Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- August 8, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 08/07/2004 11:55:29 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media still largley 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 Americans 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.
Concerns Grow over Al Qaeda, U.S. Election
All Things Considered NPR (audio link)
Aug. 6, 2004
Is al Qaeda planning attacks that could influence the November presidential election in the United States? Some say political reverberations from the March pre-election bombing in Spain can only embolden terrorist planners. But it's unclear which U.S. candidate al Qaeda would like to see in the White House. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports.
Michael Ledeen is included in the debate.
Iran headgear crackdown
A woman in Tehran. (AFP)
Tehran, Aug. 7 (AFP): Nearly 200 Iranian women wearing head coverings considered insufficient under the countrys Islamic code have been arrested, newspapers reported today.
Iranian security forces launched raids in cities of central Semnan and northern Gilan provinces, arresting 183 women in recent weeks, the reports said.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, all post-pubescent females have been required to wear the veil and a long coat concealing their bodily form, or face fines or imprisonment.
Some 132 badly covered women were picked up in semnan province, the Sharq daily reported, adding that 69 of them face trial.
Iranian defence minister says Iran will test missile
8 August 2004
TEHERAN - Iran will soon test a more advanced version of its Shahab-3 missile, Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said, the Tehran Times said on Sunday.
Shamkhani said the rocket would be tested not only in range but also in other areas. The test is necessary so that the country will be prepared for an attack.
Iran has several times warned of a probable attack by the United States or Israel, and Shamkhani said Iran should be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
A society which does not prepare itself for threats will meet the same fate as Saddam Hussein, the minister was quoted by the daily as saying.
The minister rejected Israeli accusations that its missiles were a threat to Europe, saying Irans military strategy was no threat to any country and aimed solely at defensive purposes.
Iran tested the missile in June last year when it was delivered to the armed forces. The medium-range ballistic missile has a range of 1,300 kilometres, meaning it could reach Israel if launched from Iran.
Iran has several times rejected harsh criticism by Tel Aviv on the missile tests and said the tests were the legitimate right of the Islamic state.
The last missile under production in Iran is the Shahab-4, which was, however, solely designed for launching satellites and not for military purposes.
US asks Iran, Syria to stop 'infiltration'
DUBAI, Aug 7: US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called in remarks published on Saturday on Iran and Syria to stop alleged infiltrations into Iraq, warning Damascus against failing to learn from the "lesson" of the ousting of the Baath party government in Baghdad.
"The accusations against Syria and Iran are linked to the infiltration of combatants across the borders and the lack of control along these borders in the required manner," Mr Armitage told a Saudi newspaper, Al Hayat.
"We are aware that the borders are very long between the countries ... (but) we expect more efforts to control them," he said.
Mr Armitage said the US-led forces were mainly facing "security challenges from rebel elements which are mostly former regime loyalists".
Both Syria and Iran - which have opposed the offensive and the continued occupation of Iraq by foreign troops - have been accused by the United States of supporting guerillas inside Iraq.
US President George Bush on May 11 slapped sanctions on Syria, on grounds that its own Baath government supported terrorism and failed to close its borders to guerillas looking to fight US forces in Iraq.
The sanctions, which come on top of existing US penalties, include a near-blanket ban on US exports to Syria and the power to freeze Syrian assets in the United States.
Mr Armitage said "the Syria Accountability Act ... comes in stages. The first stage comes through pressures, making demands clear and discussing them with the Syrian government".
"In case of a lack of commitment by this government, the policy of sanctions will be implemented and today, we are in the first phase," he said.
"The Syrian government did not show compliance. It did not learn from the lesson of Iraq and the fall of the Baath party there."-AFP
Report: N. Korea, Iran closer to nukes
KENNEBUNKPORT, ME, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- The New York Times reports that U.S. intelligence experts believe that Iran's and North Korea's nuclear programs have advanced in the past year.
Officials told the Times that Bush administration efforts to negotiate with North Korea and Iran or to enlist European allies have at most slowed nuclear weapons development a little.
The newspaper also said that Abdul Qadeer Khan, the former head of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, had helped the two countries get closer to nuclear self-sufficiency. That makes using covert operations or sanctions less likely to slow or stop Iran or North Korea's weapons development.
It quoted an unnamed senior official who said, "It's a much harder thing to accomplish today," said one senior American intelligence official, "than it would have been in the 90's."
Four Iranians arrested in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Aug 7: Four Iranian intelligence officials have been arrested by Iraqi authorities on suspicion of spying and carrying out acts of sabotage in the country, a spokesman for Iraq's interior ministry said on Saturday.
"The investigation is still continuing. We will announce all the developments," Sabah Kadhim said.
Earlier, the Azzaman newspaper reported that four Iranian intelligence officers had been detained on suspicion of operating spy and sabotage operations out of a Baghdad house.
Forged documents, Iranian intelligence and Iraqi ID cards were confiscated during the arrests, Azzaman quoted an anonymous source as saying.
In Cairo, an Egyptian daily reported interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi as advising Iran not to interfere in his country's affairs amid a growing war of words between Baghdad and Tehran.
Defence Minister Hazem al Shaalan told the Washington Post last week that he had seen "clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran" and accused Tehran of working "to kill democracy" in his country. -AFP
Tehran insists on right to own N-fuel; Iran eyes to improve Shahab-3
TEHRAN (AFP): Iran aims to soon test an improved version of its Shahab-3 medium-range missile, Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said Saturday, following Israel's boosting of its anti-missile missile capability. "We will improve the Shahab-3 and when we test it, in the very short future, we will let you know," what improvements have been made, said the minister, who was quoted by the student news agency ISNA. "These improvements do not only concern its range, but other specifications as well," Shamkhani said, without giving more details. Israel late last month successfully tested its Arrow II anti-missile missile in the United States. It was the seventh time the missile has worked, but the first time it destroyed a real Scud missile.
Israeli officials made it clear the improved anti-missile system was aimed squarely at fending off any attack by Iran, Israel's arch foe. Shamkhani insisted the Shahab-3 was intended for defensive purposes. Tehran fears Israel could strike its controversial nuclear program, which Washington suspects is being used to covertly develop weapons. "The Israelis are trying hard to improve the capacity of their missiles, and we are also trying to improve the Shahab-3 in a short time," he said, denying the Islamic republic was working on a more advanced Shahab-4. Tehran finalised its testing of the Shahab-3 only in June.
The missile, whose name means "meteor" or "shooting star" in Farsi, is thought to be capable of carrying a 1,000 kilogramme (one-ton) warhead at least 1,300 kilometers (800 miles), well within range of Israel. A senior Iranian official again insisted in remarks published Saturday that Tehran would not give up its right to produce its own nuclear fuel, which other countries fear will be diverted to military purposes. "That is something that Iran will not accept and Iran strongly resisted it in negotiations in Paris" with European states last month, Hossein Moussavian, was quoted as saying by the Tehran Times. Moussavian said the talks on July 29 and 30 "had reached a very complicated and difficult stage" but added that "the negotiators are determined to continue their talks." The Europeans had told Iran "we recognise your right to possess peaceful (nuclear technology) and we give an international guarantee to provide you with nuclear fuel and facilitate your efforts to gain access to nuclear technology," he said.
But they had added that "since the fuel cycle in Iran may be diverted toward a nuclear weapons program in the future, we want you to relinquish it as a confidence building measure." This was unacceptable to Tehran, Moussavian said. On Wednesday Iran's Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi asserted the Islamic republic had a "legitimate right" to enrich uranium, the most sensitive part of the nuclear fuel cycle that the country is under pressure to abandon. "We will lobby for our rights in the international community to deal with the negative atmosphere our enemies have created against Iran," Kharazi was quoted as saying by the state news agency Irna.
"We will never allow the enemy to trample upon our legitimate rights enshrined in the international conventions," he added. The European Union's "big three" Ð Britain, France and Germany Ð have been pressing Iran to cease working on the nuclear fuel cycle in exchange for increased trade and cooperation and the guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel from abroad.
Thanks for your help with the posts.
Iranian President: Press freedom depends on national power structure
Tehran, Aug 7, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami said on Saturday that freedom of expression and journalists depends on the national power structure.
He said in his message to a ceremony held at Vahdat Hall to mark 'Journalists Day` that modern life needs healthy media system and press freedom.
"Press freedom will be available if the press community enjoys political immunity and the journalists are provided with job security," President Khatami said.
Minister of Culture and the Islamic Guidance Ahmad Masjed Jamei read out the president's message to the ceremony.
The president regretted that he was on a visit abroad (Baku) and he could not attend the ceremony.
"I have been deprived of taking part in the ceremony marking the 'Journalists Day`. I regard myself as a member of the press community and I am grateful to see that the Journalists Day being honored with high esteem," he said.
The president said that freedom of expression and the journalists are the complementary to the cultural development.
He said that there are weaknesses in terms of legal support for press freedom and hence the cultural development.
"The status of the press in a community indicates the strength and weakness of political system and to what extent the community enjoys cultural development," President Khatami said.
"I hope that in light of the insight of the distinguished journalists and the patience to be observed by the statesmen, freedom of expression will be respected by enforcing legal provisions to a level that the great Iranian nation deserve," President Khatami said.
Official report: Two-third of Iranian youth unsatisfied with administration
Aug. 5 Two-third of the Iranian youth is unsatisfied with the Islamic administration of Iran, the Tehran press on Thursday quoted an official report as saying.
The report, carried by the students' news agency ISNA, referred to the lack of transparency in the executive powers authorities as one of the main reasons for the dissatisfaction of the youth.
According to Irans constitution, the government is the main executive power but the final say is with the supreme religious leadership, currently in the hands of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who succeeded the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989.
Also in the parliament, all approved bills must be reconfirmed by the Guardian Council which mainly consists of conservative clerics.
Efforts by President Khatami and his reformists in the last eight years to approve the authorities of the democratically-elected bodies like government and parliament and diminish the power of bodies whose officials are just appointed, failed.
The report, which was presented to the presidential office, further referred to rapid growth of the young population in Iran and said the growth will stand at 3.7 per cent in the year 2006.
Out of Irans total population of about 67 million, more than 70 per cent are under the age of 30 facing not only educational and employment problems but also social restrictions due to strict Islamic regulations.
According to the report, only eight per cent of the young population has found its way to higher education facilities with girls forming 51 per cent of the total students.
While most of the youth are unemployed, even those 54 per cent having a job are unhappy with it, the report said.
Due to economic problems, the average age for marriage has increased from 25 to 27 for men and from 18 to almost 24 for women.
Iranian officials from both reformist and conservative wings have several times warned that the problems of the youth might be a potential political powder keg which might one day explode and seriously endanger the Islamic system./-
Iran's government cracking down on Internet freedom, RSF says
The media watchdog body Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has voiced concern at the growing efforts of the Iranian authorities to censor online freedom of expression, including the preparation of a draft law that would create a legal framework to crack down on Internet usage. RSF has also called for the release of Mojtaba Lotfi, a cyber-dissident theology student.
"Since the elections [last February] the authorities have tried to tighten control over the Internet, because they realise the power it has for the opposition," Julien Pain, responsible for the RSF's Internet freedom desk, told IRIN from Paris on Thursday, noting that the Iranian government was blacklisting information and political websites.
However, Pain stressed that, despite the government's crackdown, Iranian Internet users were willing to express themselves online, even if they risked imprisonment and torture, "because people really believe in politics in Iran".
The watchdog organisation called for the release of Mojtaba Lotfi, a theologian and former journalist with the reformist daily newspaper Khordad, which was closed in 2000. Lotfi was imprisoned in May in the holy city of Qom, 120 km south of the capital Tehran.
He was tried in July on charges of spying and publishing false information after he posted an article entitled "Respect for human rights in cases involving the clergy" on www.naqshineh.com, a website also subject to judicial proceedings over some of its articles on the recent legislative elections, according to RSF.
"You cannot jail someone just because he expressed his political ideas on the Internet," Pain said, explaining that this case was very interesting, given that the authorities targeted somebody from "the inside", as Lotfi was a theology student in one of the most famous schools and was very close to Iranian reformists.
After analysing the draft of the proposed law "on the punishment of crimes linked to the Internet", published in February in the Iranian media, RSF says that it would create a legal framework to legitimise the oppression of online freedom of expression.
"If the law is approved they can even tell the international community that all their actions [to restrict free expression online] are legal," the RSF official said, noting that the law would increase pressure on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet users. "The law would make it easier to censor the Internet and imprison people."
The draft law proposes prison sentences of up to three years for disseminating "information that poses a threat for the country's internal or external security" and from five to 15 years if the information is passed to "foreign states or foreign organisations", an RSF statement noted.
Furthermore, it would give the police the power to search Internet users' homes or the premises of any legal entity involved in Internet activity, without a judge's authorisation.
According to the draft, the new legislation should conform to international norms and conventions concerning the Internet, but adds that "foreign laws will not apply if they are contrary to sharia [Islamic law] or Iranian law, or if they run counter to the country's security and interests," RSF said.
Iran looking to improve Shahab-3 missile after Israeli test
Sat Aug 7, 3:48 PM ET
TEHRAN (AFP) - Iran aims to soon test an improved version of its Shahab-3 medium-range missile, Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said, following Israel's boosting of its anti-missile missile capability.
"We will improve the Shahab-3 and when we test it, in the very short future, we will let you know," what improvements have been made, said the minister, who was quoted by the student news agency ISNA.
"These improvements do not only concern its range, but other specifications as well," Shamkhani said, without giving more details.
Israel late last month successfully tested its Arrow II anti-missile missile in the United States. It was the seventh time the missile has worked, but the first time it destroyed a real Scud missile.
Israeli officials made it clear the improved anti-missile system was aimed squarely at fending off any attack by Iran, Israel's arch foe.
Shamkhani insisted the Shahab-3 was intended for defensive purposes.
Tehran fears Israel could strike its controversial nuclear program, which Washington suspects is being used to covertly develop weapons.
"The Israelis are trying hard to improve the capacity of their missiles, and we are also trying to improve the Shahab-3 in a short time," he said, denying the Islamic republic was working on a more advanced Shahab-4.
Tehran finalized its testing of the Shahab-3 only in June.
The missile, whose name means "meteor" or "shooting star" in Farsi, is thought to be capable of carrying a 1,000 kilogramme (one-ton) warhead at least 1,300 kilometers (800 miles), well within range of Israel.
Six Shahab-3 missiles were paraded in Tehran in September during commemorations of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq (news - web sites) war. One of them carried a banner declaring "We will wipe Israel from the map".
The Shahab-3 is believed to be derived from technology acquired from Pakistan and North Korea (news - web sites), though Shamkhani denied any dealings between Tehran and Pyongyang.
When asked if the army was involved in Iran's nuclear program, Shamkhani said that its "only intervention in the nuclear area, is nuclear protection," referring to possible attack from Israel's suspected nuclear arsenal.
"If a military operation is carried out against us, we cannot do nothing, so we are investing in nuclear protection," he said.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Due in Iran
Aug 7, 2004, 11:59
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Mr. Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri is due to arrive here today on a visit to Iran on the invitation of his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.
Kasuri's The two-day visit is part of the high-level exchange of views between Iran and Pakistan on matters of common interest. The two Muslim states share a common border, cultural and religious affinities and are committed to peace, stability and security in the region.
During his stay in Tehran, Foreign Minister Kasuri will hold discussions with Kharrazi on ways and means of further expanding and deepening mutual ties and on situation in the region. He will also call on the Iranian leadership. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan will meet leading personalities in Tehran at a reception hosted by the Ambassador of Pakistan, Mr. Iqbal Ahmad Khan on Monday
Gholam Shire'i: Agressors Will Pay Dearly for Their Crimes
Aug 7, 2004, 11:49
The Iranian majlis spokesperson known as "Gholam Shire'i" in majlis condemned the renewed U.S. attacks on the holy city of Najaf.
Gholam Shire'i reminded that this was not the first time the U.S has desecrated holy sites in Iraq, and said the aggressors will surely pay dearly for their crimes. By attacking the holy cities and sites in Iraq the US is challenging the entire Muslim world, not merely their governments and international entities, he added.
The official also said the renewed attacks on Iraq's holy cities have deeply hurt all Muslims, who are now calling on the occupiers to leave the country and to let the people live in peace and security.
Behind the veil of Iran's shooter is a frustrated gymnast
The Star Online
August 8th, 04
TEHRAN: The only woman athlete Iran is sending to the Athens Olympics is under no illusions of winning a medal in her sport of shooting. In fact, she admits the sport is not her real passion.
ôIf the dress code was not an issue, I would have preferred to stick with gymnastics. I've been doing that since the age of three, Nassim Hassanpour, a petite 19-year-old told AFP.
With the Islamic republic viewing tight-fitting leotards as unsuitable public attire for women, Hassanpour is instead restricted to any sport that can be played wearing the obligatory headscarf and long coat. This rules out sports such as gymnastics, swimming, track and field athletics or beach volleyball.
Instead she chose shooting the air pistol on a 10 metre range. And in a gesture of slight rebellion, Hassanpour may be covering up her frame in beige, rather than the ubiquitous black.
She never took shooting seriously, even though it was on the curriculum in the sporting high school she attended in her hometown of Tabriz, northwestern Iran.
ôI am crazy about animals û I have two pet dogs û and I always associated shooting with hunting, she said while training in her run-down Tehran basement shooting range.
Eventually her talent was spotted three years ago, and her career launched.
Hassanpour was eager to exploit the opportunity to travel abroad, something that many of her compatriots are unable to do due to financial and visa restrictions.
Rather than having a passion, Hassanpour says simply she has acquired a taste for the sport.
Still, facilities for women athletes are sorely lacking in Iran, she complains. And even when they do compete, competitions are held behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the media meaning sponsorship deals are impossible to come by.
I've spent all my savings and borrowed from my mother to get by. My monthly allowance of 1,350,000 rials (US$150) is four months overdue, she explained, adding that working as a private rollerblading coach has also helped top up her income. AFP
This just in from a student inside of Iran...
Teachers protested today in front of ministry of education to demand the release of their arrested colleagues."
Iranian Diplomat Reportedly Held in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Militants in Iraq (news - web sites) said Sunday they had taken a top Iranian diplomat hostage, according to video shown on the Arab-language Al-Arabiya television station.
The video showed a bearded man identified as Faridoun Jihani speaking to the camera, though his voice was not audible. The video also showed nine forms of his identification, as well as his passport and a business card identifying him as the "consul for the Islamic Republic of Iran in Karbala," a southern Iraqi city.
The kidnappers, who called themselves the "Islamic Army in Iraq," accused Jihani of provoking sectarian war in Iraq and they warned Iran not to interfere in Iraq's affairs, according to Al-Arabiya.
The kidnappers did not appear to threaten Jihani and made no demands, according to the report.
Jihani would be the second senior diplomat taken hostage in Iraq in recent weeks. Mohammed Mamdouh Helmi Qutb, an Egyptian diplomat, was abducted July 23 outside a mosque in Baghdad and freed unharmed July 26.