards, was operating openly in southern towns like Nasiriya and Basra, helping to stir up violence. The next day, at his daily press briefing, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, "No, I don't know anything about Hamas and Hezbollah in Iraq. ... We'll stop them if we can get them." Coincidentally, I visited Basra on January 14 without informing the local CPA coordinator. One block from the main market, Sciri and Hezbollah had established a joint office. A large Lebanese Hezbollah flag fluttered in the wind.

The Iranian government has not limited its support to a single faction or party. Rather, Tehran's strategy appears to be to support both the radicals seeking immediate confrontation with the U.S. occupation and Islamist political parties like Sciri and Ibrahim Jafari's Dawah Party, which are willing to sit on the U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council and engage with Washington, at least in the short term. The Iranian journalist Nurizadeh wrote in April 2003, "[President Mohammed] Khatami [and other Iranian political leaders] ... were surprised by the decision issued above their heads to send into Iraq more than 2,000 fighters, clerics, and students [to] the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and al-Dawah Party." My own experience backed up his claims. This February, I spoke with a local governor from southern Iraq who wanted to meet me after he learned that I lived and worked outside CPA headquarters. The governor complained that the CPA was doing little to stop the influx of Iranian money to district councilmen and prominent tribal and religious officials. The money, he said, was distributed through Dawah offices established after a meeting between Jafari and Iranian security officials.

Twice in the last twelve years, large-scale Iranian destabilization efforts have confronted U.S. military interventions. In Bosnia, after significant internal debate, George H.W. Bush's administration chose to block Iranian infiltration, risking revenge attacks against the United States by Iranian-linked terrorists. In September 1992, Tehran attempted to ship 4,000 guns, one million rounds of ammunition, and several dozen fighters to Bosnia. An Iranian Boeing 747 landed in Zagreb, where, in response to U.S. pressure, the Croatian military impounded the weapons and expelled the jihadis. Today, there is little threat of radical anti-U.S. Islamism in Bosnia.

Almost a decade later, the current Bush administration identified an Iranian challenge in Afghanistan. Speaking before the American-Iranian Council on March 13, 2002, Zalmay Khalilzad, senior National Security Council adviser for the Middle East and Southwest Asia, declared, "The Iranian regime has sent some Qods forces associated with its Revolutionary Guards to parts of Afghanistan. . . . Iranian officials have provided military and financial support to regional parties without the knowledge and consent of the Afghan Interim Authority." Rather than combat this Iranian challenge, the Bush administration chose diplomacy. "Notwithstanding our criticism of Iranian policy, the U.S. remains open to dialogue," Khalilzad continued. Today, visitors to Herat, a main city in western Afghanistan, consider Iranian influence there to be extremely strong.

In the wake of Sadr's uprising, Washington is faced with the same choice: End Iran's infiltration through forceful action, or wish it away. How long can we afford to keep choosing the latter?

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at AEI.

http://www.aei.org/news/newsID.20319,filter./news_detail.asp
19 posted on 04/17/2004 5:22:34 PM PDT 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; ...
Bad Neighbor

April 16, 2004
The New Republic
Michael Rubin

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1119297/posts?page=19#19
20 posted on 04/17/2004 5:23:32 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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To: DoctorZIn
"Best Leader of the Year" has just been awarded to Tehran state prosecutor Said Mortazavi"

I think THAT SAYS IT ALL (I'm kind of speechless)

"Amid these sinister developments, it is outrageous that none of the member countries of the UN Human Rights Commission, not even the countries of the European Union, has until now tabled a resolution condemning Iran," Reporters Without Borders added."
21 posted on 04/17/2004 7:14:01 PM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn; F14 Pilot; freedom44; nuconvert; Tamsey; Grampa Dave

22 posted on 04/17/2004 7:57:34 PM PDT by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: PhilDragoo
LoL
23 posted on 04/17/2004 8:30:44 PM PDT by nuconvert ("America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins." ( President Bush 3-20-04))
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To: DoctorZIn
This thread is now closed.

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”

24 posted on 04/17/2004 9:03:12 PM PDT by DoctorZIn (Until they are Free, "We shall all be Iranians!")
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