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Iranian Alert -- DAY 37 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST
The Iranian Student Movement -- Up To The Minute Reports ^ | 7.16.2003 | DoctorZin

Posted on 07/16/2003 12:01:09 AM PDT by DoctorZIn

The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movment in Iran from being reported.

From jamming satellite broadcasts, to prohibiting news reporters from covering any demonstrations to shutting down all cell phones and even hiring foreign security to control the population, the regime is doing everything in its power to keep the popular movement from expressing its demand for an end of the regime.

These efforts by the regime, while successful in the short term, do not resolve the fundamental reasons why this regime is crumbling from within.

Iran is a country ready for a regime change. 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.

Please continue to join us here, post your news stories and comments to this thread.

Thanks for all the help.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: alcatel; boycott; bushdoctrineunfold; ericsson; eussr; iran; iranianalert; nec; necjapan; protest; siemens; studentmovement; warlist
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1 posted on 07/16/2003 12:01:09 AM PDT by DoctorZIn
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2 posted on 07/16/2003 12:02:13 AM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
Join Us at the Iranian Alert -- DAY 37 -- LIVE THREAD PING LIST

Live Thread Ping List | 7.16.2003 | DoctorZIn

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

3 posted on 07/16/2003 12:02:22 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Pan_Yans Wife; fat city; freedom44; Tamsey; Grampa Dave; PhiKapMom; ...
German and Japanese electronic firms involved in increase of regime's abilities of monitoring and Jamming

SMCCDI (Information Service)
Jul 16, 2003

The German "Siemens" and the Japanese "NEC" have sold special electronic devices which have increased the Islamic regime's ability of jamming the programs of the aboard based radio and TV networks.

The materials were shipped, last month, and installed by German and S. Korean technicians in main Iranian cities, such as, Tehran and Esfhan.

The Swedish "Ericsson" and the French "Alcatel" were till then, the main suppliers of such devices but have refused more direct sells due to the scandal raised on this affair. The Ericsson spare parts are given to Siemens which asures of their shipments.

In addition, German telecommunication firms, such as the same "Siemens" have sold equipments which allows the Islamic regime of having an unprecedented control over "inbound calls" to Iran. Strong with such equipments, the Islamic regime can monitor all identified and stored phone numbers, used by abroad based opponents to the regime, and discover who are called inside Iran.

These materials have been installed in the Farah Abad Telecommunication Facility which is placed under the control of the Intelligence Offices of the Pasdaran Corp.
4 posted on 07/16/2003 12:03:32 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
Israel finds support from Britain over Iran

By Nicholas Watt
Jul 16, 2003

Britain is increasingly alarmed at the threats posed by Iran's nuclear programme and conventional missiles which could reach Israel and US forces in the Middle East.

Amid fears that moderates in Tehran are losing their struggle with hardliners, Tony Blair is understood to have told Ariel Sharon that Britain shares Israel's concerns about Iran.

The two prime ministers had a lengthy discussion about Iran during a two and a half hour dinner in Downing Street on Monday night. Israeli diplomats said they were encouraged by Mr Blair's response. Asked if Mr Blair had changed his mind about Iran's weapons, one source said: "I think he has."

A well-placed British source confirmed the change of thinking in government circles. The source said: "This is a subject that is of more concern to us than it was a few months ago. We are still engaging with the Iranian government. But the gauge of concern has gone up a couple of notches lately, particularly over Iran's nuclear programme."

Britain is nervous about voicing its concerns for fear of signalling that an attack on Iran was on the cards following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. But the source's remarks show that the prime minister is questioning Britain's policy of constructive engagement.

Mr Blair has argued that the best way of persuading Iran to reduce its support for militant groups and to refrain from developing nuclear weapons is by engaging with moderates in Tehran. This policy achieved a breakthrough nine days after the September 11 attacks when Mr Blair had a "remarkable" conversation with President Mohammed Khatami during a flight to the United States.

But such optimism has evaporated in recent weeks after Iran refused to offer full cooperation to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Mohamed El Baradei, the head of the IAEA, asked Tehran during a visit last week to sign an undertaking that his inspectors would be allowed to make surprise visits. Iran insists it is developing a civil nuclear programme. British and other western intelligence agencies believe that Iran's nuclear programme bears the hallmark of a military programme.

Dr El Baradei pointed out last month that uranium developed at one laboratory in Tehran would not be used in Iran's civil programme. Fears about Iran were fuelled further last week when Tehran announced that it had conducted final tests on the Shahab-3 missile which has a range of 810 miles. This would be enough to reach Israel and US forces in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

Israeli diplomatic sources travelling with Mr Sharon condemned Iran as the "centre of regional terror".

One source said that Iran "encouraged terrorists in Israel", adding: "It is a dangerous country." Mr Sharon tried to use his trip to London to persuade Britain to do more to cut off European support to the three main Palestinian militant groups - Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade - responsible for attacks in Israel.

During his dinner with Mr Blair, the Israeli prime minister reiterated his complaint that money from the EU was findings its way into the hands of militants to buy arms.

Although there were tough exchanges during the dinner, both sides agreed that Mr Sharon's visit has repaired relations between Britain and Israel after a series of bruising rows.

Mr Blair is understood to have told Mr Sharon that Britain is Israel's best friend in Europe. The Israeli diplomatic source said: "It was a really good meeting, especially the dinner. That has strengthened the relationship between Britain and Israel."
5 posted on 07/16/2003 12:05:39 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: All
Iran's nuclear quest 'irreversible in 18 months'

By Anton La Guardia
Jul 16, 2003

Iran's nuclear programme could become "irreversible" unless it is stopped within the next 18 months, senior Israeli diplomatic sources said yesterday.

Israel has long accused Teheran of sponsoring radical Islamist groups across the region but now its concern appears to be focusing more sharply on Iran's nuclear programme. "Within a year or a year and a half, the situation will become irreversible," said the well-placed Israeli source.

Western intelligence officials have estimated that Iran is still a few years away from producing a nuclear bomb. Israel believes, though, that construction of a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz is the critical point, after which Teheran's nuclear programme would become self-sufficient.

Israel famously bombed Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981 to prevent Saddam Hussein from obtaining nuclear weapons in an operation that has become the model for America's new doctrine of "preventive action".

Should Iran complete the Natanz plant, both Israel and the Unites States might feel compelled to take military action.

For the moment, the United States and the European Union are trying to exert concerted pressure on Teheran to sign up to a system of intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran says the Natanz enrichment plant, the existence of which was only revealed in the past year, is intended to produce low-enriched uranium for civilian reactors.

But the West fears that this could be quickly switched to production of highly-enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.

Iran would have the ability to "break out" quickly from nuclear power to nuclear weapons. "Once the Iranians have completed the plant, that would give them the capability to produce weapons-grade uranium. They will have crossed a critical threshold," said Dr Gary Samore, an expert on weapons proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"The Iranians could not do it immediately because it is likely to be spotted by inspectors. But the Iranians could withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, convert the plant within a few months and then legally produce highly-enriched uranium."

A day after Tony Blair hosted a private dinner for Ariel Sharon, Israeli officials said Iran was high on the Israeli prime minister's list of concerns.

British officials did not say whether they shared the Israeli assessment of the threat from Iran. "We are not in the business of announcing when the Iranians might have a bomb," said one diplomat.

The visit by Mr Sharon was meant to mark a reconciliation with Mr Blair after months of tension caused by British pressure to push ahead with an international peace plan known as the "road map".

British officials said that over dinner at Downing Street the two men "agreed to disagree" on key issues, such as Mr Sharon's demand that European countries cut off all contact with Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader.

6 posted on 07/16/2003 12:06:54 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
This just in...

Another Journalist arrested here (In Iran).

Mr. Saharkhiz, the former Media Consultant of the Ministry of Culture and Aftabe Emrooz Daily Director
(( Source: Newspaper of tehran this morning and ))
7 posted on 07/16/2003 12:08:54 AM PDT by DoctorZIn (IranAzad... Until they are free, we shall all be Iranians!)
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To: DoctorZIn
" The German "Siemens" and the Japanese "NEC" have sold special electronic devices which have increased the Islamic regime's ability of jamming the programs of the aboard based radio and TV networks."

Well, shoot...Germans, I can understand, but the Japanese? I'm disappointed.

8 posted on 07/16/2003 12:18:35 AM PDT by dixiechick2000 (Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself---President Bush, September 2002)
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To: DoctorZIn
"Iran's nuclear programme could become "irreversible" unless it is stopped within the next 18 months..."

It WILL be way or the other.

9 posted on 07/16/2003 12:20:45 AM PDT by dixiechick2000 (Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself---President Bush, September 2002)
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To: DoctorZIn
That's interesting given that Siemens also sold a lot of dual use items to Iraq. And wasn't NEC - at least an Indian company called NEC - selling items to Iraq which were forbidden under the oil for food program? Wonder if it's the same NEC?
10 posted on 07/16/2003 1:45:47 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole; dixiechick2000; piasa; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; Texas_Dawg; nuconvert; norton; rontorr; ...
Ericsson of Sweden is the main supplier of such stuffs for Iranian hard liners to jam the satellite signals.
The French Alcatel Company has good deals and contracts with Iranian Telecomm Company.
Alcatel supports the Cell Phone Network of Iran.
As you know, cell phones are not active in time of uprisings or unrests.
That is because the French experts instructed them how to make the whole network unable to function properly and they instructed the hard liners how to jam the signals.
The best working system for Iran is Alcatel these days.

God please help us recognize friend from foe.
12 posted on 07/16/2003 2:19:34 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole
I dont think just sending E-mail is enough.
However I have sent them 3 e-mails through different E-mail addresses.
14 posted on 07/16/2003 3:43:32 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: seamole
I dont think just sending E-mail is enough to show our anger.
However I have sent them 3 e-mails through different E-mail addresses.
15 posted on 07/16/2003 3:44:01 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: DoctorZIn
Thanks for the ping
17 posted on 07/16/2003 6:07:39 AM PDT by firewalk
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To: seamole; dixiechick2000; piasa; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; Texas_Dawg; nuconvert; norton; pcx99; ...
" The Mullahs' Manhattan Project "

From the June 9, 2003 issue: Do we dare let these men acquire nukes?

by Reuel Marc Gerecht
06/09/2003, Volume 008, Issue 38

FOR BETTER or usually for worse, the Islamic Republic of Iran can always command our attention, easily reminding us, as did the wars with Saddam Hussein and September 11, that the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation isn't the cutting edge of modern Middle Eastern history. Clerical Iran's ever-advancing nuclear-weapons program and its fondness for using terrorism as statecraft have made the country the litmus test of President George W. Bush's war on terrorism and his "axis of evil" doctrine.

Neither will end up making much sense unless the Bush administration somehow confronts the Islamic Republic on both issues in a way different from the Clinton administration. After all, the Clintonites tried to staunch the flow of nuclear technology to the Islamic Republic (the rather advanced Natanz gas centrifuge facility near Isfahan and the nearly completed Bushehr nuclear reactor suggest that they failed). But they didn't try at all to hold the Iranians responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. As the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Louis Freeh recently pointed out in an amazing cri de coeur in the Wall Street Journal, the Clinton White House willfully dragged its counterterrorist feet for fear of damaging what it perceived as a possible fruitful dialogue with Iran's new (1997) "reformist" president, the ever-smiling, Tocqueville-quoting Mohammad Khatami. Khatami would be more likely to triumph over the hard-core clerics, so the theory then went, if the United States didn't aggressively confront Iran for its culpability in killing and maiming dozens of American soldiers. The Clinton administration went for engagement. Khatami neither responded nor seriously confronted his more hard-core clerical brethren on any contentious foreign or domestic issue.

Still the most revolutionary country in the region, Iran has the natural resources, population, geography, culture, and experience with faith-based politics to transform the Muslim Middle East through its successes and failures. A clerical Iran armed with nuclear weaponry might recover some of the dynamism of its early years. The hard-core mullahs' abiding hatred of the United States and its threatening liberal culture could become bolder, fueled by the security of nuclear deterrence and ever-growing anxiety about an "America-inspired" reform movement, which has turned Iran's clerical rulers into dictators in the eyes of most of the country's people. The terrorist reflex in Iran could again start powerfully acting up against the United States, with horrendous results. On the other hand, a democratic Iran, where clerics no longer had dominion, would have an enormous impact on the Middle East. The Islamic revolution would be dead. A secular, democratic alternative would have finally taken root in the heartland of the Muslim world.

An American-born democratic Iraq may well have this capacity too, which is why the Islamic Republic will seek to ensure that a friendly, cleric-driven political system prevails next door. Tehran's ruling mullahs are surely anxious about the increasing discussion in Iran of Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali as-Sistani, arguably the most senior Shia cleric in the Muslim world, and the influence of the Iraqi holy city of Najaf, the preeminent center of Shia learning. Sistani's long-held aversion to clerics as politicians is a rebuke to the Islamic Republic's identity. When the grand ayatollah becomes a more public figure, which is inevitable as normality returns to Iraq, and if Najaf follows Sistani's lead, Tehran's ruling mullahs will confront a threat worse than Saddam Hussein.

Clerical circles in Iran are already talking about the tithes flowing from ordinary Iranian believers to Sistani. This is unstoppable in the Shia system, where each Muslim may freely choose his religious guide. That money is undoubtedly given in part because of Sistani's eminence and out of sympathy for the suffering of Shia brethren next door. It is also undoubtedly given in part because Sistani is religiously the exact opposite of the clerics who rule in the Islamic Republic. The Iranian meddling in Iraq is the easiest of America's Iranian problems. The Islamic Republic's quest for nuclear weaponry and its support for terrorism will be much more difficult to solve. In Iraq, the senior Shia clergy will likely do most of our heavy lifting, provided the United States does not hopelessly screw up the administration of the country. Like Afghanistan, Iraq is for us to lose, not for the Iranians to win.

THE POSSIBLE recrudescence of Iranian-supported anti-American terrorism is obviously an immediate concern for Washington. The specter of al Qaeda taking refuge in Iran, and from there waging war against the United States, isn't something, like the attack against Khobar, that can be bureaucratically shuffled by the State Department into our inactive memory. Association with al Qaeda is an inexcusable no-no, even among Washington's most hard-core, trade-loving Republican realpoliticians and conflict-averse liberals and diplomats. Which is, in part, why those who have favored reestablishing some "dialogue" between Washington and Tehran about Iran's nuclear program and its influence in post-Saddam Iraq have uniformly reacted with skepticism toward recent Pentagon and State Department statements about an operationally live al Qaeda presence inside the Islamic Republic.

One Bush administration official, according to the New York Times, describes the hawk-dove division on Iran within the U.S. intelligence community. There is disagreement, the official says, about what recent intercepts and "so-called chatter" mean--"whether it represents a link to the Saudi bombings or to the Iranian regime." (Which provokes the question: If the intercepts are of al Qaeda members talking to the Iranian regime, are these low-level, "harmless" al Qaeda Arab footsoldiers hiding in the foothills or villages of non-Arabic-speaking Iranian Kurdistan and Baluchistan, and if so, why would the Iranian regime be talking to them?) The Times adds that some "officials" suspect that al Qaeda forces, who've fled from northern Iraq, might be using "Iranian territory temporarily but not necessarily with the approval of the government in Tehran, or [emphasis added] that while some parts of the Iran government want them to leave, others want them to stay." This type of Iran observer consistently divides and subdivides responsibility for nefarious Iranian actions into small extremist cabals. Do this enough and one can even exempt Hojjat-ol-Islam Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, two of the principal powers in Iranian politics for over 20 years, from any responsibility for terrorism.

Getting it right on al Qaeda is an urgent issue for the Bush administration. If the White House concludes that bin Laden's organization is operationally alive in Iran--and this couldn't have happened without the support of the ruling mullahs--then the administration tempts an ugly fate by not responding militarily to the clerical regime's blatant provocation. Iran's ministry of intelligence and Revolutionary Guards Corps and the ruling clerics who control these institutions need to know that any cooperation with al Qaeda will lead to a ferocious American counterstrike against these institutions and the individuals who oversee them. If the ruling clerics know that we know al Qaeda holy warriors inside Iran were connected in any operational way with the May 12 suicide-bombings in Saudi Arabia, and we do nothing in response, then the Bush administration is clearly telling Rafsanjani and Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's two kingpins, that American calculations and reflexes have not really changed since the Clinton years. It is important to remember that clerical Iran in its terrorist attacks against the United States in Lebanon in 1983 and in Saudi Arabia in 1996 actually didn't try hard to hide its hand. Its efforts were nonetheless sufficient to allow Washington to choose moderation and restraint.

After the war in Afghanistan, the Bush administration let out an alarm about al Qaeda gaining refuge in Iran. The issue, for whatever reason, was then dropped. If that information was good--and it would be wise to compare closely the intercept and human intelligence from that episode with this one--then the Bush administration has already established one bad precedent. The restoration of American awe in the Middle East accomplished by the Iraq war could be considerably undone by a successful Iranian probing action. So, is the information the U.S. government possesses on an Iranian-al Qaeda connection good?

It is impossible to critique with any certainty clandestine intelligence that you cannot personally peruse. Human intelligence is always tricky to assess: Its quality is heavily dependent upon the controlling case officer and the particularities of the foreign agent, which are often unknowable. Intercept information is usually somewhat easier to handle. When it is good, it is ironclad. When former Iranian prime minister Shahpur Bakhtiar had his throat cut in his suburban Paris home in 1991 while under the protection of the French police, it was crystal clear that the Iranian intelligence service had orchestrated the operation. Somebody leaked an intercept text to the French press, conclusively proving official Iranian culpability. The Iranian government, of course, denied any involvement in the affair. Hashemi Rafsanjani, always entertaining, suggested that it was perhaps the work of vengeful Iranian expatriates or the Israelis. More than a few Iran observers and scholars also preferred to believe that Rafsanjani, then seen as a moderate cleric (he was) in favor of greater openness toward the West (he was), wouldn't have approved such an operation (he did).

What is certain is that most of the skeptical views today on the intelligence on Iran and al Qaeda make little sense. It is unquestionably true that clerical Iran is not an Orwellian state. People cannot travel freely in the country, but they can move about without planning and not much trouble (at least if they are carrying Iranian identity papers). In certain regions, particularly in Baluchistan near the Afghan border, local smugglers enjoy considerable autonomy, especially at night. This is much less the case in the Kurdish regions of western Iran, where the Bush administration has also apparently tracked members of al Qaeda. The situation in Baluchistan now is not nearly as violent as it was a few years back, when a virtual state of war existed between drug smugglers and Iranian security services.

Nonetheless, when Tehran wants to make a show of force in any region, it can deploy forces fairly quickly. Also, the internal informant network in clerical Iran, though not nearly as effective as in Saddam's Stalinist Iraq, is good. It is just not credible that Arabic-speaking members of al Qaeda could sustain themselves for any length of time in Kurdistan or Baluchistan (where Arabic speakers are few) without Iran's internal security services getting wind of their presence. Why local Iranian Kurds or Baluchis would want to aid a foreign Arab group like al Qaeda is another question. Fleeing members of al Qaeda are probably not cash-rich, their drug-trade utility since the fall of the Taliban must at best be marginal, and the Kurds and the Baluchis would obviously not want to incur Tehran's wrath or closer supervision for foreign holy warriors unrelated by blood. If Tehran didn't mind al Qaeda in Baluchistan or Kurdistan, then the local reaction would, of course, be different.

If there were units of al Qaeda in Iran without permission--or, as certain U.S. officials, particularly in the State Department, like to suggest, in Iran courtesy of "rogue" elements in the Iranian government--you would also see a completely different reaction in Tehran. The Islamic Republic's clerics, no less than the shah, take Iranian national sovereignty quite seriously. If al Qaeda elements were running around their country unaccounted for, or, worse, unauthorized elements of the Iranian government were granting them refuge, you'd see all hell break loose in Tehran. Clerical Iran is not, like Saddam's Iraq, a closed society. You can hear the various factions of Iran's ruling elite constantly reprimanding each other. If al Qaeda were in Iran without permission or courtesy of "extremist" elements, you'd hear about the bosses of the ministry of intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Army, and the Gendarmerie getting their heads metaphorically taken off. You'd hear about officials of lower rank getting sacked. Rafsanjani and Khamenei are not pussycats. They are tough men. And you'd also hear the dissident and "reformist" elements of the clergy making great hay out of this. Iran's nonclerical political voices, at home and abroad, would not likely miss such an opportunity to underscore the incompetence of their mullah rivals. Yet, Iran is quiet. There are no accusations against anyone.

It should also be noted that the Guards Corps and the ministry of intelligence are not bureaucratically fractured institutions. The Corps, as it has aged, has become ever more like the regular standing army, with established chains of command and dedicated communication channels. And the ministry of intelligence is perhaps the most streamlined, efficient organization in the Islamic Republic. It was the first institution to be thoroughly purged after the revolution in 1979 (which did not keep it from retaining the services of some officers from Savak, the Shah's intelligence and security service). In other words, if rogue elements are operating inside the Islamic Republic's intelligence service or Guards Corps, it is because Rafsanjani and Khamenei wish them to do so.

Also, philosophically, clerical Iran and al Qaeda aren't incompatible. For 25 years, there has never been a real moral debate among the ruling clergy about terrorism. One hears reports about discussions on the utility of terrorism, especially within the Combatant Clerics Association, which is in some ways an Oxford Union for VIP mullahs. The enormous influx of left-wing Western thought into Iran from the 1950s forward has taken a terrible toll on the traditional Muslim understanding of right and wrong (terrorism for any devout traditional Muslim is an egregious sin). It is by no means clear that among "reformist" elements of the clergy, in whose ranks we find the nearly powerless and timid President Mohammad Khatami, there is a different ethic on terrorism. The "reformist" clergy are nearly all children of the left, who have, more than their elders, soaked up third-world political theories that countenance terrorism against "Western imperialism." These "reformist" mullahs tend to be ferocious when it comes to Israel--the mild-mannered Khatami sometimes seems indistinguishable from the country's hard-core guide Ali Khamenei on the Jewish state and Hezbollah's continuing war against Israel and "Zionists" abroad. The morality that condones terrorism against Israel is the same rationalization that led clerical Iran to kill Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s and in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s. Terrorists can, of course, always become reformed terrorists, but we have not seen in Iran, especially among the ruling clergy, the type of gut-wrenching debate and soul-searching that comes when people purge themselves of their affection for extreme violence as a tool of statecraft and as a spiritual expression of God's wrath upon His enemies and the oppressed's vengeance against the strong.

Al Qaeda is, for the most faithful children of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution, an answer to a 25-year-old quest. Al Qaeda consists of Sunni holy warriors who want first and foremost to attack the Great Satan, the United States. Contrary to what has been said by some, al Qaeda's declarations, guides, and battle manuals are remarkably free of the vicious anti-Shia propaganda that is typical of Saudi Wahhabi missionary literature. Osama bin Laden has been flawlessly ecumenical in his statements, instructing his faithful clearly that all Muslims, bad or good, should unite in the battle against America. Bin Laden's wickedly lethal number two, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, has long been a favorite of Iran's revolutionary clergy, sort of a holy-warrior poster boy for correctly guided Sunni fundamentalists. The Sunni-Shia divide would certainly not keep Ali Khamenei, who believes that Sunni Muslims, too, should resist America and its baleful culture, from welcoming the brave holy warriors of al Qaeda into Iran.

Regardless of what conclusion the Bush White House reaches on the quality of its intelligence about al Qaeda in the Islamic Republic, an unpleasant collision between clerical Iran and the United States seems likely within the next few years. Iran's nuclear program and its inevitably hostile position toward the development of a federal, secular democratic system in Iraq (still apparently the Bush administration's goal) will force Washington to become much more diplomatically aggressive toward Iran--and could provoke U.S. military strikes, depending on Tehran's nuclear intransigence and its ability to develop Hezbollah-like forces inside Iraq. Also, if the White House is serious about applying the war on terrorism to Islamic holy warriors in Tehran's pay, which would certainly include Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, then military confrontation there is also possible. The odds are decent, however, that the Bush administration will default to the traditional American diplomatic position that terrorism against Israel is bad but insufficient to provoke the United States into much diplomatic, let alone military, hostility toward the state sponsor of this terrorism.

BUT WHAT SHOULD the United States do to checkmate clerical Iran's pursuit of nuclear weaponry? The first thing we ought to do is not deceive ourselves about Iran's nuclear intentions and the broad-based support that the weapons program enjoys throughout the clergy. The "reformist" clergy, who are more nationalist-inspired than their old-fashioned revolutionary brethren, love the idea of a nuclear-armed Iran easily as much as Rafsanjani and Khamenei. Bernard Hourcade, of the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in Paris, has tracked the "reformist" clergy firsthand for years. He has certainly not seen a "dovish" anti-nuke attitude among the "reformers," who in any case have repeatedly proven themselves inept at countering the political power of Rafsanjani and Khamenei. Though it is possible that Rafsanjani and Khamenei could decide to restrain the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions just short of the fabrication of a nuclear weapon, it seems highly unlikely given the time and money these two have invested in the effort.

And the reasons to go nuclear are now far stronger than they were in 1991, when the ruling clergy decided to make the development of nuclear arms a top priority. Serious discussions of nuclear deterrence occurred in the Combatant Clerics Association after the Gulf War. The conclusion was reached that the United States probably would not have countered Iraq's invasion of Kuwait if Saddam Hussein had had nuclear weaponry (which he would've had but for Israel's preemptive strike against the Osirak reactor in 1981). The Islamic Republic's chattering classes regularly now remark on the differing American approaches to Saddam's Iraq and Kim Jong Il's North Korea, which already has nuclear weaponry. Since Mohammad Khatami's public announcement on February 9, 2003, that Iran was developing its own means to produce nuclear fuel, senior officials have made it unmistakably clear that the nuclear program, in their eyes, makes the Islamic Republic more secure. It is quite probable that for Rafsanjani and Khamenei, and perhaps for many in the loyal "reformist" camp, the possession of nuclear weaponry spiritually reinforces the regime from domestic as well as foreign threats. In any case, whether you're a "Khomeini-heavy" or "Khomeini-lite" cleric, the case for an Iranian bomb is compelling.

We also ought not deceive ourselves about the chances diplomacy can stall Iran's quest for nuclear weaponry. The clerical regime may well now be sufficiently advanced in its nuclear program that foreign assistance is not required for building a bomb. It's just a matter of Iranian engineering and time--in other words, the Manhattan Project in 1943. Washington should certainly proceed on all fronts diplomatically against the Islamic Republic, encouraging, cajoling, and threatening Iran's trading partners to cut off tech transfers. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should also be encouraged to become as rigorous as possible toward the Islamic Republic, and a massive diplomatic effort ought to be launched to arm-twist the Iranians into signing the 1993 protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would allow for more intrusive inspections of their nuclear sites. But we need to be honest: The odds of this diplomatic offensive proving successful are poor. The Clinton administration worked hard on this front, with little to show for its efforts. We can huff and puff all we want, but it's not likely the Europeans, the Russians, the Chinese, the Pakistanis, and the North Koreans are all going to cooperate effectively.

In any case, given how advanced Iran's nuclear program appears to be, it's likely that if the Iranians still require foreign help, they don't need much. A gap anywhere in the technological cordon sanitaire might well be sufficient to give them the bomb. And the Europeans, the Russians, and the Chinese are all now trying to expand trade with the Islamic Republic, not shrink it. Russian atomic energy minister Aleksandr Rumyantsev declared on May 19 that Russia has no plans to freeze its nuclear-energy cooperation with Iran, which "has not violated any international agreements in this sphere so far." (It is a good bet that Tehran won't appear to be violating any non-proliferation agreements until it tests its first weapon.) Iran's critical trading partners could of course become fastidious about selling nuclear-related technology to Iran, particularly the ever-tricky dual-use items, at a time when they're hoping for expanding trade. Then again, past history may hold. It seems clear that the only thing that could compel such trading partners into a more rigorous stance toward Iran is the certain knowledge that (1) the United States will commercially retaliate in a massive way against them if they do not and (2) Washington will preemptively bomb Iran's nuclear facilities if we don't get maximum compliance.

But Secretary of State Colin Powell, in an Iraq redux, has already suggested that the United States has no military plans against the Islamic Republic. Powell's number two, Richard Armitage, has also been making dovish and downright odd comments about the virtues of Iran's clerical democracy. The State Department's organic fondness for process and negotiation makes it very unlikely, if State is allowed to lead on the Iran portfolio, that the countries concerned will be convinced of America's seriousness about the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. It would be amusing--for the Democrats, delightfully ironic--if part two of the Bush administration's Axis of Evil doctrine came down to encouraging the IAEA to become more aggressive about Iran and sending America's diplomats to cajole foreigners into an Iran-suspicious trade association. More or less, this is where the Clintonites left off.

Nor are the covert-action ideas floating about the Pentagon and certain think tanks going to save us from making very hard choices about Iran's coming nukes. Bureaucratically and legally, covert action has almost always been under the control of the Central Intelligence Agency. And the CIA's clandestine service has strongly disliked covert action for more than 30 years. Don't let the sexy magazine articles post-9/11 about CIA ninjas and worldwide anti-al Qaeda covert action fool you. The clandestine service hates covert action that it has to start from scratch, that can't be jointly run with (i.e., subcontracted to) some foreign intelligence service, and that involves mobilizing large groups of people for concrete political action. This is very hard to do, chances of success are never good, chances of embarrassment are high, and the educational, linguistic, and cultural requirements for case officers who must run these programs are vastly too demanding for most of the officers whom Langley can actually field. And the CIA especially hates Iranian covert action. This has been true for a very long time. Langley will fight either openly in the bureaucratic trenches or stealthily within its own walls any Iranian covert action program thrown its way. And there is nothing the Pentagon can do about it.

The Pentagon could, of course, try to run its own covert-action program, assuming it could convince the White House and Congress to go along (which isn't likely). But the Pentagon would have many of the same personnel problems that Langley has. Covert action is difficult. Agents have to work at it, slowly and painfully gaining expertise that will in most circumstances end in disappointment. The brightest minds of the Defense Department cannot pull covert action off the shelf and seriously expect it to work before the Islamic Republic develops a nuclear weapon.

And even if the Pentagon, or another government agency, could come up with an interesting plan--and there is nothing wrong with trying--the circumstances in Iran would very likely frustrate even the most thoughtful efforts. The Islamic Republic isn't the Iran of 1953, where a tiny group of people were the pivotal political players. Iran today is a massive, modern society with a very big power matrix. Though the clerical regime is broadly detested, millions of Iranians are invested in the system. Millions of Iranians who hate the mullahs still know they are bound to the regime. Civil unrest produced by popular disgust could conceivably bring down the system, and the ruling clergy fear that possibility. But the mullahs have so far been wise in how they handle dissent. They harass and kill judiciously--enough to intimidate the society, but not enough to galvanize widespread violent opposition.

Iranian society, which was deeply scarred by the revolution and the Iran-Iraq War, still appears to fear the violence that would inevitably arrive with a serious confrontation. Until young men feel differently, it is difficult to see how a new revolutionary movement can develop. It is conceivable that an effective covert action against the mullahs could be devised, but it's just not likely within the time frame allowed by Iran's nuclear program, which may well produce nuclear weapons within two years. If President Bush and other American officials want to use their bully pulpits more often to support liberal democracy in Iran, that can't hurt. Millions of Iranians want to be free, and it's good to let them know that America opposes their oppressors. Any American effort to help the Iranian people should start with regular denunciations of the regime by Washington VIPs. If this at least can't be done, then it would probably be best that we not invest time, money, American prestige, and Iranian lives in trying to do more, covertly or overtly.

Which brings us to the last option: a preemptive military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. It is obviously an unappealing choice. But it is the only option that offers a good chance of delaying Iran's production of nuclear weapons.

We can, of course, give the other avenues time to work. But we shouldn't deceive ourselves. Unless we have rock-solid intelligence that Iran's nuclear program has gone into cold storage because of our diplomatic campaign, we should assume the earliest date conceivable for the Islamic Republic to have the bomb, and then decide whether we want to learn to live with Rafsanjani's and Khamenei's nuke.

An American preemptive strike against the nuclear facilities might fail--the Iranians have been putting their facilities underground and hiding them as best they can. We think we know where they are, but we might be wrong. And a strike could produce enormous anger in Iran. But it could also unblock Iran's frozen political system. Once the nationalist outrage has died down, once Iranians focus again on their daily lives under the mullahs, the political debate will start to roar. Khamenei and Rafsanjani will have put Iran on a lethal collision course with America. There is not an Iranian alive, including Khamenei and Rafsanjani, who doesn't know that in such a contest, Iran loses. So we can give diplomacy a chance. But in the end, if we turn away from preemptive action, then the "axis of evil" doctrine is over. The Bush administration, if it is still in power, may not want to admit this, but the ruling clergy in Tehran will no doubt point it out once they have the bomb.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a contributing editor, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

*** A little bit old article but accurate ****
18 posted on 07/16/2003 6:14:16 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: seamole; dixiechick2000; piasa; DoctorZIn; RaceBannon; Texas_Dawg; nuconvert; norton; rontorr; ...
Party's over

Islamic Republic - the great 'national-socialist' experiment in the Middle East

July 18, 2002
The Iranian

The history of the Middle East over the last century has been dominated by the two main political movements of nationalism and socialism. These two movements have on occasions overlapped each other, but generally they have followed different agenda and have relied on distinct social classes with specific interests and aspirations. In Iran too, ever since of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, the two trends have been present in the political scene. Then came the 1979 revolution - a mass uprising against the monarchy and its western supporters. A new phenomenon was entering the Iranian politics, and a form of 'national socialist' movement came into existence. Welcome to the Islamic Republic...

The history of the Middle East over the last century has been dominated by the two main political movements of nationalism and socialism. These two movements have on occasions overlapped each other, but generally they have followed different agenda and have relied on distinct social classes with specific interests and aspirations.

The nationalist groups were mainly concerned with liberation from foreign dominance, characterized by western powers that had directly or indirectly colonized this part of the world before or after the First World War. The driving forces behind these movements were the merchant classes who spearheaded the drive against the foreign interests (mainly British) in the area. They were also instrumental in constitutional movements, which sought to limit the absolute power of the monarchy and establish a parliamentary system of government.

The socialist groups were historically newer phenomena. They relied naturally on the working class, and came into existence as a political force only after the October Revolution in Russia, and sought to follow the version of Marxism as portrayed by the then Soviet Union. Though many socialist groups took part in the liberation movements against the west alongside the nationalists, they differed mainly when the interests of the Soviet Union were concerned. This put them often on the collision course with nationalist forces, with disastrous consequences for them, for the nationalists, for the liberation movements, and for the interests of the society at large.

In Iran, ever since of the Constitutional Revolution of 1906, the two trends have been present in the political scene. However, the socialist movement came into prominence in the 1940's and early 50's when a nationalist coalition led by Dr. Mossaddegh managed to mount an effective campaign against the British interests and to nationalize the oil industry. These were the golden days of Iranian politics: nationalists leading a historical campaign against the mighty British empire in the Middle East; and socialists creating the most powerful mass party of the working class in the area, in the form of the Tudeh Party.

Alas, the good old days could not last long. The Tudeh Party tended to look to Moscow, rather than at the interests of the working class, for its policies. The nationalists lost much of their public support, partly because of the severe economic sanction engineered by the British, and partly as a result of the local clergy coming out against them. The external meddling from both the west and the Soviet Union, combined with internal unrest, prepared the ground for a joint British-American sponsored coup in 1953 that overthrew Mossaddegh's government and handed over the Iranian politics to the Americans for the next quarter of century.

During this period, both nationalist and socialist movements were suppressed and driven underground or beyond the Iranian borders. The frustration felt by many younger generations of both camps led to the formation of new and more radical groups, with some resorting to armed struggle as a substitute for mass mobilization. The new socialist groups would also distance themselves from the Soviet block and adopt more independent policies.

Then came the 1979 revolution - a mass uprising against the monarchy and its western supporters. Both the nationalist and socialist tendencies took part in the revolution. But the power was won by a new force that tried to outdo them both. A new phenomenon was entering the Iranian politics. A form of 'national-socialist' movement came into existence. Welcome to the Islamic Republic.

This was not the first time in the Middle East that movements purporting to be both nationalist and socialist had come to power. The Nasserists in Egypt had tried the idea. Then the Ba'thists in Syria and Iraq, and especially in the latter, followed it with more zest and conviction.

These new movements had some of the characteristics and hallmarks of by now the classical national-socialist movement of Germany between the two wars. They would appeal to all classes by portraying themselves to be both super-nationalist and at the same time ardent socialist. And they would sometimes follow extreme policies in support of both claims. Now, the Islamic Republic was to take this phenomenon to its perfection.

Externally, it would clash with almost any power in the area, and assert its ambition to export its revolution beyond the Iranian borders. And internally, it embarked on the most widespread confiscation of the assets of the upper class and wealthy supporters of the old regime, all in the interests of "the meek".

The two-pronged policy was very successful in mobilization of the masses and in marginalizing the traditional nationalist and socialist movements. Ayatollah Khomeini was going to establish a true independent, corruption-free and powerful state for the Iranian nation. He would also provide housing for all, and give free water and electricity to all poor people. A new generation of idealists, most of them young and religiously charged, gathered around the new Leader ready to sacrifice themselves for the good of the country and the new independent, anti-imperialist, champion-of-the-poor Islamic system.

Indeed, the new regime also managed to elicit the support of most of the traditional political groups. Both the nationalist and socialist movements, with few exceptions, would come to the support of the new regime based on their own analysis. The nationalists would form the government in the first year of the new regime. The socialists, though never given a chance to share power, nevertheless supported its "anti-imperialist" stands and mass confiscation of assets. The two camps would oppose each other, but not that much worried where the new regime was heading.

As with the Nazi Germany, the new Islamic regime had to find both internal and external enemies for all the ills of the society, and at the same time to create a notion of super national identity for the Iranian people in order to support its expansionist policies. The Nazis used the idea of race to formulate their philosophy. The Islamic Republic had the Islamic notion of ummeh to play the same role. Though the notion of ummeh (a relic of the Islamic empire in its heydays under the early caliphs) was anathema to the concept of nationhood for many Iranians, it did nevertheless serve the purpose it was employed for: as a vehicle both to 'refine' the nation and identify the "pure" Iranians and at the same time to put Iran at the center of a much bigger entity far exceeding its existing geographical borders.

Internally, non-Moslems (and even non-Shi'ite Moslems) were identified as second-class citizens, with Jews and most explicitly the Bahais as the cause of some of the miseries of the Iranian people. This led to systematic persecution of these minorities. In the case of Bahais, a policy of extermination was followed, leading to hundreds of executions and large-scale measures aimed particularly at reducing their numbers through social exclusion and depravation. Of course, as with the Nazi's experience, the Bahais were not the only minority to suffer under the Islamic regime. Once started with one group, it would soon be extended to almost any 'undesirable' social group, from other religious or national minorities, to political groups, to secular intellectuals - and to women, the largest single social group to be brutally suppressed under the Islamic regime.

Externally, the regime had already identified the two super powers of the day, plus Britain and Israel, as its enemies. This was a popular policy among the population at large, and would in part appeal to most of the nationalist and socialist groups too. Taking of the American embassy and its personnel as hostages in 1979 was to prove the regime's anti-imperialist credentials, especially amongst the pro-Moscow socialist organizations. However, the regime also had the duty to export its revolution throughout the Islamic world. A wave of official campaign against the corrupt leaders of the neighboring countries started. And for very understandable reasons, Iraq with its large Shi'ite population was more than any other country at the receiving end of this propaganda.

The Islamists in power saw Iraq as the most appropriate first stage in their ambition to create an Islamic ummeh nation. Months of provocation did the job, and Iraq embarked on a pre-emptive strike, thus starting a devastating war that was to last 8 years long. The Islamic regime welcomed the war as a divine blessing. It regarded it as a godsend opportunity to follow its ambition of creating the great Islamic state.

The fact that the war for the Islamic regime was not merely a defensive one was made clear in several ways. The war was waged as a religious campaign against enemies of Islam and not on enemies of Iran. It was a war of "liberation", not of Iranian territories, but of Iraq's holy cities. Time ad time again, this was proclaimed in the official propaganda, in communiqués, and in the drives to mobilize volunteers for the war. The "liberation" of Iraqi cities was regarded, in spite of all the proclamations to the contrary, as more important than helping the Palestinians in their fight against Israel. Indeed, when Ayatollah Khomeini was once asked to help the Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, he declined to help and replied that the route to Jerusalem passes through Karbala (a holy city in Iraq).

Then two years after the war had started, the Iranian forces managed to push Iraqis back into their own territory. Iraq was also in a weak position ready to agree generous compensation terms (with backing from Saudi Arabia and other rich Arab states in the Persian Gulf) for the damage and destruction it had caused. However, the Islamic regime insisted on the continuation of the war, and over the next six full years sent hundreds of thousands of volunteers and conscripts to the battlefield, most of them to their certain death. Thousands upon thousands of under age youngsters would be sent to run over the minefields to clear them for the advancing army - with the promise of eternal bliss in the heaven for the kids and their parents in exchange for their martyrdom in the course of "liberation" of holy cities in Iraq.

The war situation would naturally call for national unity, with all the political forces coming together to defend the motherland. But it also provided the convenient cover for the Islamic regime to pursue its other, internal, design: to eliminate all other political forces inside the country, not only politically but literally in physical terms too.

And so, as soon as the Islamic regime established itself and needed no more help from traditional nationalists or socialists, it embarked on one of the bloodiest campaigns in the recent Middle East history to eliminate all these groups. Though political suppression was nothing new in Iran as elsewhere in the area, this was the first time that they were being physically wiped out. Thousands and thousands of opposition figures and sympathizers were rounded up and summarily executed over the years.

The final act of these large-scale massacres were to occur in 1988, soon after the Islamic regime came to the realization that its adventurous foreign policies have been in vein: 8 years of war with over a million casualties and billions of damages have resulted in no victory. Ayatollah Khomeini had to swallow the poison, as he put it himself, and accept a humiliating ceasefire. However, he had no reason to accept defeat at the internal front - so he ordered the mass execution of all remaining political prisoners throughout Iran. The order was carried out dutifully, and over the next few weeks several thousand political prisoners were again physically eliminated. Only after this final act, the great Leader could die peacefully in his bed.

Of all the legacies of Khomeini's ten-year rule, his act of mutilation of the Iranian politics may have more long lasting effect. A decade after his death, a reform movement has been gathering pace in Iran. The main elements of this movement consist of young revolutionaries who were mesmerized by the great Leader at the time, and were at the forefront of his campaigns in the early years after the revolution. They were ready to follow orders - whatever the order. May of them were actually involved in carrying out the persecution policies of Khomeini. They had been promised heaven on earth, and they were ready to sacrifice themselves and anybody else necessary to make it happen. In the course of achieving this end, any means was legitimate if sanctioned by the great Leader.

Now, they found many of those dreams were hollow. Power is concentrated in the hand of a new elite. Corruption is rampant. Poverty is on the increase. Unemployment affects the new generation very badly. Crime and addiction is widespread. A society battered socially, economically and politically. Full-scale nationalizations and confiscations of assets after the revolution have resulted in the creation of colossal conglomerates outside public control and a readily available source of embezzlement for the army of state officials and the ruling clergy. Two decades of Islamic government has only managed to take the society further away from the modern world and into the middle ages - with women downgraded to less than half a man, and barbaric punishments of public executions, amputations, whipping and stoning to death becoming routine.

In other words, the great national-socialism project of Imam Khomeini has meant almost noting but poverty, destruction, war, corruption, massacres, discrimination, crime, violence, human miseries and social disintegration. The exceptions being few advances here or there, such as high literacy rate amongst women or a large increase in higher education intakes.

So the reformists are calling for change. But to what? Democracy is the buzzword. This of course is a great aim for a society deprived of basic political freedom over a very long time. But that seems also to be the ultimate aim for most of the reformists. There is a dearth of ideas of "what else?" in political, social or economic terms. With the demise of Soviet Union and the rise of political right at the international level, the reform movement in Iran too is finding no way to turn but to the right.

The catastrophic outcome of Khomeini's "socialist policies", which was characterized by mass nationalization and confiscation of property and assets, has proved to many that socialism is doomed. And persistent anti-American rhetoric of the Islamic regime has infatuated the younger generation with anything American - from its laissez faire capitalism, to Hollywood culture, and to its right wing politics.

The physical elimination of political forces during the 10-year reign of Khomeini has deprived Iran of its political traditions, and had severed the historical link between the new generation of activists with their political and ideological ancestors. The political landscape of Iran is barren with only a few green-shoots of recovery appearing here and there.

The days of the national-socialist regime of the Islamic Republic may be numbered. But its legacy in political and social terms would take much, much, longer to disappear.

This is an expanded version of a talk given at the "Nationalism and Socialism in the Middle East" session of the week-long series of seminars and debates organized at University of London under the title of "Marxism 2002", 7-13 July 2002

**Hossein Bagher Zadeh is a human rights activist and commentator on Iranian political and human rights issues.
19 posted on 07/16/2003 6:39:00 AM PDT by F14 Pilot
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To: F14 Pilot
The nationalists lost much of their public support, partly because of the severe economic sanction engineered by the British, and partly as a result of the local clergy coming out against them.

And mainly, because "nationalizing" the oil industry means stealing property and appropriating it by government fiat. Usually this is done in he "name of the people," the implication being that the proceeds will be for all the people, whether they earned it or not, whether they invested in it or not. That's not a good recipe for success, because there isn't much incentive to invest in it.

It wasn't just Iranians who built the oil industry in Iran; the British had taken the risk, made the investments and provided the technology, etc., and they had a right to share in its profits. But by nationalizing the industry, their property rights were infringed. They had every right to seek redress.

By nationalizing the industry, there was no compromise nor negotiation. The country was rightfully perceived as a poor investment, and that damaged the economy and made Mossaddegh unpopular, giving the other radicals an opening to exploit.

20 posted on 07/16/2003 7:40:50 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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